The Official Newsletter of the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life Release 49 CHRISTMAS ISSUE 2016
Be more and have more this season of Lent by Bro. Anthony O. Alcantara
Dying on the cross is Jesus’ ultimate act of generosity. It gives us reason to give more of ourselves for the sake of others.
Saying no to something that is bad for us, something that doesn’t add value to us, or something that doesn’t bring us closer to God is always a good thing. But nobody said it’s going to be easy. This Lenten season, perhaps we can consider saying yes to being more and having more of the right things, those things that bring us closer to Jesus, that allow us to be a better version of ourselves, that transform us to become what God wants us to be. Everything, whether habits or ways of thinking, starts small, according to our rector, Msgr. Bobby Canlas (see page 2). We can all start being more and
having more with small habits, too. BJ Fogg, PhD, author of Tiny Habits and founder of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University, recommends using an anchor or a trigger for new habits. We can choose the most appropriate anchors for us to make the habits stick. Be more prayerful. We can be closer to Jesus and be spiritually healthy by praying more this Lenten season. We can even limit our consumption of social media or Netflix to give us more time for prayer. Here are some ideas. • Pray the Stations of the Cross. We can contemplate on the Passion of Christ by praying the Stations of the Cross. Anchor: After I hear Mass at the church or online, I will open my Stations of the Cross booklet and
begin my prayer. • Pray the Seven Penitential Psalms. The Seven Penitential Psalms are as follows: Psalms 6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129, and 142. They can help us reflect on, and express sorrow for, our sins. Anchor: After I sit on my bed to prepare for sleep, I will pray the Seven Penitential Psalms with reverence. • Do an examination of conscience. Reflecting on our day can help us see how God communicates with us through events and people we encounter. Anchor: After I say my usual prayers at night, I will review my day and do an examination of conscience. • Go to confession. The Sacrament Continued on page 3
Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas
Nagmula lamang sa maliit Dahil sa pangho-holdap ng isang ● Yoong pa piso-piso lang ay naging daan-daan, naging libo-libo lalaki ay nakapatay siya ng security hanggang sa ito ay maging milyonguard sa bangko. Nadakip siya at milyon. napunta sa death row at noong araw ng kanyang bitay ay nangumpisal siya sa ● Naiinggit ka lamang sa una na pari. Matapos niyang mangumpisal ay nauwi na sa malaking paninirang tinanong siya ni Father: “Mayroon ka puri na nakaapekto na sa buhay ng bang nais sabihin sa akin at sa mga tao?” iyong kinaiinggitan. Nanginginig ang boses na sinabi ng ● Pahitit-hitit lang sa una ng lalaki: “Nag-simula po ito Father noong marijuana napunta na sa mahinang ako ay maliit pa kasi kumukupit po ako droga hanggang sa humantong na sa palagi ng piso sa wallet ng nanay ko. shabu na sumira na ng iyong buhay. Tapos yoon po ay naging dalawang piso, limang piso, sampung piso hanggang sa ● Pilyong pagnanasa lamang na lumaki na nang lumaki. Sa eskwelahan hinayaan hanggang sa humantong naman po Father ay kinukuha ko yoong na sa panggagahasa. baon at ibang gamit ng aking mga kamag-aral. Noong tumagal ay natuto ● Pa kaunti-kaunti lamang na tagay na akong magnakaw sa supermarket at ng alak na kinamihasnan na naging pagiging sugapa na sa alak na dahil madali ang pera lalo akong natukso palaging nagbubunga ng basag-ulo. at napabarkada. Nalulong po kami sa ipinagbabawal na gamot at sa bawal na gamot na iyan ay naging matapang po ● Maliit na hindi pagkakaunawaan kami na kaya naming gawin kahit ano. lang hanggang sa nagmatigasan kaya Kaya noong una tao lamang ang hinonauwi sa malaking away na wala ng holdap namin hanggang sa paglipas ng katapusan. panahon ay naging bangko na. Doon ko ● Patayataya lang hanggang sa po napatay Father yoong security guard. naging talamak na sugarol na sa Father, nagsimula lamang ito sa piso at kasino. kung alam ko lang na magkakaganito ay Ngayon po ay panahon na naman sana noon ko pa po pinatay ang maliit na ng kuwaresma ay inaanyayahan tayo tuksong nasa kalooban ko na nagudyok ni Hesus na magsisi sa ating mga sa akin na gumawa ng masama. pagkakasala at magbalik-loob sa kanya Ang kwentong ito ay isang at sa Ama. At lagi sa pagsisimula ng karaniwang storya ng krimen at isang panahon ng kuwaresma ay ipinahihiwatig karaniwang storya ng pagkakasala niya na bago tayo magsisi ay magsikap na parehong nagsimula sa maliliit na muna tayong huwag magkasala sa bagay lamang pero hinayaang lumaki pamamagitan ng ating pagtatagumpay hanggang sa hindi na ito mapigilan. laban sa lahat ng uri ng tukso na siyang Lahat ng malaki ay nagsimula muna sa bukal ng lahat ng pagka-kasala. maliit na hinayaan lamang na manatili Mayroon tayong kasabihan: “An kahit masama at mali kaya pagdating ng ounce of prevention is better than a araw ito ay naging isang napakalaking pound of cure”. Mas mabuti na yoong kasamaan at kamalian na hindi na nagsisikap kang hindi magkasala kaysa maaaring mabawi pa.
