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Culled from the net

This was the photo they selected during his beatification.

I am sure some of you have heard of Carlo Acutis. 

“Blessed Carlo Acutis (3 May 1991 – 12 October 2006) was an Italian Catholic computer programmer. He was best known for documenting Eucharistic miracles around the world and cataloguing them all onto a website that he created in the months before his death from leukemia. He was noted for his cheerfulness and his computer skills as well as for his deep devotion to the Eucharist which became a core theme of his life.“- from Wikipedia

I only heard of him a  day after his scheduled beatification. Last night on live feed, I witnessed his beatification at 10:30 am (Italy time but was last night here in our country). He was beatified at the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi, Italy.  Even though the mass was in Italian, I cried while watching it.  He is the first millennial declared as blessed.  He  was born in London on May 3, 1991  and died  last October 12, 2008. He contracted leukemia and offered his pain both for St. Benedict XVI and for the Universal Church. 

Here’s two of his lovely and meaningful quotes:

“I offer all the suffering I will have to suffer for the Lord, for the Pope, and the Church”. 

“the more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven”.

Here’ s the miracle attributed to Carlo Acutis’ prayers:  (from the catholictelegraph.com)

The beatification of Carlo Acutis took place Oct. 10 after a miracle attributed to his prayers and the grace of God. In Brazil, a boy named Mattheus was healed from a serious birth defect called an annular pancreas after he and his mother asked Acutis to pray for his healing.

Mattheus was born in 2009 with a serious condition that caused him difficulty eating and serious abdominal pain. He was unable to keep any food in his stomach, and vomited constantly.

By the time Mattheus was nearly four years old, he weighed only 20 pounds, and lived on a vitamin and protein shake, one of the few things his body could tolerate. He was not expected to live long.

His mother, Luciana Vianna, had spent years praying for his healing.

At the same time, a priest friend of the family, Fr. Marcelo Tenorio, learned online about the life of Carlo Acutis, and began praying for his beatification. In 2013 he obtained a relic from Carlo’s mother, and he invited Catholics to a Mass and prayer service in his parish, encouraging them to ask Acutis’ intercession for whatever healing they might need.

Mattheus’ mother heard about the prayer service. She decided she would ask Acutis to intercede for her son. In fact, in the days before the prayer service, Vianna made a novena for Acutis’ intercession, and explained to her son that they could ask Acutis to pray for his healing.

On the day of the prayer service, she took Mattheus and other family members to the parish.

Fr. Nicola Gori, the priest responsible for promoting Acutis’ sainthood cause, told Italian media what happened next:

“On October 12, 2013, seven years after Carlo’s death, a child, affected by a congenital malformation (annular pancreas), when it was his turn to touch the picture of the future blessed, expressed a singular wish, like a prayer: ‘I wish I could stop vomiting so much.’ Healing began immediately, to the point that the physiology of the organ in question changed,” Fr. Gori said.

On the way home from the Mass, Mattheus told his mother that he was already cured. At home, he asked for French fries, rice, beans, and steak – the favorite foods of his brothers.

He ate everything on his plate. He didn’t vomit. He ate normally the next day, and the next. Vianna took Mattheus to physicians, who were mystified by Mattheus’ healing.

Mattheus’ mother told Brazilian media she sees in the miracle an opportunity to evangelize.

“Before, I didn’t even use my cell phone, I was averse to technology. Carlo changed my way of thinking, he was known for talking about Jesus on the Internet, and I realized that my testimony would be a way to evangelize and give hope to other families. Today I understand that everything new can be good, if we use it for good, ” she told reporters.

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Dear Lord,

Give us the grace to acknowledge Your presence all the days of our lives.

Amen.

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Down on her knees in prayers.

She asked

Then she waits.

She knows

Answers could come today

Or in the days ahead.

 

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IMG_6586

Thank you Lord

for these silent moments.

I am grateful

for the times I felt so down

and You made me feel Your

presence.

 

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Maraming, maraming salamat LORD

sa lahat ng umaapaw na biyayang ibinigay Mo sa amin

na kasama si Pope Francis.

For all the inspiring and uplifting words,

for the messages of hope and love,

for making us feel so blessed,

Thank You.

We will continue praying for our beloved Pope Francis.

Please heal our hearts, heal our people, heal our land.

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There is no public event that the Pope has to go to  late this afternoon so I guess it is  time to update this blog  🙂  I was glued to the TV since day one and that was when Pope Francis arrived here. It is now day three and I’ve played  couch potato to the hilt, drinking endless cups of tea and coffee in between, finding something to munch on and… reflect.

Kidding aside, I’ve never been busy updating my timeline on FB than the last three days.  I let my tears just flow and experience that wonderful feeling of being inspired, blessed and uplifted. Lots of thoughts are playing in my head but for now, they just remain beautiful moments that would make some beautiful memories to recall  when the Pope has gone back to Rome.  They are mixed emotions actually. It’s not everyday that the Pontiff visits a third world country like ours because he empathize  with the Filipino people and sympathizes with the survivors of typhoon Yolanda.  The latter is actually the main reason why he decided to visit the country – the highlight of his five-day visit.

