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Vol. 16 No. 25
Devotees wave their hands to the pilgrim image of San Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino saint, as it arrives at the South Road Properties (SRP) Cebu City for the National Thanksgiving Mass following a fluvial parade from Mandaue City, Nov. 30, 2012. The occasion gathered an estimated one million people, including Church dignitaries and top government officials.
‘Red army’ storms Congress
Cardinal Tagle leads call for more discussion, transparency over RH Bill
of redness with anti-RH bill coming in droves. Majority of them were lay people along with some Catholic bishops, priests, and the religious. Curiously, the red shirts have apparently outnumbered those wearing purple shirts or supporters of the RH bill the entire week that the lawmakers have been discussing the measure. The Lower House has resumed deliberations on the population control measure following a pressure from President Benigno Aquino III. The president gave his allies at least a week to wrap up amendments to the RH bill, after which they must vote on it. The move immediately triggered various reactions with the head of Manila’s Catholic Church joining the growing chorus for the lawmakers not to rush the passage of the bill. In a statement, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who led 14 other bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Manila, said that there is a need to discuss the proposed legislation thoroughly. “We are appealing to the Honorable Representatives to give ample time to deliberations and discernment and not to unduly rush them,” they said. In their pre-Christmas gathering held on Dec. 4, the bishops reflected on the discussions on the population control measure in Congress recently. Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes said they agree that the bill will promote harm than its supposed benefits to the country. “They should not hurry up the bill because it is the future of Filipinos that is at stake here,” said Reyes who also chairs the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL). Transparency The church leaders also called for transparency if the controversial measure will be put into a vote. “We are appealing to them to conduct the deliberation and decision with transparency through nominal voting
By Roy Lagarde
A GOOD number of red shirt protesters against the “reproductive health bill” packed the House of Representatives to show their vigilance over the controversial measure.
The period of amendments, which started on Dec. 3, brought hordes of people inside the HOR complex, packing the 1,000-seat capacity of plenary hall gallery. It was a full house and the galleries
and respect for the diversity of views,” they said. Under the said voting procedure, each lawmaker will be allowed to cast and explain their votes on the controversial population control measure. According to Reyes, the people have the right to know the position of their respective representatives on the RH bill. And if the lawmakers would continue with the “viva voce” scheme of voting, he said it only means the issue will affect their election chances next year. “They know that they will have a problem in the coming elections if they voted for RH bill because there are so
Red Army / A6
‘Catholic vote may happen, but Church must educate’
THE so-called ‘Catholic vote’ can happen in the upcoming elections, but the Church must educate the electorates on the issues involved, a Catholic bishop said. Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad, in a recent interview said the Catholic Church still have a big influence on the people but sees the need for a concerted effort among the clergy and religious to come together and plan some strategies. “If only the church will have a concerted effort to come together and really have the guts that we can do it, then we can really make a difference,” Jumoad said. He said the issues need to be explained to the people in the light of the teachings of the Church. In view of the coming elections, he said strategies and plans should be made to effectively conscientize the people. “I think we really have to plan and set some criteria in terms of what to do, priorities to be done to reach out to the
Cebu, country celebrate canonization of homegrown saint
AROUND a million people celebrated with thanksgiving and bustling enthusiasm the gift of its homegrown saint— Pedro Calungsod. Devotees coming from all over the country and abroad filled the expanse of the 27-hectare business development area at South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City during the National Thanksgiving Mass held November 30 for St. Pedro Calungsod. Leading the celebration was Cebu Archbishop-emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, who called on the faithful to live an integrated life, stressing that ‘duality’ has no place in the life of a true Christian. Faithful Christian, faithful citizen Speaking before the vast crowd of devotees, Vidal said a true Christian can be faithful in living his Christian faith and be a faithful citizen of his country at the same time. Fidelity to the Christian faith should not run counter to one’s observance of the law, he said. “If we have to be Christians, let us be good citizens as well, observing every just law, practicing
Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
The national thanksgiving day for Saint Pedro Calungsod ends with a cultural show and grand fireworks display in Cebu City, Nov. 30, 2012. An estimated one million devotees attended the celebration.
Vote / A6
Pope highlights Church’s universality at consistory
FOCUSING on the catholicity of the Church as his theme, Pope Benedict XVI created six new Cardinals during a consistory held at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, November 24. Through the words “I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” which they professed during the consistory the new cardinals proclaimed their solemn fidelity to the one Church founded by Jesus Pope Benedict waves to the faithful as he leaves St. Christ. Peter Square after the consistory on Nov. 24, where he “Only by professing and elevated six new cardinals, including Manila Archbishop preserving this rule of truth Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. intact can we be authentic The creation of six new cardinals disciples of the Lord,” the pope said raised the number of cardinal-electors, in his homily. Pope Benedict, on the eve of the So- those eligible to vote in a conclave to lemnity of Christ the King, bestowed choose the successor of Pope Benedict the red hat and ring on six new cardi- to 120, of this, 62 are Europeans. The six new “Princes of the Church” nals, all of them non-Europeans. As observers noted, the non-inclu- come from North and South America, sion of Europeans among the new set Africa and Asia and represents both of cardinals has leveled somewhat the Latin rite and the rite of Eastern the playing field in the College of Orthodox churches: Archbishop James Cardinals increasing the number of M. Harvey, Prefect of the Papal HouseConsistory / A6 non-European cardinal-electors to 58.
Church pushes moratorium on Apeco
A GROUP of indigenous peoples, farmers and fishermen are marching across central Luzon to demand a moratorium on the ecozone’s operation in Aurora province. Previous protests hounded the 12, 923-hectare Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (Apeco), though it remains operational. More than a hundred people are taking part in the 20-day march from Casiguran, Aurora to Malacañang Palace, roughly 370 kilometers north of Manila. Dubbed “Lakad Katarungan, Lakad Matuwid na Daan”, the walk from Nov. 24 to Dec. 14 will cross through treacherous mountainous areas, rainforest and coastal zones, rural flatlands and peri-urban landscapes. The protesters, backed by the Catholic clergy
justice, in all our affairs being honest in word and deed.” “Let our citizenship be em-
powered by our Christian faith, seeking to apply God’s will in
Homegrown / A7
and several civic organizations, will be representing the more than 3,000 families, whose land and livelihoods have been threatened by the megaproject. Among their demands is for President Benigno Aquino III stop the budget allocation for Apeco for 2013. They also want the government to push forward the creation of an independent body to
‘Revitalize BECs in Mindanao’
AFTER years of existence as faith communities, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) need to be revitalized and be in tune with the present times, BEC expert priests said during the recently concluded 1st Mindanao BEC assembly held in Tagum City. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on BECs executive secretary Fr. Amado Picardal, CSsR
BEC / A7
APECO / A6
CBCP to priests: Improve content of your homilies
WITH the advent season at the threshold, a ranking church official reminded priests to seriously prepare their homily and make sure that it is related to the Gospel readings of the day more than the prevailing political and social issues. In an interview with YouthPinoy, Msgr. Joselito Asis, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, made the reminder especially with the looming start of Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo, the traditional dawn novena Mass that Filipinos attend for
nine days preceding Christmas Day. Asis even said that the Year of Faith
Homilies / A6
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
WASHINGTON D.C., Nov. 30, 2012—One year after the Church introduced revisions to the English-language liturgy, an overwhelming majority of Catholics continue to view the changes in a positive light. A new poll finds that 70 percent of U.S. adult self-identified Catholics agree with the statement, “Overall, I think the new translation of the Mass is a good thing.” The poll, conducted in September 2012 by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, sought to gain an understanding of how adult Catholics perceived the third edition of the Roman Missal that went into use on Nov. 27, 2011. The overwhelming majority of respondents either agreed—50 percent—or strongly agreed, 20 percent, that the new translation is a good thing. Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week were most likely to approve of the revised liturgy, with more than 80 percent agreeing that it was a good thing. However, even among those who rarely attend Mass, more than 60 percent approved of the new translation. Respondents who said that they had noticed great changes in the Mass were more likely to view the new translation in a negative light, compared to those who had noticed moderate changes, small changes or none at all. Commissioned by the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America, the survey asked participants whether they have a good understanding of the meaning of the prayers recited by the priest and people at Mass, and if the words of those prayers make it easier for them to participate in the Mass. They were also asked whether those prayers of the Mass help them feel closer to God and inspire them to be a more faithful Catholic in their daily lives. In each case, at least threequarters of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed. Catholics who attend Mass more regularly were more likely than others to strongly agree with each statement. Among weekly church-goers, there were no significant differences between the responses to
these questions in the September 2012 survey and a similar study conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate in 2011, before the revised liturgy was in use. The results of the new survey were first presented by Fr. Anthony J. Pogorelc of The Catholic University of America at a Nov. 9 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association in Phoenix, Ariz. “This is a preliminary study,” Fr. Pogorelc told CNA, adding that various follow up projects could be conducted to explore why people have responded in various ways. Those who do not see the changes to the Mass as a good thing may have a poor understanding of the new texts, he explained, or they may think that it is better to translate the liturgy using a method of “dynamic equivalence.” This method, which was used in the previous edition, sought to translate the Latin into the ordinary “language of the people.” However, it was replaced with a more literal and accurate translation in the third edition of the Roman Missal in order to restore some of the theological meaning that may have been lost. While every generation included in the survey demonstrated a positive view of the new translation, Fr. Pogorelc said that age difference could have an impact on how different groups are reacting to the changes. For example, while they overwhelmingly believe the changes to be a good thing, members of the pre-Vatican II generation, born before 1943, may find the new liturgy challenging, struggling to remember the new responses due to their age, he said. The millennial generation, born in 1982 or later, shows the highest rate of dissatisfaction with the new translation, although even among this group, nearly 60 percent approve of the changes. While the reasons for this are not clear, Fr. Pogorelc suggested that it may be tied to findings in other studies that this younger generation is less affiliated with religion and churches in general. In addition, he said, social factors could influence this group of Catholics. For example, the
December 3 - 30, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 25
Catholics strongly support new Mass translation after first year
decline of the family meal could be leading to a weaker understanding of “ritual” in connection with the Mass. “It would be interesting to explore this a bit more, now that we have this basic data,” Fr. Pogorelc said, observing that perhaps focus groups could be assembled in the future to better assess people’s understanding of the liturgical changes at a deeper and more thorough level.
In the meantime, he suggested, it is good for priests to continue preaching on the texts of the Mass, particularly when they fit in closely with the readings. Much of the Mass references Scripture, he observed, and “integrating some of the texts of the Mass into the preaching” can show the people the close connection between the two. “I think that kind of thing can be very helpful,” he said. (CNA)
UK bishops’ conference tweeting for Year of Faith
LONDON, England, Dec. 1, 2012—The evangelization office of the English and Welsh bishops' conference has launched a program of daily tweets to teach the faith to Catholics throughout the countries. “This is within the spirit of the new evangelization, using new means and methods of communication to share the Gospel,” Clare Ward, home mission adviser for the bishop's conference, told CNA Nov. 28. “The great benefit of something like Twitter, is that it offers bite-sized pieces of information that are immediately digestible, immediately accessible, and don't pose too many demands upon people during a very busy day.” The service, @YoFtweets, leads its followers through the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and books of Scripture. “We think it's the first time that Twitter is being used with a specific catechetical theme in mind; it's not just random tweets, there's a catechetical scheme behind each tweet that's provided every day,” Ward said. “They are being offered as a resource to the Christian community...to help them do precisely what the Holy Father has asked for, which is to re- read the documents of Vatican II, to re-read the Catechism and to study it, to know the scriptures and to generally know the faith.” Ward said that to cover each day of the Year of Faith, more than 400 tweets had to be prepared by the Home Mission Desk, “which as one can imagine was a ginormous task.” “Even though they're just bite-sized extracts, trying to put together material...that has some sense of coherency was an enormous challenge.” Bishop Kieran T. Conry of the Arundel and Brighton diocese, and who is chair of the English bishops' department for evangelization and catechesis, stated Nov. 27 the department hopes “that by reading the material on Twitter people might be inspired to read more of the documents, the Bible and the Catechism. The Twitter initiative is, we hope, a helpful starting point for people.” Ward added, “It's important to see the Twitter initiative as part of a bigger picture which stems from, going right back to the visit of the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux to England and Wales that few would have predicted, in 2009.” “Then again, the great joy of welcoming the Pope in 2010 and then all the legacy initiatives that come from that, and now the Year of Faith. Its really a good time, we've had so many positive national events that have gone on, its created a sense of buoyancy.” The Pope's 2010 visit to England is what has “set the tone for the Catholic Church” in the country in recent years, Ward said. “The bishops have done a huge amount of work since then to support the legacy of that visit, through a vast array of new initiatives and rejuvenating existing initiatives, so the feel here at the Conference is one of great enthusiasm and buoyancy at the moment.” She said the Twitter enterprise should be seen in context with other initiatives, including those reaching out to lapsed Catholics and to non-Catholics. Bishop Conry's evangelization department, she added, will have a “Come
Advent calendar to promote work of Bethlehem hospital
WASHINGTON D.C., Nov. 29, 2012— Supporters of Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem will launch an internet Advent calendar to help the world learn more about the patients and staff at the maternity hospital located only 500 yards from what is traditionally considered the birthplace of Jesus. “So many families have come to know Holy Family Hospital as the birthplace of hope because they know that no one ever arrives at its doors to hear, ‘there is no room,’” Colleen Marrotta, executive director of the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation, said Nov. 28. “We hope visitors will use the calendar as they prepare for Christmas. In the process, they will learn about the important work of the hospital,” she said. “Doctors and staff save the lives of thousands of mothers and babies annually. And they provide the highestquality medical care without regard to race, religion or ability to pay.” The U.S.-based foundation’s website will launch the Advent calendar Dec. 2 and unlock new content daily through Christmas. It will offer videos that introduce internet visitors to the hospital, its staff, its patients and its mobile medical outreach. The calendar will also feature reflections from Catholic priests, vowed religious, writers and bloggers.
Home for Christmas” campaign this winter, similar to the American “Catholics Come Home.” And on the eve of the Year of Faith, Ward reported, the Faith Department printed some 1 million “faith cards” and distributed them across the dioceses of England and Wales. “They are to support to Catholic identity, to give people something to carry to give them Catholic confidence, and secondly to be used as a tool of evangelization, to have that in your wallet,” so that others can see that your Catholic faith is just as important to you as the photos of family kept also in your wallet. “It would be used to give to someone who expresses interest in the Catholic faith.” The Twitter initiative is of particular importance, Ward suggested, because it shows that the Church is “connected with contemporary culture and is embracing new means and methods to communicated and to dialogue with people.” “We hope that, especially for very busy people, it will provide an easily accessible daily encouragement to grow in faith and to share it. Please do 'follow' and share it with your friends,” Bishop Conry requested. (CNA)
The calendar’s photos aim to show how the hospital helps one of the poorest, most war-torn areas of the world. The French Daughters of Charity opened the hospital in 1885 with an accompanying orphanage. They were forced to close in 1985 because of economic, social and political pressures. Pope John Paul II asked the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to reopen the hospital. The hospital has delivered over 55,000 babies since it reopened as a maternity and gynecological hospital in 1990. It has the only neonatal intensive care unit in the West Bank. The 150-employee hospital recruits and trains native-born medical professionals and midwives to meet its staffing needs. It also operates a mobile medical clinic to care for women and their families, many of whom lack access to running water and sanitation. The website for hospital’s foundation and the Advent calendar can be found at: birthplaceofhope.org. (CNA)
Pope names new bishop for Cloyne
Mother Teresa Award given to two women targeted by the Taliban
MUMBAI, India, Nov. 29, 2012—The 2012 edition of the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice conferred by the Harmony Foundation went to Sima Samar, a former Afghan vice president, and Mala Yousufzai, the 15-yearold Pakistani girl attacked by the Taliban for her commitment to women's rights. The teenager is presently hospitalised in Birmingham, Great Britain, after she was shot in the head on 9 October by Muslim extremist. Harmony Foundation President Abraham Mathai said the two women were chosen for their courage, for putting their lives on the line for an ideal. Sima Samar was recognised for her work in the field of women's rights, education and emancipation. After the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, she fled to Pakistan where she worked for 20 years to raise awareness about the plight of Afghan women. After the theocratic regime was overthrown, she became the most prominent woman in the country. Currently, she is in charge of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Malala Yousufzai is a teenager who was chosen for a special jury award in recognition of her courage and her determination to fight against discrimination against Pakistani girls in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban have imposed Sharia. From Great Britain, Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousufzai, sent a touching letter on his daughter's behalf thanking the Harmony Foundation for the award. "This means a lot to us," he writes, "especially during our time of crisis. Honouring Malala with this award sends out a strong message of support to those whose daughters have to fight and speak out for their basic right to education." A special national awards were given to Nayyar Kuldeep, a famous Indian writer, for his contribution to IndiaPakistan peace efforts; to Vinay Shetty, for furthering the cause of blood donation; Flavia Agnes, a lawyer, for her commitment to women's rights and fight against domestic violence; Gujarat police officer Sanjeev Bhatt, for his efforts in favour of communal dialogue; and the Shillong Chamber Choir for promoting national integration through music. The Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission was also recognised for its work towards empowerment of women. In October 2005, Abraham Mathai founded the Harmony Foundation to promote the idea of peace, dialogue and help for all communities without distinction of religion, caste, creed, gender or region. In 2007, the Foundation established the Mother Teresa Memorial International Awards for Social Justice in honour of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. (AsiaNews)
Pope Benedict XVI appointed a new bishop of the diocese of Cloyne, Ireland on Nov. 24. Bishop-elect William Crean was up until now the parish priest of the Daniel O'Connell Memorial Church in Cahirciveen, Diocese of Kerry. He will replace Archbishop Dermot Clifford, who has been the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese since March 2009. He was appointed as the administrator following the resignation of Bishop John Magee who left owing to controversy about his handling of sex abuse allegations in the diocese. Bishop Magee stepped aside in 2009 and later resigned in 2010. (Zenit)
Vatican judges find computer tech's testimony not credible
The Vatican court said in a detailed sentence issued Dec. 1 that the testimony given by the computer technician Claudio Sciarpelletti was neither “credible” nor “truthful.” The sentence was handed down Nov. 10, and was filed Dec. 1, as the final installment of the “Vatileaks” saga. It is not unusual for Italian courts to deposit sentences weeks after the handing down of a verdict. The court found the computer technician guilty of aiding and abetting former butler to the Pope, Paolo Gabriele, in his theft of sensitive documents. Sciarpelletti was originally sentenced to four months in prison, but his sentence was reduced two months due to extenuating circumstances. (CNA)
Pope Benedict will make Twitter debut with @pontifex
The Pope's Twitter account will be @pontifex and will start on Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Vatican representatives announced. The news of the 85-year-old tweeting came out weeks ago, but officials finally revealed the account's name and that it will be launched on the Marian feast day, which they said was a coincidence. But instead of informing people of his favorite band and other trivia, the Pope’s goal will be to impart spiritual messages to people around the globe. The official announcement of the account was made at a Dec. 3 news conference. (CNA)
Holy See welcomes UN recognition of Palestine
Sudanese Prelate: ‘At least remember us in prayer’
KHARTOUM, Sudan, Nov. 29, 2012— ”The bombings are carried out on daily basis and what saddens me most is that even the universal Church seems to have forgotten us, the people of the Nuba Mountains. At least remember us in the prayers of the faithful during Sunday Masses!” said Bishop Macram Max Gassis of El Obeid in Sudan to Fides Agency. The Nuba Mountains has been the site of a continuing war between the Sudanese government and the Sudan’s People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). “The first victims of this war are civilians, especially women, children and the elderly,” said Bishop Gassis. “Just the other day the church of Heban was bombed, which thankfully has reported limited damage. In the month of November, which has not finished yet, the aviation of Khartoum launched 330 bombs, which caused 36 deaths, mostly women and children, and 22 injuries. Only in this month 30 homes were destroyed and 92 crops.” The Sudanese prelate also cited the lack any humanitarian or relief organization in the region. “The Church is the only presence of hope for these people, with our sisters and four doctors and surgeons (2 Americans, a German and an Englishman),” he said. Bishop Gassis recounted the courage of priest and religious who brave the violence to aid the needy: “My priests walk the paths that lead from the Nuba Mountains to our structure that we created in South Sudan in Yida in Unity State, to take supplies and medicines. The journey takes 8 hours to go and 8 to return, under the threat of Sudanese bombers. Only thanks to the courage of an Australian Sister of Mercy, of Italian origin, who has returned specifically, the formation and primary schools are still open.” The Bishop of El Obeid had recently returned from a world tour to plead the cause of those suffering in the Nuba Mountains. The prelate visited London where he addressed the House of Commons and Lords as well as addressing the Episcopal Conference. The bishop also visit Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Washington, New York, Oslo, Luxembourg and Geneva where he addressed the Commission for Human Rights. “To all I asked for the international community to impose on the regime in Khartoum to stop the bombing on civilians and to allow food and medicine to be brought to the exhausted people,” Bishop Gassis told Fides Agency. (Zenit)
The Vatican "welcomed with favor" the U.N.'s vote to allow Palestine to become a non-member Observer State, and pressed for a permanent two-state solution. The statement came one day after the U.N.'s General Assembly voted resoundingly for the change on Nov. 29. "The vote manifests the sentiment of the majority of the international community and recognizes a more significant presence for Palestinians within the United Nations," said the Holy See. "But this doesn't constitute a sufficient solution to the region's existing problems," it added in a Nov. 30 press release. "They can only find an adequate response through an effective commitment to building peace and stability, in justice and in the respect for legitimate aspirations, both of the Israelis and of the Palestinians," the Vatican said. The decision means Palestinians will be able to participate in U.N. debates and possibly join some of its bodies like the International Criminal Court. (CNA)
Fixing economic crisis requires financial and moral truth, priest says
The solution to the ongoing economic troubles is to adopt a worldview that combines both economic and moral truths, Father Robert Sirico said as he presented his new book. Fr. Robert Sirico, co-founder of the Acton Institute think tank, introduced his book titled "Defending the Free Market: the Moral Case for a Free Economy" on Nov. 28 in Rome. Fr. Sirico, originally from Brooklyn, said that his approach to economics is anthropological and combines economic truths with moral ones. When it comes to the current economic crisis, Fr. Sirico faults regulations that were based only on good intentions. (CNA)
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
Raï in French and Colombian Cardinal Salazar in Spanish. “The College of Cardinals, whose origin is linked to the ancient clergy of the Roman Church, is in charge of electing the successor of Saint Peter and advising him in matters of greater importance,” said the Pope. “Whether in the offices of the Roman Curia or in their ministry in the local Churches throughout the world, the cardinals are called to share in a special way in the Pope’s solicitude for the universal Church,” he added. He noted that “the vivid color of their robes has traditionally been seen as a sign of their commitment to defending Christ’s flock, even to the shedding of their blood.” “As the new cardinals takes on the burden of office, I am confident they will be supported by your prayers and assistance as they strive with the Roman pontiff to promote throughout the world the holiness, communion and peace of the Church,” Pope Benedict stated. As he addressed Lebanese Cardinal Boutros Raï and his family in French, the Pope recalled his recent visit to Lebanon, saying that those days were ‘’happy memories.’’ “I wish to encourage life and particularly the presence of Christians in the Middle East where they must live their faith freely, and start again an urgent appeal for peace in the region,” he said. “The Church encourages all efforts for peace in the world, and the Middle East peace will only be effective if it is based on a genuine respect for each other.” Pope Benedict finished his greetings by speaking in Spanish to Colombian Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez with his family and friends, as well as the Archbishop of Bogota and the president of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia. “May Mary, most holy, who in those noble lands is sweetly invoked under the name of Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá, always hold within her motherly love all beloved sons and daughters of Colombia, whom I have very present in my heart and prayers
…” he said. “I invite everyone to raise fervent prayers for the new cardinal, that he is increasingly linked to the Successor of Peter and to work tirelessly with the Apostolic See. Ask God also to assist him with his gifts, so that it remains a witness to the truth of the Gospel of salvation, righteousness and faithfulness …” He told the new cardinals that their “ministry has been enhanced with a new commitment to supporting the Successor of Peter, in his service to the Church universal.” “Therefore, as I again offer to each of you my most cordial good wishes, I am confident in the support of your prayers and your help. Continue confident and strong in your spiritual and apostolic mission, keeping your gaze fixed on Christ and strengthened in your love for his Church. “ He finished his speech by saying that this love can also be learned from the saints, which is the fullest realization of the Church. (CNA/EWTN News)
Pope names holiness, unity and peace as cardinals’ mission
VATICAN City, Nov. 27, 2012—Pope Benedict XVI met with six new cardinals and their families, just two days after they made their vows, and encouraged them to promote the “holiness, communion and peace of the Church.”
The Pope addressed the gathering at noon on Nov. 26 in the Pope Paul VI Hall. He first greeted American Cardinal Harvey, Indian Cardinal Thottunkal, Nigerian Cardinal Onaiyekan and Filipino Cardinal Tagle in English, before addressing Cardinal
CNA/Lewis Ashton Glancy
Pope counsels parents to share faith with joy, dialogue
VATICAN City, Nov. 28, 2012— Sharing the faith with children and others should be done in a joyful, clear and simple manner, Pope Benedict said at the Wednesday general audience. “In our time, a special place to talk about God is the family, the first school to communicate the faith to new generations,” Pope Benedict said Nov. 28 in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. He delivered his remarks, which are part of an ongoing weekly series on faith, to thousands of pilgrims who were gathered in the hall. “The Second Vatican Council,” he noted, “speaks of parents as the first messengers of God, called to rediscover their mission, taking responsibility in educating.” “They are called to open small minds to the love of God as a fundamental service to their lives, being the first catechists and teachers of the faith to their children,” he added. The Pope also emphasized that “it is important to develop a critical consideration for the many influences to which children are subjected.” When it comes to teaching the Catholic faith, Pope Benedict advised parents to always have a tone of joy. “It is important to help all members of the family to understand that the faith is not a burden but a source of deep joy,” he said. He also spoke about the importance of the ability to listen and dialogue. “The family must be an environment where you learn to be together, to reconcile the conflicts in mutual dialogue,” said the Pope. “It is done by listening and speaking to understand and love, to be a sign, the one for the other, of the mercy of God.” Pope Benedict also touched on ways everyone can speak about God. the good news of a God who is interested in us and who draws nearer to us in Jesus Christ.” The Pope spoke about the apostle Saint Paul and said he offers a lesson on how to talk to God with great simplicity. “Paul isn’t talking about a philosophy that he has developed… but speaks of God who came into his life, a real living God, who spoke with him and who talks with us,” he said. “To speak of God, we must make room in the hope that it is he who acts in our weakness. Make room without fear, with simplicity and joy, in the profound conviction that the more we put him in the middle and not us, the more our communication will be fruitful,” he added. Pope Benedict finished his address by saying that speaking of God means to understand that he is not a competitor of our existence, but rather the true guarantor of the greatness of the human person. (CNA/EWTN News)
Nobel laureate: Don’t impose condoms as family planning method
“Speaking of God means first of all to be clear about what we bring to men and women of our time, which isn’t an abstract God or a hypothesis, but a concrete God that exists,” he said. He also noted that “to speak of God requires a familiarity with Jesus and the Gospel” and one must ‘’follow the method of God,” which is humility. “We need a recovery of simplicity, returning to the essential,
Lech Walesa with officials of the University of Santo Tomas.