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magsisisi ka kung ikaw ay nagkasala na. Tulad sa ating kalusugan, mas mabuti na ang uminom tayo ng bitamina para huwag tayong magkasakit kaysa bibili ka ng mahal na gamot kung may sakit ka na. Sabi nga sa commercial: “Sa hirap ng buhay, bawal ang magkasakit”. Gayun din naman sa pagiwas natin sa mga tukso na dumarating sa ating mga buhay na maaaring maging sanhi ng ating pagkakasala. Isang pagiingat para hindi mabulok ang ating pagkakristiyano, para hindi mabulok at magka-kanser ang ating kaluluwa. Ang lahat ng tukso ay humihimok sa atin na maging makasarili at piliin yoong mas makagiginhawa sa atin, yoong mas madali para sa atin. Pero hindi din naman dapat na palagi na lang na negatibo ang pananaw natin sa mga tuksong bumabalot sa ating kapaligiran dahil maaaring maging positibo ang isang tukso kung gagamitin natin itong daan para lalo tayong mapalapit sa Diyos. Sa kabila ng napakaraming tukso sa ating paligid ay dapat tayong manatiling nakakapit at tapat kay Hesus dahil kung walang tukso ay wala rin tayong maipagmamalaking tagumpay. Hindi mo pwedeng maipagmalaki ang isang bagay na hindi mo naman pinagdaanan, hindi mo naman pinagsikapan o hindi mo naman pinagtagumpayan. Hindi masama ang tuksong dumadating sa ating buhay kung ito ay ating paglalabanan at kung ito ay ating pagtatagumpayan dahil lalo tayong mapapalapit kay Hesus. Kaya huwag nating katakutan ang tukso bagkos ay gawin natin itong mga pagkakataon para mapatunayan natin ang ating pagmamahal kay Hesus sa pagtatagumpay natin sa lahat ng tukso at mga pagsubok na ating mararanasan.
Taglay ang lakas na nagmumula kay Hesus, nawa ang kakaiba natin ngayong pag-gunita at pagdiriwang ng Panahon ng Kuwaresma dahil sa pandemiya ay mas magdulot sa atin ng ibayong lakas at pag-asa sa ating pakikiisa sa pagdurusa ni Hesus at ng buong Sambayanang Pilipino sa kinakaharap nating mabigat na pagsubok. Ang lahat ay ating mapagtatagumpayan dahil kasama at kaagapay natin si Hesus sa ating paglalakbay araw-araw sa Banal na Eukaristiya at hanggang sa wakas ng panahon tulad ng kanyang ipinangako. Hangad ko po sa inyong lahat ang isang makabuluhan at mabungang paggunita sa pagpapakasakit ni Hesus para sa ating kaligtasan. Gayun din isang mapagpalang pagbati ng Maligayang Kapistahan ng Pasko ng Muling Pagka-buhay ni Hesus sa inyong lahat. The Master Publisher
Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas
Bro. Anthony O. Alcantara
Contributors and Staff
Fr. Cris Cellan, SSP Sr. Mary Louise Alcantara Sr. Grace Bernardo Sr. Audrey Cabalfin Sr. Maria Adelfa Cabanlong Sr. Emie Dolina Bro. Mon Gualvez Bro. David Joachim Lescano Bro. Justin Lescano Bro. Leo Mascariñas Sr. Marilyn Salamida Bro. Shery Teodosio Bro. Richard Tia
For those who wish to contribute stories, or those who have comments or suggestions, please email email@example.com. Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life Office Tel. No.: +632 8556-6175 / 76 Mobile No.: +63 918 9104245
Be more and have more... from page 1
of Confession gives us the grace to avoid committing the sins we have confessed to the priest. Anchor: No need for one. Just take out your calendar and make an appointment, just like how you do it at work. • Read the Bible. Reading the Bible will help us to know Jesus better. Anchor: After I hear my alarm clock in the morning, I will turn it off and open my Bible and read for 10 minutes. Be God’s caretaker of your body. Just as God wants us to be spiritually healthy, He wants us to take care of our bodies and be physically healthy as well. If we have the right mindset and we do it right, we can create habits that will help us become better Christians. • Fast. Catholics are required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. If you can and if you don’t have any medical conditions that prevent you from fasting, consider fasting for 40 days. Fr. Cris Cellan said fasting can help “free our souls for prayer” (see page 4). Fasting is good for our health, too. Studies show it leads to longer, healthier lives. Anchor: After I wake up, I will just drink ample amounts of water or a cup of coffee without sugar and skip breakfast. • Give up meat for Lent. We are required to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. If you can, why not take it up a notch higher by giving up meat for 40 days? Besides, red meat, according to the World Health Organization, can cause cancer. You may also consider replacing meat with fish for the whole period of Lent. Anchor: After I go to the grocery, I will fill up my cart with more vegetables and fruits instead of meat. • Give up alcohol, soda, or milk tea. We all have our favorite beverages. We can cut down our consumption or give them up for 40 days as part of our Lenten sacrifice. Anchor: After I have my lunch, I will drink water instead. • Walk or bike to work. This Lent, why not exercise more? You don’t really have to enroll in a gym or buy exercise equipment. Walking
