Showing posts with label Catholic Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catholic Church. Show all posts

Heroic Priests in the “Unsinkable” Titanic

Ask anyone about the sinking of RMS Titanic and the most probable responses that you will receive are related to the popular movie “Titanic”, which is starred by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Few of the responses might be related to the true crew and passengers of the “unsinkable” vessel. But, I believe that no response will be given that is related to the heroic priests who did not abandon the sinking ship for the sake of the perishing passengers.

It is a little known fact that two Catholic priests are on board the famous RMS Titanic. This is what the report of Evening World (April 1912) said about the two priests:
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“Two priests of the Roman Catholic Church went down on the Titanic with men and women grouped about them responding to prayers. Not only Catholics, but Protestants and Jews, realizing that their last hour was at hand, took part in the final religious service on the sloping deck of the Titanic as she was heading downward for the depths.”

The priests are Reverend Thomas R. Byles from London and an unnamed German priest. Only the story of Rev. Byles is known and a website was dedicated for him.
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Reverend Thomas Byles
Reverend Thomas R. Byles

According to the report, both priest officiated Holy Mass in the vessel. Both their homilies is about the “necessity of man having a lifeboat in the shape of religious consolation at hand in case of spiritual shipwreck”.

When Titanic is struck an iceberg and is about to sink, Rev. Byles helped children, women and other people to the lifeboats. While he is active in saving other people, the priest did not forgot his calling. He also led the prayers, give absolution and comforted the people.

This is what a witness said of Rev. Byles:
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"A few around us became very excited," Miss Mocklare continued, "and then it was that the priest again raised his hand and instantly they were calm once more. The passengers were immediately impressed by the absolute self-control of the priest. He began the recitation of the rosary. The prayers of all, regardless of creed, were mingled and the responses, "Holy Mary," were loud and strong.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic is due to human error. The captain and crew are so sure that the vessel is unsinkable that they failed to be vigilant of icebergs. I believe that the presence of the two priest aboard Titanic is not a coincidence. God placed them to calm the spirit and bring salvation to passengers and crew.

I know that many people blamed God for the sinking of Titanic. I know that many people mock Christians for believing a God that allows tragedies, like the sinking of the Titanic, to happen. People of little Faith! Many of the tragedies that occur to human beings are due to their own faults. Isn't it unfair to blame God for things of our own doing? We also don't have the right to blame God even if many people die of natural calamities. God owns everything, even our own life. He has the right to give life or to take it. Our own responsibility is to ensure that we are pleasing in the eyes of God so that we are ready to face Him when we die.

Though we are disobedient and unfaithful, God still send His help for all of us. The presence of the two priests aboard Titanic is a testament to this. Many people were saved during that day simply because they believed in the two priests. The sea had swallowed them but God gave them, believers and non-believers alike, a chance to be with Him in heaven.

As the world remembers the sinking of Titanic, I hope that we also remember these heroic priests who served God and people in great time of need.

Day of the Palaspas

Day of Palaspas - Triumphant entry of Jess to Jerusalem

And when they drew near to Jerusalem and to Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately on entering it you will find a colt tied, upon which no man has yet sat; loose it, and bring it. And if anyone say to you, 'What are you doing?' you shall say that the Lord has need of it, and immediately he will send it here.”

And they went their way and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they loosed it. And some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?” But they answered them as Jesus had told them to do and they let them go.

And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their cloaks over it, and he sat upon it. And many spread their cloaks upon the road, while others were cutting branches from the trees, and strewing them on the road. And those who went before him, and those who followed, kept crying out saying, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes! Hosanna in the highest!” And he went into Jerusalem, into the temple. And when he looked round upon all things, then, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

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This is how Saint Mark the Evangelist related the triumphant entry of our Lord Jesus to Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-11). This what Catholics around the world commemorates this Palm Sunday.

Here in the Philippines, we commemorate Palm Sunday (Linggo ng Palaspas) by bringing palm leaves during Mass and have them blessed with Holy Water. The palaspas (palm frond) not only symbolizes the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem but it also marks the start of Holy Week.

Palm Sunday is very important day for me. Personally, I view the palaspas as a symbol of Jesus' triumphant entry into my life. Like in the Gospel, Jesus entered into my life with joy and celebration on my part. However, like what was written in the Gospel, there are times that I betrayed Him and “crucified” Him days after His entry into my life.
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Linggo ng Palaspas in the Philippines
(Source: MCSICAA)

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week and I invite you to accompany me in my journey of Faith throughout this week. I can't give much insight and reflections during these holy days since I am still a noob in my Catholicism. I will do my best, however, to post insights from those who knows the Christian faith better than me.

