Photos: The Meditation Garden, Minor Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel, Tayabas Quezon Province

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In times that we can’t pray at home because of the noise, or because of other reasons, visiting a secluded place is sometimes our best option. Here in Tayabas City in Quezon Province, and in the neighboring cities, there are plenty of places you can visit to pray and meditate. This post is about the meditation garden inside the church compound of the Minor Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel. The garden is located on the left side of the church’s altar right after the life-size religious statues.

The basilica is inviting the faithful to visit the place especially in this season of lent. Here are some raw photos I took today hoping to attract fellow Catholics around the area to visit the place.

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Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Crafting my First San Damiano Crucifix

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Planning to make a lovely crucifix from scratch? The easiest one to make is the San Damiano cross. I love its style and it highlights some important characters in the gospels. The best cross you can look at when reflecting on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

We just move to a farmhouse and I thought of making some crosses for the whole house. I already made the first batch (five of them) last month and I am planning to make some more in the future.

For those interested, I am sharing here the materials and tools I used for this project followed by some photos for your reference. Let me know if you need further advice.

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  • 3/4 inch plywood of any type
  • Pencils, rulers, and measuring tape to mark the lines of the cross for cutting.
  • A jig saw or a small wood saw to cut the crosses out from the pluwood
  • Sandpaper to smoothen the edges and surfaces
  • Some paint, mahogany or similar color
  • Paint brush
  • Photo papers A4 size
  • Photo template from the internet, you may need to resize it
  • A color printer
  • Scissors for cutting the cross out from the photo paper
  • Some wood glue to paste the photo onto the wooden cross
  • A nail or a hook used to hang the cross on the wall

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Is Judas in Hell? A Friendly Discussion with a Fellow Catholic

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With Bro. Eliseo Soriano‘s recent death, it is sometimes unavoidable to think whether he, who attacked the Catholic Church and other Christian sects, was saved or damned. Catholics are divided in this argument because it is a question that does not come up very often.

My Previous Post

A Catholic priest who is very well respected in the field of apologetics in the Philippines posted something on his Facebook page related to the above-mentioned topic. I saw his post and I agreed that it is not useless to pray for the soul of the pastor. Another Catholic saw the same post who aggressively provoke the priest telling him to study a bit more about the matter. He does not like the idea of praying for the soul of a sinner. He sticks to an old belief that sinners like Judas are in hell, so, why pray for them?

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We had a separate conversation in the comments section of the priest’s post and this is the transcript. Note: I am hiding his identity until I get his permission to reveal his name in this post. His arguments in red and my responses in black fonts.

There is a consensus among the Fathers of the Church that JUDAS IS IN HELL.

In a 5th Century sermon, Pope St. Leo the Great said Judas Iscariot, the son of perdition, is punished eternally in hell.

“The traitor #Judas did not attain to this mercy, for the son of perdition (Jn. 17:12), at whose right hand the devil had stood (Ps. 108:6), had before this died in despair; even while Christ was fulfilling the mystery of the general redemption… The godless betrayer, shutting his mind to all these things, turned upon himself, NOT WITH A MIND TO REPENT, but in the madness of self-destruction: so that this man who had sold the Author of life to the executioners of His death, even in the act of dying sinned unto the increase of his own #eternal punishment.” cf. Sermon 62, On the Passion of the Lord

Even Pope Pius XI attested it.

“JUDAS, an Apostle of Christ, ‘one of the twelve,’ as the Evangelists sadly observe, WAS LED DOWN TO THE ABYSS OF INIQUITY (hell) precisely through the spirit of greed for earthly things.” (Encyclical Ad Catholici Sacredotii, n. 49)

“In the case of JUDAS, the abuse of grace was the reason for his reprobation, since he was made reprobate because HE DIED WITHOUT GRACE.” –St. Thomas Aquinas, Truth, Q. 6, Art. 2; p. 262 [Translated by Fr. Robert W. Mulligan, S.J.]

(https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=kupLAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA262&lpg=PA262&dq=In+the+case+of+JUDAS,+the+abuse+of+grace+was+the+reason+for+his+reprobation,+since+he+was+made+reprobate+because+HE+DIED+WITHOUT+GRACE&source=bl&ots=3zfjrjVGMP&sig=ACfU3U2LT2lPINTbHboVlW8ctCSE7OPGTQ&hl=ceb&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi8rvaq8uXuAhUdxYsBHSz4AzwQ6AEwBXoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q&f=true)

Our Lord Jesus Christ also condemned Judas Iscariot.

