Monday, December 31, 2012

What's to be thankful for?
(SB@B Year-ender 2012)


And just like that, 2012 is about to end!

I tagged this year (the second in a row) as the Year of Opportunities, as its days became a silent witness to  everything I underwent, giving me a new identity from being a student to being a young professional. Actually, as I write this down, I could not imagine how far did I go since day 01 of this ending year.

And indeed, everything came to pass! 2012, in one way or another, has been good to me because of these events which shaped my personality as of now. These would certainly be the reasons why I thank God for not ending this world for me to continue relishing his gifts.

Now, what should I thank God for? They were so many that I would just give out the significant ones. 

2012 saw me succeed in academics... AT LAST! After toasting myself over hot coals and burning my eyebrows, I graduated last March as a... simple student. No awards as I said then, but what's more important are the memories and bonding I shared with my classmates, professors and students. Five years of study and adventure would never be matched nor forgotten. Aside from that, my graduation showed me another reality, that even if I run away with my diploma or career, I would always go back to CMU where I learned everything I am doing right now.



2012 saw me move to a new family where I can be more productive as a preacher. There's always time to go forward and move on, so they say. It became more strong for me this year. From my simple devotion, Nanay paved the way for me to enter the Institute of Preaching Lay Missionaries at Santo Domingo. At first, I was aloft of continuing, since I have no idea what do they do and I don't have the guts to do it, but in the long run I met new friends, shared ideas with them, and with them are being formed into being a preacher of God's Love like Holy Father Dominic. It made me more committed to the service which I give to the Church.




Along with my entrance to IPLM, 2012 also saw me go inside the radio booth. Oh yes, this is one of the highlights of the year, when I was given the surprise chance of visiting Our Lady of Manaoag and hosting a radio show there. At first, I really felt scared that I would not be good enough like co-preachers who are doing this for quite some time, but in the long run, it made me discover that I could be more than what I knew I am. I really never saw myself doing this, but God's will prevailed after all.




Of course, 2012 saw me have my first job. NeungYule is a blessing for me, rather than a job. Though far from my place, I always consider going to work to continue living my goal of sharing a piece of me with everyone else, be they my Filipino co-employees or my Korean students. It is also now that I realize how great my family needs me, and I always say that I'm proud of being here in this center, while waiting for the fulfillment of my dreams.

2012 also gave me the chance to enjoy life as a youth. It was a big decision for me to give up Magnificat Choirsters - my last committment in my parish - for Mukha AD, a youth group of the Dominican Student-brothers. For me, it was a big slap not only for them but for me who served there for almost a decade. But the MAD experiences that I would have would tell me that I made the good decision after all. Mukha AD for me is more than a group; it is my family and barkada, rolled into one Sunday afternoon habit. It made me realize that I would never be a grown-up unless I enjoy and relish the young life as God's child.

2012 saw me guarding the Queen. Another highlight of this year happened during the LN Festivities, when I was given the rare chance of being a Guardia de Honor of Our Lady of La Naval. It gave me deep chills, to the point that I kept on telling myself that I am super unworthy. But Nanay and Kuya was so good to me that they let me walk with them during the procession to see how the devotees love her as much as I do. It's a great honor for me to become her Guardia, and I would always be as a thanksgiving for all the graces God gave me. 






2012 took me to places where I didn't even think I would visit. Not only was I given a chance to visit Manaoag on a frequent basis, but also my feet took me to other places I never thought of visiting. One good example of that was Cavite City for the Fiesta of Our Lady of Solitude of Porta Vaga, where I saw how immense is the Caviteños' love for their Queen. Also included here was my return to the Cubao Cathedral to venerate the Relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. And let me add here the chance to be a part of the catechetical Video of Cardinal Tagle in relation to the Translation of the Roman Missal, and the chance of attending the Mass in its Extraordinary Form at Holy Family Parish, which, on its own, was a point of discovery for me when it comes to true appreciation of the Sacred. Well, there were lots more...




These, and a lot more, are more than enough reasons to thank God for this wonderful year. My life this year was indeed a great transformation from a student to a professional, from a devotee to a Guardia, from a host to a radio announcer. This year is a proof that God's will prevails over all, and that His providence is more than what I ever saw myself at the beginning of this year. Like, hindi ko talaga inaasahan ang lahat ng ito!

I entered this year as a simple graduating student.

After twelve months, I will end it as an online teacher-slash-radio announcer-slash-Mukha Ader-slash-Giliw-slash-Guardia de Honor.

Truly, I can say that this year had been a YEAR OF OPPORTUNITIES, not only for me but for everyone I met and had been a part of my life. The people I met, I places I went, everyone and everything will always be a part of a truly memorable and colorful year that was 2012.