Let us embark on a journey of Faith my friends. May we let Jesus enter our hearts like the way he entered Jerusalem.

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Inside the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

I ended my second trip in Cebu City by visiting the shrine of the most venerated image in the island, which is the image of the Santo Niño de Cebu. I only got the chance to take photos outside of the Minor Basilica of Santo Niño in my first visit to Cebu. This time, I ensured that I will get photos inside the basilica.

The Minor Basilica of Santo Niño is just few meters away from Cebu Cathedral Museum. That’s why I didn’t hail a taxi or a pedicab to reach the basilica. The image of the Santo Niño inside the basilica was a gift by Magellan to the newly-baptized Queen Juana of Sugbu (Cebu). The image was then recovered by the Spanish mariner John de Camus during the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
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Basilica Minore del Santo Nino
Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

I was not surprised to see a large number of people inside the basilica. The Minor Basilica of Santo Niño always has more visitors than the nearby Cebu Cathedral. Many people flock the basilica just to say their prayers to Santo Niño.

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Altar of Basilica Minore del Santo Nino

The image of Santo Niño de Cebu is not located at the altar but has a separate room near the back of the basilica. I also joined the queue just to have a glimpse of the Santo Niño and say my little prayers to him. I didn’t take any photos of the Santo Niño de Cebu out of courtesy.
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Ceiling of Basilica Minore del Santo Nino

The ceiling of Minor Basilica of Santo Niño depicts various events in the Bible like creation of the Universe and the laying out of the Ten Commandments on a stone tablet. What caught my interest is the painting shows the visit of Magellan in Cebu. The painting depicts historical events like the conversion of Rajah Humabon and his wife Humamay, the first Holy Mass in Cebu and the erection of Magellan’s cross.
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Zoom in of ceiling of Basilica Minore del Santo Nino

The Minor Basilica of Santo Niño is run by Augustinians and the proof it is this:
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Saint Augustine in Basilica Minore del Santo Nino

You can read what is being depicted by this scene in my post about Saint Augustine.

Another interesting area inside the ground of Minor Basilica of Santo Niño is the bas-relief at the wall near the candle area. The relief tells the history of the basilica like the discovery of the image of Santo Niño de Cebu by John de Camus.
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Bas-relief, Basilica Minore del Santo Nino
Recovery of Santo Niño by John de Camus.

I ended my visit to Minor Basilica of Santo Niño by visiting the nearby monument for Magellan’s Cross.

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Magellan's Cross, Cebu City, Philippines

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Who is the Real Santa Claus?

Last Tuesday (December 6) the Church celebrated the feast of Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra. The Gospel for that day (Matthew 18:12) is about the good shepherd who left his 99 sheep just to look for one stray sheep. The priest said that the Gospel reading suits the story of Saint Nicholas because he acted as a good shepherd during his stint as a bishop. Saint Nicholas is a good shepherd because he knew the needs of his flock, or the people in his Diocese. The saint is widely known for his charity and generosity to poor.

There is one story where Saint Nicholas discovered that a poor widower, unable to support his three maiden daughters, decided to make his daughters work as prostitutes. The saint placed the church's gold in three bags and secretly threw them through the window of the widower's house. The gold served as the dowry for widower's daughters. Saint Nicholas was also involved in other stories wherein he is shown as the helper of the poor and the needy.

I thought that the priest's homily about Saint Nicholas end there until he said that that saint is the popular Santa Claus. Devotion to Saint Nicholas became popular years even after his death. Many people were inspired by his story of charity. Even the oil, known as Manna di S. Nicola, flowing from the relic of Saint Nicholas is highly valued for its medicinal powers.

So, how Saint Nicholas of Myra, who looks like this:
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Saint Nicholas of Myra

came to look like this:
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Jolly old Santa Claus.
(Source: Web Design Hot)

The transformation of Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus came about when Dutch Protestants brought the distorted story of Saint Nicholas to America. The Dutch portrayed Saint Nicholas as a Nordic magician who helps the needy. Santa Claus is now a jolly, fat, white-bearded old man who enters chimney just to give gifts to “nice” kids.

I always lament that Santa Claus replaced the baby Jesus during the Christmas Season. Instead of anticipating the birth of Christ, people are waiting for their gifts under the Christmas tree courtesy of Santa Claus. Well, it seems like it is not only Jesus who was replaced by the commercialized Santa Claus. The first victim is Saint Nicholas.

