Monday, February 29, 2016

The NCW In The Middle East

Father Orazio Patrone has been a priest of the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt for three years.  He is originally from Italy and was formed in the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Lebanon.  Below is his interview of his experience in Egypt.

A Priest in Egypt
Father Orazio Patrone Gives an Outsider’s View of Christian Life

By Salvatore Cernuzio

ROME, MARCH 13, 2012 ( Father Orazio Patrone, 33, originally from Salerno, Italy, has for three years been a priest of the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt.

He talks to ZENIT in this interview about his experience and the situation of Christians in that country.

ZENIT: Father Orazio, what is the situation of the Catholic Church in Egypt?

Father Patrone: The Catholic Church in Egypt is quite a complex reality: as in the whole of the Middle East region, it has always lived in a religiously pluralistic situation. In Egypt, in addition to the Latin Church, there are several rites (Coptic, Armenian, Syriac, Greek). The largest church is the Orthodox Coptic, with about 10% of the total population. The Catholic faithful are close to 400,000 or 0.3%.

There are also many Copts overseas, and after the latest events of the revolution, and above all the political situation that has been unfolding, migration has increased, after being already high in the last decades.

ZENIT: How do Christians live their faith?

Father Patrone: Christians have difficulties living in a country where Muslim fundamentalism is gaining ever more ground and they are strongly attracted by the idea of being able to live more tranquilly in other countries, especially Canada and Australia, but also Europe. Although persecutions are only sporadic, one experiences a strong discrimination of a social more than an ideological nature. It’s not a generalized situation yet and there are places with a peaceful relationship between Muslims and Christians.

ZENIT: How is it that a young Italian priest is called to carry out his service precisely in such a place? Can you tell us about your personal experience?

Father Patrone: I came following my involvement with the Neo-Catechumenal Way through which I felt the call to rediscover the richness of my baptism by means of a journey of faith in a community. During this period I discovered my vocation to the priesthood and I entered the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon. The inter-ritual diocesan seminary forms priests for the New Evangelization with vocations to serve in the Eastern Churches. After the course of formation of close to nine years, during which I was able to have, in addition to my studies, pastoral experience in Tunisia, Sudan, and the Holy Land, I was incardinated by the Coptic Church of Egypt. And now, for three years, I have been in a parish in Cairo.

ZENIT: Have you had difficulties?

Father Patrone: Difficulties have certainly not been lacking, and are still not lacking: cultural differences, difficulties with the language, countries that suffer profound conflicts; but I have been able to face them thanks to the fact of having seen the Lord’s fidelity in the past. A bit like Abraham who started out without knowing where he was going, led by the Word and a promise, learning day by day to trust God and experiencing his presence in history.

ZENIT: Returning to the situation of Christians in Egypt. What is their relationship with the other religions, in particular, with Muslims?

Father Patrone: The relationship between Christians and Muslims is increasingly undermined by fundamentalism, even if the Coptic Church has an age-old experience of coexistence with the Muslim tradition, which has had highs and lows in history.

ZENIT: How are intense times, such as Lent and Easter, lived?

Father Patrone: The season of Lent is lived very intensely, with strict fasting, lived devotionally more than as an occasion of preparation for Easter. Perhaps this is dictated also by the strong influence of the Muslim month of Ramadan. As well, the sacrificial aspect of Good Friday is stressed more than the fundamental importance of the Easter Resurrection.

In fact, the funeral of the Lord is celebrated with a very long liturgy as was the custom of the pre-conciliar Latin Churches. Its importance is seen in the fact that participation in worship on Good Friday is almost double that of what it is on Easter Sunday.

ZENIT: What do you intend to do for the Year of Faith and the New Evangelization?

Father Patrone: The Church in Egypt is very tied to her traditions, especially those in the liturgy, and has difficulty in entering the dynamism of the New Evangelization desired by Vatican II. On the other hand, there are attempts and openings especially by the Catholic side, which is attentive to and relatively involved in what happens in the West. This is demonstrated, among other things, by the opening, though slow, to charisms that emerged after the Council. In parishes there are now groups such as the Focolares and the Neo-Catechumenal Way, and other movements born in Egypt with the intention of a renewal in the sense of a New Evangelization.

