Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pope Paul VI on Peace

"A warning must be kept in mind. Peace cannot be based on a false rhetoric of words which are welcomed because they answer to the deep, genuine aspirations of humanity, but which can also serve, and unfortunately have sometimes served, to hide the lack of true spirit and of real intentions for peace, if not indeed to mask sentiments and actions of oppression and party interests. Nor can one rightly speak of peace where no recognition or respect is given to its solid foundations: namely, sincerity, justice and love in the relations between states, and, within the limits of each nation, in the relations of citizens with each other and with their rulers; freedom of individuals and of peoples, in all its expressions, civic, cultural, moral, and religious; otherwise, it is not peace which will exist - even if, perchance, oppression is able to create the external appearance of order and legality - but an unceasing and insuppressible growth of revolt and war." [Excerpt/quote]  Pope Paul VI in 1968, the Declaration can be read from the Holy See's Website

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Solemnity of the Mother of God

"In the revised arrangement of the Christmas season, we should all turn with one mind to the restored solemnity of the Mother of God. This feast was entered into the calendar in the liturgy of the city of Rome for the first day of January. The purpose of the celebration is to honor the role of Mary in the mystery of salvation and at the same time to sing the praises of the unique dignity thus coming to "the Holy Mother...through whom we have been given the gift of the Author of life." This same solemnity also offers an excellent opportunity to renew the adoration rightfully to be shown to the newborn Prince of Peace, as we once again hear the good tidings of great joy and pray to God, through the intercession of the Queen of Peace, for the priceless gift of peace. Because of these considerations and the fact that the octave of Christmas coincides with a day of hope, New Year's Day, we have assigned to it the observance of the World Day of Peace (Paul VI, Marialis Cultus, Feb. 2, 1974, no.5)." As qouted from

Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the Feast of the Holy Innocents

On this feast of the Holy Innocents let us pray for the Christians in Iraq.

Lesson on this Feast of the Holy Family

This Sunday is the Feast of the Holy Family. The gospel reading for this Sunday narrates how Mary and Joseph lost Jesus in the milieu. Upon finding Jesus conversing with the doctors of the Temple, Mary told Jesus how she and his father had been sorrowing looking for him. Jesus replied that it was his mission to be at His Father's House. Nobody understood all these words but Mary kept all these things in her heart. Many times, Our Lord works in marvelous ways to confound the pride of humankind. In the story of the nativity we saw how our Lord announced the birth of his Son not by an imperial edict and not to the mighty but to the shepherds. We know that in Jesus' time shepherds were despised and marginalized. But it is to them that the proclamation of God's favor was first made known. Here was the mighty Roman Empire conducting a census of its realms. But in the midst of night silently and quietly Jesus was born in a stable.

Today, I consider this celebration of the feast of the Holy Family significant because the church militant is confronted with life issues. There are laws and policies that promotes abortion and materialism as a central value of family life. Worldly people think that happiness can be measured by material things. To limit the number of children for the purpose that both husband and wife would have the chance to enjoy life. That unwanted children are better disposed of rather than given life. Where are now the values of self sacrifice? Ought not parents sacrifice for their children? I am grateful that I have parents who work so hard to provide us education and nurture us. Our parents never thought of their own personal convenience but totally gave their lives for us so that we may have a better future. As Christians we should stand for all these values. Materialism has destroyed our values. Human life is no lionger given its proper value. Let us pray for our Bishops who are courageously standing up for the truth. Let us pray for the misguided Catholic Politicians who are making a mockery of their faith in the public square. Remember that our faith is not something to be put under the closet. It is like a candle. we place it on top of the table so that everyone may be lighted.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph enfold us in your love, amen.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The "Us" aspect of the Church

"The "us" of the Church is alive in the place where Jesus was born, in the Holy Land, inviting its people to abandon every logic of violence and vengeance, and to engage with renewed vigour and generosity in the process which leads to peaceful coexistence. The "us" of the Church is present in the other countries of the Middle East. How can we forget the troubled situation in Iraq and the "little flock" of Christians which lives in the region? At times it is subject to violence and injustice, but it remains determined to make its own contribution to the building of a society opposed to the logic of conflict and the rejection of one’s neighbour. The "us" of the Church is active in Sri Lanka, in the Korean peninsula and in the Philippines, as well as in the other countries of Asia, as a leaven of reconciliation and peace." - Pope Benedict XVI.

For more of this read: Fr. Z

I love this message of the Holy Father because this is the right response to violence. True Christians don't use violence in response to violence but rather makes every way to make peace. We should never forget that Our Lord Jesus said: "Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called children of God."

