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One Solitary Life

3 Editor’s Desk 5 Oremus

THE HOLY FATHER’S MONTHLY PRAYER INTENTIONS

7-8 News & Features A publication of the PRAYER WARRIORS OF THE HOLY SOULS An apostolate of the Monfort Foundation, Inc.

Looking back on 2011

PWHS ReacHeS Out tO SendOng VictimS PWHS daVaO: On tHe ROad tO cHaPteRHOOd a neW Life fOR PWHS cebu aRea meeting in dumangaS

another year has just ended and, as we review the events that transpired in our apostolate, we see that 2011 had been one of our busiest years, as well as a year of “firsts.” there were several events that happened last year that we would consider as very important and meaningful events in the history of the PWHS.

Cathedral-Basilica (MMCB). this was held last May 9, 2011 with His eminence Gaudencio Cardinal rosales, archbishop of Manila, as the mass presider. the exhibit was sponsored by the PWHS and initiated and prepared by rev. Msgr. Nestor C. Cerbo, rector, MMCB. It is believed that this exhibit is the first of its kind in the Philippines. this event was featured in the Special Commemorative Issue of the fore and aft, vol. XIv, No. 48, april to June 2011.

the first one was the opening and Blessing of the evangelizing exhibit on the Holy Souls, located at the Chapel-Shrine of the Manila Metropolitan

the other event that we consider as a milestone in the history of PWHS is the 40-Hour vigil for the Holy Souls, consisting of intensive continuous

tOday my Life beginS

10-11 Reflections tHe PaSSiOn Of tHe LORd tHe tHRee tReeS

12-13 Living the Faith KeeP my gOd Out Of yOuR POLiticS! HeaRing gOd’S VOice amid tHe nOiSe

14 Revelations friend of the Holy Souls St. JOHn Of gOd 1495-1550

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prayers and fasting for the holy souls. first held by the PWHS from october 24 to 26, 2011, this was an inspired initiative by fr. Jojo Zerrudo, the Spiritual Director of the PWHS. With the blessings of Msgr. Cerbo, this activity was held at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the MMCB. the 40hour vigil in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament, involved different prayer groups, both of the PWHS and its friendly allies. Henceforth, the 40-Hour vigil will become an annual activity in preparation for all Souls Day.

While still a young man, after preaching for three years Public opinion turned against Him His friends ran away One denied Him He was turned over to His enemies And went through the mockery of a trial He was nailed to a cross between two thieves While He was dying, His executioners gambled For the only property He had on earth – His clothes He was laid in a borrowed grave Centuries have come and gone Today He is the central figure of the human race All the armies that ever marched All the navies that ever sailed All the parliaments that ever sat and All the kings that ever reigned Have not affected the life of mankind on the earth As powerfully as that one solitary life

By Chita G. Monfort – Author Unknown

another “first” that happened last year, was the celebration of Holy Mass to commemorate the feast of St. Gertrude the Great on November 16, 2011 in the main altar of the MMCB. at the rate things are going, it would seem that the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica is getting to be the venue of a lot of PWHS activities. the November 2 mass for the dear departed was also held at the main altar of the MMCB with His excellency Bishop Deogracias S. Iniguez, Jr. as the main mass presider. I venture to say that we see the Hand of Divine Providence in all of these, especially since the first and only ChapelShrine of the Holy Souls in the Philippines is located right inside the MMCB.

Continued on page 2

. vol. Xv . Issue No. 51 . 1st Quarter 2012

He was born in an obscure village The child of a peasant woman He grew up in another obscure village Where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty He then became an itinerant preacher He never wrote a book He never held an office He never had a family or owned a house He didn’t go to college He never did one thing usually identified with greatness He had no credentials but Himself

fore & aft

fore & aft . vol. Xv . ISSue No. 51 . 1St Quarter 2012

15 Calendar of Activities

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PWHS had its 19th foundation Day last august 6, 2011, with a eucharistic celebration, presided over by His excellency Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, D. D., followed by a fellowship-bingo.

fore & aft . vol. Xv . ISSue No. 51 . 1St Quarter 2012

We continued to have our annual lenten and advent recollections, which have been part of the regular spiritual diet being made available by PWHS to its members and friends. the second Saturday program at radio veritas called “ala-alang Walang Hanggan” still provides Biblebased talks by fr. Jojo Zerrudo, with a team of anchors alternating to project the apostolate in the airwaves.

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other planned activities for 2012 will be featured in detail in the next issues of fore & aft. Here are some of the exciting activities we have planned for the year: Masses of Remembrance these are requiem masses that will be held on the 2nd Monday of every month, starting in March 2012, to pray for the eternal repose of the souls of victims who perished in major natural calamities and tragedies that occurred in our country and in other parts of the world during that particular month; to honor a saint who was devoted to the holy souls in purgatory and whose feast day falls in that particular month; and to commend to God all our dear departed family members, relatives, and friends, especially those whose death anniversaries fall on that particular month. the february 13 requiem mass, held at the San agustin Church in memory of the Battle for the liberation of Manila, is the forerunner of these Masses of remembrance. With the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica currently undergoing major repairs, the PWHS activities previously held in MMCB will temporarily be moved to different venues. PWHS 5th Congress and 20th Foundation Day

Before the year ended, the Christmas holiday celebrations were dampened by typhoon Sendong, which devastated parts of Cagayan de oro and Iligan. the Membership Committee of the PWHS spearheaded a task-force to render assistance to PWHS members and friends in the area who were affected by the calamity. In a matter of a few days, 300 sets of banigs (local mats) and blankets were distributed. thus, was born the socio-civic arm of the PWHS.

as we celebrate our 20th year, PWHS will mark this most historic of occasions, among others, by adopting a theme that is aligned with the current thrust of the Catholic Church. His Holiness Pope Benedict XvI has declared the period starting october 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013 as the “Year of faith.” In line with this directive of the Holy father, PWHS will launch its theme: “PWHS: Deepening Prayer in the Year of faith” with emphasis on the doctrine of Purgatory.

