ST. MARK: EVANGELIST

by Peachy Maramba

Much that is written about St. Mark, an early Jewish convert to Christianity in Jerusalem during the apostolic age, is based on tradition rather than actual history. His mother is said to be a certain Mary who was a wealthy and influential woman whose home in Jerusalem was a meeting place of sorts for the apostles (Acts 12:12,25. However, it is improbable that her house was the scene of the Last Supper as some writers suggest.

While Mark was not one of the 12 apostles of Christ, he was almost certainly among the 70 identified in the Book of Acts. One tradition holds that Mark is probably a cousin to Barnabas, who, together with St. Paul, took him as their assistant on their first missionary service to Cyprus. However, when they arrived at Perga in Pamphylia, for some reason Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13), causing evident displeasure to Paul. Thus, when Barnabas asked that Mark accompany them on a second missionary journey, Paul refused. This led to the break-up of Barnabas and Paul, so when Barnabas took Mark to his native land of Cyprus, Paul took Silas to Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:38).

It is thought that somehow Mark later recovered his lost standing with Paul by the time that Paul was taken as prisoner in Rome the first time. He must have proven so trustful and helpful that Paul mentions him in his letters as one of his fellow workers (Philem 24) who was “very useful in serving me” (2 Tim: 4:11). Also, in Paul’s second Roman captivity just before he was martyred, Paul writes to Timothy enjoining him to “take Mark and bring him with you for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”

Mark was also associated with St. Peter, who affectionately called him “my son” (1 Peter 5:13). This close spiritual relationship between them led Papias, a second-century Christian writer and bishop of Hierapolis in Asia Minor, to suggest that Mark was indeed the author of the Gospel narrative thought to be the first, written at around the year 70 (although this proposition continues to be the subject of scholarly debate).

Mark’s Gospel, while ostensibly the Story of Jesus, is a handbookof discipleship that teaches us that to be a Christian is not merely saying that Jesus is Christ but is a matter of “patterning one’s own life on Jesus’ example of self- sacrificing love.” Whether or not it is the earliest, his gospel is the shortest and thought to be the simplest and clearest of the four Gospels, and may have been a model for Matthew and Luke.

Another ancient tradition says that, having finished writing his Gospel, Mark set sail for Alexandria in Egypt where he devoted himself to the work of teaching others “what he had learned from the apostles of Christ.” He lived in Alexandria for some time, eventually becoming its first bishop. He also set up the first Christian school there which became very famous. From the 4th century A.D. the Alexandrian see has been called cathedra Marci.

The Roman Martyrology tells us that: “Later . . . he was arrested for his faith, bound with cords and grievously tortured by being dragged over stones. Then while shut up in prison, he was comforted by the visit of an angel, and finally, after our Lord Himself had appeared to him, he was called to the heavenly kingdom in the eighth year of Nero.”

His body was supposedly brought to the city of Venice, Italy from Alexandria early in the ninth century. Whether this is true or not, St. Mark has been honored since time immemorial as Venice’s principal patron saint and his supposed relics are enshrined in the magnificent golden basilica of St. Mark’s Cathedral.

As published in the April 23 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

Divine Mercy and the Blessed Virgin Mary

by Clarisse Gomez

The greatest message of love in our modern age did not come from tales of world leaders or testimonies of famous men. Rather, it emerged from the spiritual life of a young Polish girl named Helena Kowalska. She came from a poor family, and although she felt called to the religious vocation, she couldn’t for lack of resources. One evening while enjoying herself at a dance, Jesus suddenly appeared before her, covered in wounds. He asked her, “How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting me off?” Struck by this image, she immediately left the dance and went to a Church to pray. Shortly after this incident, she left for Warsaw and joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. From then on she was Sister Maria Faustina.

Even as she matured in faith as a religious sister, she remained ordinary in the eyes of others. However, when she was 26 years old, Jesus began to appear her to share His message of divine mercy. With the guidance of Fr. Sopoćko, her spiritual director, she started keeping a diary where she documented her visions. In these visions, Jesus asked that Faustina share the message of the Divine Mercy to the world, and that a special celebration be instituted by the Church.

For several decades, the message of the Divine Mercy existed in relative obscurity, and remained unrecognized by the Church until a young polish cardinal named Karol Wojtyla was elected pope and shared the Divine Mercy to the world. A central motif of Pope John Paul II’s papacy was God’s Mercy, and he preached that Mercy was the key to understanding the mysteries of God, of man, and all of creation.

Through the Divine Mercy, Jesus wants us to rediscover God’s great love for us. In this message, Jesus encourages us to trust in Him, and to share His mercy with other people. He says, “As often as you want to make me happy, speak to the world about my great and unfathomable mercy” (Diary 164). In response to His great love, He calls us to trust in him, to live and love without fear—that He may lead us to a complete peace.

“The graces of my mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust.” (Diary 1578)

Today we are surrounded by a culture of death, sin, and despair. Despite this, God calls us to trust in Him, and to return to the Father who forgives all sins, and who sets all things right. Furthermore, He demands of us acts of mercy, “which are to arise out of love for Me (Diary 742).” These may be exercised in three ways: by deed, by word, and by prayer. He asks us not to shrink from this; He calls us to not only rest in the consolation of this message, but to unleash the Divine Mercy upon the world.

“Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful heart, and I will fill it with peace. Tell [all people], my daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself.” (Diary 1074)

As published in the April 23 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

The Solemnity of the Divine Mercy

by Dennis Montecillo

In this edition, we feature two timely articles featuring important events in the Catholic Church – the Feast of the Divine Mercy (April 23), and the Feast of St. Mark (April 25).

Clarisse Gomez does a wonderful job of providing us with a synopsis of the life of Sister Maria Faustina, and how Jesus appeared to her over a period of time to deliver the message of the Divine Mercy that resulted in St. Pope John Paul II declaring the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.

While I grew up Catholic (for the most part, dutifully attending Sunday mass at San Antonio), I didn’t take my faith seriously or read anything related to my faith until about 15 years ago. After a significant event that changed my life (a story for another day), I went on a reading rampage! One of the books that had a profound effect on me was Sister Faustina’s diary. As I recall, I was so taken by the book that I read it cover to cover in two sittings.

Peachy Maramba tells us about the life of St. Mark the Evangelist and his relationship with two giants of the Church, St. Peter and St. Paul. His clean, concise Gospel has been a favorite of Bible study groups for centuries.
It is perhaps uncoincidental that, in the period leading up to his feast day, the Coptic Orthodox Church that pays special veneration to St. Mark has been in the news. The tragic events on Palm Sunday drew attention once again to the part of the world wherein Christians continue to be persecuted.

It is not well known that there are some Coptic Christians who are in communion with the Catholic Church. These Christians follow the accepted Alexandrian rite in the Coptic language (derived from ancient Egyptian) in its liturgy.

As published in the April 23 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

HOLY WEEK SPECIAL

SEDER MEAL

Seder Meal Paul & Caron Macasaet & FamilySeder Meal 2

PALM SUNDAY

HOLY THURSDAY

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VISITA IGLESIA

Visita Iglesia 1Visita Iglesia 2

GOOD FRIDAY

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The Seven Last Words:

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The Santo Entierro Procession:
Good Friday Santo Entierro ProcessionGood Friday Santo Entierro Procession 2

EASTER VIGIL


EASTER SALUBONG

As published in the April 23 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

IN HIS RIGHT TIME

by Totoy Abiog

Apr 16 Abiogfamily

My wife and I got married in Cebu. We were part of a team who were posted by our employer to set up a branch there. We have hoped to have children right after marriage however God had other plans for us. We waited and waited until the day came when we learned that my wife has conceived – after five long years of waiting. We were so happy and excited to welcome the new addition to our family. Later on, we learned we’re having a girl! After a visit to the doctor, we were told that the baby could already hear us from the womb. So we bought some nursery rhyme books which we religiously read to her every night. On my wife’s fifth month of pregnancy, she experienced a spotting. The doctor advised her to be on full bed rest. She had to have a nurse as she was not allowed to even walk to the bathroom. Two weeks passed and she experienced bleeding. She was rushed to the hospital and prematurely gave birth to our baby girl. Our baby came out alive but only for about an hour. We even heard her cried, and watched her little fingers moved until she breathed her last. No one could save her. The doctors told us that our baby was too young to survive. My wife was devastated and heartbroken. I, too, was very sad and bitter to the point of questioning God’s plan for us. My wife would cry everyday and I would silently cry with her. We could not understand why it had to happen to us. We were both ready to be parents.

Then, we moved back to Manila the year after my wife’s miscarriage. Just two months after, my wife conceived once again. It’s another girl. Our eldest daughter is now fourteen years old. She is kind-hearted, loving and caring. She takes up voice lessons and paints during her free time. After four years, again, we gladly welcomed another baby girl who is now 10 years old. She is independent-minded and acts like a matured lady. She now takes up ballet and adores her big sister very much.

Our two girls are living miracles that we never thought we would have. Whenever my wife and I have unanswered prayers, all we have to do is to look at our daughters. They are reminders that God will never abandon us. Surely, my wife’s miscarriage was a heart breaking trial for us. But in His right time, the Lord blessed us with two beautiful girls and we are so grateful for this. The pain of losing our little Angel will never be forgotten but we have learned to move forward and trust that the Lord will always be with us. God always knows best.

As published in the April 16 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

How First Holy Communion Will Change My Life

by Emma Georgina C. Ramos

Apr 16 - Emma

First Holy Communion will change my life because Jesus will travel into my body and he will guide me wherever I go. Since Jesus is now with me, I need to behave. I must follow The Ten Commandments and do lots of works of mercy!

As I receive Jesus’ body and blood, I will praise God and ask forgiveness for my sins. I know I should try to not sin because it’s like sticking a nail in Jesus’ hand when he was crucified. Jesus died for my sins and it was painful. When I look at the cross, I remember Jesus’ sacrifice. He died for us. I am sad because he died. But I am also happy because he freed us from sin.

When I take my First Holy Communion, I will be more aware of my actions. I will try my best to help my yayas, follow my parents, and play with my little brother whenever he asks me to. In school, I will try to solve fights that happen with my friends when we play games. I will help anyone who gets hurt.

I will do all these because these are the things that Jesus did when he was alive on earth and I want to follow his example. My sacrifice is small compared to Jesus’ sacrifice. But I think that as long as I do the right thing, Jesus will love what I am doing.

Jesus is our Savior and I am so happy to be receiving him during First Holy Communion!

As published in the April 16 issue of the Parish Bulletin.