Wednesday, January 11, 2017

10 Forgotten Facts About Fatima


As we celebrate the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima this year, let us recall some important facts that will help us better understand the central message of Fatima which is that of repentance and conversion. Kindly offer a Hail Mary before you read this post in honor of our Lady.


1. A seventh apparition

Our Lady appeared six times at Fatima from May 1917 to October 1917. However, during the first apparition, Our Lady mentioned that she will return to Cova the Iria, the site of the apparition, a seventh time. In her own words Our Lady said,

“I have come here to ask you to come here for six months in succession on the thirteenth day of each month at this same hour. Later I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterward, I will return here a seventh time.”

Although Fatima specialists differ in their opinions with regard to its interpretation, nothing against Faith prevents a Catholic to hope and confide that this promise would be fulfilled in the near future. Certainly it is a glorious and most singular event a faithful Catholic could eagerly look forward to especially in our confusing and chaotic times. Perhaps, the seventh apparition would usher in the time of peace that St. Louis Grignion de Montfort described as the Reign of Mary and which Our Lady prophesied as the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.


2. The Rosary and Purgatory

Also on the above occasion, Our Lady revealed to the three children that Francisco must say many Rosaries before he will go to Heaven and that a certain Amelia will be in Purgatory until the end of the world.

Here, Our Lady reiterates the salutary practice of praying the most Holy Rosary as a means to save one’s soul and offers it as a guarantee to Francisco’s safe passage to Heaven - certainly an invaluable counsel from the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

She likewise points out the very reality of the existence of Purgatory and even cites a striking example of a poor yet already saved soul who will endure its purifying fires till the end of the world. According to the research done by Father Sebastião Martins dos Reis, Amelia died under circumstances involving dishonor in matters of chastity. Shocking as this fact may had been to Father Thomas McGlynn, O.P. during his own interview, Sister Lucia recalled that more tragic were those souls who suffered the fires of hell forever because of a single mortal sin!


3. The difference between the Angel’s and Our Lady’s apparitions

The children’s physical, emotional and psychological experience with the Angel of Portugal and Our Lady were different. In her memoirs, Sister Lucia writes,

“I do not know why, but the fact is that the apparitions of Our Lady had a very different effect on us. There was the same intimate gladness, the same peace and happiness. But instead of physical weariness, we felt a certain expansive liveliness, a sense of glee instead of that annihilation in the Divine Presence, a certain communicative enthusiasm instead of that difficulty in speaking…”

One stark contrast between the angel and Our Lady is their different natures. The former is pure spirit while the latter is flesh and spirit; body and soul. The angel’s superior nature drained much energy from the children which left them in a state of annihilation.

Since the children are of the same nature as Our Lady, one could surmise that this may explain why the children were more at ease with Our Lady. The human nature they shared with Our Lady found a pleasing and lively consonance with her. One could feel assurance and confidence in Lucia’s observation and experience that, indeed, Our Lady was assumed into Heaven in both body and soul – a dogma of the Faith.


4. The importance of prayer, penance, sacrifices and mortification for the conversion of sinners.

While it is true that the above is the constant and recurring theme of Our Lady’s Fatima message, it behooves Catholics to understand how and why it is so; especially in modern minds where the notion of mortification and penance is watered down or simply brushed aside as archaic or medieval.

The gravity of the moral crisis pervasive in the world requires continued prayers, penances and sacrifices which prompted the three children especially little Francisco and Jacinta to practice them to an extreme and heroic degree. At the height of their innocence, the two younger children understood their necessity and offered themselves admirably as expiatory victims. But Our Lady’s appeal for prayer and penance made to the children also applies to the rest of mankind.

According to Father Fredrick William Faber, D.D. in his book, Growth in Holiness, much is to be gained by us lesser mortals in the practice of mortification for it tames the body and brings the unruly passions under the control of grace and our superior will. It increases the range of our spiritual vision and makes our conscience more sensitive to the discernment of the subtleties that separate not only those between venial and mortal sins but also those between what is faulty and imperfect.

Suffering easily becomes power in the things of God. For isn’t it true that Our Lord redeemed mankind through His bloody sacrifice and immense suffering on Calvary?

Leading mortified lives encourages us to persevere in prayer, gives us strength in resisting temptations, makes us unworldly and frees our heart from earthly vanities and attachments.


5. The persecutions suffered by the children from family and friends, people and media because of the apparitions

Lucia, in particular, was most aggrieved by the incredulity of her mother and kin as well as by the withdrawal of their affectionate treatment of her. Her sufferings were much more intensified given her tender age.

