Saturday, February 23, 2013

Congratulations to Most Rev Coadjutor Archbishop William Goh.

Congratulations to Most Rev Coadjutor Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye who was consecrated Coadjuctor Archbishop of Singapore yesterday. Coadjuctor Archbishop Goh will become Archbishop of Singapore when Archbishop Nicholas Chia retires. Though we had some differences when I was a seminarian at the St. Francis Xavier Major Seminary, Singapore and he was then the rector, I believe and confident that he is the best choice for the present era of the Church in Singapore. I give a perfect score for his prayer life. He inspires many and is also a forward looking person. 

I was inspired to write this post especially after reflecting on the Gospel for today (Matthew 5:43-48). If you have been following my blog, you would know that I am on a journey to be a Catholic Priest and am currently in my priestly formation. Yes I want to be a child of the Heavenly Father and as the gospel today advices that to be a child of the Father, I must "love (my) enemies and pray for those who persecute (me)". I was not surprised to hear the news from Vatican sometime in late December that Fr. William Goh has been appointed as Coadjutor Archbishop of Singapore but it was very difficult for me to pray for him, especially when this particular intention comes to my mind while in prayer due to our past confrontations and issues. But eventually when I started praying for him as he prepares for the day when he is to be consecrated, I felt better and at peace. I have had let go of a bitter past. Though I had moved on from the past before this, now I feel I'm moving on further to be closer to the Father who invites me to be holy and perfect just as He is, through His Son Jesus who actually practiced what He preached when He himself prayed for His persecutors on the cross.  

I continue to pray that the he may be a shepherd like Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

"Awake now, lion stand and roar, the Pilgrim Church of Singapore...Pie pellicane, Heart on fire, May your glory I desire;..."Ut vivant!" O Lord that they may live" 
- Most Rev Coadjutor Archbishop William Goh

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

My experience of the Tridentine Mass.

Two days ago I attended a Tridentine Mass at a Church here in Manila under the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). The SSPX is a fraternity of priests who oppose the spirit of Vatican II and the reforms inspired by it. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the founder, and the four priests from the Society were excommunicated when the former ordained the later bishops without Pontifical mandate as required by Church Laws in 1988.

This is not the first time I am attending a Mass in Latin, for I already have had experiences attending Mass of the 'extraordinary form of the Roman Rite' , the liturgy of the 1962 Roman Missal, widely referred to as the Tridentine Mass. Ok, enough of details, you can read it more when u click on the 'blue' words above. Oh by the way for the record I DID ATTEND Mass of the Roman Rite at a Catholic church after the Tridentine Mass experience.  

Now my experience, it was indeed interesting and a graceful, dignified Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in its own way. I am not saying that the present liturgy is not, it all depends on the priest who presides, the ministers of the altar who helps and the people who participates. I really like the grandeur of the sanctuary, the 'simple' but yet beautifully decorated 'baraque altar' was just lovely to see. It was delightful to see too that most faithful were dressed in their Sunday's best especially the little children. The ladies had nice lace to cover their heads. Another thing that I like at the Mass was the singing of the 'Mass Parts' by the Presider.

What that I was not comfortable with was the language used. It was in Latin. I do not understand Latin..Hhhmmmm not true!! I do understand maybe about 0.03% Latin, for I do pray the Pater Noster and Salve Regina from time to time and sing some Latin songs like O Sanctissima, Regina Coeli and Requiem. So here again, I do not understand Latin for about 99.07%. The responses of the people was bad too. Anyway, the people had very little role to play at this Tridentine mass and less responses to say. I am hoping that at least there had been some explanations and Catechesis for the regulars so that they would know what was being prayed by the priest. If you have attended a Tridentine Mass, you would know that all the 'actions' on the altar is blocked by the priest and you will only see his back most times and some prayers are said inaudibly bringing in the sense of mystery, but I think more like a 'secret'! And this can be the reason why people used to say their own prayers during the mass for they could not see what's happening, could not understand what's going on and not participating much at the Mass. I did see a man reading the bulletin while the Mass was going on.

I am sure not many people now remember the Tridentine Mass and I have always wondered why some youngsters nowadays have such a craze for the Tridentine Mass. Most of this youngsters that I have encountered who have such interest are learned and are graduates from the Universities. I guess it all boils down to the 'mystery'. Mysterium tremendum et fascinans!! (Ohh here I go again to show off a little Latin that I know!! hehehe). The altar servers from the Tridentine Mass that I witness was very human with human actions unlike the many youngsters that I know who are faithful Catholics but have interest in the Tridentine Mass and when they serve the Mass, they are transformed into a 'Mechanical Robot' that causes distraction on the Sanctuary. Too much exaggeration and drama!! I guess they have not seen a true Tridentine Mass yet where the Altar Servers are professional in their service with no 'dramas'.

