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Year of Faith is Pope’s response to ‘profound crisis’
Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
CBCP calls for speedy impeachment trial
THE Catholic hierarchy has called for a speedy resolution of the impeachment trial against Chief Justice Renato Corona to bring back the government’s focus to the people. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines stressed that while they support government’s campaign against corruption, it must not also forget its obligations to the Filipinos. “We hope that the process will redound to the common good,” said Cebu Archbishop
CBCP official fears RH bill railroad, urges vigilance
A CATHOLIC Church official has called for vigilance as he feared that the passage of the reproductive health (RH) bill might be fasttracked at the Lower House. Fr. Melvin Castro raised the possibility that the measure be railroaded “similar” to the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona by allies of the Aquino administration in Congress. “We are not sure how the impeachment passed with 188 votes and without any discussion. That same thing can happen to the
Impeachment / A6
CBCP seeks review of mining, logging laws
By Roy Lagarde
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
Vigilance / A6
Sendong’s victims slowly moving to safe areas – bishop
WHILE relief goods still come in trickles, the evacuees from the December 17 tragedy can look forward to living in safer places as government, international agencies and the Catholic Church have worked together. They are in the process of identifying who among “Sendong” victims should be relocated first. “The evacuees are now moving to temporary shelters but we need more space and identify the relocation sites,” Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said. Ledesma said school officials in Cagayan de Oro allayed the evacuees’ fears they would soon be evicted from public schools’ facilities to give way to school pupils. “The evacuees were told they can stay in public school facilities until they find safer places to stay,” he added. He explained social preparations for their eventual transfer to safer places are being made. Aside from material help, Ledesma said the evacuees also need community organizing for their new homes and transitional areas. Over in Iligan City, Bishop Elenito Galido said President Benigno Aquino III came over recently and was informed by the city government that an area comprising over 15.99 hectares will be used to build some 1,500 homes. “We need at least 5,000 houses for the homeless,” Galido said. He explained the Catholic Church donated some three hectares enough for three hundred homes. The evacuees will get into the selection process to identifying the poorest who will qualify for the program. The evacuees who will move to the Church property will be given the chance to buy the property in 25 years. However, they will not be given the opportunity to sell, lease or rent out their homes and their lots. “A memorandum of understanding will be made between the Diocese of Iligan and the evacuees with the end in view of giving them the chance to buy the property after 25 years,” Galido said. The prelates made the statement at the sidelines of the ongoing plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in Manila. (Melo M. Acuna/CBCPNews)
THE CATHOLIC Bishops’ Conference of the Phi l i p p i n e s ( C B C P) called on the Aquino administration to review its policy on mining and logging, especially their impact on the ecology.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, said such move is important to prevent a repeat of environment-related tragedies that occurred recently which claimed hundreds of lives. “We take the occasion to make an appeal particularly to the authorities concerned that our prayer and appeal is to make a serious revisit of many of our laws like our logging laws and practices as well as mining laws and development plans,” said Palma. “The events that happened in the previous months should lead us to be truly serious about our mining and logging laws and the like,” he said. Palma made the statement during a press conference marking the end of the 104th plenary assembly of the bishops’ collegial body on January 30. According to him, recent tragedies such as flooding and landslides were also caused by negligence of humans. “With many lamentable calamities, certainly there is the dimension of natural perspective… (but) very simple analysis show that there are human factors, which can be corrected with regards to mining, logging laws, especially with the implementation,” he said. Last December, strong typhoon wrought havoc over Mindanao with its heavy rainfall resulting to massive flash floods and the death of 1,257 people and 85 others missing.
Earlier this month, some 25 people were also killed during a landslide that occurred in a mining site in Compostela Valley. The CBCP had long been appealing on the government to repeal the Mining Act as well as for an end to illegal logging in the country. Tourism, not mining Echoing similar call, Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo said Palawan province’s tourism industry must be developed rather than exhaust its natural resources in mining operations. Arigo said the inclusion of Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in the New 7 Wonders of Nature is a good indication that tourism is the better way to generate income and provide employment. He stressed that mining operations in Palawan, though it may offer some temporary employment, threatens to destroy their most precious resources: water and soil. “We don’t need mining because tourism alone, using the pristine beauty of nature of Palawan creates livelihood for the people without destroying the environment,” Arigo said. He added that the Church and other organizations will continue its campaign against mining and other threats to the environment. “Mining operations there are ongoing. It’s just sad to say that our enemy (in this fight) is the government,” according to him. Arigo made the statement after Bernard Weber, president of the New 7 Wonders based in Zurich, Switzerland, officially announced that the PPUR is among the world’s seven new wonders of nature.
Mining / A6
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, prays with Papal nuncio Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto during the 104th CBCP plenary assembly at the Pius XII Center in Manila, 28 January 2012. In his opening remarks, Palma called on his fellow prelates to bring hope to a nation plagued with problems.
Bad economic policies blamed for rising hunger
A CATHOLIC bishop has blamed the government’s economic policy as the culprit behind the rising incidence of hunger in the country. Simply giving people with financial aid is not enough to prevent famine, said Bishop Broderick Pabillo. Instead, he said, the government needs to overhaul the policies that upended the food supply. That is why the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which showed the rising number of Filipinos who are experiencing hunger did not came as a surprise for the prelate. One problem, according to him, is the Aquino administration’s lack of concrete programs to address the issue.
Hunger / A6
CBCP head: Church must bring hope to country beset by social, political problems
CHURCH leaders are called to bring hope to the country marked by calamities, social problems and political chaos, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said. Under the “dark clouds and in the midst of poverty and suffering”, CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged his fellow prelates to “own and declare that there is hope.” “As bishops, we are to give people a reason for living and hoping,” said Palma in his speech during the opening of the 104th CBCP plenary assembly on January 28, 2012 at the Pope Pius XII Center in Manila. “It is not a wishful thinking but a well-grounded hope when we expect of blessings and good things to come,” he said. The Church official spoke about the thousands of people who died and hundreds of houses swept away in Iligan, Cagayan de Oro and Dumaguete due to Typhoon Sendong last December. Aside from the natural calamities, there are also a lot of other factors that cause untold pain and suffering to the Filipinos, according to him. He cited the reality of graft and corruption, unemployment and unabated devastation of forests and seas which “led to poverty and related problems.” Palma also cited the “obvious confrontations among the main branches of our government” which “make us wish we are not stuck up in pinning down the guilty but instead we are now marching and collaborating with each other in implementing laws and programs that bring
Problems / A6
Expert slams RH bill’s sex ed provision
THE concept of comprehensive sex education, which has been carried out in many Western countries and is being proposed as part of the reproductive health (RH) bill is based on the fraudulent claims of a psychopath scientist who, in turn, based his data on pedophiles and sex offenders in jail, divulged media forensics expert Judith Reisman, Ph.D. Speaking to a crowd of hundreds at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum Tent in Pasay City, the Jewish American researcher held the audience’s attention with slide upon slide of an entire timeline detailing the profound changes in society after the so-called “father of sexology,” American entomologist and zoologist Dr. Alfred Kinsey released in 1948 and 1953 bogus scientific research studies on human sexuality. That a pseudoscientific “psychopath” manipulated his findings by basing his data on pedophiles and sex offenders in jail is no longer news, Kinsey’s research having long been discredited. But the repercussions of this are hardly being talked about, particularly how governments and the media, scientific, and academic establishments have actually swallowed
Sex Ed / A6
Church wants Pacquiao as its ‘Bible ambassador’
THE Catholic Church has got a new job for congressman and boxing champ Manny Pacquiao— as ‘Bible ambassador.’ No other than the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines made the announcement on Monday as they ended their 104th plenary assembly in Manila. Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo David said they are tapping Pacquiao, world’s current poundfor-pound king and Sarangani rep-
© Roy Lagarder / CBCP Media
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, leads on Jan. 23 the launching of the book “Mindoro Campaign: Protecting Island Ecology, Defending People’s Rights”, which is intended to ramp up their fight against “destructive” mining in the country.
Ambassador / A7
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
resentative, in strengthening the Church’s Biblical apostolate in the country. According to him, Pacquiao likes reading the Bible and making him as the
© Roy Lagarder / CBCP Media
Military archbishop: U.S. invasion led to fewer Iraqi Christians
As President Barack Obama withdrew the last U.S. troops from Iraq on Dec. 15, he said they were leaving behind a “sovereign, stable and self-reliant,” country. But there are signs that Iraqi Christians' plight has worsened since then. “At a time of increased political instability, we continue to receive disturbing reports,” said John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need on Jan. 20. He said an attack took place earlier in the month against security personnel outside the residence of Kirkuk's Archbishop Louis Sako. Archbishop Sako, who was indoors at the time, told Aid to the Church in Need that the situation is less stable now that U.S. troops are gone, with much of the turmoil stemming from the power struggle between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Pontifex says there is a “ticking bomb regarding Christianity in Iraq.” “Few Christians, no matter how deep their roots are in the local society, feel able to withstand the pressure to leave.” Fear of an attack forced Archbishop Sako to cancel the Chaldean Catholics' midnight Christmas celebration last month. Services were moved to the daytime, and Christians were warned not to display decorations outside their homes. Nevertheless, it appears that many of the Catholics who fled Iraq would return if safety improved. Monsignor John Kozar, president of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, recently spoke of the “strong determination” some Iraqi Catholics have to go back home. He recently visited Jordan, where many Christians from Iraq now reside. “I think they have a yearning to return to the homeland, and that homeland for them means practicing their Chaldean-rite Christianity,” the monsignor said. “That has become very, very important to them.” (CNA)
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
International Day of Prayer for Peace in Holy Land
ROME, Italy, Jan. 28, 2012—At least 2500 cities around the world will participate tomorrow in the IV International Day of Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land, an initiative launched by youth groups and Eucharistic adoration groups, involving over time the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Custody of the Holy Land. The Day is promoted by various realities of young people: the National Association Papaboys (www. papaboys.it); the Apostolate “Youth For Life” (www.youthfl.org); the chapels of perpetual adoration throughout Italy and around the world; Eucharistic Gathering groups (www.adorazione.org), the Association for the promotion of extraordinary prayer for all the churches for reconciliation, unity and peace, beginning with Jerusalem. Many of their representatives will be present tomorrow at the Angelus with the Pope in St Peter’s Square. Others will commemorate the theme of the day during mass and take part in Eucharistic adoration. Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace, has sent a message to mark the event to the young people who will pray for Christian unity and peace in the Holy Land. In it he stresses that “young people are and can be a resource for peace .... The period of your youth is the season of life where you look with enthusiasm to the great values that today, unfortunately, seem to be very weak: truth, freedom, justice, love, brotherhood ... I thank you for showing the world the active, beautiful and young face of the Church of Christ. “ Marking the Day, tomorrow morning beginning at 6am in Jerusalem, Mass will be celebrated at the altar of Calvary, in the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, sent a greeting to the young people: “... I welcome the fourth International Day of Prayer for peace in the Holy Land. An event that enriches this month of shared reflection on the Gift we have just received, and invites us to overcome every division, to give thanks to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (the theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity).” (AsiaNews)
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio
ROME, Italy, Jan. 28, 2012—U.S. Military Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio says the collapse of Iraq’s Christian population is among the legacies of America's invasion in 2003. “Yes, you can say in a certain sense that the invasion of Iraq did provoke this tremendous diminution of the Christian population in that country. And what the future holds, that still remains to be seen,” the archbishop for the armed forces told CNA during his visit to Rome on Jan. 16. His comments come only a month after the final pull-out of U.S. troops from Iraq, where they remained following the invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. Aid agencies estimate that over the course of eight years, the Catholic population of Iraq fell from over 800,000, to less than 150,000 now. Archbishop Broglio believes Catholicism suffered after the invasion because of a perceived closeness to its previous ruler. He said Saddam Hussein tended “to trust Catholics, and gave them positions of responsibility.” One prominent Iraqi Catholic was Hussein’s Foreign Minister Tarik Aziz. And even if Catholics “weren’t particularly part of the regime, they became identified with the regime,” Archbishop Broglio said. “Before, they were a minority that was protected, but now they are a minority that is not protected.”
Religions meet in Jakarta for the Week of harmony
JAKARTA, Indonesia, Jan. 28, 2012—A major event will take place in February in the wide spaces of the 'Indonesian Parliament House (DPR) in Senayan, Central Jakarta. It is entitled: "World Interfaith Harmony Week." This year, the Indonesian Inter-religious Council (IRC) will organize the event, founded by the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, September 23, 2010, during the UN General Assembly in New York. The Secretary of "Religions for Peace in Indonesia," Theophilus Bela, told AsiaNews that several meetings will take place during the event. On February 5, will be an open discussion with young interfaith activists, and this forum will be held at the headquarters of the second largest Islamic organization in the country, Muhammadiyah in central Jakarta. On February 10, the Indonesian Parliament House will host participants in a ceremony where some trees will be planted for peace. February 12th, a long list of protagonists in interreligious dialogue will give interventions and reflections. All major religious organizations attended the event: the Indonesian Muslim Council (MUI), the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI), the Protestant Christian Synod (PGI), the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Muhammadiyah, the Hindu organization Parisadha Hindu Dharma, The Indo-
Vatican official backs call for transaction tax
Cardinal Peter Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has declared his support for a tax on financial transactions. The cardinal voiced his support during his recent address to the annual board of directors meeting of the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE), an international alliance of Catholic development agencies based in Brussels. “One way of bringing economics and finance back within the boundaries of their real vocation, including their social function, would be through taxation measures on financial transactions,” he told the directors. (Zenit)
Pope tells what’s most important on path to priesthood
nesian Buddhist community (Walubi) and the Indonesian High Council Kongchu. Indonesia has long been shaken by incidents of violence
against Christian minorities and Ahmadis, although the majority of the population practice a moderate form of Islam. (AsiaNews)
Benedict XVI says the most important thing on the journey toward the priesthood and in priestly life is a personal relationship with God in Christ. The Pontiff also emphasized that the study of theology must be connected with the life of prayer. “It is important,” he said, “that the seminarian well understands that the object that he applies himself to is in fact a ‘Subject’ who calls to him, that Lord who spoke to him, inviting him to spend his life in service to God and to his brothers.” (Zenit)
News.va to open French, Portuguese editions
Catholic creates multi-faith community
of harmony), a hamlet comprising 34 homes, in Muragoli, near Mangalore. Correa yesterday handed over house keys to 11 Hindu, 11 Catholic, nine Muslim and three Protestant families during a special ceremony. He said the families were chosen through a lucky draw involving nearly 650 applicants. Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of Mangalore, who blessed the houses, hailed Correa’s gesture as a “model message” to those trying to divide people along religious lines. The prelate said peace and harmony used to prevail in Karnataka until about 10 years ago. “But in recent years the state has become a land of mutual hatred and attacks.” Karnataka, in the south of the country, has seen several attacks on Christians by
The www.news.va Web site will soon be available in French and Portuguese, announced Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli. A year after its birth, the site, which brings together Vatican news sources, is already available in Italian, English and Spanish. Visits to the Vatican news site come from some 180 countries worldwide. Archbishop Celli said that the vast majority of news.va contacts come from social networks: 65% from Facebook, and about 30% from Twitter. (Zenit)
Vatican corruption charges ‘well beyond reality’
The official Vatican spokesman says an Italian television broadcast claiming to disclose financial corruption at the Vatican exaggerated the situation. Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., questioned the “debatable” journalistic methods employed in the broadcast’s “diffusion of private documents.” The information in the program stretched “well beyond reality,” he said in a Jan. 26 statement, adding that “the general situation of the government is not as negative as they want to make people believe.” Accusations of financial mismanagement in the Vatican were broadcast Jan. 25 on a prominent Italian television network in a show entitled “Gli intoccabili.” (CNA)
Bethlehem university takes concerns to Vatican
MANGALORE, India, Jan. 27, 2012—A Catholic businessman marked India’s Republic Day yesterday by establishing a small community in a Karnataka state village for poor people from different religions. “Poverty has no caste or creed barriers. Similarly, values of caring and sharing have no religious borders,” said Eric Correa, founder of Sauharda Nagara (village
right-wing Hindu groups during the past few years. Correa said he decided to establish the community after becoming frustrated with the tension existing among people on account of religion. “If poor families could come together they would be better disposed to share and care for each other,” he explained. Correa, who runs an electrical generator business, has spent 30 million rupees on the project. He said he plans to build 64 houses in another village soon. He said he had experienced “an internal call of conscience” to help the homeless. Rohidas Kulal, a Hindu beneficiary, expressed happiness that he can now live under his own roof. He said he had been living in a rented room with his wife and two children. Ashiq Mohammad, a Muslim resident, said religious divisions have made people forget how to relate to other others. He said the hamlet will help its residents live in harmony. “When one is sick or meets with an accident no one will look at their religion,” he added. (UCAN)
Indian bishops for a ‘better indication,’ against bigotry against secularization
MUMBAI, India, Jan. 28, 2012— “The role of the Church for a better indication” is the title of the 30th Meeting of the general body of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), which will be held from 1 to 8 February at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore (Karnataka). The meeting, held every two years, will bring together more than 160 Catholic bishops of the three rites in the country: Latin, Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara. The sessions will be attended by personalities such as Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace” and other Indian scholars. The purpose of the meeting will be the discussion and the search for new strategies and policies to spread the Gospel values in Indian society and offer them as an answer to the problems caused by secularization, religious fanaticism and the economic crisis. Among the issues of greatest importance will be the evangelization of young people and the violence against Christians by Hindu and Muslim extremists. (AsiaNews)
The Israeli-built wall between Jerusalem and the West Bank is deterring staff and students from attending Bethlehem Catholic University, officials from the school say. “We lose students but we also lose faculty who have been teaching at the University and who come from Jerusalem but don´t want to go through that humiliation every day,” Brother Jack Curran, the university’s Vice President for Development, said Jan. 18 during a two-day visit to Rome. “The young people are very resilient and are willing to put up with a lot but it does concern us for the future,” he said. (CNA)
Cardinal Peter Turkson
Vol. 16 No. 3
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Year of Faith is Pope’s response to ‘profound crisis’
VATICAN City, Jan. 27, 2012—The upcoming 20122013 “Year of Faith” seeks to awaken humanity at a critical moment, Pope Benedict XVI said as he addressed the Church’s highest doctrinal office on Jan. 27. “In vast areas of the earth the faith risks being extinguished, like a flame without fuel,” the Pope told assembled members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who met in a plenary session on Friday. “We are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of a religious sense which represents one of the greatest challenges for the Church today.” Pope Benedict hopes the Year of Faith, which will run from Oct. 11, 2012 to Nov. 24, 2013, will contribute “to restoring God’s presence in this world, and to giving man access to the faith, enabling him to entrust himself to the God who, in Jesus Christ, loved us to the end.” “The renewal of faith,” the Pope announced, “must, then, be a priority for the entire Church in our time.” His remarks to the doctrinal congregation came two days after the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Pope spoke about the quest to reunite all Christians, as he acknowledged that ecumenical efforts had not always served to strengthen believers’ faith. Along with the “many good fruits that have emerged from ecumenical dialogue,” there are also “risks of indifference and of false irenicism” – which give the appearance of unity, without regard for truth. In today’s world, the Pope observed, there is an “increasingly widespread” perception “that truth is not accessible to man, and that, therefore, we must limit ourselves to finding rules to improve this world.” “In this scenario,” he noted, “faith comes to be replaced by a shallowrooted moralism,” which can cause the dialogue between Christian groups to become superficial. “By contrast, the core of true ecumenism is faith, in which man encounters the truth revealed in the Word of God.” Pope Benedict told officials of the doctrine congregation, the office he led before his election to the papacy, that controversial issues cannot be downplayed or ignored in talks between the Catholic Church and other Christian churches and communities. Matters of faith and morals, he said, “must be faced courageously, while always maintaining a spirit of frater-
Christian divisions, including on morality, weaken witness, pope says
VATICAN City, Jan. 18, 2012—Divisions among Christians, including on moral issues, weakens their credibility and their ability to respond to the spiritual yearning of many men and women today, Pope Benedict XVI said. While "there is more that unites us than divides us" on the basic tenets of faith—belief in Christ, the son of God and savior of humanity— "divisions remain and regard many practical and ethical questions, giving rise to confusion and mistrust, weakening our ability to transmit the saving word of Christ," Pope Benedict said Jan. 18 at his weekly general audience. With about 8,000 pilgrims and visitors gathered in the Vatican audience hall, Pope Benedict spoke about the importance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Jan. 18-25. The lack of a united voice and united witness poses a huge obstacle to the new evangelization, "which would be more fruitful if all Christians proclaimed together the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and gave a common response to the spiritual thirst of our age," the pope said. During his audience talk, Pope Benedict did not mention specific practical or moral issues dividing Christians today, but he has defined as obstacles to unity practices such as the ordination of women and different approaches to moral issues such as homosexuality. The Second Vatican Council placed the search for Christian unity "at the center of the life and work of the church," the pope said, and it did so because it was Christ's desire for his followers and because, practically speaking, it is essential for the full credibility of Christians. "The lack of unity among Christians impedes a more effective proclamation of Christ because it puts our credibility in danger," the pope said. "How can we give a convincing witness if we are divided?" The key to Christian unity isn't simply to have members of different denominations be nice to one another and work together occasionally, he said. "It requires that we reinforce our faith in God, the God of Jesus Christ, who spoke to us and became one of us. It requires entering into a new life in Christ, who is our true and definitive victory. It means opening ourselves to each other, welcoming all the elements of unity that God has preserved for us and gives us constantly. It means feeling the urgency of witnessing to the men and women of our time the living God who has made himself known in Christ," Pope Benedict said. (CNS)
nity and mutual respect … In our dialogues we cannot overlook the great moral questions about human life, the family, sexuality, bioethics, freedom, justice and peace.” By defending the Church’s authentic tradition, he observed, “we defend man and we defend the creation.” (CNA/EWTN News)
Pope emphasizes need for silence in digital world
authentic body of shared knowledge,” he writes. Pope Benedict recommends making this interchange possible by developing “an appropriate environment, a kind of ‘eco-system’ that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds.” He suggests that silence is required to make sense of the constant stream of information that people now their being and open themselves to the path towards knowledge that God has inscribed in human hearts.” The Pope sees this need for silence as a part of Christian life from the earliest times. He points to the “eloquence of God’s love, lived to the point of the supreme gift,” which is seen “in the silence of the Cross,” when, after Christ’s death “there is a great silence over the earth.” Silent contemplation also “immerses us in the source of that Love who directs us towards our neighbors so that we may feel their suffering and offer them the light of Christ, his message of life and his saving gift of the fullness of love,” he writes. Archbishop Celli summed up the Pope’s message as reminding everyone that real communication involves pairing “words and silence” so that people are not “overwhelmed by the sheer volume of communication itself.” Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary of the social communications council explained to CNA, that the Pope’s message “reminds us that the relevance of silence is equally important within the context of a digital environment.” “Especially when we now find ourselves continually bombarded by messages, by ideas, by opinions, by news. “And so the Pope is saying we need silence if we’re going to judge that, integrate it, make it our own and not simply be caught up in a flow of information.” (CNA/EWTN News)
VATICAN City, Jan. 24, 2012—Pope Benedict XVI believes that in a noisy world of constant communication people need silence more than ever. He outlined his thoughts in his message for World Communications Day 2012, which is titled “Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization.” The Pope’s letter was released Jan. 24 at the Vatican press office by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. “When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary,” the Pope says in a statement that will be read in Catholic churches around the world on May 20, 2012. “This makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an
receive via television, radio, the Internet and various forms of social media. “In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves,” he says. He also observes that silence can allow other people to express their thoughts. In this way “we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested,” and therefore, “space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible.” Pope Benedict believes that this use of silence is “often more eloquent than a hasty answer,” because it “permits seekers to reach into the depths of
Church, eco groups up in arms again vs mining in Mindoro
Doctors’ confab stresses health care, physician’s duty
