Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Blog!

New Blog.

Don't ask why! ;P


Tuesday, April 15, 2008


It has been about a week since I returned from Melbourne. So it is also high time that I posted some pictures. I will not go into details about the 'retreat'. I will leave captions under the photos as well as a list of the places I visited at the end of this post.

St. Francis Church is the oldest Catholic church in Melbourne. It offers 9-11 Masses a day every week. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is held in-between Masses. Rite 1 of the Sacrament of Penance is also offered throughout the day. These are based on the constitutions of St. Peter Julian Eymard, the apostle of the Eucharist.

A view of the Sanctuary from the south wing. Take note of the Ambo. It was designed also as a throne; signifying the importance of Sacred Scripture. Just a thought: The monstrance ought to be enthroned as well; in fact it used to be enthroned in royalty in St. Francis Church until the changes of the Second Vatican Council. Catholic tradition and teaching have always held that first place should go to the Eucharistic Lord because even though Jesus can be present in other ways (scriptures, congregation, celebrant, etc...), he is transubstantially present- body, blood, soul and divinity- in the Eucharistic species.

Another view of the church from the south wing.

The Ladye Chapel, situated in St. Francis, is a beautiful space for prayer and reflection. I cannot describe how inspiring it was to be in the Chapel; I was lost for words when I entered this magnificent space. I do not think that any other Church in Melbourne could compare to the Ladye Chapel.

The ceiling lists all the attributes of Our Lady while the stain glass depicts the key moments of her life.

The first class relic of St. Peter Julian Eymard in the sacristy.

The Monastery where I put up during my stay.

The refectory. Anti-Clockwise: Deacon John, Br. Gerard, Br. Eymard.

The contemporary chapel situated in the Monastery's Chapter Room.

Community Fellowship every Monday after Vespers and before dinner. From Left to Right: Br. Stephen, Fr. Jack, Fr. Joe.

Community Fellowship every Monday after Vespers and before dinner. From Left to Right: Fr. Joachim, Br. Alphonsus, Fr. Alf, Br. Vincent.

Community Fellowship every Monday after Vespers and before dinner. From Left to Right: Fr. Tom (Superior), Fr. Laurie.

Community Fellowship every Monday after Vespers and before dinner. From Left to Right: Br. Joseph, Br. Eymard, Br. Damien, Br. Gerard.

These are just but some of the photos that I took. Here are some of the places I visited:
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral (Roman Catholic)
  • St. Peter's Church (Anglo-Catholic)
  • St. Paul's Cathedral (Roman Catholic)
  • All Saint's Church (Roman Catholic)
  • Blessed Mary McKillop Museum- had a private tour!
  • St. Mary's House of Welcome- a soup kitchen for the poor.
  • Hawthrorn Shopping Belt- Where I visited Southern Cross Church Supplies and Pauline Media Centre.
  • St. Kilda's Beach- a very 'diverse' area.
  • Yarra Theological College- Where Blessed Sacrament and Passionist Seminarians study.
  • RMIT University- Chaplains brunch
  • Catholic Archdiocesan Center and College- Where the Diocesan Seminarians study.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Taking Flight!


I will be flying off later this day. Please offer a prayer for me. I have decided not reveal where I'm heading to *yet*. Here's a picture to get those brain juices flowing. It's your guess! (Hint: The river runs through the city)


Will be back in approx. 8-16 days time. Expect some great shots!

God bless.

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Letter to Bishops

Here is the letter by H.H. Pope Benedict XVI that was sent to all the Bishops of the Latin-Church regarding the Apostolic Letter SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM.

My dear Brother Bishops,

With great trust and hope, I am consigning to you as Pastors the text of a new Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The document is the fruit of much reflection, numerous consultations and prayer.

News reports and judgments made without sufficient information have created no little confusion. There have been very divergent reactions ranging from joyful acceptance to harsh opposition, about a plan whose contents were in reality unknown.

This document was most directly opposed on account of two fears, which I would like to address somewhat more closely in this letter.

In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question. This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were "two Rites". Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.

As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level. Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

Pope John Paul II thus felt obliged to provide, in his Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei (2 July 1988), guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal; that document, however, did not contain detailed prescriptions but appealed in a general way to the generous response of Bishops towards the "legitimate aspirations" of those members of the faithful who requested this usage of the Roman Rite. At the time, the Pope primarily wanted to assist the Society of Saint Pius X to recover full unity with the Successor of Peter, and sought to heal a wound experienced ever more painfully. Unfortunately this reconciliation has not yet come about. Nonetheless, a number of communities have gratefully made use of the possibilities provided by the Motu Proprio. On the other hand, difficulties remain concerning the use of the 1962 Missal outside of these groups, because of the lack of precise juridical norms, particularly because Bishops, in such cases, frequently feared that the authority of the Council would be called into question. Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio. The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.

In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.

It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.

I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: "Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!" (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.

In conclusion, dear Brothers, I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22: "Sacrae Liturgiae moderatio ab Ecclesiae auctoritate unice pendet quae quidem est apud Apostolicam Sedem et, ad normam iuris, apud Episcopum").

Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop, whose role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and serenity. Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve, the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene, in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio.

Furthermore, I invite you, dear Brothers, to send to the Holy See an account of your experiences, three years after this Motu Proprio has taken effect. If truly serious difficulties come to light, ways to remedy them can be sought.

Dear Brothers, with gratitude and trust, I entrust to your hearts as Pastors these pages and the norms of the Motu Proprio. Let us always be mindful of the words of the Apostle Paul addressed to the presbyters of Ephesus: "Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son" (Acts 20:28).

I entrust these norms to the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, dear Brothers, to the parish priests of your dioceses, and to all the priests, your co-workers, as well as to all your faithful.

