Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Confessions of One Who Quit the SSPX Mileu

Here is a very interesting confession written by one Brian Sudlow in his blog The Sensible Bond here is an excerpt. Those who want to read the full story can follow the link.

"It was if anything in that moment of grace that I began to recognise the one error that ran through all the SSPX theses: a kind of privatisation of judgment. I’ll say it again: they live by a privatisation of judgment in their canonical, theological and liturgical life. It is well meant. It is an instinct of self preservation. It seems to be the most logical and the most effective means of keeping the faith in a time of serious disintegration. But it is, nevertheless, a line of thought and conduct which is self-authenticating." Read more from The Sensible Bond

Monday, July 28, 2008

Humanae Vitae 40 Years After, Still Ignites the World

A Personal Analysis

"Thou shalt not follow the multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou yield in judgment, to the opinion of the most part, to stray from the truth."
Exodus 23:1 (Douay-Rheims Version)

Coat of Arms of Pope Paul VI

Points to consider as we reflect on Humanae Vitae

  • In a world where the truth is despised, the respect for life is relegated to the convenience of humans, and to a self-centered understanding of human reproduction masquerading as human rights, what should be our response?
  • What should be our response when unbelieving people challenge the right of the Church to propose teachings touching on faith and morals?
  • Should we shelved our faith and religion in the closet in the midst of public criticism?

A world centered on Humans and not God
- a world where Humans and God is seen as separate entities, and a world where religion is restricted into the private sphere will ultimately result in Men and Women beginning to decide how they can control their lives as if God is dead or as if God has abandoned humans and refuse to intervene in their affairs. There are passages in the Old Testament that poetically points to these state of affairs. A good illustration to this is the generation of Noah (Genesis 11:1-9). The people began to build the tower of Babel and presumed among themselves that they could determine their destiny by their own power, disregarding their maker. Does this story from Genesis sound similar to the one-united world advocated by some idealists in our world today? Does this sound similar to the ideology of globalization? And as the story goes, God decided to confound their languages. Today with the dominance of science, humans are able to surmount physical obstacles. The advance in communication and transportation has profound effect on Humans, both beneficial and also some are not beneficial. There is always a tendency for humans to be proud and to think that with their science they can do everything they want. They can chart their destiny and determine their literal prosperity. Some people now think that by controlling birth and tampering with natural laws is acceptable. Some people assumed that the encyclical of Pope Paul VI was a disaster for the world especially for the southern hemisphere. But these critics failed to realize that it is the oppressive and unjust global economy that are pushing the peoples of the south to poverty and not the population. The population of the southern hemisphere are victims of the unfair and unjust trade policies of the powerful. But indeed the famous encyclical of Pope Paul VI is prophecy in itself. Yes not everyone will accept this teaching and we certainly cannot force anyone to believe, for Christ said blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed. There will be critics from without and from within, but the Scriptures has admonished us "not to follow a multitude in committing sin." The Church can never declare an unlawful thing as lawful. Time and again the teachings of the church will remind us that we have to stand for the truth. That marriage is a sacrament and that the sexual act is an expression of love whose ultimate purpose is procreation and the natural means for the survival and propagation of the human race. Remove this basic principle in the sexual act, you also remove the main incentive for the survival, thats how the LAW OF NATURE dictates. Thus any attempt to regulate birth by means of artificial means which removes the responsibility for the sexual act will result in the deformation of values. Let us remember that Christ calls us to be different, "Be not conform to this world but be transformed in your minds...". So whatever is the criticism, no matter how bitter, let us stand our ground and faithfully obey the voice of God. We cannot relegate our religion in the closet but since religion is both personal and social so we are called to declare openly our faith in words and deeds. O, Mary Mother of the Church, guide and defend us your children. Amen.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Humanae Vitae July 25, 1968 to July 25, 2008: 40 YEARS OF LIVING WITNESS TO TRUTH

Madonna and Child: Mary Mother of the Church
O, Mary, Mother of the Church and Mediatrix, we pray for strength and courage to stand for the truth of life. Help us to vanguish the culture of death that afflicts our society. We pray for our Bishops, shepherds and rulesrs of our souls that they may become courageous in the midst of worldy and godless opposition of those who do not believe in God. Just as you have revealed in Fatima, the pains and injuries caused by our disobedience, so help us now to pray even more and more, especially the Holy Rosary. Amen.
Holy Innocents, Ora Pro Nobis.

Forty-Years after the Papal Declaration on the importance of Human Life, today we are all the more challenged to stand for the very important teaching of the Church. We also remember the prophetic encyclical of the late and of happy memory Pope Paul VI who courageously declared a universal truth enshrined in NATURAL LAW and in the very LAW of GOD HIMSELF. The encyclical was rejected by many, both secularists and even people who call themselves Catholics and Christian. The Church indeed in her teaching power cannot relegate the matter of human reproduction in the hands of men. For God has established natural laws which has its roots on Divine Law. The use of contraceptives and abortion is sinful because it is contrary to natural law. Sexual union of men and women in marriage is ordained by God as an expression of love, not only of love but of participating in the creative work of God. Thus artificial means to control or hamper this process is contrary to the Law of God. This teaching is hard indeed and it seems that many cannot accept the teaching but it is the truth. Like the Pharisees who cannot accept the teaching of Christ on the Eucharist because of its seeming imposibility. So today godless humans, who do not respect the Law of God opposes this principle of life. Money and Greed have become their idols. Let us pray for the Bishops of the Philippines and all the faitful who are opposing their legislators who are sponsoring anti-life bills. Let us entrust this cruzade to the Mother of God, Mother of the Church. For a full text of the encyclical Humanae Vitae please visit the Vatican Web Site. God bless us as we commemorate this prophetic encyclical. "Be not afraid"....

