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• A6 Fr. Bossi, “Gentle Giant” of the Mission in Mindanao
B1 Music is a Gift and a Mission
B8 CINEMA Reviews
Vol. 11 No. 12 the Pope Urges
June 11 - 24, 2007
Practice of Eucharistic Adoration
CBCP: Political Killings, Abductions Mar Freedom Day Celebration
THE Catholic bishops’ leadership said they are “shamed and saddened” the country continues to record high in corruption and cases of human rights abuses. In a message for the celebration of the 109th anniversary of Philippine Independence, CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo stressed the said issues that continue to haunt the current administration are “negative”
CBCP / A6
Fr. Luciano Benedetti: “Some Ransom was Paid”
THE first Italian missionary Rev. Fr. Luciano Benedetti from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) said “it’s a pity the armed men snatched Fr. Giancarlo Bossi.” Benedetti, a kidnap victim himself in 1998 in Sibuco town said Fr. Bossi, 57 years old, was just assigned to Payao last month. “He was reassigned there for the second time after 18 years,” Benedetti said. He added Payao residents love him as “there’s a road, the one going to the church, named after him so I hope
Fr. Luciano / A7
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace June 11 - 24, 2007 Vol. 11 No. 12 Php 20.00
CBCP backs extension of agrarian reform program
By Roy Lagarde
THE Catholic prelates have backed calls by farmers’ groups to extend government’s agrarian reform program which is due to end next year in an effort to address the still many landless beneficiaries. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) recommended extra years for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), warning that a premature ending could endanger stability. Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP president, suggested that if the CARP would not be completed by next year, it has to be extended and its “loopholes” be examined. He supported for the passage into law the proposed CARP extension with reforms, saying it will streamline the mess of existing, inconsistent policies. Lagdameo urged the government to give poor farmers the same rights to own a land as the others. “The campaign for agrarian reform is still relevant and must be made to succeed,” he said.
According to statistics, three-fourth of the poor in the country form part of the rural poor. Numbers alone, he said, make the program of agrarian reform still necessary and urgent. Approved through Republic Act No. 6657, the program was extended for the first time in 1998 to further reduce poverty by giving access to rural folks through land ownership. Considering the 16 years spent in implementing the law since the Marcos regime,
CBCP backs / A6
“The Campaign for Agrarian Reform is still relevant and must be made to succeed.” Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, sits with various people’s organizations during the National Rural Conference on CARP Extension with Reforms to mark the 19th anniversary of CARP, June 9-10, 2007 at UP Diliman.
CBCP Head Appeals for Release of Burgos
CATHOLIC Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) head Archbishop Angel Lagdameo made a direct appeal for the release of a peasant movement leader abducted a month ago. The call, via a video blog posted at “YouTube”, was made for Jonas Burgos who was reportedly seized by two unidentified men inside a mall in Quezon City on April 28. “We would like to request that those who are handling him may have the mercy and compassion to return him to his family,” said Lagdameo. “This is our prayer.” Jonas, the son of the late press freedom fighter Jose Burgos, Jr., spent many years teaching farmers about natural
CBCP Head / A6
Italian Missionary Kidnapped
FR. Giancarlo Bossi, now 57 years old and parish priest in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay was abducted by still unidentified men at 9:45 A.M. Sunday morning some 500 meters from his parish church where he just officiated Mass on Fr. Giancarlo Bossi the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Fr. Bossi’s immediate superior, Zamboanga City-based Rev. Fr. Gianni Sandalo, PIME, said this was the second abduction of foreign missionaries from their congregation. First to be abducted was Rev. Fr. Luciano Benedetti in 1998. Another Italian missionary, Rev. Fr. Guiseppe Pierantoni from the Priests of the Sacred Heart (also known as Sacerdotes Cordis Jesu) was kidnapped by armed men in the Zamboanga Peninsula during the early 2000. Called “giant priest” by his parishioners, Fr. Bossi stands 190 centimeters and weighs 120 kilos, said Fr. Sandalo. He said Fr. Bossi is “a nice and approachable guy.” Asked whether he would order the pull out of four other Italian missionaries from their congregation in the Prelature of Ipil (which has ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Zamboanga Sibugay province), Fr. Sandalo said “definitely not.” He added he already knows what to do and they are just waiting for additional information. “We have not received any other information or ransom demand as of 2:00 P.M. (Sunday),” Fr. Sandalo said in a long distance interview with Catholic-run CBCP Monitor and Veritas 846. He has already requested the Prelature of Ipil’s apostolic administrator to attend to Bossi’s abduction. “We are in constant contact,” he added. Fr. Bossi was sent to the Philippines in 1980 immediately after his ordination. A native of Milan, Fr. Bossi’s immediate relatives have already been informed of the abduction. “I already informed them of the situation,” Fr. Sandalo said. (Melo M. Acuna)
POPE Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the current Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines as the Vatican’s Undersecretary of State for General Affairs or “Sostituto”. His new position would place him immediately under the Secretariat of State and the principal aide of the Cardinal Secretary of State.
RP Nuncio / A7
Archbishop Fernando Filoni
Pampanga Archbishop Appeals for Sobriety
ARCHBISHOP Paciano B. Aniceto expressed alarm over the spate of killings perceived to be election-related over the past few weeks. In a Pastoral Letter entitled “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” issued during the feast of St. Ferdinand, King last May 30, Archbishop Aniceto said “women have been widowed, children orphaned and communities gripped by shock and grief” and “their cry for justice is our cry for justice.” San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Pablo David read the statement over Catholic-run Veritas 846 over the weekend. He explained the appeal was not simply for politicians but for all
Pampanga / A6
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RP Nuncio Appointed Usec in Vatican
Message of the Apostolic Nuncio
Lumen Gentium Christus! ONE year after my arrival in Manila as Pontifical Representative in the Philippines, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has called me to serve in the Secretariat of State as Substitute. This is an act of fatherly benevolence on the part of the Supreme Pontiff, to which I respond with a certain trepidation, but with the same willingness as in the past, and with profound gratitude. I am comforted by the astonishing words of Jesus, reported in Saint Luke’s Gospel, concerning the attitude towards service that he asked of his disciples: “So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” I am grateful to His Eminence the Cardinal Secretary of State, who now numbers me among his closest co-workers. I hope to prove worthy of the trust that has been placed on my person, for the greater service of the Holy Father and of the entire Church. I extend cordial greetMessage / A7
Why Agrarian Reform? — Three Moral Principles
AT the beginning of this year, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral statement on “The Dignity of the Rural Poor—A Gospel Concern.” We expressed our concern over the “inequitable distribution of the nation’s wealth and the endemic social injustices that underpin that evil. We further pointed out that most notable effort of government at alleviating rural poverty has been the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Today, we observe the 19th anniversary of CARP. Once more, we reiterate the call made in our pastoral statement: “We ask that the CARP, defective as it is, be finally completed next year as it has been targeted. And if it is not sufficiently implemented by then, the program should be further extended and funded more seriously and generously. But we ask that the law itself must be reviewed and improved.” The killings last week of two of the Mapalad farmer leaders on the land that had recently been given to them as agrarian reform beneficiaries after a protracted struggle of more than ten
Why / A7
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11 - 24, 2007
Pope Calls G-8 Leaders to Fight Poverty
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 6, 2007—Benedict XVI issued an appeal to the leaders participating in the G-8 summit to keep their promises to fight against poverty, particularly through education. The Pope asked the heads of state gathered in Germany “not to retreat from their promises to make a substantial increase in development aid in favor of the most needy populations, especially those of the African continent.” The Holy Father recalled his letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her response, which assured that the Group of Eight is committed to attaining the Millennium Development Goals. The Pontiff specifically mentioned the second Millennium Goal: to achieve universal primary education—to ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015. He said, “This is an integral part of the attainment of all the other Millennium Goals: It is a guarantee of the consolidation of goals already reached; it is the starting point for autonomous and sustainable processes of development.” Benedict XVI recalled the Church’s efforts in the war against poverty and encouraged governments to support private groups’ commitments. “It must not be forgotten,” he said, “that the Catholic Church has always been at the forefront in the field of education, reaching places, particularly in the poorest countries, that state structures often fail to reach. Other Christian Churches, religious groups and organizations of civil society share this educational commitment. “According to the principle of subsidiarity, this reality should be recognized, valued and supported by governments and international organizations, among other things by the allocation of sufficient funding, so that greater efficacy may be guaranteed in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.” (Zenit)
Appeal of the Pope for Those Kidnapped Throughout the World, Including Catholic Priests
VATICAN CITY, June 10, 2007—News of the kidnapping of Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, PIME, which took place this morning in the south of the Philippines, has been spreading in Italy and in the world. Precisely at this moment the Pope, in his Angelus address, launched an appeal on behalf of the numerous “persons, among whom are also Catholic priests, who are held hostage for various reasons in different parts of the world.” Benedict XVI added: “I carry all of them in my heart, and I keep all of them in my prayers,” referring in particular to some distressing cases in Columbia. The Pope went on to say: “I appeal with sorrow to the agents of these deplorable acts, hoping that they will become aware of the evil they have done and be willing to restore to the embraces of their loved ones those that they are holding prisoners. I entrust the victims to the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of all men.” Prior to this appeal the Pope had talked about Corpus Christi, today’s feast. “Today’s solemnity of Corpus Christi,” Benedict XVI said, “which was celebrated last Thursday in the Vatican and in other countries, invites us to contemplate the supreme Mystery of our faith: the Most Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the altar. Every time that the priest renews the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in the prayer of consecration he repeats: ‘This is my body…this is my blood.’ He lends his voice, his hands, and his heart to Christ, who wanted to remain with us in order to be the beating heart of the Church. But even after the Celebration of the Divine Mysteries the Lord Jesus remains present in the tabernacle. For this reason praise is rendered to Him especially through Eucharistic Adoration, as I sought to remind everyone in the recent Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis (see nos. 66-69) following the Synod on this topic. In fact, there is an intrinsic connection between celebration and adoration. The Holy Mass is in itself already the greatest act of adoration on the part of the Church. ‘No one eats this flesh,’ St. Augustine wrote, ‘unless he has first adored it’ (Com. on Psalms 98,9; CCL XXXIX, 1385). “Adoration apart from the Holy Mass prolongs and intensifies what has taken place in the liturgical celebration, and makes it possible to receive Christ in a real and profound way.” The Pope underlined the importance of Eucharistic Adoration, above all as a witness to the Real Presence of Jesus, but also as a rediscovery and strengthening of a personal relationship with the Lord. The Pope then went on to add: “I would like to take the opportunity that today’s solemnity offers me to strongly urge Pastors and all the faithful to practice Eucharistic Adoration. I would like to express my appreciation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life, as well as the confraternities and associations, who dedicate themselves to the Eucharistic Adoration in a special way: they are a reminder for everyone of the centrality of Christ in our life as individuals and as Church. It gives me joy to recognize that young people are discovering the beauty of Adoration, whether personally or as a community. I invite priests to encourage youth groups along this line, while taking care to guide them so that the forms of Adoration by the community are appropriate and dignified, with sufficient time for silence and for listening to the Word of God. In today’s world, so often noisy and distracted, it is more important than ever to recover the capacity for interior silence and recollection: Eucharistic Adoration permits us to do so not only in relation to the ‘I’ but also in company with that ‘You’ full of love who is Jesus Christ, ‘God with us.’” (AsiaNews)
The Chaldean Church Mourns Fr. Ragheed Ganni and His Martyrs
MOSUL, Iraq, June 6, 2007— With “a heart full of bitterness and mourning”, the Chaldean Church is today lamenting its martyrs. This is how, in a joint statement the Chaldean Patriarch and his bishops remember Fr Ragheed Ganni and his three subdeacons—Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, Gassan Isam Bidawed— murdered in cold blood yesterday, as they left the Parish Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul after Sunday Mass. This afternoon at 15.00 (local time) their funerals will be held in Karamles, Fr. Ragheed’s home town; celebrated by Msgr. Faraj Rahho, the bishop of Mosul. Emmanuel III Delly’s condemnation on behalf of the nation’s bishops came just hours after the assassination. “It is a most heinous crime that any person of proper conscience would reject. The authors carried out a most horrible act against God, against humanity, against their own brothers who were peace loving citizens, as well as men of religion who always offered their prayers to God the Almighty for security and stability in Iraq”, the text reads. Msgr. Rabban al Qas, bishop of Amadiyah and Erbil, reflected on the figure of Fr. Ragheed with AsiaNews: “He had such great courage, united with a loving calm. He was a spiritual man, loved by his people, Catholic and Muslim”. Meanwhile new information surrounding the nature of the attack has come to light. After celebrating Sunday mass, Fr Ragheed and his three aides were leaving the Parish by car, accompanied by the wife of one of the sub-deacons, Gassan Isam Bidawed. In recent days the three insisted on accompanying Fr Ragheed to protect him. “They were young men alive with faith, who accompanied their parish priests, risking their lives for their belief in Christ”, their friends tell. Suddenly, at the corner of the road, their car is blocked by unknown armed men militants who order the woman to distance herself from the others and then, in cold blood, shoot the remaining passengers, repeatedly. The aggressor’s then booby-trapped the car with explosives; with the aim of further carnage should anyone get near the car to recover the bodies. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, the bodies remained, abandoned on the city street, because no one dared to approach. It was only towards 10 pm. (Local time) that security forces finally defused the explosives allowing corpses to be recovered. They now lie in repose in the Church of the Holy Spirit. The Chaldean bishops who are currently gathered for their patriarchal Synod “ask the Lord to grant mercy to the souls of these martyrs, and extend their deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased, to the bishop of the city Msgr. Faraj Rahho, to the brother priests of the victims and the Chaldean faithful throughout the world, that they may be given the necessary strength to face such an arduous situation”. The bishops conclude by recalling the persecution of Iraqi Christians, their forced emigration, their being pushed to renounce their faith asking “Iraqi leaders and international organizations to intervene to put a concrete end to these criminal acts”. Yesterday, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state revealed that the war in Iraq will be on the agenda for talks with US President George Bush in his upcoming visit to Rome on June 8th. Fr. Ragheed is the first Catholic priest to have been killed in Iraq since 2003. Before him, last year it was the turn of a Syro-Orthodox priest Fr. Paul Iskandar. A dear friend of AsiaNews, Fr Ragheed Ganni was born in Mosul in 1972. A graduate in engineering from the local university, he studied theology from 1996 to 2003 at the Pontifical Irish College and the Pontifical University of Thomas Aquinas the “Angelicum”, where he received a licence in Ecumenical Theology. (AsiaNews)
Sandri Named Prefect for Eastern Churches
VATICAN CITY, June 10, 2007—Benedict XVI named Archbishop Leonardo Sandri as prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches. He has been undersecretary of state for general affairs. The Vatican press office announced today that Archbishop Sandri, 63, will succeed 76-year-old Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, who had presented his resignation after having reached the normal retirement age. Archbishop Sandri gave the world the news of the death of Pope John Paul II on the evening of April 2, 2005, in St. Peter’s Square. He normally read the texts that John Paul II could not read on account of his illness. Leonardo Sandri was born in Buenos Aires on Nov. 18, 1943, into a family of Italian origin. He was ordained a priest in 1967. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1974 and served in Madagascar, and from 1977 to 1989 with the Vatican secretariat of state. From 1989 to 1991 he was an adviser in the office of the papal nuncio to the United States and the Organization of American States. On Aug. 22, 1991, he was named prefect of the Pontifical Household. He was made the assessor for general affairs for the secretariat of state in 1992. On July 22, 1997, he was named papal nuncio to Venezuela and ordained archbishop that same year. On March 1, 2000, he was made papal nuncio to Mexico and on Sept. 16, 2000, he was named “sostituto” or undersecretary of state for general affairs. In a declaration published by the Vatican press office, Archbishop Sandri affirmed: “I am aware that I have been entrusted with the great ‘treasure’ of liturgical prayer, the spiritual tradition, monastic life, the lives of many saints, and the teaching of the fathers and doctors of the Eastern Church. “It is a ‘treasure’ that even today we hope is researched, revisited, delved into, and loved so that it can offer to the contemporary expectations of the universal Church and of the world of our time the wealth of the doctrine and spirituality of the Eastern tradition.” Archbishop Sandri greeted the Christians “who are suffering in the Holy Land, in Iraq, in Lebanon, and elsewhere from violence, from fear and uncertainty about the future; I think of those who have to leave their homeland and everything they have.” Archbishop Sandri will continue his work in the secretariat of state until July 1. (Zenit)
Polish, Italian Bishops Join Debate on Holy Day Observance
POLAND, June 7, 2007—The president of the Polish bishops’ conference, Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl, is supporting today’s nationwide strike by the retail division of the Solidarity labor union. Solidarity is asking for workers to be given time off for national holidays and Church holy days—including today’s feast of Corpus Christi. Archbishop Michalik said, “It is good that they are protesting, that people are demanding the opportunity to celebrate religious holidays.” Requiring employees to work on holy days, the archbishop said, is “an attack on the family.” Archbishop Michalik went on to say: “Blessed are the faithful who do not shop on Sunday. Let there be a moral boycott.” Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski of Danzig supported the aims of the Solidarity movement, but questioned whether a strike was the best way to persuade the public. He said, “We should fight to close stores on Sundays and holy days, but there remains the question: Is a strike the preferred weapon?” Speaking on today’s strike the head of Solidarity’s retail division, Alfred Bujara, said, “In civilized countries, trade stops on Saturday afternoon. On holidays, retail stores are closed.” The French chain Auchan and Polish chains Biedronka and Galeria Centrum closed their stores for the day. The German supermarket chain Real remained open, hiring temporary workers. In related news, a statement from the Italian bishops’ conference has opened a public debate on Sunday shopping in that country. A survey by the newspaper Corriere della Sera found that 80% of Italian respondents favor Sunday shopping. Presently retail stores are open only 14 Sundays every year. (CWNews)
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11 - 24, 2007
Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, DD, of Zamboanga presided over the blessing and inauguration of the Emmaus House of Spirituality on May 9, 2007.