Santa Claus has a shallow kind of generosity. If you are a nice person, then you can expect a gift from Santa. In this case, the gift became a bribe to make the child behave well. It teaches a child to expect an instant gift whenever do good things.

Saint Nicholas' generosity is much deeper. Being “nice” is not a requirement for him whenever he helps someone. The widower in the story is not a nice person because he wanted his daughter to become prostitutes. Saint Nicholas did not turn his back to the widower and his daughters. On the contrary, he gave them three bags of gold!

Jesus Christ told us to love our neighbors, including those who are not nice to us. Our Lord said “for if you love those that love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even publicans do that? And if you salute your brethren only, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do that?” (Matthew 5:46-47).We Christians are expected to love and aid anyone like Saint Nicholas did because if we love and aid just those who are nice, like what Santa Claus is doing, then are we doing more than the others?

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I encountered an amusing story about Saint Nicholas. A heretic named Arius is teaching that Jesus Christ is not Divine but merely created by the Father. Saint Nicholas can’t stand the lies of Arius so he punched Arius on the face. Here is the painting that immortalized the smack down of Arius:
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Saint Nicholas punched Arius.


Because of Saint Nicholas violent action, he was stripped off of his rank as a bishop and was sent to prison. Nicholas’ personal copy of the Gospel and the Episcopal pallium, symbols of being a bishop, was taken away. Jesus Christ and Mama Mary visited Saint Nicholas in his cell and asked him what he is doing inside the prison. Saint Nicholas answered: “Because I love you, my Lord and my God.”

Jesus then gave Nicholas his copy of the Gospel and Mama Mary vested her of his pallium, thus returning to his rank as bishop.

No one can ever imagine the commercialized Santa Claus to pull a punch to the naughty boys and girls. All he can do is laugh “ho ho ho” all the way. Well, the real Santa Claus knows how to use his fist for the sake of his love to God.

I am not telling you to punch those who blaspheme the Lord. What I am saying is that we should not hesitate to the hard things to make other people realize the Truth.

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Hail Mary! Immaculate and Blessed

Today, the whole Church is celebrating the Feast of Immaculate Conception.

In this Feast, the Catholic Church affirms her teaching that Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, was born without original sin.

Years ago, I don't believe in Mama Mary. I had a belief, back then, that the Church exaggerated the role of a woman who wasn't featured much in the Bible. How wrong I was! Mama Mary has a large role in salvation of humankind. Her obedience to God paved the way for the Word to be made flesh. Mama Mary asked Jesus to turn water into wine in wedding in Cana. This incident shows how intimately Mary knows her son because she knows that Jesus can do miracles even before He conducted His public ministry. Mama Mary suffered greatly in seeing her only son flogged and nailed to the cross. Her heart might have been broken to million pieces when Jesus gave His last breath.

Mama Mary may not always be present on the Bible but surely she is in the background. She is with the Apostles waiting for the descent of the Holy Spirit. Mama Mary fulfilled her role as the mother of the early Church. She continues to fulfill that role unto this day for she intercede for us in front of our God.

Mama Mary, thank you for the love and the care. Happy Feast of Immaculate Conception!
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Immaculate Conception


Tota pulchra es, Maria,
et macula originalis non est in te.
Vestimentum tuum candidum quasi nix, et facies tua sicut sol.
Tota pulchra es, Maria,
et macula originalis non est in te.
Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu laetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tota pulchra es, Maria.

You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [of sin] is not in you.
Your clothing is white as snow, and your face is like the sun.
You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [of sin] is not in you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel, you give honour to our people.
You are all beautiful, Mary.

Jesus Christ is the King Forevermore

This day, the 20th of November, Catholics affirm the reign of Jesus Christ on both heaven and earth. As Jesus Christ said, He is now seated at the right hand of the power and has dominion over the earth, the heavens, and all the creatures found in the sky, on the land, burrowing under the soil and in the seas. He is now the King of all human beings even if they worship Him or not.

In today's Gospel, Jesus Christ talked about the last days when He will come back to the earth to fully show His authority. In the last day, Jesus Christ will separate the sheep from goats. Christ will reward those who fed, clothed, and cared for the poor, the needy, the strangers and the prisoners. Those who ignored the little ones will be sent to their damnation.
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Christ the King

Our parish priest said in his homily that the Feast of Christ the King is a big matter to Catholics during his childhood. All the people in their community have an image of Jesus Christ sitting on His throne. Those who can't afford a statue just post a picture of Christ the King inside their homes. People flock the church to join in the Holy Mass.

