Obituary of Columban Fr Francis Carey

Fr Francis Carey

 (19 August 1937 – 6 December 2014)

‘He had a gentle presence and a kind heart.’ That is how Fr Dan O’Malley, Regional Director of the Columbans in the Philippines, described Fr Francis Carey when he informed the membership of his death on Saturday 6 December. Father Frank was diagnosed with a form of cancer late in October. His death has been a great shock to all who knew him.Father Frank was the son of Paul and Marion Carey and was born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He attended a secondary school there run by the Christian Brothers. He received his formation as a Columban in Sassafras, Victoria, and in Wahroonga and Turramurra, New South Wales. He was ordained in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, on 13 December 1962 by Archbishop Ernest Victor Tweedy, at the time the Archbishop Emeritus of Hobart, Tasmania.

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne [Wikipedia]
Father Frank often recounted the difficulty in finding a bishop and setting a date for his ordination, since all the active bishops in Australia were at the first session of the Second Vatican Council, which ended on 8 December. His father, a solicitor (lawyer), phoned the Columban superior at the time in Australia telling him that he understood the difficulty but that he, Paul, was responsible for arranging the family celebration and needed to know the date as soon as possible. The date was set very quickly!
A Columban who knew Father Frank very well wrote, ‘He had a great relationship with his father.  When he’d arrive home on holidays from the seminary Frank and his Dad would spend the whole night catching up. He got many of his priorities and values from his Dad. He hated to see people bossing others around.’

St Michael’s Cathedral, Iligan City [Wikipedia]

Father Frank arrived in the Philippines in September 1963 and was assigned to Mindanao. After language studies he spent more than five years in parish work, He served for relatively short periods in Oroquieta City and Bonifacio in Misamis Occidental, Kinoguitan, Balingaon and Linugos, Misamais Oriental, and Malabang, Lanao del Sur. He then spent almost four years in St Michael’s, Iligan City, now the cathedral of the Diocese of Iligan. There he formed a great friendship with the late Fr Peter Steen who was parish priest at the time.
Father Peter had a very sharp wit and once remarked at the breakfast table in Manila when we got news of the death of a Columban priest in Ireland who had been in the Philippines for many years and who tended to be on the strict side, ‘He’ll probably find that God is a lot kinder than he thought he was’. When told of this in an email some years later Father Frank responded, ‘The statement about X was the ultimate Steen. He certainly believed in a God of understanding.’
Father Frank might have been speaking about himself. One who knew him very well described him as ‘unflappable, calm and non-judgmental. He was balanced, weighed things up and saw both sides. He allowed people to have their point of view and could sit with ambiguities and opposites. But he had great courage and always made up his own mind.’


Christ Healing the BlindEl Greco, 1570-75

 Galleria Nozionale, Parma, Italy [Web Gallery of Art]

Fr Carey’s life as a priest was guided especially by Luke 4:18-19: ‘”The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,  because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”’ A friend noted, ‘Even with the ecology it was about healing, reconciling and liberating.’ Luke 4:14-19 was the gospel read at his request at the funeral Mass in Our Lady of Remedies Church, Malate, Manila, on 11 December, with the passage Jesus read, Isaiah 61:1-3, as the First Reading.

 This is what guided him when he spent nearly seven years, from 1969 till 1976, in Australia, working as a chaplain to overseas students, promoting the work of Columbans throughout the world and seeking vocations to the missionary priesthood. He could be creatively practical. He once spent a month in an outback parish in Australia and told the people on his first Sunday there that he couldn’t cook and would appreciate it if each day of his stay a different family would invite him to their home for a hot meal. The people were delighted to do so and around 30 families by welcoming this friendly missionary priest learned quite a bit about the work of the Columbans in the Philippines.

 Shearing the RamsTom Roberts, 1890
 National Gallery of Victoria [Wikipedia]


On his return to the Philippines in 1976 Father Frank spent nearly a year in the parish of Tambulig, Zamboanga del Sur, before moving to Manila where he was to spend most of the rest of his life, apart from a stint on mission promotion in Australia from 1991 to 1996 in Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales. From 1981 until 1991 he worked with third-level students in Manila, with periods as chaplain in Philippine Women’s University, Far Eastern University, and with Student Catholic Action, which was founded by Columban Fr Edward J. McCarthy in the 1930s.

 Sanctuary, Our Lady of Remedies Church, Malate [Wikipedia]

From 1996 till 2002 Father Frank was an assistant priest at Our Lady of Remedies Parish, Malate, Manila. The Center for Ecozoic Living and Learning (CELL) and the Eco-Farm Retreat Centre in Silang, Cavite, south of Manila, the brainchild of Columban Fr John Leydon whose vision was shared by Elin Mondejar, the owner of the land where CELL is located. Father Frank was part of this from its early days. This Center demonstrates permaculture and organic farming and zero waste management in place of landfill. Malate Parish was also involved in this project. Fr Dominic Nolan, also from Melbourne and deeply involved in the project for many years, described Father Frank as ‘the glue that kept CELL together.’

A Columban employee who visited CELL in 2009 wrote in an online tribute, ‘Thank you for giving me inspiration in advocating and living a life dedicated to nourishing the earth and everything that God put in it. I remember my short time at CELL, feeling the earth, inhaling the freshness of the surroundings, enjoying the meals that were served to us straight from the lush garden, everything. I will never forget the excitement I saw in your eyes when you munched on some mint leaves just to convince us that these things are actually good and can nourish our bodies.’ This same person, a young married woman, expressed to this writer on hearing of his death, ‘I would have loved to have asked him to adopt me!’ This echoes what St Athanasius wrote in his life of St Anthony the Abbot: ‘And so all the people of the village, and the good men with whom he associated saw what kind of man he was, and they called him “The friend of God”. Some loved him as a son, and others as though he were a brother.’

Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral, Baguio City [Wikipedia]
Father Frank, who over the years quietly helped raise a considerable amount of money for the education of students, continued to be involved in CELL even though in recent years he was in charge of the Columban house in Baguio City, in the mountains of northern Luzon. It was there that he began to feel ill in October and returned to Manila.
Pope Francis wrote in Evangelii GaudiumThe Joy of the Gospel, ‘When we live out a spirituality of drawing nearer to others and seeking their welfare, our hearts are opened wide to the Lord’s great and most beautiful gifts (No 272).’ May the gentle heart of Fr Francis Carey be opened wide to the gift of eternal life.
Father Frank loved jazz music. In the video above Stéphane Grappelli (on the left), one of the greatest jazz violinists, plays with Yehudi Menuhin, one of the great classical violinists. Yehudi Menuhin once lived in the house in Sassafras, Victoria, where Father Frank began his formation as a Columban seminarian.


‘O felix culpa; O happy fault.’ Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B

St John the Baptist, Donatello, 1438

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 

Gospel John 1:6-8, 19-28  (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 

He said,“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’”as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know,  the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

Mary, Queen of Heaven, Master of the Legend of St Lucy, c.1485-1500

 National Gallery of Art, Washington [Web Gallery of Art]

Here in the Philippines we will begin the the Misas de Gallo, also known as Simbang Gabi or Aguinaldo Masses, the novena of pre-dawn Masses leading up to Christmas, or Tuesday the 16th. These are votive Masses in honour of our Blessed Mother and in thanksgiving for the gift of our faith. The Spanish word ‘Aguinaldo’ means ‘gift’ and in this context refers to the gift of faith.

The Church over the centuries has reflected on gifts we have received from God that we could not have received had our First Parents never sinned. A song included among poems for Advent and Christmas in the Breviary published by the hierarchies of Australia, England & Wales, and Ireland is one of those reflections, Adam lay y-bounden. In the Breviary it is given the title O Felix Culpa, ‘O Happy Fault’.

This particular song, written in England in the 15th century, marvels at the fact that but for the reality of the sin of Adam we would have had Our Lady as Queen of Heaven.

The poem reflects part of the Exultet, the Easter Proclamation: O certe necessarium Adae peccatum, /quod Christo morte deletum est! O truly necessary sin of Adam,/destroyed completely by the Death of Christ. O felix culpa,/quae talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptionem! O happy fault/that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer.

At Easter we proclaim the great reality that God has given us a Redeemer and that he is now risen from the dead.

Coming up to Christmas we reflect on the birth of our Redeemer through the consent of Mary, his and our Mother. Mary is part of God’s eternal plan and if we sideline her we distort that reality, as we also do if we put her in the centre and sideline her Son. In the painting above Mary, while being honoured as Queen of Heaven by the angels and saints is adoring God with her whole being, inviting us to do the same. The song too invites us to sing Deo gratias! Thanks be to God!

That is what the Church invites us to do every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the Thanksgiving. It invites Filipinos in particular at this time of the Aguinaldo Masses to thank God for the great gift of faith and to share it with others. One way n which Filipinos have been doing that is introducing this centuries-old practice to other countries, adapting the custom to local circumstances.

O Felix Culpa (O Happy Fault)

 Adam lay y-bounden

Adam lay y-bounden,

Bounden in a bond;

Four thousand winter,

Thought he not too long.

And all was for an apple,

An apple that he took.

As clerkes finden written In theiré book.

Ne had the apple taken been,

The apple taken been,

Ne hadde never our Lady,

A been heaven’s queen.

Blessed be the timeThat apple taken was,

Therefore we may singen.

Deo gratias!

This song from England dates from the 15th century. The text here is an adaptation of the original Middle English and the musical setting is by Boris Ord.

Scottish poet Edwin Muir’s One Foot in Eden, included in the Breviary for Lent and Easter, also reflects on the theme of felix culpa



What had Eden ever to say
Of hope and faith and pity and love
Until was buried all its day
And memory found its treasure trove?
Strange blessings never in Paradise.



Antiphona at introitum  Entrance Antiphon (Philippians 4:4-6)

 Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.

 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. 

Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus:

Let your gentleness be known to everyone:

Dominus enim prope est. 

 for the Lord is near.

 Nihil solliciti sitis:

 Do not worry about anything 

sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrre innotescant apud Deum.

but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be maked known to God.

Ps. 84 [85]:2 Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

Lord, you were faorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. 

Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus:

Let your gentleness be known to everyone: 

Dominus enim prope est. 

for the Lord is near.

Nihil solliciti sitis:

Do not worry about anything 

sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrre innotescant apud Deum.

but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be maked known to God.

The text in bold above is the Entrance Antiphon in the Ordinary Form of the Mass (the ‘New Mass’). The longer text is the Entrance Antiphon in the Extraordinary Form (the ‘Old Mass’).

Faith in Action Keeps it Strong and Alive. Fr Shay Cullen’s Reflections, 5 December 2014

Faith in Action Keeps it Strong and Alive
Fr Shay Cullen


Children Expecting the Christmas Feast, Ferdinand Theodro Hildebrandt, 1840

The Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia [Web Gallery of Art]

Christmas is the celebration of the family, the birth of Jesus and his great mission to lead the world from sin, vice and cruelty to a kingdom where people are free to live a life of virtue and goodness. Here we can be members of God’s family and strive for friendship, justice, love and peace. What a great and beautiful ideal.

The family is under great pressure these days as the cellphone, the internet and social media spread so much negative influences from child pornography, extortion, bullying and sexual grooming and abuse.

