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.


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

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


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


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 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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Eucharist and My Journey to Chastity: A Testimony

A testimony from one of our Courage officers, Bro. Joseph Anthony, on the occasion of the Feast of Corpus Christi.

700. That's the estimate number of sexual partners I have had. I was sexually active for many years before I joined Courage. One survey I read said that a sexually active homosexual man in the US would have an estimate of anywhere between 500 to 1,000 sexual partners in their lifetime. I was within this range so my estimate must have been correct (though I am a Filipino, the gay sex scene should be similar.)

Courage was to me God's answer to a lifelong desire to be free from sexual desires. I tried so hard and for so long to not engage in homosexual acts but nothing worked (and the 700 is the overwhelming proof of my failures). On attending my very first Courage meeting, God showed me that it was possible, through the witness of others who have been living chastely for many years despite their same sex attraction, to live a life free from lustful and homosexual acts. This was 2 years ago in 2014.

From that point on, I made a commitment to intensify my prayer life in order to storm the heavens for more graces to resist indulging in homosexual acts. I committed to doing one hour adoration twice a week then. There, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I will be sorry for all my sins and seek God's deliverance and redemption. In May of that year and during one such adoration, I was driven to make an estimate of the number of sexual partners I have had. I would from time to time recall my encounters and be very remorseful for them before God. When I realized the quantity, I became even more remorseful. I prayed to God that He leads me to ways on how to make amends for all these. But the enormity of the offenses I made was just too great and the impact eternal that I do not have the capacity to do so. Then a message came to me: "I want you to receive the Holy Eucharist for every person you have had sex with." Only Jesus, who is eternal, has the capacity to make amends for the eternal damnation our sinful acts have caused.

It was then I understood for myself the meaning of how my weakness reveals God’s strength. Because of my weakness of the flesh, I am eternally connected to each and every person I have had sex with (because sexual union is unitive). And by receiving the Eucharist in me, Jesus will enter these connections to heal us.

Because of the number, this meant that I had to receive the Holy Communion as often as possible. A year has 365 days so to be able to receive communion for 700 meant I had to do this daily for 2 years. Thankfully, God has formed in me the habit of attending mass regularly on weekdays. My office then had a chapel near it and so I already had the habit of hearing mass during lunch or after office daily for years.

The message came with a bonus too. I received this task in May of 2014 (around 2-3 months after I joined Courage). In a succeeding adoration session, I was led to reflect that May is a month dedicated to the Blessed Mother. I was made to realize that if I was a true devotee of the Blessed Mother (which I thought I was), then I should also be hearing mass on Saturdays because this is a day of the week consecrated to her. Of course, I preferred sleeping till late on Saturdays so I never thought of hearing mass on Saturdays too. In my parish, they only had Saturday masses in the morning. I decided, at least for the month of May, to make the sacrifice and hear mass too on Saturdays. Here we can see how when God asks us to do something, He also provides the solution. In this case, it was sent through His mother.

Since then, I have become a daily communicant. And because I knew I couldn't receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin, I had to strive harder not to engage in homosexual acts nor masturbate nor watch pornography. And when I did commit any of these, I immediately sought the Sacrament of Reconciliation so as to receive communion immediately.

Receiving the Holy Eucharist daily has been most efficacious. I have been sober with others since I joined Courage 2 years ago. This for sure is not a small feat for someone who habitually had sex with others. There were close calls but God delivered me from them all. My masturbation and pornography indulgence have been less and less frequent. The Holy Eucharist was both a means and an end. I have been led to a virtuous cycle of which the Holy Eucharist is the center.

It has been two years since God made me a daily communicant. By faith, I know that He has already healed and freed me from all the attachments I had with all my 700 sexual partners. By some unfathomable grace, I now feel freer. God has taken me to a point in my journey where I can now actually distinguish a temptation from sin. Before, I would immediately feel guilt and shame for every temptation and consequently commit sin. The guilt and shame are at the same time cause and effect of sinfulness; cause because I already feel dirty and so I might as well indulge, effect because once tempted I know that I will immediately give in. They used to be the same for me even if theoretically, I knew they were different. The Holy Eucharist has taken out this guilt and shame, which are the weapons of the enemy. God has now made me realize that being weak is not the news, but rather, that He comes and saves us is the Good News. I also have much hope and faith that I will soon get rid of my masturbation and pornography addiction too. I have experienced longer and longer periods of sobriety for these two. If He can miraculously deliver me from homosexual acts, He can for sure deliver me from other sins too.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ this Sunday, let us more fervently adore Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist. Let us open ourselves to His body and blood and receive Him that He may truly, fully and finally live in us for all eternity.

Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, pray for us.

+Joseph Anthony of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Corpus Christi 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wise As Serpents, Innocent As Doves: A Guide to Catholic Voters

Just a few weeks to go before the May 9 national and local elections, the election fever is switching to a high gear with all the bashing and political mudslinging going around. I am reposting here a set of guidelines issued by CBCP to help us Catholic voters to discern and choose our future leaders wisely. At the same time let us also pray for an orderly and peaceful elections in the coming polls.

As the rhetoric and the noise traditionally associated with Philippine politics and elections reach higher levels of intensity, we wish to offer some guidelines to our Catholic voters deriving from the moral teachings of the Church.

1. Reject claims by candidates that they are candidates of the CBCP, or of a diocese, or of a particular bishop. It has never been the practice of the Catholic Church to hold out a candidate to the faithful as the “chosen” candidate of the Church. Church doctrine has remained consistent: Partisanship is an arena into which the Church should not venture.

2. We your bishops commit to desist from any action or statement that may give the appearance of persuading the faithful to vote for a particular candidate. While bishops, as citizens of the Republic, have the right to make their own choices, our office in the Church as well as our stature, of which we are all unworthy, urge upon us that circumspection that should prevent misunderstanding and confusion among our flock

3. The desired qualities of leaders as well as the political options open to the people are proper subjects of the collective discernment of the members of our lay Catholic communities and associations, as long as these take place in the context of prayer, a careful reading of the Scriptures in the light of the Church’s teaching, a sense of fairness and concern for the common good.

4. The Catholic voter must evaluate candidates according to the model of Christ, who came to serve, not to be served. They must look for the realization of Gospel values in the lives, words and deeds of those desirous of public office, realizing that there are no perfect candidates. There is a crucial difference between one who has been wrong in the past and is willing to amend his ways, and one who exhibits stubbornness and obstinacy.

5. Surveys and polls show trends, and they are as limited as the methodology that is used to conduct them. The Catholic therefore cannot make his or her choice depend on who is topping or trailing in the polls and surveys. There is a vocation to authenticity: the Spirit-inspired courage and determination to make decisions for ourselves, setting ourselves free from “trends” and “herds”, to do what is right and to choose who is right!

6. A Catholic cannot support a candidate who vows to wipe out religion from public life. While we expect every public officer to give life to the constitutional posture of “benevolent neutrality” in respect to the attitude of the State towards religion, the Catholic voter cannot and should not lend his support to any candidate whose ideology binds him or her to make of the Philippines a secular state that has no tolerance for religion in its public life.

7. Similarly, a Catholic voter cannot, in good conscience, support a candidate whose legislative or executive programs include initiatives diametrically opposed to Church moral teachings on such vital issues as abortion, euthanasia, the return of the death penalty, divorce and the dilution of the character of Christian marriage.

8. A Catholic is not closed to the candidacy of a non-Catholic. In fact, there are worthy candidates from other Christian communities and other religions. Their qualifications and aspirations must be given serious heed by our Catholic voters, their truly helpful plans and visions must be supported.

9. A candidate who has thus far spent his time demolishing the reputation and tarnishing the good name of fellow candidates must be suspect. He may have nothing positive to offer, and he debases the level of political discourse by calling attention to the shortcomings of his rivals and competitors, rather than on the programs and projects he or she might have.

10. We warn against the use of government resources, the power of government offices and instrumentalities and subtler forms of coercion and intimidation to promote the chances of a particular candidate. It is God’s will to provide his people with shepherds after His merciful heart!

Finally, we appeal to COMELEC to insure that all the security measures mandated by the Automated Election Law be implemented diligently. The credibility of the elections and the stability of our democracy is at risk if the security and sanctity of the every ballot is compromised.

As Christians we will align ourselves not with powers like Herod who trembled at the news that the King had been born. We shall, like the wise men, choose a different route, guided by intimations of the Gospel, and so do our part, in response to God’s initiative, to make all things new!