Early Activities in 2012

Celebration of the Holy Eve of All Saints and All Souls

the Core Group members of the PWHS had their Planning Session last January 6 and 9, 2012. With the Spirit-led guidance of fr. Jojo Zerrudo, some existing projects were reviewed and further improved on. there were some projects that came about after some group discussions and deliberations. Some of the activities for the early part of this year had been planned months before. one of these was the closed retreat of the PWHS core group held on february 4 and 5 at the Capuchin Center with fr. Peter eugenio as retreat master. another was the february13, 2012 requiem Mass held at the San agustin Church, in memory of the victims of the war in the Philippines and the soldiers who bravely fought in the Battle for the liberation of Manila. this activity, was the first of its kind that the PWHS has spearheaded. It truly was a “time of remembrance, forgiveness, and healing.”

PWHS will join the growing ranks of concerned Catholics and parishes who want an alternative way of celebrating Halloween as a prelude to all Saints Day and all Souls Day. the Parish of Bagbaguin in Sta. Maria, Bulacan (fr. Nick lalog II, parish priest) and the Parish of St. James in ayala alabang (Msgr. albert venus, parish priest) celebrated the eve of all Saints Day with a “March of Saints,” in the former, and a “Parade of angels and March of Saints,” in the latter. In St. Joseph academy in las Piñas, they also had a “Parade of angels and Saints,” to celebrate the month of october as the month of the Holy rosary, angels, and Saints. Plans are afoot for PWHS to have a similar activity in selected parishes, such that the Halloween of witches, devils, ghouls, and what have you, will be replaced by saints that are identified with the cause of the holy souls, among them, the saints that were projected in the second Monday Masses of remembrance, as mentioned earlier.

Calendar Of Regular Pwhs Activities In 2012

Suffrages for the Holy Souls the suffrages by which, according to the doctrine of the Church, we may aid the holy souls consist of prayers, alms, fasts, and penances of any kind, indulgences, and above all the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Pilgrimage for the Holy Souls (Pangangaluluwa): PWHS members and friends will be encouraged to do an eightday novena from November 1 to 8, to earn indulgences for the holy souls. this will entail prayers for the holy souls and a visit to a cemetery or a columbarium. the added feature to this activity, as suggested by fr. Jojo Zerrudo, is that the eight PWHS prayer groups will be encouraged to have a particular day when they will attend a mass for the departed in their parish, pray the novena, and visit a cemetery or a columbarium. Masses for the Departed: Instead of having just one mass for the departed, usually on November 2, there will be eight days of masses for the departed in luzon, visayas , and Mindanao. The 40-Hour Vigil for the Holy Souls: the 40-Hour vigil, with intensive prayers and fasting for the holy souls, will start on November 14, 2012 and end on November 16, 2012, the feast day of St. Gertrude the Great. this being the second year, more refinements and improvements will be introduced. Recollections and Retreats as has been our yearly practice, PWHS will continue to hold various retreats and recollections for the spiritual upliftment of our members and friends. the themes of our recollections and retreats appropriately focus on various aspects of our prayer life as prayer warriors for the holy souls. In between all these activities, we will try to have area visits in some parts of the country and, in the process, maximize the opportunities to expand the number of prayer groups and chapel-shrines. Hopefully, the prayer groups in Davao and Iloilo will become chapters before the end of the year. a second chapel-shrine will soon be inaugurated this year. the members of the PWHS chapter in lipa City are eagerly looking forward to the blessing of their project, which will later have, as a contribution by PWHS Main, an audiovisual exhibit on the holy souls. It has been said, that “Man proposes but God disposes.” to the best that we can, we shall try to accomplish all these. We can only ask the lord almighty to bless these plans and programs, and hope that they are all in conformity with His Divine will.

ALA-ALANG WALANG HANGGAN PWHS Radio Program 8:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. Every 2nd Saturday of the month Radio Veritas 846

MASSES OF REMEMBR ANCE Every 2nd Monday of the month, as follows: March 12 April 9 May 14

June 11 July 9 August 13

September 10 October 8

November 12 December 10

The time and venue of masses will be announced as schedules firm up. Each Mass will be offered for the following intentions: 1. To pray for the eternal repose of the souls of victims who perished in major natural calamities and tragedies that occurred during that particular month; 2. To honor a saint who was devoted to the holy souls in purgatory and whose feast day falls in that particular month; and 3. To commend to God all our dear departed family members, relatives, and friends, especially those whose death anniversaries fall on that particular month.

For more information and updates, contact us at:

Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls

An Apostolate of the Monfort Foundation, Inc. Unit E-2 Gueventville I, Calbayog St., Mandaluyong City - Philippines Tel. Nos. (632) 531-0391 / 532-2831 Locals 100 or 101 Our website: w w w.pwhs.ph Our e-mail: info@pwhs.ph Hotline Tex t Messaging: 0918-929-0603

. vol. Xv . Issue No. 51 . 1st Quarter 2012

the ranks of the PWHS core group were further bolstered with the commissioning of four additional members, three of whom belong to the very active Membership Committee: rhodora Kapunan, the committee’s newly appointed Head; edith de Belen; and olga agbayani. the other newly commissioned core group member is Baba avanceña, who is responsible for the new look of fore and aft, and for elevating it to higher standards of print communication, as the managing editor of this newsletter.

Moving Forward in 2012

fore & aft

last year, we made two area visits and, in the process, two PWHS prayer groups were formed: Naga City and Bacolod City. thus, the list of prayer groups of PWHS in various parts of the country is getting longer.

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Editor’s Desk

St. John Of God 1495-1550

J

fore & aft . vol. Xv . ISSue No. 51 . 1St Quarter 2012

ohn of God, more popularly known in the Philippines as San Juan de Dios, was a saint in a category all his own. John was born in Portugal into a once prominent family that became impoverished. When only eight years old, he was taken from his home under unknown circumstances and ended up becoming a homeless waif in oropesa, Castile. there he was forced to survive in any way he could and settled down as a shepherd-boy.