Evil has its tentacles wrapped around the minds and hearts of our youth and adults through these technological means of communication. The youth have to be helped to resist and throw off these influences and embrace a life of virtue. Adults too are under great temptation. There is even a website that encourages people to sign up to have an adulterous relationship, designed to destroy families and leave children without united parents.


Yet there are millions of families that are rooted in deep Christian values of love, faithfulness and compassionate concern that help abused, exploited people. But these too are under pressure as society is becoming more secular, frivolous and prone to vice, materialism, corruption and crime.

Love as a spiritual experience of unselfish friendship is hard to find these days. Today they are easily overwhelmed by the selfish satisfaction of personal desires, greed and lust. The great ideal of service of others through volunteering without asking for payment, rewards, praise and entitlements is diminishing. The age when thousands of young people answered the call to dedicate their lives to the service of the poor and the downtrodden is coming to an end. The age of the cheater, swindler, manipulator, betrayer and unfaithful is here.

Those who strive to lead a good and virtuous life have to strengthen their belief in eternal goodness and the sanctity of life, love, family and true faithful friends. Goodness abounds but it is not organized into a strong movement that could overwhelm the march of evil and corrupt practices of injustice and torture and abuse. The silence of good people has given a kind of consent to the triumph of evil in today’s world. As Jesus said, we have to shout it from the roof tops and take a principled stand for what is right and just.

The enemy of the people is clearly seen in the corruption, graft, kickbacks and plunder of the people’s taxes by dynastic families. The bad example from leaders permeates society and corrupts all around it. Justice is tainted and criminals go free. The incompetence of corrupt governance is apparent everywhere.



The recent expose of beaten and starving naked children lying on the cement ground like the victims of Auschwitz at the Manila children’s detention center called RAC (Reception and Action Center) caused outrage but not enough. The children photographed looked like the skeletal victims of Auschwitz. I wrote about them recently and the horrors they endured. The social workers, managers and those sworn to help them allegedly betrayed the children and their profession. Allegations of pilfered money needed for the children’s food abound but are denied. Unqualified, underpaid staff are part of the abuse. The case of Francisco is just one of many examples of starved and tortured children as revealed this week by Amnesty International in Manila. Several of the victims of torture mentioned in the report (see ) were interviewed in the safety of the Preda Foundation’s children’s home for rescued children in Olongapo City.

When I came as a Columban Missionary from Ireland to the Philippines 45 years ago, I saw this terrible hardship of the children in jail. I set up Preda Foundation to give them a new, happier life and try to end the torture and abuse. It seems we saved hundreds but have failed, so far, to change the systematic abuse of jailed children, illegal as it is.

In the Preda homes, children are recovering from their traumatic abuse and have told their stories of torture to researchers from Amnesty International. Most of the children were rescued by Preda social workers and myself from government detention jails. Readers can help save many more.

Social services and NGOs have not remained untouched. Some have fallen into the darkness of selfish gain, dishonesty, unfaithfulness and greed. They abandon too easily and too quickly the values they vowed loudly to uphold and defend. The malaise of the world of selfishness and greed has damaged and led astray even some of those that once worked for the higher causes of defending human rights, helping the poor and restoring the dignity of the abused.

It’s no wonder that faithful, virtuous good men and women are treasures to society, the hope of the nation and the true defenders of human rights and abused children. We can oppose and defeat evil by being faithful, honest, generous, kind, respectful of all and put our faith into action and keep it strong by serving and helping needy children this Christmas and always.


Nativity (Holy Night), Corregio, 1528-30

Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, Germany [Web Gallery of Art]

Columban Fr Francis Carey RIP

Fr Francis Carey

(19 August 1937 – 6 December 2014)


Fr Frank Carey died in hospital in Manila on Saturday 6 December at 6:20pm. He had been diagnosed with a form of cancer in October. His death is a great shock to all of us. Fr Dan O’Malley, Regional Director of the Columbans in the Philippines, said of him, He had a gentle presence and a kind heart. Many would describe him in those or similar words.

Father Frank is being waked at St Columban’s, 1854 Singalong Street, Manila, until Wednesday at 4pm when his remains will be taken to Remedios Jubilee Center, Malate, Manila, for the vigil. The funeral Mass will be on Thursday at  10:45am in Our Lady of Remedies Church, Malate, followed by burial in Loyola Memorial Park, Sucat, Parañaque City.

The following appeared in the November-December 2012 issue of The Far East, the magazine of the Columbans in Australia and New Zealand, to mark the Golden Jubilee of the ordination to the priesthood of Father Frank.

Fr Francis (Frank) Carey was ordained by the Archbishop Tweedy of Hobart on December 13, 1962 in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, Victoria. He arrived in the Philippines in September 1963.

He has spent most of his 50 years of priesthood in the Philippines. He also spent some years of service in Australia as chaplain to overseas students, vocations Co-ordinator and doing mission promotion and education in the dioceses of Rockhampton, Canberra/Goulburn and Armidale.

In 1996, Fr Francis was a Co-founder of the Center for Ecozoic Living and Learning (CELL) and the Eco-Farm Retreat Centre outside Manila. This Centre demonstrates permaculture and organic farming and zero waste management in place of landfill.

Fr Francis is the son of Paul and Marion Carey, of Melbourne, Victoria. He trained for the priesthood in Sassafras, Victoria, and Wahroonga and Turramurra, NSW.

He currently resides in the Filipino mountain city of Baguio. 


May Father Frank rest in peace.


An obituary will be posted later.