Monday, July 21, 2008

BROADCAST LIVE ON LOCAL TELEVISION: Votive Mass in Honor of St. Jerome Emiliani, Patron of the Traditional Latin Mass Apostolate in Sorsogon City

Narration by Dr. Herbert R.
and photos by the same unless otherwise indicated.

AITV5 Staff - cameramen and technician, all Electronics and Communications Engineering students of Aemilianum College. From left: Benjie, Jose Capsa, Arjay, Romeo, Arjay Duran and Chris Sesbreño. This is the first TLM Mass in Bicol Broadcast live over a local television. (This photo from the Splendor of the Church)

The Celebrant Fr. Abraham Arganiosa, CRS. At left is the author while on the right is Bro. Mark Bunag, a seminarian from the Diocese of Kalookan. In the group are the members of the Knights of the Altar.

For the First time, on July 20, 2008, the Traditional Latin Mass in Sorsogon City under the auspices of the Somascan Community in Aemilianum College, Sorsogon City, made public the celebration of the TLM. The event was recorded and broadcast over ACITV-5, the local television station operated by the Aemilianum College. For the first time the Traditional Latin Mass in Sorsogon City was broadcast live over television. We were also grateful for the presence of Bro. Mark Robinson Bunag, a Seminarian from the Diocese of Kalookan, Metro Manila, Philippines who willingly served as Cantor and at the same time organist. He helped prepare the students to served as schola cantorum who sang the common parts of the mass such as the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. It was indeed surprising that in just a short time the girls who sung the commons were able to get it almost near perfect. Moreover, Bro Mark excellently chanted the Introit, Graduale, and Post-Communion. His presence and the cooperation of the students of the Aemilianum College made this Missa Cantata possible. I took along with me my cousin who is a candidate for transitional deacon, another student and my co-worker Mrs. Gina. The three of them had wonderful comments about the way the Mass proceeded. They were extremely impressed with the music and one thing they said was that they appreciated the solemnity and the punctuated silences of the Traditional Latin Mass less evident in the Novus Ordo. Fr. Abraham Arganiosa, CRS our chaplain have wanted to make this Mass public but at that time he felt not so confident as yet with the rubrics. But Fr. Abe’s progress in learning the old rite is impressive. He is self-taught as far as the rubrics are concerned and has displayed great humility to learn the rubrics. He never allowed hectic schedules and communitarian duties to hamper his willingness to learn the rubrics of the Traditional Roman Rite.

The development of the TLM apostolate in Sorsogon City was indeed a miracle and clearly has the blessings of the Lord. I remember that way back in February it was just Fr. Abe, myself and a couple of persons who were there attending the Mass. We are also grateful to Fr. Richard, CRS the then superior of the House for allowing this mass and it was he who even suggested that it be moved from a Wednesday to a Sunday prime time. Today we are also grateful to Fr. Lino, CRS, the current superior for extending the permission.

The Ladies and the Children

As we quietly continue the apostolate we were blessed with the arrival of the Ladies from the Alliance of Two Hearts who volunteered to join the Traditional Latin Mass every Sunday. They also volunteered to clean the church, the altars and helped provide the linens. These Ladies are our “Dorcas”. Fr. Abe fondly calls them “Confradia de San Geronimo”. And today with these ladies, their families and children we have now the “stable group” required by the Summurom Pontificum.

Image of St. Jerome Emiliani, Patron of the Somascan Chapel. St. Jerome is the Patron Saint of the Orphans and the fatherless. Hence, the apostolate of the Somascans is centered on the care of the orphans and the education of the young.

The development of this TLM apostolate is indeed a miracle and a sign of the Goodwill of the Lord. In less than a year progress is being made. I almost despaired of looking for a priest who will be willing to celebrate the Mass. Through the power of blogging and internet networking with fellow Traditionally inclined Catholics Fr. Abe responded to my request and almost by the sheer goodwill of the Lord, there has never been an obstacle. But we realize that in the future there will be tests but we pray and trust in the Lord. Recalling the words of St. Teresa of Avila, “Be afraid of nothing, all things passes away, only the will of the Lord remains.” Thanks be to God for giving us the chance to show the splendor of the Church, the beauty of his temple.

O, Lord my God, where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!