Given at Saint Peter’s, 7 July 2007

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Since we are...

... still in the Easter Octave, here is the Easter hymn of the Roman rite, Victimae Pascali Laudes.

To the Paschal victim let Christians
Offer up their songs of praise.
The Lamb has redeemed the sheep:
Christ who is without sin
Has reconciled sinners to the Father.
Death and life have fought a huge battle,
The Prince of Life was dead, but lives and reigns.
Tell us, Mary, what did you see on your way?
'The tomb of Christ, who is alive,
And I saw the glory of his rising;
Angels standing as witnesses, the shroud and linen cloth.
Christ my hope has risen:
He has gone to Galilee before you.'
Truly, we know Christ has risen from the dead:
O King and victor, have mercy on us. Amen. Alleluia.

It is indeed a shame that we no longer have the same love for the patrimony of our beautiful Church.

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"As Bishop I Cannot Be Silent"

The auxiliary bishop of Karaganda in Kazakhstan has spoken with Gloria.TV about his new book "Dominus est" in which he sharply criticises the practice of communion in the hand.

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Ad Orientem

Are traditional priests really facing "the wall"?


Close your worldly senses and open your eyes of Faith!


Consider this: When a general leads his troops into battle does he face them? When a representative of the people approaches the Ruler on their behalf does he face them? When a priest is going to the Lord on behalf of his people should he face them?


When the priest is acting as the intermediary between the people and God he faces the Altar. When he is dispensing the gifts of God, or speaking to the people, he faces the people.


A true account:-

Nun: "Father why are you celebrating Mass with your back to us?"

Priest: "Would you rather me show my back to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords"

Need I say more? Even the Holy Father is facing the East. Look...

13 January 2007, Baptism of the Lord at the Sistine Chapel

Facing East in important because "...The priest is above all a servant of others, and he must continually work at being a sign pointing to Christ, a docile instrument in the Lord's hands. This is seen particularly in his humility in leading the liturgical assembly, in obedience to the rite, uniting himself to it in mind and heart, and avoiding anything that might give the impression of an inordinate emphasis on his own personality. I encourage the clergy always to see their Eucharistic ministry as a humble service offered to Christ and his Church. The priesthood, as Saint Augustine said, is amoris officium, it is the office of the good shepherd, who offers his life for his sheep." Sacramentum Caritatis #23.

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Low Mass Photos

Here are the- long overdued- photos of the first Low Mass that was offered on the side altar of our Lady of Lourdes in the 4th quarter of last year at St. Joseph's Church. The celebrant was Rev. Fr. John Mary Chin, OCD. Enjoy!

The insertion of the Sacred Relics of Ss. Felicity and Perpetua.

The Altar as it ought to be- clothed in 3 piece of fine linen.

View of the Altar from the Gospel Side

The Offering of the Host

The Offering of the Chalice

For This IS My Body- The Elevation

Benedicat Vos- The Final Blessing

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Tenebrae 2008

I was blessed to attend the first Tenebrae Service in 40 years. The offices of Matins and Lauds were beautifully chanted by the talented members of the St. Gregory the Great Schola.

For those who do not know what the Tenebrae is, here's some information I extracrted from Extraordinary From Singapore's blog: The Tenebrae is "the office which the clergy and the faithful say on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week, accompanied by the lamentations of the Prophet Jeremias, and other ceremonies. The word Tenebrae means darkness, and represents the prayers formerly said in the dark hours of the morning. In the Tenebrae the Church mourns the passion and death of, Jesus, and urges her children to return to God; she therefore makes use of those mournful words of Jeremias: 'Jerusalem! Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord, thy God!' " More information here.

Below are some of the photos I took with my new 7.2 megapixels Sony Cybershot DSC-H5. Enjoy!

The Chapel 5 minutes before the Service.

The Entrance Procession.

The 15 candles; as you can see first has already been extinguished.

The chanting of the lamentations of Jeremias.

The female faithful veiled.

The female faithful veiled.

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Happenings (23/3 to 29/3)

In no particular order, here are some of the things that have taken place this week:-

* Yes, I'm still enjoying my 7 week semestral break


The Spirit Of A Believing Welcome

Whether we are considering increasing our charitable donations, entering into a business partership, forming a small Christian community or getting married, there are spiritual as well as economic issues involved. As long as we hold back, defining ourselves by what we own or competing with each other for status and position will make real sharing impossible.. Moreover, our efforts to protect our interests legally, for example, mean that we give while counting the cost down to the very last penny.

This may be wise according to the world's standards, but it does not represent the fullness of true Christian charity. Real giving always entails vulnerability. Christian charity, as modeled by the early Church in the 1st reading is based on the promise that the goods of this world come as gifts to be used wisely for the benefit of all, especially the poor and needy among us. Few of us are ever going to voluntarily give everything away; when we do give, however, may we give with the generosity of Christ which knows no limits.

Our giving also should not only be one in cash or kind, but also one in faith. A giving of our faith, a proclamation of our belief, a declaration of the spiritual truth we hold near and dear is sometimes what someone needs, more that money or help in any other form. Our Gospel text shows us Thomas in just that light. From refusing to open up his heart to accept, one meeting with the risen Jesus and he proclamed the highest form of faith that can be declared: "My Lord and my God!"

His believing welcome, as it were, of Jesus' risen presence among His disciples opened Thomas up to new and greater possibilities. His encounter with Jesus began to prepare him for the mission the Lord had in store for him. Jesus was in fact, taking Thomas out of the "tomb of doubt" that had enslaved him for so long. The Resurrection encounter gave Thomas the boldness to declare his faith, a faith he would one day gladly suffer martyrdom for.

