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VATICAN— Saints are people who recognized their need for God’s help, who took risks to discover God’s will and to help others and who nurtured a habit of thanksgiving, Pope Francis said.

“The culmination of the journey of faith is to live a life of continual thanksgiving. Let us ask ourselves: Do we, as people of faith, live each day as a burden, or as an act of praise?” the pope said in his homily Oct. 13 after formally declaring five new saints for the Catholic Church.

Those canonized at the Mass were: St. John Henry Newman, the British theologian, poet and cardinal who died in 1890; Brazilian St. Maria Rita Lopes Pontes, popularly known as Sister Dulce, who died in 1992; Indian St. Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family, who died in 1926; St. Marguerite Bays, a Swiss laywoman and mystic, who died in 1879; and St. Josephine Vannini, the Italian co-founder of the Daughters of St. Camillus, who died in 1911.

“Three of them were religious women,” the pope noted in his homily. “They show us that the consecrated life is a journey of love at the existential peripheries of the world.”

“St. Marguerite Bays, on the other hand, was a seamstress; she speaks to us of the power of simple prayer, enduring patience and silent self-giving,” he said.

Rather than describing St. Newman, Pope Francis quoted from him to illustrate the meaning of “the holiness of daily life”: “The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world sees not …. The Christian is cheerful, easy, kind, gentle, courteous, candid, unassuming; has no pretense … with so little that is unusual or striking in his bearing that he may easily be taken at first sight for an ordinary man.”

And, referencing St. Newman’s famous hymn, “Lead, Kindly Light,” the pope prayed that all Christians would be “‘kindly lights’ amid the encircling gloom.”

Tens of thousands of people filled a sunny St. Peter’s Square for the canonization ceremony and Mass. Among them were Britain’s Prince Charles, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Martins Mourao, a member of Switzerland’s federal council and the deputy foreign minister of India.

Melissa Villalobos from Chicago also was there with her husband and children, and they brought up the offertory gifts at the Mass. Villalobos’ healing, which saved her life and the life of her unborn child, was accepted as the miracle needed for St. Newman’s canonization.

Hours before the Mass began, Holy Family Sisters Manjula and Aruna stood just outside the security checkpoint, handing out Indian flags, rosaries and prayer cards, caps and scarves with the image of their order’s founder, St. Thresia.

The new saint’s focus, and that of her order today, is assisting families, said Sister Manjula, whose ministry is “counseling and visiting houses and helping solve problems. We help all families — non-Christian, non-Catholic, anyone.”

Gregory K. Hillis, a professor of theology at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, was representing his university at the Mass, but his presence was very personal, too.

“Newman is important to me theologically and for my spirituality,” he said. “And I like his conversion story” of how, as an Anglican priest, he became a Catholic at the age of 44. “I became a Catholic 13 years ago, and Newman was an important guide. He converted, but maintained his friendships, his respect and love for the tradition that he left.”

“I’m an ecumenical convert as well,” Hillis said. “I’m tired of converts who hate the tradition they left.”

An official delegation of Anglican bishops and priests also attended the Mass, and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England, recorded a message for the occasion.

“His legacy is far broader than one church or two churches,” the archbishop said. “It is a global legacy, a legacy of hope and truth, of the search for God, of devotion to being part of the people of God.”

St. Newman’s role in founding the Oxford Movement in the Church of England, a push to rediscover the early Christian writers and to recover the Catholic roots of Anglicanism, “had a fundamental, lasting, beneficial and important influence on Anglicanism,” Archbishop Welby said.

As is his custom at Mass, including at canonizations, Pope Francis used his homily to reflect on the day’s Scripture readings and only made passing reference to the people being declared saints.

The day’s short Gospel reading from Luke recounted the story of 10 lepers who, seeing Jesus approach, cry out to him for healing. He tells them to go show themselves to the priests and, as they go, they are healed. But only one returns to thank Jesus.

“Like those lepers,” Pope Francis said, “we, too, need healing, each one of us. We need to be healed of our lack of confidence in ourselves, in life, in the future; we need to be healed of our fears and the vices that enslave us, of our introversion, our addictions and our attachment to games, money, television, mobile phones, to what other people think.”

The story also illustrates how, “on the journey of life, purification takes place along the way, a way that is often uphill since it leads to the heights,” he said. “Faith calls for a journey, a ‘going out’ from ourselves, and it can work wonders if we abandon our comforting certainties, if we leave our safe harbors and our cozy nests.”