The Celebrant Performing the Rite of Exorcism of the Water and the Salt to be used for the Asperges and for various purposes to serve the needs of the faithful

The ancient rite of Order of Blessing was used in the preparation of this Holy Water to be used for the asperges. This ancient rite contains powerful and poetic prayers entreating the Lord to bless the water, the priest acting with the authority of the Church as signified by his vesture (the alb and the stole). The prayer recalls the experience of Eliseus and entreat that the blessed water with the salt will be for the health of the faithful and will vanish the evil that disturbs. The use of Holy Water is very ancient as far as the custom of the Church is. We are taught that Blessed water belongs to the order of sacramentals. Meaning to say they are symbols and that our faith is necessary to make it efficacious. It does not impart grace per se but it invokes the grace of God by means of our faith. When we use holy water with the right faith and intention it procures for us the favor and protection of God. Moreover we are taught that Holy Water has the power to cleanse us of our venial sins. Hence, the sprinkling of Holy Water is a reminder to us of our baptismal promises and helps too to remind us of the promise of Christ to restore us to the innocence of paradise lost by original sin.

"Asperges me...."

The asperges is not part of the Mass per se but it is considered as a form of preparatory prayers. Thus in the asperges the celebrant is expected not to wear the chasuble but is expected to wear the cope. In this case the celebrant does not wear the cope because we still do have it. In the near future we shall have it by the grace of God as He provides generously for the needs of His children.

Vesting of the Celebrant made more manifest the role of Alter Christus.

In the vesting of the Chasuble the Priest silently recites: "Domine, qui dixisti: Jugum meum suave est, et onus meum leve: fac, ut illud portare sic valeam, quod possim consequi tuam gratiam." ('O Lord, Who said: My yoke is easy and My burden light: grant that I may bear it well and follow after You with thanksgiving.'). Th chasuble is one of the most important vestment of the ministerial priesthood. The word Chasuble was taken from the Latin word casulla meaning "little house". Probably because it resembles a house. When the priest wears it, it covers both the front and the back. The priest is thus reminded to bear the yoke of Christ. This too is a reminder for all the faithful to follow the footsteps of Christ who said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. What a blessing indeed to have Jesus as our Master and Teacher. How sweet it is to listen to his teachings and obey his word. This reminded me of my favorite English Hymn written by Fanny Crosby. One line says thus: "Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word tell me the story most precious. Sweetest that was ever heard. Tell how the angels in chorus sang as they welcomed his birth. Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings on earth."

The Entrance Procession, O Lord I will gladly ascend to Mt. Zion with Joy and Singing!

Prayers at the Foot of the Altar
The prayers at the foot of the altar is a beautiful feature of the Old Mass which is no longer found in the Novus Ordo. In the prayers at the foot of the altar the Celebrant and the servers take turn in expressing their unworthiness to ascend and serve the Lord in the Altar of Calvary. This is a reminder too of the vision of prophet Isaiah where he expressed his unworthiness before the majesty of God. Henceforth God sent forth an angel bearing the coals from the altar and placed it in the mouth of the prophet, and the angel said from now on you are no longer unclean. Furhtermore the prayers at the foot of the altar also consists of the recitation of Psalm 42. The beautiful exchanges of the recitation of the versicle between the celebrant and the servers reminds us of how appropriate this psalm is for the beginning of the Mass. We are calling upon the Lord to send forth the light and the truth. Who is this light and truth - it is Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest, our eternal king and prophet.

The Homily and the Recitation of the Nicene Creed. The Celebrant and altar servers bowing low at the name of Jesus and remembering his incarnation.

The recitation of the Nicene Creed is very important because with one accord we join our voices with all the saints in heaven and on earth in expressing the same faith and the same communion. For as St. Paul Said, there is one Lord, one faith and one baptism.


Major Elevation

And Jesus said, "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent on the desert and many were healed so the Son of Man shall be. When I am lifted up I will draw all men unto me...." My Lord and my God!

The Second Confiteor

Jesus said, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life and I will raise him up on the Last Day." What a solemn promise, what a solemn pledge of salvation. Should we not humble ourselves and express our unworthiness by looking at the cross and say "mea culpa, mea clpa, mea maxima culpa...." but with eyes of faith and gratitude we partake of the communion of the body and blood of the Lord, taking hold of that solemn promise that on the last day he will raise us up to become glorious bodies, never to die, never to fear and in the end we shall forget about this painful world and we shall be ushered to the eternal happiness of the Kingdom of God where Father, Son and Holy Ghost reigns supreme. Let God arise and let His enemies be vanished. Amen and Amen.

Communion of the Faithful

"Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say thy word and thy servant shall be healed..." what a solemn declaration of faith and humility. God loves the humble, He shows him favor but He resists the proud. We see how the Lord and how the church honors the humble. The words of the humble centurion of Capernaum now immortalized not only in the book of the gospels but in the perpetual liturgy of the Roman Church.

Ite Missa est...Deo Gracias

Praise be to our Living God. Pray for our pledging TLM in Sorsogon City. The only Mass celebrated in the extraordinary Form in Bicol Region. The Mass is ended now go in Peace. Now we who have celebrated the mysteries of the faith are called upon to temporarily reiturn to our homes to the world and there be a light to the darkened world. A world immersed in darkness, sin and pride. As Christians we must go forth and proclaim the light of Christ in both our religious and secular spheres. Influencing the world, our work, our professions and out homes so that it may conform to the gospels. Amen, amen and amen.

