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Pope warns against attempts to marginalize Christianity from public life
Challenges of poverty in need or in plenty
A Catechetical Publication of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Church reps to dialogue with presidentiables on RH bill
REPRESENTATIVES of the Catholic Church intend to dialogue with presidentiables one on one on the contraceptive legislation, a Church official said. Fr. Melvin Castro, Commission on Family and Life executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said a dialogue is crucial to hear the positions of the presidential candidates. He said the dialogue is being led by various lay people belonging to various groups involved in the Church’s family and life ministry.
Dialogue / A7
Muslims join call to stop coal fired power plant
THE Muslims in Maasim, Sarangani and from the neighboring municipality of Kiamba join other religious and sectoral groups in opposing the planned construction of Southern Mindanao 200MW Coal Fired Power plant in Barangay Kamanga, Maasim, Sarangani Province. Ustadz Embol Maulana, a known Muslim leader in this municipality said that their opposition is not personal since Islam teaches about peace. “For how can we have peace if the project will destroy our environment and will bring
Call / A6
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace September 28 - October 11, 2009 Vol. 13 No. 20 Php 20.00
CBCP prexy scores slow response to killer flood
By Roy Lagarde
THE head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines expressed his frustration with the pace of relief efforts in the typhoon-devastated Luzon region.
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said he can’t but register his deep concern at the unacceptably slow response to the grave humanitarian crisis. He said “depletion” of the government’s resources might have triggered the “slowness” in responding to the victims of the strong typhoon. What the church leader fear the most, he admitted, is the misappropriation of resources set aside for responding calamities. “If there were no graft and corruption in our government, our government would be more prepared to respond to such crisis,” Lagdameo said. Survivors are angry at the lack of aid. Some of them reported that they were trapped inside their homes or on the rooftops but were ignored by rescue helicopters flying overhead. Countless people were dismayed by the government’s failure to come to their aid at the height of the massive floods that swept Metro Manila and nearby provinces over the weekend. Record breaking Massive flash floods unleashed by Typhoon Ondoy swept across Metro Manila and nearby provinces on Sept. 26 killing over 200 people and stranding hundreds on roof tops. Ondoy is the latest example of how class inequalities are exposed to natural disasters. It did not spare anyone, rich or poor. Entire shanties were easily swept away, but even concrete houses in middle-class communities collapsed. The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said the homes of nearly 1.9 million were inundated. The typhoon dumped 410.6 millimeters (16 inches) of rains on
Flood / A6
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo (center), CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) Executive Secretary Sr. Roseanne Mallillin, SPC (left) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) representative to the Philippines, Luc Picard (right), inspect the relief goods being readied at St. Paul University, Manila for distribution to typhoon victims in seven dioceses. CRS and other Church groups have joined hands with NASSA in providing victims with food aid and basic items following massive flooding in various parts of Luzon.
Church groups help boost relief efforts
AMONG the most significant aids to the Church’s relief effort in the wake of the typhoon has been a donation by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) of $250,000 to provide assistance to thousands of victims. Church charities led by the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) are in the thick of relief operation which has been ongoing since Sept. 27 in at least five areas hardest-hit by the strong storm. Sr. Roseanne Mallillin, executive secretary of NASSA, said foreign aid in cash and in kind continues to pour in to help augment their relief operation. She said has been receiving from various foreign Catholic relief organizations asking how they could send donations. Caritas Española has donated 100,000 Euros to help the victims who fled their homes following massive flooding caused by the storm as it swept across the country’s main island of Luzon. The hefty donation will be used in providing the victims with immediate food aid and potable water in the aftermath of the storm that left various areas in Metro Manila and nearby provinces under water. “We will also provide people affected by the
flooding with blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, soap and more,” said Mallillin. US-based Knights of Columbus Supreme Council also wired an emergency financial contribution of $50,000 to the CBCP’s social action arm to help address the humanitarian needs caused by the disaster. “We will also be inviting state councils throughout the Order to make contributions which the Supreme Council will collect and convey to the CBCP-NASSA in the coming weeks,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in a letter to CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo.
Relief / A6
AMID calls from devotees to institute a liturgical feast in honor of “God the Father,” Catholic Church officials said it would be impossible to do that. Fr. Anscar Chupungco, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Liturgy, clarified they have nothing against the devotion to God the Father. He said officials of the Commission are even unanimous in commending the pastoral efforts to make God the Father better known and loved by the faithful. However, Chupungco said, they do not agree that there should be a liturgical feast in honor of
Liturgy Commission nixes calls to institute ‘God the Father’ feast
God the Father. “The Episcopal Commission on Liturgy does not see any convincing reason, theologically and liturgically, why a liturgical feast should now make God the Father the object of its anamnesis,” he said. “Needless to say the day chosen by the group, which is the Feast of the Transfiguration, is not consonant with the Liturgical norms,” the CBCP official added. According to him, everyday at Mass and in the liturgy of the hours, prayers are addressed to the
Feast / A6
Lawyers join calls for aerial spray ban
THE flash floods that have taken deadly toll in the country are grim reminder of the often ignored imperative to protect the environment, the head of Manila’s Catholic Church said Tuesday. Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said every individual must do their share to avoid future incidents like what recently happened in Metro Manila and most of Southern and Central Luzon. “Please take care for the safe and clean environment in your areas. There are lots of things that a tragedy like Ondoy is trying to teach and remind us of,” he said. Meanwhile, the church official has reiterated the Catholic hierarchy’s call for all Filipinos to join in hoping and praying for the immediate recovery of the victims.
Floods cue of imperative to care for environment— Cardinal
© Luis Liwanag
He called on the faithful to help hundreds of thousands of victims to recover from record flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ondoy. At least 140 people died in flooding in Pasig, Marikina, Rizal, Laguna and Bulacan. Hundreds of thousands have also been displaced, and are without electricity or potable water. “A destruction as large as this becomes a call to all of us to reach to our brothers and sisters who are out there literally still wet and cold— homeless,” said Cardinal Rosales. On Sunday, he said, a special collection will be made at Masses including the anticipated Masses in parishes, chapels and malls for typhoon victims. “In charity no one fails,” he said. (CBCPNews)
TOP-NOTCH lawyers have joined hands with 21 farmers from Mindanao in seeking a ban on the aerial spraying of pesticides in giant commercial banana plantations that is adversely affecting the public health and the environment. The visiting farmers from Mindanao are members of the Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (MAAS) from Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao City. They have come to Manila to ask President Arroyo to act on their plight by ordering an outright ban on aerial spraying. At a press conference held today at the premises of Caritas Manila where the 21 farmers are camping out, lawyers Christian Monsod, former Comelec chairman; Antonio Oposa, a recent recipient of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award; and Magistrado Mendoza, a noted practitioner of alternative legal service, took up the cudgels for
the pollution impacted communities and explained why Malacañang should side with them. “Please study carefully and fulfill your legal mandates. Failure to do that by a public official can result in personal liability. Let us apply the highest law, higher than legislative enactments, higher even than the Constitution. Let us apply the golden rule,” said Oposa who has been cited internationally for his exemplary work in protecting Mother Nature through environmental litigation, advocacies and networking. Oposa recently grabbed headlines for asking the Supreme Court to cite several members of Arroyo’s cabinet in contempt of court for failing to report on what their offices have been doing to clean up
Spray ban / A7
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
Respond to the vocation God gives you, Pope urges young people
PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Sept. 28, 2009—Sea of young people listened to Pope Benedict on Monday morning as he challenged them to meet Jesus, place their hope in Him and respond to the vocation that He places on their hearts. In turn, young Catholics must become messengers of hope to the world, the Holy Father said. After the Holy Father celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech Republic, he spoke to the 10,000 young people as they sat near their tents. "Being with you makes the Pope feel young!" the Pope said, thanking them for their enthusiasm and "generosity." He then touched on the aspiration for happiness that youths feel so acutely. "In every young person there is an aspiration towards happiness, sometimes tinged with anxiety: an aspiration that is often exploited, however, by present-day consumerist society in false and alienating ways. Instead, that longing for happiness must be taken seriously, it demands a true and comprehensive response. At your age, the first major choices are made, choices that can set your lives on a particular course, for better or worse." To point the young pilgrims in the right direction, Pope Benedict recalled the experience of St. Augustine, who said that “the heart of every person is restless until it finds what it truly seeks. He discovered that Jesus Christ alone is the answer that can satisfy his and every person's desire for a life of happiness, filled with meaning and value. "As he did with Augustine," the Pope counseled his young audience, "so the Lord comes to meet each one of you. He knocks at the door of your freedom and asks to be welcomed as a friend. He wants to make you happy, to fill you with humanity and dignity. The Christian faith is this: encounter with Christ, the living Person Who gives life a new horizon and thereby a definitive direction." Benedict XVI also spoke to the youths about listening to the Lord for the vocation he places on their hearts. "The Lord calls each of us by name, and entrusts to us a specific mission in the Church and in society." He "constantly renews His invitation to you to be His disciples and His witnesses. “Many of you He calls to marriage,” the Pope said, noting that “the preparation for this Sacrament constitutes a real vocational journey.” “Consider seriously the divine call to raise a Christian family, and let your youth be the time in which to build your future with a sense of responsibility. Society needs Christian families, saintly families!" he urged. Speaking to those who may be called to priestly and religious life, Pope Benedict offered his encouragement, saying, "And if the Lord is calling you to follow Him in the ministerial priesthood or in the consecrated life, do not hesitate to respond to His invitation. In particular, in this Year for Priests, I appeal to you, young men. ...The Church in every country, including this one, needs many holy priests and also persons fully consecrated to the service of Christ, Hope of the world.” "Hope! This word, to which I often return, sits well with youth. You, my dear young people, are the hope of the Church! She expects you to become messengers of hope," the Holy Father challenged them. As he drew his message to a close, Benedict asked them to participate in the next World Youth Day, due to take place in the Spanish capital city of Madrid in August 2011. Young people, strive to “live your faith with joy and enthusiasm; to grow in unity among yourselves and with Christ; to pray and to be diligent in frequenting the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession," Pope Benedict said. (CNA)
Father McGivney sainthood cause advances
Knights of Columbus founder St. Thérèse in UK witnesses to pastoral vocation attracting thousands
Carl Anderson, the supreme knight, as well as a regular ZENIT columnist, explained that this submission "marks an important step forward." He explained: "The Vatican's congregation for the causes of saints will now have valuable additional testimony that clarifies and adds significantly to the original submission. "We believe that the congregation will now have all the information it needs to complete its assessment of the case, although of course this review could take several years." The new report includes additional testimonies and interviews from witnesses and medical doctors who supported the original description of the reported miracle. Father McGivney founded the knights in 1882, and died in 1890 at age 38. The cause for his sainthood was opened by Archbishop Daniel Cronin of Hartford in 1997. In March 2008, Benedict XVI declared him venerable. "Father McGivney's beatification would be an important event," Anderson said, "not only for Knights of Columbus, but for the many thousands of parish priests who quietly do the Lord's work in parishes each day and regard him as an outstanding example for priests everywhere." The supreme knight added, "In this Year for Priests it is an especially appropriate step forward." (Zenit) LONDON, Sept. 28, 2009— The bishops of England and Wales estimate some 68,700 people visited the relics of St. Thérèse during the first 10 days of the tour of her relics. The relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux will be visiting the United Kingdom through Oct. 16. They arrived Sept. 16. The relics have gone through some 40 countries. During the U.K. tour, the relics have just one stop at a non-Catholic site: the York Minster, a cathedral of the Church of England. The dean of York, Very Reverend Keith Jones, said, “I am thrilled that the relics of St Thérèse, the Little Flower, are coming to York Minster, at the request of the Catholic bishops' conference. “She is a gift of God to us all, and this is a chance for Christians of different traditions to pray for unity and renew our faith and our love.” (Zenit)
HARTFORD, Connecticut, Sept. 24, 2009— The founder of the Knights of Columbus, Father Michael McGivney, might be closer to recognition as a saint, as an expanded report on a possible miracle has been sent to Rome. The Knights of Columbus announced in a press release today that on Tuesday, officials of a supplemental tribunal from the Hartford Archdiocese, where Father McGivney served as a parish priest, formally sent the report to the Congregation for Saints' Causes.
Mostar bishop reiterates rules for Medjugorje parish
MOSTAR, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sept. 28, 2009—Confirming young people from the parish in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje, Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno asked them not to behave as if the alleged Marian apparitions reported in the parish were real. In late September, the bishop posted on his diocesan Web site an Italian translation of his homily from the June confirmation Mass, as well as letters to the Franciscan pastor of the Medjugorje parish and to another priest serving there. Bishop Peric had told the young people that, during a visit to the Vatican early in the year, the top officials at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Vatican Secretariat of State confirmed they were telling anyone who asked that the Catholic Church has never recognized the alleged apparitions as authentic. “Brothers and sisters, let us not act as if these ‘apparitions’ were recognized and worthy of faith,” the bishop said in the homily he gave June 6. “If, as Catholics, devoted sons and daughters of the church, we want to live according to the norms and the teaching of the church, glorifying the Holy Trinity, venerating Blessed Mary ... and professing all the church has established in the creed, we do not turn to certain alternative ‘apparitions’ or ‘messages’ to which the church has not attributed any supernatural character,” Bishop Peric said. After the confirmation Mass in Medjugorje, the bishop also made a pastoral visit to the parish and published the follow-up letters he had written to Franciscan Father Petar Vlasic, the pastor, and to Franciscan Father Danko Perutina, one of the parochial vicars. The bishop praised Father Vlasic for the way he was handling what he called “the Medjugorje phenomenon,” which began in 1981 when six young people ─ Mirjana Dragicevic, Marija Pavlovic, Vicka Ivankovic, Ivan Dragicevic, Ivanka Ivankovic and Jakov Colo ─ said they had seen Mary on a hillside near their town. Several of them say they continue to see Mary and receive messages from her. In his letter, the bishop reaffirmed that priests from outside the parish cannot give conferences or lead retreats at the parish without written permission from his office and that no one can use parish facilities to promote the alleged apparitions or messages. The bishop specified that the pastor should ensure that Father Perutina stop offering comments on the messages Pavlovic claims to receive on the 25th of each month. He also asked Father Vlasic to remove from the parish Web site all references to the parish and its church buildings as a shrine or sanctuary and to ban prayers allegedly dictated by Mary or suggested by her alleged messages from liturgies and prayer services inside the church,
Faith leaders hope G-20 summit will ‘do the right thing’ for poor
including public recitations of the rosary. “We have enough official ecclesiastical intentions (pontifical, episcopal, missionary, etc.) and there is no need to turn arbitrarily to the presumed apparitions and messages and mix them with the public prayers of the church,” he said. In his letter to Father Perutina, who was assigned to the Medjugorje parish after completing a degree in Mariology at a pontifical university in Rome, Bishop Peric said he did not understand why the priest was publishing a commentary on the monthly message Pavlovic claims to receive. “Gradually we have been able to distance the ‘apparitions’ and ‘messages’ from the parish church and church environs,” the bishop said, but the fact that a Franciscan from the parish is commenting on the messages creates confusion. “These are private messages to private people for private use,” he said, ordering the Franciscan to cease commenting on or publicizing them in any way. (CNS)
PITTSBURGH, USA, Sept. 23, 2009—Leaders of the most powerful countries in the world, meeting for the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh Sept. 24-25, have huge economic issues to contend with. But with latest estimates showing 1 billion people around the world suffering from hunger as a result of the global economic recession, religious leaders believe that, by gathering together to speak for the world’s poor, they can impact those decisions. Most people in high levels of government “really do want to do the right thing for the poor. They really do have a moral compass,” said Stephen Colecchi, director of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace, at a press conference in Pittsburgh Sept. 23. Part of the power of prayer and bringing together religious leaders at such an event is “the belief that we can influence people,” he said. Some 30 leaders of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths attended the press conference before processing in full clerical garb to the Omni William Penn Hotel to meet with representatives of the U.S. delegation to the G-20 summit. The event was part of the Sept. 22-23 Faith Leaders Summit convened prior to the G-20 and organized by Bread for the World, the Alliance to End Hunger and other partners to “remind world leaders that the most important indicator of economic recovery should be what happens to hungry and poor people,” said the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. The leaders had joined the previous evening for an interfaith prayer service at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Pittsburgh. Colecchi said at the press conference that Pittsburgh is a fitting site for the summit because it represents the struggles of working families. (CNS)
Chicago woman runs in order to raise funds to enter religious life
CHICAGO, USA, Sept. 25, 2009—When Alicia Torres laced up her running shoes and tackled the 13.1 miles of the Chicago Half Marathon Sept. 13, her goal was to become a nun. Torres is not a runner and had never run a distance race. But she ran the race as part of an appeal to friends and strangers to help pay off more than $90,000 in student loans so she can enter religious life. When Torres felt God calling her to this vocation, she realized there was one major obstacle in her path ─ $94,000 in student loans that must be paid off to enter the Franciscan community she’s chosen. The 24-year-old graduated in 2007 from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in theology and bioethics and works in the Respect Life Office for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Facing this large debt and feeling God’s call to her becoming clearer every day, Torres chose to do something public to seek help. She took the “nun run” vocation idea literally and decided to run a half marathon to call attention to her situation and to encourage donations. Torres created www.TheNunRun. com to chronicle her journey. Several of her friends ran the half marathon with her in solidarity. She is also working with the Laboure Society (www.labourefoundation.org), a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to individuals who must eliminate personal debt in order to pursue their vocation to the priesthood or religious life. Torres tells anyone who asks that she’s not looking to get out of paying her loans. She will continue to work until they are paid and she can enter the community free and clear. She’s just looking for help to realize her vocation sooner rather than later. She is peppered with questions and comments whenever she shares her story. Why can’t her parents pay the loans for her? (They don’t have the means and still have kids at home.) Why doesn’t she just get a better-paying job? (She’s doing good work where she is.) Why can’t the community pay it for her? (They have a vow of poverty.) They are all questions she takes in stride and opportunities she uses for evangelization. (CNS)
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Pope warns against attempts to marginalize Christianity from public life
PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Sept. 27, 2009—During a meeting held this Sunday afternoon at the Archdiocese of Prague, Pope Benedict XVI warned members of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic that in a country where about half the population claim to be “non-believers,” there is a risk that Christianity will be marginalized from public life. “Europe continues to undergo many changes. It is hard to believe that only two decades have passed since the collapse of former regimes gave way to a difficult but productive transition towards more participatory political structures,” said the Pope at the beginning of his address. “During this period,” he continued, “Christians joined together with others of good will in helping to rebuild a just political order, and they continue to engage in dialogue today in order to pave new ways towards mutual understanding, cooperation for peace and the advancement of the common good.” “Attempts to marginalize the influence of Christianity upon public life, sometimes under the pretext that its teachings are detrimental to the well-being of society, are emerging in new forms,” the Holy Father warned, saying that this phenomenon “gives us pause to reflect.” “We may ask ourselves: what does the Gospel have to say to the Czech Republic and indeed all of Europe today in a period marked by proliferating world views?” “Christianity,” Pope Benedict explained, “has much to offer on the practical and ethical level, for the Gospel never ceases to inspire men and women to place themselves at the service of their brothers and sisters. Few would dispute this. Yet those who fix their gaze upon Jesus of Nazareth with eyes of faith know that God offers a deeper reality which is nonetheless inseparable from the ‘economy’ of charity at work in this world: He offers salvation.” The Holy Father said that Christians must take confidence “in knowing that the Church’s proclamation of salvation in Christ Jesus is ever ancient and ever new, steeped in the wisdom of the past and brimming with hope for the future.” “As Europe listens to the story of Christianity, she hears her own. Her notions of justice, freedom and social responsibility, together with the cultural and legal institutions established to preserve these ideas and hand them on to future generations, are shaped by her Christian inheritance. Indeed, her memory of the past animates her aspirations for the future,” he added. Pope Benedict then said that Christians today must open themselves to present realities and affirm “all that is good in society.” They “must have the courage to invite men and women to the radical
conversion that ensues upon an encounter with Christ and ushers in a new life of grace.” “Dear friends, let us ask the Lord to implant within us a spirit of courage to share the timeless saving truths which have shaped, and will continue to shape, the social and cultural progress of this continent,” he concluded. (CNA)
Church insists on solidarity with immigrants and refugees, says Vatican official
the archbishop also recalled that immigrants and refugees have "a fundamental human right" to be cared for which must be respected regardless of “the specific problems related to their situation." The Vatican prelate said that while the situation of refugees and immigrants does create real economic and legal difficulties that demand “wise policies,” there is a need to “objectively understand the phenomenon at the international level” in order to provide “guidance and management that take into account the various aspects involved.” In addition to defending immigrants and refugees, Archbishop Veglia continued, the Church will always side with the "elderly, disabled and terminally ill, expressing her opposition to attempts to go against the right to life." "Certainly laws alone are not sufficient to support the growth of an integrated society in which its different components coexist peacefully and mutually prosper. All cultural and educational entities should be involved in a process that involves all areas of life," he said. After commenting on the case of Europe, which has a "multi-ethnic, multi-faith, multicultural” society for the foreseeable future, the archbishop warned that "to deny the metamorphosis that is taking place at international level is not only absurd but also dangerous and irresponsible.” Denial of the change is problematic, he said, because the phenomenon has already led to structural changes and their “positive effects must be supported and negative effects reduced.” For this reason, he continued, the young generations in particular, but also the population in general—whether native or immigrant—need to receive adequate formation in order be prepared to live together in peace and diversity.” Governments must be on the front lines in the effort, adopting appropriate measures to assist in the process. Archbishop Veglia also mentioned that the Sixth World Congress for Migrant and Refugee Ministry will be held at the Vatican November 9-12, an event that takes place every five years and will focus on the phenomenon of immigration in the era of globalization this year. (CNA)
Hard times push Catholic schools toward crisis
MANILA, Sept. 17, 2009— In a trend intensified by low enrollment in many Catholic schools, the growing economic troubles is pushing them more into a difficult situation. Compared to several years ago, Catholic schools enrollments especially in rural areas remain low, if not plummeting, facing the double peril of rising costs and falling revenues. Unlike in Metro Manila, Catholic bishops said the current economic crisis and the people’s lack of purchasing power continue to affect the viability of Catholic schools in the countryside. Financial problem Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI said “when you go to provinces like ours where we have mission schools, even there are big schools like University of Notre Dame and Marbel University, they still depend on tuition fees from farmers and farmers are undergoing hard times.” In an interview at the sidelines of the ongoing national convention of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Thursday, he confirmed viability is indeed a problem among small schools. Maasin Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB said their schools are threatened by lack of resources and financial support. The absence of these “make it hard for people to afford Catholic education” which he described as “quality education.” He explained with the lack of resources, “one cannot also increase teachers’ salaries which in turn affect their motivation.” For his part, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ said “provincial schools are always struggling with economic survival.” He said the government should continue and even increase the Educational Voucher System being provided by the Department of Education. Government support Education Undersecretary Ramon C. Bacani said there are 650,000 slots under the Government Assistance to Private Education for this school year alone. The program is divided into two, one of which is the Education Voucher System while the other is Education Service Contracting. Some 450,000-500,000 slots are under the Educational Service Contracting. Bacani said the programs shoulder the tuition fees of the country’s poor but deserving high school students. Prelature of Isabela Bishop Martin S. Jumoad said though fundamentalists would always want to “Islamize” the whole island the Catholic Church continues to make its presence felt lest the young population forget they are Catholics. “In terms of giving education, we can be of service to the people but without government’s support, we will not survive,” said Prelature of Isabela Bishop Martin S. Jumoad. He added they solely depend on scholarships provided by government. He said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has 50 scholars in his prelature. “These scholarships are in Maluso town and she has allotted P2 million spread in four years,” Jumoad added. Boac Bishop Reynaldo G. Evangelista said Catholic education remains important in the life of the Catholic Church even in small areas like Marinduque. “The formation of young minds is very important,” the prelate said as he confirmed the establishment of new schools in his diocese. He said the diocese is also concerned of the schools’ viability. “The constitution provides that elementary and secondary education is the government’s responsibility so we get the support from the government,” he added. (Melo M. Acuna)
ROME, Sept. 25, 2009—The President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglia, said this week that while the Church has no hand in the formulation of government immigration policies, she can insist on "solidarity for those living in vulnerable situations, such as refugees and immigrants.” In an interview with L'Osservatore Romano,
Count of people dead, missing rises up as floods subside
MANILA, Sept. 28, 2009─The tally of people dead and missing rises up even as homeless families took stock of what’s left in their lives in the worst flooding that hit Metro Manila and neighboring provinces in recent years. Heavy rains brought by Typhoon “Ondoy” during the weekend submerged low-lying areas in the Archdiocese of Manila, and the dioceses Cubao, Pasig, Antipolo, Kalookan, Novaliches and Malolos. In Sagrada Familia Parish in Sitio Veterans, Bagong Silangan, Quezon City and neighboring parish of San Isidro, both administered by Carmelites priests, floodwaters that reached as high as the rooftops sent hundreds of families to evacuate on higher grounds. Carmelite Brother Gilbert Billena, O’Carm, a member of the parish pastoral team, said that as of yesterday afternoon, 14 people were confirmed dead at San Isidro Parish. Recent updates this morning pegged casualties at around 70 people at Sagrada Familia Parish in Sitio Veterans, Bagong Silangan, Quezon City. Billena said many of those missing were children. The Carmelite brother reiterated his plea for help to hundreds of families in his parish who are now homeless and in dire need of food, clothing and medicines. Bishops of the affected dioceses have also aired their appeal for donations to help the victims. Member schools of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) meanwhile, have started their campaign drive to help flood victims. CEAP president Msgr. Gerry Santos said the association’s calamity
fund will be used to help those affected by the floods. In Bacolod, the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos has like-
wise started its own campaign drive asking students, faculty and staff to donate foodstuffs and clothing for the victims. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
Pope urges priests to use Communications Media
VATICAN CITY, Sept. 29, 2009─Benedict XVI has chosen to dedicate World Communications Day 2010 to the theme "The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word." The message for the 44th world day is addressed especially to priests, as the Church continues to celebrate the Year for Priests. The message also comes in the wake of last October's synod of bishops on the Word of God. A communiqué from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications announced the theme today, feast of the archangels. The Holy Father urges priests to "consider the new media as a powerful resource for their ministry in the service of the Word and wishes to express a word of encouragement in order to address the challenges stemming from the new digital culture," the communiqué explained. "If the new media is adequately known and appreciated, it can offer priests and all pastoral agents a
Theme released for 2010 World Day
wealth of data and content that previously was difficult to access, and it facilitates ways of collaboration and growth of communion that were unthinkable in the past."
Reaching out The communiqué highlights the fact that "thanks to the new media, those who preach and make known the Word of life can reach, with words, sounds and images [...] individuals and whole communities on every continent."
This enables the creation of "new areas of knowledge and dialogue, enabling one to propose and carry out programs for communion," the council affirmed. "If used wisely, with the help of experts in technology and the culture of communion, the new media can thus become for priests and all pastoral agents a valid and effective instrument of true and profound evangelization and communion." The Pontiff's statement suggests the hope that the communications media will
be a new way to bring Christ to the streets. "The priest's principal responsibility is to proclaim the Word of God made flesh, man, history, thus becoming a sign of that communion that God effects with man," the communiqué noted. The World Day of Communications is the only worldwide celebration established by the Second Vatican Council. It is observed in most countries the Sunday before Pentecost. (Zenit)
© Photo courtesy of Bro. Gilbert Billena, O’Carm
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
CBCP President Angel Lagdameo calls it “epic flood”. Perhaps, because the inundation brought about by typhoon Ondoy was beyond the realm of the conventional. The flash floods swelled so fast and so vast to cover immediately about 80% of Metro Manila and outlaying provinces in just over an hour of that fateful Saturday morning. In a couple of hours later, the media was already showing people, thousands of them, marooned on their rooftops until the following day, Sunday morning, when the waters naturally subsided; in some areas, radio stations were reporting of people still perched on their roofs until Sunday evening. But for the government, particularly the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) there was nothing epical. It was the usual slow motion of people who are better seen on expensive TV advertising than on actual delivery of basic services—almost verging on irrelevance and inutility. NDCC’s mandate is all about “disaster preparedness, prevention, mitigation and response” which, of course, is still begging for a pinch of realization. It is a composite of 18 presumably topnotch government agencies headed by the Secretary of Department of National Defense and the presidential Executive Secretary, to boot. That mandate and composition could have been enough even to move mountains if only, in the words of Lagdameo, “if there were no graft and corruption in our government, our government would be more prepared to response to such crisis.” The government’s disaster preparedness program was exactly that—a disaster, deaf and dumb to the desperate cries of thousands of its constituents who were agonizing and angry to the death. It is incomprehensible, if unforgivable, why right at the very geographic center of government people had to wait to be rescued for two nights atop their roofs with neither food nor drinking water, but in vain. In the worst hit city of Marikina, for instance, which has a population of almost half a million, only two rubber boats were fielded for rescue operations. But that was even a luxury because in other areas there were none. It is not any wonder then why the fatalities are now close to 250 and counting, with many still missing. But thanks to improvisations and private ingenuity, some lives were saved using whatever materials the victims could hold on to, even a bathtub for a marine transport. Thanks, too, to the bayanihan spirit of some who risked their lives to heroically rescue those most imperiled. To borrow from Charles Dickens, this is the best of times, this is the worst of times. The best, of course, are people—private citizens, religious groups, the media, the academe and non-government organizations—who are now moving with compassion to share what they have to the victims and going as far as solicit donations on their behalf. The worst maybe is when one’s government competes with private groups in soliciting donations from the very same people who are bleeding from the scarce delivery of basic services—which is an epic, indeed.
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD
ON September 7-11, 2009, in Taipei, I joined more than 400 delegates (bishops, priests, sisters, and lay) from 27 Asian countries in a retreat sponsored by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. The Philippine delegation, the second largest after India, included about 90 participants representing the social action centers of about 50 dioceses. Similarly, the delegates from other countries represented their Caritas organizations, which are federated world-wide in Caritas Internationalis under the supervision of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. The “2009 Spiritual Exercises” were conducted at the modern facilities of Fu Jen Catholic University. The principal resource person was Bro. Yesudas of the Missionaries of Charity Brothers who shared in simple language the deeply personalized spirituality of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The theme of the retreat was taken from the Last Judgment scenario in Matthew 25:31-40 where Jesus is served in the “distressing disguise” of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner – summed up in what Mother Teresa calls “the gospel of the five fingers”: “You-did-it-to-Me.” The retreat also focused on the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, “Deus Caritas Est” (God is Love). “It is the very first time in the Church’s history,” according to Cardinal Paul Joseph Cordes,
One Heart for Asia
Cor Unum President, “that an encyclical specifically took up the theme of love.” Several of Mother Teresa’s spiritual insights were recounted by Bro. Yesudas: e.g., to a brother novice describing his calling to serve lepers: “Your vocation is not to serve lepers; your vocation is to belong to Jesus.” It is this sense of belonging and deep trust in God’s providence that underpin the fourth vow of the Missionaries of Charity brothers and sisters – to offer their gratuitous and heartfelt services to the poorest members of a community. In addition to the main conference talks, there were also biographical sketches of the lives of three exemplars of Catholic Charity: Blessed Pedro Calungsod, lay catechist from the Visayas who was martyred in Guam in 1672; Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, formerly coadjutor archbishop of Saigon, who was imprisoned by the Communists for 13 years, 9 of these in solitary confinement; and Frederic Ozanam, proponent of social charity in 19th century France. Other spiritual exercises included the daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; praying the Rosary and Stations of the Cross with selected reflections from Mother Teresa; and a special moment when the Sacrament of Reconciliation was made available
Companion / A6
The Church’s commitment
THE Church will continue to build character. Through the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments, through the ministry of Catholic education, through programs of formation and spirituality, we shall seek, with the help of God’s grace to build persons of faith and virtue. To build the future, we need to deepen our sense of honesty and integrity, service and responsibility, stewardship and solidarity. Corruption is rooted in a fundamental self-centeredness or selfishness, an evil that contravenes the human responsibility to exist “with” others and “for” others (see Compendium, 165). Transforming persons from this self-centeredness to the life of virtue and social responsibility remains our primary task and contribution to nation building. The Church must build capacity. Poverty is not only about “not having” but also of “not being able.” Poverty is also a question of capability. We have to empower those who are needy to construct a better future. Our social action programs, training programs and institutions, research centers, schools, charitable agencies and organizations, religious orders and congregations, lay organizations and movements, Basic Ecclesial Communities, need to help people grow in capacities, such as the capacity to govern themselves, the capacity to develop their abilities, the capacity to find meaningful and fruitful employment and work, the capacity to care for our environment, the capacity to make leadership accountable. We, therefore, commend our charitable institutions that are at the service of the most vulnerable in our society. We commend programs such as Pondo ng Pinoy, Gawad Kalinga and Tabang Mindanaw for empowering people to participate in their own development and in continuing work of creation. The Church must build community. Fifteen years ago we pointed out that the ruinous divisiveness in our country is rooted in a culture “too focused on the good of small social groups” (Acts and Decrees of Second Plenary Council, 21), on the good of those we identify with, our families, our town-mates, our province-mates, etc. Through formation and education, through various means including the use of the media of social communications, we need to promote, at every level of society and Church, a spirituality of citizenship, which is a concrete way of living out in our country the “fundamental social virtue”: solidarity (see Compendium, 193). This spirituality of citizenship fosters a sense of patriotism and of being responsible for our country. It develops Filipinos into becoming active and constructive participants in social and political life. It enables the laity to take their rightful leadership role in the social transformation of our country. Building a “Civilization of Love”: A Pastoral Exhortation for the Year of Social Concerns, 2006
Narrow roads, big churches
BECAUSE of the death of a friend, I found myself recently—all in one day—flying from Cebu to Manila, then driving for 3 hours from Manila to Lukban, a quaint small town perched at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, then saying the funeral Mass, going to the burial itself, mixing with the family of the deceased, then to Calamba for the night. Deaths come unscheduled, and in this one, for some reason the burial also had to be done the day after. So my trip was a lightning-quick, drop-all affair. I was amazed to discover I managed and survived it all. That’s God’s grace for you. Along the way, my companions and I passed by a number of lovely towns in Laguna—Alaminos, San Pablo (a city), then Nagcarlan, Liliw, Majayjay, and Luisiana. Especially in the last four, the views were just fantastic—all green, and abundant water flowing fast in rivers and canals. Though the sky was gray, we still could see a wide and deep expanse of field all the way
Fr. Roy Cimagala
around, and even take lunch in one of their restaurants. You have to try their “pancit habhab” and the spicy “longanisa de Lukban.” I saw the people—the young and the old, the students, the farmers, housewives—all of them looking simple and nice. I had no problem approaching them and talking a little with them. And they seemed to enjoy talking with a priest. The experience was like a whiff of fresh air. When I entered the church, I found it cavernous, antiquated but well maintained. It was very orderly. For once I did not see a stray dog inside it. The staff people who took care of it were all very nice and courteous. Though it was my first time to be there, I immediately felt at home. My mind was spinning with many considerations. The church must be to them their heart and soul. It was their permanent sanctuary that managed to defy the vagaries of time and the erratic behavior of the people.
