I became really conscious of the Lenten Season in my High School. My Dad had a Tagalog (National Language) version of the Senaculo Passion Play. When we transferred to the province of my Dad in the late 70’s, my Dad with his brother translated the whole play into the local dialect, Waraynon. I remember the many nights and weekends we went to my Dad’s hometown Tolosa, Leyte (18 miles away from our home) for the practices, and sometimes we would bring and serve snacks to the participants of the play. The Senaculo Passion Play eventually became one of the highlights of Holy Week. People from other towns came to watch the play on Good Friday from 11:00am-1:00pm at the town’s plaza, just before the Siete Palabras, The Seven Last Words. So that doing Lent in those years was so memorable and full of sacrifices. We were reminded always of fasting, abstinence, and the daily Stations of the Cross.READ MORE
We all have our mountains to climb, mountains to find peace and moments with God in prayer. In the Old Testament the mountain was always a place of an encounter with God. Abraham offered Isaac at the mountain of Moriah. Moses encountered Yahweh at Mt. Sinai, and in the Gospel this Sunday, at Mt. Tabor.
In the Transfiguration, Jesus went up to the mountain to pray. After ministering to the people by healing, expelling demons and preaching, he stopped all his activities and escaped to a secluded mountain to pray, to commune with His Father. While Jesus was praying, He was Transfigured and His face changed in appearance. Then, oblivious of Peter, James and John, He entered into a deep conversation or total communion with the Father. He poured His heart out to the Father. Knowing the heavy cross (of Jerusalem) lay beyond the horizon, Jesus was terrified, “Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass me by.”READ MORE
Much has been said recently on the Pope’s declaring a Year of Mercy for the Church.
It’s been embraced enthusiastically by Catholics throughout the world who are making pilgrimages to Rome or their own Cathedrals to pass through the Door of Mercy as a sign of the spiritual exodus to which Pope Francis is calling us during this special year of grace.
But in some places it has also been receiving resistance, intentional neglect, or plain disregard because of a misunderstanding of what Pope Francis and the Church mean by mercy.READ MORE
A sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible reality. Matrimony is a sacrament and as such it is a sign to the world of the invisible God living in our midst - the living God who bears fruit in the lives of two people. They are a continual sign of His Power in the world. There is special grace and power within every couple God has joined together. Everything they do singly or together is a living out of their sacrament. Simple things like washing dishes, running a sweeper, driving to work, struggling to make a living, budgeting a small salary to meet big expenses - yes, these and the other facets of life together, have power hidden within them to make them holy. Married life is the ground of holiness, love is the seed planted by God. Life together with its agonies and joys, pain and sacrifices, frustrations and tensions, moments of exultation and despair, all act as the rain and sun, thunder and lightning on a young sprout.READ MORE
VATICAN CITY — In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis said the process of engagement is essential for any couple on their way to marriage, since it not only allows love to mature, but helps future spouses deepen their knowledge of one another.
“Marriage, as a vocation from God, is not just a relationship based on attraction and feelings, of a moment, of something short. It requires a journey,” the Pope told pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square for his May 27 general audience. The journey of marriage “establishes a very strong and lasting partnership, which makes two lives one, a true miracle of human freedom and the grace of God,” he said, adding that such a partnership “is not improvised overnight.READ MORE
Why does the Catholic Church require an intended spouse, who is divorced but not Catholic, to obtain an annulment before marrying in the Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church respects marriage between one man and one woman and presumes that they are valid even if the marriage was performed at a Las Vegas drive-through chapel. Thus, for example, it considers the marriages of two Protestant, Jewish, or even nonbelieving persons to be binding for life. The Church requires a declaration of nullity to establish that an essential element was missing in that previous union preventing it from being a valid marriage.
This is often a difficult and emotional issue. If the intended spouse comes from a faith tradition that accepts divorce and remarriage, it may be hard for them to understand why they must go through the Catholic tribunal process. Couples in this situation may find it helpful to talk with a priest or deacon. To go through the process can be a sign of great love of the non-Catholic for their intended spouse.READ MORE
How long does the process take for a formal case?
