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Pope Francis announces global prayer vigil for peace on Sept. 7
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Bishop backs call for Napoles’ testimony ahead of trial
A CATHOLIC bishop is supporting a call for Janet Lim-Napoles to be allowed to make a written testimony about the alleged pork barrel scam ahead of her trial. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s call is worth consideration to secure necessary evidence. “That is one way to hasten the process… so that we’ll be able to know what she knows as soon as possible,” said Pabillo.
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Testimony / A7
Bishops-Ulama Conference condemns Mindanao bombings
A GROUP of Catholic bishops and Muslim religious leaders condemned the successive bombings in Mindanao that killed several innocent civilians and wounded many others in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Midsayap, and Jolo. The Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC) denounced the worsening state of violence in the region, noting that the perpetration of violence and terrorism “aggravate the misery of the millions who are poor and already wallowing in the murky mud of abject poverty.” “We cannot close our eyes to the increasing waves of violence and terror in our land. While we recognize the legitimate causes of the rebel movements, we cannot support any movement and advocacy carried out through violence, terrorism and deceit,” the group said in a statement. “We reiterate our recommendation for a human, respectful and truthful dialogue however long and tedious with the common good as the guiding principle and motive,” it added. The group appealed to various lay groups and government agencies to extend help to the aggrieved victims of violence, as well as to apply the force of law in bringing the culprits to justice. “We make a strong appeal to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and those in charge of intelligence agencies to apply the force of law and to bring the culprits to justice. We ask our people to support their peace-keeping efforts,” the group said. The BUC also criticized the reported economic growth of the country, noting that inclusive growth is hardly achieved with the preponderance of violence plaguing the nation. “No amount of media hype can cover the scandalous contrast – economic growth as claimed makes the rich extravagantly richer, and renders the poor miserably poorer. This itself is violence, terrorism and oppression. It cannot be morally justified,” it said. The group chided specific government institutions such as the Office of the
Bombings / A7
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is swarmed by journalists and demonstrators during the massive “Million People March” at the Luneta Park on August 26. Thousands gathered at the historic landmark to demand the abolition of the now infamous Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), commonly known as “pork barrel.”
Church agencies slam ‘inhumane’ deportation of Filipinos
INTERNATIONAL Catholic migrant welfare groups expressed concern over crackdowns and mass deportation of undocumented Filipinos in Japan, arguing that they were subjected to “inhumane” conditions. The Catholic Commission of Japan Migrants, Refugees and People on the Move (J-CaRM) and the Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ) claimed that the latest Filipino deportees were denied proper assistance. “We question and oppose the forced mass deportation of the 75 undocumented Filipino migrants because we found that their human rights were violated and their welfare is disregarded,” it said. J-CaRM is a sub-commission within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan’s (CBCJ) Commission on Society. A joint delegation of J-CaRM and SMJ conducted interviews with individual deportees from Aug. 20 to 26 to assess the deportation process and their reintegration into the Filipino society. According to them, the interviews unveiled cases of human rights violations during detention and transportation, as well as lack of governmental assisDeportation / A6
CBCP joins Pope Francis in prayer for peace in Syria
By Roy Lagarde
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bish-
The Catholic Church in the Philippines is joining Pope Francis in a day of prayer and fasting on September 7 to end conflict in Syria.
Tagle tells businessmen: Avoid ‘magic’ to gain profit
THE country’s top churchman called on the business sector to shun hocus-pocus in its quest for immense and big profit. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in a nearly an hour speech before a group of businessmen, warned against “magic” for a more productive business, saying it is likely to fail if it is done carelessly. “I know sometimes in our rush to be productive, we can cut corners and we can do magic,” he said during the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals Grand Breakfast at a posh hotel in Makati City. “But let us be discerning if that’s God’s way for us to be more productive,” Tagle said. “Those who become productive not according to God’s ways, that productivity will vanish.” The cardinal acknowledged that owning a business can be tough, and being a Christian business owner, in a harsh secular world can even be more difficult at times. However, the Manila archbishop reminded them that God is there to show them the right path not only for themselves, but for their business as well. “These temptations are
Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
ops’ Conference of the Philippines, said they are one with the pope in praying for an end to bloodshed and violence in the troubled nation. In a circular letter, he invited all the bishops to take up all the bishops to fast and pray for peace in Syria, the Middle East and the world on Saturday. “Heeding the call of our beloved Supreme Pontiff and in solidarity with the entire
Catholic world… I earnestly appeal to you to be one in prayer and fasting on that particular day for the cause of peace in Syria and the whole world,” Palma said. The CBCP head said the bishops may choose the appropriate time and ways in participating “in this important call.” In Manila, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged all parish priests and shrine rectors of
the archdiocese to celebrate the morning Mass on Sept. 7 for the people of Syria. He also encouraged the faithful to have a Holy Hour for peace after the Mass. Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said same activities will be held in all parishes under his diocese. “We are disseminating the Pope’s appeal for prayer, penance and fasting for peace
Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
in Syria. We have been communicating this appeal in our Masses,” he said. In Iloilo, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo also issued a directive to all his priests to join the initiative. Worldwide call to prayer Pope Francis on Sept. 1 called for the world to unite and join him on the evening of Sept. 7 in
Peace / A6
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is prayed over by leaders and members of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals, a Catholic Charismatic organization, during the BCBP Grand Breakfast in Makati City on August 28.
the same temptations that we face. Be aware. Be sensitive. A life of prayer can help business people and the professionals,” Tagle said. “We need certain refinement of spirit to be able to detect whether what is before is a logical or a temptation,” he added. The BCBP is a Catholic charismatic organization recognized by the Arch-
Businessmen / A7
Go out on the streets and serve, priests told
A CATHOLIC archbishop told his clergy to reach out to the faithful and adopt a more missionary mindset. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of LingayenDagupan said they cannot keep themselves stuck in churches and Priests and Religious give prophetic witness in become “pastors today's world through their simple lifestyle and of status quo” selfless ministry to the people they are called to while people are serve.
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Illustration by Brothers Matias
waiting for the Gospel. “This cannot continue. We cannot be swivel chair pastors,” Villegas said in a statement issued August 31. “We must get out to the barangays and public schools, visit the charity wards of hospitals, teach catechism again, visit homes again—make a ‘mess’ in society,” he said. It was yet another admonishment from the incoming head of the Catholic bishops’ hierarchy, lamenting that many priests have slid down to just “main-
Slain whistleblower’s daughter: ‘Pork is mother of other fund scams’
HUNDREDS of thousands of Filipinos are hopping mad over Janet Napoles’ alleged loot of P10 billion in pork barrel funds, but apparently, it is just one head of the hydra of deep-seated corruption in government, according to the daughter of slain Malampaya fund scam whistleblower Gerry Ortega. “This PDAF, the SPF, the Malampaya [fund] all of these are connected. [If not] where does all the money they give away come from?” said Mika Ortega, the eldest daughter of broadcaster Gerry Ortega, who was allegedly shot dead in 2011 because of his exposés about the Malampaya fund scam.
Gregory III : Syria and the Middle East united with Francis in prayer for peace
ROME, August 30, 2013—A week of prayer for Syria began today. The texts of the prayers include the story of a 6-year-old Syrian girl who was playing hide-and-seek with her younger brother when the little boy was shot and killed. At the cemetery, before the boy’s tomb, his sister cried out to him: “Come out from your hiding spot! I don’t want to play anymore!” Accounts such as this one, along with thousands of others, and photos, and now especially, the videos from what is presumed to have been an attack of chemical weapons, have the international community calling more urgently for a change in Syria after more than two years of conflict. But as the United States and others consider plans for possible military intervention, Church leaders from Syria, and the Vatican as well, are reiterating the call for dialogue. Only option After Pope Francis met Thursday morning with the king and queen of Jordan, the Vatican’s official communiqué regarding the meeting contained this line: “[In regard to the tragic situation in which Syria finds itself], it was reaffirmed that the path of dialogue and negotiation between all components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community, is the only option to put an end to the conflict and to the violence that every day causes the loss of so many human lives, especially amongst the helpless civilian population.” Caritas Internationalis today also said “peace talks” are the “only option” in Syria. Spokesman Patrick Nicholson told ZENIT that the “international community has a responsibility to bring all sides to peace talks, to refrain from making the situation worse through military intervention, and to fund relief efforts both inside the country and for the refugees.” “We urgently need peace talks as the only option for an end to the tragedy in Syria,” he said. A statement from the aid agency recognized chemical weapons as a “horrific crime,” saying the alleged use of the weapons in Damascus on Aug. 21 highlights “how catastrophic the humanitarian situation has become.” Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Michel Roy said, “The Syrian people don’t need more bloodshed, they need a quick end to it. They need an immediate truce. Scaling up military intervention by foreign powers will simply widen the war and increase the suffering. “The last decade bears witness to the tragic consequences of military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. “Caritas believes that the only humanitarian solution is a negotiated one. Dialogue can end the war in Syria, safeguard the lives of the people and build a viable future for everyone. The priority must be to reinvigorate talks in Geneva as the first step towards a ceasefire and a peace deal.” US President Barack Obama was speaking today of “limited and narrow” action in Syria, though he said the decisions are still being weighed. Over a year ago, the president said that the use of chemical weapons would call for a response. The US bishops, however, echoed the Vatican’s call for negotiations. In a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, the bishops quoted Pope Francis: “It is not conflict that offers prospects of hope for solving problems, but rather the capacity for encounter and dialogue.” From Damascus The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch has also said that in spite of the dire situation in Syria, reconciliation initiatives are still viable and should be the top priority for all countries concerned with the crisis. Gregorios III of Damascus said this Tuesday in an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. The UK Houses of Parliament on Thursday heard the Patriarch’s appeal, as Baroness Caroline Cox of Queensbury quoted him, saying that armed intervention by the West in Syria would only fuel violence and unrest. The Parliament on Thursday voted against possible missile strikes. In the Tuesday interview, Patriarch Gregorios expressed his doubts about being able to determine who was behind the chemical weapons attack of Aug. 21.
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Church leaders call for negotiations in Syria as Obama weighs response to chemical weapons
Damascus, Syria, September 2, 2013—”The day of prayer announced by the Pope is an extraordinary gesture of peace, which confirms the great love of Francis for this troubled land . I invite all Catholics, Orthodox , Muslims and non-believers to pray with us for peace in Syria and the Middle East”, Gregory III Laham, Melkite Greek - Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, of all the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem tells AsiaNews commenting on the Day of Prayer for Syria led by the pope to be held worldwide on 7 September from 19.00 to midnight. The prelate stresses that all the parishes of the Greek Melkite Church in the Middle East and around the world have already begun preparations to respond to the initiative”. In Syria - continues Gregory III - we will keep our churches open until midnight to allow everyone (Catholics, Ortho-
dox and Muslims) to pray. Vigils will be held wherever possible, even if there are fewer than 10 people participating. “ The Pope’s initiative comes in the days when the United States, France and the Arab League countries are discussing preparations for an armed intervention in Syria. For Gregory III , the spiritual closeness of Francis and the Church is central to all the Syrian people—Christian and Muslim—who without support are likely to lose hope. The patriarch explained that on September 8, the feast of the Birth of Mary, very much felt in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Lebanon. “ We entrust ourselves to the Virgin Mary—he concludes—to fasting and prayer. There will be special celebrations at the shrine of Saidnaya (Damascus ) and in the various Marian places of worship around Lebanon.” (AsiaNews)
Cardinal: peace among religions possible in Middle East
He also criticized US policy with Syria: “You should not accuse the government one day and then accuse the opposition the next. That is how you fuel violence and hatred.” “The Americans have been fueling the situation for two years,” he declared. He condemned as immoral the flow of arms into the country. “Many people are coming from outside Syria to fight in the country. These fighters are fueling fundamentalism and Islamism,” the patriarch stated. “It is time to finish with these weapons and, instead of calling for violence, international powers need to work for peace.” From Jerusalem In a statement Wednesday, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, asked “by what authority” the US would launch a strike on Syria. “Is there a need to increase the number of deaths, now over 100,000?” Patriarch Twal said. The patriarch also warned of the consequences of a possible attack on the entire region. “According to observers, the attacks should be specifically targeted and concentrated on a few strategic sites in order to prevent further use of chemical weapons,” he said. “We know from experience that a targeted attack will have collateral consequences—in particular, strong reactions that could ignite the region.” These were concerns also expressed by Chaldean Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, who is also president of Caritas Syria. “The only road to peace is
The cardinal who heads the Vatican’s interreligious dialogue department said that religious differences in the Middle East do not necessitate violence. “This is the place where the three monotheistic religions meet, and they have the possibility to build up society,” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran told CNA on Aug. 29. “The problem is when religion becomes politics.” Tauran was secretary of the Vatican’s nunciature to Lebanon from 1979 to 1983 and participated in special missions in Beirut and Damascus in 1986. He is currently president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He explained that religion itself is not the source of the crisis in the Middle East, where different groups have violently clashed in recent weeks and months. (CNA)
Legionary named as secretary general of Vatican City government
A Legionary priest who led a major overhaul of the Vatican’s telecommunications infrastructure and set up public email addresses for two popes has been named the new secretarygeneral of the office governing Vatican City. Spanish-born Legionaries of Christ Fr. Fernando Vergez, 68, fills a vacancy recently left by Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, whom the pope named Aug. 24 to the Vatican’s supreme tribunal as adjunct secretary under U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke. Vergez, who is director of the Vatican’s telecommunications department, will continue to hold his old post while serving in his new capacity at the governor’s office. (CNS)
Pope calls for anti-human trafficking meeting at Vatican
dialogue,” he said. “War will not take us anywhere.” Power and faith Even with strong voices calling for negotiations, the direness of the situation can hardly be underestimated. The Caritas Internationalis spokesman suggested to ZENIT that the only way to bring those involved to a point where they can negotiate without violence, is prayer. “Prayer, as Pope Francis has encouraged,” he said. “But also it must be made clear to those inside Syria and their allies outside the country that the violence must end. That means stopping more weapons going into Syria, an immediate ceasefire and pressure being put on all sides of the conflict to negotiate peace. The clear message from ordinary Syrians is that they want peace and an immediate end to this conflict. As one of our Caritas staff inside Syria said to us, ‘Against this dark tableau, civil society is leading a secret resistance. We are fighting against the hardships and violence in silence and with dignity.’ We must stand in solidarity with them.” In that light, those doing the most to help Syria might be the people who started the week of prayer today, and others such as residents at the Monastery of St. James in Qarah (a city between Damascus and Homs). The ecumenical community of that monastery is dedicated to prayer; their leader, Fr. Daniel Maes, told Fides that, “aware of the power of prayer and faith in the Providence of God,” the priests and nuns will have all night Eucharistic Adoration. (Zenit)
For Pope Francis, Korean martyrs inspire commitment to evangelization
SEOUL, August 30, 2013—The pilgrimage to places of martyrdom in the Archdiocese of Seoul is “an opportunity for pilgrims to rekindle the faith in their hearts and so commit themselves more fully to the urgent task of evangelization,” the pope wrote in a message sent to Msgr. Andrew Yeom Soojung, archbishop of Seoul, on the occasion of the start of the ‘Month of Korean Martyrs’.” The pope sent the message to the archbishop and the faithful of the South Korean capital last Monday in a letter signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state. In the letter, Cardinal Bertone explains that the Pope “was pleased to learn that the Archdiocese of Seoul will celebrate the month of September 2013 as the ‘Month of Martyrs,’” and that “His Holiness trusts that all who participate in pilgrimages during this month, aided by the prayers and example of the martyrs, will deepen their communion with the Lord Jesus Christ who laid down his life that we might share in the inestimable gift of eternal life.” At the end of the message, one can read that Pope Francis “prays that this occasion may be an opportunity for pilgrims to rekindle the faith in their hearts and so commit themselves more fully to the urgent task of evangelization.” Finally, “entrusting all the pilgrims to the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and the prayers of the martyrs of Korea,” the Holy Father granted his Apostolic Blessing to the Archdiocese of Seoul “as a pledge of peace and joy in our Lord.” The Archdiocese of Seoul is ready to present the “martyrs routes”, pilgrimage routes linking the holy sites of the Korean Church with churches erected in memory of the martyrs of Seoul. The opening ceremony, whose theme is ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’, will be held next Monday at Myeongdong Cathedral. (AsiaNews)
At Pope Francis’ request, Vatican experts will gather this upcoming November with the aim of better tackling the growing scourge of human trafficking. “We must be grateful to Pope Francis for having identified one of the most important social dramas of our time and that he has had enough trust in our Catholic institutions to ask us to arrange this working group,” said Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The bishop’s academy along with the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations will meet to discuss a Vatican action plan to help combat what is often referred to as the modern slave trade. (CNS)
Gentleness key to dialogue, Pope tells Japanese students
Pope Francis told a group of young Japanese students and their teachers that gentleness is essential in order to foster peace and fruitful dialogue with other cultures. “What is the deepest attitude we must have to dialogue, and not fight?” he asked them. “Gentleness, the capacity to meet people and cultures with peace.” The students and professors present traveled from Tokyo for their Aug. 21 meeting with the Pope. They belong to Bunri Seibu Gakuen Junior High School Saitama, which is a non-religious school, and consisted of both Christians and Buddhists. “I hope this trip to be very fruitful for you, because knowing other people and cultures always does so much good for us and makes us grow,” Pope Francis remarked. (CNA)
Retire pope’s secretary says ‘mystical experience’ story is untrue
Thai bishops focus on quality education and spiritual formation, goal of Catholic school
BANGKOK, August 29, 2013— Improving educational standards in Catholic schools to coincide with international standards while promoting knowledge of the catechism and the basics of the faith. This is the target set by the Thai Bishops’ Conference during their recent assembly in Pattaya, which concentrated on education and the contribution offered by Christian run schools. During the three-day seminar bishops, priests and lay people discussed the quality standards and analyzed the results obtained from the schools in the field of evangelization and moral and civic education. In his address, Msgr. Louis Chamnien Shantisukniran, president of the Thai Bishops’ Conference pointed out that it is the duty of the Catholic Church to help its most representative institutions to “express their Catholic identity.” The prelate recalled the objectives of the 2010-2015 Pastoral Plan, according to which schools and educational centres are the focal point “of proclaiming the Gospel.” It is the duty of educators to be “living witnesses” of Jesus among students. Fr. Francis Xavier Deja Arpornrat, executive secretary of the Episcopal Conference, recalled that Catholic schools aimed at the “integral” development of the person, so parents
Archbishop Georg Ganswein, retired Pope Benedict XVI’s longtime personal secretary, said a story about the pope resigning after a “mystical experience” was completely invented. “It was invented from alpha to omega,” the archbishop said Aug. 24 in an interview on Italy’s Canale 5 television news. “There is nothing true in the article.” In a report Aug. 19, the Italian service of Zenit, a Catholic news agency, said someone who had visited Pope Benedict “a few weeks ago” had asked him why he resigned. “God told me to,” the retired pope was quoted as responding before “immediately clarifying that it was not any kind of apparition of phenomenon of that kind, but rather ‘a mystical experience’ in which the Lord gave rise in his heart to an ‘absolute desire’ to remain alone with him in prayer.” (CNS)
Pope celebrates morning Mass using hosts made by Argentine prisoners
During summer vacation season, when there is no congregation of Vatican workers and no homily, Pope Francis continues to celebrate daily Mass in his residence and, since mid-July, has been using hosts made by women incarcerated in an Argentine prison. The hosts were delivered to the pope July 16 by Bishop Oscar Ojea of San Isidro, who regularly visits the San Martin Penitentiary outside Buenos Aires. The prisoner in charge of making the hosts, Gabriela Caballero, 38, has served three years of a seven-year sentence, according to Il Sismografo, a blog close to the Vatican. (CNS)
had great “confidence” in them. For the future it is important to “preserve” the identity while “enhancing” the teaching methods used, in order to obtain highest quality standards. “We need to renew the methods and reform the system—said the priest—adapting to changing times.” The intervention of the Archbishop of Bangkok, Msgr. Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovinthavanij, was inspired by the New Evangelization and encounter with the faithful of other religions. “All the disciples of
Christ—said the prelate—are called to announce and share the Good News” with those who have not encountered the Gospel with those who do not believe. He invited Catholics to promote inter-religious dialogue, which is an integral part and “plays a leading role in the New Evangelization.” Finally, the archbishop highlighted Gospel values such as morality and virtue, to help students, their culture and life and which are an essential part of the program of an institution of Christian inspiration along with technol-
ogy, new media and respect for the environment. Catholics are a very small percentage in Thailand, only 0.1 % of a total population of 66.7 million inhabitants. But the community is full of vitality and initiative especially in the social and education sector. The meeting in Pattaya was attended by 400 educators from 10 different dioceses in the country. Statewide, there are about 300 Catholic schools, attended by more than half a million students, of different religious faiths. (AsiaNews)
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and throughout world.” The vigil will take place on Sept. 7, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace. Those who will gather in St. Peter’s Square from 7 p.m. until midnight: other local Churches are requested to join in the fasting and prayer by gathering together. Pope Francis extended his invitation to “fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.” “Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace!” said the Pope. “All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace,” he charged. “I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!” The Pope went on to lament the use of arms and its negative impact on civilians, the unarmed, and children, particularly recently in the “martyred country” of Syria. “With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict,” he said. Pope Francis also asked the international community “to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay.”
He rejected the use of chemical weapons and requested that humanitarian workers “be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.” The Pope continued his insistent appeal for peace: “it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.” Noting Mary’s universal motherly concern, Pope Francis said, “Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children!” As he has done on previous Sundays, Pope Francis led the crowds in invoking her intercession: “Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!” (CNA/EWTN News)
Pope Francis announces global prayer vigil for peace on Sept. 7
VATICAN City, Sept. 1, 2013—Departing from his typical reflections on the Sunday gospel, Pope Francis used his Angelus audience today to call for peace throughout the world, particularly in conflict-ridden Syria. “I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me,” he said to the crowds in St. Peter’s Square on Sept. 1. “There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming,” continued the Pope. “For this reason, brothers and sisters, I have decided to call for a vigil for the whole Church,” he announced. It will be “a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, in the Middle East,
Pope and Jordanian king urge dialogue to end Syrian violence
VATICAN City, August 29, 2013—Pope Francis met with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan on Thursday morning, giving special attention to the Syrian conflict at a time when Western countries are considering military action. Their Aug. 29 meeting reaffirmed the importance of dialogue and negotiation between all groups in Syrian society, L’Osservatore Romano reports. The meeting concluded that with the international community’s support, this dialogue is the only option to end the conflict. Since the Syrian conflict began in spring of 2011, over 100,000 people have died. More than 2.5 million Syrians are estimated to have fled their homes. Many have become refugees inside or outside the country—some in neighboring countries such as Jordan. U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders of several other Western countries are now considering military strikes against Syria following reports that Syrian government forces recently used chemical weapons in a major attack outside Damascus, killing hundreds of citizens. The Syrian government has denied responsibility for the attack, instead blaming rebels. However, both Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron said this week that they do not believe it is possible that the opposition forces could have carried out the attack. The countries are still weighing military options in response. The United Nations Security Council declined to authorize action against the regime after Russia voiced opposition. U.N. officials currently in Syria are still investigating the attack. Both Vatican and local Church leaders have pleaded against military action from Western nations, stressing the harm such attacks could have on a large scale. In addition, Pope Francis has called repeatedly for dialogue and cooperative efforts to address the growing crisis. In a June 5 address to Catholic groups helping Syrian refugees, the Pontiff emphasized the importance of “the entire Christian community in this important work of assistance and aid.” “Faced with the continuing violence and abuse, I strongly renew my appeal for peace,” he said. Stressing “the good of the person and the protection of his dignity,” he urged support for “fruitful dialogue with the aim of putting an end to the war.” Last weekend, he again called for an end to the violence in the country, offering prayers and solidarity to those who have been affected by the “multiplication of massacres and atrocious acts.” Pope Francis’ Thursday discussion with King Abdullah and Queen Rania also covered other concerns in the Middle East, focusing in particular on restarting negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. King Abdullah later met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States. The meetings voiced appreciation for King Abdullah’s commitment to interreligious dialogue and for his initiative to convene a conference in Amman in September to discuss the challenges presently facing Christians in the Middle East. The meetings also noted the positive contributions of Christians to the Middle East. (CNA/ EWTN News)
Amid differences, Filipinos echo same cry vs pork
MANILA, August 28, 2013—Despite feasting on the different forms of protest in rallying against the appalling pork barrel scandal on M o n d a y , People from various sectors unite in protest against the F i l i p i n o s government’s misuse of pork barrel during a rally in Luneta on August 26. from all He urged President Aquino walks of life voiced out a common cry to listen to the public’s call to the government—abolish and make the state funds less the pork barrel scheme and susceptible to corruption by prosecute those who are behind channeling it to developmental projects that may lessen floodthe multibillion-peso racket. The protesters—composed ing in the metro. mostly of middle-class students, laborers, and other con- Fight against corruption Jonel Revistual, 18, a Broadcerned citizens—sang parody songs that tackle graft and cast Communication student corruption, recited poems, from the Polytechnic Univerdanced, and played musical sity of the Philippines, said instruments to express their Filipinos must not only fight abhorrence and disgust over against the preponderance the graft-tainted pork during of fund misuse through the the Million People March held pork barrel, but they must also look at the bigger picture of in Luneta. Gathering nearly 100,000 corruption emanating in the individuals, the rally was the government. Aside from lobbying for the result of a citizen-led initiative that sprung from the posts of abolition of pork, he added outraged citizens over social Filipinos must also push for the cleaning of government ranks networking site Facebook. Approximately P10 billion to achieve the change yearned in pork allocation was alleg- by many. “It is not only the governedly channeled to dubious nongovernmental organizations ment that has something to (NGO) by businesswoman do. As individuals, we also Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged have to do our part in fixing brain behind the pork barrel our nation. Change must begin within ourselves,” Revistual scam. In a separate report, the said. Award-winning writer and Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that 12 senators and director Jim Libiran also joined 180 congressmen channeled the public rally on Monday, P6.156 billion in pork through noting that the pork barrel scandal is “one of the most 82 NGOs from 2007 to 2009. intricate, most complicated, and most systematic” scheme Public outrage Jess Mercado, 58, a retired ra- of stealing money from the nadio technician, said that despite tion’s coffers. “There are many instituhis child being sick, he still attended the rally to express tions, organizations, and inhis disgust on the anomalies dividuals whose hands are committed by public officials soiled over this issue, not trusted by the Filipino people. to mention that this scandal “If President Aquino is really is also the reason why our sincere in his anti-corruption country remains impovercampaign, he should abolish ished throughout the years,” the pork barrel and entrust he said. Likening the Million People the nation’s coffers to honorable people who care for the March to the beginnings of the plight of all Filipinos, not to infamous People Power Revothose who only care about lution of 1986, Libiran had this stealing the public’s money,” message to those involved in he said, noting that those in- the scandal: “If the Lord will volved in the scam are making not punish you with what you a mockery out of the country’s have done, the Filipino citizens will.” (Jennifer Orillaza) democracy.