Candidly / A7
to the horizon. The road was winding, narrow, and going up and down as we cruised through hills, valleys and streams. One thing I noticed was that even if the towns were relatively small, they were alive. They are not caught in a time warp. Markets were full of people, the usual fiesta streamers and commercial pictures, like the ones of wholesome Sarah Geronimo, dotted the places. And—this was what moved me most—all these towns had big, old and clean churches. My friends immediately commented: “How nice, Father, that they still have big churches.” It was a refreshing, spiritually-cleansing observation. When you are exposed to more a secularized environment, to see these towns and to talk to their people can be a quite a lift to the soul and heart. When I reached Lukban, I had to wait for an hour at least, since the body and the papers still had to be prepared. I had the chance to look
Fr. Melvin P. Castro
Speaking of Mary
NEWS from the recent calamity relates of a woman who survived the flood, holding on to her copy of the Bible, and recalling the Ancient Testament event of the Great Flood. That flood, survived by Noah and his family, was God’s way of purifying His Creation bloodied and tarnished by man’s sins. The calamity that just visited our people is not a punishment from God for our sins. It is a consequence of climate change. That is how many would like us to believe. I do not wish to thread a different path nor hurt the already hurting and mourning people. I could only painfully recall of what the rescuers found when they were looking for the victims of the landslide in Pampanga. There were two brothers embracing each other buried in the mud. Probably the older one was trying to protect the younger sibling. I wrote a year ago, and I write it again now: Where was our God when His people were dying? So many heart-wrenching pictures and videos: the poor died with the rich; the young with the old; the sinner with the saintly. One survived, some other died. Does God choose at random whom He will save and whom He will simply allow to perish? Does God turn a blind eye and turn deaf when we suffer? Does He even care? Some may label me as overly spiritualizing things and to take things as they are: it was a natural calamity and none other. But it is not. God saw all these from eternity and sees everything until eternity. God saw the drowning. God saw the suffering. God saw the dying. God saw those mourning. And God sees the resurrection of all. He withholds miracles not to hurt us but to give us even a greater miracle: a stronger character, a more compassionate heart, and a more trusting spirit in Him. And yes, God was crying, and is still is, for He sees His people suffering and still don’t get its
The Great Flood
meaning. Tears purify our soul, suffering turns our hearts into gold, death makes our spirit turn toward the eternal. I hurt when I write this, but I have to write it. This is no mere natural calamity, and that after this we have to be simply more prepared. Sure, disaster-preparedness is a necessity. But we have to see there are much greater things behind all these events, deeper messages, if you may. The Gospel speaks of the resurrection of the just, that those who believe in Christ will not perish but will have eternal life. In some few hours, countless lives were changed forever. Laughter turned into tears, joy into mourning. I remember the father of those siblings who died. He was saying that, in fact, before the landslide, they were decorating their home with Christmas lights, and cleaning their electric fan. They were looking forward to that most wonderful time of the year. Then tragedy strikes. Tragedy, for us. Grace, overwhelming grace, from God for us. So great a grace that we could not understand and we could not accept it. But God understands and waits. Did God punish for our individual and collective sins? Perhaps, and may He forgive us. To purify us? Probably, His Will be done. But does He really love us? Certainly, and through it all, He knows all things. He knows how much we strive to love Him. To our dead, may the angels lead you into paradise. May they bring you safely home. To the mourning, may the angels wipe away your tears. To us who survived, may the angels tame our happiness and remind us of heaven. And to You, Dearest Lord, I do not understand so many things, I only beg You to make us love You more and more.
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
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Forging alliances from a position of strength
between pertinent government agencies on the one hand, and representatives of COCOPEA and CEAP on the other. Among the agreed resolutions in that dialogue was the creation of three task forces composed of DepEd, CHED, DOLE, BIR, and COCOPEA to resolve concerns of private educational institutions, vis-à-vis the Magna Carta of Students, tax exemptions, and labor disputes. The then President of CEAP sent a statement of concern to government, a statement that ended with this declaration: “We want to work with government. But may it be in the true spirit of partnership. Pantay-pantay, and not pantay on one part, and patay on the part of (Catholic) schools.” The Education Act of 1982 states, as a basic principle: “Every school is a partner of the State in the discharge of the obligation of the latter to provide an education for its citizens.” The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, Article 14, Section 4, No. 1 declares: “The state recognizes the complementary roles of public and private institutions in the educational system and shall exercise reasonable supervision and regulation of all educational institutions. Despite the word “reasonable”, the perception of many Catholic colleges and universities is that, government performs more control than supervision or regulation. The irony is, it controls a system that it does not subsidize. There had been a lot of talk in the past about the continuing intent or desire of Catholic schools to be treated like real partners by Bishops and government leaders. But, it seems that the desire remains unrequited, unfulfilled. The partnership can be likened to a Mona Lisa dream: “It just lies there, and it dies there.” Perhaps this is so because Catholic schools appear to offer it from a position of weakness. Catholic schools cannot forge alliances with the Church and government simply because they need it. They must make the Church and government aware that Catholic schools are a sine-quanon in Philippine education; that they are a reality devoutly to be wished, not a necessary evil that is merely tolerated. How can Catholic schools forge a partnership with government and other sectors of society from a position of strength? First, they must show that number is power. The government and the media must see Catholic schools constitute a powerful advocacy group for Catholic education, and not a mere conglomerate of disparate
Education / A6
Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD
Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, OP
Education and Culture
A FEW years ago, the CEAP National Education Congress had, as its theme: “Forging Strategic Alliances in Education”. It was a confession that Catholic schools have to depend on others for their continued existence and development. In the same Congress, Archbishop Oscar Cruz talked on “The Bishops and Catholic Schools: Alliance for Action”. Archbishop Cruz mentioned that the CBCP has the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education that coordinates with various Catholic educational associations in the Philippines on matters affecting the promotion and development of the Ministry of Education. He also mentioned that the Directory for the Episcopal Ministry assigns to Bishops the pastoral care for and administrative vigilance on Catholic schools, inclusive of the development of general policies regarding their organizational management. However, in the same Congress, the heads of Catholic schools seemed to express a certain disappointment over what was perceived as very little concern among Bishops about the plight of Catholic schools, especially those that are beset with crises. Some administrators of Catholic schools asked: “Why cannot Bishops issue pastoral letters addressed to parents on the latter’s obligation to support Catholic schools, especially those beset with financial and labor problems? They also wondered why there is such a thing as a Bishops-Businessmen Conference, a very active and potent avenue for Bishops and businessmen to undertake tangible projects to promote Catholic principles in the field of business, but there is no similar avenue for Catholic educators. One Rector of a Catholic University asked: “Why not form a Bishops-Educators Conference which can meet regularly so that the Bishops and educators can discuss matters of common concern?” I do not know what happened to the resolutions made during that conference. It seems that they have become part of the best kept secrets of the Church. Looking back further, on March 8, 1996, member schools belonging to the COCOPEA and CEAP planned to stage a nationwide action called ‘SILENT SCREAM” in order to protest government inaction or indifference over the plight of Catholic schools that opted to close because of labor disputes occasioned by excessive demands of faculty and employees. President Fidel Ramos himself intervened. A dialogue was held
DADITAMA Get involved directly in principled partisan politics
WHENEVER one of our lay faithful, express to me their plans to run for office again, or for the first time, I tell them, “ yes, by all means, do so. You should, but, only if you desire to make a difference in changing the way the citizens and politicians engage in politics.” Otherwise, motives of those planning to run for office would be suspect. That it would really be for personal or family vested interest. In the July 12, 2009 CBCP Pastoral Statement on participation in politics by the laity, the first pastoral guideline declared was to call on “competent persons, persons of integrity and committed to change to get involved directly in principled partisan politics and become candidates for political election.” The statement premised their pastoral guidelines on the observation that the Church’s political education efforts has failed since it has not effected change and improvement in the way people engage in political activity. There is also the criticism of the so-called family dynasties who have participated in keeping the people under their patronage for their own vested interests. And so, as observed, people still suffer the “stranglehold of patronage politics” and the common good is not being served. Corruption goes on unabated. Criminality continues with impunity. And development remains only partial and only for a few. There is a real need to work for change and hope for new political engagement to emerge. The stranglehold of patronage politics would have, to first of all, be perceived as counterproductive to achieving development for all; that this only perpetuates the dominance of politics by the political dynasties. The change and hope presupposes the people’s discontent and even aversion with the usual business of politics and governance in the country especially in the local communities, where real governance is needed the most. People are partly if not primarily responsible for the dirty politics in our country, they must also be open to learn slowly and reasonably to reclaim their rightful duty and responsibility for straightening our politics. This tells us that change and hope must begin with the people, and then later, with the leaders whom they will elect to office. A moral social conscience must be formed in both the governed and then the governing, that will propel the pursuit of the common good which is the good of all, above personal and family vested interests. This, therefore, will raise to another and higher level the exercise of the business of politics and governance. Young people would be the sector most receptive to the call for change and hope. They would be the ones less shackled by cynicism and pessimism brought about by the old and traditional politics. They would be the ones who would still be afire for a better future for themselves and the generations to come. They would be the ones who could still afford to hope, for their lives are still ahead of them. Then, by all means let us call the youth of the land to lead the action for change and hope. In the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) activity that the Daditama diocesan pastoral workers undertook in their last assembly, with around 40 participants composed of bishops, priests, religious, and lay, they came up with the top three qualities that was considered to be desirable for our local political leaders. They are the following: God-fearing, integrity, and competence. These qualities certainly indicate the qualities that are relevant for the present state of our political culture marred by patronage through gold, goons, and guns and now, even survey polls. God-fearing was rated the highest. Moral uprightness, based on moral conscience, is part of this, a quality so badly needed to counter the culture of wheeling and dealing in traditional patronage politics. It would be beneficial if the public servant recognizes his role as a mere steward of public office entrusted to them by the public and ultimately by God. This would make them more humble and simple and accountable. Consequently making them more prayerful realizing that many things impossible with man is possible with God. For indeed, religion or religious faith should not hinder the exercise of good politics but rather enhances and enriches it. The political leaders’ quality of religiosity and spirituality is a plus factor. Integrity got in second. Such quality in political leaders and civil servants, who serve with them, has been eroded over the past decades. There is a need to reclaim and rediscover the efficaciousness of this. This would include qualities such as delicadeza, palabra de honor, hiya, transparency. Honesty, temperance, personal discipline, fidelity to espouses and children are some other virtues mentioned under this quality of integrity. Coming in third, was competence. The true art of governance is a difficult and noble vocation and mission requiring much selflessness. Only those who have the talent and the passion for genuine service should aspire for public office. And so, one who genuinely desires to serve must really study and learn the art of governance. He must become knowledgeable and acquire leadership qualities and managerial skills. He must learn to collaborate with a lot of other competent people, as well as with the people whom they serve, so that together the governing and governed may render justice to the care of the nation’s patrimony and wealth. God-fearing, integrity and competence—are these the same qualities the electorate generally also expect their political leaders to have and would therefore vote for those who are perceived to have these qualities? In other words, would the selection of these qualities be translated into votes? Past elections tell us it does not. Why? Because generally, there are only very few, or no candidates at all, who are known to have these good and desirable qualities. Among the incumbent political leaders right now in daditama—five cities, four provinces, 44 municipalities, 12 congressional districts, who would have the above qualities somehow? Would there be other people around the community, even Church lay leaders, who also somehow have these qualities and should consider running for office as they are called upon? The people will have to encourage them to run, to support them and campaign for them and ultimately register and vote for them. Let all continue, then, to discern together and act together for God and Country. For comments: email@example.com What makes these initiatives extra special is the fact that they originate from officers who have experienced transformation in Christ. There is a transformation core radiating outward inviting participation and partnership with other sectors, particularly church-based organizations. This is not a top-down or outside-going-in initiative. This model for transformation enables the Church to provide pastoral accompaniment, journeying towards integrity for the common good. The gospel for the Sunday after the Clark Field event was John 6:60-69. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life...,” Peter responds to Jesus’ query. The journey towards personal conversion, family renewal, and social transformation can be initiated and sustained only in the following of Christ. What about the higher-ups? High up lies the answer.
Jose B. Lugay
Bugged by the system
FILIPINOS love their country. This is most evident when they stay abroad for almost a lifetime and plan to come home to retire. They see what is happening here and why the country has not progressed since they left it a generation ago. Obviously, it is not because the Filipino lacks what it takes to be successful in the competitive world of economics, education, science, technology and all its applications. We succeed creditably in these various fields. We excel in some of them like service in the maritime industry. Without our sailors and trained crew, the whole shipping industry in the world would collapse. Without our nurses and caregivers, many of the elderly in the first world countries will be deprived of loving service and will die sooner for lack of care. However when unskilled Filipinos start their exodus for lack of job opportunities in our own country, to escape from the pangs of poverty ─ the hand to mouth existence suffered by 43 million people ─ we start asking, what is the cause of this misery? Just recently, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on her visit to Saudi Arabia, worked for the repatriation of about 140 abused Filipino migrants who escaped from their employers and who were living under a bridge for want of a place to stay. Instead of crowing about the increased dollar remittances of our migrants above last year’s remittances, the government should look at the problem of solo parent families left behind by the migrant—a highly explosive future generation who are presently reared with values imbibed from the daily television drama series, and going around the malls where they get their exposure to what life should be in the Philippines compared to our neighboring ASEAN neighbors. We even import South American and Korean telenovelas! Together with this and our youth’s exposure to Western fans’ favorites, like that of the funeral of Michael Jackson, subliminally tells our youth that the standards for achievement are there – in countries outside the Philippines. We say that there is something terribly wrong with our government system. From one generation to another, we rise against the powers that control the government. We were the first country to have a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy and made Cory, a housewife, our President. We had a new constitution. But the big business interests and the landlords tried and succeeded to have their hold again in influencing legislation and concomitantly the running of our government. The justice system was there but only those who can afford to pay could avail of swift action. The entry of graft and corruption into the highest rung of the government bureaucracy has grown into a cancer for all the world to know. Just recently Transparency International has listed the Philippines among other countries as the top country with a private sector that is most corrupt in the area of procurement with the government. Now comes the time to prepare for the national election. From the time Congress approved the new Automated Election Law to the present, the arguments for and against its implementation has not stopped. A recent forum to openly discuss the concerns of all the sectors of the public including the politicians, confirmed that all is not well. The bidding process in spite of the detailed attention and action of the COMELEC’s Bids and Awards Committee was questioned in the Supreme Court by the Concerned Citizens Movement. Congressman Pablo Garcia, in a privilege speech in Congress still opted for the manual system
of election which he declared is specified in our constitution—that Congress as the designated Board of Canvassers is the only body that should be determining and proclaiming the winners of the election (by counting of ballots—not the electronically transmitted consolidation of electoral votes). Hence what COMELEC is doing is unconstitutional! Former Congressman Pichay asked a simple question which from the subsequent replies of COMELEC commissioners has identified the internal system of COMELEC as a problem area that was forgotten, submerged by the hi-tech discussion of the automated system. It was simply the extra ballots not voted upon by absentee voters calculated to be about 200 for every 1,000 ballots. How are these ballots protected from being filled out by other people? This and many other questions from the floor showed that the system of election will have to depend on the organizational capability of the whole COMELEC to provide key services—from the preparation of training manual, the determination of areas which are not accessible to telecommunications and therefore must operate on the manual system, etc. COMELEC is also deluged with other electoral questions – like the case of the advanced LAKAS-KAMPI convention which was held before the election period; the complaint of Joe de Venecia that the merger of LAKAS KAMPI is not valid; the case of infomercials—the propaganda of would-be candidates using government money for their advertisements, etc. We have an unbridled press which the politicians take advantage of. As a result, our senators use the privilege hour for an expose of crimes that happened 9 years ago
Laiko / A7
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola, SSL
Spaces of Hope
ONE of the most common comments we receive in our outreach to the police is: “Yes, this is good but what about our higher ups?” Many policemen feel the need for a network of support involving superiors and colleagues. More than a year ago, this desire was partly fulfilled when a Dilaab team gave a day-long seminar before chiefs of police from the Ilocos and Bicol regions. Yet, again, someone asked: “What about our higher-ups?” On Sunday, 22 August 2009, in Clark Field, Pampanga, some 40 PNP generals, led by Chief PNP, Dir. Gen. Jesus Verzosa, gathered for a spiritual recollection organized by the PNP Program Management Office (PMO) headed by Lt. Gen. Edong Acuna, himself an active member of the Bukas Loob sa Dios (BLD). The latter group has a very active presence in the Church’s outreach to men and women in uniform. The BLD provided music and continuous intercessory prayers for the event. One of them, a businessman, Roland Quong, epitomizes pastoral accompaniment to the police. But this merits another story. At last, a dream was being fulfilled. Yet, again, one participant asked: “Who will give a recollection to our civilian superiors?” A good question—but let us first admire what God is doing. As one man puts it, “What is really the miracle here is the desire for a spiritual retreat comes from the police officers themselves.” The event was a collaborative affair with speakers coming from different groups. The first spoke on the topic: “Finding Spirituality in Your Professional Work.” He spoke of the need to nurture virtues— particularly the cardinal (“hinge”) quartet of justice, temperance, prudence, and fortitude—and to dispel the notion that spirituality makes people in uniform weak. Another one discussed the sanctification of family life, leadership and transformation with focus on the need for integrity of leaders in the service. This was followed by two speakers on the topic of pastoral accompaniment vis-à-vis the PNP Integrated Transformation Program. Both efforts, one Catholic, another Evangelical, are active outreaches fuelled by the Christian faith. Finally, the group was introduced to
the Christian roots (e.g. human dignity and fundamental human right to life) of the Philippine constitution. A week later in Cebu something similar happened with the launch of the CADET (i.e. character aptitude development enhancement training). The latter is a nationwide effort of the PNP in the area of values formation. The event signified the effort of the office of the PNP chaplain, Fr. Onie Rosaroso, in collaboration with the office of Gen. Lani Nerez of PNP region 7 to go beyond mere fulfillment of a requirement to something that comes from the heart. This reveals something of the “gratuitousness” of life that Benedict XVI refers to in his latest encyclical. Such conviction enables individuals and groups to go beyond the minimum. Ret. PNP Gen. Samson R. Tucay gave an input on his personal experience in the Values and Leadership School (VLS) of the police, an effort that began in 2004 and ended in 2007. “Kuya” Sam took the lead in this effort, imbuing it with a high sense of mission and idealism. He led by example and saw transformation occur just by accompanying the trainees and listening to them. He recalled the spirit of some trainees who said something like: “Matagal na naming gustong magbago at itinataas namin ang aming mga kamay at humihingi ng tulong. Kaya lang ang natatanggap namin ay puro pamimintas.” If all they receive are curses, how can they be a blessing to others? Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal of Cebu gave a short talk on gratuity and transformation, taking his cue from Caritas in Veritate. He disclosed that as a young boy he had dreams of becoming a constable. He had such a high regard for authorities, a trait he continues to exude. He expressed desire that his priests would always be welcoming to the police in their parishes. The whole activity was capped by the reading and recording of the Angelus by Cardinal Vidal and PNP officers. The recording will be distributed to different precincts in Central Visayas for playing through the public address system every noon and at 6 pm. This idea of the praying of the Angelus came from the Chief PNP himself. His namesake may have something to do with the inspiration. The police represent a highly-visible segment of government.
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
Poverty pushes Filipinos to domestic De Villa resigns as trafficking, says NGO Namfrel head
DOMESTIC labor and trafficking is a complex problem that traces its roots from systematic inadequacies in the social, economic and political foundations of the country. Visayan Forum Foundation Training Officer for Mindanao Peejay Tancontian Cabanilla said that people remain apathetic to and ill-informed on the dangers that trafficking pose to every Filipino, especially to women and children because of poverty. “Poverty and social myths and the prevailing culture of migration have pushed numerous Filipinos into irregular and hazardous labor migration,” he added. Cabanilla also said that clandestine, wellfunded, and organized operations that recruit, defraud and exploit Filipinos continue to flourish sometimes with the collusion of government officials. Because of its magnitude and complexity, he continued, “trafficking and domestic
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labor should be attacked at the country-level involving a broad base of advocacies and supporters working at different levels. “These initiatives should carry a sense of urgency and with unity of purpose. It should pool together the competencies and resources of all societal actors,” said Cabanilla.
Visayan Forum on Wednesday conducted a Media Dialogue as part of their War Against Trafficking, a multi-sectoral, national social movement that seeks to ignite the creation of a counterculture against trafficking and abusive domestic labor, ensure effectiveness and accountability in government responses against the problem, foster innovative public-private sector partnership, and incite vigilance and the sense of volunteerism among the public. The gathering pooled media practitioners in Davao City and encouraged them to engage in advocacy and service provision on the welfare of children. Media practitioners and their respective media outfits will now lead in the social mobilization activities and will carry the campaign messages and objectives up to the grassroots level to end up domestic trafficking. (Mark S. Ventura)
Manila that weekend in just 12 hours, breaking the previous singleday record of 334 millimeters in July 1967. Major areas in Pasig, Marikina and Rizal, Laguna and Bulacan provinces were the hardest hit by the storm. Many of the survivors spent two nights on the roof tops before authorities were able to rescue them. Based on the initial report that reached CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action from its diocesan networks, Metro Manila has been the worst-hit in terms of flooding and damage, while Rizal province had the highest number of casualties due to landslide and flash floods. The Diocese of Antipolo is still in the process of gathering information. So far, a partial list of 5,452 affected families (including Marikina) has already been documented. In Bulacan, 22 municipalities (118 barangays) were affected listing down a partial total of 13,576 families (44,178 persons). “There
were reported cases of 42 casualties but still has to be confirmed,” the Nassa reported. In Pampanga, the typhoon left in its wake 207 barangays in the 20 municipalities/city submerged under 1-9ft deep of floodwaters. Landslide occurred in Arayat, affecting 174 families, which are now temporarily housed in five evacuation centers mostly schools and chapels. Nassa said a total of 37,540 families (175,514 individuals) were affected in this province, 217 of which are staying in the evacuation centers. In Laguna, it also said, there were a total of 73,170 families (310,893 individuals) affected with nine fatalities. In Cavite, there were 309 partial list of families affected from three municipalities. As of press time, the official death toll in the massive flooding has climbed to 240. There are nearly 380, 000 people in evacuation centers. Following the onslaught of the typhoon, survivors were found digging through the mud, desperately trying to find their loved ones. Dead bodies were also found everywhere—hanging in tress, floating in mucky floodwater, or buried alive by massive landslides. Compassion The current situation, Lagdameo said, is a call to everyone for compassion. He also lauded the efforts by various groups and individuals who immediately responded to help the thousands of typhoon victims. “The pictures we have seen in the past few days are pictures of Filipinos responding to the call for compassion, of people willing to ‘suffer with,’ people with the spirit of ‘bayanihan,’” he said. “We bend our knees in prayer for salvation against natural calamities, but when they do come, we are not so helpless as not to respond with heroism.” “We have said it before and we say it again “In the Church, no one is so poor as to have nothing to give, and no one is so rich as to have nothing to receive,” he added.
WITH barely eight months away before the 2010 polls, former Ambassador Henrietta De Villa has resigned as head of the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel). In a letter dated Sept. 24 to Namfrel vice-chairman Jose Cuisia Jr., De Villa said she is stepping down to focus her attention on leading the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), which focuses on voters’ education. Cuisia will serve as Namfrel's acting national chairman for the time being. Ambassador Henrietta De Villa Aside from De Villa, Namfrel also revealed the resignations of four other members who will actively campaign for various candidates in the 2010 elections. These include Ambassador Narcisa Escaler, Ramon Del Rosario, Edward Go, and Alberto Lim. Namfrel’s National Council said the resignation of the four is in accordance with the organization’s policy of non-partisanship. (Roy Lagarde)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo helps tie a bag of relief goods being prepared for distribution to typhoon victims by students of St. Paul University, Manila.
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Some $25,000 donation was given by Caritas New Zealand, said Mallillin. She added that Caritas Norway also vowed to contribute donations for the Ondoy victims anytime soon. From the initial $50,000 donations on Sept. 28, CRS has increased its contribution to $250,000 a day after. CRS is the official humanitarian agency of the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference. NASSA earlier has launched an emergency appeal for 500,000 Euros (roughly P34.7 million) to help flood victims especially in Bulacan and Antipolo provinces, among areas badly hit by Ondoy. Mallillin said donations have so far reached a total of about P14 million that will be used in helping an initial target beneficiaries of 10, 000 families from Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite and Laguna. Initial reports from NASSA’s social action networks revealed evacuees have reached to 23,147 families or 115,990 persons, located in 205 evacuation centers. The figures, however, are expected to rise as search and rescue operations are continuously being conducted, NASSA said.
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Mallillin said NASSA has initially purchased 650 bags of rice intended for the five severely hit areas. There is also an ongoing repacking of complete set of relief goods (kitchen wares, shelter aid materials, personal hygiene items and other food stuff) at the St. Paul University Manila. NASSA was able to mobilize the students and personnel of said school since classes are suspended for two days. There will be succeeding releases of relief goods, Mallillin said, as the number of affected families is continuously increasing. The nun said NASSA is continuously appealing help to aid the victims in their recovery. Cash assistance, she said, may be deposited at NASSA’s BPI account (Intramuros Branch): CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation, Inc. with account # 4951-0051-72. Aside from the NASSA, the Catholic Media Network through its Sagip Buhay program has likewise initiated a campaign to gather assistance for the flood victims. “All our radio stations are accepting dona-
tions and there are drop-off points for both financial and material help,” said Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media. (CBCPNews)
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God the Father as a continuing act of the Church “to praise him for his marvelous works in Christ”. “The Commission does not see the sense of instituting a day in the year to honor God the Father when the whole year belongs to him,” said Chupungco. The priest also refuted claims of the promoters of the movement that there is a feast of the Holy Spirit so there should also be for the God the Father. “There is no feast of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost commemorates the day when Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. It is a Christological feast. The Paschal Mystery culminates in the mystery of Pentecost,” he also said. “The so-called ‘Mass of the Holy Spirit’ is about the work of Christ accompanied in the Holy Spirit,” he said. (CBCPNews)
unpeace to the people,” he added. Maulana said that his group joins and supports the call of Maasim People’s Coalition on Climate Change (MP3C) to stop the construction of the coal plant raising similar environmental concerns that will also affect his people. Maasim People’s Coalition on Climate Change (MP3C) is a coalition of various groups and organizations including the Catholicbased Santa Cruz Parish Against Pollution, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), the Church of Christ and the Sovereign Grace Church International, the academe led by the Notre Dame of Maasim, farmers and fisherfolks as well as the youth sector. “Sa pagkakaron padayon ang among pagpasabot sa among mga kaigsoonan kabahin sa maong isyu (At present we continue to explain to our brethren what the issue is all about)” added Maulana, despite the fact that the Muslim communities were fulfilling the
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month long fasting rites in observance of the holy month of Ramadhan which ended on September 21. The proposed Southern Mindanao 200MW coal-fired power plant faces widespread opposition because of its imminent adverse impacts to the livelihoods in the region. Project owner Conal Holdings Corporation however repeatedly downplays such adverse impacts. “Nag-signature campaign pod kami og ang ubang pirma amo nang gipasa sa ila ni Fr. Emy (We also conducted a signature campaign and some of the signatures were already forwarded to Fr. Emy)” added Maulana, referring to Fr. Emerardo Maningo, CSsR of the MP3C. MP3C is spearheading a covenant signing entitled “Kasabutan tali sa Ginoo ug sa Katawhan sa Maasim (Covenant between God and the people of Maasim) to protect the environment and oppose the construction of the coal plant. (Mark S. Ventura w/ PR) Partnership must not be offered from a position of weakness. Catholic schools need not forge partnership with Church and government just because they want to survive, but because they are indispensable in the proper performance of the State the Church of their duty to educate and evangelize the people.
opinions or aspiration, or an organizer of annual conventions. Collective power is indispensable to achieve anything. It is about time that Catholic schools unite rather than compete against each other, and share their resources for institutional capabilitybuilding, for linkages, and the development of good educational practices.
Second, Catholic schools must avoid being branded as elitists. Elitism breeds in students the toxic idea that they are a people set apart because of their economic status and social influence. One of the criticisms hurled against Catholic schools is that many rich but corrupt government leaders are their graduates.
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
NGO asks presidentiables to carry peace, dev’t agenda for Mindanao
BARELY seven months to go before the May 2010 elections, a Davaobased non-government research and advocacy institution asked presidentiables to seriously include the peace and development agenda for Mindanao even as they expressed apprehension over the national politicians’ superficial understanding of the Mindanao problem. Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM), Inc., executive director Maria Lisa Alano said that most presidentiables’ view indicate that they perceive the Mindanao conflict situation as merely a consequence of lack of economic development. “Such perspective suggests that the Mindanao problem has not been fully understood from its historical context,” added Alano. She said national leaders should understand that the Mindanao conflict is mainly an issue of access and control over resources which could not be addressed by economic development programs alone. “The growing consciousness of Mindanaoans who have been marginalized and deprived for decades urge them to further their struggle for ownership over their ancestral domains including their right to be in charge of their resources,” said Alano. In the Mindanao-wide consultations conducted by AFRIM, various Bangsamoro and indigenous peoples groups, women, religious leaders, academe, farmers, and farm workers asserted that a people-centered peace and development for Mindanao can be attained through an indigenous, participatory and inclusive process wherein all sectors of society, particularly the grassroots—and not only the leaders—must be involved in defining their problems as well as the needed solutions. “It should also be based on mutual respect, understanding and genuine concern for the welfare of the community. Likewise, they affirmed that sustainability of development efforts are better ensured when targeted project beneficiaries and communities have developed sense of ownership,” said Alano, adding: “Presidential candidates and national leaders should recognize that the Mindanaoans’ definition of a genuine peace and sustainable development is beyond the common notion of merely economic development or an absence of war; but rather, a development that encompasses the different aspects of human development— cultural, social, political, economic and spiritual.” She also said that it should be guided by the elements of good governance, recognition of each people’s identity, socio-economic well-being, and peace constituency. Furthermore, these elements must be founded on human rights, justice, gender responsiveness and the integrity of all creation. “Indeed, the solution to the Mindanao problem entails addressing the holistic development of the Mindanao populace. The forthcoming 2010 national elections must challenge every Mindanaoan to cast votes for leaders who truly understand the context of the Mindanao problem, who sincerely uphold the marginalized people’s aspirations and carry on a genuine peace and development agenda for the island,” Alano said. (CBCPNews)
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to everyone through a communal penitential service followed by individual confessions. Prominently placed on the stage throughout the retreat talks was the replica of Our Lady of Sheshan, stepping on a dragon’s head and holding aloft her child Jesus with outstretched arms. The original statue is found in Shanghai at the hillside chapel built by the Jesuits in 1863 and now converted into a shrine basilica. In May 2008, Pope Benedict XVI added his prayer for Mary’s intercession: “Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love…” The prayer ends by addressing Mary as “Mother of China and all Asia.” Indeed, this was the same spirit that pervaded the Cor Unum Spiritual Exercises – that the language of loving service can be the way of evangelization, especially for Christian minorities in the various regions of Asia. For instance, listening to missionaries from other countries, there are only 100 Catholics in Turkmenistan in a population of 5 million. In nearby Uzbekistan, there are only 600 Catholics in a population of 26 million. In Nepal, there are 7,000 Catholics in a population of 27 million. And in Taiwan itself, 1.5% of its population of 21 million are Christians, equally divided among Catholics and Protestants. On mainland China, one estimate given was that from a pre-war number of 6 million Catholics, there are now 12 million. For Protestant Christians, the pre-war figures of 2 million have dramatically increased to as much as 100 million, spread out mostly among small evangelical communities. And yet for the retreat itself, several priests and lay workers were prevented by government authorities to leave the mainland. “Acts of charity,” according to Mother Teresa, “are works for peace.” This is echoed by a quotation engraved at the entrance to the Museum of World Religions, also located in Taipei and dedicated especially to the major religions and cultures of Asia: “Love is our shared truth.” Cor Unum (One Heart) thus becomes the symbol of the love of Jesus and Mary for the peoples of Asia. May this love be made incarnate in the continuing involvement of the Church’s Caritas centers throughout this vast continent of Asia.