MANILA, Jan. 24, 2012—Doctors have a responsibility to disclose the truth to their patients, including information on the dangerous effects of contraceptives on the body, a speaker pointed out at the Catholic Physicians’ Guild of the Philippines (CPGP) 2012 Annual Convention held January 20. “Reproductive medicine addresses the whole scope of reproductive health, and the positive aspect of this is achieving pregnancy. Among the negative aspects are contraception and abortion,” said Rene Josef Bullecer, M.D., Human Life International (HLI) Pilipinas country director and CPGP Cebu Chapter director. “And [artificial] birth control poses threats to unborn life, to women, the environment through hormones, and to society,” Bullecer added. After launching into a brief history of reproductive health (RH) legislation, the global scope of the RH agenda, and statistics pertaining to abortion, Bullecer gave the floor to HLI Asia/Oceania Executive Director Dr. Ligaya Acosta, who touched on the implications of a government sterilization program on indigenous peoples. “I have known about forced sterilization of indigenous tribes particularly in Mindanao for many years already. My friends there who have personal knowledge of this fact have told me of government compensation for men and women for sterilization services, reaching as much as three to five thousand, plus a sack of rice,” Acosta related. Having worked for the Department of Health (DoH) for nearly 30 years before leaving her post, Acosta said she also heard accounts from victims themselves of how they were subjected to “aggression, intimidation, and even humiliation, when they become pregnant, or even when they just plainly seek medical attention for themselves and for their children. Health workers would often tell them that if they get pregnant, they will no longer be [taken care] of.” Acosta pointed out that such situation is not peculiar to the Philippines, citing forced sterilization of American Indian women in the US, the poor in Central America and the Tibetan and Romani women; and the permanent sterilization done on indigenous women in Peru under President Alberto Fujimori. “Certainly the forced sterilization services being performed today among our indigenous brothers and sisters, is perpetuating the genocidal tendencies that have made the eugenics movement a legacy of terror,” Acosta said. She stressed the acquisition of lands as another compelling reason for mandatory sterilization of indigenous people. “Is forced sterilization pushing our indigenous tribes to extinction? Certainly, for a specie that does not produce babies is [doomed] to extinction.” “We know that many generations of indigenous tribes are no longer in existence now—either as a result of human error or intentional genocide. It is time we put a stop to these condemnable acts,” she added. The healthcare profession “is meant to be an impassion[ed] and unflinching affirmation of life—not of the culture of death.” The convention, which coincided with the CPGP’s 76th anniversary, was held at the Makati Medical Center and carried out in partnership with Doctors for Life Philippines. Topics discussed in the day-long affair were “Use of vaccines derived from aborted fetal lines,” “The moral status of the embryo,” “The indigenous tribes: Are we pushing them to extinction?” and “Injustice in the delivery of medical care among equals.” (CBCP for Life)
ILO reports highlight P-Noy’s failure to address labor issues
ANTIPOLO City, Jan. 26, 2012—The latest Global Employment Trends (GET) released by the International Labor Office in Geneva recently, is a concrete proof that the present administration has failed to draw lessons from the series of work-related tragedies, particularly of what happened in the condo being built by Lucio Tan-owned Eton Properties Philippines Inc. Anna Leah Escresa, executive director of labor policy think-tank Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education & Research (Eiler) in a statement said the gondola plunge in luxury condo Eton Residences in Makati last year, which killed 10 workers and seriously injured another one has to be a wake-up call for the government to end subcontracting chains and to ensure that there is a total safe working environment for all workers, especially in the construction sector that is considered by the ILO as one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. “But the Aquino government did nothing to address the social costs of subcontracting and other forms of vulnerable work. Proof of this is the series of occupational accidents last year, and recently, the report on the rising number of vulnerable jobs in the country,” said Escresa. The 2012 GET says that four out of 10 Filipino workers are considered in the vulnerable sectors, or jobs that are unsafe, with long working hours, and have low salaries and wages. Another characteristic of these kinds of work is that it has no security of tenure, thus endangers the livelihood of the worker’s family, Escresa said. Escresa revealed that under the subcontracting policy, just like what is being implemented or used by EPPI, the workers are paid below the minimum, around P280 a day (US$6.52), and has no security of tenure being contract-employees only. The labor expert says that the ILO report affirms the Philippine government’s failure to stem the rising number of jobs that are similar to those of Eton workers. “It underscores impunity in addressing violations of core labor standards in workplaces,” Escresa furthered. But Eton is just one of the companies who are violating labor safety laws, according to Escresa. The labor expert said, last year, six workers died in Keppel shipyard in Subic, Zambales after being crushed by a stern ramp. “There were also accidents in other construction sites such as in Megaworld in Eastwood and SM General Santos City,” she said. (Noel Sales Barcelona/ CBCPNews)
MANILA, Jan. 25, 2012— Church and environmental groups are up in arms again over a foreign mining company’s relentless call for nickel mining project in Mindoro. The list of grievances these groups is holding against the Intex Resources seems to be growing after it announced last Jan.18 in Oslo Stock Exchange that they had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the MCC8 Group Co. Ltd., a Chinese state-owned construction firm to impel the operation of the Mindoro Nickel Project (MNP). Andy Whitmore of the Philippines Indigenous People Links (PipLinks) is questioning the incessant campaigns of Intex for the MNP as both national and international investigations have raised serious concerns about the project. “They shouldn’t be putting our releases seeking to boost investment in the project until they were able to provide answers in the investigation conducted by the Norwegian Contact Point,” Whitmore said. Whitmore was referring to the investigation of the Norwegian National Contact Point disclosing that Intex violated certain provisions of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises; from the questionable acquisition of Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC) to the unconventional Environment Impact Assessment that they failed to present to the local authorities. Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) said “both the OECD and the local investigation team have produced conclusive evidences that the Mindoro Nickel Project is unacceptable to the host communities. It is the height of corporate irresponsibility that Intex is rushing the sale of the project, and washing its hands of accountability.” “The consortium that speaks of green mining concept is still far from reality thus will not impede in our call for Intex to pull out the project and just respect the local ordinance filed in 2002 prohibiting the entry of all large-scale mining in Oriental Mindoro,” he added. Community rejection For his part, Jon Sarmiento of Alyansa Laban sa Mina (Alamin) said: “This
investment is on high risk!” “The MNP does not have social acceptability; they are just wasting their time and resources campaigning for the project. Mindoreño will remain vigilant over this matter. We will protect our remaining forest and will not allow anyone, even big companies to extract the minerals underneath… the forest on itself is our wealth,” he said. Alamin is a network of civil society organizations, Church and local government units in Oriental Mindoro established in 1999 to consolidate people’s opposition to the Mindoro Nickel Project. In 2009, the Environmental Compliance Certificate for Intex had been revoked after local protest and a hunger strike was done against the project. Commissioner Dionisia Banua of the National Commission on the Indigenous Peoples ensured that despite the current partnership NCIP will ensure that the FPIC will be served and implemented with integrity. Bigger call Fr. Edu Gariguez of the CBCP Nassa reaffirmed its stand that the government mining policy is like selling our lands to foreign investors 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 the trans-national corporations,” Gariguez explained. He concluded, “We have a bigger call to this government, refrain from promoting the minerals industry, and promote the rights of the Filipino people, repeal the mining act of 1995, and pass the Alternative Minerals Management Bill that secures all these rights and prioritizes environmental protection and food security over mineral resources.” The groups expressed their ire as they launched recently the book, the Mindoro Struggle: Protecting Island Ecology, Defending People’s Rights, a compilation of several studies on the Mindoro critical ecosystems, including mining threat to food security and the Final Statement of the Norwegian NCP on the violated OECD Guidelines. (CBCPNews)
Reasons for hoping
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
THE Church must bring hope to a country beset by social, political problems. This was, more or less, the gist of the address of CBCP President Archbishop Jose Palma at the opening of the 104th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. This is precisely what this country needs today. Here are excerpts of his address: “To hope is to recognize the lights and shadows around us yet confidently expecting blessings and good things to come. Hoping is not closing our eyes to the sad realities that plague our nation. How can we not see and think of around 3,000 who died and hundreds of houses swept away in Iligan, Cagayan de Oro and Dumaguete due to typhoon Sendong last month? We know many other dioceses devastated by calamities last year. How true what our brother of happy memory, Bishop Francisco Claver had observed: ‘Some years back, in 1993, a study of natural disasters occurring all over the world in the years since 1903 was reported...Typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, droughts, floods, mudslides – destructive occurrences of natural causation...The study had the Philippines at the top of the list with more than 700 such disasters during the 90 years studied. India came second with just about half...With such a record of calamities, we can rightly call ourselves ‘the Natural Disaster Capital of the World’—a distinction we would rather not have!’ “Aside from the natural calamities, there are a brood of factors that cause untold pain and suffering to our people. The reality of graft and corruption, unemployment and unabated devastation of our forests and seas led to poverty and related problems. At this time with the obvious confrontations among the main branches of our government make us wish we are not stuck up in pinning down the guilty but instead we are now marching and collaborating with each other in implementing laws and programs that bring about growth and development. Certainly we can say there are dark clouds in the sky. “Under the dark clouds and in the midst of poverty and suffering, I reiterate, I feel a great hope. I pray that we, as members of the CBCP, own up and declare that there is hope. We hope because in (Pope John Paul II’s 2003 Apostolic Exhortation) Pastores Gregis, that is what we are called to be: harbingers of hope. As bishops, we are to give people a reason for living and hoping. “Whether we are kneeling in prayer or picking pieces of broken lives or rebuilding communities, or revisiting diocesan programs or planning for the 25th anniversary of PCP II in 2016 or the 5th centenary of Christianity in 2021 may we have that eager expectation of blessings and good things to come. In every here and now we know that as bishops we should be men of communion, open to all, gathering into the one pilgrim flock those which the goodness of the Lord has entrusted to us, helping to overcome divisions, to heal rifts to settle conflicts and misunderstandings, to forgive offenders and promote the reign of God in our church in the Philippines.”
Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ
Building communities Pastoral Companion of hope
further inland to submerge even concrete houses in subdivisions, the hardest hit were the makeshift wooden structures built by informal settlers at the river’s edge. For lack of living space elsewhere, “squatting” on what was actually still part of the riverbed was tolerated by city officials and ended in tragedy for many families in the wake of Typhoon Sendong. It is in this light that the resolve by both government and multi-sectoral groups to relocate families whose homes were totally washed away presents the challenge of building new communities of hope. With the re-opening of classes on January 3, many evacuee families have transferred to temporary shelter arrangements like tents or bunkhouses provided mostly by international donor agencies. More sites for permanent housing units still need to be identified and acquired. These would supplement the city’s nine hectares in Calaanan and Xavier University’s offer of five hectares in Lumbia, which can accommodate only about 1,500 families out of the estimated 5,000-6,000 needing relocation. On its part, the archdiocese through its Social Action Ministry and the affected parishes started to organize Tabang Cagayan from the first day of the calamity. Its purpose was to assist and augment the efforts of the local government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. We are grateful for the outpouring of donations in cash or in goods sent by many individuals, dioceses and organizations from different parts of the country and the world for the flood victims. The archdiocese has also played the role of convenor together with the DSWD Regional Office in bringing together government agencies, civil society organizations, and international humanitarian groups in forming clusters on food, health, sanitation, education, security, shelter, religious affairs, etc. to address the pressing needs in the evacuation centers. All these assisting organizations became members
Pastoral Companion / A5
Spirituality of social transformation
HOW should the Church foster social transformation and assist the little people in bringing about harmony and kaayusan in their lives? How should the Church announce the Kingdom of Justice, Peace and Love in the context of great social, economic, political and cultural imbalance? How can we, as a community of the Lord’s disciples, be a leaven of social transformation? The most basic and effective response to the questions can come only from the very depths of our being as disciples of the Lord, in our attentiveness to the Holy Spirit whose movements are also to be discovered in the events and situations of our day, in our following of Jesus, in our fidelity to his Gospel of Justice and Love and thus, in our spirituality. Our struggle to build the Kingdom of God is a pilgrimage journey, a journey to truth and justice, to love and peace, a journey to full life. At the beginning of this journey is an encounter with Jesus who calls us to confront and confess our sinfulness and the sinfulness of the social systems we built. It is customary for Marxist-inspired social analysis to assert that the problems of Philippine society are rooted in three fundamental problems: feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism and imperialism. Such analysis is sorely inadequate and does not go far enough. Our reflection in faith enables us to view our problems beyond the range of ideologies and temporal perspectives. In the poverty and underdevelopment of our nation, in its conflicts and divisions, we see the hand of human sinfulness, particularly the grasping paws of greed for profit and power. It is sinfulness that is at the root of our socio-economic and political problems, and we need to name the problems by their true name of sin. The Christian conscience must recoil at the sins committed against the poor; so many workers are denied just wages in order to maintain the standards of living of the few who are already in possession of so much which the poor can never possess; poor farmers continue to till lands that they will never own; economic and political power is used selfishly to serve the interest of the few and keep the poor at bay. Our inequity is a moral evil. “One of the greatest injustices of the contemporary world consists precisely in this: that the ones who possess much are relatively few and those who possess almost nothing are many. It is the injustice of the poor distribution of the goods and services originally intended for all. Such reflections indicate clearly that the sinfulness we speak of is not merely committed by individuals but is embedded both in our internal socio-economic structures and in our extra-national relationships, such as in the imbalance of our trade and financial relationships. There are, indeed, “structures of sin” or social sins, which consist of situations, collective behavior, or structures that cause and perpetuate social injustices. Such structures are created by the accumulation of many sinful attitudes, “two of which are very typical: on the one hand, the all-consuming desire for profit, and on the other, the thirst for power, with the intention of imposing one’s will upon others. (Acts of the Council Nos. 261-270)
ONE month after the passage of Typhoon Sendong on Dec. 16-17, the city of Cagayan de Oro is slowly getting back on its feet. Nearly a third of the city’s population was severely affected by the flood waters. More than 10,000 families sought refuge in evacuation centers in public schools, barangay covered courts, and churches. Others stayed with relatives or friends. Out of the archdiocese’s 21 city parishes, 17 riverside parishes were extensively inundated. Hardest hit were the parishes in Macasandig, Balulang, Carmen, Cathedral, Consolacion, Puntod, RER, Kauswagan, Bulua and Canitoan. The government has declared a no-return policy for six sitios that are actually part of the river’s delta. These are Cala-Cala, Isla de Oro, Isla Delta, Isla Copa, Isla Bugnaw, and Isla Baksan. More than four thousand houses on these sites were washed away by the rampaging waters of Cagayan de Oro River. The government has also restricted construction of houses within a 15-meter distance from the river. Although the flood waters reached
25 years of celebrating Pro-life Month
“PRO-LIFE: The Way to Eternal Life” is the theme of Pro-life Month this coming February 2012. It will be the twentyfifth year that our country will be celebrating Pro-life Month, ever since President Cory Aquino declared every month of February as “Respect and Care for Life Month” in 1987. I still recall how our organization, Pro-life Philippines Foundation, wrote her a letter making that suggestion. And so it was with great joy when we received a copy of her signed Proclamation within a few weeks. We only had a month to announce to the dioceses and schools about the good news and to organize activities in order to help the public be aware of the value and dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Another accomplishment was that we were able to have the Catholic Liturgical Order announce Prolife Sunday every year, making all priests alert to mention this in all the Masses. Many things have happened since 1987, just as many events have passed by since Cory Aquino was named president following the deposition of Ferdinand Marcos. Several prolife slogans too have served to motivate people to defend life. Among them were: “Stand up for Life!”, “Every child a welcome child”, “Bawat sanggol ipagtanggol”, “Ama, haligi ng pamilya”,”Ina, puso ng pamilya”, “Love life”, “Defend Life from Conception”, and many more. The year that Blessed John Paul II came to the Philippines for World Youth Day in 1995, we had chosen the theme: “The Filipino Family
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
is Pro-life”. Streamers with those words were hang at almost every street corner in the City of Manila, because Lito Atienza, President of Pro-life Phil, was the Mayor of Manila then. We were elated when His Holiness began his homily in Luneta while looking up at the giant streamer hanging from one of the hotels across Luneta—“The Filipino Family is Pro-life”. His statement was met with thunderous clapping from the crowd of four million, as the media had estimated. All around Rizal Park, we had also printed dozens of tarpaulin streamers of Blessed John Paul embracing a baby. It was indeed a very memorable Prolife Month that year. While we look back at year 2011 filled with struggle to ensure that the Reproductive Health Bill will not pass Congress, along with the other anti-life bills that somehow keep getting filed by different titles from year to year, we look forward to even more action and with more commitment from the pro-lifers who will not relent or slack their zeal to defend life. We have invited once again Michael Voris of the St. Michael Communications Media Network, USA to give a series of talks in Cebu, Bacolod, and Manila. A convert, he has made it his life mission to explain via media the teachings of the Catholic Church. Listening to him last year, we know that he will once again speak with much animation, inspiration and truth in words that the lay people will truly understand and be challenged with. Coming for a series of talks
Love Life / A6
—Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
Fr. Roy Cimagala
Pedro C. Quitorio
Open politics to Christ
a mask and a convenient excuse for the pursuit of self-interest. In pursuing these twisted ends, it seems that politics is played as if God, religion and morality have no place. It becomes an arena of sheer brute human cunning that knows no limits as to what can be done. It becomes a magnet of deceit, envy, hatred, revenge, violence, pride, arrogance, greed, etc. The exercise of freedom in politics seems to be of the anything-goes type. The only constraints would be the obvious one of not getting caught and of complying at least to the formal and external parts of law—legalism—but not its spirit. Even the big demands of morality, let alone the finer points, are thrown away. Charity? I get the impression many politicians think it’s not possible to live charity in
Candidly Speaking / A7
Ronalyn R. Regino
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940
I REMEMBER Blessed Pope John Paul II beginning his pontificate way back in October 1978 with words that have become emblematic of his papacy: “Do not be afraid. Open, I say open wide the doors to Christ.” Those were bold words thrown as a challenge to a world that has gone far from God, from religion, from morality. Thanks to God, we can say that since then, big strides have been made in different areas of human life. Still, we have to understand that allowing Christ to enter more and more into our lives is an ongoing affair. It never stops. We can never say we have enough of Christ. We need to continue opening doors, big and small, external and internal, to Christ. Of particular interest to us now is the area of politics. The way it’s done and practiced here and abroad, we can definitely say that Christ is still ostracized, considered as a
bother, irrelevant, useless, a persona-nongrata. This is unfortunate, since in the range of our human affairs, politics occupies a very important and crucial position. It’s about how we organize and govern ourselves as a people, a state, a nation. It’s about how we are pursuing our common good that definitely is not only material, but also spiritual, given our nature and condition. But so far, politics seems to be understood only as the art of acquiring power and keeping it as long as possible, of dominating and controlling others, of amassing more wealth and influence over others. That it’s a most noble way of serving others is often forgotten. That it necessarily involves sacrifice and heroism and utter self-giving is hardly known. If there’s an appearance of service, it for sure is merely
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Vol. 16 No. 3
January 30 - February 12, 2012
of their children—if any. This is marriage in the order of nature and according to the norm of right reason. Take away its essential nature, any of its intrinsic attribution or inherent finality— and there can be anything but marriage in the true significance and proper connotations of the matrimonial reality. It is wherefore not really hard to know and accept the truth that there are individuals who are basically unfit for the marital life more specifically on account of a peculiar personality constitution. This peculiarity is in effect dissonant with the assumption of the obligations inherent to the Marriage Covenant—especially in conjunction with its institutional finality of the spousal good of both the man and the woman concerned. Over and above the purely material plus the carnal and/or generative attributes on the part of both the parties, theirs should be the capacity to mutually contribute to their own good or benefit as qua spouses. In other words, it is the finding of a clinical psychology as well as the conclusion of psychiatry that by dint of nature, there are persons who suffer from a disability of their psyche such that they are constitutionally unsuitable for marriage intents and purposes—through no fault of their own. In legal parlance, such a personal disability is known as “Psychological Incapacity”—specifically in conjunction with marriage. It might be but right and proper to know more about this malady— considering that it is neither fun nor pleasure for anyone to be afflicted by it.
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
“IT’s more fun in the Philippines!” Everybody is getting married. From the mere commoners to the members of quasi local royalty, from simple and plain citizens to high and distinguished public officials, from those counted among the general public to big personalities in government—they are getting married all right. Well, not all really. There are those who for a deliberate preferential option or on account of an innate adverse personality cause, stay away from marriage. And rightly so, it is nothing profound or complex that some men and women not get married for strictly personal to downright constitutional reasons. The truth is that everybody must be good for something— but not for everything. All are good for this and that profession, for this and that agenda— but not for all these. It is the same for marriage intents and purposes. It is a well known phenomenon that there are three states of life for men and women to choose from, viz., marriage, singlehood and priesthood. Men and women wherefore have no less than three possible options on how to spend their lives here and now—with or without reference to the hereafter and beyond. One thing is certain: Every individual concerned has to fit his or her choice of a given state of life. Just for the record, marriage is thus known in its essence, attributions and finalities. Marriage is a covenant by virtue of which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their composite life, intended for their own good as spouses and for the welfare
Duc in Altum Journeying with the CBCP Bishops
I AM very lucky and blessed indeed when I was invited to join the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) three-day seminar last week at Pius XII Center. The venue was the sacred conference room where the bishops hold their twice a year Plenary Assembly (January and July) and make decisions and pastoral letters which affect the Catholics of the country. The CBCP is the official organization of the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines. As President of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Laiko), I automatically serve as the Executive Secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity (ECLA), chaired by Laiko’s National Spiritual Director, Most Rev. Jesse Mercado, Bishop of Parañaque. The Executive Secretaries of all the CBCP Commissions were also invited not only to learn but also to share their time and talent in discussing important issues to guide the bishops in making important decisions affecting not only the Church but also other national concerns. The seminar was presided by CBCP President Most Rev. Jose Palma, Archbishop of Cebu, assisted by CBCP Vice President Most Rev. Socrates Villegas, Archbishop of LingayenDagupan, CBCP Secretary General Rev. Monsignor Joselito Asis and CBCP Assistant Secretary General Rev. Fr. Marvin Mejia. It is truly a sacred journey with the bishops during which I got to know them better, up and personal. I really envy their physical and spiritual strength, hurdling a very rigorous daily schedule, waking up very early in the morning for the 6 a.m. Morning Prayers and Eucharist, and staying up to 10 p.m. for the last topic of the seminar. I really admire His Eminence, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, who went through all those hectic schedules without complaint. One thing I will treasure most in my memory were the intellectual discussions during the seminar and over meals— religious, economic, social, political. One cannot wonder why they were made bishops, the good shepherds to their flock. They are also very fatherly and quick to give thanks and appreciation to the work and contribution of the laity in the propagation of the Catholic faith and implementing pastoral care. Discussed on the first day of the seminar was the Report of the Researchers (composed of professors with doctorate degree from different Catholic Universities headed by University of Sto. Tomas). The study is about the Archdioceses’ and Dioceses’ Pastoral Plans and their Implementation of the Nine (9) Pastoral Priorities, product of National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal and Evaluation of PCPII. On the second and third days, a critique was made on Verbum Domini, the Post Synodal Exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI about the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. It was discussed in three parts: Verbum Dei (The Word of God) by Most Rev. Ambo David, Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando, Pampanga; Verbum in Ecclesia (The Word in the Church) by Most Rev. Renato Mayugba, Auxiliary Bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan; and Verbum Mundo (The Word to the World) by Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila. A critique on Verbum Domini was also discussed by different CBCP Commissions affecting their apostolate. The participants also had the opportunity to put in their own handwriting the Biblical passages assigned to them; it will be published in book form, a Philippine Bible Society Project. After dinner topics were about the Mindanao Peace Process by Sec. Teresita Deles, Proposed National Summit for Good Governance by Rev. Fr. Carmelo Diola of Dilaab and Critique on Sex Education by visiting law professor Dr. Judith Reisman of the Liberty University School of Law, Virginia, U.S.A. *** The CBCP Bishops started their three-day Plenary Session last January 28. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them “to bring hope to the country marked by calamities, social problems and political chaos” as Archbishop Palma stated. *** Laiko held its first Board Meeting last January 27 with the ECLA Bishops Most Rev. Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, Most Rev. Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo and Most Rev. Jesse Mercado. The Board released the book about the 2nd National Congress of the Laity and 17th Biennial National Convention held last October 21-23, 2011. The book was given to the CBCP Bishops during Plenary Assembly. The Board also ratified the check donation to the Diocese of Iligan and Dumaguete and the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro for Sendong victims. *** About the on-going impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, let us pray that God be in control, giving everyone an enlightened mind and heart so that truth and justice will triumph. Let us pray for the senators-judges that they will be objective, fair and impartial; that the prosecutors and defense panel will present credible witnesses and admissible documentary evidence; that the citizenry will be vigilant of the proceedings, keep an open and intelligent mind in the appreciation of testimony of witnesses and documentary evidence, that the rule of law and due process be observed and the rights under the Constitution be protected. Let the impeachment proceeding not divide the nation. *** Deepest condolences to Gigi de Lara of Chancery Office, Diocese of Kalookan whose father, Antonio Plumaje, died of lingering illness.