Protecting marriage, human life part of serving common good, pope says
VATICAN City, Nov. 19, 2012—Catholics are called to serve the common good of society, including by protecting traditional marriage and defending human life, Pope Benedict XVI told bishops from France. Being Catholic means being faithful "to the moral teaching of the church" and having "the courage to demonstrate their Christian convictions—without arrogance, but with respect—in the various spheres in which they work," the pope said Nov. 17 as he welcomed a group of bishops making their periodic "ad limina" visits to the Vatican. "With the bishops, they must pay attention to proposals for civil laws that can undermine: the safeguarding of marriage between a man and a woman, the protection of human life from conception to death, and the correct orientation of bioethics in faithfulness to the documents of the magisterium," the pope said. In several French cities Nov. 17-18, thousands of Catholics took to the streets to protest government plans to legalize samesex marriage. President Francois Hollande said he wanted to legalize gay unions by mid-2013. Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris told the Vatican newspaper Nov. 17 that the church has been expressing its opposition to the proposed law and "we have warned about the dangers" such a change can bring. In the interview with L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican paper, he said the law, which would include allowing gay couples to adopt, "risks producing devastating effects," particularly for children who would grow up not having both a male and female parent. Early in November, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, talked about gay marriage proposals in Spain, France and several U.S. states. In an editorial comment for Vatican Radio, Father Lombardi said it is "clear that in Western countries there is a widespread tendency to modify the classic vision of marriage between a man and woman, or rather to try to give it up, erasing its specific and privileged legal recognition compared to other forms of union." "It is not, in fact, a question of avoiding unfair discrimination for homosexuals, since this must and can be guaranteed in other ways," he said. The history and development of modern marriage between one man and one woman was "an achievement of civilization," he said. If it is not what is best for individuals and for society, "why not also contemplate freely chosen polygamy and, of course, not to discriminate, polyandry," which is when a woman has more than one husband. The Catholic Church, he said, will not stop urging society to recognize the special place of marriage between one man and one woman. (CNS)
Priest urges zero budget on APECO
MANILA, Nov. 28, 2012―A Church official has expressed support on the policy demands of Casiguran Marchers and urged the Aquino government to prove his ‘Daang Matuwid’ by giving the Aurora Ecozone a zero 2013 budget. The marchers are fisherfolks, farmers and indigenous peoples from Casiguran, Aurora province displaced by the creation of Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) in the area. The government has already shelled out more than P800 million to fund the construction of the APECO, even though it has brought no benefits to the marginalized sectors of Casiguran, Aurora, said Father Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA). “The Aquino administration must instead hold it accountable for its incompetence and past mishaps, rather than enlarging APECO’s budget for 2013,” Gariguez added. He explained the Casiguran marchers have six policy demands in order to protect their lands and livelihoods. “We at the CBCP-NASSA support the demands of the Casiguran marchers because they believe in participatory and sustainable development where they envisioned an implementation of the asset reforms,” the priest said. Gariguez, who is also co-convenor of the Task Force Apeco, cited that the testimonies given by the affected families in Aurora were enough to prove that the APECO project was a large-scale plunder and land grabbing by a powerful political dynasty in Aurora. The Casiguran marchers have demanded for an independent review of APECO towards a possible repeal of APECO law or the RA 9490 and RA 10083; zero budget allocation for 2012; to provide settlement areas for small fisher families already displaced by APECO; to distribute the 105 hectares of prime agricultural land to 56 landless farmers of Sitio Reserva, Brgy. Esteves; execute guidelines and measures to ensure the credibility and integrity of FPIC-soliciting processes within the Casiguran
Fr. Edu Gariguez
municipality; and to ensure the respect of stewardship contracts of 90 households under Integrated Social Forestry programs in 288-hectares of APECO-covered areas. (SocialActionNews)
MANILA, Nov. 29, 2012—A breath of fresh air. Here’s a prominent Western political figure acknowledging the wisdom of the Church and calling for “proper consciousness” when it comes to responsible parenthood. According to Lech Walesa – the former president of Poland who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for his role in the downfall of communism in Europe – his country’s approach was not to impose the use of “condoms and other items” on couples. Walesa made the remarks following a lecture at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), where he was awarded the title “honorary professor” for liberating Poland from Soviet rule. The Polish hero said he yields to the wisdom of the Church’s constant teaching on the sanctity of human life, declaring himself “an old-day Catholic” and “the faithful son of the Catholic Church.” While the central European nation had tried to check population growth, “In Poland, we do it through proper consciousness and proper education. It has to be responsible motherhood or parenthood,” he said. In 1994, Walesa vetoed an abortion bill passed by Poland’s legislature, saying he would rather resign than be an instrument in the legalization of abortion. “The Polish Church is always conscious of such and is appealing that it will be the responsibility and proper education that will lead to proper birth control. It has to come out from the conscience, not from imposing condoms and other items,” Walesa said. In Manila’s pontifical university last Tuesday, Walesa was cited by the rector, Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, OP, for drawing strength from his Catholic
faith amid Poland’s quest for democracy. Walesa credits his compatriot, Karol Wojtyla, Blessed John Paul II. The Polish pontiff’s landmark visit to Poland a year after his 1978 election to the papacy ignited the Polish democracy movement. The Pope’s words still resonate today: “Be not afraid! Change the face of the earth!” John Paul II’s words awakened the Poles, and millions joined Walesa’s Solidarity, the political force that eventually brought down the Iron Curtain. Recalling how the Poles succeeded despite Soviet nuclear strength, Walesa encouraged the youth to make their democracies work. Idealism is not romanticism, he said. “I was looking for 10 years for some people to join me and I found only around 10. The rest didn’t want to get engaged, they were afraid. When the heaven gave us John Paul II, in a year, I had 10 million members! And you can have the same chance. Start working and all the rest will come,” he said. Democratic societies should listen to the Church, Walesa said. “Today we do not know how in democracy we can put everything in the right place. Young democracy is not playing together well and has a lot of doubts. Intellectually, they cannot match the intellect of the Church. That’s why democracy is afraid of the Church and they do not know how to behave properly. My revolution in Poland… Poland would not be ever free without the Church,” he said. “We have to understand a simple truth. There is no collision here. The Church, based on thousands of years of preparation here, and rules of wisdom, is preparing us for the future.” (JB Serrano)
Behavior change, not condoms, key to HIV-AIDS prevention
MANILA, Nov. 24, 2012—No amount of condom can prevent the spread of AIDS unless a person adopts a responsible sexual behavior. This is how an AIDS specialist and esteemed physician expressed his concern for the Filipino people after a government official shared the findings of another study conducted by the United Nations Programme on HIV/ Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (UNAIDS), which pointed to condoms as AIDS-fighting ammunition. UN agencies consistently insist on the use of artificial contraceptives, including condoms, as part of responsible sexual behavior, and call access to these by the youth – regardless of marital status—and children as a “sexual right.” “While AIDS is incurable, it is a ‘behavioral disease.’ No matter how many condoms you wear, it’s never a guarantee of protection,” warned Rene Bullecer, M.D., who heads the private organization AIDS-Free Philippines and who has been entrenched in the AIDS prevention campaign for 20 years now. Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag, in a forum at the House of Representatives Tuesday, announced that the Philippines is one of nine countries that have failed to keep the spread of HIV at bay, based on the UN study. Bullecer, however, blasted this claim. “I have been in the anti-AIDS campaign since 1992, and I can tell everybody and look them straight in the eye that these so-called ‘anti-AIDS pro-condom advocates’ are not happy that after 28 years, the Philippines has only cumulative cases of less than 12,000,” the doctor said. He added that non-government groups working “under the shadow of the DOH” have been, for nearly two decades now, receiving “millions in funds from condom advocates. Thus, in return, they have to promote their products.” Bullecer, who also heads Human Life International (HLI)-Pilipinas, pointed out that such advocates—most of whom aren’t doctors—either fail to see or refuse to acknowledge the fact that countries in which prophylactics are openly promoted and vigorously encouraged experience sky-rocketing cases of HIV and AIDS. “Just take a look at Thailand, the very country also in Asia that adopted an RH law as early as 1995. Just check their current Population Growth Rate and AIDS cases. You will be shocked,” the AIDS expert said. Tayag pegged the number of new HIV cases per day this year at nine, amounting to over 21,000 persons in the Philippines living with HIV—again prompting reports in the mainstream media to refer to the situation as an “epidemic.” The discrepancy in figures does not surprise Bullecer. “It’s either the UNAIDS telling us that we are on the brink of an AIDS epidemic, thus we need to pass the RH and the Antidiscrimination bills… or, it’s us convincing the UNAIDS and its partner funding agencies like the USAID, Rockefeller Foundation, EU etc. that we need money by sometimes blowing up the number of AIDS cases to justify the ‘need’ for funds to be delivered to our shores,” Bullecer explained, chiding those involved for the easily anticipated approach they take as regards marketing the idea of contraceptives as a need in the Philippine scenario. As expected, too, in the forum held at the Lower House in which Tayag announced the alleged increase of HIV rates to epidemic proportions, the DOH Assistant Secretary segued into a push for the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill, implying it is necessary due to the HIV-AIDS problem and for the sex education component of the measure. “Of course, we know that both the DOH and the pro-condom NGOs have one common agenda: to pass the RH bill, which means millions more in funds for condoms and eliminating all forms of discrimination especially among active homosexuals (now called ‘MSM’ or men who have sex with other men), to allow the continuous flow of condoms, and—consequently—more and more cases of HIV and AIDS, and thereby more and more funds coming in. Very simple mathematics for every business-minded individual,” Bullecer said. (CBCP for Life)
CBCP For Life
A congress harassed
December 3 - 30, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 25
FOR sure it may not sound nice, but it is not too farfetched to advance that this 15th Congress will go down in history as the most harassed ever. While supposedly a constitutionally independent body, the members of this congress have been literally summoned by another supposedly independent body, the Executive Department, to Malacañang in just a period of about few months for one reason or the other, but always ending up rushing to Congress through hell or high waters, like lapdogs, to maneuver the immediate passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. It may be said that this breed is a pitiful group. Aside from a president who maybe cartooned as dangling food to his puppies and doing a blitzkrieg to scheme an impeachment, some of them are under pressure, or say, harassed, by foreign countries and multinational companies who, according to reports, have been bankrolling them with lobby money, and therefore, are too confident enough to give deadlines when this legislation should be approved by hook or by crook. Es lastima!, as the Spaniards would say. And it is even observable that during floor deliberations the very arguments that they tow come neither from their own patriotic convictions—if at all there is such a thing—nor from the needs and sentiments of their constituents whom they represent and, therefore, they should follow more than the moneyed lobbyists from pharmaceutical companies and other foreign entities. By the likes of it, there seem to be a timeframe structured or dictated by foreign lobbyists. If such should be the case, then there is a plausible explanation why the rush to approve such a most contentious and unnecessary bill even at this 11th hour when, in fact, there are more pressing legislative concerns that should be attended to—not to mention other exigencies such as the ongoing calamity in Mindanao that Representatives had to set aside just to attend to the whims of a foreign-dictated legislative agenda—which, hopefully, does not smack of foreigners trampling upon the sovereignty of such an august body, that in itself spells disaster. By cursory review, perhaps this is the only Congress and the only House Bill in Philippine history that has been too persistent and too pestering. And perhaps this is the only Bill that was not certified as a priority bill by the President, but is being pursued de facto by him and his lackeys more than any other priorities. But again, it’s a pity to see Congress harassed—even without them realizing that they are being had happily or otherwise.
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Population Control Bill
THE so-called “Reproductive Health Bill” has much to explain in order to honestly reveal its real nature as well as to prove its true worth—to mention its inherent finality. One thing is certain, the Bill is the favorite option of the Executive Department. And, as a matter of course, it is also the mandated priority agenda imposed on the Legislative Department by Malacañang. But notwithstanding such close and strong partnership between the two branches of government, the Bill has remained a bone of contention of long standing. Why? The first thought that comes to mind is why was the proposed legislation titled “Reproductive Health Bill”? Precisely, the Bill is not only patently against reproduction but also a danger to the health of women in particular—for harmful chemical consumption. So it is that those responsible for the formulation and consequently working for the passage of the Bill, have taken recourse to such a camouflage title in a futile attempt of hiding the devious content and questionable intent of their favorite Bill. True? The reality is that the Bill is clearly and squarely about controlling the population of the Philippines. Reasons: The Filipinos are seen as the composite cause of their own poverty and misery—not to mention the danger they thus bring to the First World countries. The Filipinos are also considered as the corporate obstacle to their own development and progress. The Filipinos should therefore be
Oscar. V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
reduced to the minimum in number. The fewer they are, the better future they have. The less they are, the richer they become. The least in number they are, the least danger they are to developed and progressive countries. Really? The second thought that comes to fore is the foreign intervention that is behind the Bill, the foreign powers that are pushing for its passage, the foreign pharmaceuticals that are covetous of more income, greedy for bigger profits through the continuous manufacture and brisk sale of contraceptive as well as abortive pills. This is saying nothing about the local multinational business corporations that support the passage of the Bill for a share of the spoils coming from the purchase of the so-called “essential medicines”, i.e., “Thou shall not have children” pills and complementary items. Interesting! The third thought that has just recently emerged is that it is not exactly known—the second, the minute, the hour—when fertilization takes place, when animation happens. The ready argument and convenient conclusion invoked and advanced by the anti-population advocates are neither logical nor coherent, viz., the intake of contraceptive/abortive pills is then in order precisely due to the unknown about the time when fertilization happens, when animation takes place. It is strange that the supposedly thinking individuals would base their argument and conclusion on things unknown, i.e., on matters they are ignorant about. Strange?
Priesthood of the faithful
THE hallmark of this final decade, of the second millennium, will be the collaboration of both clergy and laity in a common vision and a common mission—thus presenting the Church as truly a sacrament of unity for the world. Since Vatican II there has developed a strong and frequent formulation of the doctrine of the common priesthood or the priesthood of all the faithful. All the faithful by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation participate in the priesthood of Christ. All the faithful live Christ’s priesthood in three dimensions. First of all, they live it as a consecration, a commitment to God, established in baptism. All Christians are consecrated in everything they do. Secondly, as a mediation of the purpose or plan of God for the transformation and eventual salvation of the world. The grace of Baptism is completed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit received at Confirmation, enabling the Christian to be a real subject of transformation. And finally, as a sacrifice of life together with Christ celebrated in the Eucharist. The Paschal Mystery casts its shadow on Christian life and transforms the cross of suffering into a meaningful source of hope. In view of this tri-dimensional participation in the priesthood of Christ by all the faithful, what then is the role of the ministerial priesthood, or the priesthood of the ordained? The ministerial priesthood or the priesthood of the ordained must be understood as service to the common priesthood. It serves the common priesthood so that the whole Christian community will become the priestly people that Christ wants it to be, and “all who belong to this people, sanctified as they are by the Holy Spirit, may offer themselves a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God.” (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 2) All the works of the laity, when done in the Lord, whether secular or religious, whether they concern marriage and the family, work and recreation, pastoral activities, social and charitable involvements, or the animation or governance of associations, movements and communities, can be seen as exercises of the laity’s sharing in the common priesthood. When the lay faithful discover and live more and more their vocation and mission in the Church and in the world, the ordained will likewise discover the meaning of their own vocation and mission. Such a discovery on the part of both the clergy and the laity who are called not to compete but to complement each other will result in a deeper realization of the ministry and spirituality of all the baptized. Morally formed, religiously inspired and spiritually nourished by their pastors, the lay people go forth to renew the temporal order by engaging in secular activities with the spirit of Christ and the values of the Gospel. Thus, it can be said that Pastor and lay faithful share in the one Priesthood of Christ each according to the identity and role they have received from God for the Church and society. (Acts of the Council, Nos. 412-418) —Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth
THE local media in Naga were eager to know the new Archbishop of Caceres, Rolando Octavus Joven Tria Tirona. They wanted to make the new archbishop known to the flock, and they needed much more than the data offered by the tarpaulin streamers festooning the city streets, or contained in the liturgical booklet given them for the Eucharistic celebration on Nov. 14, 2012. Specifically they wanted stories, any stories that are “personal”, clues to the person of “Abp. Rolly”, thus they trooped to the Carmelite Monastery in Naga, full of hope that the Sisters would be the perfect source of information about him, a fellow Carmelite. But alas, none of the Sisters knew anything “personal” about him. So, on the suggestion of some Carmelite friars, the Sisters tapped yours truly. I cannot claim to know Abp. Rolly that personally either, but understanding the need of the reporters and the request of the Sisters, I felt obliged to share with them the little that I know. Here’s a sketch,
Archbishop Rolly: a sketch
home with him at first meeting—whether they are the poorest of the poor or the richest of the rich. In his lightest moments, he likes to make people laugh, even when the joke is on him—the mark of a truly humble man. Although his easy-going stance could come as a shocker of sorts to some (humorless) people who have fixed ideas about how priests and bishops should talk or behave, Abp. Rolly remains his guileless self. At the press conference following his installation last Nov. 14, he opened his first meeting with the media by saying, “Did you know I am also media? Me diabetes!” It wasn’t a new joke to some, nonetheless it was a good ice breaker, coming from a salt-and-pepper haired prince of the Church. Those present, including a handful of priests, of course got the impression that he would be approachable and easy to deal with. Abp. Rolly is frank, outspoken, and minces no words especially when dealing
And That’s The Truth / A7
more or less: The song “For he’s a jolly good fellow” fits Abp. Rolly to a T. I have never seen him sulking, even when confronted with “situations” that would have burdened anybody else in his position. Even strangers meeting him for the first time are disarmed by his self-confident lightheartedness. Although he comes from a well-off family, Abp. Rolly possesses extraordinary ease in mingling with the masses, which seems to indicate his sincere concern for the poor, those without a voice, so to speak, in society. Many of those at the Nov. 14 installation ceremonies were moved by the way he hugged the Dumagats (in their native attire), but his openness to everyone is an everyday thing for Abp. Rolly—it is reflected in the manner he welcomes especially the lowly ones who approach him with their problems—ever perking things up and putting people at ease with his humor and openness. He has a knack for making people feel at
Advent and Mary
WE are now into the season of Advent. And among the first big events of this season is the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. There is actually a beautiful link between Advent and Mary. And that is the art of expecting. It’s an art that we should try to acquire too. For sure, it is not just a matter of talent, though it helps a lot. Yes, it is a matter of grace, but that grace is always presumed to be given, and quite abundantly, if we don’t put any obstacle. That’s simply because it’s God’s will. It’s an art that we have to learn and cultivate, quite actively and deliberately. We should not just depend on chance or luck for it to come to us. We have to outgrow that mentality. We have to work on it, imbuing the art with the appropriate skill. We need to aggressively develop it because many are now the elements that deaden whatever tendency or sense we have toward this need. As the gospel of the First Sunday of Advent warns us, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.” (Lk 21,25) Mary can help us greatly here. She, who by a most special grace given to her in anticipation of the merits to be gained by his Son for all of us with his passion, death and resurrection, was conceived free from original sin and was full of grace throughout her earthly life. This privilege, of course, did not deprive her of her freedom. She could have said no to God, but instead she said yes—“Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum” (Be it done to me according to your word)—not only once but always. Her difficulty in fath-
Fr. Roy Cimagala
oming God’s plan all the time only made her closer to God through her earnest prayer and obedience. If only for that alone, she already deserves to be emulated. But there’s more that we can learn from her. Since she was the mother of the Son of God, she was the closest person to deal with the God-made-man, our Redeemer and human perfecter. She was always observing our Lord and pondered things in her heart. Then she would act in accordance to what she saw, heard and learned through her pondering and reflections. In other words, her attitude toward Christ was always marked by faith and charity. It was not just a human and natural thing of observing and thinking and not relating things to God’s plan and to her vocation. She was a contemplative in the midst of the most ordinary events of life. We should look at her more closely and consistently amid the ebb and flow of our life, because of all people she is the one who knew exactly how to deal with Christ in a day-to-day basis, something that we also need to learn. Our problem is that we are not consistent in our faith and love for God and, as a consequence, our love for the others. We are good at the beginning, but we often don’t last. We can be good in big events, but we easily dry up when faced with our daily routine of small things. More significantly, we can be good in the material and social aspects in our relationship with Christ, but we can be quite ignorant or bumbling in the spiritual and moral aspects. We can be quite showy in our piety, but we may not know how to nourish it internally to make it burning and
Candidly Speaking / A7
Pedro C. Quitorio
Ronalyn R. Regino
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
Cardinal Tagle, you are a blessing to us!
Fr. Marvin Mejia, Ms. Marge Matthu who made our participation in the celebration a very meaningful one. *** We encourage deep prayers from everyone who love life. The pro- Reproductive Health Bill (RH) lawmakers are bent on passing the bill before their Christmas recess. Let us talk to our lawmakers to reject the passage of RH Bill. The billions of pesos appropriated for its implementation should not be used to buy cancer-causing contraceptives and condoms, instead the money should be spent to build schools and hospitals, supply medicines to barangay health centers, and adjust the salary and hazardous allowance of health workers. Let us reject all pro-RH candidates this coming 2013 elections. It is our constitutional right to vote candidates who value life. *** We were invited to the special screening of “Flames of Love”, a multi-plot story that tackles the pressing issues surrounding the modern-day family - drug addiction, infidelity, promiscuity and abortion. Solid values of faith, family and life, forgiveness and reconciliation are reflected in this movie. It is a “must see” movie for every Filipino families. The premiere showing at SM Megamall is on December 10 and the first day of showing is on 12-12-12, that is, December 12, the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe. Lead characters are portrayed by top dramatic actors such as Christopher de Leon, Dina Bonnevie, Lani Mercado, Ricky Davao, Jacklyn Jose, Allen Dizon, Megan Young and Valerie Concepcion. The movie is written by Baby R. Nebrida, a pro-life advocate who is also executive producer and co-director. *** Happy Birthday to my brother Dr. Andres “Roy” Santiago. Happy 72nd Birthday to our Bishop, Most Rev. Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr., Loida Santuyo, Sr. Averell and Mrs. Monina Lucas, President of Council of the Laity of Kalookan. Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary Fr. Leo Gilbero. Happy Anniversary of the Dedication of San Roque Cathedral and San Ildefonso de Navotas, Kalookan
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
WE were in the pilgrimage tour of Italy organized by Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Laiko) on the occasion of the canonization of Saint Pedro Calungsod when we received the news that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI appointed our very own His Excellency Most Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle as the new cardinal; he is the second youngest member of the College of Cardinals. We just finished a sumptuous lunch of pizza, pasta and gelato at a restaurant in Piazza del Duomo, right in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) in Florence, Italy when our pilgrimage chaplain, Most Rev. Jesse Mercado, received the news through phone call. We were literally shouting with joy and happiness. This blessing to the Filipino people came only three days after the canonization of our second Filipino saint. One month after, His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle received his red hat and ring from Pope Benedict during a consistory at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican. We can only guess what the Pope told Cardinal Tagle because he was seen wiping tears from his eyes when he walked back to his seat. The television networks all over the world caught the very touching scene. I can still remember that during his installation as the new Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Tagle could not help but also cry. This indeed showed the human side of the new Cardinal; he is not ashamed to show his feelings: he cries when he is overwhelmed with happiness; he is not afraid to laugh at himself. This human trait of Cardinal Tagle Chito made him so loved by the Filipinos. His “Word Exposed” series is followed by many, here and abroad. *** As National President of Laiko, this columnist attended the National Thanksgiving Mass on the occasion of the canonization of Saint Pedro Calungsod at the Templete (small temple) in the reclaimed area in Cebu City called South Road Properties (SRP). She was joined by other Laiko officers Dr. Marita
Spaces of Hope Bay San Pedro
“OH, what a coincidence, I am receiving a text for you,” Fr. Greg Gaston, amiable rector of the Collegio Filippino in Rome, told me when I chanced upon him at the porter’s room of the Collegio in the evening of Tuesday 22 October. Earlier, I had missed taking a flight to Cebu from Rome. Although scheduled for Friday with other pilgrims from my travel agency, I needed to go home earlier since my dearest mother, Elena, had died an hour after the Sunday canonization of the new Filipino saint, San Pedro Calungsod. “Your travel agency informs you that you would have to take the Friday flight since Wednesday and Thursday are fully booked,” continued Fr. Greg. I then recalled that earlier I had said to Fr. Charles “Cha-cha” Jayme, the travelling companion of the official statue of San Pedro, “What if I go with you?” in a tone of wishful thinking. That afternoon I decided to visit St. Peter’s Basilica one last time to pray before the monumental statue of St. Helena for the soul of my mother, her namesake. Going through the 1965 bronze door—“Door of the Sacraments”—I noticed mass was going on at the other end of the basilica surrounding the “apse” (i.e. the semicircular area with a semi-dome as ceiling). There was a portable wooden fence to prevent tourists from entering the space to just take pictures. “Vorrei pregare, per favore,” I told the guard in a blue suit expressing my desire to pray. He let me in. I approached St. Helena’s statue and knelt down to pray the rosary alone. I then proceeded to another demarcated section and knelt in front of the tomb of Blessed John Paul 2. Last stop was Michelangelo’s Pieta before exiting around 6:15 pm. I felt greatly consoled. *** The following morning, I concelebrated mass at the Collegio. With my bags on the ready, I approached a Church leader to bless some religious articles. Archbishop Tagle smilingly obliged. In a few hours, he – and others – would have another reason to smile. By 8:30 a.m., Fr. Cha-cha was busy loading the statue of San Pedro into a specially-built capsule for the long journey back to the Philippines – with a brief stopover in Hongkong - for its “Duaw-Nasud” (“Visit Nation”) before the climax at the National Thanksgiving Mass in Cebu City on 30 November. This is 40 days after the canonization. The statue arrived in the NCR on 25 October. It then proceeded to some cities in Northern Luzon until 7 November before travelling across Southern Luzon from 8-13 November. From there it went through Eastern Visayas from 13-15 November before proceeding to Caraga Region from 16-17 November. Then it was off to Northern Mindanao on 18 November, Western Mindanao on 19 November, and Zamboanga Peninsula 20 November. From Mindanao, it proceeded to Central and Western Visayas from 21-26 November before a three-day celebration in Cebu from 26 to 29 November, culminating in the National Thanksgiving Mass. The Visayan lad is indeed making his rounds. One reflects with awe and fascination at the metamorphosis of an ordinary piece of wood, initially transformed by the skillful hands of a Paete woodcarver, and how it has become an object of veneration. There are several layers to this veneration, called dulia to distinguish it from the worship (latria) due to Almighty God alone. It is a symbol of San Pedro Calungsod whose canonization serves as a full-proof seal of his martyrdom for love of Christ. The statue participates in the honor given to San Pedro. Then, before being committed to the public, the statue is blessed; consecrating it to inspire faith. A third layer is the actual usage of the symbol among the faithful. I participated in the constellation of liturgical celebrations featuring the statue: from the procession along a busy street of Rome near Sta. Prudenciana Church, the center for Filipino chaplaincy, to the Thanksgiving Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica a day after the canonization. The statue was truly saturated by the collective and sanctifying prayers of believers. *** We arrived at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport and I assisted Fr. Cha-cha in carrying San Pedro’s capsule. Any impressions that Italians have become purely secular quickly disappeared. The airline staff, informed beforehand of their special guest, unabashedly displayed veneration for the saint Approaching the counter, I introduced myself and asked for a seat while mentioning about my ticket scheduled for Friday. “Yes, we can accommodate you,” was the quick reply. “What a wonderful gift from San Pedro,” I told myself trying to contain a yell. At that moment he had become my companion, rather than the other way around. Before long, we were the first to board. As we neared the metal tube that connected to the plane, our Italian ground steward suddenly exclaimed, “What a rare sight!” It was a pettirosso, a robin. Our friend—with mouth and eyes wide open—informed us that this was molto strano (“very strange”) After hopping on the ground, the bird quickly flew into the tube as if leading us into the plane. At the juncture where the tube branched out in the direction either of the plane or the maintenance entrance, it chose the latter and disappeared from our sight. We were provided very ample leg room inside the plane with the special capsule having its own seat, courtesy of an anonymous donor. It was actually standing before the seat, secured by a safety belt. We were returning home to the Philippines with a very special companion. *** The pettirosso is a very common small European singing bird, often chubby and with no pronounced neck. It is usually found in gardens. Adults have a breast that has an orange color while the rest of the plumage is dark olive. Despite its small dimensions, it is known for its bold behavior. It is a lively bird, often following people in gardens to take advantage of the disturbed earth that yield worms, a favorite food. Its persistent and repeated call is heard all year round and even during nightfall. According to a legend, the pettirosso obtained its orange chest from the spurt of blood from Jesus’ crown of thorns as the bird attempted to remove the crown with its beak as Jesus hang on the cross. Another legend has it a symbol of the New Year, associating the robin with the passage from winter into the newness of spring. The “Catechetical Primer on San Pedro Calungsod” describes the physical hardships of the Marianas mission. Still other missionaries remember “Pedro to be a boy with a very good disposition, a virtuous catechist, a faithful assistant, a good Catholic.” During those dark moments just prior to their martyrdom, to enable their would-be killers to cool down, we are told that “Padre Diego and Pedro gathered the children and some adults of the village at the nearby shore and started chanting with them the truths of the Catholic Faith.”
Spaces of Hope / A6
Wasan, Dr. Amelita Dayrit-Go, Mrs. Gigi Bautista and Mr. Polly Carandang. His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, main presider and who celebrated his 41st Episcopal Anniversary on the same day, encouraged the faithful to emulate the life of Saint Pedro Calungsod. He discouraged the Filipinos to be “dual citizen”—being a good Christian but not being a good citizen; that in his everyday life, the faithful must always follow and be guided by the laws of God. Concelebrants are the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines His Excellency Giuseppe Pinto, His Eminences Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, His Excellency Jose Palma, Archbishop of Cebu and CBCP President, and more than 50 bishops and thousands of clergy. Also present was Archbishop of Guam His Excellency Anthony Apuron. National and local officials joined the celebration led by President Benigno Aquino III and Governor Gwen Garcia of Cebu. The latter stated that more than 1.2 million faithful from Cebu and all the four corners of the Philippines and abroad attended the ceremony. Practically a huge sea of people held long processions from the north and south of Cebu and converged at SRP. They came from different parishes with their respective patron saints on their beautifully-decorated carozas. A fluvial procession of San Pedro Calungsod image was held during which the pilgrim statue was brought to the Templete. On the last day of the Triduum, Archbishop Palma presided over the Dedication of The Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod. The hundred million peso worth modern type of architecture chapel was the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry and Teresita Sy to the Archdiocese of Cebu. We were told that the chapel was built in less than 5 months. Congratulations to the Archdiocese of Cebu for the well-organized celebration! Many thanks to Fr. Fran Villegas, Seminarians Billy Cortez, Zenon Guanzon, Jose de Dios III, Girls Scouts of the Philippines Regional Coordinator Ms. Aida Saromines and sons Hans and Vans, their friend Stephen,
2012: A challenging year
THE year 2012 is almost over. How would our readers assess the past 11 months? As far as the government is concerned, it has achieved a growth in its Gross Domestic Product of 7.1% which was described by some as a “pleasant surprise.” However, if one’s to seriously look into what’s going on in the Philippines, despite the widelypublicized growth, Filipinos still flock to various countries for work. The latest figures revealed most of them are in the Middle East. What is worrisome is the fact the European Union and the United States still have to recover from a serious economic meltdown. The Middle East is undergoing some changes, several of them by way of violence, which may in a way endanger our very own compatriots. More Filipinos are under-employed. It is common practice for one to look for additional work to make both ends meet. The 2012 seems to be no different from the previous years as media practitioners get killed every now and then. Enforced disappearances and killings of militants have continued. There must be some explanation to all these. Unemployment has remained as it is which simply means we haven’t had some serious investors creating more decent jobs. While the government has continued upbeat on Public-Private Partnership, the joke among media circles is that it has remained Power Point Presentations. While the government looks at food security, it appears we have a long way to go as prime commodities’ prices have con-
Melo M. Acuña
Issues and Concerns
tinued to go up. It’s surprising that more and more Filipinos are shifting to noodles (which some manufactures claim they’ve fortified with vitamins and minerals). Despite all these problems, it appears most Filipinos have maintained the penchant for mobile phones. Even the residents of depressed areas have a mobile phone or two. What has happened to the campaign against graft and corruption? Well, the usual suspects are still in jail. Some have been accused for plunder. Nobody in this country has been accused of “blunder” anyway. How did our foreign relations fare? Did our diplomats and consular officials succeed in protecting Filipino nationals in their respective areas of responsibility? Were we able to convey the country’s position on sensitive issues like the South China Sea and its small shoals? Do we have a clear-cut strategy and media campaign to project our country’s position in international diplomacy? As they say hope springs eternal and we can always look forward to a better year. Hoping is still tax-free. I am just as concerned as everybody else is with the personalities running for public office during the midterm polls in May 2013. Some politicians are even running unopposed. A question remains: Are these candidates the best the country can produce? With the “epal” candidates seeking election to office, I am reminded of the illegal explosives some manufacturers continue to produce. It’s simply called “Goodbye, Philippines.”
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
“DAAAD! Not agheeein!” Dianne gritted her teeth as she tried to calm herself down. [KLINK! CLANK! CLANG!] She began sweeping the mosaic of coffee stained kitchen utensils, broken ceramic cups and plates, grains of rice and chunks of half-eaten fried chicken and fish. [SILENCE!] Dianne was biting her lower lip to keep herself from saying anything more. The tension was just too much that she couldn’t keep herself from crying. “How much longer must I bear with this?” she whispered. [SNIFFLE] “Mommy!” Arianne surprised her by suddenly entering through the backyard door. “Honey, why do you have to always come in that way?” “I wanted to check if my flower seedlings are already blooming,” she replied. “But dear, you just planted them three days ago,” Dianne couldn’t help being amused. “Hi grandpa!” Arianne embraced her grandfather. “You know what grandpa, I just planted some flower seeds. They’re your favorite CHRY… CHRYSAN…?” “Chrysanthemums, Arianne,” her mother said. “Oh yeah, those …thingies that you loved. When they grow, I will put them in a vase for your room.” Dianne finally finished sweeping the mess on the floor. “Arianne, you had better prepare your stuff for our class with Fr. Diego.” “That’s right, thanks mom!” Arianne embraced her grandfather and planted a kiss on his balding head.
‘He’s just there’
The children eagerly raised their hands in the air. Fr. Diego, who was a cheerful priest, chuckled. “Now, now… Let’s not get too excited. You know that everyone will have his or her turn.” Arianne beamed with joy and turned around to look for her mother who was seated with other mothers some pews behind them. “Now, who can tell me why we should visit Jesus in Church and keep Him company whenever we can?” The children started raising their tiny hands up. “Because he’s lonely?” one girl said. Yes… And you…,” Fr. Diego called another. “’Coz he loves us?” “…aha, that’s good… And you Arianne?” Arianne stood up and in a confident voice said, “Because He’s just there!” “What do you mean, child,” the priest asked. “That Jesus is just there for us. He can’t walk, he can’t talk… He’s just there. But he listens, he loves us and protects us.” Dianne, who was attentively hearing all of this, began to cry. She simply brushed her reaction saying, “Oh, it’s nothing…I’m just emotional about Arianne’s first communion.” Later on she confided that at that very moment she recalled our Lord’s words in Scripture, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and
*** “Aren’t you excited Arianne?” Dianne asked. “This will be your last class in preparation for your first holy communion this Sunday, the feast of Christ the King!” “Yes, mama! Can grandpa come along too?” “Ah…, I think it’s better he doesn’t. He’s not the same grandpa as before. ‘Sides, we have to have him close to a washroom in case he has to go.” “[SIGH!] I miss him,” Arianne said while looking at herself in the full length mirror while her mother fixed her hair and dress. “Arianne, can I ask you something?” “What, mommy?” “Why do you enjoy talking and being with grandpa when he can no longer talk to you or even carry you on his lap to play your favorite rodeo ride?” “I guess ‘coz he’s just there, mommy.” “What exactly do you mean, dear?” “He’s just there quietly listening and maybe laughing and telling jokes inside.” “You really believe that, honey?” “Of course, mama. Why…? Don’t you?” “Let’s go, we might be late,” Dianne evaded her daughter’s question. *** “Well children, this is your last class before Sunday, your first holy communion,” Fr. Diego said. “Are you all ready to receive Jesus then?” “YES!!!” the children replied enthusiastically. “Okay, now let me ask you some more questions, just to make sure that you’re ready.”