“The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but #WOE to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” St. Matthew 26:24

The Church has consistently believed that there will be at least two human beings in hell. The first is the Antichrist who is described in Revelation 20:10 as being “tormented day and night forever and ever.” One could also reasonably assume, given the principle of biblical typology, that all of the Antichrists described by St. John in his first letter as well as those who have been historically considered types of the Antichrist also suffered a similar fate. The other example is Judas Iscariot. Although the Church is not in the habit of declaring reverse canonizations, the witness of Scripture offers no other interpretation than that Judas Iscariot ended up in hell. In Matthew 26:24, Our Lord Jesus Christ declares that “would be better for that man [that betrayed Him] if he had never been born.” In John 6:70 He calls Judas “a devil” and in 17:2 He says that “none of them was lost except the son of destruction.” None of these could be true if Judas Iscariot was counted among the Blessed.

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(His Name) These are good arguments really. Please Allow me to comment.

Recorded or written sermons of Popes not addressed to the universal church, St Thomas, and the Fathers of the Church are not infallible. Even encyclicals are not infallible unless it’s really stated in that encyclical that this and this are infallible. You may read Humani Generis 1950.

To address this Ad Catholici Sacredotii you mentioned. It did say “abyss of inequity” which simply refers to a state of our souls when we succumb to temptations and the devil takes over us thus leading us to sin. The encyclical did not talk about hell but it was exhorting ministers m, like the apostles, to always be in a state of grace unlike Judas.

Finally, with Jesus’s statement during last supper about Judas, there is no certainty in that verse that Judas did not repent. He is God of Love and he wants us all qualified souls to himself.

Conclusion: The Universal Church never officially condemned anyone to hell! Judas, Bro Eli, etc. They are in hell if they did not truly repent before death! But we still pray for them as Christians who love their enemies.

Cheers bro!

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Jong Esto Faithful and informed Catholics know that JUDAS IS IN HELL.

The Council of Trent Catechism teaches that Judas lost his soul and thus, is in hell:

“Furthermore, no one can deny that it is a virtue to be sorrowful at the time, in the manner, and to the extent which are required. To regulate sorrow in this manner belongs to the virtue of penance. Some conceive a sorrow which bears no proportion to their crimes. Nay, there are some, says Solomon, who are glad when they have done evil. Others, on the contrary, give themselves to such melancholy and grief, as utterly to abandon all hope of salvation. Such, perhaps, was the condition of Cain when he exclaimed: My iniquity is greater than that I may deserve pardon. SUCH CERTAINLY WAS THE CONDITION OF #JUDAS, WHO, REPENTING, HANGED HIMSELF, AND THUS #LOST_SOUL AND BODY. Penance, therefore, considered as a virtue, assists us in restraining within the bounds of moderation our sense of sorrow.” [Council of Trent Catechism, section The Sacrament of Penance, subsection Penance Proved To Be A Virtue, (emphasis added)]

The Council of Trent Catechism further teaches that Judas’s apostleship brought him only #eternal ruin. Here are the catechism’s words:

“Some are attracted to the priesthood by ambition and love of honors; while there are others who desire to be ordained simply in order that they may abound in riches, as is proved by the fact that unless some wealthy benefice were conferred on them, they would not dream of receiving Holy Orders. It is such as these that our Savior describes as hirelings, who, in the words of Ezechiel, feed themselves and not the sheep, and whose baseness and dishonesty have not only brought great disgrace on the ecclesiastical state, so much so that hardly anything is now more vile and contemptible in the eyes of the faithful, but also end in this, that they derive NO OTHER FRUIT FROM THEIR PRIESTHOOD THAN WAS DERIVED BY JUDAS FROM THE APOSTLESHIP, WHICH ONLY BROUGHT HIM #EVERLASTING_DESTRUCTION.” [Council of Trent Catechism, section: The Sacrament of Holy Orders, subsection: The Right Intention, (emphasis added).

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(His Name) bro, Catechisms are not infallible!

Councils will produce infallible statements starting with “if anyone… let him be anathema”. Those are the infallible statements. The council of Trent did not say anything about Judas in its list of excommunicable offences.

Bro, it’s really easy! 1. Only God knows the heart and mind of the sinner. 2. The Church can excommunicate (for repentance) but can not condemn.