For all these, I say, 

SALAMAT SA DIYOS! 
SALAMAT MARIA! 
Salamat rin po sa inyong lahat!


TIWALA LANG SA 2013! ^^


Saturday, December 22, 2012

U-Speak Trip.......

Though battered by a heavy cold for two weeks, I was still able to host a very nice presentation of U-Speak at Manaoag Shrine  last Saturday. I can't tell the story in full detail as of this time, and yet as I did before, I will let the pictures speak from themselves. Here are some shots...

The first thing I saw upon arriving at the church on a super-early Saturday morning was  the Star...

The star is made of fiberglass and was lit by four fluorescent lamps. It has the effect of being suspended in the air, giving it a more dramatic impression to the onlooker - including me.

One of the things I did on my recent visit was to take a trek inside the Rosary Garden.  It is so magnificent, and has a very conducive environment for praying.  Perhaps when I come back next year, I will provide shots of each of the mysteries.

My air time. This is my last time to visit the Shrine and host U-Speak, perhaps for this year.

In the evening, the Nativity Scene was all set-up for the start of the Missa de Gallo at the Shrine.

The Lady's Shrine all prepped-up for the Christmas Season. This was the most magnificent look of the  Shrine I ever seen yet! Truly, Christmas is already in the air.

The Lady of the Beads. I regret that I did not heed to her call of hosting the program last December 08 because of my busy schedule. Because of that, I suffered from intense cold. Miraculously, it was lost in a few days after the visit. Well, kung si Nanay na ang tumawag, wag nang tumanggi. Sagutin na siya, dalawin na siya, paglingkuran na siya at ang kanyang Anak!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

VIVA LA VIRGEN DE VIVOS!!!!

We have seen enough. 

We now know the intentions of these greedy people, to desecrate and trample the human life. From the rampant bribery, to the "private meetings" at the Palace, from the highest official of the land to the big fat promoter, all of them are wishing that the victory would be theirs today.


 12-12-12, the last time that our generation will see a recurring number on the calendar. Something special about this day is that today is the feast of The Virgin of Guadalupe, protector and guardian of human life. Is it a coincidence that their voting will take place this day?

 

We pray that every official who would have a say on this bill from hell will give a definite halt to it. May Our Lady of Guadalupe guide the minds of out legislators towards the true respect of life: through discipline and not through abortifascients

 This 12-12-12, Our battle cry will always stay the same; it will never change...

NO TO RH BILL!
RESPECT THE DIGNITY OF HUMAN LIFE IN THE PHILIPPINES AND THE WORLD!
VIVA LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE!!!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

THE HOBBIT for The Habit of Giving

From the writer of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy comes an unexpected journey...

 

And with this journey, everyone is invited to share something this Christmas.

The Dominican Studentate invites you to a special screening of The Hobbit on December 13, 2012, 7:00PM at SM City North Edsa Cinema 10.  

Tickets are available at Php500.00, inclusive of a free T-Shirt (which actually looks cool) and free picture taking at the photobooth. You can also write your prayer intentions at the back of each ticket for the brothers to pray for.

The proceeds of the special screening of The Hobbit will be used for the programs of the Dominican Student-Brothers.  

For more details, contact the Dominican Studentate at the information below: 



Monday, November 26, 2012

Bring the Holy in the King to all!

After seven years of celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King in my parish in Navotas, this year Divine Providence led me somewhere far for me to experience first-hand the wonder of his Kingship which is beyond time and space. 

After the early Mukha AD session at Santo Domingo, I traveled a few kilometers south to the City of Pasay, to the Parish of Santa Clara de Montefalco, to celebrate yesterday's Solemnity. I was accompanied by Carlo (who was also inviting me to various events in and out of the metro since way back) since this was his home parish. I felt such excitement that I hesitated to come at first, fearing that everything would turn otherwise. 

But I was absolutely wrong. As the events unfolded, God manifested ever again his greatness over the people he loves.

Upon arriving at the Parish, I was mesmerized by its little yet classic look. This parish community was erected in 1863, in honor of Saint Clare of Montefalco, OSA, who was known for the images of Christ's passion embedded in her heart. Like Saint Clare, this little parish community strives to have Christ embedded deeply in their hearts through active participation in the Liturgy and other parochial activities.

This I saw first-hand during the procession in honor of Christ the King, in which the Blessed Sacrament was solemnly taken in procession. One can see the fervent devotion of the parishioners in the recitation of the prayers and singing of chants. Everyone, from the oldest Apostolada to the youngest of the acolytes walked in reverence for the Eucharistic King.  

