Pope urges world to seek Christ’s peace in 2012


Educating young people in justice and peace


The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Fisherfolks ask SoKor govt to withdraw investment on Apeco project
THE Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) appealed to the South Korean (SoKor) government to withdraw its funding for the Aurora Pacific Economic and Free Port (Apeco) as it would affect the livelihood of small farmers and fisherfolks living in the area where the port is located. In a letter sent to the Embassy of South Korea, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando
Fisherfolks / A6

Gawad Kalinga to build homes for flood victims
GAWAD Kalinga’s Ateneo de Manila chapter will help build homes for flood victims in Cagayan de City. Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ, former President of the Ateneo de Manila University and board member of Gawad Kalinga said they will visit Cagayan de Oro to check on the proposed sites where flood victims would be eventually relocated. “Gawad Kalinga found a piece of property
Homes / A6

January 2 - 15, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 1

Php 20.00

2012 sees synod of bishops, canonization of Pedro Calungsod
THE head of the Catholic hierarchy said the coming of yet another year promises abundant divine graces for Filipino Catholics as he cited two important Church events that will happen in 2012. On October 7 to 28, the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will convene in Rome to discuss the topic “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith,” according to CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma. The synodal assembly will examine the present situation in the particular Churches, Palma said. Together with the Holy Father, the synod will map out new methods and means for transmitting the Good News to people in our world today and hopes to direct evangelization with a renewed enthusiasm, he explained. “This year will also see the canonization of our very own Blessed Pedro Calungsod. We envision efforts towards renewal because of the preparations which come with canonization,” he also said. He urged the people to strive to
Canonization / A6

CBCP declares 2012 ‘Year of Mission’
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP

Catholic priests from Imus diocese join the traditional “caracol” dance procession of Caviteños during the installation of new Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, 12 December 2011. As an expression of prayer and joy over the elevation of their own shepherd to the archbishopric of Manila, the procession, participated by around 1,000 faithful, manifests the people’s jovial spirit and optimism that not even a battery of social and natural calamities could dampen. See related story on A8.

Catholic schools to meet for K+12 seminar
SINCE national basic education curriculum will be extended from 10 to 12 years starting next school year, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) will gather representatives of private Catholic schools nationwide to discuss preparations on the looming shift to the government’s Kindergarten to 12th grade (K+12) program. The CEAP will hold its national summit on K+12 basic education curriculum on January 12 at the Marian Auditorium of Miriam
Schools / A6

IN a bid to fan the flame of mission among the faithful, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has declared a “Year of the Pontifical Mission Societies” marking the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the PMS in October 2012.

“It is to be a grace-filled year, marked by renewed enthusiasm for dedicated service as Christ’s evangelizing disciples,” said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma in his first pastoral exhortation as CBCP president. The celebration of the Philippine Year of the PMS will run from January 1, until December 31, 2012. A grand mission festival, touted to be the largest gathering of Catholics in the country, after the World Youth Day in 1995, is slated on April 18-20, 2012 in Manila.

Palma expressed optimism that through various activities like seminars, mission activities in Catholic schools, new mission initiatives at home and abroad, the dynamic commitment of Filipinos “to the effective preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ” will be rekindled “even to the ends of the earth.” The PMS, he said, have been generously serving the local Church in the Philippines since their establishment here in 1932. Thus, he added, 2012 commemorates eight decades of uninterrupted dedica-

tion of the “pope’s mission societies” to the Church’s mission of evangelization. PMS’ valuable service to the Church Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 expressed his gratitude to the PMS for its “valuable service” and its efforts to promote “love and solidarity.” Similarly in 2011, the pontiff once again thanked the PMS for its assistance in supporting “evangelizing activities in mission territories.”
Year of Mission / A6

Young people offer new hope to the world, pope says
Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

CBCP President’s New Year’s Message
MY dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ: Maayong Bag-ong Tuig kaninyong tanan! As we thank God for the many blessings H e b e s t ow e d on us last year, we offer Him praise and thanksgiving as He brings us to another year, the New Year 2012. That God has given us yet another year, is both a gift and a task. We are here for a reason; we have a mission. As we embark on life’s journey, we pray for courage and hope. Surely, the task which God has given us is meant for our own good and for the good of the church and the community. We know there is much to do considering life’s challenges in our imperfect society with us who are poor or frail people. Yet, we move forward with contrite hearts and with firm faith knowing God will not abandon us because he loves us (cf. Isaiah 49:15) and convinced of what we are able to accomplish because of the goodness and power in our hearts. For us Catholics, the y e a r 2 0 1 2 p r om i s es abundant divine graces. This coming October 7 to 28, there will be the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome to discuss the topic: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. The aim of the approaching synodal assembly will be to examine the present situation in the particular Churches. It will trace, in communion with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, the Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor of the Church, the new methods and means for transmitting the Good News to people in our world today. It hopes to direct evangelization with a renewed enthusiasm. This year will also see the canonization of our very own Blessed Pedro Calungsod. We envision efforts towards renewal because of the preparations which come with canonization. If we know him better and emulate his virtues, particularly his zeal for learning, living, spreading and even dying for the faith, we become a better people. Let us imitate his love for the Eucharist and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us learn from him how to trust our Provident God and how to be a true friend who brings people closer to God. May Blessed Pedro journey with us so that like him we truly become “mga katagilungsod”, fellow citizens of our beautiful land, and fellow citizens of the saints in heaven. Once again, a gracefilled New Year to you all! +JOSE S. PALMA, DD Archbishop of Cebu CBCP President

Faithful urged to spend more time in prayer, less in techie gadgets
MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle has urged the faithful to spend the days leading to Christmas as occasions to deepen one’s prayer life and worship of God. He called on the congregation to “recover this sense of worship [and] resting in God, for us to relish the salvation that comes to us in Jesus.” “We are asked during these days and on Christmas Day to be a worshipping people, to pray, to rest in God,” he said in his homily during a Mass he celebrated at the Supreme Court of the Philippines. H e noted t h a t people s p e n d more time with television, c o m puters and mobile phones thereby significantly losing time for prayer. According to him, Filipinos are not a worshipping people “unless we worship the tv set.” The television set is the Filipinos’ “new God” as it commands attention, and “dictates on us.” Tagle said for one to benefit from God’s salvation, one has to pray. He recalled that the Jewish people have always been faithful to the Sabbath Day spent on prayer, adoration and
Illustration by Bladimir Usi

Young people participate at the closing celebration of the National Youth Day held at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City last November 18, 2011.

HIGHLIGHTING the contribution young people can make in the society marked with growing discontent due to the crisis happening in the world of labor and economy, Pope Benedict XVI said the young can offer new hope to the world if they are educated in justice and peace. The pope said he is convinced that the young people, with their enthusiasm and idealism, can contribute in the building of a more humane society. With education as theme, the pope’s message for the 45th World Day of Peace on January 1

also stressed the role of parents, educators, leaders in the various spheres of religious, social, political, economic and cultural life, as well as the media in forming the young in the values of justice and peace. “Attentiveness to young people and their concerns, the ability to listen to them and appreciate them, is not merely something expedient; it represents a primary duty for society as a whole, for the sake of building a future of justice and peace,” the pope said in his message titled “EduYoung / A7

Techie / A6

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media


World News

CBCP Monitor
January 2 - 15, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 1

Pope stresses importance of education at start of New Year
VATICAN City, Jan. 1, 2012—Benedict XVI says it can seem astonishing how “ultimately short and ephemeral life is,” but he affirms that what gives meaning to our days is “written on the face of a Child who was born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, and is today the Living One, risen for ever from the dead.” The Pope offered that reflection at vespers for the feast of Mary, Mother of God. “From within the fabric of humanity, rent asunder by so much injustice, wickedness and violence, there bursts forth in an unforeseen way the joyful and liberating novelty of Christ our Saviour, who leads us to contemplate the goodness and tenderness of God through the mystery of his Incarnation and Birth,” the Holy Father said. “The everlasting God has entered our history and he remains present in a unique way in the person of Jesus, his incarnate Son, our Saviour, who came down to earth to renew humanity radically and to free us from sin and death, to raise us to the dignity of God’s children.” At the Mass, which also marks the 45th World Day of Peace, the Holy Father highlighted points from his message for the day. He said that peace “in the fullest and highest sense, is the sum and synthesis of all blessings.” Referring to the message theme, the Holy Father added: “’Educating Young People in Justice and Peace’ is a task for every generation, and thanks be to God, after the tragedies of the two great world wars, the human family has shown increasing awareness of it.” He said the Church in recent times has articulated a demand to “respond to a decisive challenge that consists precisely in education.” “Why is this a ‘challenge?’” the Pope asked. “For at least two reasons: in the first place, because in the present age, so strongly marked by a technological mentality, the desire to educate and not merely to instruct cannot be taken for granted, it is a choice; in the second place, because the culture of relativism raises a radical question: does it still make sense to educate? And then, to educate for what?” The Pontiff affirmed that today, “to assume responsibility for educating young people in knowledge of the truth, in fundamental values and virtues, is to look to the future with hope.” Benedict XVI called for an education of conscience, and said it begins in the home. “It is essentially about helping infants, children and adolescents to develop a personality that combines a profound sense of justice with respect for their neighbour, with a capacity to address conflicts without arrogance, with the inner strength to bear witness to good, even when it involves sacrifice, with forgiveness and reconciliation. Thus they will be able to become people of peace and builders of peace.” (Zenit)

Pope: God responded to 2011’s sufferings with Jesus’ birth
VATICAN City, Dec. 31, 2011—Pope Benedict XVI said that the questions raised by 2011’s tragedies were answered when Jesus was born at Christmas to radically renew and free mankind. “Another year is drawing to a close, as we await the start of a new one,” the Pope noted Dec. 31 as he presided over the first vespers for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God in St. Peter’s Basilica. He observed that the shortness of life causes us to ask the question “what meaning can we give to our days? What meaning, in particular, can we give to the days of toil and grief?” He said that the answer to this question “is written on the face of a Child who was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, and is today the Living One, risen for ever from the dead.” Pope Benedict also turned his attention to what he called the most pressing pastoral need in Rome and throughout the world. Catholics, he said, must “reawaken in themselves and in others the longing for God and the joy of living him and bearing witness to him, on the basis of what is always a deeply personal question: why do I believe?” (CNA)

Vatican Briefing
Ordinariate for ex-Anglicans established in US


The Vatican announced Jan. 1 the establishment of a U.S. ordinariate for Anglicans seeking full communion with Rome under the stipulations outlined in “Anglicanorum coetibus.” In announcing the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also announced the leader of the new ordinariate: Fr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, a former Episcopal bishop. In 2005, he was made bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande in New Mexico. On Dec. 1, 2007, he resigned as bishop and was received into the Catholic Church. (Zenit)
Pope’s January prayer intention: Natural disaster victims

26 missionaries killed in 2011
ROME, Jan. 1, 2012—The Fides news agency has published a list of pastoral workers who were killed during the last year. Not all of them were martyrs in the strict sense, as Fides lists all those who lost their lives in a violent manner. In 2011, 26 pastoral care workers were killed: one more than the previous year: 18 priests, four religious sisters and four laypeople. For the third consecutive year, the place with the most deaths was the American continent, with the deaths of 13 priests and two laypersons. Following was Africa, where six pastoral workers were killed: two priests, three religious sisters, and one layperson. In Asia two priests, one religious sister, and one layperson were killed. The least affected continent was Europe, where one priest was killed. Many of them were killed in the course of attempted robbery or kidnapping. Others, the Fides report said, “were killed in the name of Christ by those opposing love with hatred, hope with despair, dialogue with violent opposition.” The Fides report cited the words spoken on Dec. 26 by Benedict XVI, during his Angelus message on the day of the liturgical feast of the martyr Stephen: “As in ancient times, today the sincere adherence to the Gospel may require the sacrifice of life and many Christians in various parts of the world are occasionally exposed to persecution and martyrdom. But, the Lord reminds us, ‘he who endures to the end shall be saved’ (Matthew 10:22).” America In America, the most violent country was Colombia with seven deaths out of the overall total of 15. Mexico was in second place with five. Brazil, Paraguay and Nicaragua each accounted for one death. Those killed were the following: Colombia: Fr. Rafael Reátiga Rojas and Fr. Richard Armando Piffano Laguado killed by gunshot by a murderer who was traveling with the two priests: Fr. Luis Carlos Orozco Cardona killed by a young man who shot him among the crowd; Fr. Gustavo Garcia Eudista was murdered in the street by a man who wanted to steal his mobile phone. Fr. Jose Reinel Restrepo Idárraga, killed by unknown persons while he was riding his motorcycle, which was then stolen along with other objects belonging to the priest; Fr. Gualberto Oviedo Arrieta, found covered with wounds and knifed to death in the rectory of his par-

‘Tsunami Bibles’ help Japan to understand the tragedy
TOKYO, Japan, Dec. 30, 2011—Thousands of Bibles that survived the tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, 2011, are back on sale. The sacred text, buyers say, “helps to give an answer to the worst tragedy of the last 10 years.” And the fact that they are the only survivors of a publishing house swept away by the sea makes them even more valuable. Sixty percent of Ofunato, Iwate province, was destroyed by the tsunami provoked by an earthquake and which caused a leak in the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Here Dr. Haratsugu Yamaura lived for decades, a Catholic of 71, who since retiring has undertaken to translate the Bible into Kesen-go, the dialect spoken in the regions of northeastern coast of Japan. After seeing the destruction of Ofunato—which Dr. Yamaura calls “the worst crisis since World War II—Catholics have asked the doctor, “Kamisamansuu, kamisamansuu, nashite oreadogoo, misute yaryashitare?”. This is a passage from Matthew 27:46 and translated into their dialect: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But now the miracle of the Bible is giving an answer. The texts were in fact printed by E. Pix, a small local publisher. Three days after the assault of the anomalous wave Masaya Kumagai, publisher and president of the group, returned to his publishing house: among the rubble he found 3 thousand copwww.asianews.it

ish. A layperson, Luis Eduardo Garcia, a member of the social pastoral ministry, attacked by a group of guerrillas, kidnapped and then killed. Mexico: Fr. Santos Sánchez Hernández, attacked by an intruder who entered his house, most likely to steal; Fr. Francisco Sánchez Duran, found in the church with wounds to the neck, perhaps in an attempt to stop a robbery in church; Fr. Salvador Ruiz Enciso, who was kidnapped and killed; Fr. Marco Antonio Duran Romero, killed in a gunfight between soldiers and an armed group. A laywoman, Mary Elizabeth Macías Castro, of the Scalabrinian Lay Movement, kidnapped by a group of drug dealers and brutally killed. Brazil: Fr. Romeu Drago was killed in his home. His body was then brought to about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from his home, where he was burned. Paraguay: Monsignor Julio César Álvarez was killed. His body was found in his room, hand and foot bound, with injuries and scratches and strangled. Nicaragua; Fr. Marlon Ernesto Pupiro García was kidnapped and killed . Africa. The killings took place in Burundi (2) and one each in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan, Tu-

nisia, Kenya. Tunisia: Fr. Marek Rybinsk was killed, a Salesian missionary, whose body was found dead in a local Salesian school of Manouba. Kenya: Fr. Awuor Kiser was attacked in a suburb of the Kenyan capital. Congo: Sister Jeanne Yegmane was killed in an ambush. South Sudan: Sister Angelina, while bringing medical aid to refugees. Burundi: during a robbery attempt Sister Lukrecija Mamica, of the “Sisters of Charity” and Francesco Bazzani, a volunteer. In Asia there were four deaths, three in India and one in the Philippines. India: Fr. G. Amalan was killed in his room by a person who escaped with a few rupees found in the home; Sister Valsha John, who worked among the poor and tribal people, killed in her home, a catechist and lay activist Rabindra Parichha, kidnapped and killed. Philippines: Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME missionary was killed, while on his way to a priests’ meeting, two gunmen shot him in the head and back. The sole death in Europe was in Spain, Fr. Ricardo Muñoz Juarez was killed by thieves who broke into his home. (Zenit)

Benedict XVI will be praying this month for the victims of natural disasters. The Apostleship of Prayer announced the intentions chosen by the Pope for January. His general intention is “that the victims of natural disasters may receive the spiritual and material comfort they need to rebuild their lives.” The Pontiff’s mission intention is focused on peace: “That the dedication of Christians to peace may bear witness to the name of Christ before all men and women of good will.” (Zenit)
Pope urges world to seek Christ’s peace in 2012

Pope Benedict XVI marked 2012’s Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God with a proclamation of the peace that is found in her son Jesus Christ. “As Saint Paul says, ‘He is our peace,’ and at the same time the ‘way’ by which individuals and peoples can reach this goal to which we all aspire,” the Pope said in his homily on the Jan. 1 feast day, which coincided with the Church’s 45th annual World Day of Peace. The Pope welcomed pilgrims, Church leaders, and international dignitaries to St. Peter’s Basilica for the year’s first public Papal Mass. He told them that peace, “in the highest and fullest sense, is the sum and synthesis of all blessings” given by God. (CNA)
Pope approves miracles of Blesseds Marianne Cope and Kateri Tekakwitha

Pope Benedict XVI formally recognized miracles attributed to Bl. Marianne Cope and Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha on Dec. 19, clearing the way for both women to be canonized. The two women, who both lived in the United States, were among numerous individuals whose sainthood causes were advanced by decrees authorized by Pope Benedict XVI on Monday. Sister Grace Anne Dillenschneider, vice postulator for the Cause for the Diocese of Syracuse, told CNA on Dec. 19 that the date for Bl. Cope’s canonization has not yet been confirmed. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints had already approved Bl. Cope’s second official miracle, which involved the medical recovery of a woman in Syracuse who was cured of a fatal and irreversible health condition. (CNA)

ies still in good condition, which he carried out to dry in the sun. Now, thanks to the proceeds of sales, he thinks he can revive E. Pix. At first, the publisher wanted to sell them at a discount, given the damage. But Masahiro Kudo, deputy director of the Miura Ayako Literature Museum Foundation [a Japanese writer known for her works on Christian themes] insisted to buy at full price: “They are very precious copies. They demonstrate the love of God for

the survivors. “ Driven by word of mouth, Kumagai has started selling them online. Mizue Takahashi, a 70 year old resident in Tokyo, bought one: “The copy was still damp when I received it. It helped me to understand the tsunami and to provide answers for the pain it has caused to our country.” With the growing number of buyers, the publisher was able to pay salaries despite the drama. Now he hopes to rebuild his business. (AsiaNews)

Catholic day of mourning for crash victims
Mass, prayers for the deceased and their families, fasting or a silent tribute at 10am tomorrow— the approximate time of the deadly accident. Tomorrow marks the seventh day of the third week since the accident, a day that holds special significance for the deceased in Chinese tradition. About 2,000 people have visited the Tianzhujiao Zaixian website to light an online candle for the deceased. Meanwhile the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong diocese has asked Catholics to observe a oneminute silent tribute tomorwww.ucanews.com

SHIJIAZHUANG, China, Dec. 30, 2011—An online Catholic website has called for prayers for a priest and six seminarians killed in a road accident earlier this month. The appeal was issued by popular mainland site Tianzhujiao Zaixian (Catholic Church online), and suggested that Catholics offer a requiem

row, also at 10am. “We were very shocked and sad to hear about the accident. Despite geographical distance, we try to do something to express the concern and consolation from the universal Church,” said JPC project officer Or Yan-yan. Father Joseph Shi Liming of Baoding and six seminarians were killed on December 11 when the minivan they were driving in collided head-on with a truck and overturned, before being struck by another truck. One seminarian, Gabriel Gao, survived the accident after being thrown from the vehicle during the initial collision. He is recovering in neurosurgery ward at a hospital in Shijiazhuang city, according

to a report by a Catholic blogger using the name Mengshou zhufuzhe, which means “the one who is blessed,” who visited Gao. Though he was able to open his eyes and look around and respond to people’s words, his condition is still far from full consciousness,” the blogger wrote. Mainland Church sources have said that families of the deceased have received some compensation and that the Jinzhou city government has promised to provide them with pensions. The JPC also called for prayers for Fr Liu Qijin of Anguo, who fractured his leg in a separate road accident on December 12, in which another passenger in the car was killed. (UCAN)

Priests mark Feast of Holy Innocents
HUE, Vietnam, Dec. 29, 2011—About 200 people gathered yesterday for a special Mass to commemorate the Feast of Holy Innocents at a cemetery housing the remains thousands of aborted fetuses in Hue province. Father Peter Tran Van Quy, head of Caritas in Hue archdiocese, and six other priests concelebrated the Mass, during which attendees prayed for the souls of the dead and their parents. “Today we come here to pray for the souls of aborted fetuses to be in heaven and to forgive their parents, and for those who have performed abortions so that they would recognize it is a crime against human beings,” said the priest during the Mass. Fr. Quy, 67, said that a local prolife group has collected and buried about 45,000 aborted fetuses in the cemetery in the nearly two decades since the group began work. He added that the group has also saved more than 1,000 babies from being aborted. “We visit eight local private clinics, where we persuade pregnant women to stop their plan to have an abortion and provide them with accommodation, food and health care at Church-run homes until they give birth,” said a group volunteer who asked not to be named. John Baptist Truong Van Nang, who looks after 5,000 tombs at the cemetery, said many people visit and offer incense and flowers on the tombs. He added that he buries 45-50 aborted fetuses each week. (UCAN)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2 - 15, 2012

News Features
the theme of “Educating Young People in Justice and Peace.” In his homily, he called this education “a task for every generation,” and said humanity “has shown increasing awareness of it” in light of the 20th century’s tragic events. From the Church’s perspective, an education in peace is also “part of the mission received from Christ … because the Gospel of Christ is also the Gospel of justice and peace.” But he warned against a “technological mentality” and a “culture of relativism” that can obscure the need for virtue and truth in the educational process. The Pope highlighted the role of families and religious communities, in helping young people to “learn the importance and the art of peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, dialogue and understanding.” These goals, he said, are closely tied to the work of religious instruction. “Every pathway of authentic religious formation guides the person, from the most tender age, to know God, to love him and to do his will,” the Pope observed. “God is love, he is just and peaceable, and anyone wishing to honor him must first his study for Sunday’s midday prayer. “Thus do we begin the new year 2012 with our gaze fixed on the face of God, revealed in the child of Bethlehem,” he said, “and on his mother Mary, who with humble submission accepted the divine plan.” Through Mary’s acceptance of God’s will, “the true light which enlightens everyone came into the world, and the path of peace was reopened.” Pope Benedict invited all people “to have the patience and constancy to seek out justice and peace, to cultivate a taste for what is just and true.” He noted that peace was “never a quality that can be fully achieved, but a goal to which we must all aspire and for which we must all work.” “Let us pray that the leaders of nations may renew their willingness and commitment to accept and support this irrepressible desire of humanity,” he urged, entrusting this hope to Mary as “the mother of the ‘King of Peace.’” Feast of the Holy Family Two days before the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, the Church observed another feast of the Christmas season as

it honored the Holy Family on Dec. 30. In his Dec. 28 general audience, Pope Benedict continued his series on prayer with a reflection on the prayer life of Jesus, Mary, and Saint Joseph. Through their example, he said, “we learn to contemplate the mystery of God’s presence and to grow as faithful disciples of Christ.” He noted that the Gospels “present Mary as the supreme model of prayerful meditation on the mysteries of Christ’s life,”which the Church continues to practice through the Rosary. Joseph, meanwhile, taught Jesus his own “quiet fidelity to work, prayer and observance of the precepts of the law.” At the center of the Holy Family was “Jesus’ unique relationship with his heavenly Father,” a mystery that “stands at the heart of all Christian prayer.” “May the example of the Holy Family inspire all Christian families to be schools of prayer,” the Pope said, as he urged parents and children to “come to know that closeness to God which we joyfully celebrate in these days of Christmas.” (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope urges world to seek Christ’s peace in 2012
VATICAN City, Jan. 2, 2012— Pope Benedict XVI marked 2012’s Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God with a proclamation of the peace that is found in her son Jesus Christ. “As Saint Paul says, ‘He is our peace,’ and at the same time the ‘way’ by which individuals and peoples can reach this goal to which we all aspire,” the Pope said in his homily on the Jan. 1 feast day, which coincided with the Church’s 45th annual World Day of Peace. The Pope welcomed pilgrims, Church leaders, and international dignitaries to St. Peter’s Basilica for the year’s first public Papal Mass. He told them that peace, “in the highest and fullest sense, is the sum and synthesis of all blessings” given by God. “The Church too, on the first day of the year, invokes this supreme good in a special way,” he explained. “She does so, like the Virgin Mary, by revealing Jesus to all.” “Jesus is a way that can be traveled, open to everyone,” the Pope said. “He is the path of peace. Today the Virgin Mary points him out to us, she shows us the way. Let us walk in it!” Jan. 1 also saw the official release of the Pope’s statement for the World Day of Peace, on

of all act like a child following his father’s example.” Angelus Address In his Angelus address after the Jan. 1 Mass, Pope Benedict

offered further thoughts on the peace offered to humanity in Christ. The “face of God” was “revealed in Jesus,” he told pilgrims gathered outside the window of

Not an abstract idea, evangelization calls for real witness, says pope
VATICAN City, Dec. 19, 2011—New evangelization is not an abstract idea to pitch, but rather a call to authentically live the Gospel message, Pope Benedict XVI said. “Christian faith provides a surer basis for life than the secular vision; for ‘it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of humanity truly becomes clear,’” he said quoting from “Gaudium et Spes,” the Second Vatican Council document on the church and society. The pope was speaking Dec. 17 to bishops from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands who were making their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican. He said he was aware of the challenges they faced because of increased secularization such as “a weakened appreciation for the sacred nature of Christian marriage and the stability of the family.” “In such a context the struggle to lead a life worthy of our baptismal calling and to abstain from the earthly passions which wage war against our souls becomes ever more challenging,” he said. The pope added it was precisely these challenges that prompted him to establish the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. “Since the Christian faith is founded on the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, the new evangelization is not an abstract concept but a renewal of authentic Christian living based on the teachings of the church,” he said. The pope encouraged the bishops to live in full communion with their brother bishops and priests and to strengthen their sense of faith and charity “so that those whom you serve, in their turn, may imitate your charity and be ambassadors of Christ both in the church and in the civil arena.” Being good, wise and holy priests also attracts vocations, he said, asking that young people receive greater assistance with spiritual discernment so as to know better God’s will. Because the task of spreading the Gospel in such a vast area of many islands often depends on lay missionaries and catechists, the pope asked that they continue to receive “sound and ongoing formation” so their zeal would bear much fruit. (CNS)


Pope condemns Christmas bombings in Nigeria
VATICAN City, Dec. 28, 2011—Pope Benedict XVI appealed for an end to violence in Nigeria, condemning the Christmas church bombings that led to the deaths of at least 39 people. The celebration of Christmas leads people to pray in an even stronger way that God would “stop the hands of the violent who sow death and that justice and peace would reign in the world,” the pope said Dec. 26 as he recited the Angelus with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square. A group called Boko Haram, which has been promoting the adoption of Islamic law across Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the bombings. News reports said at least 35 people died at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, just outside Abuja. Other deadly bombs were set off at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in Jos and at police stations in three other cities. Pope Benedict told visitors and pilgrims that he was deeply saddened by the news of the Christmas bombings and he offered his prayers “to all those who have been stricken by this absurd gesture.” “Once again I want to repeat: Violence is a path that leads only to pain, destruction and death; respect, reconciliation and love are the paths to peace,” he said. Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, told Vatican Radio that most Christians in Nigeria simply do not understand the reason for the bombings, but many of the young people are very angry. “We have tried to calm them down,” he said, but church leaders also have told the government that the only way bring stability is to “identify and eliminate the dens of these terrorist groups.” “The majority of Nigerians—Muslims and Christians—want to live in peace together,” the archbishop said, pointing out that there were Muslims injured in the bombing of St. Theresa’s. “They were not in the church, but were just passing by on the street,” he said after visiting them in the hospital. The head of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace wrote Archbishop Onaiyekan to express solidarity with Nigerian Christians. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the church in Nigeria at this time of loss and sorrow,” said the Dec. 27 letter from Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa. “We pray that the New Year will bring peace to your beloved country.” In Nairobi, Kenya, Christmas Mass at Holy Family Basilica was interrupted when police asked Catholics to evacuate because a suspected terrorist was in the church. Kenyan military officers have been fighting with al-Shabab both in Somalia and the country, and security has been beefed up everywhere, including churches. (CNS)

Pro-life leaders urge people to defend sanctity of life, marriage
MANILA, Dec. 13, 2011—Crusaders in the fight for a culture of life reminded some 10,000 participants in a prayer rally that Filipinos are the hope of the world when it comes to upholding the sacredness of human life and the institution of marriage and should stand fast in opposing antilife legislation pending in the legislature. Atty. Jo Aurea Imbong, Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Legal Office, enjoined the crowd to treasure the distinction of being citizens of the only country in the world where marriage is held sacred. “Philippines is the most prolife country in the whole world! It is only in the Philippines where divorce is not recognized. Most of all, it is only here that marriage between a man and another man or a woman and another woman is not allowed. But this is in danger… would you like this situation to come about?” Speaking in the vernacular, Imbong explained that the “anti-discrimination bill” or Senate Bill (SB) 28145, which was passed on Third Reading at the Senate last month, will likewise punish the Church’s ministers for guiding its flock on matters of faith and morals, as well as Her members for remaining faithful to God’s teachings. “Let us not allow this to happen… and the worst is, the Church will be forbidden from teaching that homosexual activity and homosexual unions are immoral. Her authority and rights to speak up about goodness and matrimonial life will be muzzled. Freedom of expression is under threat… speaking up about morality will be considered a crime.” “The grace and strength to oppose these are in our hands!” the lawyer stressed. SB 2814′s complete title after the revisions were made by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is “An act prohibiting discrimination, profiling, violence and all forms of intolerance against persons based on ethnicity, race, religion or belief, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, disability, or other status.” Rene Bullecer, M.D., the Cebu-based director of Human Life International (HLI) Pilipinas, roused the crowd by reminding them of the unfailing intercession of Christ’s Blessed Mother in leading those who fight for the good. “Has there been a war that has not been won when undertaken with the Blessed Virgin?” After pointing out that the Philippines – the only Christian nation in Asia – will be marking its 500th anniversary of being a Christian country in 2021, he lambasted the increasingly hostile attitude toward children and fear of parenthood by some sectors as well as individuals. “The problem today is the fear of children and more so the fear of having more people. They don’t want children, they don’t want many Filipinos. Why not? It is what the Lord wants!” the HLI official stated. The Philippines is the hope of the world, he added, for it is only here that the sanctity of human life and of marriage continue to be respected. Bullecer then enjoined the thousands in the crowd to keep the faith in the fight for a culture of life because the presence of the Blessed Mother spells the difference. “We are her children and whom she will use to win for human life, for the Philippines and for our future!” “Whoever we are up against, we will win this war for God, for life and for the Philippines!” he said. (CBCPforLife)