I believe that the our parish priest narrated his childhood memory of the Feast of Christ the King to contrast it with the way Catholics celebrate these feasts. Many Catholics, nowadays, don't care anymore. They forgot the importance of celebrating the kingship of our Lord. Filipino Catholics are more focused on the upcoming Christmas Season than celebrating the Feast of Christ the King.

The current behavior with regards to the Feast of Christ the King mirrors the fact that many people are forgetting the role of Jesus Christ in their life and the whole world. Many people pay more attention to the all-smiling and all-nice commercialized version of Jesus Christ. We keep on forgetting that Jesus Christ is the King. As King, He has the power to pardon and condemn.

This day's Gospel is a grave reminder that Jesus Christ will practice His authority the proper time. I hope that the Gospel make us realize that a Christian should always strive to obey the King's authority so that we will be part of His flock that is bound to His Eternal Kingdom.

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A Visit to Pink Sisters' Convent, Tagaytay City

Tagaytay City is a popular getaway of Metro Manila citizens. Nestled on the highlands of Southern Tagalog, Tagaytay is blessed with cool weather and breathtaking view of the surrounding lowlands. Tagaytay City is popular for its tourist destinations like the Picnic Grove, People's Park and Sonya's Garden. Unknown to most visitors, Tagaytay is also the home of many Catholic monasteries and convents. The most popular of these Catholic convents is the Convent of Divine Mercy, which is the place where the Adoration Chapel of the Pink Sisters is located.

The first thing that I noticed when I entered the Pink Sister's convent is silence. The whole place is quiet and signboards were placed inside the convent grounds to remind visitors to observe silence. The reigning silence in the convent is the outward reflection of the life of the Pink Sisters who dedicated their whole life adoring the Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Pink Sisters, or more officially known as Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, are a community of strictly cloistered contemplative nuns who center their life worshiping God through the adoration of the exposed Blessed Sacrament. Each of the Pink Sisters takes turn to adore the Blessed Sacrament and keep a prayerful vigil 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The community of the Pink Sisters was founded by the German priest Blessed Arnold Janssen. He set up the Pink Sisters to support by prayers and sacrifice the first two missionary foundations that he established. Now, the Pink Sisters is a well known society of contemplative nuns with convents located in different parts of the world, including the one in Tagaytay City.
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Gate of Pink Sisters' convent in Tagaytay
Gate of the Divine Mercy Convent

How to Go to Pink Sister's Adoration Chapel

The Adoration Chapel of the Pink Sister can be easily reached by riding a jeepney from Olivarez Center in Tagaytay City. Olivarez Center is a rotunda in Tagaytay that has a statue of Ninoy Aquino in the center. Another landmark for the Olivarez Center is the Mang Inasal restaurant located at the corner of the road going to Dasmarinas City and the road to People's Park and Picnic Grove.

The street going to Pink Sisters' convent is just 500 m meters away from Olivarez Center. Just ride a jeepney or tricycle from Olivarez Center to reach the place. There is a big signboard along the road that marks the street to the convent. Visitors need to walk few meters from the main road to reach the convent gate.

Inside the Pink Sister's Convent

Taking photos is not allowed inside the chapel. Unfortunately, I hesitated in taking photos of the ground outside the chapel that is why I don't have photos to show to you. So, to fill the void, I snatched some photos from the post of Father Abe.
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Pink Sisters - Adoration Chapel
The Adoration Chapel of the Pink Sisters.
Me and my beloved prayed inside the chapel, in front of the Holy Eucharist! I always feel awed whenever I am in the presence of the Holy Eucharist. The silence inside chapel and the deep reverence of the Pink Sisters made the holiness of the Holy Eucharist more profound.
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Pink Sisters - Inside the Adoration Chapel
The altar and the interior of the Adoration Chapel.
We are blessed to be in time for Midday Prayer of the Pink Sisters. It is so good to listen to their angelic voices while they sing to the Holy Eucharist. All of the sisters were there to attend the midday prayer. All, but one of the Pink Sisters, left after the midday prayer. A Pink Sister was left to adore and keep vigil in front of the Holy Eucharist.
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Pink Sisters - A Pink Sister adoring the Holy Eucharist
A Pink Sister adoring the Holy Euacharist.

After praying in front of the Holy Eucharist, we wrote our prayer intentions on a piece paper and left in a drop box. There are stories from many people who had their prayers answered when they ask the Pink Sisters to pray for them. I believe that the prayers were answered because the Pink Sisters continuously pray for them. God listens to those who have deep respect to the Holy Eucharist.

