Thursday, December 30, 2010

Make a Stand [unofficial music video]

The Official Theme Song of the CBCP Year of the Youth
(Dec 2010 - Jan 2012)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ano po ba ang ibig sabihin ng Cycle A, B at C? Year I at I?

Ano po ba ang ibig sabihin ng Cycle A, B at C? Year I at II?
Nagsisimula ang bagong liturgical year ng Simbahan sa unang linggo ng Adbyento. Ano po ba ang ibig sabihin ng Cycle A, B at C? Ano po ba ang ibig sabihin ng Year I at II?

Mayroon pong pagkakaayos ang mga Pagbasa sa ating Banal na Misa. Hahatiin sa dalawang grupo ang mga pagbasa:
1. Cycle A,B at C – arrangement para sa Sunday at Festive Days (ie Immaculate Conception, Sts. Peter and Paul, etc.)
2. Year I at II – arrangement para sa Weekdays (Mon-Sat at mga araw na hindi festive days)


Note: This is just a basic and simplified introduction. One may research further.
_______________________________________________________

A. The Arrangement of the Readings for Sundays and Festive Days

- Kapag Sunday at Festive days, may 3 pagbasa:
a. Unang pagbasa – galing sa Old Testament
b. Ikalawang pagbasa – galing sa isang Apostle (pwedeng isang sulat ng isang apostol, o sa Book of Revelation, o depende kung Advent, Christmas, Lent o Easter)
c. Ikatlong pagbasa – galing sa Gospels

Note: Ang mga pagbasang ito ay makaka-connect na nagpapakita ng unity ng Old at New Testaments at ng kasaysayan ng ating kaligtasan na kung saan si Kristo ang focus.

3. May dalawang principles na ginagamit sa pagpili ng texts.:
a. Principle of Harmony – pagpili ng mga texts na naaayon sa panahon. (ex. kung Advent Season, e di ‘yung may kinalaman sa paghihintay sa Mesiyas; Kung Lenten Season, e di ‘yung may kinalaman sa pagpapasakit ng Panginoon)

b. Principle of Semi-continuous Reading – pagpili ng text na “halos” magkakasunod since wala namang distinctive character ang ordinary days. Usually sa Sundays of Ordinary days ito ginagamit (ex. Kung Chapter 1 ni Matthew this Sunday, e di Chapter 2 naman next Sunday). Maaaring lumagtaw, kasi nga semi-continuous.

4. Cycle A, B at C (ng 3 Sunday and Festive Day Readings)
- Upang magkaroon ng mas mayaman at iba’t-ibang pagbasa ng Banal na Kasulatan, ang 3 mga pagbasa sa Sunday at festive days ay mayroong three-year cycle (Cycle A,B at C). At dahil may cycle, mapapakinggan natin muli ang isang pagbasa sa Sunday (or festive day) matapos pa ang 3 taon!

- Nagsisimula ang isang year cycle sa First Sunday of Advent tuluy-tuloy hanggang sa susunod na civil calendar year.
- Ang Advent ng 2010 hanggang November ng 2011 ay Cycle A
- Ang Advent ng 2011 hanggang November ng 2012 ay Cycle B
- Ang Advent ng 2012 hanggang November ng 2013 ay Cycle C
- Tapos, uulit muli sa Year A.
- TRIVIA: Ginawa ito sa paraang ‘pag kinwenta mo, ang year 1AD ay Cycle A; 2AD ay Cycle B; at 3AD ay Cycle C; and so on and so forth.

- Ang Cycle A ay tinatawag na Year of Matthew.
- Ang Cycle B ay tinatawag na Year of Mark.
- Ang Cycle C ay tinatawag na Year of Luke.


- Bakit? Kasi ang ordinary Sundays ay predomininated ng respective Gospesl na ito. (Kung Cycle A, majority ng Gospel Reading ay galing sa Gospel of Matthew; and so on)

- Q: Teka...ba’t walang Year of John?
- A: Ang Gospel according to Matthew, Mark and Luke ay tinatawag na “Synoptic Gospels” na ang ibig sabihin ay naglalahad sila ng parehong istorya, kadalasan pareho pa ng sequence o pagkakasunud-sunod ng pangyayari, minsan parehong-pareho pa ng pananalita.
- The term “synoptic” comes from the Greek syn, meaning "together", and optic, meaning "seen".
- Tingnan natin ang diagram sa baba:


Ang kulay violet ay ang mga istoryang parehong makikita sa tatlo (Triple tradition)
Ang kulay blue ay ang mga istorya na makikita lamang kina Mt at Lk (at wala nito si Mk)
Ang kulay green, si Mt lang meron nun.
Ang kulay blue green, si Lk lang meron nun.
Ang kulay gray, kay Lk at Mk lang (at wala kay Mt)
Ang kulay red, kay Mk at Mt lang (at wala kay Lk)
Ang kulay brown, si Mk lang meron nun.


Kaya, ang synoptics ay may madaming magkakaparehong storya. Si John naman ay ibang-iba ang istorya sa tatlong ito. Wala syang sariling year kasi scattered sya sa mga Seasons (ie Lent, Advent, etc) at mga festive days. So, ang Synoptic Gospels (Mt, Mk at Lk) may kanya-kanyang year while si John, scattered sa buong cycle!

_______________________________________________________


B. The Arrangement of the Readings for Weekdays
- Ang mga Pagbasa naman sa weekdays (ordinary Mon to Sat) ay inayos sa paraang may 2 pagbasa:
a. Unang Pagbasa: galing sa Old Testament o kaya mula sa isang Apostle (Letter or from the Book of Revelation), at kung panahon ng Easter galing sa Acts of the Apostles.
b. Ikalawang Pagbasa: galing sa Gospel.

- Ang mga pagbasa sa weekdays ng Lent, Advent, Christmas, at Easter ay same taun-taon. Pero yung Sunday readings nito (as mentioned above) may 3 year cycle.

- Mayroong 34 weeks ang Ordinary Time.

- Ang Gospel Reading ng weekdays ay inuulit taun-taon.

- Ang First Reading naman ay may two-year cycle (kaya mauulit ito every other year).

- Year I is used during odd-numbered years; Year II, during even-numbered years. (Since 2011 is odd number, it is Year I)
- Gumagamit din ng principles of harmony and of semicontinuous reading ang weekday readings.


_______________________________________________________


CONCLUSION: So, ang 2011 (kasama yung part ng December 2010) ay Cycle A (para sa Sunday at Festive days) at Year I (para sa Weekdays).



Sources:
The Sunday Letionary: Ritual word, Paschal Shape by Fr. Norman Bonneau
General Instructions on the Lectionary
Personal Notes

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Filipino Christmas Tradition by Donny Beltran


Filipino Christmas Tradition by Donny Beltran


Simple and traditional yet meaningful ang celebration ng Pasko sa family ng ating kapatid na si Donny Beltran. Ang sabi niya:

CHRIST: "Sa amin pong pamilya/clan hindi namin kinakalimutan ang spiritual essence ng Pasko Who is Christ Himself."

DECORATION: "Pagsapit pa lang ng Nov, may gayak na na palamuti ang bahay pati hardin. Meron din kming Belen na 3 ft. ang taas at Christmas tree."

MUSIC & MASS: "Everyday play kami ng mga traditional Christmas music; simba sa 9-day novena."

EVE: "Sa Dec. 24, merong Noche Buena with the whole clan and even visitors and friends who happen to drop by. May Xchange gift and we offer all our prayer intentions to God giving Him thanks for sending His only Son for humanity."

