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It was June 26, 2020 when a good friend of mine and his lovely wife Camille tied the knot at the beautiful, thousand-year-old church of Saint Jerome in Morong, Rizal, Philippines. Religious ceremonies in the Philippines during the pandemic, including the Sacrament of Matrimony, are allowed but only limited number of family members can witness these occasions. Here are some photos taken during of the event.

Please join me in congratulating this new couple and wishing them all the best!

Photo by Jerson Eli at Taga-Rizal Update

P.S. Francel and I studied together at the The Sisters of Mary School in Cebu, Philippines. It’s a school that provides free education and spiritual direction to underprivileged children from almost all parts in the country and many parts of the world. See https://www.worldvillages.org/.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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[IF YOU HAVE READ THIS FEW DAYS AGO, I HAVE ADDED SOME UPDATES]

As an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), I am one of the numerous individuals affected by the current global crisis. Being far from my family has always been a challenge for me ever since I started working in Singapore. Before the pandemic, I was easily able to travel to and from PH. There was less stress and homesickness then. This obviously is no longer the case now that the global count of cases are going up by more than a hundred thousand per day.

As the situation worsened, my stress and anxiety worsened as well. Plus, I had this insomnia (for many years now) that was making me even more unhealthy. I felt heavy every single day due to lack of sleep and I was easily bothered by things or people around me. I barely even had the time to pray, and when I did pray, I was easily get distracted. I could still perform my work OK but I felt exhausted (physically and mentally) by the end of the day. Then I would be depressed at night not because of my insomnia but because of the fact that I will not be able to go home like before. Even posted this one on my page. 🙂

At first, my wife and I decided that I would stay in Singapore because of our financial needs. I promised to her I would try my very best to be well. Unfortunately, my situation in Singapore had become very unfavorable. Also, my pregnant wife (the delivery went well in mid June!) and my kids badly need me at home during these very difficult times. So, we had to proceed with plan B which was to take all the risks and go home.

After six canceled flights, I was blessed to secure a seat with the help of the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Singapore. I paid SGD390 (around PHP14,000) for a one-way flight with baggage allowance and a simple meal. This used to be the price I was paying for two return flights. Missing the extra-low fares already!

I thought of recording my travel experience as an OFW to give my fellow OFWs an idea of how are things now especially in the Philippines.

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What to expect when travelling from Singapore to Manila amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?

Before anything else, my sincere thanks to the Philippine government authorities especially the front-liners who received us and took care of us from the time we landed at NAIA! Salamat talaga ng marami sa inyong mga sakripisyo especially para sa aming mga OFWs! Baka maglalaan ako ng isa pang post para lang magpasalamat sa inyong lahat.

  • Plane Ticket Bookings

    There is high probability that pre-booked flight bookings, regardless of the airlines, will be canceled. This is because our airports in the Philippines are ready to accept only a limited number of incoming travelers per day. I found this unreasonable until I saw the situation with my own eyes. So, I suggest you get in touch with the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and follow their Facebook page to monitor the next special flight. It’s the surest way to get a flight!

  • Before the Flight

    Prepare the following:

    1. Masks (surgical masks for some airlines),

    2. Hand spray/sanitizer (<100ml),

    3. Internet connection. Manila airport provides free internet but in case you are not able to connect, it’s always good to have a backup like internet roaming or even better if you have a Philippine SIM with data. Internet is extremely necessary as part of the Red Cross Swab Test procedures.

    4. Food and water. Food will be provided but you might get hungry while on queue (trust me!). It took us 6 hours from the time we landed at NAIA up to the time we got in to our quarantine hotel.

    5. Hygiene Kit (soap, toothbrush, tissue, etc). If you get lucky and will be assigned an elegant accommodation, you will not need these. I was not lucky so I had to spend my own money for these items.

    6. Power Bank

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  • At Changi Airport

    The airport is almost a ghost town. You might even see groups of people in full PPE suit queuing for their flights. Maybe their destination country has special protocols for incoming travelers or maybe they are medical professionals.

    Although the airport is not crowded, still you need to arrive early and follow the social distancing protocols in place. The airline and the airport staff will avoid any unimportant contact with you or your properties so expect nobody to help you with carrying or lifting your luggage. Mask on all the time!

    At Singapore immigration, nothing has changed. Unlike in the Philippines, the auto-gates are still an efficient option for long term pass holders. So, you may scan and go straight to your boarding gate.

  • On the Plane

    Not sure with other flights but the one I had had no social distancing observed. The Airbus 320 was full so expect and pray hard that nobody has the virus in your flight. You are only to remove your masks when taking your meal.

    You won’t see the faces of the cabin crews so refer to their name tags so you can address them appropriately.

    Besides the arrival card, you will need to fill out an OWWA form and BOC form. Please have a pen ready because there is a lot of manual writing to do along the way. Having your own pen minimizes the transmission of the virus.

  • Prior to Disembarkation

    The Bureau of Quarantine will come in and brief the arriving passengers about the protocols in the airport. They will have you fill out a declaration form that you are well and have not been in contact with a person with the virus. While the form is being collected another BOQ personnel will do a thermal scan perhaps to isolate those who high temperatures.

    When the airport is ready, the passengers will be requested to leave the aircraft one row at a time allowing 30 seconds between rows. Masks on, observe social distancing!

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  • Swab Testing

    The Philippine Red Cross and the Philippine Coast Guard teams are managing the swab tests. The procedure is easy and they are very kind to answer your questions. Please be patient and wait for your turn. The queue can be long like in my case. Note, please have your Philhealth number ready. I did not have time to ask what happened to those who did not have Philhealth numbers but I heard some tourists and non-OFWs had to pay for the swab.

    Prior to swabbing, you will be asked to scan a QR code with your phone which takes you to a Red Cross website where you need to provide your personal details. This is why you need to have a good internet connection so you could access the site, fill out the form that includes uploading a photo of your passport. Once submitted, take a screenshot of the QR code generated for you. The code will be used for verification before the actual swab test. Upon verification, the staff will provide you some 5 or 6 bar codes. One of which, will be stuck on your passport to cross check your records later. The other bar codes will be handed over to the swab test booth personnel and you will be asked to show your passport.

    The swabbing experience is not good but bearable for adults. I cannot imagine my toddlers undergoing the same thing I did. This is one thing to take note for those travelling with babies or young children. After the swab, you will be led to the immigration counters. There is nothing new except the social distancing measures but expect a long queue as usual.

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  • After the Immigration

    Land-based OFWs are to approach OWWA. Short orientation will be done and food (in my case, food was given) will be provided. They will then do further verification with your Red Cross QR code before assigning the accommodation. You will then ride on an OWWA provided transport to the pre-assigned facility. You cannot pre-plan or choose your own accommodation or mode of transport to the quarantine facility.

  • On the Way to Quarantine

    Social distancing on the bus will be strictly observed. OWWA will ask you to fill out forms so make sure your pen is still with you. If you get lucky, you will be in the quarantine facility in no time. In my case, it was almost midnight and there was no traffic so we were able to get to Cubao in just few minutes. Even though the travel time was OK, we had to wait inside the bus for more than 30 minutes until all OFWs were ready to leave the airport.

  • At the Quarantine Facility

    You will be asked to observe social distancing even in the hotel check in area. In our case, the check-in process was done individually which involved temperature screening and filling out a form (again!) at the hotel front desk. Please do not expect you will be sent to a 5-star accommodation, only a few of those hotels are approved by the government as qualified quarantine facility and most probably other OFWs are already staying in them.

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  • During the Quarantine Stay

    Pray, pray, and pray that everything will be OK!

    You are to stay at your room all the time. An OWWA staff (Houseparent) will check on you to make sure you are OK. Food and water will be provided three times a day. Please do not expect a sumptuous 4-course meal at a quarantine facility. 🙂 If you encounter any problem during your stay or if you are unwell, please let the roving nurse / houseparent know.

    It will take around three days for the result of your swab test. It’s a waiting game! Make sure you have a good internet connection so you can monitor the result and so you can receive emails from Red Cross or OWWA. These pages will be very useful for your monitoring:

    The second link worked for me. They promised to give a result within 72 hours and I got mine shortly before the 72 hours would lapse (see image). Few hours after that Red Cross sent me an email with an attached certificate in PDF format (not shown here). The certificate is a proof that you tested negative of COVID-19 and that you can now leave the quarantine.

    Unfortunately the wait did not stop here. Only those who have “sundo” can exit the quarantine facility. OFWs who do not have their own transport to their provinces will have to wait for our generous OWWA (Thanks God for OWWA!). They will arrange the transport to PITEX (Bus terminal in Pasay near Coastal Mall) for those going home via land or to NAIA for those who need to fly to Visayas and Mindanao. OWWA will again shoulder the expenses.

    So although I received my negative result on the third day, I was able to arrange transport for myself only on the fifth day. I had the option to stay longer at the hotel but there was no certainty as to when OWWA (and DOTR, I think!) could send us home due to the volume of OFWs like us in the same situation which is understandable.

  • After Manila Quarantine

    Please get in touch with your LGUs. Some, depending on their quarantine status, require an acceptance letter. Check also with the OWWA representative or houseparent in the quarantine facility you are in if there is a need to get an actual certificate from PITEX even if you have “sundo”. In my case, I was told there was no need for it and that the certificate from Red Cross was sufficient.

    Another OFW, husband of my best friend also arrived in Manila, was asked to go to PITX before going home because for some reasons he did not receive an email from the Philippine Red Cross even though he already got the negative results via https://redcross.com.ph/verify.

    Note that before checkout, for those with “sundo”, you will be asked to fill out at least two forms and an affidavit. Don’t forget to thank the Lord for everything! Thank the hotel staff, the OWWA officials, and all who worked hard for your stay. 🙂

  • On my Way to the Province

    On my way from Manila (by land), authorities in uniforms can be spotted in many areas especially along EDSA. I noticed them stopping some random vehicles perhaps to make sure there was no overcrowding inside or if the passengers were wearing masks to minimize the transmission of the virus.

    The LGUs are as strict as the national government. At two checkpoints in Quezon Province I had to open the car window for a temperature check. Some of the local towns have zero cases so checkpoints are everywhere to filter only incoming residents / visitors who do not have the symptoms of the virus.

  • At Home Quarantine

    A daily record of your temperature and health condition

    Before you even plan to go home, you (or your family) should have already informed the barangay. I remember few weeks back, there need to be an acceptance letter issued by the barangay for you to be allowed to go back home. Since the quarantine status has loosen a bit, the letter was not necessary for me.

    In my place, a 14-day home quarantine is required for all incoming residents regardless of whether you tested negative or not. The local government is very careful in letting even their own residents especially those coming from the coronavirus hot spots like Manila and Cebu.

    I’m with my family but not quite! I can see them but cannot hug them or kiss them or have a meal with them yet. So far everything is good, no virus symptoms whatsoever. Counting the days when I can finally and truly be with them.

My “balik-pilipinas” story ends here! Please share this post to all those who might benefit from this article. Thank you.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Empower Philippines was live last Saturday 6th of June with Steve Ray as their guest. Steve was a protestant by birth who converted to Catholicism after thorough study about the Bible and the Church. He is a writer of many books including “Upon this Rock” and “The Papacy: What the Pope Does and Why It Matters”. He also is a frequent guest of many EWTN and Relevant Radio programs.

