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Dead wrong: Catholics must no longer support capital punishment
‘As the Father Has Sent Me, So I Send You’
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
RH funding could lead to more taxes, higher health premiums—Recto
BRACE for higher taxes, more expensive healthcare premiums. This scenario was raised by Sen. Ralph G. Recto, citing provisions in the controversial “reproductive health” (RH) bill that would require billions in taxpayers’ money. Interpellating one of the Senate sponsors, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Recto pointed to Sections 9 and 10 of Senate Bill 2865, concerning state 20.00 subsidies for contraceptives.
Taxes / A6
October 10 - 23, 2011
Vol. 15 No. 21
Churches unite against mining
By Roy Lagarde
TOP officials of different Christian churches have issued a unified declaration demanding an end to large-scale surface mining by transnational companies (TNCs) in the Philippines.
The Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF) declaration calls for
the government to scrap the Mining Act of 1995 that allows foreign investors to fully own local mining ventures. (See B5 for full text of the Declaration) The faith-based group, which has advocated for environmental protection, said that the guaranteed economic benefits of mining are outweighed by dislocation of communities, the risk to health and livelihood, and massive environmental damage. “Thus, to further liberalize the mining industry in favor
of the mining corporations as being trumpeted by the Aquino administration will mean more suffering and death, dislocation, displacement and ruin of the environment,” they said. The organization of Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical bishops made the statement on October 6 at the end of their twoday mining forum in Legazpi City, Albay. “Destructive mining is blatantly unethical, unjust, and senseless for it exacerbates pov-
erty, causes dislocation of livelihood of the people, and even threatens the base of life and life itself,” the EBF said. “It is lamentable that the national government equates TNC mining with development, and is remiss in its duties in protecting the environment to the detriment of the people,” it added. The church leaders also called on the public to demand moratorium of large scale mining and the demilitarization of mining communities as well for the pas-
sage of the proposed People’s Mining Bill, known as the HB 4315. Important role Responding to the EBF statement, the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (KPNE) lauded the faith leaders against the “destructive” mining activities particularly in Bicol region. “Defend Patrimony commends EBF in putting forward the demands of the people on the
issue of mining,” said Clemente Bautista Jr. of KPNE and one of the conveners of the Defend Patrimony Alliance. “The support of church leaders is very important in the continuing campaign against environmental destruction and mineral resource depletion brought about by large-scale mining,” he added. Titled “Oppose the continuing onslaught on the earth,” the EBF had expressed alarm “over
Mining / A6
New revelation: RH bill price tag = P13.7 billion
IT took a Lito Lapid to finally reveal one of the pro-RH lobby’s well-kept secrets: the gargantuan price tag of the proposed contraceptive welfare program. The Pampango senator, ridiculed by the pro-RH side for his inability to debate the “reproductive health” (RH) bill’s proponents in English, managed to eke out the figure from one of the measure’s sponsors, Sen. Pia Cayetano. After hemming and hawing, Cayetano admitted during interpellations on Senate Bill 2865 that the Department of Health (DOH) had asked for P13.7 billion to implement the RH bill for the year 2012 alone— an amount bigger than the individual budgets of the departments of energy, finance, foreign affairs, justice, labor, science, tourism, and trade. The figure also dwarfs the budgets proposed for the Office of the President and Congress, as well as for the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The revelation of the huge RH budget is the latest in the string of exposes to hound the pro-RH lobby, which had earlier been found to be using outdated data on maternal deaths and abortion. RH proponents had long been saying that the budget would only be P3 billion annually. Lapid pointed out that even at P3 billion per year, slum dwellers could already be sent back to the provinces and given their own land over a 10-year period. “[Iyan ay] sapat na halaga para bigyan ng lupa ang squatter sa probinsya,” he told Cayetano. The gargantuan RH budget prompted Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to
Price Tag / A6
Archbishop Sergio Utleg (2nd from right) joins hundreds of cyclists in the two-day advocacy bike tour led by the Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (ECIP) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to raise awareness on the plight of indigenous people in the country and for the protection of the environment. The “Padyak para sa Katutubo at Kalikasan” started on Oct. 8 from Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, passing through Kalookan, Baclaran and Pasig, and ended at the Antipolo Cathedral the following day.
Photo courtesy of Bro. Martin Francisco
99% of Pinoy WYD delegates are already home—CBCP official
it clear that 99 percent of the delegates are all accounted for. “The sub-group leaders already reported and we in the national secretariat for youth apostolate has documented that 99 percent of our delegation to the latest World Youth Day celebration in Madrid is already home,” Garganta said. Garganta added that the 1 percent will be back in the Philippines by Oct. 15, for those delegates were given visas that will expire until the said date. ECY Philippines is the official delegation of the country every World Youth Day for it is the youth arm of the Bishops’ Conference. They sent a delegation of 425 young
Delegates / A6
Church agencies launch urgent aid appeal for flood victims
CATHOLIC Church’s aid agencies had launched a major appeal on behalf of the victims of recent typhoons in the Philippines. W i t h the scale of disaster victims increasing, the Caritas Filipinas including the Catholic Re- Staff and volunteers of Caritas Filipinas prepare relief goods ready for distribution to calamity stricken areas. lief Services (CRS) said a coordinated national appeal are still under floodwater is difficult for rescue and relief teams. for donations was needed. Caritas Filipinas said an estimated 250,000 Aid has been reaching some of the worst affected areas since after the typhoons left to 300,000 families are affected, with 30,000 Aid / A6 the country, but access to remote areas that
Pro-RH Cayetano resorts to emotion anew
SOB stories, session after session, interpellation after interpellation. This is apparently the strategy of one of the Senate sponsors of the “reproductive health” (RH) bill every time other senators probe into the real objectives of the proposed P13.7billion contraceptive welfare program. Sen. Pia Cayetano again made several appeals to pity after a colleague read one by one, provisions in the bill that would give minors access to contraceptives as well as allow widespread distribution through mobile facilities. Cayetano simply made blanket denials and went into her usual refrain, pointing to mothers dying of childbirth and families unable to afford three, four, or more children. The interpellator, Sen. Ralph Recto,
lustration by Bladimer Usi
Fr. Conegundo Garganta
EPISCOPAL Commission on Youth Executive Secretary, Fr. Conegundo Garganta confirmed that 99 percent of the Filipino delegates to the World Youth Day held in Spain have already made it home. In a media forum held October 11, Garganta made
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Pro-RH / A6
DepEd Sec. Luistro underlines importance of K+12 to minor seminaries
THE Kindergarten plus 12 (K+12) program is an opportunity for the minor seminaries to re-visit and re-orient their curriculum, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said. “We want that our students “at the end of basic education are prepared for life,” he said. “We want basic education to be comprehensive enough,” Luistro said. He further stated that they “continue to envision specialized high schools that are focused on particular” expertise. He also mentioned that he hopes to have discussions with all the minor seminary rectors nationwide as soon as possible. Luistro was the guest speaker of the Isang Angkan kay Kristo (Sangkan IV), an annual gathering of 4th year minor seminary students nationwide at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary in Makati City. On the part of the rectors, Fr. Jan Michael Gadicho of Borongan diocese’s Seminario de Jesus Nazareno described Luistro’s call as “a big challenge for us,” seminary formators. “There would be paradigm shifts. We should not just form seminarians for priestly ministry but for life,” Gadicho said. Gadicho said it is also a “good thing” that Bro. Armin’s heart is with the seminary for he considered the “seminary formation as the prime of education.” “K+12 would help us to equip the seminarians in pursuing their aim for academic excellence,” said Msgr. Tony Viray, rector of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Seminary of the Diocese of Lucena. The program, he said, will not only be good for the seminarians’ education but also for the Church to have a “better and more competent priests.” More than anything else, “holy and faithful priests” should be the main goal of seminary formation, Viray added. This year’s Sangkan IV assembly, saw 14 minor seminaries coming together to enhance the bonding and unity of the seminarians. Guided by the theme “We are One Body,” the seminarians also showed their expertise and skills in sports. (Roel Joe E. Abonal/ CBCPNews)
Mexican organizations praise court decision upholding pro-life reforms
MEXICO City, Oct. 5, 2011—Some 400 organizations in Mexico have praised the country’s Supreme Court for upholding pro-life constitutional reforms in the states of Baja California and San Luis de Potosi. In a democratic country, the organizations said in an Oct. 3 statement, “everyone, without exception, has the duty and responsibility to follow and uphold the law.” They noted that the federal constitution and the international treaties ratified by Mexico guarantee the right to life, and therefore state congresses can establish that human life must be protected from the moment of conception. The organizations also pointed out that the pro-life reforms keep in place the exceptions for abortion “established by law” and prevent a woman “who commits an abortion for those reasons” from being criminally punished. “In 2008 and now in 2011, Justice Margarita Luna Ramos voted to uphold the right of state congresses to legislate on this issue, while Justices Sergio Salvador Aguirre Anguiano and Guillermo Ortiz Mayagoitia, then and now, voted to uphold the right to life. They were joined by Justice Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo, who made forceful legal arguments in support of their position.” “The right to life from the moment of conception/fertilization does not harm or take away any rights for women,” the organizations stated. “On the contrary, the essence of the reforms is to provide protection to women and safety for their unborn children.” (CNA)
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
Archbishop calls Catholics to support Holy Land Christians
ROME, Italy, Oct. 4, 2011—Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien is calling upon Catholics to give renewed support to Christians in the Holy Land. “Our population there is ebbing – we are now only about two percent of the total population,” he told CNA in Rome, Sept. 27. “The holy places where Christ walked and where monuments are established to recall his words, his death and resurrection, they are now less and less frequented. Therefore we must as good Christians around the world respect that patrimony.” It has been one month since the Vatican asked 72-year-old Archbishop O’Brien to move from the Archdiocese of Baltimore to become the Grand Master of The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Although the order has its headquarters in Rome, it is responsible for promoting and defending Christianity in the Holy Land. “I never thought I’d leave Baltimore. It came as a surprise and even a shock to me when I received the call from the Secretariat of State,” said Archbishop O’Brien describing the move as “a jolt.” Until the Vatican appoints his replacement, he’ll continue as apostolic administrator of Baltimore. Despite all the upheaval he said he is confident that “God will take care of things.” The order currently provides 75 percent of the annual income for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem which cares for the Church in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus. It also funds 40 schools in the region as well as hospitals and institutes of higher education such as the University of Bethlehem. Despite that, the new grand master admits that the order is “not very well known even by those who are very active in the Church.” If fact, he recounts “speaking to some seminarians the other day and they had never heard to it.” He is now motivated to make the order better known in the Church and to raise the awareness of the Holy Land among ordinary Catholics. “I think anyone who has visited the Holy Land and walked those same streets where Christ walked for the carrying of the cross can’t help but be overwhelmed by the spirit which runs through every part of that experience,” he said suggesting that more Catholics should consider making a pilgrimage to Palestine and Israel. He also stressed that it is now very safe for foreign travelers to do so. Holy Land pilgrims, he assured, “always return home healthy and spiritually enriched.” Archbishop O’Brien said his own favorite places to pray when in the holy city of Jerusalem are the Cenacle, the upper room where Christ presided over the Last Supper, as well as the sights marking Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. “There’s no question this is the source of our faith and this is the source of renewal we all should all be looking for in our spiritual Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien lastingly.” lives,” he said. Archbishop O’Brien remains focused “And I don’t think there’s any place better than that little plot of God’s land on helping Christians in the area regardwhere that spiritual renewal can take less of the surrounding political climate. place more effectively and more long (CNA)
Officials named for Roman Rota
An Italian and a Spaniard have been named prelate auditors of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. The Vatican announced Oct. 4 the appointment of Msgr. Vito Angelo Todisco of the clergy of the diocese of Avellino, Italy, and Msgr. Felipe Heredia Esteban of the clergy of the diocese of Calahorra y La Calzada-Logrono, Spain. The former was defender of the bond at the Tribunal of the Roman Rota and the latter was judge of the Tribunal of the Rota of the apostolic nunciature to Madrid. The Pope also appointed Fr Kevin Gillespie, official of the Congregation for the Clergy, and Fr Massimiliano Matteo Boiardi, official of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, as masters of pontifical ceremonies. (Zenit)
Pontiff makes appeal for Horn of Africa
Late Apple co-founder knew the value of communication, Jesuit says
Father Antonio Spadaro, the new editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, told Vatican Radio that Jobs made technology part of the lives of millions and millions of people, not just technicians. “Steve Jobs had something in common with Pius XI and that is that he understood that communication is the greatest value we have at our disposal today and we must make it bear fruit,” the Jesuit told the radio Oct. 6. Father Spadaro said Steve Jobs had a “great ability to believe in dreams, to see life not only in terms of little daily things, but to have a vision in front of him.
Benedict XVI made an appeal for the Horn of Africa, which has been facing a severe drought and food crisis since July. “Dramatic news continues to arrive concerning the famine which has struck the Horn of Africa,” the Pope stated. Some 13.3 million people are threatened by the conditions that are spread throughout Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. The Pontiff greeted Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and Bishop Giorgio Bertin, apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, who accompanied a group of Catholic charity representatives to the audience. (Zenit)
Angels are protecting us, assures pope
Benedict XVI today affirmed that guardian angels surround human life with “unceasing protection” from its beginning until the hour of death. The Pope said this Oct. 2, which is the feast of the guardian angels, in his customary address before praying the midday Angelus. He said: “Dear friends, the Lord is always near and working in human history, and he also accompanies us with the unique presence of his angels, whom the Church venerates today as ‘guardians,’ that is, ministers of the divine care for every man.” (Zenit)
Vatican’s Council for Migrants opens web site
VATICAN City, Oct. 6, 2011— Like Pope Pius XI, who founded Vatican Radio and built the Vatican train station, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs recognized the importance of expanding communication, a Jesuit told Vatican Radio. Jobs, 56, died Oct. 5 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Basically, Steve Jobs’ most important message was this, ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’—in other words, maintain the ability to see life in new ways.” The “stay hungry” quote was from a commencement address Jobs gave at California’s Stanford University in 2005. On his own blog—www.cyberteologia.it—Father Spadaro embedded a video of Jobs giving the Stanford commencement address and wrote about how some of his points echoed points made by the Jesuits’ founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola. Jobs told the new graduates, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.” Father Spadaro said that in his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius wrote that one way of making an important choice is to examine how one would go about making that decision if he knew he were about to die. “In the cases of Ignatius and Steve, death isn’t a bogeyman,” but is present as a reminder that
in the face of death, the only thing that remains is what is truly important for each person, he wrote. “I don’t know if Jobs was a believer,” the Jesuit wrote. In the Stanford speech, he said, Jobs was “speaking simply about the interior disposition one must have when making important decisions in life, focusing on what counts. No one, believer or non-believer, can make choices in life if he thinks he’s immortal.” Under the headline “The talented Mr. Apple,” the Vatican newspaper put news of Jobs’ death on its front page. “Steve Jobs was one of the protagonists and symbols of the Silicon Valley revolution,” which brought changes not only in technology, was also a “revolution of customs, mentality and culture,” said L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. Jobs was “a visionary who united technology and art,” the paper said. He was a man of “talent, pure talent.” (CNS)
The Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers has launched a Web site at www.pcmigrants.org. The multilingual site will give visitors the “Christian vision” for people in varied situations of human mobility ― ranging from refugees to sailors, nomads, airport employees, and people who live and/or work on the street, a note from the council announced. The framework of the site is in Italian. This pontifical council has been led since February 2009 by Archbishop Antonio Maria Vegliò. (Zenit)
Indonesia can be beacon of religious freedom, pope says
Brazilian city hosts world’s largest Marian procession
BELÉM DO PARÁ, Brazil, Oct. 7, 2011— On the evening of Oct. 4, two million people began converging on the city of Belém in the northeastern state of Pará, Brazil, for the largest Marian festival in the world. The Cirio de Nazaré procession brings Catholics from all over Brazil to show their devotion to Our Lady of Nazareth. Pilgrims spend several hours processing through the streets of Belém, the Portuguese translation for Bethlehem. The Brazilian bishops said in a statement released earlier this week that putting on another edition of the biggest Catholic celebration in Brazil brings them joy. “The Cirio is the Family Feast! It is the fellowship! It is the great collective effort to ‘fill the jars with water,’ so that Jesus may turn it into wine, the new wine of peace, justice and commitment to the cause of the Gospel,” they said. On Oct. 5, dozens of parish groups, lay Catholic movements, and pastoral ministries from the Archdiocese of Belém began a 48-hour session of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in preparation for the Sunday, Oct. 9 procession. The procession will depart from the Cathedral of Belém and make its way along a two-mile route to the Shrine of Our Lady of Nazareth. At the shrine, the Virgin’s image will be on display for the thousands of faithful who come from all over Brazil to express their devotion and give thanks for graces achieved through her intercession. The longest procession in the history of the Cirio de Nazaré was over nine hours long. The devotion to Our Lady of Nazareth began in Portugal. The original image belonged to the Monastery of the Virgin of Caulina, Spain, and according to a popular belief, was originally sculpted in Nazareth by Saint Joseph himself and later taken to Europe. The history of the procession goes back to 1792, when the Vatican authorized a procession in honor of the Virgin of Nazareth in Belém do Pará. (CNA)
Pope Benedict XVI told Indonesia’s bishops Oct. 7 that their country can be a shining example of religious freedom for the rest of the world. “Your country, so rich in its cultural diversity and possessed of a large population, is home to significant numbers of followers of various religious traditions,” observed the Pope. “Thus, the people of Indonesia are well-placed to make important contributions to the quest for peace and understanding among the peoples of the world.” The Pope was addressing the Indonesian Episcopal Conference at the end of their regular “ad limina” visit aimed at updating the pontiff and Vatican officials on the health of the Church in the vast Asian country. (CNA)
Pope Benedict: modern life needs silence
Growing Islamist violence threatens Church in Indonesia
VATICAN City, Oct. 7, 2011— The President of the Bishops Conference of Indonesia says the rise of radical Islam is resulting in increasing problems for the local Catholic Church. “I have to say that we’ve become worried over the last 10 to 15 years because these groups really are making themselves present and felt amongst Indonesians,” said Bishop Martinus Situmorang in an Oct. 6 interview with CNA. Catholics make up about 3 percent of Indonesia’s 245 millionstrong population. According to the charity Aid to the Church in Need, the Asian country has seen a rise in Islamic fundamentalism since early 2009, with reported violence ranging from church buildings being burnt down to fundamentalists forcing the cancellation of Easter services. “It is quite alarming in a sense, but it’s also alarming our Muslim brothers and our Muslim leaders are not happy with them. But they don’t know who they are or how to deal with them,” he said. Bishop Situmorang stressed that relations with Muslims in Indonesia—who make up 85 percent of the population—are generally very good. He said that there are “bad incidents” of Christians being targeted but qualified that “(we) are not persecuted.” Indonesia is “a free country and very democratic,” he added. His fear, though, is that some elements within the national and local governments are struggling or unwilling to uphold a national constitution that enshrines the principle of religious freedom. “The authorities at all levels are not always dealing with Muslim fanatics,” he said, suggesting that such groups are given “too much space to do what they want” which allows them to avoid arrest and punishment. While only one province is Indonesia is completely governed by Islamic Sharia law, more than 50 districts in 16 of the country’s 32 provinces have passed Sharia-inspired legislation. This has made it more difficult for Catholics to build churches in certain areas. Bishop Situmorang says the response of Catholics is “to be always friendly and with a high spirit of dialogue,” while working with other religions to “eradicate poverty, illiteracy and this spirit of fanaticism.” At the same time, he also wants to see better law enforcement by security forces and a greater
Rome’s Christian past revealed by 3-D imaging
A remarkable Vatican-Swedish project is providing a new 3-D insight into Christian Rome’s architectural history. “It’s what we call building archaeology,” Olof Brandt of the Pontifical Institute for Christian Archaeology explained to CNA. He is currently working on a 3-D study of Rome’s Lateran Baptistery, situated next to the Cathedral of St. John Lateran. “That’s the archeology of existing structures, which is about reading the traces of the past in the existing walls of a building.” Brandt points out the tell-tale signs as to how and when the baptistery evolved—from the 4th century foundations to the later 16th-century windows. (CNA)
Bishop Martinus Situmorang, OFM Cap.
commitment to the constitution by the civil government. Along with the rest of the Indonesian bishops, Bishop Situmorang is in Rome for their regular “ad limina” visit to update the Pope and the Vatican on the health of their dioceses. (CNA)
The lack of silence in contemporary society is making many people’s lives “more agitated and at times convulsed,” Pope Benedict XVI has said. “Some people are no longer able to stay long in silence,” he told members of a silent Carthusian monastery in the southern Italian region of Calabria Oct. 9. “Most young people, who are already born in this state, seem to fill every empty moment with music and images, almost afraid to feel, in fact, this void.” The monastery visit was the Pope’s last stop on a one-day trip to the south of Italy. Upon his arrival in the town of Serra San Bruno, crowds of over 30,000 greeted the Pope as he made his way through the streets on the Popemobile. (CNA)
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
Dead wrong: Catholics must no longer support capital punishment
VATICAN City, Sept. 30, 2011— The Catholic Church’s position on capital punishment has evolved considerably over the centuries. And as a result, “it is not a message that is immediately understood — that there is no room for supporting the death penalty in today’s world,” said a Vatican’s expert on capital punishment and arms control. Because the church has only in the past few decades begun closing the window — if not shutting it completely — on the permissibility of the death penalty, people who give just a partial reading of the church’s teachings may still think the death penalty is acceptable today, said Tommaso Di Ruzza, desk officer at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. St. Thomas Aquinas equated a dangerous criminal to an infected limb thereby making it “praiseworthy and healthful” to kill the criminal in order to spare the spread of infection and safeguard the common good. However, over the centuries, justice has evolved from being the smiting arm of revenge toward a striving for reform and restoration, much like today’s medical science, where amputation is no longer the only recourse for curing an infection. Modern-day popes have reflected that change in attitude. As far back as the 19th and early 20th centuries theologians pondered the seeming paradox between the Fifth Commandment, “You shall not kill,” and the church’s dark history of condoning state-held executions to deal with heresy and other threats and crimes. Pope Paul VI took concrete action in distancing the church from this form of punishment, first by formally banning the use of the death penalty in Vatican City State, although no one had been executed under the authority of the Vatican’s temporal governance since 1870. Pope Paul also spoke publicly against planned executions and called for clemency for deathrow inmates. Pope John Paul II also would punctuate his Angelus and general audience talks with impassioned appeals to spare the life of a prisoner on the verge of execution. It was the Polish pope who “earnestly hoped and prayed” for a global moratorium on the use of capital punishment and the abolition of the death penalty worldwide. Pope Benedict, too, continues to send appeals for clemency in high-profile cases via telegrams either through a country’s bishops or nuncio, and he has praised a U.N. resolution callof the offender ‘are very rare, if not practically nonexistent,’” it says. Pope Benedict, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had a major role in drafting the 1992 Catechism and, especially, its 1997 revised passages. When he told journalists about the changes in 1997, he said while the principles do not absolutely exclude capital punishment, they do give “very severe or limited criteria for its moral use.” “It seems to me it would be very difficult to meet the conditions today,” he had said. When a journalist said the majority of Catholics in the United States favor use of the death penalty, Cardinal Ratzinger said, “While it is important to know the thoughts of the faithful, doctrine is not made according to statistics, but according to objective criteria taking into account progress made in the church’s thought on the issue.” Di Ruzza said the divergence of many Catholics in the United States from the church’s current position is a sign that “the universal church must also accompany the particular churches a little bit” and help guide them on this “journey of purification,” which is more a process of “maturity rather than a revolution or change in tradition.” Without reading Popes John Paul and Benedict’s clear condemnations of the death penalty, the catechism will “unfortunately have the risk of being ambiguous or taken out of context,” he said. The church upholds the inherent dignity of all human beings, even the most sin-filled, and believes in hope, conversion and mercy, he said. There is always room for conversion, he said, and forgiveness does not mean being naive about the real evil the human being is capable of committing. The death penalty does not solve much; a victim still feels loss and crime is not deterred, he said. Communities must strive to promote the common good, and it’s dubious “that you can kill someone for the good of all,” he said. “The beauty of forgiveness must also be truly discovered; it’s this that saves us,” said Di Ruzza. Otherwise, “by killing the just or the unjust without understanding that they have dignity, we will find ourselves after 2,000 years in the same courtyard shouting, ‘Kill him!’ like they did with Jesus.” “God forgave us. He did not call us to death. Jesus let us overcome death” so as to more fully embrace life, he said. (CNS)
ing upon states to institute a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church recognized “as well-founded the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty.” At the same time, it said, “bloodless means” that could protect human life should be used when possible. The “extreme gravity” loop-
hole was tightened with changes made in 1997, which reflected the pope’s 1995 encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae.” It specifies that the use of the death penalty is allowed only when the identity and responsibility of the condemned is certain and if capital punishment “is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” However, given the resources and possibilities available to governments today for restraining criminals, “cases of the absolute necessity of the suppression
Catholic Church’s communications day to focus on silence
VATICAN City, Sept. 29, 2011—The new theme for the Catholic Church’s World Social Communications Day is “Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization,” a Vatican pontifical council has announced. Silence is not simply “an antidote to the constant and unstoppable flow of information” characteristic of modern society. Rather, it is necessary for the integration of that information, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications said on Sept. 29. The event’s focus on silence is needed in light of the “extraordinarily varied nature” of modern communications. “Silence, precisely because it favors habits of discernment and reflection, can in fact be seen primarily as a means of welcoming the word,” the council said. Silence and communication are complementary and can be key factors in “the new evangelization.” World Communications Day is celebrated in most countries on the Sunday before Pentecost. In 2012, it will fall on May 20. The papal message for the event is traditionally published on Jan. 24, the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers. This year’s theme was “Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age.” Pope Benedict XVI’s 2011 message called for a Christian presence on social networking sites. He said that new technologies are “giving birth to a new way learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship.” While he warned about the dangers of creating a “parallel existence” and falsifying one’s online persona, he said the wise use of technologies can help satisfy “the desire for meaning, truth and unity.” (CNA/EWTN News)
Vatican daily criticizes BBC for ‘erasing Christ from history’
ROME, Italy, Oct. 4, 2011—The Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano has criticized a decision by the BBC television network to drop its usage of the designations “A.D.” and “B.C.” The network plans to adopt the terms “C.E.” (Common Era) and “BCE” (Before the Common Era) when referring to historical dates, to avoid “offending” non-believers. L’Osservatore Romano called the decision “senseless historical hypocrisy.” Numerous BBC hosts, as well as politicians such as the mayor of London, Boris Johnshon, have also denounced the plan as absurd. In an Oct. 5 article that will be published by the Vatican newspaper, reporter Luceta Scaraffia pointed out that numerous non-Christian spokespersons have stated that they “did not feel offended in any way by the traditional dating system.” “It is clear that respect for other religions is a mere pretext, because what they want is to wipe out any trace of Christianity from western culture.” Scaraffia noted that this is not the first time an attempt has been made to change the historical designations. The anti-Christian French Revolution of 1789 and the 1917 Leninist revolution in Russia both included efforts to reformulate the traditional calendar to start over again in their respective years. She called those efforts “horrible precedents” and said the current proposed change is a hypocritical move on the part of those who “seem to not know why the years are counted starting from a certain date.” “To deny the historically revolutionary role of the coming of Christ on earth, accepted even by those who do not recognize him as the Son of God, is a complete folly. And from a historical point of view, both Jews and Muslims know it.” She pointed out that with the coming of Christ, mankind learned that all human beings have the same dignity, and this truth forms the basis “for all human rights, by which nations and leaders are judged. “Until that time no one had held this principle, and Christian tradition is based upon it.” The world changed after Christ, Scaraffia continued, and knowing the God who transcends nature, “made it
possible for the peoples of Europe to discover the world and for scientists to begin the experimental study of nature, which led to the birth of modern science.” “Why deny, then, civilization’s cultural debt to Christianity? There is nothing more anti-historical and senseless, as Jews and Muslims have clearly understood. It’s a matter of reason, not of faith.” (CNA/EWTN News)
Zero squatter in QC opposed by urban poor group
MANILA, Oct. 10, 2011—Is the idea of zero squatter in the City of Stars, Quezon City, a viable idea? Not for the urban poor communities. The Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap-Quezon City (Kadamay-QC) chapter cries foul on the proposal of totally wiping off the urban poor communities in the area. They said, the “Zero Squatters 2013” idea of no less than Mayor Herbert Bautista is totally anti-poor and violates the poor peoples’ rights to abode. “During the past year, demolitions of urban poor communities occurred in the National Government Center area, Sitio San Roque in North Triangle, C5 and creeklying communities, Old Balara among others that [has] resulted to further displacement of thousands of poor Filipino families. On the said areas, various projects will be instituted not for the benefit of the people, rather for the interests of big private businesses,” Kadamay-QC observed. They accuse the actor-turnedpolitician of “favoring” profits, rather than taking heed to the legitimate demands of the poor people, majority of whom had voted Bautista for mayor. “Bistek (Bautista’s moniker) must not imitate President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s anti-poor policies that only serve private and foreign [business] interests. Mayor Bautista must always put
in mind that without the support of the poor in his locality, he will not be in the position where he is today,” said Kadamay-QC. “The urban poor will remain vigilant on the war being waged by the government against them and that the [city] government must prepare for intensification of the people’s resistance against demolitions in forms of barricades and bigger street protests in the days to come,” they said. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)
‘PH as sex tourism spot’ remark, a step to push ‘safe sex’?
MANILA, Oct. 2, 2011—Are remarks by a US official on the alleged statistic concerning tourists visiting the Philippines for sex, another step in the persistent push for the “need” for condom use? Human Life International (HLI)Pilipinas director Rene Bullecer M.D. does not discount the possibility that the recent statement from US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas about 40% of foreign men allegedly visiting the Philippines for sex is a subtle justification for an intensified campaign for “safe sex.” “As a person who runs an anti-AIDS program in behalf of the Catholic Church, and at the same time in the defense of life in all its stages, I could sense that there is something deeper (behind the statement) than just for the sake of scaring us. Maybe this is a statement released as a safe justification that because of this scenario, the country expects a much higher incidence of HIV/AIDS already — thus, there is a real need to push a more aggressive ‘safe sex’ program via all-out condom promotion,” Bullecer said. Besides heading HLI-Pilipinas, the Cebu-based physician is also founder and director of AIDS-Free Philippines, the 18-year-old abstinence- and chastity-based non-government organization and the official anti-AIDS program of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. “Remember, a government agency already received billions of pesos from different funding organizations abroad and many of these are from the USA,” the doctor pointed out. “Among the funding organizations are the Global Fund of (Bill and Hillary) Clinton, the USAID and the UNFPA. Could this be tied to House Bill 4244 and to fast-track the full realization of the goals of MDG in this country?” House Bill (HB) 4244 or The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011 is the Congress version of the reproductive health (RH) bills, which has been meeting with growing opposition from civic organizations, faith-based groups, family and life advocates, child development specialists as well as legal and medical experts due to anti-family and anti-life provisions. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of eight international goals in which universal access to reproductive health is included as a means to improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS. The MDGs were put into place through a series of UN-led conferences in the 1990s and approved by United Nations-member countries in 2000, with a 15-year timeline for its achievement. ‘Sex tourism’ statement from official criticized In a forum with Philippine judges and government officials last week, Thomas said the following: “I estimate that maybe up to 40% of foreign men who come here come for sexual tourism and that is unacceptable.” The envoy’s remarks have been criticized by several sectors including Malacañang and the Department of Tourism (DOT). Some senators called the comments undiplomatic and urged Thomas to back up his claim. Bullecer, an AIDS specialist, said: “If I have the chance to see Ambassador Thomas, I will ask him, ‘Who told you about it? What’s your proof or evidence? How come this news came from no less than you and not from the DFA or DOT?” According to the AIDS-Free Philippines director, at least five different radio stations asked for his reaction a day after the news item on the US official’s statement came out. He stressed, though, that whether or not the envoy’s remarks are true, “we must be very careful and watchful, as next to Thailand, the Philippines — a Third World country in Asia — is a very favorite target of the sex-starved tourists coming from both the East and the West. With Thailand’s over a millions HIV/AIDS cases to date, this is a good reason for tourists to change direction to [our country]. “And with the advent of the internet,” he added, “cybersex is so common now in any part of the archipelago which serves as a magnet for sex tourism.” “Thus, we need to augment our massive information campaign on the evils of the flesh trade, together with its moral and physical consequences. The Catholic Church is the most credible institution left who must engage in this very crucial and urgent crusade,” Bullecer said. In an AIDS awareness seminar for media organized by the AIDS Society of the Philippines and held in Tagaytay in May of this year, Health Undersecretary Dr. Enrique Tayag revealed that data from the National Epidemiology Center (NEC) under the Department of Health (NEC) showed over 400 HIV cases recorded by the end of the first half of 2011. Citing the province of Cebu, Tayag said 53 percent of intravenous drug users (IDU) tested positive of HIV-AIDS. Other causes for the spread of HIV in Cebu are freelance female sex workers (5.5 percent) and men having sex with men (at 4.7 percent). NEC data also show—based on the same AIDS awareness seminar—6,498 AIDS cases nationwide recorded from 1984 to March 2011. (CBCP for Life)
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
The winter out of the Arab Spring
EARLY this year, the world was glued to the unfolding of the so-called Arab Spring that started in Tunisia and high-peaked with the expulsion of the powerful Hosni Mubarak out of his own Egypt. Most global bystanders thought that a trailblazer of a new paradigm was in the offing. International news organizations were feeding viewers with video footages of protesting crowds who were mostly young people and who appeared not to be goaded by radical movements or extremists. In Egypt, for instance, Muslims and Christians were rallying and praying together at the Al Tahir Square. Data streams in social media were oozing with encouraging messages. At the outset there seemed to be no dent of extremism or Islamic agenda. Young people, it seemed, just wanted to live better lives like their neighbors in Europe. They never even longed for the blood of deposed government heads who fleeced their countries through decades of corruption. Nobody, of course, dared to suggest that democracy was looming in the horizon. What was certain was change was brewing—hence, the Arab Spring. But not until last Sunday, October 9. That day “winter” started with a rather peaceful protest by Coptic Christians who were upset over the recent attack on a church in Assuan, Southern Egypt and deplored the silence of the new government at what happened. This group was part of the protesters in Al Tahir Square that called for a change of government. In the rally, the Copts called for the resignation of the governor of the province and accused him of motivating the extremists to attack their church.
lustration by Bladimer Usi
The protest which started peacefully in the spirit of the Arab Spring degenerated into total chaos when security forces reportedly intervened by violently repressing the protesters with armored vehicles. It ended with 25 dead and 500 wounded. Coptic priest Father Daoud said he saw a tank roll over 5 protesters to death. Two days after the rampage, about 20 thousand people attended the funeral of the victims at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo where the Coptic Patriarch Shenouda III announced three days of mourning and prayers to commemorate the victims whom they regarded as “martyrs who have saved the Church.” A Coptic, Aida Mahrous, told the press: “the next regime will be the same as the previous one. Politics will never change. To solve our problems we need to show that Christians and Muslims are one people, because otherwise the government will remain a mass of corruption.” For now, nobody really can tell what is the next picture—except that tentacles of winter seem to be inevitably coming out of the Arab Spring.
