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in the Holy Land
‘New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship.’
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
CBCP issues pastoral exhortation on Swine flu pandemic
OBSERVING precautionary health measures, coupled with prayers, is the best response towards the outbreak of the “Swine Flu” pandemic. Thus says Jaro, Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdameo in his recent pastoral exhortation, wherein he urged the Filipino faithful to pray for the countries affected by the infamous influenza virus strain that has become a global pandemic since its outbreak in Mexico last month.
Swine Flu / A6
May 11 - 24, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 10
Bishop calls on GMA to fulfill promise to extend CARP
By Roy Lagarde
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said even President Gloria Arroyo has vowed for support for CARP but from the perspective of the farmers, nothing significant development took place as yet. Pabillo said some lawmakers, both from the Senate and the lower House, have succeeded in delaying the approval of bills seeking to extend CARP implementation with reforms. These coming weeks, he said, they expect a deluge of killer amendments so that even if the program is extended, the already weak law would be rendered inutile with more loopholes. “President Arroyo promised us to support CARP. We ask her now to implement it without the killer amendments,” he said. “Placing some killer amendments into the program is not according to
CARP / A6
AS the life of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) nears end, a church leader urged government officials to fulfill their promises of extending the program free from any ‘killer amendments’.
Cagayan leads moves for alternative mining bill
CHURCH-LABOR DIALOGUE. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales (center) reads the contents of a position paper brought by representatives of various labor unions including Federation of Free Workers, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, LABOREM, ZOTO, and Alliance of Progressive Labor, Kanlungan Center Foundation and AMLC. The meeting, held at the Residencia de Arzobispo recently, secured a commitment from the Prelate of Manila for a more aggressive church intervention for labor protection and labor rights. (Contributed Photo)
Cardinal Rosales meets labor leaders
THE Church of Manila has responded to the need for the protection of ordinary workers amid the economic downturn and growing fears of job losses. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales yesterday met with union leaders and vowed to advocate for worker’s welfare with organized labor. Rosales is all out for the establishment of unemployment insurance which he proposed to call “Pondo ng Pinoy para sa mga Manggagawa.” He said the fund to be generated from the program “could be used to provide direct services to workers like providing free legal assistance.” Rosales is the brainchild of the successful Pondo ng Pinoy which the Catholic has used to fund feeding programs for poor families, among others. But the church leader expressed apprehension over how the program will be implemented. “I’m wary that the social security contributions of workers who avail of the insurance scheme will be wiped out,” he said. The cardinal then asked the workers to present their proposal to him and other Catholic bishops for unemployment insurance. Rosales said he will seek the attention of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to include in their next meeting an audience with the labor groups. “Labor is very happy with the support the cardinal is giving to workers,” said Julius Cainglet, Media Officer of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW). “The invitation to the CBCP meeting is a clear indication of the commitment of the Cardinal to prioritize workers, especially since the global financial crisis is already taking its toll on labor,” Cainglet added. The FFW has historical ties with the church, having been established by a Jesuit priest almost 59 years ago. The cardinal reached out to the workers through the Archdiocesan Ministry for Labor Concerns (AMLC) headed by Fr. Erik Adoviso. This was the second time that Manila archbishop
met with labor leaders. Last month, he also met with a handful of union leaders and asked them to “concretize” their demands so he could generate support for the proposals easily. Workers are also asking for a moratorium on demolitions, evictions and foreclosures of unpaid housing loans. They also want to put a stop on the increase of tuition and other fees. Union leaders also sought the help of the church in making sure that companies do not make the crisis an excuse to violate core labor standards on job security, wages and working conditions. Other groups joining the Church-Labor Conference are the Urban Missionaries, Partido ng Manggagawa, Alliance of Progressive, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Labor’s Advocacy for Reform Movement (LABOREM), Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO), Kanlungan Center Foundation and the Archdiocesan Ministry for Labor Concerns. (CBCPNews)
THE Archdiocese of Cagayan the Oro is at the forefront of an initiative pushing for an alternative mining bill (AMB). A forum titled “Discussion on Alternative Mining Bill” was convened by the Archdiocesan Social Action Center on May 13 at the Archbishop Patrick Cronin Hall of St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral in collaboration with the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-KSK/ FoEP). The discussion was a parallel activity to the official filing of the Alternative Mining Bill on May 13 at the House of Representatives by Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” R. Tañada III (Liberal Party, 4th District, Quezon) and AKBAYAN representative, Congresswoman Riza Hontiveros. Social Action director Rev. Fr. Jose A. Cabantan called on the House of Representatives to support the passage of the AMB, saying “it is now time to scrap the RA 7942.” “The AMB aims to bring back the exploration, development and utilization of mineral resources within the framework of national development, the right of peoples to self determination, and respect for human rights and the environment,” Cabantan said. Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J., D.D. also joined Cabantan’s call, stressing that after fourteen years of the implementation of the Mining Act of 1995, no solid proof of progress especially in the sites of struggles (SOS, the term used to refer to communities in the mining areas) is evidenced. “Fourteen years of the implementation of the Mining Act of 1995 had brought about the physical and economic dislocation of many indigenous peoples and other upland rural comMining Bill / A6
CFC lets go of GK control
Bishop scoffs at Pacquiao’s DOJ roles
A CATHOLIC bishop scoffed at the appointment ing to be an intelligence agent should have been of Manny Pacquiao as the Department of Justice’s appointed. special assistant on “intelligence matters.” Pabillo also said that the pound-for-pound Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo king could be better utilized if he is apsaid the boxing champ was tapped by the pointed in a field where his DOJ as its new aide not because of his exskills are beyond doubt, such pertise but due to his popularity. as in sports. “They are just using his popularity, not his DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez expertise,” he said. yesterday named Pacquiao Pabillo questioned the capability as his special assistant, in an of Pacquiao to fulfill his role, saying “honorary status”, and can now that his expertise clearly lies in the perform functions as assigned sport of boxing. by the former and the National “His clout is on boxing. One’s Bureau of Investigation (NBI). expertise in one field cannot just The DOJ chief said Pacquiao be transferred to others,” he and his vast influence, especialadded. ly in Mindanao, could be used Instead of Pacquiao, according in gathering vital intelligence to the bishop, a person deserv- Illustration by Bladimer Usi information. (CBCPNews)
PRO-POOR housing advocate to let go of GK as one of its Gawad Kalinga Community ministry is not tantamount to Development Foundation Inc. the group’s neglect of its pro(GK) will soon have a leaderpoor ministry. ship board and corporate “CFC members who are identity independent from the currently involved in GK are Couples for Christ Internaenjoined to continue their prestional Council (CFC-IC). ence and work in the GK comThis transpired as CFC exmunities. CFC and GK, while ecutive director Joe Tale anwith distinct governance and nounced the major decision corporate structure, will conof the CFC-IC “to let go of tinue to collaborate in the GK the governance and corporate villages. This is because of structure of GK” so the latter CFC Executive Director Joe Tale CFC’s solidarity with and comcan focus on its expanding work within and out- mitment to the poor,” he said, adding that CFC will side the country as a non-religious organization. focus on their work in the Prison Ministry, Feed My Tale justified the decision in saying that as GK Sheep and the Migrant Workers Program. grew and upscaled in the recent years, the “CFC Since CFC will cease to have institutional authorMission” and the “GK Way” evolved distinctly, ity over GK, Tale will cease to be the GK Board highlighting fundamental and deepening diversity Chairman and Melo Villaroman, Jr. will step down in approach and implementation. as GK President as the CFC-IC members will tran“While CFC is pursuing the fullness of the mis- sition out of the 12-man GK Board. sion, GK is focused on nation building and poverty “The vacancies will be filled by new board alleviation, which necessitate that it mainstreams members, some of whom may possibly be CFC and partners with all sectors of society. It is even members. Of the five remaining GK board mempoised to enter non-Christian countries (such as bers, four are CFC members; Ateneo de Manila India, Indonesia and the Middle East) as a non- University President Fr. Ben Nebres, S.J. is the fifth religious organization,” Tale said. member,” Tale said. “[As such], there has been honest divergence of For his part, GK executive director Antonio opinions [from] these fundamental differences. We “Tony” Meloto only said that the consequences have tried to resolve these differences in various of the decision and “the spirit of the proposal was ways especially in the last two years, including for greater empowerment of both CFC and GK, to the attempt to strengthen oneness of leadership remove confusion and to restore relationships.” through the changes in the organizational struc“We believe that the work with the poor should ture. However, despite our common best efforts not suffer because of our differences. We believe and intentions, unity continues to be elusive under that allowing GK to operate independently of the the present structure,” he added. authority of the IC is the right step to take for CFC, Tale, however, clarified that the decision of CFC GK and the poor,” he added. (Kris Bayos)
Poll watchdogs’ summit urged
A CHURCH-BASED election watchdog is open to the idea of holding a “national summit” for all non-government organizations involved in the campaign for credible 2010 polls. The head of the Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) made the statement May 11 amid the mushrooming of several groups all seeking for change in the country’s electoral system. PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa said a national summit could facilitate the setting of common direction for all groups also looking for change in the country’s political system. “That’s a good idea so that we will have common direction... but without sacrificing the individual identities of each group,” said De Villa who also chairs the National Movement for Free Elections.
The former envoy to the Holy See added that having such a convention would show that many people are willing to sacrifice for genuine change in the government. Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rene Sarmiento agreed with De Villa in saying it would be good to unite efforts all aiming for a clean, honest and credible elections. “That is a good proposal to bring together the forces of
Watchdogs / A6
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
Benedict XVI reiterates church’s link to Jews
the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert. “It is appropriate that my pilgrimage should begin on this mountain, where Moses contemplated the Promised Land from afar,” the Pontiff said. “Moses gazed upon the Promised Land from afar, at the end of his earthly pilgrimage. His example reminds us that we too are part of the ageless pilgrimage of God’s people through history.” “From the earliest times,” the Holy Father continued, “Christians have come on pilgrimage to the sites linked to the history of the Chosen People, the events of Christ’s life and the nascent Church.” “This great tradition,” he added, “which my present pilgrimage is meant to continue and confirm, is grounded in the desire to see, to touch, and to savor in prayer and contemplation the places blessed by the physical presence of our Savior, his Blessed Mother, the apostles and the first disciples who saw him risen
Papal pilgrimage begins overlooking the Promised Land
from the dead.” “The ancient tradition of pilgrimage to the holy places also reminds us of the inseparable bond between the Church and the Jewish people,” the Pontiff explained. “From the beginning, the Church in these lands has commemorated in her liturgy the great figures of the Patriarchs and Prophets, as a sign of her profound appreciation of the unity of the two Testaments.” “May our encounter today,” the Pope concluded, “inspire in us a renewed love for the canon of sacred Scripture and a desire to overcome all obstacles to the reconciliation of Christians and Jews in mutual respect and cooperation in the service of that peace to which the word of God calls us!” New Moses Father José Rodrígez Carballo, General Minister of the Franciscans living in the Holy Land, who welcomed the Holy Father, said, “You are not alone on this journey. We want to accom-
AMMAN, Jordan, May 9, 2009—Benedict XVI is affirming the continued unity of Christians and Jews in the ancient practice of pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
English-speaking priests called to Rome for ‘Year for the Priests’ seminar
HARRISBURG, Pa., May 10, 2009—In honor of the 223rd birthday of St. John Vianney, two of the largest English-speaking associations for parish priests and deacons have announced a joint conference in Rome to encourage the ongoing formation of clergy. Pope Benedict has designated 2010 as the Year of Priests and has invoked the patronage of the Curé of Ars, St. John Vianney. Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, who was born on May 8, 1786 and ministered in France. He became so well-known for his spiritual direction that pilgrims would come from distant places to speak with him. The Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and the American Confraternity of Catholic Clergy have responded to the Year of Priests and organized a special seminar in Rome to “promote ongoing formation of the clergy in a fraternal setting.” The seminar is in response to the call of the Second Vatican Council and supported by Cannon Law. Speakers will be selected based upon their “orthodoxy and loyalty to the Magisterium.” All priests and deacons from English speaking countries are invited to attend the event regardless of their membership to either the ACCC or CCC. National Chairman, Rev. Michael Kennedy, PP, (Australia) and President, Rev. John Trigilio, Jr, PhD, (U.S.A.) have urged their members to “honor Pope Benedict’s Year for the Priests by coming to Rome in January 2010 to spend time in prayer, study, and sacerdotal fraternity.” (CNA)
The Pope visited the Basilica of the Moses Memorial at Mount Nebo today, commencing his weeklong Holy Land pilgrimage. Tradition holds that it was here that God showed Moses
pany you, or rather follow you, just as once the people of Israel followed Moses and were led by him.” “Today,” he continued, “we still feel as though we are in the desert and we need someone who leads us to the Lord, someone who helps us get to know him as a provident and compassionate Father, as Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed him to us.” “Your Holiness, we entrust ourselves to you on this pilgrimage,” the Franciscan priest declared. “Take our pleas to the Lord and address us again with that Word, which is the only one that can give us salvation.” In his remarks, the Holy Father thanked in particular Father Carballo and the Franciscan friars who minister to the Holy Land pilgrims for “their age-old presence in these lands, their joyful fidelity to the charism of St. Francis, and their generous concern for the spiritual and material welfare of the local Christian communities and the countless pilgrims who visit the Holy Land each year.” (Zenit)
Sichuan earthquake: quake victims mark anniversary with silent protests
BEIJING, China, May 11, 2009—Dozens of families who lost children in the 12 May 2008 Sichuan earthquake will take part in a sit-in and go on a hunger strike to protest against the provincial government’s unwillingness to investigate why so many schools collapsed. Some parents said that they will stand in silent protest as President Hu Jintao and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon take part in a ceremony commemorating the deaths of 1,400 high school students in the city of Beichuan. According to official figures, some 5,335 students were killed (other sources put the actual number at more than 7,000) under the rubble of their schools as if they had been built with tofu whilst adjacent buildings withstood the quake. Provincial authorities reassured the public right after the event, saying that investigations would quickly follow, only to reject demands by parents to know how schools were built. Recently provincial construction director Yang Hongbo said there was limited evidence of poor construction. However, the authorities insisted that the power of the quake was to blame for the scale of human losses, this despite the fact that China’s National Audit Office determined that schools were forced to operate on 55 per cent of their budget with the rest embezzled. Parents are warning that they are not going to give up or accept compromises. Many of them lost their only child and are now set to dedicate the rest of their life to justice. “I feel I have no future, nothing,” said Lin Changhen who lost her only daughter. For her the 60,000 yuan the government gave her in compensation is “dirty.” “We don’t necessarily want compensation or trials, but we want a fair, just answer,” said Zheng Chenglong, whose son Zheng Jiajie died in a collapsed school. By contrast, the government is more interested in helping the local economy recover in an area the size of Germany with a population of 87 million people, and this despite the huge damages inflicted by the quake: 3,340 schools damaged or destroyed, more than 300 kilometers of highways and 1,700 kilometers of local roads in need of repair. Following the quake the government invested heavily in reconstruction. Despite five million homeless people, public money raised the local GDP by 9.5 per cent over the previous year. In the third quarter of 2008 the provincial economy actually grew by 10.1 per cent. However, many businesses in the petrochemical, machinery, electricity and food industries are still reeling from the impact of the quake, so are many residents, still feeling the effects of huge human losses. (AsiaNews/Agencies)
VATICAN CITY, May 8, 2009— In an article published this morning, Italian Vatican analyst Sandro Magister notes that, while L’Osservatore Romano has praised Barack Obama for his “moderation,” two scholars from the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences have harshly criticized the U.S. President for his position on life issues. In his article titled “Angel or Demon? At the Vatican, Obama is both,” Magister explains that the divide between the “olympic calmness” of the Vatican newspaper in evaluating Obama’s first 100 days and the “growing number of critics among lay people and bishops” in the U.S., has created a “stupor” in some Vatican dicasteries. Unlike some U.S. analysts, who claim that there is no sign of animosity toward Obama in the Roman Curia, Magister says that, following the pro-Obama article of L’Osservatore Romano, the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences has
Obama is both ‘Angel and Demon’ at the Vatican, Magister says
US President Barack Obama and Vatican Analyst Sandro Magister
been a venue for sharp criticism against the U.S. President. The meeting was held at the Vatican, May 1 – 5. Magister recalls that the President of the Pontifical Academy is none other than Professor Mary Ann Glendon, who recovered her position after leaving her
post as the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Professor Glendon recently rejected the Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame in protest for the university’s decision to bestow an honorary degree to President Obama on May 17.
The Vatican expert reveals that French Archbishop Roland Minnerath and Belgian priest and scholar Michel Schooyans coordinated their conferences to deliver a harsh criticism on the “messianic” mentality of both President Obama and Tony Blair. Before reproducing the second part of Schooyans’ conference, Magister notes that Archbishop Minnerath, 62, is “well known” by Pope Benedict XVI, who appointed him special secretary to the Synod of Bishops of 2005. Schooyans, on his part, is one of the top scholars on international policies related to life issues. The second part of Schooyans’ conference, titled “Obama and Blair Messianism Reinterpreted,” in which the Belgian scholar claims that abortion worldwide will dramatically grow as a consequence of Obama’s anti-life policies, is fully reproduced by Magister at: http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/?eng=y. (CNA)
Neocatechumenal Way founder awarded doctorate
ROME, May 8, 2009—The Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family is awarding an honorary doctorate to Kiko Argüello, one of the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way. The institute, situated at Rome’s Lateran University with other locations around the world, announced that on May 13 it will invest as doctors “Honoris Causa” both the Spanish founder, Francisco (Kiko) Argüello, and an Italian sociology professor, Pierpaolo Donati. A statement from the institute notes that the contributions of both men to the field of family studies are valued as “authoritative references for its own teaching and research work.” The institute underlined “the strong commitment of the Neocatechumenal Way on family issues” by its emphasis on “the experience of the ‘domestic celebration’ with which it sends families on a mission.” It also pointed out the value of the lay group’s “promotion, together with other ecclesiastical organizations, of major initiatives in support of the family,” especially the “Family Day in Italy and the 2007 Feast of the Holy Family in Madrid.” Donati, the other doctorate recipient, is a professor from the University of Bologna, and was named by the institute as “one of the top experts in the world of family sociology.” The institute stated that Donati has made a valuable contribution to building “a humanistic sociology that distances itself from all forms of scientific reductionism and cultural relativism,” with a particular criticism of the functionalist and Marxist approaches. It added, “From this [arises] the idea of relational sociology,” Donati’s “original and fruitful creation: from this perspective, the family is not a simple sum of individuals or an organic body, but a set of vital relations.” (Zenit)
Founder Francisco Argüello
Pro-life ‘Imagine’ adoption ad approved to run during ‘American Idol
WASHINGTON D.C., May 11, 2009—A new pro-life video listing famous people who have been adopted has received initial acceptance for broadcast on the closing episode of “American Idol.” The ad, produced by CatholicVote.org as part of its “Imagine the Potential” series, shows people such as John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, Babe Ruth, Nancy Reagan, Bill Clinton, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sarah McLachlan, Steve Jobs, and Jesse Jackson. Asking what such different people have in common, the ad answers that they were all adopted. It closes with the tagline “Life: Imagine the Potential” and shows the website of CatholicVote.org. The previous entry in the series featured an ultrasound of a baby in the womb. The ad said the baby will grow up in a broken home but despite hardships will become the first African-American president. A picture of President Barack Obama was then displayed. The first ad was initially accepted to run the 2009 Super Bowl but was later rejected by NBC officials on the grounds it involved political candidates or issues. The ad ran on Black Entertainment Television during its January 21 coverage of President Barack Obama’s inauguration. It was viewed more than 1.8 million times on YouTube. Speaking at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Friday, EWTN host Raymond Arroyo announced that the video received “initial acceptance” to be broadcast on the closing episode of the Fox Network’s singing competition “American Idol.” (CNA)
Pro-life buses to operate in 51 cities in Spain until June
MADRID, Spain, May 4, 2009—Right to Life in Spain announced on May 1 that it is launching a “Tour for Life,” consisting of three buses that will travel through 51 Spanish cities between May 1 and June 15, 2009. The buses will feature information on abortion and alert people to the government’s plan to liberalize the country’s law on the issue. The three buses left Madrid’s Compultense University on May 1 after a commissioning ceremony. “The Right to Life buses will travel three separate routes through Spain. They will remain in each city for two to three days, informing residents about abortion and the plan to modify the law, distributing pamphlets and products from the Right to Life campaign,” organizers said. (CNA)
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
Jerusalem City from Mt. Olives
Pope pleads for peace in the Holy Land
JERUSALEM, Israel, May 11, 2009—”Even though the name Jerusalem means ‘city of peace,’ it is all too evident that, for decades, peace has tragically eluded the inhabitants of this holy land,” Pope Benedict said in Israel, as he called for “every possible avenue” to be pursued to find peace. The Pope was welcomed to Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport by a military honor guard, a cadre of religious and civil officials and Israel’s president, Shimon Peres on Monday morning. Benedict XVI delivered a speech in which he first noted that he stands “in a long line of Christian pilgrims to these shores, a line that stretches back to the earliest centuries of the Church’s history ... I come, like so many others before me, to pray at the holy places, to pray especially for peace—peace here in the Holy Land, and peace throughout the world.” Pointing to the shared belief in every person’s human dignity, the Pope said, “Christians, Muslims and Jews alike believe to be created by a loving God and destined for eternal life. When the religious dimension of the human person is denied or marginalized, the very founSaying that the “eyes of the world are upon the peoples of this region as they struggle to achieve a just and lasting solution to conflicts that have caused so much suffering,” Pope Benedict emphasized that the future of many depends on “the outcome of negotiations for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” “In union with people of good will everywhere, I plead with all those responsible to explore every possible avenue in the search for a just resolution of the outstanding difficulties, so that both peoples may live in peace in a homeland of their own, within secure and internationally recognized borders. In this regard, I hope and pray that a climate of greater trust can soon be created that will enable the parties to make real progress along the road to peace and stability.” The Holy Father also offered a special greeting to the Catholics present. Pointing out that he will join in the closing ceremony for the Year of the Family in Nazareth, the Pope stressed the important role of the family in contributing to peace. Later this afternoon the Pope will visit the Holocaust Memorial at the Yad Vashem Museum. (CNA)
dation for a proper understanding of inalienable human rights is placed in jeopardy.” This reflection on human dignity led the Holy Father to condemn anti-Semitism, which
Pope Benedict praises ‘prophetic role of women’ at Jordanian Mass
AMMAN, Jordan, May 10, 2009─On Sunday morning 20,000 faithful attended the Papal Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI at Jordan’s International Stadium of Amman, where in 2000 John Paul II also celebrated Mass. Pope Benedict in his homily stressed the “prophetic role” of women in God’s plans. In the only public Papal Mass in Jordan, which conceded a holiday to the country’s 100,000 Christians today, the Holy Father reminded Christians, including groups from Lebanon and Iraqi refugees, that the Church in the Holy Land has dedicated this year to the family, speaking of the “strong Christian families of these lands.” “How much the Church in these lands owes to the patient, loving and faithful witness of countless Christian mothers, religious Sisters, teachers, doctors and nurses!” he explained. “How much your society owes to all those women who in different and at times courageous ways have devoted their lives to building peace and fostering love!” “From the very first pages of the Bible,” he continued, “we see how man and woman, created in the image of God, are meant to complement one another as stewards of God’s gifts and partners in communicating his gift of life, both physical and spiritual, to our world.” Pope Benedict lamented that this God-given dignity and role of women has not always been sufficiently understood and esteemed. “The Church, and society as a whole,” he added, “has come to realize how urgently we need what the late Pope John Paul II called the ‘prophetic charism’ of women as bearers of love, teachers of mercy and artisans of peace, bringing warmth and humanity to a world that all too often judges the value of a person by the cold criteria of usefulness and profit.” “By its public witness of respect for women, and its defense of the innate dignity of every human person, the Church in the Holy Land can make an important contribution to the advancement of a culture of true humanity and the building of the civilization of love,” he explained. The Pontiff concluded by telling Catholics that he came to encourage them to persevere in faith, hope and love, in fidelity to the ancient traditions and the distinguished history of Christian witness that they trace back to the age of the Apostles. “The Catholic community here,” he explained, “is deeply touched by the difficulties and uncertainties which affect all the people of the Middle East.” He added, “May you never forget the great dignity which derives from your Christian heritage.” “May the courage of Christ our shepherd,” he continued, “inspire and sustain you daily in your efforts to bear witness to the Christian faith and to maintain the Church’s presence in the changing social fabric of these ancient lands.” The Holy Father added: “Fidelity to your Christian roots, fidelity to the Church’s mission in the Holy Land, demands of each of you a particular kind of courage: the courage of conviction, born of personal faith, not mere social convention or family tradition; the courage to engage in dialogue and to work side by side with other Christians in the service of the Gospel and solidarity with the poor, the displaced, and the victims of profound human tragedies; the courage to build new bridges to enable a fruitful encounter of people of different religions and cultures, and thus to enrich the fabric of society.” Two hundred children received their first Holy Communion at the Papal Mass, including 40 Iraqi children who are refugees in Jordan. Some of them received the Sacrament from Benedict XVI. In attendance at Sunday’s Mass was Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammad, the King of Jordan’s chief advisor on religious affairs and one of the chief signatories of a letter by 138 Muslim scholars. It was he who accompanied Benedict XVI during his visit to the al-Hussein bin-Talal Mosque in Amman, Jordan. (CNA)
German pope at the Holocaust Memorial
Message takes on greater significance, suggests Aide
JERUSALEM, Israel, May 11, 2009— Benedict XVI’s visit to Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial today represents a strong message for the entire Church, according to a Vatican aide accompanying the Holy Father on his weeklong pilgrimage. Father Caesar Atuire, the delegate administrator of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, spoke with ZENIT about the Pope’s arrival today in Israel and the events on the Holy Father’s schedule during this, the third full day of his Holy Land pilgrimage. The Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi is the Vatican institution whose mission is to evangelize through pastoral tourism and the ministry of pilgrimage. Father Atuire said he considered choosing the Yad Vashem as one of the first stops in Israel to be a couraYad Vashem Hall of Names geous move. In a moving address focused on the importance What is to become of him or her? Who could have of a name, Benedict XVI said at the memorial, imagined that they would be condemned to such “Gazing upon the faces reflected in the pool that a deplorable fate!” lies in stillness within this memorial, one cannot Father Atuire declared that the Pope’s words help but recall how each of them bears a name. I were not merely his personal reflections, but decan only imagine the joyful expectation of their livered as the head of the Church. parents as they anxiously awaited the birth of “The Catholic Church rejects all that is violence,” their children. What name shall we give this child? he said, “and I think that, in this moment in which
he said “continues to rear its ugly head in many parts of the world.” “This is totally unacceptable,” he stated. “Every effort must be made to combat anti-Semitism
wherever it is found, and to promote respect and esteem for the members of every people, tribe, language and nation across the globe.” He also underscored the fact
that “Even though the name Jerusalem means ‘city of peace,’ it is all too evident that, for decades, peace has tragically eluded the inhabitants of this holy land.”