Yesterday was the official start of the events that millions of Filipinos watched and enjoyed. Pope Francis made a courtesy call to Malacanang early in the morning and then later presided over a mass for the religious, priests and seminarians at the Manila Cathedral.  Everywhere the Pope goes, there are thousands and thousands of people lining up the roads, hoping to take a glimpse of him in an open pope mobile. It was a very solemn mass except that the priests can’t stop themselves to take pictures of the Pope via their tablets, cameras and cellphones. It was so touching to see the sea of humanity outside the Cathedral.

Here's what Pope Francis wrote on the Palace's guest book: "On the President and people of this beloved land of the Philippines, I ask Almighty God's abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace. 16.1.2015. Francis."

Here’s what Pope Francis wrote on the Palace’s guest book: “On the President and people of this beloved land of the Philippines, I ask Almighty God’s abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace. 16.1.2015. Francis.”

Filipino culture has, in fact, been shaped by the imagination of faith.  Filipinos everywhere are known for their love of God, their fervent piety and their warm devotion to Our Lady and her rosary.  This great heritage contains a powerful missionary potential.  It is the way in which your people has inculturated the Gospel and continues to embrace its message (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 122).  In your efforts to prepare for the fifth centenary, build on this solid foundation.

Christ died for all so that, having died in him, we might live no longer for ourselves but for him (cf. 2 Cor 5:15).  Dear brother bishops, priests and religious: I ask Mary, Mother of the Church, to obtain for all of you an outpouring of zeal, so that you may spend yourselves in selfless service to our brothers and sisters.  In this way, may the reconciling love of Christ penetrate ever more fully into the fabric of Filipino society and, through you, to the farthest reaches of the world.

This was part of his homily during the mass at the Cathedral. The beauty of our faith is shining through. He said, “do you love me?” as an intro to his homily quoting the gospel and everybody shouted, “we love you” then he answered “thank you very much”. I had a good laugh at that, he has a sense of humor.  Actually there are those moments that made me laugh and I clapped my hands seeing his lighter side. At the MOA arena, as he was  blessing the deaf-mute family who were privileged to share their journey, Pope Francis kept gesturing with his hands how to say I love you in sign language. Yesterday, while spending just a few minutes with the religious  at the Palo Cathedral, he asked them  to: first pray for him and second, to keep quiet as he smiled at them. That elicited a roar from the crowd. He blessed each religious and priests who came in wheelchairs. Unknown to the social media, he made an unscheduled visit to Manila  street children. During his trip to another event at the Mall of Asia arena, he stopped the pope mobile and kissed a child. He blessed each one of those in wheelchairs at the arena including a teenager with a cerebral palsy who gifted him  with a cross-stitch artwork with the image of Mama Mary.

It was signal number 2 in Tacloban when the plane bearing Pope Francis and his entourage touched down this morning and they had to cut his trip  short to Palo, Leyte and go back to Manila at 1pm due to the inclement weather.

A virtual sea of yellow, everyone wearing raincoats because of the typhoon.

A virtual sea of yellow, everyone wearing raincoats because of the typhoon.

This is my second chance to attend mass  (on tv) presided by Pope Francis. It was the best homily ever. Maybe it is even first in history for a Pope to celebrate   mass wearing a yellow raincoat and braving the winds and rains to give hope to the people of Tacloban and all the people of the Visayas region who are survivors of typhoon Yolanda. (I learned later that yes, it was his first experience to celebrate mass in a typhoon-stricken place).

It seemed like he also experience what the survivors did during typhoon Yolanda.

It seemed like he also experienced what the survivors did during typhoon Yolanda.

This is my simple realization while my tears gently flows as I watch the mass in Tacloban: I felt the presence of Jesus Christ in the person of Pope Francis. Even my  son unabashedly wiped his eyes when the mass ended saying “what a lovely homily”. 

“I have come to tell you that Jesus is Lord. And he never lets us down. Father – you might say to me – I was let down because I have lost so many things, my house, my livelihood. It’s true if you say that and I respect those sentiments. But Jesus is there, nailed to the cross, and from there he does not let us down. He was consecrated as Lord on that throne and there he experienced all the calamities that we experience. Jesus is Lord. And the Lord from the cross is there for you. In everything the same as us. That is why we have a Lord who cries with us and walks with us in the most difficult moments of life.” – Pope Francis (part of his homily in Tacloban)

He stopped briefly  on his way to Palo Cathedral to talk to a family along the road, blessed them and gave them encouragement. What is more touching as told by Cardinal Tagle was when he met 30 survivors for lunch, some lost as much as seven members of their family, some lost their limbs, some lost everything. Pope Francis was speechless and told Cardinal Tagle later that he is learning a lot. The resilience of Filipinos are truly admirable.

When you walk through life with pain and suffering, God is there walking with you, holding your hand lest you stumble and fall.

When you reach your destination, He is there rejoicing with you.  The beauty of it all – the beauty of faith working in your life, the priceless moments alone with God in prayer. They make life meaningful.

 

(photo credits: rappler.com, Official Gazette of the Republic of the Phils.)