Mindanao bishops urge govt to protect people’s interests vs mining companies
MANILA, Dec. 16, 2011—Three Mindanao bishops called on the government to protect and promote the interest of the people and not of mining companies. Kidapawan Bishop Romulo dela Cruz, Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Guetierrez and Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable, in a collective statement, urged for protection of the environment and promote sustainable development. The prelates reiterated their opposition to the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project of London based XSTRATA/ SMI, which has a $5.6 B worth of mining investment in the country. Mining will bring irreversible damage to the environment, the bishops stated, as they call for a moratorium from mining activity. They added that they are particularly concerned of “the biodiversity and the last remaining forest, livelihood, food security, health and of the poor communities both of the IPs and the downstream communities.” Bishop Dela Cruz said he is not convinced “that the good which can be expected of the project will outweigh the harm it brings to man and nature alike.” The prelates also called on authorities to respect the indigenous people’s right to self-determination. The Tampakan project is situated on ancestral lands belonging to B’laan communities. Fr. Rey Ondap, a Passionist priest who works at the Catholic Mission on Indigenous Peoples, said that because of strong opposition from IPs to the project, “tensions are prevalent.” The alleged harassment of the military in the IP communities prompted Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez to urge concerned parties to “avoid the escalation of violence.” The bishops also denounced the country’s skewed mining policies which favor foreign investors to the detriment of the environment and the people’s health and livelihood. They argued that after many years of mining the country’ minerals, only hazardous waste will be left to the Filipinos. “The countries metallic minerals will be all gone and our laws only [required] pitiful taxes [from the company], but its destruction of the watershed, protected areas and agricultural zones are irreversible,” the bishops said. XSTRATA/SMI is only required to pay the government 2 percent excise tax and other local taxes during its operation. But the bishops said the taxes “which the mining companies are boasting are all fictitious because of its very minimal contribution of the mining industry to the Gross National Product (GNP).” They also pointed out that the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project go against President Benigno Aquino’s seven strategic priorities to combat climate change, namely: 1) food security, 2) water sufficiency, 3) ecosystem and environmental stability, 4) human security, 5) climate smart industries and services, 6) sustainable energy, and 7) knowledge and capacity development. “Above all, it goes against the Philippine Constitution which declares as a state policy “to promote healthy and balance ecology,” they added. With a life span of about 17 to 20 years, the XSTRATA/SMI Tampakan project will extract around 6.375 tonnes of copper (375, 000 tonnes per annum) and 6.120 million ounces of gold (360, 000 ounces per annum of gold) in concentrate. For his part, Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable voiced his concern on the impropriety of constructing facilities like fresh water dam and tailings dam at the Mal River Catchment, noting that these huge storage facilities are directly under criss-crossing fault lines. His apprehension was seconded by the reviewer of the EIS of the company saying that “[t]he Tampakan mine has a high potential for loss of life and high environmental damage if a failure of Dams or Rock Storage facilities occurs.” The bishops’ statement also noted that “the $76M Environmental Impact Assessment cost of the XSTRATA/ SMI is not enough to study the impact of mining on this one of the most biodiverse area comprehensively. It still leaves five general impacts that are not adequately answered: 1) the displacement and resettlement of onsite households, 2) the loss of onsite forest lands and biodiversity resources, 3) the diversion of surface and groundwater for the use of the mine and the displacement of existing in-stream and off stream users, 4) the acid drainage, spillage, leakages, overflows and the pollution of natural water source; 5) the risks of a tailings dam failure or collapse. On November 9, the prelates sent a letter to the President asking for a meeting to discuss the issue of “open pit mining that is very destructive” because it is situated “in the heart of Quezon Mountain Range and at the heart of our forest and watershed,” but they did not receive any reply on the request. The three dioceses of Kidapawan, Marbel and Digos have gathered some 108,424 signatures to back up their campaign against the mining project. The CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) submitted the signatures to Malacañang on Dec. 14. (CBCPNews)


Sizing up the challenges

CBCP Monitor
January 2 - 15, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 1

EVERY New Year poses new challenges. We’ve been through this routine for quite some time now. But I must say that this New Year presents to us challenges that are more complex and complicated, more tricky and deadly. This must be due, at least in part, to the accelerated pace of technological development, as well as a population that is growing not only in number but also in both sophistication, on the one hand, and ignorance, confusion and error, on the other. Both contrasts and conflicts that are getting sharper, on the one hand, and the subtle process of homogenizing people mindlessly, on the other, are taking place. This combination of factors seems very intriguing, indeed. Some people can know a lot yet miss the point. Others can know little yet continue to be wise. And now, at the back of our minds, we ask, and who is going to judge who is right and is who is wrong? There now on seems to be a crisis on what norms and standards to follow these days, what values and in what order they have to be upheld and defended. Many people seem to be guided solely by purely subjective criteria. St. Paul once said: “The spiritual man judges all things, and he himself is judged by no man.” (1 Cor 2,13) It’s an intriguing affirmation that for sure will be questioned, if not rejected, by skeptics, agnostics and atheists. But I believe in it—it’s the spiritual man, the one vitally connected with God, who knows things objectively. In the end, it’s the kind of spirit one submits himself to that would guide him in his decisions.
Illustration by Bladimer Usi

The virtues of prudence and discretion have never been so needed as during these times. The demands of charity have become more nuanced. We have to be careful with our rash judgments and our reckless speech. So many things are just happening in the micro and macro levels of life, in the personal and social aspects, in the spiritual and moral and the material worlds. Today’s ballistic development in technology actually requires a corresponding radical maturation of our spiritual life. But we can observe hardly any correspondence between the two. One has to learn how to distinguish and integrate things properly, putting them in their right places, order and hierarchy. This is not going to be an easy task, but neither is it impossible. One has to learn how to hold our horses and restrain our emotions, moderate our urges, and how to think, judge and reason properly, as well as how to speak and express ourselves with tact and courtesy in spite of our differences. One has to learn how to dialogue with the different parties on different issues. The more interaction, the better. The more linkages we have among ourselves, the better for us. We have to foster the culture of dialogue. One needs to know more the range and intricacies of the now in-thing of tolerance—in the fields of culture, law, religion, politics, etc., without falling into chaos and disorder, and without forgetting that there are certain things that remain absolute and unchangeable in spite of the constant flux in life. Challenges that pose as problems are actually opportunities, chances and windows to develop the appropriate virtues, attitudes and skills. They provide the occasion and the spur to bring out knowledge, wisdom and maturity to the next level.

Bp. Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD

“HAPPY New Year”. It is a greeting that though commonly used still packs potent message presaging brighter future come the New Year. For I know that 2012 with a clean slate comprising of three hundred sixty six days will uncover the untapped potential that is still in us. Predictions of more intense natural calamities such as storms and earthquakes, of more political tensions and party squabbles, of arm skirmishes and human right violations here and there in the country, of economic depressions and insufficient incomes both individually and collectively, have already been lined up by scientists and business experts. But people remain undaunted. Lodged within them is that deep feeling that all these negative predictions are for people who have hope opportunities for the betterment of their status. After all for men of faith the answer to our sad plight goes beyond socio-economic analysis and political maneuverings. For the start our faith believes that this God-

New Year 2012
inevitable. A Filipino Christian, whose spirit is soaked with the Christmas experience, plunges himself into action, for he knows that at the heart of this topsy-turvy nation of ours there is the God who in His incarnation definitively took unto himself human history. Christmas has taught him that God has accompanied man in his journey in this world and eventually overcome the negative elements that are in it, death, sickness, and sin included. As Jesus said: “In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33). By action here is meant concrete involvement in the unfolding of our history. Christians who possess the seed of hope in their hearts cannot be passive or indifferent bystanders in the drama which we call “everyday life”. “We can open ourselves and the world and allow God to enter: we can open ourselves to truth, to love, to what is good” (Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 35). “Even when
Tidbits / A5

Our Missionary Vocation
FOR the Church in the Philippines, these words should have a special resonance. Our Church, in this only country in Asia with a predominantly Catholic population, should be a missionary Church. Pope John Paul II spoke with special clarity when he said to the Philippine bishops, “There is no doubt about it: the Philippines has a special missionary vocation to proclaim the Good News, to carry the light of Christ to the nations.” (Address to the Asian Bishops in February 1981). While it is true that the Church has a mission towards Philippine society, it has also a very definite mission to the other peoples of Asia. God is launching us into a new age of mission. We need to be open, daring and thankful. There are now about a thousand Filipino missionaries (priest, religious and layout faithful) abroad. The Fil-Mission Society and the Philippine Lay Mission Society are both flourishing. Mission congregations are recruiting and sending abroad many of their members. These are among the many signs of missionary awakening for which we thank the Lord of the harvest. A growing awareness of the missionary potential of Filipino migrant workers abroad has also dawned upon us. For economic reasons, wave after wave of Filipinos have sought work in other countries. There they witness, through their religiosity and piety whenever this is possible for them. Many are the stories of the positive effects of their faith witness on others. Pope John Paul II told Filipino overseas workers in 1987” “Indeed in Europe you are called to be the new and youthful witness of that very faith which your country received from Europe many generations ago.” This witnessing must be strengthened through various ways such as an appropriate catechesis before they go forth to other lands. We also need to provide pastoral and social care for them and their families. In that way their spiritual and materials welfare is served, their rights protected, and their faith strengthened. And here on our own land is a vast field of mission related to the Filipino-Chinese apostolate. Less than 20% of the Chinese in the Philippines have had some effective evangelization. The progress made in evangelizing through the educational and pastoral work of the Filipino-Chinese apostolate is a great encouragement. We need to intensify this. But we must look beyond our shores and take note of the missionary opportunities opened by the contacts that our Filipino-Chinese brothers and sisters have with East Asian Chinese communities, including the People’s Republic of China whose openness to religion remains fluid. We need to provide encouragement, support and personnel to this important mission. (Acts of the Council, Nos. 104-108) —Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991

made-Man gives us the stubborn hope that blossoms best in moments of darkness and ambiguity; that it would give us the needed courage to pick up again the communal problem of searching for the truth that we have temporarily left off; that we can readily face up to the moral problems, political confusions, and social illusions, that have through these years tightly gripped the soul of our country. Time visited by God gives us the hope to extricate ourselves from the sad situation that we are in, the time when work is scarce, when families are so poor they can no longer live with dignity, when the greed of those in the corridors of power has drowned away all their shame and decency, when corruption has become our greatest shame as a people”, when the chaotic climate change with its flash floods has threatened thousands of lives living in the low land. This hope is dynamic, alive, vigorous. It pushes us to action. It is alien for people of hope to say that the event of our times is

Moving on
“SISTER, can we visit you on Sunday? My husband and I would like to show you our baby. He is six months old now!” Such words fill us, Good Shepherd Sisters, with joy and excitement as if our own daughter was coming over to show our grandchild. Whether our client was a single pregnant girl or woman, a depressed domestic helper who was suddenly terminated from an overseas job with no savings to be proud of, a battered wife running to save her life and her two children from a violent husband, a fourteen year old who had enough courage to file charges against her step father who had been abusing her for the past three years…the only consolation we get for the time and energy we spent listening to them as they related the devastating situation they were in, discerning with them what would be the next step now, and setting them off to a new start …is the information we get months or years later that they have “moved on”. Yes, “moving on” is the term they use when they arrive at a decision to get back to mainstream society—to go back to school, to find a job, to live independently with her children away from the abusive man, or to return to family. Lately, one of our Sisters received a Christmas card from a girl who was sheltered in our Good Shepherd Girls Home in Cebu in 1965. She wrote, “This is to thank you for the many happy experiences spent in Banawa, Cebu, most especially for the love and care that I and my sister received. If it were not for the Good Shepherd Sisters, I would not have reached this far. If I have four God-given children, it is because I am returning to others the gifts received. My husband, a governmentemployed physician, cannot put

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Love Life
up his own clinic so he is raising ducks, turkeys and chicken for extra income. I have just retired after 40 years of practicing my profession—a librarian. I intend now to volunteer at a charitable foundation for out-of-school youth run by the Marist Fathers. We are all fine. Thank God for giving me the grace to be able to cope with my responsibilities as their “mother”. This has given me the opportunity to apply what I learned as a Good Shepherd girl. I just hope my children will grow up the way God wants them to be. Please pray for my sister. Two years ago her husband had a stroke. A miracle happened through the prayers of the GS Sisters and concerned friends. He is fully recovered. Enclosed is our Christmas present. May you have a Grace-filled Season.” Lately, our girls have been sending us messages by text or email and not too many handwritten cards. Last month, I got a text from a 24 year old young lady that we sheltered when she was 14. She was referred to us by a parish priest for safety from her father who had been sexually abusing her since she was 8 years old. We helped her file a case, got lawyers pro bono, and helped her finish high school. She was a working student all through her BS Education. We received word from her lawyers that her father has finally been sentenced for life imprisonment. On the other hand, she joyfully texted me that she received her regular appointment from DepEd as a grade school teacher, after 5 years working on a temporary status. They, and thousands before them, have moved on. And we pray that they will continue to respond to the movements of grace in their hearts and in their life, with memories of their stay with the Good Shepherd Sisters sometime in their younger days.

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Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
Pedro C. Quitorio

Theological life
a slogan or motto in schools and offices, I think we would be doing great. We need to live a theological life, a life continuously fueled and driven by faith, and not just by reason, feelings and instincts. Not even by our sophisticated sciences, technologies and arts. Our problem is that we are at present succumbing to a rationalist and technological mentality which puts our reason and other human capabilities as the prime defining force of our life. If not that, then we are stuck with the other extreme, the low end of a lifestyle of bondage, slavery and addiction in drugs, sex, food and drinks. People become so self-absorbed, so dominated by their passions and instincts that not even reason,
Candidly Speaking / A5

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The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940

WE have just begun a new year with the liturgical celebration of the solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. In the gospel of the Mass, we are told about the shepherds who went to see the child Jesus simply because they were told by an angel. They believed and obeyed in all their simplicity, and they were rewarded immensely. As the gospel narrates, they went back, “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, in accord with what had been told them.” (Lk 2,20) More significantly, we are told that Mary also “treasured all these things (what the shepherds told her) and reflected on them in her heart.” (Lk 2,19) The elements of being told, then believing and obeying, then treasuring and reflecting on what was told, are prominently bannered

in this gospel. They are elements that comprise the nature and character of faith, of what it involves and demands. We need to be familiar with them because they comprise the basic elements in our life. Our life is actually never just our own project, our own design. It is fundamentally given and directed. It involves a law that has to be followed, a force and impulse that comes from outside before it is made our own. And for sure, it is a force that never ceases to be external to us even if we have already made it our own. This is a fundamental truth about us that needs to be ventilated more widely, more persistently and creatively, because we tend to forget it or at least to distort it. If only this idea, this piece of basic truth could just be a blurb repeated often on radio and TV or

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2 - 15, 2012

Happy New Year!
for better living. Would that there be less murderers and thieves. Would that national as well as local public officials dutifully fulfill their mandate of public service. Would that in the year ahead, truth and justice, peace and development, become a composite reality in the country. Let it be said that hopelessness is self-defeatism just as despair destroys all meanings of the present as well as all expectations in the future. Desperation is a cruel dehumanizing experience. Happy New Year! This means there is still life ahead. A man has the chance to become a better husband and father. A woman in turn has the opportunity to become a better wife and mother. And young people get the occasion to behave better, to learn more, to grow in wisdom and age. An individual could be great and admirable, promising and enviable. But death evens up everything. It is called the “Great Equalizer.” But this unwelcome thought gives in precisely to the coming of a New Year. Time is irreversible. Hope is invaluable. Life is irreplaceable. Happy New Year!

Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

Views and Points
WHY not? What’s wrong? Is it silly? After all, the greeting is not identified with bullets that kill or with firecrackers that dismember children and adults. Neither is the greeting simply meant to say something without however really meaning it. Nor should it merely bring to mind the promises to be made and to be readily broken thereafter. Then, what is so great about a “New Year”? What makes it “Happy”? Why say an empty salutation? Why not just stay still, keep quiet? Happy New Year! This means there is still time to make oneself just and upright, to undergo conversion from practicing vice to cultivating virtue. By the way, the saying commonly heard that “Time is gold!” is in reality a falsity. All the gold in the world cannot buy but one minute of time. Time is definitely very much more precious than gold. Ask the wealthy who are fatally sick, ask the powerful at the brink of death. A New Year exactly means the grant of more time to all timebound beings, all humans well included. Happy New Year! This means there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow, for lighter sorrows,

By the Roadside Seeing in the dark
I WAS driving about four meters away from the Loom Bridge in Borongan when I spotted a young boy of ten signaling all vehicles to stop. He was crossing the street with a man, obviously blind, holding on to his right hand and walking nervously behind him. I felt sorry for the blind man. Still, it occurred to me, “How lucky of him to have someone, maybe a son or a nephew, guide him, where he goes.” But it also dawned on me: We are all really blind and walking in the dark. And every New Year provides proof for that. We are all blind because nobody really knows what’s bound to happen tomorrow, the next day, the next week or the next few months. There are those who say the year 2012 will usher in the end of the world. But didn’t they say the same thing in 1999 about 2000? There are those who say, based on scientific prognostications, that we are in for unprecedented and more destructive weather patterns due to global warming, our wet seasons will become wetter (we already have the terrible floods in many parts of the country as advance warnings) and our dry seasons drier (we also had bitterly dry El Niño months in previous years to give us a prior idea of what to expect). Politically the impending impeachment trial at the Philippine Senate on eight articles against Chief Justice Corona of the Supreme Court could potentially further erode confidence in the Philippine judiciary, at the least, or fan political instability, at worst. Because we are blind and walking in the dark, it is understandable why, at the start of every year, astrologers, experts or pseudo-experts in predicting future events, are the darlings of the media. That to me is our human psyche rebelling against the dark and rising, determined, to dispel it with whatever means available, valid or not, good or bad, scientific or fake. We simply do not want to walk in the dark or dread the idea of having to. With self-proclaimed experts of the future surrounding us, we feel we can now lick the darkness and begin to embark on a journey into the unknown. But actually all we need to do is have a little child to guide us. The Child Jesus. This is the option of faith. It is to walk in the dark alleys and side-streets of life with Jesus, the new-born Babe, taking our right hand and leading us in the real “daang matuwid (straight path)”. The option is based on his own words, words worth relying on because he is of God, he is Son of God: “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the dark. He will have light and life” (Jn 8:12). It is the option based on the experience of so many who have made it through the pitch black night by holding on to the Son of Man and, in the end, reaching the right destination—heaven. Church and even secular annals are replete with miraculous events attributed to the intercessions of saints, and are an indubitable proof of one thing: They have really arrived in heaven, their faith proven genuine and rewarded. As by-standers watch by the sidelines of life, another truth stares them full in the face: There is such a thing as heaven, then. If so, then that other place of eternal torment must also be real. But first, we need the humility of the blind man behind the child guide. He wouldn’t have been where he is if he didn’t come to terms with his own blindness. That, I believe, is where most of our problem lies. We find it so many times too hard to accept our unseeing. We often think we can find our own way in the dark or even see through the dark. The wound of concupiscence (the tendency to opt for what is wrong or evil) born of original sin is nowhere more evident than in the pride we display as we come face to face with the dark. We sometimes call this self-reliance or freedom or independence. But call it by any name, it achieves the purposes of the prince of darkness—get us away from going to Jesus Christ and confessing, with the blind men who would receive healing: “Son of David, have mercy on us” (Mt 20:30-31). With humility, we also need the courage to take the risk, nay, the gamble of holding on to someone else’s hand. The blind man by Loom Bridge had that courage because he knew his guide. Do we know our real Child Guide? How deeply? This determines our commitment to gamble our life on his kingdom, taking his right hand and never letting go of it. “Tenacious,” a wise old Boronganon once told me, “is what you see when a crab gets you by the hand and never lets you go even if you smash it to pieces against a rock.” This is what we see in martyrs. They hold on to Jesus Christ and will never ever let go of his hand even if the worst persecution or death runs against them like a berserk freight train. (Two of them were Pinoys: St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Blessed Pedro Calungsod; which is proof enough we are very capable of world-class tenacity too.) They have the courage to go with their humility. With humility and courage, we also need docility and obedience. It’s astounding how, today, young people and even the not so young anymore could be so docile to yoga, sports or dance gurus. What is so difficult with being docile or obedient to the Savior of the world? The wisdom of docility and obedience was visible in the blind man I saw by Loom Bridge. He would not have crossed the street safely had he hesitated or refused to follow the boy’s lead. He could have been hit by a vehicle had he been on his own. When Jesus heard the two blind men calling him, the evangelist Matthew tells us that he stopped and called them over to him. Because they obeyed him, Jesus had a chance to ask the all-important question: “What do you want me to do for you?” and they had the chance to answer, “Lord, open our eyes” (Mt 20:3233). Because they obeyed first, they were healed. By faith they were enabled not only to see but also to conquer the darkness.
Tidbits / A4

Praying for a Peaceful and Blessed 2012
WISHING everyone a Blessed, Peaceful, Healthy and Justice-filled 2012! Christmas was sadly celebrated in the places destroyed by Typhoon Sendong. Let us pray for the eternal repose of the soul of those who were killed in the flash floods. Let us also pray that the missing persons be found alive, and should worse comes to worst, may their bodies be found. Let us also pray that the survivors stand firm in their faith and that they continue to believe in the mercy and love of our Lord. Let us help the victims, especially in the much-damaged cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Dumaguete, that they will be able to move on in their daily lives. It is not yet too late to extend our assistance to our brothers and sisters in those ravaged places; or the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (or Laiko), the arm for the laity of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), composed of 50 Diocesan and Archdiocesan Councils of the Laity and 50 associations and communities, to give their much needed help. Cash donations may be forwarded to Laiko’s office at Laiko Building, Cabildo Street, Intramuros, Manila (beside the Manila Cathedral) or call up Joseph or Kate at phone number 527-5388, telefax number 527-3124, mobile number 0928-520-3797. As initial help, Laiko sent its cash donations to the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Dumaguete through their respective Dioceses and Archdioceses.

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

Duc in Altum
prayer is God’s weakness; we are for the good of everyone, and when God is with us, who will be against us? Let our lawmakers and government officials be aware that the money that they would appropriate for the implementation of RH Bill should be used instead for the construction of more hospitals in every cities and municipalities in the country, provide the much needed emergency medicines in every clinics in each barangay, give hazard allowance to the health workers, build more schools especially in those places ravaged and damaged by typhoons pedring, ramon and sendong. Let us fervently pray that they will follow their own conscience and that they will think about the plights of their respective constituents who expect from their lawmakers the most needed basic requirements in life. *** Birthday greetings to Rev. Monsignor Alex V. Amandy, H.E., Rev. Fr. Leandro Magnait, Bro. Jun Hio of Veritas’ Hello Father 911 Saturday Edition, Gigi de Lara and Marlon Lacquio – all of the Diocese of Kalookan. Birthday greetings also to Most Rev. Bishop Teodoro Bacani, D.D. Praying for the eternal repose of the soul of my father Benito E. Santiago, Sr. whose birthday and death anniversary are on the 12th and 16th of January. May perpetual light shine upon him and may he rest in peace. Tatay, we miss you and we love you!

*** The year 2012 starts with political uncertainties. The Senate is faced with the trial of the impeachment case filed by the House of Representatives against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon. Renato Corona. Instead of focusing their work on the much needed legislation, the House of Representatives will be busy preparing their stand in prosecuting the Chief Justice while the Senators-Judges will focus their attention on the trial of the impeachment case. Meanwhile, the country’s economy continues to slow down; corporations are closing shops, employees are being retrenched, foreign investors are planning to get out of the country due to the ailing economy in America and Europe. Let us therefore be united in being objective and impartial in making our opinions and observations on whatever is happening in the country, especially during the impeachment trial. Let us not be emotional in our decision-making. *** Calling on all Pro-Lifers! We are aware that the authorities are really keen on passing the RH Bill, come what may. Therefore, let us bombard heavens with our daily prayers that our lawmakers in the House of Representatives be enlightened and may they realize the bad effects of RH Bill should they pass it at the plenary session. Prayer is our strength, and our collective

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola

Spaces of Hope
“YOU Are Now Leaving the Island of Luzon,” a concrete overhead sign authoritatively noted as our contingent raced into the port of Matnog, Sorsogon. “Praise God, we made it!” I said to myself, “to the mid-point of Takbo Maharlika.” God is faithful. After finishing 1,386 kilometers in about 13 weeks, we were nearly half-way to Zamboanga City. I felt a distinct surge of joy at reaching the half-way mark. After all, when we finished the first 10-kilometer run in Laoag City last 8 August 2011, we still had to make nearly 300 such runs! Now it is only twice the length. At about 1,250 steps for every kilometer, we had already made about 1,732,500 steps. As we say in Takbo Maharlika: “Coming together to change ourselves and the Philippines, one step at a time.” Not bad! We count our blessings. If we compare the map of the Philippines to that of a pregnant woman—an insight that struck me while preparing for a talk six years ago—we can see that Luzon is the head, Visayas the chest, and Mindanao the belly. Matnog seems to be somewhere in the throat of our country while the starting point in Laoag City is the crown of the head. Yes, as far as I could tell, ours is the only country shaped like that of a human being.
Candidly Speaking / A4

Random thoughts
(Part 1)
by the towering feminine beauty of Mt. Mayon and viewed with some trepidation the squat masculinity of Mt. Bulusan. And I am not even talking about the beauty of our people, the warmth and smiles of those we met along the way. *** What is sad is that this thing of beauty, the Philippines, is beset by forces that threaten to rent it asunder. When will we get our acts together? Yes, there were even some segments along the way that were skipped due to security concerns. The first half taught us many things. The first is the every-deepening call to trust. While we expected the worst and hoped for the best—the very reason why we started out with three vehicles that carried cooking equipment and kitchen utensils, even sleeping mats, and we nearly brought shovels for our team just in case – God’s providence had provided us with all our needs and even more besides. As we began the relatively short Visayas leg at Allen, Northern Samar, we made do with only one reserve vehicle and left most of our provisions and personal belongings behind. It feels good to travel light! We also learned that there is no substitute for experience as the best teacher. Good intentions were mostly what we began with. Hence, we had to redraw our plans many times. What started out as something that may be misunderstood as trying to break establish a record has become a real attempt to bring in people into the life-giving and life-sustaining rhythms of prayer and physical fitness, particularly running. Now we have more solid basis for deciding. The view from the ground can at times be disorienting but at least we are grounded. The journey has been truly both external and internal. This, however, is another story. *** By the time this article is printed, Takbo Maharlika would have finished the Visayas leg. By January 3, we would have resumed the run in Tacloban, just 148 km from Liloan, Southern Leyte. From there we proceed to Surigao. We ask for prayers. We recall and pray for the many victims of Typhoon Sendong. It is one of the great tragedies of our times. Although the Maharlika Highway does not pass through CDO and Iligan, we offer the little sacrifices we encounter during the run to our fellow Filipinos in these areas. We dedicate Takbo Maharlika to them.

We started our run at the crown of this woman’s head and ended the Luzon leg just about where her throat is. *** And this lady is breathtakingly beautiful! We have felt the winds the move the giant windmills of Bangui and have walked on the white sands of Pagudpod. We ran the length of the Patapat Bridge that hugs the waistline of a mountain while facing the Western Philippine Sea. We passed by the mighty Cagayan River, awed by her dynamic waters teeming with life. A sevenkilometer run up the historic Dalton Pass straddling between Nueva Viscaya and Nueva Ecija took our breath away! We ran alongside the rice fields of Central Plains of Luzon which had taken a beating from Typhoon Pedring. A few weeks earlier a tropical depression saw our vehicle providentially moving just slightly ahead of the rains in Isabela. EDSA proved to be challenging in more ways than one, though we felt the reverberations of its historical imprints. Serene Mount Makiling told us we were in Laguna while the grueling Bitukang Manok road etched Quezon Province, with its coconut-lined landscape, in our minds. We were mesmerized

much less, faith would have any effect. More than anything else, this challenge is the most important. It may not be the one immediately felt, but it surely is the one that goes together with our ultimate goal in life. Remember what our Lord said: “What does it a profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” (Mt 16,26) And that episode of Martha and Mary when our Lord told the busy Martha, “you are troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the

best part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Lk 10,41-42) Both instances clearly show us the priority of prayer over action, faith over reason, the spiritual over the material, the sacred over the mundane. It’s not the latter elements are bad. They just have to be kept in their proper places and fed by their proper nourishment. Yet, this distinction and relation between these two sets of elements is hardly known nowadays, not to mention, lived. Many of us do not know how to integrate them properly in their

ordinary daily lives. This is where the need to talk, explain and effectively portray the theological life comes to the fore. In fact, it would seem that any talk about theology or anything theological is immediately blocked off or considered as restricted only to some people who may have the heart for it. They don’t realize it has a universal applicability. There’s certainly an urgent need for the appropriate evangelization and catechesis on this basic point. This should be primarily done in families and schools, with the Church always promoting it.