Yet, what has all this in store for us? What practical application can we draw from the 1st reading and the Gospel passages of this Sunday's Mass? Possibly it is calling us to sit down in the presence of the risen Jesus and see just how generous, welcoming and faithful our Lenten preparation has made us. Have we given willingly during Charities Week? have we sacrifice some comfort for the sake of our felow Catholics?

Has our Easter celebration been one big faith proclamation? We will only be able to give like the early Church and profess our faith like Thomas once we allow the ever powerful Ressurection presence of Jesus to encounter us, challenge us, transform us and invite us to live fully as a child of the Light and a child of the Resurrection. Amen.

Teach us O Lord, to give without counting the cost & let us always boldly proclaim our faith in You, as our only Lord and God. Amen.

Fraternity of Mater Dolorosa

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Prayer for the Dignity of the Mass

Lord Jesus Christ, in Your infinite love You instituted the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Last Supper. In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, You continue to pour forth the same graces and spiritual blessings that once flowed from the Sacramental Fountain of Your opened side. Lord, we thank You for manifestating Your Divine Love for us by becoming Sacramentally present in the Eucharistic Species.

We beseech You, our Almightly Lord and King, to defend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass from all abuses and sacrileges. Arise Lord, and deliver us, we humbly pray, from these detestable and abominable acts of impiety that threaten the blessed memory of Your sorrowful passion, cruel death, and glorious resurrection.

Send forth Your Holy Spirit to illuminate the hearts of all Your priests. Give them a spirit of reverence, humility, patience and love. Enkindle in their hearts a more fervent love for the Eucharist. Lord, You are the True Light of the world, radiate Your Light now to dispel the traps and snares that the evil one has set before Your priests. We pray especially pray for Your priest(s), N., the shepherd(s) to whom You have entrusted the duty of the salvation of souls.

O Lord, grant all of us true faith. May we always celebrate the Eucharist in reverence, love, care, devotion, and orthodoxy. St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Francis Fasini, St. Padre Pio, St. Josemaria Escravia, St. Benedict, and all ye other Eucharistic Saints, pray for us! Amen.

- the Author-

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thou Art Present!

As Catholics, we firmly believe that the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is transubstantially present in the consecrated hosts of bread and wine.

In the Liturgy, we see that Christ is present as both priest and victim. He is present as priest in the person of the celebrant and victim, in the Eucharistic species. This has been affirmed by the council of Trent; "For, it is one and the same Victim, the same one now offering by the ministry of the priests as He who then offered Himself on the Cross, the manner of offering alone being different" (Denzinger-Schonmetzer 1743).

Over the course of the last 30 odd years, we have been seeing a decline in the believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. What has contributed to this? Here are some of my findings/ideas:

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lenten Resolutions

In the spirit of the upcoming Lenten season, I've decided to practice these five acts of penance/sacrifice:-
  1. Go bald; more about this in due time.
  2. Recite the chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Stations of the Cross every Friday.
  3. Visit St. Joseph's (BT) Mount Calvarly at least once for the candle light procession; more about this in due time too.
  4. Refrain from driving on Mondays to Wednesdays.
  5. Observe fast for the entire duration of Lent.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Another Year...

This day, the 26th of January '08, marks the day the good Lord graciously allowed me to enter this universe in order to be with Him in the next.

I thank the Lord for another year of LIFE. Even though sometimes, life is bleak and there seems no hope of moving on. I also thank Him for the blessing of encountering so many wonderful- and instrumental- people who have in one way or another helped me in my Christian journey.

In the course of my growth in maturity of faith, mind and body, I find myself more open to the promptings of the Spirit as I continue to discern His materplan for my life.

I enjoy the fact that my birthday is a day after the Feast of the Conversation of St. Paul, my patron saint. It reminds me of the need to be converted before being able to receive the new life that God has in plan for me and to accept all the challenges- come what may- in order to feel the exhilaration of victory and direct it Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

My birthday wish/prayer is for all YOUR wishes/prayers to come true. Please continue to keep this aspirant in your prayers.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have wished me a very happy birthday via text message and e-mail.

Special thanks goes to Darren, Melvin, Philip, Graeme, and Ajay who made this day a memorable one (and that does not include singing "Happy Birthday to Father Paul at Hagen Daz" hahaha...). Special thanks also go out to Angela whose constant prayers for me before the Blessed Sacrament every Saturday enables me to continue to do His holy will.

Heartfelt appreciations to Fr. Andrian Wee who offered the Holy Sacrifice specially for me, to Revd. Frs. Edmund Chong, Augustine Tay, Michael Teo who have helped me in both my vocation discernment and my personal walk with the Lord, to my parents who taught me the values and principles of life, to my grandmother for the generous gift of her Honda Accord, and to the Holy Spirit whose loving presence is like a spring in the desert.

God grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Conversation of St. Paul (25/01)

"I know whom I have believed. I am sure that he, the just judge,
will guard my pledge until the day of judgement"

: 2nd Class (Feast)
1st Reading: Acts of the Apostles 9:1-22
(Lord, what will you have me do?)
Gradual: Ps. 116:1-2 R/ Mark 16:15
Acclamation: John 15:16
Gospel: Mk 16:15-18
(Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.)

+ Saul of Tarsus was full of hatred for Jesus and his disciples. From a bitter persecutor he became an ardent apsotle and irresistible preacher of the Gospel. A Roman citizen and a student of Gamaliel, he was well grounded in the doctrine of the school of the Pharisees. He also had a part to play in the martyrdom of St. Stephen.

Scripture tells us that while he was on the road to Damascus during or about the year 34 A.D., he has a vision of the Risen Christ. That single event would change his life forever. The Risen Lord whose memory he tried to erase through his persecutions, opened his mind to the truth of the Christian faith. Our Lord also called Paul to follow Him as His disciple. From that day onwards, Paul dedicated his entire life to the mission of the Gospel, and to follow and serve the Christ who has personally chosen him as His apostle.