FOOD & GREETINGS: "Arrays of food are laid on the table for everybody; punta sa mga ninong/ninang, mga relatives para magmano at greet them 'Merry Christmas'.

Ganyan po ka simple, kasaya at makahulugan ang pagdiriwang namin sa araw ng pagsilang ng Nino Hesus. Maligayang Pasko sa lahat!"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bakit December 25 ang Pasko?



BAKIT PO DECEMBER 25 ANG ARAW NG PASKO?


WALANG MAY ALAM
Walang may alam ng exact birthday ng Panginoong Hesus. Ang birthday ni Jesus ay hindi naganap noong 1AD dahil ito ay slightly earlier, sa pagitan ng 2BC at 7BC (Walang 0AD – after ng 1BC, 1AD na agad!). Walang ding binanggit sa Bible, so bakit December 25?

FIRST RECORD
Ang kauna-unahang naitalang petsa na ipinagdiwang ang Pasko nang December 25 ay noong 336AD sa panahon ni Emperador Constantine (ang unang Christian Roman Emperor). Matapos ang ilang taon, idineklara ni Pope Julius I na officially December 25 na ang celebration.

WINTER SOLSTICE AT MGA PAGANONG PAGDIRIWANG
Ang malamang na dahilan sa pagpili ng December 25 ay dahil nagaganap sa December ang Winter Solstice at ginaganap din ng mga pagano ang kanilang mga midwinter festivals na tinatawag na 'Saturnalia' at 'Dies Natalis Solis Invicti'
Ang Winter Solstice ay ang araw na kung saan pinakamaikli ang oras sa pagitan ng sunrise at sunset na nagaganap twing December 21 o 22. Para sa mga pagano, ang ibig sabihin nito ay tapos na ang taglamig at simula na nang tagsibol kaya may pagdiriwang sila sa kadahilanang natalo na ng araw (sun) ang dilim ng winter.

Ang “Saturnalia” naman at ginanap sa pagitan ng December 17 at 23 upang parangalan ang diyos-diyosang si Saturno.

Ang “Dies Natalis Solis Invicti” na ang ibig sabihin naman ay 'birthday of the unconquered sun' ay ginaganap twing December 25 (Akala kasi ng mga Romano ay December 25 ang Winter Solstice nung panahong iyon) at ito ang rin 'birthday' ng Pagan Sun god na si Mithra. Dahil Sun god si Mithra, tinawag na Sunday ang araw na iyon.

PASKO: KRISTYANONG PAGDIRIWANG
Binigyan ng bagong meaning ng mga sinaunang kristyano ang mga nabanggit na festivals ng mga pagano. Para sa mga pagano, they celebrated the Sun god and the 'birthday of the unconquered sun'; Para sa mga Kristyano, we celebrate the birth of the Son of God 'the unconquered Son'! Si Hesus ang nagbigay ng liwanag sa kadiliman na sininisimbolo ng naganap na pagningning ng bituin sa Kanyang sabsaban. Hindi Siya isang meteorological phenomenon lamang tulad ng winter solstice at pagsikat ng araw; Siya ang Anak ng Diyos na nagkatawang-tao para sa atin.

Maaring sabihin ng iba: “Eh gaya-gaya lang naman pala tayo sa mga pagano.” Pero hindi po ‘yun ang punto. Ang punto po ay binago ng Simbahan ang pananaw ng mga pagano noong panahong iyon. Ginamit ng Simbahan ang kinagisnang kaugalian upang ipahayag ang katotohanan at mahikayat ang marami sa Kristyanismo. Iba ang kahulugan ng “nanggaya” sa salitang nag-“adapt”.

ISA PANG DAHILAN KUNG BAKIT DECEMBER 25
Ang March 25 ay sacred day din sa mga pagano, kung kailan naman ipinagdiriwang ang paparating na tagsibol na simbolo ng bagong buhay. Ayon sa tradisyong Katoliko, ito ang araw kung kailan binati ng anghel ang Mahal na Birheng Maria (Annunciation) at siya ay naglihi. Ang Nine months (pagbubuntis ng isang ina) after March 25 ay December 25!

GREGORIAN AT JULIAN CALENDARS

Ang ginagamit nating calendar ngayon ay ang 'Gregorian Calendar' na implemented ni Pope Gregory XIII noong 1582. Bago ito, Julian Calendar (named after Julius Caesar) ang ginamit. Mas accurate ang Gregorian. Ang daming days ng Julian. Nung nagpalit ng calendar, 10 days ang nawala sa Julian kaya from October 4, 1582 jump agad sa October 15, 1582!

Ito ang dahilan kung bakit maraming Orthodox at Coptic Churches ang nagse-celebrate ng Pasko sa January 7 dahil Julian pa din ang gamit nila. Ang Armenian Church naman January 6! Sa ibang bahagi ng UK, ang January 6 ay tinatawag na 'Old Christmas'

SAN AGUSTIN
Si St Augustine ang talagang nagkalat ng tradisyon ng pagdiriwang na ito ng December 25 noong 6th century sa Britain at Western Europe.

CONCLUSION
'Yan ang maikling pagpapaliwanag kung bakit December 25 ang Pasko. Nawa’y nakatulong ito. Hindi na po ganoong mahalaga kung alam natin o hindi ang birthday ng Panginoon. Ang pinakamahalaga ay alam nating Mahal tayo ng Diyos at ibinigay Niya ang Kanyang bugtong na Anak para sa atin sa araw ng Pasko (cf.Jn 3:16).Ang diwa ng Pasko ay pagmamahalan. Kung tayo ay nagmamahal, araw-araw ay Pasko. Kung tayo ay nagmamahal, balewala na ang panahon, o petsa o oras sapagkat ang pagmamahal ay walang hanggan.

Bakit Ka Nga Ba Nag-Sakristan?


"Bakit Ka Nga Ba Nag-Sakristan?"
Bro. Mark Philipp Mencias, RN

June 10, 1995, Saturday, 5:00 PM, my schoolmates dragged me to San Roque Parish Church for some unknown recruitment. They said that joining this "so-called" group will make me famous. I really had no idea why on earth was I sitting there wating for my turn to be "PROCESSED". Actually, I never dreamed of becoming an altar server. However, back then, becoming an acolyte was more than a privilege. It was a stage, a form of leverage to catapult oneself to stardom. The title "sacristan" entailed prestige amongst my peers. Though I was hesitant, I still gave it a shot to join the dashing and swash-buckling "Knights of the Altar". I was not expecting that I will pass the interview part nor was I hopeful but for some strange luck I passed and was admitted. Though dubious about my length of stay in the organization, I never expected that it will leave its imprint on me.


To be honest, I was never a big fan of our alb and surplice. I despise the fact that I am supposed to wear those vestments in front of people and pretend that I am a "good boy" because in reality I was never a good boy. I often broke rules and caused mayhem when I was a junior member. I spent hours playing counter strike in our computer shop and I never took Bible sharing seriously during our meetings. Although I was a bit of an anti-social, my older brothers in the ministry never lost hope that I will someday change. I never sought for our officers attention, but they never forgot to share some "thoughts of wisdom" like "Napakakulit mo Mencias! Ang sarap mong kutusan ng maraming beses sa noo!" or "Parati ka na lang hindi pwede mag-serve, e nakikita kitang naglalaro lang ng computer!" However, they never lost hope that I will someday change. And they were wrong to hope at all. I remained "makulit" and "pasaway" until one day an older brother told me, "Ok ka naman Mencias. Makulit ka lang talaga tsaka madalas ayaw mong sumunod. Gusto mo lang talagang maging masaya at kakaiba ang stay mo dito sa KOA. Pero hindi naman yun yung dahilan kung bakit nandito ka pa rin di ba? Kasi kung ayaw mo talaga dito [at maging sakristan], matagal ka ng umalis? Bakit ka nga ba nag-sakristan?" That really struck a nerve in me.

