Friday, February 28, 2014

One Body, One Spirit

The Body of Christ is one despite that it has many members.  Each member contributes to  help build up the Body of Christ.  When one member sins, all members suffer from this one sin because all are one family and one with each other.  Just as one member of the family is hurt, so all members of the family also feel the pain.  All members of Christ's body is also one with our Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.  One cannot separate Christ's body from His head.      

This is how I see the Body of Christ.  The Neocatechumenal Way is the feet because they go on missions evangelizing around the world.  The Charismatic Catholics is the mouth because they love to sing.  I must admit, I'm impressed with the Charismatic Catholics.  They also have charisms.  The Traditional Catholics are the eyes because they need to see.  

Thus, there are many different members in one Body.  All Catholics in the Body of Christ need one another.  The eye cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you", nor can the feet say to the mouth, "you are not important."  All are important and help one another.  The members of the Body of Christ need the Holy Spirit.  Without the Spirit, the feet becomes lame and cannot walk to evangelize.  Without the Spirit, the mouth becomes mute and cannot sing nor speak the word of God.  Without the Spirit, the eyes becomes blind and can only see the letter of the law. 

All Catholics are the Body of Christ and one family despite our different and various abilities.  When the Apostle Paul persecuted Christians, he later understood that he was also persecuting Christ.  Christ and His Church are one just as husband and wife are one.  Any persecution on His Spouse, the Church, is also a persecution on Christ.    

Acts 9:4  And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou ME?   

And so, one must be careful that one does not do what St. Paul did BEFORE his conversion....persecuting the Church, the Body of Christ.  

Acts 22:3-5  "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city.  I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors.  I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.  I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify.  I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem.

Trusting God and His Church

Whenever I make simple decisions especially at my job, I always use my logic and reason (my mind).  I often look at things in a logical and realistic way.  My heart doesn't often play in any part of the decision making process, and that's my flaw.  However, when it comes to making moral decisions, both my mind and heart has to be on the same wavelength; otherwise, I end up with a lot of frustrations.  When mind and heart are not together, then it becomes easy to fall into sin.  

I once said in an "echo" that if it was up to me, I would have made St. John the leader of the Apostles because he was the only Apostle who was there at the foot of the cross.  Where were the rest?  But God chose St. Peter to be the prince of the Apostles.  Despite that St. Peter denied Christ three times, God knows best.  God chooses the worst of men to entrust the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.  I've learned that it's always best to trust the Catholic Church whenever she makes a decision.  After all, Christ is the Head of the Church, and He will lead her into all truths.  

The decisions I make at work, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the Church.  And most of the time, these decisions are easy to make. Nevertheless, I constantly pray that God guides me because even at work, I need to obey His will.  


Purpose of the Way

I may be wrong, but it appears that some people believe that the Neocatechumenal Way is there to replace the Catholic Church.  This is far from the truth.  The Catholic Church was already built by Christ more than 2000 years ago.  He promised that that the gates of Hell will not prevail over her, and that He will be with her until the end of the age.  

So, why are they fearful that the Way is going to replace something that withstood the test of time?  Where is this fear coming from?  Nothing can topple the Catholic Church. The purpose of the Way is to deepen the faith of the Catholic bring them to a mature faith.  There are over 1 billion Catholics worldwide, and the Neocatechumenal Way is only a very small number of that number.  The members of the Way are Catholics 

Those walking in the Way are contributing to building up the Parish.  There are members who maintain and donated their time to clean and maintain the parish grounds.  Other members contributed by volunteering to be CCD teachers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, and even altar servers in the parish. The Statutes of the Way stated that the members are supposed to attend the parish Mass once a month, but I know for a fact that some of the members in my community attend the parish mass more than once a month.  Some still attend every Sunday while others attend daily mass. 

The Way is not producing priests to perform ONLY the Way's mass.  They also perform the conventional mass in the parish.  The Way is not for everyone. And anyone who is walking in the Way is able to leave the Way if they choose to.        

More False Accusations

It appears that Mr. Tim Rohr and his followers have once again made false accusations about me.  They actually think that I am a lawyer simply because I compared entering the Seminary to entering law school in my response to Anonymous (See weblink below). If I had use the example of medical school or police academy, would they think that I'm a medical doctor or a police officer?   

Who is Diana?

I assure everyone who reads my posts that I am not Jackie Terlaje.  In fact, I don't even know who she.  Is she even walking in the Neocatechumenal Way?  As I stated in my last post "God's Calling", there will be some who will disagree with me.  And I have given my opinions, and a person should not tell me that I have no right to express this opinion.   I believe in freedom of expression, but I also believe that with freedom comes a great deal of responsibility.  This means that I have no problems with your disagreeing with me, but for the sake of discussion, it is always best to express WHY you disagree.   

 The main reason I believe that Mr. Quitugua is not ready for the priesthood is simply because he was more committed into making future plans for himself by ensuring that his class credits are transferable in the event that he decided not to become a priest rather than making a sacrifice and placing his full trust in God.  A Catholic priest understands that he must sacrifice having a wife, family, as well as the material goods of this world. Sometimes, a Catholic priest is called to sacrifice his life (martyrdom) especially in countries where Christians are being persecuted.  Yet, Mr. Quitugua cannot even sacrifice his college credits.   

And if Mr. Quitugua had been walking in the Way, I would still think he is not yet ready for the priesthood.  In the Way, we are taught that God comes first before anything else.  Any "backup plans" is only an indication that the person is not placing his trust in God.  Instead, he is placing his trust more on his "backup plans" in the event that he decided not to join the priesthood.    

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

God's Calling.