And, finally, he said, the story teaches that returning to Jesus with a heart full of gratitude is the culmination of the journey of faith.

“To give thanks is not a question of good manners or etiquette; it is a question of faith,” the pope said. “To say ‘Thank you, Lord’ when we wake up, throughout the day and before going to bed, that is the best way to keep our hearts young.

“This also holds true for families, and between spouses,” he added. “Remember to say thank you. Those words are the simplest and most effective of all.”

Kindly lights in gloomy world: Pope declares five new saints

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VATICAN— The Vatican hung banners of the Catholic Church’s newly canonized saints four days before the Mass that would officially recognize that they are in heaven with God.

While the hanging of the banners Oct. 10 did not coincide with the Mass, it did coincide with the kickoff of exhibits, conferences, prayer vigils and other celebrations focused on the new saints from Brazil, England, India, Italy and Switzerland.

For the dozens of Brazilians at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, most of the attention was on Blessed Maria Rita Lopes Pontes, popularly known as Sister Dulce.

Born in 1914, she was a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and founded the first Catholic workers’ organization in the state of Bahia, started a health clinic for poor workers and opened a school for working families. She created a hospital, an orphanage and care centers for the elderly and disabled and became known as “the mother of the poor.”

St. John Paul II, who called her work “an example for humanity,” met her in 1980 during his first trip to Brazil and, returning in 1991, he visited her in the hospital. She died in 1992 at the age of 77 with tens of thousands attending her funeral and even more gathering for her beatification in 2011.

Among English-speakers, though, most of the attention was on soon-to-be St. John Henry Newman, the theologian, poet and cardinal who lived from 1801 to 1890.

Sally Axworthy, British ambassador to the Holy See, led the inauguration Oct. 10 of an exhibit about the four visits Blessed Newman made to Rome: first as an Anglican, then as a Catholic seminarian, later as founder of the first communities in England of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, and finally, when he came to be made a cardinal in 1879.

The canonization was causing a lot of excitement in England, she said, and Prince Charles was planning to travel to the Vatican for the Mass Oct. 13.

“Cardinal Newman was really a very important figure. He was a giant of the 19th century,” Axworthy said.

“The first half of his life he was Anglican, and he was a major figure in the Anglican Church,” influencing the church to draw more deeply from its Catholic roots and from the early Christian theologians, Axworthy said. “He defined Anglicanism as a middle way between Catholicism and Protestantism.”

Once he joined the Catholic Church, she said, “he had a similarly great impact” on this new community, “particularly with his ideas on the development of doctrine, which I understand opened the way to Vatican II, and also his ideas about conscience, about conscience being the voice of God in every one of us.”

Cardinal Newman already is honored as a saint on the Anglican calendar — on Aug. 11, the day of his death. His feast day on the Catholic calendar is Oct. 9, the date he joined the Catholic Church at the age of 44.

In London on the eve of Cardinal Newman’s beatification in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said the cardinal had been an “important influence” in his own life and thought.

At the beatification Mass the next day in Birmingham, England, Pope Benedict paid special tribute to Blessed Newman’s vision of education, which combined intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment.

He quoted the theologian’s appeal for a well-instructed laity and said it should serve as a goal for catechists today: “I want a laity not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it.”

In addition to Blessed Newman and Blessed Dulce, the three others to be canonized Oct. 13 are:

— Blessed Marguerite Bays, a laywoman from Switzerland known for her service to the poor, her simplicity of life and her devoted faith in the face of great physical suffering. St. Bays also was known as a mystic and for bearing the stigmata of Christ. She died in 1879 at the age of 63.

St. John Paul II beatified her in 1995, lauding her as an example for all lay Catholics. “She was a very simple woman with a very normal life,” he had said. “She did not accomplish anything extraordinary, yet her existence was a long and silent progression on the path toward holiness.”

— Blessed Josephine Vannini, an Italian who co-founded the Daughters of St. Camillus, adding to the usual vows — poverty, chastity and obedience — a fourth, which is to serve the sick, even if it means risking death.

Born in 1859, she was orphaned at a young age and was sent to live with the Daughters of Charity, an order she later applied to join. After leaving the novitiate because of illness, though, she was not readmitted. She and her spiritual director, Blessed Luigi Tezza, founded the Daughters of St. Camillus. She died in 1911.

— Blessed Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, the Indian founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family, a religious order dedicated to helping couples and families and serving the poor, the sick and the dying. Born in 1876 to a well-off farming family, she insisted on living a life of austerity, sleeping on the gravel floor instead of a bed, for instance.

