Tuesday, June 19, 2007



St Peter's Square
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Sunday, 3 June 2007

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today, we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. After the Easter Season, after reliving the event of Pentecost which renews the Baptism of the Church in the Holy Spirit, we turn our gaze, so to speak, towards "the open Heavens", to enter with the eyes of faith into the depths of the mystery of God, one in substance and three in Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

While we allow this supreme mystery to envelop us, let us admire God's glory which is reflected in the lives of the saints. Let us contemplate it above all in those whom I have just presented for the veneration of the universal Church: George Preca, Simon of Lipnica, Charles of St Andrew Houben and Marie Eugenie of Jesus Milleret.

I address my cordial greeting to all the pilgrims gathered here to pay homage to these exemplary Gospel witnesses.

In particular, I greet the Cardinals, the Presidents of the Philippines, of Ireland, of Malta and of Poland, my venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, the Government Delegations and other Civil Authorities who are taking part in this celebration.

In the First Reading from the Book of Proverbs, Wisdom comes on the scene and stands beside God as his assistant, his "architect" (cf. 8:30). The "panoramic view" of the cosmos, seen through the eyes of Wisdom, is stupendous.

Wisdom herself admits: "[I was] playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the sons of men" (8:31).

Wisdom likes to dwell in the midst of human beings, because in them she recognizes the image and likeness of the Creator. This preferential relationship of Wisdom with human beings calls to mind a famous passage from another of the wisdom books, the Book of Wisdom: We read: Wisdom "is a breath of the power of God. ... Though she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets" (Wis 7:25-27).

The last evocative expression is an invitation to consider the multiform and inexhaustible manifestation of holiness in the People of God down the centuries. God's Wisdom is manifest in the cosmos in the variety and beauty of its elements, but his masterpieces, where his beauty and his greatness truly appear much more, are the saints.

In the passage of the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Romans we find a similar image: that of God's love "poured out into [the] hearts" of saints, that is, of the baptized, "through the Holy Spirit" who has been given to them (cf. Rom 5:5).

The gift of the Spirit, "Person-Love" and "Person-Gift", as the Servant of God John Paul II described him, passes through Christ (cf. Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem, n. 10). The Spirit of God reaches us through Christ as the beginning of new and "holy" life. The Spirit instils God's love in believers' hearts in the concrete form it had in the man Jesus of Nazareth.

Thus, what St Paul said in his Letter to the Colossians came to pass: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (1:27). "Affliction" is not in contrast to this hope; rather, it helps bring it about through "endurance" and "proven character" (cf. Rom 5:3-4): it is the way of Jesus, the way of the Cross.

In the same perspective, from the Wisdom of God incarnate in Christ and communicated by the Holy Spirit, the Gospel has suggested to us that God the Father continues to manifest his plan of love through the saints.

What we have already observed about Wisdom occurs here too: the Spirit of truth reveals God's design in the multiplicity of cosmic elements -- we are grateful for this visibility of God's beauty and goodness in the elements of the cosmos --, and he does so above all through human people and especially through the saints where his light, his truth, his love appear with great power.

Indeed, "the image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15) is, properly speaking, Jesus Christ alone, "the Holy and Righteous One" (Acts 3:14).

He is Wisdom incarnate, the Creator Logos, who finds his joy in dwelling among the sons of man and pitches his tent in their midst (cf. Jn 1:14).

God was pleased to place in him "all fullness" (cf. Col 1:19); that is, as he himself says in today's Gospel passage, "all that the Father has is mine" (Jn 16:15). Every individual saint shares in the riches of Christ taken by the Father and communicated in due time.

Jesus' holiness is always the same; it is always he, the "Holy One", whom the Spirit models in "holy souls", thereby forming friends of Jesus and witnesses of his holiness. And Jesus also wants to make us his friends.

Let us open our hearts precisely on this day so that friendship with Jesus also grows in our lives, thus enabling us to witness to his holiness, goodness and truth.