Someone asked me to take a look at the letters between Father Adrian and Mr. Aaron Quituga, which was published in Junglewatch.  The person gave me the weblink to those letters, and wanted to know my opinion on it.  

So, here is my opinion, which I'm sure some people will disagree.  Regardless of whether one disagrees or not, the poster did ask my opinion.    

The priesthood is not something one should take lightly.  It is a calling from God.  And when God calls someone to serve Him, He wants 100% from that person.  God is not satisfied with only half of your service nor 99% of it. If one is to serve God as a Catholic priest, this means that one is ready to give up everything.....and yes, that would also include any "backup plans" they may have in mind.  This is what Father Adrian meant when he wrote: "Pray to our Blessed Lady who said 'I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to your word."   "Backup plans" are only there for those who wish to follow their own will rather than our Lord's will.

Matthew 19:27-30  Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you!  What then will there be for us?"  Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or fathers or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.  

The seminary prepares a man for the priesthood, and the Church should not choose a man to go into the seminary based on his ethnicity or because he is Chamorro.  The Church selects them because he feels the calling from God, and has decided to answer that calling with a yes.   

After reading Mr. Quitugua's letters, it appears that upon joining the Seminary, he is not in it 100%.  In other words, he has a backup plan.  He wants to make certain that his credits in the seminary are still counted in the event that he has decided that the priesthood is not for him.  He even asked if the Archdiocese would reimburse him for the money he already spent on a college education.  When God calls men to the priesthood, He wants these men to give Him 100% service to Him. And the man who is called has to answer with either a yes or no, and not put in any backup plans or depend on money.   He either trust God or not.  

It can be very discouraging when one is denied the seminary of his choice; however, Mr. Quitugua should not be discouraged.  God allows things to happen for a reason.  Perhaps, in her wisdom, the Church sees that Mr. Quitugua is not yet ready for the priesthood.  

Perhaps, his best option would be to attend the University of Guam and take courses that could benefit him in the event that he still feels the calling to the priesthood.  For example, he can take up some counseling courses. A priest would need counseling skills when dealing with troubled marriages and/or persons.  And why should he ask to be reimbursed money for taking a counseling class?  In EWTN, Father Gould explained that one of the key ingredients that are essential for future priests is "sacrifice".  Candidates should know that they are giving up marriage, a family, economic wealth, and all the temptations that Jesus went through in the desert.  

Priestly Vocations

As for Father Adrian's letters, I see nothing in those letters making any promises to Mr. Quitugua whatsoever.  Mr. Quitugua had already decided not to attend the Bl. Diego Institute, a local institute, and he was inquiring whether the Archdiocese can sponsor him at Mount Angel Seminary. They gave their answer.  Father Adrian did not say the reason as to why Mr. Quitugua was denied.  For all I know, the possibility exists that he may have seen that Mr. Quitugua is not yet ready for the priesthood. 

According to Mr. Quitugua's letter (my emphasis on bold):  

The idea that came to mind is this: Since the reason for not allowing local seminarians from Guam to have an education abroad is due to lack of financial resources, would the Archdiocese sponsor me to study at Mount Angel Seminary if I were to consume the cost of my education and formation there since I seek a fully accredited seminary?  It would not cost our Archdiocese any money to send me there.  As we discussed, Mount Angel is an accredited institution with a general education program.  They would accept the college credits I have already earned and should I discern that I am not called to priesthood after all, credits will transfer out of them to accredited secular institutions, such as UOG, which ensures that I would still be on track to earning an undergraduate degree.  

Apparently, Mr. Quitugua is more committed to securing his future needs rather than making a sacrifice and placing his full trust in God to take care of his future.  Indeed, he is not ready for the priesthood.   

You Raise Me Up

Dear Brothers and Sisters walking in the Way

Christ said that we will be persecuted, and persecuted we are. Take courage!. Be glad in these sufferings and persecution for it only brings us closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. Do not hate those who hate you, but love them. Remember that Christ also love the Pharisees. Do not persecute those who persecute you, but pray for them. Do not let the old man in us get the better of us. Remember who you are.....the sons and daughters of the living God. Peace be with you and with your spirit! :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Priest Ordained for Guam in 2011

East Boston man ordained priest for Guam
By Pilot staff

Long-time Boston resident Edwin Bushu was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Agana, in the U.S. territory of Guam, by Agana Archbishop Anthony Apuron, OFM Cap. Nov. 19. 

Two of Father Bushu's sisters, six members of his home parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in East Boston and Father Carlos Flor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Revere travelled to the western Pacific island to attend the ordination Mass celebrated at Dulce Nombre De Maria Cathedral-Basilica.Father Bushu, now 67, comes to the priesthood following a long path of life experiences. Raised in Colorado in a family of ten children, Father Bushu wanted to be a missionary religious brother after high school. After a few years in formation, he took a different path, receiving a degree in agriculture from the University of Louisiana. In the early 1970s he worked helping impoverished communities in West Africa. 

After returning to the States, he worked in agriculture and construction before pursuing studies as a registered nurse. As an RN, he worked for several years caring for the priests at Regina Cleri, the archdiocese's residence for retired priests in Boston.

Having lapsed in his Catholic faith over the years, in 1988 he joined the Neocatechumenal Way which he credits with re-introducing him to the love of God. In 1996, hearing of the need for volunteers to announce the Gospel, Father Bushu left his profession and was sent to work as an itinerant catechist with the Neocatechumenal Way to various dioceses in the United States as well as in East Africa. While he was carrying out this missionary work, he was encouraged to consider the vocation to the priesthood. He accepted this invitation and in October 2008 he arrived on Guam to begin his formation at the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary there. Because of his earlier studies, Father Bushu was able to complete his studies for the priesthood in three years and was ordained a deacon in February.

