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Faith overcomes spiritual blindness, Pope says at synod close
Message to the People of God from the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
FOI’s non-passage not acceptable, advocates say
WITH only more than a month left before Congress adjourns, freedom of information advocates said that the non-passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill is “not acceptable.” In a strongly-worded statement, the Right to Know, Right Now! (R2KRN) Coalition said that FOI is needed by the Aquino administration to fight corruption and institutionalize transparency and accountability in government. The Aquino administration prides itself
November 5 - 18, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 23
FOI / A6
AMRSP calls for military pullout after Tampakan massacre
AN influential organization of religious men and women called on the military to pull out its troops near the Tampakan mining project following last month’s massacre of a tribal family. The Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) said the move is necessary to avoid further human rights violations particularly against those who are opposed to mining. Carmelite priest Fr. Marlon Lacal, AMRSP co-executive secretary, said the killing last month of three civilians shows the “ruthlessness” of the perpetrators. “We call on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to immediately pull out the military detachment in the area, as the community feared more violations may happen…,” Lacal said. There are two conflicting versions of the circumstances surrounding the death of B’laan tribal leader Daguil Capion’s wife and their two children. The military said troopers from the 27th Infantry Battalion were approaching Capion’s house in a remote village of Tampakan last Oct. 18 when they were fired at by at least five suspects, prompting the soldiers to return fire. However, witnesses and reports reaching the Diocese of Marbel and human rights watchdogs revealed that the soldiers allegedly strafed the hut of Capion. The incident resulted in the death of Capion’s wife who was two-months pregnant and their two children aged eight and 13 and wounding of another daughter. Capion is the leader of the armed band who declared war against Sagittarius Mines operating in Tampakan town for allegedly abusing the rights of B’laan tribesmen. The AMRSP condemned in strongest terms the incident and called on the government to conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that “justice be served.” “The excessive use of force by the military should be thoroughly invesPullout / A6
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Still no to amended RH bill
sions which it considers inimical to life. “Our aim in [opposing] HB 4244 is to protect not only the good of Catholics but the good of all, Catholics and nonCatholics,” he stressed. Reyes is the chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. “Despite some good amendments, this latest version remains harmful because of the bad provisions that are still there,” Reyes said. The latest version of House Bill 4244, the bishop pointed out, has not veered from its promotion of artificial methods of birth control, of which the Church is very much against. “In fact, the promotion of contraception is a constitutive or an essential part of this latest version [of the bill],” he said. The Catholic Church has always promoted the use of natural methods for family planning as against the use of artificial contraception which it considers “intrinsically wrong”. Amended paragraph Among those amended in the controversial bill is the third paragraph of Section 2—Declaration of Policy―which promotes universal access to reproductive health care services, methods and devices. The latest version prohibits “reproductive health care services, methods, devices and supplies” which prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum. But Reyes said that although “it limits the giving of ‘free reproductive health care, services, and supplies to the poor and marginalized,’ this does not make the bill acceptable because it is wrong to promote contraception and give free contraceptives whether to the rich or the poor.” He also said that contraception, as history has shown, brings “physical and moral harm in its train.”
Catholic faithful venerate the image of Saint Pedro Calungsod outside the Manila Cathedral, Nov. 7, 2012. The statue of the second Filipino saint arrived in Manila from Rome last Oct. 25 and went on a “Duaw Nasud” around the country that will cap with the Nov. 30 national thanksgiving celebration in Cebu City.
IN an apparent move to get the approval of the Catholic Church for the passage of the controversial reproductive health bill, Congress has amended some of the most contentious provisions of the measure to soften its antilife stance.
But Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, in a statement said, despite amendments the Church remains firm in its stand against the measure because of provi-
Amended / A6
Tagle laments ‘practical atheism’
our faith to God. But starting Monday, cheating happens because of money… we take advantage of other people for our own interests,” he said. The archbishop’s sermon set the tone as the Manila Archdiocese embarked on the Year of Faith on Saturday. Thousands of priests, nuns and churchgoers attended the event at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church in Paco, Manila. With the occasion, the archdiocese joined the universal Church in the observing the Year of Faith as declared by Pope Benedict XVI. Tagle, who just arrived in Manila on Nov. 1 after almost a month in Rome for the Synod of Bishops, said that the occasion seeks to bring the faithful back to the fundamental tenet of the Christian faith. “The Year of Faith is for all of us. Like what a theologian said, there is an unbeliever in every
Atheism / A6
Ati leaders urge Aquino to fight for them
She urged President Aquino or any government official to visit their place and see their condition so they can render some help to the IPs in Boracay. On November 4, a group of 20 armed men who are allegedly employees of Crown Regency Boracay marched into the Ati Community in Brgy. Manoc-Manoc. Ati tribal leaders in Boracay seek government’s Reports cited that intervention against move by business entities armed men demolin the island to displace them from their ished the fence and ancestral lands. forcibly entered the THE Ati tribal leaders in the Ati community and threatened country are calling on President the IPs. Benigno Simeon Aquino III to Dexter Condez, Boracay Ati fight for their rights. Tribal Organization (BATO) Delsa Justo, the tribal chieftain spokesperson claimed that of the Boracay Ati lamented that around 7 p.m. of November 4, despite owning the ancestral some 20 armed men with shotland and being the first settlers in guns alighted from three vehiBoracay, they are being treated cles of Boracay Crown Regency. as squatters and businessmen “We were approached by a wanted them to out of the is- person named Teddy Jimenez land. who said that a certain Mr. King Justo said they want to ad- ordered them to demolish the dress their problem directly to fence due to the failure of the President Aquino. Atis to secure a fencing permit,” “NCIP [National Commission Condez said. on Indigenous Peoples] awarded He argued the fence should us the title for the ancestral do- not be demolished because the main but yet, we cannot move Atis hold the title to the land freely on the land given to us and the order of finality from the because of people who are con- National Council for Indigenous testing the land given to our People (NCIP). Ati/ A6 tribe,” Justo said.
© Yen Ocampo / CBCP Media
Online devotion to St. Pedro, very Pinoy
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Cardinal-designate Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle during the launching of the Year of Faith at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church in Paco, Manila, Nov. 3, 2012.
FRESH from the Vatican, Cardinal-designate Luis Antonio Tagle lamented ‘practical atheism’ as one of the major obstacles to evangelization. The leader of the Manila’s Catholic Church stressed in his homily before a throng of churchgoers at a parish church in Paco that some Filipinos’ faith are better said than done. He said that some Catholics
are calm in conscience convincing their selves that they believe in God, but then their actions have nothing to do with that belief. “There is atheism which they openly said that they don’t believe in God and there are also those who claim that they are faithful but live as if God doesn’t exist,” Tagle said. “During Sundays, we profess
NEWS on the country’s new saint may have died down a bit, but it seems like online shout outs and prayer requests to St. Pedro Calungsod are here to stay, revealing a very Filipino faith. Pinoy devotion “It’s a very Filipino way of devotion,” Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said in an interview. Even before St. Pedro’s canonization last October 21, his official Facebook fan page, www.facebook. com/FilipinoSaintPedroCalungsod, has countless requests, mostly for intercession for family concerns, healing, and guidance. The fact that promotions were made on social media for St. Pedro’s canonization has made him not just a truly viral and recognizable saint for a lot of
Vatican warns CBCP against schismatic group in PH
THE Vatican sounded warning against two schismatic communities, one of which is present in the Philippines, which are not in full communion with Rome. The Holy See told the Filipino bishops that it does not recognize the Roman Catholic Society of Pope Leo XIII and the Igreja Catolica Apostolica Brasileria (ICAB) as legitimate Catholic Church organizations. The Vatican relayed the information to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) through a communiqué from the Apostolic Nunciature in the Philippines. Msgr. Gabor Pinter, chargé d’affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature, said that the RCSchismatic / A6
Online / A6
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
November 5 - 18, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 23
Bishops’ delegation says international support critical for Syrian refugees
WASHINGTON D.C., Nov. 2, 2012—A delegation from the U.S. bishops’ conference that recently visited the Middle East believes that the Syrian refugee crisis is getting worse and that without increased aid to surrounding countries it could become a disaster. “It was clear to all of us on the delegation that the Syrian refugee crisis is worsening and that more international support will be needed if the conflict in Syria continues,” said Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock. He noted that this is the second major refugee crisis in area in the past 10 years, following the Iraqi refugee crisis, so “the resources of neighboring countries are already stretched.” “Without more support, neighboring countries may be unable to support and protect the refugees going forward, leaving the most vulnerable at high risk,” he said. At a Nov. 1 press conference call, members of a delegation from the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services warned that the Syrian refugee crisis is growing worse and could become a major humanitarian crisis if it’s not quickly addressed. Bishop Taylor, a member of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee, headed the delegation, which visited Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt from October 7-20 to observe the situation of refugees in those countries. The bishop explained that as many as 700,000 refugees are predicted to leave Syria by the end of the year, driven by escalating violence in the nation, and that number will likely increase drastically over the next year. As the number of refugees grows, the most vulnerable are at risk and unable to get protection, he said. Iraqis who fled the war in Iraq and are now residing in Syria are in a particularly precarious situation, Bishop Taylor reported. They are being denied entry into neighboring countries as they seek to flee again Syria and are told that they must return to Iraq before they can enter Jordan, Lebanon or Turkey. The bishop also said that Syrian Christians, both those who are fleeing and those remaining in Syria, are at great risk. Christian communities are already subject to threats, and they could face “targeted and sustained persecution” if the conflict dissolves into an ethnic and sectarian war, he warned. Bishop Taylor also revealed that the delegation discovered “refugees from Eritrea and other African countries are being trafficked” by tribes in the Sinai desert, where they are tortured, held for ransom and sometimes killed. “ T h i s b r ut a l i t y m us t b e stopped,” he said. Despite the grave situation in the Middle East, Bishop Taylor said that he was “heartened by and proud of the work that Church agencies are performing to help those in need” in the region. These groups need more aid to continue their valuable and life-saving work, he emphasized. Anastasia Brown, director of resettlement services for the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services, also spoke on the conference call. She stressed the high number of vulnerable women and children and the severe medical needs of many of the refugees. “In many instances, people we saw had been shot coming across the borders,” she said. Efforts to offer support must focus not only on refugees in camps, but also on those in urban areas and the surrounding rural areas, she explained, and those giving aid must realize that “this is not a short term situation.” Kevin Appleby, director of the bishops’ office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs, outlined policy recommendations to respond to the refugee crisis. More international support for refugees will be needed as the conflict in Syria continues and intensifies, he said, citing local concerns that the conflict could be long-lasting. The United States needs to
“show leadership” in offering aid and also “encourage our allies to provide support,” he added. Appleby recommended that the U.S. urge nearby countries to protect religious minorities and Iraqi refugees fleeing Syria, aware of the special concerns that these groups have. “Vulnerable African refugees in Cairo who are unable to integrate and remain at risk of
harassment and attack should be considered for resettlement,” he stated. The U.S. government, Appleby advised, should also work with the Egyptian government to stop the kidnapping and trafficking of Eritrean refugees in the Sinai peninsula. “As a proclaimed leader in anti-trafficking efforts around the world, the U.S. needs to step up to the plate and halt this horrific practice,” he said. (CNA)
Cardinal Dolan sees heartbreak, hope in Sandy’s wake
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., Nov. 2, 2012— In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s destructive passage across the East Coast, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York expressed his “solidarity in love and prayer with so many who are suffering.” “What do you say? Our hearts are broken when you see the loss of life, the grieving families, the devastation, the ruination,” Cardinal Dolan told Fox News co-anchor Martha MacCallum Oct. 31. “But throughout all of it, too, you begin to see a glimmer of light and hope: people coming together.” He said that people can become “selfish” and “violent” or they can “pitch in, in solidarity and community, to help one another, to help rescue one another.” “Thanks be to God, that’s what’s happening throughout Connecticut, New Jersey, and throughout our beloved New York,” the cardinal said. “The best, the most noble sentiments of people are coming out.” The storm killed at least 80 people across the U.S. and 38 people in New York City alone after making landfall Oct. 29. Hundreds of thousands of people in New York City remain without access to power, water, heat and transportation. Cardinal Dolan said Catholic Charities and Catholic health care facilities are in action and are helping those in need. He plans to visit some of the affected areas. An iconic photo of a lone statue of the Virgin Mary in front of a destroyed home in the fireand flood-ravaged Queens neighborhood of Breezy Point caused him particular concern. “I love Breezy Point,” he said, describing its local pastor Msgr. Michael Curran as “a very close friend.” “I’m worried because I can’t get in touch with him,” said the cardinal, who added that the priest had told the cardinal he would stay in the area “with my people.” “I just trust he’s well,” the cardinal told Fox News. On Nov. 1 Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn also commented on the storm. “Hurricane Sandy has left her trail of death and destruction across our city and region,” he said in his diocese’s newspaper The Tablet. “We all pray first and foremost for our fellow New Yorkers and their families who perished. While things may always be replaced, we are all mindful of how important our homes are in our lives and so our thoughts and prayers turn to those whose property was destroyed or damaged.” He announced a second collection in his diocese’s parishes to fund Catholic Charities’ relief efforts for those affected
Knights of Columbus aid Hurricane Sandy relief efforts
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 2, 2012—The Knights of Columbus is making an immediate $100,000 donation to assist with Hurricane Sandy relief, dividing it equally between the state councils of New York and New Jersey. “Knights have a long tradition of providing disaster relief, and this is no exception,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Our communities need our time, our help, and our financial assistance, and we are going to do all that we can—working closely with our local and state councils—to help those most in need as a result of this storm.” The donation is being made by the Knights' Supreme Council, in conjunction with state and local councils in the northeast of the United States. In addition to the $100,000 donation, the Knights have started an online donation drive. They are accepting contributions from both Knights and the general public, with one hundred percent of the proceeds going directly to relief efforts. Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the U.S. on Oct. 29 and proceeded to sweep through the northeast, killing more than 80. Around 4.5 million remain without power in their homes. Hundreds of thousands will not have power restored until at least next week. Transportation has been crippled in the region. Swaths of the New York City subway are still out of commission, and Amtrak does not plan to resume its train service in the area until Nov. 2. Boardwalks on the coast have been swept away in many areas. In West Virginia, Sandy collided with an arctic blast, leaving as much as five feet of snow on the ground. Eqecat, a catastrophe risk modeling firm, estimates the costs of the storm could cost up to $50 billion in economic losses. Catholic Charities agencies along the East Coast are assessing the damage left by Hurricane Sandy and respond to the needs of those left in its wake. The agencies will be setting up distribution sites in the region to provide for whatever needs arise. (CNA)
in Brooklyn and Queens, most of whom are middle class or working poor. Bishop DiMarzio said that the response of faith to natural disasters is “not so much about the question why is there evil but the conviction that the power of God always conquers sin and evil.” “The deep has come to us in this storm, but we must always be ready to meet the challenge and put out into the deep to meet the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves,” he said. “Please be as generous as you can to help those who are in such great need.” Both Cardinal Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio dispensed with Catholics’ normal obligation to attend Mass on the Feast of All Saints in their dioceses. Catholic Charities agencies are performing damage assessments and are reaching out to parishes to offer support. The agency is working closely with government and other disaster relief partners. (CNA)
Asian bishops’ plenary hurriedly rescheduled
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, Nov. 2, 2012—The unexpected announcement of a consistory by Pope Benedict XVI to appoint six new cardinals has led to the hurried rescheduling of a long-planned assembly of Asian bishops in Vietnam. This in turn has led to mixed reactions within the Asian Church. The plenary of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences was due to take place at the Xuan Loc diocese pastoral center, near Ho Chi Minh City, on November 19-25. It would have marked the 40th anniversary of the Conference’s foundation. B ut after P o p e B en edict’s announcement of the November 24 consistory – where Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila and Archbishop Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal of Trivandrum, India, will be made cardinals – the meeting has been hastily rescheduled to December 10-16. The venue for the meeting will remain the same. Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s chief spokesman, told ucanews.com that the surprise sparked by the decision is “a sign that it was a very personal decision of the Pope, all decided in a relatively brief span of time.” Another Vatican official cited a notification on October 13, regarding the appointment of Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, former Archbishop of Manila, as a papal envoy. This also quoted the November dates for the FABC meeting; another indication of the unexpected suddenness of the Pope’s announcement. Earlier reports had spoken of discontent at the FABC over the change. One unnamed source described as ‘close to the FABC’ had gone so far as to call the decision “a blatant example of the carelessness of Vatican officials toward Asian religious leaders.” But Father Raymond O’Toole, Hong Kong-based assistant secretary-general of the FABC, seemed to shrug this off when he said “everything ran very smoothly, it was just a matter of switching the dates.” He added that most of the Asian bishops he has contacted so far have said they would be available on the new dates, despite earlier fears that the closeness to Christmas could lead to diary clashes. Those who could not attend would arrange to send substitutes, said Fr. O’Toole. Monsignor Savio Hon Tai Fai, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which oversees the Church in Asia, emphasized that the decision to postpone the plenary had been made autonomously by the FABC. He added that the Congregation’s prefect, Cardinal Fernand Filoni, had declined an invitation to attend the original FABC meeting because of concurrent commitments, but would now be able to re-evaluate it in light of the new dates. Last month, when the date was still set for November, there had been suggestions that some bishops were having difficulty obtaining visas. But Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City insisted that the Vietnam Church has had no difficulty from government authorities in this regard. The government requested a list of participants and an invitation letter signed by FABC secretary-general, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, and Peter Nguyen Van Nhon, president of Vietnam’s Catholic bishops’ conference. With those in place, assurances have been given that Vietnamese embassies will grant the required visas. (UCAN)
Pope meets with PM of Croatia
Pope Benedict XVI received on Oct. 29 in audience Zoran Milanovic, prime minister of the Republic of Croatia. Shortly after, Mr. Milanovic met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Cardinal Bertone was also accompanied by Archbishop Dominiqe Mamberti, the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States. According to a communiqué released by the Holy See Press Office, the cordial discussions that took place allowed for a “productive exchange of opinions” regarding the challenges that Croatia is facing amidst the current economic crisis. The Vatican Secretary of State and the Prime Minister of Croatia also discussed several issues of mutual interest that were “within the framework of bilateral relations.” (Zenit)
Vatican agency accepts traditionalist group’s request for more time
In a statement released late October, the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” accepted the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X’s request for more time to prepare its response to two documents presented to them by the Holy See: namely, a doctrinal declaration, and a proposal for the canonical normalization of the Fraternity’s status within the Catholic Church. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X made this request for more time in an official communication dated September 6, 2012, in which they “indicated that additional time for reflection and study is needed on their part as they prepare their response to the Holy See’s latest initiatives.” (Zenit)
Conference on Metaphysics to be held in Rome
India’s Religious elect new chief
KOLKOTA, India, Nov. 1, 2012—A Salesian priest was elected as the new president of the Conference of Religious India (CRI) during its national assembly that ended yesterday. Father V. M. Thomas took the opportunity as the new head of more than 125,000 Catholic Religious to urge them to recommit to the mission of serving the poor. “Those who need the most today get the least, and those who need the least get the most, even from the Church,” he said. The 61-year-old priest was speaking at Kolkata airport yesterday, on his way back from the CRI meeting with about 550 delegates in Hyderabad. Making a strong appeal to members for a commitment to the marginalized, the priest insisted that “we include the excluded and give our best to the least.” He also encouraged members to live “our life as our proclamation.” Quoting the New Testament parable of “new wine in new wineskins,” he called upon those who are “relishing the old wine” to wake up to the fast changing realities of today. Fr. Thomas, a human resource development consultant, has been training people for the Indian Administrative Service for years. He is known as a passionate youth worker and ardent educationalist. “Quality education and opportunities for the poor in education and joboriented skills training with competence and commitment… is the mission of the Religious today,” he said. Born in the southern state of Kerala in 1951, he has lived in northeastern India, mostly in Assam, since 1962. He now resides in Guwahati province. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in education and has been on the Faculty of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie for the past 18 years. As new head of the CRI, he is responsible for a total of 334 religious congregations and 822 major superiors, representing India’s Catholic Religious brothers, priests and nuns. Most of the schools, hospitals, social service centers and other institutions of the Catholic Church are managed by this group. (UCAN)
The Fifth World Conference on Metaphysics, organized by the Idente Foundation for Study and Research, will be held in Rome at the ARSO Conference Center (Via Aurelia 773), Nov. 8-10, 2012. This event, the only one of its kind, since its inception in 2000 has become an international forum for dialogue where representatives of the most varied academic disciplines can interact in a context of mutual enrichment, in both human and intellectual terms, which provides a stimulus in the search for the ultimate foundations of their respective fields. (Zenit)
Pope expresses solidarity with America’s hurricane victims
During a general audience on Oct. 31, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his closeness to the victims of Hurricane Sandy while addressing the Englishspeaking pilgrims in attendance. “Conscious of the devastation caused by the hurricane which recently struck the East Coast of the United States of America, I offer my prayers for the victims and express my solidarity with all those engaged in the work of rebuilding,” the Holy Father said. (Zenit)
Vatican computer technician goes on trial over press leaks
Despite his lawyer’s appeal to drop the case on the opening morning of hearings, a Vatican judge ruled that the trial for the second man accused in the so-called Vatileaks scandal will continue. Claudio Sciarpelletti, the Vatican Secretariat of State’s computer programmer, is accused of aiding and abetting the Pope’s former butler, Paolo Gabriele, in stealing documents from Benedict XVI. Senior Vatican communications officer Greg Burke said the charge is “more like an obstruction charge” related to his contradictory testimony during an investigation last May. Sciarpelletti’s trial began Nov. 5 and is expected to be shorter than Gabriele’s weeklong series of court appearances. (CNA)
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
Faith overcomes spiritual blindness, Pope says at synod close
VATICAN City, Oct. 29, 2012―At a Mass on Sunday closing the bishops' synod on the new evangelization, the Pope reflected on the need for faith in overcoming spiritual blindness and also appealed on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Drawing from the day's Gospel of Mark reading, the Pope noted that Christ curing the blind man Bartimaeus “is the last miraculous healing that Jesus performs before his Passion, and it is no accident that it should be that of a blind person, someone whose eyes have lost the light.” Pope Benedict noted that physical blindness “has great significance in the Gospels” because it “represents man who needs God’s light, the light of faith, if he is to know reality truly and to walk the path of life.” “It is essential to acknowledge one’s blindness, one’s need for this light, otherwise one could remain blind forever.” The blind Bartimaeus represents mankind, the Pope went on to say, because he “represents man who has lost the light and knows it, but has not lost hope.” Pope Benedict made his remarks at the close of the Oct. 7 - 28 synod on the new evangelization in Rome, which gathered bishops from the world over to Rome to discuss the transmission of the Christian faith in the modern world. The synod “meaningfully coincided” with the opening of the Year of Faith and the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, the Pope said. Synod fathers have released a document of 58 propositions about the new evangelization. Pope Benedict will review the findings of the synod and will write a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, after considering their propositions. During his homily, the pontiff said that Sunday's Gospel reading directly applies to the recent synod, and highlight three themes that emerged from the event. “The first concerns the Sacraments of Christian initiation. It has been reaffirmed that appropriate catechesis must accompany preparation for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist,” he said. “The importance of Confession, the Sacrament of God’s mercy, has also been emphasized.” Secondly, “the Church’s task is to evangelize, to proclaim the message of salvation to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ.” “A third aspect concerns the baptized whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism...Such people are found in all continents, especially in the most secularized countries.” “The Church is particularly concerned that they should encounter Jesus Christ anew, rediscover the joy of faith and return to religious practice in the community of the faithful.” The Pope then encouraged all the faithful to embrace full sight in Christ, putting away “all blindness to the truth, all ignorance and, removing the darkness that obscures our vision like fog before the eyes, let us contemplate the true God.” He also pointed out that while many lands need to be re-evangelized, this is “essentially linked to the Missio ad Gentes” and that there are “still many regions in Africa, Asia and Oceania whose inhabitants await with lively expectations” the first proclamation of the Gospel. Following the Mass Pope Benedict expressed his own solidarity with the victims of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the Caribbean this past week. “I wish to assure you of my closeness and my recollection of those who have been affected by this natural disaster, while I invite everyone to prayer and solidarity, in order to alleviate the pain of the families of the victims and offer support to the thousands of people who have been hurt in various ways by the storm.” More than 60 people have been killed by Sandy, which has already struck the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, and Jamaica. It is due to hit the Mid-Atlantic coast of the United States today. At his Angelus prayer following Mass, the Pope stressed the need for “a renewed proclamation of the Gospel in secularized societies, in the twofold certainty that, on the one hand, he, Jesus Christ, is the only true innovation that meets the expectations of people of all ages, and on the other, that his message asks to be shared in a manner that
© Anne Hartney / CNA
Evangelization more Pope urges respect for rights of migrants, refugees than strategy, cardinaldesignate says
VATICAN City, Oct. 30, 2012― The Vatican has released Pope Benedict's message for the upcoming ninety-ninth World Day of Migrants and Refugees, in which he urged global respect for those forced to leave their homelands. “Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance,” the Pope said Oct. 29, quoting his 2009 encyclical “Caritas in Veritate.” Held on Jan. 13, 2013, the upcoming day's theme will be “Migrations: Pilgrimage of Faith and Hope.” This title, the Pope said, was chosen especially in light of the Year of Faith he inaugurated on Oct. 11 which marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. “Faith and hope are inseparable in the hearts of many migrants, who deeply desire a better life and not infrequently try to leave behind the 'hopelessness' of an unpromising future,” he wrote in his message, presented at a Vatican press briefing Monday. “During their journey many of them are sustained by the deep trust that God never abandons his children; this certainty makes the pain of their uprooting and separation more tolerable and even gives them the hope of eventually returning to their country of origin,” the pontiff said. “Faith and hope are often among the possessions which emigrants carry with them.” The Pope's message was presented by Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio and Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. Citing the International Organization for Migration's World Migration Report 2011, Cardinal Veglio noted the magnitude of the issue: Roughly one billion people, a seventh of the world’s population, are either seeking refuge abroad or internally displaced within their own countries. “On their existential pilgrimage towards a better future, migrants carry with them feelings of faith and hope, even if they are not yet aware exactly what they are searching for,” Cardinal Veglio said. “To say that they are trying only to improve their economic or social situation would be to over simplify the issue.” He went on to note that not all migrants, even if they have strong faith, “consider their journey as a movement towards God.” Even so, they may come to recognize God’s love through the ministries of the Church. This is especially true in countries of “ancient Christian tradition.” Cardinal Veglio then went on to point out that the message for this World Day is being presented soon after the Pope's September journey to Lebanon. “Thus,” he said, “our gaze can turn specifically to the countries of the Middle East where the presence of Christian migrants, among believers of other religions, has a significant role in creating the very special identity of that region...And this is true not only of the Middle East, but of the entire world. The phenomenon of migration obliges us to encounter different lifestyles and different cultures, stimulating the creation of new relationships.” Archbishop Joseph Kalathipa-
is appropriate to changing social and cultural contexts.” This, he said, is the focus of the new evangelization, that call to present Christ and his Church anew to the modern world. He also pointed out that in reflecting on Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council we see that “the new evangelization is not our invention, but is a dynamic that developed in the Church particularly in the 50s of the last century.” (CNA/EWTN News)
Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle
VATICAN City, Oct. 30, 2012―A new cardinal-designate said he was encouraged by the recent bishops' synod in Rome, which emphasized an encounter with the risen Christ as the basis of all evangelization. What “caught my attention in the synod was the desire of everyone to make evangelization not so much a strategy but a living encounter with the living Lord,” Archbishop Luis A. Tagle of the Philippines told CNA Oct. 29. “I guess in the past decades or so we were so focused on how to do things all over the world—churches were trying to strategize. In itself it is not bad. But we might forget that faith is not a product of a strategy.” “Faith might bring forth new strategies. But if it is not rooted in friendship with Jesus Christ and the following of Jesus Christ, then what kind of evangelization will happen?” Archbishop Tagle attended the Oct. 7-28 new evangelization synod in Rome, during which it was announced that the Manila prelate was among the six bishops to be appointed cardinal. The group will be elevated at a consistory to be held Nov. 24. “It is a real calling, a real mission,” he said, “to share...in the universal mission of the Holy Father.” Archbishop Tagle will be appointed to the Congregation for Catholic Education upon his elevation. At 55, he will become the world's second youngest cardinal. “It came as a total surprise to me,” said Archbishop Tagle of the appointment. “But what consoles me is this: The announcement came three days after the canonization of the second Filipino saint, Pedro Calungsod, a young catechist who joined the Jesuit missionaries to Guam and…witnessed to Jesus to the offering of his own life.” On the recently ended synod, Archbishop Tagle said the new evangelization presents questions not given to easy answers. “There are many opportunities for spreading the Good News and of the Lord and his salvific presence in our midst,” he said. “But maybe because some of them are relatively new, we’ve
not yet been able to grasp fully the impact of all of these.” “Some are worried, some are concerned. But we realize, too, that being concerned is OK so long as we don’t jump or are moved to pessimism. We have to affirm our faith that our Lord is risen, he is here, he is very much present, we have to listen to him.” This complexity “led us in the synod to humility,” he said, adding that the lack of concrete measures by the synod as an opportunity “for exploration.” “The Holy Father, in his postsynodal exhortation, will give us basic orientations. Now the specific, concrete implementation would have to be done on the local level.” “The complexity of the situation just merits openness,” and he is glad that there is no need for bishops worldwide to “act similarly, uniformly, disregarding our unique contexts.” Archbishop Tagle added that he was encouraged by the synod's call to personal conversion among Catholics. The response to the word of God “would always entail being renewed in the mind and the heart according to Jesus Christ. This theme struck me as a leitmotif in the whole synod,” said the archbishop. He is especially hopeful that fellow Filipinos continue to spread the faith wherever they go. “The presence of overseas Filipino workers in many places across the world is for us an evangelizing moment. And we now feel the responsibility…of giving them initial formation so that when they leave the country they could be equipped to contribute to the life of the Church wherever they are.” Archbishop Tagle also said he looks forward to the Year of Faith—which kicked off on Oct. 11 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council—as a chance to return to “a living encounter with Christ” and for “a deepening of the knowledge of the content of the faith.” “Faith is a content, and this is an opportunity to rediscover anew Vatican II's teachings.” (CNA/EWTN News)
rambil, a native of India, drew attention to harmful restrictive measures imposed by certain countries “to hinder access to their territories,” such as “the requirement of visas, sanctions applied to transporters, and lists of safe countries of origin. These measures,” he said, “have encouraged the activities of smugglers and traffickers, and led to dangerous sea crossings during which far too many human lives have already been lost.” “Even so, the Holy Father's message stressed that charity shown toward migrants entails reciprocal obligations: Migrants and refugees must be good guests, attentive “to the values offered by the society to which they now belong,” the archbishop said. Pope Benedict added in his message that through its various agencies and ministries, the Church seeks to assist migrants and refugees out of a desire animated by love—not only materially assisting them, but offering them that “precious gift when she guides people to an encounter with Christ, which opens the way to a stable and trustworthy hope. (CNA/EWTN News)
© Marta Jimenez Ibañez / CNA
‘Sell’ the Gospel as part of New Evangelization, clergy urged
MANILA, Oct. 26, 2012—If companies spend millions to sell its products, how does the Church “sell” the Gospel to make it appealing to the laity? Msgr. Gerry Santos, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE), urged the clergy to exert an extra effort to present the Gospel in a language that is understandable to the lay as part of their work for the New Evangelization. “High school and college students find out messages and preaching boring and unappealing. What do we do to make our preaching come alive?” Santos said. “A company spends millions of dollars to sell its new product. How do we “sell” the Gospel today that will evoke a positive response for the people?” he added. In a homily delivered for him during the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines’ (CEAP) Mass for the opening of the Year of Faith, Santos said clergymen’s single most important work for New Evangelization is “to make Jesus known and loved.” “Each of us should have one single ambition: that people may continue to gaze on the beauty of God and be consumed by his love. To make Jesus known and loved is the single most important work for New Evangelization,” he said. Santos said the canonization of Pedro Calungsod as the second Filipino saint comes at a time when the local Church faces the various challenges in society and even attacks on its existence. “With a second Filipino saint, will this make us a ‘better’ Church – a church humble enough to admit its faults and failures? A church that speaks not from a position of power but from a position of humble loving service? A church that needs to speak the language of families, the young, the women and the poorest? A church that brings joy to people’s faces because it celebrates what is essential in the Filipino spirit?” he said. Echoing the call of Pope Benedict XVI for the clergy to engage in the New Evangelization, Santos said “confession is not effective without caritas.” “The Church is called to make a confession of faith in the Triune God: that our God made himself known to us. Our response is to know the faith, to own the faith, to safeguard the faith and to proclaim the faith,” he said. “But confession is not effective without caritas—the fire of love that captures the hearts and imagination of people. People get to know Jesus because of love and because of charity,” Santos added. Several prelates around the globe are gathered in Rome, Italy for the 13th Ordinary Synod of Bishops on New Evangelization and the Transmission of Faith. The synod is currently in its third and final week. (YouthPinoy)
Church officials urge probe on Tampakan massacre
MANILA, Oct. 30, 2012―Members of the Church and various groups called on the Aquino administration to conduct an urgent investigation and bring justice on the victims of the Tampakan Massacre. Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) condemned the brutal killings of Juvy Malid Capion and two sons, 13-year old Jordan and 8-year old John, from the B’laan tribe. “We condemn with sadness and disgust the Tampakan massacre. Atrocities and human rights violation like this committed to protect the interest of mining companies should give PNoy’s administration compelling reason to permanently stop Tampakan mining project,” Gariguez said. Twenty-seven years old Judy, who was 3 months pregnant when killed, was the wife of Daguil Capion, a B’laan tribe leader who staunchly opposed the mining operations of the Sagittarius Mines Inc. in Tampakan. Daguil Capion has been a fugitive since the military ordered a manhunt for him because of his opposition to mining. At the time of the massacre, the military claimed that there was an encounter with the armed group of Daguil and the communities opposed to Xstrata/SMI. Gariguez said the killings of anti-mining advocates are already alarming and sends a chilling effect to other environmentalists. He also called on the government to act on the unresolved killings and bring justice to the victims. “We also demand justice for the family and ask the government to bring the perpetrators to account for this barbaric crime,” Gariguez urged. Marbel Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez, in a statement has also condemned the killings of the innocent civilians, allegedly by members of the military in Davao Del Sur last October 18. Gutierrez has demanded a thorough, factual, speedy and objective investigation on the Tampakan massacre to be conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of national Defense, and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). Reports cited that the trouble started when the Sagittarius, Xstrata, Indophils took over Western Mining Corporation and relocated the B’laans of Brgy. Bong Mal to Atmorok which did not sit well with the B’laans in Atmorok. Ethnocide Representative Teddy Brawner Baguilat of the lone district of Ifugao together with the IP leaders and other groups urged the government to act fast on the Tampakan massacre and other IP killings. Baguilat said that the killing incident was a crime committed to the whole indigenous community and it was a big insult to the Indigenous Peoples Right Act or IPRA (RA 8371). “We condemn these acts of harassments, terrors and attacks to our IP leaders and communities, much so when the perpetrators are the military who are supposed to protect the Filipino people. I don’t know if they are aware that we have IPRA,” Baguilat said. The latter also encouraged the IP communities to join them in advancing sustainable development in their ancestral domains and promote peace and solidarity in a yearlong IPRA commemoration from October 2012 to October 2013. Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina, pointed out that Sagittarius Mines Inc. had seriously violated the rule cited in the IPRA because the SMI has failed to get consent from the three B’laan communities. That should have been a clear indication that they should no longer implement the Tampakan project, Garganera said. The Indigenous Peoples Basic Sector of the National Anti-Poverty Commission has also released a statement calling on the government to give justice to the victims of Tampakan massacre and other IP killings in the country. “We further call to stop threatening the lives of our men and women leaders and to stop vandalizing our indigenous sacred lands,” the group cited. (SocialActionNews)
The revised RH Bill
November 5 - 18, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 23
THE persistence of legislators who authored the Reproductive Health Bill and their backers is simply amazing. And so is the obsessive tenacity of its supporters, including the media, and mostly foreign sponsors and financiers. If such doggedness and massive lobbying—that reportedly dangles largesse enough for one or two electoral campaigns—are applied to other legislative bills such as the Freedom of Information Bill and others that are in single pursuit of the common good, then hope for this country should be larger than meets the eye. To say that the single motive of the RH campaign is patriotism pure and simple is like saying, “c’mon, give it to the marines!” Besides, there are a hundred and one bills that can really serve the honest interest of this country and will certainly appropriate the commitments of patriots, rather than this one that obviously is dictated and bankrolled by foreign groups, interests and philosophy. All the arguments to shore up the purported validity of this bill, like the ones that appeared in a one-page ad this week in some national dailies, are remakes that have already been debunked—such as the ones on economy, population and health. But with the daily blasts by paid media and PR companies, conjectures and half-truths have turned into solid “truth” especially for those that have become easy targets of such massive promotions. And yet there is that debacle of social unacceptability—despite social surveys that tell or doctored to tell the contrary. This debacle was the only reason why the Reproductive Health Bill had to undergo amendments—otherwise why the need for a hasty makeover. At first blush, one would think that the grounding of the debacle is the Catholic Church, and in fact some observers have been saying so. But on deeper scrutiny, one finds that truth is the real barrier. Now the Bill is dressed up and ready for debates at the plenary. The proponents are, of course, hoping that this version will at least be tolerable if not wholly acceptable. The only rub is, the Catholic Church is still thumbs down. The Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, through its chair, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, already issued a clear statement that found the revisions superficial. Says Bishop Reyes, “Despite some good amendments, this latest version remains harmful because of the bad provisions that are still there. I will cite only one example: the promotion of contraception or artificial methods of birth control is still very much a part of it. In fact, the promotion of contraception is a constitutive or an essential part of this latest version.” Disputable as it may seem, but both the premise and the philosophy of the Reproductive Health Bill is right at the base of its unacceptability. It penetrates deeply into the core of cultural and religious values or beliefs. That being the case, this bill even if legislated will continue to be a snag.
Something is wrong
“The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being…” (Phil. Const. State Policies, Sec. 13) THE affirmation and promotion of sound moral and spiritual well-being especially among the youth of this country is definitely not only relevant but especially significant. This is not only because the said youth is the hope and wherefore the future of the Philippines but also because young people are the bearers of the moral and spiritual torch for entrustment to the Filipino generations after them. If the youth of today become immoral and impious, poor Philippines! And woe to the Filipino value system! Thus it is that the promotion and protection of sound moral values and proper spiritual orientation particularly among the youth of today are in fact constitutionally provided for. So it is that those who assume public offices thereto assigned by public trust for the public welfare or the social well-being of the Filipinos—the youth in particular—are in no way free to simply do what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. Reason: Attention to and care for the proper moral and spiritual good of young people is nothing less than a “State Policy.” Thus it is that public officials—especially those in the Executive Department—are categorically duty-bound to
Oscar. V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
insistently and continuously implement the above cited constitutional agenda in favor of the Filipino youth. The Chief Executive in particular—with all his executive subordinates—has the grave obligation to work for and uphold the moral and spiritual well-being of the Filipino youth. And by way of a reminder and to say bluntly, they are all very well paid through the insistent and sizable taxes demanded from the people of the Philippines, to do their job and do it well. But truth to say: Something is wrong. There is the much favored gambling culture in the country—particularly in terms of casinos plus many other legal and illegal gambling forms. There is the unending drug business in many kinds and forms that refuse to disappear. This is not to mention the infamous “priority” RH Bill that promotes promiscuity and irresponsibility among the young and the adults. There are even the pending legislations on divorce and same sex marriage. This is not to mention the gross UN suggestion to legalize prostitution in the country. It is vain to claim that such vulgar particulars are in favor of the Filipino youth. It is futile to say that the Executive Department is compliant with the constitutional mandate in favor of the young people of today. It is but elementary to say that something is wrong—very wrong with the way the Philippine government is dealing with the Filipino youth.
ON the issue of religious freedom, the basic statement of Vatican II’s Declaration of Religious Liberty says: “to deny man the free exercise of religion in society, when the just requirements of public order are observed, is to do injustice to the human person and to the very order established by God for men...” The truth or falsity of the religious belief is irrelevant matters are the limits, which may be imposed on the exercise of the right. And the teaching of Vatican II, which places religious freedom on a pedestal of preference, is that a price that flows from religious belief may not be prohibited if all it does is present an obstacle to the achievement of a more perfect society; religious freedom may be curtailed only when its exercise becomes a threat to the very existence of elemental social order. Put differently, a practice that is repugnant to the beliefs of a particular religious group may not for that reason alone be prohibited to those who believe differently. Against this Vatican II background, can the full meaning of the Church’s self-understanding of its temporal role be fully actualized in a constitutional regime of separation of Church and State, and of religious freedom? This is a question that is often raised, and raised with emotion partly because of the demographic dominance of the Catholic population and partly because of the historic and sometimes sad role the Church has played in the Philippines. The issue, however, is not one of legal dominance, which a regime of separation clearly does not allow. Nor is the issue one of simple legal disqualification, which likewise the multitude of guarantees of freedom written in the Constitution for its citizens, whether they be churchmen or not, do not allow. The issue rather is largely one of moral dominance and the use or abuse of it. Moral dominance must be viewed from the perspective both of the constitutional regime of freedom on the one hand and the ecclesial strictures of evangelical prudence on the other. Clearly the constitutional regime of freedom does not exclude church leaders, lay or cleric, from participation in vital public debate or even in public action. But evangelical prudence dictates that clerics, called to a unifying leadership of an oft-time politically divided flock, are called upon to exercise self-restraint and desist from such participation except in those instances when the fundamental values of the gospel risk being compromised or even trampled upon. The public defense of gospel values, however, especially when carried into the arena of public policy formulation, whether through the advocacy of lay leaders or the moral suasion by pastors, is not without limit. It needs emphasizing, that, although pastors have the liberty to participate in policy debate and formulation, that liberty must not be exercised to the detriment of the religious freedom of non-communicants, or even of dissenting communicants. This is a clear implication of Vatican II’s Dignitatis humanae. This is not just a matter of prudence; it is a matter of fundamental justice. (Acts of the Council, Nos 354-358) ―Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
Fr. Roy Cimagala
NOVEMBER may rhyme with somber and, in a certain sense, it truly is, what with its commemoration of the dead that in our country, thanks be to God, is still widely celebrated and regarded very seriously, if sentimentally. It’s also the month when the liturgical calendar ends with readings revolving around the end time, thereby casting a pall over it. Indeed, it’s the month when we are encouraged to consider the so-called Last Things— death, judgment, hell and, of course, heaven. But it actually is a happy month, because it also brings with it the celebration of solemnity of all saints, and somehow brings to the fore this truth of faith about our communion of saints—the reality that we are all united in Christ, those in heaven, those still purifying in purgatory and those still struggling here on earth. We are one people of God, a family with ties more intimate than what flesh and blood can achieve. And that’s because we
brings us not only some worldly benefits, but rather nothing less than heaven. It’s truth that definitely are not simply abstract ideas or mere intellectual affairs of ours. It’s truth that comes always withcharity, that addresses us in our whole being as body and soul, and as children of God, and brothers and sisters to one another. This truth is nothing other than our faith that gives us the ultimate meaning of everything in our life. We have to be clear about the fact that nothing in our life is outside the purview of our faith. It’s faith that gives us the whole picture of things, the ultimate purpose of our earthly concerns. We should disabuse ourselves from the tendency to think that we can arrive at the ultimate definition and understanding of things through our reason alone and our human sciences. Yes, they are necessary, but always together with faith. Let’s always remember what St. John said:
Candidly Speaking / A6
are, by God’s will, children of his, created in his image and likeness. That’s the truth that applies to each one of us and all of us together. November then highlights the need for us to be more aware of our responsibility for one another. We are a people. We are a family. We are the Church, the mystical body of Christ, whose members we are, members who need to be vitally united to him and to one another. We have to realize more deeply that we have a great task to preserve the unity and identity of this family of God. This task falls on every one of us though in different ways. And one very important and indispensable aspect of this task is to carry out a lifelong work of evangelization. Evangelization can be described as the vital transmission of the lifeblood of truth that comes from God and meant not only to sustain us but also to lead us to our ultimate perfection and salvation. It is truth that
New Evangelization and the Formation and Revitalization of BECs
FROM October 7 to October 28, 2012, bishops (together with invited experts) coming from various parts of the world gathered in Rome for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of Synod Bishops which focused on the theme of “New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” A committee came up with 58 propositions arising from the lineamenta, the interventions and discussions during the synod that will be presented to Pope Benedict XVI as a basis for a post-synodal apostolic exhortation. Sifting through the various propositions, one might ask: “which of these have relevance vis-à-vis the efforts to form or revitalize Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), especially here in the Philippines?” At the outset, the propositions do not use the term “Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC)” commonly used in the Philippines and the Latin American countries. Rather, the propositions use the term popularized by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference and the other countries in Africa and North America: “Small Christian Communities (SCC).” There are 5 propositions where there are references to BECs (SCCs). The first one is found in proposition 11: “New Evangelization and the Prayerful Reading of Sacred Scriptures” “In consideration of the necessity of familiarity with the Word of God for the New Evangelization and for the spiritual growth of the faithful, the Synod encourages dioceses, parishes, small Christian communities to continue serious study of the Bible and Lectio Divina, the—the prayerful reading of the Scriptures.” The study of the bible and the
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD
Along The Way
use of Lectio Divina is to be carried in three levels: the diocese, the parish and the small Christian communities. The diocese is made up of parishes, the parish is made up of small Christian communities. This implies that concretely, the BECs are the venues where lay faithful at the grassroots can study the bible and do the lectio divina. Proposition 22 focuses on the theme of conversion: “The New Evangelization requires personal and communal conversion, new methods of evangelization and renewal of the pastoral structures, to be able to move from a pastoral strategy of maintenance to a pastoral position that is truly missionary.” Although there is no explicit reference to SCC (BEC), the mention of “personal and communal conversion” is appropriate to the emphasis that membership in BECs is the fruit of evangelization that leads to personal and communal conversion. Conversion has both personal and communitarian dimensions. Although, conversion is primarily personal, it takes place in the context of the community and it leads to active involvement in the life and mission of the community—the Basic Ecclesial Community. This is a reminder to the parish priests, pastoral workers and BEC leaders: membership in BECs is the fruit of evangelization and conversion— not coercion or making use of sanction policies if they are not active in their BECs. This proposition stresses the need for new methods of evangelization and renewal of pastoral structures. It calls for a more missionary strategy rather than continue a pastoral strategy of maintenance. When applied to parishes with BECs, it calls for
Along The Way / A7
Pedro C. Quitorio
Ronalyn R. Regino
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
San Pedro Calungsod
space with about 80,000 pilgrims since the entire piazza was filled. Easily a fourth to a third of these were Filipinos, what with the estimated 60,000 OFWs in Rome alone and judging from the reverberating applause for San Pedro. In a few minutes the litany of the saints would begin and Cardinal Amato, head of the Papal office for the promotion of saints, would petition Benedict XVI three times to enroll the new saints. Only an appeal through the public-address system prevents the pilgrims from roaring with gusto as the names of the new saints were mentioned. Above the crowds—standing on horizontal beams resting on the colonnades called the “trabeation”—are statues of 88 saints as if welcoming newcomers into their ranks. *** Despite all odds, San Pedro Calungsod’s official recognition as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church had been fast tracked. In a period of just 18 years, starting in 1994, he had moved from obscurity to universal acclaim. In 1995, as students in Rome, Fr. Bill LaRousse, a Maryknoll priest from New York who has lived in Davao for more than 30 years, and I were led to form a group for Filipinos in Rome. Pundok ni Pedro Calungsod was organized as an “antidote for
Spaces of Hope / A7
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Spaces of Hope
MY younger brother, Neil, was frantic. He had been taking video shots with his iPhone of the different segments of the two-hour solemn canonization of San Pedro Calungsod last Sunday October 21 when he noticed something amiss with his latest video file. It looked strangely different from the others. He wanted to delete it. Neil and his wife, Lorna, were two of the thousands of Filipinos who attended the canonization rites for “Dodong Pedro.” They flew all the way from Tampa, Florida, as did many others from different part of the Philippines, the USA, Europe, other parts of Italy, and the world. By 5:30 a.m. these pilgrims had started to line up along the outline of the two semi-circular colonnades of Piazza San Pietro to wait for the opening of four highlyguarded designated entrances. But they were not alone. Believers from different countries also came as their nation’s son or daughter shared in the “blaze of glory” of being publicly proclaimed a new saint: a priest-martyr from France; an Italian priest-founder of two congregations; a Spanish religious sister-founder of a congregation; a German religious sister who worked among lepers in Hawaii; a native lay American Indian, a model of youthful piety and virginity; and a German layperson with a “mission of suffering.” Five of them lived during the 19th or 20th centuries; only the lad
from the Visayas and the American Indian are young and come from the 17th century. Together they symbolize the universal Church’s coming together to celebrate the lives of saints raised to the altars as models of the “Year of Faith.” One American Indian in her native costume was even holding a “Pedrito” statue of Pedro as if to underscore that sanctity crosses national boundaries and no single nation has a monopoly of it. Yet the air also undeniably had something very Filipino about it. By walking the stretch of about 150 meters, I met friends from Rome, Cebu, Batangas, Manila, Basilan, etc. and had greeted kababayans from Switzerland, Vienna, and other places. Many were carrying miniature Filipino flags while a few carried the real thing. Cebuano and Tagalog became, de facto, the lingua franca of the long queues. Then, around 8 .a.m, the lines started to move. Sadly, some sections of the tranquil lines of pilgrims were disrupted by pilgrims from a certain country—not from Asia—that may have thought lines were a thing of the past. “Patience leads to sacred indulgence,” I somehow managed to say with a smile—to myself and to some members of this group, even as I tried to mentally fend off discouraging thoughts about the saint they were venerating. At around 9:45 a.m., I was seated, sharing
“IT was a moment of extraordinary expectation. Great things were about to happen.” So writes Pope Benedict XVI as he recalls the mood during the opening of the Second Vatican Council – a momentous three-year meeting that aimed at opening the Church to the modern world. Fifty years ago, on October 11, Pope John XXIII inaugurated the meeting to much fanfare in St Peter’s basilica. Writing in the preface of a new collection of his works on the Second Vatican Council, the Pope, who as Father Joseph Ratzinger took part in the Council as a “peritus”, or theological expert, summarizes with characteristic clarity just what was at stake. “The previous Councils had almost always been convoked for a precise question to which they were to provide an answer. This time there was no specific problem to resolve,” he writes. “But precisely because of this, a general sense of expectation hovered in the air: Christianity, which had built and formed the Western world, seemed more and more to be losing its power to shape society. It appeared weary and it looked as if the future would be determined by other spiritual forces.” The sense of Christianity’s “loss of the present”, and what was required to readdress it, was summed up in the word “aggiornamento” (updating), Benedict XVI explains. “Christianity must be in the present if it is to be able to form the future,” he writes. “So that it might once again be a force to shape the future, John XXIII had convoked the Council without indicating to it any specific problems or programmes. This was the greatness and at the same time the difficulty of the task that was set before the ecclesial assembly.” The word “aggiornamento” was indeed central to the Council, Professor Norman Tanner SJ, an expert on the Council who teaches at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, told MercatorNet. Describing the meeting as one of the six most important of the 21 ecumenical councils that the Church has ever held, he summarizes it as having “something serious to say on huge range of issues, some quite theoretical, but also a large number which really touch lives of ordinary Christians and beyond the Christian community.” By opening up the Church to the modern and increasingly globalized world, the Council aimed to bring the Church to all people in a way that had never been done before. It aimed, in the famous words of John XXIII, to open the windows of the Church to let in some fresh air. This wasn’t strictly a novelty, argues Professor Tanner, (earlier Councils implicitly spoke to non-Christians, for example), but it was still a key feature, particularly in contrast to the Council of Trent that focused primarily on the Church. The meeting, which lasted from 1962 to 1965 and involved almost 2,500 participants, gave the Church a “better and fuller expression” of its identity and of the “meaningfulness of the faith for every man,” Father Giulio Maspero, professor of dogmatic theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, told MercatorNet. Like others, he sees the Council as deepening the treasure of Tradition in the Church, or as Professor Tanner says, “making explicit what’s implicit, making treasure known that is only partly known.” Before the Council, the Church was often synonymous with the Pope, bishops and priests. Now it became a Church of the “people of God” in which all were called to sainthood, and the laity had a much greater voice. The ancient concept of collegiality among bishops was also rediscovered and reemphasized. “A richness emerged among bishops, who could appreciate the variety and the true “power”, so to say, of the Gospel,” says Professor Maspero. “It was affirmed, in a very clear form, that Christ is the meaning of history and creation, that He is at the heart of the deepest desires of every human person.” The Gospel was to become comprehensible to everybody, translated into every language and taken to every place populated by man. The Council’s documents emphasized an optimistic and joyful view of humanity and life. But problems soon followed. Many of the conciliar decrees were misinterpreted, largely because of a failure to implement them properly. Previous Councils had centralized procedures to make sure the decrees were observed, says Professor Tanner, but the same mechanism was lacking at the Second Vatican Council. John XXIII’s convoking of the Council without “any specific problems or programmes,” as Benedict XVI put it, brought a certain disorder to the proceedings. “Perhaps we could say the Roman Curia was not prepared to deal with it,” says Professor Maspero, adding that many in the Vatican thought it would be a short meeting. Nor were bishops ready to handle the world’s media who, eager for news, tried to influence the discussions and dwelt only on what was new. Participants from various countries also had wildly differing positions on, for example, religious freedom – one of the most contentious of the Council decrees. “Sometimes decisions were taken and implemented too quickly and without preparing people,” says Professor Maspero. “In some cases, Christians were puzzled by the sudden change.” The Council also came at possibly the worst time, just as the social revolution of the 1960s was taking hold, bringing a poisonous air into the Church. Two reactionary factions soon developed in the Church, both of which viewed the Council as a rupture with Tradition. Progressivists, typified by the so-called Bologna School and certain bishops in northern Europe, saw the Council as a new beginning ― the first of a series of Councils leading the Church become more modern and attune to the Zeitgeist. Traditionalists, on the other hand, viewed the Council as a regressive step, a lapse into heresy, and a break with Tradition and previous papal teachings. As proof of this, they point to the doctrinal confusion that followed, a catastrophic fall in vocations, and a rapid fall in Church attendance in the West after the 1960s. Professor Maspero sees the disorientation that followed as favoring those who believed the Council hadn’t gone far enough. Others have also pointed to the conspicuous and peculiar absence of any mention or condemnation of Communism in the decrees. “The influence of Marxist thought was a real presence and it is very difficult for us nowadays to get an idea of the cultural situation of the time,” says Professor Maspero. But he adds that does not mean that the Council “was hijacked by anybody”. Rather he believes it is normal that such an “important and rich event” would have “complex consequences.” Professor Tanner agrees, citing previous Councils, such as Nicea (325) and Chalcedon (451), which had “great number of things that have to be digested” and needed time to be accepted by the faithful. Despite the debate over its legacy and fruits, many see the Council as a gift of the Holy Spirit, and crucial to opening the Church to the world of the 21st century. Like the Pope, they see no rupture with Catholic Tradition, but rather a development that Benedict XVI has characterized as a “hermeneutic of continuity,” or, more recently, as “reform.” What is important, the Pope says, is that the faithful become acquainted with the Council texts and read them attentively—a task he has strongly recommended during this special Year of Faith. (Edward Pentin reports from Rome mostly on papal, Vatican and Church news.)
