Circular Letter No. 8/2011
August 30, 2011
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the MMP,
The month of August ushered in the celebration of two glorious moments for Our Lady: Her Assumption (August 15) and Her Queenship (August 22). Celebrated just a week apart, they are very much linked to each other. Our Lady’s message to Fr. Gobbi in Dongo (Como, Italy) on August 15, 1997 invites us to reflect on these glorious moments.
Beloved sons, look today, with confidence and sure hope, at your heavenly Mother assumed into the glory of paradise, with body and soul. All the cohorts of the heavenly spirits prostrate themselves in profound veneration before their Queen, as I am raised to the highest part of heaven and am placed at the right hand of my Son Jesus. And all Paradise, with sweetest harmonies of lights and songs, which no one here below on earth could possibly hear, exalts me and proclaims: Resplendent, O Lord, is the Queen at your right hand. (Message 598 a)
The Church teaches as dogma that Our Lady was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory “after having completed the course of her earthly life.” Since the fourth century, this was the belief of the Church that was also shared by other Christian confessions. Pope Pius XII solemnly and infallibly declared the dogma of the Assumption on November 1, 1950 in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus.
By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
Like the Assumption, the Queenship of Mary is an ancient Marian veneration. Long before it was given a formal feast day, Our Lady’s title as Queen was already mentioned in various prayers and devotional literatures: Salve Regina, Ave Regina Caelorum, and Regina Caeli. The liturgical feast for the Queenship of our Blessed Mother was officially established by the same Pope on October 11, 1954 in the papal encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam.
Mary is called the Queen of Heaven because her Son, Jesus Christ, is the King of Israel and heavenly King of the Universe.
In the Hebrew tradition, the mother of the king is the queen. The encyclical further argues that Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood, but also because of the exceptional role given by God to her in the redemptive work of her Son, Jesus Christ:
As Christ, because he redeemed humankind, is its Lord and king by a special title, so the Blessed Virgin Mary is Queen on account of the unique manner in which she assisted in the redemption of humanity.
These glorious moments of Our Blessed Mother are well founded in the Bible, giving them authenticity of divine revelation. St. Paul indicated in his letter to the Roman that God has predestined human beings from all eternity to share the image of his Son (Romans 8:28–30). All the more, Mary was predestined to be the mother of Jesus. As Jesus was to be king of all creation, Mary, in dependence to Jesus, was to be queen. All other titles of queenship derive from this eternal intention of God. As Jesus exercised his kingship on earth by serving his Father and humanity, so did Mary exercise her queenship. As the glorified Jesus remains with us as our king till the end of time (Matthew 28:20), so does Mary, who was assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven and earth. Likewise, John Paul II quoted John 14:3 in his homily at Lourdes last August 15, 2004. In this verse, Jesus tells his disciples at the Last Supper: "I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also." According to him, Mary is the pledge of the fulfillment of Christ's promise.
The teachings of the Church about Our Lady’s glory are clear and well founded. But, how relevant are these glorious moments for us? Our Lady sounds very assuring in her message to Fr. Gobbi on August 15, 1986, in Bagni di Tivoli, Rome Italy. Below is the full print of the message.
Look at your heavenly Mother, assumed into the glory of paradise, even with her body. Today, I am causing a shower of graces to fall upon you all, my children.
The light from my glorious body is shining on you and pointing out to you the road you must follow. It is that of purity, of love, of prayer, of suffering, of holiness. It is that of a life united intimately to Jesus. Thus, you also, even while living on this earth, can be illumined and surrounded by the light which is shining up here in paradise.
The light from my glorious body is shining for you with increasing strength, especially in these very difficult and painful times, in order to console you and encourage you in all your daily difficulties. Today you are being called to live through the bloody hours of the purification, because the great events which I have foretold to you during these years are already upon you.
And so you have need of my motherly consolation in order not to become discouraged. Look to paradise where your heavenly Mother has been assumed in body and soul, and you will be consoled by me. Live, with heart and soul, in paradise, where Jesus has already prepared a place for each one of you, and nothing will disturb your peace.
The light from my glorious body will draw you in the wake of my most exquisite fragrance. It is the fragrance of all the virtues which have adorned the garden f my earthly existence. It is the celestial aroma of all my immaculate beauty.
Today I want to sprinkle you all with the exquisite fragrance of purity, of humility, of simplicity, of silence, of prayer, of docility, of obedience, of contemplation.
Then you too will spread the heavenly fragrance of your immaculate Mother. And thus you will give peace of heart to all, and you will become today instruments of my peace. Because you are the beloved children of your Mother, assumed into the glory of heaven and who, in these times, desires to be invoked by all as Queen of Peace” (Message 331)
May these glorious moments of Our Lady give us comfort, encouragement and peace. Assured of her maternal guidance and protection, let us persevere with deeper conviction in carrying out Her work through the Marian Movement of Priests.
