Servi Domini

This Saturday, June 24, 2017, eleven men will be ordained permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Washington. I know what they must be feeling because 9 years ago, on June 28, 2008 then Archbishop, now Cardinal, Donald Wuerl ordained 16 of us as deacons at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. There was this feeling of unworthiness for having been called to this Holy Order to serve in this ministry in the Church, and at the same time a feeling of joy that despite that unworthiness (there are many who are more qualified in terms of talent and qualities out there) the Lord gave me this special calling. Holy Scripture describes the basic qualifications of those

Of Sacraments and Anniversaries

Some Thoughts Yesterday when my friend John M (#2), a former Catholic, came to cut my grass he struck a conversation with me and said with apparent joy and pride: "I have received all the sacraments except one and I asked which one: He said "Holy Orders. I have also received Extreme Unction, or the Last Rites." This month of June is very significant to me because this month 45 years ago (June 18) I received the Sacrament of Matrimony, and 9 years ago (June 28) the Sacrament of Holy Orders (the Diaconate). Therefore the only Sacrament I have not yet received is the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which John correctly referred to with the old name "Extreme Unction or the Last Rites

Father's Day

Whenever I stand at the church door greeting people at the end of Sunday Mass in my deacon vestments, there are always a few Mass goers who greet me "Father." And instinctively I say "Deacon." To some parishioners who still say "Father, " I say, "Yes, that is also correct, for I am a father," and we both laugh. Father's Day is celebrated in America this coming weekend, in honor of and thanksgiving to fathers who have sacrificed for and loved their children so much and, of course, those who are still doing and will be doing the same. Looking back to my own life as father of my own family I can relate to fathers out there who daily provide for their children and give them full love and

"Silly" Awards

The other day I attended the graduation of 3 of my grandchildren, Louise and the twins Lynne and Leena in pre-K. It was a joyous occasion for us and the parents of the graduating children and the grandparents. I saw many grandparents there, and they were as excited as I was. Everybody got awards. The teacher, Mrs. Sheila called them "The Silly Awards." Some samples: For Adrienne - "Crazy Straw Award - for being crazy about learning and sipping up knowledge." For Leena - "The Yo-Yo Award - for always giving her hand to help the teachers." For Lynne - "The Sunglasses Award - for always being bright and doing her best." At the school year-end closing Mass, Joey, who is in first grade and an

The Numbers 75 and 100

Kuya Pons V., one of our most reflective speakers at PREX (Parish Renewal Experience) Seminars at my former parish in Marikina, is fond of injecting an analysis of numbers to spice up his talks. For example, If there are 10 participants in a PREX class, he could say that this is a very lucky class because 10 consists of the number 7, which is a lucky number in Judaism representing fortune and blessing, and the number 3, which is the number of Divine Persons in the Blessed Trinity. If there are 11 participants, he could add the number 1, which is that there is only 1 God. And so on . . . When I turned 75 less than a year ago, I said to myself: Now I have reached the passing grade (for from gr

Pentecost and Us

A Homily on Pentecost - June 4, 2017 In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Whenever we make the sign of the cross we are not only praying but professing our core beliefs as Catholic Christians. This is what we profess in the Nicene Creed, which we recite at our Sunday Masses, and whenever we start the rosary with the Apostles Creed. We believe in a Triune God, one God in three Divine Persons, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is the Creator, the Son Incarnate in Jesus is the Savior, and the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. Today the universal Church focuses on the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by Our Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit came to the fea

My Sounds of Music

Whenever I hear thumping sounds coming from above my basement office, I know that they are coming from little feet moving fast. One or more of my grandchildren are here! That sound is music to my ears. And whatever I am doing, I drop it and rush upstairs, and when they see me, they excitedly shriek "Grampa" and we rush to each other's arms and I hold them up in the air one by one, to their cries of joy and laughter that only little children can make. I think that God truly appreciates parents, for after they have fulfilled their sublime role of bringing forth and bringing up their children and have become grandparents, God rewards them with the pure joy of grandchildren, and they sho

Going Back to an Old Love

I did not have a lot of years learning to play the violin. I remember I got into it because of three classmates who were already taking lessons, and also because of the encouragement of an old childless distant uncle in a neighboring town who wanted a relative to inherit his old violin. It was a unique violin with the head of a dragon instead of a scroll, and a distinctly deep beautiful sound. I took sincere interest in the violin because my mom was willing to pay the same violin teacher to come to our house once a week and give me one-hour lessons for two pesos. He always appreciated a refreshment of a bottle of Royal Tru Orange whenever he came for my lessons. His name is Mr. Ruperto L