the Pope is visiting this country, it is appropriate to say that all of us have the mission that the Holy Father presented in his discourse: to work so that these tragedies do not happen again in the history of humanity.” Furthermore, Father Atuire continued, “the Pope is German, the nation to which belonged the Nazis who organized the Holocaust.” His national origin, the priest suggested, gives even greater weight to his message and his pilgrimage to the holy places. His words are particularly eloquent when he says, “we do not want these things to be repeated, and faced with the horror of what happened, we have to learn to do everything we can so that this world can be a better world,” Father Atuire proposed. In this context, the priest contended that the first leg of the Pope’s pilgrimage in Jordan was a good example of this message. “Jordan is a country where Christians, Muslims and the other religions coexist in peace,” he said, noting that “in that nation, though the Christians are a tiny minority, they have an important role from the perspective of works of charity and also from the perspective of education and culture.” (Mercedes de la Torre/Zenit)
Vote for politicians who emulate Rizal’s leadership, Lagdameo tells youth
MANILA, May 8, 2009— Almost a year before the 2010 national polls, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has called on voters to reflect on Dr. Jose Rizal’s leadership example in choosing the politicians worthy to be elected for public office. Jaro, Iloilo ArchbishArchbishop Angel Lagdameo op Angel Lagdameo specifically urged the youth, the biggest sector comprising the voting populace, to use their right to suffrage wisely for the sake of political renewal and moral reform. “If we want our country to experience political renewal and moral reform, both elected officials and civil society must accept the challenge for such a change. There must be some models for it: not only some saints canonized by the Church, but more importantly, some of our Filipino heroes. And Napoleon Almonte offers us one model of political and moral leader—Rizal,” Lagdameo said in endorsing Almonte’s book titled “Rizal is my President: 40 Leadership Tips from Jose Rizal.” The prelate even said the book suggests a voter’s checklist in measuring the qualifications of politicians vying for national and local positions. “The 40 tips are Almonte’s personal reflections from his reading of the letters and communications of Rizal with other heroes. His theory-proposal is that anyone who aspires for leadership, such as the Presidency, must have the leadership values and virtues which the national hero wrote about in his letters,” he added. Meanwhile, the Episcopal Commission on Youth has also expressed its favorable endorsement of the theatrical adaptation of Almonte’s book. Directed by Raffy Tejada of the Philippine Educational Theater Association, the play titled “Rizal is my President: A Musical Satire” is now showing at the Henry Lee Irwin, SJ Theatre, Ateneo Loyola Heights until May 10; St. Cecilia’s Hall, St. Scholastica’s College, Manila from May 29 to 31; Far Eastern University Auditorium, Morayta from June 19 to 21; and the AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City from June 27 to 28. According to organizers, tickets prices are pegged at P200, P300, and P500 each. Proceeds will go for the youth and teacher training of the Rizal Youth Leadership Institute. (Kris Bayos)
ACIM-Asia warns on condom promotion
DAVAO CITY, May 7, 2009—The Catholic Association of Doctors, Nurses and Health Professionals in Asia (ACIM-Asia) warned that condom promotion is a questionable enterprise that will only end up in a dangerous proposition. Yolly Eileen Gamutan, RN, secretary of ACIM-Asia–Philippines said that by promoting condom it is also encouraging the practice of premarital sex or free sex. “Condom is really dangerous. If we are promoting truthful public information then tell the people that using condom is dangerous. Thailand’s experience clearly says that using condom is not safe sex,” said Gamutan. “(See,) there is no right way to do a wrong thing,” Gamutan added. Meanwhile, in a statement issued by ACIM–Asia, it said, “members of the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) are vehemently opposed to the Catholic Church and the pro-life cause, and financially backed by European Union Legislators, seek to force the Philippine Government to jack up the family planning budget from P180 million to P2 billion, to be spent on promoting and distributing contraceptives like condoms and pills, on the pretext of sustainable development and economic progress.” Gamutan said that because PLCPD is encountering a strong resistance in the national level, it is then pushing for policy changes in the countryside. “PLCPD defends the condom companies against condom ad bans, insisting that condom companies have the right to free expression and that the people have the right to make informed choices,” said Gamutan, adding: “PLCPD lobbies for informed choice but choose not to tell the public about the established fact in that in Thailand–Philippine experience, condom campaign has been proven to be a dangerous proposition.” Record shows that in 1984, the first HIV case was detected in both Thailand and the Philippines. By 1987, Thailand had 112 cases of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and the Philippines had 135 cases. In 1991, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted that by 1999, Thailand could have 70,000 deaths from the disease, and the Philippines would have 85,000 deaths. In 1991, both nations took concrete and comprehensive measure against the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) but both directed their efforts in completely different directions. Thailand had “100% condom use program.” In the Philippines, Dr. Rene Bullecer of Human Life International established the organization AIDS-Free Philippines to combat HIV/ AIDS nationwide, as authorized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. The government also signed on to this effort. However, by the end of 2003, records show that for two countries, Thailand got the highest percentage of HIV/AIDS cases with 570,000
Condom / A6
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
IT would be unrealistic to claim that there was ever a time when the Philippines wallowed in opulence or abundance, when the Filipinos had all that progress and development could give. The truth rather is, this country and its people are usually wanting in life and challenged in living. It has always been a question of more or less resources, a matter of more or less possibilities—never much. This is why simply for political correctness, instead of an underdeveloped nation, the Philippines is among those qualified as a “developing” one. History is a witness that there are some particular similarities between the Japanese occupation and the rule of the present administration concretely in conjunction with the matter of depressing national economy. Presence of hunger and sickness, absence of work or employment, craving for education, revulsion at criminality, reign of corruption, rarity of honesty and integrity in government—all these socio-moral liabilities are then and now realities in this country. Specifically as to a regime of corruption that contributes much to the national financial crisis, it is tops during the regime of the incumbent administration. According to the World Bank, about a whopping 235 billion pesos yearly are lost to corruption in the Philippines. There are even signs that the above cited concrete indicators of a practically bankrupt national economy are now much worse than before. Otherwise, it would be difficult to explain the phenomenon of OFW, i.e. million of Filipinos trying their best to leave the country for them to make a living for themselves and their families, and at the same time willing to face all odds and dangers in foreign soil. In effect, such is their sad plight and pitiful lot that recently one haughty and triumphant character categorized the Philippines as a “Nation of servants”. But the good news over and above such financial crisis in the Philippines is the Filipino resiliency. Not really used to plenty and bounty, Filipinos will and do usually find a way to be able to bear it, seek means to survive it. Take away his chair, he will lie on the floor. Take away the floor, and he will just build another. Not really used to an easy life, it is precisely in difficult times that the Filipinos demonstrate their “fighting spirit”, i.e. use his creativity, show his ingenuity, prove his flexibility. It is not altogether a pun to say that the song “I will survive” fits well as a great attribute of Filipino soul. As the Filipinos survived the Japanese regime and all the economic woes that went with it, they too will definitely survive the present economic crisis plus the present administration that is has sadly become their burden and misfortune for all the past nine years—and counting.
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Jose B. Lugay
THE headlines of the recent months would seem to indicate that nothing is right in this country. It has gotten into the consciousness of all the Pacquiao followers that we Filipinos need a redeeming act of God to lift the bad image of this country from being the most corrupt in Asia, a notoriety doubly emphasized by the Philippines being the most Catholic nation in this part of the world! The 2-round spectacle of a prayerful Filipino, Manny Pacquiao, beating an overbearing humbug Briton, Ricky Hatton with a left hook was what the “nation of servants” needed to catapult us once again to our long lost Rizal identity—the pride of the Malay race! The World War II and the Japanese occupation dissipated whatever finesse in political governance our congressmen and senators practiced. The two-party system has now degraded into multi-parties boggling the mind of the voters on “what parties are for?” The “masa” have chosen voting for popularity instead of parties. After all whatever platform they support will surely not be followed. Politicians today, once elected are there to make a living in a grand style like the encomienderos of the past supported by their faithful farmhands. This way of life must be sustained for the coming generations, hence once the three-termer politician ends his reign, the “hanap-buhay” should be passed on to the next of kin or to the wife, whoever is most acceptable to the local electorate. What has been their source of funds to maintain this lifestyle? Obviously, funds come from taxpayers’ money. How are they able to do it? Through pork barrel mis-allocation, through contractors of infrastructure projects (about 30% of overpriced bids), through lobby groups of vested interests, and through party funds, and good connections with the Administration who at the same time are the protectors of the wrong-doer. Jocjoc Bolante is the prime example. This is one for the books—Joc-joc Bolante recently had, reportedly, the guts to announce that he will run for governor of Capiz in the coming elections! Filipinos are patient people but there is a limit to their patience (“may hangganan ang pasyensiya”) as evidenced by the People Power revolution. People’s movements have started to be organized long before the Hyatt 10 group seceded from Malacanang. The impeachment attempts due to the Hello Garci scandal was an indication of a rising uneasiness and distrust of our political system The Supreme Court’s decision that COMELEC did not follow the procurement law in the purchase of automation equipment for the previous election, has made COMELEC extra careful this time in the purchase of automation equipment for 2010 elections. All eyes are
Reform— the cry of the day
on them considering that Congress has provided additional P11.3 billion budget for the automation process alone. A World Bank report—a case study of India’s Power Sector, which needed reform, states: “Reform programs all over the world often come to grief because of the lack of sustained political will.” “The ultimate success of any reform program requires that there be an explicit melding of the “political” with the “technical”. If these two tracks are not joined together, the proposed reforms are not likely to succeed.” On that note, the capability of the present COMELEC to handle the complex technical process of a full automation system in our 2010 electoral process is a big question. COMELEC in an earlier report by Ateneo G-Watch on its budgetary system, an entry point to the study of Good Governance, did not have the basic operating manual for systems and procedures that would be operational in all their offices throughout the country. While the news headlines in recent days show the meticulous implementation of the technical process of procurement, in fact disqualifying all 7 bidders for the automation equipment, the rest of the processes of technical training for the operators of the machines, of ballot printing, education of the voters, handling complaints at the local voting units must also be given equal importance in COMELEC’s management planning. These are potential causes of failures in the coming 2010 elections. About 40 organizations convened for the Good Governance Summit held last April 29 at the Ateneo, Rockwell, Makati. It opened the discussion on the present state of governance and how the citizens together can implement a reform. The capability of the present inadequacy of the present COMELEC was discussed in the context of good governance. The reform for governance must start first with the election of reform-minded individuals who have to be identified by a selection process. Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, the CBCP President was the keynote speaker. Having attended Dilaab Foundation’s session in Cebu which focused on determining the criteria for political candidates that Catholics should know, he stressed that the Ateneo Good Governance Summit is an initiative to increase awareness that we have to be united in our effort for political reform. We do hope that COMELEC will be up to the challenge. Failure in election reform due to incompetence in the technical aspects of governance may become the cornerstone that the builder’s rejected which will cause the collapse of the whole institution.
God’s call to mission on politics
ANY serious believer in God cannot allow the state of our national politics as to persist. And in fact there is a duty for the Christian Catholic to transform politics by the Gospel. The Church, God’s people, must evangelize politics. God’s call to the Church is to preach the integral Gospel, the Gospel with all its social dimensions. The Gospel must influence every phase of life, every stratum of society, and “restore all things under Christ” (Eph. 1:10). Strangely, there are not a few people, even within the Church, who do not believe that to renew politics is part of the Church’s mission. When Church officials praise government policies, government officials welcome such support warmly and are only too happy. But when Church officials criticize and denounce government policies, the same people immediately cry out: “Violation of the separation of Church and State! Church meddling in politics! Let the Church stick to religion!” They cite the words of Christ: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt. 22:21). They say that the Church should have nothing to do with politics because Christ said to Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this earth!” (Jn. 18:36). They therefore conclude that the Church should not say anything about politics and politicians. How wrongly they interpret Scriptures and the doctrine of separation of Church and State! Quite unjustly they selectively level this charge of interference in politics against the Catholic Church, even while some other sects may be loudly intervening in the political process especially during elections. Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics, 1997
“IF only someone had told me to go on with my pregnancy, not to have an abortion, she will find help for me…I would not have aborted”. Mimi sobbed as she related to me how the tragic death of her parents a couple of years ago drove her to go into a live-in relationship—in depression, in loneliness, in anger, in vengeance against things she could not even identify due to her confusion. The relationship of course led to a pregnancy. When her “lover” told her to get rid of the baby, she sought help from a nearby parish, only to be told by the parish staff worker that there was no one there who could talk to her. Desperate, she then had a suction abortion that afternoon. Her boyfriend paid the “doctor” P6,000 for killing their baby. Mimi was referred to me for post-abortion counseling by some nuns in that province. She remembers that people commented how pale she was. She had been bleeding for two weeks. They had her treated in a hospital where she was prescribed antibiotics and medicine to stop the bleeding. Mimi confessed that she decided to separate from her partner after a year and a half as she could no longer take his battering (he uses drugs and drinks a lot). She began to hate him after the abortion. She had not been sleeping for days, often crying and hearing babies crying. What she was experiencing is what we call post-abortion syndrome. We pro-life counselors know that it is so much easier to counsel a pregnant girl not to abort than to help in the healing of the trauma and guilt of a woman after an abortion.
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
girls and women admitted for bleeding and incomplete abortion claim they have been instructed to insert the tablet in their vagina, besides swallowing several tablets at a time. Hospital admissions for induced abortion are only a small percentage of the women who aborted. Many have not gone to the hospitals because they have not suffered physical sideeffects such as profuse bleeding, ruptured uterus or infections. We have no data on number of these women. Any Pregnancy loss such as a miscarriage or still birth, but especially induced abortion have intensive, extensive, deep, and widespread ramifications. There are approximately 25,000 abortions a year in the Philippines. There are about 60 million abortions a year in the world. After 25 years of Pro-life in the Philippines, the question that bothers those who have devoted so much of their time and effort in the “stop abortion” campaign is why the continuous increase in abortion rates. Various answers are offered for the sake of knowing what could be better strategies. The task seems insurmountable when the answers proposed are: materialism, hedonism, contraceptive and anti-life mentalities, pornography and prostitution, convenience and deliberate withholding of truth from those with vested interests. Preventive measures never seem to catch up with the healing and reconciliation that have to be offered to the thousands of post-aborted women in distress, to the children whom we now call as the abortion-survivors, to abortion providers (health professionals, vendors,
Love Life / A6
Pedro C. Quitorio
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Kris P. Bayos
Melo M. Acuña
Managing Editor News Editor
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
Circulation Manager Comptroller
Laurence John R. Morales Marcelita Dominguez
Layout Artist and Online Editor
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612. ISSN 1908-2940
I get very upset each time a woman comes to me after an abortion, knowing that she need not have undergone such devastation if she had only received some support during the time that she was desperate. And I wonder why our churches and organizations cannot give that support to those who go to them. This is a call then for all parishes to put a poster or announcement in their bulletin boards or directory the hotline numbers that people can call when they need our assistance. We realize that not all parish staff will be able to attend to them but the least they can do if the parish priest is not available is to listen to them and give them our numbers. A few minutes of their time could save not only the life of the baby but of the mother herself. Please copy this and post in a public place—“PREGNANT? Need help? Text 0919-233-7783 or call (02) 851-5770. There are people who care.” Print it in your own dialect if necessary. Upon the request of Pro-life Philippines, data gathered from five hospitals in Manila revealed an increase in induced abortions over the past ten years. Most significant are the statistics submitted by Fabella Maternity Hospital showing a 50% increase, that is, from 469 cases in 1990 to 976 cases in year 2000. In majority of the cases, Cytotec (misoprotol) was used. We recall that Cytotec was not as rampantly sold in the early 90’s as they are being distributed now through the black market. Even if they are sold at P150 to P200 a tablet, people bent on having the abortion would still buy fifteen or twenty tablets as prescribed by the vendors themselves. The
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
honesty and integrity to ruling politicians. Rightly or wrongly, there is this persistent perception that having a political office is antithetical to living an upright life. Furthermore, in the here and now of this country, there is that strong and distinct consciousness that politicians and self-interest, self-promotion plus consequent self-service are the one and the same composite reality. This is exactly why “helping the people” and being a politician does not exactly go hand-in-hand in the real world of Philippine politics. With his stature and fame and resources, the World Champ should rather put up Foundations for food production, for education and for other worthy causes—with the collaboration of other international and national Foundations with the same avowed generous and genuine objectives. Wherefore, why would someone who practically have the world in his hands, even but think of going down to the perceived dirty world of local politics?
Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
SOMEONE has finally and rightfully achieved the eminent title of “Global Filipino”. The attribution is definitely not something claimed by a merely personal caprice of the title holder but legitimately conferred on him by both official and popular acclamation. Determination, sacrifice and sweat plus faith are truly a formidable combination. And this recipe for success has been long since observed and lived by the world boxing champion several times over. Result: he does not only enjoy fame but also has built a fortune. The only key let-down in this living history is that the same global figure seems to aspire at being a district politician. From being a uniting person in the country, there seems to be a strong temptation for him to instead become a disuniting character in the land precisely by throwing his hat into the political arena—with the probably honest intention of “helping the people” which has been long since the tired and tiring excuse of practically all reigning and wannabe politicians.
By the Roadside ‘Reshuffling’
THAT is the local lingo among some of us diocesan priests when we talk of changes, which often mean transfers, in our (parish or other) assignments. This is where we are now in my home diocese. I was probably absent during the priest’s assembly in which the word was adopted and soon gained fame or notoriety among priests. Webster explains the word ‘reshuffling’ in terms of ‘redistribution’ or ‘restructuring’ of various elements within a system, as when a prime minister ‘reshuffles’ his cabinet. I ask myself if our almost natural penchant for the word could indicate our having allowed some invasion by the political into the realm of the sacred. But then again I realize how naïve I could be for asking the question in the first place. But what does ‘reshuffling’ mean in concrete? I look at the books, sheets of paper, letters, notes, envelopes, cards, cds, DVDs and just plain trash all about my room that I am trying to sort out so I could pack up those I will be bringing home or to my next assignment. It is then that I receive an urgent message about an article I need to submit pronto, to which I could only utter, “Oh, Mother most compassionate…” Still, I leave the chaos in my room aside and begin to type away my grief and joy at the thought of leaving my present assignment and of arriving at a new one. In the first place, ‘reshuffling’ means putting on a smile to hide a disappointment over a dreaded, unexpected and difficult (which explains the first two adjectives) assignment. It means, sometimes, feigning ignorance of how some parishioners are relieved you will be ministering somewhere else (any pastor knows this part only too well). But it also means genuinely trying to find ways to console parishioners who think, wrongly of course, that you need to be rewarded for your hard work through an extension of your term. “Do we need to write the bishop a petition?” a lay leader asked me. “Please don’t do that,” I answered, embarrassed. But, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell him, “Please, if you think I have to be rewarded for my hard work (a word which could be debatable in the parish context, not to say in my own conscience), how could a reward take the form of an extension of hard work?” It is then that I have recourse to my next act. I tell people—and frankly I have become convinced how Spirit-inspired the idea is—that the diocese needs to go through the ‘reshuffling’ of its clergy to remind us collectively of three things. One, priests cannot become good shepherds if they do not have the Good Shepherd’s mindset. And just what is that, you may ask. I find the Good Shepherd’s words instructive: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I have also to lead them and they shall hear my voice” (Jn 10:16). The priest is not in a position to object. He is transferred because, in doing so, he manifests the Lord’s concern for the flock other than the ones he is ministering. ‘Reshuffling’ is our concrete statement of the universality of the call of salvation. Two, God’s love is everlasting. What has this truth got to do with priests’ transfers? It is stark to me. When a pastor leaves, another takes his place. In a word, pastors are human instruments that come and go but the One who uses them to express his love for his people always walks with them. I remember a groom who requested a singer friend to sing for him to his bride the words of a song that say: “Tomorrow morning when you wake up and the sun does not appear, I will be there”. Being there for those one loves is a quality only God can really do (I’ll take objections to this but won’t back down). And, truly, he is always there for his people in particular through his priests and pastors. Isn’t this what exactly happens when, as one pastor leaves, another pastor takes his place to continue ministering to God’s people? In fact, ‘reshuffling’ is a living testament to the words of Jesus, “Behold, I am with you always until the end of time” (Mt 28:20). Priests and pastors who willingly, freely and lovingly submit to this sacrifice become instruments to the Lord’s faithfulness to this promise. Three, everything is temporary and passing in our pilgrimage on earth. I remember being with a group of priests and we were on our way to the rice terraces of Banaue when we stopped by a church under the care of a Belgian missionary priest. He asked us where we were going. The most elderly priest among us almost immediately answered, “Father, we are just passing through.” I was kind of expecting the missionary priest to retort, “So am I.” He simply nodded with a knowing smile. That, for me, is what best describes not only the human condition but also the human aspect of all ministries, including that of ministerial priests. I find the grief of some parishioners, not excluding the priests themselves, over priests’ transfers not unlike the grief of the bereaved. In fact, a few days ago I saw some parishioners behave like their pastor who is being transferred to another parish has just died. There is an analogy of dying in priests’ ‘reshuffling’. But that is also where its positive note lies. I believe both priests and parishioners could take tremendous comfort from the words of the Lord himself: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and have faith in me. In my Father’s house there are many mansions. Otherwise how could have I told you that I was preparing a place for you? I am indeed going to prepare a place for you and then I shall come back to take you with me that where I am you also may be” (Jn 14:1-4). I must confess that I’m often tempted to tell the parishioners of my next parish that we should work together so as to make the rectory I’ll be residing in become a good ‘anticipation’ of those beautiful ‘mansions’ the Lord talks about. But then they might petition the bishop to bring their former pastor back. So, up until this writing, I have prudently chosen to keep my lips safely shut. Those who grieve over priests’ ‘reshuffling’ say: “The trouble with hello is goodbye”. But, with those who choose the upside of ‘reshuffling’, I answer back: “The good thing with goodbye is hello.” ILO’s Tethis Mangahas said a third of the world’s migrants come from Asia and one half of the world’s victims are also from Asia. They have noted the continuous flow of Burmese, Cambodians and Laotians into Thailand while Indonesians and Filipinos continue to find their way to Malaysia. They also look for employment in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. It is during these times exploitation and trafficking have become more often. The preparatory conditions happen in the country of origin. We have heard of undocumented workers who leave the country as tourists, taking the risk of getting themselves into the flesh trade. Recruitment and deception occur in the country of origin while actual exploitation takes place in the country of destination. What is disturbing is the fact it behooves upon government to provide jobs to its qualified workers. The sad part is other Asian countries seem to walk way ahead of the Philippines. Take the case of Vietnam, ravaged by war for decades now have good infrastructures and world-class telecom facilities. With the kind of education they give their school children, they would be way ahead of the Philippines in five years. The harsh realities may be too difficult for a hundred Manny Pacquiaos to overcome.
In the event that the now world famous and admired Filipino succumb to the whisperings of devious politicians plus the questionable promptings of certain money salivating individuals, this would be not simply a big pity but also a veritable whammy. In other words, for him to in effect register himself as a political candidate even with a proper political party—this would be nothing less than his shameful entrapment into eroding his now much cheered and idolized and well loved and admired person. In this country and during these particular times, politicians by and large are not exactly admired, much less respected individuals. True or false, a very big majority of politicians from the local to the national levels are likewise identified with local and national graft and corrupt practices, are looked upon as infamous incarnations of greed and deceit. There is the pervasive sense in Philippine society that it is downright hypocrisy to append the virtues of
Fr. Francis B. Ongkingco
Flunking to love God
“CONGRATULATIONS, James!” I shook the hand of the brilliant new high school graduate. “You’re welcome, Father,” he said. He took out a handful of shiny gold medals from his pocket and asked, “Oh, Father. I was wondering if you can bless my medals.” “Sure!” I was also happy that besides being their school’s valedictorian he also received numerous leadership awards. “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…,” I blessed his medals. “Thanks, Father,” he smiled while pocketing the medals. “Strange,” I said, “shouldn’t you be wearing them instead of hiding them in your pocket?” “You’re right, Father,” the medals jingled as he slowly pulled them out again. “But you see, Father, I didn’t get our school’s highest award.” “What would it be then?” I asked. “It’s called the Most Distinguished Student Award,” he said while staring blankly at the medals. “So how’s that supposed to be more special than being valedictorian?” I said shrugging my shoulders. “It’s supposed to be for the student who has never flunked any subject during his entire high school. So even if you average highest, but had some failing marks then you can no longer deserve such a much coveted award.” I was trying to figure out in my mind what subject it could have been that James could have failed. The boy was a born winner, except that –it dawned upon me– he wasn’t much into sports. So I asked, “Was it P.E.?” “That was back in first year when there was no other sport ‘cept basketball,” he gave me a smile expressing that it was something obvious. “That’s alright dude. Guess you’re dad would have said that…,” “You can’t have everything,” he completed exactly what I was about to say. “You got me there, James,” I chuckled. “Mom and dad understand and are very proud with what I’ve
already achieved. Dad just told me to learn from my failures or limitations.” “You know James?” I said. “Yeah?” he noticed I was speaking in a more serious tone. “There’s nothing wrong with flunking in the many good things of life, but we have to know how to flunk out of the bad ones.” “I don’t get you there, Father,” he frowned at me. “Let’s say, you expected to get a good grade for a project you really invested a lot of time for. But then in the end you get a low grade because you may have overlooked something. You shouldn’t really worry about this, especially when you’ve done the best you could.” “Okay, so what?” “Where you and I should learn and be ready to flunk would be in the things that separate us from God. Since we’re all ‘experts in sinning,’ we ought to aim for getting ‘Fs’ in pride, vanity, anger, greed and lust.” “Isn’t this approach a bit negative, Father?” “It may seem like that at first, but flunking out of these vices actually means struggling to get A’s in the virtue oppose to them. It would be wrong to over focus on what one does wrong or what one ought to avoid. It would be more positive and fruitful to consider what good one can concretize each day out of love for God and fellowmen.” “How about the occasions when our weaknesses do come up once in a while, Father?” “Well, even though they may seem like failures, they are actually only apparent failures. This is true if the person resolves to immediately go back to God with the humility like that of the Prodigal Son. And he manages to even learn from his mistakes and his conversion becomes more firm and sincere.” “You mean to say, Father… that…,” he smiled as he came upon a realization. “Yes, James! That one can really never fail in the spiritual life as long as he struggles with the sincere resolve to begin again, use the supernatural means and to find—like St. Paul—strength and joy in his own weaknesses. In this way, he no longer struggles alone, but always in and with the grace and love of God.”