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as a young man, enticed by tales of victorious wars, wonderful adventures, and fortunes waiting to be had, John enlisted as a soldier in the army of emperor Charles v, and gradually abandoned his Christian faith. Yet some good remained and his disgust for the army grew. When his regiment was disbanded, John, determined to atone for his sinful life, became a pilgrim. He returned to Portugal and learned that his mother had died many years ago, partly of a broken heart over his loss. after her death, his father had entered a franciscan monastery where he ended his days. filled with sorrow, John returned to Spain and found work again as a shepherd. In his hours of solitude, he began to pray. It was then that he came to realize more than ever what a wasted life he had lived and the great harm he had done to others. He vowed to spend what remained of his life in atonement for his past sins. When he returned to Spain after his journeys as a pilgrim, he went from village to village selling pious pictures, religious books, and objects of devotion and exhorting his customers to live good lives. When he reached Granada, John rented a shop and continued to sell religious pictures, books, and pious objects. a sermon in a neighboring church by Saint John of avila, the apostle of andalusia, who later became his spiritual mentor, made such an impression upon him that he resolved to consecrate his entire life to the service of the less fortunate. armed only with his charity and confidence in God, he purchased a house for the poor abandoned sick, homeless tramps, vagabonds, beggars, and even ex-criminals. He cared for them both in soul and body by giving them a home, making them feel that somebody cared, and inducing them to go to confession and pray. His charity included every type of outcast. He even went to the brothels and helped reform many of the women who worked there.

this is true of alms bestowed upon the souls in purgatory. to assist them is to preserve ourselves from those terrible expiations which we shall not otherwise escape. We may, therefore, cry with St. John of God, “Give them the alms of your suffrages. assist them for the love of yourselves.” Generosity towards the departed is always repaid. It finds its recompense in all kinds of graces, the source of which is the gratitude of the holy souls and that of our lord, who considers as done to Him all that we do for the suffering souls.

John was rewarded by many divine consolations. once he found a beggar in the street, deserted and apparently dying. He carried the beggar to his hospital, laid him on a bed, and began to wash his feet. the feet had gaping wounds in them. John looked up in surprise and found Christ in place of the beggar. to sustain his work, John would walk the streets of Granada crying, “Give alms, my brethren, give alms for the love of yourselves.’’ People were astonished at this new form of expression because they had always been accustomed to

Moved and inspired by John’s great work and devotion, financial aid and provisions began to flow in. He also drew to himself dedicated disciples who joined him in this service and who, 20 years after John’s death, formed the Brothers Hospitallers, now a worldwide religious order that cares for the sick in countries around the world. one mark of honor to his labors is that this order has been officially entrusted with the medical and dental care of the Pope. this great servant of God died at Granada on March 8, 1550, his 55th birthday, kneeling before an image of Jesus crucified, which he embraced and continued to hold clasped tightly in his arms even after he had breathed forth his soul to God. He was canonized by Pope alexander vIII on october 16, 1690 and was later named the patron saint of hospitals, the sick, nurses, firefighters, alcoholics, and booksellers. St. John’s feast day is commemorated on March 8.

Prayer To St. John Of God O Glorious St. John of God, full of tenderness and compassion for the afflicted; who, as a reward for your charity, merited to minister to Jesus Christ under the appearance of a sick pilgrim, obtain for us the grace to ever see Jesus Christ in the person of our neighbor so that we may be found worthy to receive the eternal bliss promised to those who serve the Divine Master in the person of the sick, the poor, and the needy. Amen.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Chita G. Monfort MANAGING EDITOR

Ma. rosario B. avanceña

Dear Readers,

CONTRIBUTORS

fr. Jojo Zerrudo Mercedes B. Suleik GRAPHIC DESIGN & LAYOUT

As we publish this first issue of Fore & Aft for 2012, we find ourselves well into the season of Lent, a penitential period of preparation for the commemoration of the passion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Good Friday. This most solemn of seasons is marked by prayer, repentance, penance, and self-denial, which are considered the “pillars of the season.” Through spiritual struggle and self-denial, we prepare ourselves to die spiritually with Christ. But that is only half of the journey. It culminates in the celebration of the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, the greatest feast in the Christian calendar, when, after dying with Christ, we rise again with Him in new life. During our Lenten journey, however, many of us discover the challenges and difficulties of remaining faithful to the penitential disciplines we resolved to undertake in preparation for Lent. Some of us are still looking for the right focus for our spiritual preparation. In his article “The Passion of the Lord,” Fr. Jojo Zerrudo, PWHS spiritual director, expounds on the principles of truth, accountability, and reform that “have a major relevance to us especially as we journey from the passion of the Lord towards the feast of His Resurrection.” Merci Suleik, in her article “Keep My God out of Your Politics,” emphasizes that, during this season of Lent, the search for truth must begin with ourselves. In “Hearing God’s Voice Amid the Noise,” Baba Avanceña presents the season of Lent as an opportunity to heighten and sensitize our ability to hear and recognize God’s voice. In “Lent – Our Story Line,” Dohdo Tanbonliong’s article about our recent Lenten Recollection, our recollection master, Fr. Bobby Titco presented the story lines of Zacchaeus (“Ang Pandak”), Bartimeus (“Ang Liwanag”), and the Samaritan Woman (“Ang Uhaw”) and explained how their stories resonate with our own story lines. We have also included in this issue a Lenten reflection by an unknown author entitled “Three Trees,” contributed by Rhodora Kapunan, that tells the story of how each tree eventually achieved their dream, but in God’s time and in God’s way. We hope that this first quarter issue of Fore & Aft will help to enrich your celebration of this most sacred of seasons.

CHITA G. MONFORT Editor-in-Chief

Henry v. reyes

AdMInISTRATIOn OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

Carlos M. oda

PRODUCTION MANAGER

Mitch M. Bautista

PWHS CARDINAL- PROTECTOR

His eminence ricardo Cardinal vidal, D.D. PWHS SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR

rev. fr. Jojo Zerrudo EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Chita G. Monfort DEPUTY DIRECTOR

Carlos M. oda

COnTACT US Business address: unit e-2 Gueventville I (rSG I) Calbayog Street, Mandaluyong City 1550 Metro Manila, Philippines Postal address:

Monfort foundation, Inc. P.o. Box 220 Greenhills, San Juan 1502 Metro Manila, Philippines

Telephone: (63 2) 531 0391 (63 2) 532 2831 Fax: (63 2) 531 0401 Hotline SMS: (63 2) 918 9290603 Email address: info@pwhs-mfi.org Website: www.pwhs.ph Facebook: www.facebook.com/ PrayerWarriorsoftheHolySouls Twitter: www.twitter.com/holysouls Printed by:

CPS & associates Inc. Guevent Building 52 libertad Street, Mandaluyong City Metro Manila, Philippines (63 2) 531 2157 (63 2) 531 0394 locals 104 & 105

FORE & AFT is entered as Second Class Mail at Mandaluyong Central Post Of fice, under Permit No. 741-01 NCR, dated 13 June 2001. Subject to postal inspection.

