Circular Letter No. 9/2010
September 19, 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the MMP,
I am writing this in the middle of our retreat with brother-priests (Cubao Clergy) in Sta. Catalina Retreat House, Baguio City. Please pray for a fruitful outcome, as Msgr. Ding Coronel, our retreat facilitator, leads us to prayer and reflection on priestly commitment. I have wanted to have this message posted before going up to Baguio, and even earlier in time for the birthday celebration of our Blessed Mother last September 8, but failed.
Writing this message may have interrupted the course of my retreat. But, it was more of a moment for deeper reflection than a distraction. Ever since, working for the Movement has taken a great deal of priestly commitment. As our Lady says, its strength lies in littleness, poverty, simplicity and the generosity to respond to Her invitation (Message 589 i). MMP has helped me grow and persevere in the priesthood, despite trials and difficulties. Doing this in the middle of the retreat gives me a lot of real and deep reflections on commitment. My prayer is that it grows deep more and more – in me, in the Cubao clergy, and in all priests.
Speaking of commitment, lay people cannot be outdone. Last September 8, during the Mass in the Cubao cathedral, there was an unusual attendance. A huge crowd gathered for the 6:00 PM Mass. One parishioner described it as like the ‘Simbang Gabi.’ Though the September 8 celebration was not previously announced in the cathedral, the unusually huge attendance was for me a great manifestation of love and devotion to Our Lady. Commitment is found in the heart. It does not need to be told. It simply unfolds. When manifested, it is awesome, evoking much admiration and encouragement. This is how She works in her children.
My meetings this month with various cenacle groups gave much consolation, too. First, it was in Calamba for the second visit last September 4. I invited some of the MMP staff to join me and see for themselves this 'newly-found treasure.’ I have mentioned about the Calamba cenacle groups in my last month’s message. This time, they surprised us with ‘good news.’ The pastor of Sto. Tomas Parish in Batangas had expressed his desire to hold cenacle in his parish. Some people from Sto. Tomas join the cenacle in Calamba. Lately, I was informed that the Sto.Tomas cenacle group was inaugurated last September 8, with the parish priest leading the cenacle. Ave Maria! I send them my greetings, praying that the cenacle may spread from Sto. Tomas throughout the entire Archdiocese of Lipa. My special commendation goes to Bro. Boy and Sis. Nini. Your dedication and commitment have borne fruit. My Our Lady bless you to spread the cenacle in Laguna, the province of the San Pablo diocese.
The next visit I had was in Taytay, Rizal where the Antipolo Diocesan Cenacle was held last September 11. I was fortunate to have been able to attend this gathering, as I was previously scheduled for a Marian Conference in Tacloban on the same day. But MMP activity takes priority. The Antipolo group has a tradition of holding Diocesan Cenacles three or four times a year. They have long wanted to have a priest to attend to them. This time, they were blessed by the presence of Fr. Jimmy Padilla, a priest of the Diocese of Antipolo. With his support, I hope that Antipolo cenacle groups will persevere in spreading the cenacle prayer in the diocese.
We have less than a month in our preparation for the MMP Clergy Retreat next month, October 11 – 15. As you well know, it is not easy to invite priests for an activity like this. But, priests who have confirmed their attendance are indeed a great source of encouragement.They are Our Lady’s chosen ones. Let us pray that more priests respond to Her invitation and are able to join this retreat. Knowing how She works ‘inhiddenness and in silence,’ I personally am excited. How blessed are the priests when formed by Her, whose only wish is ‘to transform priests into the most faithful replicas of Her Son, Jesus’ and ‘to make Him live again in them’ (Message 49 k-l).
On this Feast of Our Lady’s Sorrows, we entrust our priests and the MMP Clergy Retreat to her care.
God bless you all!
Yours in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
REV. FR. ROMERICO A. PRIETO
Marian Movement of Priests - Philippines