Saint Josemaria Escriva, as written in The Forge, likened Christians into a regular army. He said that like in regular army, logistics is important in Christianity to support the front liners like the priests, lay people and missionaries who are at the fore in preaching the Word of God. The logistics that he meant is the continuous prayers by those who are away from the front lines. Blessed Father Janssen understood the importance of prayers that is why he established the community of Pink Sisters. Now, the Pink Sisters grew from being the “logistical support” of the other congregations established by Father Janssen to being the “logistical support” of the whole Church. The fruits of their continuous adoration of the Holy Eucharist is now being enjoyed by the whole Catholic Church and by the people who seek help from them through prayer.

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The last three photos was “snatched” from Father Abe on his blog, The Splendor of the Church.

Do you want to know more about the Pink Sisters? Do you want to contact them? Please visit my post More on Pink Sisters' Convent in Tagaytay for more information.

Margie Juico Lied - Demolition Job Backfired

The Senate hearing this day just revealed the truth about the accusations against some Catholic bishops regarding the donations given to them by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). The Senate hearing revealed that Margarita Juico of the PCSO lied about the "Pajero scandal" because no Pajero was given to the bishops. What was given instead are vehicles that are suitable for the rough terrain where the dioceses are located.

In the Senate hearing, Juico stated that she never said that Pajero was given to the bishops. What a lie. A video, which was grabbed from the news show 24 Oras, showed that Juico did mention Pajero.

Aside from the "Pajero" accusation, the Church-haters also claimed that the donated-vehicles were used by bishops for their "luxury." This is another lie. The vehicles were used for the charity efforts of the dioceses that received the said vehicles. The vehicles were used to help the Filipino people, especially in those places that are ignored by the national government.
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This is not a pajero

The photo above shows an instance when the donated vehicles was used. The vehicle is obviously not a Pajero and was donated to the diocese of Archbishop Quevedo. The vehicle was used to help the families affected by the flooding of a river in Cotabato. Drinking water and other goods were delivered to affected families regardless of their religious affiliation.

It is sad that Bishops were attacked by smear campaign because of their desire to help the people in their diocese. Charity is one of the important teachings of the Church and many of these bishops can't help but to seek help for the sake of the needy within the jurisdiction of their diocese. Is it wrong to ask for help from the PCSO? If the government just did its job then there is no need for the bishops to ask the help of PCSO. Yet the government is inefficient and the bishops can't bear to see people suffering.

What is the motive behind the demolition jobs against the Church? Is it because the Church stands in the way of the RH Bill? It is not farfetched to think that this is part of the RH Bill agenda because the people who are at the fore maligning the bishops in the mainstream media and in the Internet are same people who are pushing for the RH Bill. It is not farfetched to think that these people will do another smear campaign against the bishops because they attempt to neutralize the Church in the fight against the RH Bill.

The bishops returned the donated vehicles back to the PCSO. Now that the PCSO have the vehicles back, let Margie Juico and her ilk do the charitable activities that being done by the bishops for the sake of the poor. Let them do those things alone because they don't want the help of the Church.

Corpus Christi Homily of Pope Benedict XVI

Corpus Christi


Dear brothers and sisters!

The feast of Corpus Domini is inseparable from the Holy Thursday Mass of Caena Domini, in which the institution of the Eucharist is also celebrated. While on the evening of Holy Thursday we relive the mystery of Christ who offers himself to us in the bread broken and wine poured out, today, in celebration of Corpus Domini, this same mystery is proposed for the adoration and meditation of God's people, and the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession through the streets of towns and villages, to show that the risen Christ walks among us and guides us toward the kingdom of heaven. Today we openly manifest what Jesus has given us in the intimacy of the Last Supper, because the love of Christ is not confined to the few, but is intended for all. This year during the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper on Holy Thursday, I pointed out that the Eucharist is the transformation of the gifts of this land -- the bread and wine -- intended to transform our lives and usher in the transformation of the world. Tonight I would like to return to this point of view.

Everything starts, you might say, from the heart of Christ, who at the Last Supper on the eve of his passion, thanked and praised God and, in doing so, with the power of his love transformed the meaning of death, which he was about to encounter. The fact that the sacrament of the altar has taken on the name "Eucharist," "thanksgiving," expresses this: that the change in the substance of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is the fruit of the gift that Christ made of himself, a gift of a love stronger than death, divine love that brought him to rise from the dead. That is why the Eucharist is the food of eternal life, the Bread of life. From the heart of Christ, from his "Eucharistic Prayer" on the eve of his passion, flows the dynamism that transforms reality in its cosmic, human and historical dimensions. All proceeds from God, from the omnipotence of his love One and Triune, incarnate in Jesus. The heart of Christ is immersed in this love; because of this he knows how to thank and praise God even in the face of betrayal and violence, and thus changes things, people and the world.