However, this was not the case for the on-lookers. Wearing basketball jerseys with caps on, others without any shirt at all, they just looked at the procession as if there was a parade of a basketball league. They would see familiar faces walking in the procession, and yet that's all they were looking on for.  Sad as it may seem, this royal and sacred procession means nothing to most of them. 

===

Do you notice something wrong in this picture?
This view is not new to me, being an acolyte for a good few years. People wearing mini-skirts and sandos for Mass, doing simbang-tabi instead of participating in the Liturgy, looking at the priest as he delivers his same old homily. This is the dark reality of our society nowadays: most of us are already losing the sense of sacredness in the Blessed Eucharist.

This even extends to the existence of the Church itself, and God himself. We are still blessed to have and possess this deep reverence for God in everything we do. A lot of us still pray and do penance for our sins, but gradually this turns into a show-off rather than a real appreciation of God's presence in our lives. In Filipino, we usually say, Sa loob ng simbahan, kilos-anghel; sa labas, astang-demonyo. We forget the call to be Christ's disciples once we step out of the House of God. So sad isn't it?

Of this, Pope Pius XII of blessed memory have once said, “The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin”. We usually think that it's OK with God even if we sin a number of times without confessing them to Him through the priest. On the other hand, we think it's alright if we just keep on doing the same old sins because there's always chance for confession.

In short, the world does not know Christ anymore. He reigns as King of the Universe, yet his people doesn't know him anymore - or a significant number perhaps. We think that everything we do is alright with Him, including our numerous sins and negligence. Without knowing how grave the consequences would be, we just continue to live a disgraceful life.

This led me to a deep realization: WE MUST BRING BACK THE HOLINESS TO OUR PEOPLE! As subjects of Christ the King, it is our prime duty and responsibility (A royal term) to lead other people to him. It is our prior job to bring the good news to all, especially for us who are illumined by God's grace in the faith. We know what we are doing, and so we must be the first to bring Christ to others and bring others to Christ!

But before we could do all these, we should first examine ourselves if we could be agents of change for these people who need to know Christ badly. We cannot change the world unless we start with ourselves. More than anyone else, we are the epitome of Christ's love for all. If we do not love ourselves nor change our lives for Christ, then we cannot do anything to bring our neighbor to Jesus.

===

Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
[Isaiah 41,10]

As our King, Jesus always stays there, guiding us along the way of life. This became true when we adored the Blessed Sacrament after the procession. After reciting Vespers, I just looked at the Lord and presented my weak and frail self to him. In front of his sacred majesty, I am nothing but his subject. In everything I'm experiencing right now, it's so consoling to see that his grace is ever-flowing from the Sacrament of the Eucharist which he himself instituted. He lights up my life, and provides the guidance I need to fulfill the challenges of life.

Despite all that I have and everything I had undergone, I always shout to the top of my lungs... JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER!
 
On that point, I saw the need to bring Christ all the more to myself, in prayer and humility. By this, I could bring Christ to others. He himself gives me the chance to know him more. As King, he shows himself in all grace and providence. He remains in me in the Eucharist, and strengthens me continuously through encounters with his Word. He guides me on the way to go so that I could change myself into his image - into his face.

With all these, and with faith and confidence to His Divine Will, I know that I could bring the Holy in the King to all.

The Monstrance in the Adoration Chapel of the Parish is illumined at the back by a spotlight. This mysterious picture of the illumined Sacred Body of the Lord was taken personally by yours truly. No editing was applied to this.
==

Monday, November 19, 2012

Balancing the Wheel...

As you may know, the Institute of Preaching Lay Missionaries is a group of laity who strive to imbibe the Dominican Way of Life through giving retreats, recollections, and other Evangelization programs, such as U-Speak. As our motto says of it, we commit ourselves to a preaching life. And commitment is really a hard task unless done with a willing heart and a keen intellect, like Our Holy Father Dominic.

In our IPLM Formation yesterday, Bro. Jayson Gonzales, OP, a Dominican Friar and good friend of mine,  introduced to us the Four Pillars of the Dominican Life. As we do our best to be preachers in our own way, we are taught that this is not only the important thing in a preacher's life. More than anything else, he highlighted the prime importance of balancing these four key factors of living the life of a preacher: (I would explain it the way I understood the speaker)

> Prayer. In the Order, there are two essential branches related to this, Prayer Alone which is necessary for the spiritual growth of a Dominican, and also as a preparation for the Common Liturgical Prayer or the scheduled prayer life of the whole community.

> Study. We cannot preach what we don't know. Overwhelmingly, the brothers immerse themselves to study so that they could be capable enough of preaching God's Word and the Magisterium to all. Some see them as bookish or suplado because of their busy study habits, but this has a good effect on them because study helps them become equipped for their future life as preachers.