Retreat Facility for Interreligious Dialogue Inaugurated
and religious, men and women, who seek a place for prayer and reflection in a silent, individual retreat. It is particularly suitable for those who seek to deepen the spirit of life-in-dialogue. The Emmaus House of Spirituality will be run by the Emmaus Dialogue Community, a lay association of women who have chosen to devote their lives to the promotion of life-in-dialogue with peoples of other faiths and cultures. The members of the Emmaus Dialogue Community are part of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement. Two members of the community and a French priest will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the activities of the House. The House is really three buildings: a church and two buildings in which are found individual bedrooms, a common dining area and the kitchen. These buildings stand on an elevated section of land abutting the Harmony Village of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement in Pitogo, Sinunuc, Zamboanga City. From the verandah of the two buildings one gets a panorama of the green hills from one direction and the sparkling sea to the other. The setting is ideal for those seeking to make the journey inward and find God along the way, as did the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. (Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra)
Pope Urges the Practice of Eucharistic Adoration
VATICAN CITY, June 10, 2007—Benedict XVI recommends the practice of Eucharistic adoration, saying that the capacity for interior silence and recollection is ever more important in life that is often “noisy and scattered.” The Pope said this today after praying the Angelus with crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. His address centered on the Eucharist, as many nations celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi today. “Even after the celebration of the divine mysteries, the Lord Jesus remains living in the tabernacle; because of this he is praised, especially by Eucharistic adoration,” the Holy Father said. “There is an intrinsic connection between celebration and adoration. The holy Mass, in fact, is in itself the Church’s greatest act of adoration,” he added. “Adoration outside holy Mass prolongs and intensifies what happened in the liturgical celebration and renders a true and profound reception of Christ possible. “I would like to take the opportunity that today’s solemnity offers me to strongly recommend to pastors and all the faithful the practice of Eucharistic adoration.” Benedict XVI noted that youth are showing great interest in adoration. “I invite priests to encourage youth groups in this, but also to accompany them to ensure that the forms of adoration are appropriate and dignified, with sufficient times for silence and listening to the word of God,” the Pope said. He continued: “In life today, which is often noisy and scattered, it is more important than ever to recover the capacity for interior silence and recollection: Eucharistic adoration permits one to do this not only within one’s ‘I’ but rather in the company of that ‘You’ full of love who is Jesus Christ, ‘the God who is near us.’ “May the Virgin Mary, Eucharistic Woman, lead us into the secret of true adoration. Her heart, humble and silent, was always recollected around the mystery of Jesus, in whom she worshipped the presence of God and his redemptive love.” (Zenit)
ZAMBOANGA, June 7, 2007— The Emmaus House of Spirituality was inaugurated on May 9, 2007 in Zamboanga City. Under the auspices of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement, the retreat facility is unique in the sense that it will be operating “with its multi-cultural and multi-religious milieu”. Constructed to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Emmaus Dialogue Community, this facility is open to Christians, both lay
SVD Meets on New Ways of Living the Gospel
BAGUIO CITY, June 8, 2007— Twenty Biblical Apostolate coordinators from nine countries of the Society of Divine Word (SVD) Asia Pacific Zone committed to promote new and creative ways of reading, sharing and living the Word of God in daily life. This was their resolutions after a-week long international deliberations on the theme “Living Prophetic Dialogue: His Life is Our life” at Divine Word Retreat Centre, here May 20-26. Participants came from India, Indonesia, Japan, The Philippines, Rome, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong (China), and Australia. Other concerns were to stress to integrate the Word of God in all ministries, trying to attune themselves with the dynamics of finding a balance between life and Biblical text; allow themselves to be evangelized by our dialogue partners as we evangelize them through ongoing biblical-pastoral formation; strengthen the continuity of the Biblical Apostolate Programs and the integration of directives, guidelines, policies into the over all direction of the province. Speaking to CBCP News Service Fr. Joseph Kollemkunnel, SVD from India said the gathering had main objectives to evaluate the implementation of the Madang 2004 resolutions and to reflect on the implication of the XVI General Chapter
The Asia Pacific Zone Biblical Apostolate Coordinators of the Society of Divine Word (SVD) from nine countries at a gathering held at the Divine Word Retreat Center in Baguio City, May 20-26, 2007
Young Pilgrims Meet in Butuan City
BUTUAN City, June 8, 2007—Nearly 200 youth leaders from 21 archdioceses, dioceses and prelatures in southern Philippines attended Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference-Youth Congress at the Order of Augustinian Discalced Seminar at Villa Paraiso, Ampayon recently. Held every three years, the youth gathering served as venue for the youth to share experiences, discern the signs of the times, identify issues and concerns affecting the ministry, and formulate its plan of action. Church leaders considered the gathering a resounding success. Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos and Auxiliary Bishop Zacharias Jimenez, Iligan Bishop Elenito Galido and CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth chairman and Masbate Bishop Joel Baylon spoke before nearly 200 hundred delegates from 21 archdioceses, dioceses and prelatures in southern Philippines during the fourday event. Diocese of Surigao Vicar General Msgr. Terry Iral, DCS, spoke about “The Youth and the Mindanao Church: Its Realities.” Bishop Zacarias Jimenez talked about “A Sense of Youth Mission.” An open forum dubbed “Bishops’ Hour” featured Bishops Baylon and Galido, the new MSPC-Youth Bishop-in-Charge, where they answered questions and addressed timely concerns raised by the participants. A Pilgrimage and Flores De Mayo was also held at the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Magallanes village followed with a Concelebrated Mass with Surigao Bishop Antonieto Cabajog as main celebrant. The activities concluded with another liturgical celebration led by Bishop Galido which was also attended by the delegates’ foster families and benefactors. (May Solano, MSPC Youth Secretariat)
statement and resolution on Biblical Apostolate in the Zone. “As we looked into our zonal situation, we are encouraged to find confreres who are committed in animating one another in reading the Bible and living the Word,” he said. Participants also reflected the SVDs’ contribution to both the local and universal Church through the Biblical Apostolate and through their cooperation in the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF). CBF will hold its international meet in 2009 in Tanzania. The rich religious pluralistic heritage and environment of people and their thirst for the Word of God has given birth to a considerable number of lay partners committed in the Bib-
lical Apostolate. Even though there is a constant effort to inculturate the Word of God in liturgies and activities, yet participants felt more have still to be done. The Asia Pacific Zonal Coordinator, Fr. William Burl, SVD, resource person, said, “We find a meaningful and challenging dynamics for our Biblical Apostolate between ‘life and Biblical Text.’ The movement from life and text starts when we encounter the people. They become our partners with concrete names and faces. Their present context, their aspirations and questions help us to read these realities in the light of God’s Word.” Another speaker Fr Guido Tissera, SVD from Indonesia,
said the movement from ‘text to life’ consists in returning to the sources. In the light of the XVI General Chapter SVD missioners are called to be animators among their confreres to become Word-centered communities. Fr. Kollemkunnel said, “Journeying with St. Arnold Janssen, SVD founder and St. Joseph Freinademetze, a SVD pioneer missioner in China, the next triennium, we, the Asia Pacific Zone Biblical Coordinators, commit ourselves to witnessing to the Word in the spirit of prophetic dialogue.” SVD is an international missionary congregation of priests and brothers serving in more than fifty countries all over the world. (Santosh Digal)
Appeal for the Release of All Kidnap Victims
VATICAN CITY, June 10, 2007—After praying the Angelus today with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope made an appeal for the release of kidnap victims all over the world, Catholic priests among them, making particular reference to the “painful” example of Colombia. “Unfortunately,” he said, “I often receive requests to intervene in favor of people, among them Catholic priests, who have been kidnapped for different reasons and in various parts of the world. “I carry them all in my heart, and I remember them all in my prayers thinking, among the others, of the painful case of Colombia. I appeal to the perpetrators of such deplorable acts to realize the evil they have done and immediately to restore prisoners to their loved ones.” “I entrust the victims to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, mother of all mankind.” (VIS)
BAGONG SILANG, Caloocan, June 8, 2007—Missionaries’ presence and pastoral programs in a parish in Novaliches diocese has paved a way to minimize ‘antisocial activities’ in the area, says a priest. Fr Noel Floriano, SS.CC of Ang Muling Pagkabuhay ng Ating Panginoon Parish (Resurrection of our Lord Parish), told CBCP News Service that prior to the taking up the parish by the SSCC (Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary) in 2003, Bagong Silang vicinity was known to be a “notorious place.” According to the priest, the area used to be a place of killing, violence, tension, and all other types of antisocial activities, but now over the last four years, such actions have been minimized. Fr. Floriano, assistant priest of the parish, credits the change of scenario, attitude and life among people to the various pastoral and developmental activities that the parish has been spearheading to help parishioners and others. The parish has been a “relocation area,’ for more than 30 years already. Some 35,000 people belong to the parish in which a pastoral team of three
Missionaries Converts Relocation Site to Christian Community
SSCC and four SSCC Sisters is exercising its ministry. The total population of people in the area is above 65,000. The objective of the team is to introduce people to a new vision of what a Post-Vatican II parish might look like. And the parishioners have reacted with amazing commitment. Thirty-four members of the extended parish council attended 12 hour follow-up sessions in order to become familiar with such a vision. Together with the pastoral team, two trained Community Development Workers have committed themselves to enable people to come to a shared understanding of their common plight and to develop Gospelbased communication solutions to their problems. Thus, some noteworthy initiatives and projects have emerged: scholarship and tutorial for elementary and college students, a parish pharmacy (administered by 15 volunteers) a feeding program for malnourished children, livelihood programs such as card making, even a savings and loan program. Bible study, faith sharing and Basic Ecclesiastical Community (BCE) formation programs are some of the pastoral activities of the parish. Junior sisters and young brothers in formation join the different activities in the parish on weekends to get invaluable experience. They witness a sort of demonstration of what the Gospel looks like when it is lived by a group of people who take it seriously for themselves and for the world, said Bro. Manoj Nayak, SSCC. The main source of living of the people is tricycle driving, doormat making and other small scale household occupations. Most of them are very poor. Another reason for the change in people’s life style, Fr. Floriano ascribed, is that people themselves have realized they are “fed up” and “tired of what they were doing.” So they want to turn a new leaf in their behaviors and actions. That what has happened over the years. The constant interaction of SSCC priests, sisters and brothers with people has also helped instilled among parishioners positive attitude to church and development, the priest added. People have shown substantial willingness and cooperation to support church activities which are meant for their own good and progress. “We are happy that people have improved and the area has
been considerably peaceful compared to previous years. The Spirit of God is really guiding the people. But much more has still to be done,” Fr. Floriano quipped. The Bagong Silang is the only parish the SSCC has in the whole of the Philippines. There are more offers from the Novaliches diocese to open more parishes, but due to scarcity of members, the SSCC is not able to accept the offers for the time being. The Congregation is a community of Brothers, Sisters and Laity. There are over 2,000 in 37 different countries. One of the best known members of SSCC family is Saint Damien de Veuster, apostle of leprosy patients on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. In some countries the SSCC is known by the name “Picpus”, after rue de Picpus, the street where the Congregation’s central house was established shortly after the community’s foundation. . The mission of SSCC is to contemplate, live and announce God’s Love which was made flesh in Jesus, especially through Eucharistic Adoration and service of the most needy. SSCC celebrated its 200th anniversary in December 2000. (Santosh Digal)
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11 - 24, 2007
Heroism in Small Doses?
THE celebration of the 109th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence comes with the theme “Kalayaan 2007: Bayan, Bayani, Bayanihan.” Thanks to the Department of Tourism. In the attempt to showcase some great mighty and popular personalities as icons of the bayani, let us not lose sight of the innumerable and unnamed bayani of our country’s history, in particular the many volunteers of the PPCRV and NAMFREL and the Teachers who despite odds, difficulties, obstacles, frustrations, and threats defended the sacredness of the ballots against those desecrating groups. In the midst of rampant and wholesale “buy and sale” of votes, there were still those who refused to be controlled by the dictatorship of money. Their small stories are worth noting down on “Kalayaan Day.” We are shamed and saddened by comments that our country ranks among those with most records of graft and corruption, unresolved cases of heinous crimes and mysterious disappearances and unabated extrajudicial killings. There is so much demand for restitution to helpless and voiceless victims. May we not consider the uncompensated victims also “bayani ng bayan”? Specially that their appeals are apparently falling on deaf ears! On “Kalayaan Day” we join the clamor for the restoration or return of the victims of disappearances. Our prayer is that they will be allowed to return safe and sound to their grieving and anxious families, to enjoy basic freedom. Both agents and victims, especially the victims of graft and corruption, are negative notes to the celebration of Kalayaan Day: that while we have been liberated from the control of foreign invaders, we are victims of the abuses and exploitation of fellow Filipinos. A few days ago, last June 10, two days before Independence Day, was the 19th anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). It was a program to reduce rural poverty by giving freedom to rural folks through access to land. According to statistics, three-fourth of the poor in the country belongs to the rural poor. Numbers alone make the program of agrarian reform still necessary and urgent. The land reform has both its encouraging and discouraging aspects, naturally its pros and cons. This is where discussion is needed. The campaign for agrarian reform is still relevant and must be made to succeed. Because of the extent of rural poverty and the necessity of “freedom from bondage to land” through genuine legal agrarian reform and war against rural landlessness, the Church likewise joins the aspirations, hopes and dreams of the rural farmers. According to the Social Teachings of the Church: “An equitable distribution of land remains ever critical, especially in developing countries… In rural areas, the possibility of acquiring land through opportunities opened by labor and credit market is a necessary condition for access to other goods and services” (Compendium No. 180). It means that the distribution of land, supported by law, must also be accompanied by other supports and services to make the reform truly meaningful and beneficial. Again, the Social Teachings of the Church has it: “Agrarian reform (is) a moral obligation more than a political necessity, since the failure to enact such reform is hindrance in these countries to the benefits arising from the opening of markets and, generally, from the abundant growth opportunities offered by the current process of globalization” (Compendium, No. 300). We need more than prayers and preaching. But these two, prayer and preaching, will help support the efforts of people working for agrarian reform. We have encouraged that on June 10, a Sunday, the Prayer of the Faithful shall include this aspiration for genuine agrarian reform and that the homilies will make mention of the same: that our rural people, the farmers who are bound to the land they till for life and support, may receive the true freedom envisioned by the principle of agrarian reform.
(This guest editorial is lifted from the Press Statement of Archbishop Angel Lagdameo)
Layout by Denz Dayao
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
In and Out of Season
THE Second Plenary Council of the Philippines has one decree which mandates the development of a comprehensive theology of stewardship. It reads: “The Church, through the initiatives of the CBCP, should develop a comprehensive theology of stewardship and, in the light of this theology, should make ecology a special concern of the social action apostolate down to the parochial level, with the end in view of making everyone a true steward of God’s creation. An ecology desk must be set up in social action centers” (PCP-II, Decree 31). After the forty days of deluge, God made a covenant with Noah (Gen. 9/12), in which he challenged mankind to live in close harmony with every living form by protecting the ecosystems of the earth. In the Old Testament there is connection between sin/sinfulness and creation: the sin of irresponsible development can likewise endanger the harmonious relationships of living forms. The centerpoint of development, as well as of salvation, is Jesus Christ, “the first-born of all creation,” who holds all things together in himself (Col. 1/20). Our vision of natural and human ecology is “Christic” or “Christological,” in as much as it prepares us to share in the fullness which “dwells in the Lord” (Col. 1/18) and which he communicates “to his body, the Church” (Eph. 1/22-23). Our commitment to work for the universal purpose and integrity of creation must also reveal the Christocentrism of the temporal order: “all things were created through him” and for him (Col. 1/ 15-16).
Stewardship of Creation
not simply cater to the ambition of politicians, the greed of corrupt bureaucrats, the arrogance of the scientific and technological elite and the vanity of the wealthy. Let there be instead a sustainable development which will close the gap between the rich and the poor, which will better serve the tribal Filipinos, the sugarland seasonal workers, the landless tillers, the poor fishermen, the industrial workers and slum dwellers. Oftentimes these are victims of the exploitation of natural resources, such as happen in the mining and nuclear developments. Let us support the pro-life movement to save not only humanity but also this earth. We are stewards of both humanity and of both humanity and of this earth. It is the only one we have and probably the only one we will ever know. According to the World Commission on Environment and Development: “People depend for their well-being on the health of the societies in which they live. This depends in turn on a decent level of sustained economic development, on a healthy environment and a proper use of its resources. The achievement of sustained development, the promotion of health, and the rational use of environmental resources are simply inseparable” (Tao-Kalikasan II-3). The Lord is telling us again “I offer you a choice of life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life and then you and your descendants will live” (Dt. 30/19-20). “If my people who bear my name shall repent of their sin and come back to me, I from my place in heaven will forgive them and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7/14).
Development has a moral dimension. It requires a sense of responsibility and accountability towards fellowmen and towards creation itself. The deficiencies of underdevelopment and the inadequate safeguards of super development not only endanger the living systems in our beautiful land, but also render them unfit for human life, which means “less nutritious food, poor health and an uncertain future” (CBCP-PL). This requires a conversion from the exploitative approach that often accompanies the consumerist attitude. This phenomenon of consumerism and misdirected progress often leads to so much “throw-away” and “waste” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis 28). This requires a conversion to “a comprehensive picture of man which respects all the dimensions of his being and which subordinates his material and instinctive dimensions to his interior and spiritual ones” (Centessimus Annus A 36). The consumers as well as the agents of development must, therefore, be adequately informed, formed and reformed according to the Christian values. Justice and peace with the earth means solidarity with the earth, that is, “a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is the good of all and of each individual because we are responsible for all” (SRS 38). Oftentimes when creation is abused or misused, it is the poorest of the poor, the defenseless and the powerless, who bear the cruel reprisal of nature. Let there be “sustainable development of natural resources,” but one which does
Election 2007 and other Pastoral Concerns
WHAT is Daditama? Well, Daditama refers to the four dioceses comprising the Ecclesiastical Province of Davao, namely Davao, Digos, Tagum and Mati. Daditama covers the four provinces of Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Compostela Valley, and the chartered City of Davao in the southern part of Mindanao. Four times a year the diocesan apostolates’ directors and coordinators together with the Bishops and their Vicars general and Pastoral directors meet for a spiritual-pastoral gathering. Besides the pastoral updates, sharing and inputs on various pastoral concerns, the gathering also allows for the much needed personal prayer and silence capped with the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and the Eucharist. The venue rotates around the four ecclesiastical areas. This has been going on since the 80’s as an offshoot of the Mindanao Sulu Pastoral Conference (MSPC) sub-regionalization structure. Today, Daditama is one of the most active Ecclesiastical Province under the able
Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD
fluence. Despite delays, enough volunteers were mobilized for election duties. In conclusion, Daditama has taken the position to “re-examine our relationship with the citizens’ arms of the COMELEC namely, Namfrel, PPCRV, Lente, and to study the direction we have to take as an ecclesiastical province regarding our involvement in the future electoral processes.” Monsignor Paul Cuizon, JCD, Fr. Patrice Picard, PME, JCL and Monsignor Julius Tonel, SSL very capably provided the participants with clear and concise indications in providing pastoral care for couples and families in mixed marriages, and disparity of cult marriages. We all concluded that these types of marriages must be treated as special marriages needing special attention from pastoral workers. All participants were very much appreciative of the clarifications and recommendations provided by them. All in all, the second pastoral gathering of Daditama was very fruitful. We thank the Lord for blessing us with safe travel and another enriching gathering. God is indeed good! All the time!
Protagonist 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
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.cbcpworld.net/cbcpmonitor
leadership of the Archbishop of Davao, Archbishop Fernando R. Capalla. In the spirit of collegiality and co-responsibility, the chairmanship of the Daditama quarterly pastoral meetings is rotated among the Bishops of the Province. For 2007, the chairmanship falls on me, Bishop Guillermo Afable of the Diocese of Digos, which serves also as the current Secretariat. The program of the meetings, are jointly prepared by the Bishops, Vicars general and Pastoral directors during a pre-daditama meeting. In the June 6-7 Daditama meeting we had at the Our Lady of Peace Retreat House in Digos City, we tackled two main pastoral concerns. First, was the evaluation of Daditama’s involvement in the May 2007 elections. The second was on the canonical, catechetical and pastoral, liturgical aspects of mixed marriages and disparity of cult marriages. With regards to the recent conduct of the elections, money politics was a common experience, election violence including deaths, were observed. Still, the Church was seen as a credible participant and in-
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11 - 24, 2007
Nicolo F. Bernardo
Lifeguard Lifeguard The Choice of the New Generation
O TEMPORA! O mores! (What times! What morals!) was Cicero ’s disheartened remark on the troubles of his times. Perhaps many from the older generation say the same on the current state of the youth: there are more juvenile crimes, teen suicides, drug dependencies, casual sex, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, same-sex trysts, and broken homes among my age group. What happened? What made the values of many of the youth today dismally different from those of their parents or grannies just 30 years ago? These questions matter as well in countries that used to be bastions of Catholicism—Spain, Portugal, and Mexico— where abortion, divorce, and homosexual unions were sweepingly liberalized. The answer I think lies on adult choices too. First is the anti-institutionalism and anti-clericalism of politicians in Catholic countries who embrace the Left’s vision of liberation, where the natural family is one of the institutions in question. On one hand there is the growing consumerist attitude, hailed as democratic liberalism and individualism, that turn everything—even life—subject to consumer’s choice. This has even become a party-line in the US, where to be a Democrat is to be “pro-choice.” It’s the reign of “free choice” in a free market, and “easy virtue” in a fast-paced world. There goes the dilemma of many clerics and parents trying to “sell” family values, which few of the youth, it appears, are “buying.” Worse if the parents are not even around to “sell” anything. A typical youth’s world revolves around the cellphone, the Internet, and the tri-media, where violence and sex are free items. These things impress longer since they come in multimedia form that engages all the senses, versus the oral medium of a teacher, a parent, or a priest preaching. Besides, the ones who run the electronic and cyber media today are commercial-interest groups not the moral reformists, not our concerned loved ones. But it would not help if parents would forbid their children from the new media. First, it’s impractical. Second, it’s impossible. The solution that works, as one can attest from families that managed to keep the faith, is for parents and mentors to enter the world of their children, and learn the “market” of competing with unwelcome elements. This may be tasking but it’s worth the sacrifice. A case in point. In the US, abortions and premarital sex incidences are reportedly decreasing as many values programs promote pro-family principles as “cool.” The American Life League has been holding youth forums and prolife rock concerts called “Rock for Life,” while Evangelicals are engaging celebrities who pledged chastity as a model to the youth. The renegade young join March for Life rallies and listen to pro-life pop and RNB artists. Mel Gibson, Celine Dion, Patricia Heaton, A.C. Green and beauty queens are all in for the pro-life groove. It’s different, it’s radical, it’s extreme, and the youth like it that way. I think these are the missing approaches in Catholic countries used to traditionalist comfort zones and communication strategies, or church-bound channels that tend to dismiss anything new or secular as irredeemable and forbidden ground. Being pro-life is to have an attitude that welcomes life and, of course, celebrates it not only during critical conception and death moments. Life is a process and so must the pro-life movement go into a process of testing the spirit of the times. If hardly any youngster now reads a Catholic text, much less an encyclical, still we could come up with new forms of spreading the same message. In the Varsitarian, the student publication of UST which I used to edit, we resolved to create a pro-life film festival that appeals to the youth. It was held last March and was very successful. Imagine if both young and old could take the initiative to sponsor other youth programs or ads, in radio, TV, concerts, and magazines, to counter proliferating condom and contraceptive advertisements. Imagine if what the youth could hear from rock stars and celebrities are life-affirming values. Imagine if the youth could confirm that prolife-ism is not mere ideology but a practical philosophy to live life in full. Given the opportunity, there is Christian Bautista, Barbie Almalbis, and Kitchie Nadal who could all the more speak out on saving sex for their lifetime partners. Ditto for couples such as Mikee Cojuangco and Dudut Jaworski, and Ronnie and Mariz Rickets who could talk about divorceproof marriage and natural family planning to more people. If we really believe in universal values of the human nature, then we should hope that we can influence personalities, even showbiz people, to side for life, for tough love, regardless of the times. Although the youth today may be more tolerant of premarital sex, same-sex unions, and divorce, deep inside the youth still long for a procreative family and a long and lasting love. We the youth might be more individualistic, but it works the other way too: we could have our own moral identity (sariling bait) and stand (paninindigan). Listen to our love songs, the theme is still the same: a desire for an everlasting, one man-one woman love. Divorce, drugs, artificial contraceptives, and sex without marital security may have been common, but they don’t cease to hurt. They don’t cease to hurt because the youth could know and feel they are moral problems. No youth would wish for a broken family, or to be broken by drugs, or to loose passion for life, or to suffer abortion and artificial contraception given the knowledge of their risks on bodies. If Marshall Mcluhan is right, the coming globalized age suppose to become more homogenized and “conservative.” That would happen when everyone—including the more traditional—could join in to dominate the strange new media and redirect the market of ideas. As for now, we the youth are called and challenged, more than ever, to always choose life and love—the only grounds for all our liberties.
