Wednesday, October 31, 2012


We are in the last day of October, the month of the Holy Rosary. It is fitting to share to the world especially to the Catholics the reflections of the Popes about the Rosary.

     The Rosary is well suited to the honor of God and the Blessed Virgin Mary and for warding off impending dangers.  
- Pope Sixtus IV, 212th Pope

     The Rosary is the scourge of the devil. 
- Pope Adrian VI,  218th Pope

     The Rosary was instituted to appease the anger of God and to implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Pope Gregory XIII, 226th Pope

     Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.
- Blessed Pope Pius IX, 255th Pope

     The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life.  It is the remedy for all our evils, the root of all our blessings.  There is no more excellent way of praying.
- Pope Leo XIII, 256th Pope

     The Rosary is the most beautiful and richest of all prayers to the Mediatrix of all grace; it is the prayer that touches most the heart of the Mother of God.  Say it each day.
- Pope Saint Pius X, 257th Pope

     Among the various supplications with which successfully appeal to the Virgin Mother of God, the Holy Rosary no doubt occupies a special and distinct place.
- Pope Pius XI, 259th Pope

     There is no surer means of calling down God's blessing upon the family than the daily recitation of the Rosary.
- Venerable Pope Pius XII, 260th Pope

     There are various practices of piety which bring about a constant union with God; the Church has wisely named the more important: mediation, devotional visit to the tabernacle, recital of the Rosary of our Lady.
- Pope John XXIII, 261st Pope

     The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty.  To it, I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort.
-  Blessed John Paul II, 264th Pope

So what are you waiting for?  It takes at least two hours to watch a movie, more than an hour to watch your favorite TV show, at least two hours to watch a concert, but it only takes less than an hour to pray the Rosary.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Last Sunday, October 21, 2012 was the canonization of seven new saints at the Vatican by Pope Benedict XVI.

Here are the seven new saints:

1.  Jacques Berthieu (November 1838 - June 1896) - Jesuit priest and missionary from Cantal, France who was killed in Madagascar for refusing to renounce his faith rather than accepting an offer from a village chieftain.  Beatified on October 17, 1965 by Pope Paul VI.

2.  Pedro Calungsod (c. 1654 - April 2, 1672) - Teenage sacristan and catechist from the Visayas region in the Philippines who went with the Jesuit missionaries to Guam and helped priests in converting the natives.  He was speared by a village chieftain.  Beatified on March 5, 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

3.  Giovanni Battista Piamarta (November 1841 - April 1913) - Italian priest, educator and founder of the "Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth".  Beatified on October 12, 1997 by Pope John Paul II.

4.  Carmen Salles y Barangueras (April 1848 - July 1911) - Spanish nun and founder of the "Order of the Missionary Conceptionists of Hope".  Beatified on October 12, 1997 by Pope John Paul II.

5.  Marianne Cope (January 1838 - August 1918) - American nun of the Sisters of Saint Francis Syracuse, New York.  She spent her life caring for lepers on the island of Moloka'i, Hawaii.  Beatified on May 14, 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.

6.  Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 - April 1680) - A native American virgin of the Mohawk tribe and religious laywoman.  She professed a vow of virginity until her death at the age of 24.  She was shunned by her tribe for her conversion to Catholicism.  Also known as "Lily of the Mohawks".  Beatified on June 22, 1980 by Pope John Paul II.

7.  Anna Schaffer (February 1982 - October 1925) - A paralyzed laywoman from Germany.  She offered all her sufferings for the Holy Church and for the Church's pastors.  Beatified on March 7, 1995 by Pope John Paul II.

St. Jacques Berthieu, pray for us.
St. Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.
St. Giovanni Battista Piamarta, pray for us.
St. Carmen Barangueras, pray for us.
St. Marianne Cope, pray for us.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us.
St. Anna Schaffer, pray for us.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

ST. PEDRO CALUNGSOD: The Second Filipino Saint

October 21, 2012 is a very significant day for Filipino Catholics around the world.  Today is the canonization of the second Filipino saint, Blessed Pedro Calungsod who from now on will be known as St. Pedro Calungsod. But who is St. Pedro Calungsod?

Name:  Pedro Calungsod (Calonsor in Spanish records)
Date of Birth:  c. 1654
Birthplace:  Visayas region in the Philippines
Died:  April 2, 1672
Feast Day:  April 2

Stained glass image at the Archdiocesan Shrine
of Our Lady of Lourdes, Cebu City, Philippines
Pedro Calungsod was a teenage Filipino sacristan and missionary catechist who died a martyr's death in Guam in 1672.  His place of origin could not be ascertained since there was no record that could point to his exact birthplace. In historical records, he was merely known as "Bisaya" or in English, "Visayan". The Visayans are a Filipino ethnic group living in the Visayas group of islands in the Philippines.  Some of these Visayan islands are Cebu, Leyte, Iloilo and Bohol.  These islands were part of the Diocese of Cebu during the time of Calungsod. One of these islands is believed to be his place of origin. Presently, there are  numerous Calungsod families and individuals who live in Ginatilan, Cebu.