or biking to work will do just fine. Anchor: After I sit down to plan my work week on Sunday, I will set my schedule to accommodate time for walking or biking to work. Be more generous. Jesus’ death on the cross is the greatest act of generosity there is. Shouldn’t we repay this generosity by being generous ourselves? Being generous to the poor and the sick is an act of gratitude for God’s overflowing mercy. • Give to your favorite charity. If you have a charity or cause that is close to your heart, this Lent is the perfect time to give more. Anchor: After I arrive home, I will put P10 in my piggy bank and increase the amount by P10 every day for 40 days. That will result in P8,200 by the end of the period. • Give more to the church. The church needs more support now because fewer people are going physically to church to give their love offering. Bills and salaries of church staff still need to be paid. The Shrine of Jesus, too, needs your support. Anchor: After Mass every Sunday, I will commit to donate a certain amount or a certain percentage of my income. • Give more of your time. You can also be generous with your time. Time, after all, is also money. Commit a certain time for volunteer work, even if it’s just online. Anchor: After I do my errands every Saturday morning, I will sit down and see how I can help my church with its activities or projects. • Give more of your “thank yous”. Saying thank you to people can help spread positivity to our circle of influence. It can help us spread Christ’s message of love to all. Anchor: After I shut down my computer, I will send a quick message of thanks to one of my colleagues at work. These are just some ideas for making our Lenten celebration a spiritually nourishing one. We can be more and have more if we pray, fast, and give alms. What habits will you start this Lent? What anchors will you choose?
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Having Less That Others May Have More by Fr. Cris Robert Cellan, SSP
Unprecedented since the Spanish Flu in 1912, we enter the Lenten season this year with the pandemic backdrop but looking forward to overcome this great trial as guaranteed by the glory of Christ’s resurrection. Amidst this difficulty, we resolutely set out to exercise the indispensable aspects of our Lenten observances: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. St. Peter Chrysologus once wrote: There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting, and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other. Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do
not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself. Fasting is primarily a spiritual discipline designed to tame the body so that we can concentrate on higher things. It is a voluntary avoidance of something that is good, restricting the food that we eat. It is distinguished from hunger strike or simply going on a diet. By controlling the passions of the body, we free our souls for prayer. By refraining from eating, we free up food or money that we can share to the less fortunate. Giving therefore is a spontaneous consequence of our Lenten exercises especially in this time of a pandemic. With millions of Filipino workers losing their jobs and 43% of our countrymen declaring themselves poorer this past year, may we find the grace to help one another despite our meager resources. Our local churches need our help, too. Despite the 30% opening capacity, the collections are barely enough for the upkeep of the church and salaries of the staff. As in the story of the
“Giving therefore is a spontaneous consequence of our Lenten exercises especially in this time of a pandemic.”
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Multiplication of the Loaves, even with scarce resources when put in the hands of God, a miracle can truly happen. Indeed, no one is so poor that he cannot give and no one is to rich that he cannot receive. The pandemic has certainly made us see the Lenten season of 2021 in a more reflective light. The high number of COVID infections and deaths grimly reminds us of the fragility of life. As it were, we live on borrowed time. Everything is on loan from the Lord. Our earthy existence is lent to us by God. This realization should set our priorities to build treasures in heaven and invest on charitable works. As St. Francis of Assisi puts it more aptly: “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received—only what you have given.” May our meaningful Lenten exercises of prayer, fasting and almsgiving lead us to have less for ourselves so that others may have more.
“Everything is on loan from the Lord. Our earthy existence is lent to us by God. This realization should set our priorities to build treasures in heaven and invest on charitable works.”
Christmastime at the Shrine of Jesus in 2020 By Sr. Mary Louise Alcantara
Life must go on, so the old adage says. And for the Shrine of Jesus and its community, liturgical activities pushed through during the Advent and Christmas seasons, observing proper protocols in line with the new normal. To keep the Christmas spirit alive, the Shrine was seen beautifully adorned with lights and ornaments, from its facade to the altar. A day before the official beginning of Advent, the Christmas decors and the Advent Wreath were blessed during the Anticipated Mass. This is a yearly activity at the Shrine, wherein the Advent Wreath is also explained to the Mass goers. The First Sunday of Advent formally began the Advent Season and a new Liturgical Year. With proper protocols, the Shrine welcomed churchgoers physically during Masses throughout the Advent and Christmas Seasons. Anticipated Simbang Gabi was also held, while the Dawn Simbang Gabi Masses were suspended last year. The Simbang Gabi Masses were well attended by churchgoers and volunteers, who devoted their time in completing the nine-day Masses leading to Christmas Day. The Youth Ministry also prepared a simple “pakulo” for the churchgoers, and community singing of Christmas Songs, both activities to complement the spirit of the Season.