Bp. Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD
IT is not only disturbing, but sad, to hear that suicide rate in our society is becoming more frequent among our young adults and teens. Some TV shows, local as well as national, have of late been giving some significant time slots on the matter, giving account on the increasing number of its frequency, and then, asking questions that could unsettle our social conscience. Is it true that three out of five young Filipinos have already in one way or the other been contemplating of ending their lives in the face of their problems? Life is a precious possession, a gift that has to be appreciated, cared for, and defended. For a Christian, human life is sacred. He knows full well that life is not his, but God’s. From its inception it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end (cf. CCC 22258). God is the Lord of life, its sole owner. Hence, no one has the
Suicide, Faith, and the Young Filipinos
Many of our young people today are caught up with the modern culture that has gradually deleted man’s awareness and direct connection to God, replacing Him as the ground of his being and acting. Soon his decisions and moral values are being sourced from his capricious whims and personal desire and no longer from the Will of the Creator. No, it is not true that he is no longer a Church-goer. He appears still to be a good member of the Catholic Church, an obedient son to his parents, respectful to others, faithful to Sunday Masses. But deep inside his soul is emptiness. The Commandments of God and the friendship with Jesus do not have anymore influence in the way he makes the decisions. What is profitable, what promotes his ambition, what is convenient has become the basis for his actions and behavior. His world is the here and now, a life that is mapped out by the
Church in the Philippines—called to mission
WE as Church are called to be in our part of the globe “the universal sacrament of salvation”, sent out by the Lord on a mission to the whole of the human race (Lumen Gentium 13). The Church universal is Catholic because of this mission. We believe that in recent years the Spirit has awakened among us a new awareness of the Church’s missionary task, and has also poured out his gifts to begin to realize it in deed and in truth. For in recent decades, a constantly increasing number of our brothers and sisters—priests, religious brothers and sisters, laypeople—have left our shores to share their Faith with peoples of other lands, in every continent on the face of the earth. The Mission Society of Philippines has sent several priests as missionaries in many parts of the world. Many Filipino priests, brothers and sisters belonging to different religious congregations as well as diocesan priests are now working in the foreign missions. Several lay missionaries, both men and women, who underwent training through the Catholic Lay Mission Program, are also working in the foreign missions. New movements of faith such as the covenant communities, initiated by the Filipino laity under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, have spread to particular churches of other countries and have surely contributed to the efforts of evangelization of those sister churches. Our overseas workers have in so many instances become missionaries, bringing the Gospel and Faith where these have not been present, renewing and reactivating Christian life and practice where these have been in decline. It is imperative then that we—all of us—renew our own understanding of mission. We urge most especially the formators of our seminarians, the candidates for the priesthood, to help the future leaders of the Church to develop a personal and profound understanding of mission during their priestly formation. Mission is the proclamation of the Good news of salvation given by the Father in Christ Jesus. It is about the forgiveness, the communion, peace and hope Christ brought to us for all time, and unto everlasting life. Mission is the sharing of the promise of a new heaven and a new earth, the ultimate triumph of life over death, of grace and glory over evil and sin in the new Jerusalem which will be given to us by God. But mission does not proclaim only God’s victory in the life to come, but also the redemption of time and history in the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Mission is about the presence and action of the power of the Spirit of Jesus in the struggle against sinfulness in the heart of humanity, in individual lives and in the relationships and structures of injustice, domination and alienation which sin establishes in society. In our present context mission will therefore mean the elimination of graft and corruption and the active pursuit for peace. For mission is about creating and transforming communities that shall live in God’s shalom, communities of truth and justice, of solidarity, freedom and love. - “Missions” and the Church in the Philippines, 2000
rightful claim under any circumstance to snuff off his own life. It is interesting to note that many of those who have thought of committing suicide are young individuals who have no more grounding in God, or, who have left behind the practice of prayer. Forgetfulness of one’s connection to the Transcendent One may not be the only cause of suicide. But for sure one who does not take his faith in God or friendship with Jesus seriously is bound to recoil unto himself in times of crisis. Without God man feels himself to be the centre of the universe. But such a mentality is precarious even for the mature and the experienced among us. For, existential problems that come into man’s life are simply too staggering for any self-centered individual to face without succumbing to helplessness and despair. There is no Other to hang on to; no Transcendent Being to assure him of that promise: “Do not be afraid.”
Devotion to Our Lady of La Leche
FOR the past ten years, a Marian group has been promoting devotion to Nuestra Señora de la Leche and Buen Parto using the image of the Breastfeeding Madonna. From its very beginning, I have been with the group. We have distributed the attractive statue of Our Lady lovingly feeding Baby Jesus close to her exposed breast to over 20 Churches and Chapels. The President of our Movement, Mrs. Remedios Gonzales, has conscientiously been contacting parishes if they are interesting in having a statue. She obtained endorsement from His Eminence Cardinal Sin and from Cardinal Rosales as well. Many times during the year, our small group then would go to a parish to deliver the statue and have it blessed during a Sunday Mass. We distribute novenas to Our Lady of La Leche (in English and Pilipino). The smaller statues, pins, medals and booklets we sell by the door are often sold out. We have received many letters from mothers who joyfully relate that they are now pregnant or had a successful delivery because they had been using the Novena prayers. On Oct 11, we will have our annual celebration of the Feast of OLL at Harrison Plaza Chapel where the original statue that Mrs. Gonzales inherited from her uncle (a statue sent to him from Spain in the early 1900’s) is located. The Holy Mass will be at 5:30 pm. Bianca, a mother who successfully delivered her baby through her devotion to OLL, will give a brief sharing, followed by blessing of the mothers. To end the celebration, we will say the following prayer for Breastfeeding Mothers.
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
Prayer for breastfeeding mothers Dear Lady of La Leche, Mother of Mothers, we ask you to bestow your special blessing upon all the mothers present here who are breastfeeding the little one they received from the Father in heaven. You granted them the privilege of motherhood so that we ask you to give them the physical and spiritual strength that they need to exercise their duty to their baby through the selfless act of breastfeeding. By your loving grace, teach them the proper way to nourish the life that they brought out into this world. Please inspire them with the motherly sentiments that you felt when you also nursed your child, Jesus. By your example, please help them to nourish their child to perfect health by fulfilling their blessed duty of breastfeeding that God has so ordained. Panalangin para sa isang ina na nagpapasuso Mahal na Ina ng La Leche, Ina ng mga Ina, hinihiling po namin na bigyan mo ng espesyal na grasya ang lahat ng ina na nagpapasuso sa kanilang sanggol na nandirito ngayon. Salamat po sa biyaya ng pagiging ina na inihandog ninyo sa kanila. Ipagkaloob din po sana ninyo sa kanila ang lakas na pisikal at spiritual na kailangan nila upang magampanan ang kanilang tungkulin sa kanilang maliit na anak sa pamamagitan ng pagpapasuso. Sa tulong ng iyong grasya, Ituro mo po sa kanila ang tamang pag-aaruga sa iniluwal nilang sanggol sa mundong ito. Bigyan mo po sila ng inspirasyon tulad ng dinama ninyo nang kayo ay nagpasuso
Love Life / A7
Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM
ON October 27, 2011 the Church commemorates the twenty-fifth anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, a special event convoked in 1986 by Blessed John Paul II. The original 1986 event, as well as its 2011 commemoration, incorporates both ecumenical and interreligious dimensions; both occasions highlight three spiritual elements present, although in different forms, in almost all religious traditions: prayer, pilgrimage, and fasting. The 1986 Assisi Assembly attracted much worldwide publicity. What caught the attention and imagination of people was to see so many representatives of the world’s principal religions gathered together. Such an event had probably never occurred in history; it emphasized the unique spiritual dimensions of the search for peace. Blessed Pope John Paul II was deeply committed to promoting positive relations among the followers of the world’s living faiths. He took great pains to explain and communicate the meaning of the Assisi
The Assisi Journey in Faith From 1986 to 2011
insightful statement of the Council: “We must therefore hold that the Holy Spirit gives to all the possibility of coming into contact with the paschal mystery, in the way that God alone knows” (GS 22). “The event of Assisi can thus be considered a visible illustration, an exegesis of the events, a catechesis, intelligible to all, of what is presupposed and signified by the commitment to ecumenism and interreligious dialogue which was recommended and promoted by the Second Vatican Council.” Quoting Vatican II, John Paul II asserts: “The Catholic Church rejects nothing in these religions that is true and holy [and indeed] exhorts her children with prudence and charity … to recognize, conserve and promote the spiritual, moral and social values found in them” (NA 2). The pope further explains: “The day of Assisi, showing the Catholic Church holding the hands of brother Christians, and
Living Mission / A7
Pedro C. Quitorio
Ronalyn R. Regino
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
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
event, making it the topic of his annual curial Christmas address in 1986. As Pope Benedict XVI travels to Assisi on October 27, 2011, Catholics can recall and learn much from John Paul II’s reflections on what has been termed: “Assisi One.” John Paul II noted: “The fact that we came together in Assisi to pray, to fast and to walk, in silence—and thus in support of the peace which is always fragile and threatened, perhaps today more than ever—has been, as it were, a clear sign of the profound unity of those who seek in religion spiritual and transcendent values that respond to the great questions of the human heart, despite concrete divisions.” The pope affirmed: “The appropriate key to interpret such a great event derives from the teaching of the Second Vatican Council…. More than once the Council established a relationship between the very identity and the mission of the Church on the one hand, and the unity of the human race on the other….” The pope recalled the
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
RH is unreasonably expensive!
“unprecedented attack on religious liberty.” It is forcing Catholics to support something that is against their religion. It is not anymore tolerating people to do what they like, even if it is against religion. It is forcing them to support what is against their religion. The current American scene seems to be drifting toward creating a welfare state, with the government taking a bigger role in people’s lives, clearly going against the social principles of common good, solidarity and subsidiarity. It is not only spoiling people. It is forcing people to get spoiled. And to think that the American political leaders pride themselves of being the first promoters of democracy and religious freedom and teach other countries to follow them! They have to be clear about these in their own country first. The Philippines would be in a funny situation if it would just blindly follow the American model of RH. That is why, we need to closely monitor the proceedings of the proposed legalization of the RH Bill. This issue has gone beyond the field of group advocacy. It has become a concern for all of us. I would suggest that the true picture of the RH Bill be shown, discussed and, if need be, debated upon in schools, parishes, offices and even in families. We have to be warned about a subtle but persistent campaign to change the concept of morality itself and to recast the social principles that should govern our national life. We are now entering a stage of world history where the issues that we need to resolve are not anymore strictly social, economic or political in nature. They now have a fundamentally moral character and they call for a fundamentally moral resolution. We need to stop and reverse this slippery slope to a deeper secularized world culture that tackles human affairs from a restrictive frame of economics and politics alone, and ignoring the most basic aspect of religion and our inner beliefs. I must say that we have been had for a long time by this questionable kind of culture that tends to separate reason from faith, science from religion, our human affairs from God. The state is made to conflict with the Church. While there is distinction, there is also inherent connection between them!
Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD
Fr. Roy Cimagala
NOW it can be told. And it needed Senator Lito Lapid who is supposed to be not known for his speaking prowess to get this data. The budget for the implementation of RH for the year 2012 alone is—hold your breath—P13.7B! According to experts, that figure is even higher than the individual budgets of the departments of energy, finance, foreign affairs, justice, labor, science, tourism and trade. It’s even bigger than those proposed for the Office of the President and Congress, and the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. OMG! What a waste of tax money that would be! What distorted sense of priority! And to think that the RH Bill does not even pass the preliminary smell test of morality, and the fact that many of its provisions are redundant since they are already covered in many other laws of the land! We cannot help but suspect there’s something serious that is hidden under the beautiful features with which the RH is marketed to the public. We have to look more closely at this initiative now forcefully pushed by women senators with radical feminist agendas. We already know that US Secretary Hillary Clinton admitted that RH by definition includes abortion. So even if our version does not include abortion yet, we can suspect that it would just be a matter of time before this evil gets legalized under RH. In fact, there are now many people in the country openly voicing their support for abortion. We also know from some declassified document that the US has been eyeing the Philippines for quite sometime now for birth control. It’s part of the geo-political game that the US is playing. That’s why our Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is suspicious about the RH Bill as being not so much for reproductive health as a tool to effect birth and population control. And under the current American leadership, there is also a strong lobby for RH not only in the US but also all over the world. In the US alone, part of the Obamacare program forces everyone to get medical insurance that includes paying for sterilization, contraception and even abortion—all against Catholic moral teaching. This has led American bishops to call this Obamacare provision as an
By the roadside What should be happening to our beautiful land
BLESSED John Paul II is deeply revered in the Philippines. Unknown to many Filipinos, some of the things he taught urgently apply to us today as we witness the tragedy of frighteningly more severe typhoons, as PAG-ASA warns us, floods that refuse to abate or the imminent specter of harsher and longer droughts ultimately related to climate change which is itself traceable to environmental degradation. The abnormal will be the norm, as a local government official sadly remarked in an interview. All because we disobey the most basic one. In his January 1, 1990 message for the World Day of Peace entitled Peace With God the Creator, Peace With All of Creation Pope John Paul II once described a situation that rings familiar: “In our day, there is a growing awareness that world peace is threatened not only by the arms race, regional conflicts and continued injustices among peoples and nations, but also by a lack of due respect for nature, by the plundering of natural resources and by a decline in the quality of life. The sense of precariousness and insecurity that such a situation engenders is a seedbed for collective selfishness, disregard for others and dishonesty [italics in the text]” (PWGCPWAC, no. 1). I can’t agree more. Peace is certainly compromised and even diminished, if not entirely lost among victims of calamities traceable to the abuse of the environment. It strikes me, however, that Blessed John Paul II was not content in simply citing a destructive fact. He also pointed to human factors that are at play in such a situation, realities that are also at the root of the problem: “collective selfishness, disregard for others and dishonesty”. I find this striking because such a focus is what we often miss as we grapple with the ecological crisis in our midst. After a tragedy we usually start playing the blame game. We ask: Who are responsible for the evil we suffer? We do everything we can to identify its human causes. Naturally the exercise is helpful and even necessary to a degree. But the late pope even now is reminding us that there are deeper causes, still human, but more sinister because they lie inside humans. They influence human thinking, decisions, behavior and lifestyle. Whether we like it or not, they are as real as the names of criminal individuals or groups we wish uncovered. “Collective selfishness” truly explains our behavior when we choose money or profit in exchange for our mountains, lands or bodies of water being ravaged by deforestation, irresponsible mining (we need to ask when has mining been responsible in our country), tons of garbage or runaway pollution. When we mind only our convenience and throw our waste anywhere, when we see only revenue coming in from the mining or logging industries and turn a blind eye on the devastation they generate on the patrimony of the future generations, do we hear the Holy Father’s warning of our wanton “disregard for others”? When we try to justify the abusive exploitation of our natural resources by the jobs it generates or the economic development it intends to achieve, don’t we close our ears to the Holy Father’s exhortation that we avoid “dishonesty”? At the bottom of the ecological crisis are not simply the names of failed officials or government agencies. More fundamentally, we face its moral roots. Earlier, the Philippine Bishops in their January 29, 1988 Pastoral Letter titled What Is Happening To Our Beautiful Land assessed our situation then with brutal honesty: “To put it simply, our country is in peril. All the living systems on land and in the seas around us are being ruthlessly exploited. The damage to date is extensive and, sad to say, it is often irreversible. One does not need to be an expert to see what is happening and to be profoundly troubled by it.” Then the document brings out in greater detail indicators of the catastrophe: “Within a few short years brown, eroded hills have replaced luxuriant forests in many parts of the country (a situation already becoming critical in a number of our towns and barangays in Eastern Samar). We see dried up river beds where, not so long ago, streams flowed throughout the year (ours are river beds becoming polluted by toxic waste from unregulated mining ventures or becoming depleted by excessive quarrying and improper disposal of human-generated waste). Farmers tell us that, because of erosion and chemical poisoning, the yield from the croplands has fallen substantially. Fishermen and experts on marine life have a similar message. Their fish catches are shrinking in the wake of the extensive destruction of coral reefs and mangrove forests. The picture which is emerging in every province of the country is clear and bleak.” One wonders if there had been any progress at all since this 1988 statement. Even then the Bishops already warned us of the injustice waiting to happen even on a people yet unborn: “The attack on the natural world which benefits very few Filipinos is rapidly whittling away at the very base of our living world and endangering its fruitfulness for future generations.” It is clear that the alarming abuse of our environment reveals its moral roots. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines morality as the state or condition of our human acts being ‘good’, that is when they lead us to our “last end”, namely God himself, or ‘bad’ when they lead us away from him (CCC 1749-1761). If I give you food out of compassion when you are hungry and unable to provide food for yourself, I do a very moral act. It is precisely moral because it brings me to God or closer to him. On the other hand, if I curse or stab you out of hatred for you or the beliefs you espouse, I do an immoral act and it is precisely immoral because it leads me away from God who is my ultimate end and whose nature is Love, the opposite of hatred or selfishness. Now let’s turn to the issue on hand. Human attitudes, decisions and acts leading to environmental abuse are outlined by Pope John Paul II as: “collective selfishness, disregard for others and dishonesty”. Of course there are other names and more specific roots behind environmental abuse, such as “greed” or the “insatiable desire for profit” and the inordinate drive for “power”. Karl Marx once uttered an observation Marxists consider a maxim: “The material base determines the lifestyle”. In other words, the extent of my wealth (material base) could measure the kind of behavior I may exhibit (lifestyle). If I were wealthy, that would place within my reach the best clothes or food denied to others but, with it, also a capacity to an exploitative lifestyle. Wealth, moreover, will give me power that I could use to abuse people and even the earthly goods at my disposal. When I mindlessly exploit the environment, for example, I might say I am doing it to feed my family or the families of people I employ (deception and dishonesty) when I actually do so for the considerable profit I stand to gain (insatiable drive for wealth), I doubtless do a grossly immoral act. The reason is simple. My actions do not bring me any closer to God but to things that I could use as substitutes for God. Moreover, my action of environmental abuse cannot be moral because I do it in total disregard of the welfare of others, including that of the future generations. God is love and when my behavior is not motivated by love, it cannot lead me to him. As John the evangelist reminds us, “He who does not love does not know God for God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). What should be happening to our beautiful land? Our own CONVERSION as individuals and as a nation.
The fury of Pedring!
SEPTEMBER 27, Tuesday, was a difficult and trying day for the residents of Metro Manila, Central and Northern Luzon; it was the day when Typhoon Pedring unleashed its fury. Early Tuesday morning, all houses along the coastal area of Navotas City, from north to south, were literally torn down by high waves as tall as two story house; the residents practically run for their lives; they did not have enough time to save items except the clothes they wore. It is a blessing that this happened during daytime, otherwise, many lives would have been lost and body injury suffered. Talking with residents, they narrated that both the water and strong winds had loud sounds, the waves had abnormal action, instead of the forward and receding motion they had a continuous, rapid, travelling movement, going up and down, flowing quickly inland, crossing parallel streets of Cadorniga St., San Marcos St. where our home is, the main road Naval St., Yangco St. and onto the Navotas-Malabon River. The fishermen called it “mini tsunami”. This is also the incident when sea water meets river water. In less than an hour, the flood inland is already in the same level as the sea, one can no longer pinpoint where the sea starts. *** I personally experienced the wrath of Pedring, with the floods coming instantaneously, so loud, so fast, and in huge volumes like waterfalls, while the low winds above was blowing strongly, furiously, noisily; in less than half an hour, the inside of our home was already thigh-deep, flooding all of the ground floor area, destroying appliances, beds, sofa, books, magazines, documents; you name it, you had it damaged, including the car in the garage. Many thanks to all of you, from here and
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
vention, I must immediately remedy the situation. Thank God, Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in U.N. Avenue, Paco, Manila is available as the new Convention venue. To all Convention delegates, please contact Laiko Office c/o Joseph Jesalva or Kate Buenconsejo through phone number 527-5388, telefax number 527-3124, Mobile 0919-863-4218 and email firstname.lastname@example.org, for your accommodation at Pius Center. *** It is noticeable that unlike Ondoy when there was much rain, Pedring is purely winds and not much rain. Pedring coincided with strong winds, 1.6 meters of high tide, malfunctioning of “bombastic pumps” of Navotas, broken dikes in Malabon, release of waters from dams. It was just fortunate that power supply was cut off, lest many would be electrocuted. The Diocese of Kalookan’s observance of the Closing of the National Laity Week on October 1 was cancelled; how ironical that it is about Philippine Red Cross Workshop on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Definitely, the people need this workshop. *** Happy Birthday to my nephews Patrick Robby Santiago (October 16) and Michael Gerald Rosales (October 17). Birthday greetings also to the clergy of the Diocese of Kalookan: Fr. Larry Toledo, Fr. Edgar Guantero, Fr. Wilfredo Cabrera, OMI and Fr. Chris Tibong. Happy 33rd Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Gaudioso Sustento. Grazie to Fr. Michael “Mike” Mata for his nice words about this column; he reads the CBCP Monitor online. Fr. Mike was formerly with the Diocese of Kalookan and co-anchor at Veritas 846 Hello Father 911; he is now in Oristano, Sardegna, Italy.
abroad, who gave me inspiring messages and moral support when flood hit our Navotas home; the space is not enough to mention your name, but you all know, and God too, who you are. You all gave me physical strength to carry on; emotional strength when almost everything is drifting away; spiritual strength to stand firm in my faith, acknowledging that our God will not allow this trial if I could not handle it. One very touching message I received: “All things come to pass, Atty. Au. What is important is that you are well and out of harm’s way. God is Good and “all things work for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). *** Typhoon Pedring also caused enormous damage to several establishments and hotels along Roxas Boulevard in Manila and Cultural Center Complex in Pasay City. Waves from Manila Bay, as high as the building, struck everything that blocked their direction. Portions of the famous Bay Walk in Roxas Boulevard were completely washed away. Tons of garbage and debris from the sea were swept inland; the same thing happened in Navotas. Flood in Roxas Boulevard was waist deep, also in the same level as the sea. *** Bayview Park Hotel in Roxas Boulevard, Manila, was one of those which suffered severe damage to its facilities and power system. It was the venue of the 17th Biennial Convention of the Sanggguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (“Laiko”) on October 22-23, 2011. In its letter, the hotel regrets the cancellation of Laiko’s booking because it would take at least one month to repair its power system and facilities. As Chairperson of Laiko’s National Con-
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD
Along The Way
“THE Church should stop interfering in politics!” This was the message of the man, bearing a placard with the sign: “Damaso,” who disrupted the mass in the Manila Cathedral a year ago. As a proponent of the RH bill, he was angry at the stance of the CBCP and other pro-life groups against the bill. It seems that he was expressing the views of some liberal and progressive groups in society that regard the Catholic Church as a bastion of conservatism and a block to the nation’s progress. Philippine society must be freed from the “domination” of the Church which historically has been symbolized by the Spanish friars—the Padre Damasos. They insist that in a modern and secularized society that enshrines the principle of the separation of Church and State, the Church should keep out from the public sphere and keep quiet. “The Church should stop interfering in politics.” This is what intelligence agents told me 38 years ago while torturing me and later imprisoned me for seven months. I was a young college seminarian writing and distributing “subversive” articles against the Marcos dictatorial regime in the early years of Martial Law. They wanted me to list down the names of priests and nuns who actively opposed the regime. “The Church should stop interfering in politics.” This is what Marcos and his military minions kept on repeating as many bishops, priests, religious, lay people and
The ‘interference’ of the Church in politics
the people against the attempts of Ramos and Estrada to extend the term limits of the President. They supported the EDSA Dos that ousted a corrupt president. They criticized the abuses and corruption carried out by former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. From a broad historical perspective, the Catholic Church has been actively engaged in the public sphere and has contributed substantially to social transformation—in the work for justice, peace, development and the integrity of creation. The Church has been in the forefront of the defense of life. The Church’s opposition to the RH bill is consistent with her opposition to abortion, capital punishment, war and violence, extra-judicial killings and to the destruction of the environment. It is part of the consistent ethic of life. What appears to her detractors as interference in politics is simply the Church exercising her mission and nature as a prophetic and servant community and as the Church of the poor. Integral evangelization always involves not just renewed worship and catechesis but also renewed social apostolate—in other words active involvement in social action. This is part of the vision of the renewed Church promoted by Vatican II and PCP II—the second Plenary Council of the Philippines. Yes, the Church should keep out from
Along The Way / A7
Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) all over the country took a stance against the dictator and his cronies. In the process many church people lost their lives—Fr. Godofredo Alengal, Fr. Rudy Romano, Fr. Tulio Favale and several pastoral workers and leaders of BECs. The Catholic Church was the only credible institution that could stand up against the dictator. The peaceful EDSA people power that ousted Marcos would not have been possible without CBCP’s condemnation of the election fraud and without the support of Cardinal Sin, the nuns, priests and lay people who faced the tanks armed with their rosaries, crosses and statues of their saints. Even with the restoration of democracy, Church people continued their engagement in the political and social arena. They brokered the peace negotiations between the Government and the NDF. They set up Zones of Peace in Negros and Mindanao. They monitored the conduct of elections through the NAMFREL and PPCRV. They were at the forefront of the defense of the environment—leading the struggle against the logging companies in Bukidnon that led to the declaration of the total log ban in the province. They supported the campaign against mining and opposed the government pro-mining policies. They condemned extrajudicial killings that were carried out by death-squads inspired by military and local government officials. They mobilized
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
RH body to determine which regions to sterilize, contracept – Cayetano
MORE hidden details of the “reproductive health” (RH) bill are unraveling, with Sen. Pia Cayetano revealing that a central body will determine which regions in the Philippines should use contraception and which regions should be sterilized. Under interpellation by Sen. Lito Lapid, Cayetano initially said the distribution of artificial contraceptives would depend on the requests of local government units. Later on, Cayetano said that if an area’s average age is low, policymakers won’t recommend vasectomy. “Pills will be recommended so the time during which there will be no pregnancy is temporary,” she said in Filipino. Lapid raised the matter of side effects and birth defects as a result of using contraceptive pills, revealing that his third child died of a heart ailment at age nine. Lapid said his wife decided to take pills after the birth of their second child, but still got pregnant. “[Ang sabi ng duktor], pag umabot ng [14 years old], magtatagal. Pero umabot ng [9 years old], namatay ang bata, inatake sa puso. Namatayan ako ng anak dahil diyan sa gamot na iyan,” Lapid said. Lapid also questioned why more children are having cleft lips and palates, and more women are giving birth to twins, triplets, and quadruplets. “May ipapanganak nagkadikit ang ulo, nagkadikit ang dibdib. Gagastusan pa ng gobyerno,” he added. Lapid asked: “Magagarantiya ninyo kaya na walang mangyayari sa kababaihan? Magagarantiya ninyo kaya?” Cayetano made a blanket denial that pills cause birth defects, and added that cleft palates or cleft lips are due to the mother’s poor nutrition. A monograph released just this year by a working group under the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) made an “overall evaluation” that “oral combined estrogen–progestogen contraceptives are carcinogenic to humans.” The 2011 report classified the pill as a “Group 1” carcinogen, which means the highest level of evidence of cancer risk. The study showed pills can cause cancer of the breast, insitu and invasive cancer of the uterine cervix, and cancer of the liver. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile told Cayetano that the anti-RH side does not want to stop the use of artificial contraceptives. “Ang tinututulan namin ay ang intervention ng Estado kung saan bibigyan sila ng bilyong halaga ng condom at pildoras para ‘di mabuntis ang kababaihan,” he said. He asked: “Who will determine who will give birth?” (CBCP for Life)
CBCP renews call for restorative justice Priest urges gov’t to
(CBCP-ECPPC) is pushing for the adoption of restorative justice system in the country. This advocacy which was launched in 2000 is already gaining ground, according to Rodolfo Diamante, Executive Secretary of ECPPC. “This year 2011, we had the summit on people deprived of liberty where we engaged the criminal justice practitioners on adopting restorative justice. Almost all people now who are involved in the ministry is a considering restorative justice,” Diamante said. “We need to set our mindset. People will always think that they can obtain justice by punishing people who have committed a violation of the law. Imprisoning them instead of working for the restoration of relationship that had been broken and working for alternatives like community base treatment particularly on detained prisoners must be done”, Diamante added In the Philippines, ECPPC is working for the passage of a recognizance act that will decongest the country’s jail by 70 percent. The Recognizance Act or the restorative justice applies to offenders who are waiting for their case to be heard in courts. Those who are qualified for bail, instead of staying in jails, can stay with their families and continue working. Some of the countries that have adopted restorative justice are Thailand where instead of putting people in prison, they put them in treatment centers; New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Bangladesh are practicing community-based approach, an alternative for imprisonment. In Costa Rica, detainees are given pre-trial release program and stay in their own communities while their court cases are in process. In restorative justice, the offenders are given opportunity to repair the damage they’ve done through various creative ways. (Jandel Posion) A CATHOLIC priest appealed to the Philippine government to lift the travel ban for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Libya. Fr. Celso Laraccas, assistant priest of Saint Francis Parish in Tripoli, said the government failed to provide alternative livelihood to around 10,000 OFWs who have been repatriated in troubled Libya. “We are appealing to the government to lift the travel ban because the OFWs are suffering due to unemployment unlike in Libya where they earn at least $2,000 to $3,000 a month,” Laraccas told Church-run Radyo Veritas. The Filipino missionary claimed
lift Libya travel ban
it is now safe for the OFWs to return to Libya after months of civil war. He also said that many OFWS are concerned of losing their jobs in Libya if their employers decide to hire other workers. “If they will not be able to return and the travel ban will not be lifted, the companies might get other workers from India and Pakistan to replace our OFWs,” Laraccas said. If the government cannot provide employment for the OFWs, it is better, he said, to lift the travel ban instead so that the workers can earn money for their families in the Philippines. (CBCPNews)
FOLLOWING the Vienna declaration wherein each country is to look for the possibility to adapt restorative justice paradigm, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care
Taxes / A1
Photo courtesy of CBCP-ECPPC
Mining / A1
Section 9, which declares family planning supplies as “essential medicines,” requires that hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and injectables, among others, “be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals, provincial, city, and municipal health offices, including rural health units.” Meanwhile, Section 10 mandates the Department of Health (DoH) to lead in the procurement and distribution of family planning supplies for the whole country. The section prescribes a formula for determining budget allotments: “(a) the number of women of reproductive age and couples who want to space or limit their children; (b) contraceptive prevalence rate, by type of method used; and (c) cost of family planning supplies.” Reading the two sections together, Recto said the bill would
Price Tag / A1
require the government to pay for the contraceptives of as much as 44 million people. Cayetano admitted that the DoH had sought P13.7 billion in funding for the RH bill for 2012 alone. Cayetano said P7.5 billion would be needed yearly to pay for 22,000 nurses and 4,500 midwives. Such huge funding requirement would take away resources needed to combat the leading causes of deaths in the country, which are heart disease, cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, and diabetes, Recto argued. “Are you going take it from these? It’s a zero sum game, unless you ask people to contribute more payroll tax or through PhilHealth,” he said. Recto added: “We’re promising too much and you can’t deliver … And is this the best way to help the poor?” Cayetano offered to delete Section 10. (Dominic Francisco)
the wanton abuse of natural resources by the TNCs with their local cohorts in South Luzon Region, especially in Bicol.” “The experience of the Bicolano people is no different from the plight of local communities in mining areas throughout the country: massive environmental destruction, shrinking economic base of the people, militarization of mining communities, and displacement of communities due to land-grabbing and unjust land-conversion, gross human rights violations, destruction of flora and fauna, and further impoverishment of the country,” EBF said. “The unresolved and ever continuing polymetallic mining operations in Rapu-Rapu Island, Albay, Labo, Paracale, and Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, the aggressive mine expansion in Aroroy, Masbate by Filminera Resources Corp., the peculiar magnetite off-shore mining in
Pro-RH / A1
Camarines Sur by Bogo Mining Resources Corp; the Palanog Cement Plant in Albay, Panganiban and San Andres, Catanduanes, and the deeper quagmire of maldevelopment of mining in Matnog, Sorsogon challenge us to rethink our role as responsible God’s stewards of creation,” it added. Protest Two days after the EBF meeting, Cagayan residents called on the Aquino administration to stop magnetite mining along Cagayan River and the province’s coastlines. Protesting what they call ‘human and environmental injustice’ the clergy of Tuguegarao archdiocese and the Federation of Anti-mining Advocates of Cagayan (FAMAC), led rallyists last Oct. 8 demanding an end for mining operations in the province. The continued extraction of magnetite sand along the
province’s northern coastlines and Cagayan River in Lal-lo and Camalaniugan, has worried residents because of its impact on environment and livelihood of citizens. Antonio Liquidan, vice president of FAMAC said the extraction of sand may lead to erosion and destruction of the ecosystem. “Cagayan River is a Key Biodiversity Area and our people depend on its bounty. However, due to licenses given by the local government, the destruction of the riverbed is legalized, hence, which may cause gradual soil erosion and killing of riverine ecosystem,” he said. Liquidan pointed out that extraction of magnetite sand on the seashores of Aparri, Gonzaga and Buguey undermines the capacity of the coastlines to block storm surges. The destruction of Buguey sand dunes, he said, threatens the fisher folk community and
the neighboring farmlands. He further noted that 80 percent of the town is an Important Bird Area (IBA) considered by Birdlife International. Aparri parish priest, Fr. Adelbert Barot has lamented the inaction of government on the issue. “We are saddened that our national government does not heed our call. Without our knowledge Cagayan River and our shorelines has been mapped out to be sold. This is an utter insult to the integrity of creation and violation of human rights,” Barot said. He explained that the whole issue boils down to exacerbate disaster risks especially in the time of climate crisis in which unpredictable extreme weather conditions may happen anytime. Natural physical set-up of rivers and coastlines serves as natural disaster risk reduction mechanisms. (With reports from Noel Sales Barcelona and Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
interject, asking why DOH officials did not mention the amount in budget hearings. Enrile blasted RH proponents for not being transparent on the real purposes of the bill, pointing out that billions of pesos of taxpayers’ money could go only to artificial birth control and that this could all boil down to “tawaran” or haggling. “This now suggests to me that at the bottom of this bill this is a measure to control the population of the country. Why is DOH not telling us that it is anticipating that it will involve such a huge amount of funding coming from tax money? We have to scrutinize this bill very carefully. This might be a trap for the country.” Enrile recalled that the Marcos regime did not entirely implement a US-funded population control program, as it was a US foreign policy dictate. True enough, the declassification in the 1990s of the National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests, written by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1974, showed that the Philippines was among 13 countries targeted for depopulation to protect American commercial interests. “This bill is unfair to the Senate. It does not tell us what it wants to do. Maybe I’m dense or not as intelligent as the sponsors of the bill but my impression is this bill is not candid enough on what is its real purpose,” he said. In response, Cayetano again resorted to appeals to emotion,
nearly shedding tears in describing the situation of poor families and mothers dying of childbirth— ignoring recent studies that maternal deaths have gone down by more than 80% since the 1980s. Cayetano said part of the funding would go to “basic” and “comprehensive” facilities, or birthing centers at the community level. Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, however, said such facilities have long been put up in the communities, even without an RH bill. Bishop dismayed Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo was dismayed upon learning the hefty 2012 proposed budget of the Department of Health (DOH) to implement the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. “I am deeply saddened. The country has more issues we need to address first. Why is there a proposed budget already when the RH bill is still under debate?” asked Pabillo. Filipinos were surprised when they learned of the new figure which was in contrast to what Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman stated months ago. “We have been checking around with eligible authorities on the adequate budget on the implementation of RH bill, and they are talking about in the vicinity of 3 billion.” “Why don’t they just help people in need especially now?” said Pabillo, referring to victims of recent typhoons Pedring and Quiel which swept the country, while packing relief goods bound for Nueva Ecija. (CBCP for Life)
stayed calm, perhaps mindful that other senators had been ridiculed and demonized by pro-RH lobbyists for daring to question the bill. Recto pulled out 2008 data that respiratory ailments are the No. 1 cause of death among women, not complications due to pregnancy as claimed by Cayetano. ‘Universal access’ Noting that Senate Bill 2865 requires reproductive health education for ages 10-19, Recto asked whether barangay health centers would give contraceptives to children, and whether children would be taught how to use them. “Is it clear that there is no barangay health center that will give contraceptives to [those who are] 10 to 19 years old? 10 to 18? Below 17 years old?” Cayetano replied that children will not be given contraceptives. Recto seemed incredulous, pointing to Section 2 of the bill, which says: “The State likewise guarantees universal access to medically-safe, effective, legal, affordable, and
Delegates / A1
quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information and education thereon according to the priority needs of women, children and other underprivileged sectors.” Section 9 states that even rural health units should be stocked with an adequate supply of artificial contraceptives. It wasn’t even clear whether individuals would be informed of the contraindications and adverse effects of artificial contraceptives, he said. Moreover, Section 18 on “prohibited acts” penalizes those who “Knowingly withhold information or restrict the dissemination thereof, and/or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods,” Recto added. The lawmaker also criticized the “onesize-fits-all” education mandate of the bill, which will require all public and private schools, including those run by the religious, to follow a single RH curriculum.