These are the things that I think most Born Again Christians do not realize as what I have learned from the video:

  1. On “Bible Alone” and on being “Born Again“(’22). Steve said that if we were 33 years old and we were there when Jesus died and rose again, we would never have read about the term “born again” because the Gospel of John was written only 77 years later. Even if it were written earlier, only the apostles would know about it because there was no printing presses and bookstores and we would have never read about it. How then would we have known how to get saved and be born again if we didn’t have the book?
  2. “Bible” or “Tradition” (’24). The Catholic Church added the Bible to the Church. When Jesus ascended to heaven he never asked his followers to read his book because there was no book. Instead, Jesus left behind 12 men, one of them carrying the keys of the Kingdom. The Bible is a product of the Sacred Tradition produced by the teachings and practices of the first Christians.
  3. The brightest Protestants become Catholics (’29). The best and the brightest of the Protestants are becoming Catholics. It’s the Catholics who don’t know their faith, the ignorant Catholics, who are leaving the Catholic Church because of moral or sexual issues. Many of them, the least trained, the most uneducated Catholics, are leaving to become Protestants because they’re easily enticed away. How can they leave the Church before they know? How can they leave before really studying everything about the Catholic Church?
  4. Catholics are born again the Bible way! (’36). Steve tells a story of a conversation he had with a Baptist pastor. Pastor: Are you born again? Steve: Yes, I am born again the Bible way! Pastor: What do you mean? Steve: First tell me what you mean by born again, and I’ll tell you what I meant. Pastor: You become born again when you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and savior and asking him to come in to your heart. Steve: These verses are not in the Bible. It is a Baptist tradition and not a Bible teaching. Being born again means to be born of water and spirit (which refers to Baptism).
  5. On being born of water and spirit (’39). Every time the Lord creates, water and spirit are involved. The Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). God sent forth a dove (Spirit) from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground (Genesis 8:8, Peter 3:20-21). In the Exodus event, the spirit of God as fire-cloud protected the Israelites who were crossing the waters of the red sea (1 Cor 10:1-4, Isaiah 63:10-14). Jesus is the fulfillment of all this because when he himself got baptized in the river, the Spirit of God descended over him. This new creation through baptism is what Jesus meant about being born again. In fact, after he spoke to Nichodemus (John 3:3), Jesus and his disciples went down to the Jordan river to baptize. “Jesus saved us by the washing of regeneration and and renewal in the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Something that Prophet Ezekiel already foretold (Ezekiel 36:25-17).
  6. “Born Again” used by Catholics before the Bible (’48). The word “born again” is always understood and used by Catholics referring to baptism even before the first Bible was made (around 380 A.D.) St. Irenaeus in 180 AD, who received the teachings of St. Polycarp, who received the teachings of St. John the Apostles, who received the teachings of Jesus, wrote: “He came to save all through means of Himself — all, I say, who through Him are born again to God — infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men.” (Against Heresies Book II, Chapter 22)
  7. Believing is enough, or may be not! (’55). Protestants usually use Acts 16:31 to support their teaching that believing in the Lord is enough to be saved. But the Bible never says believing “is enough”. In the contrary, it is by works that a man is justified, and not by faith only (James 2:24). Believing is only enough in emergency situations. A non-Christian, if dying and has one minute to live, it is enough to profess that he believes in Jesus and he will be saved. But in normal situations when we have years to live, we have to believe and follow Christ’s teachings.
  8. The opposite of “to believe” is not “to disbelieve” (’58). If you have an hour, days, months, or years to live, then we must study what really “to believe” means. The shortcut to this is to know from the scriptures what is the opposite of believing. Jesus makes it clear for us that the opposite of belief is not disbelief but disobedience. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36)
  9. The Sodomites have greater chance than those who only believe and not repent (’61). The believing crowd was following Jesus because of the miracles he performed but the crowd never repent and follow what he teaches. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes… But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20-24)
  10. On Infant Baptism (’70). Christian practices are drawn from the Jewish traditions. If the Jewish people like Jesus and John the Baptist were circumcised on the eighth day, then why should we condemn infant baptism? It was the faith of Jesus’s and John’s parents that brought them in to the covenant people of God. Same thing in Baptism which is “circumcision without human hands” in Christianity. “In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colosians 2:11-12)
  11. “I became Catholic because of the Bible.” (’81). Last but not the least, from the mouth of a former Baptist Born Again Protestant himself. He said, “I became Catholic because of the Bible.”

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

Read also:

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In a previous post, I mentioned there that everything that Jesus did during his ministry was for our salvation. Jesus never did anything unnecessary and one of the most important things he did was the founding of one singular Church (Matthew 16:18). His Church is essential to our salvation because she is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Let us see if this Church is really the Catholic Church.

In English grammar, the word will is a modal. According to the British Council, we use modals to show if we believe something is certain or possible. We also use them to talk about ability, ask permission, and make requests and offers. Will is used to talk about what is going to happen in the future, especially things that you are certain about or things that are planned (Cambridge dictionary). And as per Collins dictionary, we use will in order to make statements about official arrangements in the future.

So, when Jesus said he will build his church, he was very serious about it. He was certain that Peter can lead his church as he planned. He was officially arranging a construction of his church upon Peter! Here is the full text of the story in Matthew 16:13-19:

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock (“petrus”) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Many of the people claim to know Jesus Christ but only Peter-through God’s revelation-really knew who he was. Nowadays, many churches claim to know Jesus Christ but only the Catholic Church-through the Holy Spirit’s guidance-knows him best.

The Catholic Church by definition is the society of all baptized persons united in the one true faith under the authority of the Pope, the successor of Saint Peter. The Catholic Church is the only Church that God built in fulfillment to Jesus’s promise “I will build my Church”. Here are some reasons why:

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  1. The Catholic Church’s first leader after Jesus is Peter. For me this is not debatable because the Holy Bible and the world history can prove this fact. There is an unbroken link between our current leader, Pope Francis, and Peter.
  2. The Catholic Church is the only bride of Christ. The letters of Saint Paul and the book of Revelation puts the Church as the bride of Christ (Eph 5:23, 2 Cor 11:2, Rev 19:7, 21:2, 21:9, 22:17). There is no mention of a plural brides of Christ. That only bride in no doubt is the Catholic Church. It is nonsensical for other churches to claim that theirs is the bride of Christ, even worse, that theirs is another bride of Christ.
  3. The Catholic Church is the only Church who continues the full mission of Jesus. Jesus started his mission of salvation and his mystical body (the Church) continues his mission. Through the Catholic Church; Jesus continues to forgive sin through the Confession, cast out demons though the Exorcism ministry, baptizes through the Sacrament of Baptism, heals and cures the sick through the Church’s charitable institutions, appoints priests to minister his flocks, etc.
  4. The Catholic Church is the only Church who enjoys the binding and loosing authority. This is obvious because the other churches do not have Peter. Jesus delegated his authority to Peter, then that authority was delegated to the next popes. It is the same authority that our current supreme pontiff possesses. If Peter can exercise his authority to settle the issues about circumcision of non-Jews in Jerusalem, Pope Francis can also exercise his authority to make death penalty inadmissible.
  5. The Catholic Church has the surest way to heaven. The Sacraments are a big deal for our souls. The sacraments sanctify our souls so that we become ready for when the Lord comes or if we die prematurely. Without the sacraments we will have unhealthy souls. We all know that only those who washed their robes (Revelation 22:14) enter the gates. That means we should have healthy souls without any stain of sin upon entering the gates of heaven.
  6. The Catholic Church’s doctrine of Purgatory. Since nobody can enter with unwashed robes, the Catholic Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory as final purification of the elect based on the Sacred Tradition of the Church and reference to certain texts of Scripture that speaks of a cleansing fire (CCC 1031, 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7), which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.
  7. The Catholic Church is a visible Church with marks. Many non-Catholic churches claim that a real church should be an unseen group of saved people studying the Bible privately and that a visible Church with a hierarchy is not necessary. The Catholic Church is a visible Church with a hierarchy following Jesus’s examples. He, the master, chose twelve apostles and other disciples to proclaim the gospel to all nations. One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic are the marks of the Church not because she earned them by herself but because her founder, Jesus, is one, holy, universal, and an apostle (meaning “sent”) by God.

The Catholic Church, being the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15) is necessary for our salvation. Let us then make efforts and pray that Jesus’s Gospel be made known to the whole world. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4)

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Christ is the head who rules over his body which is the Church. Paul mentioned this inseparable union of Christ and his Church many times in his letters as we read in these verses:

Ephesians 1:22-23. [God] put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Ephesians 5:23. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Colossians 1:18. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Romans 12:5. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
1 Corinthians 12:27. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Therefore, the saying “Christ is enough and we don’t need the Church” contradicts the Bible and is simply not logical. It is “anatomically” impossible to be part of the existing head (Christ) without being a member of an existing body (Church). In fact, Paul’s analogy about “Christ-Church=Husband-Wife” in Ephesians 5 simply means that their is a special and inseparable bond of love between him and his Church. But, did Jesus really build a Church of his own? How many?

Everything that Jesus did during his ministry was for our salvation. Jesus never did anything unnecessary and one of the most important things he did was the founding of one singular Church (Matthew 16:18) to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). And he continued to guide this Church through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). This Church of the living God became the “household of God” and the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).

Since Christ found a Church or a house of God, any churches that were founded by humans are not part of the salvific plan of God and are “purposeless”. They will pretend to be new bodies of Christ which is simply impossible because there is already an existing body that Christ built through Peter (Matthew 16:18, John 21:15). So, if a new church in a neighborhood could not trace its beginnings back to Peter, then that church has no purpose at all. Why? Because only the house that the Lord himself builds has a purpose. Any human being who builds his own church labour in vain (Psalms 127:1).

“I will build MY church” means this singular Church is owned by Christ. Paul would call her as “Church or God” or “Church of Christ” in his letters. The naming does not matter because it does not affect the fact that she is the only Church owned by Christ. The truth is that Jesus did not specify the name of his Church. We only know it’s the Catholic Church because she is the only Christian Church we can trace back from the time of Jesus’s ministry until now.

In Acts 5, after Peter performed miracles and converted many, the Jews wanted to put an end of the early Church. But a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, defended the first Church and said “let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” These texts prove that the Church is not work of men but of God because she continues to exist today–the Catholic Church. Gamaliel’s words also implies that those who attack the Catholic Church are obviously “fighting against God”.

They fight against God and use his name in vain. Yes! Human beings who established churches using Christ’s or God’s name “speak against God wickedly”, making him “his enemies” because they take God’s name in vain (Psalms 139:20, Exodus 20:7, Deuteronomy 5:11). “Lo, here is Christ!”, they would say! But we should not believe them because they are false prophets shall even show great signs and wonders to deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:23-24).

This blog post is inspired by one of Cedar media‘s seminar videos conducted by Atty Marwil Llasos.

Try this simple quiz!

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Both the ordained and the non-ordained members of the Church should work together in our daily spiritual battle against Satan and all the evil spirits who work day and night in order to lead us away from eternal happiness of heaven. So they disturb us, tempt us, and even possess some of us to redirect our focus to other things but God. God and his angels, in response, gives the Church all the graces and the means to destroy evil through the sacraments and sacramentals of which one is exorcism.