"Bakit ka nga ba nag-sakristan? Bakit mo gustong mag-sakristan?" This were the same questions that most aspiring altar servers have to answer in their interview. Surprisingly, these same questions are what altar servers should frequently ask themselves. Questions which have no definite answer unless one allows time to make him realize the value of becoming an altar server.



Becoming an altar server are more than prestige and privilege. It is a process of change by allowing an invisible hand to mold you to the person God wants you to be. Take the story of the apostle Matthew as an example. He was despised because he was a wretched tax collector. However, he simply listened to Jesus and allowed his master to renew him to become his disciple. In the process he became a witness to Christ's greatness as an evangelist. Or even Paul who was a murderer and persecutor of Christians until he got his ass kicked so hard that he saw a vision of the Lord on his way to Damascus. The succeeding events resulted to his conversion and he utterly became an apostle to the Gentiles. The same premise can be assumed for the process of change for altar servers. God draws to Him even the most sinful and hated people so that He can change them into His likeness. However, one must humble himself to accept his own short-comings and flaws in order for change to set in. Also, a listening ear will help in acquiring good attitudes and retaining them. Furthermore, one must unlearn the bad attitudes, learn good ones and try to relearn them so that the good attitudes remain intact. Moreover, we must be patient that change for the better takes some time. We cannot change ourselves nor other people in a blink of an eye. It is a process so have the patience to persevere even if it seems that there was very little change that transpired. The fruits of our labor will soon manifest as long as we keep on trying our best.


I realized that I was drawn to the idea of allowing myself to be renewed. I know for a fact that I was a mischievous kid and was very aware of it but I never wanted to carry that attitude as I grow up. I didn't knew exactly what to do to rid myself off of my mischievousness so I simply allowed God to change me. Some changes were terribly difficult and some were very easy. Nonetheless, I think I changed a lot.


So, 14 years after that question was asked of me, I think I already have an answer. I think I will say "Para tumino at magbago ako sa tulong ni Bro!" It sounds ridiculous but as I have said it is a process. It takes time to change. I want to become a good person than I was the day before yesterday and I am more than willing to surrender myself to God to be molded into a human being worthy before Him.



Source: http://home.catholicweb.com/moas-srcp/index.cfm/NewsItem?ID=279845&From=About

Note:
Reposted through the permission of Mark Journel Quero, administrator of the website of
San Roque Cathedral - Ministry of Altar Servers
Diocese of Caloocan

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

AFCC Book Club: The Child, The Wishes, and the Wonder


AFCC Book Club: The Child, The Wishes, and the Wonder

shared by Maria Theresa Orap- Cabezon

Title: THE CHILD, THE WISHES, and THE WONDER
Author: Rev. Fr. Joel R. Eslabra
# of pages: 42 pages
Genre: inspirational
Review:
"...unless you change and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of God." Mattew 18:3
This little book (about 14x14 cm), is a collection of true short stories and reflections about the world as seen by children. As adults, we usually fail to listen carefully to what our children are saying and miss the true wisdom from their words. I find this book as a calling for us to be like these children who only have full of trusts, truthfulness and candidness, innocence and goodness in their hearts, which God wants us to be.

Best for ages 10 and above

AFCC Book Club: Tuesdays with Morrie


TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE by Mitch Albom
Book Review by Arlene Ariston



A personal favorite, a kind of book that you would want to read and re-read because long after you have read it, it stays with you and the lessons learned are what you will treasure...arlene

I recommend this book for young adults. Here's a brief description of the book:

"Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live."

Back when I was confined at the hospital a year ago, I read it again, rekindling that precious feeling of having found a friend, a mentor who understood what you went through and stood by you. My surgical oncologist saw me reading it and commented, "I love that book". I love it too so I gave a copy to my cardiologist, one of my angels at the time I was undergoing some dark moments in my life! Here are some quotes from the book that I really like:

#1

“"The truth is . . . once you learn how to die, you learn how to live."”

Morrie Schwartz
#2

“"Build a little community of those you love and who love you."”

Morrie Schwartz
#3

“"Do the kinds of things that come from the heart."”

Morrie Schwartz
#4

“"Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else, something hurts you, yet you Know it shouldn't, you take certain things for grated, even when you know you should never take anything for granted...."”

Morrie Schwartz
#5

“"Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do, accept the past as past, without denying it or discarding it, learn to forgive yourself and forgive others, don't assume that it's too late to get involved."”

Morrie Schwartz
#6

“"Dying is only one thing to be sad over, Mitch. Living unhappily is something else."”

Morrie Schwartz
#7

“"These were people so hungry for love they were accepting substitutes. They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works."”

Morrie Schwartz
#8

“"If you're trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you're trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere."”

Morrie Schwartz
#9

“"Take my condition. The things I am supposed to be embarrassed about now — not being able to walk, not being able to wipe my ass, waking up some mornings wanting to cry — there is nothing innately embarrassing about them. It's the same for women not being thin enough, or men not being rich enough. It's just what our culture would have you believe. Don't believe it."”

Morrie Schwartz

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finally Home by Arlene Abuel-Ariston

FINALLY HOME
By Arlene Abuel-Ariston (philstar.com) Updated March 09, 2010 09:43 AM
__________________________________________________________________________
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Arlene Abuel-Ariston, 53, is a retired bank employee.
Follow her in her blogs at:
http://arlene1956.wordpress.com/
http://arlene1027.wordpress.com/
Powered by website analytics technology.


__________________________________________________________________________

Twenty years. A heartbeat. A lifetime.
And the years in between were a bit hazy, but full of memories that a whole family would treasure, relish and think about. It was in March 1987 that my husband ventured out of the country to work as an interior designer/estimator in an architectural firm in Saihat, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Back then, they were known as OCW (overseas contract workers) not as OFW as they are called nowadays.

We were about seven years into the marriage, with two kids, a girl of five and a boy of three. You might say, they were a bit too young to be left behind without the guidance of a father, and they were still too young too to understand why he has to go and seek greener pastures. Days before that — months actually — we were both deliberating if he would accept the job offer or not. We both had good jobs and can afford to hire two helpers to take care of our children without one of us leaving for a job abroad. But thinking of the future of our children prompted us to make that sudden leap and allowed us to rationalize that it was the best way we could save and plan. Didn’t we call it, the Kingdom of Dreams?


The first two years were the hardest. We survived on weekly letters and occasional overseas calls. Our two kids learned to use a cassette tape recorder so we could record what they had to say. It was more of the “I love you, Papa.” “we miss you Papa” or “ingat po Papa” and several doodles and drawings inserted in bulky letters. They were years of learning how to cope with and be strong in times of crisis, and how to be more loving to our two kids — with me playing the role of both father and mother aside of course from the pressure of a nine-to-five job. Faced with a situation like this, which I am sure most Filipinos with family members abroad experienced too, I was proud that we survived the more than twenty years of separation with just only two or three months of my husband’s vacations in between contracts, which was every eighteen months.