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Youth vigil held despite rains
LAOAG CITY—The youth of the Diocese of Laoag gathered for an overnight prayer vigil before the visiting Asian Youth Day Cross at the Saint William Cathedral, on Sept. 26. The participants came from different parochial youth councils and schools in Laoag. The icon arrived on Sept.25 to give the youth the chance to experience the actual AYD to be held in Imus diocese on Nov. 20-27. (Mark Vertido)
Archbishop Dosado to ordain 3 deacons
Nueva Segovia forms Migrant Desk
VIGAN CITY—In a seminar held on Sept. 19, the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia initiated the organization of a Migrant Ministry that will serve migrants and their families in the archdiocese. Led by Fr. Rufo Abaya, ministry director, and his chief executive officer Sr. Lilian Carranza, OSB, the seminar gathered 75 participants from various parishes and offices of the archdiocese. Abaya said it’s the church’s desire “to assure workers abroad the pastoral care they need and the chance to live a decent life; and every migrant, hospitality and care from the community where he finds himself.” The local church and community were especially encouraged to do all they can to provide the means to uphold the dignity and rights of migrants as well as to lead them to spread the teachings of God in their places of work. Speaker and resource person during the seminar was Mr. Edmund Ruga of the CBCP’s Commission on Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. He taught the participants efficient pastoral management of the parish migrants’ ministry. This included the setting up and maintenance of an active migrant desk in their respective parishes. Close coordination with other parish ministries and groups was seen as necessary for the effective implementation of the project. Meetings, liturgy and similar activities were likewise offered as means of successfully organizing target families. Carranza, meanwhile, expressed her strong desire to set up a migrant desk in every parish in the archdiocese inasmuch as migrants and their families are, today, part of every town and city in the province. “We would like to start this right”, said Carranza, referring to adequate training to prepare the staff and equip them to help migrants and their families cope and solve their many problems. Although some workers have come home with success stories, so many more have not been so lucky. These are the ones who need individuals and organized groups they can trust to guide and strengthen them particularly in the spiritual aspect, she said. Many families forget the sacrifices of their relatives working abroad, shares one married OFW in Milan, Italy. Another migrant in Ontario, Canada expressed her wish that their families and regular beneficiaries be taught how best to use and invest their hard-earned income. She believes the church is equipped to offer this form of assistance. (Francisca Quitoriano)
OZAMIZ CITY—The number of priests in this local church appears headed to a healthy growth with the upcoming ordination to the diaconate of three seminarians. On Oct. 3, Archbishop Jesus Dosado will ordain to the Diaconate three candidates who have just completed all the requirements needed for the ordination. (Wendell Talibong)
Thousands join Peñafrancia procession
LEGASPI CITY—Thousands of devotees, pilgrims, guests and tourists flocked to Naga City on Sept. 20 for the annual celebration of Peñafrancia festival. The festival is observed in honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the patroness of the Bicol Region, for nearly three hundred years. Devotees first attend Mass at the Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral before the fluvial procession along the Bicol River that took the image to the Basilica Minore. (Melo M. Acuña)
Seminar for prison ministry held in Antipolo
ANTIPOLO CITY—Aiming to assist the new volunteers in the prison ministry to familiarize themselves on the various issues on prison pastoral care, an orientation seminar was held at the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral in Antipolo on Sept. 19. The current situation of the criminal justice system in the Philippines and the diverse laws that are being pursued for the welfare of the persons deprived of their liberties were among the topics discussed. (Kate Laceda)
Muslims condemn military operation during Eid al-Fitr
KM: Survey respondents hopeful, push for more peace education
DAVAO CITY—Barely few months before Konsult Mindanaw (KM) project ends, the coordinator said that respondents of a major poll on peace remain hopeful of a brighter Mindanao despite the prevalence of poverty and conflict. In a preliminary report of findings from a wide-ranging consultation on peace, schools played a strong role in strengthening positive values, eradicating cultural biases, and promoting peace. Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, project coordinator of Konsult Mindanaw which undertook the survey, said that the findings “affirm the notion that education is a vital part of community-building and a key element in forging a meaningful peace.” Since the start of the year, the Bishops– Ulama Conference requested Konsult Mindanaw to begin polling respondents in eight regions of Mindanao. Its work has resulted in the conduct of 311 focused group discussions involving 4,916 respondents. Alejo, an educator and anthropologist by training, said the recurring mention of “peace education” across the survey findings “reflects a popular desire to address conflict through dialogue and understanding.” Respondents pushed for a “systematic implementation of peace education in the curriculum in all levels of education.” This includes short but sustained courses on the Culture of Peace (COP), as well as appropriate teachings on the Muslim faith. “According to Muslim respondents, teaching the Islamic religion and culture to Christians will help them appreciate the beauty of Islamic faith and Muslim culture,” a survey entry stated. COP must be focused on justice and peace, say other voices in the survey. And this must be introduced not only in schools but in local governments and grassroots communities. They add that such teachings may be translated in books for children, or in modules designed both for formal and non-formal education. Another common theme in the findings is values formation. Respondents also said that this “should be taught in the Madaris (Muslim) and Christian schools. We should teach children the value of good relationship. Teach the real way of peace, which is God’s word. Promote unity, love, and understanding to one another.” Respondents also encouraged government and the private sector to grant more scholarships to Muslim and lumad youth. Literacy programs must extend to more marginalized sectors as a way of broadening cultural understanding. Above these, they added, government must show its support to education by increasing its budget allocation. The initial findings also mirrored a desire for an appreciation of the Mindanao conflict from a historical perspective. “Revisit the history of Mindanao,” added another survey entry. “Take into account the need to teach the 'real' history of Mindanao as part of the school curriculum.” (Mark S. Ventura)
INDANAN, Sulu—As Muslims celebrated the Eid al-Fitr on Sept. 21, a holy day that marked the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, they also hit the recent military operations in Indanan, Sulu Sept. 20. Bangsamoro Center for Justpeace in the Philippines Inc., (BCJP) Executive Director Abdulbasit Benito said that the recent military action of the government is a direct affront to the Muslim communities especially in their holy observance of Eid. (Mark S. Ventura)
Archbishop urges interfaith search for peace in Mindanao
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Archbishop Antonio Ledesma has called on Christians and Muslims to cooperate in efforts to end conflict and poverty in Mindanao. Archbishop Ledesma in a message to thousands of Filipino Muslims in the country said every religion has a precept to work for the common good. He made the statement on Sept. 21 as Muslims marked Eid al-Fitr, a day marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (CBCPNews)
CBCP head urges bets to push anti-corruption platform
JARO, Iloilo—Outgoing CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo called on those running in next year’s elections to seriously envision a corruption-free future. Saying that corruption is the country’s “greatest shame and problem”, he said the government has not eradicated it because it is involved in corruption itself. (CBCPNews)
Malolos diocese holds BEC Congress
Dance docu celebrates meaning of priesthood
BACOLOD CITY—In celebration of the Year for Priests, the Catholic community of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) had come up with a dance-documentary presentation entitled “Hesus Manghigput: Celebrating the Priesthood”. The dance-documentary aims to awaken today’s youth’s deeper appreciation of the unique role and contributions of priests in society as well as to encourage the community to participate actively in celebrating the gift of priesthood. The show highlighted the Tribal rituals performed by the babaylans, Old Testament Priesthood, New Testament Priesthood, Life story of St. John Vianney - Patron of the Priest, the Priest and the Eucharist,
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RH streamer sneaked at San Carlos University
CEBU CITY—A streamer calling for the passage of the RH bill posted at the University of San Carlos’ Bunzel Building, here must have been posted without the approval of the school administration. Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD, USC President said his office had nothing to do with the poster. He added he has instructed his staff to look into the report that reached CBCPNews on Sept. 25. Told that the streamer has already been removed on Sept.24, Fr. Miranda said concerned community members must have seen it inappropriate. (CBCPNews)
Bishop seeks absolute pardon for Aquino slay convicts
testimonials of Priests at the crossroads of their ministry and the unveiling of the icon of the Year for Priests. Performed by the Kasadyahan Dance Company (KDC) of UNO-R, the presentation was the first performance of the group for school year 2009-2010. The show
was directed and choreographed by Mr. Ruel Calansingin, under the supervision of Fr. Dexter Palagtiosa, OAR and Bro. Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR. Mr. Carlos Legaspi, Director of Student Affairs wrote the script while the ethnic musical accompaniment was rendered by the
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—An official of the Catholic bishops’ leadership has joined calls on President Arroyo to grant the former soldiers convicted in the 1983 assassination of ex-senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. absolute pardon so they could live normal lives. The 13 remaining convicts, Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo believes, have nothing to do with the crime. “They’ve suffered enough and the perception of the many is that they are innocent,” said the head of the CBCP’s Commission on Prison Pastoral Care. (CBCPNews)
Sketches of priest’s murder suspects out soon
TACLOBAN CITY—Local police authorities are set to release cartographic sketches of the suspects behind the ambush of a Catholic priest in Northern Samar last Sept. 6. The Special Investigation Task Group of the Police Region 8 headed by Senior Supt. Gil Hitosis said they are wrapping up the sketch of the killers of Fr. Cecilio Lucero. The probe team, he said, in coordination with the NBI, is coming out with the composition sketch, based on the descriptions given by witnesses. (CBCPNews)
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Manila Bay. “These are small farmers with a birth-right to a healthful environment. These farmers need help because the government is footdragging on the issue of aerial spraying,” said Monsod. Citing information from the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a UN agency, Monsod pointed out that the small farmer with less than 2 hectares, numbering 400 million worldwide, is the answer to the growing problem of food insecurity. “It is the right of every citizen, rich and poor, young and old, to breathe clean air. Such right should be respected and upheld at all times. Any violation of such right gives rise to a legitimate action against the
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violator and the government that fails to protect and uphold such right,” stressed Mendoza. Lawyers Marlon Manuel of the Alternative Law Group, Amang Mejia of the EcoWaste Coalition and Bobbie Santa Maria of the Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal were also present to lend their support to the farmers-led movement premised on protecting basic human rights and applying the precautionary principle. The support from the lawyers and from various member groups of the Manila-based National Task Force Against Aerial Spraying (NTFAAS) came about as the marginalized farmers train their sights on pressuring President Arroyo to make a conclusive order that
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will protect the farmers from toxic harm. During the last several weeks, MAAS and NTFAAS have spoken with Secretaries Atienza, Duque and Yap and organized protest actions at their respective offices, but to no avail. While the DOH Executive Committee has already recommended a halt on aerial spraying as a precaution against toxic harm, the government has yet to make a decisive action banning aerial spraying nationwide. According to both MAAS and the NTFAAS, the many decades of not having a policy banning aerial spraying has illegally and immorally exposed the farmers to a great injustice that President Arroyo now need to rectify. (CBCPNews)
“There are various groups close to the family and life ministry and we have to encourage one another to do that to all the presidentiables as of now,” he said. Currently, he said, they are set to hold a dialogue with Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to hear his position on the issue. Aquino earlier said he is willing to talk with members of the CBCP to explain his support for the Reproductive Health bill. But the Liberal Party’s standard bearer said he will not change his position on the issue, adding that his stand is based on his conviction. Aside from the presidentiables, Castro said Church representatives also planned to talk with other politicians from the Congress and Senate. The Catholic leadership remain locked in a political battle with lawmakers promoting contraception. Proponents of the bill, which would expand government support for contraception, have vowed that they will not be swayed by the efforts of the Church. But while the Church is extending its hand to hold further talks with the politicians, it maintains that the bill is still not acceptable to them in its present form. (CBCPNews)
It must be the core of their identity and stability. While old, it seems to know how to keep young and alive. It seems to know how to adapt with the times, getting what’s helpful while infusing its essential and unchanging religious influence on the people. I saw in the houses I passed by images of saints that looked wellkept. They did not look like ancient ornaments left to gather dust with the passage of years. The piety of the people must be vibrant still, I said to myself. My ardent prayer then was for this kind of culture to continue growing and deepening and flourishing. It’s a concern of everyone, both clerics and laity. May everyone know how to resist the temptations of secularization and paganization. Catechesis has to go on without let-up. The people have to be taught how to tackle and handle their earthly affairs as more complicating problems, questions and issues emerge in the horizon. The idea of how to relate their faith and religion to their daily concerns should be studied thoroughly and prepared for. In other places, especially in big cities, it’s saddening to note that the church is often given marginal importance and relevance. In rich cities, they might still manage to keep big churches, but they are often empty and lifeless. And the people, in spite of what they enjoy materially, have become spiritually complacent if not dead. We have to avoid this at all costs.
to gain political points (LACSON vs ESTRADA) obviously as part of the political demolition of one presidentiable against another. The same with the Senate Ethics Committee—one presidentiable against another—Jamby Madrigal vs Manuel Villar on the controversial C-5 access to the real estate of Villar in Santa Rosa. The citizens for reform are now actively using the TV and print media and the internet to encourage new voters to register. The election season has started even before its formal declaration by the COMELEC. The Church is doing its own political education of the faithful. We are all together in this but we must face reality—there is still a majority of the COMMAND VOTES that will determine the outcome of the election. These are the CDE people who vote because of utang na loob—the obligation to repay a favor. For those who have to be transferred from one precinct to another due to the consolidation of the automated machines, there will be the hakot system—a vehicle provided for their transport from their old precinct site to a new site may be 2 to 5 kilometers away—thanks to the politico who has the ill-gotten money (from graft and corruption) to spend for the benefit of the poor voters who will just plainly copy the list of candidates they will have to vote for when they arrive at the precinct for the automated voting system. When can the Philippines overcome this bugged system? Hopefully when we elect a reform-minded President whose love of country exceed his desire for power.
MALOLOS, Bulacan—A congress on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) aimed to promote unity and intensify the principles of BEC was held at the Diocesan Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Malolos in Guiguinto, Bulacan last Sept 5. Titled “Taunang Toldang Tipanan,” the congress was spearheaded by the Commission on Formation of the Diocese of Malolos. The conference centered on “BEC: Puso ng Sambayanang Banal at Mapagmahal.” (Kate Laceda)
Alibata Drumbeaters. The show was attended by students of different schools in the city, religious and diocesan priests, seminarians from the diocesan Sacred Heart Seminary and the Marian Missionaries Seminary, and by active lay people from the different parishes. The icon of Hesus Manghigput is the work of Agustin Jakosalem and Br. Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR, made especially for the Year for Priests. The icon depicts a challenge of fidelity to the church and to the priesthood. Pope Benedict XIV has declared June 19, 2009–June 19, 2010 as the “Year for Priests” with the theme “Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of priests”. (Franz Marie Villanueva)
People, Facts & Places
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
Priests to discern their prophetic role in nationwide assembly
Caritas Manila ventures into ‘consumer goods’ program
FROM microfinance program to providing jobs, the Archdiocese of Manila is going into consumer goods. Caritas Manila, the archdiocese’s social action arm, has launched on Sept. 24 the “Caritas Manna,” consumer goods program for the poor as part of its multi-faceted approach to poverty alleviation. Under the program, selected basic goods will bear the Caritas Manna brand. Proceeds will then be used in funding its other services like health and nutrition, and providing scholarships. “Not only do you solve your everyday needs when you purchase for example a Caritas Manna bath soap, you automatically help save lives or provide better chances for those who have much less in life,” said Caritas executive director Fr. Anton Pascual. He said they are using multiple approaches in their programs and strategies for the benefit of the urban poor in Mega Manila.
© Kate Laceda / CBCP Media
SOME 300 priests nationwide are expected to gather next month for a three-day assembly to discuss their prophetic role in the Church and Philippine society. The clergy meeting slated from October 13-15 at the San Carlos Seminary’s Lay Formation Center is in response to the bishops’ call for the formation of “circles of discernment” among the clergy. Fr. Joe Dizon, lead convenor of Solidarity Philippines, said the occasion is in accordance with the celebration of the “Year for Priests” and presents an opportunity to discern the important role Catholic priests play in the Church and the country. The priest said they have directly coordinated with the CBCP’s permanent council and the plenary assembly to come up with the national gathering. “Priests would hopefully come from all 85 ecclesiastical territories and religious congregations across the country with each diocese sending at least five priests to attend the gathering,” he explained. Asked about transportation expenses which some politicians may shoulder or sponsor, Dizon said they “discourage” politicians from getting into the picture. “We have coordinated with Msgr. Manny Gabriel to help us prepare for the occasion,” he added. He explained further that the organizing committee will provide the board and lodging in Manila and would only charge P500.00 per participant to cover expenses for handouts and other materials. Selected archbishops, bishops and priests will deliver talks during the three-day session. Among the speakers cum facilitators are Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, San Fernando de Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio S. David and Imus Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle. “What is outstanding among the speakers are their respective roles in various committees of the CBCP that have something to do with the prophetic role of the priest,” he said. CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo will preside the opening mass on October 13, while Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, will lead the Eucharistic celebration on October 14. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales will officiate the closing Mass on October 15. (Melo M. Acuna)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
“This time, we are going into consumer-goods as another strategy in our fight against poverty,” the priest said. “We are putting consumerism and acts of kindness together and further making it easier for people to help those in need.” Pascual added that bearing the Caritas Manna brand is also an assurance because we aim to make sure that it equates with “very economical yet good quality products” since it bears the “Caritas’ stamp of approval.” Caritas Manila also intend to use “Caritas Manna” as a way to market “good quality products” made by their urban poor partners and beneficiaries “and thereby help them earn a living.” “We believe that this will make the numerous livelihood trainings and seminars that we provide the urban poor, become more effective,” said Fr. Mario Castillo, CM, the priest-in-charge of Caritas Manila’s livelihood programs. (CBCPNews)
Asian liturgists push revision of Liturgical calendar
ASIAN Catholic liturgists have suggested the inclusion of new Church feasts to the liturgical calendar while religious symbols that have no meaning in their area need to be replaced. Liturgists, theologians and Church workers involved in liturgy in Asia gathered in Makati City Sept. 17 to 20 to reflect on the theme “Liturgical Year and Inculturation” at San Carlos Seminary. The recommendations are contained in a statement produced by the 13th Asian Liturgical ForumSoutheast Asia held at the San Carlos Seminary. They stressed that the history of the liturgical year shows that the calendar of feasts has been “constantly adjusting itself to political, cultural and religious environment” of local churches. The delegates noted that “inculturation” normally takes place within the framework of approved liturgical books and so the substantial unity of the Roman Rite is preserved. Therefore, the inculturation of the liturgical calendar does not result in a totally new calendar that is an alternative to the typical edition of the Roman Rite, the statement read. “However, we acknowledge that inculturation might not always be sufficient to address certain local needs. We would not preclude the creation of
particular liturgical calendars while retaining the Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam register of feasts of the Roman Rite,” it said. “Roman traditional liturgical symbols may need and was joined by observers from Australia and to be adjusted in accord with the seasons of the year Taiwan. (CBCPNews) in the local Church. This would be applicable, for example, to liturgical feasts like Christmas and Easter whose original symbols do not correspond to existing seasons of the year in a particular Church.” In regions where “popular pious exercises” abound and LAUNCHED. Society of St. Paul, continue to be meaningful to the Diamond Jubilee of Foundation faithful, they said that the liturin the Philippines; August 20, gical calendar can be enriched 2009. The celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Society by the integration of popular of St. Paul in the Philippines was religious practices with the liturofficially launched on August 20, gical feasts. Feast of St. Bernard with a Mass “Given that time is relative, held at the Sanctuary of St. Paul the Apostle. Fr. Ruben Areño, that situations are provisional, SSP Provincial Superior led the and that culture and traditions Eucharistic celebration. Msgr. Sabino Vengco, HP delivered the homily. are in constant evolution, the The Society of St. Paul officially established its roots in the country on Church should continue to reJuly 7, 1935 with the arrival of two Italian priests, Fr. Marco Grossi and Fr. Bernardo Borgogno. vise, reinvent, and create liturgical feasts that meet the actual CELEBRATED. Bag-ong Lungsoranon, 75th needs of the faithful,” according founding anniversary, September 19, 2009. to the statement. Founded by Archbishop Gabriel Reyes in Hosted by the Archdiocese 1934, Bag-ong Lungsoranon is the official weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of of Manila, the 3-day forum Cebu. It carries news and opinions, ofgathered 51 delegates from 10 ficial communications of the archdiocese countries—Brunei, Cambodia, and teachings of the Church. It serves as
© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM
Youth groups to promote pro-life way of life
WHILE the proponents of the Reproductive Health bill try to convince the House of Representatives to pass the much debated legislation, the advocacy group Pro-life Philippines will hold a similar session except that it will discuss the demerits of the proposed law in a congress attended not by lawmakers but by Catholic youth who were reared to value life and practice morality. An afternoon learning about the pro-life way of life awaits the 500 participants of Pro-life’s youth congress, which will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. on October 24 at the Parks and Wildlife center in Quezon City. According to Xavier Padilla, secretary of the board of trustees of the organization, Pro-life Philippines planned the congress in the light of certain anti-life issues that have been making news in the country. “The past years have been eye-openers to the plight of people who love life. There have been constant attacks and obstacles to promoting life and family as important. There is a continuous barrage of media messages pushing contraception, pre- and extra- marital sex. There is a non-stop push for the legalization of abortion and other such methods of terminating life at its early stages; and there is also a global decline of those who care and fight for the sanctity of life—in all its forms,” he said. He was referring to the continuous heated debates on the Reproductive Health bill and other legislations pushing for legalization of contraception and abortion, adding that the youth congress will be a timely gathering where the youth can be guided in keeping their Catholic values and morality intact against the propaganda of pro-choice mentality. “It is time to show our youth what it means to be pro-life. Teach them the values of keeping life precious. And empower them to bring this message and of the country’s seafarers. lifestyle to their own daily lives,” Awards were given to the Outsaid Padilla, who is also from the standing Seafarers of the Year Couples for Christ Foundation and oratorical contest winners. for Family and Life. About 350,000 Filipino seafarPadilla invited the youth to ers work overseas and comprise join the congress, which will be 20 to 40 percent of the world’s attended by Environment and seafarers, according to governNatural Resources Secretary Jose ment data. Since 1975, the Phil"Lito" Atienza, Jr., who is also the ippines have been the number president of Pro-life Philippines. one source of seafarers. In lieu of an admission fee, parThe ECMI lauds the governticipants are encouraged to bring ment for the recognition of the canned goods and other donations major contribution of seafarers in kind that can be given to victims to the country's economy, the of recent calamities. importance it gives to their For more information, please welfare as well as the welfare of contact the Pro Life Philippines oftheir families, and the attention fice at firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax it desires to provide for the just at 734-9425. Interested attendees and proper treatment of our may call the organization at 733Filipinos seafarers everywhere. 7027 or 0919-2337783 and look for (CBCPNews) Ellen or Malou. (Kris Bayos)
an instrument of information and formation for the Catholic faithful and falls under the apostolate of evangelization of the archdiocese. During its early editions, Lungsoranon was published with three distinct sections, one in Cebuano and the other two in English and Spanish. Fr. Bartolome Cortes, its first editor, handled the Cebuano and Spanish sections while Fermin Yap, a lay person, handled the English section. The paper is one of the oldest surviving Catholic diocesan newspapers in the Philippines. It stopped publication for a number of times during World War II and in the mid-1980s. It was revived in 1987 as “Bag-ong Lungsoranon” with added features written in English and Cebuano. Its current Editor is Fr. Marnell S. Mejia. Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes delivered a memorial lecture on Archbishop Gabriel Reyes at the Cathedral Museum of Cebu as part of the foundation anniversary celebration. CELEBRATED. Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos, Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education, 25th sacerdotal anniversary, September 29, 2009. Msgr. Santos has been the Commission’s Executive Secretary since 2001 and up to the present. Aside from his demanding work in ECCCE, he is also the current President of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and Regional Director for CEAP-NCR. Msgr. Santos is also the Director of the Archdiocesan Catechetical Ministry (ACM-Manila), the Minister of the Ministry of Catechesis and Catholic Education, the President of the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools (MAPSA), Superintendent of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila Educational System, the President of Pasig Catholic College, the Director of Nazarene Catholic School (Quiapo, Manila) and San Pablo Apostol Learning Center (Tondo, Manila). He is also currently a Professor of Moral Theology at the Divine Word Seminary School of Theology in Tagaytay City.
Church pays tribute to seafarers
THE Catholic Church paid tribute to thousands of Filipino seafarers and their families in a celebration last Sept. 27 marking the 14th National Seafarers Day. Led by the Apostleship of the Sea, an arm of the CBCP’s Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), the Church particularly prayed for seafarers still languishing in jails, and for the families of those who died. A yearly national event decreed through a presidential proclamation and observed since 1997, the event aimed to recognize the thousands of Filipino seafarers serving in the domestic and international maritime industry. Sunday’s activity started with a Eucharistic celebration at the Manila Cathedral presided by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales at 7 a.m. It was followed with a Rite of Remembrance or “Memorial at Sea” off Manila Bay Breakwater. Relatives of the deceased seafarers offered flowers and joined a memorial service while on board a Coast Guard vessel. In 2007 alone, Apostleship of the Sea director Fr. Savino Bernardi said there were 180 Filipino seafarers who perished, which is a bit lower than the 250 casualties in 2006. In the afternoon, a grand parade participated by the cadets of maritime schools was held at the Luneta followed by a program at the Quirino Grandstand in honor
RELAUNCHED. DWBS, Diocese of Legazpi’s AM radio station, on the occasion of its 18th foundation anniversary, September 25, 2009. The second radio station established in the region after of Sorsogon, DWBS was inaugurated in Tabaco, Albay with Fr. Manuel Camu as its first director. The station was later transferred in the compound of St. Gregory Cathedral in Old Albay district, and much later to the former studio of now defunct DWGW IBC Legazpi before it finally moved to its present location in Landco Business Park. Bishop Lucilo Quiambao presided the concelebrated Mass with seven priests including Catholic Media Network President Fr. Francis Lucas and current DWBS Director Fr. Paul Barandon. DIED. Fr. Hipolito Aberion, SSP, 48, of massive cardiac arrest, August 4, 2009, Feast of Transfiguration of Jesus. Fr. Aberion has spent 32 years of his life as a Pauline, 21 years of it as a priest. DIED. Sr. Ma. Rufina B. Figueroa, RVM, September 16, 2009.
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
A talk delivered at the Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly (MAGPAS Vision – III), August 1, 2009
By Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales
IN our last reflection we delved on values and how they can determine a person’s choices and style of life. A profound desire can transform into greed capable of blinding an individual in the path of righteous living. Some persons’ greed has, in the past, caused the suffering of many, while the seeming good fortunes of others cause the poverty of still many more. Reversals in the fortune of people are sometimes caused by the people themselves through carelessness, through wrong decisions in savings or in the placement of investments. Hardly can it be pointed out that a person was poor because s/he was lazy. It was mostly for lack of opportunity for work or insufficient pay for work that the people become poor. Sometimes it is because of the work of others that the poor become poorer. When statistics are presented in order to persuade others that the economy has grown and progressed, the whole economic development presentation may sound convincing. More dollars have into the coffers of the country; the national debt has been lessened while roads and bridges have linked peoples and their products to market. We do not say that figures always lie, but that they also do not tell the entire truth. Development of People as Seen at the Dinner Tables and Healthy Homes The optional gauge of economic progress and the development of people is not the stale statistical figures but when people and families have enough food and nutritious food in their dinner plates, a decent home to live in, healthy children who are able to attend school, while their parents have their decent work with which to support their families. To subsist with “begged for” food in underprivileged conditions, with homes in literal hovels and spaces under the bridges, is a declaration of underdevelopment of people in communities that are not Christian. The truth is that a truly Christian community can never tolerate that the hunger and destitution of others be unattended. It was said of early communities of Christians that as they believed in the same Jesus Christ they owned things in common, “they sold their goods and possession and distributed the proceeds among themselves according to what each one needed.” (Acts 3:44). What does it mean when People are Poor? There are poor people among us today and there will still be poorer people tomorrow, as there also were many in the past. In fact it was the Lord Jesus who said in answer to Judas Iscariot the traitor, “the poor you will always have with you.” The first meaning is the statement of a fact that there will always be those in need among us who will need our attention, our help. And the presence of the poor was to counter distinguish the presence of Jesus who would not always be with the apostles. Never will we be able to live without the poor around watching us. The presence of the poor is a constant reminder to all by many a Lazarus who watched the rich man war with a great appetite, while the poor begged only for crumbs and little bits of waste (or leftover) from the wanton feastings and gluttonous meals of the wealthy. What is the meaning of being poor in the midst of relative plenty? The hungry man who catches a rich man eat in plenty would be driven to self-pity and ultimately, envy. And if attempts for food erupts from the heart of a starving person, Christian teachings says that a certain kind of rashness born of extreme need would even be condoned. And then we ask, “why wait for the violence of the suffering, the poor and the victimized?” Why look forward to the consequences of an economic melt down, like what is presently being experienced, where many who had lost their work or those already without work had lately been pushed to a homeless existence and to survive a starvation diet? And we ask the serious question again: Is love only possible when people are in need or when people only suffer? Obviously love is possible among all people all the time, the healthy and weak ones, young and the old, among those in the families, among lovers, friends, and from Jesus Christ the Son of God, even for our enemies (if we have them). “Love not only those who love you; but love even your enemies.” “Give to the poor, the hungry”…even to your enemies”…What occasion or what scenario then are people still waiting for in order to practice charity? Charity Is Always Timely! Will there ever be a time, a place or a situation where charity is no longer necessary? Some people think that in the near future when the ideal community or society is built peacefully on justice, where there is enough for everyone, a home for every family and education is available to all, there will no longer be a need for charity. The Church believes otherwise “that there will never be a situation where the charity of each individual Christian is unnecessary, because in addition to justice man needs, and will always need, love.” (DCE, 29). Love is not only the summary of all commandments. It is the basic relationship among people. And when Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). There are immediately two meanings that we can put to his statement. The first is that the love with which we love is only in imitation of the love of
Challenges / B7
© Noli Yamsuan /RCAM
© Noli Yamsuan /RCAM
Challenges of poverty in need or in plenty
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
I have often wondered just what the Papal Nuncio is and what the role of the Papal Nunciature is. I am even more confused when I read in the news that the Papal Nuncio would lead the traditional toast of the diplomatic corps, implying his position of honor among the different legates. Can you please clarify this matter to me? A Brief History of the Institution The practice of churches sending representatives to other communities or even to civil authorities can be traced to the earliest times of the Church. By the 5th Century, the Pope—who by that time had assumed responsibility both for the ecclesiastical and civil life of the city of Rome—began sending permanent representatives to the Imperial Court in Constantinople. This was the start of the current practice of nuncios who represent the Holy See both to local churches and to civil governments. By the Middle Ages, the popes were granting certain residential bishops special powers over neighboring bishops, which went beyond the prerogatives of Metropolitans (e.g., Thessalonika in Illyricum, Arles in Gaul, Tarragona and Seville in Spain). They were called Apostolic Vicars, a title that by the 9th Century had gradually evolved to legatus natus—i.e., legates with the innate appointment to those particular sees. Eventually the persons occupying such positions became known as primates. In contrast, a person sent on a more transitory mission was known as legatus missus—i.e., a legate sent for a specific purpose. When a cardinal was sent on such a mission, he was known as a legatus a latere—i.e., sent from beside the Pope. Better equipped for their tasks—and more closely allied to the Popes—legates of this type gradually took on more stable functions in the places where they were sent. At the same time, the legati nati slowly lost their significance, such that by the CIC 17, they lost their special rights as such. Gregory XIII reorganized the system of legates in the
16th Century and established permanent nunciatures, originally with the principal task of implementing the Tridentine Reform. This system received further international recognition in the Congress of Vienna (1815), which gave special prerogatives to papal nuncios in consideration of their spiritual mission. In more recent times, the Vienna Convention (1961) modified such special status, but retained recognition of the right of the Holy See to send representatives under international law. noteworthy in the present canon is the apparent lack of justification of such a right of legation, which on the other hand we find in the ecclesiology of Vatican II and in the commentaries that have been written regarding this material since the publication of Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum. 1) Legation ad intra. This refers to the sending of legates to particular Churches, and finds its primary justification in the right-duty of the Roman Pontiff to nourish ecclesial communion through instruments City—underlining the unique identity of the Church in the international community. Kinds of Papal Legates Can.363 — §1. To legates of the Roman Pontiff is entrusted the responsibility of representing him in a stable manner to particular Churches and also to states and public authorities to which they are sent. §2. They also represent the Apostolic See who are appointed to a pontifical mission as delegates or observers at International
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
The Legates of the Roman Pontiff
aforementioned offices to ecclesiastical men—i.e., clerics— many of whom are bishops (actually archbishops in many cases). 3) Legates to International Organizations, Various Conferences or Meetings— which the aforementioned motu proprio allows to be laymen as well as clerics. They are of two kinds: a) Delegates—are those with voting status. b) Observers—are those without voting status. The Holy See maintains such legations at the United Nations, in various UN-related organizations, at the Organization of American States, etc. Ecclesial Functions The importance and priority of the ad intra—over the ad extra—functions of Papal Legates is acknowledged by the legislator not only by explicitly stating they constitute a principal duty, but by giving them a separate and prior treatment in the Code. Again reserving the matter of the ad extra functions for a later Lesson, we concentrate at the moment on c.364. Can.364 — The principal duty of a pontifical legate is to work so that day by day the bonds of unity, which exist between the Apostolic See and the particular Churches, become stronger and more efficacious. Therefore, it belongs to the pontifical legate for his area: 1º to send information to the Apostolic See on the conditions of the particular Churches and all that touches the life of the Church and the good of souls; 2º to assist the bishops by action and counsel, while leaving intact the exercise of the bishops’ legitimate power; 3º to foster close relations with the Conference of Bishops, by offering it assistance in every way’ 4º to transmit or propose the names of candidates to the Apostolic See in reference to the naming of bishops and to instruct the informative process concerning those to be promoted in accord with the norms given by the Apostolic See; 5º to strive for the promotion of matters which concern peace, progress and the cooperative efforts of peoples; 6º to cooperate with the bishops in fostering suitable relationships between the Catholic Church and other churches or ecclesial communities and non-Christian religions also; 7º in concerted action with the bishops to protect what pertains to the mission of the Church and the Apostolic See in relations with the leaders of the state; 8º to exercise the faculties and fulfill the other mandates committed to him by the Apostolic See. As the opening line of the canon affirms, the principal ecclesial duty of the legates is to promote the unity of the Church, in keeping with the key role of the Petrine ministry in the Church as a service to unity. This principle, as it where, is the hermeneutic key to the proper interpretation of the provisions of this canon.
Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, His Excellency, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, DD
Female servers in the extraordinary form
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum University, answers the following query:) Q: Is there any definitive answer available regarding the use of female servers at celebrations of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite?—A.J., Pontypridd, Wales A: Although a clarifying instruction on several such questions was frequently described as “imminent,” a long time has passed and it would seem that it is still in the pipeline. All the same, it is important to remember that, even in the ordinary form, the use of female altar servers is in virtue of a specific permission and is not automatic. As the Holy See has explained on several occasions, the local bishop may permit the use of female servers but may not oblige the pastor to use them. Also, the Holy Father’s motu proprio granting permission for the celebrations of the extraordinary form was for the Roman Missal according to the edition issued under Pope John XXIII. Since the rubrics of this missal in no way contemplate the possibility of female servers, then it must be surmised that only altar boys or adult men are allowed as servers in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. To help us to understand the underlying logic behind this we can reflect on a particular situation. It appears there was at least one case in which women were allowed some functions habitually carried out by the servers. In the preface to the 1936 first edition of H.E. Calnan’s guide for altar servers, he mentions the following circumstance: “In most parishes, a dozen influences combine to restrict the supply of efficient Mass servers. Layfolk must be asked to serve at short notice, or without warning. A woman with knowledge of Latin may venture, because she has only to answer and not to move about.” The case foreseen here is when there were no assigned altar servers present. In such a plight a woman with knowledge of Latin could do the responses. A woman could carry out this role because it was properly speaking a role of the assembly. In making the Latin responses the altar boys in a way represented and substituted the assembly, who frequently did not know the liturgical language. One of the challenges of being an altar boy (and a source of legitimate pride to his parents) was memorizing the Latin texts to be recited. However, years before the conciliar reform there was already a liturgical movement that encouraged the whole assembly’s recitation of these parts, and not just the server. This practice is relatively common today among communities that habitually celebrate the extraordinary form. Father Calnan’s mention that the woman “has only to answer and not move about” makes it clear that she did not carry out any of the other functions of the altar boy in serving the Mass. Since in these roles the altar servers substituted some of the functions of those who had received minor orders (and who were thus canonically numbered among the clergy), only males could carry out these functions. In the ordinary form the clerical minor orders have been replaced by the lay ministries of lector and acolyte. However, even though they are lay ministries, only males may be instituted as lectors and acolytes. Since instituted lectors and acolytes are uncommon in most parishes, other lay readers and servers may be delegated. At this stage the rubrics allow either men or women to be chosen as readers and, were permitted, as servers. In the extraordinary form, though, the minor orders and the liturgical logic behind them still exist. For this reason I would say that in this form the rule reserving altar service to boys or men remains in force.
In the light of the Vatican II provision that the office of legates be more precisely defined (CD, 9), Paul VI issued the Motu Proprio Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum (24.VI.1969). Although this is the major source of the canons regulating papal legates in the present Code, the brevity with which the material is treated in the Code—coupled with the fact that the Code has not reordered the material ex integro (cf. c.6)— makes it still the main source of particular law for the institution (cf. c.20). Justification of Papal Legates Can.362 — The Roman Pontiff possesses the innate and independent right to appoint, send, transfer and recall his own legates to particular Churches in various nations or regions, to states and to public authorities; the norms of international law are to be observed concerning the sending and the recalling of legate appointed to states. Before anything else, the legislator proclaims the right of legation of the Roman Pontiff as innate—i.e., not stemming from anything outside the juridic order of the Church, but rather arising from the very perfection of that order itself. The corollary claim of its being independent is just a consequence. What is
that manifest his solicitude towards the particular Churches and all the faithful. On the other hand, the reference to various nations or regions allude to the advisability—in certain cases— that the Holy See not follow the geo-political division of a given territory. For example, given a low Catholic population, only one legate may be sent to take care of the particular Churches comprising several countries, with the seat of the legation in the country that offers more security for the same. 2) Legation ad extra. This refers to the sending of legates to states and to public authorities, which finds its constitutional foundation in the religious mission of the Church (cf. GS, n.42), understood as a duty “to be present in the community of peoples ... by means of its official channels” (GS, n.89). It is noteworthy that in the present Code, the legislator has gone beyond the previous formula that limited such legation to States, to now include other public authorities—a formula moreopentofurtherdevelopment of political communities and the international community. It is also interesting to note at this point that the title by which papal legates to States are accredited is that of the Holy See—not Vatican
Councils or at conferences and meetings. According to this canon, there are three basic types of legates, the first two mentioned in §1 and the third type mentioned in §2 of the present canon: 1) Apostolic Delegates—are the legates who represent the Pope to the particular Churches but not to the civil government. 2) Legates to both Particular Churches and Civil Governments — can in turn be of various types and dignities: a) Nuncio—is a legate who holds the rank of ambassador and enjoys the privilege of being automatically the dean of the diplomatic corps in the capital where he serves. b) Pro-Nuncio—is also an ambassador but without the special privilege of being automatically the dean of the diplomatic corp. c) Inter-Nuncio—is an extraordinary envoy and minister plenipotentiary: a rank used in diplomatic norms when relations have not yet consolidated to the ambassadorial level. d)RegentsandChargésd’affairs with Special Instructions—can also serve as permanent legates below ambassador level under certain circumstances. Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum limits the
Liturgical garb for habit-wearers
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: My question has to do with the liturgical vesture of habit-wearing religious priests. I recall reading in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal [GIRM] that the priest should wear an amice if his alb does not cover his “street attire.” Do you think a blessed religious habit counts as “street attire”? (I agree that an ordinary clerical shirt would.) Is it correct for religious priests (wearing a habit with a hood) to wear the habit’s hood outside of the alb, or should it be covered? Also, is there any support from the documents for suggesting that altar servers wearing religious habits should wear a surplice as well?—J.F., Washington, D.C. A: Regarding sacred vesture of ministers at Mass, the GIRM states: “336. The sacred garment common to ordained and instituted ministers of any rank is the alb, to be tied at the waist with a cincture unless it is made so as to fit even without such. Before the alb is put on, should this not completely cover the ordinary clothing at the neck, an amice should be put on. The alb may not be replaced by a surplice, not even over a cassock, on occasions when a chasuble or dalmatic is to be worn or when, according to the norms, only a stole is worn without a chasuble or dalmatic. “337. The vestment proper to the priest celebrant at Mass and other sacred actions directly connected with Mass is, unless otherwise indicated, the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole. “338. The vestment proper to the deacon is the dalmatic, worn over the alb and stole. The dalmatic may, however, be omitted out of necessity or on account of a lesser degree of solemnity. “339. In the dioceses of the United States of America, acolytes, altar servers, lectors, and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture or other appropriate and dignified clothing.” To this may be added the norm issued in the instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” No. 126, “The abuse is reprobated whereby the sacred ministers celebrate Holy Mass or other rites without sacred vestments or with only a stole over the monastic cowl or the common habit of religious or ordinary clothes, contrary to the prescriptions of the liturgical books, even when there is only one minister participating. In order that such abuses be corrected as quickly as possible, Ordinaries should take care that in all churches and oratories subject to their jurisdiction there is present an adequate supply of liturgical vestments made in accordance with the norms.” From these documents it is clear that the religious habit would be considered as “street attire.” In the liturgical books this expression is used in contrast to the sacred vestments and thus all other clothing, including a bishop’s cassock, would fall under the category of street attire or as in the present translation the “ordinary clothing.” Thus the alb should always cover a religious habit for Mass and if necessary an amice should be used to cover the neck. The difficulty with the hood is a practical point that depends on its design. Some religious have a detachable hood that can be removed before vesting for Mass while others are sufficiently flat to be covered by the alb. I would say that wearing the hood outside the alb is to be avoided whenever possible. But this is probably less distracting than a priest’s sporting a singular bulge beneath the alb. If necessary, a loose alb can be specifically designed so as to cover the hood. The religious habit is a sign of total dedication to God, but it is not, properly speaking, a liturgical vestment. Therefore, when a religious is serving as acolyte at Mass or some other sacred function, he should wear some form of sacred garment over his habit. This garment may be an alb, but the surplice is probably more appropriate as it also allows the habit to witness the wearer’s consecration. The use of special liturgical vesture is important, even for those who habitually don religious garb. Sacred vestments express the out-of-the-ordinary, exceptional and festive character of the celebration and induce those present to participate in an unhurried, devout and truly active way.
© Noli Yamsuan /RCAM
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
LEFT: Most Rev. Lucilo B. Quiambao. RIGHT: St. Gregory the Great Cathedral
Diocese of Legazpi
By Fr. Joseph Salando
THE Diocese of Legazpi comprises the civil province of Albay, a province with a population of 1.2 million, 97 per cent of which are Catholics. Its titular patron is Nuestra Señora de Salvacion, and its secondary patron is St. Gregory the Great.
Albay lies between Sorsogon and Camarines Sur Provinces. It is a province of subpeninsulas and a lengthy coastline, bounded on the north and northeast by Camarines Sur and Lagonoy Gulf, on the south by Sorsogon, on the east by the Pacific Ocean and on the west by Burias Pass. It has a total land area of 2,552.6 sq. km. Its most prominent geological feature is the famous Mayon Volcano, with an elevation of 2,421 meters, considered by many as the volcano with the most perfect cone in the world. But this beautiful mountain is also known for its fury during eruptions, burying villages, with boulders, lava and ash. The province also lies well within the “typhoon belt” of the country. The diocese counts the Cagsawa church ruin, and several ancient churches of volcanic rocks and Mexican baroque architecture, among its priceless cultural heritage. Notable among these are the churches of Daraga (recently declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum) and Tabaco (numbered among the country’s Cultural Heritage Sites by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts). Creation of the diocese The first Franciscan missionaries set foot in Bicol and established the first Catholic settlement in 1578. The place was named Santiago de Libon, now a municipality in the Province of Albay. The Diocese of Legazpi was created on 29 June 1951 and is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Caceres. Later in 1974, the island-province of Catanduanes was separated from the territory of the diocese to form the Diocese of Virac. Bishops The diocese has had five bishops so far: 1) Most Rev. Flaviano B. Ariola, D.D. (1952-1968); 2) Most Rev. Teotimo C. Pacis, CM, D.D. (1969-1980); 3) Most Rev. Concordio Ma. Sarte, D.D. (1980-1991); 4) Most Rev. Jose C. Sorra, D.D. (19932004); 5) Most Rev. Nestor C. Cariño, D.D. (2005-2007). At present, Most Rev. Lucilo B. Quiambao, D.D., leads the local Church as Apostolic Administrator. Aside from the aforementioned bishops, the diocese has also given the Universal Church, four other bishops who were either native sons of Albay or canonically incardinated to the diocese at the time of their appointment, namely: 1) Most Rev. Casimiro M. Lladoc, D.D.(+), first Bishop of Bacolod; 2) Jose
T. Cardinal Sanchez, Prefect-emeritus of the Congregation of the Clergy; 3) Most Rev. Teopisto V. Alberto, D.D.(+), first Bishop of Sorsogon and former Archbishop of Caceres; 4) Most Rev. Joel Z. Baylon, D.D., Bishop of Masbate. First Legazpi Diocesan Synod In June 2000, Bishop Jose C. Sorra convoked the first synod of the diocese, with the theme “Fan into flame the gift the God gave you” (2 Tim 1, 6). During the synod, structures and programs were evaluated and updated, and commitment to evangelization and
Being Church The diocese is composed of 43 parishes, three quasi-parishes and two chaplaincies (PNP and Navy). The creation and development of BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) is the diocese’s major pastoral thrust and hope for a new way of being Church. Though majority of the faithful still needed to be reached by the program, nevertheless, most parishes already have thriving and active BECs. The 65 communities of the NeoCatechumenal Way in various parishes make Legazpi the diocese with the
Vocations Traditionally, the Bicol Region is a rich source of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. As of latest count, there are 81 diocesan priests presently working in the diocese. Around 49 are outside the diocese either doing pastoral ministry, in dioceses in the country and abroad, or pursuing further studies. There are also 36 religious priests serving in the diocese. The town of Bacacay boasts of having contributed more than 85 priests (and counting) who are either native of the place or who have strong roots in the
Aquinas University, form the Catholic Educational Association of Legazpi (CEAL). Social Action The people’s experience with disasters, natural and man-made, turned the Social Action Center into one of the leading social action centers in the country in terms of innovative programs and responsive organization. SAC’s programs include: 1) a Poverty Reduction System: further composed of programs on good governance, health, small enterprise development and bio-intensive gardening; 2) Social Services Program, which includes the award-winning Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Unit (CAPIU); and 3) Disaster Management Program, which focuses on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in collaboration with concerned national and local government agencies. SAC’s Training and Formation Department, not only handles staff training, but also responds to their spiritual needs. It is also in-charge with issues advocacies, among which is the campaign against the infamous polymetallic mine in Rapu-Rapu Island previously owned by Australians, now operated by Koreans and Malaysians. The department either spearheads or is actively involved in efforts at responding to coal mining in Batan island, cement factory in Camalig, extrajudicial killings, graft and corruption, improving the local electric cooperative, and preparations for the coming national and local elections. The SEDP-Simbag sa Pag-asenso Inc., started as a SAC program but later spun-off and grew into the biggest microfinance institution in southern Luzon, serving more than 22,000 clients. Recently SEDP received a “Most Inspiring Bicolano Entrepreneur” Special Award from Go Negosyo, and a “2009 Presidential Citation for Best Practice in Improving Access to Finance” from Malacañang. Moving Forward In late 2006, super typhoons Milenyo and Reming struck Albay along with other nearby provinces. Albay was one of those hardest hit. More than a thousand were killed. Most of the buildings sustained major damages, and around 80% of homes were either unroofed or razed to the ground. Whole barangays were washed away by floods. Many people were deprived of livelihood. The outpouring of generosity from countrymen and foreigners and the various local initiatives to respond to the disaster have enabled the Albayanos to rebound fast, move forward and forge our identity as a people gifted with great resiliency and faith. Among the welcome developments brought about by the disasters have been the renewed appreciation and concern to the environment among the people. The faithful have also found reassurance in the praying of the Oratio Imperata against typhoons and other calamities.
“To achieve this Vision, we commit ourselves to our Mission: 1) Preach Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior of the world and the Church as the dispenser of the grace of redemption; 2) Renew our faith and personal conversion to Jesus Christ; 3) Pursue integral evangelization and post-baptismal catechesis towards total human liberation and social transformation; 4) Renew the principal agents of evangelization: the clergy, religious and laity; 5) Renew families, parishes, schools and workplaces; 6) Uplift the poor and develop the youth with their potentials; 7) Create small caring communities that reflect our new way of being Church; 8) Foster ecumenical and inter-religious prayer and dialogue; 9) Harness the means of social communication for evangelization; 10) Uphold and promote the integrity of creation; and 11) Witness to the life of Christ Jesus and His Gospel values, reflecting truly Christian lives that are maka-Dios, makatao, makabayan and makakalikasan.”
pastoral service were renewed. A new diocesan Vision-Mission was also formulated: “A Christ-centered communion of communities, living the life of the Spirit in God the Father, in union with the poor and the young, bearing witness to justice, love, total liberation and development in harmony with creation - under the care of Our Mother of Salvation.” “To achieve this Vision, we commit ourselves to our Mission: 1) Preach Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior of the world and the Church as the dispenser of the grace of redemption; 2) Renew our faith and personal conversion to Jesus Christ; 3) Pursue integral evangelization and post-baptismal catechesis towards total human liberation and social transformation; 4) Renew the principal agents of evangelization: the clergy, religious and laity; 5) Renew families, parishes, schools and workplaces; 6) Uplift the poor and develop the youth with their potentials; 7) Create small caring communities that reflect our new way of being Church; 8) Foster ecumenical and inter-religious prayer and dialogue; 9) Harness the means of social communication for evangelization; 10) Uphold and promote the integrity of creation; and 11) Witness to the life of Christ Jesus and His Gospel values, reflecting truly Christian lives that are maka-Dios, makatao, makabayan and makakalikasan.”
Bishops …………………………………. 3 Diocesan Priests: Working in the Diocese .…………….. 81 From other dioceses Working in the diocese ……………. 9 Retired ……………………………….... 7 Deacons ……………………..………… 3 Religious Priests: Filipino ……………...………………... 34 Foreign ……………………………….. 2 Religious Brothers: Filipino ………………………………… 11 Foreign ..……………………………... 1 Religious Sisters: Filipino …..…………………………… 151 Foreign ….……………………………. 5 Seminaries …………………………….. 2 Seminarians: High School …………………………. 84 Pre-College …………………………... 11 Philosophy …………………………… 49 Theology …………………….………… 24 Population ………..…………… 1,213,176 Catholics …………..…………... 1,127,421
place. The Parish of St. Rose of Lima in Bacacay celebrates its 350th anniversary as a parish this year. The St. Gregory the Great Minor Seminary (89 seminarians) and the Mater Salutis College Seminary (79 seminarians) are the formation houses of the diocese. There is also a program for the Pre-College Formation Year and the Spiritual-Pastoral Formation Year (SPFY). With the Vicar for the Clergy, Msgr. Ramon C. Tronqued, at the helm, a renewed commitment to clergy welfare is being undertaken. The program has three components: health care, pension plan and on-going formation. Arrangement has been made with the Dominican-run Aquinas University of Legazpi for the offering of an MBA Executive Clergy Track with concentration on Pastoral Management. The schooling of the first batch of MBA student-priests is on-going. Year for Priests Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration of the Year for Priests was welcomed not only by the clergy but also by the religious and lay faithful in the diocese for its potential to inspire mutual support between clergy and laity in responding to the demands of the faith today. Education The Catholic schools in the diocese, including the Divine Word College and
biggest Neo-Catechumenal membership in the country. The following is a non-exhaustive list of active movements and organizations that foster the spirit of ecclesial community in the diocese: the Parish Renewal Experience (PREX), El Shaddai, Couples for Christ (CFC), Marriage Encounter, and the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP).
By William West
AS films, music and the internet become less and less child friendly many parents are taking over the task of censorship from government bodies. Has the time come for families to become their own censors—to take over a task long considered the province of governmentbacked agencies? There are two main reasons for raising the question—first, because these days government bodies seem to be neglecting their duties in this area, and second, because parents (thanks to the age of computerization) now have the capacity to do the job themselves. Whatever your opinion, the fact is that more and more parents are taking up the challenge, not only where the films they show their kids areconcerned,butinallareasofaccess to information and entertainment, from news publications and music to internet access. Let’s look at the last of these first: censoring the internet. I live in a country (Australia) where the national Government has promised to introduce compulsory filtering by internetaccess providers. If it succeeds it would be the first government in an advanced Western democracy to do so. But you wouldn’t want to have been holding your breath for it to happen ─ you would have expired long ago. When the present Labour Government, headed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, came to power almost two years ago, part of its election platform was that it would introduce mandatory filtering of all internet access, specifically to protect Australian children. The proposal has encountered violent opposition, both from those who argue that it is technically impossible and those who reject it as a violation of personal freedom. But even if government overcomes these immediate hurdles, there is the question of whether the software it chooses will be up to the task. The previous government attacked the problem by making no less than four separate software programs available for families to install on their home computers. In my own tests, all of them failed in significant ways. In short, they were all duds. But despite all of this, most families have already come up with their own solution. They have downloaded some of the excellent commercial software now available, including freeware programs. After sampling many programs, I agree with those who say the best solution available at present is the K9 program—an industrial strength program that has been made available free of charge for home use. One of the big pluses of this program is that it allows parents to choose which categories of internet sites that they want to censor. It also allows them to block access to individual sites that they believe are unsuitable for their own children. In short, parents who have the energy to spend a little time on the problem have solved it long before the government (if it ever does!) and they have been able to tailor the solution to their own values and the special needs of their own children. Moving on to film censorship: while preparing an article recently for Perspective magazine I spoke to parents and film reviewers who agreed that government-backed censorship has been failing radically in recent times. Many parents said they had turned to censoring films themselves—even movies that were clearly meant to be suitable for young children. As standards of morality in the cinema have been slipping— particularly in Hollywood—so, it seems, have standards in film censorship. More and more films have levels of violence and sexual deviation that would have been almost unimaginable even 20 years ago. Often it seems sex scenes have been inserted merely to get an adult rating for a film, so the film will not be seen as a kid’s flick. As one parent explained: “I am not comfortable with letting professional censors who spend half their lives watching violent and semi-pornographic movies to decide what is acceptable for my children. I reached the point where I had been burned one too many times by the ratings system to place my confidence in it, so I decided that I’d never allow my kids to watch any movie I hadn’t at least viewed myself.” There is, of course, the question about whether it is ethical to edit films yourself. But at least one father I spoke to was livid at the thought that he could be prevented from protecting his own children in this way. “I believe it is completely ethical to edit a movie that you have paid for in order to make it suitable for your kids. Even if you have only rented it, as long as you delete the movie after the family has watched it, nobody should be concerned that you cut out material that you believe is inappropriate for your kids. After all, that is what government censors do. The idea that someone could say I don’t have the right to
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
Families becoming own censor
edit out smut and pornography from what my children watch really incenses me.” The software to “rip” (copy) and edit films has been available online for years. Some programs are shareware, but for parents with tight budgets there are even freeware programs available. One of the most popular seems to be DVD Shrink. At Download.com alone it has been downloaded more than 299,000 times. As already mentioned, parental censorship of the media can even extend to music. One parent told me: “Our four children, three of whom are now in their teens, love music of all kinds from classical to the latest pop and rock, but they have never listened to a radio station. My wife and I are real music fans and we have exposed them to what we consider to be the best music produced over the past 40 or 50 years. Thanks to digital music you can pick and choose whatever you want to listen to ─ you don’t have to submit yourself to someone else’s playlist, as well as their often inane and sometimes offensive banter as well. There was a time when you had to listen to radio to get the latest news and weather etc, but these days all that is available on the internet, so there isn’t the need that there used to be to listen to radio.” Not only is it possible to pick and choose which songs you want your children to hear, but you can even edit the music. As one parent said: “Occasionally you come across a song that is worth letting your kids hear, maybe because it is a particularly good example a particular style or genre of music, but it may have a swear word or something off-colour at the beginning or end of the song. There are plenty of programs around now that allow you to edit out things like that. We have used them a number of times.” Of course, the internet libertarians who believe that information does not only “want to be free”, but that it wants to be free of all moral constraints, might baulk at this sort of thing. But that is one of the great things about the digital age—even if governments and their agencies are forced to take account of such views, individual families don’t. The liberties allowed by the digital age are not restricted to libertarians. They allow all of us some measure of choice—even parents who want to act as their own censors. (William West is a Sydney-based freelance journalist and editor of Perspective magazine. This is reprinted with permission by MercatorNet)
Bible campaign aims to distribute 100k bibles to families by year’s end
Asian youth to join Taize ‘Pilgrimage of Trust’ in Manila
CFC-FFL WWP head Bro. Bonjie Bonjibod addresses the beneficiaries of bibles during distribution. (Photo courtesy of Juliet G. Rivera)
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
FOLLOWING the formal launching of the Taize Pilgrimage of Trust at the San Carlos Seminary last August 29, the Taize brothers are now touring various Asian countries to drumbeat the international youth meeting slated in Manila, February next year. Brother Ghislain of Taize in a press release sent to CBCPNews said many young Asians in countries he visited have signified their interest to join the pilgrimage. Touring Myanmar to Japan, he passed through Cambodia, East Timor, India, Singapore and other neighboring countries to invite and prepare young people for the upcoming pilgrimage of trust. He said the situation of each country he visited was so varied from one another, but the news of the upcoming youth meeting has generated enthusiasm and hope. “Young Timorese will join the pilgrimage,” he said upon visiting the newly independent nation and meeting with young people there. So far, he said only those Timorese studying in Portugal had the opportunity to come to Taize. In 2007, when Taize prior Brother Alois, was in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for a student retreat, two young people came to attend. But with the proximity of the Philippines, it is now possible for a great number of young Timorese to come and participate in the pilgrimage, the Taize brother said. He added that Cambodia will also send a delegation of youth who will be accompanied by a Filipino missionary stationed in the country. The Taize brother likewise met with university chaplains from Catholic, Anglican and Kyodan Churches in Japan. He noted the interest of the chaplains to participate in the international youth assembly. To prepare the youth spiritually, a regular prayer meeting has been started in the Tokyo area and neighboring suburbs where young people can meet regularly and pray. Brother Ghislain also conducted a retreat among
THE bible campaign jointly organized by the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) and Philippine Bible Society (PBS) is aiming to hit its target of distributing 100 thousand bibles to poor families by the end of the year. The “May They Be One” bible campaign, a joint project of the Biblical Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and Philippine Bible Society aims to give out five million bibles to five million poor Filipino families in five years. So far, 70,000 families have already received bibles throughparishes,basicecclesialcommunities,religious and lay organizations funded by bible partners and initial fund raising activities by organizers. But with only three months to go before the year ends, organizers have to work double time to raise the needed P8.5 million to cover the costs of bible distribution. PBS general secretary Nora Lucero said the task seems daunting considering the little time left in their hands, but she is happy with the help that keeps on coming their way. “This seems an impossible task considering that we have only have about three months to go but the campaign has drawn the help of other Bible Societies and we have the opportunity to exceed our goal,” she said. Lucero said the American Bible Society has pledged a donation of US$100,000 (roughly P5 million) for the campaign as long as they raise the same amount by year’s end. She said almost P1.5 million (approximately US$30,000) has already been raised. “The exciting thing about the proposal is that the Bible Society concerned has offered to raise the same amount again for us next year if we meet the December 31 deadline,” Lucero said, adding: “That means that for every P50 (US$1) given, potentially P200 (US$4) will be raised for this crucial campaign.”
The PBS general secretary said it remains a challenge both for ECBA and PBS to find enough people who can donate amount ranging from P150 to P150,000 to help the campaign. “The great thing about this campaign is that anybody can be involved,” she said. “Any donation our friends and supporters make will collectively ensure we achieve this significant goal and potentially multiply the donations by four to provide subsidized Bibles to over 200,000 poor families,” Lucero added. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has earlier commended the campaign to put a scripture in every home, noting that despite being a Catholic nation, many Filipino families do not own a bible. “Indeed, putting a Bible in every home is putting Christ in every heart,” he said. Bible distribution to families which is coordinated by parishes, ecclesial communities and lay organizations are accompanied by values formation and bible seminars to ensure that recipients truly benefit with the campaign. The bible crusade hopes to encourage Filipinos to read and live the Bible that could effect national transformation to the country’s spiritual, moral and social stability. The MTBO five-year bible campaign was launched last September 30, 2008. It targets to put a bible in the home of every Filipino family in a five-year period at a subsidized price of P50 per Bible. Any interested individuals or groups can become a part of the MTBO campaign and contribute to the transformation of families and society. For more information on the campaign, visit www.Bible.org.ph or www.ecba-cbcp.com. Donations may be deposited to the following bank accounts: PBS-MTBO Account #39030649-34 (BPI-Sta. Mesa Branch) or ECBA-CBCP Account #0251-021373 (BPI-Tayuman Branch). (CBCPNews)
students to make them ready for the pilgrimage. He noted the many challenges as well as problems young people and foreign workers, including Filipinos in Japan now faced. The meeting in Manila, the brother hoped, will provide them a deeper understanding on the meaning of life. Meanwhile, other countries like Singapore, India, Bangkok, New Zealand and Australia are also spearheading some activities to prepare their youth delegates who will attend the upcoming event in Manila. Early October, youth volunteers from Asian countries (Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Korea) will come to Manila to reinforce the Secretariat in charge of preparations for the upcoming pilgrimage. They will also visit the country’s different dioceses to meet with the parishes’ youth groups.
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Epic flood: A call for compassion
Christians and Muslims: Together in overcoming poverty
Message for the end of Ramadan ‘Id al-Fitr 1430 H. / 2009 a.d.
Dear Muslim Friends, 1. On the occasion of your feast which concludes the month of Ramadan, I would like to extend my best wishes for peace and joy to you and, through this Message, propose this theme for our reflection: Christians and Muslims: Together in overcoming poverty. 2. This Message of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has become a tradition cherished by us all, which is looked forward to each year and this is certainly a cause for joy. It has become, over the years, an occasion of cordial encounter in many countries between many Christians and Muslims. It often addresses a matter of shared concern, making it therefore conducive to a confident and open exchange. Are not all these elements immediately perceived as signs of friendship among us for which we should thank God? 3. Coming to the theme of this year, the human person in a situation of impoverishment is undoubtedly a subject at the heart of the precepts that, under different beliefs, we all hold dear. The attention, the compassion and the help that we, brothers and sisters in humanity, can offer to those who are poor, helping them to establish their place in the fabric of society, is a living proof of the Love of the Almighty, because it is man as such whom He calls us to love and help, without distinction of affiliation.
THE pictures we see in the newspapers and television screen in these days, after the epic flood brought about by devastating tropical storm “Ondoy” have many stories to tell which are beyond words. Many of the victims of super typhoon Ondoy has a scary experience to narrate.
While we keep in our imagination the pictures that invite our deepest sympathy, and even listen in our hearts to their desperate cries for help, the victims agonizing and angry complaints at the slowness or absence of response from Disaster Preparedness Program, let us see in this situation a call to everyone for compassion. If there were no graft and corruption in our government, our government would be more prepared to respond to such crisis. Typhoon Ondoy’s destructive path may be the worst flood in more than half a century.
Through the ravages of nature in the past, the Filipino sense of compassion, which we also call “bayanihan,” has been called forth. The pictures we have seen in the past few days are pictures of Filipinos responding to the call for compassion, of people willing to “suffer with,” people with the spirit of “bayanihan.” We pray against typhoons, earthquakes, floods and other natural calamities. But when they do occur, the heroism of the Filipino comes out. We salute, for example, to that 18-year old teen-ager, Muelmar Magallanes, who lost his life after saving more than a dozen neighbors, the last of whom was a six-month old baby. This one heroic example is an inspiration of our appeal with the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action. The CBCP NASSA has been mobilized to help with its limited resources the victims of the flood. Relief goods have started to be gathered and distributed to the flood-affected provinces around Metro Manila. Caritas Manila has started to respond to the flood victims in Metro Manila. Compassion is drawing many Filipinos to unite with their unfortunate brothers and sisters. Social Action Centers
ArChBiShoP AngEL n. LAgDAMEo, DD Archbishop of Jaro CBCP President September 29, 2009
The Liturgical Year and Inculturation
13th Asian Liturgy Forum (ALF) South-East Asian Region, September 16-20, 2009 Bahay Pari, San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex, Edsa, Makati City
WE, the delegates to the 13th Asian Liturgy Forum of SouthEast Asia, met from September 16-19, 2009 to discuss the timely and urgent topic of Liturgical Year and Inculturation. The meeting was held in BahayPari of San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex, Makati City, Philippines, under the auspices of His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila to whom we express profound gratitude. The delegates to the meeting came from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. We are now pleased to share the result of our three-day meeting. 1. The history of the liturgical year shows that the calendar of feasts has been constantly adjusting itself to political, cultural, and religious environment of local Churches. This should serve as a guiding principle in our work of inculturating the liturgical year. 2. We note that inculturation normally takes place within the framework of approved liturgical books, whereby the substantial unity of the Roman Rite is preserved. Hence, the inculturation of the liturgical calendar does not result in a totally new calendar that is an alternative to the typical edition of the Roman Rite. 3. However, we acknowledge that inculturation might not always be sufficient to address certain local needs. We would not preclude the creation of particular liturgical calendars while retaining the register of feasts of the Roman Rite. 4. Roman traditional liturgical symbols may need to be adjusted in accord with the seasons of the year in the local Church. This would be applicable, for example, to liturgical feasts like Christmas and Easter whose original symbols do not correspond to existing seasons of the year in a particular Church. 5. Inspired by liturgical history, we recognize the role of local cultural and social traditions in the institution of some liturgical feasts like the Chair of St. Peter in Rome, which originated in the ancestral feast of ancient Rome called parentalia. In accord with liturgical norms, local Churches could institute feasts derived from their traditional and other established practices. 6. Likewise, the cycle of human work has shaped some liturgical celebrations like Rogation and Ember days. We believe that in the industrial world marked by the rhythm of work and rest, production and consumption, and strikes and negotiations, the Church should similarly establish pertinent liturgical feasts. 7. In regions where popular pious exercises abound and continue to be meaningful to the faithful the liturgical calendar can be enriched by the integration of popular religious practices with the liturgical feasts. 8. Sometimes political situations have left their mark on the liturgical calendar as witnessed by the institution of the feasts of Christ the King and St. Joseph the Worker. Local Churches may propose similar feasts to accompany the faithful across political systems. In conclusion, given that time is relative, that situations are provisional, and that culture and traditions are in constant evolution, the Church should continue to revise, reinvent, and create liturgical feasts that meet the actual needs of the faithful. That in all things God may be glorified.