Whatever / A7
WHILE torrential rains and howling winds pounded the country’s south, another “storm” started brewing in the plenary hall of Congress on December 4 as rejection of proposed amendments to the reproductive health (RH) bill took place amid what seemed to be a lack of quorum, with discrepancies between the number of solons present and the results of nominal voting being discovered by vigilant anti-RH solons. After the body concluded consideration of Cebu Representative Pablo Garcia’s proposed amendments, Cagayan de Oro Rufus Rodriguez proceeded to present his own amendments, one of which pertained to government respect for religious freedom as well. The amendment was rejected by the body, with a total of 139 votes from House members present on the floor, after which Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay – apparently noticing a discrepancy in numbers – made a parliamentary inquiry, questioning presiding officer Lorenzo Tañada III’s decision to deny Rodriguez’s amendment, given the absence of a quorum. The presence of 144 members is required for a quorum to be declared. Decisions arrived at in the absence of a quorum – when a member questions the quorum – are rendered void. A commotion over the apparent inaccuracy of the votecounting ensued, prompting Representative Janette Garin to make a motion for suspension. Simultaneously, Palawan Representative Dennis Socrates made a motion for adjournment; when Tañada announced, “session is suspended,” Socrates pointed out that his motion must be dealt with first because according to the rules, a motion for adjournment takes precedence of a motion to suspend. Rodriguez seconded Socrates’ motion, asserting the need to adjourn session and not merely suspend. The Cagayan de Oro solon explained that since journals – which contain summaries
motion for suspension,” related one of the young life advocates in the galleries who monitors House proceedings regularly, and who stayed till nearly midnight and left with a hundred or so other anti-RH citizens out of the hall. Pro-RH legislators quietly slipped out of the plenary hall soon after despite the non-resolution of pending motions. By close to 11:30 the floor was nearly empty, leaving only a handful of anti-RH solons including Socrates, Magsaysay, Rodriguez, Karlo Nograles of Davao, Jose Aquino of Agusan del Norte, Hermilando Mandanas of Batangas, Rachel del Mar of Cebu, and Michael Velarde of Buhay Party List. Also present besides some 100 life advocates from different dioceses, schools and civic groups were Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles and CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) chair Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes. Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias watched
December 3 - 30, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 25
Discrepancies in RH vote count bared in Congress
the proceedings earlier but left before the controversial discrepancies in vote-counting surfaced. The atmosphere was a mixture of jubilation over the apparent victory on attempts at deception regarding voting results, and solemnity as Fr. Melvin Castro, ECFL executive secretary, enjoined everyone to pray. Arguelles led the prayer, followed by a singing of the Lord’s Prayer. Life advocates in the hall walked out of the venue chanting “Ibagsak RH bill!” Pro-life legislators vowed to question the said decision and threatened to boycott further deliberations on other matters such as the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the budget, if yesterday’s pending decision will not be resolved. Pro-life legislators asked concerned individuals and citizens opposed to the RH bill to be present during the deliberations and to offer prayers for honest proceedings concerning the strongly opposed measure. (CBCP for Life)
Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes and Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles (second and third from right) confer with each other after the House session on RH Bill, Dec. 4. Bishops, priests, religious and lay advocates filled up the gallery to show support for pro-life solons.
of House proceedings – can be prepared only after adjournment of each session, this needs to be prioritized to be able to determine the results of nominal voting that took place on December 3 and 4. “The people have a right to know the results of the nominal voting and how each representative voted,” the Palawan
lawmaker pointed out. Tañada later walked out of the venue without declaring any decision as to either the adjournment or the duration of the suspension. “He just left the session hall without addressing three motions – Socrates’s motion for adjournment, Magsaysay’s parliamentary inquiry, and Garin’s
Calungsod parish seeks to bring hope to informal settlers
A NEW parish named for the country’s second saint and focused on serving a community for informal settlers has been created in Muntinlupa City. The San Pedro Calungsod QuasiParish was established last October 14 by Parañaque Bishop Jesse Mercado to address the spiritual needs of the residents. The parish covers the housing resettlement projects for informal settlers in the 50-hectare portion of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) reservation. Fr. Benjamin Molina Jr., parish priest, said they see the need that is present, and the church wants to reach out to the people in the area with around 50,000 population. “The quasi-parish envisions itself as a church of the poor, a refuge for those seeking hope and healing, a venue for people to be agents of change through
Vote / A1
Consistory / A1
CBCP For Life
spiritual formation and livelihood programs,” he said. Molina said among the parish’s priorities is to intensify teaching the life and faith of Calungsod among the parishioners. “We’ve been holding catechism on the life of San Pedro Calungsod in different venues including public schools,” Molina said. While the parish has no church yet, Molina said he currently hold office and services at a covered court managed by the National Housing Authority (NHA). Aware of the conditions of the residents, the parish also administers sacraments like baptism, marriage including funeral and house blessings without parish fees or “arancel”. “We bring the sacraments closer to the people for free,” said Molina, who
currently resides at the Ina ng Awa Parish Church’s convent inside the NBP minimum security compound. On December 29, the parish will also hold a Christmas gift-giving activity for around 2,000 children in the NBP reservation. According to canon law, a quasi-parish is a community of faithful within a particular Church, entrusted to a priest, but because of special circumstances not yet established as a parish. Following Calungsod’s canonization, church officials expect that more parishes across the country will be established in honor of the Visayan martyr who was canonized in Rome last October 21. In Cebu, the Pedro Calungsod Parish Church stands in barangay Cantabaco, Toledo City although there is another plan to build another parish church for the new saint in Talamban town. (RL/CBCPNews) call of the moment. Whether there will be an official stand or not, it will be there.” Bastes said a campaign informing the faithful about candidates and their positions on the controversial population control measure opposed by the Church was underway. “I already told my priests about it,” he said. Arguelles pointed out that Filipinos have been electing politicians who have not resolved the ills of our country and that there is a need for leaders who respect the value of life. “We have been changing leaders pero pare-pareho din. I think it is high time that we do something. I think it is a matter of our religious commitment,” the prelate said. (CBCPNews / CBCP for Life)
people,” he pointed out. Jumoad said if people really adhere to the catholic faith then they will surely follow the teachings of the church. President Benigno Aquino during his meeting on December 3 with allies made clear his preference to have the RH bill voted upon before Congress adjourned for the Christmas break. On December 2, ECFL Chairman and Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes called on the faithful to pray and fast as lawmakers meet again for another round of discussion on the amendments and possibly vote on the measure. Life advocates and members of lay organizations trooped in droves to Congress the following day to
Red Army / A1
show their support to antiRH solons with their presence. Bishop’s support for lay initiative Lipa Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles expressed his support for initiatives of the laity to push for a “Catholic vote.” When asked about certain movements from lay organizations to push for a Catholic vote, the prelate said, “Of course, of course! That is what I am saying all the time.” Arguelles also revealed that bishops are already initiating moves to educate the faithful on what to consider when voting. “We are trying to encourage good Catholics and I think there are people re-
sponding to that to join us,” he said. The bishop further clarified that a “Catholic vote” is ‘bloc voting,’ which others may think it is, but simply a suggested choice for a better alternative. Arguelles emphasized that the initiative for a Catholic vote will stay and a mandate from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is not required to make it official since each bishop is independent and directly under the pope. He mentioned that other prelates such as Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes have expressed the same support for this push for a Catholic vote and that he is optimistic other bishops will see the need for it “because this is the
hold; His Beatitude, Bechara Boutros Raï, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch in Lebanon; His Beatitude, Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum in India and head of the Syro-Malankara Church; Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria; Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogotá, Colombia; and Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in the Philippines. Stressing that the Church is not of a single group but embraces the whole of humanity, the “universality of the Church,” the pope said, “flows from the universality of God’s unique plan of salvation for the world.” He said it is “within the context and the perspective of the Church’s universality” that the College of Cardinals is situated: “it presents a variety of faces, because it expressed the face of the universal Church.” “In this Consistory, I want to highlight in particular the fact that the Church is the Church of all peoples, and so she speaks in the various cultures of the different continents. She is the Church of Pentecost: amid the polyphony of the various voices, she raises a single harmonious song to the living God,” the pope said. With their elevation to the College of Cardinals, the new princes of the church were given titular churches in Rome to indicate their bond and intimate link to the See of Peter.
APECO / A1
The pope said the rite “expresses the supreme value of fidelity”, thus reminding the new cardinals of the significance of the consistory in the Church. The Cardinals during consistory are given a ring to symbolize unity, and a red biretta to signify their willingness to die for Christ and His Church. Kneeling before the pope to be bestowed with the red biretta and the ring, each new cardinal proclaimed the words, which, according to the pope have profound spiritual and ecclesial significance: “I promise and I swear, from now on and for as long as I live, to remain faithful to Christ and his Gospel, constantly obedient to the Holy Apostolic Roman Church.” The red biretta, said the pope, is a reminder that “you must be ready to conduct yourselves with fortitude, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and well-being of the people of God.” The pope also consigned each cardinal with a ring “accompanied by the admonition”: “Know that your love for the Church is strengthened by your love for the Prince of the Apostles.” As the pope’s closest advisers, among the main duties of the Cardinals is to call a conclave to elect a new pope when the papacy becomes vacant. (CBCPNews)
many people who are against it,” Reyes said. “The bishops are saying ‘please don’t hurry this bill because it’s a very important bill. Let there be more discussions because it will have a very big impact on the country in the long run,’” he added. Aside from Tagle and Reyes, other signatories of the statement included Bishops Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, Deogracias Iñiguez of Kalookan, Jose Oliveros of Malolos, Antonio Tobias of Novaliches, and Jesse Mercado of Parañaque. Bishops Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig, Leo Drona of San Pablo, Leopoldo Tumulak of the Military Ordinariate, Pedro Arigo of Puerto Princesa, Edgardo Juanich of Taytay also signed the statement. Auxiliary Bishops Francisco De Leon of Antipolo and Broderick Pabillo and Bernardino Cortez of Manila and Fr. George Morales, Diocesan Administrator of Imus also joined Cardinal Tagle’s appeal. Earlier, Reyes called on lawmakers to make known their position on the RH bill instead of hiding under the cloak of “ayes” or nays”. Last August, lawmakers in Congress had voted to end the plenary debates on the measure through the viva voce vote. Denial Reyes belied a newspaper report quoting a member of the House majorHomilies / A1
ity that he attended a supposed meeting between lawmakers and some bishops on the RH bill. The bishop also denied giving inputs to the “substitute bill” of the HB 4244. He said Speaker Feliciano Belmonte could attest that he was not part of any meeting on the measure. “This is a malicious misrepresentation by the anonymous member of the House majority,” Reyes said. Malacañang ‘raid’ Fr. Melvin Castro, ECFL executive secretary, said that with the Church’s “red army” occupying most of the seats in the gallery, it only indicates that many people are against the measure. However, he said, Malacañang is doing everything to get the majority of lawmakers into their side even if it means, “raiding the pro-life ranks.” “Malacañang is monitoring the ‘solid’ votes of the anti-RH and calls them up and persuades them to soften up because ‘it’s shameful to the Speaker, it’s shameful to the President,’” he said. “To all of us: If we can live to see that our children grows up in an environment of contraceptive mentality and anti-natalist attitude, then let us give up the fight. If we can, in conscience, grow old and face the Author of life someday knowing that we did not dare to stand up against the RH Bill today, then let us throw-in the towel.” ily, saying that part of the Mass should be spent referring to the Word of God. “You must be faithful to the Word of God. If you want, you may just connect the prevailing issues in your homily but the Scriptures should be the basis so that people listening to you will be nourished spiritually,” he advised priests. Asis also stressed the significance of a
“But I know, in the deepest recesses of our hearts, we cannot accept a country governed by unjust and immoral laws. I know that we cannot accept that the Church, the one Church founded by Christ, continues to be a punching bag of many politicians. I know that, in the end, we shall stand-up for what is right and true,” Castro said. Impact of numbers For a youth, how the RH Bill vote will turn out depends, to some extent, on the presence of visibly committed supporters—something they are calling the ‘impact of numbers’. “We see the impact of what our numbers in the gallery can do. When we come here our legislators actually think twice [whether they will be] voting yes or no on particular issues,” said Kiboy Tabada of UP for Life. Dani Villanueva, Antipolo diocesan youth coordinator, said the physical presence of anti-RH Bill supporters will always translate to a concrete message legislators can understand. “We took the advantage, the opportunity of being near to the Congress. (sic) [To be] aggressive in terms of making ourselves… felt by our legislators,” he explained. Villanueva said they will continue to be visible during sessions in Congress, especially for the RH bill issue. As of Dec. 6, the Congress has failed to put the RH bill into a vote. (With reports from Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz) well-delivered homily to the lay. “People really listen to the homily, especially during Sunday Mass because for them, it is nourishment that will give them strength throughout the week,” he said. This is why if priests are able to deliver a good homily, Asis said, “people are expected to come again to attend Mass to be nourished.” (YouthPinoy)
undertake review “towards a possible review of the Apeco laws.” Fr. Joefran Talaban, Task Force AntiApeco spokesperson, claimed that for five years already, the lands and livelihoods of Casiguran’s poor and the Agtas have been endangered by the Aurora ecozone. “Dozens of fisherfolk families have been displaced by the creation of Apeco’s airport without any kind of relocation, and numerous farmers have been harassed and deceived by Apeco’s land buyers,” he said. “Agtas’ rightful claims to their ancestral domains have been consistently disrespected by the Freeport authority, and various incidents of environmental degradation such as illegal logging, mangrove clearing and river quarrying have taken place,” said Talaban. Critics claimed the laws that have been violated by the project have been legion— not least because of the massive land displacements “that it has threatened to orchestrate”. “Disturbingly”, they said, the ecozone authority has yet to be held accountable for these lapses. “Apeco has been a waste of public funds, a danger to the livelihoods of Casiguran’s poor, and a disgrace to the good governance thrust of the present administration,” Talaban said. “If President Aquino truly wishes to see the genuine upliftment of Aurora’s
Spaces of Hope / A5
people and the pursuit of his ‘straight path’, his task today is crystal clear: he must suspend the activities of Apeco, while protecting the lands and resources of the farmers, fisherfolk and IP’s of Casiguran,” he added. In June 2010, Talaban escaped unhurt when unidentified men strafed the rectory of his parish convent in Casiguran. The attack, he claimed, was tied to his lobbying against the ecozone. The CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) said they are one with the protesters in calling for the repeal of the RA 10083 that declares the vast private and public land in Aurora as privileged territory of the Apeco. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Nassa chairman, said that aside from the non-consultation on the eco-zone, he also lamented alleged widespread human rights violations and displacement of residents in the project’s impact zone. He stressed that it is high time for Aquino, who ran on the platform of good governance, to act on the many concerns raised against the Apeco. “We challenge the sincerity of this government to effect promised changes and we hope it starts by upholding the well-being of the poor and marginalized over the designs of the powerful politicians behind questionable legislations like Apeco,” Pabillo said. (RL/ CBCPNews)
being celebrated by the Catholic world calls for the proclamation of faith through the homily. “Homilies are a form of catechesis so priests have to prepare and study the Gospel reading and Scripture for the day,” he said. Asis discouraged priests against cracking jokes or commenting on popular political or social issues in their hom-
Interestingly, the primer continues, the lack of definitive indicators about Pedro’s island of origin has a message: “For according to Fr. Ignacio Francisco Alcina, SJ, who worked in the Visayas during the time of Pedro, ‘bissaya’ means ‘a happy man’, ‘a man of fine and pleasant disposition.’ And this is how Pedro is described by his companions in their accounts of his martyrdom: that he was a lad of ‘very good disposition,’ and that he was a ‘fortunate [happy] youth’ because he lived and died for the Christian Faith.” Perhaps the pettirosso’s appearance was no mere coincidence. *** The physical center of the 30 November National Thanksgiving Mass
for San Pedro is a “templete” (Spanish for “a small temple”) at the South Road Properties of Cebu City, a pyramidinspired structure symbolizing the “transcendence of faith” akin to San Pedro’s martyrdom. From half a million to a million pilgrims are expected. With “New Evangelization” as the catchword for the Year of Faith, and the Christian-Catholic faith facing many challenges—not the least the youth, who are “not turning away, they are simply not being reached”—from growing secularism, the national event can ignite new spaces of hope for Church and country. San Pedro is truly a joyful, God-given “Bay” (Cebuano “Kaabay” or “companion”). Viva San Pedro—Mabuhi, Mabuhay ka!
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
Diocesan process for Canonization of Bishop Verzosa begins
VIGAN City— With two Filipino lay saints already raised in the altar, a member of the clergy may in time join the ranks as the process for the Cause of Canonization of Bishop Alfredo Florentin Verzosa opens in Vigan. The first Ilocano bishop, Bishop Versoza will become Servant of God on January 11 next year as the Cause of his Beatification and Canonization formally opens during a 10 a.m. Mass at Vigan’s St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, where his remains are kept. A native of Vigan, Versoza became the 1st Filipino bishop and the 2nd Ordinary of the Diocese of Lipa from 1916 until his retirement in 1950. He co-founded a religious congregation for women with Madre Laura Lattore Mendoza, called the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart. During the Lipa apparition in 1948, he witnessed some of the miracles of the Roses together with his auxiliary bishop, the Servant of God Bishop Alfredo Obviar whose cause for beatification and canonization started in 2001. The life of the soon-to-be Servant of God was known through the work of Fr. Ericson Josue, a priest from the diocese of Laoag and a professor of Theology at the Vigan Seminary. Josue published the book “Alfredo Versoza, Obispo: The Life and Legacy of the Fourth Filipino Roman Catholic Bishop” back in 2007. Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles will join Nueva Segovia Archbishop Ernesto Salgado during the Eucharistic celebration to formally open the diocesan process. Arguelles himself ordered for a reinvestigation of the Lipa apparitions back in 2009. In a circular sent to the clergy and faithful of Lipa, Arguelles encouraged all Batangueños “to make the same
Knights of Columbus to prove ‘Catholic vote’ is real
Photo grabbed from Facebook
Bishop Alfredo Verzosa
This file photo shows the Knights of Columbus in Manila during the nationwide “Walk for Life” held in March 2012.
CALAMBA City—“Catholic vote” is real and the Knights of Columbus (KoC) in Laguna are warning Reproductive Health (RH) Bill politicians not to discredit it. During a round-table discussion among officers of the Knights of Columbus (KoC) in the diocese, an officer who requested anonymity as he is not authorized to speak for the group, said if PRO-RH politicians would like to challenge us then we will prove to them that they could not just ignore our Catholic force. We have indeed a “Catholic Vote”. In view of the Aquino Administration’s and pro-RH lawmakers’ push to pass the controversial measure, KC officers in the diocese have already committed their active involvement in the massive series of protest rallies planned by the Diocesan Commission of Family and Life headed by Fr. Edwin Lusterio throughout Laguna in the coming days. The KC officers declared their unanimous support to the protest rallies slated for the whole month of February 2013—being a Pro-Life Month —in various places in the province. The schedule of protests dubbed as “Walk for Life” against RH bill would be held first in District 1 on February 2 from 7 a.m. to 12 noon, followed by the next protest rally in District 2 on February 9 also from 7 a.m. to 12 noon. The next schedule would be in District 4 on February 16 at the same time and followed by the protest rally in District 5 on February 23. The specific venues of the anti-RH rallies would be announced later, according to Lusterio. The KC officer said the culmination protest that would accentuate the entire February series of activities would occur on the later days of March, where a Diocesan–wide “Walk for Life” protest march is expected to take place with the attendance of thousands of Catholics and Christians who support the cause in defense of the dignity of human life. Fr. Rolando Abarca, Director of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) in San Pablo Diocese told priests and laity officers and members of the council to unite and fight against forces that militate against life and want to destroy and discredit the Catholic Church for its unwavering defense for life. (Fr. Romy Ponte)
pilgrimage to the tomb of our former bishop and show our support for the eventual raising of a worthy shepherd in the altar.” (Mark Vertido/CBCPNews)
Palo archdiocese marks diamond jubilee
PALO, Leyte—The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Palo has marked its 75 years as a Church on Nov. 28 with a solemn Eucharistic celebration led by Cebu Archbishop-emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. The archdiocesan spokesperson, Fr. Amadeo Alvero, in an interview said the celebration began with the rite of opening of the Jubilee Door followed by the Holy Mass at the Palo Metropolitan Cathedral. Cardinal Vidal led the Mass together with Palo Archbishop John Du and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, who was Palo’s archbishop for four years. Some 33 other arch/bishops around the country and 100 members of the clergy in
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nearby dioceses also joined the celebration. The diamond jubilee will be a whole-year event, wherein a particular sector within the archdiocese is given prominence and celebrated each month. The celebration this December 2012 is dedicated to and taken care of by families; January 2013 by faith communities; February is for senior citizens; March for workers; April for the youth; May for social communications and mass media; June, businessmen and professionals; July for schools and educators; August for liturgical ministries; September for clergy and seminarians; October for the Basic Eccletable and a bangko (wooden bench). Guess what he ordered. Instant cup noodles, which he consumed with as much gusto as he would a bowl of French onion soup at a five-star hotel. Abp. Rolly is a real “tatay” to his priests—this is something the clergy of Nueva Caceres has already heard of and welcomes with enthusiasm. In Infanta, priests did not have to ask for an appointment to see him; they were free to come and go in his residence—which he used to call “bahay kubo” because it is literally a bahay kubo made of bamboo and nipa—kawayan at pawid). There are no indications that he will change his pastoring style in his new assignment. His friends and those who know him also hope he will continue with his annual anymore, said Picardal, as he noticed in his visits to BECs built and strengthened in Luzon and Visayas regions. “BECs should be holistic and not just only liturgical or beautification of the chapels,” said Picardal, adding that addressing social issues like the environment, drugs, and poverty should be part of the BECs. Fr. Ronald Lunas, another BEC expert and professor of St. Francis Xavier Regional Christian life, because “any inconsistency will ultimately lead to the breakdown of human society.” “In regard to the self we must exercise self mastery, in regard to others, justice, in regard to environment, care and respect. In every level, we exercise restraint, for that is the nature of rational beings,” he added. No shortcut to holiness Reflecting on modern day’s take on love, the cardinal noted that present generation’s idea of love is rather selfish and self-seeking. “It seeks the easy way out, it seeks fulfillment without facing consequences. It does not assume responsibility,” said the diminutive cardinal, his voice booming. He said the real meaning of love—a love that edifies and purified by faith—must be taught to the young of today. “This is the love that we must teach our young, not the love that is self-seeking, not the love that sets no limits
sial Communities (BEC); and November for the culmination of the year-long event. Alvero disclosed that Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle will grace the closing celebration of the Diamond Jubilee in November 2013. “We actually planned to have a simple closing but when Cardinal Tagle said that he will celebrate the closing mass, I think the closing ceremony will no longer become special but extraordinary,” Alvero furthered. Meanwhile, Palo Archbishop John Du in his jubilee message that was uploaded in Youtube speaks on the significance of the historic affair and calls on the faithful to grow in holiness and birthday celebration with a Mass and dinner at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Broadway, New Manila, in Quezon City. It is one celebration that reflects the diligence and dedication with which Abp. Rolly regards the works that keep him busy as a shepherd. During such celebrations, the highlight of the evening would be a Power Point presentation showing the progress of the different projects in his diocese. The presentation would feature fresh photographs of the projects (from building a school to establishing livelihood concerns) about which Abp. Rolly would update guests extemporaneously, spiking his heavy report with candid trivia and characteristic humor. Is there anything or any situation Abp. Rolly cannot Major Seminary in Mindanao, deepened the foundation of BECs according to Vatican II’s view of the Church as People of God, Body of Christ and Temple of the Holy Spirit. He said this Trinitarian view calls for participation, communion and mission, making the Church grow in faith. Lunas, who is also Director on Interreligious Dialogue Ministry of the Diocese of Digos, emphasized PCPII’s vision to the self, not the love that robs lovers of their soul, but the love that gives dignity, the love that edifies, the love that ennobles,” he said. He acknowledged that following the right thing is not always easy. But emphasizing on the life of the young saint, he said the love that St. Pedro has shown “can point us to the future because it is timeless.” It is a love that is patterned after than of Christ, he said. “Other forms of love make a semblance of sacrifice, though they are merely acts of despair. Others give no value to sacrifice at all because they are merely acts of self-seeking. True love, pure love flows from the heart of Jesus crucified,” the cardinal stressed. Vidal also urged the people to exercise patience and perseverance as they strive to live faithfully their Christian life, saying “there is no short cut to holiness.” “We all have to learn to wait, to be patient, to strive our
sanctity in daily life and live with extraordinary love. The archdiocese was elevated to a diocese on November 28, 1937. It became an archdiocese in 1982, with Calbayog, Borongan, Catarman and Naval Diocese serving as its suffragans. Currently, it has 63 parishes, 1 chaplaincy and 13 mission stations, divided into two districts: the Eastern District which is the waray-waray speaking areas comprising the vicariates of Tacloban, Carigara, Burauen, Chancery seminary, Abuyog and Palo; and the Western District composed of Cebuano speaking people comprising the vicariates of Ormoc and Palompon. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews) turn into launching pad for laughter and lively anecdotes? Months after the killer typhoon that submerged many parts of the diocese of Infanta, he was showing me around the affected areas. We reached a populated site where huge logs were stuck by the road. He pointed at a particular spot and solemnly said, “That log killed my priest.” He was referring to Fr. Carlito Colendres who was out rescuing flood victims when the waters carried him away and got him trapped in the logs, causing his death. That was the only time I saw Abp. Rolly still and silent for so long, in public, and with head bowed. Respecting his silence I kept my distance; he was praying for the soul of the deceased priest—a spiritual son. of the Church as community of the disciples of Christ and Church of the Poor towards integral evangelization. Both experts spoke before the 321 delegates of the 1st Mindanao BEC assembly last November 19 to 22, participated by bishops, religious and lay leaders challenging the ordained ministers to inspire the laity in making BECs not just like any church organization but as a way of life. (John Frances C. Fuentes) best every day, to have faith in God” as lack of patience and perseverance can only lead us to infidelity, he said. Joining Vidal in the Eucharistic celebration were Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president; Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, Cebu-born Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, apostolic nuncio to Korea; Manila Archbishop-emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana, Guam and hundreds of bishops and priests from all over the country and abroad. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, Vice President Jejomar Binay and some Cabinet members and Senate officials were also around during the Mass. Cebu local officials led by Governor Gwen Garcia and Mayor Michael Rama also attended the celebration. (CBCPNews)
with the oppressors of the poor—corrupt politicians, land-grabbing millionaires, etc.—that’s when you won’t see him laughing or joking. Another striking aspect of his character is simplicity: he goes around visiting barangays and inspecting projects wearing only a white “kamiseta” (undershirt) and old comfortable pants—the better to endear him to ordinary folk. One new year’s eve when all around was fireworks and festivity, he came out of his bahay kubo to join the fun, also in his kamiseta, with dog in tow. He knows and enjoys good food, but is very Carmelite in his detachment: once on a trip from Manila to Infanta, he got hungry; we stopped at a small roadside eatery—maybe about four square meters big with a tiny
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Diocese holds sporting event to promote vocations
BACOLOD City―In a bid to deepen awareness among the faithful the importance of religious vocation in the church, the Diocesan Commission on Vocations has recently organized a fun run, walk and bike event that drew about 2,000 participants, mostly from various Catholic schools and running and biking enthusiasts in Bacolod City. Dubbed “Burn for the Faith”, the activity was held by the Sacred Heart Seminary (SHS) community despite its meager resources and lack of experience in handling the event. The Burn for the Faith: Fun Run, Walk and Bike event is just one of the series of activities lined up by the Commission in line with the celebration of the Vocation Awareness Month. (Adsum Staff)
Diocesan Vocfest gather thousands of youth
TAGAYTAY City— More than 2,000 young people, seminarians, priests and nuns gathered for an overnight celebration of the 7th Vocation Festival of the Diocese of Imus at the Rogationist College in Tagaytay City. Held last November 17 and 18, and themed “Bokasyon Bunga ng Nag-aalab na Pananampalataya”, this year’s vocation festival focused on the Church celebration of the Year of Faith. In a phone interview, Sr. Darlen Pardillo, FDZ, campus ministry moderator of the Rogationist College said the yearly activity is not just to celebrate vocation but to give the young people in the diocese a venue to become aware of their personal calling, dedication and commitment. (CBCPNews)
Multi-sectoral groups protest mining in Negros
said the lack of participation during Kasaulogan sa Pulong (KSP) and in community initiatives, disunity among members and with other communities, rigid policies and sanctions for inactive members, among others are indicators that there’s a need to revisit and assess the state of BECs in Mindanao. Although Mindanao BECs are considered to be advanced throughout the country, this may not be so
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NEGROS Occidental― A coalition of various groups recently took to the streets in a caravan to protest mining activities in Sagay City in Northern Negros. Led by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the “No to Mining and Coal Alliance (NOMICA) Northern Negros,” called on government to stop destructive mining operations in Sagay City and ban the installation of the Coal-fired power plant in Cadiz City. In a press statement, the groups asserted their strong resistance in the ongoing Silica and Black Sand mining in Sagay City’s two barangays―Baviera and Sitio Looc, Old Sagay, respectively. (CBCPNews)
RH bill is anti-women, says CBCP official
the public and private life,” the cardinal said. Delivered alternately in English, Cebuano and Tagalog, Vidal’s homily was punctuated with applause from the public as he addressed the mammoth crowd with a personal touch, as that of a father to his children. “Let our gratitude this day be sustained by the daily conduct of our lives. Let our faith empower us to be faithful followers of Jesus and beautiful citizens of our country. Let us no longer live dual citizenship. Good Christians but bad citizens.” He urged for consistent laws that would form people to become good citizens not only for the country but ultimately for the next life. The country’s laws should be in place to serve the public good, he said—starting from “individual human body, to the human community, to the wider environment.” He said the essence of sainthood is nothing less but consistency in living one’s
TARLAC City— If there is one institution that supports the welfare of women, it is the Catholic Church, a priest said. Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Family Life, made the statement as he refute criticisms that the Church’s stand against the RH bill is anti-women. According to him, one of their arguments why RH bill is not pro-women is because it does not answer the primary concerns of Filipino women and mothers. The priest also took a swipe at some big business organizations supporting the controversial population control measure. (CBCPNews)
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fruitful all the time. Mary had a keen sense of her tremendous vocation. She never wavered in that, even when extraordinary sacrifices were to be made. She learned how to relate time to eternity, and the very small things of daily life to the biggest goal we all have to pursue—our sanctification. This is something we have to learn. Thus, it’s good that we always look at Mary. Her humble and hidden example will always move us to really grasp
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what is essential in our relation with Christ. It’s in always pumping our faith, hope and charity into intense action, never allowing them to slow down. For us, this means we need to continually renew ourselves, go through continuing conversions, because we all know that in spite of our best intentions and efforts, we always fail. Mary, our Mother, can show us the way to sustain our relation with Christ all day everyday. sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead). But all this is the natural overflowing of our faith deeply rooted in our Eucharistic piety and devotion. St. Josemaría taught us: “When you approach the Tabernacle remember that he has been awaiting you for twenty centuries. (The Way, no. 537)” Imagine what love is that weighs twenty centuries? Let us never forget: “Jesus is just there, for you, and only you.”
