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Vol. 18 No. 4
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is surrounded by participants of the Catholic Congress on Blindness held at the Paco Catholic School in Manila on February 8. The gathering discussed the situation of the blind people and the programs that should be undertaken to assist them.
By Jennifer Orillaza
NOTING the apparent threats of secularization in today’s world, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) stressed the vital role of Catholic educational institutions in leading younger generations toward the search for truth that roots from the Divine.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop and CBCP President Socrates Villegas said this can only be fulfilled through a “renewed encounter with Christ” and communal discernment among educational institutions
to reflect and act upon the pressing concerns faced by the church and society at present. “That specific vocation calls them as universities to be centers for the authentic search for the truth of God, of nature, and of the human being-in-humansociety and the communication of this truth to students and the world,” Villegas said in his speech delivered at the De La Salle University last Feb. 13. (See full text in page B1) “As Catholic, they are called to ‘the privileged task’ to ‘unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth, Jesus Christ,” he said. ‘God’s precious gift’ Noting Catholic higher ed-
ucational institutions in the country—47 universities, 241 colleges, 17 graduate faculties of theology, and 60 seminaries—as among “God’s precious gifts both to the Church and society in the Philippines,” Villegas urged them to lead the youth in searching for the truth of God, nature, and humanity. “The search for the truth of God involves the search for Him in our ever more secular world that increasingly ignores God and his Church, or for him in our Catholic culture that, despite its intense piety, is neither scandalized by the painful poverty in our midst nor willing to change the structures that support its yet pervasive corruption,” he said. “The search for the truth of nature involves understand ing the awesome power of typhoons and earthquakes, and, due to what human beings do in their industrial centers, facto-
ries, power plants and cars, the changes in natural climate cycles as we are experiencing these today; it involves understanding the intimate truths of how human life is transmitted, nurtured and sustained,” he said. “The search for the truth of humanity involves understanding the human individual in his or her complex relationships in society, and how human lifein-society is sustained, threatened, harmed, or destroyed,” he added. Villegas recognized the need for academic freedom to be practiced in educational institutions, but noted that it must be taught in the Divine context. “This awesome vocation for the Catholic university as it must now impact on New Evangelization cannot be taken lightly. It must precisely wrestle with diversity in a marketplace of
Vital / A6
SMOM members assist the sick as they receive the sacrament from the priest during the celebration of ‘World Day of the Sick’, Feb.11.
TRUE to its mission of “serving the sick and the poor”, the Order of Malta’s Philippine arm was again at the forefront of the “World Day of the Sick” celebration, which coincided with the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, held at the Espiritu Santo Parish in Santa Cruz, Manila on Feb. 11. The World Day of the Sick is an observance in the Catholic Church instituted on May 13, 1992 by Blessed Pope John Paul II who will be canonized in April, to encourage people to pray for the sick and those who care for them. Since February 11, 1993, it is celebrated yearly all over the Catholic world during the feast
of Our Lady of Lourdes as “a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering”. John Paul II chose the feast of Lourdes because many pilgrims and visitors to Lourdes (a place in France where the Marian apparition took place) have reportedly been healed through the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin. Incidentally, it was also during the Our Lady of Lourdes’ feast day in 2013 when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation. The Order, or the “Sover eign Military Order of Malta” (SMOM), with the Archdio Malta / A7
To proponents of RH law, funding makes a difference
AN official from the Department of Health in a recent interview revealed that the government agency can provide “family planning services” even without a reproductive health (RH) law. Dr. Ruben Siapno, M.D. assistant regional director of DOH for the National Capital Region (NCR) said that the department ‘will still provide family planning services’ even if the Supreme Court will declare the RH Law unconstitutional.
Funding / A7
CBCP not yet taking position on Charter change
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is not yet taking a position on the proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution. House Speaker Sonny Belmonte Jr. had declared Charter change as one of his priority measures for the 16th Congress. However, CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the conference might issue moral guidelines but it’s not for the CBCP to reject or endorse Charter change. “We are not political problem solvers… you should keep that in mind,” Villegas said. “We are not to make a position for or against it because ours is only to give guidelines so that whatever step we take is according to moral and ethical principles,” he said. The archbishop of LingayenDagupan said the Church’s only
Charter / A7
Young priest’s bible talk in Sta. Cruz parish a hit
‘Catechism over coffee’ launched to Aquino lacks political will for land attract yuppies to talk about faith reform – priest
THE huge backlog in land allocation and distribution show the Aquino administration’s lack of political will to implement land reform, the Church’s social action arm said Fr. Edu Gariguez of the National Secretariat for Social Action—Justice and Peace (Nassa) said the government has not done enough to cause genuine agrarian reform in the country. “The issue lies in the [lack of] political will and the resolve of the Aquino government to pursue this social reform agenda,” Gariguez said. Around 200 farmers from different provinc es picketed the Depart ment of Agrarian Reform on Feb. 4 to protest the agency’s “effectiveness” in implementing land reform and services. The farmers from Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Bondoc Peninsula, Ha cienda Dolores in PamLand / A7
The Mercy Café serves as a venue for young people to discuss spiritual matters that uplift the soul.
YOUNG professionals generally, may not be that psyched to talk about their faith, but maybe a little
coffee will help, a couple of Catholic professionals believe.
Cafe / A6
PARISHIONERS packed the conference hall of the Santa Cruz Church (official name: Our Lady of the Pillar Parish) evening of Feb. 6, as they listened to a young priest expounding on a variety of Biblical topics. Fr. Ritchie Gomez of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) said he could not believe that his lecture would become such a “blockbuster” among those present given that invitation to the event was “less than aggressive”. The lecture marked the Santa Cruz Parish’s participation in the Churchwide “Bible Week” celebration which aims to encourage the lay faithful to read the Sacred Scripture, and to take to heart its “very important message”.
Bible / A6
Illustration by Brothers Matias
Catholic schools vital in transforming society—Villegas
Order of Malta headlines blessing of sick in Manila
Pope urges Sri Lankans to reconcile, accepts invitation to visit
PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Feb. 14, 2014—Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia encouraged prayers for married couples and families on Valentine’s Day, also requesting prayers for the upcoming World Meeting of Families. Recognizing that “Saint Valentine is the patron of happy marriages, engaged couples and young people,” the archbishop asked in a Feb. 14 statement that the faithful pray “for married couples as well as all those preparing to enter into the sacred bonds of marriage.” “The married couple is the building block of the family – the cornerstone of society,” he observed. “Today is a special time to celebrate the authentic love that a husband and wife experience in the person of Jesus Christ and the greater fulfillment of that love in the creation of a family.” In addition, Archbishop Chaput requested prayers for all those working “to prepare for the World Meeting of Families that will be held here in Philadelphia next year.” “That event has the power
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
Vatican Briefing Archbishop asks prayers for marriage, World Meeting of Families
When civil strife, conflict and bloodshed have pitted people of different ethnic groups against one another, reconciliation is particularly difficult, but it’s still the only way to ensure a better future for all, Pope Francis told a large group of Sri Lankan pilgrims. “It is not easy, I know, to heal the wounds and cooperate with yesterday’s enemy to build tomorrow together, but it is the only path that gives hope for the future,” the pope said Feb. 8 during a meeting with an estimated 12,000 Sri Lankan pilgrims. Pope Francis joined the pilgrims in St. Peter’s Basilica after Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo celebrated Mass. The cardinal invited Pope Francis to visit Sri Lanka, to which the pope responded, “I welcome this invitation and believe the Lord will give me the grace to do so.” (CNS)
Mass, even with the pope, isn’t a tourist activity; it’s God’s time
An invitation to attend Pope Francis’ early morning Mass is a hot ticket in Rome, but the pope said the Mass—in his residence or anywhere else—isn’t an event, but a time for entering into the mystery of God. “Maybe someone would say, ‘Oh, I must get to Mass at Sanctae Marthae because the pope’s morning Mass is on the Rome tourist itinerary,’” he said, according to a report by Vatican Radio. Addressing those gathered for the Mass Feb. 10, he said, “All of you come here, all of us gather here to enter into a mystery, which is the liturgy. It is God’s time, it is God’s space, it is God’s cloud that envelops us all.” (CNS)
People power: Popular devotion is key factor in sainthood process
Archbishop Chaput at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
The sainthood process is long and technically complicated, and ultimately requires the approval of the pope, but the whole procedure is driven by Catholics in the pews and, especially, those on their knees. The Congregation for Saints’ Causes and the official promoters of causes—known as postulators—do the paperwork, but if there is no evidence of widespread devotion to a candidate, no visits to the person’s grave, no reports of favors and even miracles received through the potential saint’s intercession, the cause just sits there. Even for centuries. (CNS)
Pope says relativistic ideas of marriage lead to divorce
Meeting Jewish group, pope asks prayers for his Holy Land trip
Pope Francis asked leaders of the American Jewish Committee to pray for his May trip to Jerusalem, “so that this pilgrimage may bring forth the fruits of communion, hope and peace.” The modern relationship between Jews and Catholics, he said Feb. 13, has a “theological foundation” and is “not simply an expression of our desire for reciprocal respect and esteem.” Pope Francis noted that in 2015, the Catholic Church will mark the 50th anniversary of “Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on relations with other religions. The document, the pope said, is “the sure point of reference for relations with our ‘elder brothers.’” (CNS)
Be patient even in the midst of trials, Pope encourages
In his daily homily Pope Francis emphasized that God is not a “sorcerer” who does what we want, but rather has a plan that we should wait for with patience even when we face challenges.
“God does not behave like a sorcerer, God has his own way of proceeding. And God is patient,” the Pope said during Mass on Feb. 17, adding that “when we endure trials with faith they ripen our lives.”
Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse alongside the members of the council of eight cardinals, who are holding their third meeting on matters of Church governance and reform this week. (CNA)
Gossip is poisonous, insists Pope
In addition, some community leaders are organizing “Theater Take-overs” to show the movie on every screen in a multiplex. These private screenings will begin Feb. 27. The movie’s producers hope it will draw upon the success of “The Bible” miniseries, which drew around 11.7 million viewers for its finale at Easter 2013. “When we were filming the Jesus narrative, we knew that we had something extraordinary,” Downey said. “We over-shot everything in the hopes that we could put together a film, and that’s what we’ve done.” Downey and Burnett said Feb. 13 they hope that the movie means “the story and message of Jesus Christ will reach tens of millions of people nationwide.” The movie’s website is www.SonofGodMovie.com. (CNA)
Archbishop warns of genocide in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic, Feb. 14, 2014—A Central African bishop has reported signs of genocide in the growing conflict there, urging an effective security response and warning against the “evil” desire to kill and destroy. “If there is no one to hold back the hand of the devil here, he will achieve his goal. Many people will be hunted down and killed,” Archbishop Dieudonnè Nzapalainga of Bangui told Aid to the Church in Need Feb. 12. He said he had visited a town called Bodango, about 125 miles from the capital of Bangui, where all of the Muslims—who are among those targeted in the conflict – have disappeared. Members of the Anti-Balaka militia told him the Muslims had been driven out, but the archbishop was skeptical, fearing instead that they had all been killed. “That over 200 Muslims, along with all their children and old people could have walked 125 miles is impos sible,” the archbishop said. Violence broke out in the Central African Republic in December 2012. Seleka rebels, loosely organized groups that drew many Muslim fighters from other countries, ousted the president and installed their own leader in a March 2013 coup. After international pressure and resistance from AntiBalaka self-defense groups, that president stepped down in January 2014. Soon after, a national council elected as interim president Catherine Samba Panza, who has no ties to either group. The Anti-Balaka militias now claim to be taking revenge for Muslim atrocities committed last year, though President Samba Panza has pledged to hunt them down. Amnesty International has said militia attacks have caused a “Muslim exodus of historic proportions.” Tens of thou sands have fled into Cameroon and Chad and many more are internally displaced. Their flight could add to the food crisis, as many shops and wholesalers were run by Muslims, the BBC reports. Seleka rebels have also attacked the Christian population in the small town of Bohong, about 10 miles from the western town of Bouar. “When I arrived there, part of one area of the town has been completely burned down. I also saw that people had been burnt alive. I saw human bones and human heads,” the archbishop said. “I had only ever seen that sort of thing in films about Rwanda before, but never here with us. “I think that evil was there. Now the evil has touched us. It shows itself in the desire to kill, to destroy. This is the devil.” There are presently 1.25 million people in need of food assistance. While media sources have described the Anti-Balaka forces as a “Christian mili tia,” Archbishop Nzapalainga rejected this. He said that they are rather a “self-defense movement that has now left the politicians behind.” Other bishops have rejected depictions of the fighting as divided solely along religious lines, noting that not all AntiBalaka forces are Christians and not all Christians are AntiBalaka. They have said the same applies to the Seleka forces and Muslims. Amid the violence, there are also peacemakers. In the southwestern town of Boali, Father Xavier Fagba at St. Peter’s Parish Church has sheltered about 650 Muslims since midJanuary. “Now is the time for men of good will to stand up and prove the strength and quality of their faith,” the priest told the BBC. He said when he took in the Muslim refugees no one in the community understood him. “They attacked and threatened me.” The church walls have bullet holes from opponents of the Muslims’ presence in the church. The refugees fear they will be killed if they leave. Attacks on Muslims in Boali, including machete attacks, have killed several people including 22 children. Crowds have also torn down the town’s two mosques. Father Fagba said he believes that some of the refugees in his church were involved in attacks on Christian families, though he does not mention this when he talks to them. “When I talk to them it’s a call for them to change their lives and their behavior,” he said, adding that the Muslims should be considered “as our brothers.” Some townspeople are helping the refugees, but themselves come under attack from Anti-Balaka forces. Soldiers from Chad have escorted Muslims from Boali back to their country. The troops are sympathetic with the Seleka forces and some have reportedly opened fire on several Boali civilians. Archbishop Nzapalainga told Aid to the Church in Need that foreign missionaries are serving as a “protective bulwark” for the people and are staying of their own free will. If they leave, he said, the people will be “left standing in the streets.” “The devil scatters, God gathers. When the people gather around the Church, then God is there,” he said. He urged the Church to be “the heart that beats in the rhythm of love, without distinguishing as to religion or ethnic identity.” The archbishop stressed the biblical virtue of comforting others. He said this is put into practice when he stands beside his “enraged” brother. “I experience his suffering, his weeping,” he said. “My brother suffers with me, my sister suffers with me. This is the kind of sympathy that is shown by the other person. And I believe that God is there.” The archbishop said that the restoration of security is “the priority of priorities.” He said people are living in terror, fearing that their neighbors have weapons. There is danger of “anarchy, chaos, total disorder.” The U.N. has assigned about 7,000 peacekeeping troops to the country. However, the bishop said estab lishing peace is “impossible” with a force of only several thousand. (CNA)
Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus message emphasized the importance of avoiding all forms of slander in living a Christian life.
“It’s so rotten, gossip. At the beginning, it seems to be something enjoyable and fun, like a piece of candy. But at the end, it fills the heart with bitterness and also poisons us,” Pope Francis said Feb. 16.
“I tell you the truth,” he preached to the crowds filling St. Peter’s Square. “I am convinced that if each one of us would purposely avoid gossip, at the end, we would become a saint! It’s a beautiful path!”
“Do we want to become saints? Yes or no?” he queried as the crowds replied, “yes!”
“Yes? Do we want to live attached to gossip as a habit?” Pope Francis continued, “Yes or no? No? Ok, so we are in agreement! No gossip!” (CNA)
Belgium becomes first country to legalize child euthanasia
In a law passed in Belgium’s parliament on Feb. 13, the country has become the first to legalize the euthanasia of minors, drawing widespread opposition from its citizens, and from Church leaders.
“The law says adolescents cannot make important decisions on economic or emotional issues, but suddenly they’ve become able to decide that someone should make them die,” Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard stressed.
Archbishop Leonard oversees the diocese of Brussels, and is head of the Catholic Church in Belgium, and made his comment during a prayer vigil held last week opposing the legislation, BBC News reports.
Belgium’s parliament voted on Feb. 13 in favor of passing a bill which allows euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit by an 86 to 44 vote with 12 abstentions, and will officially become the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice once the bill is signed by Belgian King Phillipe.
Archbishop announces effort to help Tanzania AIDS victims
A new partnership between the Good Samaritan Foundation and Gilead Sciences will provide free HIV and AIDS testing in the diocese of Shinyanga, Tanzania as well as those who test positive. “‘The Test and Treat Project’ is indeed an important result of the work engaged in by the Good Samaritan Foundation and by our Pontifical Council,” Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski said in a Feb. 11 press release announcing the initiative. It fulfills “the mission of the Church…which Jesus himself gave as a mandate: Euntes docete et curate infirmos,” or “‘go, teach and heal the sick,’” he said, quoting the Gospel of Matthew. Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski is the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, which oversees the Samaritan Foundation, an organization dedicated to training nurses on proper healthcare. (CNA)
Pope Francis said contemporary ideas of marriage as an arrangement defined by personal needs promote a mentality of divorce, and he called for better preparation of engaged couples as well as ministry to Catholics whose marriages have failed. The pope’s remarks appeared in a message distributed Feb. 7 to Polish bishops making “ad limina” visits to Rome to report on the state of their dioceses. Pope Francis met with the group but, as he frequently does, dispensed with reading out his prepared text. In his message, the pope warned the bishops of some of the “new challenges” the church faces in their society, including the “idea of liberty without limits, tolerance hostile to or wary of the truth, or resentment of the church’s justified opposition to the prevailing relativism.” (CNS)
‘Son of God’ movie brings Gospels to life, Catholic leaders say
LOS ANGELES, Calif., Feb. 15, 2014—A new movie about Jesus Christ—to be released by the makers of the popular History Channel television miniseries “The Bible”—has drawn praise from several Catholic bishops and leaders. “It is the biggest, greatest story ever told,” said Roma Downey, a co-producer of “Son of God” who stars as Mary. “The Story of the Son of God is one of the most-known stories in the history of the world,” added her husband and co-producer Mark Burnett. “And yet it never gets old. And the way we have told it is very connective, very young, very gritty and real. You really feel connected and can see yourself as these characters.” The movie is based on the Bible and covers the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. A 20-minute preview of the video is already being distributed by 20th Century Fox. The full movie will be released Feb. 28 in English, Spanish and Korean. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado will play the role of Jesus. Morgado said the role is “overwhelming.” Burnett said that teenagers and young people who see the movie are “absolutely connecting with the disciples” and realizing “they were just ordinary people.” “They did not know they were in the Bible, they were just leading ordinary lives,” he said. The movie was made in consultation with academics and faith leaders. It has drawn praise from several Catholic leaders. “It is a joy to watch this film bring alive the pages of the Gospel and help us see what those who lived at the time of Jesus experienced,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. He said the movie helps individuals and families “be inspired all over again with the story of God’s love for us.” Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said the movie “gives us an opportunity to realize God’s presence in our own lives.” “Each one of us is a son or daughter of God. It is a wonderful, awesome reality.” Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said the movie “will speak to your heart and nourish your soul.” “This is a film that does not simply tell you about Christ, but puts you in the midst of his life, allowing you to see firsthand his public ministry, his love for humanity, and the death he suffered that we might have life eternal.” Cardinal Wuerl has commissioned movie discussion guides and videos for Catholic churches and schools in his diocese. Both Archbishop Gomez and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami are organizing showings of the movie.
to transform, in deeply positive ways, not just the Catholic Church but our entire community,” the archbishop said. The eighth World Meeting of Families will be held Sept. 22-27, 2015, and is expected to draw tens of thousands of participants from around the world. Begun in 1994 by Pope John Paul II, the gathering takes place every three years and seeks to support and strengthen families
throughout the world. The event was last hosted in Milan, Italy, in 2012. More than 1 million people gathered for Mass with the Holy Father, and 153 nations were represented. The Philadelphia meeting will mark the first time that the event will be held in the United States. Archbishop Chaput has previously stated that such events can be “moments of grace” for the entire area, able “to trans-
form, in deeply positive ways, not just the spirit of Catholic life in our region, but the whole public community.” “The more we encourage and support the integrity of families, the healthier society becomes,” he said, adding that families play a critical role in sharing the message of Christ with the world. Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter will serve as honorary co-chairs of the 2015 gathering. Governot Corbett—who is Catholic—noted at a press conference last year that Philadelphia is “the birthplace of religious freedom,” with “churches, synagogues, mosques and temples [that] are places of both personal faith and civic freedom.” “But it is our families that grow up in these institutions that are the foundation of that freedom,” he emphasized, noting that faithful families have “played a profound role in building not only Philadelphia but the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” (CNA)
Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
“Nostra Aetate,” which is the Council’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions. The document, he noted serves as “the sure point of reference for relations with our ‘elder brothers,’” observing that from it “our reflection on the spiritual patrimony which unites us and which is the foundation of our dialogue has developed with renewed vigor.” Emphasizing that this foundation is a “theological” one, the pontiff highlighted the importance of ensuring “that our dialogue be always profoundly marked by the awareness of our relationship with God.” “In addition to dialogue, it is also important to find ways in which Jews and Christians can cooperate in constructing a more just and fraternal world,” he continued, calling attention to the shared concern of Jews and Catholics in serving “the poor, the marginalized and those who suffer.” “Our commitment to this service is anchored in the protection of the poor, widows, orphans, and foreigners as shown in Sacred Scripture,” the pontiff observed. Concluding his address, the Pope stated that in order to keep their efforts from becoming “fruitless,” it is “important that we dedicate ourselves to transmitting to new generations the heritage of our mutual knowledge, esteem and friendship which has…grown over these years.” “It is my hope,” he stated, “that the study of relations with Judaism may continue to flourish in seminaries and in centers of formation for lay Catholics.” Pope Francis also expressed his hope “that a desire for an understanding of Christianity may grow among young Rabbis and the Jewish community.” Turning to his upcoming visit to the Holy Land, the Pope noted that “in a few months I will have the joy of visiting Jerusalem, where – as the Psalm says – we are all born (cf. Ps 87:5), and where all peoples will one day meet (cf. Is 25:6-10).”
Pope lauds fruitful dialogue between Jews, Catholics
VATICAN City, Feb. 13, 2014—In an encounter with the American Jewish Committee, Pope Francis highlighted the strong unity of Jews and Catholics, stating that their shared roots obligate them to work together in building a just society. “I am very grateful to you for the distinguished contribution you have made to dialogue and fraternity between Jews and Catholics, and I encourage you to continue on this path,” the Pope expressed during the Feb. 13 encounter. Speaking to members of the committee, which was established in 1906 in order to safeguard the welfare and security of Jews worldwide, the pontiff extended his greetings to the organization, giving special emphasis to their “good relations with the Holy See and with many representatives of the Catholic world.” He then drew attention to the fact that next year commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the Second Vatican Council document
Pope Francis addresses pilgrims during his General Audience on Sept. 25, 2013
Pope: Catholic educators must share Gospel with multicultural society
VATICAN City, Feb. 13, 2014— Pope Francis said Catholic educators should engage in dialogue with increasingly multicultural societies in order to share the Gospel more widely. The pope made his remarks Feb. 13, at a meeting with participants in a plenary session of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Vatican body that oversees church-affiliated schools and colleges around the world. Noting that “Catholic schools and universities are frequented by many non-Christian students and even nonbelievers,” the pope said such institutions should offer all of their students, “with full respect for everyone’s liberty and in ways appropriate to the educational context, the Christian proposal — that is, Jesus Christ as the meaning of life, the cosmos and history.” “Catholic education is one of the church’s most important challenges, committed to carrying out the new evangelization in a historical and cultural context in constant transformation,” he said, likening the modern world to Jesus’ mission field in the “Galilee of the gentiles: a crossroads of people of diverse races, cultures and religions.” In this context, Catholic educators must involve themselves in “discussion and dialogue, with a courageous and innovative fidelity that might lead to an encounter between Catholic identity and the diverse ‘souls’ of multicultural society.” Church-affiliated schools and colleges have a “responsibility to express a living presence of the Gospel in the fields of education, science and culture,” he said. Referring to the Areopagus in ancient Athens where St. Paul preached to the pagans, the pope said “Catholic academic institutions should not isolate themselves from the world, but should know how to enter courageously into the areopagi of today’s cultures and engage in dialogue, conscious of the gift
He then asked members of the committee to “accompany me with your prayers, so that this pilgrimage may
bring forth the fruits of communion, hope and peace. Shalom!” (CNA/EWTN News)
they have to offer everyone.” Pope Francis said Catholic teachers need spiritual grounding to communicate with young people in a fast-changing society. “The young need high-quality teaching as well as values, not merely enunciated but witnessed. This coherence is an indispensable factor in the education of young people,” he said. “For this reason, the educator himself needs permanent formation,” the pope said. “Investments must be made so that teachers and administrators might maintain both their professionalism and their faith and the strength of their spiritual motivations.” (CNS)
Pabillo urges respect for nature, slams proposed Manila Bay reclamation
MANILA, Feb. 6, 2014—In keeping with Vatican teaching, a high-ranking church official denounced as “immoral” the multi-billion peso projects that will reclaim land from the Manila Bay, of which developers boast will give jobs to thousands of Filipinos. But Manila Auxiliary Archbishop Broderick S. Pabillo, in an interview with CBCPNews, was not impressed. The said projects, he ex plained, will “benefit only the rich and powerful”. “The projects are immoral, and that is why we bishops are standing up to them,” Pabillo told CBCPNews in Pilipino. Pabillo, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, questioned the claim that these projects will improve the lot of the Filipino poor. “No. As usual, only the wealthy ones will stand to gain from the project. But what about our underprivileged countrymen?” he asked. Church leaders led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle had earlier expressed concern over the projects in a letter to President Aquino dated November 19, 2013. In it, the bishops cited similar reclamation deals in places like Navotas, Malabon, Cavite, Bulacan, and Pampanga where incidents of flooding have gone from bad to worse. They also lamented that the decision allowing these projects were “determined only by financial considerations”. Boosting tourism and preserving culture by restoring old historical sites rather than building on reclaimed land at the expense of people’s livelihood and the environment are a superior option, the bishops added. Pabillo warned of the projects’ potentially disastrous impact on the ecosystem saying it “will increase the chances of flashfloods and storm surges in nearby communities.” He also called on Filipinos to “respect the ecological balance”, so that “a tragedy like Yolanda would not happen again.” Various advocacy groups also fear that the reclamation projects would adversely affect local livelihood, notably fishing. Some 30,000 to 50,000 families, mostly in Navotas, Malabon, and the coastal villages of Cavite and Bataan, depend on the Manila Bay for their income. Salvador France of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) maintained that the bay must be free of reclamation projects “to stop the wholesale loss of people’s livelihood and prevent natural and man-made calamities in the future.” At issue here is the multibillion-peso worth of projects in key locations fronting the scenic Manila Bay. Shopping mall magnate Henry Sy’s P54.5-billion proposal involves the reclamation and development of nearly 300 hectares of the offshore and onshore bay areas within Pasay. Another firm, the William Tieng-owned Manila GoldCoast Development Corp. (MGDC) is set to reclaim 148 hectares in Manila proper which will be called the “Manila Solar City”. MGDC Vice Chairman Edmundo Lim said the Manila Solar City is envisioned as a “world-class commercial, residential and tourism center”. This project, Lim boasted, will provide jobs to over 600,000 Filipinos. The most extensive of these proposals, the P14-billion Alltech Coastal Bay Project which stretches from Parañaque up to Bacoor, Cavite, will reclaim close to 635 hectares of the Manila Bay coastline. It covers the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area, which is home to more than 195 species of birds, including endangered ones. (Raymond A. Sebastián)
Pope’s Lenten message highlights poverty of Christ
VATICAN City, Feb. 4, 2014—In his first message for the Lenten season, Pope Francis focuses on the poverty of Christ in becoming man, emphasizing that it is our duty to give the same humble witness in our care for the poor. Announced in a Feb. 4 press conference, the Pope’s Lenten message was read by Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” the council that presents the pontifical message each year. Taking his theme from Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, the Pope reflects on the apostle’s words “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” Reflecting on grace which Christ gives, the Pope emphasizes that the meaning of these words for Christians today shows “us how God works,” and that “God’s becoming man is a great mystery!” What Paul says in his letter “is no mere play on words or a catch phrase,” Pope Francis states, but “rather, it sums up God’s logic, the logic of love, the logic of the incarnation and the cross.” “God did not let our salvation drop down from heaven, like someone who gives alms from their abundance out of a sense of altruism and piety. Christ’s love is different!” he affirms. “Christ’s poverty is the greatest treasure of all,” the pontiff explains, noting that “Jesus’ wealth is that of his boundless confidence in God the Father, his constant trust, his desire always and only to do the Father’s will and give glory to him.” Recalling the words of author Leon Bloy when he says that the only real poverty is not to be a Saint, the Pope also emphasizes that “there is only one real kind of poverty: not living as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ.” Drawing attention to the witness we give as Christians, the Pope explains that although we often believe that we can “save the world with the right kind of human resources,” this is “not the case.” “In imitation of our Master, we Christians are called to confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it.” Reflecting on the difference between “pov erty” and “destitution,” the Pope observes that “There are three types of destitution: material, moral and spiritual.” “Material destitution is what is normally called poverty,” he notes, and it “affects those living in conditions opposed to human dignity: those who lack basic rights Christians to proclaim the liberating news that forgiveness for sins committed is possible.” “The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope,” the pontiff notes, expressing that “it is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news.” Encouraging the faithful to “imitate Christ who became poor and enriched us by his poverty,” Pope Francis explains that “Lent is a fitting time for self-denial,” and that “we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty.” “Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.” He then voices a prayer to the Holy Spirit, asking that he help us in our resolutions to have a greater concern and responsibility for humanity “so that we can become merciful and act with mercy.” “In expressing this hope, I likewise pray that each individual member of the faithful and ev ery Church community will undertake a fruit ful Lenten journey,” the Pope states, adding that “I ask all of you to pray for me. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you safe.” (CNA/ EWTN News)
Pope Francis blesses a rosary for a pilgrim in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience on Dec. 4, 2013
and needs such as food, water, hygiene, work and the opportunity to develop and grow culturally.” What the Church does as a response is “meeting these needs and binding these wounds which disfigure the face of humanity,” because “in the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face,” explains the pontiff. “Our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution.” “When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth,” he notes, and thus “our consciences…need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing.” Turning his focus to moral destitution, the Pope highlights that it “consists in slavery to vice and sin,” and that many families suffer
because “one of their members – often a young person - is in thrall to alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography!” Lamenting that many “no longer see meaning in life or prospects for the future” and have “lost hope” due to unemployment, unjust social conditions, or unequal access to education and healthcare, the pontiff stated that such cases of moral destitution “can be considered impending suicide.” “This type of destitution, which also causes financial ruin, is invariably linked to the spiritual destitution which we experience when we turn away from God and reject his love,” he says, because when we “be lieve we can make do on our own, we are headed for a fall.” An antidote for this spiritual destitution can be found in the Gospel, the Pope reflects, emphasizing that “wherever we go, we are called as
Faithful urged: Be available, listen like Mary
PASAY City, Feb. 5, 2014—In a world where preoccupation is the norm, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle reminds the faithful to follow Mary’s example of listening and being available to God. “How could the woman [Mary] become the dwelling place of the Incarnate Son of God? The Gospel describes it, describes the path of Mary. What is it? Listening to the Word of God and acting on it,” said Cardinal Tagle during a votive mass for the Blessed Virgin last January 29 at the San Isidro Labrador parish. The character of Mary According to him, this “character of Mary as a disciple” is precisely what modern believers should strive to emulate. “Mary listened with faith to the Word of God and listen ing to the Word of God, she offered herself. She was available to fulfill the will of God and in this availability the Word that she heard became flesh in her,” Cardinal Tagle added further. This listening and being open to God’s words, he explained, is not simply hearing sounds or sentences from the Bible, but being open to a person – Jesus himself. “The Word is not just a sound that would be heard; the word was the living person of Jesus. And when Mary said, ‘Let it be done to me according to your word’, that Word became flesh in her,” Cardinal Tagle told some 600 Marian devotees. According to him, this call to enflesh the Word of God in everyday life is not just meant for Mary, but for all believers. “[Focus] not just on recit ing [Bible verses], but more on whether my life reflects what the Word contains. Is the Word made flesh in me? That’s the path of Mary and that should be the path of all her children,” Cardinal Tagle said. The votive mass in honor of Our Lady was also celebrated to mark the inauguration of the office of the Marian Movement of Priests (MMP) in the compound of the San Isidro Labrador parish. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Cardinal stresses need for effective evangelization among Filipino Catholics
MANILA, Feb. 5, 2014—Considering the effects of secularization to modern-day Philippines, how effective are the evangelization efforts of the church to the Catholic faithful? The top churchman of the Manila Archdiocese stressed the need to reassess the efficiency of the church’s evangelization efforts, noting that the Philippines as a predominantly Catholic country might need a deeper catechetical approach to effectively reach out to the faithful. “We, as a Catholic community, have a problem to face. Filipino Catholics are very big in number, but how effective is our evangelization?” Tagle said in the vernacular during his talk for the Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly (MAGPAS) held at the Cardinal Sin Auditorium of the Paco Catholic School. “With the many individuals to whom we administer the sacrament of reconciliation, are they being catechized properly? With all those who are getting married, do they really live by the teachings of the good news?” he said. In 2013, the number of Filipino Catholics reached 76.18 million out of the country’s estimated population of 96.8 million, records from the Catholic Directory of the Philippines showed. The same records showed that the total number of priests in the country reached 9,040 for the year 2012 to 2013, notably too few to attend to the spiritual needs of approximately 76 million Filipino Catholics. Tagle noted that while priests in other countries rarely get the chance to administer the sacraments due to the dwindling number of Catholics in their area, Filipino priests could hardly accommodate all those needing pastoral guidance. “For the ordained, how do you minister in the archdiocese when you have teeming millions of people…with most of them are poor?” he asked. The prelate urged the faithful to come up with a formation program for the archdiocese that would address its specific needs to be holistically catechized. “It would be better if we are all together— priests, religious, and the lay people—this year of the laity so we may come up with a formation program for the archdiocese,” Tagle said. Tagle stressed the need for everyone to be united in the common goal of intensifying efforts to evangelize the good news. As for the Manila Archdiocese, the monthly MAGPAS will be made more “interactive” to achieve “communion in mission not only in the Manila Archdiocese but as well as in other archdioceses and dioceses in the world that are seeking ways on how to heed the call of new evangelization,” Tagle noted. “Whatever ministry we participate into, I hope that we will all be treading the same direction. Members of the parish council may change, but what is important is for us to have one vision,” he said. (Jennifer Orillaza)
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
THE letter of Pope Francis to the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum on the occasion of its annual meeting that was held in Davos-Klosters in Switzerland last January was very pastoral. He was, in a way, talking to all economies of the world that admittedly have been too remiss and too exclusive in running financial systems as maybe seen in the perennial monetary imbalance and the worsening poverty threshold in all continents. He appealed to the world’s economists to promote an inclusive approach “which takes into consideration the dignity of every human person and the common good.” Admittedly, human dignity and the common good had not been favorite considerations of world’s economists—and governments. Wall Street, for instance, had been in a rollercoaster of boom and bust without any slightest cue of the common good. That was precisely why the Occupy Wall Street protests that started at the Zuccutti Park in New York in 2011 snowballed against the greedy fundamentals of exclusive capitalism. In his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, issued in November 2013, Pope Francis denounced what he calls “the economy of exclusion” that is rooted on the “new idolatry of money” in a capitalist system that is tyrannical. He says: “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality.” This kind of economy, he says, breeds a financial system which rules rather that serves. He called on the economists gathered in Davos-Kosters to make a difference. And the difference lies precisely in being able to draw up an economic system that is inclusive—one that takes into consideration the poor, the weak and the common good in every political and economic decision. Or better still, a system that accounts “a transcendent vision of the person because “without the perspective of eternal life, human progress in this world is denied breathing-space.” Hereabouts, President Aquino reportedly rushed a meeting with his subalterns when the latest Social Weather Stations survey showed that the number of jobless Filipinos rose to 12.1 million during the last quarter of last year and that the incidence of involuntary hunger has spiked to 19.5 million—and this, in the face of a much publicized 7.2 percent economic growth measure by Gross Domestic Product of the same period. By all looks of it, the wide discrepancy between a high GDP and extreme hunger and joblessness is one that tells of the chasm of difference between an exclusive and inclusive economic fundamental. And this, without even mentioning the seeming apathy for the poor and the victims of Yolanda that until today, three months after, have not yet seen a workable rehabilitation plan.