Accompanied by Archbishop Apuron, Father Bushu travelled back to Boston to celebrate a first Mass for parishioners of Our Lady of the Assumption Nov. 27.

Archbishop Apuron has appointed Father Bushu administrator of Santa Bernadita Parish in Yigo, Guam.

The Lawful Pharisees

As I mentioned in my post, The Pharisees, they only see the Law.  They follow the Letter of the Law, but they do not have the Spirit of the Law.  Having no spirit, the Pharisees become blind.  For example, they accuse Jesus of breaking the Law because He healed on the Sabbath Day.  They were blind to the miracles performed by Christ.  

In the same way, those who are against the Way are also blind.  There are miracles being done in the Way, but they dismiss it as human "good works."  To produce large numbers of priests are not human good works.  These are the calling of God.  For someone to give up having a family and a homeland and enjoy doing so is not viewed as "human good works".  Why?  Because this is something that only a few men can do.  To make this kind of sacrifice can only come from the Holy Spirit.  Family missionaries who rejoice as they leave everything behind and emigrate to foreign lands to evangelize can only come from the Holy Spirit because only a few people can do this.  Most people would not leave the securities of their job and the comfort of their home to evangelize in foreign lands.         

Because the Pharisees love the Letter of the Law so much, they were blind to all of Christ's miracles.  They could not see the Holy Spirit at work.  

Mark 3:22-29  And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebul!  By the prince of demons he is driving out demons."  So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables.  "How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.  In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house without first tying him up.  Then he can plunder the strong man's house.  Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, they are guilty of an eternal sin." 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Three More Deacons for Guam

L-R: Redemptoris Mater seminarians Julius Bidemi Akinyemi (Nigeria), Harold Colorado Prieto (Colombia), Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, OFM, Cap., D.D. and Vincenzo Acampora (Italy) after they were publically admitted to candidacy for Holy Orders with the rite known as Admissio ad Ordines on Oct. 28, 2013 at the seminary chapel in Yona. They will be ordained to the diaconate 10 a.m. Saturday, March 1 at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE REDEMPTORIS MATER ARCHDIOCESAN MISSIONARY SEMINARY OF GUAM.


On March 1, 2014, three men from the Archdiocesan Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona will be ordain "deacons." Archbishop Anthony Sablan will ordain Harold Colorado Prieto, Julius Bidemi Akinyemi, and Vincenzo Acampora.  Vincenzo Acampora is from Italy.  Harold Colorado Prieto is from Colombia, and Julius Bidemi Akinyemi is from Nigeria.  

To be a priest is a calling from God.  It's always remarkable how young men are able to give up everything (wife, family, material wealth, etc) to serve God.  Read the fascinating stories of these men willing to serve God.

Three to be ordain deacons.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Neocatechumenal Way Orchestra

The Neocatechumenal Way has an orchestra, which has performed in the United States, Rome, and other places.  :)   

Written Letter From A Priest.

The following letter was written by Father Neil Xavier O'Donoghue, who has a Ph.D in Liturgy.  I copied and pasted only the first page of his letter.  His letter is four pages long; therefore, I provided the weblink below for those who want to read the rest of his letter.   


A Reation to Sandro Magister's conjectures on the liturgy as celebrated in the Neocatechumenal communities.  
Fr. Neil Xavier O'Donoghue, Ph.D in Liturgy 

     A story of the Desert Fathers tells of how some monks came to Abba Agathon and accused him of being a fornicator, of being an arrogant man and of always talking nonsense.  The elderly monk agreed to all charges, however, when his visitors accused him of being a heretic, he vehemently denied this.  When the visitors asked for an explanation of why he refused this last insult and was willing to bear the other calumnies he explained, "The first accusations I take to myself for that is good for my soul.  But heresy is separation from God" (see Benedicta Ward, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers [Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1975], 21).  Over the years I have read many ridiculous suggestions and criticisms about how the liturgy is celebrated in the Neocatechumenal communities and up until now have not felt compelled to write any rebuttal.  However, with the furor raised by Sandro Magister in his chiesa blog (hosted by a generally anti-clerical Italian daily newspaper) and seeing how his theories are being picked up by the main-stream Catholic media, I felt compelled to write this short reaction in the spirit of Abba Agathon. 

     I have been in the Neocatechumenal Way for more than 25 years and it was through this charism that I discovered my love for the Church and a special love for Catholic liturgy (not to mention my vocation to the ministerial priesthood).  

     This love of the liturgy has inspired me to pursue graduate studies in liturgy and I now hold three post-graduate degrees in academic liturgy.  I am a priest in good standing, hold a mandatum from my archbishop and teach liturgy in a Pontifical faculty.  I have personally attended thousands of Eucharistic celebrations in Necatechumenal communities in the United States, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, France, German, Poland, Italy, Spain, Esonia, the Domincan Republic, Mexico, Australia, Guam, Saipan, Taiwan and Israel.  All of these Eucharists have been in conformity with the relevant rubrics and used approved liturgical books of the Roman Rite.    

Father Neil Xavier O'Donogue's Letter.

The Controversial Liturgy of the Way

One of the controversy surrounding the Way is the Liturgy.  The members of the Way have been accused of disobeying the liturgy found in the GIRM.  Actually, the members have been following it, but the Latin traditional Catholics insist that they should follow the conventional Mass rather than the concelebrant Mass, which is found in the GIRM.  Nevertheless, it appears that they oppose everything in the Neocatechumenal Way.  

