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Posts Tagged ‘my Catholic journey’


Fr. Louie, the chief administrator of our page, Filipino Catholic is so fond of having those games online which he posts every day for his friends to answer. Sometimes, he just posts photos of sellers whose products are named and misspelled incorrectly and we just laugh. A few minutes ago, he posted some photos of our native fruits which are now seldom seen in the market nowadays. It reminds me of those days some years ago, when most members of our page enjoyed our group called Tambayan. We had those hot seats where most members are allowed to question one particular member – anything goes. It was fun.

Our page, the Filipino Catholic has been in existence for ten years now and I was appointed by Fr. Louie as one of the admins a few months after he created it. Back then, he was still studying for his doctorate degree in Rome. We are still at it until now and we have added another admin a few months ago. We are four in all taking care and running the site at Facebook. It’s one reason why I could not give up Facebook because I have to update daily Bible readings for our members. One good thing about it is that we have loyal followers.

Some of them have become my friends over the years and those who are residing abroad who are OFWs sometimes contact me and I invite them to visit me here. We always have those nice and lovely chats about their works and our families, serious discussions about our Catholic faith, food and many more. We had two previous gatherings at Santo Domingo Church – the joy of seeing each other personally and sharing our meager talents in making the events successful. What bliss!

I met a friend who used to work in the US but she has come back home and retired here. Odette is the one who regularly supplies me with those lovely favorite books over the years. She is a member of our page.

I miss seeing them personally, not just through messages on FB. I miss those days of laughter and sharing our lives with each other. Come to think of it, I haven’t ventured out of our gate for almost three months now. The number of those found positive of COVID-19 is still rising every day. May we be all spared from this pandemic.

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Made some memes when I still had my old camera. I have a whole album at FB. I miss my Canon Ixus.

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Candlemas (also spelled Candlemass), is  also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ and the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a Christian Holy Day commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It is based upon the account of the presentation of Jesus in Luke 2:22–40 which is the gospel today.

We had a short procession after the blessing of candles outside the church.  We had to light at least one candle while going inside the church. It was a lovely celebration with our good friend Fr. Aly officiating.  All my candles at home were previously blessed and we usually use them at the altar during prayers at home.   It is better to light a candle than to stumble in the dark.

Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Blaise. Blaise is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic church. A doctor, he is a patron saint of those sufferers from throat diseases. I told Nissa to hear mass too so her throat would be blessed.

I love these Catholic rituals that we observe throughout the year.  They strengthen my faith and beliefs.

 

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Last night was the start of our yearly Simbang Gabi or Dawn mass.  Back in the days, it used to be called Rooster Mass because  4am or 5am were usually when the rooster in your neighborhood crows.  Simbang Gabi is a beautiful nine-day novena masses in Thanksgiving for all the blessing one received in the year. It’s traditional for us Filipino Catholics. I think it is only in the Philippines where you could find this. Times has changed, nowadays these Simbang Gabi are celebrated early, usually the night before the next day to give way for those who want to attend the novena after office.  They are also brought to some malls where they are celebrated at noon and most offices also hold these masses during lunch break.

I was overjoyed seeing the Pope opening the Simbang Gabi tradition. The mass readings were read in Tagalog  but there was a translator in English. Even the songs were sung in Tagalog  by the Filipino community. I’d like to think we are special because they have adapted one of the lovely traditions in our Catholic life.

Although our country is now in the brink of…..how do you put it….the ship is sinking fast because of these non-performing powers that be in our government, I still have high hopes that this will end eventually and we will rise up again. It may just take one brave soul to start it, right now though, we are at the mercy of one man who holds everything from the Supreme Court to the Legislative Branch to our National Police down to the barangay level. I need not elaborate, perhaps you also read them online.

I digress.

We were talking about Simbang Gabi, right? There are many churches now and several congregations too that televise the celebration of the nine-day novena masses. They end the day before Christmas day.

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Today is the Feast of Christ the King, conclusion of the liturgical year in the Catholic calendar.

“Feast of Christ the King, also called Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus ChristKing of the Universe, is a  festival celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church in honour of Jesus Christ as lord over all creation. Essentially a magnification of the Feast of the Ascension, it was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925″.

Next Sunday is the beginning of another liturgical year in which we start with the season of Advent.  It is a time we look forward to as preparation of Christmas, four weeks of Advent Sundays before Christmas.  The word Advent comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “arrival” or “coming” from the word advenire (ad- “to” venire “come”).

Advent 2019 begins on December 1 and ends on December 24. The themes that correspond to each week are the following:

Week 1: Hope (or promise)
Week 2: Preparation (or waiting or prophecy)
Week 3: Joy (or peace)
Week 4: Love (or adoration)

It was so nice to meet our good friend Fr. Aly again who is now the Parish Priest and Rector of the the Shrine of Our Lady of Light here in our town. For eight years, I’ve missed listening to his lovely and meaningful homilies. He was the one who officiated on Nissa’s wedding eight years ago. Meeting old friends, what a wonderful treasure.

