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Vol. 16 No. 19
A motorized boat carrying a statue of the Blessed Mother joins more than 50 colorful boats during the Archdiocese of Lipa’s first-ever Marian Regatta, a fluvial procession for peace, family and life, around the world famous Taal Lake to pay tribute to the Virgin Mary on the feast of her nativity last September 8. Organized by Church and civil leaders in Batangas province, the event also aims to call the public’s attention on the importance of protecting the natural wonder from environmental destruction. See related story on A7.
CBCP urges Filipinos to pray for peace
AS the country observes Peace Month, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on Filipinos to utilize this month in praying for peace. After its regular meeting last Sept. 4, the CBCP permanent council has agreed to dedicate one Sunday of this month in reciting a special prayer in all churches. CBCP secretary general Msgr. Joselito Asis said all parish churches are requested to include the recitation of the “Harmony Prayer” during Sunday Masses. The bishops’ move was in
Pray / A6
Murder of environment activists on the rise
Bishop urges probe, protection of human rights
And the figure is rising. Rights group Task Force—Justice for Environment Defenders (TF-JED) noted a rise in the murders of activists who stick up for the land and forests. Around 58 people appear to have been slain in the name of the environment since 2001, 18 of which occurred under the two-year old Aquino administration. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the trend is alarming and calls for serious government attention and action. “Threats to life are becoming very common to those who care for the earth,” said Pabillo, chairman of the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. “IP leaders and defenders, especially those fighting for their rights against environmental destruction, mining operation, logging and land grabbing are targets of persecution and attacks,” he said. Latest incident Recently, various environmental
By Roy Lagarde
AN Italian Catholic priest fighting mining in Mindanao, a known logging activist from Bataan, a community leader against mining in Samar—these are just few of the environmental activists who were killed for their work.
groups condemned the attempted assassination of anti-mining leader Timuay Lecenio Manda, and the killing of his 11-year old son John Manda Umbang. Timuay is the tribal chieftain of Subanens in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur who is a vocal critic against the operation of large-scale mining corporations in the province. He and his son were ambushed on Sept. 4 in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur. The province is a known hotbed for mining conflicts.
Murder / A6
Enrile: Responsible lawmaking requires ‘dissecting’ controversial RH Bill
LAWMAKERS have a responsibility to “dissect” a bill that will have an impact on generations to come, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said September 5. Enrile made the statement as he castigated the main sponsor of the “reproductive health” (RH) bill, Sen. Pia Cayetano, for attempting to cut him off from asking questions to Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III. Sotto had just finished a series of speeches against the measure, Senate Bill No. 2865. “[I]t is our duty as responsible people to dissect this bill, no matter how unpopular our position is, to determine whether the policy embedded in it is a right policy or a destructive policy for this nation. And no one can lecture me about these things. I know my history. I’ve learned it by rote, it’s hard labor. And I resent being questioned about [and being asked to] state my purpose. Who are you to challenge my purpose? I tell you, I’m going to dissect it,” Enrile said. It was the turn of the opposing side, led by Sotto, to argue against the bill after the sponsorship period of Cayetano. Under Senate rules, a senator has the right to interpellate or ask questions to a colleague who had taken the floor to deliver a speech. Cayetano, however, wanted all questions directed to her, being the sponsor of the RH bill, despite the fact that Sotto was given the floor for his turno en contra. Cayetano wanted to cut the debates and accused her colleagues of derailing the bill, but Sotto said its passage was difficult because the measure is controversial and divisive. Enrile said no lawmaker had a monopoly of wisdom on what constitutes the national interest. “I have been in this Senate for a long, long time already, and I have never been asked to state the purpose of my interpellation. And I think that if they will check my record in the Senate since 1987, when I was privileged to join the Senate until today, I never used any dilatory tactics or any manner of delaying the passage of any bill. And I think the record will show that every question I asked here had relevance to the issue at hand,” Enrile said. “[W]ith due respect to the lady senator, I know that she is eager to pass this law. But I have my own notion of what the national interest is. Nobody has a monopoly of wisdom about the national interest. I do not claim that I am the only one who considers this country his country. And I have an interest to protect,
Dissecting / A6
Donations for ‘Pondo ng Pinoy’ on the decline
ended,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said. As of June 30, the program, which was started by retired Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales in 2004, has generated around P40.5 million, which is lower compared to the P45 million in June 2011. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle led the Pondo ng Pinoy’s 8th anniversary celebration on September 1 at the University of Santo Tomas Quadricentennial Pavillion in Manila. Since its inception, the program which calls on Catholics to donate 25 centavos a day to support livelihood projects for the poor has already generated a total of P163, 853, 738, said Fr. Edwin Mercado, PnP executive
Donations / A7
3k Filipinos to join Calungsod canonization
THOUSANDS of Filipinos want to witness the historic canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod on October 21 in Rome, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said. Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said he already has endorsed 3,000 visa applications to Italy. “In fact, the Italian Embassy wrote to me about it and said that I’m signing too many endorsements,” Palma said. “I said to them that it’s my duty to sign, it’s your duty to screen.” The archbishop of Cebu made the statement during the closing of the 2012 National Convention of the Catholic Educational As-
CBCP wants out of RH bill TWG
IT’S official. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines will avoid any involvement in the technical working group (TWG) formed to discuss the reproductive health (RH) bill. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, said they would just let lawmakers in Congress to resolve the contentious issues of the population control measure. Palma’s statement was relayed to Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, head of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, which leads the Church’s campaign against the bill. “First, and this is also
© Roi Lagarde / CBCP Media
© Roi Lagarde / CBCP Media
Archbishop Jose Palma
TWG / A6
Evaluate churches’ stability vs earthquakes - Philvocs
AFTER the strong earthquake which shook Eastern Visayas and Northeastern Mindanao regions evening of August 31, the director of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, called on Catholic church officials to check on Church’s buildings to make sure these have not been damaged by the temblor. Philvocs Director Dr. Renato Solidum said “churches, just like other structures in earthquake affected areas should be inspected by engineers to find out if these were affected by strong ground shaking.” “All churches in general should be evaluated if these are earthquakeresistant,” he added. Fr. Jose Edwin Juaban, parish priest of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish in Quinapondan, Eastern Samar said while there were no casualties in his area, the church sustained cracks on its
Stability / A6
A replica of the official statue of soon-to-be saint Pedro Calungsod.
sociation of the Philippines in Pasay City last August 31. According to him, he was no longer surprised why
Canonization / A7
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
MANY people continue to open their wallets to a Catholic Church-based charity program, but not as generous as the previous years. Church officials said Pondo ng Pinoy (PnP), a poverty-alleviation program of the Archdiocese of Manila, is experiencing a decline in donations this year. “We don’t know the factor. It might be due to the recent calamities or maybe some people thought the program has
© Roi Lagarde / CBCP Media
ROME, Italy, Sept. 9, 2012—Caritas Internationalis is ramping up its efforts to help the growing number of Syrian families who have fled the conflict in their homeland. “Within Syria, Caritas is distributing food,” said Laura Sheahan of Caritas told CNA. “It’s been a little hard in terms of cooked food because it’s difficult to even get fuel in Syria, but we’re providing things like sandwiches. Meanwhile, Boy Scouts are distributing some of the food in places like Aleppo and Homs.” Caritas Internationalis is the Catholic Church’s confederation of charitable and development agencies. Overall, it is helping more than 13,000 Syrians affected by the present crisis. The armed revolt against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, which began in March 2011, shows no sign of abating. “In Jordan, we are providing a number of services: food, medical care, things like diapers and blankets. So, Caritas Jordan is providing these emergency items to families who have just shown up in the country with nothing,” explained Sheahan. “In Lebanon, we’re also providing things like food and blankets, but also we have a sort of roving medical van. The doctor goes around in this big white van and takes care of Syrian refugee
children.” The United Nations refugee agency estimates that nearly 250,000 Syrians have now fled to the neighboring countries of Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. Meanwhile it is thought there are more than 1.2 million internally displaced people in Syria, with 2.5million in need of humanitarian assistance. Sheahan recently visited both Lebanon and Jordan to witness the Syrian refugee crisis first hand. There she found “families who had basically fled for their lives.” “They were fleeing bombs, shootings in the streets, sniper attacks. These were people who for months had been hiding in their houses afraid even to go out for groceries, even doing that was hard. They were keeping their kids home from school.” “Finally,” she said, “they just gave up and realized that they were in danger” and so “by bus, by car or even on foot they went to neighboring countries like Lebanon and Jordan.” Behind the statistics and logistics, Sheahan said she also found many individual stories that brought home the personal tragedy of the present situation for thousands of Syrians. At the Caritas Center in Jordan she met a Syrian woman with a badly wounded leg. “Her neighbor had gone out to get milk for her family. She
September 10 - 23, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 19
Caritas increases aid as refugees flood out of Syria
had wanted to go out and get milk. Her neighbor said, ‘No, it’s too dangerous.’ He got shot
by a sniper and when she went out to help him, she was shot. She survived, he didn’t.” (CNA)
Eco-friendly pope mobile delivered to Benedict XVI
UK Abortion Law criticized as Paralympics come to an end
LONDON, Sept. 4, 2012—James Parker, Catholic coordinator of the 14th Summer Paralympic Games, called on Christians and all who value human life to challenge leaders and politicians to change Great Britain's “discriminatory and outdated abortion laws.” Parker serves as the first ever lay Catholic chaplain to serve at the games. He made this call in a pre-recorded interview with Vatican Radio. As the Paralympic Games draw to an end, Parker spoke of his time working with the Games and directly with some of the athletes. “My own experience of the Paralympic Village, the heavily guarded home to all the athletes and officials alongside the Olympic Park, is that it is a sacred place,” he said. Saying that while the village is strewn with wheelchairs, crutches, bodies of every shape and size, there is “a vibrant tangible passion for life, that not even the greatest town or city could boast.” “The joy in the Village is palpable,” he said. “It is a place where everyone is celebrated and honored whether a medallist or not, and each person is in service of their neighbor. I am constantly reminded of the words of St. Lawrence when, in the year 258, he was commanded by the Emperor Valerian to bring to him the Church’s treasury. Days later he brought before the Emperor the poor, crippled, and maimed and stated: ‘Behold the jewels of the Church!’ He was then martyred for such a simple action.” Speaking about the lead up the Games, Parker mentioned that “we see the word ‘Superhumans’ on our billboards and yet Paralympians are no different to any other human being.” “What is astounding is that Britain is enabling the eyes of the world to be opened to the giftedness and potential of those with disabilities through its hosting of the Paralympic Games. However, its own laws vehemently and shockingly discriminate against any new life in the womb that might possibly be affected by a physical handicap, genetic problems or a mental defect.” Parker also noted that in conversations with a number of Paralympians during the games, he was astonished to discover that many didn't realize that had they or their teammates been conceived today in Britain, they would most likely be aborted. “If Britain wishes to retain its place towards the head of the medals table at future Paralympic Games in decades to come then it needs to seriously consider changing its laws to stop discriminating against what is presently termed as an ‘unacceptable quality of life.' Games aside, any society that wishes to be healthy needs to increasingly value disability and non-disability equally,” he said. “The Christian community needs as a whole, along with others who share our beliefs on the dignity of human life, to continue to take the lead and, like St. Lawrence, to stridently work towards changing Britain’s discriminatory and outdated abortion laws,” Parker concluded. “If this issue is not addressed as we wave goodbye to the Paralympic Games from our shores, then it is hard to imagine when another opportunity of this sort will pass our way when British society and the world as a whole is celebrating the incredulous achievements of those with disabilities.” (Zenit)
On Sept. 5, the Holy Father received two Renault batterypowered vehicles, made expressly for the Pontiff and the staff at his service. Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, recalled some of the salient passages about the commitment of the Catholic Church to care for the environment and renewable energy. “The Holy See already has other electric cars. In particular, the Holy Father made use of one during his pastoral visit to Venice and Arezzo, and on the occasion of last Ash Wednesday, from Sant’ Anselmo to Santa Sabina. Moreover, Paul VI Hall is equipped with photovoltaic panels,” Father Lombardi commented. (Zenit)
Ecumenical Seminar concludes in Castel Gandolfo
“Today, the concepts of truth and intolerance have almost fused together, so that to say that one has the truth becomes synonymous with intolerance. And we Christians do not dare to believe or to speak about the truth.” These are Benedict XVI’s words from Sunday’s homily at a Mass marking the conclusion of a gathering of his former students, Sept. 2. The group was dedicated to exploring ecumenical dialogue with Lutheranism and Anglicanism. The annually-held seminar, this year focused on “Ecumenical outcomes and questions in the dialogue with Lutheranism and Anglicanism,” is a summer session traditionally held by former students of Benedict XVI (known as the “Ratzinger Schulekreis”). (Zenit)
Pope praying for politicians
Iraqi archbishop: make Christian survival focus of papal meeting
KIRKUK, Iraq, Sept. 7, 2012— Iraqi Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk has asked the Catholic patriarchs and bishops of the Middle East to speak with Pope Benedict XVI about their fears that the survival of Christianity in the region is at risk. “The patriarchs and the bishops should go beyond the formalities to speak directly and openly with him about their fears and concerns. We should make clear our worries and the challenges ahead,” the archbishop told Aid to the Church in Need on Sept. 4. Christian leaders will meet with the Pope in Lebanon during his Sept. 14-16 visit. “The rise of political Islam is a matter of worry,” he said. “We Christians are a minority and there is no prospect of us gaining equal citizenship in the concrete reality of day-to-day life and there is no vision of a better future.” “Everyone is speaking of democracy and freedom but the reality on the ground is different,” he explained. The archbishop said “sectarianism” is rising and the majority population is not caring for minority groups. There are “real fears” that more Christians will leave, he reported. The Christian exodus shows no signs of stopping in Iraq, where more than half of the Christian population has left. The trend of Christians leaving their homes has spread to other countries in the Middle East like Syria. The archbishop recounted the violence against Christians in Iraq, which peaked after the U.S. overthrow of President Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003. Dozens of churches have been bombed in the country, while Christians have been targeted for kidnapping and murder. He said it is difficult for him to encourage the faithful in his diocese to stay. There are “few” families left. “I am doing my best to keep them, defend them and encourage them. That has limited the problem but it is sad to see them leaving for good,” he wrote. “As a pastor, I feel bad.” He said the policy of the Iraqi state is “based on Islam,” which means Christians “feel they are second-class citizens.” As for the Catholic hierarchy in the country, it has “become tired” and is “sometimes divided.” There are “no reforms or dynamism” inside the churches. “The good news of Jesus Christ should have a dynamic dimension. So where are the reasons for hope, the reasons for joy as given in our teaching?”
Vatican Museums visitors happy priests are present
A month-long pilot project to make priests available within the Vatican Museums to offer spiritual counseling to visitors is being hailed a success. “There are so many themes that are spoken of. We might speak of art and faith or of economics and faith. Some people come to share their experiences or difficulties in their personal, professional or family lives,” said Father Isaac Vondoame, one of two priests who were available in the museums throughout August. “The most special experience I’ve had is that a woman came to up to me to confess after many, many years. After her confession, she began crying. She found Jesus Christ in one way or another, also here, in this place,” he added. (CNA)
Religion’s role in Arab Spring is promoting dignity, official says
Archbishop Louis Sako
Religious communities can assist the North African and Middle Eastern pro-democracy movements by upholding human dignity and not trying to claim power for one religion or one movement within a religion, a senior Vatican official said. Comboni Father Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, represented the Vatican at a conference in Istanbul Sept. 7-8 on “The Arab Awakening and Peace in the New Middle East: Muslim and Christian Perspectives.” He told participants at the conference, sponsored by Marmara University in Istanbul, that democracy presumes respect for human rights, including the right to freedom of religion and worship. (CNS)
Misreading of Vatican II led to ‘collapse’ in Marian devotion, studies
he asked. The archbishop called for a development of a “Christian Arab theology” that can proclaim God’s word to Arab Christians and to those who are not Christians. This would help Arabs discover “God’s love and paternal presence” in a way that enhances dialogue. (CNA)
Cardinal Zen and Jimmy Lai at demonstration against Beijing’s ‘patriotic’ education for Hong Kong
HONG KONG, Sept. 8, 2012—Cardinal Joseph Zen and the entrepreneur Jimmy Lai were among the most prominent figures to have participated in huge demonstration yesterday evening calling for the cancellation of a program for “national education” (or “patriotic”) in Hong Kong's schools. An avalanche of protesters poured into the area of Admiralty, near the seat of government and Tamar barracks occupied by the garrison of soldiers of the liberation army from mainland China. According to the organizers, there were at least 120 thousand people, police say at 21:30 (local time), there were about 36 thousand demonstrators. But the flow of people was such that it invaded other neighborhoods close to Admiralty. Participants wore black Tshirts or black armbands, a sign of mourning for the freedom of education. The “national education” project consists of a number of hours that every class must dedicate to lessons in the history of China's great achievements, all thanks to the Communist Party in Beijing. Ample space must be given to the economic development of the motherland, but these lessons will not touch on topics such as human rights, the Tiananmen massacre, religious freedom or the controversial and violent history of the Chinese Communist Party. Cardinal Zen has always been an opponent to this “education”, describing it as a form of “brainwashing.” In addition to the Cardinal and Jimmy Lai, one of Hong Kong's leading figures in the democratic movement Martin Lee Chu-ming, was also present. Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered around the 12 young students on a one day hunger strike in front of the seat of government. Students, parents, teachers, trade unionists, politicians and even business owners are opposed to the inclusion of these hours of false “patriotism.” The government does not seem to want to back down from its decision, but has invited a delegation of students and parents to participate in discussions with officials on the implementation of the program. However students and teachers are willing to boycott these lessons in forced “patriotism.” One school in Sha Tin, that had decided to start the courses of “national education” after last night's event, decided to cancel them. The campaign is also growing in other parts of the world, thanks to immigrants from Hong Kong. A group in London has decided to a rally today outside the Territory's representative offices in the British capital. Previously, Cardinal Zen had told AsiaNews that Beijing fears the free education that is widespread in Hong Kong and has made control over schools one of the priorities of its project for the former British colony. This project is also part of the launch of an organizing committee in every school, that will be controlled by the government and remove replace the educational institutions that manage the schools, including the Catholic Church. (AsiaNews)
Devotion to Mary “collapsed” in some parts of the United States after the Second Vatican Council even though the council fathers had upheld her critical place within the Catholic faith, said a leading American expert in Marian studies. The council’s decision to integrate a draft text on Mary into a larger dogmatic text—“Lumen Gentium”—rather than publish it as a separate document—sent an unintended message to the rest of the church, Holy Cross Father James Phalan, president of the Mariological Society of America, said in a presentation at an academic conference in Rome. Even though bishops felt Mariology, like the church as a whole, needed to be renewed in light of tradition, liturgy and the Bible, later an “overly rationalist” historical approach reduced the role of the Holy Spirit and marginalized most forms of devotion, Phalan said. (CNS)
Cardinal Dolan prays for life, religious liberty at DNC
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 7, 2012—Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s final benediction at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night called for blessings on the delegates, asked God for the “courage” to defend life and prayed for the renewal of “a profound respect for religious liberty.” “Bless all here present, and all across this great land, who work hard for the day when a greater portion of your justice, and a more ample measure of your care for the poor and suffering, may prevail in these United States,” the Archbishop of New York said Sept. 6. “Help us to see that a society’s greatness is found above all in the respect it shows for the weakest and neediest among us.” At the close of a convention where many speakers had stressed support for legalized abortion, the cardinal prayed that God bless “those waiting to be born,” as well as the sick and the elderly. Cardinal Dolan also touched on the controversy caused by the Obama administration issuing a rule that will require many Catholic institutions and secular businesses to pay for health plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drug, regardless of their beliefs. In his prayer, the cardinal called respect for religious liberty “the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our Founding.” He also prayed for guidance for President Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Congress, the Supreme Court and President Obama’s Republican political rivals. “Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country,” he said. “Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself.” He thanked God for life and liberty, saying happiness is found “only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” He asked God for help in resisting the temptations to “replace the moral law with idols” or to “remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community,” an apparent reference to attempts aimed at redefining marriage. Cardinal Dolan asked God to remember those who are not free, those who are poor, unemployed, needy, sick or alone, and those who are persecuted for their religion or are suffering war. “And most of all, God Almighty, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country,” the cardinal said. The benediction was largely similar to the cardinal’s prayer at the close of the Republican National Convention in Tampa Aug. 30. However, his prayer at the Democratic gathering was more explicit about the need to defend life. His prayer at the Republican gathering referenced immigration in alluding to “families Cardinal Timothy Dolan gives the closing prayer at that have come re- the 2012 DNC Democratic National Convention. cently ... to build a better future while weaving Both prayers asked God to their lives into the rich tapestry make those in public office worof America.” He prayed for “all thy to serve their country and those who seek honest labor” stressed the need for a governand thanked God for the “spirit ment that “serves its citizens of generosity to those in need.” rather than itself.” (CNA)
Benedict XVI will be praying this month for politicians and their sincerity. The Apostleship of Prayer announced the intentions chosen by the Pope for September. His general intention is “that politicians may always act with honesty, integrity, and love for the truth.” And the Pontiff’s mission intention focuses on the poorest Churches: “that Christian communities may have a growing willingness to send missionaries, priests, and lay people, along with concrete resources, to the poorest Churches.” (Zenit)
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
VATICAN City, Sept. 7, 2012―Pope Benedict XVI says that the most newly evangelized parts of the world now have to pass on the gift of Jesus Christ which they have recently received. “The Church is born of the mission and grows with the mission,” the Pope said Sept. 7, adding that “the faith is a gift to be welcomed into our hearts and lives, one for which we must always thank the Lord. “But faith is donated in order to be shared; it is a talent given that it may bear fruit, a light that must not remain hidden,” he stressed. Pope Benedict was addressing a group of around 100 recently consecrated bishops from parts of the world which are deemed mission territory by the Vatican. Represented among their number were clerics from Africa, Asia, America and Oceania. The gathering at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo was organized by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The Pope noted that in the territories where Christianity has only recently established itself “the faith attracts high levels of participation and joy, it is vivacious and creative.” At the same time, it is often “not yet well rooted” such that “enthusiasm and apostolic zeal alternate with episodes of instability and incoherence.” Nonetheless, said the Pope, these new Churches “are maturing” thanks to the “communio sanctorum” (communion of saints) that opens the way to an authentic exchange of grace “between ancient and recently founded Churches” as well as “between the Church in heaven and the pilgrim Church on earth.” He also observed that while there has been a decrease in the number of missionaries, it is being compensated for by an increase in diocesan and regular clergy so that “a new form of missionary cooperation” has emerged. That new phenomenon involves some young Churches “sending their priests to sister Churches who lack clergy, either within the same country or to other countries on the same continent.” This
communion “must always animate the work of evangelization,” he said. The Pope also issued a word of caution about newer Churches absorbing their native culture by calling for “a correct inculturation of the faith” that will help to “incarnate the Gospel in the cultures of peoples, and to take from them what is good.” He counseled his brother bishops to be aware that this can be a long and difficult process that must “not in any way compromise the specific nature and integrity of the Christian faith.” The overall tone of Benedict XVI’s speech, however, was one of encouragement with an emphasis throughout on the “absolute priority of the task of evangelization.” "The young Churches, then, represent a sign of hope for the future of the universal Church. It is in this context, dear brethren, that I encourage you to spare no efforts or courage in your pastoral activities,” the pontiff declared. (CNA/ EWTN News)
Don’t squander your faith, Pope urges young Churches
Pope Benedict XVI
Ecumenism is of ‘primary importance’ to pope, cardinal says
VATICAN City, Aug. 30, 2012― Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to meet with his former students for a discussion about ecumenical relations, especially Catholic relations with Anglicans and Lutherans, demonstrates the importance he gives the search for Christian unity, said Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna. The Austrian cardinal, one of the former doctoral students of the former Professor Joseph Ratzinger, spoke to Vatican Radio Aug. 30, the eve of the annual three-day meeting of the “Ratzinger Schulerkreis” ― literally, the Ratzinger student circle. “The fact that the Holy Father chose this theme for this year’s meeting is a sign that for him the ecumenical question is of primary importance,” especially as the Catholic Church prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, which formally set out the church’s ecumenical agenda, the cardinal said. The pope’s former doctoral students will base their discussions on retired German Cardinal Walter Kasper’s book, “Harvesting the Fruits,” a comparative collection of the agreements reached in theological dialogues with the Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Reformed communities since Vatican II. Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, who succeeded Cardinal Kasper as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, will participate in the Aug. 31-Sept. 2 meeting of the Schulerkreis in Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer residence about 15 miles southeast of Rome. The pope and his students have invited guest speakers to the closed-door meeting: retired Lutheran Bishop Ulrich Wilckens, a New Testament scholar; Theodor Dieter, director of the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France; and Swiss Bishop Charles Morerod of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg. The choice of focusing on relations with Anglicans and with Lutherans, Cardinal Schonborn said, reflects that the two communities came out of the Reformation and the churches are preparing commemorations of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary in 2017. As Pope Benedict has taught, the theological discussions with other Christians must be “a dialogue in truth and charity,” the cardinal said, and one that “does not conceal the drama of division among Christians in Europe and, as a consequence, all over the world.” Cardinal Schonborn also said he expects a discussion about what it really means to speak of the reform of the church, which is “a theme of utmost importance to the Holy Father. We only have to think of all that he has said and taught about reform in continuity (with tradition) as a model of Catholic reform. Of course, as part of the jubilee of the Reformation there will be a lot of talk about what constitutes
‘Online missionaries’ talk about symptoms of excessive internet use
CNS file / Nancy Wiechec
Cardinal Christoph Schonborn
Online missionary Sky Ortigas did the online updates during the National Youth Day last year.
real reform, which we need even today.” The cardinal said the students have been holding the annual meetings with their former professor since 1977 and real friendships have developed. However, he said, what really counts at the meetings is the scholarly validity and rigor of the arguments advanced, the reflection, discussions and search for truth. (CNS)
Vatican hopes Apple partnership will spread Pope's message
VATICAN City, Sept. 8, 2012 ―The Vatican has teamed up with Apple to develop new hi-tech methods for communicating the works of Pope Benedict XVI to the world. “It represents an enormous step on the international stage because, as you know, internet goes beyond space and time,” said Father Giuseppe Costa, the director of the Vatican’s publishing house Libreria Editrice Vaticana. “The message of the Holy Father will now be received in every part of the world.” The American technology firm will now work alongside the Vatican to produce eBooks and iTunes tracks of the Pope Benedict’s weekly general audience. In recent months the pontiff has used his weekly address to explore the theme of prayer in the story of salvation. His latest volume, “Prayer in the New Testament,” is already available in print form. The new eBook format will be accompanied by illustrations from the Vatican’s art collections. “The illustrations are of great value also in the electronic version as the reader can access the book as they like. They can zoom in and out to examine the images and compare them with the texts for their own personal meditation,” Fr. Costa explained. Initially the commercial agreement with Apple will only focus on the Pope’s weekly catechesis. But the Vatican publishing house says that if this initial project proves popular, then more of Pope Benedict XVI’s extensive catalogue of writings could be offered electronically. Meanwhile, Fr. Costa promises that the new eBooks will be both “a beautiful art encyclopedia” and “a wonderful path of spirituality.” With first editions already available in Italian, the U.S. bishops’ conference is now collaborating with the Vatican to bring the same books to the world in English. (CNA/ EWTN News)
MANILA, Sept. 6, 2012―Online missionaries zeroed in on symptoms of over-the-top internet use, which can be summed up simply―poor personal relationships. Episcopal Commission on Youth Executive Secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta, also one of the organizers of the 1st Catholic Social Media Summit last July, said a person can tell if he has been online for too long―if he is “less interested in meeting people” physically; if he is “less considerate of people’s ‘quirks’”, and if he prioritizes online activities over face-to-face encounters. Garganta, who often talks to media networks about social issues via Twitter, says interacting with others online should be balanced with actual, physical conversations and activities with others. Facebook takes you away from face-to-face time This actually makes sense, according to an ABC News article that said “the time (people) spend chatting, IM-ing, friending and tweeting with people online takes away from face-to-face conversations and activities.” With Social Bakers’ estimating that there are 29,127,540 Face-
book users in the Philippines, there are possibly more people foregoing actual conversations for online ones. Maintaining a balance A mover of several online campaigns like the Love Rocks! anti-RH Bill campaign and 100 Days to Bl. Pedro Calungsod’s canonization, Sky Ortigas, simply said people will know they have been online too much if they ignore people they are physically with to post Facebook updates or to tweet. Ortigas, who admits being online nearly 8 hours a day because of her Blackberry phone, recalled a time when a friend she was having dinner with scolded her for posting “Godly” tweets, promptly forgetting he was there. Jokingly, the blogger and web designer said, true-blue signs of too much online activity are “obesity, eyesight problems and losing friends.” To maintain the balance Garganta mentioned, Ortigas advised people to avoid tweeting or generally being online when you are with others, texting or even taking calls if they are not important. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
School admins urged to detect, attend to students with suicidal tendencies
MANILA, Sept. 5, 2012—The reported increasing suicide incidence among young Filipinos, particularly in the age group 5 to 14 and 15 to 24, manifests the youth’s lowering threshold for stress and weakened coping mechanism. Since the age group prone to suicide belongs to the schoolgoing age group, the leadership of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) has called on school administrators and guidance counselors to pay particular attention to suicide prone students. Re-elected CEAP president Fr. Gregg Bañaga, C.M. said their organization is not aware of the National Statistics Office report that revealed increasing suicide rate among Filipinos, majority of the cases involving young people aged 24 and below, for the past 21 years. But Bañaga confirmed that students nowadays are “more prone to disappointment, have low coping mechanism to stress and negativity, need a lot of motivation, and want to accomplish or obtain things easy.” In an interview with YouthPinoy, Bañaga called on administrators of CEAP member-schools to “alert the guidance counselor to device ways to detect students that are stressed out” and have suicide tendencies. Since very few registered guidance counselors are attending to hundreds of students in a certain academic community, Bañaga said school directors, who are usually priests or nuns, can use their background in psychology to provide counseling to problematic students. Based on NSO records, the suicide rate from 1984 to 2005 went up from 0.46 to seven out of every 200,000 men. On the other hand, it jumped from 0.24 to two for every 200,000 women. It was Dr. Dinah Nadera, a psychiatrist and an associate professor of the University of the Philippines’ Open University, who disclosed that an increasing trend of suicide was noted [especially] among the youth, particularly in the age group 5 to 14 and 15 to 24. Meanwhile, a separate study of around 300 cases collected from the records of hospitals and the police in 2008 and 2009 also revealed that the majority of suicides were carried out at home during summer, particularly during the Lenten season when Catholics observe fasting, prayer and penitence. The study also showed that the “leading methods” employed in committing suicide are hanging, strangulation and suffocation. Nadera said not all cases were due to depression. She said other factors could lead to a person’s decision to end one’s life, such as low income and unemployment, medical conditions, and marital status. (YouthPinoy)
Women deprived of whole truth about contraceptives
was [business as usual for the company], so what could I expect?” Scientific data have established that side effects of OCP use include headaches, dizziness, nausea, with increased risk of venous thromboembolism and cardiovascular disease. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—a World Health Organization (WHO) body—has classified the pill as a Group 1 carcinogen, putting it on the same level as cigarettes and asbestos. Besides being linked to over a dozen deaths in the US and Europe, injectable hormonal contraceptives have recently been found to double the risk of breast cancer in women by a study led by epidemiologist Christopher I. Li, M.D., Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The RH bill, for which the Department of Health (DOH) is proposing P13.7 billion a year for its implementation, includes taxpayer-funded purchase and distribution of the full range of contraceptives, as part of what bill proponents call respecting the “reproductive rights” of people starting from 5th graders. The Catholic hierarchy as well as faithbased organizations, family and life advocates, and child development experts firmly oppose the measure due to provisions that indicate a lack of respect for the dignity of persons, of the family, and which will require an enormous budget better off spent on education, jobs generation and infrastructure. (CBCP for life)
MANILA, Sept. 1, 2012—Not only are some contraception providers giving out incomplete information to unsuspecting women. These advocates of the reproductive health (RH) bill, while riding on a “women’s right to know” posture, have been depriving these women of accurate medical information about contraceptives by virtually muzzling at least one source, according to a registered nurse. Seeing that quite a number of women posting on a contraception provider’s Facebook page were hungry for information about birth control drugs and devices, Anna Cosio, RN dutifully replied to their queries. “Many were inquiring about pills, injectables and IUDs. When I first went [to the page], the administrator had not yet responded to their queries so I replied to some of them, informing them of the mechanism of action of hormonal contraceptives and their side effects based on many studies,” the nurse said.