We all know that poverty has the power to humiliate and to engender intolerable sufferings; it is often a source of isolation, anger, even hatred and the desire for revenge. It can provoke hostile actions using any available means, even seeking to justify them on religious grounds, or seizing another man’s wealth, together with his peace and security, in the name of an alleged “divine justice”. This is why confronting the phenomena of extremism and violence necessarily implies tackling poverty through the promotion of integral human development that Pope Paul VI defined as the “new name for peace” (Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 1975, n. 76). In his recent Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate on integral human development in charity and truth, Pope Benedict XVI, taking into consideration the current context of efforts to promote development, underlines the need for a “new humanistic synthesis” (n. 21), which, safeguarding the openness of man to God, gives him his place as the earth’s “centre and summit” (n. 57). A true development, then, must be ordered “to the whole man and to every man” (Populorum Progressio, n. 42). 4. In his talk on the occasion of the World Day for Peace, 1st January 2009, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI distinguished two types of poverty: a poverty to be combated and a poverty to be embraced. The poverty to be combated is before the eyes of everyone: hunger, lack of clean water, limited medical care and inadequate shelter, insufficient educational and cultural systems, illiteracy, not to mention also the existence of new forms of poverty “…in advanced wealthy societies, there is evidence of marginalization, as well as affective, moral and spiritual poverty…” (Message for the World Day of Peace, 2009, n. 2). The poverty to be embraced is that of a style of life which is simple and essential, avoiding waste and respecting the environment and the goodness of creation. This poverty can also be, at least at certain times during the year, that of frugality and fasting. It is the poverty which we choose which predisposes us to go beyond ourselves, expanding the heart. 5. As believers, the desire to work together for a just and durable solution to the scourge of poverty certainly also implies reflecting on the grave problems of our time and, when possible, sharing a common commitment to eradicate them. In this regard, the reference to the aspects of poverty linked to the phenomena of globalization of our societies has a spiritual and moral meaning, because all share the vocation to build one human family in which all - individuals, peoples and nations—conduct themselves according to the principles of fraternity and responsibility. 6. A careful study of the complex phenomenon of poverty directs us precisely towards its origin in the lack of respect for the innate dignity of the human person and calls us to a global solidarity, for example through the adoption of a “common ethical code” (John Paul II, Address to The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, 27 April 2001, n. 4) whose norms would not only have a conventional character, but also would necessarily be rooted in the natural law written by the Creator in the conscience of every human being (cf. Rom 2, 14-15). 7. It seems that in diverse places of the world we have passed from tolerance to a meeting together, beginning with common lived experience and real shared concerns. This is an important step forward. In giving everyone the riches of a life of prayer, fasting and charity of one towards the other, is it not possible for dialogue to draw on the living forces of those who are on the journey towards God? The poor question us, they challenge us, but above all they invite us to cooperate in a noble cause: overcoming poverty! Happy ‘Id al-Fitr! JEAn-LouiS CArDinAL TAurAn President ArChBiShoP PiEr Luigi CELATA Secretary
© Noli Yamsuan /RCAM
of other Dioceses may join the campaign by sending to CBCP NASSA whatever they may collect. Profound gratitude to the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council and the US Bishops’ Conference – Catholic Relief Services. They were among the first to respond. Other Institutions like the RED CROSS, have also started to respond to the call for compassion, as we have seen in GMA network and ABS-CBN network in the spirit respectively of “KAPUSO” and “KAPAMILYA.” We bend our knees in prayer for salvation against natural calamities, but when they do come, we are not so helpless as not to respond with heroism. We have said it before and we say it again “In the Church, no one is so poor as to have nothing to give, and no one is so rich as to have nothing to receive.” We are humbled by the crisis that come to us. We pray to God and appeal for our neighbor.
© Mark Christian Ribaya
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
OUR Gospel today begins with the most basic and decisive question: “What must I do to share in everlasting life?” (Mark 10:17). Christians should not only ask themselves this question. Even more important, they should always raise it every day, so they will always have some direction in their lives. We always ought to have a reason for living—and a correct one. But it is important to get the sense of the question. The inquiry does not assume that eternal life is a reward for our work. Both in Judaism and in Christianity, eternal life, life with God, life in the Kingdom of God—this is a gift. We do not work for it. But this offer of God requires our response. How do we respond to his offer? It is unfortunate that many continue to hold false views on the relationship between God’s offer and our response. For some, God is a God who is a heavenly bookkeeper. He keeps a ledger in which good acts are entered on the credit side. They think that as long as the trial balance shows that the credit side is weightier than the debit side, they will inherit eternal life. For others, the relationship is basically concerned with the “As-long-as-I-do-not-harm-anyone” mentality. As long as they do not offend their neighbor, they are of the belief that God will reward them. It is like saying that a good driver is one who has never been involved in a vehicular accident, or that a good engineer is one whose projects have never been destroyed by earthquake. When we hold these or similar views, we are like the man in today’s Gospel. At first blush, we would think he is an ideal
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time -Year B, (Mark 10:17-30); October 11, 2009
Cost of discipleship
man. Because love of God is obviously expressed in the love of neighbor, all that Jesus asked him was about the second segment of the Decalogue (Mark 10:19; cf Exod 20:12-16). And the man said he kept all these since childhood. Nobody could be more ideal. But before we venture to imitate him, we could probably ask: has it occurred to us that we fulfill the commands simply because we live in comfort? Would it be different if we were living in deprivation? Or, have we consciously made a decision to follow them, or we are able to follow them simply because we do not have the opportunity to do the opposite? We do not steal, for example, simply because there is nothing to be stolen? The truth is, we can follow many commands of the Decalogue by doing nothing. But the Gospel is about doing something. In Mark, a Christian must go beyond the Old Testament morality, and therefore we have to take a further step. Not only that we do nothing against the commandments; even more important, we imitate Jesus, following his footsteps. That is discipleship. And that what is distinctively Christian. (To follow the Ten Commandments is not distinctively Christian. The Jews have them. The Muslims observe them.) But discipleship is about renunciation of our selves. Eternal life is for those who are ready to lose their life: “Whoever would preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will preserve it” (Mark 8:35). And our Gospel, being like the previous Sunday’s, which is found in the Markan section of the instructions on discipleship, is a commentary on this text. The renunciation of our selves includes the renunciation of our possessions.
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Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Fr. Russel Bantiles
Bishop Pat Alo
Take care of the Mass!
“PAMBANSANG Buwan ng Katekesis” is September, says Word and Life’s “Patnubay sa Misa”, a mass guide in Tagalog that we are using in Tarragona Filipino Catholic Community (TFCC) for the past seven months. And taking advantage of this theme, I started giving short catechesis to the massgoers, using Powerpoint presentations, before the Final Blessing of the Eucharistic celebrations. (I hope liturgists—and other liturgy “experts”—would not react against this method, for I deem it opportune the time before the final blessing to give a little catechesis—in lieu of announcements— because, for the moment, it’s hard to gather an audience after the mass. As soon as I give the final blessing, everyone would disperse.) There’s an urgent need to impart catechesis—not only the opportunity to celebrate masses in Tagalog – to OFW’s here, because without it, it would be hard for them to appreciate the liturgical celebrations. Without due appreciation and reverence towards the Holy Eucharist, the Mass would just be—in the words of Bishop Rimando (Auxiliary Bishop of Davao)—like “ordering food in a restaurant”. *** “We will dedicate at least five minutes in silence before starting the mass”, I said, as I took the microphone and interrupted the growing uproar among children running to and fro in the Church alley, among mothers exchanging beso-beso and the latest craze in town, friends sharing experiences, etc. “Whenever we have visitors at home, we always make sure that the house is orderly and we make some basic preparations. It’s the same with the Holy Eucharist: we have to prepare ourselves to receive Jesus in our heart,” I explained. Immediately, a deafening silence ensued. The same silence took place right after communion when over the microphone, I invited everyone to spend a moment of silence, thanking God for the Holy Communion that we received. It’s amazing how we, Filipinos, still conserve a great deal of docility even in other countries! I can’t find any reason why this can’t be observed in our parishes there in the Philippines. *** “Had Vilma Santos been here in front, I’m sure all of you would be vying for the nearest bench, to be seated near the actress,” I noted. They all laughed, thinking it was a joke. “But Jesus is here in front of us! Is He less important than Vilma Santos?” I saw some of those who understood transferred to the front pews. Before the Mass started, I noticed that most mass-goers preferred the seats near the door, so that the front pews are left vacant. Perhaps, we only wanted to feel more comfortable, that’s why we prefer seats located near the door and far from the altar. But is there a place more comfortable than that which is near Jesus? *** “For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while you say to the poor man, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2: 2-4) As these words of the Second Reading were proclaimed, suddenly a man, wearing shorts and with no shirt, entered through the door and walked right in front of the altar, kneeled at the first pew and started to weep. “How well he understood my analogy about Vilma Santos,” I thought to myself. I made a gesture to others to take him out. They persuaded him but he refused. After the proclamation of the Gospel and before giving the homily, I personally asked the man, who – I immediately perceived – is drunk, to leave the church out of respect to the on-going mass celebration. He resisted at first, but when he noticed that various Filipinos are surrounding him, he gave in. Reaching the door, two local police officers accompanied him to we don’t know where. I don’t think it’s depriving him to pray in the church or making distinctions, like the Apostle James has warned us against. It’s simply a question of showing respect to the Holy Eucharist that we should wear, at least, presentable clothing during the Eucharistic celebration. In the same way that we wear our best attire when we meet an important person, why can’t we do the same in meeting Jesus in the Holy Eucharist? And of course, it’s totally disrespectful for someone drunk to meet Jesus in the Eucharist! *** If we really want to celebrate September as “Pambansang Buwan ng Katekesis”, I think, we, priests, need to place more emphasis on some aspects of our faith that are already given less importance, neglected or taken for granted, like some important details in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Negligence, ignorance or simply our lack of sensitivity in these things could affect so much the solemnity of the celebration. And who else than the priest himself could well remind the people of the importance of these things?
Enigma of obedience
WHEN St. Augustine in his treatise “De Civitate Dei” (the City of God) talks about the life of pious obedience as “the mother and guardian of all virtue” (14.2), we are then not surprised why the Church and religious orders have given it prime importance. For the religious clergy and congregations, it is the main of the three vows or public promises. The one public avowal of the Diocesan or secular clergy at the time of holy Ordination is obedience to their Bishop, though poverty and chastity are presupposed in pledges made through other contracts. In the Roman Catholic Church priests stay single for life. At the momentous and decisive event of our salvation by the passion and death of Jesus on the cross, He prayed in a solemn tone of obedience to His Heavenly Father: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine” (Lk. 22:42). So He became the victor by the obedience of the cross. He also demonstrates how we may solve hopeless situations by a life of prayer and union with God. Let’s go back to history from the very beginnings: the pride of Lucifer or Satan with his angels who refused obedience and was cast to hell (cf. Rev. 12:7). The story of our first parents Adam and Eve who were driven out of Paradise because they followed the devil’s enticements to disobey God (pls. refer to Gen. 3:1-24). How many vocations have been lost through disobedience! Learn from history. You regret too late when you reach the point of no return. No wonder the book of Proverbs has this: Vir obediens loquetur victoriam, “the obedient man speaks victory” (Prov. 21:28). The word obedient is derived from the Latin ob and audire which means “to listen to”. Such is the example of Our Blessed Mother Mary who always listened to and pondered on God’s words. “Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk. 2:19). Of course, it is not simply listening but likewise fulfilling God’s will, which naturally also implies obeying and respecting legitimate authority which is also willed by God for the good of family, society and nations (cf. Rom. 13:1-7). It is also equally true that one cannot obey if he or she does not care to listen to proper instructions. Before you learn to command you must first learn to obey. In the two cities spoken of by St. Augustine (the city of God and the earthly city), we may say that the earthly city tends to depreciate the value of obedience in favor of a false sense of freedom that ends in its own nemesis or destruction. It is characterized by its affectation of total independence and self-sufficiency. It presents itself as the very antithesis of the life of God. God’s infallible word warns and assures us that at the very end of life when we face God’s judgment everyone gets what he or she deserves (cf. Mt.25:31) 25:31-46).
Congratulate yourself: you are human
“HELP me, Bo. I’m falling in love with my boss.” I’ve known Lucy for some time now and her silliness betrays a deep spiritual maturity in this married woman. “Tell me about it,” I said solemnly. “Oh Bo, he’s gorgeous. He’s a cute American and I get red all over whenever I’m in front of him.” “Pierce Brosnan look alike?” “He’s got a tall nose and you know my husband’s pango.” “Let me guess. Your husband’s probably Filipino.” “And you should hear my boss talk. He speaks English so fluently.” “Hmm, I wonder why…” “Oh Bo, what should I do?” I smiled and said, “First of all, congratulations.” “For what? I feel dirty. Sinful. Evil to the bone. I don’t like feeling this way. Bo, I’m a married woman!” “Congratulations because you’re human. Do you think married women don’t get attracted to men other than their husbands?” “Well, I thought it wouldn’t happen to me.” “Let me ask you a few questions. First, do you see your boss in private places?” “Of course not! I don’t even dare ride in the same car with him even if it’s a business trip. I just pop up wherever the meeting is!” “Good girl. Do you fantasize about him?” “No. I’d like to… but I’ve been able to get rid of thoughts like that so far.” “Fantastic. Next question: When you dress up in the morning, do you find yourself dressing better, putting on more make-up, for Mr. Pierce Brosnan? “Oh why do you know my torments?” “It’s my job.” “Honestly, I get tempted to do that. When I open my closet, I want to pick the sharpest dress with a great matching scarf when I know I’ll be in a meeting with him. But I simply say no.” “Lucy, can I congratulate your husband right now? He’s one lucky chap.” She smiled and hugged me. “Thanks. I knew you’d say that.” “Okay, I’ve got a few recommendations.” “I’m writing it down here,” she pointed to her brain. “Do you have a picture of Mr. Pango in your table?” “Yes.” “Good. Enlarge it. About five meters by nine meters.” She laughed. “Next?” “Can your husband sometimes pick you up for lunch?” “I think he can squeeze that in.” “When he does, be sure that you kiss each other in front of everyone else in the lips for not less than twentyfive minutes. Tell the world—and your boss—that you’re a happily married woman!” Lucy left happy that day. And so did I. Because of her, I knew there was hope for humanity.
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
of the sex club and raped. The horrific abuse was videotaped to be sold and spread over the internet as child pornography. This is nothing unusual, such child sexual abuse is commonplace here with the complicity of corrupt officials who give operating permits to the sex clubs. The uncontrolled flood of foreign and local sex tourists hungry for sex with minors are the big spenders. They enjoy impunity from investigation, arrest, and prosecution. Between January and August this year almost 4 million tourists entered the Philippines, how many of them were single males? This is an increase of 4% over this time last year according to Tourism Secretary Ace Durano. According to some critics, the root of the problem is the non prosecution of the suspects due to corruption, bribery and political influence. However there are too few prosecutors due to low pay, huge case work and the failure of police to investigate, gather and present credible evidence against abusers and traffickers. Meanwhile, the children suffer unbelievable abuse in this modern sex slavery. Foreign governments, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank give millions of tax payers money to the Philippine government for the so-called “development projects” much of it is siphoned off by corrupt officials for lavish living. But little is given to NGO’s providing safe havens and legal assistance to the countless victims of child sexual exploitation especially done by local and foreign nationals. And at what stage is the prosecution of that suspected pedophile, an official of the World Health Organization caught in the act with small boys in his car in Metro Manila? Unless there is an awaking among Filipinos to defend the rights of exploited children, hundreds of pedophiles and sex tourists will continue to abuse minors with impunity.
Child labor provokes boycott of Philippine export
By Fr. Shay Cullen
THE United States has called for a boycott of a dozen Philippine exports because of the widespread use of child labor in agriculture, tobacco, pig raising, fireworks and the making of child pornography. The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) acting under the US Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 and 2008 says some Philippines exports should be boycotted by US customers. This is a devastating blow to the Philippine economy and should never happen but it is a powerful argument for the promotion and adoption of Fair Trade criteria. The US Department of Labor report covers 58 countries worldwide and the Philippines is among the offenders. The report is an indication of the international outrage and concern for the plight of hundreds of thousands of exploited Filipino children. The Philippine Department of Labor (DOLE) says it is doing all it can to stop the abuse. Many of the Filipino ruling elite living in obscene luxury apparently have no knowledge or interest in the plight of the children. Children work as long as 12 hours a day on banana plantations that are sprayed with deadly pesticides and efforts by church and NGO groups to have them banned has largely been ignored by the powerful politically well-connected tycoons that own most of the export plantations. While there is much that needs to change, Fair Trade and ethical trading is growing in the country and boosting exports. Philippine Brand and Preda Fair Trade dried mango is what the government should be promoting and customers are buying. They are free of child labor, chemicals and additives and bring great benefits to children and their families. The proceeds help the children
of farmers and the victims of abuse. Fifteen year-old Amabelle was telling her story and being supported and comforted by Maria, the social worker. This safe haven is PREDA Children’s Home partially supported by the sale of Preda Fair Trade Dried mangos. Here, she found a safe haven and protection from her sexual abusers
Challenges / B1
and exploiters. She told how she was brought from her rural village, lured with the promise of a job in a posh hotel but instead sold to a sex club. She owed money for transport, food, board and lodging and would be jailed if she refused to pay. She was forced to dance nude while being video taped. Later she was taken to a cubicle at the back
Jesus. We love just like Jesus. In the same manner that Jesus was compassionate, understanding, helpful and forgiving, in the same measure, we should love one another. And the second consequence is that as we love our fellowmen we extend the love of Jesus around and make it available to others. The love we receive from Him we also share with others. The late Pope Paul VI of happy memory once said that when so many people are hungry and many families suffer from destitution, when so many are ignorant and helpless, then all public and private squandering of wealth becomes an intolerable scandal. (PP, 53). Sins pile up among the better off, when the poor are abandoned to starve in the midst of plenty. Many more sins are committed when the poor suffer hunger, while food resources and supply are controlled to protect market prices, and money are spent in gambling and vice dens? Christian Charity rejects any Form of Wastage in resources Given the proliferation of gambling in our communities a continuing debate continues through the years: is gambling alright? There are even some gambling forms that are considered legal, like cockfighting in the cockpits, while the Government, without parallel in any government in the world, sponsors gambling joints in the manner of the casinos. There is always that thin line that argues the legality and morality of gambling forms and other games of chance. Assuming that everything given to make gambling as legal as practiced without fraud, without deceit, etc. and that no one is putting at stake the family resources for food, home, health, education and security—worth considering by the Christian is the massive poverty existing in the communities in the country, (the hunger, the near destitution among the poor, the lack of housing, the unavailability of
work, health facilities, etc.). Then we ask: Given the conditions of massive poverty around us, it is right and according to the teaching of Christianity to encourage and support the massive practice of gambling? A study on the Filipino practice of gambling is very much needed by development planners, the resource managers, the potential capitalization handlers, the values (moral, religious, social and cultural) involved, weakened and destroyed, the syndicates involved and the corruption engendered in the community, governance, military and political. And all these linkages within a network required sponsorship and protection. It is indeed a service of love for the Filipinos that a serious study be done on the way the gambling syndicates operate: the more than two dozen types of gambling operating in the country. The truth is the majority of the gambling players are losers (even considering the work provided the minor partners like the Kobrador, balasador, rebisador, etc.). The biggest winner are always the syndicates who run the gambling games and they are well protected and are capable of doling out protection money. The idea of a study done in charity is to be positive in its approach, radical in its analysis and more motivating in the alternatives it can offer. It will not be surprising if at the end of the study and the beginning of the motivation of alternative practices, the Filipino people will take up the patriotic practice of supporting a practice that puts aside a small crumb each day where at the end of a national collective effort everyone, as every Filipino, will end up winners! There is the positive dream where in very little things everyone who contributes the littlest scrap will end up achieving a dream, once upon a time, only a distant vision. A Long history of gambling among Filipinos
The challenge to impart what is good in practice (of individuals related to their resources in a community and society at large) is doubly difficult; it is intertwined with both history and culture. It appears from historical accounts that long before the Spanish colonizers arrived in 1521 there already was the deeply rooted practice of gambling. In a report that covered the years 1576 –1582 it was mentioned that already reports of pernicious gambling existed among the natives and the same were the source of quarrels among the natives who did great harm to one another. (BLAIR AND ROBERTSON, Philippine History, Vol. IV, p. 107). Gambling was rampant in boats at sea that when the vessels arrive at the port the seamen were left nearly half naked on account of the gambling where they lost even their clothing at sea. (BLAIR AND ROBERTSON, Philippine History, Vol. 10, p. 86). If we look at the history of our people there is a lot to be said about the wastage in terms of time, chances and material (money) resources. We immediately see how deeply imbedded in the culture of our people is the practice of gambling. But this is only in terms of time; the history stretched centuries back, even before the Spanish colonizers were here. Could it be that our Chinese neighbors brought the practice to our shores? Wastage in gambling had Tainted the Culture But the more challenging part of the practice and history of gambling where Filipinos learned to take the risks, a practice with negative values had already infected the culture and the practice that had been part of the tradition of our people. Many had taken chances for an “imagined” better instead of employing “certain” industry and hard work. Many had taken gambling lightly and had considered it as recreation. Two traits put together, “Baka
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sakali” and “Bahala na” had in this gambling practice been responsible for many tragic reversals in people’s life. The first characteristic of “perhaps making it” (Baka sakali) is at the heart of that gambling practice. For some, taking risks is better than exerting serious effort. That is the indolent attitude of gaining profit without effort which is diametrically opposed to the Christian way of making gains through pains, or as already we have seen in the past, one method that is ready to suffer, die to one’s selfishness and later to rise to new life or new way of being. The “Bahala na” attitude is worse, because it is the careless, “happen-what-may” attitude that is mixed with a corrupted religious attitude: “let the gods be” mind-set. Love Challenges All to Change To change all these is to lend the people a new attitude that will combine faith with effort, desire with values. Here is where we see and appreciate the primacy of formation in the process of change, and the priority of evangelization in the development of peoples. And therefore, whether there was the economic meltdown or not, whether in crisis or in plenty, the greatest leveler of all and in all needs is Charity, the love that God Our Father has taught us in Jesus His Son. We must support and train co-workers in the ministry of love. And let me end with the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “and these charity workers need a ‘formation of the heart’: they need to be led to that encounter with God in Christ which awakens their love and open their spirits to others. As a result, love of neighbor will no longer be for them a commandment imposed, so to speak, from without, but a consequence deriving from their faith, a faith which becomes active through love.” (DCE, 31). In the end, let those workers be us. At any given tie in the history of believers, let all of us be workers in God’s love.
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That is the price to be paid for following Jesus. That is our response to the offer of eternal life. It is unfortunate that we have so many decent people who call themselves Christians but have not embraced discipleship. They have not gone beyond the Old Testament ethics. For them, not harming anyone else, or fulfilling the external signs of being Catholic—that is already enough. They lack something: the renunciation of themselves to allow the Spirit to work in them. Of course, it is often argued that as part of our renunciation, we contribute something to the poor. But often we do this in terms of our definition of what renunciation shall consist of. Often enough, as long as it does not cost us much, we allow ourselves to be deprived of something—our spare cash. Inside, however, we do not really want to let go of our comfort and fabulous lifestyle. We are
like the man in the Gospel who could not accept the challenge of discipleship because we really hold on to our possessions. Not surprisingly, Jesus told his disciples: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:23). And to make sure that his disciples heard it correctly, he added: “My sons, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:24b-25). Clearly, discipleship is not about doing nothing; on the contrary, it is about doing something: it requires the renunciation of ourselves, and of what we have so that our ultimate value will be none other than Jesus and his kingdom. Only then can we walk in accord with God’s will, and, having truly responded to God’s offer in grace, experience eternal life.
Moral Assessment Technical Assessment
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
AIDEN Breslin (Dennis Quaid) is a workaholic detective who specializes in forensic dentistry. He buries himself in his work in order to fill in the void left by the death of his wife after she lost her battle with cancer. In the process, Breslin has become an uncaring and detached father to his two sons and is more concerned with the mystery behind a series of killings rooted in the Biblical Prophesy of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. As he is lead from one murder to another and draws closer to solving the puzzle, he realizes the shocking connection between himself, the four cases and the family he has abandoned. HORSEMEN begins with a story about four psychologically imbalanced people impersonating the symbols of death and destruction in Revelations and ends to become a frustrating mellow drama about the victims of social indifference
and parental desertion. The director’s attempt to force feed the message to his audience turns to be a muddled series of carnage scenes and lecture about not neglecting our loved ones. The camerawork is not tight enough to deliver effective tension filled moments. The post production works are decent but not outstanding. And for a mystery-thriller, it fails to achieve that “edge of your seat” experience for the audience. Is work priority over family? The obvious and expected answer is “no”, however, there are instances when this is easier said than done. In these times, when most families have both parents working to support the needs of their children, it is almost easy to rationalize that the time spend away from the home is actually time sacrifice to build the home. But is it really worth it? The movie reminds us that parents need to care for
Title: Horsemen Cast: Dennis Quaid, Ziyi Zhang, Lou Taylor Pucci, Clifton Collins, Patrick Fugit Producers: Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, Andrew Form Screenwriter: Dave Callaham Music: Jan A.P. Kaczmarek Editor: Jim May, Todd E. Miller Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller Cinematography: Eric Broms Distributor: Lions Gate Films Location: USA Running Time: 110 min. Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above
their children physically and emotionally. Nothing can ever replace the time one spends with them to share memories, lessons and experiences. However, this message is drown in the series of senseless killings, gruesome violence, offensive scenes and language.
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Look for the images of rosary, Candle and Bishop’s staff. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
Title: Yaya and Angelina: The Spoiled Brat Movie Cast: Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., Iza Calzado, Aiko Melendez, Jomari Yllana, Leo Martinez, Roxanne Guinoo, Sheena Halili, Victor Aliwalas Director: Mike Tuviera Producers: Jose Mari Abacan, Ogie Alcasid, Mike Tuviera, Michael V. Screenwriters: Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., Uro Q. dela Cruz Genre: Comedy Distributor: GMA Films Location: Manila Running Time: 100 min. Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance
Bagama’t may angking talino ay labis naman ang kapilyahan ni Angelina (Ogie Alcacid) kung kaya’t walang tumatagal ditong yaya. Matapos ang pagkuha ng ilang mga yaya para kay Angelina, tanging si Yaya Rosalinda (Michael V.) lamang ang makakatagal sa kakulitan ng alaga. Sa umpisa’y maayos ang pakikisama ni Angelina kay Yaya Rosalinda, ngunit hindi magtatagal ay magiging sunod-sunod na rin ang kapilyahang gagawin nito sa yaya hanggang sa dumating ang araw na mapilitan rin ang mga magulang ni Angelina na palayasin si Yaya Rosalinda. Ngunit isang araw ay kakailanganin ni Angelina ang tulong ng yaya nang ito ay makidnap ng mga teroristang gustong patayin ang bibisitang Dukesa ng Wellington. Makaligtas kaya sila at magkaayos pa kaya silang dalawa? Kahanga-hanga ang talino ng dalawang pangunahing tauhan na sina Michael V. at Ogie Alcacid na mga mismong nakaisip ng karakter ni Yaya at Angelina. Mula sa mumunting mga kuwentong mag-yaya na sumikat sa telebisyon ay nagawang pelikula na ang kanilang mga likhang tauhan. Nakakaaliw silang makita sa sinehan lalo pa’t kilala na ang kanilang tambalan. Maayos at manlinaw ang kuha ng kamera at mahusay maging ang pagkakaganap ng mga pangalawang tauhan. May mga mangilan-ngilan ding nakakatawang eksena. Ngunit pawang nasayang ang pelikula dahil hindi nito napalawig ang kuwento at relasyon ng mag-yaya. Tulad sa palabas sa telebisyon, nanatili itong mababaw na walang hinangad kundi ang magpatawa. Hindi naghangad man lang ang pelikula na maglahad ng mas malalim at mas makabuluhang kuwento maliban sa pagpapatawa. Marami pa sanang pwedeng gawin sa kuwento ngunit nakuntento na lamang silang manatili sa manipis na hibla ng kwentong mag-yaya. Bagama’t lumaking spoiled brat at may kapilyahan, kitang dalisay naman ang puso ni Angelina. May taglay man siyang kakulitan, hindi naman niya sinasadya ang mga nagagawang pananakit. May ilang eksena nga lang na nakakababahala tulad ng mga pagsabog at pananadyang pananakot at pagpapahiya sa kanyang mga yaya. Hindi ito dapat tularan ng mga bata at dapat silang magabayan sa panonood. Higit na kahangahanga si Yaya Rosalinda na nanatili ang malasakit sa- alaga sa kabila ng kakulitan at kapilyahan nito. Hindi sumusuko si Yaya Rosalinda sa alaga kahit pa hindi niya ito kadugo. Bagay na mahirap hanapin sa mga kasambahay at yaya sa kasalukuyang panahon. Ang nabuong relasyon sa mag-yaya ay dapat magsilbing halimbawa na wala sa dugo ang pagmamahal at pagmamalasakit, bagkus ito ay kusang tumutubo basta’t mayroon pagmamahal at mahabang pang-unawa ang mga higit na nakakatanda. Hindi rin magtatagumpay kailanman ang kasamaan sa kabutihan. Kahit pa walang armas, ay nagawa nila Yaya at Angelina na labanan ang mga armadong terorista sa masama nitong binabalak.
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
A Catechetical Publication of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education
ECCCE holds 2nd Summer Catechetical Institute for Priests
THE Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) conducted another Summer Catechetical Institute for Priests last April 20-24, 2009 at the Sta. Catalina Spirituality Center, Marcos Highway, Baguio City. The theme for this year’s assembly, Signs and Settings of Hope: Catechesis for Family and BECs, coincided with its objectives: 1) To gather priests in the spirit of communio-in-mission with special focus on catechesis as principal program of the Church in the Philippines; 2)To review the framework of the NCDP and its challenges; and 3) To present a working Family and BEC Catechesis. The program officially commenced in the afternoon of April 20, 2009 with the presentation of participants by Rev. Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos, ECCCE’s Executive Secretary. ECCCE Chairman, Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, DD, formally welcomed the delegates. Bishop Villegas also made an overview/ orientation of the program proper. He later initiated an afternoon of Prayer and Recollection which concluded with a Eucharistic Celebration officiated by Most Rev. Carlito D. Cenzon, DD. Summaries of Catechetical Encyclicals On the second day, the participants gathered early for the Eucharistic Celebration. The first speaker of the day, Rev. Fr. Antonio Rosales, OFM, gave the first three conferences of the program. The series of conferences were actually summaries of Catechetical Encyclicals. The first two conferences, an Overview of Evangelization in the Modern World (Evangelii Nuntiandi) were presented in the morning. Wrapping up his talk, Fr. Rosales shared that the encyclical “stands as a present-day challenge to all Catholics to develop an evangelizing attitude that moves them beyond what has become an all too comfortable personal salvation mindset to one of being willing witnesses of the risen Lord ─ Catholics with a renewed sense of their mission to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Fr. Rosales presented the Third Conference in the afternoon, a summary on Catechesis in Our Time (Catechesi Tradendae). In concluding his talk, he stressed that “As we read Catechesi Tradendae and consider its significance and implications for catechesis today, we would be well reminded of this more comprehensive context for understanding and engaging in catechetics. It is in fact an expression of the people of God.” The participants were invited to a Silent Adoration after the talk. Review of NCDP 2007 Most Rev. Francis de Leon, DD officiated the Holy Mass on April 22, 2009. Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos began the session with the presentation of the Fourth Conference which is a Review of the NCDP 2007: Prospects and Challenges. He stressed five important points in his talk: 1) Christian life as a Paschal experience: the gradual but total transformation of a person’s life into life-in-Christ; 2) Education in the faith, then, is a lifelong undertaking that follows both the free graces and inspirations of the Spirit as well as the natural psychological, sociological and anthropological rhythms of growth in our created human nature; 3) Catechists, with their human and specifically Christian qualities, influence significantly the successful use of any methodology. What the Philippine catechetical situation needs mostly are solidly formed catechist coordinators and catechists who are sensitive to the interplay of the divine and the human in daily life and especially in the catechetical process; 4) Being “attuned to the Holy Spirit” calls for great liberty in the choice of particular methods; 5) Any method that incorporates the triple characteristics of catechesis for the Philippines in the new millennium—integration, inculturation and communityforming—can serve with God’s grace to guide Filipinos today, to full Christian maturity. ‘Catechesis on Family, Life and Love’ Fr. Joel Jason gave the Fifth Conference on “Catechesis on Family, Life and Love”. In his talk titled,
“The Truth and Meaning about Human Sexuality” he presented as part of his introduction the result of a survey regarding two typical Filipino family scenarios and other related queries. He shared some striking points to the participants regarding the Christian view of Sexuality: • “When you see a young mother so beaming with delight at her own child, for that moment, all selfishness within her has given way to the sheer joy of seeing her child happy, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom. • When you see a father proud of his son who has just received his diploma, fruit of his years of working abroad, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom. • When you see a Mother Teresa dressing the wounds of a street person in Calcutta or an Oscar Romero giving his life in defense of the poor, that’s sexuality in its mature bloom. • When you see an elderly couple, weak and aged yet still so in love, simply content to know that the other is there, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom. • When you see a priest, after a day of selfless service, go to bed at night alone, yet embracing the world with him, that’s sexuality in its mature bloom. In conclusion, he said, “Human Sexuality is our HUMAN CAPACITY as whole persons… to enter into LOVE-GIVING, LIFE-GIVING unions… IN and THROUGH the body… in ways that are appropriate.” ‘BEC and Catechesis’ The Sixth Conference was a topic on “BEC and Catechesis” with Most Rev. Francisco Claver, DD, SJ as the resource speaker. After giving a brief sharing on the genesis of BEC in the Philippines and its various definitions, he also presented the different kinds of BECs. There are almost ninety-three different kinds of identified BECS all over the country and the three headings used to distinguish them from one another are liturgical, developmental and liberational. On the Origin of the Typology, he shared that from a research made back in 1984, they were able to come up with four categories, namely—the traditional parish, the Liturgical BEC, the developmental BEC and the liberational BEC. From the research also, he reports, the dioceses of the three regions of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao varied in their perception of where they were in regard to the kind of BECs they were forming: Luzon was at the beginning of the liturgical BEC stage; Visayas was further advanced at the liturgical BEC stage and moving toward the developmental stage; and Mindanao was at the developmental BEC stage and was almost midway toward the liberational. A workshop on Sharing of Experiences followed the said conference. A celebration of the Holy Eucharist opened day four with Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, DD as the main celebrant. After the “ritual” picture-taking, they had another workshop cum Regional Meeting and Planning. After important issues were settled, the workshop continued with a discussion on Practical Concerns. Bp. Villegas facilitated the discussion. Participants The 89 listed participants came from the Archdioceses of Manila, Lipa, and San Fernando-Pampanga; Dioceses of Antipolo, Balanga, Boac, Cabanatuan, Cubao, Daet, Gumaca, Iba, Laoag, Libmanan, Lucena, Malolos, Masbate, Novaliches, Romblon, San Jose- Nueva Ecija, San Pablo, and Sorsogon; Prelature of Infanta; and Apostolic Vicariates of Calapan and Tabuk. The annual gathering was exclusively being held for all Catechetical Directors of the different Archdioceses, Dioceses, Apostolic Vicariates and Prelatures in the Philippines. But the recently held summer institute included the clergy, after many priests who attended last year’s course expressed the desire to avail of the annual program since they urgently felt the need for an ongoing catechetical formation for their ministry and personal spiritual growth. ECCCE is hopeful that more dioceses will send representatives for this annual event.