George Preca, born in La Valletta on the Island of Malta, was a friend of Jesus and a witness to the holiness that derives from him. He was a priest totally dedicated to evangelization: by his preaching, his writings, his spiritual direction and the administration of the sacraments and, first and foremost, by the example of his life.

The Johannine expression, "Verbum caro factum est" always directed his soul and his work and thus the Lord could make use of him to give life to a praiseworthy institution, the "Society of Christian Doctrine", whose purpose is to guarantee parishes the qualified service of properly trained and generous catechists.

As a profoundly priestly and mystical soul, he poured himself out in effusions of love for God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the saints. He liked to repeat: "Lord God, how obliged to you I am! Thank you, Lord God, and forgive me, Lord God!". This is a prayer that we can also repeat and make our own.

May St George Preca help the Church, in Malta and throughout the world, to be always a faithful echo of the voice of Christ, the Incarnate Word.

The new Saint, Simon of Lipnica, a great son of Poland, a witness of Christ and a follower of the spirituality of St Francis of Assisi, lived in a distant age but precisely today is held up to the Church as a timely model of a Christian who -- enlivened by the spirit of the Gospel -- was ready to dedicate his life to his brethren.

Thus, filled with the mercy he drew from the Eucharist, he did not hesitate to help the sick who were struck by the plague, and he himself contracted this disease which led to his death.

Today in particular, let us entrust to his protection those who are suffering from poverty, illness, loneliness and social injustice. Let us ask through his intercession for the grace of persevering and active love, for Christ and for our brothers and sisters.

"The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us". Truly, in the case of the Passionist priest, Charles of Saint Andrew Houben, we see how that love overflowed in a life totally dedicated to the care of souls.

During his many years of priestly ministry in England and Ireland, the people flocked to him to seek out his wise counsel, his compassionate care and his healing touch.

In the sick and the suffering he recognized the face of the Crucified Christ, to whom he had a lifelong devotion. He drank deeply from the rivers of living water that poured forth from the side of the Pierced One, and in the power of the Spirit he bore witness before the world to the Father's love.

At the funeral of this much-loved priest, affectionately known as Fr Charles of Mount Argus, his superior was moved to observe: "The people have already declared him a saint".

Marie Eugenie Milleret reminds us first of all of the importance of the Eucharist in the Christian life and in spiritual growth. In fact, as she herself emphasizes, her First Holy Communion was an important moment, even if she was unaware of it at the time.

Christ, present in the depths of her heart, was working within her, giving her time to follow her own pace and to pursue her inner quest, which was to lead her to the point of giving herself totally to the Lord in the Religious life in response to the needs of her time.

In particular, she realized how important it was to pass on to the young generations, especially young girls, an intellectual, moral and spiritual training that would make them adults capable of taking charge of their family life and of making their contribution to the Church and society. Throughout her life she drew the strength for her mission from her life of prayer, ceaselessly combining contemplation and action.

May the example of St Marie Eugenie invite men and women today to pass on to young people values that will help them to become strong adults and joyful witnesses of the Risen One. May young people never be afraid to welcome these moral and spiritual values, living them patiently and faithfully. In this way, they will build their personality and prepare for their future.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank God for the wonders he has worked in the saints, in whom his glory shines. Let us be attracted by their example and allow ourselves to be guided by their teaching, so that the whole of our life may become, like theirs, a hymn of praise to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.

May Mary, Queen of the Saints, and the intercession of these four new "older Brothers and Sister" whom we joyfully venerate today, obtain this for us. Amen.