Here now are some updates.
1. Cenacle Orientation in Capiz and Iloilo
The Cenacle Orientation held last August 13 - 15 was very successful. Initiated by Sis. Rose Abilo (Head of the Light of the Word Prayer Community and an ardent Promoter of the MMP), the three-day sortie covered the towns of Tapaz in Capiz (August 13), La Paz and Miag-ao, both in Ilo-ilo (August 14) and at the city proper (August 15) with acquaintance meeting with priests at the St. Vincent Seminary. Aside from the enthusiastic response of the lay cenacle groups, the welcome and support of priests we met were so heartening. I would like to thank in particular Msgr. Amadeo Escanan, the Parish Priest of Miag-ao, and Fr. Randy Esperancilla, the Rector of St. Vincent Seminary.
The Capiz-Iloilo mission was very providential, as both are Archdioceses in the faith-rich island of Panay. The three-day sortie was a fulfillment of a long desired plan of the MMP to touch-base in this island. Let us pray that the seeds sown during the Cenacle Orientation and Meeting with Priests would bear fruit.
2. Mindanao MMP Lay Promoters’ Annual Retreat
The Annual Retreat of Mindanao MMP Lay Promoters was another successful event. Held last August 19 - 21 at the Benedictine Nuns’ Monastery in Cogon, Digos, Davao del Sur, it was attended by promoters from two Archdioceses (Davao and Cotabato) and two Dioceses (Marbel and Digos). I thank Sis. Indai (MMP Lay Responsible in Mindanao), ably supported by her husband, Edwin, for the effort in bringing together the promoters. The retreat gained significance with the 60th Anniversary of Our Lady of Mediatrix of Grace, Patroness of Digos. In communion with the local Church, the retreatants joined the afternoon Cenacle at the Cathedral on the second day of the retreat. I would like to thank the Most Rev. Guillermo Afable, Bishop of Digos (and dearly claimed bishop for the MMP), for making us part of the celebration.
Back in Davao City after the retreat, I met new cenacle groups introduced by Fr. A-lan Lee, a religious priest based in the city. The emergence of these groups under his care is a big surprise, for I first met Fr. A-lan only few months ago during the MMP Clergy Retreat last May in Baguio. I commend him for promoting the cenacle. To these new cenacles, welcome to the MMP.
Another big surprise in Davao happened at the cathedral on the 22nd of August, the Feast of Our Lady’s Queenship and my 30th Ordination anniversary. By chance, the priest with whom I concelebrated was Msgr. Leonardo Vicente, the Rector of the cathedral. During the Mass, I had the strong feeling that my meeting with him was not by chance, but for a purpose. I prayed, and there was a deep urging in me to have the cenacle at the cathedral. I asked for a sign, which Our Lady gave right after the Mass: Msgr. Nards offered me a ride. I wanted to tell him at that moment, but I thought of discussing the idea first with Sis. Indai. The following day, we came back and proposed the idea to him: that the cenacle be held at the cathedral every 1st Saturday of the month at 11:00 AM before the 12:00 NN Mass. Msgr. Nards readily accepted it, telling us to start in October. What a great time to begin the cenacle on the month of the Holy Rosary, with the first day (October 1) falling on the First Saturday! The celebration for my own sacerdotal anniversary which I thought will be "silent and hidden" turned out to be a great fulfillment for Our Lady. Ave Maria!
3. Bangkok and Myanmar Mission
Please pray for the success of my trip to Bangkok and Myanmar on September 9 - 21. This is the fulfillment of Fr. Gobbi’s wish that MMP-Philippines extends the work to the neighboring countries. He personally expressed this wish during my meeting with him and Fr. Michael Gaughran in 2007 at Collevanlenza. Below is the proposed schedule.
· Bangkok (September 9 – 11)
September 9 - Cenacle (Filipino Group)
September 10 - Assembly of Cenacle Groups
September 11 - Cenacle (Thai Group)
· Myanmar (September 12 – 21)
September 12 - 16 - Clergy Retreat (Archdiocese of Yangon)
September 17 - 19 - Meeting with Lay Groups
September 20 - 21 - Back to Manila via Bangkok
Our Lady has obtained for us so many graces in carrying out her work. From here, She is moving us beyond our borders. United in prayer with Fr. Gobbi, let us entrust everything to her guidance and protection. All for her glory and that of her Son, Jesus!
God bless you all.
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
REV. FR. ROMERICO A. PRIETO
Marian Movement of Priests – Philippines