St. John Paul II in Baclaran

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38 years ago today St. John Paul II  arrived in the Philippines for a pastoral visit. His first stop, straight from the airport: Baclaran shrine.

Here’s an excerpt from the Chronicles of the Baclaran Community describing that great event:.

Feb 17th, 1981. The great day had come at last. The Lipa Carmelites had arrived the night before and asked permission to stay in the church all night to make sure that they got a good position. The Redemptoristines slept in the house of Mrs. Flor Duran in Pasay and came here before 5.a.m.only to find the church packed with more than four thousand nuns. Our collegians acted as ushers. Since it was an address for Women Religious they were the only ones allowed into the Church. The famous Mother Teresa arrived with a group of about 80 of her sisters. They all had tickets except her. One of the ushers stopped her and when one of her sisters said “But that is Mother Teresa”. The usher replied “Who is Mother Teresa? No one gets in without a ticket”.  (She did get in eventually). The Pope arrived about 9.00 a.m. He entered through the front gate in a beautifully decorated motor float and passed up our front drive, greeting and blessing the people as he came. The vice Provincial read a short address of welcome. Before the Pope’s address he referred to his former visit to Baclaran and his Mass at the high altar. At the end he read a beautiful prayer to the Mother of Perpetual Help, consecrating to her and placing under Her mantle his apostolic tour of the Far East. He then presented the Vice Provincial with a symbolic Candle that came as a gift from St. Mary Major’s in Rome.

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The Pope blessed all the Sisters, especially the sick ones who were in the front. It was reported later, though it could not be confirmed by us, that one wheel chair case was actually cured by the Pope’s blessing. The Pope then went up the spiral staircase and passed along the gallery where the Redemptorist confreres and their friends were. The Pope shook hands with each one and when he came to an aspirant with a crutch (Caloy Ronquillo) he embraced him. He paused at the front of the Convento on the azotea to address and bless the immense crowd in the parking area and the streets beyond. Then he insisted on going to the refectory where he had been entertained eight years before. He even remembered where he had sat. He sat down again and took some refreshments and chatted.

From the refectory he went to the float through the front door. The exit route was the same as the entrance. On the way he stooped down twice to take a small child in his arms to the great delight of the crowd. The Cardinal Secretary of State was found strolling happily around in the garden near the library. He had somehow missed his car and didn’t know that the Pope had already gone. The Community were about to drive him to the Cathedral when Msg. Woods arrived and rescued him.

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6TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: LIVING THE BEATITUDES TODAY

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I remember an experience when we were doing missions in a far-flung barrio in Bicol, Philippines.  In that barrio, people did not just experience extreme poverty but also were caught in a constant crossfire in a never ending war between the NPA and the military.  One day we gathered the kids for some group activities. In the course of the activity we ask the kids: What do you want to be when you grow up? You know kids, they are always eager to share what they want to become when they grow up. These kids, however, were not so eager to tell their dreams. Some were staring at us with blank faces and some were looking away into some distant place. We felt so sorry for these kids because even though they are still kids it seems that they have already tired of dreaming. They have lost their energies to hope because of the constant life and death situation they have to endure every day.

Not far from that barrio we saw a group of born again Christian preachers who gathered some adults, leading them in singing several lively action songs.  Then I heard their leader preaching about God’s blessings, promising the group of adults that as a sign of their acceptance and faith in Jesus as personal Lord and saviour they are assured of God’s bountiful blessings—siksik, liglig at umaapaw (pressed down, shaken together, running over cf. Luke 6: 37).

I easily saw the contrast between these two experiences.  On the one hand, our experience with the kids implied that God is too far away from their reality of poverty and violence that it seems that God’s blessings is beyond their reach.  Poverty is their fate, they just have to learn to accept it and live with it. On the other hand, the experience of the born again Christians implied that God’s bountiful blessings is assured for anyone who personally accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. God will improve their lives and even attain wealth. It promotes so-called prosperity gospel where abundance and wealth are signs of God’s blessings.