Francisco and Jacinta fared better within their family for their parents never held a hostile attitude towards the apparitions. Yet, they weren’t spared from the jokes and wisecracks of neighbors and from the laughter and sneers of by-standers along the road.

The skeptical and secular media of their day were no less forgiving in subjecting them to ridicule and sarcasm. Nationwide, newspapers staged a bitter campaign of hatred and denigration to discredit the apparitions.

Nevertheless, despite all these ill-treatment and vitriolic affronts, the children bore them with admirable patience and charity always mindful of Our Lady’s request to offer their sacrifices for the sake of poor sinners. An edifying example one should emulate in the daily inconveniences one encounters everyday. Here one is reminded of St. Therése of the Child Jesus’ little way.


6. Modifications to the Five First Saturday Devotion to facilitate its practice

The original request of Our Lady asks one to confess and receive Communion on five consecutive first Saturdays; to say five decades of the Rosary; to meditate during 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary for the purpose of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparation for the sins of men.

In subsequent private visions and apparitions however, Sister Lucia presented to Our Lord the difficulties that devotees encountered in fulfilling some conditions. With loving condescension and solicitude, Our Lord deigned to relax the rules to make this devotion easy to observe:

>> Confession may be done on other days other than the First Saturday so long as one receives Our Lord worthily and has the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

>> Even if one forgets to make the intention, it may be done on the next confession, taking advantage of the first occasion to go to confession.

>> Sister Lucia also clarified that it is not necessary to meditate on ALL mysteries of the Rosary on each First Saturday. One or several suffice.

With much latitude granted by Our Lord Himself, there is no reason for the faithful to hesitate or delay this pious practice in the spirit of reparation which the Immaculate Heart of Mary urgently asks.


7. Reasons for the Five First Saturdays Devotion

This may seem academic to some but it would be good to recapitulate here the reasons for they can be forgotten. Devotions have intentions attached to them and knowing them adds merit and weight to the practice.

The five first Saturdays correspond to the five kinds of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are:

a. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
b. Blasphemies against her virginity
c. Blasphemies against her divine maternity, at the same time the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all men
d. Instilling indifference, scorn and even hatred towards this Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children
e. Direct insults against Her sacred images


8. A greater miracle denied

Sister Lucia revealed later in her life that the miracle of the sun could have been greater had the children not been abducted by Arthur Oliveira Santos, the cruel and conniving administrator of the Administrative Council of Vila Nova de Ourém. She originally expressed this remarkable detail in the interrogation done by Father Manuel Marques Ferreira on August 21, 1917, two days after the apparition but which she left out in her 1941 report.

Here is a fitting example of a transgression committed against the wishes of Our Lady which she left unpunished. Though no fault of the children, it is lamentably sad to note that the multitudes at Fatima on the afternoon of October 13, 1917 were deprived of a far greater miracle if not for the deception, trickery and malice of civil authorities.


9. Unknown light or Aurora Borealis?

Sister Lucia considered the extraordinary light that illuminated the skies of Europe on the night of January 25-26, 1938 during the hours of 8:45 p.m. to 1:15 a.m., as “the great sign” - the unknown light that Our Lady predicted that would signal that war was near.

Astronomers and skeptic brush it off as a mere aurora borealis though its character was remarkably unprecedented.

Interestingly enough, the book, The Secrets of Fatima explains:

"This aurora appeared as far south as Galicia, Spain, where Sister Lucy was then cloistered, and she, the only survivor of the three Fatima shepherds, recognized it immediately as the sign. Visible even to Pius XI in Rome, the unprecedented aurora was accompanied by a ‘crackling' sound, possibly attributable to discharges of atmospheric energy. Indeed, in many areas of Europe, panic broke out; as the populace concluded that the world was on fire and that the End had come."

The New York Times for January 26, 1938, carried the following:

"London, January 25th, 1938. The Aurora Borealis rarely seen in Southern or Western Europe spread fear in parts of Portugal and lower Austria tonight while thousands of Britons were brought running into the streets in wonderment. The ruddy glow led many to think half the city was ablaze. The Windsor Fire Department was called out thinking that Windsor Castle was afire. The lights were clearly seen in Italy, Spain, and even Gibraltar. The glow bathing snow-clad mountain tops in Austria and Switzerland was a beautiful sight but firemen turned out to chase non-existent fires. Portuguese villagers rushed in fright from their homes fearing the end of the world."


