Two New SOLT Deacons Ordained in the Philippines

Diaconate Ordination Apr 2016

Two SOLT brothers were ordained deacons this Monday April 25, 2016 in the Philippines by Bishop Arturo Bastes of the Diocese of Sorsogon with the permission of Bishop Michael Mulvey of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, TX, USA.

IMG_0390Brother Tirso Villanueva and Brother Amigo Bringino had recently professed their perpetual promises at the 2016 SOLT Asia Assembly on April 8th of this month. That day marked the final step in their commitment to SOLT, and this day of diaconate ordination marks the beginning of their ordained ministry in the Church, a final step before priesthood.

Please join us in celebrating the brotherhood and ministry of these two young men who are committed to serving the Church through the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.

Brother Amigo

Br. Amigo with his parents before the ordination

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Br. Tirso with his mother before the ordination

SOLT Asia’s 2016 Assembly

The Asian region of SOLT gathered for its 2016 Assembly April 4-8 at the Formation Center Putiao in Sorsogon in the Philippines. The theme for the annual event was “SOLT Ecclesial Family: Witnessing God’s Mercy.”

Father Peter Marsalek, General Priest Servant, traveled for the occasion which included receiving the perpetual promises of two men who are going to be ordained for SOLT on April 25th.

Group DiscussionAlso in attendance were Sister Megan, General Sister Servant, and Father Dan Estes, General Servant of the Laity.

The week began with a Mass celebrated by Father Peter Marsalek, after which he gave his account of the last days and funeral of Father James Flanagan, the founder of SOLT who passed into eternal life last month.

Day two of the assembly began with Mass celebrated by Father Dan Estes, SOLT, and the homily was delivered by Father Ronald de Jesus. The afternoon talk, entitled “The Holy Trinity: Source of God’s Mercy,” was given by Msgr. Rodel Cajot, a diocesan priest and professor of the seminary. Evening sessions included vocations meetings.

 

IMG_9949Day three began with Mass celebrated by Fr. Ryan Bores with homily by Fr. Edgar Barias. Afternoon sessions included testimonies with the theme: “SOLT Ecclesial Family: Experiencing God’s Mercy.” Evening sessions for day three included reports from the missions.

Mass on day four was celebrated by Fr.  Dominic Sathit Sriwanchai and the homilist was Fr. Teodolfo Medina. The Most Reverend Jose Rojas presented the reflection after Mass, “SOLT Ecclesial Family: Mirroring God’s Mercy.” Workshops followed in the afternoon, and administrative reports by vocation were continued into the evening.

 

Finally, on day five of the assembly, a Mass at St. John Nepomucene Church in Bonga, Bacacay in Albay celebrated by the Most Reverend, IMG_9921Arturo M. Bastes, honored two SOLT brothers, Brother Amigo Bringino and Brother Tirso Villanueva, who made their perpetual professions.

Please remember these SOLT Brothers in your prayers. Their ordination to the priesthood is scheduled for April 25, 2016.

 

Father Flanagan’s Vigil and Funeral Mass

Homily and coffin

 

Our beloved founder, Father James Flanagan, passed into eternal life on March 24, 2016. Members from his spiritual family of SOLT and from his immediate family gathered to pray for his soul and to remember his life and teachings. The Vigil and Rosary was held at Our Lady of Belen in Belen, New Mexico on March 28, 2016 and the Funeral Mass was celebrated the next day on March 29, 2016 at St. Gertrude the Great in Mora, New Mexico.

Bishop Michael Mulvey of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas was the main celebrant at the Funeral Mass for Father Flanagan, and the homily was given by Father Peter Marsalek, General Priest Servant of SOLT. An audio recording of Father Marsalek’s homily is available below.

 

 

Text of Father Marsalek’s Homily for Father Flanagan’s Funeral Mass

 

Father Flanagan was buried at the SOLT Sisters’ convent in Mora, New Mexico. We wish to thank everyone for your kind words of comfort and support during this bittersweet time of missing the earthly presence of our founder while at the same time rejoicing in the hope and mercy of everlasting life.