Cosio added that some of the women replied and expressed interest in natural family planning (NFP); prior to that they said they were unaware of the harmful side effects of hormonal contraceptives. It looks like the exchange of information on the site was a no-no because Cosio discovered, upon returning hours later, that her comments had been deleted— and replaced by the page administrator’s comments with assurances that pills were totally safe. The nurse was unable to provide additional medical data after that. “I was supposed to comment again when I noticed that I was already disabled by the page to do so.” Cosio, who had worked as a nurse instructor and been invited as a resource speaker to symposiums to talk about fertility and contraception, lamented that so many of the girls she had encountered on the online page were given wrong information—“which could be detrimental to their health. I understood it
CBCP For Life
Politics is the hitch
September 10 - 23, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 19
IT is the summit of irony when something envisioned to bethe solution is in fact the problem, when what is supposed to provide people their public welfare precisely becomes detrimental to their common good, when what is expected to bring about socio-economic development turns out to be the basic cause of poverty and misery. This is sad but true. Martial Law is evil and oppressive, but surprisingly the Philippines was then better off than many Asian countries in terms of financial stature. Democracy is great but it can be anything but comfortable today given that this country is almost at the tail-end of Asia’s growing economies. There seems to be one basic causal factor for such a misfortune: bad governance—family dynasties, patronage politics, endemic graft and corruption, to name but a few factors that complete the chemistry of mismanagement. No wonder then why when someone in public office— proved to be adorned with integrity, vested with industry and gifted with simplicity—suffered from an untimely death, people mourned his passing away but celebrated his person not only in the local but also in the national level. Why? He was singular in his personal and official attributions. He was a big rarity in government. He would be hard to replace in the public office he held. In 1997, the Philippine bishops in their “Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics” describe it this way: “Philippine politics, the way it has been and is still being practiced is possibly the biggest bane in our life as a nation, and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving full human development.” Today, a decade and a half after, it bears asking if anything substantial has changed in the way politics is practiced in the country. The same pastoral exhortation mentions the following negative features of Philippine politics: One, the interests of the few powerful and rich and pitied against those of many weak and poor people through political peddling and influence. Two, the equal application of the law and administration of justice are jeopardized by preferential factors on account of political considerations. Three, the constitutional principles of the separation of powers among three branches of government are set aside for politico-reciprocal advantages. Perhaps this is true in many countries around the world. But from an economic point of view, which is the most telling, nobody will dispute the bishops’ pastoral exhortation that our brand of politics is “the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving full human development.” And, by the way, even the legislations that are crafted in both houses of congress are observably subservient to this brand of politics or, more bluntly, to the stature of politicians. On the other hand, bills that lynch their interests will certainly not get to first base, as in the case of the Freedom of Information Bill or the agrarian reform law that has been legislated with calculated loopholes so as not to be workable—because, really, politics is the hitch.
ist ental m
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
IT is in accord with the dictate of reason and the light of faith that the Church should be separated from the State—and the State from the Church. There are solid arguments in favor of this disjunction, some of which are rather elementary and practical―such as the following: One, while each and every individual is a citizen of a State, not all citizens are members of a Church. Two, while the basic interest of the State is in the realm of the temporal order, the fundamental concern of the Church is in the spiritual domain. Three, and while the State has and follows a political structure, the Church subscribes to and acts in the ecclesiastical order. It is not hard to imagine what would happen if any of the following phenomena were to take place: First, if the Pope runs the Philippine government and the President were the head of the Church in the Philippines. Second, if Filipino bishops campaign for election to public offices and public officials in turn run for election to Church offices. Third, if priests become politicians and politicians become priests. Just the thought
Separation of Church and State
But just the same, the Church has no option but to correct what is wrong, to denounce what is vicious, to proclaim what is righteous—even in politics, even among politicians. The Church may not simply waive the obligation to talk when supposedly statesmen are the very ones destroying the State, when pretentiously public officials demean human life, offend against human dignity, violate human rights, bring the people to poverty and misery. It would not only be very convenient but also quite profitable if the Church would behave like the famous three monkeys who hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing―and do nothing. This is exactly how many local churches and congregations go about it. They simply address heavenly concerns and thus steps in no one’s toes here on earth. They altogether concentrate addressing the glory of God while forgetting the misery of man. From the President of the land to the garbage collector―they remain covered by the 10 Commandments. When they violate any thereof, the Church speaks. The Church acts.
Integrity of Creation
A TRUE and just development must fundamentally be concerned with a passionate care of our earth and our environment. Fishing, mining, and logging contribute enormously to the national coffers but when done with inadequate safeguards for ecological integrity, moral issues are involved. Our natural resources are not to be exploited as though they were inexhaustible. Destruction can be irreparable and irreversible. Much environmental destruction may be attributed to the survival needs of the poor, as in slash and burn upland agriculture and dynamite fishing. But the greater sin against the integrity of God’s creation must be placed at the doorsteps of those who with impunity cause the pollution of rivers, seas and lakes by industrial wastes, who for profit systematically destroy our forest covers to the point of unrenewability. Because the integrity of God’s creation is violated, our people suffer the destruction brought about by droughts and floods. Those disasters cannot be traced merely to the uncontrollable powers of nature, but also to human greed for short term economic gain. The physical limitations of our natural resources imply a moral demand, the duty of responsible dominion over nature. The sovereignty granted to us by the Creator is not a license to misuse God’s creation. We are but stewards of creation, not its absolute master. And stewards are accountable to the Creator and giver of all good-things. (Acts of the Council, Nos. 321-324) ―Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
of such possibilities make the stomach turn. This is why only the Vatican City State, Europe, is governed by the Pope. The State has its own territorial confines. It is the center of Catholic Church. It is the site where faith and morals are defined, where law are enacted for the observance of the Church all over the globe. It has its own coinage and stamps. It has diplomatic relations with other States according to the Geneva Convention. It is the one and only place where there is a union between the Church and the State. And that is enough. But the mantra of “Separation of Church and State” in no way means that the Church should be silent and stay still about the faith She professes and/or about the morals She spouses. People—even the so-called “Catholics”—may not listen to Her. This is their option, their responsibility, their accountability. After all, not even everyone in his time listened and followed what Christ Himself proclaimed and affirmed. This was precisely why He was crucified, He was killed!
We’re better off now
I CAME across an article in Readers Digest (Sept. 2012) that I would like to share with you as it affirms our stand against the Reproductive Health Bill—primarily that population control programs, particularly putting in billions of pesos for contraceptives) is not necessary. I will quote lengthily from this article as it present a different perspective from the doom’s day proRH Bill enthusiasts. “The world has never been a better place to live in,’ says science writer Matt Ridley. ‘And it will keep on getting better.’ Ridley’s critics have called him a “denialist” and “shameful” and have accused him of “playing fast and loose with truth” for his views on climate change and the free market. Yet Ridley, the author of The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, sticks to his guns. “It is not insane to believe in a happy future for people and the planet,” he says. Ridley, who’s been a foreign correspondent, a zoologist, an economist and financier, brings a broad perspective to his sunny outlook. “People say I’m bonkers to claim the world will go on getting better, yet I can’t stop myself,” he says. Read on to see how Ridley makes his case. He presented 16 points but I will quote only a few. 1. We’re better off now. Compared with 50 years ago, the average human now earns nearly three times as much money (corrected for inflation), eats onethird more calories, buries twothirds fewer children and can expect to live one-third longer. In fact, it’s hard to find any region in the world that’s worse off now than it was then, even though the global population has more than doubled over that period. 2. Population growth is not a threat. Although the world population is growing, the rate of the increase has been falling
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
for 50 years. Across the globe, national birthrates are lower now than in the 1960, in the less developed world, the birthrate has roughly halved. This is happening despite people living longer and infant-mortality rates dropping. According to a UN estimate, population will start falling once it peaks at 9.2 billion in 2075 – so there is every prospect of feeding the world forever. After all, there are already seven billion people on Earth, and they are eating better and better every decade. 3. Urban Living is a good thing. City dwellers take up less space, use less energy and have less impact on natural ecosystems than country dwellers. The world’s cities now contain over half its people, but they occupy less than 3% of its land area. Urban growth may disgust environmentalists, but living in the country is not the best way to care for the Earth. The best thing we can do for it is build more skyscrapers. (I used to detest the idea of high-rises but having just come from Korea and saw how they do not have the kind of slum areas that we see in our country, I believe that is the answer to the need for expanding highways where their government built so many high rise homes to transfer those residing where the highways are now. and they did not relocate them to so far out-of-town places, away from their places of work, and school) 4. Poverty is nose-diving. The rich get richer, but the poor do even better. Between 1980 and 2000, the poor doubled their consumption. The Chinese are ten times richer and live about 25 years longer than they did 50 years ago. Nigerians are twice as rich and live nine more years. The percentage of the world’s people living in absolute pov-
Love Life / A5
Fr. Roy Cimagala
Pedro C. Quitorio
The wisdom of the world
and ideology. In fact, the God taught by the Church is considered a false God. In both events, well-crafted statements were made, employing the best of rhetoric and style. Of course, some logic was put in, pieces of supporting evidence and proofs were cited. Some legal, economic, social considerations were made to make themselves sound convincing. Still, I feel these are traces of what our Lord warned us about: “There shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive even the elect.” (Mt 24, 24) St. Paul adds: “The wicked one comes according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs and lying wonders.” (2 Thes 2, 9) And those seduced by him
Candidly Speaking / A7
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
WHAT a week it was! First, you had the 192 Ateneo professors digging in their heels in support for the RH Bill after bishops called the attention of their Catholic school. Cleverly using the cover of a Catholic school, they now openly go against Catholic teaching, something the school itself should check but seems hesitant to do. The professors cite excuses like respecting academic freedom, human rights and other legalistic maneuvers, when what is clear is there is academic license, i.e., abuse of academic freedom, and outright violation of the school’s Catholic identity. These dissenters claim for themselves the exclusive right to know what’s right and wrong about the RH Bill. They even claim they are in line with Church social doctrine, when the Church authorities themselves al-
ready consider them to be out of line. Ergo, to their mind, the Church authorities are the ones not in sync with what is Catholic. Then in the US, it was reported the Democratic Party’s platform has dropped any reference to God, a development pregnant with implications. Atheists applauded this development, claiming it was the right thing to do to follow their own version of Churchstate separation. I was actually expecting this, since there’s such thing a slippery slope theory. But that it actually took place still causes apprehension. The world is drifting away from God! Yes, they still pay lip-service to things like faith and religion, but that’s about it, just lip-service, if only to keep their supporters who still have leanings on faith and religion. But they present a God of their own making
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
National Laity Week 2012
*** We request the readers to pray for our dear Sr. Pilar Verzosa of the Religious of Good Shepherd. Sr. Pilar is the founder of ProLife Philippines and a fellow columnist in CBCP Monitor. She is comatose and breathing through a respirator at the ICU in La Salle University Medical Center. Last Thursday afternoon, I received a call from Laiko’s Dr. Marita Wasan that Sr. Pilar suffered a stroke with blood pressure of 200/100. She was rushed to the University’s hospital and while waiting for the doctor, Sr. Pilar even suggested to Dr. Marita to give her (Sr. Pilar) body talk to ease her pain. I immediately emailed Pro-life Philippines requesting for prayer brigade for Sr. Pilar. Dr. Marita and Sr. Pilar were in De La Salle University, Dasmariñas, Cavite to give talks about pro-life to doctors, nurses and therapists. Sr. Pilar turns 68 on September 24. *** The participants to Laiko’s 10 days Pilgrimage on the Canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod are requested to submit the documents required for the issuance of Italian/Schengen Visa to allow them to join the pilgrimage for the Canonization. Please contact Joseph or Kate at LAIKO Building, 372 Cabildo Street, Intramuros, Manila; Telephone No. 527-5388; Fax No. 527-3124; Cel No. 0919-863-4218, email firstname.lastname@example.org. *** The Parish Pastoral Planning Core Group (PPPCG) of San Ildefonso de Navotas, wherein I am a member, is completing the Parish Pastoral Plan just in time for the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Parish on January 23, 2013. The PPPCG is headed by the Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Jerome Cruz. *** Happy Birthday to five members of our family who are all born in September: our eldest sister Ate Violeta “Lita” Rosales and her eldest son Marc Glenn, our youngest sister Flordeliza “Isa” Imperial and her eldest son Roberto Enrico, and Paulo Roberto Santiago who is the eldest son of my youngest brother Roberto “Bobby”. May our Lord Almighty give you many more birthdays to celebrate with us together. Happy Birthday and Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Jun Erlano of San Roque Cathedral Parish, Caloocan City; also Happy Birthday to my parish priest Fr. Jeronimo Ma. J. Cruz of San Ildefonso de Navotas and Fr. Nestor Fajardo of Sacred Heart Tugatog Malabon Parish and Ms. Rona Marie Apellanes of the Chancery Office of Kalookan Diocese. Happy 104th Foundation Day of Immaculate Conception Parish and 33rd Foundation Day of St. Francis of Assisi and Sta. Quiteria Parish, both of the Diocese of Kalookan.
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
THE National Laity Week will be celebrated from September 23 to 29, 2012 with the theme “Building up the Body of Christ and Strengthening our Faith Through New Evangelization.” The Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (or “Laiko”), formerly Council of the Laity of the Philippines, the association of Archdiocesan/Diocesan Councils of the Laity and Catholic lay organizations and ecclesial communities in the country, spearheads the celebration of the National Laity Week during the week of the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz who, together with the soon to be canonized and second Filipino saint Blessed Pedro Calungsod, is the patron saint of the laity. Dr. Marita Wasan and Engr. Nida Ruiz, Laiko’s Vice President for the Ecclesiastical Province of Manila and the Visayas, respectively, are the Co-Chairpersons of National Laity Week 2012 Committee. The Launching Ceremony will be held at Mariners Court, Cebu City on September 23. The Council of the Laity of the Archdiocese of Cebu led by its President Atty. Paterno Acabodillo and assisted by its Vice President Engr. Nida Ruiz, organized a one-day assembly of lay leaders and member organizations of Cebu. The Board of Officers and Trustees of Laiko, led by its National President Atty. Aurora A. Santiago and National Spiritual Adviser Most Rev. Jesse Mercado, Bishop of Parañaque and Chairman of CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity, will grace the occasion. Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, D.D., Archbishop of Cebu and CBCP President, will be the Main Celebrant during the Holy Mass. The Closing Ceremony will be held at UST, España, Manila on September 28, Feast of San Lorenzo. There will be Eucharistic Celebration, Symposium on Lay Spirituality and San Pedro Calungsod Musicale: Scenes from Martyrdom from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This will also serve as the launching activity in preparation to the canonization of our 2nd lay saint, Blessed Pedro Calungsod. The Eucharistic Celebration at 2 p.m., at the UST University Chapel (Santisimo Rosario Parish) will be presided by Most Rev. Luis Antonio G. Tagle, D.D., Archbishop of Manila. The Holy Mass will be followed by the Symposium and the Musicale at the UST Central Seminary Gym. In the Diocese of Kalookan, the Council of the Laity will conduct Medical Mission at San Ildefonso de Navotas Parish on September 30 from 8a.m. to 12 noon. Likewise, to support the Council of the Laity, Most Rev. Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. issued a circular to celebrate the Laity Week in each parish and to hold second collection during the Saturday and Sunday Masses of the Laity Week.
Spaces of Hope
When will our eyes be opened?
THERE is a time for dialogue and a time to make a stand. About four years ago, I spoke before a school forum in Cebu on the RH bill to explain the Church’s position on it. The preceding years saw me actively engaged in the issues of OFWs and their families, illegal drugs, and graft and corruption. I saw very real links between corruption and underdevelopment. I realized that there are still more good people in the country, only that those who are corrupt are better organized, better funded, and made a lot of noise. I also recognized the need for sectors to dialogue and come together for the common good. My preparations for the forum made me see that the RH bill is really a Trojan horse to promote a contraceptive mentality and, in its wake, legalized abortion. Since it cannot afford to promote abortion head-on because of legal and public outcry, it slowly numbs our moral senses and drives a wage at our legal and moral consensus, eventually leading to its acceptance. After all, who are funding the RH bill and is not abortion part of their agenda? Did not abortion gain acceptance in the rest of the world by stages? What makes it even more insidious is that the RH bill mixes legitimate and urgent concerns, like poverty reduction and maternal health, with highly-funded population-control measures so that even well-meaning and intelligent individuals and groups can develop blind spots. The RH bill is indeed a well-funded and well-orchestrated campaign with a well thought-out communication plan that money can buy. Very recently a young man told me how way back in 2000 he and other student leaders of Cebu were invited to a seminar in a nice beach resort on the topic of leadership and gender equality. The funder was a well-known international funding agency. About four years later more were invited and this time the topic was on reproductive health—with the youth now urged on, playing on their idealism, as advocates to others for a just cause with funding for activities. This time, with authority figures like lawyers and school authorities around, condom for safe sex was part of the discussion and they were asked how they would deal with pregnancies resulting from rape, a moral dilemma opening the doors to abortion. The effort was amply funded by a well-known international foundation that did not even ask for an accounting trail. Then this young man and his friends realized they were being taken in for a ride when they asked themselves: is this the right advocacy? They discerned well and had the courage to leave the program. A trail of deception continues to our day. Just recently I received a text message that had been forwarded to someone I knew. It had an urgent appeal: a signature campaign to counteract the signatures collected by RH bill proponents. Signature collected by prolife groups were to be forwarded to a specific address, and “no forms were needed.” This made me suspicious. What is the guarantee this will not be used by the other side. I raised my observation. True enough the appeal turned out to have come from a pro RH bill group. Why the deceptions? If truth is really on the side of the RH bill and that the poor and women are really to be served by it, why take resort to such deceptions? I have no illusion these stories will be even considered by those who promote or support the RH bill. I expect to be vilified. After all, the politically-correct and cool thing nowadays seems to be church bashing, picturing the church as unfeeling but totally disregarding the immense social services provided by the church. They picture celibates as having no say on the issue, as if judges would first have to commit crimes for them to be good judges. Wouldn’t this silence Jesus on many issues as well? Or they throw labels around like “Padre Damaso” with all its negative connotations not recognizing that it can be applied to anyone who abuses power and may even be pointing to them. Some would even quote church teachings in a superficial way, totally disregarding the consistent position of the Church on artificial birth control. But then again, Jesus himself was once the target of such a strategy. The RH bill has an unspoken mantra penetrating academic circles, media, opinion formers, decision makers, and other influential groups. It is that women have absolute rights over their bodies and that they have the right to protect themselves from hostile presences. And if the hostile presence is the husband, they have condoms and other contraceptives. If the hostile presence is a baby, then the “tumor” should be prevented or removed through contraceptives or through abortion. Isn’t this what “essential medicines” imply? This is a lie that can victimize even the most sincere or intelligent among us including even some teachers or workers of Catholic schools. As Christians we are taught that our bodies are the “temples of the Holy Spirit.” We are just stewards of our bodies, answerable to God for what we do or fail to do with it. Pro RH bill groups talk about “human rights” but what about God’s rights embedded in nature for our own good? Of what use are the other rights—political, economic, and social—when the most fundamental right—the right to life—is threatened? Who will exercise the right to assembly and freedom of speech when there are no people to assemble and to speak? We Filipinos need to wake up to this massive deception brought on by moneyed and even racist interests. This copyand-paste legislation—for its roots are traceable to international covenants that promote contraception and abortion—should be exposed for what it really is: an imposition of a foreign and anti-life culture that has hoodwinked even bright and wellintentioned individuals. RH bill proponents accuse the Church of imposing its
Spaces of Hope / A7
RH Bill attacks mothers
(Editor’s note: the previous issue dealt on how the RH Bill attacks Mother Nature and Motherland). Mother Church. Why does the RH demolition squad attack the Catholic Church? Fear. The architects of RH fear that with the Mother Church gathering the Filipinos under her wings, their depopulation scheme for the Philippines will be mercilessly thwarted. In our predominantly Christian country, the Catholic Church is perceived as a power to contend with, a force that can sway the masses and oppose the government; thus their first line of defense is the overused notion of “separation of Church and State”. They feel threatened by Mother Church— not only because she has strong sons making up what media love to refer to as “the influential CBCP”, but also because these men are “backed by the Vatican” which they like to say is composed of politicians in sheep’s clothing. They have reason to fear Mother Church because she is structured, with a pope, anointed men, and a Magisterium that teaches the very antithesis of what RH propagates. What body of teachings do the disciples of depopulation swear by? The Kissinger Report? A Gospel of Greed? Because the foreign authors of RH know better than to unmask themselves before the hierarchy of this formidable institution, they “empower” Church bashers, free thinkers, pseudo intellectuals, and an assortment of cafeteria Catholics and NGOs whose (dollar paying) job is to sling mud at the Church’s face. The shepherding that the Church does out of love and duty, they call meddling in the affairs of the State. Because they cannot
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth
(It’s big pharma, ‘toopid!) So—squash the Church that dares challenge their superiority! Notice, anti-Church folks are those who have become smug with little knowledge, particularly when they hold positions of authority, are moneyed, or become buddies of supposed world powers (synonym: Obama). Defiant and self-contented, they acknowledge no moral authority, and in their comfort zones they see themselves as angels who alone know what’s best for mankind. A number of them utilize the internet, blogs and online news forums to launch vicious attacks; some go on air, or appear on television—like the virtual fishwives disguised as Little Miss Bleeding Hearts who sobbingly ask, “Have you ever seen those barrio kids with bulging stomachs and runny noses? Is it moral to just let those poor people multiply endlessly?” and go on casting aspersions upon the integrity of the Church that is “insensitive to the needs of the poor”. In order for RH to take off, we must get the Church out of the way—the Church bashers are told. Authors of the NSSM-200 know how money can talk in LDCs (Less Developed Countries), so they use it to corrupt a country’s leaders too hungry and too naïve to suspect that such things as disaster funds, training and study grants are actually Trojan horses. They persuade government leaders that RH is good for their country when in reality they are using these leaders like puppets to betray their own people. Mother Church smells the evil in the handshake and exposes it.
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arm themselves with truth, they resort to cheap defamation tactics and name calling— “Mitsubishops” and “Vatican mafia”—harping on hackneyed claims over social media and grabbing every chance to sink their fangs into rotting media meat. Their favorite claims are “the Church is still in the Dark Ages”, that it is sorely and pitiably “left behind”, and “a hindrance to progress”. The most hardened RH army of Church bashers are, of course, those who have left the heart of the Church (even if many of them are still Sunday churchgoers): philosophers, theologians, legislators bloated with conceit, scholars and physicians who make a god of the mind. In propagating the contraceptive mentality, they scoff at the truth which medicine, the Constitution, and the Church have upheld for the longest time—that the life throbbing in the woman’s womb is already a human being from the moment of conception. Regarding this God-created-man business as baloney, their “modern scientific minds” most likely reserve space for evolution theories, and on that, welcome the possibility that the zygote from human parents on Day One could really be just a fish after a week, turn into a turtle or a frog after another week, then become a newt after a few more weeks, then tumble about inside the womb as a cute crocodile for months before morphing into a monkey, and finally at seven months be declared human. With such a ridiculous premise it won’t bother the government’s conscience to pass abortifacients as essential medicines because they’d only be killing a turtle or a frog or a monkey inside its mother.
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
I RECALL a story about a boy who tried assembling a model plane on his own. The package contained the plastic parts and the essential tube of glue for putting the model together. Due to his inexperience in evenly applying the glue, he ended up crudely linking the parts of the plane. In the end, he was disappointed with the results: a grotesquely-shaped plane that looked like it had crashed before it could even take off. It also bore many dry smudges of glue on its wings and flaps. He also ended up gluing some of his fingers together that took a while to free after soaking them in warm water. This story reminds me of how eager I was to help my father glue broken vases and other furniture at home. (*Don’t ask me how they broke.) Now, there were various types of glue for every kind of repair, but my favorite was Epoxy. Quick and strong drying glue (i.e. Mighty Bond, etc.) was not yet being sold commercially. I was told it had other special life-saving purposes like closing the deep wounds of U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War. What fascinated me most was how Epoxy was prepared. There were two separate tubes: the adhesive and the hardener. The pack came with its own spatula and mixing dish. One simply had to follow the instructions on how much to combine of each substance. Then you mixed the paste as evenly as possible with the spatula. Dad usually left me to the mixing, while he carefully prepared the broken pieces by cleaning them with sandpaper. As he went about this, I couldn’t help enjoy the unique industrial odor that the chemical reaction released. When I judged that the Epoxy’s color was even, I gave it to dad who skillfully and neatly put the broken parts together. Looking back to those days, I wonder if dad would have enjoyed today’s ‘quick drying’ glues selling like hotcakes over mall counters. He would have been delighted with the immediate and powerful results of today’s adhesives, but I guess
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there would still be some things that are best bonded by the good old Epoxy mix. *** Although man can never be compared to a broken vase or unfortunately to some generic stimuli-response biological machine, our personal experience as well as those of others reveals our constant desire to mend the disorder within and without ourselves. This disorder is attributed to the sin committed by our first parents, Adam and Eve. Original sin, wounded our nature and made it vulnerable to the devil’s temptations to disobey God’s laws, to the lure of the world’s material things, to the lust of his own flesh and the very pride of life making man seek to make a ‘god’ out of himself. When man chooses to sin the result is his physical and spiritual disintegration. God took the loving initiative to piece man together again, and He did this in the highest form of prayer and sacrifice combined: His Passion and Death upon the Cross. We can somehow crudely call this the ‘divine epoxy’ that would mend effectively man’s nature and bond him again to God to the point of becoming His adoptive son through the Son. The Epoxy of prayer and sacrifice—including their other richer modes lived in the Sacraments and the works of mercy—have to be harmoniously composed if they are to truly bond us to God and with our fellowmen. A. Goodier says in Spiritual Excellence, that “prayer and suffering are seldom far removed, but that both give strength, depth, and fruitfulness to one another.” Moreover, St. Josemaría in The Way says: “Action is worth nothing without prayer: prayer grows in value with sacrifice.” (no. 81) Thus, before complaining that our requests are not granted, let us examine if our petitions before our Lord are not only in the mode of asking, but also have the humble readiness that the prayer must first work our transformation in accepting whatever God disposes. This
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erty has dropped by over half. The UN estimates that poverty was reduced more in the past 50 years than in the previous 500. 5. Oil is not running out. In 1970, there were 550 billion barrels of oil reserves in the world, and in the 20 years that followed, the world used 600 billion. So by 1990, reserves should have been overdrawn by 50 billion barrels. Instead, the reserves amounted to 900 billion—not counting tar sands and oil shale that between them contain about 20 times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. Oil, coal and gas are finite, but they will last for decades, perhaps centuries and people will find alternatives long before they run out. For 200 years, pessimists have had all the headlines— even though optimists have far more often been right. There is
immense vested interest in pessimism. No charity ever raised money by saying things are getting better. No journalist ever got the front page by writing a story about how disaster was now less likely. Pressure groups and their customers in the media search even the most cheerful statistics for glimmers of doom. Don’t be browbeaten—dare to be an optimist!” I really enjoyed that article. I guess I am an optimist! And who cannot be an optimist if God is on our side?! (Sister Pilar emailed this column a day before she slipped into coma due to fatal aneurysm; we are running her last column with profound sorrow, yet consoled in faith that there is another prolife advocate now in Abraham’s bosom.--eds)
AS science takes steps forward to stop “needless deaths” from HIV/AIDS, Msgr. Robert Vitillo urged governments to take measures that would prevent “needless infections”. As the special adviser HIV and AIDS for Caritas Internationalis, he said that a cure on AIDS would be a “good news” but one must not forget about the ideal solution to prevent the spread of the disease. “There are reports that we almost have the cure for HIV… I think those were positive signals but we also have to recognize that there are many challenges before we see the end of AIDS,” Vitillo said. He maintains that behavioral change is vital in not only preventing HIV, but also ensuring that people remain tied into things that can save their lives and move the world closer to eliminating the epidemic. “We always look for easy solution to problems. I think that we have to learn from experience that behavior change is really the way to put forward HIV prevention programs,” he said. Vitillo has been in the country since August 22 conducting workshops on the disease in different archdioceses. According to him, in the 1980s when HIV was discovered as the agent that caused AIDS and that that major way of spreading it was through sexual contact, experts were looking for “technical solution.”