ZENIT: What are the prospects, therefore?

Father Patrone: There seems to be a time of trial and purification for the Churches, as is happening almost everywhere, because of the processes of secularization and globalization, challenges that call the Christian community to seek its own identity and to deepen its faith. We are going towards a form of Christianity that is certainly different from that lived in the modern period in Europe, towards a Christianity in which the Church is perhaps called to accustom herself to live as a small flock, to journey with other religious realities and, from this point of view, the experience of the Eastern communities is very relevant.

Pilgrimage - World Meeting of Families 2015 - St. Patrick's Church, Lawr...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

St. Rita of Cascia

We Catholics venerate and honor the saints.  They show us that it is possible to live a life of holiness and virtue.  They were able to live such a life only with God because with God all things are possible.  It is only through God's grace that a person like St. Rita was able to endure the trials in her life.  God carried her through her suffering, and she was even able to forgive the person who murdered her husband.  This post is about St. Rita of Cascia. 

St. Rita was an Italian widow and Augustinian nun and venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.  Before becoming a nun, she was married at a very early age to a cruel and abusive husband.  During her 18 years of marriage, she endured insults, physical abuse, and infidelities from her husband.  But she never left her husband.  Through humility, kindness, and patience, Rita was able to convert her husband into a better person.  She eventually bore two sons. 

Her husband was murdered by a family member who held a grudge against the family.  Her husband was stabbed to death by Guido Chiqui, a member of the feuding family.  At her husband's funeral, Rita forgave her husband's murderer.

However, her two sons, Giovanni and Paulo sought revenge for their father's murder.  Rita tried to persuade her sons not to retaliate with vengeance, but to no avail.  Fearing that her sons would lose their souls, she asked God to take her sons rather than submit them to the mortal sin of murder.  Her sons died of dysentery a year later, and they were unable to carry out their revenge. 

After the death of her husband and sons, Rita desired to enter a monastery as a nun.  Catholic legends say that she was transported into the monastery of Saint Magdalena via levitation at night into the garden courtyard by three patron saints.  She remained at the monastery, living by the Augustinian Rule, until her death from tuberculosis on May 22, 1457. 

According to Catholic Online: 
In the midst of chronic illnesses, she received visions and wounds on her forehead which resembled the crown of thorns. She died on May 22 at Cascia, and many miracles were reported instantly.

Rita was beatified by Pope Urban VIII in 1626 and later canonized on May 24, 1900 by Pope Leo XIII.  Together with St. Jude, she became the saint of hopeless causes.  According to Catholic News Agency, "she is also known as the patron saint of sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage difficulties, parenthood, widows, the sick, bodily ills and wounds."

In conclusion, those who think that a wife should resist by hitting back her abusive husband is the Catholic thing to do.....then ask yourself why did the Catholic Church honor and venerate a woman who did not resist. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Resistance Of Evil

Grow up in faith made the following comment, which can be found here. 

I would like to pick on the "nonresistance to evil" topic. It is surprising that the NCW demands a belief that is not part of the catechism. JW is not a good source of information anymore, because they lowered the standards below a threshold that is still acceptable. Let me apologize to Diana for people using all the bad language taunting her and ridicule her at JW. Although I do not write to JW anymore, I feel an apology is in order.

However, Chuck's discussion at JW and in his own blog of nonresistance to evil is quite interesting. Is this, in fact, a tenet held by NCW? Based on what? How can you enforce such kind of belief? As Chuck emphasizes, nonresistance to an evil person is not the same as nonresistance to evil in general. If a person hits you, you don't need to hit back. But you should surely hold back his hand when he tries to hit your wife of your kid. It is your moral obligation to resist evil that threatens the innocent.

Pope Francis condemns a lot of social troubles and environmental excesses that destroy communities and cause damages to the earth. Pope Francis is a real social warrior. If the Pope desires positive change in the world, then you have to resist what is negative. Who are you to deny that?

Your reaction does not need to be like throwing rocks, it can be nonviolent. But still resistance should exists as a clear intent of fighting back against evil. That is what you pray for in all of you prayers. That should be also part of your life you live for. Do you agree with me, Diana?

