SAN PEDRO BAUTISTA, OFM: BUILDING UP THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN THE PHILIPPINES by Jonathan Cruz

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In 1584, Pedro Bautista y Belasquez arrived in the Philippines at the age of 42. He was a man of many talents:he was a famedorator in his native Spain, a philosophy professor, and an excellent musician.

His first assignment was to teach music the town of Sta. Ana, Manila (then called Namayan and later Sta. Ana de Sapa). His lessons brought togetherboth children and adults alike from the surrounding towns and parishes. He later served as Guardian of San Francisco de Manila and as parish priest of Lumban, Laguna. By 1586, he was electedCustos or superior of all Franciscans in the Philippines.

During his term, Pedro Bautista and his friars spread over hundreds of kilometers from Bulacan to Sorsogon preaching the Gospel, evangelizing, and building up Christ’s Church.

He was the moving spirit behind the founding of many towns in Morong, Camarines, Laguna, and Bulacan.He also rebuilt a stone church in Lumban, Laguna, formed a special group for the evangelization of the Japanese in Paco, Manila, built a novitiate and convent called NuestraSeñora de Monteceli (then more popularly know as San Francisco Del Monte, and know renamed as Santuario de San Pedro Bautista in Quezon City), built hospitals in Los Baños and Cavite, and helped establish Colegio de Santa Potenciana in Intramuros, Manila. Under his term as Custos was the Philippines erected as the Franciscan Province of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Sixtus V. His termasCustosended in 1591 and he was assigned again as Guardian of Francisco De Manila. He later on resigned from his post but continued on as preacher of the convent.

Pedro Bautista proved to be a very passionate and effective preacher. His preaching ignited the desire of many men to serve God as priests, even inspiring a member of the Governor General’s household who later on became the first Chronicler of the Province. He once stood on a stone bench and while holding a wooden cross in his hand asked the crowd, “Does anyone want to be a soldier of this band? The Captain is Christ. The Lieutenant is St. Francis, the war is with hell, the wages – Glory.”

He was also actively involved with many of the issues that plagued Philippine society such as those of the taxes or tributes to the colonial government from the natives, reports of government abuses, and was consulted by the Governor General on different occasions regarding violent civil outbreaks and the like. He even“preached a scathing sermon on the injustices being committed by the government, stating that unless the government policies were changed, it would lead to open rebellion (Schoenstein).” In 1593, he was sent as a missionary to Japan where he and his fellow catechists and missionaries were eventually martyred in 1597. We celebrate his feast day on February 5.

San Pedro Bautista spent nine years in the Philippines and in that time, he dedicated his life to building up the Church of Christ in as many ways as he could. Let us pause and reflect on how we too are building, contributing, and sharing the Church with those around us and for the future generations.

Sources: “San Pedro Bautista in the Philippines” by Fr. Erwin Schoenstein, OFM; “The Life of San Pedro Bautista” by Fr. Andres B. Rañoa, OFM

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CALENDAR OF SAINTS FOR THE WEEK

May 25: St. Gregory VII, pope
Hildebrand was born in Tuscany about the year 1028. He was educated at Rome and entered the monastic life. He helped the popes of his time through many missions on behalf of Church reform, and in 1073 ascended to the chair of St. Peter
under the name of Gregory VII. Besieged by King Henry IV, he died a refugee at Salerno in 1085.

May 25: Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, virgin
St. Mary Magdalene was born at Florence in 1566 and after a religious upbringing she entered the Carmelites. She led a solitary life of prayer and self-denial, praying fervently for Church reform and directed her fellow sisters on the road to perfection. She was blessed by many gifts from God and died in 1607.

May 26: Philip Neri, priest
St. Philip Neri was born at Florence in 1515. He went to Rome and began to work with young men among whom he fostered Christian life and formed an association for the poor and the sick. Ordained to the priesthood in 1551, he founded the Oratory where spiritual reading, singing and works of charity were practiced. He excelled in his love of neighbor and in evangelical simplicity along with a joyous service to God. St. Philip died in 1595.

May 27: Augustine of Canterbury, bishop
St. Augustine was sent in 597 from St. Andrew’s monastery in Rome by St. Gregory the Great to preach the Gospel in England. He was aided there by King Ethelbert and chosen bishop of Canterbury. He converted many to the faith and established many dioceses, especially in the kingdom of Kent. He died on May 26 about the year 605.

Reference: Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours. Published and distributed by Paulines Publishing House, Daughters of St. Paul, 2650 F.B. Harrison St., 1300 Pasay City, Phil. 13th printing 2010. ISBN 971-590-357-6.

Our Lady of Fatima Feast Day May 13

Dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima1
On May 13, 1917, in Portugal, Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three children in a place called Cova da Iria.
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It was at noon, and the children were shepherding sheep. Suddenly there was lightning, and the children, thinking that it was going to rain, began to run. Then, just above a holm oak tree, they saw a beautiful lady made of light, holding a rosary in her hand.