. vol. Xv . Issue No. 51 . 1st Quarter 2012

Friend of the Holy Souls

hear the words, “Give alms for the love of God.” they asked the saint, “Why do you ask us to give alms for the love of ourselves?” St. John replied, “Because it is the great means of redeeming your sins. according to the words of the prophet [Daniel], ‘redeem your sins with alms and your iniquities with works of mercy to the poor.” In giving alms, we labor in our own interest, since we thereby diminish the terrible chastisements our sins have merited in purgatory.

fore & aft

Revelations

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Message Board

Living the Faith

…I am very grateful for this apostolate Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls. I have read carefully the novena (Annex A and B) that came with your letter and find it very interesting for the spiritual growth of the faithful in our parishes here in the Archdiocese of Palo. I am contemplating of diffusing and promoting it myself to the parishes next year (2012). Again, thank you and receive my blessings to the Monfort Foundation, Inc. and the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls! With high esteem and sincere regards, I remain in Christ. – rt. rev. Msgr. Jaime C. villanueva, H.P., archdiocesan administrator, archdiocese of Palo, leyte, Philippines …I take this occasion to congratulate you for this great and noble Apostolate for the Holy Souls. Indeed it is a great devotion, and a very urgent one. The Holy Souls are most in need of our prayers so that they may be counted among the glorified souls to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and hence experience eternal Glory in Heaven. Every moment of the day, every sigh and brief prayer should be for their Eternal Repose. Once relieved of their sufferings in Purgatory, once they are in the eternal embrace of God they will indeed be grateful to, and praying for us in return. – archbishop Pedro rosales Dean, D.D., archbishop emeritus of Palo I love this site.

fore & aft . vol. Xv . ISSue No. 51 . 1St Quarter 2012

– Moja Mujaden, Philippines

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Thanks It is said that gratitude is the memory of the heart. In this connection, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to you for your thoughtful observance as to remember the milestone of this lowly person, when I passed my 79th year of existence to start my 80th. Thanks too for joining me in praising the Lord for the gift of life. Indeed I really appreciate your prayerful greetings. May the good Lord bless you a hundredfold in return. With sentiments of high esteem and deep gratitude. – Bishop lucilo B. Quiambao, auxiliary Bishopemeritus of legazpi, Philippines

A Letter to Chita Monfort ...You will be very happy to learn from me how the Holy Souls in Purgatory have helped me...nine years back I saw a picture of a girl in the Catholic Messenger who passed away when she was 12...I

wrote a letter to her Father asking why she passed away...I stated in my letter that I will offer masses for her, because almost every week I offer masses for the Souls in Purgatory, especially those not remembered by anyone...After a week I received the reply from her father...who asked me to come to Colombo, the capital city... he is a leading specialist and treated me... he sends me 60 dollars per month. I am living with that money. All this happened because of you, lady. I can’t remember how I got the first booklet of “Read Me or Rue It”...I need lots of books and rosaries to be given to my friends who are facing problems in victim camps...You are remembered in my masses and daily prayers...May the good Lord bless you all for the work you are doing for the holy souls... – Joseph arulsamy, Sri lanka

I love this phrase, “Because God is love that love would rub on us, every time we encounter God in silence.” God rubbing his love on us. No one encounters God and remains the same. – romual Dzemo Ngong, Quezon City, Philippines Thanks for the regular provision of God’s Word. The reflection is very beautiful and heartwarming. – Sally trinidad, Cebu City, Philippines Thanks so much for the reflection. It helps me to appreciate the gifts that God has given to me. God bless.

– luningning Borlagdan, tabaco, albay, Philippines

Requiem Masses We now do a Requiem Mass on the first Tuesday of every month at our Parish of St. Patrick’s in New Orleans. While I am not in the Philippines, and cannot attend your services, I cannot tell you enough how grateful I am to have had the association with your Apostolate. The weekly emails and the community to pray with have been wonderful for me to have. I am now also grateful that our parish is doing a Requiem Mass. Thank you and thanks be to God. – Donna Silva, New orleans, uSa

Sunday Gospel Readings and Reflections

Hi Esther! Thanks for sharing the gospel and reflections regularly. I always read them a few days before Sunday so it helps me in understanding the gospel better. You are doing a great job. Keep it up, Sister Es. Regards and God bless.

Thank you for a very solid reflection on the meaning of Christmas. Peace and Love to all of you. May God bless you and your families. – Patrick Felice, USA

Victims of Typhoon Sendong

Thank you for the help extended to our friends in Cagayan de Oro... God Bless PWHS! – Marjorie Lizbeth Boucher-bonafe, Daet, Philippines Hi...we are from Australia and have already acquired more than five boxes intended for the victims of Sendong. – Ailene-Elcon De Los Santos, Australia

– Naty Bundoc, Quezon City, Philippines

Schedule of Activities

Thank you so much for bringing God’s word through email. I appreciate your time and effort for sending the Sunday’s gospel and reflections every week. May God bless all your undertakings and endeavors in spreading the Good News!

Thank you for always sending me updates for all our activities throughout the year. May I know in advance the schedule for recollections during Lenten season? I am working abroad and will have a vacation in Manila by 2nd week of March. God bless PWHS and its members always...Thank you so much my dear PWHS family. :) Always you are in my prayers, too! : )

– enriqueta Monteclaro, valenzuela City, Philippines My most favorite parable!!! It is true, it is such a waste of us if we don’t share of ourselves... and that may be anything: knowledge, wealth, talents, kindness, a smile, a kind word, a spare item at home... I like what is written... for the good of others. Thanks, thanks, thanks for this wonderful service!!! – Cristina Josefina Guevara, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

–Rona M. Bernardo, Abu Dabi, United Arab Emirates

C

hristian life and worship is not simply about re-enacting the great events of Salvation history – more popularly known as the Paschal Mystery, which is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. all of us are called to live our lives “liturgically” in the Church, the Body of Christ, and enter into the deeper meaning of our faith; to cooperate with grace and allow the Holy Spirit to change us from within. this is an ongoing process, the project of a lifetime. the season of lent offers us a great opportunity to strengthen our faith and devotional disciplines through prayer, repentance, penance, and self-denial. our goal is to emerge stronger and a more vital person of faith than when we entered. the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “the seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (lent, and each friday in memory of the death of the lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. these times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies and pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).” (CCC 1438) lent is, therefore, about conversion, about turning our lives completely over to Jesus and embracing His way of life – to bring our initial conversion to completion. our journey through these forty days should be a movement ever closer to Jesus and to obeying His will in all things by listening only to His voice. More time given to prayer during lent will draw us closer to Jesus, the Shepherd of our souls. the prayer that best enables us to hear the voice of the Shepherd is the prayer of silence. exterior and interior silence are necessary to hear His voice. In our present age, however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find moments

