My Open Letter to the Filipino People

by Steve Ray on July 9, 2010

This has gone around the world many times but for those who’ve not read it, here it is for your edification.

If you are unable to open the file I posted the whole letter below in the comments.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Thelma M. Laguilles July 11, 2010 at 10:52 AM

I heard you speak at the program of Fr. Bel San Luis. Unfortunately I turned in too late. However, I was able to catch you mention this website. I tried to access My Open Letter to the Filipino People. but have not succeeded
I’m very interested to read it. May I request that this letter be forwarded to my email address? My students, seminarians, may be interested too.

Thank you for your thoughts. I will follow you next Sunday at Fr. Bell’s program.

Steve Ray July 11, 2010 at 9:27 PM

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!

Thelma M. Laguilles July 12, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Thanks Steve!
I’m going to share your letter with my students. I will be listening again to you at Fr. Bel San Luis’ program.
I will be checking your website to update myself.
Thanks again, and Mama Mary accompanies you.

Brenda T. Mayag-as July 17, 2010 at 6:56 AM

Dear Mr. Steve,

What a great opportunity to read your “open letter to the Filipino people” I was in tears while reading it because I was deeply touched with your truthful descriptions about Filipinos around the world. I heard you over the radio last Sunday Evening at Fr. Bel San Luis program. I thank God you came as one of the Angels to defend the truth, to show what is truth. I admire your courage and sincerity to fulfill that mission. Keep it up and God bless you.


Brenda T. Mayag-as July 17, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Good Evening Mr. Stephen’

You have a great name as St. Stephen, a martyr.

Keep up proclaiming the good news to all the nations. Thank you for defending the church.

I am praying for you.


Marie Claire April 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Thank you for your beautiful letter. I bought a copy of your book, Crossing the Tiber back in 2002 after hearing you being interviewed on the radio. I have always loved my faith, have always listened intently in my religion classes, which I had for 13 years, and have always been saddened by Catholics converting to other religions. That was why when I heard you on the radio, a former Protestant who converted to our religion, and heard about how you wanted to help Catholics defend their faith, I became very excited and wasted no time buying your book. I read everything, mostly with tears in my eyes as pride and love for my faith overcame me. I absorbed everything, oftentimes going to the bible to read the passages you cited in your footnotes. And I came out wiser and much more confident about defending the faith that I love. Thank you for your book and for your person. You are God’s gift to Catholics. I am happy now that I have finally been able to contact you and tell you how I feel about your book. God bless you. Mama Mary loves you.

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