They most likely would prefer to put an end to the Way and simply have the people attend their Latin traditional Mass, which they feel is more reverent than even the conventional regular Mass. It would not surprise me if they oppose our receiving the Body of Christ by our hands.  Some Latin traditional Catholics feel that receiving the Body of Christ by tongue is more reverent. They feel that receiving it by hand is less reverent. However, almost all liturgical scholars believe that receiving Holy Communion in the hand was the earliest form of practice (See the weblink below):  

Liturgy and Sacrament  

Despite that some Latin traditional Catholics view communion by hand as less reverent, it is a legitimate practice nonetheless as the above article stated.  As a matter of fact, below is a photo of Pope Benedict XVI giving communion by hand on November 7, 2010.

Queen Sofia receives Communion in the hand 01

Furthermore, according to an article I found on the Internet (weblink is provided below):  

The liturgy has evolved over the last 2,000 years, especially in different geographical areas.  Currently there are seven Eastern rites in full communion with the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church.  According to the Catholic News Agency "These rites so listed: Latin, Byzantine, Alexandrian, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite, and Chaldean, are actually families of liturgical expression.  These rites are the descendants of the liturgical practices that originated in centers of Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria."  Since communication was limited, each region developed their own style; the Byzantine liturgy was formed by St. james, and then modified by St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom in the fourth century.  

The Byzantine liturgy includes churches that are Russian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Greek, Ruthenian, Hungarian and Albanian; the Alexandrian Rite, now known as Coptic, is Egyptian, and the Syrian rite is from Syria.  I find these different rites, all approved by the Roman Catholic Church, to be fascinating because there is so much controversy today about the liturgy.

The focus of every Catholic should always be on the Body and Blood of Christ. Unfortunately, some people look at where the candles are located, where the crucifix is placed, and how the flowers look on the altar.  As I've said before, one of the goals of the Neocatechumenal Way is to celebrate in small communities as the Early Christians did.  After being kicked out of the synagogues, the Early Christians celebrated in the homes of people, and their altar was a table.  After all, what family has an "altar" sitting around in their house at that time?  The high altar would be found in the synagogues. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:  

50.  The sacred liturgy does, in fact, include divine as well as human elements.  The former, instituted as they have been by God, cannot be changed in any way by men.  But the human components admit of various modifications, as the needs of the age, circumstance and the good of souls may require, and as the ecclesiastical hierarchy, under guidance of the Holy Spirit, may have authorized,  This will explain the marvelous variety of Eastern and Western rites.  here is the reason for the gradual addition, through successive development, of particular religious customs and practices of piety only faintly discernible in earlier times.  Hence likewise it happens from time to time that certain devotions long since forgotten are revived and practiced anew.  All these developments attest the abiding life of the immaculate Spouse of Jesus Christ through these many centuries.  They are the sacred language she uses, as the ages run their course, to profess to her divine Spouse her own faith along with that of the nations committed to her charge, and her own unfailing love.  They furnish proof, besides, of the wisdom of the teaching committed to her charge, and her own unfailing love.  They furnish proof, besides, of the wisdom of the teaching method she employs to arouse and nourish constantly the "Christian instinct."  

61.  The same reasoning holds in the case of some persons who are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies indiscriminately.  The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration.  But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity.  The more recent liturgical rites likewise deserve reverence and respect.  They, too, owe their inspiration to the Holy Spirit, who assists the church in every age even to the consummation of the world.  They are equally the resources used by the majestic Spouse of Jesus Christ to promote and procure the sanctity of man.

Catholic Encyclopedia 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Thoughtful Catholic??

Someone posted one of my posts on Catholic Answers, which explains why I'm getting some traffic from there.  As I was going through Catholic Answers, I found the following website, which was posted by a poster on Catholic Answers.  The weblink is from the Thoughtful Catholic:

Let's look at the first two paragraphs of what the author, Chuck White said. The bold is my emphasis: 

I'd like to give you some questions to ask the catechists if you find yourself in the third night of the initial catechesis of the Neocatechumenal Way.  On that night, the presentation will probably, at some point turn to the topic of "Natural Religiosity" and "Adult Faith." 

Kiko's approach toward natural religion, which is man's natural inclination toward God, a sense of the sacred, the offering of sacrifice and prayers of supplication, is significantly different from the approach of the Church.  In short, Kiko pits "adult faith" (which is a good and necessary thing) against "natural religion (another good thing) and seeks to replace natural religiosity with adult faith. The Church, on the other hand, teaches that adult faith is actually built on the foundation of natural religion and that grace can perfect it.  

Apparently, we are supposed to believe Chuck White's own catechesis.  In the first place, religion is defined as a set of beliefs and practices.  Man is naturally a religious creature because it was placed in him to seek God, but in his religious behavior, man can display limits and errors.  In his religious behavior, man can be deceived and become vain in his reasonings and serve a false god (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church 844). 

Religion in itself is neither good nor bad, but is dependent on the belief and practice that makes it a good or bad thing.  So, if the person's religion was like that of the Baal's where they sacrificed children to a god, then this religion is viewed as a bad thing.  There is also such thing as a false religion. Religious beliefs of reincarnation is viewed as a false religion because it is contrary to Christian beliefs.  Chuck White stated: The Church, on the other hand, teaches that adult faith is actually built on the foundation of natural religion and that grace can perfect it.  Yet, he does not cite the Catechism nor any biblical source to support this. 

Adult faith is NOT built on the foundation of natural religion.  Faith is a gift from God (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church 162).  Even the Holy Bible says that faith is a gift from God (See Ephesians 2:8).  The seed of faith is first planted in our baptism, and this seed needs to grow into what Kiko calls "an adult faith."  When a child or adult is baptized, their faith is immature.  So, yes, there is such thing as "mature faith" or "adult faith." 