When she received the stigmata in 1909, her bishop ordered that an exorcism be performed. But she continued with her prayer life and serving local families.

Under direction of the local bishop in 1913, her spiritual director set up a “house of solitude” where Thresia could go to pray. Three friends joined her in the house, and in 1914, she received canonical permission to launch the Congregation of the Holy Family. She died in 1926.

Banners unfurled as faithful share stories of five saints

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PISTA NG MISSION

The Archdiocese of Manila and the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines will hold the Pista ng Misyon on 18 October 2019 Friday 730 am – 3 pm at the Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City.

The Pista ng Misyon is in celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month (EMM) of October 2019 declared by Pope Francis.

The tone of our Pista ng Misyon on 18 October 2019 at Cuneta Astrodome will be that of every Pista – celebratory, full of thanksgiving and joy, with singing, dancing, praying and sharing of stories about God’s abiding graciousness in the ups and downs of our lives, in both the ordinary and extraordinary moments of our journey. Like any Pista we will have celebrities joining us. Ms. Cherry Pie Picache, Mr. Dindong Dantes and Ms. Marian Rivera will join His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle in our Usapang Misyon segment.

Come and celebrate with us Pista ng Misyon. Registration is free.

For walk-in Registration, kindly bring an endorsement letter from your parish priest or the head of your organization.

For Online Pre-Registration: kindly sign-in at

https://tinyurl.com/PMSEMMRegistration

For Manual Pre-Registration: Kindly contact or go to

SM Megamall Chapel c/o Clark – (02) 86388801

AIRD, San Carlos Seminary, EDSA, Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City c/o Jefferson (02) 88958855 loc 132

OPNE, Arzobispado de Manila, 121 Arzobispo St, Intramuros Manila c/o Beng (02) 84050093

PMS, 824 Don Quijote St, Sampaloc, Manila c/o Sr. Sherlyn 87313208 / 87819518

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pista-ng-misyon-extraordinary-missionary-month-tickets-69822070693?fbclid=IwAR0v2tgYnKk_jtg9FGCBTfBlcFSeVZiDoC5Ys8emYzxwvVZqWjgWKyb0DqU

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Pope Francis has appointed Filipino Archbishop Bernardito Auza on Tuesday the new Apostolic Nuncio to Spain and Andorra.

The papal envoy succeeds retired Italian Archbishop Renzo Fratini, who has been in the post since 2009.

Fratini turned 75 in July, the age at which canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation into the pope.

The appointment of Auza, who is fluent in Spanish language, was announced in Rome at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Upon his appointment, the archbishop has been serving as the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, a post he held since 2014.

It also came less than two years before the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines through the Spanish missionaries.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said that it is “very significant and meaningful” that the new papal envoy to Spain will be a Filipino.

“On the forthcoming grace-filled event of 500 years of Christianization of our country, the Philippine Church gives her gift and gratitude in the person of Archbishop Auza,” he said,

“God’s graces and the Gospel our Spanish missionaries have sown in us are our fruits for Spain and for the whole world.”

“It is indeed a call for us to celebrate with gratitude and with deep appreciation our 500 years of Christianization,” Santos added.

A native of Talibon in Bohol province, Archbishop Auza was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Tagbilaran in 1985. He was incardinated to the then newly-formed Diocese of Talibon in 1986.

In 1990, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See. His first assignment was in Madagascar from 1990 to 1993 and was a member of the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the U.N. before assuming his post in Haiti in 2008.

Archbishop Auza also served in the Secretariat of State in the Vatican, after his assignment to the Apostolic Nunciatures in Bulgaria and Albania.

http://cbcpnews.net/cbcpnews/pope-names-filipino-archbishop-auza-as-new-nuncio-to-spain/

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VATICAN— In the October calendar of Vatican events, Pope Francis’ “Extraordinary Missionary Month” may be overshadowed by the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon and its related events.

But in the lead up to the monthlong focus on missionary outreach, Pope Francis spoke frequently and in detail about the Christian obligation to share the Gospel through personal witness and welcome.

And while the synod preparations led to news headlines about climate change and a possible debate about ordaining some married men for ministry in their indigenous communities, the working document that will guide the assembly frames the whole discussion as a discernment of “the new paths whereby the church in the Amazon will announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the coming years.”