Of course, more than just talking, what is needed is widespread giving of example, of showing living testimony of the wisdom and practicability of this truth. We need to see many people effectively living this truth, such that a certain appropriate culture and lifestyle would develop in society. Theological life involves prayer, sacrifice, sacraments, developing virtues, sanctification of one’s ordinary work and duties, apostolate as a necessary consequence of all this, done in all levels of life.

we are fully aware that Heaven far exceeds what we can merit”, the Pope says, “it will always be true that our behavior is not indifferent before God and therefore is not indifferent for the unfolding of history” (35). Even when we seem powerless before the enemy, “our actions engender hope for us and for others…” (35). In other words, the more we engage actively and constructively in the efforts to improve society, the more we make alive the hope that is in us. Conversely, the more indifferent we are, the more cynicism destroys our capacity to dream for a better, renewed life. And when we act, when we actively involve ourselves in the unfolding of history, the element of suffering becomes all the more unavoidable. Being a consequence of our finitude, suffering is already inevitable, but it can swell into horrifying levels when

we labor for truth and justice. We can perhaps minimize it by leading a life of utter indifference. We can close our eyes from falsehood and tyranny, and spare ourselves from hostility. But is this the Christian option? The Holy Father says, “It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love” (37). And with a rather stunning emphasis, he repeats at least three (3) times in the encyclical that the capacity to suffer for truth and justice is an essential criterion, the very measure, of humanity (cf. 38 and 39). To abandon this capacity would destroy man himself. “Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life itself becomes a lie” (38).


Local News

CBCP Monitor
January 2 - 15, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 1

Kids donate personal savings to typhoon victims
WHILE children are often regarded as “too young to understand” the misfortunes other people experience, they are in fact capable of responding to the needs of these people, even sacrificing comfort when led to realize that some inconvenience will go a long way in helping others in worse situations. A young mother who goes by the name Josephine said her five children came up with some ideas to generate some funds to help the typhoon victims. One child thought of recycling an outfit from previous years to eliminate the need to buy new clothes for Christmas dinner, which saved around P3,500 – P4,000, which the family is giving to the typhoon victims, the mom pointed out. Other ideas were not to eat out for the following weeks, and not to watch Lion King 3D anymore—which would have cost some P300 per person. “Next, we asked them if they want to give a portion of their savings account—and whatever amount they donate, my husband and I will double it,” Josephine related. The youngest of the brood—a preschooler—
Photo Courtesy of Sr. Ma. Anthony Basa, PDDM)

Aim for ‘positive’ resolutions this New Year, bishop says
INSTEAD of having a list of New Year resolutions that is all about a bunch of “don’ts,” why not fill it with more “dos” to start 2012 positively? This is what Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon urged Filipinos days before 2011 marks its last calendar day. Baylon, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth, said focusing on the “don’ts” on one’s New Year’s resolution is a reflection of pessimism for the coming year. “The problem with New Year’s resolutions is our tendency to look at it negatively: don’t smoke, don’t cheat, etc. If we start something negatively, we will also finish and end up with something negative,” he explained. “Sooner or later, we will be defeated by our human weakness and we will resume smoking or cheating. Making our New Year’s resolution will only be a futile exercise,” the prelate added. Although Baylon said the “don’ts” for New Year’s resolution is not entirely wrong, but focusing on it is neither healthier. “When we talk of New Year’s resolution, it doesn’t have to be always correcting our mistakes but also improving whatever good things we have done in the past or develop what healthy habit that we have started,” he said. The prelate urged Filipinos, especially the youth, to challenge themselves to improve on the coming year and to make the writing of their New Year’s resolution an avenue to promise that they will be more concerned with their fellowmen and the environment. “I think the core of the New Year’s resolution is to be positive about the good things that we have done. I am sure during the past years we have done good things, like experiencing how it is like to participate in a relief drive that helped the needy. Why don’t we make it a point to multiply the occasion to help this year?” the prelate added. (YouthPinoy)

Relief goods donated for typhoon victims in Iligan City are received and repacked at the Diocesan Pastoral Center ready for distribution to evacuees and other affected individuals.

decided to give P100 from his tooth fairy money. The boy lost two teeth recently and got P50 for each tooth. The young mother said the children are aware of what’s going on in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, and are willing to help out, each according to his own capacity. “We showed the kids all the

pictures and footage and explained to them what happened. Then, we told them how much [help the people need], mainly cash to buy basic clean bottled water firstly and the rest of the supplies after. We thought cash was the best thing we can offer at this time,” she said. Rather than decide for the entire family how exactly to pitch

in, the parents let the brood think of ways to help, asking them “how can we specifically save on purchases so the cash can be given to the victims?” “The others are really pondering how much they will give since I told them they have the freedom to decide. We’re still waiting for their decisions,” she added. (CBCPforLife)

Be vigilant like Mary— bishop
A CATHOLIC bishop urged his flock to place their trust in the maternal guidance of Mary in the face of uncertainties and fear spawned by proliferation of crimes around them. Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera, in a pastoral letter, exhorted the faithful to imitate the example of Mary, saying that “God will continue to lavish us with His choicest blessings through the powerful intercessions of Mary, our Mother.” “Like Mary, we are being called to be vigilant lest evil forces overwhelm us. As a popular adage would put it ‘For evil to triumph, it is enough that good men do nothing’,” Garcera said. “She guides and protects us as we tread the treacherous roads of this world that seek to draw us away from Jesus,” the bishop added. Garcera noted that reports of a number of crimes committed within the province have been spreading in the past months sowing fear in people. “Some of us must have experienced personally these crimes that disturbed our peace and our sense of security in the province of
Year of Mission / A1

Fisherfolks / A1

Camarines Norte,” he said. The province has recently had a spate of robbery and murder targeting business establishments and businessmen. Mining sites in the province particularly in the towns of Paracale, Jose Panganiban and Labo had also its share of violence and killing. Garcera urged the people to do their share “in working for peace in our province and in our country by being pro-active.” “Let us join hands with our local government and the different law enforcement agencies in driving away the dark clouds of evil from our midst so that justice and peace will reign once more in our locality,” he said. “It seems that ours is a time that is constantly buffeted by the stormy winds of greed, violence and the unbridled quest for riches and power,” the bishop added. The pastoral letter, released in time for the celebration of the Solemnity of Mary on January 1 and the World Day of Peace reiterated a previous papal message to ask Mary’s intercession for peace, especially where violence is rampant.

Garcera said the Filipinos’ devotion to Mary has reaped numerous benefits on the people. He said this devotion is also manifest in the local Church of Daet, saying that the Vatican approval of the canonical coronation of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria during the closing ceremonies of the quadricentennial celebrations of the diocese’s first three parishes was in itself a distinctive gift that highlights the people’s love and devotion to the Blessed Mother. As the diocese aims to accomplish two events for 2012 to revitalize the spiritual life of the faithful, Garcera hopes that the said occasions “will bring us closer to God’s plan for us.” The diocese will celebrate in 2012 the Year on Liturgy which aims to bring the faithful to worship God “with more dignity and solemnity.” Another event is the reorganization of the Parish Pastoral Councils and the Parish Finance Councils “to become more effective and efficient in responding to the peculiar needs and challenges of the present times.” (CBCPNews)

Hicap and vice chair Salvador France told SoKor Ambassador to Manila, Lee Hye-min that the Baler-Casiguran road and the Casiguran Seaport projects, amounting to P1.416 billion and P2.439 billion respectively, would have “devastating impacts” to the livelihood of farmers, fisherfolks and indigenous peoples and even to the environment. The fisherfolk leaders also told the Ambassador that the Apeco project as a whole is “highly opposed by the farming, fishing and indigenous communities” because it would harm the livelihood of the people and would lead to the eventual destruction of the environment in Aurora province. They also told Lee that the enabling laws creating the Apeco project violated the provisions of the Philippine Constitution, particularly the agrarian reform and social justice clauses.
Homes / A1

Citing the petition of Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano and other complainants filed before the Supreme Court, Pamalakaya argued that Republic Acts (RA) 9490 and 10083 violated the constitutional provisions pertaining to agrarian reform and social justice as the said laws had virtually cancelled the certificate of land ownership awards and emancipation patents given to agrarian reform beneficiaries living the area where the Apeco is to be erected. Pamalakaya also told Lee that hectares and hectares of ancestral lands by the Agta and Dumagat tribes will also be reclaimed by the project, a culpable violation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997. Pamalakaya says that the aforementioned reasons are enough to convince the Ambassador to consider their appeal and withdraw its funding to the controversial project. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)

Under the pontifical mission societies are four organizations that have distinct programs but with only one goal—to promote missionary spirit among Catholics. The Society for the Propagation of the Faith promotes among the faithful a worldwide mission enthusiasm, particularly through World Mission Sunday activities. The Society of Saint Peter the Apostle, meanwhile, serves mission through the spiritual and intellectual formation of apostolic personnel, like priests and catechists, in mission territories. The Society of the Holy Childhood promotes mission awareness and encourages commitment among children through its “children-helping-children” initiatives.
Schools / A1

Another association, the Missionary Union of the Clergy, promotes the missionary dimensions of priestly life and also prays for an increase in missionary vocations. Support from popes Support for the missionary efforts of the PMS had been constantly expressed by the popes in their messages for the World Mission Sunday. Blessed John Paul II, in his mission encyclical has noted that the pontifical mission societies have the central role in mission promotion as they bring a “spirit of universality and service to the Church’s mission” (RM 84). Palma noted that as the celebration of the “Year of the PMS” reaches its climax in October, the universal Church will begin its

celebration of the “Year of Faith” declared by the Vatican from October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013. He said “a profound relationship exists between these two year-long activities [since] faith and missionary evangelization are always interwoven.” Palma pointed out that in his declaration of the year of faith, Pope Benedict asks for the “missionary commitment of believers” (PF 7). “May Filipinos hear and heed the papal invitation to a deepened faith and a concomitant mission response!” he declared. Celebrate Mission events The CBCP head encouraged the Filipino faithful to join the PMS mission events as well as various diocesan initiatives—

“all in celebration of the gift of the Christian faith that dedicated missionaries brought to our shores.” “As your bishop-shepherds, we exhort you, the Filipino faithful, to wholeheartedly respond to nationally-initiated PMS programs as well as local efforts coordinated by the PMS Diocesan Mission Directors,” Palma said. He reminded the faithful to take as a challenge the words of Blessed John Paul II, who declared in 1981 his special desire “that the Filipinos will become the foremost missionaries of the Church in Asia.” The CBCP has released a special prayer (see A7) to be recited after communion at Sunday Masses in all Catholic churches and chapels nationwide throughout the year of the PMS.

College in Katipunan, Quezon City. According to organizers, the summit intends to update private schools on the K+12 program and provide a platform for sharing and discussion among schools on the issues of transition, monetary costs, and curriculum, among others. “It will also be a venue for sharing actions and strategies towards the transition to K+ 12 from basic education schools, and hopes to identify issues, concerns and recommendations that may be addressed by CEAP as
Techie / A1

a national association and by its regional units,” the organizers said. Late last year, the Department of Education (DepEd) said it is ready to implement K+12 program nationwide, especially with its budgetary increase for this year. Under the K+12 program, the country’s current 10-year basic education, covering six years of elementary and four years of high school, will be extended to 12 years – six years of elementary, four years of junior high school (Grade 7 to 10), and

two years of senior high school (Grade 11 to 12). According to government, the shift to 12 years of basic education curriculum will improve students’ competencies in subjects especially in English, Math and Science and make them prepared for college and globally skilled for local and foreign employment. Until now, the Philippines is one of the only two countries in the world with 10-year basic education curriculum, the other being Myanmar. (YouthPinoy)

worship of God because He truly deserves it. He explained the Sabbath Day is the time to re-establish the family, “as a family of God, as a family brought together by prayer, worship and adoration.” He added the Jewish people keep the Sabbath Day sacred, a day spent with one’s family “because it is worship day.” “So from prayer, you go into action because prayer and action must come together,” he explained. Godly actions come from worship and affinity with God because “our God is a God of goodness.”

Tagle said the gospel talks about testimony and witnessing as John the Baptist was a witness to the One greater than him. He said the world is in need of witnesses to Christ. “Kaya ang mahalaga we have God, that we have received God in ourselves so that we can witness Him through our words, through our attitudes, through our interaction, through our deeds, all of them hopefully, will be a living witness to the God who comes to save,” the Manila prelate further explained. The 54-year old prelate said

the nine-day Misa de Aguinaldo is celebrated to prepare for the birth of the Messiah. According to him, he has been often asked why the celebration takes nine days. But he explained that the nine-day celebration symbolizes the nine months Mary carried Jesus in her womb and “every day is an equivalent of one month until the joyful event of the birth of her son.” “Ngayon ho, nagsisimba kayo ng siyam, kapag hindi ninyo kinompleto yung siyam, premature,” he added. Chief Justice Renato Corona

and staff attended the Mass. Meanwhile, Supreme Court Administrator and Spokesman Justice Midas Marquez said the invitation extended to Archbishop Tagle was made before the impeachment moves at the House of Representatives. He expressed the Court’s sincere appreciation for the prelate’s presence despite the controversy brought about by the articles of impeachment approved by 188 lawmakers of the House of Representatives last Dec. 12. (Melo Acuña)

measuring 3.5 hectares where affected victims could be resettled in Upper Balulang, near the airport and we’re optimistic we can still get land somewhere in Lumbia,” Nebres said. He also mentioned another 10-hectare property has been targeted for resettlement in Iligan City through the efforts of the city mayor. Mark Lawrence, Gawad Kalinga coordinator for Ateneo de Manila University, said their own chapter of Gawad Kalinga is prepared to help in the construction of at least 200 homes. “What we need is land,” he explained. Lawrence said people targeted for resettlement are those whose homes had been completely washed out. He said they will validate the lists provided to them by various agencies. “Marami naman talagang tumugon sa relief efforts at sapat na ang donations para sa mga nakaraang araw subalit ang pinag-iisipan na ngayon ay ang pangmatagalan, yung ilang libong mga tao na napinsala,” Nebres told CBCPNews. He explained that Ateneo de Manila is duty-bound to help the victims through Xavier University. Recently retired as president of Ateneo de Manila University, Nebres said he once served as president of Xavier University, that’s why he knows a number
Canonization / A1

of the victims and their nearest of kin. The priest called on generous Filipinos to support their efforts in rebuilding homes and lives of thousands of flood victims. He said regular updates will be provided CBCPNews and China Radio International’s Filipino Service for the donors’ information and appropriate guidance. In a related development, Xavier University earlier donated five hectares of its Xavier Compound at Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro city for the Philippine National Red Cross to build new homes for the flood victims. Simple groundbreaking ceremonies were held December 30, 2011 with Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon and Xavier University chairman Elpidio Paras. The event was witnessed by the representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Selva Sinnadural, local government officials and business leaders. Gordon, a former member of the Philippine Senate said they will build 1,000 shelters as soon as the land is ready with basic service facilities and provisions for livelihood. With classes set to resume tomorrow, flood victims staying in public schools will have to leave the premises and temporarily stay in tent cities installed by the Philippine National Red Cross. (Melo M. Acuña)

know more profoundly the life of Blessed Pedro Calungsod and imitate his virtues, especially his devotion to the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother. “If we know him better and emulate his virtues, particularly his zeal for learning, living, spreading and even dying for the faith, we become a better people,” Palma said. The CBCP head also stressed the coming year is not only a gift from God but also a task, meant for one’s good and for

the good of the church and the community. He reminded the faithful that “there is much to do considering life’s challenges in our imperfect society with us who are poor or frail people.” “We move forward with contrite hearts and with firm faith knowing God will not abandon us because he loves us (cf. Isaiah 49:15) and convinced of what we are able to accomplish because of the goodness and power in our hearts,” he said. (CBCPNews)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2 - 15, 2012

Diocesan News
He also acknowledged the support of their volunteers from the Archdiocesan Social Action Center. “The Social Action Center works closely with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the coordination has been good,” he added. The prelate said it is also incumbent upon the government to help people even those who do not stay at the government’s evacuation centers. Offers have been received by the archdiocese from the British-controlled Diego Garcia, from Rome to Canada and the United States. “Caritas Manila has been one of the first to come and followed by the Archdiocese of Manila and San Fernando (Pampanga) and truckloads of goods from Zamboanga, Kidapawan and Mati,” Ledesma said. The archbishop has proposed to the faithful an “adopt a family” program for Christmas and the response, according to the prelate, was way beyond expectations. Meanwhile, Sr. Mary Ann Guevara, DC said she and her co-sisters were assigned to two big evacuation centers where they work closely with the Department of Social Welfare and Development officials. “The main assistance we extend to them is to organize the evacuees’ families and find out how many they are and their status,” the religious sister said. She added they also do interviews to find out who among the evacuees totally lost their homes. Sr. Mary Ann said the evacuees are grateful for the food supplies and other necessities provided by the government, non-government organizations and faith-based organizations. “At one point, I was teary-eyed to see so many people responding to the needs of the flood victims,” the nun said. She also learned from the victims of their


Tent shelters to be constructed for evacuees
CAGAYAN DE ORO City— The local churches of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan are coordinating with government officials in setting up temporary housing for evacuees housed at evacuation centers. Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ said he has mobilized religious women from various congregations to do liaison and research on the evacuees’ identities and needs at government-provided shelters. The 68-year old prelate said the first phase of the relocation program is temporary housing and that is the reason why tents are being set-up in safer places. “Carmen Parish church has set aside some areas for temporary shelter through twenty tents good enough for forty families,” the prelate said. He added that over and above the five-hectare donation of the Society of Jesus there are still open spaces for tent cities.
Photo courtesy of Galileo M. Garcia

Evacuees line up to get their share of relief goods being distributed at St. Guillermo Parish in Cagayan de Oro City.

desire to be moved out from the flooded areas and resettled in safer areas. Ledesma said the people should try to look ahead to rebuild people’s lives and communities. “I think the coming year will be a time for reconstruction of whatever was lost

in the past tragic events,” he said. For his part, Iligan Bishop Elenito R. Galido was busy coordinating with government officials, inspecting possible relocation sites for the evacuees in his diocese as of Thursday afternoon. (Melo M. Acuna)

Bishop calls for communal action to protect environment
ILIGAN City—A Catholic bishop urged people to look deeply into the issue of environmental destruction that contributed greatly to the tragedy that struck the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. Iligan bishop Elenito Galido called for a communal action to protect and preserve the environment from further destruction. Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were the two cities devastated by typhoon Sendong in a flash flood that killed thousands and left hundreds missing. “We must do more, as a community, to be in solidarity and work intensely to protect and preserve our environment,” the bishop said. He lamented how greed pushed some people to illegally cut down trees all “for a quick gain.” “Quarrying and mining indiscriminately also contributed to the destruction of nature. Loads of garbage are clogging our water ways. These are all man’s work so we suffer from nature’s wrath,” he added. Even as he grieves for the sufferings and the loss of lives of many, the bishop also lauded the generosity of people in helping the victims. “I am also consoled by the fact that this calamity has brought out the best in people, sharing generously their resources and efforts in whatever way they can to alleviate the suffering of the victims,” Galido said. The diocese has put up an assistance center at St. Michael’s Cathedral to receive donations for the victims. “I ask all our parishes, schools, organizations, and basic ecclesial communities to give the needed assistance or contribution to the victims,” the bishop added. He also asked the people to continue to help and pray for the victims. “As they journey forward to rebuild their lives, they need strength and hope which can come from our help and most especially from God,” he said. “My heart goes out to the suffering survivors of this terrible tragedy even as I deeply condole with the families whose loved ones perished. I commend their souls to the God’s mercy and I also pray that many more will be found alive and rescued,” Galido further said. On December 17, flash floods triggered by large amount of rainfall brought by Typhoon Sendong submerged most barangays of Iligan City. Worst hit were communities from San Lorenzo Parish that left several hundreds dead and hundreds more missing. (CBCPNews)

Unborn children remembered on Holy Innocents Day
TAGBILARAN City—Hundreds of people gathered after the Holy mass at the Shrine of the Unborn outside the St. Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran City, where special prayers were said and flower offerings made to commemorate the feast of Holy Innocents Dec. 28. In his homily, Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso assailed the pro-reproductive health (RH) leaders as among those who live by the modern-day “Herod’s mentality,” because of their “fear” of the so-called “more babies equals more mouths to feed” belief. According to the Gospels, King Herod ordered the slaying of all little boys in Bethlehem aged two years and below. He had intended to include the Son of God among the murdered babies. Holy Innocents Day is commemorated every year on December 28. The prelate reminded the people to continue to oppose RH next year. The event was jointly organized by the Diocesan Family and Life Apostolate and Human Life International (HLI) Pilipinas. (Miguel de Dios)

Ateneo schools nationwide conduct ‘Operation Tabang Sendong’

CAGAYAN DE ORO City—The Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan- a Jesuit run school in Region 10, has conducted “Operation Tabang Sendong” through the help of other Ateneo Schools in the country and in coordination with the Philippine Air Force and its school community. Students, Faculty and Staff and Alumni manifested their spirit of ‘bayanihan’ by gathering relief goods to be sent to the different evacuations centers and places in Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental. The XU’s Relief Operation has already received as of Dec. 21 the latest record of cash gifts amounting to P4.9 million and P1.7 million for walk-in cash donations. (Michael Andrew W. Yu)
CWL asserts pro-life stand, promotes NFP

JOIN the May They Be One Bible Run on January 22, 2012, 5 a.m. at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. The event is part of a nationwide campaign of the same name that aims to bring 5 million

MTBO Bible Run

Bibles to 5 million poor Filipino families in 7 years. More than 5,000 clergy and laity, students and professionals, public servants and business executives are expected to run in support of the Cause and

cost of the Bible Campaign. Proceeds from the event will go to the production of MTBO Bibles which are now pegged at P150.00 per Bible. Registration fees are P250 (student rate) and P350 per person.

Come and be part of this historic event and its vision! Bring your parish members/ family. For further inquiries, you may call 524-5337 or 7037432. Mobile phone no. 09179852076.

2012 as Year of the PMS

Prayer for renewal in mission
Loving and Merciful Father, On this 80th anniversary of the beginnings of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines, We turn to you in total confidence. You will that all people be saved And come to the knowledge of your truth: Jesus, Your beloved Son, whom you have sent To show us the way to you and to one another. Lord Jesus, our friend and dearly beloved brother, Today as every day of the year, We come before you in fervent prayer: Open our hearts to receive your love and your grace.
Young / A1

MATI City— The Catholic Women’s League in the Diocese of Mati publicly proclaimed their unequivocal stand in defense of life and the promotion of the Natural Family Planning (NFP) method of birth regulation. CWL diocesan president Norma Lanaban of Banganga unit stressed the group’s position against the reproductive health bill during its general assembly last December 18 at the Clergy compound in Mati City. Lanaban explained that during their monthly diocesan officers’ meeting, they kept up their study and discussion on the RH Bill vis-à-vis perceived gradual weakening of family ties and respect for human life, in line with the CWL National Plan through National President Dr. Carmelita Go and the NFP campaign of Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro. (Sr. Marietta Alo, OND)
Davao holds Archdiocesan Youth Day to culminate YOTY

Teach us to acknowledge our faults and failings. Enable us to become your apostolic disciples, Just, truthful, honest, hardworking and generous So our neighbors will be drawn to your loving heart. Holy Spirit, make Jesus truly come alive in us and Empower us to make Him known and loved. Spirit of the Risen Lord, transform our hearts, Setting them ablaze with zeal for the Gospel, Especially in this anniversary year of the beginnings of The Pontifical Mission Societies in our beloved homeland. Open our eyes and hearts to all men and women,

Adults and children, the poor and forgotten—to the entire world! Mary, Mother of the Church and Star of the New Evangelization, Lead us to your Son so that our love for him will be sincere. Teach us to be faithful disciples, doing whatsoever he tells us, To follow his path of self-sacrificing love. Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, inspire our missionary commitment. Blessed Pedro Calungsod, help us respond generously to Jesus’ call. All these fervent missionary petitions we make in faith, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

DAVAO City—Thousands of youth delegates from Basic Ecclesial Communities in the Archdiocese of Davao participated in the Archdiocesan Youth Day to culminate the celebration of the CBCP Year of the Youth last Dec. 26. Organized by the Archdiocesan Youth Coordination Apostolate, the youth event was held last December 18 at the Holy Cross of Davao College. More than 2500 youth delegates represented the Basic Ecclesial Communities from different Parishes, Schools, Youth Organizations and Congregations. The event carried the same theme of the year of the youth (YOTY) celebration, “Stand firm in the faith… do all your work in love.” (Jandel Posion/Rafael Concepcion)
Bacolod strengthens BECs through Parish Youth Day

BACOLOD City—Around 400 youth participants from 33 Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) of the diocese attended the Parish Youth Day of the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Taloc, Bago City Dec. 22. Diocesan youth director Fr. Arnold Deletina challenged the young people to remain strong in their faith and be courageous in expressing their faith. He encouraged them also to participate actively in the formation activities offered to them by the parish and by the Church in general. (Jandel Posion/Analaida Carmona Berethon)
Other victims need assistance too, says Iligan SAC director

ILIGAN City— Relief and rehabilitation should not only be limited to those whose homes were swept away by flashfloods, but help should also be extended to families whose houses were partially damaged by the typhoon, a priest said on Dec. 21. This, according to Iligan Social Action Director Fr. Albert Mendez, who assessed the situation after meeting evacuees in various government facilities and churches in the city. “We understand the government’s concern for those whose homes have been totally damaged but there are those who also need help because they could no longer use their kitchen wares, beds and clothes,” Fr. Mendez said. (Melo M. Acuna)

cating Young People in Justice and Peace.” He said it is the task of every member of society to teach young people “an appreciation of the positive value of life” and awaken in them “a desire to spend their lives in the service of the Good.” Citing the young people’s participation in various demonstrations across the globe calling for societal change, the pope said the young people’s concerns revealed their desire to look to the future with solid hope. But he also noted that faced with many problems in and outside the home, young people are unsure of their potential to contribute in the transformation of societal structures. “At the present time, they are experiencing apprehension about many things: they want to receive an education which prepares them more fully to deal with the real world, they see how difficult it is to form a family and to find stable employment; they wonder if they can really contribute to political, cultural and economic life in order to build a society with a more human and fraternal face,” the pontiff said. Family as first school Pope Benedict XVI said that the

family is the first school where the young are formed in values and trained in justice and peace. He said that the parents are the first educators from whom children learn the human and Christian values that shape their character as persons. But he also noted the challenges facing modern families today, saying that “we are living in a world where families, and life itself, are constantly threatened and not infrequently fragmented.” He said the efforts of parents to provide an adequate livelihood for their children often lead them to “working conditions that are often incompatible with family responsibilities,” that sometimes deprive the young of their presence. “This presence makes it possible to share more deeply in the journey of life and thus to pass on experiences and convictions gained with the passing of the years, experiences and convictions which can only be communicated by spending time together,” he said. Urging the parents not to get discouraged, the pope exhorted them to teach their children “by the examples of their lives to put their hope before all else in God, the one source of authentic justice and peace.”