‘Prepare the way of the Lord.’ Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B

St John the Baptist, El Greco, c.1600

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco [Web Gallery of Art]


(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Mark 1:1-8  (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,

    who will prepare your way;

the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

    ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

    make his paths straight,’”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”


Old Road to Auvers, Norbert Goenuette, 1892

 Private Collection [WebGallery of Art]

Charles Kuralt was a reporter with CBS TV in the USA whose On the Roadstories were a regular part of the Evening News for 25 years. These were offbeat stories about real persons and were often uplifting. I remember one in particular from about 1970 when I, then a young priest, was studying in the USA. It featured an elderly man in a small town in one of the Midwestern states. His town was about 10 kms from the next town but in order to go from one to the other you had to travel 20 or 30 kms. The authorities in both towns were unwilling to build a road to connect them.

So this man started to build a road himself, using logs as a foundation, as I recall.

In 1982 Charles Kuralt gave a lunchtime talk in an auditorium in Minneapolis where I was on a pastoral programme in a hospital for three months, working as a chaplain. I went to hear the broadcaster.Someone in the audience asked him what had become of the road that the old man had begun to build. It turned out that the man had since died. But after his death the authorities completed the road.

This man was engaged in a form of what the Legion of Mary Handbook calls ‘Symbolic Action’, described in these terms: Observe the stress is set on action. No matter what may be the degree of the difficulty, a step must be taken. Of course, the step should be as effective as it can be. But if an effective step is not in view, then we must take a less effective one. And if the latter be not available, then some active gesture (that is, not merely a prayer) must be made which, though of no apparent practical value, at least tends towards or has some relation to the objective. This final challenging gesture is what the Legion has been calling ‘Symbolic Action’. Recourse to it will explode the impossibility which is of our own imagining. And, on the other hand, it enters in the spirit of faith into dramatic conflict with the genuine impossibility.

The sequel may be the collapse of the walls of that Jericho.

The old man featured on TV wasn’t thinking of himself but of those coming after him. Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

St Mark is repeating the words of Isaiah used in today’s First Reading: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40: 3).

 Fr Alfred Delp SJ

  (15 September 1907 – 2 February 1945) [Wikipedia]

Fr Alfred Delp SJ, hanged by the Nazis in Berlin on 2 February 1945, is in many ways an Advent figure. Advent of the Heart is a collection of ‘Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings – 1941-1944’. The People of Advent is one of his prison meditations, written exactly 70 years ago. I have highlighted some parts.

The herald angel

Never have I entered on Advent so vitally and intensely alert as I am now. When I pace my cell, up and down, three paces one way and three the other, my hands manacled, an unknown fate in front of me, then the tidings of our Lord’s coming to redeem the world and deliver it have a different and much more vivid meaning.

And my mind keeps going back to the angel someone gave me as a present during Advent two or three years ago. It bore the inscription: Be of good cheer. The Lord is near. A bomb destroyed it. The same bomb killed the donor and I often have the feeling that he is rendering me some heavenly aid.

Promises given and fulfilled

It would be impossible to endure the horror of these times – like the horror of life itself, could we only see it clearly enough – if there were not this other knowledge which constantly buoys us up and gives us strength: the knowledge of the promises that have been given and fulfilled. And the awareness of the angels of good tidings, uttering their blessed messages in the midst of all this trouble and sowing seed of blessing where it will sprout in the middle of the night.

Then angels of Advent are not the bright jubilant beings who trumpet the tidings of fulfillment to a waiting world. Quiet and unseen they enter our shabby rooms and our hearts as they did of old. In the silence of the night they pose God’s questions and proclaim the wonders of him with whom all things are possible.

Footsteps of the herald angel 

Advent, even when things are going wrong, is a period from which a message can be drawn. May the time never come when men forget about the good tidings and promises, when, so immured within the four walls of their prison that their very eyes are dimmed, they see nothing but grey days through barred windows placed too high to see out of.

May the time never come when mankind no longer hears the soft footsteps of the herald angel, or his cheering words that penetrate the soul. Should such a time come all will be lost. Then indeed we shall be living in bankruptcy and hope will die in our hearts.

Golden seeds waiting to be sowed 

For the first thing man must do if he wants to raise himself out of this sterile life is to open his heart to the golden seed which God’s angels are waiting to sow in it.

And one other thing; he must himself throughout these grey days go forth as a bringer of good tidings. There is so much despair that cries out for comfort; there is so much faint courage that needs to be reinforced; there is so much perplexity that yearns for reasons and meanings.

Reaping the fruits of divine seeds God’s messengers, who have themselves reaped the fruits of divine seeds sown even in the darkest hours, know how to wait for the fullness of harvest.Patience and faith are needed, not because we believe in the earth, or in our stars, or our temperament or our good disposition, but because we have received the message of God’s herald angel and have our selves encountered him.

Trial of Fr Alfred Delp SJ

The example of the life and death of Fr Alfred Delp SJ and his writings continue to help many Prepare the way of the Lord.



Handel’s Messiah begins with the the opening verses of today’s First Reading (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11), adapted from the Authorized (King James) Version:

Tenor Recitative. — Isaiah 40:1-3

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Tenor Air — Isaiah 40:4

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.


Chorus — Isaiah 40:5

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

The first video above features Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez. The second features Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, based in Toronto.

Prayer Intentions of Pope Francis December 2014: Christmas hope for humanity; Parents


The Nativity, El Greco, 1603-05

Hospital de Caridad, Illescas [Web Gallery of Art]


Universal Intention – Christmas hope for humanity


That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.


Evangelization Intention – Parents

That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith. 


 Videos from website of Apostleship of Prayer, Milwaukee, USA.

The Universal desire for Justice. Fr Shay Cullen’s Reflections, 27 November 2014

The Universal Desire for Justice.

By Fr Shay Cullen

MV Sewol, 16 April 2014 [Wikipedia]

Seoul, Korea.