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Friday, April 20, 2007

Updates from Different TOC Communities

Hagonoy, Bulacan

The St. Therese of the Child Jesus TOC Community of Hagonoy celebrated their first founding anniversary on March 17, 2007. The occasion was graced by members of the Calumpit community – St. John the Baptist, the mother community, and the Regional Council of the Region of Saint Joseph. One of the activities of the celebration was the imposition of the Brown Scapular to selected parishioners of Sta. Elena Parish. They were imposed after the Regional Council gave a short talk about the Brown Scapular. Also, Sis. Gerarda del Rosario was imposed with small brown scapular and was accepted as an aspirant of the community. Sis. Virginia Atienza who was battling with a brain tumor causing her left eye to bulge out was given the Rite of Final Profession. She has undergone several surgery for the removal of the tumor but it keep on returning. She was scheduled for brain surgery the week after. The rites were officiated by Rev. Fr. Edmar Estrella, parish priest and spiritual assistant of the community.

L-R: Fe Mesina (prioress of Calumpit), Virginia Atienza, Gerarda del Rosario, and Priscilla Jose (prioress of Hagonoy)

The TOC communities of Calumpit and Hagonoy with Fr. Emai

Parishioners imposed with the brown scapulars

San Francisco, Agusan del Sur

On February 3, 2007 during the 6 am Mass, twelve temporary professed TOCs of San Francisco Community, Agusan del Sur had their final profession. The ceremonial rite was officiated by Rev. Fr. Artemio Jusayan, OCarm, Prior Provincial, and assisted by Rev. Fr. Alaindelon Balasabas, OCarm at the Sacred Heart Church, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. We were lucky to have no less than our prior provincial to officiate the ceremony. Rev. Fr. Alaindelon Balasabas painstakingly guided us through the flow of the ceremony the night before.

Also present was our Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Eddie Albiño, OCarm and the Carmel Youth who assisted during the ceremony. After the profession rites, the whole District composed of members coming from Rosario and Prosperidad gathered at the GKK Hall for the fraternal breakfast.


TOCs of Guinobatan and Malilipot, Albay had their recollection and profession rites last February 24, 2007 at the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Guinobatan.

Rev. Fr. Pete Manilag, Jr., OCarm, Provincial Delegate, gave the recollection and celebrated the Liturgy. Fr. Pete dwelt on the paschal mystery and the Carmelite way of life. Sis. Cynthia M. Peñalosa, TOCarm. of the National Office shared her reflection on the resurrection.

Highlighting the affair was the celebration of the Liturgy and rites during which Sis. Sonia O. Gallarte, TOCarm had her final profession.

Thereafter, the entire group led by Sis. Teresita M. Naag, TOCarm., formation director, visited Sis. Amparo C. Palacio, TOCarm., prioress, who was stricken with cancer. Last leg of the itinerary took them to once lush and prosperous village of Maipon in Guinobatan which bore the brunt of typhoon Reming’s fury last November.


Mater Carmeli Community had temporary profession of its nine (9) novices held on December 09, 2006. The profession was presided by the Provincial Delegate, Rev. Fr. Pete Manilag, Jr., OCarm. The regional formator from Cabanatuan, Sis. Lulu Aquino, TOCarm, witnessed the event.

South Metro

December 8, 2006 was a big red-letter day for the TOC South Metro Communities composed of Our Lady of the Pillar of Las Piñas City, Our Lady of Peace and GOOd Voyage of Bacoor, Cavite, and Immaculate Conception of Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

On this great feast day of the Immaculate Conception, the above mentioned communities held joint reception and profession rites as well as their annual recollection. The affair was held at the Parish of Our Lady of the Pillar at Pilar Village, Las Piñas City. Rev. Fr. Pete Manilag, Jr., OCarm., Provincial Delegate, gave the recollection and celebrated the Liturgy and rites, while the OCarm student friars served as choir and assisted at Mass.

The day started with the annual recollection at the Formation Center of the parish. This was followed by a simple and delicious lunch. As an aside, it may be mentioned here that a notable gesture of the TOCs of South Metro was their donation for the benefit of the victims of Typhoon Reming, giving away their cash for the cause in lieu of their traditional exchange gifts. The donation was remitted to Caritas Manila for the typhoon victims.