This transformation is possible thanks to a communion stronger than division, the communion of God himself. The word "communion," which we use to designate the Eucharist, sums up the vertical and horizontal dimension of the gift of Christ. The beautiful and eloquent expression "receive communion" refers to the act of eating the bread of the Eucharist. In fact, when we carry out this act, we enter into communion with the very life of Jesus, in the dynamism of this life that is given to us and for us. From God, through Jesus, to us: a unique communion is transmitted in the Holy Eucharist. We have heard as much, in the second reading, from the words of the Apostle Paul to the Christians of Corinth: "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ"(1 Corinthians 10:16-17).

St. Augustine helps us to understand the dynamics of holy Communion when referring to a kind of vision he had, in which Jesus said to him: "I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me"(Confessions, VII, 10, 18). Therefore, while the bodily food is assimilated by the body and contributes to sustain it, the Eucharist is a different bread: We do not assimilate it, but it assimilates us to itself, so that we become conformed to Jesus Christ and members of his body, one with him. This is a decisive passage. Indeed, precisely because it is Christ who, in Eucharistic communion, transforms us into him, our individuality, in this encounter, is opened up, freed from its self-centeredness and placed in the Person of Jesus, who in turn is immersed in the Trinitarian communion. Thus, while the Eucharist unites us to Christ, we open ourselves to others making us members one of another: We are no longer divided, but one thing in him. Eucharistic communion unites me to the person next to me, and to the one with whom perhaps I might not even have a good relationship, but also to my brothers and sisters who are far away, in every corner of the world. Thus the deep sense of social presence of the Church is derived from the Eucharist, as evidenced by the great social saints, who have always been great Eucharistic souls. Those who recognize Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, recognize their brother who suffers, who is hungry and thirsty, who is a stranger, naked, sick, imprisoned, and they are attentive to every person, committing themselves, in a concrete way, to those who are in need.

So from the gift of Christ's love comes our special responsibility as Christians in building a cohesive, just and fraternal society. Especially in our time when globalization makes us increasingly dependent upon each other, Christianity can and must ensure that this unity will not be built without God, without true Love. This would give way to confusion and individualism, the oppression of some against others. The Gospel has always aimed at the unity of the human family, a unity not imposed from above, or by ideological or economic interests, but from a sense of responsibility toward each other, because we identify ourselves as members of the same body, the body of Christ, because we have learned and continually learn from the Sacrament of the Altar that communion, love is the path of true justice.

Let us return to Jesus' act in the Last Supper. What happened at that moment? When he said: This is my body which is given to you, this is my blood shed for you and for the multitude, what happened? Jesus in that gesture anticipates the event of Calvary. He accepts his passion out of love, with its trial and its violence, even to death on the cross; by accepting it in this way he transforms it into an act of giving. This is the transformation that the world needs most, because he redeems it from within, he opens it up to the kingdom of heaven. But God always wants to accomplish this renewal of the world through the same path followed by Christ, indeed, the path that is himself. There is nothing magic in Christianity. There are no shortcuts, but everything passes through the patient and humble logic of the grain of wheat that is broken to give life, the logic of faith that moves mountains with the gentle power of God. This is why God wants to continue to renew humanity, history and the cosmos through this chain of transformations, of which the Eucharist is the sacrament. Through the consecrated bread and wine, in which his Body and Blood is truly present, Christ transforms us, assimilating us in him: He involves us in his redeeming work, enabling us, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to live according to his same logic of gift, like grains of wheat united with him and in him. Thus unity and peace, which are the goal for which we strive, are sown and mature in the furrows of history, according to God's plan.

Without illusions, without ideological utopias, we walk the streets of the world, bringing within us the Body of the Lord, like the Virgin Mary in the mystery of the Visitation. With the humble awareness that we are simple grains of wheat, we cherish the firm conviction that the love of God, incarnate in Christ, is stronger than evil, violence and death. We know that God is preparing for all people new heavens and new earth where peace and justice prevail -- and by faith we glimpse the new world, that is our true home. Also this evening as the sun sets on our beloved city of Rome, we set out again on this path: With us is Jesus in the Eucharist, the Risen One, who said, "I am with you always, until the end of world "(Mt 28:20). Thank you, Lord Jesus! Thank you for your fidelity, which sustains our hope. Stay with us, because the evening comes. "Jesus, good shepherd and true bread, have mercy on us; feed us and guard us. Grant that we find happiness in the land of the living." Amen.
 