This is my response: 

Chuck White does not walk in the Way; therefore, he does not know that the Catechists and the community not only helps the abused but also the abuser.  It is not just the abused who is the victim.  The abuser grew up in an abusive home where he was also a victim of abuse.  Abuse is a cycle of violence that can be transferred to the children unless the entire family gets the help they need.  Chuck White only looks at half the picture while the NCW can see the entire picture because they know the abused and the abuser who walks in the community.      

The reason Pope John Paul II was impressed with Kiko Arguello was due to the remarkable changes he saw in the slums of Madrid.  In the slums of Madrid where the Neocatechumenal Way was born, the pope saw alcoholics giving up alcohol.  He saw abusers straighten up and wives being able to return to their husbands after the change.  He saw bums cleaning up their act and getting a job.  He saw prostitutes giving up the life of prostitution. 

Resisting evil is one thing.  Helping sinners is a totally different thing.  Christ did not come into the world to condemn sinners.  He came to rescue and liberate sinners.  The Catholic Church exists to bring sinners to Christ, and this is what the NCW follows.  We resist the evil of abortion, the evil of drugs and alcohol, the evil of genocide, the evil of terrorism, the evil of abuse, etc. These are all the social injustices that we resist. 

However, when the Laity Forward Movement came distributing their hateful fliers of slander, we did not resist.  They went ahead and distributed their fliers and we did nothing. When the protesters came with their signs protesting the Archbishop's birthday party, we did not resist.  They came to protest, and we did nothing to stop them.  When the jungle mocks the Archbishop's grammatical errors on a letter he signed, we did not resist.  The Archbishop said nothing about those grammatical errors.  When Tim Rohr mocks me with degrading names - "dingbat" and "dungbat", I did not resist.  I never gave Tim Rohr any negative names as he did me.  I have always called him "Tim Rohr" and his blog "the jungle." 

There are a lot of name-calling and insults in the jungle toward the Archbishop, the RMS priests, and the NCW.  What are these name-calling and insults??  They are simply a "slap in the face."  And this is what Christ told us NOT to resist.  When a person slaps you in the face, turn the other cheek.  The hateful slander thrown at us as they distributed their fliers, the mockery over grammatical errors and simple things as a Valentine ball or a birthday party, the degrading name-calling and profanity they call us, and the angry insults thrown at is THIS KIND OF EVIL that Christ instructed us NOT to resist. 

The NCW is an itinerancy of Christian formation.  That become like imitate walk like that those who are abusers stop abusing, those who are on drugs give up drugs, those who hate their enemies learn to love their enemies, those who cannot forgive learn to forgive, those who live with their boyfriends or girlfriends end up marrying them instead of living in sin, those who commit adultery to return to their spouse and work out their problems, to pray for those who persecute you, to humble yourself before those who call you insulting names, etc. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lenten Announcement 2016

The communities had the Lenten announcement last week.  It was announced that Kiko Arguello will be meeting with Pope Francis next month regarding the Missio ad Gentes.  Kiko Arguello will also be visiting the communities in different countries, and he plans on having a convivience with the mission families who will be sent out by the Pope. One of his plans is to also visit the communities in Japan and have a convivience with them.  I wonder if he can stop by Guam on his way to Japan.

We also received some astounding news.  The NCW is making its way into the Middle East such as Bahrain and Qatar.  There is also the good news that the NCW is making its way into India, the second most populated country in the world. 


The NCW is making its way into the Muslim world.  A Catholic church has already been built in Qatar.  So, Christianity is making a headway into Muslim lands.  However, unlike the Jews, the Muslims are not yet ready to have a dialogue with the Christians. 

