Tuesday, February 19, 2013


For quite a number of devout Catholics, the word "paschal" is still a mystery to them.

The short answer is that "paschal" refers to Easter.  Whenever you see "paschal," think of Easter.


The origin of the word "paschal" is found in the Jewish Passover.  If you remember the story from the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament, God wanted to free the Hebrews from slavery under the Egyptians.  After trying all sorts of ways to convince Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go, God resorted to the ultimate plague or punishment - the death of the first born male in each family in Egypt.

In order to save the Hebrew males, God instructed them through Moses to sacrifice a lamb, brush its blood on the door posts of each Hebrew home, and the Angel of Death would, on seeing the blood, pass over that house, sparing that family from the death of the first born son.

In Hebrew, this event was called pesach.  In Greek and Latin, pesach became pascha.

The Jewish Passover, of course, for us Christians, was an early glimpse into the real salvation coming later in the future, when the blood of the Lord Jesus would save all repentant sinners.


The Easter - or Paschal - Fire lit just before the Easter Vigil

The Easter - or Paschal - Candle, symbolizing Christ our Light, risen from the darkness of death

We can also speak of the Paschal Mystery (the mystery of Christ's rising from the dead); the Paschal Lamb (Jesus was the true Lamb of God, sacrificed, but risen from the dead); the Paschal Triduum (three days, including Holy Thursday and Good Friday, but aimed at the final chapter - Easter!); the Paschal Feast (Easter); Paschal Tide (the time after Easter ending the day before Trinity Sunday) and so on.

We can even speak of Christ as our pascha, as we do in this verse.  It means that Christ is our Passover victim.


Saint Paschal Baylon was a Franciscan, very devoted to the Blessed Sacrament.

Two popes were named Paschal, the first being declared a saint.

In Spanish, the name Paschal is Pascual.


In some countries, like Spain, pascha (in Spanish pascua) was applied to four great events in the Christian faith : the birth of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, the Epiphany and the sending of the Holy Ghost.

The birth of Christ was called pascua de navidad (the pasch of the birth), or pascua navideña.

The resurrection : pascua florida (the flowery pasch) or pascua de resurección (pasch of resurrection).

Epiphany : pascua de Epifanía.

Pentecost : pascua de Pentecostés.


Chamorros borrowed the Spanish word pascua but pronounce it påsgua.

Old-time Chamorros would say "påsguan nochebuena" for Christmas; "påsguan resureksion" for Easter, and "påsguan pentekostes" for Pentecost.  I never heard an elderly Chamorro talk about "påsguan epifania" but for all I know they did in the old days.

Friday, February 8, 2013


On most Sundays and many feasts, the Gloria comes next.  The word means "glory" and in it we give glory and praise to God, the same way that the angels did when Jesus was born on Christmas.

In Holy Mass, Christ our God comes to us in a special way.  Just as at Christmas, He will be "born" on our altars when the bread is changed into His Body, and the wine into His Blood.  They will become the SAME Body and Blood that was born on Christmas Day over 2,000 years ago.

But Our Lord is never alone.  He is always praised and glorified with the Father who sent Him to us, and with the Holy Ghost whom both the Father and the Son send to us to be our strength and inspiration.  So the Gloria mentions all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

Because the Gloria is a song of joy, we do not say or sing it during times when we should think of the sadness of our sins, such as during Septuagesima and Lent; or the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory, as at a Requiem Mass; or when we are preparing for Christmas during Advent.  The Gloria is also not said at Masses during weekdays of lower rank.  In this last example, it is the day that is of lower rank, not the Mass.  In ALL Masses, the awesome Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, with all Its graces and blessings, is made present again for us!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Frs Andre and Eric have, with delegation from His Excellency, Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, OFM Cap, DD, Archbishop of Agana, confirmed in the traditional Rite before, but today was the first time since the liturgical reform of the late 1960s that the local ordinary, or a prelate, has conferred the Sacrament on Guam in the traditional Rite.

The Confirmation was celebrated at the St Therese Chapel at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Agana.

Benediction followed the Rite of Confirmation.



Saturday, February 2, 2013


Next in Mass comes the Introit.  It means "entrance."

In the old days, this was the psalm sung when the bishop or priest entered the sanctuary, the holy place where Mass is celebrated at the altar.

We can also think of it as the time Christ enters among us gathered at Mass.

The Introit is the real beginning of Mass, since, at times, the prayers that come before this can be skipped on certain occasions.  The Introit is never skipped.  A different Introit is used for different Masses.  It is never the same Introit used day after day.

After the Introit is the Kyrie.

This word, and what follows, are in Greek, not Latin.  In olden times, the Church in Rome prayed in Greek, which was the language most known all over the Roman Empire.

Before, petitions were made to God, with the response being "Lord, have mercy," in Greek.  In time, only the responses "Lord, have mercy" and "Christ, have mercy" were kept in the Mass.

We ask God's mercy three times speaking to God the Father (Kyrie), three times to God the Son (Christe) and three times to God the Holy Ghost (Kyrie).

We must begin Mass knowing that we are sinners and ask God for His mercy, knowing that He loves us when we humble ourselves and ask for mercy.


What is a candle without a flame?

But how can the flame burn without the candle?

Mary is the candle.  She supplies the human nature.  She holds the flame.  In her womb, she bore God made flesh.  In her soul untouched by sin, He was there before, during and after she bore Him.  Because of her, the divine fire can burn in a visible, human way in the incarnation of Jesus. 

As mother, we can hold her without fear of injury.  She is as harmless as the candle's cool wax.

Christ is the fire.  He is God.  He brings light and warmth to our dark and cold world.  But we must keep at a respectful distance, as we do with any fire.  Though close to us in His human nature, He is also God, whom we cannot approach except with deep humility and reverence, for God resists the proud but lifts up the lowly.


Candles waiting to be blessed, at the feet of Our Lady's image - she who brought the Light into the world.

Incensing the candles which have been blessed.

The procession begins.

Back to the chapel.

The faithful held their lit candles for the Gospel and from the Sanctus till the end of communion.