Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Memorare is a Roman Catholic prayer that reminds us that we have a wonderful advocate and protector in the mother of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary. It invites us to ask the Blessed Mother for her assistance and her grace, especially when we feel most troubled in our daily lives. (Thanks to Fr. Ferdie for the music)

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Saint Arnold Janssen




Message of Pope Francis for the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Pope Francis salutes the crowd during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's square at the Vatican on May 22, 2013. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE        (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo Credit: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images


Dear Brothers and Sisters,


It is my great hope that, during the course of this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, all the baptized may experience the joy of belonging to the Church and rediscover that the Christian vocation, just like every particular vocation, is born from within the People of God, and is a gift of divine mercy. The Church is the house of mercy, and it is the “soil” where vocations take root, mature and bear fruit.


For this reason, on the occasion of the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, I invite all of you to reflect upon the apostolic community, and to give thanks for the role of the community in each person’s vocational journey. In the Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I recalled the words of the venerable Saint Bede, describing the call of Saint Matthew: “Miserando atque eligendo” (Misericordiae Vultus, 8). The Lord’s merciful action forgives our sins and opens us to the new life which takes shape in the call to discipleship and mission. Each vocation in the Church has its origin in the compassionate gaze of Jesus. Conversion and vocation are two sides of the same coin, and continually remain interconnected throughout the whole of the missionary disciple’s life.


Blessed Paul VI, in his exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, described various steps in the process of evangelisation. One of these steps is belonging to the Christian community (cf. no. 23), that community from which we first received the witness of faith and the clear proclamation of the Lord’s mercy. This incorporation into the Christian community brings with it all the richness of ecclesial life, particularly the sacraments. Indeed, the Church is not only a place in which we believe, but it is also an object of our faith; it is for this reason that we profess in the Credo: “I believe in the Church”.


The call of God comes to us by means of a mediation which is communal. God calls us to become a part of the Church and, after we have reached a certain maturity within it, he bestows on us a specific vocation. The vocational journey is undertaken together with the brothers and sisters whom the Lord has given to us: it is a con-vocation. The ecclesial dynamism of the call is an antidote to indifference and to individualism. It establishes the communion in which indifference is vanquished by love, because it demands that we go beyond ourselves and place our lives at the service of God’s plan, embracing the historical circumstances of his holy people.


On this day dedicated to prayer for vocations, I urge all the faithful to assume their responsibility for the care and discernment of vocations. When the Apostles sought someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot, Saint Peter brought together one hundred and twenty of the brethren (cf. Acts 1:15); and in order to chose seven deacons, a group of disciples was gathered (cf. 6:2). Saint Paul gave Titus specific criteria for the selection of presbyters (cf. Titus 1:5-9). Still today, the Christian community is always present in the discernment of vocations, in their formation and in their perseverance (cf. Apost. Ex. Evangelii Gaudium, 107).


Vocations are born within the Church. From the moment a vocation begins to become evident, it is necessary to have an adequate “sense” of the Church. No one is called exclusively for a particular region, or for a group or for an ecclesial movement, but rather for the Church and for the world. “A sure sign of the authenticity of a charism is its ecclesial character, its ability to be integrated harmoniously into the life of God’s holy and faithful people for the good of all” (ibid., 130). In responding to God’s call, young people see their own ecclesial horizon expand; they are able to consider various charisms and to undertake a more objective discernment. In this way, the community becomes the home and the family where vocations are born. Candidates gratefully contemplate this mediation of the community as an essential element for their future. They learn to know and to love their brothers and sisters who pursue paths different from their own; and these bonds strengthen in everyone the communion which they share.


Vocations grow within the Church. In the course of formation, candidates for various vocations need to grow in their knowledge of the ecclesial community, overcoming the limited perspectives that we all have at the beginning. To that end, it is helpful to undertake some apostolic experience together with other members of the community, for example: in the company of a good catechist, to communicate the Christian message; together with a religious community, to experience the evangelisation of the peripheries sharing in the life of the cloister, to discover the treasure of contemplation; in contact with missionaries, to know more closely the mission ad gentes; and in the company of diocesan priests, to deepen one’s experience of pastoral life in the parish and in the diocese. For those who are already in formation, the ecclesial community always remains the fundamental formational environment, towards which one should feel a sense of gratitude.


Vocations are sustained by the Church. After definitive commitment, our vocational journey within the Church does not come to an end, but it continues in our willingness to serve, our perseverance and our ongoing formation. The one who has consecrated his life to the Lord is willing to serve the Church wherever it has need. The mission of Paul and Barnabas is a good example of this readiness to serve the Church. Sent on mission by the Holy Spirit and by the community of Antioch (cf. Acts 13, 1-4), they returned to that same community and described what the Lord had worked through them (cf. 14: 27). Missionaries are accompanied and sustained by the Christian community, which always remains a vital point of reference, just as a visible homeland offers security to all who are on pilgrimage towards eternal life.