I realize, though, that there is a similarity in both experiences’ understanding of God’s blessings.  I thought that they were looking at God’s blessings from our human categories and experiences in our world. For in today’s world to be blessed is to be full of money, plenty of material things, full of power and authority.  Blessings in today’s world is measured in wealth, power, honor and position in life. On the other hand, misfortune and curse in today’s world is measured in terms of poverty, suffering, powerlessness, absence of honor and position in life.

In today’s gospel of 6th Sunday in ordinary time, Jesus proclaimed a reversal of blessing and curse.

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”

This is a hard saying. Jesus’ proclamation about blessings and curses, also called the beatitudes, is contrary to common sense and to all expectations and wisdom about how the world works.  How can the poor be blessed and the rich cursed? How can we say that you are blessed to the people who have suffered so much in life? How can we say this to the people who lost lives and experienced great devastation from calamities? How can we proclaim that you are blessed to people who have experienced violence, war, depression, loneliness and despair?

Our difficulty in accepting the beatitudes lies in the fact that the beatitudes declares a situation that is a result of God’s action. In other words, it not based on human action but God’s action. For if it will be based on human action, the reverse is the result, as what we see is happening now (despite all the assurance from those who benefit from the existing system that global capitalism has reduced poverty and has improved the plight of millions of people, the blessed in this world are the select few who continue to be rich and the cursed are the multitudes who remain poor). The beatitudes declares the kind of life within the context of God’s gracious act. This is impossible through human efforts. The kind of a life under God’s gracious act, therefore, can only be a gift–unmerited, free and unconditional gift offered by God to everyone.

Furthermore, God talks about blessings as the qualities of the future community that God will gather in the end. In the Second Reading, St. Paul says that if Christ is not raised, our faith is in vain. The truth of Christ’s resurrection is the key to hope, the key to the belief of the coming of the future kingdom of God where God’s blessings will benefit all especially the poor, oppressed and powerless in the world. The community who is called blessed by God does not remain passive, but acts in accord with the coming kingdom.

The Beatitudes are, therefore, not so much about what we should do but about what we should be; it is about thinking, willing, and feeling, that is, about a new way of living and being Christian. The beatitude does not mean that God wants the poor to remain poor and thus, we do nothing about the situation of the poor.  Nor does it mean that we sell all our belongings and not utilize any benefit from material things (although some Christians have done this. Think of St. Francis of Assisi and the founder of the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus who left a life of wealth to care for the poor and the most abandoned).

Indeed, the beatitudes have been subjected to various insidious misinterpretations and manipulations. For instance, the beatitudes was utilized in the past to subjugate the poor. Civil and religious authorities have told the poor that they need not struggle and aspire to improve their lot as their sufferings and poverty on earth will be rewarded in heaven. On the other hand, the beatitudes was utilized to justify the prosperity of the rich. Wealth is a blessing from God and it is a sign of God’s reward for those who lived with integrity and hard work. On the other hand, poverty is God’s curse and it is a sign of God’s punishment for those who are irresponsible and lazy.

Ultimately, the beatitudes calls us to conversion, a change of thinking, or as we often hear today, a paradigm shift. We need to adopt a beatitude paradigm shift in this world. We need to be guided by the values of the beatitudes in our our life together as a community of discipleship. We need to look at the real blessings and curse in this world from God’s perspective.  The beatitudes challenges us to experience God’s blessings in our concrete situation of “joys and the hopes, grief and anxieties.”  God’s blessings is not the physical pain, poverty, suffering and hunger but God’s endowed grace of solidarity, purity of heart, meekness, peacemaking, for the coming of the kingdom already here and now but will be fully realized in the end. The experience of God’s blessings will allow us to see beyond our world despite all its sufferings, hardships, hopelessness, injustice, violence and enslavements and journey towards the reign of God.  The reign of God has already began in the resurrection of Jesus.

Today, God calls us: You are blessed, be a blessing to others.