“And when they found out that the condom could at least reduce the risk of spreading HIV, they decided that the way to solve this problem very quickly was simply to distribute many condoms as many as they could in the world,” Vitillo said. Some government programs, he lamented, still focus mainly on condom promotion as the perfect way to solve the problem. “But the fact is that within 39 years, we have not really stop the HIV infections through those means,” he stressed. Vitillo said there had been other programs that focused on a “more comprehensive and self-centered approach” than the technical means. “And they have been more successful in bringing down the rate of infections,” he said. He cited that in Kenya and Uganda, for example, the governments there actively engaged in other strategies on HIV prevention, not just the promotion of condoms. Uganda had “Zero Grazing” campaign from 1987 until 1992. It meant stay faithful to your partner. In its wake, the country’s HIV infection rate fell steeply throughout the country from 15 percent to 6 percent. “Studies also showed that this was not due to condom use, because people reduced the number of sexual partners and the young people waited longer to start their sexual activity in life,” Vitillo said. “These are really behavior
September 10 - 23, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 19
AIDS cure alone not enough―Vitillo
© Roi Lagarde / CBCP Media
Msgr. Robert Vitillo and Fr. Dan Cancino during the Workshop on hIV/AIDS at the Layforce Center of San Carlos Seminary in Makati City, August 24.
programs that were evidently effective. And we’ve seen this happened in many parts of the
world as well. Behavioral and cultural change is the key,” he said. (RL/CBCPNews)
PHL’s 1st Catholic Social Media Summit presented at Asian bishop’s confab
THE first Catholic Social Media Summit (CSMS) recently held in the Philippines was discussed in depth by Asian bishops, who are now considering the significant opportunities that online media is creating for the social communications ministry of the Church. Members of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) gathered for a five-day seminar organized by the 8th Bishops’ Institute for Social Communications (BISCOM 8) in a bid to learn how to communicate the Gospel in the digital world. Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, director of the Media Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), presented to Asian Bishops the 1st CSMS organized in Marikina City last July 14 and 15 by his office together with online evangelization-oriented group YouthPinoy, the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth, CBCP Commission on Mission, and San Pedro Calungsod lay-movement “+Big” among others. The Philippine Church held the record of being the first to organize such a summit, which gathered some 450 delegates from archdioceses, dioceses, schools, parishes, and communities from across the archipelago during its two-day assembly at the Riverbanks Convention Center. In an earlier interview with YouthPinoy, Quitorio said he would convince the Asian Bishops to replicate the CSMS and to organize an Asian version, similar to the Asian Youth Day. “We broke the record for organizing the world’s first Catholic Social Media Summit. Who knows, we might even host the first Asian Catholic Social Media Summit,” Quitorio was earlier quoted as saying. Aside from presenting the 1st CSMS to the BISCOM 8 participants, Quitorio also discussed social media evangelization in the Philippines. Other Filipino speakers in the BISCOM 8 conference themed “Social
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hidden personal detachment, or sacrifice, that is sown in every petition to God is that which lends efficacy to our prayer. The good thief learned from his cross this valuable lesson. He too must have been greatly burdened by the punishment he had received for his crime. But unlike the other thief, he was humble enough to admit his guilt and accept retribution for it with his life. At that excruciating point of his life, he turns to Jesus with a prayer
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already mixed with sacrifice. He could have asked for many things, and perhaps, logically even to save his life. But no, he only asked that our Lord ‘remember him,’ and this petition rewarded him with the only gift that could satisfy every man and woman’s longing here on earth: eternal life and happiness with God. At that moment, he was bonded to God’s infinite love and peace. “Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.”
Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, CBCP Media Director, speaks before participants of the 1st Catholic Social Media Summit held in Marikina City last July. Quitorio presented the social media summit to Asian bishops during BISCOM 8 meeting in Bangkok, held Sept. 3 to 8.
Media: Surfing, Networking, Blogging, Gaming, Addiction… Challenges and Opportunities for Communication Ministry in Asia,” include Prof. Christian Esguerra from the University of Santo Tomas who discussed “Blogging the Holy and Un-holy: An exploratory Discourse,” and Dr. Renato de Guzman, SDB from Don Bosco Technical School-Manila who presented a case study on “Social Media Education and Faith Formation” in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Dr. Angela Ann Zukowski from the University of Dayton in Ohio, United States, gave talks on “Proclamation and Witnessing Online: Emerging Models and Strategies” and “Social Networking, Emerging Models of Online Communities and Implications for Ministry.” Dr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD from the University of Santo Tomas and Asian Research Center for Religion and Social Communications in Bangkok, on the other hand, talked about “Communicating the Gospel in the Digital World:
Challenges For New Evangelization,” while Dr. Chainarong Monthienvichiendchai of St. John’s University, Bangkok discussed the “Church and Internet: Church documents and teachings on a ‘New Culture.’” Dr. Sebastian Perriannan from St. Peter’s Pontifical Institute in Bangalore, India talked about “Social Networking and the Asian Youth: Patterns of Use and Implications for Pastoral Ministry,” while Dr. Angeline Khoo from the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore discussed “Online Gaming: Social Threat or Cure?” No less than Indore, India Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal, SVD, chairman of the FABC Office on Social Communications, opened the conference and welcomed the participants in a ceremony last September 4. BISCOM 8 bishop-participants also organized a workshop on “Where do we go from here” and issued final statements and recommendations before ending the conference on September 8. (YouthPinoy)
floors due to strong tremors. “Parang pumutok ang sahig,” he told CBCP Online Radio. He said he will tap local engineers to further check on the effects of the strong earthquake. Surigao Bishop Antonieto Cabajog said he has not received so far any report of damage to any of the diocese’s 31 churches. Fr. Alex O. Bautista, an architect by profession and Consultant for Heritage Church Architecture, also said the recent strong earthquake makes it even more crucial to look into the structural stability of churches. Interviewed at his office at the Episcopal Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Bautista said parish priests in the earthquake-affected areas should check the structures. Professionals, such as structural and civil engineers may be tapped to evaluate the churches and look for cracks and movements in the structure
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and analyze to implement remedial measures. “Actually, the strength of churches built before were due to the materials used, the adobe blocks or coral stones which provided structural stability even without steel reinforcements,” he said. He explained the lime used in old churches was to protect the stone from deterioration as it provides the “skin” of the church structure. “Puedeng yung makikita nating cracks ay topical lamang kung sa palitada lang makikita at pagtanggal yung palitada at yung bitak ay nasa layering mismo ng mga bato, then, something has to be done,” he added. If and when cracks would be seen, there should be markings or “testigo” which will be the “bench mark” to check if there are other movements immediately after the fairly-strong earthquake, Bautista added. (Melo M. Acuña)
Photo Courtesy of YouthPinoy!
Pabillo said the attack was “deplorable and inhuman.” “We believe that the attack is not an isolated one and, like other cases of environmental defenders who offered their lives to protect mother earth, it merits the immediate action of the national government, to stop further violence and impunity, especially in areas where the environment is under threat by exploitative and environmentally-destructive operations which are insensitive to people’s right,” he said. Together with the local bishops, Pabillo said Timuay also joined the filing of petition for the Writ of Kalikasan
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in protection of the Pinukis Range Forest, which is now included in mining claims of several companies. The petition aimed at protecting their sacred mountain and watershed of three major rice-growing regions in the Peninsula that produces 30% of rice in the region.” He also said that it is very disheartening to note that the area has been open to exploitation as there were eight mining permit applications, three approved Mining Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA), one approved Exploration Permit and many small-scale mining operations. “More so, those who pro-
tect the area, like Timuay Manda and his supporters, have been receiving threats in the past three years for their opposition to destructive mining industries,” the bishop lamented. Investigation sought Pabillo also called on President Benigno Aquino III and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to “heed the call of the anti-mining advocates for a moratorium on all mining operations in the country until a new alternative mining law is passed.” “We also call for prompt and honest investigation on the crime in this issue by local police to bring the
perpetrators to justice,” Pabillo said. “Likewise, we call for the immediate and impartial investigation at the national level to seek the truth and bring out the masterminds of this senseless killing to face the consequence of this demonic act in order to end the cycle of violence and impunity in this trend.” “We urge the President and government officials, as a state obligation, to protect human rights, especially environmental defenders who are merely protecting their inherent right against destructive mining and logging operations,” he said. (With reports from Noel Sales Barcelona)
my notion of what the future of this country will be.” He added: “I hope that I will not be shackled. And I resent any implication that I am here to derail or obstruct the passage of this measure. I challenge anyone here to show me that I have ever delayed the passage of any measure here. Nobody can dictate to me, whoever you are.” Enrile said he wanted to discuss the experiences of other countries whose population control programs have led to economic stagnation due to aging populations and shrinking workforces. “[F]or instance, what is the experience of Russia? What is the experience of Italy? What is the experience of Spain? What is the experience of Poland? What is the experience of China, Korea, Japan and the rest of the world? Isn’t that a
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pertinent question here to be asked so that we will know the impact of this bill on the lives of the people of this country? My grandchildren and their [great]-grandchildren will be affected by this bill in the future. I have arrived as anyone else to protect them. I will not be here when the impact of this bill will happen. And neither the sponsor nor any one of us,” he said. Sotto earlier bared RH lobbyists’ connections to foreign pro-abortion groups, claiming the bill would legitimize abortion by a provision on post-abortion care (Section 3, letter i of Senate Bill No. 2865). Moreover, RH programs are already covered by 23 laws and government regulations, with nearly P8 billion in funding this year. These render the RH bill unnecessary, Sotto said. (Dominic Francisco)
reply to the request of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) for the religious sector to participate in the celebration. “We encourage our friends from the religious sector to participate in the celebration of Peace Month 2012 to use the Harmony Prayer in one of your Sunday Masses in September, if possible,” OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles said in a letter to Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president. September was first declared as the Peace Month on July 10, 2004 through Proclamation No. 675. Now on its 9th year, Deles said the annual
festivity enjoins all government agencies and instrumentalities to initiate and participate in activities to instill greater public consciousness and understanding of the meaning of the culture of peace as well as the comprehensive peace process. This year’s theme “Ako. Ikaw. Tayo. Magkakaiba, Nagkakaisa sa Kapayapaan”, according to her, sends the message that each Filipino has a stake in peace. “…Regardless of the differences in geographic area, culture and religion, and in our diversity, we stand united in bringing peace to the country,” she added. (CBCPNews)
From this supposedly broken world we have, the ruling elite behind the RH agenda want to make a new one in their own terms—as though they were stitching together a Frankenstein doll. They dream of creating a world without poor people (although it’s okay to have servants from LDCs), with but two children per family, where even adolescents will have inalienable sexual rights, and where no one will have unwanted pregnancies or catch HIV despite unbridled promiscuity. Why attack Mother Church? Because she douses cold water on their fantasies when she says this world is but a stepping stone to the next. Who else—what else—can dash the hopes
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of depopulist schemers besides the Catholic Church? Apart from China and Islam, what entity on earth can boast of over a 1.196 billion members who count on the authority of its teachings? RH doesn’t bow to an authority outside of its egotism. RH supporters believe they know better than the pope. That is why they bristle and bare their fangs when confronted by Mother Church. RH rebels against authority. Do you see the power propelling the RH agenda through the august halls of our Congress? “RH” might as well stand for “Rebellious Heads”. And what happens to rebellious heads? They get crushed under the feet of The Mother. (To be concluded)
Harmony Prayer O Lord, I cry for Peace. Purify my eyes to see peace. Purify my mind to understand peace Purify my heart to love peace. Purify my memory to work for peace; The Peace that comes from your love and compassion. O Lord, sustain my vision of peace following your inspiration. You have many ways of revealing your presence and love for humanity, But your style is constant: You are in dialogue with all, You care for all. Make me, O Lord, a sign of your peace, Living a life-in-dialogue with you to understand your silence and seek your presence. In dialogue with myself to rediscover the meaning of my life. In dialogue with others to move together in harmony with all. And in dialogue with creation to care for the earth. Give me, O Lord, the courage to live in dialogue In the midst of divisions and conflicts and to build peace with all people Of sincere hearts who believe in your love and compassion. Amen.
according to CBCP president Archbishop Palma, the bishops will not participate in the technical working group. The CBCP will not send any representative,” Reyes said. According to him, the bishops will inform the anti-RH bill lawmakers the amendments that the church wants in the measure. He said that all provisions that violate the natural moral law should be stripped off in both the Lower House and the Senate’s version of the RH bill. “Provisions which are against the natural moral law and the law of God which the Church is also affirming should be taken out,” Reyes said. The bishop emphasized that there is no compromise in the CBCP’s position against the RH bill. Reyes also favored Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto that such
controversial bill needs thorough discussion because the country’s future is at stake. “They are right because its effect to the country is long-term and really bad so it should really be discussed carefully,” he said. “This RH bill is not about giving care for women because we already have many laws about that,” added Reyes. The House of Representatives said it is creating an informal technical working group to speed up talks on amendments. The TWG will be composed of representatives from the executive branch, Lower House, Senate and the CBCP. Majority Floor Leader Rep. Neptali Gonzales also said the amendments will highlight the bill as a “poverty measure” by making family planning and RH services available only to the poorest of the poor. (RL/CBCPNews)
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
predecessor, former Lipa Archbishop Gaudencio Borbon Cardinal Rosales. The prelate also called on the government and the private sector to dismantle fish cages and to allow the “re-cultivation of indigenous species that could only be found in Taal Lake.” The event, which attracted about a hundred boats, served also as kick-off for the forthcoming “9th Marian National Pilgrimage” to Lipa on September 12. Some 50 boats carrying the images of the Blessed Virgin and patron saints participated in the four-hour regatta or fluvial procession around the lake. Included among the Marian images were the Our Lady of Caysasay and Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace. Boats from parishes of Talisay, Laurel, Tanauan, Balete, Lipa City, Mataas na Kahoy, Cuenca, Agoncillo, Sta. Teresita and Alitagtag joined the regatta as the pagodas passed by. Also seen among those who joined the fluvial procession were several municipal and city mayors and their chiefs of police. Local residents lit fireworks as the procession passed by various parishes. Arguelles also acknowledged in his homily the strong relations between the Church and local and national government officials. He said Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto was a partner in the pro-life movement, and cited the support of Batangas legislators to the archdiocesan Anti-RH campaign. Catholic faithful representing the 61 parishes of the Archdiocese of Lipa attended the concelebrated Mass at the San Nicolas covered court after the regatta. Archdiocesan radio stations Spirit FM 99.1 and the DWAL Radyo Totoo Batangas 95.9 FM, both affiliates of the Catholic Media Network provided the public with timely updates. The first-ever Marian Regatta ended successfully without any untoward incident with the joint efforts of all local government units, the respective police operatives from various towns and the support extended by the Philippine Coast Guard. (Melo M. Acuña)
Thousands join first Marian regatta around Taal Lake
SAN NICOLAS, Batangas―The first Marian regatta held at Taal Lake aimed at creating environmental awareness among the people, drew more than 3,000 Catholic faithful within the archdiocese and outside Batangas on September 8. The successful “Marian Regatta: Fluvial Procession for Peace, Family and Life,” coincided with the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8 and featured different boats carrying various images of the Blessed Mother. Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said the activity augurs well with the local Church’s advocacy on environment with special focus on the famed Taal Lake. He underscored the need for awareness and faithfulness to the importance of defending the family and nature from harm, urging Batanguenos to help preserve the beauty and splendor of the lake. “Taal Lake is the heart and identity of Batangas,” he said, quoting his
Diocese awards 4 civil servants for advancing Church’s advocacies
BACOLOD City―The Diocese of Bacolod conferred an award to four lay people who have made remarkable contributions for the advancement of the advocacies of the Church. On August 29, Bishop Vicente Navarra bestowed the St. Thomas More Award to four lawyers in the diocese for their exemplary role in advancing the advocacies of the Church. The honorees were lawyers Mitchelle Abella, Henrietta Vinco, the late Judge Henry Arles, and the late Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Juan Hagad.
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Catholic faithful from 61 parishes of the Archdiocese of Lipa join the eucharistic celebration held at the San Nicolas covered court after the Marian regatta.
Parañaque youth to hold praise & worship concert for orphans
In a circular addressed to the clergy, religious communities and heads of schools and lay associations, the bishop stated that the St. Thomas More Award was created to honor Catholic lawyers who distinguished themselves by making significant contributions for the promotion of genuine peace based on justice, after the example of St. Thomas More. The Award traces its beginnings in 2005 with Atty. Francisco Cruz as the first recipient.
“In joyful anticipation of the opening of the Year of Faith, it is my duty as our Bishop to lead everyone to a renewed appreciation of what we have always believed and continue to believe, thereby bringing all to an enthusiastic rediscovery of the unending magnificence of truth and goodness that is God,” Navarra stated in the circular. He said that conferring the St. Thomas More Award to the four honorees is to honor the Church of Bacolod by an official act that befits the audacity of selfless service rendered for the further-
ance of the Church’s mission by those who have demonstrated extraordinary availability and dedication. The four lawyers received their award on August 29, the feast of the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, in a mass at the San Sebastian Cathedral. “I enjoin everyone to take part and join in thanksgiving for the gift of witnesses in the persons of our honorees,” the Bishop said, adding that the occasion is a cause to rejoice together as a Church Community. (Nida Buenafe/ Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
PARAÑAQUE City—The Commission on Youth of Paranaque diocese is set to hold a benefit concert for orphans at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on Sept. 22. Dubbed ‘Go Fish 2012: A Benefit Praise and Worship Concert’, the event is spearheaded by the Parish Commission on Youth of the Our Lady of Beautiful Love Parish in Merville, Parañaque. Parañaque Youth Coordinator Peter Pardo explained that like the “Fishers of Men” who followed the call of Christ, the youth of Parañaque would also like to fish for people who will join them in their cause of helping those who are in need. (Jandel Posion)
Davao ‘yuppies’ hold concert to aid homeless youth
many are interested in joining the occasion, saying that Calungsod’s canonization draws many people claiming to be the latter’s relatives. “Over in Cebu we usually say sainthood is relative. If you become a saint you discover that you have many relatives,” he said in jest, drawing laughter from the audience. Archbishop Palma cited an 85-year old man as an example. “An old man who is 85 said I have to
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go to Rome, but his children said he is too weak. He said no, he is my relative I should go. His children were forced to accompany him,” he said. Very little is known about Calungsod. Fr. Ildebrando Leyson, postulator and cochairman of the Commission on Blessed Pedro Calungsod’s Canonization, said that Calungsod’s exact place of origin remains unknown. The country’s soon-to-be-second saint was only identified as a teenage native of Visayas
because baptismal records from the 1660s no longer exist. Historical research identifies Ginatilan in Cebu, Hinunangan and Hinundayan in Southern Leyte, Iloilo’s Molo district and Loboc in Bohol as probable places of origin. Palma added that a national celebration will be held in Cebu City on November 30 for those who could not go to Rome. “That day, as a nation, we will thank the Lord for this new saint,” he said. (RL/ CBCPNews)
DAVAO City—Young professionals here held a benefit concert last Aug. 25 in support of the newly founded Helpers of Mary Catholic Ministries that helps homeless young people and those in conflict with the law. Dubbed ‘Well Done’, the yuppies were part of the performing act to raise funds for ‘the Balay sa Adunay Pangandoy’— an institution serving and sheltering teenagers in conflict with the law, the homeless and even young people rejected by their families. Ministry founders Bro. Rondale Pancho and his colleagues said that God-given talents and the members’ commitment were God’s instruments in order to help other people especially those who are in need. (Jecy Opada/Jandel Posion)
Cebu Youth Commission initiates Calungsod weekend experience
views on others. But is it only Catholics who contract cancer because of contraceptives? Is it only Catholics who will be subsidizing, through their taxes, the promiscuity promoted by the contraceptive culture? Is it only Catholics who would be prevented, by law, to express their views once the bill is approved? We are also told that majority of Filipinos support the bill. Are people really provided with adequate and balanced information on the issue? Are further questions really allowed to surface? Or are they fed with half truths and given empty promises? Majority of Germans supported Hitler didn’t they—yet this does not justify Nazism, does it? Why is it that TV debates on the bill result in a significantly greater number of viewers voting for the prolife position? The “common sense” of the RH bill reminds of what a wise
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man once wrote: “Common sense almost invariably makes that mistake; for it is incapable of analyzing itself, incapable of making the discovery that it too is a specialized development of human knowledge, incapable of coming to grasp that its peculiar danger is to extend its legitimate concern for the concrete and the immediately practical into disregard of larger issues and indifference to long-term results.” Recently a well-known personality cursorily “acknowledged” my concern regarding zero-population growth that contraceptive mentality leads to. But he ended with the question: “But what about the present?”—meaning the poor. Yes, what about the present? A good number of Catholics, other Christians, and people of good will are reaching out, with others, to serve the poor: birthing centers are being built as fruits
of collaborative effort between certain government officials and Church workers; feeding centers served by convinced Catholics who are in government; scholarships grants for poor students made possible through partnerships between schools and church-based groups; and faithdriven individuals and groups, including NGOs, are coming together to reach out to street children. In contrast, the RH bill is the lazy person’s approach to development that threatens and even punishes the very people it claims to help. But we also need to look at our highly-dysfunctional sociopolitical system and groupings that hinder the poor from having access to educational and economic opportunities. How about the way we conduct our elections as the original sin of graft and corruption—shouldn’t we be doing something about this? How do we fight corrup-
tion while avoiding becoming the perpetrators we set out to demolish? A newspaper columnist recently wrote “not much is being said in the debate about the effects of eventually having an aging population” (Federico Pascual, “Grim Facts on Low Population Growth” in Postscript, Philippine Star, August 12, 2012). He reviews newspaper articles from Asia, Europe, and the USA citing grim effects of negative population growth. Even more telling is a very recent speech made by Lee Kwan Yew on the .78% birth rate of Singapore. The Singaporeans—as do other “developed” nations— have become victims of their own success in curbing their population (“Going Extinct is No Fun” by Michael Cook). Do we want to follow in their footsteps? Alarmist? If these trends do not alarm us, then we have lost our souls.
CEBU City—The Commission on Youth of Cebu archdiocese has initiated a modular program titled “Blessed Pedro’s Weekend Experience” so young people would have the chance to know more the soon to be saint Pedro Calungsod. The COY website, www.coycebu.org, explains that the program comes in form of modules designed to give young people, particularly in the chapel and parish level, the opportunity to know the young saint. Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, the vice postulator for the canonization of Calungsod, has endorsed the modules and encouraged the parishes to welcome the Youth Commission’s initiative, that is very helpful for the youth. (Jandel Posion)
Novaliches marks 2nd anniv of diocesan youth programs
QUEZON City—The Diocese of Novaliches Youth Commission marked the two-year anniversary of youth programs it initiated to respond to the needs of today’s young people. The programs, known as ‘iPrograms” deal on development, formation of diocesan youth ministers and parish youth ministry animation, and have been running for two years now through the direction of the Commission on Youth. Youth Coordinator Ann Roselle Cortes explained that the diocesan youth commission wanted that the programs being implemented are based on the needs of the youth. There are currently eight youth programs under the iPrograms such as the iVote, iTalk, iSupport, iLead, iCare, iRespond, iShare, iPray. (Jandel Posion)
Faithful to pedal for IP rights, protection
director. It also has supported around a thousand projects that have helped feed and improve nutritional levels among children, provided education for the underprivileged, created healthy living conditions in depressed areas and provided people with jobs.
Candidly Speaking / A4
Although led by the Manila archdiocese, all its suffragan dioceses also contribute to the program which supports projects to improve lives of the poor not only in Metro Manila but across the country. Pabillo stressed that although PnP is a fundraising program, the continuing demon-
stration of strength and power of “crumbs” is what matters most. “It’s the molding of the character of the people. It means that the program aims at the heart of every individual… for us to help each other,” said Pabillo. (RL/CBCPNews)
ANTIPOLO City—The CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples invites the faithful to ride their bikes and travel for the rights and welfare of the indigenous peoples who continue to suffer from poverty and development aggression. Called the “Padyak para sa Katutubo at Kalikasan II” (Pedal for Indigenous Peoples and for Nature 2), the theme of the tour would be “Evangelization and Inculturation”, to be held on October 14, Indigenous Sunday. The lap would begin at Calapan City, in Mindoro on October 13 and would end in Brgy. Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island in Aklan. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
will receive from God the “the operation of error, to believe lying.” (2, 11) It was obvious both statements fell long in rationalizations but short in substance. They made long-winded arguments, but they still missed the point. They keep the arguments strictly at ground-level, as if there are no other levels to consider. Which remind me of what St. Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians: “Make no mistake about it. If anyone of you thinks of himself as wise, in the ordinary sense of the word, then he must learn to be a fool before he really can be wise. “Why? Because the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As scripture says: The Lord knows wise men’s thoughts: he knows how useless they are. Or again, God is
not convinced by the arguments of the wise.” (3, 18-20) But would these words still mean anything to those whose faith is more in themselves than in God and his Ch u r ch ? Wi s do m t o t h e m is the wisdom of this world with its worldly values: practicality, convenience, popularity, etc. It’s not the wisdom that comes from above and is taught and transmitted by properly authorized instrumentalities. This wisdom of the world is more individualistic or simply a result of some consensus, but is in clear rupture from authentic Christian teaching and tradition. Defying God and the Church, even among some Catholics, has now become less subtle and more open. Or at least playing games with God and religion has become some kind
of a fad, if not already a norm of conduct. We have to be most wary of this trend. Many world leaders are leading people away from God. They offer instead their own version of a utopia, promising an earthly paradise that has nothing to do with a transcendent, supernatural heaven, while mocking the institutions duly established by God through Christ in the Holy Spirit. This is the time to strengthen our true Christian identity, to tighten our Christian consistency that should cover not only our personal lives and affairs, but also our common life and affairs together. This is the time to let our integral Christian faith bear on the multitude of implications of our human affairs in this world. Beware of the wisdom of this world!
MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle received ten paintings of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, in behalf of the Philippine Catholic Church, from Angono artists. On Sept. 4, Angono Mayor Gerardo Caldero headed the small group of artists, and representatives from the University of Rizal System who came to present the first batch of paintings to Tagle at the Arzobispado in Intramuros. The initial batch of paintings consists of different depictions of Calungsod— one shows him prostrate in death with an angel hovering over him; another shows a Chamorro (most probably, Mata’pang) dragging the body of Fr. San Vitores with Calungsod lying next to him; another painting shows the two martyrs talking to angry Chamorros in the final moments before death. Tagle, who co-chairs the National Commission for the Calungsod’s canonization, together with Abp. Jose Palma, said if time permits, the National Commission would want to look at all the paintings and see which ones best exemplify the different aspects of Calungsod―catechist, OFW, youth, etc. The Angono artists’ enthusiasm to be part of the project was apparent with the first batch of paintings finished ahead of the set deadline.
