This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Pope orders new rules on relations between bishops, religious orders
Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Church supports local govt’s stand against mining in Catanduanes
THE Church strongly backs the call of Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) on President Benigno Aquino to immediately forfeit the Coal Operating Contract (COC) of Altura Mining Philippines, Inc. (AMPI), which was issued by the Department of Energy (DOE), to probe about 7,000 hectares of land in the province for coal deposits, Assistant to the Chancellor Rev. Fr. Eric John T. Rojas said in an e-mail letter.
Mining / A6
Villegas urges dynamism among lay people on Year of Laity
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
“We need to cultivate in our archdiocese a fresh sense of co-responsibility in the Church and to explore all possibilities for priests and laity to work together with mutual respect and fraternal charity,” the Archbishop said in a pastoral letter to the Dagupan faithful on January 1. As the Catholic Church observes 2014 as Year of the Laity, Villegas, who is also president of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said it is important to use this “occasion of grace to attend to two pastoral concerns that need conversion.” He noted the necessity “to bring the laity out of the situation of passivity” and for the clergy to be “more open and willing to share church responsibilities” with the lay faithful. Villegas said that the laity, by virtue of their baptism, share “in common priesthood of life [which] defines the identity, mission, dignity, vocation and spirituality of all Christians.” He encouraged his flock to take heed of what Pope Francis said in Evangelii Gaudium regarding the role of the laity. The Pope in his pastoral exhortation noted that many lay persons have not been given proper formation that would facilitate their taking important responsibilities in the Church, and even
Dynamism / A6
January 6 - 19. 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
LINGAYEN-DAGUPAN Archbishop Socrates Villegas urged for a greater involvement from lay people even as he called on priests to be more open in sharing church responsibilities with the laity.
In what could be a prelude to the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9, young devotees carry a replica of the centuries-old black statue of Jesus Christ during the blessing of replicas outside the Quiapo Church in Manila, January 7. Millions of mostly barefoot devotees join the yearly religious event to seek miraculous cures for illnesses and pray for good life. At this Year of the Laity, the faithful are called to deepen their faith especially in their sanctification and transformation of society.
Bishop calls for missionary Pope’s envoy spends Christmas with typhoon victims fervor in diocese
vital to make it alive and energetic, Garcera emphasized in his pastoral letter on January 1. Garcera introduced the diocesan celebration of the Year of the Laity and of Social Concerns in his New Year’s message, stressing on the role of the laity in building the church and transforming society, while following the examples of Mary. He echoed Pope Francis’ words saying: “parishes are not outdated institutions. Our parishes possess great flexibility. Our parishes can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the parish priests and the community.” “Thus, we ask ourselves,” Garcera said, “Do I involve myself in my parish? Is my parish vibrant with apostolic and missionary enthusiasm?” Faith and praxis The bishop stressed that if one’s faith is to grow, it must be a faith that “flows into daily life
Fervor / A6
Bishop Gilbert Garcera
A YOUNG bishop called on the faithful to fully involve themselves in the local church and transform the diocese with apostolic and missionary dynamism. For a “diocese to be truly vibrant” it is necessary that “we must become a church” that is created by full participation of all the members, Bishop Gilbert Garcera told Daet faithful. A church is not built through the involvement of only a selected few, neither is it centered only on the clergy, but active participation from everyone is
AS a sign of personal solidarity, Pope Francis sent his envoy to typhoonstricken areas of Visayas on Christmas. Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, arrived in Tacloban City on Dec. 24 and was welcomed by Palo Archbishop John Du, some priests and local government officials. From the airport, Pinto went to the Sto. Niño Church which was damaged by the typhoon. He then proceeded to the Kapangian Elementary School where he led
the distribution of relief goods. The nuncio then presided the Christmas Eve Mass, despite the bad weather, at the Palo cathedral that had the roof blown off at the height of the typhoon. Because of the heavy rain, churchgoers had to use umbrellas inside the church to protect them from getting wet. Pinto stayed overnight at the Palo archbishop’s residence, which was also badly damaged by the typhoon. Du said they were con-
cerned about where Pinto will sleep but the nuncio was quoted saying “never mind I will sleep under the tent.” On Dec. 25, Christmas Day, Pinto also led a Mass at 10am at the Sto. Niño Church and distributed relief packs to the victims. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, for his part, said Pinto is closely monitoring the church’s relief efforts in Eastern Visayas. He said the move of Pinto to spend Christmas in Leyte is the church’s heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by the
Papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto poses with parish staff and members of the parish pastoral council of Palo Cathedral after giving Christmas goodies to them. With him are Archbishop John Du and Msgr. Bernardo Pantin.
storm and its aftermath. “These are some of the ways on how we can help to make people feel
that they are not alone. We are willing to journey with them,” he said. (CBCPNews)
Balanga donates P2M to Christian, Muslim leaders unite typhoon-ravaged dioceses in rebuilding Zamboanga
AROUND 250 Christian and Muslim leaders met in a region-wide leaders’ summit in Zamboanga City committing themselves as one people in rebuilding the city that was attacked and destroyed by rebel forces in September last year. Themed “Confidence Building, Reconstruction and Healing: What Muslims and Christian Leaders Can Do Together”, the event was organized by Darul Ifta and the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, in coordination with the city government. Representatives from Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and two other provinces in ARMM were also in attendance as an expression of solidarity with Zamboanga City and its citizens over the suffering it underwent from the MNLF attack on the city last September 9, 2013.
Illustration by Brothers Matias
FINDING it hard to keep your New Year resolutions? A new smartphone application might just be the answer to your dilemma. Two young Filipino professionals have developed a smartphone app called Alvaro Daily designed not only to
App / A7
An elderly woman slumps amid the rubbles and twisted steel outside her house that was destroyed by supertyphoon Yolanda in Eastern Samar.
THE diocese of Balanga turned over more than two million pesos in donations to various dioceses affected by recent calamities. Bishop Ruperto Santos on January 1 thanked the faithful
of Balanga for their generosity and spirit of solidarity with the victims of typhoon Yolanda. He said despite their own need, parishioners have been
Donates / A6
Smartphone app helps keep track on New Year resolutions
It will be recalled that the attack lasted 23 days with government forces and the rebels fighting within residential zones of 7 villages, about 7 kilometers from City Hall. The three-week fighting killed about 200 and displaced thousands from their homes which were razed to the ground. The internally displaced persons (IDPs) were housed in a sports center and public elementary school buildings and provided food and other services by the government and various organizations. According to Sulu Vice-Gov. Sakur Tan any calamity that befalls Zamboanga City also impacts on the residents of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi because many of the people living in these three places come to
Unite / A6
Courtesy of Msgr. Bernardo Pantin
United Nations’ peace initiative” put forth in early 2012. “Russia argued that America’s insistence on Assad’s immediate departure was an impediment to peace. In this, perhaps Russia was right,” the booklet said. However, while Russia backed U.N. peace initiatives, it also — with Iran — “supplied more and more sophisticated weapons to the regime” as the U.S. and other countries financed the rebels, it said. The Vatican invited eight international experts and leaders to discuss the tragedy unfolding in Syria, the political stances of the major international players involved and possible solutions. With opening remarks by French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the invited speakers are: — Blair, founder of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and official envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East: the U.N., European Union, Russia and the United States. — ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and a major figure in Egypt’s revolution against ousted Presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohammed Morsi. — U.S. economist and adviser Jeffrey Sachs, who is active in the world fight against poverty and hunger. — Thomas Walsh, a U.S. expert in interreligious peace building and security, international president of the Universal Peace Federation. — Pyotr Stegny, a former diplomat and expert in Russian diplomacy and foreign policy in the Middle East. — Joseph Maila, a Lebanese expert on the Middle East, Islam and politics. — Miguel Angel Moratinos, a Spanish diplomat and member of congress who served seven years as the European Union special representative for the Middle East peace process. — Thierry de Montbrial, a French economist and expert in international relations. The workshop program outlined Pope Francis’ calls, prayers and diplomatic efforts for peace in the region. It credited Russian President Vladimir Putin with convincing U.S. President Barack Obama to not carry out its threat of military strikes on Syria in September in response to the reported use of chemical weapons against civilians by forces loyal to Assad.
January 6 - 19, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
Vatican hosts top world leaders; experts to push for end to Syrian war
VATICAN City, Jan. 3, 2014— Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Egyptian Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei are among the key political experts invited by the Vatican for a one-day meeting aimed at promoting a cease-fire in Syria, the protection of Christians there and a transitional and unified government. The Vatican meeting Jan. 13 will come ahead of major peace talks Jan. 22 in Geneva between the Syrian government and opposition forces. Sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the daylong Vatican “workshop” will seek to propose “a cease-fire to make humanitarian aid possible” in Syria; an end to “persecutions against Christians to encourage interreligious dialogue; a transitional authority to organize elections (and) a unified national government also responsible for the military sector and security;” as well as an end to human trafficking and prostitution in the war-torn nation. The meeting’s title is “Syria: With a death toll of 126,000 and 300,000 orphans in 36 months of war, can we remain indifferent?” The eight-page program, prepared by the sciences academy, gave a brief background of the Syrian conflict. It said U.S. calls for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down “put the U.S. in effective opposition to the
Pope Francis announces pilgrimage to Holy Land
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Pope Francis has announced that he will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this coming May to mark a key moment in Catholic and Orthodox Christian relations. Pope Francis will meet with the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, during his May pilgrimage. Along with representatives of “all the Christian churches of Jerusalem,” the two leaders will celebrate an ecumenical meeting at the site of the Holy Sepulchre, which Christians revere as the place of Jesus’ burial prior to the Resurrection. The Pope explained that the “principal goal” of the trip is “to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch Athenagoras I, that occurred precisely on January 5, as today, 50 years ago.”(CNA)
Vatican encourages renewed missionary zeal in Catholic schools
Archbishop and Imam call for UN Peacekeeping Force in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Jan. 3, 2014— The Catholic archbishop and imam of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, have issued a joint appeal for a United Nations peacekeeping force, warning that the country is on the brink of war. Writing in the French newspaper “Le Monde”, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Imam Omar Kobine Layama said the CAR “remains on the verge of a war with religious aspects” and that half the population “desperately need aid”. About 40,000 people have taken refuge at Bangui airport where they are living without shelter or sanitary facilities. Despite the intervention of French and African troops, the two religious leaders called on the UN to deploy a peacekeeping force “with the utmost urgency”. Meanwhile, Caritas networks have mobilized to bring aid to victims, Fides news agency reported. Catholic Relief Services - Caritas of the United States - working with the support of the French Secours Catholique, has launched a humanitarian program in Bossangoa. The town, in the north of
With the upcoming “Geneva II” talks, the “resumption of the U.N. peace process, this time with the U.S. and Russia on the same side to prevent violence, might succeed in keeping alQaida at bay—a shared interest—and finding a pragmatic long-term solution for Syria’s complex internal divisions,” it said. Meanwhile, a two-person delegation representing the Syrian government delivered a letter for Pope Francis from Assad. The letter was delivered Dec. 28 when the Syrians met at the Vatican with Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican foreign minister. The Vatican confirmed the delegates gave the pope “a message” that illustrated the position of the Syrian government. (CNS)
A recently released Vatican document is calling for a fresh commitment to Catholic identity within what it calls an increasingly secularized educational system. At a press conference held Dec. 19, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said, “the Catholic identity of the school is fundamental.”
Noting the many challenges facing Catholic schools, the Cardinal added, “today one of the greatest problems is when large organizations want to impose gender ideology.”
“Catholic schools’ primary responsibility is one of witness. In the various situations created by different cultures, the Christian presence must be shown and made clear, that is, it must be visible, tangible and conscious,” reads the congregation’s “Educating To Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools.”
Value silence, encourages Pope
Pope Francis reflected on in the importance of silence in his daily homily, noting that God’s plan of salvation always includes moments of mystery and quiet.
“Silence is really the ‘cloud’ that covers the mystery of our relationship with the Lord, our holiness and our sins. We cannot explain this mystery, but where there is no silence in our lives, the mystery is lost, it goes away. Guard the mystery with silence!” said the Pope on Dec. 20. The Pontiff considered today’s Gospel passage containing the story of the annunciation, in which Mary is “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit in conceiving Jesus. The mystery of God becoming man is carefully protected, he noted. (CNA)
2 firms hired to advise Vatican on communications, finance
the country, has been the focus of fighting leading to tens of thousands of people taking refuge near the Catholic mission. The program, which will last until August, will also distribute aid to another site, where the majority of the displaced are Muslims. (Zenit)
Archbishop Müller affirms doctrine, pastoral care for divorced
ROME, Italy, Jan. 3, 2014—In a recent interview with Corriere della Sera, the Vatican’s head official on doctrinal matters discussed the importance of personal pastoral care for divorced re-married persons, while adhering to Church teaching. “We must try a combination of general principles and particular, personal situations. Finding solutions to individual problems, though always on the foundation of Catholic doctrine,” Archbishop Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told Gian Guido Vecchi of the Italian daily in an interview published Dec. 22. “You cannot adjust the doctrine to the circumstances: the Church is not a political party which does surveys to look for consent. A true, pastoral dialogue is necessary. There are different situations, which are to be evaluated in different ways.” The archbishop’s comments follow months of back-and-forth between himself and bishops from his native Germany who have suggested that divorced and remarried Catholics could receive Communion under certain circumstances. In November, Archbishop Müller wrote a letter to the emeritus archbishop of Freiburg clarifying that “no pastoral directions are sanctioned which are in opposition to Church teaching,” and he had made the same point in an essay published at L’Osservatore Romano the preceding month. In his Corriere della Sera interview, the archbishop explained, “the truth is that we cannot clarify these situations with a general statement. On those divorced and civilly remarried, many think the Pope or a synod can say: of course, receive Communion. But this is not possible.” He added that this is because a “valid, sacramental marriage is indissoluble: this is the Catholic practice, reaffirmed by Popes and Councils, in fidelity to the Words of Jesus. And the Church has not the authority to relativize the Words and Commandments of God.” Archbishop Müller added that while the sacraments have a “medicinal aspect” and are not restricted to “the perfect,” an irregular marriage is an “objective obstacle to receiving the Eucharist.” This is “not a punishment” and the bar on divorced and re-married persons receiving Communion does not keep them from attending Mass. He affirmed that annulments can be granted, adding that in many places, Christian tradition “has lost its meaning” and there is a “total confusion” about who man is and what is his purpose and dignity. The archbishop also discussed Church structures in the wake of Pope Francis’ Nov. 24 apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudium”, in which he discussed a “conversion of the papacy” and suggested that bishops’ conferences could be given a greater role,
The Vatican has hired two international consulting firms to modernize Holy See communications and to improve financial procedures throughout the Vatican’s agencies.
“An advisory role has been entrusted to McKinsey & Company for the development – in close collaboration with the heads of the relevant offices – of an integrated plan to render the organization of means of communication within the Holy See more functional, effective and modern,” the Holy See press office announced Dec. 19.
The decision was made the previous day, on the initiative of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, after a bidding and selection process. The commission was established under Pope Francis to study and streamline Vatican administration. (CNA)
Vatican newspaper launches redesigned website
Archbishop Gerhard Muller at the Vatican Press Office on July 5, 2013.
including “genuine doctrinal authority.” He said the interpretation of “some” who believe the exhortation means the Pope “wishes to promote a certain autonomy of local Churches, a tendency to distance themselves from Rome” “is not possible” and would be “the first step towards autocephaly.” Archbishop Müller clarified that “the Catholic Church is composed of local Churches, but it is One. ‘National’ churches do not exist … the presidents of bishops’ conferences, while important, are coordinators, nothing more, not vice-popes!” He emphasized that both the Roman Pontiff and individual bishops are of “divine right, instituted by Jesus Christ,” while patriarchates and bishops’ conferences are established by the Church, by man.” (CNA)
L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper, unveiled its revamped website Dec. 17, meant to broaden the reach of the paper and make it more friendly to social media.
“More news, more photos, more sharing through social networks,” one of the paper’s journalists, Piero Di Domenicantonio wrote in an editorial published Dec. 16, saying the publication “renews and broadens its online presence and the information service it offers to the world.”
“With innovative graphics and a substantial improvement in accessibility, the new site marks a turning point in the spread of the newspaper,” he said, adding that articles “can easily be relaunched on Twitter and Facebook.” The website includes the contents of L’Osservatore Romano’s daily edition; its five weekly editions, including English; and its monthly edition, published in Polish, and is accessible by computer, smartphone and tablet.
The website also features a secure and easily accessible transaction system so that users can donate to the service, which is provided free of charge. (CNA)
Pope limits ‘monsignor’ honor for diocesan priests
Cardinal Gracias: The Message of Peace is a recipe for India’s development
MUMBAI, Jan. 3, 2014—Pope Francis’s theme of “Fraternity as the foundation and pathway to peace” and his message for peace are very relevant to India today. Fraternity is urgently needed to herald sustainable peace, development and progress in our country. Following India’s national pledge, we pledge that “All Indians are my brothers and sisters. As the Holy Father indicates, ‘the Fatherhood of God can be seen as the basis of fraternity, this is our national pledge. All Indians are brothers and sisters and we are all children of the same father. Regrettably, the prevailing ethos of mass culture enshrines money as the supreme value. This results in mass poverty and social inequality. The Holy Father cautions against the “globalization of indifference” that makes us blind “to the suffering of others and closed in on ourselves.” This speaks directly to the situation in India, where the gap between the rich and the poor and between rural and urban society is increasing. It is a matter of utter shame that over 250,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997. The same is true for women, whose inferior status leads to increasing female foeticide and horrific practices and abuses against the girls and women, and other despicable evils against life. Our sense of fraternity extends to Dalit Christians and all our brothers and sisters in India, under the Fatherhood of God, so that discrimination may end and they may receive the privileges that others have. We are concerned about this and hope that with God’s grace everything will come right. In 2014, we have general elections, and the pope’s call for fraternity becomes even more significant. We are all Indians, and we share a common heritage with our common Fatherhood in God. Our politicians must place the well-being of the whole nation before their personal, party and petty interests. The Holy Father states that indifference brings with it “offences against fundamental husociety by creating a climate of tension, intolerance, opposition, and suspicion, which are not conducive to social peace and can become detrimental to the progress of our beloved country. Seen in this light, fraternity is the foundation and pathway to peace. Whatever traditions we belong to, we are brothers and sisters of the same family; therefore, the importance of understanding, dialogue and trying to reach out to others can make a better world. It is essential for us in India to fight the three evils of communalism, the caste system and corruption, which pose a constant threat to our beloved motherland India. For each of us brothers and sisters of our great motherland India, I, as President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, pray that each one of us Indians has the spirit of fraternity and be led, in the words of the Upanishads, ‘from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, and from death to immortality” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.3.28). (AsiaNews)
Pope Francis has decided to limit the honor of “monsignor” among diocesan priests and grant it from now on only to those at least 65 years of age. The change, which is not retroactive and does not affect Vatican officials or members of religious orders, was announced in a letter from the Vatican Secretariat of State to nunciatures around the world, along with instructions to inform local bishops. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, informed U.S. bishops of the new policy in a letter dated Dec. 30. Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, forwarded the letter to the bishops Jan. 3. Of the three grades of monsignor—apostolic protonotary, honorary prelate of His Holiness and chaplain of His Holiness—only the last will be available to diocesan priests who meet the new age requirement. Bishops must resubmit any pending requests for papal honors in accordance with the new rules. (CNS)
Retired Pope Benedict visits Pope Francis for lunch
Three days after Pope Francis paid his predecessor a visit on Christmas Eve, retired Pope Benedict joined the pope for lunch at the Vatican guesthouse. The two shared the meal Dec. 27 at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives. According to a report by Vatican Radio, the pope and the retired pope were joined by their personal secretaries and by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, and U.S. Msgr. Peter B. Wells, assessor in the Vatican Secretariat of State. Pope Francis had invited Pope Benedict to lunch Dec. 24, when the pope visited the retired pope in his residence to offer Christmas greetings. Pope Benedict lives in the former Mater Ecclesiae convent, also in Vatican City State. During the pope’s visit, the two prayed briefly together and then spoke privately for about half an hour. (CNS)
Remember those like Holy Family who are homeless, pope says
Cardinal Oswald Gracias
man rights, especially the right to life and the right to religious freedom.” Spirituality is an intrinsic part of Indian culture, yet religions laws seek to stifle the right to religious freedom, which is enshrined in the Indian Constitution. To discriminate against religious beliefs, or discredit religious practices is tantamount to exclusion contrary to respect for fundamental human dignity that will eventually destabilize
Seeing a protest sign in St. Peter’s Square that read “The poor cannot wait,” Pope Francis urged individuals and government leaders to recognize the pain, struggles and rights of families—like Jesus, Mary and Joseph—who do not have a home. Pope Francis read the sign out loud Dec. 22 after reciting the midday Angelus prayer from the window of the apostolic palace. “It’s beautiful,” he said. “It makes me think how Jesus was born in a stall, not a house. And reading that sign I think today of all the families without homes, either because they never had one or because they lost their home for some reason. “A family and a home go together,” the pope said. “It’s very difficult to keep a family going without a home to live in. During these Christmas days, I ask everyone—individuals, social agencies, authorities—to do everything possible so that every family can have a home.” (CNS)
Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
The pope, who until his election in March 2013 served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and formerly served as a Jesuit provincial, said he knew “by experience the problems that can arise between a bishop and religious communities.” For example, he said, “If the religious decide one day to withdraw from one of their works due to a lack of manpower, the bishop often finds himself suddenly left with a hot potato in his hand.” “I also know that the bishops are not always acquainted with the charisms and works of religious,” he said. “We bishops need to understand that consecrated persons are not functionaries but gifts that enrich dioceses.” “The involvement of religious communities in dioceses is important,” the pope said. “Dialogue between the bishop and religious must be rescued so that, due to a lack of understanding of their charisms, bishops do not view religious simply as useful instruments.” At the Nov. 29 meeting, the pope also asked the heads of the Congregation for Religious to finish a pending document on male religious who are not priests. He acknowledged a “vocational crisis” among such men, but said he believed they still had a role in religious life. The 15-page article by Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, quoted extensively from the pope’s remarks at the three-hour meeting, which Father Spadaro attended. Father Spadaro’s wide-ranging interview with Pope Francis, published in the same magazine in September 2013, included the pope’s controversial statement that the church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.” During the meeting with religious superiors, Pope Francis preferred “neither to give a talk nor to listen to their prepared remarks: He wished to have a frank and free conversation consisting of questions and answers,” Father Spadaro wrote. Noting the growth of religious orders in Africa and Asia, the pope acknowledged challenges to evangelization there, including correct adaptation of Catholic teaching to local cultures, as well as a temptation to exploit poorer societies as sources of vocations. The pope recalled that Filipino bishops had complained of foreign religious orders running a “novice trade” in their country. “We need to keep our eyes open for such situations,” he told the superiors. Pope Francis said that sensitivity is needed not only for crossing geographical boundaries but social and cultural frontiers as well. “The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand,” he said, noting that Catholic teachers must be prepared to “welcome children in an educational context, little
boys and girls, young adults who live in complex situations, especially family ones.” The pope offered an example of such a situation from his experience in Buenos Aires: “I remember the case of a very sad little girl who finally confided to her teacher the reason for her state of mind: ‘my mother’s girlfriend doesn’t like me.’” Seminary directors, too, must be sensitive to the needs of religious novices, encouraging them to engage in sincere and fearless dialogue with their instructors, he said. “Formation is a work of art, not a police action,” the pope said. “We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the People of God. This really gives me goose bumps.” “Just think of religious who have hearts that are as sour as vinegar: They are not made for the people,” the pope said. “In the end we must not form administrators, managers, but fathers, brothers, traveling companions.” Pope Francis praised efforts by Pope Benedict to stop sex abuse of minors by clergy and religious and stressed the importance of vetting candidates for religious orders, in order to weed out those with incorrigible failings. “We are all sinners, but we are not all corrupt,” the pope said. “Sinners are accepted, but not people who are corrupt.” (CNS)
Pope orders new rules on relations between bishops, religious orders
Pope Francis giving an address at the Vatican, June 7, 2013.
VATICAN City, Jan. 3, 2014—Pope Francis said he has ordered a revision of what he called outdated Vatican norms on the relations between religious orders and local bishops, in order to promote greater appreciation of the orders’ distinctive missions. The pope’s words were published Jan. 3 in the Italian Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica. He made the comments Nov. 29 at a closed-door meeting with 120 superiors general of religious orders from around the world. Pope Francis referred to “Mutuae Rela-
tiones,” a set of directives issued jointly by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Religious in 1978. The document said that religious orders are part of the local church, though with their own internal organization, and that their “right to autonomy” should never be considered as independence from the local church. “That document was useful at the time but is now outdated,” the pope said. “The charisms of the various institutes need to be respected and fostered because they are needed in dioceses.”