It took me years of studies and a lot of humility to understand infallibility.

Please message me privately should you want to chat further.

“Ad servitium Christi et Ecclesia ubique incitantis!”

http://www.theprayinglensman.com

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“The Roman Catechism is a work of exceptional authority. At the very least it has the same authority as a dogmatic Encyclical, it is an authoritative exposition of Catholic doctrine given forth, and GUARANTEED TO BE ORTHODOX BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND HER SUPREME HEAD ON EARTH.” –Doctor John Hagan, [Rector of the Irish College in Rome, 1904-1930], cf. Authority and Excellence of the Roman Catechism

Before Vatican II, the case of Judas was not an issue. No Catholic doubted that Judas is in Hell. Exorcists attested to it. After Vatican 2 when some Catholics believe in false idea about “mercy”, their minds changed but not the Doctrine of the Church.

Judas was damned in hell because of suicide.

“Suicide is the sin of those in DESPAIR, who do not believe in God’s mercy and ability to carry them through all adversities. Suicide is a sin of Judas.

The suicide no longer holds that God forgives anything and everything when a sinner repents. He no longer holds that God is infinitely powerful, that he can draw good out of the most horrible evils.” (My Catholic Faith by Bishop Louis La Ravoire Morrow, S.T.D., p. 217)

“For if we look to its value, we must confess that the Redeemer shed His blood for the salvation of all; but if we look to THE FRUIT which mankind have received from it, we shall easily find that it PERTAINS not unto all, but TO MANY of the human race. When therefore (‘our Lord) said: For you, He meant either THOSE WHO WERE PRESENT, or those chosen from among the Jewish people, such as were, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF JUDAS, the disciples with whom He was speaking. When He added, And for many, He wished to be understood to mean the remainder of the elect from among the Jews or Gentiles.” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, p.147)

The Dogmatic Council of Trent never doubted that Judas was exempted from the FRUITS OF SALVATION offered by Christ at the Cross.

Judas was damned in Hell long before the Council declared it.

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(His Name) if you understand the limits of infallibility then we wouldn’t be arguing on this.

Bro can you confirm, just so it’s clear, are you with SSPX?

I am not with them bro.

Ok. I sent you a private message.

Cheers!

Hello bro can we continue here? (Now in Facebook Messenger private message)

Hi bro

So bro, although the Church does not define who are now in hell, which opinion do you side with? Is Judas saved or damned?

For me he is in hell and should be damned after all he has done.

Pero sarili ko lang paningin yan (But it’s just my own conclusion) as a human with limited thinking. Even my fav Saint John Vianney said Judas is in hell. There is less to no possibility kasi na nasaved siya (that he repented) if we refer to the written account(Bible). Plus Tradition supports his damnation as you may know from many references. Unfortunately wala pang (there is still no) official and infallible statement that ascertains his damnation. Di ba dapat 3 yan nagsupport sa isang teaching. (Shouldn’t it be that these three should support a teaching?) Bible, Tradition, at Magisterium? Once the Mother Church promulgates officially and solemnly that Judas is damned, that’s the time na mag fully agree ako with you (that I would fully agree with you). Kaso lang bro murag dili na mahitabo kay sa Ginoo man nang trabaho gud dili sa simbahan. (But I doubt it would happen because it’s God’s job to condemn and not the Church’s. All the Church can do is ask God for a sign na naging saint ang isang tao (that a person lived as a saint).

Ah pariho diay tag opinion bro. (Ah, so we have the same opinion then, bro.) Gani, ang mga visionaries ug exorcists ila pod gisulti nga naimpierno si Judas Iscariot. (In fact, visionaries and exorcists said that Judas is in hell.)

Correct! Pero (but), for Messages from visions and other private revelations, the faithful are not obliged to believe every single message attributed to these revelations. The Church can only confirm that such and such came from God and approve its devotions. Remember a seer or an exorcist is just but a member and they don’t represent the Universal Church.

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Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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My Closest Shot with our Eucharistic Lord!

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After most of the Holy Masses in Kamay ni Hesus or “Hand of Jesus”, a pilgrimage site in Lucban, Quezon Province, Father Joseph would minister the healing rites for the people.