“The prayer that best enables us to hear the voice of the Shepherd is the prayer of silence.”

for reflection and contemplation, of quiet listening to the Word of God. our days are filled with sounds and images. our world has become an increasingly noisier place. Yet Jesus set the example for prayer. after His baptism in the river Jordan by John the Baptist, Jesus first spent 40 days of prayer and fasting in the desert before starting His public

By Baba Avanceña

ministry. throughout His earthly life, Jesus would often withdraw alone to a place where He could pray in silence, far from the crowds that followed Him and even from His own disciples. In the course of His ministry, surrounded by the crowds, He would often look up to heaven to pray to the father, showing those around him where they must go to seek the source of hope and salvation.

Jesus commenced His passion and death by enduring the most terrible agony on the Mount of olives, where He frequently prayed. In that place of silence, He reaffirmed wholeheartedly His acceptance of the will of the father. Perhaps one of the most beautiful moments of Jesus’ prayer was when, nailed to the cross and dying, amid the shouts of those who insulted and mocked Him, He beseeched His father to forgive them because they did not know what they were doing. at the point of death, after commending His spirit to the father and breathing His last, Jesus fulfilled and brought to completion His mission of salvation for sinful humanity. for us who find ourselves engulfed by the noise and turmoil of daily life, the prayer of Jesus serves as a constant reminder that we need to stop every now and then, detach ourselves from our noisy world, and find the time to be still in order to hear the Shepherd’s voice. these periods of silence, no matter how brief, are precious moments of intimacy with Jesus who speaks to us in the silence of our souls. When we become more sensitive to His voice and strengthen our resolve to be obedient to His will in all the details of our lives, Jesus will guide us through the many decisions and choices we need to make. He will give us the grace to hear His voice amid the noise.

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About PWHS

Hearing God’s Voice Amid The Noise

fore & aft

Notes from all over

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Oremus

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had used this title in an article some time ago, and acknowledged that this title too was borrowed from the title of a column in Chicago Sun times Daily on January 2, 2008, written by fr. andrew Greeley, S.J., that year being an election year in the united States. I feel that this being lent, it is perhaps time to remind ourselves again that we have to stop being Pharisee-like in our daily lives, and to stop using God’s name to seem virtuous. and so, let me resurrect some of the thoughts I had at around that time.

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In that article, fr. Greeley commented, “Steer clear of the candidate who claims to have direct access to Him,” and “a wise voter does not trust a candidate who proclaims that God has told him what to do, and there is no room for disagreement with him.” this not being our own election year, we may substitute for “candidate” self-righteous demagogues of every stripe. for truly, our Philippine politics has become so tainted with people who claim to be so virtuous and incorrupt they practically canonize themselves and/or those who are on their side, and demonize everyone else who disagrees with them. We have become a nation of Pharisees who proudly stand before the altar and self-righteously condemn the sinners.

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this being lent, I believe the search for truth must begin with ourselves. finger-pointing, as we all know, merely points one finger at the accused, but points the other fingers back to the accuser himself. We have not used lent to “connect” with God, to grow in love and hope, to purify our faith, and to intensify our spirit of sacrifice and prayer. Worse, we even use God and religion, if I may say, blasphemously. It is a wonder that God has not rained down on our poor nation the punishments He inflicted on the stubborn people of the old testament, whom I often think are what we also are. fortunately for us, our God, as His Son has taught us in the New testament, is a God of love. So let us not use Him for our selfish ends – let us keep Him “out of politics.” I personally believe that truth must be told; but some people think that their version of the truth is the only truth and anything else that does not conform to it is not the truth. this piece is not intended to defend anyone. as I

said, truth must be told. and both contending sides have to be open and transparent. Personal and familial agendas, vindictiveness, specious proclamations taint the truth. But we are all as confused (sometimes on purpose) as Pilate who said, “What is truth?” Innuendo, gossip, unsupported statements – are these called truth in our benighted nation? another priest, fr. John Garcia, had also written a very succinct but thought-provoking suggestion that perhaps all of us should remember, not just this lent, but throughout our lives. let me quote him: “today, Jesus asks us: • To be compassionate. That we generously sow love, that we understand the minor tragedies of others. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’ • Not to judge. Let us be slow to judge. Each one sees things from his own point of view and with his own mind, with all its limitations, through eyes that are often dimmed and clouded by passion...Don’t judge without sifting your judgment in prayer.

By Mercedes B. Suleik

• Not to condemn. You have surely and often committed that very same offense that you angrily denounce. Do not be obsessed with that splinter in your neighbor’s eye. • To forgive. A Hindu proverb goes, ‘The just man should be like sandalwood. It perfumes the axe that chops it down.’ let us remember that we are one nation, that we are one people. Divided against each other, how can we survive? We are all going to sink or swim together...so let us grab that lifeline, the thought that we are a people of God. let us remember that we are a people who regard each other with respect, a people who forgive each other and help each other to be holy, not just in spurts as in lent, but always. let me end with a quote from vatican II’s lumen Gentium, “the heritage of this people are the dignity and freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in His temple. Its law is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us.”

“This being Lent, I believe the search for truth must begin with ourselves.

The Holy Father’s Monthly Prayer Intentions April To June, 2012 April 2012 General Intention: Vocations that many young people may hear the call of Christ and follow him in the priesthood and religious life. Missionary Intention: Christ, Hope for Africans that the risen Christ may be a sign of certain hope for the men and women of the african continent

May 2012

April 2012

General Intention: The Family

General Intention: Vocations

that initiatives which defend and uphold the role of the family may be promoted within society Missionary Intention: Mary, Guide of Missionaries that Mary, Queen of the World and Star of evangelization, may accompany all missionaries in proclaiming her Son Jesus

June 2012 General Intention: Christ, Present in the Eucharist that believers may recognize in the eucharist the living presence of the risen one who accompanies them in daily life Missionary Intention: European Christians that Christians in europe may rediscover their true identity and participate with greater enthusiasm in the proclamation of the Gospel

the risen Jesus gave to the apostles this command: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19), assuring them: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28: 20). there have always been in the Church many men and women who, prompted by the action of the Holy Spirit, choose to live the Gospel in a radical way, professing the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. this multitude of men and women religious, belonging to innumerable institutes of contemplative and active life, still play “the main role in the evangelization of the world” (ad Gentes, 40). God continues to call adolescents, youths, and adults to leave all to dedicate themselves to the priesthood and religious life.