Apostasy was also mentioned in the announcement.  Christian countries like Europe need to be re-evangelized because many of them have turned away from the Christian faith.  The same thing is happening on Guam.  There are many people on Guam who are Catholic in name only.  Some of them go to Mass every day and pray their rosary every night; yet, these same people take contraceptives to avoid pregnancy, which goes against Catholic teaching.  These same people live with their boyfriends or girlfriends outside the boundary of marriage.  These same people do not see anything wrong with having common-law husbands or common-law wives.  The Guam Legislature who passed the same sex marriage bill is a good example.  Only two senators lived according to their faith and refused to pass the bill.  To live according to your faith means to follow Christ and Church teaching.  A person can go to daily Mass and pray their rosary every night.  But all that becomes useless when they use contraceptives to avoid pregnancy.  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Paloni Family

Synod 15: The Palonis, an ‘Extraordinarily’ Normal Family 

4-Month-Old Is Star of the Synod Hall; Massimo and Patrizia Share Their Story as Parents of 12, Giving and Receiving at the Synod

Pope Francis Meets with Bishops of Mali

Since the photo of his beautiful face, with a pacifier dangling from his mouth and his intent gaze, appeared in worldwide media, little David Paloni has become the star of the 2015 Synod of bishops.
Jokingly called the “youngest synod father in history,” the four-month-old is the  youngest of the 12 children of Massimo and Patrizia Paloni.

Much has been written about them during this first week of sessions: their 12 children (six boys and six girls: “David evened the score”), their departure for Holland 11 years ago, and their experience as a missionary family of the Neo-Catechumenal Way at Maastricht. However, it is only by meeting in person these two young parents of Rome – he is 45 and she is 41 – that one really understands what a person who has savoured the love of God in his/her life can reveal.

It is visible in their serene way of speaking and relating to others. In Patrizia’s calm, while managing her little one (she cradled David who was crying throughout the interview) and, from a distance, the other 11 children, who stayed in Holland.

“They help one another,” she says, “the older ones look after the little ones, they help them do their tasks. There is great harmony and also great joy.”

But this is demonstrated above all by the joy that lights up Massimo’s eyes when he talks about how his life and that of the whole family was filled after their decision – absurd, according to many – to leave behind a comfortable life, a job as manager, to go to a foreign country and proclaim the Gospel, even having to do cleaning to support the family.

“Our mission experience is born from gratitude to the Lord for all that He has done in our life. He has helped us in difficult moments of our life and of our marriage,” he explained to ZENIT.

 Massimo was already used to the missionary life, having come from a family on mission – also in Holland – which left from the parish of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, in the well-to-do neighborhood of Parioli.

Initially, “the landing” was most difficult for the children. “We left when they were small. Five were born in Rome, the rest at Maastricht.”

However, says the head of the family, “it was good because even in the initial difficulties, such as learning the language, integrating themselves at school, in the society and so on, they understood that there was meaning in the mission they were engaged in, that they weren’t suffering needlessly, that there was a greater good.”

To these children – the oldest is 19 years old – Massimo and Patrizia are trying to transmit the faith: “On Sunday morning we pray Lauds together, a moment in which in the light of the Word of God we have a conversation to see if there are problems, crises; to ask for forgiveness and to be reconciled with one another: we with them, or between themselves. It is also a moment to share our experience.”

Massimo also shares this experience to a degree with us: “I worked as an Account Manager of HP. I had a company car, computer, and smartphone. We went to see international sports matches — all very delightful little things. The day before leaving I gave everything back.” Then, “when we went there, I thought: ‘I’ll find work right away; I have a good resume, I speak many languages’; instead God made us understand that He carries the mission forward, in His times and in His ways. Therefore, in the beginning I adjusted myself, I even did cleaning for a period, I worked at a call center … Then the work of evangelization increased, so now we were itinerants and dedicated ourselves 100% to evangelize.”

“And what did you live from?” is the question that arises instinctively. ”From Providence,” Massimo retorts point-blank, “which was manifested concretely in the help our community offered us.”

“We left truly without anything: we had some mattresses, cardboard boxes that we used as night tables,” said Patrizia. “However, it was extraordinary because we were spectators of God’s surprises. One day, for instance, an estate agent called us and said: ‘A person came here who saw that you don’t have a closet. You must come here and choose the closet you want,’ not to mention the anonymous envelopes of money that we found outside our front door.”

The Dutch – that stereotypes say are tolerant, so long as their terrain isn’t invaded – received this itinerant “squadron” enthusiastically. “They were positively impressed by our family,” affirmed the couple, “when they saw us, they asked questions and that was a unique occasion to give our testimony and say a word.”

