At the Heart of Mary (I)

Catedral VicIt has been almost two months since I reached Spain attending the course for the formators at the School for the Heart of Mary. I started this workshop programme in Vic together with other twenty four companions and then moved to Barbastro and now we are in Colmenar Viejo. When I look back to my two months of stay in the land of our founder where our congregation was born and grown, I feel so blessed and fortunate to make this journey with Claret knowing him more and more about his charism and missionary thrust that moved the congregation from Vic to different continents today. It was also an opportunity to know the charismatic and formative foundations of our identity from the traditions of the congregations and from the general plan of formation. I began the first week of my stay in Vic with a self-confrontation asking “Why am I here?” It was a realization for me that i am here neither because I am asked to go for it nor came to see a new place but rather to renew my own self which would help me to be a Claretian formator who can give a high quality formation, (as Jesús M. Palacios cmf always reminds us,) to the formandi in their vocational discernment and growth. Apart from the intellectual learning it was also an occasion to visit the Claretian places nearby Vic and Barcelona where Claret was born, spiritually grown and did his missionary work. I write this experiences of attending the school for the heart of Mary in three phases, phase one (Vic and Barcelona), phase two (Barbastro), and phase three (Madrid).

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Getting to know Claret

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On June 10, 2017 the Parish Councils of the different parishes we are serving in Taiwan (Assumption, Sacred Hearts, John the Baptist, Fatima and Zhonghe chapel) came together to Wulai Fatima Farish for a day of fraternal sharing as well as to have an opportunity to better know each other and the mission and charism of the Claretian Missionaries. The day started with a meditation-presentation of the life and spiritual journey of Saint Anthony Mary Claret, from his childhood in Sallent to his exiled death in Fontfroide. We got to know about the pillars of his spiritual experience and his unceasing missionary thrust, always trusting God’s plan and will. Then, each missionary position presented its parish council and the basic lines of their pastoral plan.

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Flat no more!

mmexport1494851994785A few days ago a former student from Beijing National Seminary contacted me. He was in Spain with a group of Catholics from China for pilgrimage and who had come from Fatima in Portugal. He asked me if they could celebrate Mass in our church in Segovia since that day they haven’t celebrated the Mass yet. Thanks to the availability of Jose San Roman, my novice master, they could celebrate the Mass there with great fervor, as Pepe told me later.

This event made me think, which I share it here with you.

Images are powerful, indeed as the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. Because they are powerful, they are dangerous, specially when they are paradigmatic images deeply and unconsciously rooted in our cultural memory.

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Perpetual Profession

IMG 20170503 WA0003Student Stephen Nguyen Van Nang, from Vietnam made his perpetual profession together with five other students at 3 PM on 3rd May in a solemn mass at Immacualte Heart of Mary Parish in Quezon City. The mass was presided over by the Provincial of the Philippines Province. Stephen has completed his theology studies and is awaiting his graduation with Summa Cum Laude on 10th May. The ceremony was concluded with a solemn dinner for all the invited guests.

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By what authority?

imagesToday I just read a blog news regarding vocations in Chinese seminaries. Indeed, although still kind of abundant, from a historical perspective they are diminishing.. and fast. This is one of the reasons behind the closure of some diocesan seminaries, even regional ones, in China. The article posed the question if Chinese priests will one day go to countries traditionally considered "Catholic" to proclaim the gospel; well, indeed they are already doing that, although mostly, though not exclusively, for overseas Chinese catholic communities.
This made me thought about another issue. How comfortable and acquainted are we to see and express the church and its witnessing mission as a "priestly" thing! Nowadays there is a lot of talk about "heteropatriarchy" as a concept to understand the inherited bias surrounding gender relations, society, culture and economy... even societies as a whole; a bias that is so conspicuous that we usually are not able to feel it, and this is what makes it dangerous as it becomes a normalized and normative cosmovision. Maybe in the church we should start to put a name to this vicious understanding that has crippled our church throughout history, especially recent one. "Priestarchy", an understanding of Church and mission as priestly centered and of salvation as priestly mediated-only: Out of the priest neither church nor salvation is available or attainable.

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