Missionary Intention: Christ, Hope for Africans the Good News is not just a message or a word. It is above all openness and adhesion to a person: Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word. the Pope, as representative of Christ, is the spiritual head of Christians from every nation and every continent.

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Keep My God Out Of Your Politics!

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Living the Faith

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Oremus

Reflections

May 2012 General Intention: The Family

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Pope Benedict XvI calls upon us to recognize the beauty of Christian marriage and family life, to reject secularism, contraception, and cohabitation as they are contrary to true love. He said, “everyone knows that the Christian family is a special sign of the presence and love of Christ and that it is called to give a specific and irreplaceable contribution to evangelization... the Christian family has always been the first way of transmitting the faith and still today it

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retains great possibilities for evangelization in many areas...the spread of...secularization... leads to the exclusion of God from life and the increasing disintegration of the family... freedom without commitment to the truth is made into an absolute, and individual well-being through the consumption of material goods and transient experiences is cultivated as an ideal, obscuring the quality of interpersonal relations and deeper human values; love is reduced to sentimental emotion and to the gratification of instinctive impulses, without a commitment to build lasting bonds of reciprocal belonging and without openness to life.”

Missionary Intention: European Christians Missionary Intention: Mary, Guide of Missionaries according to the Holy father, we, Christians are asked to go beyond our comfort zone to bring Christ to others, and it is Mary who is our traveling companion and “solicitous mother” in our missionary endeavors. She gives us security because she reminds us that her Son, Jesus, is always with us. “In the virgin Mary who goes to visit her cousin elizabeth, we recognize the most limpid example and the truest meaning of our journey of believers and the journey of the Church herself,” he said. “the Church is missionary by nature; she is called to proclaim the Gospel everywhere and always, to transmit the faith to every man and woman, and to every culture.”

according to Pope Benedict XvI, europe is called to care for and renew a culture deeply rooted in Christianity. He underlined the “importance of renewing that humanism rooted in Christianity which can contribute much to the growth of a sound democratic system based on universal ethical values.” He, however, expressed his belief that, “the old european nations are

June 2012 General Intention: Christ, Present in the Eucharist

holding on to their Christian soul. and, although an aggressive trend of secularism threatens the Church, I am convinced of the good that is striving to maintain this rich tradition.” at the same time, he asked european Christians to follow the Gospel in order to create a society which is more “just, humane, and free.”

The Three Trees author unknown Contributed by Rhodora G. Kapunan

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nce there were three trees on a hill in the woods. they were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, “Someday, I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver, and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carvings and everyone would appreciate my beauty.” then, the second tree said, “Someday, I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. everyone will feel safe riding in me because of the strength of my hull.” finally, the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.” after a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree, he said, “this looks like a strong tree. I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter.” and he began cutting it down. the tree was happy because he knew that the carpenter

would turn him into a treasure chest. at the second tree, one of the woodsmen said, “this looks like a strong tree. I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.” the second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship. When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. one of the woodsmen said, ‘I don’t need anything special from my tree. I’ll take this one.” and he cut it down. When the first tree arrived at the carpenter’s shop, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. this was not at all what he had prayed for. the second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. the third tree was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark. the years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth, and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. the man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. one of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. the men woke up the sleeping man, and He stood and said, “Peace.” and the storm stopped. the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat. finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it. the moral of this story is that, when things don’t seem to be going your way, you must believe that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, God will give you great gifts. each of the trees got what they wanted; but just not in the way they had imagined. You don’t always know God’s plan for you. You just know that His ways are not your ways; and His ways are always the best for you.

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“a point we must...think about in our time,” said Pope Benedict XvI, “is there also exists today the danger of reducing eucharistic realism, to consider, that is, the eucharist almost as just a rite of communion, of socialization, forgetting too easily that in the eucharist is really present the risen Christ – with His risen body – and puts Himself in our hands to incorporate us into His own immortal Body and lead us to a new life.” the Holy father declared that, “this great mystery that the lord is present in all of his reality in the eucharistic species is a mystery to adore and love always and again!” He advised all Catholics to make an effort to make time for the lord Jesus, who “makes himself present in the eucharistic Bread and in his Word for our salvation.”

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as such, he continues to bring a message of encouragement and hope to africa – peace, reconciliation, and justice. “Christ frees us from the world of the past. our faith in him, which frees us from all our fears and miseries, gives us access to a new world, a world where justice and truth are not a byword, a world of interior freedom and of peace with ourselves, with our neighbors, and with God,” the Holy father said.

would have to do. the tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

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Reflections

News & Features

The Passion Of The Lord

PWHS Reaches Out To Sendong Victims

PWHS Davao: On The Road To Chapterhood

By Rhodora G. Kapunan

By Baba Avanceña

It was one of the most devastating typhoons that ever struck the country. last December 17, 2011, typhoon Sendong lashed out its might in Cagayan de oro (CDo) and Iligan. More than 1,000 people were reported dead or missing and more than 300,000 were left homeless. CDo was the hardest hit.

If your prayer group is at least a year old; with 50 or more active members and a dedicated and proactive set of officers that are closely aligned with the vision and mission of PWHS; ensures the continuous spiritual growth of its members; and has the proven ability to replicate the various projects and activities of PWHS Main, chances are your prayer group is on the road

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the catechism asks, “Who is responsible for the death of Christ?” the answer: all of us are responsible for the death of Christ because of our sins. this is the truth that we have to accept if we want to be saved, if we want to receive the blessing of our lord. Jesus told Pilate, “the one who handed me over to you has greater guilt for this sin.”