Six million people attended Pope Francis’ Vatican events in 2013
VATICAN City, Jan. 2, 2014 —More than 6.6 million people have taken part in events with Pope Francis at the Vatican since his election to the papacy, the Prefecture of the Papal Household has estimated. In the nine months since Pope Pope Francis at the Wednesday general audience Francis’ March 13 in St. Peter’s Square on June 5, 2013. election, more than the Vatican, including World 2.7 million people have attended the Pope’s An- Youth Day in Brazil. The figures gelus and Regina Coeli prayers. also do not include attendance About 2.3 million have attended estimates for papal events within liturgical celebrations in St. Pe- Italy and the Diocese of Rome, ter’s Basilica and at St. Peter’s such as his visits to Lampedusa Square. Some 1.5 million people and Assisi. An estimated 3.2 million Cathhave attended Pope Francis’ olic pilgrims attended World general audiences, while 87,400 have attended private audiences Youth Day’s final Mass with Pope Francis at Copacabana with the Pope. The figures only concern ac- Beach in Rio de Janeiro on July tivities at the Vatican and are 28. During Pope Benedict XVI’s approximations based on the number of requests to participate first year as Pope from April 2005 in events and invitations issued to April 2006, an estimated 4 milby the Prefecture of the Papal lion people attended his public Household. They also draw on events at the Vatican. About 1.9 attendance estimates for the million attended the Sunday Angelus and major celebrations Angelus in that time period, the Prefecture of the Pontifical at St. Peter’s Square. The figures do not include Household said in 2006. (CNA/ events that took place outside EWTN News)
Pope: Time to stop violence, discord, and begin making peace at home
VATICAN City, Jan. 2, 2014— Welcoming in a new year, Pope Francis said it was time to stop provoking and ignoring violence, tragedy and conflict in the world, and begin building peace at home. “Justice and peace at home, among us — you begin at home and then you move on to all of humanity. But we have to start at home,” he said Jan. 1, which the church marks as the feast of Mary, Mother of God and as World Peace Day. Speaking to tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the first noon Angelus of 2014, the pope referred to his peace day message, which he said called for building a world where everyone “respects each other, accepts others in their diversity and takes care of each and every one.” People must not remain “indifferent and immobile” in the face of violence and injustice, but commit themselves to “build a truly more just and caring society,” he said. The pope referred to a letter he had received the day before from a man struggling to understand why there were still so many tragedies and wars. The pope said he wanted to ask the same question: “What is happening in people’s hearts? What is going on in the heart of humanity” that leads to violence? “It’s time to stop,” Pope Francis said. “It will do us good to stop taking this path of violence.” May God “help all of us walk the path of justice and peace with greater determination,” he said, and the Holy Spirit break down the obstinacy and barriers people construct between each other. The pope also prayed to Mary that the “Gospel of fraternity” might “speak to every conscience and knock down the walls that hinder enemies from recognizing each other as brothers and sisters.” Earlier in the day, the pope celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which was decorated with white flowers, evergreens, gold trim and poinsettias. Two girls and one boy, wearing long capes and shiny gold paper crowns in memory of the magi who traveled to Bethlehem, brought the offertory gifts to the pope. Prayers for peace were offered in five languages; the Spanish version asked that God “bless all women and all mothers, called to bring forth, to guard and to promote life.” In his homily, the pope said Mary, the Mother of God, became the mother of all humanity when Jesus, dying on the cross, gave her to the world. When she lost her divine son, “her sorrowing heart was enlarged to make room for all men and women, whether good or bad, and she loves them as she loved Jesus,” he said. Even before the church officially defined Mary as God’s mother in the fifth century, Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square the faithful had before the Wednesday general audience Dec. 11, already acknowl- 2013. edged her divine maternity and called for its especially of those who hunger recognition, the pope said, not- and thirst for justice, peace and ing the case as an example of God.” In his homily, Pope Francis the “‘sensus fidei’ (sense of the faith) of holy people, the faithful also mentioned the Marian icon of God, who, in their unity, are “Salus Populi Romani” (health of the Roman people) in Rome’s never ever wrong.” Mary is a source of hope Basilica of St. Mary Major, which and true joy and continually he said was the first Marian strengthens people in their faith, shrine in the West where the vocation and mission, he said. image of the Mother of God—the “By her example of humility and “Theotokos”—was venerated. According to Vatican Radio, openness to God’s will she helps us to transmit our faith in a joyful the pope visited St. Mary Major proclamation of the Gospel to all, Dec. 31 to pray at length before the icon, repeating a pilgrimage without reservation.” He asked the faithful to entrust he made on the first morning with Mary their journey of faith, of his pontificate in March and their hopes and needs as well as on other subsequent occasions. “the needs of the whole world, (CNS)
Pope prays for upcoming Synod of Bishops
VATICAN City, Dec. 29, 2013 —In his Angelus address given on the feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis prayed especially for the approaching Synod of Bishops which will discuss pastoral challenges to the family. “The next Synod of Bishops will address the theme of the family, and the preparatory phase has already begun some time ago. For this reason, today, (on) the feast of the Holy Family, I wish to entrust this synodal work to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, praying for families around the world,” he said on Dec. 29 in St. Peter’s Square. Asking the crowds that packed St. Peter’s Square and the surrounding streets to join with him spiritually, Pope Francis prayed, “Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.” The Pope dedicated his Angelus message to considering Jesus’ own family as an example for families everywhere. “God wanted to be born in a human family, he wanted to have a mother and a father, like us,” he explained. “It’s an example that does much good for our families, helping them to become ever more a community of love and reconciliation, in which one experiences tenderness, mutual help, and mutual forgiveness.” Even the Jesus’ own family, however, was not without its difficulties. Forced to flee to Egypt to escape being killed by Herod, “Joseph, Mary, and Jesus experienced the dramatic condition of refugees, marked by fear, uncertainty, need.” Unfortunately, Pope Francis
‘Yolanda’ victims vulnerable to human trafficking, priest warns
MUNTINLUPA City, Dec. 10, 2013—As if the tragedy of a natural calamity is not enough, ‘Yolanda’ victims in the Visayas are now falling prey to the man-made scandal of human trafficking, a priest warned. “[Victims of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’] need food, they need shelter, they need employment, so [they become prone to believe] anyone who promises to them some of these things…Behind those promises are those syndicates of human trafficking,” said CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life executive secretary Fr. Melvin Castro in a recent interview. Missing women and children According to Castro, reports of women and children missing from refugee centers in ‘Yolanda’-stricken areas are alarming and should make key agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as well as the public, vigilant against the threat of human trafficking. In a report published in the Daily Guardian, a publication based in Western Visayas, DSWD Assistant Secretary Cheche Cabrera lurking around who will take advantage of the situation,” he added. Castro, who is also the founder of the Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All-Grace, alerted the public, organizations and government agencies that are most involved in relief and rehabilitation efforts for ‘Yolanda’ victims about “many who will put up a front of trying to help”, but who are, in fact, intending to lure women and children into prostitution or forced labor. He called the reality of human trafficking “modern-day slavery”, demanding that authorities scrutinize suspicious international flights from Manila that could be transporting human trafficking victims to other countries. “These are dangerous moments for women,” Castro noted. For those interested to help document orphans left by ‘Yolanda’, which could be a first step to safeguard them against human trafficking, contact the Pro-Life office hotline at (02) 733-70-27, Telefax 7349425 or 09192337783. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
continued, “in our day, millions of families can see themselves in this sad reality.” Refugees and immigrants do not always find “true welcome (or) respect.” Yet “Jesus wanted to belong to a family that had experienced these difficulties,” to show that no one “is excluded from the nearness of God’s love.” “The flight into Egypt because of Herod’s threats shows us that God is also there – there where man is in danger, there where man suffers, there where he escapes, where he experiences rejection and abandonment; but he is also where man dreams, hoping to return to his homeland in freedom, designing and choosing a life of dignity for himself and his family.” Even in families who do not face such dramatic circumstances, “exiled persons” can be found, noted the Pontiff: “the elderly, for example, who sometimes are treated as a burdensome presence.” “Many times I think that one sign to know how a family is doing is to see how the children and elderly are treated in it,” he said. Pope Francis then repeated one of his oft-used instructions on family life. “Remember the three key phrases: excuse me, thank you, I’m sorry!” he exhorted the crowds, who cheered in response. In a family that uses these words, “there is peace and joy,” he assured them. “Repeat it with me, everyone together!” the Pope urged, “excuse me, thank you, I’m sorry.” The Pontiff closed by greeting the many pilgrim groups who had traveled to Rome and wishing everyone a happy feast day. (CNA)
Fr. Melvin Castro
said, the agency was able to intervene in at least two cases of human trafficking involving ‘Yolanda’ victims before it was too late. According to Cabrera, one case involved “a very beautiful girl [who] was [being] escorted by two burly looking guys”. ‘Modern-day slavery’ “Every tragedy and calamity brings out the best and unfortunately, the worst in some people that’s why let’s take care of [the victims] because there are really many people
Vatican official to speak at conference celebrating 50 years of ‘Pacem in Terris’
MANILA, Dec. 16, 2013—A Vatican official will lead a roster of high profile speakers in a national conference organized by the Association of Catholic Universities to celebrate the 50th year of the encyclical Pacem in Terris. The Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines (ACUP) is holding a national conference at the University of the Immaculate Conception (Bajada Campus) in Davao City to pray tribute to the celebrated encyclical of Pope John XXIII, from January 9 to 11. Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace will keynote the conference with an address on “The Formation of New Catholics in Politics”. Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI leads a panel of speakers on the first day with a discussion on “The Struggles of Catholic Universities in Developing Leaders for Peace and Progress in the Philippines.” Also in the panel are Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, president of the Ateneo de Davao University, Sister Corazon Manalo, D.C., Superintendent of the Daughters of Charity Schools, and Cong. Karlo Alexis B. Nograles of the 1st district of Davao City. Multi-awarded and highly respected ABS-CBN news anchor Tina Monzon-Palma will moderate the discussion. Also on the same day, Mr. Leon G. Flores III, chair and chief executive officer of the National Youth Commission, will give a talk on “The Filipino Youth in Politics: A Commitment to Leadership for Peace and Progress”. A Eucharistic celebration will cap the first day to be presided by Davao Archbishop Romulo G. Valles. On the second day, presenters will explore on the topic “Engagement of Catholic Universities: A Milieu for the Inculcation of Values Leading to Social Transformation”. A collaborative research paper among the University of Santo Tomas, La Consolacion University, St. Louis University, and Angeles University Foundation will be presented discussing “The Pastoral Care of Overseas Filipinos and their Families by Catholic Universities: A Case Study”. Br. Ricardo P. Laguda, FSC, president of De La Salle University- Manila will present a research on “The Impact of Community Development Programs of Catholic Universities”. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, D.D., National Chairman of NASSA/Caritas Philippines will discuss “The Engagement of the Catholic Church in Values Formation and Social Transformation”. Fr. Eliseo R. Mercado, Jr. OMI, former director and senior policy adviser of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance of Notre Dame University will talk on “Peace : Our Hope and Responsibility in Mindanao”. Themed “The Formation of New Catholics Engaged in Politics: the Challenge and Inspiration of Catholic Universities”, the conference will also include a group sharing on its theme. (CBCPNews)
CBCP for Life
Kyle Burkhart / CNA
Fraternity and peace
January 6 - 19, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
IN his first message for the World Day of Peace on January 1, 2014, Pope Francis has aptly chosen the theme: “Fraternity, the foundation and pathway of peace.” At first blush, one easily guesses that the Pontiff did not lift this from a theological treatise but from his many years of living fraternity with people of all walks of life in the streets, in public buses and market places back home in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he was a people’s pastor, especially with the poor and the marginalized. In the mold of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who was indiscriminate in charity and fraternity, the erstwhile Cardinal Mario Bergoglio has defined “fraternity” early on as an irrepressible longing “which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced.” The family is the cradle of this human quality. He points out that “the family is the wellspring of all fraternity, and as such it is the foundation and the first pathway to peace, since, by its vocation, it is meant to spread its love to the world around it.” But in a world where a “globalization of indifference” is an old normal, fraternity just like peace is quixotic. The economic ethic of nations and the foreign policies of the powerful obviously do not have fraternity or, seriously, peace, in their lexicon. Which is why, the global economic imbalance, the worsening poverty in many nations, the threat of war and escalating problem of security and terrorism had become the easy characterization of all generations. Globalization, Benedict XVI pointed out, makes us neighbors, but not brothers. “The many situations of inequality, poverty and injustice are signs not only of a profound lack of fraternity, but also of the absence of a culture of solidarity,” says Pope Francis. The Christian sense of fraternity is founded on a common fatherhood. According to the Holy Father, “It is a fatherhood which effectively generates fraternity, because the love of God, once welcomed, becomes the most formidable means of transforming our lives and relationship with others, opening us to solidarity and to genuine sharing.” Taken in this context, fraternity becomes a wellspring that can be the foundation and pathway to peace; a prerequisite in alleviating global poverty; a fundamental ethic that will trigger an inclusive world economy; a basic factor that may stave off war and terrorism; and a sustainable principle that will help preserve and cultivate nature.
The old normal
TIME and again, there are people who speak and/or write about the “New Normal” probably to mean the adoption of new values, the observance of new behavioral patterns in the passage of time from then to now. There is the “New Normal” about how the means justify the end, how one adores his or her ego, how certain individuals think and feel that people do not really matter. There is also the “New Normal” that marital infidelity is the rule, that children should not be born. The same “New Normal” has something to do with the stance that what is profitable is right, what is altruistic is silly. In other words, the “New Normal” seems relevant to nowadays errant action and reaction patterns—improprieties, blunders, character flaws—that have now become standard. Whatever the said “New Normal” really is, it might not be altogether wrong to talk about the “Old Normal” concretely in the Philippine scene, viz., certain realities that
Oscar. V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
wealth build-up specifically in the sphere of politics. This is to say nothing about the kingdom of political consanguinity. And as their standard accompaniments, there are still the ever present trio of the infamous guns, goons, and gold. There was already the standard and predictable electoral manual cheating. Then came the amazing computerized election fraud. And as expected, those who happen to successfully cheat in the elections, are experts in converting public office into self-service. Who does not know that graft and corrupt practices are constitutive elements of infamous politicos from the local to the regional up to the national levels—such that there is now firmly established BOC or Bureau of Corruption? Just to seal this reality of the “Old Normal,” there is something worthy of special mention: The long standing Hacienda Luisita spectacle!
The lay faithful
THE term “laity”—we read in the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, “Lumen Gentium”—is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the Church. That is, the faithful who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ, and are placed in the People of God, and in their own way share the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ, and to the best of their ability carry on the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world. (Lumen Gentium, 31) The Council points to two fundamental aspects of the lay vocation: 1) the first in the full belonging of the lay faithful to the Church and its mystery. The lay faithful have been incorporated by Baptism into Christ, and thus belong to the Church. They have received a real consecration—their baptismal consecration. They are as those belonging to institutes of consecrated life. The lay faithful are not second class members. They share with all the baptized an equal Christian dignity. 2) The second fundamental aspect of the lay vocation is its secular character. The lay faithful “seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and ordering them according to the plan of God.” (Lumen Gentium, 31). Far from taking them away from the world, their baptismal consecration immerses them as Christ’s disciples in the world. It is in the world that they are called by God and hence, “The world becomes the place and the means for the lay faithful to fulfill their Christian vocation.” (Christifideles Laici, 15). It is in the world that they are to grow in holiness. It is there especially—in the family, work and recreation, in the vast fields of economics, politics and culture—that they are to evangelize others. From these indications of the Second Vatican Council we can speak of the lay faithful as Christians with a secular character. (PCP-II Acts of the Council Nos. 404-406) —Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
remain odious, some actuations that are still detestable but still around up to these days— all excuses and arguments to the contrary notwithstanding. Most of such “Old Normal” are socio-political factors that have been the plaguing the Filipinos in the past and they remain as such in the present. These are realities that are odious to call attention to. But as rightly said: “Truth knows no party.” This is something great about the truth, viz., it respects neither power nor wealth, it covers both the past and the present—irrespective of whether those involved therein would want to think, to affirm or to disclaim. Following are some of the more known and more pervasive “Old Normal” which reigned in the recent past and which continues to rule in the present times. They are hereunder expressly enumerated with malice towards none but with truth in mind: The quest for power plus the consequent
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth
AS I stashed away our parol last Monday morning, it occurred to me that only our unit in our 32-storey condominium had displayed a parol last Christmas. Not a small mystery to me. Even the houses in our neighborhood that used to hang parols outside their windows, I noticed, did not do so this time. “In keeping with the spirit of austerity, in sympathy for Yolanda victims”? Hmmm. Surely our 150-peso 20-inch Christmas star hung to remind passersby of the Savior’s birth wouldn’t be an unforgiveable luxury? Shouldn’t the sight of the star bring us joy, as it did to the Three Kings who were “overjoyed at seeing the star…”? Last week, preparing to write a gospel reflection for Epiphany, focusing on the verse “They were overjoyed at seeing the star”, I was amused to recall what I had chanced upon on tv just minutes before: young Filipinas almost tearful with excitement over seeing another kind of star—Miley Cyrus. (It must have been a replay of Cyrus’ visit to the Philippines in 2010). The tv host exhibited the same kind of breathless enthusiasm interviewing “my idol Miley” that I’d wondered what was so hot about this American performer. To those unfamiliar with such celebrities, Miley Cyrus rose to fame as Hannah Montana, a totally wholesome, girl-next-door character in a Disney television serial. Now 21 years old and free to shed her squeaky-clean image without parental consent, Cyrus recently rocked the entertainment world by appearing on music video straddling a swinging wrecking ball, wearing nothing but tattoos while singing (or
Post Epiphany stargazing
bleating) “You wre-e-eck me!” In that final defiant busting of her Hannah Montana image, Cyrus was most probably aiming to outshine the older stars of outrageous music videos, Madonna and Lady Gaga. Decades ago, Madonna angered Christians by using crucifixes as jewelry and props for her provocative videos; Lady Gaga, among her other look-at-me gimmicks, draped the Philippine flag around her body when she performed in Manila years back. Such “stars” put no limit to their daring in order to get the world’s attention because being a “star” means big bucks, fame, fortune, power—even in our Third World calamity-fraught country. In Manila, last Christmas Day, thousands of movie fans lined the streets to Rizal Park, shrieking, overjoyed at seeing and touching the stars of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival. Among the brightest in the parade was the child star Ryzza Mae, waving at everybody from atop her float as the presidential sister Kris Aquino and her son Bimby Yap basked in Ryzza’s reflected glory. Their movie, “My Little Bossings” is a disaster (to put it kindly) and yet it topped box office sales, no mean thanks to the chubby, chinky-eyed Ryzza. One nun I know said she paid to see that movie “because tuwang-tuwa ako kay Ryzza pag napapanood ko”. Then I asked her if she saw “Pedro Calungsod: Ang Batang Martir”; she said “No. I had no more money for another movie.” (Huh, Sister?) It’s a point to ponder: what “seeing a star” means to us
And That’s The Truth / A7
Deepening popular piety
I CONSIDER it a great blessing that in our country we still enjoy a tremendous amount of popular piety. This January, for example, we have the celebration in many places of the feast of the Sto. Niño that draws a lot of crowd in a mode that unmistakably is very moving, to say the least. Visit Cebu City during these days of the Sto. Niño and you will know what I mean. The sight is simply heart-melting, exhilarating. Prayers and piety are expressed in large processions, novenas, Masses, dances, and the whole range of festivities, both religious and secular. While there are many warts and imperfections that accompany these activities, it’s undeniable that the mysterious character of faith and devotion is very palpable, and tends to be contagious. It’s good that we take this occasion to find out how we can improve the tenor of such celebration, for definitely improvement and development there should be in this area also. We cannot be naïve to think that things will just go well by some invisible forces
Fr. Roy Cimagala
tion with respect to popular piety. Of course, the laity too should do their part. The whole Church should be involved in some organic fashion in this duty. The aim to reach is to make everyone closer to God, with faith strengthened and alive, producing fruits of sanctity and apostolate and not just something professed and bandied about. In short, everyone should grow in his spiritual life, with a spirituality that is abiding and properly adapted to one’s personal and social circumstances. This will involve a whole range of details that embrace the entire gamut of Christian and human life. Catechesis has to be done always, with the appropriate plan to cover the Creed, the Sacraments, the Commandments and morality, and Prayer. It cannot be denied that popular piety can highlight one aspect of Christian life at the expense of the other aspects. For example, people can get very hot about lighting votive candles before their favorite saint, but fail to appreciate the need for going to Mass
Candidly Speaking / A5
Pedro C. Quitorio
Ronalyn R. Regino
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940
without our due part. Especially these days when the all-tooworldly manners of celebrating are getting more and more prominent, we need to practice prudence and the appropriate, if not Spirit-inspired, creativity to bring this popular piety to its proper objective. It is not to curb spontaneous expressions of piety and religious sentiments, but rather to purify them and channel them along proper paths. We have to be wary, for example, of superstitions that can easily mimic and distort piety. And superstitions and questionable pious practices, there are many! We also have to be wary of elements that take advantage of this popular devotion to push commercialism, materialism and frivolity. It’s not that we have to avoid altogether some commerce and fun, but we need to see to it that these are pursued properly. That is to say, that they enhance rather than detract from the religious and spiritual character of the festivity. The clergy should take the lead in undertaking a most active and effective evangeliza-
Illustration by Brothers Matias
Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
headquarters of Misyon Bulig, sharing space with the Catholic Relief Services. Soon the composite team was making the rounds of the surrounding areas. As they came back late in the afternoon a woman suddenly darted in front of their slow-moving vehicle. A child was tugging at her waist, sobbing frantically. The distraught woman had wanted to end her misery. Fortunately she failed. The mission was not to be a walk in the park. *** I arrived in Tacloban on 07 December, more than two weeks after the first team arrived. By then patches of green had began to invade the otherwise brown earth. Much of the debris was being removed and many of the dead buried, some in mass graves. Bodies continued to be recovered. Upon my arrival at Patmos, the residence of Palo’s retired priests and built of solid concrete and red bricks, I noted clusters of bamboo that had been uprooted or snapped. “Bend like the bamboo to be resilient,” the saying goes. Sometimes certain thresholds are breached. But even those on the verge of snapping can find inner strength. Fr. Kelvin, parish priest of San Joaquin parish in Palo, found himself in just such a situation at the height of the “surge” (a tidal-wave like reaction of the sea responding to the 314 kph strength of the winds) that took away the lives of many of his parishioners. When I talked to him, the good priest was still wearing a bandage over his left hand, a reminder of the furniture that pinned his hand against a wall as he maneuvered to create a passageway for his staff to go to the safety of the second floor of the priest’s residence. Going out after the surge, Fr. Kelvin went out to be with his people. In three hours he had blessed the bodies of 75 fatalities. Only God’s strength sustained him, even giving him, and other
Spaces of Hope / A7
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Spaces of Hope
“AM I still on earth or am I in a movie set?” Tess thought to herself as she surveyed the surreal ground before her—a wide expanse of broken trees, twisted metals, splintered houses and dark debris, against the backdrop of a bruised brown earth. Destruction and the stench of death was everywhere. Several ships had been driven inland perched on unlikely ground. A drive down the road from Tacloban to Palo now offered an unobstructed view of the sea, something unheard of before as densely-packed houses had blocked the view. Tess and other volunteers had arrived in Tacloban 12 days after super typhoon Yolanda devastated a large swath of area in central Philippines last 08 November 2013. Four days before her arrival Archbishop John F. Du of Palo had reached Cebu City, which had been spared from the brunt of Yolanda. He had invited a group to jumpstart the formation of a command center for his local church. “We are all victims there and we need outside help,” he said. A composite team was formed with volunteers coming from earthquake-struck Bohol and members of the Dilaab Foundation Inc. Other volunteers eventually came from Cagayan de Oro, Tagum, and even Manila. They all had first-hand experience of being victims of disasters but making a faith-filled decision to recover from the experience with others. The volunteers made sure they would not be an added burden to the victims of Yolanda so they brought their own tents and other personal necessities. The command center came to be called RCAP (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Palo) Misyon Bulig, the latter a Bisayan term for “help.” Members of the local clergy were assigned to do overall coordination as well as leadership of three clusters of concerns: relief operations, resource mobilization and partnership development, and secretariat. The chancery became the
Overpopulation fears betray an ignorance of human history
WOW, the New York Times really has come over to the dark side. Last week I reported on an article from the grey lady about the German efforts to arrest its population decline that shows that the problem for so many countries isn’t a population explosion, but a population implosion (albeit in slow motion). Now, an op-ed from that same newspaper from Erle C. Ellis (Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Systems, University of Maryland) has made the claim that overpopulation in relation to the environment is a myth! That must have caused some raised eyebrows in NYTimes heartland (if they weren’t still raised from seeing Vladimir Putin in their paper a few days ago!) Ellis starts with the oft-repeated claim that: “we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us. Like bacteria in a petri dish, our exploding numbers are reaching the limits of a finite planet, with dire consequences. Disaster looms as humans exceed the earth’s natural carrying capacity.” But as Ellis states, this is “nonsense”. Why? Because, unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, humans do not just passively dwell in their environment, we shape our environment. “Yet these claims demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of the ecology of human systems. The conditions that sustain humanity are not natural and never have been. Since prehistory, human populations have used technologies and engineered ecosystems to sustain populations well beyond the capabilities of unaltered ‘natural’ ecosystems.” Humans are special. Each baby born is not just another mouth to feed from the Earth’s ever-limited resources, he or she is also a potential inventor, scientist, innovator that will help the rest of humanity to adapt, survive and grow. We can this throughout our long history: “Even before the last ice age had ended, thousands of years before agriculture, hunter-gatherer societies were well established across the earth and depended increasingly on sophisticated technological strategies to sustain growing populations in landscapes long ago transformed by their ancestors. The planet’s carrying capacity for prehistoric human huntergatherers was probably no more than 100 million. But without their Paleolithic technologies and ways of life, the number would be far less—perhaps a few tens of millions. The rise of agriculture enabled even greater population growth requiring ever more intensive landuse practices to gain more sustenance from the same old land. At their peak, those agricultural systems might have sustained as many as three billion people in poverty on near-vegetarian diets.” So where did all this nonsense come from? Well, Malthus has a lot to do with it of course. But according to Ellis, it is essentially the problem of treating humanity as another set of data that you can plug into a biological or physical model. The trouble is, the study of human population necessarily deals with humans: “...I discovered the agricultural economist Ester Boserup, the antidote to the demographer and economist Thomas Malthus and his theory that population growth tends to outrun the food supply. Her theories of population growth as a driver of land productivity explained the data I was gathering in ways that Malthus could never do. The science of human sustenance is inherently a social science. Neither physics nor chemistry nor even biology is adequate to understand how it has been possible for one species to reshape both its own future and the destiny of an entire planet. This is the science of the Anthropocene. The idea that humans must live within the natural environmental limits of our planet denies the realities of our entire history, and most likely the future.” Exactly! How could Malthus be right when since he was writing the Earth sustains many billions more people at a better lifestyle than he could dream of? And as for Paul E...no I promised I wouldn’t mention him again. To suggest that we are just about hitting carrying capacity seems to be blind to historical progress. Turning back to the analogy that started his piece, Ellis comments: “Who knows what will be possible with the technologies of the future? The important message from these rough numbers should be clear. There really is no such thing as a human carrying capacity. We are nothing at all like bacteria in a petri dish.” Or, to answer an eminent TV personality, we are nothing at all like a plague. To conclude, while we are the ones who make it possible for this planet to feed billions of people to a degree impossible even 100 years ago, we are also the ones that mean that today people go hungry. Not because there are too many of us, but because we fight, are greedy and cannot efficiently share resources: “There is no environmental reason for people to go hungry now or in the future. There is no need to use any more land to sustain humanity —increasing land productivity using existing technologies can boost global supplies and even leave more land for nature—a goal that is both more popular and more possible than ever. The only limits to creating a planet that future generations will be proud of are our imaginations and our social systems.” I hope that people read Ellis’ piece carefully. Because if people take his message onboard, then they are less likely to consider China’s population policies as a necessary solution to "overpopulation". (This commentary is lifted from MercatorNet with permission)
Candidly Speaking / A4
Make Christ the center and light of our life in 2014
LOS Angeles, California. Despite both natural and man-made calamities we suffered in 2013, we should continue to live our daily life. Let us forget the tragedy brought by 2013, instead, let us learn from them. It is difficult to forget but let it not prevent us to give thanks to our Lord for all the blessings we received in 2013. Let us welcome 2014 with great hope and prayer for unity among the Filipinos, political will and good governance from our government officials, and making Jesus Christ the center and light of our life. *** May our government officials maximize the usage of generous financial help given by different countries, organizations, Red Cross, United Nations and the Vatican in order to rehabilitate the places devastated by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. Let us show our local and foreign donors that the Philippines can be trusted with that big amount of money to help the victims in their recovery. Likewise, despite the reports that donations of products from foreign countries are being sold by unscrupulous individuals in Metro Manila, let us pray that our Lord enlighten them that those goods are needed by the victims of Yolanda who up to now find it difficult to move on due to the devastations they suffered. *** The Social Security System (SSS) brings the worst New Year’s gift to the employees from the private sector. Effective January 2014, the SSS increased the monthly contributions of SSS members by 11%, allegedly because it needed millions of pesos to extend the life of SSS. If that was so, why did SSS grant bonus amounting to millions of pesos to each of its Directors? Another bad news to the employees is the increase of Philhealth contributions. It appears that these two agencies are not being run by good managers. Is it not about time for the President to overhaul the Board
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
in Cebu. LAIKO was in solidarity with the victims of calamities. It donated cash to the victims of Sendong through Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro, Bishop John Du, then the Bishop of Dumaguete, and Bishop Elenito Galido of Iligan. It will also give cash donations to the victims of Bohol earthquake through Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran, the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda through Archbishop John Du of Palo and Bishop Edgardo Juanich of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay, Palawan. The cash donation will be given during the CBCP Plenary Assembly in January 2014. LAIKO’s lay initiative in the May 13, 2013 election was the formation of coalition of councils of the laity and national lay organizations to now called White Vote Movement. It purports to preserve the Filipino family, life and sanctity of marriage. It also participated in social issues such as the participating in the Bids and Awards Committee, the non-passage of RH Bill and the abolition of PDAF. LAIKO members increased to 52 Archdiocesan/Diocesan Councils of the Laity and 52 National Lay Organizations. More membership applications are being processed. LAIKO also attended the national convention of Catholic Women’s League, Girls Scouts of the Philippines, the Asia Pacific Conference of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organization (WUCWO). LAIKO also joined His Grace John Du and Rolando Tria Tirona during their installation and canonical possession of the Archdiocese of Palo (Leyte) and Nueva Caceres. Since August 2013, LAIKO had been preparing for the Year of the Laity which was launched on December 1, 2013, the First Sunday of Advent with the theme “Called to be Saints, Sent forth as Heroes.” Finally, the LAIKO Board approved the LAIKO Statutes.
of Directors of these two agencies? *** My term as National President of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas or LAIKO officially ended last December 31, 2013. The Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws of Laiko provides 2 years term of office of the National President without re-election. I sincerely thank the LAIKO Board of Directors, staff, the National Lay Organizations and the Archdiocesan/Diocesan Councils of the Laity in the Philippines for the support they have given to make my term a successful one. During my watch, LAIKO had visited the Archdiocesan/Diocesan Councils of the Laity of Puerto Princesa, Malolos, San Fernando (Pampanga), Cebu, Batangas, during which the National President gave talks about LAIKO, the role of the laity and the social commitment of the church. The National President also gave talks to international organizations and at conference in Bangkok, Thailand and in Iasi, Romania sponsored by Accion Catolica; the 5th Institute of the Lay Apostolate on Women by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference BILA (FABC-BILA) international meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. The opening of National Laity Week (NLW) in 2012 was held in Cebu City with the theme “Building up the Body of Christ and Strengthening our Faith through New Evangelization” while the closing was in UST with the joint launching of activities about the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod. The opening of NLW 2013 was held in Puerto Princesa while the closing was in Batangas City with the theme “Taon ng Pananampalataya sa Diwa ni San Pedro Calungsod”. LAIKO organized as fundraising project the Pilgrimage of Faith, the Canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod. The LAIKO Board also attended the Thanksgiving Mass
Lessons from Yolanda
LOOKING at the images of the destruction caused by super Typhoon Yolanda, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. How can such loss of life be adequately grieved over, and the dignity of the victims properly honored when some of the bodily remains may never be found? Where will the money and the muscle to rebuild come from? What can mere mortals do in the face of such destructive powers of nature? At the heart of these and countless similar questions is a deeper one. Can anything I do in this short life make a difference when all human efforts can be swept away in minutes by mindless natural forces? Tragedies such as this one force us to confront the limits of our humanity and the meaning of our lives. They also demand a response from the depths of our heart. We can fall back into ourselves and conclude that life is basically—in the words of the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes—“nasty, brutish and short.” Or we can reach out of ourselves to help others and find meaning in the context of faith in God. I am here in the Philippines, meeting with Knights of Columbus leaders to help coordinate our fraternal order’s relief efforts in the wake of Yolanda. I am pleased to report that the response of the Filipino people to this disaster has been overwhelmingly to reach out to one another and to God. In my time in Manila and Cebu, I have met with refugees from the storm, whose homes were destroyed and whose relatives were swept to their death by the ocean surges. I have also paid visits to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila; Archbishop Jose S. Palma of Cebu; Hilario G. Davide III, Governor of the Province of Cebu, and a number of Knights of Columbus who have been involved in relief efforts. Even amid stories of loss, grief, pain and sadness, there remains a shining hope and a resilience that can only be explained by faith. It is the faith of a 7-yearold orphan in Tacloban, who lost both parents to Yolanda, playing with a friend amid the splintered remains of her home along the shoreline. When asked if she blames God for what happened, she shakes her head simply and says that the people need to pray more that such disasters do not occur again. That is the faith of a child, who
Jesus said would be great in the kingdom of heaven. Faith was also shown by Archbishop John Du of Palo, who decided to push forward with the planned celebrations for the archdiocese’s 75th anniversary, even though the cathedral’s roof had been sheared off by the wind and all that remained were four walls supporting the arched beams. The scheduled ordinations went on as well, since to postpone them would deprive parishes of much-needed new priests, Archbishop Du explained, showing his faith in God’s providence and the priesthood. The roof of his residence was blown off, but like a good shepherd he announced that he will repair the extensive damage to the seminary building before replacing the roof on his own house. Faith was also expressed by a woman in Palo who spoke to Cardinal Tagle during his visit for the archdiocese’s jubilee. When he first saw the barren hills that had once been thick with trees, and the piles of wood that had been thousands of homes, Cardinal Tagle’s thoughts immediately turned to the human suffering. “If this is the result of the storm,” he wondered to himself, “imagine what the people were going through at the time all this was happening.” Yet at the jubilee Mass, the cathedral was filled to overflowing with the faithful. Afterward, a woman approached the cardinal and they discussed the needs of the people. He asked how she and her family would celebrate Christmas amid so much destruction. “She said that maybe with everything that they had lost, this would be the first time they will be able to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas,” Cardinal Tagle recalled. “Without the lights and the wrapped gifts, they would truly know how simple Christmas can be, like the poor Christ Child in the manger.” Of course, the Church of the Philippines, through organizations such as Caritas and Catholic Relief Services, is providing for the material needs of the millions left homeless. This, too, is a work of faith, the Gospel mandate to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless. The Knights of Columbus is assisting with relief efforts, already delivering thousands of food sacks to families and making plans for livelihood
Half a World Away / A7
and to confession. They can look fervent in churches, but are little devils or even horrible monsters at home or in their work places. As much as possible, this catechesis has to be properly prepared and programmed. We have to outgrow the culture of improvisations and on-the-spot adaptations that can only be narrow and shallow at best in their reach. Aside from the collective and public means, the catechesis has to filter down to the level of the family and even of the individual. The ideal is to have one-on-one personal chats, so that each person is thoroughly known and guided, with the concrete circumstances considered and the most proper advice given. We should avoid generic mother statements, made attractive by some sound bites,
popular slogans and memes, and other rhetorical gimmicks. Everyone involved in catechesis should somehow feel that he is the instrument of the Holy Spirit to spread the truths of our faith and to stir people’s spiritual lives. Piety should not be too popular as to compromise its intimate personal aspect, nor too private or personal as to compromise its social and public dimension. In other words, piety should be both personal and social as is proper to our nature. This obviously requires serious study and continuing effort. I am sure that if we are generous with our prayers and sacrifices, we can attain the proper blend, and enjoy a popular piety that will leave good effects on everyone’s life and on society in general. We can truly be called the People of God!