There were times when you feel like giving up. There were times when I end up crying in a corner, feeling helpless with a situation that does not have to be there. But you have to face the situation alone because your partner was 4,600 miles afar. Yet the dreams egg you on to endure and have enough faith in each other.

There were times when just hearing each other’s voice was enough to last for a few months, for a year at most. Back then, cell phones were unheard of, and the Internet was just starting to pick up. Lucky are those who now have access to modern communications to get through a life of being incomplete as a family.

Twenty years. A lot of things happened in those twenty long years of being apart. But I am proud to say that both our two kids grew up to be responsible individuals. They were both consistent honor students. My daughter graduated Magna Cum Laude, AB Communication Arts from UST in 2003, and she is now working as an Assistant Manager in the oldest bank in our country. My son has a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the same university. I accepted an optional retirement offer ten years ago and spent my time watching the kids grow up.

Finally, my husband went home for good on December 17, 2008. It was a major decision for all of us. Finally, we are now complete as a family. June of last year, however, I was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer and underwent surgery on July 18, 2009 at the Chinese General Hospital under the care of Dr. Samuel Ang. I have completed six cycles of chemotherapy at the Benavidez Cancer Institute in UST last December.

And all those times that I was having my treatment, I felt God’s hands. It would have been more difficult for us to cope if my husband was not around. He was my caregiver, my driver, my companion at the hospital while I was having my treatment. God is so good to allow us to share the pain of undergoing these lifetime changes. God is so good to allow us to be together again after all these years of being apart from each other. God is so good to make us realize that one’s family after all is surely a safe anchor for every trials and tribulations in our lives.


Source: http://www.philstar.com/community/Article201005.aspx?articleId=556377&publicationSubCategoryId=503

Amazing Grace: Fe Baguio's Life Story

AMAZING GRACE: FE BAGUIO'S STORY

website-hit-counters.com
Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

____________________________________________________________________________


Hello po sa lahat,I'm Fe Baguio glad to be a member of AFCC because of my friend JOAN.Since our intentions is to manifest our faith on how GOD LEADS US INTO his glory i just want to share my EXPERIENCE OF LIFE...

I have realized,since childhood,GOD HAS NEVER LEFT ME. Although I have never received the sacrament of Baptism,as a child,I had a natural inclination to search for GOD.In my search, i joined prayer meetings and spent time in the church.At times when my parents searched for me, they found me in Church.

I had faith in GOD, but I didn't have much knowledge of Him. As i grow older,I began to experience all kinds of trials. My problems increased to the point that I started blaming GOD. I SAID,"WHY ME,IF I AM A GOOD DAUGHTER?" I experienced a time of long and painful agony.Then,one day, i found a BIBLE that someone had tried to burn and began reading it. The WORD OF GOD made me see my mistakes.I cried and ask forgiveness for blaming GOD.I gave thanks to him for the gift of my life and I said that I wanted to serve HIM using the gifts HE has given.NOT just a listener, but a doer of HIS WORD.

AFTER SOME TIME, I AGAIN GOT INTO SIN AND MISERY BY CONSENTING TO LIVE WITH MY BOYFRIEND WITHOUT THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY.WE HAD CHILDREN,BUT OUR FAMILY GOT INTO ALL KINDS OF DIFFICULTIES.I began to hate those who looked down on me.

When I came to Hongkong,GOD blessed me with a good employer who adviced me to go out on my day off with a lady whom she recommended for a good behavior.I went with her to a prayer meeting where they were sharing the gospel.I was surprised at their way of sharing the Gospel,it was so simple and enlightening.Through sincerely savouring the Word of God, I could see how GOD was working in thier lives.I heard them mentioning the five ideals:
1. TO READ MEDITATE AND SAVOUR THE HOLY GOSPEL EVERYDAY
2. TO IMITATE CHRIST
3. TO LIVE IN POOR MEANS
4. TO DO PROFOUND AND PROLONGED PRAYER
5. TO DO APOSTOLATE

Each ideals had a very good connection to thier lives acting as a bridge to bring them closer to GOD. I was invited to receive the five days of light seminar.I cried of joy,thanking GOD for calling me again and for the oppurtunity to change my life,to deepen my faith,and to realize HIS unwavering love for me.I was touched by the gospel verse john 15:16

"YOU DID NOT CHOOSE ME, I CHOSE YOU,AND APPOINTED YOU TO GO AND BEAR MUCH FRUIT,THE FRUIT THAT ENDURES.AND SO THE FATHER WILL GIVE YOU WHATEVER YOU ASK OF HIS NAME."

I thought this is a call for me to stand firm and a chance to be a good preacher.I have learned to embrace the teachings of JESUS and how to live these teachings by practicing the five ideals.These have helped me to be a good christian and grow closer to GOD.He has rearranged my lifein a way that i can bear fruit, and someday,be a light to others,if even in a simple way.

Last year, I was invited to attend the adult catechism and I am so blessed to receive the sacrament of Baptism. It was a great joy that there were 4 priests who witnessed my baptism and i really felt and understood the meaning of Baptism. Ang sarap ng feeling talaga; I cried with joy. AND after a couple of weeks, I received my confirmation; and after 3 weeks I received the sacrament of Matrimony...Through my prayers and the prayers of my friends and the 3rd category of the little brethren of Mary whose always there,I feel that GOD IS HELPING ME WALK IN HIS WAY!!!

THANK U PO FOR THE OPPURTUNITY....GOD BLESS US!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tying Loose Ends


TYING LOOSE ENDS
Arlene Abuel Ariston
August 08, 2010


It’s another beautiful Sunday, a little cloudy outside with rain showers in between. Sundays are always spent with the family. It’s one of those days that the hubby, my two kids and I always look forward to. Breakfast seems quite long during Sunday mornings and sharing thoughts and news over a cup of coffee and hot pan de sal seems to be the accepted ritual. I love Sundays and I try to catch up on the morning mass on TV before we attend the 9am mass at the church near our village. I find great joy just hanging around bookstores, having a siomai fix or simply lazing in the garden playing with our two dogs and our new puppy.

I was greatly touched by Fr. Orbos’ homily – travel light, let go of the excess baggage, do not fear, trust in God. How many of us cannot let go of our emotional insecurities, our financial worries, our fears of the unknown? How many of us are concerned about having less in life and yet we are still happy because we have enough faith in God? Most of us are fixated on material things that we sometimes forget that life is not all measured by what you have. Life could be whimsical at times, or perhaps full of angst but the best things come when we learn to trust and let go.

The past year, my journey has been one long road of struggle and pain. Among friends and family, I’ve learned to accept things and go with the flow. “Where life takes me Lord, I will follow”. Two weeks ago, hubby and I enjoyed sharing with one of my friends. We’ve been friends for more than three decades and I am happy that after all these years, we have managed to maintain the friendship. Sr. Thea, FMM is a Franciscan nun and she is also a cancer survivor like me. One thing that I remembered well that she shared was this, being sick give us the privilege of making our self closer to the Lord. Yes, I do believe that too. Fr. Orbos said in his homily said that illness is also a blessing because we are given the chance to prepare ourselves to meet our Maker. How true! Reality hurts sometime , but the more life throws at you, the more you become stronger. Next week, I am again scheduled to go back to my urologist for removal of the DJ stent which they inserted when I was hospitalized last May. My latest kidney ultrasound shows that the stones are still there.

“Lord, let my stay at the operating room be quick and painless, hold my hand while I am in there “. That’s all I asked for today at least. And for my dear friends out there, will you include me in your prayers? Thank you!