Laity, renewal and discipleship
IN its document on the Church (Lumen Gentium) the Second Vatican Council devotes the entire fourth chapter to the laity; there one finds a description of the identity and role of the laity. “The term laity is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in holy orders and those in the state of religious life…. These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ…. They are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world” (LG 31). “What specifically characterizes the laity is their secular nature…. The laity, by their very vocation, seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life,
Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM
“Year of Faith” Reflections
Prayer, and Conversion. The “grace that radiates from the Eucharist” must accompany all evangelizing efforts, because as Vatican II noted, “the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed and at the same time the source from which all her power flows” (SC 10). Secondly, prayer is essential. Lay evangelizers need to be “led and driven by the Spirit…. It is through prayer that we are able to listen to the Holy Spirit and do his bidding…. We are called to rekindle the spirit and practice of prayer among us.” This renewal also demands conversion. “The journey to discipleship in Christ begins with conversion, a deep metanoia, a change of mind and heart. Conversion into discipleship leads to telling the story of Jesus … [so as to] evangelize credibly and effectively.” Indeed, a renewed faithful will lead to shared discipleship in the promotion of the Kingdom of God and the transformation of the contemporary world!
Laity: called to Christian presence
A SECOND aspect of Church life is that of being a Church of the world, a sacrament in the world, a sacramental presence of Christ in an ever-changing world. (Cf. Luman Gentium, 9; Gaudium et spes, 45). It is the Laity who are immediately and most numerously seen as the presence of the Church in the world. By their secularity, their insertion into the world, they are the people of the Incarnation, signs and instruments of the Incarnate Christ in the world. Empowered through baptism the lay faithful act as the heart of the Church in the heart of the world. They respond to God’s call to live prophetically as Christ lived, to witness as He did, to the luminous coming together of gospel life. To the world—they manifest and communicate Christ—Christ who loves, Christ who serves, Christ who saves. In the struggles and joys of their day to day living, in the realities and activities of the people, the laity provide the world with a variety of ways of living and sharing our faith. Through them and their situations, the Church finds and fulfills her mission in the world. Their insights and experiences, their social and political choices, if in accord with the Gospel, effectively shape our society and our world to the image of the Kingdom. How the lay faithful live with conflict, how they accept pain, and even find joy in the midst of their pain because they have the Lord to cling to for solace and liberation, intensify our hope in the redemptive power of God’s love. Where people suffer and celebrate, there Christ is embraced in his cross and resurrection. The lay faithful make alive and attractive the Christian presence that is needed to influence, inspire and direct the world according to God’s plan. And they are called—through their words and works, through their engagement in each and every work and business of the earth, in each and every circumstances of their existence—to permeate the world with the teachings of Christ and to animate the temporal order with His Spirit. “For the Gospel cannot become deeply rooted in the mentality, life and work of the people without the active presence of the lay people.” (Cf. Ad Gentes, 21). (PCP-II Acts of the Council Nos. 423-427) —Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
from which the very web of their existence is woven” (LG 31). In addition, the Second Vatican Council notes that “the Holy Church is ordered and governed with a wonderful diversity” (LG 32). “For just as in one body we have many members, yet all the members have not the same function, so we, the many, are one body in Christ, and belong to one another” (Rom. 12:4-5). The basis of our common equality and dignity (laity, religious, clergy) is the Sacrament of Baptism. The Council strongly asserts: “There is, therefore, in Christ and in the Church no inequality on the basis of race or nationality, social condition or sex, because ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female. For you are all “one” in Christ Jesus’ (Gal 3:28; cf. Col 3:11)” (LG 32). The role of the Laity proves fruitful, according to the letter Live Christ, Share Christ of the Philippine bishops, if it is rooted in three “overriding faith imperatives”: Eucharist,
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth
IT’S always interesting to listen to concerned Catholics animatedly discussing the Church’s (non-existent) media savvy. The spontaneity is amazing. We criticize, tease, and laugh at ourselves for being “kulelat”—the poorest and the weakest—when it comes to television evangelization, for one. “Look at the Iglesia ni Kristo,” one would blurt out, “they have like three channels, they’re all over! And their anchors are well-rehearsed performers who stick to the script and wear coat and tie—mukhang kagalanggalang!” Everybody cheered in agreement. A bishop would interject, “Once when I was abroad, my host, a devout Catholic, congratulated me for this ‘very slick and sosyal na worship program with a multinational choir’ that he had seen on tv. When I asked him what program it was, kay Quiboloy pala! He thought it was a Catholic production because to him it looked so polished so grand!” A laywoman would admit, “We are Catholics but we watch 700 Club at home; their stories are very inspiring.” Another would say, “Ah, kami, our television is always set on EWTN; they have solid stuff that make us better understand our religion. What we miss in the Sunday homilies we get there. And they have programs for every member of the family.” Someone would lament, “So many Christian communities and denominations have their own regular programs or channels, and they are very aggres-
‘Cool’ or ‘kulelat’?
sive, with impassioned speakers often putting the Catholic teachings down; how come we have none?” Another would quip, “Hey, we have TV Maria! But you’d be lucky to find it because it’s way out at the tail end of the channels, the last one in our set, after the foreign language programs nobody cares to watch!” I’ve attended a few such discussions, and in fairness, the discussants are sincere and enthusiastic about wanting to “do something about it”. We feel challenged and bullish, especially when we know we are counted upon by Church leaders to help. We are convinced that the splendor of our faith must not be kept hidden under the bed but must be revealed to give light to the world. We brainstorm and cook up ideas that establish the Church’s presence in media, and so we resolve to infect our parishes and families with our enthusiasm. “Let’s do this, we have so many talents in our parishes with time to spare, just waiting to help us! Our problem is treasures.” “Money shouldn’t be a problem. We can tap our rich parishioners, our well-placed contacts, pull strings to get moving. Sabihin mo lang, request ng bishop!” “I have a friend in the computer programming business who’s willing to create apps for free, basta sa Church, libre!” “The institution I work for has state-of-the-art recording facilities—in case you need to produce videos or radio spiels, just give us a call.”
And That’s The Truth / A7
Personalizing the truth
WE need to understand very well this matter which is crucial in life. Truth is never just a cold and impersonal piece of information or datum which we describe as the objective fact and reality. This, sadly, is a common phenomenon. Many of us think that just because we have some facts at hand, we can just blurt them out at our convenience and believe we already are being truthful. The drunkards can easily do that, and yet they may not be truthful. Neither is truth just a subjective appreciation of things, dependent solely on one’s opinions, preferences if not biases and other conditionings. And so we hear many of us making statements that are prefaced with, “To me, I think or I believe that...” Let’s remember that we have the tendency to make ourselves as the creator of truth, or at least the standard of what is supposed to be right and fair. We have to be guarded against this tendency, because this distorts reality at its roots. Though we may manage to say some elements of truth with this tendency, a lot
Fr. Roy Cimagala
as Creator of everything, he is the foundation of reality. Nothing would be real if it is unrelated to God. Thus, we would be taking an unsure and dangerous path if we fail to go to God first. As a saying goes, if we put God in the first place, then everything else would be in the right place. This only echoes what Christ himself said. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mt 6,33) And Christ himself, the Son of God who became man, has revealed to us how to be truthful. He explicitly said: “I am the way, the truth and the life...” And the truth he tells us is that we have to love God above all and everybody else as well. In fact, the new commandment he gave us is to love one another as he himself has loved us. And so, to be in the truth and to personalize the truth, we also have to understand that to relate ourselves and whatever we have to God also means to relate ourselves and everything else to others. We have to learn to
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 Areopagus Social Media for Asia, Inc. with editorial and business offices at 3rd Floor, HHC Building, Victoria cor. Basco Sts., Intramuros, Manila. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063) 404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940
more are still needed to qualify ourselves as genuinely truthful. This tendency is not what personalizing the truth means. To personalize the truth means that our understanding of truth should correspond to the basic reality that we are persons. And as persons, we are rational, we have intelligence and will which, we must admit, we have not because we created them ourselves, but rather because they are given to us by a creator who ultimately is God. To personalize the truth therefore means that for us to be in the truth, we need to relate ourselves and whatever pieces of data, information and facts, to God in the first place, and then to others. To personalize the truth involves the dynamics of a living relation with God and with others. Our intelligence and will are given to us to enable us to enter into such relationships. We are meant for loving. Our pursuit of the truth cannot but be done in the context of love, of self-giving, to God and to everybody else. We have to relate ourselves and whatever pieces of data, info, etc., to God first, because
Illustration by Brothers Matias
Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Raising the tide of Philippine politics (Part 3)
making a usual 9-hour trip last 19 hours! The LASER test was shared to these dioceses. About 15 recollections were given to candidates in different parts of the Philippines, like Gumaca, Novaliches, Cebu, CDO, etc. The “I Vote God” campaign was launched with Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal of Cebu. Last May 2013 elections, the campaign was renamed “I Vote Good” to cast a wider net. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of Manila launched it in Cebu. We had repeat local-church partners. More significantly, we helped germinate UBAS or Ugnayan ng Barangay at mga Simbahan—a coming together of barangay officials, priests, and policemen for grassroots good governance—and convene what came to be known as the Solidarity Movement Philippines or SMP. This lay-led movement attained a dream - shared discernment using the LASER test leading up to a consensus as to who among the senatorial candidates are worthy. But the resulting list was merely proposed, not imposed. Hence, this was not block voting but a conscience vote. The I Vote Good included a house-to-house campaign against vote buying in three sitios in Metro Cebu. A post-election assessment revealed that those who were 35 or older still sold their votes even if they said they would not do so. Several of those below 35 years of age, however, stood their ground and did not sell their votes despite social pressure. They came from the C, D, and E classes. In all these efforts the priest plays a crucial role—not to take the lead in faith-impelled social change by taking over the role of the laity—by being an intercessor, pastoral companion, and conscience formator. There is hope if only we come together to change ourselves and the Philippines one step at a time. *** We are in good company. Pope Francis recently declared that “a good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.” This is because “politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good”. By meddling in politics, we overcome our tendency to be self-referential and we become shepherds who have the “smell of the sheep”—insights dear to the Bishop of Rome. Raising the tide of Philippine politics is not an empty dream but an emerging reality. Is the glass half empty or half full? It is neither of these—it is rather a glass waiting to be filled to the brim!
Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Spaces of Hope
MY conviction comes from more than a decade of work in faithimpelled social transformation. The journey began with three separate and distinct advocacy groups that were consolidated in 2007. Three services need to be provided: articulating a spirituality of social change (“how is this advocacy connected to my Christian faith”?); developing technologies (“what can we do”?); and networking with likeminded and trustworthy groups (“with whom can we work”?). These services provide organized support for the conscience formation of public servants, voters, and the youth so that they can translate good intentions into good choices and actions for the good of their community. In 2007 we realized that the original sin of graft and corruption in our country is the way we conduct our elections. Vote buying and its variations lead to elected officials who are indebted to vested interest and voters who cannot demand genuine service from the people they vote into office since they have already received their “share”. But this is not the whole story. There is also a need for a mechanism to help people make up their minds regarding whom to vote. Finally, there is a need to help emerge good candidates and provide support for them in a non-partisan manner. This conclusion was consistently reached by many circles of discernment beginning with the National Consultation on Good Governance held in Cebu in 2004. *** In 2008, Benedict XVI taught something that revolutionized our approach to evangelizing politics. He said: “I confirm the necessity and urgency of evangelical formation and pastoral accompaniment to a new generation of Catholics working in politics.” This resulted in an organized and deliberate effort to provide pastoral accompaniment to public servants. Pastoral accompaniment rejects the lesser-evil mentality and seeks to journey with politicians towards integrity for the common good. To do this, the LASER test was developed— i.e. raise questions regarding lifestyle, accomplishments, supporters, election conduct, and reputation of politicians. Circles of discernment were formed so that the test was used in the context of shared discernment. Thus was born what is now known as CiDE or circles of discernment for empowerment. *** In the May 2010 elections, about 30 CiDE seminars were given to about 20 local churches. This included a trip to BontocLagawe that evaded disaster from three fresh landslides—
By the Roadside The laity and Christ’s priestly office
IN the Pinoy culture the priest is a privileged person. Although in urban settings the generally media-hyped anti-clericalism of supposedly more educated Filipinos is more flaunted than not, in rural areas the priest usually occupies a special place and receives a similarly special treatment in family or group gatherings. It seems to me that there are two sources that could explain this behavior. One, Pinoy Catholics have been brought up by their families (parents and grandparents mostly) to regard their priests with an attitude of reverence by reason of the priest’s perceived close association through ordination with Jesus Christ (if you were brought up by someone like my mother or grandmother the priest was another Christ). Two, the practice is simply a reflection of the Filipino’s deep religiosity which may or may not reflect an equally deep Christian spirituality (but this is frankly an altogether different matter). But I also notice that the special treatment we give to priests in our culture is also extended, to a greater or lesser degree, to whoever is with him. Most priests are amused, for example, when even their sacristans receive a similar treatment especially when they are mistaken for priests (admittedly some dress and look more priestly than the real ones). At least I know a priest (newly appointed to a parish) who was long ignored by his hosts in a barangay he was visiting because they were busy chatting with the elderly sacristan who they thought was the priest. The real tragicomedy, however, is when lay persons forget that they are actually sharers in the priesthood of Jesus Christ because of their baptism, not because of any ordained minister they are related to or associated with. In our faith culture this more exalted reality of sharing by all the baptized in the priestly office of Jesus is seldom appreciated even by the laity. But in truth, even the so-called official Church calls theirs (the laity’s) the ‘royal’ or the ‘kingly’ priesthood. The ordained priest has received the ministerial priesthood, so-called because, as taught by Vatican II and reinforced by PCP II, his priesthood is servant to the realization of the royal or common priesthood of all the baptized. Unlike a sacristan’s sharing in the special treatment of the priest, this sharing in Christ’s priestly office by the laity and all the baptized is a real and not an imagined experience. Jesus himself shares with us a most important mission and identity, his priestly identity. (In the presbyter through ordination that becomes ministerial priesthood; in all the baptized, it is the royal or common priesthood). The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church asserts that to “those whom he [Christ] joins to his life and mission he also gives a share in his priestly office, to offer spiritual worship for the glory of the Father and the salvation of man” (LG 34). Here I sometimes marvel at the difference between a male and female lay person. A male lay person typically focuses on functions in the Church that have to do with leadership or with ministries that stress camaraderie and doing things. A female lay person, on the other hand, typically focuses on prayer and spiritual activities. Isn’t this highlighted by their more numerous attendance in the liturgy, prayer meetings, novenas, parish retreats and recollections. It is not by itself indicative of our women lay persons having a higher spirituality than their male counterparts but it certainly tells us how much male lay persons need to catch up on the cultivation of Christ’s priesthood that they share. Still, let us not miss the teaching of the Church: there is no distinction between male or female; both are called to share in Christ’s priestly office. It goes without saying, then, that the laity’s sharing in the priestly office of Jesus Christ connects them most to the highest Power; hence, it should logically be their highest priority. But is this reflected in real life? Personally I experience qualms out of what seems to me more lay immersions in secularismrelativism than in spirituality (prayer and worship) and, at the same time, positive indications of our laity’s spiritual coming-of-age as they receive more solid formation from the Church. But even that cannot substitute for the role of the Holy Spirit himself in the laity’s exercise of their priestly identity. In fact, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church says: “Hence, the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them” (ibid.). I was struck one day by a blind girl named Fatima in a televised radio program I stumbled into. She had been made famous through her encounter with Fr. Jerry Orbos and is slowly becoming a well-loved persona because of her prayers for people who are complete strangers and who often report being positively helped by these same prayers and petitions she brings to God on their behalf. Fatima, I believe, illustrates somewhat what it is to exercise the laity’s sharing in Jesus Christ’s priestly office. In this instance, though, she is not unique; all lay faithful can certainly do what she does, no matter that not all have the gift of powerful intercession. Still, she will even be happier if there were more and more people who pray like her for others, both in the liturgy and outside of it, especially for their benighted country that seemingly scuttles from one calamity to another (both natural and man-made ones), thus making truer their sharing in Christ’s priesthood than is generally felt. Lumen Gentium further explains: “For all their works, prayers and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxations of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit—indeed even the hardships of life if patiently borne—all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (LG 34) Considering where we are, our lay faithful have more than enough reasons to take their sharing in the Christ’s priestly mission very seriously. Or the conditions where we are will keep getting serious.
CBCP’s challenges to the laity!
IN its Pastoral Exhortation issued on January 27, 2014 after their Plenary Assembly, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), through its President Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, D.D., Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, issued three (3) challenges to the Laity, an urgent action in 3 areas: The immediate responsibility for our Catholic families. The laity must lead the families back to Jesus. The parents must “introduce their children credibly to the compelling love of Jesus, and that children see their parents as exemplars of human goodness and responsibility impelled by the love of Jesus. No Christian family can flourish without prayer, worship, service to each other, services to others.” The responsibility for the life of the Church community. The laity must “get involved in the Church’s parishes, the Church’s organizations and the Church’s schools.” The laity must help bring the life of Jesus to those who need Jesus most. The immediate responsibility for a just social order, “which we in the Philippines have far from achieved. In carrying out this responsibility, the laity should not only be guided by the social doctrine of the Church, but spread it. Through a return to Jesus, we must beg to be converted from the idolatry of money and the obsession with private property and private gain. In God’s love for all, we must recover not only our sense of the common good, but our obligation to work for it and achieve it, even at the cost of personal convenience or personal treasure.” Pope Benedict XVI stated in Verbum Domini, “It is the primary task of the lay faithful, formed in the school of the Gospel, to be directly involved in political and social activity.
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
Republic (Church of Loreto, Hradcany Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Basilica of St. George, Church of Our Lady of Victorious where the image of the Infant Jesus of Prague or Sto. Nińo is enshrined). You may contact Laiko through Joseph or Kate at 527-5388 or telefax 527-3124 or mobile numbers 0919-863-4218 or email address firstname.lastname@example.org. *** Happy Fiesta to the parishioners of San Roque Cathedral in Caloocan City. They celebrated the feast of their patron saint San Roque and second patron saint Virgen dela Nieva or Lady of Snows. They also celebrated the foundation day of Caloocan City. The legend states that the name Our Lady of Snows came about several centuries ago. The Feast is celebrated on August 5 to commemorate the dedication of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. During the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to Our Lady. They prayed to her that she might make known to them in what manner they were to dispose of their property in her honor. On 5 August, during the night, snow fell on the summit of the Esquiline Hill at the peak of summer in Rome. In obedience to a vision which they had the same night, they built a basilica in honor of Our Lady, on the spot which was covered with snow. *** Happy Birthday to my niece Ria Edeliza “Resi” Imperial, a freshman medical student in the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. Also to Fr. Romy Tuazon and Fr. Armand Carignan, OMI both of the Diocese of Kalookan.
Hence they need suitable formation in the principles of the Church’s social teaching.” *** The Year of the Laity’s (YOL) theme “Filipino Catholic Laity: Called to be Saints… Sent Forth as Heroes” calls on the laity to “choose to be brave”. For information about the YOL and schedule of activities, please visit the website www.choosetobebrave.org. You may post your views and sentiments about the faith, an avenue for dialogue, queries and surveys. One may also learn formation about the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. The website has links to Facebook and Twitter. *** The Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Council of the Laity of the Philippines) or Laiko is inviting everyone to join the Pilgrimage to the Canonization of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII in the Year of the Laity. The canonization will take place on April 27, 2014 (Divine Mercy Sunday) at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican. The pilgrimage covers the moving pilgrimage sites, historical monuments and scenic vistas of Eastern Europe from April 24 to May 08, 2014. The pilgrimage chaplain is Rev. Fr. Rico Ayo of the Diocese of Parañaque. The pilgrimage includes visit of the 4 major churches and historical sites of Rome, Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, Assisi (St. Francis and St. Claire, Sta. Maria Degli Angeli Church), Pisa, Padua (St. Anthony), Vienna, Austria (Schonbrunn Palace, St. Stephen Cathedral), Krakow, Poland (Wielicska Salt Mine UNESCO World Heritage Site, Krakow Cathedral, St. Mary’s Church, Divine Mercy, Convent Chapel of St. Faustina, House of Blessed John Paul II, Black Madonna of Czestochowa), Prague, Czech
Waiting for Superman
“IT’S a bird… It’s a plane… It’s Hollywood!” With the increasing number of superhero films coming out every year, one is led to think that Hollywood is already running out of creative ideas for their movies. Of course this isn’t true. For commercial reasons, Hollywood will always have stories to stretch and weave into film. Moreover, man is a creature –with his Godgiven intellectual powers– who will never run out of stories because his soul constantly opens him to seek the ever-enriching realities of truth, love and beauty. Still, why so many superhero movies when this genre of film offers a very predictive plot with little, if at all, any redeeming value? Answer: because they’re big and fast earning productions fueled by a huge market of a comic fan generation excited to see how faithfully their favorite 2D heroes come alive in the silver screen or in 3D. Among these are some who have a ‘knack’ of not distinguishing between the movie they have watched and reality. Fortunately, there are very few Walter Mittys who get lost within the movie of their imagination and manage to be slapped back into reality on time. Unfortunately, however, there are still more individuals who are unaware or reject the truth that God has gifted them with the grace of becoming more than the fickle and fragile imaginary comic superheroes. This grace is the capacity to become a saint. A saint can be considered the anti-thesis of a superhero. He doesn’t go around wielding special weapons, radiating colorful aural powers and much less constantly battling enemies of varying forms, dimensions and malice. Disappointingly, a saint can be someone common, simple, sickly, weak and even boring. What is important here is not so much how they are, what they know or what they have achieved. What is essential is what they can be and have become when they allowed God to take possession of their destiny. In an Angelus discourse, Pope Francis observes: “the saints are not supermen, nor were they born perfect. They are like us, like each one of us. They are people who, before reaching the glory of heaven, lived normal lives with joys and sorrows, struggles and hopes. (November 1, 2013)”
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
Their power rested not so much in what they humanly possessed or accomplished. Rather, as the Pope adds: “When they recognized God’s love, they followed it with all their heart without reserve or hypocrisy. They spent their lives serving others; they endured suffering and adversity without hatred and responded to evil with good, spreading joy and peace. This is the life of a saint. Saints are people who for love of God did not put conditions on him in their life. (Ibid.)” When man aspires to become a ‘superhero’ he is quite aware that it is only imaginary. It was all in his mind, a happy and funny thought, a psycho-emotional comfort pill that wears off as soon as life’s challenges face him again. But this not so for one who aspires to become a saint. Being a saint is something real! It is part of God’s original plan for every man and woman. Our Lord Himself invited His disciples, as well as us, to be ‘perfect as His heavenly Father is perfect.’ St. Paul in his letters constantly reminded the first Christians about the divine truth that God had deigned, since eternity, to call everyone to holiness. What is needed is our faith and confidence in our Lord’s words that ‘nothing is impossible with God’. Thus, it is more impossible to become a superhero than to become a saint. And if there are few saints around, it is because many Christians have very little faith that would allow God to turn them into his masterpieces of His love, sacrifice, patience, and sometimes miracles. St. Josemaría taught, “This is the secret of the holiness (…) God has called on all of us to imitate him. He has called you and me so that, living as we do in the midst of the world –and continuing to be ordinary everyday people!– we may put Christ at the top of all honest human activities. (Friends of God, no. 58)” So instead of waiting for Superman to ‘solve the world and our personal problems’ let us put St. Paul’s word into action: ‘to gird our loins in truth, cloth ourselves with the breastplate of righteousness…take the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit’ as we march with other saints into the daily battles against evil, in forging our spiritual life, in sowing God’s word and peace in the hearts and noble ideals of men.