A journey through our faith and sanctification
THE Philippines is very blessed indeed. A few days after the canonization of its second Filipino saint, St. Pedro Calungsod, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI appointed His Excellency Most Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, as the new cardinal. With his expertise in the doctrine of the faith and his pastoral and missionary work, the Cardinal-elect is very much qualified to his new position. His performance in the Synod of Bishops proved it; I will not be surprised if His Eminence will soon be a candidate to the Papacy. *** I beg the indulgence of the readers about the errata in the last issue of this column. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. This refers to the activities in Rome on the occasion of the canonization of St. Pedro Calungsod. As in some events, changes are made even up to the last minute. On Day 1 of the Triduum, there was Mass of Saint Luke the Evangelist at Basilica di Sant’Agostino in Piazza di Sant’Agostino 80, Rome with the theme “Knowing Our Catholic Faith”; presided by Most Rev. John Du, D.D., Archbishop of Palo, Leyte, with Most Rev. Precioso Cantillas, D.D., Bishop of Maasin, Leyte, as preacher. On Day 2 - Votive Mass of the Most Holy Name of Jesus at Chiesa del Gesú in Via degli Astalli 16, Rome with the theme “Living Our Catholic Faith”; presided by Most Rev. Angel Lagdameo, D.D., Archbishop of Jaro, Panay, with Most Rev. Patricio Buzon, D.D., Bishop of Kabankalan, Negros, as preacher; Coro de San Jacinto of Tuguegarao served as Choir on Days 1 and 2. On Day 3 - Votive Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary at Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome with the theme “Proclaiming Our Catholic Faith”; presided by Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila, with Most Rev. Orlando Quevedo, D.D. Archbishop of Cotabato, as preacher, and University of the Visayas Chorale as Choir. The recitation of the Holy Rosary preceded every Mass. On the eve of the Canonization, there was Solemn Vigil at Chiesa di Santa Pudenziana in Via Urbana 160, Rome where personal testimonies and film showing about St. Pedro Calungsod preceded the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Liturgy of the Word, Examination of Conscience, Confessions and Holy Rosary and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It was presided by Most Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle, D.D. with Mandaue Children and Youth Chorus as Choir. On the Canonization Day, the Holy Mass and Canonization Rite were held at Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City presided by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI with the Sistine Chapel Choir singing during the ceremony. Filipinos from the Philippines, North America, South America, Asia, New Zealand and Australia flew to Vatican while those from Europe came in bus loads to personally witness the canonization of the second Filipino saint. Waiving big and small Philippine flags, the Filipinos braved the cold early morning breeze to camp at the St. Peter’s Square as early as 3 a.m. to get the choicest spot; they did not mind the glare and heat of the
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
sun during the ceremony; they continuously applaud and chant the name of St. Pedro Calungsod until cautioned to stop; joyfully and happily walked together along Via Conciliazione exchanging experiences brought about by the Canonization Rite while sharing foods and souvenirs, another occasion when Filipinos get united. God has a way of uniting our countrymen. Watching the sea of people who attended the canonization rite, one can definitely say that almost 85% of them are Filipinos from all over the world. In the evening of Canonization Day, there was Solemn Vespers of Saint Pedro Calungsod at Chiesa di Santa Pudenziana in Via Urbana 160, Rome presided by Most Rev. Jose Palma, D.D., Archbishop of Cebu, with Mandaue Children and Youth Chorus as Choir. The Solemn Procession of the Image of Saint Pedro Calungsod around the vicinity of the Chiesa di Santa Pudenziana followed right after the Solemn Vespers The day after the Canonization, Thanksgiving Day was celebrated with a Votive Mass of Saint Pedro Calungsod at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City with the theme “Our Vocation to Sanctity”; presided by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, with Most Rev. Anthony Apuron, D.D., Archbishop of Agaña, Guam, as preacher, and the Mandaue Children Youth Chorus as Choir. *** The image of St. Pedro Calungsod that was brought to Vatican City during the Canonization will go to the different Archdioceses and Dioceses; this is called “Duaw-Nasud” or Nation Visit. The parishioners of the Diocese of Kalookan are advised that the image will be at San Roque Cathedral on November 7 and will stay overnight only. *** I am very proud of our parish San Ildefonso de Navotas, in giving due reverence to our St. Pedro Calungsod. Our parish priest Fr. Jerome Cruz declared all Sunday Masses on Canonization Day as special Masses. Procession of the image of St. Pedro Calungsod in all the streets of the parish followed after the 6pm Mass. Several parishioners joined the procession. The life of St. Pedro Calungsod was enacted by the parish youth. *** Congratulations to His Excellency Most Rev. Rolando Tria Tirona, O.C.D., D.D. on his installation and canonical possession as the new Archbishop of Caceres on November 14, Feast of all Carmelite Saints, at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist; he takes over Most Rev. Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi, O.P., D.D. *** Calling on all members of the Special Ministers of the Word and Worship Ministry of the Diocese of Kalookan. The Renewal Seminar will be on November 10 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. James Academy, Malabon City. *** Happy Birthday to my sisterin-law Baby Santiago; also to Fr. Ildefonso de Guzman of the Diocese of Kalookan. Congratulations to Fr. Nestor Fajardo and the parishioners of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Tugatog, Malabon City on their 52nd Foundation Day.
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
ALLAN sneaked behind his ten-year-old nephew who was busy typing something in the computer. He wanted to surprise him with a ninja Lego action figure he had bought for him at the mall. This was supposed to be a reward for being the number one in their class for the previous quarter. It was also the last Lego piece that Ritchie coveted so much to complete his collection. “BOO!!!” he shouted. He was, however, surprised when Ritchie simply turned around as though he hadn’t heard anything. In fact, he hadn’t. Allan disappointedly realized too late! His nephew was wearing his tiny earphones. [GRRR...SIGH!] But Allan recovered immediately. His second card wasn’t yet wasted. Surely the boy didn’t know what he was about to reward him with. “Hi, ehr... hullo, Ritch!” he greeted him awkwardly. “Hello, uncle Allan!” his nephew removed his ‘surprise-spoiling’ earphones. “Guess what?” “What?” Ritchie’s eyes were suddenly filled with excitement. “You have three chances and I will finally tell you,” he tried to build up the suspense. [BEEP...BEEP...BEEP!] “Oh, ‘xcuse me
stretch...?” “Never mind...I was just thinking aloud. Anyways, what’s your ‘faith-status’ today?” “Oh, that’s suppose to be only for Teacher Tessy to know,” Ritchie clarified. “Okay! But what’s the topic for the week then?” “We’re all going through the Creed thingy, one by one, reviewing it and she would give us advice on how to live each topic. For this week we are on following Jesus’ love by sacrifice.” “I get it!” Allan said, trying not to sound bored. “It’s like a spiritual diary that you keep for this Year of the Faith.” “Well, teacher Tessy said something ‘bout that,” Ritchie scratched his head. “But for now all we have to do is our ‘faith-status”. “Well, how many ‘faith-status’ updates have you made?” “Since October 11, when the Year of Faith started, I guess every day up to now,” the boy replied proudly. “Wow, I wonder how long you guys can keep this thing up,” Allan was quite skeptical. “And you, uncle Allan...are you doing anything for the Year of the Faith?” “Wait a minute, I’m not even part of your
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uncle, that must be teacher Tessy.” Ritchie seemed to have completely forgotten about his surprise and attended to the computer. [GROAN!] “Not another technological interference, pleeeease!” Allan said under his breath and tried not to lose his cool. [CLICK, CLICK, CLICK...] Ritchie typed lengthily on the keyboard. “What was that all about, Ritch?” “It’s our project called FaithBook!” he excitedly said. “You mean, FaceBook?” “No, Faith-Book,” his nephew corrected him. “What’s a Faithbook, Ritch?” “Did you know, uncle Allan that we just started with the Year of Faith?” “Year of Faith? Yeh, kinda heard that...,” he tried to hide his yawn. “...so that’s why we have our project called FaithBook.” “So how does that work, dude?” “Teacher Tessy has a weekly topic that she wants us to work on daily. And we try our best to send her our ‘faith status’ as a reply to the topic.” “Faith status? Isn’t that stretching it a bit too far?” “I guess so...,” Ritchie didn’t understand what his uncle said. “What do you mean
Juan Rep. JV Ejercito, Nancy Binay, Margarita Cojuangco, Bam Aquino and Cynthia Villar. The Oblate missionary said the numbers of political dynasties is even more “shocking” in other regions, provinces, municipalities and including barangays. “The political dynasty is everywhere – north to south and east to west of the archipelago,” he lamented. “Notwithstanding the campaign against political dynasty looks very quixotic, I shall continue… a sort of voice in the desert! And it is refreshing that I’m not the only one,” said Mercado. The priest asked the public to make a list a political dynasty in the local level. “There is no judgment whether they are good or bad… we simply identify who they are… We serve notice to them that we, the people or voters, would CATHOLIC churches are hitting back in the fight against theft that is increasing in Metro Manila. Many churches have already started installing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in a bid to address thefts inside churches. In the Diocese of Cubao alone, some parishes have been fitted with CCTV cameras to ensure close monitoring of their vicinities. “CCTV cameras are really helpful. In fact, some of our churches already have CCTVs at least in the convents and some important areas,” said Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco told churchrun Radio Veritas. “It’s necessary so that in case something happened, you can easily make a review
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Vol. 16 No. 23
Priest launches online campaign vs political dynasty
A CATHOLIC priest has launched a Facebook campaign against political dynasties ahead of next year’s national elections. Fr. Jun Mercado, a known peace advocate in Mindanao, said it is high time that voters show their commitment against dynasty in both national and local politics. “If we don’t act, we mean we consent to dynastic rule in the country,” Mercado said. The priest started his advocacy in his facebook fan page “Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI” last Oct. 24, hoping that more people would support his “virtual crusade against political dynasty.” In the page, he identified eight senatorial candidates with ties to political dynasties. They are Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, San
Grabbed photo from www.facebook.com
Churches install CCTVs to combat theft
and identify the perpetrators,” he said. The bishop was reacting to the Quezon City government’s “No CCTV, no business permit policy” which takes effect in January 2013 to prevent and resolve crimes. Ongtioco believes the new policy could help a lot to address increasing incidents of crime within the city but to make it mandatory is another issue. “To make it a requirement is another big issue. It should be discussed. It’s a good measure but then the important question is can everyone afford it especially those with small business,” he said. Churches in the country are among the common targets of thieves who are after old bells and antique religious icons. (RL/CBCPNews)
Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI
no longer tolerate political dynasty,” he added. “We shall not wait anymore for Congress to legislate against political dynasty. We believe that Congress is the prime example of political dynasty. We need only to name them,” Mercado said. (RL/CBCPNews)
Youth assembly focuses on true discipleship
THE Diocese of Parañaque held its annual diocesan youth assembly focusing on the call to discipleship. More than 1,200 young people participated in the 6th diocesan youth day also known as the Mission Possible assembly held at the Lyceum AlabangMain Campus last October 27. Themed “Winika ni Maria, ang puso ko’y nagpupuri sa Panginoon!” (Luke 1:46), the assembly aimed to bring the youth together to share their experiences and learn from each other on how Jesus Christ walks with them in their journey of faith, hope and love, with Mother Mary as the perfect example of a disciple.
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Death penalty won’t solve heinous crimes―bishop
THE Catholic Church remains firm on its stand against death penalty amid calls to revive the capital punishment in the wake of a gruesome murder incident in Cavite. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo thumbed down proposals to resurrect death penalty, saying that it will not prevent criminals from committing heinous crimes.
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“Death penalty is definitely not the solution to it,” Pabillo said. The bishop stressed that death penalty is a risky policy in a country where the justice system is facing serious challenges and has to undergo reform. “We all know what happens with the death penalty, those who are punished with it are the poor and not the
real perpetrators,” said Pabillo. “It’s because the real problem lies with our justice system,” he added. The death of 20-year old Cyrish Magalang, who was found to have been stabbed 49 times in Bacoor City recently, has spurred renewed calls for the reimposition of the death penalty.
The head of Magalang, a tourism cum laude graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, was also smashed almost beyond recognition. Two men who have confessed their involvement in Magalang’s death are already in police custody. The suspects, who authorities said are brothers, also admitted to taking illegal drugs. (RL/CBCPNews)
Peter Pardo, the diocesan youth coordinator, introduced Pedro Calungsod to the youth through his talk, wherein he discussed on the life and mission of the 2nd Filipino saint. The event culminated with a holy mass celebrated by Fr. Jeff Manlapig, the diocesan youth director. In his homily, the youth director stressed that the youth day challenges participants to live and share the faith in the same manner that Mary and Pedro Calungsod lived theirs. He also pointed out that the youth also needs to share the mission of preaching the Gospel to everyone and be a witness to it. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews)
SPLXIII is led by Mr. David G. Bell, “a schismatic group not recognized in anyway by the Catholic Church.” He said that the bishops ordained in the RCSPLXIII “cannot exercise any ministry within the Catholic Church, which does not recognize their ordination.” “All organizations and associations connected with the Society must be regarded in the same manner as other non Catholic institutions are,” said Gabor. “Furthermore, since Mr. Bell has committed the crime of schism, all who have received ordination from him have incurred, for their part, the sanction prescribed by can. 1364 of the CIC: that is excommunication latae sententiae,” he said.
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Gabor said that the same considerations are also extended to the ICAB, a schismatic community founded by Mr. Carlos Duarte Costa, who died in 1961, and was succeeded by Mr. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendes, who in turn passed away in 2009. In the Philippines, a certain Sacred Cruces Franciscanum (Sacred Cross Franciscans), an offshoot of the ICAB, is present in at least three dioceses. The SCF is currently headed by Mr. Rogelio del Rosario Martinez, who according to Gabor, has tried to integrate himself into the CBCP and to enroll his community to the Catholic Directory of the Philippines.
Msgr. Joselito Asis, CBCP secretary general, said all the dioceses were already notified about the matter although SCF members are only present within the Dioceses of Malolos, Novaliches and Antipolo. A schismatic is one who separates himself from the unity of the Church by refusing to submit to the Pope or those under him according to the hierarchy of the Church. Regardless of adherence to every other law of the Church, rejection of the pontiff is cause to be named schismatic. Schism, according to the canon law, is one of the offenses that a carry a penalty of automatic excommunication. (RL/CBCPNews)
Filipinos, but an approachable agent of divine assistance. “More than praying like adoration… we keep on asking,” Cardinal Vidal explained. The approachable saint In some ways, the saint’s undeniable online presence has made him seem more like a family member than a saint cast in plaster. A post made by Alvin S. Martinez posted last October 28 reads: “Kuya Saint Pedro Calungsod, naka 1 week ka nang santo. Magpa-burjer ka naAti/ A1
man! (Big brother St. Pedro Calungsod, you’ve been a saint for a week now. Treat us to a burger!)” It was posted together with a photo of a jumbo-sized burger. Other posts seem to simply revel in the introduction of the St. Pedro as the newest divine hall of famer, as seen in Crystal Catalan’s post a mere 5 hours ago, “Our St. Pedro Calungsod as a Happy Saint. Pray for us!” Updates and tweets can also be followed on St. Pedro’s official Twitter account, www.twitter.com/spcalungsod. (Nirva'ana Ella Delacruz)
“We remain steadfast in our position: the poor does not stand to gain anything from contraceptive use. Poverty cannot be solved—neither fully nor partially—by contraceptive use and its promotion,” Reyes stressed. Fund farmers, fishermen’s needs With 3 billion earmarked for birth control supplies and services, pro life groups pointed out, the money is better off used to benefit the poor by funding livelihood programs. In a recent forum held in Pasay City, Rey Echavez M.D. said that billions are being poured into the purchase and distribution of contraceptives, many of which have been proven harmful to women. Rather, “it ought to be used for other purposes like subsidizing poor farmers by giving them seeds and fertilizers for their crops. Then give fingerlings of bangus and tilapia or other fish to the fishermen… or even fishponds,” he said during a forum organized by the Knights of Columbus Council 4267 and held at Sta. Clara
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de Montefalco Parish. Supporters of the bill contend that providing contraceptive supplies and services to the poor will address the country’s poverty problem and empower women. But the Church said the push for contraception is nothing but a form of population control. Among the other speakers during the forum was Defensores Fidei Foundation staff apologist Atty. Marwil Llasos, who tackled the legal aspect of the RH bill. Llasos, a senatorial candidate under the Ang Kapatiran Party, pointed out that there is no substantial change in the substitute bill proposed by HB 4244 sponsor Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. “There is no substantial change in the subsitute RH bill. The objectionable provisions are actually still there,” he said. The lawyer also expressed concern for the power granted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the measure to approve contraceptives and to determine which are to be considered “essential medicines.” The FDA counterpart in the US
has given its stamp of approval to harmful medicines and devices, including some that have been shown to cause death even before such medicines and devices were given FDA approval. “This power given to the FDA to approve contraceptives is dangerous,” Llasos said. Jose Descallar, pro-life advocacy staff of Ang Buhay Partylist, was among the speakers who explained the population issues, showing even more clearly why the RH bill ought not to be enacted into law. Prayers― best weapon vs RH Meanwhile, on Nov. 12, Marian devotees and pro-life organizations will once again uphold their best weapon against the proposed reproductive health (RH) bill— prayers. Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes said it will be an occasion for all the faithful to unite in prayer of the rosary to pave the way for the nonpassage of the RH bill. “Let this be an occasion for Marian devotees and Prolifers to unite in the prayer
of the Holy Rosary to ask the Lord for the graces to continue and persevere in the unending work of service to the most helpless of God’s creations, the unborn baby,” Reyes said. “Let us offer our prayers and sacrifices in reparation for the countless abortions committed against innocent human life which wound the consciences of those who participate in this unspeakable crime,” he said. The gathering, which will be held at the Nuestra Señora de Guia Parish Church in Ermita, Manila at 5 p.m., is also a celebration of the 9th anniversary of Rosary for Life in the Philippines. Rosary for Life is a worldwide and voluntary association of Christian faithful to promote respect for the life of the unborn by means for praying the rosary. It was in 2003 when the group was introduced in the Philippines. Since then, they actively initiated programs to raise awareness about abortion and the negative effects of the RH bill. (with reports from Diana Uichanco and Roy Lagarde)
However, despite pleas from the Atis, the armed group proceeded with the demolition. The demolition only stopped when some tribesmen together with Fr. Arnold Crisostomo and the police arrived at the scene. Meanwhile, a recent article from a Manila daily reported the plans of Crown Regency Beach Resort President and CEO Richard King to put up an oceanarium, construct several teambuilding facilities, amphitheater for animal shows, among others. King also stated in the article that he was doing
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all those things for the sake of tourism. The Ati Community in Boracay wanted to know the true intention and real involvement of Mr. Richard King of Crown Regency Boracay and Fuente Development Corporation in the building of this “boracay adventure park” on their 2.1 hectare ancestral domain. The Social Action News Team tried to get the reaction of the Crown Regency Beach Resort on the matter, however, no one wanted to entertain their questions. (SocialActionNews with reports from Melanie Reyes and Jandel Posion)
believer,” the archbishop said. “We are all invited to renew our faith. We shouldn’t be ashamed of knowing God. Let’s show it because we are called to share his message with everyone,” he added. In his pastoral letter, Tagle said that the Year of Faith is an invitation for Catholics to “study again the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church that is its fruit in order to rediscover the vitality of the faith we have inherited.” “Aside from celebrating Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Year of Faith invites us to look closely at the contemporary world,
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its beauty and wounds,” he added. “The continuity of the Church through ages allows various forms of renewal. The Church receives, celebrates and lives the faith in different historical settings with their unique demands and challenges,” Tagle also said. Benedict XVI has recently named Tagle along with five others from Lebanon, Nigeria, Colombia, India and the United States as new cardinals. The prelates are scheduled to be elevated to the College of Cardinals during a consistory on Nov. 24, at the Vatican. Aged 55, Tagle is presently the world’s second youngest cardinal. (CBCPNews)
for being transparent, accountable and good. “Passing the FOI law now will reinforce the political statement that the fight against corruption applies equally to all. It will no doubt make a difference in the landscape of the anti-corruption efforts of government, which used to put political survival at the forefront while key measures are made to wait in order to manage politics. We will not accept a non-passage of the FOI bill in the 15th Congress!,” the coalition said. In this capital city of Northern Mindanao, meanwhile, the Archdiocesan Center of Concern, Empowerment and Social Services of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro (ACCESS-ACDO) is organizing a back-to-back forum on FOI and Cybercrime Prevention Act on Nov. 16. “The forum aims to highlight the Cagayan de Oro communities’ clamor for FOI and the opposition against Republic Act 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which, much to our surprise and disappointment, was approved first and faster than the promised and long-overdue FOI law under the watch of President Benigno Aquino III,” said Archbishop Antonio
J. Ledesma, S.J. Ledesma said that passage of the FOI will institutionalize transparency, accountability and good governance in all levels of government. “The absence of a specific FOI law continues to stifle transparency, accountability and good governance both at the national and local levels. Here in Cagayan de Oro City alone, the local government has not been transparent and honest on the effects of mining to the city’s environment despite scientific evidence pointing to continued mining operations in Cagayan de Oro’s hinterlands exacerbated tropical storm Sendong’s impact. On a related issue, the local government continues to ignore public demand for official accounting of all the funds/donations it received for the rehabilitation and support for Sendong’s survivors. Given the situation, the organizers came together to highlight the importance of FOI to improve the lives of community, especially those who were yet to recover from Sendong’s effects,” he stressed. FOI advocates, led by R2KRN said that they can no longer wait for the next Congress to pass the FOI law.
“Time is of the essence to maximize the FOI law’s full potential in fighting corruption and ingraining the culture of transparency and accountability in government. If we again wait for the next Congress to pass the FOI law, there would be very limited time to ensure its proper and effective implementation that we hope an anti-corruption administration can ensure. One key lesson from anti-corruption efforts is that we are weakest in implementation,” said R2KRN Coalition’s statement signed by various personalities led by R2KRN Coalition Co-convenor lawyer Nepomuceno Malaluan. FOI advocates will conduct a peaceful assembly in Mendiola on November 12 to urge “President Aquino as well as the leaders and members of the Senate and House of Representatives, to honor their promise to pass the Freedom of Information Act.” They said that what is needed at this time is for President Aquino to have the political will to act on his promises to pass the FOI law to bolster his campaign promise to institute a good, transparent and accountable government under his watch. (Bong D. Fabe)
tigated, because they have known that the people there were civilians as the place and the farmhouse is visible,” Lacal said. “May this occasion urge the government to seriously take action on behalf of the indigenous people and other sectors who are oppose to mining for this will wantonly damage the environment which we all hailed to be sacred and also damages the future resource for our children’s children,” he said. Last Nov. 5, the 39th Infantry Battalion officially replaced the military unit tagged in the Tampakan “massacre”.
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The soldiers who were directly involved in the incident were also relieved from their post while waiting for the result of the court martial proceedings. But several anti-mining and human rights groups lamented that replacing the military unit only indicates that military activities in the area will remain to protect the interest of the mining companies. AMRSP played a crucial role during the Martial Law years when it opened the doors of its seminaries and convents to provide refuge to victims of human rights. (RL/CBCPNews)
“This is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.” (1 Jn 5,4) The final victory cannot be in any other. Evangelization therefore can be a very demanding task, because it frowns upon any attempt to make short-cuts that can achieve a certain degree of efficiency and convenience, but can sacrifice the demands, especially the finer demands of charity. It demands nothing less than truly internalizing our faith, making it flesh of our flesh, so to speak, so that everything is viewed and understood always in terms of our faith and not just of our reasoning, no matter how brilliantly logical and appealing our reasoning may be. But it’s also an easy task, because first of all there’s God’s grace that is never wanting. And we are already given all the means to make this evangelization ever new and fresh, ever relevant and
effective.We have the doctrine now well articulated and systematized. We have the sacraments, etc. What is needed is our correspondence that is supposed to be generous and unstinting. In this regard, it would be good that those who occupy positions of great influence in our society—our politicians, teachers, people in media, celebrities, etc.—be well formed in their Christian faith and give consistent witness to it, not scandal. The effort to highlight the original and perennial link between faith and reason should be made always. The modern mind, immersed in reasoning, the sciences and technology, needs to see and be convinced of this connection. Those more intellectually gifted should lead the way in doing this—of course, in all humility, lest they repel instead of attract others.
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November 5 - 18, 2012
successor of WMC, came, trouble started,” Gutierrez said. Besides this bloody incident, he said there is now a brewing war between tribal groups B’laans of Brgy. Bong Mal and B’laans of Atmorok. “SMI (Sagittarius Mines Inc.) decided to relocate the B’laans of Brgy. Bong Mal to Atmorok. These two communities have bad blood between them,” he said. According to the bishop, majority of the B’laans want the military out of their ancestral land. “They also want Sagittarius Mines, Inc. to respect their ancestral land, human rights, customary laws and traditional rich cultures. They want SMI to stop the project,” said Gutierrez. The bishop made the statement following a military operation in Davao del Sur, which left the wife and two children of an anti-mining tribal leader dead. The military claimed that there was an encounter with the armed group of Daguil and the communities opposed to mining. The bishop, however, said that those who witnessed the incident claimed, “There was no exchange of firing.” “We strongly condemned the killings of innocent civilians, especially children, by the military,” he said. The prelate urged the government to investigate how the military operations to capture B’laan anti-mining activist Daguil Capion left his wife and two kids dead. He particularly called on the Commission on Human Rights, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Government to conduct a “thorough, factual, speedy and objective” probe on the incident. (RL/CBCPNews)
Mining triggers ‘trouble’ in Tampakan
MARBEL, S. Cotabato—Copper and gold mining project has fueled resentment and hostility in what used to be ‘peaceful’ communities in South Cotabato and Davao del Sur, a Catholic bishop said. Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said that the mining operation in Tampakan has become an acute source of tension as well as violent conflict affecting indigenous peoples. “Way forward. Before the entrance of Western Mining Corporation in 1995, there was relative peace in Tampakan When Sagittarius/Sxtrata/Indophils,
Photo courtesy of CBCP-NASSA
Mining operations in Tampakan has spawned conflict between tribal groups of the B'laans. Photo shows some members of the B'laan community setting up barricade in their area.
OFW’s children unveil first art exhibit in Davao
DAVAO City—Capturing both still-life and real images, around 30 children of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) showcased to the public their first ever art exhibit which mirrors their portrayal of families detached due to the harsh realities of parents working abroad. Staging their art gallery forum with the theme ‘Unveiling Stories through Angles and Strokes,’ the children’s artworks are borne from the Communicators Development Training and Mentoring organized by the Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions, Inc. (MMCEAI), a Davao City-based nongovernment organization that promotes the welfare of migrant workers as well as their families. The exhibit was unveiled at one p.m. Oct. 29 at the Davao Episcopal Mission Center, Royal Pines, Matina, this city. Inorisa Sialana-Elento, MMCEAI executive director, said the exhibit culminates the training held sometime in September for school-based OFW children. “Our program “Building Capacities and Creating Opportunities for ANAK OFWs” employs undertakings that provide avenues for children of migrants to ventilate their voices and aspirations by enhancing their skills through their various crafts in arts,” SialanaElento said. In partnership with other institutions, MMCEAI taps the role of children of OFWs in shaping local policies and initiatives that aim to strengthen families of OFWs in the city as well as in other parts in Mindanao. Most of the artworks are the products of children enrolled in different schools in the city which MMCEAI has institutional partnership programs, said Sialana-Elento. A total of 29 schoolbased ANAK OFWs from Davao City participated and successfully completed the training through the following art disciplines: visual arts, photography, radio broadcasting and writing. MMCEAI is a rightsbased non-government organization assisting distressed migrants, their families and communities in the key center cities in the Davao region. (Rick Flores/ CBCPNews)
Marian talks, quiz bee highlight diocesan youth day
CABANATUAN City—The Diocese of Cabanatuan held its annual diocesan youth day focusing on Mother Mary. More than 1,300 young people participated in the Marian Youth Day (MYD) held at the Maria Assumpta Seminary Auditorium last October 29. Themed “Maria, Kaagapay at Kalakbay ng mga Kabataan sa Kabanalan,” the MYD aimed at instilling in the hearts of young people in the diocese a true devotion to the Blessed Mother by knowing her more through the Scriptures, Church traditions and teachings, and her virtues. (Jandel Posion)
Laoag youth launches Year of Faith
LAOAG City—The diocesan commission on youth (DYC) of Laoag diocese opened the Year of Faith during the Diocesan Youth Leader’s Assembly (DYLA) held at St. John Bosco Parish in Dingras, Ilocos Norte last October 26-28. More than 200 youth leaders attended several workshops were they traced their own faith journey and made simple modules for youth catechism classes. A tree planting activity took place in the nearby dam to end the assembly. The event culminated with a send-off mass celebrated by parish priest Fr. Lawrence Torreflores. (Mark Vertido/YPNews)
Environmental group urges PHL to declare GMOs unsafe
Boac diocese ends Year of Mission
BOAC, Marinduque—The Diocese of Boac in Marinduque officially ended its year-long celebration of the Year of Pontifical Mission with a mission assembly attended by 200 lay brothers at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Boac, last October 20. Fr. Ian Retardo, Boac’s diocesan mission director of Boac said the mission assembly was a gathering of lay brothers from different organizations within the diocese. “The objectives of the assembly was to gather and enhance the camaraderie and unity of our lay brothers, opening their understanding and commitment in the mission of the Church as baptized Christians and living and sharing the experience to Christ and to others,” Retardo said. He said it is a known fact that women are the most active members of the Church so the assembly had only men as participants to entice them to participate more actively in Church activities. Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) National Director Fr. Socrates Mesiona, MSP, was one of the guest speakers at the event. Aside from giving input about the PMS, Mesiona also talked about the significant role of man in the Church. Retardo for his part discussed the topic of faith, echoing a talk from Fr. James Kroeger about integral faith as informative, transformative and performative.
Spaces of Hope / A5
CAGAYAN DE ORO City—The international environment group Greenpeace has urged the Aquino administration, specifically the Department of Agriculture, to declare genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) as unsafe as it only harm the environment and public health as well as promote agricultural monopoly by giant agro-chemical companies. Greenpeace made the appeal following the Supreme Court of India’s landmark unanimous decision ordering a 10-year moratorium on all field trials of GM Bt food crops due to serious safety concerns. (Bong Fabe)
Youth commission dedicates an institution to St. Calungsod
Members of various men organizations in the Diocese of Boac participate in an assembly that culminated the diocesan celebration of the Year of Pontifical Mission Societies.