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
iews Points Views and Points
THERE are many private individuals and a good number of fortunately non-governmental groups and organizations that rightfully deserve the genuine gratitude of still good-willed citizens in this country. They have served much and continue to serve well in faithfully and closely watching the conduct of the last elections. They were neither employed nor paid. Yet they used their energy and time, talents and resources in faithfully monitoring the midterm elections all over the land. They lost rest and sleep. They were threatened. They faced dangers. Yet with but the pursuit of truth and justice as their distinct resolve, they watched, they well noted and loudly denounced the many election anomalies in many ways and forms—all under the odious and shameful flagship of continuous lying, cheating and stealing by those greedy for power and might.
Media: Thank You!
It is not for nothing that, lately, this country has been loudly proclaimed as a very dangerous place for media people. Together with flagrant and unresolved hundreds of many classified killings in the country, a good number of media practitioners were unceremoniously murdered and done away with for keeps. When a government begins thinking that it is the master of the people, that it is the one and only measure of what is good, true and just, then the first victims of this odious posture are media people. This is a distinct lesson from human history. There is no room for free media in any false democracy—such as when those in authority and power adamantly refuse to end their tenure according to the provisions of law and the dictates of conscience. Ladies and gentlemen in media, thank you very much!
Those generous persons and private associations faithfully served as the eyes and ears of the general public. They looked. They saw. They spoke. Millions heard their reports of many election events, most of which were far from inspiring the electorate and markedly dissonant with what democratic elections meant in many ways and means. But among those who deserve special mention are the truthful and faithful constituents of the fourth estate. These are the media practitioners who placed their lives and safety on the line. Some of them were actually killed for telling the truth. It is an open secret that for the present government, it is a crime to tell the truth. When individuals precisely tell pro-administration lies, these are the ones amply rewarded usually with juicy government positions and/or awarded big public contracts.
Volunteers for Good Governance
WHILE everyone glued to the TV set was impatiently waiting for the tabulation of the election returns, the report of cheating in the canvassing of votes in Southern Mindanao caused a lot of anxiety. During the counting of votes at the precinct level the two volunteer groups PPCRV, for poll watching and NAMFREL for the quick count were authorized by COMELEC to have copies of election results. Their moral credibility has assuaged the nation that when cheating happens, the primary evidence to verify the tampering of election results is there with these two volunteer groups to verify the poll count. Consequently in the accusations of dagdag-bawas and tampering of the election tally in the certificates of canvass, COMELEC had no option but to use the
Jose B. Lugay
Laiko Laiko Lampstand
particular case, in the world of politics. How can we use this asset, volunteerism of the laity, to lead to the country’s social transformation? There are many more areas that need agents of change for social transformation. Volunteerism in advocacy work should be seriously looked at as a balancing force to potential abuses against our democratic way of life. We started with the election process in the road map to good governance as our end goal. We voted for leaders who we hoped can manage resources for the social transformation of this country—to provide a home for every family, education for the children, health facilities for the sick, care for the elderly, jobs for the jobless, livelihood
Laiko / A6
tally of PPCRV and NAMFREL for reference in the investigation. In guarding the sanctity of the election process, using not only their training but also their resolve to stand pat for what is right, what is moral and what is legal, the lay volunteers’ contribution in achieving a credible poll count will go down in history as an achievement of the Filipino lay volunteers This is a sure sign of the laity’s desire to achieve good governance for the future of our country. As our national hero, Benigno Aquino said, “The Filipino is worth dying for.” The volunteers of the last election have expressed Ninoy’s dream into action. In our church language, the laity is performing the mission of Christ, the priestly, prophetic and kingly mission by immersing themselves in the temporal world; in this
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
Lov Life Love Life
IN 1983, the United Nations General Assembly declared that June 4 every year would be the International Day of Innocent Children, Victims of Aggression. This was in connection with the never-ending decades of war between Israel, Palestine and Lebanon. Ultimate victims of war are the children who live in fear and insecurity. Bombing destroys school buildings, hospitals, churches and mosques besides houses and fields. The children have no safe environment, no opportunity for education, healthy physical and psychological development. Although June 4 would be over by the time you read this, it is important that we deepen our awareness and concern for this problem. I searched the web the other day and was shocked at the data presented regarding the tragedy of child abuse and neglect worldwide. Whereas the declaration was primarily to protest the Israeli Military Forces aggression against the Palestinians, the United Nations has expanded the awareness to protection of rights of children all over the world. To begin with, let me inform you that there are now 50 Million people uprooted because of armed conflict—certainly, half
Innocent Children, Victims of Aggression
there are 40 million children not registered at birth, thus they have no legal name, citizenship or status. Above all, there are 50 million induced abortions every year—50 million babies not given the opportunity to be born and have a birthday. In the Philippines, there is an estimated 400,000 abortions every year. This does not include the babies lost due to the use of contraceptive pills and injectables, the IUD and other abortifacient drugs and devices. The contraceptive mentality (sex anytime but no baby, so promote contraceptives, ligation or abortion) has created the unwanted child mentality. Children who should not have been born because the parents were contracepting or attempted abortion, grow up constantly feeling rejected, thus exhibiting withdrawn and rebellious behavior. There is such a spirit of violence and animosity among peoples in society now that unless we strive to educate each other in peace and non-violent efforts, there will be no place on earth where children will once again run around and play in security and laughter.
of that 50 M are children. Over 2 M children have been killed in conflict this past decade. In 87 countries, there are still 60 million land mines rendering 10,000 people maimed and disabled every year. Child soldiers, being taught how to combat and carry artillery, number over 300,000 youth. Among them are girls being used in sexual slavery by the enemy forces or by their own older soldiers. The United Nations requested $13.5 billion for emergency relief funds but only $9 billion has been given, a far less amount being spent in maintaining military forces and arsenals. Sale of children for pornography is well known to us—this is part of sex trafficking with the Philippines among the countries where internet or cyberporn is a lucrative business. HIV AIDS is one of the greatest threats to children. It has killed more than 3.8 million children and 13 million have been orphaned in Africa, Thailand, China and other Asian countries. A depressing fact is that 10 million children die every year due to preventable diseases and malnutrition. Every year too,
Independence Day ’07 and Deja Vu
AS President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the traditional flag raising rites at the historic Luneta, Vice President Noli de Castro led other executives in the celebration rites at Kawit, Cavite, while Chief Justice Reynato Puno raised the national tri-color at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City. This is the first time Independence Day became a working holiday. Taxi, bus and jeepney drivers were at a loss last Monday, June 11 when traffic was too light to believe as usual commuters enjoyed longer sleeping hours. Thanks to Presidential Proclamation 1211 which moved the June 12 Independence Day holiday a day earlier. The same proclamation mandated “that all activities and celebrations in observance of Independence Day shall remain to be observed on June 12, 2007.” Had it not been for the job fair sponsored by the Department of Labor and Employment and its partners, the Luneta event might have featured more police and military personnel than civilian participants. I still have vivid recollections of Independence Day rites then celebrated on the 4th of July. My mother and aunties would bring me to Luneta to watch parade participants pass by the Quirino grandstand. I asked friends about the idea of moving a significant day in our country’s History a day earlier and they said this was the brainchild of the Departments of Tourism, Finance and Labor and Employment—so as to encourage domestic tourism and make people enjoy the benefits of a long weekend. At the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, hundreds of elementary and high school students danced the morning away during the 2nd Kawit Festival. The participants from public elementary and high schools in the province had to be absent from their classes due to the advanced holiday a day earlier. Filipinos in Singapore, led by the Consul General Maria Lumen Isleta and PNB Singapore’s Alex Milan, would have a big celebration on Independence Day itself. KPSC Radyo Manila’s Awee Abayari said the 4th of July celebration considered redletter-day in the American calendar has never been on the 3rd of July for the Americans to enjoy a long weekend. Traffic from Sto. Domingo Church along Quezon Avenue until Quiapo stood still while Independence Day rites were held at the Luneta. Students from Fairview had to relieve themselves at a fastfood chain near the Mabuhay Rotunda after being caught in one of the worst traffic jams ever. They left their place at 6:30 A.M. and reach the Manila-Quezon City boundary past 10:00 A.M. The Independence Day celebration coincided with the opening of classes in private schools and universities. So much gasoline and man-hours wasted due to the early morning traffic jam. We ought to learn from the Americans. How on earth would educators teach nationalism and develop their students’ sense of History when we ourselves change occasions for one or two reasons? With all due
Melo M. Acuña
Issues and Concerns
respect, I find the decision to advance the holiday by a day both absurd and ridiculous. It ain’t cute. In another development, Italian missionary Giancarlo Bossi, 57, was kidnapped by armed men in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay last Corpus Christi. This is simply a case of déjà vu. Two other Italian missionaries, Rev. Frs. Luciano Benedetti, PIME and Guiseppe Pierantoni, SCJ, were kidnapped by armed men in 1998 and 2001, respectively. The Libyan Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Raj Azzarouq and PNP Chief Roberto Lastimoso sought who among the Muslim “groups” had Fr. Benedetti in their custody. It was in 1998 that I established contacts with the MILF with Vice Chairman Gadhzali Jaafar and then Chair Salamat Hashim. During the Pierantoni incident, I had the chance to travel with his immediate superior from Cagayan de Oro to Pagadian via Ozamis City. This corner hopes Fr. Bossi, another PIME missionary would leave his captors safely within the next few days. The abduction would definitely have adverse effects on foreign tourist arrivals, especially those coming from the European Union countries. From 1998, the government, no thanks to local executives, failed to disarm lawless elements within their respective areas of responsibility. Not even the Comelec-enforced gun ban failed to succeed in most parts of Mindanao.
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Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11 - 24, 2007
Fr. Bossi, “Gentle Giant” of the Mission in Mindanao
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines, June 10, 2007—Fr. Giancarlo Bossi “had not received any threats of any type. He was loved by the Filipino people and, as he himself said about a month ago, he was peacefully going about his work in Payao.” This is what Fr. Gianni Sandalo, superior of the mission of PIME in the Philippines told Asia News. Fr. Sandalo is presently in Zamboanga, in the south archipelago of Mindanao, where the kidnapping took place. “This incident is very strange. Now we can only wait and see what the kidnappers of Fr. Bossi will do. At any rate, the area where he has been working has been peaceful for a long time, except the presence of some pirates.” These latter “usually operate only on the water, assaulting the boats of the fishermen, from whom they rob money and materials. They do not operate on land.” The missionary who was kidnapped, the superior explained, “was well loved. Here they call him ‘the gentle giant’ because he is peaceful, quiet, sticking to the essentials. He talks little but is a hard worker: he has always joined manual work with his spiritual life. One of his dreams has been to live in a village as a witness to the radical newness of the Gospel: he wanted to live as a farmer.” He is a man, Fr. Sandalo continued, “who has always expressed a deep solidarity with the poor. When he was asked, this past February, to return to Payao, where he had already worked for three years during his early years in the mission of the Philippines, he gave up what he had dreamed of doing in order to resume his work with the poor.” This past May, before leaving for the General Assembly of PIME, Fr. Sandalo went to visit Fr. Bossi in Payao. “I stayed with him for two days. He was very happy with the work that he was doing with the people. Fr. Bossi is a person who knows how to make himself appreciated by people. For example, when the parish secretary called me this morning to say that he had been kidnapped, she was very worried about him, wondering how he would be treated. Fr. Bossi has the capacity for establishing deep ties with people.” The kidnapping, therefore, is not the work of personal enemies. “There were no threats against him. He himself told me a month ago that everything was calm, that he felt safe and sound. The only worry is that pirates are also operating in that area, although the pirates generally do not operate on land but only on the water. He had never received any indication of danger.” Meanwhile, the guerrillas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which the army blamed for the kidnapping, stated that they had nothing to do with it. Eid Kabalu, spokesman for the group, denied any involvement on the part of the MILF. He emphasized that the kidnappers “do not belong to the MILF. We are ready to offer our complete assistance to the Filipino authorities.” (AsiaNews)
the land reform program would have consumed 36 years by 2008, but still 3.1 million hectares of lands, mostly Private Agricultural Lands (PAL), remain undistributed For Lagdameo, the program has both its encouraging and discouraging aspects, naturally its pros and cons. “This is where the discussion is needed.” The CBCP earlier described the CARP as ‘defective”, which needs to be reviewed and implemented to the letter.
sures should be put in place under the bill to improve land acquisition and distribution, agrarian justice delivery, and support services delivery,” he said. “At the same time, it will help ensure that the program will be implemented to the full extent of the law,” Lagdameo added.
Land for the tillers
Ledesma said the basic philosophy of agrarian reform is land for tiller. In a sense, he said, the CARP should really give opportunity to those who are actually tilling the land for many years “So we have to make sure that it goes in the right direction in reaching out to those who are actually tilling the soil,” the archbishop said.
CBCP vice-president Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, meanwhile, said the many success stories of agrarian reform in different areas may be considered products of political will. This means, he said, that if the government is really serious in implementing and improving the CARP, it can really reach out to a wider group of beneficiaries. “In general, the glass is half-full and half-empty. The CARP should be irreversible but unfortunately there are reverses,” said Ledesma during the National Conference on CARP extension with Reforms (CARPER) held at the University of the Philippines-Diliman last Sunday, June 10. Last year, the Department of Agrarian Reform confirmed the lack of services to half of CARP’s beneficiaries and the threats of losing land via sales or conversion. The government already spent P110.9 billion from 1988 to 2004 for the land acquisition and distribution along with support services to 1,614 agrarian reform communities. Just to meet the balance of 772,000 hectares, many of which are more contentious, the DAR would need P19.3 billion more. Former Agrarian reform undersecretary Ricardo Arlanza said he feared the gains of CARP might be reversed. “The main objective is to sustain and preserve the gains of asset reform. After distributing millions of hectares and stop there, and [do] nothing [after], that’s crazy,” he said in a news report.
Ledesma also made special mention about extra-judicial killings in the countryside perpetrated against farmers in their continuing struggle for agrarian reform. The recent murder of two farmer-beneficiaries of Hacienda Velez-Malaga is only a “microcosm” of what has been taking place in several other conflict areas of agrarian reform. In one report by a consortium of non-government organizations, 387 cases of human rights violations victimizing 18,872 farmers and rural organizers have been recorded since 1998. Human rights abuses take the form of extra-judicial killings, frustrated murder, illegal arrests and detention, physical assault, destruction of private property, arson and violent dispersal. In a pastoral statement released last January, the CBCP holds the government accountable for the extra-judicial killings, it being the supposed “guardian and protector of peace.”
CBCP Head Wants Alternative to JPEPA
THE head of the Episcopal Conference said the government should find other alternatives to a free trade deal with Japan, after environmentalists expressed fear such accord may lead to widespread dumping of toxic wastes in the country. The government earlier assured concerned Filipinos that the Japanese government will not export toxic waste to the Philippines under the JapanEconomic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA). The guarantee is contained in an exchange of diplomatic notes signed recently by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso. The Arroyo administration is optimistic of the benefits that would derive from the free trade agreement that could help boost economic growth. But Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), remains unconvinced with the assurances as he expressed concern about the possibility of turning the country into a huge “dumpsite” of toxic and hazardous wastes from highly industrialized country like Japan. “We encourage the government to think of other alternatives in improving the economy that are not destructive of the common good,” he said. Lagdameo said the CBCP’s concern for the country also includes other countries which may likewise be the “unfortunate dumpsites” of such garbage. “The advantage to one country must not be to the disadvantage of another (country),” said the prelate. Greenpeace and other environmental groups stressed that far from allaying fears of toxic waste dumping in the country, the deal still involved provisions allowing shipment of
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waste across borders. Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaigner, said with the current text of the JPEPA, the country is “wide open” to a “shameless list” of toxic wastes. He said if both countries are committed to addressing environmental concerns, they would opt for removing provisions on the shipment of toxic materials in the treaty. Baconguis said the move would be better rather than issuing diplomatic letters external to the original accord, and whose weight, in the face of the bilateral treaty itself, “is highly questionable.” (CBCPNews)
Veritas Holds Marian Exhibit
OVER a hundred images of the Blessed Virgin Mary are now on exhibit at Shangri-la Mall, Mandaluyong City. Now on its second year, Veritas 846 launched its Marian Season with the theme Iba’t Ibang Anyo ng Ating Ina, Maria.Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and former Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican and currently PPCRV Chair Henrietta “Tita” T. De Villa led the simple inaugural rites Sunday (June 3) morning. Fr. Anton C. T. Pascual, Veritas 846 President and Chief Operating Officer said the exhibit is a fitting tribute to the Blessed Virgin. “We are
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grateful to various groups, including Camareras from various parts of the country, for the life size Marian images now on exhibit,” Fr. Pascual added. The exhibit hopes to raise funds for calamity victims though the widely-acclaimed Public Service program Caritas sa Veritas. Outstanding images at the Marian exhibit include Nuestra Senora de Turumba, Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales’ Our Lady of Caysasay, Nuestra Senora de Macarena and Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace. The exhibit will end on Friday, June 15. – Melo Acuna
well-meaning and responsible citizens as their province witnessed a number of killings after the May 14 midterm polls. Quoting from a pastoral letter issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines more than a decade ago, Archbishop Aniceto said “But how is it that in a nation that prides itself of its rich Christian heritage life is cheap? This is our continuing shame and sorrow as a people.” He appealed to government law enforcement agencies to “urgently provide protection and security” for barangay officials who “seem to be the main target of these violent acts” and to “bring to justice the perpetrators of these crimes in the soonest possible time.” The soft-spoken Archbishop Aniceto likewise appealed to the media “to respect the delicate sensitivities of our people in forming public opinion” as he commended media practi-
tioners “who, in spite of the allure of money and the risks involved, fearlessly communicate the truth about these incidents.” Aniceto appealed to politicians to denounce criminal acts “as well as in renouncing violence as a means for redressing political grievances.” He concluded by quoting the 1984 CBCP Pastoral Exhortation “Let There Be Life” that said “Great acts of self-sacrifice are called for in today’s crisis. And evil as the times are, they may well be, in God’s Providence, the moment of grace for us as a Church and as a nation precisely because they require steadfast and heroic consistency in the living of our faith, in our responding to its pressing demands, at this particular juncture of our history.” Bishop David said they hope the statement would prove to everyone the Church is taking an active role to promote peace, justice and life. (Melo Acuna)
and self-sustaining farming techniques. Witnesses testified that Jonas was accosted by two unidentified men and was “held by the hands and feet” and taken to a waiting car outside the mall. “We do not know the reason behind the abduction but we would like to express our sympathy to his family especially to his mother with our prayers,” he said. Jonas’ mother Editha, meanwhile, thanked Lagdameo “for taking importance of the disappearance of my son.” “The bishops’ prayer for the release of my son is definitely a big help for us,” she said. She said she is praying that those holding Jonas would give him a chance to defend his self in court “if there’s anything wrong that he has done.” “I know that Jonas is alive. We are just praying that his not sick or hurt,” the mother said. The Burgos family has long been searching for Jonas but his whereabouts remains unknown. Militant groups and various
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human rights organizations accused the military of being behind Jonas’ enforced disappearance. The military, however, consistently denied the accusation while police hierarchy has vowed to locate the missing peasant leader. Different international human rights groups were quick to condemn the incident. The European Union lamented that human rights abuses had become a daily occurrence in the country. The US-based Amnesty International also said Jonas’ disappearance had reinforced the country’s image as a “land of lawlessness.” According to Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights), there are 199 victims of enforced disappearance from January 2001 to May 2007. The Bulacan province has the most number of missing individuals since Mrs Arroyo took power in 2001 with Jonas as the 26th victim. (CBCPNews)
Relating today’s rural problems to those addressed by the Church 40 years ago, the CBCP signified a commitment to hold another National Rural Congress next year. Ledesma explained the rural congress aims for the Church to bring together and consult various sectors of the rural poor to help broaden the support for the CARP extension. Another major purpose is to gather testimonies on the main issues and concerns of the sector, and come up with an appropriate mechanism to link the church with the people to help advance their interests before the government. “We are ready to listen to the various rural sectors and discern with them and to plan how we must as a people come together to work for the common good of the country,” he said.
