Thursday, February 07, 2019

If You Build It, They Will Come

The oratory in its early construction stage
If one watched the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams" starred by Kevin Costner, one would have recalled the famous line said by the famous baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson (played by Ray Liotta): "if you build it, he will come". And this may very well apply to our vision to construct a chapel just behind our beloved Flos Carmeli House of Prayer.

Construction is well underway for the oratory dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi and will house various holy relics. It will be the first oratory in the country to be dedicated to this illustrious Carmelite saint. Little by little, we are inching towards our realization of having a small chapel apart from the prayer house where retreatants can find a truly spiritual refuge.

Every post and wall erected is a testament of our love to God and devotion to Our Lady who never fails to provide for our personal needs and the needs of the whole TOC community. The oratory is nowhere far from completion, so it needs our help to keep it going until fruition.

Community members and interested parties can send their donations to the bank account details provided below:

Bank of the Philippine Islands
Account Name: Third Order of Carmelites-TOC Inc.
Peso Savings Account
Swift Code: BOPIPHMM
Account No.: 8633-0286-07

For other details, please call or text at 0916-239-7426.

If we pray for it, God will come; if we build it, they will come. 


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Carmelite Connection

Let us remember our Blessed Mother who, as the brightest Star of Heaven, shined forth her maternal love to her children through St. Juan Diego more than 4 centuries ago. Her mantle, bedecked with the stars, illumine the dark sky of our soul—the soul that St. John of the Cross aptly describes as undergoing a dark night. 

She is in fact, the Morning Star. She is the "Woman clothed with the sun" in the Revelation who had on her head a crown of 12 stars (Revelation 12:1). Among Carmelites, she is the Star of the Sea (Stella Maris). The star is also among the symbols used in our Carmelite coat-of-arms.

The miracle of her eyes, magnified 2,500 times

The miracle of her eyes which imprinted the figure of St. Juan Diego, Bishop Zumarraga and witnesses send the message of her loving gaze to all her children as we go through life, assuring us that she will always help us and lead us to her Son Jesus.

And finally, the universality of the words of our dear Blessed Mother to St. Juan Diego:

"Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that disturbs you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing. Do not let your countenance, your heart be disturbed. Do not fear this sickness of your uncle or any other sickness, nor anything that is sharp or hurtful. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you. Do not let your uncle's illness worry you, because he will not die now. You may be certain that he is already well."

Thursday, November 08, 2018

New Canonical Establishments

The whole TOC community welcomes the canonical establishment of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel at the Parish of San Isidro Labrador, Diocese of Malolos, Bulacan, headed by its parish priest, Rev. Fr. Conrado Santos, Jr.
The decree of approval was given by the Prior General of the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance, V. Rev. Fr. Fernando Millan Romeral, O.Carm. The establishment is the second canonically erected Scapular Confraternity in the country.
New TOC Communities
Similarly, the Curia Generalizia Dei Carmelitani has announced the approval of the canonical foundation of the following TOC communities:
  1. Bl. Maria Sagrario of St. Aloysius Gonzaga TOC Community, San Luis, Pampanga
  2. St. George Preca TOC Community, Kalibo, Aklan
  3. St. Teresa of Jesus TOC Community, Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte          
Details of the Rite of Canonical Establishment shall be announced in the coming days.
Indulgences Granted to the Faithful
An indulgence on the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel can be gained by visiting churches of the Third Order Regular and Secular, and if these are lacking, churches in which the Scapular Confraternity are established (Benedict XV, February 14, 1920.).
This indulgence is now extended to the Parish of San Isidro Labrador.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

International Congress of the Carmelite Laity in Rome, September 15-21, 2018

TOC delegates from the different communities all across the world recently convened to attend the International Congress of the Carmelite Laity in Rome last September 15-21, 2018. The Philippine delegation was led by TOC Philippines National Prior Brother Ruel Santos. Centering on the theme, Our Lady of Carmel, Mother of Family, the event was attended by members from across Asia, America and Europe.

Carmelites in action

Sharing by TOC National Prior Bro. Ruel Santos

Fr. Millan delivers his message to the TOC members
Celebration of the Holy Eucharist

A rosary vigil for Our Lady
Cultural Night

Delegates enjoyed an evening of entertainment and revelry as members in their traditional attires presented their number before the attendees. 

An added highlight of the event included a papal audience from Pope Francis at the Vatican Square.