LAOAG City—Inspired by the 2nd Filipino Saint Pedro Calungsod, the Diocesan Youth Commission (DYC) of the Diocese of Laoag dedicated an institution to the newly canonized saint. Named San Pedro Calungsod Institute for the Young (SPCIY), the institute aims to form and mobilize the young to be missionaries for the New Evangelization. “SPCIY will serve as a venue for the young and the youth ministers of the diocese to grow in the ministry. It will also be a place to develop their God-given talents and use these in reaching out to fellow youth in any forms as new missionaries to the world,” it said. “It will also continue and will make sure that formation among the youth and the youth ministers of the diocese remains relevant and up-to-date.” (Mark Vertido/Jandel Posion)
“Informative is an integral faith in our mind, transformative is a faith in our heart and performative is a faith in our hands. Mission demands committed faith as well as demands committed mission. The 2nd Filipino Saint Pedro Calungsod is a perfect example of integral faith,” he explained. The culminating activity of the Year of Pontifical Mission also opened the diocesan celebration of the Year of Faith, which was launched on October 21, the second day of the assembly. Boac Bishop Reynaldo Gonda Evangelista in his homily commended the participants and urged them to revitalize their faith and continue to be active
in service to the Church. He also invited the congregation from different parishes to rediscover the content of faith and be an active missionary for the Church. Evangelista asked for the active participation of the clergy in giving adult catechism, to be diligent in giving confessions and the parishioners to be active in bible sharing and values formation. The prelate also encouraged everyone to go to mass daily to foster greater faith and to join all the activities of the diocese for the year of faith. He also designated the pilgrim churches within the diocese. (Jandel Posion)
Pontifical Mission Society
Along The Way / A4
homesickness”—tambal sa kamingaw—for OFWs with Cebuano as mother tongue. Not a few from other regions joined. From a handful of members, mostly priests and religious sisters, the group has expanded to serve as companions in Rome for the cause of Pedro Calungsod as well as provide as mutual support for members. It introduced the Sinulog in Rome and, when Pedro was beatified in 5 March 2000, its members were actively involved in the preparations and actual celebrations. I was not there for Pedro’s beatification. Twelve years later, however, Beato Pedro made sure his Kaabay (often shortened to Bay or “travelling companion”) made it to Rome and back. I witnessed for the first time in my life the solemn grandeur of the canonization rites. At first glance the lack of information about other aspects of Pedro’s life can be disconcerting, until one sees some deep lessons from his life for Filipinos and for humanity. San Pedro strikes me for his simplicity. There are not many layers to venerating him, no long-standing legends ascribed to him. His statue is not even “dressed up” for the occasion. He is an ordinary teenager who
makes life-changing choices for God and the Church. But he is also a dear and loyal friend, a companion to a martyr-priest who remains with the latter during his bleakest moment. Bay is an apt term to refer to the new saint. As Cardinal-designate Luis Antonio Tagle points out, there are “friendships” between individuals based on common interests, between politicians to increase votes, between businessmen to increase profits, etc. Padre Diego and Pedro were friends based on their solid commitment to Christ and to the Church. It was a friendship to bring souls to God. They had encountered the person of Christ and the horizons of their lives were built upon this encounter. *** Benedict XVI adds a third quality to the new saint: Pedro gives “witness to Christ by a life of purity and dedication to the Gospel…and this made him resolute in accepting martyrdom.” It is not easy to be a young person nowadays. Youth experts tell us that the youth sub-culture changes once every three years. While my generation talked about the mid-life crisis, today’s generation has the first-quarter crises; people in their 20s searching for meaning in life. It is difficult to make lasting
commitments in our virtual world and many young people today are confused about their identities. San Pedro had a solid Christian identity and formation. He made a commitment that he kept by God’s grace. I would like to imagine him as olive skinned, a tad short, perhaps even a little chubby with a ready whistling tune to lighten up their heavy missionary load with Padre Diego. I would like to think of Pedro as masculine without being grim or somber. Yes, my heart leaps with joy at the Dodong Pedro’s canonization. *** After the gospel is proclaimed in both Latin and Greek, Benedict XVI begins his homily: “The Son of Man came to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Mk 10:45)…On this third Sunday of October, on which we celebrate World Mission Sunday, the Church listens to them with special attention and renews her conviction that she should always be fully dedicated to serve mankind and the Gospel, after the example of the One who gave himself up even to the sacrifice of his life…” Mark 10:45 had been my ordination gospel 22 years ago. What I did not realize then is that this call to serve
and to be modern-day missionaries is really addressed to the Filipinos people as a whole. Benedict XVI continues: Pedro Calungsod was born around the year 1654, in the Visayas region of the Philippines. His love for Christ inspired him to train as a catechist with the Jesuit missionaries there…He died on the April 2nd 1672. Witnesses record that Pedro could have fled for safety but chose to stay at Father Diego’s side. The priest was able to give Pedro absolution before he himself was killed. May the example and courageous witness of Pedro Calungsod inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the Kingdom bravely and to win souls for God! The Pope gives a variation on a theme of his predecessor. In a 19 April 2004 meeting with John Paul II, Philippine ambassador to the Vatican, Leonida L. Vera, recalls the words of the Pope: “The Philippines is truly a ‘light’ for the evangelization of the Asian continent.” It was at this part of the homily—when Benedict XVI was referring to San Pedro—when Neil’s video clip became strangely different. It had a mysterious glow in it. I am glad he did not delete it.
new methods of evangelization which are essential in forming new BECs or for revitalizing old BECs that have reached a maintenance mode and are becoming stagnant. Proposition 25: (Urban Scenarios for New Evangelization). “Putting in practice an urban pastoral plan, the Church wants to identify and understand those experiences, languages and styles of life, that are typical of urban societies. She intends to render her liturgical celebrations, her experiences of communitarian life, and her exercise of charity, relevant to the urban context, in order to incarnate the Gospel in the life of all citizens.” Most of the earliest BECs were formed in the rural areas. There were impressions that BECs are only suitable for rural areas and will not thrive in urban areas. This proposition affirms the need to make the Church’s “experience of communitarian life” relevant to the urban context. “Communitarian life” may refer to the BECs that need to be formed in the urban context. But the forms of BECs and the methods of forming these should be suited to the urban
Whatever / A5
context. This means avoiding methods and forms that may be suitable for the rural areas but not in the urban areas. In Proposition 26 (Parishes and other ecclesial realities), the parish and small communities (SCCs/BECs) are called to be “living cells” for “personal and communitarian encounter with Christ.” The various aspects of the life of the parish and BECs are mentioned: liturgy, initial and permanent Christian formation, fraternity and charity especially towards the poor. Proposition 42 (Integrated Pastoral Activity) affirms the primary role of the particular church—the diocese—as a missionary community. The SCCs (BECs) are mentioned as components of the particular church—including the parishes, educational communities, religious communities, lay organizations and renewal movements—that need to engage in dialogue and cooperation to carry out the missionary project of new evangelization. Thus, these propositions show that in the formation and revitalization of BECs, new evangelization is indeed necessary. At the same time, BECs are agents of new evangelization.
class, dude, so don’t count me in!” he quipped. “But it’s for all of us Catholics and even Christians,” Rtichie replied. “So what do you suggest?” “Like do you remember your Baptism day?” “Uh… Sorry dude, I’ve got senior moments now…,” Allan started feeling uneasy. “What about your First Communion day, uncle Allan?” “Well, yuh know… I’m not really that much into religion now….” “But don’t you want to go to Heaven?” [Ooops!] “Hey, you’re beginning to sound like a priest I know.” “But that’s important, isn’t it?” Ritchie could not seem to understand his uncle’s replies. “Hey, I…ehrr… I got something for you,” Allan brings out the Lego figure and gives it to his nephew. “Wow! Thank you uncle Allan. The boy hugged him.” “At least there’s still something of a boy in you,” he joked as he messed up the boy’s hair. “For a moment I thought
I was talking to an angel.” “How did you guess, uncle Allan?” “Guess what?” “That this was my ‘faith-status’ for today.” “What…?” now Allan was the one confused. “I told Jesus in Mass yesterday, that when my ninja Lego set was complete I was going to donate it to the children’s orphanage!” “That’s your ‘faith-status’ today?” “YES!!!” Ritchie’s face beamed with joy! “…you’re welcome dude,” Allan smiled pensively. *** “Bless me Father, for I have sinned…,” Allan paused for some seconds. “Yes my son, go on…,” the priest said. “My last… ah… I just wanted to give you my ‘faith status’.” “Faith-status?” the priest asked. “Yes… it’s almost fifteen years since I last went to confession!” “Is that so, my son?” “Yes, Father.” “Very well, welcome home!” the priest encouragingly said.
People, Facts & Places
November 5 - 18, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 23
Cardinal reveals challenges to Calungsod’s sainthood
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
THE path to sainthood is hardly lined with roses. According to Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the case for St. Pedro Calungsod’s sainthood was beset by questions over his actual existence and motivation for martyrdom. Was Calungsod real? “Did he really exist? Because the Church does not beatify ghosts!” Cardinal Vidal said in an interview, quoting authorities from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints when presented with Calungsod’s case for the first time. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which is directly under the Roman Curia, is the body that takes charge of the beatification and canonization of saints and all the steps in between. The dearth of documents mentioning the young martyr created the burden of proving Calungsod’s factual existence since work on his beatification started in 1986. For Jesus or for friendship? Another point of contention was St. Pedro’s motivation for martyrdom. “Did he die for the priest or for Jesus?” Cardinal Vidal recalled one more question posed against Calungsod. According to Cardinal Vidal, expert advice from a psychologist who studied what little is known of Calungsod cleared the point, saying, “On pain of imminent death, the motivation is always Jesus, not friendship.” Calungsod is probably most known for the circumstances of his death in 1672 when he was speared to death together with
Saint Pedro’s image back in PH
DESPITE heavy rains, Filipinos still gave a warm welcome as the official image of Saint Pedro Calungsod arrived in Manila on October 25. Hundreds of people waving Calungsod and national flags welcomed the statue upon its arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport around 4 p.m. from Rome. The three-foot tall wooden image of Calungsod was being carried by Fr. Charles Jayme, the official custodian of the statue. The official pilgrim image was flown to the Vatican for the canonization of Calungsod, the second Filipino saint, last October 21. From the airport, the image was brought via a motorcade to the University of Santo Tomas in España, Manila for an overnight stay at the UST’s Santisimo Rosario Parish Church. The statue visited some dioceses in Metro Manila before it proceeded to visit other provinces in Northern Luzon down to the Bicol region. From Luzon, the image will also visit different dioceses in Visayas and Mindanao. On Nov. 27, the statue will be brought back to Cebu City from Bohol, the last stop of the “Duaw Nasud,” by sea in time for the Triduum Masses leading to the National Thanksgiving on Nov. 30. Around a million bishops, priests, religious, government officials and pilgrims from different parts of the country are expected to participate in the event. Patron saint of OFWs Former Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Henrietta de Villa expressed that Calungsod will become the patron saint of all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). As a missionary, she said that the young Visayan martyr
The three-foot wooden statue of Saint Pedro Calungsod arrives at the NAIA from Rome after the Visayan martyr’s canonization on October 21. The return of the pilgrim image signals the start of the “Duaw Nasud” or visit around the country that will cap with the Nov. 30 national thanksgiving Mass in Cebu City.
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Airport officials and well-wishers pay homage to the image of the Filipino saint at the airport’s VIP lounge.
Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores who angered the native Chamorros of the Marianas because of infant baptisms. “Tedious work” Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, stressed how crucial documentation is to building up a cause for beatification and canonization. “It’s not easy, it’s tedious work,” said Cardinal Vidal, whom former Vatican Ambassador Henrietta De Villa calls “Ama ni Pedro Calungsod” for taking up the cause of Calungsod when he was virtually unknown in the Philippines. He also recounted how then Guam Archbishop Felixberto C. Flores, the first Chamorro bishop, invited Cardinal Vidal to Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores’ beatification in 1985. “Come, so you will know who your candidates are,” Cardinal Vidal shared Abp. Flores’ words to him, referring to Calungsod whom Cardinal Vidal had never heard of before. True enough, Cardinal Vidal would set the wheels of Calungsod’s beatification into motion the following year. (Nirva'ana Ella Delacruz)
should not only serve as role model for the youth, but also of all Filipino migrants. “We should not be confined to just welcoming our new saint. We should also pattern ourselves in the way Calungsod lived his life,” said De Villa of the National Commission for Calungsod’s canonization. She also said that they will
appeal on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to officially declare Calungsod as the patron saint of OFWs. “We will write the CBCP and ask them to declare Saint Pedro Calungsod as patron saint of OFWs,” said De Villa. (RL/ CBCPNews)
Youth congress highlights integration of morals in education
A YOUTH group has organized a congress on integration of morals in education at San Andres Gymnasium in Manila last October 20 and 21. Themed “Believe, doubt no more”, the two-day youth congress of the Mary, Help of Christian Crusade of the Alliance of Two Hearts gathered students, faculty and staff of different schools and colleges in the Metro. Fr. Francis Ma. Roberto Tiquia, SOLT, vicar to the Supreme of Oblate Apostles of Two Hearts (OATH), delivered the first talks expounding on the situation of the conscience of people nowadays and explained how to keep it up and clean. Tiquia also mentioned that many people engage in acts that deaden their consciences, and this contributes to the problem of the world today. He encouraged participants to avail of the sacrament of penance to keep one’s conscience clean. The vicar is also a known exorcist from San Pablo diocese where he gave a talk about exorcism and hexes that are commonly seen but most people don’t understand on the second day of the congress. Another priest, Fr. Stephen Gorecho, OATH, gave a talk about the importance of the Mass and the proper attire that should be worn while attending mass. “Many young people don’t know the value and significance of the Holy Mass and [sometimes do things that] leads to desecration of the sacrament. We go to mass not to have a party but to see and be with God,” Gorecho said. On the second day of congress, Fr. Matthias Mandreza discussed the topic of martyrdom and his life journey before becoming a priest. A musical skit on the martyrdom of Saint Pedro Calungsod was also shown to participants. The two-day congress culminated with a Holy Mass. (Ryan Rayos/Jandel Posion)
Josefino Alumni to reflect on mission, Vatican II’s relevance
THE lay and ordained alumni of San Jose Seminary are set to gather for their 83rd Alumni Homecoming on November 15-16 at the Ateneo de Manila campus, in Quezon City. The gathering this year enjoins all Josefino alumni to reflect on their Christian mission on the occasion of the 50thAnniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Fr. Joselito Henson, President of the San Jose Alumni Association, said the two-day homecoming aims to invite the lay and ordained alumni to share the light of Christ to our fellowmen in the context of the Second Vatican Council’s challenge to partake in the role of Christ as Light of the nations. The theme for this year’s gathering is “Tanglaw-Bayan: Josefino at Vatican II.” “Tanglaw-Bayan is an attempt to translate ‘Lumen gentium.’ Lumen gentium—Light of the nations—of course, refers primarily to Jesus Christ. At the same time, it also embodies the role that the whole church is called upon to assume in the world, namely, to radiate Christ’s light and make it real and palpable especially—in the context of PCP II—among the poor and powerless,” Henson said when asked about the relevance of this year’s theme. “Fifty years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council, we Josefinos, as part of the larger church, have to reflect on how far have we succeeded in doing our part in advancing the church’s mission. It is my humble opinion that it is in our fidelity (or lack of it) to this mission that our identity as Josefinos—seminarian, lay and ordained—stands or falls,” he continued. Among the highlights of the event are the reflection points on mission and Vatican II to be given by Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio S. David, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando; and a talk on Social Justice Ministry 50 years after Vatican II to be given by Fr. Edu Gariguez, Executive Secretary of the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace. Both speakers are alumni of San Jose Seminary. About 200 alumni from all over the Philippines and also from abroad are expected to grace the annual occasion. The alumni community will also honor its Golden Jubilarian Class of 1962 and Silver Jubilarian Class of 1987. (Edmel Raagas/ CBCPNews)
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
Message to the People of God from the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
Manila Archbishop and Cardinal-designate Luis Antonio Tagle speaks to the media during a press briefing in the Vatican Office on October 29. Seated at his right side is Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi.
Marta Jiménez Ibáñez/CNA
(The Final Message of the Synod of Bishops approved October 26, 2012 by the Synod Fathers. Pope Benedict XVI has convoked the Synod in the Vatican from October 7-28, 2012 on the topic “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”)
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7). Before returning to our particular Churches, we, Bishops coming from the whole world gathered by the invitation of the Bishop of Rome Pope Benedict XVI to reflect on “the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith”, wish to address you all in order to sustain and direct the preaching and teaching of the Gospel in the diverse contexts in which the Church finds herself today to give witness. 1. Like the Samaritan woman at the well Let us draw light from a Gospel passage: Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman (cf. John 4:5-42). There is no man or woman who, in one’s life, would not find oneself like the woman of Samaria beside a well with an empty bucket, with the hope of finding the fulfillment of the heart’s most profound desire, that which alone could give full meaning to life. Today, many wells offer themselves to quench humanity’s thirst, but we must discern in order to avoid polluted waters. We must orient the search properly, so as not to fall prey to disappointment, which can be damaging. Like Jesus at the well of Sychar, the Church also feels obliged to sit beside today’s men and women. She wants to render the Lord present in their lives so that they can encounter him because his Spirit alone is the water that gives true and eternal life. Only Jesus can read the depths of our heart and reveal the truth about ourselves: “He told me everything I have done”, the woman confesses to her fellow citizens. This word of proclamation is united to the question that opens up to faith: “Could he possibly be the Messiah?” It shows that whoever receives new life from encountering Jesus cannot but proclaim truth and hope to others. The sinner who was converted becomes a messenger of salvation and leads the whole
BROTHERS and sisters,
city to Jesus. The people pass from welcoming her testimony to personally experiencing the encounter: “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world”. 2. A new evangelization Leading the men and women of our time to Jesus, to the encounter with him is a necessity that touches all the regions of the world, those of the old and those of the recent evangelization. Everywhere indeed we feel the need to revive a faith that risks eclipse in cultural contexts that hinders its taking root in persons and its presence in society, the clarity of its content and the coherence of its fruits. It is not a matter of starting again, but of entering into the long path of proclaiming the Gospel with the apostolic courage of Paul who would go so far as to say “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). Throughout history, from the first centuries of the Christian era to the present, the Gospel has edified communities of believers in all parts of the world. Whether small or great, these are the fruit of the dedication of generations of witnesses to Jesus—missionaries and martyrs—whom we remember with gratitude. The changed social, cultural, economic, civil and religious scenarios call us to something new: to live our communitarian experience of faith in a renewed way and to proclaim it through an evangelization that is “new in its ardor, in its methods, in its expressions” (John Paul II, Discourse to the XIX Assembly of CELAM, Port-au-Prince, 9 March 1983, n. 3) as John Paul II said. Benedict XVI recalled that it is an evangelization that is directed “principally at those who, though baptized, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to the Christian life... to help these people encounter the Lord, who alone fills our existence with deep meaning and peace; and to favor
the rediscovery of the faith, that source of grace which brings joy and hope to personal, family and social life” (Benedict XVI, Homily for the Eucharistic celebration for the solemn inauguration of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Rome, 7 October 2012). 3. The personal encounter with Jesus Christ in the Church Before saying anything about the forms that this new evangelization must assume, we feel the need to tell you with profound conviction that the faith determines everything in the relationship that we build with the person of Jesus who takes the initiative to encounter us. The work of the new evangelization consists in presenting once more the beauty and perennial newness of the encounter with Christ to the often distracted and confused heart and mind of the men and women of our time, above all to ourselves. We invite you all to contemplate the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, to enter the mystery of his life given for us on the cross, reconfirmed in his resurrection from the dead as the Father’s gift and imparted to us through the Spirit. In the person of Jesus, the mystery of God the Father’s love for the entire human family is revealed. He did not want us to remain in a false autonomy. Rather he reconciled us to himself in a renewed pact of love. The Church is the space offered by Christ in history where we can encounter him, because he entrusted to her his Word, the Baptism that makes us God’s children, his Body and his Blood, the grace of forgiveness of sins above all in the sacrament of Reconciliation, the experience of communion that reflects the very mystery of the Holy Trinity and the strength of the Spirit that generates charity towards all. We must form welcoming communities in which all outcasts find a home, concrete experiences of communion which attract the disenchanted glance of contemporary humanity with the ardent force of love – “See how they love one another!”
(Tertullian, Apology, 39, 7). The beauty of faith must particularly shine in the actions of the sacred Liturgy, above all in the Sunday Eucharist. It is precisely in liturgical celebrations that the Church reveals herself as God’s work and makes the meaning of the Gospel visible in word and gesture. It is up to us today to render experiences of the Church concretely accessible, to multiply the wells where thirsting men and women are invited to encounter Jesus, to offer oases in the deserts of life. Christian communities and, in them, every disciple of the Lord are responsible for this: an irreplaceable testimony has been entrusted to each one, so that the Gospel can enter the lives of all. This requires of us holiness of life. 4. The occasions of encountering Jesus and listening to the Scriptures Someone will ask how to do all this. We need not invent new strategies as if the Gospel were a product to be placed in the market of religions. We need to rediscover the ways in which Jesus approached persons and called them, in order to put these approaches into practice in today’s circumstances. We recall, for example, how Jesus engaged Peter, Andrew, James and John in the context of their work, how Zaccheus was able to pass from simple curiosity to the warmth of sharing a meal with the Master, how the Roman centurion asked him to heal a person dear to him, how the man born blind invoked him as liberator from his own marginalization, how Martha and Mary saw the hospitality of their house and of their heart rewarded by his presence. By going through the pages of the Gospels as well as the apostles’ missionary experiences in the early Church, we can discover the various ways and circumstances in which persons’ lives were opened to Christ’s presence. The frequent reading of the Sacred Scriptures—illuminated by the Tradition of the Church who hands them over to us and
is their authentic interpreter—is not only necessary for knowing the very content of the Gospel, which is the person of Jesus in the context of salvation history. Reading the Scriptures also helps us to discover opportunities to encounter Jesus, truly evangelical approaches rooted in the fundamental dimensions of human life: the family, work, friendship, various forms of poverty and the trials of life, etc. 5. Evangelizing ourselves and opening ourselves to conversion We, however, should never think that the new evangelization does not concern us personally. In these days voices among the Bishops were raised to recall that the Church must first of all heed the Word before she can evangelize the world. The invitation to evangelize becomes a call to conversion. We firmly believe that we must convert ourselves first to the power of Christ who alone can make all things new, above all our poor existence. With humility we must recognize that the poverty and weaknesses of Jesus’ disciples, especially of his ministers, weigh on the credibility of the mission. We are certainly aware—we Bishops first of all—that we could never really be equal to the Lord’s calling and mandate to proclaim his Gospel to the nations. We know that we must humbly recognize our vulnerability to the wounds of history and we do not hesitate to recognize our personal sins. We are, however, also convinced that the Lord’s Spirit is capable of renewing his Church and rendering her garment resplendent if we let him mold us. This is demonstrated by the lives of the Saints, the remembrance and narration of which is a privileged means of the new evangelization. If this renewal were up to us, there would be serious reasons to doubt. But conversion in the Church, just like evangelization, does not come about primarily through us poor mortals, but rather through the Spirit of the Lord. Here we find our strength
and our certainty that evil will never have the last word whether in the Church or in history: “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27), Jesus said to his disciples. The work of the new evangelization rests on this serene certainty. We are confident in the inspiration and strength of the Spirit, who will teach us what we are to say and what we are to do even in the most difficult moments. It is our duty, therefore, to conquer fear through faith, discouragement through hope, indifference through love. 6. Seizing new opportunities for evangelization in the world today This serene courage also affects the way we look at the world today. We are not intimidated by the circumstances of the times in which we live. Our world is full of contradictions and challenges, but it remains God’s creation. The world is wounded by evil, but God loves it still. It is his field in which the sowing of the Word can be renewed so that it would bear fruit once more. There is no room for pessimism in the minds and hearts of those who know that their Lord has conquered death and that his Spirit works with might in history. We approach this world with humility, but also with determination. This comes from the certainty that the truth triumphs in the end. We choose to see in the world the Risen Christ´s invitation to witness to his Name. Our Church is alive and faces the challenges that history brings with the courage of faith and the testimony of her many daughters and sons. We know that we must face in this world a battle against the “principalities” and “powers”, “the evil spirits” (Ephesians 6:12). We do not ignore the problems that such challenges bring, but they do not frighten us. This is true above all for the phenomena of globalization which must be for us opportunities to expand the presence of the Gospel. Despite the intense sufferings for
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Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
Proper Place to Keep Bones and Ashes of Deceased Catholics
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
OUR mother is buried in the United States, but our father (+1959) is buried in the La Loma cemetery, which gets flooded often. We have for years depended on a hired caretaker to clean up our father’s tomb, but his performance is more of a burden than a help to us. In a way we “pity” our father, because my siblings are now all abroad; only I and my wife are left here, and we are no longer that strong or available to take care of or even visit our father’s grave regularly. Lately we have been considering moving his remains but we are not in a position yet to buy a niche in an ossuary or a lot in a memorial park. We were wondering if it is proper to put up a little shrine in our garden to keep his remains buried there. We thought about this since we know of other people who keep their beloved’s ashes in their own homes, even in the bedroom. We would not go that far. We just wish to be close to him and not worry anymore that his grave is flooded. Do we need to seek Church permission to do this? The Sacred Character of Burial Places The underlying principle for the proper understanding of the canonical legislation on this matter is the sacred character that Canon Law¾following Theology¾wants to give the final resting places for the mortal remains of the faithful. Thus, canon 1205 of the Code of Canon Law states: Sacred places are those which have been designated for divine worship or for the burial of the faithful through a dedication or blessing which the liturgical books prescribe for this purpose. Following this principle, Canon Law further regulates this matter in can. 1240, which states: ¾§1. The Church is to have its own cemeteries wherever this can be done, or at least spaces in civil cemeteries destined for the faithful departed and properly blessed. ¾§2. If, however, this cannot be achieved, individual graves are to be properly blessed as often as needed. This is the reason for traditionally attaching a cemetery to the church or for the parish or diocese having Catholic cemeteries. What matters is not so much the ownership of the cemetery¾the Church as such has no need of owning or running cemeteries¾but rather of assuring its sacred character. Thus, the canon allows other possibilities like setting off and blessing an area of a memorial park (public or commercial) as a Catholic burial place, or just blessing an individual grave for the burial of a Catholic faithful. Private Cemeteries and Family Mausoleums With the above background, we can go to the question presently posed. The pertinent legislation is can.1241 of the Code of Canon Law, which states: ¾ §1. Parishes and religious institutes can have their own cemetery. ¾ §2. Other juridic persons or families can also have their own particular cemetery or burial place to be blessed according to the judgment of the local ordinary. If we go to the original Latin text of the Code, we discover that Church Law appears to make a distinction between blessed or dedicated (through the appropriate liturgical rite). It would seem altogether proper to put up a little shrine in one’s own house or garden to keep the exhumed bones or ashes of a deceased relative, provided the permission of the Local Ordinary (diocesan bishop) is obtained for this and the necessary liturgical rite of blessing is done by the competent minister (priest). Another phenomenon to look into is the growing popularity of cremation, to the point that—at least in Metro Manila—it has been reported that more than half of the people serviced by the bigger funeral homes avail of cremation and subsequent deposition of the cremains (a new word that has been coined to refer to the resulting ashes) in columbaria or niches, whether in church crypts, cemeteries or even in the funeral homes themselves. The cost of real estate is a big factor of course, but also the ease of the process of cremation and subsequent deposition in a niche as compared to the traditional interment. Add to this the increasing mobility of people, where entire families end up scattered in different places, away from the original home and burial of loved ones. It seems likely that in the near future, a practical solution to the problem of the place to keep the cremains or bones of deceased loved ones might be precisely the installation of columbaria in condominium buildings—with due permission from the Local Ordinary and blessing by a sacred minister—offering the possibility of permanent or semipermanent resting places for deceased relatives: the cremains or bones may even be transferred should the surviving relatives change their residence.
two kinds of burial places, not only putting them into separate paragraphs in c.1241, but even using two different terms for them: 1st: Coementerium proprium (“own cemetery” of §1) for parishes and religious institutes. 2nd Peculiare coementerium (“peculiar or particular cemetery, mausoleum or burial plot” of §2) for other juridic persons and private families. The common understanding of this canon is that a family (or for that matter an individual) can have their own burial place or mausoleum. The old Code of 1917 (c.1208, §3) had stipulated that the Ordinary of the place (i.e., the diocesan bishop or similar figure) could give permission to own such a private
burial place. However, the present Code neither authorizes nor denies the permission to own such burial places, since what matters to the Church is not the ownership of the burial place but its sacred character. Thus, c.1241, §2 provides that the Local Ordinary can authorize the blessing of privately owned burial places, if in his judgment such places offer sufficient guarantees, especially regarding the protecting and fostering of their sacred character (c.1243). Answering the Questions Raised and Raising another Possibility It is not proper for just anyone, on his own initiative, to keep the remains (bones or ashes) of the departed faithful in a place which has not been
Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, answers the following queries:
Funeral Masses for a suicide
Q: What is the current stand of the Church regarding the possibility of funeral Masses “in corpore presente” of persons who are said to have committed suicide? Is it true that there already are mitigating circumstances, like the possibility of irrationality at the moment of taking one’s life (even if there was no note), whereby it would be possible to suppose that the person was not in his right mind, and that therefore it is licit to let the funeral entourage to enter a church and a funeral Mass be said?--E.C.M., Manila, Philippines A: In earlier times a person who committed suicide would often be denied funeral rites and even burial in a Church cemetery. However, some consideration has always been taken into account of the person’s mental state at the time. In one famous case, when Rudolph, the heir to the throne of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, committed suicide in 1889, the medical bulletin declared evidence of “mental aberrations” so that Pope Leo XIII would grant a religious funeral and burial in the imperial crypt. Other similar concessions were probably quietly made in less sonorous cases. Canon law no longer specifically mentions suicide as an impediment to funeral rites or religious sepulture. Canon 1184 mentions only three cases: a notorious apostate, heretic or schismatic; those who requested cremation for motives contrary to the Christian faith; and manifest sinners to whom a Church funeral cannot be granted without causing public scandal to the faithful. These restrictions apply only if there has been no sign of repentance before death. The local bishop weighs any doubtful cases and in practice a prudent priest should always consult with the bishop before denying a funeral Mass. A particular case of suicide might enter into the third case—that of a manifest and unrepentant sinner—especially if the suicide follows another grave crime such as murder. In most cases, however, the progress made in the study of the underlying causes of selfdestruction shows that the vast majority are consequences of an accumulation of psychological factors that impede making a free and deliberative act of the will. Thus the general tendency is to see this extreme gesture as almost always resulting from the effects of an imbalanced mental state and, as a consequence, it is no longer forbidden to hold a funeral rite for a person who has committed this gesture although each case must still be studied on its merits. F i n a l l y, i t m a k e s l i t t l e difference, from the viewpoint of liturgical law, whether the body is present or not. If someone is denied a Church funeral, this applies to all public ceremonies although it does not impede the celebration of private Masses for the soul of the deceased. The same principle applies to funeral Masses of those whose body is unavailable for burial due to loss or destruction. Certainly, the rites are different when the body is present or absent, but the Church’s public intercession for the deceased is equally manifest in both cases.