Paul was one of those who were present at the Fisr Council of Jeruselem. Through his influence, the council agreed that the old Jewish laws like circumcision were no longer had binding force on the new converts from paganism.

Paul was a man who refused compromise. He was a dedicated person who was capable of pursuing any ideals without first counting the cost. As christians, we are called to be witnesses. The word witness is derived from the greek word that means matryrs. Hence, as Christians, we are called to testify to the Gospel even to the point of death; not counting the cost whatsoever.

In order to suceed in being ardent servents of Christ, we need to pray for the grace of self-abandonment. Self-abandonment is a complete submission to Christ, His precepts, His Church, and His will. Many saints like St. Therese, the Little Flower were given this grace to surrender their desires and bind themselves entirely to God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. In self-abandonment, we leave behind all the concerns of the world and live a radical life for Jesus Christ. A life that is one for Him and won for Him.

Can we be like St. Paul? Can we receive the grace to abandon everything for the expansion of God's Kindgom here on earth? Yes. If we follow the footsteps of St. Paul; for the only thing that mattered to him was God.

Paul preached Christ as the one and only Saviour. A Saviour not only for the Jews but the Gentiles as well. Follwoing the one whom he loved so greatly meant that Paul had to walk in His- Christ's- footsteps. It was not easy for Christ's journey was one of ceaseless hard work, exhaustion, suffering, poverty, and close encounters with death. We read in his epsitles, that Paul, instead of giving up, embraced these sufferings a a means to help him grow into the image of Christ. In Galations, he tells us that as baptised Christians, we need to crucify our old self to Christ and be a new person rediating and reflecting Chirst.

How can we powerfully radiate and reflect our Lord? Through the Eucharist. We become what we eat. Christ's sacramental presence dwells in us through our reception of His Holy Body and Blood at Holy Communion during the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Our bodies become the tabernacle of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Do we receive Him with the love, humility, and reverence as our Blessed Mother did?

For only if we did, would be then be able to experience the power of God's grace.

If we take a look at Paul once more, we would see that he never failed to glorify the Lord for his conversation and his ministry. Because God knew the saintly man Paul would become- just as he knows every thought and desire in our minds and hearts-, it did not matter that He- God- would deliever His gift of vocation to Paul even when he was battling against the infant Church of Christ.

We see that Paul never forgot his calling as he constantly associated his apostolic mission with His encounter with the Risen Chirst. In like manner, priests and religious should not forget their calling to be servents of the Lord as well. Remembering the call of our First Love will never fail to remind priests and religious of their particular call to save souls. Canon law adequetely expresses this in s.1725, "the salvation of souls is the highest law".

With his calling in mind, Paul zealously ran all through Asia Minor, Greece, Rome and even Spain. Paul is probably the only one who is fit to say, "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on is reserved for me the crown of righteouness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that Day". Does that mean we, whose lives are nowhere near that of St. Paul will be able to enjoy the beatific light? No... Paul goes on to say "not only to me but also to all who have longed for His appearing" (2 Tim 1:7-8).

It is fitting that the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul should coincide with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Unity has not yet been restored. Christ founded only one Church. St. Paul tells us that we must be "making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is ONE body and ONE spirit, just as you were called to the ONE hope of your calling, ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all" (Eph 4:3-6).

It is sad that the ONE Church of Christ has been divided through the sinful nature of man; through pride, aggrogance, and disobedience. The Decree on Ecumenism No. 1 by the Second Vatican Council affirms clearly and firmly that such a division "contridicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching of the Gospel to every creature".

Hence, it is the task and duty of the Roman Catholic Church- the one true Church- to continue Paul's mission of restoring unity.

It is easier said than done. Ecumenism is a very difficult undertaking. We have to be careful in ensuring that faith and the plan of God for the AUTHENTIC salvation of mankind is not watered down. This task, entrusted to the one and only Church of Christ is beyond all our human enregies and abilities. Therefore, let us beseech the intercession of St. Paul the Apostle for the unity of all Christians into the one fold of Jesus Christ. Amen +.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Prayers Needed

I've been down with tonsilitis, cough, and a terrible cold for the past 6 days. I ask of your prayers for my recovery. God bless.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Visible Sign: The Roman Collar

The Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, prepared by the Congregation for the Clergy and approved by Pope John Paul II on January 31, 1994 has this to say:

In a secularized and tendentiously materialistic society, where even the external signs of sacred and supernatural realities tend to bedisappearing, the necessity is particularly felt that the priest-man of God, dispenser of His mysteries-should be recognizable in the sight of the community, even through the clothing he wears, as an unmistakable sign of his dedication and of his identity as arecipient of a public ministry. The priest should be recognizable above all through his behavior, but also through his dressing in away that renders immediately perceptible to all the faithful, even to all men, his identity and his belonging to God and to the Church.

When collars were quickly taken off a few decades ago, the common argument proclaimed was, "What's really important is what's inside me . . . I don't need an article of clothing to define my priesthood".

Let us examine the importance of the Roman Collar.

The Roman Collar is a clerical collar that should be worn by all ranks of clergy. Bishops, priests, transitional deacons, and seminarians who have been admitted to candidacy for the priesthood (as is the case in the Diocese of Rome and many other Seminaries throughout the world). Apart from entirely exceptional circumstances, the non-use of clerical clothing on the part of the cleric can manifest a weak sense of his own identity as a pastor completely dedicated to the service of the Church.