The impeachment trial and evil spirits
TUNING in to the impeachment trial broadcast whenever I’m driving, and then ruminating on the learnings gained thereof in the light of the gospel readings these days, I observe that there could be more unclean spirits in our offices than there are at home or in places of recreation like bars and billiard halls. For it is when we are trying to earn a living that we are tempted seventy times infinity. My musings reminded me of an exorcism I witnessed some years back, at a construction site—that big hotel near Roxas Boulevard. The owners of the building asked for it as they believed evil spirits were lurking in the premises, victimizing workers in a series of accidents, the worst of which was when a worker walked into a floorless elevator and plunged to a grim death. Drowsiness and drunkenness were ruled out as the cause of his inattention, and so, considering the previous inexplicable mishaps, they concluded it must be due to malignant presences. And that called for an exorcism. The exorcism rite was nothing like we see in the movies involving an exorcist— usually a holy priest—battling the devil possessing a person. This was an interreligious thing where “prayer warriors”, holed
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth
What has that exorcism rite got to do with the impeachment trial?, you might ask. Pondering the interaction among the prosecution, the defense, the witnesses, and the judges, I come to the observation that our work ethics are largely determined by our awareness of the presence of evil spirits in our midst. As the serpent did in Eden, they could blind us to The Truth. We need not wait for people to die mysterious deaths in order to believe that evil spirits exist in the workplace. Sad to say, we could even be possessed by an unclean spirit without knowing, or admitting, that we are. As long as we refuse to recognize that we are not above being possessed or enslaved by evil spirits, we will be cooperating with them in corrupting the workplace. The spirit of pride, of anger, of lust, of sloth, of envy, of self-righteousness and of one-upmanship, et al—are they not present in all of us? Who can free us from them? Paraphrasing St. Augustine of Hippo, God who created us without us cannot save us without us. To be saved we have to want to be freed from evil spirits. Jesus commands the unclean spirits and they obey Him—why go elsewhere? If we are not with Jesus, we are against Him. And that’s the truth.
out in a glass-walled room on the ground floor, prayed the rosary the whole night, while a select group of exorcists conducted a kabbalah-based ritual several storeys up the building. Because I was to write about the ritual, I was allowed to observe the preparation, and was given enough information about what was to happen. It was a large area the group chose to sit in. The exorcists had a pentagram drawn and Latin prayers written inside a huge circle of salt where they were to sit still during the ritual. While kabbalah is Jewish, the exorcists had on hand the crucifix, holy water, some Catholic saints’ images including Mary’s, the Egyptian ankh, the swastika, and lots of candles burning. For my own protection I was sent to stay with the prayer warriors during the ritual itself. The prayer warriors’ room was encircled in salt, a substance the exorcists believed could shield one against evil spirits. All of us inside that room were warned never to look outside the glass walls lest we see someone we know but who’s actually an evil spirit wanting to infiltrate our ranks—they said evil spirits could take on many forms, and the most convenient way to disarm us was to appear as people we know or trust.
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD
Along The Way
WE often take pride that the Philippines is the only predominantly Christian country in Asia. Around 82 percent of the population are Catholics. Majority of our people are deeply religious, with deep faith in God and devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary and the saints. We have the longest Christmas season—at least we can already hear Christmas songs as early as September and we are the only country that celebrates the Misa de Gallo—the nine early dawn masses before Christmas. We have the biggest procession—the Nazareno which was recently attended by over 7 million devotees and took 22 hours. We have the largest attended Novena to the Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran—over a hundred thousand come this church every Wednesday. We have masses not only in churches but also in shopping malls and in government offices—including the Supreme Court where a novena of masses were celebrated before the start of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona. Yet, in spite of this widespread religiosity and deep faith, we wonder why there is so much evil and suffering in our country. Majority of our people are poor, there is so much inequality, our crime rate is high, there is so
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Personal conversion and renewal
translation of the original Greek word metanoia. This is not only a matter of being aware of our sinfulness and of being sorry for our sins. It involves a deeper change in our attitude, our life and lifestyle—a turning around. This means moving from darkness to light, turning away from sin and becoming the best person that God wants us to be. It means becoming renewed. Yes, our faith may be deep. Most of us already believe. But there is something that is lacking. What the Lord wants of us is to repent, to change our life for the better, to reject sin and evil, to overcome the dark side of ourselves, to get rid of, our selfishness, greed and pride, our addictions, to cleanse ourselves and become the best version of ourselves—to be more loving, compassionate, just, truthful, honest and holy. Going to confession may be an expression of the desire for personal renewal. But what matters most is the day to day effort to live in the light. It is not only what we do inside the church that is important—it is what we also do outside the church, in our homes, our neighborhood, community, schools and workplace. Pope Benedict XVI is calling for a new evangelization. This is a priority not only in Europe that is highly secularized and has become a post-Christian society. This also applies to nations like the Philippines where the Christianity remains dominant and where there is deep faith and piety among many of the faithful. The majority are nominal Christians and seasonal Christians. Many have been baptized but not evangelized and have not gone through a process of conversion and personal renewal. The formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) depends on a thorough evangelization program in the parishes and in neighborhood communities. The new evangelization is meant to elicit not just faith but also personal renewal. The active participation of the lay-faithful in the BECs should be the fruit of evangelization that leads to personal conversion and renewal. This involves a decision to live as a genuine disciple of Jesus in community and to participate in the Church’s prophetic, priestly and pastoral mission. This becomes the foundation for the social apostolate carried out in these communities aimed at social transformation, justice, peace and the integrity of creation. There can be no social transformation without personal conversion and renewal.
much violence all around us, and many families are breaking down. The Philippines has a reputation of being one of the most corrupt countries in Asia. Two corrupt presidents have been removed by people power and now we have former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (known for her piety) under hospital arrest, awaiting trial for election sabotage and plunder. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court—Renato Corona has been impeached and is now being tried in the Senate. There is a general who has been imprisoned due to corruption (and he is now serving as a lay Eucharistic minister inside the prison). Recently the chief of the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) was implicated in a kidnapping case. There appears to be a gap between what we believe (faith), and how we live (our morality). This is referred to as split-level Christianity. “The kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk 1:14-15) The response that Jesus expects in proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom is repentance and faith—which are preconditions for discipleship. What Jesus emphasizes is not only faith or belief but also repentance—which is a
of a multi-sectoral Executive Committee. An Operations Center was set up at the Xavier University gym to facilitate the supervision of camp management and to act as a clearing house for the provision of goods and services to the various camps and affected areas. Early in the relief work, the need for accurate data was felt in identifying and profiling the survivor families of Typhoon Sendong. With the help of many youth volunteers and seminarians for interviewing and encoding, the archdiocese’s data management team has designed a computer pro-
gram that generates disaggregated information for the families affected by the floods. This information has been made available to DSWD and other organizations to help them in prioritizing families for permanent housing units. Another urgent need that is still felt by Typhoon Sendong survivors is post-trauma counseling. Coping with the loss of loved ones or an entire home needs time and sensitivity to heal. Debriefing sessions have been conducted by university teams and doctors to prepare local volunteers, including the archdiocese’s women
religious from a dozen congregations. There has been one suicide case on Jan. 5 in an evacuation center – an indication of the desperation felt by many traumatized survivors. One notable example of accompaniment in the evacuation centers and affected areas has been the presence of the Daughters of Charity sisters. Four separate batches of 15-17 sisters each have arrived to work quietly for a week at a time among the different centers – to help distribute relief goods, systematize records, make house-tohouse interviews, help the sick receive medical attention, etc. In one barangay,
the profile of a DC sister walking with a Muslim woman guide, both with head veils, to interview affected Muslim households shows another dimension of solidarity in moments of adversity. The Holy Spirit and RVM sisters have also sent teams to assist the displaced families. The local church has not forgotten to remember the names of the dead and missing in this tragedy—now exceeding a thousand. Memorial Masses were said in the Cathedral on Dec. 30 and Jan. 7. A candlelight ceremony by the riverside was held on Jan. 25, the 40th day of Typhoon
Sendong. Evacuation Centers and temporary resettlement sites also have their religious services. We have made available the open grounds of both theological and college seminaries and some parish churches for temporary housing of more than two hundred families. The ongoing challenges of social preparation for building new communities continue—in the midst of remembering loved ones who have perished. It is with this hope that in the foreseeable future we can repeat the Psalmist’s plea, “You have turned my mourning into dancing” (Ps. 30:11).
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
CBCP official asks Aquino for ‘consistent’ use of political power
AN official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called on President Benigno Aquino III to ‘consistently’ used his political power for the common good. With the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona by Aquino’s allies in Congress, Fr. Edu Gariguez said that it only means that the government can do anything it wanted. “The administration can therefore use its influence for anything that it wants,” Gariguez of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace told Manila archdioceserun Radyo Veritas. “Our challenge is for the government to be consistent in using its political power, not just against Corona but also in providing justice for Hacienda Luisita farmers,” he said. Gariguez clarified they are not favoring anybody but simply calling on the government to work for social justice and public welfare. The Hacienda Luisita is a 4,915 hectares sugar estate owned by the family and relatives of Aquino. Another issue that Gariguez wants to be settled is for the government to return the billions of pesos in coconut levy funds that were allegedly stolen from coconut farmers. He called on Aquino to side with farmers in the fight for the levy for decades and which critics said benefited businessman Eduardo Cojuangco, the President’s uncle. “So again, we are appealing that the political power be also used for the Hacienda Luisita and coco levy and not use it for personal interests,” said Gariguez. (CBCPNews)
Murder cases of environmentalists need attention too—groups
CASES of human rights violations, particularly those related to the protection of the environment, should be treated with equal footing, just like Chief Justice Renato Corona’s case. This was the statement of the environmental activist group, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (KPNE) as the Aquino government and its allies in the Senate and Congress use all of its energies to prosecute Corona due to his alleged betrayal of public trust, corruption and his close allegiance with the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom the public also deem to have betrayed them by plundering the taxpayer’s money, entering into onerous agreements with other States, and gross violations of the people’s civil, economic, and political rights, while she’s still in power as the president of the Republic of the Philippines. In a statement, Clemente Bautista Jr. of KPNE said that the administration should also exert all efforts to get the perpetrators behind Dr. Gerry Ortega’s murder, the Palaweño environmental activist who was brutally murdered due to his anti-mining and anto-corruption stance, as well as to bring justice to all the “martyrs” of the environment. Calling it a huge hypocrisy on the side of Malacañang, represented by the Department of Justice, when it has been moving heaven and hell to prosecute Corona while the alleged mastermind behind Ortega’s death remain at-large, referring to former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes. Kalikasan partylist (KPL), on the other hand, said that the government has also failed to resolve the cases of murder involving environmental activists. “Pres. Aquino has a growing track record of crimes against environmental defenders. At least 51 recorded HRVs on environmental advocates since 2001, including Ortega and nine others under the present government, have remained unaddressed,” said KPL spokesman Leon Dulce. “Even legislative support through House Resolution 863 that aimed to investigate the killing of Ortega filed by Bayan Muna representatives Teddy Casino and Neri Colmenares has hit a wall long ago. We have exhausted various legal means and procedures to pursue justice for Ortega but have gone nowhere in the face of the ever growing culture of impunity perpetrated by the Aquino government,” he added. The environmental activist also noted that injustices against the people will continue to happen if the government would not scrap anti-people and anti-environmental laws such as the Mining Act of 1995 and the Forestry Code of 1975, which, Dulce explained had warranted the destruction of communities and the environment. (Noel Sales Barcelona/ CBCPNews)
Fr. Edu Gariguez
CEAP clarifies position on CHED proposals
THE Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) recently issued a position paper on the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Task Force on Quality Assurance’s (TFQA) recommendation. The recommendation titled “Quality Higher Education for Filipinos in a Globalized World”, seeks to develop and implement quality assurance system that is based on (1) learning
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outcomes and (2) appropriate to a Higher Education Institution’s (HEI) function vis-à-vis the development of the Filipino nation. “The position paper, approved last January 24, commented on the recommendation and cited legal obstacles that may prove to be potentially harmful, most especially to private HEIs,” CEAP said in an article posted in its website. “It stressed the fact though that CEAP fully supports ef-
forts towards an ‘authentic’ quality assurance framework within the parameters of participatory governance and also reiterated CEAP’s commitment to partner with CHED and the Department of Education in providing quality education to Filipinos,” it added. “One entails a paradigm shift from knowledge transmission to learning/ learner-centered education while the other entails a horizontal typology to dif-
ferentiate HEIs; a typologydifferentiated QA; and a vertical classification within each type,” it further said. In response to the recommendation, the CEAP National Tertiary Education and National Advocacy Commissions initiated consultations and discussions among CEAP HEIs. The CEAP Board also took up the matter in their Strategic Planning meeting last January 17. (Jandel Posion)
© Roy Lagarder / CBCP Media
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RH Bill so I hope we keep track of it,” he said over Radyo Veritas. Castro is the executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. The CBCP official said the people must remain vigilant even as they also monitor the impeachment trial against
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Corona at the Senate. “My appeal to the faithful, pro-family and pro-lifers is not to forget that interpellation of RH Bill (which) takes place in the morning session of the Senate,” he added. “Although there is no active interpellation in Congress these days, we must still be watchful,” Castro said. (CBCPNews)
Jose Palma, CBCP president in a press conference, Jan. 30. The prelates observed that more people are suffering because the government is giving more attention on ousting Corona. According to CBCP vice president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, a speedy impeachment trial is needed so that the country can “return to normalcy.” “We pray that this process be resolved as soon as possible and that the attention that the poor needs be given as soon as possible,” he said. For him, the poor Filipinos are the “silent victims” of the trial. “Government services are delayed
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and not delivered because we are so concerned with the process. The prelates made the statement as they ended their three-day plenary assembly at the Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila. Last week, the House prosecution panel said they are looking to present some 100 witnesses in the impeachment trial of Corona. Senator Francis Pangilinan immediately expressed concern saying, if true, it could take 10 months for the prosecution to present all their witnesses excluding defense witnesses. Still, the bishops appealed to the faithful to maintain their trust that the
senator-judges are fully capable of handling the trial judiciously. “We exhort the people to give their respect and trust to the senator-judges and, of course, our respect and trust in the Constitutional processes,” said Palma. They also exhorted the public to closely monitor the proceedings and pray so that truth and justice will be achieved in the impeachment trial. “We exhort our brothers and sisters, fellow Filipinos, to pray, study and to do whatever is legally or morally possible so that truth and justice will be attained or realized. We exhort the people to pray especially for wisdom and guidance,” said Palma. (CBCPNews)
Kinsey’s ideas and continue to use them in public policy formulation. It is thus headline material when someone like Reisman would travel all the way to the Philippines to deliver a talk entitled “A History of How Judeo-Christian Nations Now Face Pandemic Sex Disease/Crime.” Reisman’s talk was essentially about the destruction of lives, of souls, on a massive scale, no thanks to the “unleashing of toxic sexual promiscuity worldwide” via sex education, the mainstreaming of pornography and the relaxing of sexual mores, among other aftereffects, the 76, media expert said. A visiting professor of law at Liberty University School of Law (Virginia, USA) and a Vatican consultant on legal matters, Reisman used her knowledge of law, scientific research, and Catholic Church declarations to trace “how we got to where we are” since Kinsey. There is a war we are hardly aware of, even as it infiltrates our personal lives, from our media consumption, to fashion, sexual norms, and trendy ideas through a rampant but subtle conditioning of the mind. It is a battle between life and death, good and evil, perdition and salvation, an inescapable battle with long tentacles drawing us all in, whether we like it or not, extending to how we craft our laws via proposed legislations inimical to the values that our modern civilization
is founded on. But anti-life legislation such as the ‘Reproductive Health’ bills and the Anti-Discrimination bills are merely an offshoot of the war that has long begun in the classroom, she said, via the kind of ‘sex education’ inspired by Kinsey that schoolchildren receive, specifically the pleasure principle, the belief that being human is all about the pursuit of pleasure, particularly sexual pleasure. Kinsey’s belief that “children are sexual from birth,” Reisman pointed out, is behind the teaching of sex to children at inappropriate ages, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, just the beginning of a long complex chain of consequences, including pornography through constant media exposure, sexual promiscuity, the rise in sex crimes (rape, child abuse, child prostitution), sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, homosexuality, pedophilia, depopulation campaigns cloaked in ‘reproductive health,’ etc. The 76 year-old media expert rounded up the usual suspects in the espousal of the Kinsey-inspired lifestyle and outlook, naming the International Planned Parenthood (IPPF), academics with Ph.D’s., certain famous corporate funders, and even the United Nations. “Baal worship has returned after 1948 in sex science robes,” she described. Understandably, she was aghast the most at the way
pedophiles now want to be called “minor-attracted persons,” an otherwise minor note that left many in the audience gasping at the thought. She called on all men to stand up in the fight against sexual maleducation and rally behind upholding life at all stages. “It is a man’s office to defend and protect women and children!” she declared. She especially did not hide her displeasure over the current proposals for the RH bill and the socalled Anti-Discrimination bill in the Philippine legislature. She called on the rest of society to rally against these bills and join the fight in seeking solutions to the problem of the “sexual and cultural contagion” by upholding fidelity and chastity and other traditional values that engender—instead of cheapen—sex and its sacred nature and purpose. As a way of encouragement after the barrage of thought-provoking data, Reisman happily reported a past achievement in her long career of debunking fraudulent scientific claims: In 1994 she won a libel suit lodged by Playboy magazine against her in Holland, “the world’s (epi)center of pedophilia.” With solid evidence, she accused the smut publication by saying their pornographic work abused children and had been abusing children since the 1950s.
“If we can win in Holland,” she said, “we can win anywhere.” The former singer and songwriter has come a long way with this victory and with an advocacy she did not originally set out to pursue. Employed by the US Department of Justice, she only wanted to have an objective look at the Kinsey studies, until she wound up being among the top whistleblowers of our time against truth-benders and the conspiratorial politicking of truth. At the end of the talk, Reisman roused the audience with exhortations delivered with apostolic zeal. “Redeem the culture by following God’s commands,” she said. “Lobby against Kinsey’s Sexology field because it is the weakest link” (in our adversary’s counter-arguments)! The talk was sponsored by the Alliance of Holy Family International. Spiritual director Fr. Edgardo ‘Bing’ Arellano gave some inspirational remarks that called the audience into action after hearing what they heard. He underscored that “healing is possible” for the sexually addicted by devoting one’s life to God and seeking Christian — and not purely psychological — professionals for help, if needed. Reisman will be at St. Theresa's College in Cebu on February 4. More information about Dr. Judith Reisman can be found at her website. (Resty S. Odon)
“There’s no specific program aside from the CCT (Conditional Cash Transfer) but it’s not the answer. We need a structural policy for sustainable growth,” Pabillo said. Pabillo also chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bish ops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Based on the SWS survey conducted from Dec.3 to 7, 2011, while the country’s poverty rate dropped at the end of 2011, the hunger rate went up during the same period. The poll found that those who claimed to be experiencing hunger climbed from 21.5 percent (about 4.1 families) in September last year to 22.5 percent (about 4.5 million families) in December. The survey, which used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide,
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also showed that severe hunger rose in all areas except in Metro Manila, where it fell by 1.3 points to 5 percent. The hunger rate rose by 9.7 points to 25 percent in the Visayas and by 6.7 points to 19.7 percent in Mindanao. Pabillo attributed such problem in the countryside to the government’s inability to implement genuine reforms in agrarian and labor issues. “One big problem is on land reform which causes hunger,” he said. “Other problems include the contractualization, lack of job generation and low wages for workers.” The Church official also lamented the Aquino administration’s subservience to the business sector over the people struggling of poverty. “As of now, business interests win out over the poor under,” Pabillo said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)
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too are Luana Stolgenberg and Kay Painter, pro-life activists who are effective because they speak from their hearts about how they regret their abortion decision. Ever since their conversion, they have been speaking on how they were led too easily to have an abortion as a way out of their problem because it is legal in the US. But abortion was not the answer, and in fact, it wreaked havoc in their lives, killing not only the innocent child in the womb but killing their spirit as well. They will be speaking in the Nurses for Life Forum on Feb. 23, to seminarians on Feb. 24, and joining the Life Chain-March for Life Rally on Feb 26 to culminate the activities of Pro-life Month. For a copy of PP 214 and other materials you can use to promote Pro-life Month, contact Pro-life Philippines office at 733-7027, 0919-233-7783, life@ prolife.org.ph.
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about growth and development.” His comments would seem to be in direct reference to the ongoing row between the Aquino administration and the Supreme Court. “Certainly we can say there are dark clouds in the sky,” said Palma. “Given the above agenda, we know we are given hope, trustworthy hope. Hence we can face our present even if it is arduous; our present can be lived and accepted because it leads to a goal,” he said. Around 100 bishops gathered last Jan. 28 until 30 in a closed-door meeting to tackle Church and other pressing national concerns. It was the first plenary assembly that was presided by Palma being the new head of the bishops’ collegial body with Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas as vice president. (CBCPNews)
Book on ‘Mindoro struggle’ Prior to the bishops’ plenary assembly, the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) and other environmental groups launched a book about mining in Mindoro. “Mindoro Campaign: Protecting Island Ecology, Defending People’s Rights” is a compilation of several studies on the Mindoro critical ecosystems, including mining threat to food security. “It would record and remind us of the struggle of others against mining,” said Nassa chairman and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo at the launch in Intramuros.
The 158-page book was also made in coordination with environmental groups Alyansa Laban Sa Mina (Alamin) and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM). According to them, they hoped the book could raise awareness about the impact of mining to the community and the environment and would motivate others to oppose it. “It would spread the good news of the people’s struggle even if it is quite difficult because we are up against big money, foreign businesses and sometimes the policies of our own government,” said Pabillo. “But if the people continue to struggle [against mining], I’m sure the Lord will be with us,” he said.