A NEW Zealand reader asked for clarifications regarding our mention of Canon 1184 that “those who requested cremation for motives contrary to the Christian faith” were not to be given a Church funeral. She asks: “Can you please tell me what motives for cremationmightbeconsidered contrary to Christian faith?” The proviso in this canon is presumably rarely actually invoked. A person would only incur such a prohibition if, before death, he or she requested cremation explicitly and publicly motivated by a denial of some aspect of Christian faith regarding life after death. Among possible such motivations would be a lack of faith in the survival of the immortal soul and thus requesting cremation
Synod / B1
to emphasize the definitiveness of death. Another could be the denial of belief in the resurrection of the dead. More recently, some nominal Catholics who have dabbled in New Age pantheism or believe in doctrines such as reincarnation or migration of souls might request cremation in order to follow these esoteric doctrines or the customs of some Eastern religions. In all such cases the motivation for seeking cremation is contrary to Catholic doctrine and, if this fact is publicly known, performing a Church funeral could cause scandal or imply that holding to Church doctrine is really not that important. Since one or two questions arose from our follow-up on confession and Christian initiation (see Nov. 1 and 15) I wish to address the topic one more time. One reader posed a theological teaser to our statement that
“If conditional baptism is foreseen, the confession should be postponed until a suitable time after the celebration, since certainty is required in questions regarding the validity of the sacraments.” He asked: “However, if the conditional baptism is administered at the Easter Vigil [as is often the case], it will immediately be followed by confirmation and first Communion. It would seem that the candidate should receive a conditional absolution before receiving these sacraments.” Our reader has a valid point, but I do not think that such a practice is appropriate. Although hearing confessions is allowed during Mass, there is a general law that the sacrament of penance is never combined with the celebration of Mass in such a way that it forms part of the rite itself. Cases of conditional baptism
are relatively rare, and the doubt regarding the previous “baptism” is usually well founded. There is almost nothing regarding this precise theme in theological manuals. Yet I think that the conditional baptism, either because it is the first true baptism, or in virtue of the Church’s intention if the person was already validly baptized, will have the effect of placing the person in the state of grace and able to fruitfully receive the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist. We could consider it as somewhat analogous to a person who returns to the state of grace though an act of perfect contrition. In normal circumstances this is still insufficient to accede to the sacraments until after receiving sacramental absolution. In certain extraordinary circumstances, however, a person may receive some sacraments before
confession if there is no possible alternative and confess later at the earliest opportunity. A Houston reader requested clarification regarding confessing a member of the Eastern Churches: “With respect to confessions of the Eastern Orthodox, can the priest absolve them for the sin of schism if the priest is not receiving the penitent into the Catholic Church? Does it matter whether the individual was baptized by an Orthodox priest or is a Catholic who has left the Catholic Church for an Orthodox Church? There are many Catholics who leave the Catholic Church for Orthodox Churches, and I am curious to know whether they can receive absolution from a Catholic priest while remaining Orthodox.” We need to consider several points. Sin always involves a personal choice made with full deliberation and knowledge. For
this reason it is not reasonable to say that a person who was born and raised in an Eastern Church is personally guilty of the sin of schism. This is one probable reason why the Church makes no mention of this aspect when granting permission for a Catholic priest to administer the sacraments to them. The case of a Catholic who has left the Church is in a different position and, except in cases of danger of death, would normally have to be reconciled with the Church before receiving absolution. For the sake of precision, we would be dealing with a Catholic who has abandoned the Catholic Church, thus breaking communion with the Pope and bishops, and not that of a Latin-rite Catholic who switches rites to one of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
which we welcome migrants as brothers and sisters, migrations have been and continue to be occasions to spread the faith and build communion in its various forms. Secularization—as well as the crisis brought about the dominance of politics and of the State—requires the Church to rethink its presence in society without however renouncing it. The many and ever new forms of poverty open new opportunities for charitable service: the proclamation of the Gospel binds the Church to be with the poor and to take on their sufferings like Jesus. Even in the most bitter forms of atheism and agnosticism, we can recognize— although in contradictory forms—not a void but a longing, an expectation that awaits an adequate response. In the face of the questions that prevailing cultures pose to faith and to the Church, we renew our trust in
the Lord, certain that even in these contexts the Gospel is the bearer of light and capable of healing every human weakness. It is not we who are to conduct the work of evangelization, but God, as the Pope reminded us: “The first word, the true initiative, the true activity comes from God and only by inserting ourselves in to the divine initiative, only by begging this divine initiative, will we too be able to become – with him and in him – evangelizers” (Benedict XVI, Meditation during the first general Congregation of the XIII General Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Rome, 8 October 2012). 7. Evangelization, the family and consecrated life Ever since the first evangelization, the transmission of the faith from one generation to the next found a natural
home in the family where women play a very special role without diminishing the figure and responsibility of the father. In the context of the care that every family provides for the growth of its little ones, infants and children are introduced to the signs of faith, the communication of first truths, education in prayer, and the witness of the fruits of love. Despite the diversity of their geographical, cultural and social situations, all the Bishops of the Synod reconfirmed this essential role of the family in the transmission of the faith. A new evangelization is unthinkable without acknowledging a specific responsibility to proclaim the Gospel to families and to sustain them in their task of education. We do not ignore the fact that today the family, established in the marriage of a man and of a woman which makes them “one flesh” (Matthew 19:6) open
to life, is assaulted by crises everywhere. It is surrounded by models of life that penalize it and neglected by the politics of society of which it is also the fundamental cell. It is not always respected in its rhythms and sustained in its tasks by ecclesial communities. It is precisely this, however, that impels us to say that we must particularly take care of the family and its mission in society and in the Church, developing specific paths of accompaniment before and after matrimony. We also want to express our gratitude to the many Christian couples and families who, through their witness, show the world an experience of communion and of service which is the seed of a more loving and peaceful society. Our thoughts also went to the many families and couples living together which do not reflect that image of
unity and of lifelong love that the Lord entrusted to us. There are couples who live together without the sacramental bond of matrimony. More and more families in irregular situations are established after the failure of previous marriages. These are painful situations that affect the education of sons and daughters in the faith. To all of them we want to say that God’s love does not abandon anyone, that the Church loves them, too, that the Church is a house that welcomes all, that they remain members of the Church even if they cannot receive sacramental absolution and the Eucharist. May our Catholic communities welcome all who live in such situations and support those who are in the path of conversion and reconciliation. Family life is the first place in which the
Synod / B4
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
Pope Benedict XVI’s intervention at the Synod of Bishops
October 28, 2012
DEAR brothers and sisters, Before expressing my gratitude I would like to make an announcement. In the context of the reflections of the Synod of Bishops [on] “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” and at the conclusion of a path of reflection on the topics of seminaries and catechesis, I am pleased to tell you that I have decided, after prayer and subsequent reflection, to transfer the oversight of seminaries from the Congregation for Catholic Education to the Congregation for the Clergy and the oversight of catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
The pertinent documents will follow in the form of apostolic letters motu proprio to define the areas of oversight and respective faculties. We pray to the Lord that he will accompany the 3 dicasteries of the Roman Curia in their important mission with the assistance of the whole Church. Already having the floor, I would also like to express my most cordial greetings to the new cardinals. I wished, with this little consistory, to complete the consistory in February, precisely in the context of the new evangelization, with a gesture of the Church’s universality, showing that the Church is the Church of all peoples, speaking all languages, she is always the Church of Pentecost;
she not the Church of a continent but the universal Church. This was exactly my intention, to express this context, this universality of the Church; it is also the beautiful expression of this Synod. For me it has truly been edifying, consoling and encouraging to see here the mirror of the universal Church with her sufferings, threats, perils and joys, experiences of the Lord’s presence even in difficult situations. We have heard how the Church grows, lives today as well. I think, for example, of what we were told of Cambodia, where the Church, the faith is reborn; or about Norway, and many other places. We see how today too, where it was unexpected, the Lord is present and
powerful and the Lord is working even through our labors and our reflections. Even if the Church feels contrary winds, nevertheless she feels the wind of the Holy Spirit who helps us, who shows us the right road; and so, we are on our way, it seems to me, with new enthusiasm, and we thank the Lord for granting this truly catholic gathering. I thank everyone: the Synod fathers, the auditors, with the often truly moving witness, the experts, the fraternal delegates who helped us; and we know that we all wish to proclaim Christ and his Gospel and to fight, in this difficult time, for the presence of Christ’s truth and its proclamation. I would above all like to thank our
presidents who have guided us gently and decisively, the speakers, who worked day and night. I think it is somewhat against the natural law to work even at night, but if they do it freely they can be thanked and we must be grateful; and, naturally, I would like to thank our general secretary, who was indefatigable and rich with ideas. Now these “propositiones” are a testament, a gift, given to me by us, to develop into a document that comes from life and must generate life. Let us hope for this and for pray for it; in any case, let us go forward with the Lord’s help. I thank all of you. I will see many of you again in November at the consistory. Thank you.
Final List of Proposition of the Synod of Bishops
According to the norms set down in the ordo Synodi Episcoporum (cf. Articles 15 and 39), the Latin is the official text of the Final List of Propositions of ordinary general Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, which is submitted to the vote of the synod fathers and destined for the Supreme Pontiff, to whom it is dutifully consigned. By its very nature, this text is confidential and, therefore, not published out of respect for the consultative character of the synodal assembly. on this occasion, with the kind permission of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, the provisional, unofficial English version, prepared under the auspices of the general Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, is published in the Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office. In this regard, it is necessary to point out that the Propositiones result at a determined moment in the synodal process and may serve in a possible promulgation of a papal document, and do not detract from the richness found in the contents of the Lineamenta, Instrumentum laboris, the discussion in the synod hall, the Relatio ante disceptationem, the Relatio post disceptationem and the Message to the People of God (Nuntius). The work of the Small Groups has permitted a consensus at the synod, which took place in an atmosphere of intense episcopal communion cum Petro and sub Petro, as a result of prayer and listening to each other, even in the those moments of free discussion. Unofficial English version (Released by the Holy See Press Office) Introduction Proposition 1: THE DO CUMENTATION SUBMITTED TO THE HOLY FATHER In addition to the entire documentation on The new Evangelization for the Transmission of the christian Faith related to this synod, submitted to the Holy Father for his consideration, n a m e l y, t h e L i n e a m e n t a , the instrumentum laboris, the relatio ante disceptationem, the relatio post disceptationem, the presentations, both given in the synod hall and those in scriptis, the Message to the People of God, the reports of the Small groups and their discussions, the synod fathers have given a certain importance to the following propositions. The Synod Fathers also humbly request the Holy Father to consider the opportuneness of issuing a document on transmitting the Christian faith through a new evangelization. P ro p o s i t i o n 2 : S Y N O D EXPRESSES GRATITUDE The Synod Fathers recognize with gratitude the heritage of Papal teaching, often enriching the fruits of earlier Synodal assemblies, that is foundational to the work during these sessions of the Synod for the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. The reflections of the Synod draw upon documents such as Evangelii nuntiandi of Pope Paul VI, catechesi tradendae, redemptoris missio and Novo millennio ineunte of Blessed John Paul II and deus caritas est, Sacramentum caritatis and Verbum domini of Pope Benedict XVI. The most recent example of this guidance is the Year of Faith, proclaimed by our Holy Father at the beginning of this Synod. For this prophetic ministry we are most grateful. Proposition 3: ORIENTAL CATHOLIC CHURCHES The Oriental Catholic Churches sui juris, which are enlightened by the Tradition that has been handed down from the Apostles through the Fathers, are the patrimony of the whole Church of Christ (cf. orientalium Ecclesiarum, 2, Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum orientalium, 39). These Churches are part of the Apostolic heritage through which the Good News was brought to far-off lands (cf. Ecclesia in Medio oriente, 88). They are thankful for the possibility offered to them to carry out their pastoral duties towards their migrant faithful in countries with Latin Church traditions. They also hope that their tradition might be more fully known and respected among the faithful and clergy of particular Churches around the world. 1) The Nature of the New Evangelization Proposition 4: THE HOLY TRINITY SOURCE OF THE NEW EVANGELIZATION TheChurchandherevangelizing mission have their origin and source in the Most Holy Trinity according to the plan of the Father, the work of the Son, which culminated in his death and glorious Resurrection, and the mission of the Holy Spirit. The Church continues this mission of God’s love in our world. Evangelization has to be understood in a broad and profound theological-doctrinal framework as an activity of word and sacrament which, especially through the Eucharist, admits us to participation in the life of the Trinity, and this then arouses through the grace of the Holy Spirit the power to evangelize and to give witness to the Word of God with enthusiasm and courage. The New Evangelization recognizes the primacy of God’s grace and how in baptism one comes to live in Christ. This emphasis on divine filiation should bring the baptized to a life of faith that clearly manifests their Christian identity in all aspects of their personal activity. Proposition 5: THE NEW E VA N G E L I Z AT I O N A N D INCULTURATION Jesus offers the gift of the Holy Spirit and reveals to us the love of the Father. The New Evangelization is a time of awakening, of new encouragement and new witness that Jesus Christ is the center of our faith and daily life. It calls on every member of the Church to a renewal of faith and an actual effort to share it. It also requires discerning the signs of the times in the world that impacts the ministry of the Church and in the different particular Churches in their proper territories. Among these signs one needs to recognize certainly a growing awareness of people to the changing circumstances of life today. Furthermore it calls the Church to reach out to those who are far from God and the Christian community to invite them to once again hear the Word of God in order to encounter the Lord Jesus in a new and profound way. The New Evangelization calls for particular attention to the inculturation of the faith that can transmit the Gospel in its capacity to value what is positive in every culture, at the same time, purifying it from elements that are contrary to the full realization of the person according to the design of God revealed in Christ. Inculturation involves the effort to have the Gospel take flesh in each people’s culture” (CCC, 854). P ro p o s i t i o n 6 : PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL God, our savior, wills everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (cf. 1 Tim2: 4). Since the Church believes in this divine plan of universal salvation she must be missionary (cf. Evangelii nuntiandi, 14, CCC, 851). She also knows that “those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.” (Lumen gentium, 16). The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the proclamation of his life and of the paschal mystery of his passion, death, resurrection and glorification. The Council reminds us, however, that evangelization is necessary for the salvation of all since “But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator (cf. rm 1: 21, 25). Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, ‘Preach the Gospel to every creature’ (Mk 16:15), the Church fosters the missions with care and attention” (Lumen gentium, 16). Proposition 7: NEW EVANGELIZATION AS A PERMANENT MISSIONARY DIMENSION OF THE CHURCH It is proposed that the Church proclaim the permanent worldwide missionary dimension of her mission in order to encourage all the particular Churches to evangelize. Evangelization can be understood in three aspects. Firstly, evangelization ad gentes is the announcement of the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ. Secondly, it also includes the continuing growth in faith that is the ordinary life of the Church. Finally, the New Evangelization is directed especially to those who have become distant from the Church. In so doing, all the particular Churches will be encouraged to value and integrate all their various agents and capabilities. At the same time, each particular Church must have the freedom to evangelize according to her own traits and traditions, always in unity with the proper Bishops’ Conference or the Synod of the Eastern Catholic Church. Such a world-wide mission will respond to the action of the Holy Spirit, as in a new Pentecost, through a call issued by the Roman Pontiff, who invites all faithful to visit all families and bring the life of Christ to all human situations. Proposition 8: WITNESSING IN A SECULARIZED WORLD We are Christians living in a secularized world. Whereas the world is and remains God’s creation, secularization falls within the sphere of human culture. As Christians we cannot remain indifferent to the process of secularization. We are in fact in a situation similar to that of the first Christians and as such we should see this both as a challenge and a possibility. We live in this world, but are not of this world (cf. Jn 15:19; 17:11, 16). The world is God’s creation and manifests his love. In and through Jesus Christ we receive God’s salvation and are able to discern the progress of his creation. Jesus opens the doors for us anew so that, without fear, we can lovingly embrace the wounds of the Church and of the world (cf. Benedict XVI). In our present age, that manifests aspects more difficult than the past, even if we are like “the little flock” (Lk 12:32), we bear witness to the Gospel message of salvation and we are called to be salt and light of a new world (cf. Mt 5:13-16). Proposition 9: NEW E VA N G E L I Z AT I O N A N D INITIAL PROCLAMATION The foundation of all initial proclamation, the kerygmatic dimension, the Good News, makes prominent an explicit announcement of salvation. “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” (1 cor 15:3-5). The ‘first proclamation’ is where the kerygma, the message of salvation of the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ, is proclaimed with great spiritual power to the point of bringing about repentance of sin, conversion of hearts and a decision of faith. At the same time there has to be continuity between first proclamation and catechesis which instructs us in the deposit of the faith. We consider it necessary that there be a Pastoral Plan of Initial Proclamation, teaching a living encounter with Jesus Christ. This pastoral document would provide the first elements for the catechetical process, enabling its insertion into the lives of the parish communities. The Synod Fathers propose that guidelines of the initial proclamation of the kerygma be written. This compendium would include: * Systematic teaching on the kerygma in Scripture and Tradition of the Catholic Church; * Teachings and quotations from the missionary saints and martyrs in our Catholic history that would assist us in our pastoral challenges of today; and * Qualities and guidelines for the formation of Catholic evangelizers today. Prop osit ion 1 0 : RI G HT TO PROCLAIM AND TO HEAR THE GOSPEL To proclaim the Good News and the person of Jesus is an obligation for each Christian, founded in the Gospel: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28: 19). At the same time, it is an inalienable right for each person, whatever one’s religion or lack of religion, to be able to know Jesus Christ and the Gospel. This proclamation, given with integrity, must be offered with a total respect for each person, without any form of proselytizing. P r o p o s i t i o n 11 : N E W EVANGELIZATION AND THE PRAYERFUL READING OF SACRED SCRIPTURE God has communicated himself to us in his Word made flesh. This divine Word, heard and celebrated in the Liturgy of the Church, particularly in the Eucharist, strengthens interiorly the faithful and renders them capable of authentic evangelical witness in daily life. The Synod Fathers desire that the divine word “be ever more fully at the heart of every ecclesial activity” (Verbum domini, 1). The gate to Sacred Scripture shouldbeopentoallbelievers.Inthe context of the New Evangelization every opportunity for the study of Sacred Scripture should be made available. The Scripture should permeate homilies, catechesis and every effort to pass on the faith. In consideration of the necessity of familiarity with the Word of God for the New Evangelization and for the spiritual growth of the faithful, the Synod encourages dioceses, parishes, small Christian communities to continue serious study of the Bible and Lectio Divina, the — the prayerful reading of the Scriptures (cf. dei Verbum, 21-22). Proposition 12: DOCUMENTS OF VATICAN II The Synod Fathers recognize the teaching of Vatican II as a vital instrument for transmitting the faith in the context of the New Evangelization. At the same time, they consider that the documents of the Council should be properly read and interpreted. Therefore, they wish to manifest their adherence to the thought of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, who has indicated the hermeneutical principle of reform within continuity so as to be able to discover in those texts the authentic spirit of the Council. “There is the “hermeneutic of reform”, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God. [...] However, wherever this interpretation guided the implementation of the Council, new life developed and new fruit ripened” (Benedict XVI, Address to the roman curia, 22 December 2005). In this way it will be possible to respond to the need for renewal required by the modern world and, at the same time, faithfully preserve the identity of the Church’s nature and mission. 2) The Context of the Church’s Ministry Today
Proposition / B7
The Nationwide Thanksgiving Pilgrimage of the Image of St. Pedro Calungsod
The LuzOn ITInerary October 25, 2012 4:45 PM - arrival at naIa from rome 6:30 PM - uST, Manila October 26 1:00 PM - Diocese of Pasig Cathedral October 27 3:00 PM - Diocese of antipolo Cathedral October 28 1:00 PM - Diocese of Cubao Cathedral October 29 3:00 PM - Diocese of Parañaque Cathedral October 30 3:00 PM - Diocese of novaliches Cathedral October 31 3:00 PM - Camp Crame november 1 8:00 aM - Camp aguinaldo november 2 8:00 aM - Shrine of St. Therese, Villamor november 3 2:00 PM - archdiocese of nueva Segovia Cathedral november 4 1:00 PM - archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan Cathedral november 5 3:00 PM - archdiocese of San Fernando Cathedral november 6 3:00 PM - Diocese of Malolos Cathedral november 7 10:00 aM - archdiocese of Manila Cathedral (Mass will be held at 12nn in front of Manila Cathedral) 4:00 PM - Diocese of Caloocan Cathedral november 8 1:00 PM - Diocese of Imus Cathedral november 9 2:00 PM - archdiocese of Lipa Cathedral november 10 2:00 PM - Diocese of Lucena Cathedral november 11 9:00 aM - Diocese of Daet at Sta. elena Church november 11 5:00 PM - archdiocese of nueva Caceres Cathedral november 12 1:00 PM - Diocese of Legazpi Cathedral The VISayaS anD MInDanaO ITInerary november 13 9:00 aM - Diocese of Catarman Cathedral november 13 3:00 PM - Diocese of Calbayog Cathedrdal november 14 3:00 PM - archdiocese of Palo Cathedral november 15 4:00 PM - Diocese of Maasin Cathedral november 16 10:00 aM - Diocese of Surigao Cathedral november 17 11:00 aM - Diocese of Butuan Cathedral november 18 11:00 aM - archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro Cathedral november 19 7:00 aM - Diocese of Iligan Cathedral 12:00 PM - Diocese of Pagadian Cathedral 5:00 PM - archdiocese of Ozamiz Cathedral november 20 10:00 aM - Diocese of Dipolog Cathedral november 21 3:00 PM - Diocese of Dumaguete Cathedral november 22 10:00 aM - Diocese of Kabankalan Cathedral 4:00 PM - Diocese of Bacolod Cathedral november 23 10:00 aM - archdiocese of Jaro Cathedral november 24 11:00 aM - Diocese of San Carlos Cathedral november 25 10:00 aM - Diocese of Tagbilaran Cathedral november 26 11:00 aM - Diocese of Talibon Cathedral november 27 – 29 - archdiocese of Cebu - Triduum november 30 - national Thanksgiving Mass in Cebu
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
Pandacan parish marks 300 years
By Atty. Gleoresty Sp. Guerra
THREE hundred years ago, on November 23, 1712, Pandacan, a historic islet town in the heart of Manila, became a parish separate from the Sampaloc parish of Our Lady of Loreto, with the installation of its first parish priest, the Franciscan friar, Fr. Diego de Villalba. But the start of the establishment of Pandacan as a parish can be traced to a wondrous discovery a century earlier, when young children playing near a carabao wallow found amidst the pandan plants from which Pandacan got its name an image of the Sto. Niño. It was a unique image, for it portrayed not a fair child but one as dark as the Black Nazarene of Quiapo. And like the Black Nazarene, no crown, the symbol of power, rests on its head from which instead three rays emanate standing for the tres potencias from Above, i.e., faith, hope, and love. The feet of the image also rest on the Bible, testament that He is indeed the Word made flesh. Like the young shepherds that holy night centuries ago, the children of Pandacan immediately recognized the Miracle in their midst and fell on their knees and prayed. Upon the decree of the town elders, the image was brought to the Loreto church of the Sampaloc parish of which Pandacan then was part of. But time and again the image would inexplicably disappear only to be found in the place where it was discovered. Finally, the image was installed in a visita erected on that very spot, where water with miraculous healing powers also flowed and made into a well. The image would become known far and wide as the miraculous image of the Sto. Niño de Pandacan, after which the parish was eventually named. This year the Sto. Niño de Pandacan Parish celebrates its tercentennial anniversary with the theme “Sto. Niño de Pandacan Parish: 300 Years of Faith, Hope, and Love” with, among others, a special set of activities rich in spiritual and cultural significance spread over November 23-24, 2012. At around 9:25 p.m. on November 23, the sirens of the oil depots will sound, a signal for the faithful in all 29 of Pandacan’s barangays dance, the BulingBuling, at the church patio from 1 pm. to 5 p.m. after traversing Pandacan’s major streets. As they dance their way through Pandacan’s streets to the church patio, the Buling-Buling dancers will be showered by blessed rose petals from helicopters hovering above. Per Manila City Council Resolution No. 65, dated June 14, 2005, the BulingBuling (which means “well-polished” or “well-made”) is “the official cultural dance identity of the City of Manila” in the same way Sinulog is to Cebu, Ati-Atihan is to Aklan, dinagyang is to Iloilo, and caracol is to Cavite. But the Buling-Buling is more than a dance; it is prayer as dance with steps and gestures denoting worship, praise, contrition, gratitude, and supplication. To underline the religious bases of the BulingBuling, parish priest Fr. Lari Abaco has invited representatives from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Department of Tourism, and the academe to award prizes named after the three theological virtues at the core of the Sto. Niño de Pandacan Parish’s tercentennial celebration, the gawad Pag-ibig, gawad Pananampalataya, and gawad Pag-asa. In the evening, there will be a blessing of and lighting of the Tercentennial tree, a venerable narra, at the patio. In all these, the people of Pandacan have just one wish that they pray their beloved Sto. Niño will grant—that the Sto. Niño de Pandacan Parish be made an Archdiocesan Shrine. Sa ngalan mong sadyang tamis, Hesus kami ay nanalig.