Our Lady of Fatima spoke to the children and told them not to be afraid. “I come from Heaven,” she said. The oldest of the children was Lucía who was ten years old. She asked Our Lady of Fatima, “Will I go to Heaven?” “Yes,” Our Lady of Fatima answered. “And Jacinta,” who was her seven-year-old cousin, “Will she go to heaven too?” “Yes,” answered Our Lady of Fatima. “And Francisco,” the brother of Jacinta who was nine years old, “Will he go to Heaven?” “Yes,” answered Our Lady of Fatima, but he will have to say many rosaries.”
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Our Lady of Fatima asked the children if they would pray and make sacrifice for sinners, and if they would come to this same place on the thirteenth of each month for five months. The children agreed and Lucía said “Yes.” Only Lucía spoke to Our Lady of Fatima, the others listened.

This was the beginning of a new life for the children, for their sole purpose in life was to pray and make sacrifices for sinners. They would give their lunch to the sheep as a sacrifice, and perform other acts of mortification.
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The children noted that the beautiful Our Lady of Fatima was sad, and they were sad also because of Our Lady of Fatima’s sadness. On June 13, Our Lady of Fatima appeared again to the children. The conversation was to pray and make sacrifices and to pray the Rosary.

On July 13, Our Lady of Fatima appeared again and conveyed a secret to the children composed of three parts. The first two parts were revealed by Lucía in her memoirs in 1941 and the third part was released by Pope John Paul II in May 2000.

Regarding the first part, the vision of hell, Sister Lucía writes:
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“Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant.

“How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother who had already prepared us by promising, in the first apparition, to take us to heaven? Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
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“The beautiful Lady proceeded to reveal the second part of the secret. We then looked up at Our Lady who said to us so kindly and so sadly: ‘You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI.

‘When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays.
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‘If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.

‘In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved.’

”After Our Lady had revealed the secret to the children, she asked them to include a special prayer at the end of each decade of the Rosary.

‘Oh my Jesus, forgive us ours sins, save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.”
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On August 13, 1917, the three children were kidnapped by the mayor of Villa Nova de Ourem to whose district Fatima belonged.

The mayor was atheistic as were many in Portugal. In separate conversations with each of the three children, the mayor threatened death if they did not confess everything as a lie. However, the children did not give in to the mayor and professed the truth of Our Lady of Fatima. As a result, the children could not meet Our Lady of Fatima because they were held in jail with common criminals for the night.

But according to witnesses, the children converted the men in the jail, and they all prayed in the cell.
In a previous apparition, Our Lady of Fatima had promised the children that on October 13, 1917, the final apparition, she would reveal her name and perform a great miracle to vindicate the truth of her apparitions.
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On August 19, 1917, when Our Lady of Fatima appeared unexpectedly, she told the children that on account of the behavior of the mayor, the miracle would not be as great as was her original intention. However, as we will see, it was truly spectacular.
On September 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima appeared over the holm oak tree, the site of the first apparition.

Now, in the final apparition at Fatima, which took place on October 13, 1917, Lucía had publicly announced that Our Lady of Fatima would perform a great miracle to testify to the truth of the apparitions.

From the previous day, many people were traveling toward the area. There were not only those with faith but also the atheistic communists and the secular newspaper reporters who were convinced that they would write a story discrediting the entire event as a hoax. Suddenly, it began to rain. The field where people were gathering turned into a field of mud. Seventy thousand people were present to see the miracle.
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At 12 o’clock noon, Lucía pointed up at the sky. “The sun appeared as a disc that gave off various colors and could be looked at without difficulty; it spun like a fireball and looked as if it would fall to the earth.” Suddenly, the sun broke free of its orbit and began to plunge to the earth. All seventy thousand people were in panic. Many were heard to say, “God have mercy on me.”

Then the sun stopped and returned to its place in the sky, and it turned into a beautiful day. People become aware that their clothes were dry.
In addition to those present at the event, others far away also saw the prodigal in the sky. Newspapers reported the sun falling from the sky as, “The Sun Danced.”

Lucía says that during this event, Our Lady of Fatima appeared in the sky with Saint Joseph. Our Lady of Fatima was holding a brown scapular, and 
Saint Joseph was holding the Child Jesus. Our Lady of Fatima said, “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”

During one of the apparitions, Our Lady of Fatima foretold that Jacinta and Francisco would die soon but that Lucía would remain longer to spread devotion to her Immaculate Heart. After the events at Fatima, Our Lady of Fatima continued to appear discreetly to each child individually from time to time.

Francisco died in 1919 and Jacinta in 1920, both from disease.
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When Our Lady of Fatima appeared to Jacinta, she gave her information about her death. “You will die in a hospital, away from your family, alone.” Jacinta’s death was as Our Lady of Fatima said.

Jacinta and Francisco were saints from the first day Our Lady of Fatima appeared to them on May 13, 1917. They gave themselves up to prayer and sacrifice for sinners and prayer for the pope. Once the beautiful Our Lady of Fatima had appeared to them, they lost all interest in the worldly life.