Vol. 16 No. 3
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Advocates mark environmentalist’ ‘martyrdom’ anniversary
PUERTO PRINCESA City— Advocates for a cleaner environment and the preservation of pristine surroundings in Palawan gathered in Aborlan town to mark the first anniversary of Dr. Gerry Ortega’s “martyrdom.” This was how Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo described the occasion on January 24 which was attended by closest relatives and associates of the late veterinarian-turned-broadcast journalist-crusader. “We offered the Mass not for Gerry because he is apparently at peace with the Lord but for ourselves for us to continue the advocacy left by the late Doc Gerry fighting corruption and advocating for the protection of the environment, especially here in Palawan,” Arigo said. He added that Gerry would have died in vain if we will not continue his advocacies. protect the country’s “last frontier” which is being threatened as the “lost frontier” due to four mining operations in the province. Mining operations by City Nickel have been reported in Narra and Espanola. There is also another one in Rio Tuba by the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining and one more in Berong. “What is more threatening is the application of Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia in Brooke’s point which is a very beautiful farming town,” Arigo said. He said the “fight” is still going on between the people and the mining company. A small gathering was held at the crime scene where various sectors spoke of the need to solve the case. A candle-lighting ceremony immediately followed at 6 pm at the exact site of the killing last year. (Melo M. Acuña)
Photos courtesy of Barbosa Olivia
Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo presides the first anniversary Mass for slain environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega at Aborlan cemetery in Palawan, January 24.
BECs urge govt for security measures in high-risk junction
“The Mass was a celebration of Dr. Gerry’s life, having led a very meaningful, beautiful and fruitful life just like what Jesus did in service of the truth and in the service of others, fighting against corruption for people to have a better quality of life in
Palawan,” he further said. Arigo, however, expressed sadness that a year after the murder, investigators are still working on the case that shocked the country and the international environmental advocates.
“After one year the investigation is still in its preliminary stage with the first preliminary investigation was dismissed by a panel of prosecutors from the Department of Justice,” he said. The Ortega family filed for
a motion for reconsideration, which was once again dismissed. Arigo acknowledged Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s timely intervention by ordering a reinvestigation of the case. He underscored the need to
Bacolod youth plant mangrove seedlings to protect environment
Members of Basic Ecclesial Communities of Taytay’s St. John the Baptist Parish gather at Tikling junction for Holy Mass and prayers offered for victims of the tragedy.
TAYTAY, Rizal—The Basic Christian Communities (BECs) of St. John the Baptist Parish, Taytay appealed to authorities to institute security measures along a junction in Taytay that has become the deadliest place in the municipality because of number of fatalities involving “killer trucks.” On January 12, a runaway dumptruck from Cabrera quarry site rammed through the busy junction killing five people, while 14 others were reportedly injured and hospitalized. About 10 vehicles were damaged, three in total wreck, and the Police outpost also badly hit.
The BECs asserted that the recurrence of fatal mishaps in the highrisk vicinity of Tikling junction only shows the ugly results of long time neglect of the local government to ensure public safety. Four roads converge in Tikling junction, one of which is the steepsloped Cabrera Road that has become the deadliest place in the town involving killer trucks which earned the label of “monstertrucks.” Around five fatal incidents were recorded since 2006 that left several dead and injured, and properties damaged.
On January 20, parishioners from the hilltop sitios of Cabrera and Hapay na Mangga went downhill to Tikling and met with others coming from the Church to pray and offer Mass for the deceased — Enrico Enriquez (the truck driver) and his wife Maricel, Noel Almorado, Kevin Ruz and Gaylord Makiputin—and those injured. Taytay parish priest Msgr. Peter Cañonero celebrated the Holy Mass which coincided with the “pa-siyam” (9th day of novena prayer) for the deceased. In his homily, Cañonero aired the people’s call on the government for a critical evaluation of the Cabrera quarry relative to the frequenting of killer-trucks in the vicinity and also its adverse environmental impact. The prayer of the faithful included pleas for the institution of safety measures in Tikling junction, stoppage of killer trucks from plying the steep-sloped Cabrera Road coming from the quarry site, and justice and indemnification for the victims. Immediately after the Mass, Cañonero blessed and incensed the separate “death landmarks.” As of this writing, Noel Almorado and Kevin Ruz, both of Barangay Dolores, have not yet been buried due to financial difficulty. The Mass offering and collection were given to their relatives who were present during the Mass. (Ding Fernandez)
BACOLOD City— The Commission on Youth of Bacolod diocese held a mangrove planting activity in Brgy. Balaring, Silay City last Jan. 21 as a manifestation of their care for the environment. Led by DCY director Fr. Arnold Deletina, the youth planted around 600 mangrove seedlings. Participants were composed of 10 DCY staff, 27 youth from Silay City`s San Diego Parish, 15 parishes, 3 youth groups and 7 schools. (Freddy Junsay)
UNISDR chief praises CDO local relief operations' response to Washi
CAGAYAN DE ORO City— The chief of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) on Jan. 25 heaped praises on this city’s multi-sectoral relief operations’ immediate response to aid survivors of the catastrophe. “There have already been many natural disasters that happened in Cagayan de Oro but these were not considered as disasters because they have very little impact to the city, unlike tropical storm Washi,” said Margareta Wahlstrom, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s special representative on DRR. (Bong D. Fabe)
Iloilo parish asks help for fire victims
ILOILO City—The Immaculate Conception Parish in Tanza, Iloilo City has launched an appeal to help hundreds of families left homeless by a recent fire that hit the city. Parish priest Fr. Norberto Taccadao said that the important things the victims needed at present are food and kitchen utensils. On Jan. 22, a devastating fire hit three barangays within the city as they celebrated the famous Dinagyang Festival. Donors who would like to send financial donations, in cash or check, or who would like to get more information on how they can help, are advised to contact the Parish Office at telephone / fax number (+63) (33) 337-4570. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
UN-FAO urged to see the plight of Filipino fishermen
ANTIPOLO City—The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to visit the Philippines and find out why the fishermen are considered “the poorest of the poor.” Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap said that the UN rappoteur for the right for food, Oliver Schutter should be sent to the Philippines and check on the living conditions of millions of small fisherfolks, especially those who are in threat of losing their homes and livelihoods because of “development projects” being pushed by both private and public sectors in different parts of the archipelago. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Bacolod sends aid to ‘Sendong’ victims
Cause-oriented groups launch signature drive to save Freedom Island
ANTIPOLO City—Causeoriented groups are launching a signature campaign to stop the reclamation of the “Freedom Island” in Las Piñas-Parañaque City boundary, which is a home to rare species of birds and mangroves (bakawan). In a statement, Save Freedom Island Movement (SFIM) spokesperson Glacy Macabale said their group aims to gather at least one million signatures to petition the halt of the reclamation of the 635.14 hectare (1569.465 acres) Freedom Island, the only fish-bird-andmangrove sanctuary at the very heart of the busy Metropolitan Manila. Aside from the ecological impact of the reclamation of that portion of the scenic Looc ng Maynila (Manila Bay), there are about 1,000 fisherfolks who will lose their livelihood because of the project. Macabale said the bulldozing of the Freedom Island is a part of the flagship project of the local governments of Las Piñas and Parañaque, in partnership with the Philippine Reclamation Authority and All-Tech Contractor, with the latter serving as the project implementer. She also said that the reclamation was made possible through the PrivatePartnership Center of the Philippines. According to SFIM, the project implementers target to build roads, shopping and entertainment centers, business hubs and ports, schools, and other establishments in the reclaimed portion of the continuously shrinking Manila Bay. “If the project would push through, that would be catastrophic,” Macabale said. “Based on various studies, eight barangays in Parañaque and 14 barangays of Las Piñas will experience heavy flooding if strong typhoons hit the country because these cities parallel to the Freedom Island are lying in low grounds,” she explained. Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond V. Palatino, church groups, and other sector groups such as small vendors, child advocacy group such as Akap-Bata, and some government officials who are opposed to the project had expressed their support to the signature campaign. The SFIM said that if the two city governments remain stubborn in pushing the project through, they will intensify the campaign until reaches national levels. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)
BACOLOD City—The faithful of Bacolod diocese showed their spirit of brotherhood and generosity by responding to the call of Bishop Vicente M. Navarra to help the victims of Typhoon Sendong. The bishop’s appeal generated a total cash donation of P785, 524.75 as of January 4, 2011. The relief goods were sent to Negros Oriental via the Diocese of Dumaguete through the help of Island Merchant Corporation and the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos. A 20-footer container van of relief goods for Cagayan de Oro and a 10-footer for Iligan, respectively, were transported for free through Negros Navigation. (Mercedes Buena)
Nationalize oil industry to halt price hike, govt. told
QUEZON City— The Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) called on the Aquino administration to “nationalize” or to put under State control the petroleum industry in the country in order to prevent further increases in pump prices. The call came amid the statement of Energy Secretary José René Almendras to put a ceiling on profits of oil companies operating in the Philippines. Kadamay Sec. Gen. Gloria Arellano said it is not enough to put a cap on oil companies’ profits, since they would find ways to amass more profits, despite the fact that most of the Filipino populace are already in penury. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Candidly Speaking / A4
Ambassador / A1
Church’s Bible ambassador could inspire more people to read the Scripture. “Manny has always been very religious and we are happy that he is deepening his faith and his understanding of the Bible,” said David, chairman of the CBCP’s Commission on Biblical Apostolate. “That’s why I asked him
if he could partner with us in promoting the reading of the Bible among Catholics,” he said. The prelate added he is convinced that the popularity of Pacquiao will be a big help in promoting not only Bible readership but also in making the Bible available in every Filipino home. “We want to make the
Bible more available to the poor people that’s why we subsidized it at P50… we would like to produce 5 million Bibles for 5 million poor Filipinos and Catholics within 7 years,” David said. Aside from Pacquiao, he said, they are also seeking the help of other personalities to help boost their campaign.
“There are other bishops who are directly in touch with some personalities, celebrities, because they have a big influence on the people,” said David. “Some of our known comedians are very serious people, very spiritual people and we are happy that they are partnering very closely with us,” he said. (CBCPNews)
politics. I get the impression that many politicians think that to be effective in politics, one has to bury charity six feet under the ground. Rather, they feel they need to deepen their skills in being nasty, mean and wily. In the madness of it all, some politicians fall to such an extreme form of self-righteousness that they would have no qualms using the name of God, quoting Bible passages, to advance their own selfish designs. They tend to paint their opponents as all evil and themselves as no evil at all. We need to correct this anomaly urgently, since given its effects on us, it can indeed be a flowing wellspring either of good or evil things. We need to allow Christ to enter politics. Those directly involved in it should realize that given the nature and character of politics, they have to be strong and firm in their spiritual and moral life. Otherwise, they just bet swallowed up the monster. Christ humanizes politics and politicians. Christ sets their proper standards. The fine points of Christianity are not
meant to hinder politics, but precisely to purify it and to protect it from falling into the grip of the devil’s game, to which it is very vulnerable. Christ certainly demands from politicians that they undertake constant personal conversions, assiduous study and development of their political skills in monitoring developments, in dialoguing, consulting and consensusmaking, in making prudent decisions and implementing them. Christ would certainly enlighten us as to what would constitute our proper and integral development. This has been the subject of many opinions, theories, ideologies and systems. But without Christ, these ideas just won’t have the proper spirit to bring us to our authentic end. Christ would make us see the big picture without neglecting the small details and the constitutive parts. He will teach us the ways of prudence, and ultimately of love, that would include precisely its difficult part—what to do with mistakes, opponents, failures, etc. Let’s open politics to Christ!
People, Facts & Places
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
UST exhibits, auctions off 400 of its ‘timeless’ photos
NEVER-been-seen pictures of the 400-year-old UST, taken by student-photographer Paul Quiambao, are currently on exhibit as part of the University of Santo Tomas’s activities for its Neo-Centennial celebration. The Neo-Centennial celebration succeeded the UST’s year-long Quadricentennial festivities held last year to welcome the next centenary for the institution that produced countless national heroes and leaders. According to organizers, visitors of the exhibit can buy limited copies of some of the featured photographs. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the victims of typhoon “Sendong” as well as to UST-supported Ayta communities in Tarlac. The exhibit titled “400 Shots to Immortality” was unveiled January 20 and will be on display up to February 10 at the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences Gallery and the lobby of the UST Main Building, which was declared a National Landmark by the National Museum. Aside from the photo exhibit, the UST’s Neo-Centennial celebration was highlighted with a thanksgiving Mass and the blessing of the grounds of the New Hospital Building on January 23 at 8:30 a.m. On January 24, university officials opened the campus-wide University Fair, the start of the Feria de la Tapa at the Quadricentennial Square, and the launch of the 400 Books at the Benavides Library. The next day, January 25, the celebration started with the rare and exciting Velada Tomasina at 8 a.m., the unveiling of the Historical Marker, wreath-laying ceremonies, Velada Tomasina Lectures, a La Naval de Manila procession, the Ad Januam Coeli (to the gates of heaven) exhibit of thanksgiving for the life and service of departed Thomasians, and on through the Flamenco Night at the Feria de la Tapa, which started at 7 p.m. January 26 activity began at 1p.m. with the homecoming of the Alumni Priests’ Association and the dry-run for 40,000 voices at the Open Field, ending up with a walk-through of the Thomasian Alumni Center at 4 p.m. On the final day, January 27, there was an 8 a.m. cheering competition when the Q Cheer-making Contest: Cheermania spinned
Photo courtesy of Red Images
UST NEO-CENTENNIAL EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION. A thanksgiving Mass highlights the entry of UST into the new century as inspired by the examples of its alumni martyrs and saints. Main presider at Mass was His Excellency Jose S. Palma (center) and concelebrated by Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi (left) and Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle (right).
off at Plaza Mayor. Noontime gave way to quiet moments, a perfect prelude to “Kumpisalang Bayan sa Pamantasan” held at the UST Chapel and Seminary Grounds at 3 p.m.
A Eucharistic celebration with a Neo-Centennial twist followed at 4:30 p.m., held in the Open Field, and capped by “40,000 Voices” and fireworks display at Angelus hour. Pursu-
ing UST’s neo-centennial theme was the Grand Fiesta all over the campus at 7 p.m. capped by a Grand Variety Show at the UST Grandstand and Open Field. (YouthPinoy)
Priests, seminarians discuss philosophical issues in annual gathering
Jaro tops Visayas region in distribution of MTBO Bible
IN its effort to make the Word of God reach every family in the archdiocese, the Archdiocesan Commission on Biblical Apostolate of Jaro has distributed a total of more than 21 thousand bibles from 2009 to 2011. The Biblical Commission of the archdiocese revealed that Jaro has topped the Visayas Region in the distribution of “May they Be One” (MTBO) Bible. In 2009, around 5,222 Bibles were distributed, followed by 8,139 Bibles in 2010. In 2011, some 7,820 Bibles were spread, making it a total of 21,181 bibles that reached thousands of families in the archdiocese. The staff of the Biblical Apostolate attributed the high number of distribution to the efforts of the parishes, catechists and Catholic communities such as the Divine Mercy Community. The Commission’s staff foresees that the demand for Bibles in the whole province of Iloilo will remain high as the “May They be One” Bible project is extended to 2015. But even if the archdiocese has ranked Number One in Bible distribution in the Visayas region, Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo stressed the need to make the Word of God known to people. “Our effort to make the Word of God better read, known and lived must continue to be urgent and relentless,” he said in a circular. As the whole nation celebrated National Bible Week from January 23 to 29, Lagdameo has encouraged all diocesan and religious clergy, religious superiors, heads of Catholic schools and the lay faithful to do their part to celebrate Bible week in their respective parishes and jurisdictions. For this purpose, the Jaro Archdiocesan Commission for the Biblical Apostolate, under the directorship of Fr. Elmo Cary Montaño, was tasked to assist anyone who would call on them for their biblical activities. The Bible Week celebration in Jaro is extended until February 4. A Bible Enthronement ceremony and an “On the Spot Bible Quiz” will be held in SM City Iloilo on February 4. Many students from the Catholic schools in Iloilo are expected to participate in the celebration. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
Priest formators and hundreds of seminarians from eight seminaries in Central Visayas gathered January 18-20 in Bacolod for their yearly assembly.
AN annual gathering of priest formators and seminarians from various seminaries in Negros and Panay Islands has tackled philosophical issues that directly touch the formative lives of future clergy. Some 285 delegates composed of 32 seminary formators and 253 seminarians re-evaluated the adequacy of Christian Philosophy on seminary formation vis-à-vis the relativistic, materialistic and anti-metaphysical paradigm of the post-modern era. Participating seminaries include St. John Marie Vianney Seminary (San Carlos), Little Way Seminary (Kabankalan), St. Joseph Seminary (Dumaguete), St. Vincent Seminary (Jaro), Santa Maria Mater et Regina Seminary (Capiz), Sto. Niño Seminary (Aklan) and St. Peter Seminary (Antique). Hosted by the Sacred Heart Seminary community, delegates and Sacred Heart seminarians were accommodated in host families to provide them with more formative opportunities. The seminary fathers, led by Very Rev. Fr. Jesmar V. Manato, SHS Rector, together with the core group of seminarians and parents, have coordinated with selected parishes and chaplaincies for the hosting of the delegates.
The host families are from the parishes/chaplaincies of Our Lady of Holy Rosary (Eroreco), Holy Family (City Heights), Our Lady of Peace & Good Voyage (Airport), St. Therese (Cameroli), Our Lady of Fatima (Sta. Ana), Immaculate Conception (Bakyas), Sto. Niño (Helvetia), Our Lady of Miraculous Medal (Homesite), Immaculate Conception (Villamonte), Triumph of the Holy Cross (Camingawan) and San Isidro Labrador (Tangub). The annual gathering is randomly hosted by one of the eight participating Diocesan seminaries since it began at Roxas City, Capiz in 2001. Held from January 18 to 20, the three-day event commenced with a caravan along the major thoroughfares and landmarks of Bacolod City followed by an opening mass at the Sacred Heart Shrine which was presided by Bishop Vicente M. Navarra. The philosophical symposium held in the morning of the second day was followed by sports activities in the afternoon and solidarity night in the evening. A 9 a.m. Mass in celebration of the feast of St. Sebastian followed by a Fellowship Lunch, culminated the three-day affair. (Sem. Giovani G. Garde/CBCPNews)
COCOPEA to tackle K+12 program at 4th National Congress
THE Coordinating Council of Private Educational Association, Inc. (COCOPEA) is set to hold its 4th National Congress focusing on the twin initiatives of K+12 and the Quality Assurance as part of the Philippine education reform agenda. The two-day event will be held at the Quadricentennial Pavilion of the University of Santo Tomas, España, Manila on February 28-29. Stressing the importance of the strategic initiative, organizers said the “two-day biennial event shall provide an avenue for COCOPEA members, education stakeholders both from public and private sectors, and policy makers to collectively deliberate and propose initiatives implementing the educational reform agenda.” “We hope to bring school heads and presidents, government, industry partners and other stakeholders to examine the reform initiatives of the Aquino administration and to collectively develop a Framework and National Agenda of Action for Philippine Education covering basic education, tertiary education and tech-voc education in light of the K to 12 reform, ASEAN 2015 and other urgent issues and challenges confronting Philippine education,” organizers further said. Keynote speaker will be President Benigno S. Aquino III who is expected to report on the state of the nation’s education program and his 10-point education reform agenda that was launched in the 3rd COCOPEA Congress. Top officials of the government’s education agencies were also invited to discuss their proposed initiatives, according to the COCOPEA board. Chairpersons of Congress’ education committees will likewise share their views on the Philippine Education Reform
Agenda and other legislative initiatives which impact education. At the end of the two-day Congress, COCOPEA will adopt resolutions that would serve as framework of the education reform agenda on K+12 and Quality Assurance. In 2010, COCOPEA held its 3rd National Congress at the height of the campaign for the May 2010 elections which served as a platform for the ‘presidential candidates’ to articulate their education agenda. It was in this congress that President Aquino presented for the first time his Ten-Point Agenda for Philippine Education, which includes the K+12 program, mother tongue instructions and the expansion of GASTPE. COCOPEA President Jose Paulos Campos, Ed.D. has invited all member schools to participate in the congress. (Jandel Posion)
200 youth to join 9th Parliament of Youth Leaders
AROUND 200 youth leaders representing different sectors and regions are expected to participate at the 9th Parliament of Youth Leaders which will be held on the first week of May 2012. Organized by the National Youth Commission, the 9th parliament has the theme “Revolutionizing Youth Development,” which aims to formulate policy recommendations to address youth issues in the country. “These recommendations are then lobbied to government leaders to be considered as proposed bills and administrative policies. It is important to note that during the event, participants also get to share ideas and gain valuable insights and networks to aid them in their youth development efforts,” organizers said. NYC Commissioner Gio Tingson, who heads this year’s NYP National Organizing Committee said the gathering is the perfect platform for all Filipino youth to get proactive. “Ito na ang pagkakataon nyo na makibahagi sa isa sa pinaka-importanteng proyektong pangkabataan ng pamahalaan kung saan ang boses ng natin ay maririnig sa paggawa ng mga policy recommendations para maging batas o polisiya. If you want change in the government—in our society—this is a great place to start. Ang Kabataang Filipino mula sa lahat ng rehiyon at sektor ay inaanyayahan ng NYC na sumali at makilahok,” Tingson said. He added that “the Commission is also revamping the conduct of the parliament, making it more inclusive and youth-friendly.” “We’ll do away with cosmetics like formal clothing and focus on the substance. You can show up in your jeans and rock star shirt, as long as active participation and involvement is there,” furthered Tingson. The parliament of youth leaders started in 1996. NYC opened the applications to the 9th Parliament of Youth Leaders last January 19 with Commissioner Tingson inviting young people, “we need your voice! Join us usher in change.” For interested applicants, the application forms can be downloaded at the NYC website (www.nyc.gov.ph) or get it from the nearest NYC area office. The qualifications of NYP9 are as follows: Filipino citizen, aged 15 - 30 years old as of February 29, 2012; residing at the place of representation for at least six (6) months at the time of submission; must be a member of an organization; of good moral character; and can contribute to the objectives of the 9th National Youth Parliament. Deadline of application is February 29, 2012. The NYC reminds that previous NYP delegates are no longer qualified to participate. Other details and requirements are posted on the NYP 9 application form, the NYC website and the NYC Facebook account. For more information, please e-mail email@example.com. ph or call (02) 416-2833, 4163415, 413-5503 or 416-3570. (Jandel Posion)
INAUGURATED. The Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan’s first cloistered monastery was inaugurated January 21. The Poor Clare Monastery of Saint James the Apostle, located at the Brgy. Nancapian, Malasiqui in Pangasinan is the result of almost a year of work by its parishioners. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who initiated the project, led the blessing at 10 a.m. According to him, one of the very first concerns he immediately attended to when he was appointed to the archdiocese was to build a contemplative monastery as the “powerhouse of our active ministry.” The prelate also said that the blessing of the monastery will be the only opportunity for the public to see its interior. The inauguration coincided with the start of the archdiocese’s jubilee year. CELEBRATED. The Diocese of Cubao’s Ministry for Youth Affairs (MYA-Cubao) marked the 10th anniversary of Jesus and Me (JAM) youth formation program on January 28. Organizers have chosen the theme “I in you, you in me” (John 14:20) which captures the very identity of every JAMMER (young people who had already attended the JAM Formation Program). Activities during the whole day celebration include group dynamics, Holy Eucharist which was presided by the Diocesan Youth Director, Fr. Jojo Monis, competitions such as Cheering, Commercial Spoof, Skit presentation and Parlor Games; and awarding of winners and Certificates to Parishes and Top 10 Jammers. The anniversary celebration gathered all the graduates of JAM Formation Program. The first batch of JAMMERs had their weekend camp on January 25-27, 2002 at San Jose Seminary in the Ateneo de Manila University campus in Loyola Heights, Quezon City. From then on, other parishes followed suit and to date, 18 parishes have already adopted the program. CELEBRATED. Holy Name Society of the Philippines (HNS) 26th anniversary, January 22, in Mati, Davao Oriental. A solemn Mass at the San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral Parish presided by parochial vicar Fr. Carmelito Salisad opened the celebration. Present for the grand affair were Rev. Fr. Rey Adalid, OP, national spiritual director, Bro. Felix “Nonong” Tobillo, national president, along with his wife Bhaby Tobillo, Bro. Laureano Culala, Jr., executive vice president, Bro. Apolinario Carandang, executive secretary, along with his wife Angeles Carandang, and Bro. Judge Candido Villanueva of Cavite, a retired Makati RTC judge. The officers and members of the HNS Mati unit led by its president Bro. Agustin Gonzaga and Sis. Annabelle Ortega and Bro. Lucio Jabilles, 1st and 2nd vice presidents respectively, warmly welcomed the national visitors upon their arrival in Mati on January 21. The messages delivered by the National Executive Board representatives, including the episcopal message of Mati Bishop Patricio Alo echoed creative challenges emanating from the theme “Journeying Faith To Salvation.”