Fr. Russell Bantiles
WHY are grapes pruned? In the Philippines, where seldom we have viticulture, pruning grapes could strike us as mysterious. All we know is that it is necessary. Proper pruning of grapevines is essential to maintain vine size, shape, and yield of the grapes. If vines are not pruned, they will become unruly, tangled messes. Fruit ripeness will suffer. Overproduction of the vine may lead to premature death. Jesus, in last Sunday’s Gospel, makes use of this image to teach us one essential aspect of our Christian life. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” Are we “branches of the True Vine that bear fruit”? Or are we the barren ones? In both cases, we need to be pruned in order to yield much fruit. And the pruning process could be painful and enduring. *** Recently, I received an alarming e-mail which goes: “It is urgent that we all please take cognizance of and review (Barack) Obama’s pronouncements in the last two or three weeks. These are signs of where he wants to drag the whole world and all of mankind. In a manner of speaking he is ‘writing on the wall’ the scenario he intends to follow to fulfill his vow that before his term of office closes ‘EVERY COUNTRY OF THE WORLD WILL HAVE A VIBRANT REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS PROGRAM!’” Whether it is just a black propaganda or not, we don’t need to have a lot of wild imagination or paranoia in order to take notice of a very obvious movement in the world of what Pope John Paul II called “the culture of death”. This culture takes various forms and under the noble guise of curbing population explosion but through abominable means like birth control, abortion and even euthanasia. The “culture of death” is creeping into our society. And it is gaining grounds! Our continued indifference and passivity is its force. Here in Spain, there is a move now to modify the law on abortion. It comes after the successful modification of the definition of “matrimony” in the Constitution and the legalization of samesex marriage. That the Lord allows this “painful pruning” in His Church is comprehensible through Jesus’ words. But how should we, Christians, respond to this trial?
*** Many would call it a “fight” and, I think they’re right. I would like to call it an “occasion”, and I think I owe them an explanation. In the history of Church, whenever the “Boat of Peter” traverses stormy seas, a lot of good things come out. In the era of great heresies, we have excellent Doctors of the Church. During the dark ages when the society was somehow plunged into deep moral degradation, there arose a great number of saints. Could it be that God is preparing us once more—through the seeming darkness of the “culture of death”—to receive great gifts from Him? It could be. But He is challenging us to remain steadfast till the end of this trial. *** True enough, “God can write straight with crooked lines”. But crooked lines are unnecessary for Him in order to write straight. He can do without them. However, man at times does “need” them. Mejor dicho, man needs to experience his own “crookedness” in order to come across with God’s mercy.
Cogito / A6
Some disturbing signs
AS the country’s able-bodied men and women hope to find well-paying jobs abroad, our very own “King of the Ring” Manny Pacquiao was tapped by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales to be his “special assistant” on “intelligence matters.” Though Mr. Gonzales said the position was “honorary” and would not receive compensation, one can’t help but think why Manny was given such designation. Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo named Pacman as the country’s “Ambassador for Peace and Understanding.” Quite a feat indeed for the man who brought honor to the country continuously searching for role models in the face of its being the most corrupt in Asia as well as being touted as one of the most dangerous place for journalists. Pacman was also named “head” of DENR’s “Task Force Kalikasan.” Mr. Gonzales was quoted saying “There’s nothing wrong with that.” Some are indeed smarter than others. Going back to reality, the country’s exports fell by 30.0% in March because shipments of electronic products and garments continued
Melo M. Acuña
DADITAMA / A6
Issues and Concerns
to slump as the world faced its serious downturn. It’s the sixth successive month of declines though there was an improvement on the 39% decline posted in February. Foreign remittances continue to help the country’s economy though there have been projections of decline this year because some 48% of $16 B or so remittances last year that came from the United States of America. It would be interesting to find out that 8.5% of these remittances have come from Saudi Arabia while Filipinos in Canada contributed at least 8% of the total amount. Still, Filipinos in the United Kingdom contributed 4.8% while those in Italy sent 4.2% which is still significant. However, reports from the government’s Philippine Overseas Employment Administration noted the deployment of newly-hired land-based overseas Filipino workers fell by nearly 30% in 2008 compared to 2007. Only 216,803 newly-hired land-based workers were deployed in 2008 compared to 306,383 in 2007. The agency’s full report on OFW deployment for 2008 has yet to be released.
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
Cash rewards won’t cut political killings, bishop says
THE Arroyo administration’s strategy to end political killings will not work, a Catholic bishop said. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the P25 million fund to reward informants who could help solve political killings will never have much impact. Pabillo, who heads the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said cash reward is not an effective way to reduce or cut crimes. “The government has got the wrong strategy. Political will and not money is more needed to solve the wave of political killings in the country,” he said. The bishop said allocating special fund for such campaign is irrelevant because the duty, primarily, falls on the Philippine Bishop Broderick Pabillo National Police (PNP). “The public is paying for their salaries and it’s their obligation to investigate, make arrests and bring to court those who are behind these extrajudicial killings,” he said. President Arroyo announced on Tuesday the establishment of the hefty fund to pay informants in an attempt to curb political killings that have victimized activists, rights lawyers and government officials. The fund would go to those “who provide information that foils political assassination attempts or leads to their solution, especially the identification of their masterminds,” she said. Arroyo has been criticized for the series of killings, for which she has been blamed for either condoning the attack or not doing enough to stop them. (Roy Lagarde)
Konsult Mindanaw complements peace consultation with drama series
A SUMMIT of Tribal Community health workers organized by the Foundation of Our Lady of Peace Mission Inc. in cooperation with Misereor Ihr Hilfswerk will be held on May 20-21at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City. Dubbed as the 1st Indigenous Barefoot Doctor National Summit, the meeting will gather the barefoot doctors, better known as the community health workCARP / A1
Nat’l summit of barefoot doctors slated
ers, to share their experiences and achieve possible opportunities for education and livelihood through linkages with government and non-government organizations. Two-hundred twenty-nine Tribal Barefoot Doctors in the country will participate in the convention. The tribal health workers graduated from the Indigenous Peoples Community Health Workers (Barefoot Doctors) Development Program organized by the Our Lady of Peace Mission, Inc. The convention’s theme is “Indigenous Peoples: Partners in Health and Wellness.” The Foundation Of Our Lady Of Peace Mission Inc. is a benevolent, non-political, nonprofit, non-stock organization committed to the improvement
of the poor and underprivileged people in the Philippines. Misereor Ihr Hilfswerk is a German Catholic Bishops’ organization for development cooperation which promotes justice, freedom, peace and reconciliation in the world, fights worldwide poverty, exercises unity with the poor and the victimized and helps create “One World.” (CBCPNews)
social justice asked by our farmers,” the bishop added. Pabillo chairs the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). He said it is now important for the government officials to exert effort to show sincerity to protect the rights of the farmers, one of the country’s most vulnerable sectors. Killer amendments Pabillo said bishops are bothered about the killer amendments that are being inserted by several legislators because they would destroy some provisions which are central to CARP. Pabillo also called on Senators and Congressmen to unite in opposing the killer provisions of some lawmakers owning vast agricultural lands to weaken CARP. The bishop said both legislating bodies must work together to approve the renewed provisions of CARP. He said the final version must be ratified the soonest for the approval of the President. Pressed for time Church officials are worried of the limited time in order to finally extend the implemenMining Bill / A1
tation of CARP law because of the slated sine die adjournment of Congress on June 5. “There are, I think, 3 weeks to go or about 9 session days remaining and nothing significant happened in Congress so far. We are really worried about this,” Pabillo said. In case the killer amendments would be approved, Pabillo said the CARP law will be virtually dead because the landlords will push for the exemption of their huge agricultural lands. Assurance of Arroyo and Legislators Last March, Arroyo has personally assured Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal she would approve CARP extension with reforms. Arroyo, however, agreed with the cardinals that they should talk with the senators and congressmen, conceding that Congress was the battleground for getting CARP extended—which the bishops did. Senators assured leaders of the Catholic Church in their recent meeting that they would approve a measure extending CARP for another five years. The senators vowed to pass the measure before CARP expires in June during a closed-
door dialogue last March 16 with some CBCP representatives, other church groups and nongovernmental organizations. The Congress, in a recent dialogue between the bishops and lawmakers led by Speaker Prospero Nograles, also pledged to extend CARP before it goes on sine die adjournment. Nograles assured that the compulsory land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of the law would be reinstated covering all private agricultural lands. The restoration of the compulsory LAD, which was removed when Congress approved Joint Resolution 19 in December, extending the agrarian reform program for another six months, is one of the bishops’ main concerns. Meanwhile, Bishop Pabillo urged farmers not to resort to violence if the government fails to extend the program. According to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), 1.6 million hectares of land still have to be covered by CARP. Of the 1.6 million hectares, one million are private agricultural lands and nearly 600,000 are public lands. The DAR has estimated that CARP still needs at least P160 billion for a 10-year implementation of CARP beyond 2008.
THE Konsult Mindanaw, a flagship program of the Bishops Ulama Conference (BUC) that leads the on-going peace consultation across the island has produced a drama series broadcast on radio starting May to June 2009. The drama series dubbed as “Radyo Kalinaw” is a 10-part Tagalog drama translated into Cebuano aims to complement the on-going community peace consultations in Mindanao and is produced by the BUC and aired through Bombo Radyo Network and the Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation. Konsult Mindanaw Team Leader Jesuit Priest Fr. Albert Alejo said the drama series is in keeping with the belief that effective communication lies at the heart of any effort to consult meaningfully with the people. The radio program narrates the trials and triumphs of Christian, Muslim, and Lumad families in Mindanao where their fears and hopes are chronicled in classic radio drama, stuffed with the sounds of battle and the lingering melody of the project musical theme, “Isang Paanyaya.” The drama series is composed of various peace episodes and each episode runs for 20 minutes, and will be aired at least three times a week. BUC co-convenor and Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla also gave his full support to the project. Capalla is optimistic that through the concerted efforts of the people the dream for peace in Mindanao will come true. Ronie Flores, Bombo Radyo Davao division head, expressed optimism that the program “will make a significant impact on the people’s perceptions on peace,” noting his station’s “extensive and reliable coverage.” Konsult Mindanaw is also coming up with Kalinaw Komiks with a slug “Abot –Tanaw ang Kapayapaan…Tatlong maganak ng Mindanao na pinagtagpo ng kasaysayan. Sundan ang kanilang kuwento ng paglalakbay…” For those who are interested you can place your orders at Konsult Mindanaw/ Project Management Office, San Pablo Parish Compound, Juna Subdivision, Matina, Davao City or call telephone number (082) 298 -5854 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Mark S. Ventura)
Congress on Catechesis, Christian Formation slated
A CONGRESS which will focus on Catechesis and Christian Formation aiming to share the experiences and knowledge of the participants with public and private schools is slated for May 20-22. The assembly which is dubbed “Pope Benedict XVI Congress” will be held at the Yuchengco Hall, De La Salle University in Taft Avenue, Manila. This is convened by CEAP, Association of Catechetical Centers and Colleges with Religious Education (ACCCRE) and the Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila (CFAM) in collaboration with the Theology and Religious Education Department and Lasallian Catechetical Center of DLSU. Expected participants of the said gathering are the Catechists, Christian Living Educators, Volunteer Catechists, Campus Ministers, and Catechetical Directors and Directress from various catechetical centers in the Philippines. Organizers added that the output made by the participants in the workshop can also be a material during their catechesis and religious instruction. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales will be the presider for the opening of the first day session of the assembly. The Eucharistic celebration on May 21 will be presided by Most Reverend Pablo Virgilio David, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando, Pampanga. Resource speakers of the meeting are prelates from various diocese and religious institutions. Malaybalay Bishop Honesto Pacana, DD will give a talk on the topic “Spirituality of Catechists and Religion Teachers on May 20. The topic “Synod of Bishops: The Word of God in the Life and Mind of the Church” on May 21 will be facilitated by Most Reverend Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila and the Chairman of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Msgr. Gerardo Santos, President of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), will discuss the “Strategic Directions on Integral Faith Formation”. Meanwhile, Bro. Armin Luistro, FSC, President of the De La Salle University (DLSU) will welcome the participants of the congress. Culminating the event is a Eucharistic Celebration which will be presided by Balanga Bishop Socrates Villegas, DD, Chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE). (Kate Laceda)
Condom / A3
munities, as well as aggravated the already dire situation of our environment—by handing over our lands and mineral resources for corporate exploitation. All these, in exchange for a grossly disadvantageous amount from mining revenues,” Ledesma said. The AMB, according to LRC team leader for Cagayan de Oro City Carl Cesar C. Rebuta, is the product of years of consultations by the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/ Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-KSK/FoEP) and its partners in the Alternative law Groups (ALG) with different sectors of society in response to the damages wrought and posed by The Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942). “The Alternative Mining Bill is dedicated to countless women and men who have risked, and those continuing to risk, their lives for genuine freedoms,” he said. According to Rebuta, “the time for change has come” and that the 1995 Mining Act must be repealed because of its many flaws such as (1) It promotes the exportation of raw minerals without maximizing the benefits of such resources for the Filipino people; (2) It fails to take into consideration externalities or negative impacts, thus leaving
Love Life / A4
the masses and the local government units to bear the brunt of such impacts; (3) It prioritizes exploration, development and utilization of resources over and above food security and environmental conservation; (4) It grants too much power for decision-making to the President, when resources are the only heritage of the Filipino people, meanwhile disempowering local communities through lack of participatory mechanisms; (5) The law is not consistent with sustainable development; (6) It grants too many incentives for investments, including confidentiality of information, return of investments, tax-breaks, etc.; (7) It lacks systems that would ensure payment and compensation of affected communities and local government units; (8) It fails to provide for punishment and accountability on social impacts, including human rights violations; (9) It fails to provide a rational and comprehensive benefit-sharing among the stakeholders; (10) It fails to consider the physical characteristics of the Philippines that is not conducive to industries like these, despite claims that the Philippines has a rich mineral resource, when the country in fact is also a rich agricultural country; and (11) It allows 100% ownership and control of natural resources to foreigners. (Bong D. Fabe) interferes with immune function and their general health. This explains the high rate of repeated abortions. And the high number of women and men drifting through life, unable to bond or be responsible individuals, citizens or parents.” These are persons who are within your parish and neighborhood! If you feel you are called to be generous with your time and energy to reach out to these men and women needing God’s compassion and healing, join the Pro-life Volunteer Services. There are different programs you can be assigned to: Project Veronica or Project Rachel, Project Michael or Project Gabriel. Curious? Check our website at www.prolife.org.ph or contact Sr. Pilar at 0920-945-5494.
or family and friends who led the women to abort) who need conversion and forgiveness. Dr, Philip Ney, a Canadian psychiatrist, describes how women who suffered child abuse or neglect or rejected are more prone to abort because they themselves have been dehumanized. Women who have been abused or neglected as children have great anxiety about having children. They fear they will mistreat their children as they had themselves been mistreated, and thus rationalize that is it better to abort than to abuse a child they may have. There is an urgent need for pro-life volunteers in order to stop the cycle of killing. Dr. Ney, in his book “Deeply Damaged” says, “Women who have an abortion, and
Swine Flu / A1
men who contribute to the termination of one of their children, are greatly conflicted by guilt and unresolved grief, fears, and anger. These men and women have difficulty resolving the conflicts. Unresolved conflicts result in pathological signs and symptoms known as Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). Our evidence shows abortion results in deeper and more damaging conflicts than almost any other trauma because it cuts at the roots of humanity. Post aborted people are more likely to have pathological, incomplete grief, and therefore become depressed and alienated. This depression 1) interferes with the bonding of parents to the other children, 2) diminishes their ability to respond to their infant’s cry, 3) disrupts their parenting ability and 4)
Cogito / A5
adults and children living with HIV as compared to 9,000 in the Philippines; 58,000 AIDS deaths in 2003 for Thailand while only 500 are recorded in the Philippines. And in terms of HIV infection rates per million, Thailand got 9,072 compared to 113 in the Philippines. “This only shows that the 100% condom use program in Thailand is not effective. Even if all brothels were required to have supplies of condoms, and condom vending machines were installed in all supermarkets, bars, restaurants, and other public gathering places still it did not deter the widespread of HIV/AIDS,” ended Gamutan. (Mark S. Ventura)
Watchdogs / A1
“Prayer may be as powerful as or even may be more powerful than anti-biotic or anti-virus pills which may not be accessible to many very poor people. The combination of prayer and prescribed medical precaution would be a proactive response to the present concern,” said the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Although the N1H1 influenza virus has not yet reached the country’s boundaries, Lagdameo called on all local Church organizations to include a prayer addressed to the Divine Healer, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. “We exhort the people to pray for our country as well as for the countries already affected by the ‘swine flu:’ that it may be effectively controlled. Earnest and humble prayer addressed to the Divine Healer, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is the need of the hour,” he added. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales also ordered the praying of “Oratio Imperata on Swine Flu” after communion in all churches under the Archdiocese of Manila since May 3. (Kris Bayos)
Only afterwards, man may “bear much fruit”. The process is called “pruning”, by which a person has to live through his own “nothingness”, emptiness, misery and wickedness in order to realize his great need for God. Man needs to be “pruned” like the branches of the vine—to appear dry and barren for a time— in order to embrace the truth of Jesus’ words: “Without me you can do nothing”. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: “God cannot fill you of himself until you recognize your nothingness, your emptiness.” *** The message is clear:“For us, brothers, it is always a time for pruning” (St. Bernard). But the Lord has given us His word: “You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.”
good and I hope it will push through,” Sarmiento said. But according to De Villa, politicians should not be allowed to join in the summit in order to maintain the non-partisan status of the various groups. Over the past few weeks, several groups have been launched with almost same goals to initiate changes in politics, including the Task Force 2010, which is composed of first-time voters; Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s Moral Force Movement; and the Transparent Elections Movement. On May 10, former Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman led the launching of Change Politics Movement seeking to get rid of vote-buying in the country. A new group called “10@10 for 2010” was launched Monday calling on everyone for a ten-minute daily prayer for the intention of 2010 polls. But unlike the “Change Politics Movement” the “10@10 for 2010” said it will not endorse anyone in particular. (Roy Lagarde)
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
Bishop says to seek truth is a fundamental option
MATI CITY—For Catholics, the desire to seek the truth is a fundamental option, said Bishop Patricio Alo who explained that craving for the truth is not seasonal but by daily living. He said that amid the crevices and complexities of this earthly life, Catholics must have the craving for the truth. (Mark S. Ventura)
Lumad scholar is cum laude graduate
Rapu-Rapu probe on marine pollution starts anew
LEGAZPI CITY—Environmentalists has launched another fact-finding mission, aiming to uncover new threats on the coastal waters of Rapu-Rapu Island in Albay, as the controversial Lafayette Mining Limited starts operating again. Rapu-Rapu is considered as a haven for marine biologists and diving enthusiasts alike for its rich marine resources. A three-day International Solidarity Mission (ISM), which has started last May 10, was organized by the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) and the Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines (CEC Phils) along with international and local delegates from the church, health professionals, scientists, youth and members of the media. “The case of Rapu-Rapu is one of the most popular and dynamic of the mining struggles in the Philippines. The relentless campaign of the local organizations and residents with their supporters from local, national and international organizations has led to a bittersweet victory when the previous major shareholder of the project Lafayette Philippines, Inc. (LPI) with its wholly foreign-owned joint venture company Lafayette Mining Limited (Australia) caved in to the protests of the people and declared bankruptcy in December 2008,” says Clemente “Enteng” Bautista Jr., national coordinator of the Kalikasan-PNE in a statement sent to CBCPNews. While the protests temporarily halted Lafayette’s operations, the threat against the environment is there again as Koreans had resurrected the already dead company, Baustista said. Rapu-Rapu mining project is one of the 63 priority large-scale mining projects of the Philippine government and the pet project of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It opened in 2005 and incurred two massive mine tailings spills five months after starting operations in this typhoon-stricken and small island. Previously owned by Australian junior firm Lafayette Mining Limited, the project’s ownership was transferred to a consortium between Korea Resources Corporation, LG International, and Malaysia Smelting Opera-
DAVAO CITY—Best things in life are free and this goes true for Jun Mark Amban, a Lumad scholar who finished his college education cum laude in Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) last March. Amban is a BS Secondary Education scholar supported by the Davao Light Power Company (DLPC) through the Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue. (Mark S. Ventura)
Pangasinan holds youth day
Prelate sees ‘goodness’ among drug dependents
DAVAO CITY—Is there good in being a drug addict, pusher and lord? Archbishop Fernando Capalla believes so—like anybody else who are born with such goodness. He said that “there is goodness in drug addicts, drug pushers and drug lords and it cannot be cancelled out by evil deeds like sin and crime.” (Mark S. Ventura)
Men usually caught in trouble than women, says nun
MALABANG, Lanao del Sur—A nun said it is usually men who are caught in trouble as compared to women, in a place where there is the prevalence of masochistic (male dominance) character like here. Sr. Cecilia Fonacier, MA, said that Christian men here are already afraid to be seen publicly participating in community formation for fear of being caught in trouble. (Mark S. Ventura)
Construction of interfaith prayer houses kicks off Silsilah’s 25th year
SINUNUC, Zamboanga—Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Valles, along with Ustadz Abdullah Ibrahim, led the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a Christian and a Muslim prayer house here in time for the 25th foundation anniversary of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement (SDM) on May 9. The construction of two prayer houses inside the Silsilah Harmony Village, Pitogo, Sinunuc is a part of SDM’s Tulay 5 Project, which promotes interfaith dialogue and cooperation among different religious sectors in Mindanao. (Kris Bayos)
Hedcor’s ECC issuance done in haste due to PGMA’s visit
tions in early 2008 after Lafayette declared bankruptcy. Community residents continue to oppose the project, which resumed operations anew last year. “These new developments in the antimining struggle in Rapu-Rapu are the primary focus of the ISM. New information coming from the communities related to the environmental impacts of continued large-scale mining need to be verified. Also, documenting social issues that confront the residents of the island, including possible violation of human rights need to be looked into,” said Bautista. A toxic marine pollution cover-up The ISM is also to probe the alleged direct dumping of toxic wastes to Rapu-Rapu bay which maybe the reason why the tailing dam is not overflowing notwithstanding heavy rains. Said Tony Casitas of the Sagip Isla, Sagip Kapwa, their group has been receiving reports that a ship was seen getting the tailings from the dam which was suspected to be
dumped in the Pacific Ocean. “This is probably the reason why the tailings dam doesn’t overflow even if it has been raining often for the past six months,” he said. DENR: adding insult to injury Environmentalists and scientist-delegates to the ISM assailed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for allowing the sale of the mining project to Korean investors, despite the damage it has already incurred to the soils and waters of Rapu-Rapu. “Lafayette has run off with millions of profits without paying for its crimes against the local community and the Filipino people. Adding insult to injury, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), backed up by Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo sold the project to Korean investors. The new Korean owners, which were immediately allowed to resume operations, are feared to continue the destructive and pollution-inducing operation of open-pit mining in the island,” said Bautista. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
DAVAO CITY—Environmental groups said that the issuance by the Environmental Management Bureau of the Environmental Compliance Certificate to Hedcor Aboitiz was done in “haste” and preceded by President Arroyo’s recent visit. The EMB granted the ECC to Hedcor on the basis of the latter’s Initial Environmental Evaluation, “a very shallow and cursory look at the project,” said the Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (IDIS). (Mark S. Ventura)
Bishop warns people on too much desire for wealth
Bishop leads protest vs Surigao mining
CANTILAN, Surigao Del Sur—Over 1,000 residents from various towns and sectors of Surigao del Sur recently joined a three-kilometer march to condemn mining operations here. CBCP Vice President and Tandag bishop Nereo Odchimar led the march and presided over the concelebrated mass held after the street protest. Demonstrators claimed the mining operations have threatened watersheds providing critical support to the province’s irrigation system, water supply and Cantilan’s proposed mini-hydro power project. To top it all, they said, the proposed mining sites infringe upon the indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands. The protest march was convened by the CarCanMadCarLan Baywatch Foundation, Inc. (CBFI), Surigao del Sur Irrigators’ Federation, Inc. (SURIF), Cantilan Irrigation System Federation of Irrigators Association, Diocese of Tandag Social Action Center, Philippine Eagle Foundation, Immaculate Conception Parish (Cantilan), Parish Youth Apostolate, CAHAYAG and Lovers of Nature, Inc. The groups are supported by Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Legal rights and Natural Resource Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/ Friends of the Earth-Philippines (LRC-KSK/FOE-Phils.), and BALAOD MINDANAW. Expressing his disappointment with the government, Odchimar said that he “felt betrayed upon learning that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had already issued Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) to Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) and Carac-an
MATI CITY—Bishop Patricio Alo has cautioned the people of the possible dangerous effect if they desire too much wealth thus forgetting their faith in God. Alo said that if one aspires for more wealth then it could be a dangerous state of mind and will lead the person to a materialist tendency like Judas Iscariot who betrayed Christ. (Mark S. Ventura)
Ateneo sees low turn-out in college enrollment rate
DAVAO CITY—Ateneo de Davao University foresees a lower turnout this coming school year due to a drastic decrease of 67% in its enrollees this recent school year. In a report posted April 27 in the school’s website, the actual number of enrollees never reached the estimated 2,000 mark for 2008-2009. In order to reach the number target, an increase in numbers of about 654 is needed in order to reach the projection. (Mark S. Ventura)
Cebu opens jubilee year
CEBU CITY—In an elaborate yet solemn ceremony at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal opened the year-long celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the establishment of the Archdiocese of Cebu last April 28. With President Gloria Arroyo, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, and Papal Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Edward Adams and among other dignitaries in attendance, Cardinal Vidal opened the jubilee door of the cathedral at 4:30 p.m. to mark the beginning of the holy year. (Fr. Marnel Mejia)
Development Corporation (CDC) two months prior of having been assured of ‘looking deeply’ into the watershed proclamation vis-àvis mining in a dialogue with Sec. Lito Atienza.” Cantilan Mayor Tomasa Guardo in unity with her Sangguniang Bayan members also issued an ordinance against mining. “As long as I am the mayor, no mining will ever be approved in this municipality,” said Guardo. Emma Hotchkiss, president of CBFI, read Presidential Proclamation 1747, declaring the portion of the public domain of Alamyo, Buyaan, Paniki Rivers and Sipangpang Falls situated in the Municipalities of Carascal, Cantilan and Madrid, Province of Surigao del Sur and in the Municipalities of Jabonga, Santiago and Cabadbaran, Province of Agusan del Norte as critical watershed forest reserves. “We shall take a unified action and urge the government to cancel the Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) of MMDC and CDC and not only depend on the protection of the said presidential proclamation,” Hotchkiss said. Rodne R. Galicha, ATM Sites of Struggle officer, presented the national mining situation and strongly stated that “real progress is to live sustainably, in accordance with the processes of nature and should not abuse the rights of those who live at present and of the coming generations.” The gathering ended with the symbolic signing of the petition by sectoral representatives and stakeholders for the cancellation of the MPSAs of the two aforementioned companies. They are legally supported by BALAOD Mindanaw’s lawyer Pilipinas Palma. (Tinty Iriberri)
CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc. (CBCP Media Office)
Schedules of Training Seminars for 2009
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Archbishop Antonio Ledesma has called on for concerted efforts from all sectors of the society to prevent women, especially the youth, from engaging in flesh trade. The Cagayan de Oro archbishop said this is the challenge now facing modern civilized society. Ledesma made the statement after police recently raided a cybersex den here and nabbed its operators, two Swedish nationals identified as Stefan Sederholms and Emil Andreas Solemo. Eighteen young girls were also questioned. The 66-year-old Jesuit prelate said efforts to stop young people from engaging in the flesh trade must be done by all sectors of society aside from the government and Church. There must be a sincere campaign against commercial sex trade by the government, multi-sectoral group, the Church, parents, youth and private sector organizations. “And this campaign must start with the parents as it is their responsibility to teach values to their children,” he said. Ledesma said the arrest of Sederholms and Solemo is not enough to stop the youth from engaging in prostitution. The schools, he said, must also do their part in diverting the youth from such activities. “It is a challenge to the parents as well. Our schools must have a balanced presentation of information on human sexuality,” he said. The discovery and eventual busting of a cybersex den in the city raised concerns of the present values of the youth. According to Rep. Teofisto Guingona III of the 3rd District of Bukidnon, the discovery of the cybersex den in the city “could just be a tip of the iceberg of human trafficking in Mindanao.” “There could be other dens and other forms of human trafficking operating in other key cities of the island,” he said. The cybersex den which victimized young women using the latest computer technology has been operating in a respectable residential area in the city since last year as a strategy to escape detection. (Bong D. Fabe)
Concerted efforts needed vs. prostitution
1. Web design – Beginners’ course (Learn how to conceptualize, design and maintain websites. This module is tailored for catechists, pastoral workers and youth groups interested in harnessing websites as a new avenue for catechesis and evangelization.) May 25-29 (Monday – Friday) - 1:00-5:00 p.m. Minimum of 10 and maximum of 15 participants Registration fee: P800 (inclusive of snacks) Venue: CBCPWorld Training Room, 3rd Flr., 470 Gen. Luna St. Intramuros, Manila (Note: This seminar-workshop is scheduled from May until August. June-August seminar dates will be made available later.) 2. Web design 2 (Participants should have basic knowledge of MSQL and PHP) September 21-25 (Monday-Friday) 1:00-5:00 p.m. Minimum of 10 and maximum of 15 participants Registration fee: P800 (inclusive of snacks) Venue: CBCPWorld Training Room, 3rd Flr., 470 Gen. Luna St. Intramuros, Manila 3. System Administration (SysAd) (for CBCPWorld clients only) (A highly technical training course for Systems and Network Administrators, this program is offered especially to those administering local area networks of Catholic schools. The training features bandwidth and server management on a Linux platform.) May 4-5 (tentative) Participants: Laguna cluster Venue: Laguna May 11-12 (tentative) Participants: Manila cluster Venue: CBCPWorld Training Room, CBCP Building, Intramuros October, November 2009
4. Information Technology Awareness (This seminar is an introduction to information technology. Participants are taught the basic knowledge and skills in computer, internet and multimedia. This is best for school administrators, nuns, priests and bishops.) No date yet (Thursday – Friday) - 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Maximum of 15 participants Registration fee: P500.00 (inclusive of lunch and snacks) Venue: CBCPWorld Training Room, 3rd Flr., 470 Gen. Luna St. Intramuros, Manila Watch for the schedule dates of the following: 5. Educational Technology (Ed Tech) (This training module is intended for teachers of Catholic schools. It teaches how to integrate computer/internet applications into the academic subject/curriculum.) July, August, September (or depending on the availability of clients) Venue: On site 6. Multimedia for Catechists (An introductory course to the amazing world of multimedia which includes videography, video editing and online sharing. This is best for catechists and pastoral workers.) October 2009 (tentative) 7. PC Assembly/Hardware/Software Troubleshooting (Intended for computer technicians, this training module teaches basic skills in network management which includes hardware configurations, IP addressing and network structuring.) 8. Newswriting (This seminar-workshop features writing news stories from a distinctively catholic perspective which CBCPNews calls “Catholic Journalism.” This is especially intended for those involved in print media or those contemplating on putting up one.)