Other sectors share the task The Holy Father also called on educators of their responsibility to ensure that the young be accorded the dignity they deserve and help them develop their God-given gifts. “May they reassure families that their children can receive an education that does not conflict with their consciences and their religious principles,” the pope said. Reminding political leaders of their task to provide assistance to families and educational institutions, the Holy Father asked them to “give young people a transparent image of politics as a genuine service to the good of all.” He also appealed to media to make a significant contribution to the education of young people by not only informing but also forming the minds of their audiences. But even as he called on various sectors to help the young people, the pope also reminded the youth that “they too are responsible for their education, including their education in justice and peace” and that they should also find “the courage to live by the same high standards that they set for others.” Be steadfast He encouraged young people to remain steadfast in the face

of difficulties and “not be afraid to make a commitment, to face hard work and sacrifice, [and] choose the paths that demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication.” In the same way that the young can look up to adults as role models, the pope said the youth can also set themselves as examples and inspiration to adults, as they “seek to overcome injustice and corruption and strive to build a better future.” “The Church has confidence in you, follows you, encourages you and wishes to offer you the most precious gift she has: the opportunity to raise your eyes to God, to encounter Jesus Christ, who is himself justice and peace,” the pope said. He further urged the faithful to sincerely work for the attainment of peace in the world. “Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey; let us work together to give our world a more humane and fraternal face; and let us feel a common responsibility towards present and future generations, especially in the task of training them to be people of peace and builders of peace,” the Holy Father said. (CBCPNews)

ARCHBISHOP Luis Antonio Tagle has assumed the post as the new head of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church. Tagle was installed December 12 as the 32nd ordinary of the Archdiocese of Manila in a solemn ceremony held at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila’s Intramuros district. During the installation rite, the apostolic letter from Pope Benedict XVI was read appointing Tagle as the new Manila archbishop. The former Imus bishop succeeded retired Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales who served the archdiocese for the past eight years. During installation rites, Tagle turned emotional as the crowd praised him for his appointment. “We are grateful to the Holy Father for giving Manila the best in our own,” said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. “Of course he has our own collaboration. Manila is the grandmother of all the dioceses,” he said. As the crowd heaped praise on Tagle, the church leader appeared emotional several times during the ceremony. He was seen wiping tears especially when

People, Facts & Places
he delivered his homily. Tagle also broke into tears at the part when he acknowledged the support extended to him by his parents and when he said goodbye to the clergy and faithful of Imus diocese where he served for the past 10 years. “You have loved me. You have directed me to the Lord. Please remember me as loving you,” said Tagle in his homily with his voice cracking with emotion. And in facing his new role as archbishop, Tagle said he is hoping that the Manila faithful would also welcome him as the successor of retired Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. “There is much that I will learn and should learn from you. Teach me. Be patient with me. Let us love one another at all times,” he said. He also vowed that his new post, which had been occupied by one of the country’s prominent Church figures such as the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, will not change him the way he is. He said he will not allow himself to be “blinded” that his new post as Archbishop of Manila represents more power. “Love makes one a true shepherd, not position,” said Tagle. “I tell myself as though it were the Lord telling me, ‘Chito, do not think you have become great because of your new position. Be great rather in being a beloved and loving disciple of the Lord’,” he furthered. At least 90 cardinals, bishops and archbishops from all over the Philippines and several Asian countries and foreign dignitaries attended the historical event. Tagle was escorted by Rosales to his cathedra after the civil ceremonies outside the Manila Cathedral. Symbolic keys to their cities were turned over by Mayors Alfredo Lim of Manila, Guia Gomez Ejercito of San Juan, Jejomar Binay, Jr. of Makati, Benhur Abalos of Mandaluyong and Antonino Calixto of Pasay City to the new Manila archbishop. “The mission of the Church should be wholly directed by the Lord who is always present as Shepherd and guide,” Tagle said in his 27-minute homily. He added human efforts should continue but he cautioned his congregation “unless the Lord directs the catch, we labour in vain.” The Papal Nuncio to the Philippine Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto and Archbishop Palma were Archbishop Tagle’s concelebrants. Cebu Arch-

CBCP Monitor

January 2 - 15, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 1

Archbishop Tagle installed in Manila
bishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal also attended the installation rites. American Ambassador Harry K. Thomas told CBCPNews that he looks forward to meeting Archbishop Tagle in the near future. Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Ivo Sieber, Sri Lankan Second Secretary Ruwani Cooray, Vietnamese Counselor Tran Thi Nam Phuong and sever- Archbishop Luis Antotnio Tagle (right) is presented to the public by al other dignitaries his predecessor Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales during the former’s also witnessed the installation as new Manila archbishop at the Manila Cathedral last Dec. 12, 2011. event. Other government officials present Other personalities present during were Chief Justice Renato Corona, the ceremony were President BeniSenator Bong Revilla Jr. and wife Cavite gno Aquino III’s sisters, Maria Elena Rep. Lani Mercado, Parañaque Rep. “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz, Aurora Corazon Roilo Golez, and Philippine Charity “Pinky” Aquino-Abellada, and Victoria Sweepstakes Office Chairperson Mar- Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee. (Melo M. gie Juico. Acuna/CBCPNews)

Bl. Pedro Calungsod, 6 others to be declared ‘Saints’
THE Vatican has promulgated a decree that paves the way for the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod and six other blesseds. Vatican news release (http://www.news. va/en/news/decrees-of-the-congregationfor-the-causes-of...), confirmed that “Pope Benedict VXI received in audience, Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorized the promulgation of decrees (for sainthood)”. However, no definite date yet has been set for the canonization rites. The Vatican listed Calungsod as a Filipino lay catechist and martyr (1654-1672) among the blessed and venerable from whose intercessions miracles were attributed. The authorized miracle of Blessed Pedro Calungsod reportedly happened in 2003 at a hospital in Cebu City when a woman who was clinically pronounced dead for two hours was allegedly brought back to life through the intercession of Calungsod. The six other candidates for canonization include Blessed Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth and of the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord (1841-1913); Blessed Jacques Berthieu, French martyr and priest of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) (1838-1896); Blessed Maria del Carmen (born Maria Salles y Barangueras), Spanish foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching (1848-1911); Blessed Maria Anna Cope, nee Barbara, German religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Syracuse USA (1838-1918); Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, American laywoman (1656-1680), and Blessed Anna Schaffer, German laywoman (1882-1925). Calungsod, together with companion Blessed Diego San Vitores, were killed while doing missionary work in Guam in 1672. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000. After his canonization, Calungsod will be the second Filipino Catholic saint after

CONFERRED. Three priests from the Archdiocese of Capiz had been conferred with the honorary title of Monsignor by the pope as recognition of their service to the Church, December 15, 2011. Conferred were Msgr. Victor Bendico, SLD, Msgr. Job Bolivar and Msgr. Regie Pamposa. Bendico was Rector and Dean of Studies for Theology in 1999 and currently a member of the Presbyteral Council, Chairman of the Commission on Sacred Liturgy and Chairman of the Commission on the Doctrine of Faith. Bolivar is currently the rector of the Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral, former Rector of St. Pius X Seminary and member of the Presbyteral Council. Pamposa is the Rector of Sancta Maria Mater et Regina Seminarium. He also serves as a priest on loan to St. Joseph Regional Seminary in Iloilo City.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, who was elevated to sainthood in 1987. (Jandel Posion)

Lingayen launches fund drive to build first theology seminary
to form priests who will give us Christ!” “We need to form priests from Pangasinan, for Pangasinan, in the culture of Pangasinan. We need to form priests with the clergy of Pangasinan, among the people of Pangasinan,” the archbishop said in his homily. “We need priests because we need Christ. We need the seminary to form priests who will give us Christ!” he stressed. He told the faithful that helping build the seminary by sharing their resources is an opportunity that is being given to them “to become part of the construction of the seminary.” “It is not always that we are given this opportunity,” he said. “It is a legacy that will transcend our lifetime. We will all pass away, but the seminary will remain beyond our lifetime, forming priests of Pangasinan who will be ever ready to give Christ to you!” The archdiocese is hoping to raise P5 million as seed money from the initial fund drive. A wide spread fund drive will follow the first one to raise the full amount of P50 million to complete the entire project. But Villegas assured the people that “every donation no matter how small is a gift for the future of the Church.” “It is not the amount that matters. It is the love we have for God, for the church that matters the most,” he further said. To kick off the fund drive, the archbishop led the clergy in signing the “Libro na Panangaro para Seminario”. The Olupan na Laiko na Arkidiosis na Lingayen-Dagupan (ONLA) facilitated the initial signing and collection of donations after the mass. A copy of “Libro na Panangaro para Seminario” which contains the names, address, amount given and signature of the donor, will be given to every parish, chaplaincy, pastoral station and school. After the campaign the book will be placed in the cornerstone of the new building. The book will be offered during the opening Mass of the archdiocese’s Golden Jubilee celebration on 16 February 16, 2012. Lingayen is set to celebrate its golden jubilee on February 16, 2013. With a target cost of Php50 million, the theology seminary will be built in a lot owned by the archdiocese in Barangay Palapad, San Fabian. Lady Architect Susana Castillo, a recipient of papal award Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice has designed the future seminary that will be able to accommodate 80 seminarians who can also take theology classes within the compound. The archdiocese has already two formation houses for future priests: the Mary Help of Christians High School Seminary in Binmaley, Pangasinan and the Mary Help of Christians College Seminary in Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City. To date, there are 103 high school seminarians, 32 seminarians in philosophy and 18 seminarians in theology. The nearest theology seminary is the Immaculate Conception School of Theology located in Vigan City. Lingayen-Dagupan has only 59 diocesan priests and 12 religious priests ministering to a Catholic population of one million two hundred thousand in 33 parishes. (CBCPNews)

CELEBRATED. Sisters Ma. Michelina Brondial, Ma. Benigna Cadawas, Gerarda Cruz and Nives Montecillo marked their golden jubilee of religious profession among the Daughters of St. Paul, December 3, 2011. Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud led the Thanksgiving Mass at the Queen of Apostles Sanctuary, 2650 F. B. Harrison St., Pasay City. Concelebrating the Eucharist were Fr. Joe Aripio, SSP, Provincial Superior of the Society of St. Paul and eight religious and diocesan priests. Bishop Bancud pointed out in his homily that the celebration is a manifestation of God’s unconventional love and fidelity which sustained the Sisters in their journey. The event calls for joy and gratitude for the graces and blessings they received as they offer and dedicate their lives selflessly for the mission. A significant part of the liturgy was the bequeathing of the Pauline heritage to the formands. A lighted candle, symbol of the Pauline ideal which was carried during the entrance procession was passed on to four younger members: 2 Aspirants, 1 Postulant and 1 Pre-postulant. Each of the four formands was enjoined to keep a faithful fellowship with that light and bring it to all corners of the world. Words of thanks were delivered by Sr. Michelina Brondial on behalf of the group. Agape and fellowship with families, relatives and friends followed at the Alberione Auditorium. AWARDED. Fifty-nine outstanding young people in the diocese of Malolos with Blessed Pedro Calungsod Award, during the Diocesan Youth Big Day held last December 10. Awards were given by Fr. Angelito Santiago, the diocesan youth director and Fr. Boyet Atienza. Awardees were DCY volunteers, young professional and youth ministers from the 10 vicariates of the diocese. Vicariate of St. Didacus of Alcala (Valenzuela): Paul Bryan P. Barnacea, Mark Lester E. Risma, Kim Albert C. Grabillo, Maricris A. Bacong, Delo D. Monterde, Randolf J. Yabut, Roxanne L. Asis, and Angelo N. Buhay. Vicariate of St. Francis of Assisi (Meycauayan): Dominic Jay P. Roberto, Ralph Irvin DR. Ramos, Raffy R. Montalban, Angelo Y. Caburnay, Marydel M. de Jesus, Mark Saavedra, and Glenn Christian A. Encarnado. Vicariate of St. Joseph the Worker (San Jose del Monte): Maria Rosario Corazon D. Sia, Princess Jackie R. Mata, and Edralyn Mabesa. Vicariate of Immaculate Conception (Sta. Maria): Cris B. Gonzales, Jayson T. dela Cruz, Lourdes M. Bartolome, Roby Ramos and Kimberly V. Aseñas. Vicariate of St. Martin of Tours (Bocaue): Reuben P. de Guzman and Lambert Michael I. Resurreccion. Vicariate of St. Michael the Archangel (San Miguel): Raymart Espiritu, Angela T. Juan, Carlo Zadie delos Santos, Caithlin B. Gonzales, and Ralph Michael G. Omaña. Vicariate of San Augustine (Baliuag): Ferdinand Guansing, Arriane S. Garcia, Kateina Mari Ann U. Martin, Eugene L. Gonzales, Robelle C. Abaquita, Darwin I. Placido, Joman S. Juan, Elchie Guevarra, Arjay R. Javier and Rowell B. de Sotto. Vicariate of St. James the Apostle (Plaridel): Leomar Cordero, Rochelle Jose and Crispin Manalo. Vicariate of St. Anne (Hagonoy): Jhonny C. Clemente, Rene Rose P. de Jesus, Melissa del Rosario and Vann Joseph B. Ibasco. Vicariate of Immaculate Conception (Malolos): Cherie Rose C. Rubiano, Joanne Mica B. Cruz, and Han Benzen R. Buenaventura. DCY volunteers, young professionals and youth ministers: Abner Cruz, Sta. Monica Parish, Former VCY Chairman-Vicariate of Baliuag, Joseph Sebastian, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, VCY Chairman-Vicariate of Hagonoy, Conrado de Castro, St. John the Baptist Parish, DCY Volunteer, Carlito Villanueva Jr., Sto. Rosario Parish, DCY Volunteer, Jerone Carlo Labausa, St. John the Baptish Hagonoy, DCY Volunteer-Music Ministry, Elimark Cruz, (DYP) Diocesan Young Professionals Member, Jan Robin Rodriguez, Youth Minister, Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and Mary Grace Principe, Sto. Cristo and St. Andrew Kim Taegon Parish Bocaue, Former DCY Staff. EXHIBITED. The first Vatican international Eucharistic Miracles of the World was held at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Tanza, Iloilo City from November 7 to December 3, 2011. More than 12,000 visitors saw the exhibit at the parish’s Pacita Laguda Sia Community Center. Since the event was held within the Year of the Youth, parish priest Fr. Norberto Taccadao tasked the parish youth to serve as main guides for visitors who came to view the exhibit. Visitors first watched a documentary video on Eucharistic Miracles as an introduction to the exhibit. After the video presentation, visitors were provided with MP3 audio devices to guide them through the panels depicting the multitudinous Eucharistic miracles that were documented from all over the world. Lorena C. Martirez, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Parish who obtained a copyright from the Vatican to bring the exhibit to the Philippines, shared how moved she was to hear remarks from guests, that thanks to what they had seen, they finally realized that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Fr. 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. The Eucharistic Miracles of the World Exhibit was made possible through the active collaboration of Fr. Taccadao, the Parish Youth Ministry and the Parish Charismatic Movement. Those who would like to make further inquiries or arrange for exhibits of the Eucharistic Miracles of the World, may contact Lorena C. Martirez, email:lorena_martirez@yahoo.com, telephone numbers (033) 321-3096, +63908-891-1677 .

THE Archdiocese of LingayenDagupan is aiming to build its first theology seminary in Pangasinan, 400 years after the first Augustinian missionaries evangelized the province. A fund raising project for the construction of the seminary was launched during a Mass presided by Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas, attended by hundreds of parishioners. Villegas rallied the faithful to support the fund raising drive saying “we need the seminary

Eco group thanks Cardinal Rosales for backing environmental advocacies
AN environmental group has expressed its appreciation for the support former Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has given to the group’s environmental advocacies. EcoWaste Coalition, a network of various organizations committed to environmental protection, in a statement, conveyed its “deep respect and admiration” to the Cardinal for his eight years “of abundant service to the Metropolitan See of Manila and her flock.” Coalition president Roy Alvarez said the group is deeply grateful to the Cardinal for supporting their advocacies. “We remember with highest appreciation the support extended by Your Excellency to our advocacy for environmental stewardship and justice,” said Alvarez. The group said it is grateful to Rosales for championing the right to a healthy environment of Metro Manila railway track dwellers who resettled in Cabuyao, Laguna. The cardinal had also endorsed the coalition’s advocacy for a waste-free election, and reminded banana plantation owners that the aerial spraying of agro chemicals “infringes upon human health and dignity.” The group likewise cited the cardinal for his support “to the essential mission of the Archdiocese of Manila Ecology Ministry to empower informal waste recyclers and promote Zero Waste.” The Coalition welcomed Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle who succeeded Rosales as archbishop of Manila, assuring him of the group’s support. “We assure you of our prayers and look forward to working with you for the good of our people, the society and the environment,” Alvarez said. (CBCPNews)

Borongan seminarians distribute gifts to hospital patients
THE college and theology seminarians of the Diocese of Borongan shared love at Christmas through their gift-giving to the patients of Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital last December 28, 2011. Seminarians distributed bags of goods for media noche to about 70 patients. They also sang Christmas carols as they visited the patients in the different wards of the public hospital. “Ours is a simple gesture of generosity. We are always called to share because God has never failed to be generous to us,” said Dindo Catalo, President of the Borongan Major Seminarians’ Organization. The organization, also known as BORMASO, is comprised of college and theology seminarians belonging to Borongan Diocese. There are 49 seminarians who are regular members of the organization this school year. The packs of goods came from the combined efforts of seminarians who generously went out of their way to be able to give the best to needy brothers and sisters. “The best that you can give is yourself. Love means self-gift,” Fr. Jan Michael Gadicho, Vocation Director of the Diocese of Borongan, told the future priests during a recollection conducted prior to their gift-giving last December 27. He reminded the seminarians that aside from the material gifts they can give to their neighbors, the best that they can offer are themselves. The gift-giving of the seminarians is always at the heart of the annual outreach program of the organization every December. The BORMASO members gather annually to share with each one the Love made flesh at the first Christmas. “We must practice more seriously our call to obedience. We obey and give ourselves for a higher purpose and value. Only in that way we can counteract the culture of relativism and secularism,” said Most Rev. Crispin Varquez in his homily at the gathering of seminarians. The Bishop of Borongan was happy to note that the formation of seminarians extends outside seminary walls, even during vacation. The gathering concluded with a simple dinner at the Nativity of Our Lady College Seminary lobby. (Edmel Raagas)


Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2 - 15, 2012

Pastoral Concerns


Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 1 January 2012
its underlying idealism receive due attention at every level of society. The Church looks to young people with hope and confidence; she encourages them to seek truth, to defend the common good, to be open to the world around them and willing to see “new things” (Is 42:9; 48:6). Educators 2. Education is the most interesting and difficult adventure in life. Educating— from the Latin educere—means leading young people to move beyond themselves and introducing them to reality, towards a fullness that leads to growth. This process is fostered by the encounter of two freedoms, that of adults and that of the young. It calls for responsibility on the part of the learners, who must be open to being led to the knowledge of reality, and on the part of educators, who must be ready to give of themselves. For this reason, today more than ever we need authentic witnesses, and not simply people who parcel out rules and facts; we need witnesses capable of seeing farther than others because their life is so much broader. A witness is someone who first lives the life that he proposes to others. Where does true education in peace and justice take place? First of all, in the family, since parents are the first educators. The family is the primary cell of society; “it is in the family that children learn the human and Christian values which enable them to have a constructive and peaceful coexistence. It is in the family that they learn solidarity between the generations, respect for rules, forgiveness and how to welcome others.” (1) The family is the first school in which we are trained in justice and peace. We are living in a world where families, and life itself, are constantly threatened and not infrequently fragmented. Working conditions which are often incompatible with family responsibilities, worries about the future, the frenetic pace of life, the need to move frequently to ensure an adequate livelihood, to say nothing of mere survival—all this makes it hard to ensure that children receive one of the most precious of treasures: the presence of their parents. This presence makes it possible to share more deeply in the journey of life and thus to pass on experiences and convictions gained with the passing of the years, experiences and convictions which can only be communicated by spending time together. I would urge parents not to grow disheartened! May they encourage children by the example of their lives to put their hope before all else in God, the one source of authentic justice and peace. I would also like to address a word to those in charge of educational institutions: with a great sense of responsibility may they ensure that the dignity of each person is always respected and appreciated. Let them be concerned that every young person be able to discover his or her own vocation and helped to develop his or her God-given gifts. May they reassure families that their children can receive an education that does not conflict with their consciences and their religious principles. Every educational setting can be a place of openness to the transcendent and to others; a place of dialogue, cohesiveness and attentive listening, where young people feel appreciated for their personal abilities and inner riches, and can learn to esteem their brothers and sisters. May young people be taught to savor the joy which comes from the daily exercise of charity and compassion towards others and from taking an active part in the building of a more humane and fraternal society. I ask political leaders to offer concrete assistance to families and educational institutions in the exercise of their right and duty to educate. Adequate support should never be lacking to parents in their task. Let them ensure that no one is ever denied access to education and that families are able freely to choose the educational structures they consider most suitable for their children. Let them be committed to reuniting families separated by the need to earn a living. Let them give young people a transparent image of politics as a genuine service to the good of all. I cannot fail also to appeal to the world of the media to offer its own contribution to education. In today’s society the mass media have a particular role: they not only inform but also form the minds of their audiences, and so they can make a significant contribution to the education of young people. It is important never to forget that the connection between education and communication is extremely close: education takes place through communication, which influences, for better or worse, the formation of the person. Young people too need to have the courage to live by the same high standards that they set for others. Theirs is a great responsibility: may they find the strength to make good and wise use of their freedom. They too are responsible for their education, including their education in justice and peace! Educating in truth and freedom 3. Saint Augustine once asked: “Quid enim fortius desiderat anima quam veritatem?—What does man desire more deeply than truth?”(2) The human face of a society depends very much on the contribution of education to keep this irrepressible question alive. Education, indeed, is concerned with the integral formation of the person, including the moral and spiritual dimension, focused upon man’s final end and the good of the society to which he belongs. Therefore, in order to educate in truth, it is necessary first and foremost to know who the human person is, to know human nature. Contemplating the world around him, the Psalmist reflects: “When I see the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you arranged, what is man that you should keep him in mind, mortal man that you care for him?” (Ps 8:4-5). This is the fundamental question that must be asked: who is man? Man is a being who bears within his heart a thirst for the infinite, a thirst for truth—a truth which is not partial but capable of explaining life’s meaning—since he was created in the image and likeness of God. The grateful recognition that life is an inestimable gift, then, leads to the discovery of one’s own profound dignity and the inviolability of every single person. Hence the first step in education is learning to recognize the Creator’s image in man, and consequently learning to have a profound respect for every human being and helping others to live a life consonant with this supreme dignity. We must never forget that “authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension”(3), including the transcendent dimension, and that the person cannot be sacrificed for the sake of attaining a particular good, whether this be economic or social, individual or collective. Only in relation to God does man come to understand also the meaning of human freedom. It is the task of education to form people in authentic freedom. This is not the absence of constraint or the supremacy of free will, it is not the absolutism of the self. When man believes himself to be absolute, to depend on nothing and no one, to be able to do anything he wants, he ends up contradicting the truth of his own being and forfeiting his freedom. On the contrary, man is a relational being, who lives in relationship with others and especially with God. Authentic freedom can never be attained independently of God. Freedom is a precious value, but a fragile one; it can be misunderstood and misused. “Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of educating is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own self. With such a relativistic horizon, therefore, real education is not possible without the light of the truth; sooner or later, every person is in fact condemned to doubting the goodness of his or her own life and the relationships of which it consists, the validity of his or her commitment to build with others something in common”(4). In order to exercise his freedom, then, man must move beyond the relativistic horizon and come to know the truth about himself and the truth about good and evil. Deep within his conscience,

1. THE beginning of a new year, God’s gift to humanity, prompts me to extend to all, with great confidence and affection, my heartfelt good wishes that this time now before us may be marked concretely by justice and peace. With what attitude should we look to the New Year? We find a very beautiful image in Psalm 130. The Psalmist says that people of faith wait for the Lord “more than those who watch for the morning” (v. 6); they wait for him with firm hope because they know that he will bring light, mercy, salvation. This waiting was born of the experience of the Chosen People, who realized that God taught them to look at the world in its truth and not to be overwhelmed by tribulation. I invite you to look to 2012 with this attitude of confident trust. It is true that the year now ending has been marked by a rising sense of frustration at the crisis looming over society, the world of labor and the economy, a crisis whose roots are primarily cultural and anthropological. It seems as if a shadow has fallen over our time, preventing us from clearly seeing the light of day. In this shadow, however, human hearts continue to wait for the dawn of which the Psalmist speaks. Because this expectation is particularly powerful and evident in young people, my thoughts turn to them and to the contribution which they can and must make to society. I would like therefore to devote this message for the XLV World Day of Peace to the theme of education: “Educating Young People in Justice and Peace”, in the conviction that the young, with their enthusiasm and idealism, can offer new hope to the world. My message is also addressed to parents, families and all those involved in the area of education and formation, as well as to leaders in the various spheres of religious, social, political, economic and cultural life and in the media. Attentiveness to young people and their concerns, the ability to listen to them and appreciate them, is not merely something expedient; it represents a primary duty for society as a whole, for the sake of building a future of justice and peace. It is a matter of communicating to young people an appreciation for the positive value of life and of awakening in them a desire to spend their lives in the service of the Good. This is a task which engages each of us personally. The concerns expressed in recent times by many young people around the world demonstrate that they desire to look to the future with solid hope. At the present time, they are experiencing apprehension about many things: they want to receive an education which prepares them more fully to deal with the real world, they see how difficult it is to form a family and to find stable employment; they wonder if they can really contribute to political, cultural and economic life in order to build a society with a more human and fraternal face. It is important that this unease and

man discovers a law that he did not lay upon himself, but which he must obey. Its voice calls him to love and to do what is good, to avoid evil and to take responsibility for the good he does and the evil he commits (5). Thus, the exercise of freedom is intimately linked to the natural moral law, which is universal in character, expresses the dignity of every person and forms the basis of fundamental human rights and duties: consequently, in the final analysis, it forms the basis for just and peaceful coexistence. The right use of freedom, then, is central to the promotion of justice and peace, which require respect for oneself and others, including those whose way of being and living differs greatly from one’s own. This attitude engenders the elements without which peace and justice remain merely words without content: mutual trust, the capacity to hold constructive dialogue, the possibility of forgiveness, which one constantly wishes to receive but finds hard to bestow, mutual charity, compassion towards the weakest, as well as readiness to make sacrifices. Educating in justice 4. In this world of ours, in which, despite the profession of good intentions, the value of the person, of human dignity and human rights is seriously threatened by the widespread tendency to have recourse exclusively to the criteria of utility, profit and material possessions, it is important not to detach the concept of justice from its transcendent roots. Justice, indeed, is not simply a human convention, since what is just is ultimately determined not by positive law, but by the profound identity of the human being. It is the integral vision of man that saves us from falling into a contractual conception of justice and enables us to locate justice within the horizon of solidarity and love (6). We cannot ignore the fact that some currents of modern culture, built upon rationalist and individualist economic principles, have cut off the concept of justice from its transcendent roots, detaching it from charity and solidarity: “The ‘earthly city’ is promoted not merely by relationships of rights and duties, but to an even greater and more fundamental extent by relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. Charity always manifests God’s love in human relationships as well, it gives theological and salvific value to all commitment for justice in the world” (7). “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Mt 5:6). They shall be satisfied because they hunger and thirst for right relations with God, with themselves, with their brothers and sisters, and with the whole of creation. Educating in peace 5. “Peace is not merely the absence of
Educating / B2


Educating young people in justice and peace

B2 Breast-beating during the confiteor
(Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university:) Q: In the new translation of Mass according to the Englishlanguage Roman Missal, I find myself wondering about a certain lack of specificity in the Confiteor. The missal indicates that those reciting the prayer are to strike their breast at the point where they say, “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” I am old enough to remember the threefold striking of the breast in pre-Conciliar days, but [I] wonder if this practice has been maintained elsewhere in the Church by the other language groups that use the Roman Missal. Is there a generalized practice? Or is the perceived lack of specificity in the new missal merely an indication that one strike of the breast is expected?—A.L., Gallitzin, Pennsylvania A: The perceived lack of specificity is in the original Latin rubric which says, “[P]ercutientes sibi pectus,” whereas the extraordinary form specifies that the breast should be struck three times. There is, however, a slight but noticeable change in translating this rubric. The former translation, with only one admission of fault, said that the faithful should “strike their breast,” thus specifying a single strike. The current translation says, “[A] nd striking their breast, they say:” before the triple admission of fault. This use of the gerund indicates a continuous action, and so I would say that even if a number is not specified in the rubric, the use of a dynamic expression implies that the number corresponds to the times one admits to personal faults. I think that this is also what would come naturally to most people in any case. This would be confirmed by the practice in Spanish- and Italian-language countries, which have always maintained the triple form in the “I Confess.” The Spanish missal translates the rubric as “golpeándose el pecho, dicen:” which could mean either once or several times. In these countries it is also common practice for priest and faithful to strike the breast three times. Although the Second Vatican Council requested the removal of “useless repetitions,” it must be said that not all repetition is useless. Some forms of communication necessarily use what is technically called redundancy, that is, reinforcing the signal carrying a message more than would be strictly necessary in order to overcome outside interference and stress its importance. The triple repetition of words and gestures in the Confiteor could be considered such a case. With the former translation it was fairly easy to omit the gesture of striking the breast or pay scant attention to its meaning. The triple repetition underlines its importance and helps us to concentrate on the inner meaning of what we say and do. It must be admitted, though, that the above argumentation is not watertight, and a single strike could also be a valid interpretation of the rubric.

