Page 3 CBCP Monitor
Page 5 A New Saint with a Link to the Philippines
Page 8 Bible Quiz Challenge Accepted in Europe
Page 12 “Common Good, an Inalienable Right”
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007 Limbo Reflects
“Restrictive View of Salvation”
NASSA, NAMFREL Join Hands for Quick Count in May Polls
THE Catholic Church’s social action arm and the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) have agreed to step up their cooperation for the conduct of a quick count for the May 14 elections. NAMFREL Chairman Edward Go said an accord has been signed with the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) to work together using each
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Church Stands Firm Against Contraceptives
DESPITE social survey results, the Catholic Church remains undaunted with its firm stand on family planning. Pulse Asia survey recently showed that nine out of ten Filipinos support artificial birth control programs. The survey, which was based on 1,800 respondents nationwide, also showed 75 percent of voters will support candidates in the May 14 elections who endorse government funding for family planning.
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Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace April 16-29, 2007 Vol. 11 No. 8 Php 20.00
CBCP Calls for Prayer for Clean Polls
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has appealed to Filipinos to remain steadfast in prayer as the country prepares for the May 14 polls. According to CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo it is significant to seek God’s intercession to prevent “evil from getting in control” and avoid others from doing evil things during polls. Lagdameo, who is also the archbishop of Jaro in Iloilo, said this in his latest pastoral statement about the next month’s synchronized local and national elections. “We exhort everyone to be vigilant, to pray and to offer penance for this intention,” the CBCP said. “May the hand of God stop evil from getting in control. We need the Lord’s help, without which our best efforts will come to nothing.” The bishops urged Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) and the parishes nationwide to organize “Holy Hours” of prayer vigils from May 5 to 14, election day. “Humble and trusting prayers are needed to safeguard the sanctity of the ballot and of the entire electoral processes,” the statement read. The prelate likewise encouraged contemplative men and women in more than 100 monasteries nationwide to pray for the country—“especially for all voters, candidates and election officials and workers.” The CBCP also urged lay faithful in this predominantly Catholic country to take seriously their role as citizens by taking active participation and choosing right people to run the government. It said people should not just vote but out to practice vigilance and monitor the election processes to ensure credible results.
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RP Signs Accord with Catholic Church
By Roy Lagarde
FOR the first time, a framework agreement on cooperation has been signed between the Philippine government and the Vatican to clinch the protection of the Catholic Church’s cultural heritage in the country. Papal nuncio Archbishop Fernando Filoni, who represented the Holy See, said the Vatican “desires that the ecclesiastical cultural heritage be preserved and cared for with every single-minded attention, for it’s an expression of faith, culture, and art.” “Similarly, the Republic of the Philippines takes to heart the fact that this same heritage continues to represent an incalculable resource for the nation,” Filoni told the audience at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) office where the pact was signed. Almost every town in the country has at least one church built during the Spanish colonial period and currently preserved by parish communities and used for liturgical activities. These properties are under the legal ownership of local ecclesiastical instrumentalities of the Catholic Church and are “vivified” by the Christian belief of the Filipino faithful. “These works of art are admired not only for their beauty and historic values, but also because they represent a deep expression of the faith of the soul of the Filipino people,” said Filoni. The cooperation includes the legal protection by the government of movable and immovable cultural heritage of artistic and historic significance, most especially those of the colonial churches. The nuncio expressed hope that the agreement between the government and the Vatican will not fail to work in fruitful collaboration so that the objectives of the treaty will be fulfilled. “Consequently, it is our common wish that the religious-historic-cultural heritage avails itself of all those public and private energies that will facilitate its preservation and also growth for the future,” said Filoni.
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ARCHBISHOP Fernando Filoni, Apostolic Nuncio and Plenipotentiary, signed on behalf of the Holy Father an Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of the Philippines on the Cultural Heritage of the Catholic Church. Secretary Alberto Romulo of the Dep artment of Foreign Affairs signed the document on behalf of the Philippine Government in the presence of Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of Manila, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu and CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo.
Boac Diocese Marks 11th year of Marinduque Mining Disaster
IN a rare display of unity and volunteerism, thousands of faithful led by the Diocese of Boac gathered together on March 24 to clean up both embankments of the 26-kilometer Boac River to commemorate the 11 th anniversary of the country’s biggest mining tragedy that killed the said stream in 1996. Organized by the diocese’s Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC), the activity was in response to the Pastoral Letter issued by Marinduque’s Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista and a resolution adopted by the Marinduque provincial government. Evangelista emphasized in his letter to the faithful read in all the Sunday masses on March 18 that: “It is high time for the entire Marinduque community to work together in reclaiming the integrity of our creation as part of our responsibility before God to enrich the beauty and bounty of our remaining natural resources.” “In this sense, our collective dignity as Marinduqueños will wipe out the infamy which the Boac River disaster of 1996 brought to our island-paradise. However, the local Church and the local governments have the common tasks to continuously seek justice for our people and for our environment,” he stressed.
Marinduqueños have been seeking justice from the various Courts in the country and abroad to determine the liabilities of Marcopper Mining Corporation and Placer Dome, Incorporated (bought by Barrick Gold in 2006) over the disasters their 30-year mining operations have caused the people
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Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista, DD Bishop of Boac
Cardinal Issues Criteria for Choosing Leaders
IN another effort to inform the electorate on how to vote worthy candidates, the Archdiocese of Manila has issued guidelines for responsible voting. In a pastoral statement, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said election is a process of choosing leaders who, with the people, will seek the common good of all. “Choosing and holding the leaders accountable to the governed is a critically important choice that must follow moral guidelines,” he said. He asked the voters to respect the sacredness of the election by not selling and bartering their votes with
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Symposium to Shed Light on Church Law Held
A ONE-DAY symposium on Canon law was held at the Sacred Heart Center in Cebu City on April 18, 2007. Organized by the Canon Law Society of the Philippines (CLSP), the activity was open to all the members of the clergy, institutes of consecrated life and the lay faithful of the Cebu archdiocese. Three Church law experts spoke in the symposium, which focused on the process for the Declaration of Marriage Nullity, the legal aspect for the establishment of New Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Law on Eucharistic Liturgy. The CLSP noted that the
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CBCP Head Seeks Arroyo’s Help for Justice of Slain Indo Priest
CBCP head Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and Indonesian Catholics in the Philippines have asked the government to solve the killing of an Indonesian priest in Kalinga province early this month. In a letter sent to President Arroyo, Lagdameo appealed for “speedy delivery of justice” for Fr. Fransiskus Madhu, SVD who was shot dead April 2.
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AT least three old churches are included in the six Architectural Heritage sites in Leyte which will be showcased in the Architectural Heritage Tour on May 1, 2007. The event is in connection with the commemoration of the National Heritage Month in the month of May.
The first heritage destination identified is Tanauan where the Our Lady of Assumption Parish Church is one of the oldest churches and where the Rectory was restored to its natural design. Then there is Dulag, where the ruins of the 1595-built JeOld Churches / P4
MOST Rev. Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao delivers his talk on the Family and the Sanctity of Marriage at the 7th Tri-State Convention of the Knights of Columbus held in Cagayan de Oro City on April 20-22, 2007. Other speakers were CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, Malaybalay Bishop Honesto Pacana, SK Stephen Feiler of the KC Supreme Office, and Msgr. Pedro Quitorio of the CBCP Media Office.
© Denz Dayao / CBCP Media
3 Old Churches Identified Among the Architectural Heritage Sites in Leyte
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Panel Backs Hopes for Unbaptized Infants Who Die, OKs Publication of Report on Limbo
VATICAN CITY, April 20, 2007— Benedict XVI authorized the publication of a report that expresses the hope that babies who die without baptism are able to get to heaven. The report by the International Theological Commission, published today, concluded that there are serious theological and liturgical grounds for the hope that such babies are saved and enjoy the beatific vision. The commission says the theological hypothesis of “limbo” appeared to be based on an unduly restrictive view of salvation. The 41-page document noted this is an “urgent pastoral problem,” especially because of the large number of unbaptized babies who die as victims of abortion. The commission’s documents are not considered official expressions of the magisterium. But the commission does help the Holy See to examine important doctrinal issues. The Catechism of the Catholic Church in No. 1261 explains: “As regards children who have died without baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. “Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,’ allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without baptism. “All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy baptism.” (Zenit)
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
More UK Doctors Refusing to Do Abortions
LONDON, England, April 17, 2007—A growing number of doctors in the United Kingdom are refusing to perform abortions for ethical reasons, a new report shows. A report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists looked specifically at the number of abortions that now take place at private clinics instead of public ones because of unavailable staff. The number of abortions in private clinics 10 years ago was 20%; now the number is closer to 40%. Still, the newspaper Independent reported on Monday that the number of abortions in England and Wales is at a record 190,000 a year. With fewer doctors willing to perform the procedure, abortion supporters say that within five years, there may be more demand for abortions than doctors to provide them. Furthermore, with fewer doctors in public clinics willing to perform abortions, hospitals must refer those seeking abortion to private clinics. And the National Health Service, which funds four out of five abortions in Britain, is struggling to cope with the bills. Saving, not taking life Julia Millington of the Londonbased ProLife Alliance said that the news of fewer abortions at public clinics is certainly welcomed. In a press statement, Millington added: “We have been hearing for some time now that young doctors, in particular, do not want to work in this field. “Those choosing to go into medicine presumably do so because they want to cure sickness and disease, not end the lives of innocent human beings.” In the United Kingdom, abortion is legal throughout the entire pregnancy if the doctor believes the baby suffers a severe disability, or if the mother’s life is at risk. Otherwise, depending on the mental health of the mother, an abortion can be had up to 24 weeks. On another front, a London Catholic hospital will ban abortionreferral, contraception provision and in vitro fertilization following a campaign to restore its Catholic identity. Cardinal Cormac MurphyO’Connor of Westminster asked that the ethical code of the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth be revised after learning that doctors were providing the morning-after pill and referring women for abortions. The new code is expected to be agreed upon by the hospital board next month. (Zenit)
State Funeral for Beijing’s Patriotic Bishop, Party “Property”
HONG KONG, April 21, 2007—Michele Fu Tieshan, Patriotic Archbishop of Beijing, will receive a funeral fit for a “head of state”. There will be no Vatican representative present, neither the religious ceremony nor the state burial. Church sources in Hong Kong told AsiaNews t h a t members of the Beijing Patriotic Association expressed their desire that there should be a Vatican representative at the burial, but it is “highly improbable that someone will attend. There was no Vatican representative at last year’s funeral of Msgr. Li Duan [archbishop of Xian] who was in deep communion with the Pope and Vatican”. Despite this, the sources add, all of the faithful in China and abroad “should pray for his soul, which is now at the mercy of God’s justice”. Michele Fu Tieshan died yesterday evening at 19.50 (Beijing time), at Beijing Hospital. In the official statement however, the Patriotic Association, decided to make it appear that he died at 8.08 in the evening, because of the “luck” that number “8” brings in Chinese fortune telling. “Lets’ just hope that they don’t put Taoist cards or Majiang playing cards in his coffin!” was the comment of one Beijing Catholic. The reference is to the superstitious nature of the deceased bishop and his passion for Majiang (Chinese dominos). The capital’s faithful notice with some bitterness that the patriotic bishop’s body was “sequestered” by the PA—of which Fu was national president—in order to publicize his “contribution to the nation”, without a single reference to the Catholic faith. “He died as he lived—one woman notices—that is as Communist Party property”. The same official Party statement, exalts him as a “patriotic religious leader, social activist and great friend of the Chinese communist party”. The PA has sent out a communiqué in which they ask all of the parishes in China to pray for him. In Beijing’s’ Nantang (Church of the Immaculate), the capital’s cathedral, there will be a 7-day period of mourning with mass celebrated in his memory each day for the repose of the soul of Fu Tieshan. Among Beijing’s faithful there are some who doubt the veracity that the bishop died yesterday. According to some his death dates to April 12th. Since then in fact most of the people who wished to visit him, had to content themselves with prayers for his recovery instead, outside his room. From a window
looking into his room all that was visible was the immobile bedridden figure of the Bishop, perhaps in coma, or already dead. (AsiaNews)
Chinese Government Forces 9-Month Women to Abort
hospital to carry out the termination. The following day the same fate awaited a further 20 women. China Aid Association (CAA), a United States based non government organization which fights for religious freedom and human rights in China reported the cases. Eye witnesses reported to CAA that provincial police transported the women to Youjiang District People’s Hospital; they were injected forcefully with an abortive drug. The agents were led by Family Planning officials. In less than 24 hours 61 fetuses were dead. At Bed number 37, He Caigan was 9 months pregnant. Officials injected her baby’s head and after 20 minutes of pain and suffering, her baby stopped moving and died. About 6am on April 18, Pastor James Liang’s wife Wei Linrong gave birth to a boy, but he was dead because of the injection. She received three doses of injection-one is to induce the birth and the other two to kill the baby in the womb. After China Aid reported the forced abortion, police were seen surrounding the section of the hospital where these abortions took place. In fact for some time now the Chinese population has been protesting against Beijing, which allows rich and famous couples to ignore the family law on one child, which is instead applied with force on the less well off. The politics of family planning, the bastion of the communist government, affects 90 million Chinese families. This provokes social problems such as the imbalance of sexes and the aging population. Since 1978 only one child has been permitted to urban residents, two to rural couples. The average family has dropped from the 5.83 children per household of the 1970’s to 2.1 in the ‘90’s and the current 1.8. The government aims to contain the population within 1.37 billion by 2010. These policies have led to a massive campaign of forced abortions and infanticide of female babies, in order to have a male heir to maintain the family name. (AsiaNews)
YOUJIANG, China, April 21, 2007—The Chinese government’s cruel abortion campaign continues: on April
17, in the southern province of Guangxi, police forced 41 women to abort their children, dragging them into the local
Secretary of State Defends Pius XII
VATICAN CITY, April 19, 2007—The Vatican secretary of state says that Pope Pius XII signed a letter asking all religious institutes to open their doors to Jews persecuted by the Nazi regime. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said that Wednesday when commenting on a caption in the Yad Vashem, a Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, which asserted that Pius XII was silent in the face of the persecution against the Jews. Cardinal Bertone explained that on Oct. 25, 1943, Pius XII signed “a bulletin from the Secretary of State which mandated that religious institutions and even the catacombs be opened to
Catholic Leaders Shocked Over Murder of Protestant Staff in Turkey
ROME, April 20, 2007— Catholic leaders in Turkey were shocked by the murder of three employees of a Protestant publishing house, said an official at the Vatican nunciature in Ankara, Turkey. “We are upset,” said Msgr. Georges Marovitch. “With each explosion of violence, it is like all our work for dialogue is being questioned.” The three employees of the Zirve publishing house in Malatya, a city in central Turkey, were found dead with their throats slashed April 18. Police arrested four men in the Zirve offices shortly after the murders and a fifth man, who was hospitalized with head injuries after apparently jumping from a fourth-story window in the Zirve building. Five more suspects were detained April 19. Turkish press reports reported that some of the men arrested told police they acted to defend Islam. Msgr. Marovitch told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera , “We understand that the victims belonged to a Protestant group that distributed Bibles on the street in a Muslim society, and this irritated nationalist
Pastor Says ‘Words Are Not Enough’ to Comfort Virginia Tech Families
BLACKSBURG, Va., April 20, 2007—Words are not enough to comfort grieving parents, said a priest who spent time with the parents of several of the slain Virginia Tech students when they first learned their son or daughter was dead. In the early hours after the murder rampage on campus that left 33 dead, Father James Arsenault, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Blacksburg, was at Montgomery Regional Hospital with those who were wounded and their families. Then he went to the Inn at Virginia Tech, a hotel on campus where parents seeking information about their children were asked to gather. He said he left the parish at 8:30 that morning and did not get back until 1:30 the following morning. In a brief interview in his rectory late April 18—after three full days of seeing to the pastoral care of victims, families and students— Father Arsenault said that approaching parents who had just heard their child was dead, he would simply say something like, “Words
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Pope Pius XII
welcome the Jews persecuted by the Nazis.” The president of Yad Vashem, Avner Shalev, has
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Spanish Cardinal Slams Ideologies “That Seek to Wrench God from Heart of Man”
MADRID, Spain, April 17, 2007—The Archbishop of Toledo and Vice President of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares has renewed his opposition to the course Education for Citizenship which Spanish law is requiring be taught in schools next fall saying, “We are risking a lot with these ideologies that seek to wrench the vision of the creator God from the heart of man.” During a day-long meeting organized by the Archdiocese of Toledo to study the Education for Citizenship course, the Cardinal said the issue was of utmost importance and “affects our society both today and in the future.” He warned that the course would “impose a moral relativism and ideology of gender” that demands “responsible and devoted consideration.” The Cardinal said Spaniards were rightly alarmed about the course and he called for clarity in social, moral, and anthropological concepts. The problem with “Education for Citizenship,” he added, “is not one issue or
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Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
Digos Holds Catechists’ Formators Seminar
By Fr. Bong Lunas, DCD
THE Diocesan Catechetical Center of the Diocese of Digos held the 1st Catechists’ Formators Institute (CFI) on April 10-13, 2007 at the Diocesan Seminar House, Home of the Clergy Compound in Digos City. Participants in the seminar, 131 in all, included Catechists who came from all the parishes and mission stations of the diocese; and, campus ministers of the Digos City National High School. Lecturers on various topics were Fr. Nestino Alerta, Fr. Juan Macalisang, STL, PhD, Fr. Ferdinand Lariosa, M.A. and Fr. Ronald Lunas, STL. Sr. Mary Claire Romeo, OSB, the diocesan catechetical program coordinator, supervised the entire event. She was assisted by Mrs. Fely Padillo. This is the 16th year the Center has been holding such kind of formation for catechists. In the previous years, however, the program was called Summer Catechetical Institute (SCI). The name has been changed to Catechists’ Formators Institute since in the past two years, the Institute’s objective, has shifted into forming catechists to assist their head catechist in their respective parishes in the formation of volunteer catechists. Since 2005, these formatorcatechists followed a certain program of formation not only during summer but throughout the year. Aside
Vatican Commission: Limbo Reflects ‘Restrictive View of Salvation’
By John Thavis
VATICAN CITY—After several years of study, the Vatican’s International Theological Commission said there are good reasons to hope that babies who die without being baptized go to heaven. In a document published April 20, the commission said the traditional concept of limbo—as a place where unbaptized infants spend eternity but without communion with God—seemed to reflect an “unduly restrictive view of salvation.” The Church continues to teach that, because of original sin, baptism is the ordinary way of salvation for all people and urges parents to baptize infants, the document said. But there is greater theological awareness today that God is merciful and “wants all human beings to be saved,” it said. Grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ’s special love for “the little ones,” it said. “Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered ... give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision,” the document said. “We emphasize that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge,” it added. The 41-page document, titled “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized,” was published in Origins, the documentary service of Catholic News Service. Pope Benedict XVI authorized its publication earlier this year. The 30-member International Theological Commission acts as an advisory panel to the Vatican, in particular to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Its documents are not considered expressions of authoritative Church teaching, but they sometimes set the stage for official Vatican pronouncements. The commission’s document said salvation for unbaptized babies who die was becoming an urgent pastoral question, in part because their number is greatly increasing. Many infants today are born to parents who are not practicing Catholics, and many others are the unborn victims of abortion, it said. Limbo has never been defined as Church dogma and is not mentioned in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states simply that unbaptized infants are entrusted to God’s mercy. But limbo has long been regarded as the common teaching of the Church. In the modern age, “people find it increasingly difficult to accept that God is just and merciful if he excludes infants, who have no personal sins, from eternal happiness,” the new document said. Parents in particular can experience grief and feelings of guilt when they doubt their unbaptized children are with God, it said. The Church’s hope for these infants’ salvation reflects a growing awareness of God’s mercy, the commission said. But the issue is not simple, because appreciation for divine mercy must be reconciled with fundamental Church teachings about original sin and about the necessity of baptism for salvation, it said. The document traced the development of Church thinking about the fate of unbaptized children, noting that there is “no explicit answer” from Scripture or tradition. In the fifth century, St. Augustine concluded that infants who die without baptism were consigned to hell. By the 13th century, theologians referred to the “limbo of infants” as a place where unbaptized babies were deprived of the vision of God, but did not suffer because they did not know what they were deprived of. Through the centuries, popes and Church councils were careful not to define limbo as a doctrine of the faith and to leave the question open. That was important in allowing an evolution of the teaching, the theological commission said. A key question taken up by the document was the Church’s teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation. That teaching needs interpretation, in view of the fact that “infants ... do not place any personal obstacle in the way of redemptive grace,” it said. In this and other situations, the need for the sacrament of baptism is not absolute and is secondary to God’s desire for the salvation of every person, it said. “God can therefore give the grace of baptism without the
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from their four-day seminar in summer, they also have classes in their respective vicariates three times a year. In 2005-2007, they took up “Christology.” The CFI is only a part of their year-round formation program. The CFI keeps the triad of Doctrine, Liturgy and Morality, and includes Spirituality and Methodology as well. Fr. Lunas, a teacher of Systematic Theology, concluded his series of lecture on Christology; Fr. Macalisang, a professor in Moral Theology, continued his last years’s lecture on the “Ten Commandments” with an input on the “Beatitudes” as truly guides to Christian living; Fr. Lariosa, instructor in Liturgy, concentrated on Liturgical Music. The three priests belong to the Diocese of Digos, and presently teaching at the St. Francis Xavier Regional Seminary of Mindanao in Davao City. Fr. Alerta, by way of “Recollection” introduced the participants to “Centering Prayer.” During the seminar, a new set of lessons for the first communicants, to be used in the next school year, ad experimentum, was also presented. Upon return to their parishes, participants to the CFI would also organize the annual renewal program and formation of the volunteer catechists both for the public schools and the Basic Christian Communities (BECs).