Most of these training programs are conducted for free, especially to institutions that are members of the CBCPWorld Network. Trainings are held either at the CBCPWorld Training Center in Intramuros, Manila or at local dioceses. Interested party may contact CBCP Media Office at tel/fax 5274139 / CBCPWorld at tels. 404-2182; 404-1612.
Photo courtesy of CBCP-NASSA
DAGUPAN CITY—Thousands of youth from Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan joined the Archdiocesan Youth Day on April 21-24 at the Holy Cross Parish in Laoac, Pangasinan. Organized by the archdiocese’s Youth Apostolate, the event was intended to assemble young people and learn and live their youthful lives as Christians. (Kate Laceda)
People, Facts & Places
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
Cardinal holds special mass for disabled
THE struggles and gifts of people with disabilities received another special attention from the head of Manila’s Catholic archdiocese. Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales held a special service at the Santo Niño Parish in Tondo, Manila last May 9 for anyone with mental disabilities, as well as their family members. The event was part of the “sharing day” organized by the Faith and Light Community, a global ecumenical and spiritual movement among persons with intellectual disabilities, their families, and friends. The Mass which was concelebrated by several priests started at 1 p.m. The gathering also introduced Faith and Light to the community, encouraging people to learn more about its mission to promote friendship and growth with and among persons with intellectual disabilities. Faith and Light was founded by Jean Vanier and Marie Helene Matthieu following a pilgrimage in Lourdes, France, to meet the needs of families of persons with intellectual disability. There are now 1,500 such communities in 76 countries on five continents. In the Philippines, Jean Vanier, while visiting the Little Sisters of Jesus in 1984 inspired a prayer group to start the first Faith and Light community in the country. Today, Faith and Light is found in 12 parishes in Metro Manila. The group meets regularly for fellowship, celebration and prayer. (Roy Lagarde)
Foundress of Little Sisters of the Poor to be canonized soon
of our vocation, of our work, of the way [to holiness which] our foundress ha[d] shown us. And also we are happy for the elderly people in the world, because she is a saint for the elderly, a special patroness,” said Mother Imelda Primosh, the superior of San Lorenzo Ruiz Home in Lancaster St., Pasay City. Primosh, an American, said a delegation from the Philippines will go to Rome in October to witness the canonization. “There will be two from each community of Pasay and Bolinao, one postulant, one novice, three volunteers, and maybe two priest-friends,” she said. The nun said more than a thousand are expected to participate in the event from all their communities all over the world. “We heard that India will send more than a hundred in delegation. Surely, countries that are closer [to Rome] will send more,” she said. A local celebration is slated on October 24 with a thanksgiving mass at the Manila Cathedral to be led by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. The Papal Nuncio is also expected to grace the event as well as other bishops and priests. On October 25, birthday of Jeanne Jugan, the Sisters will open their convent to friends and benefactors for a day-long festivities and thanksgiving for the grace received.
Children with mental disabilities received special blessings from Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales after a Mass celebrated for them and their families at the Sto. Niño Parish, Tondo last May 9.
THE foundress of a religious congregation for women who worked for the elderly poor is set to be canonized in a solemn ceremony on October 11, 2009 in Rome. Jeanne Jugan, a Frenchwoman who founded a congregation called Little Sisters of the Poor will be elevated to sainthood together with four other blesseds including Fr. Damien, the leper of Molokai. The Little Sisters of the Poor has two communities here in the Philippines, one is Pasay and another in Bolinao, Pangasinan where the novitiate is located. “We are very happy. It is an affirmation
Caring for the elderly poor Of French origin, the congregation was founded in 1839 to care for the elderly poor who have nothing to eat and nowhere to go. The Little Sisters are now spread in 32 countries in five continents. In the Philip-
pines the first community, the San Lorenzo Ruiz Home for the Elderly, was established in Pasay in January 2004. It currently houses 43 elderly residents. A second that can accommodate 60 residents was built in Pangasinan in 2008. A formation house for novices and postulants was also built in the same site. The community now has three novices and three postulants. Although the congregation is new in the country, it has already a large number of Filipino Sisters. Primosh said their Filipino vocations were either migrants or overseas Filipino workers who entered abroad. Sr. Ofelia Ripasa, one of the two Filipinas who are currently assigned at San Lorenzo Home said she met the sisters while working in Hong Kong. “I was a volunteer to the Home of the Sisters. I saw the work they were doing. That’s how I was encouraged in my vocation,” she explained. “Those who have entered abroad are mostly working there. There are a few who are migrants, but many of them were overseas workers,” Primosh added. “We have the export quality,” Ripasa quipped. “Our Filipino vocations are not rooted here,” she added. The six sisters in San Lorenzo Home are a mixture of five nationalities: two Filipinas who entered abroad, one American, one Sri Lankan, one British and one Singaporean. But with their patroness in heaven and a formation house in place, the community is hopeful local vocations will come. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
CELEBRATED. Nuestra Señora Virgen del Rosario, 50th anniversary of canonical coronation, April 18, 2009. The 400 year-old miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin Mary was crowned in 1959 and enthroned at the altar of Orani Church in Bataan which in 1714 was an independent mission post under the Dominicans. The Dominican friars constructed the church and became their residence in Bataan. The statue was believed to have been made in 1581 and was brought to the Philippines by the Dominicans in 1588. The Church of Samal, second oldest church in Bataan, was said to be the first place where the image was housed. It could not be explained why the image was found in the Church of Orani, where the statue is now permanently placed. C E L E B R AT E D . L a Virgen Divina Pastora 45th anniversary of canonical coronation and 23rd anniversary of the Declaration of Her National Shrine, April 26, 2009. The Shrine is at Three Kings Parish in the Diocese of Cabanatuan. Most Rev. Sofronio Bancud, SSS presided the concelebrated Mass at 2 p.m. The image of La Virgen Divina Pastora is about one and a half feet tall. The church has been publicized as the biggest and most respected neo-classic or Byzantine structure of the eighteenth century in Central Luzon. Augustinian friars built the church in 1856 under the patronage of Fathers Francisco Loredo, Antonio Cornejo, and Leandro Llanera from 1856-1872. The church was built through forced labor during the Spanish regime. The workers had to line up between the source of materials and place of construction and had to pass the bricks from one hand to another. The miracles of the Divine Shepherdess has enthralled church authorities that on April 26, 1964, she was crowned the Queen at the church plaza creating Gapan as an official pilgrimage city like that of the Virgin of Good Voyage in Antipolo City. The declaration of the church as the National Shrine of La Virgen Divina Pastora was promulgated on January 26, 1986 by His Eminence Cardinal Ricardo Vidal. CELEBRATED. Sacred Heart College, Lucena City, 125th founding anniversary; April 27, 2009. Established in April 27, 1884, the college is said to be the oldest Catholic institution for men and women in Quezon Province. The school begun through the vision of a simple and saintly woman named Hermana Fausta Labrador. She was 26 years old when she initiated a Charity school to develop the youth in accordance to the principles of the Catholic faith. Hermana Fausta received her faith formation from the nuns, having studied at the Colegio de Santa Rosa under the Daughters of Charity. In August 14, 1937, at the twilight of her life, she entrusted her school to the Daughters of Charity. In 1939, the school was operating the complete primary, intermediate and high school courses. True to their Vincentian spirit and in keeping with the legacy of Hermana Fausta, the Sisters worked and prayed hard to shape young people into becoming well rounded individuals. The school continues to improve itself, living up to its commitment of providing integral spiritual formation and quality education to its thousands of students who have crossed its portals through the years. The school seal symbolizes the mission on which it has been founded—a heart that beats, bleeds and burns for the poor and the less privileged, of the whole humanity. ORDAINED. Rev. Jovane T. Cañete to the Order of priesthood, at San Isidro Labrador Parish, Tudela, Misamis Occidental, by Archbishop Jesus Dosado, CM, April 21, 2009. Cañete took his minor seminary formation at Mother of Life Seminary in Iligan City and finished his Theology at Saint Mary Theologate Seminary, Gango, Ozamiz City. He was ordained deacon on October 7, 2008. The rise of the number of vocations in the Archdiocese can be attributed to the influence of the Columban missionaries and the strong foundation of faith developed at the Basic Ecclesial Communities and from catholic teachers, according to Cañete. The priestly ordination of Cañete coincided with the 33rd sacerdotal anniversary of Ozamiz Vicar General Msgr. Emie Bienes and Fr. Boy Toledo who were ordained at San Isidro Labrador Parish, Tudela 33 years ago.
Prisoners take part in int’l art contest
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (CBCP-ECPPC) has collaborated in the 2nd International Art Contest for prisoners which was primarily organized by the International Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ICPPC) Rodolfo Diamante, Executive Secretary of ECPPC, said the contest aimed to showcase the creative talents of prisoners and to bring their life, struggles and hopes to the attention of the public. Various Dioceses in Parañaque, Nueva Segovia, San Fernando (Pampanga), Legaspi (Albay), Balanga (Bataan), Capiz, Boac, Calbayog, Baguio, Iligan, Davao, San Fernando (La Union), San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Dumaguete, Dipolog, Cubao, Pasig, Cagayan De Oro, Palo, Tugegarao, Bacolod, Maasin and Cebu joined the said contest. This year’s theme was “Signs of Life.” The judging of the drawings, paintings, and/or graphic arts was held at the CBCP main office in Intramuros, Manila where 20 participants from 24 dioceses in the Philippines won. Judges of the art contest were Manny Galang and Ed Instrella who are both resource persons of the ECPPC, and Menchu Arandilla, Jun Martinez and Dave Tan from the Tuesday Group of the Group of Visual Artists. ICPPC was established at an international assembly in Rome during the Holy Year in 1950 by the Secretary of State which included the Pope Paul VI. This commission aspires to stimulate Episcopal Conferences to establish prison pastoral care and to plan ongoing training courses, study, information and meetings for the prison pastoral agents and for the members of the commission. The initial art contest established by ICPPC awarded the first prize to a woman prisoner detained in Guayaquil City, Ecuador. She received the first prize of US $1,000 and a certificate. In the Philippines, eight detainees had won the international art contest in 2006. (Kate Laceda)
© Kate Laceda / CBCP Media
Assembly for priests focused on catechism
CATECHESIS as principal program of the Church in the Philippines was the area of interest in the recent summer catechetical institute held at the Sta. Catalina Spirituality Center in Marcos Highway, Baguio City. Organized by the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the theme of the assembly was “Signs and Settings of Hope: Catechesis for Family and Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC).” Dubbed as the 2nd Summer Catechetical Institute for Priests, the meeting gathered 86 priests from 54 dioceses in the Philippines. Several lectures were organized to clearly present the subject matter to the participants. Fr. Antonio Rosales, OFM of the Santuario De San Antonio Parish tackled the summary of cat-
Philippine Church Canon lawyers gathered in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur last April 21-22 for the 17th National Convention of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines (CLSP). Fr. Jaime Achacoso (5th from right, first row), Executive Secretary of CBCP Episcopal Commission on Canon Law (ECCL) spoke on “Shepherding an Itinerant Flock: A Survey of Possible Organizational and Jurisdictional Structures.” Also in photo are ECCL Chairman, Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran (6th from right) and Archbishop Ernesto Salgado of Nueva Segovia, (7th from right). (Contributed Photo)
echetical encyclicals including Redemptoris Missio and Deus Caritas Est. Fr. Joel Jason from the Theology Department of the San Carlos Seminary explained the catechesis on family, life and love. A review on the prospects and challenges of the National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines (NCDP) 2007 was presented by Msgr. Gerardo Santos, Executive Secretary of ECCCE. BEC and Catechesis were discussed by Most Reverend Francisco Claver, SJ, former Vicar Apostolic of Bontoc-Lagawe. Organizers said the assembly achieved its objectives of gathering priests in the spirit of communioin-missio, review the framework of the NCDP and its challenges, and present a working Family and BEC Catechesis. (CBCPNews)
© Noli Yamsuan
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
‘New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship.’
Message of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, for the 43rd World Day of Communications, May 24, 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters! In anticipation of the forthcoming World Communications Day, I would like to address to you some reflections on the theme chosen for this year - New Technologies, New relationships: Promoting a culture of respect, Dialogue and Friendship. The new digital technologies are, indeed, bringing about fundamental shifts in patterns of communication and human relationships. These changes are particularly evident among those young people who have grown up with the new technologies and are at home in a digital world that often seems quite foreign to those of us who, as adults, have had to learn to understand and appreciate the opportunities it has to offer for communications. In this year’s message, I am conscious of those who constitute the so-called digital generation and I would like to share with them, in particular, some ideas concerning the extraordinary potential of the new technologies, if they are used to promote human understanding and solidarity. These technologies are truly a gift to humanity and we must endeavor to ensure that the benefits they offer are put at the service of all human individuals and communities, especially those who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable. The accessibility of mobile telephones and computers, combined with the global reach and penetration of the internet, has opened up a range of means of communication that permit the almost instantaneous communication of words and images across enormous distances and to some of the most isolated corners of the world; something that would have been unthinkable for previous generations. Young people, in particular, have grasped the enormous capacity of the new media to foster connectedness, communication and understanding between individuals and communities, and they are turning to them as means of communicating with existing friends, of meeting new friends, of forming communities and networks, of seeking information and news, and of sharing their ideas and opinions. Many benefits flow from this new culture of communication: families are able to maintain contact across great distances; students and researchers have more immediate and easier access to documents, sources and scientific discoveries, hence they can work collaboratively from different locations; moreover, the interactive nature of many of the new media facilitates more dynamic forms of learning and communication, thereby contributing to social progress. While the speed with which the new technologies have evolved in terms of their efficiency and reliability is rightly a source of wonder, their popularity with users should not surprise us, as they respond to a fundamental desire of people to communicate and to relate to each other. This desire for communication and friendship is rooted in our very nature as human beings and cannot be adequately understood as a response to technical innovations. In the light of the biblical message, it should be seen primarily as a reflection of our participation in the communicative and unifying Love of God, who desires to make of all humanity one family. When we find ourselves drawn towards other people, when we want to know more about them and make ourselves known to them, we are responding to God’s call—a call that is imprinted in our nature as beings created in the image and likeness of God, the God of communication and communion. The desire for connectedness and the instinct for communication that are so obvious in contemporary culture are best understood as modern manifestations of the basic and enduring propensity of humans to reach beyond themselves and to seek communion with others. In reality, when we open ourselves to others, we are fulfilling our deepest need and becoming more fully human. Loving is, in fact, what we are designed for by our Creator. Naturally, I am not talking about fleeting, shallow relationships, I am talking about the real love that is at the very heart of Jesus’ moral teaching: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and “You must love your neighbor as people from different countries, cultures and religions. The new digital arena, the so-called cyberspace, allows them to encounter and to know each other’s traditions and values. Such encounters, if they are to be fruitful, require honest and appropriate forms of expression together with attentive and respectful listening. The dialogue must be rooted in a genuine and mutual searching for truth if it is to realize its potential to promote growth in understanding and tolerance. Life is not just a succession of events or experiences: it is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by those who see us merely as consumers in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth. The concept of friendship has enjoyed a renewed prominence in the vocabulary of the new digital social networks that have emerged in the last few years. The concept is one of the noblest achievements of human culture. It is in and through our friendships that we grow and develop as humans. For this reason, true friendship has always been seen as one of the greatest goods any human person can experience. We should be careful, therefore, never to
respect for human life and the good of creation. These networks can facilitate forms of co-operation between people from different geographical and cultural
It is gratifying to note the emergence of new digital networks that seek to promote human solidarity, peace and justice, human rights and respect for human life and the good of creation. These networks can facilitate forms of co-operation between people from different geographical and cultural contexts that enable them to deepen their common humanity and their sense of shared responsibility for the good of all. We must, therefore, strive to ensure that the digital world, where such networks can be established, is a world that is truly open to all.
yourself” (cf. Mk 12:30-31). In this light, reflecting on the significance of the new technologies, it is important to focus not just on their undoubted capacity to foster contact between people, but on the quality of the content that is put into circulation using these means. I would encourage all people of good will who are active in the emerging environment of digital communication to commit themselves to promoting a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship. Those who are active in the production and dissemination of new media content, therefore, should strive to respect the dignity and worth of the human person. If the new technologies are to serve the good of individuals and of society, all users will avoid the sharing of words and images that are degrading of human beings, that promote hatred and intolerance, that debase the goodness and intimacy of human sexuality or that exploit the weak and vulnerable. The new technologies have also opened the way for dialogue between trivialize the concept or the experience of friendship. It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop on-line friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbors and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation. If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development. Friendship is a great human good, but it would be emptied of its ultimate value if it were to be understood as an end in itself. Friends should support and encourage each other in developing their gifts and talents and in putting them at the service of the human community. In this context, it is gratifying to note the emergence of new digital networks that seek to promote human solidarity, peace and justice, human rights and contexts that enable them to deepen their common humanity and their sense of shared responsibility for the good of all. We must, therefore, strive to ensure that the digital world, where such networks can be established, is a world that is truly open to all. It would be a tragedy for the future of humanity if the new instruments of communication, which permit the sharing of knowledge and information in a more rapid and effective manner, were not made accessible to those who are already economically and socially marginalized, or if it should contribute only to increasing the gap separating the poor from the new networks that are developing at the service of human socialization and information. I would like to conclude this message by addressing myself, in particular, to young Catholic believers: to encourage them to bring the witness of their faith to the digital world. Dear Brothers and Sisters, I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment
of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives. In the early life of the Church, the great apostles and their disciples brought the Good News of Jesus to the Greek and roman world. Just as, at that time, a fruitful evangelization required that careful attention be given to understanding the culture and customs of those pagan peoples so that the truth of the gospel would touch their hearts and minds, so also today, the proclamation of Christ in the world of new technologies requires a profound knowledge of this world if the technologies are to serve our mission adequately. It falls, in particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this “digital continent”. Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the “Good News” of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds! The Pope accompanies you with his prayers and his blessing. From the Vatican, 24 January 2009, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales. BeNeDICTUS XVI
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
A Survey of Current Institutions and Jurisdictional Structures for the Pastoral Care of Filipino Migrant Workers1
Shepherding an Itinerant Flock (Part I)
provided by the particular Churches through the territorial parishes in the Philippines. Thus, I would like to limit this discussion to the care Prologomena of the OFWs themselves in their respective even Church documents recognize that countries of deployment. today’s migration makes up the vastest Finally, the canonico-pastoral orientations movement of people of all times. “In these and norms applicable to the case of OFWs last decades—the latest major document in their countries of deployment can be affirms—the phenomenon, now involving divided into two kinds: (1) those addressed about two hundred million individuals to the host Church (ad quam) if and where worldwide, has turned into a structural reality such ecclesiastical hierarchy exists; (2) those of contemporary society. It is becoming an addressed to the Church of origin (a qua)—i.e., increasingly complex problem from the social, the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Now cultural, political, religious, economic and then, since—realistically and practically pastoral points of view.” speaking—there is little we can really do as regards the Churches ad quam, I would The Philippine Culture of Migration and the like to focus this discussion on what the Ecclesial Response Church Hierarchy in the Philippines—either Closer to our topic, since the 1970s the as individual dioceses or as the Catholic Philippines has supplied all kinds of skilled Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and low-skilled workers to the world’s more collectively—can do in order to better take developed regions. as of December 2004, an care of the OFWs. estimated 8.1 million Filipinos—nearly 10% A final distinction is in order. On the one of the country’s 85 million people—were hand are those Overseas Filipinos (OFs) working and/or residing in close to 200 who are stably migrated—i.e., mostly with countries and territories. as one expert on resident visas or even dual citizenships, Filipino migration would affirm: While the positive economic effects presently numbering around 3.7 “In the last 30 years, a culture million—and are therefore already of the millions of OFWs— religiously incorporated to the particular of migration has emerged, with millions of Filipinos eager to Churches (host Churches) where remitting their hard-earned foreign work abroad, despite the risks and they are. On the other hand are the currency to their families at vulnerabilities they are likely to so-called overseas contract workers home—are undeniable, it is equally face.” (OCWs)—presently numbering On one hand, this same expert undeniable that many of these souls 4.1 million—usually on two-year continues, “the development contracts, albeit renewable but also are oftentimes in quite precarious of a culture of migration in the rescindable at a moment’s notice situations. While the Philippine Philippines has been greatly aided for a host of reasons, including the by migration’s institutionalization. Government has taken important steps unstable political situation in their The government facilitates towards institutionalizing Philippine areas of deployment. Given that migration, regulates the operations the latest official records place the labor migration—to the point that of the recruitment agencies, and number of Overseas Filipinos at 8.7 looks out for the rights of its migrant the Philippines has been cited as an million, the unaccounted balance workers. More importantly, of 900 thousand would have to the remittances workers send international model for best practices be comprised of what have been homes have become a pillar of the in migration policy—the ecclesiastical referred to as illegals. It is this group country’s economy.” of 4.1 million OCWs and 0.9 million response to the OFW phenomenon On the other hand, the illegals who I would henceforth leaves much to be desired. phenomenon of Filipino migrant refer as OFWs, since one and the workers—more commonly referred to as the roman empire. other are all Filipinos, overseas and working Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)—does one way or another. These are the 5 million not seem to be something temporary. On the Limiting the Discussion unstably migrated Filipinos, who are in dire Before proceeding further, I would like to need of pastoral care. contrary, if at all it seems to be a phenomenon which is on the rise and destined to become limit the scope of the discussion not only to more significant in the near and middle- a more manageable level, but to what in my term future. as such, it is something that the mind is the more relevant aspect as far as the I. A Brief Historical Review of the Ecclesial Philippine hierarchy cannot fail to attend to, OFWs are concerned. Response In effect, Church documents on the subject especially since majority of the OFWs, as is the to the Phenomenon of Human Mobility Philippine population at large, are faithful of of the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people have always made a distinction the Catholic Church. a. early attempts at Pastoral Care of The ecclesial dimension of this phenomenon between the Church of origin (ecclesia a Migrants: Pius XII’s exsul Familia (1952) is a veritable challenge to the Philippine qua) and the host Church (ecclesia ad quam). The efforts of the Church to take care of the hierarchy. In effect, while the positive economic Insofar as the Philippines is basically a spiritual needs of Catholic migrants in the past effects of the millions of OFWs— religiously labor exporting country, rather than a host 150 years have been concretized in various remitting their hard-earned foreign currency country for migrants (whether workers or initiatives on the part of the common faithful, to their families at home—are undeniable, it is otherwise), the canonico-pastoral criteria and of religious institutes and of the Hierarchy equally undeniable that many of these souls norms regarding host countries are of limited itself. Initially, members of the clergy had are oftentimes in quite precarious situations. application. accompanied groups setting off abroad to Thus, the canonico-pastoral issue connected colonize new lands, but from the middle of While the Philippine Government has taken important steps towards institutionalizing with the OFWs can be conveniently pared the 19th Century onwards, the pastoral care Philippine labor migration—to the point down to two: (1) the care of the Filipino of migrants was entrusted more frequently to that the Philippines has been cited as an migrant workers themselves in their respective missionary Congregations. international model for best practices in countries of deployment; (2) the care of the More at the hierarchical-jurisdictional level, migration policy—the ecclesiastical response families that the Filipino migrant workers the first initiatives addressed immediate to the OFW phenomenon leaves much to be leave behind in the Philippines. With respect needs. For instance, in 1914 Pope Pius X erected desired. Many OFWs, especially in those to the latter, I am of the opinion that their a seminary for the formation of priests destined countries of Catholic minority or where there pastoral needs do not really present any for the pastoral care of Italian immigrants, is no Catholic hierarchy, are literally like significant complications as to warrant a although it was not inaugurated until 1920 due sheep without shepherds, relying solely on separate canonico-pastoral treatment—i.e., to the outbreak of World War I. This same year, Shepherding / B7 the isolated missionaries or chaplains who distinct from the cura ordinaria animarum
Lighting the Easter Candle
(Father edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the regina apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: Quick question on the paschal candle: When in the sanctuary during eastertide, is it to be lit during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction? as an altar boy some 30 or so years ago I remember the easter candle being solemnly extinguished at the end of vespers and before adoration and solemn Benediction. Is this still correct liturgical practice? Was it ever?—a.B., Palm Beach, Florida a: There is very little in the way of present rules regarding the use of the easter candle. Of the few precise norms, there is No. 99 of “Paschales Solemnitatis,” a circular letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments on the easter celebrations. To wit: “The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass or at Morning and evening Prayer. after the easter season, the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistery, so that in the celebration of baptism, the candles of the baptized may be lit from them. In the celebration of funerals the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate that the death of a Christian is his own Passover. The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the easter season.” The expression that it should be lit “at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season” would seem to allow for a certain degree of flexibility. For example, a parish with numerous baptisms and funerals during the year might opt to light it only on Sundays and solemnities so that it lasts the whole year long. a religious community with few celebrations outside of eastertide might prefer to light it for all paschal liturgies. The present norms don’t mention anything regarding lighting the easter candle during exposition. But if we may be guided by the norms applicable to the extraordinary form, these would indicate that in general it would not be done. according to the collection “Decreta authentica” of the then Congregation of rites, the easter candle could not be lit only for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (Decree 3479,3). It would be lit, however, if vespers were celebrated before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, or Benediction followed immediately after vespers (Decree 4383,1-2). The principle behind these decrees would appear to be that lighting the easter candle is reserved for liturgical acts celebrated with some degree of solemnity. all the same, it is not incompatible with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament if a liturgical celebration is held during adoration. Likewise, although the earlier decrees spoke only of vespers, the present norms include lauds and could perhaps be extended to other hours of the Liturgy of the Hours if celebrated with some solemnity.
