Pope Benedict calls for revolution of holiness in Africa

•B1 ‘Your hands, your lips, become... the Hands
and Lips of God’



A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus

Prelate favors P10-B calamity fund for storm victims
MANILA Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo favored the allocation of P10 billion calamity fund and said huge chunk of the budget must be earmarked for reconstruction. Speaking over Church-run Radio Veritas, Pabillo said giving housing to the poor whose houses were ravaged by typhoon Ondoy must be prioritized. “That calamity fund should be allocated for housing so as not to put at risk once more the lives of the poor,” he said. Pabillo chairs the National Secretariat for SoFund / A6

CBCP asks Congress to uphold inmates’ rights to suffrage
THE Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on Congress to modify election laws to ensure prisoners of their right to vote. In a press statement, the Commission lauded both COMELEC and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) for allowing prisoners in detention to register to exercise their constitutional right to vote in the upcoming 2010 elections. Reiterating the Commission’s statement, ECPPC
Suffrage / A7

October 12 - 25, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 21

Php 20.00

CBCP head asks priests to reclaim prophetic leadership

By Roy Lagarde

This is more so because, according to Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, the country’s current situation challenges church officials to move into more prophetic expressions of their role as key actors in civil society. As the church marks Year for Priests, he said it’s also about time to see whether the clergy have truly played a “prophetic

Discernment The CBCP head made the statement in his homily during

Prophetic / A6

CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo exhorts priests to exercise their prophetic role and the call to stewardship more effectively amidst challenges of present societal conditions. The archbishop leads the Mass on October 13, at the opening of the three-day National Discernment of Priests at the Lay Formation Center, San Carlos Seminary, Makati City. The National Discernment of Priests assembly is a response to the call of the hierarchy for the formation of “circles of discernment” among the clergy.

Pope: RP needs ‘honest’ political leaders
POPE Benedict XVI said the Philippines’ continuing struggle from poverty signals the imperative need for upright political leaders. Speaking to new Philippines Ambassador to the Vatican Mercedes Arrasitia Tuason, the pope urged public officials to rediscover the real ethical foundation of their political authority. “The struggle against poverty in the Philippines calls for honesty, integrity and an unwavering fidelity to the principles of justice, especially on the part of those entrusted with positions of governance and public administration,” Benedict XVI said. The pontiff made the remarks on Oct. 2 at a function to welcome the new Filipino envoy to the Holy See. He also called on Filipino officials to work for peace especially in Mindanao which, according to him, is a region ‘scarred by conflicts.’
Honest / A7

CBCP saddened over abduction of priest, worries of fragile health

Dominican Network bags leadership of YouthPinoy

THE Catholic bishops’ leadership said they are saddened over the kidnapping of an Irish priest held hostage by still unknown kidnappers in the restive southern Philippines. Columban missionary Michael Sinnott was seized from his home on the evening of October 11 in Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur. Authorities said six armed gunmen burst into Father Michael Sinnott at his residence while he was strolling inside the Missionary Society of Saint Columban compound in what appeared to be a well-organized operation. Dragging him to a waiting car, he was then trundled into a waiting speed boat at a nearby beach. The whereabouts of the octogenarian priest, born in Ireland, are still unknown, while no group has yet to claim the responsibility for the terrorist act. Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president
Abduction / A7

TWO offices of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) have appointed a Legal Management graduate of the University of Santo Tomas to take the helm of its official website for the Filipino Catholic youth. Masbate Bishop Joel Baylon and Fr. Conegundo Garganta of the Espiscopal Commission on Youth, together with Msgr. Pedro Quitorio of the CBCP Media Office, have appointed Eilleen Esteban of the Dominican Network as the first president of YouthPinoy, a

coalition of different youth groups and ministries working behind the www. youthpinoy.com portal.
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CBCP head sees warning sign in Bishops renew calamities, calls for praying the rosary call for Comelec to release source code
THE Church does not say that the dreadful flash floods recently was a judgment of God but a prelate believes there is a message in the disaster. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, said such terrible tragedy can, in the mysterious providence of God, also serve as a warning sign. “In the destruction wrought by typhoons, we must see not so much God ‘lifting His hand to punish’ but moral evil having its ‘trail of harm and ruin’ because we have destroyed God’s world,” Archbishop Lagdameo said. “We are challenged to open our hearts to God’s warning signs. Should we not at least ask ourselves if all the corruption and lies, the loss of integrity and the mounting ‘destruction of morality and moral values’ in the present government and the present calamities: is there a connection? Is God not giving us “hints” regarding the future and even the coming elections? We’re just asking! We do not have the answer! That is why let us also pray,” he said. While the country is yet to recover from wrath of typhoon Ondoy, another typhoon, Pepeng left much of northern Luzon devastated and submerged in water. The prelate said the situation calls for the faithful to pray and seek God’s intervention to spare the country from further calamities. In this month of October, Archbishop Lagdameo said the church recommend that the Rosary be prayed by individuals, families or by communities in parishes for the said intention. “Our countrymen, still reeling in physical anguish and emotional distress, which many of them hide in their smiles and sense of humor, need also to be prayed for,” he said.
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A MULTI-SECTORAL group led by Catholic bishops urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to make public the source code of the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) it would use in the 2010 elections. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez joined some information technology experts, lawmakers and non-government organization leaders in asking the poll body to reveal the code for public scrutiny. In a joint statement sent to Comelec chair Jose Melo, they said that asking for the source code is meant to ensure transparent, fair and credible elections. “We reiterate in strongest terms our call for the Comelec to comply with Section 12 of RA 9369 and release the source code of the PCOS-OMR

and CCS computer programs now before it is too late,” it read. Pabillo heads the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action while Iñiguez chairs the CBCP’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs. Among those who signed the statement are Sr.
Source code / A6

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

THE head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called on church leaders to live their prophetic role more effectively.

role” in church and society. Lagdameo said such celebration expressed the need to develop a theology of leadership: the prophetic role of priests and their call to stewardship. “Year for Priests gives us priests the opportunity to regain and reclaim our prophetic leadership, exercised in the present context or realities of church and society in the Philippines,” he said.


World News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

Holy Father canonizes five new saints
VATICAN CITY, Oct. 11, 2009—Pope Benedict XVI has canonized five new saints in St. Peter’s Basilica, including Fr. Damian of Molokai. During his homily, the Holy Father noted that all of the saints followed the invitation of Christ: "Come, follow me!" Speaking to the faithful packed in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope described the invitation of Christ, saying that he "invites his disciples to the total gift of their lives, without calculation and human selfinterest, with a wholehearted faith in God." This call, the Holy Father continued, is welcomed by the saints who "place themselves in humble obedience" to follow the Lord. They no longer focus on themselves, the Pope explained, but by their "logic of faith." They choose "to go against the trends of the time living according to the Gospel." Benedict XVI then gave a brief description of each of the five newly-canonized saints: a bishop, a Trappist brother, two priests and a nun. Archbishop Zygmunt Szczesny Feliński of Warsaw, founder of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary, was committed to evangelization and support for the poor, defending the oppressed during the Russian occupation of Poland, and was sentenced to 20 years in exile in Jaroslaw on the Volga. "His gift of himself to God and man," the Holy Father said in Polish, was "full of confidence and love," and "becomes a shining example for the entire Church." To those younger generations today who "are not satisfied with what they have," the Pontiff gave the example of Rafael Arnaiz Baron, who came from a wealthy family and was a bit "of a dreamer." A Cistercian oblate, he died when he was 27 years old, and is considered one of the greatest mystics of the twentieth century. The Pontiff next spoke of Dominican Father Francisco Coll y Guitard, founder of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation Blessed Virgin Mary. Through his preaching, the saint spread his love of the Word of God and the Sacrament of Reconciliation among all people especially the young. Father Damian, the famous apostle to the lepers, left Flanders, Belgium at the age of 23 to go on a mission to modern day Hawaii. "Not without fear and loathing," Pope Benedict underlined, "Father Damian made the choice to go on the island of Molokai in the service of lepers who were there, abandoned by all. So he exposed himself to the disease of which they suffered. With them he felt at home. The servant of the Word became a suffering servant, leper with the lepers, during the last four years of his life." He continued, "To follow Christ, Father Damian not only left his homeland, but has also staked his
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health so he, as the word of Jesus announced in today's Gospel tells us, received eternal life." The figure of Father Damian, Benedict XVI added, "teaches us to choose the good fight not those that lead to division, but those that gather us together in unity." And finally, the Pope spoke of Jeanne Jugan. Referring to her by her religious name of St. Mary of the Cross, from the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Holy Father commented on her "wonderful work to help the most vulnerable elderly." He noted that her initiatives and goals are "still valid today, given that many elderly people suffer from multiple poverty and loneliness, sometimes even being abandoned by their families." The Pope concluded by inviting all present "to allow themselves to be attracted by the shining example of these saints, to be guided by their teachings so that our entire lives become a hymn of praise to God's love." (CNA)

Benedict XVI prays Rosary with college students, tells youth to seek the truth
VATICAN CITY, Oct. 12, 2009—Pope Benedict prayed a Rosary with university students from both Rome and Africa on Saturday night at the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. Following the Marian prayer, the Holy Father remarked that students must be “passionate seekers of truth.” Synod Fathers from the ongoing Synod for Africa, Roman university students and via satellite, university students from eight African cities: Cairo, Egypt; Nairobi, Kenya; Khartoum, Sudan; Johannesburg, South Africa; Onitsha, Nigeria; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic

VATICAN CITY, Oct. 12, 2009—Benedict XVI held a brief meeting with Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss preparations for the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid. Miguel Ángel Moratinos was in the Rome as the head of the official Spanish delegation that attended the canonization issues of mutual interest and other points that affect Churchof the first two Spanish saints canonized by this Pope: Father State relations." Francisco Coll and Brother Rafael Arnáiz. The Holy Father also received the delegations from the native "Among the topics discussed was the preparacountries of the other newly canonized saints. tion for World Youth Day, which will take place Attending on the Belgian side, in honor of St. in Madrid in August of 2011, and the meaning Damien De Veuster, apostle of the lepers in Molokai, of the canonizations for the Spanish Church and were King Albert II and Queen Paola of his homesociety," the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See land. reported. As Molokai is in Hawaii, the ambassador of the The communiqué added that after the meeting United States to the Holy See, Miguel Díaz, also atwith the Pontiff, the minister had a "lengthy contended the ceremony along with one of the state's versation" with Archbishop Dominique Mamsenators, Daniel Kahikina Akaka. berti, the secretary for relations with states. In honor of St. Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski It added, "In an atmosphere of great cordialof Poland, the president of the Republic, Lech ity, the interlocutors addressed among other Kaczynski, was present in the Vatican. topics: the priorities of the Spanish presidency France, which was celebrating the newly canonof the European Union beginning in January of ized St. Jeanne Jugan, was represented by Prime 2010, the Alliance of Civilizations, international Minister François Fillon. (Zenit) © www.ourladyofmercy.info

Pope discusses World Youth Day with Spanish delegate

of Congo; Maputo, Mozambique, and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso participated in the event. Following the Rosary, Benedict XVI spoke to the students and asked them to be “workers of intellectual charity” in both the Church and society. Living out this call is “so necessary if we are to face up to the great challenges of the present time,” the Pope said. While at the university, he continued, the students must be “passionate seeks of truth,” and must build “academic communities of the highest intellectual standard, where it is possible to exercise and

enjoy that open and all-embracing rationality which paves the way to the meeting with God.” He then exhorted the students to also also collaborate among their various institutions, especially with the African schools. Speaking to the African students, the Pope invited them to use their years of study as “preparation to carry out a service of cultural animation in your countries.” “New evangelization in Africa also depends on your generous efforts," he concluded. (CNA)

Vatican paper calls Nobel Prize for Obama ‘premature,’ highlights his abortion stance
ROME, Italy, Oct. 12, 2009— The semi-official Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, has called the decision to award President Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize premature and more of an invitation to choose peace through politics. The award is also questionable because of his position on various bio-ethics issues, especially abortion. The article points out that “the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama has taken everyone somewhat by surprise, first and foremost the U.S. president himself.” “During the last 90 years,” L'Osservatore noted, “the prize has never been awarded to a sitting U.S. president—when it was awarded to Jimmy Carter in 2002 he had been out of office already for some time—[but was] involved in politics and susceptible, therefore, to making a range of decisions related to peace.” Perhaps for this reason, the newspaper said, “Analysts have almost unanimously interpreted his selection as a way of pressuring Obama to make pacifist choices as his administration continues forward.” L'Osservatore also questioned the administration’s actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that the decisions seem aimed at trying to find a middle way between “fidelity to the pacifist statements made during the campaign season and a more realistic policy, which some have defined as a continuation of that of the ‘warmonger’ Bush.” This back-and-forth policy, the paper observed, is very similar to the approach that Obama has taken to “the great bioethics issues, with abortion being first and foremost.” His way of doing things has generated great controversy among Catholics in the country, the daily added. The Vatican newspaper also brought to mind Mother Teresa being honored with the Peace Prize in 1979, and said, “Obama ought to recall that in 1979 he was preceded by Mother Teresa, who had the courage to state in her acceptance speech that the harshest war with the greatest number of ‘fallen’ is the practice of abortion, legalized and facilitated as well by the international structures.” Pointing out an inconsistency, L'Osservatore noted that Pope John Paul II was a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize for years but was never chosen for the award, not even in 2003 “after his condemnation of the war in Iraq.” “Pope Wojtyla was considered by the members of the committee as too ‘conservative’ in other areas, and they feared that awarding it to him would be seen as favoring the Catholic Church over other religions. Their fears were evidently overcome in the much more controversial case of the selection of Obama,” the Vatican daily said, noting that the selection process has become mired in being politically correct. Nevertheless, the article concluded, “at the same time, as the director of the Holy See’s Press Office has stated, we cannot help but rejoice at the recognition of President Obama’s efforts at nuclear disarmament and his personal disposition towards a policy that seeks peace more than the affirmation of U.S. power in the world.” (CNA)

Divorce between Church and State could ruin Mexico, Cardinal Rivera says
MEXICO CITY, Oct. 12, 2009—The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, warned last week that “the divorce between Church and State could cause our ruin,” as he commented on those who want to overlook the country’s religious roots. The cardinal made his remarks during the opening of the 2009 Guadalupan Congress, saying he rejects the attempts by some to celebrate Mexico’s bicentennial by “disregarding the religious roots of our country.” He criticized those who wish to follow the ideologues of Europe and turn Mexico into a secular country, forcing Mexicans to deny “a part of who we are.” After noting that many thinkers in history have tried to define the Mexican people, Cardinal Rivera explained that it is necessary to recognize that “in our national context, Holy Mary of Guadalupe is a fundamental force for national unity, and devotion to her is now totally independent of the Mexican state … She has contributed to cementing a national Catholic identity, because all Mexicans are in some way Guadalupans.” He went on to stress that the popular phrase, “To be Mexican is to be Guadalupan,” does not mean “that we all have to

European bishops promote solidarity
GDANSK, Poland, Oct. 12, 2009—The European bishops gathered representatives from 29 countries to create strategies for building solidarity on the continent in the first ever “Catholic Social Days for Europe.” These days, sponsored by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, took place in Gdansk from Thursday to Sunday. In the closing statement, titled “Solidarity Is the Future of Europe,” the bishops recalled the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War II, and the resulting quest for reconciliation that gave rise to the European Union. They underlined the need to uphold the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity so as to promote the common good throughout Europe. The bishops affirmed, “Selfish behavior, utilitarianism and materialism need to give way to sharing, as has been clearly demonstrated by the current economic crisis.” They added that “the inalienable dignity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death must be respected.” “We should not be afraid,” the prelates stated, as “solidarity is our common future.” They continued: “The unity of Europe has been the dream of some. It has become a hope for many. Today it is our duty to ensure that it continues to serve the objective of global solidarity.” (Zenit)

think the same about Guadalupe, or that we all have to practice a Guadalupan devotion. But there is a part of being Mexican that signifies an unique relationship with Holy Mary of Guadalupe,” he said. Although “at times we manifest it and other times we want to hide it,” he said, Our Lady of Guadalupe “is very present in our cultural roots, in very concrete events: when our mixed race began, at our Independence, during the Revolution, during important national events, and she is also present in our daily lives, for this reason [there is] the insistence that to be Mexican is to be Guadalupan,” the cardinal said. The Archbishop of Mexico City also said that Our Lady of Guadalupe was instrumental in uniting the divided people of what is now Mexico. “And then came the Guadalupan event, and what seemed irreparable became a pathway, what seemed irreconcilable became a nation. Holy Mary of Guadalupe is the remedy that God provided for what seemed to be our destruction,” he said. (CNA)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

News Features


Pope Benedict calls for revolution of holiness in Africa
VATICAN CITY, Oct. 4, 2009—In St. Peter’s Basilica, during Sunday’s Opening Mass for the Synod of African Bishops, Pope Benedict XVI preached holiness as a means to societal reconciliation and peace. The Holy Father also called for a new evangelization of Africa, highlighting the primacy of God, marriage and protecting children from violence as the areas most in need of the Gospel. Benedict XVI, who visited Cameroon and Angola in March of this year, began by stating the unity between this Synod and the first one opened in 1994 by Pope John Paul II. This “spiritual lung” that is Africa risks two “dangerous diseases,” he warned. "First, a disease that has spread throughout the Western world, namely practical materialism, combined with relativistic and nihilistic thinking.” The second, he said, is “religious fundamentalism. Mixed with political and economic interests, groups claiming different religious affiliations are spreading in Africa.” For Pope Benedict, the work of the Synod must focus on two themes: marriage and children. "Marriage as the Bible presents it does not exist outside of our relationship with God,” he said. "To the extent that it preserves and develops its faith, Africa can find huge resources to donate to the benefit of the family founded on marriage." The Synod, the Pope advised, should pay attention to "the reality of childhood, which is a large and unfortunately suffering part of the African population." The Church in Africa, he said, "manifests her own motherhood towards the smallest children, even those not yet born, for as the Lord Jesus, the Church does not see them primarily as recipients of care, lesser still as vessels for pietism or exploitation, but persons in their own right.” To address these challenges, the Holy Father continued, the Church in Africa must implement “a new evangelization, which takes account of the rapid social changes of our time and the phenomenon of worldwide globalization.” In addition to numbers, "We need to focus increasingly on the 'high standard' of Christian life, that is holiness. Pastors, and all members of the ecclesial community, are called to be saints.” He added: “The lay faithful are called to spread the fragrance of holiness in the family, workplace, school and all other social and political spheres. May the Church in Africa be a family of true disciples of Christ, where the difference between ethnic groups becomes a motive and stimulus for mutual human and spiritual enrichment." "Reconciliation,” the Pontiff recalled, “is a gift of God that men have to plead for and accept. It is the stable foundation on which to build peace, a prerequisite for true progress of mankind and society, according to the design of justice willed by God.” “By the redeeming grace of the Risen Lord,” he proclaimed, “Africa will be ever more enlightened by his light and, guided by the Holy Spirit, it will become a blessing for the universal Church, contributing their own and qualified to building a world more just and fraternal world.” At the conclusion of his homily, Benedict XVI asked the cloistered monasteries and religious communities in Africa and spread all

over the world, parishes and movements, the sick and suffering to accompany with prayer the work of the Synod Fathers "so that the Lord render fruitful this second Special Assembly.” (CNA)

FABC Secretary reports of similarities between Asian and African Churches
MANILA, Oct. 9, 2009—The Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC), Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, OMI, told African bishops in the presence of the Holy Father that there are similarities between Asian and African Churches. The two continents “bear similar experiences of sorrow and joy,” said Quevedo who represented the FABC in the Second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa now on progress in Rome. The Filipino prelate said there is sorrow because of “the many forcArchbishop Orlando Quevedo es of a culture of death… such as the increasing poverty and marginalization of our peoples; … injustices against women and children; … our inability to compete with the powerful in a global economic order unguided by juridical and moral norms.” He also referred to the “religious intolerance instead of a dialogue of reason and faith” prevalent in both churches. Quevedo however added that both Asia and Africa “experience great joy and hope in movements of justice and peace; ... in the solidarity of people of good will from different social classes and religious traditions to work for a more just, more peaceful, more fraternal social order.” He added that as far as he understands the Church in Africa is “exploring the theological and pastoral implications of the Church as the Family of God.” “In Asia, we have been led by the Holy Spirit, we believe, to explore in the Asian context the theology of Church as communion and as humble servant of the Gospel and of Asian peoples,” he said. Quevedo was president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) before he took leadership of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. (CBCPNews)

Cardinal calls priests in Ars to love enemies
ARS, France, Oct. 9, 2009—St. Jerome is said to have removed a thorn from the paw of a lion who would attack him. The archbishop of Boston says this image is a calling for priests to love even their enemies. Cardinal Sean O'Malley reflected on the legend of St. Jerome when he addressed priests on retreat in Ars, in the context of the Year for Priests and the 150th anniversary of St. John Vianney. The seven-day retreat ended last Sunday. The cardinal pointed to St. Jerome's description of the first Christians, about whom it was said, "They live near us, in our midst, but they do not abort and they respect marriage. This is strange!" The cardinal suggested this letter "could have been written last week." Christians are called to be different, the cardinal illustrated, pointing to the "golden legend" of St. Jerome. This story depicts the saint surrounded by a group of monks. When they are attacked by a lion, they all flee, but Jerome stays: He sees that the lion is lame and he removes a thorn from his paw. Cardinal O'Malley extracted this lesson: "We must behave like this. Christ is our physician, our Savior. We must be convinced and convince others and have the grace that our enemies become our brothers." Nevertheless, the cardinal acknowledged, priests also sometimes betray their mission. He spoke of the Apostles abandoning Jesus in his passion. "Peter, on the afternoon of his ordination, cut off Malchus' ear, saw the soldiers, and fled," he said. "He tried to do what all of us have tried at some time, to follow Jesus, but at a prudent distance. However, someone recognized him, not a soldier armed with a sword, but a servant – who treated him with contempt – and he denied his Master." Yet, Cardinal O'Malley continued, at the moment of "breakfast" on the shore of the lake, after the Resurrection, Christ asks Peter three times: "Do you love Me?" Peter answers that he loves him and Christ says to him: "Follow me." Spiritual authors evoke this second calling, the "second opportunity" – a new opportunity after our slips, our withdrawals. We, as priests can all receive this grace of a new calling, like St. Teresa of Jesus who received a second conversion before the image of the Ecce Homo, he affirmed. Truth and liberty Cardinal O'Malley also commented on the first reading from the day's Mass, taken from the Book of Nehemiah: "The king saw Nehemiah's sadness and asked that he open his heart to him. Nehemiah said that his heart was broken because the Holy City, Jerusalem, and the Temple were in ruins." "We also see the problems of secularization, the sexual scandals, the Church scorned and abandoned by so many people," the prelate reflected. "But the king acceded to Nehemiah' solicitude who requested: 'Send me to Judah to reconstruct the city of my forefathers.'"