Candidly Speaking / A4
share ourselves and all we have with others. We cannot and should not keep ourselves and what we have to ourselves alone. Keeping to ourselves would be a dangerous situation, made even more so by the fact that such situation actually poses as an attractive sweet poison, a treacherous silent killer of truth, love and everything else that flows from them. The ideal situation would be that our abiding consciousness is filled with thoughts and desires for God and for others. We have to develop this kind of consciousness in a very deliberate and even aggressive way.
That’s because, with our weakened and wounded condition due to sin and its effects, we tend to think only of ourselves, of what is immediately convenient and advantageous to us in the material, worldly and temporal sense. The spiritual and supernatural aspects of life are hardly given any consideration. Or, many times our consciousness is simply empty or, at best, largely passive and reactive, waiting for some outside stimulus. We should always make the effort to consciously relate ourselves to God and to others. This is when we can say we are personalizing the truth.
AUXILIARY bishop Broderick S. Pabillo of the Manila Archdiocese said he is deeply troubled by the organized smuggling of rice happening “right under our noses”. In a phone interview, Pabillo told the CBCP News he resented that an activity of that magnitude could still be possible in a country with widespread incidents of hunger and poverty, especially in the rural areas. The prelate, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, rebuked the individuals behind rice smuggling whom he called “beyond indecent”. The case involves among other alleged perpetrators, Filipino-Chinese businessman Davidson Bangayan whom Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte earlier accused of lording it over the multibillion-peso rice smuggling industry in the Philippines. Before the Senate agricultural commit-
tee headed by Senator Cynthia A. Villar on February 3, Duterte pointed a finger at Bangayan, confirming allegations that he is the same person as the rice smuggler masquerading as “David Tan”. He described Tan as allegedly the Number One Guy in rice smuggling in the Philippines whose influential network beyond his own base in Davao extends to the ports in Manila, Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, and Cebu. Davao City is one of the entry points for the illegal imports of rice, which is the staple food of Filipinos, Customs chief John Philip Sevilla stated. The controversial mayor drew flak after he threatened to gun down Bangayan should he catch the latter redhanded smuggling rice into Davao, his turf, where he allegedly tolerates extra-judicial killings. No less than Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, citing intelligence reports from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), said the Davao-based Bangayan is allegedly a “one-man cartel connected with officials at the Bureau of Customs and other government agencies”. Pabillo feared that billions of pesos in government revenues are lost because of smuggling. This money, the bishop added, could have gone into the “funding of important public projects like school buildings, roads, and others that would really benefit our people, most of all the less fortunate”. “Billions of pesos come to naught annually, because of what these unscrupulous smugglers are doing,” the prelate explained in the vernacular. Pabillo also asserted that these rice smugglers compete unfairly with our small-time rice farmers. “They are depriving our farmers of their livelihood,” Pabillo lamented. (Raymond A. Sebastián)
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
Bishop sad over nationwide rice smuggling
Bishop Broderick Pabillo
Bible / A1
‘God wants to live in your heart’ —Tagle
GOD’S preferred residence is your heart, says Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. “[God] wants to dwell among us. He wants to dwell in human beings — in our minds, our hearts, our persons, in our families,” said Cardinal Tagle during a holy mass to celebrate the inauguration of the Marian Movement of Priests (MMP) office at the San Isidro Labrador parish last January 29. God joins the human family This is also the reason, he explained, why communities and individual Christians are called the “living temple of God”. “God wants to reside in us and among us,” Cardinal Tagle said, illustrating how this desire of God was physically expressed in God’s finding a home in the womb of Mary. Pointing to the family line of David, he explained how God became part of the human family with the birth of Jesus. According to Cardinal Tagle, King David mirrored, although in an imperfect way, this same desire of God when he set out to build a house for the Arc of the Covenant or the Holy of Holies. Eventually, God would fulfill this ambition of David, Cardinal Tagle ex plained, by making the human heart His home when Jesus was born. “God prefers to make us His dwelling place,” Cardinal Tagle added, explaining why King David never got to build God a dwelling place. Families living in love This closeness and inti macy, he explained, is something God wants families to mirror as well. “Some families are easily destroyed because they don’t live together. God doesn’t want that,” Cardinal Tagle said. He explained how impor-
Marian devotees greet Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as he arrives to celebrate the votive mass to mark the inauguration of the office of the Marian Movement of Priests.
tant it is that families live in each other’s “hearts and presence” and how the size and beauty of a physical house is secondary. “Isn’t it true that even if a house is beautiful it will still be empty if we don’t live in love and we don’t live in each other’s hearts or presence?”
Cardinal Chito, as he is fondly called, asked the nearly 600 Marian devotees present. Cardinal Tagle also blessed the newly-opened MMP office, situated inside the compound of the San Isidro Labrador parish, right after the holy mass. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Church pushes restorative justice, not retributive
IF Jesus Christ were being tried today for supposed wrongdoing, he would almost certainly be acquitted. But he has already been executed. Whether it is this case or some other, the Catholic Church opposes capital punishment because human beings are fallible as well as the country’s criminal justice system. In a statement, the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) said that the death penalty would only increase the risk of executing innocent people. “Some two thousand years ago, a man was sentenced to death and crucified on the cross,” part of the statement reads. The church agency expressed sadness that some people and organizations “have not learned their lesson” until now. “They still impose the ultimate punishment on those whom they deem have violated their laws, despite the fact that some of those that they have sent to death are innocent, like Christ, the man who died on the Cross,” it said. The church agency reiterated that aside from studies that the death penalty does not deter violent crimes, it is also “unchristian and inhuman, to say the least”. Some legislators earlier called for the revival of the death penalty, eight years after it was abolished by the then Arroyo administration. The ECPPC particularly strongly opposed the bill filed by Senator Vicente
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Sotto III, a strong ally of the Church in its campaign against a population control law, to re-impose death penalty. “The CBCP-ECPPC considers this effort to be an unenlightened, counterproductive, and counter-progressive move,” it added. “The stance against the death penalty is in no way a posture to let criminal offenders go scot-free. The Catholic Church believes in Justice and it is ranked high in its hierarchy of values,” the ECCPC also said. According to Sotto, the series of heinous crimes like rape and murder is already alarming, thus making the revival of death penalty necessary. Aside from Sotto, there are also several groups that are advocating the return of the capital punishment saying it is a perfect deterrent to criminals. ECPPC executive secretary Rodolfo Diamante, however, said that the death penalty couldn’t be an effective crime deterrent as long as issues in the criminal justice system are not resolved. ‘Project Innocence’ Diamante cited around 400 inmates that are “wrongfully convicted” based on their own studies conducted with students from different universities to prisoners convicted of murder and rape. “While it may not be said as already being factual, but we have reasons to believe that these persons were wrong-
fully convicted,” he said. Diamante said that because of this, the “Project Innocence”, of which the ECPPC is a member, was launched recently to help review cases of some convicted prisoners. He stressed that if wrongfully convicted individuals are meted with death penalties, there will be no more chances of correcting the mistake once they are already executed. Restorative justice The Church stressed that any deprivation of the right to life would not gain justice for anyone and rendering the death penalty to obtain justice does the opposite as recent history has proven. The ECPPC instead reiterated an earlier call for the justice system to transcend from the punitive to restorative justice. In restorative justice, according to him, the offenders are given opportunity to repair the damage they have done through various creative ways. “Rather than take away precious human life, the Church wants to explore alternatives to mete out justice,” the ECPPC added. “For one, it seriously considers—and vigorously advocates—a shift in the paradigm of justice: from litigation to mediation; prosecution to healing; punishment to reform and rehabilitation; from retributive to restorative,” it also said. (Roy Lagarde)
It was also in response to the pastoral exhortation of Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, CBCP president, for the “Year of the Laity” issued last Dec. 1, 2013, in which he called on Filipino Catholics to “make your faith bear on your day-to-day decisions and activities. It is only an integral faith, a faith that believes, a faith that worships, and a faith that works in love (Gal. 5: 6), that will serve as God’s way ‘to make all things new’ in our beloved country.” Churchgoers shared that although a tarpaulin poster advertising Gomez’s lecture hung on a fence fronting the Parish Office, it was not conspicuous enough to catch the attention of passers-by. Because of this, the priest admitted he was initially afraid his talk would have to end before it even started. But he was wrong. A last-minute invitation after the evening Mass was met with a reassuring response from the parishioners. “It overwhelms me to see you all here gathering to listen to the Word of God,” Gomez told his audience in Filipino. “I am amazed that more and more people are taking an interest in the Bible,” he said. As in every Holy Mass, he opened the two-hour discussion with a verse from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians XIII.13 in which the Apostle said: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. No greeting is more beautiful, Gomez believes, because it makes the audience one in the presence of the Divine. In his lecture themed Magandang Balita, Gabay sa Buhay-Layko, Gomez
Cafe / A1
explained in a language that is easy to understand why Christians should make reading the Scriptures a habit. “Unlike other books, the Bible as God’s Word—Dei Verbum—speaks to all ages and to all nations… It never loses its significance… It is just a matter of spending a few minutes a day to leaf through its pages,” he said. In a PowerPoint presentation, Gomez traced the origins of the Holy Writ in Israel, and discussed how it became the revered book it is today. “To appreciate the Bible, it is necessary to go back to its roots, to the cultural milieu that gave it birth, the Judeo-Christian tradition, and how it relates to our contemporary human experience,” Gomez shared. The priest detailed the chronology of the Bible, beginning with the Jewish Patriarchs and Prophets, down to the age of the Apostles. He stressed, “As Catholic Christians, we must view the Old Testament not only as God’s exclusive covenant to the Hebrew nation, but also as the paving of the way for the coming of His begotten Son, the Messiah.” The priest reminded, “We should regard the New Testament as God’s promise to all nations fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ, Our Savior, who humbled and died for us in atonement of our transgressions.” Gomez ended his talk with an applause from a grateful crowd who now see the Bible with fresh eyes. “I am more than eager now to read the Bible,” a female member of the audience shared. (Raymond A. Sebastián)
Launching the Mercy Café last February 8 at the Grills and Sizzles Restaurant, Jhonsen Sales and Sky Ortigas, came up with the idea of a venue where ‘coffee for the soul’ would be served after doing a 33-day consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary late last year. Catechism and coffee “If you go to [the Mercy Café], people are there to talk about spiritual things and there’s no place like that, only the Church. And [since many] find it hard to appreciate the Church, that’s the main vision of Mercy Café, to have a certain place where we can nurture the knowledge of our faith,” Sales, founder of Mercy Café explained, adding how the project is designed to cater to singles who need a break from work, but who are not part of covenanted communities or youth groups. According to Sales, an electronics design engineer, he was initially attracted to the idea of offering creative catechism to people who may feel a bit distant towards the Church. “I was attracted to coffee for the soul
because [I thought], ‘Is there really such a thing?’ That’s the curiosity. The good thing is, when you visit the Mercy Café, we’re [catering] to the spiritual need of the soul. That’s what we will offer at the café,” he added. Intimate conversations The first Mercy Café talk, given by Fr. Ransom Rapirap, OCD, titled “Stay in Love, Fall in Love and It will Decide Everything” focused on the beauty and experience of romantic love, as well as the truth of Jesus’ sacrificial love for all. In an interview, Ortigas co-founder of Mercy Café, said upcoming Mercy Café talks will include discussions about the Blessed Virgin, the saints, the Eucharist, presented in a “creative manner”. “It’s more of intimate conversations over coffee, while imparting teachings about the faith,” Ortigas added. The next Mercy Café talk will be on March 8, at 3 to 5p.m., also at Grills & Sizzles Restaurant, Examiner Street, Quezon City. Entrance tickets for P150.00 each will include snacks and coffee. (Nirva’ana Delacruz)
ideas, yet find consolation and integration in Jesus, the Truth,” he said. Renewed encounter Villegas urged academic professionals in these educational institutions to initiate a renewed encounter with Christ as they mentor and hone the skills of the younger generation. He also noted the need for communal discernment among groups and associations of Catholic educational institutions such as the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) or the Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines (ACUP). “The university community must discern in discussion, reflection and prayer what God’s will for it is at this time, weighing its mission and vision, strengths and weaknesses, resources and needs, and the pressing concerns of Church and society to which it needs to respond today,” he said. “It must do this specifically in pursuit of its mission in faith, as its responsible use of academic freedom requires, beyond the minimum requirements of gov-
ernment and the stewardship of resources entrusted to it for mission,” he added. Search for hope, common good Villegas noted the disparity present in the lifestyle of the rich and the poor, stressing that it is important for Catholic educational institutions to reflect upon what constitutes a meaningful life not just in the Philippines but in the world as a whole. “In the Philippines, close to two thirds of our people live below the poverty line, millions are victims of exclusion and injustice, yet students in our top Catholic universities are simply ‘bored’,” Villegas said. It is not enough for them to consider only the ideal concepts of faith, but also the actualities of materialism, hedonism, and consumerism in the local and global context, he noted. “They must ask seriously whether in the way they teach, form and motivate students to a job, a profession or to ‘the good life’ they contribute to their students’ yawning superficiality, or challenge them to lives of
genuine meaning in faith-driven service of the common good,” he said, The prelate also emphasized the role of Catholic educational institutions in acting upon issues “pertinent to the common good and its pursuit in solidarity.” He stressed that Catholic universities must not simply focus on the creation of jobs, but also on the pursuance of the good for the welfare of the majority. “Power concentrated in the hands of a few that seeks its self-preservation and expan sion rather than the good of all, harms the common good,” Villegas said. “On the other hand, such as the cooperation between the public and private sectors to improve the delivery of basic education in society, or the cooperation between nongovernment organizations (NGOs), media, business and government to breathe new life into a dead river, advance the common good,” he added. Search for human culture, peace Villegas said that Catholic educational institutions are also
tasked to create a “new economic and political order” that go against the culture of corruption that has become endemic as far the country’s landscape is concerned. “Catholic universities must help elucidate what this new economic and political order for the Philippines entails. It must educate, form and support the experts and politicians who shall work towards its realization,” he said. “It must shed light on the effects of an increasingly migrant population on personal ambitions, families, the Church and society in the Philippines,” he added. Drawing context from the recently signed peace pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Villegas stressed the role of educational institutions in making peace processes materialize through harmonious dialogue. “The Catholic university in the Philippines may play a special role as privileged convenor of diverse peoples with competing and often conflicting interests in
face-to-face dialogue for peace. It must use its institutional prestige to gather government, NGOs, the private sector and religious leaders to work with groups caught in conflict and violence for peace,” he said. “A key function of the Catholic university would be to help explain and evaluate the peace processes, including the various documents that these processes have produced, knowing that the documents alone will not bring about peace,” he said. “High-level peace agreements will remain paper-thin unless on the levels of our barangays (villages), our parishes and our basic ecclesial communities the deep-seated prejudice and the hatred stop and the reconciliation begins,” he added. Defending the environment Another equally important point raised by Villegas was the task of Catholic educational institutions to defend the environment against abusive use by humans. “In this concern, the Catholic university has a grave mission. It must educate and form leaders
with an abiding specific concern for the environment, where it has sadly failed in the past,” he said. “Care for the environment is not an option. It is an imperative.” “The national patrimony in forests, minerals, water and air belong to all. It belongs to goods created with a “universal destination” for all on whose exploitation there is a strict social mortgage,” he added. Going forth To succeed in its mission, educational institutions are encouraged to “return to the heart of the church” and effectively engage in searching for the common good, more human culture, peace, and sustainable environment. “It must do so with humility, but without fear, with wisdom but without arrogance. It must go forth beyond the peaceful halls of academe into the insecure world of Philippine poverty and violence,” he said. “Beyond words and concepts, it must find truth, insist on truth, obey truth, and live truth. It must make a difference in the transformation of our society,” he added.
Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Church, NGOs want mining firms rehabilitate, decontaminate site
SORSOGON City—Church people and civic organizations in Sorsogon and Albay are outlining a joint effort to require the foreign mining firms, who excavat ed a vast and deep open pit in Rapu-Rapu for pollymetallic mining, rehabilitate and decontaminate the area before This 2005 photo shows mine tailings from the dam of Lafayette Mines, l e a v i n g t h e Rapu-Rapu, Albay. country, SorBacon, two of the coastal towns of sogon Diocese Media Relation Officer Rev. Fr. Bong Sorsogon, the island is only an hour and half drive on a motorized boat. Imperial said. In 2005, the Australian Lafayette This alliance of church people and concerned individuals from the two Mining, the company that formerly provinces is constructing a definite excavated the area, spilled cyanide to approach to ensure LG International the sea during heavy rains, causing Corp., Korea Resources Corp. and Ma- massive fish-kills in the area and a laysian Smelting Corp. will indemnify number of coastal towns in Sorsogon, host communities and environment including Barcelona, Gubat, Prieto for the destructive effects of mining Diaz and Bacon. For several months, these coastal sustained. Rapu-Rapu needs competent actions towns were gripped by fish scare, seto avoid the fate of Marinduque where riously affecting communities whose one of the most devastating mining livelihood depends largely on the sea. Lafayette denied its operations disasters in the country took place on March 4, 1996, Fr. Imperial said. caused the fish-kills. The Mines GeoReparations for the destructions to sciences Bureau (MGB) backed the environment, livelihood and commu- mining firm. A fact-finding body—with Sornities in this province caused by the poor safeguards of Marcopper Mining sogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes as head—was commissioned by former Corp. have not yet been made. A fracture in the Marcopper’s President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo drainage tunnel leaked large vol - to investigate the issue. The body umes of waste water laden with toxic reported displacement of residents substances into Makulapnit-Boac from host communities, that mining River, causing flashflood in commu- operations entail health hazards, and nities along the river. Potable water recommended national awareness on were contaminated, water and land mining. The local church does not oppose animals perished, and irrigation channels and crops were destroyed. mining per se, Fr. Imperial said. What Twenty communities were evacu - makes it rise from its feet is the form ated, including one that submerged of mining, particularly destructive under six feet of murky and thick operations by foreign firms, who can water, from where 400 families were easily run away from its accountabilities to environment and host displaced. A lawyer tried to file a case abroad communities after they are done with against Marcopper but was reproached their business. The decommissioning of mining by a Canadian court, Fr. Imperial said. When they attempted to sue the min- firms in March does not mean mining ing company in the Philippines, a local in Rapu-Rapu will finally end. A new court said a charge could not be filed mining exploration was reportedly here because the respondents were gaining grounds in the central part of the town. already out of the country. The mining site shall be closed, inThe same travesty of justice can hapstead of allowing other firms to take pen to Rapu-Rapu, he said. Rapu-Rapu is an island municipal- control and operate, the concerned ity of Albay. From Prieto Diaz and groups said. (Oliver Samson)
Funding / A1
Local church to counter move to privatize electric coop
SORSOGON City—The church here will oppose attempt to put Sorsogon Electric Cooperative II (Soreco II) in the hands of a private power firm in case one will try to deprive member-consumers of their ownership and control, Sorsogon Diocese Media Relation Officer Rev. Fr. Bong Imperial said in a recent interview. People shall not be deprived of ownership and control of a property by which they illuminate their homes and propel their local industries, he said. To squander such property is to make the people poorer. Allowing the cooperative to go into the full control of a private power company is not only a big loss on the part of the people, said Fr. Imperial. It will also cause loss of jobs for people presently employed by the cooperative. If Soreco II’s current management will fail to turn around the situation, the cooperative will likely follow the course taken by Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco), he said. Aleco was taken over by San Miguel Energy Corp. (SMEC), a private power company, last year for its continuous failure to assume its financial liabilities. In the case of Aleco, the power firm will not assume the cooperative’s accountabilities, Fr. Imperial said. The consumers will do. And the company will not absorb the cooperative’s employees. SMEC is eyeing to control the entire power distribution in Bicol Region, under Aquino’s Private Partnership Program (PPP) power policy, by taking over ailing electric cooperatives, he said. If Soreco II will fall into private hands, electricity rates may get more
Soreco II sub-station in Gubat town. It has a capacity to turn the power on and off for the municipalities of Barcelona, Prieto Diaz and Gubat.
expensive, and the private power firm cannot guarantee that power interruptions will finally be addressed, the priest said. The cooperative is still suffering from the consequences of its mishandling by the individuals who formerly ran and managed it, he said. The mismanagement has generated an internal conflict between the previous administrators and the ranks, according to the priest. The cooperative was eventually found entrenched in deep financial liability and charging its member-consumers high electricity rates. Electricity is essential to the commu-
nities in the province, the priest said, adding that the cooperative requires competent management to hold it from possible tailspin to irreparable debt. As of present, a hike from P5 to P15 in Soreco II power rate is being proposed by the current management. But Fr. Imperial said the proposed increase is overpriced as cited by one Cooperative employee. Only a P4 electricity rate hike is required to meet the price adjustments for power generation and transmission. The priest said the local church will definitely do all it can to keep Soreco II in the hands of member-consumers. (Oliver Samson)
Iloilo re-launches archdiocesan newspaper
JARO, Iloilo—The Archdiocese of Jaro re-launched its newspaper “Veritas” during the monthly Archdiocesan clergy meeting and recollection. The re-launching was made in the presence of Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and the rest of the clergy gathered at John Paul II Hall in the Archbishop’s Residence on February 3. Msgr. Jose Mari Delgado, PC, Director of the Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Social Communications (SOCOM) announced that after years of hiatus the re-launched Archdiocesan newspaper will be issued every three months. Archbishop Lagdameo, in his message on the re-launching of Veritas, noted the long historical roots of the archdiocesan newspaper. “So far, what is in our archives is the oldest copy of the 1953 Veritas which is labelled Volume 8. So to go back to volume 1, we have to count backwards which brings us to 1946. This means that Veritas might have
Malta / A1
Siapno admitted that even without the RH Law, certain provisions in the measure can still be implemented especially the need for Maternal Health services such as family planning pills and devices. When asked of the difference in having an RH law and without it, Siapno quickly answered, “funding.” Siapno added, “We currently have limitations. We can only provide for the maternal needs of women but with the RH Law we can prepare even the children.” Early last year, the Commission on Audit (COA) in its 2011 annual audit report of the DOH uncovered over P500 million in fund irregularities from medicine procurement, hospital, medical, various goods and services.
Land / A1
During interpellations on Senate Bill 2865, Senator Pia Cayetano, who sponsored the bill admitted that DOH had asked for P13.7 billion to implement the RH bill for the year 2012 alone – an amount bigger than the individual budgets of the departments of energy, finance, foreign affairs, justice, labor, science, tourism, and trade. Senator Jinggoy Estrada in his privilege speech in September last year exposed how ‘incentives’ were offered for the passage of the RH law leading to the revelation of the president’s Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP) now also in question at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court last year ex tended indefinitely its order halting the implementation of the RH law. (Paul De Guzman)
been published in 1946,” he said. Lagdameo also observed that, from its earliest issues, Veritas as a diocesan organ was already meant to address the varied sectors that comprised Iloilo society at the time. “The paper”, he said, “could either be subscribed in Spanish, English, or in both languages.” The Jaro Archbishop also shared an interesting discovery, noting that the early issues of Veritas had “Blessed by His Holiness Pope Pius XII” as its subtitle. In the course of his research, Lagdameo found in an old issue of Veritas an account written by Archbishop Jose Ma. Cuenco, his Predecessor in the See of Jaro. In the story, Archbishop Cuenco related that, in his first meeting with Pope Pius the XII on June 15, 1950, he requested the Pope to bless the Diocesan Paper. “I entreated him to bless the paper and to allow me to print in big letters below the title “Veritas” this subtitle “Blessed by His Holiness
Pope Pius XII”. To all these, the Holy Father gladly consented!” With this historical account in mind Lagdameo said, “As we embark on another attempt to make use of this medium in evangelization, we ask that the blessing of Pope Pius XII for this paper will continue to guide us. We also take to heart the challenge of Pope Francis, that it will be a new chapter of a spirit-filled journey.” Msgr. Delgado said that Veritas, from its initial print run of 3,000 copies, will be made available not only to the Parishes or Catholic schools but also to public schools, and to government and private offices so that the Archdiocesan newspaper, together with the newly-launched Archdiocesan website (www.jaroarchdiocese .org), can serve as a voice of the Archbishop of Jaro, the Parishes, and the Archdiocesan Commissions to address the various sectors of society in Iloilo. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
panga and Rizal also demanded the overhaul of the DAR leadership. Gariguez noted there have been repeated calls for the removal of DAR Secretary Virgilio Reyes from his post. “But it seems he is really a sacred cow,” he said. “Maybe they really intend to fail CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) because they want an ineffective management of the program,” the priest said. “And this is alarming because we want to know: is the Aquino government really determined in pushing for reform agenda, especially for the poor?” Gariguez added. The Nassa also expressed reservation over the DAR’s assurance that it will continue distributing lands to farmerbeneficiaries even if CARP expires in June this year.
Charter / A1
According to Gariguez, they see a bigger problem once CARP expired this year and there is nothing comforting with the statement of DAR given its performance since 2010. “As it is right now, DAR is already acting very slowly (in implementing CARP). Without a law, all the more it will not happen,” he added. Reyes earlier said that land acquisition and distribution may proceed for landholdings with pending proceedings even after June 2014. In a letter sent to President Benigno Aquino III last week, several bishops fear that the CARP balance of 1.2 million hectares will not be completed within the timeframe set in the law. The bishops also appealed to the government to extend CARP for at least two more years to complete the program’s implementation. (CBCPNews)
cese of Manila, organized the “Holy Mass for the Sick” at Espiritu Santo Church in keeping with the principles summed in the organization’s Latin motto: “Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum” (Defence of the Faith and Assistance to the Poor). Philippine Association of the Order of Malta executive secretary Cecilia Piñones explained that they have been involved in this activity “even before there was a World Day of the Sick”. “Between 25 and 30 years ago, since the Order came to the Philippines, one of the events we always look forward to in the calendar
And That’s The Truth / A4
is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, because this is the best time when we can reach out to the community,” Piñones said. The Order offered medical consultations and psychospiritual counseling for free on the Espiritu Santo Parish grounds. “We gather the sick in one venue. Traditionally, we hold this at the Manila Cathedral, but since the Cathedral is closed for renovation, we have been doing this at the Espiritu Santo Parish for the past four years,” she added. The Order’s recipients are mostly from lay organiza-
tions and non-government organizations (NGOs) many of whom are from the nearby dioceses of Parañaque, Novaliches and Imus. Piñones stressed that these recipients make it a point each year to attend the Holy Mass for the Sick. According to its official website, the Order’s members, called “Knights” and “Dames”, commit them selves to “nurturing, wit nessing and protecting the faith and serving the poor and the sick representing the Lord, which become a reality through the voluntary work they carry out in humanitarian assistance and medical
and social activities.” But membership to the Order is “by invitation only”. Piñones reasoned that the Order wants to be sure it attracts only the most committed and serious individuals who are ready to serve “the poor and the sick”. Piñones added that they must also be “devout Catholics”. Present in over 120 countries, the Order is one of most enduring and noblest institutions in the Western Christian civilization with a 960-year history, and has special status under international law. (Raymond A. Sebastián)
prayer is that the push for the measure is ethically and morally motivated. He added that Charter change should be done for the common good; is dealt with utmost transparency; is without partisan political ambitions; and is within the legal framework. Anakpawis partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap called on the bishops’ collegial body to speak out against renewed proposals for Charter change. The House committee on constitutional amendments is set to start its
hearings on the proposals for Constitutional amendments on February 18. The CBCP was one of the strong critics of the move to amend the Charter during the Arroyo administration. But according to Villegas, it was the best thing the bishops could do “at that time”. “It was not advisable at that time because there would be people who would benefit from it and it does not seem to be motivated for the common good,” he said. (CBCPNews)
“Let’s saturate Facebook and Twitter with gospel messages! All my children, of school age, are techies, I’ll get them all to post bible verses instead of those superficial stuff!” “Yes, let’s spur our techie children to produce videos, movies, even whole television shows that appeal to the young! All these New Evangelization efforts are for them anyway, the future generation!” “Yeah, we can go into computer games even! That’s where the young people are! We can ask our techie grandchildren to create games using biblical characters and themes!” Clap, clap, clap! We’ve got to admit that the applause sometimes makes us forget what we’re rooting for, and that we’re supposed to be rooted in Christ. In our eagerness to ride on the crest of media megatrends, to look and sound “cool” and therefore prove that we won’t be “kulelat” forever, we rely mostly on mere technology to spread the Good News. Sooner than later, our role has shifted from being
prophets to horn-tooters, calling attention to ourselves instead of the Lord. The result—even Catholic or Christian advertisements come across as antithetical to gospel values sometimes. They may mean well but they do not, for instance, witness to the beatitudes. There was one print ad published a few years back by a relief agency. In the photo were several pairs of old sneakers lined up, with a child wearing the last pair. The child’s legs were grimy, but the shoes were Nike’s. The tagline said: “Blessed are the poor.” What the heck was that supposed to mean? Are the poor blessed because the rich give them discarded high-end stuff? Is it in keeping with Jesus’ teachings for the haves to create in the havenots an appetite for expensive things? Aren’t the rich “more blessed” because they give while the poor receive? Solidarity with the poor certainly never meant the rich can make a trash can out of the poor. How I’d like to see an advertisement which encourages the rich to buy new items not for themselves
but for the poor. For a change, let’s ask the rich to stop making “charity” as an excuse to buy, buy, buy and buy more. Why not try to buy new things to give to the poor and then wear your old things until they disintegrate? Eat what the poor folk eat; own only things the poor can afford. Then you’ll know what it’s like to be poor. But this “Blessed are the poor” ad (and others of its kind) help neither the poor nor the rich. They don’t question our motives nor probe the depths of our intentions; they simply cuddle the false values we already nurse in our hearts. They merely preserve the status quo. So we want to be “cool” evangelizers. Okay, dude, let’s utilize new media, teach our bishops to Tweet and impress competitors. But let’s begin at the root of things, not from the incidentals. For evangelization to become a genuine communication of the Good News, the evangelizer must first embody the message. Yes, as Jesus did. And that’s the truth.
