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Posts Tagged ‘Blessings’

Rev. Fr. Leo E. Schmitt was given the 29th Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award held at the Yuchengco Museum, RCBC, Makati Ciity, September 26, 2016

 

Manila, Philippines — Saint Teresa’s life is “an epitome of grace, compassion and love”.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award (BTCA) is an annual award given to selfless individuals who have served the poorest of the poor as inspired by the life of the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
The 29th Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award (BTCA) recognizes German-Filipino priest Rev. Fr. Leo Schmitt, SVD, as this year’s winner for dedicating his life to helping the marginalized poor communities and informal settlers in the Philippines for the past 40 years.

 

Rev. Fr. Leo Schmitt, SVD

Fr. Leo started his advocacy in the 1970s when the worsening economic and political situation in the country has pushed the Catholic Church to respond to the needs of the people.

He founded ‘Action Leaven,’ a non-profit organization that seeks to serve the underprivileged communities in the country, which was adopted by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) with Fr. Leo serving as Executive Director for two years, until it was turned over to the Archdiocese of Manila.

 

“Though restricted by old age, Fr. Schmitt remains a vibrant and enthusiastic inspiration for all the clergy, both diocesan and religious. His life of simplicity, faithfulness, humility and pastoral service is his best contribution to the mission,”Antipolo Diocesan Bishop Gabriel Reyes describes Fr. Leo.

 

“Through the generosity of various organizations, Fr. Leo receive a trophy and a cash prize of Php500,000. Fr. Leo’s chosen charity will also receive a cash prize of Pho500,000, and an additional Php500,000 worth of goods and services. We believe that these gifts will go a long way in helping Fr. Leo’s chosen advocacy,” says Gio Valencia, 2016 BTCA Chairman.

Mel Aguinaldo, creative artist, designed the 2016 “Saint Teresa of Calcutta” award given to German-Filipino priest Rev. Fr. Leo E. Schmitt

This year is monumental for the BTCA organization as Mother Teresa has been declared a Saint by Pope Francis on Sunday at a canonization ceremony held in Vatican City. The canonization on September 4 comes on the eve of her 19th death anniversary.

BTCA is a joint project of the AY Foundation and the JCI Philippines-Manila, which aims to refocus the public’s attention to those who have dedicated their lives to the service of others.

 

 

 

 

Rev. Fr. LEO E. SCHMITT, SVD

 

Fr. Leo, the disciplinarian formator turned social worker…super energetic founder of communities and housing for the poor… with a huge heart for the poor!

 

He was born in Grunebach, Diocese of Trier in West Germany on May 9, 1928. He studied and was ordained in Germany in 1954. He is now 88 years old, and 62 years as a priest. He still at work, and refuses to be included among the retirees at the Villa Cristo Rey. He has indeed, done incredibly great corporal works of mercy!

 

After ordination, he went to England and for several years, he stayed at the St. Richard’s College for Foreign Missions before coming to the Philippines. (1958-60).

 

He was assigned for formation work, first at the Mary Help of Christians Diocesan Seminary in Binmaley, Pangasinan as prefect of the seminarians (1961-62).

 

Next, Christ the King Mission Seminary became his home for 35 years. (1962- 1997).

 

He was professor and prefect of the College seminarians (1962-70)

 

In 1970, his life changed dramatically, as he became more aware of the need to get involved in social work, a post Vatican II development. In the Philippine context, the need was more urgent because of the worsening economic and political situation. This was the time of violent activism, with the onset of the First Quarter Storm. The Church had to respond, and Fr. Leo proposed to start a project called ‘Action Leaven’, a movement for church people, to penetrate society and find out what the Church can do for the poor. The pioneer group of Leaveners was composed of 70 priests, nuns, seminarians, community organizers, engineers and agriculturist among others. It was adopted by CBCP as an experiment for the Archdiocese of Manila. Fr. Leo was its executive Director for 2 years, before it was turned over to the Archdiocese. The timing was unfortunate, because when Martial Law was declared by Marcos in 1972, social work was greatly hampered by government policies. Fr. Leo, however, had been magnetized to work with the poor.

 

Shortly after leaving the Action Leaven, some 800 families sought his help after being forced to leave the depressed community of Pleasant Hills, Mandaluyong. He was thrown into the herculean task of looking for a relocation site for the squatter community. Together with 2 SVD confreres, 2 sisters and 5 laymen, Fr. Leo created a foundation possessing a legal personality that would address the problem of informal settlers. On September 28, 1971, the SAMAHANG BAGONG BUHAY FOUNDATION INCORPORATION (SBBFI) was formally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-stock and non-profit corporation.