On World Mission Sunday 2017, Pope Francis announced his intention to dedicate the entire month of October 2019 — not just World Mission Sunday — to “the church’s evangelizing activity ‘ad gentes,’” a phrase meaning “to the nations” and used to describe missionary activity focused on people who still have not heard the Gospel.

The pope is scheduled to launch the month with a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica the evening of Oct. 1, the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, co-patron of the missions and one of Pope Francis’ personal favorites.

Although St. Therese had dreamed of being a missionary, she never left the convent. Still, marking her feast day in 2013, Pope Francis said, “The church was wise to make this saint — humble, small, trusting in God, meek — patron of the missions” because “the strength of the Gospel is precisely there” in the humility that “allows itself to be guided by the love and tenderness of the Father.”

The pope’s talk of humility, respect for others and sharing the love and mercy of God does not mean he thinks the church should be passive.

Pope Francis wanted the monthlong focus on mission because he saw a need to give “fresh evangelical impulse to her work of preaching and bringing to the world the salvation of Jesus Christ.”

The central focus of mission is that “God wills that all people be saved by coming to know the truth and experiencing his mercy through the ministry of the church, the universal sacrament of salvation,” Pope Francis wrote in his message for the month.

Catholics must not think that missionary outreach belongs to the church’s past. Today, as in Jesus’ age, it means hitting the road or, at least, supporting those who do.

“The church,” the pope wrote, “needs men and women who, by virtue of their baptism, respond generously to the call to leave behind home, family, country, language and local church, and to be sent forth to the nations, to a world not yet transformed by the sacraments of Jesus Christ and his holy church.”

Of course, there are people in every neighborhood in every nation who need to hear of God’s love and mercy and be helped to follow Jesus. But the church distinguishes between “new evangelization” — basically, a new effort to reach out to people who already have heard the Christian message — and the initial proclamation involved in going out “ad gentes.”

Oblate Father Andrew Small, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, said there is a “huge difference” between introducing people to Jesus for the first time and trying to reach out to those who would say, “Been there, done that, didn’t buy the T-shirt.”

But the church “is not selling T-shirts,” he said. “It’s offering a lifelong relationship with a man called Jesus to people who are experienced collectors,” and that is a challenge to which all Christians must respond.

As part of its celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, Father Small’s office is launching missio.org/course, which is a free, online introduction to mission theology. The course, he said, “takes learners through the history, theology and spirited relationships that make us who and what we are as a church — missionary by nature.”

Father Small also noted that in a June 2018 meeting with the Pontifical Mission Societies, which raise awareness about the missions and raise funds to support them, Pope Francis spoke of the ties between the Amazon synod and the Extraordinary Missionary Month.

“We pray,” the pope had said, “that the Synod for the Amazon can help provide a more evangelical approach to missionary work in this area of the world that is so troubled, so unjustly exploited and so much in need of the salvation of Jesus Christ.”

http://cbcpnews.net/cbcpnews/baptized-and-sent-pope-designates-october-as-mission-month/

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VATICAN— Being a priest is not a job or fulfilling an employment contract but is a gift from God that should be contemplated and treasured as such, Pope Francis said.

Those who turn ordained ministry into an occupation “lose the heart of the ministry, lose the gaze of Jesus who looked upon all of us and told us, ‘Follow me,’” he said Sept. 19 during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The pope focused his homily on the day’s first reading in which St. Paul writes to Timothy (1 Tim 4:12-16), “Do not neglect the gift you have.”

Ordination is a freely given gift from the Lord, the pope said; it is not “a job” or “an employment contract” in which one “must do” something.

“Doing is secondary,” he said. First and foremost, “I must receive this gift and safeguard it as a gift and from that — in the contemplation of the gift — everything else springs.”

When ordained ministry is not seen and treasured as a gift, he said, “deviations” emerge, starting with “the worst ones, which are terrible, to the more everyday ones that makes us base our ministry on ourselves and not on the gratitude of gift and love for he who gave us this gift, the gift of ministry.”

Effort, intelligence and “also a bit of shrewdness” are needed to safeguard this gift properly, he added.

The pope also briefly commented on the day’s Gospel reading, Luke 7:36-50, in which Jesus corrects his host who has forgotten to perform the customary rituals associated with welcoming a guest. Jesus instead praises the “sinful woman” who showed Jesus “great love,” including by using her tears and hair to bathe and dry Jesus’ feet.