People, Facts & Places
WORRIED by the worsening cases of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will be holding a national seminarworkshop to enlighten the public about the realities of these social phenomena. Dubbed as “Let’s Move: Knock-out Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery,” the gathering is slated on February 27 to 28 at the University of Asia and the Pacific. The seminar-workshop aims to increase the awareness and understanding of the public to the vulnerabilities of women and the youth to human trafficking, serving as a response to the call of the Supreme Pontiff to address cases of human trafficking and slavery in the modern times. Through the workshop, participants are urged “to develop capacities to report, immediately respond to, and pro-actively address trafficking and slavery situations.” Formulating practical and concrete plans of action to end modern-day slavery through various means including new media platforms is also among the activities to be done in the 2-day conference. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that 20.9 million people around the world are victims of forced labor, according to the 2012 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). This figure includes human trafficking victims for labor and sexual exploitation. The same report noted that in 2009, 59 percent of the victims were women. Men accounted for 14 percent, while children were pegged at 27 percent (17 percent for girls and 10 percent for boys). Among the detected cases of human trafficking worldwide from 2007 to 2010, sexual trafficking was more common in Europe, Central Asia, and America, while forced labor was more common in South and East Asia, Africa, Middle East, and the Pacific. Trafficking for the removal of organs was accounted at 0.2 percent of the total number of detected cases in 2010.
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
Pondo ng Pinoy re-launches Fast2Feed fund campaign
THE Pondo ng Pinoy is relaunching a fund campaign to raise money for its feeding program that targets around 250,000 malnourished children nationwide this year. Dubbed as Fast2Feed fund campaign, the activity encourages faithful to donate money saved from fasting on Ash Wednesday to Hapag Asa feeding program of Pondo ng Pinoy. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in a memorandum to PnP member dioceses, proposed a re-launching of the Fast2Feed Fund Campaign on March 5, Ash Wednesday, to help alleviate malnutrition and hunger among children especially in the disaster stricken areas. Tagle, who chairs the Pondo ng Pinoy Foundation that implements the Hapag Asa program, said 50,000 children of the targeted 250,000 will come from PnP member dioceses and those areas hit by calamities. Many dioceses have suffered a series of natural and man-made calamities that struck the country last year– war in Zamboanga, earthquake in Bohol and Cebu, and typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas region last November. To alleviate hunger and malnutrition among children affected by calamities, Hapag Asa is seeking to intensify its feeding activities in partnership with the concerned dioceses. “This means providing food subsidy of P5 per child per day or P600 for six months in addition to the MannaPack food supplements that we will ship to them for their use,” the cardinal said. HAPAG-ASA feeds hungry and malnourished children, 6 months to 12 years old, once a day, five days a week for six months with nutritious food. It only takes P10 a day or P1,200 for six months to feed one child. Aside from feeding the children, the program also provides
Photo courtesy of HapagAsa Facebook Page
CBCP to hold national seminar on human trafficking, slavery
Conference topics On the first day of the conference, topics to be discussed include “Human Trafficking: An Unprecedented Global Human Rights Challenge – the Needed,” “The Government Response to Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery,” “A Situationer on Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery,” “Understanding the Expanded ATIP (Anti-Trafficking in Persons) Law,” and “Discussion on Holistic Interventions to End Human Trafficking.” “The National Strategic Action Plan to End Human Trafficking,” “Reaching out to Migrants/ Legal Response to Overseas Cases,” “The Filipino Family as the Key Force to end human trafficking and slavery,” “Mobilizing Individual and Collective Actions and Partnerships Utilizing Multi- Media Tools and Social Media,” “The Church’s Vision on the Fight Against Human trafficking and Modern Day Slavery,” and “The University Perspective on Human Trafficking” will be discussed on the second day. The conference will be graced by John Michael Klink, International Catholic Migration Commission President; Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Inter-Agency Council on AntiTrafficking of Persons Chair man; and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, among many others. The event is organized by the CBCP Office on Women, CBCP Commission on Youth, CBCP Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace, CBCP Commission on Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People, CBCP Legal Office, and CBCP Commission on Culture. Supporting organizations include the University of Asia and the Pacific, Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc., JPIC Commission of the Dominican Sisters of Siena, Zonta Club of Makati & Environs, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines-CMC, Talitha Kum Southeast Asia, Pro-life Philippines, and the Wholistic Transformation Resource Center. (Jennifer Orillaza)
The Hapag Asa feeding program continues to transform the lives of thousands of undernourished children nationwide.
Cardinal’s concert raises P10.5M to build houses for poor
AS part of its mission to reach out to the country’s homeless, the Archdiocese of Manila led by Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle turned over P10,462,325 in check to the Domus Mariae Foundation, Inc., the archdiocese’s social housing arm, from proceeds of a benefit concert it held in 2013, in a simple ceremony at the Jesuit Communications (JesCom) office, Ateneo de Manila University on February 7. The “Patron of the Arts: An Evening with the Cardinal”, a tradition the Manila Archdiocese started in 2012 with JesCom, gathers together in a concert the best names in the Philippine music scene. The concert showcases the performers’ talent while helping the Archdiocese raise funds for a deserving beneficiary. It also continues the Church’s long history of active involvement in arts patronage by recognizing gifted individuals who have done much to enrich Philippine cultural life. In 2012 the Patron of the Arts posthumously awarded director Marilou Diaz-Abaya for her outstanding legacy in the local film industry. In 2013 it cited Napoleon Abueva for his contributions in Philippine sculpture. Tagle told CBCPNews that the Church has always embraced and promoted the arts. “Our faith has always been proclaimed in glorious works of art, whether it is music, literature, architecture, or sculpture. Christian art therefore has become not just an aesthetic experience, but a spiritual experience as well. Not just a feast for
the parents with necessary skills and values to enhance their ability to nurture their children. Parents are also given livelihood trainings to grant them the chance to gain employment and
get involved in income generating activities. The cardinal also encouraged the faithful to donate to the program as an act of solidarity with the poor. (CBCPNews)
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle hands over a P10.5M check to Domus Mariae executive director Fr. Carlos V. Reyes at the JesCom Office, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City.
the senses, but for the soul as well,” the cardinal explained. Proceeds from the first Patron of the Arts went into the renovation of the Manila CathedralBasilica whose structural integrity had weakened with age. The Archdiocese of Manila has chosen Domus Mariae (House of Mary) as its recent beneficiary. Urban housing This decision responds to the need of the Archdiocese’s disadvantaged staff for decent houses as many of them have none yet to call their own. “We cannot overem phasize the need to address this urgent concern for urban housing, especially in the light of many who continue to be displaced by natural and man-made disasters and calamities. Millions of Filipinos have no roof above their heads, or a shelter to protect them from the elements. Some lived in depraved conditions not worthy of the dignity of God’s children,” Tagle told CBCPNews.
Founded in Febru ary 1983 by then Ma nila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal L. Sin, Domus Mariae was envisioned to provide low-cost housing for the poor. Its mission is to help and promote shelter to the homeless and landless families in the slums of Metro Manila, which is a major concern for Church and State. Recognizing the right of everyone to decent shelter, the Church has joined the government in addressing the country’s urban housing problem. It is in this spirit that the Domus Mariae was incorporated as a nonstock, non-profit orga nization in February 24, 1983 to provide socialized housing for needy families. The foundation’s main objective is to help the urban poor have suitable inexpensive dwelling either on site or in relocation sites that they may live as befits their dignity as human beings. Domus Mariae’s first project is the Saarland Village I in Barrio Cu-
pang, Antipolo City, a one-hectare land donated by the Orosa family, which was developed in 1983 for 110 landless/ homeless families from San Andres Bukid, Manila. Saarland Village I was followed by Saarland Village II Phase I, also in Antipolo, which was completed in 1986; Caritas Village, Nova liches (1988) whose 34 unit row-houses were awarded to 17 Caritas Manila and Domus Mariae employees, and 17 Vietnamese immigrants sponsored by Center for Assistance To Displaced Persons. Saarland Village II Phase II (1991) benefited mostly Archdiocesan employees and squatter families from San Andres Bukid, Sta. Ana, and Pandacan, Manila. Also in 1991, the foundation entered into a joint-venture agreement with the National Housing Authority (NHA) to develop Domus Mariae Condominium I, consisting of 2 condominium building of 88 units each
located behind the Holy Family Parish in San Andres Bukid. Its beneficiaries were mostly members of the Nagkakaisang Lakas ng San Andres Bukid organized by Msgr. Melchor David. Other Domus Mariae projects are the Taguig Relocation Center (1993) in Tipas; the Domus Mariae Condominium III (1995) also beside the Holy Family Parish in San Andres Bukid; the 74 unit five-storey mediumrise Domus Mariae Condominium III (2007) built on the 580 square me ter piece of land owned by the Archdiocese of Manila in Ducepec St., Paco, Manila; the Calauan Laguna Relocation Center (2010); North ville in Marilao, Bulacan; the Handicapped Center within the Caritas Compound; and the paving and concreting of the Caritas Manila Segunda Mana Bodega. In 1998, the foundation lent P3.9M to the Payatas Scavengers Homeowners Association to buy a 3 hectare piece of land in Rodriguez, Rizal for the relocation of more than 300 families from the Payatas dumpsite. Domus Mariae’s new housing project is the 4,000 square meter Domus Mariae Village II, in Brgy. Muzon, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, costing P31 M. Each 50 square meter unit costs P620,000, and is payable through Pagibig Housing loan for a 25year amortization period. Because of what it has accomplished for the poor, Tagle called Do mus Mariae “the Archdiocese’s little contribution towards helping the least of our brothers and sisters”. (Raymond A. Sebastián)
Manila parishes willing to host e-waste collection
PARISHES in the Archdiocese of Manila are willing to help in collecting electronic wastes to protect the environment. Lou Arsenio of the Manila Archdiocesan Ministry on Ecology, however, said that the government must provide “efficient treatment facilities” in every barangay. She said that having a “material recovery facilities” (MRF) alone is not enough to ensure the safety discard of e-wastes. “The parishes are ready in collecting e-wastes. The question is do they have an efficient treatment facility because these are toxic,” Arsenio told church-run Radio Veritas. “These e-wastes cannot just be brought to MRF because these are special wastes or toxic wastes,” she said. According to her, the Department of Energy committed to set up their facilities that would recover the mercury and collect busted compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) but this remains to be seen. “They replace the busted CFLs for free but the mercury is still there,” said Arsenio. Meanwhile, environmental group Ban Toxics has strengthened their information dissemination campaign and promotion of waste management and toxics use reduction. The group is also continuing its “Toxic-Free School Program” to train teachers, students and even their parents on how to properly dispose e-wastes. (CBCPNews)
Sta. Cruz Parish exhibit celebrates French saint’s life, legacy
THE Our Lady of the Pillar Parish in Sta. Cruz Manila put up a mini exhibit inside the church in honor of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (SSS) founder St. Peter Julien Eymard. Organizers unveiled the exhibit on February 4 marking the French saint’s 203rd birth anniversary, and public viewing went on until the third Sunday of February. On display were portraits of St. Peter Julian Eymard, and photographs of his birthplace and other places in France that had been part of his sacred ministry. The centerpiece of the exhibit was a lifesize bust of the saint which is a replica of the original in France. Garcia told CBCPNews that the featured items were on loan from the Eymard Formation Center (EFC) in New Manila, Quezon City where their founder’s life and legacy are relived daily. “It is only this year that we are doing this outside our Provincialate House,” said Fr. Hermie Garcia, SSS, parish priest of Sta. Cruz Church. SSS vocation director Fr. Ferdinand Tomo added that besides commemorating St. Peter Julian Eymard’s life and legacy, the exhibit also aims to inspire Blessed Sacrament vocation among the laity. Known as the “Apostle of the Eucharist”, the saint was born Pierre Julien Eymard (Pierre Julien is French for Peter Julian) on February 4, 1811 in Le Mure d’Isère, on the French Alps. Peter Julian’s “journey of faith” drew him from being a priest in the Diocese of Grenoble in 1834, to joining the Marists (Oblates of Mary Immaculate) in 1839, to founding the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1856. Peter Julian also coped with poverty, his father’s initial opposition to his vocation, serious illness, and the Jansenistic overemphasis on sin and the difficulties of getting diocesan, and later papal approval, for his new religious community. His years as Marist, including service as provincial leader, saw his eucharistic devotion deepening, especially by his preaching of Forty Hours in many parishes. Fired by the idea of reparation for indifference to the Eucharist, Peter Julian became attracted to a more positive spirituality of Christ-centered love. Members of the men’s community Peter Julian founded alternated between an active apostolic life and contemplating Jesus in the Eucharist. With Marguerite Guillot, he founded the women’s Congregation of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament.
Parish helps expats reach out to Pasay’s poor
SINCE 2011, a group of expatriate business owners in Pasay has been playing “Santa Claus” to the city’s indigent residents. What surprises the beneficiaries is that their benefactors are not even Christians — they are Chinese Buddhists. Most recently on February 8 and 9, the donors handed over a total of 6,600 packs of goods, each including three kilos of rice and three canned foods. This number is a considerable increase from the 1,550 packs given in 2013, said social worker Roselane Maala. These foreign entrepreneurs, who wish to remain anonymous, had partnered with the Our Lady of Sorrows Outreach, Inc. Foundation (OLSOFI) on F. B. Harrison St., Brgy. 126 to assist them in their gift-giving effort. But OLSOFI president and executive director Rev. Fr. Socrates C. Montealto of the Society of St. Paul (SSP) believes these “mysterious” philanthropists are the same Chinese businessmen who keep shops in Cartimar, a popular commercial center in Pasay
Peter Julian Eymard was beatified in 1925, and canonized in 1962, a day after the Second Vatican Council’s first session. Tomo explained that the first SSS fathers came to the Philippines in 1957 from the Province of St. Anne in the United States. The local SSS community has since grown to become its own Province of Our Lady of the Assumption with members in Australia, Italy, France, Hawaii, Ireland, and Uganda. (Raymond A. Sebastián)
City’s Taft Avenue side. Montealto explained that for the last three years the charitable expats have been reaching out to their Parish as part of a post-Chinese Lunar New Year tradition. To ensure that the donations benefit only deserving families, Montealto said the Foundation regularly conducts surveys in the 26 barangays within the Parish’s jurisdiction from M. Santos to P. Campos (formerly Vito Cruz). These surveys give them an idea who among their parishioners could qualify for a donation. Montealto added that it is in keeping with a Buddhist custom which enjoins these Chinese “Santa Clauses” to help those “who have less in life”. “It really moves me that their generosity extends beyond the confines of their country and religion to help those who do not even share their beliefs and race… I cannot thank them enough,” the priest told CBCPNews in Filipino. (Raymond A. Sebastián)
Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Speech delivered by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, to the Presidents of CEAP Higher Educational Institutions, on February 13, 2014 at the De La Salle University, Manila.
The Role of the Catholic University in the Philippines Today
IT is a pleasure for me to address you today on the invitation of Br. Jun Erguiza, FSC, President of the CEAP, and of Br. Ricky Laguda, FSC, Chair of the CEAP’s National Tertiary Education Commission. The topic you have given me is no small topic, “The Role of the Catholic University in the Philippines Today.” It has not yet been treated formally by the CBCP, even though the need to reflect on this appears to be truly urgent. What belong to the mission, required spirituality and desired impacts of Catholic higher education in the Philippines today? The call of Pope Francis for Christians to return to the Joy of the Gospel[i] and to “go forth” into our complex world to share with it this joy belongs to the context in which this reflection on our Philippine Catholic universities[ii] is necessary. As we recognize in our own consumption-driven world the dangers that Pope Francis described for the whole world, “the desolation and anguish born of a feverish but complacent heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience,” we look on the Catholic higher education institutions—46 universities, 241 colleges, 17 graduate faculties of theology and 60 seminaries in the Philippines—as among God’s precious gifts both to the Church and society in the Philippines. The Pope calls our largely Catholic society to joy it has largely lost. Sharing the profound respect that John Paul II had for the Catholic university in our world,[iii] I express my own respect for its daunting work. I thank the Lord for the men and women, religious and priests, missionaries and lay leaders, experts and professionals, who in our country dedicate themselves to the esteemed vocation that belongs to the Catholic university in the Philippines today. That specific vocation calls them as universities to be centers for the authentic search for the truth of God, of nature, and of the human being-in-human-society and the communication of this truth to students and the world; as Catholic they are called to “the privileged task” to “unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth,” Jesus Christ, the way, the life and the truth.[iv] I appreciate that these are no mean tasks. The search for the truth of God involves the search for him in our ever more secular world that increasingly ignores God and his Church, or for him in our Catholic culture
that, despite its intense piety, is neither scandalized by the painful poverty in our midst nor willing to change the structures that support its yet pervasive corruption. The search for the truth of nature involves understanding the awesome power of typhoons and earthquakes, and, due to what human beings do in their industrial centers, factories, power plants and cars, the changes in natural climate cycles as we are experiencing these today; it involves understanding the intimate truths of how human life is transmitted, nurtured and sustained. The search for the truth of humanity involves understanding the human individual in his or her complex relationships in society, and how human life-in-society is sustained, threatened, harmed, or destroyed. I appreciate especially that this search in our increasingly secular society pursues truth in arenas of diverse disciplines, assertive experts, and clashing ideas, even as it is convinced that Jesus Christ is the truth that manifests itself in the Church and world through the Magisterium of the Church. I appreciate that, even as truth is rigorously and critically sought in academic freedom[v], it must be faithfully taught as Jesus, the Teacher, himself would have taught in our complex world. Jesus himself, the Truth, must be the guide of our Catholic Universities in participating in the urgent task today of New Evangelization.[vi] This awesome vocation for the Catholic university as it must now impact on New Evangelization cannot be taken lightly. It must precisely wrestle with diversity in a marketplace of ideas, yet find consolation and integration in Jesus, the Truth; it must mediate understanding for the faith in Philippine settings where faith is increasingly ignored or now even unwelcome; in faith it must now find itself open to startling manifestations of truth not immediately disclosed in faith. Return to the Heart of the Church: Jesus Christ The Catholic university, however, is not just an inert institution. It is a group of human beings, teachers, scholars, administrators and staff, in pursuit of truth; it is by God’s grace a community— universitas —of believers and non-believers engaged together in a shared university mission. These persons, buffeted by the pressures of teaching today, the deadlines of research, or over-exposure to the world of consumerism and injustice, may themselves be in need of New Evangelization. Among their numbers may be
believers whose faith has grown tepid, or baptized Filipinos who fail in the way they live their lives to show evidence of their baptism, or people who have never met Jesus or have always rejected him.[vii] For this reason, first and foremost, we invite our Catholic faithful engaged in the Catholic university in the Philippines to a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ, the heart of the Church from which the Catholic University emerges. I gladly echo the personal invitation of Pope Francis: “I invite all Christians, everywhere,”—including in higher academe—“at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them;” I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. “No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since ‘no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord’” (EG, 3). For it is from the joy of this encounter with Jesus, both personal and communal, that the exigency to share it with others is captured[viii]. This full encounter that redeems not only ourselves individually, but ourselves in human community, discloses the social content of the Gospel: “at the very heart of the Gospel is life in community and engagement with others. The content of the first proclamation has an immediate moral implication centered on charity”[ix]. I invite the leaders of our Catholic universities to intervene generously in the schedules of their personnel to set appropriate conditions for this renewed encounter with Jesus. This may be in shared silence and prayer, in a quiet recollection, or in a spiritual retreat. It may require trained guides or facilitators. It is only here that the Catholic university might find the inspiration in love and moral exigency to engage in the crucial activities to which God calls Catholic university in the Philippines today. Urgent Need for Communal Discernment What this concretely consists in can come to light only through the communal discernment of each Catholic university or college, or of recognized groups of Catholic educational institutions like the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) or the Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines (ACUP). The university community must discern in discussion, reflection and prayer what God’s will for it is at this time, weighing its mission and vision, strengths and weaknesses, resources and needs, and the pressing concerns
of Church and society to which it needs to respond today. It must do this specifically in pursuit of its mission in faith, as its responsible use of academic freedom requires, beyond the minimum requirements of government and the stewardship of resources entrusted to it for mission. Outside of ongoing religious, professional and liberal education in our schools, considering the signs of the times, I propose that Catholic universities and colleges in the Philippines engage themselves in the following. This is not a listing of all the tasks I consider the Catholic university in the Philippines can excel in. It is a listing however of tasks which I consider most urgent for today. The Search for Meaning and Hope Catholic universities and colleges have an undeniable duty to proclaim and elucidate the Gospel of Jesus Christ “in season and out of season” to Philippine society as its ultimate source of meaning and hope. It brings this message into the diverse world of contemporary human and natural sciences and evolving forms of liberal education. Scientific and technological discoveries and their use in the global market bring both blessings and curses to Philippine society. They bring it many new conveniences, yet tend to deny it its cultural moorings in what has long been accepted as meaningful, including an authentic living inculturated faith in Jesus and his Church. Such as the internet, new means of social communication, rapid transportation, and global technical work requirements which condition the demand abroad for our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), “inescapably require the correspondingly necessary search for meaning in order to guarantee that the new discoveries be used for the authentic good of individuals and of human society as a whole” (ECE, 7). The contradictions Pope Francis perceives in contemporary society which allow it to combine “complacency” with a “covetous heart,” “feverish pursuit” with “frivolous pleasure” and “conscience” with a “blunted conscience” endanger society to the core; they describe people frantic for something of value who but busy themselves with palpable nothings as the humanity of their society erodes. It is a malaise characterized on the one hand by uncritical driven consumption, and on the other hand by a numbness to pervasive poverty in our midst. In the Philippines, close to two thirds of our people live below the poverty line, millions
are victims of exclusion and injustice, yet students in our top Catholic universities are simply “bored.” Catholic universities must reflect critically and lucidly on what a meaningful life in Philippine or global society is today and what the sources of hope are. They must consider not only the ideal concepts of our faith, but the actualities of materialism, hedonism, and consumerism in the Philippines and in the global world. They must ask seriously whether in the way they teach, form and motivate students to a job, a profession or to “the good life” they contribute to their students’ yawning superficiality, or challenge them to lives of genuine meaning in faith-driven service of the common good. Is the hope they instill in their students based on an ever-expanding consumption economy, or in the unfailing love of a provident Father of all, the ultimate need of the human heart? The Search for the Common Good In pursuit of “the authentic good of individuals and of human society as a whole,” the Catholic university in the Philippines must more vigorously engage itself in issues pertinent to the common good and its pursuit in solidarity. This is a service that both the Church and Philippine society urgently need. Because the requirements of the common good can never be stated with validity for all times, but change through the creative genius of individuals and peoples in changing human societies interacting among themselves, finding the truth of the common good needs ongoing multidisciplinary critical discussion of contentious issues, depth research, shared publications and true discernment. These lead to a probing articulation of what the common good entails, considering the unending generation and contest both of goods and needs in society and the limitations of natural and human resources. Through careful research, discussion and critical debate, statements concerning the common good can lead to improved statements, and with God’s grace, possibly even to consensus. Consensus can condition shared action. Shared action can lead to structural reform or even cultural transformation. But even in the absence of consensus, the discussion and debate alone can already result in deeper understanding of issues and thereby greater sensitivity to the common good. Unfortunately, while Catholic Social Doctrine has long pointed to the common good as the imperative of social justice, our
culture in the Philippines seems to accord neither appropriate respect nor obedience to the common good. When individuals do not sink to sin, crime and corruption, their thoughts and dreams focus immediately on success in the accumulation of private wealth, property, comforts, and pleasures. When they are not incapacitated by a crippling selfishness, they show dedication to the companies that employ them and often startling heroism for the families that gave them birth and nurturance, or for the new families that are now their own. We have many heroes of the private good, many of them educated in our Catholic universities. For this private good, thought naturally focuses on the size of one’s salary, the magnitude of one’s profits, the “real returns” on one’s political career, the concentration of power and prestige in an individual or group to boost private advantage, all as indicators of a successful student or a successful graduate. We also have victims of the pursuit of private good, not people who are criminals or thieves, but people for whom life has surreptitiously lost meaning. In the driven acquisition of possessions, they have lost their self-possession; possessed by the daemons of consumerism, they are consumed in what neither satisfies nor makes sense. They are caught in rut routines of whirling wheels that go nowhere but mire more deeply in the mud. Is this not the “desolation and anguish” that Pope Francis calls the greatest danger to society? It saddens because they are unable to escape it, unable to transcend the private for the genuinely social, and so engage in escapades of escape from responsibility that confuse self interest for self, pleasure for happiness, narcissism for achievement, cosmetics for beauty, emoticons for emotions, and mouse clicking for acts of human love. The need for this engagement cannot be overstated, especially as we address the scandal of poverty in our society and the need to protect our environment. The Church has always affirmed the right to private property to secure the needs of individual and families, but it also affirms a social dimension to private property, rooted in a prior “universal destination of all goods.”[x] Unbridled production of goods and accumulation of wealth and power that violates human rights and exhausts the environment for the benefit of a privileged few, harms the common good and violates
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By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
A bishop had appointed one of his priests to the position of parish priest giving him the usual decree of appointment containing an immediate date of effectivity of his new assignment. Shortly thereafter, the new parish priest moved into the parish, exercising his duties with zeal from the first day. Precisely because of the quantity of pastoral work that he had to contend with, making up for several months of absence of a parish priest prior to his appointment, the customary liturgical ceremony for the installation of a parish priest could not be organized until some months after he had been effectively fulfilling his duties as parish priest. The question was: were the juridic acts he carried out—e.g., solemnizing marriages—valid prior to his solemn installation? The issue at stake is the distinction between the actual effectivity of an appointment to an ecclesiastical office and the acts that are convenient for the juridic certainty (i.e., public notice and witnessing thereof) of such effectivity. In this case, one could even add a third element of the desirability of a liturgical ceremony to highlight the significance of the appointment; and even a fourth set of acts required by Canon Law for a new parish priest to take upon his appointment (e.g., profession of faith, oath of good and faithful performance, exact and detailed inventory of the parochial patrimony). The Canonical Mission or Appointment to an Ecclesiastical Office The mission entrusted by Jesus Christ to the Apostles—to authoritatively teach the Word of God, to sanctify the flock especially through the administration of the Sacraments, and to govern them in order to effectively teach and sanctify them—is handed down through the ages through the acts of the Pope (the successor of Peter, the Rock upon whom the Church is built, and to whom was given the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven) of erecting ecclesiastical circumscriptions (dioceses and the like) and providing each one of them with a proper pastor (the diocesan bishops and their equivalents). That 3-fold mission—to teach, sanctify and govern—is articulated in a matrix of functions with their corresponding empowerments for their authoritative and effective execution. The whole ecclesiastical organization can be envisioned as a collection of such offices: from the Papacy (with its various congregations, councils and commissions), the Episcopacy (each one with its own diocesan curia) down to the individual parishes (each one with its ancillary entities). It is the effective articulation of that one mandate of Jesus Christ to go and preach to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
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February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
Taking possession of a parish
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, not just on their own initiative but rather in an effective exercise of a sacred power (sacra potestas) because, as he said, behold I am with you until the end of the earth. The supreme power was actually given to Peter and his successors (the popes), who deconcentrate such power and function by erecting circumscriptions comprising communities of believers, each one with their own proper pastor. The paradigm of such a circumscription is the diocese. In a similar way, the diocesan bishop decentralizes the exercise of his power and pastoral care over his flock by further subdividing the diocesan circumscription into parishes and quasi-parishes, each one provided delegated by him places the parish priest in possession of the parish; for a just cause, however, the same ordinary can dispense from such a method of installation; in such a situation the dispensation communicated to the parish replaces the formal taking of possession. — §3. The local ordinary is to define a period of time within which the parish is to be taken possession of; if the time lapses needlessly and there is no legitimate impediment, he can declare the parish vacant. Strictly speaking, therefore, we can distinguish two acts of the legitimate authority (the diocesan bishop or local ordinary in this case): in such a situation the dispensation communicated to the parish replaces the formal taking of possession. In the case of most dioceses in the Philippines, in fact, the Decree of Appointment of a new parish priest usually states the date of effectivity of such appointment, as exemplified in Formulary 21 of the Handbook of Formularies (H.Velarde, R.Vergara & J.Gonzalez, Canon Law Society of the Philippines, Manila 2005): “You will function as Parish P r i e s t o f t h e a f o re s a i d p a r i s h effective______________ until by revocation or my successor ’s revocation.” This formula makes the taking possession of the parish somewhat his effective taking possession of the parish. A series of formal acts required by Canon Law for a new parish priest: These acts should precede or be concomitant with the date of effectivity of the appointment: 1) Keeping in mind that the parish priest is the legal representative and the canonically responsible person for the administration of the property of the parish (cf. c.532), the parish priest must take an oath of good and truthful performance, before the local ordinary or his delegate. 2) For the same reason, an exact and detailed inventory of the patrimony of the parish must be made and signed by both the newly appointed parish priest and the local ordinary or his delegate (cf. c.1283) 3) Moreover, for having received an office that is exercised in the name of the Church, the newly appointed parish priest must make the profession of faith according to the formula approved by the Holy See (cf. cc.833, 6º and 542, 3º). The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has recently updated this formula, specifically including the parish priest among those required to make it [cf. AAS 81 (1989), p.1169]. B. An Act of Courtesy with the Civil Authority: It also seems important in most cases to inform the civil authorities of the taking of possession of a parish, whether for reasons of courtesy or simply to facilitate the civil recognition of administrative acts regarding property that the new parish priest must carry out in the representation of the parish (cf. c.532). C. Solemn Liturgical Act: Lastly, it must be kept in mind that beyond its juridic meaning, the taking possession of a parish represents a moment of special importance in the life of the parochial community. Thus, it would be fitting to give it a festive configuration and a special solemnity, also from the liturgical viewpoint. In effect, it is around the altar, gathered together next to their own pastor for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, where the parish community finds its most poignant expression. It is important, therefore, that the taking possession customarily be done in the parish church, with the greatest possible participation of faithful, during a solemn Mass, presided over, if possible, by the bishop, and concelebrated by the new parish priest and by the other priests of the neighboring parishes. In this regard, the rite of ingress of the new parish priest, which is contained in the Ceremonial of Bishops (cf. Caeremoniale Episcoporum, 14.IX.1984, nn.1185-1189), can be followed. This rite provides even for the accompanying formal acts mentioned above.