10. Jacinta’s last words:

Tempered and molded by extraordinary penance and sacrifice, 10-year-old Jacinta proved to be precocious and prophetic in her vision of things. She had many private apparitions and countless revelations. Such was her supernatural illumination and holy wisdom that Mother Godinho, the directress of the Lisbon orphanage where Jacinta stayed prior to her death in the hospital, could only ask in awe and wonder, “Who taught you all these things?” The following statements uttered by Jacinta showed her depth of soul in face of the moral decay ravishing the world:

>> The sins which cause most souls to go to Hell are the sins of the flesh.

>> To be pure of body is to keep chastity. To be pure in soul is not to commit sins, not look at what one should not see, not to steal, never to lie, always to tell the truth however hard it may be.

>> Fashions that will greatly offend Our Lord will appear. People who serve God should not follow fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same.

>> Doctors do not have the light to cure the sick because they do not have love of God

>> Priests should only occupy themselves with the affairs of the Church. Priests should be pure, very pure. The disobedience of priests and religious to their superiors and to the Holy Father greatly offends Our Lord.

>> To be a woman religious, it is necessary to be very pure in soul and body.

>> Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord, and they are not of God.

>> Confession is a sacrament of mercy. Therefore, one must approach the confessional with confidence and joy.

>> My godmother, pray much for those who govern! Woe to those who persecute the religion of Our Lord. If the government left the Church in peace and gave freedom to the holy Faith, it would be blessed by God.

>> Wars are nothing but punishments for the sins of the world.

>> Our Lady can no longer hold back the arm of her beloved Son from the world. It is necessary to do penance. If people change their ways, Our Lord will still spare the world; but if they do not, the chastisement will come.


Source:  America Needs Fatima

Monday, January 9, 2017

Courage Orientation Seminar Batch 1 2017


Courage Philippines will have its first orientation seminar this year on January 21, Saturday, at 2 p.m. onwards in Makati City. For those interested to attend, you may contact the following for reservation and more details:

Bro. Edwin 0916 313 7249, email: edwin.courageous@gmail.com

Bro. Olan 0936 932 6532, email: olan.st.bernard@gmail.com

A blessed feast of the Black Nazarene to all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Courage Speaks



Courage has been invited again on LIFE and the topic is on the Five Goals of Courage. Bro. Edwin shares how the Five Goals of Courage is a concrete way to provide pastoral accompaniment for persons with same sex attraction towards a life of deep joy, faithful to the teachings of the Church. 


Just click on the Vimeo links below to access the videos.

Part 1: https://vimeo.com/192224324/5c3ee65c53

Part 2: https://vimeo.com/192296688/6c4c99b968

Part 3: https://vimeo.com/192393188/7f85c2bb89


I also want to encourage everyone to like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/COURAGE.Philippines to receive regular updates. I will only be able to update this blog with special events/announcements in the future so make sure you visit and like our FB page.

That's all and I wish you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Short Catechesis on Halloween




As we once again approach the Hallowtide season, let us be reminded again of what the true essence of the season is really all about which is celebrating the Feast of All Saints (Church Triumphant) and commemorating the faithful departed or the Feast of All Souls (Church Suffering). Let us beware of participating in pagan practices and superstitious beliefs that surround this occasion as spiritually mature Christians.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October is Rosary Month


October is the month of the Holy Rosary and I urge everyone to have a devotion to Our Lady through the recitation of the rosary. Do this for yourself, for your family, for peace in our country and the whole world, for the Church, for the conversion of sinners, for protection against evil, for the poor souls in Purgatory, etc. The world is in need of our prayers and let us all heed Our Lady's request at Fatima to pray this excellent devotion every day.

-oOo-

I also want to share this beautiful prayer which you can say at the beginning of your rosary.

Queen of the Holy Rosary, Thou didst deign to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary. Inspire my heart with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption, which are recalled in it, I may be enriched by its fruits and obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners and of Russia, and the graces which I ask of Thee in this Rosary. (mention your requests) I ask this for the greater glory of God, for Thine own honor, and for the good of souls, especially for my own. Amen.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Catholic Apologetics Seminar 2016


If you are a Catholic who wants to deepen his knowledge and understanding of the Faith, Defensores Fidei Foundation has lined up a weekly apologetics seminar covering diverse topics by some of the top religious and lay Catholic apologists around. Admission is FREE and the venue is located at Totus Bookstore/Santuario de San Jose Parish Hall Missouri Square Bldg. Connecticut cor. Missouri Sts., Greenhills San Juan City. Time is from 8:30 a.m. until noon every Saturday (Please refer to poster above for other details.) You can reach them via landline at 723-4326 or e-mail at info@totusbookstore.com.