People, Facts & Places
Angono Media Relations Officer and Artists Affairs in-charge Richard R. Gappi’s personal enthusiasm was also seen when he presented a poem he wrote in honor of the young martyr, titled “Awit ng Pauri kay San Pedro Calungsod” to Tagle. Gappi said, if permitted, the poem will also be rendered into song by one of the local bands of Angono. The last batch of some forty more paintings will be submitted by September 7. Present during the short meeting were Clarke Nebrao, head for promotions and merchandise for Calungsod’s canonization; Angono Tourism Officer Patnubay Tiamson; artists Edwin Moreno and Bong Anore; University of Rizal System Dean Prof. Shielanie Dacumos, Prof. Maureen Pinon-Bulatao, and Prof. Wahinee Cruzada. ‘Intensify teaching Calungsod’s life, faith to students’ Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is encouraging the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) to intensify teaching the life and faith of Blessed Pedro Calungsod among students. CBCP President and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said in an interview with Church-run Radyo Veritas that the young must be reminded of the freedom, responsibility and work towards a life of faith that was lived by Calungsod. “That is expected to all memberschools of CEAP, meaning, all the values promoted by the Catholic Church should also be promoted by the institution. That we can wish, knowing that indeed the young saint who was martyred has too much to offer and has a wonderful message to the youth,” Palma said. “Calungsod reminded the people of the importance of faith and even the importance of doing great sacrifices. Perhaps a young saint is a reminder that we too, are called to greatness,” he added. Palma is hoping that Catholic schools will prioritize the teaching of Calungsod’s life and works so that students will learn about the soon-to-be 2nd Filipino saint and will be much promoted among the young. Pedro Calungsod was martyred on April 2, 1672. He was beatified by the late Pope Blessed John Paul II on March 5, 2000.
September 10 - 23, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 19
Artists present Calungsod paintings to Abp. Tagle
Artists from Angono, Rizal commissioned to do a series of Blessed Pedro Calungsod paintings present the first batch of their works to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle at his residence in Intramuros.
He will be canonized in Rome this coming October 21by Pope Benedict XVI and will be the 2nd Filipino Saint
following St. Lorenzo Ruiz in 1987. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz/ Jandel Posion)
Declare campuses ‘hazing-free’―bishop
DESCRIBING hazing as ‘inhuman, unnecessary and violent’, a bishop is calling on schools to declare its campuses ‘hazing-free’ zones. Chairman of Episcopal Commission on Youth and Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon said in a YouthPinoy! interview, “Lives are being lost unnecessarily. These are useless deaths. And these are lives of young people full of dreams… Sasayangin lang sa hazing. (Lives will be wasted because of hazing.)” Baylon said he plans to initially write to Catholic schools through the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) to ban hazing completely from the admission process of fraternities, sororities and organizations. According to Baylon, despite the AntiHazing Law or Republic Act No. 8049 guaranteeing that recruits are not harmed physically or psychologically, it does so only on paper. “We have our Anti-Hazing Law. Walang ngipin ‘yun e (It does not have teeth)…The law should be seriously implemented,” he explained. According to the Section 3 of the AntiHazing Law, “The head of the school or organization or their representatives must assign at least two representatives of the school or organization…to be present during the initiation. It is the duty of such representative to see to it that no physical harm of any kind shall be inflicted upon a recruit, neophyte or applicant.” “Hindi na tayo Neanderthals (We are not Neanderthals anymore),” Bishop Baylon said, stressing that there are many ways of bringing out a person’s courage and it need not be violent. He decried the fact that recruits put up with physical torture and harm because of a desire to “belong”. Baylon also appealed to institutions’ and individuals’ sensibilities about how hazing degrades the dignity of the human person, contrary to the sisterhood and brotherhood fraternities and sororities want to build up in their organizations. The bishop has tasked the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate (NSYA) to study how an anti-hazing advocacy could be effectively promoted online and in dioceses and schools. The most recent hazing-related death is that of San Beda College law student Marc Andrei Marcos who died after sustaining injuries during initiation rites into the Lex Leonum Fraternity (LLF) last July. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
APPOINTeD. Pope Benedict XVI named Prelature of Infanta Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD as Metropolitan of Caceres succeeding Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP. Tirona’s assumption to the See of Caceres makes him the 33rd prelate of the ecclesiastical province established in 1595. he is 66 years old. The newly-appointed Metropolitan of Caceres was born on July 22, 1946 in Kawit, Cavite. he was ordained to the priesthood in April 21, 1974 and was ordained Auxiliary bishop of Manila in December 29, 1994. Tirona was appointed apostolic administrator of Malolos on January 1996 and installed Bishop of Malolos in January 28, 1997. he was named Bishop of Infanta on June 28, 2003 and was installed August 27, 2003. Tirona has been a priest for 38 years and a bishop for over 17 years. The suffragans of the Archdiocese of Caceres include the Dioceses of Legazpi, Sorsogon, Masbate, Daet, Virac and Libmanan. ORDAINeD. Gil Donayre, SJ, Arthur Nebrao Jr., SJ, Francisco Parillo, SJ, Joseph Raymund Sanchez, SJ, John Lester Tajon, SJ and Chester Yacub, SJ to the Sacred Order of Deacons, September 8, 2012. The ordination rites were held at the Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University, with Bangued Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian as ordaining prelate. Ordained together with them were fellow Jesuits from other countries: Mark Aloysius, SJ (Malaysia - Singapore); Bernardus Dirgaprimawan, SJ (Indonesia); Sanjeeva Fernando, SJ (Sri Lanka); Dong II Andrew Kim, SJ (Korea); Sebastian Koh Siong Yong, SJ (Malaysia - Singapore); Wilbert Mireh, SJ (Myanmar); Alvin Frederick Ng Sze Syn, SJ (Malaysia - Singapore); Thushara Sampath, SJ (Sri Lanka); eric Simiyu Wanyonji, SJ (eastern Africa); Sigit Setyo Wibowo, SJ (Thailand); And Paul Zhai, SJ (China). DIeD. Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS, who started the pro-life movement in the Philippines in the 1970s, died of herniation Syndrome secondary to cerebral bleed. The 67-year-old founder of Pro-Life Philippines suffered an aneurysm on Sept. 6 then slipped into a coma. She had been breathing with the aid of an artificial respirator the past three days till she was pronounced dead at past 4 a.m. September 9. Verzosa had become involved with the pro-life movement after hearing Rev. Fr. Paul Marx—the late founder of human Life International (hLI)―spoke about the issue. The American pro-life advocate came into the Philippines to give a seminar a year after the infamous 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion on demand in the US, and called on Filipinos to hold on to their life-affirming values. Verzosa soon got to work and ended up starting the pro-life movement in the country and becoming one of the strongest and most vibrant advocates of life and family in the crusade. Verzosa would have turned 68 on Sept. 24. DIeD. Sr. Mary Natividad Banaag, RGS, August 10, 2012. She was a Good Shepherd nun for 61 years. She served as provincial superior of the Good Shepherd Sisters in the Philippines from 1976 to 1984.
Use social media as wholesome tool for communication, youth told
A CATHOLIC priest from the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart urged young people to use social media as a wholesome tool for communication during a social media summit held September 8 and 9. Tech savvy Fr. Stephen Cuyos, MSC, said that social media and the need for this popular tool for communication can be used in many ways but should remain wholesome. “There are lots of things that you can do in the world of social networking or the social media. But use it well like sharing photos or videos of Gospel message so you young people can focus on videos or photos about peace, love, charity and evangelization,” Cuyos said. The priest emphasized that they should be careful in posting, sharing, and liking status and pictures, because all information entered in the internet are saved in the sites’ server and could be used by the social networking sites its purposes. In a separate interview with YouthPinoy, the priest also explained the do’s and dont’s in
Fr. Stephen Cuyos, MSC, reminds young people to use social media for evangelization by posting and sharing wholesome texts, photos and videos.
using social media. “I think the principle is, always know that whatever you post might be made public very quickly and could stay online forever. That means if you want to post, the do is that you post wonderful things, such as positive words that could help other people. Don’t post anything that will put yourself and other people at risk online; that’s basically the main idea,” Cuyos furthered.
Some 300 high school students who are staffers of student publications in different public schools in NCR participated in the CFAM Youth Social Media Summit. Among the speakers were experts in the field of social communication such as Sky Ortigas of YouthPinoy, Fr. Stephen Cuyos, MSC, of the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA), Alemberg Ang and Martha
Vinzons. Organized by the Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila, the event was held two months after the nationwide 1st Catholic Social Media Summit organized by the CBCP Media Office together with YouthPinoy, the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth, CBCP Commission on Mission and San Pedro Calungsod lay-movement +Big. (Jandel Posion)
Youth, powerhouse advocates for green technologies
DESPITE having minimal buying power, young people, as it turns out, are one of the most effective advocates for green technologies. “Change can only happen if we are able to generate a collective concern over the issues we face today. The youth of today can inspire people to be a part of the solution, rather than the problem,” Center for Clean and Renewable Energy Development (C-CRED) Director Catherine Maceda said in an interview. Children from Don Bosco Tondo present their art work on how to save energy at the recent “Watts Out!” TV Olympics. Despite going mainstream in other countries, albeit relatively, green technologies like solar energy, biomass, or even more energy-efficient LED TV sets have yet to gain a foothold in the market and in the public consciousness. Episcopal Commission on Youth Executive Secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta said, concretely, young people can influence the people who have actual purchasing power, like their parents, their siblings and relatives to buy more energy-efficient and environment friendly appliances, for example. At the recent “Watts Out!” TV Olympics last August 16 to 22, this is exactly what some 50 young advocacy volunteers did during the event, which aimed to demonstrate which 32inch CCFL, LED-backlit and LCD TV models were the most energy-efficient. Throughout the run of the event, volunteers, who were mostly students and youth leaders, made the rounds of the exhibits, explaining how making the switch to a ‘greener’ TV could actually lower one’s electric bill.
HIV-AIDS campaign evolving to target youth
IN what seems to be a timely response to the recent trend of more HIV cases involving young people, the Philippine Catholic HIV and AIDS Network (PhilCHAN) launches an HIV-AIDS campaign targeting the youth. “The HIV campaign is shaping into a ‘youth campaign’,” Josephine Ignacio, the HIV and AIDS Program Coordinator of NASSA (National Secretariat for Social Action) said in an interview. The group’s youth-directed “0% FEAR|100% LOVE” campaign aims to encourage young people to talk about the reality of HIV-AIDS with peers and family members, specifically to eliminate the stigma and rejection associated with those affected by the virus. PhilCHAN, which has around 44 member-organizations, is currently working on visual materials like posters that will appeal to the 15-24 year old age bracket, the youth segment that accounted for 27% of HIV cases as of June 2012. The suggestion to come out with materials that speak the language of young people came from the Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY), one of the newest members of the network. ECY, Pro-Life Philippines and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), all members of PhilCHAN, are working on the visual materials that will be similar to the “I got tested because I love you” posters that targeted married people and couples preparing to get married. Ignacio recalled how effective the previous campaign was with a good number of people contacting the network to know more about HIVAIDS because they saw the posters in LRT stations or in their parishes. “What the Church is saying is: Speak up! Talk about the virus because even the members of your family, your circle of friends are not safe from it. The virus spreads as we keep silent about it,” Ignacio, who was part of the core group that started PhilCHAN in 2009, explained. Regional coordinator of Southeast Asia HIV and AIDS Catholic Network Fr. Dan Cancino also said during a recent HIV-AIDS training for the clergy and members of the religious, getting rid of the stigma of talking about sex and HIV-AIDS is crucial to the campaign. Recent statistics from the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health estimates there are 9 new HIV cases everyday in the country. Out of those 9 cases 2.4 will involve young people. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Children from Don Bosco Tondo present their art work on how to save energy at the recent “Watts Out!” TV Olympics.
The youth volunteers’ involvement in the event is a forerunner of sorts for their more hands-on participation in the advocacy for cleaner technology. Garganta explained that these young people who may not be able to buy their own TV sets today are set to be the consumers and patrons of green innovation tomorrow because of their early exposure to the advocacy. “Watts out!” volunteers were mostly students and youth leaders from Adamson University, Ateneo’s Environmental Sci-
ence Society, Boy Scouts of the Philippines, De La Salle University Engineering Department, DLSU-Physics Society, Don Bosco (Tondo and Mandaluyong), Far Eastern University, FEU-East Asia College, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Miriam College, Ms. Earth Foundation Inc., Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Rizal Technological University, University of the East, University of the Philippines, World Youth Alliance, and Young Women Christian’s Association of the Philippines. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Nirva’ana ella Delacruz
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
‘Called to radiate the Word of truth’
(Message of Pope Benedict XVI for World Mission Sunday 2012)
Dear Brothers and Sisters, This year the celebration of World Mission Day has a very special meaning. The 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council and of the opening of the Year of Faith and of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of the New evangelization contribute to reaffirming the Church’s desire to engage with greater courage and zeal in the missio ad gentes so that the Gospel may reach the very ends of the earth.
The Second Vatican Council, with the participation of Catholic Bishops from all the corners of the earth, was a truly luminous sign of the Church’s universality, welcoming for the first time such a large number of Council Fathers from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania. Scattered among non-Christian peoples, missionary Bishops and indigenous Bishops, pastors from communities brought to the Council the image of a Church present on all the continents and interpreted the complex realities of what was then called the “Third World”. Enriched by their experience of being pastors of Churches, young and in the process of formation, motivated by passion for spreading the Kingdom of God, they contributed significantly to reaffirming the need and urgency of the evangelization ad gentes, and hence to placing the Church’s missionary nature at the centre of ecclesiology. Missionary ecclesiology Today this vision is still valid, indeed, it has experienced a fruitful theological and pastoral reflection and, at the same time, is presented with new urgency because the number of those who do not know Christ has grown: “The number of those awaiting Christ is still immense”, said Bl. John Paul
II in his Encyclical Redemptoris Missio on the permanent validity of the missionary mandate and he added: “we cannot be content when we consider the millions of our brothers and sisters, who like us have been redeemed by the blood of Christ but who live in ignorance of the love of God” (n. 86). In announcing the Year of Faith, I too wrote that “today as in the past, he (Christ) sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth” (Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, n. 7). Such proclamation, as the Servant of God Paul VI said in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, “is not an optional contribution for the Church. It is the duty incumbent on her by the command of the Lord Jesus, so that people can believe and be saved. This message is indeed necessary. It is unique. It cannot be replaced” (n. 5). We therefore need to recover the same apostolic zeal as that of the early Christian communities, which, though small and defenseless, were able, through their proclamation and witness, to spread the Gospel throughout the then known world. No wonder, therefore, that the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent Magisterium of the Church insist in a very special way on the missionary mandate, which Christ entrusted to his disciples and which must be a commitment of all the People of God, Bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious and lay people. The duty of proclaiming the Gospel in every corner of the world is primarily incumbent on the Bishops, directly responsible for evangelization in the world, both as members of the Episcopal College and as Pastors of the particular Churches. In fact, they “have been consecrated not only for a particular diocese but for the salvation of the entire world” (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, n. 63), “preachers of the faith, who bring new disciples to Christ” (cf. Ad Gentes, n. 20) and make “visible the missionary spirit and zeal of the People of God, so that the whole diocese becomes missionary” (ibid., n. 38).
The priority of evangelizing The mandate to preach the Gospel, therefore, for a pastor does not end with his attention to the portion of the People of God entrusted to his pastoral care or in sending out priests or lay people fidei donum. It must involve all the activities of the particular Church, all her sectors, in short, her whole being and all her work. The Second Vatican Council clearly pointed this out and the subsequent Magisterium reaffirmed it forcefully. This requires the regular adjustment of lifestyles, pastoral planning and diocesan organization to this fundamental dimension of being Church, especially in our continuously changing world. And this also applies for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as for Ecclesial Movements: all the components of the large mosaic of the Church must feel strongly called into question by the mandate of the Lord to preach the Gospel, so that Christ may be proclaimed everywhere. We pastors, men and women religious and all the faithful in Christ, should follow in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, who, as “a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles” (Eph 3:1), worked, suffered and struggled to bring the Gospel among the Gentiles (cf. Col 1:24-29), sparing no energy, time or means to make the Message of Christ known. Today too the mission ad gentes must be the constant horizon and paradigm of every ecclesial endeavor, because the identity of the Church herself is constituted by faith in the Mystery of God who revealed himself in Christ to bring us salvation, and by the mission of witnessing and proclaiming him to the world until he comes. Like St Paul, we should be attentive to those who are distant, to those who do not yet know Christ or who have not yet experienced the fatherhood of God, in the awareness that missionary “cooperation includes new forms—not only economic assistance, but also direct participation” to evangelization (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter
Redemptoris Missio, n. 82). The celebration of the Year of Faith and of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization will be favorable opportunities to relaunch missionary cooperation, especially in this second dimension. Faith and proclamation The eagerness to proclaim Christ also urges us to read history so as to perceive the problems, aspirations and hopes of humanity which Christ must heal, purify and fill with his presence. His Message is ever timely, it falls into the very heart of history and can respond to the deepest restlessness of every human being. For this reason all the members of the Church must be aware that “the immense horizons of the Church’s mission and the complexity of today’s situation call for new ways of effectively communicating the Word of God” (Benedict XVI, PostSynodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, n. 97). This demands, first of all, a renewed adherence of personal and community faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “especially at a time of profound change such as humanity is currently experiencing” (Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, n. 8). In fact, one of the obstacles to the impetus of evangelization is the crisis of faith, not only in the Western world, but among most of humanity, which, however, is hungering and thirsting for God and must be invited and brought to the bread of life and the living water, like the Samaritan woman who goes to Jacob’s well and converses with Christ. As John the Evangelist recounts, this woman’s story is particularly significant (cf. Jn 4:130): she meets Christ, who asks her for a drink but then speaks to her of a new water which can satisfy thirst for ever. At first the woman does not understand, she remains at a material level, but slowly she is led by the Lord to make a journey of faith which leads her to recognize him as the Messiah. And St Augustine says about this: “after having welcomed Christ the Lord in her heart, what else could [this woman] have done other than
leave her pitcher and run to the village to announce the good news?” (cf. Homily 15, 30). The encounter with Christ as a living Person, who satisfies the thirst of the heart, cannot but lead to the desire to share with others the joy of this presence and to make him known, so that all may experience this joy. It is necessary to renew the enthusiasm of communicating the faith to promote a new evangelization of the communities and Countries with a long-standing Christian tradition which are losing their reference to God so that they may rediscover the joy of believing. The concern to evangelize must never remain on the margins of ecclesial activity and of the personal life of Christians. Rather, it must strongly characterize it, in the awareness that they are those for whom the Gospel is intended and, at the same time, missionaries of the Gospel. The core of the proclamation always remains the same: the Kerygma of Christ who died and rose for the world’s salvation, the Kerygma of God’s absolute and total love for every man and every woman, which culminated in his sending the eternal and Only-Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, who did not scorn to take on the poverty of our human nature, loving it and redeeming it from sin and death through the offering of himself on the Cross. Faith in God, in this project of love brought about in Christ, is first and foremost a gift and a mystery which must be welcomed in the heart and in life, and for which we must always thank the Lord. However, faith is a gift that is given to us to be shared; it is a talent received so that it may bear fruit; it is a light that must never be hidden, but must illuminate the whole house. It is the most important gift which has been made to us in our lives and which we cannot keep to ourselves. Proclamation becomes charity “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!”, said the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 9:16). This word has a strong resonance for every Christian and for every Christian community on all the continents. Mission awareness has also
become a connatural dimension for the Churches in mission lands, the majority of which are young, even though they themselves are still in need of missionaries. Many priests, men and women religious from every part of the world, numerous lay people and even entire families leave their countries and their local communities and go to other Churches to bear witness to and to proclaim the Name of Christ, in which humanity finds salvation. It is an expression of profound communion, sharing and charity among the Churches, so that every man and woman may hear or listen again to the saving proclamation and approach the sacraments, source of true life. Together with this lofty sign of faith that is transformed into love, I remember and thank the Pontifical Mission Societies, instruments for cooperation in the universal mission of the Church across the world. Through their action, the proclamation of the Gospel also becomes an intervention on behalf of one’s neighbor, justice for the poorest, the possibility of education in the most remote villages, medical aid in isolated places, emancipation from poverty, the rehabilitation of the marginalized, support for the development of peoples, overcoming ethnic divisions, and respect for life in all its stages. Dear brothers and sisters, I invoke on the mission of evangelization ad gentes and, in particular, on its workers, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so that God’s grace may enable it to advance firmly in the history of the world. Together with Bl. John Henry Newman I would like to pray: O Lord, accompany your missionaries in the lands to be evangelized, put the right words on their lips and make their labors fruitful”. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Star of Evangelization, accompany all Gospel missionaries. From the Vatican, 6 January 2012, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord BeNeDICTUS PP. XVI
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
academic Freedom in a Catholic University: The ateneo Question
(Part II: The Identity of a Catholic University)
By Fr. Jaime Blanco Achacoso, J.C.D.
AT the core of the apologia pro academia sua of Ateneo de Manila University President Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, S.J.—if not of the position of the 192 faculty members of the aforementioned university who expressed their support for the RH Bill—are two fundamental errors: (1) the failure to appreciate the identity of the Catholic University, and (2) the failure to appreciate the infallible nature of the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding the intrinsic immorality of contraception. I will dedicate these last two parts of this long article to tackle these two errors. The Catholic University In my conversations with students from the Ateneo—aside from the published material on the controversy regarding their position on the RH Bill—a nagging point keeps on surfacing: the perceived conflict between the university spirit and the obedience to the magisterium. The question that is often asked is: Up to where does the Ateneo remain Catholic without sacrificing its other commitment of being a university? In no place is this better expressed than in the apologia of Fr.Villarin. On the one hand he declares that “together with our leaders in the Catholic Church, the Ateneo de Manila University does not support the passage of House Bill 4244 (The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Development Bill).” On the other hand he calls “attention to the 192 members of our faculty who have grappled with the underlying issues in the context of Catholic social teaching, and who have spoken in their own voice in support of the bill”, and unabashedly states his appreciation for “their social compassion and intellectual efforts, and urge them to continue in their discernment of the common good… as there is a spectrum of views on this ethical and public policy issue….” The evident contradiction is the result of the failure to appreciate the unique character of the Catholic University or school, which makes it quite different from any other secular university or school (like my alma mater, the University of the Philippines and the Philippine Science High School in Diliman). If Ateneo were really Catholic, then Fr. Villarin would not have spoken of “a spectrum of views on this ethical (…) issue”. There is already a Catholic position on this ethical issue: Contraception is intrinsically immoral, therefore the RH Bill—which is just a vehicle to push contraception as a public policy—is also immoral. What is a Catholic University? a. The apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae (1990). On August 15, 1990, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic constitution on Catholic higher education titled Ex corde Ecclesiae (ECE). The Apostolic Constitution described the identity and mission of Catholic colleges and universities and provided General Norms to help fulfil its vision. While the ECE came into effect on the first day of the academic year 1991 (Art.8), it also stipulated that the application of the Constitution is committed to the Congregation for Catholic Education (CCE), which has the duty to promulgate the necessary directives that will serve this end (Art.9). Finally, following the principle of subsidiarity, the Holy See also provided that the General Norms are to be applied concretely by Episcopal conferences, taking into account the status of each college and university and, as far as possible and appropriate, civil law. At this point it is interesting to note that the local application of the universal law (ECE) to individual countries (by the Episcopal conferences) was stalled, basically due to the controversy that was generated in the U.S., where on the surface the secular protection of civil liberties (basically of the professors in Catholic universities) was deemed at odds with the canonical enforcement of the identity of the Catholic University as provided for by the ECE. Hence, despite the ECE’s coming into force in 1991, it was not until 3 May 2001 that The Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the U.S. came into force as particular law; similarly, it was not until 21 May 2006 that the Canadian Ordinances for the Implementation of Ex corde Ecclesiae came into force. I am not aware of a local version of these documents by the CBCP, just like so many other English-speaking Catholic Episcopal Conferences, who were waiting for the U.S. bishops to lead the way. The result of this slowness in its implementation has only resulted in the prolongation of the impunity of professors teaching unorthodox doctrines in so-called Catholic universities. In fact, it is difficult not to suspect that under the surface of a concern for the protection of academic freedom in the Catholic universities might lurk the concern for self-preservation of dissenting theologians. Notwithstanding this lack of local legislation, there really is no lac u na legis (legal gap) since the universal norm— the ECE—is fully in f o rc e , a l l c o n t r a r y legislation or custom notwithstanding. The General Norms of the ECE “are valid for all Catholic universities and other Catholic institutions of higher education throughout the world” (Art.1, n.1). b. The Nature of a Catholic University This is fully articulated in Art.1 of the General Norms of ECE, which I quote as follows: 1. A Catholic university, like every university, is a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge. It is dedicated to research, to teaching, and to various kinds of service in accordance with its cultural mission. 2. A Catholic university, as Catholic, informs and carries out its research, teaching and all other activities with Catholic ideals, principles and attitudes. It is linked with the Church either by a formal, constitutive and statutory bond or by reason of an institutional commitment made by those responsible for it. 3. Every Catholic university is to make known its Catholic identity, either in a mission statement or in some other appropriate public document, unless authorized otherwise by the competent ecclesiastical authority. The university, particularly through its structure and its regulations, is to provide means which will guarantee the expression and the preservation of this identity in a manner consistent with Section 2. 4. Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities, while the freedom of conscience of each person is to be fully respected. Any official action or commitment of the university is to be in accord with its Catholic identity. 5. A Catholic university possesses the autonomy necessary to develop its distinctive identity and pursue its proper mission. Freedom in research and teaching is recognized and respected according to the principles and methods of each individual discipline, so long as the rights of the individual and of the community are preserved within the confines of the truth and the common good. The Catholic Identity of a University The foregoing provisions of Art.1 of the General Norms of the ECE run the danger of being just nice consideranda or even desiderata—which indeed are latent in the apologia of the AdMU President—without the fundamental requirement of Catholic identity. In fact, this is at the core of the discussion on academic freedom vs. catholicity, what has been sorely missed by the 192 Ateneo professors and their University President. First I will simply quote the pertinent numbers of the ECE, under the heading of The Identity of a Catholic University. 1. Nature and Objectives the Church; . An institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life. In the light of these four characteristics, it is evident that besides the teaching, research and services common to all universities, a Catholic university, by institutional commitment, brings to its task the inspiration and light of the Christian message. In a Catholic university, therefore, Catholic ideals, attitudes and principles penetrate and inform university activities in accordance with the proper nature and autonomy of these activities. In a word, being both a university and Catholic, it must be both a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge, and an academic institution in which Catholicism is vitally present and operative (n.14). 2. academic Freedom in a Catholic University. A Catholic university, therefore, is a place of research, where scholars scrutinize reality with the methods proper to each academic discipline, and so contribute to the treasury of human knowledge. Each individual discipline is studied in a systematic manner; moreover, the various disciplines are brought into dialogue for their mutual enhancement. In addition to assisting men and women in their continuing quest for the truth, this research provides an effective witness, especially necessary today, to the Church’s belief in the intrinsic value of knowledge and research. In a Catholic university, research necessarily includes (a) the search for an integration of knowledge, (b) a dialogue between faith and reason, (c) an ethical concern, and (d) a theological perspective (n.15). a. Harmonizing Faith and reason. In promoting this integration of knowledge, a specific part of a Catholic university’s task is to promote dialogue between faith and reason, so that it can be seen more profoundly how faith and reason bear harmonious witness to the unity of all truth. While each academic discipline retains its own integrity and has its own methods, this dialogue demonstrates that methodical research within every branch of learning, when carried out in a truly scientific manner and in accord with moral norms, can never truly conflict with faith. For the things of the earth and the concerns of faith derive from the same God (n.17). b. Primacy of the Moral and ethical Implications. Because knowledge is meant to serve the human person, research in a Catholic university is always carried out with a concern for the ethical and moral implications both of its methods and of its discoveries. This concern, while it must be present in all research, is particularly important in the areas of science and technology. It is essential that we be convinced of the priority of the ethical over the technical, of the primacy of the person over things, of the superiority of the spirit over matter. The cause of the human person will only be served if knowledge is joined to conscience. Men and women of science will truly aid humanity only if they preserve the sense of the transcendence of the human person over the world and of God over the human person (n.18). c. The role of Theology in a Catholic University. Theology has its legitimate place in the university alongside other disciplines. It has proper principles and methods which define it as a branch of knowledge. Theologians enjoy this same freedom so long as they are faithful to these principles and methods. Bishops should encourage the creative work of theologians. They serve the Church through research done in a way that respects theological method. They seek to understand better, further develop and more effectively communicate the meaning of Christian Revelation as transmitted in Scripture and Tradition and in the Church’s Magisterium. They also investigate the ways in which theology can shed light on specific questions raised by contemporary culture. At the same time, since theology seeks an understanding of revealed truth whose authentic interpretation is entrusted to the bishops of the Church, it is intrinsic to the principles and methods of their research and teaching in their academic discipline that theologians respect the authority of the bishops, and assent to Catholic doctrine according to the degree of authority with which it is taught. Because of their interrelated roles, dialogue between bishops and theologians is essential; this is especially true today, when the results of research are so quickly and so widely communicated through the media (n.19). The Lack of Catholic Identity in the Ateneo de Manila Position on the RH Bill Without judging the individual members of the Ateneo de Manila U n i v e r s i t y, f ro m t h e f o re g o i n g exposition of the heart of the Church (Ex corde Ecclesiae) on what a Catholic University should be, it ought to be clear that the position of that academic community as regards the RH Bill—expressed first of all by the signed manifesto of the 192 professors supporting the RH Bill, but exacerbated by the lame apologia of their president for such a move—falls short of the desired Catholic identity for such a Catholic University. Resorting to the autonomy of the different sciences—economics, sociology, politics—for the professors of those disciplines to support the RH Bill against the clear teaching of the bishops is a blatant betrayal of the expressed mind of the Church for a Catholic University to do research in those different sciences with a view towards harmonizing faith and reason, not putting them at odds. Besides, the bishops’ objection to the RH Bill has nothing to do with its economic, political, sociological and medical underpinning or pretensions, but rather with its ethical/moral implications. In other words, if there were really a Catholic heart and mind in that university, the primary instinct—when the professors of those autonomous disciplines were leaning towards conclusions at odds with the Church teachings against the RH Bill—should have been to postpone t he p u blic a t ion of a definit ive position, while fostering dialogue towards the truth. The failure to give assent to a Church teaching, for reasons of an intellectual nature, is no ground to manifest dissent—much less in an academic community, where so many young minds are still being molded. It would not be surprising if the great majority of Ateneo students support the RH Bill. In fact, this latter leads us to the second error in the Ateneo position, which to my mind is at the very core of its present conundrum: their failure to accept that the Church teaching on the intrinsic evil of contraception is infallible doctrine. [To be concluded]
Every Catholic university, as a university, is an academic community which, in a rigorous and critical fashion, assists in the protection and advancement of human dignity and of a cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to the local, national and international communities. It possesses that institutional autonomy necessary to perform its functions effectively and guarantees its members academic freedom, so long as the rights of the individual person and of the community are preserved within the confines of the truth and the common good (n.12). Since the objective of a Catholic university is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the u n iv e r s it y w or ld c on fr on t in g t h e great problems of society and culture, every Catholic university, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics (n.13): . A Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such; . A continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research; [ 3 ] . F i de l i t y t o t h e C h r i st i a n message as it comes to us through
The Fraction Rite
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: As a priest I have difficulty with the fact that with the Roman Missal now, the priest places a particle of the host in the chalice before the fraction rite which takes place during the Lamb of God. Why was this particular change made?—SK, Milford, Connecticut A: Actually the change is just in the position of the rubric in the missal rather than a change of practice. In the former translation the rubric at the moment of the breaking of bread said: “Then the following is sung or said: Lamb of God ….” After the text of the “Lamb of God” the rubric says: “This may be repeated until the breaking of bread is finished, but the last phrase is always Grant us peace. “Meanwhile, he takes the host and breaks it over the paten, he places a small piece in the chalice, saying inaudibly: May this mingling of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.” The new translation, following the Latin missal, takes a slightly different approach. After the invitation to make the sign of peace, the rubric indicates: “Then he takes the host, breaks it over the paten and places a small piece in the chalice, saying quietly: May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.” The missal continues: “Meanwhile the following is sung or said: ‘Lamb of God ….’ “The invocation may even be repeated several times if the fraction is prolonged. Only the final time, however, is grant us peace said.” Thus, although the order of the rubric has been reversed, the action described is exactly the same: The host is broken and a piece placed in the chalice during the singing or recitation of the Lamb of God. The key to understanding both rubrics is the use of the word “meanwhile.” In the former translation the “meanwhile” is placed at the action of breaking the bread, in the new translation at the singing of the Agnus Dei. From one point of view we are not really dealing with a change but a correction. The order found in the new translation is actually the original and is found as such in other languages. It was the former English translation which varied from the others. Although the action described is exactly the same, I think that mentioning the fraction first emphasizes that this is the most important liturgical element at this moment. The “Lamb of God” accompanies this action of breaking the bread and readying it for communion, hence underlining its importance. Indeed, breaking the bread is one of the four structural elements of the Eucharistic celebration that have always been present in one form or another since the time of the Apostles. These four elements are: Bread and wine is presented; prayer of blessing and thanksgiving is said over these offerings by the one who presides so that they become Christ’s body and blood; the Eucharistic bread is broken; the species are administered to the disciples as Communion. In this way Christ’s action on Holy Thursday—taking, giving thanks, breaking and giving to his disciples—is carried on in perpetual remembrance of him. A possible danger of the older translation, in mentioning the “Lamb of God” first, could be to induce the faithful to believe that singing this acclamation was the principal action while the rite of the fraction faded into the background—almost, so to speak, something the priest did to speed things up.