The canonical interview for marriage
The Juridic Nature of the Pre-Marriage Examination (Part I)
keeping. The pope explicitly affirms that the function of marriage preparation is both canonical and pastoral in nature. It is intended to properly prepare the couple for the celebration of the sacrament of marriage both spiritually—by enabling them to appreciate the sacred character of marriage as a sacramental reality—and canonically—by assuring that it be celebrated in accord with the norm of law. Addressing the prevailing somewhat indifferent—if not negative—attitude of those involved in preparing couples for marriage and on the part of some couples themselves toward marriage preparation, the Holy Father says: The canonical dimension of the preparation for marriage may not be an element immediately apparent. In fact, on the one hand important points to be considered seriously by those involved in preparing couples for marriage:1 a) Although canon law as a science is the domain of experts, the canonical norms governing marriage and marriage preparation are meant to enable those who intend to marry to celebrate their wedding fruitfully and validly. b) The pre-marriage investigation is not intended to pry into the privacy of the couple being prepared for marriage nor is it a “bureaucratic formality,” as some might think it is, rather it is “a right” of the couple to have their marriage celebrated properly and validly in the Church. c) While those marrying may have the natural right to marry, that right can be exercised validly within an ecclesial context only if they are properly disposed


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2- 15, 2012

By Fr. Jaime Blanco Achacoso, J.C.D.
IT has been said of late that there seems to be a rise in the number of so-called declarations of marriage nullity in the Church. While I would appreciate the verification of this claim by those in the competent Matrimonial Tribunal, I nevertheless would venture to agree—at least for the moment—with such a claim, based on my own observation. What I find worrisome is the implication of such an observation, since a declaration of nullity is tantamount to an acceptance by Church authority that an invalid marriage was celebrated, or put another way, that it was a witness to the invalid celebration of marriage. Does Canon Law not provide for an adequate

marriage, that is, the fact that it belongs by nature to the context of justice in interpersonal relations. In this perspective, the law is truly interwoven with life and love as one of the intrinsic obligations of its existence.2 Thus, there is no such thing as one marriage according to life and another according to law: marriage is one thing alone, it constitutes a real legal bond between the man and the woman, a bond which sustains the authentic conjugal dynamic of life and love.3 One cannot fail to notice in the above teaching the logic inherent in the oneness of marriage from the natural and juridical (or legal) points of view. Because it is an interpersonal reality, there naturally emerge issues of justice, the rights and obligations which cannot be dismissed away by one or the other party at their

Q: As you know, the English translation of the Roman Missal, third edition, soon to be the norm, has new translations for the texts of the collect (opening prayer) for use at Mass. What will be their status for use at the Liturgy of the Hours, once the third-edition translation is the norm for Mass? Is it (a) forbidden, or (b) mandatory, or (c) permitted, but not mandatory, to use these new translations for the Liturgy of the Hours? Permitting their use seems advantageous, in that these improved translations would improve the celebration of the office and show its unity with the Eucharist. However, mandating their use would seem burdensome, since breviaries are not printed with these texts. Yet the text for the Liturgy of the Hours has its own ecclesiastical approval; this would suggest that use of the current (older) translation be continued.—K., Oakland, California A: Although there are no precise official norms regarding this, I would say that the most probable possibility would be our reader’s third option: “permitted, but not mandatory.” In general, the closing prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours at morning and evening prayer is the same as the Mass collect. This is not an absolute rule as, for example, a priest can celebrate a votive Mass or an optional memorial and pray the office of the day. When All Souls’ Day falls on a Sunday the office follows the Sunday even though the Mass is of the Commemoration. However, all closing prayers used in the office are also found in the missal. Since we are dealing with two alternative translations of
Breviary / B7

preparation and scrutiny of prospective spouses, to guarantee their aptness for the marriage covenant and the validity of the covenant that they are about to make? This matter was the subject of the annual Allocution to the Roman Rota, given by Benedict XVI last 22.I.2011. In that address, the Holy Father delved in depth into the pastoral importance of what are popularly known as the Pre-Cana Seminar and the canonical interview prior to a Church wedding. Marriage Preparation as a Pastoral Necessity In the aforementioned allocution, Benedict XVI says that in general people have little appreciation of the canonical aspects of marriage preparation. Most people think that marriage preparation—both the so-called Pre-Cana Seminar and the canonical interview—is either a formality or simply a bureaucratic exercise meant mainly for record

one observes that in courses for the preparation of marriage canonical issues have a rather modest—if not insignificant—place, since there is a tendency to think that the future spouses have little interest in problems reserved for experts. On the other hand, although the need for the juridical work that precedes marriage and that aims to ascertain that “nothing stands in the way of its valid and licit celebration” (c.1066), escapes no one, there is a widespread view that the examination of the parties engaged to be married and the necessary inquiries which are to precede marriage (cf. c.1067)—including courses for the preparation of marriage—are exclusively formal requirements. In fact it is often maintained that in admitting couples to marriage pastors, must have a broadminded approach, since the people’s natural right to marry is at stake. As a well-known canonist had pointed out, in the above statement the Holy Father highlights several

to receive the sacramental grace. Therefore, law cannot be dissociated from the pastoral preparation of those who wish to celebrate their marriage coram Ecclesia. Marriage Preparation as a Canonical Necessity Additionally, the pope points out that there are people who separate the natural aspect of marriage from its juridical or legal dimension. He explains that there are no two realities, one natural and the other purely legal or juridical. The pope argues that, although the two dimensions of marriage are distinct, they are by no means separate. The natural reality is in itself juridical. His argument on this point, which he had presented in his Allocution to the Roman Rota of 27.I.2007, is as follows: With regard to the subjective and libertarian revitalization of the sexual experience, the Church’s tradition clearly affirms the natural juridical character of

personal whim. The very concept of justice necessarily implies an interpersonal relationship with mutual rights and obligations. In other words, marriage is essentiallyamutualandnotsimply a one-sided relationship. This principle is not without practical and pastoral consequences, which Benedict XVI stresses in the following words: The right to marry, ius connubii, must be seen in this perspective. In other words, it is not a subjective claim that the pastors must fulfil through a merely formal recognition independent of the effective content of the union. The right to contract marriage presupposes that the person can and intends to celebrate it truly, that is, in the truth of its essence as the Church teaches it. No one can claim the right to a nuptial ceremony. Indeed the ius connubii refers to the right to celebrate an authentic marriage. The ius connubii would not, therefore, be denied where it was evident
Marriage / B7

Educating / B1

war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity.”8 We Christians believe that Christ is our true peace: in him, by his Cross, God has reconciled the world to himself and has broken down the walls of division that separated us from one another (cf. Eph 2:14-18); in him, there is but one family, reconciled in love. Peace, however, is not merely a gift to be received: it is also a task to be undertaken. In order to be true peacemakers, we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community and concerned to raise awareness about national and international issues and the importance of seeking adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution. “Blessed are the

peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”, as Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:9). Peace for all is the fruit of justice for all, and no one can shirk this essential task of promoting justice, according to one’s particular areas of competence and responsibility. To the young, who have such a strong attachment to ideals, I extend a particular invitation to be patient and persevering in seeking justice and peace, in cultivating the taste for what is just and true, even when it involves sacrifice and swimming against the tide. Raising one’s eyes to God 6. Before the difficult challenge of walking the paths of justice and peace, we may be tempted to ask, in the words of the Psalmist: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains: from where shall come my help?” (Ps 121:1). To all, and to young people in particular, I wish to say emphatically: “It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom,

the guarantor of what is really good and true … an unconditional return to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love. And what could ever save us apart from love?”(9) Love takes delight in truth, it is the force that enables us to make a commitment to truth, to justice, to peace, because it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (cf. 1 Cor 13:1-13). Dear young people, you are a precious gift for society. Do not yield to discouragement in the face of difficulties and do not abandon yourselves to false solutions which often seem the easiest way to overcome problems. Do not be afraid to make a commitment, to face hard work and sacrifice, to choose the paths that demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication. Be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love! Live fully this time in your life so rich and so full of enthusiasm. Realize that you yourselves are an example and an inspiration to adults, even more so to the extent that you seek

to overcome injustice and corruption and strive to build a better future. Be aware of your potential; never become self-centred but work for a brighter future for all. You are never alone. The Church has confidence in you, follows you, encourages you and wishes to offer you the most precious gift she has: the opportunity to raise your eyes to God, to encounter Jesus Christ, who is himself justice and peace. All you men and women throughout the world, who take to heart the cause of peace: peace is not a blessing already attained, but rather a goal to which each and all of us must aspire. Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey; let us work together to give our world a more humane and fraternal face; and let us feel a common responsibility towards present and future generations, especially in the task of training them to be people of peace and builders of peace. With these thoughts I offer my reflections and I appeal to everyone: let us pool our spiritual, moral and material resources for the great goal of “educating

young people in justice and peace”. From the Vatican, 8 December 2011 BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
NOTES: (1) BENEDICT XVI, Address to Administrators of Lazio Region and of the Municipality and Province of Rome (14 January 2011): L’Osservatore Romano, 15 January 2011, p. 7. (2) Commentary on the Gospel of John, 26, 5. (3) BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009), 11: AAS 101 (2009), 648; cf. PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio (26 March 1967), 14: AAS 59 (1967), 264. (4) BENEDICT XVI, Address for the Opening of the Diocesan Ecclesial Meeting in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran (6 June 2005): AAS 97 (2005), 816. (5) Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 16. (6) Cf. BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Bundestag (Berlin, 22 September 2011): L’Osservatore Romano, 24 September 2011, pp. 6-7. (7) ID., Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 6 (29 June 2009), 6: AAS 101 (2009), 644-645. (8) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2304. (9) BENEDICT XVI, Address at Youth Vigil (Cologne, 20 August 2005): AAS 97 (2005), 885-886.

CBCP Media

Breviary and the New Missal translation

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2- 15, 2012



Year-ender report

The crusade for a culture of life

By CBCP for Life
THE crusade for a culture of life is an advocacy of truth, and based on the goings-on in 2011 alone, the pro-life advocacy has covered a lot of ground and, inadvertently, saw much success in promoting the truth. Though reproductive health (RH) legislation in the Philippines is not new— being proposed, discussed, rejected and resurrected for decades now—2011 saw significant developments in its promotion as well as in its opposition. The year ended with the RH bill reaching the period of interpellation in both chambers of Congress, heated debates in progress when legislative sessions went on adjournment on the final month of the year. Mass actions such as rallies and prayer vigils to express opposition to the bill happened not just in the country’s capital, but in many other cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Civil society seemed to wake up to the folly of the legislative measure and wanted to be heard loud and clear. Never an issue divided the nation as much as RH has, and with more of the truth coming out and, hopefully, enlightening the minds and hearts of more Filipinos, this division will eventually be healed, and unity, attained. With this hope we begin the new year and look back at what went on in 2011 through the words uttered by various players in the quest to have the culture of life prevail in Philippine society. “Banal ang pag-aasawa; banal ang pagtatalik sapagka’t ito ay kalakip ng pagbibigay ng buhay na galing sa Panginoong Diyos. Hindi ito laru-laruan na ituturo sa mga bata sa paggamit ng goma, lobo o condom, para iwasan daw ang sakit? Bakit mga bata ang tuturuan ng ganitong laro? Hindi po ba ang tamang ituro sa kabataan ay ang magandang halimbawa ng matatanda at ang kahalagahan ng buhay, ang kabanalan ng pagpipigil sa sarili na ang tawag ay disiplina? Ang tawag po noong una ay kapag may pagpipigil, mayroong disiplina at paggalang at magkakaroon din ng Karakter ang tao. Ngayon ang gustong ipamulat sa kabataan ay ito: gamitin ang goma, maglaro kayo! Ganyan kabarato ang buhay ng tao ngayon.” – former Archbishop of Manila Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, at the March 25 pro-life rally to which the prelate issued a call, filling the Quirino Grandstand with a 100,000-200,000strong crowd of pro-lifers who came to demonstrate their protest against the coercive RH bill. “[In the RH bill] you are reducing a human being into nothing but an object. A human being is rational. He is endowed by God with will. We have a will to say no to ourselves—puwede mong pigilin ang iyong sarili. Kung ang tao ay nakakaramdam ng sexual urges sapagka’t tao ka, maaari mong pigilin at maaari kang magtimpi. “Hindi po tayo parang mga aso sa kalye. If they are in heat, they have to do the sexual act because they have no will to control their actions. But we are human.” – Atty. Marwil Llasos, a staff apologist for Defensores Fidei Foundation, during an anti-RH symposium in June at St. Isabel College, attended by high school and college students as well as faculty members “Ang hindi ko maintindihan dito, bakit kinakailangang sampung taon pa lamang ay mag-aral na ng sexuality education. From grade 5 to 4th year, so anim na taon. Ano po ito? Kailangan po ba ng PhD para sa sex education?” – Atty. Concepcion “Girlie” Noche, president of Alliance for the Family Inc. (ALFI) during the May 8 Harapan/ RH Bill: Ipasa o Ibasura television debate on ABS-CBN, adding that it is the government and not the parents who have formulated the mandatory sex education program the

RH bill seeks to carry out in all private and public schools Exposing the inconsistencies “Wala na nga pong obligasyon na ito, tinanggal na nga ito.” “Walang basehan ‘yung apprehension na walang makaka-graduate. Exempted sa pag-attend, exempted din sa pagkuha ng periodic tests. Ang mga estudyante po ay makaka-graduate.” – Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman in a May 18 plenary debate, explaining that the provision on mandatory sex education had been amended after interpellator Saranggani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao expressed concern about the program and the possibility of more students failing to graduate should their parents instruct them not to attend sex ed classes “Amended na ang provision na ito. Hindi mo yata narinig dahil nag-eensayo ka para sa laban mo. Incomplete ang impormasyong ibinigay sa iyo. Hindi ito sapilitan.” – Lagman in the same session, responding to Pacquiao’s query on penalizing employers who choose to follow their religious convictions (The plenary debate concluded with the neophyte solon discovering that no such amendments had been and could be made on the bill—in contrast to what the veteran solon repeatedly claimed—since the measure had not yet reached the period of amendments. The congressman from Albay had no response to give to the revelation.) To present what transpired at an August 24 plenary debate at the House of Representatives in which Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco admitted to Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay that the RH bill was a measure aimed at curbing the population, here is the exchange verbatim: (Magsaysay) “Is [the RH bill] a population measure?” (Cojuangco) “Of course.” (Magsaysay) “Of course? It’s a population measure? To curb poverty, do you need to curb population? In your eyes?” (Cojuangco) “Definitely.” (Magsaysay) “In other words, you are contradicting the position of all your other co-sponsors there who said that this is not a population measure, that this is not a poverty alleviation measure.” (Cojuangco, after a few seconds’ pause) “Well, it’s not a population… ay, it is a population measure but it’s not population control.” “‘Yung pinagpipilitang State intervention, itanong ko lamang po sa mga nagpo-propose ng bill na ito: Pinagdududahan po ba natin ang kakayahan ng mga magulang?” – Rev. Fr. Melvin Castro, Executive Secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) at the May 8 Harapan television debate, commenting on the sex ed program and the inconsistency shown by government representatives on their concurrence that parents have the primary duty to educate their children Debunking the overpopulation myth “The RH proponents, ang gusto nila, ang solusyon sa kahirapan is to reduce the population growth rate. All your statements are bolstering the argument that we are poor because we are many… That’s why we are saying, we are poor not because we are many; we are poor because of the mismanagement of our economy. We are poor because of graft and corruption! If there is proper management of resources just like what’s being done in other countries, we will not suffer the fate that we are suffering now. The solution you are offering is not the solution.” – former Senator Joey Lina during the same television debate “Kung may bansang pinagpala ng Diyos sa kalikasan, ito ang Pilipinas. We have so much mineral resources; gold, which is so precious, is abundant in the

Philippines. Almost all minerals needed by industries are here. We have what it takes to sustain a big population if we handle our resources properly. “We must make it clear in our minds how fundamentally wrong this proposed law and how destructive it will be for us. It goes against God, faith, everything that we stand for as a nation. It is against our values, it will break up the family, our relations… [and disregards] primarily the value of life.” − former Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Jose “Lito” Atienza during the November “Philippines for Life” National Congress in Cebu. “To the argument that curbing population is the solution to poverty, I would say that it is not the ultimate solution. The ultimate solution to poverty alleviation, besides good governance, is education.” − Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay in a pro-life symposium in Caloocan City in June “Human life is a gift. Human beings are assets and not liabilities. And the true wealth of a nation is really in its people.” – Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, at the September launch of 9YL (Nine Young Legislators) and Youth United for the Philippines (YUP!). It’s all about money “The proposed P3 billion appropriation for the RH bill, if put towards education, can help secure the future of young Filipinos. That amount can build 4,644 new classrooms…or it can subsidize the college education of 300,000 scholars—a chance for underprivileged student achievers to earn their diploma.” – from the official statement of 9YL released in September, to express their conviction that the RH bill is not the solution to the country’s problems ”Sabi ho ng kabilang partido, kaya daw po naghihikahos ang gobyerno ay dahil walang budget for stretching. Nanggaling na mismo sa kanila ang stretching… eh di kung linagyan pa po ng pondo na pambili ng condoms at contraceptives, eh di you stretch [the budget] further. So alin po ang willing i-sacrifice ng pro-RH legislators sa budget para lang po namin maisingit ang gusto nilang pondo para sa procurement of condoms and contraceptives? “We can even see that the budgets for education, for tertiary educational scholarships, skills training, livelihood projects, assistance for farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries, are being cut.” – Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay in a May press conference “[Iyan ay] sapat na halaga para bigyan ng lupa ang squatter sa probinsya.” – Sen. Lito Lapid, while interpellating RH bill sponsor Sen. Pia Cayetano, who admitted that the Dept. of Health had asked for P13.7 billion to implement the measure for 2012 alone. (In the same floor debate, Lapid pointed out that even at P3 billion per year, slum dwellers could be sent back to the provinces and given their own land over a 10-year period.) “We have no need for this bill because this is like repacking something and making it appear as if it were your own, when it’s not. I have shown that this [House Bill 4244] has been copied almost word for word, without attribution, from an existing law. Alam niyo, kapag ganitong kinopya lang, redundant na itong bill na ito as far as these provisions are concerned. Inulit lang eh.” – Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez, pointing out the redundancy of the RH bill owing to the existence of Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, during May plenary debates Uncovering the money trail “It appears that UNFPA has participated in this bill through RHAN and Likhaan. Why am I concerned? … [A US government] investigation [had] found that UNFPA was complicit in

the coercive implementation of China’s one-child policy.” − Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, expressing concern during a September plenary debate that the international agency notorious for promoting coercive population control worldwide had given funding to RH lobby groups to speed up the passage of the RH bill. “’11 mothers die everyday’ is a phrase used by NGOs to drive home the point.” – Sen. Pia Cayetano, during a Sept. floor debate with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile “I want to make sure that statistical numbers used for the possible passage of this bill are beyond doubt.” – Enrile, replying to Cayetano. “In plain language, maternal mortality went down by half in two decades – even without an RH law. To highlight the problem of maternal deaths is one thing. To use numbers for deception is another.” – Filipinos for Life in a statement released in August calling out Akbayan on its using outdated data to push the RH bill. “I’m very much interested in looking at the financial statements of these organizations, [as there are] reports that these are receiving subsidies from foreign organizations particularly those foreign organizations whose main thrust is to legalize abortions … through the help of NGOs. We might also have to check from their financial statements if they have been nurturing legislators in the past two years. Nakikialam sila sa paggawa ng batas dito sa atin eh. ‘Di po ba dapat alamin natin kung sino sila?” − Sotto while interpellating RH bill sponsor Sen. Pia Cayetano in a December floor debate, inquiring about details on the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines’ getting millions of dollars in subsidies from UNFPA and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the largest abortion provider in the world. Circumventing laws, disregarding women's health “The RH promoters do whatever they have to do to get these things passed—they spend their money in promotion, in getting journalists on their side, opening clinics to circumvent pro-life laws, wooing politicians who value their own power more than they do the families and culture of the nation they represent. If they can’t get what they want—which is free-ofcharge and full access to contraception and abortion—passed democratically, they will use the courts or other nondemocratic means to get what they want.” – Stephen Phelan, Human Life International (HLI) Communications Director, reacting to President Benigno Aquino III’s directive issued in August to prioritize the passage of the RH bill despite public outcry against it. “Ordinary people don’t want their governments passing anti-life, anti-family legislation. That’s why these measures can only be passed when government officials force their will on the people. That’s what happened in the United States in 2010 with “Obamacare”—which expanded taxpayer-funded abortions, despite massive public opposition—and it’s the same tactic President Aquino is trying now in the Philippines.” – John Jansen, Director of Generations for Life, the youth arm of the US-based Pro-Life Action League, reacting to the same directive. “As a doctor of medicine and a prolife fighter, I cannot afford to just close my eyes and ears to the truth that the use of oral contraceptive pills as well as Depo-Provera injectables can cause cancer, as the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization declared on July 29, 2005 that ‘artificial contraceptives’ are ‘carcinogenic,’ at par with cigarettes and asbestos.

“I am challenging all doctors, nurses and midwives in this country, particularly those working in the government or NGOs who vigorously promote these products in their dayto-day campaign… to speak up for the truth and expose the hidden agenda of the multi-billion peso pill manufacturers at the expense of the health and lives of Filipino women.” – Rene Josef Bullecer, M.D., Human Life International (HLI) Pilipinas country director during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Remain true to authentic Catholic convictions, genuine patriotism “They want us to accept from Congress what is contrary to our faith. They ask Catholics to show tolerance for their belief or non-belief, but they show complete non-tolerance for our Catholic belief.” – former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad at the November “Philippines for Life” National Congress in Cebu. “We wish to make it clear that the Church does not recognize this group to be an authentic Catholic association or group since it espouses and supports a stand contrary to the magisterial teachings of the Church. The uncompromising stand of the Church to uphold the dignity of the person and to protect and respect the life from conception to natural death has always been the constant teaching of the Church.” – former CBCP President Bishop Nereo Odchimar in a Clarificatory Note on “C4RH” (“Catholics for RH”) released in May “What you are prohibited from doing directly, you are mandated to do indirectly. At mas imoral po ‘yon. Bakit? Kasi kung siya lang ang gagawa ng paglabag sa kanyang konsensya―halimbawa, nagbigay siya ng condom o pills, nag-perform siya ng vasectomy o naglagay siya ng IUD sa isang tao, siya lang ang nagkasala. But if he is going to refer to another doctor, dalawa na silang nagkasala.” – Atty. Marwil Llasos, staff apologist for Defensores Fidei, in a pro-life symposium ” What we ought to do is linked to what is true and what is good… It is true that we have the obligation to follow what our conscience tells us before we act. But we also have the obligation to try our best to have a correct conscience. “This Church teaching is based on natural law, which we know through natural reason… By the efforts of the Church to go against the RH bill, the Church is not imposing her religious beliefs on others. She is trying to stop a bill which is against natural law, a law which all human beings, Catholic or not, should follow.” – CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life Chairman Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, at the Cebu “Philippines for Life” National Congress “[The RH bill] will mean the total surrender of our national sovereignty, for it is not of Filipino origin. Nor is it meant to strengthen or enrich the culture, character and conscience of the Filipinos. It is dictated by foreign population controllers using so many of our unfortunate countrymen as proxies and cats’ paws.” - Tatad at the Cebu National Congress. “Palagi nating reference ang ibang bansa sa reproductive health. Iyan ay pag-amin din na isang banyang konsepto ang RH. Bakit nating pinaggigiitan na yakapin ‘yan ng Sambayanang Pilipino [samantalang] nakakubli nga diyan ang access to “safe” and legal abortion. Bakit natin pinagpipilitan ang isang banyagang konsepto sa isang bansa na tulad natin na likas na maka-pamilya at likas na makabuhay? We reject the RH bill at huwag nang ipasa ‘yang batas na ‘yan dahil hindi kailangan ng Sambayanan.” – Rev. Fr. Melvin Castro, Executive Secretary of the CBCP-ECFL. (Visit www.cbcpforlife.com for more content on life and the family).




CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2- 15, 2012

Position Paper for the Joint Senate Hearing of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, for P.S. Resolution No. 641. (8 December 2011)
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP–NASSA)
MINING or extractive industry is destructive to the environment— “Our experiences of environmental tragedies and incidents with the mining transnational corporations belie all assurances of sustainable and responsible mining that the government is claiming. Increasing number of mining affected communities, Christians and non-Christians alike, are subjected to human rights violations and economic deprivations. We see no relief in sight” (CBCP, A Statement on Mining Issues and Concerns, January 29, 2006). The Church challenges the government policy on mining and categorically declares that: “the Mining Act destroys life. The right to life of people is inseparable from their right to sources of food and livelihood. Allowing the interests of big mining corporations to prevail over people’s right to these sources amounts to violating their right to life. Furthermore, mining threatens people’s health and environmental safety through the wanton dumping of waste and tailings in rivers and seas” (CBCP, A Statement on Mining Issues and Concerns, January 29, 2006). When balance of nature is disturbed or sacrificed, we risk becoming victims of our folly, as the late Pope Paul VI warned us: “Man is suddenly becoming aware that by an ill-considered exploitation of nature he risks destroying it and becoming in turn the victim of this degradation.” (Octogesima Adveniens No. 21). We have our moral obligation to preserve the integrity of creation by effecting concerted action for ensur¬ing just and sustainable management of our natural resources, particularly our forest and river eco¬systems. We need to work together to save our environment and to prevent the destructive effects of un¬balanced ecology and to ensure food security. We pursue our advocacy for a sustainable ecology because it is part of our Christian responsibility. With the late Pope John Paul II, we believe that “Christians, in particular, realize that their responsibility within creation and their duty towards nature and the Creator are an essential part of their faith”(The Ecological Crisis No. 15, Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II for the celebration of the World Day of Peace). The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines also emphasized the issue of human accountability due to neglect of the ecol¬ogy: “Because the integrity of God’s creation is violated, our people suffer the destruction brought about by droughts and floods. Those disasters cannot be traced merely to uncontrollable powers of nature, but also to human greed for short term economic gain . . .” (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Acts 323). Premises considered, we reiterate our positions and pastoral statements calling for policy reform in the mining industry: 1. The country faces more and more environmental problems because of the government’s liberal policies on extractive operations. “The government mining policy is offering our lands to foreigners with liberal conditions while our people continue to grow in poverty. We stated that the adverse social impact on the affected communities far outweigh the gains promised by mining TransNational Corporations (TNCs)” (CBCP, A Statement on Mining Issues and Concerns, January 29, 2006). The Mining Act of 1995, which lays down the policy for the government’s near-fanatical campaign to attract foreign investors to invest in mining distorts the goal of genuine development. By single-mindedly pursuing the economic benefits or financial gain, it failed to weigh the greater consideration in the equation—the human and ecosystems’ well-being, the human rights of the indigenous peoples and the local communities, the food security and ecological integrity of our country. Therefore, the Church together with the civil society advocates, call for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of an alternative law on mining and environment protection. The Church has thrown its full weight on the campaign for the passage of the alternative Minerals Resources Act, which offers a far more sustainable approach to utilization and protection of our country’s natural resources. 2. Recognizing, however, the long duration of legislative procedures, the Church joins the local communities and the civil society in calling for a mining moratorium to put a stop to the plunder of our natural resources by the transnational mining companies. The large-scale mining operations, under the guise of development, promise to bring the much-needed for¬eign investment to the detriment of the environment and the welfare of our people. We believe that environment should never be sacrificed—that “an economy respectful of the environment will not have the maximization of profit as its only objective, because environmental protection cannot be assured solely on the basis of financial calculations . . . The environment is one of those goods that cannot be adequately safeguarded or promoted by market forces.” (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 40: AAS 83 (1991), 843). 3. We call for the government and private corporations to respect the rights of the indigenous peo¬ples (IPs), particularly their right for selfdetermination as enshrined in the legal obligation requiring for any projects the granting of their free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). As it had been in the past, the encroachment on their land by mining and logging companies had continued unabated. In almost all instances, the FPICs were obtained deceptively, or through indirect bribery. In the spirit of Christian solidarity, “we must join them (IPs) in their struggle and be “on their side so that their ances¬tral domains, their cultures, rights and the integrity of their environment be defended, preserved and promoted” (PCP II, Acts 379). 4. We reiterate our objection to the prevailing neo-liberal pitch that there is no other path to development except through further economic liberalization, especially in mining industry. Recent empirical researches show otherwise— “Mining has the highest poverty incidence (48.7%) of any sector in the country. It is the only sector where poverty incidence increased between 1988-2009.” Therefore, we demand for a costbenefit analysis of the mining industry vis-à-vis its impact to ecology and food security. As our experience on the ground confirms: “the adverse social impact of affected communities, especially our indigenous brothers and sisters far outweigh the gains promised by large-scale mining corporations. Our people living in the mountains and along the affected shorelines can no longer avail of the bounty of nature. Rice fields are devastated and bays rich with sea foods become health hazards” (A Statement of Concern on the Mining Act of 1995, February 28, 1998). For the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) FR. EDWIN A. GARIGUEZ Executive Secretary

Conference Statement

© Dennis Dayao / CBCP Media

LIBERATE the Nation from POVERTY NOW A Call for Meaningful and Decisive Social Reforms
Pambansang Paglilimi sa Kahirapan 30 November to 02 December 2011; Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Dept. of Agriculture

“The poor have the most urgent moral claim on the conscience of the nation.”
across the land but also, and more importantly, to call the attention of the national leadership about the urgent need to decisively address poverty and overcome it within our lifetime—as what our East Asian neighbors have done in the last two-three decades. Poverty and inequality in our country have been here since Independence (1946) and EDSA I (1986). The income of the nation’s top one (1) per cent (or the top 185,000 families of the country’s total number of families for 2009) is equivalent to the aggregate income of the country’s bottom 30 per cent (totaling 5.5 million families). This one per cent of the families makes the laws, dispense justice, implement programs and control media. There is nothing wrong with having wealth and power and special connections but there is something very wrong about the great imbalances and the use of these advantages to influence the politics and policies for their own interests or deny or delay justice to the 99% of our countrymen. This must change... In this regard, we have conducted dialogues with the DAR, DA, DENR, DepEd, DSWD, DILG, NCIP and NAPC on urgent national, regional and sectoral issues. We welcome their openness and their efforts to reach out to their poor constituencies. However, much still needs to be done. Overcoming poverty and inequality requires the decisive reform leadership from the center. We, therefore, call on the President to refocus the whole governance system in support of the aspirations of the poor as articulated in this conference. We welcome his decision to allow the law to take its course in the case of Hacienda Luisita. However, there are many other Hacienda Luisitas waiting to be reformed, especially those under the spurious Agribusiness Venture Agreements. We also seek a transformation of CCT into a truly empowerment program for the poor, e.g., CCT for environment nurturing and rehabilitation, CCT for climate change adaptation, CCT for housing, CCT for rural and urban poor infrastructures, etc. Above all, we demand that the PPP, the nation’s economic flagship program, be transformed into a PUBLICPOOR PARTNERSHIP program, in order to make PPP truly inclusive. In this regard, there is a need to review the Philippine Development Plan and align it with the foregoing development framework and the aspirations expressed by the sectors in this Conference through the attached recommendations, which we submit to the leaders of our country. We call on our leaders to heed the words of a famous author— “...to place ourselves at the service, not of those who make history, but of those who suffer it.”

