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The Asian Report Part IV - Philippines
"An Explosion of Divine Graces!"
November 22-24, 2005
The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,100 islands off the southeast coast of Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and has a population of 90 million, mainly Roman Catholics. This was Vassula's 7th journey here and was full of events: There was a series of 4 major Meetings in the northern, central and southern Philippines, with crowds ranging from 3,000 to 400,000; there were 2 intimate gatherings with clergy and laypeople; The 3 Beth Myriam Project activities were documented; Vassula participated in Radio, TV and newspaper interviews; and a visit to His Excellency, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, her steadfast and loyal supporter. Vassula's week-long stay in the Philippines was once again unforgettable!
Fr. Richie Santos writes: "Arriving in Manila in the late afternoon of November 22nd from Bangkok, Vassula Ryden's first act was Holy Mass, concelebrated by myself, Fr. Jesus Richie Santos, SDB, and Fr. Julio Gaddi, a parish priest in the south of the Philippines. What a beautiful way to inaugurate her 7th visit to the Philippines!"
Tuguegarao, Cagayan Valley in northern Philippines
We traveled by plane the next morning to the northern province of Cagayan Valley, a land of majestic caves, glorious mountains and underground waterfalls. Vassula's much-awaited 2nd visit commenced with a royal and enthusiastic welcome at the airport by the TLIG organizers, His Excellency, Archbishop Diosdado A. Talamayan of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, and the Governor, Hon. Edgar Ramones Lara.
Tuguegarao Archbishop's Residence Meetings:
The Archbishop's Palace downtown was in a festive mood with dinner prepared for the clergy and laity, composed of members of the Parish Pastoral Council invited by Archbishop Talamayan.
Tuao: Beth Myriam Visit and Meeting
A two-hour drive east of Tuguegarao on November 24 brought Vassula to Tuao, which is a town 30 minutes away from the miraculous Shrine of our Lady of Piat who has been the symbol of the staunch Catholic faith of the people of Cagayan.
Welcomed in the church by Msgr. Gerry Perez, the parish priest of the Parish of the Holy Angels in the small town of Tuao, Vassula was awe-struck by a wooden carving of Our Mother of Perpetual Help enshrined near the sanctuary of the well-kept church. Of the four TLIG messages mentioning this Marian title, this one can affect the reader to a greater faith in Mary; the Message contains a promise of God the Father:
"Satan's hour is here; he swore from the day I raised you, daughter, to silence you; he puts all his fury against you, but I tell you, if you remain modest and without ambitions and if you maintain your vow of faithfulness to Me, to My Son, to My Holy Spirit and to your Mother of Perpetual Help, he will shrivel away from you..." April 15, 1996
It is interesting to know Our Mother of Perpetual Help is very much revered all over the country; a weekly Wednesday Novena is prayed to Her in almost all churches in the Philippines. Her image, as portrayed in Orthodoxy, is found enshrined in many churches, as it is here in the Parish of the Holy Angels.
Beth Myriam, Tuao
The long-awaited visit to the Beth Myriam started as Vassula filmed the enthusiastic singing of indigent children. It seemed at that moment one could hear Jesus' words: "...all Wisdom is given to mere children, My Father delights in children..." February 10, 1987
TLIG is very much alive in the enthusiasm and hard work of Dr. German de Laza and his wife. After the TLIG Holy Land pilgrimage in 2000 they said "Yes" to Jesus and opened a Beth Myriam blessed and inaugurated solemnly by His Excellency Archbishop Diosdado A. Talamayan, DD in September 2000. His free medical services for the unfortunate and TLIG evangelization have reached the mountains of the next province, Kalinga Apayao.
Through them, the Lord has established TLIG vineyards (Prayer Groups) in the Municipal Jail and in 8 far-flung villages where the poorest of the poor really dwell. Because they have been roaming daily, feeding these villages with both food for the stomach and food for the soul on a weekly basis, they call their work "Beth Myriam-on-Wheels." A delighted Vassula encouraged them to continue following the call of God to read, meditate and live the Messages so that Beth Myriam becomes the fruit of what they learned from the TLIG Messages.
Beth Myriam "On-Wheels" Municipal Prison Visit
This village is one of the 8 feeding areas with TLIG Prayer Groups formed by Dr. de Laza and the Beth Myriam-On-Wheels.
Here in these villages, the children hungry for education and God's Word are so many that one recalls Jesus' command in Matthew 9:37-38: "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." Vassula also paused once in a while, to personally talk with simplicity to individuals, especially among the poorest.
After the visits to the Prison and the villages, the afternoon saw Vassula welcomed by the Town Mayor, Mr. William Mamba who joined Vassula on the podium in the Tuao Gym where she spoke to 5,000 seated in the gym and an additional 2,000 listening through loudspeakers outside. The Mayor had declared it an official holiday in Tuao for schools and government offices, and the whole town came to see and listen to Vassula. She spoke of the beginning of her mission and God's Mercy and His Desire to share His Love and Peace with the whole of mankind. Her powerful talk touched the hearts of the listeners. Parish priests who missed her conference the day before, listened and joined in the concelebrated Holy Mass that followed the talk. The parish priest of Tuao, Msgr. Gerry Perez, gave some spirited concluding remarks proclaiming from his heart that the TLIG messages can aid one in understanding Scriptures better.
Vassula was emphatic as she challenged contemplative readers present to make a commitment to form TLIG Prayer Groups. She stressed to each one the task of reading the Messages meditatively and of striving to live them. Her words came from Jesus who said: "...beloved children, it is I your Jesus who was giving you so many Messages to remind you of My Law, to remind you who I Am; if you make My Word your home your soul shall be lifted to Me and you will reach Me; come to Me before your spirit fails you, come and reflect on all that I have been giving you, come and ponder on My Desires, seek Me, be thirsty for Me, come and meditate on all that I have given you and take My Words at heart, I desire that you actively put everything I have given you into practice and treasure Them " February 9, 1990
Aurora Lim, a TLIG newcomer who volunteered to help the organizers, gave this positive comment: "I was struck by Vassula's being transformed and formed by the Messages. I hope I can emulate her dedication to her mission and her compassion for the poor. I noticed how her facial features become younger every time she speaks about God's Messages."
Our short stay in the north abounded in graces, Vassula was grateful for the good work our TLIG people are doing for the poor. It was a great blessing to meet His Excellency, Archbishop Talamayan of Tuguegarao once again, TLIG priest Fr. Frank Taeza, the fervent TLIG organizers and Prayer Groups, and the Beth Myriam volunteers. Through their cooperation with the Holy Spirit's Grace, True Life in God has a solid foundation and is spreading like a tide in the north of the Philippines.
Praise the Lord!
By: Fr. Richie Santos, Cecilia Lutz, and True Life in God Philippines Association
END OF PART 1