AT least six people were killed and several others were injured in two separate explosions that hit the restive region of Mindanao on New Year’s Eve, authorities said. Reports at the PNP national operations center in Camp Crame said six persons were killed and four others were wounded when a homemade bomb went off near a Catholic Church in a remote village of Tumahubong in Sumisip, Basilan. The reports identified the fatalities as Linebel Cisneros, Lourdes Ablong, Rey Limben, Khadic Kitarol, Elbert Gumuba and a still unidentified four-year old child; and wounded were Rining Dingcong, Janice Dingcong and Jesa Dingcong. The exp losion oc c u r r ed a t around 10:20pm Tuesday when unidentified men lobbed a homebomb fashioned out from a 105mm howitzer shell in a resident place near the San Vicente Ferrer Parish Church run by the Claretian missionaries. The reports said the explosion occurred while a New Year’s Party was being held at the resident of
January 6 - 19, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
Foreign devotees of Black Nazarene increasing —priest
THERE is an increasing number of foreigners arriving in Manila to join the yearly procession of the Black Nazarene statue, a Catholic priest said. Monsignor Clemente Ignacio, Rector of Quiapo Church, said that they are coming across a rising of number of foreign Catholics who come to Manila every year to join in the religious event. Quiapo Church is home to Black Nazarene, a much-venerated statue of Jesus Christ which many Filipinos believe has miraculous attributes. According to him, it was in 2008 when he observed the notable increase—an indication that the devotion to the Black Nazarene is growing more than ever not just locally but even abroad. “I noticed this (increase) on the second year that I was assigned here (Quiapo Church). I’ve been here for seven years now,” Ignacio said. The priest also revealed a proposal of the Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs to invite Catholics abroad to join the Filipinos in demonstrating their faith. “But that’s their own plan,” Ignacio said. “The Quiapo Church actually doesn’t make invitations but foreigners keep coming in.” “My office is always being flooded by requests of families from different
Bomb blast near church kills 6 in Basilan
a certain Manuel Cisneros, a militiaman. Meanwhile, seven persons were reportedly injured when a man lobbed a grenade Tuesday evening near a crowded bazaar on a busy street at Purok-4, Brgy. Poblacion, La Paz, Agusan del Sur, reports said. The reports, sent by the Caraga police, identified those wounded in the explosion as Cesar Laray, 62; Norman Domaning, 52; Jinky Rose Roxas Mendoza, 22; Patricia Lemos Enriquez; Virgilio Ebiota Gulfo , 60 and Dona Mae Conjurado Mendoza, 16. The wounded were rushed to the Paz Municipal Hospital and DO Plaza Memorial Hospital in Patin-ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur for treatment while police arrested the grenade thrower identified as Jojo Francisco Pablo alias Tonton, 24. According to reports initial investigation revealed that the victims were buying goods for their New Year’s celebration when the suspect lobbed a grenade towards them. Police are still investigating the said incident. (AV/CBCPNews)
Quiapo rector Msgr. Clemente Ignacio and fellow clergy sprinkle holy water on the people and replicas of the Black Nazarene during the Blessing Rites outside the Quiapo church, January 7.
countries and ask guidance on how they could go here,” he added. Ignacio earlier said he is expecting around 12 million devotees from last January 1 to 9 for the feast of the Black Nazarene. The church authorities have already discussed with the concerned govern-
ment agencies their plans on now to manage security, traffic and crowd control during the procession on Thursday. Authorities also diverted the procession to the Jones Bridge and Escolta to avoid the McArthur Bridge amid concerns on the structure’s stability. (CBCPNews)
Tagle: We are just partners with God in rebuilding
IN helping survivors get back on their feet, it is important to be reminded that we are just partners with God in the work of rebuilding and reconstruction, a high-ranking Church official said. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle noted during a recent gathering of religious women that everyone is zealous and eager to help survivors, and many things are being proposed for them, but he said it is good to be reminded that “ultimately it is the Lord our justice who will truly build the house.” He stressed that we are just cooperators with God and eventually it is he who does the building, even quoting Scripture: “If God does not build the house, in vain do the builders labor.” “So it is not really our project, but God. [If ] We care for people, [if] we care for community that they get back on their feet. How much more is God! We cannot outdo God in his desire to rebuild his people. So let God do God’s work. It would certainly be according to the plan of Divine Justice,” Tagle said. Several representatives from various communities of ReliMining / A1
Donates / A1
Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
gious Women and members of Societies of Apostolic Life in the Archdiocese of Manila attended the annual Eucharistic celebration at the Arzobispado Chapel on December 18 which Cardinal Tagle presided. The Mass is a yearly activity that provides the chance for the Sisters working in the archdiocese to interact with the Cardinal and fellow religious. Delivering his homily on the day’s readings, the Cardinal reflected on the justice and righteousness of God, noting that “the fruit of the coming of the Lord our justice is not just
wise or good governance, but restoration.” “I think this is an apt and timely message for us, as people here in the Philippines talk about reconstructing, recovery, rehabilitation, especially among the communities hard hit by the earth quake, the typhoon, even the problem in Zamboanga,” he said. He talked of hope and the need to discern and “to cooperate with God’s wisdom and justice to be suitable partners in the reconstruction, but let God, the Lord our justice to do.” Tagle said Jesus who is Emmanuel, God is with us, is also called the Lord our justice, which is a beautiful name “for a people, not just the people of that time but for us humanity that continues to journey in life and in history under the shadow of injustice, of discrimination, of prejudice, of bias.” Joseph, a model of justice Tagle also reflected on St. Joseph, a just and righteous man chosen by God to become the earthly father of Jesus. He noted the deep respect and trust St. Joseph has accorded
Mary despite knowing that she was with child, and when he received some explanations through a dream, he did not question God on the role that he was to play in the unfolding drama. “It is a sense of justice which is also very spiritual. It is a justice that is sensitive to human dignity and to God’s action, God’s mysterious action,” Tagle said. “Very often,” the cardinal said, “our transgressions come with a lack of listening, a lack of appreciation for the mystery of the person and a lack of appreciation also for the mysterious ways by which God works in the lives of people.” “I think part of justice is deep respect for God and God’s mysterious work in the life of a human being. So like Joseph we have participated in the unfolding of God’s saving plan,” Tagle said. God is “our justice who will reconstruct the nation and Joseph [is] a just person invited by God to participate in his story of rebuilding humanity and creation in Jesus,” he added. (CBCPNews)
generous in giving to the victims of typhoon Yolanda. Bataan also had its own share of hardships due to monsoon rains and typhoons. It can be recalled that in August 2013, several municipalities in the province were inundated by floods caused by typhoon Maring. “On behalf of the Diocese may I humbly express our profound gratitude and sincere appreciation for your gracious donations for our brothers and sisters who suffered so much due to typhoon Yolanda,” Santos told the Balanga faithful through a circular on January 1. “What we gratefully received from you, we joyfully return to our brothers and sisters in
Unite / A1
need,” he added. The collected amount, which totaled P 2,042,486.70, was divided and distributed to the affected arch/dioceses. The Archdiocese of Capiz received P 120,000; Cebu – P 60,000; Jaro (Iloilo) – P 130,000; and Palo (Leyte) – P 200,000. The Diocese of Borongan (Samar) was given P 200,000; Kalibo (Aklan) – P 130,000; Masbate – P 72,486.70; Naval (Biliran) – P 200,000; and San Jose de Antique – P 130.000. The Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay (Palawan) was given P 400,000; Augustinian Monastery of Sto. Niño in Cebu – P 200,000; and Caritas Manila – P200,000. (CBCPNews)
Since 2009, the SP has consistently rejected any attempt to explore – much more extract – the island province for coal reserves, when it passed SP Resolution 085-2009, otherwise known as “Resolution Strongly Opposing Mining Operations in the Entire Province of Catanduanes,” he said. The resolution was SP’s response to the coal prospect pushed by AMPI and Monte Oro Mining in the province in 2009, Rojas said. In 2011, the SP also threw its consensus opposing Asianmines, Inc. application for mineral exploration filed before Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Regional Office V, and pressed on the same agency to deny the application. On September 23, 2013, SP Resolution 183-201, otherwise known as “Resolution Enacting an Ordinance Declaring the Province of Catanduanes a Mining-Free Zone,” was passed, which underpins previous resolves of the SP to foil any coal prospect in the island. The Church, for its part, has a consistent stand parallel to the strong position of the SP on any attempt to probe Catanduanes for mineral deposits, and eventually to drill coal. “The Catholic Church, through the initiative and guidance of our dear Bishop, Most
Fervor / A1
Rev. Manolo A. de los Santos, DD, has been opposing mining operation in the Island Diocese,” Rojas said. “The clergy of the diocese fully support the Bishop, and they are doing their best to campaign in their respective parishes against mining.” In October this year, through the diocese’s Social Action Commission, thousands of locals from different parishes and nongovernmental organizations backed and joined “Walk for A Cause” (Mina-Batlay, Mina-Kontra), he said. Religious organizations formed by the Katandungan Kontra Mina group also took part in the walk. The Social Action Commission and the Katandungan Kontra Mina, an anti-mining group that binds NGO representatives and diocesan clergy, found in their study that mining operations will trigger ground surface and vegetation disturbances that will entail the construction of mining plant and its support facilities, Rojas said. The two anti-mining groups also concluded that mining operations will prompt the soil to erode, causing water buildup in downstream rivers and creeks, he said. The siltation of the bodies of water in the area will eventually result in the overflow and flooding of the towns of Viga, Payo, Bagamanoc, San Andres, and Caramoan.
The study also found that “mine tailings from coal washing operation-chemical pollutants and coal residues will endanger the ecological balance in waterways and sea in any designated plant site and delivery points of the mining firm,” said Rojas. According to the two anti-mining groups, Sunwest Water and Electric Company’s (SUWECO) 3.075 MW mini-hydro power plant energy generations may also suffer from mining operations in the watershed of Hitoma River, he said. If SUWECO mini-hydro plant stops operation, the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative (FICELCO) consumers will be stripped of an estimated P20 million savings per annum, he said. The study also concluded that the economic promises of coal mining to the province will not match the damages that will arise from floods, soil erosions, landslides, deforestation, and destructions to agriculture by coal mining operations, the priest said. With the SP, the entire Church hierarchy, and thousands of locals consistently opposed to any mining prospect in the island, one is extremely motivated to contradict this collective and overwhelming stance, and dig. (Oliver Samson)
Zamboanga City for education, medical consultations and business reasons. Because of this, it is important that the government units from these three provinces help the city recover as quickly as possible from the results of the war, he said. The summit participants were given an update by the office of the Mayor on the reconstruction efforts being done by the city government in tandem with the national government. A number of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) also gave short reports on what their respective groups did to assist the city and mitigate the adverse effects of the rebel attack. For his part, Msgr. Crisostomo Manongas reported the decision of the archdiocese to put up lowcost houses in a property owned by the Archdiocese. Mr. Pocholo Soliven, who
Dynamism / A1
represented the business sector, also gave a report on the efforts of the business community to normalize business activities, like advocating with the Central Bank to get the local banks to reopen for operations even for limited hours. The Darul Ifta and a group called ESPERANZA spoke of the various ways they helped the IDPs, a majority of whom belong to the Islamic faith. Summit participants signed a covenant pledging themselves to individual and group action in “reconstructing a better and more habitable Zamboanga, where Muslims, Christians and indigenous people are living [in] harmonious existence; to heal and mend the social fabric, torn by the recent war; and committing to rebuilding a better and more peaceful society.” (CBCPNews)
if they are involved in church ministries, their commitment is just limited in doing church duties, and does not reflect “in a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political and economic sectors.” (EG, 102) Healthy signs Addressing parish communities, chaplaincies and pastoral stations, Villegas invited them to look for three signs of a healthy Church life in their communities at the end of 2014. He said the fruits should be there are “more catechists and more social action ministers than liturgical lay ministers; the rosary is prayed at home in more families with the parents and children praying together; and every year, there is at least one young man who will enter the seminary and answer the call to be a priest.” The prelate noted of a high interest among lay people to serve as ministers at the altar but there is little attraction to teach as Catechists or work among the poor as social action ministers. “There is a bit of glamour and prestige at being seen at the altar,” Villegas said. But he also pointed out, that “our laity is staying too long inside the church doing work inside the church presuming that God is pleased.” “This must be corrected,” he said, adding: “The lay faithful are primarily called for social
engagement outside the church building. There must be more laity working for God in society than at the altar.” Prayer The prelate also stressed the importance of praying the rosary at home calling as sick “a parish without family prayer at home.” He encouraged parishioners to “organize barangay block rosaries, coros of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal or Divine Mercy clusters.” “The best contribution we can make for society is indeed prayer but prayer must be brought out of church premises and brought at home, at work, in the plaza, in the streets, in the market and grocery stores; indeed everywhere,” Villegas said. He also asked every family to pray for a vocation at home, noting that a family which has raised its children in the faith usually is a seedbed of vocation to the priesthood and consecrated life. “The priest is called from among the laity in order to help the laity grow in their friendship with the Lord,” Villegas said. He emphasized that the priest serves the laity and not the other around. “I hope the priests will be more trusting and open with the involvement of the laity. We pray that our laity will wake up from passivity, be fired by the Spirit and dare to change the world for Christ,” Villegas said.
such that our private and public life demonstrate our being true disciples of the Lord.” “We must have a faith that can transform our society and not just a faith that is solely centered on devotional and liturgical practices, nor of a faith that is divorced from moral life,” he said. Take Mary’s example The bishop urged the faithful to take the Blessed Virgin’s examples as inspiration in following his Son, Jesus. “I invite you to acknowledge our strong conviction that we all walk with Jesus, the real light in our journey in this New Year. With Jesus, we are assured that this year is a new beginning which is full of enthusiasm and hopes,” Garcera said.
He said the Blessed Mother’s full cooperation with God’s work of redemption makes her the “closest associate in Christ’s saving work.” “Mary’s total and generous cooperation with God in the work of redemption truly shines further as our inspiration and example as we begin the Year on the Laity and Social Concerns in the Diocese of Daet,” Garcera told the faithful. Drawing from Marian documents, Garcera cited Mary attributes that makes her an excellent “model of lay collaboration and laity’s vocation to social transformation.” He also mentioned a significant fresco found in the catacombs of St. Agnes in Rome that for him completely illustrates
Mary’s full support to the early Church as a laywoman. “Mary’s prominent position between Saints Peter and Paul [in the fresco] illustrates the recognition by the Apostolic Church of the maternal centrality of Mary in the primitive Church,” he said. “More importantly, this proves that Mary truly supported the apostles in her capacity as a laywoman in building the early church,” added the prelate. Garcera hopes that encouraged by the examples of Mary, they would be able to build a missionary community in the diocese as they celebrate the Year of the Laity and Social Concerns. “I hope that this would happen within the diocese through the promotion of lay participa-
tion and co-responsibility and the development of a faith that is connected with social and moral life,” he declared. Various activities highlight the diocesan celebration of the Year of the Laity and Social Concerns, among which are: Creation of New Vicariates, Pastoral Congress on Ecology and mining, Home Visitation, Poverty Reduction Program, Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of SPACFI, Seminar on the life and mission of St. Joseph, Patron Saint in the Diocese, Strengthening of Parish Pastoral Councils and Ministries through Ongoing Formation, and the Launching of the 40th Foundation Anniversary of the Diocese of Daet. (PB/ CBCPNews)
Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
Lagdameo consecrates archdiocese to Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary
JARO, Iloilo—Amid the calamities that happened in the country particularly the widespread destruction caused by super typhoon Yolanda, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo declared the entrustment of the archdiocese under the protection of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In a circular issued Dec. 21, the archbishop said “after calamities, destructions, and tragedies that have taken place in the Philippines during the past year 2013 from which our country has still to suffer for a longer period, we still look at the coming year 2014 with hope, hope in God first of all, and hope in one another’s concern, sympathy and help.” Lagdameo commended the efforts of the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Acton Center (JASAC) which, with the contributions from other Archdiocesan Commissions, Parishes and other Institutions, has tried to measure up to the unprecedented challenges brought by the super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). “Thanks be to God, thanks to the innumerable and unknown people who have continued to help,” he said. The super-typhoon almost wiped out the coastline communities in the northeastern part of Iloilo and the interior northwestern part of the province suffered major loss of crops. The Archbishop observed that “much have been done, but much still have to be done.” On its part, the Jaro Archdiocesan Action Center led by Msgr. Meliton Oso has foreseen that relief and reconstruction efforts in Iloilo alone will have to continue for many months to help sustain and rehabilitate the people in the most devastated areas in the province. Noting that “our actions must be perfected by prayer”, Lagdameo decreed in the Circular that on January 1, an Act of consecration was to be made in all Masses in the Archdiocese. “Let us consecrate ourselves and the Archdiocese of Jaro to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We have done this before, we will do it again for the sake of our people,” he said. On two earlier occasions, acts of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary were made in the Archdiocese of Jaro. In 2012, Lagdameo asked the faithful in Iloilo to pray the prayer of Total Consecration composed by St. Louis Grignon de Montfort during the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in the midst of natural calamities that affected the country and the moves by Congress to rush the passing of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill. On June 8, 2013, the Archdiocese of Jaro joined other archdioceses and dioceses in the Philippines in a simultaneous consecration of the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The simultaneous consecration to the
Religious are prophets in Diocese steps up crusade to spread the Word of God today’s context—Archbishop
COTABATO City—Consecrated religious are called to be prophets in today’s contemporary context, a Mindanao archbishop told a group of nuns celebrating their jubilee of profession. Presiding the Jubilee celebration of 12 Notre Dame Sisters on Dec. 7, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo reminded the jubilarians of their specific calling to follow Jesus closely and to be prophets in the modern world. “Her [the religious] love for the poor and for others at the margins of society prophetically proclaims her love of God and her hope in the Reign of God… and we pray that you never make a detour,” Quevedo told the jubilarians. “Rejoice and be faithful disciples of the Poor, Chaste, and Obedient Christ. Go forth and be afire with God’s love!” he added. Nine of the Notre Dame Sisters celebrated their golden jubilee, while three celebrated their silver jubilee.
And That’s The Truth / A4
Immaculate Heart of Mary was made in the Cathedral and in the parishes all throughout Iloilo, as indicated by Archbishop Lagdameo, who called on all the
faithful to heed the call of Our Lady of Fatima to entrust ourselves to the protection of her Immaculate Heart. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
The golden jubilarians are: Sr. Felicitas M. Renacia, OND, Sr. Gloria V. Aray, OND, Sr. Genevieve J. Damaso, OND, Sr. Jeanine B. Dillera, OND, Sr. Leonila N. Dolina, OND, Sr. Ma. Virginia P. Adre, OND, Sr. Dolores L. Garayanala, OND, Sr. Fe F. Segundo, OND, and Sr. Bernarda M. Lapined, OND. The silver jubilarians are: Sr. Celsa A. Juanitez, OND, Sr. Elisa C. Caballero, OND and Sr. Wilmar T. Alzate,OND. The Jubilarians’ Renewal of Commitment was received by the Superior General, Sr. Carmelita Y. Olifernes, OND, and witnessed by a host of OND Sisters, families, relatives and friends, well-wishers, visitors, members of other religious congregations, and the clergy. The Eucharistic celebration was held at the Our Lady of Hope Chapel at the OND Compound in Tamontaka, DOS, Maguindanao. (Sr. Marietta Alo, OND)
GUMACA, Quezon—Despite the absence of a Bishop who administrates a Diocese since March of this year, the Church here stepped up its drive to deepen the faithful’s understanding of the Word of God, Diocese Chancellor Fr. Toni Ryan C. del Moro said in a phone interview. Propagating the Word of God is another business of the Diocese, which has a primary importance, he said. Based on the vision of the Diocese, this program was carried out all through this year and has to go on in 2014 and in the years ahead as a continuing program. “Sa ngayon po ang aming Diocese ay nasa pagpapatupad sa isa sa aming priorities—ang pagpapalaganap sa Salita ng Diyos,” Fr. del Moro said. “Ang buong taong ito ay nakalaan para dito.” [Currently, the Diocese is in the period of executing one of its priorities – propagating the Word of God. The whole year was devoted for it.] The Diocese saw the need of its communities to deepen their understanding of the Word of
God in this challenging time, the priest said. It is set to be accomplished in three years before it choose another program. Distribution of the Bible is essential to accomplish it. All the parishes of the Diocese shall choose an action plan in the implementation of the program, he said. The Diocese shall have an oversight on each parish to keep track on the progress it makes.
Each parish shall conduct Bible seminars and train leaders in propagating the Word of God, Fr. del Moro said. The Diocese embraces 29 parishes. “Medyo mahirap po itong aming gawain,” he said. “Meron kaming parokya na along the shoreline. Meron din island parishes.” [Geographically, our task present some difficulties. We have a parish along the coastline. We also have island parishes.]
Three parishes group together off mainland Quezon Province in Alabat Island, an island in Quezon off the East coast of Southern Luzon. The island is composed of the towns of Perez, Alabat, and Quezon. Together, the 3 municipalities have a combined population of over 41,000. The Diocese also has about 500 Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK), Fr. del Moro said. On Sundays, these small ecclesial communities celebrate the Word of God on their own, without the presence of a priest. The MSK has prayer leaders and a chapel, he said. Once in every month or two, a priest makes a visit. Last year the Diocese had concentrated on programs concerning the family as part of the Diocese’s vision, Fr. del Moro said. Currently, Gumaca has no installed Bishop, he said. Msgr. Jose Lagdameo serves as Diocese administrator with about 73 priests, who gather every month for their regular fellowship. (Oliver Samson)
in this age of media explosion, compared to what it meant to the sages looking for the newborn Savior two thousand years ago. Of all the Metromanila Christmases in recent memory, 2013 showed a marked decline in the number of Christmas stars/ lights brightening up our parks, plazas, and streets. Corporations and government offices reportedly opted to “donate instead the money saved from decors to the disaster victims”. Thus city folk who used to go around town on Christmas to admire these decors had to content themselves with seeing the parols and the crèches
Half a World Away / A5
in the parish churches. And yet, many would not be stopped from splurging on fireworks to create artificial “stars” in the sky on New Year’s eve. We are indeed a nation of contrasts. The star that announced the birth of the Messiah should never be dimmed in the hearts of men, or overshadowed by the man made stars of our generation. I have a crazy idea. I think I’ll hang our parol outside our window again, to remind passersby all year round of what it symbolizes—the birth that changed the future of humanity.
‘We need you,’ bishop tells Lucena youth
LUCENA City—Grabbing the chance to affirm the younger, sometimes, overlooked members of the Church, a bishop tells Lucena youth how much the Church needs the involvement and presence of young people. “The Church needs the young people,” Lucena Bishop Emilio Z. Marquez, D.D told some 921 youth at Lucena’s Diocesan Youth Day Celebration last December 6-7, which was held at the Sentro Pastoral Auditorium, Isabang, Lucena City. Sacraments, still relevant Bishop Marquez encouraged the delegates, who were also celebrating the Diocesan Youth Commission’s 35th year anniversary, to make prayer a part of daily life, as well as to receive the sacraments of confession and holy communion to deepen their relationship with God. He also reminded them, the Church always wishes to care for and guide the youth. According to Michael Verastigue, one of the event’s organizers, Bishop Marquez’ emphasis on the sacraments remains relevant to modern, young people today.
App / A1
Bishop Emilio Marquez of Lucena encourages young people to lead prayerful lives and get involved in Church activities.
programs by purchasing boats for fishermen, seeds for farmers and chainsaws for people to cut up the thousands of felled trees and use the wood to build temporary homes. The Supreme Council in New Haven, Conn., has committed $500,000 over the long-term for these relief and rehabilitation efforts. As an American who comes from a culture that tempts us to think that material goods alone make up a good life, I’ve
Spaces of Hope / A5
learned a valuable lesson from my time in the Philippines. Happiness does not come from what we possess; it comes from our relationships with friends and family members and especially with our closeness to God. The victims of Yolanda need our help to get their lives and livelihoods back together, but we need their witness of faith amid grief and loss. We should thank them as we pray for them and offer them our assistance.
“I think sacraments are still important in this time because it is the basic foundation of our faith, the source of grace from God,” he said in an interview. WYD experience During the event, Stephen Borja, a junior staff of the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate of the Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) also gave some points for reflection on the recently concluded Year of Faith.