www.facebook.com/Sto. Nino de Pandacan Parish
to congregate with their lighted Tercentennial candles at the parish church grounds where various dignitaries and guests, more than a hundred priests, and around a thousand youth have already assembled with the Philippine Coast Guard band providing the music for the “PandaCandle Lighting.” At 9:30 p.m., the Liturgy of the Light will commence, wherein the youth, each holding a lighted Tercentennial candle, will make a human formation of “PANDACAN 300” and hermanos and hermanas of each barangay will place a torch in specially constructed stand. At 10 p.m., the Jubilee Door of the parish church will be opened and the faithful invited to enter and gain plenary indulgence. The Holy Mass caps off the day’s celebration. The following day, November 24, features the grand Buling-Buling where a contingent from all of Pandacan’s 29 barangays will perform Pandacan’s endemic
Synod / B2
Gospel encounters the ordinary life and demonstrates its capacity to transform the fundamental conditions of existence in the horizon of love. But not less important for the witness of the Church is to show how this temporal existence has a fulfillment that goes beyond human history and attains to eternal communion with God. Jesus does not introduce himself to the Samaritan woman simply as the one who gives life, but as the one who gives “eternal life” (John 4:14). God’s gift, which faith renders present, is not simply the promise of better conditions in this world. It is the proclamation that our life’s ultimate meaning is beyond this world, in that full communion with God that we await at the end of time. Of this supernatural horizon of the meaning of human existence, there are particular witnesses in the Church and in the world whom the Lord has called to consecrated life. Precisely because it is totally consecrated to him in the exercise of poverty, chastity and obedience, consecrated life is the sign of a future world that relativizes everything that is good in this world. May the gratitude of the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops reach these our brothers and sisters for their fidelity to the Lord’s calling and for the contribution that they have given and give to the Church’s mission. We exhort them to hope in situations that are difficult even for them in these times of change. We invite them to establish themselves as witnesses and promoters of new evangelization in the various fields to which the charism of each of their institutes assigns them. 8. The ecclesial community and the many agents of evangelization No one person or group in the Church has exclusive right to the work of evangelization. It is the work of ecclesial communities as such, where one has access to all the means for encountering Jesus: the Word, the sacraments, fraternal communion, charitable service, mission. In this perspective, the role of the parish emerges above all as the presence of the Church where men and women live, “the village fountain”, as John XXIII loved to call it, from which all can drink, finding in it the freshness of the Gospel. It cannot be abandoned, even though changes can require
of it either to be made up of small Christian communities or to forge bonds of collaboration within larger pastoral contexts. We exhort our parishes to join the new forms of mission required by the new evangelization to the traditional pastoral care of God’s people. These must also permeate the various important expressions of popular piety. In the parish, the ministry of the priest—father and pastor of his people—remains crucial. To all priests, the Bishops of this Synodal Assembly express thanks and fraternal closeness for their difficult task. We invite them to strengthen the bonds of the diocesan presbyterium, to deepen their spiritual life, and to an ongoing formation that enables them to face the changes. Alongside the priests, the presence of deacons is to be sustained, as well as the pastoral action of catechists and of many other ministers and animators in the fields of proclamation, catechesis, liturgical life, charitable service. The various forms of participation and coresponsibility of the faithful must also be promoted. We cannot thank enough our lay men and women for their dedication in our communities’ manifold services. We ask all of them, too, to place their presence and their service in the Church in the perspective of the new evangelization, taking care of their own human and Christian formation, their understanding of the faith and their sensitivity to contemporary cultural phenomena. With regard to the laity, a special word goes to the various forms of old and new associations, together with the ecclesial movements and the new communities: All are an expression of the richness of the gifts that the Spirit bestows on the Church. We also thank these forms of life and of commitment in the Church, exhorting them to be faithful to their proper charism and to earnest ecclesial communion especially in the concrete context of the particular Churches. Witnessing to the Gospel is not the privilege of one or of a few. We recognize with joy the presence of many men and women who with their lives become a sign of the Gospel in the midst of the world. We also recognize them in many of our Christian brothers and sisters with whom unity unfortunately is not yet full, but are nevertheless
marked by the Lord’s Baptism and proclaim it. In these days it was a moving experience for us to listen to the voices of many authorities of Churches and ecclesial communities who gave witness to their thirst for Christ and their dedication to the proclamation of the Gospel. They, too, are convinced that the world needs a new evangelization. We are grateful to the Lord for this unity in the necessity of the mission. 9. That the youth may encounter Christ The youth are particularly dear to us, because they, who are a significant part of humanity and the Church today, are also their future. With regard to them, the Bishops are far from being pessimistic. Concerned, yes; but not pessimistic. We are concerned because the most aggressive attacks of our times happen to converge precisely on them. We are not, however, pessimistic, above all because what moves in the depths of history is Christ’s love, but also because we sense in our youth deep aspirations for authenticity, truth, freedom, generosity, to which we are convinced that the adequate response is Christ. We want to support them in their search and we encourage our communities to listen to, dialogue with and respond boldly and without reservation to the difficult condition of the youth. We want our communities to harness, not to suppress, the power of their enthusiasm; to struggle for them against the fallacies and selfish ventures of worldly powers which, to their own advantage, dissipate the energies and waste the passion of the young, taking from them every grateful memory of the past and every profound vision of the future. The world of the young is a demanding but also particularly promising field of the New Evangelization. This is demonstrated by many experiences, from those that draw many of them like the World Youth Days, to the most hidden— but nonetheless powerful—like the different experiences of spirituality, service and mission. Young people’s active role in evangelizing first and foremost their world is to be recognized. 10. The Gospel in dialogue with human culture and experience and with religions The New Evangelization is
centered on Christ and on care for the human person in order to give life to a real encounter with him. However, its horizons are as wide as the world and beyond any human experience. This means that it carefully cultivates the dialogue with cultures, confident that it can find in each of them the “seeds of the Word” about which the ancient Fathers spoke. In particular, the new evangelization needs a renewed alliance between faith and reason. We are convinced that faith has the capacity to welcome the fruits of sound thinking open to transcendence and the strength to heal the limits and contradictions into which reason can fall. Faith does not close its eyes, not even before the excruciating questions arising from evil’s presence in life and in history, in order to draw the light of hope from Christ’s Paschal Mystery. The encounter between faith and reason also nourishes the Christian community’s commitment in the field of education and culture. The institutions of formation and o f re s e a rc h — s c h o o l s a n d universities—occupy a special place in this. Wherever human intelligence is developed and educated, the Church is pleased to bring her experience and contribution to the integral formation of the person. In this context particular care is to be reserved for catholic schools and for catholic universities, in which the openness to transcendence that belongs to every authentic cultural and educational course, must be fulfilled in paths of encounter with the event of Jesus Christ and of his Church. May the gratitude of the Bishops reach all who, in sometimes difficult conditions, are involved in this. Evangelization requires that we pay much attention to the world of social communication, especially the new media, in which many lives, questions and expectations converge. It is the place where consciences are often formed, where people spend their time and live their lives. It is a new opportunity for touching the human heart. A particular field of the encounter between faith and reason today is the dialogue with scientific knowledge. This is not at all far from faith, since it manifests the spiritual principle that God placed in his creatures. It allows us to see the rational structures on which creation is founded. When science and
technology do not presume to imprison humanity and the world in a barren materialism, they become an invaluable ally in making life more humane. Our thanks also go to those who are involved in this sensitive field of knowledge. We also want to thank men and women involved in another expression of the human genius, art in its various forms, from the most ancient to the most recent. We recognize in works of art a particularly meaningful way of expressing spirituality inasmuch as they strive to embody humanity’s attraction to beauty. We are grateful when artists through their beautiful creations bring out the beauty of God’s face and that of his creatures. The way of beauty is a particularly effective path of the new evangelization. In addition to works of art, all of human activity draws our attention as an opportunity in which we cooperate in divine creation through work. We want to remind the world of economy and of labor of some matters arising from the Gospel: to redeem work from the conditions that often make it an unbearable burden and an uncertain future threatened by youth unemployment, to place the human person at the center of economic development, to think of this development as an occasion for humanity to grow in justice and unity. Humanity transforms the world through work. Nevertheless we are called to safeguard the integrity of creation out of a sense of responsibility towards future generations. The Gospel also illuminates the suffering brought about by disease. Christians must help the sick feel that the Church is near to persons with illness or with disabilities. Christians are to thank all who take care of them professionally and humanely. A field in which the light of the Gospel can and must shine in order to illuminate humanity’s footsteps is politics. Politics requires a commitment of selfless and sincere care for the common good by fully respecting the dignity of the human person from conception to natural end, honoring the family founded by the marriage of a man and a woman, and protecting academic freedom; by removing the causes of injustice, inequality, discrimination, violence, racism, hunger and war. Christians are
asked to give a clear witness to the precept of charity in the exercise of politics. Finally, the Church considers the followers of religions as her natural partners in dialogue. One is evangelized because one is convinced of the truth of Christ, not because one is against another. The Gospel of Jesus is peace and joy, and his disciples are happy to recognize whatever is true and good that humanity’s religious spirit has been able to glimpse in the world created by God and that it has expressed in the various religions. The dialogue among believers of various religions intends to be a contribution to peace. It rejects every fundamentalism and denounces every violence that is brought upon believers as serious violations of human rights. The Churches of the whole world are united in prayer and in fraternity to the suffering brothers and sisters and ask those who are responsible for the destinies of peoples to safeguard everyone’s right to freely choose, profess and witness to one’s faith. 11. Remembering the Second Vatican Council and referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the Year of Faith In the path opened by the New Evangelization, we might also feel as if we were in a desert, in the midst of dangers and lacking points of reference. The Holy Father Benedict XVI, in his homily for the Mass opening the Year of Faith, spoke of a “spiritual ‘desertification’” that has advanced in the last decades. But he also encouraged us by affirming that “it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women. In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living” (Homily for the Eucharistic celebration for the opening of the Year of Faith, Rome, 11 October 2012). In the desert, like the Samaritan woman, we seek water and a well from which to drink: blessed is the one who encounters Christ there! We thank the Holy Father for the gift of the Year of Faith, a precious gateway into the path of the new evangelization. We thank him also for having linked this Year to the grateful remembrance of the opening of the Second Vatican Council
Synod / B7
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
A Pastoral Letter on the Challenges of Secularism and Relativism
‘Proclaim Christ Jesus in season and out of season’
SOME problems of the world impact on us Filipino Catholics to a greater or lesser degree. This is partly because of our colonial past, our present international relationships, and especially because of our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his address at oscott college, Scotland, on September 19, 2010, identifies two of the world’s problems as secularism and relativism. Secularism, from the Latin ‘saeculum’ or ‘world’, literally means valuing the things of the world rather than those of religion or the spiritual. It represents a movement, a way of thinking and behaving that wants religion or spirituality out of politics, economics or the social and cultural world. In a word, it wants religion to have no voice in society. Relativism, from the Latin ‘relativus’ or ‘dependent’ or ‘related to the other’ represents a philosophy in democratic societies that asserts that all values or judgments are ‘relative’, different according to different cultures, circumstance, persons etc. In other words, what is right or wrong for Catholics or our culture may not be right and wrong for another. Consequently, in the name of tolerance, freedom and democracy, no values are held absolute and objective, something we experience in our ‘moral’ debates. Secularism and relativism are threats to the Catholic faith and to all people of faith because Jesus, in fact, commands us to bring his values to the world. “Go and make disciples of all the nations,” he tells us in Mt 28:19. His gospel must be heard and fulfilled in society because its saving message is for ALL PEOPLE of ALL CULTURES. How do we know secularism and relativism are upon us? Let us consider our realities. First, there are real people in the Philippines, as in many parts of the world, who do everything to ignore or even to deny the reality and presence of God. They want to push God away from people’s lives. As a lawyer for the RH Bill openly asserted in a debate, “Religion must not be heard when crafting laws because religion has no place in legislation.” Their message is often indirect but clear: GOD IS NOWHERE (NO WHERE). Second, the Church is under constant attack from different groups, religious or otherwise, some extremely liberal, others extremely conservative and fundamentalist, as though in competition with the Catholic Church on which has better, truer, more Christian doctrines, so as to recruit more members. Like the boat of the apostles, the Church is beset by various hostile waves and winds of contrary forces and values. But we must ALWAYS FOCUS ON Jesus who tells us: “Courage! It is I. Do not be afraid” (Mk 6:50). On the other hand, though the attacks are beyond our control, we CAN and MUST do our part in strengthening the BOAT OF CHRIST JESUS—OUR MOTHER, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. As Pastor of the Lord’s Flock in the Diocese, I propose the following: 1. We MUST prove to the world that GOD EXISTS by WHAT WE SAY and DO. As Pope Paul VI used to say, “The world may not listen
to teachers, but they pay attention to witnesses.” If the message of secularism and relativism is ‘GOD IS NOWHERE’, the message of our witnessing must be ‘GOD IS NOW HERE’. 2 . We M U S T c o n t i n u e , and with even more energy, E VA N G E L I Z I N G O U R PEOPLE through our BEC programs, our CATECHETICAL programs, utilizing the charisms of our faith communities or
movements, the apostolate of our religious organizations, cofradias etc. Particularly we must apply CATECHESIS on the SACRAMENTS. 3. We must ENCOURAGE DEVOTIONS, but NOT beyond three, to our Catholic SAINTS, especially to two of our own, St. Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Pedro Calungsod. 4. We must also ENCOURAGE greater appreciation, or RESTORATION, of ALTARS and
IMAGES at HOME to remind people of the PRESENCE OF GOD and our COMMUNION WITH THE SAINTS. This must come with CATECHESIS on CATHOLIC LATRIA or ‘WORSHIP’ of God alone, which we do not do with images representing him, a n d V E N E R AT I O N , N O T WORSHIP, of MAMA MARY and the SAINTS. 5. As Catholics, we must likewise SUPPORT the practice
of ENTHRONEMENTS of the BIBLE, the SACRED HEART, the DIVINE MERCY image, the TWIN HEARTS etc. Above all, GOD’S PRESENCE among us is JESUS HIMSELF. And HE is NOT OURS ALONE. As our Bishops remind us, we MUST LiVE cHriST and SHArE cHriST! +CRISPIN B. VARQUEZ, D.D. Bishop of Borongan October 29, 2012
AMRSP Statement on the Tampakan Massacre
“Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us...? (Exodus 2:14)”
WE, the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines condemn the treacherous killing of Family members of a B’laan tribe leader opposed to the entry of Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) in their ancestral domain area during a raid conducted by the military at their farm house. Three (3) members of Capion family died while the youngest daughter was wounded. The massacre on October 18, 2012 at about 6:30 in the morning in Sitio Fayahlob, Barangay Datal Aliong, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, is a manifestation of heartlessness and ruthlessness on the part of the perpetrators and criminals in uniform who were members of 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. AMRSP denounces this massacre for no one has the right to deprive anyone of the gift of life through an unjust and inhuman way. We demand justice for the members of Capion family who were brutally murdered. The voice of the woman victim who was pregnant and her children who were helplessly killed while still in bed shouted for justice to the heavens! We cannot simply be silent with this show of impunity for aside from the fact that the victims were defenseless; a mother and her children, their only sin is to stand for what they think is truthful and just! We call on the present government to order an immediate and thorough investigation to ensure that justice be served. The residents in the area testified that they did not hear any exchanges of gunfire; they only heard two bursts of gunfire, which would be validated according to the detailed account of the witness who was interviewed. The witness claimed that the 2nd strafing of the military was done 20-25 meters away from the house where the mother and her child lay wounded, so the claim of the military that the victims were caught in a crossfire was false and could not be substantiated. The excessive use of force by the military should be thoroughly investigated, because they have known that the people there were civilians as the place and the farm house is visible. We call on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to immediately pull out the military detachment in the area, as the community feared more violations may happen after the killing of Capion’s family. May this occasion urge the government to seriously take action on behalf of the indigenous people and other sectors who are oppose to mining for this will wantonly damage the environment which we all hailed to be sacred and also damages the future resource for our children’s children. AMRSP extends its sympathy to the surviving members of the Capion family and we assure them that the lives of their mother and their siblings will forever be remembered by all who work for justice and peace and the protection of Mother Earth! May the God hear the cries of all victims of violence and may they obtain justice! For Reference: Fr. Marlon A. Lacal, O.Carm AMRSP CO-EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
The Stand of the Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on the Latest Version of House Bill 4244
THE CBCP Commission on Family and Life is against the latest version of House Bill 4244. Despite some good amendments, this latest version remains harmful because of the bad provisions that are still there. I will cite only one example: the promotion of contraception or artificial methods of birth control is still very much a part of it. In fact, the promotion of contraception is a constitutive or an essential part of this latest version. It is a marked improvement that, in the third paragraph of Section 2 – Declaration of Policy, the latest version prohibits “reproductive health care services, methods, devices and supplies” which prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum. These methods, devices and supplies are abortifacient. In a news item of The Philippine Star, dated October 19, 2012, on page 11, we read: He (Speaker Feliciano Belmonte) said one of the changes introduced in the new bill is a provision ensuring that the process of fertilization and conception would not be impeded. “Once fertilization occurred, nothing should obstruct the fertilized egg from then on,” he stressed. Even though it limits the giving of “free reproductive health care, services, and supplies to the poor and marginalized,” this does not make the bill acceptable because it is wrong to promote contraception and give free contraceptives whether to the rich or the poor. History has proven that contraception also brings physical and moral harm in its train. We remain steadfast in our position: the poor does not stand to gain anything from contraceptive use. Poverty cannot be solved – neither fully nor partially – by contraceptive use and its promotion. Despite some good amendments, this latest version of HB 4244 is not acceptable because of its bad provisions. We would like to reiterate that our aim in objecting against the HB 4244 is to protect not only the good of Catholics but the good of all, Catholics and non-Catholics. +GABRIEL V. REYES, D.D. Chairman Episcopal Commission on Family and Life Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
Photo Courtesy of CBCP-NASSA
© Roy lagarde / CBCPMedia
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
The widow who gave all: the ideal Christian response
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Mark 12:38-44, November 11, 2012
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
IN the Gospel of the previous Sunday, we noted that in the Old Testament, the people’s response to God’s initiative is expressed in their keeping of his commandments which, according to Jesus’ summary, are summed up in the one commandment of loving God with all of one’s heart, mind and strength, and of loving his neighbor as himself. In today’s Gospel, Mark tells us the story of Jesus’ denunciation of the scribes and his observation on the crowd who put their money into the treasury of the temple. What is of much relevance to us is the second, where a poor widow put in two small coins, for this story is connected with the point stressed in the Gospel last Sunday. This pericope considered as an independent story—probably of almsgiving—that Mark used in writing his Gospel, the widow represents what is best in the piety of the Old Testament. She placed all her two copper coins in one of the thirteen trumpet-shaped receptacles for offerings in the Court of Women in the Jerusalem Temple. In doing so, she demonstrated that, poor though she was, her love for God pours out of her whole heart, soul, mind and strength. She gave all she had to live on (Mark 12:44). In addressing his followers, however, Jesus appropriated this story as a lesson of discipleship. To begin with, in the Old Testament, a woman was a dependent creature, either on her husband or her father. But she could not inherit from her husband, and in the early period of Israel’s history, she was part of the inheritance of the eldest son. We mention 40a). For Mark, the scribes were people who were knowledgeable about the commandment of love of God and neighbor, and it is for this knowledge that they were accorded honors at banquets, marketplaces, and presidential tables. And yet, they did not put into action their knowledge of the law. Indeed, instead of showing God’s love by giving to the poor, they exploited them, like the widows whose houses they devoured. On the other hand, the widow might not have been as knowledgeable about the law as the scribes, yet, she took it to heart. Instead of exploiting others, which she could not do, she gave everything to God. She trusted in him, not wealth. Indeed, she could have kept the other coin, and gave only one to the temple treasury, but she did not. Both contrasts make it clear that all men are capable to responding to God’s generosity by being generous in love. A person, no matter how poor, like the widow, has always something to give. But an even more important point is that the greatness of one’s response is not seen in the amount that is given, for a wealthy man can always give from his surplus. Rather, what is decisive in the generosity of one’s response is the amount that is left. Hence, Jesus’ comment on the poor widow: “Amen, I say to you, the poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood” (Mark 12:44). This is what discipleship really entails. Like the poor widow, we have to give up everything to follow Jesus in his footsteps. After all, Jesus gave all of himself for us at the cross.
this to indicate how poor the widow was at the time of Jesus. In using this story, Mark was able to present two contrasting pictures: the poor widow and the rich man (Mark 10:17-32), and the poor widow and the scribes (Mark 12:38-40). Whereas the man who wanted to follow Jesus and who was rich could not, after having been challenged by the Lord to get rid of them, part with his
riches, the poor widow gave all she had. Having much wealth, the man depended on it; and his wealth stood in the way to discipleship. On the other hand, the widow had nothing to lean on except God himself; and it was easier for her to give everything she had. For Mark, this illustrates the truth that only a truly poor person can walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Wealth is a hindrance to it. A poor one, on the other hand, entrusts himself
totally to God to care for him. In the second contrast, the story of the poor widow immediately follows Jesus’ denunciation of the scribes: “Beware of the scribes who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers” (Mark 12:38-
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Mark 13:24-32, November 18, 2012
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
DISCIPLESHIP means the following of Jesus. In Mark, however, discipleship has a definite reference—he is not just any Jesus. The Jesus being followed or referred to is the Son of Man: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me… Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels”(Mark 8:34b-38). But who is this Jesus, the Son of Man? In Mark’s Gospel, this Son of Man who we follow in discipleship is, among others, the Jesus who must suffer, is rejected and killed (Mark 9:31; 10:33), and who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for all (Mark 10:44b). As Son of Man, Jesus corrected his disciples for their wrong perception of what following him meant. For example, he criticized Peter who, instead of accepting the prospect of suffering and humiliation, thought of reviving David’s conquest (Mark 8:33). It is also for this reason that he silenced the brothers James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who wished to occupy the prominent and prestigious places in the kingdom of God (Mark 10:38a). Jesus’ criticism of his disciples makes it clear that to follow Jesus as Son of Man is rather costly. For judged in the light of worldly standard, it brings problems, deprivation, and suffering. A review of the Gospel readings of the preceding Sundays confirms this. The rich man refused to follow Jesus. When challenged to sell his property and give the money to the poor, his face fell because he was rich. For him, he could not suffer the loss of his wealth (Mark 10:23). As can be seen in Jesus’ prohibition of divorce, it also deprives one of his right to put away his wife for any cause (Mark 10:9). Discipleship also requires the giving up of ambition to lord it over others; instead, it asks the follower to accept suffering entailed in the ministry of service (Mark 10:38). Indeed, in one’s effort to call upon Jesus and follow him, as in the case of Bartimaeus, one could meet opposition and even attempts to silence him (Mark 10:48). Does all this mean that following Jesus as Son of Man has nothing in store for the disciple except humiliation and defeat? Not at all. In the end, there is justification and triumph in discipleship. Although the disciple may live in a world enveloped by trials, difficulties and turmoil, he has a very certain consolation that the Son of Man he followed is coming back to give him eternal life in the age to come, making him share in his power and glory (see Mark 10:30). This is one point which this Sunday’s Gospel stresses: “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds, with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky” (Mark 13:26-27). This is to say that when Jesus comes as Son of Man, we who followed him in suffering and even death will be victorious over the powers of evil and death. Structures of power and domination represented by the stellar phenomena will be toppled: “The stars and constellations of the heavens send forth no light. The sun is dark when it rises, and the light of the moon does not shine. Thus I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their guilt. I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant, the insolence of tyrants I will humble” (Isa 13:10-11). “Then the moon will blush and the sun grow pale. For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, glorious in the sight of his elders” (Isa 24:23). Or, in the apocalyptic language of the 1st Reading, those who followed Jesus “shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament” (Dan 12:3). According to Mark, the chosen ones will be gathered from the four winds (Mark 13:27). This assembly of the elect who have followed the Son of Man fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah: “Fear not, for I am with you; from the east I will bring back your descendants; from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north: Give them up! and to the south: Hold not back! Bring back my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth: everyone who is named as mind, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isa 43:5-6). This only means that like the Son of Man, the people of the new covenant are vindicated. The point is obvious. Discipleship may be costly, but in the end, a final victory over the forces of darkness awaits those of us who followed the Son of Man. Hence, we have much reason to take up the cause of discipleship.
Following the Son of Man—its vindication
Bishop Pat Alo
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B; November 11, 2012
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE poor widow thought that nobody would notice her as she dropped her simple offering into the large basin of the temple treasury. She did not feel ashamed, of course, for she was offering her contribution only for the Lord—and the Lord knew that she was giving even more than she could afford. There is an extraordinary resemblance between the generosity and simplicity of this widow praised by Jesus (see the second part of today’s Gospel passage) and that of the widow of Zarephath (presumably a pagan), who shared with the prophet Elijah the little she had left for her own and her son’s sustenance. (See today’s First Reading.) Their offering was more than just an act of generosity. It was an act of faith, of total reliance on God’s providence, for they had offered all that they had to live on. (See Mk 12:44.) And they had offered it with an immense love – the silent, discreet love of the simple people whose only treasure and sure hope is God. There is a striking contrast between the anonymous widow featured in today’s Gospel passage and the shameless greed of the scribes who “devour the savings of widows and recite long prayers for appearance’ sake” (Mk 12:40). Today’s First Reading and the Gospel episode contain a challenge for all of us: the challenge to imitate the generosity, faith, and love of the two poor widows. Such a demand confronts us whenever we are tempted to be over-concerned about our future material needs. If we have such a frame of mind, it is very difficult for us to share our resources with the poor and to give for the needs of the Church. We have to overcome this “fear for the future” by trusting fully in God’s providence. The First Reading and the Gospel contain also a message of hope—a hope rooted, first of all, in the certitude that God notices and appreciates even the small acts of generosity which people often ignore or even despise. He will leave nothing unrewarded of what is offered with a sincere heart. Unlike most of us, God looks at the intention, rather than the amount given or the result attained. This means that even the poorest can become rich in God’s sight by offering their modest gifts with a pure intention. The Lord rejects nothing of what is offered Him out of love. Such is the basic conviction that grounds the “Pondo ng Pinoy” Movement. Indeed, it can be said that the Lord values more the crumbs of the poor than the baskets filled with big loaves presented by the wealthy. Such a loving attention given by God to what is small and humanly insignificant applies not only to material offerings, but also and especially to non-material ones: to the simple acts of respect, condescension, solidarity, forgiveness, patience, love . . . with which we can embroider our days and enrich our lives. Nothing is lost of what is offered to God. Its fruit remains in us, multiplied a thousand times.
The preciousness of the crumbs
THE interventions of God in human history are not always easy of comprehension. For example, in spite of much opposition the Catholic Church has grown through the years. Of course, we most certainly ascribe that to God’s omnipotent providence. The important point is that the Catholic Church simply endeavors to follow its Founder in being faithful to the truth taught by our Lord Jesus and live in accord with the way He lived, as shown by His example. It’s not always easy to understand God’s ways since it’s part of our faith to accept unquestionably what His infallible word tells us. What is important is our assurance of being in possession of the truth, even if it comes through the Church. But there are signs that are convincing enough. “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover…And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mk. 16:16-20). Much of these signs and miracles have been carefully documented or recorded, if you really care or desire to know about them, more so especially in the lives of the saints, since these extraordinary signs or miracles are a requisite proof of God’s intervention or approval, especially in cases of the canonization of saints.