CCC 1253  Baptism is the sacrament of faith.  But faith needs the community of believers.  It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe.  The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop......    

CCC 1254 For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism.  For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises.  Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life.  Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.  

In other words, if the person's faith has not grown after Baptism, then their faith is not an adult faith, but an immature one as St. Paul says in Sacred Scripture:  

1 Corinthians 3:1-7  Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly - mere infants in Christ, I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.......I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.  

In here, St. Paul addressed some of the Christian community as having an immature faith, so why does it bother those who are against the Way that Kiko says the same thing as the Apostle Paul??  Are there also not Catholics who do not yet have an adult faith?  

The Catholic Church teaches that there is goodness and truths that comes from non-Christian religions, but these goodness and truths found in those religions were placed there to "prepare them for the Gospel of Christ" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 843).  The author, Chuck White, goes on to say that Kiko seeks to replace natural religiosity with adult faith.  Well, isn't that the reason why Christ sent out the Apostles into the world?  What is the purpose of Christ's missionaries?  Was it not to replace the Gentile's false concept of religion to a faith in Jesus Christ? 

Chuck White further interpreted Kiko's statement in his post as: 

Kiko wants us to believe that God accepted the Old Testament sacrifices and priests rather reluctantly and really had other plans for his people.  

The inclination of men, throughout history and across all cultures to offer supplications and sacrifices on altars is part of our God-given instinct and was meant as a foreshadowing or "type" of the New Covenant which brings them to perfection.  

Is that what Kiko is really saying or is that simply Chuck White's interpretation of what he thinks Kiko is saying.  It helps to listen to the entire catechesis and not just sentences and phrases taken out from it.  

The message of the Old Testament is that God will come down in the form of man to redeem us.  He came to share in our humanity so He can become one with us.  Christ also wants us to become one with Him, which is why He instituted the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is what we also celebrate in the Neocatechumenal Way.  In the Old Testament, the sacrifices and priests were a foreshadow of God's plan of salvation.   

Many people look at Mother Teresa because she dedicated her life to serving the poor and became one of them, but that is not the miracle.  The miracle is that she ENJOYED serving the poor and becoming one of them.  This is God's grace upon her.  So, this brings us to the Mass. What is the reason people come to the Mass?  If we come to the Mass because we HAVE to, the Mass merely becomes an obligation and probably even a burden.  This is natural religiosity. This is not God's plan of salvation for us. If we come to the Mass because of our love for God and want to become one with him as we consume His Body and Blood....because we enjoy the Mass and hearing His word....this is the grace of God working in us.  See my post on Christianity and Religion on the rest of natural religiosity.  


Monday, February 17, 2014

Be Peacemakers

In September, 2012, then Pope Benedict XVI urged Middle Eastern Christians to work for peace.  His sermon was delivered in Lebanon as civil war raged next door in neighboring Syria.  This is the walk of a true Christian.  Christ desires unity and reconciliation especially between Christians.  Part of Sunday's reading reminds us to be the peacemakers.....true Christians. Peacemakers are those who work to resolve conflicts between brothers or enemies. 

Matthew 5:22-26   But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement.  Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, "Raca" is answerable to the court.  And anyone who says, "You fool!" will be in danger of the fire of hell.  "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.  "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.  Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand yo over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.  Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.        

Our Lord has always favored reconciliation and unity that He tells a person to leave his gifts at the altar and reconcile with an angry brother.  There are always conflicts around us.  It's not always easy to reconcile with an angry brother or sister. It's not always easy to take the high road, but it's not impossible.  Reconciliation is always possible.  

When I was wrong, I found the courage through Christ to admit my wrong; and even when I was right, I sought humility through Christ to apologize.....all for the sake of peace and unity.  Does it matter if the other person showed smugness in front of me and brag to everyone that I was wrong?  No.  When one truly has the Holy Spirit in them, what can hurt them? Those who sow peace will reap a harvest of righteousness (James 3:18).

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.         

What is the Neocatechumenal Way?

This probably should have been my first post when I started blogging last month.  There may be some people who have never heard about the Neocatechumenal Way.  The Neocatechumenal Way is also known as the Neocatechumenate or simply the Way.  Taking its inspiration from the catechumenate of the Early Catholic Church, it provides post-baptismal formation to Catholics who desire to deepen their faith, and is at the service of the bishop.  

The Way was started in 1964 in Madrid, Spain by Kiko Arguello and Carmen Herdandez.  It's Statutes were approved in 2008, and its Catechetical Directory was approved in 2010.  It also runs about 100 seminaries in various locations and is responsible for hundreds of families in missions living in may areas around the world.  In 2007, there were around 40,000 communities throughout the world, with an estimated million members.  Below is a video showing where and how the Neocatechumenal Way was started.       


Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Beauty of the Church

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  

There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  

There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines.  Just as a body, through one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so to form one body -whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part, but of many.   

(1 Corinthians 12:4-14)

Christianity and Religion

Jesus_Christ_Image_164.jpg (683417 bytes)Religion is defined as a set of beliefs and practices.  Christianity is much more than religion.  It is an event.  It is a historical event because Christianity actually happened.  God came down in the form of man to share in our humanity and to redeem us.  Other religions such as Hinduism, Shintoism, paganism, etc. are not historical events but constructs of man's imagination.  It is true that there is some truth in those religions, but those truths were placed there to prepare them for the Gospel of Christ.  So, yes, Christian missionaries are there to spread the Gospel of Christ so that people of other religions would come to know Christ.    

CCC 843  The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved.  Thus, the church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as a "preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life. 

The Christian faith is not built on the foundation of natural religion, but on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His Apostles. The Catholic Church teaches that faith is a gift from God (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church 162), and Sacred Scripture also attests that faith is a gift from God (See Ephesians 2:8). 