Following the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the priest would carry the Eucharist in a beautiful monstrance containing our Eucharistic Lord and goes around the pews. Attached to the monstrance are two pieces of very long clothes in white in such a way that all church attendees can at least feel the touch of the hand of Christ even with the cloth. Remember the famous Bible quote, “If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well.”? (Matthew 9:21)

If you get lucky, you will have a (literally) close encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist. I was less than two meters away when I took this photo. Note that I made sure to not disturb anyone praying and keep my focus by continuously praying while taking this one and only photo.

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Photo taken 19Dec2019

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

My Name means “God is Gracious”

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A reader from South Africa sent me a WhatsApp message today. She named their boy child “Jonel” and tomorrow will be his baptism.

In their country, the name “Jonel” is rare and she would like to know if the name had some special meanings she is not aware of. All she knows was that the name is one of many derivations from the Biblical name “John”.

My parents never told me how they came up with my name and I never asked. So, knowing the same thing she knew, I began searching online, and to my surprise, I discovered the meaning of my name. “Jonel” means “God is Gracious” which originated from the Hebrew language.

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The info comes from sites that offer no detailed explanation. But there is a high probability that the information is correct because the common name of God in Hebrew is “El” (last letters of my name), “Elohim”, and “Eloah”. “Yahweh” is the proper name. (Catholic Encyclopaedia)

I will need to do further research and I will update this post in the future as needed.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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11Feb2021, May Bro. Eliseo Soriano Rest in Peace!

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Rest in peace, Brother Eli! Condolences to the MCGI family!

Image captured from Wikipedia

We, Catholics, never condemn anyone to hell. Only God sees what’s in the heart and mind of the person during the last moments of his/her earthly journey. A person can sincerely and truly repent in his/her wrongdoings at any point of his/her life. And if Bro. Eli had profound repentance before his death, then he can see God face to face!

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines Theme Song (YouTube Videos) + Lyrics

ABS-CBN Star Music’s We Give Our Yes – Jamie Rivera (Music Video)
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Carlos Magno & Rotoloop – Topic’s We Give Our Yes! (feat. Philippine Madrigal Singers)
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ABS-CBN Star Music’s We Give Our Yes – Jamie Rivera (Lyrics)
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Saints of Today’s 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines
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Jamie Rivera Official’s Jamie Rivera singing We give our yes at the Manila Cathedral
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Manila Cathedral’s February 6, 2021 | Opening of the 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines (video starts at 01:44:00)
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Here are the beautiful lyrics of the song in both languages.

English Lyrics (We give our Yes)

We stand before the grand horizon
Five hundred years of faith, grateful today
We bear the gift of mission
Totally yours, we give ourselves
Faithfully yours until the end
To Your mission, Lord: we give our yes

Go where the sun rises above the hills
Share the word and serve those who are in need
Let the Morning Star accompany your way
Spread the fire of mission for the Lord

We stand before the grand horizon
Five hundred years of faith, grateful today
We bear the gift of mission
Totally yours, we give ourselves
Faithfully yours until the end
To Your mission, Lord: we give our yes

We are gifted to give and live our gifts
Mercy, compassion, justice and peace
The sign the world today will come to believe
Is the love we have for one and all

We bear the gift of mission
Mercy, compassion, justice and peace

We stand before the grand horizon
Five hundred years of faith, grateful today
We bear the gift of mission
Totally yours, we give ourselves
Faithfully yours, until the end
To Your mission, Lord: we give our yes!
To Your mission, Lord…
To Your mission, Lord: we give our yes!
We give our yes…

Tagalog Lyrics (Awit ng Misyon)

Limang daang taong biyaya
Salamat Panginoon, sa ‘Yong punla
Misyong kaloob sa aming puso
Aming sarili ay aming handog
Laging tapat, at laging tugon:
“Naririto, handa kami,
Panginoon!”
Kami’y hahayo sa iba’t ibang dako
Hatid ang iyong salita
at paglilingkod.
Inang Maria ang s’yang gabay nami’t lugod
Lalaganap alab ng ‘yong misyon!
Limang daang biyaya
Salamat Panginoon, sa ‘Yong punla.
Misyong kaloob sa aming puso
Aming sarili ay aming handog,
Laging tapat, at laging tugon:
“Naririto, handa kami,
Panginoon!”
Ang kaloob na aming alay sa mundo:
Katarungan, Kabanalan, Kapayapaan.
Sa senyal na ito maniniwala ang mundo:
Pagmamahal namin sa bawa’t tao!
Limang daang taong biyaya
Salamat! Salamat, Panginoon!
Limang daang taong biyaya
Salamat Panginoon, sa ‘yong punla
Misyong kaloob sa aming puso
Aming sarili ay aming handog
Laging tapat, at laging tugon:
“Naririto, handa kami,
Panginoon!”
“Naririto, handa kami,
Panginoon”

If you found this article useful, please help share it and follow my blog! Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Why do Catholics Worship Images and Statues?