Aid / A1
“[Our parents] may have taught us sex education but they certainly did not give us contraceptives,” Recto said. Cayetano said she understood that the bill won’t do such things, but claimed individuals “as young as 10 years old will have RH needs that have nothing to do with not getting pregnant.” Telling Cayetano that the wording of the bill clearly states otherwise, Recto said: “In the House, I’m telling you, it’s totally different,” referring to the debates at the House of Representatives. Recto also questioned the purpose of “mobile health care service” vans that will be given to each congressional district under Section 12. He said these could be used to distribute contraceptives nationwide, as Section 12 speaks of the delivery of “healthcare goods and services” and a “wide range of reproductive health care materials.” Cayetano again blew her top and said: “It is not a contraceptive ice cream truck. I am offended.” Recto replied: “But it’s shown in the bill!” (Dominic Francisco)
people during the WYD Madrid celebration. World Youth Day celebration has become a portal for opportunists who have plans to work in a foreign land. It was reported that the WYD held in Rome in 2000 had the most cases of “tnt’s” while the 2008 WYD in Australia had all delegates returned 100 percent back to the country. The said commission cannot yet confirm if there are so-called “tnt’s” for this year’s WYD, but members of the ECY Philippines delegation have all returned home. Aside from the official delegation under the ECY, there are other 1500 delegates who belonged to ‘other-groups’. Youth leaders from the said groups will report on Oct. 13 for their accountability. (Jandel Posion)
currently living in evacuation centers. It said the number could still rise as floods, particularly in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga, have not yet receded. “Their situation worsens day by day due to inadequate administrative assistance and prevailing bad weather. Urgent relief and recovery assistance are vital to lessen the people’s vulnerabilities from disaster,” Caritas said. “Please extend your assistance in our relief operations and for a long-term
involvement. The need is dire and we all must act with the greatest possible urgency to rush aid and relief to those affected,” it added. According to Fr. Edu Gariguez, Caritas Filipinas executive secretary, an initial P1 million from its Alay Kapwa fund has also been set aside to support the immediate needs of the displaced families. Among the items urgently needed by the affected families, he said, include sleeping mats, blankets,
jerry cans, clothes, kitchen sets, cooking utilities, hygiene materials, and tarpaulins. Gariguez appealed for financial assistance that may be coursed through the PhilTrust Bank account of “CBCP CARITAS FILIPINAS FOUNDATION, INC.” through account number 00320013778-3. He also related that the Caritas foundations in Norway, Korea, Singapore, and New Zealand have already made pledges of assistance. (CBCPNews)
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
Priest urges NPA to release captive mat vendors
CAGAYAN DE ORO City— The Catholic Archdiocese of Cagayan De Oro has appealed for safe release of six sleeping mat peddlers snatched by the New People’s Army (NPA) last August. In a statement, Fr. Nathan Lerio, director of the archdiocese’s Social Action Center urged the insurgents to finally release the vendors “without harm and ransom.” “Let us respect human rights and promote democratic and peaceful dwelling being freed from harassment and coercion,” Lerio said. “We cannot attain peace and prosperity through human right violations but only in the spirit of dialogue, self-giving love and respect human dignity that we enjoy a peaceful and progressive society,” he added. The NPA Front 88 based in the hinterlands of Bukidnon has earlier admitted to “arresting” the mat vendors for alleged espionage. It said the vendors, who were reported missing since August 10, were caught doing surveillance work while selling their products door-to-door. The six peddlers were identified as: James Mabaylan, Nelson Bagares, Segundino Dailo, Ernesto Callo Jr., Julieto Sarsaba and Ronald Boiles, all from Initao, Misamis Oriental. Father Lerio also called on the faithful to continue praying for the safe release of the peddlers as soon as possible. “We earnestly pray for the concerned families whose family members’ lives are endangered to hold faith in God and remain strong with fervent hope that things will be well by the grace of God. We are in solidarity with you in this trying moments,” he said. (CBCPNews)
Bulacan bishop leads relief operations, turns over new homes for Ondoy victims
MALOLOS City—With typhoon “Pedring” out of the country’s area of responsibility, thousands of residents from Calumpit and Hagonoy towns still have to recover from floods brought about by the release of excess water from Angat dam and clogged waterways. Malolos Bishop Jose Francisco Oliveros said he has already ordered the release of P200,000 to immediately respond to the basic needs of the affected victims but admitted they would need additional assistance from the CBCP’s National Secretariat of Social Action, Justice and Peace and Caritas Manila. “You must understand Calumpit sits beside a river which serves as Angat dam’s outlet while Hagonoy is just near Manila Bay with some clogged waterways,” the prelate told CBCPNews. He expressed appreciation of NASSA’s immediate response by sending a team to do on-site data gathering. Oliveros said the flood victims need additional food supplies and basic utensils. The prelate said in response to calls for safer home sites, the Diocese of Malolos which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee, will turn-over 20 homes under Phase 1 of their Jubilee Homes project in Plaridel town for the poor and rendered homeless by typhoon “Ondoy” two years ago. Initially funded by Caritas Australia, Jubilee Homes will have 300 row houses for the poor and homeless while duplex homes will also be constructed for the Diocese of Malolos employees under a rent-to-own arrangement. “Individual homes will also be sold to interested buyers for the upkeep of the residential area,” the 65-year old prelate said. He went on to describe the project as just like any other subdivision, complete with a chapel and livelihood programs. The Basic Ecclesial Community will be established in the area. The prelate remains optimistic the government, through Bulacan’s lawmakers, will be able to put enough funds to build a school for the residents. (Melo M. Acuña)
Rosary relay offered for sanctification of priests
NAGA City— In response to the 2nd Global Rosary Relay which Pope Benedict XVI launched on June 23, 2011, the Archdiocese of Caceres held its own Rosary Relay on October 7, 2011, Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. The Rosary Relay was offered for the sanctification of priests, for more priestly and religious vocations and for the triumph of faith amidst the recent attacks on the family. Fr. Philip Francis R. Bersabe, Director of Caceres Catechetical Ministry spearheaded the activity in collaboration with Caceres Commission on Communication, Three Million Rosaries for Ina Crusade, KBP Camarines Sur Chapter and Kabalikat Bicol as VHF Radio support. The Rosary Relay began at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary with the message of Most Reverend Leonardo Z. Lagaspi, O.P. D.D., Archbishop of Caceres. The Rosary was passed on to 25 Marian Parishes of the Archdiocese of Caceres that continued praying the entire mysteries one after the other. Each Marian Parish was allotted 10 minutes for the reading of the Scriptural text of the Mystery and praying one decade of the rosary by the faithful led by their Parish Priest. After each decade, a Marian song was played at the central station, Radio Caritas Mariae DWRV-FM 98.3, Mother’s Touch, the only Catholic radio station in Naga City owned and managed by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Each Marian Parish was also given a media partner to assist the parish priest in transmitting the relay to the central station. The Rosary Relay was concluded with a Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Msgr. Jose Roberto Z. Carpio, PC, Rector of the Holy Rosary Major Seminary. The anchors of the Rosary Relay at the central station were Fr. Philip Francis R. Bersabe, Rosary Relay Coordinator and Fr. Ryan O. Fenis, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Annunciation Parish and Rosary Relay Assistant Coordinator and Sr. Lou T. Ranara, FSP of the Daughters
Photo courtesy of Sr. Lou Ranara, FSP
Control dams to prevent damaging floods—youth group
Anchors of the Rosary Relay headed by Fr. Philip Francis Bersabe, Director of Caceres Catechetical Ministry (extreme left).
of St. Paul. Bicolanos working and living outside Bicol were able to listen to it through the website of the Archdiocese of Caceres and through www.immacolata.ws, the website of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Although some parishes had some difficulties in getting a
clear signal, around 97 percent of the parishes relayed the rosary well to the central station. The activity was launched through the effort, support and creativity of the Parish Priests, their Parochial Vicars, Media partners, the Kabalikat Bicol and those who prayed for its success. (Sr. Lou Ranara, FSP)
ANTIPOLO City—Damage caused by massive flooding because of the releasing of water from different reservoirs in Luzon could have been minimized, if not prevented, if the State has total control with these dams, a lawmaker said. “State control over the operations of dams such as the release of water could’ve diminished the ravages of typhoon Pedring. Corporations or establishments such as dams which has the capacity to inflict hazard to people’s welfare should have government intervention regardless of being privately-owned or not,” said Kabataan Rep. Mark Louie Aquino. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
PHL govt fails to curb illegal recruitment, trafficking— group
May They Be One Bible Campaign
NORMA C. Cocos, chairwoman of Education Apostolate and Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) leader in Ozamis City, has 12 members in her group who were all blessed after each receiving a copy of the May They Be One (MTBO) Bible. She gladly relates that the group at the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral experienced various changes in their personal and social lives as a result of reading and studying the Bible. They gave up bad habits like gambling and gossiping. Broken families were restored. Members who seldom prayed developed a new passion for taking time to pray and to know God better. Those who did not recognize God, now acknowledge His sovereignty and enjoy participating in Bible sharing. Norma confides that she herself experienced changes in her relationship with her family. She learned to take care of her husband and to submit to his decisions. All the members of her family now read the Bible and have decided to serve the Lord together. Norma finds the Bible Sharing Helps printed at the back of the MTBO Bible very useful. Recently, her children took the initiative in sharing the Word of God with others using the different methods presented in the MTBO Bible. • No. of Dioceses participating in the Bible Campaign – 82 out of 86 Dioceses
Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home The Bible: Breaking Bondages, Building Lives
• Total Funds Needed for Printing and Transport of Bibles in 2011: P45M Members of the MTBO Advisory Committee: Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, DD, Fr. Oscar A. Alunday, Mr. Rod G. Cornejo, Mr. Rene E. Cristobal Sr., Dr. Philip C. Flores, Mr. Dante M. Lanorio, Fr. Antonio B. Navarrete, Fr. Art B. Orense, Dr. Natividad B. Pagadut and Mr. Albert S. Tanlimco. Praise God for a meaningful and challenging celebration of the 3rd Anniversary of the MTBO Bible campaign last September 30. The event was marked by a Musikapihan and testimonies of people whose lives were powerfully changed by the Word of God. Pray that more key media outfits (TV, radio and newspapers) will support and promote the MTBO Bible campaign to help accelerate the dissemination of God’s Word in the country. To learn more about how you can be part of the Campaign and make significant change, call us at PBS 526-7777, ECBA 5279386 or visit www.bible.org.ph and www. ecba-cbcp.com. Donations can be made by making a deposit to the following bank accounts: PBS-MTBO Account #393-0649-34 (BPI Sta. Mesa Branch) Fax deposit slip to 521-5803 or ECBA-CBCP Account #0251021376 (BPI-Tayuman Branch) Fax deposit slip to 527-9386. For credit card payments – go to PBS website (www.bible.org.ph)
QUEZON City—In spite of laws and other efforts, the Philippine Government is, still, a failure in terms of curbing illegal recruitment and human trafficking, according to a migrant watchdog. The analysis came after the number of victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking, particularly in the Middle East, continues to rise. Migrante Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard C. Monterona said that Migranteaffiliate groups have been processing a minimum of 10 cases per month, of illegal recruitment, from different parts of the oil-rich region. What is saddening, he said, is that the government has resolved only a fraction of the cases filed before the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Don’t let NPA ambush deter peace talks—bishop
CALOOCAN City—The attack staged by the New People’s Army on three mining firms in Mindanao stresses the need to continue the peace talks between the government and the rebel group, an ecumenical group said. According to the Philippines Ecumenical Peace Platform, the government should not let the peace negotiations be affected despite the recent attacks by the insurgents. “We hope that it will not be used to stall the peace talks between the GPH and the NDFP,” said Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, PEPP Secretary. (CBCPNews)
Anti-Apeco groups seek ‘ally’ in Senate
Norma C. Cocos
• Bibles Distributed (Jan. 1, 2011 - Oct. 4, 2011) : 156,232 copies • Bibles Distributed by Languages Bicol (3,748 cps.) Cebuano (41,465 cps.) English (28,415 cps.), Hiligaynon (12,401 cps.), Ilocano (8,281cps.), Pampango (1,922 cps.), Pangasinan (1,033 cps.), • Samarenyo (2,524 cps.), Tagalog (56,443 cps.) • Parishes/Communities served in 2011: 163 • Total Bible Distribution: (Jan 2009Sept 12, 2011): 464,020 cps • Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for 2011: 300,000 cps.
ANTIPOLO City—Anti-APECO [Aurora-Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port] groups are seeking “allies” in the Senate that would help them scrap an “onerous” project. Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) Vice Chair Salvador France said that they had been expecting the senators about the issue and review the project which they believe will just “bastardize” the waters and land of Aurora and the nearby provinces, and will evict the thousands of fisher folks and peasants from their lands. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Farm group asks concrete support from govt
Tidbits / A4
ANTIPOLO City—Farmers from Central Luzon appealed to President Benigno C. Aquino III to give them ‘concrete’ support since their crops and properties have severely been damaged by typhoon Pedring (Nesat). Nelson Canlas, chairperson of the Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon (PACL), said that they expect that the lives of the already poor farmers would be poorer as they always plant through credit. What is saddening, according to Canlas, is that the help coming from the Government does not suffice. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Mati celebrates October as Rosary month for vocations
playboy philosophy of “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” A pleasurable life no doubt, but a flat one, boring due to its shallowness. To get back our young to their senses we need to bring the Good News to them, proclaim to them again that Jesus is the answer to their life. It may sound naive, simplistic. But there is wisdom to this activity in as much as it is based on the nature of man and God’s loving plan for His people. Man
Love Life / A4
simply cannot be satisfied with the things of the earth; his longing is eternal. Devoid of the eternal, man succumbs to restlessness, to a feeling of meaninglessness, to boredom. There exists within man an unquenchable fire that burns him ever to restlessness, making him incapable of ever settling him down to full peace; a desire that cannot be satisfied. In a language that is consonance to him as a poet, Plato described this state of man’s restlessness thus: “We are fired into
life with a madness that comes from the gods and which would have us believe that we can have a great love, perpetuate our own seed, and contemplate the divine.” Augustine is simpler in his declaration: “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” The restless soul of our young can only find rest in Jesus. For this, he needs to listen again the proclamation of the Gospel, the Good News.
MATI, Davao Oriental—For the Diocese of Mati, October is praying the rosary for vocations. The diocese has added the prayer for Vocations composed by Blessed John Paul II along with the daily praying of the Holy Rosary in all parish churches, at Mass time or during the dawn rosary processions for the entire month of October as it celebrates Vocation month. Mati kicked off its celebration of the Vocation month with a Holy Mass on the feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, patroness of the missions. (Sr. Marietta Alo, OND)
Living Mission / A4
Along The Way / A5
sa iyong anak na si Hesus. Sa pamamagitan ng iyong halimbawa, tulungan mo po sila na matutunan ang tamang paraan ng pagpapasuso na iniatas ng Panginoon upang mabigyan ng kalusugan ang kanilang sanggol. Feel free to copy these prayers and distribute it to others. For more information and materials on devotion to OLL, contact Mrs. Remedios “Baby” Gonzales – 0917-815-6524
showing all these joining hands with the brothers of the other religions, was a visible expression of these statements of the Second Vatican Council. With this day, and by means of it, we have succeeded, by the grace of God, in realizing this conviction of ours, inculcated by the Council, about the unity of the origin and goal of the human family, and about the meaning and the value of the nonChristian religions—without
the least shadow of confusion or syncretism.” “At Assisi, in an extraordinary way, there was the discovery of the unique value that prayer has for peace; indeed it was seen that it is impossible to have peace without prayer, the prayer of all, each one in his own identity and in search of the truth.” The pope even went so far as to say: “We can indeed maintain that every authentic prayer is called forth by the Holy Spirit,
who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person.” In his 1990 mission encyclical, Redemptoris Missio, the pope reiterates this striking statement of his conviction (cf. RM 29). On the twenty-fifth anniversary of “Assisi One” (1986-2011), Benedict XVI again reaffirms the Church’s commitment to interreligious dialogue, bearing witness before the world of a common interfaith commitment to world peace.
partisan politics and should not allow herself to be associated with any political party or ideological group since her mission is primarily religious and moral in character. But what appears as socio-political issues and concerns are moral issues which the Church need to address. Thus, the Church—which includes the clergy, religious, lay organizations, renewal movements and the BECs- cannot remain silent and inactive when faced with injustices, poverty, corruption, the environmental destruction and the various manifestations of the culture of death. Calling this interference in politics and symbolizing it as Padre Damaso betrays ignorance of the nature and mission of the Church and a misinterpretation of the meaning of the separation of Church and State. (Visit www.cbcpbec.com and www.amadopicardal. blogspot.com)
THE Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is organizing a national assembly of diocesan BEC directors this month. Fr. Amado Picardal of the CBCP BEC Committee said the diocesan BEC directors will have a simple gathering at the Bukal ng Tipan Center in Taytay, Rizal from October 11 to 13. “The purpose of this gathering is to establish contact between the CBCPBEC national office and the diocesan BEC directors, to come up with a general assessment of the BECs in the Philippines, to make preparation for the regional BEC assemblies starting 2012, and to prepare for the National BEC Congress in 2015 in line with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II,” Picardal said. Since participation at the national assembly of diocesan BEC directors will be paid for by the dioceses, the CBCP-BEC Committee expects only at least one delegate for each of the 86 dioceses and archdiocese nationwide. “We are asking each diocese to shoulder the travel expenses and the registration fee for their respective delegates. The registration fee is P1,950. This already includes the board and
People, Facts & Places
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
CBCP gathers diocesan BEC directors
In this file photo, leaders of basic ecclesial communities in different dioceses across the country gathered to share and listen to one another during the 2nd BEC Congress held in Cagayan de Oro City in 2008.
Collegio marks golden jubilee with academic confab
THE Pontificio Collegio Filippino’s jubilee celebration was highlighted with an academic conference of the Collegio’s resident-priests with Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education at the Vatican City. Grocholewski’s talk on “The Role of PCF in the Pursuit of Excellence” in the morning was followed by a Mass presided by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, with other Philippine Bishops, alumni priests and students. The Collegio’s administrators and resident-priests joined the general audience with Pope Benedict XVI last October 5. Meanwhile, a week-long exhibit of Liturgical vestments (made by “Chez les Saints” from the Philippines) was opened last October 6 in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy to the Holy See, inviting priests, religious, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and other interested persons. “This house has indeed been a big blessing to the Church of the Philippines, as her graduates return home filled with rigor, knowledge, and the fire to set ablaze the local Church,” said Fr. Gregory Gaston, Collegio’s present rector. In Manila, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has congratulated the Collegio community for living up to the vision of the bishops who conceptualized its creation. Incoming CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who stayed at the Collegio from 1983 to 1987 while taking up his doctorate degree in Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, particularly congratulated the priests who made it to Rome and are residing at the Collegio. The 61-year-old prelate also advised the student-priests to profit from the experience of being a scholar and warned them from overlooking their original purpose of going to the Eternal City. “There is always the temptation of being a tourist rather than a scholar, but always remember that you are in Rome for your formation and special training in the first place,” Palma said. “Make good use of the opportunity that was given to you and profit from the wonderful experiences you will get from being a student in Rome,” he added. Palma also urged the studentpriests to nurse an enthusiasm
lodging for the duration of the assembly (air-conditioned/double occupancy per room), the use of the facilities and other material,” Picardal added. Expected to grace the assembly is Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and Davao Auxiliary Bishop George Rimando. Pabillo is the Chair of CBCP-NASSA While Rimando is the head of the CBCP Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities.
Earlier, Picardal attended a gathering of Asian BEC leaders to assess the state and development of BECs in their respective countries, fifty years after the BEC was conceptualized during the Second Vatican Council. BEC practitioners from India, Sri Lanka, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and the Philippines gathered at the One World Community Service
Center in Taipei from September 2 to 5 for the Asian Continental BEC Meeting to report on the state and development of BECs in their respective countries. Picardal represented the Philippines. According to Picardal, the conference, themed “BECs in Asia 50 years after Vatican II,” was held in preparation for the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council next year, when a
separate conference for BEC practitioners all over the world will be held in Germany. The continental conferences and that which is slated in Germany next year are meant to identify the challenges to the BECs in Asia and throughout the world “in the light of the recent social, economic, and cultural developments, especially globalization and post or late modernity.” (CBCPNews)
on coming home to their respective dioceses after completing their studies in Rome. “And please come home. There are some who, despite being sent by their bishops to study in Rome, do not find the enthusiasm and desire to go home and serve their dioceses. This is very sad,” he said. The Collegio is currently home to at least 18 Filipino priests and eight foreign priests, apart from the administrators and lay and religious support staff. (CBCPNews)
INSTALLED. A priest of the Mission Society of the Philippines has been appointed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (CEP) as the new ecclesiastical superior of two atolls in the Pacific. Fr. Oliver Aro, MSP was officially installed in the Catholic Church in Nukunonu Atoll on October 2, 2011 by Archbishop Daniel Balvo, apostolic nuncio to New Zealand. The installation rite was witnessed by Fr. Alfie Africa, MSP Moderator; Msgr. Patrick Edward O’Connor, outgoing ecclesiastical superior of the islands; and the faithful of Tokelau. Aro’s assignment in the island officially opens for the MSP a new mission in the Pacific, particularly in the small island of Tokelau. Aro took over from O’Connor, a native of New Zealand who has served as ecclesiastical superior of the islands since 1992 until his retirement in May 2011. O’Connor became ecclesiastical superior of the islands at the time when the Archdiocese of Samoa-Apia and Tokelau was split in 1992 and Tokelau became Mission “sui iuris” (independent Mission) of Tokelau. Ordained priest in 1997, Aro has served as a missionary in Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. As ecclesiastical superior of the Pacific islands, Aro will be part of the conference of bishops in the Pacific, known as CEPAC, and will join the bishops in their regular ad limina visits in Rome. DECLARED. One of the oldest parishes in Batangas was declared Asia’s very first Catholic shrine in honor of St. John the Baptist last Aug. 29 during a Mass to commemorate the saint’s martyrdom. The declaration was held in the town of Lian at the Parish of St. John the Baptist, which now bears the name “the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. John the Baptist.” Even before, the parish has already been known to house the old life-size image of San Juan Bautista (as the patron saint is locally known), which the community regards as miraculous. Because of this miraculous image, faith is strengthened in Lian—this is acknowledged in the official declaration: “By reason of special devotion, this parochial church is frequented by the faithful as pilgrims.” Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles cited in his homily the age-old tradition of hosting San Juan, by way of his image, during special occasions. Now that the image of San Juan is more apt to stay at the shrine, replicas have been made to accommodate the requests of the devotees as well as to continue the tradition of honoring the patron saint. The building is currently being renovated to improve the facilities, especially to accommodate the pilgrims. CELEBRATED. 25th anniversary of the foundation of the congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Face of Jesus, October 1, 2011. A thanksgiving Mass presided by His Eminence Jose Cardinal Sanchez and concelebrated by 7 other priests was held at the Sisters’ convent chapel at Hidalgo Street in Quiapo at 10 a.m. of October 1, the feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. In connection with the silver jubilee celebration, the sisters held a musical concert on September 12 at the Philam Auditorium in United Nations, Manila. The concert’s main performers were the Holy Face Sisters and 7 Priests in the City. The activity aimed to raise funds to build an extension of the Sisters’ convent in Hidalgo. On October 2, a convention of the Crusaders of the Holy Face was held also in Hidalgo. The Holy Face congregation was founded by a former Carmelite, Mother Therese Vicente on October 1, 1986. She was Mother General of the congregation until her death in 1995. During its recent chapter, Mo. Teresita Bantillo was elected by the sisters as Mother General. The congregation currently has 28 professed sisters and 9 under formation. It has communities in Alaminos, Cagayan, Pampanga, Antipolo and a novitiate in Quezon City.
La Naval celebrations stress ‘stand for life’
THE celebrations of this year’s feast of Nuestra Señora de la Naval de Manila emphasized on the role of Mary in the history of salvation—the fulfilment of her maternal responsibility to Christ, from conception, to giving birth, and raising Him devotedly. Fr. Giuseppe Pietro V. Arsciwals, OP, rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (La Naval de Manila), said that the Marian celebration reflected Santo Domingo Convent’s stand concerning the Reproductive Health bill. However, the rector stressed that it is not simply “a stand against but [more] as a way of standing up for life.” Themed “Ina ni Kristo, Ina ng Buhay,” La Naval celebrations officially started last Sept. 29 with the ceremonial enthronement at the Sto. Domingo Church, in Quezon City. The event was also a reiteration of the essence of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae.” “With this theme, we hope to underscore the sacredness of life from the moment of its conception up to the time of its natural end,” Arsciwals said in an e-mail. This year’s La Naval celebrations also meant to support the people who are in the forefront in the fight against the RH bill, such as Bishop Teodoro Bacani, Sen. Vicente Sotto, Fr. Melvin Castro. This is the consideration in choosing the rosary/novena leaders, Arsciwals said. “We considered their pro-life stance or
their involvement in pro-life causes,” the rector explained. Others prolife advocates who graced the event include Sr. Pilar Verzosa, representatives from the Pro-life movement, and Tahanang Walang Hagdan, among others. Celebrants of novena masses include Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi, OP; Bishop Honesto Ongtioco; Bishop Teodoro Bacani; Fr. Melvin Castro; Fr. Rolando de la Rosa,
OP; Fr. Tamerlane Lana, OP; Fr. Ernesto Arceo, OP; Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, OP; and Fr. Filemon dela Cruz, OP. Novena masses run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 8, while the grand procession with Asia’s first canonically crowned image was held on Oct. 9 at 4 pm. All masses and the grand procession on October 9 were livestreamed on www.lanavaldemanila.com. (Levine Lao)
Filipinos among top delegates in World Congress on Mercy
OVER 200 delegates from the Philippines have attended the Second Apostolic Congress on Divine Mercy held in Krakow, Poland. The Philippine delegation appeared to be one of the biggest groups in attendance during the five-day congress. Lipa Archbishop Ramon V. Arguelles, in a text message to CBCPNews, said Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, S.J., Kidapawan Bishop Romulo dela Cruz, Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros, Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Francisco de Leon, and Novaliches Bishop Antonio R Tobias are among the Filipino bishops who joined the Congress. “Our group is the biggest bishops’ delegation outside Poland,” Arguelles said. He added that over 200 Filipino delegates have come from the Philippines but there are other Filipinos who have come from other parts of the world. One of the highlights of the Apostolic Congress was the visit to Autschwitz Bigenau where the delegates prayed for the millions of holocaust victims during World War II. “We felt the presence of Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein,” Archbishop Arguelles added. Delegates also visited Wadowice and traced the paths Blessed John Paul II took during his younger days. The Second World Apostolic Congress on Mercy began October 1 and ended October 5. (Melo M. Acuña)
Iloilo parish to host country’s 1st Vatican Eucharistic miracles exhibit
THE Immaculate Conception Parish in Tanza, Iloilo City, will host the country’s first ever Vatican International Exhibition of the Eucharistic Miracles of the World from November 7 until December 3, 2011. The Eucharistic Miracles of the World Exhibit will be held at the Pacita Laguda Sia Community Center in the Immaculate Conception Parish, Ledesma St. Tanza, Iloilo City. The event will open with a celebration of the Holy Mass followed by a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on November 7, 2011 at 4 p.m. Parish priest Fr. Norberto Taccadao, said that through the project they hope to help reverse the current trend of indifference to the Real Presence and ignite the love for the Holy Eucharist, thus increasing the attendance at Holy Mass. Taccadao said that the Eucharistic Miracles of the World Exhibit will be Immaculate Conception Parish’s “little candle” to offer light in a world darkened by indifference to the Real Presence of Our Eucharistic Lord. The Immaculate Conception Parish invites everyone to take part and benefit from the Eucharistic Miracles Exhibit and Conferences. He said to welcome and awaken inactive Catholics back to regular participation into the Holy Mass, the parish will educate its parishioners and the general public on the importance of the Holy Eucharist as the center of Christian life and to highlight the mystery of the Holy Eucharist as Jesus Christ truly present among us. The exhibit is just one of the three programs the parish has thought of to reawaken among the people the love for the Eucharist. First among the programs is a series of educational seminars that will be held in different schools and barangays of the parish starting October this year. Another project is a series of conferences on the scientific findings on the Eucharistic miracles slated from July 7-9, 2012. Open to religious, the laity and the general public, the conferences will have Dr. Ricardo CastanonGomez, a Cognitive Neuropsychologist, as invited speaker. Castanon-Gomez is a member of a pool of scientists that have examined various claimed mystical phenomena for the Church throughout the world. Because of personally experiencing the scientifically inexplicable results of various Eucharistic Miracles, Dr. CastanonGomez not only converted from atheism, but has dedicated his life to spreading the triumph of faith over science. A copyright from the Vatican was obtained for the Philippine exhibit through the efforts of Ms. Lorena C. Martirez, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Parish. Those who would like to make further inquiries or arrange for group visits for the Eucharistic Miracles of the World Exhibit and Conferences, may contact Lorena C. Martirez, at telephone numbers (033) 321-3096, +63908-891-1677, or email her at email@example.com. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCPNews)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
World Mission Sunday 2011
‘As the Father Has Sent Me, So I Send You’
(Message of Pope Benedict XVI for the World Mission Sunday 2011 that will be observed on October 23)
ON the occasion of the Jubilee of 2000, the Venerable John Paul II, at the beginning of a new millennium of the Christian era, reaffirmed forcefully the need to renew the commitment to take to all the proclamation of the Gospel with “the same enthusiasm of the Christians of the early times” (“Novo Millennio Ineunte,” No. 58). It is the most precious service that the Church can give to humanity and to each person who seeks the profound reasons to live his existence fully. Because of this, this same invitation resounds every year in the celebration of World Mission Sunday. In fact, the incessant proclamation of the Gospel also vivifies the Church, her fervor, her apostolic spirit, it renews her pastoral methods so that they are increasingly appropriate to the new situations— also those that require a new evangelization—and animated by the missionary drive: “the mission renews the Church, reinforces the faith and Christian identity, gives new enthusiasm and new motivations. The faith is strengthened by giving it! The new evangelization of Christian peoples will find inspiration and support in the commitment to the universal mission” (John Paul II, “Redemptoris Missio,” No. 2).