It was frosty cold standing in the center Island of the broad avenue in Seoul, Korea, leading to the historical palace and presidential house. There I met one of the grieving parents of the Korean ferry,MV Sewol, disaster. There is a protest encampment set up there where supporters and sympathizers come and stay and pray and demand justice for the families and victims of this terrible tragedy. There is a high sense and awareness of human rights and frequent democratic protests are held here in Seoul. But all are allowed to demonstrate continuously, peacefully or noisily without police crackdowns.

At the solidarity camp on the traffic island the father of a student who was killed in the sinking of the ferry boat told me through an interpreter how the parents cannot accept the inaction of government. They want government to redress fully the injustice and the terrible wrong behind the sinking of the ferry and the loss of so many young people and adults. He handed me a solidarity badge, a yellow folded ribbon. The high school students who died look out from the assembled 300 photographs at the temporary shrine to their memory. Their silent stares tell us of the enormity of their loss and greatness of the crime.

The MV Sewol, on 16 April 2014, sank with a complement of 500 passengers and crew. The ferry  was bought from a Japanese ferry company with only two years of life left as a passenger ferry but the shipping company used questionable methods to force through a change in the law so the ferry could get a license to carry passengers beyond its normal life. Together with illegal structural alterations to carry more cargo, the ferry was top-heavy and capsized. The Captain and some  of the crew have been jailed and the family of the owner are being arrested and charged. Justice is the overwhelming desire of the families of the students who died. 

MV Doña Paz [Wikipedia]

In the Philippines justice is hard to come by. As many as 4,386 Filipinos perished in the greatest peacetime maritime disaster ever when the MV Doña Paz, a ferry boat, owned by Sulpicio Lines, out of Tacloban, Leyte, sank after colliding with the oil tanker MT Vector on 20 December 1987.  Only 24 people survived. The ship was way over its seaworthy life and built for 608 passengers.

The ship was rebuilt after a fire, unlicensed, grossly overloaded and had no qualified captain or officer on duty on the bridge when the collision occurred leading to the deaths of thousands. The Philippine Board of Marine Inquiry eventually cleared Sulpicio Lines of all liability, fault and negligence for the accident stopping short of sympathizing with the owners of the shipping line.

No one was arrested, tried or found guilty of negligence or held responsible for the deaths of so many. Everything is negotiable in the Philippines if you are rich and powerful. Little compensation was paid to the family members of 4,386 people who perished.

The families of the 162 victims who died and 93 severely burned people of a Manila disco fire had to wait 18 years and eight months to get justice this past week. Small as it is with the sentences of seven Quezon City engineers and two businessmen to ten years each. Philippine Justice is hard to come by. All is negotiable except for the poor.

Last week a child, Angie, from Botolan, Zambales  with the mental capacity of nine year old, as testified by the resolution of the prosecutor Emelyn T. Nacin-Catolico in April  2011,  had been cruelly raped with fear and threats  by a pedophile and the case referred to the Regional Trial Court in Iba, Zambales.

Now three years later a new prosecutor, Olivia V.Non-Finones, instead of prosecuting the rapist pressured the child to sign an affidavit withdrawing her compliant. Such an affidavit of desistance is forbidden by order the Philippine Department of Justice and the Supreme Court has ruled many times that such affidavits of desistance have no weight whatsoever.

Nevertheless the judge, Marifi P.Chua, accepted the affidavit in court and stated in dismissing the rape charge against the accused that since the affidavit was based on the fact the rapist undertook  and promised not to rape again, the female judge dismissed the case and the accused  was allowed to walk free to do it again. The child was denied justice and more children are at risk.

Here in Seoul many welcome the UN resolution, approved by 111 countries, to send the leaders of North Korea to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity. Investigations and interviews with escapees from repressive North Korea led to a special UN report in February 2014 that provides evidence for the allegations of the crimes of systematic murders, torture, beatings, starvation, rape, forced abortions and unjust imprisonment of up to 120,000 people.

These issues and revelations have given an increased sense of obligation among the many South Koreans to do more to help  the less fortunate in North Korea and in developing countries. The desire for justice is universal and a nation without it is not a fully civilized nation but close to a failed state. 

This is perhaps why South Koreans are embracing and expanding their interest in social justice and buying Fair Trade products from developing nations like the Philippines dried mangos fo small farmers and the indigenous people.  They have a growing moral conscience about the exploitation of  the poor and the duty to help.

Fair trade is a rapidly growing sector in civil society and among Christians in many countries. The UK, Ireland, Germany and Austria are among the most active. The movement in Seoul has a strong supporter in Mayor Won Soon Park who  hosted in Seoul The Global Social Economic Forum this month to boost the social commitment of Koreans and foster international cooperation and Fair Trade. All of us can do our share to help make justice the heart of  faith and life.,

Fair Trade and the social teachings of the Catholic Church. Fr Shay Cullen’s Reflections, 18 November 2014

Fair Trade and the social teachings of the Catholic Church

by Fr Shay Cullen

One of the most well-known success stories of Preda Fair Trade is its action to alleviate poverty and oppose the evil trade of human trafficking by implementing the social teachings of the Church. Living out in action these spiritual and social values is a great challenge to Catholics and Christians of all denominations.

Pope Francis has spoken clearly on the need for economic justice in the world. He said that he wants a Church that is poor and for the poor. In his apostolic exhortationEvangelii Gaudium, he grounded this goal in Jesus Christ, who became poor and was always close to the poor and the outcast’ (No 186).

The selling of young people into bars and brothels under the guise and cover of ‘entertainer’ is a modern form of human slavery. Thousands of Filipinos are being sold into this evil form of trade in Asia and Korea is one major destination. Ten thousand Filipinos are reported to be trafficked into Korea, according to one university study.