 

Burial

 

 

SOLT Founder Father Flanagan Passes into Eternal Life at Age 91

FrFlan at Hoste

Father James H. Flanagan (Father Jim), Founder of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), passed into eternal life on Thursday, March 24, 2016 in Bosque, New Mexico. He was 91 years old. Father Flanagan was born on May 29, 1924 on the Feast of the Ascension at Forest Hills Hospital in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts. His parents were James Henry Flanagan and Rose Freeley Flanagan. Father was the oldest in the family of five, three brothers and one sister: Joseph, S.J., Kevin, Newman, and Rosemarie. Father Flanagan was preceded in passing by his brothers, Father Joseph and Kevin.

Father was baptized on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity in Sacred Heart Church in Roslindale, Massachusetts. He received his First Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation at the same church.

He completed elementary school at St. Frances Xavier School in the Sacred Heart Parish in Roslindale and graduated from Boston College High School. After a year of studies at Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, New Jersey, he entered Notre Dame University on a football scholarship. In 1943, he joined the Navy and served in World War II in the Pacific War Zone as a Navy Frog Man; after the war, he returned to Notre Dame and began taking classes in the law school in addition to his undergraduate courses.

Father was called by God to the priesthood after returning to Notre Dame for a year and entered Saint John Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston. On January 10, 1952, he was ordained a priest by Richard J. Cardinal Cushing (then Archbishop Cushing) at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross. His first assignment as a priest was Associate Pastor at St. Elizabeth Church in Milton, Massachusetts. A year and a half later he received his second assignment as Assistant Pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Lowell, Massachusetts.

On December 8, 1957 Father Flanagan was permitted to depart from the Archdiocese of Boston to prepare for the foundation of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico under the sponsorship of His Excellency Archbishop Edwin V. Byrne. He was assigned Associate Pastor serving at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Holman, New Mexico where Fr. John McHugh (later, the first SOLT priest) was pastor. While he was at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, Fr. Flanagan founded the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity on July 16, 1958, comprised of priests, consecrated sisters and brothers, and lay members. From its small beginning in Holman New Mexico, SOLT has grown to having missions and apostolates both in the United States and throughout the world. Currently, SOLT’s Generalate is located in the Diocese of Corpus Christi.

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Wake and Rosary: Our Lady of Belen in Belen, NM, 6-9 pm

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

-Viewing at 12 pm: St. Gertrude the Great in Mora, NM

-Rosary: 12:30 pm

-Funeral Mass: 1 pm

-Burial immediately following at the Sisters’ Convent in Holman, NM

-Reception following burial

In Remembrance of Father Francisco Guianan

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A beloved priest, Fr. Francisco Guianan, Jr., SOLT passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on Sunday, March 6, 2016 at the Parish Rectory of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. He was 59 years old and known for serving God’s people with humility, gentleness and a great love for Our Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Funeral Liturgy is on Friday, March 11, 2016 at Most Holy Trinity Parish (8620 N. 7th St., Phoenix, AZ 85020):
• 4:00pm – Viewing
• 5:30pm – Rosary
• 6:00pm – Funeral Mass

Fr. Francisco was born on September 10, 1956 on the Island of Rapu-Rapu in the Province of Albay, Bicol Region of the Philippines. His parents were Francisco Guianan Sr. and Potenciana Dy, who unfortunately died when Fr. Francisco was very young. Later he was adopted by Dr. Esteban Hidalgo and his wife Anita, who raised Fr. Francisco and Fr. Rex Hidalgo.

He is survived by his sibilings: Marly Guianan Ebrada, Santiago Dy Guianan, Blesilda Dy Guianan, and Medelyn Guianan Ecal.

He was a very loving, kind-hearted and generous uncle to:

His Nephews: Omar Guianan Ebrada, Antonio Guianan Ecal Jr., Glenn Guianan Ecal, Francisco Guianan III, Rex Giacomo Guianan, Rex James Guianan, and Steve Franco Guianan.

His Nieces: Medelyn Ecal Habana, Elma Marie Guianan Ebrada, Mary Grace Guianan Frary, Girly Guianan Piper, Maria Lisa Joy Guianan, Jonah Mae Guianan, and Karen Angela Guianan.