> Community. With the Rule of Saint Augustine as their binding force, the Dominicans are called to be of one mind and one heart in God, which is the end for which you are gathered here. The brothers come from different parts of the Archipelago, including the mission areas, meaning they have different backgrounds and attitudes. Despite that, they are called to be one, not only in intellect, but also in will; they are molded to understand each other and be a brother to one another. Anyway, this is their first apostolate, their breeding ground for them to be able to go out and reach everyone in need of the Gospel. Community in this sense also means taking nothing for oneself, but sharing everything with everybody.

> Apostolate. This now enters the field of which they are sent to proclaim the Good News to all. The brothers have their own specific tasks, each having their own specialty, one for the Youth (Mukha AD), for Justice and Peace and Care for Creation (Kadaupan), Mission (PST)  and Theological Reflection applied to the religious and cultural, social, economic, labor and political, technological and scientific situations of the Philippines and Asia (what org is that?) 

Actually, looking at this, I realized that a Preacher's Life is somebody which is really amazing! How can they really balance their time doing all these things? Everyone who goes to Santo Domingo for Sunday Mass just looks at the Priest delivering the Homily or the Friar giving Holy Communion as somebody wearing a white habit so that they could be able to do their own tasks. But realizing this, and knowing some of them personally, they are really no small-time people. All for God, they dedicate their lives, leaving the world behind and proclaiming to everyone the Good News of Salvation - something which is not a joke.

Now, as members of the IPLM, we are asked to examine ourselves if we are balanced with these four pillars. Using a Balance Wheel, we are tasked to gauge the level of attainment of each of the four pillars. I was not actually able to do such because that was merely for the aspirants, but I also reflected on this. I want to share with you my findings:

> 80% Prayer. For me, prayer encompasses everything. For me to know more, I should ask God for more discernment, knowledge and strength. I usually pray alone especially when I'm on the go, but I grab the chance of being with the Brothers every Saturday night for Vespers, and with my fellow Mukha ADers for Sunday Mass. 

> 55% Study. Tamad akong mag-aral; my professors in College would attest to this. It was only during the latter years of my college life, especially after I got the super low grades that I realized how much time I wasted. This could also be the reason why I'm not yet prepared for the Licensure exams. Yet I open myself to new learning opportunities so that I could give what I have.

> 70% Community. I remember one lesson in our book which I teach at NeungYule: Communities help and care for one another. I know I'm still struggling to be in good terms with some of my co-workers and friends because of conflict of interest, same thing with some of my brother and sisters, but looking at the bright side, there are still a good few who are there to listen to me. We can never please everybody, yet being with one another is so much fun.

> 75% Apostolate. Being a member of IPLM and Mukha AD, managing a reflection blog and a Marian fanpage, these are the avenues which God gave for me to be able to be of service to his people. I brag and become authoritative at times, and I know there is still a lot to learn when it comes to being a servant of all.

Reflecting on this, I see that I still have a lot to do. To be good in anything, I should manage my time and balance things up. This is my problem ever since, because I am not good in giving priorities or managing time. I'm still asking God's grace to be good at this, yet all it takes is much discipline. Besides, something is not done in just one sitting; it is perfected through time. 

It all takes discipline and determination; add their faith in God, perhaps that is the secret of a Dominican towards balancing these four pillars. An imbalance brings destruction to a structure, likewise, lack of discipline brings crises to a preacher. This is considered the backbone of the Dominican Way of Life, and this is the way they are calling us to live on. 

Can we do it? This is the challenge. We know Our Holy Father Dominic will always be there to help us strive in doing what is good and necessary. We commit ourselves, and so we can expect so much help from him who started it all. And above it all, Emmanuel - God is with us!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Tiwala Lang... MAY AWA ANG VIRGEN!

Nuestra Señora de Soledad de Porta Vaga
Celestial Guardiana de la Provincia de Cavite y su Puerto, Luz de Filipinas
And yes, that was our battlecry when we visited Cavite City last November 11, 2012. We lacked finances (it was a miracle actually that we were able to make it to Cavite despite the super low budget), yet we still pushed through with our surprise plan, to visit for the first time this particular image of Our Lady which bears the title Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga.

This image of the Holy Virgin is considered as the  Celestial Guardiana de la Provincia de Cavite y su Puerto. She is, actually, the patroness of the Province and City of Cavite, and the love that the Caviteños have for her is far beyond what I expected. In fact, visiting her Shrine in Cavite made us feel like we're at the Intramuros of the Spanish days.

According to legendary accounts, Our Lady once appeared to a Spanish sentinel on-guard at a certain garita at the end of the sentry point of the Isthmus of Rosario in Cavite. It was a dark, stormy night when all of a sudden, a dazzling light appeared on the sea. The sentinel, fearing that the pirates are coming called on the mysterious thing to stop. It did not follow and continued coming nearer. The following dialogue became the start of a burning devotion for the Mother of God at this side of Luzon...

