Circular Letter No. 9/2011
October 4, 2011
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the MMP,
I apologize for the late posting of this circular meant for September. After my long absence, I needed to catch up on backlog; hence, I could not make the deadline for this message. It is worth the wait, though, as September has been a wonderful month for us. I am very eager to report two audacious ventures that MMP entered into during this period: our weekly radio program and the mission in Bangkok and Myanmar.
I couldn’t help but wonder about what our Lady had to say so I opened the book and I read:
"Don’t be curious to know what is awaiting you, but, at each moment, live in perfect love. Then, you will be able to give yourself ever more for souls, because as you begin to do each thing there will be a corresponding help." (Message 205 f)
This was Our Lady’s inspiration to me while I was writing this letter. She wanted to be able to give more for souls. Embarking into these unchartered waters and unfamiliar territory was difficult; but, there will be a corresponding help. The only thing she requested is to live in perfect love (of her Immaculate Heart). See the wonders of her maternal love as I share them with you.
MMP Weekly Radio Program
I could not imagine having a radio program for MMP. Slots in stations are usually filled up and the costs are exorbitant. All of a sudden, this great opportunity came. A slot for a radio program was available in DWAD 1098 khz AM radio every Thursday at 7:00 PM. In less than a week’s time, it was a done deal and MMP was on air on the first day of September. That was how fast it happened.
I never had any second thoughts about it. All along, I had Our Lady in mind. She had manifested her presence in several instances. I would like to mention the three most striking ones. The first is the Thursday evening slot itself. It could have been in another day and on another time. But Thursday is the day of the cenacle; and evening is the most appropriate time. Right away, I concluded that it was Our Lady’s choice. Second, the program was launched in September, the month of her birthday. This must be her wish: to have another form of birth using radio as the medium. She had indicated this in her message to Fr. Gobbi: "bring me back once again into the midst of my faithful" (Message 25 a). The radio program was a fulfilled birthday wish. The third and last was an experience on my first evening at the station. When I entered the gate, I saw a lighted grotto directly facing the entrance. It was conspicuous in contrast with the darkness of the surroundings that evening. I felt Our Lady welcoming me to her newly found home; the radio station. I prayed at the grotto and thanked her for being there. I must admit that my heart was palpitating that evening, bothered by the first broadcast. As I went up to the booth, I heard her say in my heart: Why do you feel so nervous? This program is mine, not yours. And all of a sudden, I felt calm and had the first taste of her radio program.
On the air for a month now, the program is called “MMP sa Radyo.” It is Our Lady’s program alone, just as MMP is her work alone. Without much planning at the start, the initial format consisted mainly of reflections on the Gospel for the following Sunday in relation to a pre-selected message from the Blue Book. It ends with the praying of the Consecration.
Beginning this October, however, the broadcast will be in the cenacle format. It needs to be that way since the cenacle is deeply ingrained in the program. Besides, clamor for the cenacle has greatly increased based on feedback we received. Below is a text message from one of our listeners:
"Good pm po. Patuloy po akong nakikinig sa inyo. Kung pwede po ay makahingi ng blue book. Kasi ngayon ko lang po narinig ang tungkol dito. Kung pwede lang sana. Salamat po. God bless. Bro. Daniel po ng Malabon City."
We hope that more people will tune in to our radio program. Like Bro. Daniel, may there be many more who will discover Our Lady’s maternal wonders. She is working many marvels in the cenacle and in our consecration to her.
Trip to Bangkok and Myanmar (September 9 – 21)
First of all, I would like to thank you for the prayers and help which you offered. I could not find the words that could best describe its realization except those of Our Lady's. Her messages were my guide throughout this almost two-week journey.