Rev. Ken Collin's, explains that "clothing conveys a message. A business suit says, 'Money!' A police uniform says, 'Law!' A tuxedo says, 'Wedding!' Casual clothing says, 'Me!' Clericals say, 'Church!' "

A priest is never 'off-duty' when he puts on the Roman Collar. Any occassion he is in can be turned into a pastoral ministry. Whenever a priest has his collar one, he no longer needs words to explain his presence. It is unlikely that anyone would stop a Roman Catholic priest with his collar on from entering a hospital after visiting hours or bar him from crossing the yellow tape at an accident scene.

A priests' ministry is unending and there are no definate working hours. Casualness about being publicly identified as a priest of the Catholic Church may signify a desire to distance himself from his priestly vocation. The collar becomes 'workclothes,' which are put away when one is not 'on duty.' The functionalistic notion of the priesthood revealed by this attitude is in contradiction to the ontological configuration to Christ the High Priest conferred by priestly ordination. Furthermore, to have a 'split personality' is never healthy. No priest can temporarily put his priesthood on the shelf. To hide one's priesthood may often be symptomatic of a desire to engage in something sinful, or-at the very least-disedifying.

Archbishop Emeritus Gregory in his clericals

With this visible symbol of his sacred ministry around his neck, the priest allows the faithful to approach him no matter where he is; be it at the cafe having his morning cuppa or at the grocers picking up some provisions.

A person can make a confession and be reconcilled to God, a young teen may ask a quick question about the faith and be strengthened, an lost soul may come up to the priest and ask, “Father, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”, a businessman may receive a blessing before his flight, etc... Christ's faithful (and even those outside the fold) deserve nothing less. Lay people depend on their priests for spiritual support andstrength. They feel that something is not right when their priests try to blend into the crowd and, as it were, disappear.

Many priests often say that their people are adverse to the Collar. Well, trying to 'blend-in' isn't really the solution. Allowing the reactions of others affect the priest's decision to wear the collar is only allowing the problem to fester unresolved. Could it be that some think that what the collar signifies- Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, the priesthood- are obstacles? Priests must relate to others as priests, never in spite of being priests.

"A white collar on a priest's neck should remind him of a ring and collar - his marriage to Christ and to the Church and giving his freedom to Christ, thus letting him control his life. We, priests, wear a collar because we want to be directed by Christ in all things. Please notice that our collars are white as opposed to our cassocks. In the background of a black robe it is a symbol of the light of resurrection. We go through the world giving up baubles and colours, living the hope of participation in the brightness of resurrection. This white collar in the background of our black dress is actually a sign of our desires and aspirations." Rev. Fr. Andrzej Przybylski.

We use symbols all the time, and need not be embarrassed by them. To obediently and humbly wear the collar expresses one's submission to the authority of God and his Holy Church.

Dear Rev. Fathers, please display the desire to manifest the presence of the Savior to a world gone mad... The reward is to be able to lead others to Christ is significant. Be aware that the priestly work you now do will not suffer but will be enhanced when you dress according to the venerable custom of the Church.

References & Acknowledgements:

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sacriledge in Catholic Church

A cheap and distasteful attempt by a baptist 'street preacher' to convert the Catholics. I admire the celebrant and congregation for ignoring what was taking place.

Notice that the Mass continues as the people rise for a hymn, probably the Pater Noster, indicated by the holing of hands.

This sacriledge took place in July 2007. Let us recite the Divine Praises as a reparation for this great offence against the Instituition of the Catholic Church, the Mass, the Priesthood and our Blessed Mother (these are issues the 'preacher' brought up).

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Monday, January 14, 2008

New Side Altars

Here are some photos of the new Side Altars that have been erected as shrines dedicated to the Infant Jesus and the Divine Mercy in the Carmelite Church of Ss. Peter and Paul in Waterloo Street.


They are beautifull illuminated at night by incandesent and halogen lights. I will upload the night shots soon. In the meantime, I hope all is well with all my readers. God bless!

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

OPEN LETTER: The Necessity Of Immediate Action

Related to: Teddy Bear Picnic Mass

Roma locuta est. Come back to me, with all your heart.

"There is one truth, even though it can always be more deeply known." Franc Cardinal Rode, the Prefect for the Congregation for Institutes of the Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to the Jesuits.

The Church should act without delay in this matter of doctrinal corruption, which is made imperative, especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; but, what is to be most dreaded and deplored, is that these enemies are found in the very bosom of Holy Church.

What is alluded to here are the many who belong to the Catholic laity, and, what is much more sad, to the ranks of the religious life and the priesthood itself. Who, animated by a false zeal for the Church to "move with the times", as it were, and lacking the solid safeguards of philosophy and theology, imbued with poisonous doctrines and a loss of sense of holy Christian modesty have put themselves forward as "reformers" of the Church; and, forming more boldly into a line of attack have assailed all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the Person of our Holy Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious audacity, they degrade to the condition of a simple and ordinary man.

Although these men and women express their astonishment that we who are faithful to the sacred traditions of our Holy Mother the Church are "outdated and outmoded", yet, in truth, it is they who are the most pernicious of all the enemies of the Church. For they put into operation their errorenous designs and invalid rites for the undoing of Holy Church, not from without but from within. Hence, the danger they present appears almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain from the very fact that their knowledge of Holy Church is more intimate.

By their error and corrupted doctrine, they lay the axe to the very roots of the Church, that is, to the Holy Faith and Sacred Traditions at its deepest level. Once they have struck at its root, there is no end to the amount of doctrinal poison they begin to diffuse through the whole tree, which is the Church. So there is no part of Catholic Truth which they leave untouched none that they do not strive to corrupt. For they play the dubious part of both rationalist and Catholic, and this is so craftily done that it even leads the elect into error. To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of ardent holiness. All with the front of corrupting and manipulating the innocent.