Road to Martyrdom

- On June 16, 1668, Calungsod accompanied the Spanish Jesuit missionaries to the Mariana Islands.  He and Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores went to Guam to catechise its locals, the Chamorros.

In spite of all the difficulties that the missionaries encounter:  irregular arrival of provisions, rough jungles and terrains, and frequent typhoons, they were still able to convert many natives.

Even though the missionaries were loved by the natives, there were still a handful of individuals who hated them.  Choco, a Chinese merchant spread rumors that the water used by the missionaries for baptism was poisonous and was the cause of eventual deaths of some sickly Chamorro babies.

- On April 2, 1672, at the village of Tumon, Guam, the wife of the village chieftain Mata'pang gave birth to a daughter.  Fr. San Vitores and Calungsod wanted to baptize the baby, but Mata'pang who was influenced by Choco strongly opposed the baptism.  He briefly went away to look for Hirao, a villager who was not a Christian.  He recruited Hirao for his plan of killing the priest and Calungsod. Meanwhile, with the consent of Mata'pang's Christian wife, Fr. San Vitores and Calungsod baptized Mata'pang's daughter.

When Mata'pang learned of his daughter's baptism, he was enraged and attacked Fr. San Vitores and Calungsod with spears.  At first, Calungsod was able to dodge the spears, he could have escaped but he did not want to leave Fr. San Vitores.  He was finally hit in the chest and fell to the ground.  Hirao finished him off with a blow to his head with a cutlass.  Fr. San Vitores immediately absolved Calungsod, but afterwards, the assassins killed him too.

Mata'pang took the priest's crucifix, crushed it with a stone while blaspheming God.  Then Mata'pang and Hirao tied large stones to the corpses' feet and brought them out to the sea on their proas (a type of sailing vessel).  They threw the corpses into the deep waters never to be seen again.  According to their fellow missionaries, Calungsod was either 17 or 18 years old when he died.

Road to Sainthood

  • October 6, 1985 - Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores was beatified. On the document of the priest's martyrdom, Pedro Calungsod's name was mentioned many times.  This led to the discovery of his life and death on the island.

  • November 21, 1994 - the cause for Calungsod's beatification process was opened when the then Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal asked permission from the Vatican to initiate the cause of Calungsod's beatification and canonization.

  • March 5, 2000 - Pedro Calungsod was beatified by Pope John Paul II.

  • December 19, 2011 - A miracle in 2002 which was attributed to the intercession of Blessed Pedro Calungsod was officially approved by the Vatican and qualified Calungsod for sainthood.

  • Today, October 21, 2012 is the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, the Philippines' second saint.

St. Pedro Calungsod, pray for us, especially the youth!


Sunday, October 14, 2012


The Holy Rosary is composed principally and in substance of the "Our Father" and the "Hail Mary".  But what is the history of the Holy Rosary?

In 1214, St. Dominic, a priest, was working hard for the conversion of the Albigensian heretics, but his efforts were hindered by the gravity of people's sins.  Feeling so depressed, he withdrew into a forest near Toulouse, France where he unceasingly prayed for three days and three nights.  He did nothing but weep and do harsh penances in order to appease God's anger.  His body was lacerated that he finally fell into a coma.

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and said:  "Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?"  

St. Dominic answered:  "Oh my Lady, you know far better than I do because next to your son Jesus Christ, you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation."  Our Lady replied:  "I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter."

St. Dominic arose and went straight to the Cathedral while the church bells were mysteriously ringing to gather the people together.  Then St. Dominic began to preach.

cc photo by Jenniferschwalm on flickr
At the very beginning of his homily, a storm broke out, the earth shook, the sun was darkened, and there was so much thunder and lightning that the people were very afraid.  Even more so when they saw Our Lady inside a picture which was displayed prominently raised her arms to heaven three times.

The storm and thunder stopped at the prayer of St. Dominic.  He so effectively explained the importance and value of the Angelic Psalter that in a short time, people began leading good Christian lives.

St. Dominic preached the Holy Rosary for the rest of his life both by his examples and by his homilies.

But many years after the death of St. Dominic in 1221, the devotion to the rosary waned and eventually was forgotten, until in 1460, a Dominican priest and theologian Blessed Alan de la Roche worked to re-establish the Holy Rosary after the Lord spoke to him on the Sacred Host:  "How can you crucify me again so soon?  You crucified me once before by your sins and I would willingly be crucified again by the sins you used to commit.  You are crucifying me again now because you have all the learning and understanding that you need to preach my mother's Rosary, and you are not doing so.  If you only did this, you could teach many souls the right path and lead them away from sin - but you are not doing it and so you yourself are guilty of the sins that they commit."

From St. Dominic's time up until the time of Blessed Alan de la Roche, the Holy Rosary has always been called the Psalter of Jesus and Mary. This is because it has the same number of Angelic Salutations or Hail Marys as there are psalms in the Book of the Psalms of David.  Ever since its re-establishment, people have been calling it the Rosary.  The word Rosary means Crown of Roses.  The Blessed Virgin Mary has approved this name of the Rosary when she revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary, they are giving her a beautiful rose.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
St. Dominic, pray for us.
Blessed Alan de la Roche, pray for us.

