Thursday, November 30, 2006

Saint Francis Xavier

On December 3 is the memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Patron of the Missions, and one of the companions of Saint Ignatius whom we commemorate with him in this Ignatian Jubilee of the First Companions which we shall finally close on that day. However, since December 3 is also the first Sunday of Advent, we shall celebrate Xavier on the preceeding day instead, which is December 2. May the graces of the first Companions remain always with us: Ignatius' vision, Xavier's passion and Faber's compassion.

Feast of Saint Francis Xavier
Jubilee Year of the First Companions 2005-2006

Beloved brethren,
let us pray to our Father in heaven,
on this feast of Saint Francis Xavier,
calling out to him
with joy and confidence:

Father, place us with your Son.

1. For the Holy Church,
that she may always share in God’s vision of the world
and participate in the mission of Christ
to bring people closer to fullness of life here on earth
and fullness of life in heaven with God.

Let us pray to the Lord.

2. For our nation,
that in this time of despair and disillusionment among our people,
we may find constant hope in the assurance of the Risen Lord
and work with passion to build a just and peaceful society,
proclaiming good news to the poor.

Let us pray to the Lord.

3. For our Jesuit faculty,
that following the spirit of the holy founders,
they may care for vocations with loving concern,
and build up the community with gentle care,
forming us in a school of true Communion and Companionship.

Let us pray to the Lord.

4. For those afflicted by terrible scourges,
those brought about by nature
and those invited by the greed of man,
that the Lord may lead all to conversion
and to work together for the rebuilding of our land.

Let us pray to the Lord.

5. For one another,
that as we celebrate this Jubilee of the First Companions,
we may receive from the Lord the gifts of Ignatius, Francis and Peter:
sharing God’s vision, doing God’s work with passion,
and accompanying one another with a caring spirit.

Let us pray to the Lord.

Loving Father,
Giver of the Spirit,
enkindle in our hearts
the fire which burned
in the hearts of Ignatius, Francis and Peter.

Let this fire illumine our eyes
that we may see the vision of your glory.
Let this fire blaze in our hearts
that we may proclaim you with zeal and generosity.
Let this fire warm our breasts
that we may comfort and strengthen one another
on our pilgrim way.

We ask this in the Name of Jesus the Lord.

R. Amen.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Solemnity of Christ the King

Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King, the great feast that fittingly crowns the liturgical year. Pius XI instituted this feast on December 11, 1925 amidst the turmoil of kingdoms being disestablished across Europe. The liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council transferred the feast to the end of the liturgical year.

As we celebrate this beautiful feast, let us always be reminded that kings may die, kingdoms may fall, but Jesus Christ will be the same as yesterday, today and forever. Seated the right hand of the Father, he will come again to be our judge, and to make all things new in his Kingdom that never ends.

Long live Christ our King!

Most Sweet Jesus, Redeemer
Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King
(Iesu dulcissime, Redemptor Consecrationis Actus)

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before you. We are yours, and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your Most Sacred Heart.

Many indeed have never known you; many, too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your Sacred Heart.

Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

Grant, O Lord, to your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who piously recite the above Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King. A plenary indulgence is granted, if it is recite publicly on the feast of our Lord Jesus Christ King.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

Today is the memorial of the martyrs of the Far East, Saint Andrew Dung-lac and his Companions.

They were 117 altogether, martyred during the period between the 17th and 19th centuries. Many of them were foreign missionaries of the Order of Preachers and the Paris Mission Society who died together with their converts, some of whom became missionaries themselves like Saint Vicente Liem de la Paz (who studied here in the Philippines at the College of San Juan de Letran, where one of his bones is venerated) as well as lay catechists who assisted the priests and religious in their pastoral work.