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B; November 18, 2012
RUMORS and fears about an impending “end of the world” are a recurring event, especially now that mankind has developed and stock-piled so many destructive weapons. Others see the end of all life on earth as the inevitable result of the ever-increasing pollution and of the irresponsible exploitation of its resources. In both instances, “the end” is seen as a man-made result, whether abrupt or gradual, and with no “saving dimension.” Somehow, Christ is left out of the picture, and so are the realities of judgment and everlasting reward or punishment. A Christ-less end of the world is not according to our Catholic faith. It is not according to God’s plan. Thanks to divine revelation, we know about “the end” much more than science or human pessimism can predict. We know the essence of it, what really matters: Christ, the “Son of Man,” will surely come with
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End of the world: preparing for the best
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
were conducted in various monsoon-affected areas in the province. Priority has been given to poorer communities and those with members belonging to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, differently-abled persons, pregnant and lactating mothers and children regardless of religious affiliation. A s t a n d a rd f o o d p a c k distributed is consisted of 10kg of rice, 500ml cooking oil, 5 pieces of 155g-canned fish in oil, 5 pieces of 150g-canned meat, iodized salt, 36 packs of 3-in-1 coffee. Thermal support consisted of two sleeping mats and blankets. The first phase of distribution was held last September 7, 2012 at Sto. Tomas Parish in Sto. Tomas, Pampanga providing food and non-food items to 700 families. Smooth flow of distribution was observed because it was guided by the implementing partners and the beneficiaries who followed the system of distribution. The succeeding distribution was held at Sta. Monica Parish in Minalin, Pampanga, which
served 213 families. Some162 beneficiaries from the Sto. Domingo Parish in Minalin received help as well. Succeeding distributions followed at the Holy Family Parish in Apalit, at San Rafael Parish in San Rafael Municipality, at San Andres Parish in Candaba, and San Matias Parish in Brgy. San Matias, Sto. Tomas, Pampanga with 150 families in each parish. A total of 1,675 families have been served by the project. (Relief & Rehabilitation/CBCPNASSA)
Catholic Church reaches out to flood-victims Kapampangans
THE National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in coordination with other Church’s groups has reached out to families in various barangays in Pampanga displaced by the monsoon flooding last August 2012. The Southwest monsoon flooding last August has left Kapampangans either in the roofs of their homes or in evacuation centers. The Church is one among those who has seen and responded to their situation. At the height of the flooding,
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a total of 230,366 families or 995,431 persons were affected in the province of Pampanga, 3,414 evacuated in schools, community chapels, parishes, barangay halls, and covered courts. These excluded the thousands who evacuated to their relatives and friends. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of Region 3 reported a total of 437 barangays submerged in floodwaters as high as eight feet. Aside from claiming seventeen lives, the floods also damaged
millions of pesos worth of agricultural livelihoods like crops, fisheries and livestocks. The NASSA and the Social Action Center of Pampanga (SACOP) with the help of Basic Ecclesial Communities and its Parish Pastoral Council, witnessed the need to support the food and other essential needs of the targeted 1,550 families from various parishes in the diocese. With the financial support from Caritas Canada (Development and Peace) amounting to USD 50,095.97 or PhP 2,070,466.44, a general distribution of goods
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Photo Courtesy of CBCP-NASSA
Proposition 13: CHALLENGES OF OUR TIME The proclamation of the good news in different contexts of the world—marked by the processes of globalization and secularism—places different challenges before the Church: at times in an outright religious persecution, at other times in a widespread indifference, interference, restriction or harassment. The Gospel offers a vision of life and of the world that cannot be imposed, but only proposed, as the good news of the gratuitous love of God and of peace. The message of truth and of beauty can help people escape from the loneliness and lack of meaning to which the conditions of post-modern society often relegate them. Therefore, believers must strive to show to the world the splendor of a humanity grounded in the mystery of Christ. Popular religiosity is important but not sufficient; more is needed to help recognize the
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duty to proclaim to the world the reason for Christian hope, to those Catholics estranged from the Church, to those who do not follow Christ, to the sects and those experimenting with different kinds of spiritualities. Proposition 14: THE NEW E VA N G E L I Z AT I O N AND RECONCILIATION In a world that is broken by wars and violence, a world hurt by a widespread individualism which separates human beings among themselves, and pits one against the other, the Church must exercise her ministry of reconciliation in a calm and resolute way. The Church in the spirit of the New Evangelization undertakes the task of reconciliation. Faithful to Jesus’ message, (“...he has broken down the dividing wall of hostility” Eph 2:14), the Church has to make an effort to break down the walls that separate human
beings. With the message of love, she has to preach the newness of the salvific Gospel of Our Lord, who came to free us from our sins and to invite us to build harmony, peace and justice among all peoples. Proposition 15: NEW E V A N G E L I Z A T I O N AND HUMAN RIGHTS Consistent with the emphasis placed on human dignity by the New Evangelization, this Synod urges legislators, teachers and others who work in the human sciences to grant full respect to the human person both in public policy and practice. At the same time, every opportunity must be taken in various local situations and associations to articulate, uphold and guard, both in theory and in practice, those rights flowing from an adequate understanding of the human person as set forth in the natural law. (To be continued next issue)
great power and glory to pass judgment on all men, and “assemble his chosen ones from the farthest bounds of earth and sky.” (See Mk 12:26.) The morbid curiosity of individuals and groups has often indulged in detailed descriptions of destruction, suffering and horror. The truth is that no one knows how the end will come about, nor when. This is a secret known to the Father alone. (See the conclusion of today’s Gospel passage.) What matters for us (and for all) is that we should be always ready for that “reckoning day.” The thought of the end should fill us not with crippling terror but with a dynamic determination to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. And this preparation does not consist in building radiation-proof underground bunkers, or in being launched into space, away from the conflagration that will
engulf the earth. This is not only a faithless way of viewing the end, but a childish way of facing such a decisive event. We prepare for the end by doing now as much good as we can, with the right intention (out of love for Christ), and to as many people as possible, because Christ, the judge, is already present in each human being needing our help. (See Mt 25:35-36.40-45.) If we pursue now this type of preparation for “the end,” not only shall we not be afraid of it, but we shall actually look forward to it, eager to welcome the Son of Man, to see him personally and not just under the sometimes disappointing appearances of our neighbor. That will be the day of the “mutual welcome”: we will welcome Jesus as our Savior, and he will welcome us into his kingdom as his dearest brothers and sisters.
fifty years ago. Its fundamental magisterium for our time shines in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is proposed once more as a sure reference of faith twenty years after its publication. These are important anniversaries, which allow us to reaffirm our close adherence to the Council’s teaching and our firm commitment to carry on its implementation. 12. Contemplating the mystery and being at the side of the poor In this perspective we wish to indicate to all the faithful two expressions of the life of faith which seem particularly important to us for witnessing to it in the New Evangelization. The first is constituted by the gift and experience of contemplation. A testimony that the world would consider credible can arise only from an adoring gaze at the mystery of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, only from the deep silence that receives the unique saving Word like a womb. Only this prayerful silence can prevent the word of salvation from being lost in the many noises that overrun the world. We now address a word of gratitude to all men and women who dedicate their lives to prayer and contemplation in monasteries and hermitages. Moments of contemplation must interweave with people’s ordinary lives: spaces in the soul, but also physical ones, that remind us of God; interior sanctuaries and temples of stone that, like crossroads, keep us from losing ourselves in a flood of experiences; opportunities in which all could feel accepted, even those who barely know what and whom to seek. Theothersymbolofauthenticity of the new evangelization has the face of the poor. Placing ourselves side by side with those who are wounded by life is not only a social exercise, but above all a spiritual act because it is Christ’s
face that shines in the face of the poor: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). We must recognize the privileged place of the poor in our communities, a place that does not exclude anyone, but wants to reflect how Jesus bound himself to them. The presence of the poor in our communities is mysteriously powerful: it changes persons more than a discourse does, it teaches fidelity, it makes us understand the fragility of life, it asks for prayer: in short, it brings us to Christ. The gesture of charity, on the other hand, must also be accompanied by commitment to justice, with an appeal that concerns all, poor and rich. Hence, the social doctrine of the Church is integral to the pathways of the new evangelization, as well as the formation of Christians to dedicate themselves to serve the human community in social and political life. 13. To the Churches in the various regions of the world The vision of the Bishops gathered in the synodal assembly embraces all the ecclesial communities spread throughout the world. Their vision seeks to be comprehensive, because the call to encounter Christ is one, while keeping diversity in mind. The Bishops gathered in the Synod gave special consideration, full of fraternal affection and gratitude, to you Christians of the Catholic Oriental Churches, those who are heirs of the first wave of evangelization—an experience preserved with love and faithfulness—and those present in Eastern Europe. Today the Gospel comes to you again in a new evangelization through liturgical life, catechesis, daily family prayer, fasting, solidarity among families, the participation of the laity in the life of communities and in dialogue with society. In many places your Churches are amidst trials and tribulation through which they
witness to their participation in the sufferings of Christ. Some of the faithful are forced to emigrate. Keeping alive their oneness with their community of origin, they can contribute to the pastoral care and to the work of evangelization in the countries that have welcomed them. May the Lord continue to bless your faithfulness. May your future be marked by the serene confession and practice of your faith in peace and religious liberty. We look to you Christians, men and women, who live in the countries of Africa and we express our gratitude for your witness to the Gospel often in difficult circumstances. We exhort you to revive the evangelization that you received in recent times, to build the Church as the family of God, to strengthen the identity of the family, to sustain the commitment of priests and catechists especially in the small Christian communities. We affirm the need to develop the encounter between the Gospel and old and new cultures. Great expectation and a strong appeal is addressed to the world of politics and to the governments of the various countries of Africa, so that, in collaboration with all people of good will, basic human rights may be promoted and the continent freed from violence and conflicts which still afflict it. The Bishops of the synodal Assembly invite you, Christians of North America, to respond with joy to the call to a new evangelization, while they look with gratitude at how your young Christian communities have borne generous fruits of faith, charity and mission. You need to recognize the many expressions of the present culture in the countries of your world which are today far from the Gospel. Conversion is necessary, from which is born a commitment that does not bring you out of your cultures, but leaves you in their midst to offer to all the light of faith and the power of life. As you
welcome in your generous lands new populations of immigrants and refugees, may you be willing to open the doors of your homes to the faith. Faithful to the commitments taken at the synodal Assembly for America, be united with Latin America in the ongoing evangelization of the continent you share. The synodal assembly addressed the same sentiment of gratitude to the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean. Particularly striking throughout the ages is the development in your countries of forms of popular piety still fixed in the hearts of many people, of charitable service and of dialogue with cultures. Now, in the face of many present challenges, first of all poverty and violence, the Church in Latin America and in the Caribbean is encouraged to live in an ongoing state of mission, announcing the Gospel with hope and joy, forming communities of true missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, showing in the commitment of its sons and daughters how the Gospel could be the source of a new, just and fraternal society. Religious pluralism also tests your Churches and requires a renewed proclamation of the Gospel. To you, Christians of Asia, we also offer a word of encouragement and of exhortation. As a small minority in the continent which houses almost two thirds of the world’s population, your presence is a fruitful seed entrusted to the power of the Spirit, which grows in dialogue with the diverse cultures, with the ancient religions and with the countless poor. Although often outcast by society and in many places also persecuted, the Church of Asia, with its firm faith, is a valuable presence of Christ’s Gospel which proclaims justice, life and harmony. Christians of Asia, feel the fraternal closeness of Christians of other countries of the world which cannot forget that in your continent—in the Holy Land—Jesus was born,
lived, died and rose from the dead. The Bishops address a word of gratitude and hope to the Churches of the European continent, in part marked today by a strong—sometimes even aggressive—secularization, and in part still wounded by many decades of regimes with ideologies hostile to God and to humanity. We look with gratitude towards the past, but also to the present, in which the Gospel has created in Europe particular expressions and experiences of faith—often overflowing with holiness—that have been decisive for the evangelization of the whole world: rich theological thought, various charismatic expressions, various forms of charitable service for the poor, profound contemplative experiences, the creation of a humanistic culture which has contributed to defining the dignity of the person and shaping the common good. May the present difficulties not pull you down, dear Christians of Europe: may you consider them instead as a challenge to be overcome and an occasion for a more joyful and vivid proclamation of Christ and of his Gospel of life. Finally, the bishops of the synodal assembly greet the people of Oceania who live under the protection of the Southern Cross, they thank them for their witness to the Gospel of Jesus. Our prayer for you is that you might feel a profound thirst for new life, like the Samaritan Woman at the well, and that you might be able to hear the word of Jesus which says: “If you knew the gift of God” (John 4:10). May you more strongly feel the commitment to preach the Gospel and to make Jesus known in the world of today. We exhort you to encounter him in your daily life, to listen to him and to discover, through prayer and meditation, the grace to be able to say: “We know that this is truly the Savior of the World” (John 4:42)
14. The star of Mary illumines the desert Arriving at the end of this experience of communion among Bishops of the entire world and of collaboration with the ministry of the Successor of Peter, we hear echoing in us the actual command of Jesus to his apostles: “Go and make disciples of all nations [...] and behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20). The mission of the Church is not addressed to one geographic area only, but goes to the very hidden depths of the hearts of our contemporaries to draw them back to an encounter with Jesus, the Living One who makes himself present in our communities. This presence fills our hearts with joy. Grateful for the gifts received from him in these days, we raise to him the hymn of praise: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord [...] The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Luke 1:46, 49). We make Mary’s words our own: the Lord has indeed done great things for his Church throughout the ages in various parts of the world and we magnify him, certain that he will not fail to look on our poverty in order to show the strength of his arm in our days and to sustain us in the path of the new evangelization. The figure of Mary guides us on our way. Our journey, as Pope Benedict XVI told us, can seem like a path across the desert; we know that we must take it, bringing with us what is essential: the gift of the Spirit the company of Jesus, the truth of his word, the eucharistic bread which nourishes us, the fellowship of ecclesial communion, the impetus of charity. It is the water of the well that makes the desert bloom. As stars shine more brightly at night in the desert, so the light of Mary, the Star of the new evangelization, brightly shines in heaven on our way. To her we confidently entrust ourselves.*
Photo Courtesy of CBCP-NASSA
SI Makoy (Dantes), isang barumbadong astig, ay nagpunta sa kasuluk-sulukan ng isang lalawigan upang amuin at sunduin ang nagtatampong kasintahang si Sonia (Poe). Kaya nga lamang ay galit na galit sa kanya kapwa si Sonia at ang ina nitong si Fely (de Belen). Mabuti na lamang at tutulungan siya ni Nestor (Marquez), ang sunod-sunurang asawa ni Fely. Para makatulong sa panunuyo, mag-aambag si Makoy ng lilitsuning baboy para sa darating na kaarawan ni Sonia at posibleng pagsilang ng kanilang panganay. Malas nga lamang na ang babuyan ay kuta ng mga Tiktik—ang mga aswang na mahilig kumain ng sanggol. Sa kadaldalan ni Nestor ay mababanggit niya na pinaghahandaan nila ang kaarawan ng kanyang buntis na anak. Dito magsisimulang umamba ang panganib kay Sonia at sa buong pamilya na pag-iinteresang kainin ng mga batang Tiktik. Dito rin masusubok ang pagmamahal at tapang ni Makoy nang kakailanganin niyang ipagtanggol ang kanyang magina at ang pamilya nito. Hindi man bago ay maganda naman sana ang konsepto ng kwento, Mahigpit ang daloy at malinaw naman ang gusto nitong patunguhan. Ginamitan din ito ng mas mala-MTV na istilo ng pag-eedit at multiscree effects upang maging mabilis ang daloy ng kwento.
Nakabibilib din ang ibinuhos na pagod sa pagbuo ng mga computer generated images (CGI) at ang busisi sa disenyo ng produksyon. Ito ang kaunaunahang pelikulang ginamitan ng green screen sa halip na tunay na lokasyon. Kaya nga lamang, kahit maganda ito, medyo hindi tugma ang mismong kwento sa napiling istilong teknikal. Masasabi nga na ang pelikula ay mayabang at nalilito dahil sa totoo lang, hindi naman kinailangan ng green screen ang lokasyon sapagkat masyado itong naka-aagaw ng pansin. Kung manunuod ka ng pelikulang banyagang gumagamit din ng ganitong teknolohiya, bagamat alam mo na CGI ang ilang element, hindi naman ito nagsusumigaw dahil mahigpit itong nakapaloob sa eksena. Sa Tiktik, ramdam mo na nakalutang ang mga special effects at kahit hindi kailangan o hindi naman makapagpapausad ng istorya ay gagawin—atulad ng pag-iiba-iba pa ng anyo ng mga aswang o ang maraming time remapping (pagpapabagal at pagpapabilis sa aksyon). Bagamat maganda ang konsepto ng pelikula, naligaw na ito at nalito na kung gusto ba nitong maging horror, comedy, action o fantasy. Kaya para madali, sinakop nito ang lahat— pananakot, pagpapatawa, pagpapahanga. Sinubukan, pero hindi nagtagumpay dahil ang lahat ay nakatuon lamang
Title: Tiktik: the Aswang Chronicles Cast: Dingdong Dantes, Lovi Poe, Joey Marquez, Janice de Belen, roi Vinzon Direction: erick Matti Genre: horror-Fantasy Distributor: reality entertainment Location: Philippines running Time: 105 minutes Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: ½ CIneMa rating: V14
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome exemplary
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sa panggulat ng CGI. May mga nakababagabag na punto ang Tiktik. Una, hindi ganoon kahalaga ang kasal. Bagamat inaya ni Makoy si Sonia na magpakasal dahil seryoso na silang magsasama, isa pa rin itong “after thought” matapos nilang mag-live in at magsiping. Pangalawa, kinilala ng simbahan ang presensya ng mga masasamang ispiritu at nirerespeto ang lokal na kultura pero sa pelikula hindi man lamang binanggit na hindi nakasalalay sa kakayahan ng tao ang paggapi sa mga ito. Sa kabilang dako, kahangahanga na kayang ipain ni Makoy ang sarili at ang buhay para lamang ipagtanggol ang kanyang mag-ina at ang pamilya nito. Para sa CINEMA, sayang ang pelikula dahil kaya pa sana itong pagandahin at gawing mas buo kung hindi puro sa panggulat na CGI ang pinagbuhusan ng pagod at isip.
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Look for the image of Cardinal-designate Luis Antonio Tagle, the Chalice and host, and the Crucifix. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
NEW YORK (CNS)--Cross “Toy Story” with a video arcade game and you get “Wreck-It Ralph” (Disney), a clever 3-D animated adventure that explores the meaning of life inside the machine, once the “Game Over” message appears. Director Rich Moore is a veteran of “The Simpsons” television series, and it shows, for better and worse. “Wreck-It Ralph” is fast-paced and full of action, but some rude humor skews this film toward older kids and their baby-boomer parents. The eponymous hero (voice of John C. Reilly) makes his living smashing things to bits in an arcade game called “Fix-It Felix.” Hot in pursuit is said Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer), who repairs everything Ralph wrecks with a magic hammer. The game ends when the victorious Felix is awarded a medal, and Ralph is consigned to the dump. After 30 years of the same routine, Ralph has an existential crisis: He no longer wants to be the bad guy. He confesses this to his “Bad-Anon” support group made up of fellow game villains. (Inappropriately for such light comic fare, Satan himself is numbered among these). At their meetings, the black hats recite a mantra: “I’m bad and that’s good. I will never be good and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.” But Ralph wants more, and takes the drastic step of switching games in search of fame and glory. First stop: “Hero’s Duty,” a violent shoot-‘em-up where Sgt. Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) leads an army of warriors to annihilate cyber-bugs on a distant planet. Ralph gets a taste of success, but at a price, unleashing a deadly force that threatens to pull the plug of every game in the arcade. That includes his next stop: “Sugar Rush,” a sickly sweet racing game in a magical kingdom ruled by King Candy (voice of Alan Tudyk). “Sugar Rush” is filled with puns and sight gags. King Kandy’s bodyguards are two donuts called Duncan and Wynnchel, and his bloodhounds are Devil Dogs, who take care not to step in the Nesquiksand. Ralph joins forces with an outcast, Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman). Vanellope is a “glitch,” phasing in and out due to a programming error or, as she puts it, “I have pixlexia.” She is ridiculed by her fellow racers, and lives alone in a junkyard. Ralph can relate, and comes to Vanellope’s aid. To save the day they must overcome prejudice and embrace their differences, offering positive lessons in self-esteem for young viewers. Along the way, older gamers in the audience will enjoy the cameos from classic video game characters such as Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Frogger, and the forever unintelligible Q*bert. “Wreck-It Ralph” is preceded by a charming short film “Paperman,” directed by newcomer John Kahrs, about young love in the big city nurtured by, of all things, a simple paper airplane. The film contains mild cartoonish violence and some rude humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested, some material may not be suitable for children. (Joseph McAleer/Catholic News Service)
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
CFC Pilgrims Celebrate Magnificat
in December and will be completed by the spring of 2013. On October 4, Thursday, the pilgrims proceeded to Rue du Bac, to hear mass at the chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. October 5, Friday - First Friday mass and devotion were celebrated in the crypt chapel of the Pieta in the basilica of Sacre Couer (Sacred Heart of Jesus). This massive white church is in the historic Montmartre district of Paris and is actually located in the highest part of the city. The pilgrims then had to catch the high-speed train to Tarbes (Lourdes) that same Friday afternoon, quite a long journey because even with a fast train, the trip took a good five hours. October 6, Saturday - The day began once again with the celebration of the Mass in the crypt chapel at the back of the Church, built on the hill that is actually the crest of the cave (grotto). This is the site where Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous many times. It is to Bernadette that Mama Mary identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, a dogma that was not yet widely known in 1858, the year of the appearances. The pilgrims lined up to drink and bathe in the waters of the spring and to spend private time for devotional and personal prayers in the Lourdes grotto. There was confession and in the evening, the pilgrims reverently joined the candle light procession. October 7, Sunday - In the early predawn stillness and cold, some of the pilgrims got up earlier than usual to spend more quiet time for prayer and reflection in front of the grotto and to attend the Spanish Mass. Before noon, the pilgrims found themselves in Loiola (the Catalan spelling of Loyola) to visit the birthplace and home of St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus. It was a great coincidence that while the CFC Pilgrims were having their own mini-MCG assembly in Loiola, MCG Manila was having theirs in Loyola. No CFC pilgrim could miss the connection- Loiola, Spain and Loyola, Manila. October 8, Monday - The pilgrims reached Fatima, Portugal in the evening, just in time to join the evening procession on the grounds of the apparition site. October 9, Tuesday - A full day in Fatima, attending mass, going on a guided tour of the actual apparition site (Cova da Iria), visiting the birthplaces and humble homes of the three shepherd children - Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. There was a short CFC assembly in the hotel in the evening followed by the nightly Holy Rosary recitation in the Apparition chapel. Monsignor Allen Aganon gave an exhortation in Tagalog for the Second Sorrowful mystery followed by Mila Yamamoto leading the recitation of the first five Hail Marys in Tagalog (Aba Ginoong Maria). Soon after, the pilgrims joined the candlelight procession on the church grounds. October 10, Wednesday – By this day, the pilgrims have gotten used to the routine - early breakfast, load all the luggage for the bus trip to the next destination. The two buses travel to Madrid, a total distance of 560 kilometers, a distance that could normally get boring, but not for the pilgrims. They did not seem to have a dull moment as they spent time praying the rosary, watching the videos about Bernadette, St. Francis and St. Clare, who both hailed from Assisi and completing the video-based Bible Journey. October 11, Thursday - Travel to the city of Avila, birthplace of St. Teresa of Avila, one of the Doctors of the Church. October 12, Friday – En route to BarceCFC Pilgrims / C2
Joe and Mila Yamamoto and other pilgrims stand beside the marker at the site where the CFC and ANCOP grotto will rise.
By Joe Yamamoto
A TOTAL of 72 CFC members and their relatives and friends joined the Magnificat Marian Pilgrimage , an exciting three-week journey (October 1-20,2012) that took them through eight countries and 6000 kilometers over land. Inspired by their Holy Land pilgrimage last year, the pilgrims once again took this opportunity to deepen their spirituality by visiting the Marian apparition sites. October 3, Wednesday- First major stop was the apparition site of the Virgin of the Poor in Banneux, Belgium after a
two-hour bus trip from Brussels. Msgr. Allen Aganon, the spiritual adviser of CFC, celebrated Holy Mass at the church located close to the apparition site. The pilgrims also witnessed a significant event – the much-awaited groundbreaking for the CFC and ANCOP grotto that will go up in the grounds of Banneux. The grotto is a very rare privilege for both CFC and our country because this honor has been given to only a few countries. It is doubly significant because CFC’s work with the poor (ANCOP) has adopted as its patron Our Lady of Banneux. The construction of the grotto will commence
Teen Saint Pedro -
GRADS INSPIRE Faithful, Pure, A Child of Love ANCOP SCHOLARS
Mat’apang, played by Stephen Umaguing, regards the group with hostility. Other antagonists in the story like Choco, the shipwrecked Chinese quack doctor (played by Emer Guingon) and the Macanjas (native herbal medicine men) do everything to threaten the lives of the missionaries. However, in spite of this hostile atmosphere, the missionaries are able to catechize and baptize the women-folk and the children, including Upe, Mat’apang’s wife (played by Lorimar Ranario), and a ma urritao (played by Gretchen Yaoyao), a woman who educates young Chamorro men in hunting, fighting, boat-building and the ways of the world. The cast also included Cerisse Balatbat as Pedro’s mother, and Maliksi Morales as the boy Pedro. The conflict begins when rumors abound that the baptismal water that the missionaries used was poisoned, causing the death of Ma’apang’s child. The scene wherein Mat’apang and his right hand man confront and attack Padre Diego and Pedro is the highlight of the play. The play ends with Pedro lying lifeless while the chorus sings “Pedro’s Farewell,” the most poignant lines of which are: “I feel no grudge for those who gave me pain, Just a bit sad that I can’t speak of God to them again. But remember Land, beloved of God, who has bathed you with my blood. No martyr never ever dies in vain!” After the performance, Aileen Serrano of 29AD asked Msgr. Rudy if he liked the play. Msgr. Rudy replied, “Tell cast and crew I am very happy. See you in Cebu next week!” as he couldn’t wait for his fellow Cebuanos to see the play. However, Cebu would have to wait a few more weeks because Teen Saint Pedro, The Musicale will be shown again in Manila on November 28, 2 days before the canonization thanksgiving Mass on November 30, 2012. The musical succeeds in introducing the now San Pedro Calungsod to its audience. But more than telling the newly canonized saint’s life story, Teen Saint Pedro, The Musicale inspires not only the young, but people of all ages, to remain faithful, pure and full of love.
By Alma Alvarez
CFC ANCOP gathered its college scholars last October 24, 2012 in an afternoon of inspiration and fellowship at the Lay Formation Center, San Carlos Seminary in Guadalupe, Makati. More than 250 scholars, together with their coordinators, came to listen to stories of fellow scholars—of how poverty is not a hindrance in pursuing their dreams, how they juggled their academics and extra-curricular activities, how being in CFC Youth for Christ helped them in their faith, how their families supported them in their studies, and their gratitude to the sponsors who continue to support them. Sharing their experiences were scholars April Estoy from the University of Caloocan City (UCC), Joan Kristine Batacan from the Rizal Technological University, as well as graduates Ronald John Lamano (UP at Los Baños), Ken Mark Agustin (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) and Simon Beringuela (UCC). CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca gave the scholars a few words of wisdom and encouragement, and honored Lamano, Agustin and Beringuela for being excellent models for their fellow scholars. Special mention was given to Agustin and Beringuela, who not only passed the October 2012 Board Examinations for Certified Public Accountants but made it to the top 20. A scholars’ commitment ceremony followed, wherein the scholars pledged to remain faithful to their responsibilities as ANCOP scholars. Thelma Hizon, HOLD Coordinator for Building the Church of the Poor (BCOP), later on suggested that ANCOP scholars formally organize themselves and proposed that they adopt a “pay-it-forward” scheme that will enable them to give back to the ANCOP Education Program. YFC International Coordinator Lawrence Quintero also honored the scholars, whom he dubbed “mga iskolar ng Diyos,” for being active in CFC Youth for Christ, and urged them to grow in their faith. Cuenca led the prayer for empowerment of the scholars, urging them to remain steadfast in their pursuit of knowledge, success and a life centered in the Lord.
By Alma M. Alvarez
OCTOBER 21, 2013 is a very significant day for Filipino Catholics. On this day, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Beato Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino to become a saint. Unlike San Lorenzo Ruiz, very little is known about this young martyr from the Visayas who sailed with Jesuit Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores to the Las Islas de Mariana in 1668. And so, in a effort to introduce Bl. Pedro Calungsod to the Filipino, especially the youth, the National Commission on the Canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, in collaboration with Msgr. Rudy Villanueva of Cebu and 29AD Musicionaries of Couples for Christ, organized the staging of Teen Saint Pedro, The Musicale. Msgr. Rudy wrote the original play titled Scenes from a Martyrdom, which was staged in 1994 in Cebu by a company of priests and willing volunteers. After meeting with the Commission and 29AD, it was agreed that Msgr. Rudy’s original script will be adapted, with 29AD’s Bob Serrano and Nonong Sampang doing a few rearrangements in the music. And with a little over a month to spare, the company set its gears running—planning, auditioning actors, drawing props and costumes, learning songs and rehearsing for the big night. Popular teen actor Makisig Morales portrays Pedro Calungsod while Bubi Camus portrays Padre Diego. The play begins with Pedro and Padre Diego setting forth on their mission to evangelize the Chamorros of Marianas Islands. However, the Chamorros, particularly the men, including the tribe chief
By Jun Uriarte
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
The Water That Had Become Wine (John 2:9)
ONE of the best reflections on the Gospel of John’s account of the Wedding in Cana is that of Fr. Thomas Keating entitled The Wedding Feast at Cana in Galilee. Fr. Keating is a monk of the Cistercian Order in the Benedictine tradition. He is a contemplative, author of many books, and the founder of the Centering Prayer movement. This reflection draws much from Fr. Keating’s profound and inspired reflections. While the gospel account is pregnant with numerous other messages and symbolisms, the core message is contained in the transformation of water into wine: Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now (Jn 2:6-10). Fr. Keating observes that: “Six is the number of creation in Jewish numerology, since in six days, according to the Book of Genesis, the universe was created. The six jars represent not only the first creation, but also the previous covenants between God and Israel: the Abrahamic covenant and the covenant with Moses on Mount Sinai. They stand for the revelation of God that was originally offered to the Jewish people, and which they, as best they could, faithfully fulfilled by bringing the knowledge of the one true God into human history.” Fr. Keating tells us that: “The water transformed into wine symbolizes the overflowing infusion of the Holy Spirit that will occur at Pentecost as a result of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. The wine, with its heady, exuberant, and inebriating quality and delicious taste, symbolically replaces the Old Law with its strict rules.” Finally, Fr. Keating explains: “In this way, we can see that the very objects that Jesus uses that manifest the changing of water into wine are providing us with a whole theology of the New Testament. The New Covenant, as he calls it, is a transmission of the divine nature by means of which human nature is not merely improved but made new, changed in a way that produces a new creation. The wine represents the spirit of the gospel that Christ is bringing into the world and that he intends to communicate with the help of his disciples.” If we read and reflect more closely on John 2:6-10, we note one aspect that is seldom cited or commented on – that the transformation of water into wine happens instantaneously, seemingly without any physical action on the part of Jesus. The servers are asked to fill the jars with water, then to draw some and bring it to the headwaiter. Jesus does nothing. He does not say a prayer. He does not perform any ritual or ceremony. He does not touch the water or the jars. But the water has turned into wine! Miraculously! Instantly! Despite the silence of Jesus, despite his seeming inaction, a great thing has happened. Water has been turned into wine. All that is needed for the miracle to happen is for the servers to follow whatever Jesus tells them. The Gospel writer must have wanted to emphasize this point – the immediate and unquestioning obedience of the servers – by describing the actions in parallel language: Jesus told them to fill the jars …So they filled them. Jesus told them to draw some out … So they took it. Another aspect that is seldom commented on is the phrase “without knowing where it came from.” The Gospel writer must have used this phrase to anticipate the theme that he will develop throughout the Gospel, which is the question of the divine origin of Jesus. Thus in John 7:27 the people of Jerusalem are quoted to say: When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from. Then in John 8:14 Jesus says: Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I come from or where I am going. And again in John 9:29, in the story of the man born blind who was healed by Jesus, the Jews say of Jesus: We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from. Finally, in John 19:9, Pilate asks Jesus: Where are you from? It is apparent that, from the very first instance of Jesus’ public manifestation, the Gospel writer already anticipates the blindness and ignorance of the people that will unfold during Jesus’ public ministry. The shadow of Jesus’ public ministry casts over his first miracle in Cana. A couple of weeks ago, we went on a pastoral visit to CFC communities in Brunei Darussalam. We visited the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, and two other areas, Seria, where the huge Shell oil production and manufacturing complex is located, and Kuala Belait, near the border of Brunei and Sarawak in Malaysia. We gave various teachings and participated in the celebration of the community’s 18th anniversary. We gave a talk on Jesus’ Jerusalem Journey: The Conversion of Zacchaeus. And as the community had specifically requested, we gave a teaching on the Blessed Mother: Mary: The First and Perfect Disciple. What we have seen in Brunei is a true transformation of “ordinary water” into most “precious wine”. We saw ordinary Filipinos who are seeking to earn a living and to improve their economic status in a predominantly non-Christian country miraculously transformed into precious instruments in God’s hands for the proclamation of the Gospel. We saw a joyful community, ablaze with the Holy Spirit, giving witness to the greatness of the Lord, and, more importantly, giving life to the parishes, which otherwise would have been empty and lonely. We saw men and women eager to proclaim the Good News and travel, at their own expense, to Sarawak, Sabah, Timor Leste, and other places. We saw a “wedding feast” with good wine overflowing because the brothers and sisters in the community have chosen to do whatever the Lord tells them. Unlike in Cana, the transformation of our brothers and sisters in Brunei must have developed over the 18 years of the community. In each of them, Jesus must have worked silently. Perhaps they never actually felt the hand of Jesus touching them. Perhaps they never even imagined Jesus performing a ritual or ceremony. But the miracle still happened, transforming them into active and courageous evangelizers, because, in faith, they know that Jesus is present amongst them. They know that all they have to do is to follow whatever Jesus says through the teachings of the Church and the CFC community. The message is the same for all of us. If we do whatever the Lord tells us, he can transform us. He can change the ordinariness of our lives into something good, into something that can bring life to others. Rituals and ceremonies, although useful, are not essential. What is essential is faith in the presence of Jesus in our lives, in our community. What is essential is a personal relationship with the person who was first manifested during the wedding in Cana. For in the mere presence of this person, in the hands of Jesus, and, as in Cana, with the intercession of the Blessed Mother, we can be the water that had become wine.