Raymond Bandril / CBCPMedia
Lead a life of conversion, Tagle urges diocesan faithful
MANILA, August 29, 2013—Expressing jubilation over the Pasig Diocese’s 10th anniversary, a high-ranking official of the Catholic Church urged the diocesan faithful to lead a life of conversion rooted in a strong faith to the Divine. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called on the laity and members of the clergy to fulfill their mission of being renewed and converted to further strengthen their diocese against challenges that might come its way. “We thank the Lord for gathering us and remaining true and loyal in the past 10 years of being a diocese,” he said in his talk during the Pasig diocesan anniversary held at the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral on Monday. “Our gratitude must lead to conversion, which will then be strengthened by our faith when hardships arise,” he said in the vernacular. “Do not get tired of leading a converted life…Continue to pray and trust the Lord,” he added. Marks of a diocese Citing the Second Vatican Council document Christus Dominus, Tagle emphasized the need for the diocesan faithful to ensure that the four marks of a diocese—the Holy Spirit, priests and bishops, word of God, and sacraments—are continually nourished for the strengthening of their diocese. Tagle noted the important role played by the Holy Spirit in uniting the lay faithful into one diocese bound by faith, and in guiding the people in strengthening their relationship with the Lord. “Through the Holy Spirit, all of us who have different backgrounds in life are gathered as one community united in praying, connecting, and opening our hearts to the Lord,” he said. The cardinal also called on the lay people and instead focus on nourishing the “best assets of the church”—the faithful and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “Our priestly vocation includes conversion and renewal. Priests, religious people, lay leaders, all of us are sinful and vulnerable to temptation. We have to renew ourselves repeatedly to keep ourselves intact with our real mission,” he said. Word of God, sacraments Tagle also said that for a diocese to be strengthened, it must be rooted with the word of God, giving life and transforming the faithful to become more dedicated heralds of the church. “What will happen if it is not the word of God that motivates us? …We are a church because it is His word that gives us life. It becomes our life and it is through it that we become real servants,” he said, urging the faithful to improve the bible apostolate and catechetical ministries of their diocese. He emphasized the importance of sacraments that bring the presence and blessings of the Lord to mankind through symbols and rituals. “For sacraments to strengthen a diocese, it must strengthen the gathering and celebration of faith,” he said. The high-ranking official also chided instances wherein sacraments are merely perceived as “social and cultural gatherings”, losing its real spiritual dimension and becoming just an avenue for socialization and display of egoism. “The church does not flourish with lavish ornamentations or ostentatious celebrations. The church grows as a community of faith through the presence of the Lord in His word and sacraments,” he added. “Let us heed the Lord’s call. It is through his guidance and blessing that we are able to sustain our diocese,” Tagle said. (Jennifer Orillaza)
Joining the Diocese of Pasig in celebrating its 10th anniversary of foundation, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle exhorts the laity to use their God-given gifts to serve their fellowmen.
to use their possessed gifts from the Holy Spirit into avenues that can benefit the majority, and not just themselves. “There are a lot of gifts that are either not being developed or being used for one’s personalistic gains. This is why we should need to repent. We have to carefully and wisely use the acts of the Holy Spirit so they will not be wasted or misused for our selfish interests,” he said. Tagle said those in the priestly ministry must also undergo conversion to purify their thoughts and acts to encourage more people to be one with the church. Noting the great discrepancy between the number of priests and parishioners in a community, he also called on the people to pray for their priests and bishops so they may be frequently reminded of their duties as heralds of the Church. “Please pray for us. As we are tasked to take care of the Lord’s community here on Earth, we are asking your help to guide us in becoming good priests through your love and care,” he said. He stressed that members of the clergy must not dabble in money-making schemes
Pope names veteran diplomat Vatican Secretary of State
VATICAN City, August 31, 2013—Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Pietro Parolin, 58, a long time official in the Vatican secretariat of state and nuncio in Venezuela since 2009, to be his secretary of state. Although Pope Francis has not been afraid to break with convention during his brief pontificate, the appointment of a seasoned member of the diplomatic corps signals a return to a longstanding tradition. On Oct. 15 Archbishop Parolin will succeed Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 78, who came to the post in 2006 after serving as archbishop of Genoa, Italy. The secretary of state is the pope’s closest collaborator, coordinating the work of the entire Roman Curia, overseeing the operation of the Vatican press office and newspaper, coordinating the preparation and publication of papal documents, and supervising the work of Vatican nuncios both in their relations with the Catholic communities in individual countries and with their governments. However, in discussions about the reform and the reorganization of the curia, many observers have mentioned the possibility of the secretary of state’s role changing as well. Because it is so broad— covering the internal workings of the Vatican, international church affairs and foreign relations—Cardinal Bertone often was blamed, at least by the press, when things went wrong during Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate. Archbishop Parolin was born Jan. 17, 1955, in Schiavon, Italy, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1980. He studied at the Vatican diplomatic academy and in 1986 began working at Vatican embassies, serving in Nigeria and in Mexico before moving to the offices of the Vatican Secretariat of State. He was named undersecretary for foreign relations in 2002. For years, Archbishop Parolin led Vatican delegations to Vietnam each year to discuss churchstate issues with the country’s communist government, a process that that eventually led to Vietnam’s acceptance of a nonresident papal representative to the country. The move is seen as a step toward establishing full diplomatic relations. While at the Vatican, Archbishop Parolin also represented the Vatican at a variety of international conferences on climate change, on human trafficking and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including leading the Vatican delegation to the 2007 Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Md. At a press conference in 2006, Archbishop Parolin said Vatican nuncios and papal representatives play an important role “in defending the human being” and in strengthening the local churches, especially in regions ganizational framework, the secretary of state is the pope’s closest collaborator, the one who traditionally made sure that the pope’s policies and priorities became concrete in the work of Vatican offices. The secretary usually has been very close to the pope and meets with him often. When Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal Bertone secretary of state in 2006 it was a reunion of sorts. Then-archbishop Bertone had been secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for seven years when its prefect was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The appointment raised some eyebrows because most of the time — although not always — the position was held by a prelate who had come up through the ranks of the Vatican diplomatic corps. Cardinal Bertone had a background as a Salesian pastor, an archbishop and as a Vatican official dealing with doctrinal matters. While Cardinal Bertone had never worked in the Vatican’s diplomatic sector, he had been employed as a type of roving trouble shooter: He flew to Havana in 2005 for talks with Cuban President Fidel Castro; in 2002, he was charged with trying to convince then-Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo to give up the idea of marriage and reconcile with the pope; and he met with a Fatima visionary, Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, when he coordinated the publication of the third secret of Fatima in 2000, another delicate task. In a series of interviews before taking over the helm at the Secretariat of State, Cardinal Bertone made it clear he was not coming to the job with his own agenda. As he put it in one interview, the secretary of state should above all be “a man loyal to the pope,” someone who executes the pope’s projects and not his own. (Cindy Wooden)
Noli Yamsuan / RCAM
Archbishop Pietro Parolin
where Christians face poverty, discrimination or other hardships. The Vatican’s presence around the world through its nuncios shows people that the church and the pope are always near, that Christians—no matter how small their numbers — are not alone in the world, he said. In the current Vatican or-
Insensitivity to inequalities
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 18
“NO one may remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world.” Thus spoke POPE FRANCIS last July when he made a visit to a slum area in Rio de Janeiro on the occasion of the World Youth Day in Brazil. He could have said it three months ago or three months from now. In fact, his thought and feeling could have been said three decades ago if not three decades from now because that has been the truth in the distant past and will still be the truth in the distant future. Such is the case when public officials do not fulfill their respective solemn oath that they are elected for the good and welfare of others than for their own advantage and benefit. In other words, when government leaders in effect lead people to poverty and misery while using their power and authority to endow and enrich themselves, when they are preoccupied in attending to the interests and concerns of their own families and allies instead of their constituents, when they do not serve the people but instead make them their servants, and when they wherefore behave like kings or queens treating people as their slaves and footstools—the said “inequalities” of already long standing, will still continue to exist. Such is the case, too, when private individuals—who are already very rich—still do anything and everything possible to become even richer in the course of time, with utter disregard to the poor and miserable they see and pass by. In other words, when the already wealthy allow themselves to be still propelled by greed or advice and thus become wealthier while the poor even become much poorer, when they use their wealth to seek and accumulate more wealth while so many others have not enough food to eat, clean clothes to wear and decent houses to live in, and when they count their money by the billions while the poor count theirs by the centavos—the said “inequalities” of very long standing, will still continue to exist. The same is true when people act and behave as if they see nothing, hear nothing and so say nothing and do nothing as well in order to claim and defend their basic human rights to earn a living, to preserve their health and keep their life plus their complimentary human rights to education, to dignity and security. In other words, when the people themselves placed in such distress and destitution are either afraid to speak up and take action in order to correct their corrupt and corrupting government and to address greedy preying individuals—the said “inequalities” of too long a standing, will still continue to exist. Thus it is that POPE FRANCIS is God’s gift to the humanity. He expressly and emphatically reminds people and government that no human being, no human community may be excluded from the blessings of the world, and thus also formally and categorically proclaims that, “No one may remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world.” He cannot be more right!
IT is not a secret. It is nothing confidential. Much less is it a delicate matter. It is a long standing gross reality. It is long obtaining scandalous fact. This: Philippine politics by and large stinks. A big number of politicos in the Philippines constitute a deadly plague to Philippine society particularly in terms of the matter-of-fact graft and corrupt practices—to mention but the obvious. It is because of these incarnate deformers of politics and governance in the country that the loud and urgent call for reformers has become not only urgent but also imperative. For the moment, let there be silence about the failure of Philippine democracy as causative of serious and pervasive poverty, about the phenomenon that politics is big business requiring big capitalization such that vote-buying and vote-selling as an inseparable pairing, about the progressive increase of dynasties with much wealth
Oscar. V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
Hence, reformers are needed! There are still a number of politicians who are upright, honest, and true. Would that they insist and persist in rectifying the unconscionable, outrageous and preposterous waste of public funds—through the buffoonery of the Pork Barrel System. Do they work for its utter stoppage? Do they redo or redesign it? Do they find other ways and means to assure that public funds are used for public welfare? But let them do something to get rid of the “pork” and do away with the “barrel”—for the common good of the people they swear to serve. REFORMERS: Stand! Help! Please! By the way, the Holy Book says the following empirical truth—whether vicious politicians accept or snub it: “Do not fear when a man grows rich, when the glory of his house increases. He takes nothing with him when he dies. His glory does not follow him below.” (Psalm 49) Such is the on-the-ground reality.
Children and youth
IN a nation that prides itself on its high esteem for the family, another irony presents itself in our neglect of children and youth; or if “neglect” is not the right word, our lack of a real concern for their welfare. The Philippine is the country of the young. In 1989 about 60% of the total population (about 35.9 million) was below 25 years of age. Ten million children and youth are in “especially difficult circumstances.” Of those, about 120,000 children are suffering because of armed conflicts, 3.7 million are working and are exploited, 3 million in tribal communities. Approximately 2.56 million children and youth were out of school in 1989. Simply appalling is the number of street children who are exploited by drug pushers, sex pedophiles; children working in factories, or are victims of illegal recruitment from rural areas; run-away children, or abandoned and neglected by their parents; physically abused children. They need the love and compassion of the Lord who said: “Let the children come to me!” And that compassion must come through us. We must likewise open our eyes to the unspeakable crimes against the unborn who can neither defend their God-given life nor cry out in even the most feeble of cries for help. But their cries do reach the heart of the Creator. We must, therefore, move as the Lord’s disciples to heed their cry. As for the youth, in 1989 there were 8.2 million of them between ages 18-24 or about 14% of the total population. In rhapsodizing rhetoric we extol them as the hope and future of the land. Yet precious little is being done to ensure that when that future will be theirs, they will be prepared and ready for it, able to hand it on in turn to their children with hopes of a still better life. The areas of health care and education are especially vital to our concern for the young. We need to realize, too, that the youth are among the most active in raising the social consciousness not only of their peers but also of their elders. They are in the vanguard of many cause-oriented organizations and are active in the social apostolate of the Church. And all of them need the support and encouragement, the enabling apostolate of the rest of the Church. As we in this Council have declared our evangelical love of preference for the poor, so it would appear to us now to declare a preferential apostolate for children and youth. (PCP-II Acts of the Council Nos. 380-385) —Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
and strong influence in taking over public offices from the local to the national levels. For the moment, let the proverbial “Three Moneys”—see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing—play their roles in order to set aside many other shameful and disgusting political shenanigans long since taking place in the country. For the moment, let but the repugnant and nauseating matter of “Pork Barrel”— that cries to heaven for vengeance—be addressed. The ignominious system of huge monetary largesse appropriated by many dishonorable Representatives and Senators, including the illustrious President of the Republic—for personal benefits—has been long since misappropriating and devouring the ominous and ubiquitous direct and indirect taxes exacted by the voracious government from the millions of poor and few rich Filipinos alike, from birth to death.
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth
ARE gay marriage advocates really asking for something special? In my humble opinion, yes and no. Through centuries of being seen as abnormal, “freaks of nature” and Creation’s laughable mistake, homosexuals have come to believe they are society’s rejects. In our age when freedom of expression is considered an undeniable human right, they speak up, naturally! But I believe that behind all the noise they create, deep in their heart of hearts all they want is to be accepted just like any other human being. In that sense, No, they are not asking for anything special. But some of them who may have deeper wounds than others could, in wanting to be accepted, unwittingly abuse their freedom of expression, and thus clamor for “gay marriage”, oblivious to the fact that they are overstepping boundaries and trampling on the heterosexuals’ rights and religious liberty to preserve the meaning, purpose, and institution of marriage. In that sense, Yes, they are asking for way too much. For the record, let me just say here: I love gays—of both genders. And they love me, too. Whether strangers, colleagues or friends, the gays in my life easily open up to me like I were the reincarnation of Tia Dely Magpayo—they air their woes and fears, ask for my advice and prayers, bring me gossip, daydream in my presence, give me beauty tips, and in moments of euphoria talk to me about their bed (sic) habits until I blush. They need not pretend with me. Encounters with gays both
Listening to gays
amuse and educate me and offer me glimpses into the human condition, and when they speak most sincerely from their guts, sometimes I am led into a different world—like that time I interviewed in the mid-70s the first Filipino sex-change patient; or that instance when a priest sighed to me about his inner struggle as a covert, non-practicing homosexual bound by a vow of chastity; or when another gay friend just “born again and accepted Jesus as his savior” over a cholesterol-laden dinner asked me, “Does the Lord really want me to give up everything? Can’t I keep even only one boyfriend na lang?” Sometimes I think gays open up to me because they sense I have an ear and a heart for them. A lesbian friend says that with me she feels “like a tilapia in a tilapia pond”, at home and cozy. It’s her kind of gay that’s most poignant to listen to, because she hasn’t quite come to terms with herself—she fumes when people ask if she’s gay. She insists she will marry a man someday, but while Mr. Right hasn’t come along, she revels in same-sex affairs. I feel blessed to have gay friends, for they can be some of the most honest and brutally frank people around. And while they bare their souls to me, they also take wholeheartedly what I have to dish out—whether advice or admonition which I dispense with clinical detachment. I never have to mince words with them, like some days back when the subject of sameAnd That’s The Truth / A7
The problem with humility
WE can never have enough of it. That’s the problem with humility. The moment we say we have it, be ready also to lose it and again and again to go through the process of recovering it. It’s a very slippery virtue that requires constant interior renewal and conversion. If we only can reconcile ourselves completely with this reality and act accordingly, then much of the problem of the world will just vanish! But that’s a big if. Just the same, no matter how quixotic the pursuit of this virtue may be, we just have to try and try, helping one another to live it, because it is indispensable in our life. Humility makes us see the truth. It wipes away fantasies, illusions and delusions. It is the foundation of many other virtues, the good ground on which the seed of virtues can grow. Without it, good intentions cannot prosper, and what may begin as a good deed would soon turn into an evil one, dripping with malice. Humility makes us see who we really are, in our most radical self. That is to say, it makes us realize we are first of all creatures of God who created us in his image and likeness and who has adopted us with his grace as his children.
Fr. Roy Cimagala
Let’s remember that among the consequences of sin, both original and personal, is the pride of life. It’s just kind of automatic for us to be proud, so much so that another saint once said that pride is so ingrained in us that it would only disappear 24 hours after our death. That could be the reason why Christ had to be born in such a humbling manner as to be born in a manger, and to live in a very austere manner in direct contrast to what he rightfully deserves as God. In fact, he taught his disciples to be humble. “Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart,” he once said (Mt 11,29). And among the beatitudes, he highlighted the virtue of meekness and humility. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.” (Mt 5,4) Christ told the people to avoid going to the seats of honor when invited to a banquet, because he who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted. And when throwing a party, he advised that we should rather invite the poor, blind and lame, and those who cannot repay the
Candidly Speaking / A5
Pedro C. Quitorio
Ronalyn R. Regino
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
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Its opposite vice of pride precisely makes us forget this fundamental truth, and leads us to think that we are our own God. This was precisely the seemingly irresistible temptation that led to the downfall of our first parents while in Paradise and that caused the original sin that we now all inherit. Humility is of such great value that one saint said that one simple act of humility is worth much more than all the knowledge, both theoretical and practical, that we can amass in this world. To develop and nourish this virtue, we need to realize that our heart and mind are in constant flux. Its stability is never static but rather very dynamic. It can turn one way or another in just an instant, and in fact it can go to extremes. We need to realize that our control of these powers of ours, which need to be properly grounded and directed, is at best tenuous. And thus we have to constantly be watchful and at the same time proactive in developing this virtue, never waiting for occasions to come before we do something about it.
Illustration by Brothers Matias
Vol. 17 No. 18
September 2 - 15, 2013
Tidbits Bol-anon family
the shared- love of husband and wife with a new life, the child that is born, the tool whereby God is preached to the members of the family. It is true that faith comes from hearing the words preached by the one commissioned to do so. But faith too is handed over by generation through the instrumentality of the family. The faith of Abraham, the father of faith, has been handed down to his children and to those who later believed in his God. Moses saw to it that the experience of faith will happen in the family. The Paschal Seder, the center of the Israelites’ worship and the celebration of their deliverance from the slavery in Egypt, is commemorated in the family. It is here that faith is handed over by the head of the family to all his members (Exodus 12: 1-30). Here, the parents were the teachers of the children reminding them that without God they would never be born, never see the light of day, or get killed by the angel of death who patrolled that night to kill the first born child whose house was not marked by the blood of the lamb. This is the Exodus account of how the parents catechized their children: “When your children ask you, ‘What does this rite of yours mean?’ You shall reply, ‘This is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt; when he struck down the Egyptians, he spared our houses’” (26-27). But the family only acquires its proper dignity and splendor when the Son of God Himself chose to dwell in the family of Joseph and Mary in Nazareth. Here we learn
Tidbits / A7
Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD
Bp. Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD
By the Roadside
Faith and the common good
ONE of the sad, nay, tragic facts about Christianity in the Philippines is that it has not transformed the country into at least a just society. Even the history of the archipelago’s evangelization by Spanish missionaries is fraught with oppression and a host of other social evils our heroes tried to expose and fight against. I once heard a remark supposedly from a Filipino native during the Spanish times: “When the Spaniards came, they had the Cross, and we had our land. Now we have the Cross, while the Spaniards have our land.” Among many other social evils, the Spaniards engineered a hacienda system that eventually divided the lands and wealth of the country among only a few families, while the teeming masses became virtual slaves of the landowners. Even now, when we have representative democracy as a system of government, the poverty of the great majority of the Filipino people still enchains them to subhuman conditions that keep them from truly exercising their rights and duties with dignity. And so, it is no surprise at all when shock transmogrifies into anger as patriotic Filipinos come to know how public money supposedly earmarked for projects and necessary services to the poor masses end up in the pockets or accounts of a few. When members of the clergy, wittingly or unwittingly, become entangled in the network of the pork barrel scam, inevitably we in Church confront a question. Is it not, at least partly, the fault of Christianity or, specifically, of the Catholic Church that we have come to such a pass? The words of Mahatma Gandhi brings a partial answer: “I like your Christ but I don’t like your Christians.” It cannot be denied that many of those who supposedly evangelized us didn’t have Christ and the gospel as their main interests. What was true in the past, to a greater or lesser degree, could still be true today. If the new evangelization is to succeed, it must, first of all, begin and succeed in the clergy who serve as principal agents. Clearly we must learn and re-learn from our history. If, for many of our past conquistadores we were the spoils of conquest to be divided and enjoyed, a subject nation that needed to be civilized through Christianity but never with a vision of an eventually free and self-governing people as essential aspects of their goal, have we identified today the hindrances we have put in place to the realization of Christianity in us? Scripture is often very helpful. St. Paul was also aware of suffering and evil in and by human beings, yes even among the communities of believers. But in his letter to the Romans he wants us to look at the bigger picture instead of being lost in the contemplation of our plight. The bigger picture is that the whole of creation is subject to “futility: this did not come from itself, but from the One who assured it, however, a hope: for the created world will be freed from this fate of death and share the freedom and the glory of children of God” (Rom 8:20-21). The first time I read these words my reaction was: Is St. Paul saying that God is the source of our suffering? But, once these words are taken in the context of his whole message of the eventual freedom and glory of God’s children to be shared by creation precisely because of Christ’s death and resurrection, then we know that our own present sufferings, that is, social injustice and poverty are neither caused by God nor the destiny God has meant us to attain. In Adam who in Paul represents one individual and the collective persona of all human beings, we find where the blame lies. “Now sin entered the world by means of one man and, through sin, death, and later on death spread to all humankind, because all sinned” (Rom 5:12). In other words, the social evils we are in are, mainly, of our making. And so we too have a hand in solving them. Even the Holy Father would agree. Since the death and resurrection of Jesus, the twin principles of our salvation and liberation, are products and manifestations of his love, we have therefore our link to the light of faith. The Holy Father, for example, insists: “Precisely because it is linked to love (Gal 5:6), the light of faith is concretely placed at the service of justice, law and peace. Faith is born of an encounter with God’s primordial love, wherein the meaning and goodness of our life becomes evident; our life is illumined to the extent that it enters into the space opened by that love…Faith does not draw us away from the world…Faith makes us appreciate the architecture of human relationships because it grasps their ultimate foundation and definitive destiny in God, in his love, and thus sheds light on the art of building; as such it becomes a service to the common good. Faith is truly a good for everyone; it is a common good. Its light does not simply brighten the interior of the Church, nor does it serve solely to build an eternal city in the hereafter; it helps build our societies in such a way that they can journey towards a future of hope” (LF 51). In other words, when believers live and die serving the cause of transparency, accountability, equitable distribution of wealth among our people, they are living their faith, correctly understood as the light resulting from our encounter with the God of love in Jesus Christ, pushing us his followers to work for social justice and peace. In that sense the light of faith, as shown by believers, becomes indeed a “service to the common good” since social justice and peace benefit everyone. It is the light of faith that makes us see and appreciate St. John’s gospel teaching us that Jesus is our “vine” and we are his “branches” (Jn 15:5). He, the new Israel, is our foundation and source of life. But we must also realize that we are not isolated branches. We are first united with him, but he also unites us with one another in his love. Yet one very big obstacle to this unity, which Vatican II insists is true to our society today, is the presence of injustice and oppression. A poor man, for instance, will not feel nor truly be one with a rich man, not only because of the disparity in their possessions but also because such disparity, born of injustice, creates division in ways of thinking and living. We, therefore, need to keep marching together in faith that does justice not just for a day but for every day that that justice is not yet our common good.
Candidly Speaking / A4
FOR the more than six years of my stay in the Diocese of Tagbilaran as its bishop I have always been dazzled if not puzzled by the depth of the faith of the Bol-anon, the faith that has served them well even within our contemporary history of globalization characterized by technological progress and globalization with the concomitant problems of easy life, materialism, and heightened love of self. What might be its secret or is the Bol-anon soul simply privileged by Divine design? I have waited for a satisfactory response. Then it happened while I was attending a meeting of priests and responsible lay faithful. In that meeting a soul searching inquiry popped up, to wit: what makes the Bol-anon unique as a community of people? What specific trait differentiates the Bol-anon soul from that of other Filipinos? Then the participants came up with this answer: “The bol-anon family is unique in that it is a source of faith and the cradle of vocation.” With that initial revelation I started to discover more the delicate role and the intricate ways of the Bol-anon family in cherishing the Christian faith they have received. After all God can hardly be experienced outside the family experience. The person of Jesus cannot be savored and lived, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the love of the Father expressed in His Son’s birth into this earth through the action of the Holy Spirit, would remain a beautiful thought, lurking in the realm of ideas and spiritual models. To bring down the catechism into flesh and blood realities, we need the Bol-anon family whose track-record on spiritual matters,
faith and moral, is very well known. In fact, through the years, studies have shown that the Bol-anon family is considered a cradle of faith and the fount of priestly and religious vocations. It is along this line that we revisit the Bol-anon family and draw some important conclusions needed to bring down the abstracts of our faith contained in our catechism books into concrete realities of the here and now. In so doing we face the modern challenges of our faith that attack not only the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Faith, but more so the traditional mores and time-tested way of living among the Bol-anons. Creation is God’s love for man, giving him a life that is a copy to His nature. But for man to express that divine fire of love lodged deeply in his soul needs an entity like himself. “It is not good for a man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him” (Gen 2: 18). In time God created the woman and presented him to man as a partner and a wife. Man accepted her with these words: “This one at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called ‘woman’ for out of her man this one has been taken” (2: 24). This was the first marriage covenant that sets up the family and the model of all other families that come after it. In a simple commentary on this marriage the Bible states: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body” (2: 24). God’s love is the origin of marriage and the family of man. It is at the same time the way how the love of God is shared with the husband and wife, the instrument that opens
Get rid of the Pork Barrel!
JANET Lim-Napoles finally surrendered, not to the NBI but to Pres. Noynoy. How she surrendered, to whom she surrendered, where she is held in custody, are of no moment important. The most important thing is the security of Napoles because she knows many things. She must disclose the names of all legislators, government officials, private persons and non-government organizations (NGO’s) who benefitted from the P10 billion pork barrel scam (or is it P100 billion as the COA report stated). Tell all, only the truth will set you free, Ms. Napoles. Let us clarify matters. The surrender of Napoles is not due to pork barrel; no case is filed yet, investigation has to be conducted first. The warrant of arrest was issued because of the illegal detention case filed against Napoles and her brother by Ben Hur Luy, her cousin. That is the reason why Napoles is in the custody of the Makati City Jail since the case is pending at the Makati court. The pork barrel scam came out when Ben Hur Luy squealed what he knows. Tasked to investigate the pork barrel scam are three formidable ladies, Ombudswoman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and COA Chairwoman Grace Pulido-Tan. Let there be an honest-to-goodness investigation. Everyone involved must be brought to justice. Let the truth out. *** The Million People March last August 26, the National Heroes Day, once again proved that when people are united in their action, they can change everything. Those who went to Luneta wanted to show their disgust with what the legislators had been doing with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the pork barrel. Taxes they paid go to the legislators as pork barrel. The pork barrel found its way to the pockets of unscrupulous persons or bogus non-government organizations (NGO’s) because of its anomalous misuse by the legislators. The cry of the people is abolish pork barrel in all its form – the legislators’ PDAF and the President’s discretionary fund. Pork barrel is the root of corruption. It is the source of corruption. It is the systematic way of getting money from the public coffers. It is the reason why political families want to retain political dynasty. His Eminence, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle joined the participants, estimated by the Manila Police District at 350,000 mark. Cardinal Tagle said “Let us prove that the Filipino is honourable x x x and to remain people of clear consciences in the family, with friends, in the market place, in banks, in schools, offices, in business, on the sidewalks, in TV, radio, in moviehouses, in precincts, camps, court houses, in the mountains, in rivers, in
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
sea and air, while we text, go online…” In suggesting the abolition of the pork barrel, Cardinal Tagle was moved to tears when he told the legislators to try walking at night in the squatters area to find the homeless spread their cartons on the street where they will sleep. *** The Million People March started as a simple idea. Arnold Pedrigal, Peachy Bretana, and Bernardo Bernardo created a Facebook event page to gather like-minded people who want the pork barrel scrapped. Pedrigal is based in San Francisco, USA, where he is the head of Prowave Media and produces “Power ng Pinoy” a US-based show that features “inspiring stories of Filipino shakers and movers.” Bernardo Bernardo is a theater actor based in Los Angeles. Bretana is based in Manila. Bretana stated that it will be a gathering of people where there is no organizer because everyone is THE organizer. No one person or organization will get a permit to hold the event in Luneta. It will show to all the senators, congressmen and everyone in the government who the real boss is. She said “TAYO ANG BOSS! We have forgotten this and we should LAY CLAIM TO IT x x x WE WILL SHOW THEM THAT WE WANT THE PORK BARREL SCRAPPED.” *** During the advance Thanksgiving Mass on August 31 on the occasion of the Episcopal Anniversary (actually on September 01) of Most Rev. Francisco “Francis” de Leon, D.D., the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Kalookan and Auxiliary Bishop of Antipolo, awards of recognition were given to the Papal Awardees of the Diocese (this representation was one of the awardees), the Parish Pastoral Council and the Parish Personnel of every parishes in the Diocese. A fund raising dinner for the medical assistance to clergy was held in the evening at the Manila Hotel. It was also the grand celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Diocese of Kalookan and the Episcopal Anniversary of Bishop Francis. Awards of Recognition were given to the clergy, benefactors and Curiae staff who are pioneers and served for 10 years in the Diocese. They (Curiae staff) are Rona Marie Apellanes, Gigi de Lara, Bella Partido, Marilou Reyes and this representation as Legal Counsel of the Diocese for 10 years. *** Happy Birthday to my sister Violeta Santiago-Rosales; also to Fr. Alberto Cahilig, OMI, Fr. Rogelio Caalim, OMI, Fr. Alfredo Fernandez, OP and Fr. Elpidio Erlano, Jr. Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Rockmoore Saniel, OMI, Fr. Mark Anthony Serna, OMI, Fr. Rufino Yabut, Fr. Medardo Ong, Fr. Oscar Lucas, OMI of the Diocese of Kalookan.