Lagdameo stressed that extending the provision of budgetary support as well as the implementing period of CARP would go a long way in protecting the economic rights of the agrarian reform recipients. And so it’s more than just extending the program. He said the desired land reform, supported by law, must also be accompanied by other supports and services to make a genuine reform. “Concrete reform mea-
notes to the celebration of Independence Day. Ironically, he said, “while we have been liberated from the control of foreign invaders, we are victims of the abuses and exploitation of fellow Filipinos.” “On ‘Kalayaan Day’ we join the clamor for the restoration or return of the victims of disappearances. Our prayer is that they will be allowed to return safe and sound to their grieving and anxious families, to enjoy basic freedom,” said Lagdameo. The CBCP head called on the government to uphold and defend people’s basic human rights and freedom and ensure
justice for all victims of human rights violations. “We are ashamed and saddened by comments that our country ranks among those with most records of graft and corruptions, unresolved cases of heinous crimes and mysterious disappearances and unabated extra-judicial killings,” he said. Lagdameo cried foul the many unresolved killings and enforced disappearances in the country that targets especially activists and journalists. He said there is so much demand for restitution to helpless and violence victims, specially so their appeals fall on “deaf ears.” (CBCPNews)
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programs for our farmers, fisherfolks and indigenous people, protection of our forests, preservation of the biodiversity of our eco-system, ensuring food, water and energy security for each household, etc. At the national level, we need advocacy groups to protect our peoples’ interests against the passing of laws that favor business stakeholders at the sacrifice of the people’s long term wellbeing. We need to harness professionals to give more time and help to the newly elected local government leaders in properly managing their resources, the better to attain the hundred and one promises they proclaimed during the campaign. It requires more than the will and passion of the elected government leader to achieve their goals. It requires basic management tools of planning, leading, organizing and controlling. It requires the understanding of the values of the people already in place as well as the people who will occupy new positions. All these things outlined above can be learned but the
time required to master them is more than the tenure of the elected leader. Volunteerconsultants from retired managers of corporations can help lessen the time of learning and implementation. The most difficult part of the new incumbent in his/her job is the eradication of graft and corrupt practices. The government bureaucracy and the legal system combined can make it almost impossible to make a change overnight. But it can be done with the help of like-minded executives in government—and there are many honest and hardworking government people who just need a charismatic leader to harness their potential for good governance. To Governor Fr. Ed Panlilio—now that election is over, try not to be swallowed by the government bureaucracy. There are crocodiles in the river of the political habitat ready to snap at your every move. Just call for help and volunteers will come your way—trained volunteers for good governance. (For comments contact e mail: email@example.com.)
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11 - 24, 2007
Knights of Columbus Sets New Records for Charities, Volunteer Service
NEW HAVEN, CT, June 8, 2007—The Knights of Columbus announced today that it set new records for charitable giving and volunteer service hours in 2006. The results of the Order’s Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity for the year ending December 31, 2006 show that total contributions to charity at all levels reached $143,816,004 - exceeding the previous year’s total by more than $4 million. The figure includes $35,133,393 donated by the Supreme Council, and $108,682,611 in charitable donations from state and local councils, Fourth Degree assemblies, and squire circles. The survey also shows that the reported number of volunteer hours by Knights for charitable causes grew to 68,270,432 hours, up more than 4 million hours from 2005. There were 393,807 Knights of Columbus blood donors during the year, and Knights made more than 6 million visits to the sick and bereaved. The volunteer efforts were spearheaded by the Knights continued commitment to the Gulf States region affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Shortly after hurricanes, the Knights donated more than $10 million to relief efforts, and donations of money and time continued throughout 2006. Cumulative figures show that during the past decade, the Knights of Columbus has donated nearly $1.25 billion to charity, and provided in excess of 593 million hours of volunteer service in support of charitable causes. The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest lay Catholic organization, with 1.7 million members in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Central America, and Poland.
Man Who Grabbed Popemobile Is Held for Treatment
VATICAN CITY, June 6, 2007— A man leaped over security barricades after the general audience and briefly held on to the popemobile before security guards restrained him. Benedict XVI was not harmed. The Pope, in fact, did not seem to notice the activity, as everything happened behind his back as he greeted the people. The Vatican later clarified that the 27-year-old man, of German nationality, suffers from a mental disability and was not trying to harm the Holy Father, but just wanted to attract attention. The episode lasted only a few seconds, close to the obelisk located in the center of the square. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said that the “young man was blocked by the Vatican police and was arrested due to conduct necessary investigations.” An interrogation found that the young man’s intention was not to harm the Pope but “to act in such a way that it would call attention to himself,” added FaFr. Luciano / A1
ther Lombardi. “Due to evidence of mental disturbances, psychiatrists of the Vatican Hospital intervened
and decided that the young man should be hospitalized and undergo mandatory treatment in a specialized and pro-
tected center,” concluded Father Lombardi. “Therefore, we consider this case closed.” (Zenit)
© Romano Gambineri/epa/Corbis
the kidnappers know him, too.” Interviewed by both Catholic-run CBCP Monitor and Veritas 846, Fr. Benedetti said Payao used to be a safe place for everyone, “even for rebels, they used to go there to rest (so I have been told when I was there between 1990 and 1996 before I was transferred to Sibuco.” “They used to go there on vacation,” Benedetti observed. He said piracy is common in Sibugay Bay “and lots of incidents where boats coming from Payao to Kabasalan or Naga and
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vice versa, were attacked.” He said the Fr. Bossi’s kidnappers could be “ordinary pirates.” He said there were two motives behind his kidnapping in 1998, one was for the kidnappers “to get some money and strengthen their rebel organization and another was political for they had some demands addressed to the Philippine government.” He said foreign missionaries are soft targets. He hastened to add “I guess it (kidnapping) happens when the government tightens the security around
areas of national interest, as missionaries do not have bodyguards.” Asked if he ever knew ransom was paid for his release, Benedetti said he never asked but added “I think it was a mixed amount from the PIME, some sectors of the Catholic church and the (Philippine) government for ‘board and lodging.’” He said foreign missionaries tend to be closer to the people. “The problem is the more you get closer to the people, the more you are considered
‘rich.’” Fr. Benedetti said he was sent back by his congregation to the Philippines and was showed a proposal to work with the indigenous people in the Visayas. He said he loved the program and that’s why he went back somewhere in the boondocks in the Visayas. His mother and other relatives were quite concerned of his condition during his abduction. “Now that I’m back, my mother would call every Sunday to find out how I’m doing,” Fr. Benedetti concluded. (Melo Acuña)
Chaldean priest kidnapped in Baghdad
BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 6, 2007—Another Chaldean priest was abducted in Baghdad today. Fr Hani Abdel Ahad, in his early 30s, was taken in a northeastern section of the capital called Suleikh along with five boys who were going with him to visit the city’s minor seminary. The incident has plunged the Christian community in a state of gloom. Some faithful have reacted to terrible news saying that they have “the impression that they are all alone, like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he felt abandoned by the Father.” Unconfirmed rumors have raised the possibility that Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly might have already received a ransom note. The head of the Chaldean Church is currently in Al-Qosh, a town in the northern part of the country, where he is participating in the last day of the patriarchal synod. Father Hani’s abduction comes only three days after the assassination of a Chaldean priest, Fr Ragheed Ganni, and three subdeacons in Mosul. (AsiaNews)
Filoni, now 61 years old, will manage the general affairs section, one of the two important departments within the papal secretariat of state under His Eminence Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone. The Italian prelate succeeds Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, who has been appointed Prefect for the Congregation for Eastern Churches. Filoni welcomed his latest appointment and described it as “an act of paternal benevolence of the Supreme Pontiff, to whom I answer without trepidation, but with the same availability as in the past and with profound gratitude.” The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), meanwhile, welcomed Filoni’s appointment, saying it would give him opportunity to work more closely with the Pope.
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“The CBCP welcomes the new appointment of Archbishop Fernando Filoni, Apostolic Nuncio, as Substitute in the Secretariate of State of the Holy See,” said CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, Iloilo. “The CBCP shares his joy over the new appointment because as Substitute in the Secretariate of State, he will be working at close range with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,” he said. Lagdameo also thanked Filoni for the service he has given to the Philippine Church no matter how short it may be. “The CBCP likewise expresses its gratitude for the services that the Apostolic Nuncio has given to the Philippine Hierarchy even in so short a time of his stay,” he said. Filoni will be leaving for Vatican next month to assume his latest appointment.
Cardinal Rejects Pro-Choice City Label
He spent ten years working at the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila from 1992 to 2001. He was appointed papal nuncio to the Philippines in February 2006. Born in Manduria, Italy on April 15, 1946, Filoni was ordained a priest at the age of 24. After 30 years, he was ordained Bishop and later appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq and Jordan. Upon joining the Diplomatic Services of the Holy See, he served the Apostolic Nunciatures of Sri Lanka, Iran, Brazil and the Secretariat of State of the Vatican. (CBCPNews) PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, June 8, 2007—Cardinal Justin Rigali issued a statement against the city council’s new resolution to adopt the status of a “pro-choice city.” Cardinal Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, in Thursday’s statement called upon “all people of good will to join me in rejecting the divisive and erroneous label that Philadelphia City Council has forced upon the citizens of Philadelphia today.” “I reject the resolution because so many heroic efforts are made continually to safeguard unborn children from the evil of abortion, to protect vulnerable children and families and to defend all women and men in crisis,” he said. Cardinal Rigali, who is also the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee for pro-life activities, continued: “In a city where so many people vigorously defend life at every stage, proclaiming Philadelphia ‘prochoice’ is inconsistent with reMessage / A1
years highlight the many obstacles to the full implementation of CARP—e.g., the myriad legal loopholes encountered; repeated delays in implementation; adamant landlord opposition pitting small farmers against small farmers: lack of political will of government agencies; and inadequacies on the part of local government and law enforcement units to provide security for agrarian reform beneficiaries. What is happening in Had. Velez-Malaga is only a microcosm of what has been taking place in several other conflict areas of agrarian reform, such as the Bondoc peninsula in Quezon, Negros Oriental and Occidental, Iloilo, Mindoro Occidental, Batangas, Davao del Norte, Masbate, and Had. Luista in Tarlac. In one report submitted by a consortium of NGOs, since 1998 when CARP was extended the first time up to the present, 387 cases of human rights violations victimizing 18, 872 farmers and rural organizers have been recorded (PARRDS, 2007). Human rights violations take the form of extra-judicial killings, frustrated murder, illegal arrests and detention, physical assault, destruction of private property, arson, violent dispersal, etc. It is in this that we can ask ourselves: Why agrarian reform? The social teachings of the Church point out three moral principles. First is the universal destina-
tion of goods. “God destined the earth and all it contains for all men and all peoples so that all created things would be shared fairly by all mankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.” (Vatican I, 1965, Gaudium et Spes, 69) The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2004) explicitates this further: “Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute and untouchable…. Private property, in fact, regardless of the concrete forms of the regulations and juridical norms relative to it, is in its essence only an instrument for respecting the principle of the universal destination of gods; in the final analysis, therefore, it is not an end but a means. (177) A second moral guideline is the principle of the common good. This is intimately linked to the dignity of every human person as being made in the image of God. The common god is described by the Second Vatican Council as “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.” (GS, 26) “The demands of the common good,” states the Compendium, “are dependent on the social conditions of each historical period and are strictly connected to respect for and the integral promotion of the person and his fundamental rights.” (CSDC, 166)
The admonition of Pope Pius XI in his encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno (1931), still rings true for the Philippine situation today: “the distribution of created goods, which… is laboring today under the gravest evils due to the huge disparity between the few exceedingly rich and the unnumbered propertyless, must be effectively called back to and brought into conformity with the norms of the common good, that is, social justice.” (197) A third principle is the preferential option for the poor. Hence, the Compendium states: “The principle of the universal destination of gods requires that the poor, the marginalized and in all cases of those whose living conditions interfere with their proper growth should be the focus of particular concern. To this end, the preferential option for the poor should be reaffirmed in all its force.” (CSDC, 182) President Ramon Magsaysay, the first Philippine President to advocate for land reform (and whose 50th death anniversary we observe this year), expressed this insight more concisely: “Those who have less in life should have more in law.” This year marks the 40th anniversary of a major social encyclical, Populorum Progressio, or “The Development of Peoples.” Only two years after the completion of Vatican II,
Pope Paul VI recalled the traditional view of the Church that large landed estates that “impede the general prosperity because they are extensive, unused or poorly used, or because they bring hardships to people or are detrimental to the interests of the country” can be expropriated by authorities for the sake of the common good. (PP, 24) This year, too, is the 40th anniversary of the National Rural Congress convened by the Catholic Church in 1967. Reviewing this period, the bishops have decided to convene a second national rural congress “to make us meet in true Gospel fidelity our present social concerns.” We join hands with all our farming and rural poor communities, non-government and people’s organizations, as well as government agencies and the business sector. Starting with the convening of diocesan-level rural congresses, we are ready to listen to the various rural sectors and discern with them and to plan “how we must as a people come together to work for the common good of the country” and of all of us “as children of the same Father in heaven.” For the Central Committee of the Second National Rural Congress: +Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J., D.D. Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro Vice-President, CBCP
ality. It unfairly saddles those who support life at all stages with this shameful label. “Philadelphia is experiencing homicide at a record rate; now is not the time to affirm the false choice of procured abortion. Rather, all residents should rally around the common cause of eliminating the hopelessness that generates violence. “Everyone deserves to be born and live in a society that builds conditions conducive to life, not despair and death.” The 72-year-old prelate added: “The dialogue between individuals and groups working to build a just society is illserved by City Council’s unproductive resolution. “I commend those members who opposed this resolution. Council members who voted for it should apologize to the thousands of Philadelphians they have offended today, and turn their energies toward improving the quality of life and the safeguarding of all residents.” (Zenit) Authorities of this country for the attention that they have always shown me and for the kindness with which they have surrounded me. For the Church in the Philippines, so rich in spiritual vitality, I have developed a great affection in a very short time. I ask now for prayerful support, and I know that I can count on this, because the numerous prayer centers found in every diocese, many of which I have already visited, have already assured me of it. +FERNANDO FILONI Titular Archbishop of Volturno
ings to the personnel of the Secretariat of State who, with generosity and daily commitment, attend to all the work. Though often hidden it is of great worth as it allows the Apostolic See to manifest the solicitude of the Successor of Peter in the world, in a manner which is both profound and compassionate. I should like to express my appreciation to the Church and the People of the Philippines, who have welcomed me everywhere with joy and warmth on the occasion of my visits to the various dioceses. I wish to convey my sincere thanks to the
• Watch for the launching of the CBCP News Website. It will contain daily church news written by professional Catholic journalists. • The CBCP Media Office now maintains a video blog at www.youtube.com/cbcpmedia. It contains latest CBCP statements and catechetical updates.
People, Facts & Places
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11 - 24, 2007
Flores de Mayo in Rome
THE Marian devotion of Flores de Mayo clearly manifests the Filipino’s distinct Christian piety. Miles away from the motherland, such blessed tradition gives a joyful occasion to celebrate a communal agape and above all an avenue for spiritual nourishment. Last May 6, 2007, Sunday, the Filipino communities mostly coming from Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence, Bologna and from nearby cities joyfully flooded the main chapel dedicated to our Lady of Good Voyage at Collegio Filipino. The smiling faces, gestures of hospitality, indeed an atmosphere of joy radiated by every Filipino heart now reunited as the People of God together with their pastors. The Holy Eucharist celebrated in Tagalog was presided by His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the Archbishop of Cebu. Some important Filipino bishops in their ad limina visit, priest students and professors to various Pontifical Universities, religious brothers and sisters from various congregations including some of their superior general were also present. Likewise, Mrs. Leonida L. Vera, Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See and Mr. Philippe J. Lhuiller, Ambassador to the Italian government also attended the Mass. Selected Filipino seminarians from the religious congregation of the Apostles of Jesus Crucified and from the Collegio Ecclesiastico Internationale of Sedes Sapientiae animated the Pontifical servers. His Eminence, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, gave the highly applauded homily. The Prelate enumerated some noble Filipino virtues such as mapagbigay,
CDO Holds Workshop on Media Education
THE Social Communications Ministry of the archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro held a seminar-workshop on Media Literacy education last May 28-29 at Max Restaurant in Divisoria, Cagayan de Oro City. The affair, participated in by various Catholic-religious and civic groups, was in consonance with the celebration of the 41 st World Communications Day, with the theme “Children and the Media: A Challenge to Education.” Invited resource speaker was Sr. Ma. Consolata Manding, FSP, PhD, Directress of the Paulines Institute of Communication in Asia (PICA); who emphasized the importance of Media Literacy Education among media consumers. In line with the message of the Holy Father, she urged the participants to be critical about the pervasive influence of media, at the same time, active in the use of media in the formation, especially of children, in the light of Gospel truth. Earlier on May 20, CDO Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD, presided the mass for World Communications Day at St. Agustin Metropolitan Cathedral. In his homily, the archbishop underscored the great responsibility parents, teachers, members of the Church and media had in the formation of children. Archbishop Ledesma stressed that true communication with one another requires that we dwell on what is true, good and beautiful. He challenged media practitioners to multiply this kind of communication “not only for the little ones but for all of us.” Media owners and practitioners, Religious organizations, members of local government and the academe, parents and children participated in the Eucharistic celebration. (Augustus Caesar Guarin)
His Eminence, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu with Filipino Seminarians from CEI-Sedes Sapientiae in Rome; taken on the occasion of the annual Flores de Mayo celebration at the Collegio Filippino, May 6, 2007.
pagdamay sa kapwa, mapagmahal, magalang, masipag, matatag, may takot sa Dios, matapang, mapagkumbaba, masayahin, pakikisama at may pananampalataya. Cardinal Rosales emphasized the need to cultivate the virtue of pagpapatawad among the Filipino hearts especially on the wounds committed though the corridors of Philippine history. Indeed, true justice and peace is authentically achieved when there is a sincere conversion and reconciliation. The overseas Filipino workers here in Italy are invited to have Mary Our Lady of Good Voyage to be
their model for Christian discipleship and the sure way to Jesus—the Savior of the world (Cf. Heb. 13: 8). The beautiful Marian song Stella Maris was rendered as the final song. After the Pontifical blessing, the procession and the recitation of the Holy Rosary followed. Meanwhile, the lovely parade of the elegant flower-coated Reyna Elenas and Sagalas with their Consortes, each representing a particular community, were stationed to proceed before the beautifully adorned carro of the wooden statue of Our Lady of Good Voyage. After the Floral Offering,
the Coronation of the Marian statue took place. Unexpectedly, a slight hailstone occurred immediately after the blessing before meal which was recited by Cardinal Vidal. The fraternal agape known as kainan and saluhan were highlighted with food and cultural presentations from various regional festivals, traditional folk songs rendered, and finally the awarding of prizes to major competitions. Un pueblo amante de Maria—‘a people deeply in loved with Mary’ this is the true spirit of every Flores de Mayo celebration here in the Eternal City of Rome. (Sem. Christian Gil B. Golong)
CELEBRATED. REV. FR. JESUS TAMAYO, of the diocese of Masbate, 25th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination; June 10, 2007. A graduate of Holy Rosary Major Seminary in Naga City, Fr. Tamayo was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1982 by Most Rev. Porfirio Iligan, DD, at the Cathedral of St. Anthony in Masbate. His previous pastoral assignments include, as Parochial Vicar of St. Anthony Cathedral, Acting Parish Priest of Mandaon, Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph Parish in Milagros, Acting Parish Priest of Uson, Pastor of St. Michael the Archangel in Monreal, Parish Priest of San Pascual, and Parish Priest of St. Isidore Parish in Cawayan. At present he is the pastor of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Balud, Masbate. CELEBRATED. REV. FR. DANNY FAJARDO, of the diocese of Sorsogon, 25th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination, May 28, 2007. A native of Pampanga, Fr. Fajardo studied his Philosophy at Christ the King Seminary from 1973-1975. He entered the SVD novitiate in Tagaytay City in 1975 but stayed only until 1978. He pursued his Theology studies at the Holy Rosary Major Seminary in Naga City and was ordained on May 28, 1982. He finished his post graduate studies at Bicol University in 1984. His pastoral assignments include: As parish assistant at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Sorsogon from 198283, and as Formator at Our Lady of Penafrancia Seminary in Naga City from 1983-84. He retired from his priestly ministry in 1984 due to disability. He currently resides at the Home for the Clergy in Sorsogon City. CELEBRATED. REV. FR. ELY ALVAREZ, of the diocese of Masbate, 25th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination; June 10, 2007. A native of Masbate, Fr. Alvarez was born on September 3, 1958. He finished his Philosophy and Theology from the Holy Rosary Major Seminary in Naga City. He was ordained to the priesthood by Most Rev. Porfirio Iligan, DD, on June 11, 1982 at St. Anthony Cathedral in Masbate. Fr. Alvarez is at present the pastor of Holy Cross Parish. His other involvements include Faith Formation in Catechesis and Evangelization, Community Development in schools, villages, family and chapels; Advocacy Program in Peace and Justice, Health and Nutrition and Livelihood; Community Organizing of BEC’s; Infrastructure, Youth Development, Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue. INSTALLED. REV. FR. TAMERLANE R. LANA O.P., as new rector and president of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, in a solemn investiture mass at the college auditorium, June 15, 2007. Previously the rector of the University of Santo Tomas from 1998 to 2006, Lana had also been the president of the Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines and the Network of Dominican Schools, Colleges and Universities, and vice president for Asia-Pacific of the International Federation of Catholic Universities and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines. He takes over the post from Rev. Fr. Edwin A. Lao, OP. PASSED TO ETERNAL REWARD. Rev. Msgr. Cesar Tagal, Diocese of Tuguegarao, January 5, 2007; Rev. Msgr. Benjamin dela Paz, Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, January 7, 2007; Rev. Fr. Carmelo G. Cortez, Diocese of Antipolo, January 23, 2007; Rev. Msgr. Isabelo Acero, Archdiocese of Lipa, March 16, 2007; and Rev. Msgr. Gregorio Salvatus, Diocese of Lucena, April 7, 2007.
Focolare Holds Congress for Religious Women
Participants of the Congress for Religious Women organized by the Focolare Movement at the Mariapolis Center in Tagaytay, June 1-3, 2007; they numbered 110 religious women from 30 different congregations in 8 nationalities.