 

Novena prayer for those seeking a spouse — Aleteia — Catholic Spirituality, Lifestyle, World News, and Culture

This prayer was recently published by the Catholic Church in England and Wales.Oddly enough, in today’s world of modern global communication, finding a spouse has only gotten more difficult. For those called to the vocation of marriage, God is ready to lead you to someone who will be an aid to your sanctification. Not everyone Read More…

via Novena prayer for those seeking a spouse — Aleteia — Catholic Spirituality, Lifestyle, World News, and Culture

The Shrine and the True Meaning of Love

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As we come close to Valentine’s Day, lots of signs of love are all around us. Shopping malls conspicuously display hearts of all sizes and designs in their mad scramble to attract consumers. Roses and chocolates are particularly hot commodities. The post office and the internet are flooded with love letters and memes of love and devotion for one’s beloved.

Here at the shrine, lovers and couples have made the shrine a favorite meeting place. It is so lovely to see lovers and couples not just meeting but praying together. Our Mother of Perpetual has perhaps witnessed the expressions of love and devotion between thousands of lovers in the hallowed sanctuary of the shrine. The shrine may have easily fit the setting of an old popular sentimental Tagalog kundiman (love song), Sa Lumang Simbahan,

Sa lumang simbahan (In the old church)
Aking napagmasdan (I witnessed)
Dalaga’t binata (Young men and women)
Ay nagsusumpaan (Promising to each other)
sila’y nakaluhod (They knelt)
Sa harap ng altar (In front of the altar)

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Many relationships began and developed at the shrine. Like the story of Jess and Gemma Granadosin. Gemma has, for a long time, prayed to meet the man who will love her forever. Gemma met Jessie in Baclaran. It was love at first sight for Jess. They fell in love. The shrine became their constant meeting place. Now both of them are happily married. Not only that their love life grew but also their spiritual life. When Gemma became an usher of the shrine, Jess joined her too. Both of them served Our Mother of Perpetual Help as ushers of the shrine.

However, the shrine and its environs have also been covertly taken advantage by unscrupulous individuals for activities that defile the very meaning of love. Some notorious individuals have taken advantage of the large gathering of devotees in the compound of the shrine to do their flesh trade. Outside the shrine, there are abortifacients being sold openly on the streets.

Time and again, we have strongly condemned these abuses in the name of love. Indeed, love has become one of the most abused words. So often, we can easily say I love you to the other but fail miserably in proving that love in action. Learning the art of loving entails constant commitment; indeed, it is a lifetime mission.

We cannot, however, truly learn to love unless we go back to the very author of love—God. It is God who loved us first. God loved us because God is love. Before God loved us, God has lived that love first in Godself–three divine persons yet one God. We see in the one God, three persons that God’s love is completely selfless and focused on the other. It is because of this love that God sent his son to share God’s love to us and give us abundant life.

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Valentine’s day is not just a day for lovers. It is a day for all of us who are called to participate and partake of God’s love. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, may we truly learn and live the love that God has shown us. May we learn from Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help, who is our model in loving God and others.

The Shrine and the Sick

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday, February 11, we celebrate World Day of the Sick. Today is also the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, a name given to the Virgin Mary who appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France. The church calls people around the world today to take the time to pray for the sick and for those who work very hard to alleviate the sufferings of the sick. Pope John Paul II initiated this celebration in 1992.

The shrine has responded to the needs of the sick since its beginning. Many sick devotees have asked the shrine for help in their sickness, whether spiritual and material. Since the beginning of the novena, there was a prayer for the sick. The shrine has also celebrated many healing masses with praying over and anointing of oil for the sick, through the years.

To give a more concrete and organized response to the needs of the sick, however, the shrine established the Redemptorist Medical & Dental Health Program. The clamor of people for health services because of the unavailability of health services to the poor, the high cost of medicines, medical services and consultations which the poor cannot afford were some of the concrete needs that led to the establishment of Medical/Dental services of the shrine. Established in 1991, the Redemptorist Medical & Dental Health Program aims to respond to the health needs and formation of its beneficiaries and extend assistance to calamity stricken areas.