OUR nation is in an explosive situation—poverty is mounting everywhere, streets all over the country are teeming with beggars and dislocated indigenous peoples, and hunger is stalking the vast countryside and the endless chain of urban poor colonies. Officially, one out of four Filipinos is poor, based on the NSCB’s poverty threshold of P46 a day per person. This threshold is too low and the other World Bank’s threshold of $2.00 a day (or P87) is more realistic. With the latter, half of the population fall below the poverty line, which is consistent with the estimate that two-thirds of the labor force are in the informal economy. And yet, the country has no shortage of anti-poverty programs. But they lack cohesiveness and decisiveness in terms of implementation. A case in point is the non-completion of CARP after 23 years. Also, the other asset reform programs—

aquatic, ancestral domain and housing reforms—are woefully inadequate. The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program is a positive initiative to prevent the poorest from falling in society. But the P1,400 per family monthly is way below the official P7,000 poverty threshold for a family of five just to stay afloat. Only two (2) million families are benefiting from the program, which is less than half of the bottom 30 per cent of the poor families. There are also problems in catching the poorest of the poor, who have no permanent addresses, in the CCT network. As it is, there are social grumblings all over the country, which explain why rural insurgency continues, why labor unrest continues and why peace in Mindanao continues to be a dream. In reality, our country is an archipelago of poverty. Poverty is both a rural and urban phenomenon. It

wears the faces of marginalized women, the out-of-school youth, the landless farmers and rural workers, the coastal fisherfolk, the street hawkers and ambulant vendors, the hillside farmers and so on and so forth. The poor also include the displaced indigenous peoples and other victims of the development projects of the big mining, big resort, big plantation and big land banking projects of the rich corporations. The children of the poor wake up to poverty, eat poverty for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sleep poverty – without understanding why they are such. There is a proliferation of poor households erected right on the bangketas, above the “esteros”, under the bridges, in the “karitons”, on the hillsides and even in the cemeteries. Given these realities, we, the basic sectors from the poorest regions of the country have come together not only to discuss the depth and breadth of poverty

Resolution Urging President Benigno C. Aquino III to Create the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council for the Protection and Declaration of Cagayan de Oro River Basin as Protected Watershed Area
WE in civil society groups and local government units of Cagayan de Oro City and its neighboring towns remind ourselves and our communities never again should we be made to undergo the horrors and wraths of rampaging rivers that claimed many lives as Typhoon Sendong swept past the city last weekend. We maintain that the devastation it caused was the result of irresponsible and wanton exploitation of our watershed forests, leading to river siltation which reduced the city’s capacity to hold enormous water load. We firmly believe that the residents of the affected communities, nongovernment organizations, and the national government should now take immediate steps to prevent further deterioration of the river basin and to reduce future risks of disasters in the affected areas. We reiterate the need for our people to be informed about the real situation of our river basin and to be educated on the effects of small-scale and large-scale mining, deforestation, and poorly-planned urbanization on the environment and on the communities. We demand that our local government units and the national government coordinate with each other and waste no time in carefully tracing and purposively analyzing the causes, both primary and contributory, of the siltation of the Cagayan and Iponan rivers and the flooding in the surrounding areas. We enjoin our President, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, to take the lead and to prioritize this matter of completing the River Basin Plan. In particular, we ask President Aquino to mandate the immediate coordination among responsible agencies and officials for the finalization of such plan. We urge that President Aquino create a River Basin Management Council which is to follow through on the implementation of the said River Basin Plan. This includes the declaration of a watershed protected area according to the specifications of local geo-hazard maps. We also encourage the President to certify as urgent the pending legislative measures in Congress regarding the creation of the said River Basin Management Council and to implore the members of Congress to hasten the passage of such bill into law, which is tied to the adaptation strategy which is embodied in the national climate change action plan which the President signed last November 24, 2011. We implore President Aquino to be firm in his resolve, not only to help the victims of the catastrophe but, more importantly, to address the root causes thereof and to make sure that those accountable persons and entities could no longer cause further damage in the future. We resolve to participate and to assist the government in overcoming this grave situation and in moving the City forward. We assure our national leadership that our support for efforts to protect our river basin and the lives of our fellow citizens are as strong as our spirits which were embattled but have remained unbroken despite the raging storms. We are hopeful that together with our leaders, we shall never again be caught unaware and that, henceforth, we will protect our rivers so that these will continuously help sustain and not curtail lives. Signed this 19th day of December 2011 for the Interim Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council and MultiSectoral Relief Organizations. +ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, SJ, DD Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2- 15, 2012



Year of the Pontifical Mission Societies
Year of the Pontifical Mission Societies Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Establishment of the PMS in the Philippines 1932 - 2012 (A CBCP Pastoral Exhortation)
DEAR Friends in Christ, Two decades ago in 1991 the local Church celebrated the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) and exhorted the Church to become “a communion in a state of mission” because “the community of disciples does not exist for itself…. It exists for the world” (PCP-II, 103-104). In 2000 the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) sponsored the First National Mission Congress in Cebu, renewing the mission commitment of Filipinos and praying: “Here we are, Lord Jesus, send us in your Name.” AYearofGrace.Nowagain,onedecade later, we bishops of the Philippines, wishing to fan the flame of mission, declare the year 2012 as the “Year of the Pontifical Mission Societies.” It is to be a grace-filled year, marked by renewed enthusiasm for dedicated service as Christ’s evangelizing disciples. Through a wide variety of activities (e.g. prayer in our parishes and various communities, workshops and seminars of many types, mission activities in our Catholic schools, new mission initiatives at home and abroad), we hope to rekindle among Filipinos a dynamic commitment to the effective preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ—even to the ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8; 13:47). The Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS). It is validly asserted that the four PMS are “the Pope’s Mission Societies.” They seek to transform “into concrete reality the general commitment to promote the missionary spirit within the heart of the People of God” (PMS Statutes, 12). In his mission encyclical, Blessed Pope John Paul II noted that the “leading role” in mission promotion “belongs to the Pontifical Mission Societies”; they bring a “spirit of universality and service to the Church’s mission” (RM 84). Consistently, the popes have endorsed the works of the PMS accurate indicator of our faith in Christ and his love for us” (RM 11). Similarly, Pope Benedict XVI writes: “Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy”; “this Year of Faith … [is] at the service of belief and evangelization” (Porta Fidei 7, 12). Pope Benedict asks for the “missionary commitment of believers” (PF 7); may Filipinos hear and heed the papal invitation to deepened faith and a concomitant mission response! Responding to a Call. As your bishopshepherds, we exhort you, the Filipino faithful, to wholeheartedly respond to nationally-initiated PMS programs as well as local efforts coordinated by the PMS Diocesan Mission Directors. The words of Blessed Pope John Paul II during his 1981 visit keep echoing in our ears and enflaming our hearts: “There is no doubt about it: the Philippines has a special missionary vocation to proclaim the Good News, to carry the light of Christ to the nations.” The pope was most emphatic, expressing his profound hope: “I wish to tell you of my special desire: that the Filipinos will become the foremost missionaries of the Church in Asia.” These are challenging words for us to take to heart! Prayer. In closing, we ask that all begin praying the following prayer after communion at Sunday masses in all Catholic churches and chapels throughout the country for the duration of 2012. May Mary, the Star of Evangelization, bless the efforts of the PMS and instill a missionary fervor in the hearts of all Filipinos. For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, + JOSE S. PALMA, D.D. Archbishop of Cebu President, CBCP December 12, 2011 Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Secretary General of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Fr. Timothy Lehane, SVD (center) met with the PMS Diocesan Directors and Collaborators at Pope Pius Catholic Center, Manila last November 12, 2011.

in their messages for World Mission Sunday. Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 expressed his gratitude to the PMS for its “valuable service” and its efforts to promote “love and solidarity”; similarly in 2011 the pope once again thanked the PMS for its assistance in supporting “evangelizing activities in mission territories.” Four Societies, One Common Goal. The Church has established four distinct mission initiatives and given them the status of “pontifical,” meaning under the direction of the Holy Father. Their common goal is the fostering of a universal missionary spirit among all Catholics. Each of the four societies takes upon itself a specific area of responsibility. The Society for the Propagation of the Faith passes on the mission flame by promoting

a world-wide mission enthusiasm, especially through World Mission Sunday activities. The Society of Saint Peter the Apostle serves mission through the spiritual and intellectual formation of apostolic personnel (e.g. priests, catechists) in mission territories. The Society of the Holy Childhood fosters mission awareness and commitment of children through its “children-helpingchildren” initiatives. The Missionary Union of the Clergy promotes the missionary dimensions of priestly life; it also prays for an increase in missionary vocations. Eightieth Anniversary. The PMS have been generously serving the local Church in the Philippines since their establishment here in 1932; thus, 2012 commemorates eight decades of uninterrupted dedication to the

Church’s mission of evangelization. In profound gratitude, the CBCP has joyfully proclaimed 2012 as the “Year of the PMS.” Filipinos are invited to join the PMS mission events as well as various diocesan initiatives—all in celebration of the gift of the Christian faith that dedicated missionaries brought to our shores. Mission manifests Faith. As the Philippine “Year of the PMS” will be reaching its climax in late 2012, the entire Church will commence its celebration of Pope Benedict’s “Year of Faith” (October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013). A profound relationship exists between these two year-long activities: faith and missionary evangelization are always interwoven. In his mission encyclical Pope John Paul II asserted that “mission is an issue of faith, an

Pastoral Letters

CHRISTMAS is a time of rejoicing. But this year in Cagayan de Oro we mourn and express our condolence for all those who have perished in the wake of Typhoon Sendong on Dec. 16-17. In some places entire families have been washed away by the rampaging waters of Cagayan de Oro River. Others died in their sleep trapped inside their homes by the sudden rise of flood waters that reached unprecedented levels past midnight. There are accounts of how a mother clutching the hands of two children was able to escape from the floods, only to lose another child whose pleas for help could be heard receding in the darkness of the night. Another family was able to hold on to an uprooted balete tree that floated out into Macajalar Bay and reached the shores of Camiguin Island. Floating bodies have been retrieved from the waters of nearby towns. The low-lying communities of Cala-Cala and Isla de Oro have been leveled by a tsunamilike river surge. Practically everyone in the city has lost some relatives or personal friends in this calamity. Schools have lost some students and staff; officemates have not reported because of the condition of their homes; and a number of unidentified bodies still await a dignified burial in a common resting place. In some of our churches, the Misa de Gallo could not be celebrated because the church became a refuge for families seeking higher ground. In one chapel, even pigs and other animals were brought in and tied at the foot

A time to grieve, a time to build

‘The Blessed Virgin Mary Journeys With Us This 2012’
AS we usher in the Year 2012, we sing at the top of our voice hymns of thanksgiving in appreciation for the manifold blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon each one of us and to the Local Church of Daet as well. This solemnity that opens our calendar is also observed as the World Day of Peace as introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1967 as drawn from the title of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace. I wish to bring before your consideration the following points so as to better understand the great gift of salvation that God has wrought for us. Mary’s Unique Place in Salvation History “You brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you (Ps. 71:6)”. This passage gives us a glimpse of how God makes use of a mother’s womb in order to bring forth new life into this world. Thus, today’s celebration of the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of creation and salvation. It is meant to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the “holy Mother...through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life.” (Roman Missal, 1 January, Entrance Antiphon and Collect.) Indeed, Mary’s extolled place in the History of Salvation brings us to consider the “wonderful works the Lord has done for us.” This day underlines the importance of Mary’s role in the redemptive act of Jesus whose birth, passion, death and resurrection paved the way for our salvation. Mary Accompanies Us in Our Pilgrimage of Faith The Church invites us to take a closer look at Mary as we begin this year 2012 for She remains an inspiration and guide for all of us who desire to follow the way that the Lord Jesus Christ has set out for us – as individual persons and as a community. In the Acts of the Apostles, we hear that “…the disciples joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers (Acts 1:14)”. These words describe how Mary, our Mother, accompanied those who believed in Jesus Christ in their journey of faith. In the same way, Mary continues this journey of faith with us. She guides and protects us as we tread the treacherous roads of this world that seek to draw us away from Jesus. For the past few months, we heard reports of the growing number of crimes that have spawned fear in our hearts and lives. In fact, some of us must have experienced personally these crimes that disturbed our peace and our sense of security in the province of Camarines Norte. There have been holdups of business establishments in the capital town of Daet, the hold-up and murder of a couple who were transient businessmen in our province, the violence and murder in some of our mining sites in the province particularly in the towns of Paracale, Jose Panganiban and Labo, and the ambush of people who are liquidation targets for one reason or another. It seems that ours is a time that is constantly buffeted by the stormy winds of greed, violence and the unbridled quest for riches and power. This is the road that we tread upon these days. This is the road where we seek the maternal guidance and accompaniment of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I reiterate the message of Pope Benedict XVI, in these words, “we entrust to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary our daily prayer for peace, especially where the absurd logic of violence is most rampant; so that all men are persuaded that in this world we must help each other
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of the altar. Lay ministers were scandalized until the parish priest reminded them that this must have been the same situation in the stable of that first Christmas night. We have also started to celebrate the Misa de Gallo in the evacuation centers. Even as we grieve with those directly affected by this tragedy, the challenge for us now is to help re-build the lives and broken homes of the survivors. The evacuation centers are slowly being organized in the distribution of relief goods – in particular, water, food, medicine, mats, blankets, etc.

We are heartened to see many volunteers and organizations coming forward to share their time, energy and resources. Our affected parishes and social action workers have collaborated with government agencies in running these centers in the City Central School, West City Central School, Macasandig, Bulua, Kauswagan, Iponan, etc. The 14 centers have been providing shelter and basic needs to more than 7,000 families and 43,000 individuals. Meanwhile, the listed number of dead and missing has reached
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“Mary said, ‘How can this be?’” Lk. 1:34
MY dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Peace be with you! Asyou may have well known by now, strong and high flashfloods inundated most barangays of Iligan City in the early hours of the morning of Dec 17, 2011. Severely hit were communities comprising San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish. The resulting devastation was catastrophic; almost three hundred dead and counting, and four hundred more or less are missing, thousands were left homeless and millions worth of properties were destroyed. It was the worst calamity to this city in years. My heart goes out to the suffering survivors of this terrible tragedy even as I deeply condole with the families whose loved ones perished. I commend their souls to the God’s mercy and I also pray that many more will be found alive and rescued. Yet, even as I mourn and express my deepest sympathy, I am also consoled by the fact that this calamity has brought out the best in people, sharing generously their resources and efforts in whatever way they can to alleviate the suffering of the victims. God knows how you have been helping them is so many ways. But the victims need more help to sustain them in the next few days or so. I appeal for more help. Please extend help out of your generous hearts. I ask all our parishes, schools, organizations, and basic ecclesial communities to give the needed assistance or contribution to the victims. An assistance center has been put in the cathedral of St. Michael to receive your donations. You may also direct your contribution to the diocesan chancery office. Much more, I want you to reflect on the bigger issue which we know has greatly contributed to and aggravated to the tragedy that struck us. This is the on-going and merciless destruction of our environment. Our remaining forest is thinning because of illegal logging for a quick gain. Quarrying and mining indiscriminately also contributed to the destruction of nature. Loads of garbage are clogging our water ways. These are all man’s work so we suffer from nature’s wrath. We must do more, as a community, to be in solidarity and work intensely to protect and preserve our environment. Lastly, let us continue to help and pray for the victims. As they journey forward to rebuild their lives, they need strength and hope which can come from our help and most especially from God. With prayers from our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary and our patron, St. Michael the Archangel, our Lord will help all of us to have the faith and strength to deal with this adversity. God bless you! In our Lord, MOST REV. ELENITO GALIDO, D Bishop, Diocese of Iligan December 20, 2011

Work of man, nature’s wrath!

Photo courtesy of Galileo M. Garcia



Ref lections

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2- 15, 2012

Encountering Jesus in the Signs of His Presence in the Church
Homily on the Feast of the Epiphany (Matt 2:1-12) January 8, 2012
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
IT has come to our knowledge that a number of Catholics have recently embraced “born-again” Christianity and Protestant Fundamentalism. Of course, there are various reasons for this phenomenon, some psychological, others sociological. But if there is anything of interest to us this Sunday, it has to do with the claim made by former Catholics that in “born-again” Christianity and Fundamentalism, they have been in the Bible truths that were not given to them in Catholicism. Some would even assert that it was only in their new found religion that they have found Jesus—with the implication, of course, sometimes wickedly intended, that Catholic Christianity does not preach Jesus or the Bible, because all it propagates is her own “traditions”. But the Gospel on the feast of the Epiphany, when God manifested himself to all peoples, can enlighten us on how Catholics should respond to this issue. But before going into it, let us first unravel the meaning of the Gospel account in relation to the celebration. Basically, the meaning of today’s feast is that Epiphany prefigures the conversion of pagans to Christ. Thus, one may note that early in Paul’s ministry, for instance, Gentiles were already accepting the Word of the Lord (Acts 13:47-48). In the account of Matthew, the magi represent the gentiles. Though tradition, under the influence of some biblical text, portrays them as kings, they were most likely astrologers or magicians rather than astronomers. And the problem that Matthew intends to answer is this: How did the magi come to know the truth about the birth of the Messiah? Astrologers as they were, they observed the movements of the heavenly bodies and interpreted them according to their craft. Believing that there was something more to the phenomenon about the star they were witnessing, they used their knowledge to read what God wanted them to know. For, as Paul himself asserts, God’s plan can be read from creation: “invisible realities, God’s eternal power and divinity, have become visible, recognized through the things he has made” (Rom 1:20). In other words, they believed, and acted on their belief according to their craft. And in using the resources available to them, the magi were led to Jerusalem where, through the priests, the experts of the Scriptures, whom Herod summoned to his palace, they were to identify exactly where the new-born Messiah could be. That is to say, from the revelation of God in creation, they came to the knowledge of his revelation in the Scriptures through the prophet Micah: “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among in the out of the ordinary. We can find him through our communities and through what is happening around us. Indeed, everywhere we go, God is there (Ps 137:9). Our task is simply to read the signs of his presence (cf Luke 12:54). And we do it with faith. And what we encounter in the community, in our environment, we should see it in the light of God’s Word, because the Scriptures, being the light (Ps 119:105), clarify it. This brings us to the problem posed at the beginning of this homily. For us, Catholics, one lesson that the story of the magi gives us is that, to find Jesus, it is not necessary to move to other religion or embrace a sect or cult. In the Christian community, in the Church, we have enough ways by which we can encounter God, we have many signs of Christ’s presence. In our liturgical celebration, for instance, he is present in the person of the minister, in the community itself, in the word that is read from the ambo, and most especially, in the sign of the bread and wine. But as in the story of the magi, we cannot recognize his presence unless we have faith that God reveals himself through these signs. But in addition to having faith, it is likewise necessary to act on our belief that God reveals himself through these liturgical signs. Take, for instance, his presence in the word. The “bornagain” and fundamentalism mantra that
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the princes of Judah, since from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel” (Mic 5:1; 2 Sam 5:2). Through this scriptural passage, they were able to clarify what had been vaguely revealed to them in the heavenly bodies and their movement—the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem , in the land of Judah . The journey of the magi challenges us to ask: have we found God? How do we find him? Of course, it is truer to say that, most of the time, it is God who finds us.

And even when we flee him, he still finds us, as Francis Thomson reminds us in his classic poem, “The Hound of Heaven.” Ordinarily, however, we look for him. And if the magi account has any lesson to teach us in this regard, it is that we can find him through what is ordinarily available to us. As the Bible itself points out, “for from the greatness and beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen” (Wisd 13:5). God, in other words, is not always to be found in the miraculous,

Homily on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Mark 1:7-11) January 15, 2012
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
DOES the sacrament of baptism make a difference in our life as a Christian community? It is a pity—but it is also funny—that many Catholics tend to take baptism as simply another ritual that one goes through in order to be accepted to a respectable society. Many times, it simply serves as a convenient occasion for gathering together people who do not even bother to go to the church to witness the celebration of the sacrament, or even about the baby being baptized. What is worst is that, sometimes, some would tack superstition to it, which results in a rather pagan, if not weird, practice. It is known, for instance, that some parents do not allow their child to be baptized unless she or he is first given in marriage. I know of a couple who refused to have their twin baptized at the same time for fear that one of them would immediately die. Today’s Gospel about the baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:7-11), however, gives us an opportunity to explain some aspects of Christian baptism. For the Jews, the Spirit was a constitutive element of their nationhood. He worked in their midst since the days of Moses (Isa 63:11); he constituted them as a People of the Covenant, guiding them (Isa 63:14) in the right way of life (Ps 143:10). In the age immediately preceding the time of Jesus, however, many people believed that the spirit was no longer guiding them. The heavens closed, and God stopped communicating with them. Thus, the absence of prophecy and, as a consequence, a great distress in Thus Paul: “You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a spirit of adoption through which we cry out, ‘Abba’ (that is, Father). The Spirit himself gives witness to our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:15-16). Also, just as Jesus inaugurated the renewed community of Israel with the descent of the Holy Spirit, so with baptism we are initiated into Christ, the body of believers. We belong to Christ. In the words of Paul, “you are in the spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Rom 8:9b). In other words, it is through baptism that we become members of the renewed community of Israel , the Church. But having been given the Spirit, we shall also have him as the dynamo that gives energy to what we do. Like Jesus’, our actions should come from the power of the Spirit. This power could even bring us to a second baptism, when we drink the cup of suffering as Jesus did (Mark 10:35-45). And how do we know that the Spirit is at work in us? When, like Jesus, we are drawn toward life and peace (Rom 8:6). This orientation results in the fruits of the Spirit, which are “love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness and chastity” (Gal 5:22-23). Hence, reception of the sacrament of baptism ought to make a difference in our life as Christians. It signifies that as a community that has been given a new spirit, we have and enjoy new life, new relationship with other baptized Christians, and with the Triune God, living the life of adopted sons who share in Christ’s death and glory (Rom 8:17).

Does Baptism Make a Difference in our Life as Christians?

Jesus, the savior of Jews and Pagans alike
Reflections on the Solemnity of the Epiphany; January 8, 2012
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE feast of Epiphany is often reduced to a sentimental remembrance of the “three Kings” who carry their rich gifts atop meek camels, journeying gracefully on sandy dunes, in search of the “newborn King of the Jews” . . . If this were the whole story, it would sound just like one of the many pleasant legends told and retold to children at bedtime. But there is more to the feast of Epiphany than just the poetic account of kings coming from mysterious countries to bring gifts to an unknown newborn prince. Epiphany is an event which is very rich in meaning. It is part of God’s revelation. Through it, God reveals His wonderful plan to make salvation available to all men, in Christ Jesus, the Child born at Bethlehem, and to unify all peoples into one big family of races and nations. Epiphany means that salvation is no more limited to a tiny nation, chosen for a specific task in the “time of preparation.” It proclaims that this is the time of fulfillment. Jesus, the glory of Israel, has come not only to fulfill the hopes of his people, but also to be the light of all nations. The power of the universal love of the Father, made visible in Christ, shatters the barriers of discrimination and elitism. God is Father of both Jews and pagans. “The pagans are now co-heirs with the Jews, members of the same body and sharers of the promise . . .” (Eph 3:6). Epiphany, therefore, is the manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah/ Savior of all men, including the pagans of good will, represented by the Magi. It is also a summons to all believers to share the divine concern for the salvation of all men, and to be—through their exemplary lives—as many stars announcing the good news to all men of good will in our time. Jesus is indeed the center of human history because he is the center of God’s plan for mankind. He is also the one in whom all men can find the common point of reference to form a real family of nations and peoples without coercion or exploitation. The light of his Gospel can penetrate all cultures, assume all their valid elements and purify the rest from those negative aspects which the power of sin and human frailty have unfortunately introduced in them. Evermore mankind moves toward the formation of a great international community. This is according to God’s plan. Its roots are in creation itself. We have to remember, however, that neither economic nor political interests, nor any diplomatic skill will succeed in achieving a lasting union without reference to God. Only Jesus Christ can keep all men united in a community of sincere respect, lasting solidarity, and practical love. The plan of the Father, born of love, will find its fulfillment only in His LOVE.

Israel: “There had not been such great distress in Israel since the time prophets ceased to appear among the people”(1 Macc 9:27). This partly explains why people prayed that God open the heavens again: “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you” (Isa 63:19b). In today’s Gospel, we are told that when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John, he saw the sky rent into two, and the Spirit descended on him (Mark 1:9-10). This account has much symbolic value. That the Spirit descended on Jesus, this means that the Spirit has spoken again. No wonder that in the account of baptism, it is related that a voice which came from the heavens said, “You are my beloved Son. On you my favor rests” (Mark 1:11). Here, the Father was speaking through the Spirit. Jesus, of course, is the embodiment of the renewed Israel (Mark 1:10b), and the Spirit, who spoke the words of the Father, descended on him to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah: “Here is my servant whom I uphold,

my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit… (Isa 11:1). In the life of Jesus, the Spirit became the dynamo that gave him energy to go about doing good (Acts 10:38). And if Jesus, as already noted, is the embodiment of the renewed Israel, the coming of the Spirit symbolizes the birth of the renewed people of God. This fulfills the prophecy of Ezekiel that spoke of the giving of the Spirit on God’s renewed people: “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you to make you live by my statutes, careful to obey my decrees. You shall live in the land I gave to your fathers; you shall be my people and I will be your God” (Ezek 36:26-28). All this gives us some idea about our own baptism. Just as the Spirit descended at Jesus’ baptism, so in our own, the Spirit also comes down, and dwells in us. Just as Jesus was declared God’s Son, we who are given the Holy Spirit become God’s adopted sons.

Fr. Francis Ongkingco


Larger memories, smaller hearts
I ONCE overheard a mother asking her daughter what kind of storage device she wanted (of course, the choice of color came last) and she said, “The bigger the better!” The mother asked, “Why, what will you store inside?” “Oh, lots of songs, videos, and of course my class projects,” she gave her mom the good-daughter-pleading-eyeseffect hoping to convince her that she will also ‘study hard’ (come on, with all that music and videos?) in school. “But it’s a little more expensive than the others,” the mother observed. “Yes, but it’s what all my friends have,” the girl said. Bigger storage size has now become a ‘status symbol’. “So what color do you like?” “Hmm, I think I’ll choose, uh… PINK!” the girl replied, as though she had to exert any neurons to elicit such a predictable choice. *** We recall something similar in a parable of our Lord about a man who had a bountiful harvest and was worried about where to store his wheat. The solution, it dawned upon him, was to build bigger barns. Once built, he felt all he had to do was to eat, drink and be merry. The problem with this man, as it is with us today, is not because there are bigger storage spaces –whether physical or digital—for us to dump our treasured belongings. Neither is it because he is rich or has many possessions. The problem lies in his unsatisfied tendency of having more things. This problem stems from the heart of man. And it is a sickness called avarice or a disordered attachment to material things that shackles the heart and makes it small. The heart was created by God with natural longing for what is good. St. Augustine already observed the heart’s ‘restlessness’. He, however, confesses that it can find any rest unless it is possesses the ultimate Good: God Himself. “Nothing can fill up the infinite capacity in the human soul except what can physically enter into it and take possession of it –and this privilege belongs to the Creator alone, and to that participation of His Life which is given in grace and in glory.” (E. Leen, Progress through Mental Prayer) As long as the heart has not found this good or safe port—or doesn’t want to find it—then it will continue to aimlessly sail the uncharted waters of the Seven Seas of Vices seeking only to satisfy its hunger for pleasure, fame, success, taste, and comfort, etc. Things are a bit more complicated today because one can possess so much even with ‘smaller barns’. Technology has made it possible to store almost an infinite amount of our treasured belongings digitally. This adds a burdensome insecurity to the heart when it has to make sure that its ‘digital treasures’ are not only properly stored but also secured. Data security is an additional layer of complication which develops due to the nature of digital things: they are

© CBCP Media

© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2- 15, 2012

Social Concerns
rendered homeless. The diocese will donate 2 hectares of its property for relocation. Tents (c/o The Rotary Club of Iligan and other NGO’s) were set up in different places to provide temporary shelters. Different individuals, NGO’s, organizations and institutions from here and abroad, pledged to help in the rehabilitation program especially in the construction of new houses. Each house for a family will cost around P70,000 to 150,000.00. Memorial Masses and different ecumenical services were celebrated to pray, honor and pay last respect for those who perished in the flashflood. This time is most opportune to thank all those who have helped and assisted us in various ways, for sharing with us their blessings and resources, for the untiring commitment and zeal of the volunteers, and most of all for their prayers. And as we start life anew, we have to seriously face and address the challenges brought by the calamity: building new and decent homes to our internally displaced brothers and sisters; providing employment and livelihood to those who lost their jobs; assisting those who were traumatized, especially women and children. Most of all, it was very clear that the flashflood was a result

of environmental abuse such as illegal logging, illegal mining, illegal quarrying and improper garbage disposal and system. As a Church, what can we do and should do? Indeed, it was a simple and austere Christmas and New Year celebration in Iligan City. Not much Christmas lights because there are still no electricity in most places; no Christmas Trees because the trees were cut by illegal loggers and caused flash floods; no Belen for the Holy Family because most houses were destroyed and washed out; no Caroling because the children lost their voices crying for help; no Ham and Queso de Bola because food is rationed to the survivors who wait for hours to receive their share; no soft drinks because water is running out to quench the thirst of the victims. Jesus was born that day in the evacuation centers. This was the most meaningful and real Christmas ever and a New Year full of hope, because of the love, sharing, and concern of people to each other. And with the merciful love and grace of God, and the collaboration of all sectors of society, Iligan City (and the other places affected by various calamities) shall be able to rise again and move on… Padayon ta!