The Palonis also met with a positive reception at the Synod. “Fantastic!” exclaimed Massimo, “they all gave us an exceptional welcome, beginning with the Pope  who, when he saw us, was very happy; he smiled at us and blessed the whole family; then the Secretariat, the Bishops, the Cardinals and the other participants. They received us like Jesus.”

The merit is also David’s, mother and father smile: “This child triggers joy, tenderness. We call him the ‘Synodal child,’” they say proudly. “We think God wanted him present at the Assembly.”

“Patrizia – her husband explains – was already pregnant when, through the Dutch Nunciature, the Secretariat contacted us, but we hadn’t calculated the time, we didn’t realize that he would be born so close to the Synod. I think that in his little way he is doing a good service because he makes present the beauty of a family.”

“And you as well, what service are you rendering to the Synod?” we asked them. “We are present as a missionary family; we bring our experience. In our intervention, we will speak of our life and of our faith, and what is behind it, how it was born, how it developed thanks to the Neo-Catechumenal Way that helped us to understand and live in depth the teachings of the Church.”

“Above all the teachings of Humanae Vitae,” presses Massimo, explaining how openness to life was not a “weight” for them “but a grace that has given us joy.” “We are normal persons that have behind us a journey of Christian initiation that has helped us to reflect further on our faith and to have it grow. This has made us open to life despite our egoism, our defects …”

Therefore, the Synod will be the occasion to “give glory to God by pointing out all these gifts before the representatives of the Churches of the world.” But also an occasion to receive something: “It is truly interesting to hear such qualified people debate on such a fundamental subject as the family,” said Patrizia. “One sees that the Pastors have a real desire to help the family, to re-launch it. There is great zeal and this is what has impressed us in the main.”

Also, she continued, “I have been impressed to see how much communion has been created with other families. We all bring a different experience: given our provenance, journey of faith, family typology, but we share the same spirit. We are many families that have never seen one another before, known one another for a few days, but God created communion immediately.”

“And do you feel yourselves somewhat of a model among these numerous families?” “We are not so, in fact — said Massimo — certainly not I. There are so many families in the world like us. And if someone finds something good or exemplary in the Palonis, it’s because God has willed it.”

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rules Of Dialogue

Dear readers who comment on my blog.  These are the following rules of dialogue.  Please follow these rules: 

  1. No name calling such as "idiot", "stupid", or "a bunch of animals."  Discuss the topic especially the OP.  Do not attack the commenters. 
  2. Absolutely no profanity.  Please keep all comments clean.  This blog is not a place for you to bash someone publicly. 
  3. Stop asking the same questions over and over.  Either accept the answer you have been given or write your letter of complaint to the Vatican.  It is not necessary to beat a dead horse.  
  4. No backtracking.  Backtracking is dishonest.  Honest and true discussions can benefit both sides as we can learn from each other. 
These rules are not meant to offend anyone.  If you feel offended, then I ask for your forgiveness.     

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pope Francis: "I Am A Brother."

An anonymous commenter copied and pasted Tim Rohr's comment in the jungle, which can be found here.  According to the comment below (the last part was edited out): 

Look at this language from JW:

Tim February 15, 2016 at 9:25 AM

The Bishop is NOT Catholic. To say otherwise is an absurdity. You may think he is Catholic. You may wish he was. But until the bishop stops being “Brother Tony,” he is neither bishop nor Catholic.
On the contrary, the Archbishop is Catholic.  Being called "Brother Tony" is not a reason to declare someone a non-Catholic.  If that were the case, then the jungle would also have to call Pope Francis a non-Catholic.  Why?  Because the Pope also said that he is a "brother."  Speaking to prisoners at the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia, Pope Francis stated:
“I am here as a pastor, but above all as a brother, to share your situation and to make it my own,”

In the Neocatechumenal Way, members are taught that the priest is a "father" FOR us, and a "brother" WITH us.  That is what Pope Francis was saying to the inmates in Philadelphia.  He is there as a pastor (father), but above all as a brother.  Being called a "brother" is not a reason for the jungle to declare the Archbishop of Guam a non-Catholic.  To do so is ludicrous.  Being called a "brother" is not even a sin.  Furthermore, having grammatical errors in a letter is also not a reason to declare the Archbishop a non-Catholic as the jungle suggested.  It is insane to use grammatical errors as evidence of being non-Catholic.  Grammatical errors are also not sins. 