Go and Proclaim This objective is continually revived by the celebration of the liturgy, especially of the Eucharist, which always ends recalling the mandate of the Risen Jesus to the Apostles: “Go ...” (Matthew 28:19). The liturgy is always a call ‘from the world’ and a new sending ‘to the world’ to give witness of what has been experienced: the salvific power of the Word of God, the salvific power of the Paschal Mystery of Christ. All those who have encountered the Risen Lord have felt the need to proclaim him to others, as did the two disciples of Emmaus. They, after recognizing the Lord in the breaking of the bread, “rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered there” and they told what had happened on the road (Luke24:33-34). Pope John Paul II exhorted to be “vigilant and prepared to recognize his face and run to our brothers, to take the great announcement to them: We have seen the Lord!” (“Novo Millennio Ineunte,” No. 59). To All All peoples are recipients of the proclamation of the Gospel. The Church “is missionary by nature, as she takes her origin from the mission of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, according to the plan of God the Father” (“Ad Gentes,” No. 2). This is “the happiness and vocation proper of the Church, her most profound identity. She exists to evangelize” (Paul VI, “Evangelii Nuntiandi,” No. 14). Consequently, she can never be shut-in on herself. She roots herself in certain places in order to go beyond. Her action, in adherence to the word of Christ and under the influence of his grace and of his charity, is made fully and actually present to all men and to all peoples to lead them to faith in Christ (cf. “Ad Gentes,” No. 5). This task has not lost its urgency. On the contrary, “the mission of Christ Redeemer, entrusted to the Church, is still far from being accomplished ... a global look on humanity shows that this Underway is a cultural change, fueled also by globalization, by movements of thought and by the prevailing relativism, a change that leads to a mentality and a lifestyle that does without the evangelical message, as if God did not exist, and which exalts the search for well-being, easy earnings, careers and success as the objective of life, even at the cost of moral values. Co-responsibility of All The universal mission involves all, everything and always. The Gospel is not an exclusive good of the one who has received it, but is a gift to be shared, good news to communicate. And this gift-commitment is entrusted not only to a few, but to all the baptized, who are “a chosen race ... a holy nation, God’s own people” (1 Peter 2:9), to proclaim his wonderful works. All activities are also implied in it. Attention and cooperation in the evangelizing work of the Church in the world cannot be limited to some particular moments and occasions, nor can they be considered as one of the many pastoral activities: the missionary dimension of the Church is essential and, therefore, must always be kept present. Hence it is important that every baptized person as well as the ecclesial communities be interested not only in a sporadic and irregular way in the mission, but in a constant way, as the way of Christian life. The Missionary Day itself is not an isolated moment in the course of the year, but a precious occasion to pause to reflect on how we respond to the missionary vocation; an essential response for the life of the Church. Global Evangelization Evangelization is a complex process and includes several elements. Among these, a peculiar attention on the part of missionary animation, has always been given to solidarity. This is also one of the objectives of World Mission Sunday, which through the Papal Missionary Associations requests help in carrying out tasks of evangelization in mission territories. An attempt is made to support institutions necessary to establish and consolidate the Church through catechists, seminaries, priests and also to make a contribution to the improvement of the conditions of life of persons in countries in which the phenomenon of poverty, malnutrition especially of children, illnesses, lack of health services and education are more acute. This also falls within the mission of the Church. Proclaiming the Gospel, she takes seriously human life in the full sense. It is unacceptable, reaffirmed the Servant of God Paul VI, that in evangelization subjects are neglected that refer to human promotion, justice, liberation from every form of oppression, obviously in respect of the autonomy of the political sphere. To be indifferent to the temporal problems of humanity would mean “to forget the lesson which comes to us from the Gospel concerning love of our neighbor who is suffering and in need” (“Evangelii Nuntiandi,” No. 31); it would not be attuned to Jesus’ conduct, who “went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity” (Matthew 9:35). Thus, through co-responsible participation in the mission of the Church, the Christian becomes a builder of communion, of peace, of the solidarity that Christ has given us, and collaborates in the realization of the salvific plan of God for the whole of humanity. The challenges that it meets, calls Christians to walk together with others, and the mission is an integral part of this path with all. In it we bear, though in vessels of clay, our Christian vocation, the inestimable treasure of the Gospel, the living testimony of Jesus dead and resurrected, encountered and believed in the Church. May this World Mission Sunday revive in each one the desire and the joy of “going” to meet humanity taking Christ to all. In his name I impart to you from my heart the Apostolic Blessing, in particular to all those who most toil and suffer for the Gospel. In the Vatican, Jan. 6, 2011, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
mission is still at the beginning and that we must commit ourselves with all our energies in its service” (John Paul II, “Redemptoris Missio,” No. 1). We cannot remain tranquil in face of the thought that, after two thousand years, there are still peoples who do not know Christ and have not yet heard his message of salvation. Not only this; the multitude
LEFT: The mission ‘sui iuris’ of Tokelau is now under the care of the Mission Society of the Philippines.
grows of those that, even having received the proclamation of the Gospel, have forgotten and abandoned it, not recognizing themselves now in the Church; and many environments, a l s o i n traditionally Christian societies, today are refractory in opening themselves to the word of faith.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
The More Serious Crimes in Church Law (Part III)
Breaking the Host before Consecration
Q: The pastor of my parish breaks the bread into two pieces prior to consecrating the bread into the precious Body of Christ. Then he holds the two pieces of bread, one in one hand, on in the other. Then he spreads his hands wide apart, and as he pronounces the words of consecration, he brings his hand together, and touches the two consecrated hosts at the lower end. I always understood that the bread is not to be broken till after the Lamb of God is announced. This is a source of concern and very disturbing to some of the members of our parish.—e.F., Scottsdale, Arizona
By Fr. Jaime Blanco Achacoso, J.C.D.
ABOUT a year ago, the Bishop of our diocese called a special meeting of the clergy in order to read to us what seemed to be new guidelines from the holy See for the handling of cases of sexual improprieties of priests. At that time, the scandal of the abuse of minors in Ireland—not to mention similar scandals that continue to surface in the United States—was still very much in the media. As happens with such indications, without the benefit of the text for closer study and reference, I left the gathering a bit confused regarding the different provisions, albeit quite clear about the gravity of the matter. Can you please tackle this question in a more structured way, understandable to a non-canon lawyer like me? In Part I of this article, we quoted extensively from a Historical Introduction, prepared by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith on the occasion of the publication of the new guidelines published in May 2010, for the handling of allegations of the so-called delicta graviora (more serious crimes) typified in the Penal Law of the Church. 1 In part II, we tackled the substantive (dispositive) part of the Norms on Delicta Graviora, approved by the Holy Father on 21 May 2010, which dealt with other matters than the crimes related to sexual misconduct by clerics. In this concluding part, we finally look at the provisions concerning sexual misconduct of clerics, which the document refers to as more grave delicts (delicta graviora) against morals—in as compared
images of minors under the age of 14 years for purposes of sexual gratification. These are three different acts of increasing malice: firstly, the mere act of procuring (even without owning) the pornographic material is already constitutive of the delict; secondly, the actual possession (retention, whether as property or otherwise) of the pornographic material; and finally the distribution of the said material. Furthermore, the norm limits the form of said pornographic material to images (not literature), but includes all formats—by whatever means or using whatever technology—whether hard copies (prints) or soft copies (electronic files). Statute of Limitation: Prescription for More Grave Delicts Art.7 — §1. A criminal action for delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is extinguished by prescription after twenty years, with due regard to the right of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to derogate from prescription in individual cases. — §2. Prescription runs according to the norm of c.1362, §2 of the Code of Canon Law. however, in the delict mentioned in art.6, §1, n.1, prescription begins to run from the day on which a minor completes his eighteenth year of age. This norm establishes the length of time after the criminal act (or the day when it ceased if it were a repeated or habitual) act in which charges can be filed, what is more commonly known as the statute of limitation, and in canon law by the more
A: This theme is succinctly addressed in the instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” No. 55: “In some places there has existed an abuse by which the Priest breaks the host at the time of the consecration in the Holy Mass. This abuse is contrary to the tradition of the Church. It is reprobated and is to be corrected with haste.” It is hard to be much clearer than that. This abuse seems to have arisen from a literal and somewhat dramatic interpretation of the words of the institution narrative of the consecration “He took the bread, broke it ...” This might be a symptom related to our televised society where the visual image predominates over the deeper meaning. And so, some priests, often in good faith, have been led to adopt in a more dramatic or even theatrical mode while celebrating the Mass. Thus, some see themselves almost as acting out the role of Christ by imitating his words and gestures. This phenomenon, however, may also be indicative of a lack of formation and of a defective understanding of the priest’s ministerial role as acting “in persona Christi” and the theological content of the words of consecration as form of the sacrament. Of course, if one were to be totally consistent with this view, then Communion would logically have to be distributed immediately after pronouncing the words “gave it to his disciples,” etc. As far as I know, this has never been attempted. In a way, the other parts of the Eucharistic Prayer explicate what is contained within the institution narrative as the summit of Christ’s paschal mystery of his death and resurrection, the center of salvation history. During the course of the celebration each element of the consecration is rendered clearer and in a way is also made present. During the offertory the Church takes the bread and wine and offers up thanks and praise to the Father. Before the consecration the Church also calls upon the Holy Spirit to intervene just as he did in Christ’s incarnation and throughout his life. The prayer which immediately follows the consecration, often called the “Anamnesis,” because it begins with a phrase such as “Father, calling to mind his death and resurrection …” is, in a way, the Mass defining itself by explaining what is meant by Christ’s command to the apostles to “do this in memory of me.” This prayer shows that the priest, in the consecration, is saying and doing more than just repeating Christ’s words and gestures. What is called to mind and made present throughout history is Christ’s death resurrection and ascension into glory. The command to “do this” also means imitating in our lives the attitudes of the loving and total self-giving which Christ demonstrated in his sacrifice. After this the Eucharistic Prayers generally invoke the Holy Spirit once more so that we may obtain the fruits of the celebration, above all to be united in charity and to intercede along with Christ for all those, living and dead, who need our prayer. This is done so that the overall purpose of the Eucharist is achieved when we are united with the saints in heaven. Finally, in the doxology, we recognize that all that is done through, with and in Christ in union with the Holy Spirit, is done for the Father’s honor and glory just as Christ constantly offered all to the Father. This might seem to be a digression away from the main point of the question. But I wish to show that unless the Eucharistic Prayer is complete, the full meaning of the gesture involved in breaking and giving is truncated and not fully grasped. The gesture is not the breaking and giving of a piece of bread but of the Lord’s Body sacrificed yet risen and ascended into glory. It is not partaking of a simple meal, but of Christ’s eternal sacrifice from which springs our salvation. Perhaps I am reading too much into what might appear as a simple practical gesture, albeit one that has been present from the beginning of Christianity. Yet I believe that many of these gestures obey an inner logic and may not be tampered with without peril.
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCPMedia
appointed, who is to be a priest, possessing a doctorate in canon law, outstanding in good morals, prudence, and expertise in the law. he is to carry out his office in all grades of judgment. Art.12 — For the functions of Notary and Chancellor, priests are appointed, whether or not they are officials of this Congregation. Art.13 — The role of Advocate or Procurator is carried out by a priest possessing a doctorate in canon law. he is to be approved by the presiding judge of the college. Art.14 — Indeed, in the other tribunals dealing with cases under these norms, only priests can validly carry out the functions of Judge, Promotor of Justice, Notary, and Patron [Procurator and Advocate]. Art.16 — Whenever the Ordinary or hierarch receives a report of a more grave delict, which has at least the semblance of truth, once the preliminary investigation has been completed, he is to communicate the matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which, unless it calls the case to itself due to particular circumstances, will direct the Ordinary or hierarch how to proceed further, with due regard, however, for the right to appeal, if the case warrents, against a sentence of the first instance only to the Supreme Tribunal of this same Congregation. Art.17 — If a case is referred directly to the Congregation without a preliminary investigation having been undertaken, the steps preliminary to the process, which fall by common law to the Ordinary or hierarch, may be carried out by the Congregation itself. Art.20 — The Supreme Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith judges in second instance:
to the more grave delicts against the faith and against the sanctity of the sacraments (of the Eucharist, of Penance and of Holy Orders). Again I shall quote extensively from the aforementioned document. More Grave Delicts against Morals: Sexual Misconduct with Minors Art. 6 — §1. The more grave delicts against morals which are reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are: 1° the delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years; in this case, a person who habitually lacks the use of reason is to be considered equivalent to a minor. 2° the acquisition, possession, or distribution by a cleric of pornographic images of minors under the age of fourteen, for purposes of sexual gratification, by whatever means or using whatever technology; — §2. A cleric who commits the delicts mentioned above in §1 is to be punished according to the gravity of his crime, not excluding dismissal or deposition. By the above norm, two classes of acts are typified as crimes: 1st, External sexual acts (not just desires, which fall under the night commandment of the Decalogue, which are beyond the purview of canon law) committed by a cleric (i.e., a deacon, priest or bishop) with a minor below the age of 18 years (completed at the time of the act). A person who habitually lacks the use of reason is considered legally equivalent to a minor. Furthermore, the law does not specify the sex of the minor, thereby including in the typified delictive act not only heterosexual activity but even homosexual ones. Neither does it distinguish between pre-pubescent, pubescent or adolescents properly speaking, thus including all minors below 18 years of age. 2nd, The acquisition, possession or distribution by a cleric of pornographic
general term of prescription. The present law lays down the general norm of 20 years for all crimes reserved to the CDF—e.g., the more grave delicts against the faith and against the sanctity of the sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance and Holy Orders previously discussed in Part II. However, for the more grave delicts against minors less than 18 years old, the new law increases the time of prescription (at the same time facilitating its calculation) by computing the 20 years from the day the minor completes 18 years of age (instead of from the day of the criminal act or its cessation). Procedural Norms Without going to the minute details, we can outline the procedure established by the new norms as follows: Art.8 — §1. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the Supreme Apostolic Tribunal for the Latin Church as well as the eastern Catholic Churches, for the judgment of the delicts defined in the preceding articles. — §3. The sentences of this Supreme Tribunal, rendered within the limits of its proper competence, do not need to be submitted for the approval of the Supreme Pontiff. Art.9 — §1. The Members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are ipso iure the judges of this Supreme Tribunal. — § 2. The Prefect of the Congregation presides as first among equals over the college of the Members, and if the office of Prefect is vacant or if the Prefect himself is impeded, the Secretary of the Congregation carries out his duties. Art.10 — It is necessary that such appointed judges be priests, of mature age, possessing a doctorate in canon law, outstanding in good morals, prudence and expertise in the law. Such priests may at the same time exercise a judicial or consultative function before another Dicastery of the Roman Curia. Art.11 — To present and sustain an accusation a Promotor of Justice is to be
1° cases adjudicated in first instance by lower tribunals; 2° cases decided by this same Supreme Apostolic Tribunal in first instance. Art.21 — §1. The more grave delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are to be tried in a judicial process. — §2. however, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith may: 1° decide, in individual cases, ex officio or when requested by the Ordinary or hierarch, to proceed by extrajudicial decree, as provided in c.1720 of the Code of Canon Law. however, perpetual expiatory penalties may only be imposed by mandate of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 2° present the most grave cases to the decision of the Roman Pontiff with regard to dismissal from the clerical state or deposition, together with dispensation from the law of celibacy, when it is manifestly evident that the delict was committed and after having given the guilty party the possibility of defending himself. Art.27 — Recourse may be had against singular administrative acts which have been decreed or approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in cases of reserved delicts. Such recourse must be presented within the preemptory period of sixty canonical days to the Ordinary Session of the Congregation (the Feria IV) which will judge on the merits of the case and the lawfulness of the Decree. Any further recourse as mentioned in art.123 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus is excluded. Art.28 — A res iudicata (i.e., final and executor sentence) occurs: 1° if a sentence has been rendered in second instance; 2° if an appeal against a sentence has not been proposed within a month; 3° if, in the appellate grade, the instance is abated or is renounced; 4° if the sentence has been rendered in accord with the norm of art.20.
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
Year of the Youth
National Youth Cross pilgrimage continues despite typhoons
DESPITE floods and power shortage in the metropolis due to typhoons Pedring and Quiel that visited the country earlier this month, the National Youth Cross still continued its journey in Metro Manila dioceses. During the devastation of typhoon Pedring, the pilgrim cross was staying in the diocese of Kalookan and when Quiel made its landfall, the Cross was continuing the journey in Antipolo diocese. The pilgrim cross had stayed another day at Kalookan diocese because of typhoon Pedring last Sept. 27, which was the original date of turn-over ceremony in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Cubao. Alvin Lorenzo, diocesan youth coordinator of Kalookan said in a text message that on the day of the cross’ turn over, some areas in their diocese were still affected by floodwaters caused by typhoon Pedring. But since the turn-over had already been delayed, they had to proceed with the ceremony even if it meant crossing the flooded areas. The turn-over ceremony took place at the Holy Sacrifice Parish in Diliman instead of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Cubao which was the original venue. Youth from Cubao successfully turned-over the cross to Antipolo where the formal turn-over rites were made in the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Shrine, Cathedral, Antipolo City. An estimated number of 500 people, students from Our Lady of Peace School, seminarians, young people from the diocese and church goers welcomed the cross. Typhoon Quiel hit Luzon on the second day of the cross’ stay in Antipolo. According to Dani Villanueva, the diocesan youth coordinator of Antipolo diocese, the typhoon didn’t stop them in turning-over the pilgrim cross to San Clemente Parish in Angono Rizal. “We were heading to Angono when we experienced the strong winds and rains from typhoon Quiel but we continued the trip and protected the cross using a trapal. When we arrived in Angono, the place is already experiencing floods. The remarkable thing there was even if it was raining with, strong winds and the floods, many young people from Angono welcomed the Cross,” Villanueva said. The group had a motorcade around Angono town, before turning over the cross to San Clemente Parish. Villanueva added that when they had turned-over the cross to the parish after the motorcade, the rain stopped and good weather occurred until the next day. He attributed the sudden change of weather as a miracle from God through the intercession of San Clemente. (Jandel Posion)
Jaro youth commission holds musical concert to fund formation program
Advocates push youth awareness on renewable energy
IN a small roundtable discussion last month, several renewable energy advocates reiterated the need for the youth to be educated on issues about renewable energy. Michael Pitlock, a Senior Regulatory Advisor of US Agency for International Development (USAID) Philippines said that the youth must understand the technicalities and participate on the processes that involve renewable energy. “Educate yourself as to the process of how prices are set, the commodities, etc., the youth and public must concentrate on the things that are in control of your utility. Don’t waste your time on arguing stuff that has no sense. Put you efforts on something that you can do,” Pitlock said. When asked about specifics, he suggested for young people to be observant of the kilowatt usage in their own household so that they can quantify how electric power may be saved or wasted. For his part, CBCP Youth Commission executive secretary, Fr. Conegundo Garganta, who was present during the roundtable, affirmed the need for a planned approached in raising the awareness of young people about energy especially in the context of the environment. “This way of helping the environment, we still need to propose it. But it can start from the consciousness; hopefully, we can get a good response from the heads of the commission. As of now, we must begin to study it carefully and make serious strategic plan that we must be concrete in our response,” Garganta emphasized. Garganta also discussed about the possibility of collaboration of the CBCP Youth Commission with the Center for Clean and Renewable Energy Development (CCRED) on matters of creating awareness. The collaboration of the youth commission with renewable energy advocates was visible in the first Earth Hour observance in 2008. RE advocates are setting roundtables in different locations across Metro Manila and plans to bring it to Cebu City on Oct. 25. (Jandel Posion)
© Mikey Alfaro
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo (center) with the cast of the musical Gleeorious.
IN tandem with the city’s theater groups, the Archdiocesan Youth Apostolate of Jaro has organized a musical concert in time for the celebration of CBCP Year of the Youth. Together with Sikat Academy and the University of the Philippines Marketing Society, the Commission of Jaro Archdiocesan Youth Apostolate (CJAYA) has organized a fund-raising musical project, titled Gleeorious, written and directed by Prof. Kevin Pison Piamonte. The musical concert aims to raise funds to finance the formation of the different vicariate youth ministers in the 14 vicariates of Jaro archdiocese. Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo has given his full support and blessing for this undertaking. In his opening remarks at the musical’s premiere, the Archbishop recalled the unique definition the 3rd Diocesan Synod of Jaro has given to the youth ministry: “Nurturing Presence”. He said that aside from the quality that the
Youth Ministry should be “nurturing”, which could mean “growth, facilitating, affirming, empowering” he emphasized that there is special need of “presence”. Explaining his point further, Archbishop Lagdameo stressed the need of personal presence, of concrete persons to carry the nurturing qualities and not just provisions, modules or facilities, but warm-blooded ministers that young people can open up to and seek advice from, persons they can journey with in discovering more deeply life and God. He pointed out that there are 93 parishes in Jaro but the Archdiocesan Youth Apostolate has only four full-time staff and a few volunteers, thus has a very thin presence in the archdiocese. The prelate appealed for all out support to fund the formation program of full-time youth ministers so that the youth apostolate will have a fuller presence in the Archdiocese in the coming years. Gleeorious is an adaptation of the popular youth-oriented TV musical Glee with a glorious
twist. Following the basic plot of a struggling glee club, Gleeorious focuses on the conflicts among the musical director of “New Directions”, the school principal and the captain of the cheering team. The play follows the journey of the glee club from auditions to the choral competition where they try to prove their best against another show choir. Gleeorious aims to appeal to the interest of the youth and at the same time to strengthen core values such as perseverance, hard work, selflessness, compassion, equality, and faith. Likewise, Gleeorious will provide a venue to showcase the wonderful talents of the Ilonggos and give their students an enjoyable yet learning experience in theater arts. Performers are from the Sikat Academy Summer Workshop, a brainchild of Atty. Jobert Peñaflorida and Professor Kevin Piamonte with the support of a core group of professional artists. The workshop has successfully mounted in 2008 Journey to Forever, a Golden Jubilee Musical of the Ateneo de Iloilo that raised funds for the new Ateneo campus
in the city. The Sikat Academy intends to duplicate the same effort as it did for the Ateneo de Iloilo by mounting another fund-raising musical, this time for the benefit of the Archdiocese of Jaro, particularly for the Commission of the Jaro Archdiocesan Youth Ap os t ol a t e , a s t he CBCP celebrates the Year of the Youth this year. As a truly youth-oriented project, the University of the Philippines (Visayas) Marketing Society, AGORA National Awardee as Most Outstanding Youth Marketing Organization, has been tapped as partner for all the marketing and production support services. Gleeorious held its premier on September 16, 2011. The play is scheduled to run until December 3, 2011, every Saturday, with three shows at 10 am, 2 pm and 6 pm at the Colegio de San Jose (CSJ) Auditorium, Iloilo City. A Grand Finale will take place on December 8, 2011, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, coinciding with the culminating activity of the Year of the Youth. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
Photo courtesy of Fr. Mickey Cardenas
Music, testimonies in Cebu ‘Jam for Life, Jam with Mary’
THOUSANDS of young people from different organizations, associations, parishes and public and private schools in Cebu actively participated in the “Jam for Life, Jam with Mary” last October 8, from 3 to 6 p.m., at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño Pilgrim Center. This special event, also known as the “Rosary Rally for Life,” was purposely planned as a fitting offering to Our Blessed Mother in observance of the Holy Rosary Month. It was also held to increase and bolster awareness among the youth of the importance of prayer — especially of the Rosary—in dismantling the anti-life agenda brewing in both the Senate and Congress. Dances and songs of praises, testimonies and comical skits filled the three-hour religious. A procession of the image of Our Lady of Lipa was followed by the recitation of the Holy Rosary and a celebration of the Holy Mass officiated by Archbishop Jose Palma, with Msgr. Joselito Tajanlangit, and Msgr. Arthur Navales together with the Augustinian Clergy headed by Fr. Rodolfo Bugna, OSA as concelebrants. To give more meaning to the event, participants wore white shirts symbolizing purity and total dedication to Our Lady, and brought their rosaries. “Jam for Life, Jam for Mary” is organized by Human Life International (HLI) Pilipinas, the Archdiocesan Service Committee chaired by Fe Barino, which is an umbrella organization of 30 charismatic groups, the Archdiocesan Commission of Youth and the Council of the Laity. Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, HLI Pilipinas director, was hopeful that this kind of event organized for the youth will be duplicated in other dioceses and archdioceses nationwide. (Miguel de Dios)
Bulacan youth to re-enact WYD
HUNDREDS of youth from the parishes of the Diocese of Malolos, Bulacan will gather at the Immaculate Concepcion School for Boys to experience what thousands of Catholic youth from all parts of the globe went through during the World Youth Day (WYD) in Spain last August. Aiming to echo the teachings of the WYD to young Bulaceños who were not able to participate in the global gathering of the youth with Pope Benedict XVI, the Diocesan Commission on Youth of Malolos is organizing an overnight “WYD echoing” on October 21 to 22 at ICSB. Themed “Sharing the fruits of World Youth Day Madrid 2011; Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the Faith,” the gathering will feature activities that mimic what has transpired during the WYD in Madrid from August 16 to 21. According to DCY director Fr. Angelito Santiago, they have prepared their own version of the Via Crucis, youth festival, vigil with the Monsignor and the closing Mass with the Bishop to let non-WYD participants experience what it is like to attend the WYD. “We formulated the activities in such a way that we will be able to infuse the teachings we got from our WYD experience and share it with the participants. Contextualization of the Pope’s message to the youth is very important and will be echoed in the homilies and talks,” he said. Santiago said it was the first time that the DCY Malolos will put up a special event to echo the lessons of WYD. “What inspired us is the message of Pope Benedict, calling on WYD participants to share the blessings of the WYD to youth and the rest of the community,” he added. Santiago also noted that they scheduled the DCY Malolos’ WYD echoing with the first feast day of Blessed John Paul II. “This is to celebrate the life of Pope John Paul II and remember his great works, including founding the WYD celebration,” he said. Bishop Jose Oliveros, who headed the seven-man delegation of Bulacan to the WYD in Madrid, is expected to attend the event. The Bulacan WYD participants spent their Days in the Diocese at Mata de Alcantara province. (YouthPinoy)
Yesterday, today and tomorrow
Celebrating the Daughters of St. Paul’s 75th Foundation Anniversary in the Philippines
By Sister Gloria V. Felix, FSP
Yesterday In distant 1937, two Daughters of St. Paul – Sisters Elena Ramondetti and Maria Cleofe Zanoni were on board the Italian vessel “Conte Rosso” headed to Manila, Philippines, where the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress was to take place. With them too was another Daughter of St. Paul, Sister Edvige Soldano, tasked to chaperon them in their maiden missionary voyage to the Orient, specifically, to China. Although young and inexperienced at that time, Sister Elena and Sister Maria Cleofe were full of faith and trust in God, beaming with holy enthusiasm and apostolic zeal. They set out courageously and plunged unhesitatingly into the immense and mysterious Orient, relying fully on God’s grace and the assuring words of Father James Alberione, the saintly Founder of the Pauline Family, who told them the following words on the eve of their departure for the mission. “how very lucky indeed you are! You need not be afraid because you would be on a eucharistic voyage. Put all your trust in Jesushost who is your light and strength as you sail off for your new destination.” Their voyage to China via Manila was not only significant but also indicative of what God intended the Philippine Foundation of the Daughters of St. Paul would be: A foundation born of the Eucharist, just as the Congregation itself had been twenty years earlier; that is, like the Eucharist it is to be a presence, a covenant, a thanksgiving, a nourishment, and a pleasing sacrifice to the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit for the Filipino people. Meanwhile, the dream of the young missionaries to go to China for the spread of the Gospel would only be partly realized, for the hazards and fury of the Sino-Japanese War drove them out of China, forcing them to flee to India where they waited for the deadly war to ease out a little. God seemed to have in mind a different task for them elsewhere. Thus while keeping temporary residence at New Delhi, an urgent dispatch from Rome, from Mother Thecla Merlo, the Co-Founder of the Institute as a matter of fact, had reached them with the instruction that they pack up their belongings, and take a boat that would bring them to Manila. Ever obedient to the summons of God’s will and to the call of duty, the two missionaries brushed off their most cherished dream, and without much fanfare they once more boarded the ship that brought them to the Philippines. On October 13, 1938, their ship dropped anchor at the Manila South Harbor. Two weeks later, on October 28, 1938, the pioneering Daughters of St. Paul set up their first Pauline foundation on Philippine soil. And what an awesome co-incidence – it was the month of the Holy Rosary! It has always been the profound wish of the Founder that every Pauline Foundation should take off from Bethlehem. Translated into practical ways and parlance, it means that every foundation should be characterized with humility, poverty and simplicity. Such was Father Alberione’s firm recommendation to the departing Sisters when they came to see him for his blessing on the eve of their departure: “Remember, just the way it has always been done here!” True to the spirit that characterized every Pauline foundation, LIPA, a municipality in the province of Batangas, became the “crib/cradle” of the new Philippine foundation. The first convent was roomy but devoid of furnishings. The two Founding Sisters meanwhile waited for God’s hour to strike. As a matter of fact, their first apostolic ministry consisted in performing humble and hidden tasks like what Mary of Nazareth did during her time. For about a couple of years they gladly did housekeeping for the priests of the Society of St. Paul and the young boys being prepared for their priestly studies. Year 1939 marked the first sign of progress for the new foundation. It was the year the first batch of reinforcement arrived from Italy in the persons of Sisters Gaetanina Modenese, Bertilla Lorenzi and Melania Ravarotto. In 1940, the first Filipino vocation, Maria Giuseppina Formalejo from Bicol, entered the Congregation. This joyful event seemed to have been the answer to their earnest prayers and sacrifices, especially during their trying life of constant mobility in China and the bitter rejection from the ecclesiastical Authority in India. Thus their expectations rocketed and their hope became even more profound as they start to witness the initial but steady growth of the community. So, with bold eagerness yet with fear and trembling, the first squads of Gospel diffusers set out on the road and inaugurated their book mission to the families in cities, towns and far flung villages in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna and Quezon. The prospect of progress, however, was cut short with the outbreak of World War II. Once again God had placed their faith and steadfastness to yet another test. The tiny band of Daughters of St. Paul, like most Filipinos during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, experienced hunger, constant flight from dangers, and privations of all sorts. But however difficult and trying circumstances had been then, the Sisters of the nascent community kept faithfully to their mission and call. Today As the Filipino Daughters of St. Paul celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Foundation of the Congregation in the Philippines they can look back at their history with hearts overflowing with gratitude. Surely, the event is an invitation to recall the great marvels the Lord has done for them, in them, with them and through them in the Church, and in the Philippine society for the glory and honor of God and the salvation of peoples with the Media of Social Communication. Humbly counting their blessings they could cry out without ceasing, “Te Deum laudamus” (We praise you God), bearing in mind and heart what the Founding Daughters of St. Paul from Italy had help create and bring about in the Philippines—a Province composed of 186 professed members; 33 young women in formation, 18 branch houses cum book and media centers, a Novitiate House in Lipa, the “cradle” City, a modest yet modern publishing house (Paulines Publishing), a radio and AV production studios, and a Center for Media Literacy Education (MLE); a compound on 2650 F. B. Harrison Street in Pasay City that houses the Sanctuary of Mary Queen of Apostles and the 7-storey Alberione Home equipped with a 400-seating capacity auditorium. Now that vocations to the Congregation are no longer as abundant as years ago, the Philippine Province still is able to continue commit itself in providing missionaries to Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa, believing in what St. Paul said: “He who sows abundantly will also reap abundantly.” This
Daughters / B7
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
Celebrating 50th Anniversary of Pontificio Collegio Filippino
The Collegio Chronicles
The Collegio’s alumni, guest, resident-priests, administrators and support personnel
By Fr. Gregory Ramon D. Gaston
October 4 Tuesday Arrival of old timers and alumni. The newcomers on the other hand (13 Filipinos and 8 non-Filipinos) had already been in Italy to study Italian (JulyAugust in Verona, September in Rome at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and at the Pontifical Gregorian University). This is the first time in the PCF’s 50-year history that new students came to study Italian for three months, instead of the usual one month or even none, to prepare them better for their 2-4 year study programs. As of latest count, for the new academic year 2011-2012, there are 26 Filipino priests and 13 non-Filipinos, or a total of 39 residents. This is a 50% increase from last year’s 26 residents of 18 Filipinos and 8 non-Filipinos. The growth of the PCF population is attributed to the Bishop’s continued interest in strengthening the formation of their priests and seminarians, which ultimately redounds into a better pastoral care of the laity. Of the 13 Filipino newcomers, five are supported with funds coming from generous benefactors from within their own dioceses— that is, without the need to turn to any foreign scholarship agency. The day was capped with a welcome dinner and fellowship.
typhoon-prone diocese. 7:30 - Dinner and fellowship.