Lucía took the name Sister Maria Lucía of the Immaculate Heart of Mary when she became a Carmelite nun.

In 2000, on May 13 in Fatima, Pope John Paul II beatified Jacinta and Francisco as Blessed of Heaven. Sister Lucía was present.

The third part of the secret given to the children on July 13, 1917, was written by Sister Lucía in 1944, but the text was not revealed until 2000.

On May 13, 1981, there was an assassination attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II. Shortly afterward His Holiness read the third part of the secret of Fatima but chose not to reveal it at that time. Coinciding with the May 13, 2000, Beatification of Jacinta and Francisco, The Holy Father released the third part of the secret.

This part refers to violent hands being laid on a pope and others as well – bishops, priests, men and women religious and various lay people.

Sister Lucía recently said that it now appears ever more clear that the purpose of all the apparitions was to help people to grow more and more in faith, hope and love.

Our Lady of Fatima recalls frequently forgotten values. She reminds us that the future of humankind is in God, and that we are active and responsible partners in creating that future. Our Lady of Fatima wants all of us to stop offending God; the same message as at Lourdes to Saint Bernadette. She reminds us that hell exists.

Ultimately, Our Lady of Fatima asks us to fervently pray the Rosary every day, pray for sinners and the pope, and perform sacrifices in reparation for our sins.
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Arturo Mari-VATICAN

16Sister María Lúcia and Pope John Paul II

Sister María Lúcia of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (nee Lucía de Jesús dos Santos), the oldest of the three children to whom Our Lady of Fatima appeared, died on Sunday, February 13, 2005, at 5:25 P. M. at the age of 97, at the Carmelite Convent of Saint Teresa at Coimbra in Portugal where she was buried for a year at her request so that the nuns could mourn privately. In February, 2006, Sister María Lúcia was reinterred at Fatima.

Pope John Paul II sent a condolence message read at Sister María Lúcia’s funeral attended by hundreds of mourners which said he “…always felt lifted by the daily gift of her prayers, especially in difficult and testing moments of suffering.”

Mel Gibson visited Sister María Lúcia in July of 2004 and gave her a DVD of his movie The Passion of the Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI has fast-tracked Sister Lúcia’s road to sainthood by eliminating the five-year waiting period to start the canonization process.

(from culturalcatholic.org)

April 16 Calendar of Saints

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St. Bernadette Soubirous
Famed visionary of Lourdes.

Feast day: April 16

She was born in Lourdes, France on January 7, 1844. On February 11, 1858, she was granted a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a cave on the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. On February 25, a spring emerged from the cave and the waters were discovered to be of a miraculous nature. On March 25, Bernadette announced that the vision stated that she was the Immaculate Conception, and that a church should be erected on the site. She died on April 16,1879. Bernadette was beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.

From catholic.org

FEBRUARY 11: Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes/World Day of the Sick

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On February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was barely more than lukewarm. But the Blessed Virgin Mary made her an instrument to revitalize the faith of millions of people. In 1862, the Church confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions. Lourdes has become a place of pilgrimage and healing, but even more, of faith. It is Jesus’ healing power performed through the intercession of His beloved mother, the Immaculate Conception.

“For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.”

The message of Mary to Bernadette was a call to personal conversion, prayer and charity. This message still holds true at our present time and age.

February 11 was proclaimed World Day of the Sick by St. Pope John Paul II. For its part, the Health Care Ministry will sponsor a healing mass on Wednesday, February 11 at 7:30 a.m. in the main church.

Sources:americancatholic.org; catholicculture.org

Submitted by the HEALTH CARE MINISTRY

Saints of the Week

January 15
St. Arnold Janssen
Arnold Janssen, a German diocesan priest, founded the Society of the Divine Word in 1875, the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in 1889, and the Holy Spirit Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1896. The mission of the priests and Brothers of the Society of the Divine Word and the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters is to proclaim the Gospel where it has not yet been heard or has not been proclaimed adequately. The mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration is prayerful support for the missionaries.

January 16
Franciscan Martyrs of Morocco
During the General Chapter of 1219 Francis sent a group of six friars to the missions of North Africa. Their names were Vitale, Berardo, Pietro, Accursio, Adiuto and Ottone. Vitale, the superior, fell sick in Spain, and had to abandon his resolve to go to Morocco to evangelize the moors. The others proceeded under the leadership of Berardo. They first went to Seville, in southern Spain, which was occupied by the moors, and preached Christ publicly. They were taken in front of the emir, who gave them freedom to proceed to North Africa. They crossed over to Morocco, and preached in front of the king Miramolin. The king expelled them from his country, but they returned in their resolve to preach the Christian faith. On 16 January 1220, after cruel torments, they were slain by the king himself. Pope Sixtus IV canonized them in 1481. The account of their martyrdom is found in Analecta Franciscana III, pp. 579-596.

References: Franciscan Saints and Mystics; Society of the Divine Word.