All the more now after my experience at the Tridentine Mass, I am grateful for the liturgical reforms that took place with Vatican II. I understand the liturgy in my own language that I am comfortable with and I am able to participate in the celebration. I hope you had noticed that I did not use the term 'celebration' when I was describing the Tridentine Mass experience until now when I refer to the Mass after Vatican II. I am convinced that in a celebration, everyone gathers and participate in one way or another and we find such element in the Mass of the Vatican II. I am also grateful that because of Vatican II the laity now has significant role too just like the priests who presides over the celebrations.

After reading this post I am sure you are aware that I am in favor of the liturgical reforms of Vatican II and if I'm given an opportunity to celebrate the Tridentine Mass I will surely decline unless the Bishop has directed me to do it. I hope the church would not go back to 'celebrate' Mass of the past. 

Monday, February 04, 2013

Plastic-free Lent

Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang
Proposal for Lent 2013

“The Church has a responsibility towards creation, and she considers it her duty to exercise that responsibility in public life, in order to protect earth, water and air as gifts of God the Creator meant for everyone…”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Peace, January 2010.

For many years now, during the season of Lent, the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang has incorporated environmental themes into the prayers and practices of the faithful. For example, some weekly themes identify the garbage around us with the garbage of sins in our hearts.

This year, as the Church invites us once again to prepare our hearts through acts of penance, prayer, and corporal works of mercy, perhaps it would also be a good idea to be more mindful of the garbage we generate through our everyday actions and actually reduce our trash output by fasting from plastic.  Thus, for the coming 40 days of Lent, let us try to abstain from purchasing or using items that come packaged in disposable plastic, as our way of reducing our own harmful impact on creation.

Fasting from food and abstaining from meat, from other things that give us pleasure, or from our bad habits, bring much spiritual benefits if we offer our sacrifices to God. We enter into our own desert experience with Jesus.

If we try to abstain from disposable plastic during this Lent, we can also reach our own deserts.
We will have to think about the things we buy and why we buy them, to examine our consumer values and clarify what is important to us. Usually, we throw away disposable plastics without much concern or thought. But as it leaves our sight, it does not really go away; it just becomes someone else’s problem.

Thus, our abstinence from disposable plastics helps other people and the rest of creation. As we reduce the amount of garbage in our homes and communities, we reduce its harmful effects on nature and act in solidarity with creation.

The main concern about plastic is that it is not biodegradable. Plastics are normally made of materials extracted from crude oil, the same type of oil that is used to make fuel for cars and motorcycles. The most common type of plastic bag is made of polyethylene, a new substance made by humans that microorganisms do not recognize as food. Since no existing bacteria can break down plastic, it cannot biodegrade like other organic materials.

What happens to plastics is that it photodegrades. When plastics are exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation for a long time, the polyethylene material becomes brittle and begins to crack, breaking into many tiny pieces. This process is estimated to take between 500 and 1000 years, but even when the plastics break into smaller fragments it remains non-biodegradable and toxic for the animals and humans that eat them.

Plastics clog waterways and can cause floods in cities. Eventually, they make their way to the sea. In fact, plastics are the most pervasive form of ocean litter. There they pose a serious danger to birds and marine animals that often mistake them for food. Thousands of animals die every year from swallowing or choking on plastic items.
So why do we continue to use disposable plastic bags to carry our things for only a few minutes, but which will then become a problem for creatures and the Earth for hundreds of years?? It does not make sense.

As you buy things from a store, try not to accept the plastic bag that they will usually use to put the items that you bought. Instead, put the purchased item in your own bag.

Refrain from purchasing or drinking water from disposable plastic bottles. Recycling consumes energy and just because they can be recycled does not mean that they are actually recycled. Use your own re-useable water bottle.

Abstain from the use of plastic straws, polystyrene lunch boxes, and other food items that come in disposable wrappers, such as noodles and candies. These items cannot be recycled and are either thrown away or burned, both of which are not good to do.

If you do have to buy plastic, make sure that it is recyclable, and that you dispose of it in a way that will assure that it will be recycled.

Of course, exceptions are made for medicines and other important items that offer no alternatives.

Take good care of the things you already have so that they last longer and are not easily destroyed and thrown away.

by:- Gabriel Lamug-NaƱawa, SJ
Jesuit Service-Cambodia