Thousands Celebrate at Divine Mercy Shrine
KRAKOW, Poland, April 16, 2007—On April 15, the feast of Divine Mercy, about 50,000 people attended a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Adam Joseph Cardinal Maida at the Divine Mercy shrine in Krakow, Poland. Groups were present from the US, Canada, Nicaragua, Haiti, Finland, England, Ireland, Romania, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. In other news, an international architectural competition for the Pope John Paul II Center in Krakow will soon be underway. The 13,00014,000 square-meter complex will include a museum, multimedia library, a chapel as well as a prayer room for other faiths, and a conference room. One member of the jury for the competition is Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, who designed the new cathedral in Los Angeles, California. Cardinal Dziwisz will bless the site selected for the Center on May 18th, the 87th birthday of John Paul II. (CWNews)
A Priest of the Mangyans
By Madonna T. Virola
CITY OF CALAPAN, Philippines—Thirty-four-year old Rev. Gabayno “Gabby” Calinog Oybad, a member of the indigenous tribe called “Mangyans” in the province of Mindoro, was ordained a priest on April 17 in Roman Catholic rites blended with indigenous tradition at the Sto. Nino parish church. The Mangyans of Mindoro are indigenous people who have retained their pre-Hispanic writing. Most of them have been pushed to the mountains by land grabbers and migrants. Because of poverty, they are often treated as second-class citizens. And so, Oybad’s ordination was a big reason to celebrate. “This is an event for the whole Catholic church,” said Fr. Ewald Dinter, director of Mangyan Mission-Oriental Mindoro. Almost a hundred priests concelebrated the mass, all of them with a red piece of cloth wrapped around their heads, as a sign of solidarity with the Mangyans. The cathedral was filled with Mangyans from different subtribes and towns in Oriental Mindoro, some volunteers who helped in the celebration, and some foreign nationals supportive of the Mangyans. “It’s the fruit of Mangyan Mission’s journey with the Mangyans towards the fullness of life with God and their active response to participate in, and ultimately lead, the journey”, said Fr. Rod Salazar, SVD. Mangyan gong, flute, and sticks were played to mark the highlights of the program, their sounds penetrating the heart.
A “Priest of Divine Mercy” Beatified
TURIN, Italy, Arpil 17, 2007— Father Luigi Boccardo, known as an apostle of merciful love, was proclaimed blessed in his native city of Turin. Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes, presided over the beatification Mass, held Sunday in the Church of the Holy Face. Cardinal Severino Poletto, archbishop of Turin, concelebrated. Luigi Boccardo was born Aug. 9, 1861, the seventh of nine children. He was ordained a priest in 1884, and served as assistant pastor to his brother and godfather, Father Giovanni Maria Boccardo, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1998. Father Luigi then served as vice rector and spiritual director at the Consolata College for young priests, and as a theology professor at the diocesan seminary. The priest also spent hours hearing confessions at the Shrine of the Consolata and visiting prisoners. Father Luigi became the superior general of the Poor Sisters of San Gaetano, founded by his brother, after Father Giovanni Maria died in 1913. In 1919, Father Luigi became director of an institute for the blind. In that time he built the Shrine to Jesus Christ, King and Priest. In 1932, he founded the Order of Sisters of Christ the King, a contemplative branch of the order founded by his brother. He died June 9, 1936. Mother Teresa Ponsi, superior general of the Poor Sisters of San Gaetano, spoke of the newly beatified to Vatican Radio: “His charism as educator and founder was to reveal the merciful love of Jesus, priest and king, to his brothers, especially in the education of the clergy ... and in the spiritual direction of so many that approached him in the confessional.” Father Luigi “could be defined as ‘a priest, always a priest,’” the superior general added. “For him, to be a priest was the most marvelous adventure.” Mother Ponsi added that the priest and founder was a “teacher and guide for the young clergy, confessor and spiritual guide for all types of people.” She added that he was a “priest of divine mercy,” and that he “disseminated this in great abundance.” Mother Ponsi continued: “A contemplative and an apostle, he had a knowledge of delicate charity in understanding that even blind people can live a religious life, because before God no impediments exist with respect to who, by his grace, is called to consecrate their life to him.” “Because of all this, Blessed Luigi Boccardo is an example and a motivation in the coherent search for holiness,” and a “witness of charity,” she added. Cardinal Poletto wrote in the diocesan pap”r: “The event of two brothers, priests in our diocese, being declared blessed by the Church, is an extraordinary grace.” (Zenit)
The ordination itself was a blending of liturgical rites and the Mangyan tradition. It started with the tuob, where two Mangyan elders paraded around the venue some incense (smoke from a burned piece of tree and coconut husk) as a way of cleansing the place from bad spirits, with a prayer to shoo away all bad spirits and an invitation for all blessings to come in. In the same way, the sacristan held an incense used in Christian rituals. When Rev. Oybad was to be ordained, he was called in through a Hanunuo Mangyan dance (called taruk), which means the coming of the spirit and transfer of power for Oybad to become a healer of all illnesses. Here, the candidate became an elder and a dance is performed for God whom they call Mahal na Makakaako. After the homily, the candi-
date sat on the floor with two others, a male and a female elder. The elders advised him on the life that he has chosen so that he will be able to perform his functions and responsibilities effectively. In the ordination proper, all the priests placed their hands on the head of the candidate, followed by a prayer. A daniw (healer) led a prayer where blessings were sought. Bishop Warlito Cajandig, who led the ordination, was joined by six elders of the tribe with their arms near their eyes closed in prayer. “This (the ordination) is important for the inculturation of the message of Jesus”, said Fr. Dinter. He quoted John Paul II who said that a faith that does not become culture is a faith which has not been fully received, not fully lived. The parish of the Risen Christ which looks after the pastoral concerns of all Mangyan Catho-
lics in Oriental Mindoro was also jubilant.
The road to priesthood
“I’m proof that a Mangyan, when given the opportunity and support, with perseverance and despite poverty, can succeed in any undertaking. We’re all equal before God anyway”, said Oybad. He graduated first honors in a public elementary school and proceeded to Catholic schools where he got support from missionaries. In high school, he had to balance his studies with his responsibilities as a convent boy. During the vocation campaign of the St. Augustine Minor Seminary in Calapan, Oybad was attracted by the religious life. So after high school, he took Philosophy at Christ the King seminary in Quezon City. He then proceeded to Theol-
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Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
Bishop Renews Call for Environment Protection
THE need for protecting environment and saving “ourselves” was stressed by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who led a Mass in celebration of Earth Day on April 24. In his homily, Pabillo said we should treat our environment with a lot more respect
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and not just regarded it as a source of money. The bishop was saddened to note that while the country is indeed rich in natural resources it is not however properly protected. He singled out large-scale mining operations in the countryside as a big blow towards
creating “irreparable damage” to our environment. “With the rapid economic development, our environment is getting worse and worse,” he said. “They don’t see the importance of our environment that when destroyed, we can never restore it back,” he said.
Earth Day, according to Pabillo, “reminds us to have a wider perspective” of environment conservation. “Problems in the environment are so serious that all of us must give attention to it," he said. “Let’s give respect to this world where we live in.” (CBCPNews)
and environment in Marinduque island. These include the criminal cases filed separately by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources against John Eric Loney, an Australian who was the President and CEO of Marcopper, Steven Paul Reid, also an Australian national and Resident Manager of Marcopper Tapian Office, and Pedro Hernandez, a Filipino who served as Senior Manager for Maintenance. The three were the officials of the mining company during the collapse of one of the dredge tunnels of Marcopper’s Tapian Pit on March 24, 1996 that caused the biologic death of Boac River, the biggest and longest waterway in Marinduque. The officials were charged for violation of the Philippine Water Code, the Anti-Pollution Law, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, and the Revised Penal Code docketed in the Municipal Trial Court in this town as Criminal Cases Nos. 96-44 to 95-55 (People of the Philippines v. John Eric Loney, Steven Paul Reid and Pedro Hernandez). The criminal cases have been dragging for eleven years already.
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MACEC Executive Secretary Myke Magalang explained “the delay in the administration of justice for the victims of environmental disaster in Marinduque and the unconscionable plunder of our environment are reflections of inefficiency in the bureaucracy of the country, including the judicial branch.” Court records reveal that after the filing of the cases in April 11, 1996, the accused Marcopper officials filed a Motion to Quash before the Boac MTC. After the exchange of various pleadings, the complaints for violation of the Philippine Water Code and the Anti-Pollution Law were dismissed by the lower court but the accused mining company officials were arraigned for the remaining cases on May 28, 1997. The prosecution appealed the ruling at the Regional Trial Court in Marinduque while the accused sought the intervention of the same court praying for the quashing also of the cases for violation of the Philippine Mining Act. On March 20, 1998, the RTC reversed and set aside the ruling of the lower court and reinstated all the criminal cases filed against the accused. peace and the integral development of the country and the people. “In the past, enormous sufferings resulted from political ambitions, maneuvers and group adventurism resulting in the country’s poor becoming even poorer,” Rosales lamented. The Cardinal also called on the teachers, the armed forces, the youth and volunteer citizens who help the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ensure that votes are accurately counted and properly turned over to the provincial and national canvassers. He also urged the faithful to pray for guidance so that God may “softly suggest in prayer” that the country needs “moral, humble and repentant trustworthy leaders.” (CBCPNews)
This ruling was appealed by the accused in the Court of Appeals and in the Supreme Court. Eight years after, the Supreme Court finally upheld the RTC ruling on February 10, 2006 and ordered the reinstatement of all criminal cases, which in effect, remanded the same to the court of origin. The only progress of the cases was on November 22, 2006 when the Provincial Prosecutor filed a manifestation and motion to set cases for hearing and only after MACEC presented a computer downloaded copy of the Supreme Court decision. Magalang assailed “the extreme inefficiency of the justice system because it is unimaginable why until now the prosecution and even the Municipal Trial Court of Boac were not officially furnished with copies of the Supreme Court Decision.” The Prosecution’s manifestation informed the Municipal Trial Court that “it is in possession of what appears to be a computer generated copy of the decision in G.R. No. 152644” and opined that it would perhaps suffice in “paving the way for the resumption of the hearing.” Magalang further emphatically said that such “is indeed a grave insult to the already disCBCP Head / from p1
illusioned and disheartened people of Marinduque who are continuously suffering and threatened to die one by one from heavy metal poisoning.” “That is why we are calling the attention of the Department of Justice to direct the panel of prosecutors to prioritize this case of the Filipino people against the foreign nationals and officers of the multinational mining company which plundered our national patrimony,” he said.
Unpaid local taxes
Another important concern that MACEC strongly pursues is to find ways and means to compel Marcopper Mining Corporation and Placer Dome, Inc. to pay their unpaid real property taxes to the province of Marinduque and the municipalities of Boac, Mogpog, Sta. Cruz and Torrijos which is over 1 billion as of the second quarter of 2006. “This is an extreme insensitivity of a company which amassed billions of dollars in profit and which claims to be a good corporate citizen of the country but neglecting its primary duty to pay legitimate taxes to the government,” said Magalang. (Roy Lagarde) for Madhu’s death. “We, the Indonesian priests, religious brothers and sisters residing in the Philippines demand justice for our fallen brother and appeal for the speedy resolution by law enforcement agencies of his murder,” the statement read. “We pray that the death of our brother shall not be for naught,” it added. “His life, which he lovingly offered for the people of Lubuagan, and his blood, that was spilled in their land, shall hopefully bear more testaments of courage and faith that will strengthen the mission work here and around the world.” Charges have already been filed before the Kalinga provincial prosecutor’s office against four suspects in the killings of Madhu. The Philippine National Police (PNP) identified the suspects as Nestor Wailan, Joel Awingan, and Acmor Bonggawen who are now under manhunt operation. The fourth suspect remains unidentified. (CBCPNews)
DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo represented the government in signing the historic agreement. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and Cebu Archbishop Ricardon Cardinal Vidal were present to witness the ceremony.
Lagdameo, for his part, said the agreement means that both the Catholic Church and the government will mutually preserve, protect, as well as appreciate the proper use of the Cultural Heritage of the Church. “It can be done. It will be done. Both on the financial and artistic aspects, this agreement is a very welcome event,” he said.
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favors, and not allowing themselves to be coerced to vote for certain candidates. The statement, which was read last Sunday in all churches within the Manila archdiocese, called on the clergy and the faithful to vote for candidates who: 1. Love and fear God. 2. Guided by a well-formed conscience, sensitive to the choice of what is good. 3. Live and serve consistently with moral principles. 4. Honest, non-violent and compassionate. 5. Respect and protect the limited sources in nature and requires others to do the same. 6. Ready to sacrifice personal, party or group interest for the sake of unity,
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world of Canon Law remains a mystery for most Catholic faithful. Many times, it said, this is due to a general lack of juridic sense not just in ecclesiastical affairs but also even in civil life. Sometimes, the CLSP said, this may also be due to a false pastoral approach, which “tends to undermine Church Law and discipline in favor of a misunderstood charity which is tantamount to relativism and license.” “Whatever the reason, the result is confusion and abuse, which cannot but lead to a breakdown of authentic Christian life,” it said. The symposium also coinOld Churches / from p1
cided with this year’s 15 th National CLSP Convention on April 16 to 18, with the Archdiocese of Cebu as the host. Roman Rota Judge Msgr. Cormac Burke along with canon lawyers from across the country participated in the gathering. CLSP is an association of canon lawyers, established with the encouragement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in 1993. It has close to 200 members, 95 percent of them are priests engaged in different Ecclesiastical Tribunals, a growing number of bishops, and a handful of laypersons and nuns. (CBCPNews)
“I earnestly appeal to Your Excellency to give this concern due attention and action,” wrote Lagdameo. Madhu was killed while he was about to celebrate Mass in the town of Lubuagan, a fourth-class town with a population of 9,875 people in 1,764 households. The terror that we feel, Lagdameo said, are even made greater by the fact that it happened while he was preparing for the Holy Mass. “As we sympathize with the family of Fr. Madhu and the SVD Community, and as we offer prayers for his eternal rest, we the Bishops cannot but express once again our very deep concern about the unabated killings and other acts of violence happening in our country,” Lagdameo stated. Attached with Lagdameo’s letter to Arroyo was another statement of concern and a call for justice by the Community of Catholics of East Nusa Tenggara and the Indonesian Catholics in the Philippines
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But the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) stand on contraceptives or birth control stays stronger than ever. CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said there is no way the Church will change its position in opposing the use of artificial birth control methods. “Surveys favoring contraceptives or birth control will not alter the Church’s position and insistence in teaching the objective moral laws regarding the dignity of human life and family,” he said. Lagdameo said the use of contraceptives, even with government support, and the rising cases of abortions do not change the objective moral law on birth control. The CBCP head reacted to some perceptions that the moral stand of the Church is obstructing the economic progress of the country and maintained that there’s no correlation between population and poverty. He also disputed the claim that population in the country has been rising citing statistics from the United Nations (UN) and the National
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Statistics Office (NSO). “According to the UN, the country’s population growth rate has declined from 2.36 percent to 1.84 percent. For NSO, its 2.05 percent,” he said. “Our country’s total fertility rate is not 3.5 but 3.2 (UN/NSO) and is headed towards further decline.” But the prelate clarified the Church is not against family planning per se if the methods used are moral and protect the dignity of human life. “Let it be done, [but] not according to some “cafeteria methods” with instant results, such as through contraceptives, abortions, ligations and vasectomy,” said Lagdameo. The formation of core values, he said, as well as the education in the natural methods of family planning is part of the advocacy of the Church’s Family Life Apostolate. He also called on for more participation of lay faithful in the family apostolate in the parishes and barrios—especially married couples. “Patient and continuous education is necessary in this apostolate.” (CBCPNews)
suit Seminary at the Our Lady of Refuge Parish Church still remain. In Carigara could be found the Old Settlement Ruins at the Cassidy Elementary School, the Balay nga Gawas It Harigi and the Carigara Community Museum. Carigara is the place where Christianity was first introduced in Leyte. In Baybay Leyte, there is what is called as the Heritage Street, the Mabini Street where people are still occupying heritage houses of different vintages. The Fian Ancestral House in Albuera, Leyte is representative of the rich architectural heritage in Leyte. Finally, in Hilongos, Leyte there remains the Fort and Old Church Ruins which are
rich in architectural heritage. The Architectural Heritage Tour on May 1 will be participated in not only by the architecture students but also by the media and the members of the United Architects of the Philippines, Leyte Chapter. This is a good way of learning what cannot be learned in school, the actual experience of seeing for oneself the actual rich architectural heritage of the province of Leyte. Indeed, the choice of Leyte as the venue of the Grand Opening of the National Heritage Month not only showcases the rich heritage of the province of Leyte but also serves as an eye-opener for the Leyteños who should be proud of their province. (PIA-8)
The CBCP also called on their flocks to reject violence, cheating and other forms of immoral acts that could possibly happen during the election period. It singled out “dagdagbawas” or vote padding and shaving as the common forms of poll fraud that should be “disapproved and condemned”. “Let both candidates and their supporters face the judgment of democratic election with humility and magnanimity,” the CBCP said. The pastoral exhortation was released during the signing of the “Covenant of
H.O.P.E” at the Pope Pius XII Center in Manila on April 24. The Covenant for Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections was the brainchild of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ National Capital Region Command. Among the signatories of the covenant were the CBCP, Commission on Human Rights, Department of Education, National Capital Region Police Office, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the Filipino Alliance Movement-Support Group, Bantay Bayan Inc., and DeltaCom, a civic group. (CBCPNews)
other’s manpower and vital resources. “There are regions in the country where (one of either of our groups) has a better presence. There are also areas where we jointly manage. We want to use the best of both organizations,” said Go. Under the agreement, the two groups will do the quick count using the NAMFREL accreditation by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). NASSA also sought accreditation from the COMELEC to conduct a quick count but approved NAMFREL’s petition instead. Go is the newly appointed NAMFREL chairman after businessman Jose Conception tendered his resignation
as a precondition made by the COMELEC for the poll watchdog’s accreditation for quick count. The COMELEC ruled that Conception cannot head a citizen’s arm because he is public official, being village chairman of classy Barangay Forbes Park in Makati City. NAMFREL secretary-general Eric Alvia said they need more volunteers to cover the country’s 308,000 polling precincts and transmit the election returns to the main tabulating center. “The volunteers will also cover all bases in cases of location constraints,” said Alvia. Go said NAMFREL is set to hold a national assembly to brief members in the conduct of a quick count. (CBCPNews )
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
7 QUESTIONS for
Bishop Socrates B. Villegas, DD
Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, DD was appointed third bishop of Balanga by Pope John Paul II on May 3, 2004. A true shepherd that he is, Bishop Soc (as he is fondly called), puts first the fraternal care of his clergy in his life agenda. In this issue of CBCP Monitor, Bishop Soc shares his thoughts on issues that concern the diocese such as the implementation of the program on social concerns, the issue of politics and the upcoming elections, the spiritual growth of his flock, the family and life apostolate, vocations and the ongoing formation of the diocesan clergy. The implementation of the social concern agenda of the Church is an ongoing program of the dioceses to address the situation of our poor people. How is this being realized in your diocese?
We are in the process of implementing the decrees and statutes of the First Synod of Balanga (2006). One of our eight pastoral priorities is the Communion with the Poor. The social concern agenda of the diocese rests on the theology of the Kingdom of God. We are not doing programs for the poor because we want them to become millionaires. Our service for the poor must lead to the promotion of the plan of God for His people which is fullness of life. We are essentially different from the DSWD or other NGO’s helping the poor. Our real and only treasure to share with the poor is Jesus Christ. Concretely, we have a diocesan home for abandoned children, a home for abandoned elderly, a micro financing program for small investors, a basic education full scholarship program for 150 children, most of them from the Aeta families, and the diocesan program for helping the poor called AGAP (Alay Galing sa Pagpapakasakit). Churchmen—Bishop Celso Guevarra and Bishop Honesto Ongtioco. They have sown good seeds in Bataan when they were bishops here. It is springtime for Bataan now because of the legacy of our first two bishops. Bishop Guevarra laid the foundations of the new diocese by promoting vocations to the priesthood. Bishop Nes laid the groundwork for the first synod through the diocesan pastoral consultation that he conducted. These two great bishops made life for me so much easier and the work very much lighter.