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
Manila hosts Benedict XVI festival
His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales presided the opening Mass of Pope Benedict XVI Summer Festival of Catechesis on May 20, 2009 at the De La Salle University, Manila.
A RARE gathering of catechists and Christian living educators dubbed as Pope Benedict XVI Summer Festival of Catechesis and Christian Formation was held on May 20-22, 2009 at the Yuchengco Hall in De La Salle University, Taft Avenue, Manila. The summer festival was organized by the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) through the initiative of its Association of Catechetical Centers and Colleges / Universities with Religious Education (ACCCRE), together with the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), Archdiocesan Catechetical Ministry (ACM- Manila) and the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association (MAPSA). The purpose for the said meeting was to give an update and at
speaks to us in our life through the language of Human Experience. Therefore, we are to see AUTHENTIC SIGNS of GOD’S PURPOSE in the happenings, needs and desires in our own life experiences. The process of how to do this approach was taught. “Our preaching is not really an indoctrination with something alien from outside but the awakening of something within, as yet not understood but nevertheless present.” - Karl Rahner, SJ 3. Production of Catechetical Materials—The revolution in communication technology has made the use of multimedia resources in catechesis an absolute necessity. Much of catechetical effectiveness depends on the competent and intelligent use of the “tools” offered by modern science and technology which can help both direct and indirect catechesis [NCDP, 472]. The participants were led to the production of catechetical materials which could be of great help in doing catechesis and giving religious instruction with the guidelines set by the Church for the proper preparation and use of the materials. 4. Basic Biblio-Drama – Once described as Lectio Divina on stage, Biblio-drama is a wholistic approach in interiorizing the Word of God. It utilizes various theatre forms like dances, vignettes, plays and other exercises to enable one to be in touch with the Word. With ample moments of silence, reflection and processing, it seeks to discover the richness of the Scriptures, allowing the text and one’s life to meet. B. Pastoral Formation 1. Extension Programs of the School (Social Responsibility) – The Church as a Mother is under an obligation, to provide for her children an education by virtue of which their whole lives may be inspired by the spirit of Christ. At the same time will offer assistance to all peoples for the promotion of a well-balanced perfection of the human personality, for the good of society in this world and for the development of a world more worthy of man/woman [GE, 3] was offered here. The participants at this seminar-workshop were helped to create extension programs of the schools with proper guidelines and norms to be of better service to the school community and the communities being served by the school. 2. Liturgical Catechesis (Preparation of School Liturgical Celebrations) – For the liturgy to be able to produce its full effects, it is necessary that the faithful come to it with proper disposition, that their minds be attuned to their voices, and that they cooperate with heavenly grace lest they receive it in vain. Pastors of souls must, therefore, realize that when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the laws governing valid and lawful celebration. It is their duty to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaging in the rite and becoming enriched by it [SC, 11]. It is therefore the goal of this workshop to help those who are involved in the preparation of school liturgical celebrations to know the proper essentials of a liturgical celebration in schools. 3. Basic Ecclesial Community – BECs are visibly significant expressions of ecclesial renewal. They are small communities of Christians, usually of families who gather together around the Word of God and the Eucharist. They consciously strive
to integrate faith and daily life experiences. They are guided and encouraged by regular catechesis. Thus, this workshop prepared the participants in the proper understanding and programming for Basic Ecclesial Communities. 4. Media Literacy Education and Church Ministry – This module examines the dynamics of communication and media culture in the light of Christian principles. The course deals with analysis, evaluation and appreciation of print and non-print images and prepares the participants to design Action Plans for the promotion of “Media Awareness”. C. Catechesis and Religious Instruction 1. NCDP and Religion Textbook-Writing – The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: Only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity [CT,5]. It is aimed to guide participants in the use of the NCDP 2007 in the revision or writing of Religion textbooks. 2. E-Generation and Catechesis – In 1967 Pope Paul VI described modern people’s aspirations “to seek to do more, know more, and have more, in order to be more” [PP. 6]. These aspirations have been manifested ever more powerfully in the new trends which are pictured for us by the mall, the internet, cable TV and cellular phones. [NCDP, 58] This catechesis is intended to help catechists and Christian formators understand how this modern time technologies and gadgets affect religious instruction in the classroom and the values system of the Filipino people today. 3. Catechesis on St. Paul—Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed June 28, 2008—June 29, 2009 to be special Jubilee Year dedicated to St. Paul. This Pauline Year commemorates the 2,000th anniversary of the saint’s birth. This workshop focuses on St. Paul’s Life, Conversion and Mission that would help us understand the “signs of the times” in light of the ministry and writings of St. Paul and to appropriate St. Paul as the model of Catechists and Religion Teachers in his missionary boldness and pastoral solicitude. 4. Catechesis on Life—The Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. He says: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). Today there is a new cultural climate hostile to life. Many people justify certain crimes against life in the name of liberty; and in many countries laws have been adopted that legitimatize such practices. The aim of this seminar-workshop is to challenge all members of the Church to work on behalf of a new culture of human life, an authentic civilization of truth and love. A manual of guidelines or concrete action to be taken to reaffirm the value and inviolability of human life was expected to be produced at the end of the threeday session. 5. Mary: Model of Catechists, Star of Evangelization—Mary saw her Son Jesus “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favor”. As Jesus sat on her lap and later as He listened to her throughout the hidden life at Nazareth, this Son, who was “the only Son from
Festival / C6
the same time serve as an ongoing formation of Christian Living Educators and Catechists, and also to share experiences among the Catechists and Christian Living Educators in public and private school systems. Participants were composed of the following: School-based Catechists, Christian Living Educators, Volunteer Catechists, Campus Ministers, Catechetical Directors/Directresses, Religious Sisters, Seminarians, Subject Area Teachers of Catholic Schools and student leaders as well. The whole affair was divided into two important events - the assembly conferences and the concurrent sessions. The Assembly Conferences had the following topics and respective speakers: 1) Spirituality of Catechists and Religion Teachers, by Most Rev. Honesto C. Pacana, SJ, DD, Bishop of Malaybalay; 2) Synod of Bishops: The Word of God in the Life and Mind of the Church, by Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila; and 3) Strategic Directions on Integral Faith Formation, by Rev. Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos, Ed. D, CEAP President. While for the concurrent sessions which was held in the afternoon, the participants were sent to their respective groupings according to their chosen topic of interest. There was a variety of topics to choose from and religious and lay speaker-facilitators were invited to talk about relevant topics belonging to five different categories which are under their specific line of expertise. Workshops followed the inputs given by the speakers. The significant topics under each category were the following with its accompanying brief description: A. Methodologies and Teaching Strategies 1. Catechetical Methodology NCDP 2007—The revised NCDP chapter on methodology follows CT’s and GDC’s directives on the many and varied methods in catechesis and the content-method relationship (CT 31, 51-52, 59; GDC 148-149). It began with a “backgrounder” – a brief sketch of the changing catechetical situation beginning with the Spanish times to the present characterized by emphasis on the “experiential.” This brief review of how Filipinos accepted and nurtured their faith in the past set the stage for presenting contemporary methods and means on how to inspire Christian conversion, or strengthen and deepen the Faith life already present. 2. Banayad Method [Human Evocative Approach]—We believe that HUMAN EXPERIENCES are the locus of God’s revelation. God
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
THE Effects of the System of Government on the Environment of Teaching the Faith (The Eucharist in Particular) in Schools and/or Pastoral/ Catechetical Centers Over the past years, the Philippine government, through its Department of Education (DepEd), has somehow been supportive of the Catholic Church’s catechetical endeavors with the teaching of the Catholic religion to elementary and secondary students in public schools having been legally grounded in the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Such constitutional provision obliges the government, through its school heads, to allow the presence of student-catechists or professional catechists in public schools. They must, of course, have parental consent as well as ecclesiastical approval as clearly stated in Article XIV, section 3 (3): “At the option expressed in writing by the parents or guardians, religion shall be allowed to be taught to their children or wards in public elementary and high schools within the regular class hours by instructors designated or approved by the religious authorities of the religion to which the children or wards belong, without additional cost to the Government.” Local officials are generally supportive in the teaching of the Faith in schools since many of the officials both in the City and Provincial levels are Catholic Christians. Consequently, the teaching and promotion of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist among Catholic Christian children can be easily implemented especially through the support of Catholic principals in the public schools. Given enough support, the Catholic religion teachers/catechists are able to teach about the sacraments in general; and in particular to conduct or facilitate the flow of the First Communion activity for Grade 3 pupils.
Response to Survey Questionnaire for the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences
Guidelines and Strategies of the School and the Pastoral/Catechetical Centers in Imparting the Faith and the Promotion of the Eucharist in Particular The DepEd has existing guidelines for Faith instruction both in the elementary and High School department. Usually 30-45 minutes is allotted by the school head for the conduct of religion classes. This particular guideline is observed in most public schools all throughout the Philippines. Some schools (Catholic schools and universities) usually hold a once-a-month celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Others are according to the discretion of the administrator, more so, if he/she is not a Catholic. In most Catholic schools, Theology is the core of the curriculum wherein the entire community (academic and non-academic) are challenged to take part in the promotion of the Eucharist. The school welcomes participants from other sectors of faith and adapts the spirit of ecumenism in their dealing with them. This kind of approach attracts others which eventually lead to their Baptism and Confirmation to Catholic Faith. The guidelines and strategies that the school and pastoral/catechetical centers follow in terms of faith formation and Eucharistic celebration are actually varied. These are usually more evident and systematic through the Christian Living Education program and Campus Ministry program of the institutions/ centers, respectively. It includes, for example, guidelines on the preparation for and celebration of the Holy Mass such as the value of silence, the liturgical songs or music to be played, the various functions and roles of the serving ministry, the proper gestures before, during and after the mass, the gifts being offered and the manner in which these gifts are to be offered, among others. Other areas that promote the significance of the Holy Eucharist are the strengthening of Family Life Movement catechesis in the Church, the involvement of family in the Eucharist such as recitation of Prayer for the Family after communion prayer, bringing out the importance of Eucharistic Adoration, and giving of catechesis on the Holy Eucharist before the Mass. Ideally, in Catholic practices, Catechism accompanied by regular reception of the sacraments plays a vital role particularly in the promotion of the sacrament of the Eucharist in the different schools and pastoral/catechetical centers. Catechesis is vital in the formation of the faith and culminates in the celebration of the liturgy and especially in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
periods and communicated to the parents through circulars. Examples of such activities are: First Friday Masses, noonday masses, community day celebration, major Church feast days such as Sacred Heart of Jesus, Assumption of Mary, Birthday of Mary, Immaculate Conception, Feast day of the patron saint of the school, Ash Wednesday, and a lot more. The class retreats and recollections culminate in the celebrations of the sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist. There are also various service clubs or religious clubs in schools which give students the chance to serve as choir members, lectors, commentators, acolytes, ushers/usherettes, collectors, offerers, etc. Students look forward to insightful, relevant, interesting and meaningful homilies by the priests during the Holy mass. Students are also given opportunities to participate in mission-animation program of the Church which offers education in the faith and vibrant Eucharistic celebrations. CLE (Christian Living Education) teachers encourage their students to render service or active involvement in their respective parishes. Some priests, sisters or lay catechists/CLE teachers are also invited as resource speakers to talk during orientations or symposia on the Holy Eucharist. In diocesan catechetical centers, there are ongoing Basic Faith Formation Programs and as well as Eucharistic Adoration. Tasks of the National Commission on Catechesis in Strengthening the Promotion of the Eucharist in Schools and Pastoral Centers In order to strengthen the promotion of the Eucharist in schools and pastoral centers, the national commission on catechesis is tasked to do the following: to gather annually, all catechetical directors in the Philippines for a national assembly; to identify the strengths/weaknesses/common practices of each school in the promotion of the Eucharist; to invite resource persons to share meaningful, interesting and relevant knowledge about the Eucharist; to design, teach or demonstrate and implement modules that will address the basic needs and understanding of elementary, high school and tertiary students (the production of multimedia educational materials for the use of schools and parishes is an essential need); to update catechetical centers with new trends of teaching; another is to standardize the content
Problems and Challenges Faced by Schools and Pastoral/Catechetical Centers in Promoting the Eucharist Despite our catechists’ efforts, problems still arise (mostly in public schools) due to some major factors: First, is the insufficient time allotment or class schedule being given to catechists. Generally, the schedule given to the catechists is both insufficient and non-conducive for catechism classes. Students are restless after a hectic schedule of academic subjects resulting to an inactive participation. During religion class, only few are focused on listening to the religion teacher more so to participate in the practices for the Eucharistic celebration. The limited time allotment for faith formation results into less or inactive participation of the students during the Holy Eucharist. A good percentage of the student population doesn’t give reverence to the sacrament more so participate during the Eucharistic celebration proper. Some do not fully understand its relevance. The second common problem is the existence of uncooperative non-Catholic principals in some schools. Some catechists are having a difficult time in implementing the sacraments such as regular first Friday masses due to the indifference of some non-Catholic principals. The third major problem is the unavailability or indifference of the parents to attend catechetical seminars or orientations on the Eucharist being offered by the school. Some parents have to work even on Sundays to sustain the needs of the family while others are working overseas. In most cases, both parents are working to meet the family’s financial needs. Some claim that there is lack of witnessing on the part of parents and teachers. Students or children do not go to Mass regularly simply because their parents don’t. There is a low level of appreciation of the Eucharist as a sacrament of grace due to inadequate catechesis or instruction brought about by these factors. Other practical aspects or concerns also matter such as poor sound system, poor ventilation in the Church or venue, unprepared priests, lectors and commentators, and choir. The challenge is then posted on both the pastoral/catechetical centers and as well as their catechists: The challenge for the former is to equip their students with more creative and teaching skills, while for the latter, its implementation. The Program and Continuing Formation for the Promotion of Eucharist in Schools/Catechetical Centers or Other Centers of Learning and Formation The Campus Ministry offices in various Catholic schools as well as catechetical centers in various dioceses offer programs for the continuing formation or promotion of the Eucharist. In schools, for example, the campus ministry offices take charge of organizing schedule for Eucharistic celebrations in the grade/year level as well as in departmental or institutional levels. The schedule of spiritual activities are usually posted on the bulletin boards or student planners, announced during Homeroom
and format of the Liturgy since there are a lot of adaptations being implemented nationwide; and finally, to plan for developmental and relevant Eucharistic Congresses. Tasks of the Principals/Heads of Pastoral Centers in Strengthening the Promotion of the Eucharist in Schools and Pastoral Centers To strengthen the promotion of the Eucharist in schools and pastoral centers, the principals or heads of pastoral centers are tasked to support the importance of religious and spiritual activities so that these are implemented in their area of responsibilities. They are encouraged to support Holy Mass celebrations in their respective schools or in the parishes. Their remarkable support to the catechists marks an important role in the implementation of these activities. They are challenged to coordinate well its religious or spiritual activities with various offices such as Student Activities/Affairs, Campus Ministry, Christian Living Education area, Outreach Program, faculty members, student body and parents’ associations. They may also continue the scholarship program for training catechists. They are called to be witnessing leaders in a witnessing community. Recommendations In educational institutions, administrators, faculty, personnel, students and parents are encouraged to exert collaborative efforts in strengthening the holistic formation of all the members of the community, particularly its religious-spiritual and moral formation. School administrators must continue to support and strengthen school programs for the realization of their respective school’s vision-mission, objectives and thrust. They must realize their significant role in the implementation of the religious programs and activities in their respective areas. Parish involvement of their students, teachers and personnel must also be encouraged and supported. In connection to this, in the different dioceses and parishes, bishops and priests must strive to be faithful in their commitment to the ministry of the Word and the Eucharist. They must exert extra effort to study, read and update themselves so that they will be able to teach and preach in the language that is understandable and interesting for everyone. They must speak with sense, meaning and relevance. Besides teaching the basic essentials of the Holy Eucharist, they must also strengthen Family Life Catechesis and as well as train and empower lay leaders to be socially engaged and active through the Family Life Movement. (Prepared by ECCCE with the assistance of Siena College, Quezon City; College of the Holy Spirit, Manila; Bishop Obviar Evangelization Center, Tayabas; and Holy Trinity College of Puerto Princesa City.)
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
By Fr. Genaro Diwa
The Directory for Masses with Children
(no. 52). This is somewhat a tall order. This is also the reason for the creation of the new Eucharistic Prayers for children. The style is simple suited to the understanding of the children (no. 5). The work of translations must make this true. Even if the whole effort is to make this simple, the Directory is not unaware of some dangers in this regard: “Although a simpler style of language was adopted, the authors always had in mind the importance of avoiding the danger of childish language, which would jeopardize the dignity of the Eucharistic celebration, especially if it affected the words to be said by the celebrant himself” (no. 6). The principle of intelligibility includes the readings and the explanation of the word of God. This includes the choice of the readings and the homily. 2. Towards Masses with Adults “It is always necessary to keep in mind that these Eucharistic celebrations must lead children toward the celebration of Mass with adults, especially the Masses at which the Christian community must come together on Sundays” (no.21). Those who prepare and organize Masses with children should not lose sight of the fact that the children grow to maturity as they are gradually introduced into the cultural world of the adult members of the society. This is also applicable to all other ecclesial and age groups. The Constitution on Liturgy (art. 38) encourages this but it is to avoid the creation of ecclesiole or privilege, but to serve the faithful’s particular needs to deepen the Christian life in accord with the requirements and capacities of the members of the groups.” If this is so, then the Masses with children “should not be entirely special rites markedly different from the Order of Mass celebrated with a congregation” (no.21). The effort here “could not be a matter of creating some entirely special rite but rather of retaining, shortening, or omitting some elements or of making a better selection of text.” (no.3) Pursuing the principle that children’s Masses should lead to adult’s Masses, the Directory states that “some rites and texts should never be adapted for children lest the difference between Masses with children and the Masses with adults become too pronounced” (no. 38). This means that the Roman Missal is the norm on which the Masses with children are to be based. The Conference of Bishops is required to make adaptations of the Supplement to the Directory. If there is none yet then the following principles are to be our guides: first, every Mass with children will have to be prepared individually, taking into account the particular needs and situation of the group of children. Second, it is necessary to be guided by the operative principle that for the preparation of Masses with children the current Order of Mass is normative. It is clear that the Directory proposes an adaptation of the existing Order of the Mass and not creative liturgies for children. But the work of adaptation is clearly requiring a great deal of creativity. 3. Active Participation The Directory states that “the principles of active and conscious participation are in a sense even more significant for Masses celebrated with children. Every effort should therefore be made to increase this participation and to make it more intense” (no.22). This is the reason for all the efforts to adapt the celebration of the Mass for children. We see this in the various ministries and offices during Mass: Mass servers, readers, and song leaders; the place of singing and musical instruments in the celebration; the use of gestures and the visual elements; the observance of silence; and the numerous acclamations. Example: Invite children to take part in preparing and ornamenting the place where Mass will be celebrated, and prepare the chalice with the paten and the cruets (no. 29). During the celebration itself: the various ways of proclamation of the word of God (no. 47). The question of dramatization and rhythmic swaying is not explicitly addressed but we can say that these do not go contrary to this exhortation of the document “in view of the nature of the liturgy as an activity of the entire person and in view of the psychology of children, participation by means of gesture and posture should be strongly encouraged in Masses with children, with due regard for age and customs” (no. 33). There are many possibilities for active participation. We should avoid the tendency to make “active” to “super-active”, and “participation” to an excuse of liturgy worship. The caution is given to us: “In all this, it should be kept in mind that external activities will be fruitless and even harmful if they do not serve the internal participation of the children” (no. 22). 4. Instilling Eucharistic Values There is a close link between intelligibility and catechesis. When people find the Mass meaningless it usually is perceived as a religious activity disconnected from their life’s concerns and realities. That is why the Directory warns us that the liturgical formation of children must also be connected to their general education as Christians and humans: “indeed it would be harmful if their liturgical formation lacked such a basis” (no. 8). The values that the celebration of the Eucharist promote: community spirit, hospitality, capacity to listen and to seek forgiveness, sense of gratitude, generosity to the point of sacrifice, leadership, family and friendly meals and festive celebration. These human values are enriched in our celebrations, giving them Christian meaning. "one thing necessary," childhood is providentially intended to provide for an accumulation of resources that will be needed when the person, no longer a child, takes up, in increasing stages best accomplished gradually and without sudden innovations and changes, the responsibilities of adult life. Moreover, it would be a mistake to delay putting into the child's hands the weapons he needs in the struggle against evil, until evil has already established a beachhead in his soul. The school of thought that sees the confession of children only as a bore to the priest and a burden to the "little tot" who has no "mortal sins" with which to worry himself or the bored confessor makes no provision for the fact that the sacrament of Penance, as both priest and penitent should understand it in terms of spiritual direction and growth in sanctity, is not merely a spiritual launderette, but a means to spiritual refreshment, encouragement and growth. QUAM SINGULARI Decree on First Communion Sacred Congregation of the Discipline of the Sacraments August 8, 1910 In the precise determination of "the age of reason or discretion" not a few errors and deplorable abuses have crept in during the course of time. There were some who maintained that one age of discretion must be assigned to reception of the Sacrament of Penance and another to the Holy Eucharist. They held that for Confession the age of discretion is reached when one can distinguish right from wrong, hence can commit sin; for Holy Eucharist, however, a greater age is required in which a full knowledge of matters of faith and a better preparation of the soul can be had. As a consequence, owing to various local customs and opinions, the age determined for the reception of First Communion was placed at ten years or twelve, and in places fourteen years or even more were required; and until that age children and youth were prohibited from Eucharistic Communion. This practice of preventing the faithful from receiving on the plea of safeguarding the august Sacrament has been the cause of many evils. It happened that children in their innocence were forced away from the embrace of Christ and deprived of the food of their interior life; and from this it also happened that in their youth, destitute of this strong help, surrounded by so many temptations, they lost their innocence and fell into vicious habits even before tasting of the Sacred Mysteries. And even if a thorough instruction and a careful Sacramental Confession should precede Holy Communion, which does not everywhere occur, still the loss of first innocence is always to be deplored and might have been avoided by reception of the Eucharist in more tender years.
First / C7
© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM
The Liturgy and Catechesis In a catechism class, a catechist asked the students: “Why do we need to keep silent during the Mass?” One student replied with conviction: “We are asked to keep quiet during the Mass so as not to wake up those who are sleeping during the Mass.” Catechesis is necessary in the formation of the faith. But faith in order to be completed needs to be nourished by the Word of God and the Sacraments and the prayer life of each baptized. Catechesis culminates in the celebration of the liturgy and especially in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. This is what the Constitution on the Liturgy wants to say when it declares that the liturgy is the “source and the summit of the Christian life.” It also substantiates this declaration by saying that “every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the Priest and of his Body, which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.” (SC 7) We cannot deny the fact that there are many components to the process of the growth of faith. Our work for the building up of a just society, the education of our people, and the social action of the Church, all of these are important aspects of the healthy growth in faith. But, in all of these the Church would like to remind us that these should lead our people in the praise of God and their sanctification, i.e. the liturgy. It is here that the mystery of Christ and our salvation become clearly manifested. Such an end is always the point of the official teachings of the Church. The liturgy and especially the Holy Eucharist are not addenda to the formation of faith but the very end towards which Catechesis exists. “Catechesis should therefore be at the service of active, conscious and genuine participation in the Church’s liturgy, not only by explaining the meaning of the rites, but also by training the faithful for prayer, for thanksgiving, for penance, for confident prayer of petition, for a sense of community, giving them a proper understanding of the symbols- all of which are necessary for a proper liturgical life. The Directory for Masses with Children is a document that has attempted to address the issue of the relationship of Catechesis and the celebration of the Eucharist and to give guidelines to those who are in charge of the preparation of the liturgy for children and for catechists. The Directory tries to respond to the problem arising from the fact that the liturgical celebrations “cannot fully exercise their inherent pedagogical force upon children” (no.2). The liturgy is aware of the presence of children but it scarcely addresses itself to them. The signs, symbols and its language are directed normally to the adult members of the assembly. Sometimes, the presence of children if not causing irritation for some, even can be a cause of nuisance for others. The Directory has an introduction and three chapters. The first chapter, which is basic, discusses the different ways in which children are introduced to the Eucharistic liturgy, especially through catechesis. The second chapter deals with Masses at which a good number of children take part together with a good number of adults. The normal situations of these would be Sundays and holidays. The third chapter deals with Masses with children in which only few adults are present. This chapter addresses the issues on ministries, place and time of celebration, preparation, singing and music, gestures and visual elements, silence and the different parts of the Mass that require special care. Principles of the Directory This is the first liturgy which has been shaped for the use of children. This is supported by the desire of the Church to adapt the liturgy to the needs of various groups (SC 38). This is also the fruit of the Synod of Bishops in 1967. Children in this document refer to those who have not yet entered the period of preadolescence, between the ages of nine and twelve. But in reality the principles taken in this document can also be applied to other age brackets as well. 1. Intelligibility of the Liturgy The Directory recognizes the fact that even if the liturgy has been celebrated in the vernacular still there are words and signs which are not easily understood by children. Sometimes even the adults do not understand the signs and the symbols used in the Eucharist. The historical and cultural settings in which these evolved may not be easily unravelled by the faithful. The problem boils down to the tension between the classical and the popular, the liturgist’s creation in time and the people’s capacity to assimilate them. The truth is, the problem is not only with children but it is also with adults. Understanding of the liturgy is a basic tenet in Vatican II’s program of liturgical reform. The Constitution on Liturgy demands that the rites “should be within the people’s power of comprehension and as a rule not require explanation” (art 34). This is the foundation of the devout and active participation; the understanding of what happens and the meaning of the liturgical celebration. The Directory insists on the need to impart Eucharistic catechesis to children: “even in the case of children, the liturgy itself always exerts its own inherent power to instruct” (no. 12). Example: the presidential prayers of the Mass. But the fact remains that there are still elements in the celebration of the Eucharist which are difficult to understand: the theology of the sacrifice and meal. The Eucharistic Prayer needs to be explained
First Confession and First Communion
By John Cardinal Wright
Certain Errors about First Communion Pastoral Practice: The Decree Quam Singulari, in treating the age at which children are to be initiated into their post-baptismal sacramental life, had to face (as had a decree on frequent Communion by the Sacred Congregation of the Council, five years before) certain doctrinal and ascetical errors that had become deeply rooted in Catholic life at the opening of the century, at least in some parts of the world. One of these was the pretense that a greater discretion is required for first Communion than for first Confession. This, like most of the other errors, was rooted in Jansenism: for example, one was the idea that to receive first Holy Communion requires a nearly complete knowledge of the Articles of Faith and, therefore, an extraordinary preparation. In effect, this means deferring first Communion for the riper age of 12, 14 or even older. Another error was the pretense that "the Holy Eucharist is a reward (for virtue), not a remedy for human frailty," a conceit which is contrary to the teaching of the Council of Trent that Holy Communion is "an antidote by which we are freed from our daily faults and preserved from mortal sins. First Confession-First Communion Furthermore, the coupling of Confession with Communion, if on one hand it impresses and confirms in the conscience the central position of the Eucharist-which is one of the most beneficial truths for the Christian life-on the other hand presents disadvantages, because it could determine the beginning of the habit of not going to Confession except when Communion is to be received. The greatest disadvantage, though, lies in the danger that the child might not appreciate fully the value of the sacrament of Penance since his attention would be absorbed by the first Communion. This difficulty, however, does not necessarily imply a delay of Confession; it can be overcome by anticipating Confession, thus separating it from Communion at least for a month or so and making it the beginning of the preparatory phase of first Communion. In any case, the emphasis should be placed more on the way of preparing the children for the two sacraments, and, in general, on the initiation of the child to Christian life. Such preparation for the two sacraments should be faced in modern terms, keeping always in mind the confrontation of the Christian with today's world sharing responsibility with the whole Christian community. As far as age is concerned, the most suitable age seems to be still
seven to eight years, as we have it today, and this for many reasons. Pastoral experience tells us that the so-called "second infancy," due to the development of the moral self, has the same decisive importance that the "first infancy" had for the unconscious ego, since it can determine those conditionings, anxieties and impulses whose influence will remain during the whole future life of the person. This is the age at which the child, if helped, can pass from the instinctive phase (tied to the stimulus of the binomial pleasure-sorrow) to the ethical phase, in which emerges, together and sometimes in contrast
First Confession is not Spiritual Laundry As Newman suggests, commenting on "the better part" and the
LAYOUT BY LAURENCE JOHN R. MORALES
with the instinctive law, the attraction to good and disgust for evil. It is a very delicate and precise moment, an opportunity which cannot be missed without serious consequences for the future. The awakening of ethical and moral life is not automatically linked to physiological and psychical growth; alas, as history proves in chapters writ with blood, moral sense does not necessarily develop with intelligence, least of all with mere knowledge. Without solicitous care from parents, priests and teachers, the instinctive life is prolonged through the "second infancy" and beyond, with disastrous consequences on the spiritual destiny of the individual.
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
2nd ACCCRE meeting held in Zamboanga
THE Association of Catechetical Centers and Colleges/Universities with Religious Education (ACCCRE) of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) held its 2nd annual meeting last January 13-17, 2009 at the Garden Orchid Hotel in Zamboanga City. The theme for this year’s meeting was “Inculturated Catechesis” which summarized the conference’s three main objectives: 1) Understanding of inculturation in the light of the NCDP ’07; 2) Appreciation of inculturation as principle of Catechesis in the Philippines; and 3) Applying inculturation in lesson planning, module-making, etc. ECCCE’s Executive Secretary and ACCCRE President, Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos welcomed the participants on the first day of the conference and gave a Perspective Setting on the theme of the assembly. He also made a brief sharing on the history of Inculturation and its theological aspects. Most Rev. Romulo Valles, DD, the Archbishop of Zamboanga, led the Opening Eucharistic Celebration. The guests were feted with a dinner with cultural presentation by the host Archdiocese after the Mass. Msgr. John Luza, ACCCRE Vice President, presided the Eucharistic celebration on the second day of the meeting. Two highly respected resource speakers were invited to enlighten the participants on the theme of the event. Conferences on the theme Rev. Fr. Dionisio M. Miranda, SVD, President of San Carlos University in Cebu City, who has been boldly threading on Inculturation in the field of Moral Christian Theology, handled the first and second conferences with the topic on “The Evangelization of Culture: Theological Inculturation In General”. One significant point he stressed was: Morality is not lived in a cultural vacuum. Unless the morality of the Gospel is proclaimed by the Church in terms that resonate with a particular cultural community, it will not find the hearing it so urgently needs to be able to make Christ present in our world. The next speaker was a sociologist. Most Rev. Antonio Ledesma, SJ, DD, Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro, delivered the third conference with the topic on “Inculturated Catechesis in the Local Church”. He shared first hand experiences they had in Cagayan de Oro and how they were able to practice Inculturation in their Archdiocese amidst trials and disasters. Group workshops and film showing were held after the talks. The Presentation of Study/Reflection Guide given by ECCCE was the first activity on the third day of the assembly. The following were the presentors of their respective regions: St. Benedict Institute for Luzon, Pius XII Catechetical and Pastoral Formation Center for the Visayas region, Notre Dame University Catechetical Center for Mindanao, and the Institute of Catechetics of the Archdiocese of Manila (ICAM) for the NCR Region. Afterwards, another workshop was conducted where the participants were grouped according to their ecclesiastical territories. There was an exchange of sharing of individual practices in relation to Inculturation of Catechesis in their respective areas. A review of the CBFP (Catechists’ Basic Formation Program) in light of NNCDP (New National Catechetical Directory of the
Philippines) was held in the afternoon. It was presented to the participants by the Institute of Catechetics of the Archdiocese of Manila (ICAM). Business Meeting A business meeting was held afterwards headed by Msgr. Santos. One of the important topics for discussion was the paper made by Fr. Prisco Cajes, OFM which was endorsed to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) entitled “Towards a Christian Concept of Rest and Celebration: Exploring the Possibility of Coming to School during the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8”. Msgr. Santos explained that the reason behind this paper is because of a change/ shift of situation. “We cannot guarantee anymore the attendance of young people and children to mass on December 8 if we call off classes. However, if we call classes but non-academic rather, make December 8 a Marian Day, highlighting the virtues of Mary in the context of Philippine Society, we can effect Christian Formation on that specific date,” he clarified. This paper proposes that Catholic schools explore the possibility of considering December 8 as a non-academic day marked by communal rest from the usual school training, but students are still expected to go to school, celebrate the Mass of the solemnity as a Christian community together and be given activities that mine the depth of the occasion. After a fruitful discussion on this issue, a resolution was made: That ACCCRE is endorsing the document declaring that December 8 be a school day but non academic day, and (rather) dedicated to the celebration of the Eucharist and a day of service to the poor in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In relation to this, ACCCRE-NCR was tasked to take care of setting up a template (modules) on the celebration proper. Another point of discussion and was presented by Rev. Fr. Nolan Que, was the Pope Benedict XVI Summer Festival of Catechesis and Christian Formation on May 20-22, 2009 at the De La Salle University in Taft, Manila. Participants were encouraged to attend the said national convention since this activity was initiated by ACCCRE. The next agendum was the Presidential Task Force on Education (PTFE) which was created by President Macapagal-Arroyo because of the tri-focalized education system – Department of Education (DepED), Commission of Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Msgr. Santos reported the findings and recommendations of PTFE, the comments/ response of CEAP, and the challenge for ACCCRE. Before concluding the meeting, Msgr. Santos invited the participants to review the Association’s purposes. An open forum was held after the meeting. The major point of discussion was the need to have Guidelines on Inculturation for Catechists. Partial Report on the shape of Religious Education Dr. Teresita Talamera presented the Partial Report on the Research on the Shape of Religious Education titled, “CATECHESIS IN THE PHILIPPINES FROM 2001 TO 2008: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS FOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS IN THE LIGHT OF NCDP 2007”. This document has been a long journey for Dr. Talamera and she requested the cooperation of the respondents so
that she can eventually finalize the report. Msgr. Santos has also been campaigning for financial support for this project. Dr. Talamera presented to the participants the Profile of the Respondents, the Description of the Catechetical Situation, the Problems and Difficulties Encountered, the Challenges and Prospects for Development Programs, and suggestions on how the NCDP can help in the Development. A Eucharistic Celebration and dinner held at the Ateneo de Zamboanga capped the day. An experience of interreligious dialogue Fr. Sebastiano D’ Ambra, PIME led an early Eucharistic celebration on the fourth day. After breakfast, participants were taken for a half-day city tour of the majestic Zamboanga City. By noontime they reached Silsilah where they were served a hearty lunch sponsored by Fr. D’ Ambra. After lunch, the participants had a first hand experience of an Interreligious Dialogue/Inculturation with Catechists where they were joined by Madaris Guru. The 30 listed participants of the event came from the different Archdiocesan Catechetical Ministry, Catechetical Centers and Colleges/Universities offering Religious Education. Those who were represented were the following: Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga; Archdiocese of Surigao; Mother of Life Center; CFA; Auxilium Catechetical Center; Pius XII Catechetical Center; Mary Cause of Our Joy Formation Center; Caceres Catechetical Ministry; BOEC; Cebu Archdiocesan Catechetical Ministry; Notre Dame Center for Catechesis; John XXIII Catechetical Center; ICAM;Christ the King College; Notre Dame of Dadiangas University; Colegio San Agustin, Bacolod; De La Salle University, Dasmariñas; St. Benedict Institute; Universidad de Sta. Isabel; University of San Agustin and OP-Siena schools.
