The Catholic Chic is a personal and faith-based blog on the life of a Catholic woman in the modern world.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Repost: 3,000 singles "Choose Christ" in 1st Metro Manila Recon

By Ericson Paraguya

Close to 3,000 Singles for Christ members from the four corners of Metro Manila flocked to Antipolo City on July 18 to 20 for the first Metro Manila Regional Conference (Recon).
The theme “Choose Christ” is anchored on Philippians 1:21 “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain”. The conference urged single men and women to harken and strongly make a decision to know, imitate and live Christ daily.

“When St. Paul encountered Jesus,” explained SFC Metro Manila coordinator Bob Lasala, “everything else in his life became rubbish because Christ became his ultimate gain.” Thus we are called to emulate St Paul, Mother Mary and the disciples in choosing Christ.

The Official Recon t-shirt.

The 3-day Recon was packed with sessions, workshops, and sheer fellowship dedicated to the encounter of choosing Christ. Interactive booths showcasing the different SFC programs were also displayed.

The Workshop venues, activities, and the map.

Choose Christ in One’s Vocation and the Sacraments
The conference also aimed to aid the Singles to pursue Christ in their personal vocations. 
With most of the SFC’s in their productive ages of 20’s and 30’s, workshops held tackled the practical specifics of choosing Christ in the workplace whether in the corporate, business, health or other fields. Other workshops also encouraged singles to choose Christ while harnessing the power of social media.

Priests, nuns, brothers and sisters from various religious orders set up booths spreading cheerful information and invitation into the religious vocation. 

These cheerful brothers inviting the Singles to sign up for vocations discernment.

A brother signing up.

Religious items for sale.

Individual consultations with the religious were held which addressed the needs of the singles seeking vocation advice. Confession was also available where the participants patiently queued to receive the life-restoring Sacrament.  

Cue for the confession and individual consultations.

Confession and Individual consultations ongoing.
The Holy Mass was celebrated each day on top of the vibrant worship and plenary. “It is easier to live for Christ, when you know Christ”, said Most Rev. Francisco De Leon, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo in his homily. “There is a big difference between, ‘I know Christ’ and ‘I know about Christ’. To know him, we must encounter him”.

Fr. Francisco during his homily.
Faith stronger than generator power
Day one commenced amidst generator-powered staging, with SFC Fulltime Pastoral Worker Tox Remojo delivering Talk 1 – Christ is Alive. “Jesus comes to us in our deep sadness, paralyzing fears, doubts and guilt.” He further exhorted that with Christ, we are never the same again because we are changed by His living presence in us.
The night was capped by a ceremonial lighting of candles that bathed the stadium in a sea of warm light, showing that no power interruption in Antipolo can stop the light of Christ in the hearts of the SFCs. 
On day two, Ghie Guzman, SFC Fulltime Pastoral Worker, gave Talk 2- Hearts On Fire and urged everyone that “It is our faith in Christ that gives us joy and peace.” She went on to say that Mama Mary, the cause of our joy and queen of peace, should be our model to strengthen our faith. Together, the SFCs opened tiny neon paper envelopes that revealed Bible passages on faith. The talk ended with a Prayer of Surrender.  

Our personal messages contained in the tiny neon envelopes.

SFC Cluster Coordinator Nick Escalona delivered talk 3 entitled Hearts in Love. He reminded that God wants an inner union with us, which will only be possible by being like Jesus – in humility, in obedience and in service.
The Recon was also an apt opportunity to launch one of the newest SFC advocacies –Generation Christ. 
It is an advocacy calling singles to choose to “live simply, live freely, live fully” through a lifestyle hinged on modesty, purity and faith in Christ.
In the same vein, Day 2 closed with a Clubpraise, the SFC’s take on partying which is, as one of the night’s trending hashtag describes, #goodcleanfun.
This time the partying SFCs, clad in solid block colors, were encouraged to go around to meet both old friends and new acquaintances alike to take a selfie or a “we-fie”.  Pumping dance music and flashing strobe lights flood the plenary hall in the spirit of pure fun. 
Holy Spirit pour and flow
On Day 3, Bob Lasala capped the final Talk – Life is Christ, with the affirming words that “Even before you choose Christ, God chose you first,” since we are able to love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Thus we are called to live a full life that can only be done through a life for Christ and with Christ. The talk concluded with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to pour and flow unto the congregation. 
The SFC crowd were later rallied to the “Isang Sigaw” chant which is a unity battlecry for all Singles as one SFC Metro Manila community.