The Three Types of Catholic Exorcisms

(1) A simple exorcism are done by invoking the name of Jesus Christ to make evil spirits leave a person, place, or and object. Simple exorcisms are mostly done by Catholic priests when there is a demonic obsession, demonic oppression, and demonic infestation of objects and places. Before and during baptisms, a series of simple exorcisms are performed for the catechumenates so that any evil spirits in and around them would abandon them. Simple Exorcisms also are done by Catholic priests when they bless sacramentals like salt, water, oil, candles, incense, bells, etc.

(2) Major exorcisms are performed only when there is a verified cases of demonic possession using the Roman Ritual of Exorcism like what we normally see in the movies (not exactly because movies are fiction). Only Catholic Priest who are trained for exorcism can perform major exorcisms. He strictly needs to follow the ritual prescribed by the Church when performing such major exorcisms.

(3) Deliverance Prayers can be performed by baptized Catholics (non-priests) over a person, object, or a place. The layperson delivers that evil spirits away from them by the name of Jesus Christ or by imploring God with the intercession of his Holy Angels and Saints. The layperson makes use of the sacramentals blessed by the priests through simple exorcisms.

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The Catholic Church’s Warning

Only Catholic priest-exorcists (or deliverance ministers in very special cases) can perform exorcisms. The Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism says:

The Catholic Church warns the faithful who have no spiritual authority over those vexed by evil spirits in performing “exorcisms” as these would agitate the demons if they are indeed present and will open the person to virulent retaliations. (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Inde Ab Aliquot Annis: On the Current Norms Governing Exorcisms, #3. 20 Sept 1984).

The Role of the Laity

(1) For any suspicious or potential demonic oppression, possession, or infestation, the layperson should ask a priest’s advise on the next actions that need to be done.

(2) The layperson can help avoid or minimize the instances of demonic activities in their localities through deliverance prayers and making use of exorcised-blessed sacramentals. A lay faithful can use them on themselves, their families, and their properties. Imagine if all Catholics do this, any activities of Satan will disappear in the place and there will be no more temptations, no more sins, no more demonic activities. The Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism says:

As with Holy Water and Blessed Salt, the lay faithful can use Exorcised Blessed Oil freely on their person, family, and property. They use it while invoking God to grant them healing and protection. They can also use it on others if they are asked to pray for them by the persons concerned. However, lay use of this exorcised blessed oil for prayers of healing should never be confused or substitute for the priestly prayers of healing connected with the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick. During deliverance of a place or home or object led by a priest, the laypeople can be tasked to anoint walls, doors, windows, and objects like mirrors as the priest does the prayer of exorcism or deliverance. In this case, it is the priest who does the deliverance and blessing prayers and requests the lay faithful to assist him in the exercise of the ministry at that moment

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Some Sacramentals We Should Have at Home

To protect ourselves, our families, and properties from evil spirits, the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism suggests we should try to have some of these sacramentals at home. We need them in our spiritual battle against Satan and all his works. Other items here are used only by the Ministry of Spiritual Liberation and Exorcism.

Sign of the Cross“Ĭn nōmine Pătris ĕt Fīliī ĕt Spīritūs Sānctī, āmēn.”” or its vernacular translation.
Holy WaterYou can get holy water from your parish or ask a priest to bless it.
Exorcised-Blessed SaltRock or sea salt
Exorcised-Blessed OilPure Olive Oil (or pure Virgin olive oil)
Exorcised-Blessed Candles
Exorcised-Blessed Incense
Blessed Bells
Exorcised-Blessed Medals of St. Benedict
CrucifixPreferably Saint Benedict’s cross
Purple Stole of Priest
First and Second-Class Relics of Saints
Rosary, Brown Scapular, Miraculous Medal, Rose of the Rosary
Blessed Icons, Statues, Images, Medallions (from approved devotions and apparitions only)
White Cord of St. Joseph

For more information go to The Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism and The Catechism of the Catholic Church webpages.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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A Catholic apologist and an exorcist priest from the Philippines, Father Darwin Gitgano, highlighted these three objectives of Catholic Apologetics during an online meeting with a group of Catholic Faith Defenders Cooperators (some aspiring to be official Catholic Faith Defenders in the future) on May 24, 2020. The priest emphasized the importance of defending the Catholic Faith in our times today when many people thirst for the truth amidst all the confusions caused by the attacks against the Mother Church.

Apologetics is of course not to silence and condemn anyone who do not confess the Catholic Faith. It has to be done with a dose of ecumenism and should not cause enmity between the attacker and the defender. Many of us have experienced debates that ended up badly to a point of unfriending an opponent. This is because we want to shame them of their false beliefs instead of having a friendly conversation about each other’s views.

Catholic Apologetics, if done well, could lead many to rediscover the beauty of Catholicism and why becoming a Catholic and practicing the faith is of vital importance for one’s soul. In apologetics, numerous souls are at stake, so, an apologist should be well equipped with knowledge and skills prior to engaging in faith-based discussions. It would be better for “unprepared apologist who confuse more souls” if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea. This is how I understand Jesus’s words in Luke 17:2. So, here are what aspiring apologists should look forward in their future apostolate:

Explain our belief in God

First, Catholic apologists should be able to explain why they believe in God without using the Bible. Those who do not believe in God do not believe in the Bible or any written account about a person or happenings related to anything divine or supernatural. Still, an apologist can make use of reasoning Saint Thomas Aquinas and other philosophers use to prove that there is someone beyond time and space who has power over everything seen and unseen.

Explain Christianity

Second, apologists should be able to explain God’s plan of salvation for humanity through Jesus Christ. To our Buddhist and Hindu brethren, they will not believe in the Sacred Scriptures because they also have sacred writings of their own. They even have sacred traditions handed over to them by their ancestors. They have their own prophets and saints too. To our Muslim and Jewish brethren, we cannot use the New Testament because they focus more on the Pentateuch and the writings of the Old Testament. Still, there are ways to explain to them our stand in a diplomatic way without starting a fight with them.

Explain the Catholic faith

Third, and most importantly, apologists should be able to explain to other Christians why the Catholic Church is the ONLY church that Christ built under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in the person of a Pope as Christ’s representative. This time we can use the entire Bible, the Sacred Tradition and the history of Christianity to defend our stand. Therefore, it is imperative for an apologist to be familiar with the Holy Bible, its history and the messages God wants to deliver to mankind through it. An apologist should be able to make reference in the Holy Bible the teachings of Catholicism.

Conclusion

Catholic apologetics is not to shame non-Catholics of their beliefs or force them to confess the Catholic faith. Conversion is God’s job, although, we are all encouraged to help defend God and his Church against those who attack her. If we do not study our faith we become easy preys for those who want us out of the Church, and once we are out of the Church, we no longer have access to the sacraments (instituted by Christ) that keep our souls alive and healthy.

Read my other post:

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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“He was conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin Mary.” We profess Mary’s virginity when we recite the Apostle’s Creed on Sunday masses, when we pray the Rosary of the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, etc. But, why is Mary’s virginity so important? Four things:

(1) REJECTING MARY’S VIRGINITY MEANS REJECTING THE BIBLE

Isaiah, Matthew, and Luke wrote about the virgin birth as you can see in below texts. Those who reject this doctrine simply lack reverence and belief in the Bible (the Word of God). Three verses in the Bible stating Mary’s virginity:

Matthew 1:22-23. “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (King James Version)

Isaiah 7:14. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (King James Version)

Luke 1:26-27. “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin‘s name was Mary.” (King James Version)

(2) REJECTING MARY’S VIRGINITY MEANS REJECTING JESUS AS THE CHRIST

Mary as virgin is a doctrine that every Christian should accept because Jesus as the Messiah or Savior was prophesied to be “born of a virgin”. If Christians deny the virginity of Mary then they also deny the person and mission of Jesus as their Savior. The child born of the virgin is the second person of the Holy Trinity who will redeem us from the darkness of sin and death.

Isaiah 9:6. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (King James Version)

Galatians 4:4-5. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (King James Version)

(3) REJECTING MARY’S VIRGINITY DEMEANS THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

If Mary is not virgin, then Jesus’s birth could have happened with an intervention of a man which contradicts the Bible and discredits the power of (God) the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18 states that before Mary and Joseph came together, Mary was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 1:20, the angel told Joseph not to fear to take Mary as his wife because the child conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

(4) MARY IS VIRGIN BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE BIRTH OF JESUS

Some will say that Mary was virgin only before Jesus’s birth, after all, the Jesus had to go through her birth canal and that would make her not virgin any longer. This contradicts the dictionaries in the world. Virginity means “the state of never having had sex” (Cambridge) or “the state of never having had sexual intercourse” (Oxford). Virginity is not about giving birth but about engaging in sexual activity.

Did Jesus really go through the normal birth? Probably, or probably not! The Bible does not say so. However, what is important is that it was God who put Jesus in Mary’s womb and it was also God who took Jesus out from Mary’s womb maintaining the same state of the virgin mother. This is a mystery our human minds may not be able to understand. But with the help of the Scriptures we will understand that with God everything is possible.

Psalms 22. The Psalmist prophesied Jesus on the cross. Many lines such as: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (v1), “I can count all my bones” (v17), and “They part my garments” (v18) obviously fulfilled this prophesy. Verse 7 states, “But thou art he (God) that took me (Jesus) out of the womb.” This clearly indicates that it was God himself who took Jesus out of Mary’s womb.

Isaiah 7:14 also confirms perpetual virginity of Mary if we just focus on the sentence construction. It can be best understood this way: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, then the virgin shall bear a son, then the virgin shall call him Immanuel.” In other words, Mary was virgin before, during and after conception, and she remains a virgin even after she bore and named her son.

Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.”

CCC 499, Lumen Gentium 57

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Mother's Day - Aira Grace Pagan Esto
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English: Our loving Father, please pray for us and grant all mothers (who are here today with us in the online prayer mass). Bless them with the strength that comes from your Holy Spirit, because, through them; children learn how to get up and walk, how to talk and play, and how to approach your divine presence through sincere prayer. Grant them health and peace, of joy and happiness, so that they will continue to feel your love and affection. Likewise, we include in our prayers women who are not remembered especially those who quietly support their families, humbly serve, endure hardships for the sake of their husbands and children. And especially during these times of pandemic encouraged them to persevere. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Said at the end of the online Sunday mass on 10May20

Tagalog: Ama naming mapagkalinga, dingin po ninyo ang aming panalangin at pagkalooban ng pagbabasbas ang lahat ng mga ina (na nandito ngayon na kasama namin sa online prayer na misa). Basbasan mo po sila ng lakas na nagmumula sa iyong banal na espiritu, sapagkat, sa pamamagitan nila; natutunan ng mga anak kung paanong tumayo at lumakad, kung paanong magsalita at maglaro, at kung paanong makalapit sa iyong banal na harapan sa pamamagitan ng tapat na panalangin. Pagkalooban po sila ng kalusugan at kapayapaan, ng galak at kaligayahan, upang kanilang patuloy na madama ang iyong kalinga’t pagmamahal. Gayun din aming isinasama sa aming panalangin ang mga babaeng walang nakaalaala lalo na ang tahimik na itinataguyod ang ang kanilang pamilya, anglilingkod nang may kababaang loob, nagtitiis ng hirap sa buhay para sa kapakanan ng kanilang mga asawa’t mga anak. At lalong-lalo na sa mga panahong ito ng pandemia palakasin niyo ang kanilang loob. Hinihiling namin ito sa pamamagitan ni Kristong aming Panginoon. Amen.