Finally, there is the fact which is all but fatal to the hope of cure that their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds, that they rely upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to love the truth, yet, they introduce foreign and uncatholic rites and doctrines. They pray with other faiths at the one same Holy Altar and even allow the doctrines and ideas of other religions to influence Catholic belief and practice. They teach error to children in the name of catechetics and confused the aged and elderly with their untruths. Different interpretations of the same Scriptures abound and what was once deemed as Protestant, heretical and schismatic is now venerated as doctrine and truth.

The Church in this post modern day and age has indeed fallen by the wayside like the man in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It will take the compassion of Christ, the Good Samaritan, to move hearts and hands of those who tuly love Holy Church with her rich traditions and sacred doctrines, to pick up the Church wounded with the afflictions of doctrinal error and pouring the oil and wine of the Holy Spirit upon those wounds in fervent prayer, bring Catholicism to the inn, which is in fact a return to True Rome!!

Jesus dixit ei, "Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam, et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam."

Jesus said, "Thou art Peter (Cephas), and on this rock (Cephas) I will build my Church, and the gates of the hades shall never prevail against my Church."

Fraternitas Mater Doloroso

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Teddy Bear Picnic Mass

I never imagined that such a sacriledge would take place in our Diocese...

How are the children going to treat Holy Mass with dignity and reverence if at such a young age they have been introduced to this sacriledge?

An introductory extract from The Instruction Concerning Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery (Inaestimabile Donum)

Prepared by the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship Approved and Confirmed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II April 17, 1980.

This Sacred Congregation notes with great joy the many positive results of the liturgical reform: a more active and conscious participation by the faithful in the liturgical mysteries, doctrinal and catechetical enrichment through the use of the vernacular, and the wealth of readings from the Bible, a growth in the community sense of liturgical life, and successful efforts to close the gap between life and worship, between Liturgical piety and personal piety, and between Liturgy and popular piety.

But these encouraging and positive aspects cannot suppress concern at the varied and frequent abuses being reported from different parts of the Catholic world: the confusion of roles, especially regarding the priestly ministry and the role of the laity (indiscriminate shared recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer, homilies given by lay people, lay people distributing Communion while the priests refrain from doing so); an increasing loss of the sense of the sacred (abandonment of liturgical vestments, the Eucharist celebrated outside church without real need, lack of reverence and respect for the Blessed Sacrament, etc.); misunderstanding of the ecclesial character of the Liturgy (the use of private texts, the proliferation of unapproved Eucharistic Prayers, the manipulation of the liturgical texts for social and political ends) . In these cases we are face to face with a real falsification of the Catholic Liturgy: "One who offers worship to God on the Church's behalf in a way contrary to that which is laid down by the Church with God-given authority and which is customary in the Church is guilty of falsification."[7]

None of these things can bring good results. The consequences are--and cannot fail to be--the impairing of the unity of Faith and worship in the Church, doctrinal uncertainty, scandal and bewilderment among the People of God, and the near inevitability of violent reactions.

It appears that the waves of heresy has hit the shores of our Diocese. Why are we allowing such grave abuses that have destroyed thousands of years of Catholic tradition and doctrine into our parishes? This apparently shows a lack of understanding and ignorance as to what the Mass is about and what truly take place during the celebration of the HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.

Reverence and dignity must be restored to the Roman rite of Mass. Out with Clown Masses, Halloween Masses, Barney Masses, and Teddy Bear Picnic Masses. The enthusiasm of the clergy and laity to take part is such a grave sacriledge demontrates an appalling ignorance as to what really and truly takes place in the HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS: Jesus is made present- The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

We are reminded by the great Saint of the Eucharist, St. Peter Julian Eymard of the sacredness of the Holy Mass and the degree of adoration, dignity and reverence it truly deserves:

"... He would rise again to be our perpetual Host of propitiation, the Host of our Communion, the Host of our Adoration. Heaven was enraptured at the sight of this mystery. The Most Holy Trinity contemplated it with love. The angels, struck with awe, adored it. And with what rage were not the demons seized in hell!"

Why then, is this being tolerated? How many warnings from the Holy See reprobating such actions need to be written, promulgated, and ignored, before more concrete action is taken? The abuses have to stop! Where is the unity in divine worship that had united all Catholic Masses for 2000 years?

The institution of this pernicious biritualism is intolerable to the faithful People of God! The unity of faith in the Catholic Church will be undermined by the existance of parallel rites. We must stand in defense of our liturgical unity, of its unitary ritual purity, of the active participation of the faithful against duplicitous attempts to introduce divisions within the faithful People of God! The faithful cannot be forced to cope with such unprecedented variety in worship. It is clear that a "liberalization" of the long-forgotten rites will shatter the united front of Catholicism as it faces its enemies!

Some sacrilegious Masses/Liturgies exposed on YouTube:

It may not be surprising to see our Masses turn into Protestant asssemblies if we don't act. It is apparently that many bishops and priests are not doing their job is safeguarding the deposit of faith. Therefore, we as the laity, faithful to Rome, must act! We need to save the Church! It is "not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious." Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

St. Alphonsus Liguori CSsR, Doctor of the Church, warns us about Sacrilegious Masses in Chapter 7 of the Dignities and Duties of the Priest:

According to St. John Chrysostom, during the celebration of Mass the Altar is surrounded by Angels, who are present to pay homage to Jesus Christ, the Victim offered in Sacrifice. And St. Gregory asks, "who doubts that at the very hour of immolation, at that voice of the priest, the heavens are opened and the choirs of Angels are present at that mystery of Jesus Christ?" St. Augustine says that the Angels assist as servants to the priest who offers the Sacrifice.

