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5 Oremus A publication of the PRAYER WARRIORS OF THE HOLY SOULS An apostolate of the Monfort Foundation, Inc.

PWHS Commemorates All Souls Day On All Souls Day, the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls offered Holy Mass in commemoration of all the faithful departed at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica. The Mass was concelebrated by His Excellency Bishop Deogracias Iñiquez, DD, Bishop of Kalookan; Rev. Fr. Jojo Zerrudo, PWHS Spiritual Director; and Msgr. Nestor Cerbo, Rector, Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica.


9 Reflections Christmas

10 Features Seeds Of Faith Days OF TERROR, NIGHTS OF FEAR

14 Living the Faith The Call To Community Life And Prayer Angels We Have Heard On High

16 Calendar

His Excellency Bishop Deogracias Iñiquez (center), DD, Bishop of Kalookan; Rev. Fr. Jojo Zerrudo (left), PWHS Spiritual Director; and Msgr. Nestor Cerbo (right), Rector, Manila Metropolitan CathedralBasilica

Radiowealth Finance Company, Inc. sponsored both the delayed telecast of the Mass on NBN and the radio broadcast of the Novena for the Holy Souls over Veritas 846. PWHS wishes to thank Radiowealth Finance Company, Inc. for its generosity and continuing support to the Apostolate.

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Pwhs Holds 40-Hour Vigil For The Holy Souls The Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls held a 40-hour vigil of continuous prayer for the holy souls in purgatory from October 24 to 26 at the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica in Intramuros, Manila. The vigil began with a Solemn Mass of Exposition at 6:00 P.M. on October 24, offered by Fr. Jojo Zerrudo, PWHS Spiritual Director, and which concluded with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament remained on the altar in a monstrance during the next 40 hours. The various PWHS prayer

Why 40 hours? The number “40” signifies a sacred period of time. Our Lord fasted and prayed in the desert for 40 days before beginning His public ministry. The Church observes the traditional “fortyhour period” from our Lord’s burial until His resurrection. Traditionally, in the Middle Ages, the Blessed Sacrament was transferred to the repository, called “the Easter Sepulcher,” for 40 hours to signify our Lord’s time in the tomb. In the Old Testament, the rains fell for 40 days and nights in the time of Noah; the Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years.

Spiritual Dimensions groups took turns in ensuring an uninterrupted 40-hour period of prayer and fasting for the holy souls. At the end of the 40-hour vigil, Msgr. Nestor Cerbo, Rector of the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica, gave the benediction and reposed the Blessed Sacrament. The 40-hour vigil was capped by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered by Msgr. Cerbo at the main altar.

While the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the central act of worship for Catholics, Vatican II upheld and encouraged the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament outside of the Mass. Blessed John Paul II approved and confirmed on 17 April 1980 Inaestimabile Donum, the instruction

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A PWHS Novena for the Holy Souls was also broadcast every noontime over Veritas 846. The novena started on 25 October 2011 and ended on All Souls Day.

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of Activities


ALL SOULS DAY MASS 2 November 2011 Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica, Intramuros, Manila

Edna Agustin, mass commentator

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. vol. XIV . Issue No. 50 . October to December 2011

Dohdo Tanbonliong, prayers of the faithful


The offertory procession

Jun Magat, reading

Beth Magat, responsorial psalm


Of The Nationwide Tv Coverage Aired Over Nbn Of The Mass For The Holy Souls In Purgatory November 2, 2011 AT THE Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica And

The PWHS Core Group with His Excellency Bishop Deogracias I単iquez (center), Rev. Fr. Jojo Zerrudo (left), and Msgr. Nestor Cerbo (right)

The R adio Broadcast Over Veritas 846 Of The Novena Prayers For The Holy Souls From October 25 To November 2, 2011

Editor’s Desk

A Pilgrim’s Journal By Chita G. Monfor t

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montligeon is the world center of prayer for the dear departed and during my last three visits to this shrine Fr. Dag had always been very warm and accommodating. After mass at the main chapel inside the basilica, he even accompanied us in praying in the different areas of the basilica, ending in front of the Blessed Sacrament so as to earn the indulgences attributed to those who pray those special prayers. We gave Fr. Dag the specially made banner (by Talleres Nazareth) with the logo of the PWHS on one side and the image of Our Lady of Montligeon on the other side, both embroidered. This was his request to the different organizations that were going to be represented there for the jubilee. We updated each other of our plans in our respective organizations. Before we left for the trip back to Paris, Fr. Dag prayed over us and gave us his blessing. The following day, we went on a two-night trip to Lourdes. The Lourdes experience for me is always like “going home to Mama,” where one always feels welcome and one has such a warm feeling of loving a mother and being loved in

From Lourdes, we headed to Norway to catch the last throes of the midnight sun and discover what makes Norway such a popular destination for nature-lovers. We were not disappointed. Norway’s scenic fjords, crystal clear lakes with mirror-reflections, and spectacular cascading waterfalls from snow-capped mountains make it one of the most beautiful places I have been privileged to see. The plus here is that, because the days are longer, one has more time to appreciate nature at its best. In constant awe, one cannot help but reflect that indeed there is a Mighty Creator responsible for all this beauty! We had our moments of silent prayer for the souls of those poor victims of that troubled man who mercilessly shot, without apparent reason, quite a number of young people. We passed by this island near Oslo where it all happened and the place was still strewn with a lot of flowers and candles. One particular Sunday, we were in Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, and we went to mass at the Church of St. Paul. As we entered, one could hear familiar church music being sang before the mass began. Sure enough, it was a Pinoy choir with young ladies in their Sunday best and with a Pinoy guitarist in a pony tail. Their only concession in having a non-Filipino in the group was in having a Norwegian as the organist. With patriotic pride in our hearts, we sang along with them during mass. After mass, I went to join them, congratulated them warmly for their beautiful singing, and handed out stampitas of St. Gertrude. Words like “salamat, ate” “ingat po kayo, ate” and “have a safe trip, ate” were spontaneously said as I said my goodbyes to this small community of “heroes” (for us fellow-countrymen, anyway) so far away from home but remaining true to their Catholic upbringing. The next pilgrimage stop was the village of Heede in Germany, near the Dutch border and

Fr. Anne-Guilaume Vernaeck (Fr. Dag), chaplain of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montligeon, and Chita Monfort, PWHS executive director, unfurl the banner embroidered with the PWHS logo on one side and the image of Our Lady of Montligeon on the other side. also near Brugge, Belgium. The village is not like what one would expect a small-town village to be. The place seems rather prosperous, with quaint-looking restaurants and small boutique hotels dotting the road that meanders to it. What catches the eye are the colorful flowers that artistically decorate the entrances and windows of these places. Heede, is referred to as a “Place of Worship, dedicated to the Mother of God.” It was lunchbreak when we arrived. Fortunately, the Church with stained glass window panels was open and we were able to say some prayers, ever so thankful that we had this chance to visit another shrine. Near the church is a cemetery where Our Lady was reported to have appeared to four children from 1937 to 1940. It is said that, when she was asked how she wanted to be honored, her reply was, “As Queen of the Universe and Queen of the Poor Souls.” The church grounds have other buildings for other related religious activities since this is now a destination place for pilgrimages. Beside the church is a self-service book store. Here, the prices are indicated on the items. There is a box

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In this trip, our scheduled arrival in Paris got delayed by almost a full day. Although we were a bit late, Lita Carlos, one of my travel mates, and I still made it on July 29 to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montligeon, which is about 120 miles from Paris. When one travels with a group, one does not have full control of one’s itinerary. It was, therefore, quite providential that, as we went to attend Montligeon’s 100th jubilee celebration, we also happened to be there on my birthday. Fr. Dag (Fr. Anne-Guilaume Vernaeck), the very gracious chaplain of the shrine who invited us, arranged for our late lunch to be re-heated and served in the dining room after which he surprised us by saying that, since we missed the noon time mass and he knew it was my birthday, he was saying a special mass just for the two of us!

return. It is also a place where one re-affirms gratitude to the Lord for sharing His beloved Mother with us. The water there is something else. It somehow tastes so clean, so cool, and so sweet without being saccharine. As one gets dunked in its flowing waters, one doesn’t feel wet too long, as the water dries up fast.