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
Year of the Missions
h i e r a rc h y a n d t h e l a y f a i t h f u l which we also need for us to promote mission in our respective pa r i s h e s , ” Ca m p om a n e s s a i d . Aside from the mission Ad G e n t e s o f t h e C h urch , M e s i on a a l s o d i s c u s s e d t h e n a t u re a n d function of the society, introduced its four societies and its objectives a n d pro g r a m s . Campomanes also mentioned that apart from mission awareness, t h e pa s t o r a l pla n w i l l a l s o f ocus on school and parish based mission awareness programs, t a l k s , s ym po s ia a n d a d i oce s a n g a t h e r i n g wh i ch a i m s t o cre a t e l a y pa r t n e r s a n d core g roup s f or mi s s i o n a r y w or k or p rom ot i on s wi t h i n t h e d i oce s e . Mesiona, together with PMS s t a ff M r. A n t hon y D a m e g , g a v e the talk during the clergy meeting at the Bishop’s Residence in B o ro n g a n Ci t y. ( J a n d el P o si o n )
Clergy participate in mission awareness programs
AS part o f th e i mp l ement a t i o n o f th e Dio c es e o f B o ro n g a n ’ s f i v e ye ar Dio c esan p asto ral P l a n f o r th e Mis sion , aro u n d 40 me m b e r s of the c lerg y p arti c i p a t e d i n a mi ssio n aw aren ess c o n du c t e d b y th e Po nt if i c al M i ssi o n S o c i e t i e s of the Philippines last August 28. A c c o r d i n g t o F r. P h i l i p Oliver Campomanes, the d i o c e s a n m i s s i o n d i re c t o r, t h e implementation of the 5-year p astor al pl an to th e p ar i s h l e v e l requires that priests must be gi ven mis si o n aw aren e s s a b o u t th e P o nt ific al Mi ssi o n S o c i e t i e s Philippines (PMS) and its mission p rogr ams . “Our priests were given a heads up by F ath er So c M e s i o n a of PMS about the Mission Ad Gentes of the Church. The need for re-evangelization of the world together with the mission collaborators, the Church
PMS National Director Fr. Soc Mesiona explains the Church’s Mission Ad Gentes to Borongan clergy as part of the diocesan pastoral plan of promoting mission awareness.
Pedro Calungsod: The Buen Soldado de Cristo
(Lifted from the book of Fr. Ildebrando Jesus Aliño Leyson titled Pedro Calonsor Bissaya: Prospects of a Teenage Filipino)
PEDRO Calungsod suffered a v i o l e n t d e a t h . Ye t , notwithstanding such an acute pain and horror, he never renounced his Faith, never uttered a word of resentment nor a gesture of vengeance. In this, he reflected a true Christian spirit and demonstrated his faith with deeds. Habia profesado constant [la fe] hasta la muerte mas aun con el ejemplo que con palabras. Padre Diego showed Pedro Calungsod a crucifix and absolved him. Then, Pedro Calungsod gave up his spirit. Y no hay duda que tambien como verdadero Padre De su alma le echaria su bendicion y absolucion de Todos sus pecados, hasta que ultimamente de un catanzo que dieron al dicho mozo en la cabeza, espiro. (“And there is no doubt that, as a true Padre of his soul, he was also blessing him and absolving him of all his sins, until with a strike of a cutlass that they gave on the head of the fortunate youth, he ultimately expired.” (Mexico, p. 101) E hirieron de muerte a un muchacho bisaya que Acompañaba al Venerable Padre. Y que, viendo Esto el Siervo de Dios, enarbolo un Santo Cristo Que tenia pendiente al cuello, asi para ayudar en Aquel trance a su compañero[…]. (They fatally wounded a Visayan boy who was accompanying the Venerable Padre. Seeing this, the Servant of God raised up a crucifix which was suspended from his neck, so as to help his companion in that emergency.” Manila 10, p. 119) Knowing the goodness and the zeal for souls of Pedro Diego, the other missionaries never doubted that he assisted Pedro Calungsod at death, assuring that the lad was absolved of his sins and was strengthened to persevere in his faith till the end. Padre Diego who risked his life to retrieve his wayward interpreter and to save the soul of an infant who he did not know, could never have neglected the salvation of the soul of Pedro Calungsod, his faithful assistant que le ayudaba en su predicacion, his buen hijo, his antiguo compañero, his vertuex catechiste. One may be inclined to exclaim: Poor Pedro Calungsod! How wasted was his youth! Was that all he got after suffering the pain of leaving his family and homeland? Was that the reward he deserved after having worked tirelessly for the salvation of those natives? In the musical play entitled Scenes from a Martyrdom, the author puts the following words in the mouth of Pedro Calungsod after the martyrdom: Land racked with sorrow and pain, I’ve seen your majesty – How you ride the tempest, Brave the monsoon rain! Dear troubled paradise, I won’t be seeing you again Thou’ I’d love to stay, Yet have I always known This island and my own Are one great big fam’ly If we dried up the ocean. My motherland and you Were sisters born (Right from creation’s dawn!) I feel no grudge For those who gave me (Fortunate Youth! And well rewarded the four years of serving God faithfully in the Missions are, accompanying the Ministers of the Gospel: to die for the Faith in the company of the first apostle of those islands, and being the precursor in heaven of his martyrdom.” (Martyrdom 8, p. 80) Voila quelle fut la glorieuse recompense de ce Vertueux catechiste, qui servoit les Peres depuis Quatre ans avec un zele, qui luy merita la Couronne du martyre! (“Behold what was the glorious reward of this virtuous catechist who served the Padres for four years with zeal, that he merited the crown of martyrdom.” Martyrdom 10, p. 85) Acabo su dichosa carrera. (He ended his joyful career.” Martyrdom 7, p. 77) The martyrdom of Pedro Calungsod was not only a grace of the moment; it was also the gloriously. Such glory gave him more strength to face his own martyrdom.” Martyrdom 11, p. 87) Padre Diego, crucifix in hand, started to preach to the assassins saying that there is no other God than Him crucified and that only He must be adored in Guam. But the barbarians only scorned the missionary. Seeing that the evil duo were making ready to kill him, padre Diego said in Chamorro, “Si Yu’os ma’ase’, Mata’pang!” At that, Matapang pierced him in the chest with lance while Hirao struck his head with catana. Padre Diego fell dead. It was about eight o’clock in the morning. Wi t h P e d ro C a l u n g s o d and Padre Diego now dead, Matapang took the crucifix of Padre Diego and smashed it to pieces with a stone while saying angrily, “This is what they want to be head of all!”, thereby demonstrating once more his real reason for killing Pedro Calungsod and Padre Diego. Quitole el indio Matapang un Santo Cristo pequeño que continuamente traia consigo el Venerable Padre enel cuello y poniendole sobre una piedra le dio con otra tantos golpes que le hizo pedazos, manifestandose […] el motive de sacrilega determinacion y repitiendo con los golpes estas palabras: “Este es a quien los Castillas veneran por principal Señor y cabeza.” (“The native, Matapang, grabbed a small holy crucifix which the Venerable Padre always carried with him around his neck. And placing it over a stone, he pounded it with another so many times that he reduced it to pieces, revealing thus the motive of his sacrilegious determination and repeating with the blows these words: ‘This is he whom the Castillians venerate as principal Lord and chief.” Martyrdom 9, p. 83) Los homicidas y agresores, atropellando todo, perdieron el respeto a la dicha imagen de Cristo crucificado, injuriandolo con blasfemias horribles, con golpes y ultrajes que le dieron e hicieron, pisandola y arrastrandola, dando con esto claras y abiertas muestras de que el mayor motive que tuvieron para dar muerte al Siervo de Dios (y Pedro Calungsod) fue el odio y aborrecimiento Formal que tenian a la Fe y religion Catolica que predicaba [n]. (“The homicides and aggressors, disregarding it all, lost all respect for the image of Christ crucified. Insulting it with horrible blasphemies, they then struck it with blows, and filled it with outrages, stepped on it and dragged it, giving thus clear and open signs that the greatest motive they had for killing the Servant of God (and Pedro Calungsod) was their hatred and formal abomination for the Faith and the Catholic religion which he preached.” Manila 9, pp. 117-118) The crystal tomb The assassins denuded the lifeless bodies of Pedro Calungsod and Padre Diego and dragged them across the village toward the shore. They tried large stones to the feet of these, placed them in a proa, and after paddling over the Tumhon reef, they tossed them overboard. […] fueron arrojados sus cuerpos en el mar. ( “ T h e i r b o d i e s w e re thrown into the sea.” Guam 2, p. 96) […] despues de arrastrados los dichos cuerpos, Atandoles unas gruesas piedras a los pies, les Arrojaron al mar[…]. (“After having dragged the bodies, attaching large stones to the feet of these, they dumped them into the sea.” Guam 2, p. 96) […] Tomaron el cuerpo del Siervo de Dios Juntamente con el de su compañero, ya dicho P e d r o C a l o n s o r, y metieronlos en una Embarcacion, y saliendo mar afuera, los Arrojaron. (“They took the body of the Servant of God together with that of his companion, the said Pedro Calonsor, and loading them in a boat, and going out into the sea, they dropped them,” Manila 1, p. 105) The bodies of Pedro Calungsod and Padre Diego sank into the deep, never to be found again. T h e h o m i c i d e s s p re a d burning coals over the spot where Pedro Calungsod and Padre Diego fell dead to consume the pools of blood— which they feared would cause an epidemic—and so as not to leave any trace of those witnesses of Christ. Then, “the skies of the Marianas, which had for some time been serene, became enraged. There were tempests, the worst that had been seen in those isl;ands. And in Tumhon, there was a great deal of lightning which terrorized and horrified the natives […].” All these happened on the Saturday preceding Palm (passion) Sunday of that year. Miserere The death of the superior of the Mariana Mission stirred the spirits of the soldiers who thought it was not well to leave unpunished an offense that might prove a bad precedent. At four o’clock in the morning of 17 May 1672, twenty-one soldiers— thirteen Spanish arquebusiers and eight Filipinos: four with cutlasses and bucklers, four with bows and arrows—started for Tumhon. “The settlements through which they passed, although they were enemies and were armed, made no effort to embarrass the Spaniards on the way, permitting them to pass unhindered in order to annoy them from the rear. On the hill near Tumhon, they found the natives in ambush and knew that they must have warning of the arrival of our men. The path was strewn with impediments composed of sticks and bones. The barbarians threw stones and lances without being seen by our men who, imploring the favor of the Queen of the Angels, Patroness of these islands, and so San Miguel, Protector of their arms, went forward without delay until they arrived at Tumhon, where they did not find Matapang […]. However, they burned his house and, when the villagers tried to stop them, they burned a dozen others and destroyed several boats, a form of punishment that the natives used against each other. […] Because it was now midday, they set out towards Agadña, and in the villages along the route that had been confederates of the village of Tumhon for the defense of Matapang, burned a number of houses without being hampered by the enemy who followed after them, trying to annoy them but not to fight, which they were afraid to do. They wanted only to delay our men in order that night might overtake them on the road when they could, with the help of darkness, execute some manner of treachery. Matapang, following along close to the shore in a proa, shouting encouragement to his friends, and arriving at a safe distance from our men who were walking along the beach, called out, ‘I am Matapang! You have delayed long in coming!’ The soldiers answered him with ten or twelve musket balls, and inspite of their being good shots, not a one wounded him[…].” It may have been providential that the soldiers were never able to kill nor capture Matapang. Pedro Calungsod and Padre Diego may have been guarding the life of the man who had murdered them, until he should have time to repent and gain eternal life. Matapang fled to the Island of Santa Ana (Sarpana or Rota). Eight years later, in 1680, repentant rebel natives hunted Matapang there and brought him in a proa to San Juan. But Matapang died on the way from the wounds he had suffered from the lances of the natives who seized him. Nothing more is known about the other assassin, Hirao, nor of Choco. On 11 may 1672, a Spanish soldier encountered Hurao. The sight of him reminded the soldier of the past war that Hurao organized against the missionaries from 11 September to 21 October 16 71, and without any hesitation the soldier ran him through with a sword, leaving him dead. At the beginning of Lent in 1679, “a treasure was brought to the main residence of San Ignacio; one which was valued the more because it was believed to have been lost. This was Filipino who, having come to these islands with the Padres, as an interpreter, had gone over to the side of the infidels eight years before and had lived among them all this time, as if he were not Christian. But God, in his infinite mercy, placed him in our hands although he himself was Padres, the past forgotten, embraced him as if he were another Prodigal Son, and they took him to their house, where he lives with Christianity and edification.” Many more missionaries were killed in subsequent attacks by the revolting natives in the Marianas between 1672 and 1685. Miserere .. Deus … secundum mu ltitu d in em misera tio n em tuarum dele iniquitatem … et impii ad te convertentur. (To be continued)
Just a bit sad That I can’t speak Of God to them again. B u t re m e m b e r, l a n d beloved of God Who has bathed you with my blood, No martyr ever dies in vain. (R. Villanueva, Scenes From a Martyrdom, cit., p. 30) By the fact that Pedro Calungsod was killed before Padre Diego, we could say that such a sacrifice demanded a lot of faith from him, a very strong faith, for there was no other example for him to follow except that of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But did not Jesus say, “He who loses his life for my sake will find it”? Pedro Calungsod may have died at a very young age, but “the virtuous man, though he die before his time, will find rest. Length of days is not what makes age honorable, nor number of years the true measure of life; understanding, this is man’s grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age. He has sought to please God, so God has loved him. […] Coming to perfection in so short a while, he achieved long life.” No wonder those who knew of Pedro Calungsod and those who knew of the kind of death that the he suffered were moved to exclaim: Dichoso mancebo; y bien premiados cuatro años de Server fielmente a Dios en las misiones, Acompañando a los Ministros Evangelicos, morir Por la Fe en compñia del primer Apostol de Aquellas Islas, siendo precursor en el Cielo de su Martirio!
crowning of the remarkable Christian virtues that he had tried to live heroically. Perhaps, the martyrdom of Perdo Calungsod may have also given new courage to Padre Diego to face his own martyrdom: Gozoso el Padre San Vitores de la dicha de su C o m p a ñ e r o , disponiendose para semejante Felicidad[…]. (Happy about the fortune of his companion, Padre San Vitores prepared himself for a similar happiness.” Martyrdom 8, p. 80) [Pedro Calungsod] murio gloriosamente por la fe, Sirviendo del mayor Consuelo al Padre Diego ver Perder tan gloriosamente la vida a su compañero, Cuya Gloria le dio nuevos alientos para su Martirio. (“Pedro Calungsod gloriously died for the Faith. It was a great consolation for Padre Diego to see his companion lose his life
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
My Vocation Story: A special charism for girls and women
“PILAR, if you go to Vietnam to volunteer as a nurse, you will be so lonely, you will fall in love with the first doctor you meet there!” exclaimed Fr. James Reuter, SJ (my spiritual director) when I mentioned that I thought of entering the convent but I also was being invited by Operation Brotherhood as soon as I graduated BS Nursing from St. Paul College. Fr. Jim’s words must have hit me right in the heart because I put aside immediately that invitation and started inquiring seriously about the Good Shepherd soon after. Being a nun was not a strange idea to me. I grew up with nuns in St. Theresa’s College. In fact, all of us—my four sisters and three brothers studied there while my mother was school physician. What surprised everybody was why I entered the Good Shepherd Congregation, not with the St. Theresa’s College or the St. Paul College nuns. But it should not be too surprising. My parent’s wedding invitation was printed at the Good Shepherd Printing Press in Caloocan in 1938. I did not know till I was about five years in the Good Shepherd when my mother casually mentioned it to me. And she added, “Do you know that I used to play around in your 1043 Aurora Blvd. Compound as a child? Your grandfather was the partner of Mr. Lord, the American owner of your property. That was in the 20’s. Your grandpa owned a bus company and he would bring men from Vigan to Quezon City to be taken to Hawaii or California to work in the plantations.” Wow! So my family was into OCW’! Then, I got fed with Marian Bread everyday for breakfast when I was in grade school. Yes, I recall the Marian Bread delivery van passing by our house every morning. Little did I know the bakery was owned by the Good Shepherd Sisters. I entered the RGS in spite of my mother warning us children every so often, “If you are naughty, I will place you with the nuns over there at Aurora Blvd. On the way to Ateneo (where my brothers went to school). You know that convent with the high walls? You will never be able to get out.” Although my parents would have wanted me to work a couple of years first after college, they did not object to my going to the Aspirancy Program by June. I praise the Lord for their understanding and I am sure that it was their prayers that have sustained my vocation through the years. We prayed the rosary every evening as far back as I can remember and having our First Communion was a special event for each of the eight of us children. I remember walking to church every morning with my mother and father ever since I was in Grade Five. My other siblings would join us sometimes but I was the most regular even during weekdays. I even volunteered to go with my mother for her parish church activities. The STC Belgian nuns instilled in me a missionary spirit. They would tell stories of the poor Igorots in the Mountain Provinces and they taught me how to knit sweaters for them during the noon break in school so that I could send them to the children who must be feeling so cold up there. The SPC nuns, on the other hand, taught me how to be caring and nurturing, gracious and sensitive to the needs of others. I had at first wanted to join a
(Sister Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS, wrote this piece in 2002 for the RGS Vocation Ministry Office of the Good Shepherd Sisters. Sister Pilar received her eternal reward on September 9 when she died of Herniation Syndrome secondary to cerebral bleed due to fatal aneurysm. We are running this short reflection on this page in appreciation for the noble work of the good Sister—eds)
congregation that would take care of the physically handicapped but I did not know of any in the Philippines. One day, I saw an article in a weekly magazine about Heart of Mary Villa, the RGS Home for Unwed Mothers ( I still have that article I cut that day).My curiosity led me to asking Fr. Reuter about the RGS. He instructed me to visit the Superior that weekend. And so I got to know about the Good Shepherd Sisters. I visited the convent a couple of times more before I entered that same year after graduation. I have never regretted it! The community life of sisterhood, the life of prayer, and the various assignments have challenged, inspired and sustained me to do my best to follow Jesus in the life He called me. Working in the home for unwed mothers as a young Sister fulfilled the dream I had when I cut out the article on Heart of Mary Villa. It was there that I gained a special compassion for these girls and women—a special charism I developed into the pro-life mission that I have been sustaining for the past thirty years. The Pro-life organization that I founded has grown nationwide and through my radio programs, TV appearances, books written and training programs I have developed, the saving grace of the Good Shepherd has reached out into schools, parishes, offices, factories, depressed communities and rural areas. Women come to us who would have aborted, girls are referred to our shelter because of rape or incest or prostitution, students and teachers receive materials and training on Christian sexuality, while couples learn responsible parenthood. My work with Pro-life has never been separate from my RGS assignment. The mutuality has enhanced both areas toward effective ways of bringing God’s salvation. Congregational support and appreciation for my participation in the work of God has never been lacking. And sisterly concern and admonition (nobody is perfect!) likewise has not been lacking. And so, the highlight of each year has been the annual retreat. The congregation assemblies also fill me with pride and inspiration, knowing that each of us 150 Sisters have nothing else at heart than the desire to live the love and compassion of the Good Shepherd. Joy and peace—this is what I would want other young women to experience. This is what I experience here at RGS and I know that for many women out there, God is waiting to give this to them too through the Good Shepherd vocation. God is a generous God. He cannot be outdone in showering us with the promised hundredfold. I am sure He will continue to outpour His love on me from day to day in pasture yet untrod. I would like to dwell in His house forever.
Sr. Pilar Verzosa, in one of the many rallies she either spearheaded or joined in defense of family and life.
The Porsuelo Experience
An Emerging Light In Natural Family Planning
who had been trained in the Porsuelo Experience and had used it successfully well into their pre-menopausal age. For more information on the history of the Porsuelo Experience visit www.vimeo. com/38888653. In May of 2011, we gathered the lay leaders and NFP practitioners in and around the Diocese of Parañaque for a training and familiarization class taught by Nanay Feling herself. For two days, we were treated to the folksy and unpretentious style of Nanay Feling speaking alternately in English, Pilipino and Bisaya. Her deep understanding of the underlying scientific facts of the human reproductive system that earned her the title of ‘grassroots scientist’ cannot be denied.This despite her humble academic background. In the Diocese of Parañaque, we translated Nanay Feling’s files and documentations to develop a one-day user training module that can be delivered in a classroom setting. The development was particularly difficult because her collection of training materials were largely meant for one-on-one tutoring rather than for the classroom. Nevertheless the first version of our training module was completed in November 2011. After getting Nanay Feling’s approval of the training module, we conducted a pilot class the following December in order to assess the effectiveness of the module and the class materials. It was successful. The concepts and rudiments of The Porsuelo Experience were easily understood by the participants such that we were able to wrap up the class one hour before the scheduled closing time. After making minor adjustments, we produced two versions of the training module—in Pilipino and in English. They consist of: 1. Speaker talk outlines 2. User Handouts 3. Compact Disk of all printable class materials including Powerpoint presentation files We then launched our first class in February of 2012. In the succeeding 8 months, from February to August, we conducted 10 classes in the Diocese participated by 189 persons. Of these, 33 were observers—those who are prospective teachers, facilitators, shepherds, and supporters. But more importantly, we have trained 78 couples of reproductive age. Of these, 32 couples are now certified NFP practitioners—having demonstrated their use of the Porsuelo Experience with at least 4 months’ worth of daily charting. Still in process are 14 couples who had been charting from 1 to 2 months. The rest did not come back for the follow up sessions. Given these experience for the past 8 months, we are encouraged by our success rate of almost 60%.
Photo courtesy of CBCP for Life
By Rene Evidente
THE Porsuelo Logo stands for two things: multiply the way of God—meaning EVANGELIZATION and multiply in God’s way—meaning RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD! I believe that our NFP Ministry in the Diocese of Parañaque was raised up at the call and intervention of the Blessed Mother. It was in 2010 that a small group of parishioners of St. James the Great in Alabang, Muntinlupa was inspired to meet and begin a crusade for the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary by St. Louis de Montfort and for the recognition of the Lipa Carmel apparitions. Immediately thereafter, however, by some supernatural inspiration from the Blessed Mother, the group was drawn to the cause of Prolife, something that must be close to Mary’s heart. We became very involved in the fight against the Reproductive Health Bill in the Diocese of Parañaque and parts of Metro Manila. It is this same Prolife movement that subsequently gave birth to an NFP apostolate that was accepted by Rev. Fr. Lambert Legaspino as a ministry in the Commission on Family of the Diocese of Parañaque. It is with confidence that I believe that the Blessed Mother wishes us to share the blessings of our NFP apostolate with whoever would listen or read. So I have a story to tell. God’s timing is indeed impeccable. In the fullness of His time, God unfolded in 2010 the blessing that He planted almost forty years ago. In the recurring heated debates on the Reproductive Health Bill, I was always flustered for an answer when asked about efficient alternatives to artificial birth control. By efficient, I mean one that can be deployed quickly and massively, somewhat approaching the quick, offthe-shelf availability of contraceptives and sterilizing procedures. As I write, billions of pesos are already being spent by the Department of Health for the purchase and distribution of condoms and contraceptives. The challenge is truly daunting. Having been involved in the effort to teach and propagate natural NFP among grassroots couples, I knew and experienced the discouragement of mounting a training class that starts with twenty couple participants only to end with just one couple on the last session day. Or worse, having to terminate midway because no couple came for the succeeding sessions. This scenario played again and again over the years for me. Certainly this phenomenon can hardly make a dent in the opinion of many that there is no efficient, let alone effective, alternative to artificial birth control save
for the outmoded but well known rhythm method which had a relatively high pregnancy rate. My own youngest sister is the product of unplanned pregnancy by this method yet the whole family continues to be thankful for that. Seeing that I was making no headway, I decided to shelve the effort altogether. This was more than four years ago. At the start of the current 15th Congress, the RH Bill once more re-emerged, this time made stronger with the support and endorsement as a priority bill by the new President. We were aroused once more from slumber. Once again, I tried for another class, this time through the support of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Merville Subdivision in Parañaque. With the full support of Sister Caroline and helped by NFP expert teachers and practitioners in the Billings Ovulation Method, we mounted a class that started with fifty-two participants. Once more, we were dealt with the disappointment of having only one couple at the last session day—who by the way wanted to become pregnant. Now, this should not be taken as a criticism of the Billings Ovulation Method which was developed on solid scientific foundation with a high rate of success when used correctly. But teaching it to the grassroots that make up the largest chunk of NFP clients, in a manner that can mount a serious challenge to the quick-and-easy way of contraception and sterilization, might not be the solution at the present time. A solution is needed that is easy to learn, easy to use, easy to deploy on a large-scale fashion—via the networking approach, that is,—“learn it well, use it well, teach others as well”. This was how it was with the Porsuelo couple in Bukidnon. Through God’s providence and the effort of Dr. Linda Valenzona of Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, we were introduced to Felicidad Porsuelo, also known as Nanay Feling, in April of 2011. She and her late husband, Eli Porsuelo, developed the Porsuelo Experience, a guide to natural family planning. With the Basal Body Temperature Method (BBT) as its foundation, and using it on themselves, the couple developed a simplified set of rules that combines BBT with three other modern NFP methods: Mucus Method, Sympto-thermal Method, and the Breastfeeding Method. Thus, in a way the Porsuelo Experience is a combination of four modern methods that allows the NFP practitioner to respond to the changing peculiarities of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Delivered in a simplified manner and using the one-onone networking approach, the Porsuelo Experience reached 4,000 couples, primarily in the Bukidnon area. Today, as we go around teaching the Porsuelo Experience, it is no longer surprising that we would stumble upon someone
The 10 classes is not the full story of our apostolate. For the purpose of monitoring and shepherding, we have conducted 10 follow up sessions to date. It is in these follow up sessions that we teach the 3 other methods— mucus, breastfeeding and sympto-thermal as we encounter cases that need them. It is also in these sessions that we give teachings on the values specially—humane vitae, family, sexuality, life, and family. We have also conducted classes which were requested and carried out in Bacoor, Cavite; San Pedro in Laguna, Calapan in Mindoro Occidental, Antipolo, and Cainta. Quite unexpectedly, the next phase of the project started earlier than planned. This is the propagation of the Porsuelo Experience through the networking approach that the Porsuelo couple had successfully done in the Diocese of Malaybalay. Some of our experienced graduates are now teaching the Porsuelo Experience to neighbors, friends and fellow parishioners in one-on-one sessions or in a small group of couples, making use of the materials they received from our training. As of today, we count 12 couples in the Diocese who are being trained in this way. As this networking mode will surely become in demand, we plan to produce a teacher’s kit and conduct a teacher training in October to help experienced users teach the Porsuelo Experience to others. What are our key learning points from the past 8 months? First, we learned that NFP is an apostolate. NFP, if it is to make a difference, must go beyond the classroom. The way it is evolving for us is that we continue to interact with our graduates for 9 months. More frequent at the beginning—every 3 weeks, then monthly, thereafter. Hopefully at the end of one year, we will start to form a community of NFP practitioners leading to further evangelization. Second, NFP is evangelization—not in the traditional way as we know it but in the values of life, marriage, sexuality, procreation, and family. We have trained couples who, without delay, removed IUDs, or stopped taking the pills. We have seen husbands who sacrificially go through the rudiments of NFP, a discipline not inherent in men, for the sake of the health and well-being of their respective wives. Third, NFP is indeed about marital intimacy first, and family planning second. We have witnessed, for example, couples who now view sexuality in marriage with respect and in a more enlightened way. We see husbands who willingly sacrifice during the abstinence period and wives who lovingly prepare as the abstinence period comes to an end—a manifestation of the unitive purpose of sex in marriage. We have witnessed husbands who become aware for the first time of the ups and downs in the physical and emotional
well-being of their wives as they do daily charting of their wife’s basal body temperature. Nanay Feling had witnessed the fear and anxiety surrounding marital intimacy in many couples. We, too, have witnessed this. It is our hope that as more and more couples learn the Porsuelo Experience, these walls of fear should slowly crumble before them. Necessarily, all of these result into more frequent and intimate communication between husband and wives. Fourth, knowing the good that it can do to marriage and family, NFP is a serious pastoral endeavor not to be taken lightly. It is not just to ward off artificial contraception in marriage. It is critically important in achieving marital intimacy, in strengthening of marriage and family, in the fight for the culture of life and in the strengthening of the Church. Someone knowledgeable in natural family planning would inevitably ask, “What about Billings Ovulation Method or BOM? In the Diocese of Parañaque we openly support and encourage the BOM and the BBT method from which the Porsuelo Experience is founded. We have parishes that have started their NFP using the BOM way before we introduced the Porsuelo Experience. Rightfully they should be encouraged to continue and be supported for their endeavors. We, therefore, say as a general guideline that if a parish has started the BOM, they are encouraged to continue with it. In some circumstances, they can also have BOM and Porsuelo Experience side-by-side, as one Parish is now doing. On the other hand, if they have no active NFP ministry and wants to start one, then the Porsuelo Experience provides for a quick start. Our NFP Ministry would not have gone this far in a short period of time if not for the support of the following: • The Vicariate Coordinators in the Diocesan Commission on Family whose support provided the small victories that we have achieved in 4 months. I would like to thank Fr. Lambert Legaspino, head of our Diocesan Commission on Family, for his encouragement and support. • The core group of 3 dedicated NFP workers who helped develop the program for a period of 5 months and then turned around to teach it rapidly for 4 months and on till the end of this year. • St. James Church of the Poor Apostolate (COPA) Foundation which provided our initial funding that has empowered us to get the project up and running. • And lastly, the Parish of St. James to which I belong for its unequivocal support for this pastoral work, opening its facilities when needed. Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, continue to pray for us. It is in your call that we do this work. It is with your help that we will succeed.