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
may succeed in accompanying them in their place of oversees employment. In this article, I would like to focus on the possible solutions to the pastoral problems posed by the aforementioned phenomenon of Philippine labor migration. In the process, I hope to go beyond simply solving the problem posed by the Filipino migrant workers, and—following the lines of the familiar SWOT analysis in management—to look at how to convert an erstwhile weakness into a veritable opportunity, an ecclesial problem into a factor for evangelization. In short, making a sneak preview of the conclusion of this article, and very much in line with this year’s 2000th anniversary of St. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, I would like to explore the possibilities offered by Canon Law to squarely face the challenge of adequately shepherding the itinerant flock of OFWs, so as to convert them into effective agents of evangelization—in much the same way that St. Paul and the early Christians, forced into the diaspora by the persecution of the Jews in Palestine, became the intrepid sowers of the seeds of the Gospel throughout
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
ON BACKGROUND: Archbishop of Davao, Most Rev. Fernando R. Capalla, (3rd from left) 2nd bishop of Iligan, led the concelebrated Jubilee Mass in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the erection of Iligan as a diocese in November 2008. Other bishops who joined the occasion were: (From left) Bishop Emilio L. Bataclan, 3rd bishop of Iligan, now assigned as Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu; Bishop Emmanuel T. Cabajar, Bishop of Pagadian; Bishop Elenito D. Galido, now the 4th bishop of Iligan Diocese; Archbishop Jesus A. Dosado, Archbishop of Ozamiz; and Bishop Edwin A. De La Peña, Bishop of the Prelature of Marawi. INSET: Maria Cristina Falls. BELOW: Cathedral of St. Micheal the Archangel.
By Fr. Rodrigo Maata
electric power for the province. Heavy-powered industries have made Iligan their home base, industries such as steel plants, fertilizer plants, ferro-alloy plants, flour mills and cement plants. ecclesiastically, all of Mindanao and Sulu came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Cebu during the Spanish era. When the Diocese of Zamboanga was created in 1910, it had jurisdiction over the whole of Mindanao. In 1933 the Diocese of Cagayan de Oro was separated from that of Zamboanga and got
Historical Back ground The province of Lanao del Norte, of which Iligan is the capital, lies in the northern part of Mindanao, where the Zamboanga Peninsula joins with the mainland of Mindanao between Yllana and Iligan Bays. The two Lanaos formed just one province before, and as such was home to the Maranaos, a native tribe of the region, a fierce and proud people who resisted colonization by the Spaniards and later by the americans. The old province of Lanao was never really subjugated. The Maranaos continued to wage their bloody wars of resistance. Fortresses in Iligan today are mute relics of those bloody encounters. In 1913 they were finally subdued by the americans. In 1914 the province of Lanao was formally organized. With new stability in the region, migrants from islands north of Mindanao poured in the northern part of the province. Because of the large numbers of Christian migrants that settled there, as Muslims also settled in the south, the division of Lanao into two provinces was deemed necessary. This division finally took place in 1959, and since then Lanao del Norte has become more Christian, while Lanao del Sur has become more Muslim. Iligan City today is a boom town, with more migrants coming in. recent years have seen a sprouting of stores, streets and schools. This growth is attributed to the power generated by the agus river which begins at Lake Lanao, traverses Lanao del Norte, and provides
Society of St. Columban (SSC) assumed administration of the two parishes and worked tirelessly in opening up new parishes, establishing parochial schools and welcoming other religious congregations in Iligan. around this time, all parishes of Iligan and Lanao were ceded to the newly created Diocese of Ozamiz separating them from the Dioceses of Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga. In 1971, Iligan became a prelature nullius and suffragan of the archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.
appointed Co-adjutor bishop of Davao. On his election, Msgr. Labiste was the Vicar General of the Diocese of Iligan. In 1995, Bishop emilio Bataclan was appointed third Bishop of Iligan, taking over the post vacated by Bishop Capalla. Msgr. ramon O. Fruto, CSsr became apostolic administrator of Iligan from June 22, 2004 to September 18, 2006, to fill up the post vacated by Bishop Bataclan who was assigned in the archdiocese of Cebu. 4th Local Ordinary in his Coat of arms, “Prayer, Service and Peace.” Diocesan Programs Thrusts and Peace Building When the Most rev. Bienvenido Tudtud assumed jurisdiction of the newly created Prelature of Iligan in 1971, he saw chaos and violence all over the place. It was a period that saw the boldness of the Muslim rebel group “barracuda”, the fearlessness of the Christian vigilante “Ilaga” and the bloody On September 18, 2006, Bishop elenito D. Galido was installed as the 4th local ordinary of the diocese after having been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on March 25 of the same year. He replaced Bishop Bataclan who in 2004 returned to the archdiocese of Cebu for health reasons. Bishop Galido, on a study-leave in New York, USa when appointed, hailed from Malaybalay, Bukidnon and spent most of his priestly life in that diocese. During his installation he promised to serve the faithful of Iligan Diocese with sincerity and compassion guided by the motto inscribed
When the Most Rev. Bienvenido Tudtud assumed jurisdiction of the newly created Prelature of Iligan in 1971, he saw chaos and violence all over the place. It was a period that saw the boldness of the Muslim rebel group “barracuda”, the fearlessness of the Christian vigilante “Ilaga” and the bloody intervention of the Philippine military.
jurisdiction over Surigao, both Misamises, Bukidnon, and part of the old Lanao, presumably the northern part nearer to it. Iligan has started as a parish named after the archangel, St. Michael by the augustinian recollects (Oar) in 1834. In 1913, the last of the Oar priests left the parish and the returning Jesuit missionaries took over. They served through World War II and even established a n o t h e r parish in the town of Kolambugan, about 50 kms west of Iligan. In 1948 a new group of missionaries, mostly Irish, the Prelature of Iligan On February 17, 1971 Pope Paul VI issued the papal bull “Qui in apostolica” creating the Prelature of Iligan and appointed the Most rev. Bienvenido Tudtud as its first Prelate Ordinary. On November 15, 1982, the Vatican elevated the Prelature of Iligan to a Diocese with the Most rev. Fernando r. Capalla as its first diocesan bishop, having earlier replaced Bishop Bienvenido Tudtud in 1976 as the latter moved to the newly created Prelature of St. Mary in Marawi. Very rev. Leo e. Labiste served as Diocesan administrator from august 22, 1994 to July 18, 1995 when then Bishop Capalla was
intervention of the Philippine military. as it was then and in-between, so it is now. The months of august to December 2008 brought back the horrible memories of the past, for those who still care to remember ─ mayhem, bloodshed, destruction of properties, lingering hatred and innocent civilians being victimized and displaced. Thus the primordial current thrust of the diocese is as old as the conflict itself. After the attacks of MILF rebels in august and bombings in December last year, the commission on the Interreligious Dialogue of the Diocese is again having its hands full pursuing peace initiatives and raising awareness of its importance through different activities, including symposiums, dialogue and concentrating on the same theme and aspiration ─ “that although we are a people of different faiths and cultures, we come from the same Creator, we have common hopes and dreams and that it is always possible to live and co-exist in the same land in harmony and peace”. alongside these activities are the relentless efforts of the Disaster and Social action apostolate in coordinating and dispensing basic help to the victims. Basic Ecclesial Communities another thrust that the Diocese is currently
Iligan / B5
Bishop ……………………………………… 1 Priests: Diocesan ………………………………….. 36 Religious ………………………………….. 14 Seminaries …………………………………. 3 Seminarians: Theology ………………………………….. 2 Philosophy ………………………………… 32 SFY ……………………………………….. 3 Diocesan Division: Vicariates …………………………………. 5 Parishes …………………………………… 24 Educational Centers: College ……………………………………. 1 High Schools: Diocesan …………………………………. 12 Religious …………………………………. 2 Elementary Schools: Diocesan …………………………………. 6 Religious …………………………………. 2 Kindergarten: Diocesan ………………………………… 5 Religious …………………………………. 2 Population ……………………………. 1,400,488 Catholics ……………………………... 918.418 Area ………………………………. 3,092 sq. kms
St. Michael Cathedral
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
“Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” Cardinal Ratzinger: “Every image of Christ must contain these three essential aspects of the mystery of Christ and in this sense, must be an image of Easter.”
By Fr. Catalino G. Arevalo, SJ
The Paschal Mystery in Art and an Abueva Crucifix
“We adore you, O Christ and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!” THIS prayer, often attributed to St Francis of assisi, is recited by the faithful as they come to each of the Stations of the Cross. This devotion of the via crucis, which is practiced by many Catholic families in our country during the Lenten season and specially in Holy week, goes back to the Middle ages in europe, probably toward the end of the 13th century. The prayer, then, originated at a time when devotion to the Lord and his sacred passion focused with strong emotion on the historical crucifixion of Jesus. The Stations of the Cross—fourteen in number—which are even today found in all our churches, terminate with the burial of Jesus in the tomb. The resurrection of Jesus was not, until our own time, made part of these stations. Both in the imaging and in the mind of so many of the faithful, the death of Jesus was (and is?) the center and the term of Holy Week. easter was an epilogue; it was not really part of Holy Week. This, for most, was so, despite the fact that the Church’s official rites of worship, the so-called Sacred Triduum, culminate in the Easter Vigil. Holy Week celebrations find their high point in the renewed proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus: Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega all time belongs to him, and all ages. To him be glory and power through every age and forever! Alleluia. Alleluia! Alleluia!
“There is a decisive turn to what is human, historical, in Christ, but it is animated by a sense that these human afflictions belong to the mystery. The images are consoling, because they make visible the overcoming of our anguish in the incarnate God’s sharing in our suffering, and so they bear within them the implicit image of the resurrection.” To jump several centuries, we have Pope Benedict bringing us to our present time. a strong, even radical reaction, “a kind of new iconoclasm” has tried to destroy or eliminate religious images—above all in the West. (This reaction goes back to the 1920s, ratzinger believes.) after the Second Vatican Council much kitsch and unworthy art were rightly eliminated, “but ultimately this left behind a void, the emptiness and wretchedness of which we are now experiencing.” We are now massively surrounded with images created by advertising, often huge and cheap, with which Metro-Manila is inundated, really with incredible ugliness. a recent visitor remarked how defaced the city has become. The “Essential Crucifix” Pope Benedict asks, regarding the present situation, what are we called to do? His fuller answer, which we cannot develop here, is: that we go back to the roots and principles of true Christian art that we return to its deepest and truest source in faith, in prayer and contemplation; to genuine Christian understanding, feeling and life. We must renew again, receive from grace again, “the eye of faith which sees.” To make a long story short, how does this affect the crucifix in our churches? Let me cite Joseph ratzinger at some length here. [Religious images] point to presence; they are essentially connected with what happens in the liturgy. Now history becomes sacrament in Christ, who is the source of the sacraments. Therefore, the icon of Christ is the center of sacred iconography. The center of the icon of Christ is the Paschal Mystery: Christ is presented as the
and so it has been suggested that the prayer at each station of the Cross begin instead with one of the responses we give at every Mass, after the presider’s invitation, “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith!” Lord, by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world! The “mystery of faith” (mysterium fidei) is the Cross and resurrection seen as one total mystery, truly understood as one. This is the Paschal Mystery. It is the centerpiece of the entire Christian faith, of Christian worship and theology, of all of the Christian life. Cross and resurrection are “linked from within” as both revelation and reality. The Cross finds its God-planned, Godwilled term in the resurrection; the Cross loses its meaning, cut off from the resurrection. Did not Jesus himself say, in the words of John’s Gospel: “This is why the Father loves me: that I lay down my life, so that I may take it up again. [The Greek text’s “so that, in order that” is clear.] No one takes it from me; I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down, and the power to take it up again. This is the charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10, 17-18). We must keep the same words in mind when we turn to the Cross and to representations of Jesus on the Cross. The Crucifix: A Brief History The author of a rather exhaustive history of the cross and the crucifix and their presence in Christian art (in the Catholic encyclopedia, 1967/USa) writes that most of the early depictions of the cross (from the 6th century onward), and of the crucifix (from the 8th or 9th century, it would seem), showed Christ alive, with eyes open, standing upright, with two nails fixing his feet in place, in an attitude of serene victory and triumph. “regnavit a ligno Deus” – “God has reigned from the tree of the cross.” Jesus on the cross is the orans, he who prays for us and gathers us into his saving victory. Often enough he wears the colobium, a tunic without sleeves, or (later) a full robe denoting majesty, kingly authority or priestly sacredness. But from the 13th century, more and more this changes. In Italy, specially, the representation of “the historical crucifixion” becomes less symbolic, more representational, and more visually dramatic. In much rhenish art of the time too, “Christ’s suffering is strikingly shown, in his emaciated body, with wounds covering it, Jesus’ face distorted by pain and anguish.” Or perhaps some artists show a Christ “in the calm of death, but with the crown of thorns a heavy weight upon his head.” This is not the time or place to go more deeply into the history of the cross and crucifix. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote a superb book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, published in 2000, only a few years before his election to the papacy. We will try to pick up some of his points on the portrayal of the Paschal Mystery, from his chapter on images and their place in worship. ratzinger points out that in most Christian art in both east and West, prior to the Gothic period in european art, “it is always the risen Christ, even on the Cross, to whom the community looks as the true Oriens.” Christian art is still primarily ordered to the mystery which becomes present in the liturgy, that mystery which we proclaim still every day at the Mass. But as the age of the Gothic emerges, slowly the central image changes; from orans and oriens, from victorious Lord and Pantocrator—“the Lord of all who leads us to the eighth day,” the consummation of cosmos and history. We turn instead to the image of the crucified Lord in the agony of his passion and death. In a true sense, popular piety takes over from the church’s liturgy, the “official worship rites”. (Did the Franciscan movement have some role in this shift?) religious art now turns chiefly to “the meditation on the mysteries of the earthly life of Jesus. a devotion to the Cross of a more historicizing kind replaces orientation to the risen Lord who has gone ahead of us.” Here ratzinger refers to the moving and masterly altarpiece—the so-called Isenheim altarpiece—of Matthias Grunewald, which “takes the realism of the Passion to a radical extreme.” even if in fact it was meant to be a source of strength and consolation to plague victims and others afflicted with disfiguring diseases, who could see in the “terrible crucifix” God’s own Son, making his own all their brokenness, pain and misery.
Crucified, the risen Lord, the One who will come again and who here now hiddenly reigns over all. Every image of Christ must contain these three essential aspects of the mystery of Christ and, in this sense, must be an image of Easter. At the same time, it goes without saying that different emphases are possible. The image may give more prominence to the Cross, the Passion, and in the Passion to the anguish of our own life today, or again it may bring the resurrection or the Second Coming to the fore. But whatever happens, one aspect can never be completely isolated from another, and in the different emphases the Paschal Mystery as a whole must be plainly evident. An image of the Crucifixion no longer transparent to Easter would be just as deficient as an Easter image forgetful of the wounds and the suffering of the present moment. And, centered as it is on the Paschal Mystery, the image of Christ is always an icon of the Eucharist, that is, it points to the sacramental presence of the Easter mystery. (Spirit of the Liturgy, 132-133; italics mine) An Abueva Crucifix Thus far, Pope Benedict XVI. Here I would like to turn our attention to a remarkable crucifix which our national artist Dean Napoleon Abueva crafted, only a few years back, for the new parish church of Our Lady of Pentecost (OLPP). (The church is on Fabian de la rosa St., Loyola Heights, very near the ateneo de Manila.) The crucifix dominates the altar-space and the nave of the really superb church, designed by architect Veepee Pinpin, for the pastor Fr. Steven Zabala and the wonderfully participative parish community. (Fr. José Tupino is now pastor.) If, following Pope Benedict’s norms, the image of Jesus on the Cross must somehow include the entire Paschal Mystery, Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again, then every artist carving a cross for an altar faces a daunting challenge. Dr. Abueva’s Jesus is a strong, striking figure, standing before us “in the power of his resurrection.” His arms are wide open, as the orans, ever living and interceding for us, the high priest of the Letter to the Hebrews (cc. 4, 5 ff.). The burial cloths wrapped around him in the tomb are shown as falling away from his body. He is risen, and rising upwards, surges toward his Father. again, in an enigmatic turn, Jesus’ hands are still nailed to the wood of the Cross, but they are seen pulling away from the crossbeam, pulling the nails with them. This says clearly that he was crucified and truly died. The lance-wound on Jesus’ side is starkly highlighted. In much of his writing, Joseph ratzinger has insisted on the ‘real-symbolism’ of this lance-wound. Seen through John 19, 37’s citation, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced,” in a true sense it distills “all of Christian faith and spirituality.” It proclaims that Jesus is the new adam, eschatos adam, and the Church the new eve is born from his opened side. The “great cross in the sky” is there also, massively behind him. In Christian art, that cross is “the sign in the sky”, symbol of Christ’s return. Thus the abueva crucifix gathers all the three dimensions of the Paschal Mystery: Jesus’ death, his real burial, his rising again in power, and his awaited return in glory. More than fifty years ago, as a young artist at the University of the Philippines, abueva was chosen by Fr. John P. Delaney to craft an unusual two-sided altar cross: Christ dying, on one side; Christ risen, on the other. Decades later, the new OLPP altar cross combines both death and resurrection into one image, one crucifix. Pope Benedict would approve. and Father Delaney? From where he is now, he surely blesses this remarkable new depiction of the mysterium fidei which the eucharist proclaims. Joseph ratzinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy ends its chapter on images with the point that true art cannot be just “produced”. It is “grace-given” to the artist. “It is always a gift.” The inspiration is given as gift, and received as gift. That gift, the Holy Father says, is “a faith that sees.” and, he adds, “Wherever that exists, art finds its proper expression.” From the beginning we have spoken of the understanding of the total Paschal Mystery as central to our worship, central to our theology as well as to the whole of our Christian life. May we learn to understand it ever better, and live it more fully in our lives and our deeds. May we receive as gift, ever more truly, “the faith that sees.”
The crucifix on the altar of the Our Lady of Pentecost (OLPP) Parish Church in Loyola Heights, Quezon City depicts a strong, striking figure of Jesus, standing “in the power of his Resurrection.” With arms wide open, the burial cloths wrapped around him in the tomb are shown as falling away from his body. He is risen, and rising upwards, surges toward his Father. (Photo courtesy of Noli Yamsuan)
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
Pastoral Exhortation on the ‘Swine Flu’ pandemic
THe alarming news of the outbreak of “swine flu” or “influenza A” in several countries, after Mexico, behooves us to take some health precautions as may be coming from our Doctors of Medicine or the Department of Health. There is no news yet of the flu having reached our shore. Panic would not be the correct response. Let us rather be guided by the precautionary measures which health practitioners may give.
alongside with this counsel, we exhort the people to pray for our country as well as for the countries already affected by the “swine flu”: that it may be effectively controlled. Earnest and humble prayer addressed to the Divine Healer, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is the need of the hour. Prayer may be as powerful as or even may be more powerful than anti-biotic or anti-virus pills which may not be accessible to many very poor people. The combination of prayer and prescribed medical precaution would be a proactive response to the present concern. Let us pray that the rise of “swine flu” cases in other countries may be put under control. We call upon the apostleship of Prayer, the Charismatic Movements, all Church organizations to include this intention in their prayer, as individuals, as families and communities. +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D. archbishop of Jaro and CBCP President May 2, 2009
Papal address to the members of the Social Sciences Academy, May 4, 2009
‘Natural Law Is a Universal Guide Recognizable to Everyone’
Dear Brothers in the episcopate and the In the middle of the last century, after the “natural law”, which is nothing other than a Priesthood, vast suffering caused by two terrible world participation in the eternal law: “unde...lex Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, wars and the unspeakable crimes perpetrated naturalis nihil aliud est quam participatio legis As you gather for the fifteenth Plenary Session by totalitarian ideologies, the international aeternae in rationali creatura” (St. Thomas of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, I community acquired a new system of aquinas, ST I-II, 91, 2). The natural law is a am pleased to have this occasion to meet with international law based on human rights. In universal guide recognizable to everyone, on you and to express my encouragement for this, it appears to have acted in conformity with the basis of which all people can reciprocally your mission of expounding and furthering the message that my predecessor Benedict XV understand and love each other. Human the Church’s social doctrine in the areas of proclaimed when he called on the belligerents rights, therefore, are ultimately rooted in a law, economy, politics and the various other of the First World War to “transform the participation of God, who has created each social sciences. Thanking Professor Mary ann material force of arms into the moral force of human person with intelligence and freedom. Glendon for her cordial words of greeting, I law” (“Note to the Heads of the Belligerent If this solid ethical and political basis is ignored, human rights remain fragile since they are assure you of my prayers that the fruit of your Peoples”, 1 august 1917). deliberations will continue to attest to the Human rights became the reference point of deprived of their sound foundation. The Church’s action in promoting human enduring pertinence of Catholic social teaching a shared universal ethos - at least at the level in a rapidly changing world. of aspiration—for most of humankind. These rights is therefore supported by rational after studying work, democracy, rights have been ratified by almost every State reflection, in such a way that these rights globalization, solidarity and subsidiarity in in the world. The Second Vatican Council, in can be presented to all people of good will, independently of any religious relation to the social teaching of affiliation they may have. the Church, your academy has The Church’s action in promoting chosen to return to the central human rights is therefore supported Nevertheless, as I have observed in my encyclicals, on the one question of the dignity of the human by rational reflection, in such a way hand, human reason must undergo person and human rights, a point of encounter between the doctrine that these rights can be presented to constant purification by faith, as it is of the Church and contemporary all people of good will, independently insofar ethicalalways in danger of a certain blindness caused by society. of any religious affiliation they disordered passions and sin; and, The world’s great religions and on the other hand, insofar as human philosophies have illuminated may have. Nevertheless, as I have some aspects of these human rights, observed in my Encyclicals, human rights need to be re-appropriated by every generation and by each which are concisely expressed reason must undergo constant individual, and insofar as human in “the golden rule” found in freedom - which proceeds by a the Gospel: “Do to others as you purification by faith, insofar as it is of free choices is always would have them do to you” (Lk always in danger of a certain ethical successionhuman person-needs the fragile, the 6:31; cf. Mt 7:12). The Church has blindness caused by disordered unconditional hope and love that always affirmed that fundamental can only be found in God and that rights, above and beyond the passions and sin; and insofar lead to participation in the justice different ways in which they as human rights need to be reand generosity of God towards are formulated and the different degrees of importance they may appropriated by every generation and others (cf. Deus Caritas est, 18, and Spe Salvi, 24). have in various cultural contexts, by each individual, and insofar as are to be upheld and accorded human freedom - which proceeds by a to This perspective draws attention some of the most critical social universal recognition because they are inherent in the very nature of succession of free choices - is always problems of recent decades, such man, who is created in the image fragile, the human person needs the as the growing awareness—which and likeness of God. If all human unconditional hope and love that can has in part arisen with globalization and the present economic crisis—of beings are created in the image and only be found in God and that lead a flagrant contrast between the likeness of God, then they share a equal attribution of rights and common nature that binds them to participation in the justice and the unequal access to the means together and calls for universal generosity of God towards others. of attaining those rights. For respect. The Church, assimilating the teaching of Christ, considers the person as the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae, as well Christians who regularly ask God to “give “the worthiest of nature” (St. Thomas aquinas, as my predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II, us this day our daily bread”, it is a shameful De potentia, 9, 3) and has taught that the ethical forcefully referred to the right to life and the tragedy that one-fifth of humanity still goes and political order that governs relationships right to freedom of conscience and religion as hungry. assuring an adequate food supply, between persons finds its origin in the very being at the centre of those rights that spring like the protection of vital resources such as water and energy, requires all international structure of man’s being. The discovery of from human nature itself. america and the ensuing anthropological Strictly speaking, these human rights leaders to collaborate in showing a readiness to debate in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century are not truths of faith, even though they work in good faith, respecting the natural law europe led to a heightened awareness of human are discoverable—and indeed come to full and promoting solidarity and subsidiarity with rights as such and of their universality (ius light—in the message of Christ who “reveals the weakest regions and peoples of the planet gentium). The modern period helped shape man to man himself” (Gaudium et Spes, 22). as the most effective strategy for eliminating the idea that the message of Christ - because They receive further confirmation from faith. social inequalities between countries and it proclaims that God loves every man and Yet it stands to reason that, living and acting in societies and for increasing global security. Dearfriends,dearacademicians,inexhorting woman and that every human being is called to the physical world as spiritual beings, men and love God freely - demonstrates that everyone, women ascertain the pervading presence of a you in your research and deliberations to be independently of his or her social and cultural logos which enables them to distinguish not credible and consistent witnesses to the defense condition, by nature deserves freedom. at the only between true and false, but also good and and promotion of these non-negotiable human same time, we must always remember that evil, better and worse, and justice and injustice. rights which are founded in divine law, I “freedom itself needs to be set free. It is Christ This ability to discern - this radical agency - most willingly impart to you my apostolic who sets it free” (Veritatis Splendor, 86). renders every person capable of grasping the Blessing.