Manila archdiocese holds painting contest
YOUNG Filipino artists will have a chance to showcase their talent and passion for the art at the Manila archdiocese’s 5th annual painting competition. Organized by the archdiocese’s Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, the contest has actually started last December and ended on January 27 this month. Awarding of winners will be on February 4, 2012. The theme for this year’s competition is “The Rosary, its Mysteries and the Filipino Family.” The contest is open to Filipino students and out-of-school youths, ages 15 to 25 years old. Organizers said the contest hopes to foster contemporary artistic interpretations of the Catholic faith particularly among young artists, and seeks to promote awareness and appreciation of religious art. The first prize-winner will take home P40,000. The second placer will receive P30,000. The winner for third place will receive P20,000. Three “Juror’s Choices” will also receive P10,000 each. (CBCPNews)
Vol. 16 No. 3
January 30 - February 12, 2012
(Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the 46th World Communications Day that will be observed on 20 May 2012)
DEAR Brothers and Sisters, As we draw near to World Communications Day 2012, I would like to share with you some reflections concerning an aspect of the human process of communication which, despite its importance, is often overlooked and which, at the present time, it would seem especially necessary to recall. It concerns the relationship between silence and word: two aspects of communication which need to be kept in balance, to alternate and to be integrated with one another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between people are to be achieved. When word and silence become mutually exclusive, communication breaks down, either because it gives rise to confusion or because, on the contrary, it creates an atmosphere of coldness; when they complement one another, however, communication acquires value and meaning. Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves. By remaining silent we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself; and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested. In this way, space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible. It is often in silence, for example, that we observe the most authentic communication taking place between people who are in love: gestures, facial expressions and body language are signs by which they reveal themselves to each other. Joy, anxiety, and suffering can all be communicated in silence—indeed it provides them with a particularly powerful mode of expression. Silence, then, gives rise to even more active communication, requiring sensitivity and a capacity to listen that often makes manifest the true measure and nature of the relationships involved. When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary. Deeper reflection helps us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected, to make evaluations, to analyze messages; this makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared knowledge. For this to happen, it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of ‘eco-system’ that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds. answer and permits seekers to reach into the depths of their being and open themselves to the path towards knowledge that God has inscribed in human hearts. Ultimately, this constant flow of questions demonstrates the restlessness of human beings, ceaselessly searching for truths, of greater or lesser import, that can offer meaning and hope to their lives. Men and women cannot rest content with a superficial and unquestioning e x c h a n g e of skeptical opinions and experiences of life—all of us are in search of truth and we share this profound yearning today more than ever: “When people e x c h a n g e information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals” (Message for the 2011 World Day of Communications). A t t e n t i o n should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God. In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives. It is hardly surprising that different religious traditions consider solitude and silence as privileged states which help people to rediscover themselves and that Truth which gives meaning to all things. The God of biblical
Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization
revelation speaks also without words: “As the Cross of Christ demonstrates, God also speaks by his silence. The silence of God, the experience of the distance of the almighty Father, is a decisive stage in the earthly journey of the Son of God, the incarnate Word …. God’s silence prolongs his earlier words. In these moments of darkness, he speaks through the mystery of his silence” (Verbum Domini, 21). The eloquence of God’s love, lived to the point of the supreme gift, speaks in the silence of the Cross. After Christ’s death there is a great silence over the earth, and on Holy Saturday, when “the King sleeps and God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages” (cf. Office of Readings, Holy Saturday), God’s voice resounds, filled with love for humanity. If God speaks to us even in silence, we in turn discover in silence the possibility of speaking with God and about God. “We need that silence which becomes contemplation, which introduces us into God’s silence and brings us to the point where the Word, the redeeming Word, is born” (Homily, Eucharistic Celebration
The process of communication nowadays is largely fuelled by questions in search of answers. Search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers. In our time, the internet is becoming ever more a forum for questions and answers— indeed, people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware. If we are to recognize and focus upon the truly important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive. Amid the complexity and diversity of the world of communications, however, many people find themselves confronted with the ultimate questions of human existence: Who am I? What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? It is important to affirm those who ask these questions, and to open up the possibility of a profound dialogue, by means of words and interchange, but also through the call to silent reflection, something that is often more eloquent than a hasty
with Members of the International Theological Commission, 6 October 2006). In speaking of God’s grandeur, our language will always prove inadequate and must make space for silent contemplation. Out of such contemplation springs forth, with all its inner power, the urgent sense of mission, the compelling obligation “to communicate that which we have seen and heard” so that all may be in communion with God (1 Jn 1:3). Silent contemplation immerses us in the source of that Love who directs
us towards our neighbors so that we may feel their suffering and offer them the light of Christ, his message of life and his saving gift of the fullness of love. In silent contemplation, then, the eternal Word, through whom the world was created, becomes ever more powerfully present and we become aware of the plan of salvation that God is accomplishing throughout our history by word and deed. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, divine revelation is fulfilled by “deeds and words having an inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them” (Dei Verbum, 2).This plan of salvation culminates in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the mediator and the fullness of all revelation. He has made known to us the true face of God the Father and by his Cross and Resurrection has brought us from the slavery of sin and death to the freedom of the children of God. The fundamental question of the meaning of human existence finds in the mystery of Christ an answer capable of bringing peace to the restless human heart. The Church’s mission springs from this mystery; and it is this mystery which impels Christians to become heralds of hope and salvation, witnesses of that love which promotes human dignity and builds justice and peace. Word and silence: learning to communicate is learning to listen and contemplate as well as speak. This is especially important for those engaged in the task of evangelization: both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the Church’s work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of Christ in today’s world. To Mary, whose silence “listens to the Word and causes it to blossom” (Private Prayer at the Holy House, Loreto, 1 September 2007), I entrust all the work of evangelization which the Church undertakes through the means of social communication. From the Vatican, 24 January 2012, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales. BENEDICTUS XVI
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
Juridical Role of the Parish in the Administration of Baptism
By Fr. Jaime Blanco Achacoso, J.C.D.
AT times, Catholic parents have been vexed by what they perceive as bureaucratic red tape even in the simple matter of having their children baptized. While this might be true in isolated cases, the truth of the matter is that Canon Law has placed certain requirements for the reception of the so-called sacraments of Christian initiation—i.e., Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. Since Baptism is the door to the other sacraments and the means by which a person becomes a member of the Church, Church Law has disposed that the parish community—under the guidance of the parish priest as a proper pastor—be the center around which the baptismal discipline is organized, and the parish be the administrative organ in charge of taking juridic note of the celebration of the sacrament. Thus, Canon Law confers specific competencies to the parish as regards the preparation, celebration, registry and proof of baptism. a. Preparation for Baptism The Code of Canon Law establishes the following norms for the proper preparation of Baptism: 1) For the baptism of adults. An adult who intends to receive baptism is to be admitted to the catechumenate and, to the extent possible, be led through the several stages to sacramental initiation, in accord with the order of initiation adapted by the conference of bishops and the special norms published by it (c.851, 1º). What is prescribed in the canons on the baptism of an adult is applicable to all who are no longer infants but have attained the use of reason (c.852, §1). 2) For the baptism of infants: Parents and Godparents. The parents of an infant who is to be baptized and likewise those who are to undertake the office of godparent are to be properly instructed (c.851, 2º). One who is not of sound mind (non sui compos) is equated with an infant so far as baptism is concerned (c.852, §2). As to the content of this instruction, c.851, 2º specifies: a) For parents and godparents: the meaning of the sacrament and the obligations which are attached to it; b) For parents: the parish priest is to see to it that the parents are properly formed, by pastoral direction and by common prayer, gathering several families together and where possible visiting them. b. Celebration of Baptism 1) The Place for Baptism. The Code both stipulates the ordinary place for baptism, and prohibits—except in case of necessity—certain places. a) Proper Place: Church or oratory. Outside the case of necessity, the proper place for baptism is a church or oratory (c.857, §1). The Code further prioritizes the locality of such church or oratory as follows: 1º Proper parish. As a rule adults are to be baptized in their own parish church and infants in the parish church proper to their parents, unless a just cause suggests otherwise (c.857, §2). In this regard, the Code provides for the possibility of facilitating access to oratory, or almost in any other fitting place, except for certain places which the Code explicitly enumerates as follows. c) Prohibited Places. The Code explicitly prohibits the celebration of baptism, except in case of necessity or permission by the local Ordinary, in certain places. It is interesting to note the difference in the degree of prohibition, manifested by the increasing margin for permitting the contrary: 1º Private homes. Outside the case of necessity, baptism is not to be conferred in private homes, unless the local Ordinary has permitted this for a grave cause (c.860, §1). Thus, the Ordinary (…) may permit or order (…) that there be a baptismal font in another church or oratory within the boundaries of the parish (c.858, §§1-2). The mens legislatoris is clear: In the places where baptism is to be ordinarily administered, there should be a fixed baptismal font. b) Choice of name. Parents, godparents and the parish priest are to see that a name foreign to a Christian mentality is not given (c.855). c) New Holy Oil. The minister must use oils pressed from olives or from other plants that have been recently consecrated or blessed by the Bishop; he is not to use old oils unless there is some necessity (c.847, §1). This oil of 1º The parish priest of the place where the Baptism is celebrated must carefully and without delay record in the baptismal book the names of those baptized, making mention of the minister, parents, sponsors, witnesses if any, and the place and date of the conferred baptism, together with an indication of the date and place of birth (c.877, §1). 2º The minister of baptism, whoever it is—if Baptism was administered neither by the parish priest nor in his presence—must inform the pastor of the parish in which the Baptism was administered, so that he may record it in accord with c.877, §1 (c.878). b) Testimonial proof of Baptism. Aside from the written record, Canon Law admits testimonial proof of the administration of Baptism, with different degrees of proof, in two cases: 1º If it is not prejudicial to anyone, to prove the conferral of Baptism, the declaration of a single witness who is above suspicion, or the oath of the baptized person if the Baptism was received at an adult age (c.876). 2º All other cases require at least one witness, other than the baptized person. Thus, the Code stipulates that one who administers Baptism is to see to it that, unless a sponsor is present, there be at least a witness by whom the conferral of Baptism can be proved (c.875). c) Data in the Baptismal Registry. As previously mentioned, the following data should be recorded carefully: names of the baptized, minister, parents, godparents, witnesses if any, place and date of Baptism, place and date of birth. Furthermore, the Code distinguishes the following cases: i) If it is a question of a child born of unmarried mother (c.877, §2): the name of the mother is to be inserted if there is public proof of her maternity or if she asks this willingly, either in writing or before two witnesses; 1º if paternity has been proved either by some public document or by his own declaration before the parish priest and two witnesses, the name of the father is to be inserted; 2º in other cases, the name of the one baptized is recorded without any indication of the name of the father or the parents. ii) If it is a question of an adopted child (c.877, §3): 1º the names of the adopting parents are to be recorded; 2º and also the names of the natural parents, at least if this is to be done in the civil records, with due regard for the prescriptions of the conference of Bishops.
Baptism by multiplying the churches or oratories that can have a baptismal font within the same parish (c.858). 2º Another parish. If due to grave inconvenience, because of distance or other circumstances, a person to be baptized cannot go or be taken to the parish church or to the other church or oratory mentioned in c.858, §2, baptism may and must be conferred in some nearer church or oratory…(c.859). b) Another Fitting Place. In the case of grave inconvenience previously mentioned, if not even another church in a parish other than that of the one to be baptized is possible, c.859 ends by allowing baptism to be celebrated even in some other fitting place. In other words, despite the general provision for baptism to take place in the proper parish of the subject, Canon Law is sufficiently flexible—for pastoral reasons—so as to allow baptism to be celebrated in any other church or
local Ordinary will permit this only for a grave cause. 2º Hospitals. Baptism is not to be celebrated in hospitals, unless the diocesan Bishop has decreed otherwise, except in case of necessity or some other compelling pastoral reason (c.860, §2). The local Ordinary can permit this without any limitation by the Code; and—it would seem—even the competent Chaplain or priest in case of some other compelling pastoral reason. 2) Other Canonical Requisites. Here we are referring to dispositions of the Code, not just purely ritual requirements (which would be in the particular rituals and liturgical books). Hence, the following are canonical requirements: a) Baptismal font. Every parish is to have a baptismal font, with due regard for the cumulative right already acquired by other Churches. The local
catechumens—as it is called—is blessed by the Bishop in the Chrism Mass of Holy Thursday. c. Registry and Proof of Baptism. The juridic situation that arises from the reception of this sacrament demands that the necessary measures are taken to safeguard not only the public good of the Church, but also the rights of the faithful that stem from it. Thus, the Code stipulates the following: 1) General Principles: a) Registry in the place of Baptism. In contrast to the criterion of the CIC17— which required communication of the fact of baptism to the parish where the baptized has (or will establish) his domicile or quasi-domicile—the new Code stipulates just keeping one registry, precisely in the place where the baptism took place. The subjects responsible for this are:
Disposing of old missals Adoration and mass and sacramentaries
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following queries) Q: What is the proper way to dispose of old missals and sacramentaries? I have heard that they should be burned, and that some priests have done so at the Easter Vigil for the blessing of the new fire.—P.R., Oak Harbor, Washington A: This question was addressed by the secretariat of divine worship of the U.S. bishops’ conference. The advice offered is pertinent to other places as well. To wit: “The Secretariat of Divine Worship has received a number of timely inquiries regarding the disposition of copies of the current Sacramentary once the new Roman Missal, Third Edition has been implemented. “There is relatively little written about exactly what to do with liturgical books which have been replaced by updated or revised editions, but some related writings, as well as some common sense, can provide some context. The Book of Blessings, no. 1343, indicates that the Sacramentary, the Lectionary, and other liturgical books are counted among those articles used in the Sacred Liturgy which ought to be blessed using the rite provided for that purpose, the Order for the Blessing of Articles for Liturgical Use (nos. 1341-1359). The Latin De Benedictionibus, editio typica, however, does not explicitly mention the Missale among the articles that are properly blessed. “Whether or not the Sacramentary has been blessed by an official rite, it is appropriate to treat it with care as it has been admitted into liturgical use. Its disposal should be handled with respect. The Secretariat recommends burying the Sacramentary in an appropriate location on church grounds, or perhaps in a parish cemetery if there is one. Some have even suggested following a custom used in various Eastern Churches whereby liturgical books or Bibles are placed in the coffin of the deceased as a sign of devotion and love for the Liturgy. In lieu of burying old liturgical books, they could be burned, and the ashes placed in the ground in an appropriate location on church grounds. It is advisable to retain a copy of the Sacramentary for parish archives or liturgical libraries. “Looking ahead to the reception of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, the abovementioned blessing from the Book of Blessings could be used to bless copies of the Missal before their first use on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. The blessing could take place during a Mass on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, at the last weekday Mass prior to the First Sunday of Advent, or outside Mass at a separate gathering of liturgical ministers or other parish leaders. “Many parishes will also replace hymnals and other participation aids (such as hand missals) in light of updated editions corresponding to the new Roman Missal. While the Blessing of Articles for Liturgical Use also mentions hymnals, it might be difficult to appropriately dispose of a large number of copies of such books. After setting aside an appropriate number of copies for archives and libraries, other copies could be stored for use by prayer or study groups in the parish, offered to parishioners for their own private devotional use, or donated to other small communities that could effectively make use of them. Due to copyright agreements, annual hymnals and participation aids should be discarded after their prescribed period of use and cannot be retained for other uses in parishes.” Some dioceses facilitated this disposal by arranging common drop-off places where priests could leave old missals. The Archdiocese of Denver, for example, made arrangement for a number of old missals to be buried in an unoccupied grave of a Catholic cemetery. Q: At our church, exposition begins after the 8 a.m. Mass with the proper ritual. For five years our priests have followed the guidelines to repose the Blessed Sacrament during the 7 p.m. weekday Mass, and then after Mass the priest places the Host in the monstrance for an additional hour and a half so people who work could attend exposition. Our new pastor put the following in the bulletin. I am confused. Were our other priests wrong? This is what our new pastor wrote: “Finally, I am reminded of an old Latin axiom from the Church: Lex orandi, lex credendi. The translation is the law of praying is the law of believing. It basically means that prayers express belief. A change that I will have to make concerns the exposition of the Eucharist on Wednesdays. Currently, solemn exposition begins after the 8:00 AM Mass and continues until 9:00 PM with benediction. Eucharistic adoration is a good and holy act which I fully encourage and support. The problem is that the 7:00 PM family Mass becomes an ‘interruption’ to Eucharistic adoration when it should rather be the culmination. The Church’s introduction from the Order of the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist states: ‘Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, either in the ciborium or in a monstrance, leads us to acknowledge Christ’s marvelous presence in the sacrament and invites us to the spiritual union with him that culminates in sacramental communion .... In such exposition care must be taken that everything clearly brings out the meaning of Eucharistic worship in its correlation with the Mass.’ The highest act of Eucharistic adoration, therefore, is the Mass itself and the ultimate blessing comes from actually receiving the Eucharist in communion. Having the Mass sort of interjected within exposition obscures what we truly believe and does not follow the liturgical norms of the universal Church. These concerns were also acknowledged by our diocesan office of worship. As a result, we will change the practice slightly by moving up benediction to 6:30 PM. and then to follow it with the family evening Mass at 7:00.”—A.B., Florida A: The tone and content of the pastor’s message leaves little doubt that the priest is sincerely desirous of following correct norms. The question is one of interpretation of the law. The former pastors obviously considered that offering those who worked late the opportunity of sharing in adoration merited prolonging it beyond the time of the Mass. The present pastor gives more weight to what he believes to be liturgical coherence. While both views merit due respect, I do not believe that the norms cited in the message necessarily imply that adoration has to end before the 7 p.m. Mass. Nothing in the norms would impede adoration being prolonged until midnight, or all night long, provided there
were sufficient adorers present at all times. The only thing absolutely required is that adoration must be interrupted for the celebration of Mass. The text quoted from the introduction to the Order of Solemn Exposition enunciates general principles regarding the relationship between adoration and Mass and is not meant as a practical norm to be applied rigidly. There are many ways to bring out the “meaning of Eucharistic worship in its correlation with the Mass” without having to necessarily conclude the adoration before Mass. For example such correlation can be highlighted through appropriate prayers, reflections and songs. There are also some practices to be avoided so that this correlation is not obscured and especially that it remains clear that, as the pastor said, “The highest act of adoration is the Mass itself.” This is why it is no longer permitted to celebrate before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. The Mass, as the infinite sacrifice of Christ, cannot be made more holy by the presence of the monstrance, and this practice can easily detract attention from the Church’s supreme act of worship. While this is true, I see no difficulty in attending to the spiritual needs of those who may not be able to arrive at the 7 p.m. Mass and yet desire some time before the Lord.
Vol. 16 No. 3
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Year of the Mission
Children celebrate Mission year
THE Missionary Community in San Carlos City celebrated the feast of Sto. Niño and the Holy Childhood Sunday last January 15 through a children “Sinulog” presentation. Around 150 missionary children gathered at Balay sa Nazaret and held a procession to the chapel. The children prayed for the whole world represented by the five continents. The children participants came from the mountains and slum areas comprising Balay sa Nazaret, Birhen sa Barangay, San Vicente, San Lorenzo, Grotto and San Juan. “After the program, we took our snacks and proceeded to San Carlos Borromeo Cathedral with the Missionary Children to witness the ‘Sinulog’ procession and presentation,” one of the organizers said. The word ‘Sinulog’ comes from the Cebuano adverb ‘sulog’ which roughly means “like water current movement”. It describes the forward-backward movement of the Sinulog dance. The dance consists of two steps forward and one step backward, done to the sound of drums. “The dance is categorized into Sinulogbased, Free-Interpretation. Candle vendors at the Basilica continue to perform the traditional version of the dance when lighting a candle for the customer, usually accompanied by songs in the native language,” said the organizer. The different groups prepared their own music, costumes, props, and steps. Aside from the celebration of the year of missions, missionary children are also active in Church activities. On Sundays, missionary children attend catechesis where they also play, dance and sing. During the celebration of National Bible Sunday, the children also attended the morning mass of the said event. “In the afternoon, we went to the mountain to celebrate the National Bible Sunday in these places—Balay sa Nazaret, Birhen sa Barangay, San Vicente, San Lorenzo, Grotto and San Juan,” another organizer said. It was followed by a procession with flowers, candles, five major colors representing five continents and the Bible. “The missionary children placed the Bible on the altar, read the gospel, pausing for a moment of silence and shared their own prayers. The celebration was filled with children who were vibrantly singing,” she furthered. (Maria Melanie Limbaga/Jandel Posion)
Use Media for Mission
By Sr. Ma. Consolata Manding, FSP
BY media-use we mean our viewing of television and film, listening to radio broadcast, surfing the Internet, sending and receiving emails, connecting with friends and colleagues through cyber chatting, facebook, sending and receiving mobile phone messages and others. Every day we spend hours with media. Did we ever take notice how many hours? We sometimes or many times get lost with media-use. Did we ever ask ourselves if our media engagement is worth the time considering our other duties and responsibilities to our family and career? Media are gifts of God and the Church recognizes this and even reminds us so that we may take advantage of the opportunities at our disposal. As Christians we are all called to do mission, not extra ordinary activities but in our ordinary life. The Church recommends that we use media for mission. What is Mission? It is doing good to others in the name and for the sake of Christ. He gave examples when he lived human life among us and these are recorded in the Gospel stories. He made God present among us. We can make Christ present by our good deeds to others. His examples are imitated by Christians and even non-Christians throughout the centuries. Christ continues to live among us with his sacramental presence in the Blessed Sacrament and his spiritual presence within the individual person. How can we do mission at home with our media-use? The choice of television and radio programs can make a difference among the members of our family if they get updates of events happening in the local area, the country and world at large. A program that provides new information on any subject matter that is relevant to our current concerns can be beneficial. How can we do mission in the place of work with our media use? Every time we communicate to co-worker, to our manager and those under our supervision, is an opportunity to show our respect and treat the person not as functional but a unique human being loved by Christ. What a challenge for mission! How about the use of our mobile phone? Did we ever count the number of times in a day we look at our cell-phone? Not bad if done for a good purpose! Every time we send a text message do we consider the effect on the receiver? Every word we use will have an influence on the person who reads it. Being attentive in the formulation of every text message can be an act of mission if we do it out of respect for the person and ultimately for Christ’s sake. Internet is the favorite media of most people today. Communication flow seems endless. We can do it with much ease, less financial cost and the message is sent and received in seconds or minutes. This is already a manifestation of God’s infinite goodness to humanity. If communication process is fast what is the result on the receiver and the sender? There are very good effects and bad ones too. Think of the good news you pass on to others, both in content and your way of communicating, which gives so much joy not only to the recipient but the sender as well. This is an opportunity for mission. What makes the good news is not only the content but the manner of formulating the information. We tend to think of media only as means to pass on and receive information or be entertained. But there are many other possibilities we can explore. The potential for media to educate and provide spiritual enrichment to every person is vast. We as media users can contribute to education and spiritual welfare of others by being attentive in every message we formulate and send. Let us then employ media to make people happy, hopeful, trustful, faithful, lovable among the many possibilities we can be of service. Communication process is powerful in helping others. Let us use it well for the sake of Christ! It’s a mission we can easily do every time we communicate.