you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” It was then she realized how really close Christ was to her in the person and condition of her father. *** The Year of Faith invites us to share our love, by finding and giving the presence of Christ to our brethren through the spiritual works of mercy (instructing, advising, consoling, comforting, forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently) and corporal works of mercy (feeding the hungry,
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
People, Facts & Places
December 3 - 30, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 25
PHLPost reprints more Forecast: more vocations because of St. Pedro Calungsod stamps
THE Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) has just announced that it will reprint 500,000 more copies of commemorative stamps in honor of St. Pedro Calungsod. PHLPost Postage and Philatelic Department manager Elenita San Diego said the new copies have been made available to the public since Nov. 27 due to high public demand. The new batch of stamps, however, was only presented and launched Nov. 28 at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, ahead of the Thanksgiving Mass for Calungsod’s canonization on Nov. 30. She said that they decided to release the copies earlier because there was a continued clamor for them to issue more stamps on the second Filipino saint. “Due to insistent public demand, we would be reprinting 500,000 more Calungsod stamps. We would be using the same design,” San Diego said. Last Oct. 21, coinciding Calungsod’s canonization in Rome, the PHLPost first launched the Calungsod stamps at the historic EDSA Shrine in Quezon City. The agency initially printed 50,000 copies but these were sold out in just a matter of nine days, spurring them to produce more stamps, which are sold at P9 per piece. “Right there, we had a lot of buyers and not all of them are philatelists. They bought sheets of the stamp,” San Diego said. “One person even bought 200 sheets
Kris Bayos / CBCP Media
PHLPost prints additional copies of Calungsod commemorative stamps as copies run out due to high demand.
of Calungsod stamps which she said she would give to friends as gifts,” she also said. (RL/CBCPNews)
Bible animators launch Cebuano gospel
TO make the Scriptures more accessible to ordinary folks, a team of Cebuano speaking Bible scholars has translated the Gospels of the Bible from its original Greek to Cebuano. The Gospels titled “To Euaggelion” (Ang Ebanghelyo) was launched by the San Pedro Calungsod Bible Animators (SPCBA) of Cebu archdiocese last November 17 at the Cathedral Museum of Cebu. The translation of the Gospels was just a portion of the continuing work of translating the entire Bible into Cebuano tongue. The work was a joint effort of a team of Cebuanospeaking Catholic biblical scholars from the Visayas and Mindanao. The nine-member team spent 12 years doing part time work of translating and editing the Bible from the original Greek edition. The project of translating the Bible into Cebuano tongue began in 2000, when then Archbishop of Cebu, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal organized a board of bishops from the Cebuano-speaking local churches of Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Ozamis and Cebu to supervise the project. To ensure accuracy in translation, the scholars employed a more literal approach in translating from the original Greek, but made sure their rendition is intelligible and understandable in Cebuano. The translators worked closely with Cebuano language experts from Akademyang Bisaya and Maryknoll Institute of Language and Culture, following and adopting the accent marks, standardized spelling, and grammatical rules proposed by the academy. Ideal for the study of the gospels, the “Ang Ebanghelyo” can be used either alone or in groups, in prayer meetings, lectio divina and public proclamation. A commemorative copy of the work will be presented by Cardinal Vidal to Pope Benedict XVI. (CBCPNews)
HOW does one measure the impact of a new saint in the Church? For Directors of Vocations in the Philippines (DVP) National Coordinator Fr. Rochester Charles Resuello, one concrete effect would be an increase in vocations in the Philippines. “I am expecting more vocations, especially in Cebu,” he said in an interview. For Resuello, the The call to religious and priestly vocation has not lost its allure on young people as seen on the huge turnout of participants in n e w l y - c a n o n i z e d the recently-held Vocation Festival in Pasig City. saint’s example is like a “big invitation” to sainthood and a life youth’s personal life journey. He seems to be banking on the fact well-lived, especially to young people. According to Resuello, several char- that the example of St. Pedro Calungacteristics make St. Pedro Calungsod sod, who was martyred in 1672, will particularly appealing to young people, be riveting and inspiring to modern such as his dedication and his witness Filipinos, even after more than three hundred years. to faith. According to the 2012 Pontifical “(The) number one tool for vocations promotions is life witness- Yearbook, there is a trend of increasing ing,” he added, saying it is an even priestly and religious vocations, espemore effective means than posters, cially in Asia and Africa. Though specific figures for the Philwebsites or brochures promoting ippines are not available yet, there was vocations. Resuello, who helps oversee forma- an increase of 1,695 priestly vocations tion programs and training for some 50 in Asia, to which the Philippines convocations directors in the country, said tributed considerably. (Nirva’ana Ella life witnessing allows a person to join a Delacruz)
Fake seminarian nabbed in Parañaque
A MAN was arrested in Parañaque City for presenting himself as a Catholic seminarian and asking donations from parishioners. The fake seminarian, Michael Castillo, was charged with estafa at the Southern Police District after his arrest last Nov. 12. Police nabbed Castillo in Moonwalk, Parañaque City a month after local Catholic Church officials warned the public against his illegal activity. The Diocese of Parañaque on Sept. 20 warned the public against Castillo who introduced himself as a seminarian and claimed to be residing at the Our Lady of Peace Parish. “He has been victimizing unwary parishioners by presenting himself as a seminarian or priest to collect donation and monetary support,” said Msgr. Benedicto Aquino, the diocese’s vicechancellor. Aquino also called on the other victims of Castillo to come out in the open and file complaints or file their statement in support to the case of the suspect. To make sure a person is truly a seminarian, the diocese said the public should ask for his identification card issued by their seminary and duly signed by their rector or superior. “Let us continue to be observant and cautious about the activities and modus operandi of such individuals,” Aquino said. (CBCPNews)
NYD volunteers gather for thanksgiving
EVEN though it has already been a year since the last National Youth Day (NYD), there is still a lot to be thankful for. This is why though belated, a thanksgiving gathering was held from November 30 to December 1 in Pansol, Calamba, Laguna for some 50 NYD volunteers. Richard Tañada, a NYD volunteer who headed the secretariat team for the week-long event, talked about the reason behind organizing the get-together, “Sabi nga (They say) gratitude is the language of the heart.” Tañada said the thanksgiving party was a small gesture to thank the core volunteers who worked hard for the NYD last year. Though an estimated 300 to 400 volunteers were involved in the NYD in all 6 festival sites all over Metro Manila, the thanksgiving gathered at least around 30 ering also adopted. Faldas said the assembly, aside from being a time for fellowship, eating together, swimming and sharing, was also a reunion of sorts, since it has been a year since the volunteers have seen each other last. National Youth Day is a national gathering of young people, under the auspices of the CBCP – Episcopal Commission on Youth. During the NYD, they listen to formation talks, attend workshops and set up performances. Last year, the NYD was held in 6 separate festival sites: Mary Help of Christians in Parañaque, Miraculous Medal Shrine in Sucat, Don Bosco Youth Center, Tondo and Don Bosco Technical College, Mandaluyong, Claret School in Quezon City and St. Joseph Parish in Las Piñas. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz
NYD volunteers were responsible for nearly every aspect of the NYD, including the program, food, security and documentation of the event.
to 50 core volunteers who planned and prepared for the NYD from start to finish. When asked about the NYD volunteers’ gathering, NYD steering committee head Fr. Favie Faldas, SDB, mentioned how apt it was that last November 22, some countries celebrated Thanksgiving, a theme which the gath-
INSTALLED. Archbishop Rolando Joven Tria Tirona, OCD was installed November 14 as fourth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Caceres in a two hour solemn liturgical rites. Tirona succeeded Dominican Archbishop Leonardo Zamora Legaspi who served as metropolitan archbishop of Caceres for 28 years. The 66-year old Tirona served as Prelate of Infanta, which has the northern portion of Quezon Province and the whole Province of Aurora as territory. Around 700 to 800 priests and laymen and women from Infanta joined Tirona to Naga City. The Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto wished the new Caceres archbishop well even as he thanked Archbishop Legaspi for his successful ministry in the ecclesial province for nearly three decades. Aside from the Papal nuncio, other archbishops who concelebrated with Archbishop Tirona were Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, Manila Archbishop and Cardinal-Designate Luis Antonio G. Tagle, CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma and Caceres Archbishop Emeritus Leonardo Z. Legaspi. About 30 other bishops, mostly from Luzon and the Visayas attended the two-hour installation rites with hundreds of priests from the Dioceses of Daet, Libmanan, Legazpi, Sorsogon, Masbate, Catanduanes, Malolos and the Prelature of Infanta. APPOINTED. Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop Rodolfo Beltran of the Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe as the new head of the Diocese of San Fernando in La Union. The San Fernando diocese has been without a prelate for nearly a year after Bishop Artemio Rillera, a missionary from the Society of the Divine Word, passed away last November 2011. Beltran was born on Nov. 13, 1948 in Gattaran, Cagayan. He was ordained a priest on March 25, 1976 in Gattaran, Cagayan as well. On March 18, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Vicar Apostolic of Bontoc-Lagawe. He was ordained bishop on May 16, 2006 at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Tuguegarao, Cagayan. He was formally installed Apostolic Vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe, which covers two civil provinces of Ifugao and the Mountain Province, on May 29, 2006. INSTALLED. Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, Jr, OP was officially installed as the new rector of the UST Central Seminary last November 7. The installation followed after the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Seminaries and Educational Institutions) issued a decree last September 7, 2012, designating Fr. Pedregosa as the 12th rector of the UST Central Seminary (CS). Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner, III, OP, Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines and former CS Rector presided over the installation, calling the event, “act of witnessing.” UST officials, headed by the Rector Magnificus, Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, OP; professors of the ecclesiastical faculties; formators, alumni, and seminarians of the Central Seminary; members of the student body; the Thomasian community; members of the Dominican family; and the family and friends of Fr. Pedregosa graced the occasion. More than fifty priests concelebrated the mass at the Central Seminary chapel, which included Dominicans from as far as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Nigeria. UST Secretary-General Fr. Winston Cabading, OP, read the decretum in Latin during the rites. Afterwards, Fr. Pedregosa took his oath of office and the profession of faith. Born in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo on October 18, 1953, Pedregosa joined the Order of Preachers in 1971, the year when the Dominican Province of the Philippines was established. He made his first religious profession on May 19, 1973 and was ordained to the priesthood on March 25, 1981. After working for two years at the Parish of Santo Domingo, Quezon City, he was assigned to formation ministry as Master of the Students (of professed student-brothers) for nine years (1983-1992). He was elected Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines for three terms (1992-1996; 1996-2000; 2008-2012) and he was stationed in Rome as General Councilor and Socius (Assistant) for Asia Pacific Region of the Master of the Order of Preachers from 2001 to 2008. ORDAINED. Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma has ordained three deacons from the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro to the sacred order of priesthood, namely, Rev. Sanchito N. Ricarde at St. John the Baptist Parish, Lagonglong on November 19, 2012; Rev. Melvin B. Abejero at Sacred heart of Jesus Parish, Bugo on November 20, 2012; and Rev. Joseph T. Montemayor at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Baliwagan on November 22, 2012. ORDAINED. Four seminarians from Saint Vianney Theological Seminary in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro were ordained Deacons by Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo. They are Sem. Der John Ranan Faborada of Canitoan, Cagayan de Oro; Sem. Marvin Fordan Nadala of Basilan, North Cotabato; Sem. Alain Durano Nocete of Villanueva, Mis. Oriental; and Sem. Bryan Madeja Suarez of Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato. The ordination was held on November 21, 2012, at the St. Augustine Cathedral, Cagayan de Oro City. CELEBRATED. Golden jubilee of religious profession of Sr. M. Dionisia Ausa, Sr. M. Leona Bautista, Sr. M. Federica Gonzales, Sr. M. Caritas Guiuan, Sr. M. Leonarda Gullon, Sr. M. Bertilla Nuyles and Sr. M. Brigida Canchela (+) among the Daughters of St. Paul, December 8, 2012 at the Queen of Apostles Sanctuary in F.B. Harrison, Pasay City. Fr. James Ferry, MM, Episcopal Vicar for Religious in the Archdiocese of Manila led the celebration while Fr. Dominador Guzman, SSP gave the homily.
Jandell Posion / CBCP Media
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
‘From Now On, You Will Be Even More Closely and Intimately Linked to the See of Peter’
(Homily of Pope Benedict XVI at the Ordinary Consistory for the Creation of Six new Cardinals on November 24, 2012)
DEAR Brothers and Sisters, These words, which the new Cardinals are soon to proclaim in the course of their solemn profession of faith, come from the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed, the synthesis of the Church’s faith that each of us receives at baptism. Only by professing and preserving this rule of truth intact can we be authentic disciples of the Lord. applied to himself not only the title “Son of David”, but also “Son of Man” (Mk 10:33), as in the Gospel passage that we have just heard. The expression “Son of Man”, in the language of Jewish apocalyptic literature inspired by the vision of history found in the book of the prophet Daniel (cf. 7:13-14), calls to mind the figure who appears “with the world. This universal character emerges clearly on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fills the first Christian community with his presence, so that the Gospel may spread to all nations, causing the one People of God to grow in all peoples. From its origins, then, the Church is oriented kat’holon, it embraces the whole universe. The Apostles bear witness to time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). How does Jesus answer? He answers by broadening their horizons and giving them both the promise and a task: he promises that they will be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and he confers upon them the task of bearing witness to him all over the world, transcending the cultural and religious confines within which they were accustomed to think and live, so as to open themselves to the universal Kingdom of God. At the beginning of the Church’s journey, the Apostles and disciples set off without any human security, purely in the strength of the Holy Spirit, the Gospel and the faith. This is the yeast that spreads round the world, enters into different events and into a wide range of cultural and social contexts, while remaining a single Church. Around the Apostles, Christian communities spring up, but these are “the” Church which is always the same, one and universal, whether in Jerusalem, Antioch, or Rome. And when the Apostles speak of the Church, they are not referring to a community of their own, but to the Church College of Cardinals: it presents a variety of faces, because it expresses the face of the universal Church. In this Consistory, I want to highlight in particular the fact that the Church is the Church of all peoples, and so she speaks in the various cultures of the different continents. She is the Church of Pentecost: amid the polyphony of the various voices, she raises a single harmonious song to the living God. I cordially greet the official Delegations of the different countries, the bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and lay faithful of the various diocesan communities and all those who share in the joy of the new members of the College of Cardinals—their family, friends and co-workers. The new Cardinals, who represent different dioceses around the world, are henceforth associated by a special title with the Church of Rome, and in this way they reinforce the spiritual bonds that unite the whole Church, brought to life by Christ and gathered around the Successor of Peter. At the same time, today’s rite expresses the supreme value of fidelity. Indeed, the oath that ready to conduct yourselves with fortitude, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and well-being of the people of God”. Whereas the consignment of the ring is accompanied by the admonition: “Know that your love for the Church is strengthened by your love for the Prince of the Apostles”. In these gestures and the words that accompany them, we see an indication of the identity that you assume today in the Church. From now on, you will be even more closely and intimately linked to the See of Peter: the titles and deaconries of the churches of Rome will remind you of the bond that joins you, as members by a very special title, to this Church of Rome, which presides in universal charity. Particularly through the work you do for the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, you will be my valued co-workers, first and foremost in my apostolic ministry for the fullness of catholicity, as Pastor of the whole flock of Christ and prime guarantor of its doctrine, discipline and morals. Dear friends, let us praise the Lord, who “with manifold
In this Consistory, I would like to reflect in particular on the meaning of the word “catholic”, a word which indicates an essential feature of the Church and her mission. Much could be said on this subject and various different approaches could be adopted: today I shall limit myself to one or two thoughts. The characteristic marks of the Church are in accordance with God’s plan, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities” (no. 811). Specifically, what makes the Church catholic is the fact that Christ in his saving mission embraces all humanity. While during his earthly life Jesus’ mission was limited to the Jewish people, “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt 15:24), from the beginning it was meant to bring the light of the Gospel to all peoples and lead all nations into the kingdom of God. When he saw the faith of the centurion at Capernaum, Jesus cried out: “I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 8:11). This universalist perspective can be seen, among other things, from the way Jesus
clouds of heaven” (v. 13). This is an image that prophesies a completely new kingdom, sustained not by human powers, but by the true power that comes from God. Jesus takes up this rich and complex expression and refers it to himself in order to manifest the true character of his Messianism: a mission directed to the whole man and to every man, transcending all ethnic, national and religious particularities. And it is actually by following Jesus, by allowing oneself to be drawn into his humanity and hence into communion with God, that one enters this new kingdom proclaimed and anticipated by the Church, a kingdom that conquers fragmentation and dispersal. Jesus sends his Church not to a single group, then, but to the whole human race, and thus he unites it, in faith, in one people, in order to save it. The Second Vatican Council expresses this succinctly in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium: “All men are called to belong to the new people of God. Therefore this people, while remaining one and unique, is to be spread throughout the whole world and through every age, so that the design of God’s will may be fulfilled” (no. 13). Hence the universality of the Church flows from the universality of God’s unique plan of salvation for the
Christ, addressing people from all over the world, and each of their hearers understands them as if they were speaking his native language (cf. Acts 2:7-8). From that day, in the “power of the Holy Spirit”, according to Jesus’ promise, the Church proclaims the dead and risen Lord “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts1:8). The Church’s universal mission does not arise from below, but descends from above, from the Holy Spirit: from the beginning it seeks to express itself in every culture so as to form the one People of God. Rather than beginning as a local community that slowly grows and spreads outwards, it is like yeast oriented towards a universal horizon, towards the whole: universality is inscribed within it. Our Lord proclaims: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15); “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). With these words, Jesus sends the Apostles to all creation, so that God’s saving action may reach everywhere. But if we consider the moment of Jesus’ ascension into heaven, as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles, we see that the disciples are still closed in their thinking, looking to the restoration of a new Davidic kingdom. They ask the Lord: “will you at this
Pope Benedict XVI installs Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle during a consistory inside Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Nov. 24, 2012.
of Christ, and they insist on the unique, universal and allinclusive identity of the Catholic that is realized in every local church. The Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic; she reflects in herself the source of her life and her journey: the unity and communion of the Trinity. Situated within the context and the perspective of the Church’s unity and universality is the
you are about to take, venerable brothers, contains words filled with profound spiritual and ecclesial significance: “I promise and I swear, from now on and for as long as I live, to remain faithful to Christ and his Gospel, constantly obedient to the Holy Apostolic Roman Church”. And when you receive the red biretta, you will be reminded that it means “you must be
gifts does not cease to enrich his Church spread throughout the world” (Oration), and reinvigorates her in the perennial youth that he has bestowed upon her. To him we entrust the new ecclesial service of these our esteemed and venerable Brothers that they may bear courageous witness to Christ, with a lively growing faith and unceasing sacrificial love. Amen.
‘The Virgin Mary Perfectly Incarnates the Spirit of Advent’
(Address of the Holy Father delivered at the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on the occasion of the first Sunday of Advent; on December 2, 2012)
DEAR brothers and sisters! Today the Church begins a new liturgical year, a journey that is subsequently enriched by the Year of Faith, which we observe 50 years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The first part of this journey is Advent, constituted, in the Roman Rite, by the 4 weeks that precede the Christmas of the Lord, that is, the mystery of the Incarnation. The word “advent” means “coming” or “presence.” In the ancient world it indicated the visit of the king or emperor to a province; in the language of Christianity it refers to the coming of God, to his presence in the world; a mystery that involves the entire cosmos and all of history, but that knows 2 culminating moments: the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ. The first is precisely the Incarnation; the second his glorious return at the end of time. These 2 moments that are chronologically distant—and it is not given to us to know how distant—touch each other in their depths, because with his death and resurrection Jesus has already realized that transformation of man and the cosmos that is the final goal of creation. But before the end, it is necessary that the Gospel be preached to all nations, Jesus says in the Gospel of St. Mark (cf. Mark 13:10). The Lord’s coming continues, the world must be penetrated by his presence. Our collaboration is required in this permanent coming of the Lord in the proclamation of the Gospel; and the Church, which is like the Bride to be, the Betrothed of the crucified and risen Lamb of God (cf. Apocalypse 21:9), in communion with her Lord collaborates in this coming of the Lord in which his glorious return already begins. The Word of God reminds us of all this today, describing the conduct that is necessary to ready for the Lord’s coming. In the Gospel of Luke Jesus says to the disciples: “Do not let your hearts be weighed by dissipation, drunkenness and the troubles of life ... be vigilant, therefore, praying at all times” (Luke 21:34, 36). So, sobriety and prayer. And the apostle Paul also invites us to “grow and superabound in love” among ourselves and toward others, to make our hearts strong and blameless in sanctity (cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13). In the midst of the upheavals of the world, or in the deserts of indifference and materialism, Christians welcome the salvation that comes from God and bear witness to it with a different way of living, like a city set on a hill. “In those days,” the prophet Jeremiah announces, “Jerusalem will live in peace and be called ‘the Lord our justice’” (33:16). The community of believers is a sign of God, of his justice, which is already present and active in history but is not yet fully realized, and because of this is always awaited, invoked, sought with patience and courage. The Virgin Mary perfectly incarnates the spirit of Advent; this spirit is one of listening to God, of profound desire to do his will, of joyous service to our neighbor. Letting ourselves be guided by her, so that the God who comes does not find us closed and distracted, but can, in each one of us, extend a part of his kingdom of love, of justice and of peace.
© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
Empowerment of the Laity in the Code of Canon Law (I)
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
I am a lay minister and a member of the Parish Pastoral Council. I have always taken my responsibilities in both capacities very seriously, trying my best not only to be better formed as regards my obligations but also struggling to be spiritually more worthy of what I consider as a lofty calling. Of late, however, I have been having increasing difficulties in making such parish duties compatible with my increasing responsibilities in the multi-national firm I am working in. I have tried to ask my Parish priest to lighten my load in the parish, but he tells me that I should feel privileged with my parish positions, which—according to him—are perfect examples of the empowerment of the laity that both the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law speak highly about. What can you say about this? 1. The Notion of Layman Before we can understand lay empowerment, we must first understand very well the concept of lay or layman. This is important so that we know what Canon Law is supposed to empower the layman with or for. In order to do this, we have to first understand the fundamental equality of all the faithful; then we have to understand their diversity. By baptism, all Christians possess a common juridical condition of radical equality within the ecclesial society, and thereby share an identical objective and end, which is that of extending the Kingdom of God until it reaches its fullness in the end of time (Lumen Gentium, n.9). By the baptismal character—not by any posterior mandate of the Hierarchy—all the faithful are called with equal intensity to foster the common good of the Kingdom of God and to extend
it. This character constitutes all Christ’s faithful into a royal priesthood, making them participate in the priesthood of Christ, by which they are called to share in Christ’s threefold mission of teaching, sanctifying and leading all men, and indeed all creation, towards God. However, despite the radical equality of all Christ’s faithful by virtue of baptism, not all follow the same path (LG, n.32). Among them, there exist diverse ways of life, which demonstrates a variety which enriches the Church. All this—unity and diversity—is a consequence of the action of the Holy Spirit, guiding the Church in the way of all truth, and unifying her in communion and in the works of ministry, he bestows upon her varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her; and he adorns her with his fruits (LG, n.4). Two Factors cause this diversity: 1st, the action of grace and the charisms of the Holy Spirit on Christ’s faithful—i.e., the vocation of every faithful. 2nd, personal human freedom— i.e., the individual response to that vocation. Three Principal Situations of Diversity arise: 1st, The Cleric (or Sacred Minister). The condition of cleric includes all those who, on top of the fundamental character of Baptism, have received the character of Holy Orders (c.207). This character marks an essential difference—not merely of degree— between the royal priesthood of all Christ’s faithful by virtue of Baptism, and the ministerial priesthood of the ordained cleric. This character confers on the cleric a new mission (Presbyterorum Ordinis, n.2), which consists in striving for the internal vitality of the ecclesial society— i.e., preaching the Word of God
with authority, administering the means of salvation (fundamentally the sacraments) and directing the course of the Church as a society in persona Christi capitis (c.1008). In short, the clerics “serve” or “minister” to all Christ’s faithful, so that they may exercise their royal priesthood with full vitality. Hence the term: ministerial priesthood. 2 nd, The Religious (or Consecrated Faithful). The religious constitute another type of faithful, whose status arises from the profession of the evangelical counsels—i.e., perfect continence, poverty and obedience—through a juridical bond of a sacred character. This constitutes a stable way of life (c.573), which even if it does not pertain to the hierarchical structure of the Church, pertains nevertheless to its life and sanctity (LG, n.44; c.574, §1). In this new situation, the religious—by a new title (c.573, §1)—acquires the duty to work according to a way of life dictated by a specific charism confirmed by ecclesiastical authority, so that the Kingdom of God may take root in souls (LG, n.44). This way of life—the religious life—is characterized fundamentally by an intrinsic non-secularity, which traditionally had even been called a contemptus mundi or fuga mundi, (“contempt of the world” or “flight from the world”), whose theological root and purpose was to give an eschatological witness to all men—i.e., that this world is not our permanent home. Thus, even if the virtues implied in the evangelical counsels—i.e., poverty, chastity and obedience—are Christian virtues required of all Christ’s faithful, the consecrated faithful lives them in a characteristically religious way. 3rd, The Christian Layman (or Lay Faithful). The lay faithful, in the strict sense of cc.224-231,
refers to a constitutional situation different from the previous ones, which is specifically characterized by baptismal secularity. The layman is not just Christ’s faithful who has not been ordained, or has not embraced the evangelical counsels in an Institute of Consecrated Life. He is Christ’s faithful who has embraced secularity. The specific vocation of the lay faithful is to be immersed in the world (to be secular). To the laity corresponds specifically the task—within the universal mission of the Church—of developing the baptismal charisms so as to make the Church present in those circumstances wherein it can act as salt of the earth only through them (LG, 33). 2. Lay Empowerment in the Code of Canon Law Now we are ready to tackle the question of lay empowerment. The problem with words is that many times they are not univocal (having only one sense) but are rather equivocal (having more than one sense). This is what happens with the notion of the oft-quoted expression of lay empowerment or empowerment of the laity. a. Loose Sense of Lay Empowerment in Daily Usage. Tomy mind, this is the most unfortunate sense of lay empowerment in daily usage, and it would usually refer to those manifestations of cooperation of the lay faithful in the ministry of the clerics—more often than not in connection with the liturgy. This is the reason for the unreasonable exultation of the phenomenon of lay ministries as an icon or model of commitment of the lay faithful in the Church. If I trained a fish to somehow move on muddy ground, I would not have really empowered it, because it is not proper for a fish to be terrestrial but aquatic. Likewise, if I trained a bird to walk in-
stead of fly, again I wouldn’t have empowered it but denatured it somehow, because it could never really walk as well as it could fly, because that’s not the way it was created. While the so-called lay ministries are licit and laudable, what we cannot forget is that they are many times suppletory in nature—i.e., to supply for the lack of ordained ministers, whether temporarily or more stably (cf. c.230). They always constitute— to a greater or lesser extent—a denaturing of the lay character of being in the world. For example, consider how the lay minister, if he positions himself at the sanctuary of the Church during a liturgical act (e.g., Holy Mass), by that simple gesture has distinguished (if not distanced) himself from the rest of the congregation of ordinary faithful. On the other hand, that very same lay minister, who is so visible in the liturgical act, may not exert any meaningful effect on his temporal environment. b. Improper Sense of Lay Empowerment in the Code of Canon Law. Improper means “not proper” or “not really pertaining to” or “not corresponding to”. This is the first sense of lay empowerment that we can find in the Code of Canon Law: those manifestations of the cooperation of the lay faithful with the ordained ministers in the exercise of the sacra potestas or power of jurisdiction (or power of governance), which is really proper of the ordained ministers. This refers to the sacred power that Christ gave the Apostles (on Peter and the Apostolic College principally) and their successors, which they exercise with the other ordained ministers in persona Christi capitis. An attentive reading of c.129 of the Code throws a lot of light on this matter: Can. 129 — §1. In accord with the
prescriptions of law, those who have received sacred orders are capable of the power of governance, which exists in the Church by divine institution and is also called the power of jurisdiction. — §2. Lay members of the Christian faithful can cooperate in the exercise of this power in accord with the norm of law. Note the difference between §1 and §2: Clerics are capable of the power of governance, as something proper to them. Lay faithful, on the other hand, can only cooperate in the exercise of that power, meaning that the principal subjects who operate that power are the clerics, while the laymen may only co-operate it. The iter of c.129 reveals more the mens legislatoris in this regard. In effect, in the 1980 Schema of the Code, the corresponding canon used the expression partem habere possunt (“can take part in”) instead of cooperare possunt (“can cooperate in”) as regards the layman’s role in the exercise of the power of jurisdiction. But this expression was changed in the final revision, with not a little amount of energetic debate. One can see that in the mind of the legislator, the layman is not really supposed to partake of that power, but only to cooperate in its exercise. There are not a few instances of this cooperation of the lay faithful in the exercise of the power of jurisdiction provided for by the Code of Canon Law. To cite a few examples: (1) Laymen can be appointed judges in ecclesiastical tribunals (c.1421, §2); (2) Laymen have a consultative vote in the different councils at the parochial and diocesan levels, and can even be consultors in Holy See (c.228); (3) Laymen can dedicate themselves in an organic way in the apostolic work of a Personal Prelature (c.296). (To be concluded.)
