St. Paul of the Cross Rising

t. Paul of the Cross is some four decades and four years old.

When other churches around the Philippines have been in existence for four centuries, mine started to build when I was a child.

I can still remember the wind-tossed stilts and nipa that was our make-shift chapel come Sundays, in a grassy slope beneath our valley.

Somewhere between then and now, a bigger chapel was constructed. Our community had grown.

Four years ago, a new parish priest by the name of Fr. Eymard Balatbat came to take care of us. Under his watch, a new St. Paul of the Cross comes to rise.

The construction of the new church is going on its second Christmas. A long time constructing, but hey, every one is excited.

What we truly celebrate on the first of January.

For our 2017 New Year’s Mass, we trooped to the Shrine of the Divine Word. As blessed as I felt, thankful enough for being in the company of my daughters this New Year’s Day, I did receive a most wondrous of homilies from a missionary priest.

He said that there was a common factor among the Archbishops of New York, Archbishop of Chicago, and Archbishop of Los Angeles, they all in agreement that the Filipino is the new chosen people set to bring our faith into the corners of the world. Why? Because the Filipino fill the churches come Mass time.

Once, when this same priest was studying French, he was summoned by his teacher who resided on the third floor of a building. He was made to witness an empty promenade, vacant for many decades, until the Filipino set foot in France, and filled the cobblestones with devotees wanting to hear Mass.

Yes, the faith of the Filipino is formidable as a rock. Sent on a diaspora to many corners of the world, the Filipino, specifically the Filipino mothers, or the women who worked, initially as domestic helps and caregivers, nurses or entertainers, artists, etcetera, when faced with hardship and trouble, turn to faith and cling to that hope, that God will ease the difficulties that beset their situations. Thus, the churches filled with black-haired Filipinos.

Further, what is most unusual in the Filipino is their utmost devotion to the Blessed Mother. How the Filipino pay Her with most high regard, calling Her Mama Mary, like She is their very own Mother.

Yes, the Filipino is a chosen race, chosen to bring to the world the love of family, the devotion to mother, and the deep faith that transcends trials.

Then the missionary priest asked us to kneel, to give honor to that Mother called Mary and Her Child Jesus, with Joseph by Their side, because They set the example of FAMILY, that which binds the Filipino, that which the Filipino lives for.

The missionary priest said that after the Mass, he would have to make his own journey home, because his own mother makes a head count, and the priest is always late, for her Mano Po, Inay blessing.

That is what we celebrate today, the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

Of course, this blog is a short summation of that doctrinal homily, I just hope that we know why we celebrate today.

For my own Mommy, I miss you. And Lola Naty and Lola Oda, too.

Spotlight on.

Tomorrow signals the beginning of Semana Santa, when we wave our palms to welcome the Lord as He enters Jerusalem.

Yet today, I feel it is already a Black Saturday.

My daughter Tish and I meant to be attuned with the Lenten Season, as we try to do so every year. Today, we were early for a recollection at our parish church, St. Paul of the Cross. One morning, we thought, to refresh in our hearts the Passion of our Jesus, a necessary restrengthening after a long year of busyness. I have no problem with the faith, fortitude is a blessing. My upbringing in the Catholic Church was a formidable one. Still, a renewal of sorts comes in useful, to wave off temptations. More importantly, Tish is hungry for a credible theological study, an infallible standpoint or viewpoint why the church we love, the Catholic Church, is the one true church. The public schools which Tish attended fell short of defining in an intellectual or academic presentation, our being and our relationship with God. In other words, even the teachers have not read the entirety of the Bible, otherwise, they could have inculcated in their students the faith in a very satisfactory level. Anyway, that was why we were punctual, because we want to know.

Fr. Alex Balatbat of the Archdiocese of Antipolo shocked the laity, most of whom were white-haired servers from different ministries, when he opened with a statement that we would be talking about the enemy, or the devil. It was a tactical strategy, he said, because in warfare, if you do not know the enemy, you will lose.

He proceeded narrating the battle of a second lieutenant Archangel Michael, the very one who defeated the five star general of a seraphim called Lucifer, the bearer of light, and cast this evil one not into hell, but right here on earth.

That is why, he proposed, to look beside you or right behind you, the devil might be there, in the form of a good person, waiting for an opportunity to tempt you. Beware, he said, because the devil can imitate even the voice of God.