October 6 Thursday The Alumni went to the Shrine of Divino Amore in Rome, then to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in the outskirts of Rome. 5:00 p.m. - Opening of exhibit (in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy to the Holy See) of Liturgical Vestments by Chez les Saints. Invited were Filipino priests and religious, rectors of other national and international colleges and members of the diplomatic corps. After Fr. Gaston’s opening remarks, he asked the Philippine Amb a s s a d o r Thanksgiving Mass of the Collegio community
stoles, which were blessed and used for the Mass. Santos’ sister and two nieces came over to exhibit other chasubles, stoles, albs and copes from their collection, and provided multimedia presentations of their products. In the Philippines Chez les Saints would in many occasions allow the priests to take home their vestments after the Mass, the present celebration was taking place not in the Philippines but in Rome, and Chez les Saints’ intention is specifically to donate
Opening of the exhibit
October 5 to the Holy Wednesday 10:30 a.m. - The PCF commu- S e e , H e r nity joined the General Audience Excellency which the Holy Father holds on Mercy TuaSt. Peter’s Square every Wednes- son, and the day. We were given special newly apseats, on the box to the left of pointed Amthe Holy Father. Turning to the bassador to English-speaking pilgrims, the I t a l y , H i s Holy Father said, “My special Excellency greeting goes to the alumni and V i r g i l i o friends celebrating the fiftieth Reyes, Jr., anniversary of the Pontifical to give their respective Filipino College.” 4:00 p.m. - Recollection re- messages to flection by Bp. Jesse Mercado the attendof Parañaque (Batch 1981). He ees. Aside Academic conference with Cardinal Grocholewski shared memories the Diamond of his stay as a stuJubilee comes dent and later on 25 years from as PCF Rector in now. 1994, and encourThe Mass aged the present that followed students to make immediately the most of their was presided stay in Rome. over by Arch6:00 p.m. - Mass bishop Ramón with Bp. Angel C. Argüelles of Hobayan, Bishop Lipa. BelongEmeritus of Cataring to Batch man in Samar as 1972 and havthe main presider. ing been PCF He belongs to the rector in the first batch 1961 of early 1990’s, PCF Priests. At he encouraged the beginning of Cardinal Vidal (third from left) with alumni-bishops and -priests of the Collegio the mass he joked that he had from welcoming the guests, the students to respond to the to wait for fifty years before he they highlighted the excellence challenges of today and to prewas given the chance to be the of Philippine products which we pare themselves well through main presider in a mass at PCF. could all be proud of. Finally, their studies as the Church He recalled his memories of Cardinal Vidal led the prayers. continues to proclaim the Gospel October 7, 1961, when the Holy Instead of the usual ribbon message in the present world. Father Pope John XXIII came to cutting, the exhibit’s opening bless the PCF. The homily was was signified by the ringing of October 7 Friday 10:00 a.m. - Academic Conferdelivered by Bishop Manolo de the bell. Tito Santos, creator of the ence with H.E. Zenon Cardinal los Santos of Virac (Batch 1988), who shared his reflection on how liturgical vestments who hails Grocholewski, Prefect of the the Church is concerned with the from Bulacan, donated to the Vatican’s Congregation for people’s day to day life, in their PCF 50 gold chasubles with Catholic Education. The confer-
the 50 golden chasubles to the PCF; thus the priests in this case should kindly not bring the vestments home. He later added that since the PCF already had 50 chasubles, the PCF will just need to ask 25 more chasubles, and not 75, when
ence was conducted in Italian: Il Ruolo del Pontificio Collegio Filippino nel Perfezionamento della Qualità (The Role of PCF in the Pursuit of Excellence). He said that we are in a privileged environment, in the midst of the center of Catholicism, amongst the best ecclesiastical universities, and in close union with the Holy Father. We had to live “sub umbra Petri,” that is, “under the shadow of Peter,” one with the Pope in our sentiments, in utmost fidelity to Christ’s teachings as he handed them to us through the Church. Among other things, Cardinal Grocholewski emphasized that the PCF is not a hotel or a boarding house, but a house of formation. And that we continue to strive for excellence not only in our studies, but also in our spiritual growth, community life and pastoral ministry. The 50th Anniversary picturetaking took place right after the academic conference. Lunch followed. 6:00 p.m. - Mass of residents and alumni. Main Celebrant was His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. He used to be chairman of the Episcopal Commission on the PCF of the CBCP. He thanked God for the PCF’s contribution to Philippine Church in these past 50 years, and the great responsibility of the priests who undergo formation in this institution. At the end of the mass, Fr. Gaston said that after another 25 or 50 years, we will be looking back at our celebrations today and look at the pictures and videos being taken. And like the alumni of today, years from now we will also be trying to identify the persons appearing in those images, and guessing their whereabouts. 7:30 p.m. - Dinner, then tribute to all alumni, Dominican Sisters and personnel. The alumni bishops and priests were asked to share their memories of the PCF, and to give their advice to the present students. Incidentally, October 7 is also the feast of the Sisters, who belong to the Province of the Holy Rosary, of the Congregación de Religiosas Misioneras de Santo Domingo. October 8 Saturday 6:00 a.m. - The PCF alumni started early for whole day Pilgrimage to Lanciano (where they celebrated the Mass at 8:30 a.m.) and to Padre Pio. Meanwhile, those who remained at the PCF had their 7 a.m. Mass, presided over by Bishop Jose Oliveros of Malolos (Batch 1975). The years that he was in Rome were turbulent times, considering the social turmoil going on in Europe and in the Philippines. In spite of that, the students had to do their best to focus on their studies and to even go beyond their academic requirements, learning other languages and exposing themselves to the reCollegio / B7
© All photos courtesy of PCF
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
October 30, 2011 TheMe: “We have the same Father… One God who created us”
THE church deems it important that every year we celebrate Prison Awareness Sunday to remind us that our brothers and sisters who are behind bars are included in the kingdom of God. The prisoners are people we often forget and perhaps we do not want to think about. But they are still our brothers and sisters who like everybody else Jesus wants us to understand and accept. Jesus wants us to help them see their mistakes and be sorry for them and to right the wrong that they have done. He wants us to be bearers of Hope and Love. Today’s reading reminds us that “God is our Father and that One God created all of us. May this observance of Prison Awareness Sunday give us the grace to open our hearts to be compassionate to those who are in prison and help them to be re-integrated in our community. Let us pray that we become heralds of God’s infinite compassion and forgiveness. Let us call on God and ask him for the grace to recognize and serve him in our brothers and sisters especially those who are in Prison. Let us pray: * That our church leaders be faithful witnesses of God’s kingdom of love, justice and peace by living the gospel values they preach; * That our government leaders set aside personal gains and interest and work together for healing and renewal in our country;
24th Prison Awareness Sunday
* That the members of the custodial force and correctional employees faithfully commit themselves to serve and help in the rehabilitation of the prisoners entrusted to their care; * That life in prison be an opportunity for the prisoners to encounter Christ and make amend for the crime they have committed. May they constantly experience God’s love and compassion; * That the victims of crimes find strength and healing in God through the love and compassion of people around them. May they learn to forgive those who have caused them pain; * That those who are actively involved in prison ministry may commit themselves to be instrument in making the process of restorative justice work in the life of the prisoners and the victims of crime; * That we be compassionate to those who are in prison and be open to help in whatever way we can to ensure that the government and Church’s program for their rehabilitation be fruitful and meaningful. May our compassionate Lord be attentive to our prayers and help us to be witnesses of His love to our brothers and sisters especially those who are in prison. MOST REV. PEDRO D. ARIGO, D.D. Chairman CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care
Oppose the continuing onslaught on the earth
“I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and you made my inheritance detestable.” (Jeremiah 2:7)
Catanduanes, and the deeper quagmire of maldevelopment of mining in Matnog, Sorsogon challenge us to rethink our role as responsible stewards of God’s creation ( Genesis 1: 26-31 ). Destructive mining is blatantly unethical, unjust, and senseless for it exacerbates poverty, causes dislocation of livelihood of the people, and even threatens the base of life and life itself. It is lamentable that the national government equates TNC mining with development, and is remiss in its duties in protecting the environment to the detriment of the people. It has been proven that the negative costs of mining operations far outweigh the gains. Thus, to further liberalize the miningindustryinfavorofthemining corporations as being trumpeted by the Aquino administration will mean more suffering and death, dislocation, displacement and ruin of the environment. Hence we call on the Filipino people: 1. To oppose all destructive mining operations, both locally or foreign-owned; 2. To scrap the Mining Act of 1995; 3. To demand immediate moratorium of large scale mining; 4. To demand the demilitarization of mining communities; 5. To fight for justice and integrity of creation; 6. To pass the HB 4315 or the Peoples’ Mining Bill; We urge our churches and faithbased groups and institutions to pursue organizing, awareness building, and other relevant activities, and be in full solidarity withthepeople’smovementagainst destructive mining operations. With the liberating power of the Holy Spirit, we seek strength and wisdom to carry this task of asserting the right of the earth to survive and all that dwell therein. Signed: MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS. S. IÑIGUEZ, JR. D.D. Bishop, Diocese of Kalookan Co-chairperson
WE, the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF), express alarm over the wanton abuse of natural resources by the Transnational Mining Corporations (TNCs) with their local cohorts in South Luzon Region, especially in Bicol. The experience of the Bicolano people is no different from the plight of local communities in mining areas throughout the country: massive environmental destruction, shrinking economic base of the people, militarization of mining communities, displacement of communities due to land-grabbing and unjust land-conversion, gross human rights violations, destruction of flora and fauna, and further impoverishment of the country. The unresolved and ever continuing polymetallic mining operations in Rapu-Rapu Island, Albay, Labo, Paracale, and Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, the aggressive mine expansion in Aroroy, Masbate by Filminera Resources Corp., the peculiar magnetite off-shore mining in Camarines Sur by Bogo Mining Resources Corp; the Palanog Cement Plant in Albay, Panganiban and San Andres,
United Church of Christ MOST REV. JOEL Z. BAYLON, D.D. Bishop, Diocese of Legazpi BISHOP ARTURO R. ASI Bishop, South Luzon Jurisdictional Area United Church of Christ in the Philippines MOST REV. ARTURO M. BASTES, SVD, D.D. Bishop, Diocese of Sorsogon RIGHT REV. RONELIO V. FABRIQUER Diocese of Romblon Iglesia Filipina Independiente BISHOP GABRIEL A. GAROL United Church of Christ in the Philippines RIGHT REV. JOSELITO T. CRUZ General Secretary Iglesia Filipina Independiente RIGHT REV. PEDRO C. OJASCASTRO Diocese of Cavite Iglesia Filipina Independiente
BISHOP ELMER M. BOLOCON Executive Secretary, EBF
A Pastoral Letter on the 20th Death Anniversary of Fr. Nery Lito Satur
THIS coming October 14 we will be celebrating the 20th death anniversary of Fr. Nery Lito Satur. And on October 16, we declare it to be Fr. Neri’s Sunday in the Diocese. This will be a special day for us to remember Fr. Neri’s heroic struggles for the liberation of the poor and the integrity of creation. We know that it was the gospel values enunciated in our Diocesan vision-mission which inspired Fr. Neri to zealously implement the logging moratorium in the Province of Bukidnon. He religiously performed the task of a deputized forester as integral to his priestly ministry—even at the cost of his own life. As we celebrate the 20 years of Fr. Neri’s martyrdom, we are also challenged to renew our commitment to continue the unfinished human and ecological struggles of “the Church he died for.” We are living in a particular historical context that is, perhaps, ecologically worse than Fr. Neri’s time. In spite of the imposition of the logging moratorium in the Province of Bukidnon in 1990, our natural forests and watershed areas continue to decline. In fact, as of 2005, the estimated remaining forest cover of Bukidnon was only 24.9% of its total land area. Sad to say, this alarming percentage is already far lower than the ideal minimum requirement of an ecological balance, especially that Bukidnon crucially serves as a “headwater” province in Mindanao. Expectedly, we are continually threatened by the real possibility of water crisis and plagued by various forms of ecological disasters largely due to the insufficient forest cover that could no longer render its usual ecological services to the community of life. Moreover, it can be shown that many of the major causes of our poverty today are intimately linked to the ecological crisis. We are also aware of the fact that the first to be greatly affected by this ecological crisis are the rural poor farmers, especially the indigenous peoples, whose daily survival entirely depends on the providence of nature and the irreplaceable ecological services of the forests. For this reason, the Catholic social teaching categorically declares that “the ecological crisis is a moral issue”i which challenges the Church not to remain silent and neutral. Our negative experience of the ecological crisis that aggravates poverty makes us realize that there must be something wrong with how we relate with God’s creation. As your shepherd in this diocese, I invite you to discern the right human attitude towards God’s creation in the light of the Catholic social teaching. Let me point out three important moral principles that would guide our Christian understanding and judgment in this moment of ecological crisis. First, we reaffirm the religious truth that human beings, as made in the image of God (Gen 1:27), are called to “exercise a responsible stewardship over nature,”ii even as we enjoy the gifts of its natural beauty and goodness. This means that we are not the absolute ruler of creation and that our relationship with non-human creatures “should mirror the creative love of God.” iii In this light, the ongoing abuse of our remaining Bukidnon forests and watersheds makes us irresponsible stewards of God’s creation. Second, we uphold the ethical principle that the goods of the Earth have to be accessible and made available to all, especially to the poor, including the future generations. It is a violation to the “inter-generational justice” if we would hand on to the future generations a planet which is depleted of its resourcesiv. Moreover, it would be a violation to the “ecological justice” if we do not give to the Earth the proper care it deserves. Since we are all interconnected in the web of life, we should go beyond the human level of “common good” by embracing the greater common good that considers the interests of the Earth community. This moral imperative is rooted in our covenant with God to love both our human and non-human “neighbors” as ourselves. (cf. Mk 12:31). Our Christian commitment to this covenant moves us to condemn the greedy and selfish exploiters of the Bukidnon forests. Third, we need to strengthen the indigenous Filipino cultures that recognize the sanctity of life and the integrity of creation. Our tribal brothers and sisters “remind us that the exploitative approach to the natural world is foreign to our Filipino culture.”v In the face of unhealthy modern lifestyles, they teach us how to live the value of simple lifestyle in harmony with nature. With them, we are convinced that the “assault on creation is sinful and contrary to the teachings of our faith.”vi Guided by the imperatives of these Christian principles, let us discern what our local church can specifically contribute and concretely do to continue the unfinished mission begun by Fr. Neri. So far, I can propose at least four areas of concern which I find very important today. 1. We need to continually deepen our knowledge of the ecological issues, including the phenomenon of climate change and the global ecological crisis. We may begin this locally by updating ourselves with the present ecological situation of Bukidnon. This is in line with the Church’s teaching on “ecological conversion”vii that calls us to critically appropriate the best available knowledge offered by the ecological sciences in view of our important role as responsible stewards of God’s creation. Let us make these ecological insights available to the grassroots level by producing a module which would facilitate the “education in ecological responsibility”viii both in the BECs and individual families. 2. We need to situate our mission to care for God’s creation within the deep and solid foundation of our Christian faith and spirituality. Our ultimate guide to this way of life is no other than Jesus Christ himself—the Incarnate Wisdom and Word of God—who proclaimed the coming of God’s Kingdom, which is the fulfillment of the “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1-2). This Christian hope for the future must be manifested in our religious devotions and various forms of spirituality. We must be creative in our liturgical celebrations and community devotions (e.g., “Ecological Rosary”) so that they may become sacramental and symbolic expressions of our care for God’s creation. 3. Let us strengthen our advocacy and campaign for a clean environment, free from any harmful chemicals that poison the soil and threaten the health of the community of life. As an alternative, we promote the practice of “sustainable agriculture” and “agroforestry” throughout the Diocese. 4. Let us continue our legal advocacy by supporting the bills (e.g., “alternative mining bill”) and other ecology-friendly movements that seek the common good both of the humanity and the natural environment. Let this memorable day of Fr. Neri’s martyrdom remind us of our Christian mission to build not only ecclesial and human communities but also “ecological communities” grounded in the perfect and eternal communion of the Blessed Trinity, in whom “we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28). In Jesus Christ the Lord, MOST REV. JOSE ARANETA CABANTAN, D.D. Bishop of Malaybalay
i John Paul II, Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All Creation: Message for the World Day of Peace 1990 (December 8, 1989), no. 15. ii Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate: On Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth (June 29, 2009), no. 50. iii Benedict XVI, The Human Family, A Community of Peace: Message for the 2008 World Day of Peace (December 8, 2007), no. 7. iv v
Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, no. 48.
CBCP, “What is Happening to Our Beautiful Land: A Pastoral Letter on Ecology,” (29 January 1988); printed in Sean McDonagh, The Greening of the Church (Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 1990): 207-16, 212.
vi CBCP, “What is Happening to Our Beautiful Land,” 207. vii
John Paul II, God Made Man the Steward of Creation (17 January 2001), no. 4.
See John Paul II, Peace with God the Creator, no. 13.
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
Should our country be placed no longer under God, but only under judges and lawyers?
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A (Matt 22:15-21) Oct. 16, 2011
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
WHICH things are God’s? If the decision of the judges of a federal appeals court that ruled a few years ago that the US Pledge of Allegiance vowing fealty to one nation “under God” is unconstitutional—since this violates the basic constitutional tenet of separation of church and state—is to be followed to its logical conclusion, only our private life belongs to God. Writing to the Newsweek editor, April Collins seems to share this view: “Please take God out of Inaugurations and out of the Pledge of Allegiance. People who use it and insist on keeping it are juvenile. America was not founded on God. I’m Roman Catholic and still believe that as a 6-year-old in school—whether I happen to be Buddhist or a Native American whose God is a bird, or I believe in a rock—I should not be forced to say God. Ours is a country of many religions. Let’s keep church and state separate and keep God out of it all. Belief belongs in the home or church, not in the state just as the Filipinos never relished being under the Japanese during the Second World War, the Jews hated the Romans. Of course, the Pharisees accepted the Roman occupation, and true to their ideology, counseled submission to it. The Herodians were obviously supporters of Herod who governed Palestine under the auspices of the Roman Emperor. In today’s pericope, we are told that these two groups wanted to put Jesus in a dilemma by asking him: “Is it lawful to pay tax to the Emperor or not?” (Matt 21:17). The dilemma was this: should he tell them it was all right to pay tax to the Emperor, Jesus would certainly be ostracized by the common people who hated the Roman tribute as a symbol of political and economic subjugation. But should he answer that it was not right to do so, the Pharisees and the Herodians would certainly brand him an anti-Roman, if not a revolutionary. Jesus’ answer to the trap, as already noted, was to give Ceasar what was his, and to give God what belongs to him. And it being a trap, the course to take is
Country / B7
or government or school. Religion is private, and this is a free country—let’s keep it free.” That God or religion should be confined to private life cannot, however,
be accepted in the life of anyone who professes himself to be Christian. For one thing, the idea that God should be kept out of the state contradicts what the Sacred Scripture itself teaches in the
Gospel today: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, give God what is God’s (Matt 22:21). To understand this saying, it may be helpful to recall that at the time of Jesus, Israel was under Roman rule. And
Life is not about laws and lawyers—it is about loving people
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A (Matt 22:34-40) Oct. 23, 2011
at bar.” But Francisco Tatad’s view, echoing the argument of Atty. Estelito Mendoza, and repeated in his book, A Nation on Fire, that he refused the opening of the second envelope on the ground that the charge against Estrada was not part of the complaint verified by the House did not make sense to them! Given the arguments and counter-arguments and the various interpretations that were aired, however, the ordinary person could only wonder how complicated a society would be if it were governed only by law and lawyers! Could a law be simplified enough so that it could be a real guide to all to true life, not a labyrinth where people—the majority of them— could be lost? The background of today’s Gospel is somehow similar to this. At the time of Jesus, the Jewish fundamental law was the Torah or the five books of Moses which, according to Jewish scholars, contain 613 precepts, of which 248 are positive commandments, the rest being prohibitions. But because these laws needed to be applied to particular situations, Jewish scholars developed other laws, which became known as halakah, in much the same way that Congress has to apply the Philippine Constitution to
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
PROBABLY the most intellectually entertaining show that was ever presented on Philippine television, rivaling telenovelas in its crowd-drawing power, was the Impeachment Trial of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. For the first time the majority of the Filipinos were introduced to the best world of Filipino lawyers who not only explored new grounds of jurisprudence, but also had a field day of demonstrating their intelligence, prowess, legal tricks and tactics.
The main roads to God’s Kingdom
Reflections on the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) Oct. 23, 2011
At the same time, however, it left many ordinary mortals disturbed. For them, the mountain of evidence uncovered by the prosecutors and presented by witnesses was enough to convince them about the truth of the charges. Obviously, it was difficult for them to understand that truth was served by the thrust of the defense lawyers to block evidence on the ground of irrelevance and immateriality. It was easier for them, for example, to go with Sen. Aquilino Pimentel who declared, “I vote to open the second envelope… because that is the only way to determine whether or not the contents are relevant or material to the case
particular situation and age through enactment of laws. But when one considers that provinces, municipalities, and barangays also pass laws and ordinances in order to apply the fundamental law in the concrete circumstances of the people’s life, one can only imagine the mountain of laws that he must observe as a good Filipino citizen! At the same time, one must admit that there are few mortals like Joker Arroyo or Estelito Mendoza, just as in Jesus’ time, many people were not as knowledgeable about laws as the Scribes and the Pharisees. Given the plethora of laws to be observed, the Jews needed
to know what is central to the precepts and prohibitions so that by observing it, they would not have to bother about the overdevelopment of minor laws in order to be good Jews. That seems to be the context of the question that a lawyer posed to Jesus in today’s Gospel: “What commandment of the law is the greatest?” (Matt 22:36). Out of the 613 commandments (mind you, not 10 commandments) of God, Jesus cited two. The first one comes from the heart of the Shema, which is an ancient Hebrew prayer lifted from the historical prologue to the Deuteronomic Code: “Hear, O
Life / B7
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
LOVE of God and neighbor was the soul of the Covenant the Lord had made with His Chosen People. Failure to love in practice was a betrayal of the Covenant and resulted in the creation of victims in the various sectors of society (see the First Reading). All the prophets kept reminding the people about it. The synthesis of the two loves is also the soul of the New Covenant established by Christ and sealed in his blood. It embodies all the essential requirements of the Old Law, but it is much more demanding because it is situated in the new setting of the Kingdom, and is patterned after the example of Jesus. He is the perfect example of how we should love God and men for he lived the demands of the two loves with an intensity and a totality that cost him his very life. Love of God and neighbor is really the “essence of Christianity.” It is the golden rule of life which guides all believers in building up the Kingdom both in themselves and around them.
These two loves are prioritized but also complementary – none of the two is perfect without the other. Love of God is number one. It grounds and gives meaning to the love of neighbor. It keeps all the elements of the construction together. But love for God finds its necessary and most challenging manifestation in the love for neighbor, as Jesus showed us through his life and death. Two loves, one heart, one attitude, then. These two related loves should—never be dissociated, never opposed. St. John—no doubt echoing his Master—spelled out their relatedness and complementariness when he stated, “If anyone says, ‘My love is fixed on God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. One who has no love for the brother he sees, cannot love the God he does not see” (1 Jn 4:20). Therefore, “Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 Jn 4:21). Itisonlybykeepingthesecommandments together and living them out, day by day as Jesus did, that the Kingdom grows and becomes ever more an integral part of our life.
Challenged to get involved in the building of a better world
Reflections on the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) Oct. 16, 2011
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
FOR centuries Christians have concentrated mostly on “rendering to God what belongs to God.” Religious observances were top priority on their agenda, as well as in their examination of conscience. They offered the criterion to decide whether one was a “practicing Catholic” or not. “Render to Caesar what is due to Caesar” was generally understood as paying one’s taxes and obeying the laws of the country promulgated by the legitimate authority. Contributive justice and obedience to the legitimate authority are just two aspects of our civil duties. Important and hard as these may be, there are also other ways in which we are expected to make our contribution to the building up of a better, more humane, more just society. The list is long: love of country and its cultural values, respect for the environment, honesty, good example, solidarity, contribution of ideas and even constructive criticism, avoidance of waste, hard work, considering the whole nation as one’s “greater family”. . . . These are just some of the ways through which we “give to Caesar what is due to Caesar”—some aspects of what it means to be a “good citizen” today. Even the term “good citizen” must have, for us, a wider meaning now than it had in the past. It must mean to be an active and responsible member of the family of nations that make up mankind—one that takes to heart the hopes, aspirations and difficulties of every human being and society. We must learn to leave our ghettoes and acquire a “participative mentality.” We must learn to feel responsible for the world in all its aspects because this is our world – the world God has entrusted to our stewardship in order that we make it “the blueprint of the Kingdom.” Vatican II and subsequent pronouncements of the Church’s Teaching Authority have not only confirmed this “new orientation,” but have also spelled it out in greater detail. They have also proclaimed clearly that it is the specific duty of the Catholic laity to get involved—and actually to take the lead—in the building of a better world. This is their mission. It is in accomplishing such a “mission to the world” that they will be contributing to the coming of God’s Kingdom here on earth, and thereby bring about their own sanctification. One cannot be a good Christian if one does not endeavor to be a good citizen of one’s country as well as of the “family of nations.” We must be fully involved. We owe it to ourselves, to society, to the Church. It is only by “giving to Caesar what is due to Caesar” that we begin to “give to God what is due to God.”
Bishop Pat Alo
Truth brings peace
Health’. The foreword of the book, dated September 8, 2008, is signed by Catholic Bishops representing the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, to wit: Most Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D., Archbishop of Jaro and President, CBCP; Most Rev. Paciano Aniceto, D.D., Archbishop of San Fernando, Pampanga and Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life; Cardinal Ricardo J. Vidal, D.D., Archbishop of Cebu; Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales, D.D., Archbishop of Manila. Finally, in conscience we ought to ask ourselves: What is to love our Filipino people? Should we not rather follow the infallible truth of God’s word that beckons us: “God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it’ (Gen. 1:28).” Let’s be pro-life! Yes, it’s true, there’s so much pride, confusion, self-interest in our world. But in our quest for the truth we have to keep on. Jesus has assured us without fail: “The one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him” (Mt. 7:7). We can have success in our quest for truth in the present discussion, if we persevere and have faith, love, humility and openness to accept whatever is really true.
A LATIN proverb somehow meant the equivalent of the above title. Robur pacis veritas (True peace is stable when founded on truth). Reproductive Health bills are presently stirring hot controversies. Why so? Let’s face the barrage of questions relevant thereto. Is it pro or against life? Well, if it is open to abortifacients and abortion, it will lead to a decline in population. Why is it that well funded international agencies lend support to controlling Philippine population? Is that not an inalienable private right of concerned couples regarding the number of children they are to have? Is it really promoting the health of mothers? We
must keep in mind God’s law that says: “So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 7:12). How come therefore the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) under the World Health Organization has stated the following: “IARC Monographs Programme Finds Combined Estrogen-Progestogen Contraceptives and Menopausal Therapy are Carcinogenic (cancer inducing) to Humans” (quoted in the book BishopsLegislators Caucus of the Philippines, page 107, under the sub-title—‘The Truth and HalfTruths About Reproductive
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
Towards justice that moves beyond punishment and alternatives to imprisonment
By Rodolfo D. Diamante
ON the last Sunday of October the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines- Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care will lead the church in the observance of 24th Prison Awareness Sunday. The government for its part has its own celebration of the National Correctional Consciousness Week. And yet apart from publicizing abject prison conditions and raising the awareness of the public on the plight of the poorest of the poor among our brothers and sisters, what else have these annual observations accomplished? Can we proudly say that raising public consciousness has been translated into concrete action? Our efforts it seems have hardly made a dent. While it’s true that there have been efforts on the part of both the government and the public sector towards that direction, the situation has remained—if not worsened—dismal as ever. Our jails are still congested. Our prisoners live in subhuman conditions and are treated more like animals than human beings. A favorite and a perennial reason for the lack of concrete results is lack of budget and with this comes the lack of programs and personnel. What is so horrific is—this is partly true. What is largely true is that we still lack the imagination and creativity; much worse, the firm resolve to make our visions a reality. We propose, therefore, two resolutions that do not cost much in terms of money but may be more in terms of paradigm shift. One is the pre-trial release program or the release on recognizance act. At present, there are a lot of bailable criminal offenses. But since this
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involves money, only the haves are privileged. True, the have nots have a fighting chance if a finance or insurance company can guarantee for the accused by posting the necessary bail (again defined in money terms) but the accused has to pay this back in time. This is a major cause of congestion in our jails, because most of those apprehended and subsequently thrown to jail until their trial comes heaven knows when are the have nots. Is it possible to post bail not in monetary terms? For instance, can a community or a group
or organization guarantee the good behavior and accessibility of the accused until trial? Unless the objective of the bail system is to raise funds from the pockets of those who have none, there is no reason why this cannot be pursued, especially since a group or a community is taking full responsibility of an accused. Another concrete step is to fully enforce the law on juvenile offenders and to adopt more restorative interventions in the treatment of children in conflict with the law. Our laws are quite clear and explicit. Minors
cannot be held fully accountable for the crimes that they are accused of. If found guilty, they are not committed to prison but to a diversion program. The law that explicitly provides this is often ignored allegedly for “lack of necessary funds and training of personnel”. Again, we call attention to the role which a community could play. A community of individuals—professional social workers and church volunteers alike—or their organizations could assume custody of the accused and continue to work for the rehabilitation and subsequent integration to society of those convicted. As custodians they could assume responsibility over the person in conflict with the law. The members of the community can act as mediator between the offender and the victim to explore with more creativity how to right the wrong that has been done and heal the wounds caused by crime. The important thing is to provide a more appropriate environment and atmosphere conducive to turning a new life as they continue to interact with their community. Clearly our two proposals underscore the important role that a community plays in the justice system. This is in pursuit of a new paradigm in the criminal justice system. Called the Restorative Justice system, this one seeks the restoration of broken relationships, the offender and the victim, on the one hand, and their community, on the other. Unlike the punitive or retributive which more often than not only succeeds in escalating hatred and violence, restorative justice is justice that heals! (Rodolfo D. Diamante is the executive secretary of the CBCPepiscopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care)
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October 24-30, 2011 TheMe: “We have The Same Father … One God Who Created Us”
The activities at the National Office in Manila for this weeklong celebration include the following: * Opening and Thanksgiving Mass – October 24, 2011 at 11 a.m. at the CBCP Chapel. The celebration will underline the need to continue advocating for justice that heals. * Press Conference on Reforming the Justice System – October 25, Tuesday, 10 a.m. in Ilustrado Restaurant, Intramuros Manila. The conference aims to inform the public through the media of the reform agenda on justice by the church and nongovernment agencies involved in the field of correction. * Seminar on Restorative Justice entitled “Moving Beyond Punishment and Alternatives to Imprisonment” – October 26, 2011, Wednesday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Audio Visual Room of the Social Development Complex, Ateneo University, Diliman Quezon City. This seminar aims to promote the adoption of a more restorative intervention in our penal system and the need to pass legislations that will enhance the dignity of the prisoners. The seminar will also affirm the RJ Advocates stand to implement the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006. * Visit of Female Detention Prisoners at Camp Karingal on October 27, 2011 at 9 a.m. – The event wishes to expose volunteers on the flight of detention prisoners especially the vulnerable group – the female prisoners. * Solidarity with National Prisoners New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on October 28, Friday at 9 a.m. and the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City on October 29, Saturday at 9:30 a.m. The event aims to celebrate with the prisoners the unconditional love of God especially to the less privileged people and the solidarity of the volunteers with the flight of the prisoners and their families. * National Eucharistic Celebration/Gawad Paglilingkod Award – October 30, 2011, Sunday at 10 a.m. at Mary the Queen Parish at Madison St. Greenhills West, San Juan City. The CBCP-ECPPC will likewise award outstanding individuals who have served in the prison ministry for many years. This will cap the week-long Prison Awareness Celebration.
Prison Awareness Week celebration
encouraging statement of St. Paul might take sometime to fully become a reality, speaking of the Pastoral work for Vocations, but the Daughters of St. Paul in the Philippines are wholly convinced that in God’s time springs of water would once again gush forth from the rock to irrigate the barren desert as Moses experienced during the 40-year sojourn in the wilderness. God is faithful and he is true to his promise. Indeed, great is the Lord, he is merciful and just! At present the Daughters of St. Paul, through their specific mandate in the Church are profoundly immersed in the present Philippine realities — socioeconomic-politico-cultural-educational — realities that demand of every Filipino Daughter of St. Paul fidelity, faith, courage and dedication that the first Daughters of St. Paul embodied in life, words and actions as they blazed the trail for the first Pauline Foundation in the
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country. Indeed, they certainly deserve our grateful remembrance for “gratitude is the memory of the heart.” Tomorrow The future certainly lies in God’s hands, but the new breed of Daughters of St. Paul that God raises now in this Pauline Congregation are being formed to the keen awareness of their great and unique mission which is to give to the world Jesus Christ who defined himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. A task of staggering proportion, we might say. To measure up to so stupendous a mission, the Daughters of St. Paul boldly strain ahead and joyfully accept the challenge by keeping faithful to the same pact—the “Pact of Success” that Father Alberione, the Founder stipulated with the Lord: “To commit ourselves to seek wholeheartedly in all things, in life and in the apostolate, only and always God’s glory and peace to all peoples.”
