The Christmas Presentation by the Santo Niño Catechism children
after the 6 pm Mass was very successful. Attended by well over
Christmas Eve. The Matins of the Nativity were sung by almost
40 faithful. It sure was wonderful to see these treasures of
Gregorian Chant sung in an ordinary Parish Church. The men’s
schola outdid itself.
The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The priests were scattered
to the 4 winds to enable as many as possible to benefit from
all the graces attached to this solemn Feast.
First Christmas Ignatian Retreat: for gentlemen at Our Lady
of Victories: 13 men participated under the guidance of Father
Griego and Father Wailliez. Among them there was a journalist
from Sri Lanka.
In Bohol, Fr. Soliman gave a Session to 18 candidates
of the Apostles of Mary. 13 were finally accepted.
Fr. Couture flew over to Cebu for Sunday Mass to continue afterwards
towards Tagbilaran to give a hand to Fr. Soliman with his session.
Jan.3 Second Christmas Ignatian Retreat: in Bohol, for the
Apostles of Mary, by Fathers Couture and Soliman. 33 youth
attended, of which perhaps a dozen have a vocation!
Third Christmas Ignatian Retreat: for ladies at an OMI retreat
house at Fairview, Quezon City. 33 ladies participated. Fr
Marie-Dominique and Fr Onoda were the retreat masters. Comments
of retreatants: "I gained a greater interest in what
is presently going on in the Church." "This is my
first time to attend a retreat, after my graduation. I am very
thankful that Father Marie Dominique invited me to a retreat.
… It's a very great help to understand the life of Our Lord
Jesus Christ." "Fathers, can I make a request? Can
we have a 10 day or 15 day retreat next time?… Well, for me,
now, I learn how to meditate and how to fight distraction during
meditation and contemplation… I will really remiss Prime and
Complines and especially the silence."
Manila, the Knights of Our Lady are very much alive: the Chapter
Meeting of the pro-Preceptorate of San Bernardo gathered over
12 resolute men.
Mayor Manueto A. Malabor, Mayor of Iloilo City consecrated his
City to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the office of the City
Mayor under the eyes of Fr Wailliez, and of all the staff of
the City Hall (more than 50). Deo Gratias! It was his first
official act of the new year 1999.
Feast of Epiphany: Small community outing at Wawa dam. The
priests, like the missionaries of old, had to cross the river
on a number of occasions, by foot, with water up to the neck
and with their bags on their head!
the evening, there was a Sung Mass with an impressive Schola
Cantorum (three of them were priests). Everyone admired the
beauty of the Chant, one of the oldest Mass of the Gregorian
of the retreat for ladies. Here too, many vocations...
Day of Adoration at Our Lady of Victories: Bishop Lazo gave
the priests an excellent talk on the priest and prayer: "The
priest is man of prayer. If he does not pray, he is not a priest.
Jesus prayed often. A talented priest, were he proud, would
not only be useless but also poisonous to the Church. Contemplata
aliis tradere. Nemo dat quod not habet." It was simple
but eloquent. He explained it with conviction. All the priests
appreciated his fatherly advises. "Your work is my work,
your concerns are my concerns.”
Beginning of the Novena to Santo Niño before the Rosary.
Couture left for India to give a priests’ retreat.
Feast of the Black Nazarene, "Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno"
(Our Father Jesus the Nazarene) at Quiapo Church (erected as
a Minor Basilica on Feb 1st, 1988 by Pope John Paul
II). The name "Quiapo" came from the name of a water
lily: Kiapo. The original statue of Our Lord was crafted by
a Mexican artist and entrusted to an unknown Augustinian Recollect
priest who brought it to Manila. As the first Recollect mission
of ten priests and four lay brothers disembarked at Cebu in
May 1606, the statue must have been brought in about that time.
The Recollect Fathers propagated devotion to the Nazarene and
founded on April 20th, 1621 a confraternity. Pope
Innocent X approved it 29 years later by his Bull of April 20th,
1650. The Black Nazarene is venerated each year during a weeklong
celebration, which ends on January 9th. Fr Marie
Dominique and Fr Onoda together with the Bethanians (the girls
trying their vocation near Our Lady of Victories) went to witness
their devotion. Unfortunately not a single priest was guiding
the more than 20,000 men during this impressive procession.
It is obvious that the conciliar clergy does not like to be
seen praying on the street. Such an opportunity lost! 20,000
men! Our priests did what they could, praying as loud as possible.