Christ's home Cardinal O'Malley referred as well to the young man of the Gospel of the day, who said to Jesus, "I will follow you wherever you go." The cardinal recalled that Cardinal Sean O’Malley Jesus' reply affirms "the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." Similarly, the Boston prelate observed, the first disciples asked: "Where do you live?" And they hear the answer: "Come and see..." and "they discover that he is a Teacher without a home." "He was born in a stable and was buried in another's tomb," the cardinal said. He proposed that this image can be applied to priestly celibacy: "Our celibacy is a participation in the fact that there is no home for the friend of the Bridegroom and the other disciples. Celibacy without love has no meaning. [...] It should, on the contrary, be the sign of the joy of the faith in the spirit, in the risen Christ." "May the holy Cure d'Ars help us find our way of Ars here on earth," the cardinal prayed, "our way in a renewed interior life of profound friendship with Christ and with our brother priests." (Zenit)

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

MANILA, Oct. 12, 2009—Saying that imprisonment is counterproductive for the rehabilitation and wellbeing of prisoners, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called on Congress to think instead of alternatives to detention. Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Pastoral Care, said in a statement that the sorry state of the country’s penitentiary system “impinges on several human rights [of prisoners], like provision on basic needs like food, shelter and medicines.” “Prisoners are often held in grossly overcrowded conditions, poorly clothed and underfed,” he said. Due to this dismal condition, “prisoners are particularly vulnerable to disease, and yet are given poor medical treatment,” he added. Diamante said policy-makers should take a close

CBCP Official urges Congress to consider options to detention
look on the situation of the inmates, the reason of their detention and how long they have been inside prison. It has been noted that many of the inmates have been languishing in jail for a long ECPPC Exec. Sec. Rodolfo Diamante period of time while still awaiting trial. The Episcopal commission argues that other effective measures can be applied to meet the goal of imprisonment, since not “all socially undesirable conduct can be classified as crime”. City jails in Metro Manila and provinces are often filled up to capacity with petty crime offenders. Congress can decriminalize those crimes, Diamante said. “We can also use diversion strategies, divert offenders to alternative programs like communitybased program, treatment centers or work and study furlough,” said Diamante. The statement was released in time for the upcoming celebration of Prison Awareness Week on October 25. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

Arroyo gov’t accused of undermining indigenous rights
MANILA, Oct. 7, 2009—The Philippine government has been accused of racism by a Catholic Church-backed advocacy group in United Kingdom for its disregard of indigenous rights. The agency berated the Arroyo administration for its position in two disputes in environment and indigenous claims, accusing it of favoring mining companies at the expense of ethnic minorities. The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) refuted government reports that rights of indigenous peoples (IP) in the Philippines are respected well. On paper, CAFOD policy analyst Sonya Maldar said, the government gives its 12 million IP extensive legal protection, including rights to approve or reject plans for any large-scale developments like mining on their ancestral lands. “But legislation is not being enforced and there are countless examples of these rights [that] are being violated in practice,” she said. On Philippine President Arroyo’s recent visit to UK, CAFOD’s partner Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks) challenged her to act on racial discrimination against indigenous people. The UK-based support group presented the president with a letter which drew attention to new findings from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This high-level committee, made up of experts from 18 countries, has raised critical concerns about how well indigenous peoples’ rights are respected in the Philippines. PIPLinks contributed evidence from IPs to a “shadow report” for the committee to counter Arroyo government claims that there is no racial discrimination in the Philippines. "We await a response from the government, but in the meantime are concerned that the President prioritized meeting mining companies in London, when their activities are the source of so many of the ongoing concerns raised by indigenous peoples in the Philippines,” said Andy Whitmore from PIPLinks. In its final report, the committee cited the case of the Subanon people who have lived on the west of the island of Mindanao for hundreds of years. Canadian company TVI Pacific began operating a new open-cast mine in this area in 2002. Since then, local people have reported that their farmland has been bulldozed by the company without consent, warning or compensation. Some also claimed that they have been threatened or violently forced to leave their homes. The farmland is on Mount Canatuan, an area considered sacred by local Subanon indigenous people. Part of this mountain has now been destroyed by large-scale mining. As part of CAFOD’s “Unearth Justice” campaign, its partners are helping indigenous communities exercise their constitutional right to give or withhold “free, prior and informed consent” for mining on their lands, as well as helping them relocate and re-build their livelihoods.” Further recommendations from the UN committee included ensuring that IPs are protected in situations of armed conflict and that fair investigations are conducted into all allegations of human rights violations. The committee asked the government to report back in one year on progress. (Roy Lagarde)

Migrant chaplains raise funds for typhoon victims

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

MANILA, Oct. 1, 2009─Filipino migrant chaplains stationed overseas quickly spearheaded a fund campaign among Filipino communities to help flood victims back home. Migrant chaplains from Tel Aviv, Berlin, Spain and Kuwait were among the very first to respond to the appeal for assistance, according to Fr. Edwin Corros, Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People. “As early as 11 a.m. [of] Sept. 26, I have written some of the chaplains and friends overseas describing the huge amount of [rain that flooded] Metro Manila… It was very spontaneous on the part of our migrant chaplains overseas to raise funds particularly in Tel Aviv, Berlin, Spain and Kuwait, because they were immediately informed of the disastrous effect of the recent typhoon,” Corros said. Fr. Ric Fernando, chaplain of the Divine Mercy Chapel in Tel Aviv said he would launch an appeal so Filipinos in Tel Aviv could participate in the “re-building of lives of [those] hard hit by this natural calamity.”

“I am thinking first of all of extending needed help to those in the Divine Mercy Chapel whose families have suffered total loss,” he stated in his email to Corros. For his part Fr. Adonis Narceles, an SVD based in Berlin, Germany said that he was able to collect little amount for the victims after reading Corros’ letter to the people during the Mass. Likewise, Fr. Ben Barrameda, chaplain of Holy Family Cathedral in Kuwait and Fr. Casey Ureta based in Sydney, Australia are also spearheading a campaign drive to collect donations for the flood victims. “We are doing fund raising here for the victims of Ondoy. I appealed to our parishioners in Narraweena to help,” Ureta said. He said many groups in Sydney have expressed their willingness to contribute to help the victims. Aside from second collection during masses, they are also planning to hold dinners with proceeds intended for the victims. Fr. Fabio Baggio, director of Scalabrini Migration Center in Manila, who is currently in Madrid, also sent word that Filipino migrants in Spain are collecting donations and will send aid either in cash or in kind. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

Now it’s the Pope’s word
AFTER that very courageous post-election statement of Philippine Catholic Bishops in February of 1986, many more pastoral statements followed denouncing bad governance and the way politics is done in the country. In that statement, the one-liner that has launched a thousand courageous moves seems to be this: “Now is the time to speak up. Now is the time to repair the wrong. The wrong was systematically organized. So must its correction be.” The removal of the dictator appeared to have been the “correction”—or at least as long as the “yellow euphoria” lasted (which maybe said to be lingering still today with the reappearance of “yellow candidates” though without much credentials to speak of beyond sentimentalities.) But, truth to tell, nothing much has really changed. The collars have been gaily changing, but the dogs are substantially the same. The killings and disappearances, the corruption and name it during the dictatorship, are really not foreign today. Which is why in 1997, or eleven years after the exile of the conjugal dictatorship, the crispiest verbiage came with the Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics that goes “Philippine politics—the way it is practiced—has been most hurtful of us as a people. It is possibly the biggest bane in our life as a nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving the full human development.” And now the Holy Father takes the stage. During the presentation of the Letter of Credence by the new Philippines Ambassador to the Vatican, Mercedes Arrasitia Tuason last October 2, the Pope retorted: “The struggle against poverty in the Philippines calls for honesty, integrity and an unwavering fidelity to the principles of justice, especially on the part of those entrusted with positions of governance and public administration.” Protocol-wise, such events are usually occasions for affirmation of friendship and goodwill between nations. But this time the pope, who may have been shown the real plight of Filipinos, wrapped in the rather dirty hands of their political leaders, had to go beyond the ordinary call of diplomacy. Ironically, he actually showed true friendship and goodwill by playing the child, as in the old fable, to be able to tell that the king has no clothes. Now, it’s the Pope saying. The Philippines needs honest political leaders.

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD

In and Out of Season
WE are now in the part of human history in which everything is digital. It is characterized by the invasion of modern technologies like computers, internet, cell phones, electronic mail and social network websites Our experience in this digital generation redefines our paradigms, our sense of community, our relationships and our self-identity. The Church in order to be relevant and able to evangelize and proclaim the gospel has to know this new era. She has to identify the benefits of this generation and the challenges that it brings us. The Church has to sow seeds of Christian values in this news space we are into—the cyberspace. Benefits of the Digital Generation There are benefits of the present generation of internet and computers: easy access to information, easy communication that can facilitate efficiency in business and constant contact with families abroad. There are now social networks in the internet where our desire to find friends, express ourselves and be in a community is catered. We could enumerate some like: Friendster, Facebook, and Twitter. As a result we enter into a new realm of social relationship or community, the virtual community. The sim card of our cell phones are our new community; it contains the names of people we consider significant to us, our community within a small gadget. With this new digital technology boundaries break down, geographical or even cultural boundaries. We could now go to different places just browsing the internet. We could share our views based on our religious belief on a certain issue to other people of different religious orientation just by blogging in the internet; sitting in front of a computer. Many schools for aeronautics have benefited in the training of future pilots by using the simulator wherein the students sit in a room and the experience of a cockpit in an airplane is simulated. Challenges in the Cyberspace Let us not be overwhelmed by the benefits provided to us by this era of computers, let us also look into the challenges that it brings to humanity. First we define cyberspace. Cyberspace according to Wesley Copper in his work Internet Culture “is the information highway”. It is a space where all the interconnections of the networks in the internet, data and online communication take place. In layman’s term cyberspace is the place between the phones; an indefinite place “out there” where two or more persons meet virtually and communicate. According to Pope Benedict XVI, it is the new digital arena. Here, in this space the new challenge emerges when the issue of the identity of the human person and relationship in the community is taken into consideration. The identity of the human person in cyberspace. One could hide his/her identity in the internet. He could use a lot of pseudo-identity. Taking away from his/her the responsibility of whatever he/she may do in this space. Here the problem of accountability surfaces. I usually read comments on my statements in the internet but the

Promoting Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship in the Digital Generation
identity of those who commented on my statements remain hidden to me because they are pseudonyms. One could pretend in the internet or in the cell phone to the one he is communicating that he is a bachelor, but in reality he is not. Here we see the possibility of deception in cyberspace. We include here the issue of hackers who would pretend to have legitimate access to some computer programs of banks, business establishments and government institutions. Another phenomenon in this age is the flooding of information, because of the accessibility of information in the internet; we could just research and gather data from any sources with different search engines like Google. However, there is a drawback here in this situation, indeed, there is flooding of information but it diminishes depth. As a result, our young today may have a lot of information in their head but they have difficulties on matters of decision making or critical thinking. Here, personal identity is reshaped. The focus on value has been changed to information. The young now receives information and do not bother to evaluate or critically check if the information is true and valuable. Virtual community. In this new space we acquire a new experience of community. It is what we call virtual community which is manifested in the many social networks in the internet. We seem to find ourselves very happy to have friends through this new innovation. However, looking at it closer we discover that this community could be devoid of commitment, real dialogue, real friendship and it detaches us from our real community. The possibility that in this virtual community we could have real dialogue, real friendship and commitment is based on the proposition that a person could hide his/her identity in relating to others. When the truth of the identity is withheld then no real relationship could flourish. Then there is the possibility that you are communicating not to a real person in the internet but internet robots specifically chatterbots. They allow people to ask in plain English and then formulate a proper response. There bots can often handle tasks, including reporting weather, zip-code information, sports scores, converting currency or other units, etc. Lastly, the internet brings us together, but it also keeps us apart. The time one spends in front of the computer with his virtual community detaches him/her from the real people around him/her. Our young today spends many hours updating their Facebook, their Friendster but could not find time to be with their family to go to mass or have a meal with them. Church Teachings We have enumerated above both the benefits and the challenges that is brought by the present digital generation. On the part of the challenges we presented, the messages of our Holy Fathers, the Servant of God John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI provide us with attitude that we should have as we immerse ourselves and use this new technologies in our evangelization.
In and Out / A6

Destruction in the name of progress
HOW can the fish swim in running sewers like the Pasig and so many more rivers which we have polluted? Who has turned the wonder world of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of color and life? Imagine: only 5% of our corals are in their pristine state! The blast of dynamite can still be heard on our coastal waters. We still allow muro-ami fishing methods which take a terrible toll both on the young swimmers and the corals. Mine tailings are dumped into fertile seas like Calancan Bay in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque where they destroy forever the habitat of the fish. Chemicals are poisoning our lands and rivers. They kill vital organisms and in time they will poison us. The ghost of the dreaded Minamata Bay disease hangs over towns in the Agusan river basin and the Davao gulf. Most of this destruction has taken place since the beginning of this century, a mere wink of an eye in the long history of our country. Yet in that time we have laid waste complex living systems that have taken millions of years to reach their present state of development. We often use the word progress to describe what has taken place over the past few decades. There is no denying that in some areas our roads have improved and that electricity is more readily available. But can we say that there is real progress? Who has benefited most and who has borne the real costs? The poor are as disadvantaged as ever and the natural world has been grievously wounded. We have stripped it bare, silenced its sounds and banished other creatures, from the community of the living. Through our thoughtlessness and greed we have sinned against God and His creation. One thing is certain: we cannot continue to ignore and disregard the Earth. Already we are experiencing the consequence of our shortsightedness and folly. Even though we squeeze our lands and try to extract more from them, they produce less food. The air in our cities is heavy with noxious fumes. Instead of bringing energy and life it causes bronchial illness. Our forests are almost gone, our rivers are almost empty, our spring and wells no longer sparkle with living water. During the monsoon rain, flash-floods sweep through our towns and cities and destroy everything in their path. Our lakes and estuaries are silting up. An out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality allows us to flush toxic waste and mine tailings into our rivers and seas in the mistaken belief that they can no longer harm us. Because the living world is interconnected, the poison is absorbed by marine organisms. We in turn are gradually being poisoned when we eat seafood. – What is happening to our beautiful land, A CBCP Pastoral Letter on Ecology, 1988

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Organ Donation
I RECEIVED an email from my brother yesterday, reminding us that it was the tenth year since he received the kidney of my sister and both of them are doing well. This good news is of course a source of rejoicing for our family. It seemed only a few years ago when we were all filled with anxiety that my brother’s kidneys were failing due to nephritis, a condition he has had since he was a child. I remember my mother praying novenas for him as she, a physician, knew more than any of us, the seriousness of his condition. Well, he survived high school, then college, and way into his 52nd year of life—and that is when he had his kidney transplant. He and his wife and daughter were already living in Virginia, USA. So the surgery was done there. My youngest sister (the eighth in the family) was the most compatible donor. And she whole-heartedly offered. My offer to donate was rejected—since I was nearing 60 years old by then, and they said my kidneys would age faster than his body (ha ha). Anyway, the transplant was successful, my sister was discharged from the hospital in three days and returned to the Philippines within two weeks while he was discharged within a week and was back to work in two months. She has only one kidney now while he is running around with three (I guess they do not remove any of the defective ones and leave them there till they conk out completely!) To many people, organ donation is still a strange and frightful idea. Especially with news that some organs are removed from dying patients, even when they are not yet d-e-a-d. And that is a challenge to the bioethicians, to help the medical profession define when is the moment that a person can be declared dead. When one stops breathing? When one’s heart has stopped beating? When the brain waves have ceased? Another issue concerns the selling of organs by the poor people who are willing to give up their kidney or important body organ even for a small amount of cash, and often are prey to unfair middlemen. Sometimes they are not informed enough of the risks that they as donors are taking, in giving up the organ, especially when they are not in tiptop health due to their poverty. Fr. Fausto Gomez, OP, Dr. Angelita Alora, and the members of the UST Bioethics Committee have written many useful articles on this topic—and they can be read in their publications and website.

Love Life
We in the health profession know the many advantages and “miracles” that happen because of organ transplants, thanks to the generous organ donors. Most preferred are relative donors, since often, they are also the most compatible. Organs from the dead are obtained easily when he/she has given instructions, orally or in writing, that body parts can be taken immediately after death. Sometimes, the hospital asks the relatives of an accident victim permission to obtain body parts before the remains are turned over to them. And many families have done so, with the thought that their son or daughter will live on in the life prolonged through their generosity, no matter how painful was the loss of their loved one. I am a willing organ donor, and I hope that many people will sign up too. Before our Religious Profession of Vows, we write out our Last Will and Testament and Instructions regarding our death and burial. I have given instructions and the members of my community know my intention—that immediately after my death, all parts of my body that the doctors can make use of I willingly offer. I pray that there will still be a good number of parts that they can still make use of by then.

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Pedro C. Quitorio

Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Associate Editor

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Feature Editor

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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

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

Have you heard of these churches?
Fanatics of Tiger Woods will be happy to know that there exists the First Church of Tiger Woods, established to celebrate “the emergence of the New Messiah”. Its founder strongly believes that Tiger Woods is God himself. Ample proofs of this can be seen in the celebrated games of Woods that many golfers themselves consider “miraculous”. The church’s founder said Woods revealed his divinity when, in one difficult tournament which he eventually won, Woods exclaimed: “To be under par, as bad as I am shooting today, was kind of a miracle.” Wood’s choice of a girlfriend also proves that he is God. His girlfriend’s family name Jagoda contains the word GOD. A man named Hacim was visited one night by a chinchilla and was given a message from God. He realized that his name, when read backwards, was Micah (one of the minor prophets in the Old Testament). Armed with this revelation, he promptly formed the Church of the Gerbil. A gerbil is a cute mouse with long hind legs and long furry tail, often kept as children’s pet in many countries in Asia and Africa. The church believes that “God is a gerbil”. Its code of conduct is summarized in its Ten Condiments, some of which are: 1) Thou shalt listen to the Chipmunk song. 2) Thou shalt not microwave. 3) Thou shalt stand on your head and crow like a chicken. By the time you read this, another weird-sounding church has been added in this list of cyber churches. Incidentally, I came across this list in the Internet under the heading: HUMOR. It is amazing how people would forget that, and seriously join as members. Not only does this prove how desperate people are in their search for God, this also shows how seemingly impotent mainstream Churches are in combating the internet’s immense influence on people’s religiosity and faith.

Jose B. Lugay

Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, OP

UNKNOWN to many, there is a proliferation of cyber churches in the internet, attracting millions of advocates and members. One of these is the Virtual Church of the Blind Chihuahua. Hundreds of internet surfers visit the website daily. The church describes itself as “the sacred place in cyberspace named after a little dog with cataracts that barked sideways at strangers because he couldn’t see where they were”. The blind Chihuahua is supposed to symbolize all of us who, when praying, bark at a God we cannot see. Its main creed is: “We can’t be right about everything we believe, and thanks God we don’t have to be.” The church strongly recommends its teachings to everyone, except the fundamentalists whom it considers as beyond redemption. Fundamentalists are hopelessly sure that they are always right. People who doubt and suspect everything will find solace in the Church of Reality. It calls itself an alternative church for those who want to see the world the way it really is. Its basic tenet is: “If it’s real, believe in it.” Members are called realists, defined as those who dedicate their life to the quest for truth, not those who necessarily know it. Members of other churches are called sheep because they do not know how to think for themselves. A church that explicitly excludes lawyers, auditors and tax agents from membership goes with the acronym COQO, which stands for the Church of the Quivering Otter. Its set of beliefs is formulated somewhat like the Ten Commandments, although the church calls these The Nine Basic Suggestions. Some of these are: 1) Thou shalt deal fairly. 2) Thou shalt share. 3) Thou shalt eat plenty of fiber. 4) Thou shalt get regular check-ups. 5) Thou shalt smile. Those who are interested to join COQO are promised membership in the church’s 18 fast food restaurants, 37 car washers, and 1 used Kleenex shop.

Laiko Lampstand Flood water—the great equalizer
THE rainfall brought about by Typhoon Ondoy was extraordinary. Measured by the Doppler radar as 410.6 millimeters from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., this was greater than Hurricane Katrina’s 396 mm which ravaged the city of New Orleans. The overflow of the Manggahan floodway carried the flimsy homes of the informal settlers residing along the banks of the Pasig and Marikina Rivers. It inundated as well all the modern homes of the plush subdivisions in Marikina, Pasig, Cainta, Taguig, San Mateo and Quezon City. No one was prepared to face this emergency, least of all the government, to save people trapped in the upper floors and ceilings of their inundated homes. Despite the provision of calamity funds by Congress, only a few rescue boats were available, attesting to the utter lack of preparedness by the government. The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council director, Tomas Ortega reported that they had only 4 rubber boats—2 were dispatched to Quezon Province and 2 to Rizal Province. Heroic deeds were shown equally by the rich and the poor to save people trapped in their homes as flood waters rose to the second floor of subdivision homes in a few hours. A movie star and a construction worker equally showed heroism in spite of extreme danger to save the lives of people trapped in Provident Village located along the curve of the Marikina River. Actor Richard Gutierrez borrowed a speedboat to rescue his friend actress Christine Reyes who was heard on television begging for help to rescue her family trapped in their plush apartment. An unknown construction worker, an OFW who worked as a seaman, now a construction worker of the adjacent building of the chapel inside Provident Village, rescued 9 or 10 elderly mass-goers trapped in the ceiling of the church. He did it single-handedly by tossing to the group a length of rope which allowed them including the old ladies to be led to the second floor steel forms of the unfinished convent. From this precarious position, they were already accessible to rescuing teams. Filipinos abroad as well as previously uninvolved local citizens volunteered what best they could give to help the typhoon victims. Students with no cash to contribute gave free services by helping in preparing relief packages containing rice, canned goods and bottled water. An elite group of ocean surfers contacted each other through text and formed a rescue group led by one of the members of the team who owned a bodega of surfboards. The team, chose to distribute relief goods to far-flung isolated areas along Laguna Bay – Jala-jala, and neighboring towns which were not accessible even by the Red Cross. The trapped families sitting on the rooftops for days owe their lives to these modern day heroes. An owner of a restaurant knowing he had all what it takes to prepare “hot soup—chicken macaroni sopas” used his cauldrons that could cook for 200 servings. He personally distributed the hot soup to the drenched evacuees and their children. What he saw touched him so he decided to triple his feeding program. When his funds were becoming low, he sought help through his Facebook buddies. To his surprise, there was a deluge of contribution from his friends abroad and from his rich friends in the Philippines. One of the problems, if you may call it that, is receiving 6,000 eggs in one day from another rich friend. He found the instant solution—preparing “Pospas” served with one boiled egg each served in a disposable dish. This was consumed with gratitude by all—rich and poor evacuees who were hungry and cold. The meaning of the Bayanihan Spirit of the Filipinos is clearly defined in the outpouring of unsolicited help and provision of the basic needs of those who were victims of the calamity. The great flood caused by Typhoon Ondoy followed by the devastating wind and rain of Typhoon Pepeng in Northern Luzon, a typhoon that lingered for days in Batanes and the Ilocos Region, tested the ability of the Local Government Units if they could follow new guidelines from the National Disaster Coordinating Council for the evacuation of residents. This was a pre-emptive move to protect the citizens from becoming victims of Typhoon Pepeng. As usual there were homeowners who would rather stay in their houses for fear that looters will take advantage of the situation and haul all their possessions. There are key questions that the newly elected government officials in 2010 will have to answer in the light of the devastation and suffering caused by the government’s lack of preparedness for such a catastrophic event. It was explained by technical people of the private sector and the government that there was a study undertaken by the government in 1977 that anticipated the flooding of Metro Manila as well as the earthquake that was predicted to happen along the Marikina fault line. Environmental Planner Felino Palafox, Jr. observed that if the recommendations were pursued by the government to construct the Paranaque Spillway, to drain the overflow accumulating on the floodplains of Marikina, Pasig, Cainta, Taguig, to Laguna de Bay and South China Sea, this could have prevented the Ondoy catastrophic loss of lives and property. This is a prime example of the government’s lack of proper and timely governance. Money was not available for such a huge project but more than the amount needed for flood control was available for our legislators’ pork barrel and infrastructure projects of which 30% to 40% of the appropriation were dissipated to graft and corruption. My guess is that, voters in the affected areas will think hard whether to vote again for the mayors, governors, congressmen and senators who are part of the establishment that fueled this catastrophic event for utter lack of good governance.