Friday, July 9, 2010

God has a plan for you

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU
Allan Raymond Santiago


Everyone longs to give himself to someone,
To have a deep personal relationship with another,
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively
But God to the Christian says,
“no,not until you are SATISFIED, FULFILLED and CONTENT
with giving yourself totally unreserved to ME, alone
discovering that only in ME is your satisfaction to be found,
then you will capable of the perfect human relationship
that I have planned for you.
You will never be united with ME exclusively of anyone
or anything else, exclusive of any desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning, stop wishing and
Allow ME to bring it to you, just keep on watching ME
Expecting the greatest things
Keep listening and learning the things I tell you.
You just wait, that’s all.
Don’t be anxious, don’t worry.
Don’t look around at the things you want.
You just keep looking at ME or you’ll miss what
I want to show you. And when you are ready,
I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful
Than any of you would dream of.
You see, until you are ready (I am working even at this moment to have both of you ready at the same time), until you are both satisfied
Exclusively with ME and the lives I prepared for you,
You won’t be able to experience the love that exemplifies your
Relationship with ME
This is perfect love
And I want to see you in flesh a picture of your
relationship with ME. And enjoy naturally and concretely the everlasting arm of beauty,
perfection, and love that I offer you with MYSELF…

Friday, June 11, 2010

Homily for the Closing of the Year of the Priest (June 11, 2010)

CONCLUSION OF THE YEAR FOR PRIESTS

HOLY MASS

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI


Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
St Peter's Square
Friday, 11 June 2010





Dear Brothers in the Priestly Ministry,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Year for Priests which we have celebrated on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the death of the holy Curè of Ars, the model of priestly ministry in our world, is now coming to an end. We have let the Curé of Ars guide us to a renewed appreciation of the grandeur and beauty of the priestly ministry. The priest is not a mere office-holder, like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions. Instead, he does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life. Over the offerings of bread and wine he speaks Christ’s words of thanksgiving, which are words of transubstantiation – words which make Christ himself present, the Risen One, his Body and Blood – words which thus transform the elements of the world, which open the world to God and unite it to him. The priesthood, then, is not simply “office” but sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be, through us, present to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings – who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead – this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word “priesthood”. That God thinks that we are capable of this; that in this way he calls men to his service and thus from within binds himself to them: this is what we wanted to reflect upon and appreciate anew over the course of the past year. We wanted to reawaken our joy at how close God is to us, and our gratitude for the fact that he entrusts himself to our infirmities; that he guides and sustains us daily. In this way we also wanted to demonstrate once again to young people that this vocation, this fellowship of service for God and with God, does exist – and that God is indeed waiting for us to say “yes”. Together with the whole Church we wanted to make clear once again that we have to ask God for this vocation. We have to beg for workers for God’s harvest, and this petition to God is, at the same time, his own way of knocking on the hearts of young people who consider themselves able to do what God considers them able to do. It was to be expected that this new radiance of the priesthood would not be pleasing to the “enemy”; he would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world. And so it happened that, in this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light – particularly the abuse of the little ones, in which the priesthood, whose task is to manifest God’s concern for our good, turns into its very opposite. We too insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again; and that in admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey, so that the Lord will protect them and watch over them in troubled situations and amid life’s dangers. Had the Year for Priests been a glorification of our individual human performance, it would have been ruined by these events. But for us what happened was precisely the opposite: we grew in gratitude for God’s gift, a gift concealed in “earthen vessels” which ever anew, even amid human weakness, makes his love concretely present in this world. So let us look upon all that happened as a summons to purification, as a task which we bring to the future and which makes us acknowledge and love all the more the great gift we have received from God. In this way, his gift becomes a commitment to respond to God’s courage and humility by our own courage and our own humility. The word of God, which we have sung in the Entrance Antiphon of the liturgy, can speak to us, at this hour, of what it means to become and to be priests: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29).


We are celebrating the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and in the liturgy we peer, as it were, into the heart of Jesus opened in death by the spear of the Roman soldier. Jesus’ heart was indeed opened for us and before us – and thus God’s own heart was opened. The liturgy interprets for us the language of Jesus’ heart, which tells us above all that God is the shepherd of mankind, and so it reveals to us Jesus’ priesthood, which is rooted deep within his heart; so too it shows us the perennial foundation and the effective criterion of all priestly ministry, which must always be anchored in the heart of Jesus and lived out from that starting-point. Today I would like to meditate especially on those texts with which the Church in prayer responds to the word of God presented in the readings. In those chants, word (Wort) and response (Antwort) interpenetrate. On the one hand, the chants are themselves drawn from the word of God, yet on the other, they are already our human response to that word, a response in which the word itself is communicated and enters into our lives. The most important of those texts in today’s liturgy is Psalm 23(22) – “The Lord is my shepherd” – in which Israel at prayer received God’s self-revelation as shepherd, and made this the guide of its own life. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”: this first verse expresses joy and gratitude for the fact that God is present to and concerned for us. The reading from the Book of Ezechiel begins with the same theme: “I myself will look after and tend my sheep” (Ez 34:11). God personally looks after me, after us, after all mankind. I am not abandoned, adrift in the universe and in a society which leaves me ever more lost and bewildered. God looks after me. He is not a distant God, for whom my life is worthless. The world’s religions, as far as we can see, have always known that in the end there is only one God. But this God was distant. Evidently he had abandoned the world to other powers and forces, to other divinities. It was with these that one had to deal. The one God was good, yet aloof. He was not dangerous, nor was he very helpful. Consequently one didn’t need to worry about him. He did not lord it over us. Oddly, this kind of thinking re-emerged during the Enlightenment. There was still a recognition that the world presupposes a Creator. Yet this God, after making the world, had evidently withdrawn from it. The world itself had a certain set of laws by which it ran, and God did not, could not, intervene in them. God was only a remote cause. Many perhaps did not even want God to look after them. They did not want God to get in the way. But wherever God’s loving concern is perceived as getting in the way, human beings go awry. It is fine and consoling to know that there is someone who loves me and looks after me. But it is far more important that there is a God who knows me, loves me and is concerned about me. “I know my own and my own know me” (Jn 10:14), the Church says before the Gospel with the Lord’s words. God knows me, he is concerned about me. This thought should make us truly joyful. Let us allow it to penetrate the depths of our being. Then let us also realize what it means: God wants us, as priests, in one tiny moment of history, to share his concern about people. As priests, we want to be persons who share his concern for men and women, who take care of them and provide them with a concrete experience of God’s concern. Whatever the field of activity entrusted to him, the priest, with the Lord, ought to be able to say: “I know my sheep and mine know me”. “To know”, in the idiom of sacred Scripture, never refers to merely exterior knowledge, like the knowledge of someone’s telephone number. “Knowing” means being inwardly close to another person. It means loving him or her. We should strive to “know” men and women as God does and for God’s sake; we should strive to walk with them along the path of God's friendship.