From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, December 30, 2015

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
President, CBCP

"See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16)

Monday, April 4, 2016

To Kneel or to Stand

It seems that most of the faithful Catholics attending Mass are not yet aware or have been made aware by their local parish priests and/or bishops about the practice of kneeling during the entire Eucharistic consecration of the Mass. I attended Mass today and only saw two ladies kneeling after the Holy, Holy, Holy (Sanctus) part up until the grand Amen or right before the Our Father. I myself have only very recently learned that this should be the proper way to do it and rightfully so because this is the part of the Mass when the Transfiguration happens and the Lord deserves utmost reverence no less. Please see letter below from CBCP for a full and detailed explanation.

On the QUESTION of Kneeling or Standing
After the Consecration Until After the GREAT AMEN
During the Eucharistic Celebration

March 19, 2016

Your Eminences and Excellencies,

During the January 2016 112th CBCP Plenary Assembly in Cebu, there was a discussion on the issue of standing or kneeling after the consecration until after the Amen. The discussion included a question on why we do not continue kneeling after the consecration until after the Amen. After a short discussion, the Permanent Council of the CBCP was tasked to look into this issue.

So, at the March 15, 2016 meeting of the CBCP Permanent Council one of the issues discussed was this issue on the posture of standing after the consecration and to keep standing or of kneeling after the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer. This is the reason for this letter.

Before the 1990s, we can still recall that we had the established practice of kneeling after the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer.

In the 1990s the practice of standing after the consecration was begun. This change in the established practice was based on the 1990 Guidelines for the Eucharist which were approved by the CBCP in January 1990. Number 3 of the 1990 Guidelines states: “The people should kneel from the Sanctus until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer…. If the acclamation after the consecration is sung, the people may stand for it and keep standing.” 

However, in reality the practice became always standing after the consecration until the Amen.

In January 2003 at the 86th CBCP Plenary Assembly, one of the proposals that the CBCP approved to include among the Philippine Adaptations to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal 2002 was: “Proposed Philippine Adaptation: ‘In the Philippines, the people kneel after the Sanctus, rise for the memorial acclamation, and kneel after the Lamb of God.’”

In both instances, the 1990 Guidelines for the Eucharist and the proposed Philippine Adaptations to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal 2002, no recognition was ever received from Rome.

Specifically for the Philippine Adaptations to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal 2002 that were submitted to Rome, no answer was ever received. Archbishop Romulo Valles, during an ad limina visit in September 2003, made a follow up at the office of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on the status the Philippine proposed adaptations. After that, until up to now we have not received a formal written reply.

In February 2016, Bishop Julius Tonel, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy, made a query with the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments about this specific proposed adaptation. In reply to his query, it was confirmed that a formal reply or recognition had never been given.

With the above information, we sought the advice of some of our bishops knowledgeable in the Code of Canon Law. They have responded that no answer or silence from Rome means that the recognition has not been given. Without the recognition the CBCP does not have the authority to make or implement any such adaptation. This being the case, we have to revert to the established practice before the request.

Based on the above documented information, the Permanent Council came to the decision that we must ABANDON the practice of standing after the consecration until the Amen as we do not have the authority to make such an adaptation nor do we have the authority to implement it. We must go back to the previously established practice of kneeling after the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer.

To go back to our established practice is very much in keeping with our current General Instructions of the Roman Missal, approved by the CBCP and given the needed recognition from Rome, published in the Philippine Edition of the Roman Missal of 2011. Number 43 states: “Where it is the practice for the people to remain kneeling after the Sanctus until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer …, it is laudable for this practice to be retained.”

Another way of saying this is that we go back our established practice where the people kneel beginning after the Sanctus and remain kneeling until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer knowing that this is in harmony with the present GIRM.

You are kindly requested to inform our clergy and Catholic faithful about this re-statement of position and lead them, through liturgical catechesis, to deepen our reverence for the Most Blessed Sacrament. The spirit of the law is to observe greater reverence for the Real Presence.

We remind you of some lines contained in our Pastoral Exhortation to Open the 2016 Year of the Eucharist and the Family:

Kneeling is part of our Christian culture. We cannot abandon or set aside the culture of kneeling in favor of the culture that says as freemen we must face God on our feet. Bending the knee before the tabernacle in genuflection, kneeling down at the celebration of the Eucharist, kneeling down to adore the exposed Blessed Sacrament— these are little but sublime acts of adoration that we must preserve and protect.

Sincerely yours,