And now as the Daughters of St. Paul in the Philippines celebrate their 75th Anniversary of Foundation, with bended knee they bow in humble adoration before God’s majesty, begging not just for his continuous blessings on them, but with a contrite heart, they also ask God for mercy and forgiveness for the lack of faith, generosity, and apostolic passion for the triumph of God’s reign in the life, hearts and homes of the Filipino people. And lastly, the Daughters of St. Paul earnestly lift their grateful prayers up to God for their own families, benefactors and friends living and dead, who have accompanied them in their 75-year most exciting, fruitful and grace-filled journey in the field of evangelization with prayers, sacrifices, and with financial offerings. May God reward them with peace in this life and everlasting joy in his heavenly kingdom. “Not to us, Lord, not to us, But to your name give the glory.” (Ps 115:1)
alities of other countries. He was glad when he realized that he was actually celebrating the PCF’s first Mass for the next 50 years. October 9 Sunday Most of the alumni continued on to their respective journeys. For the few who were still around, it was a day for masses with the Filipino Communities. For example, Cardinal Vidal celebrated the mass for the Pundok ni Beato Pedro Calungsod Filipino Community, while Bishop Jesse Mercado celebrated the mass for the PCF community. October 10 Monday Mass of the Holy Spirit to open the Academic Year, with His Eminence, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. This is a tradition of the PCF and other academic institutions, in which the Holy Spirit is invoked to shower his gifts, upon those involved in academic undertak-
ings, especially the gifts of wisdom, understanding and knowledge. This week has truly been a week of thanksgiving for the past fifty years. Our celebration has not only been for one day, on October 7, or for this whole week. We have celebrated for the past three years, the Year 2009 being a year of Conferences, 2010 a year of Constructions, and 2011 a year of Celebrations. This year Jubilee Year 2011 had three peaks: first, our audience with the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI last February 19, 2011; second, our annual Collegio Day last May 1 (which was also the day of Pope John Paul II’s beatification), in which our Filipino Communities in Rome and Italy came to celebrate with us; and third, this week’s events. We will continue to celebrate until the end of this year, and indeed, continue to implore God’s guidance and strength for the next fifty years.
to escape it, and that is what Jesus, wise as he was, exactly did. He got away from their trap by putting the burden of the question on the Herodians and the Pharisees themselves! Knowing that the tax was paid in Roman currency, he asked for a Roman coin, and raised the question: “Whose head is this, whose inscription?” (Matt 22:20). Scholars surmise that the coin probably showed the head of the Emperor with the inscription “Tiberius Caesar, Son of the Divine Augustus, High Priest.” What was Jesus’ purpose in asking for a coin? It must be stressed that then Ten Commandments explicitly prohibit graven images, like the image of the emperor on the coin (Exod 20:4). Consequently, by
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demanding that he be shown a coin, he was subtly accusing the emissaries of the Pharisees and the Herodians that they were violating the commandment of God, because they brought with them a graven image, the image of a pagan high priest, to the holy land. Yet, never did the Pharisees or the Herodians protest against it. But if they never gave a hoot about that flagrant transgression, why would it bother them to pay tax to Caesar? In other words, by answering that they give to Caesar what is his (Matt 22:21b), Jesus was cleverly saying that since you have already violated God’s commandment, why worry about whether paying taxes is against God’s will or not? In truth, though, Jesus must
have, in the context of his theology of the kingdom of God, thought that paying tribute to Caesar was against God’s will. It must be noted that one of the revered beliefs in Judaism is God’s ownership of the land of Israel: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine, and you are but aliens who have become my tenants” (Lev 25:23). That the Roman Emperor occupied Israel, the Jews understandably regarded it as usurpation, and since there seems to be no evidence that Jesus rejected that belief, it is most likely that he thought of it like an ordinary Jew did—it was not according to God’s will to recognize the authority of the Emperor. Of course, Jesus
did not say it; or he would have fallen into the trap, but that is exactly the meaning of the punch line of the second segment of the saying: “Give to God what is God’s” (Matt 22:21). In Jewish thought—and there seems to be no evidence that Jesus departed from it—there is really nothing that belongs to Caesar that does not belong to God, including political power. For a Jew, all power comes from God, and if anyone, like the Emperor, exercises it, it is because God permits it (Rom 13:1b). But it was clear to the Jews that it was not his will that the Emperor should put Israel under his rule, because God called Israel to freedom. Therefore, that the Roman should oppress, disenfranchise,
alienate and discriminate them, and violate their rights—that could not have been legitimized, for they opposed God’s call to liberty and freedom. What, then, is due to God? Everything. There is no sphere of life that can be claimed as an exclusive domain of the state. The state, any state, belongs to God, and state power can be said to be legitimate only if it does not oppose God’s call to liberty and freedom. The idea, in other words, that the realm of God should be confined merely to private life or to the sacristy and the rectory can be grounded only on a misunderstanding of what it means to believe in a God who cares for the salvation of the world. Which is why,
one can understand the reaction of US leaders to the decision of the federal court regarding the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. For the decision does not simply touch on the freedom of expression, pace the claim of Daan Schoemaker of Amsterdam in his letter to the editor (Newsweek, 9/16-23/03). It has to do with one’s and the nation’s world view. In fact, by confining God only to private life, the decision of the federal court virtually placed the nation not under God but under the lawyers and judges—which is what the title of a lead article in Newsweek is all about: “One Nation Under Judges”. In effect, law and lawyers have substituted God!
Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut 6:5). The second comes from the Code of Holiness: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18). For Jesus, these two are the most central commandments in the 613 laws of God found in the Torah. What Jesus introduced to his listeners, however, is not the combination of these two. In fact, we already find this in, for example, the Testament of Issachar: “But love the Lord and your neighbor, and show compassion for the poor and the weak” (T.Issac 5:2). What is new
here is the view that both commands are on equal plane: “the second is like it” (Matt 22:39a). The second is similar to the first in theological depth, and there is an interrelationship between them. That is to say, although love of God comes first, yet there is no true love of God that is not incarnated in the love of neighbor. The proof that we love God lies in our love for our neighbor. This in a way is reflected in John: “If anyone says, ‘My love is fixed on God,’ yet hates his brother is a liar. One who has no love for the brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: whoever loves God must also
love his brother” (1 John 4:20-21). What’s the point we are driving at? Law in Judaism at the time of Jesus has become a complicated phenomenon, with various groups making their own interpretation of the laws of God, a complication that is not without some similarities in what the Filipino people witnessed during the Impeachment Trial of Estrada. And as already noted, the average Filipino might not be able to follow the finer points of law, whose distinctions could be perceived easily only by the likes of Joker Arroyo or Estelito Mendoza. Jesus’ audience, on the other hand, never had the sophistication of the Scribes and Pharisees, for it was a
popular and simple one. Understandably enough, since it was his purpose that the law of God could be easily understood and followed by the common people, Jesus taught them what was so central so that by obeying it, they were assured that they have already followed the whole law. And what is so central is love. That is God’s will for man. In other words, for Jesus, anyone who loves God in his neighbor has fulfilled the whole law. Hence, the additional comment of Jesus to what we find in the Gospel of Mark: “On these two commandments the whole law is based, and the prophets as well” (Matt 22:40). What does this imply? In being Christian, what counts, in the
ultimate analysis, is life. But life is not all about laws, and it is too preciously to be placed in the hands only of lawyers. Before anything else, life is about love, and that life is meaningful if it embodies a love of God that is incarnated in the love of neighbor, in the love of others. No wonder, St Augustine could say, “Love, and do what you will.” Obviously, when a person loves, he fulfills what is most necessarily in life, and love is possible for any person, simple or not, even if he does not have the sophistication of an Estelito Mendoza or a Pharisee. After all, the best lawyer is not necessarily the good Christian; but a lover qua Christian lover surely is.
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
TITLE: No Other Woman CAST: Kristine Reyes, Derek Ramsey, Anne Curtis DIRECTOR: Ruel Bayani GENRE: drama DISTRIBUTOR: Viva, Star Cinema LOCATION: Philippines RUNNING TIME : 110 minutes Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: Cinema Rating: For viewers 18 years old and above
ISANG furniture designerproducer si Ram (Derek Ramsay), tapat sa asawang si Sharmaine (Cristine Reyes) at gustong mamuhay nang maayos para sa kinabukasan ng kanilang magiging pamilya. Sa panahong iniaalok niya ang kanyang mga disenyo upang makuha ang kontrata mula sa Costa Luz beach resort, makikilala niya si Cara (Anne Curtis), anak ng may-ari, si Mr. Zalderiaga. Matitipuan siya ni Cara at hindi siya tatantanan hanggang hindi bumibigay ang kanyang pagkalalaki dito. Paglalabanan ni Ram ang kariktan ni Cara, ngunit mapilit ang babae, at sasabihing wala siyang tangkang umibig sa lalaki—o ibigin nito. Sa paningin ni Cara, isa siyang “liberated woman” na nakukuha ang anumang gustuhin niya. Bagama’t mahal ni Ram ang maybahay niyang si Sharmaine, madadarang din ito sa init ni Cara. Matutuklasan ni Sharmaine ang nangyayari, ngunit tigas nang tatanggi si Cara na mawala sa kanya si Ram. Umiibig na siya, sa wakas—amin
ni Cara sa kanyang matatalik na kaibigan—at ipaglalaban niya ang karapatan niyang umibig. Nakakagulat na napakaraming tao ang gustong manood ng No Other Woman—sa unang araw ng labas nito, puno ang isang sinihan sa Makati na karaniwan namang hindi naglalabas ng pelikulang Pilipino. Nang magtanong kami, yon pala’y dahil sa pag-aakalang mas marami itong naglalagablab na eksena kaysa My Neighbor’s Wife. Ngunit lalong higit sa maiinit na eksena, ang dialogue ang nagdadala ng kuwento sa No Other Woman. Makatapos naming mapanood ito, naisip namin: para lang kaming nanood ng isang TV drama sa higanteng screen. Pero narinig namin mula sa isang nanood, “Parang Korean telenobela na pinagkasya sa dalawang oras.” (Hindi kami maka-sang-ayon pagkat hindi kami mahilig manood ng Korean telenovela). May kuwentong maayos at madaling sundan ito, pero nilagyan ng subplots na hindi naman pinakitaan ng resolusyon sa dulo. Kakaunti ang mga tauhan, at halos ay nakatutok ang kamera sa maliit nilang mundo. Magaling ang pagganap ng mga pangunahing artista, ayon sa hinihingi ng kuwento, bagama’t hindi naman gasinong mabigat ang hinihingi ng mga papel nila. Minsan, pagka’t masasabi mo na humigit-kumulang ang magiging katapusan ng kuwento dahil sa takbo ng usapan ng mga tauhan, ang pansin mo
ay maaagaw ng nakikita mo, ang ibinibilad na katawan ng mga artista, lalol na ni Curtis, ang magandang karagatan, magarang mga kuwarto, atbp. Ang pinakamabuting parte ng No Other Woman ay ang pagtataguyod nito sa kasagraduhan ng pagaasawahan. Malinaw at matuwid ang katapusan. Ipinapakita rin nito ang katotohanan na pighati ang ibinubunga ng kapalaluan at katigasan ng ulo. Palalo si Cara sa pag-aakalang kayang-kaya niyang kontrolin ang sarili— ngunit hindi ito kinunsinti ng kuwento. Naging mahina din si Ram, subalit ipinamalas din ng pelikula ang mapait na ibinubunga nito na maaaring kumitil sa anumang kabutihang nasa buhay na niya. Maliwanag na sinasalamin ng pelikula ang halaga ng pagharap sa sariling kamalian, ang paghingi ng kapatawaran, at ang nararapat na pagpapatawad. Pagkamatuwid ang nananaig sa lahat, na siya lamang karapat-dapat ayon sa batas ng kalikasan, ng tao at ng Dios. Makabubuting panoorin ito ng mga mag-asawa o ng mga taong gusto nang magasawa, at nang mapag-usapan ang mga maseselang bagay na humahadlang sa tagumpay at ligaya ng pag-aasawa. May matututuhan din dito ang mga babaeng “Cara” sa ating paligid. Sige, maging pasaway kayo, pero hindi ninyo masasabing hindi kayo binalaan ng No Other Woman.
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Look for the images of Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Crucifix and Dove. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
TITLE: Friends with Benefits CAST: Justin Timberlake (Dylan), Mila Kunis (Jamie), Patricia Clarkson (Lorna), Jenna Elfman (Annie), Bryan Greenberg (Parker), Richard Jenkins (Mr. Harper), Woody Harrelson (Tommy) and Emma Stone (Kayla) DIRECTOR: Will Gluck SCREENWRITER: Keith Merryman, David A. Newman PRODUCER: Mr. Gluck, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer, Jerry Zucker and Janet Zucker EDITOR: Tia Nolan MUSICAL DIRECTOR GENRE: Romantic Comedy CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Grady DISTRIBUTOR: Screen Gems LOCATION: New York & Los Angeles, USA; RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: Cinema Rating: For viewers 18 years old and above
THE movie tries to place a contemporary spin on an old “boy meets girl-loves girl but doesn’t know it” plot with sex in the equation. It follows how best friends Jamie (Mila Kunis), the emotional wreck, and Dylan (Justin Timberlake), the emotionally unavailable, decide one night that they can push their friendship a little further without having to worry about the emotional entanglement that comes after. So after some time of sexual trysts, their friendship deepens until… bam …they fall in love but refuse to admit it to themselves, much more to each other. So, their friendship is tested, they part ways and realize they can’t live without each other. Of course, as any other romantic comedies, in the end the boy gets the girl. (So much for not wanting to do another romantic cliché.) Let’s look at the movie as a romantic comedy. Was it funny? At times. Was it romantic? A little. Was it a genius? No. And here’s why. The plot is tired formula. You immediately knew where it will go, how it will end and how it will get there. Even the dad suffering from Alzheimer’s or the gay friend who served as triggers for Dylan to reflect and realize his feelings is absolutely pathetic. The comedy was mostly derived from the awkwardness of the sex scenes, which have elicited more frowns and disgust than chuckles. The effort to give an old plot a fresh approach failed because save for the awkwardness of the premise, the movie had nothing more to offer. Technically, Friends with benefits is acceptable. The acting was passable, although Kunis exerted more effort than Timberlake who probably thinks that baring his butt makes up for his shallowness. Their chemistry, however, was good and believable. The scoring was cute and made up for the lack of emotional sympathy of the scenes. Overall, this is not one of those romantic comedies you’d like to watch with a significant other. The greatest problem this movie poses is its very understanding of sex as merely an emotional consummation of a romantic relationship. It is enough to have gone 5 dates with a guy so that sleeping with him becomes acceptable. It is simply a physical need, like hunger or sleep, which needs to be addressed. It never mentions commitment and responsibility as part of it. As the movie title implies, SEX is just a BENEFIT that comes with having a boyfriend/girlfriend,instead of being an intimate act between two people within the confines of a perpetual vow to love each other exclusively. The sexual cannot be without emotional and spiritual attachment for the partner because this is when you bare yourself and your soul to someone whom you trust and who will accept you for who you are. That is why it should be exclusively for mature adults who are willing to commit to marriage. Even the end scene failed to redeem the convoluted morals of the story as we see Dylan and Jamie passionately trying to get under each other’s clothes in public. FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS should be for discerning adults who have mature consciences so that they can clearly distinguish between being genuinely funny and being contemptible.
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
IC Goes on Retreat, New CFC Theme Announced
By Bernie Cuevas
THE presence of the Lord and our Blessed Mother was very evident both literally and in spirit during the CFC International Council Planning Retreat held last September 30-October 2 at the Fontana in Clark, Pampanga. Father Raul de los Santos, fondly called “Amang Rau” by his parishioners in Pampanga, gave the morning recollection that started the discernment weekend for the CFC Theme and Directions for the year 2012. He chose the reading from John 21: 15-19 where Jesus asked Peter the question “Do you love me more than these?” and later issued the invitation to “Come follow me.” According to Fr. Rau, this was an invitation to a deeper life with Jesus, the same question that Jesus is asking us now in CFC. Fr. Rau posed three questions and three invitations to the IC: Question 1: Are you grateful about your life and your CFC community? Invitation 1: Can you see all these with new grateful eyes and happier heart? Question 2: What are the trials in your life and your community right now? Invitation 2: Can I insert my trials into the rhythm of the Paschal Mystery of Christ? Question 3: What have I learned through all these years? Invitation 3: Can I hear God calling me to greater freedom and joy? The period of reflection that followed these questions and invitations marked the beginning of the discernment for the theme and directions for 2012. A spirit-filled afternoon worship led by Joe Tale, and the opening exhortation by CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca on unity and the role of the IC as shepherds to CFC started the afternoon team building facilitated by Bong Arjonillo, sector head of Central C. The CFC time line activity and sharing affirmed the experiences and the roles that each IC member and his spouse played in the last 30 years of CFC and how they see the future. Change was the message of the team building. As the Lord calls us to a deeper relationship with Him, there will be continuing changes and refinements that the Lord will lead CFC to, in preparation for the next 30 years of CFC. This will entail continued reflections on the condition of our heart, changes in our mind sets, and changes in the way we do things for the glory of God. The first evening was spent in prayerful discernment for the CFC theme for 2012. Rouquel Ponte started the discernment process with the praying of the rosary. Each IC member and his spouse shared the messages that they heard from the Lord about the theme. The messages about rebuilding (from Nehemiah and Ezra) did not just speak about a structural rebuilding, but of personal holiness. Personal holiness would be the rock foundation that CFC will be built on. We are called to be apostles and prophets imitating Christ and as we rebuild our personal holiness, then the church of the home, the poor and the future will be built to last. CFC was reminded that holiness is a pure action of God, to which man responds. We need God has done in CFC. Finally, all the messages came together when Jun Uriarte said that there is no higher thanksgiving than the Magnificat, where Mary proclaimed the greatness of the Lord. Proclamation is evangelization and we have consecrated ourselves to the Blessed Mother, the Star of evangelization. purely God’s action. It affirmed that everything that happens is God’s work. It was also affirmed that this theme flows from last year’s theme of the armor of God, where we put on Christ as our armor and now, we proclaim his greatness to the world. The whole activity was so spiritfilled and the message to each IC member was so clear that the theme was discerned before the night was over. The Spirit’s presence was so powerful that Nina Ponte was moved to prophesy that “the evangelization of CFC will bloom even more” in the coming years. The Direction Setting and Plans for 2012 were done the following Saturday and Sunday. After Joe Yamamoto led everyone in a vibrant morning worship on Saturday, Melo Villaroman led the planning and each IC member presented his plans for the area of work assigned to him taking note of the past accomplishments and challenges in each area. This allowed all areas of the CFC mission to be discussed. What was noteworthy was the reminder that the first part of the CFC mission is the commitment to live in God’s righteousness and holiness. It was discerned that this should be the first mission strategy in the CFC road map to instill this in the hearts and minds of our CFC members. This is the foundation for our faith in action expressed in building the church of the home and the church of the poor. While the men were immersed in the CFC planning, the IC wives also prayerfully worked together to come up with the completed Intercessory Manual that they joyfully presented to the IC brothers for approval and implementation. The IC wives will spearhead the prayer intercessory groups that will be praying for the whole community. Manny and Ditas Garcia led the Lord’s Day celebration on Saturday evening. Nonoy Dalman, to provide everyone a break from the very serious matters at hand, led everyone in singing well-loved songs from yesteryears. The result of the planning is the CFC Roadmap for 2012, clearly leading us to the threefold mission strategies, plans and programs for each mission strategy. These measures and enablers will be the basis for the plans of all CFC areas for the year 2012. In the coming months, each mission area will conduct its own detailed planning under the IC member-overseer together with their Core Teams. The IC thanked CFC Pampanga for facilitating the recollection, inviting Fr. Rau and providing the materials needed for the planning. They also expressed gratitude to Mannix and wife Aileen, not only for acting as the music ministry during the weekend but also for graciously hosting their Fontana stay.
“We’re ready, We’re steady, To march with God Almighty!”
Handmaids ...... Let’s Go!
The first hour of each morning during the Conference was devoted to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, celebrated each day by Fr. Antonio Tenorio, a Filipino priest based in Solothurn, Switzerland. He generously shared his understanding of the fundamentals of putting on the armor of God with animated true-to-life examples that participants easily related to. Before the Conference was over, Fr Onyo (as he is fondly called) was gladly welcomed into the Ministry, to the delight of everyone, as a “full-pledged member” of the Handmaids of the Lord. The talks were powerfully delivered by Handmaids who traveled all the way from the Philippines. In session 1, Grace Pasigan expounded on the truth that we are all born into battle. In Session 2, Grace Buntag expanded this theme with “The Field of Battle: the Church.” In Session 3, Mina Francisco spoke about “The Field of Battle: the Family;” followed by Mercy Ariles who talked on “The Field of Battle: the Community.” In the fifth and final session, HOLD International Coordinator Didi Galsim spoke
to come out of our comfort zone and be ready for a lot of sacrifices along the way. We need to aspire for greater things. CFC is called to a more public life and to exercise our prophetic role. We are being asked to let the Lord’s goodness shine in CFC, a light that attracts others. We need to be grateful for everything that
Many of the IC members and wives confessed that their hearts stirred powerfully within them when “Proclaim the greatness of the Lord” from Luke 1: 46 was finally considered as the CFC theme. Although it is a Marian statement, the focus is on the Lord. The choice to make Mary the Mother of God is
The Handmaids of the Lord in Europe marched to this chant during the 11th HOLD European Conference held from September 30 to October 2. The Geneva PALEXPO in Geneva, Switzerland reverberated with about 300 joyous voices as the conference, aptly titled “a Call to Arms… A Call to Victory” unfolded over the following three days. This year’s gathering was very special because of the ingenuity in the way songs of praise and worship were presented by each delegation, coming from around 20 countries in Europe and at least three countries outside Europe, including Canada, the USA and the Philippines. . It was a welcome change from the usual praise parade normally witnessed in previous conferences. To the many HOLD present, it evoked the image of Joshua and the chosen people marching around the fortified city of Jericho, blowing their trumpets and chanting loudly, inevitably bringing down the city walls.
about “A Call to Arms…. A Call to Victory.” She emphasized the importance of claiming the victory that the Lord Jesus has already won for us. It was an inspiring sight when she led brothers and sisters representing each of the family ministries: the Couples, the Servants, Handmaids of the Lord, Singles and the Kids for Christ, to wave their respective banners while everyone sang the song of victory. “We will march to victory for God has won the fight.” Of course, the weekend with the Lord would not be complete without fellowship with one another. The night of singing and dancing on Saturday was enjoyed by all. To add to the enjoyment, an impromptu program with presentations from the different delegations proved that Handmaids are gifted with loads of talents. The weekend ended all too soon for the Handmaids who received so much in terms of insights and learnings which they vowed to echo in their respective countries. At the end of the conference, it was announced that the 12th HOLD Eurocon will be held in the Netherlands.
CFC THEME FOR 2012
GOD’S mighty power and full armor be upon you! We announce with great gladness and excitement our CFC global community’s theme for the year 2012 -- “PROCLAIM THE GREATNESS OF THE LORD!” This is based on the opening verse of “The Canticle of Mary” (Luke 1: 46 to 55), also known as the Magnificat, sung by the Virgin Mary in response to Elizabeth at the Visitation, after she praised Mary for her faith. The anchor verse (Lk 1: 46) reads, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Our global theme for 2012, as with our past themes, is a great gift of guidance from the Holy Spirit to Couples for Christ as we continue our mission journey. The Spirit led the members of the IC and wives to “Proclaim the greatness of the Lord!” during a weekend retreat that started Friday, September 30 and ended on October 2, 2011. Our 2012 theme is so rich and profound, and enjoins us all to prepare our hearts to grow and to open up fully so that in 2012, our Community and our individual families may understand, live, sing and proclaim the Canticle of Mary. The theme brings us back home to the core of our calling: EVANGELIZATION, or proclaiming the great love of the Lord in word and in action every day. It also reveals the purpose why the Lord has allowed us to face and overcome the Community’s toughest storms – we loved and moved forward in Christ, embracing the Fullness of His mission, and we put on His full armor, so that our lives and our families can continue to proclaim the greatness of the Lord to all! Finally, the theme affirms the fullness of the mission each of us is called to. The faithfulness, humility, and holiness of Mary as the first and perfect disciple; the lowly being lifted up and the hungry filled with good things; the promise to Abraham and his descendants encompassing the future of our own families – these are exciting affirmations of the work God calls us to fulfill: building up personal holiness in Christ, building the Church of the Home, and building the Church of the Poor! We thank the global CFC Community for all your support and prayers, perfectly accepted by the Lord as He leads all of us to our new 2012 theme! Let us continue putting on the full armor of Christ in our daily mission, as we prepare to “PROCLAIM THE GREATNESS OF THE LORD!” even more deeply and fully this coming 2012! For the International Council, Melo Villaroman, Jr. Executive Director Ricky Cuenca Chairman
IC STATEMENT October 3, 2011
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
THE Kids For Christ Australian Kids Village (AKV) last September 23 to 25 at the Merroo Christian Centre, Sydney, with the
KFC Australia Take The Lead!
theme “LEAD: Be strong in the Lord”, was attended by around 160 delegates. It was a Spirit-filled activity with lots of fun, laughter, and praise songs - all directed to worship, honor and glorify God. Many of the kids were so touched by the act of praising God and by the love and care of their kuyas and ates (older brothers and sisters), by the guidance of the coordinators, by the support of their parents and by the newfound friendship with other KFCs. The first session titled “With Jesus! We can!” on Friday evening was given by Carmelli Argana, a 10 year old KFC member. The participants learned so many things from their fellow KFC, especially on how to be prayerful, and how to be loving and serving leaders. The outdoor fun activities on Saturday - such as canoeing, tree planting (part of the KFC Global Day of Service or GDS), etc. where the kids were grouped into LEAD squads (Lead Workshops) was an indication of God’s guiding presence throughout the event. The Session 2 play, with the title “Gear up and Take the Lead” on Saturday night held all the KFCs’ attention – so much that you could hear their “boos” whenever “Lucius” (the villain in the play) would come onstage, and their shouts of “yes” whenever the “World Changers/Lead Squad” appeared. The YFC R.O.C.K. (Reach Out Christ to Kids) facilitator), KFC Couple Coordinators, and all the CFC parents were outstanding in their service, making this AKV an experience of a lifetime for the kids. The weekend was another manifestation of the blessing of being connected to a global CFC community and the Catholic Church– the Holy Mass was celebrated both on Saturday and Sunday.-- Contributions by Nonoy Albano, Sheila Buenagua, Nic escalona Jr.
KFC Timor Leste Take the Lead Too!
By Bembem Asunto
CFC Kids for Christ Timor Leste successfully had their 5th National Conference last September 18, 2011 at Escola Primaria No. 4 Nu Laran, Dili. It was the biggest gathering of KFC with 800 delegates, including parents and other family members, who came to witness the kids showing off their talents and enthusiasm in participating in the different activities, which included workshops, sports and creative competitions and the animated sessions. This year’s conference had the theme “Lidera Ba” (Take the Lead), from Ephesians 6:10. The event kicked off with Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Luis Bonaparte, Episcopal Vicar for Re-evangelization of the Diocese of Dili. Fr. Luis mentioned in his homily that kids also play a special part in the work of evangelization, and that’s why we should look upon them as special just as Jesus sees them. He added that kids need activities like the Conference, so that their leadership skills can be honed as early as now. He challenged the young adults and parents to be good role models to the kids and help them to take the lead. The event was also graced by the Director of the National Commission for Children’s Rights in Timor Leste, Dir. Adalgisa Dias Ximenes. In her opening remarks, she pointed out the importance of our role as overseers to the children i.e. that we also need to know their basic rights. She also mentioned the possible partnership in terms of the programs that we have for the kids to develop their leadership skills through Christian faith formation. The k ids int ent ly watched and listened to the compressed sessions as fellow KFC and CFC members made their presentations to highlight the central message of the talks. The creative competitions added more excitement to the event while the kids showed off their talents in singing and dancing. At the same time, the rest of the young KFC boys enjoyed playing futsal. No KFC conference would be complete without the famous fire hose bath! After the day’s activity, all the kids rushed towards the open field ready to get wet. A refreshing way to end the day! It was indeed a day of fun and learning. Kids have their own way of teaching us adults. They never get weary for as long as there is fun, faith and friendship, especially in KFC. We adults get tired easily because we tend to forget to have fun the moment we face the realities of life. Let us learn from the kids as they take the lead!
By Jessa Dasas
YFC Metro Manila Central B Sector Conference: I AM HIS
Cluster Head of Central B1 Community Based, Erick Bajande. Ed Chavez, Central B’s Overall Sector Coordinator, formally opened the sector conference, and Jawo Purugganan, Community Based Sector Head, welcomed the entrance of colors and led the Oath of Sportsmanship for the players in the sports and creative competitions that were worker trainee from Cagayan De Oro, delivered the talk for the second session, entitled “My Pride,” and showed how we fail to bring back the glory that is rightfully God’s, by not using our gifts and talents wisely and by attributing our successes not to God but to ourselves. Finally, the High School Based Sector Head and Event Head, Luis Enriquez, led the last session entitled “I Am His.” He reminded everyone that God’s faithfulness tow a r d s us never wavers and it is through God’s grace that we are able to overcome all our adversities in life. In YFC we only have one purpose and mission- that is to share His Word and love like Him. Seven years of His unwavering love. Seven years of His greatness among the youth of Central B. Forever it is He that we glorify. WE ARE HIS.
by Chino Jose
YFC Metro Manila North B: The Mission to Overflow
YFC Metro Manila Central B held its seventh sector conference last September entitled “I AM HIS” with the tagline “My Pride, His Glory.” It was a one-day event held at Aula Minor Auditorium in Pasig Catholic College. The conference used 2 Corinthians 12:9 as the anchor verse. --“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” The past sector conferences had based their themes on revival and recovery. This year, inspired by the superhero trend, which served as the conference’s creative handle, the overall theme focused on “humility.” The morning of the event was pumped up with an opening worship led by the
held the whole morning. Marky Abisado, Sector Head of Campus Based, led the opening worship to open the second half of the conference. JQ Quimpang, a YFC fulltime pastoral worker, gave the first session entitled “His Glory,” expounding on the truth that God’s glory will never fade, will never end and will remain forever. Deciery Pagara, a fulltime
THE North B sector, as one of geographically bigger sectors of CFC Youth for Christ in Metro Manila sprawling from the Katipunan area all the way to the southern portions of Fairview, has been the home of countless steadfast servant leaders of the Lord. At present, YFC North B has already held a total of 6 sector conferences, including the most recent “Overflow” sector conference last September 17, 2011 at the Claret School of Quezon City Gymnasium. On that day, North B Youth for Christ members from the different programs - Campus Based, High School Based, Community/Parish based, R.O.C.K. (Reaching out Christ to Kids), YCom (Youth Communications), and the recently re-opened TORCH (Towards Renewal in Christ) program gathered as one to celebrate and enjoy God’s overflowing love. Part of the event had members and groups showcasing talents ranging from singing, dancing and simply entertaining the crowd, through the Band, Show Choir, Dance and Gag competitions. The Isaiah Band from the Community Based program won the band competition.
CABAG (Campus Based A Capella Group) won first place for Show Choir. The Exodus Dance Group, also from Campus Based, danced their way to victory, and the Community Based gag performers impressed the youth. All of these winners will participate in the creative competitions of the YFC Metro Manila Conference this month (October) Following the competitions were creative and immensely inspirational videos including one of Nick Vujicic, a man with no arms and legs, who testified that God is all we really need to finish strong everyday. Chaz Michael Datu, North B’s overall sector youth head, then led the main session for the conference. He spoke about God’s promises to the youth and the youth’s response to God’s love in the midst of insecurities,
struggles, losses, and forgotten dreams. Chaz encouraged the conference participants to surrender everything to God by listing down their complaints on provided pieces of paper. As each YFC submitted their lists, they were given in exchange a brief “letter from the Lord” assuring them of His undeniable love and the mission everybody has to live out in Jesus. The theme of the sector conference, “OVERFLOW” was inspired by the Bible verse “We love because God loved us first.” Through the conference, everyone was reminded to fill their hearts with nothing but pure love given by God. They were reminded to accept Jesus Christ whole-heartedly into their life. With Jesus in them, they can love anyone in this world with all their heart and soul.
YFC Metro Manila West A hold L.U.S.O.B. Conference
By Katrina Garcia
L.U.S.O.B (Live Up, Stand-out, Overcoming Battlegrounds) -- Last September 11, 2011, hundreds of people gathered at Gregoria De Jesus Elementary School for the seventh YFC Metro Manila West A Sector Conference to witness how great truly God is. Months of preparation were all worth it after seeing how youth from different programs showcased the talents that God had given them. To start the event right, Fr. Agot Himayan officiated at the Holy Mass that was attended by YFC members and couple coordinators. Immediately after the Mass, Charles Ferdinand Marcos, a YFC Campus-based president, led the crowd in an opening worship that heightened the excitement of each and every individual present. To formally open the L.U.S.O.B Sector conference, Rey Uy of YFC West A Community-based and the event couple coordinator, gave his opening remarks and encouraged everyone to actively participate in the said celebration. To give an overview of what Live up, Stand-out, Overcoming Battlegrounds is all about, Renz Tiong, Campus-based Sector Youth Head, delivered the first session entitled “Live Up.” It served as an eye-opener for both YFCs and nonYFCs to reflect on their current spiritual status (i.e. prayer time and attending the Mass every Sunday). Our talents are precious gifts from God; this is what motivated the YFC members to showcase their God-given-talents through the competitions: Angelic voices in show choir competitions, movers in the dance, Rock-on to God in the band competitions and to laugh their hearts out in the gag competitions. YFC Metro Manila West A also had special competitions like the song writing contest and West A got talent. Right after the competitions, Geng Bonifacio, Community-based S e c t o r Y o u t h Head, gave the second session; “Standout.” She tackled the common battlegrounds that the youth are facing nowadays like conflict in the family, struggles in schools, issues in friendships and even in love life. She emphasized that there is a vast difference in our reactions to these struggles when we are “in Christ.” Session 3 “Overcome Battlegrounds” was led by Jesmel Gabuten, Campus Program Volunteer and Conference Event Head. He told the story of Job in the Bible, the man who endured everything and remained faithful to the Lord. Jesmel emphasized that God also wants us to endure in our mission, because He has prepared something great for us. Being in Christ, we should stand out and live the faith, as we carry the new vision of Youth For Christ – “Young people being and bringing Christ wherever they are.” The victorious event ended fittingly with a praise fest led by Gerald Manapsal, West A Over-all Sector Youth Head.