Now the Council of Trent teaches that Jesus Christ Himself was the first that offered this great Sacrifice of His Body and Blood, and that He now offers Himself by the hands of a priest chosen to be His minister and representative on the Altar. St. Cyprian says that "the priest truly holds the place of Christ," and that, therefore, at the Consecration, he says This is My body: this is the chalice of My blood. To His disciples Jesus Himself said, He that heareth you, heareth Me . . . and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me.

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy attempts to explain why such Masses continue to stain the Church and reduce the Mass to a mere show:

"Bad theology is supported by bad liturgy and together they spawn bad morality. As Catholic clergy and as baptized members of the Church, we ask that across the board, our shepherds enforce the universal laws of the church; to protect and serve the people of God by ensuring that every ordained deacon, priest or bishop will act morally, properly and pastorally; defend the deposit of faith as taught by the Magisterium; and insist that reverent and proper celebrations of the sacred liturgy be done everywhere, from seminaries to parishes to cathedrals."

The Holy Father, reminds us all that we "...ought to get back to the dimension of the sacred in the liturgy... the essential in the liturgy is the mystery, which is realized in the common ritual of the Church; all the rest diminishes it. Men experiment with it in lively fashion, and find themselves deceived, when the mystery is transformed into distraction, when the chief actor in the liturgy is not the Living God but the priest or the liturgical director." (Sermon to Chilean Bishops, 13 July '88).

A clip from the lecture "The Classical Roman Rite and the Renewal of the Liturgy," by Msgr. Michael Schmitz of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. The transcript may be found here. In this video Msgr. Schmitz quotes H.H. Pope Benedict and reminds us that the liturgy is not something we can expose to our own whimps and fancies. Do read the transcript of his entire lecture.

Here is a video (in French) produced by the Society of St. Pius X displaying the beauty and reverence that is rightly mandated in the celebration of the Holy Mass. Though I am not of the opinion that we should return to the things of the past, it is worthwhile to note that nothing less can be given to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords who renews His one sacrifice each day at the Altar. The Novus Ordo can be as inspiring and eddifying as the Extraordinary Form IF celebrated with dignity, reverence, love and humilty.

Secular Carmelite writter, Paul Malik warns the Church that "the vocations crisis in the Church is an self-imposed one". He was refering to the abuses in the liturgy.

Let us turn to the great saints of the Eucharist who defended reverent celebrations of Holy Mass and were themselves living examples of zealous priests who celebrated the Holy Mass with reverence, humility, love and ardour.

St. Peter J. Eymard, pray for us!

St. Francis Fasani, pray for us!

St. Josemaria Escravia, pray for us!

St. Gregory the Great, pray for us!

St. Padre Pio, pray for us!

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Baptism of the Lord (A)

When the Lord had been baptised, the heavens opened, and the Spirit came down like a dove to rest on Him. Then the voice of the Father thundered: This is my beloved Son, with Him I am well pleased. (Intriot)


1st Reading: Is 42:1-4, 6-7
Gradual: Ps 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10 R/ Ps 11(b)
2nd Reading: Acts 10:34-38

Gospel: Mt 3:13-17

This is My Son, Listen to Him

Why was Jesus Baptised? Jesus did not require baptism but because He had taken our sins upon Him to atone for them, he humbled Himself and put Himself on the same level with sinners. We read in other parts of scripture that Jesus also subjected Himself to circumcision and the presentation at the temple. These qualities reflect the humility and obedience of the Son.

Water as a sacramental. Water would never have been a sacramental should Jesus not have been baptised. By His baptism, He sanctified the water, hence now, water becomes for us a tool of purification for our souls.

In the book of Genesis we see the Church been metaphorically depicted as the ark carrying on board all sorts of creatures and rising above the waters that were commanded to wash the world of it's impurities and sins. Today, we as Catholics from all walks of life find ourselves in the ark- the Church who dispenses the waters of baptism to enable us rise to new life. How can we voyage as a community if we do not love the Church- our vessel? We need to love the Chruch- as Cardinal Rhode appropriately put it to the Jesuits during their recent international gathering. Our love is displayed through obedience and humility. All our efforts will come to naught if we fail to find ourselves on board the true ark of salvation.

Voice from Heaven- This is truly as sign of what a sacrament is. An outward sign of an inward grace. Here we see the voice from Heaven as the outward sign setting Jesus before the people as the promised one. The inward grace comes as the people receive faith in His Divine Mission.

Opening of Heaven- When we rise from our baptism, we see Heaven which had been closed since the fall, now opened by Jesus.

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tridentine Mass in Singapore!

Here is a short clip of the recessional procession of the Tridentine Mass that was celebrated today by Revd. Fr. Duncan Wong, FSSP. In procession are members of St. Gregory's Schola and St. Francis Xavier's Youth Choir. Diocesan priest, Revd. Fr. Augustine Tay was also present and assisted in the distribution of the Holy Body of our Lord.


I can't figure how to get the film upright... Apologies.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Liturgical Unity

“The mystery of Christ is so unfathomably rich that it cannot be exhausted by its expression in any single liturgical tradition.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1201).

Years after the Council

It is a sad symptom of what is “certainly a genuine crisis” (Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, 5) in the current life of the Church that those faithful who are rightfully attached to the Classical Rite or the Tridentine Liturgy have been accused of being ‘divisive’ or of ‘causing disunity’ in virtue of their attachment. The Holy Father has condemned such unjust treatment of traditional Catholics and even asked forgiveness for, “The at times partial, one-sided and erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council, (which) may have caused scandal and disturbance concerning the interpretation of the doctrine and the veneration due to (the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist)” (Dominicae Cenae, III.12).