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
while he was going to school with his son early in the morning. He was wounded during the incident, while his son died instantly. We are alarmed with the incident. We believe that the attack is not an isolated one and, like other cases of environmental defenders who offered their lives to protect mother earth, it merits the immediate action of the national government, to stop further violence and impunity, especially in areas where the environment is under threat by exploitative and environmentally-destructive operations which are insensitive to people’s right. We understand that Timuay Manda is only claiming and protecting their rights on the ancestral domain of his Subanen tribe: he questioned the entry of logging and mining operations without Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as required under the law; he led his fellow IPs in neighboring ancestral domains in calling for moratorium of all forms of mining until they get their official ancestral domain claims; and together with local Catholic Bishops and concerned groups, he joined filing petition for the Writ of Kalikasan in protection of the Pinukis Range Forest, which is now included in mining claims of several companies. The petition aimed at protecting their sacred mountain and watershed of 3 major rice-growing regions in the Peninsula that produces 30% of rice in the region. It is very disheartening to note that the area has been open to exploitation —there are 8 mining permit a p p l i c a t i o n s , 3 a p p ro v e d Mining Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA), 1 approved Exploration Permit and many small-scale mining operations. More so, those who protect the area, like Timuay Manda and his supporters, have been receiving threats in the past 3 years for their opposition to destructive mining industries. Threats to life are becoming very common to those who “care for the earth.” IP leaders and defenders, especially those fighting for their rights against environmental destruction, mining operation, logging and land grabbing, are targets of persecution and attacks. We call upon our people to rally behind Timuay Manda’s effort to assert and protect the rights of Subanen tribe and their ancestral domain. Let not the death of his son be without meaning. We call upon President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, to heed the call of the anti-mining advocates for a moratorium on all mining operations in the country until a new alternative mining law is passed. We also call for prompt and honest investigation on the crime in this issue by local police to bring the perpetrators
to justice. Likewise, we call for the immediate and impartial investigation at the national level to seek the truth and bring out the masterminds of this senseless killing to face the consequence of this demonic act in order to end the cycle of violence and impunity in this trend. We urge the President and government officials, as a state obligation, to protect human rights, especially e n v i ro n m e n t a l d e f e n d e r s who are merely protecting their inherent right against destructive mining and logging operations. + BrODerICK S. PaBILLO, DD National Director 7 September 2012
Stop Attacking Environmental Defenders
THE National Secretariat for Social Action–Justice and Peace (NASSA), the social development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), vehemently condemns the latest attack on environmental defender and Indigenous People (IP) leader, Timuay Lecenio Manda, on 4 September 2012 in Bayog, Zamboanga Peninsula. The attack on Timuay Manda that eventually killed his 11-yearold son, Jason Manda, who was with him during the incident, is deplorable and inhuman. Timuay Manda, a strong anti-mining advocate, was ambushed by unidentified assailants on the road between Conacon and Bubuan of Bayog,
Homily of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle on the occasion of the 8th Anniversary of Pondo Ng Pinoy
September 1, 2012
NAGTITIPON po tayo sa umagang ito at sinisumulan natin sa pagdiriwang ng Banal na Eukaristiya ang pagtitipon upang kilalanin ang presensiya ng Diyos sa ating lahat at magbigay ng pasasalamat lalo na po dahil sa kanyang biyaya sa pamamagitan ng Pondo ng Pinoy. Walong taon na po ang Pondo ng Pinoy, parang kailan lang. Puede ho bang malaman, mayroon ho ba dito sa atin na present nuong inilunsad ang Pondo ng Pinoy eight years ago sa Folk Arts Theater? Pakitaas po ng kamay. Wow, ang daming mga beterano at beterana. Maraming maraming salamat po. Itinuturing na rin po tayong lahat na haligi ng Pondo ng Pinoy Nagpapasalamat po tayo... Bago po tayo nagsimula, kanina nakausap ko po ang pinakainspirasyon at founder ng Pondo ng Pinoy, ang atin pong minamahal Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. Ipaabot natin po sa kanya sa Lipa ang ating palakpak. Sinabi ko po sa kanya na ipinagdiriwang ng Archdiocese of Manila sa araw na ito ang 8th anniversary ng Pondo ng Pinoy. Nagpapasalamat rin po tayo sa ating dalawang katuwang na Obispo, si Bishop Broderick Pabillo at si Bishop Bernardino Cortez sa kanila pong presensiya at laging pagsulong sa Pondo ng Pinoy. Nagpapasalamat din po tayo sa University of Santo Tomas na talaga pong nagwelcome sa atin. Nandito po ang Rector ng University na si Father Dagohoy at ang secretary general ng University, si Father Cabading. Maraming salamat po. At sa mga members ng Board of Trustees ng Pondo ng Pinoy, ang ating executive director at staff, at lalo lahat sa ating kaparian, religious at lay communities. Welcome po sa celebration ng eighth anniversary ng Pondo ng Pinoy. Maganda po na ipinagdiriwang natin ang ikawalong anibersaryo ng Pondo ng Pinoy sa loob ng nalalapit na pagdiriwang ng Year of Faith, Taon ng Pananampalatay, na idineklara ng ating Santo Papa. At sa Oktubre ito po ay pormal na bubuksan. Kaya ang atin pong pagdiriwang ngayon ay papunta na doon sa Year of Faith, kung papaano ang Pondo ng Pinoy ay magiging daluyan ng pananampalataya at pagsaksi sa pananampalataya. Ganoon naman po talaga ang orihinal na inspirasyon ng Pondo ng Pinoy. Ang Pondo ng Pinoy po ay isang movement, kung gusto niyong tawagin iyon na movement, o daan ng pagmimisyon. Evangelization. Ang Pondo ng Pinoy po, puede pa nating sabihin, ay isang pamamaraan ng New Evangelization. At pag sinabing New Evangelization ito po ay ang pagpapahayag ng ating pananampalataya. Ito ay pagsaksi kay Hesus na ating sinasampalatayanan. Iba’t iba ang pamamaraan ng evangelization. Iba’t iba ang pamamaraan ng pagpapahayag at
pagsaksi sa pananampalataya. Ang Pondo ng Pinoy ay isa sa ganuong pamamaraan. Sa pamamagitan po ng munting pagkilos, beinte singko arawaraw iniipon hindi para sa sarili kundi iniipon para sa kapwa, ipinapahayag natin ang ating pananampalataya. At ang ating Diyos ay Diyos na mapagbigay. Na ang Ama isinugo ang kanyang Anak. At ang Ama at Anak isinugo ang Espiritu Santo. Ang mumunting pagkilos na iyan ay munti subali’t malalim na pagpapahayag na ang Diyos na ating kinikilala, ang Diyos na ating sinusundan ay Diyos ng pag-ibig, pagdamay, pagmamalasakit. Ang Diyos na kumakalimot sa sarili. Kaya po hindi lamang ito paghuhulog ng barya sa isang lalagyan. Sana po sa tuwing tayo ay maghuhulog ng beinte singko, sariwain sa ating isip at kalooban ang ating pananampalataya at sa maliit na pagkilos na iyon sumasaksi tayo sa Diyos at sa kabutihan ng Diyos. Ipahayag ang pananampalataya, sumaksi sa pananampalataya. At nakakatuwa po na ang mga pagbasa sa misa ngayon ay tugmang tugma sa inspirasyon ng Pondo ng Pinoy. Walang iba kundi sa pamamagitan na ating maliliit na gawa ng kabutihan, lalago, uunlad at magiging ganap ang pagkatao lalo na ng mga dukha at magiging ganap ang buhay na plinano ng Diyos para sa kanyang minamahal.
Sabi nga po laging ipinapaalala ng ating mahal na Kardinal, Pondo ng Pinoy is an evangelization process. Na ang end result ay ang development, development ng mga ganap na tao, development ng mga ganap na sambayanan, development ng mga kawangis ng Diyos. People who are made unto the likeness and image of God. Sa unang pagbasa sabi po ni San Pablo sa mga taga Korinto... Kasi po alam niyo nung mga panahon na iyon, ang mga taga Korinto nagaaway-away at nagkakahati-hati. At basta mayroong away-away at pagkakahati-hati, sigurado involved ang kayabangan, pagmamataas. Tingnan niyo iyan sa pamilya, sa pagkakapit-bahay, sa opisina, sa paaralan, kahit saan, basta may alitan kahit paano mayroon diyan yabang, kayabangan, pagmamataasan. Ang tanong ni San Pablo sa mga taga Korinto, “Away kayo ng away. Pataasan kayo ng pataasan, bakit sino ba sa inyo ang ipinanganak na ganap na ganap na matatalino at magagaling?” Parang pinupunto niya, lahat naman tayo ipinanganak na may dangal, subali’t lahat tayo ipinanganak na dukha. Kaya ang tanong niya, “O ano ang inyong ipinagmamalaki? Lahat naman tayo ay nagsimula sa wala. Kung hindi sa biyaya ng Diyos at kung wala ang mga tao umaruga
sa atin wala tayong mararating. Bawa’t isa sa atin tumahak sa landas ng development dahil sa kawanggawa ng Diyos at ng kapwa at ng kalikasan. Lahat po tayo. Walang tao na makapagsasabi, “Nung ipinanganak ako fully developed na ako.” Mayroon nga ho akong binibiro kung minsan sasabihin sa akin, “Bishop sabi nila mataas daw ang grade mo nung ikaw ay estudyante, talaga bang magaling ka?” Para lang lokohin sila, sinasabi ko, “Ah, oho, ng ipinanganak nga po ako, pagbukas ng mata ko nabasa ko agad, ‘delivery room’.” E di ayaw na silang maniwala. “Hindi yata totoo iyan.” “Eh, talagang hindi!” Ipinanganak tayong lahat, wala! Lahat tayo ay pulubi, mula sa ating buhay, bigay iyan ng Diyos. Mula sa ating unang paghiyaw, pag-iyak. Nung tayo ay nilinis, nung tayo ay pinakain. Nung unti-unti tayong nakakahinga, salamat sa hangin. Sabi nga po nila, bawa’t isang tao lumalago, nagiging ganap sa pagtutulungan ng buong sanlibutan para ikaw ay maging ganap. Nagaambag-ambagan ang lupa, ang araw, ang hangin ang himpapawid, ang mga halaman, ang mga hayop, ang kapwa tao, lahat iyan nagaambagan para ikaw ay lumago. Iyan ang karanasan nating lahat kaya hindi maaaring magmayabang. Lahat tayo ay tagatanggap. Pero habang tayo ay lumalago natututunan rin natin kung papaano maging daan ng development
at ganapan ng ibang tao. Parang hindi fully developed ang tao kung siya lamang ay puro pakabig. Bahagi ng development ay natututo naman ako mag-ambag para ang iba ay lumago kung papaano ako ay lumago dahil sa sama-samang pagaambagan ng iba. Ang Pondo ng Pinoy ay paalaala. Lahat tayo ay nangangailangan sa kapwa at sa Diyos para maging ganap ang buhay. Pero paalaala rin ng Pondo ng Pinoy sa pamamagitan mo rin at sa iyong maliliit na pagkilos ng pag-ibig maging daan ka rin ng pagiging ganap at pag-unlad ng iyong kapwa. Siguro tatanungin nung iba, “Eh, papaano naman ba akong magiging daan ng development nung iba eh ako naman ay walang wala nga?” Diyan naman papasok ang ebanghelyo. Ang Diyos na mismo ang nagbibigay sa atin ng ating dapat gamitin para makatulong tayo sa pagunlad. Paunlarin ang mga biyayang binigay sa atin para umunlad ang iba. Sa ebanghelyo ang nagmamay-ari, ang mayaman, ang siyang nagbigay according to each one’s capacity ng mga talento, ng pera. At ang trabaho at gawain ng binigyan, responsableng palaguin iyon. Lahat tayo ay binigyan ng biyaya. Palaguin! Pero papaano ang pagpapalago. Hindi sa pamamagitan ng pagtatago nito para sa sarili. Ang turo ng Pondo ng Pinoy lalago ang iyong talento kung ito ay
Pondo / B7
Uphold Life! reclaim Peace!
AS if the series of ambushes that had claimed and damaged lives in Basilan for the past s e v e r a l m o n t h s w e re n o t enough, another dreadful ambush incident occurred on 7 September 2012. The recent incident, which killed one and wounded 35 rubber plantation workers, brings to four the ambush incidents in Basilan in just 10 months - October 23, 2011, April 15, 2012, and July 11, 2012. The images of these innocent civilians being fired at on broad daylight give us a chilling sense that life in this island can be snuffed out easily, anytime, and anywhere by those who want to continue sowing terror and fear among the people. We condemn in no uncertain terms the senseless killing of the victims of these ambushes. We believe that no political ideologies or religious beliefs anywhere in the world can ever justify the mindless killing of people, especially the ordinary ones, the civilians who are noncombatants. We appeal to the authorities of the Province to act swiftly based on well-discerned decisions on these cases that have reduced the people to a state of constant fear and paralysis. We demand nothing but justice for the victims, accountability for their crimes on the side of the perpetrators, and restorative justice and healing in the community. We challenge the different government units to exhaust all their resources so that an incident like this, and other acts of brutality and lawlessness, will never happen again in Basilan and elsewhere. We enjoin civil society to support the people of Basilan in the struggle to bring about genuine and long lasting peace. We appeal to all citizens of the island for calmness and sobriety. No matter how difficult it is, let us continue to trust in the justice system of the land. As people of God, we continue to pray for peace, justice, and reconciliation in Basilan and in the whole of Mindanao especially as we celebrate the International Month of Peace this September. Let us heed the wise words of Pope Benedict XVI that “[people who pray are not wasting their time even though the situation appears desperate and seems to call for action alone.]” We grieve with those who lost their loved ones. We grieve with those whose lives had been scarred both by the physical wounds and invisible wounds resulting from these acts of violence. We cannot fully grasp the depth of their pain and suffering and perhaps even anger and despair. We continue commending to the Lord the souls of all those who died, as well as the healing of those who have been wounded. To the bereaved families, we pray that God console them in their deepest sorrow. Fr. LeO DaLMaO, CMF Sr. Ma. CeCILIa BaYONa, aMP AMRSP Co-Chairpersons September 11, 2012
© noli Yamsuan / RCAM
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
Our Christian life is informed by our image of Jesus
An exegetical reflection on the Gospel of the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Mark 8:27-35) September 16, 2012
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
WHEN Judge Clarence Thomas of the United States was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1992, one recalls that during the first three days of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination, the major focus was on Judge Thomas’ view on natural law. It must be admitted that the concept of natural law among scholars is fluid. In fact, on the same issue, Martin Luther King, Jr, and his detractors, can invoke it. And if the United States’ Constitution is to be understood in the light of its Framers’ belief in natural law, the resolution of such current issues as abortion and the right to privacy would have to be understood in that light. Thus, Judge Thomas’ idea of natural law would inform his interpretation of and decision on those issues. Just as one’s interpretation of, say, a new law on right to privacy, depends on his view of natural law, so our Christian attitude, values and life depend on how we understand Jesus. For Jesus informs our attitude and behavior in much the same way that natural law informs judicial interpretation and decision. In a way, it is then easy to understand the random poll in the Gospel reading: how do people recognize the identity of Jesus (Mark 8:27). People’s perception of who Jesus is ultimately determines their attitude toward him. According to Mark, the people—that is to say, those who were outside the circle of disciples—had various image of him: he was Elijah, who returned (Mal 3:1; 4:5); for others, he was John the Baptist, in whom Elijah reappeared. For still others, he was “one of the prophets,” “the prophet like Moses” who was expected to appear in the final days. But if Jesus asked about people’s perception, it was put to death, and rise three days later” (Mark 8:31). The Messiah of suffering is described in the 1st Reading: “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting” (Isa 50:6). What does this mean for us? Because at the heart of Christian faith is Jesus Christ and our following of him in discipleship, this means that the Messiah of suffering should inform our attitude and action as Christians. Our whole life—our words and deeds—must be informed by our belief in the Messiah who suffers for others. We often hear it said: “I have accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.” One could hardly quarrel with that affirmation; but we should not stop at that faith. We still have to ask: what kind of Lord and Savior? Shall we reduce Christ to a consoling Lord, or at worst a domestic help at our beck and call? Shall we call him the Savior of our emotional and interpersonal problems? Shall we make him a personal Savior who has nothing to do with the structures of power and domination? In the light of today’s Gospel, we must insist that our Lord is not a triumphant Messiah, but a suffering one who saved us and the world by humiliation, defeat and surrender. As one whose life informs our thoughts and actions, and our way of life, Jesus challenges us to give up ourselves, to renounce the constant human desire to preserve and enrich our own person at the cost of others. We struggle against the forces of darkness and evil by constantly dying to our “I” and by dying for others. All this we do not only twice or a hundred times, but as part of our daily activities. Once we accept this and once this becomes our second nature as it were, then we will learn the paradox that in humiliation, we are exalted, in giving up life, we save it, in allowing ourselves to be defeated, we become victorious.
to prepare the disciples for the more intimately and vital question, because this involved them who are following him on the way to the cross. One may follow him without really knowing him, and that is why we have the Jesus of Che Guevarra, the Jesus of the Hippies, the Jesus of the mystics and the Jesus of the Revolutionaries. How did the disciples perceive him to be? Apparently, Peter’s answer was
given on behalf of all the disciples: “You are the Messiah!” (Mark 8:29). Since Jesus never rejected Peter’s answer, it would seem that Peter got the right perception. It is obvious, though, that he had the wrong significance. As can be noted for the way Jesus corrected them for their wrong behavior, the meaning they attached to the title Messiah was rather far removed from what Jesus wanted them to perceive. The disciples
thought they would accumulate wealth in the kingdom (cf Mark 8:36), realize their ambition and achieve glory (Mark 9:33-37), and gloriously sit at the right and the left of the Messiah’s throne (Mark 10:36). In other words, the disciples thought of him as a political Messiah. And Jesus corrected them by foretelling his passion: “The Son of Man had to suffer much, be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be
Human ‘Messiahs’ and God’s Messiah
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 16, 2012
people in accepting Jesus as their “Savior,” as Paul testifies: “We preach Christ crucified – a stumbling block to Jews, and an absurdity to Gentiles . . .” (1 Cor 1:23). This difficulty is a reality even in our time. To many, Jesus is not the sort of “Messiah” that they expect and feel they need. Clearly, he is not a “social Messiah,” i.e., one who comes to lead the countries of the Third World to economic independence and prosperity. He is not the one sent to lead the exploited social classes in their struggle for emancipation and justice. Christ himself, actually, is one of the oppressed and – by human standards – a failure . . . . In him we are faced with the scandal of the apparent “failure of the cross.” What sort of Messiah is Jesus, then? He is the “Messiah of God.” (See Jn 6:69.) His mission is to benefit not just one nation, or race or social class, but all human beings. His task is to save every human person from the destructive effects of sin – a universal and lasting mission! A “mission impossible,” one could add,
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
MEN have plenty of “messiahs,” idealized figures of liberators in whom they concretize their expectations, the fulfillment of their needs. Often the fruit of the frustrated aspirations of social classes, groups or entire nations, these “messiahs” have a limited and contingent mission. The proof of their “authenticity” is their success. Failure, on the other hand, is the clearest sign of their being “fake messiahs” . . . Such
has always been the pervading mentality. Such was the idea which most of the Jews had of the Messiah they were expecting. Peter’s remonstration against the prospect of Jesus’ being rejected and put to death by the very authorities of Israel is not just an expression of his sincere love for the Master. It is also a proof of the incompatibility between the foretold sad events and the common expectation about the Messiah. A “crucified Messiah” is also the main obstacle found by innumerable
because sin is so deeply rooted and devastating in each of us. But what seems impossible to man is not impossible to God . . . . Jesus accomplishes his “mission impossible” in a way that is disconcerting. It defies standard procedures. He achieves the final goal of our salvation/glorification through the humiliation of the Incarnation (see Phil 2:7), a series of rejections (see Jn 1:11), a dreadful agony and a most shameful death! These are all facets of a very deep mystery which, if it were the whole story, would be not
only incomprehensible but also unacceptable. But the mystery of Jesus’ messiahship includes also his Resurrection. This final facet of the mystery throws light on the others, and makes them acceptable (though not fully comprehensible!) through the help of God’s grace. Such is the mystery of Jesus, the “Messiah of God,” our Savior – the mystery of the crucified and risen Christ. It is the mystery of life through death that we experience every day both around us and in our very selves.
Leadership and service ENCOUNTERS 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time,
September 23, 2012
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE aspiration to rise above others is deeply rooted in the heart of man. Its source is usually pride, and the devil often succeeds in fanning it into arrogance, ruthlessness, and aggressiveness. The members of Jesus’ core group (the apostles) were no exception to this sinful inclination. Part of today’s Gospel and similar passages (see Mk 9:34, Mt 20:20-24 and Lk 22:24) reveal to us this aspect of their weak nature, riddled, like ours, with earthly ambitions, pettiness, and envy. Jesus helped them grow out of their craving for power and authority through his example and his patient exhortations. (See Jn 13:3-5.12-17 and Mk 9:35.) All of them, except Judas, gradually assimilated his teaching and eventually became living lessons to their communities in the new way of exercising leadership. (See the first chapters in the Book of Acts.) By declaring that he had “come to serve, not to be served” (Mt 20:28), Jesus launched the “Servanthood Movement” as the new way of being a leader. The new “movement” that began with him has a motto: “I’ll be a servant!” Service done with love and out of love should be the characterizing trait of the disciples of the one who is the “Servant of the Lord and of all men.” This dynamic orientation is rooted in humility and nourished with generosity and love. It is for us Christians to prove that this is not just a nice theory, or a utopian aspiration. We have to show in practice that to be ready to serve does not mean to be servile. Humble service is not the inescapable lot of idiots and of those who are not gifted with leadership qualities. Christian service is, actually, for those who have guts and qualities. It is for those who aspire to be great in the Kingdom of God. As Jesus taught us, humble service is the sign of genuine, lasting greatness. All this will not be without a price. The devil, the father of all pride and arrogance, cannot tolerate the challenge of sincere humility. He could not tolerate it in Jesus and he attacked him. He attacked the “Servant of the Lord” in the desert, but was defeated. (See Lk 4:13.) He dealt his last attack at Gethsemane and on Calvary, and there, too, he was defeated by Jesus, for it was on the cross that the Servant accomplished his mission of service in behalf of all. (See Mt 20:28.) The devil, routed by Jesus, now tries to take revenge on us. It won’t be an easy battle for us. But if we fight with Christ, we shall also win with him, for the Lord will not leave without a prize the efforts exerted in being a servant like Jesus. For him that prize is called Resurrection and Ascension (see Heb 12:2); for us it will be the possession of heaven, the homeland of the Saints, God’s humble servants.
Bishop Pat Alo
Greed for power
attraction of the passing goods and beauty of earthly things and creatures. But Jesus shows us that by prayer and God’s word we may ward off such worldly allurements and delusions. Surely people get deceived by the illusions of popularity, money, power, and politics. But in the end what is there but only illusion and semblances of grandeur that are as bubbles that blow up in the air and just as quickly disappear. Let’s only remember the humble life of Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn. 14:6). Remember history and do not repeat the past big mistakes of people. “Though being divine in nature, Christ did not claim in fact equality with God, but emptied himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in his appearance found as a man. He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted him and gave him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil.2:6-11).