Among those involved in pastoral activity, priests are especially important. In their ministry, they fulfil the words of Jesus, who said: “I am the gate of the sheepfold […] I am the good shepherd” (Jn 10: 7, 11). The pastoral care of vocations is a fundamental part of their ministry. Priests accompany those who are discerning a vocation, as well as those who have already dedicated their lives to the service of God and of the community.


All the faithful are called to appreciate the ecclesial dynamism of vocations, so that communities of faith can become, after the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, like a mother’s womb which welcomes the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1: 35-38). The motherhood of the Church finds expression in constant prayer for vocations and in the work of educating and accompanying all those who perceive God’s call. This motherhood is also expressed through a careful selection of candidates for the ordained ministry and for the consecrated life. Finally, the Church is the mother of vocations in her continual support of those who have dedicated their lives to the service of others.


We ask the Lord to grant to all those who are on a vocational journey a deep sense of belonging to the Church; and that the Holy Spirit may strengthen among Pastors, and all of the faithful, a deeper sense of communion, discernment and spiritual fatherhood and motherhood.


Father of mercy, who gave your Son for our salvation and who strengthens us always with the gifts of your Spirit, grant us Christian communities which are alive, fervent and joyous, which are fonts of fraternal life, and which nurture in the young the desire to consecrate themselves to you and to the work of evangelisation. Sustain these communities in their commitment to offer appropriate vocational catechesis and ways of proceeding towards each one’s particular consecration. Grant the wisdom needed for vocational discernment, so that in all things the greatness of your merciful love may shine forth. May Mary, Mother and guide of Jesus, intercede for each Christian community, so that, made fruitful by the Holy Spirit, it may be a source of true vocations for the service of the holy People of God.


Pope Francis


Christmas 2006

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Nakaugalian ko na na magpost ng Christmas message tuwing Pasko. Habang naghahanap ako ng magandang salawikain patungkol sa Pasko, nakita ko ang isang sinabi ni William Vaughan a.k.a Burton Hillis,

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. “

Ouch! I read it with pain. Kailan ba ako last nakapagpasko sa amin? I remember my mother in Davao. Sabi kasi niya, ang makakakumpleto daw ng Pasko niya ay ang presence ko at ng kapatid ko na nasa Caloocan.

Ouch again.

This is not only true in my case bilang isang paring misyonero. It is also true to many Filipinos around the world who left our dear homeland in search of greener pastures. Our dear OFWs bravely left their families and loved ones here in the Philippines.  Armed with hope, pinipilit nilang maging masaya kahit malayo sa pamilya, ang kanilang tanging yaman. This Christmas I pray(+)  in a special way for all Filipino missionaries and siyempre, my blogger friends abroad – Superlolong Pinoy, TopexpressBoni Station, Flamindevil, Pinkdiaries, Dencios (na nagsara ng blog), Jaggedjagger, Kuya Blu, Mommy Pokz, Darbs, Daddy Nonsense, King, Lee, Glaiza (honorary blogger) at marami pang iba…

Malayo man sa family, masaya ang Pasko ko. Since December 12, araw araw may Christmas party dito. Sa bawat baryo na pinupuntahan ko, yun din ang date ng kanilang Christmas party kaya todo busog ako all the time. Once, nai-post ko nga sa aking facebook shoutout: “Crabs, octopus, squid, cake, apples, shells, tuna, shrimps — punta nga kayo dito para maubos lahat ng mga pagkain dito sa parokya ko.”

True talaga. Inuulan ng blessings ang Pasko namin dito sa parokya. Tatlo kaming pari and we are very thankful to God because despite the poverty of our people, di nila nakakalimutan ang magbigay. Some of our fisherfolks actually stopped fishing na because of extortion from pirates.

Christmas 2007

But more than all these, masaya ako dahil muli, wini-welcome ko si Bro sa puso ko.

I remember the first Christmas:  the simplicity of the manger.

I give thanks to the God who chose to be born among us. Emmanuel.

Thanks Bro!

Sana ang dasal naming mga SVD ay maging dasal nyo rin: “May the Heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all.”

Merry Christmas sa inyong lahat. GROUP HUG!!!

Christmas 2008




Note: This is the summarized version of my article that will soon come out in the coffee table book about the 100 years of missionary presence of the SVD (Societas Verbi Divini) or the Divine Word Missionaries in the Philippines.