On being Pinoy during the time of calamity
SOME of our kind say that being Pinoy is almost synonymous with ‘calamitous’. And, like it or not, there are tons of reasons behind their saying so. First, there is the reality of our predictable, permanent, yearly visitors’ program reserved to the most unwelcome tourists, namely, TYPHOONS and their notorious relatives, such as flood-causing rains, lifeand-property-devastating winds, diseases, family displacements, unemployment, rise of criminality. I might have missed mentioning their other relatives but I swear Pinoys never miss them one bit. As far as most of us are concerned the only other thing worse than being in the path of typhoons is being unable to relocate the country to, say, somewhere below Hawaii. Then there is also our calamitous politics that largely runs on our patronage and transactional culture for fuel. For the educated Pinoy this one is among the most frustrating occupants of our National Hall of Shame because it keeps on leaving the hall in order to incessantly ravage and possess our people who transfer its bad spirit on to our politicians. The culprit, we all realize, is less our poverty than our stubborn resistance to change a deeply-ingrained quid-pro-quo cultural mindset. You want my vote? Not a few voters seem to say. Then give me my advance share of your lucrative access to our money once in power. Even well-meaning politicians are aghast over this hushed-over disease but eventually succumb to contagion. Money is expected to abound on the way to next year’s elections, our poor could behave like ‘instant millionaires’ destined to be ‘instantly impoverished’ in subsequent days. Could massive, no-nonsense voter education programs such as those being contemplated by many sectors, including the Church, help? Something in me aches to think so. But reality check might dampen our enthusiasm. For a good start, we should

Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD

By the Roadside
from further suffering born of the muchhyped Super-Typhoon ‘Pepeng’. When my sister panicked on seeing flood waters reaching their house’s second flood (thank God, they have a second floor), with the rains continually pouring, I counseled her to keep calm and to pray with me. After fifteen minutes, she texted back and informed me that just as she finished the rosary, the rains stopped. “Please offer our dawn rosaries specifically for the super typhoon to spare our people in Luzon,” I beseeched some parishioners after morning Mass. I saw most nodding in deep sympathy. Wonder of wonders, ‘Pepeng’ veered away from its feared route, even if Northern Luzon was eventually hard hit. The point is that Pinoys rediscovered the power of praying together, something that even a political phenomenon like Edsa 1 showed them. Most of all, people like us in Samar Island who think we know most what typhoon victims go through, now could offer our most profound sympathy, for a change. We have been typhoon victims ourselves since time immemorial. As my small barangay parish prepared to send the little aid we can afford to our brothers and sisters in Metro Manila, I remembered, as a child, horrible typhoons that twisted and felled down our coconuts, trees, crops and houses. Yet we simply picked up the pieces the next day. There was very little evidence of government-sponsored rescue operations. And I don’t remember anyone complaining about it. We simply relied on family, neighborhood and community. Recently a true-blooded Eastern Samarnon whose name I wouldn’t wish to mention here in print made a remark: “I used to have a classmate in Manila who kept on asking me a question I often took for an insult: ‘Ano ba ang bagyo?’ (‘What is a typhoon?’). I’m sorry to know his area was recently flooded. But, at least, I see one positive spot here. I don’t need to answer his question anymore.”

collectively pray for a miracle to cure the moral cancer inside our culture that basically wrecks havoc on our spirits. We should not by-pass our chronically challenged (read: lack of a) sense of discipline. The massive environmental pollution in our urban centers and our ubiquitous traffic mess (“Why are Filipinos unable to obey traffic rules?” many foreign visitors ask in bewilderment) are classic cases in point. I wouldn’t be surprised if, upon honestly assessing the latest flood disaster in various places in Metro Manila, we will simply acknowledge a simple truth: we are mostly the cause of the disastrous effects we see around us. We do not dispose of our garbage properly. We hardly follow building rules for our houses and establishments. We do not observe our own traffic rules. Now we literally reap the whirlwind. No, I don’t believe in mere self-flagellation. I believe in acknowledging the truth, which is why we need to talk turkey about ourselves, as, I believe, I had tried to above. But there is also so much that is good in being Pinoy. We need not mention how but, especially during the time of calamity, we also show our better selves. We keep on rediscovering we can be heroes by our simple ‘bayanihan’ spirit, ‘bayani’ meaning hero. Neighbors rescuing, feeding and sheltering neighbors are a staple story in our every disaster experience, not excluding that from ‘Ondoy’. When my sister’s family residing at De Castro, Pasig City, ran out of food as they were battling more than ten-feet flood, their neighbors came to offer a share of the little food they had. Scenes like that were multiplied in many other neighborhoods. We also happily realize the power of praying together, the living praying together, the living asking the prayer of saints or simply invoking the all-powerful name of ‘Jesus’ to spare fellow Pinoys and the whole country

Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD

THE Filipino bayanihan spirit could not have been more manifest again than the overwhelming local and global outpouring of generous sharing of time, talent and treasure for the victims of the recent flooding in the country brought about by natural torrential is rains. This shining Filipino trait never fails us. In times like these we are able to manifest brilliantly our true nature—may awa, may pagmamalasakit, may pakikipagkapwa. We could not be more thankful for this than when calamity strikes. The rich and poor, the famous and the unknown, the strong and the weak all come together somehow and extend a helping hand to the needy. Civil society groups, business and government mobilize themselves to respond as quickly and as effectively as they can. Behind these groups are the men and women who transcend themselves. They bring out the true selflessness in the Filipino—the caring and sharing, self sacrificing heart of the Filipino. I salute you all and thank you. The common good, which is the good of all, is best served when this bayanihan spirit prevails over the opportunistic greed of wicked people either by commission or omission. When such bayanihan spirit translated into concrete individual and collective action is inspired and fueled by the Christian virtue of charity, then it becomes “sambayanihan.” This sense of solidarity and pursuit of the common good is driven by Faith in God and belongingness to an ecclesial community it acquires a transcendent quality that extends to eternity—“Whatsoever you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” (Mt. 25:40) I continue, however, to observe with dismay coupled with outrage, the continued lack of preparedness and incapacity of different institutions of governance to mitigate risks of disaster and more coordinated, systematic and effective response to recurring calamities especially in disaster prone areas and regions. This is probably one of the manifestations of the dysfunction and underdevelopment of governance in our country brought about by decades of negligence and misuse and wasteful use of political authority and resources. This is simply symptomatic of the continuing culture of corruption in the sphere of governance. And the ones most injured by such a condition are the vast majority who are already poor and deprived

Sambayanihan for New Politics
and disadvantaged. The CBCP in 1997 in its Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics noted, “If we are what we are today—a country with a very great number of poor and powerless people—one reason is the way we have allowed politics to be debased and prostituted to the low level it is now” (PEPP, p. 10) Such recurring unpreparedness and incapacity due to bad governance is truly a national man made disaster. For this we—the governed and governing are responsible and accountable. Would it not be great if all our laity, who can and should, would harness our Sambayanihan to address not only natural disasters but more so the continuing human disaster in our society, by repudiating incompetent, corrupt, and useless traditional politicians in the coming 2010 elections. Traditional politics is hopeless. They have not worked in the past and present, for the vast majority of our people, and will continue to do the same in the future. Using Sambayanihan let us collectively and truly break away from our own traditional patronage politics and usher in a new breed of politicians passionate for new politics that will bring us new hope for the future. Who may these people be in your local communities? Be vigilant and pray and act. A special challenge to our lay Catholic politicians was made by the CBCP last January when it said, “We challenge all lay people involved in politics to renounce corruption and bond together in the task of evangelizing politics for effective governance and the pursuit of the common good. We challenge the laity involved in legislation to unite themselves and consciously allow their actions to be guided by the truth of the Gospel and the Christian faith.” (CBCP statement, Year of the two hearts towards social transformation and peace building, January 2009) And to the laity in general, the CBCP gave this directive in their July Pastoral statement, “We remind the laity that it is within their right as well as their duty to campaign for candidates they believe to be competent, honest, and public-service minded in order to reform our country.” (CBCP Statement, July 12, 2009). Email daditama_now@yahoo.com.ph

Quote in the Act
“Very little is said on the indomitable human spirit which, when influenced by spiritual values, can minimize if not prevent unnecessary human pain and suffering.”
Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla, while lauding the heroism of individual Filipinos who put their lives on the line to save others during massive flooding brought by Typhoon Ondoy, also noted that a post-typhoon human development should benefit both body and spirit.

“It is a desecration of the religious values and an infringement against the spirit of human dignity and solidarity, which the Muslims and Christians are jointly pursuing.”
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Manila Auxiliary Bishop and National Director of CBCP National Secretariat for Social ActionJustice and Peace; in a statement denouncing the kidnapping of Irish Columban missionary Fr. Michael Sinnott by still unknown abductors.

“Our young today spends many hours updating their Facebook, their Friendster but could not find time to be with their family to go to mass or have a meal with them.”
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP President; writing in his column In and Out of Season, on the importance of using the internet to reach out to today’s digital generation.


Local News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

Isabela rice crop badly damaged by flooding, food shortage foreseen
VAST rice fields in the Diocese of Ilagan have turned into large pools of stagnant brown water killing rice harvests. The typhoon may have recorded zero casualties but Msgr. Marino Gatan said it caused considerable damage to the farming sector. “The rice farms in northern Isabela including San Pablo, Santa Maria, Tumauini, Catbagan, Magsaysay, and part of Ilagan were affected by floods,” said Gatan, Diocesan administrator. The parish priests have been tasked to take care of their parishioners which according to Gatan only proves the situation is “not that bad” because local church and communities can attend to their own concerns. “The government should assist the farmers recover from the losses they incurred due to the recent floods,” he added. The priest said assistance in the form of rice seeds would be highly appreciated. Over at the Diocese of San Jose in Nueva Ecija, the riceproducing towns of Licap, Quezon, Llanera, Guimba, Rizal and San Jose City were all affected by the floods. Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara said there were farmers who were able to harvest and dry their crops but were all swept away by the floods brought by the storm. He said they were able to generate relief goods in the form of used clothes and nearly a thousand sacks of rice to Metro Manila for Ondoy’s victims but they themselves have to address the destruction brought by the latest weather disturbance. “We’re prepare to send our commitment to Metro Manila,” Bishop Vergara said. He added they were also to help the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao with donations from their benefactors in the United States of America. He said the Diocese of San Jose has already released relief assistance to affected residents but would still need additional data to focus on rehabilitation of farmers from low-lying areas. “We will go for rehabilitation projects and we expect additional information not later than Monday,” he added. In the entire province of Pangasinan, one of the country’s most populous provinces (2,645,395 at the latest census), reels from
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floodwaters brought about by typhoon Pepeng and worsened with spilling of flood waters from nearby dams. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz said he is praying government authorities would stop releasing water from any dam, “especially San Roque dam.” Interviewed by CBCPNews, the prelate said the rain has stopped and floodwaters have begun to subside. Asked of the archdiocese’s response to the calamity, Cruz said “all the church disaster funds of the four vicariates have been released as of today.” Central Pangasinan is still without electric power. Bangus is now sold at P30.00 a kilo due to the floods. For his part, Alaminos Bishop Marlo M. Peralta said several parishes in his diocese have been affected by floods. “Our Social Action Center is on standby and will be ready to provide assistance to affected residents in due time,” the prelate told CBCPNews. He added while most of the residents would need food and medicines, priority will be given to affected parishes in western Pangasinan. Floods have been reported in Aguilar, Bugallon and parts of Bolinao town. The Diocese of Alaminos also launched its relief campaign for “Ondoy’s” victims in Metro Manila and nearby provinces but will now raise their own relief goods for the affected residents. Urdaneta Bishop Jacinto A. Jose said most of the farmers in eastern Pangasinan will have a bleak Christmas considering the damage to rice crops brought about by floods. “The floods affected the towns of San Manuel, Asingan, Natividad, San Nicolas, Santa Maria, Umingan along with Rosales, Carmen, Sto. Tomas and Alcala,” the prelate said in an interview with CBCPNews. He said they were able to generate relief goods scheduled to be shipped to Manila to help “Ondoy’s” victims but will have to distribute them to local residents who need help instead. “It will be difficult for farmers to recover because most of them are about to harvest palay in less than a month,” he further said. (Melo M. Acuna) services to the poor. As a body, in a way, the church helped and continuously helping raise the cause of the marginalized and the downtrodden. The list is endless. This is, however, not the time, Lagdameo said, to either boast of one’s many good deeds or to rest on one’s laurels. It’s high time, he said, to see whether church leaders have been effective in their prophetic role and whether they are equipped enough to face the challenges that lie ahead. With the country’s present situation, the answer is obvious, he said. Agents of change To be just, according to Lagdameo, means to choose good over evil and life over death. And justice, he said, becomes visible not in articulation but in moral behavior. “Prophets are agents of change. They are loved and appreciated by those who also have the vision of change. They are disliked by those who resist change or are afraid of the consequences of change,” he said. But the greatest challenges to the prophets themselves are not outside them, but within them, he furthered. “Prophetic leadership starts within the prophets themselves undergoing the change they dream,” the CBCP head underscored. The challenge therefore is for the bishops, priests and the religious to ensure that the church is truly becoming a community that is led by the prophetic sprit. “...Because holy men can change the destiny of people,” said Lagdameo.
© www.flickr.com/photos/dannysky

Manila offers plenary indulgence, promotes pilgrimages
PLENARY indulgence can be granted to the faithful who visit some churches in the Archdiocese of Manila in observance of the Year for Priests. The measure was made by the archdiocese’s chancery with a decree dated September 25, 2009. In accordance with the decree, the faithful can receive the plenary indulgence when they make a devotional pilgrimage to one of the designated churches until June 19, 2010. Still, when the faithful make the pilgrimage, they have to fulfill ordinary conditions for the plenary indulgence which include Sacrament of Penitence, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for Pope’s intentions. Additionally, a partial indulgence will be offered to the faithful each time they pray five “Our Father,” “Hail Mary” and “Glory Be,” or any other duly approved prayer “in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to ask that priests maintain purity and sanctity of life.” The designated churches in the Archdiocese of Manila are: National Shrine of the Sacred Heart in San Antonio village and Saint John Mary Vianney Parish Church in Cembo, both in Makati City. “We encourage the faithful to avail of these spiritual benefits of the holy year. It is also a good opportunity to hold catechesis on the priesthood, indulgences and Saint John Mary Vianney,” said Fr. Rufino Sescon, Jr., chancellor. He said the two mentioned churches will gladly welcome pilgrims and delegations, especially those coming from the parishes of the archdiocese. “Let us continue to pray for our priests and for more vocations to the priesthood. May this year be an occasion for spiritual renewal in our respective communities,” Sescon said. The Vatican last May also announced that during the Year for Priests, which runs June 19, 2009-June 19, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI will grant plenary indulgences to priests and faithful. (CBCPNews)

Mass to formally open a national gathering of priests at the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City “to discern on their prophetic role” on Oct. 13. Around 300 priests from various dioceses gathered for a three-day assembly in response to an earlier call of the bishops’ hierarchy for the formation of “circles of discernment” among the clergy. It underlined the challenges of poverty, corruption, injustice and other issues that today challenge the church on what and how they can help address it. Lagdameo said the prophetic role of the priests, an aspect of pastoral leadership that needs improvement, must be central to the life and leadership of the community. “More than proclaim God’s Word, the

prophet is also called to embody and to enact the Word of God that he announces,” he said. “Righteousness, for God, means seeking the well being of the people; so must the community seek its ‘wholeness’ by looking after the good of everyone that makes up the community,” he added. High time The Catholic Church somehow has played a key role in the country’s development. Its contribution to education has been second to none. In the field of medical services, it played a stellar role in bringing health care to the far-flung corners of the land. It also engaged in agricultural development, in low-cost housing and providing

NAMFREL elects new head
THE National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) has formally appointed its new head. He is Jose Cuisia, Jr., a prominent businessman and a member of the Opus Dei, a personal prelature within the Catholic Church whose members finds holiness in their daily chores. Cuisia succeeds Henrietta de Villa who resigned last month to devote more time to her work as head of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), which focuses on voter’s education. Namfrel is a poll watchdog accredited by the Commission on Elections to conduct quick count of votes. Cuisia is currently the vice chairman of the Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company. From 1986 to 1990, he served as Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and from 1990 to 1993 as Administrator of the Social Security System. The Namfrel chairman-elect also served as a Director of San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Airlines and Philippine National Bank. The organization has also elected, during their recent meeting, former Senator Vicente Paterno as its national vice chairperson. Other members elected for the Namfrel’s National Council were Corazon de la Paz-Bernardo, Christian Monsod, Protestant Bishop Efraim Tendero, Fr. Eliseo Mercado, OMI, David Balangue, Joey Bermudez and Telibert Laoc. (Roy Lagarde)
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© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Priests from various dioceses nationwide gather for a three-day discernment process to reflect on their prophetic role and call to stewardship at the Lay Formation Center, San Carlos Seminary, October 13-15.

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The encouragement of the Servant of God John Paul II in his message for the World Communications Day gives us that assurance to move on amidst the challenges of this digital generation. “To hearts which are troubled by the risks of the new technologies of communication, I would reply: Fear not… the Church, full of care for man and woman, is aware of the deep aspiration of the human race for fraternity and solidarity—an inspiration often disowned and disfigured but indestructible because it is sculpted in the human heart by the same God who has created in it the need for communication and the capacity to develop it on a planetary scale.” (Pope Paul II, Message World Communications Day, 1988) On a more concrete way Pope Benedict XVI responds to the challenges regarding untruthful identity in cyberspace and its effect in communitarian relationship saying: “The new technologies also opened the way for dialogue between people from different countries and religions… such encounters, if they are to be fruitful, require honest and appropriate forms of expressions together with attentive and respectful listening. The dialogue must be rooted in genuine and mutual searching for truth if it is to realize its potential to promote growth in understanding and tolerance.” He added that “We should be careful, therefore, never to trivialize the concept or the experience of friendship. It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop online friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbors and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation. If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Message World Communications Day, 2009) Conclusion In the end, we conclude that we have to take every opportunity to use modern technologies for our work of evangelization. And the new sphere that the church has to evangelize is the cyberspace. As the Mount Carmel Declaration on Technology and Responsibility observed in 1974 in its 8th article, “We need guardian disciplines to monitor and assess technological innovations, with special attention to their moral implications.” This Mt. Carmel Declaration is a call for the Church to be the moral guide in this new arena of the digital world. She has to make present

Christ in this area by sowing in a special way Christian values. The Servant of God Pope John Paul II enumerated some Christian values to be observed in this arena: “In order that the very existence of brotherhood and human solidarity may be made possible, and still more so that their Christian dimension may be more intensely developed, the elementary values which underlie them have to be given recognition…respect for others, willingness to dialogue, justice, healthy ethics in personal and community living, freedom, equality, peace in unity, promotion of the dignity of the human person, the capacity to share and to divide with others.” (Pope John Paul II, Message World Communications Day, 1988) May we sow the culture of respect, dialogue and friendship in cyberspace!
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Mary John Mananzan, co-chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines; Rev. Rex Reyes, Jr., general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP); Alfredo Pascual, president of the UP Alumni Association (UPAA); Prof. Rommel Feria of UP’s Department of Computer Science; and Profs. Sherwin Ona and Wilmarc Lopez, De La Salle University IT department, among others. NBN-ZTE whistleblower Rodolfo Lozada, an ICT engineer; lawyer Aquilino Pimentel III, secretary general of PDP-Laban; Bill Luz, chairman of the Movement for Good Governance (MGG); Dr. Judy Taguiwalo, convener of Pagbabago; and Alvin Peters, president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) also joined the call. The demand for the release of the source code is in line with the earlier request of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance and was approved by Comelec en banc on June 10, 2009. “Until now, however, no source code has been obtained. Despite the Comelec’s en banc approval, poll officials said any release would be ‘premature’ and that it can only be made available at the end of customization in November this year or in February 2010,” the statement read. “While our demand for the release of the source code is based on law, we believe that the review is critical on moral, political and economic grounds. Let us work together in making sure that the integrity of the machines and our votes will not be under grave threat,” it added. (CBCPNews)

Aside from Esteban, the CBCP has also assigned Xavier Padilla of the Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL) and April Frances Ortigas of the Couples for Christ Global Missions Foundation, Inc. (CFC) as the organization’s external and internal vice presidents, respectively. Meanwhile, Kris Bayos of the CBCP Media Office was appointed as the organization’s secretary general, Bernadette Felix of the Chiro Youth Movement and Lea Dasigan of the Salesian Youth Movement were chosen to be the secretaries, and John Paul Atienza of the Pro-Life Philippines was assigned as treasurer. Baylon, Garganta and Quitorio made the announcement during the YouthPinoy strategic planning seminar held at the Bataan Technological Park, Inc. last October 9 to 11. Baylon led the officers’ oath taking after celebrating a Saturday Mass. The three have also announced that the first set of officers of the YouthPinoy will have a term of one year. Baylon, however, clarified that the tenure of office can be cut short or even extended based on the appointed officers’ performance. The YouthPinoy portal is a joint project of the ECY and CBCP Media Office. The website was established in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s call to evangelize the youth through online media. (CBCPNews)
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cial Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. He said it’s just right for the government to increase assistance to the typhoon victims but said it must be spent with necessary safeguards. “It’s okay to have a budget for the calamity victims but with the necessary safeguards as to how it’s going to be spent,” the bishop said. Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines president Msgr. Gerardo Santos, for his part, urged transparency in using the fund. “I do hope we can be as transparent as possible and effective in terms of distribution so that our people will really experience the compassion of our government,” Santos added. Last week, the two houses of Congress have agreed to approve a P10-billion supplemental budget to augment the country’s depleting calamity funds and help the victims of tropical storm Ondoy and past calamities. The proposal to augment the country’s calamity funds came during a meeting between leaders of Congress and Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (CBCPNews)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

Diocesan News


Prelate notes import of total human dev’t in times of crises

DAVAO CITY—While Archbishop Capalla lauded the “remarkable acts of heroism among Filipinos” who helped typhoon Ondoy victims, he also noted the need for the Church to maximize existing programs on total human development. He said that along with it is the development not only of the human body but also the human spirit which is the source of heroic deeds. (Mark S. Ventura)
Laoag diocese conducts relief operations to flood victims

LAOAG CITY—The diocese of Laoag’s Social Action Center (SAC) has conducted relief operations to victims of flooding after nearly a week of heavy rains and strong winds brought by typhoon Pepeng. “We also have our relief operations to help the typhoon victims just like other non-government organizations have been doing,” said Laoag Bishop Sergio Utleg. (Mark Vertido)
Lagdameo urges Ilonggos to help back Manila

Bishop calls for Holy Hour, relief goods to flood victims in Laguna
SAN PABLO CITY—The Bishop of San Pablo Diocese, Laguna appealed to all parish priests in more than 80 parishes and religious communities in the province to contribute relief goods and asked that Holy Hour in every parish Church and chapels be conducted for good weather and for all the victims of the flood spawned by Tropical Cyclone “Ondoy” which kept villages and towns submerged under deep waters. Bishop Leo M. Drona, through his personal secretary Fr. Eugene A. Fadul encouraged “all parishes and religious communities in the Diocese of San Pablo to have the Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament on First Saturday.” Some parish priests and religious communities had conducted their Holy Hour and Benediction on First Friday (October 2) or some other days convenient to them. San Gabriel the Archangel parish had held its Holy Hour on First Friday. “Like Nineveh in the Bible, with one voice, we will ask God to spare our nation from destruction caused by calamities,” Fadul quoted the prelate as saying. Meanwhile, the bishop through the Social Action Center has directed all parishes to conduct relief operations for areas severely affected by typhoon Ondoy. Diocesan SAC Director Fr. Rene B. Eriga, in a communication to all priests in the diocese, said that his office has identified 19 municipalities that are affected severely by the floods which measures from waist deep and deeper. Some of the worst and continued flooding occurred in coastal towns and villages in San Pedro, Binan, Sta. Rosa, Calamba, Los Banos, Bay, Victoria, Pila, Sta. Cruz, Pagsanjan, Lumban, Paete, Pakil, Pangil, Siniloan, Mabitac and several others. “Your parishioners are urged to solicit goods in cash or in kind (food, blankets, towels, medicine, first aid materials, etc.) for the relief operations to be conducted soonest.” “Let us once again join hands in serving our brothers and sisters, victims of typhoon Ondoy. God Bless!” the communication said. Maan Leopando, an accountant officer in a State Elementary and Secondary School in Siniloan town told CBCPNews in a text message that although their place did not feel the effects of typhoon Pepeng, yet she observed that the water level (caused by Ondoy) that literally submerged their school compound had increased from knee-deep to breast-deep level. As a result, students had to hold classes at the only building near the Highway spared by the flood on shifting basis. The elementary students had to do it in two shifts while the high school students in three. In Sta. Cruz capital town of Laguna, an unidentified officer of the Philippine Army said elements of the 403rd Civil defense Center are on 24/7 red alert for any rescue operations as the already extremely deep Sta. Cruz river could easily inundate and overflow over the town proper once more rains come. (Fr. Romulo O. Ponte)

ILOILO CITY—Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo has called on the Ilonggos to help the victims of typhoon Ondoy as one way of returning the favor they received from Manila. “Just as we had been helped when typhoon Frank hit Iloilo last June 2008, its now our turn to help the victims of typhoon Ondoy,” he said. (Kate Laceda)
San Jose donates 342 sacks of rice for Ondoy victims

SAN JOSE, Nueva Ecija—San Jose diocese has donated 342 sacks of rice recently for the victims of typhoon Ondoy in and around Metro Manila. Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara said aside from rice are other relief goods which include 158 boxes of canned goods, 133 boxes of instant noodles, 12 big boxes of assorted groceries, 49 bags/boxes and sacks of clothing, 10 boxes of mineral water, 14 pieces of sleeping mats, a box of mosquito nets, and other basic needs. (Melo Acuña)
PNP chapel marks first feast

OROQUIETA CITY—The chapel of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in PNP’s Camp Naranjo here, marked its first feast recently with ranking officials present. Police prov’l chaplain Fr. Marlou Labares said parishioners were in high spirits celebrating the first patronal feast of the chapel which was consecrated last Aug. 11 by military Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak. (Wendell Talibong)
Diocese holds 30th day memorial mass of slain priest

CATARMAN, N. Samar—A throng of parishioners here trooped to the Catarman Cathedral on Oct. 6 to commemorate the 30th day of the killing of Fr. Cecilio Lucero. The human rights advocate was ambushed by still unknown assailants on Sept. 6 in San Jose town. Bishop Emeritus Angel Hobayan led the Mass with around 30 priests as concelebrants. (Roy Lagarde)
MILF condemns kidnapping of Irish priest

Church cautious on accepting donations for typhoon victims

MANILA—The church is exercising caution in accepting aid as international and local donations continue to come in for typhoon Ondoy victims. Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, CBCP Media Director, said they just want to make sure the money it’s getting are “clean.” “We don’t screen donors. But if somebody donates money from jueteng, for example, we won’t accept it. So we are just being cautious,” he said. (CBCPNews)
Church, LGU to give Fr. Lucero posthumous award