Iligan / B3
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Labor Day Message
We celebrate Labor Day today when the working person is threatened with the loss of work and the ever thinning compensation for work. The present financial crisis has brought to our country the loss of much work together with less pay for the worker. Trained observers and analysts agree in many ways as to the cause of the problem; and they say that the culprit basically is an aberration in values, more spiritual than material. There has to be a cap to the human lust for profit. Humans cannot forever go for more, and still manage to get some more. although human desires are limitless, there is, however, a limit as to what s/he can have and use. To go beyond that limit is to reinforce one’s self-seeking which is destructive of the society a person lives in. We are reminded by the Church’s teaching that “selfishness is the most insidious enemy of an ordered society. History shows how hearts are devastated when men and women are incapable of recognizing other values or other effective realities apart from material goods, the obsessive quest for which suffocates and blocks their ability to give themselves.” (CSDC, 581) Management and Production need to balance their programs for profit with that of the welfare of Labor. For sheer survival—and this we learn from what is happening in the financial and economic world today—there are positions that study how to factor the welfare of workers and that of society into the equation of production. We encourage such efforts that lead to the security and welfare of all involved in the process of production. But for the State, it is not just a matter of providing work for our fast growing working population. The State inspires and helps (to) legislate laws through which the needs of the workers and their families have already been factored in production. a healthy balance is constantly sought whereby the welfare of the worker and that of the community cannot compromise the survival of the company, but neither can the profit factor be allowed to threaten the welfare of the workers. Moreover, in the economic world, neither politics nor trade unions are given the capacity to destroy the interest of these two important factors of business and industry. For the healthy Filipino working class we pray for God’s blessings that as the workers are protected, the country is also thereby secured. +GAUDENCIO B. CARDINAL ROSALES, D.D. archbishop of Manila 01 May 2009
pursuing with renewed focus and effort is the organization of BeC’s or GSK’s. To date almost four thousand families all over the diocese have already been introduced to or organized according to the concept of BeC. again this is not something new to the Diocese of Iligan, since the diocese was one of the few pioneering communities in Mindanao which worked on this model of being church in the 70’s. But now it is carrying it out with more clarity of purpose and in a more orderly and organized approach. The dream is to have the BeC spirit animating all groups and organizations in the Diocese in their life and journey as a church in the near future.
EducationoftheLaityandContinuing Formation of the Clergy During the Diocesan Pastoral assembly held last year, only the 3rd since 1971, most participants, clergy and laity alike, voiced out two important issues ─ the laity’s hunger for more knowledge and formation and the clergy’s personal and pastoral shortcomings. The diocese is now organizing groups and putting up plans to address these two distinct but related issues. a group has recently been organized to deal with the first and the diocese has already coordinated and networked with some existing renewal programs for the clergy to deal with the second. Hopefully,
these initiatives will be able to help address the issues and enhance the cooperation and collaboration between the clergy and the faithful. Vision empowered by the Holy Spirit, We, as disciples of Jesus Christ, envision ourselves as fully transformed community, living the values. Mission Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Michael, the archangel, our Patron, we commit ourselves to: a) Witness to the truth, justice, peace and love for the poor; b) Promote and respect human
life and dignity and care for the integrity of creation; c) Sustain peace through the dialogue of life, faith and culture among the Lumads, Muslims and Christian; and d) Discern and respond to the challenges and signs of the times. The Diocese of Iligan can still be considered a very young juridical ecclesiastical entity, as it had only turned 25 years old in November last year. Yet, the seed of faith of the diocese goes back to the early 17th century—planted and nurtured by God’s grace—through the faith and hard toil of the early missionaries who zealously, through the years, made it grow and bear fruit.
Fifth Sunday of Easter - B (John 15:1-8) May 10, 2009
faith. His existence is always in relation to Christ, both as a purpose and as a norm. It is too obvious to note that one cannot be a Christian apart from Christ. Just as a branch that is severed from the vine dies, so it is with a Christian in relation to Christ. For it is Christ who nourishes the Christian, and once he no longer lives on in him, the Christian dies. “a man who does not live in me is like a withered, rejected branch, picked up to be thrown in the fire and burnt” (John 15:6). This means, of course, that the personal relationship is mutual. Christ must remain in the Christian, just as the Christian must abide in Christ. Both are aspects forming one reality, which is the unity of persons in the Church. Obviously, we have here a different perspective of what unity in the Church is all about. Law, of course, has a place in the Church. as a hierarchical body, it shares the nature of human organizations that need laws to put order to human relations. But to make law the sole principle to regulate the relationship between the head and the members, and among the members, and to unite them into one body is certainly inadequate. What the Gospel today emphasizes is that personal relationship between Jesus and the disciples has a central place in the unity of the Church. The acts of the apostles expresses the unity in quite similar language: “The community of believers was of one heart and one soul” (acts 4:32). Christianity, after all, is a religion of a person, not of law. Being Christian is not about laws to be fulfilled, but about life—the life of Christ—to be lived in the body of relationships: the vine sustaining the branches, and the branches remaining in the vine.
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
The Church as vine and branches
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo
WHeN some people think of a church, they usually associate it with an organization, governed by laws that define the relationship among the members. In their view, it is a society as visible as the political set-up, hierarchically structured, that mediates salvation to all its members by means of the preaching of the Word, prayer, and the administration of the sacraments. and as in any organization, what unites the members is law that regulates the life of the church. Law, in other words, is the principle that binds the members to one another. This Sunday, however, John provides us an alternative view of its principle of unity. admittedly, today’s Gospel (John 15:1-8) is not primarily about the Church. It is obviously about Jesus who, in contrast with Israel of old, came to fulfill the calling to be fruitful for God. In the Old Testament, the image of the vine is used to describe Israel (Hos 10:1; ezek 15:1-6; 17:5-11; 19:10-14; Jer 2:21). Despite Yahweh’s lavish care for her, Israel bore bitter or non-existent fruits. Now in the gospel, Jesus claims to be the true vine. But in portraying himself as the vine, Jesus describes the relationship that ought to exist between him and the disciples, that is to say, between the head of the Church and its members. For this reason, the parable can be applied to the Church. In a passage that has ecclesiological overtones, Jesus says: “Live on in me and I do in you… I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:4a-5a). and one way of looking at this text is to interpret it in terms of what binds the members of the community to their head and their fellow members. Unlike in the government where people are bound to their head by virtue of law, the members of the Church are linked to Christ in virtue of the fact that Christ himself calls each one and sustains them. The members, on the other hand, are to be committed to him in person. The Church, therefore, is a relationship of persons, and the principle of unity, the one that binds the head and the members, is the person of Jesus himself. a comparison is probably in order. In the government, one need not be sustained by President estrada or believe in his slogan erap para sa Mahirap to be a functionary. as long as one believes in the class struggle and the revolution, one can be called a communist without having to follow the footsteps of Karl Marx, the founder of communism. But in Christianity, it is entirely different. To be called a Christian is not a matter of following a law or a principle. In Christianity, the central place is not given to the law, or even the Ten Commandments. There is only one who grafts a person to the Church—Christ, who binds all the members in unity, and all of them are personally bound to him. This is why St. Paul can even say that it is Christ who makes us grow and joins each member to the body: “Through [Christ] the whole body grows, and with the proper functioning of the members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament, builds itself in love” (eph 4:16). Since the principle of unity in the Church is Christ, binding each member to himself and to one another, it is obvious that for one to be a part of the Church, he has to live or abide in Christ. as the Johannine Jesus declares, “Live on in me, as I do in you” (John 15:4a). One then has to be faithful, and make a constant decision for
The Church as a community of lovers
Sixth Sunday of Easter - B (John 15:9-17); May 17, 2009
his passport.” The evidence that one is a lawyer is his membership in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. But what is one to show that he is a Christian? Time was when one can easily distinguish a Catholic from a Protestant, since the latter was identified with the Bible, whereas the latter was associated with the rosary or devotion to Mary. But
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo
15:9-10.17). But we should take a special note about this love. This love is not our feeling for Jesus, or IN last Sunday’s Gospel (John 15:1-8), we our good disposition toward other members draw an ecclesiological implication of the of the Church. It is not even our effort, parable on the vine and the branches, namely, however heroic, to serve the community. the principle of unity. We noted that in the rather, this love results from chain of loving Church, the one that binds the members that begins with God the Father himself. to the head and to one another First of all, the Father loves Jesus; is a person—Christ himself, then Jesus loves the disciple; and Take a special note about love. This unlike in government and other finally, the community members love is not our feeling for Jesus, or our love one another. It is not, then, organizations where law and authority gather the members into good disposition toward other members a question of our own love. It is one. In the Church, he dwells in of the Church. It is not even our effort to rather about divine love itself. We the members, even as the members love the brothers with the love serve the community. Rather, this love that, through his resurrection, dwell in him; there is a mutual indwelling: “Live on in me, as I results from chain of loving that begins we share with the Lord, whose do in you… I am the vine, you are love comes from the Father. and with God the Father himself. the branches… a man who does the greatest love one can exhibit not live in me is like a withered, rejected neither the Bible nor the devotion to Mary in the community is love unto death. This branch, picked up to be thrown in the fire and gives testimony to one’s being Christian, is the love which Jesus had for us, and we burnt” (John 15:4a.5a.6). From today’s Gospel even though to be one, he ultimately has to are to imitate this love in the community of (John 15:9-17), one may draw a theme that have both. according to the Gospel reading, brothers. “This is my commandment: love continues the ecclesiological implication of our abiding in Christ is validated by love. one another, as I have loved you. There is last Sunday’s. It could be taken as answering “as the Father has loved me, so I have loved no greater love than this: to lay down one’s the question: how do we know that we remain you. Live on in my love. You will live in my life for one’s friends” (John 15:12-13). John or live on in Christ? love if you keep my commandments, even expresses this different in his letter: “The If we ask the question, “what is the evidence as I have kept my Father’s commandments, way we come to understand love was that that one is an Israeli?” probably one will and live in his love,… The command I give he laid down his life for us; we too must lay say, “his citizenship, which is printed in you is this, that you love one another” (John Church / B7
You create your own destiny
LeT me tell you a story. Three construction workers were on top of their halffinished skyscraper. “Rrrrrrrrrng!” the lunch bell sounded, and the three men sat on a steel beam of the 56th floor with their lunch boxes in hand. The first guy opens his and groans in exasperation, “Tuyo! There is not a day that I don’t get tuyo for lunch!” He turns to his buddies and announces, “Mark my words. If I still get tuyo tomorrow, I’m going to throw myself from this building.” The second guy opens his lunch box and moans, “Tinapa. everyday, I get this for lunch.” He looks at his friends and declares, “Believe me when I say this. If I get tinapa tomorrow, I’m going to jump from here and kill myself.” The third guy opens his lunch box and it was his turn to despair, “Galunggong. all I get is galunggong!” He looks to his co-workers and says, “I’m telling you, if I still get galunggong tomorrow, I’m going to jump from this building and die.” The next day, the lunch bell rings and all three men are again seated on the 56th floor. The first guy opens his lunch box and starts crying, “Tuyoooooo!” and so in front of his shocked companions, he jumps off the building and crashes on the ground. The second guy opens his lunch box and wails loudly, “Tinapaaaaaa!” and before his remaining friend, he jumps
Fr. Roy Cimagala
Seed, leaven, remnant
ONLY 10 percent of Catholics go to Sunday Mass in the Philippines? This was what a bishop claimed recently. It obviously is not a good piece of news. But neither should it surprise us. For sure, we need to improve the statistics. Christ came to save all. He wants everyone to have life to the full. and if we go by what our faith teaches us about the Holy eucharist, somehow fullness of Christian life here on earth must involve our active participation in the Holy Mass. But that’s something we have to work on. It will be work in progress always, with its ups and downs, twists and turns, gains and losses, etc. Thus, we have to expect problems. and we just have to try to solve them. In fact there are many other depressing news to contend with these days. In the US now, there is this report that Christianity has declined drastically. It should be an interesting study to know the causes and factors of this decline. Besides,itseemsthatdevelopments in the world, especially in politics which in turn reflects the state of socio-cultural life in the people, have largely been secularized, that is, all but purged of anything related to faith, religion, God. I suppose Christians will have to tussle with this kind of developments. a saint once said that Christianity is not so much the glory of Mt. Tabor as it is the suffering and pain of Mt. Calvary. Christianity certainly has its triumph, but it’s never the empty or illusory triumphalism common in this world. In this life, it is always organically connected with the cross. It is the victory over nothing less than sin and death, not just some earthly enemy. Christian life works differently. It has always been associated with latter ways cut our link with God, from whom we all come. Christianity will always take the way of the lowly, the hidden, the few. It goes directly to the substance and essence of things, not the icing and the bubbles. It’s interested in souls and hearts, not in numbers and appearance. remember what St. Paul said in his first Letter to the Corinthians. God chooses the foolish, the weak and the base to confound the wise, the strong and the proud, lest man gets spoiled in his self-glory. (cfr. unfavorable number should just spur us to be more faithful, more apostolic, more holy. Christ assured us through St. Peter that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. We should just focus more on how to strengthen the true inner life of the Church. The numbers will just come as a consequence. and in this regard, a lot of things need yet to be done. Among them is the clarification of the role of clergy in our temporal affairs. Many people tell me how discouraged they get when they see priests and even bishops getting badly mixed up in politics. Some, according to them, have even gone to the extent of calling politicians names, and of branding them as if they can never do anything good. These clerics have obviously gone partisan. No matter how right these priests and bishops are in their views, they said, if they use foul language and bad manners, they will only succeed in alienating people. Other clerics, again according to them, seem to be more skillful in commercializing their services, or ministry, than in putting spiritual and supernatural zeal and content into them. These are some concerns that need to be ironed out urgently, if the Church has to thrive in our confusing times.
If we don’t like our jobs, if we don’t like the state of our relationships, if we don’t like what’s happening to our spiritual lives—we have no one to blame but ourselves; because God has given us free will.
off the building and hits the ground and dies. The third guy opens his lunch box and screams, “Galunggonggggg!” and so he too jumps off the building and dies. Days later, during the funeral of the three men, their three wives embrace and began to weep together. The first wife cries out, “I didn’t know my husband didn’t like tuyo anymore! Why didn’t he tell me? If only he told me, I would have prepared something else!” The second wife echoed her statement, “Yes! If only I knew, I would have cooked something else, not tinapa!” The third wife, between sobs, spoke up, “I don’t know why my husband killed himself.” The two wives looked at her curiously. “Why?” She went on, “Because… my husband prepares his own lunch everyday.” I love this crazy story because it presents a very important truth: all of us prepare our own lunch. If we don’t like our jobs, if we don’t like the state of our relationships, if we don’t like what’s happening to our spiritual lives—we have no one to blame but ourselves. Because God has given us free will. He has given us the power to prepare our own lunch. If we want to put more joy in our marriages, if we want to grow in our relationship with God, if we want to earn more and be free from debt—then go back to your kitchen and prepare yourself another dish. Because you design your own future. You create your own destiny. ask yourself? What kind of future do you want to have? What kind of millennium? You decide.
Christianity certainly has its triumph, but it’s never the empty or illusory triumphalism common in this world. In this life, it is always organically connected with the cross. It is the victory over nothing less than sin and death, not just some earthly enemy.
small things like seed, leaven and remnant. recall the many parables comparing the kingdom of heaven with the seed and the leaven. Though hardly anything, they contain the germ of life and transformation. These and that directive given by our Lord for us to enter always by the narrow gate only show how Christianity is averse to anything that is pompous and showy. These 1, 27-29) and in Church life, both in its pre-history and its history proper up to now, it has always been characterized by the strategic role of acertainremnantofpeoplethathave managed to preserve their integrity and fidelity in spite of all odds. There will always be a remnant, even in the worst scenario. No, we should not worry too much about statistics. any
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
Protecting whose agenda?
By Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo
I reCeNTLY visited the lobby of the House of representatives session hall. I immediately noticed the newly renovated walls bearing pictures of significant events in Congress’s history. among those pictures pertaining to the present Congress was a photo of a booklet with the following words printed on its cover: “Sustaining the Growth, Spreading the Benefits: A Legislative Reform Agenda for the House of the People.” – House Speaker Prospero Nograles
This made me ponder for a while. amidst all the seemingly unsound and doubtful legislative proposals and policies cropping up in Congress these days, I could not help but wonder. Whose growth are our national leaders trying to sustain? are the laws churned out by this body upon which we, as a people, have entrusted our wisdom really for the benefit of the Filipino? There is one House measure which has piqued my concern at the moment. I came across this House resolution (Hr) No. 737 which, essentially, proposes to grant ownership of Philippine land to foreigners. Under the proposal, alienable lands of the public domain— which are agricultural lands— with a maximum area of one thousand hectares, can now be leased to foreign corporations for a maximum of fifty years. And disturbingly, ownership, not just lease, of agricultural lands measuring up to twenty-five hectares is granted to foreign corporations. This proposal seeks to change the proviso in the 1987 Constitution which restricts ownership of Philippine lands to Filipinos and Filipino corporations. Under Section 2, article XII of the 1987 Constitution, the ownership-in-trust of natural resources is vested with the State and the State may sell, lease, or otherwise alienate the rights to these resources through contracts to Filipinos and Filipino corporations only. Thus, foreign individuals or corporations are
Shepherding / B2
“I shudder at the thought of unfair competition for land between Filipinos, citizens of this country who have made land productive and foreign entities with nothing but abundant financial resource to offer. I am jolted by the terrible scenario of Filipinos becoming squatters in their own land.”
clearly excluded. Under Hr 737, the State will do away entirely with the restriction on foreign ownership. The proponents of this resolution seek to amend the constitution and open our land to foreigners, with the haste and neglect unbecoming of any honorable national leader. This resolution is actually another try to resuscitate the failed Cha-Cha attempt by the solons. It becomes apparent that, despite the claim of limiting amendments only to economic provisions (foreign ownership of lands) which will help gear up development, productivity, and efficiency in the country, this pursuit for Charter Change may become a vehicle for other unwanted changes in government—a vehicle highly vulnerable to derailment. This resolution, dangerous in itself substantially, may also usher in procedural irregularities in amending the Constitution. There is a danger, real as it is grave, that this measure could be used to influence answers to questions of good governance and accountability. I tried hard to weigh the possible benefits of this Resolution for the Filipino people vis-àvis the obvious dangers that would come with it. assuming that Hr 737 is indeed merely an economic proposal, would foreign ownership of lands really result in economic development of the country? and if it will, will this economic development trickle down to the people
CBCP-Nassa chairman and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo talks with lawmakers led by Speaker Prospero Nograles in Congress in Quezon City . Pabillo, along with other bishops, spent a day meeting with solons to lobby for CARP extension.
who have remained poor even during times when ownership of land access to land and other natural resources were ensured to Filipinos only? I shudder at the thought of unfair competition for land between Filipinos, citizens of this country who have made land productive and foreign entities with nothing but abundant financial resource to offer. I am jolted by the terrible scenario of Filipinos becoming squatters in their own land. I remember that God told us that the earth and all its bounty is for us to share, maybe this measure is not bad after all. But then I realize that the Filipinos who have been gifted with stewardship of this country have not even had their rightful share and yet they will have to give way to those who have the might and wealth to take part of more than they need. Surely, it must
not have been God’s intention to encourage excesses when there are those who lack not only as regards land but also dignity. as it is, the Government already has designated millions of hectares of our lands for the benefit of foreign corporations, without consideration for the farmers, indigenous peoples, and other members of the communities affected by these government exploration and biofuel contracts. I believe that the Constitutional restriction on foreign ownership of land obviously involves a national security issue. I have been informed that there is no cap to the total area allowable for foreign ownership. If this is true, there might come a time that we will run out of agricultural lands which serve as food sources. and even if these lands continue
to be used for food production, there is also a risk that most of the produce of our lands will be exported and yet we will no longer have a say on the matter. This will be an attack not only on our food security but also to our integrity as a people as well. With the threat of enabling foreign corporations and associations to hold, acquire, and be granted the right to possess, own, utilize and develop land in our country, what will be left for the Filipinos? as we all know, the agrarian reform program is still underway, and thousands of farmers still await emancipation from the land they have tilled for generations. Over one million hectares of land await distribution. Our government cannot feed its own people, and yet we open up all our resources for non-Filipinos, as if without regard for our own people whom it is supposed to serve. It is said that only fifteen million hectares of alienable and disposable agriculture lands are available to answer for the food security of Filipinos. Hr 737 does not help improve this situation. Hr 737 poses grave danger to our national security and sustainability. It is also unjust, considering that there are millions of Filipino peasants still not owning the lands their families have tilled for decades. It is unjust that our resources should be used primarily for the benefit of foreigners, and not those who do not have a stake in domestic development and peace. as I take in the implications and consequences of this measure, I find myself challenged and hopeful at the same time. Though I am saddened by the apparent prioritization of this bill by the House of representatives, I feel challenged as a Filipino to
help protect the rights of my fellow Filipinos, here and in the countryside, who remain landless. I am challenged to continue pushing for laws which will protect the rights of the marginalized Filipino, laws such as the Comprehensive agrarian reform Program extension (CarPer) with reforms. I feel challenged but I remain hopeful and vigilant. I am hopeful because I see that there are still those leaders in government who work with us, their constituency, to make sure that the government works for national interest instead of the interest of the privilege few. Together with people from the peasant sector, among others, I remain vigilant and urge Congress to fast track the enactment of socially just bills such as the CarPer bill and call on them to disapprove oppressive and unfair bills like House resolution No. 737. I am hopeful that amidst underhanded efforts to go against the wisdom of the Constitution, to further deprive the marginalized Filipinos of their basic rights, and to evade laws on accountability, we Filipinos will prevail if we work together and fight with the guidance of our righteous God. I also find comfort in the pockets of brilliance and statesmanship found in the history of Philippine Congress. I am praying fervently that our national leaders will, true to their promise, Sustain the Growth and Spread the Benefits for the Filipino people. I urge every Filipino to act with vigilance in ensuring that government agenda will reflect that of the people, in calling for accountability in governance and in seeking the just distribution of Philippine land and natural resources.
a proper Prelate was constituted for the Italian immigrants. Meanwhile in 1918, a sole Ordinary had also been constituted for the Catholic refugees (mostly from eastern europe) in Italy. at the normative level, the growing concern of the Holy See was concretized in 1914 when the Consistorial Congregation (later to become the Congregation for Bishops) issued the decree etnographica studia, which laid down the praxis to be followed by the clergy dedicated to the pastoral care of immigrants and underscored the responsibility of the host Church (ecclesia ad quam) of providing pastoral care to the faithful from other nations. The Pontificate of Pius XII witnessed an upsurge in human migration, occasioned by World War II and its aftermath, and consequently also a marked development in the pastoral care of migrants. a landmark document was the apostolic Constitution exsul Familia, of 1.VIII.1952, generally regarded as the Magna Carta for the pastoral activity of the Church in favor of people on the move. It was the first document of the Holy See to delineate the pastoral care of migrants globally and systematically, from both the historical and canonical points of view. In that document, Pius XII tried to mitigate the
territorial principle rigidly in place in the Pio-Benedictine Code, by giving a series of competencies to the Consistorial Congregation and establishing a series of offices—both at the national and local levels—thus laying the groundwork for a pastoral organization—still partially in force today—to provide people on the move the spiritual care more fitting to their circumstances. For example, in 1952 he established the Higher Council for emigration within the aforementioned Sacred Congregation. In the same year, the apostolatus Maris was established on behalf of seafarers in the same dicastery. Finally, in 1958 he gave the same dicastery the responsibility for providing spiritual assistance to the faithful with specific duties and activities on board planes as well as to passengers travelling by air, establishing what was called the apostolatus Coeli or aëris. B. The Era of Vatican II: Paul VI’s Erga migratorum cura and the Instruction Nemo est (1969) The Second Vatican Council brought great innovations as regards the pastoral principles in favor of migrants: (1) by explicitly declaring the responsibility of the pastors towards those faithful who may have difficulty in receiving the
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
ordinary pastoral care provided by the local churches; (2) by introducing new criteria for ecclesiastical organization, other than the strictly territorial one; and (3) by offering a new vision of the People of God and the constitutional situation of its members, more specifically the socalled fundamental rights and duties of the faithful. We shall deal more at length with this matter further on. In 1969, Pope Paul VI issued the Motu Proprio Pastoralis migratorum cura and authorized the subsequent Instruction De pastorali migratorum cura (sometimes cited by its opening words Nemo est), aimed at adapting the dispositions of the Pius XII’s exsul Familia to the new ecclesiological principles of Vatican II. Cf. Paul VI, Motu Proprio Pastoralis migratorum cura, 15.VIII.1969, in aaS, 61 (1969), pp.601-603; and S.C, for Bishops, Instruction De pastorali migratorum cura, 22.VIII.1969, in aaS, 61 (1969), pp. 614-643. On 19 March 1970, with the Motu Proprio apostolicae Caritatis, Pope Paul VI established the Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, with the task of studying and providing pastoral care to “people on the move” such as: migrants, exiles, refugees, displaced people,
fishermen and seafarers, air travellers, road transport workers, nomads, circus people, fairground workers, pilgrims and tourists, as well as those categories of people who, for various reasons, are involved in human mobility, such as students abroad, and operators and technicians engaged in large projects or scientific research at the international level who are obliged to move from one country to another. C. Pastoral Care of Migrants in the Third Millennium: The Instruction Erga migrantes (2004) Such concern grew during the pontificate of John Paul II, as shown by the creation of a separate dicastery for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people, the Pope’s discourses in the World Day of Migrants, the new regulation for the apostolate of the sea and other documents. Taking into consideration the new migration flows and their characteristics, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People issued on 3.V.2004 the Instruction erga migrantes caritas Christi, which aimed to update the ecclesiastical doctrine and praxis regarding the pastoral care of migration, thirty-five years after the
Church / B6
publication of Pope Paul VI’s Motu Proprio Pastoralis migratorum cura and the Congregation for Bishops’ related Instruction De pastorali migratorum cura (Nemo est). It can very well be considered as the new magna carta for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people in the Third Millennium.