Friday, December 25, 2009

To the City Rome and the World

Today, it is a delight to see the Holy Father impart his apostolic blessing to the Christians in Rome and to all the world. I was also delighted and observe how he would greet the Filipinos. Before imparting his blessing in Filipino he paused for a moment to acknowledge the Filipino audience. For me I consider it a special treatment and esteem that the Holy Father had for the Filipinos. I would think that the Philippines is the only country in the world today that has laws and social system anchored on orthodox Catholic Teachings. Despite of our marginalization becuase of our manifold problems, the faith of the Filipinos remain steadfast. Thank you Pope Benedict XVI for your love and esteem for the Filipino Nation.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Shepherds

Today in his Midnight Mass Homily the Holy Father has made the shepherds of Bethlehem as focus of his meditation. "We must awake" says the Holy Father, and the shepherds have demonstrated to us how we should respond to the call of God. The Pope made mention of dreamers. Dreamers live in their own world. But in order for us to be able to see the truth we should get out of that selfish world and rediscover the common reality and truth. This desire for God is present in everyone and we who have the knowledge must extend that help so that others may desire it.

Pope Knocked Down by a Woman Who Jumped Barriers at St. Peters

A CNN Report said: "A woman jumped a barrier at the start of Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and knocked down the pope, briefly disrupting ceremonies. Screams erupted from onlooking worshippers when the woman ran toward Pope Benedict XVI and grabbed onto his vestments as he walked down the main aisle of the church, video footage showed. He was quickly helped to his feet by his aides -- prompting cheers from the crowd -- and the service was resumed, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told CNN." For Detailed Story read it at CNN World.

Let us thank Our Lord and Our Lady for protecting the Holy Father from harm. As we pray and hope that the pontificate of His Holiness will bring much good for the restoration and authentic interpretation of Vatican II. He has displayed and bold courage in his teachings and proclamation of the Word of God and the authentic transmission of the deposit of the faith.

Glory to God in the Highest

The Nativity Scene

Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion, Who was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory. - 1 Timothy 3:16 (NAB)

"In this Child, in fact, God-Love is manifested: God comes without weapons, without strength, because he does not aim to conquer, we could say, from without, but rather wants to be welcomed by man in liberty. God becomes a defenseless Child to conquer man's pride, violence and desire to possess. In Jesus, God took up this poor and defenseless condition to conquer with love and lead us to our true identity' - Pope Benedict XVI Address at the general audience December 23, 2009 at the Paul VI Hall.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Paradise on Earth? : A Visit to Misibis, Cagraray Island

As nature lover and an avid traveler, I could not help myself but share with you dear readers some of the photo shots I took this morning (December 22, 2009) while we were on a tree planting activity at Misibis, Cagraray Island in the Philippines. These offshore islands for sometime have been considered as backwater but today has found prominence because of its pristine beauty. Some private investors and the provincial government has been promoting misibis as a tourist destination. I don't want to clog my blog with pictures but I feel that I will be selfish if I did not share these wonderful photos with you. We were privilege to visit the resort. Tourism development is a development goal of the government of the Philippines. And with these development projects going on this will boost tourism and put Cagraray Island into the map of the world.

This is the Cagraray Island Eco-Energy Park a project that demonstrate corporate social responsibility.

Looks like we are at the Aereopagus. Is this the Aegean Islands in Greece? No, it is in Misibis, the Philippines

Our Friends

For the Sports Enthusiasts, overcome your fear! Go jump!

Test your endurance!

Misibis Beach Resort

With all the amenities to enjoy

Albay Gulf in the Background

World class accomodation

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas Tree

Christmas is in the air again and I want to share with the readers of my blog some of the objects we have in our home that symbolizes Christmas. For us Christmas is not just a social event or a holiday. Above all Christmas is all about Christ. Why ask what the spirit of Christmas is? Christmas is about Christ. The mystery of the incarnation is celebrated and recreated. Although in the past the history of Christmas Trees were associated with the north Rhineland custom but today has found universal acceptance. I have a simple interpretation of it. For me Christmas tree symbolizes the the Tree of Life in Paradise. And who is this tree of life? This tree of life is Jesus Christ. Thus Christmas reminds us that once upon a time and today and forever we have Christ as the symbol of our faith and our pledge for eternal life.

This is the Christmas tree in our living room painstakingly set up by my sister. Though my sister is married and lives in a different house she still comes more often to help us set up this Christmas Tree. A delight for the Children with a didactic value.

The Child Jesus

I bought this image of the Baby Jesus sometime ago in Manila. I like the way the artist has portrayed Christ. I visited the department stores and could not find anything similar to these. The objects on display are more of inferior in comparison to this image.

The Nativity Scene

It was said that St. Francis started this practice of displaying nativity scenes. Here in the Philippines we call this "Belen". Almost every home has a Belen. My mother bought this set many years ago in Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City. In this ensemble I noticed that the shepered is missing. My mother said that with the renovations that we made in our house some objects went missing. But I am sure the children will love this nativity set.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Venerable Pope Pius XII

Coronation of the Salus Populi Romani by Pope Pius XII in 1954
(Photo from Wikipedia)

Congregation for the Causes of Saints has published the decree declaring Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II venerable. Venerable Pius XII and Venerable John Paul II, Pray for us!