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At the center of the Redemptorist Medical & Dental Health Program is the shrine’s clinic. It is an outpatient clinic that offers primary health care services like maternal and child care, control and prevention of communicable diseases, health education, minor surgical procedures, environmental sanitation, Natural Family Planning Method and basic dental procedures.  The clinic is open two days a week at Wednesday 8:00am – 7pm and Sunday – 8:00 am– 5:00 pm. The clinic is operated by a full time clinic staff, and medical/dental health practitioners and volunteers.  Those who avail of the services are churchgoers, indigent walk-in patients with referrals from NGO’s within Parañaque, shrine volunteers and staff, beneficiaries of the Social Mission programs of the shrine and adopted Community/Mission Areas.

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The second primary program of the Medical and Dental Services of the shrine is an outreach program. It aims to provide immediate health services to calamity stricken areas, nission areas of the Redemptorist Community from the Vice Province of Manila, organized communities of People’s Organizations, communities with poor health statistics, limited or has no access to or low quality health services and low socioeconomic status.

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The Redemptorist Medical & Dental Health Program also implements advocacy and networking. This extends current services by collaborating with governments and local organizations, church, other private institutions. It also establishes networking and referral to hospitals, institutions and other health agencies to help the beneficiaries in their health needs.

The program also have a regular education and training program for the Baclaran clinic staff and volunteers, beneficiaries from  Mission Areas, Health Committee members, and regular beneficiaries. There is an effort to support the development of appropriate indigenous health care like acupuncture, herbal medicines, etc.

On this World Day of the Sick let us pray for all our brothers and sisters who are in need of God’s healing, whether in body or in spirit. Let us also pray for all the carers of the sick–the Doctors, Nurses, caregivers, and others. Let us pray the prayer for the sick at the Novena:

Lord Jesus Christ * you bore our sufferings and carried our sorrows * in order to show us clearly * the value of human weakness and patience; * graciously hear our prayer for the sick especially ___________________________ (pause and remember your sick loved ones). Grant that they who are weighed down * with pain and other affliction of illness * may experience God’s healing power and comfort*. Restore them to health* in body and soul* so that they can continue to serve you* and their brothers and sisters.
Amen.

5TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: GREATER CALLING DESPITE UNWORTHINESS

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Life is about discovering who we truly are. To know who we truly are, we need to discover our greater calling. Life is not just about waking up every day, eating, working and doing our daily chores. Beyond our daily struggles and frustrations, there is a far more meaningful life that we can experience but only if we are able to take a risk. When we are able to take risk, we discover the awesome goodness of divine power. In the presence of divine power we become aware of our unworthiness. Despite our unworthiness, we are called to greatness in the loving service of God and others.

This is the theme of our readings for today’s 5th Sunday in ordinary time. This is the story of three of the greatest characters in the Bible—the prophet Isaiah, and the apostles Paul and Peter.

Each of these three men experienced God’s abundant goodness and grace. In the presence of the divine goodness, all three felt a profound unworthiness.

In the First Reading, Isaiah exultantly receives a vision of heaven itself. The Lord is seated on a high and lofty throne and the Seraphim angel choir is crying out, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!”*

In the face of this heavenly vision, Isaiah reacts with shame! He says,

Woe is me, I am doomed!
For I am a man of unclean lips,
living among a people of unclean lips;
yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!

In response an angel swoops down with a burning coal and begins to cleanse his lips!!!! He is doomed, alright, but doomed to be made clean through suffering, to be made able to speak of God.

In the Second Reading. St. Paul says that Christ appeared to him last of all, as to one born abnormally,

“For I am the least of the apostles,
not fit to be called an apostle,
because I persecuted the church of God.”

Paul persecuted the Church but then, because of God’s grace, he became a great minister of Christ.

In the Gospel Jesus tells Peter James and John to fish in the deep water (where they had been fishing and fishing and fishing all night but caught nothing). Without warning their nets become bloated with fishes that their nets were tearing. At the sight of the abundant catch, Peter knelt before Jesus and cried out,

“Depart from me, Lord,
for I am a sinful man.”

What followed that sense of unworthiness was a divine assurance but the biggest surprise of all was God’s commission.