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Whenever I have the opportunity to take a break and travel, I would ask the Lord to make it possible for me to go to places, meet people, and attend events that would help our Apostolate – the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls – one way or another. Thus, I would always arm myself with some materials about PWHS, like the stampita (or prayer-card) of St. Gertrude; some copies of the FORE & AFT; and, most recently, some brochures on the PWHSsponsored exhibit on the holy souls located at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica.

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A Pilgrim’s Journal ... from page 3 where one inserts the money; there is nobody there who can give you change if you do not have the exact amount. So we ended up putting more than the required amount. That felt okay as we considered the excess as a donation for the holy souls and a thumbs up for the people there for thinking that the best in people will come out if you project to them that you trust them enough. We left some PWHS paraphernalia, like the stampitas of St. Gertrude and the brochure on the exhibit on the holy souls. Amsterdam is a very interesting place. It is one of the richest countries in the world. A good number of modern technologies have their beginnings here. That the Dutch have “controlled nature,” so to speak, is best exemplified by the fact that, while Holland is below sea level, it hardly gets flooded as they have somehow been able to divert the water flow into the numerous canals in the country. As we checked out of our hotel in Amsterdam, our Pinoy driver, aware of the group’s desire to visit a Catholic church each time the opportunity presented itself, told us that there was a Catholic chapel nearby along the way to our next destination. The place turned out to be the Chapel of Our Lady

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Pwhs Holds 40-Hour Vigil For The Holy Souls ... from page 1


concerning worship of the Eucharistic mystery prepared by the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship. Inaestimabile Donum (Nos. 20-22) highly recommends public and private devotion to the Holy Eucharist outside the Mass. It also states that, “when Eucharistic devotions are arranged, account should be taken of the liturgical season, so that they harmonize with the Liturgy, draw inspiration from it in some way, and lead the Christian people toward it.” In Dominicae Cenae (No. 3), Blessed John Paul’s letter to all the bishops of the Church on the mystery and worship of the Eucharist, he mentioned that the mystery and worship of the Eucharist must also find expression in various forms of Eucharistic devotion – such as the Forty Hours; Eucharistic benedictions, processions, and congresses; personal and common prayer before the Blessed Sacrament; hours of adoration; and periods of short, prolonged, and annual exposition. He also stated that “this corresponds to the general principles and particular norms already long in existence but newly formulated during or after the Second Vatican Council.” The 40-hour devotion of continuous prayer made before the Blessed Sacrament

of all Nations. The familiar image transported me back to Manila, as I remember that there is an active group propagating the devotion to Our Lady of all Nations in Manila. True enough, there was a bulletin board that carried a Makati address, in case prospective devotees wanted to be part of the movement. What elated us further was the information that we were just in time for the noontime mass! This time, it was a choir of all nuns singing melodiously, and the massgoers were multinational, with a good number of Asians. After the mass, I handed out stampitas of St. Gertrude to the nuns and also to the priest, who were all appreciative of the gesture. As we got back to the van, the thought that came to mind was the CONSTANCY of our religion, no matter the side issues that may somehow come to fore. Wherever we may be, if we enter a Catholic church or chapel, one will feel right at home inside it, be able to participate in the worship and services, and somehow immediately establish a common bond with the people inside. Aberdeen City and Shire in Scotland is a historic and culturally rich city where one can find the very best that Scotland can offer. St.

in solemn exposition nurtures the love of the faithful for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. In addition, three special dimensions surround this devotion: (1) reparation for our sins and for those of the suffering souls in purgatory; (2) protection from evil and temptation; and (3) deliverance from political, material, or spiritual calamities. As evidenced in the history of this devotion, the faithful implore our Lord to outpour His abundant graces on them and their neighbors, and to provide for their personal needs as well as those of the world.

History of the 40-Hour Devotion The practice of the 40-Hour Devotion originated in Milan, Italy. In 1539, Pope Paul III responded to a petition from the Archdiocese of Milan asking for an indulgence for the practice: “Since our beloved son the Vicar General of the Archbishop of Milan, at the prayer of the inhabitants of the said city, in order to appease the anger of God provoked by the offenses of Christians, and in order to bring to nought the efforts and machinations of the Turks who are pressing forward to the destruction of Christendom, amongst other pious practices, has established a round of prayers and supplications to be offered by day and night by all the faithful of Christ, before our Lord’s Most Sacred Body, in all the churches

Mary of the Assumption Cathedral is located in the center of the business area; and this is where we found ourselves as three of us opted to go there instead of proceeding to the Maritime Museum, which was not opening till about an hour or so. The Cathedral is located in the Diocese of Aberdeen, in the Province of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. It was the time of the day and week when there was no activity inside the Church, and so the few moments of peace and quiet, amidst the hustle and bustle outside, was a most welcome respite for us. At the rear of the Church was the shop with a wide display of books, religious articles, and cards tended by a friendly lady who welcomed us very warmly. We discovered a good number of things foremost of which was a nice presentation of praying the rosary for the holy souls, a booklet of prayers to the Holy Spirit, and other items. Before leaving, I gave the lady some stampitas of St. Gertrude for her to also give away. After appreciating what the stampita was all about, she said that she, too, is a devotee of the holy souls and thanked us effusively for the prayer-cards that we left with her. Still in Scotland, we drove thru St. Andrew’s University, the oldest university in Scotland, where Prince William and Kate first met as of the said city, in such a manner that these prayers and supplications are made by the faithful themselves relieving each other in relays for forty hours continuously in each church in succession, according to the order determined by the Vicar... We, approving in our Lord so pious an institution, grant and remit.” This is believed to be the earliest recorded official approval by the Church of the 40-Hour Devotion. The devotion spread rapidly. By 1550, the practice, especially the reparation of sin, was instituted by St. Philip Neri and St. Ignatius Loyola. Recognizing the tremendous graces offered through this devotion as well as the dangers threatening the Church, Pope Clement VIII in his letter Graves et Diuturnae dated 25 November 1592, proclaimed, “We have determined to establish publicly in this Mother City of Rome an uninterrupted course of prayer in such ways that in the different churches, on appointed days, there be observed the pious and salutary devotion of the Forty Hours, with such an arrangement of churches and times that, at every hour of the day and night, the whole year round the incense of prayer shall ascend without intermission before the face of the Lord.” He also issued regulations for the devotions, which were later collected and promulgated by Pope Clement XI in 1705, known as the Instructio Clementina.