How can I not recognize this Pope, who in a radio message to the Marian Congress of the Philippines in 1954 said thus and I quote:

"Philippines! Kingdom of Mary! Philippines! Kingdom of the Holy Rosary! Run to this throne of grace, to this saving devotion, because the storm is raging not far away from you. Remain firm in the Holy Faith of your fathers, that you have received at the cradle, just as your islands remain firm, although shaken by earthquakes and violently besieged by irritated waves. And never let the sacred fire of your love for your heavenly Mother die in your souls, this sacred fire represented by these volcanoes erupting from time to time reveal the furnace hidden in your land.' [Emphasis supplied]

"Pope Pius XII has been declared "venerable" because he is a model for Christian life, not because of the historical decisions he made."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mt. Mayon : Timid Fury of a Volcano

A couple of days ago around 22,000 people were evacuated for safety because of the simmering fury of Mt. Mayon. Mayon is known for her beauty but it has had a history of violent eruption. Burying entire villages, destroying crops and livestock. Using my cellphone camera I took these pictures of Mt. Mayon.

Majestic Mt. Mayon as seen from the roof top of Jennifers Kababayan Hotel

Clouds always love to form around the conic shape of the volcano during high humidity days

A seeming unrest. Mt. Mayon as seen from the 2nd Floor of Hotel Villa Angelina

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Guinobatan, Albay

Today I have the chance to visit the town of Guinobatan. A municipality in Albay Province. It is a town set on hilly terrain. Its proximity to Mt. Mayon Volcano makes it susceptible to lahar flooding and ashfall during volcanic eruption. The town is also famous for Simeon Ola considered a local hero for his struggle against the American occupation forces. Nonetheless, because of its terrain, hills and mountains, the town has been famous for its natural springs.

Anyone thinking of performing visita iglesia might consider Guinobatan's parish church of Our Lady of the Assumption.

The town overlooking the hills and beyond.

The belfry of the Church rises above the lush tropical vegatation. On top of it the Cross of Christ proclaiming the eternal salvation, witnessing to the people of Guinobatan

The belfry and the entrance. Notice the banner announcing the appoiuntment of the New Bishop of Legazpi, the Most Rev. Joel Z. Baylon together with the outgoing administrator, Auxilliary Bishop, Most Reverend Lucilo Quiambao

A poster in front of the church providing instruction on the proper dress code when attending mass.

The Outdoor Altar of Christ the King. At the bottom of the monument are the statues of the four virtues that characterizes the Kingdom of God. The statue also bore the Latin inscription Christus Regnat.

The Ad orientem altar now fell into disuse. Now a metal fenscing surrounds it to prevent vandals from sitting or climbing on it.

The symbols of Mary on the Door post. This church is indeed a Marian Church.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Most Rev. Joel Z. Baylon

Congratulation to the new Bishop of Legazpi, His Excellency, Joel Z. Baylon, D.D. prior to his appointment as Bishop of Legazpi, Most Rev. Baylon was Bishop of Masbate. For more on his biography please visit CBCP on line here is an excerpt from the CBCP News: " LEGAZPI City, Dec. 9, 2009—The Province of Albay, famous for its Mayon Volcano, is in the thick of preparations to welcome its sixth bishop, the 55-year old Bishop Joel Z. Baylon, in fitting liturgical reception and canonical installation at the St. Gregory the Great Cathedral at 4:00 P.M. tomorrow. The Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales will lead about 30 other bishops from across the country. Baylon will be formally introduced by Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legazpi, Metropolitan archbishop of Nueva Caceres, to the bishops-emeriti and clergy of the Diocese of Legazpi. CNCP News

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Joys of Advent

The Belfry of the Parish Church of San Juan Bautista Bedecked with Neon Lights.

The Public Plaza of Tabaco City a washed in neon lights to celebrate Christmas.
The Manger scene and other decorations courtesy of the City Government

The season of advent commences again. In a few weeks time it will be Christmas. Though advent is relatively a short season in the liturgical calendar, it is the most joyful. Many traditions and practices evolved out of this season. Peope now a days tend to speculate on the meaning of Christmas. Forgetting that Christmas is all about Christ. God's love expressed is expressed to us by sending us His own begotted Son as a gift of grace. As the Bible said, the Law came through Moses but grace and truth came thorugh Jesus Christ. The real message of Christmas is that we need to prepare our selves to be in a state of Grace so that we can assimilate the spirit of Christmas and give ourselves in the service of others.

Warming Relations Between Moscow and the Holy See

An AFP report states that there is warming of relationship between the Holy See and Moscow. President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia signed a decree establishing full diplomatic relation between Moscow and the Holy See. It was said that the government of Russia would have not done this without the concurrence of the Partriarchate of Moscow. The rapproachment between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church is a concrete sign and a positive outcome of ecumenism. Today more than ever Christianity faces a common enemy in militant secularism that seeks to put religion in the sphere of private life and make relativism as the philosophy behind its morality. A Europe that does not look back at its past and negates the role of Christianity in shaping its culture will never find itself. Materialism is nothing. It is souless. It will not last the beatings of time. Christ said He who hears my word and do them is like a man who builds his house upon a rock. Let us pray for our Church, that they may be one.