Fr. Francisco (fondly nicknamed “Fr. Keats”) graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education from the Ateneo de Naga University. After his graduation he taught at Carolina High School for three years before entering the seminary. He initially joined the religious life with the Blessed Sacrament Community but later entered the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).

As a SOLT seminarian he started his philosophical studies at Holy Rosary Seminary in Naga City and completed his theological studies at the Maryhill School of Theology in Quezon City, Metro Manila. He was ordained a transitional deacon on March 19, 1988 by Jaime Cardinal Sin. And He was ordained a priest for the Society of Our Lady on November 17, 1988 by Bishop Leoncio Lat at Holy Cross Parish in Amparo Village, Calookan City. He made his perpetual profession with SOLT on Jan. 25, 1995 in the presence of Fr. James Flanagan at Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica in Naga City.
He humbly served in the Philippines at the following missions:
• Assisting Deacon at Holy Cross Parish in Manila.
• Parochial Vicar at Parish of Kristong Hari.
• Parochial Vicar and formator of seminarians at Holy Cross Parish in Manila along with Fr. Tom Gier.
• Administrator of San Antonio Parish in Milaor, Camarines Sur.
• Pastor of Nuestra Sra. del Santissimo Rosario in a very remote village named Badian, Oas, Albay of the Diocese of Legazpi.
• Pastor of St. John Nepomucene Parish in Bonga, Bacacay, Albay.

Beginning in 2007, Fr. Francisco served in the American Region at the following missions:
• Pastor of Nuestra Señora del Carmen in the city of Rio Grande, Puerto Rico where he learned Spanish fluently.
• Pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Kansas City, MO.
• Associate Pastor of Divine Mercy Parish in Belize City and San Pedro Church on the Island of San Pedro in Belize.
• Most recently he served as Associate Pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish in Phoenix, Arizona.

Fr. Mark Wheelan: Missionary of Mercy

On February 10, 2016, Fr. Mark Wheelan, SOLT, was one of the priests selected and commissioned by Pope Francis to be a special “Missionary of Mercy.”  The following is an interview with Fr. Mark which explains the process and the significance of this important mission!

Vatican at nightWho are the Missionaries of Mercy?

In Misericordiae Vultus, a papal bull, Pope Francis explains that he intends to send out Missionaries of Mercy who will be, “a sign of the Church’s maternal solicitude for the people of God, enabling them to enter the profound richness of this mystery so fundamental to the faith. There will be priests to whom I will grant the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See, so that the breath of their mandate as confessors will be even clearer. They will be, above all, living signs of the father’s readiness to welcome those in search of his pardon.”

How did you become a Missionary of Mercy?

I was over in Hawaii giving a retreat, when a good friend of mine came and asked me if I was going to be a Missionary of Mercy Priest. I questioned her about it, and then commented to Our Lady, “If you would like me to do this, I will”. As my travels continued, I met others asking me also if I was going to be a Missionary of Mercy Priest. At that time, I was unaware of how Pope Francis was going to implement this undertaking. I then read an article asking for priests to apply to be a Missionary of Mercy for Pope Francis for the Year of Mercy. I filled out my application along with a letter from my Superiors and off it went.

I never thought I would ever be chosen. But we are constantly reminded in Sacred Scripture, ask, seek and you will find. After submitting the requirements I was asked, and then gave it to Our Lady.

What will be your role?

At our commissioning on February 10, 2016 we were instructed that our mandate is to preach mercy but most of all to hear confessions.

Pope Francis said he will be granting these Missionaries, “the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See.” Who does this affect?

  1. A person who throws away the consecrated species or takes or retains them for sacrilegious purpose (i.e. desecration of the Eucharist; Canon 1367 of the code of Canon Law, 1983).
  2. A priest who is in the act, on the occasion, or under the pretext of confession solicits a penitent to sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue (c. 1387).
  3. A confessor who violates the sacramental seal (c. 1388).
  4. A person who uses physical force against the Roman pontiff (c. 1370).