Our last stop, before hitting London for our “rest and recreation,” was Cambridge, the well-known University City. We had a rather nice hotel and the room was to our liking but, somehow, I did not sleep well that night and so, by 6:00 A.M., I found myself taking a shower and readying myself for an early mass at the nearby Catholic church which we had spotted as we walked around the area the night before. I liked the cool air on my face as I walked the short two blocks to the church. Upon reaching it, I found out that the church was still closed, as it was not even 7:00 A.M. It did not occur to me that the churches here open late unlike in the Philippines where there are masses as early as 5:30 A.M. The schedule on the door indicated that the mass would only be at 8:00 A.M. Back at the hotel, I had a quick breakfast and walked back to the church in time for the 8AM mass. The Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs (OLEM) has an imposing 19th century gothic revival structure. It was named to honor Our Lady of the Assumption and the thirty Catholic English martyrs who were in residence in Cambridge University when they died between the 16th and 17th century. I was so attracted by the beauty of the interior of the Church that I decided to inspect it more thoroughly after mass. I noticed a side chapel at the rear of the church with what looked like a sculpture above the altar depicting the

The last leg of our six-week trip was a fivenight stay in London. I had already planned to take a taxi after breakfast and go to the Church of Our Lady of the Holy Souls. I didn’t ask anybody to join me as I knew beforehand that each one had something else to attend to. Since I was venturing out into unknown territory, I said a little prayer and, among others, asked for a good cab driver. That prayer was immediately answered, as the cab driver that was called by the doorman was very pleasant and accommodating, especially when I asked him to just wait for me while I go inside the church, which took us about 30 minutes to reach. The address was easy enough to find but what puzzled me was that the main door was closed and, as I went around the block, it seemed like there was no open door to access entry into the church. I had the telephone number of the church and was able to talk to the parish secretary. I identified myself as a Catholic lay person from the Philippines, told her briefly about the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls, and that I wanted to visit the church. I was almost floored, when she told me that they could not allow anybody inside the church because the parish priest was not around and that he brings the keys to the church with him! No amount of explanation could prod her to change her line. It then occurred to me that, several weeks ago, London was the place where ugly riots took place and that some churches were possibly taking extra precautionary measures. What further convinced me to just accept the situation was when I saw two school children make the sign of the cross in front of the closed door of the church, say a short prayer, and genuflect before leaving the doorsteps of the closed church. Some things are meant to be and the Lord makes sure that they happen. Some things are not meant to be and I have learned to accept that and not question. This is one of them. So be it. If there is another opportunity again, I will give it a try and see if it is finally the Lord’s time for me to be able to visit the Church of Our Lady of the Holy Souls in London and other churches related to our apostolate.



Ma. Rosario B. Avanceña CONTRIBUTORS

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

Henry V. Reyes


Carlos M. Oda


Mitch M. Bautista


His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, D.D. PWHS SPIRITUAL 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:

Website: Facebook: PrayerWarriorsoftheHolySouls Twitter: 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 Office, under Permit No. 741-01 NCR, dated 13 June 2001. Subject to postal inspection.

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After a quick check-in in our hotel, we discovered a nice Thai restaurant in the area, but since it was still closed and too early for dinner, we saw a church nearby and entered it only to find out again that there was a Saturday afternoon mass that was starting in a few minutes! No, it wasn’t luck. It was again the grace given to us to be at the right place, at the right time. In UK, it is not that easy to come across a Roman Catholic church; but this one was called St. John of Beverley Roman Catholic Church. It is located on the side of a crossroad, where one side had the Thai restaurant whose building was festooned with colourful flowers in season, and the other side had an upscale restaurant, tastefully decorated with choice blooms as well. As we entered the small church, we noticed that there was a bulletin board and prominently placed beside it was a box where one could put offerings for mass intentions for the dead. I took the opportunity of putting in a contribution to this activity and inserted as well some of our stampitas of St. Gertrude inside the box. When I realized that my gesture was noticed by a male church staff, I gave him some more stampitas, too, and that won him over.

relief provided to the holy souls in purgatory (very much like what we have at the chapel of the holy souls at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica), through the intercession of Mama Mary and being ministered by an angel. I found out later that the angel was supposed to be the same one that comforted the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. Mounted on a stand was a book with entries of names of persons that were scheduled to have masses offered for their intentions. They called it the “Book of Remembrance.” Upon seeing all these, I realized then why I just had to come to this church. More inputs acquired.

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students. Crossing over England, we arrived at Beverley, a market town where music and food festivals are held as highlights of everyday living. We were told that, a few years ago, Beverley was named the best place to live in the UK in “affordable affluence.”


Message Board

Notes from all over Awesome. Amazing. Splendid. Excellent. Wow! A lot of heart and innovation in Fore & Aft’s Issue No. 49. Congratulations, Ma’am. I love the new set of colors, the articles, and the apple green border. Am so proud of your leadership Ma’am. – Lu Peralta, Quezon City, Philippines Great new format for Fore and Aft. Congrats. Celia Lazaro Mandaluyong City, Philippines

Novena for the Holy Souls Greetings to all. Thank you for sending me the novena for the holy souls in purgatory. It will be a great help for me. More power. May the good Lord bless you. Flordeliza Pangan Pampanga, Philippines Thank you for the novena for the holy souls...let us always include in our prayers all the souls in purgatory.

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Ed Carlos


Joining you, my brothers and sisters in the novena for the holy souls which will end on my birthday (Nov 2), so this serves as my birthday novena as well. Mervyn Perez Quezon City, Philippines I was the one tasked by our bishop here in Malaybalay, as a member of the committee on liturgy, to translate it in Bisaya and so I am also informing your good office that the translation of the said novena in Bisaya is already in use in our diocese…I decided to make it look like the usual novena booklet; it has, I think, 26 pages. It is out in our diocese – courtesy of our diocesan printing press…I am one of the priests in charge in the liturgical commission. Fr. Gil Manongsong Malaybalay, Philippines

PWHS Activities I will be with them all in spirit. Sue Warren

Thanks for the info. I have been faithfully praying for the poor souls and joining the activities of the PWHS-Davao headed by Mary Sumalinog. God Bless & Regards. Marilyn O. Corpus Davao City, Philippines Thanks for sending the schedule of the forthcoming activities. Babette Haluska Pasig City, Philippines

Acknowledgements Dear Ms Monfort and staff of pwhs: I praise and thank the lord for the gift of life and for the human angels He sends who [have become] my prayer partners for the [holy] souls and also for our own salvation. May the Lord bless and keep us all under His loving care so that we may all continue to be His disciples doing His work for the highest purpose. Glory to God in the highest! To Jesus, thru Mary, our doting Mother and our dearest friend and powerful intercessor. Francia Socorro K. Go Pasig City, Philippines I pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and know of their powerful intercession for their benefactors. I had to undergo a risky operation yesterday on the Feast of All Souls. Everything went fine. I thank the Holy Souls in Purgatory for interceding for me. I have put up the full testimony regarding this and the testimonies of other people at the following location: [missionbell.homestead. com] and also information on helping the Holy Souls in Purgatory including the Heroic Act. Mary Ann Australia To PWHS Family, thank you so much for the greetings and remembering me in your prayers as I celebrated my birthday. All is gift! Thank you very, very much. Glorina S. Tugade Quezon City, Philippines Thanks for the prayer update, one with the group in prayers. Gloria Trinidad Cebu City, Philippines

Thank you so much for your great support for PWHS-Davao. God bless. – Mary Lee Sumalinog, Davao City, Philippines

Sunday Gospel Reflections Hi! Yes, we did miss last week’s message... Thank you so very much for this ministry... we love the fact that we are able to read and mull through the Sunday gospel way ahead of Sundays... and now, we are able to appreciate the homilies even more, because we have had time to think about the gospel. Thank you very much...such a wonderful idea, because precisely it is so very simple... Cristina Josefina Guevara Philippines God bless you and your people. I have appreciated your Bible lessons. Pax et bonum, Dona Gibbons sfo, Missouri, U.S.A. I can really relate to “obedience” here (26th Sunday in Ordinary Time). Back in my teen years, I gave my parents headaches because of my stubbornness. Iam Joan Balaoro Thank you very much for sharing. God bless us all. Leonor A. Daga Thank u for this reflection and updates. Rosalie Ubo California, U.S.A. Galing naman. I’m proud of you! Sandra Gonzales Note: We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please provide your name, city, and country.