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Spaces of Hope
A DECADE ago come October 24, a text circulated to about 20 recipients resulted in what became known as the Citizens for Judicial Independence. The loose network organized in Cebu was against the impeachment of then-Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and the not-so-subtle attempt to dominate one branch of government by another. Three nights later Mass was celebrated at the Redemptorist church. About seven thousand people joined. From there the faithful proceeded to Fuente Osmeña to do a Jericho march—seven rounds along its circumferential road in imitation of the dramatic manner in which the Israelites overran the ancient city. The advocates felt that the fire ignited must be kept burning. Other activities followed. Modules were developed to provide education on the issue particularly among the urban poor. Statements to media were released. A vehicle caravan—at least a hundred— was hastily organized with many motorists honking their horns in solidarity even as riders made noise to express their displeasure. A live television debate was even held at ABS-CBN Cebu. Finally a huge rally—estimates run from 80 to 100 thousand Cebuanos—was organized at Fuente Osmena with no less than former President Cory Aquino in attendance. Meanwhile a signature campaign was
Lessons from the past
Yet what do we do with the enormous financial resources meant for development? Why not take away the pork barrel from lawmakers so they concentrate on legislation and put the resources under the budget of appropriate departments and line agencies? After all these departments and line agencies have offices in every province, city, and municipality. Would not this system enable easier monitoring of the flow and usage of public funds since it is easier to discipline the officials from the executive department and line agencies than senators and congressman who hold the power of the purse? Why not appoint honest, competent and patriotic individuals to head these agencies and further strengthen the COA? This is the system followed in Singapore, Taiwan, France, and the UK. Yet this system requires citizen participation, from multi-sectoral watchdogs to needs and project identification with budgeting and monitoring on the grassroots level. Why not shift to participatory budgeting through “Bottom-Up Budgeting” (BUB) requiring grassroots assemblies, as pointed out by noted economist Cielito Habito? In short, are we ready to roll up our sleeves and really get involved – for the long haul? Can we prepare for the 2016 elections so that more competent, honest, and patriotic servant-leaders can get elected?
undertaken with media and a text brigade providing support. A hundred thousand signatures were gathered. Momentum was building. Photocopies of the signatures were sent to both houses of congress as well as to President Arroyo. Other provinces were about to start their signature campaign when, on November 11, lawmakers by a vote of 115 to 77 supported a Supreme Court ruling that the impeachment of the Chief Justice was unlawful. Perhaps the coming elections of 2004 reminded many congressional candidates that their political future hung in the balance if they go against the will of the people. The voice of the people had prevailed. Last Monday August 26 people once more took to the streets calling for the abolition of the pork barrel. This system of patronage has been the same dog with the different collars of CDF and PDAF. This is the source of much corruption and many evils in the country. Despite the billions poured into it, the fund has failed to bring about development in the countryside. Many rural folks flock to urban areas to find themselves without work, shelter, and other necessities of life. More children, even families, roam our streets. The fund also gives the executive branch an edge in shoving down its legislative and other agenda. How else did the RH bill get passed?
goodness, because we should be more interested in the reward we get in heaven than the one we can get here on earth. He did not stop at nice words. He lived it by washing the feet of his apostles and commanding them to do the same to one another. Finally, he offered to give up his life on the cross for our sins. This is the ultimate of humility when it becomes entirely identified with Christ’s supreme act of love for us.
So, we just have to continually practice and develop humility by obeying, doing acts of service, being generous with our selfgiving while passing unnoticed, always thinking of the others as better than us, as suggested by St. Paul (cfr Phil 2,3), always patient, merciful, taking the initiative to reconcile, etc. If we can only do these things, I really believe that the world would be a much better place to live. What do you think?
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 18
Faith-based groups hold forum vs human trafficking
FAITH-BASED groups coming from the three largest Churches in the Philippines together with Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) are set to hold a forum on the growing crime of human trafficking in the country on September 5. Dubbed as “Freedom Forum 2013: A Multi-Sectoral Gathering against Human Trafficking,” the forum marks the first step in an ecumenical partnership between the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEP), and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) in the fight against human trafficking. The whole-day symposium will tackle situation reports on human trafficking from partner NGOs like the International Justice Mission, government agencies and Church leaderships. Also included in the day’s event are workshops and panel discussions on advocacy, intervention and aftercare led by experts in the field. Human trafficking is rampant, especially in the provinces where poverty rate is higher, according to Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo. Where there is poverty, there is human trafficking. That is why we need to be aware of this and help each other to fight against this problem,” Pabillo, who is also the chair of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace, said. Pabillo will give the keynote address at the forum, which will be held at the Christ’s Commission Fellowship center (CCF) in Ortigas Avenue corner C-5 road, Pasig City. Organizers will also launch the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMATH) on that day. (Jandel Posion)
Church’s role is vigilance, solidarity with the poor— priest
JOINING the protest rally at the Luneta with fellow Filipinos in indignation against government’s misuse of public funds is a call from God towards conversion of our government officials and all Filipino people, a priest said. The Church should be the conscience of the state, especially when it fails to fulfill its role of serving the people, Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual, president of Caritas Manila, said during his homily at a Mass held at the Luneta. Constant vigilance Pascual said the public should be constantly vigilant in its role of watching the government fulfill its duty towards the people it upholds to serve. “We need to watch the government closely. There is nothing wrong in government spending lots of money for projects. But we need to know where our taxes are going, so we are for transparency. That’s why the Church is also pushing for the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, in order for us to know the expenditures of the government. Always remember power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he stated. Pascual stressed those who have less in life should have more in terms of social justice. “In times of calamity, natural or man-made, they are always the victim. It is the government’s duty to give attention to those who have no voice, oppressed, and neglected in society. [But it does not always happen in our case.] So how will the Church act? We need to pray. Because this is a spiritual warfare,” he said. He added that the public needs the power of the Holy Spirit by means of prayer in order to be empowered in the country’s fight for good governance. One with the poor In every calamity, natural or manmade, our poor brothers and sisters are always the victims, he said. “Their condition hasn’t change, so the Church must always be an ally to them. Let us help one another. And with prayer, being vigilant and in solidarity with the poor, we can really be the Church of the poor,” he furthered. More than a thousand members of the clergy, different religious congregations of men and women, the laity and the youth attended the mass at the side of St. Lorenzo Ruiz statue at the Quirino Grandstand during the rally against Pork Barrel, August 26. (Jandel Posion)
Why the pork trail sets the stage for FOI
NAPOLES’ bolt from the blue surrender — to no less than the president himself— leaves the public guessing: Will she tell the whole truth or just half-truths? The ongoing pork barrel drama leads even more people to believe, the passage of the embattled Freedom of Information is the next logical step. Even with President Benigno Aquino III’s conciliatory move to “abolish pork barrel” by disallowing future allocations to non-government organizations (NGOs), several groups believe it is a band-aid solution, if not a downright PR fluff response to the already institutionalized problem of corruption. Human ingenuity for corruption In an interview, LingayenDagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz explained, “The pork barrel is equivalent to graft and corrupt practices in terms of public funds. It can have many names, it can adapt [to] various systems, but in the last analysis, human ingenuity can neutralize it all.” Even if FOI becomes law, according to Cruz, politicians and public officials will still be able to find the path of least resistance into the public coffers, but he believes like several camps, FOI is a start— a much-needed one. “FOI is a concrete solution [to make] government more open about its transactions… The FOI bill champions a transparent government that is accountable,” Kerby Alvarez, who teaches History in the University of the Philippines, Diliman, said in an interview. For those monitoring the social pulse, the 350,000-strong crowd in LuWhistleblower / A1
Filipinos urge for the immediate passage of FOI bill to promote transparency in all government transactions and empower citizens to examine public records.
neta for the Million People March last August 26 to protest the pork barrel scam is an indicator of a citizenry that is demanding a more proactive role in public discourse and political life — precisely what the FOI bill empowers ordinary Filipinos to do. The Filipino’s right to know The passage of the FOI bill, according to Alvarez, will help strengthen and promote ordinary citizens’ more “progressive” participation in governance by giving teeth to the right to information under the Bill of Rights. Imagine any Juan having the power to demand official public records of expenditures of people in office, which could uncover unwarranted personal excesses and perks; bidding outcomes and processes for government
Red tape, no help to transparency “It was so hard to get documents from the Commission on Audit, the National Bureau of Investigation…[Even if my dad’s findings] showed a very consistent pattern of stealing,” the eldest Ortega daughter said about her broadcaster father’s initial work to expose the P900 mil-
CFC chairman Ricky Cuenca and his wife, Irma, talk to Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak after celebrating the Holy Mass for top Metro Manila leaders on Sept. 1.
Fund scams, all but forgotten Ortega went on to enumerate other well-publicized fund scams in recent years like the ₱728 million fertilizer fund scam in 2005 and the P3.9 billion Malampaya fund scam in 2011, which had not only cost the whistleblowers their lives, but remain unresolved to date. “We never get justice, [the cases] don’t get solved. We just know about them, we talk about them and discuss them. We just know that there are fund scams, we know that big amounts of money are involved. But that’s all we do,” she said, mentioning how Marlene Garcia-Esperat, the primary informant of the fertilizer fund scam, was murdered, also allegedly because of her disclosures.
Peace / A1
Despite not being as bloody as the other exposés, Ortega added, the pork barrel scam is as deplorable as the others. “Though [in the pork barrel scam], there is no symbolic death, every time you steal in a poor country you are killing people, you are. You are killing people every time you put your BMW before everyone else,” she said. Continuing her father’s crusade Having joined the hundreds of thousands who expressed indignation over the pork barrel system in Luneta on August 26, Ortega said she personally commits to vigilance on the issue, as well as being vocal about it. “We will definitely lend our voice [to the issue], we will lend our time,”
she added. Aside from this, she said, the pork issue reveals the need to continue her father’s crusade to put a stop to the Malampaya fund scam. The Department of Justice is currently investigating the allegation that P900 million of the Malampaya gas funds were allegedly diverted by Napoles to one of her bogus non government organizations (NGO), which were supposed to be released to local government units (LGU) gravely affected by the typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009. Up to the present, Palawan ex-Gov. Joel Reyes and Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, primary suspects in her father’s murder remain at large, making a trial in absentia impossible. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
REALIZING the power of the laity’s personal witnessing, a bishop requests a lay group dedicated to family renewal to take charge of the formation of military and police academy freshman cadets. “We’re asking the help of the Couples for Christ movement to help us in our formation of the cadets…We have seen their willingness to do the task of mission. They really know the needs of the cadets,” Military Ordinariate of the Philippines (MOP) Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak said. In a recent interview, the bishop revealed that a collaboration is in the works between the MOP and Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation. Opportunity to share Tumulak explained the partnership with CFC is a logical choice because a good number of CFC members and leaders are former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) officers who through experience, know what cadets need. “This is an opportunity given to them to help us. It’s also an opportunity to really share [CFC] with the AFP and the PNP,” he added. Commenting on this joint effort,
Deportation / A1
CFC chairman Ricky Cuenca said, it is being intentionally strategic to start the formation program with the freshman classes in the military and police academies because the cadets’minds and hearts are still “idealistic” and “not yet corrupted”. Military partnerships Speaking to some 400 CFC leaders from Metro Manila, Cuenca said instilling Christian values in the cadets will be for the “betterment of the military”. According to Bishop Tumulak, depending on preparations, the formation may begin within the year or early next year. This collective commitment of the community falls under ‘Military partnerships’, one of CFC’s Building the Church of the Poor (BCOP) Social Development programs. Other BCOP programs include Isaiah 61:1 or the Prison Ministry; sustainable livelihood program through a CFC cooperative; St. Thomas More & Associates or the socio-political renewal through good governance and advocacy; and the Migrants’ Ministry, caring for Overseas Filipino Workers and the families they have left behind. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
St. Peter’s Square in praying for peace for Syria and other areas where there is conflict. “May the cry for peace enter the hearts of everyone… I condemn with particular force the use of chemical weapons. I still have in my mind and heart the terrible images of the past days,” Pope Francis said. He also called on the international community to seek a negotiated solution to the conflict. “It’s not clashes, but an ability to meet and to dialogue that offers prospects for a hope of resolving the problems,” the pope said. The pope’s call came as the United States and France weighs military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime
over its alleged use of chemical weapons. Appeal for political solution The US alleged that 1,429 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack, including 426 children in Damascus. Assad, however, strongly denied allegations that his forces were behind the attack and warned that any foreign military action against his government would trigger negative repercussions. The influential Middle Eastern country has been in crisis since 2011 when government forces’ efforts to put down uprisings against Assad escalated into a civil war. The United Nations has estimated that the conflict has claimed more than
100,000 lives and displaced more than three million people within the country or becoming refugees in nearby nations. Both Vatican and US Church leaders have been appealing for a political solution, stressing that military intervention from Western countries could unleash more turmoil. In an Aug. 29 letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, who heads the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, highlighted the need for negotiation to stop the escalation of hostilities in Syria. “The path of dialogue and negotiations between all components of Syrian society with the support of
the international community, is the only option (to end the conflict in Syria),” Pates said. “…The Syrian people urgently need a political solution that ends the fighting and creates a future for all Syrians, one that respects human rights and religious freedom,” he said. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo also echoed the statement of US bishops, saying that a violent approach to problems in Syria would create more social problems and never brings permanent peace. “”It will bring about more violence and it’s the civilians that suffer most in war,” said Pabillo who chairs the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action – Justice and Peace (Nassa).
tance in the Philippines. The deportees, they said, all need medical attention and counseling to some extent and most of them suffered from symptoms of depression such as “attempted suicide, insomnia, skin disorders, ulcer, aches and difficulty in breathing.” “Their physical and psychological conditions deteriorated while in detention. Having lived in Japan for more than a decade, they feel alienated and helpless in their home country, and they are afraid to even venture out to the streets,” they said. Last July 6, Japan forcibly deported 75 illegal Filipino migrants, the first time the country has ever chartered a plane to execute mass deportation of undocumented foreigners. The international supporters from
Japan and the Philippines such as the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and the Scalabrini Migrants Center feel that the deportees’ urgent needs and concerns are not met and that they would fall into poverty without proper assistance. “They have no money to start a new life, with some who are left under the care of their relatives with meager income, while others have no family or relatives to return to,” they added. The organizations met with key Philippine government agencies recently and conveyed other findings of their research. There are about 200,000 Filipinos living and working in Japan, with additional 5,700 undocumented. (CBCPNews)
projects; officials’ salaries and benefits; documents pertaining to official acts, among others. Daughter of slain Malampaya fund scam whistleblower Gerry Ortega, Mika Ortega said the powerful and empowering implication of having FOI is that it facilitates the process of uncovering shady dealings in government through the unmistakable paper trail.
lion Malampaya fund scam, which allegedly got him killed in 2011. “It’s difficult because there are protections, a lot of bureaucracy,” she explained. The FOI could change all that, she explained, by doing away with the red tape that goes with practically all government transactions and requests. According to the bill, it will give a government agency or office ten (10) working days to provide requested official documents and records. Only time will tell if the conscientized Filipino can sustain a public demand for transparency long and loud enough to finally propel the FOI bill past legislative hurdles, which it failed to do in the 15th and 15th Congress. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Raymond Bandril / CBCPMedia
Bishop requests lay group to help in cadets’ formation
Vol. 17 No. 18
September 2 - 15, 2013
even complicity,” Salgado said. The prelate also reminded the people not to solicit donations from politicians, prepare parish financial reports honestly and promptly, and be responsible and accountable stewards of the temporal goods of the church. Reiterating the decrees cited in the Nueva Segovia Pastoral Assembly, Salgado stressed the need for more formation activities for people in business, politics, and government “so that they can truly witness to their Catholic faith and be agents of renewal in their fields.” He also noted the need to include value education with emphasis to Filipino values and culture as well as the social teachings of the church to all formation programs of the church to facilitate renewal in the political perspective of Catholic individuals. “Let us be people of faith. Let us seek and remain in God. Let us seek the values of God, and glory in the virtues. Let us be untiring in our proclamation of Truth, and in our pursuit of righteousness,” Salgado said. Joining the call The archdiocese also joined the public clamor for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), more commonly known as the pork barrel, as well as the discretionary fund of the chief executive to totally avoid instances of corruption and patronage politics in the government. He added, these funds “have fallen prey to a system gravely lacking in transpvarency and accountability, and appallingly steep in corruption. We reject attempts to rename and repackage the same corrupted system.” However, Salgado noted that the abolition of the pork barrel scheme is inadequate as far as reforming the Philippine political order is concerned. What must be done, he said, is the “radical rethinking and reform of systems and procedures in government.” “The abolition will not once and for all solve the problem of corruption. Investigation of the pork barrel scam and prosecution of and restitution from errant officials and their accomplices should follow,” Salgado said. “The system of corruption needs to be uprooted. The baneful political culture needs to be converted,” he added. The call of bishops Echoing the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in its pastoral statement “Certain Social Issues of Today”, Salgado criticized political corruption as a serious deformity to a democratic system as it “rejects moral norms and undermines social justice.” He also denounced the preponderance of political dynasties in the country, noting that political authority exists for the common good and must not to be exercised merely for the fulfillment of an individual or group’s personalistic agenda.
Prelate urges faithful: Transform PH political landscape
VIGAN City—Following recent developments in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scandal, a high-ranking church official urged the Catholic faithful on Wednesday to transform the country’s political landscape by becoming “faithful Christian witnesses” in their day-to-day living. In a pastoral statement titled “Stewardship and Christian Witness”, Nueva Segovia Archbishop Ernesto Salgado called on the people to examine themselves and assess on how they were able to contribute to the perpetration of questionable political practices in the country. “While we look at the flaws of our political culture, government, and some politicians, let us also look at ourselves, as individual Christians, as laity, religious, priests and bishops, and as the Church and examine to how we have contributed to the perpetration of flawed political systems, of vicious cycles of corruption and exploitation, by our apathy, complacency, and
Faithful of the Archdiocese of Caceres called for the abolition of the pork barrel during a rally on August 26. Similar protests were also held in other parts of the country simultaneously with the Million People March held in Luneta on the same day.
Salgado called for the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill as it promotes the much-needed “integrity, transparency, and accountability in the political order.” “We, as citizens, have the right, and indeed obligation to
hold the government and its people accountable. It is our prerogative, right and duty to demand that our government, its systems and arms, as well as its officials and employees serve the people,” he said. (Jennifer Orillaza)
Prelate vows to be in unity with Pope’s world consecration
LIPA City—Despite a possible sleeprobbing time difference, a prelate promises to rally his archdiocese to be in unity with the Holy Father’s consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this coming October 13 in Rome, Italy. “The Archdiocese of Lipa will be with the Holy Father [during the consecration] whatever time of the day it is because that is what the Blessed Mother asks and that is what God wants,” Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles passionately said recently to a group of Marian devotees undergoing a pre-consecration formation track. One with Pope Francis Even if the Philippine Church had already consecrated the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary last June 8, Archbishop Arguelles enjoined the faithful to “lead as many of our brothers and sisters to be part of [the world consecration]”. “Let us thank God for Pope Francis’ decision and let us prepare for [the consecration],” he said. During his message, Arguelles also discussed the Blessed Virgin’s dual role as both Mother and Queen of the Church. “If our mother is a queen, then we belong to a royal family,” he said, explaining how only God’s love could have made this possible.
And That’s The Truth / A4
La Consolacion College-Iriga tops St. Paul Bible Quiz
NAGA City—The college of La Consolacion in Iriga was hailed regional champion in a recently concluded 4th National Bible Quiz by the Society of St. Paul. Other winners include the Dominican School of Calabanga, which won third place and the Ateneo de Naga University-High School, which took the second place. As regional champion, La Consolacion College received a cash gift of P5, 000. Aside from cash gift, the LCC team will be given free transportation and accommodation in Manila when they go for the Battle of the Champions on September 14. The championship will be held during the Manila International Book Fair at Mall of Asia’s SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. (CBCPNews)
Airline offers free airlift of relief goods for Maring victims
Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles encourages the lay faithful to be in union with the Pope in consecrating the world to the Blessed Mother on October 13.
“How can we ever go away from so wonderful a woman? That’s why we have to consecrate ourselves to her,” Arguelles said. More countries following suit After an intense two-year lobbying by the country’s Marian groups, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference consecrated Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary last August 15, the Feast of the Assumption. Closely linked with the purpose of the said consecration is the repeal of an abortion law that was passed last month.
With the Holy Father’s move, more countries are foreseen to follow suit. Certain groups in Australia are also said to be mustering support for a national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Last January 28, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines decided to have a simultaneous National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 8 in all cathedrals, parish churches, shrines and chapels in all the archdioceses, dioceses, prelatures and apostolic vicariates of the country. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
ILOILO City—To help flood victims of typhoon Maring in the National Capital Region (NCR) and its surrounding provinces, an airline has offered its service free of charge to transport high value donated items. Philippine Airlines and PAL Express offered to transport free of charge on a space available basis, urgently needed high value disaster response supplies for recognized charitable and civic organizations from the PAL Cargo Terminal or the PAL Express Cargo Offices in the 30 provincial stations to Manila. Considered high value disaster response supplies are brand new personal care items, women’s hygiene products, baby diapers, underwear and the like. Water purifying tablets, working flashlights, battery-operated radios and the like are also most welcome. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
Amici trio in Manila for int’l debut concert
sex marriage popped up as we were having cocktails at a movie premiere. My limpwristed friends asked me if I’d been to a gay wedding. I said no, but told them about the first hand report on the churva garden wedding I mentioned earlier (in Part 1 of this series). My friends thought my little story was a blast; we were the noisiest table in the room. In a burst of optimism one of them said, “There is hope for gay marriage for Catholics since Pope Francis is pro-gay.” I snapped, “SorTidbits / A5
ry to disappoint you, guys; the pope may be pro-gay, but not pro-gay marriage—same with me,” and then I gave them a mean piece of my mind: “I love you all, you know that, and whatever you do with your boy toys is your business, really, but don’t try to change the dictionary, pleeeze !” (“Mother, we’re not changing the dictionary, we’re crying for equal rights! Kayo lang ba ang may karapatang magpakasal?”) “By all means, fight for your equal ek-ek rights, privileges, opportunities, whatever, I’ll
march to Malacañang with you if you are getting inhuman treatment from anyone, but leave marriage alone! (“But we want lifetime commitment, fancy weddings, love in the open, mama!”) Legalizing your union, hindi kaya ng powers kong pigilin yan, but don’t call it a marriage. Don’t try to create a new normal and call it by an old name—it won’t work. Marriage is between a natural male and a natural female, created for the propagation of the human race, foundation of the family. To make another
human being you need sperm from the male and ova from the female. That’s a fact of life, and a law of nature. Even Grade 5 pupils know that. Sperm and sperm, ovum and ovum—no way! Male plus male equals a swordfight. Female plus female, clanging cymbals. Gets nyo?” LOL! Mwah-mwah! Apir! Everybody’s happy—a winwin situation. Despite the blunt language they get my drift. I think it’s because deep down inside they know that—I love gays. And that’s the truth.
MANILA—The Amici Trio, a chamber group of violin, piano and voice, visited Manila to headline their first international concert sponsored by Santa Isabel College (SIC) Conservatory of Music. In cooperation with Sinag Tala, the 8 p.m. concert on August 27 at the SIC’s Santo Cristo Del Tesoro Auditorium was free and open to the public, but reservations are required. The concert in Manila was Amici’s first international debut after the group was established through “friendship” last May 25, 2013. The trio is composed of Filipino baritone Joseleo Logdat, pianist Tomoyo Kobayashi and violinist Kazuki Yamamoto, both Japanese, who will perform masterpieces of Mozart, Brahms and traditional Japanese pieces. (CBCPNews)
Chiro Cainta marks 45th anniversary
CAINTA, Rizal—The Chiro Youth Movement Philippines in Cainta celebrated its 45thyear anniversary with activities spread in three Sundays of August focusing on how Chiro fortified the lives of current and alumni members. Themed “Fortified @ Forty Five,” the celebration on August 4 kicked off with a Mass, motorcade around the municipality and fun games. The following Sunday, August 11, another mass and recollection with the topic “How has Chiro fortified my life”? was held. On August 18, the thanksgiving mass and grand celebration was held focused on the theme, “How Chiro helped my life now?” Around 200 alumni leaders, parents, members of the Chiro Pilipinas National Council, Chiro local groups, priests, Mayor Kit Nieto, and parishioners of the Our Lady of Light Parish attended the event. (Jandel Posion)
what a family really is. As expressed by Paul VI: “May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplifying its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings; in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children—and for this there is no substitute” (Nazareth, January 5, 1964). The Holy Family of Nazareth has become through the years the model of the Bol-anon family. It is here that
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God’s love and providence is relished as the husband and wife faced the harsh realities of founding a home of their own; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is experienced as the parents and the children take on the variegated problems of poverty, misunderstandings of the parents and their growing teen-agers, squabbles and rivalries among the siblings. Rooted on prayers and the constancy of the faith of the parents, the Bol-anon family has seen the real face of Christ. He is its Lord and Master. In its midst is conspicuously displayed the Cross,
the symbol of the Bol-anon faith. What is being taught here in the Bol-anon family is not a holy Book nor a doctrine nor a grand idea nor an ideology. Here proclaimed is the center of our faith, that is, “a person with the face and name of Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God” (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 1990, 18). Talking of the new way of Evangelization, the Bol-anon family stands as an option of the spreading of the Good News of salvation, the setting where catechism is not only taught but experienced.
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Pabillo currently chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action—Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. The bishop also expressed wariness that the furor over the P10 billion pork barrel scam might just be put on the back burner. According to him, the chance is that the issue will become another Maguindanao Massacre case, wherein
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justice remains elusive for the victims. “We might see another Ampatuan case. It was only good at the start. Afterwards, it was just forgotten,” Pabillo said. “That is our problem here in the country. Many are accused but there is no one being prosecuted,” he said. He underscored that there is a need to immediately prosecute those involved in
the alleged scam to ensure that justice will be served to the people. “This is why it is important to hasten the proceedings. If the case drags, the more it will become complicated. That’s why a speedy process is necessary,” he said. Napoles, accused of working with several lawmakers who misused their pork barrel funds, is currently detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
The bishop, meanwhile, said Malacañang cannot blame the public for thinking that Napoles is being given special treatment. “We can really see that the treatment for Napoles is different from regular prisoners. That is why the people are asking… It is not believable (that there’s no VIP treatment),” he added. “She appears to be overly protected… given utmost importance.” (CBCPNews)
President, Congress, Supreme Court, Commission on Elections, Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNP, and Local Government Units, noting that they fail to curb violence and terroristic activities that hound the nation. “The spate of violent and terroristic activities presently happening in Mindanao make us wonder what is happening to our democratic institutions and the persons in charge of them,” the BUC said. “They were established to promote progress and development and peace, to protect human rights, and to serve the social, economic, political and cultural needs of the people while respecting freedom of worship and religion… Definitely they were not meant to serve
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the selfish interests of powerful and corrupt individuals who are experts in high-tech manipulation and deception,” it added. In hopes that unity may resolve the spate of violence that aggrieved certain people, the group called on the people to live in love, dialogue, and hope. “In the present situation we have to discern together, pray together, speak out loud and clear as one, and act together,” it said. The statement was signed by Archbishop Emeritus of Davao Fernando Capalla, Ulama League of the Philippines Representative Prof. Salipada Tamano, and the Bishops Emeritus of United Church of Christ in the Philippines Hilario Gomez, Jr. (Jennifer Orillaza) our homilies,” he said. Villegas also said that teaching Christian doctrines are not enough if priests failed to connect them to life. “We have taught the Christian doctrines but we have failed to connect them to life. We know the faith but we do not live it,” he added. Knowledge of the faith, he said, without living that faith is only an ego massage as it “makes us think that we are good Catholics although the reality is the opposite.” “Our transmission of the faith must inspire our people to imitate Christ,” said Villegas. After all, he said, Christianity is not just a set of doctrines to profess but is more importantly about “living like Christ.” (RL/CBCPNews)
diocese of Manila and other dioceses. The organization currently has 75 full chapters nationwide and 40 outreaches including one chapter and several missions in the US and Canada. According to Tagle, if they want to change the face of business, it should
be “more contributory to development.” “And for business to imbibe and interiorize the development it wants to offer, maybe we can turn to Christian faith and learn not only from clear teachings of Christ but also from some
of his mysterious and even difficult teachings,” he said. “At first glance, they may sound impractical or impossible. It’s always like that,” said Tagle. “But if it God’s way, then it will bear much fruit.” (RL/ CBCPNews)
taining” the Church. The archbishop also acknowledged the church’s failure to evangelize effectively and impose morality. “The problem is not priest shortage but zeal shortage,” he said. “We brother priests have failed to inspire our people to imitate Christ. We have failed to lead them to intimacy with him.” Villegas also urged priests to prepare and deliver their homilies well to make it more effective. According to him, one of the “serious” problems of the people who attend Masses is the “long and winding and dry homilies.” “Our youth complain about lifeless and uninspiring liturgies. How can we set their hearts on fire if we ourselves are not afire for God? We must prepare
People, Facts & Places
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 18
Heed church’s call for environmental protection, Tagle urges faithful
AT the onset of the Archdiocese of Manila’s celebration of the Season of Creation, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday reminded Filipinos to be more active in protecting and preserving the environment for the benefit of future generations to come. “I hope that by the end of this campaign, we would be able to realize that stewardship is a vital part of spirituality and discipleship,” he said in his homily during the program’s launch held at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish in Paco. The Season of Creation, an ecological campaign to be participated by different parishes and schools within the archdiocese, emphasizes the importance of the environment through various liturgical, catechetical, and religious initiatives. It will run from September 1 to October 6. Among the proposed activities for the campaign are the inclusion of creation spirituality in liturgies, various multi-media activities, living rosary, environmental symposia and film showing, organic market and tree planting activities. Stewards of creation The Season of Creation, which serves as the archdiocese’s response to the call made by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’s (CBCP) on environmental protection 10 years ago, aims to recognize and praise the Lord as the God of Creation. Tagle emphasized the importance of all beings created by the Divine—from the smallest up to the largest organism—noting that each of them, being created in the image and likeness of Christ, is imbued with a special meaning and purpose. “Everything that God created has a special meaning and purpose. There is nothing created to be meaningless or aimless. Since God created everything through and for Jesus Christ, each of them fulfills a special purpose here on Earth,” he said in Filipino. Humans are regarded as the prime beings of God’s creation, and for the reason that both men and women are created in His image and likeness, equality must reign between them, Tagle said. “We have to push for the equality of all mankind. A person’s character is never measured by wealth and riches, educational background, or even physical attributes. The very reason that you are created in His image and likeness is enough to show that you are honorable and dignified,” he said. Tagle reminded the faithful of their role as stewards of God’s creation, emphasizing that they are not owners who could rule over what was created. “We have to be reminded that we are mere stewards of creation. God created them and He is the rightful owner of everything,” he said, noting that humans must strive to be worthy stewards of God’s creation. The vocation of stewardship calls for the proper discernment of God’s will over His creation, Tagle noted.