The Virgin of the Poor – Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay


Have you seen this image of the Blessed Virgin Mary? This is the Lady of Banneux or more popularly known as the “Virgin of the Poor.” On the 15th of January 1933 (24th death anniversary of our founder St. Arnold Janssen), a silent apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary happened to a young girl named Mariette Beco in Banneux Norte Dame, province of Liége, Belgium. In this apparition, the Blessed Virgin introduced herself as the “Virgin of the Poor” and it quickly spread like fire. Soon after, on the Feast of the Assumption of that same year, the chapel requested by Our Lady was blest and was attended by sixty thousand people. On August 22, 1949, the Bishop of Liége recognized the authenticity of the apparitions at Banneux.


It was the poverty of our humble beginnings in the SVD Philippine mission that inspired Fr. Joseph Heuwagen, SVD to bring the first statue of the Virgin of the Poor to our country. From later part of the 1950’s until the 1980s, the German Secretariat of Banneux dispatched statues for their compatriots’ mission stations around the world. During Fr. Joseph Heuwagen’s visit to Banneux in the autumn of 1957, German pilgrims donated him a statue of the Virgin of the Poor. He brought the statue upon his return from his home leave. He wrote,

It is interesting that the customs in Manila released the statue on 15 January, anniversary of the first apparition…The statue arrived in February. As day of its blessing, I chose 2 March, the last day of the apparition in Banneux, so that I would have enough time to make the Virgin of the Poor known through sermons and public relations. (Jungfrau der Armen, n°3/1958, translated by Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD)

The site of the very first statue of the Virgin of the Poor in the Philippines was St. Joseph Parish, Claveria, Cagayan, some 600 km at the northernmost tip of Luzon. Fr. Joseph also reported that the attendance of the rosary has doubled! He added that his confrere was also surprised to see that never in the past two years so many people received Holy Communion during March.

Since then, many statues of the Virgin of the Poor were installed by the Divine Word Missionaries in various parts of the country.

Fr. Francis Kutscher, SVD donated a statue to the people in the town of Binmaley, Pangasinan in 1961. Eventually, the Virgin of the Poor became the patroness of the town’s municipal seat.

Fr. Herman Hermes, SVD also enshrined another statue of the Virgin of the Poor in the village chapel in Velasco, Tayum, Abra in 1962.

Bishop William Joseph Duschak, SVD also received several statues for the Vicariate of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro from 1960s to 1970s. He even encouraged that all people who come to Church must approach the Virgin and greet her first and say goodbye to her after the Holy Mass. One of these statues can be seen at the St. Augustine Major Seminary (SASMA) in Tagaytay City.

Fr. Victor Tunkel, SVD was one of the recipients of the Lady’s image from Bishop Duschak. He had it installed at the Blessed Trinity Parish in Baco, Oriental, Mindoro. When he became the director of Villa Cristo Rey in Christ the King, he procured another image for its chapel. The other image of the Virgin of the Poor beside the Shrine of the Divine Word in Christ the King was installed by Fr. Georg Heinemann, SVD in 1974. He was also the one who installed the Virgin of the Poor in Divine Word Seminary of Tagaytay.

Fr. George Koschincki, SVD was also a recipient of the statue in 1970.

Fr. Joseph Watzlawik, SVD also enshrined the Virgin of the Poor at the Sto. Niňo Parish in Guba, Cebu in 1971.

Fr. Bernard Pues, SVD offered another statue in 1974 to his good friends Feliciano and Thelma Magsakay in San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro. The statue was transferred to the Magsakay Residence in Paraňaque in 1991 and since then, the statue has joined the annual procession on the feast of the Divine Mercy.

In 1976, Fr. Godehard Schaller, SVD installed the Virgin of the Poor near the tomb of Msgr. Antonio Buenafe, SVD, former rector of ST. Joseph Minor Seminary of Bangued, Abra.

Fr. Paul Scholl, SVD also reported a statue of the Virgin of the Poor at Sto. Niňo Parish in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro in 1984. That same year, Fr. Johan Glanemann, SVD also received a statue for the now Archdiocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Tigbao, Leyte.

In 1990, the SVD parish of the Risen Christ in Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Manila also received a statue of the Virgin of the Poor courtesy of Sr. Bernadette Winkel, SSpS. The ever-active Blue Sister spent her apostolate in the area.

Fr. Dino Ariola, SVD received a statue in 1996 and he had it enshrined at the Holy Name University (formerly Divine Word College).

Locally made images of the Virgin of the Poor also circulated. One of these is the one located at the SVD Retreat House in Tangalan, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. This image was installed by Fr. Erwin Thiel, SVD. However, this property has been sold to the Locsin family.

On the 50th anniversary of the recognition of the apparitions (1999), three of the four sites visited by pilgrims from Quezon City were related to the SVD and all three were in Tagaytay City: First, the legionaries went to the St. Augustine Major Seminary (once administered by SVD); Then, they also put the invocations to the Virgin of the Poor at the Lady’s grotto in Divine Word Seminary-Tagaytay, and; they also honored the Lady at the cloister garden of the Pink Sisters -Tagaytay.