Preda Dried Mango

Unless we act for children and the youth, and they are allowed to be exploited and abused without our action to help them, then our faith, teaching and  evangelization will have little impact and inspiration for the youth today. Perhaps that is why so few go to church. That is why Fair Trade is the long-term sustainable vehicle for delivering social and economic justice to the poorest of the poor. It makes them independent and self-reliant.

Korea and Japan are prime destinations for these young girls, many said to be minors but disguised as adults with fake documents and make-up. The goal is to save victims and uphold the dignity of women and children and provide economic alternatives in their home villages in the Philippines.

The goal of Preda Fair Trade is to curb human exploitation of every kind and promote the human rights of rural poor and workers and help exploited and the oppressed people. This is at the heart of the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. The Preda Fair Tradeproject aims to prevent human trafficking and sex slavery by teaching the people the values of the gospel and the dignity and rights of every person, especially the rights of women and children.

Preda Dried Manog (Sugar-free)

It also provides livelihood projects to poor families such as organic mango production, fair prices and bonus payments for every small-scale farmer for their mango fruit. Preda Fair Trade also provides water-pumps, bicycles and educational assistance to children. Small-scale farmers are given mango tree saplings and coconut seeds to improve their production. A portion of the earnings from sales of Preda dried mangoes of Preda Fair Trade goes to help child victims of sex trafficking and abuse in Preda therapeutic homes. Preda dried mangoes are widely available in supermarkets in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

By buying the mangoes of small farmers and indigenous people at high, fair prices and paying a bonus to each farmer, Preda Fair Trade is slowly eliminating exploitation and poverty. It is the cruel poverty and social injustice that makes so many impoverished villagers eager to allow their children go to work in cities in the Philippines and abroad. Most don’t know the dangers.

The practice and example of economic justice in fair trade is a form of evangelization in word and action. It is by example of giving justice and fairness that Preda has credibility with the people and society. As St James writes, Faith without action for justice is dead. The Church has a duty to implement the social teachings proclaimed by Jesus and the Popes for generations, Pope Francis in particular, and Fair Trade is one great way to do it.

Preda Dried Mango-Tamarind

The work to protect women and children from sex slavery is a priority. The Preda Foundation has homes that are therapeutic healing centers for child victims and a Preda legal office prosecutes abusers and traffickers through the courts. A percentage of the earnings from the sale of the dried mangoes and other fair traded products helsp fund these services for the victims rescued from Filipino sex bars and brothels.

The evil trade begins when the young women and children are recruited in Filipino villages or towns by human traffickers who promise them good jobs in factories and hotels or as singers and dancers in Korea and elsewhere. They pay part of the’salary’ in advance to the parents and relatives of the young women so they are obligated and become victims of ‘bonded’ labor.

The sex bars are situated near US bases like Camp Stanley. The girls have to sell a certain number of ‘juicy’ drinks to customers and are pressured to give sexual favors to the customers in small rooms at the back of the bars or in nearby cheap hotels. In some cases it is rape as the girls have never expected this and do not consent to it.

The development and promotion of Preda Fair Trade is a most effective way for Catholics to use their buying power to make a strong faith-based commitment and statement for social justice. Faith can be more alive every time they choose to buy a Fair Trade product knowing it is not the product of child labor, exploitation or cheating the producers. They will know it is based on fairness and concern. They will learn too from the information given with the products about the needs of the poor and the positive help that Fair Trade gives to them and what more they can do to help.

[Photos from Preda Fair Trade Products]

‘Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.’ Sunday Reflections, 1st Sunday of Advent, Year B

Young Jew as ChristRembrandt, c.1656

 Staatliche Museen, Berlin [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Mark 13:33-37  (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)

Jesus said to his disciples:

Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn,  or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

Liam Whelan  (1 April 1935 – 5 February 1958)

If this is the end, then I’m ready for it.

These were the last words of Liam Whelan who died in a plane crash at Munich Airport on 6 February 1958 along with other members of the Manchester United football (soccer) team as they were returning from a match in Belgrade. About seven years ago I learned from a friend named Brendan whom I have known for more than 50 years that, when they were both aged 14 or so, Liam rescued him when he got into difficulties in a swimming pool in their area. And last year I discovered that another friend, who was a classmate of mine for five years in secondary school and for two years in the seminary, also named Liam, that this talented young footballer had been a neighbour of his and that even when he had achieved fame as a professional footballer he would still play knockabout football on the street with the local boys whenever he would come home.

The average age of Manchester United’s players at the time of the accident was only 22. These young men were earning only £15 a week, about 25 percent more than a tradesman could earn. Endorsements could bring in a little more income for a few talented players whose career would end for most at 35, if not earlier.

There was snow on the ground at Munich Airport and the plane made three attempts to take off. Harry Gregg, the goalkeeper for Manchester United and who also played in that position for Northern Ireland’s international team, was sitting near Liam Whelan. He survived uninjured and helped save a number of people from death. He has often told the story of Liam Whelan’s last words: If this is the end, then I’m ready for it.

Clearly young Liam had his life focused on what was most important. He was ready to meet death. I have often spoken about him at Mass and in giving retreats. 

Those who knew him describe Liam Whelan as ‘a devout Catholic’. I know that he sent his mother some money for her to go to Lourdes. 11 February 1958 was the centennial of the first apparition of our Blessed Mother to St Bernadette. Mrs Whelan, a widow since 1943 when Liam was 8, used the money instead towards a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Lourdes over the grave of her son. I pass it each time I visit my parents’ grave.

