Monday, April 17, 2006


On Holy Week, there are more than the usual penitents who receive the Sacrament of Reconcilliation or Confession. They come in sorrow for their sins, sometimes in anger; others come with doubts in their hearts, with tears in their eyes. They come with problems that seem to weigh them down.

They leave with hope in their lives; they receive comfort and consolation from God's mercy. For every sinner, the mercy of God is a providential gift!

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned", came the voice on the other side of the confessional. "I did not fast last Ash Wednesday".

The voice seemed to belong to an older woman.

"Bai, how old are you?", I asked her.

"I am now 73 years old", was the reply.

"Bai," I said, " at your age, you are not obliged to fast. You are exempted already."

There was a pause on the other side. Silence.

Then the unexpected question:

"Father, does that mean I can now tell a lie, play tong-its and gamble?"

Amen to that.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stations of the Cross: Brgy. Guilig to Poblacion

12 April 2006, Holy Wednesday

A meditation on the suffering and the death of our Lord Jesus Christ through the Stations of the Cross was done at 2:00 PM on Holy Wednesday this time in Brgy. Guilig to Poblacion. The First Station was meditated upon by the parishioners in the home of Mrs. Fely Dismaya. Succeeding Stations were assigned to different homes. The meditations were led by a member of the household of the assigned homes.

The last station, the Resurrection of the Lord, was held inside the Parish Church.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stations of the Cross at Brgy., Lipit

11 April 2006, Holy Tuesday. 3PM

We first held the Stations of the Cross at Brgy. Lipit three years ago. The road going up from Brgy. Lipit to Inmalog Sur is ideal for the Stations of the Cross.

At that time, three years ago, we were loooking for a place where we could hold the Stations of the Cross. I told Bro. Tony, our BEC Coordinator, that it should be in the mountains, not so far and accessible to our parishioners. We thought at first of Ambalangan Dalin. It was one of the mountain barangays of San Fabian. But it was too far. Accessible, it was not.

Brgy. Lipit is just about ten to fifteen minutes from the poblacion. The road going up to Inmalog Sur is not so steep. There are still trees lining the road which can provide some shade for the devotees.

We began the Stations of the Cross at three in the afternoon. We followed the Pangasinan Divine Mercy Stations. There were certainly more people than last year. I saw some parishioners from Sto. Tomas de Aquino Parish, Mangaldan, Pangasian who joined us this year. They were Apostles of Divine Mercy.

Mrs. Maria de Guzman was the oldest who participated in the devotion. She is eighty seven years old! This is her third year, too. She has been with us since the beginning. Although at the sixth station this afternoon, she sat and rested for a while after saying, "Naksawan ak la!" I thought she would not go up until the fiftenth station. But at the top, I saw her waving her tired arms to everybody!

This year, the members of the Parish Youth Apostolate re-enacted the different stations of the cross by creating a live tableau. A mass was celebrated at the peak of Inmalog Sur.

Parish Lenten Reflections

8 April 2006, Saturday. 4,30 PM - 6,00PM.

In preparation for the observance of Holy Week, the Parish held a Lenten Reflection with Rev. Fr. Mario Dominic Sanchez last 8 February 2006, Saturday from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM. Fr. Sanchez gave his reflection on the Lay Spirituality, the call to holiness for all! While he was giving his talk inside the church, confessions were being heard.

10 April 2006, Holy Monday. 8,30 AM - 1:00 PM

There was a two hour reflection on the "Passion of John Paul the Great" to the Apostles of Divine Mercy last 10 April 2006, Holy Monday. The Apostles of Divine Mercy of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Mangaldan, Pangasinan (the nearby parish) joined us in this reflection. The reflection mainly dwelt on the meaning of suffering as taught and lived by Pope John Paul II. His encyclical "Salvifici Doloris" was the main souce of our reflection.

After the reflection on the meaning of Suffering, the movie "Passion of the Christ" was viewed by the parishioners.

"Ag ak la antakot natan ya manirap, Father", a devotee of the Divine Mercy told me. ("I am not afraid of suffering now, Father").

Unless we find a meaning to our suffering, unless we find the reason why we suffer, we will always fear suffering; we can never find hope in these "vale of tears".

Monday, April 10, 2006

Domingo de Ramos

Palms were blessed in all four Sunday masses for the celebration of Palm Sunday. "Domingo de Ramos" ushered in the observation of the Holy Week.

The scheduled barangay mass last Palm Sunday was Brgy. Bigbiga. We celebrated it in Zone 1, and at the yard of Bro. Ben Aquino. There was an unusually large number of people who attended the mass. Even those coming from Zones 3 and 2 were there. And these had to walk about two kilometers to reach the place of the celebration.

"Adu tao tatta", I commented in Ilocano to Sr. Lidia, wife of Bro. Ben.

"Palaspas gamin", she explained why there were plenty of people.

Brgy. Bigbiga is one of the mountain barangays of San Fabian. It takes us about thirty minutes to get to the place. It was only about three months ago that we began to celebrate the barangay mass in the different zones, and in homes. I realized that there were a lot of people who would attend the mass when we bring the celebration to their place and residence. Neighbors come together; pray together. Before this, we held the mass at the barangay hall.

9 April 2006, Palm Sunday

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Every first Saturday of the month, Barangal Aramal celebrates the Eucharist. The celebration this Saturday was joyful. I even had a longer homily than usual, explaining within it, the Holy Week schedule of the Parish. After the Prayer after Communion, I called the April birthday celebrators. Five came forward and received a special blessing. We sang "Happy Birthday" to them.

Then, just before the final blessing and dismissal, Bro. Rod who was the lector and the commentator, and was sitting infront was approached by his son. His young son whispered something to his father. Bro. Rod, in a flash, was out of the chapel, and was running so fast. I saw him ran the length of the field by the chapel and disappeared from my view!

Then, I heard somebody shouted: "Po-ol! Po-ol! (Fire! Fire!)

Bro. Rod's wife followed. She ran as fast as her husband. The whole chapel was now in a commotion. Everybody ran towards the window; everybody was by now looking out in the direction of Bro. Rod's house!

I heard somebody shouted, "Napopo-olan so abong di Bro. Rod!" Bro. Rod's house is on fire!

Soon, everybody was out of the chapel. Even my two servers were out.

I was the only one left.

And I had not even given the final blessing and the dismissal yet!

(As a postcript: The fire gutted the outside kitchen of Bro. Rod. It did not do any damage to the house itself. Except for the malagkit, and some pots and lots of firewood, nothing much was destroyed by the fire that disturbed our regular barangay Mass. Cause of the fire: an ember left burning by Bro. Rod after he cooked some bananacue).

1 April 2006, Saturday.