On the other hand, religiosity is when one attends Mass out of obligation or out of fear rather than out of love.  Many, many years ago, parents (and sometimes even the clergy) told kids that if they don't go to Mass, they would go to Hell.  These kids then grow up going to Mass not because of love, but because of fear of going to Hell.  Another example, is when a disaster hits, the person runs to the Church either out of fear or in search for answers as to why the disaster occurred.  These are all religiosity.  

Sometimes, we need to ask ourselves why we attend Mass.  Sunday Mass is only one hour, and some people are leaving Church right after receiving Holy Communion.  Thus, people who have done this could not even wait until the priest gives the final blessing to the entire congregation. When one attends Mass out of obligation and leaves right after receiving Holy Communion, would that be called true worship?   

Christianity is much more than religion because it is a historical event that actually happened whereas religion was not an event.  Christianity is also unique in that God came down to redeem mankind.  The Old Testament books showed that the sacrifices of animals upon the altar did not take away sins, but serve as a reminder of our sins.  It was Christ, the perfect Lamb of God who was able take away our sins and redeem us.    

Hebrews 10:1-4 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming - not the realities themselves.  For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.  Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered?  For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.  But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.  It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 

It is mankind who needs atonement from his/her sins.  When Adam and Eve sinned, original sin was passed down to all their descendants.  So, it is not religion that needs to be redeemed, but mankind. When St. Thomas Aquinas stated, "Grace does not destroy nature, but perfects it," he was not referring to natural religiosity or religion.  He was referring to the nature of man, which was wounded by original sin.    

The mission of missionaries is to evangelize and to spread the Gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth so that those who have never heard of Jesus Christ will come to know Him.  Sometimes, we also need to correct our Catholic brothers who attend Mass out of obligation and those who leave Mass early, thinking that their Sunday obligation has already been met.   

Mary Little Mary

Another one of my favorite songs in the Neocatechumenal Way is Mary, Little Mary.  This song is usually sung at the beginning of catechesis. There is an old Eastern Orthodox painting of Mary depicted as the burning bush of Moses. She is prefigured as this burning bush because she carried God (who is a consuming fire) in her womb.  But the bush was not consumed by fire because Mary was holy. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Those against the Way use semantics to divide fellow Catholics.  They would mockingly call the altar of the Neocatechumenal Way a "table."  Walking in the Way, I have never heard any of the brothers call it a "table."  They had always called it an altar.  Nevertheless, those against the Way are not wrong in calling it a table because even the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls it a table.....the table of the Lord. 

CCC 1182  The altar of the New Covenant is the Lord's Cross, from which the sacraments of the Paschal mystery flow. On the altar, which is the center of the Church, the sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs.  The altar is also the table of the Lord, to which the People of God are invited.  In certain Eastern liturgies, the altar is also the symbol of the tomb (Christ truly died and is truly risen). 

I wonder what do they have to say about the altar being a tomb?  

Another semantics that they use to divide fellow Catholics is the words "Priest" and "Presbyter."  I have actually used the word "priest" in my general admonition, but no one (not even the priest) ever told me not to say "priest." When I use the word "Presbyter" in the general admonition, they also say nothing.  On the other hand, the opponents of the Way insist that the word "priest" should be used.  

The words "Priest" and "Presbyter" are both used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  The Catechism also uses both "priesthood" and "presbyterium." The only different between the two is that one is English and the other is Latin.  

CCC 1530 Only priests (presbyters and bishops) can give the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, using oil blessed by the bishop, or if necessary by the celebrating presbyter himself. 

CCC 1354   In the anamnesis that follows, the Church calls to mind the Passion, resurrection, and glorious return of Christ Jesus; she presents to the Father the offering of his Son which reconciles us with him.  In the intercessions, the Church indicates that the Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the whole Church in heaven and on earth, the living and the dead, and in communion with the pastors of the Church, the Ppoe, the diocesan bishop, his presyterium and his deacons, and all the bishops of the whole world together with their Churches.  

CCC 1547  The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, "each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ."......   

The Catechism of the Catholic Church uses both "priest" and "presbyter" as well as "priesthood" and "presyterium".  Those who are against the Way would cite a letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship to the President of the NCCB as their evidence to show that the Way is in error in using the word "presbyter."  

In the first place, that letter was a response to a question in 1996.  The U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Holy See for a new English translation for the Rite of Ordination.  In the new English translation, the word "presbyter" was used instead of "priest."  Why did the Holy See reject their request?  Well, common sense already dictates that the word "presbyter" cannot and should not be used as the new English translation simply because the word is not even English.  It's a Latin word.  Doing this would only bring confusion on the Catholic faithful.  

In the Neocatechumenal Way, they know that "Presbyter" is a Latin word and that "Priest" is an English word, and both mean the same thing. Using either one is acceptable in the Way.   

Latin, the language of the Roman Catholic Church, is not the only language the Way is using.  They also sing a few Hebrew words such as, Evalo Shalom (spelling), Shema Israel, and Maranatha.  When the peace song is sung, it is sometimes sung in different languages.  At any rate, one can see how these semantics are designed by the opponent to cause division between Catholics. 

Charismatic Catholics No. 2

I am not a Charismatic Catholic, but they intrigued me mainly because of my love for music.  They say that music can soothe the savage beast.  In the Way, music is twice the prayer.  The Way also have their own music.  Most of the Way's music came from the Bible while a few were created by Kiko.  