Said at the end of the online Sunday mass on 10May20
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Roster in Excel The Best Work Scheduling Template
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Hi! Like many, I work in a company with a group of colleagues to perform daily tasks according to our defined job roles and responsibilities. We have a manager or a team lead who manages our schedule to make sure enough resources are available in a given hour or day. For sure you also notice how difficult it is for your team lead to manage your work schedule. It is not easy and is time consuming. It can be annoying sometimes, too. There are even times when team leads spend the entire working day just to plan for the next week or next month’s work schedule. It is a bothering task especially when he or she has other tasks to do. Schedule management causes stress which could affect the whole team and its performance.

So I developed Roster in Excel to help managers, team leads, and individuals to manage a team work schedule more efficiently. And believe me, nobody yet has dedicated much time and skills to come up with a similar tool like this. You can watch free tutorials videos online on how to create a work schedule in Excel from scratch but nobody ever bothered to create an automated template that everybody can use. There are also other app-based and online based schedulers available that not only they are not very user friendly but also the costs are way too high that it’s not worth to purchase them.

Download the Demo File here!

Roster in Excel is Microsoft Excel-based so no need to download a software or anything since most of us have Microsoft Excel in our computers. You simply need to get a copy of the template and you can open it and start using it. You have an option to use Roster in Excel online on your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone too but the features and functionality will not be the same as managing it on your laptop or computer.

Since Roster in Excel is a template, you do not need to be an expert Microsoft Excel user to avail of it. It is very easy to use as there is very less effort from the end user to manage the schedule. I designed it in such a way that what you need to do is to assign a shift to each of the team members. The template will then tell you the number of hours or days plotted for a team member on the right side. On the bottom part of the tool, you will see clearly the number of resources or headcount per hour.

And this template is copied into the other 11 months so that you do not need to do extra repetitive work which really saves you a lot of your time. To move from one month to another, you can either click the month that you want or you can use the next and previous month buttons.

This tool can accommodate up to 100 team members. You just need to unhide the rows to allow more names in the list. The freeze dates and freeze names buttons are available to help you scroll more efficiently. I suggest you hide unused rows to make your schedule look better.

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Roster in Excel Actual File Screenshot 1

Calculate no more!

Forget about spending hours, or days, or weeks in developing a work schedule from scratch. I did that job for you! Once you assigned a shift to a team member, you will see how many hours and days have been plotted for that member. You will also see the number of the team members working per hour.

Roster in Excel Actual File Screenshot 1

Beautiful Format!

The worksheets are beautifully and uniformly formatted so it looks more professional and user friendly.

I suggest you download the demo file so you can play with it and learn the tricks on how to manage the tool even easier. And whenever you are ready, please support this initiative and get a copy of your own Roster in Excel at a reasonable price.

But before you get a copy of Roster in Excel please take note of the ff:

  • There is no free support provided for this tool. I can respond to your emails in a best effort basis.
  • You have used Microsoft Excel before.
  • You have watched at least the introduction video OR have tried the demo file online or on your desktop and are familiar with how the tool works.
  • Your shifts are either 9 hours or 12 hours or both with 1 hour lunch break.
  • Your shifts start at an exact hour (example: 8:00 am and not 8:30 am).
  • Your shifts end at an exact hour (example: 5:00 am and not 5:30 am).
  • You have a team with less than 100 members.
  • There is no refund.

Get Roster in Excel without Password

If you do not need to change the formatting [colors, fonts, cell background], this option is best for you! You can still change the logo and the team details.

$11.00

Catholic Wedding The Praying Lensman
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Why Catholic Marriage is Always Right and why Catholic couples should avail of this wonderful sacrament a.s.a.p?

Marriage in the Catholic Church is a sacrament. It’s most appropriate name is “The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony”. There are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. Sacraments give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith (CCC 1210). Christ instituted the sacraments and it is from him that graces is obtained by the recipients of the sacrament. These are the points you might not know about Catholic marriages. A more deep dive on this topic can be done with the help of the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 1601-66.

Christ instituted the Sacrament of Matrimony

Christ instituted all the seven sacraments. This is what Jesus himself said about marriage quoting Genesis 1, “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:3ff; Genesis 1:27)

The Sacrament of Matrimony is a covenant not a contract

A contact is an exchange of goods, rights, vows, promises, etc. A marriage contract is a written or spoken agreement between two people so they can start building a family legally. God is not involved in these unions. A covenant is an exchange of selves. In matrimonial covenant, a baptized man gives himself to a baptized woman and the woman gives herself to the man.

Christ presides the ceremony through apostolic succession

Christ delegated his authority to Peter and the Apostles. That authority has been passed from generation to generation to our bishops and priests through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Those who recently went out from the apostolic line do not have this authority and cannot avail or preside a valid sacrament of marriage. This is the reason why Catholics sin when they deliberately choose to attend a non-Catholic wedding ceremonies. Catholics can attend the reception but not the man-made wedding itself.

The couple is the minister and not the pastor

In a Catholic marriage, the pastor only presides the sacrament. The spouses are the ministers of Christ’s grace who mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. The deacon or the priest witnesses, presides, and gives the blessing of the newly wed. (CCC1623)

Husband and wife submit to each other

The Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her,… This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:25, 32). (CCC 1616, 1659) Husbands have roles different from those of the wives but they all perform the same mission. They are ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. They also have the same dignity as human beings created in the image and likeness of God with the same chances of eternal life with God.

Unity, indissolubility, and openness to life

These are the essential properties of marriage in the Catholic Church: unity, indissolubility, and openness to life. “Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter – appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility. (CCC 1643)

Holy Matrimony refreshes the spouses’ souls

There are three sacraments involved in the Sacrament of Matrimony: Confession, Eucharist, and Matrimony. This means that all mortal and venial sins are gone after availing these sacraments. This is what sacraments really do: they sanctify the souls of the spouses so they can start fresh of their new mission which is to build a new community in their new household. And because Christ himself instituted the sacraments, Christ himself dwells with the newly wed, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,” (CCC 1642)

Matrimony creates a new domestic church

The Church is nothing other than “the family of God.” It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment.” (CCC 1655-57)

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father? . . . How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.

Tertullian, Ad uxorem. 2,8,6-7:PL 1,1412-1413; cf. FC 13.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Fr. Darwin Gitgano and Bro. Eliseo Soriano
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What really happened between FR. DARWIN GITGANO and BRO. ELISEO SORIANO? This post will answer that question in detail.

Father Darwin Anober Gitgano is a Catholic Apologist from Bohol, Philippines. In the world of debates, he is very famous for being the only Visayan priest with exceptional apologetics and debate skills. He has debated Brother Ramil Parba of Iglesia ni Cristo in 2017. He also preaches in public areas and in local Catholic Churches in an effort to make the faithful aware and proud of the Catholic faith they received from Jesus and the Apostles.

Brother Eliseo “Eli” Soriano is the founder of Members Church of God International (M.C.G.I.) which goes by a popular name “Ang Dating Daan” which means “The Old Path” in English. Eli Soriano claims to know the Bible and insists that he has an authentic interpretation and that only members of his church deserve heaven. He ignores Peter’s warning “that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). He has criticized the Catholic Church for decades resulting many not-well-informed Catholics to leave the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

In April 17, 2020, Soriano was seen enraged on TV and which was a live broadcast. The MCGI founder felt he was attacked unfairly via social media by this humble Filipino priest who was only trying to clear the doubts of his flock against the attack and criticism of non-Catholic pastors including Soriano. He dared Gitgano to contact him via the comment section of their live streaming in Facebook any day from Monday to Thursday.

Since then, Filipino Catholics around the world, were intrigued and hoping for a friendly debate between these two pastors who claim to know the Sacred Scriptures by heart.

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This is my own timeline version of the clash between Fr. Darwin Gitgano and Bro. Eliseo Soriano. Note that I am including the history of the Church to give a background for my non-Christian friends and to new generation who do not know the history.

  • AD 33 – Jesus founded a Church through Peter and his Apostles

    Most Bible believers do not believe this fact simply because they do not have this rich history and Sacred Tradition (that can be traced back to the time of Jesus and the Apostles) that we Catholics are so blessed with. The truth is that Jesus left one singular Church (not many) through Peter. “And so I say to you, you are Peter (means stone or rock), and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

  • AD 40 – Apostles James (and Paul possibly) Christianized Spain

    Paul mentioned in his letter to the Romans that he would be seeing them on his way to Spain (Romans 15:24, 28). Whether this was realized or not, it does not matter the important thing is that Spain is one of the target region of evangelization of the apostles. James, as per history and Sacred Tradition, through the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Pillar, christianized Spain. In the year AD 40, He died as martyr and was buried in Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain. His tomb is still in the Catholic Cathedral at the present time.

  • AD 1521 – Spain Christianized the Philippines

    Birth year of Christianity in the Philippines. First expedition from Spain, via Mexico, reached the shores of Samar Islands in the Philippines. “Philippines” was the name given to the newly discovered country in honor of King Philip the ruler of Spain that time. Christianization began since then. Catholic Churches and schools were build by Spanish missionaries. The Catholic Church flourished in the entire archipelago for centuries.

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  • AD 1910’s – Felix Manalo leaves the Catholic Church and founded Iglesia ni Cristo, attacks the Catholic Church for a century

    Felix Manalo, from a humble poor family, without a real understanding of the Catholic teachings, rejected Catholicism at a very young age. He questioned basic Catholic doctrines and went through his own journey of discovering what suits him best and became a part of the many Christian groups such as: the Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church, Christian Mission, and Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1911. SDA got rid of him in 1913 after a long quarrel over SDA doctrines. In 1914, he founded his own church called Iglesia ni Cristo.

  • AD 1980 – From Iglesia ni Cristo, Soriano founded M.C.G.I., attacks the Catholic Church for decades

    Nicholas Perez, one of the Iglesia ni Cristo member, started his own church in the 1970’s. He named his newfound religion Iglesia ng Dios (Haligi’t Suhay) and made Eli Soriano his successor. Soriano separated from Perez’ group and founded his own church in 1980. It took 24 years before the approval of its now official name “Members Church of God International”. Same tactics as the Iglesia ni Cristo, they attack those not-so-learned believers to gain membership.

  • March 31, 2020 – Fr. Darwin’s Punto por Punto program started in Facebook, YouTube

    Towards the end of March, Fr. Darwin and his wingman started “Punto por Punto“, an apologetics program attracting audience in YouTube and Facebook. It aims to debunk the lies of many Catholic attackers. For example, Fr. Darwin answered Soriano’s attack on TV about the praying of the Holy Rosary that it is vain repetition. (See my own post in defense against “vain repetition”.) As a proof that Soriano did attack Catholics, a capture of the video with him preaching this lie was shown in “Punto por Punto”. Then Fr. Darwin would explain as to why Soriano is wrong.