A New Saint with a Unique Link to the Philippines
By Ming Roxas
MARIE-EUGÉNIE of Jesus, Foundress of the Religious of the Assumption, will be canonized in Rome on June 3, 2007, along with 3 other saints, at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square presided by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Born Anne Eugénie Milleret, Marie-Eugénie believed in the transformation of society through education, to form men and women of faith, and men and women of action. Her vision: a world transformed by the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and animated by the Church. Her objectives: to know and love Jesus Christ, make Him and his Church known and loved, and work for the extension of His Kingdom in society. Marie-Eugénie believed that education should form the intellect enlightened by faith. The intellect allows the person to understand the world, while Faith provides Gospel values as the standard by which to formulate decisions. For MarieEugénie, the goal of education is the transformation of the whole person, allowing each one the freedom to develop according to God’s plan. In Marie-Eugénie’s words: “ To educate is to transform; to transform is to set a person free.” Marie-Eugénie’s work continues through the congregation she founded. Today, the Religious of the Assumption is in 34 countries in Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa. Working with their lay partners, over 1,200 sisters in 170 communities throughout the world continue Marie Eugenie’s way of spreading the Kingdom through love. The Congregation carries out its educative mission in diverse apostolates: through its schools and formation centers for women, in health clinics, spirituality and retreat centers and welcome houses, in centers of professional education as well as technical and commercial formation and in its ministry to indigenous peoples and migrants, through its ecumenical work and inter-faith dialogue. The rich diversity of the mission is mirrored in the Philippines-Thailand Province, where the Assumption sisters transforms society through its involvement in education and immersion in the communities in which they are situated: in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, being Assumption is a peace center for Christians and Maranaws; in Kibangay, Bukidnon, as well as in Makati, Passi, Antipolo and Iloilo, it is a consolidation of lay and Sisters working together in basic education, including tertiary education in San Lorenzo, Makati; in Malibay, Pasay City and in San Simon, Pampanga, poor communities have been transformed and empowered by education and the presence of the Sisters; in Baguio an inculturated community has learned to accept and respect each other’s ethnicity with the help of Assumption; in Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro, and in Saint John’s University in Bangkok, the Sisters are involved in campus ministry while in Thabom, a village in northeast Thailand, the Sisters run the parish school.
The official photo that will be displayed in St. Peter’s Square at the canonization of Blessed Marie-Eugénie
Who was Marie-Eugénie?
Anne-Eugénie Milleret was born in Metz, north-east of France in 1871 shortly after the defeat of Napoleon. Her father was a rich banker and politician but, when Anne-Eugénie was 13, he lost all his money, their beautiful house was sold and the family split up. She went to live with her mother in Paris while her brother Louis stayed with their father. Two years later, when she was just 15, her mother caught cholera and died a few hours later. AnneEugénie was left alone in the world. After several years, staying with different families, outwardly having a good time, but inwardly lonely and restless, Anne-Eugénie found herself in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. There, listening to an eloquent preacher, the Abbé Lacordaire, she was converted to Christ and the Church. She decided to give her life to Jesus Christ. She was convinced that each of us has a mission on earth . What was the mission God had destined for Eugénie? She saw that in the world she lived in, most people were growing up without any sense of the true meaning of life and of their responsibilities. There were amazing
new possibilities in science and technology, lots of people were newly rich and even more were in desperate poverty. To many people, God was irrelevant. Then she met a priest, Fr. Combalot, who persuaded her that the best way for her to collaborate with Jesus in making the world what God wanted it to be was to start a new religious family dedicated to education: the Religious of the Assumption.
interests of girls her age.
Marie-Eugénie’s way of life
Marie Eugenie’s way is to live our Christian life fully by knowing and loving Jesus Christ and His Church and working for the extension of God’s Kingdom here on earth, in ourselves and in others. Her entire being was fixed firmly on Jesus Christ and the extension of His Kingdom. Marie Eugenie believed in the goodness of the world God had created and in the possibility for goodness in every single person. She understood that when we love other people we liberate the good that is in them so that they can grow into the persons God wants them to be. The conditions of the world Marie Eugénie grew up in are very similar to what we face today. Yet, in that world, she found the Kingdom of God here on earth. She believed that the earth, each of us, is a place of glory for God. As we look at the life of Marie Eugénie, we can see that what makes her a saint can help us become saints too. Her philosophy and path to sainthood will help us in our personal search for meaning and make us partners in the great mission of Jesus for the salvation of the world. The Philippines-Thailand Province will be represented by a large delegation of pilgrims composed of Sisters, lay partners, alumnae, students, faculty and staff from the different communities for the official celebration in Rome from June 2-4. The canonization will be carried live by EWTN in the Philippines on June 3, 2007 starting at 4:00 PM (Philippine time). A Philippine celebration of the canonization is being planned for August 2007. (Ming Roxas is a faculty of the Communication Department of Assumption College. She heads the Communication Committee for the Canonization of Blessed MarieEugénie.)
How is the family and life program in your diocese?
The seedbed of all our pastoral programs is the family. The end goal of all our pastoral action is the family. The agent for the various pastoral agenda is the family. You will notice that family life does not appear in any of the eight pastoral priorities of the diocese. It is because family life permeates all of them.
Events that led to MarieEugénie’s canonization
Marie-Eugénie was beatified on February 9, 1975 by Pope Paul VI. In 1996, the cause for canonization was formally started by the Congregation. The canonization of MarieEugénie was made possible by a miracle attributed through her intercession to a Filipino child, Risa Bondoc, who, at age one year and 3 months, was diagnosed with ‘septo-optic-dysplasia with left schizencephaly’. MRI findings showed the absence of a septum pellucidum and the corpus callosum joining the two hemispheres of her brain never formed. Risa was also diagnosed to have hypoplasia of the optic nerve and both her pituitary gland and hypothalamic stalk were small. Doctors in the United States said she would never see, walk or talk. Risa had been adopted by Rosendo and Carmen Bondoc soon after birth in 1995. When her condition was first diagnosed, the Bondocs started the novena to Marie-Eugénie and Risa was made to wear a medal with a relic of Marie-Eugénie. Risa was also brought to Paris and, in the presence of the Superior General and two of her Council, was laid on the tomb of Marie-Eugénie and commended for cure through Marie-Eugénie’s intercession. Today, Risa is a student at the Basic Education Division of Assumption College, a friendly, sociable and articulate young lady with all the
The diocese seems to be getting sufficient number of vocations for the priesthood, how would you appraise the quality of vocations entering the seminary today?
By the grace of God, we are seeing a remarkable increase of seminarians from the Diocese of Balanga. How do I explain the increase of priestly vocations? First is the example of many good priests in Bataan. Second is the encouraging atmosphere of prayer within the family. Many more young men could have been admitted to the seminary if the standard of education in public schools were better than what it is now. There is a lamentable deterioration in English proficiency which is so vital for seminary studies. There is also the remarkable decline in the spirit of self discipline and sacrifice. The culture of easy and quick pleasure has also sadly affected our seminary applicants.
Would you consider participation in politics a part of the social concern agenda of the Church?
Dirty politics is one of the great scourges of our nation. Politics becomes dirty and burdensome for the people when it is conducted without Christ. It is the duty of the Church—clerics and laity—to infuse the spirit of holiness into politics. There must be separation of Church and State but there should be no separation of man from God.
Risa Bondoc, the girl whose miraculous healing was attributed through the intercession of Blessed Marie-Eugénie
What is the diocese doing to minimize, if not altogether eradicate the prospect of cheating and vote-buying in the upcoming mid-term elections?
Democracy will only work if the people in whom true democratic power emanates are educated and use their right responsively and wisely. There is an ongoing voters’ education in the whole diocese using the modules of the PPCRV. Vigilance is the small price that we must pay if we wish to remain free.
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Do you have in your diocese concrete programs for the ongoing formation of your clergy?
Cardinal Sin and Cardinal Vidal both gave me the same advice when I was appointed Bishop of Balanga: “Love your priests!” I have always set the fraternal care of priests as first in my life agenda. We have a regular monthly recollection and penitential service together. I give some points for spiritual growth during these monthly gatherings. This is my regular way of ministering to my brothers. In addition to our annual retreat, we also have a five-day renewal program for some updating in canon law, liturgy, pastoral administration and, of course, spirituality. The minister is more important than the ministry.
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As third bishop of Balanga, how would you describe the journey of the diocese in terms of growth in faith of the flock, and development of the diocese in the areas of structure and organization?
I am standing on the shoulders of two great
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
Nothing Really Bad with RPChina Agri Deals
THERE is really nothing bad with the recent RP-China Agribusiness deals which were signed during the state visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last January. There were immediately 17 agreements placed in the bag amounting to P197.7 billion that, reportedly, will cover 1.2 million hectares of farmlands. The Agriculture Secretary calls the breakthrough “the golden age of bilateral relations between the Philippines and China, and heralds the ascendancy of China as a strategic partner of the Philippines in its drive for agricultural modernization and global competitiveness.” There is real gold in this venture which is expected to soar up to P240 billion worth of Chinese investments once all agreements are totally concluded. The only rub is, a cursory check with some of the Filipino corporations in partnership with the Chinese investors reveals some anomalous transactions in the offing. For how would a corporation be in partnership with multi-billion investors when its incorporation happened only months ago and its subscribed capital stock totals only a measly million pesos? And this, not to mention the names of incorporators that are not known in business circles who may easily be dummies. This sounds like a repeat of the computer deals at COMELEC which until now are squirming with worms. And we are not yet talking about environmental issues where forest lands may be part of the millions of hectares that will be converted for agribusiness use of the Chinese who are not known for environmental safety. There is really nothing bad with RP-Chinese agribusiness deals—except that these are deals entered into by dirty hands in a land that tops the Asian list of the most corrupt.
Population and Corruption
A RECENT survey said that a rather big majority of its respondents favored the use of contraceptives. Obviously, the intention is to lessen the population in the country and consequently, as if by cause and effect, have prosperity in the land. Immediately, anti-population characters in the legislature and administration joined the pro-contraceptive choir. Truth to say, this is a simplistic stance to population. Lesser population automatically means prosperity. Bigger population readily means poverty. This is the so-called simple and plain “pie approach”. The more persons eat the pie, the lesser portion they have. The fewer people partake of the pie, the bigger pieces. This equation is not that hard to understand. Even children are much aware of such a simplistic quantitative truth the more so do anti-population proponents know such a numerical approach. More people are definitely bad for the national economy. Less people are infallibly good for national socio-economic development. The equation is self-evident. The conclusion is elementary. But this is wrong. The people in this country are poor not simply because of their number but rather on account of the endemic graft and pervasive corruption in their government. The government directly and/or indirectly taxes each one of the millions of Filipinos. Yet it has a dismal performance in promoting their common good in return. The truth is, were it not for population of the country, the government would not be all well in keeping the national economy still somehow afloat through OFW remittances. Population is not an impediment to prosperity but rather the engine of development. The obstacle to national development is found in corrupt government agencies; in grafters occupying public offices. Plus a basically incapable government that is rich in super visions but poor in reality performance. As to the emerging popularity of contraception to readily and effectively lessen population instead of the common resolve to clean the government of graft and corruption, let it be said that what is easy is not necessarily right just as what is difficult is not automatically wrong. Contraception is but a smoke screen in squarely looking at and really resolving the poverty in the country.
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
In and Out of Season
(This is lif ted from the homily of Archbishop Angel Lagdameo during the closing Mass of the National Conference of PPCR V on March 11, 2007 at Pius XII, Manila.)
Pre-election Images of Our Country
is cured. Is this what we want to happen to our country? Would that it will be that way! That after more than half a century of struggle for good election, some miracle will happen! To free our country from the evils of “bad elections!” The image is like that of EDSA I and II; but not quite because in these divine intervention, accompanies the human intervention. The three day convention complements the “faith and fire” in the hearts of PPCRV agents. I like to hear what has been said that “once a PPCRV, always a PPCRV.” I like to think that a merger of the two images may well be the fruit of your prayer and penance: that you, my dear PPCRV cooperators, are God’s instrument of new miracle, waiting to happen. You can make things happen! As I listen to your observations and desiderata, I could not but say within: “Prepare for worst.” But as I look at your enthusiasm and determination, I could not but say within: “Hope for the best.” Who was it that said: “The Filipino is worth dying for”? And who was it that said: “It takes only one person to do nothing for evil to triumph.” And so we go back again to what we said last December “watch and pray.”
PPCRV, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting. Another meaning is: Preserving and Promoting the Call for Responsible Voting. Yet another meaning: Prayer, Penance and Collaboration for Renewing Our Voters. PPCRV, born in 1991, is a lay response to the call of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines for renewing Philippine politics. Even if it comes with the collaborative support of the clergy, religious and bishops, PPCRV must maintain its lay character. It is a lay movement within the Church. In the Catechism for Filipino Catholics we read: “Since we Filipino Catholics constitute the great majority of our nation, we hold the primary responsibility for building a just Philippine Society” (CFC. No. 1193). The challenge of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II for the laity is “Never to relinquish that participation in public life… In the many different economic, social, legislative and administrative and cultural areas which intend to promote organically and institutionally the common good” (CFC No. 43). The first image given by the Gospel is
that of the parable of unfruitful fig tree (Lk. 13:6-9). In spite of the work of the gardener digging around the fig tree and putting in some fertilizer, it still remained unfruitful. The owner who wanted it destroyed was prevailed upon by the gardener—to give the fig tree yet another chance. If the tree bears fruits, so much the better; if not it may be destroyed. In this image, the owner is undoubtedly God, the fig tree is our country, the fertilizer are the efforts to renew our electoral conduct, in order to make our elections clean, honest, accurate, meaningful and peaceful election. The gardener is the PPCRV. You can develop the image and enlarge the picture. The emphasis in this image is on the work of the gardener, the PPCRV which with “faith and fire” wants to make the fig tree, our country, fruitful in terms of choosing the right leaders in a climate of credible election. The second image is the healing of a crippled woman, crippled for eighteen years, bent over and unable to stand up straight. Here there is no intermediary as telling in the first. There is only Jesus who performs a miracle by telling the crippled woman “Woman, you are set free from your ailment!” And presto! She
Poverty, Politics and the Parish
THERE is too much at stake in the viability of this nation as a democracy. The media’s continuous harping of the possibility of another Hello Garci situation, the lack of trust in the COMELEC, the political killings, the new outburst in Sulu—a shooting war between the MNLF and the Philippine army—all these will come to a head during and after election, come May 14. We pray that things will turn out better—that the results of the elections are not tainted with cheating. We pray that our democratic institutions will survive and the Filipino nation will be on the road to progress. Politics and its accompanying corruption, is a two-edged sword that cuts twice—first, with the money share from corrupt practices to buy the votes of the poor, and second, with the pork barrel funds to keep the family dynasty in power. And who are the victims? They are the 20 million families that live below the poverty line. They are the 3.4 million households who experience hunger twice a month. These unfortunates are not aware that they can wield power during election time. For lack of education and lack of time to care to understand political platforms from which to select the right candidates, they would rather spend precious moments to eke a living in tilling the soil or catching fish,
Jose B. Lugay
Laiko Laiko Lampstand
have television sets to see and hear the candidates speaking. I am sure the A, B, and C classes of society will be able to discern who the worthy candidates are. The families belonging to the D and E category, 20 million of them, will need face-to-face intervention. The best fora will be during meetings of the Basic Ecclesial Communities of the Parishes. Consider that each voter will have to recall 38 names and a party list to fill the ballot. Some have not handled pencil and paper for months. Dedication of the parishioners to spend a little time for conducting an election exercise with sample ballots will have tremendous effect. Do not forget that the political party who espouses the PCP-II social doctrines as their platform is KAPATIRAN. And the candidates are PAREDES, SISON and BAUTISTA. The best output of lay empowerment is attaining social transformation. It starts with choosing the leaders who put God in politics—the party’s principles and political platform. Remember the parishes outnumber the total number of towns—2,703 versus 1,510 towns. This appeal is addressed to all lay leaders especially those who are involved in the BEC’s. Let us see if we can be the change agent in the voting practices of our people.
P r o ta g o n i s t of Tr u t h , Promoter of Peace
Pedro C. Quitorio
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Melo M. Acuña
Rowena T. Dalanon
Dennis B. Dayao
Ernani M. Ramos
Roy Q. Lagarde
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or harvesting coconuts or choose to migrate to urban areas to seek a livelihood but sometimes end up in ghettos immersed in crime-ridden surroundings. Is there anything that the Philippine Church, the Church of the Poor can do? We have in our library two books of the Church that give a complete analysis of the Philippine situation, including poverty, politics and parishes, our thesis for this column. These are the “ACTS AND DECREES of the SECOND PLENARY COUNCIL of the PHILIPPINES (20 January – 17 February 1001) and CHURCH RENEWAL, Proceedings and Addresses of the National Pastoral Consultation, CBCP, The Challenge to Catholicism in the New Millennium. 22-27 January 2001. Note that these 2 masterpieces in defining the Philippine Church situation are 10 years apart. In another 4 years CBCP, I am sure will come out with another assessment. In jest, one of the bishops predicted, this will be another NATO—NO ACTION, TALK ONLY. We can laugh at it if it were not to end in tragedy. If ever there is any time that lay empowerment is needed it is during election time. It is admirable that the PPCRV is now in the forefront in voters’ education. The television debate of the political candidates hopefully will educate most of the Filipinos, at least those who
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
Lov Life Love Lif e Meet Baby Joshua
to this pregnancy that she was not ready for. If she is single, then we discuss about proper boy-girl relationships. If she is married, we explain to her the effectiveness of the modern, scientific natural family planning methods. We do not advice artificial contraceptives because they fail so often and this makes the woman go for abortion if a baby is conceived. It is such a joy to be able to help these pregnant women decide to give birth to their babies. They walk out of our counseling center with a radiant smile and new hope, so different from the time when they walked in with long faces and puffy eyes from crying every night due to desperation. We, counselors, have many stories to tell when we gather together (without mentioning names, of course). We are proud to be part of God’s apostles for life. We call ourselves the Life Savers! If you want to know more about our mission and maybe, someday, you could also be part of our rescue team, call Pro-life Office at 911-2911. Or just text me at 0920-945-5494. We care. Please say this daily with me and help save many babies from abortion! Spiritual Adoption Prayer for the unborn. Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life Of the unborn child that I have spiritually adopted Who is in danger of abortion. The name of the baby I have adopted is:__________ (Composed by Bishop Fulton Sheen)
Bp. Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
Tidbits The Lay Faithful and the Priests
AS a pastor of a particular Church, I have been wondering how to effect the harmonious and dynamic relationship between the lay faithful and the priests that would lead not only to the appreciation of their dignity but would also maximize the exercise of their functions as priests, kings and prophets in the parishes. It is true that Canon 208 provides for close collaboration among the faithful when it states: “From their rebirth in Christ, there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality regarding dignity and action by which they all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ according to each one’s own condition and function.” But it does not spell out in the concrete how it looks like and how this could be realized. The early Christian community in Jerusalem as described in the Acts of the Apostles with the members’ concern for one another motivated as they were by the celebration of the Eucharist is usually conjured as the model of how cooperation in the Church would appear. But the complexity of the world of today simply demands for other Church models that would strike that dynamic relationship among its members. Meantime, a glimmer of it was recently shown me in the Chrism Mass in the Diocese of Tagbilaran. As a new pastor of the place, it was my first time to preside at the liturgy. And there I saw a model how the clergy and the laity could more effectively work together in the building up of the Body of Christ on earth. It was Monday of Holy Week. Priests gathered together in the morning and had a short recollection in preparation for the Chrism Mass and their renewal of their commitment as priests in the Church of Tagbilaran. For a wider perspective of their priesthood they took as their speaker a lay man in the person of Mr. Frank Padilla, the founder of the CFC. In the early afternoon, the lay faithful came in and congregated in the Cathedral, made a recollection with the bishop of Tagbilaran himself as the speaker. After that they made the Holy Hour and Stations of the Cross as their prayer for the priests. It was only after these separate preparations that the Chrism Mass proper was celebrated. It was a Liturgy to behold: the lay people praying for their priests; the priests renewing their commitment to serve the lay faithful with renewed vigor and enthusiasm, the bishop absorbing them all in his own person and office, bringing them all up to God, pleading for His choice blessings for the particular Church, the Diocese of Tagbilaran. In the ministry of governance, the bishop has the pastoral obligation to assist the lay faithful to understand and to accept the kingly gift that they received in baptism. According to Benedict XVI in his address to the bishops of Provinces of Louisville, Mobile and New Orleans, this kingly office is first expressed in that “royal freedom which enables the faithful to overcome the reign of sin in their own lives and, by serving Christ in others…, to guide them to that King whom to serve is to reign” (ZEO4120520). And since for the lay faithful the exercise of this kingly office is directed to the spread of the Kingdom of Gospel through secular activities, imbuing, that is, the world with the Spirit of Christ so that justice, love and peace may reign, the bishop has to encourage them through catechesis and continuing formation, to recognize their distinctive dignity and mission. As the Pope continued his exhortation: “This means that the laity must be trained to distinguish clearly between their rights and duties as members of the Church and those which they have as members of human society, and encouraged to combine the two harmoniously recognizing that in every temporal affair they are to be guided by their Christian conscience, since there is no human activity—even in the temporal order—that can be withdrawn from God’s dominion” (ibid.; also, Vatican II, LG, no. 36; also, Canon 227)). The implication of the words of Benedict XVI is that the lay faithful should not remain as the “long hand of the hierarchy”, a group that moves only when mandated by the bishop and their pastors. They should be empowered. Empowerment here means due recognition of the legitimate freedom of the lay faithful to undertake on their own the apostolate due to the baptism that they received. They are commissioned by the Lord Himself, expected to undertake the spread of the Gospel in their own right and to perform their functions as priests, kings, and prophets by the sheer fact that they are baptized and confirmed. It too means that they have their distinctive role in the mission of the Church. “They live in the world…They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others” (LG 31). And more importantly, it demands from the hierarchy the proper discernment to appreciate the workings of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They are in the world and they are there precisely to reinvigorate the Church in places where the clergy cannot reach. Many of them receive charisms for the building up of the Church. They are not aliens nor are they enemies of the Church; neither do they intend to put up a parallel Church, competitors for the allegiance of the people. They are there because “their specific vocation and their mission is that of expressing the Gospel in their lives and, in that way, of inserting the Gospel as leavening into the reality of the world in which they live and work” (John Paul II, “The Task of the Laity to Permeate”, L’Osservatore Romano, October 15, 1980). The lay faithful, that is, the young men and women who are acting as leaven of the secular world and the hope of the future of the Church, the married couples who lived the love of Christ in their homes and families; and, all the men and women who bring the Gospel to their homes, workplaces, politics and the to the world as a whole, are invaluable members of the local Church. An appreciation of their secularity, their distinctive gifts and apostolate will lead to a greater commitment and shared responsibility. The bishop has to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who is forever, living, working and speaking in the baptized individuals and groups of individuals. He should know how to discern the workings of the Spirit, the rich variety of charisms and ministries which are poured upon some lay members for the building up and renewal of the Church. This of course demands from the pastor the conscious effort to listen, to discern, to appreciate, and even to put up structures of communion and participation. The lay faithful praying for their priests, the priests renewing their commitment to spend their lives to bring to the lay faithful the Word and the Sacraments, the bishop working for the fruitful collaboration and harmonious cooperation between these two members for the building up of the Body of Christ, was mirrored in the Mass of the Chrism last Holy Monday in the Cathedral of Tagbilaran. It is our fondest hope that this picture of communion and participation in the liturgy be soon transported to the day to day living of the Christian Faithful in the local Church in Bohol.