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This is a fair question a friendly non-Catholic would probably ask. But many angry anti-Catholics, who were used to be Catholics but never studied the faith, would ask differently. They would condemn us with statements like: “Catholics are idolaters because they worship images and statues by touching and kissing them, lighting a candle for them, and kneeling before them!” Many of our brethren who will hear such claims would begin to doubt on their faith especially when they hear the prohibitions of such actions in the Book of Exodus.

"You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth." (20:3-4)

So, why do Catholics Worship Images and Statues? Actually, we don’t! Because in Catholicism there is only one form of worship-the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. It’s when we worship the Triune God through the sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ the Word of God incarnate. In the worship, we participate and commemorate his life, passion, death, and resurrection. There is no other form of supernatural worship other than the Holy Eucharist.

The evangelist John wrote in his gospel that “true worshipers worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.” (John 4:23) This is done in the Catholic worship when the priest invoke the Holy Trinity many times in the celebration of the Holy Mass especially during epiclesis.

Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray
by sending down your Spirit
upon them like the dewfall,
so that they may become for us
the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Look, we pray, upon the oblation of your Church
and, recognizing the sacrificial Victim
by whose death you willed to reconcile us to yourself,
grant that we, who are nourished
by the Body and Blood of your Son
and filled with his Holy Spirit,
may become one body, one spirit in Christ.
Pre-consecration and Post-consecration prayers

Also, what is prohibited is carving anything and then “bowing down before them or worship them” (verse 20:5). This is something unthinkable for Catholics because we know “there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and though whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6) We are not polytheists.

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So, when we encounter such attacks, we should not be troubled. We should simply insist, in a friendly way, this one form of worship in Catholicism. Whether they believe it or not, we have done our job letting them know of the truth. Unless we have a lot of time, knowledge, skills, and patience for a debate, which is most of the time not productive, we should avoid falling into their trap. They usually open the conversation with one topic, then if they feel they are losing, they would open new ones such as purgatory, papacy, priesthood, infant baptism, etc. The list is endless.

If you found this article useful, please help share it and follow my blog! Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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The Church Should ‘Walk the Talk’ and Sell Her Wealth for the Poor

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The claim is similar to that of the anointing scene at Bethany when Mary (Martha’s sister) took a pound of costly ointment for pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. But Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’s disciples (he who was to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred dinarii (one year of individual income) and given the money to the poor?” (Matthew 26:9, Mark 14:5, John 12:5)

Indeed, many will say nowadays, especially during this time of pandemic, that the Church should ‘walk the talk’ and sell her wealth and help the poor and those affected by the crisis. I hope those who are demanding this really care about the poor and not because of their hatred against the Church? If they genuinely care about the poor then they are not like Judas who really did not care of the poor but himself (John 12:6). Perhaps they just need some enlightenment.

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We have to let them know that the Catholic Church is helping the poor since 30 A.D when our Lord Jesus Christ started his ministry. The apostles were imitators of Christ and this practice has been handed over from generations to generations. The Catholic Church (Not the Vatican) is currently the largest non-governmental provider of education and medical services in the world*.

Please take some time reading these short articles about the wealth that the Catholic Church does not have.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Many Leave the Catholic Church for These Two Reasons

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This is a Facebook post from Dr. Fernando Casanova, a well-known theologian, and an ex- pastor of a Pentecostal church in Puerto Rico. He did doctorate degrees in Seville, Spain and in Indiana, USA. His studies led him to the Catholic Church. Now he is a staunch Catholic and one of the most famous Catholic Faith Defender for Spanish-Speaking Catholics in the Americas region.

This is my translation in English: There are only two reasons for us to stop being Catholic:

  1. because of Ignorance,
  2. and because anything other than practicing our faith is easy.

This post in Twitter in 2014, earned 2,000 likes and 500 shares in just 11 minutes (when I took below screenshot).

What do you think of this statement?

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