The zeal and dedication of the missionaries and the loyalty and fidelity of the converts, even when they were still young in the faith, leave an example for us, pastors and faithful to imitate. Even in those difficult imes of persecution, their faith in Christ did not falter but only grew stronger. In fact, it is largely what inspired our Patroness of the Missions, Saint Therese of Lisieux, in her desires to become a missionary herself and to join the Carmel of Hanoi. One of her beloved saints, then Blessed Theophane Venard, is among those whom we honor today together with Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, a convert himself who soon gave his life at the service of the flock as a diocesan priest. Despite repeated arrests and opportunities to gain liberty, he persevered until the end and became truly conformed to Christ, Priest and Victim, unto death. (Rev. Lac Pham, SJ, a Vietnamese Jesuit deacon who lived here in San Jose last semester must be named after him).

As we celebrate the victory of these glorious witnesses of Christ, let us pray for Vietnam and the rest of Asian nations who have yet to achieve the full recognition and realization of religious liberties in their countries. May the blood of these holy martyrs, the seeds of the faith in these parts of the world, grow by the grace of God into a truly vibrant Asian Church.

More about the Martyrs of Indochina

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Saint Cecilia

Today is the memorial of the virgin and martyr Cecilia, our beloved patroness of music. Since our Wednesday common prayer in the morning is supposed to be a Marian devotion, I have written a special Marian prayer for our use today.

Marian Prayer
Memorial of Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr,
Patroness of Music

Leo reads:

Good morning brothers!
Today is the memorial of Saint Cecilia,
the Patroness of Music.
Therefore, our Marian prayer for this morning
will be short but special, something musical.
Let us now dispose ourselves
as we listen to the Opening Hymn.

(Hangad Album Track 11: Aba Ginoong Maria)

Justin reads:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

at the Annunciation,
the angel sang to you
the most wonderful song ever heard from God.
Jesus, our long-awaited Savior,
is now to be born for us,
and is going to dwell, God among us,
in your most pure womb.

You, in turn,
sang the most wonderful song
ever heard from all humanity.
You gave your yes to God with all your heart.

With this truly glorious blending of two voices,
the most beautiful song of our redemption begins to be heard.

Help us to join our voices with God’s own voice
so that through us also,
this great song of redemption
may be heard anew in our world today.

(Hangad Album Track 18: Hangad)

Leo reads:
As we finally end our special Marian prayer,
let us make our own Mary’s song
of praise for God’s merciful intervention in her life.
In silence, let us allow her hymn of thanksgiving
to rise also from our own hearts
in response to God’s eternal serenade of love.

(Stand By Me Still Album Track 14: Magnificat)

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tomorrow is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple.

Although not mentioned in the canonical books of Scripture, the Presentation of Our Lady is a cherished observance of both Eastern and Western Churches. This beautiful feast speaks of Our Blessed Lady, being brought by her parents, Anna and Joachim to the temple in Jerusalem to be consecrated to God's service. Later on, tradition tells us, Mary will go out again of this holy temple, this time with Joseph, soon to become the glorious Temple of God's holy Son.

Since October, I have been preparing a batch of kids now from Reedley International School for the their receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this coming Saturday. I couldn't help but remember them as I write about this wonderful feast. Imagine these young boys and girls committing to God (I hope!) even at a very young age. I also recall myself entering the minor seminary at the early age of twelve. How wonderful indeed that God calls us to his side so lovingly and tenderly even from our youth! Even from the womb, he knew us and loved us! As I look at the image of Our Lady, barely able to climb the steps of the Temple, I immediately call to mind Saint Therese's elevator. Indeed, in her life and ours, all is accomplished only through God's magnanimous grace.

And so let us pray to our Lady as we honor her Presentation in the Temple, to obtain for us from her Son the grace of surrendering to the Father's love. Let us thank God too for our parents who have been instruments of bringing us to God even at our tender age.

Mary, Temple of the Incarnate Word,
Dwelling of God-dwelling-among-us, pray for us!

"Hail, holy throne of God,
divine sanctuary,
house of glory,
jewel most fair,
chosen treasure house,
and mercy seat for the whole world,
heaven showing forth the glory of God.