"¿Quién vive?" (Sino iyan?)

"Soldadito, ¿por qué el alto me das en noche tan fría? Dame paso. ¿No conoces a Maria?" (Batang Sundalo, Bakit mo ako hinahamon sa gabing kay lamig? Paraanin mo ako. Hindi mo ba nakikilala si Maria?)

"Perdóname, Virgen Maria, Reina de mi devoción; pues solo soy un soldado que cumplo mi obligación!"
(Patawarin mo ako, oh aking Virgen, Reyna ng aking puso; ako lamang po ay isang sundalong tumatalima sa kanyang tungkulin.)

There were lots of accounts of miracles, graces and other good favors which came through this holy image of the Mother of God who was contemplating on the passion and death of her dear Son (represented by the crown of thorns and the nails). As she calls her children to reflect on the redemptive work of Jesus, she also intercedes for us in all our needs. This shows the reality that Mary prays to her Son for our petitions in life, and we ask her to do the same for us.

This is true for the Caviteños who were ever-faithful to their devotion to Mary. Their procession which we attended that evening is not actually a parade of glam and social uprising; rather it is their testimony of how great this dear Mother and Queen became true to her word of protecting the province of Cavite - and the Phillipines at large - and leading all Filipinos to her Son who suffered, died yet risen for all of us.

This proves that Mary is always there for us throughout the struggles of life. From La Naval to Porta Vaga, she always shows us her motherly care and protection. I would always say that through La Naval de Manila, Mary reminds us to call upon her and invoke her intercession through the Rosary. Now, through Soledad de Porta Vaga, she is calling us to join her sorrow in the silence of our hearts, as we draw closer to the glory of Christ's resurrection.

We are truly blessed to be called Pueblo Amante de Maria - Bayang Nagmamahal kay Maria. We are the epitome of a nation kissed by Mary's loving lips. She inspires us to be more like her, caring for one another and leading them towards God. Let us never fail our Mother; nor leave her alone.

Ang Original na Ymajen ng
NUESTRA SEÑORA DE SOLEDAD DE PORTA VAGA
Reina at Patrona ng Provincia at Ciudad ng Cavite
Luz ng Filipinas

VIVA LA REINA DE CAVITE!!!
VIVA LA LUZ DE FILIPINAS!!!
VIVA LA VIRGEN!!!



You may also want to read my recent La Naval experience:  
http://sirbitz.blogspot.com/2012/09/reaching-skies-with-nanay.html

Thursday, November 15, 2012

There goes my LOLA...

This is the rest she wanted all along:  being with her Creator whom she believed and trusted to all her life.


Last November 9, our dear Lola Pilang left this land of exile to join her whole family towards life eternal. Sad as it may seem, I know deep inside my heart that she had 88 years of a well-spent life, full of blessings and graces.

She, for us, is an example of a simple and humble servant who, instead of thinking of her worth, decided to take care of her own kin. She died a virgin, and I know she's proud of it. We were all her kids, for she showered upon us her motherly love and care. Adding that to her unwavering faith in God, that makes her life so inspiring for each of us.

For that, she will be SURELY missed. I'm proud to have a lola like her.
+
RIP
PELAGIA Pilang PANGANIBAN
1924 - 2012


Thursday, November 01, 2012

FORETHOUGHT #1: Holiness, not Self-righteousness!

FORETHOUGHT: What can Apologetics do if you are not really disposed?

You see me lately as a critic of something which, I think, is more of self-righteousness rather than fraternal correction. It's very nice to see a few good people defend what they believe in, especially now that the world needs them to defend God's majesty over the reigns of secularization.

But hey! You may have the knowledge, you may know every single word or punctuation mark of every verse in the Bible or Sacred Tradition which sheds the truth behind what we do, BUT DO WE REALLY UNDERSTAND IT BY LIVING A HOLY AND FAITHFUL LIFE? 

Let's face it. We can say that we are eloquent in giving out rants or criticisms, we can even be proud that we defended the faith which led to a conversion of a blinded sheep. But are we able to see ourselves fully in what we do - not just by words but more importantly by action?

The Saints are truly a manifestation of this. While they defended the faith against the many heresies of their time, they were still humble and kept a low stature, knowing that they are nothing but God's instruments of love and truth. They do not take pride, nor do they show lots and lots of achievements just to say they are "HOLY."

Rather, they stayed as they are, simple and true to their commitment of bringing Jesus to those who do not know him. Their example is easy to read, but hard to do. 