To make the season more festive for churchgoers, the Youth Ministry hosted for the first time an online trivia show called “Quaran-think” on the Facebook Page of the Shrine of Jesus, wherein the audience who tuned in on Facebook Live got to win small prizes just by answering trivia questions. Likewise, the winner of the “pakulo” was announced during the show. Christmas Eve Concelebrated Mass was celebrated in a humble and meaningful way. The Shrine Rector, Rev. Msgr. Bobby Canlas, was the main celebrant for the Concelebrated Masses for Christmas and New Year. Fr. Cris Cellan read the Holy Gospel and delivered the Homily, wherein he centered on the effect of the quarantine on people. He said, “The year 2020 is not the year of getting what we want but appreciating what we have.” Likewise, a mixed virtual and live Panunuluyan was produced by the Youth Ministry. It may not have been as spectacular as that in the previous years, but it still brought out the essence of the event.
The Shrine was almost reached its allowed capacity during the Christmas Day Concelebrated Mass. Shrine guest priest and Mass concelebrant, Fr. Rollin Flores, who proclaimed God’s Word and the Homily, talked about God becoming man through Jesus’ birth. Truly, the community commemorated Jesus’ birth in the best way possible, which is being physically present during the Holy Eucharist. Fr. Cris proclaimed the Holy Gospel and Homily during the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Concelebrated Masses. His homilies focused on a similar theme – a fresh start in the New Year, learning from the experiences during the past year, especially with the pandemic that happened. The pandemic and quarantine may have limited the activities, invited priests, and churchgoers taking part in the physical Masses, but it did not decrease the solemnity, orderliness, and significance of the celebrations. The presence of Jesus, the Divine Master, is ever felt in each Shrine activity, no matter what the circumstance may be.
The Shrine of Jesus keeps the spirit of Christmas alive despite the pandemic.
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Learning from the Sto. Niño: Be joyful, curious, and discern God’s plan for you by Bro. David Lescano
How we celebrate occasions have changed. Gatherings must adhere to safety protocols by the government. And as with the celebration for the feast of Sto. Niño, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and The Life had to take the necessary precautions to implement proper distancing and contact tracing. Though physical presence of the faithful is limited, spiritually we are one in this treasured feast. This is how we celebrated Sto. Niño – safely and with resounding praises to the Lord amidst this pandemic, together. In his homily, Msgr. Bobby Canlas talked about the importance of listening, the importance of children, how children are gifts of God, and that parents should cherish and take care of them. He said adults have much to learn from children about following God. We, as followers of Christ and as Children of God, are here to listen. Not only do we listen to our earthly desires, but also to our Father’s heavenly desires for us. Yes, we were given the freedom to choose or free will, but let us never forget that without the guidance of God, anything we do will not mean a thing, because God did not lead us there. He has plans for us, and diverting from that plan is diverting from His plan. It is our duty to listen to God, as children listen to their parents. Children are gifts of God to their parents, who should dedicate their time, effort, sacrifice, joy, and sorrow to lead them to God. The ultimate goal of a parent is to help fulfill the purpose of their child in this world, according to God’s plan. Msgr. Bobby also said adults should learn from their children, as children are full of joy, innocence, will always say the truth to their parents. They are just curious about everything. That is what God wants – for us to be curious Msgr. Bobby C. Canlas blesses the image of the Sto. Niño with incense. and to follow Him.
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” - Matthew 18:1-5
The sick need our prayers by Sr. Maria Adelfa Cabanlong
We often hear others say, “Pray for the healing of our beloved,” when they meet us, in the Holy Mass, in group messages, in status posts on social media, especially at the height of the pandemic. In response, most of us would say, “Prayers up” or “Praying for you and with you”. Why do we need to pray for the sick? How important is it for the sick that someone is praying for them? Prayers bring hope not only to the sick but also to the family and friends of the sick. It provides an emotional and spiritual support as well as a motivation to help themselves feel better. We pray for the sick because we want to remind the sick to let God take control and let God’s will to happen. To be sick is a test of character and faith, and prayer is the most powerful tool we can use. Each time we pray for the sick, we are also reminded that Jesus himself taught us to do it. Many times, he has taught us that prayers are so powerful that they could heal the sick. One story that stands out is the story of Lazarus. A friend of Jesus, Lazarus had been sick for days and he eventually passed on. When Jesus came to see him, Lazarus’s sister, Martha, told Jesus that her brother could have still been alive had Jesus arrived earlier to see him. In John 11:25-26, Jesus reminded Martha to have faith: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, event though they die; and whoever believes by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Lazarus came back from the dead because his faith healed him. In the Bible, there is also a story about a woman who tried her best to move mountains just to be healed. She heard about Jesus and so she followed him everywhere in the hope that she’ll be healed from her bleeding. Matthew 9:20-22 reads: Just then, a woman who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years came up behind him and touched
Prayer and faith can help heal the sick.