with a parish priest who exercises the tria munera Christi under the guidance of and in union with the diocesan bishop. In a parallel way to the Pope’s sole competence to erect dioceses and provide each one with its own pastor, it is the competence of the diocesan bishop to erect parishes and quasi-parishes and appoint a parish priest for each one. It is the latter act that we are considering at the moment. When does an Appointment of a Parish Priest take Effect? Can. 527 — §1. The person who has been promoted to carry out the pastoral care of a parish acquires that care and is bound to exercise it from the moment he takes possession of the parish. — §2. While observing the method accepted by particular law or legitimate custom, the local ordinary or a priest
1st: The appointment of the new parish priest. 2nd: The formal taking possession of the parish by the newly appointed parish priest. According to c.527, §1, the newly appointed parish priest acquires the duties and powers of his office from this moment. Thus, strictly speaking, the appointment becomes effective—i.e., it begins to be exercised effectively—from the moment of actual taking of possession. This is logical because until the newly appointed parish priest actually takes possession of the parish—i.e., he lands there—he cannot effectively exercise the pastoral care of souls entrusted to him. However, Canon Law does not establish a specific way for such taking possession of a parish. As c.527, §2 states, for a just cause (…) the same ordinary can dispense from such a method of installation;
of relative juridic importance. In this regard, we can make a further distinction between: (1) the actual exercise of the rights and duties of the new parish priest by his moving into the parish; and (2) the formal installation of the new parish priest through some liturgical ceremony, presided by the local ordinary or somebody delegated by him. Nevertheless, from the tenor of the canons, we can surmise a possible best practice for this. Best Praxis for Taking Possession of a Parish by a Newly Appointed Parish Priest After the Decree of Appointment is received by the newly appointment parish priest, but within a reasonable period close to the date of effectivity of such an appointment, the following acts should be taken which constitutes
social justice. Power concentrated in the hands of a few that seeks its self-preservation and expansion rather than the good of all, harms the common good. On the other hand, such as the cooperation between the public and private sectors to improve the delivery of basic education in society, or the cooperation between nongovernment organizations (NGOs), media, business and government to breathe new life into a dead river, advance the common good. What the common good commands or forbids, what the relative weights of long-term vs. short-term benefits are, of private family income vs. family disruption, of extractive mining vs. food security, of large-scale mono-crop farming vs. the livelihood of indigenous peoples, of Muslim autonomy vs. a non-Muslim majority, of a strong state vs. a strong citizenry, of high taxes vs. low taxes, of free enterprise vs. guided production, of a strong Manila vs. stronger local regions, of responsible faith in God vs. faith in fate are issues that need enlightened reflection and discussion. The Catholic university must struggle to find the light of the common good with more conscious determination and system. This is the common good that is not merely an option in arbitrariness but a compelling imperative in social justice. It is the warrant behind Pope Francis’ prophetic “No to an economy of exclusion,” “No to the new idolatry of money,” “No to a financial system which rules rather than serves,” “No to an inequality which spawns violence.”[xi] It is an imperative that will not be taught without challenge, nor explained without opposition. But it is an imperative that needs
to be asserted prophetically even in contention.[xii] It is a theme therefore that needs to be more explicitly present in the manner in which the Catholic university teaches its various disciplines, in its research agenda, in its multidisciplinary dialogues and discussions, and in how it serves its communities. This is the stuff of the Catholic university, not just jobs. The Search in Dialogue for a More Human Culture The Catholic university must be an exponent of the Church’s dialogue with diverse cultures. There is a global culture whose effects on human society are not uniformly salutary; just as there are local cultures each with their genial meaning-bearing manifestations and with their flaws; global culture interacts haphazardly with local cultures. Both impact on human society and on the human individual in the Philippines. John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae states, “the dialogue of the Church with the cultures of our times is that vital area where ‘the future of the Church and of the world is being played out as we conclude the twentieth century.’”[xiii] It is in this multiplicity of cultures that John Paul II saw a special role for the Catholic university. “There is only one culture: that of man, by man and for man. And thanks to the Catholic universities and their humanistic and scientific inheritance, the Church, expert in humanity, as my predecessor, Paul VI, expressed it at the United Nations, explores the mysteries of humanity and of the world, clarifying them in the light of Revelation.”[xiv] As multiple forces compete to shape contemporary society in the Philippines, this is a role the Catholic university takes well
into the twenty-first century, especially as Pope Francis calls attention to the “desolation and anguish” in world society. The Catholic university in the Philippines is called to “become an ever more effective instrument of cultural progress for individuals as well as for society. Included among its research activities, therefore, will be a study of serious contemporary problems in areas such as the dignity of human life, the promotion of justice for all, the quality of personal and family life, the protection of nature, the search for peace and political stability, a more just sharing in the world’s resources, and a new economic and political order that will better serve the human community at a national and international level.”[xv] It is called to give “specific priority” to “the need to examine and evaluate the predominant values and norms of modern society and culture in a Christian perspective, and the responsibility to try to communicate to society those ethical and religious principles which give full meaning to human life.” It is called in this way to “contribute further to the development of a true Christian anthropology, founded on the person of Christ, which will bring the dynamism of the creation and redemption to bear on reality and on the correct solution to the problems of life.”[xvi] This calls the Catholic university in Philippines to accord special attention to the actual relation between the Gospel and Philippine cultures as their experiences of “full human meaning” and “the dignity of human life” is truncated by a pervasive lack of appreciation for the common
good, a superficial but driving consumerism, a weakening of individual character, an erosion of the cohesion of the Filipino family, the ongoing sinful destruction of the environment, the sad disrespect for local cultures and the scandalous disregard for the social and political rights of our indigenous peoples, and the elusive search for peace. The Catholic university must address the impacts on Philippine cultures of what appear to be an uncritical rationalism, an insidious amorality, a moral cynicism, secularization and globalization. It must understand and militate against corruption that has practically become endemic to Philippine culture. It must shed light on the effects of an increasingly migrant population on personal ambitions, families, the Church and society in the Philippines. In this context, it must contribute more actively to the creation of “a new economic and political order.” Against “an economy that excludes” and an economy premised on “the idolatry of money,” Catholic universities must help elucidate what this new economic and political order for the Philippines entails. It must educate, form and support the experts and politicians who shall work towards its realization. The Search in Dialogue for Peace In this context, among the most urgent activities today needed of the Catholic university in the Philippines is its engagement in instruction, research, outreach and dialogue for peace, especially as historic efforts are being made today towards forging peace in Mindanao. Peace is not just a local aspiration; it is a national
imperative. The mandate for peace is not coming from an upstart minority making irksome demands on the edge of Philippine society; it comes from the soul of our society in the Philippines today, capitalists, socialists, communists, Christians, Muslims, and indigenous peoples alike, trying together to overcome deep wounds in our shared history of colonialism, nationalism, exploitation, conflict and violence, for which we all share blame; it is our People struggling together to transition into a more socially just tomorrow. Here the Catholic university in the Philippines may play a special role as privileged convenor of diverse peoples with competing and often conflicting interests in face-toface dialogue for peace. It must use its institutional prestige to gather government, NGOs, the private sector and religious leaders to work with groups caught in conflict and violence for peace. Here, a key function of the Catholic university would be to help explain and evaluate the peace processes, including the various documents that these processes have produced, knowing that the documents alone will not bring about peace. High-level peace agreements will remain paper-thin unless on the levels of our barangays, our parishes and our basic ecclesial communities the deep-seated prejudice and the hatred stop and the reconciliation begins. In the service of peace, interfaith dialogue may involve a dialogue of diverse doctrines. Where Catholic faculties of theology are prepared to do this, trusting in the Holy Spirit and guided by the Church, they ought to[xvii]. For most Catholic universities in the Philippines, however,
the task in dialogue is to help individual Catholics understand their faith better, and in the love that faith impels, to open themselves to peoples of other faiths through a dialogue of life. This includes mutual respect and shared friendship, the privilege to celebrate a gift of union in otherness. Here, our Catholics’ faith may be enriched by their understanding and appreciation of the manner others are led to prostrate themselves humbly in worship before an all-powerful yet compassionate God. The task for the Catholic university in dialogue would be to support such openness. But it may even be to help a believer of another faith more deeply appreciate and live that faith. Beyond the dialogue of life may be the dialogue of shared commitment to specific causes[xviii]. Peoples of different faiths pursuing the same common good may work together in advocating exigencies today of the common good. In the Philippines, such causes may lead the Filipino Christian and the Filipino Muslim to shared advocacy against scandalous poverty, for political reform, for quality education, for productive sources of livelihood, for a healthy environment, for a Bangsamoro homeland, and most of all for peace. In the quest for peace in Mindanao, interfaith dialogue must be complemented by intrafaith dialogue. As the peace processes may have lead us to wish that Muslim communities in the Philippines were more united, our Catholic communities may themselves need to find deeper union in the Spirit unto the attainment of peace. Unto this end, our Catholics
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Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Features Why I’m going to the Philippines
Catholic country in the world, after Brazil and Mexico. Filipinos now seek to rebuild their infrastructure of schools, churches, hospitals and seminaries. For these needs, the only source of help is other churches, who understand that faith sustains people. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila will meet us to provide details. He holds a master’s and doctorate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America. Having lived in the United States, he has full confidence and high hopes for the generosity of his sisters and brothers from the USA. The trip highlights the person-toperson solidarity that we feel for suffering people. We are thankful that people survived the Typhoon Haiyan’s assault, but now the survivors need clean water and other aids to maintain basic hygiene. They need soap, buckets, detergent and water purifying kits to prevent spread of disease. Survivors live amidst debris that blocks streets and roads. They need help to clear avenues so aid can get through. They need hammers and saws and tarps to keep out the rain from their emergency A-frame houses. The creation of permanent housing stands ahead of them. This challenges the entire Church. On
(The following are blogs of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Catholic Relief Services organized the Archbishop’s visit to the Philippines on February 2-7, 2014 to see recovery efforts in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda—Eds)
PICTURES and numbers that show the disastrous effect of Typhoon Haiyan numb the mind. More than four million people have been displaced—about the population of Kentucky. More than 1.1 million homes have been damaged, more than half of them totally destroyed. The death toll is more than 6,200—the population of a small town. Numbers like that overwhelm everyone. That’s why on the eve of the Super Bowl, I’m packing sneakers to join a delegation with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to meet with Filipino church leaders and people from Samar and Leyte, the two Philippine islands in the eye of the storm. I’ll visit Palo, just south of the city of Tacloban, and I’ll walk through rubble to let people know that the Catholic Church in the United States cares and will help. I and others are visiting personally so that we can wrap our hearts and minds around the situation. This firsthand look will enable us to adequately convey to fellow Catholics the spiritual, physical and emotional extent of the damage. The Filipino diaspora in the United States, more than four million people, make up the second largest AsianAmerican community in our nation. They agonize for their homeland. This trip reflects solidarity of the church in the United States with Filipinos on both sides of the Pacific. Catholicism’s liturgies and devotions are integral to the Filipino community. The Philippines are 80 percent Catholic, the third largest November 10, two days after the typhoon struck, Pope Francis told the world “the victims are many and the damage enormous.” He asked that we “try to get our concrete aid” to the typhoon survivors. He initially donated $150,000 for relief efforts. On Christmas, he spoke of the Philippines again. Americans Catholics responded quickly too. CRS, the U.S. church’s international aid agency that is backed by the generosity of U.S. Catholics, has collected tens of millions of dollars so far for Philippines disaster relief. To date CRS has provided 200,000 people with emergency shelter, clean water and sanitation, and debris clearing. The agency has installed water taps and water bladders to provide tens of thousands of people with clean drinking water. It has begun construction of model homes that can be easily adopted by local communities in Palo. It’s all part of our commitment to our Filipino brothers and sisters as they rebound. Of all who can help, Americans stand first in line. We understand solidarity. We’re can-do people who walk with people in need. That is part of the message I hope to deliver on Super Bowl Sunday when I land in the Philippines. As people at home participate in our sports tradition and root for the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos, I’ll check the score from an ocean away and immerse myself in another U.S. tradition: showing support for people in desperate need.
Philippines Blog – Day 1
I AM in Manila after traveling here through Chicago and Tokyo yesterday. While my friends in Louisville are getting ready for Super Bowl kickoff, I am here on Monday morning at 7:30 a.m., ready and excited to being a full day in the Philippines. We all made it in one piece and gathered last evening, a little after 11 p.m., which was Sunday at 9 a.m. in Louisville, to begin a journey and pilgrimage. Dr. Carolyn Woo, Executive Director of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Sr. Carol Keehan, CRS board member, are here along with Msgrs. Jenkins and Bransfield of USCCB and Don Clemmer of USCCB Communications. We are helped by a great CRS staff on the ground. Joe Curry is here permanently to oversee the work of CRS. Archbishop Coakley, of Oklahoma City, who was recently appointed chair of the Catholic Relief Services’ board, will join us in a day. Today will include important conversations with Cardinal Tagle of Manila, Archbishop Pinto, the Philippine’s nuncio, and Archbishop Villegas, who is the president of the Philippine Bishops’ Conference. I first met both Cardinal Tagle and Archbishop Villegas when we were delegates in October 2012 for the Synod on the New Evangelization in Rome. These two Church leaders will provide a helpful overview of the devastation and the priorities for humanitarian efforts, as well as the important work of helping to rebuild churches and the services of the Church. You might recall that the generous response of Catholics in the United States to a special collection late last year had a double purpose: helping with aid to the worst hit people and helping with Church rebuilding. Archbishop Pinto, the nuncio, also will be able to offer great insights into the needs of the Church and the cooperation with civil authorities here on the islands. (By the way, there are more than 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines!) Tomorrow, we will begin to walk through the rubble of the Island of Leyte and see firsthand the way hope and help is being provided. I have heard that already more than 200,000 people have received shelter, water, sanitation, and positive relief. Overall, more than 4 million lives were touched by Typhoon Haiyan (called Yolanda here) with a million experiencing significant damage. About 1/2 million have lost their homes. The Filipino people seem so resilient. In the hotel and in the airport I was able to speak with a number of people. It is hard to find anyone who doesn’t have a neighbor or relative affected. Already, I also can permanently see the great fervor and religious conviction of the Filipino faithful. I am told by Joe Curry of Catholic Relief Services that CRS has been here for some time and has experienced great cooperation with Caritas International and the local Church. Yesterday (or I should say today in the United States), so many women and men religious have been honored and prayed for on the feast of the Presentation of The Lord. It is encouraging to see these examples of faithful and sacrificial love back home and to find the same zeal here in the Philippines. In the Tokyo airport I spoke for some time with a young surgeon from Chicago who is visiting his Filipino grandparents for the next two weeks. I suspect that his faithful life as a young Catholic professional will be replicated in my other encounters. He is fervent in his Catholic faith, lovingly loyal to his family, outgoing to all he meets, and very competent as a surgeon. I was very impressed, and this experience inspired me to pray in union with all the Filipino families of the Archdiocese of Louisville who are so faithful and loving. Together, let us join in prayer and solidarity with our Filipino brothers and sisters.
Brave Filipino People of Faith and Hope
THIS morning, we take a plane ride to the Island of Leyte where the typhoon hit at its full destructive force of 200 miles per hour in November. Please join me in prayer that I and those with whom I am traveling will be true missionaries of hope. We will see lots of destruction, some effort at rebuilding and, I am told, lots of faith and hope. Yesterday Cardinal Tagle of Manila spoke very movingly of the destruction but emphasized: we are not victims. The Filipino people are very resilient. The nuncio, Archbishop Pinto, a very gracious representative of Pope Francis in the Philippines, told us later in the day that he went to Leyte on Christmas Eve and celebrated Mass on the eve and day of Christmas. He said: “Where else should I be?” His remarks were very touching and summed up all that we have been hearing in the briefs we received: The Filipino people are a brave people—a people filled with deep faith! In our meeting with him yesterday,CardinalTaglerecounted his visit and his impressions. He told us how inspired he became as he saw people, who had lost everything, with such faith and hope in their hearts. He also shared the shock that priests and other leaders experienced—some losing family members and grieving, while at the same time being called to lead their people. The parish and local chapels are so central in the lives of the faithful—of course for worship and prayer but also as centers of their social lives and humanitarian efforts. Joe Curry, the Catholic Relief Services’ man on the ground in Manila when the typhoon struck, said that there is such great trust and reverence for the local parish church that there is little or no danger of looting or taking supplies, as they are brought by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to those most in need. The president of the Bishops’ Conference here, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, and I had a bit of a reunion. He and I were both delegates to the 2012 Synod of Bishops in Rome and actually were in the same small work group, so we had great chance
Brave / B5
Tarp distributions take place in different barangays in central Palo, a city hardhit by Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda that devastated the central Philippines in November 2013. A mix of CRS staff and volunteers helped the distributions run smoothly and ensured that any problems could be dealt with using a structured system. Here, a tarp goes up on a damaged home as the distribution is taking place. (Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS)
A school opens in an area devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. Archbishop Kurtz points out that the resumption of school for children in disaster areas is a key component of a return to normalcy. (Photo by Don Clemmer, USCCB)
Rain, Unity, and Hope
I HAVE celebrated the Holy Eucharist when it was pouring outside the Church, but yesterday in Santo Niño Church, located in Tacloban, the rain poured into the aisles throughout the Mass. Our team had just come through a downpour in the barangay called Anibong, which is by the sea, and we arrived at the Church where the faithful had gathered for Mass. All through the trip, I have been repeating that we are one church and that our presence is one of a brother and sister in the Lord in partnership with the local church. During the Holy Eucharist I saw it lived out. A group of priests and seminarians from the seminary in Palo, as well as a youthful contemporary choir, helped so many of the faithful be joined once again to the one saving act of Jesus Christ, and together we all became one body—the Body of Christ. The 195-mile hour winds had taken a toll on the church roof and some windows, and the rain poured down the aisles. It didn’t dampen the spirit of faith and hope, which we found in our 2- hour interaction with the
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Archbishop Kurtz talks to the children in Tacloban.
What I Learned in the Philippines
SEVEN cargo ships ran aground in the Anibong region of Tacloban City during Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda, as it’s called in the Philippines. Three months later, children run and play around the mud-encrusted rudders of one ship. Wooden poles stick out of the water nearby where now-destroyed houses once sat on stilts. Debris litters the ground for miles. Power lines overhead dangle on patched and broken poles, impossibly tangled. Anibong was my first encounter with a neighborhood devastated by the typhoon. Our delegation representing the U.S. bishops and Catholic Relief Services could see immediately how great the need for aid remains. Over February 4-6, I also would see the vital work of CRS in the lives of these people, work made possible by the generosity of U.S. Catholics and donors around the world. Walking among some houses now reduced to rubble, I encountered some young people playing basketball. Children are a great prism to view the life of a community. They reflect the values of their families and conditions at home. Speaking to these young people, I saw something I would see repeatedly: the courage and resiliency of the Filipino people. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila had met with us the previous day and cautioned against regarding the Filipino people as victims or ourselves as rescuers. We should be open to learning from the people, he said. What I learned was that, even as they rebuild their homes and struggle for their families’ livelihoods, the Filipino people have real faith and radiate what Pope Francis calls the joy of the Gospel. They have felt Yolanda’s wrath, but they feel God’s love even more. People in the United States and around the world who have given to typhoon relief efforts don’t get to see the good that their generosity promotes. It was humbling to feel the gratitude of the Filipino people and to see the warmth and emotion in their faces as they greeted us. CRS works with partner Caritas organizations from around the world, and the local Church takes the lead in terms of discerning needs and responding. Together they work on a scale that makes a crucial difference in the lives of individuals and communities. Four million people were displaced by the typhoon, and CRS has helped repair or build 20,000 shelters. They’ve brought clean water and sanitation services to thousands of displaced people. Farmers and others left jobless by the storm are able to support their families through livelihood recovery programs, clearing debris, planting crops and building homes. Catholics in the United States should know their generosity enables essential work of the Gospel, serving those in need without any thought of repayment. Dioceses in the United States have the option to specify whether their donations go only to relief efforts, like CRS, or to relief efforts and church rebuilding. The overwhelming majority of churches in the Archdiocese of Palo sustained damage of some kind. This included eight that were completely destroyed and a cathedral that, despite having its newly renovated roof blown completely off, still drew a full house on a Wednesday evening when we celebrated Mass. This experience and others showed the essential role of the Church in the Philippines as a hub of community life. During Yolanda, countless people sought shelter in churches. Following the storm, churches have played a role in storing and distributing supplies. People’s everyday lives and identities are enmeshed in the parish. As I visited communities, urban and rural, and spoke, listened and prayed with the Filipino people, the sense that we are one Church overwhelmed me. The people of the Philippines are walking a difficult road, but the whole Church walks it together, as we are present in our relief efforts, our friendship and our prayers. I return to the United States filled with joy and gratitude for gift of the Filipino people and with the firm belief that they will continue to overcome.
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
Principal in storm-weary Guiuan faces immense task of rebuilding school
By Dennis Sadowski (Catholic News Service)
A MID-MORNING downpour left large pools of water on the second floor of St. Mary’s Academy where, until Nov. 8, students learned computer skills, wrote short stories and solved algebra equations. Without a roof, the top floor of the school is open to the elements—baking sun and tropical rainstorms alike— courtesy of Typhoon Haiyan (Locally code-named “Yolanda”). Yet, Sister Amelia Sabada, a member of the Religious of the Virgin Mary and St. Mary’s principal, is hardly alarmed as she guides visitors on a tour of the damaged school, tiptoeing in sandaled feet through an inch or so of water. The repairs will come in due time, she said. Her immediate goal is to make sure that the school’s 593 students in grades seven through 12 complete the necessary classes for the current academic year. The school year has been extended until late April, an extra month. Sister Amelia said the most important task is to help the seniors prepare for college entrance exams, and that means making sure that they finish the coursework they missed during the two months the academy was closed because of the typhoon. Classes are conducted on the school’s first floor, which escaped with minimal damage, and in temporary classrooms under a canvas tent in the school courtyard. The classrooms are crowded, but the work of educating students is continuing, she said. “I’m sure our students understand the situation that their classroom is not what it was before,” Sister Amelia said. Nothing is what it was before in Guiuan, a city of 47,000 located on a peninsula of southernmost Samar Island. The peninsula was where Haiyan (Yolanda) first made landfall, lashing the city and nearby rural communities. While Guiuan was not battered by the tsunamilike storm surge that inundated Tacloban and Palo on Leyte Island, farther west, Haiyan’s (Yolanda’s) winds tore through buildings, toppled power lines and uprooted trees. Rescue teams struggled to reach the city, which was virtually cut off from the rest of the country. To visitors, Guiuan looks as if it were bombed. Roof tresses on warehouses and office buildings are mangled. Tarps from various relief agencies cover homes where people decided to return; more severely damaged homes were abandoned. Hulks of vehicles remain under debris. Electrical and water service are nonexistent. Philippine officials said 110 people died and another 3,625 were injured in the city. Rescuers during the days after the storm expressed surprise that the casualties were not higher given the extent of the damage. Here, residents heeded evacuation orders. Once the school reopened Jan. 6, Sister Amelia and her staff spent the first day of classes listening to students describe their experiences of riding out the typhoon. Since then, she told Catholic News Service Feb. 9, the students talk about the storm less and seem to have adapted to new daily routines even if their surroundings are chaotic. The same holds true for the city, she said. “I believe the people are slowly picking up their lives. People are smiling,” Sister Amelia said. Next door, a weary Msgr. Lope Robredillo, pastor of the historic 18th-century Immaculate Conception Church, discussed how the parish staff has responded to the needs of the community from what’s left of the parish rectory. The building’s second floor, with just a couple of walls remaining under a temporary roof, serves as a kind of command center-parish office-makeshift sleeping quarters for the three diocesan priests assigned to the church. Theparishtotalsabout20,000members, nearly half the city’s population and, Msgr. Robredillo explained, parish staff and volunteers are doing as much as they can in the face of the huge need. “They are zealous,” he said. Food and building materials are distributed as soon as they are received from diocesan headquarters in Borongan, about 70 miles north. The priests visit what’s left of the neighborhoods to celebrate Mass, offering emotional and spiritual support to parishioners. “We talk little about the typhoon,” Msgr. Robredillo said. “Most of what we talk about are the concerns for building their house.” Mass is also celebrated under a steelroofed shelter in a small courtyard outside of the rectory. Approximately 100 people can be seated on plastic chairs and a few wooden pews salvaged from the 300-year-old church. The altar cloth waves in the wind. A statue of Mary decorated with plastic flowers and ferns stands off to the side. When it rains, as it did after the morning Masses Feb. 9, puddles turn the ground into sticky mud. Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan has visited the community to deliver emergency supplies. His presence and support has been welcome, Msgr. Robredillo said. “The bishop has encouraged us to stay put in the parishes and continue to work on distribution of gift goods and rehab materials. He encourages by visiting the parishes, because the diocese cannot do many things. Its resources are limited. It’s also dependent on the donations coming from the (Philippine) Catholic bishops’ conference and private individuals. “The task is so huge,” Msgr. Robredillo added. Plans are underway for a new church just across the street from the destroyed landmark, Msgr. Robredillo explained, so that people have a decent place to worship. Because of the old church’s status in Philippine history, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines will oversee its restoration, but that is expected to take 10 to 15 years, he said. The Religious of the Virgin Mary congregation have committed to rebuilding the school. Sister Amelia said engineers and architects have visited to begin mapping a reconstruction plan. They were expected to visit the school by the end of February once again to determine when construction can start, she said. While the congregation is paying for the repairs, Sister Amelia and her staff must raise funds to buy new computer equipment, outfit science labs, acquire textbooks, restock the library and purchase desks, teaching supplies and the many necessities that make a school and school, she said. Sister Amelia acknowledged the task is daunting. But she expects that God and Mother Ignacia, foundress of her congregation, will intervene to ensure success. “I continue to pray all shall be well,” she told CNS. “We still have lots of things to do. It’s not easy to restore the school.” Mary Healing Ministry Head for Evangelization and daughter of Sister Nena. Each Tuesday afternoon starts with singing and dancing, followed by Bible enthronement, Sister Ruby said. After praise and worship, new attendees are welcomed, and birthday c e l e b r a n t s g re e t e d . T h e n reflection on the Gospel for the day follows. “Kulang pa ito para purihin ang Diyos sa ginawa sa aming buhay,” Sister Nena said. “Ang ginagawa namin para makapagpasalamat sa Diyos dinadalaw namin ang mga may sakit sa mga ospital at bahay at pini-pray over namin.” [It is not enough to praise God for changing our lives. As a way to thank God, we visit sick people in hospitals and homes and pray for them.] The community also gives free medicines to less fortunate sick people, she said. They raise fund for the medicines through contributions. “Humahayo kami every Tuesday sa mga may sakit sa ospital at bahay para magbigay ng libreng gamot,” Sister Ruby said. [Every Tuesday we visit sick people in hospitals and homes to give free medicines.] Destitute and sick people, who because of years of suffering and helplessness have ceased to believe in God, feel again the presence of God through the charitable activities of the community, Sister Nena said.