 

From the time of the foundation’s birth, many housing projects were built: San Antonio Village in Antipolo; San Jose Freinademetz Subdivision in Cogeo, Antipolo; Janssenville Subdivision in Cainta, Rizal; San Agustin Village in Antipolo; San Lorenzo Ruiz in Bulacan and Antipolo; St. Francis Square, Payong, which is also in Antipolo.

 

Originally, Janssenville was part of the St. Anthony of Padua Parish. When the canonization of the then Blessed Arnold became certain in 2002, Fr. Leo approached the bishop about the plan of making Janssenville the seat of a new parish to be named after the SVD founder. It was eventually approved that a new parish should be erected “to thank St. Arnold for the services of his congregations to the Church, in particular to the Diocese of Antipolo and to promote his virtues.” On 30th of November, 2003 the St. Arnold Janssen Parish was canonically erected. It was the first and only permanent religious parish in the Diocese of Antipolo. On January 15, 2004, Fr. Leo was installed as its first parish priest.

 

The diocesan bishop of Antipolo, Gabriel Reyes, says, “though restricted by old age, Fr. Schmitt remains a vibrant and enthusiastic inspiration for all the clergy…both diocesan and religious. His life of simplicity, faithfulness, humility and pastoral service is his best contribution for mission.”

 

Fr. Schmitt renounced his German citizenship and embraced Filipino citizenship to show his commitment in alleviating the pangs of poverty and homelessness among the poor Filipinos. Truly, he is an SVD who not only shared the vision of St. Arnold Janssen, he has also lived a life in mission.

 

The Society of the Divine Word Philippine Central Province gave the ST. ARNOLD JANSSEN MISSION AWARD to Fr. Leo in 2014, in recognition of his exemplary efforts in integrating and concretizing Mission as vision and action.

 

Today, Fr. Leo asserts that, “You cannot go wrong if you work on the premise of a Christian value and the development of the total person.” Indeed, Janssenville and the other communities founded by Fr. Leo and the Samahang Bagong Buhay Foundation remains a strong source of hope and inspiration in their community building and the upliftment of every person’s dignity.

 

 

(Source: SVD Mission Phlippines, Inc. – Steve Villarosa)

 

 

 

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About A.Y. Foundation, Inc.

The AY Foundation Inc. is a YGC member, tracing back its roots to the Bayanihan Foundation set up in 1970 by Amb. Alfonso T. Yuchengco to administer an educational fund for the children of Grepalife employees and sales associates. It has then evolved to support health related projects, inspire youth to exemplify the virtues of discipline, integrity, self-sacrifice, and courage and instills social responsibility involvement among them. For more information, please visit http://www.ayfoundation.com.ph or call (+632) 894.9000 or drop by 48F Yuchengco Tower RCBC Plaza 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City

 

 

About JCI Philippines

JCI Philippines is part of a leading global network that of young active citizens that aims to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change in their communities to build as one. For more information, please visit http://www.jci.org.ph or call (+632) 374.4138, email at info@jci.org.ph or drop by 14 Don A. Roces Avenue, 1103 Quezon City

 

 

About JCI Philippines-Manila

JCI Manila is the first and premier leadership organization established not only in the Philippines but also in Asia, where young men join to become better leaders. The organization believes that it is through reaching out to others that you learn more about yourself. 

 

For more information, please visit http://www.jcimanila.org or call (+632) 525.6791 or email clubhouse@jcimanila.org

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Pope Francis

PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP / ALBERTO PIZZOLI

 

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis urged the world in his Easter message on Sunday to use the “weapons of love” to combat the evil of “blind and brutal violence”, following the attacks in Brussels.

After a week of sombre religious events commemorating Jesus’ death, Francis said an Easter Sunday Mass under tight security for tens of thousands of people in a sun-drenched St. Peter’s Square.

Afterwards, in his traditional, twice-yearly “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message, he spoke of violence, injustice and threats to peace in many parts of the world.

“May he (the risen Jesus) draw us closer on this Easter feast to the victims of terrorism, that blind and brutal form of violence which continues to shed blood in different parts of the world,” he said, speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

He mentioned recent attacks in Belgium, where at least 31 people were killed by Islamist militants, as well as those in Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Iraq.

“With the weapons of love, God has defeated selfishness and death,” the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholic said from the same balcony from where he first appeared to the world on the night of his election on March 13, 2013.

The 79-year-old Argentine pontiff urged people to channel the hope of Easter in order to defeat “the evil that seems to have the upper hand in the life of so many people”.

The pope condemned the Brussels attacks several times during the past week, including at a Good Friday service where he said followers of religions who carried out acts of fundamentalism or terrorism were profaning God’s name..