January to March, 2012

January 2012 General Intention: Victims of Natural Disasters That the victims of natural disasters may receive the spiritual and material comfort they need to rebuild their lives Missionary Intention: Dedication to Peace That the dedication of Christians to peace may bear witness to the name of Christ before all men and women of good will

February 2012 General Intention: Access to Water That all peoples may have access to water and other resources needed for daily life

On various occasions, Pope Benedict XVI invited the faithful to join him in prayer as he recalled all the victims of natural disasters and appealed for generous support and aid from the international community in a spirit of solidarity. “My thoughts are with the people affected by recent serious natural disasters that have caused loss of lives, injuries and damage, leaving many people homeless…I pray to the Lord for the victims and am spiritually close to those who are suffering hardship. I ask God to relieve their suffering and support them in their difficulties. I also hope that the solidarity of all will not be lacking,” he said.

That the Lord may sustain the efforts of health workers assisting the sick and elderly in the world’s poorest regions

March 2012 General Intention: Contribution of Women That the whole world may recognize the contribution of women to the development of society

That the Holy Spirit may grant perseverance to those who suffer discrimination, persecution, or death for the name of Christ, particularly in Asia



Missionary Intention: Health Workers

Missionary Intention: Persecuted Christians

In his message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace last 1 January 2011, Pope Benedict XVI focused on religious freedom as the path to peace. The Holy Father noted that the previous year was again marked by persecution, discrimination, terrible acts of violence, and religious intolerance. He emphasized that, “Religious freedom expresses what is unique about the human person, for it allows us to direct our personal and social life to God, in whose light the identity, meaning and purpose of the person are fully understood. To deny or arbitrarily restrict this freedom is to foster a reductive vision of the human person; to eclipse the public role of religion is to create a society which is unjust, inasmuch as it fails to take account of the true nature of the human person; it is to stifle the growth of the authentic and lasting peace of the whole human family. For this reason, I implore all men and women of good will to renew their commitment to building a world where all are free to profess their religion or faith, and to express their love of God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their mind.”

Every year on January 1, on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the Catholic Church also observes the World Day of Peace. It was introduced in 1967 and was inspired by the encyclicals “Pacem in Terris” and “Populorum

Access to safe water and sanitation is important for the human family and, thus, of direct concern to the Holy See and the Catholic Church. Since the start of the millennium, there has been a growing recognition that access to safe water is at the root of some of society’s pressing concerns. Today common agreement exists that the survival of humanity and all species on earth depend to a great degree on the fate of water. The challenge faced today is also an opportunity – socially and economically. Properly addressed, this challenge has the possibility to unlock huge potential and to transform countless lives. Investments for safe water and sanitation can accelerate economic growth, enable sustainable development, improve health, and reduce poverty.

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In recent years the world has witnessed extreme and devastating natural catastrophes, which have caused a high number of deaths and enormous difficulties. It is the poor who live in precarious conditions which increase their vulnerability to harmful natural occurrences and they who are most affected by price increases of natural resources in periods of scarcity and emergency. The need for ethical and moral considerations concerning actions to reduce the risks for those living in poverty cannot be overlooked.

Progressio” of Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI, respectively.

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Oremus There are many signs of hope in facing the challenge posed by the water issue. In response, the political will to tackle the water sector, which has been lacking for years, has begun to be evidenced. The international community has identified access to safe water and sanitation as one of its top priorities – recognizing water as a component of our lives, health, livelihood, and social and economic well-being.



According to Pope Benedict XVI, Christians suffer more religious persecution than any other group and stressed his concern for the plight of Christian minorities in certain parts of the world, which are predominantly non-Christian. He noted that recent times continue to be marked by persecution, discrimination, terrible acts of violence, and religious intolerance that spread fear within Christian communities and create a desire in many of their members to emigrate in search of a better life. He appealed to authorities in these countries to “act promptly to end every injustice” against Christians.


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Pope Benedict XVI has frequently encouraged those who work in health care to build a culture of life based on ethical values. On various occasions, the Holy Father has exhorted all health workers “to see in the sick person not only a body marked by fragility, but first of all a person, to whom complete solidarity must be extended and adequate and competent responses given.” He expressed the hope that everyone would work to propagate the culture of life and to put the value of the human being at the center in every circumstance. “According to faith and reason the dignity of the person is irreducible to his faculties or the capacities he can manifest, and so it is not lessened when the person himself is weak, handicapped, and in need of help,” the Holy Father asserted. He reminded doctors, nurses, and other health care workers that they are called to provide an important service to the sick and to society, a service that demands selfabnegation and a spirit of mercy and sacrifice.

In addresses delivered to various audiences, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the contribution of women to the growth and development of the Church throughout the centuries. He cited some of the women who played an effective and precious role in helping to spread the Gospel and build the Church, such as Mary Magdalene and Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha. He stressed that women such as they should be known, honored, and remembered. Among the women who played “an active role” in the life of Jesus and the early church, the most important was Mary, “who with her faith and her maternity, collaborated in a unique way in our redemption.” St. Paul, in his New Testament letters, makes clear that women were essential in the life of the early church and that they were called to use their gifts for the good of the community. Similarly, the Holy Father also expressed his gratitude for the many blessings that have been bestowed on the Church today through the witness of faithful Catholic women living and working in the world, transforming it from within. “The reason is that we are all one in Jesus Christ,” the Holy Father said. “All of us share the same basic dignity, although each with his or her specific function.” He invoked a “fresh outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon the organizations of Catholic women around the world and prayed that they may continue to foster the unique contribution of women to the life and mission of the Church, both in the public sphere and in the home.

The Holy Father described the situation as intolerable, “since it represents an insult to God and to human dignity” as well as “a threat to security and peace.” He also criticized what he called “more sophisticated forms of hostility to religion, which, in Western countries, occasionally find expression in a denial of history and the rejection of religious symbols which reflect the identity and the culture of the majority of its citizens.” He cited initiatives in some Western countries to ban crucifixes from public places, ranging from classrooms to courtrooms, including in predominantly Catholic Italy.


Christmas By Fr. Jojo Zerrudo

But, as everything around us quiets down, we begin to feel sad and long for those who are no longer here this Christmas. It might be a spouse, parent, sibling, lover, or friend who has passed on. At this time, we say to ourselves, “If they were only here, then my Christmas would be a truly happy one.” Then sorrow engulfs us, like the refrain of a popular Christmas song, “It’s Christmas, my love. I am missing you. If you won’t be here with me, how will this Christmas be that you have orphaned?” If only they were here…if only they were here…

The souls in purgatory desperately long for this day. And if there are those who will be grieving on this day, these are the souls who will be left behind in purgatory; who will not be among those who will enter into heaven. Their grief will not be for us who are still on earth. Rather, it is sorrow out of extreme longing for the God whose company they will still not share in heaven. It is a longing that is so deep; it is far

Is Christmas merry on the other side? Are they happy on Christmas day in purgatory? There are those who say that, of all the days of the year, Christmas is the happiest day in purgatory. It is because on this day, our Lord and the Blessed Virgin descend into purgatory to deliver a large number of souls. Of all the days of the year, it is on Christmas day when the most number of souls are raised from purgatory and brought to heaven.

deeper than any yearning for anyone. The soul no longer desires anything than to be with God. Is this not what King David said in his psalm, “As the deer panteth for the stream, my soul thirsts, thirsts for you, Lord.” (Psalm 42) The suffering of the souls in purgatory is, first of all, a longing for God. And if we can understand the depth of the pain of their longing, then we can understand the suffering that our dear departed are going through in purgatory. My brothers and sisters, at Christmas, is it not but fitting that we give our dear departed a special gift? Why don’t we offer a Mass, light a candle for them, or remember them by praying the Holy Rosary? Our prayer might be the one prayer that they need, the last help they need to be included among those holy souls who will be lifted up to heaven. The Son of God became man to bring peace to the whole world. But His greater mission was to bring eternal peace in the afterlife. Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace to those He loves! And in purgatory, eternal peace to the souls He loves!