It can vary from diocese to diocese, however here in Phoenix it often takes 24 months or longer for formal cases where witness testimony is required. No respondent can prevent the annulment process from going forward even if they object to the process.
How can a couple married for many years present a case?
The tribunal process examines the events leading up to, and at the time of the wedding ceremony, in an effort to determine whether what was required for a valid marriage was ever brought about. The length of common life is not proof of validity but a long marriage does provide evidence that a couple had some capacity for a life-long commitment. It does not prove or disprove the existence of a valid marriage bond.
Why does the Church require a divorced Catholic to obtain a declaration of nullity before re-marrying in the Church?
The Church presumes that marriages are valid and lifelong; therefore, unless the ex-spouse has died, Church law requires the divorced Catholic to obtain a declaration of nullity before re-marrying. The tribunal process seeks to determine if something essential was missing from the couple’s relationship from the moment of consent, that is, the time of the wedding. If so, then the Church can declare that a valid marriage was never actually brought about on the wedding day.
What does the tribunal process involve?
There are many types of cases that may be presented to the tribunal, each reflecting different circumstances of the marriage. Depending on the type of case, the length of time for the tribunal to arrive at a decision varies from as little as two months to as much as 3 years. The information in the next paragraph reflects what is known as a formal case.
Since early September, there has been much discussion among Catholics regarding the Holy Father’s announcement that significant changes were being made to Canon Law regarding how and why the annulment process is managed. In the two documents whose titles in English are “The Lord Jesus, Clement Judge” and “Clement and merciful Jesus”, Pope Francis wrote this:
“It is therefore the concern for the salvation of souls that, today as yesterday, remains the supreme objective of the institutions and laws, and drives the Bishop of Rome to offer to the Bishops this reform document, insofar as they share with him the task of the Church to protect unity in faith and in discipline regarding marriage, the cornerstone and origin of the Christian family.READ MORE
Happy Birthday Jesus!
When I was growing up, every time December arrived I looked forward to Christmas with so much anticipation. The Belen, Nativity scene in our parish church would be out on the first day of Misa de Gallo, Dawn Mass starting on the 16th of December. This nine-day novena Mass signals Christmas really is just around the corner. But there is someone missing in the Nativity scene because the Baby Jesus is not yet there. In the vigil Mass, a family is given the honor of bringing the image of the Baby Jesus and placing it into the crib of the Belen, the Nativity scene. I remember our church exploding with light and decorations (lantern stars parol, Christmas lights and trees) when the empty crib finally received the Baby Jesus.READ MORE
Last November 24, 2014, Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Exhortation entitled Evangelii Gaudium The Joy of the Gospel exhorting the whole church to rediscover the many joys found in the Gospel. As we approach the Christmas season after the 4th Sunday of Advent, let us review this Apostolic Exhortation and see the wonderful things it can bring us this season.
How do we share the Joy of the Gospel? The way the Gospel talks about the Kingdom of God at first seems odd; small seed (mustard seed) or like yeast (Mt. 13:31,33) both of which starts small. Meaning, the Kingdom of God starts in humble beginnings, like the coming of the Baby Jesus, the Emmanuel in a simple manger. But when properly nourished or mixed can grow to be the biggest of all trees or dough for bread. In Jesus, the Kingdom of God is the humble presence in the life of the people, a dialogue of life, between God and His people.READ MORE
Dec 8, 2015, the church begins a yearlong celebration of the ExtraordinaryJubilee of Mercy, announced by Pope Francis during a Lenten penance service lastMarch. United in heart and spirit with our Holy Father, let us enter this Holy yearfull of confidence in the inexhaustible mercy of the Father.READ MORE
“The word of God was spoken to John son of Zechariah.” (Lk. 3:2) Meaning John was chosen, God called him from the wilderness. John did not belong to the class of higher learning; he was not a scholar, a teacher or a rabbi; he was a simple man who lived in the desert, committed to God in prayer. He prepared for this call by organizing his life in silence with God. He needed that silence to open his heart to God and to free it from all worldly influences. In the modern context, we all need our desert, maybe a place (room, chapel, church or a garden), a space or a moment with God to silence our hearts and just listen to God, so His WORDS will be spoken to us like John.READ MORE