THE Focolare Movement held a three-day congress for women religious at Mariapolis Peace in Tagaytay, the little city of the Focolare Movement; on June 1-3 with the theme, “The Spirituality of Communion and Consecrated Life.” Participants were 110 religious women representing 30 different congregations and 8 nationalities. Resource persons who spoke on the theme were Nenita Arce, a Focolarina representing founder of Focolare Chiara Lubich, and Sr. Loretto Maes, a member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood. Both came from the International Secretariat for Religious Women of the Focolare. Most Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle, Bishop of Imus, gave his insights on the encyclical “Deus Caritas Est”. Meanwhile, Fr. Rolando De la Rosa, OP, expressed his joy for celebrating the Eucharist with such a vivid presence of the church. The three-day congress has been characterized by an atmosphere of family and profound communion. Participants underscored that the charism of unity helped them to understand better their own charism and highlighted many ideas of their own founder. Many religious women expressed at the end their gratitude to Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare Movement, for her charism in the
Church. The meeting underlined what the recent Pontifical Instruction on consecrated life Starting Afresh from Christ says, “Finally, a new richness can spring from an encounter and communion with the charisms of ecclesial movements. Movements can often offer the example of evangelical and charismatic freshness such as the generous, creative initiatives in evangelization. On the other hand, movements as well as new forms of evangelical life can learn a great deal from the faithful, joyful and charismatic witness of consecrated life which bears a very rich spiritual patrimony, the many treasures of experience and wisdom and a great variety of apostolates and missionary commitments.” (# 30) In the process of renewal as recommended by the Second Vatican Council, religious orders and Institutes were invited to rediscover their founder or foundress, and to live and bring alive their charisms in the Church today. Many members of Institutes of consecrated life witness the spiritual effects of the spirituality of unity which is the charism of the Focolare Movement. The discovery of the radical nature of the Gospel life, led them to deepen their communion within their own communities and to live a profound com-
munion among religious families, whether their charisms were new or well established. Members of various institutes of consecrated life, who share the spirituality of Focolare, were recognized by Pope Paul VI as “adherents of the Focolare
Movement” (general audience 1971). Later on the Holy See allowed men and women religious to participate in the life of the Movement. This was encouraged by John Paul II on many occasions. (Mariella Floridia)
Philippine Delegates to the International Congress on Fidei Donum (to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the encyclical issued by Pope Pius XII in 1957) held in Rome on May 18-11, 2007; Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales (Congress speaker), Bishop Precioso Cantillas (representing the CBCP Commission on Migrants) and Bishop-Elect Gilbert Garcera (PMS National Director / representing CBCP Commission on Mission), were among the participants of the congress that carried the theme, “All the Churches for the Whole World.”.
Vol. 11 No. 12 • June 11 - 24 2007
Blessings at First Mass
Music is a Gift and a Mission
Fr. Carlo Magno
Diocese of Gumaca
Feet... Pilgrims, Workers, Saints...
Bishop-Emeritus Vicente C. Manuel, SVD, DD
A NATIVE of Occidental Mindoro, Most Rev. Vicente Manuel, SVD, was installed as ﬁrst bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on July 1, 1983 and served as its Apostolic Vicar until 2000. Bishop-Emeritus Manuel is currently a resident bishop in the archdiocese of Cebu. In this issue of CBCP Monitor Bishop Manuel reminisces and shares the wealth of his experiences as ﬁrst Apostolic Vicar of San Jose, Mindoro. He talks about his current responsibilities as resident bishop of Cebu archdiocese, how the archdiocesan programs cascade to parish level, and shares his insights on poverty alleviation, lay participation in the local Church and BEC in his district. How was your Episcopal ministry in the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose Mindoro? I was ordained bishop June 29, 1983, so I’m in my 24th year as bishopemeritus. Next year I will be celebrating my silver jubilee as a bishop. Being the ﬁrst bishop of San Jose Mindoro had its own advantage in the sense that there was no tradition to follow. Among the ﬁrst things we did was to map out the plan for the vicariate, and to formulate our vision and mission. BEC was the center of it. My Episcopal ministry was fruitful, you have that sense of accomplishment. It was very beautiful. [Here, I’m speaking] not only in terms of the terrain or the vastness of the place. Well, it is a vicariate, a mission territory; you really have to start from zero. There were only 13 parishes then. The island of Lubang was the most isolated. Whenever I would go to visit the parish I always stayed for three weeks to be able to go to the farthest chapel. There is no place that I have not gone to, that I have not said mass many times over. When I left in 2000, we made an evaluation of 17 years of our work. Have we somehow gotten closer to our vision mission? For one thing, we were able to form lay leaders, the family apostolate, the BEC in the different socio-economic areas, the youth in the parish level. What prompted you to venture into broadcasting? The population when I started was about a hundred thousand or maybe even less. But it was scattered in a wide place. There are 7 major rivers in the vicariate. There were no bridges, and during rainy season some parishes were cut off from the seat of the vicariate of San Jose. There was a time when I almost drowned while crossing a swollen river. So, I thought of starting a radio station. We were able to start one in 1991. Cardinal Vidal went there to bless the radio station. I thought, it was very important, because if you have difﬁculty reaching the farthest corner of the place on foot, with a radio station it would be easy. The radio also helps in raising the consciousness of the people about the activities of the local Church. Our station ID was my motto “At thy word, I cast the net,” plus the vision of the vicariate. So everybody came to know about it. We were only about 300 hundred thousand, but maybe our audience with the radio station was about two million. What are your speciﬁc responsibilities in the archdiocese of Cebu? I started working in Cebu in 2000. Cardinal Vidal gave me an ofﬁcial assignment as one of his vicar generals. All his assistant bishops there are vicar generals. Then he gave me a district. There are seven districts in the whole archdiocese of Cebu. So I’m in charge of two districts now, it has about 50 parishes. That’s my involvement there—as Vicar general, and as district bishop of the archdiocese. That’s my direct responsibility and participation in the area of pastoral work of His Eminence. How do you make pastoral programs cascade to parish level?
7 Questions / B4
By Ben Carlo Atim
ATHER Carlo Magno Marcelo loves music. His musical talent is a treasure he does not hesitate to share with others. A member of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila, Fr. Carlo Magno was ordained priest on November 30, 1993. Currently, he is teaching at San Carlos Major Seminary, while serving as its music director. A church musician since high school, Fr. Carlo’s musical talent deepened when he entered San Carlos Major Seminary in 1984, after two years of preparatory veterinary medicine in the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Fr. John Van de Steen, CICM, a Belgian missionary who became Director of San Carlos Major Seminary Choir, was instrumental in training the young Carlo developed his musical talent. But long before he was catapulted to celebrity status because of his awardwinning liturgical songs, Fr. Carlo said he was just simply an ordinary choir member and an organist. Never did it cross his mind that he could compose songs, much less record one. Nonetheless, the talent within was like a seed biding to burst out into the open. It did when Bishop Socrates Vil-
legas and the late Jaime Cardinal Sin asked him to write the theme song for the Jubilee year in 1996. The Jubilee song eventually hit the airwaves, and became the toast of recording companies. The phenomenal popularity of the song earned Fr. Carlo the respect of fellow musicians and from ordinary churchgoers who appreciated his tune. The Fruits of the Gift With the success came financial rewards. Fr. Carlo thought of putting up a foundation that will help promote Catholic music. He established the Jubilee Music Ministry together with a friend, the priest-composer Fr. Jeronimo Perez, in 1998. The foundation aims to promote Catholic music and to help institutions who maybe needing ﬁ nancial assistance especially in producing quality albums. The promotion of Catholic music helps revive the appreciation of people for liturgical songs. It is a known fact that the deluge of modern genres of music has somehow eclipse the value of liturgical music. Fr. Carlo sees this as a challenge to the Church. “We have to come up with composi-
tions that are appealing, yet preserving the rich patrimony of the Church,” he opined. The demand of creating good music is signiﬁcant not only in terms of commercial value but also in its ability to penetrate the consciousness of people and make them participate in liturgical celebrations. The priest emphasized that music must not serve only as a tool for entertainment but must help stimulate the consciousness of a listener to ponder and reﬂect. “You just need to be creative in order to connect or make a bridge between the rich patrimony of the Church and the current trend in music,” he said. The Jubilee Music Ministry The Jubilee Music Ministry produces songs that are naturally reﬂective yet at the same time can captivate the attention of the young. Although the foundation just started only nine years ago, it has already extended its arms to institutions that needed support in promoting gospel music. Fr. Carlo believes that in the coming years, as the foundation evolves and grows, it will become a Catholic Music Resource Center, which will cater to services pertainMusic / B5
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university answers the question on blessings at ﬁrst mass of newly ordained priest). Q: I have two questions: 1) The Benedictine Ordo for the American Cassinese Congregation has the following note concerning “Rescripts from the Holy See”: “His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, has decreed that a newly ordained priest may, on the occasion of his ﬁrst Mass, celebrated with some solemnity outside of Rome, grant once the Papal Blessing, using the formula given in the Roman Ritual. The plenary indulgence attached to this blessing may be gained by the faithful who devoutly assist at the ﬁrst Mass, provided they have received the sacraments of penance and Holy Communion, and have prayed for the intentions of the Holy Father. Given at Rome by the Sacred Penitentiary on November 5, 1964.” Do you have any idea what the present status of this rescript is? Since the Roman Ritual has been edited since 1964, which text should be used? What is the status of the plenary indulgence? 2) A deacon asked that I serve as the assistant priest, vested in a cope, for his ﬁrst Mass. From what I understand, the assistant priest at the ﬁrst Mass was more a matter of custom than law. Is this allowed in the current liturgy? -- M.M., Latrobe, Pennsylvania A: I would say that the rescript is no longer in force as its effects have been absorbed by the general norms of the Enchiridion of Indulgences. The document mentions the papal blessing to which a plenary indulgence is attached. The present Enchiridion in concession No. 43 attaches a plenary indulgence to the priest and faithful who assist at a newly ordained priest’s ﬁrst solemn Mass, but this indulgence is now dissociated from imparting the apostolic blessing. The Enchiridion grants the right to impart the apostolic blessing only to the diocesan bishop, who may impart it three times a year at the end of particularly solemn Masses (norm No. 10.2). Therefore, as the papal blessing is no longer granted, the question as to what ritual should be used in imparting it is moot. The priest may use any of the blessings proposed in the missal according to the liturgical time and season. With respect to the second question, effectively, the use of an assistant priest at a first Mass is custom and not prescriptive. This priest is usually an experienced priest whose principal task is to guide an understandably nervous new priest through the intricacies of the celebration. The role of such a priest is similar to that of a master of ceremonies, although, unlike this ﬁgure, he usually simply vests the stole over an alb or surplice. The cope would not ordinarily be worn on this occasion, although its use may be a legitimate local custom in some places or within some orders. The assistant priest does not usually perform the functions pertaining to the deacon, although it is not unknown for him to read the Gospel and preach the homily at a ﬁrst Mass.
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11-24, 2007
Blessings at First Masses
© Pascal Deloche/Godong/Corbis
The Duty of Residence of the Parish Priest
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
(A continuation from last issue)
WE have had our parish priest with us for two years now. He is something of an eccentric, very inconsistent. It’s okay with us, if that’s the way he is, but what bothers those of us who work closely with him in the parish is that at times he disappears for days without telling us where to reach him in case he is needed. He has a couple of friends, guest priests, who take over when he is away, but they are there only for the sacraments. They can not decide or guide us in making decisions that have to be made when our parish priest happens to be absent. It can be very frustrating. What does Canon Law say about the availability of the parish priest? Do we as parish workers have the right to demand it, if not transparency of our priest? We do not want a blow-by-blow account of his whereabouts, but at least the basic information of where to reach him in case of dire need. The Availability of the Parish Priest to his Parishioners After understanding the beautiful notion of the parish priest as the proper shepherd of the parish ﬂock, and concretizing that notion in the series of duties and functions enumerated in the aforementioned canons, the question of the physical and moral availability of the parish priest in the parish is inescapable. It simply is not possible for him to fulﬁll all his obligations to his ﬂock were he not to be available in the parish 24 hours of the day all throughout the year, except for the periods of absence provided by Canon Law for his own rest and formation. Thus, from olden times, the duty of residence in the parish has always been considered as a direct consequence of the function of the pastoral care of souls entrusted to the parish priest. As an eminent 16th Century Italian canonist afﬁrmed: “the pastoral ministry implies many things which necessarily require personal presence”. (Bartholomew Carranza, Controversia de Necessaria Residentia personali Episcoporum et aliorum inferiorum pastorum, Venice (1547), Chap.2, pp.15-16.) Thus, the Code of Canon Law binds with the duty of residence those who hold ofﬁces that imply a particular responsibility as regards the pastoral care of souls, like the diocesan Bishop (cf. c.395), the Bishop-coadjutor and the auxiliary Bishop (cf. c.410), the diocesan Administrator (cf. c.429), the parish priest (cf. c.533) and the parochial vicar (cf. c.550). In effect, the habitual presence of the parish priest in the parish aims to guarantee his constant and effective availability for the needs of the faithful, who in turn should be able to approach their parish priest for whatever legitimate request. On the other hand, it is clear that such pastoral needs of the faithful can present themselves and should be adequately attended to at whatever time of day or night. Hence, the parish priest is in principle always on duty and on call. The Duty of Residence of the Parish Priest Canon Law speciﬁes this duty in c.533 of the Code of Canon Law as follows: Can. 533 1. The pastor (parish priest) is obliged to reside in a parish house close to the church; (The parish house or rectory is locally referred to in the Philippines as the convento, which at times is translated to English as convent, an unfortunate choice of term since the word convent has a precise meaning which refers to the house of religious nuns—not even monks or friars), in particular cases, however, the local Ordinary can permit him to live elsewhere, especially in a house shared by several presbyters (priests), provided there is a just cause, and suitable and due provision is made for the performance of parochial functions. 2. Unless there is a serious
© Philippe Lissac/Godong/Corbis
reason to the contrary, the pastor may be absent each year from the parish on vacation, for at most one continuous or interrupted month; the days which the pastor spends once a year in spiritual retreat are not counted in his vacation days; if
the parish priest to reside in his parish, speciﬁcally in a parish house close to the church or (with due permission of the bishop) in another place within the parish territory, provided he is able to fulﬁll his parochial functions. Obviously, if the par-
c.533, §1. Obviously, also, for reasons of order such prolonged absences from the usual place of residence i.e., the parish house or rectory should be done with the permission of the bishop. Absences of the Parish Priest Canon Law expressly provides several legitimate motives for the parish priest to be absent from the parish (i.e., outside the territorial limits of his parish): 1st a yearly vacation totaling 30 days maximum either continuous or interrupted as provided for by c.283, §2: Clerics are entitled to a due and sufﬁcient period of vacation each year, to be determined by universal or particular law. 2nd a yearly closed retreat which normally lasts 1 week as provided for by c.276, §2, 4°: [In order for them to pursue this perfection] priests are also bound to make a retreat according to the prescriptions of particular law. 3rd other sporadic absences for priestly formation, as provided for by c.279, §2: In accord with the prescriptions of particular law, priests are to attend pastoral lectures which are to be held after priestly ordination; at times determined by the same particular law they are also to attend lectures and theological meetings or conferences which afford them opportunities to acquire a fuller knowledge of the sacred sciences and of pastoral methods. (The members of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines (CLSP), for example, hold a yearly 3-day National Convention in different regional capitals, featuring lectures by eminent local and invited foreign canonists, workshops to produce position papers on current issues, aside from the time for rest and recreation, camaraderie and exchange of pastoral experiences.) With these dispositions, Canon Law aims to guarantee for the parish priest some periods of rest, which are necessary for him to recover his physical as well as spiritual energies. Thus, these periods of physical and spiritual rest should not be considered simply as legitimate rights, but also as natural necessities that
Before rushing into any judgment against him, the interested parishioners especially those more involved in the organization of the parish would do well to try a respectful dialogue. For all we know, there might be legitimate reasons for his absences.
the pastor is to be absent from the parish beyond a week, he is bound to inform the local Ordinary of this. 3. The diocesan Bishop is to issue norms which provide for the care of a parish by a priest possessing the needed faculties during the absence of the pastor. In effect, Canon Law obliges ish territory includes far-ﬂung towns and villages, the absence of the parish priest from the parish house while attending to his ﬂock in those remote places of the parish cannot be considered as absence from the parish, but rather as a case of temporary residence in another house within the territorial limits of his parish, as provided for by
except for a serious reason should not be omitted. Obviously, order demands that for an absence of greater than a week, the parish priest ought to inform the diocesan bishop so that as the Commission drafting the Code itself pointed out the latter may give the due authorization and, even more importantly, adequately provide for the pastoral care of the parish community during the parish priest’s absence, by designating a priest to substitute him. (Cf. Communicationes, 14 (1982), p.225.) On the other hand, the serious violation of the law of residence is considered as a crime in Canon Law with its corresponding penalty, as typified by c.1396: One who seriously violates the obligation of residence to which he is bound by reason of an ecclesiastical ofﬁce is to be punished with a just penalty, including even deprivation of ofﬁce after a warning. Conclusion As to the present case of our lulubog-lilitaw parish priest: 1) Before rushing into any judgment against him, the interested parishioners especially those more involved in the organization of the parish would do well to try a respectful dialogue. For all we know, there might be legitimate reasons for his absences. 2) In any case and more especially if his absences far exceed the 37 plus days provided for by Canon Law for his vacation, closed retreat and other means of priestly formation the concerned parishioners can always bring the matter to the attention of the diocesan bishop. 3) Should the parish priest concerned really be guilty of undue absence from the parish, the diocesan bishop can admonish him (Canon Law provides for at least 2 canonical warnings) after which should the parish priest not change his ways he may proceed with the imposition of a just canonical sanction (penalty) which may include the removal from ofﬁce of the parish priest.
© Pascal Deloche/Godong/Corbis
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11-24, 2007
prehensive program of the diocese in its ministerial and spiritual stewardship In the recent years, under its current bishop, the diocese continues to show signs of constant growth. The different commissions work side by side in fostering a widespread effort at evangelization and spiritual renewal. They regularly hold workshops and seminars for the ongoing formation of catechists, lectors, acolytes, MSK leaders and of different religious organizations. The commissions on youth and catechetical apostolate also intensify their ongoing programs for the youth, leaders and catechists of the diocese. In terms of facilities, the following buildings were added to the existing ofﬁces in the diocesan compound: the ting and clarifying the vision of the diocese and by deﬁning her mission in light of that vision. In 1985, they came up with a vision of the diocese as ‘community of believers united in Christ in his Sonship to and His worship of the Father, dedicated to others under the guidance of the Holy Spirit’.” (Decade of Grace, 15) The bishop, together with the clergy, religious and laity, redeﬁned its vision in the desire to renew, and give vigor and life to the faith of the people according to the spirit of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II). In the ﬁrst Diocesan Pastoral Assembly (DPA I) in 1994, they overwhelmingly endorsed its new Vision: “The Diocese of Gumaca as a community of disciples united in Christ communities of disciples. Journeying Towards the Vision The diocese will celebrate its 25th anniversary foundation in 2010. The diocese is considering three essential actions for a meaningful and grace-ﬁlled commemoration. First, KNOW the vision. The key to this undertaking is to make the people become aware of the existing vision. This is facilitated by constant recitation of the vision especially before every gathering such as business meetings and celebration of the Sunday. The next task after having memorized the vision is to EXPLAIN it. In this activity, the people are led through catechesis, seminars,
Ongoing Formation of the Clergy As part of the continuing formation of the clergy of Gumaca, they regularly hold monthly recollections for spiritual nourishment every second MondayTuesday of the month at the Gumaca Pastoral Formation Center. In this gathering, they assign one among themselves to give spiritual/pastoral inputs in one of the sessions and they invite speakers as well for an updating in economic, political, and other areas of concern. Hence, their monthly recollection/gathering is not limited to spiritual activities such as confes-
THE Diocese of Gumaca, which is in the province of Quezon, has a total land area of 3,666.44 sq. kms. It is approximately 196 kilometers south of Manila and situated along the national highway on the eastern coast of Quezon. It is bounded northwest by the Diocese of Lucena in Quezon, Province and southeast by the Daet diocese in Camarines Norte. Many parishes in the diocese of Gumaca are in the mountainous area of Bondoc Peninsula while three parishes are in Alabat Island and four others are located along the national highway. The diocese of Gumaca comprises twenty four parishes and 3 proposed parishes that are still being prepared for canonical erection in the next 2-3 years. At present the diocese has
The Diocese of Gumaca
61 diocesan priests in active ministry, 78 professed religious women, 23 lay missionaries, 9 professional catechists and 826 volunteer catechists.