On my way to Bangkok, I opened the blue book and got this message:
“Do not be afraid. Go into every part of the earth, and spread the light which comes from my Heart. Soon you will understand fully the great gift which I have given you. Then, you will come to know why I have wanted you here in a cenacle which has been full of extra-ordinary graces for you and for all scattered throughout every part of the world.” (Message 178 n-o)
The mission that has just begun got more clarity and direction. I found the cenacles in Bangkok full of extraordinary graces – both for the Filipinos as well as the Thai group. I could not find a better expression for this than what Bro. Arnold, MMP Lay Responsible in Bangkok, has written:
"We praise and thank God, through Our Blessed Mother, for sending you to us. You have greatly enlightened our minds and deeply touched our hearts. We wish more leaders and members heard your talks. We look forward to your next visit and we will do our best to invite more members and faithful.
There is already an impact of your talk yesterday morning. Fr. Tamayo called me to ask me to introduce the Cenacle to the Filipino community mentioned above. We mentioned to you that Fr. Tamayo and a busload of his parishioners (including us) are going to Korat on a mission. There are about 200 Filipinos there mostly working as teachers. We learned that the Filipino community there is divided, that's why Fr. Tamayo volunteered to organize a mission there on Sept 30-Oct 2.
Many, many thanks once again, Fr. Omer, for your visit - on behalf of our MMP Bangkok family.
God bless you and your ministry always. We are united always in the love of Our Lady of the Cenacles. We have a Cenacle tonight, hence I am rushing to send this to you."(end)
On board the flight to Yangon, my first destination in Myanmar, I got this message:"Prayer of Thanksgiving: for all the graces which, in this period of time, have been granted you by the Father, in the Holy Spirit, by means of my Son Jesus and through the unceasing intercession of my Immaculate Heart. This world is at the mercy of my Adversary . . . immersed in the deepest nights, and no beginning of a year can dissipate the great darkness in which it is walking . . . Nothing can resist the power of the merciful love of God, which wants to transform this poor world into a new creation. The interventions of my Immaculate Heart will become steadily numerous, extra-ordinary and miraculous. For this, give thanks with me to the Most Holy Trinity which is making use of me to lead all creation to the perfect glorification of God." (Message 256 b-f)
Our Lady aptly described what I was to find in Yangon - a church “in thanksgiving.” It is jubilee year in the Archdiocese of Yangon in celebration of the centenary of their cathedral. It stands out as a great testimony of faith with its long years of proclaiming and witnessing the Father’s love in imitation of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception, the centenary is the wonder of Our Lady in Yangon.
His Grace, Charles Bo, is the Archbishop of Yangon. I admire his simplicity and leadership. In a spirit of thanksgiving, he calls his flock to renewal: “Restore everything in Christ!” Him joining his priests in the retreat gives a deep impression about him as leading by example. Through the renewal of its priests, the renewal of the Archdiocese will be accomplished.
The clergy of Yangon are sons of Our Lady’s predilection. I entrust them to the maternal love of her Immaculate Heart. May they find consolation in her words: "The interventions of my Immaculate Heart will become steadily numerous, extraordinary and miraculous. For this, give thanks with me to the Most Holy Trinity which is making use of me to lead all creation to the perfect glorification of God." (Message 256 e-f)
I thank Archbishop Charles and the Yangon clergy for this opportunity given us to share the spirit of the Marian Movement of Priests.
After the retreat, I traveled to Mandalay, a city in the middle of Myanmar. Like Yangon, Mandalay is also unfamiliar territory. During the hour-long trip, I read this message:
"Enter into the temple of my Immaculate Heart, if you wish to contemplate the wonders of my merciful love. You see how my invitation is being received by them with gratitude and great appreciation. How much love for me you are seeing along the roads. Here, amid such great poverty, I receive from them more than what is given me in other more advanced parts of the world. I receive a love that is open and sincere, a generous response, a correspondence that is enthusiastic and contented, a prayer that is ardent and persevering. In these days, you were able to see with your own eyes how the heavenly Mother is working along the road of this immense continent." (Message 277)
Arriving in Mandalay, I was brought to a Marian Shrine. The shrine must be the “temple” that Our Lady mentioned. As if Yangon was just the start of seeing her wonders, I was brought to this shrine to contemplate more. The Mandalay trip was a pilgrimage. I entered the shrine and prayed, marveling at her presence. At that time, there were people in the vicinity. I was told that they were village folk who come regularly to help clean the vast grounds of the shrine. They must be the people whom Our Lady was referring in her message: You see how my invitation is being received by them with gratitude and great appreciation. How much love for me you are seeing. . . Here, amid such great poverty, I receive from them more than what is given me in other more advanced parts of the world. Eager to share the message, I requested the parish priest for a Mass with them. Though I did not know the dialect, I could sense in their prayers their devotion and faith. Through an interpreter, I read and explained the message. The glow on their faces was enough for me to recognize another wonder.