Pope Francis blessing the crowd at St. Peter's Square

TOC members in the foreground (in yellow baseball caps)

Saturday, October 06, 2018

The Hail Mary - Praying the Rosary Devoutly

The whole month of October is devoted to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Let us reflect on the teachings of St. Louis de Montfort on the recitation of the holy rosary with love and devotion, particularly the Hail Mary.

The Heavenly Salutation (i.e. Hail Mary) draws down upon the blessings of Jesus and Mary in abundance, for it is an infallible truth that Jesus and Mary reward in a marvelous way those who glorify them. They repay us a hundredfold for the praises that we give them. "I love them that love me... that I may enrich them that love me and fill their treasures" (Proverbs 8:17, 21). Jesus and Mary have always said: "We love those who love us; we enrich them and fill their treasuries to overflowing". "He who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings" (Corinthians 9:6).

Now, if we say the Hail Mary properly, is not this a way to love, bless and glorify Jesus and Mary?

In each Hail Mary we bless both Jesus and Mary: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus".

By each Hail Mary we give Our Lady the same honor that God gave her when He sent the Archangel Gabriel to greet her for Him. How could anyone possibly think that Jesus and Mary, who often do good to those that curse them, could ever curse those that bless and honor them by the Hail Mary?

Both St. Bernard and St. Bonaventure say that the Queen of Heaven is certainly no less grateful and conscientious than gracious and well-mannered people of this world. Just as she excels in all other perfections, she surpasses us all in the virtue of gratitude; so she would never let us honor her with love and respect without repaying us one hundredfold. St. Bonaventure says that Mary will greet us with grace if we greet her with the Hail Mary.

Who could possibly understand the graces and blessings which the greeting and tender regard of Our Lady effect in us? From the very first instant that St. Elizabeth heard the greeting that the Mother of God gave her, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and the child in her womb leaped for joy. If we make ourselves worthy of the greeting and blessings of Our Lady, we shall certainly be filled with graces and a flood of spiritual consolations will come down into our souls.

(The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis Montfort)

Friday, August 24, 2018

Ritualium Carmelitanum - St. John Paul II Community

TOC Philippines welcomes the new batch of postulants, novices and professed members of the St. John Paul II Community of the UST Central Seminary last August 21. The celebration of the mass and the rites were officiated by Reverend Father Gilbert Billena, Provincial Delegate to the Venerable Third Order of Carmel.

New novices receiving their scapulars
Making a renewal of their profession: Brothers Kimrey Pintor and Kervin Roldan

"Carmel is the mountain of flowers and with full hands the children of Carmel have strewn these flowers over the earth." ~ Bl. Titus Brandsma


The further a soul advances, the more it is accompanied by the good Jesus. - St. Teresa of Avila

Credits to Br. Jesus Wenceslao for the photos.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Called to be Elijah

Feast of Elijah

After many days the word of the Lord came to Elias (Elijah), in the third year, saying: "Go and shew thyself to Achab, that I may give rain upon the face of the earth". (1 Kings 18:1)

In the feast of the Holy Patriarch today, let us meditate on the works of Elijah, who called on the Lord to bring down fire from the sky before the eyes of 450 prophets of Baal and another 400 prophets of Asherah. No acts of violent uprising or dissent, just a profession of his faith and zeal for the love of God. He would perform other miracles during his lifetime, not for his own satisfaction but to show the power and might of his God, OUR GOD (Behold I am the Lord the God of all flesh: shall any thing be hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27)). 

In the same way, God calls us to be courageous in our faith in the midst of criticisms, confusion and persecution. Now no man lighting a candle covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it upon a candlestick, that they who come in may see the light (Luke 8:16). 

As members of the Carmelite family, we are called to be Elijahs of our time--incorruptible in faith besides cultivating a contemplative spirit. Being members of a bigger community, we are expected to be a light to others who are still left in the dark.

To borrow the words of the Most Rev. Romulo Valles in his recent pastoral exhortation: Rejoice and be glad! It is our duty as Christians (Catholics most especially) "to bring love where there is hatred, pardon where there is injury and faith when there is doubt", among others.

As we trudge on the road to Carmel, let us not simply think of the desert surrounding our journey but a garden that awaits us at the end of the narrow road. Let us be another Elijah.


Douay Rheims Bible.

