December 10, 2022

For 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus stayed in the desert where He fasted and prayed to overcome the temptations of the devil.
It was an intimate encounter of Jesus with himself and with the Father. It provided Him strength and wisdom to embrace the will of God, to understand His suffering, and to defeat death.
Temptations and trials are parts of life. Jesus triumphed over these difficult moments of life because of His humility and faithfulness. His prayerful life made the biggest difference. Jesus went to the desert to pray. He called his apostles to the mountain to pray. He taught His apostles and the people to pray. Jesus has proven the importance of prayer, the direction of prayer, and the fruit of prayer.
The Lenten season is a time for us to examine our spiritual life.
The desert recollection must become our solemn time to participate with Jesus’ spiritual recollection.
The intimate communication of Jesus and the Father culminated in the resurrection.
Ash Wednesday started Lent, and Palm Sunday started Holy Week. The ashes used during Ash Wednesday were the palms used in the previous Palm Sunday. The palms are burned and blessed before Ash Wednesday.
Last April 11 (Holy Monday), priests and pastors of Mountain Province gathered to pray at All Saints Cathedral, Bontoc.
Prime Bishop Brent Alawas has encouraged the Leng-ag organization to meet and plan for the provincial ecumenical prayer for peace. Many participants from the laity and the church leaders had one common sentiment that sum up their joy having witnessed different churches unite for peace.
Victor Ananayo happily approached me and said, “Padi Marcs kag-awis nanenangnen tako idwani. Nalagsak tako amin. Malilikna chadlo nan kalalagya malilikna ay chechengen Apo Dios.”
The participants thanked everyone especially Bishop Alawas, and Revs. LucresiaTurtem and Lioba Achowan for the venue and snacks.
On April 12 (Holy Tuesday), the priests of Ifugao and Mountain Province celebrated the chrism where the clergy renewed their priestly vows and the chrism and oil for the sick were consecrated.
Bishop Valentin Dimoc exhorted the congregation, especially the priests, to ponder on humble service.
The clergy extended the chrism celebration with a meeting where the priests were given an update about the conflict between villagers of Dalican, Bontoc and Tetepan, Sagada; and Dalican and Pidlisan, Sagada. The bishop encouraged the priests to pray harder and to help the elders and barangay officials to meet for a dialogue.
Fr. Michael Tokoyen is extending his gratitude to all of you for the support, prayers, and gifts. He was able to complete 35 radiation process and he is back in Bontoc to serve during the Holy Week.
We continue to pray for the healing of Katleen Oya-oy, Karen Lumiwes, Karen Chinalpan, Rose Changlapen, Michael Luis, Mark Malidom, Shane Tactay, Bellia Badecao, Helen Castañeda, Dona Digna Rosario, and Caroline Castañeda.
Today, let me take this chance to thank all those who had been journeying with me in my mission in Sagada. I hope we will strengthen our working relationship for more creative and productive outputs.
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