Bicolanos repay Manileños’ kindness
LEGAZPI CITY—It’s basically repaying compassion with compassion. In a real display of reciprocity, Bicolanos recently offered a helping hand to residents of Metro Manila who were badly hit by typhoon Ondoy. In the past, they were on the receiving end of assistance due to two killer typhoons. This time it’s the other way around. Around 30 vehicles laden with Bicol’s indigenous relief goods and several trucks rolled into evacuation centers in Metro Manila, Rizal and Laguna provinces recently bringing with them an assortment of food and supplies for victims of Ondoy. “This is a way of saying ‘Dios Mabalos’ to all the good people of Metro Manila who came to our assistance when we suffered from Reming’s wrath in 2006,” said businessman and civic leader Zaldy Co. There are at least ten dump trucks with brooms made from coconut midribs and sleeping mats from Albay province and food items from concerned Bicolano residents who trooped with their donations to various radio stations in this city, in Iriga and Naga cities in Camarines Sur province. Atty. Rodel Batocabe, Ako Bikol convenor said there are also heavy equipments consisting of two loaders and some dredging equipment to help in the clearing operations. Co and Batocabe said the assistance costs about P5 million. They said the relief mission was made possible through the support of various businesses, civic and professional organizations including the Legazpi Jaycees, Rotary Club of Legazpi Central, PICPA-Albay, Filipino-Chinese Fire Volunteers of Legazpi and Tabaco cities, Legazpi City government, KBP Albay-Legazpi chapter, Bombo Radyo Philippines, People’s Broadcasting Network Foundation, Bureau of Fire Protection-Tabaco and Sunwest Group of Companies. The group will also do medical mission aside from relief distribution at Bagbag, Novaliches, Quezon City, Cainta, Rizal, Marikina City and Los Baños in Laguna Province. (Melo M. Acuna)

BORONGAN, E. Samar—The Bishops of Samar Islands along with the local government units led by E. Samar Gov. Ben Evardone will give a posthumous award to the murdered priest, Fr. Cecilio Lucero. Evardone said the move is in recognition and tribute to the priest’s involvement in creating peace and development in their province. (Kate Laceda)

Fake priest nabbed in Davao
DAVAO CITY— Police arrested a man who is accused of defrauding various groups and individuals by posing as a Catholic priest. Felipe Quesada face charges Jr., 44, faces charges in Davao City of obtaining money under false pretenses, said Criminal Investigation and Detachment Group (CIDG). Quesada, married, was nabbed in an entrapment operation conducted by the CIDG along Ponciano Street in Davao City last October 5. Police nabbed Quesada, who used names “Father Ted” and Father Mike Silvosa” was arrested after receiving P500 bill marked money from a CIDG agent representing sponsor fee of the latter for a Sunday Mass. Quesada, claiming to be parish priest of San Pedro Cathedral Parish, is accused of soliciting money for religious purposes. (Mark S. Ventura)
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Archbishop Dosado to priests: Be men of charity
OZAMIZ CITY—Archbishop Jesus Dosado, CM has called on the clergy of Misamis Occidental to be men of charity and to possess an authentic true apostolic zeal. Dosado said, since a priest is a “man of God”, he must be man of charity. Priests cannot have true love for God (nor even true piety or true apostolic zeal) without love for their neighbor, he said. “Loving the Lord, your God with all your heart” cannot be separate from “loving your neighbor,” he stressed. “This is
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Benedict XVI tried to avoid any direct reference to Islamic groups, and instead stressed the need for “work of charity" and perseverance in peace-building in Southern Philippines. “In an age when the name of God is abused by certain groups, the work of charity is particularly urgent,” he said. He also lauded the “courageous steps” being taken in the Philippines “to foster reconciliation and mutual understanding.” He cited in particular the “commendable work” of the BishopsUlama Conference, the Mindanao People’s Conference, as well as that of the many grassroots organizations. Tuazon was among the three new ambassadors to the Holy See that presented their Letters of Credence to the pope at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, 30 kilometers south of Rome. The two others were Henriette Johanna Cornelia Maria van Lynden-Leijten of the Netherlands, and Miguel Humberto Diaz of the United States of America. The top church leader often uses the reception of a new ambassador as a venue to send a message to their government expressing his concerns or appreciation about certain matters. Over the years he has been briefed about the situation in the country by Filipino bishops as well as by the apostolic nuncio. Benedict XVI also expressed closeness to the Filipino people who lost family members and homes in a recent tropical storm that caused extensive flooding in and around Manila. He assured the Filipino ambassador of his “spiritual closeness and prayers, especially for the victims of Typhoon Ketsana,” that claimed over 300 lives and affected hundreds of thousands of families. (CBCPNews)

the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother”. He added, Jesus describe this love as that of a “good shepherd who does not seek his own interest, his own advantage, like a hired hand but loves his sheep to the point of giving his own life. Dosado emphasized that those who, by virtue of priestly ordination, receive the mission of shepherds are called to witness the heroic love of the Good Shepherd. “Jesus urges his Apostles to renounce their personal ambi-

tions and any spirit of domination so as to imitate the example of the ‘Son of Man’ who ‘did not come to be served but to serve,’” he said. The prelate also said priests will have to be committed to some very important tasks today to know his own sheep especially by contacts, visits, relations of friendship, planned or occasional meetings, etc., always for a reason and with the spirit of a good shepherd. Quoting Pope Paul VI’s Presbyterorum Ordinis, Dosado mentioned the qualities de-

manded of priests such as goodness of heart, sincerity, strength and constancy of mind, careful attention to justice, courtesy, etc., as well as patience, readiness to forgive quickly and generously, kindness, affability, the capacity to be obliging and helpful. The prelate said that the grace and charity of the altar must spread to the pulpit, the confessional, the parish office, the school, recreational activities, homes and streets, hospitals, public transportation and the media. (Wendell Talibong)

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of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said Sinnott’s health condition is the key factor for their deep concerns. “The fact that he is already old and sickly worries us all,” Lagdameo said. Various bishops have earlier appealed for Sinnott’s safe release and urged authorities to intensify efforts to secure his freedom as soon as possible. “We are also calling on the faithful to pray for the welfare of Fr. Michael Sinnott that he may be released by his captors in the shortest time possible,” the archbishop added. CBCP Media Director Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, for his part, said they are hoping that adductors would consider the health condition and release the priest who is sick and in need of vital medicines. The 79-year old priest had just undergone a heart bypass surgery in Cebu City in 2007 and is currently under medication, according to Msgr. Pedro Quitorio. Pagadian Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar earlier called on the kidnappers not to make life

hard for Sinnott who spent his entire priestly ministry in Mindanao helping poor people. “As we urge the people to pray for his safety, we also appeal to his abductors to treat him with respect and release him soonest,” said Cabajar. “Let me reiterate my appeal to the good sense of the abductors to respect and provide Fr. Mick with all his needs, especially medical needs. He is a man of peace. Please, allow him to go back to his charitable work,” he said. A member of the Columban order, Sinnott is originally from Barntown in Country Wexford in Ireland. Ordained in 1954, he was assigned to Mindanao region in 1957 following his studies in Rome. He served in Mindanao until 1966 before being assigned to the theology staff in Dalgan Park, Navan. Sinnott returned to the Philippines in 1976 where he has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative roles. Since 1998, he has been involved with a school for children with special needs in Pagadian City. (CBCPNews)

Executive Secretary Rodolfo Diamante in an interview, said the prisoners’ right of suffrage must be respected and that “the lost of this right must not form part of punishment.” He called on the government to review election laws to guarantee that the rights to suffrage of prisoners are upheld. The Commission likewise urged government agencies involved in electoral process to put the needed reforms in place in time for the national and local elections in May 2010. ECPPC is the social arm of the CBCP that promotes the total human development of the prison society and works for reforms for the country’s criminal justice system. (CBCPNews)
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“With the World Apostolate of Fatima and the Apostleship of Prayer and other religious (“praying”) organizations, we appeal not only for material assistance for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy, but also for prayer, repentance and penance,” he added. (CBCPNews)

© Laura Sheahen / CRS

COTABATO CITY—MILF Vice Chairman for Political Affairs Ghadzali Jaafar condemned the kidnapping of Irish Missionary Michael “Mick” Sinnott, 79 years old in Pagadian City last Sept. 11. Jaafar said they condemn this kidnapping which he described as “cowardly act.” (Melo M. Acuña)


People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 13 No. 21

October 12 - 25, 2009

CBCP slates 2nd National Congress of the Clergy
FOR the second time Filipino priests will come together from different dioceses all over the country for a congress in Manila. The Commission on Clergy of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has announced the 2nd National Congress of the Clergy to be held at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia in Pasay City on Jan. 25-29, 2010. Thousands of priests and bishops from 86 ecclesiastical jurisdictions are expected to attend the gathering. The Commission, chaired by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, said the event carries the theme “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests.” The congress will be part of the Philippine Catholic Church’s celebration of the Year for Priests as declared by Pope Benedict XVI. Organizers said Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap, Papal Preacher to John Paul II and the present Pope, will be the Retreat Preacher. Reflections will also be given by Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of the Diocese of Imus and other bishops. The congress is expected to tackle priestly formation and vocation crisis, among others. The church is currently experiencing a decrease in priestly vocations especially in urban areas like Manila. In 2004, the CBCP said that at least 25,000 more priests are needed to serve some 68 million Filipino Catholics. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo earlier stated the ideal ratio should be one priest per 2,000 parishioners. But in Manila alone, he said, the ratio is one priest to 20,000 parishioners. The first National Congress of the Clergy was held in July 2004 in Manila. (Roy Lagarde)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Laiko convention to reflect on laity’s potential to change society
LAY leaders nationwide are set to gather in a three-day convention in the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga to reflect together on their potential to bring about change to oneself and society. With the theme “The Laity: Changing Self and Society with Jesus and Mary”, the three-day event will be a combined assembly of the 16th National Biennial Convention of the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas and Laiko Regional Gathering in Luzon. Running from October 16 to 18, the national assembly is hosted by the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga and will be held at the University of the Assumption in San Fernando City. The convention opens in the afternoon of Oct. 16 with a procession of the image of Virgen de los Remedios and Santo Cristo del Perdon from the Archbishop’s House to the University of the Assumption Gym. Auxiliary Bishop Pablo David will lead the opening concelebrated Mass at the university gym. Keynote speaker will be Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ who will talk on “The Laity: Changing Self and Society with Jesus and Mary.” Included among other activities and workshops during the convention is the presentation of the Laiko National Team to the delegates of the “Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas and its Programs.” Other celebrants and homilists during the convention are Auxiliary Bishop Roberto Mallari who will lead the Mass on the second day and Archbishop Paciano Aniceto on the third day. Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for the Laity (ECLA) and Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes will deliver his message to delegates at the closing mass. The convention will also elect a new set of leaders that would compose the Board of Trustees for the year 2010-2011. Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas is the implementing arm of the Episcopal Commission for the Laity of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, in promoting nationwide initiatives and coordinating national programs of the laity. It is made up of Arch/diocesan Councils of the Laity, National Lay Organizations, National Movements and Church-oriented groups. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

CBCP holds training for diocesan treasurers
A TRAINING seminar that aims to educate financial administrators of dioceses into becoming competent managers of the temporal goods of the Church is currently being held at the Pope Pius XII Center, Manila from October 12-28. Consisting of three parts, the seminar puts emphasis on developing the skills of financial administrators “to do their jobs better as stewards of the temporal goods of the Church.” The three main modules are financial accounting, scheduled on October 12-15, Management Accounting, October 19-21, and Financial Management, October 2628, with Professor Don Brodeth as main speaker. Filler modules include Actuarial Aspects, Legal and Canon Law with Mr. Juan Mabini, Fr. Jaime Achacoso and Atty. Liza Rosario as speakers, respectively. The seminar was thought of in order to respond to the needs of diocesan finance administrators who are neophytes in financial matters. A survey conducted in last year’s convention of Archdiocesan Financial Administrators of the Philippines (ADFAP), showed that 66 percent of diocesan finance managers are still new in the ministry while only five percent are knowledgeable on finances. With this training, organizers hope diocesan treasurers will get an understanding of the various concepts involved in the administration of goods, implement applications of management accounting that would lead to better management decisions, and adopt a wider, more entrepreneurial outlook in addressing problems in finance. The program comes at an opportune time when many dioceses are computerizing their accounting system. With 26 participants coming from different arch/dioceses, the course was organized by the CBCP Pension Plan Office of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and ADFAP officers in collaboration with Taft Consulting Group (TCG). TCG is a select partner of the De La Salle University Graduate School of Business and provides high valued management consulting and training programs. (CBCPNews)

CELEBRATED. Carmelite Monastery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of the Diocese of Laoag, 60 years of foundation, October 11, 2009. Founded in 1949, Laoag Carmel is the eight Carmelite monastery established in the Philippines spearheaded by then Nueva Segovia Archbishop Santiago Sancho. The present structure of the monastery which took ten full years to finish was completed in 1963. In its 60 years of presence in the diocese, Laoag Carmel has become a place of prayer to countless individuals who sought to meet God in the silence and solitude of the convent walls. The monastery has opened itself to renewal and adapted to post-modern world while remaining essentially faithful to its charism. A simple Eucharistic celebration on October 11 marked the occasion. On the evening of October 25, a musical concert will be staged as an expression of gratitude to countless friends and benefactors who have journeyed with the Carmelites throughout the years. Laoag Carmel currently has 14 nuns inside the cloister including two from Ilocos region. ORDAINED. Revs. John Rany Pablo Geraldino, Russel Garcia Ocampo and Michael Borjal Villaflor of San Carlos Seminary; Richard Enrique Samper Garrido of Redemptoris Mater; Fernando Lawag Sabado, Jr. of Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Society; and Jaime Vidal Martinez Zuñiga of San Jose Seminary, to the Sacred Order of Priesthood, October 3, 2009. His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales presided the Eucharistic celebration and the rites of ordination at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral. The ordination of the six deacons took on a special significance as it was held during the year-long celebration of the Year for Priests as proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI. ORDAINED. Rev. Lhem Naval of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, in Baliangao town, Rev. Sandy Cometa of Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, Sinacaban, and Rev. Danny Rudinas of Saint Michael the Archangel Parish, Tangub City, both of the province of Misamis Occidental, to the Sacred Order of Deacons, October 6, 2009. The solemn ceremony was held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral presided by Archbishop Jesus A. Dosado who counseled the newly ordained deacons to live in obedience to their prelate and not to get involved in partisan politics as they enter the rank of ordained ministers. The deacons finished their theology studies from Saint Mary Theologate Seminary (SMT), Ozamiz City. The ordination had the theme “Faithfulness in Christ, Faithfulness in Deacons.” CELEBRATED. Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), 70th anniversary of foundation in Cotabato and Sulu provinces, September 28, 2009. The first group of OMI missionaries who established the foundation in Cotabato and Sulu provinces came from USA. They were Fr. Gerard Mongeau, Fr. Francis McSorley, Fr. George Dion, Fr. Cuthbert Billman, Fr. Joseph Boyd, Fr. Emile Bolduc and Fr. Egide Beaudoin, known in OMI history as the “Magnificent 7”. The OMI pioneers embarked on a fruitful missionary activity in the Muslim-dominated provinces of Mindanao establishing schools, parishes, and other socially-related projects. Three of these pioneer-missionaries later became bishops. Fr. Mongeau was appointed bishop of the province of Cotabato and Sulu, Fr. McSorley became the first bishop of Sulu and TawiTawi, and Fr. Dion, who later also became bishop of Sulu. Fr. Dion was also linked with the first commercial broadcast media in the country. Fr. Billman, on the other hand, founded the first local newspaper in Mindanao, the Mindanao Cross which started printing in 1948, and the Sulu Star. Founded by St. Eugene de Mazenod, the Oblates is the seventh largest congregation of men in the world today. There are almost 5,000 OMI’s in nearly 70 countries globally. “They are present in the vast wastes of Canada, in the howling winds of the North Pole, in the hot regions of Africa, in the war-torn countries of Latin America, the impoverished countries of Asia and in the industrialized countries of Europe and America.” The heroic courage shown by OMI missionaries in living out their missionary presence even in mission places considered not too friendly for missionaries has amazed even Pope Pius XI that he called them “Specialists in the Most Difficult Missions of the Church.” CELEBRATED. Fr. Bruno Rampazzo, RCJ, 25th sacerdotal anniversary, September 5, 2009 at the Holy Spirit Chapel of the Di Francia Center of Studies in Sucat, Parañaque City. Fr. Rampazzo is a Rogationist priest who has worked as a missionary in the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia, India and Papua New Guinea. DIED. Sr. Ma. Eufrocina S. Claridad, RVM, October 8, 2009.

Radio Veritas opens Marian exhibit
IN order to raise funds for the victims of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng and to deepen one’s personal relationship with Jesus and Mary, Radio Veritas together with Caritas Manila Restorative Justice Ministry have organized the 4th Grand Marian Exhibit that opened Oct. 8 at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. “This exhibit has been put up to raise funds for typhoon victims. Hopefully they would experience in their lives the presence of God and the Blessed Mother. Ginawa itong exhibit to raise funds to help the many victims of typhoon in our country and,” said Fr. Anton Pascual, President of Radio Veritas. Charice Jose, Religious Event Coordinator of Radio Veritas, said that the images of the Blessed Virgin Mary were classified into three categories, namely the litany images, devotional images and apparitional images. She disclosed that one of the displayed images of Mary, the Our Lady of Caysasay, is personally owned by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. Pascual said that “majority of the donations will be allotted to the victims of typhoon Ondoy and some will be used to support the Marian programs of Radio Veritas,” The collected donations will be forwarded to Caritas Manila, a Catholic agency for social services, which is currently aiding the victims of the typhoons. To date, Caritas Manila has already helped more than 90,000 families through relief operations in the five dioceses in Manila and nearby dioceses of Antipolo, Malolos and San Pablo in Laguna. Pascual also said that the exhibit features the paintings of the prisoners/detainees who have experienced the power of conversion inside the jail. But more than anything else, the Marian exhibit is intended to deepen devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Radio Veritas is focusing more on evangelization and part of the evangelization is learning and deepening our faith as a Catholic and Marian devotee. This Marian exhibit is also a means for Catholics to realize the richness of our Marian tradition and the many different titles that we are attributing to her powerful intercession as a Mediatrix to our Lord Jesus Christ,” Pascual said. The exhibit carries the theme, “Maria, Kalakbay sa Katotohanan.” It culminates on October 14, 2009. (Kate Laceda)

Students hold concert for Ondoy victims
THE University of Asia and the Pacific Chorale with Choirmaster Danilo N. Monte, Jr. presented “Magnificat: A Concert of Sacred Choral Music", at the Stella Orientis Oratory, University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), Pasig City on October 9. The Marian concert was presented in time for the month of the Holy Rosary. Its proceeds will be given for the benefit of the victims of typhoon Ondoy. “Through the concert, the students of the UA&P hope to contribute in the efforts of various aid organizations for the rehabilitation of those affected by Ondoy,” said the organizers. Earlier, students of UA&P took advantage of the suspension of classes to volunteer in helping the typhoon victims. Through the Office of Student Affairs of the UA&P, these student volunteers were distributed to help in various relief efforts especially in Camp Aguinaldo and in the Rizal Chapter of the Philippine National Red Cross. The concert was organized by "Kultura" a cultural initiative of the Office of Student Affairs, University of Asia and the Pacific. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)

© Kate Laceda / CBCP Media

Audience with the Apostolic Nuncio. Representatives of LAIKO’s National Board of Directors led by Bishop Gabriel Reyes, DD, (seated, 2nd from left) Chairman of CBCP Commission on the Apostolate of the Laity paid a courtesy call to Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, (seated, 2nd from right) Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, on September 8, 2009. LAIKO president Dr. Linda Tacorda, (seated, right) briefed the Nuncio on LAIKO’s composition and main thrusts and updated him on LAIKO’s recent activities, especially the regional meetings.

Photo courtesy of Laiko

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

‘Your hands, your lips, become ... the Hands and Lips of God’
Dear brothers in the priesthood, as you can imagine, I would have been enormously happy to be able to be with you on this international priestly retreat on the theme: “The Joy of Being a Priest: Consecrated for the Salvation of the World.” You are many who participate and are benefited by the teachings of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. I cordially greet the other preachers and the bishop of Belley-ars, Guy Marie Bagnard. I have had to be content with addressing this taped message to you, but I want to believe that with these words, I speak to each one of you in the most personal way possible, so that, as St. Paul said, “I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace” (Philippians 1:7).
St. John Mary Vianney emphasized the indispensable role of the priest when he said: “a good pastor, a pastor according to the heart of God, this is the greatest treasure that the good God can give a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy” (The Cure of ars, Thoughts, Bernard Nodet, Desclee de Brouwer, Foi Vivante, 2000, p. 101). In this Year of the Priest, we are all called to explore and rediscover the grandeur of the sacrament that has configured us forever to Christ the High Priest and has “consecrated” all of us “in truth” (John 17:19). Chosen among men, the priest continues to be one of them and is called to serve them giving them the life of God. He it is who “continues the work of redemption on earth” (Nodet, p. 98). Our priestly vocation is a treasure that we bear in earthen vessels (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:7). St. Paul expressed happily the infinite distance that exists between our vocation and the poverty of the answer we can give to God. Let us keep present in our ears and in the depth of our heart the apostle’s exclamation full of confidence, who said: “for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). awareness of this weakness opens us to intimacy with God, who gives us strength and joy. The more the priest perseveres in friendship with God, the more he will continue the work of the redeemer on earth (cf. Nodet, p. 98). The priest is no longer for himself, but for all (cf. Nodet, p. 100). Precisely therein lies one of the greatest challenges of our time. The priest, man of the divine Word and of sacred things, must be today, more than ever, a man of joy and hope. To men who can no longer conceive that God is pure Love, he will always affirm that life is worth living, and that Christ gives it all its meaning because he loves men, all men. The religion of the Cure d’ars is a religion of joy, not a morbid seeking of mortification, as sometimes has been believed: “Our happiness is too great, no, no, we will never be able to understand it” (Nodet, p. 110), he said, and also “when we are along the way and we catch sight of a bell tower, this should make our heart beat as the sight of the roof of the dwelling of the beloved makes the bride’s heart beat.” Thus, I would like to greet with particular affection those of you who have the pastoral charge of several churches and who spend yourselves without counting the cost to maintain a sacramental life in your different communities. The recognition of the Church is immense for you all! Do not lose courage, but continue praying so that numerous young men will agree to respond to Christ’s call. Christ does not fail to want to increase the number of his apostles to carry out the mission in his fields. Dear priests, I am also thinking of the enormous diversity of the ministries you exercise at the service of the Church. Think of the great number of Masses you have celebrated or will celebrate, each time making Christ present on the altar. Think of the innumerable absolutions you have given and will give, allowing a sinner to be forgiven. You perceive in this moment the infinite fecundity of the sacrament of [holy] orders. Your hands, your lips, become, in the space of an instant, the hands and lips of God. You bear Christ in yourselves; you have, by grace, entered in the Holy Trinity. as the saintly Cure said: “If one had faith, he would see God hidden in the priest as a light behind a glass, as wine mixed with water” (Nodet, p. 97). This consideration should help to harmonize relations between priests in order to bring about that priestly community to which
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Pastoral Concerns


‘A priest at the bedside of a sick person represents Christ’
Dear Sick and Suffering Brothers and Sisters, Venerable Brother Bishops and Priests responsible for pastoral care for the sick, Esteemed Associations of the Sick, All those who Provide Generous Service to the Sick and the Suffering,
We are in the full unfolding of the Year for Priests that was proclaimed by Benedict XVI on 19 July 2009 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of John Mary Vianney, the Patron saint of all the parish priests in the world. In his letter proclaiming a year for priests, the Holy Father wrote: ‘This Year is meant to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today’s world’. In this time of grace the whole of the Christian community is called to rediscover the beauty of the priestly vocation and thus to pray for priests. a priest at the bedside of a sick person represents Christ himself, the Divine Physician, who is not indifferent to the fate of those who suffer. Indeed, through the sacraments of the Church, administered by a priest, Jesus Christ offers to a sick person healing through reconciliation and the forgiveness of sins, through anointing with holy oil and lastly in the eucharist, in the viaticum in which Christ himself becomes, as Giovanni Leonardi used to say, ‘the medicine of immortality’ by which ‘we are comforted, nourished, transformed into God, and participants in the divine nature (cf. 2Pt 1:4)’. In the person of the priest is thus present at the side of the sick person Christ himself who forgives, heals, comforts, takes that person by the hand and
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By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
I am a Parish Priest and I am sometimes presented with problems of couples—claiming irreconcilable difference—who “in conscience” think that their marriage was invalid from the start. At times their recounting of the circumstances are so compelling, that even I am tempted to agree with them, more so if either spouse has already moved on to a new union, which has subsequently born fruit in the form of a new and happy family. How do I resolve this dilemma? A. Notion and point of controversy Your dilemma in fact illustrates one of the hottest issues in Matrimonial Law Canon in the last two decades of the 20th Century, so brilliantly resolved by John Paul II in his annual address to the roman rota on 29.1.2004. Can. 1060 of the Code of Canon Law states: Marriage enjoys the favor of the law; consequently, when a doubt exists the validity of a marriage is to be upheld until the contrary is proven. Though the canon clearly establishes the presumption of validity of a canonically celebrated marriage, the continued applica¬bility of such a juridic presumption has been contested. The problem stems in part from the very redaction of c.1060, in which the causal particle “consequently” (quare in the original Latin) seems to suggests that the reason for the presumption of validity of a marriage (duly celebrated or peacefully accepted and consequently placed in doubt) is the favor iuris (presumption of law) enjoyed by mar¬riage. Thus, this doctrine has been attacked from the point of view of the validity of the favor matrimonii, i.e., the favor iuris enjoyed by marriage itself. B. Clarifying Can. 1060: Removing the Red Herring. Before addressing the attacks against the favor matrimonii itself, it is good to remove the red herring, by making the conceptual distinction between the two parts of c.1060: 1st Part: Marriage enjoys the favor of the law. This is the canonical declaration of the favor matrimonii. 2nd Part: When doubt exists, the validity of a marriage is to be upheld until the contrary is proven. This actually constitutes the canonical declaration of the presumption of validity of a marriage duly celebrated canonically or hitherto peacefully accepted. It is important to realize that the foundation of the presumption of validity of a duly celebrated


