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Posted by on Oct 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to our Trusted Authority, Jesse Manibusan!

Happy Birthday to our Trusted Authority, Jesse Manibusan!

Jesse Manibusan

Jesse Manibusan

Jesse Manibusan is a singer, songwriter, comedian, and guerilla evangelist who works primarily with youth and young adults, but is also loved by many of us “older” folks as well. We first met when my oldest son was 5 years old. (He’s 29 now – you can do the math!)

Jesse includes a wide variety of styles of music in his work, from the sweetly lyric poetry and tone of Have you seen my God? or Until I Return to the rapper style MC God and I’m Coming Home‘s cha-cha rhythm. I’ll never forget the day he sang for the first commencement ceremony of The National Hispanic University. He didn’t speak Spanish, but he had listened to tapes of traditional songs and played them for about 15 minutes before the ceremony started, to the delight of the assembled families and friends of the graduates. When he led us in The Star Spangled Banner to begin the ceremony, his voice filled the auditorium. He later took this great talent for music and language and wrote his Misa del Mundo, liturgical music with phrases and refrains from languages and cultures all over the world – uniting all into the one prayer we all share, our liturgy.

Early in his career, Jesse wrote a song that I’ve always thought was a good reminder of what’s important – God is Bigger. In these days leading up to the election in the US, when financial markets are on a roller coaster, jobs are in flux, the housing market continues to fall and everything is uncertain, it’s important that we remember that truly, God is Bigger than all that stuff. As Jesse says, “God is good … all the time and All the time … God is good.”

Jesse is probably best known for another of his early songs, Open My Eyes. The words of the song include, “Open my eyes, Lord, help me to see your face …. Open my ears, Lord, help me to hear your voice … Open my heart, Lord, help me to love like you…” A wonderful prayer for beginning each day.

Jesse has a website, Go there and check it out. His blog tells of his travels, adventures and reflections. His CDs and Videos are available for purchase, along with songbooks for those who’d like to have the music to play themselves. And you can find out where his next performance will be, so you can be there! You won’t regret it.

I’ll close with wishes for Jesse of a very Happy Birthday, many more years of joy with your wonderful family, and continued faithfulness to your calling which has enriched all of us and brought such delight to so many.

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Posted by on Aug 7, 2008

Happy Birthday to our Trusted Authority, Jesse Manibusan!

Share Your Discoveries – How to Use Theologika’s Watchlist Feature

NEWS FLASH! will begin offering workshops and classes in collaboration with our trustees and other theologians, philosophers and social scientists in early 2011. As part of this new development, the ways you will search for information and create tags will change.

Check out these two posts for details about the upcoming changes and how to save your own personal directory materials.

2011 Brings Classes and Big Improvements to

We’re Moving: Time to Pack Up Your Data

More information about the changes will be posted on our blog at as they develop .

If you yourself have a website yourself, please put our site,, into your links and recommendations.  We’ve even got a neat logo you can put with it if you’d like. You can copy it from the blog

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Posted by on Aug 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to our Trusted Authority, Jesse Manibusan!

The Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus – August 6

The Transfiguration of Jesus was reported in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, as well as in the second letter of Peter. Jesus and three disciples, Peter, James and John, went up a high mountain (traditionally identified as Mt. Tabor) and “He was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” Two men joined Jesus on the mountain top and spoke with Him there, Moses and Elijah – representing the Law and the Prophets. Peter, ever ready to act, offered to put up three tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. But just then a cloud overshadowed them all and a voice from the cloud proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” The disciples fell down and were terrified when they heard the voice, but Jesus touched them and told them not to be afraid. He also told them not to tell anyone else about what they had seen “until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Mt 17:1-9)

Following the Transfiguration, Jesus continued on his way to Jerusalem and his eventual death and resurrection. Only following the Resurrection did the experience on the mountain top make sense to Peter, James and John.

While most of us don’t have such dramatic “mountain top experiences,” in the course of our lives as believers we do have special times. It may be our Baptism or First Communion. It may be Confirmation. It may be an experience of healing through Reconciliation or Anointing of the Sick. It may be a homily that particularly spoke to a trouble or concern and gave the hope needed to continue moving forward in faith. Sometimes the mountain top comes during private personal prayer. Sometimes it comes during a group activity.

Mountain top experiences are to be treasured. They don’t happen often. And they are always followed by a return to the ordinary activities of life – activities that seem dull, boring, unimportant, even worthless, in comparison with where we have been and what we have experienced. Yet both are part of life and both move us forward on the path to our ultimate goal, union with the Lord.