Reform of the Reformed in Sidney World Youth Day

In evaluating the advances of the Papal program of Reforming the Reformed, we saw great strides in the World Youth Day Celebrations in Sidney, Australia. The Mass and public liturgical celebrations were replete with traditional usages. The Gregorian and Latin Chants, the altar arrangements has indeed affirme our Catholicity and link with the ancient Church. For as Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, so is His Body, the Church.

Our Cross and Christ's Cross...

"Simon have you catch any fish?..."

"How different, Lord, are the path along which you guide souls. In the lives of the saints we find many who left nothing behind them, not the smallest souvenir or scrap of writing. But there are others, like our Mother St. Teresa , who have enriched the Church by their teaching. ...Which kind of live is most pleasing to our Lord? I think both are equally acceptable ...Yes, all is well when one tries to do nothing but God's will." - St. Therese of Lisieux [The Story of a Soul. Sinag-Tala Publishers, Manila: 1957,p. 113. ]


I was reminded of the passing away of Pope John Paul II. Perhaps of all modern Popes, JPII is one of the poorest in terms of material possessions. He owned nothing except for a piece of pen, papers, shoes and clothes. He did not own mansions or estates. But his life and dedication to the Church was rich and exemplary. He even wished that after his death all his scribblings be destroyed. It is a sign of humility, a feeling that one is inadequate in comparison to the eternal goodness of God.

The quotes above from St. Therese reminded us of the wonderful ways of God. God treats us in varied ways. He accepts us for whatever things we do as long as it is in accord of God's will. Above all things the greatness of a person is measured in his or her conformity to the will of God. Here is the root and mystery of original sin. A concept spurned by the modern world. They think it is morbid and evil to accept the concept of original sin. But original sin has distorted the image of God in us. But in His redemptive plan, God gave us His Son Jesus and that conformity to his will can only be done if we conform ourselves to Christ. This is the reason why the Lord said, "Come learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light...learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart..." (Blessed be the Lord). On the other hand He also said, "Take up your cross and follow me..." Crucifying ourselves is a pain, but learning from the Lord is sweet. By his cross he has come to purify us so that little by little our selves will be conformed to the image of Christ, the tree of life, and thereby his abundant grace we shall regain the image of God darkened by sin but now purified, white as snow by the Blood of the Lamb. Amen.


Father, we lift our hearts to you this eventide, with grateful hearts for your goodness and love. Help us to carry our cross daily. This cross may be the people who are closed to us, or the people whom we serve. This cross may consist of our enemies and adversaries, but whatever it is, we fully abandon ourselves to the goodness of your love.

Jesus, together with Mary, our mother, as we stand at the foot of the cross, let us shed tears of repentance so that by your mercy and love we may find forgiveness and relief. We fully trust in you Lord Jesus.

Through the intercession of Mary, Joseph, St. Therese - the little flower, and of all the saints in heaven, may we obtain the grace of final perseverance till the end of time. We ask this in Jesus name. AMEN.

Friday, July 18, 2008

July 20: Feast of St. Jerome Emiliani, Father of the Orphans

On the feast of St. Jerome Emiliani the Traditional Latin Mass Group in Sorsogon City will hold a Missa Cantata at 10:00 a.m. at the Chapel of the Amaelianum College. All are invited to assist in the Mass.

Reflection: Silver Lining on the Clouds

Silver Lining on the Clouds, Setting Sun and Mayon Volcano as Viewed from the Bus Terminal

One afternoon as I was waiting for the bus to leave the Legazpi City Bus Terminal for my home city of Tabaco the beauty of the afternoon sun and Mayon volcano caught my attention. I have been so used to the sight of Mayon Volcano, I have seen both its natural beauty and violence during eruptions, for many years I have taken its beauty for granted. But this time while waiting for the Bus to leave the terminal I was moved to reflect on the beauty of God and His goodness as manifested in His creation. I thank the Lord for giving me this gift of beauty and the chance to live in one of the most beautiful spot on earth.

I was reminded of Psalm 83 which says thus:

"Quam dilecta, tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum:concupiscit et deficit animam mea in atri Domino. Cor meum, et caro mea exultaverunt in Deum vivum. Etenim passer invenit sib domum et turtur nidum sibi, ubi ponat pullos suos."

"How lovely are they tabernacles, O Lord of hosts: my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. For the sparrow hath found herself a house: the turtle a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones..."

Indeed our eternal rest is in the Lord, the setting sun and the silver lining in the clouds remind us of hope and of the ever abiding goodness of the Lord. O Lord you are our Father, you have guided us and led us. Remind us always of your goodness so that even in the midst of busy days and pressures of work we may never be swallowed by the cares of this earthly life but may nurture the seed you have sown in our hearts. May your grace be our everlasting habitation. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord Amen.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


As usual by the grace of Almighty God, we had again our regular Sunday TLM, 10:30 a.m. at the St. JeromeEmiliani Chapel, ACI, Sorsogon City. On my way to Sorsogon City, while on the bus I chance to se the motorcade carrying the icon of Our Lady of Penafrancia on her pilgrim tour of the province. I cannot help but be touched by the piety of the simple folks who lined up the streets in their Sunday Dresses. Indeed in this country where poverty, suffering are a daily treat, the more we need to get nearer to God. The fact that despite of the sufferings of the Filipino people, we managed to be cheerful and happy people is a grace from the Lord. Mary, Mother of all Graces, under your title Lady of Penafrancia, pray for us, protect us from our enemies and in the end show us the fruit of your womb, Jesus! Jesus you are our hope, you are our consolation, there is no sweeter thing on this earth but to trust and savor the thought that you are with us forever. Lord, it is you whom my heart desires, and my soul longs to be near your heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph be our consolation. Amen.

