I WAS born a Catholic because my mom was one. She was born of parents who were migrants from China, and were not Catholics. I never got to ask my mom how she became one. I can only be grateful to whoever introduced her to Christ.
Early on, the Chinese community in Baguio was shepherded by Sister Gustave, a Belgian CICM nun assigned at St. Louis Center and at the St. Louis Silversmith shop located along Assumption Road. She was also my religion teacher at Sunday school at the Bishop’s House. When the late Fr. Jean Marie Tchang came to the Philippines, and to Baguio in particular, in the late 50’s, I joined the CCY, Chinese Catholic Youth, which he formed for the local Chinese youth community. My older siblings and I were thus blessed to have catechism classes and be part of a church group at an early age. That, plus religion classes, gave me my foundation in the teachings of the Church.
We used to hold our meetings and classes at the current Sangkabalayan Hall of the Baguio Cathedral, and at the Bishop’s House. Playing basketball at the Bishop’s House was something we looked forward to after catechism classes.
The 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s saw an “explosion” of “Born Again” Christians, with new churches and groups sprouting out. A lot of people got to know Jesus more and have a deeper relationship with Him. Since then, there has been a great awakening in our land.
Why did I remain a Catholic?
1.Jesus said to Peter, “ Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it”. Thus Jesus left us with His Church, made up of a Pope, bishops and councils, all of whom are needed to administer and interpret scripture.
2.Scripture teaches about the Word of God, and nowhere does it reduce God’s word to Scripture alone (sola scriptura) Actually, the Bible tells us in many places that God’s authoritative Word is to be found in the Church (sola verbum Dei – the Word of God alone):
a. Tradition (2 Thes. 2: 15) “ So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by WORD OF MOUTH or by letter.”
(2 Thes. 3:6) “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you have RECEIVED FROM US.”
b.Preaching and Teaching – by the Church Magisterium (1 Peter 1:25) “But the word of the Lord stands forever” And this was the word that was PREACHED TO YOU.”
c.Bible – THE WORD OF GOD written by man, inspired by the Holy Spirit
My Dearest Children,
Your mom and I continue to pray that you and your children, and children’s children, will stay the course, and remain, live and practice the teachings of the Catholic Church.
We are blessed to have the 7 Sacraments in the Church.
At the Last Supper, He took bread, blessed and broke it, and giving it to His apostles, said, “Take and eat; this is MY BODY, then he took a cup of wine, blessed it, and giving it to them, said, “All of you drink of this, for this is My blood of the new covenant which is being shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins: Finally, He gave His apostles the commission: Do this in remembrance of Me”.
The institution of the Holy Eucharist and availability for all of us who are properly disposed to receive the Lord Jesus Himself during Holy Mass is truly a special blessing and grace for all of us.
May I remain faithful to Christ and the Catholic Church till my last breathe.