Veritas. Rejoice and be Glad: CBCP Pastoral Exhortation. 9 July 2018 <>

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Meditation on the Night of the Pentecost

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the father sent me, so I send you,” And when had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20: 19-23)

It was days leading to the feast of the harvest and there were plenty of Jews in town to celebrate the festivities which included farmers, merchants, watchers. As customary, Roman centurions were on the lookout everywhere to the keep merry-making peaceful. Jesus's apostles and followers had gone into hiding for fear of getting caught and put into prison. They would meet clandestinely at night in a different house each day and perform the rites that would become the early celebration of the Holy Eucharist, as Jesus had taught them on the night of the Last Supper.

The apostles wait; Mary comforts

But after the Ascension when Jesus promised to them to send the Holy Spirit, the apostles had decided to stay together in a secret house just outside the city where they would invite less suspicion. The menfolk stayed indoors while the women would go outside to buy food and whatever the apostles needed. It was decided that women were safe to go out simply because of their nature. What could women do? They were practically harmless!

Mother Mary had stayed with the apostles, not just to maintain the house as the other women did for She understood the awesome responsibility that her Son had laid ahead for them, but also to provide comfort and guide to Her sons. Her role as "Mother of all" had in fact already begun. Her silent presence alone had given comfort to everyone in the room as She is "full of grace" whom the Holy Spirit has come upon her (Luke 1:35).   

"Do not lose heart my son, God keeps His promises," Mother Mary would say to one apostle. "Let us continue to pray and fast, and await His coming."

"Surely perhaps we are not worthy to receive His Spirit?" one apostle would say.

The Dear and Sorrowful Mother would smile wistfully, "Take courage my son. For we must learn to pick up our crosses to follow Him." She continues to ponder everything in Her heart (Luke 2:51).

And this conduct continued in the community for sometime. Everything was done in secret.

The moment arrives

The celebration of the harvest peaks. Everyone in the room felt jovial but were not allowed to venture out. The apostles were reciting verses from the psalms and praising God's benevolence. It was not a time for sadness, for they hardly were, but a time of rejoicing. 

Just as the community had finished reciting the last verse of the psalms, a strong gust of wind had entered the room. At first, the apostles felt fear as the house was all closed and the wind could not have come from the outside. But the wind had become a gentle breeze--the kind of breeze one feels while taking a stroll at the beach--and immediately they calm down. A bright light descends, nothing like anyone has ever seen before. It should have frightened everyone in the room, but it does not. And nobody was ever more joyful than the Blessed Mary. It was the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, who was the Heavenly Spouse of the Blessed Mother, who in turn was His Dove. To Mary, it was a familiar presence that filled Her from the very start of Her life. 

The brilliance of the Holy Spirit had created a burning fire which represented God's love and mercy to all. It was a fire like none other, possibly more brilliant than the burning bush that Moses had seen. For the celestial fire included the spirit of the Father and the Son, making its brilliance complete.

The work begins

Peter and the rest of the apostles had fallen to their knees in adoration. As the rays of the Paraclete had rested on each one of them--men and women--in a a form of tongues that burned brightly. Instantly, everyone felt an overwhelming wave of calm and a burning love that seemed to consume them but did not burn them. To an unworthy man like me, it would have annihilated me on the spot. But the same fire was infused with grace that gave them strength and a thirst that could not be quenched. It was a thirst similar to what their Master felt on the cross--the thirst for souls. Immediately, the disciples were filled with an understanding of the whole purpose and message of Christ, and they were filled with this zeal to work to achieve this goal at whatever cost.

What seemed to have lasted for an eternity had finally come to an end. The Spirit had left the room and the tongues of fire which had so visibly been seen had faded. But the fire had rested in their hearts that cannot be put out until they had assumed the tasks they had been given to perform.

At the breaking of the dawn, they had transformed into ipse Christus and began to lay the first foundations of the Church.

A Blessed Pentecost to all! 

Thursday, May 03, 2018

400th Anniversary of the Arrival of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the Philippines

In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the Philippines, a Salubong at Translacion will be celebrated tomorrow, May 4, 2018. The whole day affair will begin the Salubong with a fluvial parade at Manila Bay at 5:00 am followed by the Eucharistic celebration to be officiated by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the Quirino Grandstand afterwards. The Translacion follows shortly after, taking the procession from Rizal Park to Quiapo Church and finally, to San Sebastian Basilica where the image of our Blessed Mother will be re-enthroned.

Everyone is invited to attend the grace-filled event. More details are provided in the San Sebastian Basilica's Facebook page.

Open invitation of the Archbishop of Novaliches to the faithful
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in San Sebastian Basilica

A plenary indulgence is granted to all the faithful participating in the event, under the usual observance of conditions.

The Decretum bestowing Plenary Indulgence to the faithful