Sharing his personal experience of the WYD in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last July, Borja challenged the youth delegates to discover how they can serve God more by making small, personal sacrifices. The program began with the solemn enthronement of Diocesan Youth Cross, the Holy Bible, Marian and San Pedro Calungsod images. The delegates also offered a few moments of silence to pray for the victims of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ and the earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu. Fr. Everett Calvendra, the Diocesan Youth Director, Rev. Fr. Richmond Gerard Amado, Asst. Diocesan Youth Director, Fr. Jhilmar Jalbuena, Vice Chancellor, and Fr. Warren Puno also concelebrated the holy mass with Bishop Marquez. The youth day celebration carried the same theme as World Youth Day (WYD) 2013, “Go and make disciples of all nations!”(Mt. 28:19).” (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
priests, the fortitude to stay with their people when the invitation to leave became incessant. That night, inside my tent, I found it hard to sleep just thinking about the dead and their still-anguishing families. I finally had a sound sleep only the next day on 08 December ushering the “Days of Prayer and Remembrance”. As I joined others after mass in lighting candles at the mass grave in front of the Palo Cathedral, I felt inner peace. “Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let your eternal light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen. “ *** The patches of green that greeted my eyes when the plane landed in Tacloban symbolizes hope. I have seen this in the smiles that greet me among survivors and volunteers. A priest even told me that a foreigner, a
photographer, had visited him and asked to take his picture together with some children. As he snapped his camera, he blurted out, “Put on a sad face so that we can convince people to help out”. He could not figure out the smiles. I have also seen the outpouring of love among members of the family, among neighbors, and even between cities and local churches. I know of neighbors, erstwhile not in speaking terms, but now working together. As relief work gives way to recovery and rehabilitation, one realizes we have barely scratched the surface of the needed work. While much money has been pledged by the international community and funds earmarked by the government, we can fall into a sense of complacency. This can easily happen if coupled with the emergence of other issues in the media limelight. We should not let this happen.
help monitor resolutions every day of the year but also reminds the person to seek help and inspiration from friends in Heaven. Arnil Paras, a graduate of the London School of Economics, and Ace Bonita, a graduate of the University of Asia & the Pacific, developed a smartphone application or “app” called Alvaro Daily (http://bit. ly/1ewtlw8). The two yuppies, together with other young professional men attend formation activities organized by Amber University Center in Ortigas Center, under the spiritual direction of the Prelature of Opus Dei. Both Paras and Bonita are devotees of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo who succeeded St. Josemaria Escriva as head of Opus Dei, and taught many ordinary Christians a way of sanctification through daily work and the faithful fulfillment of their daily duties. On July 5, 2013, Pope Francis signed the decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Alvaro del Portillo, which opened the way to his beatification.
The miracle is the instantaneous healing of newborn baby from Chile who suffered cardiac arrest a few days after his birth in August 2003. Through the intercession of Alvaro del Portillo and without any additional treatment, the heart of the new born baby started to beat again. Ten years later, despite the seriousness of his medical situation, the boy leads a normal life. Close to 12,000 signed accounts of favors, some of which refer to family life, have been received through the intercession of Alvaro del Portillo. App’s other interesting features Aside from helping monitor resolutions every day, the Alvaro Daily app also provide other interesting features such as details about the miracle attributed to him which opened the way for his beatification; information about Saxum, a Conference Center in Jerusalem inspired by Alvaro del Portillo; daily quotes from his preaching and writings; a quick access to his Prayer Card for private devotion to ask for his intercession; and writings on the life
and teachings of Alvaro del Portillo. Considering that the human person is not only physical but also a spiritual being, Fr. Henry Bocala, best-selling author of award-winning books “Arise & Walk” and “Mending a Broken Society”, gives a very important reason for a person’s failure to keep resolutions. Fr. Bocala said “You will find out that when you make resolutions but do not pray to God, ask the intercession of the Saints, or seek other people’s support, you have set yourself up to fail before you even have begun.” “Failure to live up to good resolutions comes from the fact that you are trying to accomplish them by means of your own strength alone”, the spiritual author added. App supports worthy causes, too During his years as head of Opus Dei, Portillo promoted many social and educational projects all over the world, for the benefit of the very needy. Aside from helping in personal development, the Alvaro
Daily app will also enable the person to contribute to worthy causes. A significant portion of proceeds from the Alvaro Daily app will contribute to the construction of Saxum, an International Conference Center and a Multimedia Resource Center for pilgrims in the Holy Land while other proceeds will be donated for the rehabilitation of Tuburan Study Center of St. Vincent Ferrer Parochial School in Iloilo, which was destroyed by super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). In this Year of the Laity, the initiative of Paras and Bonita shows that the professional work of lay people, when done for love of God, can contribute positively to the New Evangelization especially in this “high-tech” and social-media driven age. Paras has written analyses and commentaries on Philippine Politics in Philippine dailies and currently teaches at the University of Asia & the Pacific’s School of Law and Governance. Bonita works in an IT firm in Ortigas Center. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
People, Facts & Places
January 6 - 19, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
CBCP launches website for lay people; challenges laity to be ‘saints, heroes’
THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has launched a new initiative to give voice to the laity. With the Church’s declaration of 2014 as Year of the Laity, the CBCP has launched a website dedicated to the lay people called choosetobebrave.org. In his letter introducing the new site, CBCP president and LingayenDagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the new step was taken “to reach out to more of the laity in the Catholic Church.” Villegas said the 2014’s challenge to the laity is that they are “called to be saints” and sent forth as heroes.” He said one can become a saint and a hero by being brave, and this is possible for everyone to do everyday and everywhere. “Cowards cannot be saints,” Villegas said, adding “’Do not be afraid’ is the favourite command of God.” He said “cold people are dull and dry” but “heroes inspire and ignite” and “everybody loves brave people” because “brave people are admirable.” “Here is the website to inspire you to be brave and to share your stories of bravery. Here you can light little candles of bravery and set the world afire! Make this world a better place,” Villegas said. The site contains the Church’s programs of pastoral action for the entire year of 2014 focusing on formation and animation of the Catholic faithful. Directed to twelve sectors of society—young professionals, broken families, homeless and jobless, homebound and prisoners, farmers, fisher folks and laborers, troubled friends, government employees, civic organizations, public school teachers, indigenous people and lay saints and Catholic Filipinos heroes,—the site is one of the many ways the Church is showing to the laity “how to be brave and be agents for social change,” according to the CBCP. Various Catholic lay groups can also use the site to give a feedback to by listening to them and giving them a voice,” Villegas said. “Being brave is the sure way to be saints! Being brave is what makes ordinary people great heroes!” he declared. In a pastoral letter issued for the Year of the Laity, CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas challenged the lay people to bear witness to a life of faith wherever they are and whatever they do, noting that for many Catholics, a big gap exists between practice and life. He also lamented the fact that many Catholics do not know the fundamentals of the Catholic faith that make them easy prey “to the seductions of other religious groups.” (PB/CBCPNews)
Thousands of lay people actively responded to the call for new evangelization during the first ever Philippine Conference for New Evangelization (PCNE) held in Manila last year.
the bishops about the situation of the Filipino family. Site’s visitors can fill up a survey form released by the Vatican in preparation for the upcoming Extraordinary Synod
of Bishops on the Pastoral Challenges of the Family. The responses will be synthesized by the CBCP and will be transmitted to the Vatican. “We want to show our love to the laity
Pope as ‘Person of the Year’ should inspire leaders – Tagle
TIME magazine’s naming Pope Francis as Person of the Year is an invitation to other world leaders to lead life of integrity, Manila’s archbishop said. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the pope exemplifies good practices in leadership and charity, and how leaders can learn from him. “The choice of Pope Francis as Time magazine’s Person of the Year testifies to the universal appeal of Christ’s Gospel of mercy, humility, sincerity, human worth, compassion, and solidarity. It is a language that all people understand and appreciate,” Tagle said. “The choice invites the leaders of the world to lead lives of integrity, to review their priorities and to inspire humanity through selfless service,” he said. The cardinal also said that the pontiff’s selection also provides an opportunity for Catholics to reflect on his examples that inspired many people. “The choice also calls the leaders and faithful of the church to embody these virtues and values in daily life and work,” Tagle added. “The life witness of a disciple is still the most effective proclamation of the Christian message,” he said. The new head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), meanwhile, described the recognition as a “refreshing wind of new life that God has given the world” and called on the faithful to follow the pope’s lead. Pope Francis “I encourage our Catholics to stay down-to-earth faith we have focused on the Pope’s eyes— much to learn,” said Lingayenalways on God. The sincerest Dagupan Archbishop Socrates form of honoring him is to imi- Villeg as, CBCP president. tate him. In his simplicity and (CBCPNews)
12 million devotees expected to join Nazarene feast
Filipino priest invents computer-based confession tool for deaf people
A RETIRED Filipino priest based in Phoenix, Arizona has invented a computer-based confession tool that would facilitate confession for hearing-impaired penitents. Fr. Romuald P. Zantua, DS, formerly of Daet diocese and founder of a religious community called Disciples of Hope has created a technologybased confession device that will make the valued sacrament of reconciliation easily available to hundreds of thousands of people with hearing problems. The confessional tool— also called the St. Damien Confession Box—consists of two laptop computers running on special software and connected exclusively for penitent and priest to type on and send their messages to each other. Both laptops can only function for the particular intent it was created and not for other purposes. Priests who are not skilled in sign language will be able to communicate with deaf people using the chat function through a secured setup of two connected computers with American Sign Language (ASL) instructions and videos, according to Zantua. He said this particular invention will boost the practice of confession and may usher people with special needs to the Catholic Church’s gradual adoption of new technology in the modern world. The device is composed of two computers running on special software that appears on both computer screens which contains written instructions as well as sign language video instructions and audio. The software is hackproof, according to Zantua, since the device doesn’t allow a third party to connect and other network connectivity are all disabled, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Zantua, who served previously as executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on Seminaries, said the computer setup was designed to instantly run a chat program where a priest and the penitent can exchange written messages on their screens. Both penitent and priest will only have to write their messages by typing and pressing the appropriate buttons to a sequence following normal church practice, he said. Deaf people usually have very limited option and accessibility to confession due to their disability and the limited number of priests who are skilled in sign language, Zantua added. Penitents with hearing problems either will look for a priest who knows sign language or else write their confession on a piece of papers and hand them to a priest. The use of the tool for the sacrament of confession is still awaiting approval from the Holy See. It has been presented to the National Catholic Office for the Deaf (NCOD) in Phoenix during their annual Pastoral Week last year. After few revisions and joint assessments of NCOD and the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), the latest version was finalized. Zantua, who currently lives in one of the communities he started in the United States, has for many years worked with people of special needs. He is also a published author of several books. More information about the St. Damien Confession Box is available at the website http://www.stdamien. org . To view a presentation of it, click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4zxh0KwS8 (CBCPNews)
Devotees pull the rope of the carriage bearing the image of Poong Nazareno in last year’s traslacion that drew a mammoth crowd of 9 million.
Manila Archdiocese organizes painting competition promoting church heritage
AIMING to promote the cultural heritage of the church among Filipino artists, the Archdiocese of Manila will be holding a painting competition that focuses on the history of the Catholic Church in the country. With the theme “Ang Simbahan sa Kasaysayan,” the Manila Archdiocesan Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church (MACC) is inviting young Filipino artists to explore the beginnings and evolution of Christian art by depicting a significant event in the history of the Philippine Church in their artworks. The competition is open to all Filipino students and outof-school youth from 15 to 25 years old. Submission of entries will be on January 23, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Museo ng Arkidiyosesis ng Maynila, 3/F Arzobispado de Manila, 121 Arzobispo Street, Intramuros, Manila. Oil on canvas and acrylic paintings are the only accepted media. Paintings should be figurative and representational. Abstract paintings are not allowed. Winners will be awarded cash prizes ranging from P40,000 (1st prize), P30,000 (2nd prize), P20,000 (3rd prize), P10,000 each (Three Jurors’ Choices). MACC is urging participants to consult key references such as Readings in Philippine Church History (1979) by John N. Schumacher, S.J. and History of the Church in the Philippines (1979) by Pablo Fernandez, O.P. as they conceptualize their entries. For more information, interested participants may visit www.rcam.org or call the MACC office at 524-5062. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)
AROUND 12 million devotees are expected to come and visit the Quiapo Church from January 1 up to January 9, the feast of Black Nazarene, according to church rector Msgr. Clemente Ignacio. The feast, traditionally celebrated on January 9, draws million of devotees from all over the country who walk with the image in procession barefooted as a sign of penance and thanksgiving for favors received. At least nine million devotees participated in last year’s procession traversing the 3 kms route from Luneta to Quiapo church that lasted 9 hours. In preparation for this year’s fiesta celebration, Quiapo church’s Fiesta Committee headed by Msgr. Ignacio met with the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC) headed by MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino to discuss plans on how to manage security, emergency traffic and crowd control during the traslacion. The traslacion is the transfer of the miraculous image of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to Quiapo Church. Green celebration Meanwhile, environmentalists and community leaders around Quiapo area are calling for green celebration of the feast of the
Black Nazarene. Local leaders and environmental network Eco Waste Coalition urged devotees and visitors to couple their devotion to the Black Nazarene with respect for the environment. The call came as devotees begin the first day of the nine-day novena prayers leading to the fiesta celebration on January 9. “Combining our people’s amazing devotion to the Black Nazarene with action respecting, nurturing and defending Mother Earth will be a powerful force of hope and deliverance against those who trash and ruin the environment,” Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, said. “If the millions of devotees who come to Quiapo will simply not litter and avoid waste in all its forms, we’ll have a feast that is pleasing to the eyes and pleasing to the Lord,” she added. Barangay leaders echoed the same call urging devotees to act responsibly and not leave their garbage just anywhere. In past celebrations, truckloads of garbage were collected from Luneta to Quiapo that include cigarette butts, candy and snack wrappers, plastic bags, cups, bottles and straws, Styrofoam containers and bamboo skewers that often cause injuries among barefoot devotees. (CBCPNews)
FNYO launches ‘new look’
CELEBRATING the “unity in diversity” of 17 youth organizations, the Federation of National Youth Organizations (FNYO) presented its “new look” at its annual FNYO Day last December 15. Hosted by Claret School, Quezon City, the event featured the launching of the official FNYO song, a reorganized FNYO handbook, its official website, and a new logo. Bernadette Felix of Chiro Pilipinas presented the new FNYO handbook, which will be available to the public by March 2014. According to Felix, the handbook aims to introduce FNYO and the different organizations it comprises to more people, as well as to be a guide on the services and programs the federation can offer to young people in the dioceses. The attendees got to see the spiffy, new website of FNYO, as showcased by one of its webmasters, Frence Boiser of the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCAP). The interactive website, which contains relevant information about the FNYO and its member-organizations, can now be accessed at https://www.fnyoph.com. Macoy Quinto of CFC-Youth for Christ (CFC-YFC) is the other webmaster of the site. He explained, the logo still contains the elements of the federation’s motto, “Iisa kahit magkakaiba” (unity in diversity), which is symbolized by the four human figures with different colors. Lea Dasigan of the SYM-FMA composed the FNYO’s first ever official song, titled “We Journey Together as One” with musical arrangements made by Fr. Danny Dadule, SDB. The official animation dance was also introduced. The 23-year-old umbrella organization is composed of CFC-Singles for Christ (CFCSFC), CFC-Singles for Family and Life CFCYouth for Christ (CFC-YFC), CFC-Youth for Family and Life (CFC-YFL), Chiro Pilipinas, Christian Life Communities of the Philippines, Christ Youth in Action (CYA), Columbian Squires, Filipino Youth with a Mission (FYM), Filipino-Chinese Catholic Youth (FCCY), Institucion Teresiana (IT) Youth, Mary Help of Christians Crusade (MHCC), Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) – SDB/ FMA, Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP), Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCAP), Youth for Mary and Christ, and Franciscan Youth (YouFra). (Mark Vertido/ Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
APPOINTED. Pope Francis appointed Bishop Marlo Peralta of Alaminos as the new Archbishop of Nueva Segovia in Ilocos Sur. Peralta, who was consecrated a bishop in 2006, replaces retired Archbishop Ernesto Salgado who recently turned 77 years old. Salgado had served the archdiocese with a population of 718,000, around 85 percent of which are Catholics, for eight years. Peralta is 63 years old, born on July 13, 1950 in San Carlos, Pangasinan. He was ordained a priest at the age of 25 in 1975. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI appointed him Coadjutor bishop of Alaminos on Jan. 14, 2006. He became bishop of Alaminos by succession on July 1, 2007. No date has been set for the installation of the new archbishop. ORDAINED. Fr. Reynate “Renz” Ilagan was ordained to the Sacred Order of the priesthood on December 12, 2013 at the parish church of Holy Trinity in Pallocan West, Batangas City. Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles presided the Eucharist and Ordination rites with retired Bishops Salvador Quizon and Benjamin Almoneda as concelebrants. CELEBRATED. Sr. Evangelina Canag, Sr. Luisa Luminarias, Sr. Justin Vargas, Sr. Amabilis Lagnada, Sr. Domenica Roña, Sr. Ausilia Loresto, Sr. Aurora Cosmiano, Sr. Tomasina Vasquez, Sr. Concordia Sanchez, Sr. Francesca Mariano, Sr. Imelda Dandoy, Sr. Mary Xavier Balisalisa and Sr. Serafina Fernandez celebrated their Golden Jubilee of profession on December 9, 2013 with a Thanksgiving Mass presided by Fr. Jose Aripio, provincial superior of the Society of St. Paul. CELEBRATED. Cleric Paolo Asprer professed perpetual vows among the Society of St. Paul on December 8, 2013, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The solemn rite of profession was held at the Sanctuary of St. Paul at St. Paul Seminary in Makati City, and witnessed by family and friends and representatives from members of the Pauline Family.
Shortly after, Chadrix Tañada of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) introduced the new FNYO logo, which features the FNYO acronym visible inside a circle, which symbolizes the Host, the Body of Christ, and is intersected by the cross, which represents Jesus Christ. Yellow, the predominant color of the logo, represents the Church and signifies the FNYO’s primary goal of leading young people towards the “Light of the World”, Jesus Christ.
Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace
Message of His Holiness Francis for the celebration of the World Day of Peace 1 January 2014
1. IN this, my first Message for the World Day of Peace, I wish to offer to everyone, individuals and peoples, my best wishes for a life filled with joy and hope. In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced. Fraternity is an essential human quality, for we are relational beings. A lively awareness of our relatedness helps us to look upon and to treat each person as a true sister or brother; without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace. We should remember that fraternity is generally first learned in the family, thanks above all to the responsible and complementary roles of each of its members, particularly the father and the mother. The family is the wellspring of all fraternity, and as such it is the foundation and the first pathway to peace, since, by its vocation, it is meant to spread its love to the world around it. The ever-increasing number of interconnections and communications in today’s world makes us powerfully aware of the unity and common destiny of the nations. In the dynamics of history, and in the diversity of ethnic groups, societies and cultures, we see the seeds of a vocation to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another. But this vocation is still frequently denied and ignored in a world marked by a “globalization of indifference” which makes us slowly inured to the suffering of others and closed in on ourselves. In many parts of the world, there seems to be no end to grave offences against fundamental human rights, especially the right to life and the right to religious freedom. The tragic phenomenon of human trafficking, in which the unscrupulous prey on the lives and the desperation of others, is but one unsettling example of this. Alongside overt armed conflicts are the less visible but no less cruel wars fought in the economic and financial sectors with means which are equally destructive of lives, families and businesses. Globalization, as Benedict XVI pointed out, makes us neighbors, but does not make us brothers. The many situations of inequality, poverty and injustice, are signs not only of a profound lack of fraternity, but also of the absence of a culture of solidarity. New ideologies, characterized by rampant individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken social bonds, fuelling that “throw away” mentality which leads to contempt for, and the abandonment of, the weakest and those considered “useless”. In this way human coexistence increasingly tends to resemble a mere do ut des which is both pragmatic and selfish. At the same time, it appears clear that contemporary ethical systems remain incapable of producing authentic bonds of fraternity, since a fraternity devoid of reference to a common Father as its ultimate foundation is unable to endure. True brotherhood among people presupposes and demands a transcendent Fatherhood. Based on the recognition of this fatherhood, human fraternity is consolidated: each person becomes a “neighbor” who cares for others. “Where is your brother?” (Gen 4:9) 2. To understand more fully this human vocation to fraternity, to recognize more clearly the obstacles standing in the way of its realization and to identify ways of overcoming them, it is of primary importance to let oneself be led by knowledge of God’s plan, which is presented in an eminent way in sacred Scripture. According to the biblical account of creation, all people are descended from common parents, Adam and Eve, the couple created by God in his image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26), to whom Cain and Abel were born. In the story of this first family, we see the origins of society and the evolution of relations between individuals and peoples. Abel is a shepherd, Cain is a farmer. Their profound identity and their vocation is to be brothers, albeit in the diversity of their activity and culture, their way of relating to God and to creation. Cain’s murder of Abel bears tragic witness to his radical rejection of their vocation to be brothers. Their story (cf. Gen 4:1-16) brings out the difficult task to which all men and women are called, to live as one, each taking care of the other. Cain, incapable of accepting God’s preference for Abel who had offered him the best of his flock—“The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering; but for Cain and his offering he had no regard” (Gen 4:4-5)—killed Abel out of jealousy. In this way, he refused to regard Abel as a brother, to relate to him rightly, to live in the presence of God by assuming his responsibility to care for and to protect others. By asking him “Where is your brother?”, God holds Cain accountable for what he has done. He answers: “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). Then, the Book of Genesis tells us, “Cain went away from the presence of the Lord” (4:16). We need to ask ourselves what were the real reasons which led Cain to disregard the bond of fraternity and, at the same time, the bond of reciprocity and fellowship which joined him to his brother Abel. God himself condemns and reproves Cain’s collusion with evil: “sin is crouching at your door” (Gen 4:7). But Cain refuses to turn against evil and decides instead to raise his “hand against his brother Abel” (Gen 4:8), thus scorning God’s plan. In this way, he thwarts his primordial calling to be a child of God and to live in fraternity. The story of Cain and Abel teaches that we have an inherent calling to fraternity, but also the tragic capacity to betray that calling. This is witnessed by our daily acts of selfishness, which are at the root of so many wars and so much injustice: many men and women die at the hands of their brothers and sisters who are incapable of seeing themselves as such, that is, as beings made for reciprocity, for communion and self-giving. “And you will all be brothers” (Mt 23:8) 3. The question naturally arises: Can the men and women of this world ever fully respond to the longing for fraternity placed within them by God the Father? Will they ever manage by their power alone to overcome indifference, egoism and hatred, and to accept the legitimate differences typical of brothers and sisters? By paraphrasing his words, we can summarize the answer given by the Lord Jesus: “For you have only one Father, who is God, and you are all brothers and sisters” (cf. Mt 23:8-9). The basis of fraternity is found in God’s fatherhood. We are not speaking of a generic fatherhood, indistinct and historically ineffectual, but rather of the specific and extraordinarily concrete personal love of God for each man and woman (cf. Mt 6:25-30). It is a fatherhood, then, which effectively generates fraternity, because the love of God, once welcomed, becomes the most formidable means of transforming our lives and relationships with others, opening us to solidarity and to genuine sharing. In a particular way, human fraternity is regenerated in and by Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection. The Cross is the definitive foundational locus of that fraternity which human beings are not capable of generating themselves. Jesus Christ, who assumed human nature in order to redeem it, loving the Father unto death on the Cross (cf. Phil 2:8), has through his resurrection made of us a new humanity, in full communion with the will of God, with his plan, which includes the full realization of our vocation to fraternity. From the beginning, Jesus takes up the plan of the Father, acknowledging its primacy over all else. But Christ, with his abandonment to death for love of the Father, becomes the definitive and new principle of us all; we are called to regard ourselves in him as brothers and sisters, inasmuch as we are children of the same Father. He himself is the Covenant; in his person we are reconciled with God and with one another as brothers and sisters. Jesus’ death on the Cross also brings an end to the separation between peoples, between the people of the Covenant and the people of the Gentiles, who were bereft of hope until that moment, since they were not party to the pacts of the Promise. As we read in the Letter to the Ephesians, Jesus Christ is the one who reconciles all people in himself. He is peace, for he made one people out of the two, breaking down the wall of separation which divided them, that is, the hostility between them. He created in himself one people, one new man, one new humanity (cf. 2:14-16). All who accept the life of Christ and live in him acknowledge God as Father and give themselves completely to him, loving him above all things. The reconciled person sees in God the Father of all, and, as a consequence, is spurred on to live a life of fraternity open to all. In Christ, the other is welcomed and loved as a son or daughter of God, as a brother or sister, not as a stranger, much less as a rival or even an enemy. In God’s family, where all are sons and daughters of the same Father, and, because they are grafted to Christ, sons and daughters in the Son, there are no “disposable lives”. All men and women enjoy an equal and inviolable dignity. All are loved by God. All have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, who died on the Cross and rose for all. This is the reason why no one can remain indifferent before the lot of our brothers and sisters. Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to p.eace 4. This being said, it is easy to realize that fraternity is the foundation and pathway of peace. The social encyclicals written by my predecessors can be very helpful in this regard. It would be sufficient to draw on the definitions of peace found in the encyclicals Populorum Progressio by Pope Paul VI and Sollicitudo Rei Socialis by John Paul II by John Paul II. From the first we learn that the integral development of peoples is the new name of peace.  From the second, we conclude that peace is an opus solidaritatis. Paul VI stated that not only individuals but nations too must encounter one another in a spirit of fraternity. As he says: “In this mutual understanding and friendship, in this sacred communion, we must also… work together to build the common future of the human race”. In the first place, this duty falls to those who are most privileged. Their obligations are rooted in human and supernatural fraternity and are manifested in three ways: the duty of solidarity, which requires the richer nations to assist the less developed; the duty of social justice, which requires the realignment of relationships between stronger and weaker peoples in terms of greater fairness; and the duty of universal charity, which entails the promotion of a more humane world for all, a world in which each has something to give and to receive, without the progress of the one constituting an obstacle to the development of the other. If, then, we consider peace as opus solidaritatis, we cannot fail to acknowledge that fraternity is its principal foundation. Peace, John Paul II affirmed, is an indivisible good. Either it is the good of all or it is the good of none. It can be truly attained and enjoyed, as the highest quality of life and a more human and sustainable development, only if all are guided by solidarity as “a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good”. This means not being guided by a “desire for profit” or a “thirst for power”. What is needed is the willingness to “lose ourselves” for the sake of others rather than exploiting them, and to “serve them” instead of oppressing them for our own advantage. “The ‘other’—whether a person, people or nation—[is to be seen] not just as some kind of instrument, with a work capacity and physical strength to be exploited at low cost and then discarded when no longer useful, but as our ‘neighbor’, a ‘helper’”. Christian solidarity presumes that our neighbor is loved not only as “a human being with his or her own rights and a fundamental equality with everyone else, but as the living image of God the Father, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and placed under the permanent action of the Holy Spirit”, as another brother or sister. As John Paul II noted: “At that point, awareness of the common fatherhood of God, of the brotherhood of all in Christ—‘children in the Son’—and of the presence and life-giving action of the Holy Spirit, will bring to our vision of the world a new criterion for interpreting it”, for changing it. Fraternity, a prerequisite for fighting poverty 5. In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, my predecessor reminded the world how the lack of fraternity between peoples and men and women is a significant cause of poverty. In many societies, we are experiencing a profound poverty of relationships as a result of the lack of solid family and community relationships. We are concerned by the various types of hardship, marginalization, isolation and various forms of pathological dependencies which we see increasing. This kind of poverty can be overcome only through the rediscovery and valuing of fraternal relationships in the heart of families and communities, through the sharing of joys and sorrows, of the hardships and triumphs that are a part of human life. Moreover, if on the one hand we are seeing a reduction in absolute poverty, on the other hand we cannot fail to recognize that there is a serious rise in relative poverty, that is, instances of inequality between people and groups who live together in particular regions or in a determined historical-cultural context. In this sense, effective policies are needed to promote the principle of fraternity, securing for people – who are equal in dignity and in fundamental rights – access to capital, services, educational resources, healthcare and technology so that every person has the opportunity to express and realize his or her life project and can develop fully as a person. One also sees the need for policies which can lighten an excessive imbalance between incomes. We must not forget the Church’s teaching on the so-called social mortgage, which holds that although it is lawful, as Saint Thomas Aquinas says, and indeed necessary “that people have ownership of goods”, insofar as their use is concerned, “they possess them as not just their own, but common to others as well, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as themselves”. Finally, there is yet another form of promoting fraternity—and thus defeating poverty—which must be at the basis of all the others. It is the detachment of those who choose to live a sober and essential lifestyle, of those who, by sharing their own wealth, thus manage to experience fraternal communion with
Fraternity / B4
© Kerri Lenartowick / CNA
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
THE couple married young, and on the decision of the elders really, because the girl was pregnant and reluctant to marry but the boy’s mother wanted her son to be responsible. They have one child, male, 36 years old and also married. The man has a second family with three young children. He has another child (but no family) abroad. All this is known and accepted by the legal wife. If their marriage is annulled, what happens to his legitimate child? Will he drop his family name? May the man marry his concubine in his second family, the mother of his three children? Will the presently sole legitimate child of the man retain his status as legitimate heir if the second family becomes “legal” through the new marriage? Whether or not the man remarries, how are the properties to be divided among his children? What will the legitimate (first) wife get to keep for herself? Our law says the conjugal property belongs to husband and wife: will the change of spouse affect former agreements? We now have to clarify the meaning of the so-called declaration of marriage nullity in the Catholic Church—which is not a Catholic Church-style marriage annulment. We start by understanding the juridic (canonical) constitution of marriage. How does a Catholic Church (or canonical) marriage come about? For brevity, we shall simply write marriage when we really mean Catholic or canonical marriage. Marriage stands on 3 Pillars Three elements are necessary for marriage to come about: (1) the capacity to marry in both contracting parties, (2) the mutual consent of the contracting parties to enter into marriage, and (3) the observance of the canonical form of marriage. If any of these three elements is lacking—even if this fact is proven only afterwards, precisely through a judicial process—thenacompetentChurch tribunal can declare that a hitherto accepted marriage (technically called a putative marriage, from the Latin putare = to think) was void from the very beginning. In short, there is nothing to annul, but rather the nullity of the marriage is declared. A valid and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved (annulled) by any human power or for any reason other than death (c.1141). Strictly speaking—except in the case of a non-consummated marriage, which the Roman Pontiff may dissolve for a just cause—there is no such thing as marriage annulment in the Catholic Church. Declaration of Marriage Nullity What happens in a declaration of nullity is that after a marriage has been celebrated—sometimes even many years afterwards—it is shown before a competent Church tribunal that one or more of the three constitutive elements of
January 6 - 19, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
Marriage for Catholics
marriage was either not present or gravely defective such that the marriage in question was not constituted after all. Hence, the tribunal declares (juridically) the nullity of what hitherto had been considered as a valid marriage. The evidence to be adduced in the judicial process should be those that prove the nonexistence of any one of the abovementioned constitutive elements of a valid marriage at the time of the said marriage. Whatever facts arise after the wedding only has relevance to the marriage nullity process insofar as they prove the non-existence of any of the abovementioned elements at the time of the wedding. Let us discuss the first of the three constitutive elements, leaving the last two in another two-part article in the near future. The Capacity to Contract Marriage All human persons are—by nature—capable of contracting marriage. Hence, the right to contract marriage—technically called the ius connubi —is a fundamental right of all the Catholic faithful, protected by Canon Law (c.1058). Only the Supreme Legislator can establish limitations to this right—technically called diriment impediments —in accord with Natural Law and in order to protect the common good of the Church (c.1075). As in all limitation of rights, such impediments are necessarily very few, and unless
explicitly stated or reserved to the Holy See, can be dispensed by the Local Ordinary for his own subjects wherever they may be and for all other persons actually present in his own territory (c.1078, §1). Very briefly, these impediments are: Age (c.1083): The Code established that a man cannot validly contract marriage before he has completed his 16th year, and likewise a woman before her 14th year. However, it is within the power of individual bishops’ conferences to establish a higher minimum age. In the Philippines, the CBCP has established 18 years as the minimum age for both men and women. Thus, if a man can prove that he was only 17 years and 11 months old when he got married in Church, he can contest the validity of that marriage. Impotence (c.1084): Inability to have marital intercourse— whether on the part of the woman or on the part of the man—which is antecedent to the marriage (present even before the marriage) and perpetual in nature (i.e., not just transitory), whether relative (just with this partner) or absolute (with any partner) of its very nature invalidates a marriage. Sterility (the inability to cause conception) neither prohibits nor invalidates marriage, unless such fact was concealed fraudulently to obtain consent (c.1098). Thus, if a woman can prove that her husband had not been able to consummate their marriage from their wedding day and thereafter,
she can sue for nullity based on impotence of her husband; but not if such impotence only arose afterwards. This impediment cannot be dispensed, since the marital union belongs to the very nature of marriage. Bond of prior marriage (c.1085): A person who is held to the bond of a prior marriage, even if it has not been consummated, cannot validly contract another marriage. Furthermore, even if a prior marriage were to be deemed invalid, it is not licit for a person to contract another marriage until the nullity of the prior marriage has been legitimately declared. This impediment cannot be dispensed, since that would violate one of the essential properties of marriage which is monogamy. Disparity of cult (c.1086): A Catholic, who has not left the Church by means of a formal act, cannot validly marry a nonbaptized person. This impediment can be dispensed by the local Ordinary if there is reasonable cause, provided the following conditions are fulfilled: (c.1125) 1° the Catholic party declares that he/she is prepared to remove any danger of falling away from the faith and makes a sincere promise to do all in his/her power to have all the children baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church; 2° the non-baptized party should be informed at an appropriate time of the promises which the Catholic party has to make, and is not opposed to them;
3° both parties should be instructed on the essential ends and properties of marriage, which both parties must agree to. Bond of Holy Orders (c.1087): A person who has received Holy Orders cannot validly contract marriage. Such a bond ceases when a priest is reduced to the lay state and dispensed from the promise of celibacy—and such dispensation is reserved to the Holy See. Bond of Religion (c.1088): A person who is bound by a public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious institute cannot validly contract marriage. This impediment can be dispensed by the Local Ordinary, unless the religious institute in question is of pontifical right, in which case it can only be dispensed by the Holy See (c.1078, §2). Kidnap (c.1089): A woman who has been abducted or detained for the purpose of contracting marriage with her cannot validly contract marriage, unless the woman—after she has been separated from her abductor and established in a place where she is safe and free—of her own accord still chooses to contract marriage. Even if the woman were to freely give marital consent in a situation of abduction or detention perpetrated to obtain such consent (e.g., she really fell in love with her abductor), the Law itself invalidates her consent. This provision only applies to women. Crime (c.1090): A person who
for the purpose of contracting marriage with another person has brought about the death of that person’s spouse or one’s own spouse cannot validly contract marriage. Likewise, two persons—who have brought about the death of the spouse of one of them through mutual physical or moral cooperation— cannot validly contract marriage with each other. This impediment can only be dispensed by the Apostolic See (c.1078, §2). Consanguinity (c.1091): Two persons related by blood within a certain degree of proximity cannot validly contract marriage as follows: — All degrees in the direct line—i.e., between all ancestors and descendants—whether they be related legitimately or only naturally; — Up to the 4th degree in the collateral line—i.e., a marriage would be invalid between 1st cousins, and also between nephew and aunt or between niece and uncle, but valid between 2nd cousins. This can be dispensed up to the 3rd degree (thus 1st cousins, or aunt and nephew or uncle and niece), but never the 2nd degree (never between siblings) (c.1078, §3). Affinity (c.1092): This refers to the relationship between a person and the blood relatives of his/her spouse—i.e., his inlaws. A person is impeded from contracting a valid marriage with the blood relatives in the direct line—i.e., parents and children (from a previous union) of his/ her deceased spouse. There is no impediment regarding relatives in the collateral line (siblings, cousins, etc.) of one’s deceased spouse, the reason being many times they constitute the best candidate to take over the role of one’s deceased spouse, especially as regards the orphaned children. Public Propriety (c.1093): This impediment invalidates a marriage between a person and the blood relatives in the 1st degree of the direct line (parent or child) of his/her common-law partner or publicly-known live-in partner. Adoption (c.1094): Marriage is invalid between persons who are related in any degree in the direct line (parents and children) or in the 2nd degree of the collateral line (step-brothers and step-sisters) by legal adoption. Conclusions Concubinage per se does not prove the existence of any of the impediments that invalidate marriage, unless that behavior were to prove the existence of one of the factors that can undermine consent (more about this in a future installment of this exposition on Canonical Matrimonial Law). From what we know of the case, there seems to be no reason to think that the prior marriage was invalid. Thus, the man cannot validly contract canonical marriage with his concubine, for as long as his prior marriage stands.