Sunday. A Doctrinal symposium was organized by the Cristeros.
The basement of the church was full of people. In the afternoon
everyone proceded to Ateneo Sports Center to have a picnic and
some sports activities.
In India, Fr. Couture had a total of 6 priests for the Priests’
retreat. Two traditional priests, friends of the Society, and
three Novus Ordo Parish priests who are drawn to Tradition.
Not all followed the whole retreat, nevertheless, one of them
learned to celebrate the Tridentine Mass and did celebrate his
first traditional Mass, since his ordination.
the Philippines, there is a great public debate ongoing about
the death penalty, as the Supreme Court stopped the execution
of a rapist, execution ordered by the President himself. (Death
penalty exists in the laws of this country, but it had not been
implemented in 23 years.) The Episcopal Conference is against
it. Fr. Couture wrote to the President to remind him of the
true teaching of the Church, and thus to encourage him to be
firm, even against the Bishops.
Fr Marie Dominique went to Sri Lanka Mission to preach a retreat
to our priests and to our Franciscan Sisters.
Fiesta of Santo Niño for the Catechism children organized by
the Legion of Mary.
Sunday: Feast of Santo Niño. At the 9 am Mass, the Church was
full (500+). Procession after the Mass attended by even more
people. Bishop Lazo was very happy to see them. Fr Wailliez
was riding in the mobile patrol car during the procession and
guided the rosaries with its microphone. He had the brilliant
idea of shouting: "¡Viva Santo Niño, viva!" Even the
policemen joined with him using their own microphone and horn!
Upon the request of this policeman, people clapped their hands
in honor of Santo Niño! "¡Viva!" After the procession,
the priests renewed the consecration of Our Lady of Victories
Church, using the original formula of 1836, from Paris.
Singapore: Fr. Marie-Dominique delivers an inspiring conference
on the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ to a crowd of 243
people, in the greatest convention center of the city. The
Conference w as followed by a Solemn High Mass, as Fr. Ruben
Gentili was also present. More than 180 people stayed for the
Mass in spite of adverse publicity that has circulated. This
was the first public Mass ever held in Singapore. The congregation
sang with a great joy.
Doctors’ meeting: over 15 doctors gathered to hear well researched
talks on the nature and the morality of the in vitro fertilization,
by a doctor and by two of our priests, Fr. Griego and Fr. Marie-Dominique.
The next topic to be discussed will be the question of organ
transplant. The doctors were very pleased with the meeting.
Some of the priests, the Sisters and the Bethanians went to
Roxas Blvd to see the Santo Niño Procession. Unfortunately,
it was more a show than a procession and many aspects of it
were rather scandalous. Nevertheless, where in the world would
you find a procession with 150 richly ornated carossas of the
Fr Soliman's birthday. There was a birthday party after the
evening Mass. Mr. and Mrs. Soliman were there as well as Bishop
Lazo who gave a fervent speech afterwards. "Maligayan bati,
padre!" Fr TO had just come back from his Korean mission.
In Iloilo, Fr. Couture proceeded to the breaking of the ground
for the future St. Bernard Seminary., on our new farm of 5 hectares
(12 acres). Immediately after, Father Couture and father Wailliez
cut the premises of the first rice crop or our farm. The plans
for the Seminary are the following: this June, the pre-seminary,
actually in Manila, will be transferred to Iloilo. Then, in
June 2000, God willing, the Seminary training properly speaking
to the Philippines Daily Inquirer, asked whether a personal
appeal from the Pope would convince him to extend clemency to
Leo Echegaray, the rapist sentenced to death, the President
said on Feb. 1st, that "It doesn't matter who
makes the appeal. The law is the law, and I have to implement
it. That's my sworn duty. I am sorry. I am a President who
was duly elected by the people to implement our law.”
Wed The Echegaray's case is on TV news again. They used
the Ordination of Fr Soliman in Our Lady of Victories as representing
the Catholic Church headed by Cardinal Sin in the Philippines!
Thu Day of recollection and Priests' meeting. Fr Marie-Dominique
gave the priests a talk on the pastoral of the sick. How should
a Catholic view sickness? The attitude of Doctors, of priests.
Fri Fr Wailliez went to the USA to attend the Doctrinal
Session for Priests.
Echegaray was executed at 3:18 pm Requiescat in pace. "I
have", said the President, "to be firm, to send a
message to these future rapists that we mean business. I will
just pray three Our Fathers, three Hail Marys and three Glory
Be's to save his soul. At least maybe he is repenting now."