Let us return to our Psalm. There we read: “He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me” (23[22]:3ff.). The shepherd points out the right path to those entrusted to him. He goes before them and leads them. Let us put it differently: the Lord shows us the right way to be human. He teaches us the art of being a person. What must I do in order not to fall, not to squander my life in meaninglessness? This is precisely the question which every man and woman must ask and one which remains valid at every moment of one’s life. How much darkness surrounds this question in our own day! We are constantly reminded of the words of Jesus, who felt compassion for the crowds because they were like a flock without a shepherd. Lord, have mercy on us too! Show us the way! From the Gospel we know this much: he is himself the way. Living with Christ, following him – this means finding the right way, so that our lives can be meaningful and so that one day we might say: “Yes, it was good to have lived”. The people of Israel continue to be grateful to God because in the Commandments he pointed out the way of life. The great Psalm 119(118) is a unique expression of joy for this fact: we are not fumbling in the dark. God has shown us the way and how to walk aright. The message of the Commandments was synthesized in the life of Jesus and became a living model. Thus we understand that these rules from God are not chains, but the way which he is pointing out to us. We can be glad for them and rejoice that in Christ they stand before us as a lived reality. He himself has made us glad. By walking with Christ, we experience the joy of Revelation, and as priests we need to communicate to others our own joy at the fact that we have been shown the right way of life.


Then there is the phrase about the “darkest valley” through which the Lord leads us. Our path as individuals will one day lead us into the valley of the shadow of death, where no one can accompany us. Yet he will be there. Christ himself descended into the dark night of death. Even there he will not abandon us. Even there he will lead us. “If I sink to the nether world, you are present there”, says Psalm 139(138). Truly you are there, even in the throes of death, and hence our Responsorial Psalm can say: even there, in the darkest valley, I fear no evil. When speaking of the darkest valley, we can also think of the dark valleys of temptation, discouragement and trial through which everyone has to pass. Even in these dark valleys of life he is there. Lord, in the darkness of temptation, at the hour of dusk when all light seems to have died away, show me that you are there. Help us priests, so that we can remain beside the persons entrusted to us in these dark nights. So that we can show them your own light.

“Your rod and your staff – they comfort me”: the shepherd needs the rod as protection against savage beasts ready to pounce on the flock; against robbers looking for prey. Along with the rod there is the staff which gives support and helps to make difficult crossings. Both of these are likewise part of the Church’s ministry, of the priest’s ministry. The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod, the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray. The use of the rod can actually be a service of love. Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented. As if it were no longer God’s gift, the precious pearl which we cannot let be taken from us. Even so, the rod must always become once again the shepherd’s staff – a staff which helps men and women to tread difficult paths and to follow the Lord.

At the end of the Psalm we read of the table which is set, the oil which anoints the head, the cup which overflows, and dwelling in the house of the Lord. In the Psalm this is an expression first and foremost of the prospect of the festal joy of being in God’s presence in the temple, of being his guest, whom he himself serves, of dwelling with him. For us, who pray this Psalm with Christ and his Body which is the Church, this prospect of hope takes on even greater breadth and depth. We see in these words a kind of prophetic foreshadowing of the mystery of the Eucharist, in which God himself makes us his guests and offers himself to us as food – as that bread and fine wine which alone can definitively sate man’s hunger and thirst. How can we not rejoice that one day we will be guests at the very table of God and live in his dwelling-place? How can we not rejoice at the fact that he has commanded us: “Do this in memory of me”? How can we not rejoice that he has enabled us to set God’s table for men and women, to give them his Body and his Blood, to offer them the precious gift of his very presence. Truly we can pray together, with all our heart, the words of the Psalm: “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Ps 23[22]:6).

Finally, let us take a brief look at the two communion antiphons which the Church offers us in her liturgy today. First there are the words with which Saint John concludes the account of Jesus’ crucifixion: “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out” (Jn 19:34). The heart of Jesus is pierced by the spear. Once opened, it becomes a fountain: the water and the blood which stream forth recall the two fundamental sacraments by which the Church lives: Baptism and the Eucharist. From the Lord’s pierced side, from his open heart, there springs the living fountain which continues to well up over the centuries and which makes the Church. The open heart is the source of a new stream of life; here John was certainly also thinking of the prophecy of Ezechiel who saw flowing forth from the new temple a torrent bestowing fruitfulness and life (Ez 47): Jesus himself is the new temple, and his open heart is the source of a stream of new life which is communicated to us in Baptism and the Eucharist.


The liturgy of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus also permits another phrase, similar to this, to be used as the communion antiphon. It is taken from the Gospel of John: Whoever is thirsty, let him come to me. And let the one who believes in me drink. As the Scripture has said: “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water” (cf. Jn 7:37ff.) In faith we drink, so to speak, of the living water of God’s Word. In this way the believer himself becomes a wellspring which gives living water to the parched earth of history. We see this in the saints. We see this in Mary, that great woman of faith and love who has become in every generation a wellspring of faith, love and life. Every Christian and every priest should become, starting from Christ, a wellspring which gives life to others. We ought to be offering life-giving water to a parched and thirst world. Lord, we thank you because for our sake you opened your heart; because in your death and in your resurrection you became the source of life. Give us life, make us live from you as our source, and grant that we too may be sources, wellsprings capable of bestowing the water of life in our time. We thank you for the grace of the priestly ministry. Lord bless us, and bless all those who in our time are thirsty and continue to seek. Amen.

Greetings to English-speaking priests:

I now wish to greet all the English-speaking priests present at today’s celebration! My dear brothers, as I thank you for your love of Christ and of his bride the Church, I ask you again solemnly to be faithful to your promises. Serve God and your people with holiness and courage, and always conform your lives to the mystery of the Lord’s cross. May God bless your apostolic labours abundantly!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus


NOVENA TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of...... (here name your request)
Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of.......(here name your request) Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of.....(here name your request) Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.
Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.
-- St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Words of Gratitude from the children of Homer and Nanette





June 6, 2010

Mark Adem, son of Homer and Nanette, expressed his sincerest gratitude to the Apostles Filipino Catholic Community for all the love and support for their parents who are celebrating their 25 years as married couples:

From the bottom of our heart, Thank you so much... You really make our parents happier and made their promises of love a dream come true and pure.

If there's a regret, It is not be present during our parents memorable occssion and celebration of faithful and blessful love. Ifonly life's easier than we thought and be together sharing the happiest day our life... ...



Replies from the Community

Sued Magmanlac
totoy,pinapatak mo naman ang luha ko eh.

Roberto Luanzon Jr.
Welcome, Mark! We continue praying for your family especially for your Dad. God bless.:-)

Celina Magmanlac Atienza
davou, dnt wori we are always here for ur mom and esp ur dad. hopefully it s the best way for ur dad to fight inspite of ol d aches and fear......we continue to pray. ninang luvs u...

Ely Robles
davou dont worry we contenue to PRAY for your DAD of course your family..ingat lagi kau jan..

Apostles Filipino Catholic Community
kakatouch tlg ang full support ng community

______________________________________________________

MARK replied:

Mark Adem
To those who loves us, MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT PO SA INYONG LAHAT! Many thanks to the Apostles Filipino Community! I hope you inspire and care for more people most especially to those who are in needs... LOVE YOU PO AND GOD BLESS YOU PO!










____________________________________________________________________

Mary Ann Adem, their daughter, replied (June 11, 2010):

To all of you guyz, i wanna say thank you so much for the effort, but not only to that, for the sincerity, for giving so much love and care to my parents, naneth and homer adem, i know it's kinda late...i haven't open my account lately actually that's y...i'am so so overwelmed for what you have done to my mom and dad, i really don't know what to say, but saying Thank you is kulang na kulang...yet, i still want to Thank you for being there with my parents, it means a lot to us as well as hurting us, 'coz we are not there literally... i hope i can meet all of you guys in person. again Thank you so so much!!..I, Mary Ann M. Adem, daughter of mr. homer and naneth adem, in behalf of my other family members Thanking each and everyone of you for letting us feel that we're not alone.. THANK YOU!!