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following queries:)
‘Within the Action’
communion with those whose memory we venerate …” followed by the mention of Mary, Joseph and the first list of saints. The “Communicantes” stresses our fellowship with the saints while at the same time, in saying that we venerate their memory, we become aware of the distance that still separates us from them and our need for their intercession. It appears that the expression “Infra Actionem” historically referred to a variable formula to be inserted within the fixed text on special occasions. The words mean that the following text was to be inserted “within the action.” Thus it is probable that the “Communicantes” was not originally a fixed part of the canon but inserted on special feasts. Gradually it was transformed into a permanent fixture of the prayer with some variant formulas on special feasts. These headings are found in the so-called Gelasian Sacramentaries, a Roman liturgical manuscript written in the sixth or seventh centuries from whence it eventually migrated into the Roman Missal. The Gelasian manuscripts also help us understand the meaning of the obscure expression “within the action.” These frequently head off the initial dialogue of the preface as “Incipit canon actionis” (“here begins the canon of the action”). This means that the text beginning the Eucharistic Prayer is designated as the
Copes, Humeral Veils and Blessings
Q1: Should a purple cope and humeral veil be used for Benediction during the Advent and Lenten seasons or should they always be white? Q2: Is it correct that the priest or bishop should not impart a blessing in the presence of the exposed Blessed Sacrament (other than with the monstrance)? If the Liturgy of the Hours is being prayed, for instance, my understanding is that it should conclude with “May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen,” rather than “May almighty God bless you ….” -- P.S., Montreal A: Regarding the first question a distinction must be made. The humeral veil used to cover the monstrance during Benediction or to carry the pyx or ciborium is always white, in all seasons of the year. A partial exception is Good Friday’s celebration of the Passion of the Lord, in which it is permitted to bring the Eucharist for communion from the reservation chapel to the altar using a red humeral veil. With respect to the cope the norms are different. White is normally used for Benediction. However, if a solemn celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours immediately precedes Benediction, then the celebrant may wear either white or the corresponding liturgical color of the day or season (red, violet, rose or green). In such cases it is sometimes necessary to change the normal seating arrangements of the ministers so that they preside at the liturgy turned toward the Blessed Sacrament exposed. This is done even if it means the ministers will not be facing the assembly. With respect to the second question it is true that no public blessings are imparted in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Our reader expresses the correct procedure for ending a celebration of a lauds or vespers during exposition. There is one slight exception to this norm. The current rubrics for exposition and Benediction indicate that the celebrant “blesses the incense without saying anything” (Ceremonial of Bishops, No. 1109). This is effectively a novelty and the only case of any blessing before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. The probable reason for this change was to simplify and unify the rite of infusing incense by eliminating the differences among several ritual situations such as when incense in used during Mass or during a solemn celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours. In recent years, however, quite a few liturgists have requested that the earlier practice of no blessings during exposition be restored.
Q: A curious rubric now appears in the Roman Missal. Just before the recitation of the “Communicantes” (#86) in Eucharistic Prayer I, there appears the phrase “Within the Action.” The meaning of this phrase has puzzled me. Is “the Action” the Eucharistic Prayer itself? If so, why should the “Communicantes” be singled out, since all the other prayers also belong to the EP? Or does the “Communicantes” have a special status within the EP? — D.J., Buffalo, New York A: The “Infra Actionem” is the most extensive of three groups of prayers that receive a title in the Roman Canon. No. 85, which begins “Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N.” is entitled, “Commemoration of the Living.” No. 95, after the consecration and the other prayers, is called the “Commemoration of the Dead.” The meaning of these two is obvious; that of “Within the Action” is, as our reader notes, probably incomprehensible to all but specialists. While liturgical scholars have names for the other parts of the Eucharistic Prayer, these three are the only ones found in the missal itself. The heading “Infra Actionem” is found in the Roman Canon just before the prayer “Communicantes”: “In
canon (norm or fixed framework) of the subsequent sacred activity. The sacred activity embraces all the aspects of the Eucharistic Prayer. Later the word canon was identified with the Roman Eucharistic Prayer (that is, Eucharistic Prayer I). In the Gelasian texts the title “Infra Actionem” is generally found before the “Communicantes” formulas to be inserted during the liturgical year. It likewise appears before the various “Hanc Igitur,” the prayer which begins “Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation of our service, that of your whole family ….” It is not clear when the heading “Infra Actionem” was left alone before the “Communicantes,” said every day in the Roman-rite Mass for well over a thousand years. The present Roman Missal includes special “Communicantes” during the octaves of Christmas and Easter, on Holy Thursday, Epiphany, Ascension and Pentecost. The “Hanc Igitur” has variant formulas for Holy Thursday and the Easter vigil and octave. The rituals for sacraments and sacramentals also provide special insertions at this point for baptism, confirmation, first Communion, ordination, matrimony, funerals, perpetual religious profession, etc.
Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
in November 2007 between King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz and Pope Benedict XVI. Both religious leaders called “for the promotion of peace, justice and spiritual and moral values, especially in support of the family.” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Rev. Fr. Miguel Ayuso, President and Secretary respectively of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, represented the Holy See at the Global Forum. In one of the skills-building workshops that I attended, the facilitators demonstrated how “beliefs divide and values unite through dialogue.” Starting from a checklist of about fifty values, the facilitators showed how many of the participants regardless of faith tradition clustered along common values – ranging from survival to self-esteem to internal cohesion and service. The facilitators shared methods for “measuring and transforming the values, cultures and consciousness” of individuals, communities as well as of whole nations. In many ways, the workshop mapped out a strategy for peace education and peace-building. Summing up the complementary themes of “The Image of the Other” and “Welcoming the Other,” Dr. William Vendley, RfP Secretary General, stated: “All faith traditions make clear that it is a religious imperative to welcome the other. This commitment can guide multi-religious action for peace, the antidote to the rising tide of hostility.” In the Philippine context, over the past two years, we have had many opportunities of welcoming the other in the aftermath of natural—and sometimes man-made—disasters such as Typhoons Sendong in Northern Mindanao, Pablo in Southeastern Mindanao, and Yolanda in the Visayas; the earthquake in Bohol; and the armed crisis in Zamboanga. “‘Welcoming the other’ involves seeing ourselves in each other,” states the Vienna Declaration of RfP. For Christians, does not the Parable of the Good Samaritan provide an answer to the question of who is the other—and how we should welcome the other? Let this be our own resolve at the beginning of a new year.
By Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ
Welcoming the Other
“To welcome the other is to recognize the divine in and affirm the dignity of ‘the other’,” stressed Chief Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee. Quoting Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Focolare Movement who fully supported RfP, Madam Maria Voce, the current President, recalled her words: “We must fix our gaze always on the one Father of so many children… turning constantly to this universal brotherhood in God who is our Father.” Throughout the plenary assemblies, a tarpaulin poster of two kidnapped bishops in Syria—Metropolitan Mar Gregorius Yohanna Ibrahim, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, and Bishop Boulos Yazigi, Greek Orthodox Bishop in Damascus—reminded the gathering to continue to pray and call for their release. Mrs. Asmaa Kiftaro, President of the Syrian Muslim Women’s Forum, shared a message of hope and peace: “Syria will rise again…. Peace and happiness and smiles will come back to the people of Syria.” Another hopeful sign for peace at the Assembly was the presence of religious leaders from both North and South Korea. “Although Korea is divided by north and south, in our religious communities we are not divided,” remarked Jan Jen Won, President of the Korean Council of Religionists (North Korea). Echoing this, Catholic Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong said, “We will do our best to continue our work to bring peace to all of Korea…. Peace in Korea will surely bring peace to the world.” The presence of an inter-religious delegation from Myanmar was also an indication of the opening of the country to the rest of the world. At a press conference, representatives of different faiths signed a declaration, “Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders.” This document was prepared in early 2013 by a coalition of faith-based humanitarian organizations (including Islamic Relief Worldwide, Jesuit Refugee Service, World Vision International, and RfP itself) in partnership with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The declaration has this opening affirmation: “A core value of my faith is to welcome the stranger, the refugee, the internally displaced, the other. I shall treat him or her as I would like to be treated.” Human Development and Climate Change The implications of “Welcoming the Other” were further explored in four simultaneous Commission sessions: (a) Conflict prevention and transformation, (b) Citizenship for just and harmonious societies, (c) Human development that respects the earth, and (d) Religious and interreligious dialogue. I joined Commission 3: “Welcoming the Other through Human Development that Respects the Earth.” In the course of three sessions, various speakers shared their experiences and challenges along this theme. The eight Millennium Development Goals established by the international community within the time frame of 2001-2015 were often cited as areas of concern – i.e., 1) eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; 2) achieving universal primary education; 3) promoting gender equality; 4) reducing child mortality; 5) improving maternal health; 6) combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; 7) ensuring environmental sustainability; and 8) developing a global partnership for development. Some stark statistics were cited in the RfP workbook – e.g., an estimated 4 billion people, 70% of the world’s population, live in poverty (including the 1.2 billion who live in extreme poverty or on less than $1.25 a day). In terms of child survival, RfP participants were asked to endorse “Ten Promises to our Children: Religions in Action.” The declaration lists ten simple lifesaving behaviors, such as: Breastfeed all newborns exclusively through six months of age. Immunize children and newborns with all recommended vaccines, especially through age 2. Feed children with proper nutritional foods…. Have children drink water from a safe source…. “Our respective religious doctrines are different,” state the signatories, “but we are united in the moral conviction that we must save children from preventable death.” “Protecting the Earth” posed a corollary dimension to Human Development. In recent years, many religious communities have focused on “climate justice advocacy.” The vivid TV images of the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines were a constant reminder to many of the urgency of the situation. In contrast to the oft-repeated prospect of a “clash of civilizations,” faithbased environmental movements manifested an opposite trend towards greater solidarity and inter-religious dialogue in action in protecting and conserving the climate as the “last commons.” Different faith traditions according to the RfP workbook may find their convergence in “a new type of multi-faith, spiritually inspired rediscovery of our place in the web of life, a rediscovery of each other, and a refreshed paradigm of compassionate and inter-dependent living.” Maasai leader Jeniffer Koinante calls this an ethical system of “enoughness.” Indeed if all faith traditions recoil at the notions of suicide and genocide, all the more should religious leaders now condemn the prospects of eco-cide. In its final statement, the RfP assembly states, “Stewardship of the earth is a solemn religious obligation.” KAICIID Global Forum During the two days before the RfP World Assembly, on Nov. 1819, a partner organization , the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), convened also in Vienna its own Global Forum on “The Image of the Other: Interreligious and Intercultural Education.” KAICIID itself was established with its headquarters in Vienna only a year ago in November 2012. Three founding states signed the charter – Saudi Arabia, Austria, and Spain – with the Holy See as founding observer. The journey to KAICIID actually started with an historic meeting at the Vatican
“War in the name of religion is war against religion.” ( Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople) “A minority is just as much a part of a nation as a majority.” (John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria) “The equal respect for all mankind allows us to recognize our differences and ‘welcome the other’… to prevent conflict and mass atrocity crimes.” (Mr. Adama Dieng, U.N. Under-Secretary General) THESE statements were made when more than 600 religious leaders and representatives of the world’s faith traditions came together in Vienna, Austria, at the 9th World Assembly of Religions for Peace on November 20-22, 2013. Since its first World Assembly in Kyoto, Japan, in 1970, Religions for Peace has become the world’s largest multireligious organization which includes Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Indigenous, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Shinto, Taoist and Zoroastrian religious leaders. From the Philippines, I was invited to represent the Catholic bishops’ involvement in interreligious dialogue. I joined other Filipino participants like Dr. Lillian Sison, Chair of the RfP Asia and the Pacific Women of Faith Network; Mrs. Lourdes Mastura, representing the Muslim community; Mr. Pablito Baybado, representing the youth sector; Fr. Filemon de la Cruz Jr., O.P., Vice-Rector for Religious Affairs of the University of Santo Tomas; and Mr. Musa Mohamad Sanguila, Director of Pakigdait in Lanao del Norte. Syria, Korea and and Myanmar “Welcoming the Other” was the theme of the 9th RfP World Assembly. Several sp eak ers d w elt o n t h e timelines of this theme in the light of rising hostility against “the other”. “Is the other a part of ourselves?” asked Dr. Alaa Naseif of the KAICIID Dialogue Center. “Without the other, you cannot feel the full humanity. The other is part of the I,” stated Sheik Abdullah bin Bayyah of Mauritania.
By Bro. Jaazeal Jakosalem, with our house), said Jarabelo, a widower and a father of four. OAR
A house destroyed Mr. Buenaventura “Nonoy” Jarabelo, lives along the coastal area in Barangay Tiglawigan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, Philippines; his livelihood is assisting fishermen arrange and repair their fishing nets. Nonoy survived two tragedies in his life. First, he is a survivor of Escalante Massacre in 1985, the scar of an armalite bullet on his back. He was part of the organized youth group who participated during that welga ng bayan, the massacre claimed 20 lives; Nonoy was lucky enough to have survived. Second, he did survive the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda. The Jarabelo family was fortunate enough to be able to evacuate to a nearby public school the night before Typhoon Yolanda passed through the Northern part of Negros. At the height of the storm, two aryuma trees destroyed and shattered his house along the coastline. “Kung wala kami nag bakwet, cguro apil mi og kalata kuyog sa among balay” (If we stayed in the house, and not evacuated, we will be crushed to death along
HEARThaus, a dignified housing alternative for typhoon victims
A house no more. An ordinary bahay kubo is already a treasure for a simple family in the province. The damages brought by Typhoon Yolanda, indeed put the family into hopelessness, “nangamuyo na lang ko na masanagan, kay wala jud ko mahimo…” (I prayed for enlightenment, I have nothing…” Nonoy narrates with simplicity. Outpouring of concern starts with his own community, a neighbor offered a “tangkal” (pig pen) as a temporary shelter, Nonoy took it as a blessing. With his three kids, they find their shelter in a pig pen, enough to offer them a space to sleep for the four of them. With the help of a local NGO in Cadiz City, called mycadiz. mycity.myhome they were able to track Jarabelo who lives in a “tangkal” (pig pen) during their relief campaign in the area. A house made to help Heartanonymous.org, the outreach arm of the Recoletos in the Philippines and Taiwan offered the Jarabelo family with a simple, yet dignified permanent shelter. Heartanonymous.org offered creative response as part of their rehabilitation campaign square meter; enough for a family of five. It is a lego-type shelter that is pre-fab and can be readily installed in a calamity area. “It is a dignified permanent shelter especially for those affected by natural calamities” said Flores. The HEARThaus is also strongly built and designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. The HEARThaus of Nonoy is now installed in the relocation site of the barangay. With a sigh of relief, he said “natubag ang ako pangamuyo, naa na jud mapuy-an ang ako pamilya, dili na mi magpuyo sa tangkal. Damo nga salamat sa nagbulig na makabangon” (I had an answered prayer, we now have a house to live, we will not be living in a pig pen. Thank you for helping us rebuild our lives). The community where he lives offered their time and strength together with the Heartanonymous.org team assembled and installed the house of Nonoy. A house from the heart The outpouring of help is born from the coordinated responses of the local barangay (who provided the Jarabelo family a lot in the barangay relocation
Nonoy stands besides his newly installed “HEARThaus”, a dignified and permanent home for his family.
Knights put charity to work for typhoon victims
By Brian Caulfield
IN the days following super Typhoon Yolanda, Philippine Knights of Columbus, with support from the Supreme Council office in the United States, responded to the immediate needs of thousands of victims in the devastated areas of central Visayas. The Catholic fraternal organization has pledged more than $500,000 over the long-term to deliver food, water and other necessities to the residents, and to assist with rebuilding and livelihood programs that would help fishermen and farmers get back to work. The order was founded in the Philippines in 1905 and has more than 300,000 members in the three jurisdictions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The first food delivery program was held a week after the Nov. 8 storm, when Visayas Knights of Columbus Deputy Rodrigo Sorongon led a group to northern Iloilo to distribute more than 700 sacks of canned goods and bottled water. Similar distributions have been conducted on a regular basis, most recently in the hardest-hit coastal areas of Leyte and Borongan. Sorongon underlined the fact that many Knights and their families were directly affected by the sweeping storm, losing not only their homes but also their loved ones in the ocean surges that reached up to 15 feet. “We will do what we can to help not only brother Knights but others who suffered in this typhoon,” Sorongon said. “We naturally will be there because we have councils and Knights all through the region, and Knights from all over the Philippines are willing to contribute to recovery. This will be a long-term project and the Knights of Columbus will be there.” Heartbreaking stories recently were told by two Knights from Palo, Leyte, who were evacuated a few days after the storm on a military C-130 plane. Vincent Ballon described how three successive ocean surges carried away family members, including his mother, and left him clinging for life to a mangrove tree. His wife was in Manila at the time and they were later reunited. “The winds blew really hard. It happened so fast, only seconds, and they were gone,” said Ballon, a member of Council 13493 in Palo. “The height of the water was 15 to 18 feet.” “How will I rebuild? I don’t know as of now,” said Ballon. “It’s hard to talk about what happened. You just can’t explain.” Rolwenn Elardo, also a member of Council 13493, had moved in with relatives outside of Palo with his wife and three young children to escape the storm in which their home was leveled. Afterward, they waited three days at Tacloban airport, where they found no food and drank only orange-colored water that made them sick, before boarding a military plane to Manila. Both Knights found help in Manila at the KCFAPI headquarters. Elardo is a KCFAPI insurance agent in Palo. “When they got to Manila, their first thought was to locate the local Knights of Columbus, their
in helping the earthquake and typhoon victims; by designing, fabricating and distributing a HEARThaus to the victims who cannot afford to rebuild their homes. “We are building and sharing one house at a time,” said Mely
Flores, UNO-R Community Development Office (UCDO) directorandprogramcoordinator of Heartanonymous.org. The HEARThaus is a pre-fabricated house, made of steel framing and with wood paneling. The size of the house is 10.5 x 16 feet, it’s 10.6
site), NGOs – like mycadiz. mycity.myhome, University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, Kaneshige Farm, Diocese of Bacolod, Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI) and the Recoletos de Taiwan, the partner donor of the HEARThaus. “This act of generosity is driven by the continued support of our donors - individuals, organizations, or groups,” said Mely Flores. The cost of the HEARThaus is Php 60,000.00, heartily given for free to beneficiaries who can hardly afford to rebuild their homes. Heartanonymous. org is in partnership with local parishes and organizations in identifying beneficiaries who can rightly avail of the HEARThaus. To date, Heartanonymous. org commits to build 30 HEARThaus in the areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda. With donors convinced of the Heartanonymous.org solidarity targets of providing HEARThaus, re-building HEARTchapels and helping HEARTschools, the campaign will continue giving hope consistent with its mission of helping people and communities.
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Credit: Bro. Tagoy Jakosalem, OAR
Knights / B7
January 6 - 19, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
“ LUMEN requirunt lumine ”. These evocative words from a liturgical hymn for the Epiphany speak of the experience of the Magi: following a light, they were searching for the Light. The star appearing in the sky kindled in their minds and in their hearts a light that moved them to seek the great Light of Christ. The Magi followed faithfully that light which filled their hearts, and they encountered the Lord. The destiny of every person is symbolized in this journey of the Magi of the East: our life is a journey, illuminated by the lights which brighten our way, to find the fullness of truth and love which we Christians recognize in Jesus, the Light of the World. Like the Magi, every person has two great “books” which provide the signs to guide this pilgrimage: the book of creation and the book of sacred Scripture. What is important is that we be attentive, alert, and listen to God who speaks to us, who always speaks to us. As the Psalm says in referring to the Law of the Lord: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). Listening to the Gospel, reading it, meditating on it and making it our spiritual nourishment especially allows us to encounter the living Jesus, to experience him and his love. The first reading echoes, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, the call of God to Jerusalem: “Arise, shine!” (Is 60:1). Jerusalem is called to be the city of light which reflects God’s light to the world and helps humanity to walk in his ways. This is the vocation and the mission of the People of God in the world. But Jerusalem can fail to respond to this call of the Lord. The Gospel tells us that the Magi, when they arrived in Jerusalem, lost sight of the star for a time. They no longer saw it. Its light was particularly absent from the palace of King Herod: his dwelling was gloomy, filled with
Homily of Pope Francis on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
darkness, suspicion, fear, envy. Herod, in fact, proved himself distrustful and preoccupied with the birth of a frail Child whom he thought of as a rival. In realty Jesus came not to overthrow him, a wretched puppet, but to overthrow the Prince of this world! Nonetheless, the king and his counsellors sensed that the foundations of their power were crumbling. They feared that the rules of the game were being turned upside down, that appearances were being unmasked. A whole world built on power, on success, possessions and corruption was being thrown into crisis by a child! Herod went so far as to kill the children. As Saint Quodvultdeus writes, “You destroy those who are tiny
in body because fear is destroying your heart” (Sermo 2 de Symbolo: PL 40, 655). This was in fact the case: Herod was fearful and on account of this fear, he became insane. The Magi were able to overcome that dangerous moment of darkness before Herod, because they believed the Scriptures, the words of the prophets which indicated that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. And so they fled the darkness and dreariness of the night of the world. They resumed their journey towards Bethlehem and there they once more saw the star, and the gospel tells us that they experienced “a great joy” (Mt 2:10). The very star which could not be seen in that dark, worldly palace.