The former king and queen of Belgium, Albert II and Paola, who is Italian, attended the Mass and the pope greeted them afterwards.

In other parts of his address, Francis expressed the hope that recent talks could resolve the conflict in Syria in order to end the “sad wake of destruction, death, contempt for humanitarian law and the breakdown of civil concord”.

He urged Europe “not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees – including many children – fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice.”

The European Union and Turkey have agreed to stop the flow of migrants to Europe in return for political and financial concessions for Ankara. Turkey and The Aegean islands have been the main route for migrants and refugees pouring into Europe in the past year.

Francis called for dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, and resolutions to conflicts and political tensions in Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Burundi, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Ukraine.

Security was very tight around the square, which was bedecked with more than 35,000 flowers and plants donated by the Netherlands.

Police checked people several times at various points along the approach the square and subjected those with entry tickets to body and bag searches even before they passed through metal detectors. Security sources said police reinforcements had arrived in Rome from other Italian cities.

Islamic State militants have made threats against Catholic targets in Rome. Last year, a website used by militants ran a photo montage showing the movement’s black flag flying from the obelisk at the centre of St Peter’s Square.

 

This handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis waving to the crowd from the central loggia of St Peters' basilica during the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing for Rome and the world following the Easter Sunday mass on March 27, 2016 at St Peter's square in Vatican. Christians around the world are marking the Holy Week, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, leading up to his resurrection on Easter.      AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO/HO  RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / OSSERVATORE ROMANO / HO

 

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Gospel Reading: Matthew 26:14-25

14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. 17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. 20 When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; 21 and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. 24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Meditation: Why did Judas betray his Master? Was his treachery motivated by greed, bitter disappointment with Jesus, or hatred because of disillusionment? It may be that Judas never intended for his Master to die. Maybe he thought Jesus was proceeding too slowly and not acting aggressively enough in setting up his messianic kingdom. Perhaps Judas wanted to force Jesus’ hand by compelling him to act. Nonetheless, his tragedy was his refusal to accept Jesus as he was.

Jesus knew beforehand what would befall him. As Jesus ate the passover meal with his twelve apostles he put them under trial and suspicion (one of you will betray me) to teach them to examine themselves rightly, lest they be high-minded and think themselves more strong than they were. We, also must examine ourselves in the light of God’s truth and grace and ask him to strengthen us in faith, hope, and love that we may not fail him or forsake him when we are tempted. Do you pray with confidence in the words Jesus gave us to pray: Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13)?

Prayer
“God our Father, we are exceedingly frail and indisposed to every virtuous undertaking. Strengthen our weakness, we beseech you.” (Prayer of Thomas a Kempis)

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Key Takeaway In This Sunday’s (September 27, 2015) Gospel: Temptations To Sin, Mk 9:38-43, 45 47-48

The word of God this Sunday is focused on the 10423349_1155514751131698_5245816457681358538_nopenness and respect for those who are different.

Pope Francis’ speech yesterday before Philadelphia’s iconic Independence Hall echoed that thought, when he gave a ringing endorsement of RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.

According to a CNN report, he urged his American hosts to avoid a “superficial quest for unity.”Addressing a predominantly immigrant crowd, he said, “In this witness, which frequently encounters powerful resistance you remind American democracy of the ideals for which it was founded, and that society is weakened whenever and wherever injustice prevails.”

Drawing cheers from the large crowd, where many of the faithful waved flags from countries such as Costa Rica and Mexico, the Argentine-born Francis encouraged his diverse flock to “never be ashamed of your traditions.”

“Do not forget the lessons you learned from your elders,” he stated, “which are something you can bring to enrich the life of this American land.

“Pope Francis made his remarks from the same lectern Abraham Lincoln used to give the Gettysburg Address, a fitting setting for a speech stressing freedom. He declared, however, that the rights of the faithful should extend well beyond the sanctuary door.”Religious freedom certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in community, as our consciences dictate,” he averred.

“But religious liberty, by its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families.”Pope Francis was most animated and drew the loudest response when he addressed the immigrants, greeting them with “particular affection.”

“Do not be discouraged by whatever challenges and hardships you face,” he said, to loud cheers. “I ask you not to forget that, like those who came here before you, you bring many gifts to your new nation.”

OUR PRAYER:

O God our Creator, we ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Key Takeaway In This Sunday’s (September 13, 2015) Gospel:

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Peter’s Confession About Jesus – Mk 8:27-35

“Who do you say that I am?” — Mark 8.29

Today’s Gospel reminds us of the hugely successful 1971 Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak rock opera GODSPELL based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew, which deals with the last days of Jesus, and includes dramatized versions of several well-known parables.