Purest Virgin,
worthy of all praise,
sanctuary dedicated to God
and raised above all human condition,
virgin soil,
unplowed field,
flourishing vine,
fountain pouring out waters,
virgin bearing a child,
mother without knowing man,
hidden treasure of innocence,
ornament of sanctity,
by your most acceptable prayers,
strong with the authority of motherhood,
to our Lord and God, Creator of all,
your Son who was born of you without a father,
steer the ship of the Church
and bring it to a quiet harbor"

(from a homily by St. Germanus
on the Presentation of the Mother of God)

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Salve 2007

Below is the prayer I composed for the 77th San Jose Seminary Annual Alumni Homecoming's traditional Salve at the shrine of Our Lady.

Opening Hymn

Nemy Que, SJ

Aba Ginoong Maria,
napupuno ka ng grasya.
Ang Diyos ay sumasa’yo.
Bukod kang pinagpala sa babaeng lahat
at pinagpala naman ang ‘yong Anak na si Hesus.

Santa Maria, Ina ng Diyos,
ipanalangin mo kaming makasalanan
ngayon at kung kami’y mamamatay.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

R. Amen.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And also with you.

Introduction to the Celebration

Coming home to this house of the Carpenter,
we cannot fail to miss the presence of the lady of the house,
Mary, who is Mother to us all.

In this Year of social concerns,
we draw near to her for comfort and strength
and to find new hope for our weary people.

We gather around her who gathers us all,
wherever we may be in the world,
close to one another, in the heart of her Son.

A brief moment of silence is observed.

Salutations to Mary

V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Alumnus 1:

We come to you, O Mary, from our local Churches,
from our people battered by the ravages of nature
and by the violence we have wrought ourselves.

We see in you the beauty of God’s creation
and the wonder of our participation in God’s handiwork.

We pray you, intercede for us with your Son.
By the power of the Holy Spirit,
may we also be instruments of God’s marvelous renewal.

Hail Mary…

He lights a lamp at the foot of the image of the Blessed Mother.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done to me according to your word.

Alumnus 2:

We come, O Mary, from our own communities,
from our families, torn by hatred, pride and jealousy,
and wounded by our own hardness of heart.

We see in you the beauty of humility
and of being sensitive to the needs of others.

We pray you, intercede for us with your Son.
by our obedience and surrender to the Father’s will,
may we help bring about his desire for wholeness and peace.

Hail Mary…

He lights a lamp at the foot of the image of the Blessed Mother.

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Alumnus 3:

We come, O Mary, each bearing his own hurts and fears,
needful ourselves of your comfort and assurance,
needful ourselves of God’s healing mercy.

We see in you the beauty of God’s salvation,
his raising the lowly from the dust,
his fulfilling his promise of mercy to people of every age.

We pray you, intercede for us with your Son.
by our trust in the Father’s abiding love,
may we experience his consoling presence in our lives.

Hail Mary…

He lights a lamp at the foot of the image of the Blessed Mother.

Gospel Reading

The Lord be with you.

R. And also with you.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John 2, 1-11

When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus told him, “They have no wine.”

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."

(And) Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."

Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, "Fill the jars with water." So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter." So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now." Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

The Gospel of the Lord.

R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Marian Prayer

After the Gospel, a brief period of silence follows. Then, all recite:

O Mary, we come to you,
from the shadows of our hopelessness
to find refuge under the shadow of your motherly mantle
because you bore for us and you bear for us still
Jesus Christ, our Light and our Hope.

Like the servers at Cana,
we have run out of wine to serve our people.
Obtain for us from your Son,
the fresh new wine of gladness and joy
to renew and refresh our hardened and weary hearts.

From Nazareth, the Lord led you
through the difficult path of the Cross.
You surrendered yourself to him in trust
and allowed yourself to be led
from the Cross, to the glory of the Resurrection.
Blessed are you for firmly believing
that the Lord’s promises will be fulfilled.

