If You Know a Filipino . . .

by Steve Ray on January 23, 2011

. . . please send them a copy of my Open Letter to Filipinos. You can send them the text or simply the link.

I wrote this letter while in Manila for a local parish bulletin but it has circled the globe many times and has appeared repeatedly in all the Philippine newspapers.

It was one of those blessed moments. If you are Filipino or know a Filipino, please make sure they read this letter.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Louie O. Verona April 24, 2007 at 9:56 PM

God bless you always, Steve Ray!

Lyn F. December 14, 2007 at 8:38 AM

Very beautifully written, Mr. Ray! Thanks so much!

phil August 20, 2008 at 2:25 PM

i thank God every time i think of you. thank you, mr. ray. sometimes, it takes a foreigner but thankfully a brother in Christ to open our eyes for the lavish gift of faith God has given the filipino people, and the rest of His children in the world. God bless and keep you.

Ray May 17, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Steve and Janet, God Bless you and thank you for the letter and for the great work you do for Mother Church!

Noah May 18, 2009 at 5:08 AM

“As many other religions and sects try to persuade them to leave the Church”

I cried in that part as I have experienced being away in a Baptist Church…

God bless you, mr. ray! I am a Catholic Filipino and to tell you the truth I never really looked at us that way. i thank God for leading me in your site to have my eyes opened to the realities of his gift to the Filipino people and to the Church.

thank you so much!

pepot September 18, 2009 at 7:49 PM

can i have a copy of the letter, i can not seem to open it from here.

Steve Ray’s Open Letter to the Filipino People

[This letter was published in all the major newspapers in the Philippines
during one of our visits in 2001]

*******************************************************

We stepped into the church and it was old and a bit dark. Mass had just begun and we sat toward the front. We didn t know what to expect here in Istanbul Turkey. I guess we expected it to be a somber Mass but quiet and somber it was not. I thought I heard angels joyously singing behind me. The voices were rich, melodic and beautiful. What I discovered as I spun around to look did not surprise me because I had seen and heard the same thing in other churches around the world.

It was not a choir of angels with feathered wings and halos but a group of delightful Filipino Catholics with smiles of delight and joy on their faces as they worshiped God and sang his praises.

I had seen this many times before in Rome, in Israel, in the United States and other countries. Filipinos have special traits and they are beautifully expressed as I gazed at the happy throng giving thanks to God. What are the special traits which characterize these happy people? I will share a few that I have noticed personal observations as I have traveled around the world, including visits to the Philippines.

First, there is a sense of community, of family. These Filipino Christians did not sit apart from each other in different isles. They sat together, closely. They didn t just sing quietly, mumbling, or simply mouthing the words. No, they raised their voices in harmony together as though they enjoyed the sense of unity and communion among them. They are family even if they are not related.

Second, they have an inner peace and joy which is rare in the world today. When most of the world s citizens are worried and fretful, I have found Filipinos to have joy and peace a deep sense of God’s love that overshadows them. They have problems too, and many in the Philippines have less material goods than others in the world, yet there is still a sense of happy trust in God and love of neighbor.

Third, there is a love for God and for his Son Jesus that is almost synonymous with the word Filipino. There is also something that Filipinos are famous for around the world their love for the Blessed Mother. Among the many Filipinos I have met the affectionate title for Mary I always hear from their lips is “Mama Mary”. For these gentle folks Mary is not just a theological idea, a historical person, or a statue in a church—Mary is the Mother of their Lord and their mother as well, their “mama”.

The Philippines is a Catholic nation—the only such nation in Asia—and this wonderful country exports missionaries around the world. They are not hired to be missionaries, not official workers of the church. No, they are workers and educators, doctors, nurses and housekeepers that go to other lands and travel to the far reaches of the earth and everywhere they go they take the joyous gospel of Jesus with them. They make a somber Mass joyful when they burst into song. They convict the pagan of sin as they always keep the love of Jesus and the Eucharist central in their lives.

My hope and prayer, while I am here in the Philippines sharing my conversion story from Baptist Protestant to Roman Catholic, is that the Filipino people will continue to keep these precious qualities. I pray that they will continue loving their families, loving the Catholic Church, reading the Bible, loving Jesus, his Mother and the Eucharist. As many other religions and sects try to persuade them to leave the Church, may God give the wisdom to defend the Catholic faith. As the world tempts them to sin and seek only money and fame and power, may God grant them the serenity to always remember that obedience to Christ and love for God is far more important than all the riches the world can offer. May the wonderful Filipino people continue to be a light of the Gospel to the whole world!

******************************************************

Another man’s touching perspective on the cultural life of the Philippines. To read The Hidden Face of the Philippines, click here or http://www.catholicconvert.com/Portals/0/PhilippinesFaceOf.pdf

Visit Steve Ray’s website at http://www.CatholicConvert.com

roly eclevia January 23, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Ray, I was profoundly touched by your piece. Yes, most Filipinos are Catholic. Unfortunately, nowhere else has the Catholic Church been subjected to so much abuse than in the Philippines. The culprits are the sects that see the Church, with its large membership, as a rich hunting ground for converts to fill their coffers.. Among such converts are my son’s in-laws, who naturally pass on their mistaken belief to their children. I am sending your observation to my son, who is himself a devout Catholic, for him to share with his wife. I hope it will help her see what she’s been missing: the happiness and the grace that come with being a Catholic.

Raoul Reyes June 1, 2011 at 2:02 AM

Hi Mr. Ray,

May you issue an authorization to reprint the Open Letter to Filipinos? The Filipino Post is published in Taipei for its Filipino migrant worker community. Reprinting the Open Letter will afford much of the 30, 000 in Taipei who do not have Internet access, to have their hearts warmed by it. Many thanks in advance for my publisher friend, Mr. Raul Manila

STEVE RAY HERE: YOU CAN FREELY USES AND REPRINT MY LETTER AS LONG AS YOU PROVIDE MY NAME AND WEBSITE WITH THE ARTICLE. GOD BLESS YOU AND ALL FILIPINOS.

floro salvador August 18, 2012 at 5:18 AM

Hi Steve, I posted this letter in my FB Group ‘The Filipino Catholic’. Every time i read it, it has the same tremendous effects on me. God bless you and Janet in your ministry. God bless your family all the time!

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