1 Based on a lecture given at the 17th National Convention of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines, on the theme The Filipino Migrant Worker: A Canonico-Pastoral Challenge to the Philippine Church, in Vigan City, 20-23 April 2009. 2 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Instruction Erga migrantes caristas Christi, 3.V.2004.[Henceforth referred to as Erga migrantes.] 3 Maruja Asis, The Philippines’ Culture of Migration, Scalabrini Migration Center-Philippines, January 2006. 4 In AAS, 44 (1952), pp.649-704. 5 Cf. Decr. Christus Dominus, n.18. 6 Cf. Paul VI, Motu Proprio Pastoralis migratorum cura, 15.VIII.1969, in AAS, 61 (1969), pp.601-603; and S.C, for Bishops, Instruction De pastorali migratorum cura, 22.VIII.1969, in AAS, 61 (1969), pp. 614-643. 7 Cf. John Paul II, Apost. Const. Pastor Bonus, 28.VI.1988, in AAS, 80 (1988), pp.841-912, §§149151. 8 Cf. John Paul II, Motu Proprio Stella Maris, 31.I.1997, in AAS, 89 (1997), pp. 209-216.
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down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16). Today’s gospel, then, makes precise what was initially described in last Sunday’s. In the latter, it was noted that what primarily unites the community is not law, but Jesus himself, for the Church is not first and foremost a legal society. Ours is not a religion of the code, even though law has a place in it. We do not call one a Christian simply because he perfectly obeys the Ten Commandments of Moses and the Five Commandments of the Church, although if one is a Christian, his religion will include both. On the contrary, it is first of all a community of personal relationships, whose center is Christ, the one who makes it one community. It is a community where there is a mutual indwelling: Christ abides in the members, and the members abide in Christ. In the
Gospel reading today, John adds a precisely description of that indwelling: it is an indwelling of love. In the Church, the members allow themselves to be loved by Jesus who himself is the bearer of the Father’s love. With this transforming love of Jesus they love one another. The Church, therefore, is a community of lovers, of disciples who abide in the love of Jesus. Their love for Jesus is evidenced in their laying down of their lives for the members of the community. It is through this love that we know one abides in Christ. This implies, of course, that abiding in Christ and loving one’s fellow members cannot be separated. The one who abides in Christ is one who loves the members of the community, and one who loves necessarily believes in Christ who sustains him. One cannot love without being a believer.
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
angels and Demons; 11th May 2009
Just what everyone has been waiting for: a film of a Dan Brown novel! However, with the report of a review in L’Osservatore Romano after the film’s premiere in Rome saying that the film was commercial and entertaining and that Ron Howard had made an effective thriller (although the review also suggested a mind game while watching the film, to pick the inaccuracies!), it means that a lot of the heat should have gone out of any controversy. SIGNIS Cinema Desk would certainly endorse the reviewer’s conclusion that the film is ‘two hours of harmless entertainment’ and not a danger to the church. Had there been no Da Vinci Code novel, film or controversy, then Angels and Demons would have probably been reviewed as a blockbuster doomsday, murder mystery thriller with a Vatican setting (looking rather authentic), discussions about the church and science with the Catholic Church treated quite respectfully. (References to persecution of scientists in the 16th and 17th centuries was sometimes inquisitorial – and is documented; prison was not easy for Galileo.) There are speculations about the secret society of scientists, The Illuminati, who seem to be a Masonic equivalent. Angels and Demons was written some years before The Da Vinci Code and is a better written book though it is an ‘airport novel’, a page-turner. As with many historical novels (and Shakespeare himself was not above creating ‘historical’ scenarios that were inventive rather than factual), the author takes imaginative license with characters, events, and hypotheses: what if...? But Angels and Demons has a character who seems to do a 180 degree turn in character and behaviour which makes the psychological realism of the book rather absurd. In the film, there is less depth of explaining this character and so the revelation tends to be a cinema twist which, however preposterous, is somewhat more credible, at least in terms of the far-fetched plot itself. While Ron Howard did not have permissions to film in the Vatican, the sets of the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s interiors, the Vatican Archives look quite convincing and were commented on favourably by the L’Osservatore Romano reviewer. The scenes of the CERNS reactor are very impressive. The key point about Angels and Demons is its church subject: church and science, past conflicts, the present challenge, a feature of recent Vatican discussions about evolution and creationism, the meeting of science and religion rather than antagonism. Not a difficult subject when one thinks of Galileo and Pope John Paul’s apology in 2000. Which means that the central issues are not as threatening or offensive as the hypothesis of The Da Vinci Code with its relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene and their descendants. The day before the preview of Angels and Demons in London, channel 5 screened The Body which came and went several years ago without too much angst or even discussion. Antonio Banderas portrayed a Jesuit from Rome going to Jerusalem to examine bones discovered in what might have been Jesus’ tomb and which would threaten a traditional understanding of the resurrection. There are plenty of novels and films which raise such issues by way of interest and entertainment but are not put forward as theology. The controversy about The Da Vinci Code, book and film, certainly got people going all around the world, given the number of books sold and the multi-millions of readers. The Opus Dei connection also contributed to some of the furore. However, this time, with only science and the church (and issues of anti-matter and its potential for mass destruction in the wrong hands) and the Vatican itself calling in Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) to solve the problems, the potential for argument is limited. As with the screenplay for The Da Vinci Code, lines have been inserted more favourable to the church. Langdon reminds the Vatican that, despite the previous controversy, they have called him in this time. There are respectful lines concerning faith and non-belief – and a final request to Langdon from Cardinal Strauss that he write gently about the church! One of the issues facing the conclave in the film is the ‘Church in the Modern World’ vis-a-vis science, with the dialogue for the meeting of ideas of science and theology or extremist attitudes towards religion capitulating to science and so destroying the church – the point being that this kind of fanatic stance can become a cause, righteously crusading with violence against those who hold more moderate views – leading to what could be labelled ‘ecclesiastical terrorism’. A key issue prior to the release of the film has been the raising of controversy about the film, sight unseen, a protest that undermines the protesters’ credibility. Any controversy and protest about a film is a challenge for the church to look at how it responds. The Vatican comments from Fr Federico Lombardi deflected some heat with offhand humour (that he would say something if the film-makers took out 1000 10 year subscriptions to L’Osservatore!). However, several Italian papers began making comments about Vatican officials possibly criticising the film some months earlier. This made headlines in the media that the Vatican would object or was objecting. And publicists must have been offering prayers of thanksgiving that these rumours were doing some of their job for them. But, in the Catholic world, the main protest has come from William Donohue, president of the Catholic League in the United States. As he did with The Da Vinci Code and The Golden Compass, he issued lists of errors in the book and said that they were to insult the church. It was alleged that he had a Canadian priest contact, not wearing clerical dress, on the set of Angels and Demons who reported that director Ron Howard and members of the production were verbally anti-Catholic. On the basis of this, spurred by an Indian journalist who is linked with the Catholic League, processions of protest were held in India and Taiwan. Many of the errors and alleged insults to the church in the Catholic League list are not in the film. Ron Howard’s publicist (or Howard himself) came up with some smart repartee, that William Donohue must be a man of faith because ‘he believes without seeing’. And that Donohue and himself were in agreement – that Angels and Demons was fiction. There were some acrid comments reported from the producers about the Vatican prohibiting filming in the Vatican and parts of Rome but there were also many quotes from Tom Hanks and Ron Howard that the film was not anti-Catholic and that the Vatican would enjoy it (as has seemed to be the case from the review). The Donohue one-liner was that Howard was ‘delusional’ This kind of thing (which may not go much further because of the L’Osservatore favourable comments) indicates that there is a profound difference in responding to a film, or anything that is challenging, from an ‘education’ point of view which leads to dialogue rather than a ‘crusading’ point of view which leads to two-sided polemic with antagonists rather enjoying the experience of battle in crusade. Dialogue can lead somewhere. Polemic leads nowhere but simply confirms antagonists in their positions and stances and introduces the hurling of invective which in no way mirrors the charity and peace of Christ. The (good) news is that Dan Brown has completed another conspiracy novel, The Lost Code, due for publication and optioned for filming! ANGELS AND DEMONS: A REVIEW May to August in the northern hemisphere spring and summer is a time for almost weekly release of blockbusters with huge budgets, action and effects and potential for high grosses at the box office. 2009 has seen Wolverine, Star Trek, followed by Angels and Demons, with Night at the Museum 2, Transformers 2 and Terminator Salvation in the offing. Here is a doomsday plot, murder mystery, action thriller with a cast led by Tom Hanks as symbologist Robert Langdon and Ewan McGregor as the Vatican Camerlengo and an international cast portraying scientists, police, bishops and cardinals. Angels and Demons, unlike the film of The Da Vinci Code, is fast-paced, the L’Osservatore Romano review referring to Ron Howard’s dynamic direction. It also used the word ‘commercial’ as well as noting that it was ‘harmless entertainment’ and not a danger to the Church. In fact, the film treats the church quite interestingly, scenes behind a conclave and inside the conclave, fine sets of the Sistine Chapel, the interiors of St Peter’s, Castel San Angelo, the Vatican Necropolis, the Swiss Guards centre, the Vatican archives and several churches with art by Bernini. The film won’t harm tourism to Rome or to the Vatican. Probably, the contrary. The issue is science and religion. There are some very impressive scenes of CERN in Switzerland where the Big Bang was re-created in 2008. Dan Brown, writing years earlier, posited this explosion and the formation of anti-matter which is then used as a terrorist threat in Rome. Arguments are put forward about the church’s record in persecuting scientists in past centuries, especially Galileo (true) with some inquisitorial interrogations and tortures. The material about the Illuminati, the underground society of scientists has some foundation but was not as extensive as speculated on here – a kind of Masonic brotherhood of scientists. (They appeared in the first Lara Croft film without anybody taking to controversy.) One of the issues facing the conclave in the film is the Church in the Modern World vis-a-vis science, with the dialogue for the meeting of ideas of science and theology or extremist attitudes towards religion capitulating to science and so destroying the church – the point being that this kind of fanatic stance can become a cause, righteously crusading with violence against those who hold more moderate views – leading to what could be labelled ‘ecclesiastical terrorism’. Oh, the tale has so many plot-holes (with the action moving so fast you don’t quite have time to follow through on them) that they don’t bear thinking about – so, either one sits irritated at the inaccuracies about dates and historical figures and driven up the wall by the lack of coherence in the course of events or, as one does, offer a willing suspension of disbelief and enjoy the action for what it is, a lavishly-mounted, pot-boiling thriller.
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Find the images of St. Gregory VII and Archangel Gabriel, and a candle. Illustration by Bladimer Usi
CBCP Monitor Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 5 10
May 11 - 24, 2009 March 2 - 15, 2009
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
Fraternal Counselors from FC of the Year, Runner-Ups and Fr. Willmann Knights of the Round Table (WKRT), their spouses and Area Managers with KCFAPI Officers in Hong Kong along the Avenue of Stars.
Asian Trip for KCFAPI’s Sales Force
By Bro. Gari San Sebastian
LAST April 27 – 30, 2009, KCFAPI’s FBG (Finest and the Best Group) Salesforce were off for an adventure, leisure and pleasure! So far, the latest Asian trip delegation was the biggest totaling to twenty-two participants. Nine Fraternal Counselors from FC of the Year, Runner-Ups and Fr. Willmann Knights of the Round Table (WKRT) qualified for the trip. They were accompanied by their spouses. The FCs were Bro. Larry and Sis. Cecile Evangelista, (CLBelievers); Bro. Ray and Sis. Chato Segismundo, (NWL Thunders); Bro. Boni and Sis. Mila Morales, (CLBelievers); Bro. Ven and Sis. Alice Capiral, (SLakers); Bro. Danny and Nora Tullao, (NEL Cavaliers); Sis. Rosa Hernandez, (MMChancellors); Sis. Tes and Bro. Edmund De la Mota, (WV Bulls); Bro. Dong Miranda, (CLDiamonds); and Bro. Jun Castillo, (MMDragons). Seven Area Managers who met more than one-hundred
Wow in Macau, Live Long in Hong Kong!
amazed by the dashing colorful neon lights of what Macau can offer. Strolling in the city at night can truly give you a glittery moment! The blinking and running lights that adorned every edifice welcomed all our participants as we witnessed the “City in China that never sleeps.” A former Portuguese colony, the place still enjoys the culture from its colonizers, a mixture of the European architecture and Chinese accents, imagine seeing an Italian inspired building with a Dragon engraved on the doors. Among all the resort-hotels that we visited, the Venetian caught our attention, not because of its casino but with its spectacular showcase of what fame, glamour and sparkle were all about. It has a mini-lagoon on the third floor with a gondola ride (similar to the mode of transportation in Venice) that moved around to shops and restaurants. Aside from the night-outs, the city also offers a local version of Western-inspired theme parks like the Rocks, Roman amphitheater, structure of the Xian City, and a man-made volcano. The Macau city tour was done on the second day of sightseeing, starting from the Ruins of St. Paul, to the shopping spree in Senado square. They bought one of Macau’s favorite almond cookies and some thinly sliced cold cuts. It was truly a memorable and fascinating experience all of us had in the beautiful and historic city of Macau. Live-long in Hong Kong! After a very tiring yet fulfilling trip in Macau, our Asian awardees were ferried back to Hong Kong (Kowloon side) where they spent a night full of shopping and dining. The hotel was situated at the heart of the Kowloon known as Yau Ma Tei, which is very near
twenty five percent of their assigned target in 2008 also joined the tour. These were Bro. Efren Casupanan, (CLBelievers); Bro. Noni Ayon, (SWL Stars); Bro. Vic Pulangco, (CLDiamonds); Bro. Joe Valencia, (NWL Thunders); Bro. Well Naldoza, (CLConquerors); Bro. Demy Hernandez, (MMChancellors); and Bro. Jun Dator, (SLakers). Two Home Office personnel, Sis. Bong Ruiz (Underwriting Manager) and this writer completed the Asian tour group. Wow Macau! From Hong Kong airport, the participants were immediately transferred to Macau by ferry. There we saw the three grand span bridges (approximately 10 kms. long) that connect the peninsula to major islands Coloane and Taipa (where we stayed overnight). Tagged as the new Las Vegas of Asia, everyone was
For Brother Knights by Brother Knights
KCFAPI sponsors The Outstanding Knights of Columbus Awards (TOKCA)
By Joseph Teodoro
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of Philippines Inc. (KCFAPI), the second-to-none insurance provider of KC members, is embarking to reach a new milestone as it sponsors the prestigious The Outstanding Knights of Columbus Award (TOKCA) for members. The TOKCA Awards aims to recognize the outstanding achievements of members in their respective professions worthy of emulation, to project a strong public knowledge of the Mission of the Order of the Knights of Columbus as a tool to attract new members, to spur KCFAPI’s quest for its relevance not only to the Order of the Knights of Columbus but to the nation as well and to provide inspiration, to all members to live up to the cardinal principles of CHARITY, UNITY, FRATERNITY & PATRIOTISM. Who May Qualify K of C members who are current in his council dues and nominated by his council may qualify and earn a chance to win the coveted title. The nomination must be endorsed by the parish priest of his council. He may qualify to any of following professions or fields of endeavor: a) Government Service; b) Accountancy and Business; c) Engineering, Science and Technology; d) Academe; e) Medical and health care services; f) Law and judiciary; g) Sports and entertainment; h) Journalism and media; i) Agriculture; j) Youth and Community development; k) Arts and literature, and l) Entrepreneurship. KCFAPI reserves the right to consider a limited number of categories even if there are nominees in all and the above categories. The following are not eligible to be nominated in the SEARCH for TOKCA: 1) Incumbent members of KCFAPI
TOKCA / C2
KCFAPI holds Benefits Convention for Fraternal Counselors
Mong Kok or the shopping bargain capital in Hong Kong. Day three of the trip was enchanting and magical. First stop was a souvenir group shot of Hong Kong along the Avenue of Stars (similar to Walk of Fame in Hollywood); then to the jewelry factory where we were hypnotized by the finest masterpieces of China. The last stop was the half-day long tour in Hong Kong Disneyland. Both the young ones and young once really enjoyed this magical journey from the parade of characters led by Mickey and Minnie in Main Street to Disney’s trademark Princess’ castle. Others went for a ride, they proved that they were all young at heart and the child in us was still very much alive. Some preferred to eat, shopped for souvenirs or simply spent time seeing other park-goers and strolled in the park. The Fantasyland was a
fairy tale experience, from the locomotive that toured us around to the flying elephant, known as Dumbo ride. Jungle adventure gave us a thrilling boat ride (with some surprise attractions) while Tomorrowland were mostly space age features. What made us proud to be Filipinos was when we met a lot of Disneyland’s Filipino cast like the parade dancers, musicians, park attendants, entertainers and we were just waiting for mascots like Mickey to say “Kumusta na kayo mga kababayan?” The day ended with a sumptuous dinner sponsored by KCFAPI to all who made it last 2008. On the final stretch of the four-day, three night tour this year, we carried nothing but the good memories, moments of bonding, shared laughters and beautiful experiences and all looked forward to be part of next year’s Asian trip! We promise to spread the virus known as the Awardees virus – see you in Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur or Ho Chi Minh City.
KCFAPI Officers, Area Managers and Fraternal Counselors at the Luzon Fraternal Benefits Convention: D.R.I.V.E. 110 on April 24 and 25 at Monte Vista Conference Center, Pansol Calamba, Laguna.
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc (KCFAPI) held a Fraternal Benefits Convention for Luzon Fraternal Counselors last April 24-25 at the Monte Vista Conference Center in Los Baños, Laguna. The sales convention for qualified fraternal counselors in Luzon discussed various selling techniques, underwriting updates, importance of technology in selling. It also aimed to enhance their skills
as salesforce for KCFAPI which offers insurance solely to the members of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines. It was also intended to hone the skills of fraternal counselors particularly in promoting KCFAPI to the members of the Knights of Columbus in the three Philippine jurisdictions. Different officials from KCFAPI were the resource speakers of the convention.
Mr. Joseph P. Teodoro, Vice-President of the Fraternal Benefits Group, tackled selling process and techniques. The topic titled, “Launching of KC website and technology as a selling tool,” was explained by the Senior IT Manager, Mr. Ronulfo G. Infante. The Manager of the Underwriting Department, Ms. Carmelita S. Ruiz, explained the underwriting processes. KCFAPI Executive Vice-President Ms. Ma. Theresa Curia gave a heart-
warming message before the conference proper started while Mr. Antonio B. Borromeo, KCFAPI President provided an inspirational message to all the convention delegates. The convention started with an opening prayer led by Mr. Gari San Sebastian, manager of the Fraternal Benefits Services and later acted as facilitator of the program. A fellowship and group meeting ended the convention. (Kate Laceda)
KC holds national gathering of priests-scholars
THE Knight of Columbus (KC) Priests Scholars Association held its 6th National Annual Fellowship/Retreat last April 15-17, 2009 at the Villa Escudero in Tiaong, Quezon Province. Organizers said that among the items taken up was the review of the formation manual of the Knights of Columbus used during exemplification of members from the first to the fourth degrees. The retreat also discussed the life and work and the advancement of the cause of Fr. George Willmann, SJ, who is attributed to have popularized the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines. Msgr. Joselito Asis, assistant secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, discussed the topic, “Spirituality of Stewardship: Disciples’ Response” during the second day of the retreat. Bishop Rodolfo Beltran of BontocLagawe also shared on the spirituality of stewardship. This year’s theme is “KC Priests: Called to Witness the Spirituality of Stewardship.” A Eucharistic celebration culminated the retreat which was presided by Bishop Beltran with thirty KC priests concelebrating. There are now 107 KC priests, three of whom have become bishops, who graduated from the scholarship offered by KC Fr. Willmann Charities, Inc. Among them are Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Virac Bishop Manolo de los Santos, Bontoc-Lagawe Bishop Rodolfo Beltran, Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III, Msgr. Joselito Asis, Msgr. Gaspar Balerite, and Fr. Rene Sapungan, the Association’s president. (Kate Laceda)
KC Priests-Scholars held their National Gathering at Villa Escudero, Tiaong, Quezon last April 15-17.
1977, when in celebration of the 80th birthday of Rev. Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J., the acknowledged leader of the founders of KCFAPI, the Fr. Willmann SJ Fund for Seminarians was established. Then in August 6, 1996, the KC Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. (FGJWCI) was established as a charitable and religious institution whose primary objective is to provide scholarship assistance to poor but deserving diocesan seminarians and priests, and, to render assistance to Church programs. In the corporate structure of KCFAPI, FGJWCI is one of the two Foundations listed as subsidiaries. The other is the Knights of Columbus Foundation of the Philippines, Inc., (KCFPI). By reasons of their respective objectives, they are the centerpieces of the KCFAPI’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) thrusts in putting into concrete realization the favorite theme of the Knights of Columbus – Faith In Action. KCFAPI, through the FGJWCI, is continually searching and supporting selected qualified young men who will “delight in the law of the Lord” and experience the three secrets of true lasting happiness (intimacy with the Three Divine Persons, inner joy and peace, and loving sensitivity toward one’s brothers and sisters) in their own lives, and, then go out and share it with others. We need more good priests – more witnesses – more shepherds! During its regular Board of Trustees monthly meeting last April 3, 2009, the amount of PhP1,530,085.64 was donated by KCFAPI to the FGJWCI from the earnings of its 2008 operations. The major portion of the yearly earnings of the FGJWCI goes to providing financial support for seminarian and priest scholars. The amount of yearly donations is directly proportional to the amount of the Excess of Revenues Over Expenses After Deduction of Participation of KCFAPI’s Benefit Certificate Holders. The amount, in turn, is influenced by the new acquisition of fraternal life insurance products by brother knights and family members, the faithful remittances of contributions by Benefit Certificate Holders for their insurance
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
I WISH to welcome home our awardees, fraternal counselors and area managers with their families. Truly you deserve the exciting time with your loved ones in Hong Kong. This goes with the wish that our special KCFAPI supporters will aim higher in performing even much better than they have ever done before. May you never tire out of serving the Lord thus helping brother knights in sharing a brighter tomorrow not only to their families but also to the wider beneficiaries of KCFAPI. More than ever in this difficult time in our nation, KCFAPI has to reach out much more to alleviate the suffering of a very big portion of the marginalized population. With your dedication and determination, God and His Blessed Mother will always be there to provide you with the strength and will power to be of greatest help to the Order particularly KCFAPI. We are in the month of May which seems to be a favorite month of our Blessed Mother. This gives us the opportune time to celebrate her motherhood by giving support to the many ways that our people have been used to in honoring her. Knowing she holds the strongest link to Christ, we can perhaps hope and ask her for a better world for all our brother knights through KCFAPI.