Obtain for us also, a patient trust
in the Father’s loving plan,
for ourselves and for our people.
Help us to persevere in difficulty
and to believe even in moments of crisis.
May the Lord turn the water of our tears
into sweet wine to cheer his suffering people.

You are the Cause of our Joy
and our Refuge in this valley of tears,
comfort us in our distress and strengthen us in faith.
Never let us falter but teach us to rise again,
O Mother of Hope!

Gather us, as you always do,
in the heart of Jesus your Son
and teach us to draw always
from this wellspring of salvation,
refreshing waters to renew our land,
healing balm to soothe our wounds,
fresh new wine for our souls and our flock.


Salve Regina

After some silence, the presider intones the hymn. He then incenses the image of the Blessed Mother as all sing:

Salve Regina,
Mater misericordiæ,
Vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve!
Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Hevæ.
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.
Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis, Virgo Maria!

V. Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genetrix.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

From the Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Let us pray.

All pause for a moment of silent prayer

Lord our God,
You give us the joy
of honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary
as mother of divine hope.

In your mercy,
grant that, through her prayers and help,
we may always live as good citizens of this world,
with our hearts fixed on the world to come,
and so receive what we look forward to in faith,
the fulfillment of all our hope.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

R. Amen.


All proceed to the Chapel singing the Magnificat.

Eddie Hontiveros, SJ

Ang puso ko’y nagpupuri, nagpupuri sa Panginoon.
Nagagalak ang aking Espiritu sa ‘king Tagapagligtas.

1. Sapagkat nilingap niya kababaan ng kanyang alipin
mapalad ang pangalan ko sa lahat ng mga bansa.

Sapagkat gumawa ang Poon ng mga dakilang bagay
banal sa lupa’t langit ang pangalan ng Panginoon.

2. At kinahahabagan niya ang mga sa kanya’y may takot.
At sa lahat ng salinlahi ang awa niya’y walang hanggan.

At ipinakita N’ya ang lakas ng kanyang bisig;
at ang mga palalo’y pinangalat ng Panginoon.

3. Ibinulid sa upuan ang mga makapangyarihan;
itinampok, itinaas ang mga mabababang loob.

At kanya namang binusog ang mga nagugutom;
pinaalis, walang dala ang mayamang mapagmataas.

4. Inampon N’ya ang Israel na kanyang aliping hinirang
sa dakila niyang pagmamahal at dala ng laking awa niya.

Ayon sa ipinangako n’ya sa ating mga magulang; kay Abraham at lipi niya at ito’y sa magpakailanman.

5. Luwalhati sa Ama at sa Anak at sa ‘Spiritu Santo; kapara noong unang-una, ngayon at magpakailanman.

Reflection points follow. After which, all observe a period of silent prayer. Afterwards, all rise for the singing of the traditional Toque de Angelus.

Final Blessing

The Lord be with you.

R. And also with you.

May almighty God bless you + the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

R. Amen.

V. Saint Joseph

R. pray for us!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

All Saints and All Souls

Yesterday was the Solemnity of All Saints while today is All Souls Day, the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed. As the calendar (both civil and liturgical) slowly comes to a close, we are also reminded of what awaits us at the twilight of life.

The promise of the Communion of Saints, which we profess in the Creed, is something we enjoy already but not yet. Even now, the saints in heaven intercede for us with Almighty God even as we too pray for our departed as we continue to struggle here on earth. Nevertheless, we look forward with hope to that final reunion, when we shall all be changed and shine together as the one Body of Christ, in the glory of the Father.

The Assumption of Our Lady was declared by Pius XII in 1950 on the Solemnity of All Saints. How appriopriate indeed! For Mary, Mother of all the faithful, precedes us in that glory where we all yearn to be, sinners indeed yet saints too redeemed by Christ her Son.

And so let us pray to Our Lady, Mother of the Church and Queen of all the saints, that she may intercede for us with her Son, so that we too may arrive to the fullness of that communion where we shall join her with all the saints in their song of joy before God's throne.

All holy men and women, saints of God, pray for us!

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