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What Pilate, Caiaphas, and even Simon Peter owadays, there is a call for all filipinos – the call for truth, accountability, and did not understand was the truth that the man who stood before them was He who reform. this coming Holy Week, these three principles have a major relevance to us said in John’s Gospel, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” In their especially as we journey encounter with Jesus, He from the passion of the lord towards the feast of “What is really difficult is actually challenged them to listen to His voice, His resurrection. living out the principles of because anyone who was on Good friday, we committed to the truth will again reflect on the truth, accountability, and would hear His voice. the lord’s passion (John 18:1- reform in our own lives.” three failed the challenge 40, 19:1-16) and three miserably when they important encounters stood face to face with truth Himself. Caiaphas with Jesus: Jesus and Caiaphas, Jesus and Simon had already made up his mind to have Jesus Peter, and finally, Jesus and Pontius Pilate. these crucified. Simon Peter, even after being with encounters with Jesus by three different people Jesus during His public ministry, was afraid of symbolize our own personal encounters with being associated with Him and denied knowing Him. It is, therefore, important for us to learn Him, not once but three times. Pontius Pilate from these men because, in the end, we will also was too fearful of losing favor with Caesar, the stand before Jesus. for me, the heart of these emperor whom he served. three encounters is expressed in what Jesus told Pontius Pilate, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, it is for this reason I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

our church leaders urge us to search for the truth. unfortunately, most people limit their understanding of this “search for truth” to finding out the truth behind the anomalies and

When we come face to face with the truth, we will not be able to hide or deny anything. all flaws, weaknesses, and pretensions will be revealed, especially at the time of death. everything we used or did to cover the truth about us, such as riches and fame, will be stripped away. Jesus will show us the blessings He gave us and how we received and responded to those blessings. the souls in purgatory know this. Many writers about purgatory say that it is actually a place of truth because the fires in purgatory burn away all lies and impurities that have clung to the soul. two truths will then be revealed: God is merciful and the soul is poor. In spite of all the noise around us, may we always focus on the true message of lent. as Pope Benedict XvI said, “lent is a time of silence. It is a time when we should fast from visuals and sounds, so that we might hear the voice of God that speaks to the human conscience.” May we come face to face with Jesus who is the Way, the truth, and the life. Before we come to Him to complain about the sins of others and of society, may we first learn to say, “I confess to almighty God that I sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts, in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.”

the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls, through its Membership Committee, undertook a relief project that was later dubbed “reaCH,” an acronym that stands for Respond to Emergencies As Christ Himself would. the reaCH project involved the distribution of 300 sets of banigs (local mats) and blankets, sourced from the alaDDIN project of the DMGuevarra foundation, to typhoon victims in Cagayan de oro and Iligan. the success of the reaCH project was the result of the combined efforts of Chita Monfort, PWHS executive Director; lu Peralta, PWHS Core Group member; PWHS - Naga City Prayer Group member Marj Buenafe; PWHS - Iligan member Maria tita Bontia; PWHS - CDo members Julie Goking and Juanito obedencio; the PWHS Membership Committee composed of: rhodora Kapunan (the reaCH project’s lead coordinator), esther Gacutan, and olga agbayani. Special thanks goes to edgar Bolocon, the Branch Manager of the radiowealth finance Co. (rfC) office in CDo, for going beyond the call of duty, providing valuable assistance in terms of temporarily warehousing the donated blankets and banigs until the donees got them; for ensuring that the right beneficiaries got the donated goods; even sleeping in the rfC office to await the arrival of beneficiaries; and for projecting the image of the rfC office as manned by people with a BIG Heart. With the creation of the reaCH project, the socio-civic arm of PWHS, the association is well-equipped to respond to similar crisis situations in the future.

to “chapterhood.” on 22 June 2010, the PWHS Davao Prayer Group was established with the election of its first set of officers during the area Meeting presided over by Chita Monfort, PWHS executive Director. Since then, the Davao Prayer Group has become part of the fabric of parish and community life through constant involvement and participation in various Church and community based activities. the group has successfully promoted the PWHS in that part of the country. During a recent visit to Davao, the PWHS Membership Committee represented by rhodora Kapunan, edith de Belen, and esther Gacutan were impressed by the dedication and proactiveness of the Davao Prayer Group.

The PWHS Davao Group with members of the PWHS Membership Committee at the Probinsya Restaurant last 18 January 2012. From L to R: Cora Ramos - Vice Coordinator, Estrella Santiago - Treasurer, Esther Gacutan – PWHS MemCom, Lorna Basa - Secretary, Bella Sarenas -Liturgy, Edith de Belen & Rhodora Kapunan (PWHS MemCom), Mary Sumalinog – PWHS Davao Coordinator. Not in photo is Chit Belviz - Ways and Means.

A New Life For PWHS Cebu By Baba Avanceña

on the feast of the Sto. Niño last 15 January 2012, one of the most important events in Cebu, the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls had yet another reason to celebrate. the day marked the reactivation of PWHS Cebu Prayer Group with the appointment of Yvette Dapat as its Head Coordinator.

Edgar Bolocon (center), Branch Manager of RFC in CDO, with his staff LM Mandahuyan, Loans Clerk, and Reggie Roa, the CCI. They were also victims of typhoon Sendong but they donated their banigs and blankets for the victims who were more in need.

In close consultation with PWHS Main, the Cebu prayer group is in the process of putting together a group of coordinators who will serve as the nucleus for the reorganized and revitalized prayer group as well as subsequently plan out the group’s projects and activities. Chita Monfort, PWHS executive Director, expressed her optimism about the positive turn of events in Cebu. “I have no doubt that we have finally arrived at the lord’s time, to have a good PWHS prayer group in Cebu,” she said.

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irregularities committed in government and clamoring for reform. the truth is far greater than that. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” this Holy Week, when we hear the lord Jesus speak to us, will we listen to Him and obey? If we do not, maybe the truth is, we are not part of His flock. It is easy to join rallies, noise barrages, and march on the streets; but these activities can divert our attention from what is truly essential. What is really difficult is living out the principles of truth, accountability, and reform in our own lives. It is easy to be scandalized by and condemn the sins of others, while turning a blind eye to our own.