HAVE you ever met Baby Joshua? This is the name I gave to the plastic model of a three month old unborn baby that I use to demonstrate in my pro-life presentations. In biology, a three month old human being in the mother’s womb is called a fetus, after it has passed its being a zygote and an embryo. The Latin word fetus actually means “my little one”. What a cute, endearing name, right? But nowadays, those who promote abortion belittle the value of the unborn baby by calling it fetus to remove any positive feelings for babies. No one wants to kill a baby. But who cares about a fetus, they say. And that is why, when I speak to the youth about respect and care for life, I first show them the wonder of creation—the growth and development of the baby inside the uterus. Then I show them the ugly pictures of abortion and what it does to the baby. Then I show them the fetal model to emphasize how innocent, weak and vulnerable it is, needing our care and love. Then I invite the audience to join me in the Spiritual Adoption Prayer for Unborn Babies. I explain: somewhere, there is a girl or a woman who is in distress because of a pregnancy she is not ready for. The baby in her womb is target for abortion. But with the power of prayer, she might meet someone who could give her the correct advice and help so she will be able to go on with her pregnancy. I tell the audience to think of a name to give to that baby that needs to be saved. The name I always choose is Baby Joshua. Joshua is the Jewish version of Jesus,
Hesus or Jesu. And Jesus means Savior. This plastic fetal model has saved so many babies in danger of abortion. I show it to the young women who come to our counseling center insisting that abortion is the only way out of their predicament. They ask me, knowing I am a nurse, to give them the name of any medicine they can take in order to have their menses again, that is, to make them unpregnant. I then hold Baby Joshua in my palm and explain how every part of his body is now fully formed. The baby can feel, feed, and sleep or kick around at the age of three months. Usually, the pregnant girl looks at the model in awe, begins to cry, and admits that she really does not want abortion. She just does not know what to do— abandoned by the father of the baby, fearful of the anger of her parents, unsure of what her future will be. Step by step, we discuss her situation, looking for resources that she could tap, and offering our own resources: confidentiality (they are so afraid that the world will know), a place to stay while pregnant, go after the father of the baby to find out what he himself intends to do since this is his responsibility, or refer her to an OB for her prenatal check up and delivery. We also say we can find families who will foster care of the baby for a few months if she is unable to take care of him/her and if she has not decided to have the baby for legal adoption yet. There are so many childless couples just wanting to adopt a child. Finally, we discuss with her what led her
Melo M. Acuña
Some Questions (Part 1)
HAVEN’T you noticed footages, photos and radio reports about the sad state of jails under the management (or mismanagement) of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, all reported the inhuman conditions in local jails? People are locked in crammed facilities easily considered fire traps. There have been no marked improvements in physical structures, sanitation and most probably, meals served the inmates over the past years. It appears both national and local government agencies have forgotten people inside the jails. The Quezon City Jail was originally built to house a little over 800 inmates but now has over 3,000 individuals. Chief Public Attorney Persida V. Rueda-Acosta led lawyers from her office and doctors from the Department of Justice to check on the inmates who ought to be released after serving time inside the congested facility. I found time to see for myself what’s going on. One would definitely have an idea of what hell is inside the facility. Such a facility leaves me more questions such as how Quezon City Jail escaped safety inspectors from the Bureau of Fire Protection, known to be meticulous and strict to the slightest deficiencies and violations for the Fire Code of the Philippines. They could have easily recommended sprinklers and their preferred fire extinguishers which come at almost unimaginable costs. The Bureau of Fire Protection is a sister agency of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, along with the Philippine National Police, all under the Department of Interior and Local Government. Has the Bureau of Fire Protection set their sights too far they failed to see what’s at the tip of their noses? Lives are at risk at the Quezon City Jail. Our Justice system provides rehabilitation and reformation. One who undergoes punishment should not be exposed to dangers posed by neglectful officials for it does not necessarily mean we will no longer extend humane living conditions to detention prisoners. Would the concerned government executives do something before it is too late? * * *
Issues and Concerns
Will ordinary mortals like us get to peek at the income tax returns of our favorite senatorial, congressional and local candidates, now too visible across the media? The answer is a resounding “No” as everyone is entitled to some privacy. BIR Commissioner Jose Bunag said there’s got to be a law for them to release vital records to the public. I do not see any proposed law would ever pass first reading. It all makes us wonder where all these very visible candidates get their resources to fund their campaign. Commissioner Bunag, in an interview over Veritas 846 said these campaign funds came from their supporters and donors. BIR should take a long hard look at this practice for they ought to charge Donor’s tax, right? Are the donors that endowed they can afford to contribute hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pesos. There’s a strong possibility some of these candidates received some financing syndicates, say those involved in jueteng , but nobody’s talking. Who would anyway? Please email me comments and suggestions firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
that truth! …and that’s the truth!
THIS is an open letter to Manny Pacquiao, loudly rumored to be intending to run for Congressman in the coming May elections. I’m writing it weeks before the March 29 deadline set for filing one’s candidacy, but whether this unsolicited advice reaches Manny, or not at all, wouldn’t worry me. I’m thankful I can tell my truth, even if it exposes me to (chuckle!) ridicule. So here: Dear Manny: Since the first time I interviewed you, in 2002, I’ve sort of followed your career. Not that I’m that keen about boxing—bloody sport!—it’s only that I happen to believe you’re a different boxer. You’re a “ring evangelist”, someone who witnesses to the power of God from the boxing ring. What struck me most when we first met was your apparent surrender to God, the ease with which you attributed your victories to Him, your avowed gratitude to The Source for all that you have. You guilelessly recalled your lowly beginnings, and you dreamed aloud about sharing your bounty with the needy, especially the young who you believed could be lured away from vice by the discipline of sports. Knowing you could enter the ring as a champion and leave it as a corpse, you were consistent in saying that your life is in His hands—this explained the Sign of the Cross you’d make before and after each round, and the Rosary worn around your neck before and after each game. No doubt your virtual asceticism, denying yourself pleasures when training for a fight, was your key to career excellence, but even that you won’t take credit for—everything for you was “Salamat sa Diyos.” A more cynical bystander would probably think it’s all talk with you, all a show to win “pogi points” with media, but it’s also true that “out of the bounty of the heart, the mouth speaks.” I do believe you spoke from your heart, and I do know, too, that one can’t just blabber on about surrender to God if one doesn’t have in his heart
Don’t, Pacman, don’t!
barrel but from your own sweat and blood, from risking your life on the ring in order “make Filipinos happy and to bring honor to the country.” You are free—you need no signatures from the higher ups to do good works. Stay free, Manny, but also ask yourself why you are attracted to politics, for it could also be your yen for gambling that’s spurring you on to hop into the political arena. Politics is gambling, and the stakes there are much higher than those in any casino or cockpit. Your “supporters” claim that by entering politics you are making a “big sacrifice in order to serve the people.” A big sacrifice? The biggest sacrifice you can make is to convert your rich man’s vices into rich man’s virtues. Instead of blowing away your “barya” (loose change) on expensive pastimes, funnel your money and time into your dream of developing the youth. You said it’s your way of thanking God for all He has given you: leaving a legacy to your countrymen by putting up sports complexes all over the country for the young. You’re a hero, a politician in your own right; you need no political party to approve your projects. You’ve always said you fight to win and make the Filipinos happy. That patriotic intention, simply stated, speaks of a freedom to love that has set you apart from and above partisan politics, and it has borne fruit. Each time you fight they watch and pray. When your country celebrates your victory, your kababayans the world over rejoice—there are no rich, no poor, no Muslims, no Christians, no leftists, no rightists, no pro-administration, no opposition—just Filipinos proud that the champ is a Filipino. You see, you’re a national treasure, Manny, a heaven-sent “pambansang kamao” that inspires hope in the Filipino. Without even trying to, you make of the Philippines one nation, one people. That, neither President nor Cardinal has ever done. And that’s the truth.
at least the desire for it. So I’m wondering now—why this impending career-switch from God-fearing athlete to politician? Call this meddling or maternal instinct, but if you were my son, this is what I’d say: You are already above politics, serving your people and your country in full freedom by being your simple, sincere, generous self—so why want to be something else? I can’t claim to know you inside out, but I think you’ll just be treated like a glamorized pawn in politics. You’re hot property—see how boxing promoters are slugging it out for control over you? It’s the same divisive game with politicians—only bloodier, and veiled in so-called noble intentions. They will use your money, capitalize on your fame, and take advantage of your inexperience by saying you can serve people better by becoming one of them. Don’t just listen to me, Manny; listen to your fans who truly care for you, and listen to history. Since Cicero’s time, politics has been essentially the same: bread, circuses, broken promises. Politics thrives on lies, and as English writer George Orwell wrote in 1946, “Political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Your simplicity is your strength, but in the land of wolves that politics is, it will be your Waterloo. Being a greenhorn you’ll be at the mercy of scheming politicians— and as history proves, politicians are not exactly the most well-meaning people on earth. Those who defend your intention to serve your people egg you on by saying you don’t need to be a lawyer to become a congressman; I say you don’t need to become a congressman to serve your people. You’ve been doing much more for the country than any congressman can even hope to do. The millions you’ve been sharing with the needy come not from a pork
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
ECBA Trains Families for Family Bible Apostolate
The winner, other family participants, organizers from Italy and the NCFBQ Secretariat in Manila pose after the Florence Bible quiz competition at the San Barnaba Church.
Bible Quiz Challenge Accepted in Europe
“And the Word was made flesh; He had made His tent pitched among us, and we have seen His Glor y, the Glory of His only Son, coming from the Father: fullness of truth and loving kindness (Jn 1:14)”
Bibliodrama – depicting the present ation in the temple
By. Fr. Oscar Alunday, SVD
THE National Secretariat for the National Catholic Filipino Bible Quiz witnessed God’s glory manifested in the changed lives of the Family participants both in the 1st and 2nd National Catholic Family Bible Quiz in the Philippines. The Word of God continues to be flesh and blood in the children and among the youth together with their parents. “I never thought we could come together to read and pray, reflect, and study the Bible together as a Family.” “Our parents are very busy and we are also busy with our books. But we don’t have time to open the Bible as a family.” These are the laments of parents and children on the difficult reality of family life. But during the preparations and Bible Quiz proper, the family was brought together in prayer and reflection. One father of a family contestant said, “I could see God embracing each of us in our family as we gathered around the Word of God and answered the questions during the Bible Quiz.” The Father’s embrace has brought together 483 Filipino Families from 458 parishes and 413 lay Bible animators during the 2nd National Catholic Filipino Bible Quiz. (2006). After viewing the MTV of the song “Power to Unite,” the community of Chaplains for the Filipino Migrant Workers in Italy, who were gathered for a twoday workshop from Feb.12-13, 2007 at the Mater Amabilis Liturgical-Pastoral Center in Vicenza, Italy, expressed their admiration and wonder for the commitment of Filipino families who zealously studied God’s Word as a Family. “Nakaka-inspire at nakakatouch!” (It was so inspiring!). These 16 Chaplains are ministering in different major cities of Italy where thousands of Filipino migrants are working: seven are from Rome; two from Milan; two from Vicenza; one from Padova; one from Brescia; one from Verona; one from Ancona–Osimo, and one from Treviso . Some are officially assigned as Chaplains for the Filipino Migrants and others work as volunteers in the ministry because some are full time students or assigned with special missions by their Congregations. They work closely with the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMICBCP, Manila) and with the Episcopal Commission on Pontificio Collegio Filippino (ECPCF-CBCP, Rome). Their ministry consists of many pastoral activities such as giving health care to the sick workers who need first aid or referrals to hospitals. They also provide Family and Youth Ministry in coordination with the Radio Pinoy sa Roma (Filipino in Rome). They work actively in emergency communications like “Hopeline,” where anyone can call at anytime to talk to someone in times of distress or pressure. They have also opened a Website (http:// www.centrofilipino.com) where anyone can access the Centro Filipino. Some Chaplains are also involved in the Sea Ministry, working with Filipino seafarers who come and go. These priests and religious people who devote themselves to serving our kababayans (fellow citizens) give only their best: their physical presence in listening and attending to the emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of the overseas workers; their active liturgical celebrations combined with the sacramental and catechetical formations; and many others. They also assist Filipino workers struggling with legal problems concerning their employment and work permits. They do much in the advocacy programs for the rights and protection of our migrant Filipino sisters and brothers. “Eto na yong sagot sa maraming hindi pagkakaunawaan ng mga kababayang manggagawa at pati na rin sa amin sa Chaplaincy. Kailangan talaga ang Salita ng Panginoon bilang susi ng pagkakaunawaan at pagkakaisa upang matatag sa paghahanapbuhay. Rendiamo grazie a Dio.” (This is the response to the trivial misunderstandings of the migrant workers and even in the Chaplaincy. God’s Word is indeed necessary as the key to understanding and unity to achieve a better life. Let us give thanks to God.) This was the “chorus” of the Chaplains in their firm conviction on the importance of the Word of God in the Chaplaincy. The Chaplains enthusiastically engaged in asking questions and clarifications about the mechanics of the Bible Quiz. A good number of suggestions regarding the venue, the number of family participants, the preparations, and review were clarified to everyone. After a good understanding of the project as a ministry to the Filipino Catholic Families, they all declared: “We will accept the challenge of celebrating the First International Catholic Family Bible Quiz in Europe.” The group cheered loudly in their optimism for the success of the endeavor. After a solemn prayer of thanksgiving, the Chaplains sang a beautiful Filipino Marian song invoking the aid of the Mother of the Incarnate Word. It was almost midnight when the Pinoy Chaplains rested in the cold winter night. And so God’s Word will continue to be made flesh and blood in more Filipino Catholic families so that with their faith strengthened, “the Filipino migrants and people on the move may give witness to Christ wherever they go.” (ECMI goal) As Pope Paul VI said, “The family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates. In a family which is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized. The family not only communicates the Gospel to their children; but from their children, they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them. And such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and of the neighborhood of which it forms a part.”(PCPII Art 23,1) The 1st International Catholic Family Bible Quiz in Italy is a response to this call of Mother Church. May the Holy Spirit, who is our “advance partner,” ever inspire and move many of the more than 10 million Filipino Families affected by migration, to spread God’s Word as the Source of Hope and better living. (World Impact Communications, Inc.)
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
THE Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) facilitated a four-day retreat with the families of National Catholic Family Bible Quiz (NCFBQ) champions on April 12-15, 2007, at the SVD Retreat House in Tagaytay City. ECBA executive secretary Fr. Oscar Alunday, SVD conducted the spiritual activity with Joy Candelario, secretary general of the Youth Secretariat of Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC). The retreat was biblical following the “bibliodrama” element. “We were reflecting on the experience of the Holy Family as a family; like [life in] Nazareth, presentation of Jesus, when he got lost in the temple, [and Mary and Joseph} looking for him,” explained Alunday. The first retreat for family of champions was held in 2004 after the first National Family Bible Quiz. The recently held retreat in Taytay had the families of those who won in 2004 and in February 2006-January 2007 quiz. ECBA hopes to organize twenty Catholic families rooted in the word of God who will, in turn, continue in their respective regions to bring awareness to families on the importance of being entrenched in the Bible. “Our vision is to come up with twenty Catholic Filipino families who will become the core group of the family [bible] apostolate in the Philippines,” said Alunday. “We are training the pioneers. So, we already have eight families.” By 2010, the NCFBQ would have produced 20 champions from different regions of the country. The families of these twenty champions will constitute the pioneering group of the family bible apostolate in the Philippines.
gram of the Filipinos in Europe. Alunday said Italy was the first European country that welcomed the idea. But he is optimistic the effort can be replicated in other countries also, citing Germany as another possibility because of the active participation of OFW’s in the bible apostolate there. First held in 2004 in Guadalajara, Mexico on the occasion of the International Congress, the Family Bible Quiz has brought ECBA in close collaboration with various national and diocesan commissions, such as the National Secretariat of Bible Quiz, Eucharistic Congress Committee, ECMI, Liturgy, Commission on Youth and Family and Life.
“Power to Unite”
Since the NCFBQ is intended to involve the whole family, organizers thought of a way to make the youth participate in the celebration. The recently concluded 2nd NCFBQ in January 2007 included a song contest which was participated in by the youth. The song “Power to Unite,” which expresses the joy of understanding and living the word of God, won the contest. Alunday happily noted that Archbishop Romulo Valles, current chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy has allowed the song “Power to Unite” to be sung in churches during liturgical celebrations.
NCFBQ in Italy
On April 22 this year, the first Family Bible Quiz for OFW’s will be held in Florence, Italy. After Florence, the Bible Quiz is scheduled to be held in Milan, after which it will go to Venice and then Rome, where the final quiz will be held in October. According to Alunday, they hope to replicate in Italy their idea of forming twenty Catholic families who are rooted in the word of God, to evangelize the Filipino migrant workers and their families. ECBA is currently coordinating with the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) and the chaplaincy proLimbo / from p3
Bibliodrama – depicting the Annunciation episode in the Bible
Airport Chaplaincies, A Response to Terrorism
VATICAN CITY, April 18, 2007—”Dialogue in airport chaplaincies as a response to terrorism” is the theme of the 13th world seminar of Catholic chaplains and members of civil aviation chaplaincies, due to be held in Rome from April 23 to 26. According to a communique made public today “the seminar, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, aims to support and encourage the pastoral efforts of those who concern themselves with this sector of human mobility.” As an introduction to the work of the seminar, Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will present some “philosophical and theological” reflections on the subject of evil. Experts from the United Nations and from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will explain strategies “to protect airport structures and workers, as well as passengers and the general public.” “The seminar,” the communique goes on, “aims to contribute towards countering terrorism through ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue in the world’s airports” where people from various Churches and ecclesial communities and other great religions work, and where people from different cultures and nationalities come together. In this context, “in order to help participants to discover the paths of dialogue,” Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, will speak on the subject of “inter-religious dialogue to counter terrorism,” and Bishop Brian Farrell L.C., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on “ecumenical collaboration in relation to the threats of terrorism.” The program of the seminar also includes the testimony of two chaplains: Fr. David Baratelli of the airport of Newark who will recount his experiences during and immediately after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, and Fr. Paschal Ryan of Heathrow, who will talk about the discovery of plans for an attack against that airport. (VIS)
sacrament being conferred, and this fact should particularly be recalled when the conferring of baptism would be impossible,” it said. This does not deny that all salvation comes through Christ and in some way through the Church, it said, but it requires a more careful understanding of how this may work. The document outlined several ways by which unbaptized babies might be united to Christ — A “saving conformity to Christ in his own death” by infants who themselves suffer and die. — A solidarity with Christ among infant victims of violence, born and unborn, who like the holy innocents killed by King Herod are endangered by the “fear or selfishness of others.” — God may simply give the gift of salvation to unbaptized infants, corresponding to his sacramental gift of salvation to the baptized. The document said the standard teaching that there is “no salvation outside the Church” calls for similar interpretation. The Church’s Magisterium has moved toward a more “nuanced understanding” of how a saving relationship with the Church can be realized, it said. This does not mean that some-
one who has not received the sacrament of baptism cannot be saved, it said. Rather, it means that “there is no salvation which is not from Christ and ecclesial by its very nature,” it said. The document quoted St. Paul’s teaching that spouses of Christians may be “consecrated” through their wives or husbands. This indicates that the holiness of the Church reaches people “outside the visible bounds of the Church” through the bonds of human communion, it said. The document said the Church clearly teaches that people are born into a state of sinfulness—original sin—which requires an act of redemptive grace to be washed away. But Scripture also proclaims the “superabundance” of grace over sin, it said. That seems to be missing in the idea of limbo, which identifies more with Adam’s sinfulness than with Christ’s redemption, it said. “Christ’s solidarity with all of humanity must have priority over the solidarity of human beings with Adam,” it said. Liturgically, the motive for hope was confirmed by the introduction in 1970 of a funeral rite for unbaptized infants whose parents intended to present them for baptism, it said.