The Archdiocese of Manila leads the faithful in a month-long ecological campaign highlighting the importance of protecting and preserving the environment for the future generations.
“We are trusted by the Lord to take care and nurture His creation in accordance to His thoughts and plans. Because of this, we have to discern and
scrutinize His will over His creation,” he said, urging people to avoid thoughts and actions that are unbecoming of a steward. (Jennifer Orillaza)
Bishop greets diocesan anniversary by challenging laity 6 Pinoy Catholic students join
EVERY milestone marks the start of a great responsibility meant to be fulfilled. This was the message relayed by Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara during the 10th anniversary celebration of the Diocese of Pasig held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral on August 26. “We have reached our tenth year as a community of faith through the greatness of the Lord’s love and loyalty,” he said in Filipino during his homily. Vergara said that as the Pasig diocese begins a new period, greater challenges are stored for both clergy members and the diocesan faithful to improve their mission of bringing Christ closer to the people. The prelate laid out three challenges to be fulfilled by the diocese in strengthening itself against challenges that might come its way—nurturing one’s faith, giving service to the church, and uniting as a community of faith. Nurturing one’s faith Vergara reiterated the call of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to the faithful to rediscover and nurture their faith especially in times when influences of secularism and relativism baffle Catholic conventions. “Considering our situation nowadays, it is not enough to rely on the sermons of parish priests during Sunday masses. There are a lot of things we have to learn so we may open ourselves to the lessons of our faith,” he said. Noting the statement of Pope Francis in the recent World Youth Day held in Brazil, Vergara likened the need of lay people to nurture their faith to the need of athletes to improve their craft to perfection. “Like athletes, Catholics have to practice by studying their faith deeply. It is not right for Catholics to be ignorant with the faith they profess,” he added. Service to the church The prelate also called on the faithful to be more dedicated heralds of the church, noting the great imbalance between the religious and the lay faithful. “Many of you might say that we have succeeded in filling the cathedral for this special occasion, but in reality, we really lack priests, nuns, seminarians, and lay leaders to serve millions of Catholic parishioners,” he said. “I hope that we would be able to open the eyes of our brothers and sisters to be stewards of time, talent, and treasure—that we would honor the fact that SIX student-members of the Student Catholic Action (SCA) of the Philippines will be part of the 200 expected attendees for the 2013 Asia Pacific Students and Youth Gathering (ASYG) at the Bukal ng Tipan in Antipolo City, from August 30 to September 5. Themed Justice and Peace Now!, the full-time student delegates from the Archdiocese of Manila and Diocese of Cabanatuan will be among the representatives to the biggest regional ecumenical youth gathering in the region. The major focus for this year’s ASYG is the response of students and youth to the justice and peace concerns in Asia and the Pacific. Around 200 delegates from all movements, organizations, and ecumenical partners of the Ecumenical Asia Pacific Students and Youth Network (EASY Net) which includes students, student leaders, youth, and young workers from Asia Pacific and from
Photo courtesy of Allan Angel Rodriguez Esquejo
Asian ecumenical youth gathering
global Ecumenical partners are expected to attend. ASYG provides a regional platform for young people coming from different mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches in Asia Pacific, for common reflection and understanding on social concerns and issues that greatly affect their lives. Among its many objectives, ASYG 2013 aims to create a common platform for young Church leaders and students from Asia and the Pacific to celebrate dialogue in diversity and solidarity and be a prophetic voice in affirming life in its fullness in the context of an unjust society in Asia and the world. The first ASYG was organized in India as a pre-event to the Ecumenical Global Gathering of Youth and Students (EGGYS) which discussed several social themes such as environmental crisis, globalization and sustainable development among other things. (Jandel Posion)
Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara leads the faithful in a thanksgiving Mass in celebration of the diocese’s 10th anniversary of foundation.
God is the source of everything, as a response to all of the blessings He has bestowed upon us,” Vergara added. He also urged Catholics to live a life of renewal and conversion to be able to reflect Christ in their own words and actions. “There are instances wherein bishops, priests, nuns, or even the lay people fail to reflect Christ in their words and actions. There is a need for us to renew ourselves to be able to attract others toward serving the Lord,” Vergara noted. Community of faith Noting his last challenge to the diocesan faithful, Vergara urged
the laity to forget individual differences and be united in fulfilling the mission of the church. “I hope that we would be able to refrain from being divided. Let us avoid having fights due to gossips and ill feelings. Forgive others and be willing to reconcile. Let us all tread the path toward the healing of wounded hearts, leading to our unity in fulfilling our mission of serving the Lord and our neighbor,” he added. “Through meeting these challenges, we would be able to make our journey as one diocese more meaningful in the years to come,” Vergara said. (Jennifer Orillaza)
LAUNCHED. The Society of St. Paul Philippines-Macau province opened the Centenary Year of its foundation and the Beginning of the Pauline Family with a Holy Mass on August 20, 2013 at the Sanctuary of St. Paul in Makati City. Fr. Jose Aripio, SSP provincial presided the Eucharistic celebration attended by members of the Pauline Family and friends. LAUNCHED. The media ministry of Cubao diocese launched its new diocesan website during the 10th anniversary celebration Mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, August 28. Fr. Steven Zabala, diocesan media minister, said changes to the old website were made because the former site was not moving for lack of content and staff for maintenance. The launching was held to inform the diocesan lay faithful that a new site is now operational with new content, especially made during the celebration of the Year of Faith. “We have eight pastoral agenda and one is to engage the digital world in information dissemination. Not just disseminating simple information but to evangelize as well. So it is the diocese’s agenda to use the internet for its mission purposes,” Zabala explained. Church leaders and volunteers in every parish within the diocese are part of the target market for the new website. As of now, the website is still a work in progress but can be accessed by logging in at www.dioceseofcubao.ph. LAUNCHED. To put emphasis on the need to care for the environment, the Archdiocese of Manila launched at the Paco Catholic School the “Season of Creation” on August 31. For a period of five weeks, from Sept.1 to the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4, an emphasis on ecology and environment will be promoted in all seminaries, churches and Christian communities. “The Season of Creation focuses on theology, worship and ethics that is directed towards God’s relationship with all creation and human beings’ relationship with creation (and with God through creation),” the archdiocese’s Ministry on Ecology said. During the Sundays of the season, the liturgy will celebrate the elements of creation. The first Sunday (September 1) was on Fire. The rest of the Sundays will be on Water, Air, Earth/Soil, Halaman, and lastly, Tao. Parishes and communities will also have multimedia activities on environment, a cosmic living rosary in October, organic markets, scrap collection for recycling, ecological Stations of the Cross, Resurrection, and Light, tree planting and fora on various environmental issues and concerns. INSTALLED. The Chiro Youth Movement Philippines (Chiro Pilipinas) installed new set of national council on August 18, at the CICM Provincial House in New Manila, Quezon City. Fr. Antonio Tanchoco, CICM, co-chaplain of Chiro installed the new members of the national council during the mass. In his homily, Tanchoco reminded the youth leaders of moving together towards the goal. The new set of national council leaders are Roland Vera Cruz-National Leader, Hazel Joy Meneses-Assistant National Leader, Christopher Capiral-Secretary General, and Jack Vasallo-Assistant Secretary General. Chiro Pilipinas is a youth movement that aims to bring the young people closer to Christ through games and fun-filled activities. Internationally, Chiro is a member organization of FIMCAP (International Federation of Catholic Parochial Youth Movements). In the Philippines, they are one with the Catholic Youth Ministry through the Federation of National Youth Organization (FNYO) of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth (CBCP-ECY).
Catholic schools back anti-pork barrel protests
AN association of Catholic schools backed a call for mass rallies on August 26 to express indignation against the controversial pork barrel funds. According to the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), the truth must come out relative to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scandal. In an earlier statement, it expressed support for the rally held in Luneta and other cities across the country to convey indignation over the pork barrel scandal. “Make its use totally transparent and accountable! Or abolish it!” it added. President Benigno Aquino III on August 23, made a surprise announcement that it was time to abolish the PDAF given the outrage it has stirred on the people. But Aquino’s statement drew suspicion from critics when he said that an overhauled and more transparent pork barrel system will only replace the now notorious PDAF. “It’s an appalling state of affairs against the backdrop of a government that had done so well in rallying the citizenry to reform corrupt and crooked ways on the ‘daan na matuwid,’” the CEAP said. The country’s biggest group of Catholic schools also supports the call for an impartial and comprehensive investigation of the PDAF and all concerned. “We must know whether a reformed PDAF can still be a way of bringing the blessings of good government to the most needy of our people, or whether it is so structured that its corrupt misuse in our political culture is inevitable, and so its abolition imperative,” the CEAP said. “We call on all reform-minded citizens to support this cause—first, by renewing personal contact with the poor and gaining insight into how these irregularities have hurt real people. Let us then bring to justice those who instrumentalize the poor for corrupt ends,” it also said. CEAP has more than 1,000 members
Raymond Bandril / CBCPMedia
Students from Catholic schools join the people’s clamor for the abolition of pork barrel during the protest march in Luneta last August 26.
which include 30 universities, 101 graduate schools, 240 colleges, 1,070 high schools, 592 elementary and 596 pre-elementary schools. Some of the prominent Catholic schools in the country are Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University, Miriam College and San Beda College. (CBCPNews)
Youth group makes Catholic catechism accessible to un-churched
A PARISH youth group has launched a campaign recently aimed at reaching out to fellow youth and to the un-churched. Kadang Dominiko, the parish youth ministry of Santuario del Sto. Cristo in San Juan City, has launched the “Kuha-Basa-Pasa” campaign as part of the Year of Faith activities of the parish. According to Marlon Antolin of Kadang Dominiko, the advocacy is intended to reach out to those who do not regularly go to church and the un-churched, by making accessible to them reading materials on the Catholic catechism, among others. “These reading materials placed on attractive acrylic cases are provided at sari-sari stores, barber shops, and other unconventional places like lounges where people, especially the youth, converge. We hope that this campaign will continue even after the Year of Faith closes on November 24, the Feast of Christ the King,” Antolin said. The reading materials, printed in brochure forms, are displayed in high density areas within the parish. (Jandel Posion)
PHL to share ‘best practices’ in Southeast Asia youth meeting
TOGETHER with other youth leaders from the region, the Philippines is set to participate in the Southeast Asia (SEA) 2 Youth Animators’ Meeting and Workshop this September 8-13 in Dili, Timor Leste to share learnings and ‘best practices’ in youth ministry. What works in Asia “This initiative is to help countries share the richness of youth ministry for the possibility for the exchange of information to happen, to take place, especially best practices in doing youth ministry,” Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta said in a recent interview. Organized by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences – Office on Laity and Family Life (FABC-OFL), the SEA2 Meeting and Workshop gathers Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Philippines every two years for the “sharing of views and opinions to motivate the youth animators.” Youth issues According to Garganta, the almost weeklong meeting seeks to establish solidarity and unity among the SEA2 countries by threshing out youth issues unique to the region, while collectively exploring ways of journeying with and assisting young Asian Catholics. The participants will also reflect on and be guided by the messages of the Holy Father, especially given during this Year of Faith. Representatives from the ECY and the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate (NSYA), as well as youth leaders from several regions in the Philippines will be attending the workshop. The last SEA2 meeting was hosted by Indonesia. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Noli Yamsuan / RCAM
Vol. 17 No. 18
September 2 - 15, 2013
CEAP and the New Evangelization
(Editors’ Note: In view of its continuing relevance, we are publishing this piece which was originally a speech delivered at the National Convention of the CEAP on August 29, 2012)
By Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas
New evangelization is primarily addressed to those who have drifted from the Faith and from the Church or to those who have accepted the faith but have not sufficiently allowed the Christian message to transform their personal and social lives. In the context of the Philippines, to whom will be the mission of new evangelization be addressed? Let us look for Jesus among them because to listen is to love. Listening heals. Listening soothes. Then Jesus, raising Himself up said to her, “Woman, where are those who accused you? Has no one condemned you?” And she said, “No one, Lord.” Then Jesus said, “Neither will I condemn you. Go, and now do not choose to sin anymore.” (John 8:10-11). Where are the youth? In our schools and colleges and unithe new evangelization of the Philippines and consequently of the rest of Asia? The Catholic school must be a school of humility The gospel cannot thrive in pride. When pride seeps into the heart of the Church, the gospel proclamation is harmed. The task of new evangelization must begin with a deep sense of awe and reverence for humanity and her culture. heart such that every theory we learn; every diagram we draw; every conclusion we make from our researches, increase our love and lessen our pride. The catholic school must be a cradle of truth and the greatest of all truths is that God is God and we are not He. Sometimes, pride can disguise itself as academic freedom. In the name of liberal education, we disregard and consider as archaic the doctrine of the Church on basic teachings like the divinity of Christ and the virginity of the Blessed Mary. The unity of the Church is wounded not only by doctrinal heresies but also by heresies of morality. There is no such a thing as absolute freedom. Freedom is always subject to the parameters of law. Without humble obedience, freedom becomes arrogant autonomy. The Catholic school that promotes academic freedom without respect for the divine law is not living up to its mission to be teachers on behalf of Christ. The Catholic school must be a school of saints The great poverty of the world now is the poverty of saints. Whether we come from the uplands of Region 1 or the national capital region, everybody is looking for models to inspire and emulate. Our youth need models to inspire them. They need living heroes to ignite their hearts and excite them to know Jesus and love Him more. And we are so poor in this regard. Evangelization is not about something we do but something we are. Evangelization is not about projects and programs and plans but allowing God to work in the lives of people. Letting God be. Contrary to the popular dictum that we cannot preach to empty stomachs, our experience in the rural Pangasinan tells me that the gospel can be preached to empty stomachs but only if the stomach of the preacher is as empty as his parishioners. May we check our school vision mission statements please? constantly nurtured by prayer. The first and only power of the Catholic school is the Lord and our first and only way to the Lord is love. The best lessons in the Catholic school are learned not from the classrooms but from the chapel. We must pray in school but it is not enough to pray. Our prayer must make us think and talk and listen and act and be like Jesus—that is education that we need for the new evangelization. Catholic education that does not come from prayer is a betrayal of our mission. Any prayer that does not lead us to apostolic charity will wither. Love without service is mere sentimentalism. Service without prayer is social activism. The transmission of the faith is our primary mission. Mathematics and science, literature and social studies become more interesting if studied from the Gospel perspective. United by baptism, united in prayer, united through charity, we will become saints together in the Catholic school. To be holy is our one and only vision. Everything and anything that leads us astray from this path must be cast aside. We are called to sanctify, to lead and to teach. We are here as teachers not by worthiness of our graduate studies but by the favour of God who is the real owner of every school. We are a community of disciples not a non stock corporation. None of us is master; all of us are stewards in the school of holiness. Every Catholic school must be a charity school We will be credible bringers of Gospel joy if the proclamation is accompanied by its twin messenger of charity. The proclaiming lips must be accompanied by outreaching hands for service. The Catholic school must be a school of practical charity, not just charity as a theological virtue in the religion class but charity that is lived by reaching out to the poor. Evangelization is proclamation of grace and liberation from sin. The proclamation of the gospel of charity must be accompanied by lives of service. The call for new evangelization will become an exercise in hypocrisy without a sincere program to make Catholic education realistically available to the poor. We must insist passionately that our Catholic schools retain our Catholic identity. In a secularized and pluralistic society, the Catholic school must be a lighthouse of Christ. In the Moslem community, the Catholic school must engage in a respectful dialogue with culture but be clear about what we truly stand for. We must know who we are, show who we are, stay as we are—as Catholic schools. We dream of a world in love with God. We dream of a nation living Christ and sharing Christ. Through humility, through holy living, through practical charity—this vision can come true with the Catholic school at the forefront. Let the CEAP be at the forefront of new evangelization. It is not an option. It is a duty. Would that every school and parish, every family and community, every nation and continent reach out to the poor and give them a voice to teach; and every child and teen would be given eyes and hearts of love; and every confused and hurting and angry soul be given a time to be heard—then the world would be beautiful again and the gospel of Christ alone would reign supreme. We dream. Let us dream and make this dream come true. The CEAP can only have a bright and secure future under the shadow of the Catholic Church. Without the Catholic Church we would be only EAP! The C in CEAP is Catholic. It is not just a description. It is our soul as an association. Without C we would die. Thank you. Peace be with you!
THE importance of March 16, 1521 has been taught to us even when we were children in grade school. The standard statement to be memorized at class recitations was Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese sailor, discovered the Philippines on March 16, 1521; but something more important happened on that fateful day. Magellan is the not the most important character in the event of March 16, 1521. That blessed day saw the celebration of the first Mass in the Philippines. Ten days later, the first Filipinos were baptized and the image of the Santo Nino was given to the first Filipino Christians. March 16, 1521 celebrates indeed the arrival of Christianity in our holy shores and its gracious acceptance by our ancestors in the faith as proven by their baptism.
When the year 2021 comes, Christianity would be five hundred years in the Philippines. We will celebrate half a millennium of blessings looking forward to the next five hundred as a challenge for a new evangelization. Like any big fiesta, the 2021 Jubilee will be preceded by a novena very much like the simbang gabi novena before Christmas. It will be launched on October 21 this year on the same day that our countryman Pedro Calungsod will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI. The nine year novena leading to the 2021 Jubilee will be an era of new evangelization. What is evangelization? Evangelization is the proclamation, witness and implanting of the Gospel given to humanity by our Lord Jesus Christ and the opening up of people’s lives, society, culture and history to the Person of Jesus Christ and to His living community, the Church, says the CBCP Pastoral Letter Live Christ, Share Christ. Evangelization is Jesus in my heart, reaching out to your heart, said Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Evangelization is not about telling people what to do but telling people what God has done for them , said Father Raniero Cantalamessa. Evangelization is the life and mandate of Christ Jesus himself, “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (John 20:21) and “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, until the end of time” (Mt 28: 19-20). Why do we call it new evangelization? The first evangelization so to speak is dedicated to the proclamation of the Good News to persons and peoples who, until now, have not known the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The ongoing evangelization is the pastoral care of those already baptized who need to understand better and deepen their grasp of the faith and to live it more genuinely and more fully in all dimensions of life, private and public.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas
the poor, among the youth and among former Catholics who have drifted from the Church due to scandals, hurts, unresolved confusions and doubts. Jesus is in them. We cannot love Jesus and ignore them. How Jesus dealt with them is how we must reach out to them. How? The poor are voiceless. The poor are ignored. The poor are a nuisance. How was Jesus to the poor? Jesus made the poor our teachers. He gave the poor a voice so that they may be heard. Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Lk 6:20 Has not God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that God has promised to those who love Him? James 2:5 How was Jesus to the youth and children? Jesus just loved them. He gave them his gaze of love and tenderness. He looked at the rich young man with love. Mark 10:21 And taking a child, He set him in their midst. And when He had embraced him, He said to them: Whoever receives one such child in My name, receives Me. And whoever receives Me, receives not Me, but Him who sent Me. Mk 9:36 How was Jesus to the confused and the hurting and the marginalized? How did he deal with Zaccheus (Lk 19:2-7), with the woman by the well (Jn 4:7-30), with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11), with Peter after the denial?(Mk 14:66-72) He just listened to them. He did not rebuke; he did not debate. He just listened to
versities but also in the streets and dark alleys, in our malls and parks, seldom home yet everywhere. Where are the poor? Can they afford our Catholic schools and colleges? Only the blind will say the poor are not with us. They are with us but we have managed to make them invisible so they will not prick our consciences and disturb us in our comforts. Where are the confused and hurting Catholics? Is there anyone here who does not know any former Catholic now born again Christian, agnostic or free thinker? Right in our schools, our youth write essays in language classes calling the Church leaders ancient, archaic and out of touch. Believe it or not, accept it or not, the Catholic schools and colleges and universities must be at the front lines of the new evangelization. The poor, the youth and the confused former Catholics are ALL in our campuses as pupils, as teachers, as janitors and carpenters and electricians, as cooks and drivers. They are all with us. To ignore them and not do something for them is to betray our mission as Catholic schools. How do we start? Before we begin our common apostolic action for new evangelization, it will be advisable to first examine our ecclesial and personal and corporate consciences and ask “Why is there a strong wave of secularization, a storm of antipathy or plain cold indifference towards the Church in some parts of the world necessitating a new wave of evangelization programs?” What can our Catholic colleges and universities contribute to
Humility is truth. Humility is seeing ourselves the way God sees us; and we are sinners in His sight. Humility is solidarity with the rest of wounded humanity. Simplicity of life and humility of heart are indispensable tools for evangelization. Evangelization has been hurt and continues to be impeded by the arrogance of its messengers. Unfortunately, our centers of learning can easily become centers of intellectual arrogance and conceit too. The Catholic school must be a school of the
Globally competitive, world class students who change the course of world events? Only holy men and women can change the destinies of nations, only saints. Do our vision statements clearly say we want to contribute saints to society? The product of a good school is a good person. The product of a Catholic school must be another Christ. The “production and sale” of “other Christ’s” must be the sole business of every Catholic school. Catholic education must be
Courtesy of CEAP’s Facebook Page
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 18
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following queries:)
Stipends and Mass Obligation
intentions than can be celebrated in a year are received in a parish or shrine, the following laws are observed: “Canon 954. If in certain churches or oratories more Masses are asked to be celebrated than can be celebrated there, it is permitted for them to be celebrated elsewhere unless the donors have expressly indicated a contrary intention. “Canon 955 §1. A person who intends to entrust to others the celebration of Masses to be applied is to entrust their celebration as soon as possible to priests acceptable to him, provided that he is certain that they are above suspicion. “He must transfer the entire offering received unless it is certain that the excess over the sum fixed in the diocese was given for him personally. He is also obliged to see to the celebration of the Masses until he learns that the obligation has been accepted and the offering received …. “Canon 957. The duty and right of exercising vigilance that Mass obligations are fulfilled belong to the local ordinary in churches of secular clergy and to the superiors in churches of religious institutes or societies of apostolic life.” In the case mentioned by our correspondent in India, it would appear that excess Mass intentions requested outside of the country are transferred to the diocese to be celebrated in a mission diocese. This is a fairly common practice, and those who do so make these transfers with the specific intention of helping to support the Church’s missionary efforts. They are aware that differences in exchange rates make relatively small European and American donations go a long way in other countries. According to Canon 945.1, the stipend attached to a priest’s daily Mass intention is for the diocesan priest’s personal use. In some places all offerings are received by the diocese, parish or religious community in lieu of a salary or other retribution equal or higher than
Q: Does an ordained priest have the duty and responsibility to say Mass only on Sundays and on the days of obligation? What about the weekdays when he does not get an intention from faithful — does he have any obligation or is it optional (Canon 904)? Does he have to say daily Mass so as to help his bishop fulfill the bishop’s Mass intentions which he has requested and received from other countries? In my diocese we work in mission churches where we get two or three Mass intentions for a month. The other days we apply for the bishop’s intention, for which he receives money to support his diocese. In this context I base my question. — P.D., Orissa state, India A: There are two separate questions involved here. One involves a priest’s obligation to say Mass, the other regards the rules for the distribution of stipends. Although many Catholics are unaware of it, strictly speaking, a priest has no obligation to say Mass at all. With respect to Mass, the priest has the same obligation as every other Catholic to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. This fact does not make saying Mass a mere question of option or personal choice. Canon 904 of canon law, mentioned by our reader, actually recommends priests to celebrate daily. To wit: “Remembering always that in the mystery of the eucharistic sacrifice the work of redemption is exercised continually, priests are to celebrate frequently; indeed, daily celebration is recommended earnestly since, even if the faithful cannot be present, it is the act of Christ and the Church in which priests fulfill their principal function.” Therefore the Church highly favors priests to celebrate daily, because the Mass is his greatest privilege and the highest thing he can do. Even if no one else is present and there is no specific intention, the Mass glorifies God, intercedes for the living and the dead,
increases the Church’s holiness and is the primary source of the priest’s spiritual growth. Some priests do have a certain obligation to say Mass in virtue of their office as pastors. Some also acquire an obligation to say, or have said, a weekly Mass for the intention of the souls entrusted to their care. Once more, the obligation derives not from the priesthood itself but from the office for which they have been appointed and the obligations they freely assume on accepting this office. The question of stipends is somewhat more complex. This is governed by canons 945-958. “Canon 945 §1. In accord with the approved practice of the Church, any priest celebrating or concelebrating is permitted to receive an offering to apply the Mass for a specific intention.
“§2. It is recommended earnestly to priests that they celebrate Mass for the intention of the Christian faithful, especially the needy, even if they have not received an offering. “Canon 946. The Christian faithful who give an offering to apply the Mass for their intention contribute to the good of the Church and by that offering share its concern to support its ministers and works. “Canon 947. Any appearance of trafficking or trading is to be excluded entirely from the offering for Masses.” In order to avoid the appearance of trafficking or trading, there are rules governing such aspects as the obligation of celebrating even if an offering has been lost and limiting the number of intentions per day. With respect to how to act when more
the totality of Mass offerings. Authoritative canonists consider this a legitimate practice provided that it is voluntary. In most Western countries the established stipend for Masses is such that it would never amount to more than a small fraction of a priest’s sustenance. In the case at hand, however, even a $10 stipend (the stipulated amount in many U.S. dioceses) could far exceed average daily income in a poor area and give the wrong impression. Likewise, those transferring Mass intentions usually intend to aid the missionary work in general and not the priest’s personal income. In this context it is probably legitimate for the bishop to retain for diocesan projects a part of stipends received from other countries, especially if he has actively sought this form of help. However, in virtue of Canon 945.1, it would be proper for him to transfer to the priest at least the amount corresponding to the established local stipend unless, as mentioned above, a voluntarily alternative is already established. It would also be feasible for the bishop to transfer the whole stipend to the parish and determine how much the priest retains for personal use while transferring the rest for parish projects. This is, of course, merely a technical consideration. In truth it must be recognized that most priests working in missionary diocese show little concern for their personal comfort and a great deal for the spiritual and human welfare of their flocks. Finally, with respect to the first part of the question: A priest would not be obliged to say Mass just to fulfill the intentions requested by the bishop. If the priest does request an intention, however, he acquires an obligation of justice to celebrate Mass for that intention. In doing so, not only does he glorify God by celebrating Mass, but also helps the missionary effort of the whole diocese to make progress.
