Archive for November, 2011

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once suggested that peace and justice will come to us when we reach a high enough psychic temperature so as to burn away the things that still hold us apart. In saying this, he was drawing upon a principle in chemistry: Sometimes two elements will simply lie side by side inside a test-tube and not unite until sufficient heat is applied so as to bring them to a high enough temperature where unity can take place.

That’s wonderful metaphor for advent. What is advent?

Advent is about getting in touch with our longing. It’s about letting our yearnings raise our psychic temperatures so that we are pushed to eventually let down our guard, hope in new ways, and risk intimacy.

John of the Cross has a similar image: Intimacy with God and with each other will only take place, he says, when we reach a certain kindling temperature. For too much of our lives, he suggests, we lie around as damp, green logs inside the fire of love, waiting to come to flame but never bursting into flame because of our dampness. Before we can burst into flame, we must first dry out and come to kindling temperature. We do that, as does a damp log inside a fire, by first sizzling for a long time in the flames so as to dry out.

How do we sizzle psychologically and spiritually? For John of the Cross, we do that through the pain of loneliness, restlessness, disquiet, anxiety, frustration, and unrequited desire. In the torment of incompleteness our psychic temperature rises so that eventually we come to kindling temperature and, there, we finally open ourselves to union in new ways. That too is an image for advent.

Advent is all about loneliness, but loneliness is a complex thing.

Nobel Prize winning author, Toni Morrison describes it this way:

“There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship’s, smoothes and contains the rocker. It’s an inside kind – wrapped tight like skin. Then there is a loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive, on its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one’s own feet going seems to come from a far-off place.”

All of us know exactly what she is describing, especially the latter type, the roaming kind of loneliness that haunts the soul and makes us, all too often, too restless to sleep at night and too uncomfortable to be inside our own skins during the day.

And what’s the lesson in this? What we learn from loneliness is that we are more than any moment in our lives, more than any situation we are in, more than any humiliation we have experienced, more than any rejection we have endured, and more than all the limits within which we find ourselves. Loneliness and longing take us beyond ourselves. How?

Thomas Aquinas once taught that we can attain something in one of two ways: through possession or through desire. We like to possess what we love, but that isn’t often possible and it has an underside.

Possession is limited, desire is infinite. Possession sets up fences, desire takes down fences. To quote Karl Rahner, only in the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable do we know that we are more than the limits of our bodies, our present relationships, our jobs, our achievements, and the concrete situations within which we live, work, and die.

Loneliness and longing let us touch, through desire, God’s ultimate design for us. In our longing, the mystics tell us, we intuit the kingdom of God. What that means is that in our desires we sense the deeper blueprint for things. And what is that?

Scripture tells us that the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, of simple bodily pleasure, but a coming together in justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, that is what we ache for in our loneliness and longing: consummation, oneness, intimacy, completeness, harmony, peace, and justice. Sometimes, of course, in our fantasies and daydreams that isn’t so evident. God’s kingdom seems something much loftier and more holy than what we often long for – sex, revenge, fame, power, glory, pleasure. However even in these fantasies, be they ever so crass, there is present always a deeper desire, for justice, for peace, for joy, for oneness in Christ.

Our loneliness and longing are a hunger and an energy that drive us, always, beyond the present moment. In them we do intuit the kingdom of God.

Advent is about longing, about getting in touch with it, about heightening it, about letting it raise our psychic temperatures, about sizzling as damp, green logs inside the fires of intimacy, about intuiting the kingdom of God by seeing, through desire, what the world might look like if a Messiah were to come and, with us, establish justice, peace, and unity on this earth.


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Only a saint could maintain the patience needed to confront Christmas shopping, Christmas stress, and Christmas credit card bills. That’s too bad because something else gets overlooked in the rush—and that’s Advent. So here are a few brief ways to enjoy yourself over the next few weeks.

First of all, get to know Advent. This liturgical season is a time of waiting—something that we all do: we’re waiting for some good news, for a better job, or for our lives to improve. Advent is a time when we think about waiting for God, so it fits in perfectly with our natural human longings. “Come, thou long expected Jesus,” as the hymn goes. Advent is also the time of beautiful Scripture readings, like those from the Book of Isaiah. “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom.” These are readings to give all of us hope! And Advent is the season for beloved church traditions, including the Advent wreath, which can easily be translated into home rituals.

Second, cut back on the craziness of Christmas preparations. Here are just a few suggestions: send cards only to close friends and family; drop one present per person from your list; and go only to the most essential holiday gatherings. Does that sound selfish? It’s just the opposite! It will give you time to spend with those you really love, and more time to spend in prayer.

Maybe Advent is when you can really settle into your spiritual life, by finding joy in the season and less stress in Christmas. In short, Advent may be the time that you’ve been waiting for!