The music ministry.

A rousing praisefest ended the conference which further edified the conviction to choose Christ because there is “L-I-F-E in Christ”, that is, through Christ we are Loved, Inspired, Forgiven and Empowered. 

The Praisefest.
These are the truths that the singles were able to bring home to Manila with foremost a renewed vigor to “choose Christ”.


Text taken from page C3, Ugnayan section of the CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 15, July 21 - August 3, 2014. 

365 Days of Love Notes for God (Week 1)

I came across a blog challenge from Story of a Rose to create Love Notes every Sunday. The Love Notes challenge is somewhat similar to the 100 Happy days challenge many are doing in social media, except this one is somehow addressed to God. 

My Sundays are often slow so I decided to accept the challenge. In my Love Notes posts, I plan to reflect on the presence of God in my work week and enumerate the most striking blessing to me per day. Cheers!

Day 1:

Dear God,

Thank you for giving me this day to work from home and to have a pseudo-household with some young YFC/SFC friends from Singapore.

Day 2:

Dear God,

Thank you for giving us this day to be inspired by Fr. Benedict Lagarde at the Holy Eucharist. Thank you for all the uplifting messages he said for us missionaries in his homily.

Message for missionaries, from the homily of Fr. Benedict:

"You will see the best in the Church in moments of persecution."

"Like the saints, we have to be faithful and consistent."

"The moment we become comfortable, we become complacent at best."

"God calls the gifted."

"Great miracles will happen in your life. One day, you will cry tears of joy as you look back. God has a promise for us. Don't you ever doubt your vocation. The only reason you're here is because God loves you and you want to give it out to the world. He will take care of your families." 

Day 3:

Dear God,

Thank you for giving me my salary and for teaching me to live within my means. 

Day 4:

Dear God,

Thank you for allowing us to have a fellowship night with my workmates. We watched a free movie from the Italian film fest! Thank you Lord for giving me good friends.

Day 5:

Dear God,

Thank you for sending us Fr. Augustine to teach us how to become better missionaries for you.

Message for missionaries, from the homily of Fr. Augustine:

"Do mission and speak if necessary."

"What I cannot practice, I should not preach. What you speak in private, you should be able to speak in public."

"A good missionary has a rosary in his pocket and prays the rosary."

"Go and show who you are, instead of telling what you want to. They will believe not what you tell but what you do. Show them how you experienced Jesus in your life so that they may also see Jesus in you. When they see Jesus in you, then you may talk about him so they will hear. They need to see before they could listen."

After I did this exercise, I realized that I have so much to be thankful for. There are times when I'm focused too much on my problems that I fail to appreciate my life. I realized that I should make a conscious effort to recall all the good things about my journey and how God has blessed me. I also believe we are all blessed and I would absolutely appreciate it if you could share with me your daily blessings.

If you would like to join us in creating Love Notes for God on your blog or any Social Media site, please include the hashtag #365DaysOfLoveNotes. You may also link my blog if you wish.

God bless you!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Repost: Yesterday Once More by Fr. Joel Jason

"...But from the Beginning, it was not so." 

- Jesus

(see Mt 19:8)



Yesterday Once More

July 26, 2014 at 6:10pm
26 July 2014
17th Sunday Ordinary A
Matthew 13:44-46

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied.
He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his store room new treasures as well as old.”