Children learn importance of being missionaries at convention
MORE than three hundred children from different private and public schools in Digos diocese learned the significance of becoming missionaries to fellow children and of caring for the environment in a recent convention of the Holy Childhood Association. The convention took place at Cor Jesu College Gymnasium last Jan. 15 and was the 3rd convention of the Holy Childhood Association of the diocese. It was centered on the theme “Mission as Children helping other children and caring for the environment.” Diocesan Mission Director Fr. Jupiter Canoy said the children have committed themselves to respect and help others, especially their fellow children by praying for them and by giving donations to the less fortunate ones. They also promised to care for the environment by planting
Photo Courtesy of Maria Melanie Limbaga
more trees and be more careful in segregating their garbage. Canoy said the children donated gifts for typhoon victims, such as kitchen wares which will be sent to the victims of typhoon Sendong in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. “[They did that] with the little amount that they spared for their offerings, they realized that it is already a big help for those who will receive them,” he said. The priest encouraged everyone, especially the parents and in charge of formation and catechesis of children to really exert an extra effort in teaching, guiding, and molding their young Christian life according to the teachings of Christ so that as they grow and mature, their lives will always be rooted in the values of the Gospel. The children are indeed, the future and the hope of our Church, he furthered. (Jandel Posion)
Photos Courtesy of Maria Melanie Limbaga
Mission is a two-edged privilege
By Fr. Edwin Beley
THE missions before. When I was a kid, there were some Foreign Missionaries who were visiting us in the barrio. If my memory serves me right, they were the ones who held street masses, prayer meetings and taught us how to sing the “AMA NAMIN” the first time. I was wondering then who were they and why were they doing these stuff? Those questions were forgotten. I entered the seminary when I was eleven. Thirteen years after, I was ordained. I was assigned as a Parish Priest of Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija from 1988-1993. People were telling me that it was a place of mission. It was the farthest (3 hours dirt road), hardest to reach (crossing rivers), poorest (class d). And I indeed, was happy for five years. I was sent to Rome for three years for further studies. I met many Overseas Filipino Workers and help in the Chaplaincy. People were telling me it was a place of Mission. Filipinos were able to influence their “Signore” and their families with their faith and dedication to work. I was sent there, to be sent back more equipped. I brought home knowledge from the University of LIFE: migration, culture, adaptation, Providence. For eight years I taught Philosophy in the seminary, another place of mission, they say. Seminary formation is indeed a special ministry. The bishop also gave me “mission orders” to head the Youth and the Social Action Commissions, one after another during this period. I was made Rector of the Seminary during the last two years. I loved the predictable schedule imbedded in the training. Living with brother priests in the same building, was a bonus. Sabbatical year came. How will I spend it? The “forgotten” questions came back. Why not the Missions? The late Bishop Balce gave me a letter from Father Moderator about MSP and asked me to inquire. Minimum is three years for the Associate Program. I was not expecting that the bishop will consider three years, but surprise… he did! So I am here. Now, this is not only a place of Mission. This is “The” Mission, per se. I hope to find answers to my questions. What is there in the missions? Why do priests and religious choose to be there amidst difficulties? What and why are they happy about it? What is characteristically FILIPINO that MSP contributes to the Mission Apostolate? How is it “to spend and be spent” at the center of its spirituality? The Missions (and how did I end up here?). I am now with
Privilege / B7
Missionary work is the very work of God, says bishop
IN the opening celebration of the Year of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the diocese of Boac, Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista stressed in his homily that God is the reason for the celebration of Year of Mission. “God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to redeem mankind from sin. Jesus, before His ascension left to the apostles and to the Church this missionary work when He said, ‘Go to all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ with the promise that He will be with us until the end of time,” the bishop said. Thus, as Christians, Bishop Evangelista continued, “our work of being a missionary is the very work of God. We should pray and live a holy life whatever our state of life is. We should show love and concern to our brothers and sisters.” “God is challenging everyone that as missionaries called to continue the missionary work of Christ, we have to ask ourselves everyday: ‘Did I fulfill my missionary work?’ “As Christians united in faith, we should have that firm dedication in the work of mission,” he said, since the Year of Mission is very much connected with the Year of Faith which will be celebrated starting October 11, 2012 until November 29, 2012 as declared by the Holy Father. The Holy Eucharist was the highlight of the opening celebration of the Year of the Pontifical Missions in the diocese of Boac. Before the celebration of the Holy Mass, a program was held which started with a living rosary, followed by an opening prayer and the opening remarks by the Parish Priest and Diocesan Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Elino P. Esplana. The Immaculate Conception Parish choir rendered an intermission number. Fr. Ian Retardo, the PMS Director of the Diocese showed a video presentation featuring the “Mission” flashback. Msgr. Oscar Leaño Rector of St. Alphonsus Major Seminary in the Diocese of Lucena, in a talk reminded participants that the celebration of the Year of Mission as part of the 80th year of PMS in the Philippines coincides with the declaration of the PCP II that the Philippines is in a state of mission. He emphasized that this is not just a celebration but a call to join our hearts in prayer. “Philippines has a special missionary vocation, that is, to proclaim the Gospel and bring the light of Christ to mankind,” Leaño said, quoting Blessed John Paul II. “As baptized Christians, we are called to continue the missionary work that Christ left to us in order to bring salvation to all people. We should foster the true spirit of brotherhood because as St. Paul says: ‘No lives and dies for himself alone,’ he continued. The guest speaker encouraged everyone that as missionaries, “we should never cease praying especially the Holy Rosary and we should feel the sense of being a Church through our missionary work.” According to Vice-Chancellor Fr. Wilfredo Magcamit, Jr., the diocese has already prepared a lineup of activities for the whole year celebration, such as the Holy Childhood Festival that will be celebrated on February 27 as well as the Mission Festival which is slated on October 21, 2012. The diocese is also joining the Mission Festival in Marikina City. When asked about interactions from other Church sectors, Magcamit said that there is collaboration among various Church sectors and organizations in the diocese for the celebration of the Year of Missions. “Through them, mas lalong nagiging active ang missionary work sa local Church ng Boac,” the priest also said. He furthered that the essence of the whole year celebration in the diocese is “Mission awakening and awareness through the spirit of integration.” Around 300 participants from different church organizations and schools (elementary, high school and college) in the diocese gathered last January 14, 2012 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral to open the Year of the Pontifical Mission Societies. (Jandel Posion)
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
By CBCP for Life
HLI founder to PH: Never allow abortion to be legalized in PH
life-oriented groups and the Episcopal Commission on Family of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) began inviting her to conduct sessions and, later, giving seminars themselves, too. This, in a nutshell, what describes the beginnings of the pro-life movement in the Philippines, with Sr. Pilar at the helm and tireless life advocates and volunteers—whose numbers steadily grew over the years— working away. “We then called our group the Pro-life Movement of the Philippines with me as the National Coordinator. And that was my title for the next 30 years, even when we registered it in SEC and it became Pro-life Philippines Foundation, Inc.,” she said. Though initially focused on giving educational seminars, the group’s mission has expanded to include advocacy and lobbying as the need for these emerged – what with the D.E.A.T.H. bills, and particularly the reproductive health (RH) bill, threatening to radically transform society into one that shunned the value of life from conception to natural death, traditional family, marriage, chaste relationships, authentic masculinity and femininity. Apart from education programs that include Christian-Oriented Teen Sexuality seminars or abstinence-based modules, the group has been covering a lot of ground based on the needs of those who seek its help. “The Pro-life Philippines office has become a Resource Center where schools and parishes come to get materials for their own pro-life programs. We have not remained in information and education activities. Certainly, the practical response to those involved in untimely pregnancies are the crisis counseling centers located in many strategic places of Metro Manila as
A YEAR after the infamous 1973 Roe vs. Wade US Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion on demand in that country, a prominent international pro-life advocate traveled to Asia and called on Filipinos to remain staunchly pro-life. Rev. Fr. Paul Marx, the late founder of Human Life International (HLI), spoke to different groups about the issues surrounding the legalization of abortion in the US, and Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS, was among those present. “The film on what happens to the baby in an abortion touched me, just as I am sure it was a shock to all of those in the audience—mostly nuns and parents. I don’t even remember where that forum was held but we were told that the guest speaker was Rev. Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, the Founder of Human Life International. That was in 1974,” Sr. Pilar recalled. “The main message of Fr. Marx to the Filipinos then was that we should do our best never, never to allow abortion to be legalized in the Philippines,” said the nun, who was working in the Good Shepherd Home for Unwed Mothers at the time. “I thought that showing the same film to schools and parishes would inform the public that there are alternatives to abortion, and our Maternity Home was one of them. I then asked him for a copy of the films he was showing. He generously gave me copies of four titles and even a 16mm projector that I would lug around from school to school and even travel by bus or air to the provinces equipped with those films. That was my simple intention in giving seminars,” she added. Sr. Pilar carried out the work on her own for a long time until family
well as in the provinces,” explained the “mother” of the country’s pro-life movement. “Trained counselors offer free, compassionate and effective help to the callers or to those who walk in. Hundreds, if not a couple of thousands, of babies have been saved and girls
and women have returned to the Lord through the timely availability of our volunteer pro-lifers.” Eventually, however, the need for advice was no longer confined to single expectant girls, she said. “The population control mentality was seeping into the consciousness
of people, so intensive education on God’s Plan for our Fertility, Sexuality, Marital Relationships, and Responsible Parenthood had to be conducted.” CBCP for Life is running a bi-weekly column by Sr. Pilar Verzosa—titled Love Life—to appear Mondays and Thursdays. (www.cbcpforlife.com)
Let’s make the UN Secretary-General keep his word
The United Nations must be the “defender of the defenceless”, says Ban Ki-moon. Why not begin with the unborn?
By Vincenzina Santoro
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s year-end press conference did not exactly make it to the front pages of the world’s newspapers. However, for the occasion, Mr. Ban was keen to remind reporters that he was completing his first fiveyear term at the end of 2011 and was looking forward to his second mandate. In his remarks, he stated that the world needs the United Nations now more than ever. This is debatable, but he gave us some food for thought. According to Mr. Ban, over the past five years, he had tried to “advance a practical, action-oriented vision” of the UN as “the voice of the voiceless and the defender of the defenseless.” Reflecting on his words, who could be more voiceless and defenceless than the unborn? Is this not especially true of the unborn who are to be aborted – their very existence about to be crushed, dismembered and terminated, yet they cannot utter a word or take a stand? They were not part of his “actionoriented vision.” If the Secretary-General were truly sincere about defending the “voiceless and defenceless” he should be a defender of all the unborn. Mr. Ban indicated that in January he would present the outline for his second term, making references to commitments to the rights of women and children with the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development to be center stage among 2012 events. He should include the unborn as well. Admittedly, this would call for a particular kind of courage on Mr Ban’s part since his home country, the Republic of Korea, has a high number of abortions. At the same time it would be a patriotic gesture since South Korea also has the lowest fertility rate among developed countries, 1.15 children per woman, the result of all too successful official family planning policies pursued for decades. Today there is much hand wringing in South Korea about the implications of a shrinking population. Such concern ought to work in favor of the voiceless, defenceless unborn. While Mr Ban conducted his news conference, given the season, elsewhere in New York theatre troops were busy presenting the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. The character of Ebenezer Scrooge early on, in his unrepentant stage, refuses to give alms to the poor and ill so that the “ranks of their populations” could be thinned! Was such an attitude the forerunner of today’s population controllers? Possibly. But Scrooge saw a guiding spirit and soon enough experienced a conversion. Can we be a modern day “ghost of Christmases past” for the Secretary-General and use his very own words to draw their rightful conclusion? Starting with the Secretary-General’s own words, if all prolifers – at the UN and elsewhere – began a writing campaign and asked him to support the voiceless and defenceless unborn child, would this not be the true meaning of his words and a new, right vision for the UN? The address is: Hon. Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General of the United Nations United Nations Headquarters New York, NY 10017 USA (Vincenzina Santoro is an international economist. She represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations. This is taken from MercatorNet with permission)
The great poverty divide
By Fr. Shay Cullen
MANUEL a semi-illiterate teenager just rescued from the filthy jails of Metro Manila was longing to see his parents and family. He told us that they had no home and lived on the street. They had a food stall near Baclaran Church and lived there under a plastic sheet. They eked out a living selling bananas cooked in recycled vegetable oil and brown sugar to the church goers at the weekly novena and daily masses. Both rich and poor filled the Wednesday novena prayers. The poor being the vast majority were begging divine help to find enough food for their families and medicines for their sick and the irresponsible and unrepentant rich praying for forgiveness and donating coins for a ticket to heaven. Alas that’s the great divide; the poor trying to live for a few days more, the rich trying to live forever. Blessed are the responsible well off rich people, the Zacchaeus people of this world who are enlightened and see the social and human reality and are determined to use their influence and resources to change it for the better. They are agents of change and have compassion for the poor, exploited and the abused, and they dedicate their talents, In the Philippines there is much to be done to reduce hunger and poverty. In a recent survey made in December 2011, 45 percent of those surveyed said they were poor, that’s an improvement from the previous year when 52 percent said they were poor. Another 36 percent of those surveyed said they experienced hunger. The Philippine situation still remains “serious” according to the Global hunger index. Back at the Parañaque jail a group of visiting German Parliamentarians from the Economic Cooperation and Development Committee led by the dedicated human rights defender chairperson Dagmar Wohri saw the worst of all. They were visiting the jails and witnessing the overcrowded cells of hungry inmates, minors among them so symbolic of the condition of the urban poor squeezed into shacks and shanties and living on scraps and recycled left-over. The committee will be reviewing their assessment of the Philippines as a semi-developed middle-income country as some agencies rate it and will hopefully deliver development aid in a way that directly impacts the lives of the poor. There is hope that justice will emerge. The government of President Aquino is fighting
Divide / B7
wealth and efforts to change this unjust divide between the haves and have not. But it’s not an easy task. In Davos, Switzerland the world leaders have lost their way. Greed and excess has damaged the world economy and they can’t fix it. Trying to make this a more honest, loving and compassionate world where equality and justice reign is the true goal of Christianity. When Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed that it was coming, the corrupt rich elite called him a blasphemer and a rebel, a danger to the nation and to their elite status and tortured him and handed down the death penalty in cruelest way possible. Today
around the world, human rights advocates and those committed social workers dedicated to helping the victims of abuse and hardship, work to bring about a just society based on democracy and greater equality. They are vilified and condemned, tortured and killed. Yet more heroes rise up to take their place and carry on the mission. The irresponsible rich and their deluded followers call such heroic striving for spiritual and social transformation class warfare, Jesus called it the road to the Kingdom of God where the poorest and their supporters would live in dignity and be the most blessed instead of being the most despised and cursed.
Spectacular grace-filled week ushers in UST’s next centenary
By Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
THE University of Santo Tomas concluded its year-long 400th foundation anniversary with a forward looking week that actually turned out to be a celebration of the UST’s 401st birthday ushering in the new centennial. Thus, its theme, Neo-Centennial thanksgiving, strung together all the week’s activities whose highlights included a wreath laying ceremony at the Miguel de Benavides monument, the Velada Tomasina recreation of 19th Century UST, the La Naval Procession done as it was 100 years ago, and the Neo-Centennial Thanksgiving Mass. Easily the most awe-inspiring of these was the Eucharist held at the grandstand on January 27, when the open field brimmed over with hundreds of priests and bishops mingling with thousands of the Thomasian Community. Main presider at Mass was His Excellency Jose S. Palma, Archbishop of Cebu and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). As UST Rector, Rev. Fr. Rolando de la Rosa cited in his speech of gratitude towards the ceremony’s conclusion, it was but most proper to have Abp. Palma, being a UST alumnus, to serve as main celebrant in such an important Eucharistic celebration, as it somehow testifies to the role UST plays in developing leaders responsible for building the Church, the nation and the family. In his homily, His Excellency Socrates Villegas, Archbishop of Lingayen and CBCP vice president, lauded the UST’s incomparable role as the mother not only of Thomasians but also of all schools and educational institutions in the Philippines. For the general public, however, the day that would probably remain as most memorable would be January 25, which featured the Velada Tomasina’s Ciudad Santo Tomas. Then, students, faculty, administration, support staff and alumni of the University donned period clothing as they went about their business in the campus. Horse drawn carriages and a band playing the Tricentennary March of 1911 around the campus also gave the public a taste of what the UST was like a hundred years ago. The day wound up with a La Naval procession where images of Dominican Saints imprinted on banners accompanied Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval, in a manner our forebears observed during Jose Rizal’s time. The evening Mass that crowned the Velada Tomasina day was presided over by His Excellency Leonardo Legazpi, OP, Archbishop of Caceres, the first Filipino Rector of the UST, and a former CBCP president. The Neo-Centennial celebration ended with a rare and uplifting musical event— featuring 40,000 voices (of the Thomasian community) joined by the guest priests and bishops, singing songs of praise and jubilation with the accompaniment of the UST Symphony Orchestra—capped by a hairraising rendition of the UST hymn, which climaxed in a most spectacular fireworks display. All those sounds and sights would have registered as just another potboiler had not the UST Rector Fr. de la Rosa emphasized in his closing remarks that over and above all the accolades the UST has reaped through the ages for its enduring legacy to the Filipino people, one fact remains, shining and undisputable: the University of Santo Tomas is not only a teaching university but is a praying university. Every true Thomasian knows, believes, and feels that truth in his marrow.
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media
© CBCP Media
Vol. 16 No. 3
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Press statement after the bishops’ plenary assembly
SINCE last Tuesday, 24 January until this noon (of 30 January), 99 members of the CBCP gathered here at Pius XII Catholic Center for the Bishops’ Seminar and the 104th CBCP Plenary Assembly. We are happy to share with you what transpired during these days. With me are members of our CBCP Permanent Council, prelates who are already familiar with you: Abp. Soc Villegas and Bp. Pablo “Ambo” David. They are with me because Abp. Soc is Bishop-in-charge of media concerns, and Bp. Ambo David is Chair of the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate. To us the past week was most significant and fruitful. On Tuesday, we were privileged to listen to the findings of a study conducted by professors from 10 universities in the period of 10 months. Such study focused on the submitted Diocesan Pastoral Plans (DPPs) after PCP II in 1991 or specifically after the National Pastoral Consultation
on Church Renewal (NPCCR) in 2001. A great interest was generated by insights from our DPP’s 20 years after PCP II. The next days were ever more engaging. The document VERBUM DOMINI on the Word of God in the life and missions of the Church, reflected and elaborated from the perspective of BEC, Clergy, Seminary Formations, etc. gave us much joy and consolation and also proposed to us serious challenges. Indeed God’s word is alive. It’s both a gift and a task. The Plenary which started last Saturday was an opportunity for us to look forward in hope to great events we expect to happen in the universal church, to wit: Launching of the year of Faith on October 11, 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We underline our eager expectations
and the blessings (from the pastoral perspective) of the forthcoming Synod of Bishops on Oct. 7-28, 2012. Said Synod is on New Evangelization. Finally, I would like to add how excited we are as we look forward to the CANONIZATION of Bl. Pedro Calungsod. We are joyful to think that if we have San LORENZO RUIZ de MANILA, soon we will have SAN PEDRO CALUNGSOD, Bisaya. In my opening message (during the plenary assembly) I said that to hope is not to close our eyes to the sad realities around us. In that address I pointed out that our country is considered the “natural disaster capital of the world.” What complicates and saddens even more the life of millions are human factors all of us are called to examine ourselves, particularly our individual and collective failures. We know that the first challenge to renewal is personal. Then social change will follow.
We profess that the road to renewal, growth and development also beacons us to rise and get actively involved with the realization of things hoped for. Lifting up our hearts in prayer and from the perspective of FAITH, commenting on the ongoing impeachment trial of CJ RENATO CORONA, our collective sentiment is to exhort our brothers and sisters—our fellow FILIPINOS—to pray, study and to do whatever is legally and morally possible that TRUTH and JUSTICE maybe attained or realized. We exhort people to pray especially for wisdom and guidance. We hope that the process will redound to the common good. Finally we exhort people to give our respect and trust with the Senator-judges and the constitutional processes. Finally, having been presented videos of the effects of typhoon SENDONG in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, and also of the APECO (Aurora Pacific Economic
Zone and Freeport Authority) in Aurora we take the occasion to make an appeal particularly to the authorities concerned: our prayer is to make a serious revisit of our logging laws and practices, mining laws, aggressive development plans as well as the impending RH Bill and the proposed Senate Bill 2814 “Racial Anti-Ethnic, Racial or Religious Discrimination.” We fear of their grievous consequences to our people now and in the future. As bishops we are aware of our multiple ills, concerns and problems. Yet Hope springs eternal. We believe in the God who loves us. We believe in the good in the human hearts. We believe that FILIPINOS can love and even sacrifice for the common good. +JOSE S. PALMA, DD Archbishop of Cebu CBCP President 30 January 2012
‘The Church Has Recognized in the Way a Special Gift That the Holy Spirit Has Given Our Time’
(Address of Pope Benedict XVI to the members of the Neocatechumenal Way; on January 20, 2012)
Christ the Priest and of His Body the Church (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). At first glance this might seem strange, because it seems that the work of Christ refers to the historical redemptive action of Jesus, his Passion, Death and Resurrection. In what sense, then, is the liturgy the work of Christ? The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus are not only historical events; they reach into and penetrate history, but also transcend it and are always present in the heart of Christ. In the liturgical action of the Church there is the active presence of the Risen Christ who makes present and effective for us today the same Paschal Mystery; it draws us into this act of gift of Self that in his heart is always present, and causes us to participate in this presence of the Paschal Mystery. This work of the Lord Jesus, who is the real content of the Liturgy, the entering into the presence of the Paschal Mystery, is also the work of the Church, which, as his body, is a single entity with Christ -- Totus Christus caput et corpus—says St. Augustine. In the celebration of the sacraments, Christ immerses us in the Paschal Mystery for us to pass from death to life, from sin to new life in Christ. This applies most especially for the celebration of the Eucharist, which, being the summit of Christian life, is also the cornerstone of its rediscovery, to which the Neocatechumenate tends. As your Statutes read, “The Eucharist is essential to the Neocatechumenate, as a postbaptismal catechumenate, lived in small communities” (art. 13 §1). Precisely in order to promote the rapprochement to the wealth of the sacramental life by people who have strayed from the Church, or have not received adequate training, the Neocatechumenals may celebrate the Eucharist in small communities, after the first Vespers of Sunday, according to the provisions of the diocesan bishop (cf. Statutes, art. 13 §2). But every Eucharistic celebration is an action of the one Christ together with his one Church and therefore DEAR brothers and sisters, This year I have the joy to meet you and share with you this moment of sending out for the mission. A special greeting to Kiko Argüello, Carmen Hernández and Father Mario Pezzi, and an affectionate greeting to you all: priests, seminarians, families, formators and members of the Neocatechumenal Way. Your presence today is a visible testimony of your joyful commitment to living the faith, in communion with the whole Church and with the Successor of Peter, and to be courageous heralds of the Gospel. In the passage we heard from St. Matthew, the apostles received a clear mandate from Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). At first they doubted, in their hearts there was still uncertainty, wonder before the event of the Resurrection. And it is Jesus himself, the Risen one—the Evangelist underlines—who draws close to them, makes his presence felt, sends them to teach all that he has communicated to them, giving a certainty that accompanies every preacher of Christ: “And behold I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). They arewordsthatresonatestrongly in your hearts. You have sung Resurrexit, expressing faith in the Living One, the One who, in a supreme act of love has conquered sin and death and gives to man, to us, the warmth of the love of God, the hope of being saved, a future of eternity. In these decades of life of the Way, one of your strong commitments has been to proclaim the Risen Christ, responding with generosity to his words, often abandoning personal and material safety, even leaving your own countries, facing new and not always easy situations. Bringing Christ to the people and bringing people to Christ: essentially open to all those who belong to this Church. This public character of the Holy Eucharist is expressed in the fact that every celebration of Holy Mass is ultimately directed by the Bishop as a member of the Episcopal College, responsible for a particular local church (cf. Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution. Lumen Gentium, 26). The celebration in small communities, regulated by the liturgical books, which should be followed faithfully, and with the particular features approved in the Statutes of the Way, has the task of helping those who are undergoing the Neocatechumenal itinerary to receive the grace of being inserted into the saving mystery of Christ, which makes possible a Christian witness capable of assuming the traits of radicality. At the same time, the gradual growth in faith of the individual and of the small communities should promote their integration into the life of the larger ecclesial community, that finds in the liturgical celebration of the parish, in which and for which the Neocatechumenate is implemented (cf. Statutes, art. 6), its ordinary form. But even during the way it is important not to separate from the parish community, right in the celebration of the Eucharist which is the true place of the unity of all, where the Lord embraces us in the various states of our spiritual maturity and unites us in the one bread that makes us one body (cf. 1 Corinthian 10:16f). Courage! The Lord does not fail to accompany you and I assure you of my prayers and I thank you for the many signs of closeness. I also ask you to remember me, too, in your prayers. May the Holy Virgin Mary with her maternal gaze assist you and may my Apostolic Blessing sustain you, which I extend to all the members of the Way. Thank you!