Apuron was placed as Archbishop of Guam by the Pope.  As long as he has not been removed by the Pope, he legally remains the Archbishop of Guam by canon law.  The jungle can say whatever they want, but their words do not change the truth that Anthony Apuron is the legitimate Archbishop of Guam, the local Vicar of Christ, and Catholic in the eyes of the Holy See.  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

What Are The Redemptoris Mater Seminaries?

The following article was taken from the following weblink regarding all Redemptoris Mater Seminaries around the world (the bold is mine).

According to the website, "......the `Redemptoris Mater' Seminaries are not seminaries of the Neocatechumenal Way, but real diocesan seminaries which depend on the bishop." The RMS priests conduct the Mass in the same way as non-RMS priests in Guam's parishes.  So, whether one attends the Dededo parish or the Barrigada parish, the priests in both parishes administers the Mass in the same way.     
    They are one of the most important fruits of the conciliar renewal; a complete new reality, desired by the Second Vatican Council which in Presbyterorum Ordinis n.10 said, “The presbyters should remember that concern for all the Churches falls on them... and where it is necessary (because of a lack of clergy) not only a functional distribution of Presbyters should be facilitated, but also the implementation of special initiatives that will favor particular regions or nations or the whole world. To this end, the creation of International Seminaries for the good of the whole Church according to norms to be established and respecting the rights of the local Ordinary would be useful.” (PO,10)

            In 1991, the Intercongregational Commission set up by Pope John Paul II to deal with the serious scarcity of priests in many parts of the world recognized that:

            “This idea of the Council has been applied in the `Redemptoris Mater' seminaries which prepare presbyters for the new evangelisation according to the program of the Neocatechumenal Way... this would realize a new form of ministry: the diocesan missionary.” (L'Osservatore Romano, Italian Edition, 15.3.91)

            As stated in the Statutes and Rule of Life, the `Redemptoris Mater' Seminaries are not seminaries of the Neocatechumenal Way, but real diocesan seminaries which depend on the bishop. The students in these colleges receive the same theological formation as the other seminarians of the diocese. They do a year of pastoral work in the parishes as deacons and two years in the diocese as presbyters before the Bishop can send them in mission. But if the Bishop has need of them in his diocese, he can place them where he wishes, given that they are ordained without condition.

            A characteristic of these Redemptoris Mater Seminaries is that they are international: they are for the whole world and at the service of the Church. 

            Experience has shown that the combining of a way of initiation to the Christian life - the Neocatechumenal Way - with the formation of the presbyter is a great help for the psychological, affective and human development of the candidates. (Before being presbyters they are Christians, and in the way of faith they learn prayer, obedience, the sense of the Cross, to be in communion, etc.) Above all, it is a help in uniting the mission with the parish, since the Neocatechumenal Way is a time of formation that finishes in the parish with living, adult, missionary communities united to the parish priest and the bishop.

            Many `Redemptoris Mater' seminaries have been erected throughout the world. In the United States of America there are two of them; the first one was erected in Newark, New Jersey and the second in Denver, Colorado.

            In Rome, where the first `Redemptoris Mater' Seminary began in 1987, about 100 presbyters have already been ordained, and are now working in the parishes, or are in mission in other dioceses throughout the world where the bishops have requested their services from the Cardinal Vicar.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

RMS Seminarians Continue To Grow

Seventeen seminarians from the Redemptoris Mater Seminary have been ordained into the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Agana.  The number of seminarians continues to grow.  There were 39 seminarians until four arrived in August and November of 2015; therefore, we have a total of 43 seminarians currently staying at the RM Seminary.  Three of the four who arrived in late 2015 were from the island of Kiribati while the fourth came from New Mexico. Welcome to the beautiful island of Guam. 