Liam Whelan’s grave (right)

I vividly remember the dark, late afternoon I heard about the crash from a street-singer whom I knew by sight and who was running around agitatedly telling people of the crash. I didn’t know whether to believe him or not but the news on the radio confirmed that it really had happened. It was the first time in my life to experience what has been called a ‘public-private moment’, a public happening, usually a tragedy, that becomes a very personal one for those who learn of it, one that is seared in the memory and often in the heart.

Liam Whelan grew up in the next parish to my own and I remember going to Christ the King Church the evening his remains were brought there. I was outside the church with countless others. An article by John Scally in the February 2008 issue of The Word, the magazine of the Divine Word Missionaries in Ireland that is no longer published, described what many experienced: Their funerals were like no other. Most funerals are a burial of someone or something already gone. These young deaths pointed in exactly the opposite direction and were therefore the more poignant. Normally we bury the past but in burying Liam Whelan and his colleagues, in some deep and gnawing way we buried the future.

I still feel some pain at the deaths of Liam Whelan and his colleagues nearly 57 years after they died but the story of Liam’s preparedness for his sudden death is one that continues to inspire me.

Liam’s last words, If this is the end, then I’m ready for it, are a perfect response to today’s gospel. Jesus is not trying to frighten us but he is telling us starkly to be prepared always for the moment of our death, to do everything with that in mind. Advent is a time when we prepare not only to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, but to become much more aware of his daily coming into our lives, and to prepare, as individuals and as a Christian community to welcome him when he returns at the end of time in a way that we won’t be ashamed.

What would we say if he asked us here in the Philippines, for example, Have children who have been abused had their court cases finished quickly? I have heard that young Maria, who has gone to the court five or six times for a hearing, something that is quite upsetting for her, has been told on each occasion that the defence lawyer isn’t yet ready.

What would we say if Jesus said, I have been told that many forests have been cut down for profit and that this has resulted in many deaths in Leyte, for example, in 1991 and 2003. Is this true?


Tropical Storm Thelma (Uring) [Wikipedia]

 More than 5,000 died in a flash flood in Ormoc City, Leyte, on 5 November 1991. Deforestation was blamed as a primary cause of the devastation.

The gospel this Sunday is, literally, a ‘wake up call’. Beware, keep alert . . . Therefore, keep awake . . . And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.

May the response of Liam Whelan, a young professional footballer who took these words to heart, inspire us and give us a desire to be always prepared to meet the Lord, in this life and in the next: If this is the end, then I’m ready for it.

This was recorded on St Columban’s Day, 23 November 2011, in the Abbey of St Columban, Bobbio, Italy, where the saint died and is buried.

Antiphona ad introitum  Entrance Antiphon  Cf Ps 24 [25]:1-3

Ad te levavi animam meam, Deus meus,

 To you, I lift up my soul, O my God.

 in te confido, non erubescam.

 In you, I have trusted, let me not be put to shame.

 Neque irrideant me inimici mei, 

 Nor let my enemies exult over me;

 etenim universi qui te exspectant non confundentur.

 and let none who hope in you be put to shame.

Ps 24 [24]:4. Vias tuas, Domine, demonstri mihi; et semitas tuas edoce me.

 Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.

Ad te levavi animam meam, Deus meus,

 To you, I lift up my soul, O my God.

in te confido, non erubescam.In you, I have trusted, let me not be put to shame.

Neque irrideant me inimici mei, 

 Nor let my enemies exult over me;

etenim universi qui te exspectant non confundentur.

 and let none who hope in you be put to shame.


The longer version is sung or recited when the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is celebrated.

‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these . . . you did it to me.’ Sunday Reflections, Christ the King

The Last JudgmentPeter Cornelius, 1836-39

Fresco, Ludwigskirche, Munich [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 

Gospel Matthew 25:31-46  (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada) 


Jesus said to his disciples:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.  Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’  


Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?  And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?  And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’  And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 


Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;  for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 


Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’  Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


St Elizabeth of Hungary

Sándor Liezen-Mayer, 1882

Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest [Web Gallery of Art]

In November 1974 some members of the Praesidium of the Legion of Mary of which I was spiritual director came to me and told me of two starving children, a brother and sister, that they had come across on home visitation. The Legionaries were students in the college department of what was then Immaculate Conception College, Ozamiz City, where I was chaplain. At the time ICC was run by the Columban Sisters. It is now La Salle University, under the care of the De La Salle Brothers.

We arranged with the parents to take the two children to the local government hospital. When I saw Linda, as I will call her, I thought she was a malnourished eight year old. I was utterly shocked when I learned that she was twelve. Her brother, whom I’ll call Nonoy, was five. His ribs were sticking out and his stomach severely bloated. The eldest in the family, a girl aged 13 or 14, showed no signs of malnutrition. This was the first time I had ever met anyone with signs of starvation. I never discovered why the children were in such a state.

After a few days Linda began to shyly smile and slowly got a little better, due to the nourishment and attention she was getting. But Nonoy showed no signs of improvement. He died two days before Christmas, without once smiling. We buried him on Christmas Eve.

Linda was able to go home and on at least once occasion we took her on an outing. She was still very small for her age but always cheerful whenever we met her. However, the severe malnutrition had taken its toll and she died in September 1975 while I was at home in Ireland.


St Martin and the BeggarEl Greco, 1597-99

National Gallery of Art, Washington [Web Gallery of Art]

Today’s Gospel makes me both fearful and hopeful. 

Fearful, because Jesus speaks such harsh language: You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. This is not ‘the Church of nice’.

Hopeful, because Linda and Nonoy will be there at the Last Judgment to speak in my behalf.


St Martin de Porres OP [Wikipedia]

Monastery of Rosa of Santa Maria in Lima. This portrait was painted during his lifetime or very soon after his death, hence it is probably the most true to his appearance.