Of Fidelity & Sensibility

There is indeed a great threat to unity in the Church. It comes, however, from those who reject and disobey the apostolic tradition, NOT from those who UPHOLD it: “The criterion that assures unity amid the diversity of liturgical traditions is fidelity to apostolic Tradition” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1209). Therefore, it is the actions of the majority of the mainstream Catholic Church clergy and laity who have deviated from fidelity to apostolic tradition that has plunged the Church into the crisis that all of us now face. Only if wisdom that respected history, tradition, and sensitivity had prevailed, there would have been a far better result and less division.

Our Birthright

Futhermore, many young people have not heard of this rite of Mass that Pope Urban VII proclaimed as, ''the most beautiful thing this side of heaven". Perhaps, the Church could also take this opportunity to expose young Catholics to the rite of worship of our ancient Catholic religion and give them a sense of pride in their faith.

Only with pride and zeal for their faith, will young people step out to serve in the various ministries on their own accord. The traditional Mass is the birth right of all Roman Catholics around the world.

Community of Believers

The Second Vatican II Council refered to the Church as a Community, I'm sure that there are the older generation of Catholics who miss the old rite of Mass too, we have to be charitable and ensure that they do not feel left out. As a community of believers, we have to take into consideration all our brothers and sisters and not only our own intentions.

It is also interesting to note that over the past few years, an increasing number of young people have shown keen interest in the Tridentine Liturgy. The Church needs to be ready to supply the needs of the young people who will eventually be the supporting pillars of the Church.


Where are we headed I can't say... but perhaps the spirit of our late Holy Father, John Paul II is with us, continuing to bring about the 'new evangelization' he once called for. An evangelization not only to the Pagans and Protestants but amongst Catholics as well- an immersation of the rich liturgical ceremonies and customs of our One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Amen.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thrid Sunday of Advent (A)

1st Reading: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10 (God Himself is coming to save you)
Gradual: Psalm 145, R/ Isaiah 35:4
2nd Reading: James 5:7-10 (Do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon)
Acclamation: Isaiah 61:1 or Luke 4:18
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11 (Are you the one who is to come?)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. The Lord is near

Sent his disciples- No doubt whatsoever that Jesus was the Messiah; for this was the burden of his preaching at the Jordan. If this was the case, why did he send his disciples? He did so because many of them though had heard about the works of the Lord had not seen it for themselves and were not fully assured. Therefore in order to confirm their faith John sent them directly. Already knowing the intentions of John the Baptist, Jesus answers the question indirectly by referring to His works. Thus, confirming the faith of the disciples and the testimony of John.

How strong is our faith? When we send ourselves before the Altar of Sacrifice to receive the Body and Blood our Jesus in the Eucharist, are we fully convicted of His presence hidden under the veil of the sacrament or are we still asking questions?

Are you the one who is to come- This is a plain question showing what John wanted, that is the knowledge of Christ as the Redeemer. He did not ask for any proof or sign; in his final inquiry, we see a declaration that our Lord’s simple assertion was enough to command unconditional belief in Him.

Is our faith ready? Do we still ask questions, or signs, or proofs? “Blessed are those who have not yet seen but believe”. St. Peter J. Eymard once said that “tomorrow will be too late”. How true. We do not know the hour or the day of the Lord’s coming- not the end of the world, but rather death; our own end. When the time comes are we ready to meet Him with our unconditional believe that “He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God”? St. Peter Julian Eymard’s reminder is probably founded on the warning given by the prophet Malachi. He tells us, “who will be able to endure when the day comes? Who will be able to survive when He appears? He will like a strong soap, like a fire that purifies metal…” On that day, the Lord will appear as judge and “testify at once… against all who do not respect (Mal 3:5)” Him.

Go back and tell- If we look at Luke’s account in 7:21 we see that it was “at that VERY time” when the messengers were corresponding with Him that “He cured many people of their diseases, He cast out evil spirits & restored sight to the blind”.

When we see the works of the Lord, do we “go back and tell” our loved ones, friends, co-workers about the power and mercies of our great Lord and Savior? Are we being a testimony to His greatness?

Does not lose faith- Also translated to scandalize or offended. Why would Jesus say this? Why would people be scandalized, offended or lose faith because of His good works? To understand this we need to look at the Book of the Prophet Isaiah who foretold Jesus way of life to be characterized by “poverty and lowliness, suffering and death”. Jesus had to say this because the Jews had expected the messiah to come in pomp and power instead of humility and poverty; which by the way was a great hindrance to their faith.

Is humility and suffering a hindrance to OUR faith today as it was in the time of the Jews? Today’s society focuses much on the individual, on power, control, wealth, et cetera. We need to learn from John’s joyful reception of the Lord into his own life so that in time of adversity, or even in the face of the secular world, we may receive the consolation of having that joy.

Conclusion- The later part of the Gospel which discusses about John’s greatness is something that gives us an opportunity to reflect upon. John entered the world in a state of grace, growing daily in grace and virtue.

We came into the world in the state of original sin, BUT by the holy waters of baptism, this sin has been taken away and replaced by sanctifying grace. Have we lost this grace through mortal sin? When was the last time we made satisfaction for it through the Sacrament of Penance? To paraphrase the cry of the Baptist, turn away from thoughtlessness and forgetfulness of God to piety and fear of God! To be holy and godly Catholics, we need to try to prevent sin. This is what Jesus meant when he proclaimed that “the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is” even though no one greater than him has ever been seen.

Is it possible to live holy and godly lives in a culture of sin and death? In the Second Reading, James advises us how to go about living holy and godly lives for the Lord in expectation and anticipation of His return. It is important to note that patience is an important virtue that we need to adopt in our lives because no one knows the exact hour the Lord is coming. It is with patience that we can, like the Baptist, persevere in the knowledge that Jesus is the Redeemer and that He WILL come to gather us back to Himself. Amen.

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