The Charismatic Catholics are proving to be a competition for the Pentecostals in South America.  Like the Neocatechumenal Way, the Charismatic Catholics are also being persecuted by fellow Catholics.  However, they are on the rise in many places in South America and Asia.  Former Catholics are reverting to the Catholic Church in South America and joining the prayer groups of the Charismatic Catholics  The advantage that South America have in revitalizing Catholicism was the election of Pope Francis who came from Argentina.  

The video below was from a Charismatic Catholic conference that was held in the Czech Republic in 2007. I love listening to the song despite that I don't know the language.  


Friday, February 14, 2014

The 13 Volumes of the "Catechetical Directory of the Way."

In 2010, the Catechetical Directory of the Way was approved by the Vatican. It consist of 13 volumes.  (In one of my post, I erroneously wrote 14 volumes).  According to the weblink I provided below dated January 17, 2011: 

"The Neocatechumenal Way," Cardinal Rylko said, "acts according to the proposed writings of the founders...which will have the title of Catechetical Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way." he announced to thunderous applause. 

The work to approve the teachings had already been done once.  From 1997-2003, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) revised, modified and approved the teachings, which until that point had only been recorded from founder Kiko Arguello's talks.  

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then prefect of the Vatican department saw to it personally that the Way put things on paper......

Questions continued to come up about whether certain modifications of liturgical practices proper to the community had been approved by the Vatican. There was confusion about how the Way treats communion, why lay people were asked to preach and what reasons were behind the practice of Way members celebrating Mass "privately" on Saturday evenings.  

The prompting led co-founder Kiko Arguello to request that the Vatican's doctrine department confirm their approval of the Way's methods.  

Cardinal Rylko said he was authorized to make that announcement to the audience hall this morning.  He explained that "so as to give greater security to the actions of the Neo-Catechumenal Way and to offer doctrinal guarantees to all the pastors of the Church," the CDF revisited the 13 volumes of teachings and approved them as the "Catechetical Directory of the Way."  

The Pontifical Council for Laity, of which the cardinal is head, authenticated the doctrinal approval and archived the decree on Dec. 26, 2010, he said. "Your catecheses have thereby received an important seal from the Church," he told them, "It is a compass, a sure compass according to which you will be able to walk."...... 

Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski of Siedlce, Poland - who was at the press conference as an apparent sign of solidarity - said that he has seen positive effects of the Way's catechesis in his diocese.  Now that they can come with their word and "with this book," bishops will know that "there is no decepetion, not a fictitious thing, he said.  

If they believe the instruction they receive, bishops will give their "people a reality that can transform them," the Polish bishop added.  

Arguello added later that the announcement is "marvelous" because the decree approves the teachings for official proclamation.  "It has been revised by the Holy See and completed.  It's correct."  

This is from the Church!" he exclaimed.

But the Way still encounters bumps in the road when it comes to its relationships with local pastors, a fact that Arguello alluded to in his next statement.  

The directory, he said, "will be very important because now a parish priest who says something, we can say, "Look father what it says here on page 427," this was approved by the Church." 

The Letter of the Law

One of the purpose of the Way is to imitate the Early Christians so that the brothers celebrating in small communities would be able to deepen their faith as the Early Christians did.  This deepening of the faith has occurred in some of the brothers.  Many of them are now open to life in that they have more than 5 children, and some families are adopting children.  Some of them are giving up their jobs to become mission families.  These are not simply human good works, but Christ acting through them.  Why?  Because it isn't considered the norm to give up the securities of a job and leave a homeland to become a mission family.  Very people do this. 

These people have acquired a very strong faith to do this just as the Early Christians did.  The brothers and sisters in the community view themselves as concelebrants just as the Early Christians did.  They view their community priest as a "brother" and the community priest view them as part of the priesthood.  These are not against Catholic teachings.  Both the Holy Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church do state that we are a holy nation and a royal priesthood.  

In Early Christianity, the term "concelebrate" is understood differently that it was today.  In Early Christianity, all Christians concelebrate according to their role or liturgical order in the Church.  Therefore, the Neocatechumenal Way is following the Concelebrant Mass found in the GIRM.  The Way imitates the Mass of the Early Christians by celebrating in small communities so that the members of the Way would live out their baptism by growing in faith.  By growing in faith, they have developed a deeper relationship with Christ.  This has worked for many members of the Way. 

Once members of the Way are converted in this way, it becomes easier to evangelize.  The former Pope John Paul II once stated that what is needed are holy people.  It would be very difficult to evangelize in foreign lands if members of the Way do not experience some kind of conversion.  "Conversion" here is defined as "a change in heart"....the same kind of conversion that St. Paul went through.  In Early Christianity, the term "convert" does not mean to change religion.  It means to change your heart.   

And here is where the Pharisees come in.  The Pharisees (as I said in one of my posts) are those who are only concern with the letter of the law. The Pharisees of the Bible found it more lawful and better to have a brother starve because following the letter of the law was more important than feeding the brother.  In the same way, the Pharisees of today found it more important to follow the letter of the law than having their brother grow in faith, which prepares them for evangelization.  In other words, they do not want their brothers to follow the Concelebrant Mass in the GIRM because according to the Letter of the Law, concelebrant refers only to the priests and bishops. 

In the Holy Bible, Jesus condemned the Pharisees.  Following the Spirit of the Law is not a means to avoiding the Letter of the Law.  It is a means of understanding what the real purpose of the Law is, and keeping the Letter of the Law in the context of the two greatest commandments, which is to love God with your whole heart, mind, and and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself.   

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Eucharisticum Mysterium on Concelebration

There appears to be a lot of pageviews of my posts on the Eucharist (or Mass) of the Neocatechumenal Way, so I will try to summarize it here in one post.  

