Pilgrim’s Ending

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It was the end of Cesar’s pilgrimage. I know Cesar’s wife, Bennie. She organizes pilgrimages and I have joined a couple of her many pilgrimages. The Celebration of Life for Cesar seems to be a reunion all pilgrims. Such a beautiful celebration. … Continue reading

Walls of Jerusalem

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The walls of Jerusalem are originally built to protect the city from intrusion and a defense under the rule of the Ottoman empire. Inside these walls is the seat of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The wall has so many gates … Continue reading

“I am only a man, just like you.”

Andre Bessette

Trait D’espirit / Drawn by the Spirit

“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures,” said St. André Bessette.

He is just another man, a real person that I would have very much wanted to meet personally.  Unfortunately he was born way ahead of me and died 20 years before I was born.  If you ask him who he is, the response was “I am only a man, just like you.”

André Bessette is a native of Canada born frail in a poor family in Quebec.  He became an orphan at the age of 12 and had hardly any education at all.  In his early twenties, he entered the Holy Cross congregation in Montreal.  Nobody wanted him.  The main task given to him was menial as a porter, someone who opens the door and greets people who come to visit the Oratory.  Yet he did his duty for 40 years accepting the little he had and turning it into a holy act.

One would not think that he lacks formal education when he is an effective teacher of faith by his action, love, kindness and example.  He used the simplest means.  It is his complete trust with divine providence is what made him a very special person.

His dream was to build a church devoted to St. Joseph.  He trusted that if he is really doing the Lord’s will the Lord would bring it to fruition.  And it did happen.

How I would have wanted to see him open the door for me when I visited the Oratory in Mount Royal.   I felt small as an ant standing at the first rung of the steps looking up at the Oratory.

In a world filled with educated minds and an era of endless celebrity, glitz and glamour, I am amaze at what a simple man can do.

Brother André is what I call him and has left me a legacy to place my trust in Jesus.

A Community: Local Public Market

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Visiting the public market in a another country is one thing I include in my itinerary with or without the help of a guide. Here in Compostela de Santiago, before we enter the mainstream, the busyness of the daily specials … Continue reading

Sierra del Pardon – Mount of Forgiveness

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To reach the Mount of Forgiveness, it’s an uphill battle in an open windy country side.  The sign says 4.3 km of steady incline. From the distance I can see the electricity wind generators, in short windmills. towering the sky. The … Continue reading

Octoberian Costume Birthday Party

Fearing that I will miss the birthday party for the month of October while I was walking the Camino, they waited until most of us are present.  We celebrated it in style: costume birthday party just in time for Halloween.

It was all start cast:  Mini Mouse, Ginger of Gillian’s Island, Captain James of Star Trek, Ghost Buster, The Venetians, Race Car Driver, Pirate, Nemo, Nurse (a real one), Lulu the gypsy fortune-teller, M&M, Pikachu, Priest (a real one) and much more.

Minie, Capt. James & Ginger

Minie, Capt. James & Ginger

The leading person who turned 60 years old is my brother who looks like David Suzuki.

Lulu, the gypsy fortune-teller is a very memorable character in our family life.  She was my mother’s friend.  How she suddenly appeared in our life remains a mystery.

Suzuki and Lulu

Suzuki and Lulu

Mother has a way of helping out people.

I remember how Mother helped Lulu take a bath.  Lulu was apparently so dirty that the water turned brown.  She doesn’t speak our language and we only spoke English to her.  She came in and out of our apartment, bee-lined to the kitchen, helped herself out on any food to eat and made herself at home even Mother was not around.  Lulu called my mom Mother as well.  Mother is Mother to everybody and everyone.

Having had her fill, she takes out her Tarot card and starts reading them.  Talking to herself mostly and suddenly, she will say, Mother is here.  Huh? No she’s not, I said.  Next thing, Mother walks in the door.  How did she do that is beyond me.

Lulu gives Mother a reading whether she likes it or not.  Mother doesn’t mind.  I don’t know if Mother believes in fortune-telling or palm reading because it is quite contrary to our belief system.