Msgr. Gerardo Santos, ECCCE Executive Secretary
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
Overview of ‘On Evangelization in the Modern World’
By Thomas P. Walters
CATECHESIS is a form of the ministry of the word that initiates Church members into the mystery of Christian signs and symbols. It is a ministry based on the assumptions that the persons being catechized have already accepted the proclamation of Jesus Christ and are gathered by it into community. In practice, this generally is not the case. Too often, parish catechesis is directed toward individuals who have not consciously accepted the Gospel proclamation. It is an attempt to catechize church members still in need of evangelization. It was this very concern that prompted Pope Paul VI to address the need for the church to proclaim more intentionally and more forcefully the love of God to all – both those outside and those within the Catholic community. The apostolic exhortation ON EVANGELIZATION IN THE MODERN WORLD was the result. ON EVANGELIZATION IN THE MODERN WORLD (EN) was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 8, 1975, the tenth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council (1965) and one year after he had convoked a synod of bishops to deal specifically with the topic of evangelization (1974). The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) laid the foundation for Catholic evangelization by speaking of the church community as the people of God, by giving a new understanding and sensitivity to ecumenism and by renewing a sense of the mission to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The 1974 Synod of Bishops, while in depth with the topic of evangelization, provided the church with no written guidelines. Rather, the bishops chose to encourage Pope Paul VI to reflect on the Synod’s deliberations and to provide the needed theological and pastoral direction. ON EVANGELIZATION IN THE MODERN WORLD was the result. The 20,000-word exhortation is the first church document devoted entirely to the topic of evangelization and is considered by some to be one of the most important and far-reaching documents issued since Vatican II. It was offered by Paul VI as meditation on the concerns that flowed from the council and created the context this is new to those who have been involved actively in the church’s catechetical ministry for the past 20 years. However, the force to the call to both implicit proclamation (the personal witness of one’s life) and explicit proclamation (publicly evangelizing others) is as strong today as it was when the document was first published. The goal of evangelization is conversion, that is, the “metanoia” of embracing Jesus and his message and sharing the message with others. In addition, Pope Paul emphasized that evangelization cannot be reduced to any single element. It is multidimensional. It is to be reflected in the interplay of personal witness, explicit proclamation, inner-adherence, entry into an ecclesial community, reception of the a view of religion as the THE view of life to a religion as A view or, even worse, a society “without any need for recourse to God, who thus becomes superfluous and an encumbrance” (55). Likewise, in growing numbers of Catholics no longer stand over and against the secular culture, they have the culture. Too many Catholics have grown indifferent to their baptismal call. Pope Paul encourages the church to “constantly seek the proper means and language for presenting, or representing, to them God’s revelation and faith in Jesus Christ” (56). Evangelists Evangelization begins with the coming of the Holy Spirit to the evangelist. It is only from this “Pentecostal” experience that true evangelization takes place. The evangelist serves as God’s instrument in transmitting the good news to others. In order that the evangelist be this instrument and evangelize faithfully and effectively, Pope Paul insists that the following two principles be kept in mind: (1) the evangelizer must not undertake the mission on his or her own initiative or authority because evangelization is at root an ecclesial task, and (2) the evangelizer must act “in communion with the church and her pastors” (60). Pope Paul concludes this section by stressing the need for serious preparation for all who have devoted themselves to the ministry of the word from catechists to the heads of small communities. In a present-day church that too often finds itself dependent on the ministerial services of the untrained volunteer, Pope Paul’s call to “be vigilant concerning the adequate formation of all the ministers of the word” (73) continues to challenge the church’s resolve in this matter. The Spirit In this final chapter, Pope Paul explains evangelization in terms of the Holy Spirit. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that one becomes worthy of the charism of the evangelizer and that the evangelical mission is carried out.
sacraments and apostolic action. It should be pointed out that evangelization is described in EN with its stress on the role of the hierarchical church with its sacramental and magisterial life as well as its social witness, should not be confused with the evangelism of eighteenth-century European pietism or American Protestant Revivalism. The Content of Evangelization Evangelization demands fidelity to the “message” being proclaimed and to the “people” who are to receive it. In this document, Pope Paul states continually that the true meaning of evangelization is the proclamation of the love of God that comes to us through Jesus Christ in such a manner that humankind, through the grace of God, accepts it with a free and firm commitment. He states also that the proclamation would be incomplete “if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the gospel and of man’s concrete life, both personal and social” (29). Human liberation and salvation in Jesus Christ are linked. And while temporal and political liberation can never be considered the goal of evangelization, Pope Paul stresses the necessity of the church always striving “to insert the Christian struggle for liberation into the universal plan of salvation which she herself proclaims” (38). Pope Paul stresses continually the need for constant and deep renewal and reform both within the church and in society-at-large. Method For the catechetically minded, the inclusion of this chapter is particularly satisfying because it addresses the issue of how to evangelize. And how one evangelizes is “permanently relevant,” according to the different circumstances of time, place and culture because they thereby present a certain challenge to our capacity for discovery and adaptation” (40). And while the chapter is somewhat repetitious with its emphasis on the witness of life and verbal proclamation, Pope Paul does highlight three areas of concern that are particularly apt for today’s church as it drew closer to the opening days of the 21st century. His observations center on preaching, mass media and the relationship between content and method in the church’s evangelizing efforts. With regard to preaching, Pope Paul stresses that faith comes from what is heard. Thus the verbal proclamation remains perennially valid. The section of the exhortation that centers on the homily (43) will be of particular value to priests. Pope Paul’s emphasis on the use of the mass media is surprisingly positive. He indicates that in the mass media the church “finds a modern and effective version of the pulpit” and that through media the church can succeed in “speaking to the multitudes” (45). Finally, there is a word of caution to be found in this section for today’s church. In light of the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, Pope Paul’s observation that “the content of evangelization must not overshadow the importance of the ways and means” (40) gives some pause for reflection. The Beneficiaries In this section of his exhortation, Pope Paul focuses on the church’s mission to “proclaim the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15) despite many obstacles. The sections “Non-believers” and “the nonpracticing” are of particular interest to those whose evangelizing efforts take in the United States. One of the greatest dangers facing Catholics is the dilemma of knowing where and how their Catholic beliefs are to influence their public actions. Where and how are public beliefs to intersect with national policy in a secular society? Catholics in the United States live in a society that has experienced a shift from
Photo courtesy of Taizé
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
for the 1974 synod, concerns that are just as relevant today (almost 35 years later). These concerns were captured by Pope Paul in the following questions: “AT THIS TURNING POINT OF HISTORY, DOES THE CHURCH OR DOES SHE NOT FIND HERSELF BETTER EQUIPPED TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL AND TO PUT INTO PEOPLE’S HEARTS WITH CONVICTION, FREEDOM OF SPIRIT AND EFFECTIVENESS?” (4) Paul VI’s response to this question is provided reflectively in FIVE CONCISE CHAPTERS. ON EVANGELIZATION IN THE MODERN WORLD begins by centering evangelization on Christ and in the church. This is followed by chapters devoted to the concept of evangelization, the essential content of evangelization process, methods of evangelization, the beneficiaries, the evangelizers and, finally, the very spirit of evangelization. Christ and Church Pope Paul stresses the reciprocal link between the church and evangelization. Those who accept the proclamation of Jesus are gathered by it into community and bear the concomitant responsibility of sharing the good news with others both within the community and outside its boundaries (13,15). Evangelization cannot be understood without reference to the Christ of the New Testament nor can it be understood or undertaken apart from the church, because it is the essential mission of the church. In the words of Jesus, the first evangelizer (7), “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God” (Luke 4:43). Pope Paul emphasizes that Jesus’ life and his untiring preaching of the word illustrates the fact that at the center of the gospel message is the paradoxical kingdom, a kingdom that not only stresses liberation from those bonds that oppress humankind as well as from sin and evil but a kingdom made up of those things that the world rejects (8,9) Evangelization In Paul VI”s words, cultures “have to be regenerated by an encounter with the gospel” (20). Every task and every ministry within the church is to be concerned with communication of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples through the preaching of the word of God, the celebration of the sacraments and the living out of a life of love in the Holy Spirit under the guidance of the church. None of
Festival / C2
Pope Paul writes, “It is the Holy Spirit who, today just as at the beginning of the church, acts in every evangelizer who allows himself to be possessed and led by him. The Holy Spirit places on his lips the words which he cannot find by himself, and at the same time, the Holy Spirit predisposes the soul of the hearer to be open and receptive to the good news and to the kingdom being proclaimed” (75). Just as the work of evangelization was begun by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, it is the same Spirit that continues the work today. Conclusion ON EVANGELIZATION IN THE MODERN WORLD was written reflectively to give encouragement and confidence to all with regard to the church’s central task of evangelization. In a pastoral and meditative way, Pope Paul highlights the hopes and addresses the fears regarding evangelization raised by the 1974 Synod of Bishops. The hope of Pope Paul both before and following the publication of this exhortation was to reawaken interest in and enthusiasm for the work of evangelization, so that “the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious but from ministers of the gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ and who are willing to risk their lives so that the kingdom may be proclaimed and the church established in the midst of the world (80). ON EVANGELIZATION IN THE MODERN WORLD stands as a present-day challenge to all Catholics to develop an evangelizing attitude that moves them beyond what has become an all too comfortable “personal salvation mindset” to one of being willing witness of the risen Lord – Catholics with a renewed sense of their mission to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Source: THE CATECHETICAL DOCUMENTS, Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago 1996, pp. 150-155.) (Presented by Fr. Antonio Rosales, OFM at the 2nd Summer Catechetical Institute for Priests, April 20-24, 2009 at Sta. Catalina Spirituality Center, Baguio City.) of change for a better society. 4. Subtle Attacks on Family Explained [S.A.F.E] many families today suffer. In spite of their sincere efforts to love and care for their children, parents find it more difficult each day to raise their family. Is the so-called generation gap to blame; also television, internet, mass media, drugs, violence in schools and demonic cults? The aim of this workshop was to help parents and educators know the environmental factors negatively affecting children. There is a need to pinpoint these if the family is to be protected. A vague idea of these attacks against the family will not suffice to correct the deteriorating situation most families find themselves today. His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, DD, Archbishop of Manila presided the Eucharistic celebration on the first day of the festival. Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio S. David, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando, Pampanga said the Mass on the second day; while ECCCE Chairman and Bishop of Balanga, Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, DD led the Eucharist on the third day. The Archdioceses, Dioceses, Prelatures, and Apostolic vicariates represented during the festival were Manila, Lipa, San Fernando, Pampanga, Palo (Leyte), Nueva Segovia, Pasig, Baguio, Malolos, Cubao, San Jose de Antique, Cabanatuan, Imus, Antipolo, Iba, Paranaque, Laoag, San Pablo, Lucena, San Jose (Nueva Ecija), Novaliches, Kalookan, Sorsogon, Infanta, Tarlac, Alaminos, Balanga, Gumaca, Puerto Princesa, and Calapan.
the Father,” “full of grace and truth,” was formed by her in human knowledge of the Scriptures and of the history of God’s plan for His people, and in adoration of the Father. She in turn was the first of His disciples. She was the first in time, because even when she found her adolescent Son in the temple she received from Him lessons that she kept in her heart. [CT, 73] Through the exemplary life of Mary, may we be inspired and become enthusiastic in the catechetical work that is essential for those we catechize. Thus, we may effectively carry out the mission given by Jesus, our Teacher: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” D. Youth Ministry 1. How To Do Campus Ministry—“What is needed today is a Church which knows how to respond to the expectations of young people. Jesus wants to enter into dialogue with them, through His body which is the Church, to propose the possibility of a choice which will require a commitment of their lives. As Jesus with His disciples of Emmaus, so the Church must become today, the traveling companion of young people…” John Paul II, Youth: Sent to Proclaim True Liberation, World Youth Day 1995, Philippines. It was hoped that those involved in the formation of the young were helped to come up with an alternative to the traditional way of doing catechesis and of giving religious instruction in the classrooms.
2. Youth Ministry [KALAKBAY]—This document defines Catholic Youth Ministry in the Philippines. It lays down the necessary elements to give guidance and efficacy to it, the fruit of extensive in-depth participatory and collaborative research, the Directory for Catholic Youth Ministry in the Philippines. This seminar-workshop aimed to help youth ministers and animators draw proper guidelines in ministering to the young. 3. How to Give Retreats and Recollections—The participants were led to a better understanding of the essentials of retreats and recollections. Guidelines on the preparation and giving of retreats and recollections were discussed and at the end of the sessions participants came up with sample themes and programs for retreats and recollections. E. Contemporary Moral Issues 1. Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation [JPIC]—Both human beings and the rest of creation are being deprived of LIFE. A passion for Justice, a desire for Peace and non-violence, and an interest in conserving the Integrity of the whole of Creation (JPIC) are essential if we are to live according to the Gospel. These are not options but a way of life. Action for Justice and participation in the transformation of the world are a fundamental dimension of the preaching of the Gospel and are essential to the Church’s mission of liberating the human race from any and all oppressive situations (Justice in the World #5).
This seminar-workshop aimed to help the participants to propose guidelines for a manual of JPIC for use by those involved in Christian Formation in Public and Catholic Schools. 2. Catechesis on Integrity of Creation [Ecology]—A correct understanding of the environment prevents the utilitarian reduction of nature to a mere object to be manipulated and exploited. At the same time, however, nature must not be absolutized and placed above the dignity of the human person. [Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 463] This session aimed to inculcate in the hearts of men/women the challenge to care for the environment. It is a matter of common and universal duty to respect the common good destined for all by preventing anyone from using “with impunity the different categories of beings, whether living or inanimate—animals, plants, the natural elements—simply as one wishes or according to one’s own economic needs. [Compendium…, 466] 3. Spirituality of Integrity [Anti-Corruption]—It defines the value of integrity, allowing its discovery in one’s personal experience and practice, understanding its fragility and opting to practice it in the midst of discomfort and rejection of others. It explores possibilities to transform society by consistency and prudence of action. It challenged the participants to take the first step towards moral changes in individuals and thus affect all others towards creating a synergy
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Jaro hosts Catechetical Ministers’ summit
THE Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) held its 9th Annual Meeting of Catechetical Ministers last July 14-17, 2009 at the Punta Villa Resort in Jaro, Iloilo. The relevant theme for this year’s event is: A CATECHESIS ON ENGAGED AND RESPONSIBLE CITIZENSHIP, A Roadmap to Elections 2010. This year’s gathering aimed to gather in spirit of communion the Catechetical Ministers and Coordinator from various particular churches in the Philippines; to focus on “engaged and responsible citizenship” as fruit of a catechesis of justice, peace and integrity of Creation; to present a voter’s education program in vision of 2010 Elections; and finally to join in the celebration of the 50th Foundation Year of the oldest catechetical center in the Philippines – the Pius XII Catechetical Center The meeting began on July 13, 2009, with a dinner hosted by Pius XII Catechetical Center. On the second day, ECCCE Executive Secretary Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos officially welcomed the participants to the annual event. He reviewed the objectives of the conference and stressed the golden existence of Pius XII Catechetical Center as the oldest catechetical center in the country. Msgr. Santos also cited the dissertation of Fr. Antonio Moreno, SJ titled, “Political Education” which embarked on engaged and responsible citizenship. It served as a one of the references for the choice of theme for this year’s gathering. He likewise
presented a perspective setting which covers a Report on 2nd Priests’ Summer Catechetical Institute, Pope Benedict XVI Summer Festival of Catechesis and Christian Formation, Report on the 3rd ACCCRE Zamboanga City, and a Sharing on the Improved Religious Education Curriculum. Afterwards, Msgr. Santos presented his paper on “Strategic Directions on Integral Faith Formation. A Eucharistic Celebration was held afterwards with Most Rev. Angel Lagdameo, DD, Archbishop of Jaro and CBCP President as the Main Presider. The assembly participants proceeded with the first Conference in the afternoon with the topic on Engaged and Responsible Citizenship in Election 2010: The Church Response, with Archbishop Lagdameo as guest speaker. Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa, Chairperson of NAMFREL and PPCRV followed with a sharing on the relevance and responsibilities of the two organizations in the coming 2010 elections. She offered seven key points as roadmap for CHAMP ELECTIONS IN 2010. These are: Advocacy for full automation of 2010 Election System; Registration of first time voters; Clean computerized voters’ list; Intense voters registration and verification; Recruitment and mobilization of volunteers; Develop community network system; and Formation of the volunteer as total poll monitor. She also gave a historical note on the NAMFREL and its CARE program for the election process. CARE stands for Collaboration, Automation, Registration, and Election. A short open forum followed after her sharing. Dr. Teresita Talamera gave a Report on the Partial Survey Results on the Research “Catechesis in the Philippines from 2001–2008: Challenges and Prospects for Development Programs in the Light of NCDP 2007”. The next conference was presented by Fr. Carmelo Diola, DILAAB Foundation, on July 16. His talk was titled “Options for Catechists: Puede Pala Pinoy and Circles of Discernment for Elections.” Another conference followed shortly with Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ from the Ateneo de Davao University as speaker. The talk focused on the Program of Social Transformation. An Open Forum /Workshop followed afterwards. On the third day of the conference, the participants gathered early for the Eucharistic Celebration with Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, DD, Bishop of Balanga and ECCCE Chairman as the main presider. The participants had workshop in the morning followed by a reporting in the assembly. After all the groups have reported, Bishop Villegas facilitated an open forum and sharing on practical concerns. The participants had an opportunity to bond with one another for a whole day of fun and celebration on the last day of the meeting. They left early for Guimaras where they had Mass at the Trappist Monastery. They also went to Alubihod Beach for an afternoon swimming and Tour of the Island. Dinner was served back at Punta Villa Resort. The event officially ended that night. However, others still stayed until the following day to enjoy the grandeur of Iloilo.
Catholic Education is source of hope
Stresses need to form total human person
EDUCATION is a task that requires teamwork between parents and schools, under the authority of the Catholic Church so as to guarantee the solidity of religious formation. This was affirmed in a circular letter on "Religious Education in Schools" sent from the Congregation for Catholic Education to the presidents of the bishops' conferences. The letter, signed by the congregation's prefect, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, and its secretary, Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, underlined the necessity of providing a "clarification and instruction about the role of schools in the Catholic formation of young people, about the nature and identity of the Catholic school, about religious education in schools, and about the freedom of choice of school and confessional religious education." Due to the complexity of the educative task faced to today's culture, the letter stated, there is a risk that we will lose "what is essential, that is, the formation of the human person in its totality, particularly as regards the religious and spiritual dimension." Education is a team effort, it acknowledged, but parents are the ones who are primarily responsible for training their children. This parental responsibility also encompasses the "right to choose the school that guarantees an education in accordance with one's own religious and moral principles," the congregation explained. The Catholic school, it continued, "is truly an ecclesial subject because of its teaching activity, in which faith, culture, and life
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unite in harmony." The letter affirmed, "Catholic schools are characterized by the institutional link they keep with the Church hierarchy, which guarantees that the instruction and education be grounded in the principles of the Catholic faith and imparted by teachers of right doctrine and probity of life." The schools should be "permeated by the evangelical spirit of freedom and charity, which fosters the harmonious development of each one's personality." "In this setting," the letter added, "human culture as a whole is harmonized with the message of salvation, so that the pupils gradually acquire a knowledge of the world, life and humanity that is be enlightened by the Gospel." Religious freedom The congregation emphasized the need for collaboration between the family and the educational institution, as an exercise of the principle of subsidiarity. It underlined religious education as an "inalienable characteristic" of the Catholic school's educational goal. The letter explained: "Religious education is different from, and complementary to, catechesis, as it is school education that does not require the assent of faith, but conveys knowledge on the identity of Christianity and Christian life. "Moreover, it enriches the Church and humanity with ar-
eas for growth, of both culture and humanity." The letter acknowledged that in many places, "now as in earlier periods, religious freedom is not fully in force, both in law and in practice." The congregation denounced this injustice, and Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski called on Catholics to "commit themselves so that those rights may become effective." It stressed the Church's commitment to offer "to each generation the revelation of God from which it can learn the ultimate truth about life and the end of history." "This is not an easy task in a secularized world, characterized by the fragmentation of knowledge and moral confusion," the congregation acknowledged. It affirmed, however, that education founded on truth and at the service of the person can be a "powerful instrument of hope." (Zenit)
Such is the injury caused by those who insist on extraordinary preparations for First Communion, beyond what is reasonable; and they doubtless do not realize that such precautions proceed from the errors of the Jansenists who contended that the Most Holy Eucharist is a reward rather than a remedy for human frailty. This doctrine was not long ago strongly emphasized by a Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council given on December 20, 1905. Daily approach to Communion is open to all, old and young, and two conditions only are required: the state of grace and a right intention. Moreover, the fact that in ancient times the remaining particles of the Sacred Species were even given to nursing infants seems to indicate that no extraordinary preparation should now be demanded of children who are in the happy state of innocence and purity of soul, and who, amidst so many dangers and seductions of the present time have a special need of this heavenly food. The abuses which we are condemning are due to the fact that they who distinguished one age of discretion for Penance and another for the Eucharist did so in error. The Lateran Council required one and the same age for reception of either Sacrament when it imposed the one obligation of Confession and Communion. From all this it is clear that the age of discretion for receiving Holy Communion is that at which the child knows the difference between the Eucharistic Bread and ordinary, material
bread, and can therefore approach the altar with proper devotion. Perfect knowledge of the things of faith, therefore, is not required, for an elementary knowledge suffices-some knowledge. Similarly, full use of reason is not required, for a certain beginning of the use of reason, that is, some use of reason suffices. Saint Pius X has deemed it needful to prescribe the following rules which are to be observed everywhere for the First Communion of children. 1. The age of discretion, both for Confession and for Holy Communion, is the time when a child begins to reason, that is about the seventh year, more or less. From that time on begins the obligation of fulfilling the precept of both Confession and Communion. 2. A full and perfect knowledge of Christian doctrine is not necessary either for First Confession or for First Communion. Afterwards, however, the child will be obliged to learn gradually the entire Catechism according to his ability. 3. The knowledge of religion which is required in a child in order to be properly prepared to receive First Communion is such that he will understand according to his capacity those Mysteries of faith which are necessary as a means of salvation (<necessitate medii>) and that he can distinguish between the Bread of the Eucharist and ordinary, material bread, and thus he may receive Holy Communion with a devotion becoming his years. 4. The obligation of the precept of Confession
and Communion which binds the child particularly affects those who have him in charge, namely, parents, confessor, teachers and the pastor. It belongs to the father, or the person taking his place, and to the confessor, according to the Roman Catechism, to admit a child to his First Communion. 5. The pastor should announce and hold a General Communion of the children once a year or more often, and he should on these occasions admit not only the First Communicants but also others who have already approached the Holy Table with the abovementioned consent of their parents or confessor. Some days of instruction and preparation should be previously given to both classes of children. 6. Those who have charge of the children should zealously see to it that after their First Communion these children frequently approach the Holy Table, even daily if possible, as Jesus Christ and Mother Church desire, and let this be done with a devotion becoming their age. They must also bear in mind that very grave duty which obliged them to have the children attend the public Catechism classes; if this is not done, then they must supply religious instruction in some other way. 7. The custom of not admitting children to Confession or of not giving them absolution when they have already attained the use of reason must be entirely abandoned. The Ordinary shall see to it that this condition ceases absolutely, and he may, if necessary, use legal measures accordingly. 8. The practice of not administering the Viaticum and Extreme Unction to children who have at-
tained the use of reason, and of burying them with the rite used for infants is a most intolerable abuse. The Ordinary should take very severe measures against those who do not give up the practice. From Pope John Paul II For how many children in the history of the Church has the Eucharist been a source of spiritual strength, sometimes even heroic strength! How can we fail to be reminded, for example, of holy boys and girls who lived in the first centuries and are still known and venerated throughout the Church? Saint Agnes, who lived in Rome; Saint Agatha, who was martyred in Sicily; Saint Tarcisius, a boy who is rightly called the "martyr of the Eucharist" because he preferred to die rather than give up Jesus, whom he was carrying under the appearance of bread. "My predecessor Saint Pius X gave a touching testimony to his pastoral love for children by the changes he introduced regarding the reception of First Holy Communion. Not only did he lower the age for approaching the Eucharistic Table (I was able to take advantage of this in May, 1929), but he also introduced the possibility of receiving Communion before the age of seven, if the child demonstrates sufficient understanding. This pastoral decision to bring forward the reception of Holy Communion is most commendable. It has yielded rich fruits if holiness in children and in the apostolate among the young, in addition to a flowering of priestly vocations." (John Paul II, "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way," Rome 2004, p. 103).
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
Multiple Celebrations for ECCCE in September
THE month of September this year has been very significant for the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE). Coinciding with the celebration of the birthday of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8 and Feast Day of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz—the First Filipino Saint on September 28 are important events and celebrations of the Commission. National Catechetical Month Catechists and as well as all Catholic faithful in the Philippines annually celebrate the National Catechetical Month during the month of September. This tradition started since 1985 and was formerly called the National Catechetical Week back then. It was eventually changed to NATIONAL CATECHETICAL MONTH for a monthlong catechetical celebration in the different parishes in the country. This yearly event is focused on the promotion of the significance of spreading the Good News through Catechesis. Thousands of Catechists celebrate this month in their respective parishes, vicariates and dioceses. The theme for this year’s celebration is: FAITHFULNESS OF CHRIST, FAITHFULNESS OF CATECHISTS. New appointment of Bishop Villegas As Filipino Catholics all over the country celebrates September as National Catechetical month, the news on Bishop Socrates Villegas’ appointment was announced on the feast of the birthday of the Blessed Mother. Bp. Villegas just turned 49 last September 28, 2009 (Feast day of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz), making him the youngest Archbishop in the Philippines. Papal Nuncio to the Philippines His Excellency Most Rev. Edward Joseph Adams, D.D. announced the appointment of Bp. Villegas in a letter addressed to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) spokesperson Msgr. Pedro Quitorio. “Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Oscar Cruz from the office of Lingayen-Dagupan, and has appointed Bishop Socrates Villegas until now Bishop of Balanga, as Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan,” the letter read. The acceptance of the prelate’s retirement and Bp. Villegas’ appointment was announced by Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday noon (6 p.m. Manila time), September 8, 2009. Bishop Soc (as he is popularly called), who is also the ECCCE Chairman, and a native of Pateros, Rizal was ordained priest on Oct. 5, 1985 at age 25. He immediately became personal secretary to the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin whom he served for 15 years until he was ordained bishop on August 31, 2001 and became an Auxiliary Bishop of Manila. He was Rector of Mary Queen of Peace, Our Lady of EDSA Shrine from December 8, 1989 until May 2004. He was later appointed Bishop of Balanga on May 3, 2004 and was installed on July 3, 2004. Bishop Villegas is well-admired and a widely regarded preacher and speaker. He has written seven books of his homilies at the Edsa Shrine and talks in retreats and other events. Joining the Commission’s September celebrations was ECCCE’s Executive Secretary Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos 25th Sacerdotal Anniversary which he celebrated last September 29, 2009. Msgr. Santos has been the Commission’s Executive Secretary since year 2001 and up to the present. Aside from his demanding work in ECCCE, this multi-tasked pastor is also the current President of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and Regional Director for CEAP-NCR. He is also the Director of the Archdiocesan Catechetical Ministry (ACM-Manila), the Minister of the Ministry of Catechesis and Catholic Education, the President of the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools (MAPSA), Superintendent of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila Educational System, the President of Pasig Catholic College, the Director of Nazarene Catholic School (Quiapo, Manila) and San Pablo Apostol Learning Center (Tondo, Manila). Aside from his numerous tasks he is also a Professor of Moral Theology at the Divine Word Seminary School of Theology in Tagaytay City. One of the major celebrations was held in advance last September 25, 2009 at the Jaime Cardinal Sin Auditorium of Paco Catholic School in Manila together with his co-workers in the Catechetical and Catholic Education field. Our warmest greetings to the two current pillars of ECCCE – Our Chairman, MOST REV. SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS, D.D. and our Executive Secretary REV. MSGR. GERARDO O. SANTOS, S.T.M., S.T.L., Ed.D! CEAP National Convention 2009 The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) held its 69th annual convention at the Manila Hotel in Roxas Boulevard, Manila last September 16-18, 2009. This year’s theme was “HOLD IT IN TRUST: Leadership as Stewardship” coupled Msgr. Gerry celebrates silver anniversary
Cebu Archbishop Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal led the concelebrated closing Mass of the CEAP Convention last Sept. 18, 2009.
by the following objectives: 1) To provide an opportunity for Bishops and Catholic educators to engage in meaningful conversations on stewardship in the Church and the country; 2)To present matters of vital importance for the strengthening of the organization towards more effective service to its members; 3) To share trends, good practices, approaches and/or strategies for better management of educational institutions; and 4)To provide a forum for national leaders to present their platforms on private education. The CEAP Convention is an annual gathering of Catholic educators coming from the different Parochial and Catholic schools, colleges and universities all over the country. Participants include Schoolheads/Presidents, Vice Presidents, Superintendents, Elementary/High School Principals, College Deans, Academic/Subject Area Coordinators, Treasurers, Finance Managers, MIS Heads, Registrars, Religious Education Coordinators, Catechetical Program Coordinators, Campus Ministers, Community Extension Directors, NSTP Coordinators, Student Affairs Deans/Coordinators and some student representatives. Important guests invited to grace this year’s assembly include the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Jo-
seph Adams, D.D., Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Archbishop of Jaro, Most Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D., Manila Archbishop His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, D.D., Cebu Archbishop His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, D.D., Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) Chairperson Ambassador Henrietta de Villa and ANC Senior Anchor Ms. Tina Monson-Palma. Among the highlights of the event was a forum with Presidential aspirants which was moderated by Ms. Palma, and the Special Tribute the association prepared in memory of the late President Corazon C. Aquino.