Yesterday Once More

This Sunday we reflect on the last set of the parables in this wonderful chapter of Matthew 13. Jesus here speaks of the Kingdom of God and uses the imagery of treasure buried in a field, a merchant in search of fine pearls and a dragnet. We could say a lot about each of these parables but what caught my attention reading the Gospel this time is the last imagery Jesus used: “… the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old” (v 52).

Notice that Jesus calls both the new and the old as treasures. It’s a beautiful imagery of the Church and of Her faithful. It is an institution and a community enriched by the harmony of the old and the new, of tradition and vision, of growth and rootedness, of conservatism and liberalism.

We must admit our attitudes often fall into either of opposite extremes missing out on the benefit of synergizing both dimensions. That line in the parable is a statement against an ignorant prejudice against the old and a juvenile prejudice in favor of the new.

I attended a meeting once with a group of passionate, energetic and quite accomplished young professionals. After opening prayers we all sat down and got ready for discussion. I brought out my old reliable pen and paper. Everyone began to pull out their MacBookPros and iPads and netbooks. Expecting an important message anytime on, I laid on the table my old reliable Nokia 6330. Then everyone brought out their Blackberry’s, iPhone5’s and Samsung tablets. “Welcome to the digital age,” I whispered to myself. I must admit I felt so Jurassic that afternoon and I left the meeting feeling like I needed counseling to regain my self-esteem. Retiring my good old Nokia phone was a step in the right direction.

We should embrace cultural evolution, progress, technology and modern advances. They are goods in themselves. They are a testament to the richness of human culture, intelligence, and creativity. But may I throw in a little caveat. An experience years ago pointed this out to me. While walking in a mall, I once overheard a group of teen-agers shrieking, “Oh my gosh, did you see that? That is so 2010!” I didn’t know what they were talking about but the aversion with which that teen-age girl said “That is so 2010!” made it seem like 2010 was centuries ago. For a moment then I was disoriented. I checked my calendar and we were just halfway of 2011.

I remember the late Fulton Sheen speaking of what he called “the chronological arrogance of the modern age.” It is that attitude that undiscerningly accepts and embrace anything and everything that is “modern.” It is that attitude that also mocks anything and everything that is “yesterday.” And if there is a slogan that best illustrates this “chronological arrogance of the modern age,” it is this: “That is so 2010!”

Yes, as Jesus suggested in the parable, the new is to be welcomed, but not without discernment. The new is to be rejoiced at but not with the automatic dismissal of the old. A feminist activist sarcastically wrote in her recent column, “…the Philippines and the Vatican are the only country in the world that refuse to legalize abortion, and it’s a shame because we’re already in 2014.” A lawmaker trumpeted in Congress, “Every city and country in the world has already accepted divorce. The Philippines is the only one that has not implemented it. It’s the modern times already.” Pray tell me. Is human life and marriage a matter of vogue or values? Even our ethical and legal procedures seem to be determined by this “chronological arrogance of the modern age.”

Just think about it? Are marriages today better than the marriages of old, say the 1950’s or 60”s or even 70’s (I can hear the teen-agers shrieking again)?  Do parents feel more secure today for their future and for their children than yesterday? Do we feel more safe and secure in our society today than before? Are children more respectful of the elderly today than before? Is the world a safer place today than before? If we search our heart of hearts, we know the answer is “no.”

Maybe the era that we ridicule as obsolete knew something right yesterday. Maybe the folks we brand as “narrow-minded” and “unenlightened” were doing something right yesterday. Maybe we are in a big mess today because we have ignored the wisdom of yesterday and embraced hook, line and sinker the proposals of the present day. Maybe yesterday need not be readily dismissed by today.

God bless you!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Antipolo Road Trip: Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

"Turn left"

My GPS beeps as we slow down along J.P. Rizal street to turn to Daang Bakal Road, Hinulugang Taktak.

It was my first time to bring my husband to this place and I am nothing short of excited. I have been brought along this path by my parents on a road trip before. And once I've seen where we were headed, I knew I had to bring him here someday with me.

We stopped along a sign that said Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We've reached our destination.