Merry Christmas to you all!

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I believe this is true. Did not the Son of God come down from heaven on Christmas day so that we, mankind, could rise up to heaven? We should remember the words of Pope St. Leo the Great, “May we come to share the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”

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Silence is slowly returning to your household. All the guests have left and it’s time to clear the clutter. Another Christmas day has passed. It was a day of togetherness with our loved ones: relatives, godchildren, and friends. It was a day spent eating and story-telling. All of these, for us, are signs of a merry Christmas.


A Pilg


Seeds Of Faith: The Pwhs Prayer Group In Bacolod By Edna B. Agustin

As the plane was on its descent, our Executive Director Chita G. Monfort pointed out to me the beauty that was before our eyes: lush fields of verdant green laid out like a welcome mat and the panorama of towering mountains framed by clear blue skies and white playful clouds. With that awesome sight, we began our journey to meet with the members of the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls in Bacolod City.

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Saturday, 24 September 2011, Chita Monfort and I had a memorable meeting with the members of the PWHS in Bacolod City. Out of the 154 listed members, 32 came to meet with us and to organize themselves into a prayer group that would gather together once a month to meet and offer Holy Mass for the holy souls.


Fr. Bong Gallala, the representative of His Excellency Bishop Vicente M. Narvarra, D.D., the Bishop of Bacolod City, graced the occasion not only by saying the opening prayer but by staying and giving an inspirational talk to cap the event. He told us that his favorite saint since he was young was St. Nicholas of Tolentino, who is one of the patron saints of the holy souls. He also shared how he was inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux whose most quoted words are, “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.” Fr. Bong explained why the Protestants do not share our belief in purgatory. He, however, gave emphasis on the fact that when we offer prayers and masses for the dead, we actually gain indulgences for ourselves as well. Chita spoke about the Apostolate: its history, the mission and vision, and how far it has gone since its establishment by its late Founding President Dr. Narciso D. Monfort 19 years ago. She narrated all the wonderful things that have happened to the Apostolate over the past year, most notably the on-going exhibit set up by PWHS at one of the chapels inside the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica, now known as the Chapel-Shrine for the Holy Souls, which is the first shrine of its kind in the country. This exhibit was the brainchild of Msgr. Nestor Cerbo, the Rector of the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica. Chita explained that it is now the mission of PWHS to help members all over the country to be organized as prayer groups, to be a source of growth and strength in the faith and in the devotion of praying for the holy souls. As they regularly meet, they can then actively invite more of their relatives and friends to join the

Apostolate. As they grow in number and sustain the regular prayer meetings for a year, then these prayer groups can then be upgraded into a chapter with a minimum number of 50 active members. This was followed by a teachin on the biblical and Church teachings that continue to guide and strengthen the Apostolate in propagating this beautiful mission of helping the souls in purgatory finally attain the reward that they happily suffer for – to worship God together with all the angels and the saints face to face through all eternity. A team of six coordinators, headed by Rose Agudelo was formed to organize the Bacolod City prayer group. Dr. Monfort was the principal sponsor at the wedding of Rose more than two decades ago, and she was really happy to see Chita after so many years. The other coordinators are: Carolina Dionela, who was instrumental in assisting the PWHS office in coordinating with the Bishop’s office; Emilio Goroy and Eduardo Malata, who are old friends of Dr. Monfort; and Ma. Cristina Detangco and Lorecil C. Facturanan, who represent the youth sector. Both of them are active leaders in the Youth Ministry of San Esteban Cathedral. These two energetic and highly motivated young ladies would be like magnets for other Church workers in their age group to join the Apostolate. When God approves, He blesses. Everything went well. We were ably assisted by PWHS members from our Iloilo prayer group who served as our secretariat. They are: Teresita Dolar, one of the lead coordinators of the Iloilo Prayer Group, and Josie D. Delariarte. Thank you, ladies, for a job well done! On Sunday morning, Chita and I made a courtesy call on His Excellency Bishop Vicente M. Narvarra, D.D. at the beautiful San Esteban Cathedral. Bishop Vic, as he is fondly called, surprised us by his knowledge of the Apostolate (he read the contents of the folder on PWHS that we brought to his office two days earlier). He was most accommodating and had very encouraging words for the Apostolate. The good bishop told us that as we fulfill the basic requirements for lay recognition, PWHS should aim for the ultimate --Papal recognition.

His Excellency Bishop Vicente M. Narvarra, D.D., the Bishop of Bacolod City, with PWHS Executive Director Chita G. Monfort (left) and PWHS Core Group member Edna B. Agustin (right) Bacolod City, capital of Negros Occidental, is a highly urbanized midsize city and the most populous in the Western Visayas Region. In 2007, it had almost 500,000 inhabitants. Known as the “City of Smiles” and the “Football City of the Philippines”, it ranked third in the Top Ten “Next Wave Cities” of the Philippines for being the best location for business process outsourcing and off-shoring, according to the 2010 Report of the Commission on Information and Communication Technology. The sun was still high when we boarded the plane that was to take us back to Manila. And as the plane lifted up, I took one last long look at the carpet of verdant green sugarcane fields that welcomed us – fields well nurtured by human hands but, most especially, by Divine Providence, which provides Negros Occidental with its daily showers. As we bid goodbye to the city, our hearts and minds were on the new PWHS prayer group. As they embrace the Apostolate’s mission to pray for the departed and lead the living to take the path to sanctity, may they be guided by the words of St. Paul: “For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the living and the dead.”

A Pilgrim’s Journal (continuation)


Days Of Terror, Nights Of Fear: The Battle For The Liberation Of Manila

Japanese DC-2 type twin-engine transport aircraft flew over Manila releasing clouds of propaganda leaflets proclaiming the Japanese Imperial Army as the “liberators and true friends of the Filipino people.” Just when we had thought that normalcy had returned, the Ateneo de Manila on Padre Faura was closed and taken over by the Japanese Imperial Army as it was considered American and, therefore, enemy property. The American Jesuits were sent to a concentration camp in Los Baños while the Filipino Jesuits were allowed the use of a wing of the building. The Japanese also allowed the students’ chapel on the ground floor to be used by the public. While the Ateneo remained closed, the Japanese

Military Administration eventually allowed some schools to reopen, among them the De La Salle College on Taft Avenue run by the mostly German Christian brothers. It was then that my odyssey as an Atenean at the De La Salle College began. In spite of the blue invasion, the Brothers and the La Sallians were kind to us Ateneans and treated us well. The rivalry was only in sports and, during the war, that so-called “fierce” rivalry was set aside. A sense of “normalcy” eluded us. The Japanese Imperial Army lost no time in reminding us of their presence. We lived in constant fear as we witnessed firsthand Japanese cruelty, heard gruesome accounts of the atrocities they committed not only against