Advent wreaths and penitential rites
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: I am hesitant to layer the introductory rites of the Mass during Advent with more words; the Church omits the Gloria during Advent to remind us of the season’s simplicity and even its penitential character. However, the Advent wreath has become an important symbol in many parishes. For the lighting of the candles to be featured at one weekend Mass but not the others would make little sense to the people, since they don’t attend more than one weekend Mass. I have resolved the situation by having an acolyte or server light the candles during the Penitential Act. We use the third form, and for the first three Sundays we use the first option: “You came to gather the nations ….” On the last Sunday, and on Christmas, we use the second option, “Lord Jesus, you are mighty God and Prince of peace ….” Thus, something is being sung or said, and the lighting is not simply perfunctory. On weekdays, the candles are lighted before Mass. Any comment? — T.D., Western Australia A: These comments were originally spurred by a follow-up article so at the very beginning of the first Mass of the corresponding Sunday (or Saturday evening) with no added rituals or texts. For example, after genuflecting toward the tabernacle or bowing toward the altar, the celebrant could simply light a taper from an earlier candle and, saying nothing, use this to light the next candle. He could then go to kiss the altar and continue Mass as normal. The sacristan would light the wreath candles before the celebration of later Masses.” While I would agree with our reader that the role of the Advent wreath has become more important, it is still only one non-liturgical symbol and its importance should not be exaggerated. The Advent liturgy is itself sufficient to provide all the necessary teaching material so as to prepare for Christmas. With respect to my earlier reply I see no great difficulty in lighting the candle at the beginning of each Sunday Mass in the simple manner I described. I would balk, however, at mixing it with the Penitential Act in the manner described by our reader. Four reasons come to mind. First, general liturgical principles do not allow anyone, on his own authority, to add or remove anything from the sacred rites. Second, this proposal removes the necessary freedom of the celebrant to use any other form of the penitential rite and thus subjects the liturgy to the needs of a devotional practice. Third, I doubt that combining the lighting of the candle with the penitential rite sends the right message. The admission of our sinfulness is an important part of every Mass, as we prepare our souls to live the sacred mysteries. Combining it with the lighting of the candle quite likely would distract from this primary meaning toward various other messages that are best reserved for other moments. Finally the Advent wreath itself has various shades of meaning and is not essentially penitential in character. The circle of the wreath, with no beginning or end and made with evergreens, represents eternity and the everlasting life found in Christ. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent whose progressive lighting expresses the expectation and hope surrounding the coming of the Messiah. These other nuances could be lost by associating it too closely to the penitential rite. I am certain of our reader’s good faith and his desire to obtain the best pastoral benefit from this devotional act. However, I remain unconvinced that this proposal is a viable pastoral action and in full conformity with liturgical norms.
from Dec. 20, 2011, in which I wrote: “From a liturgical point of view, only the blessing of the wreath on the first Sunday of Advent is included among those that may be used at Mass. This rite has received the approval of the Holy See for those countries that requested its inclusion in their translation and adaptation of the Book of Blessings. It is not found in the original Latin benedictional. “The multitude of other rites and cer-
emonies that have grown up around the lighting of the wreath are mostly geared to family celebrations. These may be profitably used in church but outside of Mass. For example, it is possible to organize a prayer service before the Saturday evening Mass. “If, however, there is no ceremony outside of Mass to light the candles on Sundays 2, 3 and 4 of Advent, I think that it is legitimate for the priest to do
© pinky Barrientos, FSp / CBCp Media
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
(Last of a series)
Final List of Propositions of the Synod of Bishops
Proposition 34: SUNDAYS AND FEAST DAYS The Eucharist must be the source and summit of the New Evangelization. The Synod Fathers urge all Christ’s faithful to renew their understanding and love for the Eucharistic celebration, in which their lives are transformed and joined to Christ’s offering of his own life to the glory of God the Father for the salvation of the whole world. Even though there is a tension between the Christian Sunday and the secular Sunday, Sunday needs to be recovered for the New Evangelization according to Blessed John Paul II’s teaching in “Dies Domini”. Sunday with its sacred and special character together with Sunday Mass should be the center of Catholic life. Full, active and conscious participation in the liturgy on the part of the whole community is the goal. The liturgical year with its feasts should be followed by a true program of evangelization, especially at Christmas and Easter. Proposition 35: LITURGY The worthy celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, God’s most treasured gift to us, is the source of the highest expression of our life in Christ (cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, 10). the New Evangelization. This is the “contemplative dimension” of the New Evangelization which is nourished continually through prayer, beginning with the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, source and summit of the life of the Church. Therefore, we propose that prayer be encouraged and taught from infancy. Children and youth should be educated in the family and in schools to recognize the presence of God in their lives, to praise Him, to give thanks for the gifts received from Him, and to ask that the Holy Spirit guide them. Proposition 37: THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION All the Christian faithful are entrusted with the mission to evangelize, due to the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Here the faithful are sealed by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and are called to participate in the mystery of Pentecost. Through Confirmation, all the baptized receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, his charisms, and the power to give witness to the Gospel openly and with courage. Itisimportantthatmystagogical catechesis accompany the grace nature but differences of pastoral judgment. This Synod however requests that what the Holy Father has affirmed in Sacramentum caritatis, 18, become a stimulus for dioceses and episcopal conferences to review their practices of Christian initiation: “Concretely, it needs to be seen which practice better enables the faithful to put the sacrament of the Eucharist at the center, as the goal of the whole process of initiation” (Sacramentum caritatis, 18). Proposition 39: POPULAR PIETY AND THE NEW EVANGELIZATION Popular piety is a true place to encounter Christ, and also express the faith of the Christian people in the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints. The New Evangelization recognizes the value of these faith experiences and encourages them as ways to grow in Christian virtue. Pilgrimages to shrines and sanctuaries are an important aspect of the new evangelization. Not only because of the millions of people who continue to make these pilgrimages but because this form of popular piety at this time is an especially promising opportunity for conversion and the growth of faith. It is important therefore that a pastoral plan Proposition 41: NEW EVANGELIZATION AND THE PARTICULAR CHURCH The particular church, led by the bishop, who is helped by priests and deacons, with the collaboration of consecrated persons and the laity, is the subject of the New Evangelization. This is so because in each place, the particular church is the concrete manifestation of the Church of Christ and as such initiates, coordinates and accomplishes the pastoral actions through which the New Evangelization is carried out. In the Church the call to holiness, directed to all the baptized, rings out, inviting them to follow Christ and turn with love and goodwill towards all people, in order to discern the action of the Holy Spirit in them. “As I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35). For the first Christian communities, communion was a constitutive element of the life of faith and necessary to evangelization: they had one heart and mind. The Church is communion, that is to say, the Church is the Family of God. The Church enables each of and individual faithful. Every pastoral program must transmit the true novelty of the Gospel, and be centered on a personal and living encounter with Jesus. It should also be ordered to eliciting in all people a generous embrace of the faith, and a willingness to accept the call to be witnesses. Proposition 43: HIERARCHICAL AND CHARISMATIC GIFTS The Holy Spirit directs the Church in her missionary evangelization “with various hierarchical and charismatic gifts” (Lumen gentium, 4). In fact the dioceses are “a portion of the people of God under the pastoral care of the bishop, helped by his presbyterate” (Christus Dominus, 11), where the diverse charismatic realities recognize the authority of the bishop as integral to their own proper action in service of the ecclesial mission. The Bishop has the responsibility for “judging the genuineness of these gifts and guiding their ordinary use” (Lumen gentium, 12), as an authentic resource for the life and mission of the Church. The hierarchical gifts and the charismatic gifts, flowing from the one Spirit of God, are not in competition but rather co-essential to the The parish, in and through all of its activities, should animate its members to become agents of the New Evangelization, witnessing through both their words and their lives. For this reason, it is important to remember that the parish remains the usual environment for the spiritual life of the parishioners. The Synod therefore encourages parish visits to families as a way of parish renewal. It sometimes happens that the parish is seen as only a place for important events or even as a tourist center. Along the same line, “pastoral agents” in hospitals, youth centres, factories, prisons, etc., have to bear in mind that the New Evangelization should find a home in these places. The Church should in fact be present in such places, since Christ showed his preference for the persons found there. As much as lies within their power, all Churches are therefore exhorted to be open to this mission, wherever they are. Proposition 45: THE ROLE OF THE LAY FAITHFUL IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION The vocation and the mission proper to lay faithful is the transformation of worldly structures, to let all human behavior and activities be
It is, therefore, the primary and most powerful expression of the new evangelization. God desires to manifest the incomparable beauty of his immeasurable and unceasing love for us through the Sacred Liturgy, and we, for our part, desire to employ what is most beautiful in our worship of God in response to his gift. In the marvelous exchange of the Sacred Liturgy, by which heaven descends to earth, salvation is at hand, calling forth repentance and conversion of heart (cf. Mt 4:17; Mk 1:15). Evangelization in the Church calls for a liturgy that lifts the hearts of men and women to God. The liturgy is not just a human action but an encounter with God which leads to contemplation and deepening friendship with God. In this sense, the liturgy of the Church is the best school of the faith. Proposition 36: SPIRITUAL DIMENSION OF THE NEW EVANGELIZATION The principal agent of evangelization is the Holy Spirit, who opens hearts and converts them to God. The experience of encountering the Lord Jesus, made possible by the Spirit, which introduces one into the Trinitarian life, welcomed in a spirit of adoration, supplication and of praise, must be fundamental to every aspect of
of filial adoption received at Baptism, underlining the importance of the gift of the Holy Spirit which enables one to fully participate in the Eucharistic witness of the Church and its influence in all the spheres of life and human activity. Hence proper and systematic catechesis prior to the reception of these sacraments is of prime importance. Proposition 38: CHRISTIAN INITIATION AND THE NEW EVANGELIZATION The Synod wishes to state that Christian initiation is a crucial element in the New Evangelization and is the means by which the Church, as a mother, brings forth children and regenerates herself. Therefore we propose that the traditional process of Christian initiation, that has often become simply a proximate preparation for the sacraments, be everywhere considered in a catechumenal prospective, giving more relevance to permanent mystagogy, and thus becoming true initiation to Christian life through the sacraments. (cf. General Directory of Catechesis, 91). In this perspective it is not without consequences that the situation today concerning the three sacraments of Christian initiation, despite their theological unity, are pastorally diverse. These differences in the ecclesial communities are not of a doctrinal
be developed that properly welcomes the pilgrims and, in response to the deep desire of the pilgrims, opportunities be offered so that the time of the pilgrimage can be lived as a true moment of grace. Proposition 40: THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE NEW EVANGELIZATION The Synod is grateful to the Holy Father for establishing the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization as an instrument at the service of the particular Churches, and asks that this Dicastery carry on the synodal discussions in further study and in the development and promotion of the New Evangelization. It also requests that consideration be given in each episcopal conference to the establishment of a commission in order to promote the study and diffusion of the pontifical Magisterium relative to the themes that are a part of the New Evangelization. In this way, there can be created a strong collaboration among the particular Churches and therefore greater effectiveness in implementing the New Evangelization. 4) Agents / Participants of the New Evangelization
her members to be aware of their responsibility to be like leaven in the dough. In this way, “faith working through love” (Gal 5: 6) will become a contagious witness for the world in all her dimensions, offering to every person the possibility of meeting Christ and becoming evangelizers in their turn. It would be desirable if each particular church, whatever difficulties occur, developed a sense of mission among her faithful by cooperating with other particular churches. Proposition 42: INTEGRATED PASTORAL ACTIVITY Each particular Church is the primary community of the Church’s mission. It must animate and lead a renewed pastoral activity able to integrate the variety of charisms, ministries, states of life and resources. All these realities must be coordinated within an organic missionary project, capable of communicating the fullness of Christian life to everyone, especially to those who feel themselves far from the Church’s care. Such an endeavor must arise from the dialogue and cooperation of all diocesan components, including: parishes, small Christian communities, educational communities, communities of consecrated life, associations, movements
life of the Church and to the effectiveness of her missionary action (cf. John Paul II, Message to Participants at the World Congress of Ecclesial movements, May 27, 1998). The consecrated life occupies a special place in the charismatic dimension of the Church (cf. Mutuae relationes, 34, Rispartire da Cristo, 32); as such, fully inserted into the ecclesial communion, they contribute with their own proper gifts to missionary evangelization. Studies should be undertaken at both diocesan and interdiocesan levels to see how both the charismatic and hierarchical gifts are able to cooperate in the pastoral action and in the spiritual life of the Church. Since Vatican II, the New Evangelization has greatly benefited from the dynamism of the new ecclesial movements and new communities. Their ideal of holiness and unity has been the source of many vocations and remarkable missionary initiatives. The Synod recognizes these new realities and encourages them to utilise their charisms in close collaboration with the dioceses and the parish communities, who in turn, will benefit from their missionary spirit. Proposition 44: NEW EVANGELIZATION IN THE PARISH
informed by the Gospel. This is the reason why it is so important to guide the Christian laity into an intimate knowledge of Christ in order to form their moral conscience through their life in Christ. The Second Vatican Council identifies four main aspects of the mission of the baptized: the witness of their lives, works of charity and mercy, renewing the temporal order and direct evangelization (cf. Lumen gentium, Apostolicam actuositatem). In this way, they will be able to give witness of a life truly coherent with their Christian faith, as individual persons and as a community. The laity cooperate in the Church’s work of evangelization, as witnesses and at the same time as living instruments they share in her saving mission (cf. Ad gentes, 41). Therefore the Church values the gifts that the Spirit is making to every baptized for the construction of the body, and should provide adequate encouragement and training to foster their apostolic zeal in the transmission of the faith. Proposition 46: COLLABORATION OF MEN AND WOMEN IN THE CHURCH The Church appreciates the equal dignity of women and men in society as made in the image
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Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
The Bishops-Ulama Conference in the Philippines: Building Peace through Interreligious Dialogue
By Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J.
THE Bishops-Ulama Conference (earlier called a Forum) was formed in November 1996 in the Philippines. It brings together religious leaders of Muslim and Christian communities from all over Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines. It includes bishops of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, members of the Ulama League of the Philippines, and bishops of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines. At present, the BUC’s convenors, representing the three religious groupings are Archbishop Fernando Capalla, past Chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue; Dr. Salipada Tamayo, meetings have touched on two general areas. The first area covers the spiritual dimensions of dialogue—such as the bases for peace from the Bible and the Koran; the special place of Mary and Maryam in both scriptural accounts; and the goals of conflict resolution. The second area covers current concerns arising from the ongoing peace process. These include various crisis points—such as the kidnappings of Msgr. Desmond Hartford, MSSC, in 1997; Fr. Luciano Benedetti, PIME, in 1998; and Fr. Giuseppe Pierantoni, SCJ, in October 2001-April 2002. In addition, there were also the killings of Bishop Ben de Jesus, OMI, in front of his cathedral in Jolo in February 1997; Fr. Rhoel Gallardo, CMF, in Basilan in May 2000; Fr. Benjamin Inocencio, OMI, in Sulu in December 2000; and Fr. Rufus Halley, MSSC, in Lanao del Sur in August where joint statements against violence have had a moderating effect. The BUC has also stressed that the conflict cannot be viewed as a religious war; that acts of extremist groups like the Abu Sayyaf are “un-Islamic;” and that both Muslim and Christian communities can help bring about a culture of peace. III. Peace advocates Since 1999, the Bishops-Ulama Conference has sponsored a yearly Mindanao Week of Peace – starting on the last Thursday of November and ending on the first Wednesday of December. For Christians, this covers the first Sunday of Advent, a special season of prayer. For Muslims, this may also coincide with the Holy season of Ramadhan. The week of peace has been able to generate widespread support among the youth, Christians and Muslims alike, as well as and imams, as well as leaders of the indigenous people communities—are able to address local issues more readily. Among the significant milestones during the 16 years of existence of the BUC are the following: 1. The annual celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace involving religious, civic, and government sectors. The number of peace groups and initiatives has been increasing over the years. 2. The Tripartite Youth Camp, held every two years during the first decade of the BUC. This gathered 200 to 300 Muslim, Christian and Indigenous People youths for a five-day camp experience, resulting in inter-cultural friendships among youth leaders from various parts of Mindanao. 3. A BUC Assembly that included for the first time wives and children of the explored. 8. A Peace Consultation on October 9-10, 2006, in Davao. At the request of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Peace Panel, the BUC Convenors invited key Mindanao leaders to this consultation. The purpose was to bring back to the negotiating table the two panels to resume the peace talks that had been stalled on the issue of ancestral domain. 9. A Forum for Peace in September 2007 among participants coming from the BUC, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police. This highlighted the role of the military in peacebuilding efforts, particularly in the promotion of human rights. 10. A Multi-Sectoral and CrossRegional Community Consultation on the Mindanao Peace Process in 2009-2010. This Mindanao-wide project was sponsored by the BUC after the collapse of the Memo of Agreement on Ancestral Domain in August 2008. The outcome of the consultations, called Konsult Mindanao, were summarized in six platforms for Peace in Mindanao: Sincerity, Security, Sensitivity, Solidarity, Spirituality, and Sustainability. In a joint statement on Oct. 14, 2012, several bishops of Mindanao referred to these six S’s as their continuing tasks in supporting with “vigilant optimism” the recently-signed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. 11. A visit by a BUC delegation, comprising bishops, ulama, and government officials, to Islamabad in January 2010. Upon invitation of the Pakistani government, the BUC delegates were asked to share their interfaith experience with their counterparts in Pakistan. The context for interreligious dialogue here was reversed with a majority Muslim population aspiring to reach out to minority religious and ethnic communities. IV. Prospects Recognizing the value of interreligious dialogue and the crucial role of religious leaders in situations of conflict, the Philippine government has provided logistical support to the BUC through the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Peace Process. The BUC also receives support from other donor groups and from various sectors including the academe and media. In this regard, the BUC works together with many other peace centers and peace advocates in Mindanao. Lately, in December 2010, the BUC Tripartite Commission has agreed to the restructuring of the BUC to include non–Mindanaoans and to establish BUC chapters in Luzon and the Visayas. There are also preparations for a second Asian Bishops-Ulama Conference to be held in Indonesia some time in 2013. Despite the ups and downs of a protracted peace process, the BishopsUlama Conference has been able to send a steadfast message to all—whether peace doves or war hawks – that the major Christian and Muslim leaders of Mindanao are for peace. Gradually, wider circles of dialogue at the lower levels are being formed—e.g., among parish priests, imams, and pastors. Culture of peace workshops have also been conducted among grassroots communities. Several bishops and ulama in their own localities have been active in monitoring ceasefire agreements and promoting the peace process. There are also suggestions for BUC participants to be more proactively involved in development efforts, principally by facilitating consultations among local communities. From a global perspective, the series of dialogues and joint activities among Muslim ulama and Christian bishops in Mindanao may be un-precedented anywhere else in the world. This ongoing experience affirms that instead of being sources of conflict, authentic religious traditions can be harnessed as solid foundations for peace.
representing the ULP; and Bishop Hilario Gomez, Jr., of the NCCP. From its inception, the BUC has focused on the spiritual bases for peace from both Muslim and Christian religious traditions, grounded in the belief in one God, a common origin and a common destiny for all. Even as the government and warring groups pursue a “genuine, comprehensive, and lasting peace” through political treaties and socio-economic development, the bishops and ulama focus on “the missing component in many failed peace efforts—an affirmation of the convergent spiritual and cultural bases for peace.” Thus, as an organization of religious leaders, the BUC has as its principal objective the correct understanding of the Christian and Islamic faiths which teach common moral and spiritual values that are considered essential elements of justice and peace as well as the full development of society. Underpinning all these is the value of respectful and friendly dialogue which, despite many obstacles, is the only human and lasting way of arriving at conflict resolution. I. Dialogue meetings Over the past sixteen years, the BUC has held 41 dialogue meetings on a quarterly or semi-annual basis in various cities in Mindanao. These inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogues have been carried out in an atmosphere of openness, mutual respect, and growing familiarity among participants and their representatives. Normally the dialogues bring together 40-60 participants representing the three religious bodies. In-between the larger meetings, a Tripartite Commission composed of three to four members from each of the religious bodies meets to prepare the agenda for future gatherings. At one time or another, the dialogue
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2001. The most recent has been the killing of Fr. Pops Tentorio in Maguindanao in 2010. II. War and the peace process Going beyond individual incidents, there were major events affecting the peace process – in particular, the declaration of all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front by President Joseph Estrada in April-July 2000. This resulted in major dislocations of predominantly Muslim communities in central Mindanao. The atmosphere for peace talks was further clouded during the same period by the notorious kidnappings of foreign and local persons by the Abu Sayyaf, an extremist bandit group operating mostly on the chain of islands stretching from Basilan to TawiTawi in the southernmost part of the Philippines. Up to the present, elements of the Abu Sayyaf are still being pursued by the military, after they killed two of their last three hostages, an American Christian missionary and a Filipina nurse. In 2002, widespread violence erupted once more in Central Mindanao under the directive of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Thousands of internally displaced persons, fleeing the fighting between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front sought shelter in evacuation centers. The most recent outbreak of violence took place in August 2008 over the abrupt cancellation of the Memo of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOAAD) between the government and MILF panels. Armed conflict erupted in Lanao del Norte and Central Mindanao, again displacing many Muslim and Christian communities. It is perhaps during periods of open conflict and violence that the BishopsUlama Conference has played its key role – by providing a neutral forum
various sectors in different communities throughout Mindanao. It has confirmed the conviction that the vast majority of Mindanaoans are for peace. Listed below are the various themes selected each year for the Mindanao Week of Peace: 1999 - Healing the Past, Building the Future 2000 - Mindanaoans Together Towards a Culture of Peace 2001 - Peace: Sharing the Vision of Hope and Unity 2002 - Peace Through Reconciliation: Mindanaoans Seeking a Common Ground 2003 - Healing Through Forgiveness: Key to Total Human Development 2004 - A Reconciled Family, Agent of Reconciliation 2005 - Millennium Development Goals: Women and Children as Partners in Peace Building 2006- In the Name of the Almighty, God of Harmony, Care for the Earth 2007 - Building Bridges of Peace with our Peace Officers 2008 - Integrity of Heart and Mind, Way to Reconciliation and Peace 2009 - Think Mindanao, Feel Mindanao, Bring Peace to Mindanao 2010 - Responsive and Responsible Governance: Key to Peace, Development and Sustainability 2011 - Common Word Between Us and You: Love of God, Love of Neighbor 2012 - Love of God and Love of Neighbor – a Challenge for Mindanao In addition to the Mindanao-wide dialogues, bishops and ulama have also engaged in sub-regional inter-faith meetings—in the cities of Zamboanga, Cotabato, Davao, Marawi, Pagadian, etc. In these localized gatherings, religious leaders—including pastors, priests,
Protestant bishops and Muslim ulama as well as Focolare participants. Three days were spent in discussing how the families could support the peace activities of the conference. 4. A significant symposium on Maryam in the Qur’an and Mary in the Bible, as explained by a Muslim and a Catholic theologian. Both groups manifested a meaningful consensus on the exalted position of the mother of Jesus Christ or Isa, the Prophet, in both sacred scriptures and her role as our Mother of Peace. This was held in Cagayan de Oro on August 29, 2001, during the 16th BUC general assembly. 5. The historic gathering of the First Asian Bishops-Ulama Conference on August 18-21, 2003, in Manila. This was attended by 121 Christian and Muslim religious leaders from 19 countries in Asia. They discussed the theme, “Seeking Peace and Development through an Authentic Christian and Muslim Dialogue of Life in Asia.” One of the main resolutions was to extend the experience of the BUC to other Asian countries. 6. A focus by the 28 th General Assembly on the theme, “Woman and Youth: Partners in Peacebuilding.” For the first time the BUC participants dwelt on doctrinal issues and arrived surprisingly at a consensus on important teachings of both Christianity and Islam. This consensus was facilitated by the atmosphere of trust that had been established among the members of the Conference. 7. The holding of the IndonesiaMindanao Bishops-Ulama Network (IMBUM) on August 15-16, 2005, in Gen. Santos City. From Indonesia, three ulama, three Catholic bishops and two Protestant leaders responded to the BUC invitation to share our dialogue experience. Areas of collaboration between the two countries were
Silsilah Dialogue Movement
of God, and in the Church based on their common vocation as baptized into Christ. The Church’s Pastors have recognized the special capacities of women, such as their attention to others and their gifts for nurture and compassion, most especially in their vocation as mothers. Women together with men witness to the Gospel of life through their dedication to transmission of life in the family. Together they help to keep the faith alive. The Synod acknowledges that today, women (lay and religious) together with men contribute to theological reflection at all levels and share pastoral responsibilities in new ways, thus carrying forward the New Evangelization for the transmission of the faith. Proposition 47: FORMATION FOR EVANGELIZERS
This Synod considers that it is necessary to establish formation centers for the New Evangelization, where lay people learn how to speak of the person of Christ in a persuasive manner adapted to our time and to specific groups of people (young people, agnostics, the elderly and so forth). Trinitarian Christocentricity (cf. General Directory of Catechesis, 98-100) is the most essential and fundamental criterion for presenting the Gospel message in all three moments of evangelization, whether for initial proclamation, catechesis or on-going formation (cf. GDC, 60-72). All teaching and resources are to be evaluated in this light. Proposition 48: THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY Established by the sacrament of matrimony, the Christian family as the domestic Church
is the locus and first agent in the giving of life and love, the transmission of faith and the formation of the human person according to the values of the gospel. In imitating Christ, the whole Church must dedicate herself to supporting families in the catechesis of children and youth. In many cases the grandparents will have a very important role. At the same time the New Evangelization should strive to address significant pastoral problems around marriage, the case of divorced and remarried, the situation of their children, the fate of abandoned spouses, the couples who live together without marriage and the trend in society to redefine marriage. The Church with maternal care and evangelical spirit should seek appropriate responses for these situations, as an important aspect of the new evangelization.
Every pastoral plan of evangelization should also include a respectful invitation to all those who live alone, to experience God in the family of the Church. It is necessary to educate people in how to live human sexuality according to Christian anthropology, b o t h b e f o re m a r r i a g e a s well as in marriage itself. TheSynodnoteswithappreciation those families who leave their homes in order to be evangelizers for Christ in other countries and cultures. Proposition 49: PASTORAL DIMENSION OF THE ORDAINED MINISTRY The Synod Fathers encourage bishops and priests to know the lives of the people they serve in a more personal way. People are looking for authentic and credible witnesses in their
bishops and priests who live and model the faith and the New Evangelization. The bishop is an evangelizer who leads by example and shares with all the baptized the blessings of being called to evangelization. Ongoing formation for clergy on the New Evangelization and methods for evangelization in the diocese and parish are needed in order to learn effective means to mobilize the laity to engage in the New Evangelization. We invite the Bishops, those principally responsible for the whole pastoral work of the Church, to develop a plan that animates and accompanies in a direct and personal manner the pastoral work of the presbyterate, the decisive leadership core of the New Evangelization. Confronted with the scandals affecting priestly life and ministry, which we deeply regret, we propose nevertheless
that thanks and encouragement be given to the faithful service of so many priests and that pastoral orientations be given to the particular churches on a presbyteral pastoral plan that is systematic and organized, that supports the genuine renewal of the life and ministry of the priests, who are the primary agents of the New Evangelization (cf. Pastores dabo vobis, 2). So that priests will be adequately prepared for the work of the New Evangelization, the Synod wishes that in their formation, care is taken to form them in a deep spirituality, solid doctrine, the capacity to communicate in catechesis and an awareness of modern cultural phenomena. Seminaries should take as their focus the New Evangelization so that it becomes the recurring and unifying theme in programs of human, spiritual, intellectual
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Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
+Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle Archbishop of Manila +Gabriel Reyes Bishop of Antipolo +Honesto F. Ongtioco Bishop of Cubao +Deogracias S. Iñiguez Bishop of Kalookan +Jose F. Oliveros Bishop of Malolos +Antonio R. Tobias Bishop of Novaliches +Jesse E. Mercado Bishop of Parañaque +Mylo Hubert C. Vergara Bishop of Pasig +Leo M. Drona Bishop of San Pablo +Leopoldo S. Tumulak Bishop of Military Ordinariate +Pedro D. Arigo Vicar Apostolic, Puerto Princesa
+Edgardo S. Juanich Vicar Apostolic of Taytay +Francisco M. de Leon Auxiliary Bishop of Antipolo +Bernardino C. Cortez Auxiliary Bishop of Manila +Broderick S. Pabillo Auxiliary Bishop of Manila Fr. George A. Morales Diocesan Administrator of Imus
Statement of the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Manila
IN their pre-Chrismas gathering held on December 4, 2012, the bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Manila reflected on the discussions on the RH bill in Congress yesterday, December 3, 2012. We are appealing to the Honorable Representatives to give ample time to the deliberations and discernment and not to unduly rush them. We also appeal to them to conduct the deliberation with transparency through nominal voting and respect for the diversity of views.
Peace through the Meeting of the Hearts
By Archbishop Fernando R. Capalla
SIXTEEN years ago on 29 November 1996 the Bishops-Ulama Conference was born in the wake of the GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement. At the suggestion of President Fidel V. Ramos our group was establish to support the implementation of the peace accord. We understood this to mean that we would promote the understanding of Christian and Islamic values through interfaith dialogue and collaboration. Our main focus was supposed to be the implementation of the peace agreement. This was the reason why we had joint meetings with the officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police ending up with a covenant. We called ourselves BUC-AFP-PNP Peace Forum. We had many dialogues with local government units for the promotion of the Mindanao Week of Peace. When the MOA-AD was aborted due to lack of consultation we launched with the help of the academe a region-wide Konsult Mindanaw involving thousands of people, Muslim and Christian, in focused group discussion. We gave the result to the Government, to the MILF Central Committee, and to the GRP Peace Panel. Our findings are now part of the overall plan of the Mindanao Development Authority. Through these many and diverse interactions with the government people, military, academe, and the civic groups as well as NGO’s, our main objective was always the meeting of the hearts more than facilitating the meeting of the minds among our peace Nhadatul Ulama as well as with the big Protestant group in Asia the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). Meeting of the hearts for us is the same as friendship which we believe is the basis of sincere and effective dialogue. This way we go beyond peace as the absence of war (eirene to the Greeks) and peace as an accord on paper (pax to the Romans). We are now on Shalom (peace in Hebrew which means wholeness, integrity, harmony of the individual and of the community). Shalom is the root word for salam, the Arabic word for peace. And islam is derived from salam. This JudeoChristian and Islamic understanding of peace is to us still lacking in the peace process. This is what we mean by meeting of the hearts and we are promoting this through seminars on faith, culture and dialogue for peace.
and dialogue partners. We did the same when we were invited by the Pakistani government to share our experience of dialogue with the religious leaders of the country of Pakistan. The same was our
approach with our peace partners at the Multi-Faith Centre in Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. We extended our network to the two big Muslim groups in Indonesia, the Muhammadiyah and the
Pastoral Statement on the Paracale Mining Incident
AN accident happened at the mining site in Purok Maligaya in Palanas, Paracale, Camarines Norte last November 20, 2012 at around 5 p.m. The Christian community condoles with the families of the victims. We include them in our prayers in the Masses this Sunday. Paracale has become identical with mining. The town’s name means “canal digger” or simply “digger” and is clearly connected with the mining activity. Even before the Spaniards came to the area in the 16th century, mining was already a primary source of livelihood for the people of Paracale. The gold mines of Paracale have been the source of her fame and fortune. Unfortunately, the glitter of Paracale gold is being diminished by the tragic events that are happening there now. Lives have been put to risk and even lost. Because of the underground tunnels and pits in the area, land collapse may happen anytime. At the root of this situation is the greed of some unscrupulous people. They take advantage of the poverty of the ordinary people and fortune seekers whom they entice to become miners with little concern for their safety. being and safety of miners. The recent tragic accident in Palanas once again calls all sectors—the local government units, the military and police, the Church and non-government organizations and peoples’ organizations—to come together, reflect and act as one in order to address the problem. Unless this is done, the situation will only grow worse and more tragedies are bound to happen. But there is hope. We only need to admit our failures and abuses and then commit ourselves to really act as responsible stewards of the treasures and resources that God has blessed us with and be concerned with the well-being of our fellowmen. Let us ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit who renews the face of the earth. With trust, we ask the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Lady of Candelaria, so that our land may be healed and renewed and our people may be converted and transformed. MOST REV. GILBERT A. GARCERA, D.D. Bishop of Daet November 24, 2012
FOI Bill is Essential in a Democracy
A LAW on Freedom of Information is necessary in a democracy. It is a crucial measure to ensure transparency and accountability from the government. The people have the right to know any information on matters of social concern, just as stated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution: The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.” (Article III – Bill of Rights, Sec.7) It is lamentable that until now, 25 years and 5 administrations after the 1987 Constitution was ratified, no Freedom on Information bill has been passed in Congress. A law on Freedom of Information would serve as a deterrent to graft and corruption which is a bane in Philippine political life. It would give the Filipino people the chance to exercise their right to scrutinize any government transactions they think are inimical to public interests. The FOI bill would promote transparency and accountability, which to a certain degree, are sorely lacking from many of our public officials. The passage of an FOI bill was one of the campaign promises of President Benigno Aquino III who ran on a much vaunted platform of “Daang Matuwid.” But until this bill is ratified in Congress and implemented, President Aquino’s “Daang Matuwid” will remain just a slogan and devoid of meaning. I now call on the Aquino government to certify the FOI
FOI Bill / B7
Bishop Gilbert Garcera
In spite of warnings against unregulated mining and the use of illegal means, they persist in their dangerous practices and so expose the miners’ life and limbs to great danger. They blatantly violate mining laws and regulations. They put more value on material and financial gain over the well-
St. Pedro Calungsod, Patron Saint of Filipino Youth
(Homily of Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, at the Jaro Cathedral on November 23, 2012, on the occasion of the “Duaw Nasud” of the image of St. Pedro Calungsod)
LAST October 21, 2012 Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI canonized in Rome our Second Filipino Saint – the seventeen year old teenager Filipino from the Visayas, Pedro Calungsod, our role model of commitment to Christ, to his Gospel and to the Church. Pedro Calungsod, as we all know by now, was a companion or one of the companions of Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, the Jesuit superior of the mission in the islands of the Marianas and in the island of Guam. The story of Pedro Calungsod started in the Philippines of course where the Jesuits had many mission stations and boarding schools for boys. Pedro Calungsod may have been trained in one of the Jesuit mission stations or boarding schools or Jesuit residences. It was in one of these Jesuit houses of formation that Pedro Calungsod was trained spiritually, mentally and physically to be a missionary catechist (not as a seminarian for the priesthood, but as a lay catechist.) Pedro Calungsod was martyred in April 2, 1672 together with Diego de San Vitores by the Chamorros, Matapang and Hirao. The drama of martyrdom in the village of Tomhom, Guam, started when a Chinese medicine man, named Choco poisoned the mind of the Chamorros through lies and calumnies about the missionaries and the sacrament of baptism they administered. According to our historian, Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, “Those who witnessed his killing remarked how agile he was in skirting the first spears that were hurled at him by one of his assassins. Those who personally knew him believed he could have defeated all by himself his two fierce aggressors.” The youthful Pedro Calungsod skirted the darting spears with remarkable dexterity and agility. The Jesuit missionaries never allowed their catechist/sacristan companions to carry weapons, not to throw back the weapons hurled at them, as in “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.” Early in his youthful years, back in the mission station or boarding school, Pedro , the young Filipino missionary was taught “to put on the armor of God to stand against the wiles of the evil one, to fasten the belt of truth around the waist, to put on the breastplate of righteousness, to put on the shoes of readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace . . . the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Cf. Eph. 6/10-17). Canonizing this youthful soldier of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI reiterated the appeal and challenge to the Filipino people thirty two years ago in 1981 when Blessed John Paul II beatified (later canonized) Lorenzo Ruiz, (our First Filipino Saint), and challenged the Filipino people to become “the foremost missionaries of Asia.” I should say like a “bush afire with God,” borrowing Moses’ experience in the cave. In canonizing the youthful Pedro Calungsod, Pope Benedict XVI may want to ask us, elders, how and for what are we training our young men and women. How is the “faith of their fathers” being transmitted to the youth? Can we really today speak of “faith of their fathers”—is there such still? Or is it slowly disappearing? Or in some cases has it completely disappeared? Let us hope that the canonization of Pedro Calungsod will give us the grace of “re-commitment” to our faith, a “re-commitment” to the Catholic Christian training of our Filipino children and youth. In the Philippines we witness and children of the poorest with his “Kariton classroom.” These children otherwise would have no chance to learn the basics of reading and writing. In 2009 Efren Peñaflorida was the CNN Hero of the Year, out of 9,000 nominees from more than 100 countries. (Ref. Inquirer. Conrado de Quiros’ “There’s the Rub” Nov. 7, 2012) There is heroism among our youth. These are signs of holiness among our young people. The likes of San Pedro Calungsod come from such group. In this Year of Faith, the theme is “Live Christ, Share Christ.” By his martyrdom, St. Pedro Calungsod has “lived Christ” to the full sharing the Cross of Christ literally. By being canonized, St. Pedro Calungsod truly “shares Christ” with the Church. The Word became flesh in Jesus. And if what Jesus said is true “whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me”—then Jesus became flesh once more in the martyrdom of Pedro Calungsod. It was another crucifixion of Christ, stepping stone to Resurrection. The glory of the Resurrected Christ shines through the pierced and mangled body of Pedro Calungsod. With Father Diego de San Vitores, he was thrown into the sea. Let me – to end – quote from Fr. Arevalo: “In an age when, as Pope John Paul II has said, youth in the Philippines must be willing to bravely proclaim their Christian faith, both at home and in other lands, what more splendid thing can be done than to give a concrete young person, catechist and missionary who is alive in the Crucified and Risen Christ today, for our young people to know, to pray to, to imitate?” Blessed John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Asia” indicates that Christians are still a tiny minority in Asia: out of approximately 195(?) million
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The pilgrim image of St. Pedro Calungsod arrives at St. Augustine Parish in Dumangas, Iloilo.