When you’ve had a mountain top experience, be patient with yourself and with your family and friends who may or may not have shared it with you. It’s not easy to jump back into the hustle and bustle of daily life. Do what has to be done to keep soul and body together (i.e. prepare meals, get some rest, go to work, “chop wood, carry water”), but do these activities with an awareness that there’s a transcendent reality just beyond your ability to perceive it normally, that gives meaning to all of the day to day activities of life.

As time goes on, you’ll undoubtably have cause to remember the mountain top and draw on the strength and consolation you experienced there. Jesus went from the mountain top to the cross. His followers rarely have to crash quite so dramatically into disgrace and apparent failure as He did, but the hard times will come – no need to go looking for them. And when they come, try to remember the love you experienced on the mountain top. Our God loves you – just as you are – and will be with you in the hard times as well as the good times. Jesus went before us, and He stands with us. On the mountain top and in all the other times as well.

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Posted by on Aug 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to our Trusted Authority, Jesse Manibusan!

Saint of the Day – St. John Vianney: August 4

St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney (1786-1859) was the parish priest of the village of Ars and is known primarily by that title even in English, “The Cure d’Ars”. Canonized in 1925 St. John Vianney is the patron of parish priests. In many respects he is a thoroughly modern saint.

He was born into the midst of the French Revolution and into a devout rural family who worshiped in secret with outlaw priests who refused to become state functionaries. The upheaval of the revolution closed schools, hospitals, and other institutions. For the first time in human history, the state asserted itself without religion as it destroyed the old Catholic order – the Ancien Regime. The “Goddess of Reason” was enthroned in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Priests, nuns, and the Catholic nobility were killed, forced into hiding or exiled.

After the revolution subsided, Napoleon attempted to gain complete control of the Church in France and even took control of the Papal States, removing the Pope from Rome and bringing most of the Cardinals to Paris. In 1812 Napoleon’s fall began with the disastrous retreat from Russia in winter. The Industrial Revolution would follow, ending forever the cultural matrix of European Christianity.

St. John Vianney’s 73 years of life would span the trauma of the ending of the Divine Right of Kings to the rise of the rights of the common man. He would become emblematic of a Catholicism redefining itself, as it was torn from the 1,500 years of prerogatives and burdens of its affiliation with the state dating from the reign of the Emperor Constantine.

St. John Vianney began by re-asserting the centrality of God in his own life and supporting those in the parish who still practiced the faith. It is important to note that his vocation was in itself something of a miracle. Due to the upheaval of the times, he had no formal education until he was 20 and had great difficulty with Latin. To make matters worse, he got drafted by Napoleon and ended up as a deserter in hiding. An unlikely amnesty made it possible for him to return to his studies. If there hadn’t been such a severe shortage of priests, it is possible that he would never have been ordained.

His personal example of holiness in terms of his prayer and his charity to all made a deep impression. Sunday had become just another workday. Taverns were places of dissolution and much of the social order had broken down. “Dances” were part of a wild party scene involving promiscuity and adultery. Orphans and the disabled were exploited and left to fend for themselves. Over several decades, he led a movement to remedy these problems and to encourage religious devotion, while promoting service to others.

When the bishop attempted to assign St. John Vianney to other parishes, the community protested until the bishop relented. By our standards, his personal acts of penance and mortification, his meager diet, and short hours of sleep, appear to be excessive and even harsh. Reports that he was assaulted by the Devil at night strike us as bizarre, maybe even pathological. Yet they were witnessed by men in the parish who came when they heard the commotion.

Interestingly, he was not severe with his parishoners or penitents in the confessional. In fact, he was known for having won over a prominent woman who was a Jansenist and led her from a severe and demanding conception of God.

Not all of his fellow priests agreed with his approach or pastoral style. In fact, we might say that his special gifts in his historical circumstances may have created the ideal of the parish priest as a solitary super hero, like the desert fathers or the anchorites of the early Church. This calling is something one can respond to, but it cannot be fabricated and put on like a suit. Fr. John Cihak, in “St. John Vianney’s Pastoral Plan”, helps us understand how his example can guide parish priests today.

There is one major factor that is alluded to in the wonder of St. John Vianney’s life and ministry, but it is especially important for all of us who are parishioners today. God worked extensively in the life and ministry of St. John Vianney through his family, those who sheltered him as a deserter, and the people of Ars. Whether the pastor is single or married, the position is one of the most exposed and the most lonely. In denominations with a married clergy, and in the case of Eastern Rite Catholic priests and Latin Rite Catholic deacons, the spouses and children of clergy have a special opportunity and burden that only we can support by our prayers, understanding, and kindness toward them.

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