We parked our car on a vast lot at the far right of the compound and we walked towards one of my favorite modern churches in the country.

What sets this church apart from other structures is that it's mostly made of steel and glass. 

Based from my observations, it is one of the most green churches ever built. It utilizes natural sunlight in the daytime and has a cool atmosphere due to the open slots in between glass panels. It uses very minimal electricity because of its design.

Walking down the aisle

Beside the parish is a lengthy man-made prayer pathway which serves as a venue for meditation and praying of the rosary. 

Each joyful, sorrowful, glorious, and light rosary mysteries has its respective stations. A total of 20 stations of the rosary.  

My husband and I walked the path together and it truly was a peaceful and calm place of refuge. 

The path is lined with various flowers and vegetation. There are also benches for those who get tired of walking or standing.

When we visited the area, it was just struck a few days earlier by typhoon Rammasun (Glenda). Some of the parishoners decided to volunteer their time to maintain the place. I salute you dear volunteers!  

The typhoon has damaged the bamboo vegetation lining the pathway.

After this trip, I realized that the Philippines has so many awesome church structures! This is just but one of them and there are so many more. If you want me to write about a specific church you love, by all means please leave a comment.

If you want to visit this parish and you're coming from Ortigas, Metro Manila, here is the path we used: 

From Ortigas Avenue Extension, turn left to P. Oliveros street, then turn left to J.P. Rizal street, and finally turn left to Daang Bakal Road, Hinulugang Taktak. Keep right on this highway and later on, you will find the parish on your left.  

I hope you enjoy your future visit to the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Cheers to more awesome road trips! Have a safe drive and God bless you! 


Want more places to go to? Check out this awesome shrine at San Miguel, Bulacan from my sister blog JacqWritesWorld.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

YFC-Liveloud releases 4 New Tracks

Manila has once again entered the rainy season. Sometimes all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a blanket, hot cocoa in hand, while listening to some inspirational music. 

Included in my latest purchases this season is the new One in the Lord CD compilation by Liveloud.

Image from
Liveloud is a movement initiated by the Youth for Christ ministry of Couples for Christ. It was founded on 2009 with the aim of mobilizing the youth and harnessing their creative energies by building a culture of worship for the Lord. 

Since its inception in 2009, many members of the Youth for Christ have submitted their original song compositions. Submissions for new songs can be done all year round (contact your YFC youth head if you're interested)! 

The One in the Lord CD contains their latest tracks for 2014. Here are some clips of the latest songs with their lyrics.

Pour and Flow 
by Bimbo Yerro

by Monica Ponce

Your Are King  
by AJ Manalaysay, Ayana Carlos, Marianne Alvarez

by Kirby Llaban

I hope these songs bring you to a prayerful and uplifted mood. Praise God for people who use their talents well to the greater glory of the Lord!

Purchase this CD online from for Php 160.00 or visit the Ablaze store at Couples for Christ Global Mission Center at 20th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines today! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Thoughts on "The Hardcore Truth"

In my college days, I joined a Catholic youth group, CFC-Youth for Christ, which advocates the 100% pure lifestyle. Among the many advocacies we lived by was No to Pornography, shortly coined "porNO".


To my young mind, the phrase sounded catchy but I did not fully understand it as of late. In those days, I wasn't really aware of the inner workings of the world of pornography. I thought it was an issue which affects only the males.

Recently, I came across an e-book suggested to me by my husband. It is entitled The Hardcore Truth and was written by Matt Fradd and Donny Pauling

Once again, I thought the porn issue only concerned men. However, I realized after reading this that the issue concerns females as well, as I learned women suffer from this addiction and/or the ill effects of porn.

The book answered the many questions I had about pornography and discussed the latest issues surrounding this topic. It debunked the many myths about porn that was fed to me by the media. 

It is a 30-page e-book which can be finished in a few hours. I suggest you get a copy if you are looking for a quick read. 

But first, who are Matt and Donny?