The celebration of the Liturgy and the rites started at 2:00 p.m. Received into the novitiate was Luis Francisco Amado R. Barrientos of Bacoor. Five members had their temporary profession: Juanita G. Lopez (Bacoor), Denia T. Valente (Bacoor), Paz S. Vergara (Bacoor), Glenora T. Alcantara (Pilar) and Cynthia M. Peñalosa (Pilar). Bienvenida Cento (Pilar) and Teresita Malanum (Pilar) had their final profession while the hermitage rite was adminstered to Rosario S. Abarro (Pilar). Ivy T. Morales, a postulant of the Pilar community, was not able to make it at the reception. However, she was received as a novice last January 2007 at the Holy Mass and rites celebrated during the thematic retreat at Notre Dame de Vie Institute Retreat House at Novaliches.

After the ceremony, snacks were served at the formation center. With the OCarm brothers singing with harmonious and heartwarming melodies, the affair was ended. What a wonderful conclusion to a great and blessed day!

Bulacan TOCs Attend the Silver Jubilee of
Profession of Mo. Teresa Margarita

On February 17, 2007, the Lay Carmelites of Bulacan went to Mater Carmeli Monastery in Sta. Ignaciana, Tarlac to attend the jubilee profession of Mo. Teresa Margarita Medina, O.Carm., who was a former TOC member of the Holy Family TOC community of Guiguinto. The mass was presided by Fr. John Malley, O.Carm. together with priests from the Diocese of Tarlac and Carmelite friars.

Renewal of Profession of Mo. Teresa

Mo. Teresa and the TOCs of Bulacan

L-R: Bulacan Regional Coordinator, Fr. John Malley, and a TOC from Tarlac

O.L. of Mt. Carmel at the Mater Carmeli Chapel

Temporary Chapel of Mater Carmeli Monastery

Outside the monastery grounds

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Triennial Elections of Bulacan TOC Communities

The Triennial elections for the three TOC communities of Bulacan (Region of Saint Joseph) were conducted from February to March 2007: St. John the Baptist TOC Community (February 24), Immaculate Conception TOC Community (March 10), and Holy Family TOC Community (March 17). The Chapter elections was started by praying the Litany of the Carmelite Saints, readings on the Old and New Testament focusing on leadership, a short reading from the Rule of Saint Albert and it was interspersed with singing of the music of Taize. The election was concluded with a short reading from the Precautions of Saint John of the Cross.

The following is the result of the chapter elections:

Saint John the Baptist TOC Community (2007 – 2010)
Prioress: Sis. Fe P. Mesina, TOCarm
1st Councilor: Sis. Remedios Enriquez, TOCarm.
2nd Councilor: Sis. Pilar M. Castro, TOCarm.
3rd Councilor: Sis. Carmelita S. Samson, TOCarm.
Secretary: Sis. Carmelita S. Samson, TOCarm.
Treasurer: Sis. Carmelita G. Punzalan, TOCarm.
Formation Director: Sis. Pilar M. Castro, TOCarm.
Assistant Formator: Sis. Emelita Cunanan, TOCarm.

The newly elected local council of St. John the Baptist TOCC

(L-R: Baby Punzalan, Nene Samson, Dr. Fe Mesina, Remedios Enriquez, Pilar Castro)

Immaculate Conception TOC Community (2007 – 2010)
Prioress: Sis. Remedios Antonio, TOCarm
1st Councilor: Sis. Agatona Santos, TOCarm.
2nd Councilor: Sis. Rizalina Yoyongco, TOCarm.
3rd Councilor: Sis. Filomena Pedroche, TOCarm.
Secretary: Sis. Lualhati Ladia, TOCarm.
Treasurer: Sis. Lourdita Fernando, TOCarm.
Formation Director: Sis. Ma. Luisa Salazar, TOCarm.