this is what breathes life into each work of evangelization. You do it in a way that helps those who have already received the baptism of faith discover the beauty of the life of faith, the joy of being Christians. The “following of Christ” requires the personal adventure of looking for him, of going with him, and always involves going out of the closed-ness of one’s ego, breaking down the individualism that often characterizes the society of our time, to replace selfishness with the community of the new man in Jesus Christ. And this happens in a deep personal relationship with him, in listening to his word, in walking the path that he has shown us, but it also happens inseparably with believing with his Church, with the saints, in whom one always discovers again and again the true face of the Bride of Christ. It is a commitment—we know—that is not always easy. Sometimes you are present in places where there is need for a first proclamation of the Gospel, the mission ad gentes; often, however, in areas that, despite having known Christ, have become
indifferent to faith: secularism has eclipsed the sense of God there, and eclipsed Christian values. Here, your commitment and your testimony is like yeast that, with patience, in time, with sensus Ecclesiae, causes the dough to rise. The Church has recognized in the Way a special gift that the Holy Spirit has given our time, and the approval of the Statutes and of the “Catechetical Directory” are a sign of this. I encourage you to offer your original contribution to the cause of the Gospel. In your valuable work, seek always a deep communion with the Apostolic See and with the Pastors of particular Churches, to which you belong: the unity and harmony of the body of the Church are an important witness to Christ and his Gospel in the world we live in. Dear families, the Church thanks you; it needs you for the new evangelization. The family is an important cell for the ecclesial community, where one is formed in human and Christian life. With great joy I see your children, many children who look to you, dear parents, to your example. One
hundred families are leaving for 12 missions ad gentes. I invite you not to be afraid: he who carries the Gospel is never alone. I greet with affection the priests and seminarians: love Christ and the Church, communicate the joy of having met him and the beauty of having given Him everything. I also greet the itinerants, directors and all the communities of the Way. Continue to be generous with the Lord: He will sustain you with his consolation! A while ago I was reading the decree with which the celebrations which are in the “Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way” are approved; celebrations which are not strictly liturgical, but are part of the itinerary of growth in faith. It is another element that shows you how the Church accompanies you with a patient discernment that includes your richness, but also looks to the communion and harmony of the whole Corpus Ecclesiae. This gives me the opportunity to offer a brief thought on the value of the liturgy. The Second Vatican Council defines it as the work of
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
An exegetical reflection on the Gospel of the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Mark 1:29-39) February 5, 2012
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
IF one takes a bleak look at the world, he will see that the present, like the past, is a story of suffering and evil. There is much experience of evil that we read from the accounts in newspapers, magazines and the internet, and hear from the reports on television and the radio—suffering that stems from injustice, hunger, poverty, unemployment, deprivation of freedom, abuse of human rights, wars and natural calamities. And there is the suffering that is unseen—hiding behind the smile of a prostitute, the clown and the movie star and behind the joyful scenes that people upload in social networks, like Facebook. In the 1st Reading (Job 7:14.6-7), Job found himself in a similar situation: the experience of so much suffering. Eliphaz told him that his suffering resulted from his unfaithfulness to Yahweh, for prosperity and joy come from faithfulness (Job 4:7). Of course, this is a popular understanding that unfortunately is very common even among Christians. If one prospers, this is counted as reward from God for something good one has done; if one suffers, God must have given punishment for an evil deed one has committed. Job, however, protested against such theology, for he has, as far as he knew, been faithful to God, and yet he suffered (Job 23:11). This probably explains why, as we notice from the 1st Reading, Job had a negative view of life and his world (Job 7:1-3). In today’s Gospel, however, we are told that God’s will is not suffering and evil; on the contrary, it has happiness and peace. It may be recalled that, last Sunday, it was noticed Jesus’ word had authority and power (Mark 1:27), and in the concrete, it had power to save (cf Jas 1:21). In the Gospel, which continues to tell us what Jesus did in Capernaum, we see that Jesus’ preaching of the Kingdom of God includes saving people from
Christians must help put closure to the history of suffering
Healed and healers in the power of the Christ’s love
Reflections on the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) February 5, 2012, Pro-life Sunday
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
ONE does not need to be pessimistic to conclude that there is so much suffering in the world. It is a reality as old as mankind itself; a reality as varied as the gradations of gray . . . . We are afflicted by moral, spiritual, and physical suffering . . . All these forms of suffering make life miserable—a veritable “Way of the Cross.” Job had all the reasons to complain. (See today’s First Reading.) Of all types of suffering, the most striking is usually the physical one. It is always a pitiful sight to see cripples, lepers, persons devoured by cancer, people who are blind, maimed, or immobilized for life on their mats . . . In spite of all the progress of modern medicine, all those struck by sickness still experience a feeling of helplessness and humiliation. The many forms of suffering are still with us, and for all we know, they are here to stay, in ever-renewed and baffling forms . . . Any type of suffering is a perpetual reminder of the frailty of the human condition in the world. It is also a sign that the reign of Satan is still so widely spread, and that the Reign of God has not yet come in its fullness. It is only in the New Jerusalem that “there shall be no more death or mourning, crying or pain . . .” (Rv 21:4). But the healings performed by Jesus are a sign that the Reign of God has already been inaugurated and begins to be present. The salvation that Jesus proclaims is a total one, and in the healings he performs, we have the proof that it will surely come in its fullness when God’s Kingdom reaches its completion. Jesus is the one who saves men from all the ills that afflict them. His interventions to reduce suffering are part of his mission—part of the Good News he proclaims. As Christians, we are not only people who have been mercifully healed by Jesus. We are also sharers in his mission as “the healer” of humankind. As such, we, too, are called to show concern for the ailments afflicting mankind and to do our best to reduce them. This commitment of ours will be one of the most effective proclamations of the Good News. It will be one of the clear signs that the Kingdom of God is ever more making inroads in this pain-ridden world of ours.
suffering. The Kingdom of God was not only preached; it was also being made present in his healing and exorcism ministry. For example, he cured Peter’s mother-in-law of fever (Mark 1:30), and expelled many demons (v 39), both of which being considered as manifestations of the demonic power. Here we see the meaning of the preaching of the word: it is delivered in order to defeat the forces and manifestations of evil, save us from suffering, and let us thereby experience the joy and happiness of the Kingdom. The word is thus meant to effect transformation in our personal lives and in the life of the community. Being a bearer of the word in virtue of his incorporation into Christ through baptism, the Christian has a vocation to alleviate human suffering and free his fellowmen from the experience of evil. As at baptism he has been freed from the clutches of the Devil, he has to use the power given him to free others from Satan’s bondage. This is the call which Peter’s mother-in-law received. She was healed of her infirmity through Jesus’ word, and so she began to serve (v 30). Having heard and having been formed by the word of God, a Christian therefore has a
responsibility to break the history of suffering. The 2nd Reading also gives us an example of Paul himself. As a follower of Christ, he felt it was his obligation to preach the gospel (1 Cor 9:16). And what was his purpose? To save: “I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I, too, may have a share in it” (1 Cor 9:2223). Like Paul, we, Christians, have the calling to preach the word with power. We have to show that our belief in the Word makes us servants and partners in accomplishing Christ’s work of effecting liberation and happiness to men who suffer. Like Peter’s mother-in-law, we exercise our discipleship in roles of lowly service to heal the world of sin and suffering. In our recent history, the Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is an example of evil that has engulfed the lives of thousands of men and women. The Christian has the duty to show that his being a disciple of Jesus can help the world be freed from evil not only by looking after the needs of AIDS victims, putting the service of science and technology to discover a cure for it, but also by making his own life the preached word. He shows, for example,
that a chaste life, a life that knows faithfulness to one’s wife and abstinence on Fridays is a way of defeating the forces of current evils. Fittingly enough, only recently, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a pastoral letter on AIDS late last year (2011), to create awareness among people, because the diseases is taking a heavy toll in terms of human lives. Much has to be done to put an end to the epidemic; obviously, condom is not the solution. The Christian community has much to contribute to halt the increase of incidence. To be sure, we can always describe the world in terms of history of negative experiences, but such history need not be one of continual suffering. Evil in history must be put to an end. Christians have a vocation to shift its course because they themselves have experienced pockets of salvation effected by the Word. And God’s will to happiness will become effective when we ourselves allow him to use us as his instruments-through which the power and authority of the Word work to make the world a better place to live in, in transforming the world so it may concretely mirror the vision of the Kingdom of God.
Can we create a society that accepts everyone, including social outcasts?
An exegetical reflection on the Gospel of the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Mark 1:40-45) February 12, 2012
it is to die before one goes to the grave. No wonder that save for a few, those who have AIDS keep their misfortune to themselves. But how would AIDS victims feel should the government legislate, for instance, that those who contracted AIDS are to wear distinctive clothing, identify themselves whenever other people are in their vicinity, and be confined in an island between Jolo and Palawan? One may not be inclined to believe it, but a lot almost similar to this befell on one who has leprosy in the Jewish society at the time of Jesus. (We may assume that in this particular case, the man had Hansen’s disease, though one should bear in mind that the biblical term covers any repulsive scaly skin disease, like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.) As the first reading and the Gospel today indicate, the leper had an appearance that easily distinguished him from others, and gave him a bad identity: his garment was rent, his head bare, and his beard muffled (Lev 13:45a). He was ostracized, and unable to talk with others who were unlike him. He had to shout from a distance, “Unclean, unclean!” (Lev 13:45b), as a warning for people not to approach him. Wretched and ritually unclean as he was (Lev 13:46a), he could not participate in religious activities. He lived as an expellee from the normal community (Lev 13:46b; Num 5:2). Of course, all these stipulations served to protect the community, and considering that medicine was primitive, they were justifiable. Still, these could not hide the pain which the victims of Hansen’s disease felt. Indeed, they suffered not only physically, even as their bodies rotted away. Even more painful for them was their being unwanted, their loneliness, since, social outcasts as they were, people avoided them. It is not an exaggeration to say that many of them would have felt themselves worthless. However, the experience of such pain and suffering is contrary to God’s will. Far from wanting that they live in misery, he wills that men be saved from all forms of evil (cf 2 Pet 3:9). It is not his desire that anyone be lost; rather, it is his plan that all form part of the community of the saved,
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
IT may be unkind to say it, but in our unkind contemporary society, probably no one is more unfortunate in the eyes of many people than a person with the AcquiredImmunityDeficiencySyndrome (AIDS). One may steal billions from the government, have more than one wife and make erroneous decisions that affect the life of our people; but one can still be acceptable and even perceive oneself as respectable. To be known as a person with AIDS, however, is to invite ridicule and ostracism. It is to be banned from one’s social circle and suffer loneliness;
where there is acceptance, togetherness, wholeness and happiness. Which is why Jesus was angry at the misery (pain, loneliness, ostracism [Mark 1:42]) which accompanied the disease, and took pity on the leper. He healed him of his leprosy. The consequence was of course more than just the restoration of the sick man’s health. Even more important to Mark was the fact that he was socially and religiously made whole again. He returned to his family, to his circle of friends, and was restored to the normal religious community. People could now associate with him, and he could participate of the sacrifice in the Temple. Of course, today, we have few lepers,
Outcasts / B7
All-out war against spiritual leprosy
Reflections on the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) February 12, 2012
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
AIDS is the terror of so many people these days. Those affected by it are often avoided and condemned to isolation. This rejection by society makes the suffering of the AIDS victims even bitter. And one can only wish that such a terrible illness never existed . . . In the time of Jesus, leprosy was one of the most dreaded misfortunes that could befall a person; it was the AIDS of those days! While other types of patients were pitied and attended to, lepers were avoided by their own relatives. They were forbidden to approach a healthy person. If they ever tried to do so, they were chased away with stones . . . They had to live in caves and ravines, away from ordinary human settlements, cut off from any form of social life. (See today’s First Reading.) Leprosy meant hell already in this life. A person in an advanced state of leprosy was a terrible
Leprosy / B7
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
God playing with us
around Jesus!” he then gathered the statues on his mother’s prayer altar and began putting the other figures around the crucifix. “Let us now pray to Jesus for mommy, daddy, Sussy, Rex and Tania. So that they will always be good and all go to heaven one day.” “What about you, Jovy?” his mother peeked from the door. “Aren’t you going to ask something for yourself?” She was quite amused to see her son playing with the statues like toy soldiers. Sarah’s children had toys and a few simple video games, but she and her husband reared their kids to love books and doit-yourself handicraft kits. This was indeed a better investment for the future and it helped them to be more creative. “Nope, ‘coz my guardian angel already said a prayer to Jesus for me,” the four-year-old boy replied. “And what would that prayer be?” his mother asked. “That Jesus can play with me anytime and anywhere He wants,” Jovy replied. *** The simplicity of Sarah’s children and Jovy’s entertaining game teach a lesson of how we must ‘simply’ place ourselves before God as we are and allow Him to play with us as He wishes. We are often sad or disappointed not because of any objective trial but because our petty expectations or goals are not met. We react exaggeratedly by complaining or getting angry because we could not control the ‘playing field’. In reality, our
Whatever / B7
“OH no! Jesus is falling!” the boy screamed! “Quick! St. Michael, catch the crucifix!” he ordered. St. Michael swooped down from the sky, but came a little too late and could not catch the falling crucifix. “St. Josemaría! Save Jesus from hitting the ground!” the boy made one last plea. A prayer card of St. Josemaría glided like a surfboard from nowhere and caught the falling crucifix before it hit the ground. “Yahoooo! St. Josemaría saves the day again!” Jovy cried out in joy. “Next time,” he pointed to the statue of St. Michael, “you had better be more alert. If St. Josemaría were not close by, then Jesus would have hit his head on the ground.” “Now let’s form a circle
Vol. 16 No. 3
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Cancer Warriors Foundation
Helping Filipino kids fight cancer
By Ronalyn R. Regino
“GOD will make a way where there seems to be no way.” That is what it says in Don Moen’s song titled “God Will Make A Way”— the song that sustained and inspired James Auste, a cancer survivor and founder of Cancer Warriors Foundation. Cancer ranks as one of the top causes of mortality in the country. Whenever we learn that a person has been diagnosed with cancer, we jump into conclusions that it can no longer be cured, that no matter how many therapies and treatments he would undergo, cancer will never really go away. The least we could do to help them is to make them feel that they are not going through the fight alone. Auste was diagnosed with cancer last September 1996. Two nodules were found in his pituitary and pineal glands. He went under radiation therapy for six weeks. He was declared cancer-free in 1997. Three years after, Auste founded CWF with the belief that cancer can be beaten when detected early, given proper management and care, and armed with unwavering faith. Auste established CWF to fulfill his self-vow that every Filipino child suffering from cancer, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, would have an equal chance to overcome cancer and to avail cancer treatments. He believed the government should give attention to aiding children with cancer, especially the ones who come from poor families. CWF was founded with the help of “Bike for Life” back in June 2000. With participants cycling from Manila to Legazpi, CWF aimed to raise awareness and funds for children with cancer. The foundation provides full treatment the moment patients are diagnosed with cancer. CWF supplies chemotherapy drugs and other medical needs of children. At present, CWF is helping over 350 children from Tarlac to Davao. These children undergo psycho-social therapy on weekly meetings. They are also being helped in their education through scholarships. But more importantly, CWF offers guidance to the children in their battle for life and against cancer. Through regular fundraising projects, CWF is able to tend to the needs of children. In its existence in more than a decade, CWF has participated in various activities and projects that compensate the needs of the foundation. Among these projects are Bike for Life, Gleevec International Patient Assistance Program, Gold Ribbon Campaign, 10,000 Envelopes Campaign and so on.
Currently, there is an ongoing project dubbed as “Paa Campaign” for children whose feet, legs or limbs, have been amputated. The children who have been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma or bone cancer wish to have synthetic or alternative feet. CWF is also advocating to lower the prices of drugs and to provide free medicines for Leukemia patients in over 14 tertiary government hospitals in the country. The foundation continues to ask for help from generous people to provide the needs of the children. Auste is also calling for help from the government and the church as well. “We need the support of the CBCP in raising awareness by including childhood cancer in the topics or issues [being] discussed [by them]. We need the [backing] of the bishops [to support] their local cancer warriors by allotting a Sunday, a week, or a month of the year to childhood cancer,” Auste said. CWF will be celebrating the International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day on February 15, 2012 to commemorate the lives they are helping and the lives they have lost. For your donations and inquiries, you may contact James Auste at jamesauste@ yahoo.com or visit www. cancerwarriorsfoundation.org.
Privilege / B3
Photo courtesy of Cancer Warriors Foundation
Divide / B4
The Mission Society of the Philippines (MSP) as an Associate Member. A missionary in the Hosororo Parish, Region I, Guyana, South America. How did I end up here in Guyana? Why the missions? I have no ready and certain answers. I believe I have the same questions myself. Where God leads me, I am not always ready to go. When I tried to look into the reality of Vocation or Call in the Bible, there is a recurring theme of initial rejection of the call. I noticed that this is common... Abraham (How am I to know that I shall inherit the land?), Moses (I am nobody), David (I am too small) Isaiah (I have unclean lips), Jeremiah (I am too young), John the Baptist (You should baptize me, instead), Peter (Depart from me, I am a sinner), Paul (I am a persecutor of believers), Mary ( I don’t know man) Jesus (Take this cup away from me, for I don’t want to taste its poison—JC, Superstar). It seems that where I don’t want to be, there is where God wanted me. In John 21, I found the closest explanation to this reality. After Peter, as it were, professed his love for three times, the Lord told Peter, “I am telling you the truth: when you were young, you used to get ready and go anywhere you wanted to; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will bind you and take you where you don’t want to go.” (John 21:18) It does imply some MATURITY
Whatever / B6
(But when you are old…). I am not really certain of what God wants of me... I am just more open to this reality. After all, I am only the one called, He is the one calling. He calls the shots. It is his vineyard, not mine. It is his work, not mine. I don’t know where will this lead me… But as long as God is the one leading… this becomes my vocation. I allowed this experience to sink down on me. This week I came to realize that I receive only US$25 monthly. I can receive the same amount by celebrating two masses in Cabanatuan Diocese. There are no stipends in almost all the masses and sacraments in Hosororo. “You received without pay, give without pay” becomes real more than ever. I was asked by some close friends if I have no regrets. I told them, that the benefits may not be tangible but the inner battles won are worth it. Whereas before, I would sometimes feel different going to far places for masses and receive the same stipend, now no more. Here and now, I know I will not receive anything: be it near or far, land or river, wet or dry, with food or nothing. I go because I was sent, not because I will be given. I am certain of one thing . . . I go for the mass, not for the mass stipend. And it’s freedom! It feels good. The missions after…This is how I answered the Evaluation Questions after the Three Year
Mission in Guyana: How were the Goals of the MSP Associate Program accomplished from your experience: * It was truly a privilege for me, a diocesan priest, to be given the opportunity to serve in the missions. Whereas before, my knowledge and take in the missions were very limited. Now I understood why amidst the sacrifices of the missioners, God is there to show His all-abiding love and support. * The MSP has shown its support in the foreign missioners. There are many ways: correspondence, email, sms texting. The magazines, calendars, scripture guides and all. * I want to believe that my fellow priests and the Bishop have shown interest and support to the missions. Even in the way I perform my tasks in the apostolate, I feel different and a better priest now and I pray, always. In the summary statement after our evaluation: This is what I wrote: MISSION IS A TWO-EDGED PRIVELEGE. IN TRUTH, WHEN THE MISSIONARY SETS HIS SIGHT IN THE MISSION, GOD SETS HIS SIGHT ON THE MISSIONARY. GOD DOESN’T ONLY TAKE OVER THE MISSIONS, BUT TAKES THE MISSIONARY AS HIS OWN MISSION. HE CONVERTS HIM TOO. HOW CLEVER GOD IS! YOU MAY RUN BUT YOU CANNOT HIDE…
corruption and social welfare secretary Corazon “Dinky” JulianoSoliman is delivering poverty reduction programs through conditional cash transfers. Cash transfers will ease the hunger for a while and will get more children vaccinated and into school, but they will not change the deeply rooted causes of poverty and hunger in the Philippines. That is due to the structural inequality in society where the 1 percent of the 96 million people owns 70 percent of the wealth. That calls for government reform and a just redistribution of wealth in such a way that the poor will develop through equal opportunity into a strong dignified middle class. But first human and civil rights must be top priority.
