The Regina Coeli (From Holy Saturday to Pentecost)

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear,
alleluia.
Has risen as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary,
Alleluia
R. For the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray.
O God, who gave joy to the world
through the Resurrection of your Son, our
Lord Jesus Christ., grant that we may obtain
through His Mother, Mary, the joys of
everlasting life. Through the same Christ
our Lord. Amen.

Glory be to the Father…

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Payer to Mary for an end to the Coronavirus Pandemic BY POPE FRANCIS

O Mary, you shine continuously
on our journey as a sign of salvation
and hope. We entrust ourselves to you,
Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated
in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide,
so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after
this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the
Father’s will and to do what
Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself,
and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the
Resurrection. Amen
We seek refuge
under your protection,
O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas –
we who are put to the test –
and deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

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Our Lady of Sorrow’s Image Receives Her Canonical Crown in Dolores, Quezon

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A good news to all Quezonians!

Mater Dolorosa del Quezon or the Our Lady of Sorrows National Shrine in Dolores is one of the major pilgrimage sites in the Quezon Province. The church is part of the Diocese of Lucena. The image of our sorrowful mother is being venerated for decades by both the local faithful and the pilgrims from neighboring places.

In 2017, the church was elevated as a national shrine. This year, 2021, the canonical coronation of the image has been approved by Pope Francis and the actual coronation ceremony has been pushed through on March 25, 2021 despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coronation of the images expect to draw more pilgrims to strengthen the faith of the faithful through devoting themselves to the intercession of the Virgin Mary whom, as per the the Sacred Scriptures, will be called blessed by all generations. (Luke 1:48) Another image of Our Lady of Sorrows has been scheduled for canonical coronation in Capas, Tarlac by May 2021.

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I personally recommend visiting this shrine whenever you can. It’s a good place to pray, reflect, and take photos. Also, this church is one of the 500 Jubilee churches with the inherent plenary indulgence for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

Here are some photos I took during my last visit to the shrine in October 2019.

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Do you or your friends have some testimonies or spiritual experiences about this place that you want to share? The world would love to hear them. Please send me a message.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

4 Things You Need to Know about Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

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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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Comforting Words of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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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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10 Messages From Our Lady of Guadalupe

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Featured Image: El Rostro de la Virgen by Lyricmac

  1. “What is the matter, my little child Am I not here who am your mother.”
  2. “I am your merciful Mother, of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who have confidence in me.”
  3. “Know for certain that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God, through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things, who is Master of Heaven and Earth.”
  4. “I will show and offer all my love, my compassion, my help, and my protection.”
  5. “I will hear your weeping and your sorrows, and will remedy and alleviate your sufferings, necessities and misfortunes.”
  6. “Listen to me, my dearest child, and understand that it is altogether necessary that you should be the one to undertake this mission.”
  7. “Mark my words well, my little child I shall richly reward you for all the worry, work, and trouble you have undertaken on my behalf.”
  8. “Listen and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little child. Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.”
  9. “You are under my shadow and protection. I am your fountain of life. You are in the folds of my mantle.”
  10. “Now that you have heard my words, my child, go and do everything as best as you can.”
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Taken from the book “The Wonder of GUADALUPE: The Story of the Miraculous Image of the Blessed Virgin in Mexico” by Francis Johnston.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Defending the Holy Rosary: Is Repetition Biblical?

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Rosary is a Marian devotion, meaning a devotion in honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary, practiced mostly by Roman Catholics. The phrase “Ad Jesum Per Mariam” or “To Jesus through Mary” is popular among Catholics. we show devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask her to bring our prayers to her Son, Jesus Christ. Rosary was designed to work as meditation on the life of Jesus Christ. When we pray the rosary, our minds are fixed in the significant and joyful, sorrowful, and glorious events during Jesus’s ministry.

However, this practice is being condemned by many anti-Catholics mainly because of two misunderstanding: the prayer is not biblical and the prayer contradicts the scriptures because the 53 Hail Marys (or 203 in the full rosary) are vain repetitions. This post focuses on the second reason.

The Bible verse they would use for this claim against the Holy Rosary is Matthew 6:7. “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.” This was part of Jesus’s discourse concerning prayer in the Sermon of the Mount.

Defending the Rosary against “vain repetitions”

If you too love the Holy Rosary, here is how to defend the Holy Rosary (against false claim that it is vain repetition) without getting into a debate and without risking your friendship with the claimant. This list is developing so make sure you subscribe to this blog for updates.

  1. Matthew 6:7 – Let us use the same verse they use by understanding the context more. Actually, they have this as “In praying, don’t use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking.” (KJV) The Bible versions does not matter to us Catholics because we know that this warning was for all prayers and not specific to the Holy Rosary. We must remember that Jesus was merely warning the people (Jews) around him in general against doing good in order to be seen. Also, pagans babbles with a long list of divine names hoping one of those gods would answer their prayers. Catholics are not pagans. We also do not repeat meaningless words because the words we say in the rosary are from the Bible. So this verse per se is not something that is against the recitation of the Holy Rosary.
  2. Matthew 15:7-9. Speaking of vain repetitions, Jesus spoke strongly against those people who honor God with their lips but with their hearts far from him thus worshiping him in vain. This is not the case when we pray the rosary because when we say it we meditate Jesus’s life (the second person of the Holy Trinity). Our minds and hearts are with him while we recite the same words of the angel Gabriel and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth.
  3. Matthew 5:3-11. The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the beatitudes by repeating the same first phrase “Blessed are the …. for…” nine times.
  4. Luke 18:1-8. The Parable of The Widow and the Unrighteous Judge. The widow kept coming to the judge (God) repeating the same words, “Vindicate me against my adversary!” The parable concludes that God will vindicate his elect who cry to him day and night.
  5. Luke 11:1-4. According to Jesus, when we pray, meaning every single time we pray, we should include and repeat The Lord’s Prayer. This is the reason in all our prayer, whether personal or communal, we include and repeat the Our Father. In the Holy Rosary, we say the Lord’s Prayer 6 times (or 21 times in the full rosary).
  6. Matthew 26:44. In Jesus agonizing prayer in the garden, he prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” If then the Lord can repeat, it is logical that we also can do the same.
  7. Revelation 4:8. The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.”
  8. Psalm 136:1-26. This is a striking defense we have for the defense of the repetition of the words when praying the Holy Rosary. You may refer your friend directly to this part of the Holy Scripture. Psalms means “psalter” or “book of praises”. The psalmist in chapter 136 repeated “for his mercy endures forever” twenty-six times in 26 successive verses.
  9. Luke 6:12. Jesus went out to the hills to pray all night in preparation of his selection of the twelve apostles. This does not indicate that he prayed using repetitive words but we can speculate that he did. Who can pray without repeating any word or phrases in an eight-hour long night prayer?

No human being cannot not repeat the words used from previous prayer.

No human being cannot not repeat the words used from previous prayer. That’s the truth. The words we use to express our petitions as human beings are limited and we are asked to pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17). Thus, there is no way a person cannot not repeat what was prayed in his/her lifetime.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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