  • April 17, 2020 – Brother Eli Soriano seen enraged on TV against “Punto por Punto“, against the priest

    The pastor, on TV in front of all his audience, went extremely angry with the the Catholic priest for doing such thing. He said it was unfair for “Punto por Punto” to cut a piece of his preaching and the priest would talk for minutes about what he said. He called Gitgano names like “liar”, “thick-faced”, “bisaya”, etc. He then dared the clergyman to get in touch with him via their live-streaming’s comments section. Seriously? How can he see Fr. Darwin’s comment among the thousands of comments from Soriano’s members. A live debate via Zoom or Skype would be better! In any case, this was the start of the future (hopefully) debate. Soriano said he would answer Punto por Punto‘s episodes to tell the world that the priest is wrong.

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  • April 18, 2020 – Fr. Darwin heard Bro. Eli’s rage and accepted the challenge

    Early in the morning, excited to share the news, the apologist informed his followers (that’s including me, laugh!) in Facebook about the pastor’s reaction. He thanked God that their efforts have resulted to an awareness of the Catholic faith to many people and it has reached even to one of the main persecutors of the Church. He then said in his post that Catholics are not angry with the pastor even though he keeps on attacking the Catholic Church. “God bless you (Soriano) and Mama Mary loves you”, the priest said.

  • Apr 20, 2020 – Fr. Darwin on Facebook Live for three hours waiting for Soriano to fulfill his words, but nothing

    The Facebook Live coverage started at 07:03 PM and ended 10:14 PM. No sign of Soriano’s response about Punto por Punto or about the young priest. Fr. Darwin waited patiently for more than three hours in the hope he could have an open communication with Soriano. I can see his thirst of proving the world that Soriano’s preaching is wrong. He claimed to have sent around 10 messages in the comments section in Facebook but they were either deleted or responded by Soriano’s members only. His live coverage gained at least 43k views, 19k comments, 4k reactions, and almost 2k shares.

  • Apr 23, 2020 – MCGI folks informed Fr. Darwin a friendly talk with Soriano possible on Fridays only, MCGI agent will call the priest on 24th April evening

    Thursday. Around 9pm, Fr. Darwin announced in his page that he was was invited for MCGI’s Q&A on Fridays. He said he is excited to talk to Soriano on Friday and he asked his Facebook followers to follow his live coverage on Friday April 24, 2020 07:30 PM with a hashtag #ProudCatholic #ProudTeamMaria. He said he called and spoke to an MCGI agent who promised a call on the next day.

  • April 24, 2020 – Fr. Darwin on Facebook Live exhausted all means to contact MCGI, lines busy or no agent available for 3 hours

    Friday. Fr. Darwin Gitgano’s live post started around 07:40 PM. No calls received from MCGI. Fr. Darwin’s team called the Ang Dating Daan three hotline numbers multiple times but the lines are busy or no agents available. The priest made use of his time, with thousands of watchers, to expose some of the lies of Brother Soriano.

    1. 1. Soriano claimed Catholics consider Mary as “God of Mercy” or “Dios ng Awa” in a Catholic Marian prayer book of Mary (page 63). Turned out that the prayer book has 18 pages only. Also, “God of Mercy” it mentions is the “God who gave life to Mary’s parents” and not Mary herself.
    2. 2. Per Soriano, the statues and images in the Catholic Church started at the Council of Trent (held between 1545 and 1563). He referred to a book “Faith of our Fathers” page 164. Which clearly says that images or Christ and Mary should be retained. Retained means it has existed even before the said council. The same book (p162) states that the images started in the “early Christian Church” depicting images of Christ’s passion.

    09:31 PM, A call from MCGI member Brother Ben Sanchez who referred the Catholic Team to try Skype instead of phone calls (an alibi?).

  • May 01, 2020 – Fr. Darwin received a call from MCGI. Bro. Eli Soriano will answer questions related to Punto por Punto episodes in few hours

    07:00 PM. Fr. Darwin posted a special announcement. He said, “I hope this is true. Ang Dating Daan called us informing us that Bro. Eli Soriano will face us tonight in order to address simple questions about Punto por Punto episodes from 1-7. I am already excited. I hope they honor their words (laughs). The truth that we spread via social media has called their attention. I hope that if this will happen today, it would continue every Friday so we can follow their program to correct the errors of Bro. Eli.”

    07:50 P.M. Facebook live started. Fr. Darwin and Bro John Doe played the call audio they received from Bro Mel (MCGI lector) earlier inviting them to join the Ang Dating Daan live via Zoom.

    10:00 P.M. After more than two hours of waiting, MCGI never contacted Father Darwin. The priest and his team used the time to answer some of their viewers questions instead.

This is a developing story. This post will be updated accordingly.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) and charity covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

Besides donating to local chapels or parishes, My wife and I committed to help other charitable institutions that are very close to our hearts. It’s a culture we want our children to see as they grow up. After all, we are taught to love our neighbor especially and particularly those who are in hard living conditions. It is impossible to help them all but all of us are invited, by the examples of Jesus and the apostles, to help those who are in need.

My wife and I follow these four rules when donating or helping:

  • The donation should cause us happiness because God loves a cheerful giver.
  • Charity covers a multitude of sin. We make sure our donation comes with a prayer and including a petition from God for the forgiveness of our venial sins.
  • Our family’s needs first. If something comes up, then we pause or minimize the amount until we can recover financially.
  • The charity institution should promote moral values.

Because of this, and other reasons too, we are not very consistent with the amount (and the frequency) of help we give but these four organizations are the first ones we think of every single salary day. We love these charities because of the fruitful works they are doing. We can see their dedication as they offer their lives working full time with their beneficiaries whom they consider to be Jesus himself (Matthew 25:31-46).

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World Villages for Children

worldvillages.org

I am a graduate of the Sisters of Mary (or World Villages for Children). I was provided free secondary education, free clothing, free clothes, free spiritual direction, etc. Like myself, only selected (the poorest in local communities) can be admitted to the school. Currently, the Sisters of Mary takes care of about 20,000 High School students in seven countries. And when I say “take care” it means everything including healthy meals three times a day. The program aims for their graduates two things: that (1) with the vocational skills they learned, they can help their parents and siblings financially, and, (2) with the spiritual formation they have, they may be able become witnesses of Jesus Christ in the world.

Missionaries of the Poor

missionariesofthepoor.org

The Missionaries of the Poor started in Jamaica by a diocesan priest Father Ho Lung. He found an absence or lack of family life and a sense of community so he founded the “Brothers of the Poor” in 1981. They aim to build family and community among the poor and disadvantaged. Currently they have 12 mission sites of which three are in the Philippines. For those who want to experience their charity works and their spiritual life one can opt to be a volunteer for few weeks in one of their missions. An experience I have been longing for years!

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Caritas Manila

caritasmanila.org.ph

Caritas Manila is very responsive to the urgent needs of Filipinos whenever there are calamities, natural disasters, pandemic, etc. They are also the closest NGO to prisoners. In 2014, close to 8,000 parolees and jail residents benefited from their Pa-Release-Me program which includes paralegal, religious, educational, livelihood, and medical services. Like the Sisters of Mary, they also take care of the educational needs of youths through their YSLEP program. One can sponsor a student for 3,000 pesos a month.

Angat Buhay

angatbuhay.ovp.gov.ph

This is a new organization led by the current vice president of the Philippines, Leni Robredo. The stories of those who benefited from Angat Buhay are so inspiring. Many have been lifted from extreme poverty to a living that provides sufficient income to support a family. They also have many other programs that benefits lots of people in many different sectors and areas in the country. I hope the program continues with or without her.


Right-minded people feel happy and inspired when seeing posts about charitable works. So, I hope this post inspires you to continue to do your part in helping Jesus in the person of the poor. He is in the homeless, naked, prisoners, sick, hungry, and the thirsty.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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This post is about my favorite song “Sparrow” by Simon & Garfunkel. If you haven’t heard of it, you may read the lyrics and listen to it here.

It is actually a fable with an impacting meaning and a lot of lesson to learn. The five characters in the story are: the sparrow, the oak tree, the swan, the golden wheat, and the Earth.

The Sparrow and the Oak Tree

The sparrow was very tired from a very long flight and he badly needed some rest. He may represent a person or a community who underwent a lot of suffering and want to take a short pause to regain strength. The Oak Tree rejected the crying sparrow because its branches or leaves won’t be of any help [even though it’s obvious that they are what the sparrow needs]. The Oak Tree are those people who deliberately avoid the needy and even to the point of scolding them even without hearing their plea.

The Sparrow and the Swan

The exhausted little sparrow went on and spoke kindly to a swan hoping for whatever help he can get, perhaps some company would be appreciated. The swan was ashamed of the sparrow’s presence. If the swan helps the sparrow, the swan would be laughed at by the other swans who might see this “yucky” gesture of helping a stranger. Perhaps the swan represents those who deliberately not help the needy because of human respect. Human respect is when you opt not to do the right thing because you’re afraid people’s esteem and opinions towards you will go bad.

The Sparrow and the Golden Wheat

Suffered two rejections, our little protagonist wandered off and found himself in the middle of a wheat field. The starving little sparrow desperately asked for something to eat. He was very optimistic he would get something, after all, there was enough wheat to feed even flocks of birds of different kinds. Just one stem of the millions of wheat in the field would give a sparrow an instant relief of his suffering and hunger. However, the golden wheat so selfishly refused to help. “I would if I could but I cannot”, the golden wheat said, “I need all my grains to prosper and grow!” The golden wheat are those who do have sympathy to the needy but prefer not to share their excessive wealth in fear that they might need them in the future.

The Sparrow and the Earth

Here comes the hero (or heroine) of the story. Mother Earth with arms wide open offered her all. She heard the poor sparrow’s testimony and helped him and loved him until his death. If we exclude the last two lines, we would think that Mother Earth represents another group of people but this is not the case. Paul Simon, who wrote the song, clearly tells us that the Earth is God himself. Simon borrowed God’s words to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:19, “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”.

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My own reflection

We can all be sparrows at least in one point of our lives when we experience some kind of suffering. It can be financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. Nobody has lived and will live a perfect life with no suffering. Even our savior, Jesus Christ, suffered and died on the cross. So we will have our own sparrow experience if we haven’t had one already.

On the other hand, we also have this villain moments in some points of our lives. Because of selfishness and the absence of love, we sometimes are the oak trees, or the swans, or the golden wheat. We choose not to help the suffering sparrows because of whatever excuses we make.

So this song prompts us to do what?

This is more on our responsibility as God’s co-creators. Yes! God created man in his own image, in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). God created so man should partake of God’s work on earth as co-creators. We’re not only referring to procreation here but also the creation and propagation of love. After all, God is love. And it is love that prompts us to understand the sparrows all around us. Without love, we create a lot of excuses and end up like the three villains in the story. But with love, meaning with God, we can do the appropriate for our neighbors.

This is one of the reasons why the Catholic Church encourages us to perform works of mercy. The catechism has dedicated seven paragraphs (2443 – 2449) about “Love of For the Poor” highlighting seven spiritual works of mercy and another seven physical works of mercy. If we all do our part as God’s co-creators, we can make the world better.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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These seven questions will check your knowledge about the Catholic Church. Try to answer them without referring to any source. You can retry until you get the perfect sore.

Best of luck and let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

See this other post about a tag with the emblem of papacy and a line of our creed “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church” in Latin.

The Praying Lensman - Catholic Tag

This Piece of Steel Will Help You Defend the Catholic Church

A simple dog tag designed for Catholics. It’s a perfect an unique piece of gift you can give to anyone regardless of the occasion.