The pope said the Pharisee hosting Jesus was a good man, “but he had forgotten the gift of kindness, the gift of coexistence, which is also a gift. These gifts are always forgotten when there are some underlying motives, when I want to do” or achieve something.

It is true that priests have things they must do, “and the first task is proclaiming the Gospel,” Pope Francis said, “but it is necessary to take care of the core, the source from which this mission springs, the gift we have freely received from the Lord.”

The pope concluded by praying priests see their ministry first as a gift then as a service and that they not become “businessmen ministers, fixers” or adopt other attitudes that make them stray from the Lord.

http://cbcpnews.net/cbcpnews/priesthood-is-a-gift-not-a-job-pope-says/

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Blasphemous attacks against the Church and the resulting support and even indifference of some Catholics can be blamed to the collapse or abandonment of catechetical instruction and the failure of Catholic education in the past decades.

“Clearly,” said Dr. Raul Nidoy, a Catholic theologian. “The post-Vatican crisis of the 60s and 70s with its doctrinal confusion and moral permissivism led to poorly catechized and poorly evangelized Catholics.”

Diocese of Cubao Catechetical Minister Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo pointed to Modernism as “responsible for all the watering down of the teaching of the Christian doctrine.”

Condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his 1908 encyclical “Pascendi Dominici Gregis” (Of feeding the Lord’s flock), he called Modernism as the “synthesis of all errors”.

“I think the reason why many are indifferent to the “stupid” God comment [of Pres. Duterte] is that they no longer see the difference of the Catholic faith and the other faiths. To them, these are all the same,” Zerrudo said.

The priest underscored how Modernism teaches that all religions are equal thus “it does not matter what name your god has so long as you have a god.”

“It is sad because in courts of law, the truth cannot be equal to false statements. But with regards to modernism, all religions are equal…regardless of what is true and who are false,” he said.

Nidoy noted that the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) gave “the highest priority to catechesis” but this “seems not to have been much felt.”

Renewed interest in Catechism

However, there are parish priests who see the need to revive catechetical instructions. One of them is Fr. Mark Sese of the Diocese of Pasig.

“Ignorance of our brothers and sisters in faith on the authentic Catholic doctrine,” was the reason readily given by Sese when asked why he started the catechetical program in Our Lady of the Poor Parish, Western Bicutan, Taguig City where he is the parish priest.

He admitted that “an empirical study to survey the need of the faithful most especially the lay church servers/ministers” also formed the basis for the renewal of the program.

“On a personal level it is my sacerdotal motto: Seminatur Doctrinae Et Pietatis (Sower of Doctrine and Piety),” he said.

The survey had more than 500 respondents composed mainly of parish servers and member of different ministries, mandated organizations and associations. One of the pressing needs of parishioners that the survey discovered was the need for formation in the faith.

Started in 2015, the catechetical program is offered every first and third Saturday of the month at 7pm.

“I started with the Creed, then the Sacraments, the 10 Commandments,” he said. All in all, Sese has prepared 60 topics regarding the basic catechism in his parish.

Zerrudo, on the other hand, as Catechetical Minister for Cubao, sees the importance of sending more properly trained catechists to the public schools owing to the fact that they have more students than Catholic schools.

He sees the role of catechists as very crucial in the formation of young Catholics so catechists under his care are engaged in basic faith formation and catechetical formation for new catechists.

Cubao diocesan catechists are also subjected to monthly on-going formation programs.

“We make sure that our catechists are well founded in doctrine, moral and liturgical formation modules for teaching are created and constantly updated by the ministry. The content of these formations are highly doctrinal because they are based on the catechism of the Catholic Church,” he said.

Nidoy, in his personal capacity, designed a one-pager catechism covering various topics. Started when the controversial Reproductive Health Law was still being deliberated in Congress, the one-pager catechism about contraception became an instant viral success as it discusses science facts on the RH.

He said that the catechetical flyer was so successful that it was translated into several languages.

“They found it as a good summary of solid non-religious arguments especially since the media and the other side were reducing our side to merely religious zealots who were imposing their beliefs to a secular society,” said Nidoy.

He retitled the flyer to science facts on contraceptives and distributed it once in a diocese. “They loved it! They said they needed that info,” he said.

Every Catholics’ business: clergy and lay alike

Is the duty of informing the flock on the basics of the Catholic Faith all on the shoulders of its priests and bishops?

Nidoy understands that a parish priest can be overloaded with too many administrative and sacramental duties in his parish but he nevertheless encourages parents and adult Catholics their role of being well-formed in the Faith.