‘Mystery of Faith’ Responses
Q: I am music director at my parish. I see no information guiding me to the appropriate choice from responses A, B and C for the “Mystery of faith” portion of Mass. Is there a directive for appropriate seasonal/feast/common time use of a specifically recommended response from the three? — R.H., Stockholm, New Jersey A: There does not seem to be any particular preference in any Church document. The General Introduction of the Roman Missal, No. 151, states: “After the consecration when the priest has said, ‘The Mystery of Faith,’ the people pronounce the acclamation, using one of the prescribed formulae.” This basically leaves things up to the celebrant and his collaborators. It is true that in Italy and most Spanish-speaking countries the first formula has become for all practical purposes the default option. This is probably due to its being the easiest text to learn from both the literary and musical point of view. It is not surprising that the various acclamations have no preference, seasonal or otherwise, as they all express a very similar idea. All of the acclamations in some way refer to the celebration of the paschal mystery taken as a whole. It is the mystery of Christ who has died and risen, a mystery that can be perceived only within the context of faith and made present and efficacious through the Church’s celebration of the Eucharistic memorial instituted by Christ himself. The mystery of the transformation of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood is implied in all three acclamations, as this transformation grounds the memorial of the other mysteries. However, only the second formula actually mentions the bread and wine. A mention of the second coming is also included as the crowning moment of salvation history. The first acclamation, “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again,” comes from 1 Corinthians 11:26. It is already found in this form in some ancient Eastern liturgies such as that of St. James. The second text, “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again,” also comes from 1 Corinthians 11:26 but includes a mention of the bread and wine. The third text is a new composition and is based upon texts taken from Revelation 5:9 and 1 Peter 1:18. Some authors have complained that these texts betray the ancient liturgical tradition of always and only addressing the Father in the Eucharistic Prayer. To this objection it may be first observed that the acclamation is not, strictly speaking, a part of the Eucharistic Prayer. Indeed, if a priest celebrates alone or concelebrates with only priests present, both the invitation “Mystery of faith” and the acclamation are omitted. Second, the passage from the Father to the Son is relatively common in prayers and hymns that correspond to the entire assembly such as the “Kyrie-Christe eleison,” the Gloria, and the “Lord, I am not worthy.” Outside of the Mass, the Te Deum also contains such a passage. With respect to their use I would say that the priest, together with the musical director, could choose which text is more suitable for a given celebration because of the particular theological nuances noted above. As a suggestion, although there is no official preference, I would say that the second formula appears most suitable for feasts that underline the Eucharist such as Corpus Christi. The first or second formulas which mention the second coming would seem best for a feast such as the Ascension. The third formula with its appeal for salvation could be more efficacious for Masses stressing penitential themes. Q: On several occasions I have attended Mass on Sunday in a parish in the U.S. outside of my own diocese. Each time, the celebrant gave about a one-minute homily. Indeed, the parish announcements were longer than the homily. Is there any rule that indicates how long a Sunday homily is to be? — M.E., Rochester, New York A: One experiences a rare pleasure when a parishioner laments about the homily being too short. It is a sign of true hunger for a substantial explanation of God’s word. Unfortunately there is relatively little with respect to official norms regarding length of homilies. This is partly inevitable because expectations vary from one culture to another and even from one social milieu to another. There are some cultures which expect long discourses during Mass and others which fidget after six minutes. No. 24 of the Introduction to the Lectionary has the following to say about the homily: “The homily, by which, through the course of the liturgical year, the mysteries of faith and norms of Christian life are set forth from the sacred text, as part of the Liturgy of the Word has been recommended often and especially since the liturgical constitution of the Second Vatican Council, and indeed is prescribed in some cases. The homily in the celebration of Mass is customarily to be given by the one who presides by virtue of the fact that it shows how the word of God which has been proclaimed becomes together with the eucharistic liturgy ‘a kind of proclamation of the wonders of God in salvation history or the mystery of Christ.’ And also the Paschal Mystery of Christ, which is announced by the readings and homily, is exercised through the sacrifice of the Mass. Christ, moreover, in the preaching of his Church, is always present and at work. “The homily, therefore, whether it explains the word of sacred Scripture that has been proclaimed or another liturgical text, ought to lead the community of the faithful to celebrate the Eucharist actively, so that ‘they may hold in their manner of life what they have grasped by faith.’ By this liv-
Length of Homilies
ing explanation of the Word of God, which is read, the celebrations of the Church, which are carried out, can also acquire a greater efficacy if the homily is truly the fruit of meditation, aptly prepared, neither excessively drawn out nor too brief, and if it is attentive to the needs of all those present, even children and the uninstructed.” Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini has a beautiful passage regarding the importance of the homily: “59. Each member of the People of God ‘has different bringing the scriptural message to life in a way that helps the faithful to realize that God’s word is present and at work in their everyday lives. It should lead to an understanding of the mystery being celebrated, serve as a summons to mission, and prepare the assembly for the profession of faith, the universal prayer and the Eucharistic liturgy. Consequently, those who have been charged with preaching by virtue of a specific ministry ought to take this task to heart. Generic and abstract homilies which obscure the directness of God’s word should be the first to hear the word of God which he proclaims,’ since, as Saint Augustine says: ‘He is undoubtedly barren who preaches outwardly the word of God without hearing it inwardly.’ The homily for Sundays and solemnities should be prepared carefully, without neglecting, whenever possible, to offer at weekday Masses cum populo brief and timely reflections which can help the faithful to welcome the word which was proclaimed and to let it bear fruit in their lives.” If this is the challenge the Church poses to priests and
© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM
duties and responsibilities with respect to the word of God. Accordingly, the faithful listen to God’s word and meditate on it, but those who have the office of teaching by virtue of sacred ordination or have been entrusted with exercising that ministry,’ namely, bishops, priests and deacons, ‘expound the word of God.’ Hence we can understand the attention paid to the homily throughout the Synod. In the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis , I pointed out that ‘given the importance of the word of God, the quality of homilies needs to be improved. The homily is part of the liturgical action and is meant to foster a deeper understanding of the word of God, so that it can bear fruit in the lives of the faithful’ (No. 46). The homily is a means of
be avoided, as well as useless digressions which risk drawing greater attention to the preacher than to the heart of the Gospel message. The faithful should be able to perceive clearly that the preacher has a compelling desire to present Christ, who must stand at the center of every homily. For this reason preachers need to be in close and constant contact with the sacred text; they should prepare for the homily by meditation and prayer, so as to preach with conviction and passion. The synodal assembly asked that the following questions be kept in mind: ‘What are the Scriptures being proclaimed saying? What do they say to me personally? What should I say to the community in the light of its concrete situation?’ The preacher ‘should
deacons for their preaching, then it would seem unlikely that it can be achieved in a brief minute-made homily. The Church does recommend brevity, above all because the homily should be in proportion to the entire celebration. It makes little sense to go on for 20 or more minutes and then rush through the Eucharistic Prayer. Once more cultural factors have to be taken into account, and it is nigh impossible to give strict rules. One could say that on a Sunday six minutes would be a minimum, but the maximum is much harder to determine. I believe that the criterion of proportion with the rest of the celebration is a good guide, along with the faithful’s expectation within the context of a concrete pastoral situation.
© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM
Vol. 17 No. 18
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vicar for the Clergy, was ordained Bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija. He is now the Bishop of Pasig; * an exclusively “Cubao” priest : Also in 2005, Fr. Ronaldo Santos, a graduate of the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary in Makati, was the first priest ordained for the Diocese. He is now its Oeconomus (Treasurer); * a “vertical” parish: In 2012, Eastwood City, known for its high rise condominium and office buildings, was made into the Blessed John Paul II Parish; * an ecclesiastical atlas: Published in 2010, this resource contains maps and important information about the Diocese and its 46 parishes. In addition, the Diocese has instituted a “one school system” where, under the administration of a single director, all six schools of the diocese share a common vision, organizational structure and curriculum. This also facilitates the easy sharing of physical and human resources among the schools. Stewardship More than these seemingly trivial “first fruits,” however, are the foundations that the Diocese has so far laid down to safeguard its stability and to ensure that there will be “laborers to tend to the vineyard” in the coming years. These are: * the standardization of allowances of parish priests in the spirit of stewardship; * the practice of tithing among priests for the benefit of the poor and the Diocese’s housing project; * the setting up of trust funds for the retirement of priests and employees of the Diocese and its parishes; * the acquisition of land to serve as housing for poor employees of the Diocese and its parishes. Known as the “Pabahay ng Diocese (PnD)”, the housing project stands in a 1.2 hectare property off Sumulong Highway in Antipolo. Meanwhile, the first project, situated in Novaliches, houses 52 families displaced by the construction of the C-5/Katipunan overpass in Brgy. Libis, QC. Above all these, the Diocese has never failed to reach out to those who are most in need. In the last ten years, it has allocated calamity funds donated through it at the height of major disasters to set up houses for the displaced residents in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan City, Infanta, Maasin and San Jose de Antique. In addition, stewardship, or the sharing of time, talent and treasure, is now being practiced in more than 50 percent of the parishes. In the long run, Msgr. Sta. Maria envisions a Diocese where stewardship will become a way-of-life: “We see a Diocese where an increasing number of parishioners volunteer their resources, where these resources are utilized effectively through better defined systems, because “experts” are tapped to define so, and where there is joy in serving the Lord and one another.” Focused Celebration Although celebration usually connotes fun, the activities lined up for the Diocese’s first decade are designed tertainers; * October 7-17, 2013 – Clergy renewal, retreat and pilgrimage to the Holy Land; * November 23, 2013 – Holy Mass for the Solemnity of Christ the King and the Closing of the “Year of Faith.” Simultaneous processions will convene at the vicariates and will converge at the cathedral; * November 25, 2013 – “City on a Hill” concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum where priests, religious men and women, and lay persons will participate
planted this time around have been identified, and the work clearly cut out for its laborers. Among the priority projects that will be addressed, according to Msgr. Sta. Maria, are the: (1) redesigning of the organizational structures of the parishes to make them more responsive to the needs of the parishioners, (2) breaking up of big parishes to smaller ones, (3) utilization of media to effectively disseminate on-going formation programs and information from and about the Diocese, (4) strengthening of catecheti-
Cubao at 10: The Harvest so far
By Joey Villarama
FOR man, a decade is too short a period to establish an institution or to build up its integrity. But for God, a decade is enough time to strengthen a community of believers or to enkindle its faith. And so it was (or has been) for the Diocese of Cubao, in the last ten years since its establishment. From the planting of the parent seed, to the anchoring of its primary roots, and to the budding of its first fruits, the Diocese has come a very long way in terms of firmly establishing God’s kingdom on this side of the earth. The Critical Years Like marriage or a child’s formative years, a diocese’s first 10 years are said to be very critical. The first decade determines the kind of Church the diocese eventually becomes. Reaching or surpassing that mark, therefore, becomes a milestone. Rev. Msgr. Daniel Sta. Maria, Vicar General and overall coordinator for the 10th anniversary celebration, believes celebrating this achievement is a chance to commemorate and highlight the successes of the past 10 years. “To celebrate is to pause from one’s day-to-day routine in order to remember what has transpired, to develop a deeper sense of gratitude, and to be emboldened to accept the challenge of journeying faithfully towards fulfilling goals,” says Sta. Maria. The Vicar General adds, “We look back at the past ten years and realize how truly blessed the Diocese has been. We realize that, rooted in God’s love and faithfulness, we are like seeds sown in this rich soil and have become healthy plants that now bear much fruit of good works.” Celebrating is an opportunity to reflect on the missteps that the local Church has taken as well. “We celebrate God’s faithfulness. And, in spite of our weaknesses, we celebrate (because) God has accomplished much in us in these short ten years,” Sta. Maria muses. The First Fruits Despite its infancy, the Diocese of Cubao has much to be proud of and be thankful for. While focusing on strengthening the faith of the flock in its 44 full-fledged and 2 quasi-parishes, the Diocese boasts of many “firsts” in its list of accomplishments. Among these are: * a bishop from among its ranks: In 2005, Msgr. Mylo Hubert Vergara, then
The Diocese of Cubao celebrated its 10th year anniversary of foundation with a thanksgiving Mass on August 28 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City. In his homily, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco (center) reminded the clergy and the faithful to continue to journey together in faith in becoming a community of disciples at the service of the poor.
Meeting Papa Francisco in Rio de Janeiro The plunder and its
capturing of smiles in getting new friends, and the search for a perfect place to receive the Pope’s blessing at his unannounced return route. We all came to WYD with very different stories of faith and life-background, but each pilgrim was there because she believed in one common intention, that is, to celebrate the joy of the youth in the church’s gathering of faith and proclaiming the beauty of Christ’s love. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, S.J. for a Missionary Week to the Diocese of Caxias in Northern Brazil upon invitation of Bishop Vilsom Basso, SCJ. Surprisingly within four days we learned their pastoral works like the Pastoral da Crianca (Pastoral Care for Children), the building of a Rehabilitation Center for the Youth, and their emphasis on Pastoral Family Care. We were also able to share our program on Responsible Parenthood and Natural Family Planning. They signified their intention to adopt the said program. The Eucharistic Masses were celebrated with lively music and gestures of waving hands glorifying the solemnity of the occasion. Throughout the duration of our visit in Caxias, we appreciated the cultural interaction shown by the people and experienced the life of a true missionary. In a closing homily, Archbishop Tony was able to stress the three characteristics of their hospitality (humility, attitude of service, and a sense of gratitude in receiving us). After the visit, the group flew back to Rio de Janeiro and joined the millions of youth participants who endured the rains and cold weather at the Copacabana beach for the WYD festivities. The most highlighted part of each event were the homilies of the Holy Father from the opening up to the closing Mass. One of the inspiring statements that I heard from Pope Francis was: “Everybody, according to his or her particular opportunities and responsibilities, should be able to make a personal contribution to putting an end to so many social injustices...” This is a challenging perspective to let the youth become aware that social transformation is very possible especially through their energetic and enthusiastic abilities. Moreover, Pope Francis’ final homily offered a simple three point test: “Go, Do not be afraid, and Serve”. As a youth leader, this challenge is something we confront in the present situation. We must go out, to learn about the world we live in, to listen to the causes of so many inequities, and to speak about what we can do better. We must not be afraid in standing up for what we believe in and to peacefully work for change against inequality. Finally, we must serve. Respect each one’s human dignity and preserve life in a moral way. Through the inspiring words preached by Papa Francisco, WYD really brought a lively, youthful and vibrant chapter in the history of the Church in Rio. After the rejuvenating and inspiring experiences of World Youth Day, I believe there are many youth who are ready for the challenge given by the Holy Father!
towards gathering more “seeds, tools and implements” with which to plant more trees that will bear more fruit. Aside from the anniversary mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral on August 28, the following have been organized to strengthen the faith and to open up avenues for the faithful to participate and share in: * September 14, 2013 – Dinner for a Cause at Sienna College auditorium to raise initial funds for the construction of retirement house for priests and for the care of sick and elderly priests. Members of Cubao’s clergy will serve as ushers, waiters and en-
to showcase the life of the Diocese; * December 8, 2013 – Holy Mass and celebration for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the anniversary of the presbyteral ordination of the Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco, Bishop of Cubao. The Road Ahead After the celebration and revelry have died down, however, the reality of the work that still needs to be done will once again confront the Diocese. However, the difference between now and when the Diocese first started is that the kind of trees that need to be
cal programs for children and adults and the mobilization of more catechists in public schools, and (5) sourcing of additional funding for the housing and health care of elderly, sick and retiring priests. Ultimately, with all the necessary physical and human structures in place, the Diocese hopes that it can better focus on the mission that Jesus Christ Himself intended the early Church to fulfill in the first place. “For us, the goal is to become more and more the Church of Christ’s disciples, a Church of the poor,” according to Msgr. Sta. Maria.
By Sweet Kristine Ace G. Adorio
EVERY young person of the Catholic Church dreams to fulfil a remarkable journey in seeing the Holy Father personally. Last July 23-28, it was like magic to witness about three million pilgrims gather together at the World Youth Day (WYD) 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. The spirit of solidarity among different nations was something more powerful than
By Fr. Shay Cullen
I expected to happen. As I witnessed millions of Catholic pilgrims at Copacabana beach, I could not help but be grateful to be able to experience the momentary hardships, the friendly cultural exchanges, the effort of getting pictures of WYD memories, the long miles of walking with the harmonic yelling “Esta es la Juventud del Papa”, the adventure of understanding foreign languages, the
together with four diocesan priests, (Frs. Perseus Cabunoc, William Salva, Noel Ebana, Pete Ubalde) and three youth ministers, (Mary April Ganzan- AYCC Officer; Aliw Consuelo M. Espiritu, Diocese of Iligan and myself as AYA Secretary) were the group representing the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro at this international gathering. Before the WYD proper, the group went
IT’S a happy day when we can save children from abusers, illegal detention, brothels, or from the clutches of traffickers, sex tourists or child porn makers. We at the Preda Foundation do that a lot but why is it so necessary in a so-called Catholic civilized country under the rule of law? And how long and how many thousands more children will suffer sexual abuse until the law is implemented and church leaders will act in a prophetic decisive way? In a nation like the Philippines where corruption and poverty are so prevalent, pervasive and self-perpetrating, it is not surprising to see children suffering misery and abuse in illegal detention cells or thousands of minors trafficked and sold as sex slaves to foreign sex tourists with the nods and winks and sex bar permits of politicians who are supposed to protect them. The billions of pesos taken from the people as tax by the ruling class are shamelessly plundered by politicians and their corruption-crazed cronies. As it was in the past, so it is today, the lawmakers become the law breakers and it is the children who suffer most and the many victims of endless floods, landslides, and destruction. The laws granting huge sums of public money to corrupt politicians for development and poverty alleviation have been diverted to their personal accounts and they will never abolish it and it pays for their re-election. It is a corrupt practice that began under the Marcos dictatorship, an evil that Ninoy Aquino II, the assassinated father of President Benigno Aquino III wanted to stop but died in the attempt with a bullet to the head. President Aquino could abolish it by a Presidential Decree or Executive Order, since the release of the funds needs his approval. That would be the greatest honor the son could give to his deceased father and mother; an act of justice for the people, who cry out against the plunder of the public purse by parasitic politicians causing suffering to the poor. I see the effects of this plunder every time I visit a jail or a slum or walk the streets of the sex industry where the children and women are bought and sold. If only they had good schools, their parents had jobs with fair wages, the rule of law reigned, good governance by clean politicians existed, what a greater nation this could be. Its people are great already by enduring so much injustice and hardship but can it not be brought to an end? In Metro Manila on a regular jail visit, I found two small girls 12 and 13 years old locked up for months close to half naked adult male prisoners reaching to touch them. They were in an exposed cell, no beds, no privacy or change of clothes or even a bar of soap with only a bucket for a toilet. We got them released to safety and discovered they had been raped in the jail. We also found Jamie, 12 years old boy, frightened and depressed. He was terrified of what the pedophile prisoners might to do him as darkness fell. He feared what the police might do to him if he did not confess to a crime he did not commit. And what they would do if he did confess? He should have been in a municipal youth home but there is none in his town
Plunder / B7
© Yen Ocampo / CBCP Media
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 18
ON May 2010, the Filipino people made a collective decision to place the Philippines on the straight path towards greater transparency and accountability. In this light, we express our grave concern over the alleged P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, implicating a number of our senators and congressmen, and supposedly operated by Janet LimNapoles. We fervently believe in the Constitutional principle that public office is a public trust, and that these entrusted funds should be used with utmost prudence. Thus it is most unfortunate that amidst the earnest efforts of the government to bolster the national coffers through increased tax compliance, the people’s money has been allegedly misused by conniving individuals, both inside and outside of government. It is all the more disconcerting that some of our elected representatives, who are expected to be the exemplars of complete adherence with the law, have been associated with the repeated mishandling of the PDAF. We condemn this systemic diversion of public funds for private aggrandize-
Protecting the integrity of public funds through greater transparency
ment, much more into phantom organizations. We thus strongly support the conduct of an impartial and comprehensive investigation into the issue, and call on those connected to this scam, whether a private citizen or a public figure, to submit themselves to such a probe. Furthermore, we ask that those found to have been involved be held accountable to the law’s fullest extent. The primary function of Congress is the crafting of legislation. On the surface, while the PDAF may directly address local needs, it has nonetheless provided opportunities for corruption to take root and even blossom in various levels of our society. The current scandal shows just how vulnerable the PDAF is to manipulation and corruption, and exposes the utter lack of accountability among its many proponents. As such, we strongly support initiatives seeking to do away with the PDAF. Nevertheless, the highest priority for government right now is to strengthen existing safeguards to ensure the judicious use of not just the PDAF, but also other sources of public funds that finance or subsidize minor and bigticket projects.
Finally, consistent with the ultimate objective of building a culture of integrity in our institutions, we reiterate our call for the swift passage of the Freedom of Information Bill. We believe that this landmark legislation, coupled with ongoing efforts at promoting good governance, will be an effective deterrent to abuses perpetrated by the corrupt. We sincerely hope that with this issue gaining national spotlight, a much greater effort at protecting the integrity of the people’s money be instituted. Most importantly, it is also our hope that the speedy resolution of this controversy will indeed usher the country into an era where transparency and accountability are the norm. Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference for Human Development CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace Citizens Congress for Good Governance Makati Business Club Transparency and Accountability Network 18 August 2013
People from all walks of life join the “Million People” march in Luneta on August 26, urging for the scrapping of pork barrel and greater transparency from government.
PDAF: Let the Truth Out!
THE Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) reaffirms the constitutional principle: public office is a public trust. Public funds ought to be used with utmost prudence, responsibility, transparency and accountability. CEAP condemns the COA-confirmed systemic and systematic diversion of public funds for personal gain rooted in the existence of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and its apparently interminable penchant for misuse and abuse, not confined to the alleged illegal activities of fugitive Ms. Janet Lim-Napoles. Incredibly, responsible bodies in the House of Representatives and in the Senate refuse its investigation and the Aquino Administration refuses its abolition. It is an appalling state of affairs against the backdrop of a government that had done so well in rallying the citizenry to reform corrupt and crooked ways on the “daan na matuwid.” CEAP supports the call for an impartial and comprehensive investigation of the PDAF and all concerned. We must know whether a reformed PDAF can still be a way of bringing the blessings of good government to the most needy of our people, or whether it is so structured that its corrupt misuse in our political culture is inevitable, and so its abolition imperative. While the misuse of the PDAF goes into the tens of billions of pesos and funds scandalous luxury and nefarious manipulation, those ultimately misused are people who are poor and suffer deeply in their poverty. We call on all reform-minded citizens to support this cause— first, by renewing personal contact with the poor and gaining insight into how these irregularities have hurt real people. Let us then bring to justice those who instrumentalize the poor for corrupt ends. We support the Citizen’s Initiative to march to Luneta and to other places where there will be mobilizations on August 26 (Monday). Let the truth finally come out relative to the PDAF! Make its use totally transparent and accountable! Or abolish it! With genuine consolation in or fear of the Lord, let us recall his words: “Whatever you have done or not done to one of these, the least of my brothers and sisters, that you have done or not done to me” (Cf. Mt. 25). THE Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP)
Abolish the pork barrel system NOW
THE story is told that when Moses was on the mountain receiving the stone tablets of the law the first time, the Lord tells him: “Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they have made themselves a molten calf, and have worshipped it and sacrificed to it.” And the Lord’s anger burnt hot against them (Ex 32:7-10). How many legislators and government officials are being shown to have corrupted themselves through the misuse of pork barrel? No doubt much more is still to be revealed. And no doubt the Lord’s anger burns hot against them, as shown in the just anger of the people calling for an end to the pork barrel which has shown itself so prone to misuse. Nor is it just the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which must be abolished, but also the billions in discretionary funds at the disposal of the President himself. President Aquino announced that he would abolish PDAF but is just offering pork under another scheme. All pork barrel must be abolished completely for as Archbishop Villegas said after the recent CBCP meeting: “Public governance is stewardship. But the pork barrel has made public governance a system of patronage.” Many articles have appeared in recent dailies suggesting where such public monies could be spent—ranging through the much needed flood diversions, education, urban poor housing, hospitals, agricultural support services, and job creation. It should be the needs of the marginalized that are taken into account and no room left for political gain. As Pope Francis said in Brazil: “The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty!” He challenged that the other cannot be seen as a statistic, but as brother and sister, and brother and sister in need must be the first responsibility of any government. Pope Francis during World Youth Day noted that young people are particularly sensitive to injustice and are “often disappointed by facts that speak of corruption on the part of people who put their own interests before the common good.” He challenged the young to “be the first to seek to bring good, do not grow accustomed to evil, but defeat it. The Church is with you, bringing you the precious good of faith, bringing Jesus Christ, who ‘came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’” He added, “no one can remain insensitive” to the economic inequalities in the world and that everyone “should be able to make a personal contribution to putting an end to so many social injustices.” Young and old are now not just disappointed, but enraged at the gross misuse of public funds for political and personal gain. We, as Religious Discernment Group will be among those who will join our people and assert that we are the “boss” and we are demanding an end to pork now. The Exodus passage above ends with the Lord promising “I will make you a great nation” (Ex 32:10). Let us act together for justice, demand an end to this corruption now, and show that we are a great nation. Religious Discernment Group FR. JOSELITO SARABIA, CM Convenor SR. PATRICIA FOX, NDS Convenor
Abolish the pork barrel system and allocate higher budget for social services!
Put an end to the cult of money!
Statement of Churchpeople -Workers Solidarity (CWS) on corruption in the Aquino government “The people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us... he took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of calf; and they said: ‘these are your gods!” (Ex 32: 15-34)
PRESIDENT Aquino’s announcement of the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was clearly an attempt to stop the scheduled Luneta demonstration and diffuse the anger of the people over the pork barrel system. But clearly, he is defending it by claiming that it can be reformed. One matter that should not be overlooked is Aquino’s own discretionary funds that budget and accounting experts estimate to reach P1.3 trillion. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has repeatedly expressed concern that discretionary funds will only heighten corruption in the government. This will create, in the words of Pope Francis “new idols”; a “heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.” Like the golden calf in the book of Exodus adorned with gold and other precious stones; dazzling and externally attractive, Pnoy is likewise wearing a “mask of righteousness” in order to appear upright and clean. Pnoy’s image of “daang matuwid” and his so-called “good governance” rhetoric is no different from that of the Pharisees in the gospel of Matthew whom Jesus likened to “whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside, are full of bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth”. Jesus’ words clearly describe this present regime: a regime that “look righteous to others”, but inside “are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Mat. 23: 27-28). The stench of Aquino’s government is reeking everywhere. The recent exposè by some whistleblowers regarding the P10 Billion pork barrel scam concerning 28 lawmakers and the Aquino administration’s seeming inaction on the issue is contemptible. With the magnitude of money involved in the scam, an emotional and teary-eyed Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle asked in disbelief: “Who will not be shocked with these reports? Can one really do this to one’s neighbor? Can one really stomach causing this kind of damage on the country?”