It all started in a salon, charismatic healing group now 30 years old
By Oliver Samson
IT was very unlikely that a charismatic healing community would have its beginnings in a beauty salon, which would also cradle it during its fledgling stage. But 30 years ago, a few parlor friends who received the inspiration, put themselves in one bind to seek more of God and draw more limbs into the assembly. The salon also served as the group’s regular venue for their early activities—Bible studies and sharing on how each one was able to retrace his way back to God, said Sister Nena Co, co-founder of, and adviser to Servants of Mary Healing Community. When their existence and activities in the parlor, which has a reputation for gossip, cheap talk, lingua franca of the rude and vain, reached the notice of the parish church, the group was advised to look for another venue, Sister Nena said. So, they moved to the house of Sister Nena in Cainta. Sister Nena was a restaurateur, who
Servants of Mary Healing Ministry during praise and worship at San Lorenzo Ruiz Hall, Our Lady of Light Parish Formation Center in Cainta, Rizal on February 11, 2014.
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also was engaged in buy and sell of trucks, and junk shop business. The whole family welcomed the group. “Hindi lang kami ang binago, buong pamilya binago,” Sister Nena said. “Nagkaroon ng kapayapaan sa pamilya.” [Not only members were changed, the entire family was changed. The family received peace.] When Sister Nena’s garage could not accommodate the growth of the group in terms of number, Our Lady of Light Parish offered a space in the church premises that would regularly serve as venue for their activities, she said. To d a y, e v e r y Tu e s d a y afternoon, the Servants of Mary Healing Community gathers about a hundred of people, mostly elderly and suffering from various health conditions, at San Lorenzo Ruiz Hall in Our Lady of Light Parish Formation Center for praise and worship, Sister Nena said. “Karamihan sa pumupunta may sakit,” she said. “Yung iba nakawheelchair. Ang iba nakalakad na.” [Most of the people who come were sick. Others were in wheelchair. Some have walked already.] One of the people who facilitate the community’s healing ministry is a former Muslim, by the name of Abdul, who joined the fold of the Roman Catholic Church and became a lay minister, said Sister Ruby Co, Servants of
May They Be One
Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home
ONE hundred Yolanda survivors in Antique became the happy recipients of May They Be One (MTBO) Bibles during a Bible distribution on December 19, 2013. They were among 1,500 recipients of Hiligaynon Bibles distributed in Antique by a team of staff from the Philippine Bible Society and Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH). One of the recipients, 37-year old Doroteo Acuna, shared that when he began reading his MTBO Bible, the Lord opened his eyes to his need for a Savior and so he received Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. The power of the Lord through His Word also delivered Doroteo from slavery to alcohol. Hungry to know more about God and His Word, Doroteo and his wife Dominga, formed a Bible formation group among family members and neighbors and invited a teacher to lead them. The group which began with just 3 members, has grown to 8. Another Bible recipient, 54-year old Ricardo Benigno, started a Bible formation group in mountainous Barangay Mandarat, also in Antique. The group comprises 15 adults and young people as well as 6 children. Some of the members are thankful that they now have their own Bibles, saying that the written Word keeps their walk with God afresh, despite being visited by their Bible formation leader only once a month. The other members expressed their desire to also have their own Bibles. Another Bible formation group was established in Barangay Sabang West after the December Bible Bible Distribution Among Yolanda Survivors distribution. The group meets in a rest house (kamalig) because the organizer’s house was rendered roofless by Typhoon Yolanda. Members of the group testify that hearing the Word of God through the I-Proclaim audio Bible distributed by FCBH, and reading the MTBO Bible, have freed their spirits from the trauma they experienced from the super typhoon. The relief goods delivered to them by caring sectors also brought them much joy and encouragement, taking this to be a tangible proof of the Lord’s love and provision for His children.
Survivors feast on the Word
people in this district, who were devastated by the destruction but were never robbed of their family-like hospitality and joy. All through the Mass, I could not help but bring forth in prayer those Filipino families we spent time with just before coming to the church. As I mentioned, we went to a completely devastated area. You will see photos of the seven large tankers lifted completely out of the water by the 20-foot surge, resting now about a football field from the water ’s edge. Slowly, rubble was being removed. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has worked heroically to help with shelter, water, and human support to those dislocated. Many have now returned and are piecing together homes and community life. We spoke for at least 20 minutes to the elected captain of this small region of 1,300 or so residents. We were packed into a concentrated area with children and adults crowding around to hear what was said and to exchange smiles and handshakes. The articulate and caring young woman, Shirley, spoke in a soft voice of the great needs in a very patient, kind but persistent and courageous way. This was a scene that teemed with welcome and hope. Like bees, people were using what tools they had to rebuild homes in a make-shift way. It’s not clear that they will be permitted to stay, but this is now their only option. Some even made homes on the ships that had been grounded and would soon be removed.
Some were removing rubble, and I was told this is a CRS sponsored “cash for work” project that provides some small return for the work of recovery to those affected. Earlier I had heard that unemployment is now 80% in this affected area and those employed often live on wages of less than a $2 a day. Like everywhere on the planet, if you want to see signs of hope and joy in the midst of tragedy, look to the children. In fact, we all enjoyed the children and their reactions. Very warm and friendly, many children spoke, and all waved. All human beings just want to be noticed and taken into account—it is about human dignity. Two clear signs of dignity for the children were found in a makeshift basketball court that had been erected in the midst of the rubble and a banner announcing the beginning of school last month. The basketball court must have been 8 by 16 feet at the most with a rickety backboard and rim rescued from the storm, but play has the capacity to restore hope, and we experienced it here. The large banner on a building announced, “School begins on January 14,” which testified to a blessed new routine. I asked some of the children if they are going to school, and of course, they all said yes. The best sign of normalcy restored in time of tragedy is that return to the routine of school for children and their parents. How moving it is to connect those two scenes—Mass at Santo Niño and life being restored within the
seaside rubble. Pope Francis just released his Lenten message, and it deepens my understanding of what I am experiencing here. He speaks of Christ’s call to be truly rich and provides the great distinction between being poor and being destitute. Of course, Jesus calls each of us to embrace a spirit of poverty that leads to a lasting joy centered in God. The enemy of this path, says Pope Francis, is being destitute, and he outlines three levels of destitution. The first, not surprisingly, is material destitution. Much of the work of relief workers here in the Philippines seeks to eradicate this destitution that robs people of true dignity. Thus, all of the work to provide clean water, shelter, sanitation, and jobs is all aimed at helping people lift themselves and their loved ones from that material destitution. The other two levels of destitution are moral and spiritual. Pope Francis calls us to see the trap of moral destitution, with its modern snares of addictions that turn one to selfishness and sin and, yes, an indignity unworthy of the human person. And the spiritual destitution that robs us of the ability to worship and praise God is a profound affront to human dignity. My experience in Tacloban yesterday afternoon was a celebration of human dignity. How fitting and what a privilege it was to visit with families and to join in the Holy Eucharist in a rainy church interior.
Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Lenten Message of Pope Francis for 2014
B5 Laiko ng Pasig Presensya ng Diyos sa Daigdig
A Pastoral Letter on the Year of Faith
He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich (cf. 2 Cor 8:9)
Vatican Radio Facebook Page
“Dapat ninyong paliwanagin ang inyong ilaw sa harap ng mga tao Upang luwalhatian ang inyong Amang nasa langit”. (Mateo 5:16)
MINAMAHAL kong Sambayanan ng Diyos ng Diyosesis ng Pasig, Kapayapaan mula sa Panginoong Hesukristo, ang Prinsipe ng Kapayapaan! Buong galak kong ipinahahayag sa inyo ang taong 2014 bilang “Year of the Laity” o “Taon ng Laiko.” Habang naghahanda tayo sa ika-500 taon ng pagdating ng Kristiyanismo sa ating bayan, nagtakda ang mga Obispo ninyo ng iba’t ibang paksa bawat taon (“Live Christ, Share Christ,” CBCP Exhortation on the Era of the New Evangelization, July 23, 2012). Noong isang taon ay “Year of Integral Faith Formation” na napaloob sa mas malawak na “Year of Faith” o “Taon ng Pananampalataya” ng buong Simbahan sa buong daigdig. Naging makabuluhan ang nagdaang taon dahil sa “National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” tuwing unang Sabado ng buwan. Sa tulong ng Kalinis-linisang Puso ni Maria, bawat Pilipino ay nagkaroon ng pagkakataong maunawaan, maisapuso at maisabuhay ang pananalig sa Diyos. Ngayong “Taon ng Laiko” hangad ng inyong mga Obispo na muling tuklasin ng lahat ng laiko ang kanilang katauhan bilang binyagan na isinasabuhay ang kanilang bokasyon at misyon ng pagka–PARI, pagka–PROPETA at pagka–HARING LINGKOD sa Simbahan at lipunan. Ito ang biyayang tinanggap natin mula sa Diyos sa Binyag, pinagtibay sa Kumpil at pinalakas sa Banal na Eukaristiya. Pagnilayan natin ang “Taon ng Laiko” sa tulong ng ilang laikong huwaran sa pagsasabuhay ng biyaya ng kanilang pagiging binyagan. Sa loob ng aking pagpa—pastol sa Diyosesis ng Pasig, tatlong laikong Katoliko ang nagsisilbing inspirasyon sa akin. Ang una ay si Miss San Juan na madalas kong nakikita sa pagdiriwang ko ng Misa kapag Linggo ng umaga sa ating katedral. Mahigit siyamnapung taong gulang na at naka – ‘wheel chair” kapag nagsisimba si Miss San Juan. Nasabi nga po ng aking ina na naging guro pa niya ito sa high school. Nakakatawag pansin sa akin ang taimtim nyang debosyon sa Banal na Misa at taimtim na pananalangin pagkatapos ng Misa. Kahit hirap na ang kanyang katawan dala ng kanyang katandaan at kapansanan para pumunta pa sa simbahan para magsimba at magdasal ay buong tapat at tiyagang ginagawa ito, patunay ng pagsasabuhay ng kanyang pagka-PARI bilang binyagan. Dinalaw ko nga siya noong nakaraang Pasko sa kanyang bahay. Hiniling ko sa kanyang ipagdasal ako at lahat ng pari ng ating diyosesis. Binigyang-diin ko sa kanya na napakabisa ng pagdarasal nya at pagsa-sakripisyo niya para mapabanal kaming mga pari. Ang ikalawa ay si Ka Luring na bantog na katekista mula sa St. Michael Parish, Hagonoy. Batang Pari pa po ako nang nakilala ko si Ka Luring. Pumanaw siya halos tatlong taon na ang nakaraan. Nagsilbi siyang inspirasyon sa akin dahil isa siyang tapat na tagapangaral ng salita ng Diyos at ng katuruan ng Simbahan. Kahit pagod na pagod siya at walang pera, hindi ito naging hadlang sa pagtuturo niya sa “public school” at mga mumunting pamayanan. Usapan nga naming mga pari noon, kapag kailangan niya ng tulong ng pari para sa Misa o sa Kumpisal, isang paki usap lang niya ay di mo na siya matatanggihan kahit punong-puno ang iskedyul mo. Tunay ngang naging inspirasyon si Ka Luring sa akin dahil isinabuhay niya ang pagka-PROPETA niya bilang binyagan. Ang ikatlo as si Bro. Ferdi Fuentes na taga Holy Family Parish, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig. Bago siya yumao dala ng sakit na kanser noong nakaraang taon, naging huwarang lider-lingkod siya ng parokya. Malaki ang naitulong niya sa pangangasiwa ng proyekto ng bagong tayong simbahan ng Holy Family Parish. Minsan, dinalaw ko siya sa ospital at damang dama ko ang malalim niyang pananampalataya sa Diyos at patuloy na hangaring maglingkod sa kanya hanggang kaya ng kanyang katawan. Nagsilbi din siyang inspirasyon sa kanyang asawa at mga anak at pati na rin kapwa lingkod sa parokya. Pinatunayan niya sa akin ang pagsasabuhay niya ng pagka-HARING LINGKOD bilang binyagang Katoliko. Hindi lamang sina Miss San Juan, Ka Luring at Bro. Ferdi Fuentes ang mga laikong naging inspirasyon natin sa kabanalan at kabayanihan sa paglilingkod sa Diyos at sa Simbahan. Sigurado akong marami pang iba ang dapat nating alalahanin at pasalamatan sa ating panalangin. Nawa’y tandaan at isaloob ng ating laiko ang isinulat ng mga Obispo ng Pilipinas. “You, our dear lay faithful, have as your particular mission the sanctification and transformation of the world from within. In fact, many of you are called by the Lord to do service in the Church and for the Church”. (Filipino Catholic Laity: Called to Be Saints… Sent Forth as Heroes, CBCP Pastoral Exhortation for the 2014 Year of the Laity, December 1, 2013). Harinawa maging mabunga ang taong ito para sa ating diyosesis sa pamamagitan ng masigasig na paglilingkod ng laiko sa iba’t ibang ministro at apostolado ng mga parokya, lalung-lalo na ang mga mumunting pamayanan. Ipagdasal nating marami pang maidagdag sa laikong lingkod sa ubasan ng Panginoon dahil alam naman nating: “Sagana ang anihin ngunit kakaunti naman ang mag–aani.” (Mateo 9:37) Sa pamamagitan ng ating mga Pilipinong Santo at mga banal na laikong sina San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila at San Pedro Calungsod, at pati pa rin ang ating Patrona, ang Immaculada Concepcion, panalangin ko na dinggin ng mga laiko ng Diyosesis ng Pasig ang tawag ng Panginoon na maging tunay na banal, at tahakin ninyo ang daan na maging mga bayani ng Simbahan at lipunan sa “Makabagong Panahon ng Ebanghelisasyon.” Nagmamahal, +MYLO HUBERT C. VERGARA, DD Obispo ng Pasig Ika-26 ng Enero 2014
DEAR Brothers and Sisters, As Lent draws near, I would like to offer some helpful thoughts on our path of conversion as individuals and as a community. These insights are inspired by the words of Saint Paul: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor8:9). The Apostle was writing to the Christians of Corinth to encourage them to be generous in helping the faithful in Jerusalem who were in need. What do these words of Saint Paul mean for us Christians today? What does this invitation to poverty, a life of evangelical poverty, mean for us today? 1. Christ’s grace First of all, it shows us how God works. He does not reveal himself cloaked in worldly power and wealth but rather in weakness and poverty: “though He was rich, yet for your sake he became poor …”. Christ, the eternal Son of God, one with the Father in power and glory, chose to be poor; he came amongst us and drew near to each of us; he set aside his glory and emptied himself so that he could be like us in all things (cf. Phil 2:7; Heb 4:15). God’s becoming man is a great mystery! But the reason for all this is his love, a love which is grace, generosity, a desire to draw near, a love which does not hesitate to offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved. Charity, love, is sharing with the one we love in all things. Love makes us similar, it creates equality, it breaks down walls and eliminates distances. God did this with us. Indeed, Jesus “worked with human hands, thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, he truly became one of us, like us in all things except sin.” (Gaudium et Spes, 22). By making himself poor, Jesus did not seek poverty for its own sake but, as Saint Paul says “that by his poverty you might become rich”. This is no mere play on words or a catch phrase. Rather, it sums up God’s logic, the logic of love, the logic of the incarnation and the cross. God did not let our salvation drop down from heaven, like someone who gives alms from their abundance out of a sense of altruism and piety. Christ’s love is different! When Jesus stepped into the waters of the Jordan and was baptized by John the Baptist, he did so not because he was in need of repentance, or conversion; he did it to be among people who need forgiveness, among us sinners, and to take upon himself the burden of our sins. In this way he chose to comfort us, to save us, to free us from our misery. It is striking that the Apostle states that we were set free, not by Christ’s riches but by his poverty. Yet Saint Paul is well aware of the “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8), that he is “heir of all things” (Heb 1:2). So what is this poverty by which Christ frees us and enriches us? It is his way of loving us, his way of being our neighbour, just as the Good Samaritan was neighbour to the man left half dead by the side of the road (cf. Lk 10:25ff). What gives us true freedom, true salvation and true happiness is the
Brave / B3
compassion, tenderness and solidarity of his love. Christ’s poverty which enriches us is his taking flesh and bearing our weaknesses and sins as an expression of God’s infinite mercy to us. Christ’s poverty is the greatest treasure of all: Jesus’ wealth is that of his boundless confidence in God the Father, his constant trust, his desire always and only to do the Father’s will and give glory to him. Jesus is rich in the same way as a child who feels loved and who loves its parents, without doubting their love and tenderness for an instant. Jesus’ wealth lies in his being the Son; his unique relationship with the Father is the sovereign prerogative of this Messiah who is poor. When Jesus asks us to take up his “yoke which is easy”, he asks us to be enriched by his “poverty which is rich” and his “richness which is poor”, to share his filial and fraternal Spirit, to become sons and daughters in the Son, brothers and sisters in the firstborn brother (cf. Rom 8:29). It has been said that the only real regret lies in not being a saint (L. Bloy); we could also say that there is only one real kind of poverty: not living as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ. 2. Our witness We might think that this “way” of poverty was Jesus’ way, whereas we who come after him can save the world with the right kind of human resources. This is not the case. In every time and place God continues to save mankind and the world through the poverty of Christ, who makes himself poor in the sacraments, in his word and in his Church, which is a people of the poor. God’s wealth passes not through our wealth, but invariably and exclusively through our personal and communal poverty, enlivened by the Spirit of Christ. In imitation of our Master, we Christians are called to confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it. Destitution is not the same as poverty: destitution is poverty without faith, without support, without hope. There are three types of destitution: material, moral and spiritual. Material destitution is what is normally called poverty, and affects those living in conditions opposed to human dignity: those who lack basic rights and needs such as food, water, hygiene, work and the opportunity to develop and grow culturally. In response to this destitution, the Church offers her help, her diakonia, in meeting these needs and binding these wounds which disfigure the face of humanity. In the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ. Our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution. When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing. No less a concern is moral destitution, which consists in slavery to vice and sin.
How much pain is caused in families because one of their members – often a young person - is in thrall to alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography! How many people no longer see meaning in life or prospects for the future, how many have lost hope! And how many are plunged into this destitution by unjust social conditions, by unemployment, which takes away their dignity as breadwinners, and by lack of equal access to education and health care. In such cases, moral destitution can be considered impending suicide. This type of destitution, which also causes financial ruin, is invariably linked to the spiritual destitution which we experience when we turn away from God and reject his love. If we think we don’t need God who reaches out to us through Christ, because we believe we can make do on our own, we are headed for a fall. God alone can truly save and free us. The Gospel is the real antidote to spiritual destitution: wherever we go, we are called as Christians to proclaim the liberating news that forgiveness for sins committed is possible, that God is greater than our sinfulness, that he freely loves us at all times and that we were made for communion and eternal life. The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope! It is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news, sharing the treasure entrusted to us, consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness. It means following and imitating Jesus, who sought out the poor and sinners as a shepherd lovingly seeks his lost sheep. In union with Jesus, we can courageously open up new paths of evangelization and human promotion. Dear brothers and sisters, may this Lenten season find the whole Church ready to bear witness to all those who live in material, moral and spiritual destitution the Gospel message of the merciful love of God our Father, who is ready to embrace everyone in Christ. We can do this to the extent that we imitate Christ who became poor and enriched us by his poverty. Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt. May the Holy Spirit, through whom we are “as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor 6:10), sustain us in our resolutions and increase our concern and responsibility for human destitution, so that we can become merciful and act with mercy. In expressing this hope, I likewise pray that each individual member of the faithful and every Church community will undertake a fruitful Lenten journey. I ask all of you to pray for me. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you safe. From the Vatican, 26 December 2013 Feast of Saint Stephen, Deacon and First Martyr FRANCISCUS
to come to know each other and begin a friendship in the Lord. He, too, spoke of resilience and of the need for true partnerships. So we will be seeing destruction later today. It will not be the same as traveling in November right after the typhoon hit. Joe Curry said at that time it was almost impossible to get around. It took some time to get to the east coast of the island where the destruction was most severe. Now, the small airport is open, and we will be able to travel. Nonetheless we are all steeling ourselves to the shock we might encounter—lots of rubble and some steps at recovery and,
as the bishops told us, a great deal of resilience and hope! Catholic Relief Services has already served some 200,000 people. As you might imagine, most of the aid was in the form of shelter, water, sanitation, and food. Even now the deeper work of more permanent housing and cash for labor jobs have begun by CRS, and so we might see some beginning signs of normalcy. The coordination is clearly in the hands of Caritas Philippines or NASSAas it is known here. CRS and other Caritas agencies are working together to assist, always mindful that it is best for the work to be done by those who know the land the best.
I am impressed by this model of good collaboration of all the Caritas agencies of the Catholic Church. At the briefing yesterday I asked about schools. Some time ago, I was told that the best and surest way to re-establish normalcy in a devastated area is helping the children return to school. That was certainly true of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, and the Catholic schools in New Orleans did heroic work to reach out to all children. I am told that schools in make-shift areas have already begun to appear in Leyte. I imagine that it is true that tragedy brings out the best of
people and reveals depth of character. We will likely learn a great deal in the next three days as we experience the reality of the devastation and the resiliency of brave people of faith. It is with solidarity, as one Church united by the grace of Jesus Christ and in a friendship that overflows into truly cooperative partnerships that I suspect I will return from the island of Leyte three days from now. These gifts will likely mean all the more given the tragic circumstances in which they arise. We pray for the brave people of faith and hope in the Philippines.
Bishop Mylo Vergara’s Facebook Page
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
The call to love without borders
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mt 5:38-48 (A) Feb 23, 2014
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE most destructive forces in the world are not nuclear weapons, earthquakes, and other death-sowing disasters. The most destructive force is hatred. This dreadful power disfigures and shatters the heart of man and society. Hatred is man’s greatest enemy, the anti-life force par excellence. Only one force can oppose and overcome hatred and make up for its deadly effects: LOVE. Love is life. It has the power to renew the heart of man . . . to renew the face of the earth. Love is God’s “invention.” It is God’s very life, for “God is Love” (1 Jn 4:8). Man and his world were brought into existence by Love. Love is what maintains them and guides them to their final “destination”—heaven. Love is the heart of the world; the heart of whatever is beautiful, worthy and uplifting. Love has many faces, many “family names.” Depending on the circumstances and the needs of our “neighbor,” love becomes appreciation, acceptance, encouragement, selfforgetfulness, offering or accepting a gift, patient waiting or immediate action, a word of correction or quiet listening, a radiant smile or an intent look, timely help, and forgiveness . . . The actions performed may be the most diverse, but one is their root, the fundamental attitude that prompts them all: LOVE. But in this world of ours, poisoned by sin and crippled by moral weakness, it is not easy to love everybody and at all times. We need a teacher and one who gives us the strength we need to put into practice what we have learned. Jesus is that teacher. We need one to show us in practice how to love. God the Father, of course, is our first and most perfect model, for He created all things out of love and keeps them in existence out of love, as He “makes His sunrise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. But among all the innumerable “signs” of His love, none can equal the gift of His eternal Son, for a God so love the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). And Jesus, as “The human face of God” or “love made flesh” is not only of God’s love for us, but also our most perfect human model of how we should love both God and neighbor. For it was out of love for the Father that the man Jesus lived and suffered to the outmost. At the same time, it was out of love for mankind that he spent his whole life and endured such a terrible death in order that all might have life and have it to the full. (See Jn 10:10.) Jesus, then, is our divine and human we have to look up to and imitate. We also need an internal strength to energize us, especially when loving becomes a hard test. Jesus is also the one who infuses in us the strength that we need in order to love even our enemies and executioners, if it should happen, to the very end. Among the many things that matter in life, one tops them all: LOVE. Of all the virtues we can practice, “there are three that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is LOVE” (1 Cor 13:13).
The call to put our trust in the Lord
8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mt 6:24-343 (A) March 2, 2014
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
AN excessive yearning for material things and comfort has been a constant temptation for all human beings. Those who succumb to it lose the sense of their dignity and become slaves of the very things which were intended to serve them. Buried, as we are, in a consumeristic society which bombards us with the most tempting commercials, we feel our natural eagerness for material things heightened to an unprecedented degree. Some are so concerned about their material needs that they appear to have become the main goal of their existence. This is a continuous challenge to our faith in a God who loves us and cares for us and our needs. To be excessively concerned about material things in a form of practical atheism. Jesus warns us against this danger with words that are, perhaps, even more relevant today than they were 2,000 years ago: “No one can serve two masters . . . You cannot give yourself to God and money!” (Mt 6:24). To all of us today, Jesus addresses his appeal: “Do not worry . . .” His words are not an encouragement to idleness and irresponsible carelessness, but an
Believe in your ‘product’, or no one else will…
BY “product”—I don’t mean something you sell. By “product”, I’m talking about YOU. Judith Viorst said, Demanding that people love us because we cannot love ourselves is an iron-clad guarantee of further rejection. Let me tell you a story. One early dawn, I woke terrified that I was going to address a crowd of ten thousand people. No, the size didn’t bother me. I was used to speaking to large crowds. What bothered me was that the organizers wanted me to speak in pure Tagalog. I’m ashamed to say this, but they could have asked me to speak in ancient Greek, and it would have been almost the same. Yes, I spoke Tagalog conversationally, but I suck at it. (Why? Long story: My family migrated to Cebu when I was one year old. So as a kid, I grew up speaking English and Cebuano, not Tagalog. But we transferred back to Manila when I was 8, so I forgot my Cebuano—but growing up, I had such a hard time speaking in Tagalog, I just ended up speaking in English.) Boy, was I petrified that day. But as a public speaker, I also knew that it would be a complete disaster to go up the stage in the state of mind I was in. If I stood in front of them doubting my ability, I’d never be able to impart my message. I’d stutter, fumble with the microphone wire, and drown in my own sweat. And my audience would fall asleep. ]I knew this rule: If I won’t believe in my product, no one else will…So I closed my eyes and began to imagine myself giving that Tagalog talk with awesome fluency. I pictured in my mind the audience being inspired and moved by my stories. My visualizing worked so well, I was even feeling the inner elation of speaking well. I mentally told myself, “Gosh, you’re a great Tagalog speaker, Bo.” I then prayed and believed that this would be my reality. A few minutes later, I was on stage. And my vision did become reality! I was more dynamic than usual. Ten thousand people were at the edge of their seats, listening to me. More importantly, I found myself fluent in Tagalog. Sure, I made a LOT of grammatical mistakes. (Only practice can cure that one.) But the important thing was that I wasn’t distracted by them and so weren’t my listeners. Why? Along the way, I’ve learned a secret about our minds I want to share with you. Our subconscious doesn’t know the difference between what we experience and what we vividly imagine. As Richard Eyre would say in his book, Lifebalance, “Our subconscious doesn’t know the difference between something that happens and something that is thought.” That’s why Olympic champions use visualization exercises. Before the actual event, runners imagine themselves crossing the finish line. Swimmers feel what it would be like to be the first one to touch the swimming pool tiles at the end of their race. Weightlifters visualize themselves carrying the heaviest poundage ever. They repeat these visualizations thousands of times. So why can’t we? I believe that no matter what job we hold, we are in the business of selling something. As employees, we are selling our services to our companies. As entrepreneurs, we are selling goods we either manufactured or bought from another entrepreneur. But these things—our services and our goods— are but secondary products. Our most important product is ourselves. Close your eyes. Visualize that you are the masterpiece of this universe, fashioned by the Creator, in His beautiful image. Do you believe in your product? In your capacity to serve and bless others? Do a visualization exercise. Close your eyes and picture the best that you can be. What kind of person do you want to be? See that person in your mind. Feel what it means to be that person, now. Believe in your product.
invitation to trust-filled care for us. It is a question of proper priorities. We Christians do care about material needs, both our own and those of our neighbor, especially the people for whom we may be responsible. We have to—for the material world has been entrusted to our care and it is meant to satisfy our needs. We are also responsible for the needs of the people entrusted to our care. But Jesus reminds us that we should care for all these needs within the perspective of the Kingdom,
which has got to be our top priority (see Mt 6:33). Everything has to be seen as a means to establish and expand it. Within this perspective, not only the wise concern, but even prayers for material needs have their proper place. And all these cares and petitions are trustfully presented to the Father, in the firm assurance that He who gives life and cares for all his creatures will also provide the means required to satisfy their needs, for as long as He deems
it necessary. He is the Lord of life and care. Verses 26-29 in today’s Gospel passage are a beautiful to God’s provident and care for all creatures, even if their life span is short and they are worth much less, than a single human being. God provides for them in a new magnificent, fatherly way. Our trust in Him sets us free from unnecessary worries that vex the life of unbelievers. Trust in the Lord’s providence makes us enjoy the freedom of His children.
