Fr. Mark

This prayer goes to Fr. Mark Ventura and to all the priest who risk their lives to serve others.

You came from among us to be, for us, one who serves.

We thank you for ministering Christ to us and helping us minister Christ to each other.

We are greatful for the many gifts you bring to our community: for drawing us together in worship, for visiting us in our homes, for comforting us in sickness, for showing us compassion, for blessing our marriage, for baptising our children, for confirming us in our calling, for supporting us in bereavement, for helping us to grow in our faith, for encouraging us to take the initiative, for helping the whole community realize God’s presence among us.

For our part, we pray that we may always be attentive to your needs and never take you for granted.

You, like us, need friendship and love, welcome and a sense of belonging, kind words and acts of thoughtfulness.

We pray, also, for the priests who have wounded priesthood.

May we be willing to forgive and may they be open to healing.

Let us support one another during times of crisis. God our Father, we ask you to bless our Priests and confirm them in their calling.

Give them the gifts they need to respond with generosity and a joyful heart. We offer this prayer for our priests, who are our brothers and friends.

Amen.

Fr. Mark Ventura

Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura, known for his anti-mining advocacy, was in the middle of blessing the children and talking to the choir in a gymnasium in Barangay Piña Weste when he was shot on the head and chest.

Fr. Mark Ventura was a young Catholic priest was shot dead in Cagayan province on Sunday, becoming the second cleric slain in around four months.

He was murdered at about 8:15am right after celebrating Mass at a gymnasium in Brgy. Peña Weste, on the outskirts of Gattaran town.

The priest was blessing children and talking with the choir members when a still unidentified male donning a motorcycle helmet emerged from the back of the gym and shot the victim twice.

Quoting reports from the Police Regional Office No. 2 in Tuguegarao City, Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said the suspect ran towards the highway and rode on a single motorcycle driven by another unidentified companion and fled towards Baggao, Cagayan.

Archbishop Sergio Utleg Tuguegarao has already led prayers at the site of the crime. He still has to issue his statement as of this posting.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has deplored the priest’s murder, offering their prayers for Ventura, for his bereaved family, and the lay faithful of Tuguegarao.

“We condemn this evil act!” said Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President.“We are totally shocked and in utter disbelief to hear about the brutal killing of Fr. Mark Ventura.”

The bishops also appealed to the authorities “to act swiftly in going after the perpetrators of this crime and to bring them to justice”.

Ventura is currently the director of San Isidro Labrador Mission Station, a post he only assumed early this month, in Mabuno village, also Gattaran.

A priest for almost seven years, he was also known for his anti-mining advocacies and for helping indigenous peoples in the province.

Prior to his assignment in Gattaran, Ventura served as Rector of the Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary based in Aparri, Cagayan.

In December 2017, Fr. Marcelito Paez, 72, was killed by still unidentified gunmen after he facilitated the release of a political prisoner in Jaen, Nueva Ecija.

+Eternal Rest grant unto the soul of Father Mark Ventura, O LORD. May Your Perpetual Light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

STATEMENT of the President of CBCP

Good afternoon. Please find below the statement of Abp Romulo Valles, CBCP President, on the brutal killing of Fr. Mark Ventura of Tuguegarao:

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are totally shocked and in utter disbelief to hear about the brutal killing of Fr. Mark Ventura, Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. Right after celebrating the Sunday Eucharist at eight o’clock in the morning today, he was shot to death by murderers riding in tandem.

We offer our prayers for Fr Ventura, for his bereaved family, and the lay faithful of Tuguegarao. We also pray for Archbishop Sergio Utleg, his priests and the religious of the archdiocese, who this year, in union with the whole Church in the Philippines, are celebrating the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.

We condemn this evil act!

We make our appeal to the authorities to act swiftly in going after the perpetrators of this crime and to bring them to justice.

May God have mercy on us all!

From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

Absp. Romulo G. Valles
President
April 29, 2018

Puso

How do you pray?

Bro. Alvin Barcelona, The Feast Bay Area District Builder shared during the ‘Deeper’ Holy Week Retreat 2018 the importance of praying from the heart.

To have a relationship with God, we have to keep in constant communication with Him through prayer.

Remember, when you pray, let your prayers spring from the heart. There is no need to scour for words. Words flow naturally when you pray from the heart.