IN the Bible Mt. 4:3-11 you can read about the tactics of the devil in tempting man, especially as regards riches, power and money. “Next taking him to a very high mountain, the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘I will give you all these’ he said’ if you fall at my feet and worship me.’ Then Jesus replied, ‘Be off, Satan! For scripture says: You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.’ Then the devil left him, and angels appeared and looked after him.” Surely this has been a common strategy of the devil to tempt human weakness by the
Your failures are temporary
FAILURE can be devastating. Just recall your most painful failures. Have you failed in school? Have you experienced waiting outside the registrar ’s office, your body sweating, your knees shaking, your stomach churning, praying that your grade isn’t a 72% but 75%–or you get kicked out of school? (Been there, done that.) Have you failed in your job? In your business? Did you lose money in your investments? Have you plunked in hard-earned money in a business—only to have the money disappear? (I’ve experienced this ten times in my life…) Have you failed in your diets? My friend tried the Atkins Diet and he failed. He tried the Mediterranean Diet and he failed. He tried the After Six Diet, and he failed. He tried the South Beach Diet, the North Beach, The East Beach, and the West Beach—and failed all of them too. Finally, he’s doing the Seafood Diet and it’s been working. What he sees, he eats. Have you failed in your exercise programs? Have you decided to run each morning— and lasted only for two weeks? Have you bought a treadmill and now use it as a clothes hanger? Skywalker? Abroller? Abflex? ThighMaster? StepMaster. Used them for three weeks max, and are now symbols of your undisciplined life? Have you failed in your lovelife? Have you ever experienced a broken heart? Have you loved someone with all your heart, but that someone didn’t love you back but just wanted you to be a friend? (“But I don’t want to be just your friend! Grrrr!”) Or have YOU broken someone’s heart? Is your theme song, “To all the girls I’ve loved before. Who travelled in and out my door.” Have you failed in your family life? As husband, wife, father, mother, sibling, child, grandchild? Have you failed God? Have you failed yourself? People ask me how could I have written 27 books, so far. The answer is easy. It’s not because I have more brilliance. It’s because I have more blunders. Because every time I fail, I try to learn from my failures—and share this wisdom in my books. Here’s God’s big message for you today. Failure is temporary, but victory is permanent— because God cannot fail…
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
36th National Social Action General Assembly (NASAGA) Towards a Renewed Integral Evangelization
Pondo / B4
FIFTY three Dioceses from all over the Philippines participated during the 36th National Social Action General Assembly (NASAGA) held August 27-31 at Club Morocco in Subic, Zambales. Themed “Towards a Renewed Integral Evangelization: Presents a Challenge on the National Social Impact it aspires to generate among Social Action Network and its Communities”, the general assembly of social action directors and workers across the country was organized by the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA)/ Caritas Filipinas Foundation, Inc. (CFFI) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. Participants came from 28 dioceses in Luzon, 11 dioceses in the Visayas Region
and 14 dioceses in Mindanao. A total of over 63 participants have gathered to share and respond to the hope for the impact of the Social Action Network on the national level and the call for nation building. Bishop Florentino Lavarias and Fr. John Mara and the Social Action office of the Diocese of Iba hosted the biennialheld event. Resolution review and reformulation, good practices showcase and partnership forum constitute the path towards a renewed integral evangelization for this year’s NASAGA. This path has been moved by all participants who eagerly moved through the process. Three P’s: Principles, Priorities and Pursuits have driven this year’s NASAGA, directed at expanding the potential of the social action network
to address expressed needs of its communities and responding to the Catholic Church and consciously articulating its foundational bases--the principles behind our Catholic Social Teachings, the 2nd Plenary Council of the Philippines and Pastoral Letters would have to be translated to priorities. These priorities on 1) Good Governance; 2) Ecology and stewardship of God’s creation with focus on Mining; and 3) Poverty Reduction, were then identified by the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao social action groups and were then merged so the work of Social Action may be seen to be able to create a National Social Impact. The social action network, its workers and the dioceses may well be on its way Towards a Renewed Integral Evangelization. (Benay Reyes/CBCP-NASSA)
iyong iaalay sa inyong kapwa. Biruin ninyo beinte singko sentimos makakatulong ka sa pagpapakain sa libu-libong mga bata. Iyon ang pagpapalago ng beinto singko sentimos. Sa beinte singko sentimos mo pagnilagay sa Pondo ng Pinoy, ilang mga scholars lalo na sa alternative learning system, ang matutulungan. Yung beinte singko sentimos mo grabe ang yield sa inyong i n v e s t m e n t . Yu n g b e i n t e singko sentimos mo ilang mahihirap na walang access sa medicines ang natulungan ng iba’t ibang mga proyekto tungo sa kalusugan. Lumago ang iyong investments. Twentyfive centavos. At ngayon po, mayroon pang housing na natutulungan ng iyong beinte singko sentimos. Sa isip ng tao papaano makapagpapatayo ng bahay ang beinte singko sentimos? I-invest mo iyan sa Pondo ng Pinoy. Iyan ang investment. Lalaki iyan dahil hindi lamang ikaw ang may beinte singko sentimos. Pag pinagsama sama iyan at sama-samang magiinvest maraming uunlad na buhay. Pero kung tayong lahat ay magtatago lang ng beinte singko. Ilalagay sa mga tainga, bubutasan at gagawing hikaw o kaya bubutusan at gagagawing kuwentas. Katulad ka nung tao na itinago lang ang kanyang talento, naging very creative ang pera ginawang kuwentas, pero hindi iyon ang development, hindi iyon ang investment. Mga kapatid investing money in order to accumulate money, ang atin
pong investment ay para sa kaunlaran ng tao at ang atin pong iniinvest ay ang maliliit na mga biyaya na hindi naman atin. Biyaya iyan ng Diyos padaluyin at manatiling biyaya. Huwag ititigil ang biyaya sa pagiging biyaya, padaluyin. Pero hindi lamang po sana beinte singko ang ating i-iinvest para sa paglago ng tao. Ilan libo tayo dito ang dami sigurado ang marami pang kaloob. Sino po dito ang binigyan ng Diyos ng talento sa pagawit. Huwag po kayong mahiya, itaas po ninyo ang kamay niyo. Ang dami..Yung choir... Sige magtaas kayo, kumakanta kayo, eh. Ayun si Sister, operatic singer. Lahat ng makarinig inooperahan! Tignan niyo ang dami palang magaling sa pagawit. Huwag lang kayo sa banyo umawit. Wrong investment. Iyang galing ninyo sa pag-awit gamitin ninyo sa pagpupuri sa Panginoon. At ang langit at lupa lalago sa pagpuri sa Panginoon. Sino po sa inyo ang may galing sa pagluluto? Wow, marami rin, okay. Iyang galing ninyo sa pagluluto huwag niyo lang ipagluto ang inyong asawa at mga anak. Siyempre ipagluto niyo pa rin. Pero alam niyo iyang galing niyo na iyan gamitin ninyo sa pagluluto ng pagkain para sa maraming malnourished children, sa mga feeding centers. Ang inyong galing i-invest niyo para maraming makinabang. Sino po sa inyo ang may galing na magturo? Hindi iyong, ito, o ito, turo ng turo lang. Ito gusto ko, ito gusto
ko, hindi. Yung magpahayag, magpaliwanag. O mayroon din o baka naman ginagamit mo ang galing mong magturo para mamilosopo, para makalusot sa iyong teacher, makalusot sa iyong tatay at nanay. Naku iyang galing mo na iyan, pagpapaliwanag, gamitin mo sa pagpapahayag ng Salita ng Diyos at turo ng simbahan. Iyan ang tamang investment. Sino po dito ang may talent na kumain? Iyan po yata ang universal gift. Kakaunti ang marunong magluto, marami ang marunong kumain. Okay naman iyan. Pero saan niyo
iniinvestment ang galing kumain? Sa cholesterol ba? Sa blood sugar ba? Minsan iyan ang investment ng ating galing sa pagkain. Bukod sa tamang pagkain, baka magandang investment sa pagkain ay kainin ang Salita ng Diyos. Kainin ang presensiya ni Kristo. At kapag iyan ang ating kinakain ng may pananabik, yung parang takam na takam na ikaw ay uhaw na uhaw kay Kristo ang gutom natin nagiging investment para sa buhay na walang hanggan. Lahat pong ito ay nasa Bibliya na. Binibigyan lang ng isang pamamaraan at focus
ang simpleng pamumuhay sa pamamagitan ng Pondo ng Pinoy. Huwag tayong pipigil sa ating investment. Pero ang pinakamagandang investment ay ang paglago ng buhay ng tao, paglago ng mga sambayanan, paglago ng ating lipunan, at paglago ng ating kalikasan ayon sa plano ng Diyos. Lahat tayo may natanggap na kabaitan at ng talento. Gamitin iyan. Invest it! Let it grow for the good of your neighbor. Let it grow for fullness of life in our country, in our neighborhoods and in the whole of creation. Walang tao na walang maiinvest. Lahat
mayroon. At gawin iyon dala ng pananampalataya at ng pagibig at pagsaksi sa kabutihan ng Diyos, ang Ama na naginvest. God the Father invested His Son, His Love and the Holy Spirit so that we may all grow and reach the fullness of life. Tayo po ay tumahimik sandali at sa pagbabalik tanaw natin sa ugat ng Pondo ng Pinoy sana ay mabuhay muli ang ating hangarin na ang ating mga talento, ang ating yaman na galing rin naman sa Diyos ay palaguin sa pamamagitan ng kaganapan ng buhay ng ating kapwa lalo na ang mga dukha.
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May They Be One
Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home
No. of Dioceses participating in the Bible Campaign – 85 out of 86 Dioceses Bibles Distributed (Jan. 1, 2012 - Sept. 4, 2012): 150, 271 copies Bibles Distributed by Languages - Bicol (3,600 cps.), Cebuano (37,402 cps.), English (17,130 cps.), Hiligaynon (7,445 cps.), Ilocano (5,902 cps.), Pampango (735 cps.), Pangasinan (3,787 cps.), Samarenyo (3,914 cps.), Tagalog (70,347 cps.) Parishes/Communities served in 2012: 65 Total Bible Distribution: (Jan 2009- Sept. 4, 2012): 684,129 cps Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for 2012: 400,000 cps. Total Funds Needed for Printing and Transport of Bibles in 2012: P60M
Members of the MTBO Advisory Committee: Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo DD, Fr. Oscar A. Alunday, Mr. Rod G. Cornejo, Mr. Rene E. Cristobal Sr., Dr. Philip C. Flores, Mr. Dante M. Lanorio, Fr. Antonio B. Navarrete, Dr. Natividad B. Pagadut , Atty. Jose T. Tale and Mr. Albert S. Tanlimco Praise God that the Department of Education issued a heartening advisory among its officials and staff regarding the Bible Museum. Pray for wisdom, volunteers and all the details needed in preparation for the Bible Run on January 2012. To learn more about how you can be part of the Campaign and make significant change, call us at PBS 526-7777, ECBA 527-9386 or visit www.bible.org.ph and www.ecbacbcp.com. Donations can be made by making a deposit at any BPI branch to the following bank accounts: PBS-MTBO Account #3903-0649-34 (BPI Sta. Mesa Branch). Fax deposit slip to 521-5803 or ECBA-CBCP Account #0251-021376 (BPI-Tayuman Branch) Fax deposit slip to 527-9386. For credit card payments—go to PBS website (www.bible.org.ph)
EVEN though Evelyn Gavina of Malasigui, Pangasinan, has been a church member since she was a child, Bible
reading was not part of her regular schedule. Neither did her Bible reading significantly improve when she became Bible coordinator of her parish and staff of the Biblical Apostolate of the diocese of Pangasinan. But things changed when evelyn attended a Basic Bible Seminar during which she also got a May they Be one Bible. the seminar motivated her to get serious about the Bible and determine to make time to read her May They Be One Bible. Reading God’s Word proved to be a big help for Evelyn. At times when she was tempted to commit sin such as losing her temper, a still voice would seem to whisper, reminding her how to behave and think in the specific situation. The Bible has also become an important part of the Gavina family. Nowadays, Evelyn’s husband, a seaman, would lead the Bible reading with his wife and children whenever he’s home on vacation from duty. In the community, Evelyn has reached out and gathered a group of about nine neighbors for Bible sharing. She notes that the members of the group are now learning to give priority to God’s Word, willing to disrupt watching the series of favorite teleserye (TV soap opera), in favor of attending Bible sharing. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33) The commands of the Lord are trustworthy, giving wisdom to those who lack it. Ps. 19:7b
EVERY morning, Kay (Meryl Streep) makes breakfast for her husband Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones)—a strip of bacon, an egg, coffee. Every morning, Arnold eats his breakfast with his face buried in a newspaper. Then he goes off to work. Every night after a quiet dinner, Kay washes the dishes while Arnold falls asleep watching TV golf. She wakes him up, they go to bed—in separate bedrooms. Once she primps up and visits him in his bedroom in a clumsy attempt at marital closeness, but he deflects her touches, saying he doesn’t feel well. Kay knows that something is missing, sorely missing, in their 31-year-old marriage. Not just the children, laughter, or fights, but something that used to hold their marriage together: intimacy. Tired of getting impersonal anniversary gifts from Arnold—like a heater, a cable TV subscription, and other unromantic items for the house— Kay signs up for an Intensive Couples Counseling week with celebrity marriage counselor Dr. Bernie Feld (Steve Carell) in Great Hope Springs, Maine. She pays $4,000 out of her own savings and buys round trip plane tickets for two. Scoffing at the idea as a waste of money, the pennypinching Arnold quips “Cancel it!” but Kay, resolute and hoping against hope—is going, with or without Arnold. Hope Springs is NOT a comedy.
It is basically a two-actor drama, and a compelling one though with a hint of the comic—no mean thanks to the directorial skills of David Frankel, the same guy who helmed The Devil Wears Prada. The perfect pairing of Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones provides the spine of the movie. Streep is, of course, an actress nonpareil, and here, again, she virtually becomes the character she reprises. Lee Jones on the other hand outperforms himself as he gives life to a character so untypical of his other roles. The theme of Hope Springs, which Vanessa Taylor’s script masterfully developed without reducing the film into soft porn, is marital intimacy, or the near death of it, and how it is revived through therapy evoking long gone memories of satisfying union. The heart of the story is the counseling done behind closed doors with the therapist delving into the sexual history of the dying marriage. Carell rightfully projects a no-nonsense, no holds barred therapist here, stimulating and facilitating interaction between the estranged couple. What is spoken and spoken about in the therapist’s clinic, and what is done by the couple inside the bedroom upon his instructions, are serious stuff that serves more to instruct than to entertain. While Hope Springs attempts to include light moments (sometimes bordering on the naughty) in order to appeal
TITLE: Hope Springs LEAD CAST: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell, Elizabeth Shue DIRECTOR: David Frankel SCREENWRITER: Vanessa Taylor GENRE: Drama RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes CINEMATOGRAPHER: Florian Ballhaus LOCATION: USA DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia Pictures TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT:
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
Abhorrent disturbing Acceptable Wholesome exemplary
Poor Below average Average Above average excellent
MORAL ASSESSMENT: CINEMA rating: V18
to a wider audience, and MTRCB rates it R-13, CINEMA staunchly puts its foot down and gives it a Strictly for Adults rating, for its theme and graphic sexual content. Couples married “too long” may relate to Kay and Arnold’s situation, and vicariously learn from the counseling they go through, thus CINEMA suggests you catch the movie, which is a statement upholding marriage. Its message is loud and unequivocal as delivered in Dr. Feld’s website where he tells people who want to save their marriage, “It’s not too late for anyone who truly wants it and is willing to try.” The very title Hope Springs is more than the name of a town in Maine, USA; it is also an echo of the saying “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Look for the image of the Holy Bible, Chalice and Pope Benedict XVI. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
TITLE: Paranorman CAST: KodiSmit-McPhee,Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, JodelleFerland, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elaine Stritch DIRECTOR: Sam Fell, Cris Butler GENRE: Action & Adventure, Animation, Kids & Family,Comedy RUNNING TIME: 92minutes DISTRIBUTOR: Focus Features LOCATION: USA TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: MORAL ASSESSMENT: CINEMA rating: V 14
ELEVEN-year-old Norman Babcock (voice of Kodi SmithMcPhee) can communicate with the dead. For him, his dead grandmother (voiced by Elaine Stritch) is still alive, as she still hangs around the family house and talks to Norman as though she never left home. His parents are worried that his behavior indicates that he can’t as yet cope with the loss of his grandma, but Norman is convinced otherwise. In fact, Norman is so at home with ghosts, that on the way to school each day, he greets dead people he never even met in life—and sometimes dead birds and animals, too, like a raccoon run over by a motorist. This makes him a weird kid, shunned, teased and bullied by schoolmates, except by one, another reject named Neil (voiced by Tucker Albrizzi) who will be part of the adventure awaiting Norman when the latter finds out from his oddball great uncle Mr. Prenderghast (voiced by John Goodman) that he has been chosen to save their zombie-infested hometown, Blithe Hollow, from the curse of an 18th century witch. Why is it that any movie town that has witches and ghosts and ogres in it must have “Hollow” as a second name? Is it because Hollow smacks of Halloween? That gives you a clue to the nature of ghoulish entertainment ParaNorman offers its audience. So many ghost movies have been made that it’s hard to think anyone can still come up with something new to startle audiences. In this sense, ParaNorman’s supposed shockers fail to shock—though it’s more likely we’ve been desensitized by seeing too many horror movies. Be that as it may, there will always be youngsters who’ll shriek at a ghostly surprise—as those we encountered in the mall theater we watched at. Perhaps movie critics grow old and blasé but there will always be new moviegoers to terrorize. One thing about the animation: the ugly zombies become uglier and duller due to the 3D; that might as well stand for Dark, Dim and Dreary, not worth the price of admission. They should have made the zombies out of glow-in-the-dark stuff—at least they’ll look exciting. There are definitely positive elements in ParaNorman, like Norman’s grace under bully pressure, a sign that the boy is really brave, accepting, and self-confident inside. His calmness in the presence of ghosts or his family’s incredulity is also another admirable trait; after all, how many 11-year olds do you know can deal with the living dead without flinching? ParaNorman is a statement about intolerance, claiming that evil deeds (unjustly condemning and burning a suspected witch at the stake) result from fear and inspire vengeance. It is also a plea made on behalf of children to be heard by parents and elders alike, no matter how “different” the child is, because being different can also give a person the power to do good for others. One dangerous side of ParaNorman, particularly since it is directed at children, is its casual treatment of homosexuality. A brief and apparently humorous scene shows a muscular man, all that time presented as a he-man, later on matter-of-factly saying he has a boyfriend. Is that supposed to signal to the audience that same sex relationships ought to be accepted as natural and normal? Beware that youngsters do not get subtly brainwashed by seemingly harmless incidents in movies into accepting errant behaviors that could lead to self-destruction or defilement in the light of the gospel.
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
KFC Global Day of Service: Families Can!
By UMC Docu Team
TwO years ago, CFC Kids for Christ started the global Day of service. It was a day when children performed acts of love towards society in general, whether it be a clean-up drive, or a visit to the elderly, or conducting a feeding program for other children. The global Day of Service, in a nutshell, is the children’s creative expression of faith in action. In 2011, 33,000 kids and their parents—both CFC and nonCFC alike—participated in the gDs. gDs 2, as it was called, happened not only in the Philippines, but also in Europe, the USA, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Kenya. This year, on Mama Mary’s
The CFC KFC Global Day of Service, which is now on its third year, brings fathers, mothers, ates and kuyas together in creatively expressing love for God and neighbor.
birthday on september 8, with the theme “Families Can Lead,” Kids for Christ worldwide once again did acts of love and service. Families from all over the globe prepared eagerly for gDs 3, not only physically but spiritually as well.
Through the gDs, CFC Kids for Christ hopes to inculcate the vaues of loving god and loving neighbor through acts of kindness and by going the extra mile to be able to help those in need.
CFC International Council CFC H.O. Team building: A Day to Pray & Play Announces 2013 Theme
T H E n i n e - m a n C F C I n t e rnational Council and their wives went on their annual retreat/ planning in Tagaytay last september 7 to 9, 2012. IC spiritual Director
Msgr. Allen Aganon led them into a weekend of guided reflection and discernment. During the weekend, the spirit led the IC into next year ’s theme: OBEY AND
wITNEss, taken from John 2:5. Below is a copy of the statement. To download the document, visit www.couplesforchristglobal.org.
By UMC Docu Team
AUgUsT 27 was a holiday, but the CFC Home Office staff and fulltime workers gathered for the first-ever team building exercises. Rosette Jacela, CFC HR Consultant, designed and conducted the team building activities. To start the day right, Msgr. Allen Aganon celebrated Mass at the Meralco Fitness Center auditorium. Afterwards, everyone flocked to the gym and cheered, played and had fun with their respective teams composed of Home Office workers from various ministries and departments. The highlight of the day was the launch of the CFC Home Office Mission and Vision, followed by a short exhortation by CFC executive Director Melo Villaroman, Jr. As a final exercise, each de-
IC STATEMENT CFC THEME FOR 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in the CFC global community, Peace and complete joy from our great God!
Ref. No. 12 - 85
The International Council and wives went on a full weekend journey of Eucharist, prayers, reflection and discernment from September 7 to 9, spiritually guided by our Monsignor Allen Aganon. It is with great joy that we announce that God’s grace and inspiration led us to our CFC theme and anchor verse for 2013: OBEY AND WITNESS! (JOHN 2:5 “Do whatever He tells you!”) This exhortation theme flows like good wine from the Wedding at Cana (JOHN 2: 1-12) where, upon the intervention and cooperation of Mary, the first among believers, Christ changed water into wine as the beginning of His signs. The witness of this first miracle opened to great faith the hearts of the disciples, who later in their lives set out to become themselves witnesses to the ends of the earth! We deeply thank the Holy Spirit for granting Couples for Christ such a richly insightful and powerful theme for 2013. In our excitement, we cannot wait to savor and share some early reflections. Through this theme, our “Magnificat” journey with the Blessed Mother continues as we follow her example of cooperating, with her whole life, in the mission of Her Son! It also leads us to deepen our personal faith formation, our journey to holiness in obeying Christ and witnessing His manifestation in our lives, while challenging us to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. After all, “Filling the Jars” and turning “Water into Wine” can internally be about personal radical conversion; but externally, it can also be about the importance of the call to global, new evangelization! The jars of Cana are plentiful and deep! In 2013, we will obey the Lord, fill them with water, and witness how our Lord, through the intercession and mediation of our Blessed Mother, will transform this water into good wine for our lives and mission, and empower all of us to be witnesses of the New Evangelization! Brothers and Sisters, this 2013, we have a special invitation to be at the Wedding at Cana. The Mother of Jesus will be there. Jesus and his disciples will be there. It will surely be a miraculous feast. Let us obey! Let us witness!
partment/ ministry was asked to create a statement board bearing each member’s hand print and commitment to make the CFC Home office truly the hands, heart and home of every CFC member who enters its doors. The green team was named over-all champion of the friendly competitions. CFC Home office Director
Nonoy Dalman gave a few inspiring words before the closing worship. Overall, the team buildng exercises proved to be a welcome activity for the CFC Home Office workers.The exercise enabled everyone to recognize that they too are missionaries and the Home Office is their anointed mission area.
MELO VILLAROMAN, JR. FOR THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL September 10, 2012
Leo and Rita Verdolaga, third and fourth from left, CFC UAe National Director, recently visited the CFC Home Office in Cubao before heading back to the United Arab Emirates. The couple, who were in town for a short vacation, briefly toured the new building. Afterwards, Leo and Rita met with members of the International Council, from left, Nonoy Dalman, Melo Villaro-
man Jr., Manny garcia and Middle East Regional Coordinator Jimmy Ilagan, to hand over a check for the CFC Calamity Fund. The donation was a very welcome blessing, especially since the Philippines is currently experiencing monsoon season and there are still some brethren located in parts of Pampanga, Bulacan and Laguna in need of assistance.
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
On Eagles’ wings
There’s a Wind of Revival in India!
IN my 26 years of community life, the Lord has always manifested His goodness through the many exceptional incidents that have happened in my life. My recent trip to India was one of those exceptional incidents. why? Because during that mission trip, I witnessed the spirit of revival unfold in the life of Couples for Christ there. India, as many well know, is the first country outside of the Philippines where the seed of Couples for Christ was planted, when in 1985, the first Christian Life Program was brought there. It was also in 1985 when the prophecy that CFC will win the world for Christ was revealed to Nina Ponte. It was then that CFC became one of the Philippines’ “export items,” what with the spirit moving its members and leaders to bring CFC with since they had such gatherings back home. Or perhaps it was their hunger for the Lord and the desire to serve once more, considering that there are 1.24 billion people in India to evangelize. And so early this year, this group of CFC brethren decided to help revive the CFC community in India on their next trip home. with the help of Benson and suma and the support of Fr. Peter (director), Fr. Jacob (parish priest) and Bishop Joseph, 12 couples were dedicated last August 15, 2012 at the st. Lawrence Parish in Kochi in the Diocese of Kerala. I had the privilege of addressing the 12 new CFC members as well as the leaders in my recent visit there. And it was truly a joy to witness the spirit of god moving among the brethren in India! while there, we took IsAIAH, the great prophet of the Old Testament, wrote: “they that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.’ (Isaiah 40:31) This is one of the inspiring passages in the scriptures. It speaks timelessly of trust and hope in the Almighty who takes us in the safety of His palms, who loves us even before we declare our love for Him, and who tells us not to worry and be afraid as we soar to the heights with Him. As people belonging to communities and organizations, we are expected to give our best to god, family and work. we are expected to always operate at peak performance, which may be summed up in these words- do everything by ‘giving them roots and wings.’ I first encountered this advice from an inspirational book written by Denis waitley who wrote that to prepare the children, the young and the novice for their future, it is best to let them grow roots, the foundations upon which they will build. By progressive ‘watering’and nurturing, the roots become strong and deep. once that level is reached, those entrusted with their care must allow them to grow the wings with which to ‘fly.’ Parents must teach their children the word of god, and model the way to live it. They must make the home the nest where love, faith, respect, service and other virtues such as righteousness and integrity are practiced and where the children’s full potential is lovingly nurtured. AS THE EAGLE SOARS One of the most powerful and inspiring images of freedom and wonder is that of eagles in majestic flight, at high altitudes, with wings fully spread. seemingly freed from the pull of the earth and oblivious to events on the ground, a soaring eagle is continuously lifted by the airstream. Eagles do not fly in flocks. A solo flying eagle is usually seen way above the altitude at which many other birds take flight. It does not ordinarily fly at breathtaking speeds although it can do so when pouncing on its prey. Instead, it prefers to soar majestically with its outstretched aerodynamically efficient wings. Mother eagles make the nest for the young eaglets in aeries, i.e. nests high above the ground, usually in trees or mountain crevices. Adult eagles sit patiently while nesting until the eggs successfully hatch. The young are fed regularly and when ready for flight, the parent eagles drop them from the heights until they learn to flap their wings instinctively. Eaglets unable to sustain flight are immediately rescued by the adult eagle. The cycle of training continues until the young eagle is able to fly on its own and soar to the heights. The same focus and commitment that eagles manifest are needed in rearing and caring for children. The story of man’s desire to free himself from the pull of the earth is as old as history itself. From ancient times, man has looked skyward. Dreams of flight not only became the object of imagination but the gist of innovation and invention. The thought of eagles and other mighty birds soaring on their mighty wings fueled man’s desire to achieve flight. Of the many dreamers and innovators, two would eventually become successful. The brothers Orville and wilbur wright spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight. They noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. with these observations, the brothers experimented with various designs and materials. Finally that dream came true when the two brothers achieved powered flight in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. A century of flight since then has allowed man to achieve great things and the skies and the heavens continue to hold men enthralled with the goal of flying higher, farther and faster. THE EAGLE HAS LANDED On July 20, 1969, a whole generation of mankind was treated to the unique spectacle of seeing man landing on the moon for the first time. Prior to that, all dreams of moon travel were woven by the imaginative fiction from the pen of Jules Verne. Much later, images and knowledge of that heavenly body became available through scientific moon probes. The race to land man on the moon fueled one of the most exciting and even dangerous competitions of the era. It was an all-out race for space dominance between the two superpowers, the United states and Russia. Millions watched the unfolding drama on television as Lunar Mission Commander Neil Armstrong became the first man to land on the moon. As the Lunar Lander settled on the moon’s surface, he said “the eagle has landed.” Armstrong, carrying with him the aspirations of all men, uttered simple yet powerful and unforgettable words“One small step for man, a giant leap for mankind.” Indeed man has achieved a bold leap for scientific progress. suddenly, the dreams and yearnings of man to fly as on eagles’ wings were reached. Man can achieve greatness when the cause is noble, just and upbuilding, when giving the best of self is the gold standard. THE SKY IS THE LIMIT The achievements in flight provide many examples that are applicable in life. For example, the steps taken in training pilots have as much similarity and applicability as in training people, especially those destined for leadership. 1. Recruitment / Selection of the Right Person In the early pioneering days of aviation, anyone with the desire for adventure could experiment and try their hands at flying. Some succeeded, many others failed. It was generally a hit or miss proposition. It was an era when aircraft engines were unpredictable, underpowered and cranky; when airplanes were made of wood, wires, and fabric. The aircraft’s amenities were primitive and the flyers (another term for pilots) sat on bare wood. There was no enclosure for the aviator who ended up being exposed to the elements. It was only much later when pilots stayed in enclosed ‘cockpits,’ protected by heavy glass and metal-reinforced canopies to keep out the harsh elements.As the mechanics of flying came to be known and conquered, aviators applied not just the art but the science of flight. Progress was continuous and steady. Breakthrough researches hastened the progress of aviation. In recruiting people, passion, attitude and competence are important qualities to look for. whereas skills and aptitude can be taught, attitude is inherent and is the starting point of everything. Hence, there is wisdom in the advice, ‘Recruit for Attitude, Train for Aptitude.’ 2. Training and Equipping for the Mission Instructing and teaching require commitment and dedication as well as patience and understanding. One thing that needs emphasis is the need to concentrate on building on the strengths of the learners rather than focusing mainly on their weaknesses. Many organizations become distracted by spending a lot of time, energy and resources on rectifying weaknesses. Only the most physically fit, adept and qualified stay in the training programs for aviators. Balance, agility, good eyesight, knowledge and endurance are important attributes for aspiring aviators. Evolution of flight emphasized the need to put in lots of time for instruction, engineering, aeronautical knowledge and proficiency in flying. Training became a dedicated science unto itself. Continuous and repetitive training became a norm and a way of life. In the air, training or lack of it spelled the difference between life and death, success or failure. In time, the complexities of flight necessitated more sophisticated and demanding training. Nothing was spared towards that goal, so much so that flight simulation emerged as a necessary and vital tool for teaching and training. Availability of ground- based training simulators help reduce if not eliminate pilot errors that could result in tragedy if it happens in flight. Immediate corrective measures can be readily made. Recorded data are conveniently retrieved and reviewed, so that positive lessons are reinforced and negative lessons rectified. In much the same way, training in life requires that lessons be learned creatively, progressively and consistently. The better the preparation, the better the outcome. Potential catastrophes are averted by superior training and preparation. The training programs for pilots and nowadays, astronauts, are best achieved by a combination of actual flights in air/ space crafts, as solo pilot or as a crew member (team). simulation chambers equipped with sophisticated equipment and instruments provide reinforcing experience. But no matter how well simulation may work in the laboratory or in training, it does not totally duplicate nor replace conditions in real life. For man, loving and caring relationships are vital and crucial in his life. There is no substitute for it. Parents, teachers and mentors can provide vital lessons by actual shared experiences. Alternatively, vicarious learning can be given by reliving the experiences of others. 3. Enable those Called, Give a Helping Hand To give love selflessly and unconditionally is at the heart of family life. It draws realization from the very nature of a loving Creator who took the initiative to show his love for man, even before the creature learned to reciprocate. Unforgettable lessons on love, forgiveness and servanthood were given by Jesus to his disciples. “Lord how many times must I forgive, seven times?” simon Peter asked. Jesus responded gently yet firmly – “seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:21-22) The unmistakeable message is: forgive without limit and do not count the cost. The same condition applies to loving and caring for the children and the young; they need to be showered with love and help unconditionally. Discipleship, followership, and leadership require the same. 4. Honor the Rite of Passage, Prepare to Launch The history of flight has captured my fascination ever since I could remember. The stories of gallant aviators and their achievements captivated my attention and my imagination. In my youth I would voraciously read through volumes of books on the exploits of pilots, in peace and in war. I spent countless hours riveted on the pages of books that narrated the lives and times of those pioneering, courageous, chivalrous and skilled pilots, especially combat pilots. Encounters in the air among combatants were life and death duels, reminiscent of the struggles of medieval knights riding their steeds. Unforgettable were the harrowing stories of planes and pilots surviving heavy rains, thunderstorms and thick swirling clouds during the era when they had to fly through bad weather instead of above it. Today, pressurized aircraft effortlessly zip through the air at altitudes of 10 to 11 kilometers with the aid of multiple computer systems and reliable fuel efficient engines. speeds, heights, navigation, fuel control, control of flight surfaces such as ailerons and rudder are all computer managed. Autopilots fly the planes for a great part of the flight, instead of relying entirely on human hands. All successful pilots point to their instructors as critical to their careers. From them they learned the basics of flying, from ground school to actual flight. when the time for actual flight comes, the instructor pilots would be there to take novice pilots to the air under close guidance and then, at the much awaited glorious moment of flight training, the student pilots are allowed to fly on their own. 5. Top off the Fuel Tanks, Fill ‘ Er Up In the seventies, there was an ad from a petroleum company that said- “Put a tiger in your tank!” Their claim was that their brand was superior because it maximized engine performance. Regardless of claims, you need fuel in your gas tank to take you surely to where you want to go and back. You can have the priciest and most sophisticated car that money can buy but without fuel, you do not go anywhere because you cannot. The same basic truth emerges - teaching and training are important but amount only to so much. To succeed, learners need enablers and the logistics with which to accomplish their work and mission. A few weeks ago, I was in Brussels to conduct the Bible Journey Course for CFC leaders. As I had some free time before the course, I joined some of our leaders on a visit to the village of Banneux, to venerate the Virgin of the Poor at the apparition site. From there we journeyed to historic Bastogne in the famous Ardennes forest region. Bastogne was the site of the crucial and decisive Battle of the Bulge, immortalized in the movie of the same title, in the movie “Patton” and the TV miniseries “Bands of Brothers.” It was the last attempt of the German army during the second world war to wrestle the initiative from the western allies, cut off the fuel supplies and drive the whole allied efforts back to the sea, to the port of Antwerp. If successful, the Germans would have cut off several American armies from reinforcements, destroyed them and gained control of the vital allied sea ports in Antwerp. It would have spelled the collapse of the Allied plans for the liberation of Europe. The ensuing battles were bloody and fought without respite; casualties on all sides were heavy. Maimed and dead bodies of soldiers piled up in the snow. The unanticipated stiff and courageous stand of the surprised American army in Bastogne threw off the timetable of the vicious german onslaught. Slowly and surely the American gIs counterattacked in the face of heavy artillery bombardment and deadly tank attacks. Eventually, the German offensive was soundly defeated when their tanks and motor vehicles ran out of critical fuel! 6. Pilots, Man Your Planes The training of pilots starts with ground school, where the rudiments and mechanics of flight are taught. Then there are cut-out models of the plane to demonstrate the location and functions of the control surfaces, the ailerons and flaps that direct the airplane to move up or down and from side to side and the rudder that allows the plane to turn right or left. student pilots are taught how the coordinated movements of their hands and feet control the flight surfaces and allow for smooth flight. Moving on, they learn to start the engines, roll the plane on the runway and so on. Early planes, called biplanes, had an extra cockpit for the instructor so he can shepherd the would-be pilot in gaining the necessary skills. Initially they fly the plane together, and later, the student gets to have his coveted solo flight. In mentoring, the mentor walks side by side with the protege and later may opt to walk behind him just to see how his student fares and grows. 7. Clear the Runway I have always been fascinated with international airports. For good or for bad, airports represent national pride and priorities. Visitors form their initial impressions of a country by the quality of their airports. I have gotten into the habit of comparing each international airport with the others with regards convenience, amenities, accessibility, provision for passenger comfort, lighting and air conditioning, and even the quality of their toilets. For safety and efficiency, airports compete against each other in terms of advanced communications and airport control. Are the runways sufficiently long? Are the surfaces of the concrete runways smooth? Is the airport situated close to population
Yamamoto / C3
CFC Ricky Cuenca with Bishop Joseph of Kochin and Fr Peter Chadayangad
them during business or leisure trips or upon migration abroad. At that time, I was not yet in CFC. It would be a year later, in 1986, when Irma and I finished our CLP. Eleven years later, God called us to migrate to Canada and help build CFC there. A few more years later, we came back, this time to serve in the International Council. And now, twenty-seven years after CFC first set foot on India, I have been blessed to be in the thick of things when God decided to revive CFC there. It all started when a group of CFC brethren from India who were working in Kuwait got the inspiration to revive the community in the country. Among them were Thomas and Jayanthy Isaac from Kochin and John and Diana Saldanha from Mumbai. Perhaps it was because they missed the activities, the prayer meetings, the celebrations and the fellowship that came with community life. After all, it had been years
the opportunity to meet with Cardinal oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and President of CBCI. The meeting was an opportunity for both the clergy and CFC in India to clear any issues that may have arisen after the split that happened in 2007. It’s been almost a month since that visit to India. In my reflections, I realized two very important things: first, that the Lord is truly using Couples for Christ to renew the face of the earth; and second, with these recent developments, serving in CFC has become more exciting now that doors are being opened for evangelization and revival. A week after that unforgettable India sojourn, I was again on a plane to China, another gateway for evangelization for CFC. with the growing community there, I cannot help but become giddy with excitement, like a child anticipating another surprise from his Father. But that’s another story.