How are these things different than the sins people usually confess in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

These actions are in a profound way against justice in the church, calling for a different kind of accountability so that the offender may be reformed and the scandal caused be healed. Their very existence in law provides a warning, acting as a preventative measure. The particular acts listed above involves an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication which is a censure of medicinal penalty beckoning the person to correct the harmful behavior and through these means return to full and fruitful communion.

The Papal Bull says also that this authority will be conferred upon you by Pope Francis through the mandate. Does this mean you went to Rome?

IMG_20160209_172941Yes! Years ago I was blessed to go there to study at the Angelicum. What a very blessed time. And after all these years, I was invited back to meet Pope Francis which was awesome. On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 during the meeting, the Holy Father personally welcomed all of the Missionaries of Mercy and spoke about the sensitive nature of our service.

The next day, Ash Wednesday, we joined the Holy Father to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, and he conferred upon us the mandate. The relics of St. Padre Pio and St. Leopoldo Mandic, special patrons of confessors and of the confessional, were brought to Rome for this unique occasion.

Any final comments?

I wish to give thanks to Bishop Mulvey, Fr. Peter Marsalek, GPS, and Fr. Jerry Drolshagen, RPS, for time and thoughtful consideration. And special thanks to Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.

Please pray for me!

The commissioning included a walk through the Holy Doors. As I walked through the Holy Doors, I was praying for all the people I have encountered in my life. Gifts are given not for ourselves but for the building up of the Church. So as we processed through the Holy Doors, I offered it for our community, families and friends.

This service is being offered by our Holy Mother Church, for people everywhere and all walks of life for a deeper understanding of God’s Mercy. With the Missionary of Mercy Priests that Pope Francis has commissioned, our Church is in a unique and important way extending the arms of Mercy to all in a deeper way.

We must remember, the only sin that God will not forgive, is the one that’s not confessed!

We must show Mercy to others, as the Father shows Mercy to us!

Sister Maria Pia’s Preparation for Perpetual Vows

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This past December, Sister Maria Pia professed her perpetual vows. She reflected on her journey from her family growing up to her new family, SOLT.

My parents were married in 1979, and I was born in 1985 in Busdac a simple village coastal area in the Filipino Province of Albay. I was the fifth of their twelve children. Busdac is one of the villages on the beautiful Island of Cagraray where the first SOLT mission parish was established in the Philippines. The late Fr. Thomas Gier, SOLT, was the parish priest of this ‘Sacred Heart Mission Parish’. He baptized me on December 16, 1985, which was also the first day of our nine-day dawn Masses before Christmas.
My parents loved having a big family. When my father was asked by his friends, “How many children do you have,” my father would always joyfully answer, “Oh! Just one.,.one tribe of Israel.” His friends always laughed. Having joined the SOLT family I feel happy and very at home since I grew up in a big family.

IMAG0932Growing up, I was surrounded by religious people who were like extra family to me. Busdac is a little bit far away from Sacred Heart Mission Parish, but the distance was not a hindrance to me being raised as a good Catholic. Untiringly, my family and other Catholics taught me to grow more in the faith. I do not know when God first called me to be a religious sister or how my calling began. When I was in elementary school, I was so happy dressing up like a nun. My older sister told me that I looked like a nun, but I didn’t even know what a nun looked like! When I was in fourth grade, some of the priests and seminarians gave catechesis for the third grade students (first communicants) and they played the movie “The Life of St. Faustina.” I found myself watching it and telling myself that I would like to be a nun like St. Faustina.

After high school, that desire to be a nun had been forgotten as I was occupied with work and studies. However, SOLT sisters and priests visited our village for the summer apostolate. My desire to be a nun awakened again and I decided not to return to work because the calling to enter religious life was so intense. I did not know yet that my Godmother offered me to God during my baptism to become a religious sister. I am so thankful to her and I have no regrets.

For my whole life our parish in Cagraray has been under the care of SOLT priests, so I grew up experiencing this religious community of priests, sisters and laity. Their IMAG0973relationships with each other were what attracted me to enter the SOLT family.

As a recently perpetually professed sister, I am assigned to this Parish of the Sacred Heart Mission doing pastoral ministry. I enjoy being with different people, listening and learning from them and at the same time, sharing my faith with them. When I meet young people who are discerning religious life, I always say, go on with your desire and listen to that call. When you enter and journey through religious life, please don’t give up easily when hardships and trials come your way. Don’t turn your back on religious life, but rather go back to the time you started hearing the call of God.