the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. These stories prove that praying with Jesus can heal us. Whether it is a physical or emotional sickness, turning to prayer and praying for someone you know can help ease our physical and spiritual burdens. Here are some me other passages that can help lift us up and inspire us to pray for healing: But I will restore you to health, and heal your wounds, says the
Lord, because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares – Jeremiah 30:17 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds – Psalms 147:3 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Do not be afraid; just believe, she will be healed.” – Luke 8:50 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. – James 5:14-15
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Requiescat in pace, Fr. Manny by Sr. Mary Louise Alcantara
The Shrine of Jesus community mourns the passing of one of our long-time guest priests, Fr. Manuel “Manny” Chua Ysmael. He joined our Creator on January 5, 2021. Born on January 16, 1940, Fr. Manny was a student of electrical engineering at the University of San Carlos in Cebu, when he heeded the call to priesthood and entered the seminary at age 21. He was ordained on May 28, 1966, and was the third Rector of the Pastor Bonus Seminary from 1971-1972. He served at the Military Ordinariate as Chief Chaplain of the Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy. He worked his way up the ranks. He loves combat shooting, and he was an expert with the .45 caliber pistol and a rated sharp shooter with the ArmaLite rifle. He also became chaplain of St. Paul College in Pasig City. He will be remembered by the Shrine of Jesus community as a jolly and approachable priest, and will be missed for his enriching and enlightening homilies in English. Fr. Manny has been assisting our rector, Rev. Msgr. Bobby C. Canlas, in church assignments as guest priest for the Masses. Fr. Cris Cellan, another Shrine guest priest, remembers Fr. Manny with fondness. “Fr. Manny who we fondly call ‘Manoy’ is like a history teacher for me, especially about priestly life, aviation (he was an Air Force Chief Chaplain) and everything because he always has something to say for every topic. My unforgettable moment with him was when he brought me to a gun range and taught me target shooting to relieve stress and instill discipline. He was an incredible marksman from 50 meters with his Colt 45 using only his
Fr. Manny Ysmael has been part of the Shrine of Jesus family for many years. He will be missed.
right hand. Our ‘alaskahan’ among Shrine of Jesus priests will never be the same without Manoy. Rest in Paradise, Manny.” He celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest in 2016 at the Shrine of Jesus. His last Mass celebrated at the Shrine was during the Fiesta Concelebrated Mass in October 2020. Our snappy salute to you, Fr. Manny. Rest in the peace and love of the Lord. We will truly miss you.
SALAMAT PO, MSGR. BAUTISTA | One of the retired priests who is very close to Msgr. Bobby Canlas and a good friend of the Shrine of Jesus, passed away on January 6, 2021. Let us pray for the eternal repose of Rev. Msgr. Arsenio R. Bautista’s soul. He just turned 96 last December 14. “Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.” 8 | The MASTER
Celebrating Lent and Easter in a pandemic by Bro. Richard Tia
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted liturgical celebrations of the Catholic Church worldwide. It has become not only just a medical issue with social and economic implications, it has become a pastoral problem as well. While the Philippines awaits for the arrival and subsequent widespread distribution of coronavirus vaccines, the country continues to follow the guidelines set by the COVID-19 Interagency Task Force to prevent the spread of the virus. All the churches, particularly the Shrine of Jesus, are required to strictly implement the minimum public health protocols set by the Department of Health: social distancing, wearing of face masks and face shields, hand hygiene, contact tracing, thermal scanning, disinfection of all pews after each Mass. They are all non-negotiable. Our Shrine rector, Msgr. Bobby C. Canlas sees to it that these guidelines are followed. Despite the many restrictions, the Filipino faithful will not be hindered from practicing their faith, or observing and celebrating the Holy Week traditions. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday, and is the most important celebration in the Catholic Church. Most Filipino Catholics would still want to celebrate Lent and Easter despite the pandemic amid so much uncertainty. Because of the restrictions and cancellation of the traditional Lenten activities like the Palm Sunday blessing and procession, Holy Thursday washing of the feet of Apostles Actors, Good Friday Way of the Cross and procession, Easter Vigil Pakulo, and Easter Sunday concelebrated Masses, one would opt to pray instead at home via television or social media. With many churches resorting to social and mass media for broadcasting their Lenten and Easter activities, the question of how they may affect one’s faith cannot be ignored. Most Catholics express their grief for not being able to be physically present to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and receive Christ’s real presence in the form of bread and wine. We are forced to ponder the deeper essence of celebrating Lent and Easter, our own values, and God’s plan for us in this time of pandemic. The season of Lent is a time of penance, a time to pray, fast, and give alms to the poor, which will bring us closer to God’s grace and mercy. It’s time to contemplate on God’s message for us in this time of spiritual renewal, and reaffirm our belief that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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Ash Wednesday: Reflect, repent, reconcile by Sr. Grace Bernardo
Ash Wednesday is a holy day of fervent prayer. It marks the beginning of the Lenten Season for the Catholic Church. In this season, we are reminded to reflect, repent, and reconcile with God. It has been a tradition to bring old palm fronds that were blessed during the past Palm Sundays to be used for the Burning of Palms. The distribution of ashes made from the blessed burned palms will be different this year. The priest will sprinkle on top of the head of each of the faithful rather than the traditional imposing of ashes on the forehead. This is in compliance with the new guidelines on how priests and lay ministers can distribute ashes to the faithful on Ash Wednesday in this pandemic. Catholics observe fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday – only one full meal a day and no meat. Those aged 18 to 59 years old are required to fast, unless there are valid like medical conditions that prevent them from this practice. The Shrine has been strict in the implementation of protocols and guidelines. These protocols, such as wearing of face masks and face shields, footbath, sanitizing of hands, thermal scanning, filling up of contact tracing forms before entering the church, assigning seat numbers to churchgoers with physical distancing, church sanitation after Mass – all these will prevent the spread of COVID-19 without sacrificing the solemnity of liturgical celebrations. The ashes again remind us to “Repent and believe in the Gospel”, “We are dust and to dust we shall return”.