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   Last November 12, 2011 marks an unforgettable event not only for the youth pf Bogo City but also with the youth of the different neighbouring places near the vicinity. The Vocation Jamboree ’11 was held at the grounds of Felipe Verallo  Foundation Memorial College with the theme: ‘Youth of Cebu: Rooted and Grounded in Jesus’ Love’.  It started  at 8:30 o’clock in the morning and ended up at 5:30 o’clock in the afternoon after the closing remarks were done. There were about 500 delegates from different schools who participated. The event had different religious organizations composed of various priests, nuns, brothers and seminarians.

The vocation jamboree was done in a way that was different and unique. It was well planned that even the students had remarkable feedbacks while they were doing the different activities through the carousel rotation system. The first destination of the carousel rotation was at the Chapel on top of the hill with the speaker Fr. Bernard Monteron, who gave inspirational messages to the delegates. The second was the relaxation site on the pocket-forest where the adoration was held. The place had a calm, serene and blissful atmosphere where the youth can reflect and think of what vocation they should take. The third was the visitation of the booths of various religious organizations. This was the place where most of the delegates enjoyed their time because of the heart-warming smiles of the different persons-religious they befriended. Priests, nuns and brothers take your pictures, share their experiences, tell stories, and also introduce their congregations to give you a fresh feeling on the vocation of a religious life.

   In the late afternoon, there was a small group sharing where the delegates shared a little about their lives. It was then followed by the celebration of Mass with the different priests. Then, the closing remarks were done with the dancing of the different religious groups. The day was spectacular for everyone because there was no such thing that their time was wasted while doing the different events. And that was the Vocation Jamboree of the City of Bogo headed by the Directors of Vocations in the Philippines – Cebu Chapter.

North Bogo City Vocation Jamboree: Looking back… ~ Sr. Mylene Ballan, PDDM

   At first glance the theme of the Vocation Jamboree of the Archdiocese of Cebu: Youth of Cebu : Rooted and Grounded in Jesus’ Love seem to strike a very positive response to the call of Jesus from the young people who desire to have a deep relationship with God.

The recently held Vocation Jamboree in North Bogo City was filled with a new way of approaching the youth of today by offering them three different carousel activities .

As one of the vocation promoters who attended the Vocation Jamboree held at Felipe Verallo Memorial College Foundation, Bogo City, I personally experienced  the joy of companionship of the young  generation. Meeting and relating with  them, I feel so blessed and  thankful to God and to our congregation for the opportunity to promote and make known God’s love in a simple way through listening and in the sharing of my vocation as a PDDM. Privileged moments I would say when the young interested students  asked questions regarding my personal  vocation.

Sr. Sonia and I were members of the Liturgy Committee together with three others from different congregations. In this committee, we prepared the liturgy for the opening prayer of the Vocation Jamboree as well as the liturgy for the closing Eucharistic Celebration.

During the homily of Msgr. Isidro Ullamot, Parish Priest of  St Vincent Ferrer Shrine, he challenged the youth gathered in the assembly to find a good role model in our own modern time. He also challenged everyone to become a role model to each one as we continue our vocation journey here on earth. With this I am reminded of my God who continuously  calls me to be a living witness of His goodness and love and, to promote vocation with joy and trust in Him who is the source and author of every life and vocation.

The success of the vocation jamboree was a product and result of a collaborative efforts of the DVP-Cebu Chapter and the parishioners of the Shrine of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish – Bogo City particularly the Parish Youth Choir Committee (PYCC) and the Team of Pastors, the Felipe Verallo Memorial Foundation College who extended their hand in loving generosity to us.

Salamat sa Dios!

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To all Young Ladies (18-35 years)

JOIN US for a Day of Prayer, Reflection and Friendship together with others who deisre to meet and encounter Jesus Master…


WHEN:  December 4, 2011, Sunday


Circumferential Road, ANTIPOLO CITY

TIME:     8:00am – 4:30pm



               Alo Private Road, Escario St.

               CEBU CITY

TIME:      10:00am – 4:30pm


Email or Call us:


Sr. Mary Martha, PDDM — bruan.marymartha@yahoo.com

Cellphone number:0920.487.8307


Sr. M. Sonia or Sr. Mylene, PDDM  — pddmvoc.cebu@gmail.com

Cellphone number:0929.848.0182

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Sr. M. Josephine Sumobay, faithful disciple of Jesus Divine Master, left this earth for the heavenly abode last November 12, 2011. Here is the eulogy I delivered during her funeral rites last November 14.

Dear Sr. M Josephine
Since I learned of your progressive decline through the text message sent by Sr. Gabriella last Nov. 6 while I was waiting for my return flight from Taiwan to Manila, you have never been far from my thoughts and prayers. My main question then was “when” – when exactly will the Lord come to take you with him? I wondered if he would still give us our last Christmas celebration together? I got the answer 6 days after.

