Today, March 2, we commemorate the eighth and last apparition of the Virgin of the Poor to 11-year-old Mariette Beco in 1933.
On March 2, 1933, Our Lady made her eighth and last apparition in Banneux, Belgium, to Beco. After identifying herself as the Virgin of the Poor on Jan. 19, she “signed ” her message: “I am the Mother of the Savior, Mother of God,” with a final advice: “Pray much. Adieu.”
The observance is taking place a month after the Belgian parliament passed a bill allowing child euthanasia without any age limit.
Bishop Pablo David’s family built a chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the Poor at their property known as “Bahay Pari” in Brgy. Pita, Dinalupihan, Bataan. He learned of Banneux and actually visited Our Lady’s shrine, while studying at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. Mila Dolores, well-known author of the book “The Virgin of the Poor: A Tribute from her Filipino Children,” wrote about that visit in her book (available at National Bookstore).
New TV program on OFW
Wilhelm Soriano, former Overseas Workers Welfare Adminstration head and whom I see at daily Mass, will host the new TV show, “My OFW Story,” on UNTV Channel 37, starting March 7, Friday, 7-8 p.m. The show carries the slogan, “Sila po ang buhay ng ekonomiya.”
The show wants to inform Filipinos of the reality of overseas employment. This is done by storytelling, narration and dramatization of the lives of OFWs featured on the show.
The new program is not the usual problem-solving program; it fosters the sharing of actual experiences of success and failure of an overseas worker. Overall, the show portrays “best practices” and cautionary tales.
For details, please text Soriano at 0998-9972350.
New San Sebastian rector
The Basilica Minore de San Sebastian in Quiapo has a new parish priest and rector in the person of Fr. James Bumangabang, OAR, who was installed Feb. 22 by Fr. Rolando Aquino, SVD, Vicar Forane of the Vicariate of San José de Trozo to where the Basilica belongs. Bishop Camilo Gregorio of the Prelature of Batanes was main celebrant and homilist.
Holy Week procession
With Ash Wednesday happening on March 5, the Presentation of the Child Parish in BF Parañaque is already inviting owners of holy images related to “Semana Santa” for the Holy Week procession in April. Those interested may text Fr. Steve Villanueva at 0908-8616218.
Novena Masses for St. Joseph
The Friends of St. Joseph headed by Dr. Danilo Reyes and professor Geminiano de Jesus and the Daughters of Charity are holding the exhibit of St. Joseph images and a Novena of Masses on March 10-19 at the Hospicio de San José.
Priests invited to celebrate the Masses and the themes assigned to them are: March 10, Fr. Serafin Peralta, CM, “St. Joseph: A Man of Loving Service to the Poor”; March 11, Fr. Rex F. Fortez, CM, “St. Joseph: A Man of Profound Prayer”; March 12, Fr. Daniel Franklin E. Pelario, CM, “St. Joseph: A Man of Faith”; March 13, Fr. Francisco P. Magnaya, CM, “St. Joseph: A Man Trustful in God’s Power and Goodness”; March 14, Very Rev. Matt Garcia, “St. Joseph: A Man of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.”
On March 15, 9 a.m., feast of St. Louise de Marillac, Fr. Serafin Peralta, CM, will talk about “St. Louise Servant of the Poor, Trustful in Divine Providence”; 6 p.m., Fr. Jimmy Belita, CM, “St. Joseph: Docile to the Prompting of the Holy Spirit.”
On March 16, Fr. Victoriano Torres, CM, “St. Joseph: A Man of Silence and Solitude”; March 17, Fr. Vicente A. Robles, “St. Joseph: A Man of Unconditional Generosity and Compassion”; March 18, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, “St. Joseph: A Man of Profound Humility and Weakness; March 19, 9 a.m., Fr. Venerando Agner, CM, “St. Joseph: Model of Hopeful and Joyful Obedience to God’s Will”; and 6 p.m., Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo.
Unless indicated otherwise, all Novena Masses are at 6 p.m.
Wishing for blessings on Pining Tengco Reyes on her birthday today.
Fr. Benjie Ledesma, parish priest of Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Leveriza, Malate, has untiringly been organizing Lenten pilgrimages for his flock since he took over as pastor.
This year, the priest will bring the pilgrims on April 5-6 to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Marilao, Bulacan; Holy Rosary Parish, Angeles, Pampanga; St. Sebastian Cathedral in Tarlac City, then up San José hills to venerate the Relic of the True Cross of Jesus Christ in Monasterio de Tarlac, which is under the care of the religious order Servants of the Risen Christ headed by Prior Archie Cortez; then St. Michael de Archangel in Camiling; St. Raymond of Penyafort in Mangatarem, Pangasinan; and St. Joseph Cathedral in Alaminos.
The pilgrimage fee is P2,500 only (accommodation and transportation) and registration is ongoing until March 29. Those who are interested may register either at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish on Leveriza St. in Malate or at Harrison Plaza Chapel. Please call tel. 5235797 or text 0915-7844446.
Award for ‘Soc’ Villegas
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who’s also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, is this year’s recipient of the Domingo de Salazar Preaching Award.
The award, which is named after the first bishop of Manila, is conferred by the Institute of Preaching of the Dominican Province of the Philippines “to an outstanding non-Dominican preacher, acclaimed here and abroad, and distinguished for his/her notable contribution to preaching,” as stated in the Acts of the Provincial Chapter of the Filipino Dominicans in 2008.
The archbishop received the award in the famous Dominican retreat house and chapel in Caleruega, Nasugbu, Batangas, last Feb. 25.
“The Domingo de Salazar awardee is a non-Dominican individual, community or institution, that has demonstrated excellence in the proclamation of the Word, while exemplifying values and virtues most worthy of emulation in the preaching ministry,” said Fr. Clarence Victor Marquez, OP, director of the Institute of Preaching.
Villegas has held other significant posts, such as chair of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Cathechesis and Catholic Education and president of the Asia-Oceania Mariology Society. He has six books of homilies and reflections, and has received the Catholic Authors’ Award and the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines Award. As bishop of Balanga, he received the doctor of humanities, honoris causa, from the Bataan Peninsula State University.