During November the Church honours three saints noted for their extraordinary love for the poor, St Martin de Porres (1579 – 1639) on the 3rd, St Martin of Tours (316 – 397) on the 11th and St Elizabeth of Hungary (1207 – 1231) on the 17th. These three gave of their very self. These exemplified in their lives what Jesus is teaching us in today’s gospel.

El Greco is one of many artists who have depicted the scene of St Martin of Tours, then a young soldier and preparing for baptism, giving half of his cloak in the depths of winter to a beggar clad only in rags. The following night, the story continues, Martin in his sleep saw Jesus Christ, surrounded by angels, and dressed in the half of the cloak he had given away. A voice bade him look at it well and say whether he knew it. He then heard Jesus say to the angels, ‘Martin, as yet only a catechumen, has covered me with his cloak.’ Sulpicius Severus, the saint’s friend and biographer, says that as a consequence of this vision Martin ‘flew to be baptized’.


Sándor Liezen-Mayer in his painting of St Elizabeth of Hungary above, shows her protecting a young mother and baby with her cloak. The saint herself was a young mother. She married at 14, bore three children and was widowed at 20. The painting reminds me of a beautiful Irish blessing, Faoi bhrat Mhuire thú/sibh (‘May thou/you be protected by the cloak of Mary’). The young saint, who was only 24 when she died, followed the example of St Francis, with the blessing of her husband, lived very simply and served the poor and the sick each day personally and ate with them at the same table.

St Martin de Porres, a shrine in Lima [Wikipedia]


St Martin de Porres, born outside of marriage and of mixed blood, learned some of the medical arts by working with a barber/surgeon in his young days. He devoted his life as a Dominican lay brother to caring for the sick, whether they were rich or poor. It was mostly the latter who came to him and whom he went looking for. Like St Francis he had a special closeness to animals and people brought these to him to be healed. He is often depicted carrying a broom, with a dog, a cat and a mouse at his feet eating from the same plate.

These three saints from different social backgrounds wrestled with situations we wrestle with today. They spent themselves in bringing about the Kingdom of God by serving the very poorest. St Martin of Tours, who like St Elizabeth was born in Hungary, asked himself as a soldier if it was proper to engage in battle, where he would kill others. Wikipedia tells usRegardless of whether or not he remained in the army, academic opinion holds that just before a battle with the Gauls at Borbetomagus (now Worms, Germany), Martin determined that his faith prohibited him from fighting, saying, ‘I am a soldier of Christ. I cannot fight.’ He was charged with cowardice and jailed, but in response to the charge, he volunteered to go unarmed to the front of the troops. His superiors planned to take him up on the offer, but before they could, the invaders sued for peace, the battle never occurred, and Martin was released from military service.

Conscientious objection doesn’t only concern those called to join an army. A Swedish midwife,  Ellinor Grimmark, was fired this year for refusing to do abortions. This is an area where, more and more, individuals will have to make choices that may involve losing their jobs, or even worse.

The world is still overwhelmed with the needs of those trapped in poverty, victims of wars, of natural calamities. Pope Francis has spoken of the Church as being ‘a field hospital’. He has asked priests and others to know ‘the smell of the sheep’. St Elizabeth of Hungary and St Martin de Porres immersed themselves in that every day, seeing in each one they served Jesus Christ himself. And those they took care of, whether they were aware of it or not, were being served by Jesus himself through those saints and through the many others down the centuries who have been doing the same.

I am certain that Linda and Nonoy will hear Jesus say to them, Come, you that are blessed by my Father . . . I hope and pray that they and others like them who have crossed my path down the years will put in a good word for me so that I will hear Jesus say the same to me.


St Martin de Porres

Music by Mary Lou Williams, lyrics by Fr Anthony Woods SJ

Performed by Mary Lou Williams and the Ray Charles Singers

I don’t think there are too many songs written in a jazz idiom in honor of saints. The above is one, from an album with the title Black Christ of the Andes. The notes that accompany the album tell how Mary Lou Williams asked her confessor, Fr Anthony Woods SJ, to write lyrics to the music she had composed. And we know from today’s gospel that because St Martin de Porres saw Jesus in the sick and poor individuals whom he served that we can see Jesus in him and refer to him as Black Christ of the Andes.

St Martin de Porres

Black Christ of the Andes

St Martin de Porres

His shepherd’s staff a dusty broom

St Martin de Porres

The poor man made a shrine of his tomb.


St Martin de Porres

He gentled creatures tame and wild

St Martin de Porres

He sheltered each unsheltered child


This man of love

Born of the flesh yet of God

This humble man

Healed the sick

Raised the dead


His hand is quick

To feed beggars

And sinners

The starving homeless

And the stray

Oh, Black Christ of the Andes

Come feed and cure us now we pray


Oh God help us

Spare Oh Lord

Spare thy people

Lest you be angered with me forever

Lest you be angered with me forever





Antiphona ad introitum   Entrance Antiphon Revelations 5:12; 1:6.


Dignus est Agnus, qui occisus est,

How worthy is the Lambe who was slain,

accipere virtutem et divinitatem

to receive power and devotion

et sapientiam et fortitudinem et honorem.

and wisdom and honour and strength.

Ipsi gloria et imperium in saecula saeculorum.

to him belong glory and power for ever and ever.

(Ps 72 [71]:1. Deus, iudicium tuum regi da: et iustitiam tuam filio regis.

Give the king your justice, O God,and your righteousness to a king’s son.


Dignus est Agnus, qui occisus est,

How worthy is the Lambe who was slain,

accipere virtutem et divinitatem

to receive power and devotion

et sapientiam et fortitudinem et honorem.

and wisdom and honour and strength.

Ipsi gloria et imperium in saecula saeculorum.

to him belong glory and power for ever and ever.