So we reach this threshold and now, the next question is “what” – what lessons does the Master want us to learn from your life and person?
Firstly, we thank you for your evangelical faith lived in the spirit of the Secret of Success, Blessed Alberione’s favorite prayer. As you once wrote in your letter to Madre Lucia, you were very much aware of your incapacity and weaknesses and yet you courageously accepted every responsibility assigned to you, trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in the prayers of our sisters. Hence in accepting life’s challenges, you were able to discover your gifts and bring them to fruition for the glory of God and for the good of souls, especially of our brothers in the Society of St. Paul whom you served with much love and dedication.

Secondly, in these last three months of our on and off meeting, you have truly helped me and I believe all of us, your sisters, to contemplate the value of patient acceptance of the cross – your particular cross, the cross of your rare sickness. I read St. Paul’s words written in your whole body: “I have been co-crucified with Christ”. And this “crucifixion” so to say, you have accepted without complaint, without fuzz. You bore everything in perfect silence. As I shared with some sisters during our formative meetings last October, there were times when I saw you and your condition as a personification of our Lord’s Eucharistic presence. Whenever I saw you being fed by your faithful Dayang, I would be touched to the core of my being. It was as if, I was witnessing some kind of “Eucharistic scene” of bodies being associated to the paschal sacrifice of our Lord. I almost wanted to fall down on my knees and bow down in adoration.

Lastly, Sr. Josephine, receive our gratitude, our thanksgiving from all your sisters and brothers for your fearless confrontation with death. When I asked you two months ago if you were afraid to die, your answer was a resounding NO. And you witnessed to this up to the last moment of your peaceful “passing over” to the next life. Thank you, Sr. M. Josephine, because this last lesson is the most important of all. Even our young ones in formation told me that it was such a beautiful experience. They were so happy to be beside you as you were being transported to the next life. Death is not a frightening thing but a celebration of entry to the real life, eternal life. Hence, while it is painful to be separated from each other because we have truly shared, loved, lived, sung, laughed and cried together in this earthly life, yet we need to let you go.

“Where”: this is the last question I had in mind as I contemplate your life. Where are you now? I have no doubt that you are in Jesus Master’s embrace. He has confirmed your life offering in this Jubilee Year of your religious life. And hence received a great plenary indulgence! Brava, Sr M Josephine! And Bravissimo, Jesus Master! Dear Sr. M. Josephine, there is no doubt you are in the best place you could ever be – the loving embrace of our Master, Friend and Spouse – the perfect place!

We your sisters, brothers, family and friends, ask you to please remember us, intercede for us, and whisper to our Master each of our names to grant us the grace to follow him faithfully, fearlessly, lovingly, as you have done!

While preparing for the funeral rites, I looked into some of her journals and found this beautiful piece among her treasured notes. May this be a precious inheritance from her.
A love letter from Jesus
I love you! I shed my own blood for you to make you clean. You are new! Believe me, it is true!
You are lovely in my eyes and I created you to be just as you are. Do not criticize yourself or be discouraged for not being perfect in your own eyes. This leads only to frustration. I want you to trust ME. One step, one day at a time.
Dwell in my power and love. Be free. Be yourself. Don’t allow other people to ruin you. I will guide you if you let me. Be aware of my presence in everything. I give you love, joy, peace. Look to me. I am your Shepherd and will lead you. Follow me only. Listen and I will tell you my will.
I love you, I love you! Let it flow from you – spill over to all you touch. Be not concerned with yourself. You are my responsibility. I will change you. You are to love yourself and love others simply because I love you. Take your eyes off yourself. Look only at Me! I lead, I change, I make, but not when you are trying. I won’t fight your efforts.
You are mine. Let me have the joy of making you like me. Let me love you! Let me give you joy, peace and kindness. No one else can. Do you see? You are not your own. You have been bought with blood and now you belong to me. It is not your concern how I deal with you. Your only command is to look to me alone. Never to yourself and never to others.
I love you. Do not struggle. Relax in my love. I know what is best and will do it with you, in you and through you. My will is perfect. My love is sufficient. I will supply all your needs. Look to Me.

I love you,

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DVP Convention 2012

23rd National Vocation Convention

Diocese of Marbel (General Santos City)

April 16-20, 2012

Theme: Creating a “Culture” that Witnesses and Awakens Vocations in the Local Church

General Objective : To emphasize the importance of creating a “culture of vocations” in all ecclesiastical jurisdictions, parishes, congregations, basic ecclesial communities (BECs), schools and families.

Specific Objectives :

To collaborate, build and network with each Diocese/Congregation for a “culture of vocations”.