By Rev. Fr. Ramon Uriarte & Rev. Fr. Ricky Araneta
Creation of the Diocese The diocese was created by Pope Paul II on the 9th of April 1984 through the Apostolic Letter “Lure Meritoque”. However, it was canonically erected only on January 29, 1985 when the Most Rev. Emilio Z. Marquez was ordained bishop and installed Ordinary of the Diocese. Having been made a diocese, it has become a suffragan of the ecclesiastical province of Lipa which comprises the Apostolic Vicariates of Calapan and San Jose (Occidental Mindoro), Prelature of Infanta, the dioceses of Boac and Lucena and the Archdiocese of Lipa. In May 2002, Most. Rev. Emilio Z. Marquez was appointed as coadjutor bishop of Lucena, ABOVE: The clergy of the diocese. 1 at the same time apostolic Ad- Bishop RIGHT: Bishop Buenaventura M. ministrator of Gumaca. He Priests: Famadico, DD. BELOW: The Cathedral 65 continued to serve as aposDiocesan of San Diego de Alcala Gumaca 78 Sisters tolic administrator until Most Quezon. Rev. Antonio R. Rañola was Seminarians: 10 nominated as the new Apostolic Theology 27 Administrator on June 25, 2002. Philosophy 5 in his sonship and worship of recollections, retreats etc., to reﬂect and In regency He was succeeded by Most. 9 the Father, dedicated to serve Minor: in high school understand the goals of the diocese. EvRev. Buenaventura Famadico 3 others as the Church of the In pre-college ery year, the diocese sets a theme that is as the 2nd ordinary bishop of poor under the guidance of taken from the diocesan vision. Through the Diocese of Gumaca on July Diocesan Divisions: 2 the Holy Spirit together with Districts monthly activities and lectures designed 11, 2003. 6 Vicariates by the different commissions the par25 Mary, our model.” IncorpoParishes rated here, one may observe, ticular topic is clariﬁed, explained and The Road to Growth Educational Centers: are PCP II’s Ecclesiology and deepened. The Focus of 2005 was Mary, The ﬁrst several years of exis1 Tertiary: Diocesan Mother and Model of the Diocese of Gutence of the diocese of Gumaca 9 Mariology. High Schools: Diocesan/ In preparation for the maca. In 2006, the theme was Renewal 9 were marked by stages of rapid parochial celebration of its silver anof the Family leads toward Renewal of growth and development. DifElementary Schools: niversary foundation, the the Community. 2007 is devoted to the Diocesan/Parochial ferent diocesan facilities were diocese resolved to carry out Holy Spirit, Guide to become a Combuilt such as the Gumaca Dioc- Teaching Personnel: 7 this mission by giving parmunity of Disciples. United in Christ in Priests (part-time) esan Pastoral Formation Center 23 ticular emphasis on renewed Sisters (full-time) his Sonship and Worship of the Father where the chancery, curia, and 151 Evangelization that seeks to Lay (full-time) will be explained in 2008. And Love of other diocesan ofﬁces are now 844,994 develop an integrated spiriGod the Father, Service to Others will located. The Gumaca Diocesan Population 744,888 tuality among the people, be highlighted in 2009. In the silver anPress was also built as its pub- Catholics niversary, the diocese will ponder on 3,666.44 sq. kms. build up the local church and lishing arm. It publishes the Area transform the whole fabric of her being Church of the Poor. The diomonthly issues of Tipan, the disociety according to the values of Christ cese hopes that through this evanPastoral ofﬁce and Youth Center, and ocesan monthly liturgical guide, Sagisag (PCP II, 187-192). With new fervor, methgelization effort the people the Priest’s retirement house and the (discontinued), the diocesan newsletter ods and expressions, the diocese clariﬁes will better appreciate the diocesan catechetical Center. The last and other diocesan papers. The diocese its VISION of a renewed community vision and eventually LIVE two are still unﬁnished at present. likewise founded Mount St. Aloysius through the distinct areas of apostolate it. However, this last action College Seminary, to accommodate the of the different commissions on worship, will only be realized when Community of Believers increasing number of vocations to the Catholic education and catechesis, social people start owning The diocese of Gumaca “may be likpriesthood from the dioceses of Guservices, youth, family life, vocation and i t s vision. ened to a ship sailing on the high seas maca and Boac. At present, a signiﬁcant temporalities. Ongoing formation of the and its bishop and priests, to the captain number of alumni of Mt. St. Aloysius clergy as servant–leader in a participaand his crew. It does not sail for no purSeminary are already ordained priests tory church is set up while taking into pose. It has a deﬁnite destiny to reach, a and are now serving in their respective account the particular needs of mission to accomplish. Neither does it dioceses. The bishop’s residence was priests at the different stages of sail aimlessly but is guided toward its also built in 2001-2002. priestly life and ministry. Great mission by a vision, as by a light, lest it In its tenth year anniversary, the dioefforts are exerted to empower veer off its course or run into the cese of Gumaca convened the ﬁrst diocthe laity to become responsible reefs.” (Decade of Grace, 15) esan pastoral assembly which evaluated agents of a vibrant community. Soon after the diocese has and reexamined the pastoral programs Basic Ecclesial Communities are commenced its own exisof the diocese. New plans and strategies likewise strengthened, making tence, the ﬁrst act of the were formulated to further ensure the them effective evangelizing bishop was to chart its spiritual growth of the people and to communities in renewing course with the help encourage greater participation from Christian life and of his priests. This the laity. A book containing the acts and forming they did by setdecrees of this ﬁrst Diocesan Pastoral Assembly of the Diocese of Gumaca was published to serve as guide for the clergy and laity of the diocese. A Diocesan Assembly for Diocesan Pastoral Evaluation and Planning (DPEP) was convened in 2003. This resulted in the reorganization and creation of new ministries for a more com-
sions, holy hour and mass but also include conference with the bishop, business meeting, and even basketball and volleyball games. In addition to their monthly recollection, the clergy of Gumaca also holds 5 day-retreat every year. They do it out of town to give them an opportunity to withdraw from the daily routine of their works in the parish and thus be able to devote the time entirely for spiritual renewal. The diocese also sends two priests to the Renewal Program of the Episcopal Commission on Clergy every year for renewal and ongoing formation. This is usually held at the Bahay Pari in San Carlos Compound in Guadalupe Makati. In the last couple of years, the clergy of Gumaca also has undergone a week of Pastoral Retooling which consists of workshops and inputs for a more effective ministry in the parish. Empowering the Laity Vatican II, states that the laity “by baptism are incorporated into Christ, and are placed in the people of God, and in their own way share the priestly, prophetic and kingly ofﬁce of Christ, and to the best of their ability carry on the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world” (LG, 31). For lay people to exercise their rights and duties as apostles (aa3), the diocese, understands the need to allow them to participate in the exercise of powers of order and governance and empower them to assume responsibilities in various ministries and functions and in various ofﬁces of the diocese or parishes. Consistent with this conviction, the dioGumaca / B7
By Lourie Victor
First, is to deﬁne more concretely what kind of education is appropriate for IP communities, and next, lay down key principles that could guide the implementation of education programs or interventions. Nonetheless, for this to be done, participants had to tackle ﬁrst how mainstream education came about and how its inherent perspective about IPs tends to marginalize them as a people. The IP communities have their own system of education which had sustained them since time immemorial but is not given importance in mainstream education. The emerging interest in culture as a factor in learning was also discussed, bringing to light studies that reveal IP communities do have learning styles and patterns different from what is promoted or used in the mainstream education system. IPAs discussed what they observed to be the unique learning needs, characteristics and patterns of IP learners based on their experiences in implementing education activities and interventions. It was from these that the principles were generated. ECIP chairman Bishop Sergio Utleg remarked that this undertaking to promote a system of education appropriate for IP communities has still a long way to go. This second convention, he said, is one of those necessary milestones that have to be undertaken if IPs are to experience an education that recognizes and respects their identity and celebrates the richness of their culture.
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11-24, 2007
ECIP Holds 2nd National Convention on Indigenous Peoples’ Education
BRAVING post-election fatigue, participants from 16 tribes and 27 dioceses attended the Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (ECIP) and Indigenous Peoples Apostolate (IPA) 2nd National Convention on Indigenous Peoples Education in San Carlos City, Negros Oriental on May 21-24. The seminar aimed to come up with consolidated principles that can serve as reference and guide to Indigenous Peoples’ Apostolates nationwide in implementing education interventions in partnership with IP communities. ECIP through its South Central Luzon IPAs, has been undertaking consultations, trainings, research and advocacy work for the past three years, in an effort to consolidate the experiences of IPAs nationwide. The goal is to set up education programs that are responsive to the particular needs and circumstances of IP communities and learners. Last year’s convention held in Kidapawan highlighted the shared observation of IPAs that mainstream education has not been responsive to the needs and particularities of indigenous peoples (IPs). The situation was largely taken as the primary reason behind continuous drop-outs, the breakdown of community cohesion, continued neglect of indigenous knowledge systems and practices, and the erosion of culture and identity of IP communities. Participants came out with concrete proposals to address the problems.
IPA regional representatives and ECIP executive secretary, Fr Rod Salazar Jr,
Youth Ministry Programs for Young People
By National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate
THE Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) is actively involved in spearheading the following activities as part of its regular service in the youth ministry programs. 1. National Youth Day (NYD) This is celebrated every 16th of December, the start of the Misa De Gallo or SimbangGabi. Every two or three years, a national gathering is organized by the ECY in partnership with a host-diocese, usually on a schedule proximate to 16 December. This allows for the celebration of the NYD in the dioceses, organizations, and parishes, to echo the program of the national gathering. Usually, the NYD program echoes the World Youth day (WYD) theme for that year. Last 8-12 November 2006, the National Youth Day 2006 was held in Davao City. The Archdiocese of Davao through its youth ministry ofﬁce, the Davao Archdiocesan Youth Coordinating Apostolate (DAYCA) hosted and co-organized with ECY the event. Participants reflected on the theme, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Ps 119:105), which is also the theme of the WYD 2006. .2. Youth Ministry Awareness Week The week prior to the NYD (9-15 December 2006) is devoted to promote youth ministry in the Church, so that everyone becomes aware of the importance of ministering to the youth, and raise involvement in it. The Regional Youth Coordinating Councils (RYCCs) are tasked with preparing an effective program of activities for the region and its member-youth ministries, a program that is suited to the unique context of each respective region. 3. National Conference for Youth Ministers (NCYM) Youth ministers ﬁnd a venue for formation and fellowship in this bi-annual event, organized by the ECY in partnership with a diocesan youth ministry, and often, with the regional coordination where the host-dioceses is a member in collaboration. The most recent conference was held in Pampanga last 1317 November 2005, with the collaboration of the Archdiocese of San Fernando through its youth ministry office, the Archdiocesan Commission on Youth Ministry (ACYM). A total of two hundred sixty ﬁve youth ministers (clergy, religious, and lay) representing sixty-seven dioceses and ten member-organizations of the Federation of National Youth Organizations (FNYO) participated. They gathered to reﬂect on the theme, “Youth Ministers: Living Witnesses to Communion and Mission” (‘although there are many of us…we all share in the one loaf’ - 1 Corinthians 10:17). It was during this event that the turnover of the ECY chairmanship was made: from Most Rev. Rolando J. Tria-Tirona, OCD, DD of Infanta, to Most Rev. Joel Z. Baylon, DD of Masbate. 4. Unang Hakbang Unang Hakbang is a formation program for youth ministers (clergy, religious, and lay), which serves as a deepening experience of the Church document Ka-Lakbay. It desires to synergize efforts and initiatives in youth ministry. After undergoing it, its participants are expected to imbibe the contents and spirit of Ka-Lakbay, to become fully aware of one’s paradigms and those paradigms important for a renewed ministry and grow into understanding and ownership of this document, and together with one’s fellow youth ministers, to have a common language and orientation among everyone involved with the young. The ECY has successfully administered Unang Hakbang in all the youth ministry regions via the Regional Runs, which it has also subsidized. With the very positive feedback from these initial runs, the commission is now preparing to train regional teams of facilitators who will assist it in the regular run of the program. 5. Youth Encounter (YE) YE is a formation program for youth in the Philippines, adopted by the CBCP in 1979 as “the basic Christian formation module” for Filipino youth. The ECY oversees its running; it also takes care of its guidebook and materials. 6. Basic Course in Youth Ministry (BCYM) This program for youth ministers aims to acquaint its recipients with the world of the youth and the theories and dynamics of accompanying them through youth ministry. 7. Other programs The ECY, with the valuable assistance of the NSYA and other youth ministry ofﬁces, has also created other programs for young people. Some of these are: “Parable of the Pencil” (a formation module, usually used for youth recollections), “Kabataang Bayani: Youth for HOPE” (an election education program), and the formation programs of past national celebrations of the NYD.
Creation of Inter-agency Council to Address Migrant Concerns
By Edmund Ruga
THE Luzon Regional Migration Desk (LRMD) of Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) is spearheading the creation of an Inter-Agency Coordinating Council for Migrants’ Concern (IAMCO) in different provinces in Luzon to enhance the services being delivered by the diocesan migration desk to families of migrants. IAMCO had its initial formation program held in the province of Batangas last May 26 at the De La Salle-Lipa in partnership with the Lipa Archdiocesan Commission on Migrants and Mission (LACMMI), represented by Ms. June Inabayan, LACMMI’s lay coordinator. The agency was formally organized into a local based group called BIAMCO or Batangas Inter-Agency Council for Migrants’ Concerns. Representatives from local agencies such as the Department of Education-Division of Lipa and Batangas, OWWA Region 4A, NBI-Batangas, PSWD-Batangas, Visayan Forum-Batangas, GMA Bank and Pinoy Pamilya Club attended the formation program. BIAMCO will also serve as a coordinating body and venue among agencies to exchange views and information on programs and services to migrant sector. It will attempt to share and learn from the members’ experiences in the formation and implementation of programs for migrants. mation of IAMCO in the dioceses of Antipolo, Kalookan, San Fernando, Pampanga and Bayombong. IAMCO is set to monitor the programs and services provided to OFWs and their families which the national government promised to grant but normally failed to reach the local level. The agency’s creation attempts to systematize and consolidate common actions to address the issues and concerns that transpire before, during, and post employment stages of overseas labor. ECMI observes that NGO’s and local government units operate independently from each other although they are dealing with the same clientele, the migrant sector. The migrants’ desks in different dioceses are now being prepared to follow similar approach to address existing gaps between national programs declared by the government and its local implementation in the various dioceses. ECMI is helping dioceses establish its diocesan ministry for migrants as part of its program for structure building.
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The migrants’ desks are now being prepared to follow similar approach to address existing gaps between national programs declared by the government and its local implementation in the various dioceses.
Likewise, the local IAMCO will serve as a recommendatory body and lobby group for policy change and/or direction on what is lacking among the programs and services for the migrant sector. ECMI will duplicate the for-
In 2003, His Eminence came out with a constitution and by-laws of the parishes. The beautiful thing about it was we wanted to spot some changes in terms of administration in the parish, meaning the lay should be given responsibilities. PCP II talks about lay participation and empowerment of the laity. We had a meeting with all parish leaders. We gave them inputs about Vatican II, PCP II, about the archdiocesan shrine… how election of ofﬁcers should be done. Then ﬁnally, we had our vision and mission. It was a long process. When everything was set in order, we started changing. Cardinal Vidal also came out with guidelines for chapels. In our parish we have 48 ofﬁcially recognized chapels. If the chapel is alive, so is the parish. The guidelines have four points. First, the land must be owned by the chapel, donated to the archdiocese. Second, there must be a structure for the chapel. Third, is the organizational structure for the chapel, there must be leaders. So we adapted the parish structure to the chapel. If there is a PPC or WESTY in the parish, the chapels should also have to make them participate. In the Church where I am, it’s the poor who are really supporting the parish. The poor are the nicest people to work with. They are not saints, but you work with them and they give their all. If they see you are sincere, they respond. There is so much to be done in the chapels in terms of continuing formation. In our parish we have regular meetings every ﬁrst Sunday of the month, meeting of all presidents of the chapels, and normally its about 95 to 100% attendance. Second Sunday is the meeting of all the members of WESTY. The third week is the meeting of the PPC. The fourth Sunday is meeting [of members] in the chapels. How do you address the social concerns of the Church on poverty alleviation? The archdiocese has already its own programs as a result of the archdiocesan synod even before I came to Cebu. They have an archdiocesan com-
mission to take care of this. One of these is lending similar to Grameen, and it’s very successful. His Eminence wants this to really spread. This has been going on for ten years. But that is on the archdiocesan level. In the parish, we want to do the same. So we listened to our leaders. Lay participation is necessary, but they have to be formed, so they can stand on their own later on. Up to what degree do you think lay participation should be, especially in terms of decision making in the local Church? I think the laity should be given more freedom. But there should be openness in terms of relationship, of reporting, of clarity of programs, clarity of rules and guidelines as to where and how much. There should be a constant report. If the laity takes over the parish it is the fault of the priest. There should be parameters as regards to until where lay participation should be. But at the same time the laity should be given the chance to move forward. What I see here, lay participation should be in terms of decision making in the local Church. We have the problem of poverty in the whole country. If there are lay people in the parish who will work to do something by way of changing the social structure, why not? Or those involved in politics, they should do something to achieve change. All they have to do is ask the priest if what they are doing is in accordance to the guidelines and spirit of the Christian faith. That’s what Vatican II says, these are areas where the lay should take the lead. How are the BECs in your district? According to the experience of the BEC archdiocesan ofﬁce it is difﬁcult to form BEC in the city than in the province. Another experience is when the priest who started it is transferred to another parish, the BEC dies. The BEC should not be priest dependent. It is a way of life, like the ﬁrst Christian community.
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11-24, 2007
Am I My Brother’s Keeper? Gen 4:9b
(A Pastoral Appeal to Stop Political Killings in Pampanga) DEAR Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Our May 14 elections in the Province have been perceived as generally peaceful, orderly and credible. Our people have chosen the way of peace, a characteristic trait we always cherish. This peace, however, has been shattered by the recent spate of violence and political killings of some barangay ofﬁcials in several municipalities in our province. The women who have been widowed, the children who have been orphaned, and the communities that have been gripped by shock and grief are our own brothers and sisters in faith. Their grief is our grief; their loss is our loss; their cry for justice is our cry for justice. The perpetrators of these crimes are our brothers too. Our Father in heaven who confronted Cain over the murder of his brother Abel will surely hold them accountable for their crime. “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” (Gen 4:10) In the light of these events, we are reminded of a pastoral letter written by the CBCP in 1984 that said, “God made us… in His image--to be like Him. But how is it that in a nation that prides itself of its rich Christian heritage life is cheap? This is our continuing shame and sorrow as a people. We bewail the fact. We occasionally beat our breasts about it. And we quickly forget about it—until the next orgy of killing shakes our national conscience once again…. We know we can not eliminate altogether the violent taking of life. But we must… search for ways and means of diminishing the problem that will be in full accord with our faith in Him.” Therefore, we strongly exhort all to respect, value, and protect God’s Gift of Life. We appeal to the law enforcement agencies of government to urgently provide protection and security especially for the barangay ofﬁcials who seem to be the main target of these violent acts. We likewise urge them to bring to justice the perpetrators of these crimes in the soonest possible time. We appeal to the mass media to respect the delicate sensitivities of our people in forming public opinion. We commend those among them who, in spite of the allure of money and the risks involved, fearlessly communicate the truth about these incidents. We appeal to politicians to join us in denouncing these acts, as well as in renouncing violence as a means for redressing political grievances. We urge them rather to seek all legal means to resolve conﬂicts at all times, to use their authority to put a stop to these killings, and to foster peace through dialogue. We appeal to the perpetrators of these crimes to come to their senses and convert to the Lord. We remind them to put a stop to this desecration of life. We remind them of the words of our Lord to his disciples, “Put the sword back in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26: 52) We appeal to the faithful to continue praying for peace and reconciliation; for the Prince of Peace assures us always of his healing presence and love: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20) We encourage them to witness to Christ by actively collaborating with the proper authorities. To conclude, allow us to quote from the 1984 CBCP Pastoral Exhortation “Let There Be Life” that said, “Great acts of self-sacriﬁce are called for in today’s crisis. And evil as the times are, they may well be, in God’s Providence, the moment of grace for us as a Church and as a nation, precisely because they require steadfast and heroic consistency in the living of our faith, in our responding to its pressing demands, at this particular juncture of our history.” We invoke the intercession of San Fernando, defender of the faith and lover of the poor to bless and accompany us in our ecclesial efforts to promote a culture of life and a civilization of love. +PACIANO B. ANICETO, DD Archdiocese of San Fernando Feast of San Fernando, Pampanga 30 May 2007
Friends of Jesus and Witnesses of His Holiness
(Homily delivered by Benedict XVI during the canonization Mass of Father George Preca, Father Szymon of Lipnica, Father Charles of St. Andrew and Mother Marie-Eugénie of Jesus.) DEAR brothers and sisters, Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. After Eastertide, after having relived the event of Pentecost, which renews the Church’s baptism in the Holy Spirit, we turn our gaze, so to speak, to the “opened heavens” to enter with the eyes of faith into the depths of the mystery of God, one in substance and three in persons: Father and Son and Holy Spirit. As we allow ourselves to be caught up in this great mystery, we admire the glory of God which is reﬂected in the life of the saints; we contemplate it above all in those whom I have a short while ago proposed for the veneration of the universal Church: George Preca, Szymon of Lipnica, Father Charles of St. Andrew and Mother Marie Eugénie of Jesus. To all the pilgrims who have come to pay homage to these exemplary witnesses of the Gospel, I extend my cordial greetings. I greet, in particular, the cardinals, the presidents of the Philippines, of Ireland, of Malta and of Poland, my venerable brothers in the episcopate, the government delegations, and the other civil authorities who are taking part in this celebration. In the ﬁrst reading, taken from the Book of Proverbs, wisdom comes on the scene, standing at God’s side as assistant, as “architect” (Proverbs 8:30). The panorama of the cosmos seen with wisdom’s eyes is stupendous. Wisdom confesses: “I played upon the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race” (8:30). Wisdom loves to dwell among men because in them she recognizes the image and likeness of the Creator. This preferential relationship of wisdom with men makes us think of a celebrated passage in another sapiential book, the Book of Wisdom: “Wisdom,” we read there, “is an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing that is sullied enters into her. For she is the refulgence of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness. And she, who is one, can do all things, and renews everything while herself perduring; and passing into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets” (Wisdom 7:25-27). This last suggestive expression invites us to consider the manifold and inexhaustible manifestation of sanctity in the people of God through the centuries. God’s wisdom is manifest in the cosmos, in variety and beauty in its elements, but its masterpieces are the saints. In the passage from the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Romans we ﬁnd a similar image: that of God’s love “poured out into the hearts” of the saints, that is the baptized, “through the Holy Spirit” who has been given to them (cf. Romans 5:5). It is through Christ that the gift of the Spirit passes, “Person-Love, Person-Gift,” as the Servant of God John Paul II deﬁned him (“Dominum Viviﬁcantem,” No. 10). Through Christ, the Spirit of God comes to us as principle of new, “holy,” life. The Spirit puts the love of God in the heart of believers in the concrete form it had in the man Jesus of Nazareth. In this way what St. Paul says about “Christ in you, hope of glory” (Corinthians 1:27) is realized. The “tribulations” are not in
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contrast to this hope, indeed, they help to realize it through “patience” and “proven virtue” (Romans 5:3-4): It is the way of Jesus, the way of the cross. In the same perspective, of God’s wisdom incarnate in Christ and communicated by the Holy Spirit, the Gospel suggested to us that God the Father continues to manifest his plan of love through the saints. Even here there occurs what we have already noted about wisdom: The Spirit of truth reveals God’s plan in the multiplicity of the elements of the cosmos and he does it above all through human persons, in a special way through saints. In effect, “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) is properly only Jesus Christ, “the holy and just one” (Acts 3:14). He is wisdom incarnate, creator Logos who finds his joy in dwelling among men, in whose midst he has pitched his tent (cf. John 16:15). It pleased God to pour “every fullness” (cf. Colossians 1:19); or as he himself says in today’s Gospel passage: “All that the Father has is mine” (John 16:15). Each individual saint participates in the riches of Christ taken from the
Each individual saint participates in the riches of Christ taken from the Father and communicated at the right time. It is always Jesus’ own holiness, it is always him, the “holy one,” whom the Spirit forms in “holy souls,” making them into friends of Jesus and witnesses of his holiness.
© Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis
NS Priests’ Statement On the Conduct of the 2007 Ilocos Sur Election
“YOUR Questions: Our Concern” is a Sunday afternoon radio program of DZNS, initiated by Archbishop Ernesto Salgado and anchored by Nueva Segovia priests. Two questions have surfaced out after the 2007 election in Ilocos Sur: 1. What are the observations underlying the seemingly peaceful election in Ilocos Sur? 2. What is the concrete action of the priests of Ilocos Sur vis-à-vis the conduct of the election? Your questions are our concern as your spiritual leaders. Question 1: What are the observations underlying the seemingly peaceful election in Ilocos Sur? Some manifestations of observations: 1. ERs (Election Returns) without seal (per NASSA-NAMFREL) 2. Substitution of page 3 of ER from precinct 5, Brgy. Ballaigi, Sinait 3. Number of valid ballots greater than number of registered voters 4. Reports of PPCRV poll watchers not given the Citizens’ Accredited Arm copy at the precinct but instead were required to secure these from the municipality 5. Blank/incomplete data on voters and ballots in a number of ERs 6. Delay in canvassing in Candon City and Provincial Canvass 7. Reports of suspension of canvassing in several towns 8. Candon COC had major erasures in gubernatorial post that is not countersigned 9. Narvacan COC total votes were not written in words Question 2: What is the concrete action of the priests of Ilocos Sur vis-àvis the conduct of the election? Today, Monday, May 21, 2007, the ﬁrst day of the Priests’ Assembly held at the Aula de Nuestra Señora de Caridad, at the Archbishop’s Residence in Vigan City, after having deliberated on and scrutinized the conduct of the election, through the help of LENTE (Legal Network for Truthful Elections), we, the priests of Nueva Segovia, under the leadership of our Archbishop Ernesto A. Salgado, declare the following: 1. We CONDEMN the dirty conduct of the 2007 election in Ilocos Sur, in terms of alleged massive vote-buying and vote-selling as well as opponent-buying for unopposed candidacy. We PROTEST against the injustice done to our people by the desecration of their right to choose and elect their leaders. We likewise condemn political dynasties. 2. We SUPPORT all moves to demand the re-counting/re-canvassing of votes at the COMELEC Manila at the fastest possible time to ensure truth and justice as well as conﬁdence in our election processes. 3. We COMMIT ourselves to the on-going political education and mobilization of the people under our care, geared towards political transformation. We afﬁx our signatures this 21st day of May at the Aula de Nuestra Señora de Caridad, at the Archbishop’s Residence in Vigan City. For the Clergy Assembly: MSGR. COSMENIO ROSIMO Priests’ Assembly President Attested by: MOST REV. ERNESTO A. SALGADO Archbishop of Nueva Segovia
Father and communicated at the right time. It is always Jesus’ own holiness, it is always him, the “holy one,” whom the Spirit forms in “holy souls,” making them into friends of Jesus and witnesses of his holiness. George Preca was a friend of Jesus and a witness of the holiness that comes from him. George was born in La Valletta on the island of Malta. He was a priest wholly dedicated to evangelization: through preaching, through writing, through spiritual direction and the administering of the sacraments, and above all by the example of his life. The phrase from John’s Gospel “Verbum caro factum est” always gave direction to his soul and to his deeds, and thus the Lord was able to use him to give life to a meritorious work, “The Society of Christian Doctrine,” which aimed at providing parishes with the service of qualiﬁed, well-formed and generous catechists. A profoundly priestly and mystical soul, he overﬂowed with love for God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the saints. He loved to repeat: “Lord God, how much I owe you! Thank you, Lord God, and forgive me, Lord God!” Saint George Preca, help the Church to always be, in Malta and in the world, the faithful echo of Christ, the incarnate Word. The new saint, Szymon of Lipnica, great son of land of Poland, witness to Christ and follower of the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi, lived long ago, but is proposed to the Church today as a relevant model of a Christian who—animated by the spirit of the Gospel—is ready to give his life for his brothers and sisters.
Thus, ﬁlled with mercy that he drew from the Eucharist, did not hesitate to bring aid to those struck by the plague, contracting the sickness that also brought about his own death. Today in a special way we entrust to his protection those who suffer from poverty, sickness, loneliness and social injustice. Through his intercession we ask for ourselves the grace of persevering and active love for Christ and our brother and sisters. “The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us.” Truly, in the case of the Passionist priest, Father Charles Houben of St. Andrew, we see how that love overﬂowed in a life totally dedicated to the care of souls. During his many years of priestly ministry in England and Ireland, the people ﬂocked to him to seek out his wise counsel, his compassionate care and his healing touch. In the sick and the suffering he recognized the face of the cruciﬁed Christ, to whom he had a lifelong devotion. He drank deeply from the rivers of living water that poured forth from the side of the Pierced One, and in the power of the Spirit he bore witness before the world to the Father’s love. At the funeral of this much-loved priest, affectionately known as Father Charles of Mount Argus, his superior was moved to observe: “The people have already declared him a saint.” Marie-Eugénie of Jesus calls us above all to the importance of the Eucharist in Christian life and in spiritual growth. In fact, as she herself underlined, her ﬁrst Communion had been the defining moment of her life, although she didn’t realize it completely then. Christ, present in the depths of her heart, was working in her, he allowed time to pass according to its own rhythm, so that she could carry out her interior quest that led her to give herself completely to the Lord in religious life, in response to the needs of her times. She perceived in particular the importance of transmitting to the young generations, and in particular to young girls, an intellectual, moral and spiritual education that would make them into adults capable of taking charge of a family, knowing that in this way they were offering their contribution to the Church and society. Her entire life she found the strength to carry out her mission in a life of prayer, always associating contemplation with action. May the example of St. Marie-Eugénie invite the men and women of today to transmit the values that will help the youth to become strong adults and joyous witnesses of the Resurrection. May young people not be afraid to accept these moral and spiritual values, and to live them with patience and ﬁdelity. In this way they will construct their personalities and prepare themselves for their future. Dear brothers and sisters, let us give thanks to God for the marvels that he has accomplished in the saints in whom his glory shines forth. Let us be drawn by their examples, guided by their teachings, so that our entire existence becomes, like theirs, a song of praise to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity. May Mary, the Queen of Saints, and the intercession of these four new “older brothers and sister,” whom we venerate with joy today, obtain this grace for us. Amen.
ing to music. Aside from promoting gospel music with a ‘catholic color’, the foundation also helps various committees and ofﬁces in the Church in producing their albums. Other programs include sending scholars to school, forming choir in the parishes, and holding seminars in liturgical music. “My speciﬁc responsibility is really to look for resources that can help the choir in the parishes. [I] also organize seminars, so they would know and grow in the liturgical sense of what is the right music in the place of worship,” Fr. Carlo said. The Jubilee Ministry staged its ﬁrst acoustic gospel concert with Fr. Carlo and Fr. Mimo in the lead early this year. The Lenten concert which was reﬂective in style got positive reviews from the audience. “Our style is not for entertainment but for recollection,” said Fr. Carlo, explaining that each hymn sung in the concert was introduced in a form of a narrative, elucidating the theme and background of each song. Another concert, which will be Marian in character, is being planned for October this year. “A Gift and a Mission” Fr. Carlo’s compositions are rich in theology and spirituality. He claims he only writes when an idea hits him, so he always keeps his cell phone or mp3 recorder handy in case
inspiration comes knocking anytime. He believes his musical talent is intertwined with his pastoral mission. He concedes that ﬁdelity to his priestly ministry is essential for his gift to ﬂourish and bear fruit. When asked how he came up with songs that are well appreciated and loved by the people, he simply said, “It is a gift and a mission.” He reveals the need to ‘live well’ in order to reap good fruits. One’s life should be lived according to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the mission he entrusted to us. As a shepherd, whose responsibility is to see his ﬂock grow in the love of Christ; he strives to manifest the person of Jesus in his life. Fr. Carlo reminds that music is not the end-all and be-all of everything. Reﬂectively, he observes that for some people, music becomes an end rather than a path towards God. “Don’t replace God with music. God should be ﬁrst, then, music will follow,” he advised. Despite accolades received from various award-giving bodies, his feet remain ﬁrmly rooted on the ground. Fr. Carlo stays humble and meek, leading more people to Christ through his music. “I have this sense of detachment. I do not claim full ownership [of my talents.] It belongs to God,” he said simply. His gift begins from his love for God and ends giving praise to God through music.
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11-24, 2007
Feet… Pilgrims, Workers, Saints…
By Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
FEET, small, big, smooth, silky, callous, leathery, white as porcelain, brown as earth…Feet, female feet, special feet of women who have journeyed far away to ﬁnd work. Pilgrim feet, working feet, loving feet. These were the feet that I contemplated on as I celebrated the liturgy of the washing of the feet last Holy Thursday, April 5, 2007 at St. Joseph’s Church, in Choi Hung. It was my ﬁrst Holy Week in Hong Kong. It was different from my Holy Week in China last year. Holy week like Christmas week was a typical working week in China. I
As I washed the workers’ feet, I began a silent dialogue with them. I listened to them and spoke to them as well. Then I realized how these feet like mine have journeyed far and labored hard. I begin to see not only their feet but mine and those of millions walking and running in search of peace, truth, justice and freedom.
taught and behaved as if those days were no different from other days. A strange inner
guilt gripped me as I behaved casually on days considered special days of intense prayer and fasting. I would try to make up for the lack of external religiosity by taking off and hitting the road. My running feet would engage the earth in a rhythmic dialogue of energies. As I ran, gradually and progressively approaching my destination, I hear the strides of my feet mix with the sounds of a river just a few feet away, the variety of activities enliv-
ening its banks from farmers washing freshly harvested vegetables, fishing hobbyists exchanging banter, the hypnotic sounds of various engines powering vehicles speeding by on a nearby highway. I try
to concentrate on my feet and listen to their prayerful gait. At the end of a run that lasted between one and a half or two hours, I would head home and thank the feet which to this moment have given me the
life of pilgrimage, service and mystery. In China I have gotten used to the inner dialogue between my feet and the rest of me…between feet and mind, heart and soul.
Feet / B7
Atty. Jo Imbong
“IT”s no use,” Cristina said, visibly downcast. She was seated across me perusing the day’s a la carte offering. “I can’t seem to bring myself to really pray earnestly, I mean, really talking to God from the heart, and all that,” she mumbled ruefully. “Why, just how do you pray anyway?” I asked, wondering at myself for the question. How silly of me to ask, I thought, as I dangled a crustacean between my thumb and foreﬁnger. We were having Mediteranean Paella. But I could ask Cristina anything. My humble lunch table is always open to her, much as she is candid to me about her musings on everything in the entire alphabet. Today, however, her ﬁrst words did not augur well for our usual spirited discourses. “My prayer isn’t getting me anywhere,” she blurted as she dropped a half-open clam with a whisk of dismissal. “It’s a shame. God must be grimacing badly at the way I pray to him. Job must have been a really exceptional old chap. My fervor diminishes fast in proportion to the time that passes from the moment I say, ‘Lord . . .’” “Well,” I managed to speak seemingly unaffected, “old Job wasn’t any different from you either.” “Huh, really?” she snapped back, her eyelids a-ﬂutter, anticipating an encouraging word. “Why yes! If you look back at Holy Scripture’s description of Job’s predicament,” I said, “you will have a glimpse of three things: the ways of God, the ways of the devil, and the ways of lowly man—that’s us. Remember,” I continued, struggling not to sound preachy, “the devil asked God’s permission to bedevil (yes, that’s the apt word) Job. He then goes about with his mayhem and afterwards, submits a performance report to God concerning the object of his mischief—Job. Guess who won?” I said, not expecting an answer at this point... “And you know what,” I rushed in, foreclosing any attempt at interruption, “the devil is still at it—the devil tempting you and me, God permitting him, and us putting up a good ﬁght as best we could. And that what makes your prayer—or your attempts at prayer—still pleasing to God,” I declared, smiling, “provided, that,” (Pardon this proviso. Force of habit in any A-atLaw’s vocabulary.) “in the innermost sinew of your will, you refuse to be herded into evil.” Cristina was now in full-attention mode, open-mouthed, she propped her jaw against her right palm from whose fingers dangled a fork. Seizing the moment, I continued, “Put simply, your prayer might seem dispirited to you, dilapidated, boring even, enlivened only by the intrusion of memorable diversions. But God will never think that you are wasting his time—or yours.” And I meant that. Not even when the devil’s buzz to God mentions that you yawned five times during prayer; that these were followed by corner-of-the-eye glances at your flashing mobile phone nearby; then ten minutes of justifying an attitude against your worst detractor; and ﬁnally reveling at memories and glorious fantasies whispered by the devil into your jello-like imagination. Why, that gives Satan a score of 9 to 1. You lose. And Satan adds, for good measure, your belabored attempt at gathering your wits and returning to God’s presence. That was visibly half-hearted, the devil boasts to God. “But,” I interposed, as Cristina started to gesture, “that is not the case.” “And why might that be?” she said, sensing a happy ending. The paella was super! after all. “Because,” I answered, “ﬁrst of all there is nothing to show that our prayer is boring to God as it seems to us. Remember, God’s scale of values, His terms, even, are quite different from ours,” I said with ﬂourish as I attacked a shrimp. “What is light to Him is too luminous for our mortal eyes that are so used to relishing material things, so that God’s light blinds us and we can only see darkness.” (I owe that last one to St. John of the Cross and, before him Dionysius the Areopagite.) “That is why,” I continued, looking at a wide-eyed Cristina, “it would simply be reasonable to think of God telling Satan to his face, ‘But, for whom was she doing it all?’” “And that’s the point Cris!” I exclaimed, dropping my fork. “It would simply be reasonable to expect God crumpling Satan’s silly rating sheet and telling him pointblank, ‘At least she has not gone back to the couch or reached for the TV’s remote. She did go on praying. And she will probably do the same tomorrow but her objective all along is still one thing—and still is—to please Me. And though she imagines that she isn’t doing this, for sure she has no intention of pleasing, not the least, you.’ ” “Call it,” I told Cristina, “the prayer of futility. It is the posture that enables you and me to say without guile, ‘I am nothing. I can do nothing. I deserve nothing. But nothing in the world will induce me to give it up.’ ” A holy man put it so well when he said, “ ...inevitably, God is the reward for such a striving... but God expressing Himself more in His Absence than in His Presence. “ ‘You wouldn’t be looking for Me,’ as God told Pascal, ‘if you hadn’t already found Me.”
Wipe While Wet
“LET’S have our apartment repainted!” my happy wife announced one day. “Great idea!” I nodded with glee, “and you know what? I’ll do it myself!” Suddenly, her demeanor changed. Even her skin color grew pale. She was speechless, her jaw agape. (The last time I saw that “God-help-me” look on her face was when I ﬁrst proposed to her.) “Umm, on second thought,” she muttered weakly, “I think our home looks just ﬁne. The old paint in fact adds character and charm…” But it was useless. I already was off to the hardware. And I knew what my wife was thinking: That I have never painted a house before. But didn’t she know that I painted a lot of other stuff? So when I arrived with twenty-ﬁve gallons of paint in my car trunk, I tried to cheer her up. “Honey, don’t worry. I ‘water colored’ in kindergarten. In fact, my teacher displayed two of my art works on her bulletin board!” Well today, our tiny abode is newly painted. But so is everything else in it, under it, above it, around it—including the mailman that came at the wrong time when I was putting a twenty-sixth coat on the front door. Even my teeth had paint on them. The only part of my body that didn’t have paint on was my intestines. In other words, being totally ignorant about painting, I dripped, spilled, smudged, smeared, splashed paint on every dead or living object found on a two-mile radius around our apartment. (I literally painted the town red. And white, blue, brown…) But you know what? My clumsiness was saved by one of the greatest contraptions ever invented by humankind: A wet rag. No kidding. Whenever my brush dripped, slipped, or painted something that shouldn’t have been painted, all I had to do was This isn’t a lecture on painting houses. This is a reﬂection on the life of a soul. You see, we make mistakes quite often. We spill, smear, splash our souls dirty. All of us do. We think foul thoughts. Dirty thoughts. Vengeful thoughts. Evil thoughts. But here’s the catch. With one stroke, we can remove them easy—as long as they’re still wet. Trust me, they don’t stand a chance. As long we don’t take too long, we can get rid of evil from our minds—and lives. Oh yes, they do return. Again, and again, and again. They’re pretty stubborn, these fellows. But with one stroke, we can wipe them off. Again, and again, and again. The point: Be as stubborn as they are. If we don’t, we’re going to scrubbing dried-up sin in our souls for days, perhaps months, possibly years—even a lifetime. Because our thoughts become our deeds, our deeds become our character, our character become our destiny. Because of this, I now know what hell may look like: It’s a place where the soul is violently, ﬁercely scrubbing off evil from every square inch of its skin-till it’s one grotesque body of festering wounds—but he’ll just keep on scratching and rubbing and scraping for all his painful eternity. My friend, carve this on stone: Wipe while wet. It might just save you an eternity.
With one stroke, we can remove them easy—as long as they’re still wet. Trust me, they don’t stand a chance. As long we don’t take too long, we can get rid of evil from our minds—and lives.
wipe it off with a moist cloth—and eureka, it was gone. But here’s the rule: Wipe while wet. I mean, don’t let a minute pass by. Never, ever let it dry. Because if it does, God have mercy on you. Like it took me two weeks to scrape, rub, and peel the dried-up paint around the house. I used thinner, detergent, cleanser, muriatic acid, sulphuric acid, even ascorbic acid. I even sprinkled holy water. Can I have your full attention please?
“And you know what,” I rushed in, foreclosing any attempt at interruption, “the devil is still at it—the devil tempting you and me, God permitting him, and us putting up a good ﬁght as best we could. And that what makes your prayer—or your attempts at prayer— still pleasing to God.”