The commission said the new theological approach to the question of unbaptized babies should not be used to “negate the necessity of baptism, nor to delay the conferral of the sacrament.” “Rather, there are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible to do for them that what would have been most desirable—to baptize them in the faith of the Church and incorporate them visibly into the body of Christ,” it said. The commission said hopefulness was not the same as certainty about the destiny of such infants. “It must be clearly acknowledged that the Church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptized infants who die,” it said. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was president of the commission and head of the doctrinal congregation when the commission began studying the question of limbo in a systematic way in 2004. U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada now heads the commission and the doctrinal congregation. Cardinal Levada met with the pope to discuss the document Jan. 19 and, with the pope’s approval, authorized its publication. (CNS)
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
one, San Sebastian School in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, is being managed by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) fathers for a 50-year term. There are two priests in charge of the schools, the superintendent/director and the assistant superintendent/assistant director. The school director’s salaries are being remitted to the diocese and form part of the pool of resources being used to fund the allowances of the clergy, the various apostolates of the diocese and other needs. Second, another source of the funds for pooling, is the 10% of the gross income as well as the 60% of the net income of the parishes. Third, the Pondo ng Pinoy has been launched initially to the schools and as of this date, the sum remitted already amounted to more that P60,000.00. The vicariates will be launching this fund drive to the parishes progressively within this year. Fourth, the clergy health and retirement fund has been progressively increased and the primary sources are the contributions coming from the clergy themselves. Fifth, the diocese has initiated the budget hearings for each of the 21 commissions representing their apostolates. Sixth, the priests now regularly donate a certain portion of their stipends to the diocese through tithing. Seventh, the members of the clergy now receive a standard living allowance (SLA). Through these programs, processes and movements, the diocese of San Jose de Nueva Ecija is trying to put flesh in its core program, the Damayang Kristiyano.
(KApatiran ng Kaparian ng SAn Jose, MAtatag at tapat na naglilingkod ayon sa misyon ni Kristo). This succinctly expresses their identity, their God-given abilities and their mission. Faithfulness to this vision/mission unlocks the potentials of the DK as well as of other thrusts and programs. The concrete manifestations and expressions are the SLA (Standard Living Allowance), tithing, pooling of resources, and their full cooperation, participation in the implementation of the diocesan pastoral programs with the bishop as their father.
THE Diocese of San Jose de Nueva Ecija lies in the northern part of the province of Nueva Ecija. The Augustinians were the first missionaries who evangelized the place. The Franciscans followed soon after, and then the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, who later helped the diocesan clergy. Nueva Ecija is located 160 kms. north of Manila. The main source of livelihood is agriculture—rice, corn, sugar cane, coconut, onions and others. The diocese was created on February 16, 1984 by Pope John Paul II and canonically erected on July 14, 1984. Its territory, mostly from the northern part of Nueva Ecija, was taken from the Diocese of Cabanatuan. In July 14, 1984, the Holy See appointed Most Rev. Florentino Cinense, as the diocese’s first residential bishop. In the following year, Bishop Cinense was appointed coadjutor bishop of Tarlac, and Apostolic Administrator of San Jose. The first Filipino Salesian bishop, Most Rev. Leo M. Drona, SDB, DD, succeeded Bishop Cinense as prelate of San Jose in July 25, 1987. In May 14, 2005, Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, succeeded Bishop Drona as third bishop of the diocese of San Jose de Nueva Ecija.
Looking Forward into the Future
It seems that the movement of the Spirit is towards the recovery of ancient apostolic way of life—a small, caring and sharing community. As expressed in the DK programs of the diocese, and is manifested in the bits and pieces of its very own life, it is still an eschatological reality. The “already” programs, formations, processes are in place and has started to move; and the communities are already feeling their belongingness and unity as one Body of Christ. The “not yet” are the journeying towards the fullness of life, towards the fulfillment and perfection of the DK. As a diocese nearing its silver jubilee on 14 July 2009, it is with gratitude, much anticipation and joy that we look forward to celebrating that gracious day which is a testimony of God’s unconditional love and faithfulness. In the end what matters is not how much work the diocese had done, how many DK groups were organized, and how orderly the processes are; but as one holy person would say, it is in how much love we put in the things we do, how much heart we have invested without counting the cost, even to the point of our very own death.
The diocese is divided into three vicariates—Sts. John, Dominic and Joseph, comprising 20 parishes and one quasiparish. At present, there are 23 diocesan priests and 12 religious priests from three congregations who serve the needs of the flock. The diocese continues to reinvent itself in order to respond to its pastoral thrusts which were started by Bishop Leo M. Drona, and expressed in the four Diocesan Pastoral Assemblies (DPA); the organization of the Damayang Kristiyano, Lay Empowerment, Stewardship, Formation of Lay Leaders and Social Concerns.
Key: The Clergy
Cathedral of Saint Joseph, San Jose City
Under the Commission on Integral Formation (CIF), the diocese, after much prayer and continued discernment as the People of God, expressed Damayang Kristiyano (DK) as the priority program. Currently, the CIF has gone through a pro-
Diocese of San Jose de Nueva Ecija
By Fr. Jun Flores
cess of evaluation with the DK of different parishes. The vision/mission of the parishes and even of the different apostolates are already being written down, expressed in clear terms that are achievable and “owned” by the faithful. There is at least one DK worker for every parish. They are now undergoing formation so that their vision/mission can be crystallized. Under the DK program is the mobilization of communities so that they will be able to form small caring groups through the Triple Communication of the DK (a sharing on one’s relationship with God, the self and the community). The Social Action Center-Gratia Plena (SACGP) has been at the forefront in helping these DK address their economic life by organizing them in groups called cooperatives.
Pastor / from p2
Crucial to the implementation of the diocesan thrusts are the priests in the diocese. The clergy has, for its mission vision, KASAMA ni KRISTO
His Excellency MOST REV. MYLO HUBERT C. VERGARA, D.D. Bishop of San Jose de Nueva Ecija
Bishop …………………. Priests Diocesan ……………. Religious ……………. Sisters …………………. 1 20 32 75 Parishes With resident pastor ……. 21 Entrusted to the diocese … 17 Under the Religious …….. 4 Educational Centers High Schools …………..… 10 Elementary ………………… 5 Kinder ……………………... 8 Population …………….. 706,661 Catholics ……………... 565,291 Area ...……….. 2,540.8 sq.kms.
At present, these coops produce organic rice, meat and vegetables which are being sold in famous supermarkets such as Landmark in Makati and Rustan’s Supermarket. People who are interested in organically grown produce are the primary customers of these coops through the marketing efforts of SACGP.
© Denz Dayao / CBCP Media
Processes and Programs under the DK
First, there are 10 Catholic Schools in the diocese that are grouped together under an umbrella organization called Association of Catholic Schools (ACS). Of the 10 schools, only
Seminarians Theology …………....…….. 3 Philosophy ……....………… 3 Pre-College ………............ 16 Diocesan Divisions Vicariates …....……………. 3
Secretary / from p2
Catholic / from p2
promised to reconsider the way that Pius XII is portrayed in the museum. While participating in the presentation of a book by Maria Franca Mellano, which documents the rescue of hundreds of Jews who took refuge in the Pius XI Institute of Rome, Cardinal Bertone called such cases “a luminous history of generosity.” “But this was possible, not only in this situation but in any of them, due to the bulletin from the secretary of state signed by Pius XII,” the cardinal added. “It is impossible that Pius XII, who signed that bulletin, would not have approved that decision.” (Zenit)
Spanish / from p2
another within the course, it’s the underlying vision of man,” and that from the beginning the bishops have expressed their concern with the material. After the Cardinal finished his remarks, Jaime Urcelay, President of Professionals for Ethics, called the matter one of “utmost gravity” that has been the subject of “polemics, controversy and social alarm” since 2004. In his judgment, Education for Citizenship will disrupt Spanish society during a “delicate moment” in which the issue of freedom of education has yet to be resolved and schools are facing a profound crisis of authority. (CNA)
and fundamentalist Turks.” Msgr. Marovitch said that Zirve and other Protestant groups “carry out biblical propaganda in an environment where there are no Christians, giving the Gospel to Muslims and provoking their reaction. Then fanatical groups react, saying: ‘Why are you looking for converts among us? We believe in Allah, go preach to the pagans.’” Msgr. Marovitch said Catholic groups working in the area do not attempt direct outreach to Muslims but focus on serving the small Christian community in the country. A source in the office of Bishop Luigi Padovese, the apostolic administrator of Anatolia, told Catholic News Service April 19 the attack was seen by the local Christian community as the latest in a series of assaults against Christians. The first attack was the 2006 assassination of Father Andrea Santoro, an Italian priest working in Turkey. Father Santoro’s murder, along with other attacks on priests, prompted Turkish officials to put Bishop Padovese under constant police protection, said the source, who asked not to be named. “This is not by chance; there are people out there who are not just anti-Christian, but also anti-priest,” the source said. (Alicia Ambrosio / CNS)
are not enough to express how sad we are. I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!” and then try to wrap them in a big hug. When he hugged them, they would break down and cry, he told Catholic News Service. After staying with them a while, he would pray the Our Father and Hail Mary with them and lead them in prayers for the dead, he said. Mia Ortega, a 26-year-old graduate student who also works for the university in student affairs, said in a phone interview April 19 with CNS that she was receiving “a lot of support from my family and my f r i e n d s ” t o h e l p h e r cop e with the tragedy. She said she has had messages of prayers and support from all over, including from friends she worked with last summer as a Jesuit volunteer in Dublin, Ireland. In an e-mail to friends early April 18, Ortega wrote, “It is hard to believe that it has only been two days. The days are long here in Blacksburg. “I am doing my best to get by. I slip from being numb to uncontrollable crying. Sometimes I forget about the whole thing, and sometimes reality slaps me hard in the face. ... In some ways, I am expecting to
wake up. It is like walking through a lucid nightmare.” To help people cope with the fear that the Virginia Tech tragedy may provoke, the U.S. branch of the Christian Family Movement, a network of parish- or neighborhoodbased groups of families that meet to support one another in Christian living, has posted a “Living Without Fear” program on its Web site, http:// cfm.org. (The “Living Without Fear” link takes visitors to a section called “Special Meetings”; the program is No. 8.) The nine-page program, which can be downloaded, provides a structured guide for a group meeting to reflect on fear, how it arises and how it affects people, and to discuss ways to face it from a Christian perspective. It begins with Scripture readings and several statements by individuals or organizations, including the U.S. bishops and the Department of Homeland Security, about living with fear and overcoming it. The guide for group discussion follows the “observe, judge, act” pattern that the Christian Family Movement uses as a way of moving from reflection and understanding to concrete actions dealing with an issue constructively in one’s own life. (CNS)
German Churches Win Tax Windfall Despite Declining Attendance
MUNICH, Germany, April 17, 2007—Revenues for German Catholic dioceses rose in 2006, despite declining church attendance, thanks to the country’s tax system, Deutsche Welle reports. German churches receive between 8 and 9% of the taxes paid by their registered members. In 2006, thanks primarily to a growing economy, the total tax revenues to Catholic churches were about €4.5 billion (over $6 billion), the newspaper reports. That figure represents an increase of more than 8% over the previous year’s revenues. The tax system has enabled German dioceses to escape the full effects of declining church membership. Between 2000 and 2005, Deutsche Welle notes, more than 680,000 Germans dropped their church registration, and thus escaped the tax payment. The declining number of registered Catholics threatens to undercut church revenues in the long term, regardless of economic conditions. (CWNews)
Papal prayers for Virginia Tech Victims
VATICAN, April 17, 2007— Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message promising his “heartfelt prayers” for the victims of the April 16 shooting spree at Virginia Tech. The Pope’s message— conveyed in a telegram that was sent by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond— referred to the massacre as a “senseless tragedy.” The Pope offered his prayer to “the entire school community,” as well as the victims of the shooting, and expressed the hope that those affected would find “the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence.” (CWNews)
Q: Would you please clarify what is “special” about Divine Mercy Sunday, and what the faithful and priests have to do in order to obtain the special grace associated with this day? According to the priests that I have spoken to, the same graces can be obtained at reception of holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday as on any other day when Communion is received by a communicant in a state of grace, i.e., a plenary indulgence. So what is different about Divine Mercy Sunday and how should the liturgy be properly celebrated so that the faithful may receive the special graces associated with it? — J.C., Ballina, Ireland
A: The devotion to the Divine Mercy stems from the revelations made to the Polish nun St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) over a number of years and at several convents, including the one in Krakow where she is buried. There are several elements involved in this devotion. One is the image of the merciful Jesus based on a vision of February 1931. In it Our Lord is pictured in the act of blessing, with two rays, one red and the other pallid (representing blood and water), shining from his heart. The words “Jesus, I trust in thee” are placed at his feet. Copies of this image are today found in many churches all over the world—a sign of the rapid expansion of this devotion. Other elements are the hour of mercy, at 3 in the afternoon, in which the Passion is meditated upon and certain prayers recommended by the revelations are recited. As well as this, there is the chaplet of Divine Mercy with its attendant litany. It is recited using rosary beads but substituting other prayers such as “Through your sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world” on the beads of the Hail Mary. A special request of these visions was that the first Sunday after Easter should be the feast of Divine Mercy and that on this day the Divine Mercy should be proclaimed in a special way. The spirituality of Pope John Paul II was deeply influenced by the devotion to the Divine Mercy, and he dedicated his second encyclical, “ Dives in Misericordia,” to this theme. As archbishop of Krakow he promoted the beatification of Sister Faustina and on the occasion of her canonization in April 2000 announced that henceforth the second Sunday of Easter would be the feast of Divine Mercy. This announcement was followed by two juridical acts by Vatican offices. With the decree “Misericors et Miserator ” (May 5, 2000) the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments stated: “And so with provident pastoral sensitivity and in order to impress deeply on the souls of the faithful these precepts and teachings of the Christian faith, the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, moved by the consideration of the Father of Mercy, has willed that the Second Sunday of Easter be dedicated to recalling with special devotion these gifts of grace and gave this Sunday the name, ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’” The congregation explained that the change consisted in the additional name for this day. The liturgy would suffer no change whatsoever. All the texts and readings would remain those of the Second Sunday of Easter. The second decree was published two years later by the Apostolic Penitentiary. This Vatican tribunal, among other tasks, oversees the granting of indulgences. This decree granted new perpetual indulgences attached to devotions in honor of Divine Mercy. Among other considerations, this text states: “The faithful with deep spiritual affection are drawn to commemorate the mysteries of divine pardon and to celebrate them devoutly. They clearly understand the supreme benefit, indeed the duty that the People of God have to praise Divine Mercy with special prayers and, at the same time, they realize that by gratefully performing the works required and satisfying the necessary conditions, they can obtain spiritual benefits that derive from the Treasury of the Church. ‘The paschal mystery is the culmination of this revealing and effecting of mercy, which is able to justify man, to restore justice in the sense of that salvific order which God willed from the beginning in man, and through man, in the world’ (Encyclical Letter ‘Dives in Misericordia ,’ n. 7).… “Indeed, Divine Mercy knows how to pardon even the most serious sins, and in doing so it moves the faithful to perceive a supernatural, not merely psychological, sorrow for their sins so that, ever with the help of divine grace, they may make a firm resolution not to sin any more. Such spiritual dispositions undeniably follow upon the forgiveness of mortal sin when the faithful fruitfully receive the sacrament of Penance or repent of their sin with an act of perfect charity and perfect contrition, with the resolution to receive the Sacrament of Pen-
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
Divine Mercy Sunday
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers a question sent from Ireland on Divine Mercy Sunday)
ance as soon as they can. Indeed, Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us in the parable of the Prodigal Son that the sinner must confess his misery to God saying: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son’ (Lk. 15,18-19), realizing that this is a work of God, “for [he] was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found” (Lk. 15,32).… “The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Easter narrates the wonderful things Christ the Lord accomplished on the day of the Resurrection during his first public appearance: ‘On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad to see the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And then he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”’ (Jn 20,19-23)…. “To ensure that the faithful would observe this day with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence, as will be explained below, so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit. In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbor, and after they have obtained God’s pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters… “Thus the faithful will more closely conform to the spirit of the Gospel, receiving in their hearts the renewal that the Second Vatican Council explained and introduced: ‘Mindful of the words of the Lord: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13,35), Christians can yearn for nothing more ardently than to serve the men of this age with an ever growing generosity and success. ... It is the Father’s will that we should recognize Christ our brother in the persons of all men and love them with an effective whole Church. This is enunciated by the Code in the following terms: Can. 843 — §1. The sacred ministers cannot refuse the sacraments to those who ask for them at appropriate times, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them. §2. Pastors of souls and the rest of the Christian faithful, according to their ecclesial function, have the duty to see that those who seek the sacraments are prepared to receive them by the necessary evangelization and catechetical formation, taking into account the norms published by the competent authority. An attentive reading of c.843, §1 makes it clear that the right of the faithful to the sacraments—which are the means of salvation and sanctification—is limited only by three factors: 1) appropriateness of time, 2) proper disposition of the passive subject, and 3) absence of a prohibition by law. Furthermore, the second paragraph, far from adding another factor that may bar the faithful from receiving the sacraments—i.e., their possible lack of preparation—in fact only strengthens their right to them by precisely declaring the duty of the pastors of souls and the rest of the Christian faithful to make sure that those who seek the sacraments are adequately prepared to receive them—i.e., through the necessary evangelization and catechetical formation.
Sacraments / P11
TWO recent incidents in my family have provoked this letter. The first had to do with our handyman, who has been living-in with his girlfriend for more than a year. When I finally convinced him to get married in Church, he came back to me with a problem: His parish has a fee of P4,000 for the cheapest wedding! He couldn’t afford it yet and will have to save till next year. The second incident had to do with my cousin, who wanted to get married, but couldn’t attend the preCana seminars since they were spread out to two Saturday mornings, and both he and his fiancée had work on Saturdays. Despite their pleadings, they were not given any considerations, so in a huff they got “married” in an Aglipayan church. In contrast, I also know that in my parish, even if there is a requirement for parents from other parishes to attend a seminar for the baptism of their baby, the parish waives the requirement when the parents can produce proof of an equivalent catechetical instruction or formation received elsewhere.
The Right to the Sacraments
by Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
What does Canon Law really establish for these cases?
THERE are several issues at stake in these incidents, and we have to tackle them separately. From the most general (and fundamental) to the most specific (and accidental), we can enumerate them as follows: 1) The fundamental right of the Catholic faithful to the sacra-
ments; 2) the consequent nonindispensable nature of pastoral programs for their reception—e.g., the Pre-Cana seminar and the pre-baptismal seminar; 3) the absolute injustice of charging a fee for the administration of any sacrament.
The Fundamental Right of the Faithful to the Sacraments
At first glance, no man should have a right to the channels of grace—which are what the sacraments really are— since nobody has a right to grace itself, which is freely given by God. Nevertheless, God has wanted to redeem
mankind by the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who instituted the Catholic Church as his continuing presence— Sacramentum magnum —in human history, giving her the mandate to preach the Good News of salvation to all men, to baptize them and to lead them towards the fullness of Christian life. Concretely, Christ instituted the sacraments of the New Law as means of salvation for men (sacramenta propter homines), in order to enable each of them to participate in the fruits of the Redemption. Thus, through baptism, the faithful acquire the right—indeed not towards God
but towards the Hierarchical Church—to have access to all the means of salvation. This fundamental right is enunciated by the Code of Canon Law in the following terms: Can. 213 — The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the sacraments. This juridic principle is complemented by another one, which stems from the need to safeguard the sanctity of the sacraments and the fact that their celebration always constitutes an act of public cult of the
love, in word and in deed’ (Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et spes, n. 93)…. “Three conditions for the plenary indulgence: “And so the Supreme Pontiff, motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy as much as possible in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the faithful, in the Audience granted on 13 June 2002, to those Responsible for the Apostolic Penitentiary, granted the following Indulgences: “a plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”); “A partial indulgence, granted to the faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation. “For those who cannot go to church or the seriously ill: “In addition, sailors working on the vast expanse of the sea; the countless brothers and sisters, whom the disasters of war, political events, local violence and other such causes have been driven out of their homeland; the sick and those who nurse them, and all who for a just cause cannot leave their homes or who carry out an activity for the community which cannot be postponed, may obtain a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, if totally detesting any sin, as has been said before, and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, will recite the Our Father and the Creed before a devout image of Our Merciful Lord Jesus and, in addition, pray a devout invocation to the Merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you). “If it is impossible that people do even this, on the same day they may obtain the Plenary Indulgence if with a spiritual intention they are united with those carrying out the prescribed practice for obtaining the Indulgence in the usual way and offer to the Merciful Lord a prayer and the sufferings of their illness and the difficulties of their lives, with the resolution to accomplish as soon as possible the three conditions prescribed to obtain the plenary indulgence. “Duty of priests: inform parishioners, hear confessions, lead prayers: “Priests who exercise pastoral ministry, especially parish priests, should inform the faithful in the most suitable way of the Church’s salutary provision. They should promptly and generously be willing to hear their confessions. On Divine Mercy Sunday, after celebrating Mass or Vespers, or during devotions in honor of Divine Mercy, with the dignity that is in accord with the rite, they should lead the recitation of the prayers that have been given above. Finally, since ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Mt 5,7), when they instruct their people, priests should gently encourage the faithful to practice works of charity or mercy as often as they can, following the example of, and in obeying the commandment of Jesus Christ, as is listed for the second general concession of indulgence in the ‘Enchiridion Indulgentiarum.’ “This Decree has perpetual force, any provision to the contrary notwithstanding.” In conclusion, it must be mentioned that our correspondent was misinformed when she was told that Communion on this or any other Sunday granted a plenary indulgence. This is not the case. For more on indulgences in general, see our columns of Feb. 15 and March 1, 2005. Finally, because of the special liturgical nature of this Sunday, all devotions must be made outside of Mass and no change may be made in the liturgical texts or readings. Mention of the theme of Divine Mercy may be made, however, during the homily, commentaries and during the general intercessions.
