Newsletter of the District of Asia

 January - February 1999

Chronicle of the District of Asia



20            The Christmas Presentation by the Santo Niño Catechism children after the 6 pm Mass was very successful. Attended by well over 100 people.

24                       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.

25                       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.

26-31       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.

26-29          In Bohol, Fr. Soliman gave a Session to 18 candidates of the Apostles of Mary. 13 were finally accepted.

27           Fr. Couture flew over to Cebu for Sunday Mass to continue afterwards towards Tagbilaran to give a hand to Fr. Soliman with his session.

29 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!



1-6                     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."

3             In 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.

4                          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.

6                          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!  

In 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 repertoire.   

End of the retreat for ladies.  Here too, many vocations...

7                          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.”

8                          Beginning of the Novena to Santo Niño before the Rosary.

Fr. Couture left for India to give a priests’ retreat.

9                          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.

10                       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.

11                       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.

In 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.

15                       Fr Marie Dominique went to Sri Lanka Mission to preach a retreat to our priests and to our Franciscan Sisters.

16                       Fiesta of Santo Niño for the Catechism children organized by the Legion of Mary.

17                       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.  

24               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.

30               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.

31               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 Santo Niño?


01               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.

02               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 will begin.

According 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.”

03 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!

04 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.

05 Fri        Fr Wailliez went to the USA to attend the Doctrinal Session for Priests.

Leo 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."

Home | Newsletters | Library | Vocations | History | Links | Search | Contact