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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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Netflix Home Screen
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Reasons why I don’t need Netfix anymore.

  1. Expensive. The standard plan at $15.98 per month offers unlimited access to all contents (with a catch see #5). I can share the access to another person who is willing to split the fees but is a real hassle. The price is expensive for me since I only watch in average one movie per week. And mostly my reason is that I have spent money on it and not because I like Netlix’s contents. And it takes me at least half an hour to find a movie that suits my mood.
  2. Ultra HD plan even more expensive. Basic and Standard plans work OK (but not that good) in small screens only. If I have bigger screens (good thing I don’t have them), I will need to upgrade to a better quality Ultra HD plan at $19.98 per month.
  3. Not enough content. Netflix has around 10,000 movies and TV series in their database. The number looks huge but very few of them (really!) are of my interest especially because I hate watching movies while reading subtitles. There are many non-English programs without English audio.
  4. Search displays ZERO result almost all the time. I search for a movie I want to watch and it’s not in Netflix. 99% of my searches displays zero result and would only give me suggested movies related to my search keywords which I don’t really like.
  5. Some movies not watchable in other countries. I travel across two to three countries in Southeast Asia and I can observe some contents are viewable in one country but not in another.
  6. The things I like can be accessed elsewhere. I love watching health documentaries, films about the planet earth, and some TV series. However, they can all be accessed somewhere else, even for free. And I have already watched most of them so there is no reason to spend money in Netflix and watch the same.
  7. The things our toddlers love can be watched elsewhere. YouTube has it all for our kiddos who loves rhymes and children’s programs. There are other apps too that we can download for free or with a minimal lifetime fee that could satisfy our kid’s viewing needs.
  8. Very few good Christian movies. Of all the 10k movies in Netflix, there may only be less than 100 good Christian movies for the whole family. Because #9…
  9. The majority of contents promotes sin and immorality. I would say around 90% of Netflix’s contents promotes lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, anger, envy, luxury, and pride. Sins that are considered source of all other sins and immorality in the world. The more we watch them the more we believe that they are normal and we lose that awareness of God our soul.
  10. Most “Catholic” movies they have attack the Catholic Church and her teachings. Besides the fact that Catholic movies are rare in Netflix, most of these movies do not actually praise the Catholic Church and her teachings. In the contrary, it criticizes and makes fun of her members and her doctrines.
  11. It’s just not for me. Considering all the first 10 reasons, Netflix is just not for me. As a Christian father of three kids, I need good contents to watch with my whole family.
  12. It’s not worth it. We only access it once or twice a week, not even consistently. After a year and a half on Netflix my wife and I got tired of the seeing the same contents.
  13. Formed (watch.formed.org). My newfound leisure with 100% guarantee of enriching one’s soul! I just started my free trial and so far enjoying all the first movies I watched. Formed is a movie and audio streaming site for Catholics that I strongly recommend to everyone who are thirsty of good movies without exposing ourselves and our children to shows that destroys our souls.

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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