One aspect of the light which guides us on the journey of faith is holy “cunning”. This holy “cunning” is also a virtue. It consists of a spiritual shrewdness which enables us to recognize danger and avoid it. The Magi used this light of “cunning” when, on the way back, they decided not to pass by the gloomy palace of Herod, but to take another route. These wise men from the East teach us how not to fall into the snares of darkness and how to defend ourselves from the shadows which seek to envelop our life. By this holy “cunning”, the Magi guarded the faith. We too need to guard the faith, guard it from darkness. Many times, however, it is a darkness under the guise of light. This is because
the devil, as saint Paul, says, disguises himself at times as an angel of light. And this is where a holy “cunning” is necessary in order to protect the faith, guarding it from those alarmist voices that exclaim: “Listen, today we must do this, or that...”. Faith though, is a grace, it is a gift. We are entrusted with the task of guarding it, by means of this holy “cunning” and by prayer, love, charity. We need to welcome the light of God into our hearts and, at the same time, to cultivate that spiritual cunning which is able to combine simplicity with astuteness, as Jesus told his disciples: “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Mt 10:16). On the feast of the Epiphany, as we recall Jesus’ manifestation to humanity in the face of a Child, may we sense the Magi at our side, as wise companions on the way. Their example helps us to lift our gaze towards the star and to follow the great desires of our heart. They teach us not to be content with a life of mediocrity, of “playing it safe”, but to let ourselves be attracted always by what is good, true and beautiful… by God, who is all of this, and so much more! And they teach us not to be deceived by appearances, by what the world considers great, wise and powerful. We must not stop at that. It is necessary to guard the faith. Today this is of vital importance: to keep the faith. We must press on further, beyond the darkness, beyond the voices that raise alarm, beyond worldliness, beyond so many forms of modernity that exist today. We must press on towards Bethlehem, where, in the simplicity of a dwelling on the outskirts, beside a mother and father full of love and of faith, there shines forth the Sun from on high, the King of the universe. By the example of the Magi, with our little lights, may we seek the Light and keep the faith. May it be so.
Homily of Pope Francis on the occasion of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
IN the first reading we find the ancient prayer of blessing which God gave to Moses to hand on to Aaron and his sons: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num 6:2425). There is no more meaningful time than the beginning of a new year to hear these words of blessing: they will accompany our journey through the year opening up before us. They are words of strength, courage and hope. Not an illusory hope, based on frail human promises, or a naïve hope which presumes that the future will be better simply because it is the future. Rather, it is a hope that has its foundation precisely in God’s blessing, a blessing which contains the greatest message of good wishes there can be; and this is the message which the Church brings to each of us, filled with the Lord’s loving care and providential help. The message of hope contained in this blessing was fully realized in a woman, Mary, who was destined to become the Mother of God, and it was fulfilled in her before all creatures. The Mother of God. This is the first and most important title of Our Lady. It refers to a quality, a role which the faith of the Christian people, in its tender and genuine devotion to our heavenly Mother, has understood from the beginning.
Fraternity / B1
We recall that great moment in the history of the ancient Church, the Council of Ephesus, in which the divine motherhood of the Virgin Mary was authoritatively defined. The truth of her divine maternity found an echo in Rome where, a little later, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major was built, the
gates of the basilica where the bishops were meeting and shout, “Mother of God!”. The faithful, by asking them to officially define this title of Our Lady, showed that they acknowledged her divine motherhood. Theirs was the spontaneous and sincere reaction of children who know
all the pilgrimage of faith of the Christian people. “The Church journeys through time… and on this journey she proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary” (Redemptoris Mater, 2). Our journey of faith is the same as that of Mary, and so we feel that she is particularly close
the “pilgrimage of faith” (Lumen gentium, 58). Our pilgrimage of faith has been inseparably linked to Mary ever since Jesus, dying on the Cross, gave her to us as our Mother, saying: “Behold your Mother!” (Jn 19:27). These words serve as a testament, bequeathing to
© Kyle Burkhart / CNA
first Marian shrine in Rome and in the entire West, in which the image of the Mother of God— the Theotokos—is venerated under the title of Salus Populi Romani. It is said that the residents of Ephesus used to gather at the
their Mother well, for they love her with immense tenderness. But it is more: it is the sensus fidei of the holy People of God which, in its unity, never errs. Mary has always been present in the hearts, the piety and above
to us. As far as faith, the hinge of the Christian life, is concerned, the Mother of God shared our condition. She had to take the same path as ourselves, a path which is sometimes difficult and obscure. She had to advance in
the world a Mother. From that moment on, the Mother of God also became our Mother! When the faith of the disciples was most tested by difficulties and uncertainties, Jesus entrusted them to Mary, who was the first
to believe, and whose faith would never fail. The “woman” became our Mother when she lost her divine Son. Her sorrowing heart was enlarged to make room for all men and women, all, whether good or bad, and she loves them as she loved Jesus. The woman who at the wedding at Cana in Galilee gave her faith-filled cooperation so that the wonders of God could be displayed in the world, at Calvary kept alive the flame of faith in the resurrection of her Son, and she communicates this with maternal affection to each and every person. Mary becomes in this way a source of hope and true joy! The Mother of the Redeemer goes before us and continually strengthens us in faith, in our vocation and in our mission. By her example of humility and openness to God’s will she helps us to transmit our faith in a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to all, without reservation. In this way our mission will be fruitful, because it is modeled on the motherhood of Mary. To her let us entrust our journey of faith, the desires of our heart, our needs and the needs of the whole world, especially of those who hunger and thirst for justice and peace, and for God. Let us then together invoke her, and I invite you to invoke her three times, following the example of those brothers and sisters of Ephesus: Mother of God! Mother of God! Mother of God! Amen.
others. This is fundamental for following Jesus Christ and being truly Christian. It is not only the case of consecrated persons who profess the vow of poverty, but also of the many families and responsible citizens who firmly believe that it is their fraternal relationship with their neighbors which constitutes their most precious good. The rediscovery of fraternity in the economy 6. The grave financial and economic crises of the present time—which find their origin in the progressive distancing of man from God and from his neighbor, in the greedy pursuit of material goods on the one hand, and in the impoverishment of interpersonal and community relations on the other—have pushed man to seek satisfaction, happiness and security in consumption and earnings out of all proportion to the principles of a sound economy. In 1979 John Paul II had called attention to “a real perceptible danger that, while man’s dominion over the world of things is making enormous advances, he should lose the essential threads of his dominion and in various ways let his humanity be subjected to the
world and become himself something subject to manipulation in many ways— even if the manipulation is often not perceptible directly—through the whole of the organization of community life, through the production system and through pressure from the means of social communication.” The succession of economic crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles. Today’s crisis, even with its serious implications for people’s lives, can also provide us with a fruitful opportunity to rediscover the virtues of prudence, temperance, justice and strength. These virtues can help us to overcome difficult moments and to recover the fraternal bonds which join us one to another, with deep confidence that human beings need and are capable of something greater than maximizing their individual interest. Above all, these virtues are necessary for building and preserving a society in accord with human dignity. Fraternity extinguishes war 7. In the past year, many of our brothers and sisters have continued to endure the
destructive experience of war, which constitutes a grave and deep wound inflicted on fraternity. Many conflicts are taking place amid general indifference. To all those who live in lands where weapons impose terror and destruction, I assure you of my personal closeness and that of the whole Church, whose mission is to bring Christ’s love to the defenseless victims of forgotten wars through her prayers for peace, her service to the wounded, the starving, refugees, the displaced and all those who live in fear. The Church also speaks out in order to make leaders hear the cry of pain of the suffering and to put an end to every form of hostility, abuse and the violation of fundamental human rights. For this reason, I appeal forcefully to all those who sow violence and death by force of arms: in the person you today see simply as an enemy to be beaten, discover rather your brother or sister, and hold back your hand! Give up the way of arms and go out to meet the other in dialogue, pardon and reconciliation, in order to rebuild justice, trust, and hope around you! “From this standpoint, it is clear that, for the world’s peoples,
armed conflicts are always a deliberate negation of international harmony, and create profound divisions and deep wounds which require many years to heal. Wars are a concrete refusal to pursue the great economic and social goals that the international community has set itself”. Nevertheless, as long as so great a quantity of arms are in circulation as at present, new pretexts can always be found for initiating hostilities. For this reason, I make my own the appeal of my predecessors for the non-proliferation of arms and for disarmament of all parties, beginning with nuclear and chemical weapons disarmament. We cannot however fail to observe that international agreements and national laws—while necessary and greatly to be desired—are not of themselves sufficient to protect humanity from the risk of armed conflict. A conversion of hearts is needed which would permit everyone to recognize in the other a brother or sister to care for, and to work together with, in building a fulfilling life for all. This is the spirit which inspires many initiatives of civil society, including religious organizations, to promote
peace. I express my hope that the daily commitment of all will continue to bear fruit and that there will be an effective application in international law of the right to peace, as a fundamental human right and a necessary prerequisite for every other right. Corruption and organized crime threaten fraternity 8. The horizon of fraternity also has to do with the need for fulfillment of every man and woman. People’s legitimate ambitions, especially in the case of the young, should not be thwarted or offended, nor should people be robbed of their hope of realizing them. Nevertheless, ambition must not be confused with the abuse of power. On the contrary, people should compete with one another in mutual esteem (cf. Rm 12:10). In disagreements, which are also an unavoidable part of life, we should always remember that we are brothers and sisters, and therefore teach others and teach ourselves not to consider our neighbor as an enemy or as an adversary to be eliminated. Fraternity generates social peace
Fraternity / B7
Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
and the celebration of the faith. At the same time, a clear awareness of this responsibility of the laity, grounded in their baptism and confirmation, does not appear in the same way in all places. In some cases, it is because lay persons have not been given the formation needed to take on important responsibilities. In others, it is because in their particular Churches room has not been made for them to speak and to act, due to an excessive clericalism which keeps them away from decision-making. Even if many are now involved in the lay ministries, this involvement is not reflected in a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political and economic sectors. It often remains tied to tasks within the Church, without a real commitment to applying the Gospel to the transformation of society. (EG, 102) I am inviting our parish communities, chaplaincies and pastoral stations to look for these three signs of a healthy Church life in our communities this year. When the year 2014 ends, let us look for these fruits: More catechists and more social action ministers than liturgical lay ministers. The rosary is prayed at home in more families with the parents and children praying together. Every year, there is at least one young man who will enter the seminary and answer the call to be a priest. There is a remarkable interest among our lay faithful to be ministers at the altar but there is a high degree of hesitation to speak about the Catholic faith as catechists or work among the poor members of the parish as social action ministers. There is a bit of glamour and prestige at being seen at the altar. The lay faithful are primarily called for social engagement outside the church
MY dear brothers and sisters in Christ: The Year 2014 is the Year of the Laity. In the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan, we will bring to a ceremonial closing on February 17 our golden jubilee year as a metropolitan archdiocese. On February 11 this year, we will also remember the sixtieth anniversary of the renaming of our Church as Diocese of Lingayen Dagupan. God willing, we also hope to bless our new theology seminary building and chapel. Who is the lay person? The lay person is someone who belongs to the people of God on account of baptism and shares in common priesthood of life. The priesthood of life bestowed on us by baptism defines the identity, mission, dignity, vocation and spirituality of all Christians. It is important to observe 2014 as the Year of the Laity and avail of this occasion of grace to attend to two pastoral concerns that need conversion. First, we need to bring the laity out of the situation of passivity; at the same time, it is imperative that our priests be more open and willing to share church responsibilities with the laity. We need to cultivate in our archdiocese a fresh sense of co-responsibility in the Church and to explore all possibilities for priests and laity to work together with mutual respect and fraternal charity. Let us reflect on the challenging message of Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium: Lay people are, put simply, the vast majority of the People of God. The minority—ordained ministers—are at their service. There has been a growing awareness of the identity and mission of the laity in the Church. We can count on many lay persons, although still not nearly enough, who have a deeplyrooted sense of community and great fidelity to the tasks of charity, catechesis
Wake up Catholic Laity
building. Our laity is staying too long inside the church doing work inside the church presuming that God is pleased. This must be corrected. There must be more laity working for God in society than at the altar. If the family is a little church, the mother and father of the family are the “priests” of that church. It is not enough to pray in the parish church or barangay chapel. We must bring the prayer outside the church building. The rosary must be prayed in every home. We can organize barangay block rosaries, coros of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal or Divine Mercy clusters. A parish without
family prayer at home is sick. The best contribution we can make for society is indeed prayer but prayer must be brought out of church premises and brought at home, at work, in the plaza, in the streets, in the market and grocery stores; indeed everywhere. A vocation to the priesthood and religious life is a sign that the family has raised its children in the faith. The priest is called from among the laity in order to help the laity grow in their friendship with the Lord. The priest serves the laity; it is not the other way around. Every vocation to the priesthood is a great grace for the family. Every family must
pray for a vocation at home. The priest and the laity depend on each other. There is much work to be done. I hope the priests will be more trusting and open with the involvement of the laity. We pray that our laity will wake up from passivity, be fired by the Spirit and dare to change the world for Christ. Let us bravely pursue this mission and challenge priests and laity together. Sincerely yours, +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS, DD Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan January 1, 2014
Let us start again!
EIGHT days after Christmas, they gave the Child His name, He will be called Jesus, His people’s saviour from sin, Cradled in the laps of Mary, the Child grew and glowed, The Child that God promised, whom the prophets had foretold. Today is the Feast of Mary, we celebrate her motherhood, The Baby she conceived in her heart and carried in her womb, That Baby is truly God-man, we believe and we proclaim, He has made our hearts his home; to obey His will is our aim! Today is the feast of peace, that all may live as one, We pray that war may end and hunger may be gone, We pray that the reign of terror and the power of each gun, Be melted by the mercy of God and the Blood of His only Son! We pray for an end to kidnappings, we pray that violence stop, We beg for the end of terrorism and the conversion of the corrupt, We pray for peace in Syria, healing for every troubled heart, We pray for typhoon victims that they can soon rise up and start. Behold the Lord makes all things new, God of new beginnings, We look at the year behind us with gratitude for its blessings, We look at the new year eagerly, hoping for the best to come, We believe in His tender love, secure in the embrace of the Son! We greet each one Happy New Year! We greet each other “Peace” We say together “Ave Maria”! Hail Jesus Prince of Peace! +SOCRATES VILLEGAS, DD Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan January 1, 2014
2014: Year of the Laity
“Called to Holiness… called to Mission” (PCP-II, 402) (A Pastoral Exhortation)
A Pastoral Letter on the Year of the Laity and of Social Concerns
“Working together with Jesus” (2 Cor. 6:1)
AT the beginning of this year 2014, I offer good wishes and abundant blessings to each and all, for the grace of Mary’s motherhood. As one family in the Diocese of Daet, I invite you to acknowledge our strong conviction that we all walk with Jesus, the real light in our journey in this New Year. With Jesus, we are assured that this year is a new beginning which is full of enthusiasm and hopes. Mary’s Motherhood: Our Inspiration and Example Together with Jesus, the
Blessed Virgin Mary accompanies us as a mother. Mary’s total and generous cooperation with God in the work of redemption truly shines further as our inspiration and example as we begin the Year on the Laity and Social Concerns in the Diocese of Daet. This is so because Mary is the closest associate in Christ’s saving work: “cooperating in an utterly singular way by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the savior.” “Besides being the virgin mother of Jesus, Mary was given by Christ on the Cross to be the spiritual mother
in grace of all his disciples (cf. Jn. 19:25-27).” As the Mother of God and of the Redeemer, Mary was the “obedient virgin through whom humanity receives its Savior” thereby becoming through obedience the “cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race.” As mother of the Church, Mary “embraces each and everyone in the Church and through the Church” “without interruption” so that no one who fled to her loving motherhood was left unaided. In both motherhood, however, she demonstrates the beauty of a life that is a total
and lifetime yes to God and the nobility of a life that is in complete alignment with God’s plan. Mary as Model of Lay Collaboration and Laity’s Vocation to Social Transformation In the Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI explained that Mary can be truly an example in this regard because of “her proclamation of God’s vindicating the humble and the oppressed, her courageous stand in flight, exile, and persecution of
Year / B7
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines declared 2014 as the Year of the Laity. This is the 2nd of the 9 yearly themes of the CBCP’s Era of New Evangelization in preparation for the 5th Centenary of the beginnings of Christianity in 1521, namely, Holy Mass and baptism. Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” — The Joy of the Gospel, released 24 November, writes: “All of the baptized whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization.” (n. 120) Vatican II in the Decree “Apostolicam Actuositatem”, 18 November 1965, states: “The Layman’s apostolate derives from his Christian vocation, and the Church can never be without it.” (n. 1) Sacred Scripture clearly shows how spontaneous and fruitful such activity was at the very beginning of the Church. (Cf. Acts 11:19-21; Rom. 16:1-16); Phil. 4:3). These lay “proclaimed the message” to the Jews and Greeks in Antioch (Act 11:19-21). Others “work hard for the Lord in various ministries” (Rom 16:1-16). Men and women helped Paul defend the Good News. (Cf. Phil. 4:3) Lay people’s specific vocation is “to eliminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and may be to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 898). This initiative is necessary in “permeating social, political and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life.” (CCC 899). (Cf. Vat. II, The Church, n. 33). Our campaigns: against the proposed open pit mining at Tampakan; the proposed Coal Fired Plant in Kamanga, Maasin, Sarangani; the Pork Barrel Scam (Priority Development Assistance Fund of PDAF); and others, are based on scientific and legal evidences provided by lay experts. This laity’s proper and indispensable role in the mission of the Church is acknowledged by Vatican II (Cf. Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, nn. 32-36). To be effective evangelizers formation in integral faith is needed by lay evangelizers. They must also “learn how to view, judge and do all things in the light of faith.” (Laity, n. 29). I exhort our lay leaders to be holy because God is holy (cf. 1 Pet. 1:15-16); and “to heal and transform society, to prepare the temporal order for the final establishment of the Kingdom of God.” (PCP-II, 435). May Mary, Star of the New Evangelization guide us in our journey towards God’s Kingdom. +DINUALDO D. GUTIERREZ, DD Bishop of Marbel 16 December 2013 City of Koronadal
TO the People of God in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, and to all men and women of good will: During this season of Christmas and the beginning of a New Year, we can keep in mind three major challenges for our prayers and common action: 1) “Remembering Sendong, Caring for Yolanda” is the slogan adopted by our many volunteers from Cagayan de Oro in their relief and rehabilitation mission in Leyte and nearby places. We commend and encourage these multi-sectoral teams of volunteers –
Three Challenges for Christmas and the New Year
coming from our universities, NGOs, LGUs and the archdiocese – to continue their relief efforts for Typhoon Yolandaaffected families. Even as we observe the second anniversary of Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro, it is now our time to contribute whatever resources we have for the upliftment of the disaster-stricken communities in the Visayas. 2) We are also praying and hopeful for peace in Mindanao through the completion of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. Despite the armed crisis in Zamboanga City a few months ago, the majority of peace-loving Christian, Muslim, and lumad communities have time and again manifested their aspirations for a just and lasting peace in Mindanao. Let us all continue to engage in interreligious dialogue and understanding to show our respect for the dignity of every human person – regardless of creed or culture. On another front, we also pray that the ceasefire observed by the NPA and government forces be extended indefinitely, and that peace negotiations be resumed – for the greater common good of one developing nation. 3) A third major concern is the protection and conservation of our environment – in particular the river basin of Cagayan de Oro. Indeed, every tributary in the city and the province should have its watershed protected. Disaster risk reduction practices have to be adopted to prevent another Sendong. And if the fury of superTyphoon Yolanda is any indication, the adverse effects of Climate Change are already upon us. We can adopt short-term as well as long-term measures to mitigate the dire
effects of Climate Change. But the time for action is now. It is with these three major challenges that we invoke the coming of the Prince of Peace in our hearts and our homes. Disaster relief, peace in Mindanao, and care for the environment can be the three gifts that we, like the Magi, can bring to the Child in the manger – and receive his response of Emmanuel: “God-is-withus.” +ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, SJ Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro December 21, 2013
Baptism of the Lord, Mt 3:13-17 (A) January 12, 2014
had only itself to blame for the hell it had created for itself. But such a “hands-off” attitude would have been incompatible with His love and mercy. So God “adapted” His plan to suit the new situation. His Son would still come to share the human nature and condition in order to reveal Himself to people and help them build God’s Kingdom on earth. In addition to this, however, he would also have to remove the big stumbling block of sin which prevented the building of God’s Kingdom of love, justice, and peace at every step. That was not an easy thing to do, for sin had brutalized every aspect of human life. And so, when the eternal Son of God became a human being, he did not simply come to share the condition of a limited but fundamentally good creature – humankind—but found himself surrounded and immersed in an environment characterized by callousness, aggressiveness, and pride which were at the root of so much suffering and unhappiness. The widespread indifference (if not downright rejection) with which the birth of the promised Messiah was surrounded, soon to be followed by Herod’s murderous attempt to kill him, were symptomatic of the harsh situation in which God’s Anointed would live and eventually die. But the Messiah—the Godmade-man—did not back off. There was a plan afoot and he was absolutely determined to
January 6 - 19, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
Jesus, the Son/Servant of the Lord
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THERE are theologians who think that the Son of God would have come to share our human condition, regardless of original sin and the other sins committed throughout human history and the consequent need for atonement. In this view, the Incarnation of God’s Son would have actualized God’s desire to share our life in order that we might share His to the full and thereby enjoy eternal happiness in His presence. God’s Incarnate Son would have revealed to mankind the most intimate secrets of God’s very being, such as the mystery of the Trinity; and the divine plan of a partnership between God and men for the fulfillment of the plan to create a condition of peace, justice, solidarity, and love, wherein everyone would have attained the fulfillment of his/ her aspirations. Such was God’s splendid plan for humankind. Unfortunately, however,thedarkanddestructive reality of sin came to scuttle that plan. The situation was radically changed. Through its sinfulness, mankind had manifested its plan to build its own kingdom, following its own whims and the perverted prodding of the devil. The concrete consequences of that “declaration of independence from God” (which amounted to a “declaration of war” against Him) were frightening and apparently without remedy. Left to itself, mankind would carry it out in all its minutest, even the most humiliating and pain-riddled details. His baptism at the River Jordan meant just that. It was a “declaration of intent.” Immersed in the crowd of sinners who had responded to John the Baptist’s invitation to undergo conversion, he took a preliminary and decisive step in the implementation of the Father’s rescue plan for the salvation of sinful mankind. The innocent Christ was there, fully identifying with sinners not as a sign of approval of wrongdoings but as a means to save them from the deadly consequences of their sins. He was like the gladiator who enters the arena, ready to pay the highest price in order that the slaves he has identified with may be set free. Jesus knew that his mission was to be the “Servant of Yahweh,” in total availability to fulfill the plan of the “the One who sent him.” This was the very reason why he had come into the world. (See Jn 4:34.) Filled with the Spirit, the Son and Servant of the Father had come “to bring forth justice to the nations, . . . to be a covenant of the people, a light for all men” (Is 42:1.6). In doing so, he would establish God’s Kingdom on earth. In the process, he would “take away” the sin of the world by burdening himself with it and paying the ultimate price for it. This is why the Father loves him. (See Mt 3:17.) This is what makes his example an encouragement for all of us to do likewise.
have never been able to get out of the mess into which it had driven itself. Only an intervention from an almighty and all-merciful
God could have redressed the situation by removing the big obstacle of sin, which like a brood of poisonous snakes, kept
victimizing in different degrees all human beings. God, of course, had no obligation to intervene. Mankind
The call to respect and love children and youth
Feast of the Sto. Niño, Mt 18:1-5, 10 (A) January 19, 2014
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
ALL children are lovable, not just the small babies or the cute, the healthy, and the bright ones. In their eyes full of light, wonder, and innocence, there is an almost irresistible fascination which arouses in every normal human being and even in animals feelings of tenderness and care. Each little boy or girl is a reminder of a world of innocence, dreams, and hopes which most adults have lost sight of. All children need to be loved. But many are not. Far too many are not loved in the right manner. Some receive too much and become “spoiled brats,” groomed to be the tyrants of tomorrow. Others receive too little—much less than they need for their physical, intellectual, psychological, and affective development. Their lives are shortened, their faces ploughed by the deep furrows of neglect, deprivation, and the unconscious feeling of not being loved as they should . . . . Other children—most of them recruited from the previous immense crowd—are “used” by unscrupulous and wicked adults. They are destroyed by the cruelty of those who enjoy immolating them to the gods of greed and carnal pleasure. Still others—their numbers growing more and more!—are not even allowed to see the light of day, butchered as they are right in the wombs of their mothers, victims of unconquered lust, shame, pride, greed . . . . We see all these things happening every day, for decades now, even in our country, the Philippines, the land of beautiful children, the land of the Sto. Niño! Words are unable to express the horror which malnutrition, child exploitation, child prostitution, abortion arouse in us. And in God, more than in us! There is something devilish in all these forms of human degradation. Jesus showed his love for the children of his time. (See today’s Gospel passage.) In the brightness of their eyes he saw mirrored the freshness and holiness of the Kingdom. He expects that we show the same concrete love for the children of our time. Our devotion to the Holy Child must not stop at honoring his image. It must lead us to practical concern for the millions of “niños” in this country and all over the world. They are the most defenseless victims of the indifference, greed, and lust of too many adults who are a disgrace to our nation and humankind.
Bishop Pat Alo
How to have a spectacular 2014
phrase, pinagsakluban ng langit at lupa,” Alvin recalled. “Because I felt it. I felt heaven and earth enveloped me and crushed me.” Alvin thought of his family. “My wife and I always thought we’d grow old together,” Alvin said. His son—“He was just a baby. I thought I’d play with him, teach him how to ride a bicycle, fly a kite, play the guitar…” Alvin prayed like never before. He found himself visiting a Divine Mercy church. And there he knelt and gazed at the image of Jesus clad in a long robe, His right hand raised up to His shoulders ready to bless anyone who would come to Him. From being a very busy man doing so many things, Alvin simplified his life. He found himself in church everyday. Many times, he opened the gates in the morning and closed them late at night. He begged God to give him a second chance at life. But then, on his journey towards death, something happened. “I’m ready to die…” “One day,” Alvin said, his eyes lighting up in wonder, “I simply felt the presence of God and I just knew I was ready—I was ready to meet up with him, to join him in heaven.” He was ready to die. He surrendered his life to God. After that day, he told the doctor, “I’m ready for surgery.” But before he opened him up, they did one more test. When Alvin woke up, his doctor told him the strangest thing. “Alvin, I couldn’t find any tumor in your colon.” A few weeks ago, through a Barium Enema X-Ray , they found three tumors and spreading. But now, they had completely vanished without a trace! But instead of tumors, Alvin f ou n d s om e t h i n g e l s e : A steadfast faith in God. Today, Alvin’s 4-monthold baby is now 18 years old. And Alvin has done what he thought he wouldn’t be able to do—teach him how to bike, fly a kite, and play the guitar. Because today, his son Aio leads worship and preaches with Alvin at the Feast in Bulacan and the Feast in PICC. My message: During those months when he thought he was dying, Alvin’s changed his life. Friend, you don’t need cancer to change your life. You can do it right now by the power of your imagination. Let the New Year change you Imagine that when you woke up this morning, the phone rings. You’re still in your pajamas, drinking your coffee. You stand up and pick up the phone. You hear your Doctor’s voice. In a very somber tone, he says, “I have to say this to you because I’m your friend and I’m your doctor. I’m now holding in my hand the results your medical tests. I’m very sorry, but you’re going to die in 12 months.” The shock is overwhelming. The room around you starts to spin. You sit down. You mumble back his words…. “Twelve months…” He says, “Yes, based on your medical results, you’ll die in December 2014…” A big question reverberates in your mind… “If I had only 12 months to live, how will I live?” That’s the question I want you to answer today. Believe me, you’ll live a different life in 2014.