Msgr. Bobby C. Canlas blesses the ashes. (File photo)
Matthew 6:16-18 When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 10 | The MASTER
500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines by Sr. Marilyn Salamida
As we all know, Christianity was first introduced in the Philippines when Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer who led a Spanish expedition, landed in the Philippines in 1521. The Philippine archipelago was colonized by Spain and named after King Philip II – Las Islas Filipinas. Religious orders from Spain started evangelizing and the Filipinos embraced Catholicism. The Philippines now has the largest Catholic population in Asia. In commemoration of this historic event in our land, the arrival of Christianity in the country, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) released an official Theme, “Gifted to Give” (taken from Matthew’s Gospel 10:8), an official Logo, and a Theme Song, “We Give Our Yes” (composed by Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo). On February 6, 2021, the Celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippine was launched in the Archdiocese of Manila with a Holy Mass at the Manila Cathedral presided by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, together with the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles Brown. The celebration also marked the 442nd anniversary of the establishment of Manila as the first Catholic diocese in the country. The Eucharistic celebration was attended by the clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila, Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and official representatives from the City of Manila and lay representatives
from the Shrines, Parishes, and religious communities of the Archdiocese of Manila. The event was also highlighted by the blessing and wearing of the “Mission Cross” by the participants of the Mass. The Mission Cross bears the name of Jesus inscribed in Roman characters and ancient Baybayin script. It “symbolizes the encounter of the faith from Western missionaries and our own culture resulting in a colorful and vibrant Filipino faith that now becomes our contribution to the universal Church.” Capping the Eucharistic celebration, Ms. Jamie Rivera sang the theme song, “We Give Our Yes”, with the youth performing the actions of the song. The song “conveys the power of faith and hope in these trying times and reminds Filipinos to keep giving their yes to the mission of Jesus.” In participation of the launching activity, the Rector of the Shrine of Jesus, Rev. Msgr. Bobby C. Canlas, delegated the Shrine Rector’s Council Head of the Worship Ministry and Education Ministry as representatives of the Shrine to the said event. The official theme song, “We Give Our Yes”, is now being used as the recessional song after every Mass at the Shrine of Jesus. In thanksgiving to God for the gift of the Christian and Catholic faith, as Bishop Pabillo said in his homily, we need to continue our mission with zeal, to reach out to the poor and the needy. Let us continue to connect with people, proclaim God’s Word, and live out our faith as one universal church.
We are all invited to share our God-given gifts to others as we celebrate five centuries of knowing Jesus Christ.
The MASTER | 11
Easter: Holding on to the promise of salvation By Sr. Shery Teodosio
As devout members of the Catholic Church, we have been a part of celebrating Easter since the day of our baptism. Through the eyes of an innocent child, Easter is the season for painting eggs, the Easter bunny and, of course, the Easter egg hunt.
Easter is more than the Easter bunnies and Easter eggs that we see.
But if we really ask the important questions, Easter is much more than just painted eggs and the Easter Bunny. Easter is the greatest celebration in the Roman Catholic Church, even greater than the celebration of advent or the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Easter is considered as the epitome of our faith as Catholics. The resurrection of Our Lord from the dead is the focal point of our belief and, as Christians, it is our responsibility to know all about Easter. Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival or a holiday wherein we commemorate the resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the dead. It is the culmination of the greatest sacrifice that the world will ever see, the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Holy Bible, specifically in the New Testament, Easter is described as having occurred on the third day after the burial of Jesus following His death and crucifixion on Calvary. During the
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first Easter, sorrow was transformed into joy. The disciples were in dismay and sorrow, because they were led to think that they would never see Jesus again. But Jesus promised that they will see Him again, and they did. Their sorrow quickly turned into joy. Three days after His death, Jesus rose from the dead to usher in the new era of love and salvation. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is one of the chief tenets of our Christian faith. The resurrection further established the idea of Jesus being the Son of God. Easter is often cited as proof that God will righteously and justly judge the world. For us Christians who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection we see death as nothing else but an avenue towards our true Kingdom in Heaven. Any Christian who chooses to follow Jesus receives rebirth through Jesus’ promise of new hope through His Love and Salvation. Through faith and
through our service as disciples of God, Christians are spiritually resurrected with Him so that we may live our promised life of Eternal Salvation. The New Covenant promises that if we live and follow the ways of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we are physically and spiritually resurrected to live in the Heavenly Kingdom of God. Easter is considered as the culmination of the Passion of Jesus. And as Christians we are reminded to commemorate it by creating our own form of resurrection and salvation through our faith. In preparation for our resurrection and salvation, we are reminded to reconcile with God and to atone for our sins. The whole 40-day period of prayer, fasting, and penance is our preparation for Easter. As we are always reminded by our beloved rector, Msgr. Bobby Canlas, “Though we go through the hardships of Good Friday, we are still promised the salvation of Easter Sunday.”