One of the seraphim that flew to Isaiah touches him with an ember and assures him that his wickedness is purged. Then the future prophet hears the commissioning voice of the Lord saying,

“Whom shall I send?
Who will go for us?”

Isaiah freely said in reply,

“Here I am, send me!”

For his part, Paul found himself drawn into a mission of surprising fruitfulness. When he alludes to this mission as he writes to the Corinthians, he is compelled to say,

“But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them;
not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.”

The amazed and kneeling Peter hears Jesus address him,

“Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”

When we experience God’s abundant grace we become suddenly aware of our unworthiness. Unworthiness here does not mean we are worthless. In the face of God’s goodness, however, we truly become aware of our place in the universal scheme of things. Experience of God lets us understand that we are far, far less than God. This is the same attitude that we express in the part of the mass when we say, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” We confess to the Lord our unworthiness right before we’re about to let God’s awesome grace into our mortal bodies.

Nevertheless, God does not hold our inadequacies against us. It is, however, important for us to truly accept our unworthiness. For the moment we recognize our inadequacy, our sin, our smallness before the greatness of the transcendent God, we are capable of truly being called out of ourselves. When God is heard to say, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Isaiah responds, “Here I am. Send me.” He is empowered, not paralyzed.

Lord give us your worthiness instead of our unworthiness; make us deeper than our doubts. Let us fall on our knees. as did Simon Peter. Just as you did with Paul, give us your grace to overcome the chasm that lies between who we are and whomever you might call us to be. So together with Isaiah, we can say, “Here I am; send me!”

Chinese Novena at the Shrine

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Tomorrow, Chinese from all over the world will celebrate New Year in the traditional Chinese calendar.  Here at the shrine, there are many Chinese-Filipinos who attend the novena. Did you know that there was a Chinese novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help at the shrine before? In this article, Fr. John Maguire traces the history of the Chinese novena at the shrine.

When I first came to the Philippines in 1963 there was a Chinese Novena every Wednesday at 9.a.m. This was attended by a few (around twenty) Chinese who used to gather in the Tribune of the Shrine (now the Sacristy). The Novena was conducted by a foreign priest, not Chinese, who would read the prayers up to the time of the sermon and then give a summary translation of the sermon being preached in the main Shrine, by the priest conducting the regular Novena. After the sermon they would part ways again, one continuing in English and the other in Chinese.

The priest who conducted the Novena in Chinese was a Jesuit from the group commonly called the “Chinese Mission”. They had been sent to China as Missionaries but when the boat was nearing China, the Communists had taken control and no more Missionaries were allowed into the country. They had come here to await developments but as we now know, no change ever came in their lifetime.

Many Chinese missionaries worked in the Philippines for years and some died here. Examples were Fr Parisi, S.J. who was well known for his counseling center called “Our Lady of Peace” and who died here a number of years ago, Fr Calle, who taught Catechists and is now in Hong Kong or Macao, and a Fr Mario who heard confession in Baclaran every Wednesday for more than twenty years until his death. He is buried in the Jesuit Novitiate (Retreat House) in Novaliches.

When the new Revised Novena began in 1973, the year of the Silver Jubilee of the Novena, Fr Santiago de Leon S.J, who at that time led the Chinese Novena at 9.a.m. each Wednesday, said that they still had copies of the first Chinese Novena Booklet that was printed in 1966. Before that they had mimeographed copies dating back to 1960. At that time about twenty Chinese were still gathering in the tribune of the Shrine each Wednesday. They had the Revised Novena translated and printed in Chinese in Taipei.

The Chinese Novena continued for a number of years after this but eventually it was impossible to get a priest on a regular basis, and the need for such a service seemed to have disappeared, so the Tribune became a Sacristy.

A large number of Chinese still attend the different sessions of the novena.

John Maguire, CSsR

4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: REJECTION AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

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One of the most common emotional wounds we endure in daily life is rejection. When we are snubbed by our friends, ostracized by our families and communities for our lifestyle choices, when our spouse leaves us,  when we get fired from our jobs, the pain we feel can be absolutely paralyzing.