And yet it is something more – a religious experience, a demonstration of joy, and a celebration of the family of man. This immensely successful rock opera needs little introduction, but when it was first produced on Broadway in 1971 it broke new ground in its stage treatment of the historical Jesus Christ.

The third song in the musical, “Day by Day” — a prayer ascribed to the 13th English Bishop Saint Richard of Chichester — particularly captures people’s imagination. It summarizes our plea to see, love and follow God more openly. The lyrics of the haunting melodic number reads:

“Day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly, day by day
Day by day, day by day
Oh, dear Lord, three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly, day by day.

”The song spent 14 weeks on the “Billboard Hot 100,” peaking at the number 13 position on July 29, 1972. “Billboard “ ranked it as the No. 90 song for 1972.

But more than its enormous commercial success it becomes a great “aide memoire” for people to be more generous, to give food to those who are hungry, to provide home for the homeless or the refugees (a very relevant concern today given the Syrian refugees seeking a safer haven), to die so others may live, and “to lose good things, to get better.”

A tough call indeed, but the only way we can share in this life is by seeing, loving and following Jesus and taking up our own cross so that death leads to life. The challenge of this Sunday’s Gospel is the challenge of the cross: to see that glory in our everyday lives. As the “Living Liturgy” states, “Good surrounds all of us; the cross invites us to see that good—out of pain and poverty can come a new life that has value, meaning, and purpose for self and others.”

OUR PRAYER:

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.

(St. Ignatius de Loyola)

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Sunday’s (June 21, 2015) Gospel: The Calming Of A Storm At Sea – Mk 4:35-41

“WHO THEN IS THIS WHOM EVEN THE WIND AND SEA OBEY?”

In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus established that He is the Master of all Creation; that He is the Almighty One, and only the Almighty One can demand creation to follow His every command.

QUIET! BE STILL!

These three small but powerful words clearly bring to our attention that even if we may think that God is asleep or lacking in concentration to our predicament, all we need do is holler and He will be there. Our call should not be one of skepticism or fright: As He asked His disciples, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” Our tonality, as we “shout out” should always have the confidence and the belief that He is there to help us and bring us to a state of calm.

WHAT? WE WORRY?

Setting up conditional happiness, success or other outcomes leads to ever-increasing negative feelings. But setting up dual happiness — happiness for both now and later — allows for good moments at any time. Dr. Spencer Johnson, best-selling co-author of “The One Minute Manager,” has advised people to live in the present without allowing negative attitudes to fester.

A setback is only one moment in time. It ends. The next moment is up to you. “Make that next moment one of learning and the growth will happen by and of itself. Before we know it, we will be where we wanted to be from the start,” Johnson emphasized.

Living, especially during these days, involves two areas: the things we can control and the things we can’t. Don’t worry about what we can’t control.

WORRYING IS A TOTAL WASTE OF ENERGY.

Train our focus on the future. It is something we can have power over. But don’t fret about it either. Move it. Manage it. What about the present? It’s in our hands. Live it the way we want to live it. Bring it to where we will be happiest even in challenging times such as today. Stay focused on what we want to happen, and we will attract exactly what we want.

Goals can be set. Positive experiences can be sought. Good news can be created. We just have to focus unfailingly on the picture, and to have trust in God. Happiness, after all, consists in getting what we desire and desiring what we have.

Let us avoid spending so much time worrying about the future, and learn to “be still” — to WAIT ON THE FATHER, OUR LORD. Why be terrified when we believe that God is by our side. As we weather the storms of our lives we must patiently and graciously wait for the Lord, and find the markers of the direction that He wants us to take — the path that can bring stillness and serenity to our souls.

OUR PRAYER:

Dear Lord, be with us in our journey, teach us to how to be quiet and to be still. Hold our hands when we are fearful; Fortify our trust in Your care. May You reinforce us with the wisdom to make the right decisions every time. Thank you for your unending presence and undying love. Amen.

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If you found a wallet, would you make an effort to return it to the owner? And how?
SM City Iloilo CR Attendant Generose Comoda of ABLE Janitorial Services once again showed that the value of honesty is deeply instilled in her.
At about 1:30 PM last May 11, 2015, Generose found an unattended bag in one of the CR cubicles which to her surprise, contains a bundle of cash. She immediately reported the matter to the CRS department and turned over the bag and money amounting to Php 172,863.
The owner, who happens to be a senior citizen, was able to retrieve the items on the same day after inquiring and undergoing verification at the CRS Office. She was very thankful to Generose and the SM Management for having trustworthy and honest personnel.
This is not the first time that Comoda has proven her honesty and integrity while at work.

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