BEFORE the new year begins, let me tell you the amazing story of my friend, Alvin Barcelona. Once upon a time, Alvin was an incredibly busy man. He, with his mom Aida ran a flourishing school, the Cardinal Academy. Alvin was also in politics. He was also in theatre studying under Laurice Guillen. He was also a rock singer with Freddie Aguilar. Plus, he and his wife Tes had a four-month-old baby boy they named Aio. Then it happened. First, he felt sharp stomach pains. And he began to bleed. He went through medical tests. And his worst fears were confirmed: The tests showed there were tumors in his intestines. “I’m so sorry, Alvin,” the doctor told him, “you may not see the first birthday of your baby.” Alvin couldn’t speak. He could only stare at the doctor. How does one live if he knew he only had six months to live? His life totally changed Alvin told me, “I was only 30 years old. At that moment, I understood the Pilipino
The one God
THE concept of God, perfect and almighty, requires that He is supreme. And this is actually what Tradition and the Scriptures have taught us ever since. For example, the Catholic creed expresses it this way: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: By the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.” Actually, if you think of it, the Catholic Creed expresses God’s loving intervention in our world as He deigned to share in our very human nature and existence. In the traditional Apostles’ Creed it is expressed as a personal expression of belief: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary…” Etc. etc. The rest expresses the same events of the normal Catholic beliefs regarding the life of Jesus and the Catholic Church.
Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
As little as one percent of the population are super rich and own as much as 70% to 90% of the national wealth. They use their wealth as bribes and infiltrate the bureaucracy, police, military and congress and “capture” government agencies and bend them all to support their own interests. Government appears to serve the interests of the rich more than those of the people. Corruption is epidemic. President Aquino, considered clean of corruption himself, has made its elimination the goal of his presidency. Rosemary was a child of poverty. When her mother died of tuberculosis, Rosemary was taken by a pimp and trafficker who later became a manager of a sex bar frequented by international and local sex tourists. Rosemary was brought up as a sex worker, one of many thousands in the brothels and sex bars of the Philippines into which they are trafficked as human slaves trapped by debt. This is one of the greatest and most shameful failures of local and national government. The mayor and officials are seemingly “captured” by favors and services, perhaps of the industry and they allow sex industry to thrive. The collusion is sickening. HIV/Aids is spreading again as a result. There is no media or public outcry; there is national collusion it seems to allow sex tourism. In this beautiful country, the resilient, kind, patient and friendly people are exploited and most don’t know it. They are manipulated and conditioned into believing the rich deserve everything they have got and sexual exploitation of even minors is acceptable. 60 years old folk singers can co-habitate with 16 year-old girls and it is judged okay. Mass media re-enforce this. Social media exult in it. Some justify it since they
make money. They don’t see the forced abortions and the daily abuse and human rights violations. The victims seldom earn money, as most trafficked victims are “captured”, by personal debt to the bar owners and cannot escape. Much like the nation itself, the Philippines is imprisoned by foreign debt on loans that benefit the rich and the poor are paying the interest on that national debt. The huge increase in electricity charges in Metro Manila last December illustrates the capture of government by the rich elite. The electric power producers took over the national industry through privatization and sweetheart deals with friends in government. Most public utilities are now privatized and owned by the profit-driven wealthy elite. The electricity producers, Aboitiz, Malampaya and a few others with Meralco, mostly using filthy coal plants also approved by their friends in government, allegedly form a monopoly, a price fixing cartel and allegedly colluded to create a false electrical shortage to justify the price increase and thus maximize their obscene profits. They deny all wrong doing. Besides that, corruption knows no end. Every day, new revelations emerge of one huge scam by government officials in cahoots with the barons of business. Rights advocates are taking a stand and opposing it. Media has the courage and freedom to reveal the truth but many journalists are assassinated as a result. The dark forces strike back. Silence is approval in the face of evil. We must oppose all human trafficking, child abuse and price fixing especially that which hurts the poor. We must speak out, protest and declare what is true and right, come what may.
The capture of the children and the nation
By Fr. Shay Cullen
THE story of the rescue of Rosemary is heartening and encouraging. When we read about such stories of young children like that of Rosemary being helped and rescued from the clutches of depraved people who are arrested, we rejoice. But we may not know that hundreds of thousands are not rescued, they suffer abuse like Rosemary who was trafficked and sold at 14 years old into sex slavery and bondage. She was rescued, sheltered and healed while many others are not. A charity like Preda Foundation with limited funds can do only so much. When children are saved by government social workers, police and charity workers, we applaud and approve and our admiration of good organized government services increases. Government is elected by the people, given public trust and paid through taxes on everything to serve the common good. In developing countries like the Philippines, government agencies, one by one have been captured by the rich to serve them rather than the poor. That’s why human trafficking and exploitation is on the increase. It’s been going on for the past many years. President Aquino says he is trying to root it out. Hundreds of thousands are barely surviving dire poverty and hunger; the children are the most at risk. They totter on the edge of abject poverty. This is now seen in all its shame by the fury of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). It bared the sprawling slums and stripped away the fragile fabric of the hovels of the teeming poor. Dire poverty was laid embarrassingly naked. Such poverty and social injustice causes unrest, malnutrition, disease and
Fraternity / B4
illness. Economists say the Philippines has a strongly growing economy, creating wealth, but for whom? Little of it is reaching the poor. A cheap hungry labor force benefits the rich. The Social Weather Station (SWS) survey showed that 21 percent of the population, that’s 4.3 million people,
went hungry at least once in the second half of 2013. In Metro Manila, there was a 10 point increase in hunger up to 26%, that’s 738,000 people who went hungry. The poverty rate has not gone down and it is higher since 2005. Meaning the poor still have nothing much in the world and live from meal to meal.
Photo Courtesy of Urban Poor Associates
because it creates a balance between freedom and justice, between personal responsibility and solidarity, between the good of individuals and the common good. And so a political community must act in a transparent and responsible way to favor all this. Citizens must feel themselves represented by the public authorities in respect for their freedom. Yet frequently a wedge is driven between citizens and institutions by partisan interests which disfigure that relationship, fostering the creation of an enduring climate of conflict. An authentic spirit of fraternity overcomes the individual selfishness which conflicts with people’s ability to live in freedom and in harmony among themselves. Such selfishness develops socially—whether it is in the many forms of corruption, so widespread today, or in the formation of criminal organizations, from small groups to those organized on a global scale. These groups tear down legality and justice, striking at the very heart of the dignity of the person. These organizations gravely offend God, they hurt others and they harm creation, all the more so when they have religious overtones. I also think of the heartbreaking drama of drug abuse, which reaps profits in contempt of the moral and civil laws. I think of the devastation of natural resources and ongoing pollution, and the tragedy of the exploitation of labor. I think too of illicit money trafficking and financial speculation, which often prove both predatory and harmful for entire economic and social systems, exposing millions of men and women to poverty. I think
Year / B5
of prostitution, which every day reaps innocent victims, especially the young, robbing them of their future. I think of the abomination of human trafficking, crimes and abuses against minors, the horror of slavery still present in many parts of the world; the frequently overlooked tragedy of migrants, who are often victims of disgraceful and illegal manipulation.AsJohnXXIIIwrote: “There is nothing human about a society based on relationships of power. Far from encouraging, as it should, the attainment of people’s growth and perfection, it proves oppressive and restrictive of their freedom”. Yet human beings can experience conversion; they must never despair of being able to change their lives. I wish this to be a message of hope and confidence for all, even for those who have committed brutal crimes, for God does not wish the death of the sinner, but that he converts and lives (cf. Ez 18:23). In the broad context of human social relations, when we look to crime and punishment, we cannot help but think of the inhumane conditions in so many prisons, where those in custody are often reduced to a subhuman status in violation of their human dignity and stunted in their hope and desire for rehabilitation. The Church does much in these environments, mostly in silence. I exhort and I encourage everyone to do more, in the hope that the efforts being made in this area by so many courageous men and women will be increasingly supported, fairly and honestly, by the civil authorities as well. Fraternity helps to preserve and cultivate nature 9.Thehumanfamilyhasreceived from the Creator a common gift:
nature. The Christian view of creation includes a positive judgment about the legitimacy of interventions on nature if these are meant to be beneficial and are performed responsibly, that is to say, by acknowledging the “grammar” inscribed in nature and by wisely using resources for the benefit of all, with respect for the beauty, finality and usefulness of every living being and its place in the ecosystem. Nature, in a word, is at our disposition and we are called to exercise a responsible stewardship over it. Yet so often we are driven by greed and by the arrogance of dominion, possession, manipulation and exploitation; we do not preserve nature; nor do we respect it or consider it a gracious gift which we must care for and set at the service of our brothers and sisters, including future generations. In a particular way, the agricultural sector is the primary productive sector with the crucial vocation of cultivating and protecting natural resources in order to feed humanity. In this regard the continuing disgrace of hunger in the world moves me to share with you the question: How are we using the earth’s resources? Contemporary societies should reflect on the hierarchy of priorities to which production is directed. It is a truly pressing duty to use the earth’s resources in such a way that all may be free from hunger. Initiatives and possible solutions are many, and are not limited to an increase in production. It is well known that present production is sufficient, and yet millions of persons continue to suffer and die from hunger, and this is a real scandal. We need, then, to find ways by which all may benefit from the fruits of the earth, not
only to avoid the widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs, but above all because it is a question of justice, equality and respect for every human being. In this regard I would like to remind everyone of that necessary universal destination of all goods which is one of the fundamental principles of the Church’s social teaching. Respect for this principle is the essential condition for facilitating an effective and fair access to those essential and primary goods which every person needs and to which he or she has a right. Conclusion 10. Fraternity needs to be discovered, loved, experienced, proclaimed and witnessed to. But only love, bestowed as a gift from God, enables us to accept and fully experience fraternity. The necessary realism proper to politics and economy cannot be reduced to mere technical know-how bereft of ideals and unconcerned with the transcendent dimension of man. When this openness to God is lacking, every human activity is impoverished and persons are reduced to objects that can be exploited. Only when politics and the economy are open to moving within the wide space ensured by the One who loves each man and each woman, will they achieve an ordering based on a genuine spirit of fraternal charity and become effective instruments of integral human development and peace. We Christians believe that in the Church we are all members of a single body, all mutually necessary, because each has been given a grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ, for the common good
(cf. Eph 4:7,25; 1 Cor12:7). Christ has come to the world so as to bring us divine grace, that is, the possibility of sharing in his life. This entails weaving a fabric of fraternal relationships marked by reciprocity, forgiveness and complete self-giving, according to the breadth and the depth of the love of God offered to humanity in the One who, crucified and risen, draws all to himself: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35). This is the good news that demands from each one a step forward, a perennial exercise of empathy, of listening to the suffering and the hopes of others, even those furthest away from me, and walking the demanding path of that love which knows how to give and spend itself freely for the good of all our brothers and sisters. Christ embraces all of humanity and wishes no one to be lost. “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” ( Jn 3:17). He does it without oppressing or constraining anyone to open to him the doors of heart and mind. “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves”—Jesus Christ says—“Iam among you as one who serves” (Lk 22:26-27). Every activity therefore must be distinguished by an attitude of service to persons, especially those furthest away and less known. Service is the soul of that fraternity that builds up peace. May Mary, the Mother of Jesus, help us to understand and live every day the fraternity that
springs up from the heart of her Son, so as to bring peace to each person on this our beloved earth. From the Vatican, 8 December 2013
Cf. Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009), 19: AAS 101 (2009), 654-655. Cf. FRANCIS, Encyclical Letter Lumen Fidei (29 June 2013), 54: AAS 105 (2013), 591-592. Cf. PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio (26 March 1967), 87: AAS 59 (1967), 299. Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (30 December 1987), 39: AAS 80 (1988), 566-568. Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio (26 March 1967), 43: AAS 59 (1967), 278-279. Cf. ibid., 44: AAS 59 (1967), 279. Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (20 December 1987), 38: AAS 80 (1988), 566. Ibid., 38-39: AAS 80 (1988), 566-567. Ibid., 40: AAS 80 (1988), 569. Ibid. Cf. Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009), 19: AAS 101 (2009), 654-655. Summa TheologiaeII-II, q. 66, art. 2. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 69; cf. LEO XIII, Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum (15 May 1891), 19: ASS 23 (1890-1891), 651; JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (30 December 1987), 42: AAS 80 (1988), 573-574; PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 178. Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Hominis (4 March 1979), 16: AAS 61 (1979), 290. Cf. PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 159. FRANCIS, Letter to President Putin, 4 September 2013: L’Osservatore Romano, 6 September 2013, p. 1. Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris (11 April 1963), 17: AAS 55 (1963), 265.
Knights / B3
her Son, and her support of the apostolic community.” A very significant fresco found in the catacombs of St. Agnes depicts Mary situated between St. Peter and St. Paul with her arms outstretched to both. This fresco reflects, in the language of Christian frescoes, the earliest symbol of Mary as “Mother of the Church.” Mary’s prominent position between Saints Peter and Paul illustrates the recognition by the Apostolic Church of the maternal centrality of Mary in the primitive Church. More importantly, this proves that Mary truly supported the apostles in her capacity as a laywoman in building the early church. Inspired by the examples of Mary, our celebrations this year in the Dicoese of Daet, hope to build a missionary community. I hope that this would happen within the diocese through the promotion of lay participation and coresponsibility and the development of a faith that is connected with social and moral life. For our diocese to be truly vibrant, we must become a church built by the participation and involvement of all the members and not just centered on
priests and selected few. I join Pope Francis in his belief that our “parishes are not outdated institutions. Our parishes possess great flexibility. Our parishes can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the Parish Priests and the community.” Thus, we ask ourselves: Do I involve myself in my parish? Is my parish vibrant with apostolic and missionary enthusiasm? For our faith to grow, we must have a faith that can transform our society and not just a faith that is solely centered on devotional and liturgical practices nor of a faith that is divorced from moral life. Thus, we ask ourselves: Is my faith connected with my moral and social life? Is our faith one that possesses the mind and heart of Jesus? A faith that flows into daily life such that our private and public life demonstrate our being true disciples of the Lord?” Highlights of the Year of the Laity and of Social Concerns Among the activities lined up this year, the following are the highlights: Creation of New Vicariates, Pastoral Congress on Ecology and mining, Home
Visitation, Poverty Reduction Program, Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of SPACFI, Seminar on the life and mission of St. Joseph, our Patron Saint in the Diocese, Strengthening of Parish Pastoral Councils and Ministries through Ongoing Formation, and the Launching of the 40th Foundation Anniversary of the Diocese of Daet. Bishop’s New Year’s blessing I end this New Year’s pastoral letter by imploring the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a mother for all peoples. As we give importance to our lay faithful and the pastoral concerns in the Province of Camarines Norte, I pray that our journey of faith this year be assured that we all work together with Jesus. With Mary, we advance confidently towards the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). I bless you and your loved ones as I greet you all a Happy New Year! +GILBERT ARMEA GARCERA Bishop of Daet Solemnity of the Motherhood of Mary January 1, 2014
brother Knights,” explained Gari San Sebastian, Vice President, KCFAPI Fraternal Benefits Group. “We are encouraging all Knights who are in need to reach out to their brother Knights for assistance.” Supreme Assistance Among the programs funded by the order is an emergency distribution center in Borongan, which is being run out of the home of a local Knight. With finances supplied by the Supreme Council in New Haven, Conn., the distribution center is able to purchase a steady supply of relief goods to distribute to families throughout the region. The center operates under the theme “A Charity that Evangelizes,” taken from a phrase of Blessed John Paul II. The Supreme Council has also given immediate funds to Church leaders in the affected areas, Archbishop John Du of Palo, and Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan. Significant contributions have also been made to Caritas Philippines and Caritas Manila. These donations are in addition to money sent in October following the
7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol. As a sign of the order’s commitment to disaster relief, the Supreme Council sent Brian Caulfield, a Communications Specialist in the Supreme Knight’s office, to the Philippines in late October and again in early December to meet with Knights’ leaders and coordinate relief efforts. Vice Postulator for the Canonization of Father Michael McGivney, Caulfield has visited the country on many occasions to promote the cause of the Venerable founder of the Knights of Columbus. “When Knights conduct programs of relief, we are doing so as a Catholic organization that has been operating in the Philippines for more than a century,” Caulfield said. “We already have a well-developed network of councils and leaders in every community, so we should be able to deliver long-term and effective assistance. When other relief agencies start to pull back, the Knights of Columbus will still be there because our brothers and their families already live there.”
January 6 - 19, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Poor Below average Average Above average E xcellent
Buhay San Miguel
Si Torky (Vic Sotto), isang bookkeeper, ay empleyado ng milyonaryang si Baba (Kris Aquino), isang cash management specialist. Malalagay sa panganib ang buhay ni Baba dahilan sa isang gusot sa kanyang trabaho na nahihirapan siyang ayusin. Para hindi madamay ang anak niyang si Justin (Bimby AquinoYap) sa kaguluhan, ilalagak niya ito kay Torky. Iuuwi naman ni Torky si Justin sa bahay niya para makilala si Ice (Aiza Seguerra) at si Ching (Ryzza Mae Dizon), isang batang kalye na inampon ni Ice. Pilyo, malikot, at anakmayaman si Justin; paano tatakbo ang pagsasamahan nilang apat sa ilalim ng iisang bubong? Maunawain ang CINEMA sa pelikulang Pilipino. Batid naming bihira sa mga pelikulang Pinoy ang may malaking budget. Tanto din namin na ang karamihan ng mga gumagawa ng pelikula ay hangad lamang magpasaya ng manunuod habang kumikita naman mula sa kanilang sining. Kaya naman hindi kami nag-aatubiling magpikitmata kung magkaminsa’y palpak ang editing, patay ang sinematograpiya, tagilid ang script, nakakabingi o hindi pantay-pantay ang tunog at musika, sablay ang costumes, props at sets, peke ang pagarte, wa-class ang pagpapatawa at katawa-tawa naman ang pagpapaiyak. Magkaroon man lamang sana ng malinaw na istorya o kapaki-pakinabang na mensahe ay okay na; puwede na naming ipasa at pagpasensyahan ang ilang kapintasan. Pero kung naroon nang halos lahat ng kapintasan at gagatasan pa ang manunuod sa pamamagitan ng garapal na product placement,
hindi ba’t maiisip mong gusto lamang gumawa ng pera ang pelikula habang nagsusulong ito ng isang hangaring personal? Ganoon ang tingin ng CINEMA sa My Little Bossings. Isangdamakmak na media hype ang nanguna sa pelikula tungkol sa pagsisimula ng acting career ng pamangkin ng presidente ng Pilipinas. May mga interview pa sa tv tungkol sa pagiging co-actor ng patok na patok na tv personality na si Ryzza Mae. Kaya natural na gustuhin ng mga taong panoorin ang tambalang Ryzza-Bimby; nagNumber One diumano sa takilya noong Manila Film Festival. Sa simula ng My Little Bossings ay mukhang may matinong tatahakin ang kuwento, pero di maglalaon, sa pagkakapatung – patong ng mga eksena, ay iisipin mo nang “Ano ba talaga ang gustong palabasin nito?” May mga tagpong tulad ng sa bahay ampunan— ipapakita ang dimakatarungang pagtrato sa mga bata, pero sa halip na sundan ito ng matalinong pagpapalawig ng isyu, ay lulukso ang kuwento balik sa kababawan. Ano’ng saysay ng eksenang iyon? Taliwas din sa katuwiran ang ilang hakbangin sa istorya; halimbawa— kung ikaw ba’y isang milyonarya at gusto mong itago ang anak mo sa panganib, doon mo ba ipagkakatiwala sa isang taong nakatira sa magulong lugar? Hindi ba’t ilalayo mo siguro, sa probinsiya, sa ibang bansa, at papaligiran ng mga bodyguards? Pero ang tingin yata ng My Little Bossings sa mga nanonood ay wala silang karapatang magisip, kaya rin ganun-ganon na lang kung magsiksik ng advertisements. Noodles man, soft drinks sabong panlaba,
TITLE: My little bossings RUNNING TIME: 1 hr 50 minutes LEAD CAST: Vic Sotto, Kris Aquino, Ryzza Mae Dizon, James “Bimby” Aquino Yap DIRECTOR: Marlon Rivera SCREENWRITER: Bibeth Orteza PRODUCER: Octo Arts Film, M-Zet Productions, APT Entertainment, Kris Aquino Productions DISTRIBUTOR: OctoArts Film TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: ½ MORAL ASSESSMENT: ½ CINEMA rating: V 14
o fast food chain, basta na lang tatambad sa paningin mo ang produkto, at walang pakundangang ibebenta ito sa manonood. Ano ba yan!? Bakit babayad pa ang tao kung makikita din sa sinehan ang napapanood sa telebisyon? Hindi ba ninanakawan nyan ang mga tao? Akala siguro ng My Little Bossings ay sapat na ang naglalakihang mga bituin pagtakpanang butas-butasnitong produksyon. Ang kawawa dito ay ang Pilipinong manunuod, ang mga tapat na tagahanga (lalo na ni Ryzza) na sa kapayakan ng pag-iisip ay bumabayad para makita ang paslit na artista, pero napagsasamantalahan ng isang produksyong hungkag at walang kalidad. Maawa naman sana sila sa manunuod. Maawa rin tayo sa mga batang artistang nagmumukh na ring mga produktong ibinebenta, pinagkikitaan sa murang gulang, at maaaring nagagamit sa paraang mapanira sa kanilang kinabukasan.
Princesses Anna (Bell) and Elsa (Menzel) of Arendelle were as close as two peas in a pod until the older Elsa accidentally freezes her younger sister with her snow magic. Horrified, their parents choose for Elsa to deliberately hide her ability from the world. Elsa, not wanting to hurt Anna again, distance herself from her sister. Anna, whose memories of Elsa’s magic were erased, is left completely confused and lonely. Ten years later, the king and the queen die at sea and leave the princesses orphaned. Eventually, Elsa needs to come out and face her subject during her coronation but carefully plans not to reveal her magic to anyone until the lonely Anna naively falls for the first prince—Hans—who proposes and asks the newly-crowned queen’s blessing. Naturally, Elsa denies her blessings which infuriates Anna. She inadvertently removes Elsa’s protective gloves and causes her to reveal her uncontrolled snow magic to the kingdom. She runs away and in the process freezes the entire kingdom. Anna, determined to marry Prince Hans (Fontana) runs after Elsa with the aid of mountaineer Kristoff (Groff) and animated snowman Olaf (Gad). Frozen is a magical journey for the young and young at heart. The timelessness of the classic fairy tale is modernized appropriately with a good mix of animation, music and performance. The snow
TITLE: Frozen CAST: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana DIRECTION: Chris Buck, Jenniger Lee; Based on story Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen PRODUCER: Peter Del Vecho MUSIC: Christopher Beck GENRE: Animation DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney LOCATION: Arendelle RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: MORAL ASSESSMENT: MTRCB rating: G CINEMA rating: All ages
covered mountains, dangerous blizzards, delicate ice castle and the dreamy snow flaked scenes are just breath-taking to watch albeit purely animated. The songs, though, not entirely as touching as previous Disney movies, but memorable just the same. The story is clear and unfolds gracefully with the right amount of humor and suspense punctuating the development. The voice actors reveal the inner persons of their characters well. Frozen offer several layers of family values. One, it shows how family ties is the very foundation of a sturdy relationship inside and outside the home. It emphasizes the significance of family as the groundwork of a strong community life. Second, Frozen redefines true love not as romance but as sacrifice. In this
modern age where everyone is self-centred and materialistic, Elsa and Anna’s devotion to each other and dedication to the people they serve can very well a model of what it is to be human. Third, and maybe to a lesser significance, the
movie gives a reminder to the young—who are so wanting to be noticed, admired and given affection—not to fall for the seeming attraction of a great façade. It pays to know the very core and essence of a person— or ideal—before committing.
(Family Name) (Given Name)
TITLE: The Hobbit: the desolation of Smaug LEAD CAST: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, Orlando Bloom DIRECTOR: Peter Jackson SCREENWRITER: Peter Jackson PRODUCER: Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner, Fran Walsh EDITOR: Jabez Olssen MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Howard Shore GENRE: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Lesnie DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros. Pictures LOCATION: New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States RUNNING TIME: 162 minutes TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: MORAL ASSESSMENT: CINEMA rating: V 14
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Media Office, with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. PO Box 3601, 1076 MCPO • Domestic 1 Year Php 500.00 2 Years Php 900.00 • Foreign: Asia 1 Year US$ 55.00 • All Other US$ 80.00
Mailing Address _______________________________________________ _________________________________________________ Phone No.: ________ Fax No.: ________ E-mail: ___________ Mode of Payment Check/PMO enclosed Cash Payment
(Payable to: CBCP Communications Development Foundation Inc.)
PLEASE SEND TO: CBCP Monitor, P.O. Box 3601, Manila, Philippines 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila, Philippines | Tel (632) 404-2182 • Telefax (632) 404-1612 Or e-mail this at email@example.com
The story picks up straight from the last film – though there is also a nice prologue, taken from The Quest of Erebor, one of Tolkien’s supplemental Unfinished Tales that details a meeting between Gandalf and Oakenshield in which they play the assault on the Lonely Mountain – with more shots of the group wandering over majestic landscapes with a band of nasty Orcs on their trail. But Jackson soon injects some dark tension into the proceedings as the party head into the gloomy and frightening Mirkwood (and a close encounter with some gigantic spiders) before being held captive by the Wood-Elves ruled by Thranduil (Lee Pace). This allows the re-entry to the film series of Legolas and the introduction of beautiful elf warrior Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), and also racks up the martial arts style combat as the pair of expert archers and fighters defend the dwarves as they escape downriver, floating in barrels and fighting off Orcs as they bounce along the rapids. Rather than suffering from that ‘middle film in a trilogy’ syndrome, The Hobbit: the desolation of Smaug is a freewheeling and exciting second film that moves at a breathless pace offering up entertainment and excitement in equal measure and ends on a dramatic high that will have fantasy fans desperate for more.
Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
CFC 2013: Reliving the Year that Was
2013 was another fruitful, inspiring, empowering and blessed year for Couples for Christ. With our theme, “Obey and Witness”, our community was kept under the guidance and inspiration of our dear Mother who instructed the servants at the wedding in Cana, “Do whatever He tells you”. As we responded to this challenge, we were “filled to the brim” by the greatness of God’s grace and witnessed one powerful event after another, inspiring stories by our brothers and sisters, and milestones for our community. Powerful and spirit-filled conferences and events were held during the first half of 2013: Married couples were affirmed once again of their commitment to marriage during the various CFC Cana Weekend conferences conducted in different parts of the world. Singles for Christ, Youth for Christ, and Handmaids of the Lord celebrated 20 years of God’s faithfulness as they gathered in numbers through their respective International Conferences. And of course, the ANCOP Global Walk was once again a day of miracles as thousands of people from all walks of life joined to send less fortunate children to school. In 2013, we also witnessed milestones such as the Theology of the Body conducted in China, the firstever conference for senior couples was organized, and the gathering of international leaders during the 1st Global Leaders Empowerment Convention in June. CFC also re-launched some of its programs: the STMA (St. Thomas Moore and Associates) Breakfast Forum, the BCOP (Building the Church of the Poor) programs, and the CFC Young Couples program. 2013 also further strengthened our Church Integration initiatives with lay missionaries being prayed over and sent off by His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle during the mission sending ceremony in April and various recognitions were given to CFC in the different states in the US. Finally, 2013 also gave our community a new set of leaders during the June elections for 3 new members of the International Council and Board of Elders. In September, CFC ANCOP elected a new 9-man Board of Trustees. Let us relive and look back at the highlights of 2013 and thank God for continously blessing our community. As we prepare for the 2014, may we experience God’s love even more, and through the guidance of our Mother Mary, embrace our theme: BEHOLD AND PONDER!
CFC: ‘Obey and witness’
By Ricky Cuenca
IN THE year that transpired, new generation leaders have served, ablaze with ON FIRE EVANGELIZATION. We focused on our specific tasks according to our capacities and God-given talents and worked as a team. This is a great milestone in CFC where leaders at all levels took ownership of their role as leaders with boldness, acted as team players and were truly passionate servant leaders. As a result of our leadership development and formation process, purpose driven leaders in the Philippines and globally acted as shepherds following their beliefs and CFC core values in oneness with the Catholic Church. Following the principles of Pope Benedict XVI, we evolved into a strong movement of servant evangelizers away from a personality driven leadership. Together as one body in Christ, we set our four priority thrusts: 1) Building the church of the Home- On Fire Evangelization; 2) Growing in Holiness - Purposeful Pastoral Care and Formation; and 3) Building the Church of the Poor in ANCOP, CORNERSTONE and the Social Development Programs. Leaders implemented 4) Effective Governance, delivered in policy development of financial systems, monitoring and evaluation system, human resource development, communications plan, travel policies and the implementation of the CFC ROADMAP. Our membership and leadership responded with enthusiasm to the four priority thrusts and the CFC Roadmap. The alignment and adherence to the Road Map, passion for the mission and On Fire Evangelization continue to create a ripple effect in the CFC communities. Our clear road map defined our Vision of Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth, and our Mission of Building the Church of the Home and the Church of the Poor. We declared 2012 the Magnificat year to proclaim the greatness of the Lord inspired by our Mama Mary. The year 2013 with our theme, “Obey and Witness” keeps us close under the guidance and inspiration of our dear Mother who instructed the servants at the wedding in Cana, “Do whatever He tells you”. Our practice of gentle, joyful and humble obedience to the Lord and witnessing the love of Christ are called to action in the year 2013. We pray that once again throughout our one-year journey in 2013, we will serve the Lord with all our heart, our mind and spirit and that the Holy Spirit will continue to ignite our hearts and passion for an ever-stronger ON FIRE evangelization, nurturing pastoral care and formation and effective governance in teamwork. We see our evangelization work resulting in stronger families with renewed relationship with God and love for our country. The highlights of our 2012-2013 mission journey points to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The intercession of Mother Mary weaves the community during threats of disunity and disenchantment towards ONENESS, HUMILITY, OBEDIENCE, JOY and GRATITUDE. We see stronger Global EVANGELIZATION, with our members and leaders certainly ON FIRE, blazing the trail and sustaining regions of influence. There are many more territories to conquer for the Lord, and as we journey in 2013, our spirits soar high, OBEYING and WITNESSING with Christ, in Christ and for Christ.