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Mike Avanceña, the youngest son of the late Chief Justice Ramon Q. Avanceña who served during the American and Commonwealth eras, gives an eyewitness account of the horrors of the war in the Philippines and the bittersweet aftermath of what would be remembered in the history of the Pacific War as the battle for the liberation of Manila. His articles on the war in the Philippines have been published in the Manila Bulletin and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, where he is currently a contributor. It was Sunday morning, December 8, 1941, the Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion, Patroness of the Ateneo de Manila, and an important celebration throughout Christendom. A school-wide Military Mass was being held at the spanking new Ateneo Auditorium on Padre Faura Street in Ermita, Manila. Trumpets blared and drums ruffled at the moment of the Consecration. At the end of the Mass the Jesuit Fathers calmly announced that Japan had delivered a devastating attack against the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. “War, we are at war! Go home to your families immediately!” The excited studentry was told that classes were indefinitely suspended for fear of enemy air raids. ROTC cadets were told to come back to the school in uniform and to report to their units to guard the centuries-old Manila Observatory inside the school’s grounds, reputed to be one of Asia’s largest and oldest facilities for weather forecasting. By January 2, 1942, the Japanese Imperial Army triumphantly occupied Manila which was declared an “Open City” by General Douglas MacArthur. I and my cousins stood at the corner of Mabini and Remedios Streets as the strangelooking Japanese soldiers, including bicycleriding troops, streamed in by the thousands. There were dozens of LTB and BTCo. buses commandeered by the Imperial Army filled to the rafters with ruddy-cheeked Japanese infantrymen. They were grim-faced and silent. By the next day, there was a Japanese sentry stationed at the corner of Malate Church grinning from ear to ear and making friendly gestures to the curious crowd surrounding him. He was an instant celebrity. In his hands he held what would later be the all-too-dreaded long rifle, tipped by the standard long, thin, and glistening bayonet characteristic of Japanese Infantry. Throughout the day, low-flying

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By Miguel P. Avanceña


Days Of Terror, Nights Of Fear... from page 11 prisoners of war but also against helpless civilians. Some were relatives, family friends, or acquaintances. Every family we knew had lost someone during the war. All we could do was pray to God for deliverance from the hands of the Japanese. September 21, 1944 was Japanese Imperial Navy Day. The newspapers had announced that Japanese naval aircraft were putting on a show in the sky. From our classroom window, we could see colored anti-aircraft puffs dotting the horizon in celebration of the event. The sky was clear, the sun shone brightly from the East. We were halfway through our Science class at about 9:30 A.M. when, suddenly, a thunderous roar rolled in as dark forms hurtled through the air over St. Scholastica’s College at tree-top level. Someone ran to the window shouting, “P-40s! P-40s!”

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They came in swarms from the East with their backs to the sun. When they reached the bay, they leapt up into the sky like black birds and went after their targets. The dog-fights were on! American Navy F6F Grumman carrierbased Hellcat fighters accompanied by SB2C Curtis “Helldiver” dive bombers had made their first air-raid over Manila signaling the start of the liberation of Luzon Island. They came from American aircraft carriers waiting in the Philippine Sea on the Pacific side.


The La Salle Brothers, acting with incredible courage and concern for the safety of the students under their care, decided to escort each and every one of us home. We were divided into groups each made up of boys living in one district of Manila. I belonged to the Pasay group composed of about 50 students. (The La Salle Brothers were all mercilessly killed by rampaging Japanese soldiers during the battle for the liberation of Manila.) After De La Salle College suspended classes indefinitely, our family evacuated up to Baguio City sometime in early October of 1944. By the end of December of the same year, my father was brought to the Philippine General Hospital in Manila for an emergency operation. We followed my father to the PGH on New Year’s Day of 1945. We left Baguio City at 2:30 A.M., going down Kennon Road without headlights. We met thousands of retreating Japanese troops walking up the zigzag road. They were probably part of General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s retreating army. We had to stop before and after every bridge for ocular inspection by Japanese sentries armed with machine guns behind barbed wire barricades. We arrived in Manila 14 hours later at about 4:30 P.M. and proceeded directly to the PGH where my father was recuperating from his operation. The battle

for the liberation of Manila caught us in the PGH. We had no inkling what lay ahead of us and the approximately 6,000 civilians who later sought shelter from the surrounding firefights that raged around the area. Although the battle for the Philippine General Hospital was only one of a series of fierce street-by-street, house-to-house, and building-to-building fights that was the story of the liberation of Manila, it was one of the fiercest. The American and Filipino GIs who were there told the civilian survivors that it took them three days to cross the intersection of Padre Faura and Taft Avenue, advancing from the Paco Cemetery. The withering automatic weapons fire that raked the American lines from heavily defended buildings of the hospital and the University of the Philippines forced them to call for armor assistance in spite of the heavy artillery carpet barrages that the area was already subjected to for about a week. By Wednesday, February 7th, we could hear the thump of artillery shells edging closer to us as the lines of battle rolled forward. That night, from the balcony of our suite, we watched with fascination the arching trajectory of artillery shells coming from somewhere in Sampaloc tracing white lines against the black night and crashing brightly around what we calculated as Port Area of Tondo. The New-Years-Eve-like crackle of machine gun and rifle fire began to be audible by day as fighting raged along the front. By the morning of Saturday, February 10th, the American army brought up its 105 millimeter batteries and set them up in Grace Park. There must have been other artillery batteries from the East as we began to experience the whine of shells flying over the PGH in the direction of Dewey (now Roxas) Boulevard where the Japanese had set up a few heavy naval guns facing out into Manila Bay. The whine of artillery shells, like the sound of express trains flying overhead began to increase and, soon enough, the first shells crashed on the PGH. We had not imagined that the Americans would shell the hospital, with thousands of patients and refugees from the surrounding areas of Malate, Paco, and Singalong filling every nook and cranny of the buildings. Whole families were now cowering in terror under the concrete floors, in culverts, canals, and basements. All the wards were crammed with patients, hospital staff, and refugees who were forced out of sight by bayonet and rifle shots of the Japanese marines who criss-crossed the corridors and hospital grounds shouting to civilians to stay indoors or be killed. Our agony at the PGH had begun. For about a week, that seemed never to end, the artillery barrages came crashing down on us unerringly, ward after ward, and building after building, in carpet-bombing fashion. First

the PGH, then the Bureau of Science and Saint Paul’s at the back, the Assumption College, then the Ateneo de Manila, and on the University of the Philippines campus across Padre Faura and back to the PGH. These were indeed days of terror. No sooner than a ward would be hit by a barrage of 105 millimeter shells than the next wing would get it. I can still hear the screams of the wounded clearly to this day, the shouting of those separated from their families calling for their loved ones, the acrid sulphurous choking smoke that filled the wards as the shells exploded. People choked and coughed; others retched. Hundreds would run from ward to ward braving the firing by the Japanese marines and the irregulars with them who were armed with bamboo poles tipped with spears. Hundreds would again run back to the ward where they came from as soon as the ward they had sought shelter in would again be hit by the deadly missiles. Some artillery shells seemed to have a delayed action fuse as they would shake the building first and explode a minute later causing chaos and consternation. In those cramped conditions, patients and nurses had the priority to sleep on the floor, while the rest had to squat, remain standing or lean against the wall, sometimes for several days. The PGH doctors operated on the wounded without anesthesia, lights, and water. We could hear their screams of pain coming from the operating ward. We later found out why the Americans were shelling the PGH. During lulls and breaks in barrages, a piper cub would fly low over the hospital complex apparently observing the accuracy and effect of the artillery barrage. No sooner would the observation plane fly overhead than squads of Japanese soldiers would criss-cross the hospital grounds firing at the aircraft. This only served to draw fire from the American artillery and we realized then why the civilians were forced out of sight – to convince the Americans that only Japanese soldiers were occupying the hospital. As the days dragged on, the incessant artillery barrages continued, usually starting at about 7 or 8 every morning, breaking off for lunch, then resuming until the afternoon. B-25 Mitchell bombers were now flying sorties at treetop level strafing Japanese positions around the PGH. P-51 Mustang fighter planes were beginning to show up in the sky. As the fighting raged closer and closer to the hospital, not only by the day but by the hour, rumors spread like wildfire that a massacre of the people inside the PGH Compound was imminent. Father Cabonce, the courageous Jesuit chaplain of the PGH, braved shellfire to administer to the wounded and lead prayers ward by ward. He would rush to a ward that would be hit by shells to seek out the dying and the wounded. He blessed the people and gave us all general absolution. His