To have a meaningful encounter with Bishops, Religious Superiors, Vocation Directors/Directresses and Lay Promoters.

To share and listen to the present situations of vocation awareness and promotions in the Local Churches.

To come up with a workable and relevant Constitution and By-Laws of DVP for a more effective and integrated vocation promotions.

To reflect on the message of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for the 49th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.


April 16 – MONDAY

10:00 am – Arrival and Registration of Participants

12:00 – Lunch

2:00pm – Opening Mass

4:00pm – Merienda


-Words of Welcome

– Introduction of Participants

– Introduction of the Convention: Its Theme and Objectives

7:00pm -Welcome Dinner/Cultural Presentation


April 17 – TUESDAY

7:00 – Breakfast

8:00 – Holy Hour

9:00 – Animation


10:15 – Snacks


12:00 – Lunch

2:00pm – Animation

2:15pm – Workshop

  1. Identify values that nurture vocation to priestly and religious life
  2. Identify practices in the family and in the community that promote vocation
  3. Draw up conclusions relevant to the design of vocation awareness and promotion programs

4:00 – Snacks

4:30 – Reporting

6:00 – Holy Mass

7:00 – Dinner


April 18 – WEDNESDAY

7:00 – Breakfast

8:00 – Holy Hour


10:30 – Snacks


12:00 -Lunch

1:00  – Animation

1:30 – Sharing and Testimonies


(Reflections on the message of Pope Benedict XVI on the 49th World Prayer for Vocations) – Most Rev. Reynaldo G. Evangelista, D.D.

3:30 – Preparation for the Penitential Rite

4:00 -Penitential Rite and Confession

5:30 – Holy Eucharist

7:00 – Dinner

8:00 – Presentation of the Draft of the Convention Statement


April 19 – Thursday

7:00 – Breakfast

8:00 -Mass

9:00 – Business Meeting (Election of Officers)

10:00 – Snacks

10:30 – Drawing up Conclusions and Recommendations


12:00 – Lunch

1:00 – Tour and Shopping

7:00 – Dinner

Socials Night/Farewell Program


April 20 – FRIDAY:  Home Sweet Home

10am- Gensan flight departures off to Manila

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    I went to a priest’s funeral reception and Mass yesterday evening. The priest had been in my year at seminary, he is the first of the year to die. There was an honest appraisal given of the struggle of the priesthood experienced by the priest, who had died, in a lovely homily preached by the dean of Wolverhampton Fr Carrick. The priest was only 59 when he died and it was such a shame, as he had struggled with his demons during his ministry. Despite weakness and struggle, he was loved and he inspired others. Often despite weakness and flaws that assail a priest, the Lord is able to touch the lives of others. In weakness and exposed humanity, a soul laid bare can still be a grace for others on their journey to the Lord. The Mass for me was a sad occasion as I reflected upon my inability to have made a difference to this man’s struggle. But it was also hopeful as I listened to words describing the care and love both given and received by Fr Brendan. Eternal rest grant unto Fr Brendan O Lord. May he now be at rest and finally find peace. Amen
I reflect today upon the phrase chosen to describe the ministry of my deceased brother priest. He was engaged in the “Struggle of the Priesthood.”  There is the reality of priesthood that includes the weaknesses of the man, the flaws of character, the failings. These realities live in tension with the struggle for holiness, for patience, for understanding, for sensitivity, for compassion and for the ideal of the priest, who is set apart from others to be an example. Living up to the ideal of the calling to priesthood is a struggle indeed.
When weaknesses are laid bare a number of reactions can be seen by parishioners, by friends, by family, a sense of support can envelope the priest, a covering of compassion, of prayer too can be extended to the priest. Others may not be so understanding and a harshness of criticism can further wound a damaged soul.
I feel the security of the priesthood rests in my relationship with Christ. This means being honest about my limits, my weakness, my sins. It involves celebrating my gifts and my skills as a priest. It means allowing praise not to inflate my pride and yet to accept praise for what it is, an encouragement and an affirmation. My security comes when I know that I am not going to please everyone or change the world for the better! It involves not despairing but remaining hopeful. It involves trusting in God and abandoning my fate, my will to his providence. Through the Mass and the sacraments, Christ touches his people, his grace abounds, despite my failings or great achievements as a priest.
The priesthood is a great life, it truly has its rewards and its joys. There is a sense of fulfilment and it brings happiness. These attributes come as brief interludes of the light of clarity amidst the darkness of the uncertainties of the struggles of living up to the calling of priesthood. Being real about the priesthood means to be realistic about my humanity.
The struggle is in the abandoning of who I am to Christ, this takes more years than I will be given to live here on earth! Prayers for all the holy Souls during November are timely, please pray for your priests who have died, as prayer is that wonderful covering of grace that carries us along to eternity.

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