Puso Pray from the Heart

The best way to begin anything is with honesty, so you might want to say something such as, “OK. Here I am, God. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared. Teach me. Guide me and protect me, and lead me to You.” Remembering that Christ told us to pray constantly (Luke 18:1), so that the lovely garden of the Spirit He planted in you at baptism receives careful cultivation and does not go to weeds, do not be afraid to repeat your improvised prayers constantly. Moreover, maintain a constant awareness of God’s presence by talking to God about everything you do, telling Him of your difficulties and frustrations, asking for His guidance, and doing everything for love of Him.

When feelings of loving devotion arise from the heart, it will nourish your soul.

Fr. David J. Dohogne shared that as Catholics, we are well aware of the importance and necessity of daily prayer in order to maintain a strong and healthy relationship with the Lord.

The Church reminds us that there are different types of prayer which we offer to God.

These are namely prayer of praise (thanking and glorifying God), prayer of petition (seeking something from God), prayer of contrition (seeking forgiveness from God), and prayer of intercession (seeking God’s blessings on behalf of another person).

A healthy “balanced” prayer life would include each of these types of prayer.

Be excited about your daily times of prayer! Following the example of Jesus and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, may the words of our prayers be real, sincere, and truly come from the heart and not just from our lips!

Bro. Alvin shared during the retreat that all thoughts and feelings are valid material for prayer.

Simply put: When you go to pray, lift up what’s inside of you at that moment. If you are bored, lift up that boredom; if you are angry, lift up your anger; if you are tired, lift up that tiredness; if you feel selfish, don’t be afraid to let God see that.

Jesus said that we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. One of the qualities in children to which this refers is precisely their honesty in showing their feelings.

Children don’t hide their sulks, pouts, and tantrums. A good mother handles these rather easily, often with a smile. God is up to the task.

If we do that, it makes it easier for us to “pray always”, as scripture asks. What does this mean?

Obviously it doesn’t mean that we should always be at formal prayer, that we should strive to be full-time contemplatives, or even that we should seize every possible occasion we can to pray formally.

To “pray always” invites us rather to live our lives against a certain horizon. It doesn’t necessarily mean to stop work and go to formal prayer, important though that is at times.

The point is rather that we need to do everything within the context of a certain awareness, like a married man who goes on a business trip and who, in the midst of a demanding schedule of meetings and social engagements, is somehow always anchored in a certain consciousness that he has a spouse and children at home.

Despite distance and various preoccupations, he knows that he is “married always”. That awareness, more than the occasional explicit phone call home, is what keeps him anchored in his most important relationship.

Our relationship with God is the same. We need to “pray always” by doing everything out of that kind of awareness.

Let us offer everthing to Him and pray from the heart.

Women

Quaipo visit today and the world commemorates International Women’s Day 2018, a day to reflect on the changing female role in society.

I thanked the Lord for all the great women who work diligently each day to bring more love into their homes, communities, and the world at large: mothers, sisters, friends, teachers, activists, volunteers, authors, and more.

Quiapo

March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD), observed throughout the world as a day of action for women, a time to seek specific improvements in women’s lives and to commit to ending the suffering that women experience merely because they are women.

Outside the church, a group of women have a rally. They voiced out their concerns on justice and governance.

I watched how passionate women on the streets fighting for their rights.

International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity.

International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action.

To set aside just one day to remind ourselves to treat more than half the human population of the world, or any segment of it, as fully human, is a challenge that calls us to grow as God’s people.

Our celebrations of each other must be constant individual celebrations of respect and gratitude celebrating each day by each of us for each person in our lives.

Please join me in prayer:

Gracious God of all that is, we give you thanks for the endless possibilities of life as you have set it before and around us.

The many ways of being human make possible endless ways to serve you and each other.

We are tempted to judge some kinds of living or thinking as better, worse, good, bad, acceptable, offensive – without understanding what our differences make possible for all of us.

Turn our heads and our hearts, O Holy One, so we see the wonders of difference and the limits of prejudice.

Enter the heart and mind of each person to see each other person, every difference, all ways of being fully human, as gifts from you to all of us, in a world that needs all the gifts and help you give to and through us.

Amen.