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In his website, Steve Ray, a baptist convert to Catholicism, allowed that his message be shared to all Filipino Catholics. He wrote this in 2001 when he visited the Philippines to share his journey home to the Catholic Church. He is a writer of many books including “Upon this Rock” and “The Papacy: What the Pope Does and Why It Matters”. He also is a frequent guest of many EWTN and Relevant Radio programs.

His personal observations for Catholic Filipinos: (1) our unity and closeness to each other even if we are not related in blood, (2) though many are poor we still trust God and care for our neighbor, and (3) our incomparable love for God, for Jesus, the Eucharist, and “Mama” Mary.

He prayed that we continue to love our families, the Catholic Church, read the Bible, love Jesus, his Mother and Eucharist. And, because many other religions and sects persuading us to leave the Church, he prayed that God give us the wisdom to defend the Catholic faith.

Full text of his message in this link

Please visit Steve’s website at www.catholicconvert.com and share his message to your own circle too.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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The word “Antichrist” appears five times in the Bible in the letter of John. John warned the first Christian community in his time against the Antichrist in 1 John 2:24-26, “Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life. I write you these things about those who would deceive you.

In his admonition, it is very clear that God made a promise of eternal life to Christians (Catholics) if they keep what they have heard from the beginning. In our times today, there are many who deceive us with teachings other than those of the apostles. They even have a very ignorant teaching that the Pope is the Antichrist.

What does the Catholic Church say about Antichrist?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earthCf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20 will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.Cf. 2 Thess 2:4-12; 1 Thess 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; 1 Jn 2:18,22

In short, in the last days, Catholics will be deceived and they will be offered solution to their doubts and problems in exchange of their Catholic faith by the Antichrist who glorifies himself in place of God and Christ.

Five Characteristics of the Antichrist according to John

  1. It’s not one person but many. “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18) This verse proves that the Pope is not an Antichrist.
  2. They or their founders were once Catholics. “They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.” (1 John 2:19) This verse proves that the Antichrist is not inside the Catholic Church.
  3. They will be teaching lies. “Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.” (1 John 2:22-25)
  4. They do not acknowledge Jesus’ person and mission. “Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh be longs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world.” (1 John 4:1-3)
  5. They do not abide in the teaching of Christ. “Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist. Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:7-9)

The Catholic Church, from 33 AD until now, has continue to exist because she keeps what she heard from the mouth of Jesus and the apostles. There is no way the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church or the Pope or one of her member is the Antichrist as per the definitions we read in the Letter of John.

Antichrists are those who left Catholicism behind and now teaching lies about a different Christ and rejects Christ’s teachings.

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Catholics’ responsibilities as per New Testament Writers

Per Saint John, with God’s help we should conquer or overcome them. “You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.” (1 John 4:4-6)

Per Saint John, we should not receive them in our houses.If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.” (2 John 1:7-11)

Per Saint Paul, we should instruct them with pure love from the heart. I repeat the request I made of you when I was on my way to Macedonia, that you stay in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to teach false doctrines or to concern themselves with myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the plan of God that is to be received by faith. The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:3-5)

Per Saint Jude, we should save others by snatching them out of the fire. “But you, beloved, remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, for they told you, “In (the) last time there will be scoffers who will live according to their own godless desires.” These are the ones who cause divisions; they live on the natural plane, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. On those who waver, have mercy; save others by snatching them out of the fire; on others have mercy with fear, abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh.” (1 Jude 1:17-23)

Per Saint Peter, we should keep the commandments of the Lord. “I am trying to stir up your sincere disposition, to recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and savior through your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days scoffers will come (to) scoff, living according to their own desires and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Peter 3:1-4)

Check out other related posts in this blog and share them to your friends. By doing so, you help proclaim the Good News to the whole creation (Mark 15:16).

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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  1. John 6:27. “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal”
  2. John 6:33,42. “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.”
  3. John 6:35,48,51. “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”
  4. John 6:49-50. “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may it of it and not die.
  5. John 6:51,58. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
  6. John 6:53-54. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
  7. John 6:55-57. “My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.”
  8. John 6:34. “Lord, give us this bread always.”
  9. 1 Corinthians 11:26. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the chalice, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
  10. Revelation 7:13-14. Those clothed in white robes are they who have come out in great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
  11. Acts 2:42. And they held steadfastly to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.
  12. Acts 2:46-47. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.
  13. 1 Corinthians 16. The cup of blessing which we blessed, is it not a participation in the body and blood of Christ? The bread in which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
  14. Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:17 “Take, eat; this is my body.”
  15. 1 Corinthians 11:23. “Do this in remembrance of me.”
  16. Acts 20:7. On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to take bread, Paul talked with them intending to depart on the next day; and he prolonged his speech until midnight.

The verses in this list are direct references of the Holy Eucharist in the Bible in no particular order. These verses are also used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church Article 3 The Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Procession is a form of popular piety being practiced by the Catholic Church for many centuries. Catholics do it before Sunday masses along with the entrance hymn. A bigger procession with a cart or float are done during feast days and during the Solemnity of the Body of Christ (Corpus Christi).

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1674 Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church’s sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc. 1675 These expressions of piety extend the liturgical life of the Church, but do not replace it.

Processions are always accompanied with prayers and hymns which is very similar to those in the Old Testament times. Yes! Catholics got the idea of processions from the Sacred Scriptures in both the Old and the New Testaments. It has never been an issue until these recent times when anti-Catholics started attacking every single Catholic practices in order to deceive Catholics and to make them leave the Catholic Church.

Israelites in Procession with the Ark

The Israelites went in processions to move the ark of the covenant from one place to another. The concept is very similar to Catholic processions nowadays. People carried the ark in a cart with images of two cherubims singing hymns and dancing while in procession to praise God! We find this practice in two parts in the New Testament:

2 Samuel 6:1 And David again gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose and went, with all the people that were with him of the men of Juda to fetch the ark of God, upon which the name of the Lord of Hosts is invoked, who sits over it upon the cherubims. 3 And they laid the ark of God upon a new cart: and took it out of the house of Abinadab, who was in Gabaa, and Oza and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. 4 And when they had taken it out of the house of Abinadab, who was in Gabaa, Ahio having care of the ark of God went before the ark. 5 But David and all Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of wood, on harps and lutes and timbrels and cornets and cymbals.

1 Kings 8:1 Then all the ancients of Israel, with the princes of the tribes, and the heads of the families of the children of Israel, were assembled to King Solomon, in Jerusalem: that they might carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, out of the city of David, that is, out of Sion. 2 And all Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon, on the festival day, in the month of Ethanim, the same is the seventh month. 3 And all the ancients of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark, 4 and carried the ark of the Lord, and the tabernacle of the covenant, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, that were in the tabernacle: and the priests and the Levites carried them. 5 And King Solomon, and all the multitude of Israel, that were assembled unto him, went with him before the ark, and they sacrificed sheep and oxen, that could not be counted or numbered. 6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord into its place, into the oracle of the temple, into the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubims. 7 For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and covered the ark, and the staves thereof above. 8 And whereas the staves stood out, the ends of them were seen without, in the sanctuary before the oracle, but were not seen farther out, and there they have been unto this day.

1 Chronicles 15:14 So the priests and the Levites were sanctified, to carry the ark of the Lord the God of Israel. 15 And the sons of Levi took the ark of God as Moses had commanded, according to the word of the Lord, upon their shoulders, with the staves. 16 And David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites, to appoint some of their brethren to be singers with musical instruments, to wit, on psalteries, and harps, and cymbals, that the joyful noise might resound on high.

New Testament’s Only Procession Account

This event is recorded in three Gospels: Mark 11:1-10; Matthew 21:1-9; and Luke 19:29-38.

Mark 11:7 And they brought the colt to Jesus. And they lay their garments on him: and he sat upon him. 8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down boughs from the trees and strewed them in the way. 9 And they that went before and they that followed cried, saying: Hosanna: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord. 10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that comes: Hosanna in the highest.

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Other Bible References of Processions:

  • Nehemiah 12:27-40. At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemia relates a story of the procession attended by many people. There were priests with the trumpets, musical instruments of David, and there was rejoicing over the great feast of the LORD in which they shared.
  • Psalms 42:5 These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me: for I shall go over into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God: With the voice of joy and praise; the noise of one feasting.
  • Psalms 118:27 The Lord is God, and he has shone upon us. Appoint a solemn day, with shady boughs, even to the horn of the altar.

Criticizing Processions May Incur Consequences

Criticizing Catholics for going in procession might have some consequences. If we read what happened after a the procession led by King David in 2 Samuel 6:1-5, a woman questioned him about his behavior and accused him of pleasing the servant girls by his dancing. David rebukes her telling her that he was dancing before the Lord (in the ark of the covenant). So the woman never had child until her death. Full text below:

2 Samuel 6:20 And David returned to bless his own house: and Michol the daughter of Saul coming out to meet David, said: How glorious was the king of Israel to day, uncovering himself before the handmaids of his servants, and was naked, as if one of the buffoons should be naked. 21 And David said to Michol: Before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father, and than all his house, and commanded me to be ruler over the people of the Lord in Israel, 22 I will both play and make myself meaner than I have done: and I will be little in my own eyes: and with the handmaids of whom you speak, I shall appear more glorious. 23 Therefore Michol the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

So, procession is biblical. Even if it weren’t, the Catholic Church has the power to bind and unbind. She can create practices and doctrines based in Sacred Scripture and/or Sacred Tradition. Remember that not all messages of Jesus are in the Bible (John 21:25). In fact, some messages were delivered to his disciples privately (Mark 4:34).

Now we know what to tell those who attack the Catholic Church against processions. I hope this helps.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Catolicos Ignorantes Futuros Protestantes” is a famous Spanish expression widely used in Latin America. It means that Catholics who do not study their faith are easy candidates for Protestantism. This is a reality. So far, in my circle, I have not encountered any learned ex-Catholic (in theology or apologetics) who left Catholicism and embraced another belief.

Every non-Catholics I know left the Church either by ignorance or by force renunciation of faith due to inter-religious marriage. Once they become non-Catholics, especially the Protestants, many of them begin to hate the Catholic Church because of their lack of knowledge of her. They would attack her from all sides directly and indirectly.

For the benefit of my non-Christian friends let me differentiate the two. Catholicism, of which I am a member, is by sacred tradition the first and the only assembly of faithful (church) founded by Jesus in the 1st century. Jesus Christ is God himself who took our form (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus is the founder and the current head of the Church. After fulfilling his mission on earth he returned heaven leaving a vicar or representative on earth to lead his church with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis is the 266th vicar of Christ.

On the other hand, Protestantism is a movement that started in the 16th century in the person of Martin Luther, a Catholic monk. Luther developed his own views or interpretations of the Sacred Scriptures and convinced many of his reformed views. Since then, hundreds of Protestant sects sprouted. While most of them, like Catholics, believe in Jesus Christ as God and savior; there are many groups who refer to the Sacred Scriptures but do not confess the same faith.

All these groups disobey God who desired a “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” aiming for one body, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Ephesians 4:5). The Bible also says that “no prophesy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). This is in order to keep the same Gospel handed to us by Jesus and the apostles. The apostles exhorted us all to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which was taught… either by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 11:2) As Paul said, “even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach other Gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8) “Accursed” or “anathema” means “under a divine curse” or “set apart for destruction”.