By Sr. Mary Anthony E. Basa, PDDM

Iligan City: rising back from the fall
Photo courtesy: Sr. Mary Anthony Basa, PDDM

IT has been more than two weeks after that fateful night when typhoon Sendong headed towards Northern Mindanao. Iligan, known as the City of Majestic Falls, is rarely hit by typhoons. But with typhoon Sendong, destructive flashfloods caught Iligan City by surprise on the very early morning of December 17, 2011. The 2nd day of ‘Simbang Gabi’ became a nightmare to many. Homes were destroyed, people were displaced, children and women were traumatized, most properties and vehicles are beyond repair, bridges have collapsed, business are forced to close down which means unemployment to breadwinners, and we are suddenly confronted with the face of death. There are 44 barangays in the city proper of Iligan, and 28 were badly affected. A total of 4,444 houses were totally damaged and 11,290 shelters were partially damaged. A total of 19,523 families composed of 110,349 individuals were affected. Among the survivors are in 24 evacuation centers and others are scattered all over Iligan City. As of December 30, 2011, 456
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Thousand of evacuees spent Christmas huddled in various evacuation centers in Iligan City.

persons have been confirmed dead while 466 are still missing. The total damage cost by the flashfloods amounted to P523,218,567.00. To respond to this calamity, the diocese has set up two major relief centers: The Diocesan Pastoral Center (DPC) and the Lord of the Holy Cross Parish where relief goods donated from all over the world are received, repacked and dispatched to the different evacuation centers and affected places

and individuals. Different committees were organized and are now busy working to facilitate better the relief operations and rehabilitation process of those affected. Volunteers came to assist us in various needs such as Disaster and Camp Management, psycho-social intervention, medical assistance, etc. The Church is closely linking with the local government in the rehabilitation process especially the relocation and building of new houses for those
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“Catholicism does not preach the Bible but its human traditions” is utterly false. Everyday, the Scripture is read in the liturgy. Catholics are encouraged to own the Bible and read it. Bible study groups are available, and various forms of literature are published to help study the Word of God. But the problem is, even though we have the sign of Scriptures, many are not interested to open its treasures. It is simply pathetic to know that some “born-again” Christians would claim that they never have been taught about the Bible in the Catholic Church when in fact they never avail themselves of the ways to study the Scriptures when they were still under the
Breviary / B2

Catholic fold. They failed to notice that the Bible has a prominent place in the Catholic Church. They are like the Jews in today’s Gospel from Matthew’s Infancy Narrative who had the Scriptures, but never know of the birth of the Messiah. As Jesus says in the Johannine debate with the Jews, “search the Scriptures in which you think you have eternal life; they also testify on my behalf. Yet, you are unwilling to come to me to possess that life” (John 5:39-40). In the final result, what we really need is the faith of the Magi. Just as the magi were able to find the Messiah because they believed in the sign that God gave them, and relentlessly pursued the
Marriage / B2

implication of their faith, so we Catholics need not only to possess faith in the signs of his presence that God gave to the Church, but also action to make that faith alive, meaningful to our personal life and that of the community, and to enable us to account for that faith before people, like the “born-again” Christians and fundamentalists, who need to be enlightened about what we believe in. Without that kind of performative faith, we will continue to have Catholics who, for instance, are more eager for miracles of healing and for spectacular performances than for the reception of the everyday miracle of the Eucharist in the Mass.

easier to acquire and process (i.e. there’s no hurry to develop our photos, just upload or save them) but they are also easier to lose or be stolen (e.g. when the date is accidentally erased). That is why some make back-ups of back-ups and so on. The accumulation of material things has a limit because our physical nature. This prevents us from indulging in all things at the same time in them. Moreover, material literally occupy space and we must manage to have only what is necessary. Digital possessions, however,donotrequirewarehouses to store them. One can have an infinite clutter of pictures, music, movies, etc.,

in a portable drive. Like material things it would be impossible to indulge in all of them all at once. But what the heart now treasures in this case, is that it has them all at the same time, in one device, whenever and wherever he may be. One feels ‘digitally secure’. The digitally insecure heart deforms the person to be a cold, irritable, impatient, critical and blinded by the ensuing vices which may one may also store in his digital world (i.e. pornography, violent films, irreverent music, and other humanly degrading materials). The heart ends up betraying the person enslaved by such possessions, and in the end is

shipwrecked in a sea of vices and possessions. This ‘digital attachment’ succeeds in filling the gaps which material things could not literally occupy within the heart. The heart becomes small because it has to some extent become “material”. It has lost its capacity for the true goods that will help the person to form himself according to God’s love and will. No matter how much it possesses materially or digitally, these created things continue to remain outside of man. Only the love of God, can truly fill man’s heart, transform and make it capable of authentic love and self-giving.

the same prayer, both of which have received official approval, I see no difficulty in using the new translation if one so wishes. As yet, there is no booklet containing only the new collects. Even if there were one, it could prove somewhat awkward for recitation of the Divine Office. For these reasons it would not be mandtory until the eventual publication of an updated breviary. Indeed, it is to be hoped that, having finished the missal, the Englishlanguage authorities begin to undertake the gargantuan task of preparing a new version of the Liturgy of the Hours. The current edition for English speakers outside of the United States hails from the 1970s and is missing all the additions to the liturgical calendar, such as the new saints. A single text for the entire Englishspeaking world would also be most useful in these times of constant travel.
Time / B5

that the fundamental requirements for its exercise were lacking, namely, if the required capacity for marriage were patently lacking or the person intended to choose something which was incompatible with the natural reality of marriage. Therefore those who prepare couples for marriage must take seriously both the Pre-Cana seminar and the canonical interview of couples before admitting them to the celebration of marriage. Should those preparing a couple for marriage detect or establish with certainty the presence of an impediment for the valid celebration of the marriage, they are not to allow such a couple to proceed with the planned Church wedding. In the presence of an invalidating impediment the ius connubii does not apply. Lack of Adequate Preparation leads to Marriage Nullities The concern for proper preparation of couples for marriage was one of the issues discussed at length also during

the last General Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. In his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, Benedict XVI pointed out the need and the implications a proper preparation for marriage celebration has for the good of the spouses themselves, of the society and of the Church: Given the complex cultural context which the Church today encounters in many countries, the Synod also recommended devoting maximum pastoral attention to training couples preparing for marriage and to ascertaining beforehand their convictions regarding the obligations required for the validity of the sacrament of Matrimony. Serious discernment in this matter will help to avoid situations where impulsive decisions or superficial reasons lead two young people to take on responsibilities that they are then incapable of honouring (cf. Proposition, no. 40). The good that the Church and society as a whole expect from marriage and from the family

founded upon marriage is so great as to call for full pastoral commitment to this particular area. Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself.4 Because marriage and family are the cornerstones of every society, including the ecclesial society, the decision made by those who wish to marry must be the result of mature reflection. Marriage preparation is meant to help couples properly to discern the implications of their decision to enter into married and family life. It facilitates the discernment process involved in making such a decision. Although the purposes of marriage preparation transcend the merely juridic dimension of marriage—the Pope affirms—, it nevertheless promotes the free celebration of an authentic marriage, that is, an exclusive and indissoluble bond of justice and love between the couple,
Mary / B5

ordered to the good of the spouses and of children, and which is raised to the dignity of a sacrament when celebrated between two baptized persons. This is not simply a canonical prescript but a reality that has theological, social and cultural underpinnings. Therefore the argument presented by the Holy Father stresses the pastoral, social and juridic nature of marriage and the importance marriage preparation bears for its valid and fruitful celebration. [To be concluded.]

Cf. A.MENDONÇA, The Relationship between Canon Law and Pastoral Care, in Philippine Canonical Forum, XIII (2011), p.174.

2 BENEDICT XVI, Allocution to the Roman Rota, 27.I.2007, in Philippine Canonical Forum, IX (2007), p.11. 3 BENEDICT XVI, Allocution to the Roman Rota, 22.I.2011, in Philippine Canonical Forum, XIII (2011), p.9. 4

BENEDICT XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, 22.II.2007, n.29.

nearly 700 persons. The longer-term challenge is to help these families rebuild their present homes or re-locate to safer grounds. We are heartened by the visit of President Aquino and other public officials. His declaration of a state of national calamity and observation that families should not be allowed to return to extremely dangerous areas are welcome statements. Last January 2009, the city had already experienced severe flooding. Some old-time residents recalled that this phenomenon happens

every forty years. But barely three years after that, Typhoon Sendong came with greater vengeance. We have to cast a broader look at the entire river basin area of Cagayan de Oro River. This extends to the northwestern part of Bukidnon and surrounding areas. Illegal logging and irresponsible mining activities have contributed to the degradation of the environment and the siltation of the river bed. The erection of man-made structures may have also impeded the natural flow of the waters. (The continued

hydraulic flush mining along Iponan River has likewise caused widespread flooding of the Canitoan-Iponan areas of the city.) It is for these reasons that we have to strengthen the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council, a multi-sectoral effort to protect and conserve our most precious natural resource after our human resources—the river system. As we approach Christmas week and the coming of the New Year, may I propose a FamilyAdopt-a-Family program. Families unaffected by the

flood can invite to their homes an evacuee family, especially those that have lost their homes or loved ones, for a few days or for a Christmas meal to share the spirit of the season. May the new-born child in the manger fill us with the spirit of solidarity in moments of adversity and hope in the sharing of love and life with one another. “Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart” (Ps. 90). + ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, SJ Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro 21 December 2011

as brothers and sisters to build a civilization of love. (rf. Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 22, 2010) An Affirmation of Our Love and Devotion to Mary Truly, the Blessed Mother journeys with us, for we believe that as “Filipinos, we have always had a very tender devotion to Mary as Mother; and this devotion has brought down numberless benefits on our people. The loyalty of our people to Christ has been closely bound with our devotion to Mary who is his Mother and ours” (CBCP Pastoral Letter on Mary, Ang Mahal na Birhen, February 2, 1975). This devotion is also made manifest in the local Church of the Diocese of Daet. Thus, it is with great joy that we welcome the approval of our petition before His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, to have the canonical coronation of our Nuestra Señora de Candelaria during the closing ceremonies of the Quadricentennial Celebrations of the First Three Parishes in the diocese, namely; Parroquia de San Juan Bautista in Daet, Camarines Norte, Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol in Vinzons, Camarines Norte and the Parroquia de la Nuestra Señora de Candelaria in Paracale, Camarines Norte. This distinctive gift from the Lord serves as an affirmation of our love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under Her title, Nuestra Señora de Candelaria. Looking to the Future with Hope Imitating the example of Mary, we look forward to the future with hope knowing fully well that God


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will continue to lavish us with His choicest blessings through the powerful intercessions of Mary, our Mother. We believe that She will remain with us as we try to discover and fulfill God’s plan for us. Like Mary, we are being called to be vigilant lest evil forces overwhelm us. As a popular adage would put it “For evil to triumph, it is enough that good men do nothing”. Let us do our share in working for peace in our province and in our country by being pro-active. Let us join hands with our local government and the different law enforcement agencies in driving away the dark clouds of evil from our midst so that justice and peace will reign once more in our locality. We also offer this year before the Lord our desire to make the Local Church of Daet more vibrant and fruitful by the following events that will hopefully bring us closer to God plan for us. We shall celebrate this 2012 the Year on Liturgy through which we desire to express our worship of God with more dignity and solemnity. We shall also reorganize this year the Parish Pastoral Councils and the Parish Finance Councils in order to become more effective and efficient in responding to the peculiar needs and challenges of the present times. I hope and pray that the year 2012 will be an opportunity for all of us to grow more in our faith, hope and love for God. Imparting to you my paternal blessings, I remain +GILBERT A. GARCERA, DD Bishop of Daet January 1, 2012


Moral Assessment

CBCP Monitor

January 2 - 15, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 1

Technical Assessment

 Abhorrent  Disturbing  Acceptable  Wholesome  Exemplary TITLE: Panday 2: Ang Ikalawang Aklat CAST: Bong Revilla, Marian Rivera, Philip Salvador, Eddie Garcia, Iza Calzado, Rhian Ramos,Lorna Tolentino, Alice Dixon DIRECTOR: Mac Alejandre GENRE: Fantasy, Fiction RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:

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

TITLE: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow CAST: Maricel Soriano, Gabby Concepcion, Jericho Rosales, Dennis Trillo, Solenn Heusaff, Paolo Avelino, and Carla Abellana DIRECTOR: Jun Lana GENRE: Drama RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:  Cinema Rating: For viewers 18 years old and above


Cinema Rating: For viewers 13 years old and below with parental guidance

SYNOPSIS:Yesterday,Todayand, Tomorrow” is a typical Filipino drama with feuding family members, rich patriarchs with multiples families, unexpected deaths, and some sort of romantic love story. The story revolves around the Montes family and the conflicts that arise amongst the members after a devastating earthquake.
TITLE: Enteng ng Ina mo CAST: Vic Sotto, Ai Ai delas Alas, Eugene Domingo, Alwyn Uytingco, Aiza Seguerra, Marvin Agustin, Nikki Valdez, Carlo Aquino and Xyriel Manabat DIRECTOR: Tony Y. Reyes GENRE: Comedy RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:  Cinema Rating: For viewers 14 years old and above

SYNOPSIS: After defeating Lizardo (Phillip Salvador), Flavio decided to settle with fiancée Maria (Iza Calzado) in a little town whose citizens are more than grateful to the hero for getting rid of their oppressor. However, Lizardo is hardly dead; he begins his quest for world domination, first, by kidnapping the town’s female folk including Maria, second, by murdering the men folk through his many minions, and third, by attempting to disarm Flavio by stealing his magical dagger.
TITLE: Segunda Mano CAST: Kris Aquino, Dingdong Dantes, Angelica Panganiban, Helen Gamboa DIRECTOR: Joyce Bernal GENRE: Horror/Suspense/Drama Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:  Cinema Rating: For viewers 14 years old and above

Buhay Parokya

SYNOPSIS: Segunda Mano which directly translates to “Second Hand” tells a story of various cursed antique objects that haunts its unfortunate new owners.

Look for the images of the Black Nazarene, Virgin Mary and Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

SYNOPSIS: Veteran comics Ai-Ai delas Alas and Vic Sotto teamed up for this movie of two film franchises, the Ina Mo series and the OK Ka Fairy Ko series. Ms. Delas Alas once again takes the role of widowed mother Ina Montecillo -- a character she had played in three other films, including in last year’s Tanging Ina Mo Rin (Last Na ‘To) for which she won MMFF’s Best Actress Award. Meanwhile, Mr. Sotto returns as family man Enteng Kabisote, which he has been portraying since TV-series Okay Ka Fairy Ko debuted in the late 1980s. The movie starts with Enteng wanting to put an end to his recurring role as the hero of Engkantasya (fairyland) and live a normal life with his family. On the other hand, Ina longs for the right partner to be with her for the rest of her life.
TITLE: Shake Rattle and Roll 13 CAST: Zanjoe Marudo, Maricar Reyes, Kathryn Bernardo, Sam Conception, Edgar Allan Guzman, Louise Delos Reyes DIRECTOR: Richard Somes, “Parola GENRE: Horror, Drama RUNNING TIME: 150 minutes Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:


Cinema Rating: For viewers 14 years old and above

SYNOPSIS: Three short stories at 50 minutes each: “Tamawo”, “Parola”, a n d “ R a i n R a i n G o TITLE: Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story Away” intended to scare people by presenting CAST: Jeorge Estregan, Carla Abellana, Philip Salvador, Baron Geisler, John ghosts of the dead people Regala, Ronnie Lazaro, Robert Arin different forms. revalo, Perla Bautista DIRECTOR: Tikoy Aguiluz GENRE: Action, Drama RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes Technical Assessment:  Moral Assessment:  Cinema Rating: For viewers 18 years old and above SYNOPSIS: Manila Kingpin: The Untold Story of Asiong Salonga (aka The Asiong Salonga Story) is the fourth movie to dramatize the life and times of Tondo’s notorious gang leader who ruled from the late 1940s until his untimely death in 1951, at age 27. Just like the first version, which was released in 1961 starring former President Joseph Estrada (the second, with Rudy Fernandez, in 1977 and the third, with George Estregan Jr., in 1990), the current one is filmed in black and white purportedly to capture the look and mood of Asiong’s era.


Ni Bladimer Usi

Vol. 16 No. 1

CBCP Monitor

January 2 - 15, 2012


CFC Pilgrims Rediscover The Pearl of Great Price
By Michelle Llaban
Coming home from a pilgrimage with a few doctors from UST Hospital in 2010, CFC international Council member and AnCoP Chairman Joe Yamamoto, and his wife, mila shared their vision of one day bringing CFC members to the Holy Land. The dream became a reality in november of 2011, when CFC organized the first ever CFC pilgrimage to the Holy Land on the occasion of its 30th anniversary. By the time the group left on november 21, 250 pilgrims from all over the world had joined the trip. A great number of pilgrims came from the different provinces in the Philippines and from different countries like Australia, Brussels, Canada, the USA, Japan, Seychelles and Vietnam. Adam’s Express Travel, specializing in tours to the Holy Land, made all the airline arrangements, itineraries, accommodations and land transportation completely hassle-free for everyone. The pilgrimage visited three countries - Jordan, israel and Egypt. The pilgrimage group was divided into six groups with the first three groups leaving on november 20 and ending their tour on December 2, 2011. The next three groups left on november 21 and arrived December 3, 2011. The six chaplains, one for each group, who guided the pilgrims in their spiritual journey were: Bishop Zacarias Jimenez; Fr. max gatela; Fr. Seth Bernadas; Fr. Rudy Carabuena; Fr. Allan Antonio; and CFC’s spiritual director monsignor Allen Aganon. The tour itinerary was hectic: First stop was Amman, the capital of Jordan, the past. They were each asked to pick to visit mt. nebo where moses was up a stone, and as a sign of letting go, shown the Promised Land, Canaan of forgiving and moving on, to throw the israel. next was the fabled “Rose City” stone into the sea. Tony and mila Loria, pilgrims from of Petra, the 2000-year old nabatean capital accidentally rediscovered in Bicol, reflected on the loss of their two sons, who were murdered years ago. 1812. The third stop the next day was walk- in the very place where Jesus forgave ing through the Siq, an unforgettable Peter for denying Him three times, Tony gorge that runs for a half-mile, ending and mila forgave the murderer of their at the The Treasury, a Wonder of the sons. Tony shared that he really felt god World. The Treasury is a rose-colored hugging him very tightly, a beautiful monumental building artfully carved testimony to the truth that letting go and out of sheer rock. on the third day, the pilgrims crossed over to israel, the Promised Land, to tour mt. Tabor and visit the Church of the Transfiguration, situated on the place where Christ was transfigured. The fourth day stop was at the mount of Beatitudes where the pilgrims listened to a very moving reflection on the eight beatitudes given by msgr. Allen, who focused on the Msgr. Allen gives a recollection at the Church of the Beatitudes. Eight Beatitudes. msgr. Allen emphasized that the truest model letting god take over our lives gives us of the Beatitudes is Jesus on the cross. indescribable peace and joy. The pilgrims then followed Jesus’ We need to have the same purity of heart that Jesus had - whose only pur- path to Tabgha, where He fed the mulpose in life was to obey the will of the titudes with five loaves and two fishes, then on to Capernaum to visit St. Peter’s Father. St. Peter’s Primacy Church on the house, where Jesus preached and healed shore of the Sea of galilee is where Peter’s mother-in-law, and finally, a ferJesus met His apostles after His resur- ryboat ride across the Sea of galilee. one of the highlights of the pilgrimrection. on this site, the pilgrims were prompted by the tour guides to unbur- age was the renewal of wedding vows den themselves of the pains and hurts of in Cana. Boy and Joy Apin from Bicol, who are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary this year, decided to have their renewal of vows in Cana instead of throwing a big party in the Philippines. in nazareth, the pilgrims visited the Basilica of the Annunciation and St. Joseph’s workshop. At Yardenit, the site of the baptism of Jesus by St. John the Baptist, all the pilgrims stood solemnly as they renewed their baptismal vows. The next day it was on to Haifa, and mt. Carmel of the prophet Elijah. in Ein Kerem, the birthplace of John the Baptist, the pilgrims walked through the picturesque old village to visit the Basilica of the Visitation and the Church of St. John the Baptist. one of the most memorable holy sites for most of the pilgrims was Jerusalem- from the mount of olives to the garden of gethsemane, to the old city of Jerusalem and to many more holy sites, such as mt. Zion to visit the Room of the Last Supper. The afternoon trip driving through the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea was a time for fellowship and fun. Knowing that the Dead Sea is known for its therapeutic healing properties, the pilgrims didn’t waste the chance to cover themselves with mud coming from the Dead Sea. Another highlight of the tour was praying the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa. Couples carried the cross together while singing songs of praise to god, unmindful of the vendors who stood shouting mocking words. it was a vivid reminder of the time Jesus Himself carried His cross while people spit on Him and mocked Him. On the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, all the pilgrims gathered in the beautiful Church of the nativity in Bethlehem, to pray, reflect and kiss the star at the nativity site. This was the only mass where all 250 pilgrims gathered together during the whole trip. Bishop Jimenez celebrated the mass, concelebrated by the other priests. The last leg of the 12-day tour was spent in Cairo, Egypt. Aside from swimming in the icy cold waters of the Red Sea, the pilgrims visited the Pyramids of giza, took photos of the fabled Sphinx, toured the Egyptian museum, which houses the treasures of Tutankhamen, and had dinner on board a cruise ship on the nile River. monsignor Allen Aganon, on his first trip to the Holy Land, says the pilgrimage made him see the Bible from a different perspective, allowing him to embrace the gospel in a more personal way. Although the pilgrimage was only for 12 days, the experiences shared by the pilgrims were well worth it. As the song says, “one day in the house of god is better than a thousand days in the world.” many pilgrims spoke of being unable to contain their joy in their hearts, and on many occasions, feeling the tears just welling from their eyes. At the end of the pilgrimage, the pilgrims were all given a “Pilgrim’s Certificate,” attesting that they had all fulfilled their Biblical calling to ascend to the Holy Land, Jerusalem.

The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Shaping The Leaders of CFC
By Marivie Dalman
THE CFC Leadership Development Program was launched on December 7, 2011, at the Lay Force Formation Center, San Carlos Seminary, guadalupe, makati City. Describing the program as a “a threshold of a new beginning in CFC,” Joe Yamamoto, a member of the CFC international Council and Head of the Leadership Development Program, explained that the program is a response to the clamor of CFC leaders who, in a formal survey held during the Evangelization and mission Congress last June, 2011, sought the “review and updating of the leaders’ manuals and the establishment of the CFC Leaders Forum/institute.” one of the highlights of the launch was the lecture of Fr. mario Sobrejuanite of the Society of St. Paul, on “Discovering, Affirming and Exercising Christian Leadership.” He emphasized that “Christian leadership is equal to empowerment to service. The call to leadership is a call to be empowered.” Fr. mario enumerated the essence of being Christian leaders. Fr. mario explained that God first says, “Come,” which means “learn from me,” not as a mere acquaintance, but as one meant to have a deep personal knowledge of Him. Fr. mario stressed that, “Every call begins with discipleship,”and only thereafter will the Lord tell us to “go!” The second essence of a Christian leader is he is “empowered by the Holy Spirit for the service of the Church.” The empowerment is aimed to make the leader fit and ready for service to renew and build up the Church. True leaders must continue to remind himself and others that “Ako ay may pwesto dahil iniutos sa akin na kayo’y pagsilbihan.” (i am in a position of leadership only because i was instructed to serve.) The third is a “deep conviction of being unworthy and incapable.” Fr. mario emphasized that “the nearer you are to the sun, the darker becomes your shadow.” This simply means that those who occupy positions of leadership face the great hazard of being engulfed by the darkness of pride and sin. Fr. mario explained that this is the reason why CFC, and any other religious organization or movement, must have a spiritual director to ensure the continued flow of guidance and counsel. The fourth essence is the “complete dependence on god for strength and reward.” Citing Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Fr. mario said that, “The call is not to be successful, but to be faithful.” For “not everyone who

A Pilgrim’s Prayer
By Joe Yamamoto
A year ago, in november 2010, my wife mila and i had a dream come true - we realized our long time desire to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We had made previous attempts in the past but somehow the circumstances did not seem right - mainly the concern was about peace or violence issues in the middle East. The circumstances about peace and order in israel or the rest of the middle East did not change for the better; what changed was our conviction that with the Lord, there is nothing to fear. So when a group of heart doctors decided to embark on a pilgrimage, mila and i took the opportunity with passion and excitement. The journey far exceeded all our expectations. imagine walking in the land of the prophets, the patriarchs, judges and kings but far above that, walking where Jesus, Joseph and mary walked. We came home eager to share our awe-inspiring experiences. Whenever an opportunity presented itself, i would take time to joyfully share our Holy Land experiences. our joy must have been infectious because we found the community of CFC embracing the idea of going on pilgrimage as part of our 30th (Pearl) anniversary. To make the pilgrimage (dubbed CFC Pearlgrimage) more meaningful, i decided to put into writing my own reflections and perspectives and added the needed spiritual and historical background so that the pilgrims will not only get the most out of the journey but embark on the journey equipped with more than the basic appreciation of our faith history. i hoped that my reflections would help the pilgrims deepen their love for our faith and religion and most importantly, our Lord. my hopes and prayers for an enjoyable and inspiring journey became a reality so many times over. Every returning pilgrim discovered Jesus in a much deeper and personal way on account of this pilgrimage. Every one was moved, and many shed tears of joy in experiencing Jesus and mama mary. Two hundred fifty three pilgrims left the country excited and expectant; 253 came home fulfilled and spiritually deepened. The chaplains in our midst likewise experienced Jesus in truly personal and deep ways. one of them, Fr. max, was so moved at the site of the stone house of mary inside the Church of the Annunciation and tearfully shared god’s special love for him. Every site visited by the pilgrims in israel left indelible marks in the souls of every man and woman. First and foremost of the realizations is the loving presence of Jesus in each one’s life, made sharper and more focused by the journey to the Holy Land. The experience of journeying to israel, the birthplace of Jesus, has become a watershed experience for all such that every returning pilgrim now wants others to see, feel and walk in the birthplace of our Christian faith.

Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite

Shaping / C3

CFC mobilizes aid for Sendong victims
FAiTH in action. This became the moving principle for Couples for Christ, both here in the Philippines and abroad, when the members responded as one to the call to help the victims of the recent flash flooding in mindanao and negros oriental. Within 24 hours, the community had mobilized much needed assistance, beginning with the remittance of cash donations to Cagayan de oro and iligan, two of the hardest hits towns. The response to the call to send cash and materials was immediate. The CFC Home office immediately organized Task Force Sendong, headed by Executive Director melo Villaroman, Jr, assisted by iC members nonoy Dalman (for Finance) and Joe Yamamoto. Joe Yamamoto, as President of give Kare Foundation, the implementing arm of CFC’s health programs, led a mission team on December 30 to Cagayan de oro. The medical mission coordinated with the regional office of the Department of Health and treated more than 600 patients. DoH also provided tetanus and measles vaccines to more than 100 children. The response of the global family was overwhelming, with donations coming from as far as the middle East, Europe and north America. For transparency and greater efficiency in monitoring the donations, the Home office provided the ground Zero teams in the affected areas with a template for reporting donations and disbursement. The fund campaign continues because although the immediate needs of the victims, such as food and clothing, have been met, other basic needs remain. many homes need to be rebuilt and many school children have to be provided with school bags and school supplies that were washed away by rampaging waters.

By Ricky Cuenca, CFC Chairman


CBCP Monitor
January 2 - 15, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 1

The Message of the Season
most difficult one, is in response to the call to be CFC Chairman. This Yes meant leaving a comfortable and secure life in Canada and coming home to the Philippines to accept the challenges of on-fire evangelization, nurturing pastoral care and active work with the poor. it is not the kind of Yes that means you are now willing to be trampled upon or to merely flow into every event to please people but the unequivocal YES to god’s plan and purpose in life. it is the kind of YES that gives peace of mind, passion and fulfillment in submitting to the will of god, to my purpose in life. it is a quiet YES but a firm one with a strong belief in god’s plan. mary’s obedience in the Annunciation became a strong model of stewardship in my life and in the many circumstances of choice and decision making. Humility is another virtue i learned from mama mary in the Annunciation. Her response, “i am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to Thy word” is pure humility. going back to the historical response of members of CFC to god’s plan for CFC, i witnessed the many trials and purification when members in all humility accepted the painful transformation process to stay in CFC, upholding its vision and mission of family renewal, global evangelization and work with the poor. my conviction to stay in CFC is a humbling process brought on by the realization that it is not about me, it is not about my allegiance to certain personalities but it is about god’s plan for CFC to be families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth and to bring glad tidings to the poor. i realized that mary’s humility is anchored on being attuned to the will of god. Her submission to God’s plan is fully alive, fluid, trusting and joyful. in CFC, i am happy to be an instrument of god’s plan. The virtue of gratitude is clearly a manifestation of mary’s belief in god’s plan of salvation. in her simplicity and grace, mary responded in awe and, with a grateful heart, took on her role as mother of god. Again, in witnessing the historical process of transition and transformation in CFC, the virtue of thanksgiving is amplified. Praising god and worshipping in thanksgiving is integral to our CFC culture. in our household meetings, general assemblies and teachings, thanksgiving is part and parcel of our adoration. Because of a formation process anchored in thanksgiving, members have a natural response to be grateful, and to always give thanks even in sorrow and pain. Events are experienced as lessons learned and opportunities for growth to draw closer together in Christ and for Christ. i am grateful to god for leading me to CFC. Like mary, i respond with awesome gratitude and say, Thank you Lord for the gift of life in CFC. Like mama mary in the Annunciation, let us celebrate god’s love for our community as loving shepherds of care and beloved disciples of Christ constantly affirming our submission to god’s plan. Let us live this new Year of 2012 practicing the virtues of obedience, humility and gratitude. To you dear mother, we entrust CFC. Bring Jesus to us. Take us to Jesus. We hope for the day of unity, oneness and peace in our CFC community. We ask this through Christ our Lord. masagana at mapayapang bagong taon, from my heart to yours!

mgA mahal kong kapatid in Christ, greetings of peace and love, mapayapa at masaganang bagong taon! There are many messages that we can glean as the new Year dawns, but the message that personally resonates with me most is the message of the Annunciation. When the Angel gabriel announced to mary that she will be the mother of god, her childlike faith response was, “i am the Handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to Thy word.” mama mary’s response ushered in the fulfillment of the promise of our salvation in Christ and taught us all the virtues of true stewardship, obedience, humility and gratitude. mama mary’s’ obedience, her

unequivocal Yes to the plan of god, speaks of total submission to His will. it is in this context that i understand the historical YES of members of the Couples for Christ in submitting to god’s plan for CFC in building the church of the home and the church of the poor through on fire evangelization. in mary’s acceptance of god’s plan, i also understand my YES responses to events in CFC. i said Yes when i completed the Christian Life Program with the signing of the covenant. i said Yes to His call to become a missionary not only in the Philippines but in Canada. Later on, i said Yes to the calling of AnCoP, (Answering the Cry of the Poor). in the wake of the trials and challenges of the storms that hit our community in 2007 and 2009, i responded with a Yes to become USA Country Coordinator and as AnCoP CEo. my latest Yes, and perhaps my

By Melo Villaroman, Jr., CFC Director

The Roadmap And The Greatest Gift
A Post-Christmas Story
THERE was an orphan who wrote a touching letter to Santa. “Dear Santa,” he wrote, “my heart wishes for 2 things this Christmas. First, i hope you can give me a small, red bicycle, with support trainer wheels at the rear, for i do not have a father to teach me how to ride it. And second, Santa, i wish i could know the real identities of my Papa and mama, for my friends in the orphanage always tease me that i never had parents, that i was born out of foul-smelling air.” That night, angels woke the boy up from his slumber. “Come,” they said, “your wishes have been heard. go check your presents under the Christmas tree!” The young kid ran downstairs, went to the lighted pine tree at the center of the orphanage living room, and sifted through all the boxes, watching out for that big one that might contain his bike. After all the rummaging, the orphan’s shoulders slumped, for he found not a huge container but a tiny wooden box the size of two matchboxes, with his name silver-engraved on it. His initial disappointment turning into curiosity, the little boy unwrapped his tiny present, and found inside a folded piece of antiquated paper that opened up into an elaborate roadmap. instructions at the bottom of the document read, “Travel this map and be led to your greatest gift!” The angels around him said, “Do not be afraid, little one, we shall travel with you.” So he set off with his winged guardians on a long journey, faithfully following the roadmap in his hand. Along the way, he was either looking at the map, or securing the map close to his chest, the old paper almost crumbling from the beat of his excited, fiery heart. He was a bit tired, but never afraid, as if something, someone was guiding and cheering him on, more than the angels around him. Reaching near the journey’s end, the little boy found himself at the foot of massive doors that swung open to reveal the biggest toy factory in the universe – Santa’s giant workshop! Jaw a-dropping, and heart a-thumping, the little orphan’s eyes could not believe the wonder and colors of toys around him. Santa welcomed him, sat him on his lap, and gleefully whispered to him, “Because you are special, you can choose any bike you want from all that you see in here.” The orphan asked, while pointing to something shimmering and gliding through the air, “You mean, even that red one that flies?” The jolly old bearded guy said, “Ho, Ho, certainly so!” And even before Santa could say another word, the red, flying bike dove, hovered, then settled itself down in front of its new ecstatic owner. As the young one climbed into his new toy, Santa whispered, “By the way, kid, i want to tell you a very simple secret.” “What is it, Santa?” inquired the boy. “You know, son, the best things in life... are noT things. So i will go to your second wish, and introduce you to your real parents. isn’t this your second wish, to know their real identities?” The orphan said, “Yes, Santa, and you are right! That to me is more important than anything i could ever receive in my life, even more important than this flying bike.” Well, then,” Santa’s booming voice replied, “your real parents take care of you everyday, every minute, every moment. Your Papa also happens to be the best boss in the world! i should know,” Santa continued, “because i report to him every day.” god the Father appeared, resplendent and glorious in His throne, and with the most powerful yet most loving voice the boy has ever heard, spoke, “my child, my favored one, i am your real Father, and i love you very much. Before i formed you in the womb, i knew you, before you were born, i set you apart.” And then the Lady beside him, most beautiful, with the sweetest smile and voice so immaculate, approached the boy, carried his frail body in her arms, and kissed him on the forehead. She said, “i am your mother. i walk and pray with you everyday. i was even beside you as you travelled to this place.” “my child,”, the madonna continued, “when your friends tease you again, proudly yet lovingly tell them who your true Papa and mama are. Tell them you are not really an orphan, that they are not really orphans, that they are so much loved, that they should never be afraid!” That was the orphan’s best Christmas ever. The roadmap led him to his greatest gift!
FOOTNOTE: We in CFC wake up to 2012, blessed with our one CFC Roadmap (at left), a fruit of deep prayer by the International Council coupled with intense listening to the discernment and inputs of leaders and members of our Community! It is the Spirit’s gift and leading – a roadmap that will guide us towards the vision the Lord desires for His people – to be disciples continuing the mission of Christ and sharing in the fullness of His life, to be families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth! The love of our Father will guide us, and our Mother will pray and walk with us. The Holy Spirit will keep us on-fire. We will proclaim the greatness of the Lord. We will not be afraid.