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
By Carel Ariola and Arnel Santos
CFC Holds Leaders Summit
leadership and its importance in achieving the vision and mission of the community. During the morning session, Sr. Haydee Librojo of the Canossian Sisters spoke to CFC leaders about the “Life Cycle of Organizations” and “Living the Vision and Mission of Couples for Christ.” Sr. Haydee said that “change is normal” and it must be welcomed. When confronted with change, we should not be “problem solvers” but “discerners of mysteries unfolding.”Sr. Haydee likened it to a problem child that simply needs to be loved, not solved. She commented on the decision of CFC to let go of the governance of GK, saying that “What you are facing now is something positive… Marami pa kayong ipanganganak,”likening the situation to the fruitfulness of a married couple or a family Sis. Haydee, however, cautioned that “CFC cannot be exclusivist. You must open yourself to remain one in diversity, not in control… The gift to you is so great that no one person or group of persons can hold it.” Sis. Haydee emphasized the scriptural bases of CFC’s expanded statement of vision. She discussed CFC’s vision and mission as seen from the perspective of the Vatican, invoking the Vatican’s description of CFC in the Vatican’s website as “a private international association of the lay faithful by Pontifical right.” CFC Chairman Joe Tale opened the afternoon session and reiter-
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
CFC leaders from various provinces of the country assembled on September 5, 2009 at the Don Enrique Heights Clubhouse to discuss the collaborative and cooperative relationship that CFC should have with Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation as well as the roles and responsibilities of CFC leaders as the community enters another phase in its mission work, The activity was convened by CFC Executive Director Joe Yamamoto to elicit insights and inputs from CFC leaders, composed of Metro Manila Sector Heads, Regional Heads, Provincial Area Heads (PAH) and Provincial Area Directors (PADs). Other participants included the Family Ministries Coordinators as well as observers from the Ateneo de Manila University. More than 200 leaders from all over the Philippines came for the summit. The objectives of the summit were: a.) arrive at a common understanding of what is happening to CFC at this time from the perspective of the workings of the Holy Spirit especially in the area of Building the Church of the Poor and the relationship between CFC and GK; b.) discuss ways to collaborate and strengthen partnership of CFC and GK on the ground (GK sites) while respecting their distinct and separate governance; c.) present the expanded work with the poor of CFC; and d.) discuss the dynamic role of the CFC
ated that “CFC and GK are now distinct but will collaborate.” He described CFC’s work for the poor under ANCOP as an expanded work. “Not all are called to work in GK but all of us are called to work for the poor.” He exhorted everyone to “build the Church of the Poor even more.” Joe Yamamoto also addressed the CFC leaders and said that “CFC is not going to contract or constrict its work with the poor.” He asked from the leaders their feedback and candor, and exhorted them not to “focus on the problems, but to uncover solutions.” The afternoon gathered crucial inputs in moving forward in our Work with the Poor and relationship with GK through a workshop led by Roland Arrogante (PFO Head of Metro Manila South A Sector). Leaders put together on the table GK issues concerning administration, finances, mobilization, programs and pastoral formation. At the same time, solutions were also drawn out as well as suggestions on defining working relationships especially with GK, actual programs on CFC Work with the Poor as well as the roles and responsibilities of CFC Leaders. The general sentiment of the group was that the work with the poor must never stop but rather the community must press on in this very important work in spite of the trials and challenges. They also maintained that working with their respective parish priests and bishops is also an important element in this work. The CFC Council also agreed to provide general guidelines pertaining to ANCOP, using all the inputs gathered. The day ended with a light fellowship dinner. Everyone returned to their mission areas with one heart and one mind, fully focused on the Lord. The entire activity was spearheaded by Bernie Cuevas with the able support of facilitators from the various Metro Manila sectors and the Home Office.
By Zeny Gimenez
A Life Filled and Fulfilled in Christ
CFC launched a massive relief operations in the wake of typhoon “Ondoy” which lashed the metropolis with its fury. As of this writing, the Home Office has already processed almost 5,000 packages filled with basic necessities such as rice, water, noodles and canned goods. Mountains of clothes and blankets have been delivered to the
Center, from all over the metropolis, with many more coming. The global community has swiftly responded with cash donations. This great tragedy has brought together a wounded people in hope and faith and showed the world that we can indeed love one another.
“FULLNESS of life in Jesus.” This is Couples for Christ’s theme for 2010 taken from Colossians 2:6-7: “Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.” The theme was announced in a general memo dated September 14, 2009, following the annual retreat and planning session of the International Council. It is at this session that the theme for the following year is discerned, discussed, prayed over and finally approved. Joe Yamamoto, CFC Executive Director, said that this theme has transitioned from the different themes that came before, particularly beginning from “Love One Another” in 2008 and “Forward in Christ” in 2009. Joe says, “This is actually a rapid transition. The Holy Spirit is telling us that if we take our discipleship seriously and indeed move forward, focused only on Christ, no problems or obstacles can deter us, but rather they will actually help us in our mission.” Joe further says: “Couples for Christ is poised to truly achieve fullness of life and mission in the coming years. We are coming to the full realization of what it really means to go to Jesus through Mary. The community has recognized that Mary has been a strong inspiration in the time of trials and difficulties that we went through. Mary was there in the lowest ebbs of our community life, particularly in the past two years. She has been both inspiration and comfort during our difficult times.” The theme is clear affirmation of the Lord’s call for the community to leave all the past hurts and resentments behind, to focus on the Lord, and to indeed nurture the roots that the Spirit has allowed us to plant. Joe emphasizes that “we are now poised on the brink of a great work – the expansion of our work with the poor in ANCOP – and this theme, this prophetic message, is affirmation that we will indeed find fulfillment in our mission in the coming years.” Our mission as a community is to spread the Good News in word and action. Joe explains that our theme in 2008 of “Love One Another” was appropriate; we can only fulfill our mission of spreading God’s Word if we indeed have love for one another. We can only speak of the Word to others if we have first reached out in love. Moving “Forward in Christ,”our theme for this year, was in effect our marching orders as God’s global army. We were called to leave our past hurts behind, to surmount, with the grace of the Spirit, all our problems and obstacles and to focus only on the Lord whom we serve and on the work that He has given us. In the years to come, Joe opines, we are being called to fully embrace our twin goals of Building the Church of the Home and Building the Church of the Poor. With this theme, we are poised on the brink of the fullness of life our Lord has promised.
By Joe Tale, CFC Chairman
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
DURING the annual retreat and planning session of the International Council and their wives on the first weekend of September this year, we were led to this beautiful passage from the letter of St. Paul to the Colossians: “Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.” (Col. 2:6-7) After much prayer, discussion and discernment, it was this same message that became our theme for 2010, expressed in the phrase: “Fullness of Life in Christ.” As I reflected on this message, I realized that the Lord has given us themes over the years that have been, on hindsight, very apt and completely suited for the particular time and the specific circumstances and challenges our community faced. These themes have, in effect, been prophetic, coming as they do three or four months before the year ends, when we have absolutely no idea of what the new year will bring. They have been prophetic not simply in the sense of foretelling, but more in guiding the community to the right direction, to the proper approach to the difficulties that lie ahead. I recall that the very first weekend retreat we conducted, based on the year’s theme, was the “Power Weekend.” Many have shared that they felt the first stirrings of great commitment for service during this weekend when we were all empowered by the Spirit. Then there was the Great Adventure Weekend, when we were all energized and many indeed took the great adventure of going out on evangelization mis-
The Fullness of our Life with Christ
sions. And who can forget our Hope Weekend, which was actually based on Lamentations, on the year which saw us facing the greatest challenge of our community life? As we emerged from these difficulties, the Lord saw fit to give us our theme of “Love One Another,” a clear admonition that only love can see us through all the difficulties, the resentments, the hurts, the recriminations that the previous year had brought. And so we struggled to love. And were amply rewarded by the peace, the comfort and the freedom that loving bestowed upon all of us who chose to love. With peace restored in our hearts, the Lord could now guide us towards greater work, and so He urged us to move “Forward in Christ.” This time the call for CFC was to “forget what lies behind” and to “focus on Jesus” so that we can move our work forward to the heights that the Lord has assured us we are capable of. Empowered as we are, we indeed moved forward. It has been an exciting year because the Lord, in moving us forward, also gave us new perspectives and new approaches in doing our mission. He allowed us to realize that achieving our twin mission of Building the Church of the Home and the Church of the Poor is only possible if we put Christ at the center of the work. He also allowed us to recognize that we cannot build our homes and renew our families without looking beyond our homes and seeing the poor around us. One mission cannot be accomplished without the other. It is only when we embrace both, with full confidence that the Lord will guide us and direct us, that we can fully experience the fullness of life that Jesus is now offering us. Our 2010 theme is therefore a re-affirmation and a re-statement of what we, as a com-
munity, have been aiming for over the past 28 years. “Keep your roots in him, build your lives on him and become stronger in your faith as you were taught.” This is a beautiful message because it calls us to strengthen the basics of our personal and community life. We have always been talking about going “back to the basics” but we have not found the strength or the will to do so. This passage is a call for us to indeed strive to grow more strongly in our faith. It is also a promise that if we do this, we can attain the fullness of life that the Lord is willing to grant us. “And be filled with thanksgiving.” As we look back at the year that is about to end and at the 28 years that have gone before, our hearts are truly filled with thanksgiving. What a loving God we serve! His love and care have sustained us through 28 years of struggling through the initial difficulties of building the foundations of our community, through the challenges of providing pastoral care for the brethren who saw in CFC the answer to their quest for Jesus, through the woundedness we suffered when relationships were destroyed. His guidance and direction kept us sane and humble through the heady years of seeing rapid growth, of triumphs in our programs and projects. As we savor the gains of our moving forward, and as we continue our journey as a community, still mindful of the call to love one another, we take this beautiful theme to heart. We await 2010 with great expectation, confident that we shall indeed attain the fullness of our life and mission that our Lord Jesus has promised. God bless us all!
By Joe Yamamoto, CFC Director
Heart of a Shepherd
ON a quiet drizzly afternoon of a late summer’s day in Volendam, Holland, where I had gone to help prepare for a big annual CFC conference in Europe, I chanced upon a small flock of sheep grazing peacefully and contentedly. I could not help but remember the images of the Good Shepherd. The scene reminded me that those of us called to CFC leadership must emulate the good examples of the Good and Perfect Shepherd. I quietly recited to myself the opening line of Psalm 23- ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I lack.’ In the local rural context of the Philippines, there are actually no shepherds to speak of. Goatherds are probably more appropriate and applicable for us. And yet, we are comfortable with the shepherd concept since many CFC teachings revolve around the examples and lessons of Jesus the Good Shepherd. In John 10:11, Jesus declares: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” Our Lord reassured His disciples “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) The Old Testament prophets, from Moses to Ezekiel, used a lot of metaphors that allude to sheep and shepherds. David, the Shepherd King, was himself a shepherd as was his father, Jesse. When God commissioned Samuel to search out the next king of Israel destined to replace the unfaithful Saul, he journeyed to the hill country and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, found and ultimately anointed David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons. When finally discovered, David was found discharging faithfully his role as a shepherd. The image of a shepherd essentially captures the requirements for a godly leader. Shepherds are not only expected to have work competence, but must display tenderness, concern, dedication and commitment to the flock. They guide, protect, provide for, and feed the flock. The evangelist John contrasts the good shepherd with the hireling, a person who is paid to care for the sheep, but would not really be expected to have a heart for the sheep assigned to him. The hireling’s watch over the flock stops as soon as he no longer derives benefit from the ‘job.’ One book describes a hireling as one who labors only for the money (Matt. 20:7), has no heart for the flock (John 10:13), readily deserts the flock at the sign of trouble (Jer. 46:21), is unfaithful to the master who hired him (John 10:12), looks for his welfare first rather than of the flock (Ezek. 34:3), is uncaring and lacks mercy (Jer. 23:2). The concerned shepherd on the other hand loves the work and therefore the flock, has a genuine heart for his sheep, gives of himself, faithful in serving the master, ensures that the sheep are properly fed, and cares for the sheep as well as leads wisely. The very first requirement for the shepherd is that he knows his sheep and the sheep in turn know him, especially his voice. Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28). As a leader in our community, the first experiences of leadership and shepherding begin when one takes on the responsibility and privilege of serving. That journey of leadership and service are inscribed in the hearts and minds of CFC leaders because all of them are trained to ‘shepherd’ after the very life and example of Jesus. No matter how much leadership responsibilities and functions get assigned to the leader in the course of years of service, nothing compares with nor replaces the joy of learning the rudiments of ‘shepherding’ with the first household assignment. I remember mine as though it was just yesterday. In trying to appreciate and to convey what it takes to have the heart of a shepherd and grow into it, one is inevitably led to the most admired psalm of all- Psalm 23, which starts with the most memorable “ The Lord is my shepherd...” David, despite his being an experienced and seasoned shepherd, saw himself not as a shepherd but as one of the sheep cared for by the Divine Shepherd. One gleans from the inspired writings of David that the greatest secret to his being a shepherd to the flock and ultimately to his people was his dependency on the faithfulness and care of a loving God. A struggling leader, regardless of his level of experience or responsibility, can only succeed in leading when his life is in congruence with the heart and mind of God. He must have the humility to acknowledge that his success in leading is totally dependent on his personal relationship with the Lord and his willingness to learn that godly character. Only then can he proceed in learning and acting as the leader who shepherds his assigned flock. Throughout the Scriptures, the term shepherd is lavishly used to aptly illustrate leadership. The title communicates nurturing love, personal intimacy and dedication and spiritual care that only a godly leader can provide. Psalm 23 describes what the Good Shepherd does for his flock. He is the provider (v.1), he gives rest (v. 2), he confidently leads, renews and restores (v.3). He is the guide (v.3), protector and comforter (v.4); he feeds and anoints (v.6). Of course, he loves his flock and provides them shelter (v.6). Fortunately, there are principles that can be adopted for developing the leader as shepherd. While derived from some management reference, it is refreshing to know that these are also biblically based. The principles are as follows: Know your flock and make them identify with you Before any aspiring leader can be effective in shepherding, there is one fundamental lesson that he has to keep in mind. It is the necessity of knowing the condition of the flock. The leader must consciously take the responsibility to get to know his people. This is the first critical step in the journey of a would-be shepherd. Because leading is about people relationship, it is incumbent that he knows the circumstances of those assigned to him. In CFC, a household head gets to know his members’ families, and their progress as far as their spiritual journey is concerned. This is reinforced by the regular household meetings and the resulting dynamics that bring the real blessings of community life to the family. Success starts with this basic realization. Discover the uniqueness of your flock Because everyone is created differently, there are indeed clear differentiating characteristics. Even among identical twins, there exist distinctiveness. A very useful tool to understand distinctiveness is the acronym SHAPE which stands for STRENGTH, HEART, ATTITUDE, PERSONALITY and EXPERIENCES. The challenge for struggling leaders is to know the SHAPE of the people assigned to their care and ensure that their approach at nurturing them is person-specific. Recognition of the strengths of the individual members of the flock plus taking extra efforts at personal commitment serve to foster growth and productivity. Heart reflects the passion of the person. When passion is present and matched with strength, the outcome is incredibly impressive. It makes possible the achievement of one’s dreams and goals, because it makes use of God’s unique and special gifts. However, no matter how strong the performance of a member, the whole flock would be disturbed and restless if this particular member has a difficult attitude. Loving correction and discipline are required but if the errant sheep continues with his stubborn ways, letting him go may be the best route for him. A person with the right attitude displays a teachable spirit that leads to growth. When a leader discovers the temperament and personality of his members, it shows he has developed wisdom. In so many ways, he has to learn to place a round peg in a round hole and not any other shape or way. Experiences come as a plural noun since people like sheep are shaped by their experiences over time. Grazing in Safe and Verdant Pastures A good shepherd must not only have strong and healthy sheep but also ensure that they remain such. The search for appropriate and adequate pasture lands is very critical. The shepherd daily leads the flock to graze well and in the process keeps the flock on the move. Not doing so will result in overgrazing that eventually renders the pasture unable to support the flock’s needs. In the same token, the shepherd must explore other areas that will support the needs of the flock across the changes of season, especially in the temperate countries. As leaders, CFC members must learn to provide the right and sufficient environment for growing. CFC leaders are expected to develop the right attitude of moving out of their comfort zones. The consequence of staying in place is stagnation and eventual apathy. A safe pasture necessitates absence of predators that hunt down the flock and scatter them. If a safe pasture is not possible, the least that the shepherd must do is to keep predators at bay. It connotes vigilance, determination and commitment on the part of the shepherd. A good shepherd must remain available, accessible and very visible. Sheep by nature are timid but they will lie down in the verdant pasture only when they are free from fear, tension, aggravations and hunger. The ‘presence’ of the shepherd makes it possible for the flock to be quiet, content and thriving. Conversely, a shepherd who does not care for his flock will find that they are restless, discontented, agitated, and disturbed. The same truth is seen among people. A caring and visible leader creates the right environment that allows his people to work in a place where trust is cultivated. At all times, wild animals are a menace to the tranquility of the pasture. In summertime, pests and parasites can make the lives of the sheep miserable. Certain varieties of flies attack and lay eggs in the head and nostrils of the sheep causing dangerous diseases and infestation that can devastate the whole group. It is here that the meaning of ‘you anoint my head with oil’ becomes evident. In ancient Israel, the shepherd concocted a mixture of olive oil, sulphur and herbs that, when applied on the head and around the nostrils, soothed and protected the flock. The concoction, when applied to the head, also works by controlling the itchiness that could be relieved only by ‘head butting,’ where the rams and ewes hit each other repeatedly in the head .It is well to remember that sheep do not have hands and fingers with which to scratch their itchy scalps. They resort to the destructive behavior of ‘head butting.’ To Protect, Guide, and Defend the Flock at all times Modern shepherds have a variety of devices and equipment that can easily accomplish the task of guiding, defending and protecting the flock. At the extreme, the use of firearms against wild predators is resorted to. Today, GPS surveillance and aircraft are used to extend the reach of the modern day herders, particularly in the vast expanse of Australia and New Zealand. In the olden times, the ancient herders relied mainly on their staff and rod. The staff is the long wooden pole with a bend in the upper part that was used to extend the reach of the shepherd. With it he can guide the lead sheep to the right track. It was also used to draw a timid and even fearful lamb closer to the herder. When sheep fell into crevices, the bent end was used to pull them out of danger. The rod on the other hand was about a foot and a half in length, fashioned out of the selected root of a tree, smooth at the grip and bulbous at the other end. It was called shebet in the Middle East and iwisi in Africa. It served as the weapon of choice to be thrown at wild animals that attacked the sheep. In the hands of an expert herder, it was deadly. Sometimes it was thrown in the vicinity of an errant and stubborn sheep to call its attention and served as warning to go back to the flock. Lastly, the shepherd used it to spread the thick fleece and check the ewe or ram for any hidden injuries or parasites. Those who lead must duly exercise their authority by guiding their people in the right direction and assuring them of his care. There will be instances when he will need to actively protect and help his people overcome conflicts, dangers and obstacles by using his authority with the rod of correction. The kings of ancient Israel and Medieval Europe carried the symbols of their office in the forms of the staff and the scepter (rod). In one book, these instruments were described as the Staff of Direction and the Rod of Correction. A good shepherd must master the use of the staff and the rod. A good leader of CFC must see their crucial roles as being Protectors, Guides and Defenders of their flock. Aside from learning how to use the Staff of Direction, they must also know and be ready to use the Rod of Correction. The Heart of the Mission In the final analysis, to be a shepherd of the flock is less about skills and more about the attitude, care and dedication of the one tasked to care for the sheep. It is not about a master-servant relationship but about the shepherd being the servant leader for those assigned to him. The best lesson that can be derived is the one discovered by David when he was divinely inspired to compose Psalm 23 as a young shepherd -- ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.’ References: The Way of the Shepherd, by Kevin Lehman and William Pentak A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, by W. Phillip Keller
LAYOUT BY LAURENCE JOHN R. MORALES
Vol. 13 No. 20
September 28 - October 11, 2009
By Marge Uy
The Blessed Mother, Prayer and the Apparitions
JUNE Keithley, former broadcaster and talk show host, was the guest speaker during the regular Mission Core Teaching Night last September 15 at the Xavier School gym. She spoke about her Marian devotion and the many apparitions of our Blessed Mother, including her apparitions in Mexico to a simple man, Juan Diego, in Banneux to a young school girl, in Lipa to young Carmelite nun Teresing Castillo and more recently, to OFW Emma de Guzman. Ms. Keithley emphasized that our devotions to Mary do not put her on equal footing with Jesus but rather act as stepping stones to our improving our relationship with God, as exemplified in the oft-repeated phrase, “To Jesus through Mary.” She emphasized the importance of prayer, saying, “whenever you do anything, begin and end it with a prayer.” She also expressed her deep belief in the power of the “Hail Mary” prayer, although she emphasized that the most powerful prayer is the Eucharist. In speaking about the apparitions, Ms. Keithley asked everyone to take note that the the Blessed Mother always asked that a church or a chapel be built on the spot where she appears. This is because she wants the Eucharist to be celebrated on those spots, a significant request because it is in the Eucharist that we meet Jesus face to face.
Know Your Metro Manila Sector Heads
Jimmy Ilagan (Central A) Ernie Balarbar (North B)
Ernie is an electronics engineer, having earned his degree from the University of Santo Tomas. At present, he works part-time as technical consultant for a number of companies. He and wife Cathy graduated from the CLP in 1987. They have been married for 25 years, with 3 children, two of whom are active in YFC. He and Cathy sing in the choir in the Holy Family Parish in Kamias, Quezon City.
The audience was spellbound as Ms. Keithley narrated, sans notes nor video aids, how she made her documentaries on Mother Mary’s apparitions in the Philippines as well as in Medjugorje. She had a very positive message for the Filipino people: Because of our faith in God and our childlike devotion to His mother, God has recognized our humility and will pour upon us His countless blessings. Ms. Keithley spoke of the various names of Our Lady, but focusing particularly on her title, Mary Mediatrix of all Grace, the name she gave to herself in the apparitions in Lipa, Batangas. She asked everyone to pray about the recognition by the Church of the Lipa apparitions. The teaching night topic struck a resonant chord in the almost 2,000 leaders present because of CFC’s own devotion to Jesus’ mother, the community having been dedicated to Mary’s care and protection. Ms. Keithley was a well-known media personality but she is best known for her role as the Voice of Freedom during the 1986 EDSA Revolution when, eluding her military pursuers, she succeeded in broadcasting what was actually transpiring on the streets and in airing appeals for the people to fill the streets in protest against the Marcos dictatorship. One such appeal, from the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, brought the people in droves to EDSA and launched what would forever be known as the most successful People Power Movement in the whole world.
Jimmy is a CPA with a BSC-Accounting degree from PUP and MBA units from the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. He also completed a Senior Management Development Program from the Sime Darby Business School in KL, Malaysia. He has been married for 26 years to Lorna who holds a BSC Economics degree, also from PUP. At present, Jimmy is the Business Development Manager of Sime Darby Pilipinas, Inc. Jimmy and Lorna graduated from the CLP in 1989. Aside from being Sector Head, Jimmy is also the Provincial Area Head of Bataan. They have 3 boys, one of whom is in Youth for Christ.
Omy Santos (Central B)
Omy is a retired bank employee with a degree in BS Business Administration, major in management from the Rizal Technological University. He and wife Fe joined CFC in 1990 and have been married for 30 years. They have two children, a boy and a girl who have given them three grandchildren. For a long time, Omy was the pastoral chairman of the Sta. Clara de Montefalco Parish but decided to give it up to, as he says, “pass the torch” to the younger generation.
Mannix Ocampo (South A)
Mannix is a chemist (a graduate of BS Chemistry from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, batch 1990) while wife Aileen is a registered nurse who retired because, as they said, her working hours interfered with the demands of their community service. At present, Mannix is in sales and marketing, and is the president of the Tire Importers and Traders Association of the Philippines. Mannix and Aileen, aside from being the youngest sector leaders, are also relatively young in the community, having graduated from the CLP in 1998. They have been married for 14 years, with five children, aged 13, 12, 6, 4 and 2. All the children are active, with the two eldest in YFC Torch and the two younger boys in KFC. Aside from his sector service, Mannix is also the Provincial Area Head of Negros Occidental and a member of the Board of Elders. Aileen is actively involved in GK’s Mabuhay Program in Las Pinas.
Jimmy Santiago (Central C)
Jimmy is known for his highly creative flair and for his huge success in the advertising field. And no wonder since he is a Fine Arts graduate (major in Advertising and Editorial Design) from the University of the Philippines. He is the founder and managing partner as well as Head of Strategic Planning of TBWA/Santiago Mangada Puno, a multi-awarded advertising agency. He and wife Cynthia or Ching (nee Baltazar) have been married for 34 years, and graduated from the CLP in 1990 in Las Pinas. They have four boys (Jay Dustin, Don Carlo, Quiel Leandro and Augusto Miguel) all of them former YFC and SFC members but now also busy with their chosen careers.
Jojo Buncayo (South B)
Jojo and wife Bambi are in the insurance business, with Jojo being the branch manager of Pru-Life UK. Jojo has a Business Management degree from the Philippine College of Commerce. He and Bambi graduated from the CLP in 1993 and have been married for 26 years. They are blessed with 5 children, all of them active in community. The eldest is a household head in Singles for Christ and active in GK 1MB while the second is also a member of SFC and active in the Prison Ministry. The third child is in Youth for Christ while the two youngest are in Kids for Christ.
Joel Dayao (East A)
Joel is in the publishing business, a far cry from his academic learning, having graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in BS Electronic and Communications Engineering. He also has masteral units in Computer Science from the Ateneo de Manila University. Joel and wife Gemma (Feria) have been married for 21 years and they have five children (4 boys and 1 girl), three of whom are active in YFC. They graduated from the CLP in May 1992 in Cainta. Aside from their CFC commitments, the couple is active as choir leaders at the Sacred Heart Parish in Brookside Hills Subdivision in Cainta.
Boyet Rafael (West A)
Boyet (real name Virgilio) and wife Ditas combine their CFC service with business, being proprietors of a successful restaurant and catering service. Boyet and Ditas have been married for 21 years and are childless. They are active in the parish, with Boyet being vicechairman of the San Roque Parish Cathedral Pastoral Council in the Diocese of Kalookan. They have been CFC members since 1993.
Art Valdellon (East B)
Art and wife Edna finished their CLP in 1990 in Lower Antipolo, which was then not yet integrated with Upper Antipolo. In 1997, he retired as in-house bank attorney, having been one for twenty (20) years in three different universal banks and put up his own law office. That same year, he accepted his first provincial assignment as Provincial Area Head of Nueva Ecija and served as such for the next seven years. Aside from being sector head, he also serves in STMA, in Isaiah 61:1 (the Prisons Ministry) and the National Music Ministry. Edna is also active in the Music Ministry as well as in the newly-organized Migrant Workers Program, The Valdellons have been married for thirty (30) years and have three grown sons, the two oldest ones now looking forward to becoming CFC members upon their marriage. The youngest is in his last year of study at the Ateneo John Gokongwei Business School and is a member of the school-based YFC.
Nonong Ignacio (West B)
Nonong has a BSC Accounting degree from Adamson University. After a long career in banking, he became a fulltime pastoral worker in 2008 and is now Home Office Administrator as well as the General Manager for Flame Ministries, Inc. Aside from being sector head, Nonong is also the Regional Head for Central Luzon. He and wife Letty became CFC members in 1988 and have been married for 33 years. They have 4 children, all of them sons.
Ben Babilonia (North A)
Ben is a licensed mechanical engineer, a graduate of the Mapua Institute of Technology. Ben and his wife Mitos have been married for 30 years, and 20 of those years have been as members of CFC, since they graduated from the Christian Life Program way back in 1989. He and Mitos have two children, a boy and a girl.
Delfy Geraldez (West C)
Delfy and wife Lynda have been with CFC for quite a long time, having graduated from the CLP in 1984, only three years from the time of the community’s birth. Delfy holds Liacom AB Economics and BSC Business Management degrees from the De La Salle University as well as an MBA degree from the Ateneo University. He is the president and managing director of family-owned real estate corporations involved in leasing, subdivision development, construction, build and sell and interior design. He and Lynda (nee Reyes) have been married for 30 years and have four children. They are also active in Gawad Kalinga. Lynda is deeply involved in the Handmaids of the Lord, being a member of the HOLD International Council, Foreign Mission Coordinator, the Regional Coordinator for HOLD South Asia and in charge of Finance.
September 28 - October 11, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 20
By Medy Capunan
Interior Silence in the Carmelite Tradition
IS contemplative spirituality dedicated only to the religious or monastic life? No. Spiritual masters say that active lay people with no special vocation can also become contemplatives in whatever state of life they are in. Sr. Mary Niere, OCD, a Carmelite nun, went around the various sectors of Metro Manila and some nearby provinces recently to propagate this message. Her message was well received, whether by Youth for Christ who so thoroughly enjoyed her lecture that they have asked Sr. Mary to give a more expanded seminar for them, or by the Handmaids of the Lord, or the CFC leaders. She also conducted a Trainors Training course for a small group of CFC leaders who will then bring the message to more people. The training was well grounded on the state of grace that individuals and communities can attain through contemplative prayer. Mystical Foundation What may appear to be beyond the understanding of ordinary people was after all not too complicated to comprehend. Sr. Mary delivered the message in between humorous anecdotes of her monastic life, particularly her struggles as an 18-year old postulant. Sister Mary’s message on contemplative prayer is grounded on the doctrines of two universallyacclaimed Carmelite mystics, e.g. St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. St. Teresa’s doctrine is best expressed in the “Interior Castle,” one of the most celebrated books on mystical theology in the 16th century, while that of St. John is contained in his book, “Dark Night of the Soul.” Sister Mary discussed with clarity the complementation of these two doctrines. St. Teresa
addresses the spiritual journey of beginners while St. John focuses on the deeper (and darker) stage as one journeys further to attain divine union with God. Our Modern World The doctrines were written centuries ago and the mystical journey understood at that time was finding God in the center of one’s soul. Sister Mary said that any community can be confronted with “dark night” situations that challenge (and disrupt) its spiritual journey. Being aware of how to let go of negative reactions and not be “disturbed” are key to getting out of any “dark night.” This applies to our personal lives as well. Contemplative prayer provides the avenue to reaching the core of one’s “being.” Call To Contemplative Prayer The basic message of Sr. Mary is that everyone is called to contemplative prayer. This can also be a way of life for any community without deviating from its original culture. For as long as individuals are in union with God through the interior silence of their minds, body and spirit, the better they will be as members of any community. Amidst our tumultuous and noisy world, everyone should seek this grace of interior silence through contemplative prayer.
ABBA – The Real Father
By Manny Catabas
Courtesy visits. Above: East A leaders Joven Castaneda, Thome Miranda, Edwin Pastorfide and sector head Joel Dayao with Bishop Gabby Reyes of Antipolo. Below: IC members Rouquel Ponte, Joe Tale and Joe Yamamoto with Bishop Honesto Pacana of Bukidnon.
Fighting Men Fighting for Jesus
By Edward & Hermie Agar
COUPLES for Christ’s ministry for the men and women in uniform, Sword of Gideon (SOG), continues to march forward in its quest to evangelize the country’s fighting force, to instill the values of Christ in the people tasked to be defenders of freedom. The goal of the Sword of Gideon is to work for the spiritual renewal of armed services personnel in order to establish a unified and committed body of Christians in the armed services. The SOG in Camarines Sur is one of the SOG groups around the country dedicated to this mission. Headed by Ret. Col. Edward G. Agar, and supported by his wife Hermie and seven other couples, namely Henry and Lil Parro, Celing and Jo de la Torre, Mon and Julie Pontanal, Jun and Melba Gomesena, Roy and Cora de los Santos, Atin and Belen Rondain and Sindong and Alice Mariano, the group has been conducting the Christian Life Program to soldiers assigned to the province, beginning with the initial 400 soldiers of 9th Infantry Division at San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur. The group had the support of the infantry chaplain, Fr. Maj. Ping Vera and Gen. Jeffrey Sodusta who suggested that the CLP must be done in smaller batches so that the participants can better absorb the teachings. By the end of 2008, the group graduated 600 out of 800 soldiers; this year, another 475 candidate soldiers successfully finished the CLP with another batch soon to start the CLP in October. The transformations have often been tangible, as seen by the testimonials by the soldiers themselves. One participant shared that he aspired to be a soldier as a way of revenge for his father who was killed by NPA
THE Servants of the Lord (SOLD) held a Father’s Weekend on August 8 and 9, 2009 at the Communication Foundation Asia in Sta. Mesa, Manila, the first time this kind of activity was conducted by SOLD. The weekend was meant to uplift all the SOLD fathers. According to Manny Garcia, SOLD International Coordinator, every male CFC has undergone intensive training in building relationships with their spouses as well as in charting their individual spiritual journeys. In CFC’s vision of families in the Holy Spirit, each male member has a very critical role to play as a father. It is this role that SOLD is now focusing on – training men how to be fathers in the very image of God our Father. The event brought to fore hard questions about the role of fathers in modern Philippine society. The participants were confronted with many negative realities -- indifferent fathers abandoning their families and even worse, committing incestuous acts against their daughters; the proliferation of homosexuality because fathers have abdicated their authoritative and guiding roles in their families; fathers failing to provide for their families’ daily needs. The activity opened the eyes of every participant to their own shortcomings as fathers. They also learned from each other best practices on building relationships with their sons and daughters. A family dialogue, the highlight of the two-day event, was held as the culminating activity. What a beautiful sight it was to see families gathered together for the very meaningful purpose of building families in the Holy Spirit transforming the face of the earth.
right before his eyes, but the CLP allowed him to cast the desire for revenge away. Many other soldiers shared that their faith in God became stronger. Most admitted to looking forward to Sundays, the CLP days, because they can relax in the company of their fellow soldier and focus on the Word of God. Many expressed gratefulness that they are part of this program, saying that they did not really expect to participate in this kind of program. The SOG in Camarines Sur is indeed committed to their mission. They claim as inspiration one of their group who, when traveling with the group to attend a leaders’ conference in Metro Manila, met a vehicular accident in Quezon and lost his life. Even though most of the members of SOG Camarines Sur are senior citizens, they are energized by their mission, asking for nothing in return, content only to see God’s will prevail.
CFC Sibugay Turns 14
By Lovely Apiag-Enteria
IN a very simple but fitting celebration, the Couples for Christ – Zamboanga Sibugay celebrated its 14th anniversary on August 15 – 16, 2009. It was a time of renewing commitments to serve God with ardent zeal as the members grow in spiritual maturity. It is amazing that even the members of the Kids for Christ (KFC) and Youth for Christ (YFC) expressed their worship and thanksgiving to God through spirit-filled praise and songs. This was manifested during the passionate GIG concert presented on the night of August 15 by the YFC-Zamboanga City. The YFC is indeed wise and faithful, for GIG stands for “God is Great.. A festive mood filled the anniversary venue as the different family ministries in all the 16 municipalities of Zamboanga Sibugay presented joyful dances and songs. The venue was filled, not just because of the CFC’s growing number of members, but because of God’s continued empowerment in their spiritual growth and development. The theme “Forward in Christ,” as elucidated by the Area Head Bro. Vic Lauro, led everyone to
praises, glorifying God’s greatness with so much inspiration to move on in the pursuit of the CFC vision in the formation of families in the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth and the realization of its mission in the service of the poor. Amidst varied merciless kidnappings and afflictions in the peninsula coupled by ruthless terroristic activities in Mindanao, the Couples for Christ in Zamboanga Sibugay continues to evangelize in this remote corner of the country, confident that as they continue to do the work of God, He will remain with them until the ends of the earth.
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