Today’s readings of the 4th Sunday in ordinary time talks about rejection. The readings also talk of rejection as a common experience that Christians will endure in this world, particularly if we lived out the prophetic dimension of our Christian faith. If we proclaim the good news of Jesus about liberation from all forms of oppression, freedom, justice, love and truth, we will face stiff opposition and suffer rejection from the world. This is because often the values and standards of the world runs in conflict with the values and standards of the Kingdom of God.

In the first reading,  Yahweh, our Lord, warned Jeremiah that he will constantly incur the hostility of the kings, princes, priests, and people of Judah. In the face of opposition, Jeremiah frequently fled to God for refuge. Yahweh comforted him,

Be not crushed on their account,
as though I would leave you crushed before them;
for it is I this day
who have made you a fortified city,
a pillar of iron, a wall of brass,
against the whole land:
against Judah’s kings and princes,
against its priests and people.
They will fight against you but not prevail over you,
for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

In the gospel today, which is the continuation of the gospel last Sunday, Jesus identified his mission with the prophetic tradition. By telling his own town’s mates that the prophecy of Isaiah about bringing glad tidings of freedom for captives and the oppressed, sight for the blind are fulfilled today, Jesus clearly identified himself as a prophet. Because of this, his own town’s mates rejected Jesus and wanted to destroy him.

For in Jewish society, it was customary for a son to carry on his father’s trade and his grandfather’s name. No one was ever expected to become something better than or to improve on the lot of the parents. This fact is the basic foundation of honor. For Jesus to step shamefully beyond His family boundaries would be quite a scandal. In the Mediterranean world, the basic rule is “look after your family first”. Jesus also broke this rule. He healed the sick outside of His home town.

So his town’s mates tried to push him out to a cliff. But he escaped somehow. The crowd’s reaction foreshadows Jesus’ passion and death, as well as His escape to continue His journey points ahead to Easter victory and the continuing spread of God’s word.

Today, those who dared to be prophets also suffered rejection even death. Martin Luther King died for promoting the equality of all human beings irrespective of race. Mahatma Gandhi died because, as a Hindu, he was friendly with Muslims. Bishop Oscar Romero was shot and killed during the consecration at the mass because he denounced the exploitation of the poor. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged by Hitler because he attacked the racist evils of Nazism. Our very own Redemptorist Fr. Rudy Romano was abducted by military men because of his work for the poor and defense of human rights. Until now he remains missing, presumed to be dead.

A prophet will not be honored in this world, even his own will disown him. Because a prophet talks about values which the lords of this world abhors and are terrified–justice, freedom, truth, and love.  These are also the same values which God in Jesus Christ also died for. A prophet talks about values not of this world, about power not of earthly authorities, but of values and power of a totally different kind, a new world that is to come through Jesus Christ.

The theology of baptism describes our own Christian baptism as a participation in Jesus’ role of prophet. Thus, every Christian by virtue of his/her baptism, is called to be a prophet. We are called to proclaim the Gospel in our families, in our working places, among our friends, in our society. Whatever is happening we have to be ready to proclaim and defend truth, love, justice, freedom, people’s rights and dignity. We cannot compromise or keep silent in the face of evil and values contrary to the gospel.

We don’t have to die a prophet or martyr’s death in order to be prophet. We can be a “lesser prophet” and get small things changed in our world. We can be bold enough to stand for truth and voice out if there is something wrong within our office, our family, our parish, our society, our government, and world order. We can be prophets by contributing our talents towards building a better and more just, free and peaceful family, community, parish and society.

Lord help us to master our pride, conquer our desire for security, and delight in the new and creative ways that your Kingdom is present in the chaos and gloom of our world.  Let us be your prophets today!

 

Manila Bay Clean-Up and the Shrine

 

Coastal clean-up is a regular program of the Baclaran shrine. Every year the shrine volunteers and devotees participate in the beach cleanup activity in the nearby Manila bay. The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup Day, the world’s largest annual preservation and protection event and volunteer effort for beaches and waterways. It is celebrated annually on the third Saturday in September since its inception in 1986.

The pictures above were taken during the International Coastal Cleanup Day in September, 2014.