AFCC: Follow Us!





The Apostles Filipino Catholic Community utilizes the internet to spread the WORD of GOD and the faith of our fathers. Here's the list of the social networking sites that you can follow


"Come, follow me"
(Luke 18:22;Matthew 16:24; Mark 1:17; Luke 9:23).


AFCC Mutiply Account (exclusive for AFCC members in Rome)
http://afccrome.multiply.com/

AFCC Facebook Account
http://www.facebook.com/afccrome

AFCC Youtube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/afccrome

AFCC Blogspot
http://afccrome.blogspot.com/

Fr. Louie's Twitter Account
http://www.twitter.com/studentpriest

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Arlene Ariston shares this reflection about their grotto in their garden.

C'EST LA VIE
by Arlene Ariston


I was visualizing how our garden would look if we cut the carabao grass to a more uniform length and hubby says, “let’s try”. We have planted it three weeks ago, and it is beginning to grow new shoots, which will eventually be my patch of green. So garden we did the whole afternoon and it turned out so rewarding. I just love the sound of flowing water from our small garden pond and our three Pangasius fish are a show-off. Three days ago, we changed the water and noticed that they had small cuts in their bodies and the pinkish hue that I thought was the actual color of their fins are exposed flesh perhaps brought about by their constant bumping into the concrete wall. And I was thinking, why is it that when you buy fish in the market, you actually don’t bother to know how they were caught, how they were propagated and eventually harvested to finally land on your dining table. This time though, I have that protective feeling towards them much as I would protect our two dogs which are constant shadows, always following us around and trying to be noticed and touched. How can one get attached to a fish? I do enjoy watching them swim, the way their graceful bodies freely float with just their nostrils showing signs that they are alive. A friend once told me, while we were both admiring the goldfish in their aquarium, “remember, they represent the continuity of life”. Yes, they sure remind us that life is a continuous process. It is a process of becoming.

Life is full of beauty if only we open our eyes and admire what is in front of us . How could you not be touched by a sunrise or a golden sunset? How can you not laugh with an innocent child without a thought of the daily cares and worries of this world? How can you not admire those beautiful wild flowers growing on the wayside? How could you not be happy when you hear a voice from the other line asking how you are? Sometimes, we are simply blinded by worldly things that we forget the simple joys of a handshake, a smile from a stranger, a hello from a friend, a pat on the shoulder, a warm embrace and a hug. Sometimes, we take all of these for granted. We are still lucky, we have the power to see and admire, we have the power to touch and feel. I don’t know why but lately, I get a little weepy just listening to a nice old song on the radio, I get a little weepy listening to a priest delivering a good homily and I do cry when I am alone, not for anything else but because I am overwhelmed with such emotions that crying is the only natural thing to do.

I was having a chat this morning with a friend and a former office mate. Neil is now based in the US and we haven’t seen each other for more than a decade. I let him read some of my musings , then he said, “why don’t you have them published and I’ll be the first one to buy.” Oh, oh, what a nice way to say, you believe in me. Thank you Neil. Someday, maybe, I’ll find the courage to write something that would touch someone’s soul, then I’ll die happy because that would be a dream fulfilled for me.

from my Wordpress blog: http://arlene1956.wordpress.com/

A Reflection from the Heart of Africa

A REFLECTION FROM THE HEART OF AFRICA
Rev, Fr. Raul Tabaranza, MCCJ


This is a reflection from my friend and brother, Rev. Fr. RAUL TABARANZA,MCCJ, a Comboni father who is serving the LORD in the African mission. He wrote this last Sept 14-15, 2009. When I was a postulant in Calamba City, Kuya Raul was a novice of the Comboni missionaries in the nearby hill.


I am writing full of imagination in my mind on how a missionary should behave in the eyes of God. I also take into consideration the celebration of yesterday- the Triumph of the Holy Cross, and today, a special day for our Lady of Sorrow. Forgive me therefore, for my scattered thoughts, for I am always writing freely straight from my heart.

DSC02722

The soul of this poor missionary in the heart of Africa is very much grateful to God for the many things granted on him. He offers himself but also thankful to God for the reward. At times, the reward is suffering- the scourging heat of the sun, flu and malaria, headache and sleepless nights in the villages and many more. Yet, this soul is very much triumphant for he sees all of these as gifts, not punishments. He has understood that trials and aridity in spirit are actually privileges, given to a soul who loves to suffer joyfully. He has learned the art of joyful suffering.

When I was in Kasweta, 180 kms from our mission, in the middle of the jungle, there I saw the real expression of suffering- no school no clinic, people dying of illness. They have to walk 3 days crossing 5 mountains in order to reach the hospital. Many of them die on the road. Women had to pound maize every day, to grind them by stones, no money and more. Yet, in their faces, they manifest joy and happiness. They have strong faith though abandoned for 8 months because of the rain and flood. They are unreachable by that time.

DSC02729

I have seen what simplicity of life is, I have witnessed what it means SORROW, yet I could not describe it. Sorrow is only in the heart, and the heart has its own language. Yet, I am convinced that it is good for us to feel sorrow, for ourselves and for others. It has an impact when your heart feels for people. Your presence among them is itself a comfort, I can attest that.
Yes, I am this soul, vulnerable, nothing at times, but I suffer joyfully. My heart is in deep peace and tranquility. I have learned the art of serenity, that is to offer my activities and life and ministry into the hands of the Lord.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Importance of my Family


THE IMPORTANCE OF MY FAMILY
by Allan Raymund Santiago


Love begins in ourselves. As we grew up, love has been develop throughout the family. Family plays an important role in building a strong community.

We Filipinos, really valued the importance of a family. We have different practices that we put in action such as Eating all together; Praying together; Attending mass together; Go shopping all together.

I still remember when I am just a younger boy, my mommy and my daddy always tell us to wait until everyone is in the dining table. And before we begin the lunch or dinner, there is always a prayer before meal. Even I am starving, I cannot eat.

Also every evening, my mommy is always invite us to pray for the rosary. I remember that time, we and my sister had became headache to her. We are always telling her after the telenovela or we are giving excuses that we are sleepy. But she is always explain to us the importance of prayers. Even we finish the telenovela late at night we cannot escape her, as she is waiting us to finish and start the rosary afterwards.

Attending mass every Sunday is a must for my mother. She is very persistence to wake us up early in the morning.

All that I have now, I owe it to my parents. They have dressed me through this values. Eventhough I am committing mistakes, they are always on my side. Their love is genuine and enormous to their son. As we have a saying as well mothers knows best.

Love and forgiveness. These two topics also apply in a family relationship.

Many parents now are busy in their respective works, that they tend to forgot that they have children that should be taken care of. When they arrive at home, they are tired. They cannot even share time for their children. This is the reality. This is one reason why there are lot of numbers of broken family. As years pass by, the children of today had different interpretation about having a family. What on the mind of children and youth is when I grew up I will strive harder to find a good job to feed my family and survive in this world.

We are forgetting the true values of a family. We should set our own priorities in life. We should balanced our time with our work and with our family. The love matters most above the material things. All of us needs a love of a mother, a love of a father, a love of a son and a love of a daughter.

Everyone of us has our ups and downs in a family, but family are not meant to be disposable. During the 'downs' we need to look for ways to fill our family with love once again. During the 'ups' we can let the family relationship overflow with the love we have, spilling onto those around us.