But many Catholics listen to their preaching. Many follow them to the point of leaving the Church and her life-giving sacraments that Jesus instituted for our salvation. They choose not to avail of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation that gives new life and sanctify their souls. Without the sacraments, they risk their souls towards eternal damnation.

So we Catholics should continue to practice and study our faith. We are supposed to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13) to bear witness to Jesus Christ according to what the apostles preached to us. If we listen and support any other preaching than what the Catholic Church received from the Apostles, then we bear false witness to Jesus Christ. And we all know that bearing false witness is such a grave sin Jesus himself equates it with murder, adultery, fornication, theft, and slander as many times repeated in the Bible (Matthew 15:19, 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20).

We do not have to be experts in apologetics, theology, or similar disciplines to bear witness to Christ. We only need to learn the basics so we are not easily deceived. By doing so, we protect our own families and friends safe from destructive teachings. This is a real challenge for all of us especially to parents.

There is another famous expression in the Latin world that says “Catolico Instruido Jamas Sera Confundido“. It means that Catholics who study their faith will never be confused. This is a reality too.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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We became Mary’s children at the foot of the cross when Jesus gave her to us as our mother. The Blessed Virgin Mary never fails to comfort her children. Here are some of the messages she delivered in different occasions.

The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe – 1531

Our Lady of Guadalupe’s response to a very worried Saint Juan Diego about his uncle’s sickness due to the plague.

Juan Diego: “Noble Lady, it will grieve you to hear what I have to say. My uncle, your poor servant, is very sick. He is suffering from the plague and is dying. I am hurrying to the church in Mexico City to call a priest to hear his confession and give him the last rites.”

Mary: “Listen and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little son. Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your mother? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? … Do not let the illness of your uncle worry you because he is not going to die of his sickness. At this very moment, he is cured.” You know the story, the uncle recovered. 

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal – 1830

“Come to the foot of the altar. Graces will be shed on all, great and little, especially upon those who seek them.”

“All those who wear it [the medal], when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.”

Our Lady of Lourdes – 1858

“I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the other.”

Our Lady of Fatima – 1917

“I promise salvation to those who embrace it [Devotion to the Immaculate Heart], and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne.”

“Don’t be discouraged , I will not abandon you ever. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and through it will conduct you to God.”

Our Lady of Banneux -1933

“I come to alleviate suffering. Believe in me and I will believe in you.”

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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The Catholic Church will always help the poor out of love for Jesus.

Vatican charities helped in assisting 1,500,000 children and providing some measure of food and clothing to 7,000,000 needy Italians. This is an old data from an article by Time Magazine in 1965. We do not know if this number has increased or decreased but this is a strong proof that the Church for a very long time has been always loyal to her mission, a mission she received from her founder and head, Jesus Christ.

The truth is that these charity works are not only being done in the Vatican but also in each of the local Catholic churches. In each charity act, the Church recalls the words of our Lord in the Gospel when he repeatedly refers himself as the poor. “I was hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, imprisoned…..” (Matthew 25:31-46) Therefore, Catholics believe that when we help the poor we are serving Christ. This is why since the apostolic times the first Christian community, besides spreading the gospel as their main mission, also focused on helping the poor including collection of alms (Acts 24:17) to assist the poor of Jerusalem (Roman 15:25-27, 1 Cor 16:1-4, 2 Cor 8:-9).

When we think of Christ in the poor, we do not only think of the material needs but also spiritual, intellectual, etc. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. the corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead (Hebrew 13:3). Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:

He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise (Tobit 4:5-11; Sirach 17:22; Matthew 6:2-4). But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you (Luke 3:11). If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit (Luke 11:41)?

Addressing these many areas of necessity of the poor is a task seriously taken by the Church. It has and will always be her mission along with evangelization. This is the reason why parishes have all kinds of ministries for the poor which we, individually, has to take part in any way we can. It is obvious that many of us are doing our part because it is a common knowledge that the Catholic Church, through her numerous charitable organizations, is the largest NGO that provides education and medical services in the world.

In spite of this, there are still many who are living in terrible situations. 10% of the world population are extremely poor they cannot even buy their own basic needs. By this reason, the Catholic Church needs our constant assistance. Since we cannot do much because of our family commitments, we are encouraged to help the Church and those who are generously working for the poor full time. If we have exhausted our monthly contribution of money, skills, and time, then we can try to friendly remind others of their responsibility as Catholics to support the Church. For non-Catholics, we can encourage them to help charities of their choice if they are not comfortable giving to a Catholic organization. After all, we are all brothers in the eyes of God.

It is not very charitable for us Catholics to question if the Church is doing something for the poor especially if we have not contributed enough! She was, she is, and she will always be helping the poor because of the divine mandate of love given to her by the Lord Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35). Non-Catholics should stop criticizing the Catholic Church by saying she has not done enough. Haters and persecutors of the Catholic Church persecutes Christ who founded the Church: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 22:7) It is time for the new Sauls of our times to become Pauls and serve Christ instead of persecuting him.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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In the book of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher (Qohelet) talked about how he indulged himself in worldly pleasures including the accumulation of wealth and wisdom. However, he found all these as “meaningless”. So he gave a simple advice to us his readers – to fear (or revere) God and keep his commandments in every single thing we do.

Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas.

Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun? Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. The dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing whether good or evil.

— Ecclesiastes 1:2-3; 12:7,13-14

I derived my practical outlook on life from these beautiful lines of my favorite book in the Sacred Scriptures and two other sources. I wanted to develop a motto of my own to remind myself of this duty as a person who believes in God. A motto that would remind me of Christ in every single thing I do to avoid any occasion of sin. A motto that would remind me to always try to find time and ways to worship him and serve him. But how to serve Christ and how do we recognize him in our world today?

Venerable Aloysius Schwartz, a founder of a school I attended, has helped me understand this part after reading his book The Starved and the Silent. He wrote, “CHRIST LIVES ON in the world today and exerts his influence upon it in three ways: 1) the Eucharist, 2) the inspired word of Scripture, and 3) the person of the poor.” This was my second source.

The third and the last source is a line from one of the Vatican II documents Apostolicam Actuositatem. This decree by Pope Paul VI encourages the laity to “ad servitium Christi et Ecclesiae ubique incitantis” or to serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances. This is where I grabbed the wordings of my motto Christi ubique incitantis or Christ in all circumstances.

While it is true that it is difficult to involve God in everything we do in life, especially with what the world can offer, it is not impossible. As a proof, numerous holy people from different parts of the world, living and dead, have overcome the world and lifted their eyes to heaven. For example this man who stayed in a desert pillar for 37 years. He is not even a priest or a religious. He is a layperson. So, it is difficult but not impossible.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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By the sign of the cross (+) deliver us from our enemies, (+) you who are our God. (+) In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,I have sinned against You Whom I should love above all things,I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.Our Savior Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us.In His name, my God, have mercy.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me.

Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, we may rest in his peace.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

(+) In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Above is a collection of prayers namely: Act of Contrition, The Memorare, An Antiphon from the Divine Office, and the three basic Catholic prayers. Just what we need after a long day of serving God! I suggest you add this page to your phone home screen for a one-tap access when you need it tomorrow! Please share this to your friends, too! Good night!

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

See also:

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In my previous post, we learned that the Catholic Church (as a whole) has no wealth because each local churches are independently run and the Vatican does not get a share of the local churches’ goods. We also learned that the Vatican (the country) has $15B worth of wealth. Is this amount enough to end the world poverty? Let’s see first how many people are below the poverty index!

How many people are living in poverty?

The World Bank tells us that there are about 10% of the world population who are living in extreme poverty. They earn less than $1.90 a day. Ten percent of seven billion (world population) is 700,000,000. This is the count of those in extreme poverty only excluding those who barely passed the poverty line threshold. But let us use 700M in our calculations.

Is $15 billion enough for the 700 million?

If Vatican had $15,000,000,000.00 ($15 billion) and gave all this amount to 700,000,000 people in extreme poverty, each person would have $21.43. Maybe this amount can sustain the recipient for a week or a month, who knows! What is certain is when the money is gone, the 700M will return to their previous state. So the answer is a big NO. The Vatican’s wealth is not enough to end world poverty.

If the US were to do this with their $105,990,000,000,000.00 (105 trillion) of wealth. Each person then would have $150,000.00 which is more than enough to lift them up from poverty. However, giving each person this amount wont guarantee a long term solution to the problem. Also, this would leave USA with zero wealth and could no longer function as a country. With no wealth left for food, labor, investments, etc., its population of 320M people will have no income at all. So helping 700M by putting 320M at risk is surely not the best approach to the problem, neither.

How much donation is needed to support the poor?

The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM) revealed in 2013 that $60,000,000,000 ($60 billion) annually would be enough to end global poverty. Perhaps this is an estimate of how much is needed to support the poor in terms of food, shelter, medicine, etc. If these billions annually run out after many years, because they will for sure run out, then the whole world will starve.

Conclusion

I’m no expert in demography, economics, or humanity. However, it is clear that using all the money a country, or a person, or an organization will not resolve global poverty in a long term. I believe there has to have some kind of an organized system, approved by all countries, to provide decent and consistent income to those those who are earning below the threshold so that each will have enough. Then, poverty will gradually be eradicated.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Is the Catholic Church or the Vatican wealthy enough to end the world’s poverty? Let’s check out first some facts about the Church’s or the Vatican’s wealth with these common misconceptions.

First Misconception: The Vatican Is the Catholic Church, and vice versa

I was guilty of this before and I thought Vatican is the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church is the Vatican. But, no! The Vatican is not the Catholic Church and it does not own the Catholic Church. The Church or “ekklesia” in Greek means those who are called forth (YouCAT 121). Together we are the Church. It only happens that we, Catholics, our Church is headquartered in Vatican.

Second Misconception: The Catholic Church Is Super-rich

The truth is that there are many local churches that have enough funds but there are a lot more that can barely pay their monthly electricity bills. A diocese cannot have more than enough in a long term because richer dioceses are encouraged to assist the poorer ones (Cann. 1274).

The Catholic Church, as a whole, does not have one pool of wealth. So, saying that the Catholic Church is rich is simply false. In-country churches have their own income through collections, investments, donations, etc. The money it has is for the poor and for evangelization and nothing else. This is the reason why we do not see any clergy buying a Ferrari with the Church’s money. Surely there have been cases where a priest, bishop, or a cardinal used the Church’s money for personal use, but this kind of isolated cases of greed could happen in any organizations and not only inside the Church. The Code of the Canon Law 1273-1289 strictly stipulates the administration of goods the Church should follow.

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Third Misconception: The Vatican Gets a Part of the Collection Money from Each Catholic

This is simply false. When we give a money offering on Sunday masses, most of it stays for the parish, a percentage of it goes to the diocese or archdiocese, it never reaches the Vatican.

Fourth Misconception: The Vatican Is Super-rich

The Vatican City is a country, the smallest country in the world. And like all countries do, it has to have resources of its own to be able to support itself and its causes. But the Vatican is not super-rich. Although no concrete sources, it may have some wealth amounting $15,000,000,000 (15B). But this is only 0.0142% when compared to that of the United States of America. Even if the Vatican had 1 trillion dollars, it would still be less than 1% of the USA’s wealth. Putting it in table becomes clearer. 15 billion is extremely small when compared to these giants.