Fr. Roy Cimagala
Priests and Politics
STANDARD disclaimers by Church leaders were made when some clerics decided to run for various government posts in the last elections. Everyone was warned that these priests were running on their own, without sanction and permission from the Church or their bishops, and were actually suspended from their priestly duties. All these disclaimers spring from, among others, the Church’s Canon Law which speciﬁcally prohibits priests from getting involved in politics. Its Canon 285,3 states: “Clerics are forbidden to assume public ofﬁce whenever it means sharing in the exercise of civil power.” This provision is preceded by the admonition that says that clerics should shun anything unbecoming to their state, and also should avoid whatever is foreign to their state, even when it is not unseemly. For a priest to get involved in politics is clearly considered in the canon as something unbecoming and foreign to his state. In short, he makes himself a ﬁsh out of water, a square peg in a round hole, a misﬁt, no matter how popular or well-loved he may be by the people. A priest in politics is a clear case of clericalism, a disease quite common in the dark parts of the Church’s long history when there was no clear distinction made between Church and civil powers. It was a bitter and bloody lesson learned. Hopefully, we don’t have to go through it again. “Sharing in the exercise of civil power” can include executive, legislative and judicial power like being a governor or mayor, congressman or senator, judge, etc. This prohibition is based on the very nature of the ministerial priesthood and on the sacred object of its mission. A priest is a witness and dispenser of supernatural values on behalf of Christ and with Christ’s power. In the ﬁrst place, a priest with his holy orders is conformed to Christ as head of the Church, and not just to Christ as member of the Church just like what happens with everybody else with his Christian baptism. tangled in divisive matters, no matter how important they are. When we hear that priests should speak only about God, it means that even if they have to touch on political issues, it has to be clear that the purpose is to conform things to God, and not to take sides or to get involved in the technical aspects. Besides, they have to do it such that there is always charity and mercy. Speaking with the forcefulness of God always respects freedom. There is no bitter zeal involved. Relevant to this point, the Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests says: “The priest cannot take an active role in political parties… In fact, even if these are good things in themselves, they are nevertheless foreign to the clerical state since they can constitute a grave danger of division in the ecclesial community. “The priest ought to refrain from actively engaging himself in politics in order to be a central point of spiritual fraternity. “To intervene directly in political activities and in social organization forms part of the lay faithful’s vocation, in which they work by their own initiative together with their fellow citizens.” (33) I think part of the problem we have now is the perception that we lack credible laymen with authentic Christian spirit and zeal to intervene directly in politics. But is this really so? I have my doubts. Related to that problem is the wellknown clerical mentality quite widespread among us, a result of our history and culture, which leads the lay faithful often to run to the clergy to settle concerns that belong more to them than to the priests.
For a priest to get involved in politics is clearly considered in the canon as something unbecoming and foreign to his state. In short, he makes himself a ﬁsh out of water, a square peg in a round hole, a misﬁt, no matter how popular or well-loved he may be by the people.
As such, his main concern is the salvation of souls which has an eminently spiritual and supernatural character. This spiritual and supernatural character transcends the unavoidable variety and conﬂicts of positions allowed by the autonomous nature of our temporal affairs, such as our politics. Though he can have his own personal views in political issues, the priest as priest should try to be above all these to unite the people for what is absolutely necessary for us, without getting en-
(The author may be reached at ﬁdesvivo@yahoo.com)
© Mike Alquinto/epa/Corbis
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11-24, 2007
PVC: Toxic to Health and Environment
By Lou V. Arsenio
THE Archdiocese of Manila Ecology Desk is in partnership with the Center for Health Environment and Justice in our advocacies for a healthy environment and environmentally safe school. Included in the campaign is the reduction if not the total elimination of toxic materials and chemicals in our markets, households, schools and other institutions. Several studies were made to prove that plastic especially Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) made or content plastics are very dangerous to the environment and human health. Studies show that “some toxic phthalates, which are used to make PVC more ﬂexible, are banned from use in toys not only in the EU but in Korea as well. Nursery bottles made of polycarbonate have also undergone tests to prove their safety. The tests showed negligible amounts of Bisphenol A are released when they are boiled. There can be problems if they are boiled for too long, but boiling them for sterilization purposes for a moment poses no serious threat.” The Korean government has banned the manufacture of cling ﬁlm using phthalates. In addition to concerns about PVC, many plastics also contain additives that can be problematic when heated. Plastics of the same number even contain many different additives, added by manufacturers to achieve speciﬁc qualities for their products. Plastics are a huge combination of chemicals, and separating out oil alone without releasing toxic additives seems very unlikely, especially when the plastics are mixed. PVC plastic is used in shower curtains, packaging, children’s toys, and other products sold at Target, a department store in United States. The production of these products poses serious environmental health threats, requiring the use of dangerous carcinogens such as vinyl chloride. U.S. communities surrounding PVC chemical facilities, half of which are in Louisiana, suffer from groundwater and air pollution. When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, a group of extremely toxic chemicals, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive system. PVC is useless without the addition of a plethora of toxic additives, which are released during use and disposal, resulting in elevated human exposures to dangerous chemicals. For instance the familiar new vinyl shower curtain smell is the smell of toxic chemicals offgassing. PVC is very difﬁcult to recycle and can contaminate the recycling batch of other plastics. “PVC produces Dioxin when burned. Dioxins and furans are some of the most toxic chemicals known to science. A draft report released for public comment in September 1994 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clearly describes dioxin as a serious public health threat. The public health impact of dioxin may rival the impact that DDT had on public health in the 1960’s. According to the EPA report, not only does there appear to be no “safe” level of exposure to dioxin, but levels of dioxin and dioxin-like chemicals have been found in the general US population that are “at or near levels associated with adverse health effects. . “Dioxin is a general term that describes a group of hundreds of chemicals that are highly persistent in the environment. The most toxic compound is 2,3,7,8tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD. The toxicity of other dioxins and chemicals like PCBs that act like dioxin are measured in relation to TCDD. Dioxin is formed as an unintentional byproduct of many industrial processes involving chlorine such as waste incineration, chemical and pesticide manufacturing and pulp and paper bleaching. Dioxin was the primary toxic component of Agent Orange, was found at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY and was the basis for evacuations at Times Beach, MO and Seveso, Italy. “Dioxin is formed by burning chlorine-based chemical compounds with hydrocarbons. The major source of dioxin in the environment comes from wasteburning incinerators of various sorts and also from backyard burn-barrels. Dioxin pollution is also afﬁliated with paper mills which use chlorine bleaching in their process and with the production of PVC plastics and with the production of certain chlorinated chemicals (like many pesticides).” (source: Dioxin researches from US NTP) Cancer caused by dioxin according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer are lung, stomach, liver and connective tissue. It can also cause neonatal abnormalities, change in sex ratio (as tested in animals-decreased sperm count, congenital malformations-cleft palate, kidney disorders), decreased testes size, premature onset of puberty, feminization of behavior and endometriosis. In humans, it has shown to cause altered level of sex ratio. It has hormone effects which causes decrease in testosterone at relatively high dosage. Infants exposed during prenatal shows decreased levels of thyroid hormone. It has also developmental neurotoxic effects. Thus, dioxin can cause decreased psychomotor ability, hearing deficits, cognitive defects and behavioral alterations in infants. It was also noted that cancer among children are on the rise such as leukemia, cancer of the bones, brain and the like. To prevent the production of dioxin, we should look for available alternatives to PVC and plastic. As Filipinos we ought to use our indigenous materials. The alternatives will be discussed in the next issue. (Training for the Environmentally Safe School and how to develop a Green Flag School Program will be held on June 7-8, 2007 at the Caritas Manila Multipurpose Bldg, Caritas Manila Compound, Pandacan, Manila. Interested schools may contact our office at (02) 562-34 70, Tel/Fax (02) 561-9975 or email: ecology_rcam @yahoo.com.)
Gumaca / B3
Feet / B6
cese formulates lay leadership training program that aims to educate, form and empower the lay leaders to become catalysts and active builders of a transformed Christian community. Through seminars regularly conducted for the members of the Diocesan Council of the Laity (DCL) and the Parish Pastoral Councils it hopes to energize and strengthen the lay leaders to become responsible agents of a vibrant faith community. The BEC leaders and lay missionaries are likewise trained in their catechism to articulate and afﬁrm the role of faith especially in their continuing struggle for human dignity and justice amidst the growing poverty, oppression and ecological problems. Recollections and retreats help religious organizations especially the catechists to harness their spiritual and moral force as well as their prophetic role towards a higher level of pastoral engagements according to the gospel of life. Lay leaders’ convention or sectoral assemblies are other venues whereby orientation on important religiosocio-cultural-political concerns and issues are tackled based on Catholic Christian perspective and teachings. All these training and formation programs are intend to reinvigorate, direct and empower our lay leaders towards the building of the community of disciples and the Church of the poor. BEC, A Way of Being Church The Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), also called in the local parlance as the Munting Sambayanang Kristiyano or MSKs started in the diocese in 1980, ﬁve years before its foundation. In their inception, MSKs emerged as grassroots communities of poor farmers and ﬁsher folks, which strive to integrate faith and their daily life. The reason being that these small communities of Christians (MSKs) were ﬁrst organized in the far ﬂung villages where our poor people could hardly go to the parish church due to economic, geographical and transportation constrains. With the ardent desire to rebuild and strengthen the MSKs, the diocese, with the help of the Bukal ng Tipan, a group engaged in promoting and strengthening BEC programs, revisited its MSK program in 2004. Taking into account the completed
survey and evaluation, new proposals were made, making MSK, a way of being Church. Following the new scheme, every MSKs should be characterized by: Kapitbahayan (neighborhood based, not barangay/sitio communities); Nakaugat sa Salita ng Diyos (centered on the word of God); Aksyon (towards concrete action); Nakaugnay sa Kalakhang Simbahan (linked with the parish church). Vital to sustain these communities, MSKs should consider the following: Vision, Structure, Witnessing, Skills, Culture. The new designed MSK would be vigorously promoted for the full living of the Christian vocation in the kapitbahayan both in the barrio/barangay areas and parish centers. It would not simply be considered another organization for the poor farmers and ﬁsher folks, but a way of life centered around the word of God and the Eucharist. As a participatory church it should likewise have a strong sense of belongingness and responsibility for others especially the poor and the deprived (PCP II). Moreover, MSKs would still be united to their pastors, though led by the elected lay leaders in building their communities and ministered every Sunday by the appointed prayer leaders. Once a month, the priests would continue to visit them to celebrate the sacraments particularly the Eucharist. They would likewise guide and encourage the people by regular catechesis towards social transformation. On the part of the people, on the one hand, all the ofﬁcers of each MSKs, including the catechists, would still gather together in a designated time and place for their regular catechesis and to discuss important concerns that will be beneﬁcial for the greater majority of the people. The prayer leaders on the other hand, under the guidance of their priests would study the word of God which they will dispense during their Sunday liturgical celebration. Being the thrust of the diocese, all the parish are enjoined to organize and reorganized their MSKs according to this new BEC model. It is in this new way of being church, the diocese believes, that communion, participation and mission as envisioned by PCP II would take place.
Tonight, I encountered rather different feet, OFWs’ feet that seemed to speak and cry out their stories. As I held those feet, poured water, applied soap and washed them, I heard sobs and then saw tears. I did not exactly understand those tears, but as I listened and watched, certain tenderness began to spread within me. I realize that I was washing the feet of those whose hands, minds, hearts and even souls have been enduring wounds inﬂicted by both persons and situations as well. These were the feet of my “kababayan,” fellow countrywomen who have become overseas workers and a good number of modern-day slaves in another country. I saw feet not comely but glowing with existential eloquence, feet that spoke, cried, denounced, protested, groaned, and throbbed with untold burden and anguish. As I washed the workers’ feet, I began a silent dialogue with them. I listened to them and spoke to them as well. Then I realized how these feet like mine have journeyed far and labored hard. I begin to see
not only their feet but mine and those of millions walking and running in search of peace, truth, justice and freedom. Now these feet, theirs and mine are together here in Hong Kong. Why? The feet need not speak. The calluses, scars, varicose veins, stains of every kind tell quite a story, the story of the Overseas Filipino Workers in Hong Kong and the rest of the world. Before I concluded the Eucharist, I requested some of those whose feet I washed and were washed by fellow migrants to share. All without exception expressed the same sentiment, “habang hinuhugasan ang aking paa, naramdaman ko si Kristo…at gumaan nang husto ang aking loob, mapayapa…” “While my feet were being washed I felt Christ and I felt light, I felt peace….” One even emphasized how she felt a melting feeling, spreading tenderness and peace from her feet to her heart. The Filipina workers’ testimonies were but the surface of an explosive narrative of migrancy with its complex economic, social, psychological,
moral dimensions and consequences often manifested as wounds. It was a narrative of pilgrim workers in search of depth, meaning, healing, indeed, in search of God. The story of Filipina workers’ feet this Maundy Thursday has left a silent but deep impact on me. This story makes me ask and contemplate even more… if feet are not just feet and workers are not only workers, then what more? Deep beneath, behind and within the surface of those neglected, ignored and quite often abused are souls athirst for healing and fullness of life, a state, a condition which workers almost always equate with God. Those feet were eloquent because they said much without even uttering a word, except one word that struck deep chords within… holy (both the state and more importantly the process leading to it). There is much more crying out to be done but we can begin here, looking at and washing the feet of pilgrims… workers… saints.
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Vol. 11 No. 12
June 11-24, 2007
Title: PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: AT WORLD’S END Running Time: 167 minutes Lead Cast: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly, Chow Yun Fat, Geoffrey Rush Director: Gore Verbinski Screenplay: Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski Editing: Craig Wood, Stephen Rivkin Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer Music: Hans Zimmer Location: Carribean Seas Genre: Action /Adventure Distributor: Columbia Pictures / Buena Vista Pictures Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: Cinema Rating : V13
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
CINEMA Rating Guide
VA - For viewers of all ages V13 - For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance V14 - For viewers 14 and above V18 - For mature viewers 18 and above NP - Not for public viewing
PICKING off from Dead Man’s Chest, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) face off with the ﬁery Chinese pirate Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) in their effort to ﬁnd the map to the world’s end to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from Davy Jones’ locker. Together with Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), the old gang try to reunite the nine Pirate Lords to fight against Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) of the East India Trading Company who manages to make/force an alliance with Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). With each character having his individual agenda, will they be able to work together to defeat Lord Beckett and the Flying Dutchman before freedom is totally lost? Once again, the movie is a visual feast of the flowing combination of constantly stunning designs and technical genius. Depp scores high as he reprised the swaggering and slurring Captain Sparrow. The ﬁlm can be most appreciated for its extraordinary attention to detail with exquisitely delivered performances by Depp, Rush and even
Nighy under all his tentacles, as well as the ﬁnely crafted costumes, production design and special effects. However, a movie is foremost storytelling and hence necessitates a clear and coherent storyline. For the third time, Verbinski overburdens the ﬁlm with many plotlines that disturb the audience amidst the confusion and the bombardment of special effects. As this is already the third installment, the ﬁlmmakers could have shaven off half of its subplots and focused on the three major characters to give them texture and depth. While there was more and more thrown up on the screen, there was less and less to touch our hearts and minds. Bootstrap Turner remarks “It’s not about living forever; the trick is living with yourself”, and truly each character is tested accordingly. They begin to pretend working together while each had a personal agenda at the back of his mind with the full realization that no one is about to keep his word. After awhile the ﬁlm turns into one big, knotted mess of crosses, double crosses, triple crosses, quadruple crosses and double quadruple crosses. But at the end, the characters realize that they need to make choices, either to follow a self-serving road or to let go of individual objectives to work for the common good. This is a good way to re-awaken the growing indifference of a self-absorbed society starting to care less and less for the group. Although the characters are pirates, the movie emphasizes that success comes sweeter with teamwork and unity regardless of individual strengths and ability. Hence, life – no matter how short or seemingly insigniﬁcant – matters when at the very core of yourself, you have discovered values that make you let go of yourself, making you a better person for others.
Title: PAANO KITA IIBIGIN Running Time: 120 mins. Starring: Regine Velasquez, Piolo Pascual, Eugene Domingo, Quintin Alianza, Iya Villana Director: Bb. Joyce Bernal Producer: Star Cinema and Viva Films Screenplay: Mel-Mendoza Del Rosario, John Paul Abellera, Vanessa Valdez Cinematography: Charlie Peralta Editor: Marya Ignacio Genre: Drama, Romance Distributor: Star CINEMA Technical Assessment: 1/2 Moral Assessment: 1/2 Rating: For viewers 14 and above
ANSWER TO THE LAST ISSUE: (1) AN EXCUSE IS WORSE AND MORE TERRIBLE THAN A LIE FOR EXCUSE IS A LIE GUARDED. POPE JOHN PAUL II (2) TO SEEK THE HIGHEST GOOD IS TO LIVE WELL. ST. AUGUSTINE
QUOTES IN QUIZ B O O K L E T S A V A I L A B L E AT BOOKSALE STORES IN SM, ROBINSONS AND SELECTED MALLS IN MANILA. FOR MAIL ORDER TEXT 0919 2803036.
SI MARTEE (Regine Velasquez) ay binagyo ng mga problema. Matapos matanggal sa trabaho, napalayas naman siya sa kanyang inuupahang apartment. Kasabay nito, kinailangan nyang ilipat ng lugar ang kanyang anak sa pagkadalaga na si Liam (Quintin Alianza) kung saan mas maaliwalas at walang polusyon gawa ng ang batang ito ay may hika. Bilang regalo ng kapatid ni Martee, napadpad sila sa isang luma at napabayaang resort sa Zambales at dito ay mapipilitan siyang mamasukan at manirahan dala ng matinding pangangailangan. Ang resort ay pagmamay-ari ni Lance (Piolo Pascual) na sa bawat araw ay nilulunod ang sarili sa alak upang makawala sa mapait na alaala ng nakaraan- ang pagkamatay ng kanyang nobya (Iya Villana) sa isang aksidente. Sa una’y hindi magkasundo sina Martee at Lance. Paano magtatagpo ang damdamin ng isang babaeng galit sa mga lalaki dahil sa pag-iwan sa kanila ng ama ng kanyang anak at isang lalaking nakatali sa malalim na sugat ng nakaraan? Isang nakaaaliw na pelikula ang Paano Kita Iibigin. Kumbaga sa isang putahe, tama ang sangkap at mahusay ang pagkakahalo ng iba’t-ibang elemento. Bagama’t lumang pormula at komersyal, naging natural ang daloy ng kuwento at hindi pilit. Bukod sa mahusay na pagganap ng mga pangunahing tauhan, ang tunay na naging yaman ng pelikula ay si Eugene Domingo bilang Liwayway na binubuhay ang bawat eksena sa kanyang matalinong paraan ng komedya. Buo ang kuwento at hindi nag-iwan ng anumang tanong maliban sa kung anong pamilya ang pinanggalingan ni Martee na siya dapat magbibigay paliwanag sa uri ng kanyang karakter na madalas komplikado at hindi consistent. Paano nga ba mag-iibigan ang dalawang pusong may kani-kaniyang lamat? Tama ang pelikula sa pagsasabing kinakailangan munang paghilumin ang anumang sugat ng nakaraan
Title: OCEAN’S THIRTEEN Running Time: 100 min. Cast: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Elliot Gould, Al Pacino Director: Steven Soderbergh Producer: Jerry Weintraub Screenwriters: Brian Koppelman, David Levein Music: David Holmes Editor: Stephen Mirrione Cinematography: Steven Soderbergh Distributor: Warner Bros. Location: U.S.A Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above
CASINO operator Willie Bank (Al Pacino) double-crosses Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) which lands Tishkoff in a hospital’s ICU with a grave heart condition. Tishkoff is the friend and mentor of Danny Ocean (George Clooney) who in turn gives Willie a chance to redeem himself by letting Tishkoff get his fair share of the newest casino in Las Vegas, called “Bank”. But Willie simply snickers off the offer, so Ocean reassembles his gang—this time they’re 13—and together they scheme to rig every game on Bank’s opening night so that every gambler around can break the casino. The manufacturers of Bank’s machines are paid off so that all tools of the trade—dice, cards, slot machines etc.—may be “fixed” and cleverly installed without Willie getting any wiser. On top of this they plan to run off with Willie’s cherished upang mabuong muli ang puso para magmahal. Ang pagkatao ay hindi maaring mabago ng ibang tao. Sa halip, tanging ang sarili at Diyos lamang ang maaring gumawa ng paraan tungo sa tuluyang pagbabago. Bagama’t nakababahalang imahe ang malabis na paglalasing ni Lance, ito ay dahil sa matinding pait ng nakaraan at halos hindi niya alam ang kanyang ginagawa bunga ng malabis na depresyon. Isang aral din ang matututunan sa pelikula ukol sa responsableng pagmamaneho. Si Martee, bagama’t minsan ay niloko
diamonds worth $250 million kept in an impenetrable room on the casino’s top ﬂoor. In recruiting actors for Ocean’s 13, director Steven Soderbergh made one unbreakable rule: No jerks. Which means no one actor would demand special treatment over the others. The rule implied that the camaraderie among the ﬁctitious Ocean and his 13 collaborators must be lived in real life among the actors playing the roles. This resulted in a wonderful comradeship on the screen. Soderbergh’s instincts paid off, for it is no mean thing to pull off—this chemistry among big stars (Clooney, Pacino, Pitt, Damon, Garcia, Cheadle, Afﬂeck) worked for the success of the movie. Ellen Barkin also provided the comic break with her playing of the sex starved woman “of a certain age” falling for a younger man (Damon’s second role in the movie). Director and director of photography Soderbergh wants to show in Ocean’s 13 that even among thieves, there is also something that approximates honor. Pacino’s character, Willi Banks, broke the code and so he became the target of revenge. There are many deeper issues Ocean’s 13 could lead a reﬂective viewer to, but one has to keep up with the story’s fast pace and muddle through those sets (the casino design is colorful to the point of garishness—see what money without taste can do) in order to ponder these issues. Thievery can be clever, and thieves brilliant, but thieves are thieves, in any language. And that is baaaaad! na ng lalaki ay kataka-takang pawang wala pa ring natutunan sa karanasang ito. Siguro nga’y dala ito ng karupukan at mababaw na pananampalataya sa Diyos. Ngunit dahil na rin sa paulit-ulit na pagpapa-alala sa kanya na God is good ay natuto na rin siya. Ang mga desisyon nia sa bandang huli ay kakikitaan ng pagkamatatag at pagkatuto sa mga maling desisyon. Dapat ding gabayan ang mga batang manonood sa konteksto ng manaka-nakang pagmumura at eksena ng pagtatalik ng dalawang taong hindi pa kasal.
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