If you are from the south, there is also a place where you can attend this seminar. Please refer to the above two posters for complete details. This apologetics seminar is a joint project of Defensores Fidei Foundation and the Diocese of Paranaque.


Know the Faith. Defend the Faith. Live the Faith.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Third Courage Orientation Seminar 2016



Save the date for our third and last Courage orientation seminar for the year 2016.  Refer to the poster above for full details. Kindly share to those who might benefit from this free seminar and help us bring the Good News to all the people struggling with same-sex attractions. Do like our Courage Facebook page to receive updates and postings. Thank you very much.

Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Conference on Same Sex Attraction 2016


Everyone is invited to attend a conference on same-sex attraction that will be held at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila on September 2-3, 2016 (Friday and Saturday). This gathering aims to address the Church's stance on the issue of SSA in our current times and how the Church can properly respond and minister to those afflicted with SSA by listening to our stories.

Here's a breakdown of the activities for the two-day event:


September 2, Friday (Day 1)

MC       Sr. Mary Anthony Basa PDDM
               Consultant, ECC

08:30   Morning Prayer

08:45   Welcome Orientation; Introduction of Participants
            Fr. Enrico Emmanuel A. Ayo
            Executive Secretary, ECFL

09:00   Understanding Same Sex Attraction
            Most Rev. Oscar V. Cruz
            Judicial Vicar, National Tribunal of Appeals

10:00   Break

10:30   Homosexuality and Ethics in the Family Today
            Fr. James McTavish, FMVD
            Novice Master, Fraternidad Misionera Verbum Dei

11:30   Q&A
            Moderator: Fr. Norman Peña SSP
            Executive Secretary, ECC

12:00   Lunch Break

01:30   Midday Prayer

01:45   Sharing and Reflection on AL 57 and 250
            (persons with SSA; parents of son/daughter with SSA)

03:00   Workshop 1


04:30   Snacks; End of Day 1

-oOo-

September 3, Saturday (Day 2)

MC      Fr. Norman Melchor Peña SSP
            Executive Secretary, ECC

08:30   Morning Prayer

08:45   Recap of Day 1 and Orientation for Day 2
            Fr. Enrico Emmanuel A. Ayo
            Executive Secretary, ECFL

09:00   Keynote Address: Pope Francis and Persons with SSA
            Most Rev. Gilbert A. Garcera
            Bishop of Daet; Chairman, ECFL

10:00   Break

10:30   Pastoral Accompaniment of Persons with SSA
            Fr. Daniel Healy
            Spiritual Director, Courage Philippines

11:30   Q&A
            Moderator: Sr. Mary Anthony Basa PDDM
            Consultant, ECC

12:00   Lunch Break

01:30   Midday Prayer

01:45   Workshop 2 (Planning)

03:00   Reporting

03:30   Closing Eucharist
            Most Rev. Gilbert A. Garcera
            Bishop of Daet; Chairman, ECFL

04:30   Snacks; End of Day 2


-oOo-

Expected Participants
·      SSA Spiritual Directors of Dioceses, Parishes and National Family and Life Organizations
·      Bishops
·      COURAGE (SSA friends)
·      Families and friends of persons with SSA
·      Formators of seminarians / novices
·      Representatives of Catholic Cultural Centers

Venue: Pope Pius XII Catholic Center, 1175 United Nations Avenue, Paco, Manila, tel. (02) 525 9126.

Contribution: ₱1500 per participant (the amount covers conference fee, materials and snacks)

Please deposit payment before 29 August 2016:

            Account name:            CBCP-ECFL
            Account number:        632-763202435-1
            Bank:                           Metrobank

Transportation, accommodation and other expenses c/o participant or diocese/organization.
·      
    To keep the conference cost down, participants are free to organize their own accommodations and meals. We recommend staying and dining in Pope Pius XII Catholic Center.

·      If you require airport transfers, please send your flight details to ecflcbcp@gmail.com and to 0917-8125155.



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Courage to Change




May this life testimonial of Bro. Rollie serve as an inspiration and give hope for us people who are experiencing same-sex attractions. May this also challenge us to live chaste lives and grow in holiness in accordance with the divine will of God for each and every one of us. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Second Courage Orientation Seminar 2016



Courage Philippines will conduct its second orientation seminar on June 18, Saturday, for persons struggling with same-sex attractions (SSA). Exact venue will be announced to interested participants but will most likely be in Makati City. Refer to poster above for contact details. Please like our Courage Facebook page to receive regular posts and updates. Feel free to re-post this announcement on your social media accounts or forward it to someone you know who may benefit from it.