Five more seminarians will be arriving soon this year.  One will be coming from Paraguay, another from Peru, and three from Samoa-Avila.  God bless all our seminarians in the Redemptoris Mater and John Paul II, and we are praying for all of you. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Beautiful Quotes

“Reputation is what others think of us; character is what God knows of us. When you have spent what feels like eternity trying to repair a few moments of time that destroyed the view others once had of you then you must ask yourself if you have the problem or is it really them? God doesn’t make us try so hard, only enemies do.”  
― Shannon L. Alder

Much has been said about the Archbishop and the Neocatechumenal Way.  On March 6, 2015, Pope Francis gave his strongest support and endorsement of the Way when he confirmed our call, supported our mission, and blessed our charism. The NCW has the support and blessings of the Pope, which is everything we need.  

“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who do not. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.”
José N. Harris

The quote above is very true.  Life is very short.  It is too short to spend it on being angry and frustrated.  Therefore, we need to pray for those who are angry and frustrated.  We ask God our Father to forgive our sins as we forgive the sins of those who trespass against us.        

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Teens from the Neocatechumenal Way

To Worship In Spirit And Truth

John 4:23-24   Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

When Jesus spoke those words, He was not referring to the Traditional Latin Liturgy or any liturgy for that matter  He was not saying anything about communion rails or whether the altar servers should be male or female. 

To worship in spirit and truth is to live out our faith.  It is to live out our baptismal promises and continually be renewed throughout our life through prayer, participation in the Sacraments of the Church, and service to others.  When our worship of God is grounded in Spirit and Truth, our daily life begins to change because WE are being changed from the inside out.  Changing the face of the altar by having communion rails, banning girls from being altar servers, and placing the tabernacle in the center does not change people.  True  Catholicism teaches that only the grace of God can change people.

The words "worship in Spirit and Truth" comes from the Gospel of John.  In this historical story, Jesus breaks the Jewish custom of speaking to the Samaritan woman.  As their conversation unfolds, the Samaritan woman tries to distract Jesus by making a reference to the existing rivalry among those who worship on the mountain, Gerizim, in Samaria, and those who worship in the temple in Jerusalem.  However, Jesus was more interested in bringing the woman to conversion rather than entering a debate about WHERE God should be worshipped.  He cuts through her diversion with the following (the bold is mine): 
"Believe me,woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You people worship what you do not understand: we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth."  
From this story, we learned that some people become so caught up in the logistics of worship that they miss the experience of being in communion with the One they came to worship.  Like the Samaritan woman, they were more concern as to WHERE one should worship, where the tabernacle should be, where the flowers should be, where the crucifix should be, where the candles should be, etc.  Jesus taught that true worship cannot be limited to certain conditions or places, be it Jerusalem (as the Jews believed) or Mount Gerizim (as the Samaritans believed) or even in the church building (as some Traditional Latin Catholics believed).

The "Spirit" in Jesus' reference is the Spirit given by God who reveals truth and moves one to worship God in truth and charity.  To worship in spirit and truth in the Mass means to be guided by the Spirit who enables us to actively participate and to be fully attentive and consciously present to Christ the High Priest who is present to us in the gathered assembly, in the person of the priest presider, in the Word proclaimed and uniquely and substantially in the Eucharistic elements of Bread and Wine  This is why in the Way, we often begin our celebration by telling the brothers to leave whatever problems they have outside and to be fully attentive and participate in the celebration. So, are we a people who worship God in spirit and truth or are we a people who constantly complain and grumble about everything?  It is only when our hearts and minds are open to God's love and grace that we can ever hope to worship God in Spirit and in truth.    

Friday, February 5, 2016

Going Around In Circles

An anonymous commenter made the following comment, which can be found here.  According to the anonymous commenter: 

The reason we still question AAA is coz he hasn't been straightforward with us. The certificate of titles, for example , is a sham. The deed restriction wasn't listed on it, and it should be there coz it's an encumbrance. The certificate of titles should list all encumbrances, Diana.
I already responded to him/her, but I will make a post on this comment.  The Pacific American Title conducted a title search AND an encumbrance report. Their encumbrance report showed that the Declaration of Deed Restriction was NOT an encumbrance at all, which is the reason why it was not recorded in the Certificate of Titles. According to the Umatuna that was published in April 18, 2015 (the bold is mine):
First the Ownership Report - An ownership and encumbrance report was completed in 2014 by Pacific American Title, which confirms that the lots on which the seminary sits, identifies the owner as the Archbishop of Agana.  Therefore, contrary to rumors, the title deed has always remained in the hands of the Archdiocese [1]. 
The Pacific American Title (a company that does title searches) was fully aware of the Declaration of Deed Restriction, which was also stated in their report.  If the Declaration of Deed Restriction was indeed an encumbrance as Tim Rohr claims, the Pacific American Title would have said so in their ownership and encumbrance report........after all, this is THEIR expertise and THEIR profession.   