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Early this morning I updated our Catholic page and posted a paragraph from a previous blog about giving during the Christmas season.  When you give, give from the heart. It does not need to be in terms of money.  Give time, some precious moments that would make someone smile, some words that would give comfort to a friend, give time to reach out and show how much you love your family, a hug, a kiss, an embrace, these are definitely priceless.

I’ve always said that prayers are our best conversations with God. It doesn’t matter how simple it is because He definitely knows our needs even before we utter them. Given what I went through the past years, having to undergo life-changing ailments –  two major operations in a span of ten years, chemotherapy treatments and kidney bypass that I never expected to undergo barely a year after I was done with my chemotherapy, sometimes I get so wary of feeling a little low health-wise. I have become so cautious of what I eat, what I do (should not be taxing enough to sap my physical strength) and  the ache and pains that are quite normal for someone who is growing older. I always pray for health more than anything else. As they say, health is wealth and I truly believe it.  Praying for health for the whole family, relatives and friends is number one on my list.

Do you believe in the power of prayers? I do. It’s what keeps me grounded. When you are blessed with something you don’t really expect, your heart shouts with joy and thanksgiving.  I prayed for a little surprise this Christmas….answered prayers.  You won’t believe it, this afternoon I received a lovely gift in the form of  stock dividends from another bank I invested in before I retired from work fourteen years ago. 65% is more than enough for that little surprise that I prayed for.  Unexpected blessings!

When you say “God is good”, Nate would answer, “all the time”.

 

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I have often raised my hand in the silence of the night and in my solitary cell, blessing you all and presenting you to Jesus and to our seraphic father, St. Francis of Assisi. – St. Pio of Pietrelcina

I have often said in my previous blogs that when you are touched by God’s graces more than you ever expect, your heart sings with joy and gratitude.

The arch at the back entrance at Padre Pio Chapel. Notice the hundred of rosaries hanging there. A tremendous and overwhelming show of faith.

The arch at the back entrance at Padre Pio Chapel. Notice  the rosaries hanging there. A tremendous and overwhelming show of faith.

Yesterday, I was so blessed to be able to visit St. Padre Pio Chapel again after more than three months. This time, I was with some friends and a healing priest. Fr. Cris Bautista, MS  belongs to the congregation of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette.  I was there earlier than the appointed time because I want to pray the rosary inside the chapel and write my petitions at the prayer room of St. Francis  of Assisi. I am always touched by the silence and beauty of the place.  I saw some visitors too wearing head gears, hats and caps with matching face masks. Deep in my heart I know that some of them are cancer patients or maybe cancer survivors like I am. Until now, I still wear face masks too when I am in the middle of a crowd and when I am traveling in a public conveyance. There was even a patient in a wheelchair being fed via an intravenous tube attached to his body.

The silent moments, the peace within, the joy of visiting a sacred place to pray.  I always feel so blessed every time I have the opportunity to come here. This time though, I call it a truly blessed Saturday for me and my friends. Fr. Cris prayed with us, anointed us with Holy Oil and we sang with him songs for Mama Mary  (Salve Regina) , we prayed in thanksgiving  for our health and healing – memorable moments that made my day complete, and the tears flowed freely while Fr. Cris was praying with us.  What a beautiful message faith brings, trusting in the Lord’s goodness, secure in His love.

I posted this simple prayer at our online page this morning.

I choose to be brave

I choose to be strong

I choose to have an unshakable faith despite the raging storms in my life.

St. Padre Pio, please pray for me.

Mama Mary, thank you.

Lord Jesus, bless me.

Fr. Cris gave us rosaries and prayer pamphlets of  Padre Pio. September 23 is a special day for Padre Pio devotees. It is his feast day. I’ve long wanted to buy a biography of Padre Pio. One of these days, I will visit St. Paul’s publication to find one.

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the art of flying

There were moments when I doubted You Lord. There were times when I thought You don’t really answer prayers. There were times when my faith wavered and I was lost. Please keep my faith alive and never doubt Your loving heart ever again. I humbly beg for Your understanding, I long for Your love. Keep me in Your loving embrace always.

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A pair of bright orange shoes protruding from the rubble

Red, brown and yellow toy teddy bears abandoned by their owners

Luggage thrown in midair

Blackened remains turned back to dust

Remnants of a life probably at its prime,

Broken dreams

Treasured messages before take off

Anticipation of a reunion gone kaput

It hurts to see them all.

I was watching CNN early this morning (our time) and I could not bear to look at the remains of the MH-17 plane burned to the ground.  Three of  those passengers are fellow Filipinos and the whole family was wiped out including the husband who used to work at Malaysia Airlines and an Indonesian. I  watched the members of the family back home being interviewed on TV. They were looking forward to a yearly family reunion this coming Saturday. Their sister was the breadwinner of the family, making her siblings’ life easier than an average Filipino family, sending her nieces and nephews to school.

Life snapped in a moment, in a heartbeat. I offered a prayer that you’ll have peace in your souls and the loved ones left behind would be able to bear your loss. Life is precious, every minute, every hour.

 

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