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Image obtained from Arzobispado de Corriente. Homily was copied from Zenit.

Thank You Saint Josemaria Escriva

June 26, 2011 - Today is the feast day of one of my most loved Catholic saints. He is Saint Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. I "met" Saint Josemaria Escriva during my fourth year in college when a friend "introduced" me to him. However, during that time, I am not interested to anything related to my Catholic Faith and so I ignored Saint Josemaria and Opus Dei. Now, I think that God is reaching out for me through Saint Josemaria during those times because I felt so depressed with so many things that were happening to me. Everything is gloom and doom for me back then even though God continue in blessing me with favorable grades in academics thus allowing me to graduate one semester in advance. Also, God instantly gave me a job that is good enough for a fresh graduate like me. My family is complete and we are on the brink of escaping financial difficulties. God gave me all those blessings, yet I still felt depressed.

We human beings can say to God that we surrender and give ourselves to depression. But God is different and He never surrenders because He wanted us to be with Him. Because God can't "go" to me directly, He chose another path and sent Saint Josemaria to my agnostic brother. Through Saint Josemaria, God transformed my brother, God transformed me, and God transformed my family.

That is the reason why I honor Saint Josemaria because through him I appreciated my Catholic Faith more. Saint Josemaria made me open my heart to God.

I know that Saint Josemaria Escriva is continually praying for me and my family. Thank you Josemaria Escriva. May God continue working through you and may more be converted through your prayers and works of Opus Dei.

So, for those who are seeking for help from God, let me share you this Prayer to Saint Josemaria Escriva.
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Prayer to Saint Josemaria Escriva

O God, through the mediation of Mary our Mother, you granted your priest St. Josemaría countless graces, choosing him as a most faithful instrument to found Opus Dei, a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian's ordinary duties. Grant that I too may learn to turn all the circumstances and events of my life into occasions of loving You and serving the Church, the Pope and all souls with joy and simplicity, lighting up the pathways of this earth with faith and love. Deign to grant me, through the intercession of St. Josemaría, the favor of ... (make your request). Amen.

Please pray one Our Father. one Hail Mary. and one Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

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Michael Voris in Manila!

"The Church is in its low point today as heresies and dissenters rock it at every corner of the world."

This is my thoughts nowadays as I learn more about the Church that I chose to live and die for. The Church is bleeding because of the people, inside and outside of it that aim to destroy and lead the flock astray.

I found out that I am not the only person who had these thoughts. Many Catholics realized the crisis that the Church is in and many of them are speaking boldly and fearlessly. One of those Catholics is Michael Voris of Real Catholic TV.

It is my brother who introduced me to Michael Voris' videos in YouTube. I like how he fearlessly expose and explain the issues that beset the Catholic Church. He never minces his words and he never afraid to comment against anyone, be it a bishop, errant priests, big bosses of abortion clinics, American politicians and even the president of USA. His bravery and uncompromising stand for the Truth enticed me to attend his talk at Christ the King Parish in White Plains, Quezon City. The topic of his talk is about dissidents and how to deal with them.
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Michael Voris

According to Michael Voris, the current crisis of the Church started in mid-19th Century inside Lutheran universities in Germany. Scholars inside those universities questioned the contents of the Bible. They mutilated each verse and placed literal meaning on each verse. An example is the multiplication of bread and fish. Those Lutheran scholars explained away that miracle. They said that Jesus did not miraculously multiplied the bread and fish but the people just pulled those from their pockets and shared them with each other. These academes do not believe in miracles and in effect disbelieve Jesus Christ.
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Thrilla in Manila. Michael Voris' visit in Manila.

In the following years, the studies made in Lutheran universities began to circulate on magazines, periodicals and newspapers. Eventually, these heretical ideas began to be implanted into the minds of the priests, who also began to question the Bible, the Faith and the Church. The dissent became so great that the First Vatican Council was convened. In this council, the doctrine of Papal Infallibility was officially laid out. The authority of the Pope was re-stressed and many bishops resented this. The Franco-Prussian War suddenly broke out that's why the First Vatican Council was cut short. Attempts to reconvene the council failed as the First then the Second World Wars broke out. The sudden interruption of the First Vatican Council served as a vacuum and heretical teachings seeped in the Church. Power hungry people found this as the best opportunity to gain power inside the Church. That's why when the Second Vatican Council convened, all the dissent broke out. Bishops pitted themselves against the Pope. After the Second Vatican Council, the dissension of bishops became more public. This became the start of abandonment of Church traditions and genuine Catholic teachings. Heretic teachings broke out all over the Catholic Church. Liberal theology, abortion scandal, support for contraception and the continuous abandonment of the Faith became the order of the day.

