Friday, December 17, 2004

Misa de Gallo

The Mass of the Rooster. The traditional nine-day Christmas Novena celebrated with dawn Masses. Here in the Parish of St Fabian, the Misa de Gallo is celebrated at 4:30 AM. Today is the second day of the Novena.

Yesterday, the sacristan, Kuya Boy, prepared 2,500 small hosts for the Holy communion. They were just about enough for the communicants. There was only one ciborium left, and it was not even full. (This number is almost the total number of Catholics who attend the four(4) scheduled Masses on Sundays.) Many of these actually find enough reasons not to attend the regular SundayMass schedules. And yet, they would come in droves during these nine days: the old and the young (mostly the young), from the barangays and the poblacion. For them, these nine days would determine how well they would be celebrating Christmas.

I wonder...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Passing Away...

There are two wakes in the Parish compound at this time: one at the Mt. Carmel Chapel and the other at the Parish Center. Death came suddenly to one; the other died after a lingering illness. (I was able to visit her twice, and gave her the last sacraments).

The fans and supporters of Fernando Poe, Jr., the "King", could not quite believe that he had passed away. His death was sudden and unexpected. And like all deaths, this passing away leaves a sense of disbelief. One knows that the dead has left this world that we are so familiar with, but, still, one cannot immediately accept that one is TRULY gone.

When my time comes, will I be able to sense it? Will I know that it would be my LAST breath?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

viewpoints by ovc

The Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan has his own web log where he writes his "personal views and commentaries". You can look it up by going to his blog site: viewpoints.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Motorcade ushering the Launching of the Archdiocesan Youth Day 2005!

A Whirlwind of Activities!

The Parish Center is busy with the on-going Parish Renewal Experience (PREX) Weekend Seminar. The PREX class 5 is now sponsoring the 6th PREX Weekend Seminar with about 21 participants.

This morning, the Parish Youth Ministry held a motorcade in the different barangays of the Parish to usher in the launching of the Archdiocesan Youth Day 2005! And they have been practicing and practicing and practicing ... preparing for the 12 December launching celebration! The Parish is having a fiesta athomosphere right now! A whirlwind of activities, a whirldwind of people!

Then, there is the journey of the Youth Pilgrim Cross. It is right now in Brgy. Colisao. A mass will be celebrated there this 5pm, while the Youth "KALAKBAY" is on-going in that same barangay.

"O Lord, our God, in the midst of these whirlwind of activities and people around us, may we never forget your Divine Presence among us. For without you, all these things are but mere actions without meaning, devoid of your grace. Amen".

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Ruben and Marlon

I looked at the schedules at the bulletin board as soon as I went to the Parish Office this morning. A blessing was scheduled at 9am. Today was the grand opening of the Garden at the Parish Ground, a project done with a NGO of the town. A wedding was scheduled at 10am. Another house blessing in Mabilao after the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism at 11,30am. Two marriage interviews in the afternoon. A fiesta celebration in Brgy. Alacan at 4pm. Another wedding celebration at 6pm. At least, Fr Rene took the 4,30pm Mass in the parish church.

There were two couples already waiting for interviews after the Garden blessing. At exactly 10am, I went to the sacristy to change for the wedding mass, while the wedding entourage and the couple made their way to the sanctuary to the music of the Wedding March.

I began the to celebrate the Mass. Then the Opening Prayer was prayed.

I intoned, "'Father, you have made the bond of marriage a holy mystery, a symbol of Christ’s love for his Church. Hear our prayers for ...'"

I paused while I looked around for the piece of paper where the names of the couple were written. I found it.

"Hear our prayers for RUBEN and..'"

I stopped, and hesitated; read the paper again and looked at the couple, and then at the bride's name written on the piece of paper. I looked at the bride. She did not look in any way like the name written on the paper!

I put the micriphone away, and I asked her, "MARLON ya talaga so ngaran mo?" ("Is MARLON really your name"?)

"Yes", she nodded.

So for the first time, I solemnized a marriage of RUBEN and MARLON, seemingly two guys in name, promising, "to be one heart and one soul, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer in sickness and in health until death do (us) part"!

What a day! Har! Har! Har!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

So Many Blessings!

This Sunday has been a day of many blessings. Fr. Rene P. Mayugba came over from the College Seminary to help in the Parish. He celebrated the First Mass at 6am; while I celebrated the Second and Third Masses. Fr. Jim, our newly ordained priest, who is still with us, although he is assigned as a parochial vicar to the Parish Priest of Holy Family Parish, Sta. Barbara, has been helping me in the Parish. He solemnized the 10am wedding, then celebrated the sacrament of baptism. His constant availability in the parish has been a source of joy for all of us. One reason why this has been a day of thanksgiving!

Fr. Jim offered a Thanksgiving Mass in the Parish during the 4,30PM mass. It was truly a joyful celebration with the Parish Youth Ministry providing the choir and liturgical dances during the various parts of the mass. He blessed the whole congregation after the mass; the kissing of his hand followed.

Today has been a day of celebrations! A day of thanksgiving -- to God and His bountiful mercy!

Illegal Loggings, Greed and Death

I was watching TV Patrol and 24 Oras, two news programs on TV, last week and saw the devastation wrought by Typhoon Winnie and the scare brought by Typhoon Yoyong.The tragedy that befell on those thousands of people, and the loss of lives were not due only to the wrath of nature. Death and destruction came because of greed, and the desire of man to have more than enough.

Why can't we live with enough in our pockets, and on our table? "Enough" living will not make us hungry, and greedy.Enough living will stop corruption and thievery and the illegal loggings that destroyed whole towns and killed thousands of people, trapped by the rushing waters, thick mud and rampaging logs!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

"Jesus, I trust in You!"

Howling Yoyong; Prayer Calms

Typhoon Yoyong exited out of the Philippines, but not after hitting several provinces and towns. It passed through Pangasinan on the night of 2 December, Thursday. The lights went out around 5PM, then went back on again at 7:30PM , before going out at 9:00PM at the height of Yoyong's howling winds!

We prepared for Yoyong's coming: closed all church windows tighly, some were even nailed by Bro. Albay for extra precaution, two of the trees in the garden were given poles for support. These trees were almost uprooted during the last typhoon that hit us. In fact, I bought batteries and charged my cellphone. I was ready, I think.

But I was not ready for the howling winds! Nor at the force of the winds! And the batterings on the convento by Yoyong. I decided to sleep it off -- go to bed early, and hoped that I would sleep through the typhoon's charge.

The clattering sounds of the roof being hit by Yoyong, and the holwing of the winds worried me so much, I could not sleep. I was expecting the roof of the convento to be blown away any moment! And imagined all sorts of bad things happening around.

I turned to God... and prayed.

I prayed the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. At the end, I put everything in God's hand, with full trust and confidence.

"Lord Jesus, I trust in you!", I said. "I leave everything in your hands. I trust in you!"

Everything then became so quiet; I thought the storm had passed.. I then felt so calm, not anymore afraid nor worried. I fell asleep knowing that Typhoon Yoyong has come and gone...

Only when I woke up the next day did I know that Typhoon Yoyong roared its mightiest until 1 AM!

After all is said and done, there is only one who can calm us and give us strength; who alone can provide everything for us: God. His Divine Mercy.