Author Archive: Cristina Montes

Cristina Montes, from the Philippines, is a lawyer, writer, amateur astronomer, a gardening enthusiast, a voracious reader, a karate brown belter, an avid traveler, and a lover of birds, fish, rabbits, and horses. She is a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan who reads the entire trilogy once a year. She is the eldest daughter in a large, happy Catholic family.

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The Witness of Our Lives

The Witness of Our Lives

[ 1 ] February 26, AD 2015 |

The image of the ISIS’ beheading of Egyptian Coptic Christians has provoked various reactions: sympathy, outrage, exhortations to prayer, demands for action, and symbolic displays of solidarity. I think the most important reaction it is self-examination. Pope Francis said of the slain Egyptian Coptic Christians that they were killed for being Christians, and that their […]

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Lessons on “With-ness” from Pope Francis

Lessons on “With-ness” from Pope Francis

[ 3 ] January 29, AD 2015 |

Among all the public appearances of Pope Francis during his visit to the Philippines, the most moving was the one in Tacloban, Leyte with the survivors of typhoon Yolanda on January 17, 2015. Another typhoon hit the place on the scheduled date of the Pope’s visit. The possibility of cancelling his flight to Tacloban from […]

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Reflections from the Crowds

Reflections from the Crowds

[ 2 ] January 16, AD 2015 |

I volunteered to be part of the “human barricade” in one of the scheduled events during the current papal visit to my country. Our job was to stand behind the row of policemen along the route the Pope would take to the Meeting with Families – partly to prevent the crowd from breaking into the […]

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Dealing with Anti-Catholicism

Dealing with Anti-Catholicism

[ 4 ] January 15, AD 2015 |

My country is now in a frenzied mood because of Pope’s arrival. Families, friends, and church groups are making plans to attend public gatherings. Eucharistic adorations and masses are being held for the Pope’s safety. Organizers are rushing last minute logistical preparations, and volunteers are busy with their tasks. Everyone wants to be involved in […]

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A Christian Outlook for the New Year

A Christian Outlook for the New Year

[ 1 ] January 1, AD 2015 |

In our family, we celebrate New Year’s Eve in a typical way – Midnight Mass, party at our the house of our paternal grandparents, fireworks, noisemaking, countdown at the stroke of 12, eating the traditional twelve grapes for every month of the year. Then, we interrupt the revelry to pray a Te Deum to thank […]

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An Open Letter to Priests

An Open Letter to Priests

[ 3 ] December 4, AD 2014 |

Dear Fathers, In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis wrote, “The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” When I read this, I thought of all of you priests who spend hours in the confessional, some even staying […]

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Misconceptions about Saints

Misconceptions about Saints

[ 5 ] November 6, AD 2014 |

Many people, including Catholics, have misconceptions about the saints. Consider the following incidents: A journalist interviews the producer of a musical play about the life of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, who, having been in trouble with the law, escaped his native Philippines to Japan where he is eventually martyred for his faith. The producer explains that […]

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Patron Comics

Patron Comics

[ 4 ] October 9, AD 2014 |

Much has been commented on the evangelizing power of painting, sculpture, music, literature, theater, and film. What about comics? Anthony James Perez from the Philippines believes comics can be a potent medium to transmit the word of God. Together with a team composed of Gilbert Monsanto (penciller), Raymond Ferrer (inker), Bryan Arfel Magnaye (colorist), Jayboy […]

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A God-Centered Romance

A God-Centered Romance

[ 5 ] September 11, AD 2014 |

“Choose someone God-fearing, and make God the center of your relationship.” When this advice was given in a talk for college students about dating and marriage, a girl in the audience asked, “If we’re going to be thinking of God all the time, how can our relationship be exciting?” The idea of a God-centered romance […]

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The Pope is Coming to My Country!

The Pope is Coming to My Country!

[ 5 ] August 13, AD 2014 |

By now, most Filipinos already know the good news that Pope Francis will visit the Philippines from January 11-15, 2015. Here are my thoughts about what this means. For My Fellow Filipinos I still remember the excitement of World Youth Day 1995 when Pope John Paul II visited the Philippines. It is, indeed, a rare […]

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Frustrations in the Apostolate

Frustrations in the Apostolate

[ 2 ] July 17, AD 2014 |

“If you want to serve the Church, be prepared to be disappointed” said one of the heads of a local apologetics organization for which I have been volunteering for the past few years. Indeed, those of us who have worked for one apostolate or another, such as in a parish or trans-parochial group or movement, […]

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Dealing with the Dark Side of History

Dealing with the Dark Side of History

[ 3 ] June 19, AD 2014 |

The Dark Ages, The Crusades, the Inquisition, Galileo, the mistrial of St. Joan of Arc, sales of indulgences during the Renaissance, Catholics massacring Protestants, the treatment of the natives in Spain’s former colonies, popes with pro-Nazi sympathies during World War II – many cite these and many more examples in an attempt to portray the […]

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St. John Paul II on Depression

St. John Paul II on Depression

[ 3 ] May 22, AD 2014 |

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Since this website features the Catholic perspective on young adult concerns, and since depression is a growing mental health concern among young adults, I decided to write about the address of Pope (now Saint) John Paul II to participants in the 18th International Congress promoted by the Pontifical Council […]