Unity Statement on Corruption
“Thou shalt not steal!” (Deut 5,19)
THE latest exposè of the alleged use of some PhP10 Billion of public money from the pork barrel of senators and congressmen by private persons for private interests over a decade indicates the tip of the iceberg of corruption that has impoverished our land and people. The complicity of men and women in power, a-la mafia, from the offices of the Executive, the Legislative, the Judiciary, and all their branches, from the military and police to education and other public services in the web of corruption, point to the extent that graft, bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, embezzlement and judicial murder have plagued and exploited our nation. Pork barrel has evolved in names through the years, from Congressional Initiative Allocations, to Countrywide Development Fund, and now, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), but its operations have remained basically the same. Governmentsponsored development contracts are cornered by government officials’ family and crony corporations, through fixed and rigged pre-agreed biddings, each tier of the contract implementation – from the highest public official to the lowest barangay captain – receiving a cut, commission, or bribe from a standard 20 percent down the ladder. Today, this abuse of public trust has become widespread through the use of bogus and real Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) or Civil Society Organization (CSOs) whose existence is defined more by the money to be pocketed, rather than by real help to the poor and the people in need. To be sure, the office of the President of the Philippines has its own PhP 270M worth of pork. But at his presidential disposal are also other sources of funds: PhP 317.5 Special Purpose Funds, PhP 117.5B in unprogrammed funds, Budgetary Support to Government Corporations at PhP 44.1B, Special Financial Assistance to Local Government Units PhP 17.5B, the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund at PhP 70B, the Retirement Benefits Fund at PhP 70B, the Priority Social and Economic Projects Fund at PhP 22.4B and the massive Conditional Cash Transfer at PhP 44.3B. There is also the “confidential and intelligence funds” “for the Office of the President and 21 other executive agencies.” In these last few years, we the people learned of “the textbook scam at the Department of Education, the misuse of the 728-million fertilizer fund in 2004, the $330-million ZTE scandal, the practice of ‘conversion’ in the Armed Forces of the Philippines” (Luis V. Teodoro, Vantage Point, BusinessWorld, 8 August 2013). Government corruption has been estimated at PhP 250B a year,
Unity / B7
© Yen Ocampo / CBCP Media
Indeed the massive corruption within the Aquino government is inflicting severe damage to the country particularly to the poorest people most particularly, the rural and urban poor. Amidst the escalating pork barrel scam, our workers continuously face widespread unemployment, low wages, low income and brutal forms of exploitation in factories. This unceasing assault on the poor resulted to massive poverty and hunger among the Filipino people. According to a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, 40% (or an estimated 8.5 million families) claimed they were food-poor, up from 39% (7.9 million) three months earlier. While the number of Filipinos who experience hunger is continuously increasing, state colleges and other universities are raising tuition fees, public hospitals are being privatized, MRT and LRT rates are set to increase and the poor are being asked to pay dearly for other basic social services. The money that is supposed to be used for social services such as healthcare, education and housing are being squandered
by a few corrupt government officials. In the end, it is the dominant faction of the most powerful who always get the biggest share of pork barrel funds. This scandalous situation is indeed, in the words of Cardinal Tagle “heart breaking”. In line with the recent pork barrel controversies, the Churchpeople-Workers Solidarity (CWS) join the CBCP and the millions of Filipinos in the clamour for abolishing the pork barrel system including that of the president’s pork barrel. CWS believes that the pork barrel has only aggravated patronage politics that has plagued the country’s political system. The P25.24 billion pork barrel for Fiscal Year 2014 should instead be used to subsidize basic social services such as health, education, mass housing, land reform, improvement of mass transportation and other social services. We urge all churchpeople to support House Bill 1535, or “An Act Abolishing the Pork Barrel System by Prohibiting the Allocation and Use of Funds for Such Purpose.” We call on all
Cult / B7
© Yen Ocampo / CBCP Media
Vol. 17 No. 18
September 2 - 15, 2013
Letter to my Brother Priests in Lingayen Dagupan
breath propose imitating Christ as the only alternative to our social ills. Prophetic protest must be accompanied by prophetic alternative; and the imitation of Christ is the alternative solution we offer. The loss of the fear of the Lord is the root cause of our social ills. It is not enough to condemn evil. We must proclaim the goodness in each one. Overcoming evil by the power of good is the alternative we offer. As we protest, we must immediately offer Christ as the only choice; otherwise the protests can lead to godless solutions. The rejection of the politics of patronage, the call for an in depth investigation of dishonest officials and the cry for the full doctrine and dogma. Christianity is not just a set of doctrines to profess; Christianity is more importantly about living like Christ. Christianity is hurt not just by heresies but by immorality and amorality by those who call themselves Christians. Morality, creed and prayer form the tripod of our Christian faith. Prayer without moral conversion is just a noisy bell. Creed without moral conduct is dry and dead. It is not the smoke of incense that will bring us to heaven. It is not the pages of our prayer books that will make us saints. It is not the glow of lit candles that makes us holy. It is the imitation of Christ that we must always aspire for. The goal of all Church programs is intimacy with and imitation of Christ. Church Response We brother priests have failed to inspire our people to imitate Christ. We have failed to lead them to intimacy with him. Are our parishioners angered by the violation of the Commandments “Thou shall not steal” and “Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s goods”? Or are they protesting because personal rights have been violated? What must we do as Church shepherds? A prophet is a mouthpiece of God; we were ordained to be that mouthpiece. We must be a prophetic Church courageous to denounce evil but this prophetic task must be balanced with the prophetic teaching of the message of Christ. Protest without alternative is a dead end path. We cannot afford to be known as a Church of denunciations and prohibitions. As we denounce evil and sin, we must in the same application of the law will not stop corruption unless we regain our fear of the Lord as a people. We have chosen to be orderly and clean rather than be “messed” by the Gospel as Pope Francis put it. The “mess” that comes from God can only make us and our society better. Jesus came to disturb us in our comforts and to set the world on fire. Let us give
The Church and the Pork Barrel Protest
My dear brother priests: Our parishioners are angry and we too are angry like them. It should really and rightly be so. Sin and crime, corruption and cheating, abuse of the poor and neglect of the weak ones must anger us. If the magnitude of corruption among our elected public servants does not anger us, it could mean we are friends with sin. This anger cannot remain an emotional outburst. It must lead us to reflect and having reflected lead us to action. What is the pork barrel protest telling us pastors of the flock? Beyond the Pork Barrel The issue is beyond pork barrel. The core problem is not just the shameless corruption of a growing number of greedy corrupt officials in a system that has become corruption friendly. The issue is the breakdown of our moral fiber as a Christian nation. The issue could be the diminishing relevance and eroding credibility of moral shepherds. It is the failure of religion to make morality and ethics the foundation of all human actions and endeavors, after almost five hundred years of Gospel presence. This is the opportune time to examine our conscience as a Church, to take responsibility for our failure to teach, and to take fresh new steps to restore morality in public and private life, which is a vital component of the Church’s mission. This is why the popes of our era have repeatedly called for New Evangelization. This same call is repeated by our Philippine bishops. The holiness of the Church is stained not just by errors against God “permission” to disturb us, to trouble us, to make a “mess” in our interior lives so that we can become like him. A Church that is open to the “surprise troubles” of the Spirit will be a Church that is inspiring for the people because it is a Church that is faithful to the Lord. By opening ourselves to the “mess” of the Spirit, we
Protest / B7
A Pastoral Letter on the Pork Barrel Scam Stewardship and Christian Witness
2. Political authority exists for the common good. It is not to be exercised for the sake of private and family interests or simply for the interests of a political party. When political authority is exercised merely for these narrow interests, it betrays the reason for its existence. Moreover, such situation breeds corruption and inhibits general access to political power which is a fundamental mark of democracy. Therefore, we denounce the continued existence of family political dynasties and the continuing delay of passing a law to implement the constitutional provision banning political dynasties. Government service is stewardship. We, as citizens, have the right, and indeed obligation to hold the government and its people accountable. It is our prerogative, right and In the area of formation: 1. Formation in the faith shall be given to people in business, politics and government with priorities given to their situation in life and their Christian duties so that they can truly witness to their Catholic faith and be agents of renewal in their fields. (NSPA 37) 2. Value education with emphasis on Filipino values and culture shall be part of Christian formation at all levels and for all sectors. (NSPA 39) 3. The social teachings of the Church are to be part of all social formation and educational programs of the Church at all levels. (NSPA 41) For our immediate concern, and strict observance: 1. We are not to solicit donations from
To the Beloved People of God in Nueva Segovia, AS Pastor of the Local Church of Nueva Segovia, we deem it our obligation to speak of recent issues in the light of our Catholic Faith. One thing that has caught the national spotlight, and grave concern of countless of our fellowmen is the pork barrel scam, the misuse and abuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). The PDAF, which used to be called Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) was supposed to be an allocation, at the lead of elected representatives in the Congress and the Senate to bring development to their constituency. In its more than twenty years of application, it may have served some good; with it however, were attending evils. It has become an instrument of a politics of patronage, and as it is now coming to light, its use has been beset with blatant irregularities. It has become a discretionary fund, left solely to the goodwill of the politicians which had been gravely lacking. There are other discretionary funds in the national government, including the Office of the President and constitutional commissions. There is also much to be desired in the accounting of these funds. Many have called for the abolition of the PDAF and the other discretionary funds. Of course, the abolition will not once and for all solve the problem of corruption. Investigation of the pork barrel scam and prosecution of and restitution from errant officials and their accomplices should follow. Radical rethinking and reform of systems and procedures in government should be made. The system of corruption needs to be uprooted. The baneful political culture needs to be converted. Nevertheless, no matter how inadequate the abolition of the PDAF and other discretionary funds is, it is a necessary step. I join the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia in calling on the President of the Republic of the Philippines, His Excellency, Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, as well as discretionary funds that have fallen prey to a system gravely lacking in transparency and accountability, and appallingly steep in corruption. We reject attempts to rename and repackage the same corrupted system. We seek wider government and political reform. I reiterate the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in the January 2013 Pastoral Statement on Certain Social Issues of Today. 1. Political corruption is one of the most serious deformities of the democratic system because it rejects moral norms and undermines social justice, which is the justice of the common good. Freedom of information promotes integrity, transparency, and accountability in the political order. We call upon government to give due priority to the passing of the Freedom of Information Bill at the soonest possible time.
“Buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat. The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done. (Amos 8,6-7)
My dear brothers and sisters! In recent weeks, we witnessed the unfolding of an unconscionable scam in our country. We are shocked and aghast by the discovery of widespread plunder of public funds through the pork barrel system. We thank the heroism of the whistleblowers who risked their lives and the institutions that saw the urgent need to act on the issue. His Excellency, President Benigno Aquino III, has announced that the PDAF will be abolished and that more stringent procedures will be observed so public funds will not be used for ghost projects. We acknowledge his response to the nationwide clamor to abolish the pork barrel. However, the pork barrel is not merely an administrative or an accounting issue. It is a moral issue and as such, can only be resolved with a fidelity to truth and justice. The truth about pork We acknowledge that discretionary funds are necessary for governments to run. But like political dynasties, the pork barrel is a cause of our unending poverty: lawmakers are at the behest of the Chief Executive and, appallingly, the people beg for what actually belong to them. With the Chief Executive controlling the release of the funds to congressmen and senators, our laws may not be the will of the people. With congressmen and senators releasing the funds for their pet projects, public funds may be used for their personal interests, as what is happening now. There may be projects from the PDAF of some congressmen or senators that benefitted the people. But these are mere fragments compared to the benefits reaped by congressmen or senators as the PDAF strengthened patronage politics. Truly, the pork barrel system is a way for politicians to appear clean when their intent and purpose are in fact corrupt.
Restore / B7
duty to demand that our government, its systems and arms, as well as its officials and employees serve the people. We have the right and obligation to demand reform of the government. More than calling for institutional reform of the government, though, we, the People of God, especially in the Local Church of Nueva Segovia are called to be more serious of our Christian calling. While we look at the flaws of our political culture, government, and some politicians, let us also look at ourselves, as individual Christians, as laity, religious, priests and bishops, and as the Church and examine to how we have contributed to the perpetration of flawed political systems, of vicious cycles of corruption and exploitation, by our apathy, complacency, and even complicity. We bow our heads in contrition, and ask forgiveness for our sins. Following this, let us take steps towards a more faithful Christian witness. We reiterate the Decrees of the Nueva Segovia Pastoral Assembly:
politicians at any time (NSPA 54). We refuse to take part in the cycle of corruption and patronage. 2. We are to prepare our parish financial reports honestly and promptly. 3. We shall be responsible and accountable stewards of the temporal goods of the Church. Finally, let us be people of faith. Let us seek and remain in God. Let us seek the values of God, and glory in the virtues. Let us be untiring in our proclamation of Truth, and in our pursuit of righteousness. May Apo Caridad, our Mother, intercede for us, and lead us to the Sun of Justice, her Son. May God bless the Philippines with righteousness and peace. From our Residence in Vigan City, August 28, Feast of St. Augustine. +ERNESTO A. SALGADO, D.D. Archbishop of Nueva Segovia
© Cocoy Vargas
© Cocoy Vargas
© Yen Ocampo / CBCP Media
Can we really live together?
Colored because we deny them the right to be human. That is why today’s Gospel speaks of renunciation. Of course, for Luke, God’s will is that we live together—even here on earth, we have to realize God’s kingdom where everyone experiences wholeness, a sense of belonging, fellowship in the community. But according to Luke, this is possible only if we as a community enter into discipleship. By this is meant the renunciation of self, familial relationship and possession, and the unconditional and total commitment to Jesus by all the members of the community. This is evidenced by our total conversion to Jesus’ life, words, and works. At the center of the community life in discipleship is Jesus himself. It is to him that we give our undivided loyalty. He is our principle of unity. What should ultimately bind us together is not law, political party, power, or economic interest, but the person of Jesus himself. Should there be a conflict between our ethnic allegiance and our allegiance to Jesus, it is the latter that ought to prevail. Hence, Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and his children, his brothers and sisters, indeed his very self, he cannot be my follower” (Luke 14:26). Each of us lives in a network of loyalties—loyalty to family, clan, school, political party, friends, business partners, corporations, etc.—but the claims of Jesus precede all of them. Since Jesus is the center of one’s life and that of the community, all other
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 18
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Luke 14:23-33, September 8, 2013
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
A FEW years ago, after the riot in Los Angeles, California, Time Magazine asked: Can we live together? Of course, there has been much progress in the relationship between the Whites and the Blacks (or the Colored) since the time of Martin Luther King, Jr., thanks to the civil right movements, but racism has not vanished into thin air. In the international scene, the struggle between the Third World countries and the First World has still to see a definitive resolution. It was Karl Marx who said, “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.” One may dismiss his philosophy of history, but one cannot deny that the relationship between masters and slaves in ancient times was not substantially different from the relationship between the lords and serfs in the medieval ages, and the workers and the owners of the means of production in modern times. And there is the difficulty of some peoples to look beyond ethnic boundaries. The question is not quite irrelevant: can we really live together? If we come to the brass tacks of it all, we will see that we find it difficult to live together because most of us do not want to give up anything that belongs to us. If economic war happens, it is because no one wants to renounce wealth. There is ethnic cleansing because we cannot tolerate the presence of people other than us. We refuse to share with the named Onesimus. At that time, slavery was a social institution in which a person was legally owned by a master as property to be used at will and counted nothing in the social scale. Onesimus then was a man of no rights. In the present letter, Paul asked Philemon to receive his slave as a brother (vv 16-17). To receive a slave as a brother in the Lord is a manifestation of what having Jesus as the center of personal and community life entails in a divided social relationship between master and slave. Of course, Paul did not abolish the institution of slavery—that would have been impossible; but making Christ the center of community life is irreconcilable with the institution of slavery, since in Christ “there is no more Jew or Greek, slave or free, man and woman” (Gal 3:27-28). Such principle transformed the social relationship between Onesimus and Philemon, and one is not surprised that people in the long run realized how incompatible the institution of slavery with Christianity was. In the Old Testament, this transformation is called wisdom (Wisd 9:13-19, 1st Reading). When such a change happens, one can be certain that division is overcome, self-interest is emptied of itself, and the possibility of living together is removed from the realm of dreams. Yes, we can live together—if we make Christ as the center of our community life in discipleship. And when that happens, the Kingdom of God is realized, however partially.
ties are reformulated in terms of our relationship to Jesus. To emphasize this priority, Luke uses the Semitic expression “to hate” which does not mean to loath or to consider oneself as a scum, but which means to turn away from, to detach oneself from, to renounce oneself and family ties and surrender oneself totally to Jesus. Matthew, instead of retaining the original hyperbolic form, tones down the force of the saying by paraphrasing it: “The man who loves his father or mother more than me” (Matt 18:37). Still, the point is that one forgoes the security of family ties so he can be totally united to Jesus. But here, it is not only a question of loving; it is rather a question of making Jesus the center both of one’s individual life and of
community life. This brings us to the next point. Since it is a question of making Jesus not only the object of love but also the center of the life of the individual and the community, a deeper meaning of discipleship is unraveled. To be a disciple is to undergo a transformation which is seen in one’s new way of life, since Jesus’ words, works and life constitute a new principle that defines and informs one’s life. This means that Jesus’ way of life becomes our way of life. It is for this reason that Jesus added, “Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). The saying is of course metaphorical. The cross was an ancient instrument of torture and execution for disreputable persons, like slaves,
thieves and rebels. People like them forfeited life and honor. Jesus’ words are therefore an invitation to give up personal life and honor and embrace a life of suffering, even to the point of martyrdom. Such a life is certainly devoid of self-assertion and self-interest. Consequently, it is a life that surrenders everything one has: “none of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his possessions” (Luke 14:33). One’s life is thus so transformed that his outlook, behavior and relationships are concentrated on Jesus; at the same time, Jesus defines one’s outlook, behavior and relationships. The second reading (Phil 9b-10.1217) provides us an example. Philemon, a resident at Colossae and man of substance, had a slave
The Church as a community of mercy and compassion
An Exegetical Reflection on the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Luke 15:1-31, September 15, 2013
And what unites it is not so much law and authority as love and knowledge in Christ. It is this love relationship that identifies the Church. If it is asked how are we, the Church, to be recognized as Christian, it is not by the badge we wear, the idiom we use, but by the love we profess in the community. As John puts it, “this is know all will know you for my disciples: your love for one another” (John 13:35). Obviously, though, the individuals who form the community are far from perfect. They are people who are all too human. There are always failures in love within the community. It would be presumptuous of its members to profess that they are set apart from the rest of humanity in virtue of their perfection. In the Old Testament, God constituted Israel a chosen people; but as the 1st Reading notes, after Yahweh solemnly made a covenant with them, displaying his mighty power at Sinai as he gave them the Ten Words, the Israelites committed apostasy by creating for themselves a molten calf (Exod 37:7-8). Paul himself is an example of a Church member who is far from perfect. In the 2nd Reading, which is an excerpt from his letter to Timothy, he said, “I was once a blasphemer, a persecutor, a man filled with arrogance” (1 Tim 1:13); he claimed to be the worst sinner (1 Tim 1:15). In today’s Gospel, Luke prefaces the three parables with these words: “The tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear him, at which the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’” (Luke 15:12). It is possible that Luke’s community demanded the exclusion of sinners, or at least some stringent requirements from them. Anyhow, the parables clearly indicate that there were sinners in the community. But precisely because the quality of its life is important, the Christian community should be a community not only of love, but also of mercy and forgiveness. The community cannot deal with sinners by isolating them, or excluding them from the fellowship of God’s people. One does not preserve the sanctity of the community by punishing sinners; that would in the end reduce the community into thin air. On the contrary, it is the combination of love and mercy that makes the community whole. Even though he claimed to be the worst sinner, Paul confessed that God has treated him mercifully (1 Tim 1:13b). As for Israel’s idolatry, God allowed himself to be persuaded. He relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict his people (Exod 32:14). In the parables of the Gospel today—the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son—the same point is being driven home: the Christian God is a God of mercy and compassion. These parables were taught to explain why Jesus accepted the tax collectors and sinners into his company: God does not seek the destruction of sinners, but their acceptance to the community of the rule of God; all he wants is to save the lost, and celebrate their finding in joy. This message is not without relevance. The last time I went to the US, I was struck by a regular TV show, “People’s Court,” where cases were resolved in a jiffy. Having seen many episodes, I got the impression that if the show tells us anything, it tells us that many people have no tolerance for the slightest human mistake. That we think we are always right, and that we value money more than forgiveness in human relationships and healing of broken bonds—this seems to be the bottom line of the show. Indeed, how often it seems that we have little tolerance for the spiritually or morally lost! We have very few nice things said about them. But today’s readings have one message: If God showed mercy and compassion to the people of Israel despite her idolatry, if he forgave Paul despite his claim to being the worst sinner, so Jesus calls us now to show mercy and compassion to the lost, and rejoice in their return to the
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
HOW do we understand ourselves as a Christian community? It is strange that people usually are proud of their communities of faith on account of their achievements—a good retreat house, an elegant chapel, and a flourishing cooperative. We say that it is strange because the picture of a Christian community that appears in the New Testament is not one that is concerned with its achievements, but one that is concerned about its very life, and the quality of that life. In his letter to the Colossians, for instance, St Paul wrote: “I want you to know how hard I am struggling for you and for the Laodiceans and the many others who have never seen me in the flesh. I wish their hearts to be strengthened and themselves to be closely united in love, enriched with the full assurance by their knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ” (Col 2:1-2). In these words, Paul virtually described the identity of the Church: it is a community united in love, enriched by the knowledge of Christ. Of course, this implies that there is no such a Christian as an individual one; to be a Christian is to belong to a community.
fold. At the heart of every member of the Christian community should be mercy, compassion for the wayward members, and joy in their conversion. We cannot be indifferent even to a single sinner. We cannot be assuaged by the thought that we can exclude them, since there are still many members who are faithful and good. The life of each one, sinful though he may be, is important. We can never give up a lost member. After all, the Church is not a community of self-righteous people. If it is a community known by the love that prevails among its members and by their knowledge of the Lord, then it must love and have compassion for everyone, including the lost. According to Paul, our vocation is to be an example to those who would later have faith in Christ, and gain everlasting life (1 Tim 1:16b). And we cannot be that kind of community if we are quick to condemn sinners, and separate ourselves from them. On the contrary, that would even make hypocrites out of us. Which is why, every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we pray: “Lord, look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church.” More positively, we say in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I, 1970 text): “Though we are sinners, we trust in your mercy and love. Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness.”
Bishop Pat Alo
(Catholic Mass Media in Mati)
THE need for mass media involvement through press, radio and TV communications became inspired because of the need to spread God’s word since Jesus Christ had left those final words of instruction: “Go therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always, yes, to the end of time” (Mt. 28:16-20). Thus many people involved and inspired by God’s Holy Spirit worked for the establishment of the various means of communications in the media, such as the radio, TV and the press to bring God’s message to God’s people, and to all those who hunger for God’s word as a source of light and life. “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). In the late 1980s we had the humble beginnings of what is now: DXHM-AM/DXDV-FM Mati radio, TCTV Mati television. The CBCP Monitor is a publication from the Philippine Catholic hierarchy as a whole while the Davao Catholic Herald is an initiative of the Davao Archdiocese, both including news items in connection with Catholic missionary projects or activities in the Philippines and abroad. The tri-media (press, radio, TV) combination has worked sufficiently well in helping to disseminate God’s message via the media channels of communication. We are hoping always to give first place to God, in the media social communications as well as in our lives, so that as we do the humble service to God’s word via the media, our lives may likewise proclaim: “To God belongs all the glory!”
Challenged to love as Christ does
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, September 8, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
ALL spiritual masters and great leaders are noted for their being quite demanding with their followers. But none of them is as demanding as Jesus. In fact, he requires that his disciples practice a radical detachment not only from material things, but also from their closest family ties and their very selves. These demands are spelled out in the sternest possible terms in the first part of today’s Gospel passage. (See Lk 14:26-27.) Even in the rather mild rendering of our preferred translation, the request that we love Jesus more than our father, mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters and one’s very self (see v. 26) is undoubtedly the most radical demand a leader can make of his prospective disciples. We might even get the wrong impression that Jesus is a “heartless man” and would want all his followers to be heartless, too . . . But, for sure, this is not what Jesus is, or what he wants his disciples to be, for there never was nor will there ever be a greater and more tender lover than he. It was he who, up to the last hours of his earthly life, kept insisting on one basic commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (See Jn 13:3435; 15:12f.17. See also 1 Jn 4:21.) What then does Jesus mean with his shocking demands? He asks us to overcome the instinctive inclination to love in an almost idolatric manner the persons dearest to us. He wants his disciples to learn to love as he does. He wants them to love their relatives and friends in a “detached and pure manner.” Such “de-
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media
tachment” and “purity” obviously entail a tremendous amount of a self-forgetfulness and self-control. Not all are able and willing to make so great a sacrifice. But for those who do their best to comply with such a challenging demand, a wonderful reward lies in store – they will become able to love their own people in a purified and refined manner. They will love them in Christ and as Christ loves them. That’s the way he loved his mother Mary and his disciples. Not only this. Once they have reached that degree of purification and refinement in loving their relatives, the disciples will have become able to love everybody, without fear or inhibitions. They will love not only the lovable and the loving, but also and especially the unlovable and the un-loving. Their behavior will be characterized by an attitude of apprecia-
tion, acceptance, respect, encouragement, attention . . . toward all. Everyone will feel “known” and loved in a very personal manner. Such a feeling experienced by the persons who see themselves as the object of a delicate, sincere and affirming love will prompt in them a similar response/attitude. It will draw out from them the hero and the saint that had been buried by avalanches of rejection, neglect, hatred or lust-filled love. On seeing such a result, both in themselves and in those they love, the disciples will understand the wisdom of Jesus’ demand and its fruitfulness. They will be extremely grateful to their Master for having challenged them to soar to such heights. And they will rejoice in Him who is the “Lord of all beautiful LOVE.”
Vol. 17 No. 18
September 2 - 15, 2013
By Josephine Ignacio
Caritas awards shelters to typhoon survivors in Mindanao
THE NASSA/Caritas Philippines—the social arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines—has awarded some 1,065 permanent shelters to families in three provinces in Mindanao whose homes were flattened by Typhoon Pablo (international name, Bopha). The simultaneous constructions of the houses started in midApril with funds from Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand (CANZ), and the New ZealandMinistry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). In the towns of Cateel and Boston, Davao Oriental, where thousands of families lost their homes and millions of coconut trees were destroyed by typhoon Pablo, a total of 800 shelters made of coco-lumber were built in eight barangays. Ms. Cesaria Hugue, the Diocesan Coordinator of the project noted that “the Caritas shelter is, so far, the first complete pre-fabricated shelter awarded to the typhoon survivors in the whole of Davao Oriental.” Using the “pakyaw” (contractual) system, each shelter unit took three to four days of construction, providing employment to local carpenters and chainsaw operators in the sites. Quality control in the selection of cocolumber and the incorporation of typhoon-resilient features in the design adopted from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) ensure the strength of the shelters. In the Diocese of Tagum, which covers the provinces of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley, thousands of families were also displaced by Typhoon Pablo. In the barangay of Babag,
Unity / B4
Update on the Appeal for Solidarity for flood victims in Mindanao typhoon Labuyo and Habagat in Luzon
Dear Bishops, SAC Directors, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Greetings from CBCP-NASSA! Following our Appeal for Solidarity Assistance earlier this week (19 August), further coordination was made with the Social Action Centers affected by the Typhoon Maring and Labuyo (Dioceses of San Pablo/Laguna, Imus/Cavite, Malolos/Bulacan, Bayombong/Quirino, Iba/Zambales, Nueva Segovia/Ilocos Sur, Lingayen-Dagupan, San Fernando/Pampanga, Antipolo/ Rizal, Urdaneta, La Union, Balanga/Bataan) to make rapid assessment of the impact of the flooding brought by the Typhoon. While some of them were not reachable, or responded that extra assistance is not needed at the moment, several Dioceses confirmed their need for assistance and others are still conducting assessment for their needs. Based on the initial assessment, together with the assessment data with CRS, NASSA is making available a total budget of PhP 2,134,500.00 needed to cover the priority needs of 6 affected Dioceses. Our plan is to send food items of rice, lentils and assorted canned goods to the Dioceses of Bayombong (Quirino Province), Imus (Cavite), San Pablo (Laguna), Iba (Zambales) and Malolos (Bulacan), and the Prelature of Infanta (Aurora), targeting a total of 14,600 families. Our initial release of Alay Kapwa Funds, as well as Dioceses that remitted or pledged their donation (for which we are deeply grateful), are still not sufficient for this new target, considering that we now have a big number of dioceses to assist in their emergency needs. Your solidarity assistance is still very much needed. Please deposit your donations to NASSA/ Caritas Philippines (details below): Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands Acct. Name: CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation, Inc. Acct. Number: 4951-0071-08 For those with internet access, you may also go to the link for online donation at: <http://ushare.unionbankph.com/ caritasfilipinas/> Thank you and may the Lord continually bless us in our work of serving the poor and the vulnerable! In the service of the poor and the needy, + BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D Auxiliary Bishop of Manila Chairman, CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Action – Justice and Peace 21 August 2013
Monkayo alone, 450 families living in riverbanks were displaced by the rising waters and forced to seek shelter in the midst of damaged banana plantations. Oplan Tabang, the disaster response task force established by Bishop Wilfredo Manlapaz of Tagum partnered with Caritas Philippines to build 145 permanent shelter units or 29 row-houses on a relocation site provided by the local government. Another 30 units are built on-site in Barangays Gabi, San Miguel and Babag in the same province. According to Fr. Emerson Luego, the Director of Oplan Tabang, there are only 600 permanent shelters so far constructed in the Compostela Province for typhoon Pablo survivors, half of it by the Catholic Church. In the coastal village of Sitio
Tagbobo, Lingig, Surigao del Sur, Caritas Philippines built permanent shelters for 60 families whose houses were washed away by typhoon Pablo. A new shrine dedicated to San Pedro Calungsod was also constructed on top of the hill overlooking the new community. The site was suggested by Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, CBCP-NASSA/Caritas Philippines National Director, during his visit to the area in June 2013. Another 30 permanent shelters were built in Sitio Mahogany in the same barangay, on a piece of land donated by one of the affected families. To shed light on the speedy implementation of the project, Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez, CBCPNASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary explains: “the miracle that unfolded through this project is the result of hard
Cult / B4
work and good will of the Diocesan project staff, proper collaboration among the local government—from the governor down to the barangay chairman—the Diocese, and the CBCP-NASSA/ Caritas Philippines, and the faith and generosity of the beneficiaries who were eager to rise from the devastation of typhoon Pablo. We hope the government will adopt the same housing designs which use readily available materials, local technology and employ local skills. Many families are still living in tents nine months after Pablo. The government must act fast. The Church has shown it can be done.” (The author is the ESS Program Coordinator of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ National Secretariat for Social Action [NASSA]).
Plunder / B3
according to the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project. And no one has been held accountable; no one has been punished, for “From the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace.” (Jer 6,13-14). Today, we the Filipino people, demand accountability, transparency and responsibility from our public servants and the groups of NGOs and CSOs in the use of public funds. We demand justice and restitution for the thievery, corruption, injustice and murder that have victimized our people. For how many schools, hospitals, roads and other social services could have been built and upgraded were it not for the greed of these shameful few who lord it over us? How many have suffered and died, were made to disappear and killed by these same crimes of corruption and plunder against our nation and people?