The intimacy between the Virgin of the Poor and the Divine Word Missionaries also extended to our co-missionaries. On year 2000, the DWST librarian Woody Mallari installed a local image of the Virgin of the Poor in the DWST library which attracted many seminarians, priests and visitors. Kuya Woody, as we call him, also helped in the propagation of the image.

Since 2006, SVD ordinands in Tagaytay received a statue of the Virgin of the Poor on the day of their ordination, courtesy of Lei Lopez, a good friend of the SVD. The Sangmithi Class was the first to receive on February 2006, followed by Yobel Class on February 2007; then, Dakit Class on February 2008, and Pantas Class on December of the same year.

This is a testament that the Virgin of the Poor continues to draw her SVD sons to herself, especially the younger generations to always connect us with the poverty of our beginnings and to constantly remind us to continue our mission for the poor.


Seminarista Pa Lang Ako Nito

— The author would like to thank Milagros I. Dolores, author of the book The Virgin of the Poor: A Tribute from her Filipino Children.

Check out the latest update on BASE AWARDS.

Next post will be September 14, Monday.






I really love going to the sea. You see, Pisces po ang zodiac ko and I always affiliate myself with water. Ang sarap maligo sa dagat! But I am always reminded by my parishioners here in Olutanga Island to stay away from the sea because there are pirates and small-time kidnappers. Nakakatakot din makidnap ha. Virgin and martyr ang labas ko nyan!

2_448440495lSi Ate Inday and Mga Suki niya sa Copra

But, last Monday, Ate Inday texted me that we go to Long Beach, Moalboal, still of part of Subanipa town of Olutanga Island. It was so sudden, yon daw ang strategy…di dapat pinagplanuhan pag maligo sa dagat…so that no bad elements can also plan against us.


Naghahanda si Manong ng Lunch


Ang isa naming kasama iba ang pinag-iinitan…


Halu-halong Crabs, Octopus, Fishes


This is not Boracay! This is Long Beach, Moalboal, Olutanga Island. White sand yan! Paging, investors!


Wala akong kalaban sa pagswi-swimming! Ako lang ang malakas ang loob na naligo dito. Strategy din ito na maligo during low tide para di masyado makalapit ang mga bangka na galing sa laot. So, in case kidnappers come, makakatakbo pa ang baby priest.

2_680191482lThis is Dargum, our bodyguard

But more than this strategy, I also learn to entrust my life to God each day. Naniniwala ako na di ako pababayaan ni Bro. Pag nasa loob na ako ng room ko every night, I pray na bantayan niya ako lagi. To Bro, I entrust my full trust and confidence. Thanks Bro!

P.S. Happy Birthday to Rye (September 6)! Rev. Benjo, SVD (September 7)! Marie (September 7)! Lhen (September 8)! Mama Mary (September 8)! SVD (September 8)! Frt. Mannix, SVD (September 9)

P.S. This is my first post for the Base Awards. The next post will be September 12.






Procession During the Fiesta

GEDC5022Ako at si Mama Mary

Fiesta sa aming parokya dito sa Olutanga tuwing August 15. Masaya ako kasi maraming mga tao ang lumapit sa akin at nagpasalamat dahil sa ginawa ni Fr. Roger Alasan, SVD, ang pioneer SVD missionary dito sa isla four years ago. He united the LGU and the Parish. Dati kasi bago siya dumating, ang town fiesta at ang parochial fiesta ay separate. Dati naman talagang August 15 ang fiesta ngunit dahil sa mga di maiiwasang “irreconcilable differences” ng dating parish priest at ng mayor, nilipat ang fiesta sa third week of November.


Fr. Roger Alasan, SVD

(note: I first met him when I was assigned in Surigao.

Akala ko siya si Lito Legaspi!)

Pero nang dumating si Fr. Roger Alasan, SVD ay talagang sinikap niyang maging magkaibigan ang LGU at ang parokya. Dahil sa kanyang initiative at dala na rin ng peaceful dialogue (which is one of the trademarks ng SVD), nagkaroon ng memorandum of understanding. And what better way to celebrate unity kundi sa isang banquet!

Please welcome, ang aming KAINAN NG BAYAN!


Sari-saring Shells


Fr. Dan: “Wag muna tayong mag-usap Bishop. Concentrate muna.”


Bishop Julius Tonnel and Mayor Joel Capotulan


Crabs of Different Sizes




Indeed, Kainan ng Bayan


Like the multiplication of bread, they all ate and were satisfied…

GEDC5151…and there were twelve baskets left…