After Mandalay, I proceeded to Myitkyina, the diocese in the northernmost part of Myanmar, very close to the border of China. I was told beforehand of some risks due to ethnic clashes with government forces. I prayed for a safe travel and asked Our Lady for guidance. This was her message:
"Take shelter today under the mantle of your immaculate Mother. Never, as in these times, have I felt the motherly need of bringing you comfort in your sorrow, confidence in your discouragement, hope in your disillusionment and safety in your tribulations. You will now be constantly aware of the consoling presence of your heavenly Mother! It will become stronger as the sufferings you must undergo become greater, now that you are entering into the most painful period of the great tribulation. I am the Mother of Consolation. You are becoming aware of my great comfort, which will give you courage and protection especially as you live through the bloody hours of the trial. And so, I am covering you with my mantle; I am gathering you into the refuge of my Immaculate Heart; I am stirring up your confidence and spirit of filial abandonment; and I am giving you my blessing." (Message 240 k-m)
In Myitkyina, I saw a different picture of the church, a church in suffering. I visited a parish where the victims of the ethnic clashes were sheltered, mostly children and their mothers. Men were out during daytime, either guarding their homes or working in the farms.
I noticed rosaries and statues in their makeshift huts and medals in necklaces that they wore. It was a simple display of faith. How I wished that I could pray with them; but the only thing we could do was to bow and smile at each other. Yet, even in those simple gestures, I understood what they wanted to say. In suffering, they might be helpless; but in faith, they have hope.
In the camp, I had a brief moment with the children to whom we gave candies. It was fun. I had wondered how they felt living as refugees. However, they looked happy in spite of their situation. How blessed they are for being spared life’s worries. Childlike faith is a marvel in the maternal love of our Blessed Mother. This is the wonder that I found in Myitkyina: refugees with childlike faith. Although camped in makeshift huts, they are sheltered under the mantle of the Blessed Mother, consoled and protected in the safe refuge of her Immaculate Heart.
Thus ends my sojourn to Myanmar. I read this message on my way back to Manila:
"Your time is measured by the beating of my Immaculate Heart, which is shaping its plan of love and salvation. Each day, each hour is scanned and arranged according to this motherly plan of mine." (218 b)
Our Lady perfectly summed up this journey. Myanmar is a land of wonders; a people so much loved by her. True, everything there can only be measured by the beating of her Immaculate Heart. The churches I saw are all wonders of her maternal love: (1) the church in thanksgiving (Yangon); (2) the church enshrined in her heart (Mandalay), and (3) the church in her safe refuge (Myitkyina).
I am awed. I still wonder how Our Lady did it. Each day, each hour is scanned and arranged according to her maternal plan. I can only describe it as wonderful.
Before I sign off:
- I would like to greet MMP Davao for the Launching of the Cenacle in San Pedro Cathedral last Saturday, October 1. The cenacle is now a monthly activity of the cathedral parish held every First Saturday at 11:00 AM. May this cenacle bring wonders to Davao.
- For the cenacle groups in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, I am looking forward to seeing you in our Third Quarter Formation for the Laity on October 15 in Quezon City and for the Paranaque-Alabang-Muntinlupa groups on October 8 in Sucat.
- For the cenacle groups in the Visayas, I am inviting you for the Retreat of Lay Promoters on October 21 - 23, at the SVD Retreat House, Talamban, Cebu City.
- To the cenacle groups in Laguna and Batangas, I am sending my greetings. I hope to visit you again.
God bless you all.
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
REV. FR. ROMERICO A. PRIETO
Marian Movement of Priests – Philippines