One day, Lulu read in the card that we are going far away to another land.  Mother did not believe on that either.  And it did happen.  How did she do that?

Back to the party.  The Filipino tradition, if it’s our birthday, we are responsible for throwing in the party, bring our cake and eat it, too.  We do not wait for anybody to throw us a surprise party.  We do not wait for anybody.  We let the whole world knows that it’s our birthday and we invite as many people as we can to help us celebrate.  Celebrate we did.

As for my costume, I wore my hiking gear; boots, poles, backpack, hat, waterproof jacket and pants, iPad in a red leader pouch,  a camera, gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, etc.  Gosh, cannot believe I carried these for 15 days.  Eventually, I had to divest myself since it was boiling inside the house with all these characters and cooking going at the same time.

The Pilgrim

The Pilgrim

The cake is always gigantic.  There was no blowing of the candles because most of us are sick of colds and we definitely want to keep the germs to ourselves.

Birthday Cake

Good times, good times.  Happy Birthday to us.

Related link: Tenth month of the year

A Story of “Faith” Umbrella

The spring rains did not come and the summer heat was worse than it had ever been.  All the fields in the area were parched, dusty, and brown. Our livelihood, our way of life, was wilting away. Most mornings we would search the sky for any sign of relief, for a hint of rain on the horizon. Days turned into arid weeks and soon became months.  Everywhere faithful people prayed.

The ministers, priest and rabbi of our local churches announced that there would be a special service to pray for rain on the following Saturday. They asked that everyone bring an object of their faith. So come Saturday morning we all gathered in the town square. People came with anxious faces and hopeful hearts. Looking around you could see the Bibles, Book of Prayers, crosses, crucifixes, pictures of Jesus – and you could tell the Catholic because of their rosaries.

And so we prayed.  We prayed a mighty prayer of praises for God, praises for His divine protection, and  petitions for rain. We sang, prayed some more, and heard the minister proclaim our faith in Jesus. And then we prayed some more. Just as the hour of prayer was concluding, and as if by some divine cue, a soft rain began to fall. Cheers swept the crowd as they held their treasured objects high in gratitude and praise.  The Pentecostals were shouting out their Hallelujahs with arms raised in ecstasy. The Catholics even got excited and were waving their rosaries, whipping them around in a frenzy.

But one symbol of faith seemed to overshadow all the others; one person had brought an umbrella.

Faith Umbrella

Special birthday pilgrimage to receive blessings on my 50th birthday in Vatican, Rome, Italy.

Source:   Friarmusings

Open your Heart

Open the doors of your heart.

Give special attention, love and prayers to all those who come to the door of your home and workplace.

Let this simple gift of self be a witness to the love of Christ among us.

Tenth Month of the Year

The month of October is big in our family, too many birthday celebrations.  By the end of the month, there goes my savings.  Mother and Father must have been so busy just after Christmas and New Year’s.  Did I count the gestational months correctly?  Nine months of incubation, right?

The first three consecutive days of October 1-2-3 followed by October 10, 17, 28, 30 are the days of birth.  I know I’ve missed some dates.

To top this, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving Day the second Monday of October the same as USofA.  Thank goodness, we abolished adult birthday celebrations and gift giving except for children.

We celebrate Thanksgiving Day instead to be thankful for the gift of family.  There is just too much love going around, can’t get enough of it, not to mention food.

This year there will be an extra celebration because my niece will be graduating from University.  

Celebration might be postponed at the later part of month due to absences of a few people going on vacations.

Married siblings are doing the Love boat style, cruising, and home away from home.  We just waved goodbye to them recently.  The three stooges, nephews of the same age who grew up closely, will be visiting the Philippines to meet older cousin. And I will be away to do the annual pilgrimage walking the earth for 15 days. 

Time for another foot spa.

Foot Spa

Foot Spa

There will be plenty of stories to go around when we meet on Thanksgiving Day whatever date will that be.