© Denz Dayao / CBCP Media
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
Vote Only Candidates who Truly Care for the Environment!
Challenge to May 14, 2007 Voters
By Lou Valencia Arsenio
PLANET Earth is God’s gift to all. It is the only planet in the galaxy that God has endowed with fullness of life, balanced ecosystem and complete biodiversity where all living beings share interdependence and interrelatedness. Human beings as stewards of God’s creation get their food, medicine, all basic needs and livelihood from the ecosystem. The current ecological crisis such as global warming, contamination of our bodies of water, soil, air and food; the rapid destruction of our forest, mountains and the over extraction of our mineral deposits, mangroves, animal and marine resources are very alarming that indeed need our serious attention during the coming election. The May 14 election is a critical opportunity to judge those offering to serve us as councilors, mayors, board members, congressman, governors and senators by the degree of importance they give to the environment through their lifestyle, personal/family practices, business relations, policies and support on the following: • mining or logging of our mountains especially by foreign companies or allowing foreigners to own part of our natural resources; • dumping of foreign toxic wastes in the country; • use of coal plant or nuclear power plants; • the importation and propagation of genetically modified organisms especially Bt Corn, hybrid rice, and the like, as well as the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in agriculture • establishment or maintenance of dumpsites, landfill or incinerators; • poor implementation of Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Clean Air Act and other environment laws; • own or supports big fishing companies that throw their wastes in the sea, use dynamite and neglect or denied the concerns of the small fisher folk; • favors given to the concerns of the big companies and neglect those of the small and ordinary citizens; • push for the use of LPG powered vehicles without thorough study/ research on its impact to environment and health. If we truly love our children and the next generations, we should take this challenge seriously. Let us prevent the worsening of global warming and leave behind a better clean and healthy environment to our children. Therefore, let this coming election be an opportunity for all of us to choose wisely, scrutinize prudently the candidates and fearlessly follow the dictates of our God-given conscience to vote only for the God fearing and truly environment loving candidates. (Ms. Lou Valencia Arsenio is the Coordinator of the Ecology Desk of the Archdiocese of Manila)
By Bel Formanes
DOING business “under-the-table” is always done hastily, away from the prying eyes of the public. Shady deals are of the same league. Such type of agreements is literally hatched under the cover of darkness, like what one sees at the movies. That is what the 19 RP-China Agribusiness deals were made of. Ceremonially signed on January 15, 2007 by President Gloria Arroyo and Wen Jiabao, the agreement in its entirety is foul and bereft of any development or financial returns to the supposed beneficiaries. It would never alleviate the country’s marginalized sector at all. If ever, only the scheming and sinister officials involved will ultimately gain a cash windfall, adding to their already bloated pockets. Some major appalling facts about the agreement, supposedly aimed at developing joint RP-China marine/aquaculture projects would reveal: • Contracts were signed devoid of any public consultation with people that would be directly affected, the stakeholders—farmers and fisherfolk organizations; there was not even public disclosure concerning details of the agreement; • There was no indication that Congress was informed about the agreement. The Philippine Charter, however, clearly provides that “ the President shall notify the Congress of every contract entered into in accordance with this provision, within thirty days
Sacraments / from p10
from its execution,” (Art 12, Sec 2, par 5); • The projects would secure between 1.2 million hectares of Philippine lands where to grow food, fruit, flower, vegetable and bio-fuel crops for China and would ultimately include: lands already covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP); CARPable lands, and areas under the Community-based Forest Management (CBFM); •Filipino firms who are party to the agreement are either bogus or overnight companies with dubious track record; • Some of the agreements are silent and do not have provisions regarding leasehold duration. Article 12, Section 3 of the Constitution states: “…Private corporations or associations may not hold such alienable lands of the public domain except by lease, for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty-five years, and not to exceed one thousand hectares in area…” But under the agreement not only a thousand but millions of hectares of land would be covered. • Seven out of nineteen projects would cover vast marine areas for aquaculture through raising certain fish species that would be exported to China as food commodity while endangering the Philippine’s own food security and sovereignty. Such act contradicts basic Philippine Constitutional guarantees: “The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic wa-
ters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.” (Art. 12, Sec 2, par 2). In Totality, the 19 RP-China Agribusiness deals were coated with layers of deception and vested interests of corrupt officials involved, undermining the collective interest of the under-privileged. It reeks with greed and Constitutional inconsistencies slurring the Nation’s sovereignty and human rights guarantees. Being so, it deserves to be quashed. The broad network of agrarian reform and peasant advocates is aghast that the Filipino people’s rights to determine its path towards economic, social and cultural development are being abjectly deprived by this deceptive and onerous deal. An agreement cloaked in the so-called “non-confrontational-land-reform-paradigm” that, on the contrary, would only further sow discontent and unrest at the countryside—in communities that would be affected by the projects. For the sake of truth and the common good, these 19 RP-China Agribusiness deals should be made known to the Filipino people. And so are the deceptions surrounding these deals entered into by publicly-acknowledged corrupt government officials—which voters should bear in mind on their way to the polls this forthcoming May elections.
The Non-indispensable Nature of Pastoral Programs for the Proper Reception of the Sacraments
Because of the above, whatever pastoral programs or requisites may be formulated by the pastors of souls to assure the proper disposition of the faithful cannot be converted into sine qua non conditions for their access to the sacraments. The only exception would be if such indispensable condition is expressly stated by the Local Ordinary, subject to the approval of the Supreme Authority in the Church who is the only one competent to regulate the sacraments. This is stipulated by the Code: Can. 841 — Since the sacraments are the same for the universal Church and pertain to the divine deposit, it is for the supreme authority of the Church alone to approve or define those things which are required for their validity; it is for the same supreme authority of the Church or other competent authority in accord with the norm of c.838, §§3 and 4 to determine what pertains to their lawful celebration, administration and reception and also the order to be observed in their celebration. This acquires special importance for some sacraments, to wit: 1) The so-called Pre-Cana Seminar. The ius connubi—the right to marry, which is a consequence of marriage being a natural institution—is limited only by the so-called impediments. As we had previously seen, only the supreme authority of the Church can fix such impediments. Making attendance in the so-called Pre-Cana Seminar an indispensable requirement for marriage would be tantamount to adding a new impediment to marriage—that of non-attendance to the seminar—something which nobody save the supreme authority in the Church is competent to do. 2) The seminars for parents and godparents (or sponsors).
Can. 851, 2º provides that the parents of an infant and likewise those who are to undertake the office of sponsor are to be properly instructed in the meaning of this sacrament and the obligations which are attached to it; personally or through others the pastor is to see to it that the parents are properly formed by pastoral directions and by common prayer, gathering several families together and where possible visiting them. While such seminars are indeed desirable, it is clear from the tenor of the canon that the obligation is laid on the pastor to facilitate such instruction; but in no way does it say that he is to deny administering the sacrament if such previous instruction somehow were not feasible.
fixed amounts for stipends to be offered to the Pastor on the occasion of every celebration of the sacraments, with an additional clause that free administration should be extended to the poor. Such stipends are not payments or fees for the administration of the sacraments, but rather a practical way of quantifying another right-duty of the faithful—stipulated by c.222,§1 of the Code of Canon Law—namely that of supporting the ministers in particular and the whole evangelizing work of the Church in general.
It is licit for a parish to have a fixed amount for the celebration of marriage—as decided by the Archdiocese and approved by the Holy See. It is even understandable for the parish to stipulate an additional amount to defray the cost of utilities and décor that may go into more elaborate weddings. A tiered system of contributions can also be established, whereby those who can afford subsidize those who can’t. However, nothing stands in the way of celebrating it (and any sacrament for that matter) without such costs, and thus without any stipend, for indigent parties. In the extreme case, marriage can be celebrated in its bare essentials—i.e., in the parish office, in the presence of the required two witnesses other than the sacred minister, with hardly any costs to the parish to speak of. The Pre-Cana Seminar should never be made an indispensable requirement for marriage. The same can be said of what somebody has called Pre-Jordan Seminar—i.e., the seminar for parents (desiring to have their infant child baptized). They should be waived, when there is proof of a similar preparation acquired another way, thereby reasonably combining the pastoral aim of assuring proper reception of the sacrament with the right of the faithful to receive the means of salvation.
The Sacraments cannot be conditioned by a Fee
An interesting consequence of the fundamental right of the faithful to the sacraments is the absolute prohibition of conditioning their administration to the payment of some fee or some other temporal good—which is tantamount to simony: the buying and selling of spiritual goods or realities attached to such goods. The Code is quite explicit on this point, typifying simony even as a crime in c.1380: A person, who through simony celebrates or receives a sacrament, is to be punished with an interdict or suspension. So strong is this prohibition against simony, that even the semblance of it is proscribed— e.g., c.947: Even the semblance of trafficking or trading is to be entirely excluded from Mass offerings. A different matter are the alms (stipends) which the faithful voluntarily give—even based on a fixed suggested rate—on the occasion of the celebration of some sacraments and sacramentals (e.g., Mass stipends, baptisms, weddings, funerals). This is what happens in the Philippines, where the bishops have adopted the so-called Arancel System, which lists
© Denz Dayao / CBCP Media
RP-China Agri Deals: A Deathblow to Suffering Farmers and Peasantry
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
“A Common Good …an Inalienable Right”
“The Attention of the Church Has Been on the Social Question”
Papal Address to the 9th International Youth Forum
IT gives me great pleasure to send my cordial greeting to you, Venerable Brother, to the Secretary, to those working with the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and to all those who are taking part in the 9th International Youth Forum on the theme “Witnessing to Christ in the world of work” that is taking place this week in Rocca di Papa. It is with particular affection that I direct my thoughts to the young delegates from the bishops’ conferences and the international movements, associations, and communities that have come from the five continents and who work in very different fields. I extend my respectful greetings to the distinguished speakers who have agreed to contribute to the meeting with their expertise and experience. The theme is very much a topical issue and takes into account the transformations that have taken place in recent years in the fields of economics, technology and communications, changes that have radically changed the appearance and conditions of the labor market. The progress achieved has, on the one hand, given new hope to young people, but on the other it has created disturbing forms of marginalization and exploitation with more and more situations of personal hardship. Because of the noticeable difference between the education and training received and the world of work, it is now more difficult for them to find employment that meets with their personal skills and studies, and there is no certainty that they will be able to maintain even unstable employment for any length of time. The process of globalization taking place in the world entails a need for mobility that obliges numerous young people to emigrate and live far from their home countries and their families. This brings about an unsettling feeling of insecurity that undoubtedly has repercussions on their ability to not only dream and build up a project for the future, but even to commit themselves to matrimony and start a family. These are complex and delicate questions that must be faced in due course, keeping in mind the reality of our times while referring to the social doctrine of the Church. This is duly presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and especially in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. The attention of the Church in recent years has been constantly directed on the social question, and in particular on that of work. We remember the encyclical Laborem exercens published a little over twentyfive years ago, on 14 September 1981, by my well loved predecessor John Paul II. This reaffirmed and updated the great intuitions developed by Pope Leo XIII and Pius XI in the encyclicals Rerum novarum (1891) and Quadragesimo anno (1931), both written during the period of the industrialization of Europe. In a context of economic liberalism conditioned by market forces, of competition and competitiveness, these pontifical documents forcefully call on the need to evaluate the human dimension of work and to protect the dignity of the person. In fact, the ultimate reference of every human activity can only be the human person, created in the image and likeness of God. A close analysis of the situation, in fact, shows that work is part of God’s plan for humankind and that it is participation in his work of creation and redemption. Every human activity should be an occasion and place for the growth of individuals and society, the development of personal “talents” that should be appreciated and placed at the ordered service of the common good, in a spirit of justice and solidarity. For believers, moreover, the ultimate aim of work is the building up of the Kingdom of God. While I invite you to treasure the conversations and reflections that take place over the next few days, I hope that this important assembly of young people may be a profitable occasion of spiritual and ecclesial growth for the participants, through the sharing of experiences and personal accounts, and common prayer and liturgies celebrated together. Today, more than ever, it is necessary and urgent to proclaim “the Gospel of Work”, to live as Christians in the world of work and become apostles among workers. In order to fulfill this mission it is necessary to remain united to Christ through prayer and a deep sacramental life, and for this purpose, to hold Sunday in special high regard, for it is the day dedicated to the Lord. While I encourage young people not to lose heart when faced with these difficulties, I invite them to participate next Sunday in Saint Peter’s Square in the solemn celebration of Palm Sunday and the 22nd World Youth Day, the final stage of preparation for the World Youth Day that will take place in Sydney, Australia next year. The theme for reflection this year is: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (Jn. 13:34). Here I repeat what I wrote to young Christians all over the world, that there may be awakened in young Christians, “trust in a love that is true, faithful and strong; a love that generates peace and joy; a love that binds people together and allows them to feel free in respect for one another”, and allows them to develop their abilities to the full. It is not simply a question of becoming more “competitive” and “productive”, but it is necessary to be “witnesses of charity”. It is only in this way that young people — with the support of their respective parishes, movements and communities, in which it is possible to experience the greatness and vitality of the Church — will be able to experience work as a vocation and true mission. To this end, Venerable Brother, I assure you of my prayers, with the heavenly protection of Mary and Saint Joseph, patron of workers, I send you and all those participating in the International Forum and all young Christian workers, a special Apostolic Blessing. BENEDICTUS PP XVI 28 March 2007
Message for World Water Day
(The message sent by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, on behalf of Benedict XVI, on the occasion of the celebration for the World Water Day on March 22, 2007. This was sent to Jacques Diouf, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, headquartered in Rome.)
Mr Jacques Diouf, On the occasion of today’s celebration of World Water Day, His Holiness Benedict XVI charges me to convey to you, Mr. Director General, and to all the participants at this meeting respectful and cordial greetings and encouragement for your action in favour of those in the world who are suffering from a shortage of water. In the context of the Decade 2005/ 2015, which the General Assembly of the United Nations has declared “The International Decade of Action: Water for life”, this year’s theme: Coping with water scarcity, gives us an opportunity to think about the importance of water as a source of life whose availability is essential for the vital cycles of the earth and fundamental for a fully human existence. We are all aware of the difficulty of achieving at a world level the goal fixed by the international community to halve the number of people who are without access to healthy water and basic hygiene services by 2015, through the development, among other things, of integrated management plans and an efficient use of water resources. However, we are likewise all convinced of the importance of not falling short of these goals, given the centrality of water in any process destined to foster the promotion of an integral human development. Furthermore, appropriate investments in the sector of water and hygiene services represent a significant mechanism for accelerating economic growth and sustainable development, for improving human health and hygiene, for uprooting poverty and for combating the degradation of the environment. Water, a common good of the human family, constitutes an essential element for life; the management of this precious resource must enable all to have access to it, especially those who live in conditions of poverty, and must guarantee the liveability of the planet for both the present and future generations. Access to water is in fact one of the inalienable rights of every human being, because it is a prerequisite for the realization of the majority of the other human rights, such as the rights to life, to food and to health. For this reason, water “cannot be treated as just another commodity among many, and it must be used rationally and in solidarity with others. ...The right to water ... finds its basis in human dignity and not in any kind of merely quantitative assessment that considers water as a merely economic good. Without water, life is threatened. Therefore, the right to safe drinking water is a universal and inalienable right” ( Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church , n. 485). World Water Day is a precious opportunity to encourage the international community to identify effective ways to permit this basic human right to be promoted, protected and enjoyed. In this regard, the sustainable management of water becomes a social, economic, environmental and ethical challenge that involves not only institutions but the whole of society. It should be faced in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, that is, through the adoption of a participatory approach that involves both the private sector and above all the local communities; the principle of solidarity, a fundamental pillar of international cooperation, which requires a preferential attention to the poor; the principle of responsibility to the present generation and those to come, from which derives the consequent need to re-examine the models of consumption and production, often unsustainable with regard to the use of water resources. It is in addition a responsibility that must be shared and that becomes a moral and political imperative in a world that has levels of know-how and technologies that are capable of putting an end to situations of water scarcity and to their dramatic consequences that affect in particular the regions with a lower income, in which access to water can often spark real conflicts, whereas it can become a motive for interregional cooperation wherever people appreciate a farsighted approach founded on hydrological interdependence that binds those who use the water resource in neighboring countries in a joint agreement. These are aspects, Mr. Director General, that not only demand the responsibility of government leaders and politicians, but that challenge every individual. We are all called to renew our life-styles with an educational effort that can reassign to this common good of humanity the value and respect that it ought to have in our society. Moreover, an educational effort of this kind could draw from many sacred texts of the traditional religions, such as the Bible, where water is symbolically a source and a sign of life and its presence is often associated with joy and fertility, assuming in addition a role of purification, renewal and rebirth. On this World Water Day, the Holy Father invokes the Lord’s Blessings on all those who are committed to reaching the goals concerning water that have been set by the international community. Mr. Director General, I am honored to convey to you this Message from His Holiness and ask you to accept the expression of my highest esteem. CARDINAL TARCISIO BERTONE Secretary of State of His Holiness 22 March 2007
“Promote a Culture Respectful of the Rights of the Least-protected”
Vatican’s Address to U.N. on Population
(Transcript of the statement delivered April 10 by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, at the 40th session of the Commission on Population and Development of the U.N. Economic and Social Council.)
Mr. Chairman, Indicators continue to suggest that by 2050 the world’s population should stabilize at about 9 billion. Although this implies that national populations will not need to be regulated as proposed by radical opinion in the past, this commission should continue to serve a useful purpose in monitoring the demographic trends in all parts of the world. In this regard, policy goals and the means to achieve them must remain sound and focused on the dignity of the human person. This 40th session of the commission coincides with the 40th anniversary of a document on population and development written by the late Pope Paul VI, known as “ Populorum Progressio,” that is, “The Progress of Peoples.” At a time when the world was commonly divided into two blocs, East and West, the document focused instead on peoples and societies, whose conditions were marked not by being Eastern or Western, but by the levels of development and well-being in some parts of the world, in contrast to the degree of poverty and underdevelopment in others. The emphasis placed by the document on the individual and on societies, both as the primary focus of development policies and as protagonists of their own development, even today provides a sure guide for demographic policies to promote a culture respectful of the rights of the least-protected members of our human family, especially before birth and in ex-
treme old age. The reports made to the commission this year suggest that dependency ratios are set to soar in some places, where an increasing number of elderly people will lay a heavier burden on the active population. It is to be hoped that states will work to foster respect for human life in all its stages and to find solutions that are right and just, not merely pragmatic. Here in particular, promoting solidarity between generations will be very valuable. While by 2050 Europe is set to have an elderly dependency ratio similar to that of Africa’s in the 1960s, Africa is set to have the lowest dependency ratio in the world. This projection should hand that continent an unprecedented advantage in economic terms, as a young and numerous work force should be available to it until at least 2050, while the demographic dividend in most other regions will have run out. To assure that Africa will not miss this window of opportunity for economic development, it must be helped, inter alia, to invest in its human capital and infrastructure to underpin economic growth. Because many of this future work force are already born and are already of school age, my delegation believes that the most decisive investment to be made here is in education. The U.N. Secretariat estimates that to achieve primary education for all by 2015 would cost $9 billion estimated in 1998 dollar value. By any estimate, this can hardly be considered a high price to pay for such a prize.
Moreover, education, especially for girls and young women, can have a notable impact on population growth. As women become better educated, they gain greater respect; they become breadwinners; they acquire maturity in parental responsibility and a greater say in family affairs. Investing in people in this way, especially in education, is surely to be preferred to legal imposition of limits, to artificial corrective measures and drastic policies, and to the unacceptable practice of eliminating fetuses, especially females, in order to limit population growth. Finally, since this commission’s 39th session last year, important initiatives have been both completed and launched, in particular concerning migrants, a topic of no small importance in relation to the changing age structures of populations. My delegation regards last year’s High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development as having been useful and welcomes the offer of Belgium and other countries to maintain its momentum in the form of the forthcoming Global Forum on Migration and Development. It is to be hoped that the Forum will build upon what was achieved during the high-level dialogue. There is almost no country in the world untouched by migration and it has become an extremely important source both of labor and of remittances depending on each country’s circumstances. Therefore, it is in the interests of all states—not to mention the migrants themselves—that the forum be allowed room to succeed.