By Jun Uriarte

The Son of Mary and the Brother of James (Mk 6:3)
A SToRY is told that James was initially an unbeliever. it was only after the Crucifixion that James started to believe that Jesus was the messiah, his conversion coming during Pentecost. Subsequently, he became a leader of the church in Jerusalem. He died a martyr in the hands of the scribes and the Pharisees. They brought him to stand on the Sanctuary parapet and shouted out to him, “You are leading the people astray and encouraging them to follow Jesus who was crucified.” James answered back, “Why do you ask me about the Son of Man? He sits in heaven at the right hand of the great Power and he will return on heavenly clouds.” As James proclaimed Jesus at the parapet, many started to believe in him. The Pharisees realized that they had made a mistake in allowing James to testify about Jesus so they threw him over the parapet. Since the fall did not kill him, they stoned him to death. The unbelief of James was shared by many of Jesus’ relatives and neighbors in nazareth: He departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! is he not the carpenter, the son of mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. (mk 6:1-6) Jesus’ visit to his hometown was not a private but a formal one since he brought his disciples with him. His purpose was to teach and do the same work he had done in many other towns and villages. many (meaning not all) who heard him were astonished. But eventually the undercurrent of dissatisfaction of the few prevailed. They asked about the origin (“where”) of this teaching. They wondered about the nature (“what”) of his wisdom. They had heard of his mighty works. But they could not bring themselves to believe in the greatness of a man who was one of them. After all, he was just a village carpenter, the son of mary, the widow of Joseph, and the cousin of many who were still living in their midst. This Christmas season, many members of our community will be visiting their respective hometowns. in our family, the tradition is to gather in our Quezon City residence on Christmas Eve, attend mass together, share the noche buena, and exchange presents. But this year will be different. our eldest daughter, who lives with her husband and five children in the U.S., will not be able to come to the Philippines since it costs too much to buy seven return air tickets. our eldest son who now works and lives in Singapore with his wife and daughter, will also not be able to join us since, unlike in the Philippines, there are no prolonged Christmas holidays in Singapore. my 97-year old mother had also decided to stay in Unisan, Quezon during the holidays. So my eldest sister, who lives in Lucena (the only one remaining in the Philippines since all the others live with their families in the U.S.), decided to be with her this Christmas. We will thus be having a simple Christmas gathering and celebration this year. Yet this will probably be our most memorable and blessed Christmas ever. We have already received god’s most wonderful and unexpected gift. god has brought my 97-year old mother (she will be 98 next month) and my 67-year old sister into the CFC community. in addition, god has restored the CFC community in my hometown, Unisan, after it hibernated for over five years. it all started in January this year when, with my sisters from the U.S., we celebrated our mother’s 97th birthday in Unisan. The party was attended by our parish priest and our classmates from high school. When we asked the parish priest if he had met some members of Couples for Christ, he informed us that there had not been any CFC activity for some years already although a couple of CFC members still served in church. it was at that time that we decided to do something to revive the CFC community in Unisan. The first steps were to find out the names of the CFC members in Unisan, to get in touch with them, and to find out if they would be interested in reviving the community. For this purpose, we sought the help of our parish priest, my mother, and my eldest sister. on 8 october, we met for the first time with around half a dozen CFC members in my mother’s house in Unisan. We then began planning the Christian Life Program. We returned to Unisan on 15 october to give a teaching and to finalize the CLP schedule and the assignments of the members of the service team. We agreed on an 8-week CLP format to be held every Sunday (or Saturday, if there is a major church activity on a particular Sunday) from 23 october to 10 December. We then visited my hometown every weekend to prepare for the CLP, announce it during the mass, and invite participants. We returned regularly to give some of the talks, join the service team, and lead the team’s service meetings. on 10 December, seven couples and four handmaids completed the program. They were dedicated and they signed their covenant and joined the Lord’s Day celebration. By this time, over a dozen CFC members had returned and served as members of the CLP service team. The CFC community in Unisan has been revived! my mother, Paz Abuel Uriarte, 97 years and 11 months old, completed the CLP with 100% attendance. She is perhaps the oldest member of the CFC community worldwide and certainly the oldest to complete the program. my sister, Letty Uriarte Ablaña, 67 years old, also completed the CLP, missing only one session. Before returning to manila that weekend, we left our Tagalog Bible with my mother because she wanted to immediately start her daily Bible reading using the one-year Bible Daily Reading guide distributed during Dedication. This is god’s most precious gift to us this Christmas. When Jesus, the son of mary and the brother of James, returned to his hometown, he was greeted with unbelief. When we returned to our hometown early this year, we were confronted with the information that the CFC community had practically disappeared. But with god’s grace, we were led to three couples in Unisan who, unlike the unbelieving people in nazareth, believed that it was possible to revive the CFC community. They only needed someone to lead. They only needed modest financial resources to organize and conduct the Christian Life Program. Soon we were able to link them up with CFC Quezon. Then support came from CFC communities of neighboring towns of Atimonan, Tayabas and Agdangan. And as the CLP sessions progressed, more and more CFC members came forward to join the service team. By the end of the CLP, a total of 24 persons had rejoined the community. Although Jesus did not perform too many great deeds in nazareth, he allowed miracles to happen in Unisan. it was truly a miracle that my 97-year old mother was able to complete the CLP without getting sick or indisposed even once for the entire duration of the eight-week program. For each session, she would walk from her house and climb the stairs to the second floor venue. She would sit through the weekly four-hour sessions without fail. She would join the group discussions and even dance a bit and raise her hands during worship. indeed, the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has finally called my mother to the community of the Son of mary, Couples for Christ.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 1
January 2 - 15, 2012



By Joe Yamamoto

(EDITOR’S Note: This is the first in a two-part series related to the recently concluded Holy Land pilgrimage participated in by more than 250 CFC members from the Philippines and some countries abroad. This traces the sequential events of Jesus’ life as they occurred in many parts of Egypt, Galilee and what is now modern Israel. These are the sites that the pilgrims visited and where they meditated on the events that happened there. The author acknowledges that the visits to the holy sites stirred in the pilgrims a deep interest in the Bible, understanding Jesus’ ministry and ultimately developing a deeper relationship with God.) The just completed Holy Land pilgrimage has opened up for our community a wonderful opportunity to develop a keener interest in understanding scriptural foundation. it is only when we understand the foundations of our faith that we can begin to deepen it. A good way to do this is by studying the sequential unfolding of events in the gospel. Several Catholic and Christian authors, some of whom will be

Harmonizing The Gospels
mentioned in this article, have referred to this as “Harmonizing the gospels.” Current information are gleaned from many sources, since at the time of Jesus, nobody was keeping a chronicle of the dates and events at that time. Thus, it is inevitable that there are some differences in the experts’ calculation of the time of the events; reasonable references will be made to account for the seeming discrepancy. more importantly, the pilgrim (and by this i mean not just the person who personally travels to israel to the roots of our faith but someone who embarks on a personal spiritual journey) should gain a clearer idea or understanding of the many important events that happened in israel relating to Jesus, his life and times, the miracles he wrought, the apostles and other occasions that would serve to strengthen his faith and deepen his beliefs. A good example of the wide range of estimates of dates is the birth of Christ. Catholic references, Christian authors, early Church fathers, commentaries and analyses by greek and Roman historians provide a range from 7 BC to 6 AD. Today, most experts accept the window of 4to 1 BC. What is most important is the belief in the reality of the birth of Christ, the god incarnate, the Redeemer whose birth was foretold by the prophecies in the old Testament. Understanding Biblical Chronology The gospel authors (matthew, mark and Luke) provided the narrative (and the chronological) basis of Jesus’s life. The three gospels have a great deal of material in common -- the incidents are often in the same order, and sometimes the same words are used to describe events. The works of matthew, mark and Luke have thus been referred to as the Synoptic gospels (from the greek ‘synopsis’, meaning ‘view together’). Historically, the first gospel written was that of mark, which basically came to be written under the direct guidance of Peter. Luke 3 mentioned that Tiberius became Roman emperor in 14 A.D. after the death of Augustus Caesar on August 19 of the same year. The beginnings of the public ministry of Jesus started “in the fifteenth year of Tiberius.” Depending on the reference used, the birth of Christ has been estimated to be between 4 BC and 1 BC. Using this information, the public ministry of Jesus can be situated in the fall of 28 A.D. at which time Jesus left nazareth, the town where He grew up and went to Bethabara for His baptism by John the Baptist. Thereafter, Jesus wandered in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights where he was tempted by Satan at the mount of Temptation. The changing of water into wine at the marriage in Cana is the first miracle performed by Christ and by that time He was “about thirty years of age” (Luke 3:23). According to most sources, this event would be situated in the spring of 29 AD. From there, He moved to Capernaum where he ‘established’ his base of operations. During the time of the Passover in Jerusalem, the Pharisee nicodemus came to Jesus by night. That encounter gave rise to the most famous bible verse about the need to be born again: “ For god so loved the

world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that all those who believe in Him might not perish but might have eternal life” ( John 3:16) in winter of 29 AD, our Lord met the Samaritan woman at the Jacob’s well in Sycar (Shechem) and gave the Water of Life discourse (John 4:6). Sometime later, He went back to Cana and healed the son of a royal official. There was a recorded healing at the Bethesda Pool. Spring 30 AD- By this period John the Baptist was already in prison in Jerusalem. meanwhile, Jesus progressively worked on His public ministry. At the synagogue in His hometown of nazareth, Jesus read from the scroll and quoted isaiah 61 about ‘ bringing glad tidings to the poor’ and that He is the fulfillment of that prophecy (Luke 4). We know that his townspeople were so scandalized and very displeased that they tried to throw him off a cliff. Leaving nazareth, He went back to Capernaum, his base for ministry. This was the time frame when Jesus called the four fishermen, two sets of brothers, to become

his disciples - Andrew, Peter, John and James. Their memorable encounter at the shores of Lake galilee led to their extraordinary commissioning as Fishers of men. While in Capernaum, Jesus healed the mother-in- law of Peter and an unnamed leper. Summer 30 AD- While at Capernaum, He healed a paralytic. Around this period, matthew the Tax Collector was called (Luke 5). Jesus and his disciples enraged the religious authorities when they picked grain on the Sabbath and ate it. on another Sabbath, Jesus healed the man with the withered hand (Luke 6). His fame and reputation continued to grow in the region (galilee). The inspiring Sermon on the mount was delivered at this time (Luke 6, matt.5-7). Around this time as well, Jesus healed the centurion’s servant. (Next issue: Events in Jesus’ life occurring in the fall of 30 AD and culminating in the Passion Week in the spring of 32 AD.)

CFC metro manila West C: “Sweet Silver”
celebration filled with pure fun and laughter. The anniversary kicked off with the offering of the Holy Sacrifice LAST november 27, 2011, a sweet reun- of the mass at 8 a.m. indeed, it was ion of old friends and new friends took a very fitting tribute to the Lord for place in miriam College. it was the day blessing the community with 25 years. CFC metro manila West C celebrated Praise and worship immediately folits 25th anniversary lowed, led by mon Carpio, one of the The day was significant because “pioneers” of CFC West C. there were none of the usual talks in the company of current CFC West and long introductions, but simply a C sector leaders Steve and minnie maningat were “old faces,” now with FFL, who graciously agreed to grace the occasion -- Felix and Vicky Zano; Frank and myrna Puruganan; Ed and Brenda Viola; Boy and Edna Alvarez; Lito gabriel; mar Soriano; Shirley Florentino and Edna Dela Cruz. They were West C Sector Head Steve Maningat and wife Minnie with Executive Director seen exchanging Melo Villaroman, Jr and wife Nini. pleasantries with

By Cecile Ama

CFC Executive Director melo Villaroman and his wife, nini, who came to grace the celebration. Also present were former West C leaders oscar and Tess Tagulinao; gandie Carpio; and Delfy geraldez. The usual showcase of CFC talents followed. First off was the “praise and fashion parade,” which showcased the story and evolution of CFC in West C, presented by various CFC families; Handmaids of the Lord members and their daughters; Youth for Christ members; and Kids for Christ members with their parents. it was a true testament to the CFC way of life – serving the Lord “from womb to tomb.” next, the six West C clusters performed, with each presentation based on the Legacy Weekend, Braveheart Weekend, Shepherd’s Weekend, Unity Weekend, Ecstacy Weekend and Discovery Weekend respectively. it was a wonderful time to reminisce on the past years of CFC, and a perfect occasion to rekindle and renew relationships, friendships and bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood. immediately after lunch was the

West C leaders pose for posterity.

announcement of the ANCOP raffle winners. Last but not the least was the announcement by CFC West C sector head Steve maningat about the movement for CFC West C in 2012, including its re-organization. it was accepted by all present with great hope and faith.

maningat also announced what god had decided for CFC in West C: 2012 will be the first year of another 25 blessed years. What a sweet way for our Lord to lead us to more years of union and romance with Him through CFC.

Apayao Towns Visited by Combined Surgical/ Ophthalmological/ Dental Mission Team
Pedro, marvin Realiza, and Elen Solis. They were assisted by nurses Baby Lou maquilado, Corton Ang, Sheila Financial, giane Shane magsino and Robert Jimenez and by CFC pastoral workers and leaders Willy Padida (Regional Head for northwestern Luzon, Aaron Lu, Charly olivar, grace Romeo, Danny Lopez, Raymund Bucu, Deng and Lara Lara, Warren isaguirre and maxim Reyes. The mission team was welcomed by CFC Apayao leaders composed of Emil and Cathy galleon from Luna, Boni and Talin gaouira of Flora, Apayao, Ben and Donna Abrera from Sta. marcela, Jonny Elayat from Pudtol, Jenny Aquino, mario Bassig, marcelina Balicat and Edano Patayan. Elma Villanueva was the overseer in the preparations for the three-day mission. Apayao Provincial Area Head Arnel Santos and his wife Bing thanked the mission teams as well as the local government units and other government counterparts who took part in the mission and facilitated all the necessary preparations. They included Apayao governor Elias Bulut, Congresswoman Eleanor Bulut-Begtang, Luna mayor Betty Versola (who took care of all prescreening expenses and transport of patients as well as the food and lodging of the medical doctors and the rest of the team), Flora mayor Efren San Jose, marcela mayor Rolly guiang and Pudtol mayor Batara Laoat (all of whom also took care of prescreening and transport expenses for their constituents). Special thanks was due Dr. Danilo Domingo, Chief of Hospital, Far north Luzon general Hospital and Training Center for allowing the medical mission team free use of hospital facilities and for arranging the lodging of the surgical and medical team.
Shaping / C1

giVE Kare Foundation conducted a surgical/ophthalmological/dental mission in far flung Apayao from December 8 to 11, 2011. The mission was held at the Far north Luzon general Hospital and Training Center

in Luna, Apayao. The mission gathered a large delegation coming from manila led by doctors Joe Yamamoto (CFC iC member and head of the give Kare Foundation, Bernardo Cueto (surgical team coordinator),

Reynaldo maca, Dionisio Lopez, mike de Veyra, noel malamug, Jeremy Zulaybar, Juliet Cruz, Aimee glory Sudario, mikhail Juntado, Pura Caisip, geobert Uyquiengco, Jess Zacate, Alysses Villaluz, oliver Rosales, Jacquelyn San

does good, does it for the right reason.” Fr. mario exhorted that “if your leader is no longer teachable, he should step down. He will destroy your community.” The fifth is that the Christian leader “suffers for being a servant and a prophet for god.” The leader knows that “right is right even if everybody is against it” and “wrong is wrong even if everybody is for it.” Fr. mario enjoined CFC leaders to emulate the Blessed mother, who as god’s servant was “never the bida (the star).” The program concluded with a short workshop during which CFC leaders identified the topmost qualities of a CFC leader. Emerging as top desirable qualities were: faithfulness, prayerful attitude, humility, obedience, servanthood and witnessing as a role model. The lecture is the first in a series of offerings that the Program aims to bring down to the leadership.

The medical mission team prays before performing surgery and finally thanks God for a successful mission.


By Sonny Aguiling

Parejas Para Cristo in Guayaquil, Ecuador
is hot and generally humid throughout the year with little variation in average temperatures. The Church and CFC in Guayaquil guayaquil has a cathedral and many Roman Catholic churches. Approximately 80% of guayaquileños are Catholics. Couples for Christ (Parejas para Cristo) is privileged to have been officially recognized by the Archdiocese of Ecuador. The November Mission Trip to Guayaquil on november 16, Sonny and Luis arrived in guayaquil. Jorge had arrived one day earlier. The team met with the nuncio of north guayaquil, Fr. Alfonso Aviles Perez, who gave them a list of parishes under his responsibility (over 50). Fr. Perez authorized the team to contact these parishes. Fr. Perez is also the pastor of Santa Teresita del nino Jesus in Samborondón, guayaquil, Ecuador. Samborondón is a suburb of guayaquil and one of the cantons of guayas province in Ecuador. it is one of the most exclusive residential and entertainment districts in Ecuador, boasting many gated communities (urbanizaciones cerradas), and several retail developments are located in the suburb. it is very close to guayaquil itself (you get there by merely crossing a bridge). Between november 18 and 20, a CFC Christian Life Program (Programa Vida Cristiana) was conducted at San Juan Bautista Church, Los Esteros, guayaquil, Ecuador. We were blessed to have Padre Diego Solano introduce CFC to his parishioners. The orientation night was attended by 100 parishioners, with 24 individuals completing the whole CLP, composed of seven CFC couples; four Handmaids of the Lord; four Singles for Christ; and two YFC members. Prior to the CLP proper, Luis Paez taught the music ministry members CFC songs in Spanish. All the music ministry members (who were initially non-CFC members) were able to finish the CLP and also become community members. The new set of leaders for the CFC community in guayaquil are as follows: CFC - Carlos and Charito Jarrin; HoLD – ibara Ruiz; SFC – marjorie Pisco Acebo and Paola Sanchez; YFC – Francisco Vera. CFC guayaquil has Father Diego Solano as their spiritual adviser. Fr. Solano has approved the use of the church hall facilities of San


CBCP Monitor

January 2 - 15, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 1

FRom november 16 to 24, 2011, a Couples for Christ (CFC) mission team, composed of Jose Sonny Aguiling, Regional Coordinator of CFC South America; Luis Paez, missionary for CFC (or Parejas para Cristo in Spanish) in South America; and Jorge Sarmiento, of CFC in guayaquil, Ecuador; conducted a mission trip to guayaquil as a “response to god’s vision of grace.” About Guayaquil guayaquil (pronounced: [gwaja’kil]), officially Santiago de Guayaquil, is the largest and most populous city in Ecuador, with about 2.3 million inhabitants in the city and nearly 3.1 million in the metropolitan area, as well as the nation’s main port. guayaquil is also the city with the highest rate of underemployment (about 40% of the economically active population) and unemployment (about 11% of the economically active population) of Ecuador. guayaquil has city partnerships with miami, Florida, USA and Houston, Texas, USA (1987). The climate in guayaquil, Ecuador

Christmas with the Cornerstone Kids

Juan Bautista Church for future CFC CLPs, meetings and assemblies. Aside from the CLP, the mission team members also met Auxiliary Bishop marco, who represented monsignor Antonio Arregui Yarza, Archbishop of guayaquil, Ecuador, who was not available at that time. Bishop marco welcomed CFC to do its work with parishes in guayaquil, Ecuador. The team also had a meeting at the Consulado de Filipinas (Philippine Consulate) with the Philippine Consul of guayaquil, Ecuador, Corazon olivaReyes, and her husband, Aurelio Reyes. We informed them of the presence of CFC in guayaquil. There are very few Filipinos in guayaquil. it was truly a blessed time for the team members, who felt God affirming the earlier welcome message given by msgr. Antonio Arregui Yarza, Archbishop of guayaquil, Ecuador throughout the entire trip: “Due to the approval of the Couples for Christ statutes from the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Archdiocese of guayaquil is pleased to allow you to develop your charism among our faithful.” Truly, god is using CFC and its charism to touch the lives of people in Ecuador. Viva Jesus!

AnCoP USA Launches Health Program
By ANCOP Communications USA
AnCoP USA has launched a third project, known as the “Health Program.” This was announced by Tony Ventura, AnCoP USA President and CEo. “Starting next year, in addition to the Child Sponsorship Program (CSP) and Community Development Program (CDP), AnCoP-USA projects will include the Health Program that will support the surgical mission of AnCoP Tekton in the Philippines,” Ventura announced. It was clarified however that sending medical missions is not part of the AnCoP USA Health Program. Rather, the program will focus on raising funds and looking for donors of medicines and surgical instruments that will be sent to AnCoP Tekton, the donee institution in manila. The funds and donated items will be turned over by AnCoP to CFC give Kare, the implementor of the AnCoP health program. give Kare regularly send surgical teams that treat patients around the Philippines. The AnCoP Health Program also takes care of AnCoP scholars. one objective of the program is to ensure that AnCoP scholars in the Philippines are in excellent health. on the whole, the Program aims to support and promote a culture of health consciousness in poor communities by advocating and implementing good health practices such as hygiene, nutrition and preventive health care, leading to a healthy lifestyle for the entire family. Elizabeth macaraeg, an active AnCoP USA volunteer and CFC leader in new Jersey, has been designated national coordinator of AnCoP U.S.A.’s Health Program.

CFC Basilan on its 15th Anniversary
By Sherryl de Leon
CoRnERSTonE, CFC’s educational program, is one of the greatest gifts that god has blessed our community with this year. Truly, this project has led our brethren to share more of their time, talent and treasure, and to become a blessing to our young brothers and sisters in the public schools. This Christmas season, as a way of thanking god for all the blessings that He has given us during the entire year, and especially for the blessing of this project, Cornerstone volunteers participated in the Christmas parties in the 15 different public elementary schools and high schools in Quezon City and Paranaque that are already part of the program. The parties were held at various times from December 12 to 18, leaving the volunteers somewhat frazzled in the preparations but happy in the knowledge that they have shared of themselves with others, especially in the partner schools. The volunteers felt god’s overflowing generosity through the different activities that they had with the children in the Cornerstone project – making Christmas cards, role-playing the nativity, and sharing in the fun and laughter of the Christmas parties for the children and their families. According to the volunteers, “Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces gave us so much joy, knowing that through our small actions, we had made a big difference in their lives, by god’s grace. Watching them play games; unwrap their gifts; eat their party meals; and portray the nativity Story in different forms; we were affirmed that they were able to experience the true reason for the season – Jesus!” As one the volunteers affirmed that “This project has given us the reason to be more generous and loving, and to experience Christ with the children. it also challenges us to do more and help the children out there who need to know Christ and get a good education - so that they can have a future full of hope - one that will bring their families to experience the fullness of life in Christ.” DESPiTE the recent violence and bombings in Basilan, particularly in Lamitan City, CFC held a joyful celebration of their 15th anniversary as a community. guest of honor was CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca. Ricky Cuenca, Basilan Provincial Area Head Joseph Paltingca and wife and other members of the Area governance Team of Zamboanga City arrived in isabela City on December 3, 2011 and immediately proceeded to Lamitan City, about 29 kilometers south of isabela City. They linked up with the “Armor of god Caravan” of the isabela and Sta. Clara group, about 9 kilometers away from Lamitan City. The anniversary program started with the opening praise and worship led by Provincial Area Director Lito Araneta. After the welcome address given by the representative of City mayor of Lamitan, City Administrator Danilo Alvaro, simple presentations by the different chapters and ministries followed. CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca, in his anniversary message, congratulated the CFC community in Basilan for their faithful commitment and perseverance to spread god’s Word, in spite of the precarious peace and order situation in the area. He likewise commended CFC Basilan for their oneness with the local church, by supporting the parishes and having good relationship with the priests, clergy, and nuns including the bishop. He announced CFC’s theme for 2012:“Proclaim the greatness of the Lord”(Luke 1:46) and emphasized CFC’s three main thrusts in 2012: 1) growing in holiness, by faithfulness to our household meetings and covenant, daily celebration of the Eucharist and being one with the church; 2) building the church of the Home: Family and individual renewal through CLPs, youth camps or iKVs, and by striving to double its strength next year through on-Fire Evangelization; and 3) Work with the Poor through AnCoP and other Social ministries. After the presentation, a “fiesta style lunch” followed. The parish priest of St. Peter Parish of Lamitan City, Fr. Jose Roel Casas, Sis Segunda Wate, the Claret High School Directress, and some members of the PnP and Special Forces of the Army and some visitors shared the lunch with the CFC members. Bishop martin S. Jumoad presided over the Eucharistic celebration after lunch, with Fr. Jose Roel Casas concelebrating.

CFC Isabela Celebrates 15 Years of God’s Goodness
By Evelyn Ylagan
CFC isabela celebrated its 15th anniversary last november 19, beginning with a motorcade around Cauayan City, and a concelebrated Anniversary mass at the historic our Lady of the Pillar Parish. giving support to the day-long celebration were CFC Executive Director (ED) melo Villaroman and his wife nini, together with Board of Elders member Ding Aguinaldo, and Regional Head and isabela Provincial Area Head Eric Ylagan, with his wife Evelyn. The mass was concelebrated by isabela Bishop Joseph nacua and five other priests from the diocese. in his homily, Bishop nacua extolled the virtues of Jesus as a good shepherd and follower. He exhorted CFC members that while one exercises leadership in the community, he must first be an obedient follower as Jesus was to god the Father. After the mass, the annual cooking contest was held with fifteen groups participating. Judges for the cookfest were Ding Aguinaldo, nini Villaroman and Evelyn Ylagan. The program, hosted by SFC leaders, began with welcome remarks from isabela AnCoP Head Amang Roxas, who greeted and welcomed the guests and participants. Thereafter, the various ministries showed off their talents with a muslim dance (HoLD), tango and salsa (YFC) presentation, and some song numbers. in the afternoon, melo Villaroman delivered the anniversary message, which centered on next year’s theme: “Proclaim the greatness of the Lord” (Luke 1:46-55). He stressed the need for every member to be “on fire in spreading the good news.” He explained the meaning of the acronym “on Fire,” starting off with being “one with Christ and oneness with the Catholic Church,” and concluding with having an “effective governance and stewardship (of god-given resources). ” in his message, Eric Ylagan reminded the CFC members of the significance of being god’s servants by citing the “Parable of the Talents.” He encouraged CFC members to look beyond their present service and to be prepared to serve as missionaries outside their comfort zones. Following the anniversary messages, the different ministries and area clusters performed lively dance and song numbers, which completely entertained the crowd, followed by the much-awaited raffle of prizes. in the evening, everyone was treated to a spectacular show of pyrotechnics, which ended the day-long anniversary celebration.

Leaders from Manila (starting from 5th from right) Melo and Nini Villaroman, Evelyn and Eric Ylagan and Ding Aguinaldo pose with Isabela leaders.

CFC ED melo Villaroman and company took time to conduct other activities during their visit to northeastern Luzon. These included meetings with the governance teams of nueva Vizcaya (november 18) and Kalinga (november 20). in Kalinga, Bishop Prudencio Andaya Jr. cited the significant contribution that CFC missionaries can make to the diocese, singling out and thanking fulltime young couple missionaries Ruel and maan Aguirre for their dedicated service to the diocese.

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