While everyone just keeps on zealously crashing the dignity of others because of their errors, we pray that we would still stand as one Church undivided, pure yet poor in spirit, that the Kingdom of God may be ours, like the Saints.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Committed.

Being a preacher means opening yourself to the challenges of the world, proclaiming Christ even if everyone ridicules you.

Relics and all could help, BUT WHAT ARE RELICS IF YOU DO NOT LIVE THEIR BLESSED LIVES?
You can be a Liturgy Nazi, BUT WHAT'S THE PURPOSE IF YOU DO NOT FEEL CHRIST IN THE SACRAMENT, AND JUST KEEP ON BASHING THE ERRORS OF OTHERS?

Witnessing, my dear friends. I think, this is the best way of bringing Christ's love to others. You can never tell everyone what you have never experienced. You can never show Jesus if you don't don't have Jesus in you.


I remember a friend - a Born Again Christian - who became a close friend of mine since he worked at the company. We go out together after work until he leaves at North EDSA. Yes, he has questions regarding the faith and I dared answer them, not through the verses, but through my experience as a Catholic coupled by the Doctrine of the Church. He listened nevertheless, as we shared our ideas of being Christians in the world and not of the world.

I'm not good in Apologetics, nor am I well-versed in the passages, and - let's face it - so do many of us. But how can we show Christ at that? 

YOUR LIFE. 

Commit yourself to a preaching life!



Friday, October 26, 2012

I think it will not be much if I dare say this to the people who tend to generalize the faults of a few.


Please. Respect our Pastors.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Habemus Cardinalem!

A year after he was named Archbishop of Manila - the de facto Primate of the Philippines, and just three days after the Canonization of Saint Pedro Calungsod, the Holy Mother Church, through the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, has yet given us another gift, a reason to celebrate and declare, 
Dominus Est! It is the Lord!



"And now, with great pleasure, I announce that on November 24th, I will hold a Consistory in which I will appoint six new members of the College of Cardinals. The Cardinals have the task of helping the Successor of Peter in the performance of his ministry of confirming the brethren in the faith, and the principle and foundation of unity and communion of the Church.

Here are the names of the new cardinals:

Msgr. JAMES MICHAEL HARVEY, Prefect of the Prefecture of the Papal Household. 
Beatitude BÉCHARA BOUTROS RAÏ, Maronite Patriarch, (Lebanon).
Beatitude BASELIOS CLEEMIS THOTTUNKAL, major Archbishop of the Trivandrum of the Siro-Malankaresi in India. 
Msgr. JOHN OLORUNFEMI ONAIYEKAN, Archbishop of di Abuj (Nigeria)
Msgr. RUBÉN SALAZAR GÓMEZ, Archbishop of Bogotá (Colombia)
Msgr. LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE, Archbishop of Manila (Philippines).

The New Cardinals, as you've just heard, exercise their ministry in the service of the Holy See or as priests and pastors of particular Churches in various parts of the world.

I invite everyone to pray for the newly elected, asking the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that they will always love with courage and dedication Christ and his Church."

~ Pope  Benedict XVI



I enjoin myself to the millions of Filipinos in Manila and beyond in greeting our dear and beloved Bishop on this grace which is given to him. We continuously pray for his unwavering faith and persevering ministry for the faithful of the Archdiocese and that of the Universal Church!

Viva il Papa! 
Congratulations, Cardinal-designate Chito Tagle!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

YOUNG and HOLY!
(in honor of SAINT PEDRO CALUNGSOD)

Time really flies so quickly. Twenty-five years after the Canonization of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, the Church will now declare Blessed Pedro Calungsod as the Second Filipino Saint. An exemplar of the youth and a martyr for the faith, he is now enjoined among the white-robed army of Saints who always offer worship and praise to the Holy Triune God, interceding him for our needs and aspirations.

Though his ancestral background is unknown, we know nevertheless that Blessed Pedro was born and raised somewhere in Cebu, in the Visayas, formed to the faith by the Jesuits, and, at a young age, offered his life and ministry for the people of the Marianas. It was there that God called him to testify by his blood under the furious Matap'ang, declaring his bold and unscathed desire to dedicate his everything for the Gospel. 

As a teenager, Pedro was faced with many circumstances, he may have even saved his life from the fury of the Chamorros, but at that certain point in his life, he made a bold decision not to leave Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores; he decided to bring his young ministry to the ultimate, and for this he is rewarded with the palm of martyrdom. 

We look back at the annals of history and see that Pedro, like Lorenzo Ruiz, was also raised in the Christian faith; he was also 'driven' by the Holy Spirit to a far-off area to proclaim God's Word to people who do not know him yet. Like Lorenzo who willed to offer a thousand lives to God if ever he had it, Pedro willed that, in his young stature, he offer his life in order that Christ's salvation be more spread throughout. 