"Fear not little flock for it is the Father's pleasure to give you the Kingdom!" The TLM Community Posed for a Photo after the Mass.

The Lectio for the 9th Sunday After after Pentecost was taken from 1 Cor. 10:6-13. In this passage of the Scripture, Paul exhorts us to be patient and not to resort to sin when we are tempted. Furthermore we are exhorted to trust in the Lord. The Lord will not allow a trial to come our way if He thinks we cant bear it. We have trials because He knows that we are capable and that His grace will enable us to bear it so that in the end we will become better persons. The gospel account was taken from Luke 19:41-47. In the gospel the Lord wept over the miseries of Jerusalem and there he also dsplay his zeal for the house of prayer.

Its is heart-warming too that fr. Abe found this pre-Vatican II chasubles from their very old sacristy. It was a miracle that all these old but still very beautiful and elegant chasubles must have survived the ravages of time... forty-years after. Imagine. We wonder at the elegance and beauty of these old vestments. I wonder, where are the old vestments in the parish churches we have? Where are they now? Did they throw them away... neglected these pieces of art and legacy?... When I commented to Fr. Abe about these, he said perhaps these old vestments were preserved for us... that is for our apostolate.

This a Traditional Roman Chasuble. Notice the floral design.

The Back of the Chasuble. Typically Roman. In Rome the back portion of fiddle backs are embridered with Pillar designs while in some countries it is embroidered with the sign of the cross.

The Green Chasuble front with stole

Back of the Chasuble

Next Sunday, July 20, 2008 the TLM Community in Aemilianum College will hold a votive mass in honor of St. Jerome Emiliani. Every one is welcome. We will plan to hold a Missa Cantata (High Mass).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Traditional Latin Mass in Bicol: A year After the SF and Our TLM in Sorsogon City

There is no doubt that the Motu Proprio of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI had been a blessing to many Catholic Faithful who had long for a clarificatory statement form the Holy See about the status of the Roman Rite prior to the Liturgical Reforms of the Second Vaican Council. Many thought that the Reforms abrogated the Traditional Latin Mass, but in the SF the Holy Father stated that the Traditional Latin Mass was never abrogated. In his explanation to the Bishops, the Pope said..."Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church."[ Letter of the Pope to the Bishops of the world accompanying his motu proprio (EWTN)]
As I recall how this TLM in Sorsogon started, I could only cite three: (1) An enduring love for the Liturgy, (2) a Desire to recover a treasure of faith, and (3) the enduring grace of the Almighty. Let me share to you some exerpts of letter / exchanges that could help us reflect on the beginning and the fruits of this simple but deligent work in the vineyard of the Lord.
A review of the TLM in Sorsogon City, Philippines since it started in February 28, 2008 in obedience and under the spirit of the Summorum Pontificum.

The First Private TLM of Fr. Abe, CRS.

The Faithful who assisted in the First TLM in Sorsogon City

The Second TLM

Three of my students who assisted in the Mass, Romulo, Jefferson and Ryan

The 3rd TLM with Andrei, one of my students and Mrs. Gina, our Instructor.

Ecce Agnus Dei.....

Fr. Abe, CRS Introduced the Somascan Sisters of Casi Miani in Sorsogon City to the TLM

The Somascan Sisters

The "Confradia de San Geronimo"

The Recitation of the Leonine Prayers

Major Elevation, Fr. Abe introduced the Nuns of Servias de Jesus to the TLM in one of the retrats.

The Simple Altar. Ad Orientem. Facing East-the Ressurected Christ of the Eucharist

Here is an excerpt from the letter I send Fr. Abe Arganiosa, CRS requesting for the Traditional Latin Mass under the Summorum Pontificum privilege.

Dear Fr. Abe.Its nice to discover your blog site. A friend from the Traditional Latin Mass Community in Cubao QC recommended your site... My difficulty is because there are no traditionalist priests here in Bicol that says the Tridentine Mass. I do not know if you say it in private. But if you do, please do invite me to attend. I am longing for it. It is only seldom that I can go to Manila so it gives me fewer chance to attend to this mass. I have been a devotee of this mass. ......I hope that you will reply to my query. I think there are other traditionalists out there who would like to avail of the Summurom Pontificum, the apostolic letter of Benedict XVI allowing for universal indult of the rites prior to 1970.Cheers! God is good. Dr. Herbert R.January 4, 2008 9:20 AM.