encounter many serious breakdown of the life of faith among the young. Fr. Catalino Arevalo, S.J. writes, “The beliefs and values of often decadent post-modernist currents in the West are fast becoming the norms by which young people everywhere live: the morality above all, so far removed from what the Church teaches in family life, in sexuality, in the pursuit of material wealth and of gratification (consumerism, drugs, etc.). The victim of all these invasion is the traditional Faith, the traditional moral standards, the cultural ways of life and behavior which 400 years of Christianity have tried to make part of the Filipinos’ way of life.” Our own time is not lacking young heroes like Pedro Calungsod. We
remember Bobby Gana who carried with him in a plane crash the idealism and vision of working for the poorest of the poor. We remember the young Jesuit novice in Cambodia Richie Fernando who saved many lives by offering his body against the live hand-grenade thrown by a mentally-ill patient. In more recent time, we 13 old Chris “Kesz” Valdez, who has helped thousands of poor kids in Cavite City with his project “Gifts of Hope.” Young Chris Valdez was recently awarded the 2012 International Children’s Peace Prize. From being an unwanted and scavenging child, Chris “Kesz” has given face to charity and compassion. We have met here in Iloilo the youthful Efren Peñaflorida who has attracted the
© Kristal Joy Badayos
It is not fortuitous that today’s Gospel begins with the name of Tiberius Caesar, emperor of the Roman empire, Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea, Herod Antipas, tetrach of Galilee and Perea, and Philip, tetrach of other parts of Galilee (Luke 3:1). As an evangelist who has a universalist outlook, Luke takes care to relate the significance of the gospel to the world in his time. For him, these known persons represent the political and religious rulers at the time of Jesus. It may be recalled that as the people at that time expected, the political rulers, on the one hand, were supposed to save their people from hunger and lawlessness, while the religious leader, on the other hand, were to put them in right relationship with God. Yet it is clear from the Jewish tradition that their national rulers were hardly faithful in their task. On the contrary, they did the opposite. That is why, God, using pagan rulers as instruments, scattered them and exiled them (2 Kings 15:29; 17:16). The Jewish religious leaders, on the other hand, led the people astray (Jer 50:6). They became unfaithful (Ezek 34:2-10), and even scattered the flock (Jer 23:1-2). Thus, they failed in their responsibilities (Jer 2:8). It appears, therefore, that if Luke mentions secular and religious rulers to preface his account of Jesus’ ministry, it is to imply that salvation cannot come from the religio-political establishment of his time. Not surprisingly enough, God’s word did not come to them, nor to any Roman
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
To a world caught in a morass of pain, whence will salvation come?
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 2nd Sunday of Advent of Year C (Luke 3:1-6) December 9, 2012
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
A FEW days ago, a number of columnists wrote about China being a savior of Europe or Africa, continents caught in a morass of economic distress. Indeed, when we hear of the United States and Japan, we usually associate them with countries advanced in science, technology, and economy. We look up to them because they have virtually become world leaders who are able to give their people comfort and happiness that citizens of the third world normally envy. Theirs is an advanced industrial society. Yet, the other side of the picture of such societies is quite alarming: they have worsening air and water pollution, mounting crimes, ghettoes, dwindling resources, to mention a few. And one wonders whether this is a form collective suicide. Of course, Karl Marx saw this, and proposed an alternative. Since the West is individualistic, he proposed the abolition of private property, and thought of allowing the people—the poor—to govern society. Thus, decades before, we heard of the Josef Stalin of the Russia and Mao Tse Tung of China proclaiming themselves as champions of the proletariat. Yet, we who are on the other side of the fence know that these nations have their own brand of dogmatism and bureaucracy, regimentation and inquisition, witch hunting and police state. And not too long ago, we saw the virtual collapse of the communist world. Hence the question: whence comes the salvation of the world? or Jewish politician, but to John who, in contrast with the Roman emperors and governors, was an unknown in the empire. The word of the Lord came to him to indicate that salvation of the people can come from God alone (Bar 5:6), not from the religio-political rulers of his time. How does the prophet picture salvation? The book of Baruch presents this salvation to us in the image of Jerusalem taking the robe of peace instead of mourning to manifest the return of the sons of Israel from exile (Bar 5:1-4), led by God himself (Bar 5:6). So, Jerusalem has to look toward the east, to the coming of salvation from God (Bar 5:5). That is to say, the prophet warned his people that if they wish to be saved, the Israelites cannot rely on their own religio-political rulers, still less on foreign powers. If there is anyone to be depended on for salvation, it is God alone. The same may be said of us. No matter how altruistic the United States, China or Japan may appear to be, no matter how they are able to show concern for peoples in the third world, we, Christians, cannot have the illusion that the salvation of men from all misery and want, and from evil and death could come from the political rulers of these powerful nations. It cannot come even from our own political rulers. Many presidents have sat on the presidential throne, but the salvation of the Filipino people is nowhere nearer. On the contrary, their lot has even become worst—politically,
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How to bring about a comprehensive reform
2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C December 9, 2012
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE experience of the Agrarian Reform in the Philippines and elsewhere reminds us of an elementary truth supported by experience: no reform will ever succeed unless it is “comprehensive”, i.e., unless it tackles all aspects of a problem, and is situated within a supportive environment. Such a principle applies to all types of reform, including the moral and spiritual ones. These are reforms that we all need and for which each of us has to take the initiative and persevere in its implementation. Advent is a golden opportunity to plan and carry out a “Comprehensive Spiritual Reform” (CSR). This is particularly relevant and needed in this “Year of Faith” that we are observing. John the Baptist, a man of faith, impresses on us its absolute need, outlines its radical demands, and stresses its all-embracing character. Such a reform encompasses the whole of our person and our activity. It concerns our mind, our heart, our hands. This means it should affect our outlook, our attitudes, our actions positively. In practice, this CSR can mean very different things for each one of us. But it also includes certain common lines of action which apply to all of us. The first fundamental step in our CSR is the rediscovery of our need for God. “Without God, we cannot be,” we sing in a well-known song. But often, in practice—if not in theory—we may have come to behave as if God were an expendable item in our life! Advent is a time to make our own what we sing in the song: “Come, fill my world. Come, fill my life. Come take my hand and walk with me!” The second step may consist in realizing that our set of values may need to be reviewed and properly prioritized. It is not a matter of renouncing earthly values and concerns, but of giving them their proper place in a well-crafted “faith-inspired” value system. Our CSR will surely entail the pulling down of the mountain ranges of our pride, our prejudices, our insensitivity to the needs of our neighbor. We have to fill the ravines of shady dealings and selfish motives, and to straighten up the twisted paths of degrading compromises. All these wrong attitudes and actions have to be buried once and for all under a solid layer of honesty, sincerity and openness. In this way, our life can become a beautiful “reclamation area,” crisscrossed by the spacious highways of the love of God and neighbor. As Paul suggests in today’s Second Reading, we have to let “love increase more and more” and learn to “discern what is of value” (Phil 1:9.10). Each of us can make this program more detailed and relevant. If we do not get it underway right now, and do not succeed, this Year of Faith will remain fruitless for us.
The Cross may be central to it, but ours remains a religion of joy
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 3rd Sunday of Advent of Year C (Luke 3:10-18) December 16, 2012
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
EVERY time the Leyte Landings Anniversary is commemorated on October 20, a good number of veterans come to celebrate the event with much joy. Not a few of them wish to reminisce the experience when even just the news that Gen. Douglas MacArthur would certainly return was enough to lift up their spirit. For the prospect of his coming brought to mind the gaining of freedom from Japanese atrocities, and the restoration of the American rule in what was formerly known as the Philippine islands. It was thought that his return would put an end to destruction and be the beginning of a new era of progress and development for the Filipino people. Indeed, when Gen MacArthur did return, people were literally dancing on the street, joyful at the thought that liberation was at hand! Today has been traditionally called Gaudete Sunday, because the readings tell us to rejoice. Thus the second reading: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice”(Phil 4:4). We are told to rejoice because, more than what Gen MacArthur did to the Filipinos, not only is the Lord with us, renewing his love for us, but also he will reveal himself as our Savior, forgiving us our iniquities, freeing us from dangers and misfortunes (Zeph 3:15-18), liberating us from all forms of evil.. As we await the coming of the Lord this Christmas, we ought therefore to rejoice. Our religion may stress the value of suffering, pain, and patience, but it is a religion of joy. For in the final result, God would put an end to our experience of misery, suffering and evil, when Jesus returns in glory. What we should feel is best captured by the Psalmist:: “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them. Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice before the Lord who comes, who comes to govern the earth, to govern the world with justice and the peoples with faithfulness” (Ps 96:11-13). That, in fact, is what Advent is all about: rejoicing in the coming of the Lord (Phil 4:5b) This is the good news. The Messiah is coming to vindicate his people. Of course, in the Gospel, John the Baptist describes his coming in terms of judgment: “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into
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Bishop Pat Alo
The truth sets free (Jn. 8:32)
AS we consider world history and situations we come to realize the truth of Christ’s words: “If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). Even if Christianity and its missionaries chose to follow the ways of love, peace and sacrifice in the process of propagating the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the whole world, the Lord has been pleased to crown their efforts and sacrifices with success. The way the Christian missionaries have followed has protected the freedom of people/s consciences, as Jesus Himself advised: “Ask and it will be given you, search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Mt. 7:7). That presupposes good will on the part of the person that he be open to accept the objective truth and evidence with a sincere heart honestly seeking for the truth. Just as in the case of the canonization of saints and blessed in the Catholic Church, the Lord provides signs and miracles that motivate people to believe. You can check that for yourself, as in the case of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, and many other saints, if you are patient enough to research. After all the records are well documented. As one famous Russian writer novelist Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), author of War and Peace said before he died – ‘to seek, always to seek’. The words of Jesus assure us that He will accompany the Church’s mission and evangelization in the world with signs from heaven: “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover…and so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mk. 16:16-20).
Let’s rejoice and live out the values of the Kingdom!
3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C December 16, 2012
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE times of John the Baptist were bad, characterized, as they were, by selfishness, greed, pride, aggressiveness, oppression of the weak . . . . This can be gathered from the answers he gave to those who had been struck by his preaching and asked, “What ought we to do?” John’s strongly worded call to conversion was amply justified. All needed to undergo a “metanoia,” a change of mind and attitude, in order to enter the Reign of God. The situation does not seem to have changed much since the time of John the Baptist. We live in a society plagued with the same moral defects and vices. People are still greedy, selfish, aggressive . . . And, of course, the temptation is always to see these moral failures in others. In many cases, it may be true that there is so much evil around us. But it is equally true that we, too, are not perfect. There is evil in us, too. We fail morally almost every day and in various ways. We, too, need to undergo a “metanoia,” a radical conversion. “Radical” here means that it should not stop at the individual acRejoice / B7
Archbishop Fernando Capalla
Attacks against Church leaders
THE attacks, mostly in the media and the internet, are actually a fulfillment of Christ’s prediction that His followers would be hated and persecuted because of Him (Matthew 24:9). It has been the life of the Church and her leaders for more than 2,000 years. There is nothing new on this matter. Emperors, kings, presidents, governors, mayors, politicians, atheists, communists, including even some bishops, priests and religious, since the Church’s beginning till the present time, had been trying to destroy the Church by apostasy, heresy, schism and the killing of her leaders. Yet the Church endures and is still alive. Which calls to mind what Tertullian, an early Church writer, said: “the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians”. The shedding of blood may not happen for now but the ruining of reputation has already begun. We pray that when the situation gets worse the Catholic Christian leader will be able to stand firm and say to the arresting authorities, “Judge for yourselves which is right in God’s sight—to obey you or to obey God “ (Acts 4:19). Wi t h o u t a n y h i n t o f triumphalism about this, it appears that the attacks of the RH bill supporters not only confirm Christ’s words but come as a blessing in disguise. They are a call to courageous and relentless announcement of the good news and denunciation of the bad ones. Above all they are a call to a humble self-purification. While thanking God for affirming the Church’s pro-life stand by allowing these attacks, we have to reexamine our motives and use of language to avoid uncharitable thoughts, desires and actions, and following Christ, to pray for our persecutors and forgive them for “they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Bereft of faith the Jews and Pilate’s solders did not know they were killing God in human form—Jesus of Nazareth. It was only after Christ expired on the cross that the Roman centurion, probably enlightened by the light of faith, said “truly you are the Son of God”(Mark 16:38). Pains, sufferings and all forms of ‘death’, symbolized by the Cross of Christ, define the Church and the authenticity of Christian life and ministry, of religious and missionary vocation, and of the new evangelization. There is no other way to new and eternal life with God.
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
fair price and not trying to exploit them by giving low prices is what is just and right. It is immoral to be taking advantage of them because they are hungry and need to sell their produce and desperate to get some money however small. Exploitation robs the people of their energy, and initiative to plant and grow and toil. The rich blames them for their poverty and being lazy when in fact they are malnourished because of being exploited and cheated. Not only are they sick and tired but at the end of all their hard work, their produce is worth so little. That’s the cause of dire poverty and there is much of it in the Philippines. Because it’s not a fair trading system the poor remain poor and their children go malnourished and have to work on the land to help earn enough for them just to survive. That’s the curse of the unjust system run by the dynastic families that rule this country and live luxuriously while the poor are like Lazarus at the gates starving. The champions who work for justice in trade and human rights, they have put aside personal profit and self-seeking and have dedicated themselves to the cause of alleviating the dire poverty and hunger that still stalks our world. They are the grassroots people who made this Fair Trade movement grow and they are a people-power for justice and human rights. Developmental Fair Trade as implemented by Preda Fair Trade is specific in overcoming injustice and making a better future for the poor and
We can all do justice as responsible consumers
By Fr. Shay Cullen
PANFILO 57, is a carpenter, vegetable and mango farmer from Moriki, Kapalong, Davao Del Norte. In 1986, he planted 51 mango trees and now they are bearing fruits and while not all bear fruit every year he can earn 20,000 Pesos ($486) each annual harvest selling to a fair Trade buyer. This he says is almost double of what he would earn from the commercial buyers who reject half of his fruit. The Preda Fair Trader buys all the fruit, big and small, scratched or bruised because they slice and dry them. He earns more besides because he gets a premium payment for every kilo, a profit share from Preda. This kind of fair trading that encourages small farmers to plant mangoes and other fruit bearing trees and fight climate change. Above all it keeps his family together and sends his kids to school. Doing justice for those farmers who have been exploited and impoverished for generations is what Fair Trade is all about. It is a combination of trade and social justice. It helps people to help themselves and become self-reliant and feed themselves and their children. It brings justice into the market place and it is what we need in the developing world to end poverty and misery and disease. It is just being a decent business person or a fair minded consumer willing to pay a fair price and treat the producers with respect and give them the dignity they deserve. By paying a
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Panfilo tells his story on how his life changed through the help of Preda Fair Trade which buys his mango fruits at fair price.
oppressed people and transforming society and the way people think about the people in the developing world. We don’t want people to buy Fair Trade products as an act of charity out of pity. They buy them because they are quality, desirable and valuable products in themselves and also because they are fairly traded and not the product of exploitation or child labor. One billion are still hungry on this planet of plenty. It just so happens that
the wealth is accumulated by the few while the many go without the basic needs of life. The champions of Fair Trade are those who have challenged this inequality that causes much human suffering and death by hunger and disease. The goal of Preda Development Fair Trade is to help people to overcome poverty by their own efforts earning just wages and returns for their hard work and improving their communities
through team and community self-help development projects. The success of fair trade relies greatly on the quality of the products, the just wages and conditions under which they are made. But equally it depends on the choice of committed consumers to act in a morally right way and choose to buy the fair trade products rather than the commercially supplied products. Doing justice makes our lives happier and the lives of the workers.
and pastoral formation in the ars celebrandi, in homiletics and in the celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation, all very important parts of the New Evangelization. The Synod recognizes and encourages the work of deacons whose ministry provides the Church great service. Ongoing formation programs within the diocese should also be available for deacons. Proposition 50: CONSECRATED LIFE The Consecrated life, of both men and women, has made a very important contribution to the Church’s work of evangelization throughout h i s t o r y. In this moment of new evangelization, the Synod asks all men and women religious and members of secular institutes to live their identity as consecrated persons radically and with joy. The witness of a life which manifests the primacy of God and which, by means of the common life, expresses the humanizing force of the Gospel is a powerful proclamation of the Reign of God. Consecrated life, fully evangelical and evangelizing, in profound communion with the pastors of the Church and in co-responsibility with the laity, faithful to the respective charisms, will offer a significant contribution to the New Evangelization. The Synod asks Religious Orders and Congregations to be fully available to go to the geographical, social and cultural frontiers of evangelization. The Synod invites religious to move toward the new aeropaghi of mission. Because the New Evangelization is essentially a spiritual matter, the
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Synod also underlines the great importance of the contemplative life in the transmission of the faith. The age-old tradition of the consecrated contemplative life in its previous forms of stable community life of prayer and work continues to be a powerful source of grace in the life and mission of the Church. The Synod hopes that the New Evangelization will move many more faithful to embrace this form of life. Proposition 51: YOUTH AND THE NEW EVANGELIZATION In the New Evangelization, the youth are not only the future but also the present (and gift) in the Church. They are not only the recipients but also agents of evangelization, especially with their peers. The youth are in the stage of searching for truth and meaning in life that Jesus who is the Truth and their Friend can provide. Through exemplary Christian adults, the saints, especially the young saints, and through committed youth ministers, the Church is visible and credible for the youth. Wherever they are, at home, in school, or in the Christian community, it is necessary that evangelizers meet the young and spend time with them; propose to them and accompany them in following Jesus, guide them to discover their vocation in life and in the Church. As the media greatly influence the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being of the youth, the Church through catechesis and youth ministry
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strives to enable and equip them to discern between good and evil, to choose Gospel values over worldly values, and to form firm faith convictions. T h e Wo r l d Yo u t h D a y celebrations and YOUCAT are special instruments of the New Evangelization. Proposition 52: ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE The ecumenical dimension of the engagement for the New Evangelization should be highlighted. This corresponds to the prayer of the Lord Jesus “so that they may all be one” (Jn 17, 23). The credibility of our service to the Gospel will be much greater if we can overcome our divisions. While upholding Catholic identity and communion, the New Evangelization promotes ecumenical collaboration, which demonstrates how much the faith given in Baptism unites us. The Synod Fathers are grateful for the progress in ecumenical dialogue since the Second Vatican Council. Despite past difficulties, this dialogue was particularly shown in this Synod by the participation of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams and of the fraternal delegates. The Synod Fathers express their desire that the Church continues her efforts in this path of unity and charity. Proposition 53: INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE The dialogue with all believers is a part of the New Evangelization. In particular, the Church invites Christians to persevere and to
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intensify their relations with Muslims according to the teaching of the Declaration Nostra aetate. Despite difficulties, this dialogue must continue. It always depends on the partners having an adequate formation, an authentic ecclesial foundation as Christians and an attitude of respect for the conscience of people and for religious liberty for all. Faithful to the teaching of Vatican II, the Church respects the other religions and their adherents and is happy to collaborate with them in the defense and promotion of the inviolable dignity of every person. Proposition 54: THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN SCIENCE AND FAITH The dialogue between science and faith is a vital field in the New Evangelization. On the one hand, this dialogue requires the openness of reason to the mystery which transcends it and an awareness of the fundamental limits of scientific knowledge. On the other hand, it also requires a faith that is open to reason and to the results of scientific research. Proposition 55: COURTYARD OF THE GENTILES The ecclesial communities open a kind of Courtyard of the Gentiles where believers and non-believers can dialogue about fundamental themes: the great values of ethics, art and science, and the search for the transcendent. This dialogue is directed in particular to “those to whom religion is something foreign, to whom God is unknown and who nevertheless do not want to be left merely Godless, but rather to draw near to him,
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albeit as the Unknown” (Benedict XVI, Address to the Members of the Roman Curia, 21 December 2009). In a particular way, Catholic educational institutions could promote such a dialogue which is never separated from the “initial proclamation”. Proposition 56: STEWARDSHIP OF CREATION The Stewardship of creation also serves evangelization in many ways. It is a witness to our faith in the goodness of God’s creation. It demonstrates a sense of solidarity with all those who depend for their life and sustenance on the goods of creation. It shows intergenerational solidarity with those who come after us, and is a clear witness to the responsible and equitable use of the goods of the earth, our common home. Conclusion Proposition 57: THE TRANSMISSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). From the very beginning the Church has understood her responsibility to pass on the Good News. The task of the New Evangelization, following in this apostolic tradition, is the transmission of the faith. The Second Vatican Council reminds us that this task is a complex process which involves the faith and life of every Christian. This faith cannot be transmitted in a life which is not modeled after the Gospel or a life which does not find its meaning, truth and future based on the Gospel. For this reason, the New
Evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith calls all believers to renew their faith and their personal encounter with Jesus in the Church, to deepen their appreciation of the truth of the faith and joyfully to share it. Proposition 58: MARY, THE STAR OF THE NEW EVANGELIZATION Vatican Council II presented Mary in the context of the Mystery of Christ and of the Church (cf. Lumen gentium, 5268). Pope Paul VI declared her the “Star of Evangelization.” She is therefore the model of faith, hope and love. She is the first helper who brings disciples to the Master (cf. Jn2). In the Upper Room she is the Mother of the believers (cf. Acts 1:14). As Mother of the Redeemer, Mary becomes a witness of God’s love. She freely fulfills God’s will. She is the strong woman, who along with John, remains at the foot of the Cross. She always intercedes for us and accompanies the faithful in their journey as far as the cross of the Lord. As Mother and Queen she is a sign of hope for suffering and needy peoples. Today she is the “Missionary” who will aid us in the difficulties of our time and with her nearness open the hearts of men and women to the faith. We fix our gaze on Mary. She will help us to proclaim the message of salvation to all men and women, so that they too may become agents of Evangelization. Mary is the Mother of the Church. Through her presence, may the Church become a home for many and Mother of all peoples.
bill as a priority if he is truly serious in his anti-corruption campaign. Unless a Freedom on Information Act is in effect, his campaign to weed out corruption in government will never succeed. I likewise urge the lawmakers in both houses of Congress to show their nationalism and put the interests of the country and people--whom they have sworn to serve--above their own, by prioritizing the deliberations on the FOI bill and ratify it the soonest time possible. BRODERICK PABILLO, DD Auxiliary Bishop of Manila Director – National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace November 26, 2012
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Catholics in Asia, more than 80 million are in the Philippines. The Philippines therefore has a special responsibility to proclaim Jesus Christ in Asia. The Youth of the Philippines have a challenge and a duty “to tell Asia and the world of Christ’s love,” to make “the new evangelization” a task they must take to heart. Pedro Calungsod, Fr. Arevalo writes, “This young Filipino Visayan emerges from contemporary 17th century accounts as a remarkably attractive figure—one to capture the imagination and idealism of young people even in our post-modernist age: a martyr for the youth to look up to, in an age when Jesus and his Gospel must be proclaimed anew to the world that knows him so little, and needs him so much.”
economically, socially, environmentally. Following the exhortation of Baruch, we have to look toward the East, to Jesus, for it is only he who can establish the new Jerusalem in splendor and glory (Bar 5:1, 1st Reading), that is to say, who can make us one community where justice and peace prevail, and removed all forms of evil in this world, by showing this splendor to every nation (Bar 5:3). This is the significance of advent. We await the coming of Jesus from the east who alone can save us. And as he is coming to save us, our role is simply this: we need to cultivate a proper conduct, abounding in love, and valuing the things that really matter (Phil 1:8-11, 2nd Reading). This way, we accept his coming, and prepare his way (Isa 40:3-4).
tions, but has to affect our attitudes and set of values, i.e., the very root of our actions. There shouldn’t be the least doubt: society will start changing for the better the very moment we begin to improve. Advent and the observance of the “Year of Faith” are invaluable opportunities for us to start or resume moving in the right direction. “What are we to do?” we should ask, like those who approached John. The answers may be as many as there are personal moral situations; but a “common denominator” easily applies to all. Our fundamental attitude has got to be one of openness, availability and goodwill. The first requirement is “openness to God” in grateful love and expectation in
prayer of “petition and thanksgiving” (see Phil 4:6) – for the Lord is coming to dwell in our midst and to be our “mighty Savior.” (See first reading, v. 17.) The second basic requirement is “openness to people.” This means readiness to share our goods generously with the less fortunate (see Lk 3:11); to be fair to everybody and be absolutely honest with all. (See Lk 3:13-14.) All this is love of neighbor in its most elementary form, and no one can claim to be exempted or to have done enough. To this we have to add the pursuit of all those “natural values and virtues” that Paul lists in the Second Reading. (See Phil 4:8.) Only on these conditions shall we be able to “be glad and exult with all our hearts” (Zep 3:14) and begin to
enjoy “God’s own peace which is beyond all understanding” (Phil 4:7). If, on the contrary, we refuse to heed John’s (God’s) call to conversion, this Advent will be “missed opportunities.” There may still be laughter, but very little joy. We may give and receive plenty of gifts, but without experiencing the bliss of real generosity. In other words, we may be like one of the decorations hanging on Christmas trees: glittering and colorful outside, but empty and ugly inside. It need not be so. It should not. This Advent of the “Year of Faith” we have a chance to really change for the better, starting from “within.” And it is up to us to make the most of this opportunity.
his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:15-17). As we prepare for the second coming of Jesus, we do not interpret this in terms of the purifying and refining action of God, as John the Baptist probably did, but in terms of the outpouring of the Spirit of Christ, who will perfectly share with us his very life in the final age. We will be brought into communion with the Father and the Son, and share the joys of the blessed. But even as we hope for its fulfillment, joy is already in us. And our joy is first of all internal. It is the joy in the knowledge that God forgives us despite our sinfulness; that God loves us and has deigned to dwell with us. Once we experience this, nothing will ever separate us from God: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future thing, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ” (Rom 8:38-39). When we know that God is with us, we will be a happy people, no matter what the circumstances are: whether we get a good sleep, food, friendship, or whether we experience failure, are laid off from job. We can also thank with Job (Job 1:21), recognizing that everything comes from God (1 Tim 6:7). But our joy does not simply come from the certainty of our hope. Rather, the joy itself is already an experience of what God will do once and for all when Jesus comes. To have this anticipated joy, we have to attune ourselves to him. We allow
God to come to our midst, to our hearts, knowing from experience that a life that has no place for God is a miserable one. Just as one who has suffered under the Japanese during the Second World War understands the rejoicing at the news of Gen MacArthur’s return, so one who experienced and recognized his sinfulness and the evil he has done to human relationship will rejoice at the coming of the Lord to him. Of course, joy comes to us in various qualities. When one, for example, gatecrashes to an alumni homecoming celebration, he could be happy with wine and dance, but he does not experience the joy of those who have been classmates, who know the history of the class and the reason for their celebration. Similarly, if we wish to experience joy, we must be aware of our own spiritual journey, our ups and downs, and the history of our own life. Knowing our own history and therefore identity, we can easily respond to what the joy of Christ’s coming demands. If we realize this, we will feel, even without being told, the need to prepare ourselves for his coming to our midst, doing something about our own conduct, as John the Baptist demanded reform in his hearers’ social conduct (Luke 3:10-14). Only in this way can we really enjoy the coming of the Lord in our midst. The Eucharist is an anticipation of God’s coming. There Jesus is present, forming us into one body in which brotherhood, knowledge and love are to reign (cf Eph 4:12). Hence, partaking of it is likewise a source of joy.
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome exemplary
poor Below average Average Above average excellent
OCTOGENARIAN Gus (Clint Eastwood) is losing his sight, and along with it perhaps his contract as a baseball scout which will expire in three months. His only living relative is a 32-year old daughter Mickey (Amy Adams), an attorney with a bright future as a partner in a law firm in Atlanta. Gus’ boss and friend Pete (John Goodman) cannot convince the stubborn Gus to heed the doctor’s advice to have his eyes fixed, so he prevails upon Mickey to accompany her dad on another scouting assignment, to North Carolina. Mindful of her promising career, Mickey nonetheless spares a few days to be with the father she never felt loved by. Here Mickey meets Johnny Flannagan (Justin Timberlake), a former pitcher now scouting for the Boston Red Sox. As it turns out, the decision to take the trip with her father is one that will lead to others never planned or hoped for. The plot may be formulaic, even predictable, but it is redeemed by the superior quality of the other technical elements, like crisp editing, a good cast, charismatic performances, and character development. What director
Robert Lorenz lacks by way of visual excitement, he more than fills up with perceptive characterization. Eastwood is Eastwood, and being the u l t i m a t e p ro f e s s i o n a l h e definitely delivers at whatever role he chooses to take on. Here he proves to be a spunky match to Adams’ chutzpah, grumpy when he needs to be, and tender when the moment calls for it, as in that scene by his wife’s grave where alone he holds a picnic for two. Perhaps Trouble with the Curve is too mushy and contrived for the taste of some, but many will find the emotions and situations it presents easy to resonate with. It is populated by warm and real people who find themselves in dilemmas all too familiar to the rest of us. Baseball may be the film’s premise but the movie is not about the game; it’s about being in touch—not just superficially with people who matter, or with the work we do, but most of all being in touch with one’s deepest feelings. It’s about following the inner compass that enables us to steer our lives and to u n d e r s t a n d a n d b e f re e d from half-neglected hurts. Trouble with the Curve also
TITLE: Trouble with the Curve CAST: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Joe Massingil, Chelcie Ross, Bob Gunton, Robert Patrick DIRECTOR: Robert Lorenz WRITER: Randy Brown RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros. LOCATION: United States TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT:
MORAL ASSESSMENT: ½ CINEMA rating: V 14
symbolically applies the brakes on cold technology (evaluating baseball players’ potential through sheer computer power alone) and gently and effectively resurrects enduring human values that hold the world together, like genuine caring for another person, communication between parent and child, fidelity in marital love, etc. This entertaining and superbly told story is for families to watch and then discuss over a midnight snack. Teenagers, watch the behavior of baseball phenomenon Bo Gentry (Joe Massingil) towards “Peanut Boy” and see how he ends up. Surprise!