So, can we say that there is still a battle among the Tagalogs and the Visayas in Heaven? I don't think so. Some people call Pedro Calungsod as the first martyr of the Visayas, which is indeed true. As a teenage Visayan who gave up his life for God, he is truly considered as a son of the Visayan people, but also of the Tagalogs and the other ethnic groups, which form the One Philippines. He is not only invoked as a fellow Visayan, but he is also invoked as a Filipino, a Saint! 

Pedro is young, but this didn't stop him from bringing God's love to others. Despite his tender stature, he unwaveringly left his homeland to bring the glorious Cross to the natives of Marianas, knowing that he might not return anymore. He left his comfort zone to follow God's call, and in his death he received his reward. 

Pedro's example show that, young as we are, we can still live a life that is dedicated to God. In this society that is full of errors of modernity and secularism, in the midst of a people who are just concerned with personal matters, Pedro comes as a proof that we can still offer our lives for the Good News of salvation. Without hesitation, we can offer our lives for God. Without reservation, we can bring Christ to people who do not know him yet. We cannot say we are young; for all of us are called in God's opportune time. 

As for me, I continuously feel the support of my big KUYA, especially on the trying times. As my patron, I entrust to him my fate as a young professional. Adventurous as may be, I know Kuya Pedro would guide me as I proceed through the problems of my time. I know that as he unwaveringly offered his life for Christ, I too can be a living testimony of God's love to everyone around me. With his inspiration, I can also be a missionary of love to others, offering my all for the Good News. 

Now, as we celebrate the Canonization of (let me call him thus) Saint Pedro Calungsod, we are more assured that we have a companion who would continuously guide us, especially the youth, towards holiness. We are more consoled at the thought that Lorenzo would now have a partner to pray for our needs as individuals and as a Filipino nation. 

Kuya Pedro, you know how we feel, how we act, how we live as Filipinos in this land of exile. Pray for us as we continue to traverse through the journey of life. Grant us the strength that we may also be able to proclaim Christ to people around me. May we never doubt in giving our lives to you and for you. Pray for the Filipino people, especially the youth, as we ask you and Lorenzo to please watch over our nation; be our guide towards the real appreciation of God's will over ours. 




KUYA PEDRO,
our second Filipino saint, 
pray for us! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Reaching the Skies with Nanay...(A Guardia's story)

Then a student,...
2011 LN Festivities
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, La Naval de Manila. This is a splendid name for a queen who always comes to the aid of her children. I am proud to become one of the millions of people who felt the intercession of Our Lady, and continued to become at service to her. What was just a simple and unprepared visit at the start, now turned out to be a life of service and ministry for her love and affection.

Just a year ago (this is different from my very first visit in 2010), I was among the sea of spectators for the Feast of La Naval de Manila. Back then, I promised Nanay then that I will try my best to visit her more often. I began my monthly habit of visiting her during the First Sunday of the month, as a fulfillment of my vow. Not that I still feel the bitterness on my own home base, but it was a moment for me to reflect with Mary on my performance as a lay rising from the ashes.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sa Mahal kong Nanay...

November 16, 2011
SDC
Mahal kong Nanay...


Marami silang tawag sa iyo. Maraming taguring gamit. Maraming pamanhik. Gayunpaman, nais kitang tawagin sa ngalan na kung saan ako ay panatag... NANAY.

Ilang beses na akong napatawag sa iyo! Ilang pagkakataon na ring sa kabila ng kakapusan ng pera at mga biglang insidenteng nangyari, ako ay napaparito upang dalawin ka at magpasalamat. Salamat sa mga biyayang napagkaloob, salamat sa mga pagsubok na napagdaanan at napagtagumpayan! Salamat dahil sa kabila ng aking kamalian at pagsuway, ay nariyan ka pa rin upang ako ay gabayan at suportahan lalo na sa madidilim na sandali ng aking buhay. 

Hindi ko alam kung saan ako mapapadpad noong mga panahon na iyon. Lulong ako sa masamang pita, pabaya sa pag-aaral, at wasak na wasak ang buhay. Di ba nga, ang plano ko ay talikuran ang pag-aaral at sumubok na tumayo sa sariling paa, kahit hindi ko kaya? Malamang nga, ilang bagsak na lang ng paa ko ay mabibiyak na ang lupa upang kainin ako sa aking sariling kamatayan. Mapait, malagim, madilim.

Subalit, sa isang iglap ay nanumbalik ang lahat sa dating sigla! Pinagmamasdan ko ang aking pagbangon mula sa pagkadapa at masasabi kong hindi ko ito sariling gawa! Muli kong hinarap ang mga tinalikurang pagsubok; ngayo'y dahan-dahang naaani ko ang kaganapan ng pangarap na minsan kong tinalikuran.