YFC South B Outburst: Painting Your Life With Christ
By Maica Gatmaitan
THE Youth for Christ Metro Manila South B Sector held its 9thAnnual Sector Conference at St. Rita College, Sucat, Parañaque City last September 18, 2011. Approximately 600 youth from Parañaque, Muntinlupa and a part of Pasay gathered for the conference entitled “Outburst: Paint Your Life with Christ,” rooted in Ephesians 5:8. “Once you lived in the dark but now the Lord has filled you with light, live as children
YFC / C3
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
ANCOP To Proclaim Christ Among Mangyans And Uplift Their Community
By Jerry Tanigue
A TEAM of ANCOP volunteers from Manila recently trekked to an Alangan Mangyan tribe community in Occidental Mindoro. In partnership with the Local Government Unit (LGU), National Council of Indigenous People (NCIP), and the Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR), ANCOP intends to pursue its programs for the poor to benefit the Mangyans. Desi Sablayan, tribe leader, and his fellow elders welcomed the 15-man ANCOP group and, together with the other tribe members, listened while the initial development plan was explained by Bong Marquez, LGU; Rizal Ting, ANCOP and Louie Munding, Couples for Christ (CFC) Sablayan head. The first help to materialize is the purchase of a carabao requested by the tribe leader during the group’s previous visit using funds donated by ANCOP Saudi Arabia.
Members of the Mangyan tribe pose with ANCOP leaders.
ANCOP UAE Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony; Construction of San Mateo ANCOP Homes Begins
ANCOP United Arab Emirates (UAE) held a ground breaking ceremony in early September in Barangay Bane, Balanga, Bataan where it will build a community of 30 ANCOP U.S.A. homes. This community is part of 135 homes to be built for poor Filipinos in a piece of land donated by Dr. Amang and Christy Abello, ANCOP U.S.A. supporters from San Antonio, Texas. Among those who attended the simple ceremony were Ricky Cuenca, Couples for Christ chairman, Dr. Joe Yamamoto, ANCOP Chairman, Eric de los Reyes, ANCOP President & CEO, Grace Princesa, Philippine Ambassador to UAE, Ramuel Garcia, Head of ANCOP UAE and local officials of Balanga. Construction of the ANCOP UAE homes will begin shortly. Four months ago, ANCOP U.S.A.’s South Central Region held a similar ANCOP Chairman Joe Yamamoto and CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca (standing, center) with Amb. Grace Princesa (seated, middle) and other ANCOP officials and local government officials after the groundbreaking ceremony. ceremony in the same area for the building of a 30home ANCOP U.S.A. comBahrain, Oman and Kuwait. ring Community (Maryland) in Our munity. Meanwhile, Elmer Pacia, ANCOP Lady of Banneux ANCOP Community Eric de los Reyes said that five other U.S.A. Community Development Pro- in San Mateo, Rizal has started. ANCOP groups from Middle Eastern gram Director, announced that conPacia said the eight homes will be countries will also donate 30 homes in struction of the first eight of 30 homes in turned over to their owners before Barangay Bane, namely, Saudi Arabia, the ANCOP U.S.A. Kathleen Scher- Christmas.
By Manny Caballero, ANCOP USA News Bureau
ANCOP USA Walk Young Fil-Am uses birthday fest Raises P5.6 Million to raise funds for ANCOP CSP
By ANCOP USA News Bureau
SEPT 26, 2011 - Gian Lizardo of Chicago is a young FilipinaAmerican. She turned 25 years old earlier this month. To celebrate this important event in her life, she thought of serving God by helping some poor children in the Philippines through ANCOP. Gian approached ANCOP U.S.A. and inquired how she could help the poor children in her parents’ native country on her birthday. She was advised to create a solicitation page from www.firstgiving. com. ANCOP U.S.A. has an account with that web site where anyone could create a page for fundraising purposes on behalf of a non-profit organization like ANCOP. Gian did exactly as advised. She now has a page at http://www.firstgiving. com/fundraiser/gian/kingdombuilding. Titled “Building the Kingdom of God,” Gian wrote the following introduction: “As I’m entering my 25th year of life, I reflect on everything thus far and see how beautifully God has worked throughout my life. I am confident in the many more miracles He has in store. For me personally, I know that He has called me to help build His Kingdom and free all those oppressed by struggle. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). “So for my birthday this year, I wanted to share the blessings that
THE ANCOP U.S.A. Walk 2011 held last month in 19 cities in 12 states around the U.S. raised the equivalent of$130,000 or 5.6 million pesos, according to Rollie Balanza, ANCOP U.S.A. Chief Financial Officer. The money will be used for ANCOP’s two major programs, namely the Child Sponsorship Program (CSP) and the Community Development Program (CDP). The annual project, which is held globally, is a three-mile walk aimed at raising funds for ANCOP programs. The 2011 ANCOP USA Walk was held in: Coconut Creek, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, Florida; Albany, Georgia; Hoffman Estates, Illinois; Baltimore, Maryland; Metropolitan Washington, D.C.; Jersey City, New Jersey; Waxhaw, North Carolina; Milpitas, San Mateo, Vallejo and San Dimas, California; Dallas and Houston, Texas; Virginia Beach, Virginia and Richland, Washington. The number of registered participants totaled 2,247.
He has showered upon me with those whom we most often forget we are sent to truly serve. “With a new school year upon us, I thought it would be great to help send ONE child through ONE year of elementary or high school ($32/month or $384/year), and ONE young adult
through ONE college ($64/ month or $768/year) through ANCOP Foundation’s Child Sponsorship Program (CSP). In total, my goal is to raise $1,152 to send two youth to school.” As of this this writing, Gian has raised 56 percent of her goal.
YFC / C3
who have light”. The event started with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Rev. Father Jun Lingad, from Don Bosco Seminary, Parañaque city. This was followed by opening remarks delivered by Vic Yamamoto, CFC Metro Manila South B Family Ministries Head. Michael Bocalig, one of the ANCOP Chapter Heads from the SB5 cluster, led the opening worship. The Outburst chant
was then played and taught by the Sector band together with the YCom Dance Crew and the Emcees. This was followed by the creative competitions such as, band, dance, acappella and gag videos. Lance Katigbak, Chapter Head in the SB5 cluster, delivered a short session on life. He emphasized the importance of saying “yes” to life. The afternoon worship was then led by Guio Pimentel, Cluster Head of SB9, followed by a
“Praise and Fashion” presentation featuring the Sector Youth Heads, Cluster Heads, Presidents, Program Volunteers and High School Program Volunteers. Pat Acapulco, Community Based Sector Youth Head, de-
livered a very inspiring session entitled “Black and White.” His session tackled faith, friends, family, and school, the four areas important in the life of the youth. Chibang Ebron, Cluster Head of SB4, shared about his experiences at school; Rachel Delos Reyes, Cluster Head of SB7, shared about her family; Renz Gamo , a high school based member, shared about his friends; and, Wen Alegre, Cluster Head of SB1, shared about his faith.
Gerald Sobrevega, Over All Sector Youth Head, delivered the last session entitled “Outburst of Colors.” He emphasized the importance of God’s light as he showed the youth the colors of the rainbow that can also symbolize the 7 identities of YFC. The event ended with a praise fest led by PJ Arcillas, High School Based Sector Youth Head who reminded everyone that the Lord always has bigger plans for us.
By Ricky Cuenca
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
The Miracles Continue for Fired-Up CFC
AS I write this, I am in Canada, in the land where I began my work as a missionary for the Lord. During this month of October, I will be speaking across Canada -- in Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver. October, the month of the Holy Rosary, reminds me of the motto, “The family that prays together stays together. Indeed, our CFC family has prayed and stayed together. Through the years, we have all felt the protection and healing presence of our Mother Mary, our source of strength and inspiration. This healing presence was affirmed in the International Council’s Strategic Planning held from September 30 to October 2 in order to set directions for 2012. The theme for the year 2012 that evolved from our prayers and reflection was the Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55. “And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. For the mighty one has done great things and Holy is His name. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped the servant Israel in remembrance of His mercy according to the purpose he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to our descendants forever.” This healing presence and our Lord’s providence has allowed us to witness miracle after miracle – from the increase in our membership to the purchase of CFC’s new home to the growing acknowledgement of our work as lay evangelizers in the Church. And the miracles continue. One of the greatest miracles was in Luneta in June 2011, in the celebration of our 30th anniversary, the Pearl of Great Price. A great throng of our members, more than ever before, congregated and marched in Luneta, coming from all over the Philippines, Africa, Asia, Middle East, Latin America, Europe, USA and Canada. The Pearl anniversary brought the biggest foreign delegation ever with mainland China and Indonesia leading the troop, bringing hundreds of members to the parade. What an overwhelming and abundant gift from the Lord! God made everything joyful, celebrative and spirit filled. The Pearl Anniversary also marked the passing on of a legacy in leadership in the life of the community. As a result of the Holy Spirit-led election process of the Elders Assembly, we have in the new International Council 5 incumbent members and 4 first time members. We also increased the number of IC members from 7 to 9. Right after the elections, in August, the newly elected International Council went on a three-day intensive retreat to discern our individual functions and roles in CFC. We started the retreat with a rosary in honor of our Lady of Banneux and throughout the retreat, prayed the rosary to begin each session. We prayed the angelus as part of our evening reflection exercise. Fasting, intercessory prayers and recitation of the holy rosary were also conducted by CFC members outside the retreat. The retreat was peaceful, purposeful and transformative with each IC member aware of his role, appreciative of individual talents and charism that can best contribute to the full delivery of CFC vision and mission. Balancing self aspiration and service for God and neighbor was achieved through the inspiration of Mother Mary, the role model for submission to the will of God. Indeed, it was the intercession of Our Blessed Virgin Mother that helped transcend our personal desires and allowed us to submit only to the will of God and His purposes for each of us. In the new International Council, we learn witnessing love and respect for each other, conscious and sensitive of each other’s roles and functions. Fraternal love and selfemptying towards a unified mission is a result of constant communication and regular information sharing. We call it HOT- honest, open, trusting communication. It is always a challenge to practice unity in diversity, participatory democracy in consensus building and self expression purified by Divine will. The spirit filled election of the new IC, given our anointed roles and functions, was an affirmation that the CFC community is ready for transition, for positive changes, for strategic approaches and innovations, for the empowerment of its leaders and members and the boldness of the whole organization to enter into new territories, partnerships and its expansion to greater heights, all for the greater glory of God. Upon my acceptance of the position of CFC Chairman, I set my three priority thrusts as: 1) On Fire Evangelization -On Fire Evangelization is an acronym that is defined as: One with CHRIST (Personal Holiness through Prayer and Scriptures); Oneness with the Catholic Church. New Generation (How do I prepare myself/children to be Christ-like leaders?) Fullness of Evangelization: Christ, Family, Poor (How can I help in CLPs, and serve with the poor in ANCOP, Cornerstone, Social Ministry?) International or Global Calling (Do I have opportunities to connect with CFC in other countries when I travel for work or holiday?) Relevant Life and Formation (Attending households and teachings faithfully) Effective Governance and Stewardship (Am I faithful and generous in tithing for the Lord’s work?) 2) Purposeful pastoral care and formation -The two separations we endured over the past four years have left many of us wounded. Let’s visit our members in the community and provide nurturing pastoral care and advice. Pastoral care is defined as: Visiting the flock and initiating continuing dialogue with the members, not only leaders; comforting our members, listening to their local issues and concerns; seeking to help resolve bottlenecks with pastoral love according to biblical and CFC teachings; resolving issues and reaching agreements based on innovative solutions starting from the bottom up, following the principles of subsidiary. We exhaust at each level, from the bottom up, consensus building and decision making. 3) Passionate work with the poor -ANCOP and CFC are one body. We need oneness in structure, effective strategies and action plans in our Child, Family and Community focus. We need a strategic marketing plan for the ANCOP child sponsorship program integrating, Education, Livelihood, Health and Shelter with values formation and the new Christian Life Program. During our IC Strategic Planning, I added a fourth thrust that cuts across all three priority thrusts - GOOD GOVERNANCE which includes 1) transparent and accountable financial management, control and reporting, 2) evidencebased and results -based performance, quality management and performance score cards, monitoring and evaluation through the installation of knowledge management, information, communication technology (ICT) in global and local mission centers and 3) policy planning and development of financial systems, human resource, communication and travel policies. In the past three months, as CFC Chairman, I realized leadership is not only about giving talks, giving directions, delegating work and cascading down all three priority thrusts. It is so much more. It requires a personal journey to holiness, disciplined practice of servant leadership and witnessing of steward leadership, highly principled living in the fullness of Christ love, having a whole pastoral sense of community, a deep faith and personal relationship with God, always acting from unconditional love for fellow leaders down the line, devoted prayer life and the regular reception of the sacraments- daily mass, confessions, Holy Eucharist, daily recitation of the Holy Rosary, Angelus and Divine Mercy, a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart and constant seeking of intercession from the Mother of Perpetual help and our Lady of Banneux, our mother of the poor, visits to the adoration chapel for meditation and reflection on God’s message, daily reading of the Bible and holy scriptures, a keen understanding of His calling for the CFC community, integrating core values and activities in the mission and vision, firmly establishing unity and integration in the IC and Board of Elders, a lot of patience, hope, wisdom and understanding, being strong and confident in following the will of God especially in critical decision making, creating synergy and cooperation in the assemblies of Elders and Mission core groups with no expectations or personal agenda, and in full humility, accepting things I cannot change. Leadership also requires a relational closeness and constant listening ears to God to deal with human weaknesses and frailties in the community, including my own, as well as a basic competence in good governance and change management, in doing the gigantic demands of planning, budgeting, accounting, performing delivery of good services and implementing CFC operations as a global organization. It requires a great capacity to love, including tough love when called for, a passion for the vision and urgency for the mission, hand in hand with a strong gift of balance for being relational and functional. Indeed, the leadership required in CFC is an ideal, a tall order to fill, but as once again affirmed, certainly not difficult and impossible for God. This is a full litany of leadership functions and character traits. I have listed them all down here so that you, our leaders and members, can remind me and all the IC members when we fall short. As we celebrate the family rosary month of October and the feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mother, I realize how we are strong with the values of fortitude, obedience and humility in submitting to the will of God. All through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother! Thank you, Mama Mary! We love you Mama Mary!
By Melo Villaroman
Proclaim The Greatness of The Lord!
OUR CFC global community’s theme and lively discussions on 2012 theme rejoiced in Him, for He had led us to will not leave our side as we put on continue to proclaim the greatness of for 2012 is “Proclaim the Greatness of possibilities. our 2012 theme! God’s armor and surge ahead in our the Lord to all! the Lord!” This is based on the openWe have been gifted with a 2012 quest to build His kingdom here on Around 10 pm Friday, the IC sensed Finally, the theme affirms the fulling verse of “The Canticle of Mary” that the Holy Spirit had our new theme so rich and profound, that we earth. With this theme, we proclaim ness of the mission each of us is called (Luke 1: 46 to 55) or the Magnificat theme wrapped-up like a magnificent should prepare our hearts for the our devotion to Mary and our reliance to. The faithfulness, humility, and howhich was sung by the Virgin Mary present. The Lord had spoken, open- Canticle of Mary to dwell in, and to on her protection and love. liness of Mary as the first and perfect in response to Elizabeth after she ing up the Scriptures to lead us to allow the words to grow and open us For now, we are very hopeful and disciple; the lowly being lifted up and praised Mary for her faith, during the Luke 1: 46-55, and converging the dis- up fully in 2012. The words of our excited! The theme brings us back the hungry filled with good things; Visitation. The anchor verse (Luke cussions into consensus around the theme need to be understood, lived, home to the core of our calling: the promise to Abraham and his de1: 46) reads, “My soul proclaims profound relevance of these verses sung, and proclaimed by our Com- EVANGELIZATION, or proclaiming scendants encompassing the future the greatness of the Lord; of our own families – these my spirit rejoices in God my are exciting affirmations of Savior.” the work God calls us to fulfill: This theme was given to our building up personal holiness Community through the IC in Christ, building the Church brothers and our wives, during of the Home, and building the the annual planning weekend Church of the Poor! held last September 30 to Our road map in 2012 and October 2 in Fontana, Clark, beyond is clear – our focus is Pampanga. It was a fruitful still CFC but now it no longer weekend, during which we restands simply for Couples for flected on God’s messages for Christ. Now it is a clear direcus, discerned what directions tion to harness our energies to the Lord will lead us to in 2012 proclaim, protect, defend and and, for the entire weekend, love CHRIST, FAMILY and prayed for one another and the COMMUNITY. community. The weekend was It seems fitting that in June made more beautiful by the of this year, at the tail end of camaraderie that we shared our anniversary celebrations, and by the affirmation that CFC leaders were commisGod does speak to us through sioned as Modern Day Prophothers, if only we have the ears ets during the Philippine Misand the heart to listen. sion Conference. Prophets are We believe with our hearts messengers of what are true, that our global theme for 2012, right, just and noble. Prophets as with our past themes, is a are proclaimers. And this is great gift of guidance from exactly what our 2012 theme the Holy Spirit to Couples for is asking of all of us – to proChrist as we continue our misclaim that God reigns, that He sion journey. The weekend re- The nine-member IC, from left: Jun Uriarte, Mannix Ocampo, Rouquel Ponte, Manny Garcia, Joe Yamamoto, Ricky Cuenca, Melo Villaroman, Jr, Joe Tale and Nonoy Dalis great and wonderful, that treat began with a very deeply man, during the recent IC planning, in front of the powerful inspirations of our community’s work, Jesus Christ and our Blessed Mother. He is mighty and powerful, soul-searching and nourishing that He loves us. recollection and Eucharist led We thank the global CFC by Father Raul de los Santos (brought to CFC at this point in the history of munity and our families. the great love of the Lord in word and Community for all your support and by our host CFC Pampanga Team), our Community. At that moment, we The theme also affirms our resolve in action every day. It also seems to prayers, perfectly accepted by the Lord followed by an inspiring session about felt our hearts truly burning within to walk with Mary in our journey reveal the purpose why the Lord has as He leads all of us to our new 2012 CHANGE in the afternoon facilitated us! Affirming the final 2012 theme as towards her Son. Our recent Mis- allowed us to face and overcome the theme! Let us continue putting on the by BOE Member Bong Arjonillo. These one, the IC and wives then broke into sion Core teachings have focused on Community’s toughest storms – we full armor of Christ in our daily miswere to prepare us for a long but excited, blazing worship to thank the the role of Mary in a Christian com- loved, and moved forward in Christ, sion, as we prepare to “PROCLAIM fruitful evening of powerful worship Lord, as we sung The Magnificat! In munity. We have realized that Mary embracing the Fullness of His mis- THE GREATNESS OF THE LORD!” and Holy Rosary intercession, deep our praises, we truly magnified the is our ally and guide in our spiritual sion, and we put on His full armor, even more deeply and fully this comlistening (prophecies and Scriptures), Lord with our souls, and our spirits journey and a gentle warrior who so that our lives and our families can ing 2012!
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
By Joe Yamamoto
(Part 3 of the series “The Pilgrim’s Journey) The third leg of the pilgrimage brings us to Tiberias, an ancient town on the western edge of the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee bears other names -- Lake Galilee, Lake Tiberias, Lake Gennesaret, and Lake Kennereth (Chinnereth). In ancient Israel, the Sea of Galilee was called the Sea of Chinnereth ( from the Hebrew word kinnor, meaning harp, indicating the shape of the lake). In the times of the New Testament, the name Sea of Gennesaret was also applied. The Jewish Talmud ( 2nd century AD) referred to it as Lake Tiberias. The Sea of Galilee, mainly situated in the northern half of Israel, is the setting of many events that occurred during the Galilean ministry of Jesus. The largest freshwater lake in Israel, the Sea of Galilee is fed mainly by the Jordan River with waters coming all the way from Mount Hermon to the north and other tributaries. Beyond the lake the Jordan River continues until it drains ultimately into the Dead Sea to the south. Since early prehistoric times, this vital lake area has drawn people to it because of the warm weather, lush vegetation, and plentiful fish. To us Christians, the Sea of Galilee has so much special significance, as it was in its surrounding areas that Jesus was most active, performed many miracles, and held many of His powerful teachings and discourses. Familiar to all Christians are such places around the Sea of Galilee as Mountain of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Tabgha where Jesus performed the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes and the Church of the Primacy of Peter. Compared to other bigger bodies of water in other parts of the world, the Sea of Galilee is small and rather ordinary. And yet it holds so much importance and impact in the history of our faith. The relation between man and His Creator and that of man with others has been defined by so many events that transpired in and around Galilee. MOUNTAIN of the BEATITUDES The traditional name of the discourse that Jesus delivered in Matthew 5 has been called the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon is a manifesto of the Kingdom of Heaven and has become a code of Christian morality. The demands of the Sermon are challenging but they are key to the authentic Christian life. The Mountain of the Beatitudes is located on the northwestern shore of the lake, above Capernaum. The place where Jesus delivered the Sermon is now occupied by an octagonal shaped Church, each side commemorative of each Beatitude. The Church of the Beatitudes is situated on top of the mountain. Standing on its high ground, a pilgrim has a commanding view of the Sea of Galilee. The place is so inspiring that one cannot help but reflect on how the disciples would have felt as they were listening to the powerful words coming from the very lips of Jesus. The message was important then as it is relevant today for the contemporary believers. It is not difficult to imagine that the listeners would have been moved by the beauty and the power of the discourse of Jesus. The beatitudes provide the road map that the followers of Christ need to follow as they journey in their life of faith. CAPERNAUM There is a steel gate that a pilgrim goes through in entering the ruins of a village. A sign boldly proclaims “ Capharnaum, the Town of Jesus.” Perhaps it is a testament to the fact that during the Galilean ministry, Jesus considered Capernaum his second home. Located in the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum was the site of many sermons preached by our Lord and He performed more miracles there than anywhere else. Capernaum has the distinction of being the fishing village where Jesus recruited his first disciples - Andrew, Simon Peter, John and James. In Luke 5:10-11 “Jesus said to Simon- do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men. When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.” Matthew the tax collector was also from Capernaum. The town of Capernaum was where the mother-in-law of Simon Peter and the paralytic ( Mark 2:4-5 (NIV) were healed. There is currently reason to believe that the healing of the paralytic occurred in the house of Peter. Three other homes in this famed town are mentioned as well in the gospels -- the house of Matthew the tax collector, the house of Jairus and the house of the Centurion, the one whose servant was healed by Jesus. TABGHA Located in the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee and not far from Capernaum, Tabgha is the traditional site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes (Mark 6:30-46) and the third postresurrection appearance of Jesus (John 21:1-24). The site’s name is derived from the Greek word Heptapegon (“seven springs”), testament to its providing abundant water to the lush gardens that once occupied the place. Today the Church of the Mulmessage of the miracles is that the twelve baskets of leftovers appeal particularly to the Jews, who were the primary witnesses to the event (i.e.the twelve tribes) while seven is the number applicable to the Gentiles who were the principal witnesses to the second multiplication. It is fitting to know that these two miracles happened in the final year of ministry of Jesus. The clearly unmistakable message is Jesus came for all, Jews and Gentiles alike. FEED MY SHEEP-the Primacy of Peter A Franciscan church called the Church of the Primacy of Peter stands along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This is the site of the poignant and momentous that led to the calling of the first disciples, Jesus gave instructions: “cast the net on the right side and you will find some.” It was an understatement, because Peter and company caught a netful of fishes, one hundred fifty three in all. The gospels relate two miraculous hauls of fish -- the first at the time of the call of the first disciples and second during the post-resurrection appearance of the Risen Christ. Both happened in Galilee. At that very instance, their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus; the apostle John said it clearly: ‘It is the Lord’ and excitedly Peter preceded them all and plunged into the water. After they had their fill during the truly special Breakfast by the Sea, Jesus taught a lesson that was unforgettable for its importance The glorious event that subsequently happened, for Peter, was very personal and up close. Jesus restores Peter to his rightful place. It was a unique and extraordinary way for Jesus to reinstate Simon Peter and make him realize that all is well and he is forgiven for his threetime denial of Jesus. Three times Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me?” Three times Peter responded in the affirmative “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” The final instruction of Jesus was captured in the powerful words - Feed My Lambs... Tend my Sheep,... and Feed My Sheep. Peter grieved at every question but felt relieved and restored at the ultimate affirmation from the Lord. The final chapter of John ( John 21) provided the fitting closure to the four gospels of the four evangelists. For all the lessons learned, every struggling Christian, especially those tasked to be leaders of their community, must accept the dual personality of a leader-- initially as the Fisherman who draws people by casting the net of God’s word and drawing them in and later, who allows himself to metamorphose to a Shepherd of the flock as Peter had once been. LEARNING FROM SIMON PETER As Christian leaders working in challenging environments and confronted with the modern day realities of materialism, selfishness and hedonism, will Simon Peter be a good role model? Peter had once been like every one of us, unprepared and perhaps even unconcerned with the affairs of the world. As we encounter the Lord and allow His grace to work in and through us, just as Peter found out, we are likewise invited to discipleship. What is critically important is to follow the examples of Peter in terms of his willingness to be present with the Lord, to be ready with our own journey of spiritual and personal transformation and to allow the Lord to reach down to us and look after our welfare and safety. As a disciple of Christ, Peter learned to confront his own failings but he never had a fallout with God because he recognized God’s indispensability in his life. Just like Peter, we must profess that Jesus is our Messiah and like him, we will not leave as “Jesus is the Son of God and he has the words of eternal life.” To whom can we go? In response to his call, Peter allowed Jesus to transform him from an unassuming fisherman to an obedient and ever ready fisher of men and to a shepherd called to feed God’s sheep. Such attitude must imbue us in our daily life- to desire to be in the presence of God. POSTSCRIPT The Church of the Primacy of Peter is important to us Catholics not only because its hallowed ground witnessed the full restoration of Simon Peter but also highlighted his role as the first Vicar of Christ entrusted with the mission to “Feed my Sheep.” This chapel lies to the north of the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. In the ninth century, the church was called the Place of the Coals, referring to the incident where Jesus prepared the meals for the apostles after building a charcoal fire with which to cook the fish. About that time frame as well, there were “Twelve Stones,” heart shaped and placed along the shore to commemorate the twelve apostles. Finally, in front of the present altar of the church, there is a projection of limestone rock , venerated as the Mensa Christi, Latin for “table of Christ.” According to tradition, this is the spot where Jesus is said to have laid out a breakfast of bread and fish for the apostles, and told Peter to ‘Feed my sheep.’
The Church of the Annunciation
tiplication stands in the place where Jesus stood as he blessed the loaves and fishes that will feed the crowd who have come to hear him. This was the first multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Matt.14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6) where Jesus fed five thousand people and the leftover crumbs were collected in twelve baskets. Not too long after was the second multiplication of loaves and fishes (Matt.15 and Mark 8). In the latter instance, Jesus fed four thousand and the leftover bread crumbs were collected in seven baskets (see Catholic Bible Dictionary, p.621). The first miracle was in Tabgha whereas the second miracle occurred farther to the north and west towards Gentile territory. Of noteworthy significance are the twelve baskets in the first and seven in the second. The
encounter between Jesus and the disciples after the Resurrection. Afraid and at a loss to comprehend the death and crucifixion of Christ, six other disciples joined Simon Peter to fish in the Galilee --Andrew, John, James, Philip, Nathanael, and Thomas called Didymus. The final chapter of John (John 21) could very well be entitled Breakfast by the Sea for at the crack of dawn the Resurrected Jesus made his presence felt and later ‘known.’ Once again, Peter was not content with doing nothing and declared “I am going fishing.” Readily the other disciples joined him in the boat. As in a similar earlier encounter, the disciples caught nothing. An as yet ‘unrecognized’ Jesus asked if they had any food; the unanimous reply was: ‘No.” Once again, much like the event
By Jun Uriarte
Whoever is Not Against Us is For Us (Mk 9:40)
A STORY is told that one morning in 1208, while Francis of Assissi was hearing Mass in the chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, he heard the Gospel about Jesus instructing his disciples to “take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic” (Lk 9:3). These words penetrated his heart as if they were spoken directly to him. After the Mass he emptied himself of all worldly goods, his shoes, his cloak, and whatever money he had left. He put on the clothing worn by the poorest Umbrian peasant, a coarse gray woolen tunic, and tied it around him with a knotted rope. And began his work of preaching in the countryside and helping the poorest of the poor. Francis was soon joined by about a dozen followers. He sought an audience before Pope Innocent III and obtained verbal approval of the Franciscan Rule. The Order of the Friars Minor was formally founded on 16 April 1209. The number of his friars increased rapidly, first in Italy, then Hungary, France and Spain. But in 1220 during his absence in Italy while on mission in Egypt, some friars started introducing innovations into their way of life. This forced him to cut short his mission to deal with the problem. Shortly thereafter, he resigned the office of general of the order but he retained certain supreme direction of the order until his death on 3 October 1226. As the community grew, there were more disagreements about the direction the Order should take. The first Franciscans, called the Order of Friars Minor, followed the ideal of poverty practiced by its founder, St. Francis of Assisi. They possessed nothing in common or individually. They were forbidden to receive money and lived from day to day by working or begging. But when some friars began studying and living in universities, they had to modify their strict ideal of poverty. Soon some groups started living in large church convents while the others remained in their usual simple hermitages. The disagreements between the group that lived in large convents and wanted to adapt their poverty to the needs of the times and the group that lived in hermitages and wanted to preserve the original ideal of poverty became more and more intense. This finally led to the permanent division of the Order, with the bull of Pope Leo X in 1517 formally dividing the Franciscans into two separate Orders, the Friars Minor of the Regular Observance and the Friars Minor Conventuals. Then in 1552, Matteo da Bascio, a priest of the Franciscan Observant, wanted to live the Franciscan Rule in the strictest observance: live in the simplest hermitages, have two hours of meditation daily, practice penitential rites in eating, grow a long beard, wear a narrow habit with pointed capuche, and preach to the people without remuneration. He obtained the Pope’s permission but they were to remain under the obedience of the Friars Minor Conventuals. In 1608 Pope Paul V declared that the Capuchins, as they came to be called, were true Friars Minor and sons of St. Francis. But as the new group grew rapidly, it differed more and more from the Observants and the Conventuals. Finally, on 23 January 1619, the Pope gave the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins autonomous status. A careful study of the causes of the division of the Franciscan Order and a profound reflection on the words of Jesus to his disciples concerning someone not belonging to their group but able to do the same things they were doing in the name of Jesus can lead one to discern useful lessons for our community. The words of Jesus are in Mark: John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward” (Mk 9:38-41). The disciples try to prevent someone from performing mighty works in the name of Jesus because he does not belong to their seemingly exclusive group. But Jesus emphatically tells them, “Do not prevent him…For whoever is not against us is for us.” Jesus makes it clear that no one has the exclusive right to proclaim his name. What is essential is that the action is based on his authentic teaching. What is important is the person’s heart. If his heart is with Jesus, then he cannot “speak ill” of him, and he thus also “belongs to Christ.” The Order of Friars Minor had its way of serving God through the ideal of St. Francis. But as the community grew in different places, different groups, not belonging to the original friars close to St. Francis or his immediate successors, began to develop and practice new approaches to express the same Franciscan ideal. Therefore, disagreements ensued. This led to division and formation of three different and distinct Orders. And yet the popes formally recognized these three Orders as also “sons of Francis” – performing mighty deeds in the name of Jesus and thus also belonging to Christ. We can discern three lessons from our reflection on the Gospel passage and our study of the history of the Franciscan division. The first lesson is that human weakness and failure can lead to disagreement and division but God can transform them into strength and success. Jesus fully understands the weaknesses of his closest disciples, and he corrects them. Jesus’ disciples argued about who was the greatest among them. And Jesus told them that if anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all. There are many similar examples. Peter, the only one to deny Jesus three times, is made head of the early church. The weakest is made the strongest like a rock. The second lesson is that God can use anybody to build his kingdom. Different people may have different approaches to achieving the same end. God prevents no one from developing or using those approaches for the purpose of proclaiming his authentic message. This is the meaning of Jesus’ statement, “whoever is not against us is for us.” The third lesson is that what is important to God is our heart. We may differ in our approaches. We may disagree with one another, sometimes sharply. But God who sees our hearts, God who knows exactly our intentions, God who reads our thoughts, will constantly remind us that “there is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.” Like the Franciscans, our community has essentially been divided into three groups. One group wants to focus more on family and life. Another group wants to focus more on eradicating poverty. But it is our community that retains the Vatican recognition and most of the members. It has the fullness of the Gospel message – to build the Church of the Home, to build the Church of the Poor, to be families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth. It has been consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Virgin of Evangelization, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit who is the Agent of Evangelization. Soon it will fully manifest its devotion to the Blessed Mother. Thus the leaders may argue. They may disagree. But in the end, it is their hearts that matter. Are their hearts consecrated to Mary, in love with Jesus, animated by the Holy Spirit, and faithful to the Father? If so, then Jesus tells us, “Do not prevent them. I know their hearts. And whoever is not against me is for me.” And so we pray for them: Mother Mary, please take care of the hearts of our leaders so that their hearts may always belong to Christ, your Son. Amen.