In a family, thre are times in our life that we commit mistakes. But the forgiveness from our part will rebuid our families. We should learn the art of forgiving. And once, we forgive. Let the past be burried and start a new life. Do not bring it again on our present life, for it will bring only argument in our families and maybe can destroy our families.

Love and Forgiveness is key essential for a success of a relationship in a family.

Suffering


SUFFERING
by Allan Raymund Santiago


In my sharing, we will discuss about the sufferings. It is very common for all of us. I know each one of us has a story of sufferings and burdens in our life. It can be a form of financial burdens, state of health, family status, and many more classes of sufferings.

Most of us Filipinos would rather prepare to watch dramatic telenovela and movies. Simply because, we can easily adopt the story in our life. Sometimes, we will tell ourselves the story of this movie is happening to me as well. Huhuhu. And in those stories that we are watching, sometimes we cannot afford not to cry. A tears drop in our eyes, once we have been touched of what we have seen.

I remember during my old days, when we are watching a movie with my family in a cinema, whenever there is a scene of sufferings, I cannot stop myself to cry. Thinking no one will see me if I cry coz its dark. I keep fooling myself whenever my sister ask me if I cry. I hardly say No, napuwing lang ako.

Ofcourse, all of us doesn't want to end the movie sadly, all of us wants a happy ending. In all Filipino movie that I have watched, all of them have a happy ending. In an action movies, the main star never dies despite of the hardship to fight with bad goons. In a comedy movies, the main stars have succeeded to achieve something they want. In a drama movies, the main stars have succeeded the battle of their life.

I remember also my auntie, cousins, and friends telling me: why you keep watching Filipino movies? We know already the ending. They are forecasting the end of the movie. It's quite funny but it's true. Most of the movies have a happy ending.

Going back in our personal life, God doesn't want us to have a sad ending. He wants us to be fruitful, to be happy in our life. God is the director of our life. As a director, he knew the story from the start we live until in the end. God knows every single detail of the script of our life.

St Paul several times speaks of actually rejoicing in his sufferings, either as a means of growing in virtue (Romans 5:3-5; see also James 1:2-3) or as an offering for the good of the Church (Colossians 1:24). He also made it a condition for our future glory: we are “heirs of God and fellow heirs of Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17). Now, we may not yet have attained the level of spiritual maturity at which we can rejoice in sufferings, but we ought at least to accept them without complaint and make an offering of them to God in union with Jesus’ sufferings on the Cross. To accept the inevitable is perhaps not the highest virtue, but it is certainly better than raging against it! You surely have experienced that in this life suffering is inevitable. “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings…” (1Peter 4:12-13). “You will suffer in the world; but take courage, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Maybe you will ask me, if God wants happy ending for all of us, why we need to suffer?

I have ask this same question before during my childhood. God wants only to tickle us, and saying "Hey, I'm here". We people only pray if we have sufferings in our life, we people only attend to mass if we need something from Him. We tend to forget that we have God that we can lean on everytime in our life. He didn't give any sufferings that he thinks is outbound of our own capacity. He knew that we can overcome it. Of course to overcome any sufferings, we need the help and love of others even God.

We cannot do it on our own. Seek for his knowledge and wisdom to give you answer in all sufferings, queries in your life. Have faith in Him. For He had said to us in the Gospel " Have faith in me, and whatever you ask for will be given to you in due time"

Savoring Scents and Sounds


SAVORING SCENTS AND SOUNDS
by Arlene Ariston

Maybe it’s just too much of being alone that makes me a little introspective, an awkward silence broken by the steady hum of the fan and a gentle gust of wind playing with the shell chimes outside my window – a sense of deja vu. It feels like those times when you cling to the memory of a dream before it fades and dies.

A timid smile might mean a start of renewed friendship or a beginning of a lifetime commitment, but somehow, we’ve got to learn that a YES is not a promise and a promise is not a vow.

Somehow, we’ve got to know that a simple NO does not mean rejection but a mere anticipation of better things to come.

Somehow, we’ve got to realize and accept that permanence might just be an illusion. In this life, there is always a challenge to overcome. Avowals of love today maybe words of hatred tomorrow.

That there is a difference between a friend who listens from someone who talks too much. Sometimes, it’s mere togetherness that counts.

That it is better to admit you were wrong than say it wasn’t your fault.

That trials and sufferings can strengthen the soul and success is inspired by ambition to reach one’s goal.

That it does not mean that God does not answer our prayers but it’s because He has better plans.

We call unbelievable things miracles but it’s God saying, “my daughter, I am her

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back


ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK
by Arlene Ariston


Life is a dance. Sometimes, it is a harmonious fluid movement. We are in sync with the music, utterly attuned to the dance steps, well synchronized with the motion – two steps forward, one step back. Others may lead and others may follow. It is a mad dash to a world of perfect twists and turns, but the journey is not one long road to success and happiness. One wrong move, one wrong turn, one missed step would spell disaster.

We are constantly seeking perfection and excellence in everything we do but there is really nothing perfect in this world that we live in. Life is a meaningless pursuit without challenge. They say that the journeys walked in solitude are always the most remembered. There is something we always learn along the uneven pathways and the most profound events in our lives do not end with the six o-clock news and the setting sun.

Sometimes, I am amused by other people’s reaction upon learning that I have colon cancer and their usual question is “Are you really undergoing chemotherapy? You are looking good“. “Thank you“, I say. My big question is, how should one act and how should one look if you are diagnosed with this kind of ailment? True, it is a life-changing situation but I never think of it as a major setback. I believe that God won’t give us problems that we can’t bear. The agonizing moments that I have endured during the last few months have drawn me closer to God. God has been profoundly real to me, opening my eyes to the realization that not everyone are privileged to endure even just a tiny prick from what He suffered on the cross. Martin Luther King aptly put it this way, “beneath and above the shifting sands of time, the uncertainties that darken our days, and the vicissitudes that cloud our nights is a wise and loving God“.

Life is a dance, and when we falter in our steps, God is there to do the rest.

Friday, June 4, 2010

AFCC PANANAW AT MISYON


PANANAW AT MISYON NG APOSTLES FILIPINO CATHOLIC COMMUNITY



Ang The Apostles Filipino Catholic Community ay isang komunidad ng mga Pilipino sa Roma na umaasa sa biyaya ng Diyos upang mapanatili at mapagyaman ang mga pagpapahalagang Katolikong Pilipino. Naghahangad ito na maitaguyod at mapalago ang pananampalatayang katoliko, mabigyan ng matibay na pundasyon ang pag-asa sa Diyos at mapalaganap ang pag-ibig sa Diyos, sa kapwa at sa komunidad, sa pamamagitan ng:

Pagiging makatarungan at matapat na pagtupad ng mga gawaing pang araw-araw at magalang na pakikitungo sa lahat ng tao (Justice);

Matalino at bukas palad na paggamit ng mga biyayang tinanggap mula sa Diyos at sa tao (Prudence);

Pagiging mahinahon sa pagharap at paglutas ng mga suliranin sa sarili, sa komunidad, sa tahanan at mga pinagtratrabahuhan (Temperance);

Masigasig na pagpapayabong sa pananampalataya sa loob ng komunidad at lakas ng loob sa pagpapahayag nito sa lipunang ginagalawan (Fortitude) ;

Higit sa lahat, ang mataimtim na pagdiriwang ng Banal na Eukaristiya bilang sentro at bukal ng buhay kristiyano-katoliko.