CFC Cana Weekend: Bringing the Taste of Christ’s Good Wine
By Nirva’ana Delacruz
MANILA Archibishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle kicked off an extraordinary weekend for 2,297 CFC leaders with a personal message for the couples attending the Cana Weekend in Baguio on February 1 to 3, 2013. He exhorted them to “bring the taste of this good wine [of Christ] to people.” True enough, all the talks and sharings during the Cana Weekend, held at the Camp John Hay CAP Convention Center, showed the truly complex yet simple meaning of the wedding at Cana and what it implies for marital life and love. The first talk, titled “The Wedding Feast” given by Arnel Santos, focused on the basic point that “one of the greatest things God has gifted us with is our marriage.” Arnel emphasized that marriage is a “moment in salvation history”—a personal turning point for both husband and wife that will eventually end with seeing God face to face at the wedding banquet in heaven. The second session “Do Whatever Tells You,” given by Jun Uriarte, showed that obedience is crucial to a truly Christian life—in the manner Mary, the servers at Cana and St. Catherine Laboure were obedient. According to Uriarte, this is a far cry from the ordinary believer’s attitude which is: “’Pag nagdadasal tayo, halos sabihin na natin sa Panginoon kung ano ang dapat Niyang gawin. (When we pray, we tell God what He needs to do.)” The key lies in following Mary’s words to obey Jesus, ever hopeful of His mercy. After the session, the participants were exhorted to wear the Miraculous Medal of Mary as a way of entrusting themselves to Mama Mary. “Empty Jars, Filled to the Brim,” the third talk, revolved around how married life can
The CFC Family Ministries— Delighting in 20 Years of God’s Faithfulness in 2013
THrEE of the family ministries, namely Singles for Christ, Youth for Christ and the Handmaids of the Lord, celebrated 20 years of being God’s instruments of evangelization in 2013 during their respective international conferences. Since it was a milestone year, with all three ministries celebrating 20 years, the ICons were all held in Manila, like some sort of homecoming or a “returning to the heart of the mission”. In February, the SFC ICon was marked by much jubilation, beginning with the praise concert on the first night. The second day brought in high-profile workshop speakers, Mr. Edwin Lopez of EWTN and Bishop Teodoro Bacani, DD, who expounded on the year’s theme “Obey and Witness”. Highlight of the weekend conference was the Mass celebrated by no less than His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of the Archdiocese of Manila. Cardinal Tagle captured the 8,000 young delegates from all over the world with his wit and intellect, leaving an impression of becoming true witnesses in their hearts and minds. During the summer, the Handmaids of the Lord and Youth for Christ held their ICons in Antipolo and Marikina, respectively. The YFC ICon, dubbed “Jesus Expo”, was a week-long event which was a deviation from the usual 3-day activity. YFC activities included a benefit concert featuring popular local bands, a visit to the Boys’ Town, cleaning of the Estero de Pandacan in Manila, a forum on good governance, Church integration congress, sports and creative competitions, and a reunion concert where YFC alumni and new-generation YFCs mingled and had fun. The conference proper, which was the highlight of the 7 days, zeroed in on empowering the 9,000 young people in bringing to fulfillment their mission of bringing Christ wherever they are. HOLD, on the other hand, celebrated HOLD@20 with Emerald Night, an evening of song and dance as thanksgiving for the 2 decades of the ministry. The conference proper, dubbed “All for Love”, emphasized obeying and witnessing all for the love of God. HOLD International Coordinator Didi Galsim encouraged the women to D.R.A.W. or perform Daily Random Acts of Witnessing, in their capacity as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, working women, neighbors, public servants or missionaries. Two decades as ministries of CFC, standing alongside each other as one community of family evangelizers—this alone is enough to be thankful about. As 2014 enters, each of the family ministries, Kids for Christ and Servant of the Lord included, look forward to the next 20 years and beyond of being families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth.
become tasteless, dry and drained because of serious illness, financial problems, infidelity or children’s personal struggles. Joe Tale, who gave the talk, explained how Jesus uses unworthy vessels to work miracles of abundance like the Cana miracle. After the talk, there was an exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Hour which the couples spent in prayer, song and silence. Joe Yamamoto gave the last talk for Saturday, “From Water to Wine: The Radical Transformation,” which also featured powerful and moving testimonies from Raymond Bucu, Shok Ariola and Rhea Santos. In closing, Yamamoto said Jesus can change our “water” into “wine” if we participate actively in the work of transformation, in the same way Mary and the servers did. He added, “Our actions must help bring about the manifestation of the love and grace of God.” To close the session, participants celebrated the Lord’s Day, drinking wine mixed with water to symbolize the human hope of sharing in God’s divinity. Mannix Ocampo gave the last talk, “Witness! God’s Glory Revealed,” which discussed the significance of the Cana miracle as a precursor for Jesus’ works of signs and wonders in his public ministry. In the same way, the Cana miracle in CFC will reveal a renewed vigor for the New Evangelization, as well as individual lives full of the wine of justice, the wine of wisdom and the wine of grace or charity. In ending, Ocampo said, “Our lives are our mosteffective evangelizing tool!” The Holy Eucharist concelebrated by CFC spiritual adviser Msgr. Allen Aganon and Fr. Paul Uwemedimo was a fitting ending to the weekend, especially since all the couples present had a unique opportunity to renew their marriage vows.
Cardinal Tagle sends off 130 Lay Missionaries
January 6 - 19, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
OVER 130 missionaries of Couples for Christ and its ministries will remember Holy Monday, March 25, 2013 for many years to come. On this day, they took part in the Mission Sending Ceremony held at the San Fernando De Dilao Parish in Paco, Manila and organized by the Archdiocesan Commission on Mission led by Fr. Alex Justiani Abiera of the Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Society. His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle celebrated the solemn Mass and facilitated the symbolic blessing of the missionaries. In his homily, Cardinal Tagle highlighted the significance of committing to mission work most especially in this Year of Faith. According to him, “there is an intimate connection between faith and the missions… that faith is a calling to mission.” He further added that, “we are called by Christ as a disciple in faith to witness to Him.” Cardinal Tagle emphasized that to be a true missionary, we need, first, to be anointed by the spirit of God and not the spirit of the world; second to have humility as a servant of God, and finally, to be ready to bear anything—even hardships—for the sake of the missions. During the Mission Sending ceremony, Fr. Alex introduced the various groups and individually presented the missionaries. The
CFC lay missionaries were led by CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman, International Council member Arnel Santos, and Church Integration Office Coordinator Rouquel Ponte. Couple-missionaries from CFC as well as missionaries from the different Family Ministries—Kids for Christ, Youth for Christ, Singles for Christ and Handmaids of the Lord—were all presented. Other groups presented were religious missionaries, the Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Society and the Mission Society of the Philippines. After the introduction of missionaries, Cardinal Tagle blessed the crosses, symbol of salvation for the world, which were handed out to each missionary. The ceremony ended with the Prayer for Missionaries. Right after the holy Mass, Fr. Alex gave his message of thanksgiving and encouraged all to pray for the missionaries and to support the missions. And as a fitting way to close the spirit-filled afternoon, Cardinal Tagle issued an empowering challenge for all missionaries: “I will believe. I will be ready to be sent.” The activity is indeed a great reminder for all missionaries that true mission leads to faith and that mission is a call that should lead everyone to a deeper commitment to Christ.
The Science and Spirit of Marriage for Young Couples
Young CFC couples (those married for 15 years and below) gathered last September 28, 2013 to review their Marriage Journey Experiences. Two prominent resource speakers talked about the “Science and Spiritual Dimensions” of young partners and most importantly the mission of CFC in making a relevance to the young couples today. In the first session, Dr. Vicky Apuan, Chairperson, Department of Social Sciences of Miriam College, mentioned the stages of love in a relationship and how they affect the relationship of partners. Couple assessments were conducted to check their own “Intimacy Level”, “Passion Level” and “Level of Commitment”. It was followed by a workshop facilitated by Michele Santos-Alignay, the purpose of which was to gather data about the couples’ present situation and needs. Information gathered during the workshop will be the basis and reference of CFC to come up with pastoral formation tracks and guidelines to aid and support the young couples of CFC. The workshop dealt with the present need and relevant issues young couples today are confronted with, how CFC has been helping them, and how much more the communitycan offer to address specific areas of concern. To summarize the session, Rommel Ancheta, coordinator for the Young Couples Program, explained the need for such program basing his insights on the Apostolic Exhortation of Blessed John Paull II, Familiaris Consortio. Families today are affected by profound changes which affect society and culture. With the knowledge that the family constitutes human value, the church must offer help not only to those who are aware and have been unjustly treated, but also the young, who are beginning their journey to marriage and family life. Thus it is important to present new insights to help these young couples discover the beauty and grandeur of the vocation of love and service to life. Couples blessed with community support truly need to pass on the experience and transformation to other couples so they can share in the life of a happy and successful marriage.
CFC USA recognized in Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Philadephia and New York
JANUARY 20, February 26, November 14, and November 20, 2013 were very significant days in the existence of Couples for Christ in the United States. On these dates, CFC USA was conferred recognition in the Dioceses of Baltimore in Maryland, Wilmington in Delaware, and Lexington in Kentucky, as well as the Archdiocese of New York, as a partner in evangelization. These are truly wonderful gifts of affirmation for the community in the United States. More than the stamp of approval, the conferment of these recognitions are a source of inspiration and empowerment for the brethren there to continue building the Church of the Home and Building the Church of the Poor in America.
…And Life Goes On! The first CFC Seniors’ Conference
When I get older losing my hair, Many years from now. Will you still be sending me a valentine Birthday greetings bottle of wine. If I’d been out till quarter to three Would you lock the door, Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I’m sixty-four. So goes a popular Beatles song, describing someone asking another what things he or she is willing to do should he turn 64. In the local music scene, Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko asks the same questions. Couples for Christ decides to answer these concerns via …And Life Goes On! The First CFC Seniors Conference held last September 28, 2013 at the Semicon Bldg., Pasig City. Speaker Rene Punsalan recognized that at 32 years, CFC continues to be a dynamic community, hence making most of the members who pioneered in CFC now finding themselves at the “seniors mark”. He enumerated the issues surrounding the senior members and leaders of Couples for Christ, among them spiritual burnout, personal concerns like death of a spouse, health and mobility problems, financial concerns, seeming lack of energy, as well as a few turnoffs like conflicts,
reorganization, critical spirit, and the feeling of being isolated and neglected. Punsalan also presented basic features of the Seniors Program that are being developed specifically for them. Currently, there are initiatives from CFC South A sector with the Grow Old with God (GOLD) Program, and the CFC Handmaids of the Lord, with the Cherishing Life in the Diamond Years Retreat, that help make senior members be Alive and Well!, as described in the second part of his talk. He likewise reiterated that senior members can and still have a role to play, as servants rich with wisdom, protectors of CFC, intercessors, mentors and disciplers of the younger generations, and as role models. Sharers Rudy Talosig of CFC and Grace Pasigan of CFC HOLD shared their personal experiences as seniors living life to the full in community. As a commitment of the International Council, CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca and Family Ministries Director Mannix Ocampo vowed to prioritize the Seniors Program, having in mind not only those 60 and beyond, but members who are on their way there, so to speak. This, according to them, will truly accomplish CFC’s calling to be a wonb-to-tomb community, which takes care not only of the young, but also those advancing in age.
Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
Theology of the Body goes to China
The Elections in CFC for 2013
THrEE new members of the CFC International Council are being chosen via the annual elections. Last June 2013, the Elders’ Assembly elected George Campos, Jimmy Ilagan and James Solano to complete the 9-man International Council of CFC. Afterwards, the 15-man Board of Elders were chosen. They are Ding Aguinaldo, Joey Ar guelles, Michael Ariola, Bong Arjonillo, Bernie Cuevas, Eric delos Reyes, Rouquel Ponte, Reggie Ragojos, Israel Silud, Joe Tale, Lito Tayag, Eric Villanueva, Melo Villaroman Jr., Joe Yamamoto, and Eric Ylagan. Less than a month later, in their first meeting as IC, the group elected the following as the new set of officers: Chairman – Ricky Cuenca; Executive Director – George Campos; Treasurer – Jimmy Ilagan. The Directorate assignments were likewise determined. George Campos was picked Evangelization & Missions Director; Ricky Cuenca is the
International Missions Director and Director for BCOP; Arnel Santos as Metro Manila Missions Director; Jimmy Ilagan and Philippine Missions Director; Mannix Ocampo as the Family Ministries Director; and Jun Uriarte as the Pastoral Formation Office Director. CFC ANCOP also elected a new 9-Man Board of Trustees last September 11, 2013. The new members of the ANCOP Board of Trustees are: Ricky Cuenca, Nonoy Dalman, Eric Delos Reyes, Manny Garcia, Rudy Gaspillo, Jimmy Ilagan, Senen Reyes, Arnel Santos, and James Solano. Arnel Santos, Metro Manila Missions Director, was elected new Chairman of the Board, while Eric delos Reyes retained his position as ANCOP President. MM South A Sector Head Rudy Gaspillo is Vice President, IC member Jimmy Ilagan is ANCOP Treasurer, and Atty. Rene Punsalan is CFC ANCOP Corporate Secretary.
Good Governance: The Demand of Our Time
By Joy Katigbak
IT all started with a prompting. It came unexpected, brief and direct to the point: Bring TOB (Theology of the Body) to China. TOB is Theology of the Body, a series of teachings by Blessed John Paul II on what it means to be human, on why God created us male and female, His design for sex and marriage, and what all these have to do with our destiny. It was difficult to imagine how we could bring this very dense body of teaching to China given the language barrier, and the strict control of the government on religion and on families. But when God commands, we follow, for we know He will always have great things in store. In March 2012, I was asked to give a talk on the Theology of the Body to the Chinese trainees who were in the Philippines for a month to undergo the Chinese Leadership Acceleration Program (CLAP). This was a program that would immerse and train our Chinese CFC and Family Ministry leaders on CFC’s culture and programs so that they could implement these in China. It was there that I met Jenny, an SFC trainee, who translated for me during my talk. After the session, Jenny shared with me how she had come across the TOB in China through a foreign nun who was serving in a center for women in pregnancy crisis. Jenny had gone there to bring a friend who was contemplating abortion and the nun had given her a paperbound photocopy of a material entitled Theology of the Body by Christopher West written in Chinese! She had read it and her interest was roused and so when she heard there would be a talk on TOB during their training, she volunteered to translate. It was then that I realized that TOB was already slowly inching its way to China. The date for the mission trip was finally set for April 18-23, 2013. Fr. Joel Jason, our main TOB teacher in CFC, would be traveling to Beijing to conduct the teaching. Fr. Joel has been patiently conducting Theology of the Body courses for us in CFC since 2011 and has been our spiritual guide in asking the Lord for this work to grow. My husband Aldy and I were to accompany him to share about how TOB has affected us as individuals and as a couple, and to see how we could proceed in the future.
“I understand that by your relaunch of the STMA Forum, you aim to build bridges between the world of faith and the world of politics, economics and civics. I am of the opinion that building such bridges is the most urgent task of any associate of St. Thomas More, and of every good son and daughter of the Church whose station in life calls for active engagement in political, economic and social issues and concerns.” This was how Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao, eminent economist and Chairman of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia, began his talk at the BCOP STMA Breakfast Forum last October 12, 2013 at the Gabaldon Room of Club Filipino. Leaders from CFC Metro Manila and nearby provinces came to listen to Dr. Estanislao speak on Good Governance: The Demand of Our Time. According to Dr. Estanislao, “Good Governance” cannot remain a nice phrase, but has to take a concrete manifestation in all areas of life. It should be established from the national government down to the last citizen, from the biggest corporation down to the smallest enterprise, from the network of civil society organizations to the last NGO. The good that each person does can strengthen the community, while any selfish ambitions can destroy the same community. “It is for this reason that good governance makes this basic demand: to think and act for the long term, pursuing a clear strategy for the development and welfare of the bigger political, economic and social units around us,” he stressed. And, in order to meet the basic demands of social responsibility, the following duties must be imposed: the duty of fairness, the duty of transparency, and the duty of accountability. Focusing on the common good is imperative,
especially at this time in the country’s current situation. However, this is not only a concern of the governing bodies, public officials and the elite, but of those being governed, the ordinary citizens as well. In spite of each one’s personal pursuit of private interests, every responsible citizen must not lose sight of the common good, and of the value of sacrifice even to a heroic degree. This is exactly what St. Thomas More had set as an example when he gave up his official title and position in the king’s court and offered his life for the sake of this principle—short-term temporal gains have little value compared to eternal rewards. “The ideals of solidarity, subsidiarity and the respect for personal dignity must be each person’s driving force for him to remain within the road towards good governance,” Dr. Estanislao said. “The current issues and questions on the Napoles case, the Malampaya Fund and the DAP are reminders that we are quite far from these ideals,” he added. However, these issues, according to Dr. Estanislao, are also reminders that there is an absolute need to strengthen society’s moral core. “We have to remind ourselves that beyond the legal, there is a much higher bar, the moral bar, and it is only by reaching that bar that we protect ourselves from corruption.” What must then be done? And where can the strength to reach the moral bar come from? Start with personal governance, Dr. Estanislao stressed. “The Holy Spirit can work within each of us if we allow Him to, and if we welcome the Word and the teachings of Christ into our work and life, such that they have bearing in what we do, how we work, how we live our life, and how we serve others in the community.”
The first official activity of the mission trip was a whole-day TOB seminar for CFC, SFC, and HOLD leaders consisting of five talks covering the eight cycles of the TOB. This was held in North Cathedral. Before the first session began, we met Fr. Joel’s translator, Martha, who was a friend of an SFC member who was majoring in English at the university. Martha, we learned that day, had just finished translating to Chinese two English reference materials on love, sexuality, and marriage which were intended for the youth. As we browsed through their English versions, we realized that these included the Theology of the Body! Thus, Martha, in translating these materials, was unknowingly already preparing herself for the translation work she would do for CFC during this mission trip. We also met Jenny again at this TOB seminar and we later learned from her that the TOB material in Chinese which she had shown me in the Philippines was now a published book available in Hong Kong! This meant the participants could order a copy to use as their reference material for further study after the seminar. Thus it was clear: God had been preparing everything for His message to reach His people. He had chosen and prepared the best translator for us (after all, this was a crucial ingredient), made sure there would be available material for further study, and most of all, he had prepared the hearts of His people. It was evident from the way everyone eagerly listened, took notes, asked questions, and later shared their reactions, that the seeds were being planted. The same held true for the succeeding sessions: a two-hour talk to CFC, SFC, and HOLD members at the South Cathedral, an intimate one-hour session with English Mass servants (a small multi-racial group consisting of one American, one Chinese, one Colombian, and a few Filipinos), and lastly, a session with 40 seminarians from Beijing Seminary. Wherever it is brought, the Theology of the Body never fails to stir and capture people’s hearts regardless of their race, language, and background. Bring TOB to China? Yes, by God’s grace TOB is officially in China. We pray that the Lord water and nurture the seeds that have been planted in His own perfect way, in His own unmistakably perfect time.
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
George B. Campos
Samantha C. Manuel
Alma M. Alvarez
Deomar P. Oliveria
Evangeline C. Mecedilla
The Ugnayan News Supplement is published by the Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Inc., with editorial offices at 156 20th Avenue, 1109 Cubao, Quezon City. Editorial trunk line: (+63 2) 709-4868 local 23 Direct line : (+63 2) 709-4856 www.couplesforchristglobal.org firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/CFC.Global.Mission
January 6 - 19, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 1
Top Leaders Gather for 1 Global Leaders Empowerment Convention
THE poTENTial for greater evangelization is more apparent and there is excitement across the world because of this. The 1st CFC Global Leaders Empowerment Convention (GLEC) was a highlight of the weeklong activities of the 32nd Anniversary celebration of Couples for Christ. The 3-day event, which was held from June 18 to 20, 2013 at the One Esplanade, Pasay City, gathered over 300 leaders coming from different parts of the world. The GLEC sought to unite thrusts and approaches of all CFC leaders of all countries of the world. While the community believed in the preservation of its core thrusts there is still a need to be united in our approaches in addressing major concerns of evangelization. The event also aimed to build the core of the CFC leadership, stressing the importance of working as one body, and to synergize the team in bringing down the programs and thrusts of the community. Furthermore, the convention also hoped to promote empowered leadership by inspiration. The GLEC was indeed a venue to share personal challenges in leading and shepherding God’s people, to fully embrace their calling as missionaries in their own countries and areas. Here are highlights of the 1st CFC Global Leaders Empowerment Convention: Day 1 of the Global Leaders Empowerment Convention welcomed CFC leaders from Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and from more than 30 countries at the One Esplanade, Pasay City. After the recitation of the Holy Rosary led by Irma Cuenca, wife of CFC Chairman Rikcy Cuenca, the convention officially began with a Holy Mass with Rev. Fr. Benedict Lagarde Jr. from the Missionaries of Jesus as main celebrant. Concelebrating the Mass were His Excellency Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa, Kenya; Fr. Anthony Hou, Fr. Simon Jia, Fr. Joseph Duan, and Fr. Joseph Shen from China; and Fr. Pierre Faiquin from Mauritius. In the afternoon, GLEC participants were greeted by the unique shadow show of El Gamma Penumbra, which took the audience on a tour of the various famous landmarks of the Philippines. As the participants settled down, Mon Santiago, Regional Head for SouthAsia, facilitated the workshops. In the evening after Day 1 of the Global Leaders’ Empowerment Convention, CFC leaders donned the costumes of the countries they represent and spent time getting to know new friends and reconnecting with old ones through the CFC 32nd Anniversary Fellowship. The second day of the Global Leaders Empowerment Convention once again started with the recitation of the Rosary, led by Pat Villanueva of CFC USA. Hector Poppen, Country Head of CFC India, opened the convention with a powerful worship. International Council member and CFC Corporate Secretary Arnel Santos gave the first session, leaving the participants with the message that CFC is primarily a relationship: relationship with God (communion), with each other (community), and with others (mission). In the afternoon, CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca excited the GLEC participants once more with his contagious energy in serving the Lord. Day 2 of the GLEC culminated with the celebration of the Holy Mass, with Msgr. Allen Aganon as main celebrant. Day 3 of GLEC was the Lay-Clergy Congress, with Fr. Christian Limbaring of Vietnam opening with an inspiring worship. CFC Spiritual Director Msgr. Allen Aganon gave a talk on the role of a Spiritual Director, emphasizing on shepherding like Jesus does. After the session, Bishop Pablo David of Pampanga celebrated the Holy Mass together with international clergy, including Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa, Kenya.
CFC Urged to Engage in BCOP
ANCOP Global Walk 2013 A day of miracles!
During the MCG last September 1, 2013 at the Ateneo High School, CFC Chairman and BCOP Director Ricky Cuenca rallied the members of the Mission Core to engage in the programs under BCOP, or Building the Church of the Poor. According to Cuenca, as leaders of Couples for Christ, the Mission Core should live out the community’s two-pronged mission statement—to build the Church of the Home and build the Church of the Poor. During the Mass, Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak, Military Ordinariate of the Philippines exhorted the MCG to embrace Jesus in the poor and those who need help. A video titled Buhay CFC (The CFC Life) kicked off Cuenca’s talk. In his discourse, the BCOP Director showcased each program under BCOP, namely ANCOP Education, ANCOP Shelter, Health, Livelihood, Environment, Migrants Program, Prison (Isaiah 61:1), Men in Uniform, Good Governance (STMA), and the Cooperatives, and how each person can actually be a stakeholder in any of the BCOP programs. Testimonies from those who are actually immersed in the BCOP Programs followed, each one inspiring fellow leaders to find fulfillment in living out the mission of Couples for Christ. Each BCOP Program set up their own booths where the members of the MCG can explore how they can get involved in the various BCOP offerings. Before the BCOP Program Heads were called in front for the prayer for empowerment, some ANCOP scholars encouraged CFC to “Jump In” via an upbeat dance number.
“Behold and Ponder” Couples for Christ 2014 Theme
By George Campos
The IC Discernment Weekend last September 6-8, 2013 was a deeply moving personal encounter for me with our God who has faithfully provided CFC with the guiding spirit that inspired all our themes that moved CFC forward according to His will and plan. The last day of the weekend fell on September 8, the Birthday of our Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother. Together with all the IC members and our respective spouses, we felt that the Lord gave her to us once more as a gift. She is the Lord’s gift to us, but He also wants us to be a gift to His Mother. For the past 2 years, the Holy Spirit has given to us our Blessed Mother to lead us closer to her Son, Jesus Christ. We were called to “Proclaim the Greatness of the Lord” by embracing ON FIRE Missions in 2012. It was a call to proclaim. Then in 2013, it was a call to discipleship when CFC was challenged to “Obey and Witness” inspired by Mary’s prompting to “do whatever He tells you”. This coming year, 2014, Jesus is entrusting us to His mother. Inspired by John 19:26-27, “When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to her, ‘Woman, behold, your son’. Then He said to the disciple, ‘Son, behold, your Mother’. From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” CFC is being called to a deeper relationship with Jesus and Mary. Mary received her new mission at the foot of Cross—to be the Mother of the Church. From that moment on, she became our own Mother, validating our identity as sons and daughters of God. And for us to embrace our true identity, we are to follow Mary from Cana to the foot of the cross. Significantly, 2014 is CFC’s 33rd year, the same number of years of Jesus’ earthly life to fulfill His mission of salvation. It is the same number of years from the Annunciation, when Mary became the Mother of God, up to His death on the cross when Mary became the Mother of the Church. 33 years for Couples for Christ… Where is CFC? We are called to reflect in silence. We need to ponder on all the things that have transpired for the past 33 years in our beloved community. Luke 2:19, 51 “And Mary kept all these things in her heart… pondered them in her heart.” It is the 3rd year of our journey with Mary and this time, she is leading us to contemplate where the heart of CFC is at this point. In order for us to determine where CFC is we need to examine our spirituality with Christ as our example: • CFC as Christ the Beloved Son – 2014 is the Year of the Laity. God is calling all of us, His faithful, lay people, to reclaim our identity as His sons and daughters. “I am another Christ, the son of the Father.” Colossians1:15-16, with Mary as our Mother. • CFC as Christ the Loving Spouse – 33rd year as a community and our 3rd year journey with Mary. Christ as the Bridegroom, is the ultimate proof of self-giving love as reflected in the mystery of the crucifixion, while Mary’s fiat teaches us of spousal love between Christ and the Church. • CFC as Jesus the Son Sent by the Father – It is the era of New Evangelization. Put into the deep our relationship with God, with our spouse, and with our family. Furthermore, it is responding to the challenge of building the future of CFC. And so with much awe to our Lord and gratitude to our Mother, we embrace our theme for 2014 “BEHOLD and PONDER”. May it bring us to PONDER our identity, establish a deeper relationship with Christ, a fearlessness to go out into the deep, and to BEHOLD the wonder of God’s plan for CFC!
Several provinces in Luzon, and some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao experienced heavy rains the night of August 24, 2013. In Metro Manila, the logistics team had to stop three times during set up because of the heavy downpour. When Bishop Honesto Ongtioko of the Diocese of Cubao started the celebration of the Mass, he was literally competing with the sound of rain pouring over the Luneta crowd. Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, the sun was slowly shining. But before the Mass in Luneta was over, the rains had let up. And before 6:00 AM, everyone was just rearing to walk. Aside from Metro Manila, walkers gathered in 80 other points among the 65 Philippine provinces, with only one battle cry: “I will walk for a scholar, walk with me!” The same global walk was likewise held simultaneously in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and Singapore. The third year of the ANCOP Global Walk may have brought in more walkers, more partner institutions, and more who share in Couples for Christ’s advocacy to build the church of the poor. But more than the numbers, it is the miracle of bringing people from all walks of life and from anywhere in the world together, to share in the call to answer the cry of the poor.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.