SPOTLIGHT: Young Filipino Catholic realizes dreams by crafting rosaries

He could not explain the feeling that overwhelmed him when he learned that he would be attending the World Youth Day in 2016.

Mark Carlo Herrera Cruz had about a year to prepare for what he called “a pilgrimage of a lifetime” in Krakow, Poland.

It was already mid-2015 and he was not sure where to get the money for his trip. He needed at least US$2,500 to cover all his expenses.

One evening, Cruz prayed the Holy Rosary and asked God to give him the “strength and resources” needed “to fulfill this mission.”

The next morning, the then-22-year-old native of Batangas province realized that his prayers had already been answered even before he asked for it.

“The answer to my prayers was already in the palm of my hand, the rosary beads,” he said.

Earlier, Cruz got interested in crafting rosaries. He started with simple beads and designs that he acquired in a local bead shop.

So, months before the World Youth Day, “I dared myself to make and sell rosaries.” He said “there was no grand plan.”

“I just took my tools and started crafting,” he said.

After finishing several pieces, he took photos and posted it on his social media account. He later received messages placing orders of his rosaries that were priced at US$7 a piece.

Cruz spent sleepless nights crafting and selling rosaries.

“I was surprised by how people responded,” he said. “I got a lot of inquiries and orders. Honestly, I don’t know how many rosaries I made that year.”

Cruz earned about US$4,000 from crafting and selling rosaries, enough for him to travel to Poland in July 2016.

After the week-long pilgrimage, Cruz thought it was over, still he continued to receive messages from people expressing their interest in his rosaries.

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