What keeps the Shrine volunteers and staff busy during the quarantine period? by Bro. Mon Gualvez
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has brought drastic changes to many people in the whole world, most especially during the times when certain areas have been put on lockdown. Social isolation was the most recommended action by the national government to curb the spread of the disease. This led to a stop of all social gatherings, concerts, schools, office works, public transportation, including Masses in the church. Almost everyone tended to stay indoors while doing their usual routines virtually. For the lucky ones, this means having more time to spend at home with their families. And while heroic front liners fight to contain the pandemic outside, many people are also fighting another battle at home – the fight against boredom. The Shrine volunteers and staff are the best example of those who cope with this fight by developing their hidden talents and skills. Many tried baking and cooking different dishes while following the step-by-step process
by watching online videos. An instant cook, chef, and baker were discovered! “Thanks to the Youtube University,” as some would say. Aside from sharing the fruit of their hard work and newfound skills with their loved ones and friends, it also led to additional income. Having their items packed nicely, taking good photos for promotion, and offering free delivery are part of the simple formula to get numerous customers and referrals as well. In fact, some of the volunteers and staff continued their “online business journey” until today, even the safety protocols were relaxed a bit. Interest in urban gardening boomed and created the so-called “plantitos and plantitas”. The Shrine of Jesus’ staff for example created their gardening project at the back of the convent. They started planting pechay, mustasa, sitaw and sili around June of last year. Then they added other plants in their garden and have since been harvesting okra, ampalaya, bell pepper, talong, saging, malunggay and kalabasa too.
“Naisipan naming mag-tanim kasi wala namang mga Misa noong panahon na iyon, kaya may extra kaming time at nakakatuwa rin na makakita na may nagiging bunga yung mga halamang tinanim namin,” said Bikbok Saurin, one of the sacristans of the Shrine of Jesus. Some experts say horticultural therapy, or the engagement of a person in gardening and plant-based activities that aim to achieve specific goals, helps the individual to beat mental illnesses such as depression, stress, apathy, and even loneliness. In general, one of the advantages of being at home during quarantine is finally having more bonding time with the family. Furthermore, it helps many people to have peace and quiet moments with themselves. As Rev. Msgr. Bobby Canlas, rector of the Shrine of Jesus said in one of his homilies, “During this lockdown, we are also asked to kneel down and pray more to God and seek His refuge during this pandemic.”
Shrine volunteers and staff learn to grow their own food, among other pursuits.
The MASTER | 13
Tuloy na tuloy pa rin ang Pasko, kasama ang mga retired at elderly priests by Sr. Emie Dolina
“Wala na ba tayong party?” This was the lament of Msgr. Salvador Jose. I saw the sadness in his eyes, as I handed to him the Shrine of Jesus’ Christmas package from Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas and the FREPS (Friends of the Retired and Elderly Priests). Through the years during Christmas season, Msgr. Bobby Canlas, rector of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, would organize and invite the retired and elderly priests to the Shrine of Jesus for their traditional Eucharistic celebration, agape and bonding. The get-together is Msgr. Bobby’s way of expressing his love and gratitude to the priests for dedicating their lives in faithful service to God and His Church. Our retired and elderly priests always look forward to this event each year and, together with the FREPS, the occasion is always happy, fulfilling, and meaningful. Though it was truly disheartening not to be able to celebrate the annual occasion in 2020, Msgr. Bobby, despite the scare of the pandemic and the restrictions that go with it, found ways to continue the gift-giving tradition
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and, together with the FREPS, packed Christmas treats as early as November for delivery to the retired and elderly priests. And since the joy of Christmas cannot be put on hold, gift giving will continue minus the gathering. Fiftyfive Christmas packages were delivered to the priests within NCR and far-flung areas like Sorsogon and Cagayan. Our priests deserve our continuing love and care, especially those who are now in the sunset of their lives, as they continue their journey through life, for their untiring care and guidance and as a way to thank them. As I bid Msgr. Jose good day, I told him, “Tuloy na tuloy pa din po ang Pasko,” and he smiled with glitter in his eyes. All the priests who received the Christmas packages expressed their gratitude to Msgr. Bobby for still remembering them in this time of pandemic.
The retired elderly priests cheerfully accept the gifts that Msgr. Bobby C. Canlas and the Shrine volunteers packed with love.
The MASTER | 15
Mental health tips to help us cope in a pandemic by Sr. Emie Dolina
The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for a year now and many of us have been overwhelmed because of the sudden unsettling big changes in our lives, compromising our mental wellness. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being and affects how we think, feel and act, and determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Continuing difficulties, long-term unemployment, prolonged stress and long-term isolation and loneliness, as in this time of pandemic, can lead to severe emotional, behavioral and physical health problems. Having a good mental health allows people to realize their full potential, work productively, and make meaningful contributions to society. And since our being is composed of mind (psychological), body (physical and emotional) and soul (spiritual), it is essential to maintain a balance of these three aspects of well-being. The following health tips can help us cope with our current situation. A. For the body: 1. Be physically active. Regular exercise lowers body stress hormones, such as cortisol and can improve sleep quality, boost confidence, and promote well-being. It can also help lower stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins, which improve one’s mood, and builds self-image. 2. Eat well. Good and nutritious food, i.e., fruits and vegetables, foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon and dark green leafy vegetables, will not only boost immune system but also help reduce anxiety and depression.