Protest / B5
Our deliverance from greed and oppression, our liberation for progress and prosperity can only come about if we uphold the truth and right the wrong: When Zaccheus pledged, “If I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold”, Jesus declared: “Today, salvation has come to this house”! And so, we call on our people - to unite against this greed, - to expose this corruption, - to demand justice and restitution, and - to inspire one another for moral reconstruction and social transformation for our own liberation and social progress! For our final deliverance rests in the hands of a united people, in the hands of the struggle of the poor whom God loves so very much, the poor in whom we see our Savior! Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Philippine Province August 20, 2013
people of faith to expose and unmask the rotten and corrupt Aquino government. We remain steadfast in our Christian vocation to do what is right and just and to raise the people’s consciousness on the issue of corruption under the present government. And lastly, we find hope in Pope Francis’ prophetic words: “No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world. No amount of peace-building will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself.” For Reference: Sr. Lydia Lascano, icm Convenor, Churchpeople - Workers Solidarity The Most Revd Ephraim S. Fajutagana Obispo Maximo, Iglesia Filipina Independiente Convenor, Churchpeople - Workers Solidarity
since the politicians stole the money. So Preda social workers got Jamie and a few others released from jail that day and transferred them to the Preda Home for Children for which funds are constantly needed as most funding agencies, charities, and government ignore these victims. The children should never be imprisoned. It’s illegal but the law is not respected that is why we campaign to change the social, religious, and political system. They tend to ignore child abuse and human trafficking. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila has spoken strongly against the plundering of public funds. He is a prophetic voice in a moral wilderness, raging against the gates of hell. Soon he will follow the example of Pope Francis and will visit the juvenile jails and wash their feet with his tears. He will walk the streets lined with brothels, and like Jesus of Nazareth, see and have compassion on the women and children forced into prostitution and abortions. His message will inspire the faithful to rise up and put their faith into action for justice,
freedom and the rule of law. If he visited the children’s home, the Cardinal would be shocked to learn that as many as 100,000 children are trafficked into sexual slavery yearly and he would help Rebecca, 14, with a mental age of 6 years old. He would be shocked by her story. She was sold to a 28 year-old man as his live-in sex slave approved by her mother and local officials as a form of marriage. At first, a prosecutor in Bulacan said that the child and the 28 year- old man were “in love” and there could be no crime of child abuse. But upon protest and appeal by the Preda paralegal officer, the provincial prosecutor Renato C. Samonte, Jr., reversed that wrong decision and ordered charges of rape in connection with RA 7610 be filed before the court. The plunder, wheeling, and dealing over the lives and bodies of women and children have to be stopped by the good people rallying and demanding justice, and uncompromising and strict implementation of the rule of law. We should pray a lot too.
can become a simpler Church detached from material security yet more dependent on his providence. Let us not be afraid to get our religious garbs soiled by dining with Zacchaeus. This reaching out can mean salvation for them and for us. Sadly, brother priests, we have become pastors of the status quo. We have slid down to just “maintaining” the Church, keeping the schedule, continuing the “order” of the day. This cannot continue. We cannot be swivel chair pastors. We must get out to the barangays and public schools, visit the charity wards of hospitals, teach catechism again, visit homes again—make a “mess” in society. The problem is not priest shortage but zeal shortage.
Restore / B5
We have tolerated religiosity without godliness. We have offered Church blessings without conversion. This is not the path of the Lord. External acts of piety without inner conversion were rejected by the Lord as religious hypocrisy. Invoking blessings upon pretentious unrepentant benefactors is cheap grace. It is abominable. The Church must be compassionate because God is rich in mercy but we cannot give up our mission to confront evil and demand conversion. Offering mercy without demanding conversion is cheap religion. This is not ours. It cannot be Christ’s Church. While catechesis and religious seminars are important, conversion and repentance are indispensable parts of our mission. While it is our duty to
bless and sanctify, it is first our duty to proclaim with Christ, “Repent and believe the Gospel.” We have taught the Christian doctrines but we have failed to connect them to life. We know the faith but we do not live it. What does it matter if we know the dogma of the Trinity but we cannot live the love of the Trinity among us? What does it matter if the Ten Commandments can be recited backward and forward and yet people continue stealing and killing, cheating and coveting? What does it matter if the mysteries of the rosary are memorized and prayed and yet we make sure that Christ does not disturb us in our complacency? Knowledge of the faith without living that faith is only an ego massage. It
makes us think that we are good Catholics although the reality is the opposite. Our transmission of the faith must inspire our people to imitate Christ. One of the serious problems of the people who attend our Masses is our long and winding and dry homilies. Our youth complain about lifeless and uninspiring liturgies. How can we set their hearts on fire if we ourselves are not afire for God? We must prepare our homilies. The best preparation for a homilist is not reading about the Gospel but praying over the Gospel. “The reason why congregations have been so dead is because dead men preach to them,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan. The Challenge for Us Priests
This is the P-O-R-K of the Church that we churchmen must let go too. No more protests without alternative—the fear of the Lord is our only alternative. No more complacent orderliness without the “mess” of the Gospel—we must smell like the sheep and get out of the swivel chair. No more religiosity without godliness—we must insist on conversion and repentance. Beyond knowledge of the faith let us live it—let us first be the example of what we teach. Reforming Church The Church must always be a reforming Church. The white walls of our churches do not grow whiter with the passage of time. The white walls become dusty, stained, cracked. They can peel off. As with the white wall, so
with the Church! Let the national news of the recent weeks about extensive corruption in governance make us more humble as moral guides and more zealous as lighthouses of morality in the midst of the storms besetting our boat. We have our own “pork” to abolish so that we can be better. Let us examine our Church conscience, repent, rise up and truly guide the people as God would. From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, August 31, 2013, my twelfth anniversary as bishop +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
Pork, by any other name, is still pork The decision of the President to regulate the PDAF is meaningless for as long as the heart of the pork barrel continues to beat strongly in our political system. It is the same heart that gave life to political dynasties. The essence of the pork barrel system and political dynasties is concentration of power. In a democracy, the concentration of power in one person or one group is evil. It results to wholesale corruption and dehumanizing poverty. Social development is impossible when the people are crippled by poverty and enslaved by corruption. The clamor for the abolition of the
pork barrel system does not end in scrapping numbers in the national budget or lessening the discretion in dispensing the fund. Instead, it is a cry for social reforms. It is a collective desire for social justice. And we pave the way for social justice when we end the concentration of power. Social reforms I call upon the faithful to see this crisis as an opportunity to initiate reforms. The call for the abolition of the pork barrel is a call for active participation in governance. Demand for a speedy and fair investigation of those who misuse public funds. The lawful conviction of those guilty will signal the commitment of
our government to truth and justice. Demand transparency and accountability from our political leaders. Push for the passing of the Freedom of Information Bill as it will provide the structure for the public to have greater access to data on government spending. Demand for projects that are truly responsive to the needs of the people. When the people themselves identify the services and infrastructure, there is no room for ghost projects and vigilance will be enhanced. Do not partake of the pork in any form being dangled by corrupt politicians. Although President Aquino has decided to regulate the pork barrel system, such measure does nothing to patronage politics which hurt the poor the most.
Restore integrity beginning from the barangay level. In the election for Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan, choose leaders who will represent your barangay as a family and not candidates who represent political patrons. Be vigilant at all times. Closely monitor the performance of public officials. In three years, we will re-evaluate the choices we made in the May 2013 election. To the people in government, we urge you to restore the integrity of public office. You are accountable especially to God, the source of all power. Serve His people, especially the poor. The pork barrel system is oppressive and unjust. Use your office as a means to end the oppression and to uphold justice.
INA, our model and guide, continues to provide us her examples of virtues so that we, her devotees, may be true agents of social transformation. As we prepare for the feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, let us reflect on her courage and perseverance as she stood by her Son suffer and die on the cross. Our Ina journeys with us. The road to social transformation is long but is blessed with heavenly rewards. May her devotees find enlightenment and strength in the coming celebration of her most awaited feast. I invoke God’s blessing for all of you! +ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, O.C.D., D.D. Archbishop of Caceres August 25, 2013
TITLE: The Conjuring LEAD CAST: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor DIRECTOR: James Wan GENRE: Mystery & Suspense, Horror, Thriller RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes CINEMATOGRAPHER: John R. Leonetti DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros. LOCATION: US Technical assessment: Moral assessment: ½ MTRCB rating: R 13 CINEMA rating: V 14
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 18
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
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Based on a true story involving real-life demonologists, husband and wife team of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), The Conjuring revolves around the experience of a working class couple Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) and their five daughters, Andrea (Shanley Caswell), Nancy (Hayley McFarland), Christine (Joey King), Cindy (Mackenzie Foy), and April (Kyla Deaver). The Perrons have just moved into their “dream home”, a bargain of a house by a lake somewhere in New England. Having poured all their savings into their new dwelling, Roger and Carolyn are unwilling to move out of it even when inexplicable and eerie things start to happen in the house. When the happenings increasingly disturb and then terrorize them, the Perrons call in the Warrens
TITLE: Ekstra LEAD CAST: Vilma Santos, Ruby Ruiz, Piolo Pascual, Cherie Gil, Cherry Pie Picache, Pilar Pilapil, Marian Rivera, Tom Rodriguez, Eula Valdes, and Richard Yap DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Jeturian GENRE: Socio-Realist DramaComedy RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes DISTRIBUTOR: Star Cinema LOCATION: Philippines Technical assessment: ½ Moral assessment: MTRCB rating: PG 13 CINEMA rating: PG 13 (Ages 13 and below with parental guidance)
to help. In spite of The conjuring being generally classified as a horror movie, in reality it offers much more than just jump-scare scenes. Those who expect to see a horrorhorror movie will ignorantly compare The Conjuring to possession movies like The Exorcist and others in the same genre. True, it is armed with the usual accouterments horror movies have employed through the ages—the creepy doll, doors opening and closing by themselves, the mysterious armoire, the basement with its resident evils—but its intensity derives from suspense and precisely timed boo moments, not from blood flood or victims with spinning heads and spewing avocado puree. Which only goes to show that director James Wan (Saw, Insidious) knows what he’s doing. Supported by a well-researched script, masterful camerawork, and memorable acting, The conjuring emerges as a credible, respectful and well-balanced representation of a real life episode. In order to fully grasp the validity of The conjuring as an
informative film based on a true story, viewers must pay attention to what is spoken and what is written on the screen. As director Wan thoughtfully portrayed in The conjuring, the Warrens are devout Catholics who are obedient to the Magisterium and sincerely believe that God brought them together for a purpose. The real Ed and Lorraine Warren were not exorcists: Ed (deceased) was the “only non-ordained demonologist recognized by the Catholic Church”, and Lorraine has psychic gifts that enable her to see non-human entities and to intuit victims’ emotional states, among other things. The husband-andwife team would be called upon to give talks and investigate suspected paranormal activities, mostly in northeastern United States. As The conjuring shows, they are serious researchers and are rational about their work, always aiming to discover natural, explicable causes behind seemingly supernatural occurrences. (A particular instance in the movie shows them coolly explaining to terrified clients that creaking
wooden floors do not always mean a haunting or demonic possession.) Only after natural causes are ruled out and manifestations turn demonic would the Warrens request an exorcism to be properly done by a priest. The exorcism (spoiler!) attempted by Ed must be explained. It is spurred by the circumstances, not a presumptuous shot at disobedience to the Church. The Warrens knew they should not be doing it but seeing they could no longer stop Carolyn from hurting herself and others, Ed, encouraged by Lorraine, proceeded with the rites, going through the motions and reading the Latin text with an American twang, startled but kept up on his feet. His effort to rid the woman from what they had come to believe was the devil is much like what a drowning person does— holding on to a the tail of the shark in the hope of being saved. Lest we give you more spoilers at this point, suffice it to say that The conjuring highlights the power of faith in God and compassion between humans to thwart evil in this world. (Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS)
Mag-isang itinataguyod ng ekstra o “bit player’ na si Loida Malabanan (Vilma Santos) ang anak na nag-aaral sa kolehiyo. Madaling araw pa lamang ay abala na si Loida sa paghahanda para makasabay sa serbis na sasakyan magdadala sa kaniya at mga kasama sa location shooting ng teleserye kung saan gumaganap sila bilang mga Ekstra. Kailangan niyang kumita sa shooting na yon dahil magbabayad ng tuition para makapag-exam ang anak. Maluwalhati namang nakarating sa lokasyon ng mga kukunang tagpo sina Loida kung saan parang sanay na sila na binabalewala sila dahil hindi naman sila ang mga bida sa teleserye-walang nakatalagang lugar para sa kanilang pagpapahinga, pagbibihis, at kahit sa pagkain. Sa kabila ng mga pagmamaliit ay puno pa rin ng pag-asa si Loida na aasenso siya at makikitaan ng saya sa kanyang ginagawa.
Pinagbubutihan ni Loida ang maliliit na papel na ibinibigay sa kanya tulad ng pagiging parte ng madaming tao, katulong at pagdouble sa bida sa mga pisikal na eksena kaya naman hinangaan siya ng mga kasama, ng talent coordinator, at kahit ng mga tao sa produksyon. Samantala habang abala si Loida sa shooting ay nagti-text ang kanyang anak at humihingi ng pambayad sa tuition. Mangangailangan ng gaganap sa papel na abogado at mayroong linya na sasabihin; mapipili si Loida. Buong pagmamalaking itetext niya agad sa anak ang balita, lalo na’t kasama niya sa eksena ang matagal na niyang iniidolong artista na si Amanda (Pilar Pilapil). Matugunan naman kaya ni Loida ang kailangan ng anak at ano ang kalalabasan ng pagganap ni Loida sa eksena bilang abogado? Napakahusay ng mga teknikal na aspeto ng pelikulang Ekstra. Malinis at makatotohanan ang pagkakalahad ng kuwento. Interesante ang mga eksena na tila isang “reality show” ang tinutunghayan ng mga manonood. Maayos ang palitan ng aktwal na mga eksena ng shooting at teleserye na nagtatampok kina Piolo Pascual, Marian Rivera, CherieGil,atPilarPilapil.Nakaaliw panoorin ang kabuuan ng pelikula dahil sa maingat na paghahatid ng mga detalye. Mahusay ang trato ni Jeturian sa paghahatid ng mga eksena at pagpapalutang ng mga karakter sa mga nagsiganap. Hindi matatawaran ang pagganap ng isang Vilma Santos at isang salik ang pagiging bida niya sa pelikula para sa higit na “appreciation” ng mga manonood. Hindi rin nagpahuli ang mga kasamang nagsiganap sa pelikula, batikan
man o mga baguhan. Akma at epektibo ang mga inilapat na tunog, musika at ilaw. Maganda at nakakaaliw ang mga kuha ng camera lalo na sa pagpapakita ng mga detalye. Sa kabuuan ay nakitaan ng seryosong paghahatid ang pelikula na ginamitan ng mahusay na aspetong teknikal— walang alinglangan na ang pagiging makatotohanan ng Ekstra ay gawa ng mahabang karanasan ni Jeturian bilang direktor ng mga teleserye, bukod sa pagiging isang iginagalang na direktor ng pelikula. Tinalakay ng pelikulang Ekstra ang kahalagahan ng sakripisyo at pagsisikap ng mga nagsisiganap bilang mga ekstra sa mga palabas sa telebisyon at pelikula para kumita ng marangal at makatulong sa pamilya katulad ng pagtataguyod sa pagpapaaral ng anak upang mabigyan ito ng magandang kinabukasan. Nakitaan ng determinasyon ang karakter ni Loida para pagbutihin ang kanyang ginagawa at maging masaya sa kabila ng mga di kanaisnais na kalagayan ng kanyang trabaho. Makahulugan ang mga linyang sinambit ni Loida para magbigay ng inspirasyon at kaliwanagan sa mga kapwaekstra—na kahit maliit ang papel na ginagampanan nila ay malaking bahagi sila upang mabuo ang isang palabas kaya dapat pagbutihin ang trabaho. Nakatulong ang pelikula na makapagbigay-alam sa publiko ng mga tunay na pangyayari sa likod ng mga pinaglilibangan at sinusubaybayan nilang mga palabas sa telebisyon. Bagamat nakatuon sa mga ekstra ang pelikula, buong tapat na ipinakita din nito ang kalagayan ng iba
Buhay San Miguel
pang manggagawa sa likod ng isang TV production (tulad ng mga assistants, makeup artists, caterers, atbp.) at ang mga pressures at hamon na kinakaharap nila sa kanilang mga trabaho. Higit sa lahat, inilalahad ng pelikula ang kasamaan ng ugali ng mga malalaking artista, pati na ng director (ginampanan ni Marlon Rivera), na siyang nagiging sanhi din ng mga pressures na dinadala ng lahat— lalo na ng mga pinakawawa, ang pinakamaliliit na kasapi ng produksyon, ang mga ekstra na sumasalo sa di makataong pagmamaliit at pagpapahiya sa kanila. Isang punto na maaaring pagnilayan ng mga taong nasa ganitong linya ng trabaho, lalo na ng mga big bosses at producers, ay ang katotohanan na ang mga ekstra mismo ang nagbibigaydangal sa kanilang trabaho, kaya’t di makatarungan na maging kultura sa mga produksyon ang paghamak sa mga katulad nila.
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Jocelyn (Headey) and husband Luke (Turner) seem to be a normal couple trying to raise a stubborn teenage daughter Clary Fray (Collins). But when Clary becomes unconsciously obsessed with a certain rune, Jocelyn becomes alarmed and realizes their family secret is about to be discovered. On the same night, Clary takes nerdy best friend Simon (Sheehan) to a night club where she witnesses three Goth teenagers murdering one of the guests. The following day, she sees Jace (Bower), one of the Goth murderers, outside a café while she talks with Simon. She decides to confront the Title: Mortal instruments stalker and simultaneously Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie receives a distressing call Campbell Bower, Robert from her mother being Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Lena Headey, Kevin attacked and asking her not Durand, Aidan Turner, to come home. Clary ignores Godfrey Gao her mother’s instructions Direction: Harald Zwart and rushes home. She finds their house in disarray Genre: Fantasy-AdventureTeen Romance and her mother missing. A Running Time: 130 minutes demon-mutant dog attacks Location: New York, USA her but fortunately Jace Distributor: Sony Pictures arrives and saves her from Technical assessment: being torn into pieces. Clary and Simon are taken by Jace Moral assessment: ½ to an abandoned church in MTRCB Rating: PG13 the middle of New York. CINEMA Rating: V18 They learn that Jace is a Shadowhunter—a halfhuman, half-angel warrior trained to hunt demons—and Clary, like her mother, is one as well. Apparently Clary’s memory and powers were blocked when she was a child to protect her from Valentine, a rebel Shadowhunter who wanted to create a stronger breed of warriors to rule to world. She learns that her mother ran away from Valentine and has hidden the Mortal Cup to thwart his plans. Now it is up to Clary to discover her true self, retrieve the missing Mortal Cup, save her mother, and stop Valentine. The movie adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s best seller dismally fails to capitalize on another teenage fantasy romance. Audiences who are not familiar with the book will not be able to keep up with the many sub-plots and foreshadowing. Neither the storyline nor the different characters were clearly explained nor given proper resolutions. For example, it is not clear where a Shadowhunter is immortal or not, and, who is Magnus Bane? While the battle sequences are action-packed and stimulating they are not enough to resuscitate the movie from the narrative’s dull development and predictable screenplay. The actors may have been physically perfect for the part but are just deadweight in their thespic interpretations. Collins gives a monotonous performance, Bower has the same deadpan expression all throughout and Meyers is simply unbelievable in his evil quest. The premise by itself is promising with a darker storyline and richer context but director Zwart failed to successfully translate the book into film. Even the romance part is unsuccessful and makes even the love struck target market cringe in its cheesiness. Mortal instruments tackles the same coming of age discovery that he/she is meant to do something unequivocally important for humanity and lead the ultimate battle between good and evil. It could be said that with people working together and setting aside differences, good will always triumph. However, the movie has some disturbing subplots. For instance, there are undertones of homosexuality in reference to Alec and Magnus. While the homosexual relationship between the two will still be developed in the sequel, parents might not be too happy with protagonist heroes openly engaging in homosexual relationships. Secondly, and more central to the main storyline is the forbidden romance between siblings Clary and Jace. Interestingly, MTRCB issued an advisory against violent fight scenes which were actually tolerable and non-graphic but failed to note the abovementioned issues.
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 18
Weeklong Celebration Marks KCFAPI’s 55th Anniversary
THE year 2013 marks an important event in the existence of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) as it celebrates its 55th anniversary on September 9, 2013. A weeklong celebration dubbed as “KCFAPI Week” kicks off on September 7 (Saturday) with a Run for a Cause entitled KCFAPI Run 5 at 55, to be followed by a Marian Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe on the following day, September 8. Other activities lined up for the week are as follows: Sep. 9 - KCFAPI 55th Anniversary program, Sep. 10 – Prisoners Jail Apostolate, Sep. 11 – Free Ultrasound services, Sep. 12 – Seminar on Taxation, Sep. 13 – Fraternal Benefits Day, and Sep. 14 – TV Mass in commemoration of the death anniversary of KCFAPI’s founder and the father of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines, Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ. Looking back, it was in 1958 when through the then First Philippine Deputy, Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ, sixty four (64) Filipino Knights and councils donated P500 each aggregating to P32,000 to establish the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) – a nonstock, non-profit, benevolent mutual benefits society. Then on September 9, 1958, KCFAPI was duly licensed by the Insurance Commission to operate as an insurance system for the exclusive protection of the members of the Knights of Columbus and their immediate families. Henceforth, KCFAPI grew stronger with the inspiration and wisdom of its founders and line of leaders the Association had through the years:
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILS., INC.
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT, GENERAL MANAGER & EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
December 2002 - 2003 Teodoro O. Arcenas, Jr. Antonio B. Borromeo Manuel G. Lopez August 2004 Teodoro O. Arcenas, Jr. Alfredo O. Taruc Manuel G. Lopez Alberto P. Solis Alfredo O. Taruc Manuel G. Lopez (Jan. 06)
Chairman President Executive Vice President Chairman President Executive Vice President Chairman President Exec. Vice President
1958-1975 1975-1984 1984-1988
Roman G. Mabanta, Sr. Basilio King Oscar Ledesma Isagani V. Tolentino
Chairman & President General Manager Chairman & President General Manager
Mardonio R. Santos Chairman & President (dec88) General Manager Isagani V. Tolentino Lauro M. Cruz Isagani V. Tolentino Chairman President
January 1989 April 1989 May 1990
Leonor S. Lozano Chairman Isagani V. Tolentino President (june90) Lauro M. Cruz Leonor S. Lozano Angel C. Veloso Lauro M. Cruz Manuel G. Lopez Mardonio R. Santos Lauro M. Cruz Manuel G. Lopez Mardonio R. Santos Pedro M. Rodriguez, Jr. Manuel G. Lopez Ramon V. Consing Pedro M. Rodriguez, Jr. Manuel G. Lopez Ramon V. Consing Teodoro O. Arcenas, Jr. Manuel G. Lopez Teodoro O. Arcenas, Jr. Manuel G. Lopez Managing Trustee Chairman Chairman President General Manager Chairman President General Manager Chairman President General Manager Chairman President General Manager Chairman President General Manager Chairman & President General Manager
Alberto P. Solis Chairman Edijer A. Martinez President Ma. Theresa G. Curia Exec. Vice President (Feb. 06) Patrocinio R. Bacay Antonio B. Borromeo Ma. Theresa G. Curia Patrocinio R. Bacay Antonio B. Borromeo Ma. Theresa G. Curia Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Alonso L. Tan Ma. Theresa G. Curia Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Guillermo N. Hernandez Ma. Theresa G. Curia Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Arsenio Isidro G. Yap Ma. Theresa G. Curia Chairman President Exec. Vice President Chairman President Exec. Vice President Chairman President Exec. Vice President Chairman President Exec. Vice President Chairman President Exec. Vice President
July 1990 April 1991
July 2008 - 2009
April 1992 - 1993
July 2011 - 2012
April 1994 - 1995
July 1998 - 2002
To date, KCFAPI, along with its four wholly-owned and majority-owned companies and foundations: Keys Realty and Development Corporation, Mace Insurance Agency, Inc., KC Philippines Foundations, Inc. and Knights
of Columbus Fr. George J. Willmann SJ Charities, Inc. relentlessly commit to carry on the aspirations of Fr. Willmann SJ throughout the next fifty more years of KCFAPI. (Ma. Kristianne G. Pascual)
K of C, DMII Celebrate Feast of Our Lady of Assumption with Free Ultrasound
K of C, KCFAPI Appeal for Solidarity Assistance
The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines together with its insurance arm, the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) appealed for Solidarity Assistance for the victims of typhoons Labuyo and Maring that devastated several provinces in Luzon. The Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction headed by Arsenio Isidro Yap has recently launched a relief drive for flood victims in different areas in Luzon. Yap, along with other state officials and Supreme Director Alonso Tan had an emergency meeting with the District Deputies of the affected areas to gather their respective situation reports. Based on these reports, it was determined that several areas in the province of Laguna particularly the areas of Biñan, Sta. Rosa and Landayan were most severely affected by the typhoons. Other affected provinces were Zambales, Aurora, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Bataan, Pangasinan, among others. During the said emergency meeting, the group likewise discussed the campaign [relief drive] and how soon they can
Solidarity / C2
The Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction represented by its Community Director – Bro. Romy Estrella, KC Council 10104 represented by its Grand Knight - Bro. Nolan Napenas and Past Grand Knight – Bro. Harry R. Curia, Daughters of Mary Immaculate Int’l Rosarian Circle represented by its Regent – Sis. Lhens Ramos and its Vicarial Regent – Sis. Ma. Theresa Curia during the Pro-Life Ultrasound project at Makinabang Baliuag, Bulacan.
Oldest Council Holds 109th Installation of Officers
The 109th Installation of Officers and Induction of Service Directors and Committee Chairmen for the Columbian Year 2013 to 2014 of the oldest K of C Council in the country, Council 1000 was held last August 2 at the historical Building of the Knights of Columbus Manila Council 1000 in Intramuros, Manila. The newly elected officers were solemnly and traditionally installed by Worthy District Deputy of M-47 Noel S. Lacanilao. The momentous event with the theme “Columbianism in the Changing World” started with an Ecumenical Mass celebrated by Council Chaplain Rev. Fr. Peter A. Casiño, OSA with Core Group Choir of Sto. Niño de Tondo Parish, as guest chorale. The guest of honor and speaker was Honorable Commissioner and Brother Knight Lucenito N. Tagle of the Commission on Elections. Valedictory Address and Inaugural Speeches were heartfully delivered by Immediate Past
K of C Luzon Jurisdiction and KCFAPI have distributed 1000 packs of relief goods in San Pedro, Biñan and Sta. Rosa Laguna last August 31. In photo are Msgr. Melchor A. Barcenas, JCL, Shrine Rector of the Shrine of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre, Landayan, San Pedro Laguna together with the local Brother Knights receiving the donations for the victims of Typhoons Labuyo and Maring. Luzon State officials present during the relief distributions were Bro. Bonifacio Martinez, Alex Alvaira, Jun Pineda, Jun Galang, Romy Estrella, Noni Ayon, and Pepito Paradero.
Daughters of Mary Immaculate International – Rosarian Circle and the Knights of Columbus Council 1004 in partnership with the Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction successfully completed the conduct of
ultrasound of some sixty-three (63) expectant mothers’ womb and four (4) males for prostate in commemoration of the Feast of Our Lady of Assumption on August 15 with the theme “CelUltrasound / C2
Installation / C3
Officials of Council 1000 together with Luzon State Warden Pascual C. Carbero (extreme left).
Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 18
AS we celebrate this month the KCFAPI Week which caps with the memorial mass in honor of Fr. George G. Willmann, SJ, the founder of KCFAPI, I thought of looking at it from the perspective of the first encyclical of the pontificate of Pope Francis titled “Lumen Fidei”, Light of Faith. I would like to think that the establishment of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) was not merely in answer to the temporal needs of the members of the Order, as it would seem from the surface. It would be more accurate to say that the KCFAPI was driven and founded on the profound faith of its initiators and those that accompanied its tremendous growth through the years. Indeed, even the four cardinal principles of the Order of the Knights of Columbus are founded on the “solid rock,” the faith in and of the Lord Jesus. Otherwise, such endeavors would remain merely as human causes or philanthropy and not as one that is mandated by the Gospel—and hence divinely inspired. In his encyclical, Pope Francis points out that “there is an urgent need to see once again that faith is a light” intended to illumine every aspect of human existence and “to see” things “as Jesus sees them, with his own eyes.” This is a very important perspective. In the way KCFAPI operates, for instance, that illumination which comes from Christ should be very visible in the daily transactions with clients who are our brothers and sisters. Failing that would relegate KCFAPI to an ordinary mutual benefit association, not guided by faith but by mere profit. I wish to take this opportunity to convey my appreciation and gratitude to all the KCFAPI officers, staff and friends who are working hard to make the KCFAPI Week a success. Vivat Iesus!