If Rohr feels that the Certificate of Titles is a fraud and that a crime has been committed, why is he not reporting the information to the police? 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hospital For Sinners

An anonymous commenter made the following comment, which can be found here.  Apparently, he/she did not read my post on January 29th "The Catholic Church Still Stands." 

Vice and sin are still committed.
The Mormons and protestants continue to spread heresy.
The radical Islamists continue to rape, murder and pillage.
Politicians still lie.

And yes, Kiko Arguello and the NCW continue as if there is no problem with the NCW.

I guess you must think all of these come from God, because the "truth has not defeated" them?

I prefer to think that faith and reason can sort the good from the bad, and whether or not something "still stands" is not sufficient proof of its goodness, truth or beauty.

Evidently, you think differently.
The following is my response:

Dear Anonymous at 1:23 pm,

God allows ALL those things to happen because He respects the freedom of man. God is not going to FORCE people to follow His commands, which is the reason why sin and vice are still being committed.

Nevertheless, the NCW stands not because of sin but because we are part of the Catholic Church, which was built by Christ. Jesus built a church for sinners. Since the beginning, the Church had always been filled with sinners.  And the Church stood for over 2000 years not because faith and reason sorted the good from the bad. After all, the Church TODAY is still filled with bad people. ALL of them are sinners. The Catholic Church and all the organizations within her (such as the NCW) still stand because Christ is the Head and leads His Church where He wants it to go. The Church and all the organizations within her (which includes the NCW) still stand because Christ made a promise that it would. 

Sin and vice will always exist, but only God has the power to turn something bad into something good. After all, the greatest evil was committed against His only Begotten Son. Killing an innocent man is evil, but from His death came the redemption of mankind. So, you see.....despite that we killed Christ (a bad thing), God allowed it to happen so that something good (mankind's redemption) can take place. Only God has the power to do with this. 

The Catholic Church is a hospital for sinners. The purpose of the Church is not to sort the good from the bad.  Why?  Because ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  The purpose of the Church is to heal sinners so they become holy saints.  It is only Christ through His Church that accomplishes this feat of turning sinners into holy saints.  Only God has the power to take a sinner and sanctify him/her into a holy saint.  The Church is a hospital for sinners, and God is the physician who comes to heal. 

Persecution: The Strength Of Christianity

Christians have been persecuted throughout the centuries.  In fact, they are still being persecuted today by ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.  While Christians are being killed by radical Islamists, their martyrdom is increasing Christianity in numbers.  Muslim refugees entering Europe have converted in large numbers. 

This comes as a huge surprise. In the Muslim world, a Muslim who converts to Christianity would be killed or imprisoned whereas a Christian converting to Islam is welcomed.  Naturally, it is possible that some of these Muslim refugees are converting to Christianity only to increase their chances of winning asylum into Europe.  Then again, this could be God's work because they continue to attend church and read the Holy Bible.

Muslims in Syria, Northern Iraq, and Afghanistan are converting to Christianity in huge numbers despite the fact that they risk rejection and possibly death from family members who chose to remain loyal to Islam.  One Christian Church in Germany has gone from 100 to 600 in its congregation as a result of these conversions.  (See the stories here and here.)  In areas hit by ISIS, Christians are either being killed or driven away.  However, the persecution of ISIS has also strengthened Christianity and allowed it to grow in non-radical Muslims who are sick of all the violence.

Persecution strengthens us.  Walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and remember his love thy neighbor and thy enemy, to pray for all those who persecute us, to turn the other cheek rather than to retaliate in hate and anger.  We are called to be witnesses.  Hate only breeds more hatred and causes bitterness in one's soul.