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Title: Paranormal Activity 4 Cast: Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively, Aiden Lovekamp, Brady Allen, Stephen Dunham, Alexondra Lee Direction: Henry Hoost, Ariel Schulman Genre: Horror-Suspense Running Time: 94 minutes Distributor: Paramount Pictures Location: USA Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: V18
Look for the image of the Holy Rosary, Blessed Pope John Paul II and The Last Supper. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
PARANORMAL Activity 4 is set five years after the original film ended when the demonic possessed Katie and her sister’s son Hunter have gone missing after the brutal murder of his parents. This time the events are recorded via modern portable technology which makes it more logical for the supposed continuous filming of events. Alex’s (Kathryn Newton) mother, Holly (Alexondra Lee) has just decided to be a good Samaritan and look after the neighbor’s 5-year old son Robbie, when his mother was taken to the hospital. During this time, Alex notices weird and creepy incidents involving Robbie and her younger brother Wyatt and records them in their laptop. Later Alex discovers Robbie’s mother is at home and Wyatt is heard to be talking to invisible figures insisting his name is not Hunter. However, the demonic hunting continues until Wyatt is possessed by an evil spirit and Katie returns to brutally kill his parents and Ben. At the end of the film, a stunned and scared Alex is swarmed by Katie and a group of women, in reference to the original film’s witch’s cult. The franchise, although retaining its reality-based attraction, has worn off its appeal with a very thin plot and mediocre
directorial interpretation. The special effects are as clichéd as the storyline. It relies more on scare tactics rather than on solid storytelling to justify its horror-suspense moments. The sequel does nothing to build on the core storyline of the franchise, neither does it have independence to be understood on its own. Performances are weak and unconvincing. Overall, the movie is just an unsuccessful attempt to cash out on its predecessors’ success. Perhaps only the die-hard fans of the Paranormal movie series would find this one worth the admission price. Good versus evil and again the good innocent ones are helplessly tossed aside and killed. Although the Church recognizes demonic possessions are paranormal occurrences, it cannot be said that these are beyond Divine intervention. What continuously triggers the demon-possessed Katie to kill people is not logically explained. Another disturbing idea in this film is the fact that Alex’s parents were brutally murdered after being gracious and charitable to their neighbor. In a way, it might reinforce the idea that charity may be rewarded with evil and therefore should be exercised selectively. The movie is too violent for young audiences. Theme, language and treatment are inappropriate even for adults. Nothing can be gained from watching this film.
A Special Issue on the Elevation of His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle to the Sacred College of Cardinals
December 3 - 30, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 25
Salamat sa Diyos, Dumating Siya!
(Homily of His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the Thanksgiving Mass for his elevation to the College of Cardinals, held at San Fernando de Dilao Parish in Paco, Manila, December 1, 2012)
KAHAPON po ay nagdiwang tayo ng pambansang pasasalamat dahil sa biyaya ng ating ikalawang santo, si San Pedro Calungsod na ginanap po sa Cebu. At ngayon po sa umagang ito ay nagtitipon na naman tayo, sabi po sa ating ritwal ay upang magpasalamat din, at nagpapasalamat po muna ako sa inyo, sa inyong pagdalo, sa inyo pong lahat. At lalo pong naging makahulugan ang ating pagtitipon dahil sa presensiya ng Pangulo ng ating bansa, President Benigno Aquino III, ng atin pong bise presidente, pangalawang Pangulo Jejomar Binay, salamat din po sa mga miyembro ng senado, ng kongreso, ng iba't ibang sangay ng pamahalaan, pati po dito sa lungsod ng Maynila. I'd like to thank the members of the diplomatic corps, who are here. Thank you very much for sharing in this joy and celebration of thanksgiving. At para po sa ating mga ambassadors sa Pilipinas, sa iba't ibang mga posts nila, sa mga representatives po ng mga religious orders, mga religious congregations. Maraming salamat din po sa presensiya ng ating kabunyi-bunyiang Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. Hindi ko na po alam kung gaano kadami ang bunyi pag siya ang kinakausap. At sa atin pong mga kapatid na obispo, maraming salamat po. Bukas po ay First Sunday of Advent, eh biruin ninyo nandito sila. Sana ay makauwi kayo para simulan ang Advent season sa inyong mga dioceses. Sa ating mga kapatid na pari na nandito po, lalo na sa Archdiocese of Manila, at sa mga galing na rin po sa ibang mga dioceses, sa mga religious communities na nandito, at sa mga representatives ng mga parishes, ng mga ministries, at ang kayamanan ng simbahan, ang mga representatives ng urban poor, ang representatives po ng mga people with disability. Ang nagbasa po ng first reading ay bulag, pero parang mas mahusay pa siyang bumasa kaysa sa mga nakakakita. At salamat din po sa presensiya ng mga kaibigan; at nandito po ang aking mga magulang, at mga kamag-anak, ano po. Ang kapatid ko po ay nasa ibang bansa pero sigurado po na kasama siya sa ating pagdiriwang. May problema nga lang po ang tatay ko. Kasi nuong naging obispo ako, ang tawag sa kanya ng mga tao, Cardinal Tagle, at ngayong naging cardinal na ako malaki ang problema niya, hindi na alam kung ano ang itatawag sa kanya. Kaya balik na lang sa tatay Maning at nanay Mila. Nagpapasalamat po tayo, ano ba ang ating pinasasalamatan at bakit dapat magpasalamat? Hayaan po natin na tulungan tayo ng mga pagbasa sa araw na ito para ating lubusang maunawaan. Ano ba ang diwa ng tunay na pagpapasalamat? Sabi po sa unang pagbasa mula sa aklat ng Pahayag, “Darating na ako.” Darating na ako. Ito po ang pinaka puso ng tinatawag nating biyaya. Ang biyaya ay hindi iyong nagkaroon ka ng additional na pera, ang biyaya ay hindi iyong nagkaroon ka ng panibagong promotion. Ang biyaya ay hindi iyong malapit na ang bonus. Bagamat ang lahat nang iyan ay maganda, para po sa Bibliya ang biyaya ay ang paglapit sa atin ng Diyos. “Darating na ako.” At dumating nga Siya. Siya ang biyaya. At sa unang pagbasa, ipinakita ng anghel kay San Juan, ang napakagandang hinaharap—the future which God has for us. Ang gaganda po ang mga ginamit na larawan, tubig, na kasingsilaw ng kristal, bumubukal sa trono ng Diyos at ng kordero. At ang tubig na ito ay umaagos sa buong lungsod at ang dinadaanan ng tubig na ito, ang mga puno sa tabi ay namumukadkad at ang mga dahon nito ay magpapagaling. Sa nakita po ni propeta Ezekiel, ang tubig na ito ay nanggagaling sa templo, pero dito hindi sa templo galing ang tubig, galing ito sa trono ng Diyos. Ano pa ho? Sabi ho, sa lungsod na ito, hindi lamang sagana ang tubig, sagana din ang ilaw, wala nang kadiliman, ilaw lamang at liwanag. Pero ano ang ilaw? ang Diyos ang ilaw. At ano ang tubig na dumadaloy, ang tubig na buhay? Ang Diyos Espiritu Santo. Wala nang templo, bakit? Dahil ang Diyos ay nananahan na sa piling ng kanyang bayan. Siya ang buhay na tubig. Siya ang ilaw na walang hanggan. This is pure grace, God in our midst, and he comes to us, he refreshes us with life giving waters sharing with us his very life, sharing his light that will never be vanquished by any form of darkness. It is the Lord who comes. He is with us and because He is with us we are the new temple, we are his body, we are the new Jerusalem, we are his people, and He lives among us. That is grace; that is pure, unadulterated grace. Ang Diyos dumating na at mabubuhay ka ng sagana. Hindi ka na mauuhaw. Wala nang kadiliman, liwanag lamang. At upang ito po ay palalimin pa, sabi po sa unang pagbasa makikita nila ang kanyang mukha at masusulat sa kanilang noo ang kanyang pangalan. Makikita raw natin ang mukha ng Diyos at ang pangalan ng Diyos masusulat sa ating noo. Pag dumating siya bilang biyaya siya ang makikita natin, ang kanyang mukha, hindi ang rangya, hindi ang poder, kundi siya ang makikita at siya ang matatatak sa ating kalooban. Kapag ang itinuring nating biyaya ay pera, ang makikita natin pera at ang matatatak sa noo mo pera. Ano ang bunga, mukha kang pera. Kapag ang biyaya ay kapangyarihan, iyan lang ang hahanapin mo, at kung saan merong puwang para sa kapangyarihan susunggaban mo at ang kapangyarihan na iyan ang nasa noo mo. Ano ang tawag diyan, diktador. Pero kapag ang mukha ng Diyos ang dumating at ang pangalan niya ang nasa noo mo, iyan ang biyaya, d u m a t i n g Siya sa buhay mo. Sabi po ni Pope Benedict XVI ang Diyos n a d u marating sa atin may pangalan, may mukha at ang pangalan niya iniiwan niya sa atin, samantalang iyong kalaban ng Diyos, sa aklat ng Apokalipsis, walang pangalan, the beast. In the book of Revelation, it has no name, it only has a number, 666. Ang Diyos may pangalan, ang Diyos may mukha. Ang kalaban ng Diyos walang pangalan, numero lamang. Kaya kapag ang kaharap mo ay Diyos ibinibigay niya ang kanyang mukha at pangalan sa atin upang tayo ay magkaroon din ng pangalan, upang tayo ay magkaroon ng mukha, pag nakita mo ang mukha ng Diyos, magkakaroon ka ng mukha, kapag nakita mo ang puso ng Diyos magkakaroon ka ng puso, pag nakita mo ang pangalan ng Diyos magkakaroon ka ng pangalan. Subalit pag nagpakita sa iyo ay numero lamang, 666, ikaw magiging numero.Wala kang mukha, wala kang puso,numero ka lang. Di ba ganyan sa preso? Hindi alam ang pangalan, pero may numero ka. Meron akong nakilala na isang pari sa ibang bansa, ang kanyang apelyido ay numero. Tinanong ko bakit numero ang apelyido mo? Halimbawa, Father 36. Parang strange. Bakit? Sabi niya, malamang ang aking ninuno, ay orphan. At nuong panahon na iyon ang mga orphans ay binibigyan at kinikilala sa mga numero nila, hindi pangalan. Kay lungkot kung tayo ay numero lamang. Kay lungkot kung ikaw ay para bagang isang parte ng malaking makinarya lamang. Walang mukha, walang puso, walang kakayahang magmahal. Iyan ang ginagawa ng Diyos sa atin pag dumating siya, ipapakita ang kanyang mukha, bibigyan ka ng mukha, bibigyan ka ng puso, bibigyan ka ng pangalan. At kapag meron ka nang mukha, puso at pangalan ang mga tao na iyong kaulayaw mabibigyan mo rin ang mukha, pangalan at puso. With God giving us a face, giving us a name, giving us a heart, which is the fundamental grace, then we become agents of that grace, we don't look at people as statistics, as numbers, as parts of a big machine, we look at Tulog na. Kaya nga may fasting before mass eh. Para gising. Kasi pag sobra ang kain bago magmisa, pag upo sa homiliya, tulog na. Kaya maganda iyung may fasting eh. Para makapakinig, pag sobrang busog, wala na. Kapag sobrang lasing, hindi na rin makapakinig. Pero hindi lamang sa pagkain at pag-inom, itong alalahanin, anxiety for things of this world. Nasabi po ni Jesus, ang laging nag-aabala anong kakainin, anong isusuot, saan ako titira, lahat iyan mga alalahanin na hindi na tayo makapakinig. So let us be vigilant, always be attentive for grace, listening because Jesus is near. Ito po a n g
them as human, the image of God with a face, with a heart with a name. Ito po ang ating pagpapasalamat, dumating ang Diyos at tayo naging kawangis niya. At tayo tinuturuan niya maging katulad niya, sa pakikipag-ugnay sa kapwa. Kaya huwag ninyo po akong titingnan na para bagang ako ay kung ano na ang nagyari. Hindi po sa karanasan ko dumating ang Diyos, nagpakita ng mukha na sinisikap ko pang tingnan. Dumating ang Diyos, nagbibigay ng puso na sanay matanggap ko. Nagbibigay ng pangalan bilang anak niya na sana ay aking isapuso. Tulad ko tayong lahat po ay inaanyayahan papaano natin tatanggapin ang biyayang ito, ang Diyos sa piling natin. Sabi po sa unang pagbasa, makinig kayo, iyan ang unang hinihingi, makinig sa Diyos na dumarating. Ang pakikinig ay pagtanggap, ang pakikinig ay pagbubukas upang siya ay makapasok sa ating puso, ang hindi marunong makinig, hindi papasukin ang Diyos sa kanyang puso at hindi mababago ang kanyang mukha, ang kanyang pangalan. Makinig at tumupad sa
mga sinasabi niya. At kapag tinanggap natin sa pakikinig at paggawa ang kanyang biyaya ang kanyang presensiya, talaga maiiba tayo, magiging tunay na bahagi ng kanyang katawan. So please listen to God. Be open to him. He does not mean any harm to us. He promises the new Jerusalem, flowing waters, total heights, listen to him, receive him. Let us not run away from him. He will give us the face that we are looking for as individuals, and as a community. At para makapakinig at makatupad ng maayos sabi sa ebanghelyo, o makinig ho kayo: mag ingat kayo na huwag magumon sa katakawan at paglalasing at maubos ang inyong isip sa mga intindihin sa buhay na ito. Hindi ho ba pag sobrang busog nakakatulog? Teacher ho ako eh. Kapag masyadong marami ang inalmusal ng seminarista, tulog sa unang period. Kapag masyadong marami ang kinain, hindi na makapakinig.
ating pinasasalamatan, ang Diyos napakabait sa bansang Pilipinas. Ako po ay hanggang ngayon ay parang tulala pa. Kasi nga po ay parang di pa natin lubusang naiinom ang mga biyaya ng canonization ni St. Pedro Calungsod nuong Oct. 21 and three days later eto naman, isa pang biyaya na ibinigay para sa simbahan sa Pilipinas. Pero hindi nga ho ito position, hindi ito karangalan. Ang biyaya dumating siya sa ating buhay, dumating siya sa bansang Pilipinas upang bigyan tayo ng mukha, puso at pangalan. At sana po tanggapin natin iyan upang tulad ng Diyos titingin tayo sa kapwa Pilipino lalo na sa mga dukha, sa mga walang tumitingin. At dahil tiningnan tayo ng Diyos, kaya natin silang tingnan, may mukha sila, may pangalan sila, ang Diyos nasa kanila. Tayo po'y tumahimik sandali at ibukas ang ating sarili sa Diyos na lumalapit at nananahan sa atin.
A Special Issue on the Elevation of His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle to the Sacred College of Cardinals
December 3 - 30, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 25
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
A Special Issue on the Elevation of His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle to the Sacred College of Cardinals
December 3 - 30, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 25
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
Born in Manila on June 21, 1957, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle took his elementary and high school studies at St. Andrew’s School in Paranaque. He studied Philosophy at the Ateneo de Manila University while a seminarian in San Jose Seminary. In 1982, he finished his theological studies from Loyola School of Theology. After ordination to the priesthood on February 27, 1982, Tagle was appointed associate pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Mendez, Cavite. He served in the parish from 1982 until 1985 while teaching Theology at San Carlos Seminary in Makati City, Loyola School of Theology in Quezon City and Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City. Tagle served as spiritual director of the Seminary of the Tahanan ng Mabuting Pastol in Tagaytay City from 1982 to 1983, and rector of the same seminary from 1983 to 1985. In 1985, he took further studies in Sacred Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and obtained his Doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1991. In 1997, he was appointed member of the International Theological Commission of the Vatican and served in the same capacity until 2002. In 1998, Tagle was an expert at the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia that was held in Vatican. He was also a member of the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. He was also the chairman of the Commission on the Doctrine of the Faith of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. He was appointed Bishop of Imus on October 22, 2001 and was ordained to the Episcopacy by then Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, on December 12, 2001. He served as Bishop of Imus until Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to succeed Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales as Archbishop of Manila in 2011. He was installed as Archbishop of Manila in December 12, 2011. Tagle was a member of the XIII Ordinary Synod on Evangelization for the Transmission of the Catholic Faith held in Vatican last October 7-28, 2012. He was appointed by the Holy Father as vice-president of the Commission on the Message that produced a statement to the world at the conclusion of the synod. On October 23, Pope Benedict named him cardinal and elevated him to the College of Cardinals during a consistory on November 24, 2012. Among his other ministries, Tagle was a member of the Office of Theological Concerns of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences, since 2003. In 2004, he was delegate of the Philippines to the VIII Plenary Assembly of the FABC in Daejeon, South Korea. In 2005, he was elected delegate of the Philippines to the XI General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Vatican. From 2005 until 2011 he was a member of the Board of Directors of Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation and Chair of the Programs Committee. From 2005-2008, he was elected member of the Council of the Synod of Bishops. In 2006, he was presentor to the Asian Mission Congress in Chiang Mai, Thailand In 2007, he was elected Bishop chair of the office of Theological Concerns of the FABC. He was elected Delegate of the Philippines to the XII General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Vatican in October 2008. In 2008, he was elected member of the council of the Synod of Bishops, a position he holds until present. He was head of the Drafting Committee of the X Plenary Assembly of FABC held in Manila in August 2009. In 2010, he was appointed Apostolic Visitator of Seminaries in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. In 2012, he was chairman of the Pondo ng Pinoy Foundation.
December 3 - 30, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 25
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
December 3 - 30, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 25
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
All for the King!
things we have to surrender to God: • • • • • Hurts Energy Aspirations and anxieties Resources Transgressions He invited everyone to surrender their hearts to God and give God the opportunity to turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) Win for the King In the closing Mass, Bishop Teodoro Bacani exhorted everyone to acknowledge that God’s fire is not one that burns hot or explodes, but a fire that makes us radiant and enables us to radiate His love into the world. Bishop Bacani directed everyone to answer the Church’s call to New Evangelization. He acknowledged everyone’s role in the mission of Christ, and how all must work hand in hand so God can own and love all of us fully. He urged all communities present to follow the example of the man with an unclean spirit who was healed by Christ: ‘Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you.’ (Mark 5:19) He emphasized that all Cthristians are called to be courageous proclaimers—brimming with the radiance of God—so the world can one day share in the joy and hope in the Lord--the one true King.
MC Teaching Night
The New English Translation to the Roman Missal
personnel joined Joe Tale in the visitation last December 1 and distributed groceries and other basic stuff to the delight of the priests. More visits are expected to follow, after Joe Tale’s appeal, during the December 2 Mission Core Gathering for more support in order to help provide for the elderly and retired priests’ necessities. Fr. Diwa started the teaching by discussing the response, “And with your spirit,” replacing the old, “And also with you”. The “spirit,” he explained, refers to “the highest or noblest quality of the human person”. Applied to the liturgy, “And with your spirit” is simply the most respectful way to respond to or return the greeting, “The Lord be with you”. He next pointed to the penitential act, in which “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault,” was restored. This is a “timely good translation” as it is a statement of the truth that “every sin is a personal decision against God,” a reality now obscured in the Filipino psyche with our penchant for blaming others for our sins. In the Glory which states: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will,” Fr. Diwa said that “this does not mean that we have peace because we are a people of good will.” Peace is founded by Christ through his death on the cross, through which we are reconciled to the Father and with each other. Fr. Diwa emphasized that “peace is a gift” and given out of God’s extravagant love. We simply share in the goodwill of God. In the Apostles Creed, “He descended to the dead” is replaced by the translation, “He descended into
Roman Missal / C3
By Mai Dones
LAST 25 November 2012, thousands from different communities (Familia, Tahanan ng Panginoon, Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals or BCBP and Couples for Christ) celebrated the Feast of Christ the King. The ULTRA (Philsports Arena) echoed with shouts of joy and victory as everyone roared: “All for the King!” Initiated by Ligaya ng Panginoon last year, the event is a gathering of communities of the same ‘DNA’ - being one as God’s own people - to celebrate the feast of the Almighty King. Remember our God is King The event opened with testimonies of four people whose brokenness was turned into blessing by the grace of God. Glenn Tongos from Familia used to be a drug addict. After entering a rehabilitation facility, Glenn felt God’s love through his wife who would travel every week from Marikina to Cavite to visit him and help him speed up his recovery. Jun Saret from BCBP works in a pharmaceutical company that manufactures medicines from Lagundi leaves. He was assigned the daunting task of converting an idle land to a vibrant community
of farmers, that yields not just good fruits out of their labor, but out of their relationships as well. When Jun and his team committed to organic farming, they also decided to go back to cultivating their relationship with the Lord by holding CLP’s in the farm. Madel Solijon from CFC Youth for Christ shared how she used to feel unattractive back in high school and college. Knowing she is loved by God allowed her to discover her value and importance in the Lord’s eyes. Now, Madel is happily engaged to a man who honors the Lord in her. Eric Abellera from Ligaya ng Panginoon felt God’s hand move in his family, when his daughter Abby was healed from a lifethreatening sickness. God wants to own you so He can love you The celebrations centered on the faithful’s need to belong to the King. Testimony after testimony bore out the fact that He owns man, yet He has given man the privilege to be stewards of the things He created. If difficulties happen and struggles seem too much to bear, the testimonies affirmed that it may also be God’s way of saying, “surrender even those to me.” Bobby Quitain of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon shared the basic
By Arnel Santos
COUPLES for Christ (CFC) dedicated its Mission Core Teaching Night (MCT) to a deeper study and reflection on the New English Translation to the Roman Missal, which by the First Sunday of Advent 2012, shall be used worldwide. The MCT was held on November 20, 2012, at the Christ the King Parish, Greenmeadows, Quezon City with Rev. Fr. Genaro O. Diwa, S.L.L., of the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy, delivering the lecture. He discussed the most obvious changes in the translations and highlighted that the translations now are more literal. As an early Christmas offering to the brethren, the teaching night also featured the CFC Global Mission Center Chorale who performed Christmas songs (see masthead photo). The chorale is composed of fulltime pastoral workers and staff from the Home Office. The performance was meant to raise funds for the Christmas gifts traditionally given to the GMC workers and their families as well as for the Center’s advocacy of supporting elderly (retired) priests through visitations and gift-giving. Some of the funds raised already went to purchasing gifts for the priests. A group of HO
Photos courtesy of Marock Digital Entertainments
All for the King!, clockwise from top left: members of the CFC International Council at CatchFire; Bishop Teodoro Bacani, D.D.: “Be courageous proclaimers!”l Bobby Quitain of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon.
20 Fruitful Years of CFC in the UAE
It was in 1991, at the time when Mt. Pinatubo spewed molten lava and volcanic ash, that Rita and I, just starting a family, travelled to this part of the globe. By the third quarter of 1992, Felix (Bong) Cruz, of Philippine Airlines, and his wife Ceci, who were based in Dubai that time, laid the groundwork for the Couples for Christ community, together with Rouquel and Nina Ponte . With the support of Fr. Antonio (Tony) Ledesma Lacson, who happened to be the only Filipino priest in the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia at that time, the first ever Christian Life Program (CLP) in the entire Middle East region was conducted. In November 1992, Rouquel and Nina came to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Dubai, together with Jing and Mooning Noel, PAL cabin crew and CFC members, and conducted the weekend CLP to an all-Filipino group. And this was how the first page of the story of Couples for Christ - UAE was written: with 13 couples, and several young and mature single men and women. With the blessings of the Capuchin priests, the CLP was held at the parish church’s old hall. Some of the first participants are still very active today and form part of the CFC-UAE’s governing body. By 1999, CFC was present in all the 7 emirates of the United Arab Emirates. But unlike in Dubai, CFC’s acceptance in the other emirates wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. We were declined permisCFC UAE / C3
DZMM, ANCOP USA Hold Global Singing Idol Tilt
Global Singing Idol champs Divina Aleonar and Leslie Ann Picazo (center) flanked by ABSCBN VP Peter Musngi, artists Rachel Alejandro and Jake Cuenca, Ahwel Paz of DZMM, and ANCOP USA Executive Director Roger Santos.
By Leo Verdolaga
A KEYNOTE speaker once said that what makes a beautiful story is its ending. Ours was made beautiful by humble beginnings and what the power of the union of hearts can do in an Arabian setting. Picture a tiny city in a huge expanse of desert. Years ago, one could get from one end of the city to the other in less than 15 minutes or so… a share-aride taxi for a dirham (about 11 pesos) was a less stressful option of transport apart from public buses… there were
also small motorized boats or “abra” that one can take to cross the manmade river to get to places such as “Bur Dubai” … there was only one decent shopping center called the Al Ghurair where every Filipino you bumped into would have a pleasant “kabayan” hello. Mobile phones were unheard of; people would queue in phone booths to make calls. Occasional thick sandstorms would blanket the city and turn it into a dust bowl. Gold “souqs” (Arabic term for market) were the favorites as a gram of gold then cost as much as one meal in those days.
WOODBRIDGE, Virginia, December 1 - Two talented Filipino-American singers bagged the coveted title as USA champions in the recently concluded and much publicized 2012 Global Pinoy Singing Idol. Over 2,000 people from across the U.S. travelled to this historic town to witness the musical competition and show, highlighted by music and dances by 14 singing champions from the different regions of ANCOP USA. Each of the singers passed through a rigorous selection process in their respective regions.
The two winners are Leslie Ann Picazo of California and Divina Aleonar of Illinois. The two will compete in the Grand Finals of Global Pinoy Contest in Manila on January 25, 2013. The annual contest was sponsored by ABS-CBN’s DZMM Teleradyo in cooperation with ANCOP USA. Through the event, ANCOP USA hopes to help raise awareness about the plight of the poor in the Philippines and gain much-needed support to help address their needs. (Roger Santos)
By Arnel Santos
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
“MAGULANG” is a beautiful Filipino word and concept. It simply means “parent/s.” From the root word “gulang” (age), prefixed by “ma-” (more or many), it literally means “more age” or “older” or “elder,” but it is actually used to refer to either the father or mother, or more accurately to both. Magulang is appropriately used to refer to “human parents.” We do not call “animal parents” as magulang. Instead, we use “inahin” to refer to the mother-animal (similar to bitch, cow or sow) and “bulugan” or “barako” for the male animal progenitor (as in stud, bull or boar). Conversely, we do not use “barako” to refer to our ama/tatay (father) or “inahin” to refer to our ina/nanay (mother). In this sense, magulang approximates the reality that “No living being on earth except man was created ‘in the image and likeness of God’. Human fatherhood and motherhood, while remaining biologically similar to that of other living beings in nature, contain in an essential and unique way a “likeness” to God which is the basis of the family as a community of human life…” (Gratissima Sane 6) Moreover, there is in the usage of the word “magulang” an assumption that the parents are married. They are a couple, a married couple (“magkabiyak”). As married couple, magulang are “open to life”. In the marriage rites, the third question is: “Are you both ready to raise as good Christians the children whom God will give you?” Thus, when they make love, they not only exercise the gift of married life, they likewise welcome the possibility of having a child. Finally, magulang, when uttered, exudes reverence. In a culture marked by filial attachment and family-centeredness, there is in the use of this term an
acknowledgment that the “older and the elder (magulang)” deserve respect. Not because they are stronger, wiser and more productive, but primarily because they are the very instruments for human life—our very lives—to be “generated, welcomed and cared for.” (Catechism for Filipino Catholics 1010) With all these in the Filipino psyche, it is not difficult for the Filipino to heed the fourth commandment: “Honor thy father and mother.” Indeed, our deference to and reverence for magulang is our way of promoting human dignity, marriage and family life. Today, however, a different spectacle of magulang is being projected. We have people and sectors in society who are concerned about the rise of what they refer to as “irresponsible parents”. Claiming that the situation is grave, they want parenthood and parenting legislated. Hence, there is House Bill No. 4244 (better known as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Bill) and the counterpart S.B. 2865. For them, irresponsible are the parents who do not exercise their reproductive rights and thus fail to adequately respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children. (Cf. H.B. No. 4244, Sec. 4) They point to those who have the temerity to “generate” life, despite their abject poverty, illiteracy, weakness, irregular sexual relations and other situations, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and human misery in the process. They say that “[t]he limited resources of the country cannot be suffered to be spread so thinly to service a burgeoning multitude making allocations grossly inadequate and effectively meaningless.” (Sec. 3 ) In short, irresponsible is just about anyone who contributes to the increase of
“unwanted pregnancies” in this country by engaging in sex, with procreation as accident. The culprit, according to the authors of this bill, is lack of information and ready access to safe, legal and effective family planning methods, techniques and devices. (Cf. Sec.3) The sex can actually be preserved while the accident can be forestalled. Thus, to stem the rise of irresponsible parents, the government must now teach and educate parents and would-be parents the idea of “responsible parenthood.” Parents must now “have informed choice,” and more importantly, “access to a full range of safe, legal and effective family planning methods, techniques and devices”. (Cf. Sec. 7) Unwanted pregnancy must be put to a stop by subjecting pregnancy within the absolute control of “parents” through the use of various methods and devices, which the government itself shall now ensure are readily accessible and available. Pamahalaan (government) shall empower “would-be magulang” to take sole control of their reproductive functions. To ensure success, “the DOH shall spearhead the efficient procurement, distribution to LGUs and usagemonitoring of family planning supplies for the whole country.” (Sec. 11) It shall also “endeavor to integrate a responsible parenthood and family planning component into all antipoverty and other sustainable human development programs of government, with corresponding fund support.” (Sec. 12) At the local level, “the LGUs shall ensure that poor families receive preferential access to services, commodities and programs for family planning.” (Sec.13) There shall also be “Population Officers” whose role at municipal, city and barangay levels in the family planning ef-
fort shall be strengthened. The Barangay Health Workers and volunteers shall be capacitated to give priority to family planning work.(Sec.17) The goal is the Filipino people’s “reproductive health,” achievable through their exercise of “reproductive rights.” The vision is for the magulang to be “able to have a satisfying and safe sex life,” but with “the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.” (See Sec.4(o) of S.B. 2865) Another magulang, therefore, emerges. It is known in law as “parens patriae”. It is pamahalaan becoming, or acting, or asserting itself, as magulang. Literally translated as, “parent/father of the country,” parens patriae, as explained in Nery v. Lorenzo , G.R. No. L-23096 April 27, 1972, means: “To it [the State] is cast the duty of protecting the rights of persons or individual who because of age or incapacity are in an unfavorable position, vis-a-vis other parties. Unable as they are to take due care of what concerns them, they have the political community to look after their welfare.” Thus, according to advocates of H.B.No. 4244, “the RH bill is about empowering women to make decisions on family size and family welfare that would allow them to escape poverty and build a brighter future for their children. The micro effects of the RH bill at the family level, replicated in millions of families across the land, would have the effect at the macro level of slowing down population growth, allowing the country to divert more resources from consumption to investment, especially investment in a skilled work force, thus creating the conditions for economic takeoff. At the same time, a lower rate of population growth would significantly re-
duce stress on the environment and lead to less social conflict.” (Overwhelming case for the RH bill By Kaka Bag-ao, Teddy Baguilat, Walden Bello and Kimi Cojuangco) With ready access to modern birth control drugs and methods, the generation of life can, and therefore, should be controlled. There lies the so called empowerment and with it, the exercise of responsibility by the magulang, all for the sake of the future of the country which, with less pressure on resources, will experience voila, development. But openness to life is the distinguishing value of an authentic magulang—whether “magulang of the family” or “magulang of the nation”. The magulang of the family see in children “the crowning of their own love for each other. They want children for the family, as a priceless gift.” They understand that “God himself is present in human fatherhood and motherhood quite differently than He is present in all other instances of begetting on earth”. (GS 9) On the other hand, the magulang of the nation looks after the common good. And, “Man is a common good: a common good of the family and of humanity, of individual groups and of different communities… He is such not only as an individual who is part of the multitude of humanity, but rather as “this individual”… This man ‘has, in every instance, the right to fulfill himself on the basis of his human dignity.’” (GS 11) As such, in no instance must man be willed by the State into non-existence. Not in conception nor in birth nor ever. For “God “willed” man from the very beginning, and God “wills” him in every act of conception and every human birth.” And “[i]nscribed in the personal constitution of every human being is the will of God, who wills that man should be,
in a certain sense, an end unto himself.” (GS 9) This is the very foundation of the concept of “human rights”. “Magulang” has actually another translation and definition. This one is pejorative. Depending on the usage and context, “magulang” may be used to refer to a scheming, wily or shrewd person, who for selfish reasons and/or personal gain, takes advantage of another ’s naiveté, youth, minority, weakness, good faith or inexperience, to maximize benefit or profit in transactions, usually in business or contracts, and/or to ensure winning in a contest or competition, even gambling. These magulang are the exact opposites of the authentic magulang of the family and the magulang of the nation. These magulang may validly want maximum benefit out of the resources available for consumption. They may be justified at dreaming of development. However, they corrupt the real meaning of “magulang” by undermining the value and basic dignity of the very persons entrusted to them for protection and promotion. Others should not exist so that others may exist better: magulang. “If we ask where patriotism appears in the Decalogue,” says Blessed John Paul II in his book Memory and Identity, “the reply comes without hesitation: it is covered by the fourth commandment, which obliges us to honor our father and mother. It is included under the umbrella of the Latin word pietas, which underlines the religious dimension of the respect and veneration due to parents.” Indeed, this nation should honor the magulang (the parents), not the magulang (the shrewd). It is now up for this pamahalaan to choose, which kind of magulang to raise.
