As a dad to a 7-month old healthy boy, I just can't help but feel the anguish of Cynch Nebrao, a friend of mine back in college. Please include baby Chino (suffering from severe mitral regurgitation with mild stenosis) in your prayers. If you are able to, please consider giving a donation as well through www.championsforchino.com -- thanks!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I didn't have a chance to update the blog these past few weeks due to a family emergency situation. These past weeks have been quite a trial for us. Our dad was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cirhosis in the liver a few weeks ago. Then just this week, the doctors also discovered a big mass of tumor near his lungs. It has begun spreading out, and the lung cancer is now considered to be on stage 3. Chemotherapy is definitely out of the question due to his cirhosis. While he was offered the option of radiation therapy, this would only be helpful as far as relieving some pain but it's not an over-all cure. Similar to the cirhosis diagnosis, the doctors think that he would only last up to six months. So it's really a matter of time before the cirhosis or the lung cancer gets him first.
Inspite of this bad news, please permit me to share a couple of good news. First, the doctors think that with therapy for a few days our dad can gain some strength to enable him to fly back to the Philippines where he wants to spend his remaining days. He was discharged yesterday and moved to a skilled nursing facility. If all goes well, and if the airline gives their approval, my mom and I will accompany him to the Philippines (though I'll only stay for a week
to make sure he gets settled in before I return to the US).
The more important good news is that, after years of praying for his conversion to the Catholic faith, (he was raised up as a Protestant ) he finally did it last August 19! A day before my patron saint's feastday (St. Bernard of Clairvaux). I was told that my dad almost converted to Catholicism before he married my mom, but the priest told him that it wasn't necessary. I must mention that aside from the rosary, one particular devotion which I completed last year was St. Bridget's 15 Prayers (This can be found on old prayerbooks, though the promises attached to this devotion might be in question, the prayers themselves are good meditative ones) which I often prayed in preparation before each daily mass. I've read anecdotal stories about the power of this devotion, so it seemed to be instrumental also for my dad's conversion.
As my dad's health began to fail, I felt the urgency for him to receive the Sacraments before it was too late. I knew that it was probably better for him to receive them now while still fully conscious and lucid. This time, he offered no resistance when we invited him to consider becoming a Catholic. We are grateful for Canon Jean Marie Moreau (Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest) for his time in hearing my dad's first confession and giving him a conditional baptism. Afterwards, he was confirmed and received Holy Communion for the first time as well! An added bonus was the Investiture of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The sacraments and scapular investiture were all done in the traditional latin rite (Extraordinary Form).
Please keep my dad (Wilfredo Balza Sr). and our family in your prayers and masses. Once again, we are thankful and appreciative for all the support given to us at this difficult time.
Canon Moreau preparing for the Rite of Baptism
Assisting Canon Moreau with the Baptism Rite
Dad's First Holy Communion
Investiture of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel's Brown Scapular
The Balza Family with Canon Moreau (seemed my dad looked a bit younger after the sacraments were given to him!)
Monday, August 16, 2010
Finally got to figure out how to post on this blog via phone! As a test on how it looks like, I'll send this photo of this book from Bp. Athanasius Schneider that arrived today.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
After the 12:30PM High Mass last Sunday, Canon Moreau invited the faithful to venerate a relic of St. Jean Marie Vianney.
Canon Moreau's Sermon
Monday, August 9, 2010
A few weeks ago, a new book on Exorcism arrived, and I got a chance to skim the first few chapters. The Exorcism and the Church Militant was very well organized and Fr. Thomas Euteneuer really laid out very nicely the topics in a Question & Answer format. He even had Fr. John Corapi write a foreword for the book! An interesting section on the appendix titled "The New Rite of Exorcism: A Potent Weapon is Weakened" caught my eye. Here Father compares the 1614 exorcism ritual, "De exorcizandis obsessis a dae monio" ("On Exorcising Those Obsessed by a Demon") and the watered-down 1999 revision titled "De exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam" ("On Exorcisms and Other Supplications"). Hmmm. The story sounded familiar. Anyway, compared with the other books on exorcism, I find that this is the the easiest to read.
I first encountered the name of Fr. Euteneuer in the pro-life movement, since he's the President of Human Life International. To my surprise, I found out later that he's also an exorcist! When I read an email from the Divine Mercy mailing list that Fr. Euteneuer would be visiting the Bay Area again (I missed the opportunity to see him give a talk at the East Bay Men's Conference at the Oakland Cathedral last May), I made a point to go the Divine Mercy Pro-Life Conference at Holy Spirit Parish (Fremont, CA) last Saturday, August 7. He was joined by Dr. John Bruchalski, a former abortion doctor who has since then converted to the Catholic faith and runs the Tepeyac Family Center based in Fairfax, VA.
Me and Dr. John Bruchalski. His conversion story was very moving. Also learned from him the need to pray for the doctors in the abortion industry which can really work wonders (him being an example!).
Me and Fr. Thomas Euteneuer. I mentioned to him a priest friend in the Philippines (who also is an exorcist). He said "Oh yes, the Philippines needs more exorcists!". Out of curiosity, I asked Fr. Euteneuer if he ever had a chance to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass (better known as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite). He said, "No, but I'll need to learn that" (or something to that effect). At least he has shown interest and he knows he has to get himself trained somehow. When I mentioned to him that I go to St. Margaret Mary's where the Traditional Mass is being offered on a daily basis, he was impressed.
A nice autograph from Fr. Euteneuer.
The seats were full to capacity (though this photo was taken during the lunch break). There were lots of Filipinos! (I'd say definitely more than half of the conference goers!)
I visited the Perpetual Adoration Chapel afterwards. I learned from the conference that the Holy Spirit Parish is the 2nd in the Diocese of Oakland to have a 24-hour Adoration chapel (the first is the Divine Mercy Chapel at El Cerrito, CA).
Here's Fr. Euteneuer on EWTN's World Over Live discussing "Exorcism and the Church Militant".
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
The Seminary Society (Oakland Apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest) had it's annual picnic at Croll's Garden Picnic Site, Crown Beach, Alameda, CA last July 31, 2010. Lots of food, drinks, games including a Soccer Match. The winning team won the very 1st Msgr. Wach Championship Cup Trophy!
More people showed up this year.
The cool trophy.
Soccer match team line-up.
Canon Jean Marie Moreau
Lots of food!
Burgers and hotdogs
Institute banner (a good way to see which group of people are occupying the picnic grounds; there were other groups from different picnic sites).
More photos here.