The Secret of the Rosary, Author: St. Louis Marie de Montfort

Sunday, October 7, 2012


My favorite prayer is the holy rosary.  I learned how to pray the rosary when I was ten years old.  I came to know the praying of the rosary at an early age. When I was five, I saw many rosaries at the altar of my mom's room, and whenever I go to church I always saw people praying the rosary.  At the age of ten, out of curiosity, I asked my mom to teach me how to pray the rosary.

At first, I really don't know the story and the importance of the holy rosary.  I just love praying it.  My knowledge of the importance and history of the holy rosary came in 1993 when I bought a book entitled "The Secret of the Rosary" by St. Louis Marie de Montfort.  I read and reread the book.  The more I understand the secret of the rosary, the more I love praying it.

Just as the fetus is connected to the mother through the umbilical cord, Catholics are connected to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the holy rosary. While the umbilical cord is only temporary, the rosary is for a lifetime.  Its importance is second to that of the Holy Eucharist.  It keeps us within the shelter of Mary's immaculate heart, of Mary's influence, and most of all, it keeps us connected to the source of everlasting life, Jesus. Have you not noticed that when you are not able to pray the rosary for a day, you feel somewhat guilty or you feel that your day is incomplete? That's because the holy rosary is one of the most important nourishments for our soul.

The rosary has helped and saved me many times in the past especially during the darkest days of my life.  It gave me so much strength in the midst of depressions.  I told my friend who is a nun, that even though I was so depressed I never gave up praying the rosary and never stop attending holy masses.  The more I'm depressed, the more I clung to the Holy Eucharist and the rosary.  My nun friend then told me, "That's the reason why the devil failed to overcome you because even if you missed your snacks you still able to eat the most important meals."

It usually gives me inspiration and assurance that I'm in a good company whenever I see pictures of Blessed Mother Teresa and Blessed John Paul II praying the rosary.  I want to go to where they are now.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

- Mary June D.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Name:  Marie Francoise Therese Martin
Birthdate:  January 2, 1873
Birthplace:  Alencon, France
Parents:  Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin
Siblings:  Marie, Pauline, Leonie and Celine

  • The Martin couple had nine children but four of them died (three infants and a five year old) of Enteritis.  All of the five surviving daughters became nuns including Therese.
  • Therese was baptized on January 4, 1873.
  • On August 28, 1877, Therese's mother Zelie died of breast cancer at the age of forty-five.  Therese was only four years old.  Three months later, her Father moved the family to Lisieux.
  • Towards the end of 1879, Therese had her first confession.
  • Therese became sick and on May 13, 1883, she reported that she saw the Blessed Virgin Mary smiled at her.  She was then healed of her sickness.
  • On May 8, 1884, Therese received her first Holy Communion.
  • On December 25, 1886, Therese experienced a conversion that changed her life.
  • On November 20, 1887, during a general audience with Pope Leo XIII, Therese asked the pope to allow her to enter Carmel at the age of fifteen.  The pope told her, "You will enter if it is God's will."
  • On April 9, 1888, Therese entered the Carmelite monastery  of Lisieux .
  • January 10, 1889 - Therese received her habit.
  • September 8, 1890 - Therese made her religious profession.
  • On July 29, 1894 Therese's father died after two years of suffering from stroke.
  • June 9, 1895, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Therese offered herself as a sacrificial victim to the merciful love of God.
  • And, in 1896, Therese suffered Tuberculosis and died on August 19, 1897 at the age of twenty-four.  Her last words were, "My God, I love you."
  • Pope Pius XI, beatified Therese on April 29, 1923 and canonized her on May 17, 1925. 
  • Declared co-patron of the missions with St. Francis Xavier on December 14, 1927.
  • A minor basilica was built in her honor in Lisieux, France.  It was blessed on July 11, 1937 by papal legate, Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, and consecrated on July 11, 1951 by most Reverend the Archbishop Joseph-Marie Martin.  The construction of the basilica started in 1929 but it was stopped for some time due to the Second World War, the construction was completed in 1954.
  • Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Divini Amores Scientia, declared St. Therese of the Child Jesus as Doctor of the Church, on October 19, 1997.  She's the 33rd Doctor of the Church and the 3rd woman to be so honored after Saints Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Sienna.
  • Therese's parents Zelie and Louis were beatified on October 19, 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Therese's LITTLE WAY means that to become a saint, it was not necessary to accomplish heroic acts or great deeds in order to attain holiness.  She wrote, "Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love?  Great deeds are forbidden me.  The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."  Her little way is her spirituality's foundation.

Therese became known because of her spiritual memoir (The Story of a Soul) which she wrote in obedience to the order of the two prioresses in the monastery.  It was first published on September 30, 1898.  She is the patron saint of aviators, florists and missionaries. She is also known as St. Therese of Lisieux.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us!

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