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
A Pastoral Letter to Priests and Faithful of the Archdiocese of Manila
ELECTION is a process of choosing leaders who, with the people, will seek the common good of all. Thus the Church encourages and supports “the citizens in making political choices that guarantees to the governed the possibility of both electing and holding accountable those who govern them and of replacing them through peaceful means when appropriate” (Centesimus Annus, 46). Choosing and holding the leaders accountable to the governed is a critically important choice that must follow moral guidance. The sacredness of an election recalls to us that votes are not for sale or to be bartered with favors. Neither can a vote be cast under any form of coercion. The search is for the best possible leader. 1. The best possible leader is a person who loves and fears God. 2. One who is guided by a well-formed conscience, always sensitive to the choice of what is good. 3. One who lives and serves consistently with moral principles. 4. One who is honest, non-violent, and compassionate. 5. A person who respects and protects the limited resources in nature and requires others to do the same. 6. One who is ready to sacrifice personal, party or group interest for the sake of unity, peace and the integral development of the country and the people. In the past, enormous sufferings resulted from political ambitions, maneuvers and group adventurism resulting in the country’s poor becoming even poorer. Pray for guidance because God may softly suggest in prayer that this time what the country needs are moral, humble and repentant trustworthy leaders who can lead and move the country closer to its vision. We are grateful to and we encourage the teachers, the men and women of the armed forces, the youth and volunteer citizens who help the task of COMELEC in ensuring that votes are properly cast, accurately counted at the precincts, are authentically reported to the municipalities and cities, and forwarded safely and un-tampered to the COMELEC Provincial and National offices. May Mary, our mother, guide us in our choice of trustworthy leaders and bring us to her Son, Jesus, the only Way, Truth and Life. God bless! +Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, DD Archbishop of Manila
Take an Active Part
A Pastoral Statement on the 2007 Elections
Diocese of San Jose de Antique
“Citizens should take an active part in public life as far as possible.” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church #410)
MY dear Reverend Fathers, Religious Sisters and Brothers, Lay Women and Men: May the Peace of the Risen Lord be with you all! The resurrection of Jesus Christ, is not only a historical event, a thing of the past. It is a reality that continues to have relevance in the present, in your life and mine—a life that serves the truth and brings light and hope to a darkened and despairing world. The Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to Dioceses and Parishes dated 28 January 2007 expresses this relevance thus: “In these two years past, we are only too aware, it has become easier to succumb to apathy and hopelessness about
our country and its political life. But as followers of the crucified and risen Lord, we are called never to lose hope that creates energy and the love that creates responsibility.” Therefore, let us be the followers of the crucified and risen Lord we are called to be. Let us be bringers of hope in the coming 14 May elections. May the following be of help: 1. We exhort the qualified and registered voters: GO OUT AND VOTE. It is your right and responsibility. 2. We plead with passion: Voters, DO NOT SELL YOUR VOTE; Candidates, DO NOT BUY VOTES! 3. We encourage the parishioners, the LOMAS (lay organizations, movements, associations and societies)
in the parishes, and BECs: HELP MAKE THE 2007 ELECTIONS A CHAMP (clean, honest, authentic, meaningful, peaceful). Volunteer and get involved in our PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) – DSAC (Diocesan Social Action Center) activities such as voters’ education, pollwatch and vote count. 4. We ask our lay leaders who are candidates: RESIGN OR TAKE A LEAVE OF ABSENCE FROM YOUR PARISH/DIOCESAN RESPONSIBILITIES. The lay leaders who will win shall continue to be considered resigned or on leave. Those who will lose may re-apply and be
re-admitted to their previous parish/diocesan responsibilities if approved by the proper decisionmaking body or authority. This statement is valid for the 14 May elections and succeeding ones unless revised by the proper authority. I end with the final exhortation of the CBCP letter: “The Lord of truth and justice be with us all in this crucial undertaking to his greater praise and glory. And may Mary, Our Lady of Peace, intercede for us.” I also bless you and your endeavors. Sincerely yours in Christ, † Romulo T. De La Cruz, D.D. Bishop of San Jose de Antique 10 April 2007
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Working and Praying for Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections
A Pastoral Exhortation
“The Church values the democratic system inasmuch as it ensures the participation of the citizens in making political choices, guarantees to the governed the possibility of both electing and holding accountable those who govern them...” (John Paul II, Centessimus Annus, #46).
AS we approach once again the critical moment of our national election on May 14, let us meet the new crossroads in our history with our best efforts to make it an Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Election. Being in a democracy, this is the Covenant of Hope that we are all enjoined to give for our country’s future. To ensure credible results from the coming election, we call on everyone in the Church and in civil society, and on all participating groups and parties, to CHAMPION the cause of democratic election, by ensuring it to be Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful. We must disapprove, reject and condemn as immoral all acts of violence and cheating, including the evil of “vote padding and shaving” (dagdag-bawas) in favor of or against any candidate. Let both candidates and their supporters face the judgment of democratic election with humility and magnanimity. We exhort everyone to be vigilant, to pray and to offer penance for this intention. Let us accompany with extreme vigilance and prayer the crucial period of campaigning, voters’ education, transporting of election paraphernalia, poll watching, and very especially, the canvassing and reporting of the votes. May the hand of God stop evil from getting in control. We need the Lord’s help, without which our best efforts will come to nothing. Thus, we urge everyone to invoke the grace if the Holy Spirit to guide our people in this electoral exercise, for the renewal of our country towards genuine common good. We want this exhortation to reach every Filipino. Let us be one in prayer, penance and vigilance. In a particular way, we request for the prayers of our contemplative men and women in the monasteries; there are more than a hundred of such monasteries all over the country. As they kneel before the Most Blessed Sacrament, we request them to pray for our country—especially for all voters, candidates, and election officials/ workers. Let our prayer also accompany the work of the PPCRV and NAMFREL, the COMELEC and the thousands of teachers in the field, the social action ministries of CBCP-NASSA, LENTE (Legal Network for Truthful Election), as well as the assistance of the AFP and PNP, and of the hundreds of religious organizations and civil society groups—all hoping and championing the cause of credible election. We strongly recommend that the parishes organize Holy Hours or prayer vigils in their churches or chapels for these intentions, between May 5 and May 14, with the help of the Apostleship of Prayer and other religious organizations. We likewise encourage the Basic Ecclesial Communities to do the same in their centers. Humble and trusting prayers are needed to safeguard the sanctity of the ballot and of the entire electoral processes. May our Blessed Mother Mary, the Mediatrix of all grace, and our Guardian St. Joseph the Model of honest and prayerful work, intercede for our beloved country as we face a new transition in our history. +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO Archbishop of Jaro President, CBCP 24 April 2007
What Does the Resurrection Mean for Us Today?
“The Son of man was destined to be handed over into the power of sinful men and be crucified, and rise again on the third day… Peter went back home amazed at what had happened.” (Lk. 24, 7.12)
MY dear brothers and sisters in Pagadian Diocese: Greetings for Easter! Let me invite you to reflect on what the Resurrection event means in our situation today and to pray for more hope and courage to face its challenges. The Easter mystery began in darkness and in death. In the midst of darkness at the beginning of creation God pronounced his creative Word: Let there be light! And light was created. In the face of death at the beginning of our salvation story the Father pronounced his saving Word: Let there be life! And life was created: Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The Easter story begins very early at dawn in the first day of the week when there is still darkness. Its most beautiful expression is no other than the new life in Christ when darkness gives way to the New Light already shining. This is what we now celebrate: the resurrection of Christ whose life enlightens all men and women. This celebration is an invitation for each of us to come out of darkness into the light of the Risen Christ. Peter went back home amazed at what had happened! The light came into the world but people preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil. The life of the only Son of the Father was the Light shining on all. But the Jewish leaders refused to accept the light and were only too pleased to offer Judas a bribe, in payment for betraying Jesus with a kiss. Only God could see their evil thoughts and fathom the depths of their being! Saddled with a troubled conscience and hopeless spirit due to his heinous crime Judas threw back
the adulterated money at the unscrupulous leaders and hanged himself. Are we not also amazed, just like Peter was, at our situation today? How could the demonic leaders afford to fool the people, especially the poor, through their dirty, immoral, despicable tactics of bribery and buying off people’s votes? How could people choose darkness instead of the light by accepting stained money and betraying their own conscience? Is it due to fear of threats or to an empty caprice and love of money and passing pleasure? How fervently do we kiss the Crucifix on Good Friday and then readily go into the dark by desecrating the sacredness of the ballot on Election Day? Woe to those who have become modern Judases, who neither refuse dirty money nor return this to the wicked men who violate their dignity and despise their being the images of God. Woe to the rich and powerful politicians who have become scandalous tempters and partners of Satan! How could they escape from the unceasing remorse and disturbance of their own conscience? How could they escape from the last judgment when the goats will be isolated for rejecting the light in favor of darkness through their evil deeds? Peter went back home amazed at what had happened! The light came into the world but people preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil. Didn’t the Jewish leaders manipulate the situation and contrived that the crowd be left without choice but to shout out for the crucifixion of Jesus and the release of Barrabas, the criminal that had caused trouble among the people? Are we not also
amazed in our times just like Peter was? For, have the rich and powerful not long entered into deals and machinations that leave people without genuine choices in the May elections? Is it not true that for money considerations and to ensure power, they manipulate people and force on them the names to shout out and vote in during the elections? Isn’t it a mockery of the democratic system to pre-empt and deprive the people of their sacred right to choose leaders of integrity and competence? Can one call it true democracy when people have no other choice but Barrabas? Faced with that evil and immoral process is it the Christian way not to protest and to just remain silent? What significance and consequence then would our celebration of Christ’s resurrection have? Doesn’t his resurrection mean the conquest of the powers of evil and the darkness of sin? Doesn’t our Easter celebration mean our rejection of the vestiges of sin and of the manifestations of eternal death? Baptized with water and the Holy Spirit did we not promise to reject Satan and all his evil deeds? My brothers and sisters in Christ, have we forgotten that through baptism we are incorporated into Christ’s resurrection and share in his life? Isn’t it our call to come to the light and to let it shine in our communities? Let us stand by the Light. Let us be wise lest we be fooled by wolves masquerading like sheep! In discerning what candidate we should vote for, the following questions may be of help: does he have unexplained wealth? How does he intend to fight corruption in government
and among the people? How does he avoid using money stained by drugs if he were to remain a person of integrity? Is he an ally of drug lords and of corrupt people? Does he buy votes? Where does his campaign money come from? Is it from questionable sources or through evil dealings? Is he involved in drug issues, carnapping, or violation of human rights? Does he support business or activities that destroy the environment like mining, which is destructive of life and of the livelihood of people, especially our indigenous brothers and sisters? If no candidate passes these sample tests or criteria would it not be wise to leave the ballot blank as a sign of protest that a worthy candidate has not yet surfaced? Wouldn’t that give a clear message that whoever would get through with only a few votes does not really have a clear mandate from the people? Wouldn’t that kind of protest be a clear indication that you do not subscribe to the distorted culture that only the wealthy and powerful could be elected a leader? Dear brothers and sisters let us listen to and follow the dictates of our conscience as we pray that the Spirit of Peace and Righteousness would reign in our communities especially during the elections! May the Spirit of the Resurrection touch our hearts and those of the candidates so that enlightened by the Light of Christ we may not succumb to evil schemes! May the Lord of the Resurrection and our Mother of Perpetual Help be with us always! +Emmanuel T. Cabajar, C.Ss.R. Bishop of Pagadian April 8, 2007
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
Nurture Your Secret Life
“Your assignment is to clean the toilet everyday.”
sponge. And it put me in my place, keeping pride away from my heart. I love Bill Hybell’s definition of “Character”: Character is who you are when no one’s looking. It’s easy to be a disciple in front of an applauding crowd. But when no one’s looking, was I still a disciple? Thanks to my sponge, I had an answer: Yes! I remember one Saturday night. We had a big feast—and all the brothers washed the dishes together. We even sang happy songs while soaping, rinsing, and drying. That night, I was soaping. When it was almost over, I was removing a stubborn food particle stuck in a fork—when I noticed something about the sponge in my hand. It looked oddly familiar. I gasped. Because I knew my sponge! What was it doing here in the kitchen? Just to be sure, I rushed to the toilet and opened the cabinet under the sink—the usual place where I stored my sponge. It wasn’t there. I entered the kitchen hesitantly, wondering whether to tell the brothers. But I saw them singing and happy. How could I break their cheery mood? So I decided to join the singing, get my sponge, and soap the few remaining plates. (To this day, I have never told them what happened that night. When they read this, they will kill me.) I have a question for you: How’s your secret life? Who are you when no one’s looking? In the unspectacular, mundane, routine of your day? I tell you. Nurture your Secret Life. I BELIEVE that on Judgment Day, God will give me a 365-room mansion in heaven. And when I ask Him why the lavish reward, I’d expect Him to say, “Because of your preaching to thousands,” or “Because you founded a Home for the Elderly,” etc. But instead, He’d say, “For each day you cleaned that toilet with love in your heart…”
Contemplatives or Peeping Toms?
“ S A C R A M E N T U M caritatis,” Latin for the sacrament of charity, referring to the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, is the title of the latest document issued by Pope Benedict, released last February 22. It’s a beautiful summary and in-depth comment of the Pope on the observations, suggestions and resolutions made by the bishops and cardinals in their synod on the sacrament in October 2005 in Rome. Reading it, I was immediately impressed by the amount of wisdom contained in that document that skillfully described the sacrament as a mystery to be believed, to be celebrated and to be lived. I consider that plan of developing the topic very timely and clever, since it gives a comprehensive coverage, unified and organic, of how the sacrament, and the mystery it involves, should be treated. The sacrament should not only be believed, it has to be celebrated, and properly. And it should not just be celebrated, it has to be lived to its last consequences. The Holy Mass, after all, has been described as the source and summit of Church life and mission, the vital link between heaven and earth now. It has to infuse its substance in our entire being— from our minutest pore to our grandest dimension. Often, we get stuck in one stage or another. We need to go all the way. This is a requirement of our human condition, to be consciously pursued and fulfilled since our tendency is to reduce what is proper for us. There is a beautiful and incisive description, for example, of what active participation in the Mass ought to be. It’s not just muttering prayers and joining in the singing. One has to go through a continuing conversion as he immerses himself in the mystery celebrated. Also there is a wonderful discussion about the social and other practical implications of the sacrament. This should greatly help in correcting the tendency to consider the Mass as purely Church or spiritual affair with hardly any effect on the other aspects of our lives. With all these, I was just a little dismayed when it came out. The media only gave scant consideration to it, giving a line or two to highlight a minor but, to them, curious detail, like the Mass can be celebrated in Latin in international gatherings. In the meantime, the press was busy following every lurid detail about the latest perversion of Paris Hilton, the latest aberration of Britney Spears, and the latest love life hitch of our Kris Aquino. For these items, a river of ink was spent, rolls and rolls of footages were used. It seems there’s a big industry out there involved in spreading every twist and turn in the lives of these unfortunately irresistible celebrities. It’s not for me to say what should appear in the papers. But I just find it funny that an important event in religion and Church life does not stand a chance, not a rat’s chance, to compete with celebrity gossips in terms of media space. I get the impression the media wants us only to be peeping toms and backbiters, rather than contemplatives and thinking and sensible people. It simply wants to titillate our curiosity, imagination and adrenalin. It’s contented with playing to the gallery. Hardly leading the crowd, it rather follows the mob. I wonder what its understanding of its nature and role in society is. Does religion have a prominent place in it? It starves our finer senses and higher faculties. The rationalization is that to be fair and objective, it has to be morally undefined and genderless. The law of the market is its main guide. Often quick to question everybody, it is slow to evaluate itself and its performance. Its judgments and opinions are often given a tinge of infallibility. Well, no one is perfect in this life. That’s why we should just help one another, by making timely reminders, constructive suggestions and corrections. I wish the media invest more seriously in the area of faith and religion, developing talents through time. I believe the future we all want is there.
Many years ago, I was part of a celibate brotherhood. And on my first day there, an older brother gave me my assigned chore: Toilet cleaning. “I don’t know how to clean toilets,” I muttered meekly, “can you teach me?” “Let’s start with the toilet bowl,” he smiled, as he grabbed a sponge, sank his hand into the toilet water, and started scrubbing the insides of the bowl. Believe me, every hair on my body stood on end and my innards shook violently. “Gee… uh, I recall Mom using a stick…” I mumbled, but he interrupted, “But this cleans it so much better,” his forearm almost disappearing inside the Throne. With his hand still dripping, he handed me the sponge and said, “You want to try?” I almost choked and wondered if God could take my life that second. “Okay…” I held the foam as manly as I could. Being at a loss for words, I started praying in tongues. I plunged my hand into the water, and realized that my state-of-life discernment was over. That very night, I was going to escape the brotherhood, and get married. But the days became weeks, and the weeks, months. I cleaned that toilet for a whole year. And I began to love it. It became “ my toilet” and “my sponge”. I’d have withdrawal pangs if I didn’t clean the toilet in a day. Indeed, the celibate brotherhood taught me the meaning of “The Secret Life”. You see, I was already preaching in big prayer rallies at that time. After such events, people took my pictures, got my autograph, and—hear this—tried very hard to shake my hand. Oh, if they only knew what I held just a few hours before. My “public life” was symbolized by the microphone. But my “secret life” was symbolized by the
Atty. Jo Imbong
Who Knows Your Secrets?
I MEAN, your deepest thoughts and noble dreams, the secrets of your heart, those questions and cares which you dare not open up even to your spouse, your special friend, or your mother? Can there be someone who will ungrudgingly listen to your frustrations without a snicker? Can he believe you to be 100% sincere deep in your heart about your real intentions? Can there be someone in your phonebook who will understand why you choose to be what you are and then tell you to continue pursuing your dream with more passion? Will he bless your zeal? If you can answer ‘yes ’ to all that, then you have understood what it takes to live a religion. And you have learned that living a religion consists in the sharing of one’s life with another. But it is not just a sharing of superficialities— such as where to get the best latte , or where to find the most authentic Italian risotto . Rather, it is a sharing of the deeper things of one’s life, where the One at the other end also makes known to you the secrets of his heart. “ I no longer call you servants; I call you my friends.” Christ, on whose breast you find rest, shows you the plot of his own love story. It only remains for you to do the same. The way to do this is quite simple, in fact you probably are doing it already with your personal confidante, if not with Christ altogether. Gerald Vann, O.P. spoke of this divine friendship quite so simply: “First, the need of words, the need of telling him—as simply and directly as we would tell a human friend; there is no need of formal language—of all the things that make up our lives, the big things but the small things too, the crosses and trials and problems but the joys and gaieties too. And if we are faithful to this daily attempt to talk to him as a friend, and if through that sharing of our life with him in those quiet moments of prayer every day we really come to be aware of him and to make that awareness a deep and essential element in our life; then it may well follow in time that the need of words will grow less and less, the friendship will become established, secure; and as in the times set apart for prayer we may be able simply to rest silently or almost silently in his presence, so the sense of that presence will not wholly leave us at other times, it will be a background to all the other activities that make up the life of every day; and so in those activities we shall be wiser and gentler and stronger and of more service to the human family, because we shall be acting in his presence, and his wisdom will guide us and his love will energize us.” Once you have found your true Friend, you can only maintain the relationship by means of two things: your sincerity and your truth. We do treasure these qualities in our friends, don’t we? Thus, to put on a mask or pretend to say one thing and mean another— you kill the relationship. But can we really pretend before Christ? How silly of us! He knows everything about us even before we were even dreamed of by our parents. How comforting then for us to know that we can approach him with no guard, no affectation. And if we are also humble, he will lift us up from the dregs where we have sunk, even before we have reached the final verse of one of your favorite Psalms... “ I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned... wash me, and I will be whiter than snow...” And as we unfold that bent knee to receive his proffered hand, we catch our breath, our eyes are dazzled. The Spirit drowns us and words are put into our hearts, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” The true Friend has found you.
Ongoing Formation for Diocesan Clergy
Fr. Jose Rembert G. Rivera
I’M privilege to join a twelve-week sabbatical program for Roman Catholic priests held at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California. The program was conducted on September 13 to December 10, 2006 under the able leadership of Fr. Jim Myers, SS, our Director. The program started last 1972 and has already served over 35 countries around the world. Being a priest from the Third World, I realized three things in my life and ministry as a priest: a) Personal growth and Development. After spending 25 years in my active ministry, I felt the need to undergo the ongoing formation for my personal growth as a minister and as a person. I consider myself perfectionist, avant-garde in my work and mission in life but to my surprise that seem not essential in my life. I realized that to be a good priest means sincere prayers, total sacrifice, and attuned to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I know I’m not alone in my struggle to be a faithful, honest, and celibate priest in the Church. b) Theological and pastoral updating. After 9 years of formation in the diocesan seminary, I realized that all my formation activities were all gone and depleted. I continue to pray, study and update myself—but they are not sufficient to my personal and social growth. My experience at Vatican II Institute has given me new impetus for sound theological updating and pastoral renewal. c) Social involvement. I considered myself a loner and ego-centered. So, I got few leaders or friends with whom I communicate openly and shared my life. The sabbatical program finds me interacting with my fellow clergy from 7 nations, coming from 3 continents of America, Asia and Africa—a real socially mixed group of persons with various theological formations. The lectures, socials, and interaction with seminarians and theologians are really a great experience for me. Our lecturers are all experts in their own field of work. I wish to call the diocesan clergy in the Philippines to avail of this program. The financial requirement is very high but some scholarship grants can be availed of. My director encouraged me to organize a First General Assembly of Vatican II Institute graduates from the Philippines. I was given 12 names of graduate priests but without addresses or contact numbers. For those interested with the program and the assembly, I maybe contacted at: St. Paul’s Parish, Cauayan, Negros Occidental, 09176409882.