The call to avoid hypocrisy and ostentation
Ash Wednesday, Mt 6:1-6, 16-18; March 5, 2014
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
SOMEONE has compared the world to a stage and our life to a show which is at times a comedy and, at other times, a tragedy. There may be a good deed of truth in this comparison. It also points out a serious danger: the danger that our existence becomes a collection of “roles” which lead us to a situation of superficiality and inauthenticity. And when the lights are switched off and our fans have gone, we find ourselves alone and empty, gripped in a chilling darkness. Thus, life is experienced as a failure—the saddest tragedy ever! Jesus Christ always lived in the presence of the Father, doing his very best to please Him in whatever he did. But he was no actor. Instead, he was only and simply himself. At all times. That is what made him a “protagonist.” He lived what he preached. That is why he could demand that his disciples should do the same. He wanted them—he wants us—to be authentic, to be protagonists, rather than simple “role players.” He does not want us to be “cheaters” and pretenders. The Lenten season that we begin today is a call to undergo a thorough renewal of our spiritual life. An urgent call from Jesus. He mentions almsgiving, prayer, and fasting as three basic areas in which the danger of cheating ourselves is stronger. Each of us can lengthen the list or alter it. He will not mind it, as long as the list
corresponds to our real situation and is aimed at bringing about our spiritual renewal. In our search for such renewal, we are not left to ourselves. “Hindi tayo nag-iisa.” God is with us. He continually watches over us not as a spectator, nor as a spy but as a loving Father. His presence is both demanding and understanding; all-knowing and discreet; respectful of our freedom and yet ready to help. In a word, His is a fatherly presence. And when the Father and Jesus are present, the Holy Spirit cannot be far. All the three Divine Persons are aware of our efforts
and sincerity, even when people ignore or misinterpret them. They know that such a quest requires perseverance and courage. Its purpose cannot be achieved overnight or by weaklings. The quest for authenticity and renewal lasts as long as our earthly life. When this reaches the “the finish line,” we will find ourselves to have become what we have striven to be in the ups and downs of our mortal existence. Our heaven or our hell will be, to a great extent, “customized”—it will be what we ourselves have made it through our free choices.
WHEN we deeply contemplate on the world around us, people, friends, and acquaintances, we begin to realize there is a great and provident God who cares for us, so long we endeavor to keep
Bishop Pat Alo
Great and provident God
His laws and principles. Certainly God expects us also to do our best in giving quality service to our fellow men and women. In His holy words in the Bible God tells us: “Give and it shall be given unto you. In the measure that you give, so shall it come back to you” (Lk. 6:38). So the proposition in our lives in order to be successful, according to the above text, is to be sincere to ourselves in being of good service to our neighbors and communities, and the Lord will bless us in return. It’s of no use to be selfish and stingy while expecting others to be generous to us. You yourself can observe how in this life those are most successful and popular who are committed to honest service of the neighbor without announcing publicly such services. God who knows all things and desires from the very beginning will always reward any truthful service from the heart.
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Sweet Kristine Adorio
Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Social Concerns A Dream Come True and Through
A Second Look At Our Country’s Renewables
By Fr. Benny Tuazon
WITNESSING the construction boom in mega-Metro Manila makes me ask, “Do we have enough supply of energy to sustain these additional developments?” The succeeding relevant question would be, “Where are we going to get the energy requirement generated by these infrastructure escalations?” In a radio interview (DZRV Radio Veritas846AM,“BarangaySimbayanan”, http:/www//veritas846.ph) I had with Director Mario C. Marasigan, Director of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Management Bureau, he mentioned that the Philippines had made a lot of success in increasing our country’s energy production courtesy of the renewables. However, the demand also increased significantly thereby making our gains almost negligible. So, what is the future of the Philippines’ energy supply? Is DOE capable of achieving its goal of connecting 90% of Philippine households to the main power by 2017 and at 100% by 2030? Director Marasigan honestly admitted that he was uncertain because, among other reasons, time is not on their side and the archipelagic nature of our country is making it more difficult. However, he claimed that they are leaving no stone unturned to realize their goal. The vast and rich energy potential of the Philippines is an adequate reason for them to firmly hope that the task is anything but possible. Here are the numbers on the Philippine’s present energy supply: Non-Renewables 1. Coal – 10 Power Plants – 4,256.8 MW 2. Diesel – 2 Power Plants – 85.9 MW 3. Natural Gas – 4 Power Plants – 3,114 MW Renewables 1. Bio-Mass – 2 Power Plants – 11.5 MW 2. Hydroelectric – 30 Power Plants
Role / B2
– 2,825 MW 3. Geothermal – 9 Power Plants – 2,837 MW 4. Solar – 4 Power Plants – 56.1 MW 5. Wind – 3 Power Plants – 160 MW In summary, our non-renewables energy supply is a total of 7,726.7 MW while our renewables provide us with 5,889.6 MW. Our total actual energy supply from both non-renewables and renewables is 13,616.3 MW. This is relatively low, based on our potentials. ( Note: All figures are estimates from government sources. I have included them for reference purposes.) Harnessing our renewables is our best hope to be energy self-sufficient. Director Marasigan revealed that there are about 300 prospective vital projects that are being seriously studied at present. Realizing these projects will certainly bring us closer to the target of
tripling our renewables energy supply of 15,000 MW. This is very possible given that we have more than 1,000 MW remaining potential for hydroelectric and a whooping 35,000 MW potential in geothermal! As we can see, it is just a matter of time and sincerity and resoluteness from our government before we reach and even surpass our target. Hopefully, corruption will be set aside and our government authorities concerned will finally focus on exploiting our renewable energy capital for the common good, thus waking up the sleeping giant in us. The testimony to this great energy potential is the constant involvement of other countries like the United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, and the United States, to name a few, in developing our renewables especially our geothermal energy. New Zealand had recently returned to the Philippines
to ink an agreement involving sharing of their geothermal development technology and expertise and investing $8 billion dollars. The project is to build a geothermal plant which would generate 1,500 MW to 2,000 MW of power, thereby lifting the Philippines from second to the top geothermal energy producer in the world, surpassing that of the United States. But we have to complement these positive developments. Government, as I have mentioned above, should lead the way by establishing and investing in the structures, systems, and manpower necessary to jumpstart and sustain these dynamic ventures. Other countries see the riches our country hold. We see it too. But for what good will those riches be if they remained inert or if we will squander them when made available? We must think not only of ourselves. Nationalism and a deep love for our
patrimony should be cultivated and be reminded in everyone: government, business, academe, and individual citizens. When we all love our native land, we all benefit from her. In the meantime, we can start by making both ends meet as far as energy supply is concerned. Due to our energy insufficiency, we import coal and fossil fuel. Being an island makes importation very expensive. Since we all depend on this energy supply, we all shoulder the cost. Our government can help a lot by controlling developments in our country. Sound infrastructure vis a vis energy supply management and economics should provide us with optimum progress without burdening our energy supply. Factories should always be conscious of using energy effectively and efficiently. And citizens should contribute too in every way they can to save on energy use. The recent upturn in computer technology made the energy crisis worse. Today, almost everyone has a cell phone to charge. Some even have two or more! Add to these the iPads, tablets, lap tops, etc, and we have our energy consumption zooming up. Most appliances, thanks to their remote control and stand by feature, now remain plugged. Air travels due to cheap flights has increased considerably. And the list goes on. Indeed, the energy demand has skyrocketed. While energy production had also increased, more are needed just to cope with the demand. There is hope! Lots of it! Our country’s future is bright. We can liken our present experience to that of a traveler in a tunnel. If he keeps on walking, he would reach the tunnel’s end in due time. As to how long before it happens, it will depend on his determination, alacrity, patience, and vigor. Here, we have more than just the goal of reaching the tunnel’s end. Waiting for us is energy self-sufficiency and equally important is having less pollutants in our atmosphere! And that means a whole lot for a small country like ours!
need to engage in intrafaith dialogue. Here again, our Catholic universities, wherever they are in our country, are invited to help facilitate this dialogue not only within their academic halls, but in parishes, civic gatherings, and in the media. Towards the attainment of genuine peace, conservatives within our community must dialogue with openness, charity and humility with progressives, the wealthy with the poor, the bishops with the faithful, the religious with the businessmen, the environmentalists with the industrialists. Affirming differences, Catholics must allow the Spirit through dialogue to lead them to greater love, genuine repentance, o r g e n e ro u s f o rg i v e n e s s . Towards peace, Catholics who staunchly support these peace processes must dialogue with Catholics who bitterly resent it; Catholics who have been enriched in Muslim friendships must dialogue with Catholics who are deeply wounded in their history with Muslims; Catholics who have sinned in their relationship with Muslims must dialogue with Catholics who have been harmed and victimized by them. In all these dialogues, all must become more sensitive to the way God himself continues to dialogue with us in our troubled times, listening to us, understanding us, healing us, speaking his word of compassion to us, urging us without ceasing to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Mt. 6:12). The Struggle to Defend the Environment I am pleased today to acknowledge a growing concern for the environment that has been created by God for all and entrusted to us for the good of all. It is a concern driven by consciousness in history of the irreplaceable depletion of our natural resources in powerful private interest, even as that depletion continues today through the ongoing or imminent activities of large local and foreign firms[xix]. I deplore the fact that our laws have failed miserably to preserve our national patrimony for the common good, and that our leaders in the executive continue to give more attention to the growth of an economy that excludes rather than the preservation of an environment
as an imperative of the common good. I deplore how corruption and a misuse of security forces have exacerbated this lack of concern, and continue to cause the loss of the cultural cohesiveness, patrimony and lands of our indigenous peoples, and even their loss of lives[xx]. In this concern, the Catholic university has a grave mission. It must educate and form leaders with an abiding specific concern for the environment, where it has sadly failed in the past. Care for the environment is not an option. It is an imperative. The national patrimony in forests, minerals, water and air belong to all. It belongs to goods created with a “universal destination” for all on whose exploitation there is a strict social mortgage. With these solid principles of the Social Teaching of the Church, the Catholic university in the Philippines today must, through its research and outreach functions, get more actively involved in the local deliberations pertinent to the exploitation of the environment for human use. For clearly, if the human community is to eat, to clothe itself, to shelter itself, to engage in the production of goods that respond to human needs, and to progress in an ever-morehuman human community, it will do so within and thanks to the environment created by God for all. The Catholic university must help create the wealth that is necessary to eliminate poverty in our society, but it must also disabuse decisionmakers of the notion that growing a consumption society boundlessly is the call of the common good; similarly, that large foreign investments that bring short-term rewards for some with long-term destruction of the environment is the call of the common good. It must help find ways of improving productive efficiency without irreversibly alienating the soil from the small farmer. The Catholic university must use its auspices to shape the knowledge and conscientious decision-making of our lawmakers, national government officials, and our people today. The defense of the environment for the common good is a key mission today for the Catholic university in the Philippines. It is a mission it must fulfill, even at the cost of
great sacrifice. In the Joy of the Gospel, Go Forth As I said at the outset of this letter, this has been a daunting topic, and I thank you for your patience. The call of Pope Francis is to return to the Joy of the Gospel and to “go forth” into our complex world to share with it the joy of the Good News. In the light of this call, I have attempted to express the special call of the Catholic university in the Philippines today. As the Catholic university truly proceeds from the heart of the Church, the members of the university community must first return to the heart of the Church. They must return to the encounter with Jesus, and to the joy of this abiding encounter, which, in the light of the Paschal mystery, is always deeper than its tribulations. No salary can replace this joy; no personal preference can replace its imperative; no rankings can replace its immeasurable importance, no discovery of truth can outshine its compelling Truth. From the joy of this encounter, the Catholic university in the Philippines today must engage itself specifically for Philippine society in the search for meaning and hope, the search for the common good, the search in dialogue for a more human culture, the search in dialogue for peace, and the struggle to defend the environment for the
common good. It must do so with humility, but without fear, with wisdom but without arrogance. It must go forth beyond the peaceful halls of academe into the insecure world of Philippine poverty and violence. Beyond words and concepts, it must find truth, insist on truth, obey truth, and live truth. It must make a difference in the transformation of our society. It must do so calling on Mary, Star of the New Evangelization, for her guidance and help.
demands of the Gospel,” and of “those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him” (Cf. EG, 15) “Universities are outstanding environments for articulating and developing this evangelizing commitment in an interdisciplinary and integrated way. Catholic schools, which always strive to join their work of education with the explicit proclamation of the Gospel, are a most valuable resource for the evangelization of culture, even in those countries and cities where hostile situations challenge us to greater creativity in our search for suitable methods” (EG, 134).
Catholic University, to be shared by its teachers and developed in its students. The Church is firmly committed to the integral growth of all men and women”.
“A Catholic University enables the Church to institute an incomparably fertile dialogue with people of every culture….” (ECE, 6).
ECE, 32. Ibid., 32-33.
“The Gospel joy which enlivens the community of disciples is a missionary joy” (EG,21).
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium [EG].
For this document, unless otherwise stated, “Catholic universities” will refer to all operating Catholic higher education institutions (HEIs) including colleges, professional institutions, graduate schools of theology, major seminaries, and the like.
[ii] [iii] Pope John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae [ECE], 2. [iv] [v]
[ix] EG, 177. “Our redemption has a social dimension because ‘God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person, but also the social relations existing between men’” EG, 178. [x]
“Every Catholic University, as a university, is an academic community which, in a rigorous and critical fashion, assists in the protection and advancement of human dignity and of a cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to the local national and international communities. It possesses the institutional autonomy necessary to perform its functions effectively and guarantees its members academic freedom, so long as the rights of the individual person and of the community are preserved with the confines of the truth and the common good” (ECE, 12).
[vi] Pope Francis mentions three areas for new evangelization: the area of “ordinary pastoral ministry,” of “the baptized whose lives do not reflect the
“Solidarity is a spontaneous reaction by those who recognize that the social function of property and the universal destination of goods are realities which come before private property. The private ownership of goods is justified by the need to protect and increase them, so that they can better serve the common good; for this reason, solidarity must be lived as the decision to restore to the poor what belongs to them. These convictions and habits of solidarity, when they are put into practice, open the way to other structural transformations and make them possible. Changing structures without generating new convictions and attitudes will only ensure that those same structures will become, sooner or later, corrupt, oppressive and ineffectual” (EG, 189). EG, 53-60.
“In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for all involved, not only so that they can be solidly and joyfully grounded in their own identity, but so that they can also acknowledge the values of others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light on shared beliefs” (EG, 253). Cf. also: Pope Paul VI, Nostra Aetate , 2. “The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.”
Cf. Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes, 89. “Therefore, to encourage and stimulate cooperation among men, the Church must be clearly present in the midst of the community of nations both through her official channels and through the full and sincere collaboration of all Christians—a collaboration motivated solely by the desire to be of service to all.”
[xii] “If need be, a Catholic University must have the courage to speak uncomfortable truths which do not please public opinion, but which are necessary to safeguard the authentic good of society” (ECE, 32). Cf. also ECE 34: “The Christian spirit of service to others for the promotion of social justice is of particular importance for each
[xix] “Our land is rich, yet over-exploitation threatens the future of our people. We must therefore guard our non-renewable resources, like minerals, to ensure sustainable development of our land for the sake of future generations.” Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, A Statement of Concern on the Mining Act of 1995, February 28, 1998. [xx]
Cf. Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, What is happening to our beautiful land?, January 29, 1988.
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February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
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Twenty-two year-old Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a Wall Street broker who just like any devoted family man works hard to fulfill his hunger for a comfortable life. Unfortunately, the stock market crashes on the very day he earns his license, causing him to lose his job. However, he has learned the ropes well enough to reinvent himself, and soon lands a position in an obscure “penny stocks” company on Long Island that gives huge commissions. His slick ways, glib tongue, and drive to get rich quick are his greatest spurs in that ill-regulated branch of the finance industry, propelling him to illgotten wealth until he establishes his own company, ritzily named “Stratton Oakmont”, with a handful of money-minded cronies led by Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill). Attaining such wealth that he never even dreamed of dreaming of, Belfort is changed, dumps his wife to get a new one every man will drool over (Margot Robbie), and acquires expensive vices to match his status. But Stratton Oakmont won’t remain in obscurity for long; when FBI agent Greg Coleman (Kyle Chandler) opens a file on Belfort, rough sailing begins. The wolf of Wall Street is not a documentary but a fictionalization of Jordan Belfort’s self-serving memoir by the tandem of Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter. Belfort, a white-collar criminal fueled by drugs, greed and sex, emerges—through Winter ’s screenplay and Scorsese’s
TITLE: Wolf of Wall Street DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese LEAD CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner GENRE: Drama DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Pictures & Universal Pictures LOCATION: United States RUNNING TIME: 179 minutes Technical assessment: ½ Moral assessment: MTRCB rating: R 16 CINEMA rating: V 18
direction—as an ambitious conman who’s given to excess but who nonetheless charms his audience into stupefaction. DiCaprio plays a character he had never done before, in control of the world by day, controlled by his weaknesses by night, and a slave to his appetites 24/7. DiCaprio’s untethered performance as a drug addict (particularly in that scene where he hits his wife and endangers his daughter’s life) is more than convincing—it’s as though Scorsese pulled all the stops and let loose the talented actor to play the depraved antihero. While in that scene where Belfort tries to bribe an FBI agent while in his yacht, DiCaprio’s subtlety as an actor is beyond admirable. The sets and the cinematography blend to render powerful scenes depicting man’s various states of servitude to materialism and the flesh. The wolf of Wall Street reeks
with sexual stench and profanity; it glorifies amorality and glamorizes vice. There is one moment when a shadow of contrition whiffs by—when having survived a sea disaster Belfort thinks God has given him a chance to change his unscrupulous ways—but this is swallowed up by the orgiastic excess of his lifestyle. When justice finally catches up with him he gets a three year prison term at the end of which the arrogant Belfort launches his new career as a speaker motivating future salesmen. Is the movie to be condemned? Not the movie, but the reality which it parodies. Despite the depravity and debauchery portrayed by it, The wolf of Wall Street is an indictment of greed. But instead of passing a moral judgment on that reality, Scorsese—a Catholic—presents it as a black comedy of America’s addiction to money-making at all cost. There are two small voices Belfort hears but fails to listen to—his father’s which is the voice of reason, and the FBI agent Denham’s which is the voice of principles. Often, in the movies, the visible overpowers the audible. This could happen with The wolf of Wall Street; only mature and discerning viewers will catch Scorsese’s cautionary tale it tells.
TITLE: The legend of Hercules Running Time: 99 minutes Cast: Kellan Lutz, Liam McIntyre, Scott Adkins, Roxanne McKee Direction: Renny Harlin Story/ Screenplay: Sean Hood, Daniel Giat Producer: Boaz Davidson, Renny Harlin et al Cinematogrpahy: Sam McCurdy Music: Tuomas Kantelinen Editing: Vincent Tabaillon; Genre: Action-Adventure Distributor: Summit Entertainment Location: Greece Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: V 14
American Hustle is a crime drama that involves two con artists who collaborate with FBI agents to catch corrupt local and national government officials in a big scam. Christian Bale is Irving Rosenfeld, a professional con artist who makes money by swindling unsuspecting individuals. While still married to a quirky and unpredictable Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), he meets the sexy and street-smart Sydney Prosser (played by Amy Adams), who becomes his mistress. Both believe in what they can do and accomplish as a team. With Prosser at his side, Rosenfeld’s swindling activities flourish. But the FBI catches them in one of their loan scams. In exchange for their release, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) gets Rosenfeld to collaborate with the FBI in nailing some politicians involved in corruption. Rosenfeld befriends Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) of Camden, New Jersey, a charismatic politician who wants to build a gambling TITLE: American Hustle casino in Atlantic City, in LEAD CAST: Christian Bale, order to generate jobs for Bradley Cooper, Amy his constituents. Adams, Jeremy Renner, Director David Russell Jennifer Lawrence was able to bring together DIRECTOR: David Russell an ensemble of big name SCREENWRITER: Eric Warren Singer, David Russell s t a r s w h o d e l i v e re d GENRE: Crime Comedy-Drama their roles very well. DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia Bale is believable in his Pictures portrayal of Rosenfeld LOCATION: United States as a con artist, complete RUNNING TIME: 138 minutes w i t h t h i n n i n g h a i r Technical Assessment: combed over his head ½ and pot belly. Despite Moral Assessment: his flawed character, he’s MTRCB rating got a soft spot for his CINEMA Rating: A18 and above stepson Danny, whom he adopted and regarded as his own. Adams is very good in her characterization of Sydney Prosser, with her expressive eyes conveying so eloquently the angst that she feels inside of her. Lawrence also stands out in her role as the longsuffering wife who feels left out and unloved. Meanwhile, the antics of Cooper ’s character Richie DiMaso leaves one to wonder if such attitude is indeed tolerated in the agency. Renner ’s Carmine Polito, however, is reminiscent of a typical politician who sweet talks people into believing that he does everything for them, at their service. American Hustle received ten Academy award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original S c r e e n p l a y. But lest we get carried away by the Oscar ’s nod, note that the movie has many disturbing e l e m e n t s that would necessitate discussion in the light of Christian values. American Hustle alludes to the most stunning scandals that rocked America in the late 1970s that involved the mayor of New Jersey, some congressmen, senators and a mafia group. Sex, money and manipulation are all part of the deal. Although corrupt politicians in American Hustle were apprehended by government authorities, Rosenfeld and Prosser went on to live their life quietly without serving time in prison as part of the deal with FBI. Sex and money serve as potent means to achieve the end. Achieving one’s dream at any cost without regards to morality and ethics is, in any language, definitely unacceptable.
The Legend of Hercules begins with King Amphitryon (Adkins) challenging the King of Athens to a winner take a battle. Easily defeating his opponent, Amphitryon takes over the army and kingdom to the disgust of his wife Queen Alcmene (McKee). Realizing her husband’s growing insatiable desire for power and aggression, she prays to the gods for guidance. Her answers her call and promises her the son of Zeus whom she will bear and eventually will defeat the king. Years
past, Alcmene’s son with Zeus takes on the name Alcides (Lutz) and grows into a burly yet gentle prince in love with Hebe (Weiss), the princess of Crete. He willingly stays in the shadows as his half-brother Iphicles takes credit for Alcides’ success. However, when the king announces the betrothal of Iphicles to Hebe and betrays Alcides to the Egyptians, Alcides must accept and embrace his fate as Hercules – the half-mortal, half-god son of Zeus – who will deliver Greece from the tyrant king and bring peace and harmony back to the nation. The movie may have the viewer scouring through the original storyline of the halfmortal Hercules as it introduced characters and sub plots so different from the more popular animated versions. While it did retain more of the original flavour of the classical myth plot, the treatment was so terrible complicated yet diluted that one would definitely prefer the adolescent versions. If we get pass the thinly conceived storyline and character development and just take the computer-generated effects that uselessly peppered the scenes, then we would be even more confused as it merely demonstrated the technical ability of the post production team and senselessness of
their efforts. Lutz who should have retained his non-speaking character in the previous vampire film series made matters worse with his non-existent acting prowess that gave neither life nor depth to what could have been a dramatic character. In fact, none of the actors could act and evoke sympathy or support from the audience. The Legend of Hercules was too dull as an action film, too lifeless as a romantic drama and too uninspired as an epic film. The movie tried hard to compare Hercules to Jesus Christ. In so many instances, the parallelism were obvious – a prophesy of the promised savior, the divine conception – it could have worked and delivered a powerful message if there was more effort and intelligence placed in the direction. Instead, what was left were the indiscriminate fighting and killings, betrayals and the desire for revenge. While Hercules did embrace his destiny and fulfill his mission, we doubt if it was a result of a realization that peace, justice and brotherhood were far more important than his self-serving desire to take back his lover and kill his step father. Neither was he a hero whom people can rally behind as he had no redeeming nor outstanding human or divine qualities viewers can relate to.
Buhay San Miguel
TITLE: Snowpiercer LEAD CAST: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, Song Kang-ho, Go Ah-sung, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt DIRECTOR: Bong Joon-ho SCREENWRITER: Bong Joonho, Kelly Masterson DISTRIBUTOR: The Weinstein Company, CJ Entertainment LOCATION: Prague, Czech Republic, South Korea, US, France GENRE: Action/Drama/Science Fiction RUNNING TIME: 125 minutes Technical assessment: Moral assessment: ½ MTRCB rating: R16 CINEMA Rating: V18
Global warming has reached its peak and the earth’s days are numbered. In July 2014 nations opt for a drastic solution: to use CW7, a chemical substance once sprayed into the atmosphere will halt global warming. The temperature falls but the consequences are disastrous. A real ice age exterminates all the inhabitants of the earth, burying the world in a tomb of ice and snow. It is now 2031 and the only surviving remnant of humanity is represented by the passengers of the Snowpiercer, a high-speed train that has been running around the world for 17 years, powered by a revolutionary and unstoppable energy that provides perpetual motion. The train is a
microcosm of human society and is divided into classes. The poor are relegated by force in the last carriages, malnourished and abandoned, while the rich stay in the front cars, and live in luxury and comfort. To keep this balance is extremely delicate and unrest is brewing from the tail end. The movement is led by Gilliam (John Hurt), a former Wilford engineer, and his young right hand, Curtis (Chris Evans). Helping them are Tanya (Octavia Butler), whose son was forcibly taken away to the front car, Edgar (Jamie Bell), Curtis’ best friend, and Namgoong Minsun (Song Kang-ho) security expert who designed the locks on the train. Curtis plans to storm his way to the front car where the elusive Wilford (Ed Harris), inventor and holder of the power train, resides. Every once in a while a film comes along that not only entertains but also makes us think. Not of pedestrian problems and the miseries of life, but about deep existential questions. Through imagery, sound and silence, darkness and light, dialogue and characters who linger in your mind long after the last credits roll, Snowpiercer, based on the French comic Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and JeanMarc Rochette, effortlessly does that. Unlike Marvel comic hero films which rely on extensive CGIs and interminable violent action sequences, Korean director Bong Joon-ho gives us a work of art by combining
imaginative cinematography, compelling production design (the various coaches on the train are exceptional—from the dingy slums of the tail end to the luxurious carriages up front), evocative music, engaging story, and unpredictable plot, topped by vivid characters portrayed excellently by the cast particularly Evans and Swinton (playing Mason). Even Korean actors Song Kang-ho and Ko Ahseong issue their roles effectively in their native tongue. Although Snowpiercer is longer than most action films at 125 minutes, there are very few unnecessary frames. Instead of background storytelling, little details are shown to reveal the characters’ identity and their nuanced portrayal pulls the viewer up or down with the film’s changing mood. Snowpiercer is an allegory for social classes and class warfare, a suffocating tale of human misery, perseverance and hope. We see just how twisted humanity becomes in the name of survival, power and control. The conditions at the tail end are hellish. Over and over, tail-enders are bombarded with know-your-place speeches from Mason, Wilford’s second in command, fed with gelatinous protein blocks, separated from their children and viciously punished for any attempt at insurrection. While residents at the top feast on sushi, medium rare steaks, and fresh produce, cool down in the pool or pretty up
for a party at their favorite salon, their indifference as cold as the ice surrounding them. This is a good movie for discussion on the tendency of human nature to create social stratification and man’s love affair with the machine. The eternal train is seen as sacred and sustains life, and Wilford, the creator God. Social order is predetermined and his religion, to which the young are indoctrinated, is the excuse for control and the elite’s exploitation of the poor and the weak. Rich in metaphors, the film also leads us to ask: What is life? What are we doing to planet earth? What sacrifices are necessary for the maintenance of the established order? Is survival the supreme good? Can I be inhuman to preserve humanity? Can we accept and live with the cost of survival no matter how big it is? What ennobles humanity and what reduces him to a beast? Ultimately, it is always a choice—something each person has to struggle with while weighing the price of each choice. Will I sacrifice others in order to maintain my lifestyle, or do I sacrifice myself (offer an arm or a limb as food; lead my people to an insecure freedom; fight for truth and justice even if it means death; etc.) so that the others may live? Snowpiercer invites us to see how everyone is a passenger towards eternity and to examine the complex consequences our choices create.
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
Our warmest congratulations on your recent appointment by His Holiness Pope Francis as member of the College of Cardinals. We are proud to proclaim our special solidarity with you as a Brother Knight. Again, congratulations, Your Eminence Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, D.D.
Greetings from: Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the PHilippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) and Knights of Columbus in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
Ma. Theresa G. Curia
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
THIS issue officially conveys the felicitations of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) to His Eminence, Orlando Beltran Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, on the occasion of his elevation to the College of Cardinals at a Consistory that will be held on February 22, 2014 at the Vatican. Last January 12, when Pope Francis formally announced the new list of Cardinals, he individually sent them a letter informing them of the upcoming consistory when they will be created cardinals. In the letter, the Pope appealed: “I ask you, please, to receive this appointment with a simple and humble heart. And, while you ought to do this with gladness and joy, do so in a way that this sentiment is far from any kind of expression of worldliness, from any celebration alien to the evangelical spirit of austerity, moderation and poverty.” These words are not alien to the good Cardinal who was even surprised why he was made one. Aside from being a faithful priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), he is known for living up “to the evangelical spirit of austerity, moderation and poverty.” He has been president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC). He is highly regarded as a humble theologian and an unassuming intellectual who is looked upon as one of the greatest minds that the Philippine episcopacy ever had. I still recall his talk during the 8th Knights of Columbus National Convention held in Cebu in April of 2010. Listening to him attentively, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson stood up to give his unscripted remarks to then Archbishop Quevedo who spoke of the fraternal nature of the virtue of charity and challenged the Knights to be even more active in their parishes and communities for the sake of the Church and the most needy. That challenge to the Order is best rendered in his statement: “When we say we are a fraternal organization, the word “fraternal” should include all of the concepts of charity found in the Gospels.” Vivat Iesus!