Vol. 15 No. 21
October 10 - 23, 2011
CFC Brisbane - Our Community Through The Years
By Roland Tenorio
WHO would have known that the humble basement of a small, three-bedroom home in the sleepy suburb of Sunnybank Hills, Queensland, was the place the Lord had chosen for us to begin our mission in Queensland? My wife and I certainly did not foresee the overwhelming task ahead of us when we moved our family from Sydney to Brisbane in 1995. Thankfully, He did not leave us to do His work alone, and together with Rey and Annette del Rosario’s family (CFC leader from the Philippines), we were able to answer His call and start the first Christian Life Program that commenced on 4th April and finished on 5th May, 1996. As I reminisce about this CLP, I am reminded of the commitment, exceptional leadership and tireless efforts put in by the service team from Sydney (headed by Dennis and Ruth Reyes). Over six weeks, the team traveled every weekend for fourteen hours in two vans (after a long week of work), and readily gave talks and teachings, guided the team, and brought music to our participants. Our small home was truly filled with the Spirit and we managed to accommodate these keen mission workers who would arrive early on a Saturday morning, serve at the CLP, have a brief time of sleep and begin their long journey home on a Sunday morning so they could be ready for work on Monday. I do not recall ever hearing complaints from anyone despite the sacrifices they had to make. In addition, we were blessed with frequent visits from CFCs based in the Philippines, who made sure that we received nourishment to continue moving forward despite the many obstacles encountered by our young ministry. When the community was firmly established, we sought the recognition of Bishop John Bathersby of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane in order to gain the support of the church to fulfill our mission more effectively. After meeting with the auxiliary Bishop at the time, Michael Putney, and acquainting him with the community, Couples for Christ was officially recognized by the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane in a letter to my wife Isabel and me on 26th September 1996. This acknowledgement enabled us to approach our local parish for support. The late Father Tom Hegerthythe parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes at the time- fully supported Couples for Christ and independent group called CFC (Australia) Global Mission Inc. However, after much prayer and discernment and a dialogue with the leaders of the group, my wife and I decided to continue our service with the original community, Couples for Christ (Aust.) Oceana Mission Ltd. because they fully maintained affiliations with CFC Global Mission Foundation, Inc. (Philippines) which is recognized by the Vatican according to Cannons 09-311 and 321-329 of the code of Canon Law. Kris and Ethel Manalac were the first couple, along with the rest of my family, to openly declare their support. We were left with the task of rebuilding each family ministry and moving forward despite the changes caused tension between the two groups; however, a series of meetings facilitated by the Filipino-Australian Chaplain, Fr. Marce Singson, helped to diffuse any conflict and re-focus the groups on their mission. The first CFC Brisbane household was eventually formed. It consisted of Isabel and me, Peter and Nelia Tsui, Rey and Rechie Tubelleza, Jun and Zeny Garcia and Alex Queja. As a team, we conducted a successful Christian Life Program which was made possible because of the continued support of the parish priest at Our Lady of Lourdes. A fraternal leadership was formed and guided the community to where it is today. Two years on, CFC (Aust.) Oceania Mission Ltd – Brisbane Chapter has expanded its membership to the northern and central regions of Brisbane and a CLP is being conducted in the Gold Coast. We have also been given the privilege of serving in Cairns by starting a CLP just as Sydney did for us. We are encouraged by the support of the Bishop of Cairns, Bishop James Foley, who welcomed us at the opening of the first CLP at the hall of St. Monica’s Cathedral. Also, we’ve been able to continue establishing the community in Rockhampton by conducting a Youth for Christ camp for the children of CFC members. As I look back over the last fifteen years, I am in awe of God’s goodness and affirmed that when you are grounded by faith, the Lord will make all things possible. Couples for Christ and the family ministries in Brisbane - Singles for Christ, Youth for Christ, Kids for Christ and Handmaids of the Lord are in full swing and working towards achieving our global mission to be “Families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth” by continuing to
CFC Brisbane Celebrates at 15!
The Tenorio family
allowed us to use Our Lady of Lourdes primary school facilities to conduct the first parish based Christian Life Program. The community continued to grow over the next decade and went from two households to several chapters. All the Family Ministries were in full swing and grew steadily throughout Brisbane. With the grace of God, we were able to host numerous Oceania Conferences and actively worked with the archdiocese. However, in 2009, the ramifications of the split in Couples for Christ Philippines became evident in Brisbane. On 1 January, 2009, CFC Brisbane announced that it was officially joining an
hardships ahead. To do this, the remaining members of Singles for Christ were gathered and Marcy Mission from CFC Sydney conducted a series of information sessions explaining the events surrounding the decision of CFC Australia National Council to remain an independent group. He clarified the differences between the new group, CFC (Australia) Global Mission Inc., and CFC (Aust.) Oceania Mission Ltd., the original group which was affiliated with CFC Global Mission Inc. (Philippines). Members made their decisions about where they would commit their service to and we moved on. Nevertheless, such significant
CFC Brisbane held a joyous celebration of 15 years of life with the Lord on Sunday, September 11. IC member Joe Tale, who is also the Continental Overseer for Oceania (which includes Australia), was the guest of honor during the celebrations. CFC Brisbane was severely affected during the 2007 separation, with the bulk of their membership choosing the “independent” option, meaning they affiliated with neither group. That they are now celebrating, in great numbers, is evidence of God’s spirit working in those who remained and of their dedication and commitment to intensify efforts to evangelize. Roland Tenorio, who was among the few who opted to stay loyal to CFC Global Mission Foundation, shared his and the original group’s struggles during the anniversary (see sharing at left). He affirmed that CFC Brisbane is cognizant of their being “part of the CFC global family.” The anniversary celebrations were capped by a praise and worship concert on September 17, with the Brisbane Music Ministry Band, named “All for God,” performing. According to Roland, “the months of preparation and hard work really paid off. It was a great event for the community to worship and appreciate Christian music as well as to evangelize their friends and families.” build the Church of the home and working for the poor. As we herald the fifteenth anniversary of Couples for Christ Brisbane, the fruits of our labor become particularly apparent to me during praise and worship, as I am surrounded by a hall full of hopeful, faithful people who are surrendering their lives to His call. They are not only couples who have been married for many years but also, newlyweds and their young families starting their journey, members of Singles for Christ preparing for the sacrament of marriage, youth on fire who are shaking up their generation and children who will live a childhood where they know and experience God’s love every day. Our loving God gave CFC Brisbane the experience to grow in Christ, and when the times are tough, when we feel alone, it is then that we must be strong to face the problems that lie ahead…it is then that we “Put on the full armor of God.”
My Amazing Faith Journey
(THe following is a sharing given by Grace Cruz, a HOLD leader, during the recent CFC Australia Armor of God Conference.) Six years ago, I became the sole parent to my children Grae, Aldrea and Aldreane. I had no work, no money and no permanent home. It seemed like there was no hope, but we relied totally on God and constantly prayed to Him for help. God in his great love for us allowed us to see His great power. The start of our faith journey began on the day my children and I went to St. Patrick Church to ask the Lord to lead us in the right direction for our life. We particularly asked Him to help us find a place to live in because we were just staying temporarily with a family friend. After the Mass, we were approached by a couple who invited all of us to lunch. They said they were CFC members and that they had been praying and asking the Lord to lead them to the right person who could look after their place and take care of their dog because they were always out of the country. They said that they always saw us in that church and they sensed that the Lord led them to us. They asked us to consider their request. I was speechless and just cried for joy because the Lord truly answered our prayers. But God was not done with us. Aside from giving us a home, He also gave me a job when one of the CFC wives referred me to a friend who was giving up his cleaning job. But the cleaning job was not what I expected. I expected to be cleaning either a house or an office but it turned out I was to clean a butcher shop! The Greek owner even told me that I might not like it and may not do the job, or even not come back, because it was a difficult, dirty job. To my dismay, I did indeed see what he meant -- the walls were full of blood! I would have to clean up all the blood from the place, twelve-year old brother was not even complaining about the smell and was happily sweeping the dirty floor. My daughter who was a teenager that time was not even ashamed to clean the front glass window, even if she could be seen from the outside. I felt so blessed and assured of my children’s love for me. After we had finished, the Catholic Lebanese owner of the grill restaurant house in front of the butcher shop approached us. He said he had been watching us while we were cleaning and he wanted us to also clean his shop. Another wonderful blessing because aside from the extra job, the Lebanese also gave us all the unsold food at the end of the day. Every night after we finished cleaning, we would walk home joyfully. In time, the owners of the neighboring shops became our friends, and they also gave us their unsold food. Even the drivers of the buses that we rode regularly did not ask any payment for our fare. Most of all, the butcher whose shop we regularly cleaned became like family to us. He has been giving us ham and turkey every Christmas and New Year. He was even concerned for my children especially Aldrae, who was once bullied in his school. Without my knowledge, the butcher went to the school and told the bully not to touch him anymore. I was so touched by that gesture. Last December 27, 2010 after I said “yes” to serve in HOLD as a household leader, the Lord provided a new place for us - a three-bedroom unit in a new building - an ideal place for our prayer and household meetings. Even my children Aldrae and Aldreane are serving the Lord now through YFC, as the unit heads of Kogarah. Our place has now become the home of YFC and HOLD. Now I can truly testify to the Lord’s words that are always in my mind and in my heart: “Never worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself.”
CFC COMVAL conducts Mission Core Group Camp
By Tim Aller
COUPLES for Christ - Compostela Valley Provincial Mission Core Group Leaders had a fruitful and remarkable weekend at the 1st ever MCG Camp held last September 17-18, 2011. CFC Leaders all over the province gathered at the Farmers Institute Training Center, Brgy. Sasa, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley, and participated in different team-building activities that enhanced their physical, intellectual, social and spiritual aspects. The purpose of the said activity was to incorporate vibrant tasks that could be related to their leadership skills as CFC. It reminded each participant about their basic roles and responsibilities to the CFC community as “front-liners in the mission.” The camp officially started with a morning worship led by Roger Encarnacion after which the participants were grouped into four. Each group was asked to create their own group name and chant, after which they competed with each other by group and raced to acquire points that would be added to determine the winner during the last day. Some of the tasks and activities included the following: “Map of Life,” “King Solomon and the never ending story,” “the Magic Carpet,” the “Enchanted Loop activity,” the “Wicked String activity,” “the Racetrack Activity,” “Tie a knot activity,” “Powerpoint game,” “An Amazing Race game,” and the “Obstacle game.” The camp ended with the awarding of winners followed by a powerful and spirit filled praise fest led by Allan Baiño. The MCG Camp was capped by the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist officiated by Rev. Fr. Hernan Reyes. Fr. Hernan stated that lay groups like Couples for Christ are a big help to the mission of the Catholic Church. The MCG Camp paved the way for CFC leaders to foster camaraderie among their fellow CFCs. After the weekend that was chock-full of “Jesus experiences,” CFC leaders were again renewed with passion and enthusiasm to continue the mission that God has entrusted to them.
including from the heavy equipment that they use. But I showed them that I could do the job; in fact I was joyfully singing praise and worship songs while I was cleaning, glorifying and thanking God for that job. I was so happy when I went home that first day because aside from my day’s pay, I was also given free meat. This privilege was granted to me everyday that I worked there, which meant that my children and I always had food on our table. We never failed to thank God for all these blessings But one night, something happened to me. At around 3 AM I woke up with so much pain in my arms and hands. The pain was unbearable – so much so that I felt like cutting off my arms! I cried and prayed to God to heal me because I really needed to go to work at the butcher shop. I fell asleep praying and crying, and woke up in tears. My children told me that they would come with me to help me at the shop so that I wouldn’t lose my job. I was quite hesitant to bring them but I had no choice, so I took my chances and brought them with me. To my surprise the people at the shop did not even question us and were even happy to see my children working with me. Looking at my three children working, I felt so happy because of their sense of responsibility but guilty at the same time because they were forced to work at their age. My seven year old son was joyfully wiping the glass surfaces. His
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and act on it.” Beyond biology is the primacy of the Word of God, and “here is where Luke’s Mariology is coming to surface.” Luke asserts that for Jesus, “my mother hears the Word of God and does it.” Martha and Mary Luke’s fundamental assertion on Mary is made clearer in Lk 10: 38-42. In the story of Martha and Mary, Martha always did all the serving while Mary always “sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to his words.” Martha asked Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the serving?” Jesus answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.” Msgr. Vengco explained that Jesus’ answer to Martha is a clarification by Jesus to a dear friend. “One thing is needed, tiyakin mo na ikaw ay busog sa diwa at kaluluwa.” (Be sure that you are filled both in mind and spirit.) Mary was like a student listening to a teacher, “bawat kataga ay dinadampot. Kaya, hindi ko siya uutusang tumigil sa pakikinig sa akin.” (every word is picked up. That is why I do not ask her to stop listening to me.) Addressing the CFC leaders, Msgr. Vengco exhorted: “Marami kayong gagawin sa CFC. Bago kayo sumugod, kayo muna ay umupo sa harapan ng Guro at makinig sa Kanyang salita.” (There are many things you need to do in CFC. Before you rush to do them, first you need to sit in front of the Teacher and listen to His words.) Stories peculiar in Luke Just as the Wedding in Cana is an account peculiar to John, Msgr. Vengco called attention to a story peculiar only to Luke’s Gospel. In Lk 11: 27-28, “As Jesus was speaking, a woman spoke from the crowd and said to him, ‘Blessed is the one who bore you and nursed you!’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it as well.” Msgr. Vengco noted that Jesus’ answer is the same as His answer to Martha. Infancy narratives After noting that Lk 8:21, 10:28, and 11:28 are consistent in saying that “Sa totoo lang, ang pagpapala na higit sa lahat ay nagsalita ang Diyos, ang Kanyang Salita ay napakinggan at isinabuhay,” (In truth, the greatest blessing is that God spoke and His Word was listened to and lived.) Msgr. Vengco directed the attention of the CFC leaders to Lk 1: 26 -38, the Annunciation. The Angel Gabriel “was sent to a young virgin.” Therefore, according to Msgr. Vengco, “the Word of God was delivered by an angel – the bearer of the Word of God – to Mary.” When the angel said: “Hail favored one, the Lord is with you,” Mary was “troubled at these words.” Msgr. Vengco explained that Mary was “troubled” because the angels’ greeting is a direct quotation from Zephaniah 3:14-17, which are God’s words to Israel, but this time, delivered to a woman. Msgr. Vengco proceeded to discuss “the interaction between the God who speaks and Mary who listens.” In Lk 1: 34, Mary asked: “How can this be?” as if asking “How can the Word of God happen?” Mary, said Msgr. Vengco, is “so much one of us.” She was puzzled and she asked questions. But “when God speaks, there comes a dialogue.” In Lk 1:38, there is an end to the dialogue, with Mary saying: “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” Msgr. Vengco expounded that, “servant” means one who “hears every word that a master utters; a good servant is a good listener.” Mary is saying, “I am listening to Your every word, O God.” “Servant” also means that “what she hears, she obeys.” Mary is saying: “ God, before You I now stand. I will listen to your Word and I will carry out Your Word.” To be a “servant,” then, is to be both a “hearer” and a “doer.” Msgr. Vengco cautioned that “Hearing without doing leads to condemnation, while doing without hearing leads to disaster to self and to others.” Mary, the first disciple Being a “servant” is the most succinct expression of Mary’s spirituality: listening attentively, and carrying out effectively. Mary is a good soil (Lk8:15); one who “has chosen the better part”(Lk 10:42); and one who listens to the word of God and keeps it as well (Lk 11:27). Mary therefore, is the “first and perfect disciple of Jesus Christ.”
Mission Core Teaching Night
By Arnel Santos
IN response to the clamor for a deeper understanding of “The Role of Mary in a Christian Community,” CFC once again invited Monsignor Sabino Vengco, Jr., STD, to continue sharing his reflection on the Blessed Virgin Mary that is “biblical or rooted in God’s revelation in the Scripture.” While the last Mission Core Group Teaching (MCGT) focused on Mary in the Gospel of John, the MCGT of September 20, 2011 held at Christ the King Parish in Greenmeadows, Quezon City, focused on Mary in the Gospel of Luke. Parable of the Sower Msgr. Vengco began his discourse with Luke 8:4-18, the Parable of the Sower, which speaks of the seed falling on the “good soil” -- the “people who receive the word and keep it in a gentle and generous mind, and persevering patiently, they bear fruit.” (Lk 8:15) These people, according to Pope Benedict XVI, are the “ideal Christians.” Immediately following this parable,is the account on Jesus’ mother and brothers in Lk 8:19. Msgr. Vengco highlighted that the place of this account after the Parable of the Sower in Luke, is “pivotal.” In Lk 8:21, Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Msgr. Vengco explained that, in other words, the good soil refers “to those who hear the Word of God
The Role of Mary In A Christian Community-Part 2
In Lk 2: 41-52, Mary had a new experience in hearing the Word of God. While before, the word was delivered to Mary by an angel, or the shepherds, or through Simeon’s lips, Mary heard the Word of God this time coming from Jesus at 12 years old: “Why were you looking for me? Do you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” This verse, according to Msgr. Vengco, is equivalent to John’s depiction of Jesus in the Wedding of Cana. For Jesus, the most important is the Father’s will. “Jesus belongs to the Father, and the house of the Father is wherever the Father is Father.” Jesus is saying,“ I am here in the world to obey my Father’s will.”
Msgr. Vengco concluded that “the challenge is to focus on the will of God, by being a servant, hearer and doer.” This takes a journey, to believe and to trust, just like Mary. Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, the Word of God is like a seed. To grow, two things must happen: (1) the seed must be willing to take the soil and live rooted in the soil; and (2) the soil must be ready to surrender to, and accept the seed; it must belong to the seed. Msgr. Vengco concluded the session by praying over the CFC leaders that they “be recognizable as Mary’s children,” by imitating Mary as hearer and doer of the Word.
CFC Brunei: Battle Ready at 17!
By Alan Filio
ON September 17, 2011, CFC Brunei marked 17 years of its faith journey. Seventeen years ago, on September 14, 1994, thirteen couples completed the first Christian Life Program conducted at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (COLA) in Brunei’s capital, Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB). The following year, CFC established its presence in the neighboring Seria and Kuala Belait districts. With the Holy Spirit’s leading, CFC Brunei would later on become the Mission Center for CFC Sarawak and CFC Sabah in Malaysia, and also CFC Timor Leste. To celebrate this momentous occasion, CFC Brunei lined up several activities as thanksgiving for the countless blessings that the Lord has showered upon the community for the past 17 years. The anniversary celebrations kicked off with the Catholic Women’s Conference in BSB, held on August 28. The event was organized by CFC Brunei for the whole parish. Dubbed as ‘A Call to Arms, A Call to Victory’ (see separate story below), the conference was an echo of the HOLD ICON held earlier this year. The Anniversary Week proper started on 13th September with the Holy Hour Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. CFC members spent an hour of prayer and meditation in thanksgiving and petition for the success of the upcoming events. At 2 AM the next day, CFC Brunei welcomed the arrival of Msgr. Allen Aganon (CFC International Council Spiritual Director) and Kirby (International Missions Office Head) and Michelle Llaban together with their children, Sev and Kaitlyn. Kirby had graciously accepted the invitation to lead the community in its anniversary celebration. On the evening of September 14, Msgr. Aganon gave an inspiring and Prayer, Reading the Bible, Service and Eucharist. The next day, Msgr. Aganon blessed the CFC Center and also gave a retreat for the Brunei National Council and their wives. It was a very timely occasion as the leadership of CFC Brunei just recently passed on to the new Area Director, Alan Filio. On September 16, two simultaneous workshops were held for the Music Ministry and the KFC Team conducted by Kirby and Michelle respectively. On September 17, the CFC Brunei Area General Prayer Assembly was held at the COLA Parish Hall in Bandar. Kirby gave a very enlightening talk on this year’s theme “Put on the Full Armor of God.” Karen dela Cerna, a CFC fulltime missionary to Timor Leste who was in Brunei on her way back to Manila, gave a very inspiring testimony of God’s faithfulness over the past five years that she had served in Timor Leste. Michelle also shared how the CFC community played an important role in her personal and spiritual transformation from the time she joined as YFC up to the present, as she still continues to serve together with the whole family. The Anniversary Mass was held on the 18th of September with Msgr. Aganon together with Fr. Arin Sugit, COLA Asst. Parish Priest, officiating. The Philippine Ambassador to Brunei, His Excellency Nestor B. Ochoa and wife, were also present in the Thanksgiving Mass. After the Mass, the CFC Brunei community led by the BNC presented a special Brunei souvenir to Msgr. Allen who was celebrating his 29th Sacerdotal Anniversary on that day. Indeed, as CFC Brunei completes 17 years of spirit-filled existence, the community can look forward to the coming years with high hope, assured in faith that the future promises more excitement and opportunities as the Spirit moves and continues to work in the life of the CFC community in this part of the world.
deeply moving recollection for the whole CFC Community in Brunei. He challenged the community to deepen their spiritual life and enhance pastoral relationships. He went on to exhort them “to go back to your prayer life” and to start a lifestyle attuned to God. He reminded each one to take a more serious look at the covenant they made with God when they completed the CLP and committed themselves to CFC—
CFC Nepal reaps rewards
By Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu
(ed’s Note: CHIreNDrA is a CFC unit leader in Nepal, and a reporter for UCAnews. com, “Asia’s most trusted independent Catholic news source.” This article originally appeared on the UCAnews website here: http://www. in 1981 that aims to renew and strengthen Christian family life. Attendees of the program, all of them from the Tamang tribe, came from Ishalaya and Assumption parishes in Godavari and Dhobighat respectively, and St Ignatius parish in Baniyatar The program was supthough a Jesuit priest was attacked in a hostel he ran nearby by some misguided youths two years ago,” Father James said yesterday. “If one is to serve these wonderful people, how can one live away from them in fear? Today after celebrating Mass I spent time providing catechism to some seven families. I could say that one could start yet another parish for this Tamang group.” He added that the tribal group was in need of assistance in understanding the faith, and that the Couples for Christ ministry played an important role in providing it. Gyan Rai and his wife Sujata Rai, leaders of Couples for Christ in Nepal, said the program was wellreceived. “The youth of this parish were very supportive and some even participated,” Gyan Rai said, adding that 13 couples, 19 “handmaids” (married women whose husbands work as migrant laborers) and two men had joined the movement as new members.
A Call To Arms… A Call To Victory – Catholic Women’s Conference
By Debbie Cinco, CFC Brunei
ON August 28, 2011, 187 women of different cultures from different walks of life, dressed in all shades of yellow, gathered at the Church of our Lady of Assumption (COLA), Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, in response to “A Call to Arms … A Call to Victory,” the 1st Catholic Women’s Conference in the parish organized by the Couples for Christ – Borneo East Timor Mission Centre. The Conference was the kick-off event for CFC Brunei’s 17th Anniversary. The morning started with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, followed by the opening of the conference by Rev. Bishop Cornelius Sim who said the opening prayer and exhortation. The bishop pointed out that in history, women are often the victims of the battles and wars that have been waged through the years by men, and that women are often judged according to men’s standards thus making today’s definition of woman to be “a female man.” He ended by saying that he hoped that the conference would help define the important role of woman in society for which God has made her. Session 1: Born into a Battle, was delivered by Janette Dominguito (CFC-HOLD Brunei), who emphasized that all of us, without exception, have been born into a war that started in the heavenly realm between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. This war is fought on three fields of battle – the church, the community and the family. Wendy Carvalho-Chin of CFC Kota Kinabalu, dwelt on the church. She gave examples of the many forms attacks on the Church can take e.g. heresy, schism, etc. As a body of Christ, we are therefore tasked to defend our faith and to BELIEVE in our hearts when we recite our Apostles Creed. Anne Labadin-Majanil, of CFC Kota Kinabalu, brought us to the next battleground – the community. She described how the devil continuously works to destroy our community, our source of spiritual support, by confusing us with lies and feeding our greed.
ucanews.com/2011/09/26/ lay-ministry-reaps-rewards/. September 26, 2011 Dozens of tribal parishioners in Nepal September 26 vowed to pray and study the Bible following a three-week Couples for Christ program at St Ignatius Loyola parish church. The Couples for Christ movement is a lay ministry formed in the Philippines
ported by lay people from Assumption Church and the India-based Sisters of Charity of Saints Capitanio and Gerosa, who run a nearby hostel. Inductees to the movement were given certificates, Bibles and prayer leaflets by Father Jomon James of St Ignatius, an Indian priest who arrived in the parish this year. “I started living here in the Church this year even
Therefore, we need to be constantly reminded of our covenant and take a daily dose of CLLoRet: Commitment, Love, Loyalty, Respect and Trust to invigorate us. In this session, a parade of the various communities under the banner of the Church of Our Lady of Assumption garnered a resounding cheer from all the participants. The next battlefield is the one closest to our hearts the family. Solina Kua-Lau, from CFC-Sibu, Sarawak, clearly described the attacks on the family today and how each attack aims to destroy God’s plan for man when He created man and woman together. Finally, Nanette Ramos, CFC-HOLD from Brunei, expounded on our own personal spiritual battle
since Satan’s ultimate target is to destroy the person and his relationship with God. Knowing that one will not/may not come out unscathed in a spiritual battle, she led all women present in consecutive prayers: for healing, for protection; and lastly, a prayer for putting on the full armor of God the armor described in Ephesians 6:10 -18, in order to be battle-ready in all fields of spiritual conflict. The conference ended with a prayer by Fr. Arin Sugit which he explained, was a prayer before going into battle. With yellow flags bearing the insignia of COLA waving and with wrists bound with yellow ribbons signifying unity, the women marched out, singing and praising the Lord - ready for battle.
By Erika Marie Enaje
LAST September 24, 2011, an estimated 34,000 people, 23,000 of them children, in the Philippines and all over the world joined the Kids For Christ - Global Day of Service (GDS)
2. On this day, the kids with their parents, families, friends, fellow students, teachers, ROCK facilitators and Couple Coordinators came together in their respective areas to do acts of service and love in various schools, barangays, home for the aged and orphanages. The KFC GDS (Global Day of Service) was launched last year in response to the challenge of becoming “World Changers.” It was participated in by 10,000 kids from the Philippines and all over the world serving others (e.g. feeding street kids, visiting the elderly, assisting in medical missions), serving in Mass, and serving the environment (e.g. tree planting, clean-up and waste segregation). This year, all the CFC sectors of Metro Manila and 49 provinces in the Philippines conducted their Global Day of Service in public schools, where they cleaned classrooms, planted trees, repainted walls, conducted feeding programs and medical missions. Outside the Philippines, Kids for Christ in some states in the US visited a rehabilitation center, entertained old folks at an elderly home, served in Mass, served in the CFC Assembly and gathered to collect donations for ANCOP. In Europe, KFC Milan and KFC Geneva served in the Holy Mass while in Seychelles, Africa, kids visited the elderly in their homes. Kids from countries in the Middle East and Australia, among other countries, also did their part by doing different things for
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Kids Lead in KFC Global Day of Service 2
the environment. The message of the yearly GDS was “Kids Can! - Kids can lead! Kids can serve! Kids can make a difference!” This was derived from the verse of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Thus, GDS 2 concentrated on the dec-
laration that “Kids Can Lead” believing that through the kids’ service and leadership, many will be inspired to do something about changing the world and bringing it back to the plan of God. This year was once again a success and the kids are excited for the third Global Day of Service 2012.
CFC Sibugay Turns 16 Years Old!
By Vic Lauro
AUGUST 28, 2011 was a momentous day for the elders, leaders and members of Couples for Christ (CFC) Sibugay as they celebrated 16 years of God’s goodness and blessings. CFC Sibugay today has grown to a strength of 994 couples, 975 Kids for Christ, 1,126 Youth for Christ, 313 Singles for Christ, 470 Handmaids of the Lord and 70 Servants of the Lord and is still growing. Notwithstanding the trials and difficulties, the work of the Lord in and through Couples for Christ has been victorious and triumphant. The celebration fittingly started with a Sportsfest participated in by members of the different chapters from the different towns around the province. It was then followed by the celebration of the Lord’s Day. A session entitled “Reflection on the CFC Covenant” given by Vic Lauro, Provincial Area Head, was also held on the eve of the anniversary. It aimed to take a look at how well the CFC covenant has been lived out over the years and reminded all present to be grateful for God’s faithfulness and love. The anniversary celebrations proper the next day were ushered in by a motorcade around Ipil, the capital town of the province of Sibugay, and converged in the Universidad de Zamboanga gymnasium. The newly installed CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman came all the way from Manila with his wife Nini and son Sam to be with CFC Sibugay on this joyous occasion. Melo gave the anniversary message while Nini and Sam gave inspiring sharings. Melo and Nini then graciously did a duet to the delight of the members. The Area Governance Team of Zamboanga City also came to grace the affair. Beautiful songs and dance numbers were offered by the members of the different Family Ministries. The program was capped by the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist as a Thanksgiving Mass. Brotherhood, camaraderie and love truly abounded as everyone shared in the sumptuous meal prepared for the occasion. God bless CFC Sibugay!! All the glory, honor and praise go back to the Lord Almighty!
CFC USA has a new National Council
THE National Council (NC) of Couples for Christ U.S.A. (CFC) has a new set of directors from October 1, 2011 until the fourth quarter of 2013. The announcement was made by Ricky Cuenca, CFC International Council Chairman and CFC U.S.A. Country Coordinator. The directors are: Roderick Bustos, Cris Kagahastian, Jack Macalalad, Tat Reyes, Glen Santayana, Roger Santos and Eric Villanueva. Villanueva was re-designated National Director (ND). The National Council is responsible for overall governance of the life and mission of CFC In his announcement addressed to all CFC members in the United States, Cuenca asked all members to respect and give full support to the NC directors. The IC Chairman also called on the directors to fully live out their responsibilities.
Mission Report: Claiming the Kingdom of Myanmar for Christ
By Bong Arjonillo
ON October 2009, a new set of coordinators were named to comprise the Greater Mekong Area (GMA) region. We looked forward to the exciting prospect of re-establishing CFC in Laos and Myanmar. Laos was “re-claimed” in July of 2011, after painstaking planning, a visit by JM and Emilie Yupangco to Laos, endless exchanges of emails with the ambassador (Ambassador Alarilla) and with Rey and Lyn Feria. The Christian Life Program in Laos had 45 graduates, 13 of whom are local Laotians. Myanmar was a bit more challenging. Our break came when Jimmy Lozare, country head of CFC Thailand, arranged for a meeting with the bishops from Myanmar during the Federation of Bishops Conferences, which was then having their annual meeting in Bangkok. Everything fell into place and we were emboldened to hold, not just one, but two CLPs upon the invitation of the bishops of the Archdioceses of Yangon and Mandalay. However, only one CLP materialized, the one in Mandalay with the team led by Mel and Aimee Serrano graduating 56 Myanmar nationals. Of this number, 10 are CFC, 1 SOLD and 35 SFC. The Yangon CLP was cancelled. CHALLENGES Aside from the cancellation, primarily because the bishop wanted us to focus only on Filipino expats in Yangon and not to recruit locals, since FFL already has a foothold on the local community, we also experienced some challenges before and during the Mandalay CLP. The Mandalay CLP was moved forward by a week, catching the CFC Singapore team offguard since they had already booked their tickets weeks before. It was left to the team coming from Manila (led by my wife Carol and me, Mel and Aimee Serrano, Jun and Mavic Simon, Dandy and Susan Calvez, Paul and Norma de Jesus, Jorge and Virgie Asensi, and from SFC: Erick Abad, Junie Romero and Niño Tuyay) to take up the slack. Three Manila groups flew into Bangkok, the jumpoff point, separately - the first group on the 7th, Wednesday, the second group on the afternoon of the 8th, Thursday, and the third group at close to midnight on the 8th. Carol, myself and Erick, our SFC Chapter Head in Makati, comprising the third group, flew into Bangkok separately via PAL and Cebu Pacific, respectively, on the night of the 8th and stayed for one night at the residences of Jimmy Lozare and Nemboy Rivera - a former unit head of our SFC Makati Chapter who is now an expat for Chevron and unit head in SFC-Bangkok, respectively. Our group then proceeded to take the earliest flight to Mandalay, a one hour and 50-minute flight - a little longer than a regular flight from Manila to Davao. We marveled from the window of the 70-seater turbo-prop plane as golden temples dotting the almost agricultural landscape glittered under the burning rays of the sun. We were met by two priests – Fr. Edmond and Fr. Augustine – at the airport. They proved to be such entertaining hosts that we did not mind the heat inside the van that took us from the airport to the parto praise. But nobody was fazed. In their hearts, and in ours, as well, we knew that the light coming from above was the more important light, and that particular evening, we were all shining, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. The following morning, Carol, myself and Erick left Mandalay by plane for Yangon en route to Bangkok to wait for around 4 hours for our flight back to Manila. In the meantime, the team that was left behind would finish the CLP dedication in the morning and hold an assembly and a household orientation in the afternoon prior to their departure in the evening, at around 9 pm, by bus back to Yangon. We look to CFC-Singapore to provide the kick to sustain this momentum. They came back on the following weekend to conduct an assembly, a household meeting, Lord’s Day, a household leaders orientation, and a familiarization of the CFC formation track for the next twelve m o n t h s . Mel Serrano also met last Saturday night with 20 Filipinos residing in Mandalay, who are very eager to attend the next CLP. Erick, our SFC chapter head in Makati, has already blocked the first week of February 2012, promising to come back, along with his unit heads, and some other SFC, to serve in Mandalay. It will be his birthday present to himself. Jun Simon also committed other couples in the West C sector, who are currently on “wings” status and who are also eager to go on mission, to serve next year in the Greater Mekong Area (GMA). A cluster leader from South B and a household from North B, are also gearing up, just waiting for their marching orders to be deployed for the Lord’s service in GMA. We hope that this will encourage more brethren from our different sectors to go to Myanmar. The Archdiocese of Myitkyina, another hour by plane on the northern borders, has a standing invitation to CFC to plant its flag there. As for other parts of GMA, CFC Vietnam is now setting sail for Central Vietnam in Danang and in North Vietnam in Hanoi. Indeed, it will be an exciting 2012 for the kingdoms around the Greater Mekong Area.
ish center, the venue of the CLP. We were greeted enthusiastically by the participants as Jorge Asensi was getting ready to give talk 4, Repentance and Faith. Two priests, Fr. Bosco and Fr. Augustine (a different Fr. Augustine, both Myanmar (locals), alternated in being the interpreters for the talks. Interestingly, Fr. Bosco and the first Fr. Augustine studied in Manila for sometime in connection with their priesthood. A female Myanmar also spent around nine months in the Philippines to study English under the sponsorship of the bishop a few years ago. During talks 8 and 9, the electricity started to sputter intermittently, and by the time the pray-over was being done, there was a brownout. The LCD projector could not be used. When the corporate worship started, it was pitch black. Only the generator of the parish saved us but it was able to turn on only the LCD projector and the microphones. We were praising the Lord in darkness and the single fluorescent bulb that illumined the hall during the mini-praisefest, exploded while we were teaching them how