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Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
Ninonu ang baklang katulong na si Junjun (John Lapus). Natuklasan ni Val ang video camera kung saan isinusumbong ni Christine sa ama ang mga kapintasan ni Georgia. Galit na bumalik sa Pilipinas ang Australyano upang harapin si Georgia. Huli na nang mabatid ni Christine ang kanyang mga pagkakamali. Paano kaya malulutas ang mga napakagusot na pangyayari? Mababaw at slapstik na komedya ang pelikulang ito. Sapagkat patok sa takilya ang Tanging Ina ni AiAi de las Alas ay sinundan ito ng Ang Cute ng Ina Ko. Itinaon ang pagpapalabas sa Pasko ng Pagkabuhay nang umano’y maka-aliw sa mga tao ngunit mas malakas ang dating na pang-komersyal ang pelikula. Nababagay at natural ang pagkakaganap ni Anne Curtis sa kanyang papel sapagkat talaga namang laking Australya ito. May kapilyuhan ang isiningit na eksena na paghuhubad ni Luis Manzano nang maligo sa labas dahil as nalublob ito sa patisan. Inuulit ang mga popular na linya sa ibang pelikula, telenovela, at mga pulitiko at hinahalo sa diyalogo. Kahit hindi kapani-paniwala ay pilit kinukuha ang kiliti ng mga tao sa mga eksena kagaya halimbawa nang maiwanan si AiAi sa eroplano, nang ginawa siyang hostage at dinala pa sa tuktok ng mataas na billboard, at nang nahulog siya sa isang talon (waterfall). Ang magandang aral na mapupulot ay ang pagmamahal ng isang ina sa kanyang anak. Sa katunaya’y ipinangalan pa nga ni Georgia kay Christine ang produkto nitong patis. Humingi ng kapatawaran si Christine at ang kanyang ama kay Georgia sa kanilang pagkakamali. Ngunit sa kabuuan ay pangit ang paglalarawan ng kababaihan sa pelikula: nagka-anak sa isang dayuhan si Georgia na hindi pa nakakasal, nagpakasal si Georgia sa negosyante ng patis makaahon lang sa kahirapan, may kabit ang Australyanong ama ni Christine, walang respeto si Christine sa kanyang ina na pilit niyang sinisiraan, marahas ang pagaaway nina Georgia at Nanny Ninonu, sinuntok ng baklang si Junjun ang yaya na nahuhumaling sa kanya. Sa mga magdadala ng bata sa pelikulang ito, makabubuting ipaliwanag sa kanila na may mga bagay na hindi dapat pagtawanan at tularan sapagkat makasasama ang mga ito hindi lamang sa kanilang kapwa kundi na rin sa kanilang sariling pagkatao.
Title: ANG CUTE NG INA MO Running Time: 100 mins Lead Cast: AiAi de las Alas, Anne Curtis, Luis Manzano, Eugene Domingo, John Lapus, DJ Durano, Nikki Bacolod, Vince Saldana Director: Wenn Deramas Producers: Vincent del Rosario, Veronique del Rosario Corpus Screenwriter: Mel Mendoza-Del Rosario, Arlene Tamayo, Wenn Deramas Music: Vince de Jesus Editor: Marya E. Ignacio Genre: Comedy Cinematography: Sherman So Distributor:Viva Production Inc. Location: Malabon Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers13 and below with parental guidance
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Si Christine (Anne Curtis) ay ipinanganak sa Melbourne, Australia ng magkasamang Australyano at ang kanyang Pinay na ina na si Georgia (Ai-Ai delas Alas). Pagkalipas ng dalawampung taon ay binalak ng Australyanong ama ni Christine na pakasalan si Georgia ngunit tumutol siya. Masama ang loob niya dahil akala niya ay natiis ng kanyang ina na hindi sila balikan sa Melbourne, Australia pagkatapos ng mahabang panahon. Bumalik siya sa Pilipinas kasama ng kanyang yaya, Nanny Ninonu (Eugene Domingo) upang patunayan na hindi karapat-dapat si Georgia sa kanyang ama. Mistula namang piyesta ng bayan ang inihanda ni Georgia sa pagdating ni Christine. Habang pinagsisikapan niyang mapamahal sa anak ay patuloy naman si Christine sa pakana nitong siraan ang kanyang ina. Nang lumaon ay nawili na rin siya sa Malabon at napalapit sa ampon ng kanyang ina na si Val (Luis Manzano) samantalang nakursunadahan naman ni Nanny
Title: SUNSHINE Running Time: 105 mins Lead Cast: Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Chirs Evans, Troy Garity, Gillian Murphy, Hiroyuli Sanada, Mark Strong, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh Director: Danny Boyle Producer: Andrew McDonald Screenwriter: Alex Garlnad Music: Karl Hyde Editor: Chris Gill Genre: Sci-fi /Suspense Cinematography: Alwin H. Kachley Distributor: Fox Searchlight Location: The Universe Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers14 and above
Title: MISS POTTER Running Time: 92 mins Lead Cast: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson Director: Cris Noonan Producers: M. Medavoy, D. Thwaites, A. Messer, C. Sienega Screenwriter: Richard Maltby Jr. Music: Nigel Westlake Editor: Robin Sales Genre: Drama/Biography/Romance Cinematography: Andrew Dunn Distributor: MGM, Weinstein Co. Location: England Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance
In the not-so-distant future, the sun fails which causes the Earth to freeze. As a last hope, a spacecraft, Icarus II with a crew of eight men and women is launched. The Icarus II carries a stellar bomb that aims to re-ignite the sun. The first Icarus left seven years ago with the same mission but contact was lost. As Icarus II heads towards the sun, the crew of eight see the distressed Icarus ship that had been missing for seven years. Capa (Cillian Murphy), the physicist who controls the bomb, persuades the group into a decision to rendezvous with Icarus for possible repair of the ship, so as to give themselves another bomb to increase the chances of the success of their mission, should their bomb fail to deliver the desired effect. What happens next is a series of challenges for the entire crew as they decide to change direction, risking Icarus II’s mission and the entire humanity’s hope for sunshine. This science fiction flick begins with a strong premise of the Earth’s future although it fails to visually describe what the Earth really looks like without the sun’s rays. Most of what it tells the audience is left to the imagination. But then again, the movie’s focus is on the spacecraft, the crew and the mission, so audiences are taken directly to outer space where the film is true to its sci-fi look and form. In a usual “ship of fools” plot, the director succeeds in fleshing out the humanness of the characters, each endowed with exceptional intelligence, and shows how individual differences determine either failure or success of a mission such as Icarus II. But then the film fails to explore further characters’ relationships and backgrounds, leaving the audience with narrow understanding of their inner motivations. Although the plot is interesting with the not-so-predictable twists, it drags towards the end with the introduction of a character that is both alien and alienated and which
makes the film look more of a horror flick than science fiction. Sunshine poses many moral arguments about human life. To begin with, is the life of one person less important as compared to many? In the future described in the film, the gauge of heroism is either dying or killing to save mankind. It is disturbing to see in the film that a crew member would need to commit suicide as the rest of the group decide to kill him so as to be able to complete the mission of saving mankind. Killing is always morally wrong even if the motivation for doing it is good. Then towards the end, the movie throws a deeper argument: If in the future, the sun fails to shine as part of God’s plan for the human race to die out, should humans interfere and prevent it from happening? Do humans have God’s permission to alter the course of the universe? Sunshine reminds viewers of the limitations of the human person no matter how brilliant the mind is. The film makes the audience ponder on the significance of God’s gift, the “sunshine” which human beings experience every morning but most of the time take for granted. Because of the strong language and violence in the film, CINEMA recommends that the movie may be viewed only by audiences 14years-old and above.
The film is the engaging life story of Beatrix Potter, the world famous creator of Peter Rabbit (one of the best loved characters in children’s literature) and one of the best selling authors of children’s books of all time. Like most ladies born to gentility in the Victorian Era, Beatrix (Renee Zellweger) lived a sheltered and restricted life with her parents in London. But gifted with a lively imagination and a talent for drawing and inventing tales, she created her own world populated by her furry “friends”. Unlike most girls of her time she was not interested in proposals for marriage of convenience. Instead, she was determined to have her book of stories and illustrations published. But even her own mother did not believe in her art or her capabilities. No publisher would publish what they called her bunny book, until the publishing company of Frederick Warne and Sons decided to give it as a project to the youngest son Norman (Ewan McGregor) who was raring to join the company. Though callow and inexperienced, Norman took the work seriously as he collaborated closely with Beatrix. It was 1902 and Beatrix’s first book The Tale of Peter Rabbit instantly became a best seller. Working together, Norman and Beatrix fell in love. Thirty-two-year-old, resolved spinster Beatrix wanted to marry Norman to the vehement objection of her snobbish parents who thought someone in “trade” was not good enough for their daughter. Beatrix would realize that life has strange twists and turns. Much of the charm and appeal of this well crafted bio-pic lies in its simplicity. The pleasant
story is well told with general ease and smoothness. There are no hidden messages or disguised sub-texts. The beautiful love story has a touch of sentimentality that helps endear the lead characters to the viewers. There is very good casting. The performances are excellent. Zellweger underacts but comes across as an independent minded Beatrix. McGregor’s character Norman may be clumsy at times but retains his innocent charm. The two leads have great screen chemistry. Other stand-outs are Emily Watson as Norman’s liberated sister Millie, Barbara Flynn as Beatrix’s insensitive mother and Matyelok Gibbs’s comic doddering chaperone. A nice touch of Director Chris Noonan is his occasional animation of Beatrix’s creations as she sees them. The cinematography is breathtaking, and has captured the indescribable beauty and serenity of the Lake Country District of England. Beatrix Potter lived about a hundred years ago but some of the values of her time as shown in the movie are still relevant to us today. Here was a woman who was talented and wanted to rise above the conventions of her time to make something of herself but was unappreciated, met with indifference, perhaps considered odd, even laughed at behind her back. Today there are women in the same predicament though perhaps in a different situation. To them, Beatrix is an inspiration. Strong willed, she never gave up her dreams, continued to persevere until she succeeded. Aside from being lauded for her literary achievements, she should also be appreciated for nurturing the seed of women empowerment. Another negative value shown in the film is the attitude of some as being superior to others because of social standing and wealth, like Beatrix’s parents. And Beatrix condemns this as pure pretense. When Beatrix settled in the Lake District, she decided to buy out farm lands near her property so she would prevent these from being urbanized by developers. She wanted to preserve the beauty of her surroundings so as to enable others after her to savor it, too. Eventually she bequeathed to the British people her estates and farms through a Land Conservation Trust so these places will be forever preserved in its natural, untarnished beauty. Besides appreciating Beatrix Potter as someone who used her talent in service of others by writing and publishing books for children, we also commend her as a “feminist” and environmentalist.
ANSWER TO THE LAST ISSUE: (1) VIOLENCE AND ARMS CAN NEVER RESOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF MEN. - POPE JOHN PAUL II (2) SOCIAL JUSTICE CANNOT BE ATTAINED BY VIOLENCE. VIOLENCE KILLS WHAT IT INTENDS TO CREATE. - POPE JOHN PAUL II QUOTES IN QUIZ Booklets available at BOOKSALE stores in SM, Robinsons and selected malls in Manila. For mail order text 0919 2803036.
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People, Facts & Places
Vol. 11 No. 8
April 16-29, 2007
Divine Mercy Asian Congress Held
Mission through the Divine Mercy Apostolate.” The prelate said “if Jesus is to be revealed as the merciful savior” to the majority of the poor in Asia, then the Church must strive to make the poor feel the compassion of Christ not only through preaching of the gospel but also through concrete works of mercy. Meanwhile, Caritas Manila Executive Director Fr. Anton T. Pascual talked on the empowerment of the poor with the Divine Mercy, stressing that hunger and poverty in the country can only be effectively addressed through economic empowerment by means of micro finance cooperative. The second day of the Conference had MAPSA Superintendent Msgr. Gerry Santos, Ed. D. delivered a talk entitled “A Mission of Love and Service in Asia,” while Bro. Victor Pestaño spoke on the topic “Divine Mercy, Not Only a Devotion but A Way of Life.” Divine Mercy Apostolate of the Philippines (DMAP) President, Sr. Monina Tayamen, OCDS, reported to the assembly the different programs of DMAP which are aimed at helping the poor meet their basic needs such as food, livelihood programs and healthcare. About 500 delegates coming from all over the country came and participated in the two-day congress. Other participants included priests and nuns from China, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Japan. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
THE Association of Divine Mercy Asia held an Asian Congress on Divine Mercy last April 21 and 22 at the Clamshell in Intramuros, Manila, in preparation for the 1 st Apostolic Congress on Mercy to be held in Rome on April 2-6, 2008. The event which was a legacy of the late Paul John Paul II, dubbed as the Pope of the Divine Mercy had the theme: “The Empowerment of the Poor with
the Divine Mercy in Asia.” A representative from Rome, Secretary General of the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy, Rev. Fr. Patrice Chocholski came to grace the two-day event and spoke about the Apostolic Congress on Mercy to be held in 2008. Other panel of speakers included Most Rev. Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr, DD who expounded on the topic “Ecclesia in Asia—
First Mangyan Priest Ordained
IN a beautiful and solemn liturgical celebration, Fr. Gabayno Oybad made his sacerdotal commitment before Most Rev. Warlito Cajandig, DD on April 17, 2007 at the Sto. Niño Cathedral in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro. The 35-year old Oybad, who belonged to the Hanunuo tribe, was the first Mangyan to be ordained to the priesthood. Replete with symbolisms, the ordination of Oybad was highlighted by a meaningful gesture of his parents handing him over to the bishop. The gesture implied that Oybad was being given way to the service of the Church. The bishop as Shepherd accepted the gesture in the name of the Church. The act of offering was sealed with the sounding of gongs and thunderous applause from the congregation. Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) executive secretary Oscar Alunday, SVD, who was present in the celebration, expressed elation in the ordination of Oybad. “It was a happy occasion and a very memorable one. [Through this ordination], we have added more colors and more music to the liturgy of the Church,” says Alunday. Alunday, a Tingguian from Abra, said the Church even up to now considers the indigenous people (IP) as objects of evangelization. He believed that both IP’s and non-IP’s should be coagents in evangelization stressing that it is a “challenge also for the Filipino to know and discover our roots together.” “Because we were all indigenous at one time but somehow you have forgotten much of your own roots. So we try to discover together to enrich the Philippines and the Church in a new way,” said Alunday. The momentous event gathered together various representatives from the different Mangyan tribes as well as Clergy and Religious working in both parts of Mindoro. Oybad, a product of an indigenous system of education, took his seminary training at Saint Augustine Seminary in Calapan and Christ the King Mission Seminary in Quezon City where he finished AB Philosophy. He entered Divine Word School of Theology in Tagaytay for his theological studies. Twice, he went out of seminary formation. He became a teacher in Mangyan Education Center. In 1997, he enrolled in Asian Social Institute for a masteral degree in Pastoral Sociology after which he became a volunteer of Samahan ng Pitong Tribu (Kapulungan para sa Lupaing Ninuno). Briefly, he taught at Mt. Tabor Mangyan Education Center before going back definitively to the seminary to finish his theology. Although the first to become priest, Oybad was not the first Mangyan to commit a life of service to God. About two years ago, a young woman from the same tribe professed her religious vows and became a member of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
AWARDED. MOST REV. FRANCISCO F. CLAVER, SJ, DD, apostolic-vicar emeritus of Bontoc Lagawe; with Fr. Neri Satur Award on Environmental Heroism, April 18, 2007; at a workshop held at the Department of Foreign Affairs for the worldwide observance of Earth Day. Bp. Claver was cited for his outstanding service in championing the cause of indigenous peoples, their rights, and the survival of their habitat, history and heritage. CELEBRATED. MOST REV. DINUALDO D. GUTIERREZ, DD, 68, bishop of Marbel; 45th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination; April 7, 2007. Born on February 20, 1939 in Romblon, Bp. Gutierrez finished his Philosophy and Theology studies at St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary in Jaro, Iloilo City. He was ordained to the priesthood on April 7, 1962 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Roxas City. Bp. Gutierrez obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) and Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) at the Angelicum University in Rome in 1969, and Doctoral degree in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.), also at Angelicum in 1971. He was ordained to the episcopacy on January 28, 1981 at our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Roxas City. CELEBRATED. REV. FR. PABLO A. YNTIG, SSP, 25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, March 25, 2007. Born on February 1, 1952 in Balamban, Cebu, Fr. Yntig entered the congregation of the Pious Society of St. Paul, an Institute of religious men founded by Blessed James Alberione; on June 22, 1972. He finished his Philosophy and Mass Communications degree from St. Paul Seminary and obtained a degree in Theology from San Carlos Seminary in Makati City. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 21, 1982. Fr.Yntig is currently the Director/General Manager of ST PAULS Diffusion. CELEBRATED. MSGR. TIRSO N. ALCALA, DCS, 25th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination; April 20, 2007. Msgr. Alcala finished his theology studies from the Regional Major Seminary (REMASE) in Davao and was ordained to the priesthood on April 20, 1982 at Siargao Island by Most Rev. Miguel C. Cinches, SVD. He attended renewal courses at SVD Nemi Renewal in Rome from April-August 1994, and CSsR Renewal Program in England from April-July 2001. Msgr. Alcala’s current assignments are: Vicar General of the Diocese of Surigao, Oeconomus and Parish priest of Sta. Cruz Parish, Placer, Surigao del Norte. CELEBRATED. MSGR. PRESCILO P. IRAL, DCS, 25th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination; April 23, 2007. Msgr. Iral graduated from college at St. Peter Seminary in Ampayon, Butuan City. He finished his theology studies from the Regional Major Seminary (REMASE) in Davao City. He was ordained to the priesthood on April 23, 1982 at St. Peter Claver Parish, Surigao del Norte by Most Rev. Miguel Cinches, SVD. Msgr. Iral taught at REMASE for ten years. Currently, he is assigned as Parochial vicar of Cathedral Parish in Surigao City; at the same time the Episcopal Vicar for the Youth. PASSED TO ETERNAL REWARD. Rev. Fr. Levi Garcia, Diocese of Dipolog, April 15, 2007; S. Ma. Domingo S. Palanca, RVM, April 17, 2007.
1st Columbian Squires Luzon Jamboree Set April 26-29
THE First Columbian Squires Luzon Jamboree will be held on April 26-29, 2007 in Barangay Nangapungan, along the Dipalo River in San Quintin, Pangasinan. This was formally announced by Jamboree Director Dionisio Magpantay, of the San Roque Council 13535 of Mandaluyong City and Virgilio Mañalac, Jr., chairman, Columbian Squires, Luzon Jurisdiction and State Chief, Squire Carlo Emmanuel Fabros. The event is hosted by the Roundtable District of the Diocese of Urdaneta headed by Sir Knight Ramon Castronuevo, District UO3 Deputy Sir Knight Fernando Estrada, Jr., San Quintin Council No. 12507 led by Grand Knight SK Amor Capillan and San Roque Council 13535 of Mandaluyong City led by Grand Knight/SK Gilber Yupangco. The gathering has for its theme: “Squires, Young Christian Gentlemen—Committed in Faith and in Service”. The Columbian Squires is an international youth organization of the Knights of Columbus with 12,000 members all over Luzon. Invited also are representatives from the Visayas and Mindanao jurisdictions including the World Columbian Squires representatives. Expected to participate in this unprecedented event are some 5,000 squires. The Council’s Grand Knight shall endorse participating Squires of the registered circles, whose age ranges from 10 to 18 years, physically and mentally fit to undergo camping activities. “Brother Knights are encouraged to register and join the campaign”, said Magpantay. (CBCPNews)
THE newly elected officers of the KC Priest-Scholars Association: Fr. Rene Sapungan (Boac), President; Msgr. Yulito Asis (Daet), Vice-President for Luzon ; Fr. Potenciano Dulay (Catarman), Vice-President for Visayas; Fr. Rodolfo Iran (Cotabato), VicePresident for Mindanao; Fr. Benjo Fajota (Manila), Secretary; Fr. Joel Cariaso (Cabanatuan), Treasurer; Fr. Emmanuel Hipolito (Pasig), Auditor; Fr. Rex Palaya (Caceres), Publications Committee Head; Fr. Rene Retardo (Tagum), Formation Committee Head; and Fr. Salvador Banga (Pagadian), Scholarship Committee Chair.