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

The presumption of validity of marriage
obligation is certain. However, such objectors forget that the principle in dubio pro libertate operates only when there is no opposing presumption based on a certain fact, such as the common good which is the case in the favor matrimonii. On the other hand, what they claim as the right to freedom of the spouses almost always refers to the future i.e., a liberation from past commitments disregarding the obvious fact that such commitments were made in the exercise of their own freedom in the first place. It is interesting to understand favor matrimonii precisely from the point of view of the freedom of the spouses i.e., the protection of their ius connubii which had already been exercised (and exhausted) when they validly contracted marriage. Conclusion In the end we have to conclude with John Paul II that “the problem concerns the concept of marriage seen in a global vision of reality. The essential dimension of the justness of marriage, which is based on an intrinsically juridical reality, is replaced by empirical viewpoints of a sociological, psychological, etc. kind, as well as by various forms of juridical positivism. Without in any way belittling the valid contributions of sociology, psychology or psychiatry, it cannot be forgotten that an authentically juridical consideration of marriage requires a metaphysical vision of the human person and of the conjugal relationship. Without this ontological foundation the institution of marriage becomes merely an extrinsic superstructure, the result of the Law and of social conditioning, which limits the freedom of the person to fulfill him or herself. It is necessary instead to rediscover the truth, goodness and beauty of the marriage institution. Since it is the work of God himself, through human nature and the freedom of consent of the engaged couple, marriage remains an indissoluble personal reality, a bond of justice and love, linked from eternity to the plan of salvation and raised in the fullness of time to the dignity of a Christian sacrament. It is this reality that the Church and the world must encourage! This is the true favor matrimonii!” Finally, as to the concrete problem at hand, we have to remind everyone that nobody can decide unilaterally—neither can a couple agree on their own—that a marriage contracted canonically suffers invalidity on whatever ground. It is for the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, after all the parties have been listened to, to judge the case and declare the validity or invalidity of the marriage.

canonical marriage is not the favor matrimonii. rather, it is simply an application to the case of canonical marriage of a general presumption that constitutes a principle in all juridic systems: The presumption of validity of a juridic act whose external (juridically relevant) elements have been verified correct, as expressed in c.124, §2: a juridic act correctly placed with respect to its external elements is presumed to be valid. This is what is known in Law as a juridic presumption—i.e., a link established by law between a certain fact (the external elements of given juridic reality), which is called the factical index or basis of the presumption, and that juridic reality, which is called the presumed fact On the other hand, as John Paul II in the aforementioned address to the roman rota on 29.1.2004 points out “this presumption cannot be interpreted as the mere protection of appearances or of the status quo as such, since the possibility of contesting the act is also provided for, within reasonable limits. rather, what appears outwardly to be correctly placed, to the extent that it is lawful, deserves initially to be considered valid and, consequently, to be upheld by law since this external reference point is the only one which the legal system realistically provides to discern situations which must be safeguarded. To hypothesize the opposite, that is, the obligation to provide positive proof of the validity

of the respective acts, would mean exposing the subjects to a demand that would be almost impossible to achieve.” C. Arguments against the Favor Matrimonii John Paul II, in the aforementioned address, outlined the attacks against the principles enunciated by c.1060 as follows: 1. Skepticism vs. Validity of Consent at Present Times. To some people, [the favor matrimonii] seems to be anchored in social and cultural situations of the past, in which the request to marry in accordance with canon law had normally implied that those engaged to be married understood and accepted the true nature of marriage. In the crisis that marks the institution of marriage today, those people hold the very validity of the consent may often be jeopard¬ized, due to various forms of incapacity or to the absence of the essential properties. Thus, these critics wonder if it might not be correct to presume the invalidity of the marriage contracted rather than its validity. In this perspective, the favor matrimonii, they say, should give way to the favor personae [favoring whatever is good for the spouses], the favor veritatis subiecti [favoring whatever is subjectively good for the spouses] or the favor libertatis [respecting the freedom of the spouses to opt out of a marriage bond]. 2. Skepticism vs. Process of ascertaining the Validity of a
Your hands / B1

Marriage. Often the real problem is not so much the presumption in words as the overall vision of a marriage itself; hence, the process to ascertain the validity of its celebration is put in doubt. In this regard, a more or less open scepticism has been inferred as to the human ability to recognize the truth about the validity of a marriage. In this area too, a renewed confidence in human reason is necessary with regard both to the essential aspects of marriage and to the specific circumstances of each union. 3. Failure of Marriage argument. Finally is the argument which holds that the failure of conjugal life implies the invalidity of the marriage. Unfortunately, this erroneous assertion is sometimes so forceful as to become a generalized prejudice that leads people to seek grounds for nullity as a merely formal justification of a pronouncement that is actually based on the empirical factor of matrimonial failure. This unjust formalism of those who are opposed to the traditional favor matrimonii can lead them to forget that, in accordance with human experience marked by sin, even a valid marriage can fail because of the spouses’ own misuse of freedom. D. Logical and conceptual flaws of the arguments against the Favor Matrimonii after clarifying the real basis of the presumptio iuris for the validity of a duly-celebrated canonical marriage, we can

reduce the objections to the favor matrimonii to two: 1. Favor matrimonii vs. favor personae seu favor veritatis subiecti. The confrontation that some authors make between the favor matrimonii and the so-called favor personae or favor veritatis subiecti belies a reductive vision of the favor matrimonii, understood almost exclusively in its abstract or institutional sense, disconnected from any concrete marriage, which is always founded on the truth of an authentic marital consent legitimately manifested between two capable persons. We have to recall that the favor matrimonii is simply the juridical protection of a very personal right the ius connubii of the spouses and the truth of a very real and concrete marriage. at the same time, such objection often belies an equally narrow view of the so-called favor personae or favor veritatis subiecti which often refers only to the person of the spouse or spouses who are pretending the declaration of nullity of a marriage, disregarding those who hold its validity or who may be interested in its eventual convalidation. 2. Favor matrimonii vs. favor libertatis. More absurd still is the contraposition made by other authors between the favor iuris enjoyed by marriage and an erroneous application of the general principle in dubio pro libertate, according to which one must not burden anyone with an obligation unless such

Frequency of the extraordinary Form
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: I am confused about the permission given by our Holy Father regarding the celebration of Mass using the Tridentine rite (the extraordinary form). Can a parish substitute for all daily Masses throughout the week the “Tridentine form” instead of the “ordinary form”? I understand Sunday Masses must be of the ordinary form, with perhaps the exception of one Tridentine Mass.— D.F., St. Clair Shores, Michigan a: The most relevant document regarding this point is probably article 5 of “Summorum Pontificum”: “In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church. “§2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.” Canon 392 refers to the bishop’s overall right and duty to oversee and enforce the observation of ecclesiastical laws within his jurisdiction. While the papal document certainly allows some leeway, the fact that it asks pastors to ensure that the celebration of the extraordinary form harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care would suggest that a parish should not habitually substitute all daily Masses for the extraordinary form. a parish with more than one priest could have daily Mass in both forms. Likewise, in areas where churches are in close proximity, the bishop could allow one parish to celebrate a daily Mass in the extraordinary form for the faithful from several parishes. Other possibilities include rotating the celebration of the extraordinary form during the week among two or three nearby parishes. If the need arises, the papal letter issued “motu propio” (on his own initiative) also foresees the possibility of the bishop establishing a special parish, thus article 10: “The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with Canon 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.” as is obvious all celebrations in such a parish or chaplaincy would be according to the extraordinary form. The above document says that it is important to seek positive and charitable solutions to the needs of all the faithful so as to avoid discord and to favor the Church’s unity.

St. Peter exhorts (cf. 1 Peter 2:9) to form the body of Christ, upbuilt in love (cf. ephesians 4:11-16). The priest is the man of the future: he who has taken seriously Paul’s words: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above” (Colossians 3:1). What is done on earth is in the order of the means ordered to the last end. The Mass is the only point of union between the means and the end, because it allows us already to contemplate, under the humble appearance of bread and wine, the Body and Blood of him whom we will adore in eternity. The simple but profound phrases of the saintly Cure on the eucharist help us to perceive better the richness of that unique moment of the day in which we live a vivifying
A priest / B1

face to face [encounter] for ourselves and for each one of the faithful. “The happiness there is in saying the Mass will be understood only in heaven,” he wrote (Nodet, p. 104). Therefore, I encourage you to reinforce your faith and that of the faithful in the sacrament you celebrate which is the source of true joy. The Saint of ars wrote: “The priest should feel the same joy (of the apostles) on seeing Our Lord, whom he has between his hands” (Ibid.). Thanking you for what you are and for what you do, I repeat: “Nothing will ever replace the ministry of priests in the life of the Church” (Homily during the Mass of Sept. 13, 2008, on the esplanade des Invalides, Paris). Living witnesses of the power of God who works in the weakness of men,

consecrated for the salvation of the world, you are, my dear brothers, chosen by Christ himself to be, thanks to him, salt of the earth and light of the world. May you be able to experience in a profound way, during this spiritual retreat, the Inexpressible Closeness (St. augustine, Confessions, III, 6, va 13, p. 383) to be perfectly united to Christ in order to proclaim his love around you and to commit yourselves totally to the service of the sanctification of all the members of the people of God! entrusting you to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and of priests, I impart to you all my apostolic Blessing. (Above is the text of a video message of Pope Benedict XVI to the participants of the international retreat of priests held in Ars, France, September 28 to October 4, 2009)

says: ‘I am the resurrection and the life; who believes in me, even though he dies, will live; whoever lives and believes in me will never die’ (Jn 11:25). The Year for Priests will end with the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in June 2010, the year when the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers will celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of its creation. Indeed, the Servant of God John Paul II, of venerable memory, founded this Pontifical Council on 11 February 1985, memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, in order to show ‘the solicitude of the Church for the sick by helping those who serve the sick and suffering, so that their apostolate of mercy may ever more effectively respond to people’s needs’ (Pastor Bonus, art. 152). Because of this providential anniversary, I am near to each one of you and I invite you, dear sick brothers and sisters, to unceasingly address

your prayers and the offering up of your sufferings to the Lord of life for the holiness of your well loved priests, so that they can with devotion and pastoral charity perform the ministry that is entrusted to them by Christ, the physician of bodies and souls. I exhort you to rediscover the beauty of the prayer of the Holy rosary for the spiritual benefit of priests, in a special way during the month of October. In addition to this, every first Thursday and every first Friday of the month, which are respectively dedicated to devotion to the eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, are days that are particularly suited to participation in Holy Mass and adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament. I would like to remind you that in praying for priests one can obtain special indulgences this year. The decree of the apostolic Penitentiary declares: ‘The Plenary Indulgence will

likewise be granted to the elderly, the sick and all those who for any legitimate reason are confined to their homes who, with a mind detached from any sin and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, at home or wherever their impediment detains them, provided that on the above-mentioned days they recite prayers for the sanctification of priests and confidently offer the illnesses and hardships of their lives to God through Mary Queen of the apostles. Lastly, the Partial Indulgence is granted to all the faithful every time they devoutly recite five Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glorias, or another expressly approved prayer, in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to obtain that priests be preserved in purity and holiness of life’. I would also like to entrust to your prayers the pilgrimage of hospital chaplains which, on the occasion of
A priest / B5


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009



Bishops …......……………………………..... 2 Priests: Diocesan ……………………………….. 100 Religious: Filipino ………………………………..... 11 Foreign ……………………………….... 3 Deacon ………......………………………...... 1 Sisters: Filipino ………………………………….... 75 Foreign …………………………….…........ 9 Seminaries: High School …………………………........ 1 Pre-College …………………………........ 1 College ………………………………......... 1 Diocesan Divisions: Vicariates ……………………………....... 5 Parishes ……………………………….... 28 Population ................………………….. 705,600 Catholics ……………………………… 656,320 Area ……………………..…........ 2,141.4 sq.km.

By Fr. Tony Lorilla and Mr. Ramon Dino

Diocese of Sorsogon
1959 as the 2nd Bishop of Sorsogon. Winds of change from Vatican II Bishop arcilla’s term came at the time when Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican ecumenical Council (Vatican II) which brought progressive changes in the Church. Pastoral attempts to keep abreast with the emerging changes enabled Bishop arcilla to initiate In the later part of Bishop arcilla’s term, administrative difficulties emerged. This led the Holy See to appoint on august 30, 1977 the Most rev. Concordio ma. Sarte, D.D., as auxiliary Bishop of Sorsogon. When Bishop arcilla retired on December 12, 1979, the Holy See appointed Bishop Sarte as apostolic administrator of the Diocese “ad Nutum Sanctae Sedis” (directly responsible to November 27, 1980. Meanwhile, Bishop Sarte was awaiting transfer to his new assignment as Bishop of the Diocese of Legazpi. Decade of healing and pastoral organization On December 12, 1980, Bishop Jesus Y. Varela took his oath of office in the presence of the entire clergy and apostolic administrator. The oathtaking was simple, even austere. Bishop Varela deemed it appropriate to forego a triumphal celebration because of the existing situation in the diocese. The process of “healing” began. The p e c u l i a r needs of the diocese were immediately attended to by its new pastor. In July 1981, a core group of

a BIrTH is usually met with jubilation, prayer and thanksgiving. It was thus when the Diocese of Sorsogon came into being. When the Papal Bull of June 29, 1951 mandated that Sorsogon become a suffragan of the archdiocese of Caceres, exultation and thankful prayers filled the hearts of its people. Spanish conquistadores gave Sorsogon its first encounter with Christianity. This was in the year 1569 when Fr. alfonso Jimenez, chaplain of the expedition under Luis enriquez de Guzman celebrated the first mass upon landing on the coast of sitio Gibal-ong, barangay Siuton, in the town of Magallanes. Christianity, however, was formally established in Sorsogon with the planting of the Cross on the shores of Casiguran town, in 1600, by Franciscan Friars. This was a prelude to the erection of the first church building dedicated to Our Lady of the Most Holy rosary, still presently revered as Casiguran’s patroness. From there, Franciscan missionaries devotedly spread the faith to the other towns. In Bacon, 1617, Bulusan, 1630 and Donsol in 1668. The other twelve towns followed suit in the course of time. In the original geographic division, the province of Sorsogon formed part of albay province. It seceded as a separate province on October 17, 1984. By canonical reckoning the Diocese of Sorsogon was originally part of the archdiocese of Caceres. When it came into its own as a diocese, it embraced the territory of Masbate until March 23, 1968 when the Holy See decreed that Masbate be made into a separate diocese. at present the Diocese of Sorsogon encompasses the civil territory of the Province of Sorsogon and the City of Sorsogon. Sorsogon became a diocese at a time when bishops were still regarded as lords in the hierarchical chain of a Church steeped in rites and pageantry. They appear before the people in regal attire, deeply accentuating the barrier that divided the faithful from the clergy and the clergy from the episcopate. The local Church then was characterized by this visible demarcation when the Most rev. Teopisto V. alberto was installed on October 7, 1952 as the first Bishop of Sorsogon. Notwithstanding such conditions, Bishop alberto underwent the sacrifices and difficulties of establishing a diocese so recently weaned. In recognition of his efforts, he was elevated as Coadjutor archbishop of the archdiocese of Caceres. His successor, the Most rev. arnulfo S. arcilla, was installed on December 12,

reforms in areas TOPMOST: Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral and Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, SVD. ABOVE: CME-GNFSI Building houses the diocesan TV and radio stations and the printing press. of Worship, ON BACKGROUND: The Cathedral Rectory Christian education and Temporalities. Social action programs were also introduced. Bishop arcilla s pe a r h e a d e d l o w - c o s t h o u s i n g and tried to implement the program of cooperativism in the parishes. as the spirit of Vatican II began to renew the notion of “being Church,” progressive thinking permeated the the Holy See). seven priests elected by and from among ranks of the clergy with a deepening Clearly needed was a pastor with a gift the clergy were trained in the SaIDI involvement in Social Transformation. of integrating and reconciling diverse (Southeast asian Interdisciplinary True to the historical attitudes toward pastoral viewpoints into harmony. Development Institute) process of change, a struggle to better understand Most rev. Jesus Y. Varela, then still the pastoral planning. They went around the interplay of ecclesiastical structures, Bishop of Ozamiz, was designated by the the parishes to inculcate the idea of a took its toll in the local church. Holy See as 3rd Bishop of Sorsogon on common pastoral plan.

By October 1981, a general assembly— made up of priests, representatives from each religious community existing in the diocese and handpicked lay delegates from the cross-section of each parish (carefully chosen through a strict set of criteria)—was convened. The group worked intermittently for seven months, going through arduous planning made up of meetings and workshops. On July 16, 1982, Feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Magallanes, Sorsogon, the Five-Year Diocesan Pastoral plan was launched. It’s Vision—“a community of Faith living in Love according to the Gospel Message responding in Service to the signs of the times striving in Hope for the coming of the Kingdom.” The first five years of Bishop Varela’s episcopate yielded modest gains which somehow integrated the diocesan efforts towards healing its wounds. Systematic pastoral management was adopted. The diocesan coffers which was at its nadir when Bishop Varela took over, began to fill until it was capable of operating programs conceived in the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. However, the calamities of 1987— super typhoons Herming and Sisang— devastated the diocese to a vast extent. Losses in lives and properties were unprecedented. This was a time when the local church reaffirmed its major role in the work of restoring the community, not just in the spiritual aspect. aside from programs of relief and rehabilitation under CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social action, the 4.2 million pesos shelter program funded by USaID was put under the charge of the diocese—a credit to the local church’s credibility, integrity and new found capability. It was through the Diocesan Pastoral Plan which encompassed a holistic approach towards Total Human Development where the local church succeeded in transforming the old image of the hierarchical church into community of the faithful which encouraged collegiality and co-responsibility between the clergy, the religious and laity. Liturgical celebrations were then contextualized to reflect the aspirations of the people and real life situations. These enhanced lay participation towards a level of meaningful involvement. The role of the laity was further highlighted by the installation of Lay Ministers of the Word and the eucharist. The people accepted these changes with keen interest. eVaNGeLIZaTION became the central focus of concern. New approaches made use of both print and broadcast media. On November 22, 1984, FM radio franchise was acquired and DWLHSorsogon / B4

By Rodolfo Diamante and Gerry Bernabe
IN our current criminal justice system, justice is believed to have been achieved after a lengthy court trial, conviction and meting out punishment. a criminal does his time in the penitentiary, and by wallowing inside a decrepit prison cell, pays his debt to society and thus justice is served. The meaning of justice is primarily shackled in legal terms which exact punishment that fits the crime. Prisons are found in every country in the world. Policy makers and administrators have come to regard them as a given and not try to find alternatives to them. Yet imprisonment should not be taken for granted as the natural form of punishment. But imprisonment has been shown to be counterproductive in the rehabilitation and re-integration of those charged with crimes. These are several important reasons on the need to focus on alternatives that reduce the number of people in prison and for imprisonment to be used only as a last resort. Individual liberty is one of the most fundamental human rights, recognized in international human rights instruments and national constitutions throughout the world. The loss of liberty that results from imprisonment regularly impinges several other human rights as well. In the Philippines, prisoners are deprived of basic amenities of life. They are often held in grossly overcrowded conditions, poorly clothed and underfed. They are particularly vulnerable to disease and yet are given poor medical treatment. They find it difficult to keep contact with their families. So why consider alternatives to imprisonment? Let us cite the following arguments: IMPrISONMeNT IS eXPeNSIVe— the cost of imprisonment worldwide is


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

Restorative justice and alternatives to imprisonment
prisoners may be serving sentences for petty or non-violent offenses or may be awaiting trial for unacceptably lengthy periods of time. For them, imprisonment may not be suitable at all. alternatives to imprisonment offer a variety of strategies for dealing appropriately with such persons that do not involve imprisonment at all. aLTerNaTIVeS MaY Be MOre eFFeCTIVe—Several social objectives are claimed for imprisonment. It keeps persons suspected of having committed a crime under secure control until a court determines their culpability. Moreover, it punishes convicted offenders by depriving them of their liberty. The reality is that most of the objectives of imprisonment can be met more effectively in other ways. alternatives may both infringe less on the human rights of persons who would otherwise be detained and may be less expensive. What then should be done? We propose the following: DeCrIMINaLIZaTION—Since criminal justice systems are the main consumers of prison resources, the first question to ask when tackling the issue of imprisonment is whether particular forms of conduct must fall within the scope of the criminal justice system. Not all socially undesirable conduct needs to be classified as crime. Decriminalization is the process of changing the law so that conduct that has been defined as a crime is no longer a criminal act. DIVerSION—Under diversion strategies, authorities focus on dealing in other ways with other people who could be processed through the criminal justice system. Members of the police need to have a clear instruction on when they can themselves issue warnings and take no further action, when they may be able to divert qualifying offenders to alternative programs without referring the case to
Restorative / B5

hard to calculate. Direct costs include building, salaries of correctional officers and workers as well as housing, feeding and caring for prisoners. There are also significant indirect or consequential

costs, for imprisonment may affect the wider community in various negative ways. Prisons are incubators of diseases such as tuberculosis and aIDS, especially so when they are overcrowded.

IMPrISONMeNT IS OVerUSeD—It is essential that policy-makers take a close look at who are being held in prison, why they are there, and for how long they are being detained. Such

May They Be One: Bringing Christ to the poor
By Jayzl Nebre
‘When one gives a Bible to somebody, he’s actually giving Christ to that person!’ THIS is how Fr. rally Gonzaga OFMCap, Parish Priest of Sta. Teresita del Niño Jesus Parish (STP) describes the experience of sharing Christ through his Word via a Bible distribution event. early this year, his parish distributed copies of the May They Be One Bible to their less privileged members during the celebration of National Bible Week. The effort to distribute Scriptures started when some of their Basic ecclesial Community (BeC) leaders realized that several of their members did not have a copy of the Bible when they meet for weekly fellowships. This prompted them to solicit from those better off so that everyone would have his own Bible when they meet. The results of this initial Bible distribution attempt, however, were not that encouraging. even though a number of people responded to their call, the Bibles that they received were not what they needed, mostly in english and some even in Cebuano. Their BeCs
Sorsogon / B3

Photo courtesy of CBCP-ECPPC

were conducted in Tagalog thus their need was for Tagalog Bibles. Fortunately, a parishioner was aware that the Philippine Bible Society, working together with the episcopal Commission on Biblical apostolate, are making Bibles available at a subsidized price of P50 for those who cannot afford the regular price of P150. They joined the May They Be One Bible Campaign and were able to secure low-cost Bibles for their needy members. The problem did not end after the Bibles were distributed. Fr. rally realized that while the people now have their own copy of the Scriptures, there is no guarantee they will actually read it. The real challenge is how to make them interested enough so as to develop a habit of daily reading and apply its teachings to their lives. True to the precepts of the founder of their religious Community, Francis of assisi, Fr. rally believes that the Gospel must not only be talked but walked. He says that “If there are people today dubbed as ‘walking dictionaries’ or ‘walking encyclopedia,’ then there must also be ‘Walking Scriptures’. One of these, he says, is Francis of assisi himself who not only preached the Word, but

also lived it to the full. He laments the fact, however, that most Catholic Christians are not that exposed to the Bible. “How then could one follow the Gospel if he doesn’t know it, much less read it?” He admits that in the past, the roman Catholic Church poured her attention to things like doctrine and magisterium while the Scriptures were not given proper treatment and respect. But with the brave declaration of Pope Pius XII for Catholics to ‘do as the Protestants do, when it comes to studying the Bible’, there came a renewed appreciation of the sacred Scriptures. Slowly, Catholics are realizing that most of their liturgical traditions have biblical bases, and are now starting to enjoy personally engaging with the Word. after distributing Bibles to the poor families, the beneficiaries are asked to join the Sta. Teresita del Niño Jesus Parish Basic ecclesial Communities where they meet once a week for fellowship and sharing. During these meetings, the Sunday Gospels are read by the members of the community and afterwards, they share their experiences. This program ensures that they get to read their Bibles at least once a week.