Here is the reply of Fr. Abe to my letter:

Dear Dr. Herbert,GRACE AND PEACE BE UPON YOU!God is good, indeed. His mercy endures forever. His love is greater than our hearts.I am truly blessed to have known you through some friends from Quezon City. For sure some of them have attended my apologetic seminars or are already members of the Defensores Fidei Foundation.First and foremost I wish to inform you that I am a Somascan religious priest working here in Sorsogon City. I was trained and ordained under the Novus Ordo Mass and for that reason it is the Mass I celebrate daily as a minister of the Church. Prior to Summorum Pontificum I didn't ask for an indult and was never given one. Because I was and is still convinced that the Novus Ordo is a valid celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the One and Eternal Priesthood of Christ.However, like you I am also in-loved with the Tridentine Mass because I see it as an immortal treasure of the liturgical heritage of the Church. Now that the Summorum Pontificum had given permission to priests to say the Tridentine Mass of Pope John XXIII [1962] and has commanded priests to accept requests for it I am still preparing myself for such a service. Because practically I am still not so ready to celebrate it with solemnity and grace that it deserves.If there are no priest in Bicol that celebrate it then count me in. As long as there is a request I will celebrate it with love out of OBEDIENCE TO THE COMMAND OF THE VICAR OF CHRIST. But please give me some time at least a month to thoroughly be ready for it. Yes, I will communicate with you so that we can discuss it over. And at the same time I will inform my superior and my Bishop so that things will be done smoothly. GOD BLESS YOU!January 4, 2008 12:05 PM

Here is a further exchange of communication that followed:

January 4, 2008 12:05 PMHello Fr. Abe I know that you are the answer to my prayers. I feel so despondent because I have tried looking for a priest who can say the extraordinary form of the Mass. But to no avail. Even the older priests are not inclined to say it. Like you I still believe that both the Novus Ordo Missae and the Pre-Vatican II Mass are legitimate. Both are legitimate and they can exist side by side. In fact there are no two rites, they are simply expressions of one rite, the Roman Rite orLatin Rite. The Pope said that the Tridentine mass will be the extraordinary form while the novus ordo will be the extraordinary form. In fact the Novus Ordo Missae can be said in a very respectful manner just like we see it on EWTN. The problems that beset the liturgical reform of post vatican II are the abuses that has crept in. Pope Benedict mention about this in his letter to the Bishops. He lamanted the fact that in many instances some people were not faithful to the rubrics prescribed in the missal and introduced innovations that distract from the intent of the Mass. I think this is the reason why the pope wrote the Summurom Pontificum. He wants to see a link between the pre-Vatican Liturgy and the post vatican Liturgy. Both have their points. Pre-Vatican Liturgy emphasizes the sacred and propitious nature of the mass while post vatican II emphasized active participation. Fr. I hope that you will say this mass even if privately and for the start even a low mass. Kahit malayo ako sa Sorsogon willing ako pumunta diyan just to assist in this mass. Fr. Please help us baka ikaw na ang kasagutan sa aming mga panalangin. Help us. Ang nandidito sa akin ay puro mga CD ng tridentine rite at mga missals. But I dont get to participate unless I go to Cubao in the parish of Fr. Jojo Zerudo. By the way Fr. Jojo says this mass now every day in his parish formerly it was with the indult of Bishop Ongtioco now with the summorum in force he is doing it now. at marami rin ang nag attend every sunday at 1:30 p.m. at araw araw may low mass siya every 4 pm. Sana Fr. Masimulan ninyo. Maybe you can say it in private hen invite us, perhaps a few of us who are willing. We can start a Latin Mass Community. Fr. Please help us. This mass is a treasure of the Church let us preserve it for posterity here in Bicol. Let us do it in the spirit and intent of Pope Benedict XVI.Thank you very much. I will be praying hard. Cheers God is good. Herbert B.

Here is the second reply:

Dear Dr. Herbert, GRACE AND PEACE! I believe that it is the will of the Lord that I celebrate the Tridentine Mass. For sure there will be more like you who are very eager to worship the Lord in this manner. Just give me at least half a month Brod and I will practice and orient myself into it. Then I will celebrate it twice a month or even weekly if God wills. I have the text in Latin but I hope you have a text in Latin side by side with English translations so that our faithful can understand it better. If ever you have a video cd or DVD copy of the entire Tridentine Mass then please let me borrow so that I can learn it as soon as possible. At this point in time I don't have exact proper vestments for it but it for the meantime a decent and formal Alb, the Chasuble and the Stole will do. Yes, I am more than willing to help you and share the liturgical beauty of the Catholic Faith with you and your group provided you are not schismatics ...Of course, after reading your blog and your e-mail I am convinced that you are faithful Catholics. I have read your Blog and I find it beautiful. In fact, I already added it in my own Blog's list of links. Sorry for doing so without asking your permission first. I hope you will consent otherwise I will remove it from my list. I want to promote also good Catholic blogs so that the Catholic readers will be enriched by us through the web. Please let us continue communicating so that we can hasten that day when we can worship the Lord in the manner our forefathers did -- THE TRIDENTINE MASS!GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS! In Christ Jesus and Mary, Rev. Fr. Abraham P. Arganiosa, CRS College Chaplain Aemilianum College, Inc. Rizal St., Piot, Sorsogon City 4700

This blog posts was picked up by another priest who commented thus:

Dear Fr Abe,My name is Fr Dennis Estrella and I happen to be the Filipino chaplain of the Filipino community (mostly OFWs) here in Padova (Padua) in the northeast of Italy not far from Venice. I was reading about the Black Nazarene in Quiapo when I chanced upon your blog. Reading the requests of some our admirable faithful like Dr Herbert I cannot help but feel that pastoral charity that swells in our hearts as priests... we were ordained for them and it is for their sake that we try our best to remain faithful! Well, I will pray for you all... I don't even know you personally and the only priest from Sorsogon that I remember encountering was Fr Rene Pinero when I met him in Collegio in Rome last year or the other year perhaps. Well, we share the same thoughts about the Latin Mass. We explain to our faithful exactly as the Pope says in his motu proprio... Our Filipino Catholic faithful are truly unique in the world and I believe I can say this correctly after living in Italy for some time. God bless you always in your ministry. If ever you will find yourself anywhere near here, don't hesitate to contact me. That is part of my work as chaplain here - help the pilgrims who come. I also read that Dr Herbert is devoted to il nostro Santo di Padova, il carissimo Sant'Antonio. It would not be much of a bother for me to send him some things directly from the Basilica of St. Anthony. We remain united before the Lord in prayer and in the celebration of the Liturgy. Oremus pro invicem.Fr Dennis Fidel I. EstrellaParrocchia di Natività di MariaVia Pilade Bronzetti, 1035138 Padova (PD)Italy

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Year After the Summorum Pontificum

By Dr. Herbert R.

Catholics attached to the Missal of 1962 had all the reasons to rejoice when in July 7, 2007 the Holy Father issued the Summorum Pontificum, providing a liberal indult for the Traditional Latin Mass. The document was released with an accompanying letter addressed to the Bishops. The Holy Father granted liberal use not only of the Missal but of the pre-Vatican II Sacramental Rites. Responsibility for granting request for the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass was relegated to the Parish Priests. Indeed, what a gift to every hearts attached to the Traditional Roman Rites. The SF is an occasion not of division but of healing the schism and the pains caused by abuses in the liturgy. The moved of the Holy Father was seen not only as courageous but controversial as well. But nonetheless the SF is a manifestation of the Holy Father’s desire to correct the abuses in the liturgy brought about by uncalled for innovations, and to place a correct perspective to the reforms inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council. At the time of his election to the pontificate, I remember watching and listening over television to his first allocution to the Cardinals. In that speech he spoke about the "reform of the reformed" in the Liturgy as one of his priority. And even at the time when he was Cardinal he spoke of this thing many times on several occasions. In July 13, 1988 before the Bishops of Chile in Santiago, he said: "One of the basic discoveries of the theology of ecumenism is that schisms can take place only when certain truths and certain values of the Christian Faith are no longer lived and loved within the Church. The truth which is marginalized becomes autonomous, remains detached from the whole of the ecclesiastical structure and a new movement then forms itself around it.".... Further he spoke of instances where Vatican II had been misinterpreted by some, "The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of sort of super dogma which takes away the importance of all the rest." The Cardinal further explained that... "the only way in which Vatican II can be made plausible is to present it as it is: one part of the unbroken, the unique Tradition of the Church and of her faith." [quotes from "Lessons from the Lefebvre Schism", by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger published in the Documentation Service vol. IV, Number 8, 1991, emphasis supplied]

Indeed the many changes that we see in Papal liturgies, today has prove that the Holy Father is giving flesh to the "reform of the reformed". This truth about the liturgy was eloquently expressed by Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz in his foreword to the Baronius Missal in this way "...the older rites need not be disdained in order to appreciate the new, nor must the new rites be disparaged in order to love the old." [Emphasis supplied]

Prayer for the Pope:
Almighty Father we bless you and thank you for giving us a Shepherd like Pope Benedict XVI. We thank you that after the turbulence and misinterpretation after Vatican II we have a leader and shepherd who will guide us to the beauty and treasury of the Church. We thank you for making us realize that in the church there is a treasury of faith that we can rediscover time and again. That turbulence and crisis cannot obscure. Indeed we have a Rock. In it we believe that you have founded the church. We ask for your blessing on our Pope and may he be blessed with long years in the pontificate to guide us and build your church. Thank you Lord. We ask this in the name of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Ch
rist. Amen.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Glimpse of the Chaplain's Office

It's a rare opportunity for me to visit the office of Fr. Abe, CRS, the chaplain of ACI. Recently they have been very busy with renovations of the school, relocating offices and many others. My place of residence and place of work is far from Sorsogon City, its only during Sundays that I got the chance to visit Aemilianum College to assist in the TLM. This morning after the Mass Fr. Abe invited me to visit his new office at the second floor of their college building. His office is near the chapel and the TV Studios. With his permission I took photos of his new office. The display objects in his office shows that the occupant is a priest. The picture on the right shows a bookshelf with books on apologia, bibles and spirituality. There is also the crucifix featuring an art rendition which combines the threefold functions of Christ as Priest, King and Prophet. Fr. Abe explained to me that this crucifix is called the Johannine Cross, because it got its inspiration from th gospel narrative of St. John. This crucifix is similar to the engraving printed on the fist page of many of our hand missals. Truly an inspiring work of art. A reminder of our baptism. At baptism we were incorporated in the community redeemed by Christ, a chosen nation, a nation of holy priests and prophets, called to be separate from this world and called into the Kingdom of Light.