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Easter Triduum Family Traditions

Easter Triduum Family Traditions

[ 1 ] April 24, AD 2014 |

This year, the biggest feast of Christendom happened to fall on the date of our parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary. I find the coincidence fitting. The wedding of our parents forty years ago marked the beginning of the transmission of life and faith to us, their children. Among the happy family memories we recall together with […]

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Nothing Changes

Nothing Changes

[ 3 ] April 10, AD 2014 |

By now, those who have been monitoring the events in the Philippines know that the Supreme Court upheld as constitutional the Reproductive Health Law except for eight provisions. In a nutshell, this means that state-sponsored, state-subsidized contraception remains in place. However, the nullification of certain provisions of the law means, among other things, that private […]

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Dr. Quirino Sugon, Jr.: A Scientist and a Theist

Dr. Quirino Sugon, Jr.: A Scientist and a Theist

[ 1 ] March 27, AD 2014 |

Dr. Quirino Sugon, Jr. is a scientist; a physicist, to be exact. He derives equations using geometric algebra while teaching physics at the Ateneo de Manila University. He also heads the Upper Atmosphere Dynamics Program of the Manila Observatory, where he researches on space weather. “Space weather is the weather in outer space that the […]

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When Attending Mass is Tedious

When Attending Mass is Tedious

[ 9 ] February 27, AD 2014 |

Even the most devout Catholics have to drag themselves to mass on some days. What should we do when attending mass seems more like a chore than the spiritual delight it should be? The short answer: go anyway. The supernatural graces we receive from the mass have nothing to do with the euphoria (or lack […]

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Celebrating Christmas on the Streets

Celebrating Christmas on the Streets

[ 0 ] January 2, AD 2014 |

In the Philippines, while the well-to-do families feast on traditional ham, roasted suckling pig, steak, or turkey on Christmas Eve, many other people spend the night begging. Way back in 2009, my friend Carlos had spiritual direction sessions with a priest famed for his work with the poor.  Carlos documented his own major spiritual experiences […]

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Seeking the Truth Amidst Satirical Sites

Seeking the Truth Amidst Satirical Sites

[ 0 ] January 1, AD 2014 |

The article posted on the Diversity Chronicle blog stating that Pope Francis, during a supposed Third Vatican Council, condemned racism and declared all religions to be the same, is a satire. Those of us with a rudimentary knowledge of how the Catholic Church works know that the story is false. How do we counteract the […]

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Reflections on Generosity

Reflections on Generosity

[ 0 ] December 5, AD 2013 |

The past month has been, for me, a month of humbling lessons in generosity as millions worldwide answered calls to help my fellow-Filipinos who survived Typhoon Haiyan. I learned, for example, that one need not be rich or powerful in order to be generous. Stories abound of such examples as a pre-schooler who donated his […]

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“I’m Gonna Confess, Support Me”

“I’m Gonna Confess, Support Me”

[ 8 ] November 7, AD 2013 |

The title is a Facebook status that one of my friends once posted. When I saw it, I thought she was asking for prayers because she was about to receive the sacrament of confession. Only after several other friends posted the same status did I realize that some Facebook game, meme, or even virus is […]

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Issues With Pope Francis

Issues With Pope Francis

[ 9 ] October 4, AD 2013 |

By now, a lot has been written about the recent controversial interviews of Pope Francis – what the media think he said, what he actually said, what he should or should not have said. I have seen people suffer because of the confusion the interviews caused. These people are Catholics who, because of their knowledge […]

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Offering Them Alternatives

Offering Them Alternatives

[ 3 ] September 12, AD 2013 |

In this excellent blog entry about Muslim child brides and the lost innocence of children, blogger Quirino Sugon asks, “We may condemn the Muslim practice of child brides, but have we also looked at our own culture and try to see how far we have wrought emotional, moral, and spiritual harm to little children through […]

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Lorenzo

Lorenzo

[ 3 ] August 15, AD 2013 |

Lorenzo, a contemporary opera about the life of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, oozes with all the human drama that can be extracted from the life of the saint. Director Nonon Padilla dares potential viewers to come out of the theater with their eyes dry. The project was originally conceptualized as a movie which the actor Christopher […]

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Fashion Resources for Women Who Want to Dress Modestly

Fashion Resources for Women Who Want to Dress Modestly

[ 1 ] June 20, AD 2013 |

The best advertisement for modesty is the example of a woman who combines it with good taste. We women who are already convinced that we should dress up modestly sometimes wonder how we can look presentable, as our standards limit our clothing options in an environment where showing skin is considered “in”. Fortunately, with creativity […]

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The Religious Art of Daniel Mitsui

The Religious Art of Daniel Mitsui

[ 2 ] May 22, AD 2013 |

Intricate details and deep meaning characterize Daniel Mitsui’s religious art, which he renders by hand using ink on paper or vellum. Mitsui draws biblical subjects and saints according to the conventions of traditional iconography. More than being just representations of scenes and persons, Mitsui’s works are visual theological treatises. For example, his Pentecost shows not only tongues […]

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