Antonio B. Borromeo
coverage, the earnings from invested contributions of BC Holders, and operating expenses. The bottom line is simply that KCFAPI’s BC Holders are the direct contributors to the financial support given to seminarians and priest scholars. Therefore, we enjoin all brother knights and family members to participate, in whatever amount you can afford, in our Order’s unique family protection and savings programs. In the Philippines these programs are made available by KCFAPI. We have programs that are specially designed and tailor-fit to provide adequately for every possible financial need in the future at very affordable contribution rates not available elsewhere, and, that may be acquired through the services of brother knights and family members who are accredited KCFAPI Fraternal Counsellors, or, through the Home Office in Intramuros, Manila, or, through the six Service Offices spread throughout the country. Lastly, we would like to invite and enjoin those who have been generously blessed by our Lord and who would like to share their blessings through the FOR the past 30 years, every 4th Sunday of Easter of each Columbian Year, we, Knights of Columbus members and our respective families commemorate, Order-wide, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Last month, we rejoiced at the first anniversary of the proclamation of our beloved founder, Rev. Fr. Michael J. McGivney, as Venerable Servant of God by Pope Benedict XVI last Palm Sunday 2008. St. Vincent de Paul says: “In truth nothing is more acceptable to God, and more profitable to souls than the precious gift of a holy priest.” I am very pleased and honored to report that the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), the fraternal insurance provider of brother knights and KC families in the Philippines, has been actively supporting this worthy program of the Order for 32 years this coming June 29, 2009. It all started in June 29, Foundations. Kindly get in touch with us so we may facilitate your donations to the beneficiaries of the benevolent activities of the Foundations. (KC Philippines Foundation, Inc. and KC Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. with Tel. No. 527-22-23 loc. 230) Allow me to remind all true Knights of the obligation and commitment, emphasized during our initiation to the First Degree of Knighthood – “so that widows and orphans of dearly departed brother knights may not find themselves in dire financial straits.” KCFAPI helps and provides the avenue in fulfilling our obligation as Knights. Not only do we provide a secure financial future for our families, we also are active contributors to the continued vibrant success of the Order’s programs, especially on Priest Vocations. Do something – NOW! Enjoin everyone to support Priestly vocations, seminarian, and our clergy! Vocations are EVERYBODY’S business. Solid Priestly vocations are built on the rock of Jesus Christ. By standing with our seminarians and priests today, we are joining the work of tomorrow’s salvation. Vivat Jesus!
Patrocinio R. Bacay
Atty. Rizal V. Katalbas, Jr.
“JUN” as he is fondly called among his peers is the incumbent Assistant Corporate Secretary of KCFAPI and its subsidiaries (Keys Realty & Development Corporation, Mace Insurance Agency, Inc. KC Philippines Foundation, Inc. and KC Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc.) He was also the former Corporate Secretary of Anchor Savings Bank, a subsidiary of KCFAPI, before the bank was sold to Equicom Manila Holdings, Inc. in January 2008. Presently, he holds the position of Legal Manager of KCFAPI. Jun attained his degree in Bachelor in Laws at San Sebastian College – Manila and was admitted to the Bar in 1997. His vast experience in the field of legal practice includes, among others, heading the Legal Department of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) before joining KCFAPI in February 2006. A third degree member of K of C Holy Family Parish Council 6238, in Almanza, BF Homes, Las Pińas, Jun was exemplified into the Order in October 2007 as a first degree knight. Jun hails from his native hometown in Old Sagay, Sagay City, Negros Occidental and is happily married to Eveny Galicia – Katalbas, a dentist by profession. He is a father to five loving children. Aside from attending his regular office work, Jun was assigned to head the Spiritual Committee of KCFAPI. He is also an active member of the Brotherhood for Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) – Greenhills Chapter, a Catholicled charismatic organization. (Gregorio E. Asis) Creation and Composition THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) was incorporated in September 1958 when 64 founder members and councils of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines put an initial capital of P32,000.00. Later, 55 out of 64 founder members transferred to Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J., then Philippine Deputy of the KC in the Philippines, their membership certificates in KCFAPI through a deed of trust entitled “Assignment of Transfer of Founder Membership Certificates of the KCFAPI”. By virtue of
TOKCA / C1
KC Fraternal Cebu Service Office
THE Cebu Service Office is located at the core of the city’s business hub, the Cebu Business Park where Ayala Center is found. The place is similarly and recognized as “Little Makati” because of its high rise commercial buildings. The exact address is 2nd Floor, Knights of Columbus Square, #36 Archbishop Reyes Avenue cor. Molave Sts., Lahug, Cebu City with telephone numbers #(032) 2328560 and (032) 2323045 (telefax). The Knights of Columbus Visayas Jurisdiction occupies the ground floor of the same building. When I started working with the Knights of Columbus as Secretary to the first Visayas Territorial Deputy, the late Angel C. Veloso, Sr. in July 1988, Cebu Service Office was already established. I have witnessed KCFAPI celebrating “Pearl Anniversary”, Fortified at Forty” and the recent “Golden Jubilee” celebration held at Manila Hotel last September 13, 2008. A clear manifestation and reality of the long existence of our office in Cebu. The purpose of having a Service Office in different regions is to bring KCFAPI Home office closer to our brother knights and their families in line with the mission of our Association which is to provide optimum fraternal benefits. Cebu Service Office caters the needs and services of Central Visayas, consisting the whole province of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, likewise the entire Eastern Visayas. Our office has spacious conference room where we hold meetings and conferences. We also extend the use of conference room with the approval from Home Office for the different functions of the Knights of Columbus Visayas Jurisdiction like; Officers, District Deputies and Grand Knights meeting. We are also inspired and motivated by the support of the Chairman of the Board, Engr. Patrocinio R. Bacay who is holding office in Cebu. The success of Cebu Service is achieved through the unending support and guidance from the Officers and Staff of Home Office. Daghang salamat sa inyong pagbulig. VIVAT JESUS. (Sis. Allen C. Bohol) and 8) any of the State Secretaries or State Treasurers of the three Philippine jurisdictions, serving alternately, not concurrently. The execution of this Deed was duly attested by the Immediate Past and Past Deputies of the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao jurisdictions. During the annual meeting of the Founder Members held on the first Friday of July, the Founder Members are being represented by the Founder Members Committee who has vested control in KCFAPI. (Atty. Rizal V. Katalbas, Jr.)
the said original deed of trust a Founder Membership Committee (FMC) was created composed of eight members. During the past years, a series of amendments to the deed were made increasing its membership by including the immediate past and past deputies for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao jurisdictions. It was found out however, after a careful deliberation, to be not in accordance with the provision of the original deed of trust. Accordingly,
Founders Members Committee (FMC)
during the meeting of the FMC on 06 July 2007, the Committee finally agreed to further amend the amended Deed of Trust by executing the “Deed Reiterating the Principles of Original Deed of Trust Creating the Founder Members Committee” to restore the membership of the FMC to eight members composed only of the following members, namely: 1) the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila; 2) the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of
the Philippines (CBCP); 3) the Father Provincial of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines; 4) the Luzon Deputy; 5) the Visayas Deputy; 6) the Mindanao Deputy; 7) the Vice Supreme Master of KC, provided that if he is concurrently the Deputy for Luzon or for the Visayas or for Mindanao, he shall be replaced by the Master of the Fourth Degree in any of the three Philippine jurisdictions of KC with the highest percentage of insured members in his jurisdiction;
Board of Trustees/Directors of subsidiaries; 2) Employees of KCFAPI and Subsidiaries, KCFAPI Area Managers and their immediate families (fathers, husbands and sons); 3) Five State Officers, the State Program and Membership Directors and their immediate families, and 4) Members of the Board of Jurors. Awards Criteria The nominee must accept his nomination in the prescribed form not later than December 15, 2009. The nominee must have engaged in his field of endeavor with documented proof within the past five (5) years subject to validation by the Board of Jurors and the Search Committee. Points System a) Professional Excellence - Max 50pts; b) Participation in Council, Parish and Community - Max 30pts
c) Membership in KCFAPI - Max 20pts Total of 100 pts Search and Nomination Procedures 1. Nomination and endorsements must be in the hands of KCFAPI Search Committee by September 15, 2009 for initial screening. This should include all original attachments in support of the nomination. 2. Validation. The search committee together with the sub-committee on validation will conduct verification of statements made on the nominations including endorsements and supporting documents submitted. The validation period will end until November 15, 2009. 3. The qualified nominees will be informed in writing for their acceptance. The list of qualifiers will be announced officially through KCFAPI’s chosen publications and circulars. Acceptance of nominations must be received by the search committee on or before December 15, 2009.
4. All nomination forms, endorsements and attachments shall become the property of KCFAPI or may be returned to the nominee if it deems necessary. 5. Evaluation. The Search Committee will assign points and prepare a short list of nominees which will be forwarded to the Board of Jurors for selection of winners not later than January 15, 2010. The points earned shall merely serve as guide for the Board of Jurors in selecting the winners. 6. Search Committee. This Search Committee will be composed of KCFAPI officers headed by its President as Chairman. 7. The Board of Jurors. The Board of Jurors shall be composed of the Spiritual Director, The Chairman of KCFAPI, the President, the 3 State Deputies and another member to be selected by the Board. 8. The Board of Jurors will choose the winners not later than March 1, 2010 and notify them of their selection. 9. The winners will be entitled to the follow-
ing: a) Trophy or plaque to be awarded during the 2010 Tri-state convention to be held in Cebu City. b) Round-trip airplane fare (as appropriate) and hotel accommodation for two (himself and wife). This item is non-cash convertible and not transferrable. c) Cash allowance of P20,000.00 which will include other transportation expenses other than plane fare and meals outside of the hotel package. The travel booking and hotel accommodation shall be arranged by KCFAPI. d) Attend as official delegate to the Tri-state convention. 10. KCFAPI will donate in the name of awardee P10,000.00 to his parish and P10,000.00 to his council. For the complete awards information, you may contact KCFAPI Home Office at (02) 527 – 2223. (See below for TOCKA forms)
LAYOUT BY LAURENCE JOHN R. MORALES
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
can really speak or act as a Christian simply on his own. Msgr. Joseph Murphy, author of Christ Our Joy: The Theological Vision of Pope Benedict XVI (Ignatius, 2008) and an official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, puts it this way: “To speak or act as a Christian means that one is never simply an isolated self. To become a Christian entails accepting the Church in her entirety into oneself or, more precisely, it means allowing oneself to be interiorly accepted into her.” This observation has deep meaning for the Knights of Columbus, committed as we are to the principles of charity, unity and fraternity. It gives rise to our strong tradition of solidarity with our priests, bishops and popes, and explains why we work so hard to help build up our parishes. It is also why, following Pope Benedict’s trip to the United States last April 2008, we seek more strongly to follow him in building up our Church. It also has great meaning as we continue to strive to be what Pope John Paul II called us to be: a people of life and a people for life—united as Catholics in the great cause of defending life, especially at its most vulnerable stages. Unfortunately, being prolife remains a “stumbling-block” for some Catholics. On this issue they have isolated themselves from the Catholic tradition. As Knights, our duty is always to promote unity within the Church. We must increase our efforts to help every Catholic see more clearly that being Catholic means accepting the Church in its entirety, especially in respecting the lives of all. Building up the culture of life is the task of every Catholic. Vivat Jesus!
United for Life
Being a Catholic means accepting the Church in its entirety, especially in respecting the lives of all.
Both these arguments seem to resonate well in societies with a long Protestant tradition and also where increasing secularism finds little place for strong Church institutions. Interestingly, Pope Benedict agrees with the fundamental insights of both questions: God does not dwell in manmade institutions and he has no need of anything, including intermediary channels. But Benedict insists there is a further truth to consider. He writes, “precisely at this point we must also add the further statement: Christian faith is not based on the atomized individual but comes from the knowledge that there is no such thing as the mere individual, that on the contrary man is himself only when he is fitted into the whole.” He later adds, “Being a Christian means essentially changing over from being for oneself to being for one another” (p. 190). In other words, to be a Christian is to be brought into a community and into a tradition. As Christians we find a new unity, and no one
IN HIS 1968 book Introduction to Christianity (Ignatius), Pope Benedict XVI— then Father Joseph Ratzinger—takes up a question that he describes as a “basic stumbling-block” to the Christian faith. He puts the issue this way: “It irritates us that God should have to be passed on to us through outward forms: through Church, sacrament, dogma…. All this provokes the question, Does God dwell in institutions, events or words? As the eternal Being, does he not make contact with each of us from within? … God needs no intermediary channels by which to enter the soul of the individual…nothing can reach more intimately and deeply into man than he” (p. 183). We have all heard these concerns before. Protestants sometime object to what they regard as the manmade structure of the Catholic Church and defend the lack of similar structure in their own faith communities. We also hear from those who do not belong to any church because they see no need for organized religion; they are quite content with their own personal relationship with God.
Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Update
By Dr. Jaime Talag
SWINE Influenza (swine flu) is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses most commonly of the H1N1 subtype. Outbreaks in pigs occur year round. The virus is spread among pigs by aerosols, direct and indirect contact, and asymptomatic carrier pigs. Although swine influenza viruses are normally species specific and only infect pigs, they do sometimes cross the species barrier to cause disease in humans. In late March and early April 2009, cases of human infection were first reported in Southern California and near San Antonio, Texas. Reported cases of swine flu infection in humans have been reported internationally as well. Swine influenza has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork and pork products. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160◦F kills the swine flu virus. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs. The main mode of transmission from human to human is through droplets, by coughing or sneezing of an infected person. Infected people may be able to infect others beginning a day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. Generally, clinical symptoms are similar to regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, lack of appetite and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea, runny nose, sore throat and vomiting. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported. It may also cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions. There are no vaccines that contain the current swine influenza virus causing illness in humans. It is not known whether current human seasonal influenza vaccines can provide any protection. Influenza viruses change very quickly. It is important to develop a vaccine against the currently circulating virus strain for it to provide maximum protection to the vaccinated people. For treatment, there are two classes of such medicines, 1) adamantanes (amantadine and remantadine), and 2) inhibitors of influenza neuraminidase (oseltamivir and zanamivir). Some influenza viruses develop resistance to the antiviral medicines, limiting the effectiveness of treatment. The viruses obtained from the recent human cases in the United States are sensitive to oseltamivir and zanamivir but resistant to amantadine and remantadine. These drugs should only be taken upon the advice of health providers. The general preventive measures for influenza are: avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and who have fever and cough, wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly, and practice good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active. If you have recently traveled to countries with known swine influenza cases and are experiencing signs and symptoms of the disease, please proceed to any of the DOH-
KC seminarian-scholar graduates with honors
SEMINARIAN Joseph Basilla Longasa of the Diocese of Legazpi recently finished his Theological studies as Magna Cum Laude at the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary. He completed his Philosophical Studies at Mater Salutis College Seminary in Daraga, Albay with the rating Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude in Oral Comprehensive Examination in Philosophy. Aside from maintaining good academic performance, Sem. Longasa was also active in all seminary activities. He was the Editor of BENAVIDES, the official newsletter of the UST Central Seminary, for 2007-2008 and the Bukluran Games. His proud parents are Mr. Victor Longasa, Jr. and Mrs. Concepcion Longasa of Bacacay, Albay. Sem. Longasa has been a scholar of the KC Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. for two school years: 2006-2007 and 2008-2009. He is set to undergo a year of Spiritual Pastoral Formation beginning June. Sem. Longasa was one of the seven seminarian-scholars who graduated this school year. (Denise Solina) strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.
Sem. Longasa is shown being congratulated by Rev. Fr. Rodel E. Aligan, OP, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary, during his graduation.
accredited facilities (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, San Lazaro Hospital, and Lung Center of the Philippines) for further evaluation. Following the 2009 revision of
the phase descriptions, the current WHO phase of pandemic alert is 5. This is characterized by human to human spread of virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. There is a
Contact KCFAPI through our TEXT CONNECT INFORMATION SYSTEM (TEXT BILIS) Send to: 0917-825-KOFC or 0917-8255632 To register: KCREG <space> FCCODE <space> PINCODE <space> CONFIRM CODE Example: KCREG 00000 123456 123456 To inquire allowance ALLW <space> FCCODE <space> PINCODE Example: ALLW 00000 123456 To inquire for Submitted, Released & Paid BCs: SRP <space> FCCODE <space> MMYYYY Example: SRP 00000 012008
To inquire for the status of Benefit Certificate: BCINQ <space> ACCOUNT# <space> BIRTHDATE Example: BCINQ 1002840 01061971 To text a particular Department: DEPTCODE<space>Your Name <space> Your Message Example: To text Underwriting Department for follow-up UND Juan Dela Cruz Followup application of Bro. Joel Garcia DEPTCODE: UND - for Underwriting FBG - for FBG FMAS - for FC’s Account SERVICE - for BC Services CORPSRV - for FADB FGJWF - for Foundations
Vol. 13 No. 10
May 11 - 24, 2009
Knights join Archdiocese of Cebu’s Diamond Jubilee
WHEN Cebu Archbishop Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal invited the Knights of Columbus to join the Archdiocese’s 75th anniversary celebration at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, over a hundred knights were mobilized by Visayas Deputy SK Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr. and District VIII Master of the Fourth Degree SK Loreto Pablo, to take part as honor guards during the solemn blessing of the Holy Door and the Pontifical Concelebrated Mass. The afternoon rain on April 28, 2009 failed to dampen the enthusiasm of brother knights to represent the Order of the Knights of Columbus as the Archdiocese celebrated its historic Diamond Jubilee amidst the backdrop of the grandeur of the newly renovated Cathedral. Even with rain soaked regalia, brother knights performed their duty to the Church with dignity and pride, befitting true knights, in the presence of thousands of Cebuano Catholic faithful who literally filled the Cathedral and its grounds. Among church dignitaries in attendance aside from Cardinal Vidal were Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of the Archdiocese of Manila, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, Iloilo who is also the current President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), and many other archbishops and bishops from all over the Philippines. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other national and local officials were also present. After the ceremonies at the Cathedral, the Archdiocese tendered a dinner show depicting the rich history of the “Sugbuanong Simbahan” (Cebuano Church) at the Cebu International Convention
Center. Again, the Knights of Columbus took center stage during the show featuring costumes of the different church lay organizations existing in Cebu dubbed as “Vestidas Para Confradias”. Visayas Deputy Esteban wowed the audience when he modeled the Knights of Columbus regalia. The Cebu Archdiocese’s theme: “At 75, Growing Together In Grace As The Body of Christ”, has struck a sentimental chord of affection in every wellmeaning Cebuano and Visayan knight. It was at the K of C Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral Council No. 3106 on February 22, 1948 who began the Knights of Columbus in the Visayas. They GREW TOGETHER IN GRACE to become more than five hundred councils and fifty thousand knights all throughout the Visayas today… and still growing! (Bro. Junjie Navales Cruz)
KC holds first national Columbian Squires Jamboree
THE Knights of Columbus in the Philippines convened the largest gathering of Columbian Squires in the country last April 22-25, 2009 at the Bataan Technology Park, Inc. (BTPI) in Morong, Bataan. Dubbed as the 1st Columbian Squires Philippine National Jamboree, it was attended by over seven hundred squires and counselors that came mostly from the Luzon State jurisdiction. With the theme, “Columbian Squires in the Philippines: Dynamic Youth of Today, United in Helping Build up the Ecclesial Community,” the gathering consisted of spiritual activities with the daily Eucharistic celebrations and the Taize prayers, jamboree activities, and thematic lectures. Facilitators of the said convention were Miguel T. Yu, State Ways and Means Chairman and Camp Director; Conrado S. Dator, Jr., State Youth Director, Amado A. Sanglay, District Deputy of the 131 and BTPI Administrator; Bonifacio B. Martinez, State Program Director; Eduardo G. Laczi, Director for Philippine Affairs; Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III, Luzon Assistant State Chaplain and Squires State Father Prior; Morong Mayor Cynthia Linao Estanislao; Alonso L. Tan, Luzon Deputy; Arsenio Isidro G. Yap, Luzon State Secretary; Joven B. Joaquin, State Treasurer and Jose F. Cuaresma, State Columbian Squires Chairman. Different dignitaries and officials handled various conferences and meetings organized in the said jamboree. SK Laczi, SK Yap and SK Martinez gave lectures during the KC State Officers Night. At the Government and Business Night, talks were given by SK Sanglay, together with Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Justice Jose Reyes. Morong Parish Priest, Fr. Fernando Loreto and Msgr. Quitorio led the Clergy Night while the Counselors Meeting was prepared by Cuaresma and the Squires Key Officers Meeting by Raymund Gubat, Luzon Squires Deputy Chair for Education and Romeo Navoa, Luzon Chief Squires. Meanwhile, Rodolfo Manumbas gave a talk on Squires Advancement Program. This Advancement Program began in 2006 which requires a squire to accomplish activities in four categories on each of the five levels of development which are the “Page,” “Shield Bearer,” Swordman,” “Lancer,” and the highest “ Squire of the Body of Christ.” According to this program, a squire must complete a total of at least 96 activities within 1½ years that incorporates service activities on behalf of the Church organization. In order to inspire the Columbian Squires, the awarding ceremony for the Squire Advancement Program of the Supreme Council was held at last day of the jamboree. The five Columbian Squires who achieved the rank of the “Squires of the Body of Christ” are Jimwell Sales, Gamaliel Marion Sampedro, Alden Kenneth De Belen, Marvin Ronquillo, Robert Jay Ramos. To date, there are eight awardees of the aforementioned program where six of them came from Luzon and two are from the United States of America. (CBCPNews)
Four of the five Columbian Squires who have achieved the rank of the Body of Christ were recognized during the closing of the Columbian Squires tri-state convention last April 25.
13th Mindanao Jurisdiction Convention, a tremendous success!
Regional Conventions in Visayas
IT is time for the Regional Conventions in Visayas. Last April 21, 2009, brother knights from Central Visayas (Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Oriental Negros) gathered at the Cebu Business Hotel for the 4th Central Visayas Regional Convention, reflecting on the theme, “Building A Civilization of Love through Charity, Unity and Fraternity”. Dignitaries in attendance were Bro. Patrocinio R. Bacay – Chairman of the Board of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), Bro. Alberto P. Solis Sr. – Supreme Director, Bro. Panfilo O. Pacubas, Sr. – Vice Supreme Master of the Fourth Degree and Bro. Eduardo G. Laczi – Director for Philippine Affairs based in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A. The convention featured the video greetings of Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson who made a report of the Order’s achievements. For his part, Visayas Deputy Bro. Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr. reported that the Visayas Jurisdiction is faring well in terms of membership growth and service programs vis-à-vis the goals set way back in July 2008. Similar gatherings will be held in Iloilo City on May 16, 2009 for Western Visayas (knights from Panay Island and Negros Occidental) and on May 24, 2009 for Eastern Visayas (knights from Samar-Leyte). The regional conventions are under the care of Bro. Pete Guyos – Western Visayas Regional Deputy, Bro. Gaspar Sudario – Central Visayas Regional Deputy and Bro. Dalmacio Grafil – Eastern Visayas Regional Deputy. (Bro. Junjie Navales Cruz) on the last day of the Convention. Presiding for the Resolutions Committee was Regional Secretary Atty. Emiliano Deleverio from Pagadian City. Raffle draws followed with two winners from Gen. Santos City and Iligan both bagging the first prize, with P100, 000 each. The Convention was officially closed by SK Sofronio Cruz at around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 3. The delegates went home happy, not only because they were given the opportunity to experience for themselves the hospitality of the Chavacanos but also enjoyed the experience of attending the convention in a land where kidnapping and abductions are the news of the day. Also present during the Convention was Former Mindanao Deputies, Alfredo Taruc, Ernesto San Juan and his Lady Buena and Alberto Solis, now Supreme Director.
Mindanao Jurisdiction Secretary-SK Jose D. Bacalanmo, Mace Insurance President-SK Antonio T. Yulo, KCFAPI President-SK Antonio B. Borromeo, Supreme Office’s Director for Philippine Affairs-SK Eduardo G. Laczi, Archbishop of Zamboanga City-Most Rev. Romulo G. Valles, DD, Mindanao Jurisdiction Deputy-SK Sofronio R. Cruz, KCFAPI EVP-Sis. Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Visayas Jurisdiction Deputy-SK Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr., and Past Mindanao Deputy-SK Pedro M. Rodriguez, Jr.
THE Mindanao Knights of Columbus convened its 13th Mindanao Jurisdiction Convention of the Knights last May 1-3 at Zamboanga City. Hosted by the Caballeros de Colon de Zamboanga (Knights of Columbus of Zamboanga) the convention was held at the Astoria Regency Convention Center, Pasonanca, with the theme: “Building a Civilization of Love through Charity, Unity and Fraternity.” More than 700 knights from all over Mindanao flocked to the City of Zamboanga despite news of kidnapping and abductions, which Zamboanga had become famous for. Participants did not only want to savor the experience of being part of the largest Fraternal Organization in the world but also to see for themselves what the Zamboangenos had to offer for visiting strangers. Surely, they did not regret coming to Zamboanga City, the only Latin City in Asia, as the Chavacanos called their city. The Convention officially opened with a Mass in the afternoon of May 1, presided by no less than Rt. Rev. David Alonzo of St. Joseph Parish, Zamboanga City. The welcome address of the City Mayor of Zamboanga, Hon. Celso L. Lobregat, was read by his Representative. The Mayor was out of town during the Convention. The afternoon session was highlighted by the “State of the Jurisdiction Address” (SOJA) given in a power point presentation by the Mindanao Deputy, SK Sofronio R. Cruz. It was indeed, one of the most complete and compre-
hensive report given by the Mindanao Deputy. The State Dinner in the evening of May 1 was sponsored by no less than the City Mayor. Hon. Celso Lobregat. It was an evening to remember, with cultural and social presentations rendered by students from various schools and colleges of Zamboanga City. After the State Dinner, Mindanao Deputy Sofronio R. Cruz, presided a meeting attended by the State Officers, District Deputies, Regional and Provincial Secretaries to trace problems in Membership Recruitment, Reactivation and the need to act as team to accomplish goals set by the Supreme Office. The Mindanao Deputy also informed those present regarding the restructuring of the Regions comprising the Jurisdiction to be more responsive to their needs. A lively discussion took place and the meeting ended with everybody exhibiting confidence that they will meet their respective goals with success. The ladies had fun visiting tourist spots in the city, like the Lady of Port Pilar and the Barter Trade in Canelar. The men attended the plenary sessions on the second day which started with a mass officiated by Msgr. Peter B. Garces, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Purification, Sta. Maria, Zamboanga City. Guest Speaker during the morning plenary session was no other than the Archbishop of Zamboanga, Most Rev. Romulo G. Valles. The written message of the State Membership Director SK Hernando
Jordan about membership and retention was read before the delegates by SK Jose D. Bacalanmo, the State Secretary. The Election and induction of Board of Trustees of Mindanao Columbian Knights Fraternal Foundation Inc. (MCKFFI) was also conducted during the day. An open Forum followed with lively discussions on various matters. Resource persons were the Director for Philippine Affairs, Fraternal Services, Eduardo G. Laczi, Mindanao Deputy Sofronio R. Cruz. State Secretary Jose D. Bacalanmo, Jr. and SK Antonio R. Borromeo, KCFAPI President. Various resolutions were presented
State officers with Mayor Cynthia Linao Estanislao of Morong during the opening of the 1st Columbian Squires Philippine National Jamboree held at Bataan Technopark last April 22.