The sunny morning of Saturday, February 17th dawned on us brightly. We braced ourselves for the morning artillery barrage. The high-pitched rapid staccato of Japanese “woodpecker” machine guns would open up occasionally that bright morning, back-dropped by the rattle of musketry with occasional loud “whoomps,” possibly from bazookas or mortars. The day seemed hopelessly a repetition of the previous days. Hope was gone. People were resigned to the thought that all of us would die before the Americans arrived. There was almost no more food for the thousands of people trapped in the PGH; water was almost gone and people prayed for the end to all their suffering. A heavy artillery barrage suddenly came crashing down on us preceded by the all-toofamiliar distant popping of cannons. Count six seconds and the shell will either hit you or fly overhead. What you can’t hear could mean that it was coming straight at you. By midmorning, the barrages seemed to come in faster, one after another in quick succession. By about 11:00 A.M., machine gun fire from both sides suddenly opened up in a deafening duel. A sudden lull and then we heard the deep rumble of engines. As if by the snap of a finger, all hell suddenly broke loose. The ear-splitting boom of cannons aimed at point-blank range at us shattered the air. Heavy machine gun fire peppered the building with bullets without let up. The crash of exploding shells against concrete, the eerie sounds of ricocheting shrapnel and bullets filled the air. We were crouched under the elevator, but shower after shower of sparks from exploding shells and the pinging of shrapnel indiscriminately cutting through the steel wire cage of the elevator so terrified us that shouts and prayers of supplication to Almighty God to save us filled the basement. After some 20 minutes later, what seemed to all of us as eternity, and as if by magic, all noise suddenly stopped. We heard the hurried

the patients and hospital staff, supervised by fully armed, steel-helmeted American soldiers, while machine gun fire continued to rage at the U.P. buildings. On the 17th of February 1945, the Philippine General Hospital was liberated by elements of the 37th “Buckeye” Division and Sherman tanks of the American army of liberation commandeered by Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger. Arrayed against them in that battle were crack units of the Japanese Imperial Marines under Vice Admiral Ranji Iwabuchi. On August 15, 1945, on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, Japan surrendered and fighting in the Pacific War came to an end. The formal and official surrender of Japan occurred aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. Battles always have its heroes, sung and unsung. For many, their acts of bravery and heroism are now known only to God. May they all rest in peace in the embrace of the Lord. This is my story of the liberation of Manila as I remember it 66 years ago.

The Commemoration Of The Battle For The Liberation Of Manila Between February 3 and March 3, 1945 more than 100,000 civilians – noncombatant men, women, children, and infants – were killed during the battle for the liberation of Manila. During the month-long battle, the city was completely destroyed by heavy artillery and the “Scorched Earth” policy of the Japanese Imperial Army to raze Manila to the ground. The Manila that lay in smoldering ruins bore terrible witness to the most tragic and appalling event in the country’s history. The Battle for Manila occupies a unique place in the history of the Pacific War. It was the only occasion on which American and Japanese forces fought each other in a city, and it was the largest battle of its kind fought by either the American or Japanese armies. The destruction of Manila was on the same scale as the destruction of Warsaw (August 1 to October 2, 1944), and smaller only than the battles of Berlin (April 20 to May 2, 1945) and Stalingrad (September 13, 1942 to February 2, 1943). Yet in the case of Manila, something rarer and even more irreplaceable and precious was destroyed. The Philippines had lost its capital, but the world had lost part of its international heritage. Before its destruction, Manila was a city whose unique evolution came about through the intermingling of the cultures and histories of four different continents. The tragedy of the destruction of Manila lies deeply engraved in the hearts and memories of all Filipino survivors and war veterans. Yet the tragedy goes on, because the pain of loss of loved ones and the memory of the horrors of the war live on. On Monday, 13 February 2012, 10:00 A.M., the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls invites you to attend a Requiem Mass at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica for the eternal repose of the souls of the victims of the war in the Philippines and the soldiers who bravely fought in the Battle for the Liberation of Manila. This occasion will be a time of remembrance, forgiveness, and healing.

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We were eventually transferred to the small basement right under the elevator of the operating ward after some Japanese soldiers lobbed smoke grenades at us inside our ward. It was difficult to sleep at night as we could hear soldiers roaming around peeking into wards and looking for women. Parents clutched their children closer to them fearing for their safety. Lamps were doused as soon as the noise of hobnailed boots could be heard approaching. Some soldiers wore the split toe black rubber shoes at night so they could tiptoe around undetected and would suddenly pounce on a girl and try to drag her out into the night. Those were nights of fear for everyone.

stomping of hobnailed boots on the concrete floor over our heads as Japanese machine gunners set up a weapon right on top of us. They kept on firing while shouting orders to their comrades. The reply of a heavy machine gun sent them scurrying down the corridor to the back of the PGH compound. Then, there was a deafening silence. Suddenly, there were shouts of men and women, and we thought this was it, the massacre had begun. We braced ourselves and said our prayers as the shouts came closer. Then, we heard someone shout, “God bless America!” Outside and above us, people were singing “God Bless America.” GIs were being mobbed, embraced, and kissed while, a stone’s throw away, the Japanese soldiers were running to the back of the PGH towards the Bureau of Science. We were still in a daze when we were led out to the front driveway of the PGH where we saw a line of Sherman tanks facing the administration building still in their position when they delivered the point-blank barrage that preceded the assault on the hospital buildings. There was a long line of ambulances, weapons carriers and trucks ready to evacuate

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courage and dedication to his ministry was one of the many inspiring acts of heroism displayed during the agony of the PGH. We were all ready to die at any moment.


Living the Faith

The Call To Community Life And Prayer By Baba Avanceña

Our salvation and our consequent union with God is, ultimately, our personal responsibility. Each of us is called to personal conversion and transformation. This can only come about by our cooperation and openness to the grace of God. Our relationship with God essentially involves private prayer, which unites us to Him in an intimate way. Nothing takes the place of these personal and intimate encounters with God. In the same way as God calls us to nurture a personal relationship with Him, He also draws us into community life. The late author, Fr. Thomas H. Green, S.J., emphasizes that “our lives are inescapably social.” John Donne so aptly expressed this reality in his famous quotation, “No man is an island.”

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In “The Church in the Modern World,” Vatican II states that we can keep the Lord only by sharing Him with others. Those of us, therefore, who have encountered the Lord and who have accepted His call to conversion and transformation must inevitably return to the realities of our ordinary lives and to our respective communities.