A decorative wreath at the door of the office welcomes with peace every visitor. In deed Christ is the Prince of Peace and Christians are called upon to pursue peace.

A Cross where the Biblical Titles of Christ are inscribed

The Icon of Our Lady in the work-desk area. Notice the oil lamp? Fr. Abe said he lits the lamp every time he will pray the Rosary.

Christ the Teacher. The Ominous and ever present as teacher and wise counselor.

Icon (Romanian icon) of St. Jerome Emiliani, Father of the Orphans. It was Indeed a surprise to find an icon of a Western Saint. Since Roman Catholics are not fond of icons.

Saints Peter and Paul

The Hall way leading to Fr. Abe's office. Notice how the crucifix proclaims the Salvation wrought by Christ for every believing souls.

8th Sunday After Pentecost: Our TLM in Sorsogon City

St. Jerome Emiliani Chapel, Aemilianum College Inc., Sorsogon City, Philippines The Chapel is maintained by the Somascan Order. Traditional Latin Mass is held every Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

As usual the 8th Sunday after Pentecost Liturgy was celebrated at the St. Jerome Emiliani Chapel, Aemilianum College Inc., The theme for today's Liturgy revolved around the Mercy of God. We who have received mercy from God must thank Him and serve Him. And s such we owe our obedience to Him. The First Lesson was taken from the Letter of Paul to the Romans 8:12-17. Here St. Paul tells us that we are not debtors to the Flesh but to Him who has redeemed us from sin. While the Gospel Reading was taken from Luke 16:1-9.

Christ said: "Let the little children come unto me, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these!"

I volunteered to take the Picture of the Group who assisted at Mass. The Lady with her children have consistently been attending our Traditional Latin Mass. It inspires me to see these innocent little children attending the Mass. Jesus has promised God's Kingdom to these little children. Who could imagine that there would be a Traditional Latin Mass in Sorsogon City? My first encounter with the Traditional Latin Mass dates back in 2003 when I was in-charge of our extension program in Quezon City. But recently with changes in the administration of our University, I was given a different assignment thus my frequent trips to the Big City became less frequent. I can no longer regularly attend the TLM in Manila. I have talked to several priests in our diocese but it seems no one is interested. Indeed the Lord works in wonderful ways and who could tell then that today we have a TLM in Sorsogon City. Although I live far from Sorsogon (I am from Albay a neighboring province of Sorsogon) traveling from my home city of Tabaco is not so much a sacrifice. God is indeed good and He works in wonderful ways. Like a Shepherd Our Lord provides for the needs of his flock.

Fr. Abraham Arganiosa, CRS

After the Mass, our celebrant and Chaplain of Aemilianum College, Fr. Abe Arganiosa, CRS greeted the faithful with his cheerful smile, not minding the thick vestments, the heat and the humidity. The mass ended at around 12:10 p.m. The chasuble Fr. Abe is wearing is actually very old. He found it in the old sacristy of the College. In fact he also found a red one. As well as a deacon's dalmatic and some old sacramentary. The vestments are very old but still elegant looking. Fr. Abe has ordered new green vestments from Neumann but until now it has not been delivered as yet. Perhaps the tailor is busy with orders. So I encouraged Fr. Abe to use the old green vestment he found in the their old Sacristy. He was a bit reluctant to wear the old vestment. But I prodded him to do. I would guess that this beautiful vestment dates back to the 60s but after the liturgical reform in the 70s fell into disuse. The maniple was missing though. Our TLM apostolate does not have complete vestments as of now. We do not even have candelabras and altar lines. But we are doing what we can with our little resources. Our altar servers are little by little getting used to the TLM. This morning I noticed that their older member is beginning to respond to the dialogs portion of the mass. They already know when to ring the bells (by the way Fr. Abe provided a larger bell in the chapel recently), and above all they are getting used to frequent genuflections which is not common in the Novus Ordo. I noticed though that the prolonged kneeling proves to be a test to their endurance and patience. The boys are really struggling. But I believe that with time they will get use to it. I am way older but I find kneeling edifying and it increases my devotion and submission to Our Lord. If ever there are pains in my knees I offer them for the relief of the souls in purgatory.

Charitable souls who could contribute to the furtherance of this apostolate are welcome to extend help. The Lord bless you with much abundance as you help fill the need of the faithful in this part of the Philippines. Our apostolate needs to procure vestments, missalettes for the faithful and other furnishings. The furnishings of the chapel is intended for the Novus Ordo Mass thats why we need to complete the vessels and furnishings for the TLM so that the worship of God will be rendered in a most dignified and beautiful ways. But above all we believe that Our Lord looks at our hearts and our sincerity, simplicity and obedience are the most precious incense we could offer the Lord.

"Fear not Little Flock for it is the Father's pleasure to give you the Kingdom."

Some of the regular attendants to the Mass were not present this time. Some of them are in their own parishes busy with the icon of Our Lady of Penafrancia's visit to the Diocese. Our Lady of Penafrancia is the Patron of the Archdiocese of Caceres of which the diocese of Sorsogon is a Suffragan.