Which brings me to why I am feeling a Black Saturday today. Do not get me wrong, because Fr. Alex wrapped up the Recollection with the hope in the Eucharist and an overwhelming Mercy that was instituted and bequeathed to us in the Last Supper, after one of the apostles betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver that first Maundy Thursday. Fr. Alex said he had succumbed to many temptations, too, as many priests,did. Like all of us. No such thing as a perfect human being.

And I had the sad luck of picking SPOTLIGHT, Oscar’s best picture, a film highly recommended by a friend, Denis Andrenson, that movie that revealed the atrocities of the clergy, towards poor, innocent, impressionable and lonely children. I did remember those who called themselves men of God, and they dressed in robes, and yet somehow, I know, they have abused their priesthood.

No, the molestation did not happen only in Boston, nor was it a single incident. At the tail end, I saw Manila. It was a global psychiatric phenomenon that affected the Vatican. The tally of priest molesters still has to be divulged. The more depressing thing, many of the molested did not survive. Those who did kept away from the faith.

You and I will have a long week, and perhaps you could include in your quiet moments watching Spotlight, and make an effort to pray for our erring priests. Lucifer was a seraph. Our church had been infiltrated. We are called to arms.

Calling Complacent Catholics

Heard 7pm Mass at St. Paul last night, Fr. Eymart delivered a very powerful homily, addressed the complacent Catholics, said statistics show that for every eleven Catholics, one departs the Catholic Church, for such reasons as: the priest does not deliver a good homily; second collections are money making for the church. and the like. How flimsy, or how lame. Truth is, Catholics who say such things are those who seek attention for themselves, those who are afflicted with crab mentality, because they are the ones who are not happy watching many other Catholics live Christianity as the Master commanded them so. So, they find reasons to create talk, to put down their fellow Catholics, and in the end, they leave, and live by one protestant rule: attack the Catholic Church. Catholics had been complacent long enough, and that includes those who are Catholics on Sundays only. There is much more to being a Catholic than attending the Mass an hour in a week. Catholicism calls for universal service. And what is alarming, while Christians are busy destroying Christians, abominations in every facet of the human being are inculturated in the Christian. Now the Christian believes divorce is right, abortion is right, or same sex marriage is right. No, these things are never right. This is of great concern. What is more scary is: there are more believers of Islam now, and gradually, they are asserting their sovereignty over society. Just go to your nearest malls, you will find them there. Come on, come on, Catholics, wake up, our job is not done, the mission is not over, come on, wake up and help. Carry your Cross.

David Letterman is fascinated with the Catholic Church.

He pokes every conceivable joke he can, that seemingly vulgar but appropriately decent night show television host named David Letterman, on every event that happen on the Catholic Church. And obviously, he is having as much fun as he can get with the new Pontiff, Pope Francis, the infallible leader of the 1.2 billion strong Catholic Church.

David Letterman, I think, is amused, or fascinated with Catholicism because, let truth be told, the old guy is highly intelligent and, deep in the recesses of his being, he knows the Catholic Church is that one and only one Church instituted by our Lord Jesus Himself. And though beset through the ages by issues and problems that could crumble any other church, there it stands, because our Lord promised that He will forever take care of the Church.

Okay Mr. Letterman, one is never too old to join, Tony Blair did, and he was Prime Minister of England. Intelligent men see the truth, and they can feel or sense what is right. But only those who humble themselves are wise. wink

Oh yes, Pope Francis just might baptize you, if you ask him, he has compassion for those who mercilessly poke fun on him. You will be given time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (you can feature your list on your top ten later), and thy sins will be forgiven.w00tlol

Pope Francis’ sense of humor is hilarious..

Pope Francis has just been elected and installed, all in less than a fortnight, and in an event of global proportion, considering Vatican City is a tiny state inside Rome.

But of course, now we know that the Catholic Church is 1.2 billion strong, and counting, considering the new successor of fisher Peter is a humble one, simple in his ways, compassionate to the poor, decisive, strong, unyielding to the powerful. Now he has rabbis for allies.

Much tales that come out about this one-lunged Pope are pretty amusing. He doesn’t mean to make these stories funny, but indeed that is just what comes, ha ha.

Read the Vatican receptionist’s story: http://ph.news.yahoo.com/…

What I like best is, in his modesty, after being elected Pope, he had to tell the cardinals “May God forgive you” for choosing me. lol