By the way, Cristo Rey are Spanish words for Christ the King. Have a blessed  Sunday everyone.

 

 

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New life, new hope, new beginnings.

 

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Holy Wednesday ended up with a visit from our neighbor who is a good friend. We had a lovely and enriching sharing. She gave me a jar of pickled papaya.  Yum!

Last night I also watched the Sambuhay TV Mass Holy Recollection 2019  with Fr. Pao Asprer who is also a friend at FB.  Sambuhay is sponsored by the  Society of St. Paul. Learned a lot about faith, temptations and prayers. It was a very meaningful and inspiring Recollection. Fr. Pao is that good, a young priest who was ordained four years ago. I jotted some points which he discussed.

  • Proximity to power is power in itself
  • True prayer is listening.
  • If you know yourself, that’s a sign of true wisdom.
  • In the face of temptation, we’ll know ourselves better.

He touched on some quotes by Thomas Merton and I am glad I am reading one of his books at the moment.  The Seven Storey Mountain is a 467 pages book  with so fine prints.  I don’t read it at night because the prints are so small. Good luck to my eyes. It’s not that kind of reading that you have to finish in one go. There are so many words that you can reflect on.  This book has been on my wish list for quite a while. Maybe Grace (my friend from Canada) saw it on Goodreads so she gave me a copy.

By the way, Grace posted  the photos they took when she and her husband were here for a while last month.  She was the one who gave me a copy of the book. I grabbed this from the album she just posted, the two of us together at the lobby of Richmonde Hotel in Pasig City.

We’re getting old, imagine more than four decades of friendship. and I’ve always said that  “when friends meet, hearts warm”.

 

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I promised myself I won’t start the week in front of my PC and I didn’t. Know what? Our service provider Globe did it for me. We didn’t have internet connection yesterday. It was quiet around the house with only the radio on playing some old songs.

Today is Holy Tuesday. Most shows on television are about the passion and death of Jesus Christ. The best times to watch and reflect. Holy Week is that time of the year where we need more of these – reflections and spiritual readings.

I started on The First Phone Call From Heaven.  I guess this is not one of the best books by Mitch Albom. Except for his two latest books, I read all starting from Tuesdays With Morrie which I like the best. Like the rest of his books, this is an inspirational one. A glimpse of how we perceive what life is like in Heaven.

Gotta start The Seven Storey Mountain in a while, a book by Thomas Merton, a Trappist Monk. Accordingly, is one of the most influential religious works of the twentieth century. I encountered his works the first time when I was in college working as a student librarian at  the Humanities Section of the UST Library.  And this book used to be on my wish list but a friend gave me a copy when she went home for vacation a month ago. I completed posting the whole Bible readings for the month of April  at our Catholic page on Facebook.

It’s a nice start for the Holy Week. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are official holidays here.

 

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The last week since Palm Sunday, I’ve blogged about our Lenten journey. I enjoyed  watching  the Lenten programs on TV and attending mass at the nearby churches.

Today is the culmination of it all, it’s the day of Jesus’ Resurrection.   Jesus paid  a ransom to save us.  He redeemed us from our own worthlessness.  I think of life and the pains it makes us endure. We are resilient amidst  problems, we are strong amidst failures. No one is worthless in His eyes.

The past years were full of seemingly insurmountable happenings  but the belief and faith that all will be well in the end  are at the forefront of my prayers.  Prayers bring me joy when I feel so down. Prayers bring me hope when I feel hopeless. Prayer is a silent conversation with God.  There are times when I can’t sleep at night  and I pray the rosary. It is a shield from those negative thoughts that arise once in a while.  It calms me  and I get sleepy clutching the rosary beads in my hands.

Since I was given a second chance at life, I’ve become more grateful  with even the smallest blessing.  Even a smile from strangers is a blessing too.  I always love that part of the mass when we greet each other with  the words “Peace be with you.”  I remember one time I was besides this girl in one of the masses I attended. She shyly smiled at me when she said “Peace be with you.”  She might not know the significance of the greeting but it was a touching gesture from a child.

Do you believe in chance encounters?  Many, many years ago, a nun friend suggested this book to me called Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. It was one of those books that I bought with closed eyes because it was very expensive.  There  were quotes there that I wrote  in my small notebook.

“It says that whenever people cross our paths, there is always a message for us. Chance encounters do not exist. But how we respond to these encounters determines whether we’re able to receive the message. If we have a conversation with someone who crosses our path and we do not see a message pertaining to our current questions, it does not mean there was no message. It only means we missed it for some reason.” 

So even that smile and the simple meeting of the eyes have meanings.  Life in all its broken dreams is still beautiful.

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