“The Spirit of the Word is still relevant today,” says Fr. rally. according to him, the experiences of the earlier churches like those in rome, Corinth, Thessalonica, ephesus, etc., are similar to the experiences of people in our modern times. Thus, if the Scriptures spoke to them then, it can also speak to us now. To further encourage the parishioners to read the Bible, every Sunday, the Church prints on a piece of paper some Scripture references which they give to the mass goers to bring home. Instead of printing the entire verse or text, STP only identifies the passage reference (i.e. John 3:16 instead of the full ‘For God so loved the world...). This gives the people the opportunity to open up their own Bibles at home and read the text from there. “Who knows, that might be God’s answer to your prayer,” says Fr. rally, as he encourages parishioners to each get a piece of paper. Surprisingly, a number of people go back to him and confirmed that the Scripture Passage they read indeed gave them answers to the trials or problems that they were facing at that point in their lives. For Fr. rally, the most important

part of Scripture Work is to motivate the faithful to read the Bible. He adds that when they are motivated, they will open the Bible by themselves and personal transformation, sooner or later will follow. He stresses that more than anybody else, it is the youth that have to be motivated to read the Bible as they will soon be the leaders of the country. and with their sheer number, young people are not only the ‘future’ of the Church, they are also its ‘present’. Fr. rally recalls how he himself was motivated to start reading the Bible when he was younger. Their teachers used to ask them to bring their Bibles everyday to school and the students were given incentive if they could share with the class some things that they read from their Bibles. He hopes that this practice can be replicated in other schools as well. But for Fr. rally, there is another enticement to delve into the pages of the Holy Scriptures—love. The Bible, he says, tells of the beautiful love story between God and man. It makes people understand how special we are in God’s sight. and for him, that’s all the reason he needs to keep on reading.

FM was born as a diocesan radio station. The lackeys of repressions serving the Marcos Dictatorship tried to close the radio station when it exposed and opposed prevalent human rights violations. Friendly elements in the field of communications, however, did not carry out the order, but instead empathized with the diocesan struggle. On May 15, 1986, weeks after ‘People Power’ toppled the Marcos dictatorship; the diocesan radio station changed its call sign to DZGN-FM, the station that brings the Good News. Complementing the broadcast medium is the Good News Newsletter, a diocesan monthly publication. The innovative use of media has helped effectively and efficiently in the program of evangelization. at this juncture (the decade spanning 1980-1990), the people of Sorsogon had apparently begun to understand their role in the Church. The old idea of the Church as the majestic bastion of ordained ministers still persisted, but it was gradually being replaced by a new consciousness. The efforts to reach out and educate the people began to spread particularly in the areas of religious Instruction, Family Life apostolate,YouthProgramsandthe service to marginalized society. enhancement of Formation and education about practice of Faith became institutionalized with the implementation of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. The building of a Diocesan

Pastoral Formation Center (1984) provided a venue for developing knowledge, where farmers, fisherfolks, rural and urban poor sectors hold seminars, assemblies, consultations and formation sessions for analyzing practices and experience (praxis) for the building of Basic Christian Communities. The early success of the implementation of the Diocesan pastoral Plan resulted in the rapid growth of Christian community. The Cathedral parish, particularly, expanded immensely in both population and pastoral activities. This necessitated a strategic division for better management. On July 16, 1987, Bishop Jesus Y. Varela signed acta, segregating 10 out of the 36 barangays of the Cathedral parish to be canonically known as Our Lady of Fatima Parish. The first decade of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan cauterized and soothed the past pains of the diocese with a new apostolic fervor and opened hope for eventual and complete healing as it strove to achieve the Diocesan Pastoral Plan’s goals in three phases, namely: 1) “To form the local Church into an evangelized and evangelizing community of Faith, Hope and Love.” 2) “To organize the local Church of Sorsogon into worshipping and serving communities that give witness to a life of Unity, Justice, Peace and Love.” 3) “To organize in the local Church of Sorsogon basic communities that are fully

worshipping and serving, and empowered to give witness to Christian Stewardship.” Presenting a glaring contrast to the pageantry and pomp which had been the historical image of the Church and its Bishops, the Diocese of Sorsogon kept in step with Vatican II and the concept of the Church of the Poor. Keeping on with the task of empowerment The year 1991 ushered a special event for the Philippine Church. On January 20–February 17 of this year, the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) was held. Its vision was of a “renewed Philippine Church, through a renewed integral evangelization by workers of renewal as a community of disciples.” It was heartening to discover that many of the matters under discussion in PCP II were already implemented in our diocese (e.g. earthcare Program). even that of being the Church of the Poor, which was the ecclesial image PCP II decided for the Philippine Church, was already the model of our local church. This meant that we are in the leading edge of evangelization. We preserved our involvement in the social and political arena, maintaining our strong stand for Justice and Peace, the defense of Human rights, Disaster Preparedness, relocation and organization of the urban poor (IDea project), Health Program and most recently, the

empowerment of women with our Promotion for Women’s empowerment and rights project. In the aspect of Social Communications, the radio station was supplemented with the printing press and television station. all were pioneering efforts including the Internet service in the diocese that paved the way for Sorsogon’s access to global communication. We harnessed modern technology at the service of evangelization, disseminatingwidelythemessage of the Gospel and the work for people empowerment. Within this decade we made a significant addition to the commissions which are pillars of our pastoral plan. Originally, there were four commissions that made up the acronym WeST. It stands for Worship, education, Service and Temporalities. We added another pillar to strengthen further the foundation of local church. Thus, Media for evangelization became another commission that strengthened the original WeST, which became Me-WeST. Once again, another strategic segregation was undertaken for a more systematic implementation of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. This time, 14 rural barangays of the 26 remaining barangays of the Cathedral parish were canonically established as the San ramon Nonnatus Parish. The diocese now comprises 26 parishes divided into five

Vicariates. as concepts keep coming and the signs of times called for new ideas and responses, the work of evangelization took on added challenges. The concern for the Family, Laity and Youth decidedly required primary focus. Thus three new councils were established, one for each of these three sectors. The totality of the diocesan program now carried the acronym FLY-MeWeST. Passing the Shepherd’s Staff as the pastoral plan of the diocese continues to be implemented in full gear and with his compulsory retirement, Bishop Jesus Y. Varela requested for a coadjutor bishop from the Vatican through the apostolic Nuncio. Due to this, Most rev. antonio Franco, the apostolic Nuncio of the Philippines, paid a visit to the diocese and sought audience with the clergy, religious and the lay leaders of the diocese. The purpose was to gauge their sentiments for better guidance in the choice of Bishop Varela’s coadjutor and eventual successor. along this timeline, the Diocesan Pastoral Plan was entering the fourth phase of its implementation. For this purpose, Bishop Varela convened the first Diocesan Synod from November 19 to December 01, 2000. It adopted the theme “Called to Proclaim.” The end product was meant to embody

the acts and Decrees and Synodal Propositions. all these will be guiding beacon of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Phase IV. after this landmark activity, another important event was to occur for the diocese. On its feast day, honoring Sts. Peter and Paul, on the 29th of June 2001, fell the Golden Jubilee of its erection as diocese. It was celebrated as the Jubilee Year for the entire Catholic Church. as Bishop Varela turned 75 years old on December 18, 2001, he submitted his compulsory letter of retirement to the Vatican. The Vatican responded with appreciation of his services. Meanwhile, the choice for a coadjutor bishop for the Diocese of Sorsogon had been decided. On July 25, 2002, as it was being announced publicly by the Vatican, Bishop Varela made a simultaneous announcement through a press conference at St. Matthew’s Hall, that Most rev. arturo M. Bastes, at that time bishop of the Diocese of romblon, was elected coadjutor bishop of Sorsogon, with right of succession. Bishop Bastes assumed his position as Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Sorsogon in a fitting ceremony on September 22, 2002. On april 15, 2003, Bishop Varela turned over the Diocesan Curia Office to his coadjutor bishop. Bishop Varela’s resignation was subsequently approved by the Pope the next day april 16,
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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009



Statement on the Kidnapping Statement of of Fr. Michael Sinnott the 27th ECIP
THe CBCP National Secretariat for Social action – Justice & Peace strongly denounces the kidnapping of Columban Missionary, Fr. Michael Sinnott, last October 11 in his home in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur. We appeal to the kidnappers of Fr. Sinnott to release him immediately so he may safely return to his parish and his community. Fr. Sinnott has been active in various social services, like in the Centre and School for Special Children, which he established, and has been bravely working for interfaith, and peacebuilding programs in Mindanao. We express our solidarity with the Diocese of Pagadian, headed by the Most rev. emmanuel Cabajar, and to the community of the Columban Missionaries. We likewise emphasize that Fr. Sinnott’s kidnapping constitutes a flagrant distortion of the aims and aspirations of the peace-loving people of Mindanao. It is a desecration of the religious values and an infringement against the spirit of human dignity and solidarity, which the Muslims and Christians are jointly pursuing. a crime of this kind is a fresh reminder of the need for a sustained effort in dealing with kidnapping and abduction committed by terrorist groups. We call upon the government to bring to justice those responsible for this outrageous crime and demonstrate that lawlessness and impunity will not be tolerated. + MOST reV. BrODerICK S. PaBILLO, D.D National Director October 12, 2009

– IPA National Convention

We, the 75 participants of the 27th eCIP – IPa National Convention held at Maryridge retreat House, Tagaytay City on September 14-18, 2009, reflecting on the theme: “The Church and the Indigenous Peoples Reflecting on Faith” in the context of the “10th Year anniversary of the Day of Pardon Mass on March 12, 2010”, declare that: Integral evangelization with the Indigenous Peoples is witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus, journeying with them in a dialogue of life and faith and celebrating the richness of each other’s values and life-events. Together, we respect human dignity, uphold the right to ancestral domain and cultural identity and work towards total human development and integrity of creation. Towards this end, we commit ourselves to: * enter into an interfaith dialogue with Indigenous Peoples (IPs) who adhere to their traditional belief systems; * facilitate inculturation among the baptized Catholic IPs; * engage in ecumenical dialogue with IPs of other Christian faith; * heed the imperative of immersion in our dialogue of life with the IPs, entering into their worldview and understanding their way of life; * support the IP communities in their efforts towards selfdetermination and genuine empowerment; and * appreciate and affirm the creation spirituality of the IPs. It is our hope that as we journey with them, we truly share the dignity of being children of the one God. For the participants of the 27th eCIP-IPa National Convention, +MOST reV. SerGIO L. UTLeG, DD Bishop of Laoag Chairperson, episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples

Fr. Michael Sinnott

Message on the 22nd Prison Awareness Sunday
THe gospel in today’s celebration of Prison awareness Sunday reminds us that Christ brings light to those who are in the dark. Jesus brought light in the life of Bartimeus when He made him see. We who are called to follow Christ are also asked to bring that same light wherever there is darkness. There is darkness when there is no freedom, when you’re abandoned and separated from your loved ones, when you are suffering from loneliness, fears, condemnation and injustices. It is this kind of darkness that the prisoners and the victims of crimes are suffering from. The prisoners need to see light, the victims need to be in the light and the community needs to see their role as light bearers—the same light that Christ brought to Bartimeus and to us. Bartimeus came to Jesus and asked that he may see. Because of his faith Jesus gave him what he was asking for. With the same faith, we can come to Jesus and ask for the graces that we need especially for our brothers and sisters who have been hurt by crime. To make our observance of the Prison awareness Sunday, let us then invoke God: * That the Church through its faithfulness to the gospel values may continue to bring the light of Christ to the world that is in darkness because of the proliferation of materialistic and distorted values. * That the leaders of our nation through their selfless and competent leadership may bring light to a nation that is in darkness because of corruption, poverty and division. * That the families and friends of the prisoners and victims of crime that their understanding, forgiveness and love may bring healing and reconciliation to those who are in darkness because of loneliness and separation. * That the members of the custodial force and correctional employees through their commitment to serve and help in the restoration of the prisoners may bring light to our brothers and sisters who are in darkness. * That the prisoners and the victims may be a source of the light of Christ to each other as they work together to build Christian communities among themselves and promote justice that heals. * That those who are actively involved in prison ministry may continue to bring light in the life of the prisoners and the victims through their steadfast commitment to serve the prison society. * That we link arms together with Christ and be a caring church responding to those who have been hurt by crime and help build Christian communities in our society and like Christ be an instrument of healing, reconciliation and the new life. +MOST reV. PeDrO D. arIGO, DD Vicar apostolic of Puerto Princesa Chair, episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care October 25, 2009

CBCP-eCPPC urges consideration of UN TOKYO rules on non-custodial measures and alternatives to imprisonment
THe Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines–episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care in observance of 22nd Prison awareness Sunday on October 25, 2009 calls on Congress and policy makers to consider alternatives to imprisonment. The CBCP-eCPPC argues that imprisonment is counterproductive in the rehabilitation and integration of prisoners. It impinges on several human rights — like the provision on basic needs like food, shelter, and medicines. Prisoners are often held in grossly overcrowded conditions, poorly clothed and underfed. The prisoners are
A priest / B2

particularly vulnerable to disease, and yet are given poor medical treatment. It is about time that our policy-makers take a close look at who are being held in prison, why they are there, and for how long they are being detained. Many prisoners are just awaiting trial for unacceptably lengthy periods of time. Others are serving long sentences. The CBCP-eCPPC maintains that the objectives of imprisonment can be met more effectively in other ways. The commission observes that not all socially undesirable conduct needs to be classified as a crime. Our legislators can decriminalize these crimes. We can

rODOLFO DIaMaNTe executive Secretary, episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care October 10, 2009
Restorative / B4

the twenty-fifth anniversary of the creation of this Pontifical Council, will take place next April, first in Lourdes and then in ars. Indeed, a close and profound tie exists between these two French towns. When speaking specifically about this providential connection in his Letter Proclaiming a Year for Priests, Benedict XVI invoked the observation made by blessed Pope John XXIII who wrote: ‘shortly before the Curé of ars completed his long and admirable life, the Immaculate Virgin appeared in another part of France to an innocent and humble girl, and entrusted to her a message of prayer and penance which continues, even a century later, to yield immense spiritual fruits. The life of this holy priest whose anniversary we are commemorating,

anticipated in a real way the great supernatural truths taught to the seer of Massabielle...The holy Curé would always remind his faithful that “after giving us all he could, Jesus Christ wishes in addition to bequeath us his most precious possession, his Blessed Mother”’. To you, therefore, dear sick and suffering brothers and sisters, I entrust the Church which needs your prayers and sufferings, the person of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, and all the bishops and priests in the world, who strive every day for your sanctification. I ask from you a special prayer for priests who are sick and afflicted in their bodies who every day experience, like you, the weight of pain, together with the force of saving grace which comforts and

heals the soul. Pray also for the beatification and canonization of the Servant of God John Paul II! Pray with insistence for holy priestly and religious vocations! and here I propose to you a beautiful prayer of John Paul II which you can say every day. Pray also for me! I, also, as a priest and bishop, count on you and the offering up of your sufferings so that I may perform in the best way possible, in the fear of God, the task of being the President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers which was entrusted to me by the Holy Father. For my part, I assure you that I will pray for you, together with those who work with me at this Pontifical Council, every day at the hour of the ‘angelus’ with the words of Benedict XVI:

Let us pray for all sick people, especially those who are most seriously ill, who can in no way provide for themselves but depend entirely on the care of others. May each one of them experience, in the solicitude of those who are beside them, the power and love of God and the richness of his saving grace! Mary, health of the sick, pray for us! In this spirit of mutual prayer I impart to all of you, to your loved ones and to those who care for you, my blessing: in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit arCHBISHOP ZYGMUNT ZIMOWSKI President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers The Vatican, 1 October 2009

the prosecuting authorities and when they must refer alleged offenses. Similarly, prosecutors need clear guidelines. Both police and prosecutors need to consider the views of the victims although victims have no veto over state action in the criminal justice system. In some countries, community service is used as a sanction, whereby the offenders are tasked to do a community project of endeavor e.g., cleaning the streets, planting trees, declogging of sewerage and drainage systems, etc. Such were the considerations raised and agreed upon by the international community and which paved the way for the enactment of the United Nations Standard Minimum rules for Non-custodial Measures,

better known as the Tokyo rules, which was adopted by the United Nations General assembly through resolution 45/110 of December 14, 1990. The rules were intended to “promote greater community involvement in the management of criminal justice, specifically in the treatment of offenders, as well as to promote among offenders a sense of responsibility towards society.” (art. I, 1.2) With the current form of justice leaving a lot to be desired in terms of output and on achieving its goal of attaining genuine justice, we believe it is now high time for us to change our lenses, try a different approach of achieving justice for all, through innovative means, without compromising the safety and order in our society.

Photo courtesy of CBCP-ECPPC

also use diversion strategies—divert offenders to alternative programs like community-based program, treatment centers or work and study furlough. The CBCP-eCPPC adheres to the principle that IMPrISONMeNT SHOULD Be USeD aS a LaST reSOrT and that criminal justice system should move beyond punishment towards restoration.


Ref lections
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B, (Mark 10:46-52); October 25, 2009
By Fr. Joseph Pellegrino
“MaSTer, I want to see.” Jesus passes the Blind Man. Bartimaeus can only hear the commotion. “Master, I want to see.” Our world is full of noise, full of people telling us what we should say, do and think. The whole goal of our existence has been confused by an agnostic or even atheistic media and a consumerism that has turned materialism into a new idolatry. and we work like dogs for food that we lap up in seconds then we go to work again. Is this life? “Master, I want to see.” Jesus is walking by. There is no time for Bartimaeus to hesitate. If he does not take advantage of the presence of the Lord now, he will remain blind forever. “Master, I want to see.” We do not know how many opportunities we will have to respond to the presence of the Lord. Sometimes the doors he opens for us are only opened momentarily. a teenager hears a subtle challenge to the faith in school and asks his parents how they could believe. The opportunity is right then and only then to nurture his faith. a neighbor is looking for someone to speak to. It is then and only then that we can bring Christ’s love to her. a husband, a wife is discouraged. The spouse must be supportive now, not later. The Lord only gives us so many opportunities in life. We only have so much time to take advantage of each of them. “Son of David, Have mercy on me.” Blind Bartimaeus calls out to the Lord invoking the name of David. David the great king. David the unifier of the Jewish people. David who was promised a reign that would never end. David who was told that one of his descendants, would be greater than he was, greater than he could ever imagine. “Son of David, Have mercy on me.” The world has longed for the Savior who has been given to us. Jesus the Christ is the one who brings order into the chaos of our lives. He is the Great King, the King of Kings. He is the focal point of the history of mankind. He is the Son of David and the eternal Word of the Father. and he is reaching out to us. “Son of David, Have mercy on me.” Bartimaeus realizes that he is at the bottom of his society. No one has use for a blind beggar. He’s in the way. Now, as Jesus walks by, Bartimaeus is making a nuisance of himself. “Quiet down, Bartimaeus. You’re embarrassing us.” But he is not embarrassing Jesus. Jesus sees him, hurts for him, calls him, has mercy on him. “Son of David, Have mercy on me.” People want to convince us that we are numbers. They want to convince us that God is too great for us, we are too insignificant. But no one is insignificant to God. Jesus sees each of us and loves each of us. “are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Bartimaeus’ society had no use for the blind. They were forced to beg for food. But Jesus saw Bartimaeus, and hurt for him and healed him. Our society has no use for many people in many stressful circumstances. They may be infected with a terrible disease like aIDS. They may be starving in a country of africa. They may be mentally ill in america. Our society may have no use for them and even may have no real use for each of us. But Jesus sees us. He hurts

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

By the side of the road we cry out
for each of us. He reaches out to heal us. He calls. We must go to him. “Son of David, Have mercy on me.” Bartimaeus realizes that only Jesus can heal him. He has faith in the Lord. His faith is the basis of Jesus’ mercy. “Son of David, Have mercy on me.” Some of us suffer from injuries we have inflicted upon ourselves. Some of us suffer from the way we have been treated by others. Some of us suffer from ailments caused by no one, but just resulting from our human condition. We have heart problems, or cancer. We are caring for a relative with alzheimer Disease. We are beside ourselves with our problems and we wonder where we can possibly turn. Jesus passes by and says “Have faith in me.” “He is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” The eternal Father appointed his son Jesus to care for his people. He pleads with his Father every day for every one of us. We are significant because Jesus knows us and loves us and brings our needs to his Father. He is our eternal priest, forever, like Melchizedek. We have nothing to fear, ever. “Shout with joy for Jacob, exult at the head of the nations; proclaim your praise and say: The LOrD loves his people.” God loves us. Today and every day we proclaim his love to the world. He has had mercy on us. He has given us the gift of sight, the gift of seeing his love in our lives. We have been blessed. We join Bartimaeus who immediately after he received his sight followed Jesus on the Lord’s way to Jerusalem. We must join Bartimaeus following the Lord on a new path of greatness, a path of sacrificial love, a path that leads to a New World that is the Kingdom of God.

Fr. Francis Ongkingco



Bishop Pat Alo

‘Blends for the soul’
“SO what’s your favorite color?” I asked the young lady who modestly informed me that she was a painter. “Oh, it’s brown, Father,” her half-smile revealed that wasn’t all she wanted to say. “That’s a pretty dul… ah, I meant simple color,” I tried rectifying immediately. “You’re quite right, Father, it’s quite ‘dull’,” she giggled to say that she actually guessed my first adjective. “ah, yes, actually…,” I scratched my head, “I find it rather plain. So I guess you use other colors to brighten up your paintings?” “actually…none,” she rolled her eyes. “Just brown…simply brown.” “Oh, okay, I get it. That’s as down to earth as you can get. So what’s your medium?” “Coffee, Father,” she said. “No, I meant, what do you use to paint?” I thought she was offering me more coffee. and I felt stupid having to explain something to someone who was supposed to know how to paint. “Coffee, Father,” she started laughing. “No, really, I’m good with one cup…,” I stopped myself when I realized how amused she was with my response. “You mean you paint using coffee?” “Yup,” she had managed to recompose herself quickly. “How did it occur to you to use it as a medium?” “Well, I guess I was inspired when I went to a museum of ripley’s Believe It or Not where I saw the signature of a man who wrote using coffee. What struck me was that it was never erased throughout the centuries. So that’s when I thought I could probably give it a try. So there!” “I’m just a little curious about one thing,” I stirred the hot coffee in my blue mug. “Is painting with coffee like Chinese paintings on rice paper?” “In what way, Father,” she asked. “I mean, that you have to be careful not to make a mistake. Otherwise, there’s no way to undo an unwanted stroke or worse when a drop of paint accidentally falls on the canvas.” “It’s the same with painting with coffee, Father,” she nodded as she pensively sipped her cappuccino. “What do you do when it happens?” “Well, I simply try my best using my imagination to make the error come out as naturally as possible within the painting,” she smiled as she shrugged her left shoulder. “and that must be pretty hard, isn’t it?” “Yup,” she nodded. “Why do you ask, Father?” “Oh, I thought this is very similar to how God paints in our souls,” I started to carefully sip my hot coffee. “Wooow! That’s one real good blend.” “Paint?” she was lost. “Yes, He wants to paint a wonderful scenery of love in us. But sometimes we knock off the paint, or literally brush away His Fatherly hand when He’s about to gently paint a color of grace in us.” “How does this happen, Father?” “This occurs when we sin gravely. When we rebel by refusing to pray, when we become complacent and shun the purifying effects of trials in our life.” “Cool! I never saw things that way,” she gasped. “I wonder what God’s favorite color is?” “Oh, very much like you, He has only one color to paint with: love. It comes, however, in different strokes, or should we say blends. This is according to what He sees the soul needs for its conversion.” “and the blots we make?” “Well, that’s what we’re good at actually. But God always manages to –as long as we are humble and sincere—to make it come out as a richer element upon the canvas of our life. In fact, I just read something that Pope Benedict XVI said: ‘God allows our freedom and, however, He knows how to find through our falls new paths for His love. God doesn’t fail. (Homily, 8-IX-07, Nativity of our Lady)” “But doesn’t He get tired having to correct all our falls and mistakes?” “Well, we will never fathom God’s Fatherly and infinite mercy. And as long as we’re humble and prompt to use the sanctifying means—the sacraments of Confession and the eucharist, seeking constant guidance from a wise and pious director, etc.–, we will always find ourselves well on the way back towards His love. “That’s really something new for me, Father,” she said. “Now let’s see some of that coffee art of yours!” “Okay, Father,” she smiled mischievously. “Which blend would you like to start with? Caffeinated or decaffeinated?”