SOLT Attends the Texas Rally for Life

TxRally4Life1As young people traveled from all over the United States, braving the blizzard of 2016 to stand up and let their voices be heard in Washington, D.C., Catholics from South Texas journeyed to Austin for the same reason, to lend their voices to the voiceless victims of abortion.

Members of the St. Anthony’s Pro-Life Group in Robstown and the St. John’s parish in Robstown attended along with other members from the Diocese of Corpus Christi, including Saint John Paul II High School and Bishop Garriga Middle Prep School. Sister Mary Elizabeth Albers and Sister Mary Mediatrix Patterson rode up with the JPII High School students.TxRally4Life3

“It was beautiful to see so many people from all over the state. People even traveled from Louisiana to join us in the rally. The experience was very positive and peaceful. People were singing and praising God for the gift of life,” Sister Mediatrix recalled.

The rally began with a mile walk through downtown Austin around the Texas Capital building. Bishop Daniel Garcia opened the presentation on the Capital steps with a prayer of benediction. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and speakers from the Texas Alliance for Life and the Texas House of Representatives followed, and the keynote address was given by abortion survivor Melissa Ohden.

TxRally4Life9“We are a movement that isn’t just pro-life or pro-child we are pro-women, we are also pro-love,” Melissa Ohdem said in her speech. It was a statement that encapsulated the spirit of the gathering that day.

 

SOLT Hosts CMSWR Regional Workshop

CMSWR regional workshop 2016

SOLT Sisters from around the country came to Our Lady of Corpus Christi to retreat in silence in the Christmas season. They were joined by religious sisters from the local area, as this occasion also provided an opportunity to participate in a regional workshop for the CMSWR (Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious), the association of religious with which our SOLT Sisters are affiliated.

Included among seventeen SOLT Sisters from Corpus Christi, Arizona, New Mexico, and Kansas City were sisters from the local communities of Pax Christi, Dominicans, and one of the Sisters of St. Ann. Father Dan Estes, SOLT, provided spiritual reflection as the Retreat Master.

Sister Mary Elizabeth Albers, SOLT, remarked that “even though it was a silent retreat, there is something very powerful about taking time with other sisters to be with our Lord. It reminds us that there’s a depth to communion that goes beyond words.”

Sister Megan Mary Thibodeau, General Sister Servant of SOLT, was just recently appointed to the board of CMSWR and extended the invitation to participate in this regional workshop through the collaboration of the council which holds fidelity to the Magisterium, Marian devotion, commitment to revitalization of religious life, and spirituality of communion in high esteem.

In partnership with CMSWR, SOLT was able to provide an opportunity for religious sisters to end the year in contemplation and begin a new year renewed in the Holy Spirit.

“It was fitting to end the year and enter a new one focusing on God. Taking that special time to retreat is something we’re called to do once a year as religious sisters and something that really everyone should do to recharge and refocus their relationship with Christ,” said Sister Mary Elizabeth.

Bell Blessed at Our Lady of Corpus Christi

bellBlessing

A much anticipated “bong” rang out from the bell tower at Our Lady of Corpus Christi Chapel during the dark evening hour of seven o’clock on Tuesday, December 14, 2015. Its blessing preceded the celebratory sound that signaled the completion of this world-class chapel of adoration that serves as the spiritual epicenter for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.

Father Peter Elizardo presided as Bishop Michael Mulvey’s official diocesan representative for the blessed event which included Exposition, Adoration, Recitation of the Holy Rosary, and Benediction. The event was open to the public, and members from the greater Corpus Christi Texas area attended along with members of SOLT.

Father James Kelleher, SOLT, provided historical commentary about the very beginning of the Shrine, its vision, and the donors who generously provided for all the building costs. The Blessing of the Bell signals the conclusion of the building project portion of the adoration chapel, which, in addition to being the spiritual home of SOLT, is open to all spiritual pilgrims throughout the world.

For more information about Our Lady of Corpus Christi Adoration Chapel, please visit ourladyofcc.org.