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Melo Villaroman, Jr. IC Oversight Zenaida Gimenez Editor-in-Chief Alma Alvarez Associate Editor Marivie Dalman Writer/Archives Vangie Mecedilla Circulation Staff
Lawrence Fernandez Writer/Lay-out Artist
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
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
People Are The Solution
“PEOPLE are the solution, and not the burden.” These were the words I shared near the close of the Focused group Discussion on Competitiveness and Innovation organized by the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), an agency of the Department of science and Technology (DOsT). This event was held at the Traders Hotel, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, on August 14, 2012. I was privileged to be a participant i such discussion in my capacity as Director for Public Advocacy of the Philippine Retailers Association, upon invitation of Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr., former DOsT secretary, Dr. Lourdes J. Cruz, NRCP President, and Prof. Jose P. Tabadda of the NCPAg, University of the Philippines. These closing words, while my own conclusions, were borne by the fact that the speakers in the discussion, independently but similarly, highlighted in their presentations that the Filipino, our people, is our competitive edge. Not just the Filipino as a person, but the big population we have. The world Economic Forum global Competitive Index, for example, has as one of its components, “Market size”, where we expectedly rated high incidentally the only component where we rated high - and which helped us land 75th place out of 142 countries rated. without such high mark for “Market size”, our ranking would have been lower than our 75th place. On another plane, we have become no.1 in the BPO industry not because of low labor cost, but because of the special character and competence of our people, and investors have been and are willing to pay a premium for these. we can go on and on. The organizers put together an excellent set of speakers for the Focused group Discussion: Mr. guillermo M. Luz, Co-Chairman (Private sector) of the Bil Competitiveness Council; Hon. Fortunato T. de la Pena, Undersecretary, DOsT; Prof. Federico M. Macaranas, Asian Institute of Management; and Mr. Benedict C. Hernandez, President and CEO, Business Processing Association of the Philippines. The speakers, and my coparticipants could not help but recognize the connection of what I said with the intensely debated RH Bill pending in Congress. Of course, this was not part of the Focused group Discussion, but as the presentations unfolded, there were paeans made to the Filipino, and therefore I thought it helpful for the select group of scientists, academicians and professionals, to correlate what we were discussing with what our legislators were passionately considering, and also view the whole RH Bill issue from this vantage point, not just from the highly played-out religious argument. The focus of the opposition to the RH Bill as played up is, yes, based on religious grounds, and I believe and support the stand of the Catholic Church to start with. But there are emotional grounds, too, as in the case of sen. Tito Sotto in a recent Senate session, and these emotional grounds are valid, too, for they are real life stories, not theory, not speculation, but actual, painful experiences of mothers and fathers. But beyond these, we should also ensure that it is not lost in the debate and the public’s consciousness that the anti-RH stand is based on hard evidence, results of scientific and medical research, and actual governance experiences of countries. we hope our legislators take serious heed of what Mr. Federico D. Pascual, Jr. wrote in his Postscript column of Philippine star, issue of August 12, 2012. He draws from various sources, but the conclusions point to the same thing: “Worry over under-population ‘taking America over the financial cliff’ was also voiced out by steven Mosher and Elizabeth Crnkovich in an article. They wrote: ‘social security is about to go belly up, financially speaking. And at the head of this crisis is a demographic disproportion: there are simply too few young people coming into the workforce to support the increasing number of elderly baby boomers who are retiring. In “what’s really happening behind the entitlement crisis”(wall street Journal, July 12), Ben wattenberg explains that ‘never- born babies are the root cause of the “social deficit” that plagues nations across the world and threatens to break the bank in many.’ ‘The math is simple. Birth rates have fallen so far and so fast that the thinning ranks of the young can no longer support the burgeoning numbers of retirees in country after country. greece and spain are already going over the demographic cliff. ‘The problem, at root, is the birth dearth. There are a number of factors contributing to the strange barrenness of this generation… these include delayed marriages, wealth, divorce, legalized abortion, and accessible contraception.’” Mr. Pascual cites similar situations in Japan, China, south Korea, Taiwan, singapore, and Europe. The wonder of it all is that some of our legislators would like to lead us to the policy of population control, when it is clearly a failed policy. while countries, singapore for example, are turning away from such policies, the RH proponents would like to still lead us there. what gives? senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, the much admired Presiding Officer of the senate as Impeachment Court, hit the proverbial nail on the head with regard to all this undue passion of enacting an RH Bill. In the August 11, 2012 edition of the Philippine star, in the search for Truth column of former senator Ernesto M. Maceda, he writes about the grilling of NeDA Director General Arsenio Balicasan by senate President Enrile. sec. Balicasan admitted that the birth rate of the Philippines, at 1.98% is already, as it is, lower than the UN prescribed rate for the Philippines at 2.1% so, what’s all the fuss about enacting the RH Bill? From this perspective, it is clear that there is no need for an RH Bill. The objective that it seeks to address is already happening. The other objective of maternal health care is already taken care of by other legislation. The budget that is intended for condoms and contraception can be definitely better utilized for direct programs that will address the multifarious needs of the poor in helping them break through the cycle of poverty. But even beyond the human debate, it is really, at the end of the day, still all about our faith and our relationship with god. My late grandmother always liked to remind us her grandchildren– “ Man proposes, but god disposes.” we, of course, need to do our part to build our nation. we must, of course, use our Godgiven talents to help improve the quality of life of our countrymen, especially the poor. But without god’s blessings, our human efforts will come to nought. One calamity can wipe out whatever we have built. Indeed, as the psalmist says in Psalm 127: “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build.” It is incumbent for us, individually and as a country, to take to heart what st Paul wrote to the galatians: “ Make no mistake: god is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh, will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. (galatians 6:7-8) It is still best for a person or nation to follow the natural law and rhythm of life. Human life is not for us to give or withhold. Life is indeed a gift from god. As it is with us, so it is with nations. Life is a gift of god for nations. The Filipino is a gift to the Philippines. There are problems yes, but let us all together address the problems of poverty, food, education, health, shelter, livelihood directly. The answer does not lie in using our scarce resources to reduce the number of Filipinos. The solution is to use those resources to develop the Filipino to his full potential. And it takes people to do just that. Thus, as we face problems and challenges as a nation, may we all realize that people are the solution, not the burden. Here’s to life and people, everyone! First published in The Philippine Star and http://www.philstar.com under the UGNAYAN column, August 19, 2012.
Pursuing God’s Plan for the Filipino
By Arnel Santos
BEsT-sELLINg Filipino author Atty. Alex Lacson was guest speaker at the CFC Mission Core group Teaching last August 21, 2012, at the Christ the King Parish, greenmeadows, Quezon City. He spoke on the topic, “Pursuing god’s Plan for the Filipino.” Atty. Lacson said that it was not an accident that the Filipinos were the first Christians in the whole of Asia. “when seen with the eyes of faith, we are a people chosen for an important role.” He also explained that Filipinos do not realize their own of untapped and unused natural deposits. “If we are poor today, it is not because of the blessings god gave us, but because of us,” Atty, Lacson opined. Atty. Lacson asserted that “the Filipino of today is one of the best hopes of humanity,” citing that in 1939, the Philippines was the only Asian country to open its doors to the Jews, a fact that Israel sought to acknowledge by erecting a monument to honor the Filipino heart,” a loving and caring heart.” Also, during the Vietnam war, the Filipinos willingly accepted Vietnamese refugees. Unfortunately, there are those who lose faith
ANCOP, DLS-CSB sign MOA for Additional Scholars
By Efren Tompong
THE CFC ANCOP Foundation recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLs-CsB) for additional scholarship assistance for poor beneficiaries. The educational support is under the DLs-CsB Benildean Hope grant (BHg) program that offers free quality education for poor students under the care of government, non-government and indigenous peoples’ organizations. CFC ANCOP was represented by its President eric de los Reyes in the MoA signing last August 22, 2012 by heads of twenty-five (25) organization-partners. Each organization was provided with 3 sponsorship slots except for CFC ANCOP and a few other partners that were given 15 slots, in consideration of the nationwide scope of their operations. For school year 2012-13, 6 ANCOP beneficiaries have started to fulfill their dreams of La sallian education, taking up courses in Bs in Consular
CSP Head Ethel Balenton with CSB partners and two of the CSP scholars.
and Diplomatic Affairs, Information Technology and BsBA major in Human Resources Development and Management. since DLs-CsB follows a trimester schedule, the 6 CFC ANCOP students are expected to graduate in just 3 years and 1 semester. one of the highlights of the MoA signing ceremonies was the sharing by two beneficiaries of the BHg. One is a cum laude graduate of Information Technology, a daughter of a laundrywoman who never imagined she would be studying in DLs-CsB. Her neighbors even suggested the scholarship was a scam. But she believed, graduated with honors
beauty and greatness as a people. This is because many focus on the negative side and traits. while a PDI survey speaks of 70% of the Filipinos not wanting to be in the Philippines, an HsBC survey points to the Philippines being the top choice (47%) out of 110 countries, to be one’s second home. Atty. Lacson expressed the hope that Filipinos will learn to appreciate that “the Philippines is a home, a country so naturally rich and beautiful.” This is a great blessing because there are peoples today who are still fighting and struggling to be a country of their own, like Palestine, Tibet and Taiwan. Moreover, a Us state Department Report dated March 12, 2012, cited the Philippine’s mineral deposit as the 5th largest in the world, with Us$40B
Yamamoto / C2
in the Filipino, due to the negative spirit that the Filipinos themselves propagate with pejorative remarks like “Pinoy talaga!” or “Only in the Philippines.” “This negative spirit is an evil spirit which must be conquered,” commented Atty. Lacson. “Our Lord wants us to see the beauty in the Filipino. Just like the Israelis, we must take this seriously and teach that to our children,” he continued. Atty. Lacson acknowledged that “bad and corrupt leadership” resulted in our country’s problems like the 40M hungry, the 10M children growing up without a parent (motherless generation), and the 7M out of school youth. However, he expressed his belief that god’s plan is to give “the best for the people and our children--jobs, prosperity, and families together.”
and is now working as Technology Officer in Hewlett Packard. The other sharer was a member of the Ivatan tribe from far-flung Batanes Island. He is consistently a Dean’s Lister, articulate and speaks English eloquently. For school year 2013-14, each ANCOP CLs-CsB beneficiary shall be entitled to transportation allowance on top of the annual free tuition fee. To qualify, a graduating high school student must have a general point average of 83% from first to third year Hs and their parents’ annual income should not exceed PhP 300,000.00. All qualified applicants must pass the DLsCsB entrance test and admission interviews. High school graduates who have not taken any college units can also apply. Application is on a first come first served basis. Interested applicants may get in touch with ethelyn Balenton or Efren Tompong of CFC ANCOP Education Program at (02) 9395374 or visit the CFC ANCOP office at 29 Evergreen Drive, Capitol green subdivision, Tandang sora, Quezon City, Mondays to Fridays, 9 to 6 pm.
centers? Does the presence of tall buildings in the general vicinity distract the pilot’s attention? Airplanes take off and land predictably well if the runways are smooth, adequate and clear of obstacles. It would be dangerous if the runways are uneven or are littered with debris that can be sucked by the jet engines. The same can be said of human endeavors. Clear and unobstructed “flight paths and runways” for learners help them become confident and skillful. Progressively they need to be
exposed to the rigors of life and work once they have had sufficient foundational learnings. 8. Teach and Train At all Times one of the most effective and yet simple advice that I have learned in my surgical career was what was passed on to me during my residency training abroad. The advice was- “see One, Do One, Teach One.” Look and watch at the operation, learn from the surgeon, study rudiments and principles. Do the surgery the next time and thereafter, pass
on the skills to the next resident on line. simply stated, learning and training become doubly effective when they are caught instead of just solely taught. The process goes on and on, with increasing frequency and complexity as surgical residents go through the discipline of training under the wing and guidance of the masters in surgery. The following words would be helpful- ‘ I do, you watch. I do, you help. You do, I help, you do, I watch.’ The foundation of teaching and training starts with
a dedicated and trusting one-onone relationship between mentor and protege. In the school of life, mentors must inculcate the virtue of selflessness by ‘paying it forward.’ Christians are called to be faithful to the word of god and that faithfulness begets success in life and in mission. People are called to give their best and it is the wise man who heeds the advice regarding the three things that can spell success: a. Know your purpose in life, b. work towards growing to your maximum po-
tential, and c. sow the seeds that benefit others. The more you give of yourself, the more blessed you are in life for you have become a blessing to others. PROLOGUE An old professor in surgery regularly advised us residents in surgical training, “the world belongs to the brave. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Translated to our personal and community life, it simply means that we need to give our best to every endeavor. It is important
to put our trust in god, He who does not call the able but enables those He calls. In the storms and challenges of life, it is good to be assured that we are in the mighty hands of god. The lyrics of the song still provide comfort and solace- “Hide me now under your wings; cover me within your mighty hand. when the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you above the storm. Father, you are king over the flood, I will be still and know you are god.”
to the Lord. The FUN part of the conference was provided by creative competitions such as dance, band, short film and chorale which showcased the talents of the delegates. sport competitions such as basketball, soccer, tug-of-war and other novelty games had teams representing their own states or cities. session 1 was called “The god of all greatness.” This session encouraged the youth to reflect on how god showed His greatness in their lives and helped them to call to mind all the things that they were grateful for. several youth testimonies were given. One person shared about the blessings of his conversion to the Catholic faith and another spoke of her triumph over cancer because of god’s greatness. All these blessings affirmed that god’s favor is upon each of His children. session 2 was about being “Vessels of Honor.” separate sessions were held for men and women and these turned out to be a powerful and intense experience for everyone, as they declared god’s Lordship and praised His name for being a powerful healer. During this session, brothers and sisters were exhorted to love the Lord with all their heart, with all their soul, mind and strength. There were candid testimonies of how the youth struggled in these areas as they stood up for their faith in the face of so many temptations in the modern world. Session 2 also encouraged the youth to empty themselves of all their excess baggage and to go to the sacrament of reconciliation and willingly give their ‘Yes’ to the Lord. By doing so, they experienced how they can become a true Vessel of Honor for the Almighty, and so utter the same words the Holy Mother uttered, “Be it done to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:38 After the separate sessions, the brothers and sisters were reunited in one venue shouting at the top of their voices the powerful chant “Almighty King, I praise your name! greatest god, you are my healer and I will never be the same again!” The activity then immediately transitioned to session 3, all about our “Almighty.” This session aimed at giving the youth a perspective on how Almighty
Vol. 16 No. 19
September 10 - 23, 2012
YFC Holds Conference in Melbourne
the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior!” “And Holy is His name…” And in so doing, God is able to bestow His Almighty Mercy, Almighty Strength in times of trial, and His Almighty Providence on the youth. The final session, session 4, was all about “Proclaiming the Almighty.” Filled with His greatness, the youth were exhorted to proclaim His greatness, and their spirits to rejoice in god their savior. The delegates were reminded to be thankful for all that He has done for them, and so proclaim and witness for
By Bong Bernardo
DEsPITE temperatures dipping to below zero degrees, around 500 delegates from all over Australia gathered from 6-8 July, 2012 at the Campaspe Downs Country Resort in Kyneton, Victoria for a threeday national youth conference centered on the theme “ALMIgHTY: Proclaim the greatness of the Lord.” over the three days of the conference, there were four pastoral sessions which helped the youth appreciate the magnitude of god’s greatness and love and challenged each to be a vessel in proclaiming His grace and goodness. There were also 10 workshops facilitated by speakers from the clergy, youth volunteers and guests from the Archdiocese of Melbourne’s Life, Marriage and Family Office. The workshop sessions tackled topics such as Vocation, sacraments, Pro-Life, Relationships and Chastity, Mission, Defending the Faith, Prayer and Contemplation, Mother Mary and working with the Poor. some of the workshop presenters were from the Archdiocese of Melbourne, namely Marcia Riordan, executive officer of the Respect Life Office; Matthew MacDonald, executive officer of the Life, Marriage and Family Office and stephen and Bernadette Price. The other workshops were given by CFC’s spiritual Adviser Fr Brendan Lane, Rector of the Corpus Christi College; Fr Tony Cox, Columban priest and Chaplain at Penola Catholic College, Mt. st Joseph’s in Altona and stella Maris seafarer’s Mission; Fr Eugene Ashkar, parish priest of Mount Evelyn and Upper Yarra; Fr Nick Pierce, parish priest of st Kevin’s Hampton Park; sr Nelia Llanto, a Pas-
torelle sister working as Home Parish Liaison at Loyola College, watsonia; Mother Carmela Garcia, Mother General of the Leaven of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and st Vincent’s society members Michelle Roche and Justin Matthys. Fr Tony, sr Nelia and sr Ignacia of the Pastorelle Sisters and Sr Rachel Fleurant of the Missionaries of god’s Love provided spiritual direction for the delegates. The Holy Eucharist was celebrated each day of the conference coupled with individual reflection, prayer times and solemn Adoration. Bishop Emeritus Hilton Deakin, Fr Brendan and Filipino Chaplain Fr Loi Viovicente celebrated the eucharist over the three days of the conference. The sacrament of Reconciliation was made available and spiritual direction was also provided. Each day started and ended with powerful praise and worship, which had voices raised and hundreds of hands lifted in surrender
our god really is, to help them to realise that He also wants them to experience His Almighty-ness, and to encourage each one to fully surrender, fully obey, and to fully trust in Him. To clearly illustrate this perspective, the delegates were asked to imagine what they were in relation to the magnitude of what god has created. From being in the room where they were at that moment, to where they were on the face of the earth, to how the earth was compared to the sun and how the sun was compared to other stars in the galaxy, to how this galaxy was compared to other clusters of galaxies, the youth realised that they were just a speck of dust within a speck of dust within another speck of dust, and so on . . . insignificant at the very least. Yet, despite all these, they were still special. why? Because, in god’s eyes, they are the sons and daughters of this Almighty God who created the whole universe. In surrendering fully, obeying fully, trusting fully in the Almighty, god is able to give the youth the experience of His Almighty-ness, just as the Holy Mother experienced it when her soul burst out with her Magnificat, “My soul proclaims
Him no matter what their circumstances were. And just like the Holy Mother, they were called to proclaim with obedience, to move from just talking, to taking action, to declare their total trust in His will and His plans, knowing that He can be trusted to guide them every day. Finally, the youth were told that this proclamation was not just for a single moment, but, just like Mary, who stayed with the Lord all throughout her life, the youth were called to endure and be determined, to let their ‘”YEs” to god be a lifelong commitment to be with Him. Amidst the many opportunities where the youth can proclaim the Almighty: in their workplace, in their families, among their peers and in their community, they were challenged to let their words turn into action by being vigilant and radical in proclaiming their faith. Next year’s conference will be hosted by Darwin and will be attended not only by youth from Australia but also from the other oceania countries such as New Zealand, Papua New guinea, solomon Islands, samoa, among others. (This article appeared in the Melbourne News.)
Celebrating 14 Years the CFC Vietnam Way
CFC LAOs: Revived and Renewed
THE Couples for Christ community in the capital city of Vientiane in Lao PDR was re-launched on July 15-16, 2011. since then, the community has grown. Last July 15-16, CFC Laos community celebrated its second anniversary. The celebration was preceded by the conduct of a mega-CLP on July 14-15 at the st. Vincent de Paul Retreat Center in Udon Thani, Thailand. This CLP was totally different compared to the first mega-CLP conducted in 2011. Having learned lessons from past experiences, the community decided to hold the CLP outside Laos, in a place where everyone is happily and cheerfully confined within the vast expanse of a retreat center --- living together, sharing all meals together, praising and worshiping together, and sharing lives together for two full days. There were no more of the make-up sessions, the rush to end the sessions before 8:00 p.m., the waiting for latecomers, the thousand-and-one distractions that characterized CLP No. 1.
By Aldy Katigbak
IT was hard to imagine that this would be our 4th trip to Vietnam since my wife Joy and I took over as Country Coordinators this year. It’s never hard to come back to the warm people who have accepted us as part of the family in the short time that we have been together. we arrived in Vietnam past midnight on August 17 and were met in the airport by Mr. Dan, the Vietnamese driver of our host Uly Espadero of CFC Vietnam. Friday was rest and shopping day and it was a very enjoyable respite. we capped the day with dinner with our CFC friends Antit and Tinay Macatol, Praveen and Anna D’souza, and Fr. Christian Limbaring in an Indian restaurant, enjoying mildly spicy curry dishes, lamb, tandoori chicken, basmati rice, and other gastronomic delights. The following day, saturday, was the scheduled teaching night entitled “The Naked Truth about sex and Marriage – An Introduction to Theology of the Body” given by Joy. we were blessed with more than 30 participants from all the ministries who were present. A question and answer/sharing portion followed which dealt on relevant and practical issues such as dealing with homosexuality among friends and relatives, how couples can realistically use TOB teachings in their intimate
moments, and teaching TOB to young children. August 19, sunday was the Family Day to celebrate CFC Vietnam’s 14th anniversary. Venue was at the Hall behind the Pink Church in saigon. we started with a mass celebrated by Fr. Christian. The gospel was also read in Vietnamese by Joaquim, a local CFC member, a tribute to the 20 or so locals who joined our celebration. In his homily, Fr. Christian challenged CFC Vietnam to pursue the mission of CFC of families renewing the face of the earth, and to grow in number, most especially among the locals. By the time the mass had ended, 100 people had filled the venue, wearing their designated team color: Red, Yellow, Blue and green. Each group was a mix of members from the different ministries, both locals and expats, joining hands to win the coveted trophy for the games and other competitions. After the opening worship by Chito Durban and my brief opening remarks, the games officially began with Annette Taguba and Tina Peji acting as the program hosts for the day.
There was a cheering contest, a treasure hunt, the ever famous “hephephurray,” a fashion show and a humansewing game. In the end, it was the Red team under the leadership of Ed and Agnes Ubaldo who won, beating the Blue team by a mere point. Great things are in store for CFC Vietnam. John Baptist, a local leader confidently proclaimed that for the 15th anniversary celebration, the venue will already be an open field because we would no longer fit in an enclosed hall. I am definitely looking forward to that vision happening.
A service team composed of 13 from the Philippines, 13 from singapore and 13 from Laos, complemented by the constant presence of Fr. Doroteo Reyes who was ready to serve for as long as there was a single soul wanting his attention, ably conducted the CLP - a total of forty servants catering to 23 participants consisting of 2 couples, 2 servants of the Lord, 6 Handmaids of the Lord and 11 singles for Christ. The speakers from Manila and singapore shared the Lord’s messages and garnished these with their own experiential sharings --- all of which helped the participants reflect on their own lives and the level of their respective personal relationships with the Lord. The servants from CFC singapore who manned the registration table and attended to all the many small and big administrative concerns never failed to wear loving smiles on their faces which continuously served to brighten up each morning and helped ease the hectic schedules of the weekend. The food catered primarily by the CFC Laos team was always something to look forward to during mealtimes, as they reflected the flavor of the overflowing love of all the hands that prepared and serve them. Capping the CLP was the spirit-filled Baptism in the Holy spirit, during which the participants unashamedly poured out their all before the Lord as they were prayed over by their discussion leaders and prayer partners. The weekend concluded with a sunday lunch highlighted by a very fitting honoring of Fr. Dorot who celebrated his birthday earlier in the month, and a candle lighting and blowing marking the beginning of the second year for CFC Laos. How else could an anniversary be celebrated?