ANCOP USA Pays Philippine Consulate in New York Courtesy Call to Philippine Pledges Support For ANCOP USA Embassy in Washington
SOME 100 ANCOP New Jersey leaders, supporters and friends, led by New York Consul Felipe “Bong” Cariño, CFC Country Representative for the US and ANCOP Chairman George Campos, and ANCOP USA Executive Director & COO Roger Santos attended “Give Love on Christmas,” an annual fund raising event of ANCOP USA. The event was sponsored by the prestigious New Jersey Lynch Law Firm (Lynch, Lynch, Held, Rosenberg & Perkins, PC). Consul Cariño thanked ANCOP for its programs on education, shelter and health aimed at helping the poor in the Philippines, and promised that henceforth, the Philippine Consulate in New York will assist ANCOP in its activities. All the principals of the Lynch Law Firm—James Lynch, Arthur V. Lynch, Brian A. Held, Michael Rosenberg and Paul Perkins attended the fund-raising event. Atty. Held, a CFC member, and his Filipina wife, announced that the Lynch Law Firm will support a similar ANCOP dinner fundraising every two years. Other pledges of support came from a group of physicians led by Dr. Louis D’Agostino, who donated a dialysis machine in support of ANCOP’s Health Program. They promised to join the next medical mission of ANCOP USA to the Philippines. Carmen K. Hermosisima, Area Head
of PNB Remittance Centers in New Jersey and Connecticut, announced that the PNB Remittance web site is now programmed to donate $2 out of every remittance fee paid by a CFC ANCOP member to ANCOP USA. A number of guests pledged they would give donations to ANCOP USA in furtherance of its mission of Building the Church of the Home and the Church of the Poor.
By Roger Santos
A DELEGATION of CFC ANCOP USA leaders paid a courtesy call on First Secretary and Consul Emil T. Fernandez at the Embassy of the Philippines in Washington D.C. on October 19, 2012. The group was composed of Roger Santos, Rollie Balanza, Eric de los Reyes, Karina de los Reyes, Manny Caballero and Nap Curameng. Aylene Mafnas, a Filipina-American community leader in Maryland, also joined the group.
The CFC ANCOP team shared with Consul Hernandez ANCOP’s Child Sponsorship Program, Community Development, Health, Calamity and Country Specific Programs. They also invited Consul Fernandez to attend the 2012 Global Pinoy Singing Idol Finals on December 1st at the Hylton Events Center in Woodbridge, Virginia, which is co-sponsored by ANCOP USA and ABS/CBN’s DZMM. Earlier, an invitation to the same event was also sent to Ambassador Jose Cuisia, Jr.
Country Rep Exhorts CFC ANCOP USA
DC, Ohio, New York and New Jersey. During meetings with leaders and members of CFC and ANCOP around the country, Campos stressed the importance of being passionate for God. “Passion is saying to yourself and to the universe, “This is what I want, and I’m betting my entire life on this. I’m putting my time, my future, and my comfort at stake here. I’m unloading all my guns. I’m holding nothing back. I’m sacrificing everything on the altar.” Quoting the French philosopher Diderot, Campos noted, “Only passion, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.” On October 5 to 6, the Camposes participated in the 2013 CFC ANCOP USA National Planning Conference held in
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Melo Villaroman, Jr. IC Oversight Zenaida Gimenez Editor-in-Chief Marivie Dalman Alma Alvarez Managing Editor Associate Editor/ Layout Artist Vangie Mecedilla Circulation Staff
The Ugnayan News Supplement is published by the Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Incorporated with editorial offices at 156 20th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City. Editorial trunk line: (063)709-4868 loc. 23; Direct line : (063)709-4856 www.couplesforchristglobal.org firstname.lastname@example.org CFC Pilgrims / C1
Chandler, Arizona. In the final leg of the couple’s trip, they attended the CFC NJ’s “Special Family Assembly” in Jersey City, New Jersey on Oct. 26 where both delivered spiritually inspiring talks. The next day, Oct. 27, the couple attended CFC ANCOP New Jersey’s “Give Love on Christmas” Grand Ball held in Emerson, NJ.
By Roger Santos
GEORGE Campos, CFC Country Coordinator for USA, exhorted CFC and ANCOP USA members “to proclaim an overflowing passion for the Lord” during the couple’s pastoral visits to 11 States (plus Washington D.C.) during the month of October. The CFC Coordinator, together with his wife Cynthia, visited CFC communities in Arizona, California, Portland, Oregon, Washington State, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington
lona, 600 kilometers away, the pilgrims were able to visit the image of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragosa on her exact feast day, a festive time with the streets filled with colorfully dressed men, women and children who exchanged pleasantries with the pilgrims. October 13, Saturday – The pilgrims are in Barcelona and enjoy a guided tour of the famous and yet far from finished Church of the Sagrada Familia. The afternoon was spent travelling to the mountain top Church dedicated to Our Lady of Monserrat. Monsignor Allen
celebrated mass for the two groups in the chapel located exactly behind the image of the Madonna. October 14 to 15 - The pilgrims went to Nice (France) and then to the principality of Monaco as bonus side trips. October 16, Tuesday - The pilgrims visit Assisi, attend mass and reflect on the lives of Sts. Francis and Clare in the churches dedicated to them. Proceeding by bus, the weary pilgrims reach Rome, the Eternal City, late in the evening. October 17, Wednesday - The pilgrims excitedly got up very early and started
queuing in the St. Peter’s grounds well before 7 AM for their much-awaited general papal audience. His holiness Pope Benedict XVI continue the practice of his predecessors and spend the morning of Wednesdays for this unique opportunity for the pilgrims to see the pope up close. The CFC pilgrims were elated and spirited, breaking into the CFC song and their practised chant. After lunch in one of the nice sidewalk pizza parlors, the groups went to the Vatican museum, the Sistine chapel and the Basilica of St. Peter.
October 18, Thursday – The pilgrims visit three other major basilicas of Rome - the Basilica of St. John Lateran (relics kept in the church include a piece of the table of the Last Supper and the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul), Santa Maria Maggiore (a piece of wood from the manger of Baby Jesus is preserved as a relic), and St. Paul outside the Walls (outside the walls of Rome proper, that is). Other highlights were visits to the Church of the Scala Santa ( the Holy Stairs). These stairs are ascended by the devotees on their knees and is considered to be the
very staircase Jesus ascended when he was tried by Pilate in Jerusalem. The day would not be complete if the pilgrims did not visit the Church of Jesu (the church where St.Ignatius is buried and where the relic of the arm of St. Francis Xavier is kept) and the Church of San Pietro Vincoli (where they keep the chains used on Peter). October 19, Friday – The pilgrims return to Manila, affirmed, convicted, fulfilled, happy and most of all, conscious that they are blessed to have been part of this beautiful journey of faith.
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
Manny L. Garcia
By Joe Yamamoto
Following Mary, Our Mother
THE whole Catholic Church recognizes Mary as the first and foremost disciple of Jesus. Rightly so since she dedicated her life and service totally to the Lord. Our own love affair with Mama Mary connects us to the day in the first century when in Nazareth, a little town in Galilee, a strange history-changing event occurred. An angel appeared to a young Jewish girl of around fourteen and initiated an extraordinary conversation with an uncommon greeting: “Hail favored one! The Lord is with you.” The account goes on to say: “But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold you will conceive in your womb and you will bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.’” (Luke 1:28-31) “But Mary said to the angel: “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply: “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35) With uncommon humility and simplicity, Mary responded, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.” As strangely and as quickly as it started, the conversation ended. However, the consequence of that immense encounter was more than enough to provide the soaring words of the simplest and most beautiful prayer in the Catholic Church, the Hail Mary. It is important to appreciate the essence of that angelic encounter. Fr. Robert Barron (from his series “CATHOLICISM”) emphasized that “we see the nature of God on display in the graceful and nonviolent manner of the invitation.” The gentle invitation of Gabriel at the Annunciation was in sharp contrast to the manner by which mythical gods of ancient times intervened in the affairs of humans. Such incidents were invariably violent and had the effect of ‘forcing through’. In the case of Mary, the angel was not only respectful but took care to highlight that Mary had freedom and dignity. The beautiful exchange of words between Mary and the angel proceeded gradually towards her willing surrender to the power of God’s love. Even if she might not have fully grasped the weight of that ‘yes’, her response of ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word’ was the epitome of human humility and obedience. The early Church fathers stressed the fullness of a human being in the Virgin Mary; they contrasted Mary, the Mother of God, with Eve, the mother of all the living. The obedience of Mary reversed the disobedience of Eve. Fr. Robert Barron provides a great explanation: “On the basis of the angel’s greeting, ‘Kecharitomene’, Mary has been called ‘full of grace’, (charis is Greek for grace), and this means, basically, that she is someone who is profoundly disposed to receive gifts. In this, she becomes the new Eve, the mother of all who would be reborn by being receptive to God’s life as a gift.” The inspired choice of the Magnificat as the theme of the community this year teaches us more than just the lowliness of Mary, the first disciple of Christ. We are amazed and inspired by her proclaiming the greatness of the Lord and her joy in the God who is savior to all. Mary was not only humble and obedient, but shows believers of all ages the right posture of a disciple who waits on the Lord. In Luke 1, one can notice the contrasting attitude of Zechariah to the announcement of the birth of his son John, where he doubted the angel. Mary, in the same chapter of Luke, demonstrated her acceptance with the declaration that she is in God’s hand as His handmaid. Luke showed Mary as a believer whose faith transcends any fear or doubt whereas Zechariah held on to his unbelief. Following Mary and journeying with her is the appropriate and timely model for discipleship. Success is not the gauge of effective discipleship or leadership but faithfulness is, according to Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Faithfully following in the footsteps of Mary as she followed Jesus is a sure guide for us as we struggle in our daily lives; one who focuses on Jesus through the eyes and examples of Mama Mary will not go astray. As a community, CFC looks intently at the Mother of Jesus and our continuing journey with her leads us to the narrative of the marriage at Cana where she says to the waiters: ‘Do everything he tells you’. Thus, our following in her footsteps has led us to our theme next year of “Obey and Witness”. (John 2:5) The account of the wedding feast at Cana (in Galilee) tells us that the newly wedded young couple runs out of wine in the middle of the long Jewish celebration. The gospel of John does not spell out nor even insinuate that the couple was even aware of the looming embarrassment. Mary comes to the rescue by presenting the problem to Jesus. We know from Church teachings that the Cana episode (the first miracle wrought by Jesus) came well before the formal start of the public ministry of Jesus and yet the apostle John treated this episode with special attentiveness. It was as if John was excitedly leading us to answer the question—What would Jesus do? Fr. Robert Barron beautifully states the lesson of following Mary from this narrative: “...We can read this story at the literal level and see Mary as graciously acting to spare the young people embarrassment, but we can read it symbolically and see Mary as expressing the prophetic longing of Israel. Wine - delicious, refreshing, intoxicating - is a sign throughout the Old Testament of the divine life. Running out of wine, therefore, is an incisive description of the spiritual condition of Israel, alienated in its sin from God’s grace. In asking Jesus to act, Mary is speaking according to the rhythms and cadences of the great prophets who continually called upon Yahweh to visit His people, and when she turns to the waiters and says ‘Do whatever he asks’ (John 2:5), she is summing up every instruction of every teacher, of every patriarch, and of every prophet of Israel.” One early church father said that throughout the history of salvation, God was trying on humanity, gradually suiting divinity and humanity to each other in preparation for the mystery of the Incarnation. All of that preparation was a prelude to the Israelite girl, full of grace, who would say yes to the invitation to be the mother of God. An important detail emphasized in the gospel was that not long after the Annunciation, Mary “set out and traveled to the hill country in haste in a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” (Luke 1:39-40) For centuries Israel heard the word of Yahweh but more often than not the people were sluggish in responding. The true Israelite, Mary, once she heard the word of the Lord, moved! To sum up, Mary responded not only with humility and obedience but also acted unhesitatingly in response to God’s promptings. MARY AND THE PILGRIMS When the community announced that this year’s theme is the Magnificat, everyone rejoiced. Not only do we truly seek her intercession, inspiration and protection as the Mother of the Church but we also acknowledge her unique role in making the Incarnation, and thus our redemption, possible. The theme Magnificat is an affirmation to many in the community who are devotees of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The theme was likewise the impetus for CFC pilgrims to follow the path of other countless believers who sought out the places and churches that are associated with Marian apparitions. During the Rosary month of October, 72 CFC pilgrims and friends did an eight-country, 6,000 kilometer land trip to places that are dear and important to Catholics all over the globe. In the process, they had their own unique way of being drawn closer to Mary, the first and foremost disciple of our Lord. The story of the redemption of man is completed by the fiat of the lowly maid of Nazareth. Mary’s Yes opened the doors of heaven to those who long for, love and follow her son. Her Magnificat is the supreme proclamation of the greatness of the Lord and her limitless rejoicing for being in God our savior. Our theme this year of the Magnificat heralds an exciting leap for the New Evangelization in 2013 when we are called to “Obey and Witness”. (This is the first of a two-part series. The next article will be an account of the Marian pilgrimage, focusing on the significance of each of the Marian apparition sites and other important places.)
Responsibility of Social Media
WHILE waiting for a connecting flight to Calgary, Alberta, Canada at the Minneapolis airport, my attention was caught by the breaking news being broadcast at the large airport monitor. A group of people had gathered in front of the monitor, animated in discussion as they took in the news about the death of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. The news report stated that the American ambassador and four of his colleagues were killed in what was apparently a revenge killing. Prior to the killing, Muslims everywhere had staged riots and caused civil disorder in protest over a film shown on YouTube that they considered a blasphemous depiction of the prophet Mohammed. The film was made by a person using an alias, but it was promoted using social media. As a practitioner and avid follower of social media, I reflected on how social media is increasingly being used to bring to fore what previously would have been hidden from public view. In the Philippines the celebrated case of the motorist who berated and assaulted a traffic enforcer, unaware that his actions were being recorded, comes to mind. There are other cases – an altercation at the airport involving an actress and her actor-husband versus a well-known hard-hitting columnist and more recently a man caught on CCTV assaulting a restaurant cashier because she made the mistake of asking him to pay his food bill. The incidents caused an explosion of angry opinions over Facebook and Twitter. In the first case, the furor led to the appropriate agencies revoking the motorist’s driving license, and pursuing a legal case against him. The second case is pending in the courts. It remains to be seen what legal action awaits the angry restaurant customer. In all these cases, social networkers have become both judge and jury, swaying public opinion against the perceived offenders. Social media has indeed come a long way. With the fast-paced march of technology, we can connect with people at the speed of light, literally! Social media sites have sprouted up in the last decade like never before. We have Facebook, Twitter and the like. News and opinions, whether true or not, are easily broadcast, and these include gossip, rumor and blind items thrown out into cyberspace for people to read, digest and “share”. All this freedom of expression is great but as with all freedoms, it comes with tremendous responsibility. If broadcast journalism is required to practice “responsible journalism,” shouldn’t social media have its own code of conduct or ethics? We do not need the government to enforce a cyber crime law to force us to be responsible. Social media must police itself. When people perceive a threat to themselves, their groups or their communities, their first line of defense these days is through social media. That is fine. But oftentimes, social media is used not to defend one’s self but to attack others. There is safety in anonymity, since you don’t have to use your own personality so being offensive becomes easy. Already, there have been cases where the wrong or deliberately malicious information thrown into cyberspace have damaged the reputations of people. As in war, it is easy to be a sniper and kill somebody from a long distance since the target is not aware of the sniper’s presence until the last minute. This is the same case with social media offensives. Retractions and apologies may be aired after the fact but no matter, the damage has been done and reputations tarnished. The emotional wounds and psychological damage caused are very difficult to heal. As technology continues to make socializing more anonymous and widespread, our hope is that social media will practice more responsibility. This will make this method of communication a bridge to reach out and be a source of encouragement rather than a weapon of destruction. Social media will continue to stay and to move on, but it has to realize that it can be a force for great good. It has to acknowledge that it has a tremendous responsibility to contribute to positive change for the betterment of all. (This article first appeared in the UGNAYAN column of the Philippine Star, October 28, 2012.)
Our Lady of Banneux ANCOP Community Starts Construction
Anthony Zaccaria Parish in San Mateo, Rizal. Groundbreaking ceremony and time capsule laying followed in Heart of Texas Homes, Community of Hope Homes and First CFC ANCOP USA Homes. “OLB ANCOP Community is a marriage of two sectors, namely (Metro Manila) West B and East B. Together, both sectors will work and will finish this project,” said Bob Peñalosa, West B Sector Head in his speech. Ricky Cuenca added. “It is by the love and grace of God and the intercession of the Our Lady of Banneux that this community is rising. This is an early Christmas gift of ANCOP USA to everyone here.” ANCOP Chairman Joe Yamamoto also shared his thoughts about how Mama Mary is helping this community. “Even though we build lives, it is beautiful if we include God and Mama Mary in our programs and activities. Our Lady of Banneux is the Virgin of the Poor and she will help us raise a prayerful community of people in this place.” West B will be in charge of the implementation of the shelter program while East B will be undertaking the formation part of the ANCOP program which includes Values Formation and Christian Life Program.
By Romeo M. Medina
WITH a symbolic first cut of the spade, ANCOP marked the official start of the construction work in the Our Lady of Banneux (OLB) Community in San Mateo, Rizal last October 23, 2012. Warren Isaguirre, ANCOP Head-West B Sector and Nicole Macalinao, Head Steward of OLB ANCOP Community, welcomed CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca and ANCOP Chairman Joe Yamamoto to this historic event. The Our Lady of Banneux (OLB) ANCOP Community is a five-hectare land that sits atop a hilly terrain with a magnificent view of Metro Manila. The land was bought by the Vicariate of Cubao Mass Housing Foundation, Inc. whose Board of Directors are mostly composed of CFC members. They entered into a working agreement with the Local Government of San Mateo, Rizal, CFC ANCOPTekton Foundation and Rotary International District 3780. The area is a relocation site with most of the home partners coming from different areas of San Mateo and Quezon City. Around four hundred families will be transferred to this community. The groundbreaking rites started with a holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Pat Golis of St.
CFC ANCOP Receives Sponsorship Grant from WOW
By Efren Tompong
CFC Ancop Tekton Foundation received a sponsorship grant from Women of Wallem (WOW) for ten (10) students, (5 high school and 5 technical/vocational courses). The partnership was sealed during the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) last October 15, 2012. Funding for one year for the 10 students was handed by WOW President Cely Peñaranda to Rizal Ting, Operations Director of CFC Ancop Tekton Foundation, Inc. and CFC Ancop Education Program Director Ethelyn Balenton. WOW is an organization of wives of employees and officers of the Wallem Shipping Services. It serves as the corporate arm of Wallem Shipping Services for corporate social responsibility (CSR). The partnership with WOW was realized through the efforts of ANCOP Rizal Province led by Dennis Arcilla, CFC ANCOP Provincial head and Maximo delos Santos, Education Program Head.
Vol. 16 No. 23
November 5 - 18, 2012
South A Metro Manila: Still Strong at 30 Years!
preted and enhanced by the movements of the dancers, age notwithstanding. Richly decorated banners in bright hues and unique (eco-friendly) materials representing each group were waved during the praise parade. The song “Through the Years” moved quite a few to tears when it was played as the background music for the CFC South A milestones on video. The soothing voices of The Magnificat singers highlighted the immense talent that God has given to His people in this side of Metro Manila. Melo Villaroman, Jr., CFC Executive Director, exhorted the assembly and regaled the crowd with his amusing recollection of national and international events thirty years ago, and how CFC South A played an important role in the past and will play a dynamic role in the future life of Couples for Christ. He was joined on stage by his wife, Nini, when they performed a stylized version of the song “I Want to Grow Old with You”. The final words of the song which became “I Want to Serve Old with You” became the most remembered line and
By Eunice Areola
“Glory, Glory, Glory to the Lord”…. This was the song that reverberated across the huge Cuneta Astrodome during the grand celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Couples for Christ South A. The sector covers the whole of Las Piñas City and some parts of Bacoor, Cavite. Held in the afternoon of October 20, 2012, the Pearl Anniversary became a reunion of past household members and an honoring of those who persevered from its beginnings. The celebration, which was premised on the sector’s long history, had every cluster and ministry showing their creative side with their interpretation of the different CFC weekend and conference themes. These were:
Power Weekend, Great Adventure, Ecstasy, Unity, Discovery, Legacy, Braveheart, Shepherd, Tobit, Hope, Disciples, Forward in Christ, Fullness of God, Armor of God and Ablaze. A Eucharistic Celebration led by Rev. Fr. Christian Emmanuel Gabinete, parish priest of St. Joseph the Worker Parish of Las Piñas, opened the festivities. This was followed by various video greetings from the men and women in CFC who were part of the rich history of South A, but who could not make themselves physically present during that day. The event was further energized by the performance of the winning Mob Dance of the sector in the recent CFC anniversary. A different brand of Unity Dance was taught to the members in attendance, which was estimated at close to 2500.
The chant competition from the bleacher crowd followed, with every cluster and ministry aptly putting in meaningful words their take on the theme assigned to them. Then it was time for the praise parade reminiscent of past CFC conferences. Topics were inter-
Clockwise from far left: Romy Alfaro, Sector Head, exhorts the members; Rev. Fr. Christian Emmanuel Gabinete celebrates Mass; CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman Jr. gives the anniversary message; CFC HOLD of South A rejoice with the rest of the sector.
a fitting reminder for every couple in the audience that day. Ricky Cuenca, CFC Chairman, gave his special greetings to South A via a pre-recorded video message. Joe Tale, CFC Director, challenged South A to create many more inspiring stories through their sustained life and mission in CFC. A Pearl Anniversary Recognition was given to the previous leaders and one of the 1 st CLP batch graduate of South A. Rene and Prosy (+) Punsalan; Jimmy and Ching Santiago; and Mannix and Aileen Ocampo were given plaques of appreciation for their invaluable contribution to the
growth of the sector as its first sector leaders. Ely and Luz Adap, one of the couples who graduated from the first CLP in the area in October 1982, were honored for continuing to be active members of CFC South A. Romy Alfaro, Sector Head of South A, was emphatic in his final message and stressed the word, “excellence”. According to him, this should be the trademark of every work that the sector will do for the Lord’s service “because the Lord deserves nothing less than our best”. The celebration ended with Romy leading a vibrant praise fest.
CFC Surigao del Norte: Two Decades of God’s Generosity
Cornerstone—Forward Looking for 2013
enting Modules for Cornerstone Parents. The Cornerstone Program started another school year ready to take on the challenge of lifting education to brighter horizons. Starting from only 15 schools in 2011, the Cornerstone Program is now present in 46 schools nationwide. The number of Cornerstone schools is expected to exponentially grow in the coming years as more CFC areas begin to embrace the thrust of the Cornerstone Program. In the afternoon, CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman Jr. affirmed the purpose of Cornerstone and challenged the stakeholders to explore the untapped potential of the Program. “It is vital for CFC and all of its Ministries to come together and work together in unity,” Villaroman challenged. As the planning session came to a close, it was clear that in a little under two years, the Cornerstone program has already accomplished much. But the future promise it may bring remains in the hands of all stakeholders. One thing is clear though: the Cornerstone values of Love, Hope, Generosity, Excellence and Commitment will permeate to those the Program serves as Cornerstone strives in “Bringing, Experiencing and Being the Church of the Poor to our Public Schools.”
By the Cornerstone Team
THE Cornerstone Program held its Strategic Planning last October 10 and 11 in Laurel, Batangas. Couples for Christ and its various Family Ministry Cornerstone Teams together with their partner, the Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED) gathered to discuss, discern and discover the future directions for the Cornerstone Program. Bernie Cuevas and the National Cornerstone Team were joined by Nic Escalona, Kids for Christ (KFC) International Coordinator and his KFC Cornerstone Team. Also present were Lawrence Quintero, Youth for Christ (YFC) International Coordinator, and Shok Ariola, Singles for Christ (SFC) International Coordinator, together with their
CFC Surigao del Norte celebrated their 20th anniversary last September 30, 2012. Most Reverend Antonietto Cabajog DD, Bishop of Surigao, celebrated the Holy Eucharist to formally start the revelry. During the opening program, Nonoy Dalman, CFC International Council member and Director of the Global Mission Center delivered the anniversary message where he stressed that 20 years of CFC existence in the province symbolize God’s generosity to all the members of the community. Various creative presentations showcased the talents of the Family Ministries. YFC hyped up the crowd through the mob flash dance, while KFC performed a very vibrant dance number. SFC likewise inspired the audience with their dance
moves. The CFC did their own version of Sine Mo to’, a popular acting segment in a noontime show. One of the highlights of the event was the CFC Got Talent Competition where all the clusters in the province prepared a variety of presentations which not only showcased each member’s talents, but also gave glory to the Lord. Talented comedienne and singer Marissa Sanchez performed various song and dance numbers that got the audience and even some of the members of the Area Governance Team of the province on their feet. Chito Bonono concluded the celebration and exhorted everyone in the gym that “CFC will continue to proclaim God’s greatness in the entire province and will also reach another 20 years and more, all by the grace of our Almighty”.
respective Family Ministry Cornerstone teams. MK Guaño of the Evangelization and Missions Office, and Ethel Balenton and Raymund Bucu of CFC ANCOP were also in attendance.Mrs. Carmela Oracion and Ms. Jiza Jimenez represented ACED. Joe Tale, IC Overseer for Cornerstone and one of the Program’s prime movers, started the planning session by laying out the basic foundations of the Cornerstone Program. He recounted the beginnings of Cornerstone and how it will continue to be a vital part of CFC community life. Beginning August, the Cornerstone Program went full tilt with the resumption of its Tutorial and Values Formation Program for elementary schools and its Leadership Program for high schools along with the Par-
CFC Zamboanga del Sur Turns 20
evangelization among the first nineteen couples who were successfully dedicated on October 25, 1992 as CFC members. The Couples for Christ of the province of Zamboanga del Sur, under the present headship of Jun de los Santos, Provincial Area Director, lined up several activities during a two-day celebration of this historic event. Among the activities were a teaching on the topic “Ablaze” given by Mannix Ocampo, International Director from the Family Ministries, wherein he exhorted the CFC community to lead by example, by faith and action. The following day, a motorcade was held, participated in by all CFC members coming from different towns of Zamboanga del Sur, including the city of Pagadian. Afterwards, an opening program was held at the Saint Columban College-YDC gymnasium. Mannix Ocampo gave his anniversary message followed by Boie Sescon, the region head for North-Central Mindanao and Area Director of the province of Misamis Occidental. Sescon encouraged everyone to work double-time, and not to be complacent so as not to be overtaken by the forces of evil. After the opening program, the congregation celebrated via a thanksgiving Mass officiated by Fr. Gilbert Guingone. There was also a Food Fair competition participated in by five CFC sectors. Exactly at 1:00 PM, the unity dance and flash mob dance competitions were held and prizes for the winners were awarded. Capping the anniversary program was the praise fest participated by the CFC members with hearts and minds full of joy and energy. Jun de los Santos expressed his thanks and elation to the jubilant CFC audience for contributing their time, talent and for their allout participation in the various activities. (With Ugnayan reports from Ed Beltran & Charles Zambo, anchors of CFC Hour every Sunday over at DXKV-FM, 91.1 Mhz, Pagadian City.)
TWENTY years ago, the Iligan City mission team set foot on Zamboanga del Sur and planted the seed of
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