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By Fr. Jojo Zerrudo

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A Pilgrim’s Journal (continuation)

News & Features

News & Features

By Baba Avanceña

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he PWHS Advent Recollection last December 3, 2011 will be remembered by many participants as the day when their life began – again. In preparation for the coming of the Lord, recollection master Fr. Jimmy Carmona, SDB, proposed an effective and meaningful way to live life: one day at a time. The challenge, he said, is to let go of the “chains” that keep us from living the present fully – pain, shame, fear, and guilt. There are two days that we should keep free from fear and anxiety. The first is yesterday, because it is forever gone. The second is tomorrow because it is yet unborn and beyond our control. Only the present offers us the opportunity to live a meaningful and truly happy life, the way God intended for us.

The PWHS Iloilo Prayer Group had a welcome addition of 25 or so members from Bo. Paloc Bigque, Dumangas, Iloilo . Organized by Teresita Dolar (front row, second from left), PWHS Executive Director Chita G. Monfort conducted an area meeting there last 5 November 2011 together with PWHS Core Group member Dohdo Tanbonliong.

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n November 5, 2011, after negotiating dirt roads peppered along the way with lush greenery, Chita Monfort and I arrived at the St. Joseph Community Chapel at Barangay Paloc-Sool, Dumangas, Iloilo, to attend an area meeting of the PWHS Iloilo Prayer Group. Already there to warmly welcome us were around 25 smiling members. After an opening prayer led by one of the members, Dr. Jun Locsin, a long-time member and Executive Director of the St. Louis de Montfort Academy, welcomed everybody and gave a brief backgrounder on the reason for the gathering, which was to promote the objectives of the PWHS. Bebot Dolar, Area Coordinator of the PWHS Iloilo Prayer Group, acted as moderator and handled the teach-in on the Apostolate using materials provided by PWHS to her beforehand, which she translated into the local dialect. During the area meeting, an open forum was also held, the PWHS starter kit was explained, and current and future activities and projects were discussed.

There to lend a helping hand was Josie Delariarte, a prayer group member and Chita Monfort’s secretary in Iloilo. Informatively, Bebot Dolar and Josie Delariarte assisted Chita Monfort in forming the PWHS Bacolod Prayer Group last September 2011. In addition, Basilio Divinagracia, the head of the Barrio Paloc Bigque Group, together with Edna Homicillada and Edna Dimzon, formed the team that helped to ensure that the teach-in would be worth everyone’s time. Fr. Bong de Leon, SVD, the PWHS Ilongo Spiritual Director, has given full support to PWHS and looks forward to more spiritual and religious events. Barrio Paloc Bigque is under the St. Isidore Parish. Fr. Jerry Locsin, its parish priest, is also a staunch supporter of PWHS. “Climb your own Everest everyday!” is a quote that is very appropriate to PWHS as it meets the challenge of emptying purgatory of suffering souls. With God’s help and with courage and commitment, the PWHS Iloilo Prayer Group will scale greater heights.

With the hope that Advent brings, we are called to value each day as a gift – with its joys, surprises, and challenges – believing with all our hearts that we are loved unconditionally by God. Eventually, our greatest regrets in life are not the wrongs we committed but the good we failed to do. Advent calls us to transform our lives and return to God; to reach out to others in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation;

Lent – Our Story Line By Dohdo Tanbonliong

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n March 3, 2012, PWHS held its lenten recollection at the Worship Hall of the Spirit of love Catholic Covenanted Community. our recollection master was fr. Bobby titco, Parish Priest of the San Jose Manggagawa Parish in tondo, who introduced us to a fresh way of reflecting on the Passion of Christ. using the theme “lent – our Story line,” fr. titco presented the story lines of three people in the Bible, interspersed with appropriate songs: Zacchaeus, “ang Pandak” (luke 19:1-10); Bartimeus, “ang liwanag” (Mark 10: 46-52); and the Samaritan Woman, “ang uhaw” (John 4: 5-42). their stories resonate with our own story lines. Many times we find our redemption when we respond and accept Jesus’ offer to save us. Psalm 95 exhorts us, “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” It is a call for us to listen to God so that we may obey Him. We listen to Him to know how madly He loves us in spite of our sins. We obey Him that we may be freed from our

own “wilderness.” the wilderness is that place where, like Jesus, we are tempted and tested by Satan on our resolve to do the will of the father and not to sin. In our wilderness, we are open to our vulnerabilities; yet Jesus assures us that we are never alone because He is always there with us, giving us strength. Just as God searched for adam after he ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Jesus searches for us and calls us by name. He is interested in outcasts and sinners because He sees beyond our sins. to Jesus, no stature, no position or power will give us a high grade to get us to heaven. like Zacchaeus, all of us are short in stature; all of us are lacking. It is Jesus who fills the gap because He loves us – madly and unconditionally. Fr. Bobby Titco, Parish Priest, San Jose Manggagawa Parish PWHS Lenten Recollection Master

PWHS Honors St. Gertrude the Great By Baba Avanceña

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Fr. Jimmy Carmona, SDB PWHS Advent Recollection Master to deepen our personal relationship with God through a life of prayer; and to welcome life and its surprises with faith, hope, and trust in God’s goodness and love. Fr. Carmona summed it up in a song popularized by Bruno Mars entitled “Today My Life Begins.” I will break these chains that bind me, happiness will find me, leave the past behind me, today my life begins. A whole new world is waiting, it’s mine for the taking, I know I can make it, today my life begins.

aint Gertrude had a deep empathy for the Church Suffering, the Holy Souls in Purgatory. It is because of the deep devotion and love that she bore for the holy souls that she is honored in a special way by the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls. last November 16, 2011, St. Gertrude’s feast day, PWHS offered a mass in her honor at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica. the mass celebrant was Msgr. Nestor Cerbo, the cathedral’s rector.

St. Gertrude possessed the five virtues which pleased God above all others. She possessed purity by a continual influence of His grace; humility despite the diverse and profound spiritual gifts bestowed on her; genuine benignity which made her desire no less than the salvation of the whole world; true fidelity in using her gifts solely for God’s greater glory; and a consummate charity that enabled her to love God with all her heart. the piety of St. Gertrude was manifested in her devotion to the Sacred Heart. our lord, therefore, favored her with frequent visits. It was during one of these visits that our lord taught her the following prayer that has the power to release 1,000 souls from purgatory with each recitation.

“Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home, and within my family. Amen.” (Approval and recommendation (sgd.) M. Cardinal Pahiarca at Lisbon, Portugal, on 4 March 1936)

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By Dohdo Tanbonliong

Today My Life Begins

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Area Meeting In Dumangas

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