SFC 2013: Follow and Witness
By Shok Ariola
NOVEMBER 19-21, 2012, ANTIPOLO CITY: SFC Missionaries from all over Metro Manila and Philippines and International Regional Coordinators gathered for the Singles for Christ annual planning exercise. They went to witness to God’s greatness in 2012 and to gear up to be witnesses to the best that is yet to come. The three days started with a session on “Mission: Evangelization: given by Monsignor Allen Aganon, CFC’s Spiritual Director. The highlight of the session was Christian spirituality which is defined as: our relationship with Christ defines our identity and our identity defines our mission. Family Ministries Director Mannix Ocampo talked about “The Way Forward,” which is our call to follow and testify. The first night ended with sharing of stories and experiences. All those stories may come from different experiences and different personalities, but it all ended in one note - the SFC Team is composed of individuals who allow the Lord to have His way in their lives. The second day of the Planning was a preview of 2013. It started with discussions on who an SFC Missionary is, the attitudes of an SFC Missionary and the SFC Vision. All these led to the SFC battle cry for 2013; LIVING FULLY TO FOLLOW and TESTIFY. Directions for 2013 were brought down and discussed. SFC areas drew up and strategized the translation of the directions in their areas. It
Gawad Paglilingkod Awarded to CFC Isaiah 61:1 – Pampanga
trict Jail in Sto. Domingo, Angeles City, the City of San Fernando District Jail in Telabastagan, CSF and the Pampanga Provincial Jail near the Provincial Capitol in the City of San Fernando. The ministry conducts ‘gawain’ (or evangelization work) on a fixed weekly schedule at different days of the week at said prisons. Aside from holding regular monthly prayer meetings, to date, Isaiah 61:1 has conducted a total of five Christian Life Programs (CLP) for the detainees at the prisons with 112 females graduating as Handmaids of The Lord (HOLD) and 101 males graduating as Servants of The Lord (SOLD), or a total of 213 new brothers and sisters in Christ. At present, Isaiah 61:1 is conducting another CLP at the Angeles District Jail in Angeles City with consistent attendance by 46 male participants. The Isaiah 61:1 Prison Ministry, one of the social ministries of CFC, was established in Pampanga in December 2009, with Marvin Banting designated as provincial coordinator. The prison ministry consists of only one CFC ‘Household’, with 10 to 12 active and dedicated servants regularly conducting ‘gawain’ at the prison sites. The Isaiah 61:1 Prison Ministry is a core group member of the Archdiocesan Prison Apostolate Group, Angeles City Chapter, headed by Weng Sibal, chapter coordinator. Fr. Meg Magat of the Holy Rosary Parish in Angeles City, supervises the Archdiocesan Prison Apostolate and is the spiritual director of the provincial prison ministry. The core group is composed of representatives from Lifegiver Community, El Shaddai, Spirit of Love, Daughters of Mary, Isaiah 61:1 Prison Ministry and others.
CFC Family Ministries DirectorMannx Ocampo at the CFC Singles for Christ planning
was an intense, exciting and long day for everyone. But day two did not end there. Aside from working hard and praying hard, the SFC TEAM partied hard to cap day two. It was a Hawaiian Christmas Night of great fellowship where SFC areas competed for the grand prize in the songfest in two categories—CONFIDENCE and SKILL. The Confidence Singing Queen was Amor Rafanan of Metro Manila and the Skills Singing King was Marthin Pil of Visayas. More prizes were won, gifts were exchanged, more songs were sang and more dances were made up. The ICON Preparations were done on the last day. Truly, SFC ICON 2013 is, as mentioned during the ICON Recollection given by SFC International Coordinator Michael “Shok” Ariola, the BEST IS YET TO COME. The day ended with the much awaited SFC TEAM Basketball Game and dinner with the Ocampo Family.
Marvin Banting accepting the Gawad Paglilingkod from Bishop Pablo David.
ISAIAH 61:1 (Pampanga), the prison ministry of Couples for Christ, was given the GAWAD PAGLILINGKOD award of the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines) last October 28, 2012 at the Holy Rosary Parish in Angeles City during the 10 o’clock Mass. The recognition was given by Bishop Pablo David, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando, during Prison Awareness Sunday. For the past three years, the provincial ministry of Isaiah 61:1 has been serving at the Angeles Dis-
SFC Hawaii Holds Christian Character Weekend
By Harmony Medina
CCF Completes Trainers Training Course
The Christian Character Weekend retreat is part of the SFC teaching track and is held once a year. This year, the retreat was led by Jon & Claire Pangilinan, both former SFCs from Hawaii and Southern California, and supervised by the CFC Hawaii area/state couple coordinator, Rico and Vinya Manianglung. Our Lady of Kea’au in Waianae is CFC Hawaii’s favorite gathering place, known for its beautiful landscape of trees and exotic flora and fauna. It also boasts a majestic view of the beach.
CFC Co-operatives Federation completed the Basic and Advanced Trainers Training last November 11, 2012 in partnership with PUP College of Cooperatives. The CCF Trainors pool attended the four-day training course designed to enhance and strengthen skills in facilitating, conducting training needs analysis, and module preparation. The activity was attended by the members of CCF Trainors pool composed of CFC and Coops leaders from Manila, Laguna, Quezon, Cebu, Agusan del Norte and Lanao del Norte. Their diverse expertise in accounting, finance, business, management, agriculture,
engineering and human resources will be valuable inputs for the growth of the cooperatives. This is one step closer to CCF’s goal to be a Cooperative Training Institute. The trainors will not only be tasked to conduct the CDA
mandated training modules, but also to design and conduct training based on the needs of the cooperative primaries. CCF will be coming out with Christian Values based training modules designed to evangelize other cooperative leaders.
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
By Bads Ellica
firm message that a saintly life, where I am called to live out my faith, is the only way I can make a difference in my earthly life. It is a way that leads closer to God and to CFC-UAE delagates at the back of St. Peter’s Basilica after the canonization rites. salvation. I FELT truly blessed being among 18,000 San Pedro’s decision to go with people comprising bishops, priests and the evangelization team to Mariana nuns from various religious congrega- Islands as a catechist made him a lay tions and lay people from all walks of missionary. He may not have had the life and from all over the world wit- official anointment of such title considnessing the canonization of San Pedro ering that the colonial mindset of that Calungsod at the Vatican last October time meant that 21. San Pedro is the second Filipino m i s s i o n a n d saint and he was canonized along with evangelization six others to the joy of the many Fili- work was vestpinos who made their presence felt by ed solely on the waving Philippine flags in various sizes. religious friars, There were many proud moments for but his readithe Filipinos present, beginning with the ness to leave his First Reading in Cebuano that reverber- country to go to ated through the colossal columns sur- new territories rounding St. Peter’s Square. for God’s serGod’s message was clear—the saints vice made him are our models. God’s call is for us to a missionary at imitate them as they imitate Christ. heart. The canonization of San Pedro was a And he was resounding affirmation of God’s bless- s o y o u n g ! ing to the Filipino people. On a personal W h e n I w a s note, more than the veneration of the seventeen, I resaints, the canonization rites was God’s member being
Roman Missal/ C1
full of myself, giving priority to my works and my plans. San Pedro Calungsod set aside his personal agenda to do God’s work, a decision that led to the ultimate sacrifice of laying down his life for his friend. This deep expression of faith and love drove me into introspection on how much I need to grow deeper in my love of God and neighbor. At his age, San Pedro must have likely gone to that mission without tangible expectations, in contrast to what the religious leaders with him must have had, such as the number of converts they could claim. In the same manner, while our CFC mission and evangelization work do expect human measures of success such as number of CLP graduates and trainings conducted, all of these are of no value unless my heart surrenders to God in humility and obedience. All of the mission work will be blessed, if it is done solely to give honor, glory and praise to the Almighty Father.
CFC Negros on their An Unforgettable Experience Silver Year
Capiz Archbishop Jose F. Advincula Jr., D.D. celebrated the Holy Mass
ing of malnourished children, values formation seminars for couples and for the youth in each of the sectors. CFC Negros Occidental’s Silver AnniOn November 9, the community versary Celebration was staged at Uni- began a nine-day novena leading up to versity of St. La Salle Coliseum Bacolod the actual anniversary day. The most last November 18, 2012. International awaited Silver Ball was held on NoCouncil members Joe and Babylou Tale, vember 17 at the Santuario de La Salle, Nonoy and Marivie Dalman and Man- with attendees coming in silver gowns nix and Aileen Ocampo joined the CFC and accessories. Negros Area Governance Team (AGT) The Silver Ball was also the occasion and Provincial Area Head Tony and for the launching of the “Silver Book”, Zeny Gimenez and more than 6,000 a glossy souvenir book highlighting joyful brethren in commemorating 25 beautiful stories of transformation of years of CFC in the province. CFC members in the province over the CFC Negros celebrated its silver year past 25 years. in a unique way, by holding activities The final celebration on November 18 over the 25 days prior to the anniver- started with the parade of colors of the sary day itself. The celebration started various ministries of CFC into the venue. on October 25, 2012 with the guesting Mon Penalosa led the opening worship. of CFC Bacolod elders in The Morning During the anniversary ceremonies, CFC leaders and members who have remained active and dedicated to their service in the past 20 years were recognized. About 250 faithful servants filled the stage as they came up and received certificates of recognition from the IC members present and Provincial Area Director Edmund Torres. Also given certificates of appreciation w e re Te o d y and Cynthia Lopingco and Marianing CFC Negros expresses 25 years of their faith journey through dance; Malgapo for and bottom photo: CFC Negros leaders pose with the Zayco family of the use of their Kabankalan. properties as Show of ABS-CBN and the publication the site of the CFC Bacolod center in the of a press release announcing the jubilee early years of CFC in Negros, the Zayco in the Visayan Daily Star the following family of Kabankalan for their donation day. On October 27, the community of a three-hectare property for ANCOP went on a motorcade to Granada for projects and Mrs. Teresita Alunan-Limjap the groundbreaking ceremonies on the for her donation of the Granada property. 5,000 sq. m. site upon which the CFC The Holy Eucharist was celebrated by Bacolod Mission Center will be erected. Archbishop Jose Advincula of Capiz, The property was donated by Mrs. Ter- assisted by two former Youth for Christ esita Alunan -Limjap. members—Fr. Hubert Javellana and Fr. The morning of October 28 was dedi- James Dexter Tanquis—and by Fr. Felix cated to sports – bowling, parlor games, Pasquin, Fr. Naring de la Cruz, Fr. Deo ball games. In the afternoon of the same Camon, and Fr. Rodolfo Benlot. day, the Handmaids of the Lord had a The theme of the Silver Book was Marian Activity in the covered court of affirmed over and over during the 25 Riverside. The following day, October days of celebration. CFC Negros Oc29 marked the start of activities held in cidental is indeed like “Silver refined in conjunction with the different parishes a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” of the province. These included feed- (Psalm 12:7)
By Bambi Hilado
hell”. Fr. Diwa pointed out that “hell” here does not refer to the “place of the damned” but rather to the “lower realm of the universe” which was believed to be the “realm of the dead.” It was where the just people, from the time of Adam and Eve, awaited the coming of the Savior. In the Sanctus, we now sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory….” The new English version translates the Hebrew Sabaoth or “Lord of armies” into Lord of Hosts, to emphasize that “we are not alone in adoring Christ in the Eucharist. We just do not see who are with us.” The Holy Mass, an earthly liturgy, is
CFC UAE/ C1
joined to the heavenly in the presence of an array of angels and saints. The “cup” is now referred to as “chalice” to remind us about the sacredness of the celebration. “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” is no longer in the new missal. Instead of the abstract, it is now in the second person singular, (“We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.” Or, “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.” Or, “Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.”) flung areas of the United Arab Emirates. We were witness to the convoy of cars that made the weekly 150 kilometer drive to Abu Dhabi, or the journey through the winding mountains of Fujairah just to sustain an on-going Christian Life Program. The commitment and perseverance of these brethren inspired the hearts of many and led to the transformation of their lives. And it has been 20 years since then. What started with a handful of members currently numbers to more than 7,000 in the whole of UAE. We have a mission office in each of the 3 major emirates and play host to the Regional Middle East Office. Through the generosity of our numerous members, we have become the biggest sole contributor outside of the Philippines to CFC Manila’s “Build my Home” to help finance the purchase and improvement of the new CFC home office in Cubao. In our work with the poor, CFC-UAE has been able to pool enough funds to build 30 houses and a multi-purpose hall in Bani, Bataan. Other members have come forward to sponsor the schooling of 50 scholars in Southern Leyte. In addition to this, under the Cor-
The priest now uses “for you and for many” instead of “for all” stressing that while Christ died for all, “salvation is not automatic and not all shall be saved”. As to the Lord’s Prayer, Fr. Diwa highlighted that the 16th century version is to be used. (”Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”) “Safe from all distress” instead of “safe from all anxiety” is used, to be more faithful to the Latin omni perturbatione. Perturbatio suggests calamity, disaster or disturbance such as those caused “by barbarians burning Rome.” “Anxiety” is more psychological than external factor and even if some priests add the adjective “unnecessary,” it is not a faithful translation of the Latin text, omni perturbatione. In the invitation to the Communion, the response should now be “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” This is based on the words of the Roman centurion to Jesus in Luke 7:6-7 By way of conclusion, Fr. Diwa said that “the Church offers a new expression of prayers” to help us draw from their richness. “There’s a mystery greater than us, the mystery of God.” nerstone Program, where we partnered with Pinaglabanan Elementary school, San Juan City, we sponsored tutoring sessions for 33 select students. We financially assisted a medical mission last September spearheaded by our ANCOP chairman Dr. Joe Yamamoto in Baybay Leyte where 84 major and 24 minor surgeries were carried out by a contingent of 30 surgical doctors and nurses. We honor the brothers and sisters who have become our family here in the UAE. We are ordinary people who heed the call of fulfilling the tasks required of us, to stand at the forefront of carrying out God’s extraordinary work. And God’s Hand is in all that we do; where we lack, God provides. When the going gets tough, it is the spirit of dedication and willingness, blessed by God’s grace, that fuels the work. Thus, in this year declared as the year of faith, celebrating 20 years in a parched desert, God calls forth the seeds of greatness in all of us to thrive and blossom. We all anticipate this beautiful story will have a happy ending... How can it not be a happy ending when it is God who continues to write the story?
CFC Capiz Marks 25th year
By Rizalina Barruela
COUPLES for Christ Capiz proclaimed the greatness of the Lord and honored its silver jubilarians during its 25th foundation anniversary on October 14, 2012. The celebration and grand reunion opened with a worship service, where CFC Capiz and its family ministries praised and thanked God for 25 years of His transforming love. After the entrance of colors and the singing of the national anthem, a production number, led by the Singles for Christ, the Youth for Christ, and the CFC governance team, set the jubilant atmosphere for the whole day affair. Roy Donato, Provincial Area Director, welcomed the guests and fellow workers who walked and served with Christ towards this celebration of unity and victory. He recognized the CFC pioneers who, 25 years later, are still active in serving the Lord, namely: John (+) and Ester Billanes, Fred and Judy Bigcas, Nick and Carol Billones and Johnny(+) and Edith Cabuang. Bo Bediones, ANCOP Capiz Provincial Coordinator, introduced the guest speaker from Manila, International Council member Joe Tale, who is also the head of the Pastoral Formation Office. In his anniversary message, Joe warmly congratulated CFC Capiz and its family ministries for turning silver and exhorted them to be on fire for God and to be ready to turn to gold in the next 25 years. Also gracing the occasion was CFC Antique Provincial Area Head, Chem Aldecoa, who gave free water and electric fans as raffle prizes. The Holy Mass concelebrated by Capiz Archbishop Jose F. Advincula Jr., D.D. and assisted by CFC Capiz Spiritual Adviser Father Eugene Argoncillo capped the morning’s activities. A raffle draw was held simultaneous with the lunch break where winners brought home a television set, a washing machine, flat irons, cellphones and other prizes. In the afternoon, the joyous sounds of drums and acoustics added to the festive mood of the day as different band presentations from the KFC, YFC, SFC and CFC vied for the best performance in praise songs. The jubilee closed amidst a spiritfilled praise fest exalting God as CFC Capiz and its family ministries pledged to continue to keep the fire burning for service and evangelization of families.
sion by the parish priest in Abu Dhabi to hold activities in the church grounds. We were told that our presence would ‘divide’ the parish, and were asked instead to join other existing groups such as Legion of Mary. A CLP was nevertheless held in the Philippine Embassy grounds with no less than the former Philippine Ambassador Roy Seneres and his wife attending and completing the sessions. It was a similar story in Sharjah, the 3rd biggest emirate in terms of population and economic growth. The church would not allow that we hold our activities. But we were not discouraged, for we believed that God would pave the way – and He did. Sooner than we expected, the doors to our being accepted were opened when Bishop Teodoro Bacani, during one of his pastoral visits, dropped a good word about CFC to the former Bishop of the Vicariate of Arabia. This led to our being acknowledged by the parishes in all the 7 emirates. God met us halfway when it seemed things were at a dead end. It was through the dedication and relentless efforts of brothers and sisters that they were able to bring CFC to far
Melo Villaroman, Jr. IC Oversight The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
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By Grace Entereso
SEVEN countries across the Middle East region - Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen and Lebanon - plus one European country, Norway, gathered for the 14th SFC Middle East Conference last November 9-10, 2012. This year ’s host was CFCUAE who mobilized the entire CFC community to serve in and to support the conference. Couples for Christ, Servants of the Lord and Handmaids of the Lord members opened their homes to host delegates from the other countries and provided transportation. Even the Kids for Christ members of UAE extended their service in the opening production number. Over 1300 delegates loudly shouted, “We are BLESSED!” and celebrated God’s greatness and victory as they all listened, witnessed and got inspired by the various talks and sharing. The SFCs were reminded that the very essence of being joyful, being prayerful and being grateful is to be in union with God. Noli Manuel, SFC Middle East Region Head and SFC International Core member, led the opening worship. He reminded everyone that blessings are gifts from God and everything that comes from Him is good. There were three sharers for this session: Patrick Manabat (SFC Qatar) who despite uncertainties in life has responded with a simple YES to God’s calling which led to fully open doors of blessings to him and his loved ones; Esi Domingues (SFC Dubai) who was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer, underwent chemotherapy, and now loudly proclaims God’s healing; and finally Christine Alexander (SFC Mission Volunteer) who shared how she spent most of her life wishing, hoping and waiting for that special someone and who now boldly testifies that she has found her God’s gift and is now a bride-to be. The first session entitled, JOYFUL, was given by Chippy De Dios, SFC Cluster Leader of Dubai, UAE. She stressed that joy is the happiness in our hearts that overflows, the state of heart that drives us to reach beyond the confines of our comfort. JOY is the truest sign of God’s presence. After lunch, Roel Baltazar of SFC Abu Dhabi led the worship after which the second session entitled, PRAYERFUL, was given by Father Tom Veneracion, OFM, the Parish Priest of St Mary’s Catholic Church Dubai. He shared the importance of spending physical time in prayer. “Be proud to say, ‘We are Singles for Christ and we are one with the Church’.” CFC Middle East Fulltime Missionary, Agnes Ellica, led the group in Session 3: GRATEFUL. In her talk, she encouraged the SFCs to shine as lights to the world when their hearts are filled with gratefulness to our God. This point was further stressed by the personal sharing of Andrew Pagatpat, SFC UAE member, who shared his gratitude to God despite his family situation; Irene Luces, SFC UAE chapter
leader, who shared how she recognized God’s unconditional love which ultimately completed her as a person; Esay Ciudad, SFC UAE household leader, who expressed her gratitude to what God has done to demonstrate His faithful love despite the overwhelming events in her life; and Dexter Carreon, SFC Qatar chapter leaders who testified to the goodness and faithfulness of God and how grateful he is for his countless blessings. Day one of the conference proper ended with a praisefest led by Jojerry Mercado, SFC Middle East Mission Volunteer. In the evening, it was time for the SFCs to party, to mingle and to celebrate the beauty and colors of life during the C.O.L.O.R.S (Celebration of Life with Our Redeemer and Savior) SFC Clubpraise. The program began with a dance number from SFC UAE and SFC Couple Coordinators. High school fair-inspired interactive booths were set-up such as marriage booth, photo booths, jail booth, and more. SFCs enjoyed this time of fellowship as they danced the night away, with music from a live band courtesy of SFC UAE. The second day of the conference began with simultaneous workshops catering to the different areas in the life of a single person. This year, we had 14 workshops, namely: Loved to Love (Appreciating your God’s Gift) facilitated by Ronnie and Malou Rasco, YFC UAE National Coordinators; The Key of B (Music Ministry workshop) led by the SFC Mid-
Vol. 16 No. 25
December 3 - 30, 2012
Blessed: The 14th SFC Middle East Conference
Noli Manuel, SFC Middle East Region Head and SFC International Core member, leading the worship
dle East Region Head and SFC International Core member, Noli Manuel; Lectio Divina (Praying with Scripture) by Grace Ferrer, CFC UAE; Examen (Finding God in All Things) by Bads Ellica, CFC Middle East Fulltime Missionary; Live Free… Pure Love! (Understanding Love, Sex, Marriage) by Samantha Manuel, CFC Middle East Regional Missions Office Multimedia and Communications Coordinator; Conversations Within (When God Speaks, We Scribble It!) by Rita Verdolaga, CFC UAE HOLD National Coordinator; ATM - A Treasure to Manage (a workshop on tithing and managing 90% of income) by Dalia Viray, CFC Middle East Regional Missions Office Volunteer; The Greatest Treasure (Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) by Cheche Espinosa, SFC UAE Unit Leader; Proclaim! (The Art of Speaking
His Words) by Remy Jimenez, CFC UAE Cluster Leader; Merry Me, We Marry (The Long Wait is Almost Over) by Chris and Dada Cabral, CFC UAE Chapter Head; Going the Distance (How to Blissfully Handle a Long Distance Relationship) by Kiko and Bing Bermudez, SFC UAE Couple Coordinators; Faith Online (Online Evangelization) by Edmund Fajut, CFC UAE Unit Head; His Reflection, My Reflection (What is God Telling us through the Gospel?) by Joy Albano, SFC Middle East Mission Volunteer; and Blessed ‘Be’ Attitudes (a workshop on Beatitudes) by Ace Lu, YFC Middle East Region Head. The final session of the conference was BLESSED TO BLESS. Monching Jimenez, former SFC and now CFC cluster head in UAE, declared that “We are blessed and let us be blessings to
others!” He affirmed that in all things and in all circumstances, we are all simply blessed. The session ended with a “Blessing Voucher” activity, a time for everyone to pause and appreciate the people who have been a powerful instrument of God as channel of blessings in their lives. During this session, Monching presented CFC Middle East fulltime missionaries Noli and Sam Manuel, YFC Middle East Missionary,Ace Lu and KFC Middle East Missionary Caloy Rubio (represented by his wife, Jeanette) with a surprise special tribute for being God’s blessings to SFC Middle East. Ace Lu then led everyone into a powerful praisefest. It was indeed a “BLESSED” weekend for all who were present to witness and experience the outpouring of God’s love.
Mission Report: India
How CFC has Enriched Our Married Life
By Tomaz Hladnik
MY wife Spela and I joined CFC in 2008 in Beijing. We became part of a beautiful international household and being expats in China, our HH really became our home away from home. Moving to Shanghai in 2010, we were transplanted into a new environment and eagerly sought the same experience. Being the only foreign couple in the community in Shanghai, while very warmly welcomed by others, we always felt that there was something missing. We have tried a number of times over the past few years to get like-minded couples to CFC through the CLP, but never fully succeeded. Being torn between the desire to build a community of like-minded couples and constant failure doing so, there were times when we considered giving up. If it weren’t for our Lord that works through people such as tito Eric and tita Evelyn Ylagan as well as Israel and Sally Silud, we probably would have given up long time ago. Through their support and guidance we were encouraged to continue and thus agreed to help conduct a gateway MER experience that could be opened to any Catholic married couple.
By Malou Clarito
IT was Almighty God’s hands that made the mission trip to India possible. He ordained everything from day one up to the end of the mission trip. It all began when Fr. Carlos Macatangga, parish priest of Cristo Rei in Mississauga, was visited by the Archbishop of Cuttack/Bhubaneswar, Rev. John Bharwa. CFC Ontario, headed by Temi and Digna Pangilinan, Jun Clarito and myself were able to invite and meet the latter for lunch. After we had explained to him how we put to task our dual mission of Building the Church of the Home and Building the Church of the Poor, the Archbishop gladly opened the doors of his five dioceses in India to our work. With this open invitation for Couples for Christ to do the Christian Life Program, we formed a team composed of Jun, myself and Francis Almeida, CFC Unit Head in Ajax who is originally from India. We flew to India on November 6 to start the CLP. With the full support and assistance of Fr. Bijaya Kumar Pradhan, parish piest of St. Vincent Church where the CLP was held and Fr. Santosh Digal, Secretary of the Archbishop, the Christian Life Program dedicated 16 couples, 2 Handmaids of the Lord and 2 Servants of the Lord. We praise the Lord for Fr. Lameswar Kanhar, Fr. Arun Digal, Fr. Ajaya Sabhasundar, Fr. Nihar Ranjan Parichha and Fr. Pabodh Kumar Pradhan who very generously gave their time as speakers, helped in the groupings and even manned the registration tables. Our group also met Rev. Thomas Thiruthalil, Bishop of Balasore, who graciously opened the doors of the different parishes in his diocese to CFC as well. Before we left India, we were able to forge an agreement between ANCOP and the Archdiocese of Bhubaneswar to collaborate on a Child Sponsorship Program to help the poor children affected by the communal violence in Odissa. The successful mission trip was made possible through the generous contribution of our brothers and sisters from Toronto. A day after the dedication, India celebrated the Diwali Festival. Amidst this joyous event, we too celebrated because we knew in our hearts that God was our guide and protector during this trip and that He would allow us to move far in our quest to bring His message to our brothers in India. All for the glory of God!
Fr. Francis Fang of China blessing all the couple participants in the recently conducted Marriage Enrichment Retreat in Shanghai; bottom left: Fr. Francis anoints Chris and Angela.
With great support from Manila, and God’s great blessing, we were privileged with the gift of great speakers. Nonoy and Marivie Dalman as well as Joe and Mila Yamamoto all expressed their readiness to fly to cold and rainy Shanghai for a short weekend MER. Seven couples attended the MER retreat that started on Saturday morning, November 11th, and ended up on Sunday afternoon with a holy Mass, celebrated by Fr.Francis Fang. The mass was celebrated especially for the MER participants and we were all able to receive a special blessing to renew our wedding vows. During the retreat we finally felt truly at home in Shanghai, being surrounded by like-minded couples, growing in faith by supporting one another through sharing, examples and prayer. All of the participant couples really enjoyed the weekend retreat and most of
them said that the retreat was the nicest thing that has happened to them and their marriage in years. We all agreed that we would like to continue to meet regularly to be able to sustain and grow this support group for couples. Life in Shanghai can be extremely challenging for most expats as the pressure of everyday life and work is huge and most husbands spend days-on-end traveling for work, while wives are left alone taking care of children. This is making it very challenging for us to arrange our schedules to be able to meet together. We do trust however that with God’s help and blessing, anything is possible. We would therefore like to ask you all to pray for this small group of expats here in Shanghai, that it may become a strong foundation for the future development and growth of CFC in Shanghai and Eastern China.
HOLD “Ang Ganda Mo” Gives Birth to Waste Fest
By Thelma Hizon
THE CFC Handmaids of the Lord held its first ever Waste Festival last November 25, 2012 at the Wellness Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. It was a festive afternoon with exhibits, demonstrations, contests and sharing. Beautiful products from waste materials were displayed and sold to demonstrate that “May Pera sa Basura,” the advocacy of HOLD “Ang Ganda Mo” Program on Waste, is achievable and that waste can be a source of livelihood for Handmaids and other less fortunate brothers and sisters. The festival started with the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon by HOLD International Core Coordinator Didi Galsim that opened the exhibit to the public. Judges from the private sector with experiences in merchandizing and product development and HOLD coordinators from Mindanao and Visayas rated the top ten products. Simultaneously, demonstrations on waste segregation, skills training on how to make some products, and contests were conducted. Ten products were chosen from among more than 100 entries and the three top winners won cash prizes. They were: 1st prize – Multipurpose Bag made by Team of Crystal girls – MM South B; 2nd prize – Silver Clutch bag set made by Working Ants Team – MM East B; and 3rd Prize – Crochet Tote Bag made by Crochet Magic Team – MM South A. The products - handbags and wallets, lampshades, plant containers, curtains, Christmas trees and lanterns, hats, costume jewelries and other products— were sold during the bazaar. Plastic sando bags, used plastic spoons, plastic straw, soft drinks and empty water bottles, old newspapers and magazines, sachets of coffee, shampoo, and other products and tetra packs were used to produce products competitive with other products made of new materials. Another highlight of the event was when Handmaids whose products were chosen as among the finalists shared inspiring stories behind the products. One of the winners is a kidney patient who has found making beads from paper a hobby and a livelihood as well. Another is a family who owns a junk shop and who are able to save for the allowance of their children as well as children of neighbors by making wallets and bags from shampoo sachets. A
First HOLD Waste Festival Grand Winner, HOLD Metro Manila South B
Handmaid who used to live under the bridge now earns for herself and her family by making curtains from paper and magazine pages. The HOLD Waste Busters, the team composed of Handmaids from differ-
ent sectors and provinces headed by Imee Ona, a HOLD Metro Manila Cluster head of South B, organized the event as well as conducted products training and quality enhancement and elimination.
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