Matt Fradd works for Covenant Eyes, and is the author of the new book Delivered: True Stories of Men and Women who Turned from Porn to Purity. He is also the founder of The Porn Effect (, a site dedicated to exposing the reality behind the fantasy of porn and offering help to those seeking freedom from it. Matt lives with his wife and children in Georgia. 

Donny Pauling was a porn producer for 9 years, working with Playboy and other top companies. But after meeting a Christian ministry and having a God-encounter of his own, Donny walked away from porn for good. Now a Christian speaker, Donny shares his story and the truth about the dangers of porn to churches and universities around the country. Donny was confirmed into the Catholic Church on Easter Vigil, 2014. 

Matt Fradd and Donny Pauling

These 2 guys teamed up to create this interesting e-book and here are some of the Myths about pornography they debunked:

Myth 1: Porn is Morally Neutral
Myth 2: Porn is Glamorous
Myth 3: Porn Liberates Women
Myth 4: Porn Stars Love the Sex
Myth 5: Watching Porn is Healthy, Adult Entertainment
Myth 6: Porn Enhances Sexual Intimacy
Myth 7: Porn Stars are Well-rounded women
Myth 8: Porn is Safe for the Actors to Make 
Myth 9: Looking at Free Porn doesn't support the Industry
Myth 10: Porn is just Fantasy

The book was truly an eye-opener as it immersed me to the real world of pornography. It contained a lot of personal stories of men and women who once actively participated in the industry, as well as biblical and Christian insights to thoroughly discuss and debunk the myths enumerated above. 

While reading, my heart ached for all women who were victimized by this industry. At the same time, I was encouraged to read more about their plight and pray for them as well as the million others who have been deceived by porn.

Here are a few excerpts which struck me (emphasis mine):

"Real sex cannot be packaged and sold through pixels on a screen. Porn turns sex into a commodity. Porn reduces the mystery and beauty of a man or a woman to a collection of body parts to be used rather than recognizing them as persons to be loved. It reduces the great mystery and sanctity of human sexuality to a trivial activity."

"Pornography sells lies—cleverly scripted and cunningly edited lies. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, porn “immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world.”

"I would say the foundational reason pornography is wrong is that it removes the sexuality from its natural context. It removes sexuality from outside of the intimacy of the partners and turns it into a commodity, something to be bought and sold."

"I like to say that pornography doesn’t complement sexual intimacy; it competes with it. I found out at the 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, they revealed that 58% of their divorces were in some way influenced by a spouse looking at excessive amounts of pornography online. So pornography certainly doesn’t enhance intimacy in marriage. It’s its enemy. It’s a counterfeit. It offers a warped sense of intimacy."

I hope you would download this e-book as it is a great resource in understanding pornography. If you have any peers, friends, family members who would like to detox from porn, this e-book will also be of great help. 

This e-book is actually FREE and you can download it from the Covenant Eyes website. 

Other FREE e-books you can find at Covenant Eyes include the following:

For Parents:

1. Protecting Your Family Online, A How-To Guide for Parents

2. A Parent's Guide to Cyberbullying

3. Parenting the Internet Generation, 7 Potential Threats and 7 Habits for Internet Safety 

Recovery from Porn:

4. Your Brain on Porn, 5 Proven Ways Porn Warps Your Mind and 3 Biblical Ways to Renew it

5. The Porn Circuit, Understand Your Brain and Break Porn Habits in 90 Days

6. Pornography Statistics (2014 edition)

7. Coming Clean, Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability

8. Stop the Demand, The Role of Porn in Sex Trafficking

Support for Couples:

9. Porn and Your Husband, A Recovery Guide for Wives

10. Hope After Porn, 4 Women Share their stories of heartbreak and how their Marriages were Saved

Church support:

11. Porn-free church, Raising Up Gospel Communities to Destroy Secret Sins

12. Internet Pornography, A Ministry Leader's Handbook

Visit Covenant Eyes today and read up on these valuable resources. May God bless you!

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