According to Michael Voris, the sorry state of the Church is due to the bishops who are afraid to proclaim the Gospel and those bishops who abandoned the Faith. Bishops ignoring the heresies and crimes in the dioceses under their care are destroying the Church and compromises the souls of many people.



Michael Voris ended his talk by exhorting the laity to be firm on their Faith and serve as the forces to turn the tide against the forces of evil. He tells the laity to be immersed in the Faith and study it with great devotion so that we will be prepared when opportunity demands us to defend, explain and broadcast the Faith. Being an aware Catholic nowadays is an evidence of enormous grace that God poured on those Catholics. God had given the truth freely and it is our responsibility to share the truth freely.

I admire Michael Voris more after listening to his talk. He delivered his message clearly and directly. He inspired me to share the truth and here I am, sharing the truth freely.

Follow Michael Voris in Real Catholic TV.

Kudos to Pro Life Philippines for letting Filipinos listen to Michael Voris and Jason Evert in a series of talks and seminar, for the celebration of Pro-life Month last February.

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Let us Offer Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict XVI

Dear friends, especially to all of my Catholic brethren, may I ask a great favor from you. May I ask that you offer a spiritual bouquet for the Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI.

Considering the great cares of the Holy Father for being the leader of the Catholic Church, I am sure that he need all the prayers of the Catholic faithful to keep him strong and guard him from his enemies.
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I remember the time when the Pope was attacked left and right when his words, in a interview book, was twisted to suit the stand of the secular media, with vested interests, regarding the use of condoms. I remember how the Pope was insulted and used his words to sow confusion among the Christian world.

I ask you, dear brethren to offer a spiritual bouquet for him. A simple prayer will be good but there other ways or things that we could offer for our Pope's sake.

Head to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf blog and join in offering spiritual buoquets for our Pope.

The Enemy of the Lord is amassing his forces and his poised to atack. The only way to destroy his plan is to faithfully ask God for help to protect us and also the guide the Pope.

Witch Hunter Robin



In the beginning, the witches serve as God’s servants and emissary to the world. Ordinary humans, jealous and scared of their power destroyed them ---- thus initiating the many and widespread witch hunts in the world’s history. Central of these witch-hunts is Solomon, an organization within the Church that seeks to stamp out witchery and witches. That is the “idea” being perpetrated by the anime “Witch Hunter Robin,” which will make the new age believers and fans of books like the “Da Vinci Code” happy.

The anime revolves around Robin, a fifteen-year old professional witch hunter. Though she is a witch hunter, she is a Craft user herself and had a power of fire. Witch hunters endowed with the craft was not peculiar to Robin since most witch hunters in this anime were also witches being used by Solomon. She was sent from by Solomon to Japan to aid the STNJ, it Japanese branch, in its witch hunting activities. Apparently, that is only a front since her real mission is to investigate about the Ultimate Craft or the so-called “Piece of Knowledge.” In the middle of the story, she met Methuselah, the immortal witch that survived the Salem witch trial. The old witch wakened up Robin’s power before Robin consumed her with fire.

The witches in this anime is quite different from the witches in the Harry Potter series and other TV shows that say incantations and brew potions to make their power work. They are much more like the characters in the TV series “Heroes,” which could use their powers at will. The main difference with Heroes is the concept of Craft that is still central in the story.

After discovering her power, her trainer and grandfather, the priest Julianno sent well-renowned witch hunters to kill her. Her witch-hunt culminated into a revelation from the priest that she was a product of an experiment of creating an ultimate witch.

This anime ended in a showdown between Robin and the director of the STNJ. The director seeks the total annihilation of witches, including those who are craft using witch hunters. Solomon disapproved of such thing and removed the director from his post.

Witch Hunter Robin is a good anime. The story is somewhat realistic as if it is happening enigmatically in our neighborhood. This anime played upon the world’s fascination with the Catholic Church and used it in creating a secret organization of witch hunters. A well researched anime though with misleading ideas. Anyone who want to watch this anime should be cautious and do not take the story seriously.