The Cause for the Beatification of Father George J. Willmann, SJ
EMULATING the virtues that bespeak of sanctity of a person, like Father George J. Willmann, is what we need today to draw us into a deeper living out of the fullest meaning of our Catholic Faith in the context of increasing secularism. Thus, we believe, is one of the most important objectives in initiating the Cause of the good Father George. As prescribed by the Congregation for Causes of Saints in Rome, a person may be elevated to the honors of the altar if he has lived up to a “heroic” degree of the supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity, as well as the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. We believe that Father Willmann practiced them all to an exceptional degree. In order to establish and widen the fame of Sanctity of Father Willmann, may we call on all Brother Knights, their families and friends to respond to the following appeal: • Submission of testimonies on Fr. Willmann’s heroic virtues; • Recitation of Prayer for his Beatification in private and during K of C meetings and affairs; • Invocation of his intercession in our prayers; • Submission of Reports on answered prayers through the intercession of Father Willmann; • Visitation of his tomb in the Sacred Heart Novitiate Cemetery, Novaliches, Quezon City. • Membership to Fr. George J. Willmann Fellows. This is a challenge for all of us Knights of Columbus members, who dearly love Father George J. Willmann, SJ.
Prayer for the Beatification of Father George J. Willmann, SJ
Blessed are You, Almighty Father, source of all goodness and wisdom. Look kindly upon us Your children, who are trying to serve You with all our heart. Deign to raise Fr. George J. Willmann to the honors of the altar. He was the prayerful, strong, dauntless model that all of our Filipino men need in this new era; a man leading other men in the care and formation of the youth; the relief of victims of war and violence; the alleviation of the suffering of the poor; the preservation of the sanctity of life, marriage and the family. Make him the lamp on the lampstand giving light to all in the house. Make him the city set on the mountain, which cannot be hidden, so that all of us may learn from his courage, his integrity, and his indomitable spirit in the struggle to lead men to God, and to bring God to men. Through his intercession, bestow on us the favour we ask You in faith and according to Your will (pause here and silently entrust to the Lord your petitions). Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...
Michael Cabra Arsenio Isidro G. Yap
As we Celebrate Fr. George J. Willmann Week, we recall with fondness his contributions to the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines. The very first thing he did was to convince the Supreme Council to open the doors for more Knights of Columbus Councils to be established in the Philippines. This singular act of persistence paves the way for more council to be opened. At the time of his death, there were 457 councils with about 29,408 members. As of June 30, 2013 there are now 2,547 councils in the Philippines in the three jurisdictions of Luzon, Mindanao and Visayas with a combined total membership of over 300,000. The second major thing he had accomplished was to establish the financial arm of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines, the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI). This Mutual Benefit Association started from a humble beginning of P 32,000 to close to P4 Billion as of date. As we also celebrate, the 55th Anniversary of KCFAPI, we reaffirm our commitments to serve the needs of our members and to continue with the social responsibilities expected of us. Whether Fr. Willmann knew that the K of C and KCFAPI would grow to what it is today, is anybody’s conjecture. We all know the current story, what we don’t know is how far and how fast can we grow. One thing is certain though, Fr. George J. Willmann laid the foundation to what and who we are today. That’s why we call him, the “Fr. McGivney of the Philippines”.
My Brother's Keeper
Last month, we celebrated the Birth and Death of a Venerable Servant of God, Fr. Michael J. McGivney. This month of September, we are celebrating another important Birth and Death: the Birth of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) and the Death of Fr. George J. Willmann SJ, founder of KCFAPI. KCFAPI started its operations last September 9, 1958 after it obtained the necessary license from the Office of the Insurance Commission. Nineteen years after, September 14, 1977, KCFAPI’s founder, Fr. George J. Willmann SJ succumbed to a cardiac arrest and joined our Creator. We at KCFAPI will be observing a week long festivity starting from the celebration of KCFAPI’s 55th Anniversary on September 9, 2013 and to conclude with the commemoration of the 37th Death Anniversary of Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ on September 14, 2013. Indeed another reason to celebrate birth from a significant death. In the same way, more than
September : Another Significant Birth and Death Month
a thousand of our KC Brothers, immediate family members and their beneficiaries who availed of KCFAPI insurance protection experienced the same reason to celebrate birth from a memorable loss of a family member. The birth of a new life brought about by the proceeds of an insurance benefit. Without a life insurance there is not much to celebrate after death. Speaking of a better life after death, are you responsible enough to provide insurance protection for your family? If you are, I suggest you avail of our KC Assurance Plan. If you are age 40 now all you need to do is save Php17,992 every year for the next six years or a total of Php107,952 and your family member is assured for Php400,000 ten (10) years from now. Of course, the plan is also available from age 1 to 75. For other plan features and benefits please feel free to contact me and I will refer you to a fraternal counselor. Together let us insure our family members a better reason in celebrating birth, that is, providing a better life after death.
Visayas Columbus Foundation Launches Scholarship Program
The Visayas Colum bus Foundation Inc, a charitable institution under the Knights of Columbus - Visayas Jurisdiction has launched a Scholarship Program last August 24 in Cebu City. Visayas Deputy Rodrigo N. Sorongon attended the launchSolidarity / C1
Ultrasound / C1
ing of the scholarship program, which will sponsor the deserving children of the Brother Knights to avail of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Meanwhile, Sorongon took the opportunity to meet the District Deputies in Cebu area and
on August 25, he joined the Concepcion Councils to celebrate the Annual Family Day. About 160 Knights attended the celebration. Furthermore, Provincial and District Deputies from the Provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras and Antique held a meeting at Council 10101 KC
chamber. During the said meeting, the following topics were discussed: Appeal to help the Luzon Flood Victims, preparations for the upcoming Pilgrimage of the Icon of Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion, membership recruitment, new council de-
velopment, reactivation of suspended councils, and Parish Round Table and Billing Statement of Councils. Towards the end of the meeting, the District Deputies expressed their commitment to do their part in the various projects cited. (Anthony Nazario/VizNews)
Leaders of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate International: Regional Representative – Sis. Violy Luna (2nd from left), Vicarial Regent – Sis. Tes Curia (leftmost), Rosarian Circle Regent – Sis. Lhens Ramos (rightmost) together with the Knights of Columbus Grand Knight - Bro. Nolan Napenas (2nd from right), awarded a plaque of appreciation to Rev. Fr. Winnie Naboya (center), for conducting a short pro-life catechism for the expectant mothers.
ebration of Love and Life.” The event was held last August 17 at the Sto. Rosario Parish Church in Makinabang, Baliuag, Bulacan. DMII Sisters and Brother Knights provided the free ultrasound with a baby shower, which served as their gift together with a prayer to the pregnant mothers and their husbands. According to the statement released by the DMII, there were expectant mothers at their young ages of 16 and 18 and there were still those expecting their 10th and 12th babies. It added that the project [ultrasound] gave their members the unique opportunity to serve the community through catechism, volunteer services such as preparation of food, packing of baby shower gifts, assisting in the ultrasound organization and procedures and feeding the participants. It also marked a unique bonding among the Daughters of Mary Immaculate International and the Knights of Columbus members. Moreover, DMII Vicarial Re-
gent Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Regent Lhens Ramos and Grand Knight Nolan Napenas acknowledged Fr. Winniefred F. Naboya for celebrating the mass and providing an enlightening message to the participants. Also acknowledged were Chartered Regent Lina Maniego for the pro-life message (for the members of Bro. Jaime Maniego), International Representative Violy Luna for her pro-life message, and Luzon State Community Director Romy Estrella for facilitating the actual execution of the ultrasound. “Most especially, we are greatly thankful to Luzon Deputy, Sir. Knight Arsenio Isidro G. Yap, who is also the KCFAPI President, for lending us the Ultrasound Machine purchased by the K of C Luzon Jurisdiction,” Curia said. The latter added that the Sto. Rosario Parish became one of the early beneficiaries of this unique privilege of being able to deliver an ultrasound service to our brothers and sisters who are financially challenged. (KC News)
distribute the relief items they could gather. “I don't think it could normalize for the rest of the week as rain is still quite heavy and flooding has not receded in many areas. Relief distribution will be handled by the State Council and this will be coordinated with the distribution efforts of the districts to as many areas affected,” Yap said. “Initially, the State Council is appropriating P 100,000.00 worth of food items and an equal amount also in food items will be provided by KCFAPI. Our company will provide 50 sacks of rice and will provide a truck for relief distribution. We can only make about 400 packages out of these initial allocations and pledges. This would not be enough as there are at least 14 areas where we have brother knights severely affected,” he added. Yap, shared his own experiences as he was also a victim of the recent typhoons. “It was a serious threat to our home and office. Flood waters in front of my house reached 3-4 feet but fortunately our house is elevated by about 6 feet. In front of my office, flood waters were at 4-5 feet. We were able to prevent flood waters from entering and damaging our office because of a "Flood Control" mechanism that is good for up to 8 feet,” Yap, who is also the incumbent KCFAPI President stated. He also appealed to the Supreme Council to provide some assistance to their relief drive. Interested parties may call (02) 5272223 for donations and more information. The first relief distribution of the KC and KCFAPI was conducted in Laguna on August 31. Bayanihan system The Luzon office received some initial reports that some K of C councils have started to adopt the bayanihan system of the Filipinos. KC Councils in Parañaque and Marikina
have already distributed food items in their respective areas; while the K of C Council 12308 Sta. Teresita Disaster 2nd Responder Team provided free hot porridge (lugaw) to the evacuees of Lourdes School in Quezon City and other evacuation centers. Meanwhile, the K of C Council 5579 in Bacood, Sta. Mesa, Manila led by Grand Knight Ramon Jimenez, conducted a Disaster Relief Operations. Beneficiaries were about 40 families residing near the river. Brother Knights evacuated the families to a nearby E. Quirino High School with the assistance of Past Grand Knight Joseph Teodoro. The K of C Council 8256 of the Mary Help of Christian Parish City on the other hand, has identified more than 600 families who were affected by the recent floods in Bgy. Don Bosco. “We called for generous donors to bring used clothings and food items like rice, bread, noodles, biscuits, canned goods and other items to the “Bulwagan ni Maria Center” in our parish. More than 30 Knights of Columbus members gathered together to repack these relief goods and distribute them to 290 families residing in the 5 developing communities in Bgy. Don Bosco, namely Peru Community, CWI Community, Taiwan-Balicanta Community, Serran-Creekside Community and Santos Compound Community. There was just an overwhelming response from our
neighbors in the community, as well as from Don Bosco Mandaluyong,” stated on the Facebook account of Council 8256 Grand Knight Antonio Miguel J. Sanchez, Jr. Meanwhile, Casiguran, Aurora experienced power outage during the typhoon and only few have their generators. Because of this, the Diocesan Councils of Cabanatuan, San Jose and Prelature of Infanta headed by Chairman Gil Dindo Berino together with the Central Luzon Conquerors of KCFAPI led by Manuel Naldoza took the initial step to send a generator in the area. The funds used were gathered from the donations of different local councils. There was also free cell phone charging services provided in the area that benefitted hospital employees and nearby communities. More than 20 KC Members and their families were affected by typhoons Labuyo and Maring in Casiguran and they are asking for some construction materials to rebuild their houses. (Yen Ocampo)
Vol. 17 No. 18
September 2 - 15, 2013
Our faith is manifested through charity toward the poor and suffering
By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
ON June 28, I had the privilege of having a private audience with Pope Francis. It was an extraordinary opportunity to speak with him about the charitable work of the Knights of Columbus throughout all the countries in which we are active. It was also an inspiring opportunity to witness first-hand the love and concern that our new Holy Father has for the poor and suffering. The next day, Pope Francis signed his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith). It is a remarkable document. Drafted initially by Pope Benedict XVI and supplemented by Pope Francis, it is a unique testament of the continuity and closeness of Pope Francis with his predecessor. In Lumen Fidei we read, “Faith does not merely gaze at Jesus, but sees things as Jesus himself sees them, with his own eyes: it is a participation in his way of seeing” (18). This is especially true in the way we regard the poor and the suffering. Are we able to truly see them as Christ sees them? In several places in Lumen Fidei, the pope holds up Blessed Teresa of Calcutta as an example. Those of us who knew her are likely to recall how often she encouraged us to “take time to love Jesus in the poor.” In Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis asks each of us to consider the nature of love, writing, “The boundless love of our Father also comes to us, in Jesus, through our brothers and sisters. Faith teaches us to see that every man and woman represents a blessing for me, that the light of God’s face shines on me through the faces of my brothers and sisters” (54). In recent years, this idea was brought home to me in a special way when I joined brother Knights in distributing wheelchairs to people in Haiti and Mexico who had lost their legs or had other physical disabilities. Many were living in severe poverty—and all were suffering from their disabilities—yet they were filled with faith and hope in spite of all they had endured. Through the Knights of Columbus, we were able to be a blessing for them—to transform their lives in a material way and give them hope for a better life. In return, they were a spiritual blessing for us through their own testimony of faith. These charitable missions provided each of us with the opportunity for a very personal exchange of gifts, an exchange that bettered our own lives. It was an exchange in which those who were materially poor were a spiritual blessing to those of us who were not. The lives of many who suffer give quiet testimony to what Pope Francis writes in Lumen Fidei: “Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light” (57). Last year, the Knights of Columbus once again set new records in charitable giving. According to our 2012-13 Survey of Fraternal Activity, we provided more than $167 million and more than 70 million hours of service to our neighbors in need. These statistics testify to the fact that millions of lives have been touched for the better by the Knights of Columbus. This was accomplished because so many brother Knights determined to make a gift of themselves to their neighbors—a gift of their time and hard work. Our principles of charity, unity and fraternity have guided us for more than 131 years. To those who suffer,
Loving Jesus in the Poor
the Knights of Columbus has been “an accompanying presence … which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light.” This was the vision of our founder, Venerable Michael McGivney. It remains our legacy and mission today. Vivat Jesus!
Atty. Neil Jerome A. Rapatan
Law in Layman’s Term
What is Incontestability provision of a Life Insurance Contract?
Incontestability means that the insurer cannot prove that a Life Insurance Contract is void ab initio or rescindible after it has been in force during the lifetime of the insured for a period of two years from its issuance or last reinstatement. After this two year period, the life insurance policy becomes incontestable and the insurer can no longer avoid the same on the ground of fraudulent concealment or misrepresentation of the insured. The Insurance Code of the Philippines provides: Sec. 48. Whenever a right to rescind a contract of insurance is given to the insurer by any provision of this chapter, such right must be exercised previous to the commencement of an action on the contract. After a policy of life insurance made payable on the death of the insured shall have been in force during the lifetime of the insured for a period of two years from the date of its issue or its last reinstatement, the insurer cannot prove that the policy is void ab initio or is rescindible by reason of fraudulent concealment or misrepresentation of the insured or his agent. Under the aforequoted provisions of law, the insurer must exercise its right to rescind an insurance policy before an action is brought on the contract. The same provision also gives the insurer a two-year period to prove that the policy is void ab initio or is rescindible because of fraudulent concealment or misrepresentation. After the said twoyear period, the life insurance policy becomes incontestable and the insurer can no longer refuse to pay the same. To illustrate, X procured an insurance on his life. In his application, he concealed the fact that he has already been diagnosed with lung cancer. If X dies within the two years from the issuance of his life insurance policy, the insurer can deny the death claim on his insurance and altogether rescind the same on the ground of fraudulent concealment. If however X dies after the two year period, the insurer cannot anymore claim that there was concealment and will have to pay the proceeds of the insurance. Incontestability of a life insurance policy is not absolute as it only deals with defenses which arose in connection with the formation and operation of the policy prior to the occurrence of the loss. The insurer may still contest the policy on the following grounds: 1. That the person taking the insurance lacked insurable interest as required by law; 2. That the cause of death of the insured is an excepted risk; 3. That correct premiums have not been paid; 4. That the conditions of the policy relating to military or naval service have been violated; 5. That fraud is of a particular vicious type; 6. That the beneficiary failed to furnish proof of death or to comply with any condition imposed by the policy after the loss has happened; 7. That the action was not brought within the time specified. (De Leon, the Insurance Code of the Philippines, 2006 ed., pp. 165-166) The above-enumerated defenses are not barred by incontestability and can be raised by the insurer even beyond the two-year period of contestability.
Kilusang 99% Lauds Youth During Academic Forum
Luzon Squires Training and Program Director, Sherwin Mamaril during the Kilusang 99% Third Academic Forum.
AKCDM 27th Annual Convention Held
The 27th Annual Convention of the Association of the Knights of Columbus in the Diocese of Marbel (AKCDM) was held on August 25 at the General Santos City Gymnasium with the theme: “The Knights of Columbus and the New Evangelization.” More than 500 brother knights gathered together with their wives on this annual event, which aims to foster camaraderie and bonding among the Brother Knights especially in the Diocese of Marbel. Incoming President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Archbishop of the Diocese of Lingayen, Dagupan, Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, DD was the Guest of Honor. Invocation was led by Rev. Fr. Ramil Poquita, CP. The National Anthem and Opening Ode on the other hand was led by Robert Layog, while the presentation of delegates and introduction of Guest Speaker was headed by Jose Mari Guerra and Grand Knight Willie Guerra of K of C Council 12608, respectively. KCFAPI Time was presided by KCFAPI Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group Gari San Sebastian, while the inspirational message was given by Mayor of Gen. Santos City, Ronnel C. Rivera. It was Mindanao State Chaplain and Diocese of Marbel Bishop, Most Rev. Dinualdo D. Gutierrez. DD, who presided the holy mass which was followed by lunch and the program proper. Meanwhile, K of C Mindanao Deputy Balbino C. Fauni delivered his message followed by the AKCDM President Pio Tanalas. The election of the new set of Officers (AKCDM) on the
Hundreds of attendees attentively listened to the presentation of the youth sector led by the Luzon Squires Training and Program Director, Sherwin Mamaril during the Kilusang 99% Third Academic Forum last August 9 held at OZ AVR, Adamson University, Manila. The academic forum with the theme "Kaginhawahan: Nararamdaman Ko Ba Ito" was attended by the various sectors in the society led by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Chairman of the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Mamaril defined what holistic development and well-being means for a youth. He also gave his opinion on how to attain the development in the country, from a youth’s perspective. He was accompanied by the Former Chief
Squire of the Diocese of Caloocan, Paul Lawrence Cartera. The academic forum aims to discuss and facilitate exchange of different ideas and aspirations of development from the perspective of K99 sectors; come up with a common definition of true and holistic “Development” for all; and share result with the official agencies as well as with the general public and ultimately contribute to the Philippine Development Plan. The K99 is a group convened by the CBCP-NASSA National Director since 2011, consisting of 80 multi-sectoral organizations and individuals who believe in promoting social reform and the calls of 99% of the society whose voice is marginalized by the corporate and influential 1% and the mainstream media. (KC News)
FBG Holds Fraternal Service Training Program
The Fraternal Benefits Group of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) held a two-day Fraternal Service Training program from August 27 to 28 at the Fr. George J. Willmann SJ Memorial Building Social Hall inside the KCFAPI compound in Intramuros, Manila. There were 9 participants from Bulacan, Vizcaya, Pasig, Marikina, Quezon City, Cavite and Isabela. The program aims to give knowledge about the products being offered by KCFAPI and its advantages to the members and their immediate families. Aside from the product specifications, the program likewise provided idea regarding the basic insurance processes and conceptualization of new marketing strategies in order to help the trainees achieve their goals and improve their sales performance. Speakers were KCFAPI Vice Presi-
Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas (2nd to the left) together with Mindanao Deputy Balbino Fauni (extreme left), Lady and other Mindanao Brother Knights.
other hand was handled by Chito Diaz. Towards the end of the program, the Mindanao Jurisdiction acknowledged the Working Committees led by the Convention Chairman, Grand Knight Willie Guerra, Convention Co-Chairman District Deputy Dominador
Dizon- M84, Convention Secretary Kristian P. Henri Fauni and Treasurers Feliciano Bayubay and Raul Matuguinas. The Annual Convention of the Association of the Knights of Columbus in the Diocese of Marbel was initiated by Bishop Gutierrez, 27 years ago. (MindaNews)
dent for Fraternal Benefits Group Gari M. San Sebastian, Fraternal Benefits Service Department Manager Michael P. Cabra, Underwriting Department Manager Carmelita S. Ruiz, Benefit Certificate Holders’ Relations Office Manager Edwin B. Dawal, Legal Manager Atty. Neil Jerome Rapatan and KCFAPI Medical Director Dr. Jaime Talag. FBG Staff Jerome De Guzman provided administrative assistance during the event. (FBG News)
San Pablo K of C Council 3468 under District S59 in Laguna conducted an installation of officers last August 24. Meanwhile, San Pablo Council 14381 likewise held their installation of officers last August 25. St. Peter de Apostle Co. 12716 in Mulanay, Quezon conducted their first and second degree exemplifications last August 25, while the K of C 3609 in Gumaca, Quezon held their installation of officers last August 24. The Knights of Columbus Juan Luna Assembly ACN 1436 installed their assembly officers for the CY 2013-2014 last August 18 at the St. Andrew the Apostle Parish Church in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. Msgr. Mario Garaza led the corporate Eucharistic celebration. Part of the program was the renewal of obligations to the Order. San Fabian Council 5739 of the Knights of Columbus was one of the recipients of the "Star Council Award” for CY 2012-2013 under the Luzon Jurisdiction.The installation of Council Officers and Induction of Service Personnel were held last August 4 after the morning corporate and thanksgiving mass led by the Council Chaplain, Rev. Fr. Reynaldo V. Romero. The Luzon Jurisdiction of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines held the Grand Knight/ Financial Secretaries (GK/FS) seminar in different areas in Cavite last August 24 and 25. A similar event will be held for the National Capital Region (NCR) on September 28 at the KCFAPI main office. The Luzon Jurisdiction will hold an annual Tree Planting activity to commemorate the death anniversary of the K of C local founder Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ on September 21. The Knights of Columbus Fr. Alfredo EI Paguia SJ Council 3362 participated in the "Walk for Humanity" last August 11 in Zamboanga City. K of C Council 8256 of the Mary Help of Christian Parish in Parañaque City celebrated their 32nd Installation of Officers and Induction of Service Directors last August 18 with Worthy Luzon Secretary Raoul A. Villanueva as Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker. K of C Guardian of the Virgin Council 5710 conducted their 48th Installation of Officers last August 17 at the Jade Valley Restaurant, Quezon City.
Installation / C1
Grand Knight Anto nio T. Hernandez and Grand Knight Patrio A. Guasa. Witnessing the event were Luzon State Warden Pascual C. Carbero, Past Grand Knights, Council Officers, Brother Knights, Sir Knights from Padre Burgos Assembly, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, families and friends. Meanwhile, in a fitting ceremony, the Installation of Circle Officers and Induction of Committee Chairmen for Circles 1000, 4488, 5344 and 5605 for the Columbian Year 2013 to 2014 was officiated by the Installation Team of the Knights of Co-
lumbus Manila Council 1000 last August 4 at the KCMC 1000 Gymnasium, Intramuros, Manila. The event started with an Ecumenical Mass celebrated by Rev. Fr. Roland Perfecto of San Pablo Apostol Tondo. Guest of honor was Allen Paolo A. Guballa, Past State Chief Squire. Witnessing the event were District Deputy of M-47 Noel S. Lacanilao, Council 1000 Grand Knight Patrio A. Guasa, State Squires Area Chairman Jun S. Florendo, Counselors, parents and Corps of Cadet from Republic Institute. (JSF/KC News)
Hundreds of Brother Knights together with the employees of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) led by Luzon Deputy and KCFAPI President Arsenio Isidro G. Yap expressed their sentiments on the issue of pork barrel by joining the “Million People March’’ held at the Rizal Park in Manila on August 26. Yap urged for a total abolition of Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF. He also encouraged all KC members around the country to unite and stand as one. “The pork barrel is not mandated by the law; it is at the discretion of President Aquino. If he is really against corruption, he should do away with structures that bring corruption,” said Yap. “I want to share with the Filipino people my sentiments regarding the PDAF or Priority Development Assistance Fund. This could be just a start of a bigger issue left undisclosed. Pork barrel is just a portion of a bigger problem. We should really work on transparency and accountability on fiscal matters. Everybody is contributing very hard by paying correct taxes hence, we should be informed on what’s happen-
ing and how the government is spending public funds,” KCFAPI Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia added. There were several priests, nuns, seminarians and students who joined the crowd, which started as early as six in the morning. Among them were Fr. Junnie Pamaong - OFM Cap. Chaplain of Council 12308, Fr. Rafael Quejada OP Chaplain of San Juan de Letran High School and Fr. Roger Cahalig, parish priest of the Our Lady of Grace Caloocan, who celebrated mass in the middle of the crowd. (KC News with reports from Mon Sanchez)
September 2 - 15, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 18
K of C, KCFAPI Join Anti-Pork Barrel Rally in Luneta
Members of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines urge for the total abolition of the pork barrel system. (Photo by Yen Ocampo)
FBG Presents List of Qualified Applicants for Academic Excellence Award
Officers of Capitol Council 3695 with guests, Former Chief Justice and KCFAPI Chairman – Hon. Hilario G. Davide, Jr., KCFAPI Executive Vice President – Sister Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Asst. to the Luzon Deputy – Bro. Joven Joaquin during the Council’s 60th Anniversary, Installation of Officers and Awarding of Council Jewels held last September 1, 2013 at the Elizabeth Hall, Mt. Carmel Shrine, New Manila, Quezon City.
Benefit Certificate Holders’ Relations Office update
The Fraternal Benefits Group of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) presents the latest list of qualified applicants for the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ award for Academic Excellence, with an objective to inspire the members of the Knights of Columbus family to excel academically which could serve as an asset in forming
a ‘strong Christian society.’ The program was divided into 4 divisions, namely: Elementary Level (Valedictorians of the Graduating class of 2011-2013), High School Level (Valedictorians of the Graduating class of 2011-2013), College Level (Cum Laudes and higher of the Graduating class of 2011-2013 and must be at least four-year course) and
passers of BOARD/BAR examination from July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013. The Fr. George J. Will mann, SJ award for Academic Excellence is being sponsored by KCFAPI to recognize the members of Knights of Columbus and their immediate families who have excelled in their studies. As of to date, there are 14 applicants who qualified for
the incentive program, they are: Abegail Faye V. Pascual, Beverly L. Orpiano, Danica Ann D. Delay, Dean Kenji C. Bolivar, Gabriel Y. Iligan, Gutsen D. Gregonia, Jeffrey H. Zacarias, John Y. Gonzales, Joyce Ann E. Sindayen, Maricris R. Diongson, Matreya D Gregonia, Raymond P. Romano, Sergel Marco M. Agno, and Vanessa N. Valdez. (FBG News)
Left photo: Bro. Antonio B. Magtibay (2nd from left) and his wife, Sister Delicia Magtibay (2nd from right) Right photo: Bro. Mark B. Forlales (in shorts) during the awarding of checks representing maturity proceeds of their Benefit Certificates held at the KCFAPI Head office in Intramuros, Manila.
For all Brother Knights and their immediate families who have availed of the insurance protection being offered by the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), we are pleased to announce that some of our Brother Knights have already started to reap the fruits of their labor and trust in KCFAPI and its products. They are Brother Antonio B. Magtibay of Council 9189 and Brother Mark B. Forlales of Council 5124 who just recently visited the KCFAPI’s Home Office to claim the maturity proceeds of their Benefit Certificates.
KC Member Recipient of Supra Montem Awards
P r e sid e n t o f t h e Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) and K of C Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap received Supra Montem Awards from the Diocese of Cubao last August 28 during the Diocese’s 10th year anniversary celebration held at the 10th Floor of the Obispado de Cubao in Quezon City. Yap, a devout Catholic and a Christ centered leader has been in the service of the diocese for 13 years. He has led the plans and programs of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) in his parish, the Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Brixton Hills, Quezon City. A Eucharistic celebration was held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral led by Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongioco, DD before the awarding. Cocelebrators were Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, Bishop Gabriel Reyes, Bishop Jesse Mercado, and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. (KC News)
None other than KCFAPI Executive Vice President, Sis. Ma. Theresa G. Curia, together with the VP – Fra ternal Benefits Group, Bro. Gari M. San Sebastian and Benefit Certificate Holders’ Relations Office Manager, Bro. Edwin B. Dawal presented their respective checks to them. Bro. Antonio B. Magtibay was with his wife Sis. Delicia Magtibay and their Fraternal Counselor, Bro. Bienvenido Torrecampo. Bro. Mark B. Forlales on the other hand, was accompanied by his Fraternal Counselor, Bro. Juan G. Castillo Jr. Bro. Forlales expressed his intent to get a new benefit certificate to replace
his matured benefit certificates in order for him to avail of continuous insurance protection from KCFAPI. The good news is, you and your immediate family have the chance to experience the same thing, if you are covered by KCFAPI insurance protection. So what are you waiting for? Call your Fraternal Counselor and ask for the best plan for you and your family. If in case you do not have a Fraternal Counselor in your council you may reach us at (02) 527 – 2223 and look for Fraternal Benefits Group Department to discuss our Insurance Programs designed only for Brother Knights by Brother Knights.
Brother Arsenio Isidro G. Yap with Lady Annie receiving the Supra Montem Awards from the Cubao Diocese led by Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongioco, DD (extreme right) assisted by Msgr. Alfonso A. Bugawad, Jr (extreme left).
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