Divine Mercy
THe popularity of the Divine Mercy devotion is due to the fact of man’s sinfulness and our urgent need of obtaining God’s merciful action. This devotion has so much been strengthened by the writings of St. Faustina as compiled in her book: The Diary of Divine Mercy in my Soul. The fact, we have to admit, is that first of all we are all sinners in need of God’s Mercy. It’s only the proud who may dare to say “I have no sin.” Yet we know from looking all around our world the evidence of man’s weakness, sinfulness and corruption. It’s only a hypocrite who pretends to be without fault or weakness. Thus in paragraph 1541 of St. Faustina’s book we read the words of Jesus to her: “My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be a happy one. Write this for the benefit of distressed souls: When a soul sees and realizes the gravity of its sins, when the whole abyss of the misery into which it immersed itself is displayed before its eyes, let it not despair, but with trust let it throw itself into the arms of My mercy, as a child into the arms of its beloved mother. These souls have a right of priority to My compassionate Heart, they have first access to My mercy. Tell them that no soul that has called upon My mercy has been disappointed or put to shame. I delight particularly in a soul which has placed its trust in My goodness. Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior.” The popularity of the Divine Mercy devotion is due to the fact of man’s sinfulness and our urgent need of obtaining God’s merciful action. This devotion has so much been strengthened by the writings of St. Faustina as compiled in her book: The Diary of Divine Mercy in my Soul. The fact, we have to admit, is that first of all we are all sinners in need of God’s Mercy. It’s only the proud who may dare to say “I have no sin.” Yet we know from looking all around our world the evidence of man’s weakness, sinfulness and corruption. It’s only a hypocrite who pretends to be without fault or weakness. Thus in paragraph 1541 of St. Faustina’s book we read the words of Jesus to her: “My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be a happy one. Write this for the benefit of distressed souls: When a soul sees and realizes the gravity of its sins, when the whole abyss of the misery into which it immersed itself is displayed before its eyes, let it not despair, but with trust let it throw itself into the arms of My mercy, as a child into the arms of its beloved mother. These souls have a right of priority to My compassionate Heart, they have first access to My mercy. Tell them that no soul that has called upon My mercy has been disappointed or put to shame. I delight particularly in a soul which has placed its trust in My goodness. Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior.”


Bo Sanchez

Smile more often
I MeT Gilbert last week. Let me describe him to you. He’s a totally illogical, more-orless insane, slightly deranged guy who distributes our inspirational publications in the far-away island of Maasin, Leyte. He’s got the makings of a Motor-cross champion. On his motorbike, Gilbert whizzes through the island’s thirty barrios, distributing God’s Word, through scorching sun, torrential rains, and muddy roads. He’s got the strength of an Olympian weightlifter He hand-carries more than a thousand KerYGMa copies! a thousand! In fact, if you happen to see Gilbert driving on his bike, you won’t see him at all. You’ll just see a mountain heap of magazines pass by. He’s a lover of God This is the neurosis part. Because he isn’t paid with salaries, perks, bonuses, and benefits; Instead, his reward is simply an idea. The idea that he’s being used by God to deliver His love to hungry hearts. Because Gilbert is permanently sunburned from his missiontrips, his teeth shine every time he smiles—which is about 99% of the time. (I told you our volunteers have to be slightly deranged.) You know what? He’s got the kind of smile I’ve not seen in a long time. and it’s not because of his toothpaste, mind you. He’s got the bubbling joy that people who sit on cushioned chairs in front of giant TV sets will never know. He’s got the bubbling joy that corporate folks who work for money and cars and houses will never know. Because he’s forgotten himself. and loves God. By the way, Gilbert isn’t alone. We have one-thousand crazy volunteers who do such insane things, making KerYGMa the widest read Catholic inspirational magazine in asia! But enough of the good news. I’ve got bad news as well. We’re broke! (“The spirit is willing but the wallet is weak.”) Because we’ve virtually given away inspirational magazines many times in our eleven-year history, we’ve drained our finances dry. Unless help comes, we can’t continue proclaiming God’s love to the farthest corners of this country. What do I need now? People who may not be the type who hop on motorbikes and spread God’s Word in a remote island, but who believe in our mission and are willing to support this mission financially. Like Gilbert, I’m inviting you to forget yourself. Be my MISSION ParTNer! Share a love-gift every year to the Lord for the supreme mission of spreading God’s Word to the spiritually thirsty. and like Gilbert, get rewarded by the idea that YOU are being used by God to deliver His love to hungry hearts. and you’ll be surprised. Smiling more often may be easier than you think.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

Social Concerns


By Fr. Fernando P. Guillen, sch.p.

Pastoring in times of calamities
forth. However, we can realize a narrow collaboration with the officials of different agencies of the government in order to act fast in the work or rehabilitation. anew, the mediation of the Church is often the key to all these delicate operations. The most complex operation should be donations of money. Here, the wisdom of pastors and the collaboration of parishioners who work in administration would be absolutely needed. another humanitarian action should be the search of missing, burial of the deceased in the catastrophe, the consoling of the afflicted and the help of all those suffering psychological traumas. Charity must illuminate our humanitarian aid. Moral Reflection—faith During the event and immediately after, we can realize many extraordinary actions and generous behavior. The extraordinary circumstances awake extraordinary capacities. People of all ages and conditions are able to give services, sometimes with the risk of their own life. We see cases of rescuing from the flood, saving from the destroyed houses and taking care of old people, children and sick. Later, it is not rare to observe volunteers that give their time and their skill in working with complete generosity. It is also a moment in which everybody is able to detach from their own goods and give them to the needy people. It arrives especially with food and clothes, but also with medicines and other supplies. Though it is not easy to work timely, we admire these anonymous armies, especially young people that these days are in the parishes and in other institutions just to help and collaborate. We cannot hide, however, the possible abuses and frauds in these special periods. Some people are especially skilled to draw profits. They find abandoned goods. They take possession of common things that are now in the streets. They falsified coupons or tickets or they sell them to others. In many cases, the gratuitous donations are sold and enrich some clever people against all moral rules. Sometimes, alike values of the people in the moment of the disaster are not very correct. We mean, instead of thinking first of the life of children, old men and women, and the sick, they try to spare devices, furniture, motors and other useful and expensive things. People without true need will claim urgently that they are in a danger of death. In short, we find also in these critical circumstances all the temptations of selfishness of the human spirit, and sometimes with greater acuity. The pastoral care will do a wise balance of all different attitudes and point on the one hand the true Christian values, and indicate on the other the malice that can be introduced in all human relations of distress and necessity. Faith must illuminate our moral behavior. Theological contribution—hope There is the deeper contribution of our pastoral reflection in front of calamities. In fact, we all inquire in a moment of peace: Is there a meaning in this catastrophe? Can we see the hand of God and in what sense? Is there place for hope? We propose first a short philosophical approach. The human will is the cause of murders, wars, adulteries, robberies, slanders and so on. These are moral evil. Why do they exist? Why does God permit them? a simple answer should be; God permits these horrible sins because of the greater gift of human freedom. No freedom, no sin. But if there is freedom, sin is possible. However, we must choose good and not evil. The natural laws are the cause of typhoons, floods, earthquakes, fires, epidemics and so forth. These are physical evil. Why do they exist? Why does God permit them? another simple answer should be: God permits these terrible devastations for the greater good of the order in the visible world. Yes. Wind, water and fire are natural elements and they act according to their nature: wind blows, water wets, and fire burns. They can kill. Of course, human intelligence tries to rule these natural laws and to avoid their dangers. But human’s covetousness can destroy the harmony of creation. That is the case in our time. Now, in some sense, the human beings are more and more responsible of natural catastrophes. Physical evil becomes moral evil. Second, let us have a biblical glance. Sometimes, God uses natural diseases as punishment of sin. Wasn’t that the case of the universal deluge (Gen 6: 5f), or the fire upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:23)? a call to conversion is always necessary. Sometimes, God uses natural diseases as admonition or threat in order to awake repentance and change of life. Wasn’t that the case of preaching of Prophet Jonah for the conversion of Nineveh (Jon 3: 4-5)? Sometimes, God uses natural diseases and sufferings to purify the souls and to reach greater justice and holiness. Then, suffering becomes purification. Wasn’t that the case of Job that only through suffering could confess: “Before, I knew you Lord only by hearsay, but now I have seen you with my own eyes” (Job 42: 5)? Is that also the case in the New Testament? Jesus said the cause of being born blind was not sin (Jn 9: 1-3), and also that those who died due to the failure of the tower of Siloam were rather guilty than others in Jerusalem (Lk 13: 4-5).

THe curious visitors of rome can observe interesting marks in the façade of some churches. For example, in the exterior wall of Santa Maria sopra Minerva there is a mark recalling the flood of the Tiber in Christmas 1598. At that time, Saint Camillus de Lellis and Saint Joseph Calasanz collaborated in saving affected people. The case arrived often for centuries. The Church has always reacted in front of all kind of natural calamities. In this short essay, we intend to give simple pastoral clues for action and reflection. Our framework is parishes and similar religious institutions. Humanitarian Aid—charity The first evident aspect is striving in humanitarian aid. The immediate needs are food, clothes and medicines. In the clamorous cases, donations do not lack. easily, donors, both national and international, put their trust in religious institutions. Truly, parish priests, lay ministers, apostolic associations and movements show great capacity of organization. Different systems of storing and distributing are set up. The control of real victims is also provided through the areas coordinators and responsible of Basic ecclesial Communities—suitable system of tickets or coupons. In some cases there are also donations in school supplies and other goods that can be necessary to reopen institutions and normal life. More difficult should be the sound reconstruction of houses and the resetting of all kind of services: water, electricity, telephone, cleaning of garbage, streets, transportation, schools, hospitals and so
Sorsogon / B4

However, he warned the cities of the lake of Galilee (Lk 10: 13-15). Particularly, the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem (Lk 21: 6) and his tears before the city in the Sunday of Palms (Lk 19: 41-44) are so significant. The incredulity deserves terrible punishment. We can add that Jesus admonishes us to be always prepared, that means to live in his grace, because we do not know the day or the hour (Mt 25: 13). But in the supreme case of Jesus, God offers to his Son the chalice of suffering his terrible passion and death to show his love for us (Jn 3: 16) and to redeem us from sin and damnation (Mt 26: 28). So evil can turn in a shining cause of glory. The loving obedience of Jesus is the source of our redemption. The last word of the Bible is resurrection. Lastly, let us reproduce the wise answer of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to the problem of evil, in order to foster our hope in the divine Providence of the Holy Trinity in us: “The fact the God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose to vanquish evil. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life” (CCC n. 324). Hope must support our spirits and their deep concerns. So in the pastoral care of the faithful, in front of terrible natural calamities, we must put together humanitarian aid, moral reflection and theological contribution in order to edify them in charity, faith and hope. (Fr. Fernando Guillén, sch.p, is a Spanish piarist who presently teaches at Loyola School of Theology and at Maryhill School of Theology)

2003. at the Mass of Holy Chrism on Holy Thursday, april 17, 2003, Bishop Varela officially announced to the clergy and the faithful that he was turning over the Shepherd’s Staff, symbol of episcopal authority, to Bishop arturo M. Bastes, the 4th Bishop of Sorsogon. Bishop Jesus Y. Varela guided the local church of Sorsogon through a dark and arduous path towards a dynamic present that provided it with a vision, mission and goal. By his efforts we now have a militant clergy, communities of religious orders that work, discern and pray towards the achievements of our local vision, supported by a laity that is now fully aware of their role in the local church. The refinement of whatever imperfections still existing we have to leave in the hands of the new bishop. Ubi episcopus, ibi ecclesia. Where the bishop is, the Church is! To Bishop Bastes is now relegated the task to see to it that the Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Phase IV is implemented.

What can the diocese expect from its new bishop and the implementation of the new plan? We can only tell with the unfolding of time and with the commitment and cooperation that all of us willingly and devoutly give as a community of faith. Under Bishop Bastes Most rev. arturo M. Bastes, SVD, DD, Bishop of romblon Diocese,wasappointedCoadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Sorsogon on July 25, 2002, and was installed on September 22, 2002. De jure, he took over as the canonically designated fourth bishop of Sorsogon on april 16, 2003. His installation took place at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral of Sorsogon on the following day. The first task given to Bishop Bastes by Bishop Varela, so that he would come to know the clergy, his would-be close collaborators, was to convene the assembly of priests (only 70 at the time, since 30 were working outside the diocese) on October 9, 2002. On the seventh month of his administration, he held

a DIOCeSaN PaSTOraL aSSeMBLY on November 24-26, 2003 at the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Seminary to discuss the new pastoral plan which will give direction to the pastoral ministry of the diocese within the next five years. It was attended by 170 delegates from the clergy, religious and the laity. It decided to create NINe COUNCILS which were formerly diocesan commissions, thereby changing the pastoral structure and organizational chart of the diocese as a whole. The councils were 1) Family and Human Life 2) Laity 3) Youth 4) Media for evangelization 5) Worship 6) education 7) Service 8) Temporalities 9) Seminaries. Firstly, these councils were tasked to make policies, which would be under the care of the different councils to be carried out by their different commissions at the vicarial and parochial levels. Secondly, the nine councils identified their respective enabling objectives which became the basis for formulating concrete programs and plans of action, designed to

answer the five areas of concern, namely, evangelization, Christian formation, structure, resources and social justice. Thirdly, it mandated the ministries to produce “Manuals of Operation” whose primary purpose is to ensure a smooth and uniform implementation of the action plans and programs throughout the whole diocese in a period of five years. With clear objectives, doable action plans and guidance of the manuals of operation, Bishop Bastes hoped that the new diocesan pastoral plan, called DeeP (Diocesan ecclesial and evangelization Program), would be faithfully and systematically implemented. The DeeP’s dream and aim is profound: that the diocese will become a local church where faith and life are integrated, where justice is the norm of societal life and where authentic Christian families are formed through an effective organization, properly managed resources and sufficient program of formation. The following highlight the events that took place in the six years of Bishop Bastes in the


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Diocese of Sorsogon: 1. “Wasting time” with priests: Unannounced, Bishop Bastes visits a parish to have an informal talk with the pastor, in order to come to know him better and also familiarize himself with the place. 2. The Vicarial Pastoral Visits: His visits to the five vicariates were well received by the people; the vicarial conferences on the DeeP well-attended by the implementers brought forth many very fruitful insights, suggestions, recommendations and pastoral decisions. 3. The quarterly gathering of priests per vicariate, per age groupings (junior, middle and senior), and General assembly of the Presbyterium (the last preceded by a recollection, individual confession and common holy hour) help promote the spirituality and solidarity of the clergy. 4. The monthly regular board meetings of the different foundations and councils, which give attention and proper response to the problems at hand. 5. The creation of two barangay parishes 1) Sto. Niño Parish in Cogon, Gubat, Sorsogon under the administration of the augustinian Fathers, and 2) San antonio Parish in San antonio, Donsol, Sorsogon, under the Franciscan Friars. 6. The creation of Basic ecclesial Communities(BeC’s)indesignated sitios/barangays in every parish, now bearing initial fruits in the life of the poor families. 7. His appointment by Pres. Gloria M. arroyo as chairman of the Rapu-rapu Fact-finding Commission, which investigated the destruction of rapu-rapu Island by the irresponsible mining by the multinational corporation. The commission’s strong recommendation to abolish mining in the island has encouraged many church leaders and civic groups to oppose mining elsewhere. 8. Bishop Bastes saved the Sts. Peter and Paul Hospital from being ejected from its location by negotiating with

the landowners. This historic hospital, partly owned by the Diocese of Sorsogon, provides medical care for the Sorsogon clergy and is an instrument for the healing ministry of the church. 9. His infrastructure projects— FOUr MaJOr ONeS at the moment—the renovation of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, the nearly finished Cathedral rectory, the CMe-GNSFI Bldg. (now in use by the diocesan trimedia ministry—radio, TV and printing press), and the new chancery—are all expressions of faith in Divine Providence. 10. He issued a decree declaring a TUeSDaY DaY-OFF for his priests so that they will have their much-needed rest and remain healthy. In fact, he has a dream of building a diocesan hospital, primarily for the welfare of the priests. 11. He turned unproductive diocesan lands into productive ones by leasing them so that the revenues could support the Curia and other instrumentalities. 12. Through Bishop Bastes, the diocese has now an existing memorandum of agreement (MOa) with the Diocese of richmond (Va) and Dodge City (Ka) in which said diocese would support the diocese of origin of guest priests, for a period of five years, after which a new set of priests will be sent. Though very busy with administrative concerns, Bishop Bastes still has time to engage in biblical work in the diocese and elsewhere, in and out of the country. He is also concurrently the eC Moderator of the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF), full member representative of the region of asia and Oceania, Convenor of the biblical desk of the Oe of the FaBC and president of the Philippine Bible Society. The new quinquennium (20092014) started last July, with the reshuffle of priests in the parishes and offices. The diocese, led by the bishop, looks forward to the continuous pursuit of the diocesan vision, walking together in the implementation of the DeeP.

Photos courtesy of Laura Sheahen/CRS

FaMe is a remake of a 1980’s film of the same title. In is set in a New York performing arts school named Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & art and Performing arts where we see aspiring actors, singers and dancers from their auditions until their graduation four years later.
Jenny (Kay Panabaker) wants to be an actress but is too uptight and shy to let go. Marco (asher Book) is a carefree singer who falls in love with Jenny. Meanwhile Denise (Naturi Naughton) studies classical piano at her parents insistence when she longs to be a pop singer and Malik (Collins Pennie) hides from his mom that he is enrolled as an actor-rapper. Making sure that the students are well rounded is Principal angela Simms (Debby allen) and several other performing arts teacher who show the students how life and drama are intertwined. There is no reason to produce a Fame remake other than to ride on the success of other musical films. The angst and struggle that

made the 1980 version successful is no longer present in the 2009 version. While the characters and their issues are cleaner, the passion and brilliance are disappointing. a main problem is that it tries to present 10 different stories spanning for four years in 107 minutes. So no one goes beyond being sketchy caricature stereotypes. The production design’s shoddiness is emphasized over time as none of the characters change appearance even though the plot spans for four years. The musical numbers though are entertainingly good, showcasing the talents of the casts. Director Kevin Tachareon manages to bring energy to the scenes. FaMe challenges parental authority especially when what they what contradicts what their children feel should be done. No matter if parents only have their child’s welfare in mind. although being assertive and determined to achieve something important and fulfilling is a laudable virtue, it should not be made at the expense of a strict or uncompromising parent who wishes only to ensure that their children are always on the right path. FaMe question fame itself. It presents success and popularity secondary to having Christ at the center and being fulfilled personally. FAME is not the product of discipline,
Title: Fame Cast: Naturi Naughton, Kay Panabaker, Megan Mullaly, Charles S. Dutton, Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth and Debbie Allen Director: Kevin Tancharoen Producers: Mark Canton, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Richard S. Wright Screenwriters: Allison Burnett, Christopher Gore Music: Mark Isham Editor: Myron L. Kerstein Genre: Romance, Comedy, Musical Cinematography: Scott Kevan Distributor: Metro-GoldwynMayer (MGM) Location: Los Angeles, USA Running Time: 107 mins. Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:  ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
Moral Assessment

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 13 No. 21

October 12 - 25, 2009

Technical Assessment

 Abhorrent  Disturbing  Acceptable  Wholesome  Exemplary

 Poor  Below average  Average  Above average  Excellent

perseverance and talent but a bonus to being accomplished as a person, as a member of society and as children of God. FaMe emphasizes being true to oneself and using this honesty to harness and unleash one’s creativity and talent. However, the movie contains scenes involving suicide, a sexual situation, underage drinking bad language and compromising scenes and situations - definitely not suitable for very young audiences.


Ni Bladimer Usi

Buhay Parokya

Look for the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Abraham and Isaac, and the Angel Cherubim. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

Title: The Ugly Truth Cast: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler Director: Robert Luketic Producers: Kimberly di Bonaventura, Gary Lucchesi, Deborah Jelin Newmyer, Steven Reuther, Tom Rosenbeg, Kirsten Smith Screenwriters: Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz Music: Aaron Zigman Editor: Lisa Zeno Churgin Genre: Romantic Comedy Cinematography: Russell Carpenter Distributor: Columbia Pictures Location: Los Angeles, California Running Time: 95 min. Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:  ½ CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

aBBY ritcher (Katherine Heigl) is an award-winning producer of a morning show whose ratings are slowly dropping. Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler) is crude host of a late night talk show titled “The Ugly Truth.” abbey is a conservative control freak who can’t get a man to date her after their first dinner. Mike is a cynical chauvinist who thinks women try to hard when men are only after sex. after a heated argument on-air, abbey and Mike are forcibly teamed up when he is hired by her boss to spice up the ratings of her program. as expected, the two clash at every occasion as abby finds Mike vulgar and disgusting while Mike thinks abby is uptight and domineering. However, Mike does spruce up the ratings, salvages the relationship of his married anchors and proves to make the right decision so abby can get her neighbour Colin (eric Winter) interested in her. Things take another twist when both realize they have feelings for each other and share a passionate kiss. But the ugly truth is the relationship cannot work. The ugly truth about The Ugly Truth is that is tries so hard to be original and funny but ends up being a poor deconstruction of When Harry Met Sally. The scenes rely on crude sex jokes for laughs and fail to elicit genuine tickles and brilliant comedy. The story is predictable and offers nothing new to keep the audience watching after the first 30 minutes. romance does not surface with Heigl and Butler’s non-existent chemistry and their flat and unsympathetic performances. even the hot air balloon chroma looks crude and old. The only thing memorable about the movie is the choices of contemporary music. The movie tries to intellectualize men-women differences and relationships. It has hoped to say two important things. One, that no matter how cruel fate has been, there is always a window for happiness if one dares to jump into the moment. Two that a relationship can never be based on concepts and theories and that true love begins when one accepts the other for who she really is. However, all it achieves is to be a collection of offensive uncensored sex jokes and bad language. Not only has the movie trivialized man-women interaction and reduced relationship as an excused to be licentious, it also portrays men as shallow and insensitive primates. The movie is not suitable for young impressionable teenagers and a waste of time for the adults.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009


The Cross

A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus

KCFAPI distributes relief goods to typhoon victims
Task Force Ondoy gives relief goods to Knights affected by typhoon
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) has given donations to the victims of typhoon Ondoy last September 30. KCFAPI President Antonio B. Borromeo led the distribution of goods at San Ildefonso de Toledo Parish in Tanay, Rizal. Tanay is only one of the highly damaged areas in Rizal were hundreds of people have died while some still missing after heavy flooding brought by heavy rains from typhoon Ondoy inundated the area. Other areas that have been greatly smashed by the typhoon are Antipolo, Teresa, Marikina, Bulacan, Quezon City, Pampanga, Laguna and Cavite. Other KCFAPI officers who joined the relief distribution were Executive Vice-President Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Corporate Secretary Alonso L. Tan and Treasurer Antonio T. Yulo. Some KCFAPI employees also participated in the relief distribution. (KCFAPI News)

KCFAPI President Antonio B. Borromeo, Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Treasurer Antonio T. Yulo and Luzon Deputy Alonso L. Tan together with KCFAPI employees and residents of Tanay, Rizal during the distribution of relief goods for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy at San Ildefonso de Toledo Parish last September 30.

KCFAPI employees during the repacking of relief goods held at KCFAPI home office for the victims of typhoon Ondoy.

“TASK Force Ondoy,” the Relief Operation Team of the Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction, has distributed hundreds of bags of relief goods to Brother Knights who were affected by Typhoon Ondoy. Headed by Luzon State Deputy Alonso L. Tan and Task Force Ondoy Chairman Bonifacio B. Martinez, the operation was held at the Chamber of Marikina Valley Council 6178 last October 1, 2009. The group has targeted the distribution to the Dioceses of Antipolo and Pasig. LD Tan said that “the team intends to systematize and centralize all actions to respond to the said crisis which include solicitation of donations and distribution to those directly affected by the flood, giving priority first to the members of the Order.” He also said that an amount of PhP250,000.00 was released last September 29. It was used to buy basic goods for the immediate relief of the Brother Knights directly affected by the typhoon in the said dioceses. LD Tan also mentioned that the team will distribute relief goods in some areas of Marikina, Antipolo and Pasig on the first week of October. According to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Ondoy has brought 341 millimeters of rainfall in the country within six hours last September 26. The rains have caused instant flooding on large portions of Metro Manila and nearby provinces such as Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon. (Kate Laceda)

Luzon Knights gather for the 10th State Convention
HUNDREDS of Knights of Columbus delegates from different provinces attended the recently held 10th Luzon State Convention at the Palacio De Maynila in Malate, Manila. Organized by the KC Luzon state officers headed by Luzon State Deputy, Alonso L. Tan, the said convention was held October 10. The convention carried the theme, “Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Service Together.” Tan said that the theme was a response to this Columbian Year’s call of Supreme Knight, Carl A. Anderson, to dedicate the year for volunteers to help buffer the effects of the worldwide economic crisis. He also added that it is also the answer of the jurisdiction to the Supreme Knight’s call to increase the man-hours each knight volunteers in its charitable causes and give special attention to brother knights affected by the crisis. The convention opened with the Eucharistic celebration presided by Parañaque Bishop Jesse Mercado and concelebrated by Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio, Assistant State Chaplain, Rev. Fr. Rene M. Sapungan, Rev. Fr. Enrico Emmanuel A. Ayo, Rev. Fr. John Leydon, and Rev. Fr. Deogracias M. Fajota. Various projects and activities of the jurisdiction were discussed during the convention primarily the relief operations that intend to help the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. Brian Caulfied, Communications Specialist of the Supreme Council, conveyed in person the video message of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. He also announced that the Supreme Council has donated a total amount of $90,000 for the victims of the recent typhoons through the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Other speakers of the convention were Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento on the upcoming automated elections; Msgr. Pedro Quitorio on the Year for Priests; District Deputy Amado A. Sanglay on disaster preparedness; Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr., State Advocate, who read the talk of the guest speaker Fr. Ranhillo Aquino who could not be present due to the floods; and the President of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), Antonio B. Borromeo who talked about the financial stability of KCFAPI and the As-

Task Force Ondoy of KC Luzon Jurisdiction’s Relief Operation Team during the distribution of relief goods to Brother Knights affected by Typhoon Ondoy.

The Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction’s Relief Operation Team headed by Luzon Deputy Alonso L. Tan during the distribution of relief goods at the Chamber of Marikina Valley Council 6178 last October 1.

KC Supreme Council gives $70k disaster relief to RP
THE Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus has sent an emergency donation of $70,000 to the Philippines to help in the efforts to recover from flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana (known locally as Typhoon Ondoy). The Supreme Council forwarded the funds to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), which is coordinating Catholic relief efforts. There are more than 250,000 Knights in the Philippines, nearly all of whom have been adversely affected by the flooding. More than 120 people died in flooding within the capital of Manila, where more than 80 percent of the city was under water at the height of the storm which affected 27 provinces in seven

sociation’s social relevance through its support to the Order, the church and the community. Borromeo, in his speech said that the “The name of KCFAPI carries with it the name of the Order of the KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS. The KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS therefore, must vicariously be KCFAPI.” Also present were the former Luzon State Deputies, namely Arsenio R. Lopez, Antonio T. Yulo and Rodolfo C. Magsino; Vice Supreme Master Pedro M.

Rodriguez, Jr., two Masters of the Fourth Degree, 36 other State Officials, and KCFAPI Officers led by Chairman Patrocinio Bacay, and Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa Curia. KCFAPI Board of Trustees, officers and Area Managers and other staff of KC and KCFAPI were also in attendance. According to Arsenio G. Yap, Luzon State Secretary, state conventions in the Philippines were initiated in 1987 by then Luzon Territorial Jurisdiction. (Kate Laceda)

regions of the country. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced, and are without electricity or clean drinking water. State and local councils are encouraged to contribute money for Philippine disaster relief as well. All online donations made to United in Charity through Oct. 31, 2009, will be earmarked for Philippine disaster relief and will be sent to aid the victims of Tropical Storm Ketsana. (KCNews)

Fatima Council donates 50K for typhoon victims
OUR Lady of Fatima Council 9636 in Philamlife Village, Las Piñas has given help to victims of tropical storm Ondoy through a donation of P50,000 to Luzon Jurisdiction. Grand Knight Sergio G. Meneses together with District Deputy Rodolfo F. Salanga of District P28 and PGK Eduardo M. Arreza went to the main office of the Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction in Intramuros, Manila last October 2 to personally hand over the PhP50,000.00 check to Luzon Deputy Alonso L. Tan. The said amount will be allotted for the relief operations that are being undertaken by the Luzon Jurisdiction for the victims of tropical storm Ondoy. The typhoon brought extensive flooding over Metro Manila and neighboring provinces and rendered thousands of residents homeless. (KC News)


The Cross

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

Chairman’s Message
Patrocinio R. Bacay
IT cannot be denied that we all have been allowed one of the most heart-breaking tragedies that have befallen our brother Filipinos. We may not have been personally involved in such suffering but surely we must have been touched by the pain and anguish of each one going through such agony. Our prayers and sympathy are with them especially for the loss of loved ones. We humbly ask God that they do not have to experience such pain again. Truly in the midst of our utmost difficulties, it is our God whom we ask for rescue. Would it not be possible that God wishes to ask us if we did our share in abetting these difficulties or disasters? Do we take care of our refuse? Are your drainages working? Is everything in place to avoid these pains and grief in your life? God created man and nature in all its orderliness. God would never work against nature. We just have to do our best and leave the rest to Him. The best we can do for now is to find ways to help them through their great pain. Likewise, the best that we have witnessed through this tragedy is the capacity of each one to help beyond all expectations. May God shower His love and blessings to those who have suffered and to those who have been trying to alleviate their sufferings.

Filing for TOKCA nominees closes
THE deadline for filing of nomination for TOKCA nominees, which was originally set on September 15, was extended up to the close of business hours last September 30, 2009. The Board of Trustees of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) during its regular meeting held on September 14 has decided to extend the filing of nominations for The Outstanding Knights of Columbus Awards (TOKCA). Joseph P. Teodoro, Vice-President of the Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG), said that the deadline was extended because of numerous requests of the Brother Knights. TOKCA is a search for KC members who have excelled in their chosen professions. KC members on government service; accountancy and business; engineering, science and technology; academe; medical and health care services; law and judiciary; sports and entertainment; journalism and media; agriculture; youth and community development; arts and literature; and entrepreneurship and chosen by the parish

MORE than three weeks have passed since the destructive typhoon “Ondoy” has left the country and yet we still feel the loss of a loved one or property ravished due to the torrents of rain and wind. We Filipinos have shown resilience in many ways during times of hardship and calamities. This time our faith in God has helped us in more ways than one to overcome this ordeal. Likewise our innate goodness has led us to voluntarily help those in need, may it be through our time, money or prayers so that the Almighty God will look over our fellow brethren. For our Association, we immediately brought relief goods to Tanay, Rizal as your Association’s way of helping those most in need. Nearer to home, assistance was also given to some of our employees who were greatly affected by the storm. The sales force who experienced the same tragedy were allowed to avail of emergency loans with zero interest. For our BC Holders, we have extended the grace period for the payment of insurance contribution for another 30 days for the months of October, November and December renewal premiums for those areas affected by the storms Ondoy and Pepeng. Our Brothers and Sisters who wish to send in donations in cash and in kind through the Knights of Columbus may please contact Ms. Annie Nicolas at telephone numbers: 527-22-42 or 527-22-23.

Antonio B. Borromeo

President’s Message

Special report: Father McGivney Sainthood cause advances
Knights of Columbus founder witnesses to pastoral vocation
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, that officials of a supplemental tribunal from the Hartford Archdiocese, where Father McGivney served as a parish priest, has formally sent the report to the Congregation for Saints' Causes. 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)

KC Luzon distributes relief goods in Zambales
THE State Officers of Luzon distributed 200 blankets, pails and “banigs” while the different councils of the Diocese of Iba led by their Grand Knights and District Deputies have contributed packed goods that include rice, milk, sugar, biscuits, canned goods and used clothes for typhoon victims in Zambales last September 25. In the report of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) last August 11, typhoon “Kiko” has left some 1,946 residents of Botolan, Zambales homeless after the flood control dike in Bacao River collapsed from continuous heavy rains. Ten barangays in Botolan were hit by floods induced by the typhoon that struck most of Northern Luzon. The group also visited and personally gave donations to more than 200 victim families at the evacuation centers managed by the Philippine National Red Cross and the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) in Botolan. Together with Tan, the other state officers who joined in the relief distribution were State Secretary Arsenio G. Yap; State Program Director Bonifacio B. Martinez; State Ecology Chairman Carlos I. Gubat; and State Ways and Means Chairman Miguel T. Yu. (KC News)

priest or chaplain of his council are eligible for the TOKCA. The TOKCA awarding ceremony will be held during the KC Tri-State Convention on April 2010 in Cebu City. Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, KCFAPI Spiritual Director, Patrocinio Bacay, Chairman of KCFAPI, Antonio Borromeo, KCFAPI President, Luzon Deputy Alonso Tan, Visayas Deputy Dionisio Esteban, Jr., Mindanao Deputy Sofronio Cruz and another associate which will be chosen by the Board will compose the Board of Jurors. (Kate Laceda)

KC Luzon Jurisdiction during the distribution of relief goods in Botolan, Zambales last September 25.

Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc., an established Mutual Benefits Association is currently looking for: Underwriting Supervisor Underwriting Staff Accounting Staff Accounting Supervisor Auditor
If you are dedicated, service-oriented, and have the promising potential to join us in our continuous drive to provide mutual aid, assistance and excellent service to our members. Kindly send your comprehensive resume’ thru fax number 527-2244 or hand-carry resume’ with a 2x2 photo and transcript of records to:

The Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc., is an established and progressive Mutual Benefits Association operating for 51 years, has been highly committed to provide mutual aid and assistance to its members and their immediate families. KC Fraternal firmly believes that the continued progress and success of the association depends to a great extent on its human capital KC Fraternal also believes that through training and a host of other benefits if coupled with hard work, will help employees and the association attain their goals and objectives. In our continuous drive to provide excellent service to our members, we are currently on the lookout for individuals with promising potentials. He must be dedicated, service oriented, and willing to undergo training

Mace/PhilBritish Sales Promo Mechanics: Promo Period: Policies effective May 1, 2009 to Nov. 30, 2009 Awarding Ceremonies: December 11, 2009 at Mace office in Intramuros, Manila Benefits to SA: These prizes are exclusive of all Commission currently enjoyed by SA. Promo Description: 1. The Sales Promo drive covers all policies issued with effect date May 1, 2009 to Nov. 30, 2009. Awarding of prizes shall be held on Dec. 11, 2009 at the Mace office in Intramuros, Manila. 2. This Sales Promo Drive is open to all existing accredited Soliciting Associates (SA) of Mace Insurance Agency, Inc. 3. Qualified Production will be all policies issued by Philippine British Assurance Co., Inc. under Mace Insurance Agency. All non-life product line of business except Compulsory Third Party Liability (CPTL) Coverage is covered under this Promo Drive. 4. Basis will be Mace Insurance Agency Office records, and Basic Premium only Exclusice of all charges. 5. A Soliciting Associate may opt to choose a combination of prizes mentioned. For example: If SA A produce P500,000 during the period, he may choose a combination of: One SM Gift Certificate (credit P100,000) + 2 units of Nokia 5000 (credit P400,000) for a total of P500,000. or SA A may opt for this combination with production credit of P500,000: One unit iPod Nano (credit P300,000) + One unit Nokia 5000 (credit P200,000) for a total of P500,000. Come and Join this Promo Drive and enjoy lasting Rewards for your effort!


Our compensation and employee benefits are comparable, if not better than most companies of our same size and nature of business.

You may also call 527 – 2223 local 202 for queries and look for Ms. Kristianne.


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 21
October 12 - 25, 2009

The Cross


The pope’s new encyclical illuminates the great commandments of love
By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
BENEDICT XVI’s recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), should serve as a reminder of the importance of the first principle of our Order. In his introduction to the encyclical, the pope writes, “Charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine.” He then makes clear that our charity must be true charity. “Without truth,” he says, “charity degenerates into sentimentality.” On the other hand, “practicing charity in truth helps people to understand that adhering to the values of Christianity is not merely useful but essential for building a good society and for true integral development.” We might look at this in light of the Lord’s Prayer. Pope Benedict quotes the first two words of that prayer—“Our Father”—at the end of his encyclical. If we take those two words seriously, we must realize the truth that all of us are members of one family. From this perspective, it is easier for us to see how the law and prophets are summarized in Christ’s two great commandments – that we love God totally and love our neighbors as ourselves (see Mt 22:37-40). Thus, we are able to speak of “caritas in veritate.” When we understand that we are all members of the same human family and accept these two commandments, we can no longer ask Cain’s question: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). Instead, we must realize that our freedom cannot take the form of simply amassing as much wealth as we can. Instead, the actions we take should reflect the reality of our familial connection to our neighbor, and we should take stock of how everything we do affects others. In fact, to be a Christian is to be a man or woman for others. This is the beautiful message of the encyclical. Sadly, not everyone will focus on this message. Some will try to view the encyclical as a political document, as support for their policy preferences or political philosophy. But to do that would miss the point. As the document itself states: “The Church does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim ‘to interfere in any way in the politics of States.’ She does, however, have a mission of truth to accomplish” (9). The question is not whether this encyclical validates our viewpoint, but rather how it can help us to grow in our faith as children of God and members of the human family. All human beings, including the unborn, are part of that family. The pope made this perfectly clear in his encyclical: “Openness to life is at the center of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away” (28, emphasis in original). Additionally, the Holy Father points out that religious liberty is a key component to development. He wrote, “The Christian religion and other religions can offer their contribution to development only if God has a place in the public realm, specifically in regard to its cultural, social, economic, and particularly its political dimensions” (56, emphasis in original). In the August issue of Columbia, we explore the contribution of the Catholic Church in the areas of health care, social service, education and religious freedom. The success of each of these ventures has been a result of the commitment by individual Catholics to charity in truth. Let us honor their legacy, and the pope’s call, by renewing our commitment to true charity. Vivat Jesus!

Mangrove tree saplings Assistant State Chaplain urges Brother planted along Parañaque and Las Piñas Knights to ‘work closely with priests’
MSGR. Pedro C. Quitorio, Assistant State Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction, told new officers of Council 3939 that knighthood attains full stature by being a strong defender of the Church which begins by working closely with the priests. “I enjoin you to work very closely with your bishop and priests in the diocese,” he said. Quitorio was the guest speaker during the 58th Installation of Officers of the Three Kings Council No. 3939 of District C-07 held at the SK Manuel D. Mallare Hall in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija last September 19. Led by Arturo P. Vasquez, District Deputy of the council, and assisted by District Warden Rex E. Blanco, the program opened with the celebration of the mass at the Three Kings Parish Church led by Fr. Antonio A. Mangahas, Jr. Armando G. Yu, Outgoing Grand Knight, gave his valedictory address while Grand Knight Edwin C. Alcantara imparted his inaugural message. Surprise numbers and a fraternal dinner culminated the installation. Quitorio’s talk was in connection with the theme of the 127th Supreme Convention, “Stand with Peter in Solidarity with Our Bishops and Priests.” This theme was relative to the celebration of the Year for Priests that began on June 2009 and will end on June 2010. The said Supreme Convention held in Phoenix, Arizona last August had among its guests, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who expressed his gratefulness to the Knights for their “continued commitment to a culture of life and support for priests.” “In promoting the goals of charity, unity, fraternity, patriotism and fostering dedicated Catholic faith, strong family life and active involvement in the community, your witness and service make a tremendous difference in our Church and our world and we are grateful,” the cardinal said. Quitorio also enjoined the Knights to always follow the church not only on matters of faith and morals but even on diverse social issues prevailing in the country. (KCFAPI News)

KC launches info drive on poll automation
SAYING that voting electronically is an easy but a delicate job, the Catholic-based organization Knights of Columbus is waging an all-out educational drive for voters. Armando Galang, Grand Knight of the K of C Padre Crisostomo Council 6000 in this city, said Thursday that all councils of the Order are asked to conduct the campaign after information technology experts from its Manila office held a briefing among members in the countryside recently. “It is the patriotic duty of every knight to help our voters know the voting process so that their rights will not go to waste,” Galang said. Ronnie Infante, an IT expert, said that while automation will definitely make the exercise of the right to suffrage of every Filipino easier and faster, voters education is an urgent necessity owing to the unfamiliarity of most people on the system. Among the possible errors voters can commit is over-voting, according to Infante. Over voting, he said, happens when a voter shades circles opposite the candidates’ names more than the number of required position. Thus, a voter who shaded 13 or more circles for senators will find all his or her votes for senators, including the 12 he actually meant to vote, invalid. There could be no problem, however, if the voter will blacken circles less than the twelve in the field. Gari San Sebastian, meanwhile, said that besides actual voting process and the automated counting, elections almost look the same as the previous set. “There will still be lawyers, watchers and other parties concerned,” he said. Protests could even be possible, he added. They laid down four specific actions a voter should do to vote. These, they said, include the early check of their names in the voters’ list, present

to the board of election inspectors valid identification card, shade the circles opposite the candidates he or she elects on the ballot and put the ballot correctly in the machine which serves as ballot box. Illiterate citizens can still ask assistance from their relatives, as allowed in the previous elections. The K of C officers underscored the need for everyone to deliver information to others. All of its councils nationwide are enjoined to conduct the voters’ forum even to the smallest units of society such as their own families, San Sebastian added. (SK Armando Galang)

HUNDREDS of mangrove tree saplings were planted in the reclaimed areas of the Coastal Road along Parañaque and Las Piñas during the annual tree planting program of the Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction last September 19. This is an “institutionalized project of the KC order.” It has been established to support the thrust of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in environmental protection and development. Led by Luzon Deputy Alonso L. Tan, Councils from Parañaque, Las Piñas and Bacoor have participated in the tree planting. LD Tan thanked his Brother Knights who supported and participated in the activity. He likewise appealed to all KC members to constantly support the “environmental protection program.” The said program of the Luzon Jurisdiction was supported by the Public Estate Authority. This is to ensure the success of the activity and the growth of the planted tree saplings. Luzon State Ecology Chairman Carlos I. Gubat had coordinated with the DENR in identifying areas that needed the said tree saplings. Dubbed as “Puno Alay Ko Sa Kalikasan,” this project of the Luzon Jurisdiction is dedicated in honor of Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J., and is now on its 3rd year. The Knights of Columbus is one of the participating organizations in the 24th International Coastal Clean-up of DENR. (KC News)

Fraternal Benefits Group
Schedule of Activities
October 10, 2009 Luzon Convention Fraternal Service Training (Butuan City) October 11, 2009 Fraternal Service Training (Butuan City) October 17, 2009 Voters’ Education (San Fernando, La Union) October 27, 2009 Voters’ Education (Baliuag, Bulacan) October 28-29, 2009 Fraternal Service Training (Manila)
You may contact KCFAPI through our TEXT CONNECT INFORMATION SYSTEM (TEXT BILIS) Send to: 0917-825-KOFC or 0917-825-5632 To register KCREG<space>FCCODE<spa ce>PINCODE<space>CONFIR M CODE Example: KCREG 00000 123456 123456 To inquire allowance ALLW<space>FCCODE <space>PINCODE Example: ALLW 00000 123456 To inquire for Submitted, Released & Paid BCs SRP<space>FCCODE <space>MMYYYY Example: SRP 00000 012008 To inquire for the status of Benefit Certificate BCINQ<space>ACCOUNT#<space>BIRTHDATE Example: BCINQ 1002840 01061971 To text a particular Department DEPTCODE<space>Your Name<space>Your Message Example: To text Underwriting Department for followup UND Juan Dela Cruz Follow-up application of Bro. Joel Garcia DEPTCODE: UND - for Underwriting FBG - for FBG FMAS - for FC’s Account SERVICE - for BC Services CORPSRV - for FADB FGJWF - for Foundations


The Cross

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 13 No. 21

October 12 - 25, 2009

KC Willmann Charities hosts Family TV Mass

Knights of Columbus - Luzon Jurisdiction during the wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J. at KC home office in Intramuros, Manila last September 14.

The TV Mass held at San Agustin Church last September 14 in commemmoration of the death of Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J.

TO mark the 32nd death anniversary of its founder, the Knights of Columbus Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. has hosted a Family TV Mass last September 14 at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila. Aired September 20 over TV Channel 4, the mass was presided by Parañaque Bishop Jesse Mercado and concelebrated by Msgr. Joselito C. Asis; Fr. William D. Araña, OSA; Fr. Benjamin Deogracias M. Fajota; Fr. Rene M. Sapungan; Fr. Milan Ted D. Torralba; Fr. Enrico Emmanuel A. Ayo; and Fr. Isabelo R. San Luis. According to Mercado, Rev. Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J., who is the Father of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines, embraced his Cross to serve as an inspiration to each KC member. He added that the legacy of Fr. Willmann has taught each member the genuine power of the Cross. “The Cross is life-giving. It is our source of strength. Fr. Willmann was not afraid to carry his Cross,” Mercado said.

The Parañaque Bishop has reflected on the centrality of the Cross in the life and priestly ministry of Fr. Willmann who died on September 14, 1977 on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Meanwhile, donations for the Family TV Mass will be allotted for charitable activities such as the scholarship of 40 needy seminarians from various archdioceses nationwide, support nine KC chaplains who are pursuing their Licentiate/Doctorate Studies and various activities of the KC Priest-scholars. Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc is one of the foundations of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI). It was first established under the name “Fr. Willmann Fund for Seminarians” which was later merged with the Christopher Foundation. In 2000, it was expanded and became the KC Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. The foundation has been sponsoring seminarians who are on the last four years of their priestly formation as well as priests who wish to go on further studies in various ecclesiastical disciplines. (Kate Laceda)

Back-to-Back ‘pakulo ngayong pasko’
TRULY, KCFAPI inspires our KC brothers and their families to continually uplift our Mission and Vision. Through the Reinstatement Program tagged as ‘Back-to-Back paKulo ngayong pasKo’, a benefit certificate holder from Western Visayas Beta Area fortunately won the prize and experienced the unrelenting gratitude of KCFAPI to all its BC holders throughout the country. Bro. Arnold H. Senope, a KC member of Council 7145, Leganes, Iloilo, won the ‘Back-to-Back paKulo ngayong pasKo’ under the Benefit Certificate Holder Category when he applied for reinstatement of his Benefit Certificate no. 1923096. Bro. Khristian M. Hidalgo, as the authorized representative, received the prize of a brand new mobile phone on September 8, 2009, in behalf of Bro. Arnold H. Senope. The awarding took place at the KCFAPI Iloilo Service Office. Bro. Rudolph Gerard M Elizaga, Iloilo S.O. Fraternal Benefits Associate handed over the prize. The recipient parted a simple yet grateful message, ‘Madamu guid nga salamat, KCFAPI!’ (April Vasquez)

NEL Cavaliers Area Meeting tackles incentive drives of FBG

Bro. Khristian M Hidalgo, as the authorized representative of Bro. Arnold H. Senope, accepted the brand new Nokia 7610 Series from Mr. Rudolph Gerard M Elizaga, Iloilo S.O. – FBA.

Asis, Hongayo win KCFAPI badminton mixed doubles

Participants of the Badminton tournament held at Feathers & Strings Badminton Court in Intramuros, Manila last September 26.

GREGORIO E. Asis and Nina S. Hongayo took the championship trophy in the KCFAPI’s first badminton mixed doubles, defeating Manuel L. Mendoza and Carmelita S. Ruiz. Asis and Hongayo carved out 21-11, 21-17 straight sets victory against Ruiz and Mendoza. Meanwhile, Riz S. Nicolas and Marianne M. Malabanan won the third place, beating Michael B. De Castro and Rowena M. Diapolit. The third placers won 19-21, 21-17, 21-15 at the Feather’s Badminton Court in Intramuros, Manila last September 26. Asis and Hongayo, a tandem of a veteran and a promising rookie proved that with a mixture of speed and intelligent net play, a team could easily win a game. Trophies were given to champions, first and second runners-up. Organized by the KCFAPI’s Summer/Sports

THE area meeting of the North Eastern Luzon (NEL) Cavaliers focused on the incentive drives of the Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG). Headed by Bro. Armando Gonzales, Area Manager of NEL, the group discussed the Council Circle of Honors and the extended filing of The Ten Outstanding Knights of Columbus Awards (TOKCA) nominees. Gonzales announced that the filing of the TOKCA nominees has been extended until September 30, 2009. He also presented the qualifications of the forthcoming Council of Honors Awards. This event is intended for the KC Councils of the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao Jurisdictions. Eligible councils must have a good standing with their territorial jurisdictions and should have active serving fraternal counselors. Gari San Sebastian, Fraternal Benefits Services Manager, was the resource speaker of the meeting. San Sebastian talked about DRIVE 110 wherein he presented the sales production and performance as of September 15, 2009 as against the 2009 target of the NEL Area. Gonzales then proposed that recruitment to the KC order will help the FCs to increase their sales production. He also discussed the plans of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) such as the C.A.R.E.S Plans or the Capital Accumulator Plan, Assurance Plan, Retire Plus Plan, and the Super Saver Plan. The said meeting was held at the Green View Lodge in Santiago City, Isabela last September 18-20, 2009. (KCFAPI News) Committee chaired by Ms. Ruiz herself, the tournament, aimed at upholding camaraderie and goodwill, was held last September 26. Equipped with badminton gears and smashing skills, 13 teams vied for the most number of team wins to grab the championship title. Ms. Ruiz said it was one-day tournament of intense competition, fun and excitement. (Roy Lagarde)

Winners of the KCFAPI Badminton tournament (from L-R) Manuel Mendoza, Carmelita Ruiz, Nina Hongayo, Gregorio Asis, Marianne Malabanan and Riz Nicolas.

GK Ferdinand T. Callueng of San Sebastian College-Recoletos de Cavite Council 14359 (2nd from right) receives from SK Nonilon D. Ayon – Area manager of South Western Luzon Star KCFAPI (right) the death claims of his mother Sis. Juana T. Callueng. Also in photo are SK Mark Rey B. de Castro – Deputy Grand Knight (DGK) (left) and Bro.Reynaldo G. Geronimo – Chancellor (2nd from left).

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