Tama, Nanay. Ang aking pagkabagsak ay isang pasimula. Pasimula ng isang bagong yugto sa aking buhay. Hindi ko ito napansin noon, ngunit ngayo'y ubod ng linaw!

Sa panahon na dahan-dahan akong tumatayo, hindi ko napupuna na ako ay nasa isang paghahanda upang makilala ang isang babae na pupukaw sa aking buhay; paghahanda para sa isang sandali na magpapabago ng buhay ko. At iyon ay nangyari noong gabing iyon na, sa gitna ng dagat ng tao, sa kabila ng aking takot, ay nakilala kita. isang alamat ng aking kabataan na ngayo'y isang realidad na aking hinahawakan at tinatamasa!

O kay tamis na sandali! Sandali na nagpasimula sa IYONG YUGTO ng pag-iral sa aking buhay. Mula noon, dahan-dahang nagbago ang lahat sa akin! Dahan-dahang kinuha ang aking lumang katauhan at tinuruang muling lumapit kay Hesus sa aking munting paraan.

Ngayon, sa puntong ito na ako'y naguguluhan at nadidiliman, hindi ako nagdadalawang-isip na lumapit sa iyo. Alam mo ang mga pinagdadaanan ko, ang mga hirap at pagsubok, ang aking mga kahinaan at problema. Natatalos mo kung gaano ito kabigat at kahirap. Kahit na minsan ay ako rin ang dahilan ng lahat ng pasanin ko, alam ko na hindi ko ito pinagdadaanan kung hindi mo ibig at nais.

Nanay, patuloy mo akong ipanalangin! Patuloy mo akong tulungan! Patuloy mo akong pakinggan at suportahan sa oras ng pangangailangan! Minsan mo na akong tinulungan, alam ko na ngayon ay hindi mo ako pababayaan.

Hindi ako magsasawa sa pagpapahayag ng pagmamahal... ng papuri... at ng pasasalamat sa lahat ng iyong kaloob sa akin! Sa gabi-gabi kong mga date na kasama ka, sa mga piling araw na ako'y mapaa-iyong dambana, at sa iba't-ibang oras na akin kang naipapahayag at napaglilingkuran sa aking kapwa.

Ngayon, ako ay yayao nang muli. Babalik na ako sa aking pamilya, parokya at paaralan. Babalik na ako sa araw-araw na pamumuhay. Subalit hindi ito ang huling sandali. Ipinapangako ko sa iyo, O Nanay kong mahal, na sa pagbabalik ko sa dambana mong ito, ako ay ganap mo nang lingkod. Sa bawat pagbalik ko rito, lalo at lalo kong hahanapin ang aking sariling landas na kasama ka. Lalo at lalo akong magiging bukas sa tawag ng iyong Anak.

Nay, sa huli, iiwan ko ang aking puso sa iyong paanan. Kunin mo ito at dalhin, kasama ng aking mga panalangin, naisin at pamanhik, kay Hesus na minamahal mong Anak at aking Panginoon.

Sa kanya ang kaluwalhatian at sa iyo ang pagdangal ngayon at kailanman. Amen!

MADRE AMOROSA, PRENDA DE AMOR,
ADIOS, ADIOS!!!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

ANNUS FIDEI (October 2012-November 2013)


The Profession of Faith

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.

Amen.


The 'door of faith' (Acts14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church.

The Year of Faith is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the World. 

-Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei for the Indiction of the Year of Faith. (1,6)


VIVA LA FE DE CRISTO!!!
VIVA LA VIRGEN!!!


(Click on the Year of Faith Logo to take you to the official Vatican Website of the Year of Faith.)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Just a reminder...

Our Lady of the Rosary, La Naval de Manila, as she was enthroned yesterday, Oct. 04, 2012.
Photo Credits: Mico Pacheco
If you are a devotee, remember this: 
Being an LN devotee doesn't end after ten or eleven days. 
It must continue beyond the Solemn Festivities. 

If you love Nanay, love her, not only because of the dress nor the regalia; 
love her because of the favors you received through her. 
Love her, simply because she is your Queen and Mother.


Just a simple reminder for the La Naval de Manila 2012...

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Inggo and Kiko


‎"You are my companion and must walk with me. 
For if we hold together no earthly power can withstand us."
~ St. Dominic to St. Francis

“Truly Dominic and Francis were two pillars of Holy Church: 
Francis with the poverty that was his hallmark and 
Dominic by his learning.” 
~ St. Catherine of Siena

Holy Father Francis, pray for us!