“I think that we have to keep on reminding all, including families where catechesis should start, that the spiritual matters such as Catholic education in faith and morals, are more important than material support, as the Catechism itself says,” he stressed.

Nidoy sees the need for more well-formed Catholics to fight the indifference towards the blasphemous statements and attacks against the Church. He noted how catechized Catholics went to the Church’s defense when the President went on his verbal tirade against God and the Church.

“It should be noted that a good number of Catholics also opposed him [Pres. Duterte], which shows that despite problems in this area, our pastors have succeeded in forming us to see blasphemy as bad,” according to him.

He added that the re-introduction of the Catechism in the 1990s helped “dissipate much of the confusion of the 60s but much still HAS to be done to make people learn it deeply and apply it in their daily lives.”

Admitting that as a layman, he is “not an expert in parishes”, but he, nevertheless, suggests that parishes may have “to be more creative and persevering in this work” like how his one-pager catechism was well-received by both the laity and clergy.

He called on parish priests to keep on announcing the “need for catechists, training programs for catechists, the benefits of catechesis in the family and parish catechesis.”

Sese agrees that we need to “encourage parishes and parish priests to offer doctrinal classes.” He hopes that the catechism classes will trickle and reflect in the lives of the laity.

“I believe that through it they may live as authentic Christian Catholic who are Christ-centered and values His teaching through the Magisterium,” he said.

http://cbcpnews.net/cbcpnews/catechism-classes-make-a-comeback-amid-heresies-misinformation/

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A love and devotion for the Blessed Virgin can only lead to a deeper fervor for Jesus in the Eucharist.

This was one of the messages of Fr. Fernando B. Cenon, Mother of the Eucharist & Grace – House of Prayer (MEG) shrine administrator, in his homily on Sunday, Aug. 19, the Sunday after the Solemnity of the Assumption and before the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Devotion to the Blessed Mother is a devotion to the Holy Eucharist.
Our veneration of Mary in the different, traditional activities of the Church should allow us to understand how Mary is one with us in asking for Jesus’ mercy,” stressed the priest.

The oratory, declared a diocesan shrine in 2006, celebrated on Sunday its thanksgiving feast in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in San Vicente, in this town.

‘Marian devotion leads to Eucharistic devotion’

Focusing on the Gospel passage on the Bread of Life, Cenon said, “The devotion to Mary is a devotion that leads us to Jesus Christ. As we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, … we remember how the Bread of Life came to us through the aid of Mary, our Mother.”

A triduum held from Aug. 16 to 18 kicked off the celebration’s devotional and social activities for the members of the communities under the shrine. The faithful also attended a solemn dawn procession, the Holy Eucharist, and a Baptism on the morning of Aug. 19. The celebration is the second since Cenon’s administration in 2016, establishing a fiesta for the MEG shrine community, apart from the June 12 celebration, which is connected to the private revelation of “Mary as Mother of the Eucharist and Grace.”

Cenon explained: “This celebration is meant to give the community an opportunity to kindle the devotion to the Virgin Mother in their lives as the communities around MEG are starting to be formed.” Though under the Sto. Niño Parish in Parada, Sta. Maria, communities in San Vicente barrio were established in the previous years to support the initial needs of the oratory-shrine.

Humble beginnings

The MEG Diocesan Shrine began as a small chapel in its present lot in Sta. Maria in 1994 through the efforts of the community and of Carmelo V. Cortez, a visionary, who first introduced the title and appearance of Mary as “Mother of the Eucharist and Grace” to the faithful in the diocese.

In the following years, the devotion spread to the faithful in different places, with healing Masses being held on first Saturdays of the month. The oratory was expanded in 1999 with the endorsement of the Bishop and with the help of the members of the Mother of the Eucharist and Grace Prayer Group who promoted the devotion in Manila, the Visayas, and abroad.

In 2006, the late Malolos Bishop Jose F. Oliveros approved the parish’s petition for the oratory to be declared a diocesan shrine.

Support for seminarians

With the devotion to the Virgin having an appeal to prayer and support for priests and seminarians, financial contributions from the shrine are distributed to both the MEG communities and the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary (ICMAS) in Guiguinto town, the house of priestly formation in the Diocese of Malolos.

Cenon, who currently administers the shrine, is part of the ICMAS formation team, together with previous administrators. Through the devotion to the Mother of the Eucharist and Grace, the faithful believe vocations of seminarians are being fostered for the continuity of the mission of the local clergy.

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