Mental health is inextricably linked to physical health.
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B. For the mind: 1. Be socially active. Stay connected with family, relatives, and friends. Social support from family and friends can help a person through stressful times through sense of belonging and self-worth. Spending time with friends helps release oxytocin, which is a natural stress reliever. 2. Aromatherapy. Use of essential oils may help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and improve sleep. 3. Sleep more. A well-rested body greatly improves one’s mood and well-being. C. For the soul: 1. Pray more and worry less. Staying connected with God will bring peace to one’s body and soul. Pray more for others, especially those who badly need prayers. 2. Be happy and make others happy by being kind and compassionate. Reach out to those in need, especially the sick, the hungry, and the unemployed. Helping others will not only make the recipient happy but the benefactor happier. Happiness reduces the stress response and tension by relaxing one’s muscles. 3. Give thanks. Be grateful in whatever situation you find yourself in. Be grateful for the gift of staying alive. Others aren’t as lucky.
Easter greetings around the world by Bro. Leo Mascariñas
Easter Sunday is the most important date in the Christian church. In the Bible, it is the day when Mary Magdalene found an empty tomb in the cave in which Jesus had been placed following his death by crucifixion on the previous Friday. It signifies the end of the 40 days of Lent, meaning Christians who gave up something during lent to signify Jesus’ time in the wilderness, can indulge themselves again .This year, it falls on Sunday, April 4, 2021. It is not a public holiday and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Philippines. People all around the world greet each other on this day. Before the Covid 19 pandemic, greetings were always done with a kiss or a hug. This year though, this can still be done but we have to follow certain health protocols like social distancing, wearing of face mask and face shield, etc. If you are wondering how people from other countries greet each other on this day, here are some of the common languages used by them to say Happy Easter!
Albanian – Gezuar Pashket Hebrew – Chag pesach same’ach Arabic – Fish sa’id / El Maseeh Qam Hindi – Subh Istar Chinese – Fu huo jie kuai le Italian – Buona Pasqua Croatian – Sretan Uskrs Indonesian – Selamat Paskah Czech – Vesele Velikonoce Lithuanian – Linksmu Velyku Danish – Glædelig Paske / God paske Latvian – Priecigas Lieldienas Dutch – Gelukkig Paasfest / Vrolijk Pasen Maltese – LGhid it-tajjeb English – Happy Easter Norwegian – God paske French – Joyeuses Pâques Polish – Szczęśliwej Wielkanocy Filipino – Maligayang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay Portuguese – Feliz Páscoa Finnish – Hyvaa Paasiaista / Iloista paasiaista Romanian – Paşte Fericit German – Frohe Ostern Russian – Schtsjastlivyje Paschi Greek – Kalo Pascha Spanish – Felices Pascuas Hungarian – Boldog Husveti Unnepeket Swedish – Glad Pask Turkish – Mutlo (eller Hos) Paskalya
Philippians 3:10-11 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. The MASTER | 17
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2021 SHRINE OF JESUS LENTEN & EASTER ACTIVITIES
“Nararanasang Sakripisyo Ngayong Pandemya, Pakiki-isa kay Hesus na para sa atin ay Lubusang Nagdusa” ACTIVITY 1 Date Venue Time
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BURNING OF PALMS February 16, 2021 - Tuesday Shrine Driveway 6:30 PM ASH WEDNESDAY - IMPOSITION OF ASHES February 17, 2021 Shrine During the 5:00 PM & 6:30 PM Masses EVERY FRIDAY EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION AND WAY OF THE CROSS All Fridays of the Lenten Season (February 19, 26, March 5, 2021 - Inside the Church / March 12, 19, 26, 2021 Outside the Church) Shrine / Church Vicinity Immediately after the 6:00 PM Mass SHRINE’S LENTEN RECOLLECTION “Nararanasang Sakripisyo Ngayong Pandemya, Pakiki-isa kay Hesus na para sa atin ay Lubusang Nagdusa” March 20, 2021 - Saturday Shrine 7:00 PM Recollection Master:
Rev. Fr. Cris Robert Cellan, SSP Society of Saint Paul Makati City
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PALM SUNDAY BLESSING AND MASS March 28, 2021 Shrine Facade 8:30 AM (Blessing of Palms)
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MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER April 01, 2021 - Maundy Thursday Shrine 5:30 PM
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PROCESSION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT TO ALTAR OF REPOSE April 01, 2021 - Maundy Thursday Shrine Immediately after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper
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GOOD FRIDAY VENERATION OF THE CROSS April 02, 2021 - Good Friday Shrine 3:00 PM (Visita Ecclesia ends at 10:00 pm) BLESSING OF FIRE AND EASTER VIGIL MASS April 03, 2021 - Black Saturday Shrine Façade Ramp 7:30 PM EASTER VIGIL COMMUNITY SINGING April 11, 2021 - Black Saturday Shrine Before the Final Blessing of the Easter Vigil Mass CONCELEBRATED EASTER SUNDAY MASS April 04, 2021 - Easter Sunday Shrine 10:30 AM