Valentine’s Day is For All
ValenTIne’s Day can be real and deep. We can make it work for us, let it challenge us to be better, and allow it to forge our relationships. Our loved ones give us gifts or show us their love in many ways everyday. And we are sure they love us. But why is it different when we receive or give them on Valentine’s day itself? And how come we feel a little bit of “tampo” when we don’t get one on Valentine’s day? I guess Valentine’s has been raised to the same level as birthdays, or Christmas or even Chinese New Year. Traditions and rituals connect people, root us in our relationships, make us open to give and receive, make us feel alive. So we welcome them, we do them and enter the dynamics of the occasions. In the past, V-day was only for lovers, for couples. I am not sure when its meaning got wider; but today we can already see that friends, families, even office mates greet each other: Happy Valentine’s!!!!. Perhaps business people expanded the meaning so that commercially it can be more explosive. Valentine’s Day specials are offered not only for shopping and decorations, but for family dinners and outings. Even in offices, corporate settings and even in schools, the fever is spreading. When preschoolers make V-cards in the Arts class and give them to their parents and siblings, who does not get teary-eyed? So it feels good to receive and give lovegreetings not only on a romantic level; but even on familial, filial, fraternal, agapeic, platonic, corporate even academic levels. This is one day when we are not just after receiving those manifestations of love to make us feel loved. It is also a day when being able to express our love for others makes us feel good; makes us feel complete. This is a basic need, a basic right to love and be loved. So if others forget to tell us that they love us, then by all means, let us be the first to tell them our love. How good it is to connect with family members; to initiate family bondings and to create a love energy chain. Let us then set the chain of love going, and witness how it gets back to us. We don’t just start a chain, we begin a cycle. The Love energy is truly from God and it is good to be enveloped by it, and become its bearer. For God so loved the world.... and if we love, we truly are in God and God is in us.
Michael P. Cabra
My Brother’s Keeper
Insure for your love
For a Knights of Columbus member, what do love and benefit certificate have in common? More than you might imagine. Love is the motivation behind almost all benefit certificate availment. We avail of a benefit certificate because we love our family and we want to protect them financially. It is commonly called Life Insurance in the commercial industry, but it could just as easily be labeled Love Insurance. For a Brother Knight, availing of a benefit certificate is really an expression of love to show how much we value our loved ones even after we are gone. If you care for your loved ones you will protect your life for them. The greatest tangible proof of your expression of love is your ability to provide the basic needs even if you are no longer around. For this, one of the best is the KC Assurance Plan. It is affordable and it offers the highest amount of protection for a Brother Knight. If you value your kids’ future, you will ensure their college education. The best legacy you can give to your kids is the gift of education. For this, KC Enhanced College Plan is our solution. It is like sending your kids to college now while you are still strong and able. Tomorrow is uncertain. The health and income we are enjoying right now might no longer be the same when our kids enter college so it is best to prepare for it now. If you treasure your hard earned money, you will place it in a guaranteed investment tool. The safest and surest way to grow your treasure is through the gift of investment. For this, KC Investment Plan is highly recommendable. It is conservative yet gives the highest amount of earnings for your money compared to a bank time deposit. It is like your money working for you plus increasing your human economic value. KC Investment plan will only take you five (5) years to invest and it doubles the insurance protection on the third (3rd) year onwards. It offers three (3) investment options; ten years (10) or short term (ST), fifteen years (15) or medium term (MT), and twenty years (20) or long term (LT). It gives five (5) cash bonuses of twenty percent (20%) of his initial insurance coverage starting at the end of the fifth (5th) year and the final bonus of one hundred percent (100%) at the end of the maturity period. Here is an illustration of benefits for Option 10 or ST. For an investment plan of Php100,000.00 insurance coverage, a brother knight aged 40 will only invest an amount of Php32,980 yearly for the next 5 years. Beginning at the end of the fifth (5th) year and the next 4 years thereafter (6th, 7th, 8th and 9th) he will start receiving twenty percent (20%) of Php100,000.00 or Php20,000.00. At the end of the maturity period or tenth (10th) year he will receive PhP100,000.00 together with the accumulated dividends (not guaranteed) of PhP25,396.00. His total investment is PhP164,900.00 but his total benefit at the end of the 10th year amounts to PhP225,396.00, which is equivalent to PhP60,496.00 earnings. Your hard earned money will never achieve this if you will just leave it in a savings bank. Not to mention the additional human life value you will gain because of the insurance protection it has. As for the same coverage and using Medium Term, total amount of investment is Php143,000.00 while total amount of benefit is PhP236,871.00 with a total earning of Php93,771 for 15 years. As for Long Term, total amount of investment is PhP128,050 while total amount of benefit is Php248,035.00, equivalent to Php119,985 total earnings for 20 years. Whatever is the option, whatever insurance solution is availed of by a Brother Knight, it is the measure and reflection of how much he loves his family... his loved ones. Have a love month... Have a love insurance.
Arsenio Isidro G. Yap
A HusbanD gave the best Valentine’s and advance birthday gift to his wife. It was February 14, 2013 when he brought her to the United States to visit their children and grandchildren. In the course of their vacation, the wife had a massive stroke which rendered her paralyzed on one side and comatosed for several months. The husband was so weary and distraught that he was lost on what to do next. One thing is certain; he will not have his wife out of the life support system that is prolonging her life. The hospitalization and confinement of his wife in the ICU is taking a toll on their financial resources. He had to sell some assets at a discount to make him liquid enough to pay the mounting hospital bills of his wife. The well-meaning intentions and prayers of their friends and relatives and full support of the rest of the family gave the husband the courage to stand by his decision not to remove the life support his wife is clinging onto. He had to shuttle between the Philippines and the USA every now and then to work, sell some assets and find ways to pay the hospital bills. His situation was draining him emotionally, physically and financially but his deep love for his wife and strong faith in our Lord kept him going to face the many challenges that besiege him. Apart from the usual daily prayers he also recited the prayer for the Canonization of Fr. Michael J. McGivney for his dear wife. His faith in our Lord paid off. One day, his wife woke up from her comatose and slowly started to regain awareness of her surroundings. She is now able to communicate and would seem to be in a very good state of mind. However, her paralysis remains. It renders her immobile and her condition is still precarious. She can’t travel back to the Philippines as her condition does not warrant so. Her doctors also discouraged the husband on bringing her back home. It’s about a year now since that stroke and she was transferred from the ICU to the ICE. During the husband’s last visit, the wife was more mentally alert than in his previous visits. What perplexed him was their very intimate conversation. From out of the blue she suddenly asks him, “Mahal mo ba ako?” (“Do you love me?”) His answer was an instant “Siyempre naman mahal na mahal kita. Hinde mo na kailangan itanong yan. Alam na alam mo namang mahal kita” (“Of course I love you very, very much. You don’t have to ask me that. You know very well that I do love you.”) He was caught by surprise when she further asks, “Kung ganun, bakit mo ako iiwan?” (“Then why do you have to leave me?”) He answered, “Alam mo namang kailangan kong magtrabaho at asikasuhin ang mga negosyo natin sa Pilipinas.” (“You know that I need to work and take care of our businesses in the Philippines.”) She furthers, “Puwede mo namang ibenta ang mga ari-arian natin at hinde mo na kailangang magtrabaho at okay pa rin tayo. Kung talagang mahal mo ako, eh bakit mo ako iiwan?” (“You could sell all our properties and you need not work and we’ll still be okay. If you really love me, then why do you have to leave me?”) At this point tears rolled from his eyes and he could not grope for a sensible answer. It would seem easy to answer his wife’s questions, but in the reality of the above situation, you and I may not be able to give an answer just like what happened to the husband. Our eyes would likely swell with tears and feel as helpless as him. Would it be any different with you? (NOTE: This is a true story of Henry Reyes, President of Keys Realty & Development Corporation, and his wife, Valeta, as personally related to me on our recent business trip to General Santos City.)
Angelito A. Bala
Part IV of a series of discussions regarding KCFAPI’s newest product, the KC Health Guard Plus Plan
Plan Benefits (Hospital Intensive Care Cash Benefit) KCFAPI will pay the Hospital Intensive Care Cash Benefit to the Assured for each covered Intensive Care Unit (ICU) hospital confinement for the charge made to the Assured by a physician or medical doctor or hospital including medications and the benefit shall be equal to the amount of the actual charge made by a physician or medical doctor or hospital but not to exceed the maximum amount of benefit as specified on the front page of this Benefit Certificate for each day of the Assured’s hospital confinement due to Intensive Care • Commencing on the first day of such confinement up to a maximum period of ICU hospital confinements of fourteen (14) days per Benefit Certificate year; • Provided that the hospital confinement must not be less than eighteen (18) hours as a resident patient for the treatment of sickness or injury and is prescribed by a physician or medical doctor; • Provided, further, that the Hospital Cash Benefit is available; • Provided, finally, that the total daily Hospital Intensive Care Cash Benefit from all other Benefit Certificates with Hospital Intensive Care Cash Benefit covering the Assured during his lifetime shall not exceed Five Thousand (P5,000) pesos and that such hospital confinement due to intensive care occurred while this Benefit Certificate is in full force and effect and is not among the exclusions specified below. Notes: The Hospital Intensive Care Cash Benefit provision limits hospitalization claims to hospital confinements that require intensive care (ICU), are medically necessary, at least eighteen (18) hours of continuous confinement from time of hospital admission, actual daily charges reimbursable up to daily limit as specified in the contract and limited to fourteen (14) days per benefit certificate year and that the hospital cash benefit has not been exhausted.
KC Healthguard Plus / C3
Roberto T. Cruz
The Kinds of Love We Look For
WITH February being the month of Love, for this fourth article on Knowing Your Foundations, let’s talk about the kinds of love we look for during our lifetime. I will not attempt to give a specific definition of love because I believe this is a very personal experience that makes it unique for each one of us. Instead, allow me to describe feelings and traits that I feel envelope a wide spectrum of love that we experience in our daily lives. Each of us, at any point in time, find ourselves performing multiple roles in life and for each role, we look for a matching kind of love, hoping this will be as near perfect as possible to help us fulfill and enjoy that particular role. First and foremost, as a lover or a spouse, an individual expects his/her partner’s love to be highlighted by faithfulness, sacrifice, patience, a lifelong commitment and happiness embroidered with a lot of romance that will ensure a long-lasting relationship thru thick or thin. A parent, for his/her part, prays that his/ her young child will develop a love for him/ her full of unconditional trust, admiration, affection, obedience and dependence. The child, on the other hand, expects his parent/s to love him with all the gentleness and care, giving attention to all his needs, highly protective and ready to sacrifice their time, effort and money for his continuous satisfaction, growth and well-being. As the child grows up and becomes a teenager, he looks for a love from his parents that will allow him to question, validate and even challenge a lot of things which he simply had blindly followed before. The parents, on the other hand, expect their teenager to: show his/her love by remaining as the dependent child whom they used to dictate on; while at the same time, opening up to them about the new experiences and challenges that a teenager inevitably discovers during the puberty years and onwards. Becoming a young adult and soon getting married, the child expects his parents to show a love full of support for him and his new partner as they pursue their experimentation of married life, discoveries and commitment to independence and self-reliance. At the same time, the newlymarried couple will count on their parents (soon to be grandparents) to be tolerant with open arms, acting as consultants and advisors (especially during times of trouble) sprinkled with periodic occurrences of nostalgic anxiety. Once getting transformed into grandparents, the love of the elders for their “apos” usually becomes highly tolerant and flexible bordering on pampering the newest additions to their families. As we advance in years and we retire after all our children complete their education and one by one, decide to get married, the love we look for then focuses on one full of patience and understanding, sacrifice and care and the sharing of bountiful memories. Even at the workplace, we look for love. Different job positions with varying levels of responsibilities call for different traits of love. The boss must project love for his company and employees by being professional, understanding, fair and approachable. The employee, on the other side, should love his/ her job by being cooperative, law-abiding, hard working, honest and resourceful. The two KC Foundations, for their part, impart their love thru service and charity as
The Kinds of Love We Look For / C3
Atty. Neil Jerome A. Rapatan
Law in Layman’s Term
Who are our legal heirs?
FIlIpInos are considered to be family-centered. We work hard to give a better life for our family and we always take them into consideration in all major decisions we make. While our life’s goal has always been to give a better life to our loved ones, we are often confronted with a dilemma of “who will inherit what” every time a family member dies leaving substantial properties. In other words, it is important to know who are the persons who will inherit the product of our life’s work when we are gone--- our heirs. The Civil Code defines an heir as a person called to the succession either by provision of a will or by operation of law. (Art. 782) Under the said definition, heirs can be either those named in the Last Will and Testament of the decedent (testamentary heirs) or those identified by law to inherit from the decedent (legal heirs). However, majority of us Filipinos do not find the necessity of preparing a Last Will and Testament to divide their properties among their heirs and just let the law decide on said matter. That is why, more often than not, properties left by decedent pass to legal heirs after his death by operation of law. Fortunately, our legal heirs are also the persons closest to us and persons we most love--- our family. Under the law, the following
Law in Layman's Term / C3
Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
A Personal Challenge
Pope Francis urges us to radiate “fraternal communion and missionary fruitfulness”
By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
IN my column last month, I began a reflection on Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). I focused on the pope’s challenge to Catholics to embrace a new “missionary spirit” that brings the Gospel to the peripheries of society. At this moment in history, the Knights of Columbus has an extraordinary opportunity and, I would add, an extraordinary responsibility to join Pope Francis on the front line in this witness and to meet Blessed John Paul II’s challenge to engage in a charity that evangelizes. This month, I would like to continue reflecting on Evangelii Gaudium and show how it should serve as a guide for our work as Knights of Columbus. Our Holy Father sees the Church opening a new chapter of evangelization, one characterized by “The Joy of the
KC Healthguard Plus / C2
Gospel” and carried forward by those who “wish to share their joy.” In this mission—echoing the words of Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops of Latin America at Aparecida, Brazil, in 2007—Pope Francis writes, “It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but ‘by attraction’” (15). Evangelii Gaudium is the pope’s response to the 2012 Synod of Bishops, which met on the topic “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.” In his document, the Holy Father takes up a central theme of the synod: “In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples.” And he emphasizes, “The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized” (120). In order to be faithful “missionary disciples,” however, Pope Francis says that it is necessary to go beyond our “com-
fort zones” (20) and “abandon the complacent attitude that says we have always done it this way” (33). He also says that places of “fraternal communion and missionary fruitfulness” are essential in the Church today (89). Pope Francis then reminds us of the key to this communion and fruitfulness by again quoting Pope Benedict: “the service of charity” is “a constitutive element of the Church’s mission and an indispensable expression of her very being” (179). Our Holy Father urges us to rediscover our need as Catholics “to live in fraternity” and to grow in “a fraternal love capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbor, of finding God in every human being” (92). In this light, Pope Francis writes: “I especially ask Christians in communities throughout the world to offer a radiant and attractive witness of fraternal communion. Let
everyone admire how you care for one another, and how you encourage and accompany one another” (99). Undoubtedly, some Catholics will read these passages and ask, “What does such a witness of fraternal communion look like, and how are we to enter into it?” Yet it is impossible for any brother Knight to read the words of our Holy Father and not recognize a profound and personal challenge. We have the great privilege of being heirs to the spiritual vision of Venerable Michael McGivney, who set out a path of fraternal communion based on charity and unity more than 130 years ago. Because of our founder’s inspiration, we don’t have to invent new associations or experiment with new structures in order to find a fruitful form of fraternal communion. Every Knight already belongs to an Order that personifies one of the most fruitful expressions
of fraternal communion ever to exist in the countries where we are active. The challenge, then, facing every brother Knight today is to ensure that the Order and every one of our councils are places whose “doors are open” and whose members invite their fellow Catholics to a life of fraternal
communion and charity. It is also the responsibility of every Knight to deepen his fraternal communion with true charity and unity, so that whoever encounters the Knights of Columbus will encounter a community of brothers motivated by The Joy of the Gospel. Vivat Jesus!
Hospital Intensive Hospital Cash Benefit (HCB) Care Cash Benefit Fully exhausted Not fully exhausted (HICCB) Fully exhausted Not fully exhausted No HICCB, No HCB No HICCB, HCB payable
No HICCB benefit, H I C C B p a y a b l e , No HCB HCB payable
The Gentle Warrior
By: James B. Reuter, SJ
Part IV of Chapter One of the “Gentle Warrior” series…
The table above indicates that the Hospital Intensive Care Cash Benefit is payable only when the HICCB is available (not fully utilized) AND the Hospital Cash Benefit is likewise available in a given BC year. The comments “No HSCB” or “No HCB” means that the granting of the benefit is temporarily suspended and may be resumed in the next benefit certificate year. Hospitalization benefits not availed of in a given BC year are not carried over to the next BC year and are therefore forfeited.
The Kinds of Love We Look For / C2
CHAPTER ONE ----------•---------Training
Brooklyn The agony of waiting went on for three weeks, while George was learning patience in the hospital. Finally the doctors announced to the family that the injured bones would heal, that no amputation was necessary, that – given time – George would walk normally. There was great rejoicing among the Willmanns and the Corcorans. The family vacation, postponed for three weeks, actually came through! They all went up to the mountains. George was only five years old. It was easy to
they provide fulfillment to the educational and vocational dreams of various needy scholars, both religious and collegiate. This sharing of love thru educational grants to the less fortunate is made possible thru the financial backing of the KCFAPI which regularly devotes a portion of its annual income for the KC Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. and the KC Philippines Foundation, Inc. The Order of the Knights of Columbus itself supports the Foundations as no less than the Supreme Office provides additional grants that supplement the scholarships of our Priest-Scholars as well as Collegiate Scholars. The local K of C jurisdictions similarly support the cause by sifting thru their respective areas to look for needy but deserving candidates for scholarships. During our limited presence on earth, we encounter a multitude of “loves” being the social beings that we are. We will not be able to mention here all the roles that we play in life. Nevertheless, as we call this month as the Love Month, let us radiate LOVE in its widest spectrum of varying degrees. Finally, let us not forget that we have the greatest love of all – GOD’s love for us as HE suffered and died on the Cross - sacrificing His own life just to save all of us from Original Sin. Many seem to lose sight of the need for us to reciprocate God’s love. The Bible sums it all up for us: “Love God and Love thy neighbor.” As we continue to live and breathe, we will keep on searching and looking for the many kinds of love from everyone we encounter. Of course, as we love God and remain true to His Word, our conscience will be guided as to the PROPER kind of love we will give to those around us. Enjoy this month of love!
Law in Layman's Term / C2
carry him. And in September he started school, at our Lady of Good Counsel. George never complained about this accident, and never asked quarter from anybody because of it. He played handball and tennis. He loved athletics. But in later life he had many falls. He never made much of these falls, either. But his last illness, and his death, was occasioned by a fall. God was ordering his life from the very beginning. God draws straight, with crooked lines. At Our Lady of Good Counsel George found another little boy, his classmate, who has polio. This boy moved around in a wheel chair. Coming home from school one day, George said to Miriam and to Agnes: “I can walk! At least I can walk! That’s something!” His heart went out to the poor boy with polio. In Grade Two, when he was only six years old, the Sister began to talk about the missions. The talk was really occasioned by the Mite Box. During Lent, each class in Our Lady of Good Counsel has a Mite Box. The children were asked to sacrifice a little, to give up candy, or ice cream, and put the money in the Mite Box for the missions. George would do this. He would walk past the candy store, with the nickel held tightly in his hand, and when he reached the classroom he would drop the coin into the Mite Box. The Sister in Grade Two said that if
the money in the Mite Box reached five dollars, the class could buy a baby in China. George always wondered how you could “buy a baby”. The baby in his house was Dorothy. Later there was Ed, and Ruth. But these babies were loved by everybody. The bigger children fought for the right to push the baby carriage in the summer, and pull the baby on a sled through the snow in winter. But Sister said that in China it was different. In China, sometimes, they would throw the baby away. So missionary nuns, in China, would go through the dark streets at night, with a push cart, looking for the babies who were thrown away. And they would find them! On top of trash cans, on door steps, in the gutter, wrapped in newspaper. The missionary nuns would take these babies home, and baptize them, and feed them, and care for them. Five dollars would support a baby like this, for a full year. Because he was such a faithful contributor to the Mite Box, George was given the chance to choose the name of the baby that the class would “buy”. He chose the name of his father, William. But the Sister in Grade Two said that it had to be a girl’s name. She said: “In China, they do not throw away the boys. They only throw away the girls.” So George chose “Julia” – the name of his mother. (To be continued on the next issue).
KCFAPI celebrates Feb-ibig
Love is just around the corner in KCFAPI as it celebrates the love month with fund raising activities held last February 14. Among the activities organized by KCFAPI’s 2014 Giftgiving committee headed by Atty. Neil Jerome Rapatan were the “Mr. and Ms. Valentine 2014” (where the gentleman and the lady with the highest sales out of chocolates and other goodies sold, win the game); “Flower for a Cause” (sale of flowers); “Hug for a Cause” (where an appointed “huggable” goes around the office to give a hug for a cost); “Love board” (where anyone could write down their love messages on a heart-shaped card and post it on the Love board in exchange for a donation); “Love Radio program”, (where song requests and love greetings or messages are being played over the public address system). Part of the said program was the “heart to heart talk”, which featured an interview with a married couple from KCFAPI. Interview questions were focused on sharing the couple’s advises and words of inspiration about love, relationships and marriage. The radio program concluded with a fun “dating game”. The members of the 2014 Gift-giving committee are the following: Marianne Gatdula, Ma. Luisa Manuel, Jonnalyn Fil Yanos, Evangelina Dawal and Rick Jayson Mariano. (KCFAPI News)
are our legal heirs: children, parents, spouse and other collateral relatives such as siblings, nephews and nieces. Finally, if there are no surviving relatives, the state will inherit the properties left by the decedent. The persons enumerated as legal heirs are also the same persons who are obliged by law to support each other: the spouses, ascendants and descendants, parents and their children, and siblings. (Art. 195, Family Code of the Philippines). Therefore, the basis of legal succession is also to provide support for the members of the family who survives the decedent. Similarly, in the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), a Mutual Benefit Association, it is encouraged to make our family members as our beneficiaries in our insurance policies. Making them beneficiaries of our insurance will not only ease the financial burden that they might encounter from the loss of family member, more so a breadwinner, but also make them feel that they are taken cared of. Life insurance proceeds may be used by legal heirs to settle estate taxes. This is even more relevant when someone dies without leaving substantial properties, except the proceeds of his life insurance. Ultimately, the purpose of legal succession and insurance is to secure the future of the people we love the most--- our spouse, children and parents.
KCFAPI employees together with the 2014 Gift Giving Chairman Atty. Neil Jerome Rapatan and KRDC Corporate Secretary Bro. Rene Sarmiento during the Valentine’s Day Celebration held last February 14, 2014 at the KCFAPI office in Intramuros, Manila.
KC Foundations and KCFAPI visit TeleRadyo
Usapang Kapatid”, a p r og r a m un d e r DZMM TeleRadyo of ABS-CBN which is devoted to giving pieces of advice and insights on various aspects of life, featured the Order of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines last January 12, 2014. Executive Director of the Knights of Columbus Foundations, Bro. Roberto T. Cruz together with KCFAPI Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group, Bro. Gari M. San Sebastian served as guests in the said program hosted by Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ. During the program, the two discussed how the Order was established, its relationship to the Church, ways on how to become a member of the fraternal organization, among others. (KC News)
Roberto T. Cruz, Executive Director of KC Foundations (leftmost) and Gari San Sebastian, KCFAPI Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group (center) with Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ. during the airing of DZMM’s TeleRadyo last January 12, 2014.
37th Annual Family Service Awards to be held in Davao
Renewal of Marriage Vows. KCFC Consultant, Bro. Saturnino J. Galang, Jr. and spouse Sis. Edna E. Galang were among those who participated in the Renewal of Marriage Vows organized by the Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction held last February 14, 2014 at the Manila Grand Opera Hotel. The Eucharistic celebration and renewal of Marriage Vows were presided by KCFAPI Spiritual Director, Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III. (KCFAPI News)
AwarDees of the 37th Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Annual Family Service Awards will experience and feel the captivating allure of nature's bounty fused of the “City of Royalties” on March 7 to 9 at Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City.
With the theme “United as One Nation, One Mission as Protectors of God’s Gift,” participants may wear costumes inspired by the national dresses of the nation assigned to them. However, dress code for the awarding ceremony will be coat
and tie for men and evening gown for ladies. The Annual Awards is expected to be graced by the key officials of KCFAPI and its subsidiaries. Cash prizes will also be given away for those who will be judged best in costume and best
in presentation. For more information about the annual awards, you may contact the KCFAPI-FBG Department at telephone numbers (02) 527-2243 or (02) 527-2223 and look for Jerome De Guzman and Anna Malong. (KCFAPI News)
KC, KCFAPI welcome new membership program consultant for Philippines
THe Knights of Columbus in the Philippines together with the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), welcomed the newly appointed Membership Program Consultant for Philippines, Bro. Vincent A. Pacis. Pacis, who was born and raised in Ilocos Norte was the first Grand Knight of the Holy Angel Council 10948. “I sent my kids in a Catholic School and that school wanted to create a Knights of Columbus council in our parish and they asked our worker-parents to help them out and then they started to gather some meetings. However, they did not invite me so I initiated myself to go in one of their meetings. That was the start,” Pacis recalled. He was also the first Filipino State Deputy in the United States (California) way back in 2009 to 2010, which is one of his greatest achievements in the Order and probably one of the many reasons why he was entrusted his new designation. “I’m excited to do my job as Membership Program Consultant for the Philippines. The function mainly is to support the three jurisdictions in the country; guide them and assist them. They could also ask for any help from the Supreme Office. All they have to do is coordinate with me, so I can help,” said Pacis. He added that being a Membership Program Consultant for the Philippines is the Supreme’s way of ensuring that there’s an open line of communication specially on the projects and membership programs. “The Supreme Office really values the Philippine jurisdictions – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. They all belong
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
The newly appointed Membership Program Consultant for Philippines Bro. Vincent A. Pacis, (seated, 2nd from left) together with the Officers of KCFAPI and Luzon Jurisdiction headed by Luzon Deputy and KCFAPI President Arsenio Isidro G. Yap (seated, 2nd from right), Supreme Director Alonso L. Tan (seated, center), Luzon Treasurer and MACE Insurance President Joseph P. Teodoro (seated, leftmost) and KCFAPI EVP Ma. Theresa G. Curia (seated, rightmost), during his visit to the KCFAPI office in Intramuros, Manila.
KC Foundation conducts Scholarship BC Relations Office “Keeping In Touch” Qualifying Examination
to the top 10 jurisdictions in the whole world and the Supreme Office will do everything they can to support them,” Pacis stated. “I know they [Supreme Office] value the fact that I am a Filipino even though
I’ve been out of the country for over a couple of years. I am looking forward to work with our Filipino Brother Knights, we have a lot of projects to do so we should work hand in hand,” Pacis stated.
Meanwhile, KCFAPI President and Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap was delighted to have Bro. Vincent A. Pacis as the new Membership Program Consultant for the Philippines. “Congratulations Brother Vincent, you are
very much welcome here. With your help, facilitation of document processing from the Philippines to Supreme office will be much easier, which is very important to us,” Yap remarked. (Yen Ocampo)
The KC Foundations Scholarship applicants, together with Foundations Assistant Ms. Denise S. Ortiguerra during a tour to the Fr. Willmann Museum (left photo) and with HRCC Assistant, Ms. Gladys Lovette Luis who administered the Scholarship exam last February 8, 2014 at the KCFAPI Main Building, Intramuros, Manila (right photo).
THe Knights of Columbus Philippines Foundation, Inc. (KCPFI), one of the two foundations established by the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) recently administered
the qualifying examination to 4th year high school students/applicants from all over the Philippines who are vying for the Foundation’s Collegiate scholarship grants. The examination was
conducted at the KCFAPI Main Office in Intramuros, Manila and at the Association’s Service Offices located in Cabanatuan, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan De Oro, Davao and Zamboanga City. A special testing center was likewise
set-up at La Trinidad, Benguet to accommodate applicants from Regions I and II. KCPFI scholarships are open to graduating high school students with a general weighted average grade of 85% or higher
and whose fathers are members of the Knights of Columbus in good standing. Active members of the Columbian Squires are also qualified to apply. Examination results will be released on the last week of March.
Bro. Cenon P. Ungos, a 73 year old proud KC member of Council 11444 visited the KCFAPI home office in Intramuros, Manila to file a loan application under his benefit certificate. When asked where he will use his loan proceeds, he proudly answered “The money that I will get from my loan will be used for our Golden Wedding Anniversary, which we will celebrate at the St. Michael Parish Church, Fort Bonifacio, Makati City on March 1, 2014.” He added, “My apologies for
I did not bring any invitation here. But if you are all free on that day, you can come and celebrate with us”. Isn’t it amazing how a simple loan from his benefit certificate can turn into something great and memorable? And can you imagine how many wonderful things can happen if you have a benefit certificate with KCFAPI? With great pleasure, KCFAPI extends its warmest greetings and congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Cenon P. Ungos!!! (RJ Mariano)
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