Individuals/Org/CountryLocationWealth
United States of AmericaUSA$105,990,000,000,000
Apple Inc.USA$1,300,000,000,000
PhilippinesPHL$764,000,000,000
Jeff BezosUSA$131,000,000,000
MyanmarMMR$116,000,000,000
SETADIRN$93,000,000,000
Mark ZuckerbergUSA$62,000,000,000
Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationUSA$46,000,000,000
Harvard UniversityUSA$37,000,000,000
Giovanni Ferrero (Chocolate)ITA$32,000,000,000
Vatican CityVAT$15,000,000,000

If you check the world’s comprehensive list of billionaires in Wikipedia and Forbes, you will surely conclude that the Vatican’s wealth is nothing. You may also compare the Vatican’s wealth to that of your country in this list of countries by total wealth.

From these points we learn that the Catholic Church (universally) has no money. Many would try to sum up the wealth of all individual local churches just to prove their point. Some would try to calculate the money the Vatican would make if everything it has is sold. Whatever they do, the end result would still remain a small percentage compared to that of other countries, individual billionaires, and wealthy organizations, if they were to do the same.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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1M PRAYED WITH CARDINAL TAGLE IN ROME TO STOP THE PANDEMIC
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Today, in the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, about a million Catholics around the globe joined the Healing Rosary for the World live on radio and in Facebook. The prayer was transmitted from the chapel of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome led by His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary were said for the intercession of the Holy Mother of God to intercede for us in these difficult times of COVID-19 or SARS-COV-2.

If you have been told by someone that the Holy Rosary is not biblical and is a prayer of vain repetition. Check out my post to defend the Holy Rosary against the claim that it is “vain repetition”.

The prayer started with a famous “Ave Maria” song, a plea to the Immaculate Mother to ask God for help in this urgent need. At the end of the rosary, the “Hail Holy Queen” or the Salve Regina was beautifully sung in Latin. It concluded with the Oratio Imperata imploring God’s intervention to stop the spread of the virus and to save us all from our fears. The prelate then thanked all who exerted efforts to pray with him. He then blessed them with the sign of of the cross.

The prayer lasted for 30 minutes with at least 700k participants excluding those who are on TV and radio at the end of the live streaming. At 10:08 pm, about 30 mins after the live broadcast, there were 903K views. You may check out the current count now at the Cardinal’s official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ArchbishopTagle/videos/1152252108302621.

Many thanks to Cubao Media and Radio Veritas for making this live rosary accessible for us who do not have TV and Radio access. Let us support them in any way we can! Doing so, we unite ourselves in the mission-to proclaim the Gospel to all corners of the world-that our Lord Jesus Christ gave to the Church.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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By the sign of the cross (+) deliver us from our enemies, (+) you who are our God. (+) In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lord, God Almighty, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day. Defend us today by your mighty power, that we may not fall into any sin, but that all our words may so proceed and all our thoughts and actions be so directed, as to be always just in your sight.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Angel of God , my guardian dear, to Whom God’s love Commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard and to rule and guide.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

All this, I ask, (+) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We can make it optional to include The Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Doxology since we say them all the time when praying the Holy Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, etc.

Above is a collection of four prayers namely: Prayer to Keep in the Presence of God, Morning Offering, Angel of God, and the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer. Just what we need to start the day! I suggest you add this page to your phone home screen for a one-tap access when you need it tomorrow! Please share this to your friends, too! Good morning!

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

See also:

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"The Platform" Movie Review
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The Platform or “El Hoyo” (meaning the hole) is a Spanish fiction thriller movie released on September 6, 2019. The cast includes Iván Massagué as Goreng, Zorion Eguileor as Trimagasi, Antonia San Juan as Imoguiri, Emilio Buale Coka as Baharat, and a Filipina (in blood) Alexandra Masangkay as Miharu. There is a lot of lessons to learn from this movie but please consider these markers below. I wont let my kids watch this movie until they reach the age of reason.

As a Christian father, I somehow feel obliged to share my own thoughts on some of the movies I watched. This is a review on a Christian perspective and not a review on its effects, plots, casts, etc. So here are some markers in areas I think are important and could be useful for those who are deciding to watch this movie.

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Things to remind your kids:

Cannibalism◼◼◼◼◼
Violence/Murder◼◼◼◻◻
Gluttony◼◼◻◻◻
Greed◼◼◻◻◻
Nudity/Sex◼◻◻◻◻
Blasphemy◼◻◻◻◻
Cursing◼◻◻◻◻
My own review only
  • Cannibalism. Prisoners are forced to eat human flesh for survival
  • Violence. Prisoners take their own lives or kill other prisoners
  • Gluttony/Greed of food. Prisoners in the upper floors are not thinking of other prisoners in the lower floors who depends on the upper floors leftovers
  • Nudity/Sex. Masturbation, sex, naked people (about 2 mins)
  • Blasphemy. Addressing Goreng (the main character) as “Messiah”, using the passages in John 6 to convince him to embrace cannibalism.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Examination of Conscience: List of Sins to recall for our next Confession
☐ I have performed my duties towards God reluctantly or grudgingly.
☐ I did not recite my daily prayers with faith and devotion.
☐ I received the Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin.
☐ I deliberately told a lie in confession or intentionally failed to mention a mortal sin during my previous confession.
☐ I seriously believed in superstition or engaged in superstitious practices.
☐ I seriously doubted the matters of faith.
☐ I did not make an effort to study my religion.
☐ I put my faith in danger by reading something contrary to Catholic faith and morals.
☐ I put my faith in danger by joining activities contrary to the Church (protestant services, non-Catholic prayer meetings, communist party, freemasonry, “weird cults”).
☐ I have used God’s name in vain.
☐ I have used the name of Mary or a saint in an irreverent manner.
☐ I have been angry with God.
☐ I have wished evil upon a person.
☐ I have insulted a sacred person.
☐ I have abused a sacred object.
☐ I have been a sponsor in baptism and ceremonies outside the Catholic Church.
☐ I broke a private or public vow (esp. for religious).
☐ I did not try to fulfill a promise and resolutions I made to God.
☐ I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of obligation.
☐ I did not make an effort to arrive early at Mass.
☐ I allowed myself to be distracted during Mass but not paying attention, thinking of something else, etc.
☐ I misbehaved during mass and distracted others by my attire or posture.
☐ I did not generously help the Church or the poor to the extent that I am able.
☐ I did not fast and abstain on days prescribed by the Church.
☐ I did or commanded service work on Sundays.
☐ I have broken the one-hour Eucharistic fast.
☐ I have neglected to teach my children their prayers (for parents).
☐ I have neglected to send my children to Church (for parents).
☐I have neglected to give my children Christian education (for parents).
☐ I have not given my family good religious example (for parents).
☐ I neglected to watch over my children: reading materials, movies, and their companions (for parents).
☐ I have not seen to it that my children receive the Sacraments especially Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion (for parents).
☐ I have been disrespectful towards my parents, elders, and superiors (for children).
☐ I have neglected my parents of their needs (for children).
☐ I felt hurt and reacted proudly when I was corrected by my parents (for children).
☐ I have not done well my duties at home, in school, in church (for children).
☐ I have not been cooperative with my family activities and prayers (for children).
☐ I have quarreled with my sibling/s (for children).
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☐ I got very angry and lost my temper that caused harm.
☐ I was envious or jealous of others.
☐ I harmed or took the life of someone.
☐ I was careless in my driving.
☐ I gave scandal to someone due to my dirty jokes, immodesty, etc. thereby leading them to sin of…
☐ I neglected my health by…
☐ I attempted to take my own life.
☐ I have had an abortion (for women) or encouraged someone to do it (men and women).
☐ I got drunk and harmed someone.
☐ I took prohibited drugs.
☐ I have kept anger in my heart and desired revenge.
☐ I did not ask pardon to someone I have offended.
☐ I caused harm to someone with my words and/or actions.
☐ I did not accept a sincere apology from someone.
☐ I have entertained indecent thoughts, feelings, or impure conversations.
☐ I have been guilty of impure acts with myself (masturbation) or with others (pre-marital and extra-marital acts).
☐ I have been guilty of homosexual acts.
☐ I consented to evil desires against the virtue of purity by an affinity with a married person or a consecrated person.
☐ I had a hand in contributing to the contraceptive atmosphere by my advice, jokes, attitudes, etc.
☐ I intentionally put myself in proximate occasions of sin though immoral movies or shows, concerts, comedies, dances, readings, bad company, staying in houses of ill-repute.
☐ I intentionally put myself in proximate occasions of sin by sharing a room with a person of opposite sex, or being alone with a person of opposite sex in dark places.
☐ I have friends who cause me habitual occasions of sin and I am not prepared to break off with them.
☐ I allow lust as a reason of courting instead of true love (for single lay men).
☐ I have not been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action (for married people).
☐ I have engaged in sexual activity outside marriage (for married people).
☐ I have used method/s of contraception or artificial birth control in my marriage (for married people).
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☐ I stole an object or an amount of money that I have not returned or made restitution for what I have stolen.
☐ I caused damage to other’s property.
☐ I harmed someone by deception, scam, fraud, or coercion in transactions.
☐ I wasted time at work, school, or at home.
☐ I gave in to laziness or the love of comfort and luxuries.
☐ I did not work diligently and cheated on time.
☐ I gambled and denied my family of their needs.
☐ I did not pay my debts or did not returned what I borrowed promptly.
☐ I have been greedy, selfish and jealous of what others had.
☐ I told lies.
☐ I harmed the good name or reputation of someone by talking ill about them.
☐ I told secrets about myself and others without due cause.
☐ I have been critical, negative, or uncharitable in my thoughts of others.
☐ I engaged myself in gossiping or back-bitting.
☐ I have unjustly accused others.
Source: 2011 Hand Book of Prayers compiled by The Sisters of Mary

Note that in each of the lines, you need to add the number of times you have committed such sin if applicable. Some entries might need further description (example: I have been angry with God because…..).

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Jonel Painagan Esto The Praying Lensman
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Hello, readers! My name is Jonel and I go by an alias “The Praying Lensman” which is also the name of my blog. “Praying” because I believe in one, almighty, and munificent God. “Lensman” because I capture photos and short videos as a hobby. The plan is merging these two interests into one through this blog.

I am a husband and a father of three and I depend on a job to support my growing Christian family. Thus, I will be blogging about parenting, work life, Christianity, and other topics under the sun.

I speak four tongues including Spanish, Filipino, and Cebuano so you are free to drop a comment on my posts using any of these. I am not a native nor an excellent English speaker so I will be blogging using simple and plain English. I do wish to improve so I welcome and appreciate polite corrections.

Truth is in my veins and will only be blogging with the truth. I despise anything that is fake that sometimes I become aggressive when dealing with them especially when the victim is Christ or his One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

I tend to exhaust all my resources before publishing a post. If you do find anything on my post that you think is not accurate please do not hesitate to contact me immediately so we can work together and correct it to minimize the impact it can cause to the souls of the readers.

I am open to suggestions and new ideas. I would like to hear from you the topics you would be interested in that you want to see in this blog. You can drop a comment on my posts or send me a message via my social media account.

Thank you and let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

Some posts about by personal life…

Jonel Painagan Esto The Praying Lensman

Welcome to My Blog!

I am a husband and a father of three and I depend on a job to support my growing Christian family. Thus, I will be blogging about parenting, work life, Christianity, and other topics under the sun.

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