First of all, the approved Statues already indicates that the Mass of the Way is different from the regular Mass held in the Parish.  According to the Statutes (Chapter III, Article 13, Section 3 and 4):  

For the celebration of the Eucharist in the small communities the approved liturgical books of the Roman Rite are followed, with the exception of the explicit concessions from the Holy See. Regarding the distribution of Holy Communion under the two species, the neocatechumens receive it standing, remaining in their place.  

"The neocatechumens receive it standing, remaining in their place."  From this, it is already an indication that we do not line up in a procession, but remain in our place.  There is only one Mass in the GIRM that speaks about remaining in their place to receive Holy Communion, and that is the concelebrate Mass (See GIRM 242-244)  

Nevertheless, showing the GIRM did not satisfy the opponents against the Way.  The purpose of the Way was to celebrate in small communities as the Early Christians did.  At that time, the word "concelebrant" means "All Christians", not just bishops and priests.  The fact that the approved statutes allowed us to celebrate in "small communities" should already be an indication that it is not celebrated as in a large Parish Mass, but in small communities similar to the Early Church.  

Those against the Way insist that we are not concelebrants and that we should follow the "modern" definition, which consist of Bishops and priest. So, I found a document showing even the lay Catholic can be a concelebrant in the Eucharist.  

According to the Eucharisticum Mysterium 47-48: Concelebration:  

47.  Concelebration of the eucharist aptly expresses the unity of the sacrifice and the priesthood; whenever the faithful take an active part, the unity of the people of God stands out in a special way, [See Sacrosanctum Concillium art. 57. Sacred Congregation of Rites, Decr. generale Eccelesia semper 7 March 1965.] particularly if the bishop presides.  [See Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 41; Lumen gentium no. 28: Presbyterorum ordinis no. 7].

According to the weblink above:  

The faculty to concelebrate also applies to the principal Masses in churches and public and semipublic oratories of seminaries, colleges, and ecclesiastical institutions, as well as in those of religious orders and societies of common life without vows. Where there are a great many priests, the authorized superior can allow several concelebrations to take place on the same day, but at different times or in different places of worship.

The Neocatechumenal Way is an ecclesiastical institution.  I provided the weblink, so anyone can read the rest.  Nevertheless, I'm certain that those against the Way will simply ignore this and still accuse the Way of disobedience.    

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Pharisees

The Letter of the Law is not a bad thing.  After all, it was given to us by God. The Letter of the Law is holy, good, and spiritual, but imperfect (CCC 1963; Romans 7:12, 14, 16). We have the laws such as the Ten Commandments to guide us, and these laws (with the exception of the Jewish Sabbath) were never abolished.  The Letter of the Law shows what must be done, but does not of itself give the strength, the grace of the Spirit, to fulfill it (CCC 1963)  

In the Holy Bible, we see Christ often condemning the Pharisees of using the Letter of the Law to avoid the higher obligation.  An example of this is when the Pharisees condemned Christ and His disciples for plucking grain and eating it on the Sabbath because they were hungry (Mark 2:23). 

The Pharisees followed the Letter of the Law, which forbids work.  The Old Testament does say that one is forbidden to do all kinds of work (Deuteronomy 5:14).  In fact, a man who was gathering sticks on the Sabbath was put to death (Deuteronomy 15:32-36).  So, the Pharisees were following the Letter of the Law.  In this case, the Pharisees saw it more lawful and better to allow a brother to go hungry because obedience to the law was more important than feeding the brother.  Christ's response to this was "Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."

Following the Spirit of the Law is not a means to avoiding the Letter of the Law.  It is a means of understanding what the real purpose of the Law is, and keeping the Letter of the Law in the context of the two greatest commandments, which is to love God with your whole heart, mind, and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself.  

Christ also condemned the Pharisees for hypocrisy.  The Pharisees were very knowledgeable in the Letter of the Law, but they lack the Spirit of the Law. There are also some Catholics who are like the Pharisees.  They know the Letter of the Law very well and follow it completely, but they lack the Spirit of the Law.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Be Not Afraid.

The following article was taken from the weblink below.  Pope Francis approve of Church movements such as the Charismatic Renewal, Neocatechumenal Way, Focolare Movement, and others. Last year, on Pentecost Mass, he addressed these movements and tied them to his Mass.  "Don't be afraid to follow the Holy Spirit" was the Pope's message to all Church movements who have displayed the charisms of the Holy Spirit.  


Pope Francis Ties Mass With Church Movements to First Pentecost (3031)

'Always carry the power of the Gospel!' the Holy Father encouraged May 19.

 05/20/2013 Comments (1)
CNA/Stephen Driscoll
– CNA/Stephen Driscoll
VATICAN CITY — St. Peter’s Square was transformed into an open-air Upper Room, Pope Francis said after he celebrated Pentecost with Church movements.

“This celebration of faith is about to end, which began yesterday with the vigil and culminated this morning in the Eucharist.”

“A renewed Pentecost that has transformed St. Peter's Square into an open-air Cenacle,” Pope Francis said May 19 before reciting the Regina Coeli Marian prayer with around 200,000 pilgrims.

His brief reflection prior to the prayer recapped his main message for the Mass, which was that the Holy Spirit brings “newness, harmony and mission” to the lives of Christians.

He saw newness in the pilgrims reliving “the experience of the early Church, who agreed in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus.”

The harmony inspired by the Holy Spirit was evident in the square, with the “variety of charisms” and the beauty of those being united in the Church.

Finally, Pope Francis thanked the communities and associations for the gift they are to the Church. He then urged them to focus on mission, the third aspect of the Spirit’s work in Christians’ lives.

“Always carry the power of the Gospel! Always have the joy and passion for communion in the Church,” he urged. “The risen Lord is always with you, and the Madonna protects you!”