S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Saturday, April 08, 2006

My Summer Work in Ilocos

Hello friends.

I wish to inform you that I will be away for a month. I will be going to Ilocus Sur & Abra for my summer work. I will be working with UGAT Foundation, assisting in their follow - up and other programs for the families of migrant workers as well as with the indigenous peoples. I will be working with a brother Jesuit, Sch. Joseph Emmanuel Liwanag, S.J. we humbly request for your prayers as we assure you of ours. For all of you in the world wide web, visiting this simple blog, we hope that we shared the wonders of God's love felt in our reflections and prayers. We do pray that God, in His generosity and love, continue to bless you and guide you all the days of your life. We apologize that we will be unable to put new posts since there will be no internet connections in the areas that we will be visiting. We are going to remote areas of the Ilocus region. Thank you.

Before I go for my summer work, I wish to leave you with a final reflection and a strong recommendation. We have just started the Holy Week (beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on Holy Saturday), it may be helpful and beneficial if we reflect on the Stations of the Cross or the Via Crucis during this time.

This devotion, which dates back in the twelve or thirteenth century with the Franciscans, is a reflection and contemplation on the the passion and death of Christ. In the words of the Holy Father Benedict XVI:

"With the Gospel texts, Jesus himself gives us the interpretation of the Via Crucis, explains to us how we ought to pray and follow this Way. The way of the Cross is the way of losing ourselves; it is the way of authentic love. Jesus has gone before us along this way. This is the path which the Way of the Cross wishes to teach us."

If you wish to have a copy of the Way of the Cross booklet written by Pope Benedict XVI then Cardinal Ratzinger, they available at Tanging Yaman Stores (Gateway & Ateneo de Manila Campus). Or if you are the techy type, you may visit the site:

We hope
and pray that you all have a solemn Holy Week.

Advance Happy Easter.

Behold, your King is coming!

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday of the Lord'd Passion. It is traditional that Catholics would go to their parish churches with palms and branches to be blessed during the Liturgy. As we look at the Gospel passages used in the Liturgy, we are somehow confounded by the inconsistencies of the people. In the beginning of the Liturgy, when we have our palms/branches blessed, the presider reads from either Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16 where Jesus is being welcomed by the people of Jerusalem upon His entry to the city. We read that they took branches of palms and cries out to meet Him "Hossana in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! (John 12:13). We are presented with Israel's delight in the person of Jesus.

But as we progress in the Liturgy, we read in the Gospel the passion and death of Jesus (Mark 14:1:72/Mark 15:1:47/Mark 15:1-39), when he finally opened His arms on the cross for the salvation of the world. And we once again meet the people of Jerusalem, but this time shouting "Crucify Him! Crucufy Him!" (Mark 15:13-14). The people who welcomed Him with acclamations of hossana were the very people who shout for His death. They are an inconsistent people.

In our daily lives as Christians, we find ourselves very much like them. In one point we welcome the Lord wholeheartedly with our prayers and worship, but then we despise Him through our sins and failings. But we should not lose hope. This is the very essence we celebrate today: Hope in the great love of God who offered His Son to us for our salvation. Christ's suffering and death ushered new life for us. By His very wounds, we were made whole.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Faith

April 2nd is the day designated by the late Pope John Paull II to be the Day of Bl. Pedro Calungsod, a Feast in the Archdiocese of Cebu. Blessed Pedro Calungsod was beatified in Rome on March 5th, 2000. But since April 2nd this year falls on a Sunday of Lent, the Feast has been omitted.

But I think the Gospel passage for the Fifth Week of Lent speaks so well about the life of Beato Pedro. Jesus said that "unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat. But if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:24)." This is the life of Beato Pedro. He offered his life to God, suffering a brutal death and earned his crown of martyrdom for CHRIST, his Lord and Master. He lovingly gave up his life for Christ and for His Church. The persecutors did kill Beato Pedro, but they weren't able to exterminate the Catholic Faith. Beato Pedro's blood has become the refreshing water that made the Catholic Faith blossom in the Mariannas (Guam).

So as we celebrate the Fifth Week of Lent, Let us call to mind the words of our Lord Jesus in the Gospel. And let us be filled with gratitude for the martyrdom of Beato Pedro Calungsod. We, as Christians, were marked with the sign of the Cross. Let us be bold to live this redemptive sign in our daily lives.