Our life with God necessarily involves a reaching out to others. Private prayer must bear fruit in action – in going into the world to share our life of faith with the people we encounter and in also being enriched by the personal faith experiences they share with us. This reciprocity, this give-and-take relationship is vital to our

Living the Faith

spiritual growth. Fr. Green explains, “As followers of Jesus, it is not enough that we wash the feet of others. We must also allow them to wash our feet. ‘If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet.’ (John 13:14).” In a very real sense, the Church is essentially a community formed by the Holy Spirit – a community sustained and preserved by the mutual love and service of its members. The members of a community form spiritual bonds with each other that make them part of one spiritual family. As members of a community, the Lord wants and expects us to support and to help each other on our earthly journey towards His heavenly kingdom. This mutual responsibility requires us to exercise fraternal love in its fullest sense towards other members of our community. It requires us to be aware of the limitations of others, to be understanding and patient with them, and to do whatever we can to help them rise above their human shortcomings, while humbly recognizing our own imperfections and failings. Community life, with its diverse challenges and difficulties, helps to sanctify us by creating the environment where we, with the help of God, can develop the virtues that will enable us to grow in our spiritual lives and encounter God in prayer as one body.

courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI referred to joint prayer as one of the fruits of fraternal charity in the community. The Pope explained that “individual prayer is certainly indispensable, but the Lord gives assurances of His presence in communities which, even if very small, remain united and speak with one voice, because they reflect the reality of God Himself, One and Triune, a perfect communion of love.” The Holy Father also exhorted the faithful “to pray and to correct one another as brethren, something which requires great humility and simplicity of heart, in order that our prayers might be raised to God from a community truly united in Christ.” As the Lord calls us to community life and prayer, He also promises to provide us with a spiritual gift when we pray with unity of intention as one body. “I say to you further, that if two of you shall agree on earth about anything at all for which they ask, it shall be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together for my sake, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18: 19-20).” A life of prayer is so vital to our spiritual growth because, as individual “prayer-ers,” we can never rise above the level of our prayer life. Similarly, Christian communities can never rise above the collective strength of the prayer life of their members.

In one of his recent remarks before the Catholic faithful gathered in the internal

Angels We Have Heard On High By Mercedes B. Suleik

As it is Christmas time, I thought I would write about angels, who Scripture tells us an angel proclaimed on the first Christmas night, that “I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day ...a Savior, who is the will find a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And that suddenly, there was a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” In these modern and so-called enlightened days, rationalists and intellectuals deride belief

in angels and relegate them to the realm of fantasy along with fairies, elves, gremlins, and imps, and therefore devils are also said not to exist. Belief in angels, however, has stood the test of time, whatever faith one happens to hold. When the Pope spoke sternly about the devil, people in high places made condescending statements saying that the Holy Father should not be taken seriously and that he was reviving medieval myths and damaging “progressive theology.” So are there angels, really? Naturally I looked up angels in the Catholic encyclopedia as well as on Google. Angelology is defined as that

branch of theology that deals with a hierarchical system of angels, messengers, celestial powers and the study of these systems. My goodness! I never realized it was such a deep subject, my knowledge of angels since I was young was really not much beyond my guardian angel who made sure I would not get run over when I crossed the street, or as an adult, when I would beg him, “Guardian Angel, please find me a parking space!” which he invariably did! My research led me to some secular scholars who claim that Judeo-Christian belief in angels was influenced by Zoroatrianism, in regards to angelology and demonology, as well as the

Angels We Have Heard On High...from page 14

The Hebrew scripture is replete with references to “mal’ach” which is the Biblical name for angel. Angels are referred to as “holy ones” and in early Hebrew thought, God appears and speaks directly to individuals. There are references to “Malach Adonai” (Angel of the Lord) and “Malach Elohim” (Angel of God) who appeared to Abraham, Moses, Hagar, Gideon, etc., and led the Israelites in the “Pillar of Cloud.” The term “Malach Adonai” was also identified with the Logos (the Word, which Christians say refer to the Second Person of the Trinity). In Daniel, angels were usually spoken of as “men” or as “Angel-Princes” and appear as guardians or champions of the individual nations, defending them as God sits in council with them over the world. The names of some angels are known: Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, Ragiel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel. Gabriel and Michael are mentioned in the book of Daniel, Raphael in the book of Tobit. Likewise, in the three monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – angels form part of their tenets, albeit with some differences. The Jewish faith and Christianity converge in their ideas of angels as heavenly beings created by God, who are endowed with free will. Christians believe that some of the angels, led by Lucifer, the Prince of Light, rebelled and were routed by the good angels, led by St. Michael the Archangel, and cast into hell. Islam, on the other hand, consider angels as benevolent beings created from light and do not possess free will, are incapable of falling from grace, excluding Iblis, who chose to do evil because he had free will. However, he is not considered a

fallen angel (as Lucifer or Satan) but he is rather a separate entity made of fire called “jinn.” The Catholic cult of the angels is thoroughly scriptural. The angels are represented throughout the Bible as spiritual beings who intermediate between God and men. The fourth Lateran Council decreed that angels were created, and men were created after them. The function of angels is to attend at God’s throne. They are His instruments by whom He communicates His will to men, and in Jacob’s vision they are depicted as ascending and descending the ladder that stretches from earth to heaven. It was an angel who found Hagar in the wilderness, angels led Lot out of Sodom, an angel announced to Gideon that he was to save his people, and an angel foretold the birth of Samson. In the New Testament, Gabriel announced the birth of St. John the Baptist, and to Mary, the Incarnation of the Redeemer. Angels announced His birth to the shepherds, strengthened Jesus in His agony, and told the women who came to His tomb that He was risen. In the Old Testament, there are hints about the existence of certain ranks in the heavenly army. St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica divides angels into three hierarchies, each of

The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the three Archangels on September 29 each year – Michael (Who is like God?) who defends the friends of God from Satan and the fallen angels; Gabriel (the Power of God) who was chosen by God to announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation; and Raphael (the Medicine of God) who took care of Tobias in his journey – and honors the guardian angels with a feast on October 2. Related to the latter feast is the founding of Opus Dei, whose founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, “saw” the vision of this Work on October 2, 1928. Opus Dei, responding to the universal call for holiness opened up a new way of sanctification for the faithful in the middle of the world, through the exercise of their ordinary daily work and the fulfilment of their family, social, and personal obligations. St. Josemaria Escriva, whose devotion to guardian angels is oft repeated, was canonized and declared a saint by Pope John Paul II (now Blessed John Paul) on October 6, 2002. So, are there angels, really? Belief in angels has apparently been around even before the dawn of monotheistic religion. Though it might be said that Judeo-Christian belief in angels may have traces of Zoroastrianism, the Scriptures thoroughly expound on their existence, nature, and role in man’s quest to be one with the Holy of Holies. Of course, if anyone, especially in this so-called enlightened age, prefers to disbelieve, that is his prerogative. Man, after all, like the angels, was created with free will.

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fallen angel Satan as the ultimate agent of evil. Other traditions and Indo-European mythologies show that the notion of demons existed long before. Jewish angelology, and therefore Christian angelology, it is said, picked up elements from Zoroastrianism in Judaism following Israel’s extended contact with the Persian empire during the Babylonian exile. In Zoroastrianism there are different angel-like creatures, including the idea that each person has a guardian angel. They patronize human beings and other creatures, and also manifest God’s energy.

. vol. XIV . Issue No. 50 . October to December 2011

which contains three orders, their proximity to the Supreme Being serving as the basis of this division. In the first hierarchy, he places the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones; in the second, the Dominations, Virtues, and Powers; and in the third, the Principalities, Archangels and Angels. Moreover, throughout the Bible, we find repeatedly implied that each individual person has its tutelary angel. Many passages in both the Old and New Testaments demonstrate the doctrine that every individual has his appointed guardian angel, and this is confirmed in the words of Christ, “See that you despise not one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in Heaven always see the face of My Father who is in Heaven.” St. Jerome also said, “The dignity of a soul is so great that each has a guardian angel from its birth.” Likewise, St. Bernard said, “He has given his angels orders to watch over you in all your ways.”


May Love, Peace, And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, and Joy be your gifts I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. this Christmas and For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord”. – Luke 2:10-11 your blessings all year through!

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. vol. XIV . Issue No. 50 . October to December 2011

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