Calumpit Elections

Holy Family TOC Community (2007 – 2010)
Prioress: Sis. Cecilia Atienza, TOCarm
1st Councilor: Sis. Flor A’ Jose, TOCarm.
2nd Councilor: Sis. Ligaya Mendoza, TOCarm.
3rd Councilor: Sis. Emelita Enriquez, TOCarm.
Secretary: Sis. Evangeline Alcaraz, TOCarm.
Treasurer: Sis. Lucila Punongbayan, TOCarm.
Formation Director: Sis. Laura Castro, TOCarm.

Thanksgiving masses in honor of Saint Joseph, the patron of the region, was held on March 19 in parishes where there are existing TOC communities for the chapter elections.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

From the Provincial Delegate

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Carmel,


Let there be peace within our hearts. Let the love of God move us to be always grateful to the different events affecting our lives. God sends us a message. Let the peace and love in our hearts enable us to live in silence though it is very noisy around us. Our silence enable us to recognize the message of God. Our silence does not judge who is right or wrong, but helps us to appreciate everybody's role in our journey in the land of Carmel. This silence allows us to meditate that Jesus lived in the midst of those considered impure (Luke 3:37). Though we have limitations and sins, Jesus love us so much.

God loved us first. He has commissioned us to work for His kingdom. As we allow ourselve to be sent, we are being purified. We have many reasons not to respond to God's invitation. I could mention many reasons not to be in the TOC. Primary reason is - I have many tasks and I know that there are many challenges affecting the community. I don't know why I said "yes" when I was asked by our provincial. When I said "yes", I humbly said that I'll try to do my little ways. My pure intention to help or journey with you was not easy. I felt uncomfortable in the type of relationship existing in the community. I missed the strong sense of love and compassion in Carmel. I missed the authentic sharing of who we are. This experience moved me to pray and reflect more why I said "yes."

Whatever the situation, you also have said your "yes" to Carmel and to God. Let us allow this "yes" to be challenged and purified. Our "yes" awakens us to give more of ourselves to Carmel, to be faithful to our vocation to live a contemplative lifestyle, to leap over the many barriers and difficulties, and to recognize the Lord who came as our Saviour because we humbly accepted that we have committed mistakes and lapses.

Our "yes" to Carmel and to God asks us to examine more our hearts' desires. This demands a life of constant meditation, and that we observe silence and keep watch always. Our "yes" should be like the beating of our hearts. It is our faithfulness to God Who truly loved us first.

The presence of God among us enables us to renew our community in the spirit of God's loving and peaceful presence. Be attentive to your heart's desire, be attentive to God's presence.

Mary, our mother, intercede for us

Fr. Pete, O.Carm.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Heritage of Elijah: The Silent Retreat of the TOC Region of Saint Joseph

What a better way to start the year is to have a vacation with the Lord. Thus, the TOC Region of St. Joseph (Bulacan) coordinated a silent retreat with the theme: "The Heritage of Elijah: Introduction to Carmelite Spirituality" from January 12 to January 14, 2007.

A snapshot from Notre Dame de Vie

The retreat venue was held at the former mother house of the secular institute "Notre Dame de Vie" in Asia which was founded by Fr. Marie Eugene of the Child Jesus, OCD. The retreat house is surrounded by a large woodland and conducive for a closed silent retreat.

One pathway going to the wooded area

The retreat was attended by TOCs from Pulong Buhangin (Bulacan), Guiguinto (Bulacan), Malolos (Bulacan), Calumpit (Bulacan), Project 4 (Quezon City), Pilar Village (Las Pinas), and Five Wounds (Las Pinas). Fr. Cocoy Sabanal, OCarm was the retreat master.

Fr. Cocoy giving a short intro at the first day

The retreat was started with a Holy Mass and the "Grand Silence" was observe after the Compline of January 12 and ended at the closing Mass of January 14. Exposition and Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament was observed and on the early morning of January 14, the retreatants made a Way of the Cross within the vicinity of the retreat house. At the last conference on January 14, the retreatants made some presentation based on drawing, song or play about their reflections they have made as the retreat progressed.

TOCs Making Presentation

Bro. Boy during one of the discussions

TOCs of Pulong Buhangin