MTBO Bible Run
THE May They Be One Bible Run (originally scheduled for January 22, 2012) has been postponed to March 3, 2012, Saturday. The event will be held at the Quirino Grandstand at 5 a.m. By participating in this event, you will be able to help change someone’s life through God’s Word. Registration fees are Php350 per person and P250 for students. The registration fee is inclusive of a Bible Run shirt and a race kit. Proceeds of the Run will be used to buy Bibles for the poor. Come and be part of this historic event and its vision! Bring your parish members and family! For further inquiries, you many call 524 5337 or 7037432. Mobile phone no. is 09179852076. You may download registration fee at www.ecba-cbcp.com
Leprosy / B6
sadness is due to what St. Josemaría teaches, ‘there is something between you and God.’ (cf. The Way, no. 662) Children, however, are seldom sad. This is because of their openness to almost anything and above all because they have not yet learned the ‘art of being self-centered’. They are not attached to plans, schemes nor try to assume an ‘I-already-know’ attitude before their parents. And they are ready to turn almost anything into an occasion to ‘live and enjoy life’. This must be every Christian’s attitude before God. God Himself says in Proverbs 8, that it is His desire-longing ‘to be with the children of men’ and to spend His time with them ‘playing.’ Isn’t there a more attractive way to describe how God wants to be with us and spend that time with us? How can we not respond—except when we don’t
know how to be childlike—to such an enchanting proposal? How many of us have wishful thoughts of becoming children once again just to rid ourselves of our personal complications? Imagine, God wants to play with us? And these are the basic points: 1. It is always something invitational. This means that we are free to play or not to play this game of love with God. 2. Like all games, it has some rules to follow. There are no games without rules. Rules exist not to for themselves but so the game can be played well. The Ten Commandments, that is the universal moral guide for man, describes the playing field. In this game, one doesn’t play with the rules, but uses the rules in order to play and to love. 3. God wants us to enjoy ourselves playing this game with Him. Sometimes
we may not understand it in the beginning, but with time, practice, patience and faith, we start enjoying it. We even develop better skills to play it. 4. The best part is that He wants us to win this game. The only real way to win is never to get tired of playing with Him. If we never abandon a childlike stance –characterized by trust and humility—we will most like find God helping us to play in order to win. 5. Oh, I almost forgot… If you’re a child, then it would naturally mean inviting other children to this game of love. That’s when the fun really begins! So what are you waiting for? Start playing…I mean praying, or whatever it may be there really seems to be no difference if they are both lovingly done in the presence of our Father God.
sight. People turned away their sight from them. Jesus did not follow the prevailing attitude toward lepers. He had come for the sick and the outcast, and he remained faithful to his mission. Even when the most outcast of all—the lepers—approached him, he did not back off in horror. Not only did he welcome them, but even “stretched out his hand and touched them.” (See today’s Gospel.) The merciful love that Jesus felt for the man featured in today’s Gospel was stronger than the horror which the purulent limbs most likely arouse in him as a man. Jesus’ power, pity, and love had their day. Thanks to them, a man was cured. A man was saved. And he and all the others gave praise to God. Leprosy is no longer so widespread and dreaded in our time. Modern medicine has done a lot to curb and cure it. But another type of leprosy, that spiritual leprosy called sin, is still with us. It affects not only a
Outcasts / B6
few but all humans. It affects all of us. Its effects in us are even more destructive than leprosy or AIDS. Surprisingly—and sadly so—many seem unaware of its presence and devastating effects. Others simply deny the existence of sin or call it by other “sanitized” names. Pope Pius XII lamented that one of the tragedies of our times was the loss of the “sense of sin.” But ignoring or denying it does not prevent its spread or its destructive effects. If anything, they make things worse . . . . Such is the “strategy” of the devil! Who will save us from such a plague? No progress in science or technology can offer the cure. Only Jesus can. We, the spiritual lepers of our time, have only one hope: JESUS. The only cure is his merciful LOVE and his GRACE. Our humble prayer is the one of today’s Gospel: “Lord if you will to do so, you can cure me!” (Mk 1:40).
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but we have a number of modern counterparts whom our unkind society normally rejects. We can think of moral lepers: prostitutes, guest relation officers, calls girls and criminals. We also have physical lepers: HIV and AIDS victims, tuberculars, neurotics and psychotics. And to some extent, we have social lepers: dockworkers, squatter settlers, barkers, hold-uppers and smalltime thieves (big-one ones, ironically, are often honored in high places). In many ways, they are the alienated, the unwanted in our contemporary world. We normally discriminate against, if not exclude, them from the respectable society. We erect various walls to keep them out, in much the same way that the Jews put barriers between those within and those outside the respectable Jewish society. But if the Gospel (Mark 1:4045) has any lesson, it is that we
are invited to accept such people to the Christian community where no one is excluded on the basis of money, morality, and gender: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”(Gal 3:27), for our vocation is to be one: “to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body, one Spirit… one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all…” (Eph 4:3-6). So as Christians, we have to make every effort that all people, no matter the kind of leprosy they have, should have a place in our Christian community, where humanity, justice and dignity are restored, and where they will be accepted, and treated as fellow Christians. We have to make every effort to support them, and uplift them from misery through our love and concern for them.
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
TITLE: We Bought a Zoo CAST: Matt Damon, Colin Ford, Thomas haden Church, Scarlett Johansson, Patrick Fugit, Elle Fanning DIRECTOR: Cameron Crowe SCREENWRITER: Aline Brosh McKenna, Cameron Crowe PRODUCER: Julie Yorn, Marc Gordon GENRE: Adaptation, Drama LOCATION: California, USA RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes
TEChNICAL ASSESSMENT: ½ MORAL ASSESSMENT: ½
CINEMA RATING: For viewers 13 years old and below with parental guidance
WE bought a zoo is based on a real story that took place in England. Journalist Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) recently lost his beloved wife and is raising their two children singlehandedly. Sevenyear-old Rosie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) is adorable and a breeze to look after but 14-year old Dylan (Colin Ford) is a difficult case, sullen, withdrawn, and causes a lot of trouble in school. Following an impulse to make a fresh start, Benjamin quits his job and decides to move
his family away from the city where all the memories of their sweet and happy life haunt them. His house-hunting leads him to a spacious, modestly priced property in a bucolic setting. It would have been perfect, except that it comes with a rundown zoo which is maintained by a handful of volunteers led by Kelly (Scarlett Johansson) who do it out of sheer love for the animals. The new owner of the property would have to take this shuttered down zoo and the animals, including some endangered species. The title alone, We bought a zoo, would have us expecting comic relief at least half the time. The other half could be spread out evenly among cute animal shots, clever animal tricks, and heroic animal deeds that would all endear wild four legged creatures and other species to humans. But no, the movie has none of those—which is what makes this number most unusually precious in Hollywood’s history of “animal movies”. First, the animals are simply themselves, animals in an animal park, not trained performers in a glittery circus. Snakes crawl, big cats growl. The animals here are low profile, and
even when a couple of them have to be deployed, it is done in order to advance the story and not to inject cheap excitement as is done by movies which rely on gimmickry to catch public attention. This is so because We bought a zoo is not about animals but about persons who discover themselves and one another through experiences that eventually cause their growth. The zoo just happens to be the setting, and the animals, the necessary props for such transformative human interaction to take place. This is about persons—and there is not one person here who can be called a bad guy. There is no villain in this story, not even the fussy zoo inspector Walter Ferris (John Michael Higgins) the character that causes the most stress in the others is just there to faithfully do his job, or Benjamin’s brother Duncan (Thomas Haden Church) who is not very encouraging of his brother’s moves or decisions at the start. We bought a zoo is definitely family entertainment and has much to say about familial devotion, love of creation and the environment, dedication to work, friendship and parentchild relationships.
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Look for the images of CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Saint Valentine, Blessed Pope John Paul II (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
CORIOLANUS (Ralph Fiennes) is a tough Roman General who plays important role in fighting the civil unrest at the height of hunger in Rome. Impressed of his skills as soldiers, the politicians including her manipulative mother Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave) make him their leaders where he realizes the plights of Roman people experiencing hunger and unrest. The politicians take his realization as a display of weakness and ineffectiveness as a leader and therefore accuse him of being a traitor. He turns his back from political allies and joins the side of the former
TITLE: Coriolanus CAST: Ralph Fiennes, Gerald Butler, Ashraf Barhom, Brian Cox, James Nesbitt, Jessica Chastain, Vanessa Redgrave DIRECTOR: Ralph Fiennes GENRE: Drama, Mystery, Suspense LOCATION: United Kingdom RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes TEChNICAL ASSESSMENT:
MORAL ASSESSMENT: Cinema Rating: For viewers 14 years old and above
enemy Aufidius (Gerard Butler) to whom Coriolanus offers his life and services for their cause. When his mother appeals for him to reconsider return to the service, Coriolanus breaks down to the dismay of Aufidius. “Coriolanus” is an adaptation of Shakesperean’s play. Despite in modern times but successfully kept to the essence of the original story and delivery of significant lines. The director did a good job in bringing out the tough and soft sides of the characters in the film. The scene between the son and the mother is very well portrayed. The production design in camouflage is a bit over because it is not actually a war movie. But the fight and killing scenes can be very violent. Many of the bloody scenes are irrelevantly given close up shots. Nonetheless the musical scoring and sound effects are good. Overall, the film is seen with efforts to do well in the technical aspects however, there are lapses that overtaken these intentions. There is honor in fulfilling a duty and for being of service to the people. But when the interest is questioned, a person is called to reflect and may need to make tough and/or unpopular decisions that may generate various reactions and direct opposition. In this crucial decision, betrayal is a common dilemma that a person must face. Coriolanus has experienced both being betrayed and being accused of betrayal. But in the end, he had the guts to face off with the circumstances of his actions.
Vol. 16 No. 3
January 30 - February 12, 2012
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
CFC: Hands and Hearts On Fire
By Majane Olores
THE Couples for Christ (CFC) Conference held on January 14, 2012, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum was, like in previous years, a momentous event. The much-awaited gathering was attended by an estimated 15,000 CFC community leaders—including those from the Family and Social Ministries—coming from all over the Philippines and from foreign areas such as Australia, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, USA and the Middle East. The Mass which formally began the event was celebrated by His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines. Concelebrating were His Excellency Bishop Paul Hinder, OFM Cap, Vicar Apostolic of Southern Arabia, and other priests, including Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, director of the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., and CFC Spiritual Director Monsignor Allen Aganon. Archbishop Pinto’s homily highlighted the important role of the laity in the mission of the Church, especially in defending the Christian family and the Gospel of Life. He emphasized that CFC truly has a calling from the Lord to strengthen families and “set the world on fire.” The opening worship, led by IC member Mannix Ocampo, CFC Family Ministries Director, was Spirit-filled and vibrant, a foretaste of what was to happen during the rest of the afternoon. Ocampo exhorted the crowd filling the coliseum to open their hearts to the fire of God’s Spirit. Joemar Salumbides, CFC Events team head and International Coordinator of the Servants of the Lord (SOLD), led the On Fire chant, joined by performers from CFC and the various adult Family Ministries, who truly glorified God by giving their “time, talent and treasure” for the presentation. After the worship, a creative presentation “re-telling” the story of our faith, and the importance of Mary’s “yes” to God’s call was performed by members of the younger Family Ministries, i.e. KFC and YFC. The Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity of Jesus, the Wedding at Cana, Jesus’ public ministry, death, Resurrection and Ascension, and the Acts of the Apostles — were re-enacted to the accompaniment of inspiring songs rendered by the 29 AD “Musicionaries.” CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca delivered the first talk entitled, “Hearts on Fire,” emphasizing that throughout the course of CFC‘s history we, too, have experienced the hand of God blessing us. Cuenca stressed that having a heart on fire means we, like Mary, must learn how to accept the will of God and to say “yes” to His calling. He exhorted everyone to not be afraid to “set the world on fire” and to respond to our calling as evangelizers and missionaries. Cuenca ended his talk by exhorting the crowd to move forward in hope towards CFC’s 50th Anniversary, and to continue to treasure and share Christ’s gift of love to others, especially to the poor. The second session started with a sand artist “painting” images with sand to the accompaniment of the song “Reaching for You,” which was mostly about God’s “all-consuming love.” It was a simple but nonetheless inspiring prelude to the talk proper, entitled “Hands on Fire,” delivered by CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman Jr. He shared that although storms have come our way, and our themes have changed along the years, CFC’s vision remains unshaken. Our mission continues because our vision and mission is not just of man but a plan of God, for many families today and in the future. Villaroman also encouraged the participants to recall their first “encounters” with God through CFC, especially the time they joined the CLP. He asked those present to reflect and assess themselves on the question: “Do our hearts continue to burn intensely?” Villaroman, who is also the CFC Home Office Director, explained that “On Fire,” taken as an acronym ,can also describe the “priority of our hands in our CFC mission:” l “O” - “One with Christ, One with the Catholic Church”, which was further emphasized by a sharing from Bishop Paul Hinder of Saudi Arabia, who talked about evangelization in a non-Christian environment. l“N” - “New Generation”, refering to preparing the new generation of Christian leaders, while refreshing ourselves with a new generation outlook and energy to our mission. l“F” - “Fullness”, requires that we pray and immediately commit to God that we will act on both “Evangelization and Social Action; Proclamation and Poor; CLPs and ANCOP.” l “I” - “International Or Global Calling” led Villaroman to remind everyone present that “when you travel, you are sent with a global calling.” He then introduced the “On Fire Missions Program” (via a video), as a response to the need and call for evangelization. l“R” - “Relevant Life And Formation” is a call that is crucial to every CFC member’s life, especially receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, participating in regular household meetings and formation programs, etc. This year, CFC is also called to tap the power of Intercessory Prayer, by including it in every household member’s life. l“E” - “Effective Governance and
The clergy who concelebrated the Holy Mass pose with Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto.
Stewardship” emphasizes the importance of faithful generosity, especially in giving tithes, and contributing to the International Mission Fund (IMF) and Build My House (BMH) Fund. CFC members’ faithful generosity help provide the “fuel” for the missions, especially in countries and areas where CFC is not yet present. Villaroman ended his talk by encouraging everyone to keep on burning with God’s fire in their hearts. He also led the crowd in a “lighting ceremony,” which featured a huge “cross of lights” in front of the stage, and everyone in the coliseum lifting their lit-up cellphones, as a symbol of commitment to be “on fire” for the Lord. The CFC missionaries to foreign countries were also prayed over during this time. The conference ended with a powerful worship led by Goi Villegas, YFC Metro Manila Head. The nourishing talks, sharings and powerful worship sessions during the CFC On Fire Conference is the first salvo of the year for CFC to live out its theme for 2012 -- to “proclaim the greatness of the Lord.”
The Magnificat: CFC’s Song of Mission
By Tina Rodriguez
THE CFC Mission Core Group held their annual weekend retreat last January 27 to 29, 2012 at Camp John Hay in Baguio. Over 2,000 leaders of CFC and its Ministries from Metro Manila and the provinces, Brunei, China, Macau, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, East Timor, Australia, Papua New Guinea, USA, Canada, the Middle East, Lebanon, and Qatar came to participate in the event, dubbed as the “Magnificat Weekend,” based on the community’s theme for the year, “Proclaim the Greatness of the Lord” (Luke 1:46). The retreat officially started on Friday afternoon, with the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass led by CFC’s Spiritual Director, Monsignor Allen Aganon. A new feature of the traditional annual retreat is the recitation of the Holy Rosary before the Holy Mass. The rosary was recited prior to the Masses on Saturday and Sunday morning as well. The Friday session was devoted to fun and fellowship with the different MM sectors exhibiting their talents in the “CFC Goes GLEE” show choir competition. But GLEE had a different meaning that night --the show was meant to showcase the community’s “GLEE spirit,” i.e. to become “Godly, Loving and Exciting Evangelizers.” CFC Metro Manila Central A sector ended up winning first place, with West B and South B sectors gaining second and third place respectively. There were four talks slated for the entire weekend. Another new feature of the weekend retreat was the unveiling of four new original song compositions Nonoy Dalman, CFC International Council member and Finance Head, then went onstage to discuss how CFC is called to “Lift Up the Lowly,” which is a consequence of “truly living out our faith as Christians.” Like Mary, CFC members are called to be courageous and generous, always advocating and fighting for a just society. This is why Our Lady of Banneux is CFC’s patroness for its work with the poor. Bob Penalosa of West B shared his sector’s experience in setting up the work with the poor, but with a difference – the work in the sector is dedicated to Mary, Our Lady of Banneux and evangelization, not physical accomplishments, is the main goal. A Muslim couple then took the stage to proclaim God’s must first receive Christ in our hearts, and deepen our personal relationship with Him. CFC China Country Head Israel Silud and CFC USA Country Director Eric Villanueva each shared about how God is using CFC to evangelize the locals in their respective countries and mission areas. Session Two: “All Ages Will Call Me Blessed: Call to Holiness and Discipleship,” was given by CFC Family Ministries International Coordinator Mannix Ocampo. He explained how Mary’s actions during her lifetime truly showed her as Jesus’ “first and most perfect disciple.” Each CFC member is called to follow her example, by living a life of deep faith, humility and obedience. We must also be willing to share in Jesus’ suffering, just as Mary did. CFC Gift of Life Core Team members Aldy and Joy Katigbak, and Nina Ponte, wife of CFC IC member Rouquel Ponte, shared their personal experiences on the topic. goodness in their lives and how the fire that burned in their hearts during the Christian Life program which they attended as beneficiaries has led them to surrender their lives to Jesus. The afternoon session ended with the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, again a welcome innovation and one that truly expresses the retreat’s goal of drawing the participants closer to Jesus and his Mother. At the homily during the Sunday Mass, Monsignor Aganon exhorted everyone to remember all that they had learned, and would learn, during the retreat. He also told those gathered that “this year is a time for reconciliation and forgiveness,” saying that division does not have a place in God’s kingdom. After Mass, the last session, “God is Faithful to All Generations,” was given by CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman, Jr. He emphasized the importance of remembering God’s promise that He would be faithful to all generations, through all difficulties and trials. God is faithful and does not change and always keeps His promises; His love does not change. Villaroman’s sons Dave and Sam testified to this through their own inspiring experiences of God’s faithfulness. The weekend culminated in the imposition of the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, with the participants consecrating their families to Jesus through Mama Mary.
IC Member Jun Uriarte
that embody the message of each of the talks. Monsignor Allen Aganon began the retreat with the Prologue, explaining Mary’s Magnificat as a “canticle of God’s love to the lowly,” and also a “canticle of adoration, trust and gratitude.” According to Msgr. Aganon, the Magnificat is not just the song of Mary, but the song of the Church and of CFC, for it expresses our being loved by God, despite our unworthiness, and reminds us that everything we have experienced is grace. The first talk, “Proclaim the Greatness of the Lord,” was given by International Council (IC) member Jun Uriarte who explained that evangelization is CFC’s primary mission. Just like Mary, who carried forth the Good News and declared, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,” we in CFC are called to do the same. We are called, too, to go in haste and evangelize. However, we
CHINA Bank turned over, last January 28, a check for P1 million representing the bank’s donation to Couples for Christ’s Sendong fund. Alex Escucha, Group Head of Corporate Planning of China Bank (fourth from left) presented the check to CFC, represented by CFC ANCOP Tekton Foundation President Eric de los Reyes and (from the right) Bong Arjonillo, himself a China Bank executive, IC member Rouquel Ponte and
CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca. Also present were CFC members who are (or were) China Bank employees (from left) Tony and Aileen Carreon and Bob Uyquiengco. According to Escucha, the P1 million represents the bank’s counterpart donation to the P1 million earlier generated from the bank-initiated campaign among its clients and employees.
By Melo Villaroman, CFC Director
By Ricky Cuenca, CFC Chairman
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
Hearts ON FIRE!
WE saw how a single YES to the call led to greater things! Mary’s YES, to be specific, led to the salvation of man! Our ‘Yes!’ will also lead to the winning of souls for God! Masayang-masaya ako (I am very happy) this 2012 because I have seen the story of our FAITH and the saving power of God in CFC. God has a plan for CFC. Our YES to CFC is a historical process of our faith formation. In the Annunciation, we saw how the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she will be the mother of God. Mary simply and humbly accepted God’s will, “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.” We see Mary’s virtues of obedience, humility and gratitude which molded CFC in the course of our 30 years existence. Traveling in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth, Mary proclaimed joyfully in her humility her thanks to the Lord for the great things that He had done for her. Mary’s expressions reveal the features of God. She magnifies God who is merciful, a God who lifts up the lowly and fills the hungry with good things. Our Magnificat direction for the year invites us to be like Mary—to simply accept the will of God and allow God to lavish upon us His great love. Through humility, gratitude, joy and obedience to God’s plan, the Lord affirms us today, “Behold I have given you the power. And nothing will harm you. Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” As CFC disciples, we are called, we listen to the call, we are empowered by the Lord, and we act on the call to evangelize and to set the world ON FIRE. And our reward is eternal life in Heaven. In the course of CFC history, we experience the hand of God in the many blessings we receive in the community. In June 2011, we celebrated our 30th anniversary, the Pearl of Great Price. Around 100,000 members congregated at the Luneta, with delegations from all over the Philippines and the world. The CFC provincial chapters and family ministries —Kids for Christ, Youth for Christ, Singles for Christ, Handmaids of the Lord and Servants of the Lord, filled Luneta Park. We walked with joy in the ANCOP Global Walk to help our poor brothers and sisters. Fifty thousand army of Christ walked on the dawn of August 21st at the Mall of Asia to share their love for the poor. Whole families—mothers, fathers, children, youth, grandmas and grandpas and various religious organizations, schools and associations, even dogs, joined forces with CFC members to complete the 5 kilometer walk. The ANCOP Global walk happened simultaneously in the provinces and globally. So as you see, the love and generosity of God our Lord for CFC cannot be outdone. Based on results, we are blessed as a global community of evangelizers fashioned in love according to God’s plan. We are blessed with the Election of the new leadership team in CFC! We have in the new International Council of 9 members, a good combination of the old and new, of continuity and change, of stability and dynamism, the combination of the energy of the young and the wisdom of the experienced, of the foundation of tradition and the openness to adapt to the changing times. The election of the new IC was an affirmation that the CFC community was ready for transition, for positive growth changes, for strategic approaches and innovations, for the empowerment of its leaders and members and the transformation of the global organization to enter into new territories, to set the world ON FIRE. Truly we have many blessings to thank God for. God’s greatest gift is His own Son Our Lord, in His birth and resurrection. Like Mary, we simply and humbly accept and enjoy God’s precious gift. We experience the grace of the Lord in our ‘Yes’ to evangelization. We are mission ready, not afraid to set the world on fire. Just like Mary, we have found favor with the Lord in our calling as evangelizers and missionaries. The Holy Spirit will come upon us and the power of the most High will overshadow us as we set the world on fire with the fullness of God’s transforming love. We need not go further to see this happening! All throughout our CFC history, we experience the mighty hand of God in the many miracles and blessings we receive and in the transformation in our lives. We just need to open our eyes and hearts to see the fulfillment of our purpose in CFC. CFC will live to evangelize the world, spreading the good news for the greater glory of God. Our mandate together is to fulfill the CFC vision of families in the Holy Spirit ON FIRE, building the church of the home and the church of the poor. There is only one plan and that is God’s plan for CFC. We listen, reflect and discern together submitting to the will of God in all humility, obedience and thanksgiving. In doing so, we continue to transform. We are strong leaders in obedience to God’s loving plan. The loving plan of God for CFC is now revealed in the multiplication of our members and the spiritual deepening of our community. Our anointment as leaders of CFC is to continue the transformation process in our personal journey to holiness and in actualizing love and unity among us. Every leader in CFC has a role to play in setting the world on fire. God has to be revealed again and again. Our love for God with all our heart, our soul, our mind and body and our love for each other as we love ourselves will transcend all boundaries. Together, let us open our hearts to on fire evangelization. Just as Christ died on the cross to save us, He made the Apostles shine to continue His mission on earth to make disciples of all nations. Today, we are reminded to go back to the basic, to focus on what is important, our calling to be EVANGELIZERS and MISSIONARIES. Just like the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, our Christ experience will set our hearts burning to proclaim His name to the ends of the earth.
What’s In A New Year?
IT was like light, fire, and thunder of Heaven’s fireworks, when Couples for Christ welcomed the start of 2012 with a blazing Leaders’ Conference at the Araneta Coliseum last January 14. The Araneta event was an opportunity for many of us to see our friends and co-servants from the provinces and other countries face to face for the first time in 2012, and we did not lose the chance to greet them “A Happy New Year!”. In turn, we ourselves were energized by the “New Year” greetings from friends, especially knowing that their salutation and smile came not just with a wish but with a prayer. We ask, “What is it about the new year that makes it almost always happy?” ”What in the turn of the year makes the time so special?” With eyes of faith, the Lord allows us to behold a lot more in the new year’s kick-off, than just discarding our 2011 desk calendars to give way to the new, or making force-of-habit mistakes in the first few checks we issue in January. New Year is a time when, after unwrapping all our remaining Christmas gifts, we realize with great thanksgiving that we are opening the most important gift of all - the continuation of the gift of life that is full in the Lord, the gift of life connected to the most important job in the world - the mission of Christ! New Year also presents a fresh opportunity to worship the Lord more passionately than we have done in the past years, to courageously take on areas of calling we have avoided or have been scared of in the past, to smile and exude joy more visibly as we serve! New Year is a renewed chance to be forgiven, and to forgive, and through all the accompanying struggles, to speak and to love more like Christ! 2012 also means a great deal to us who are called to be servant leaders in CFC! It is the continuation of the first year of the next 30 years of CFC! Finding the “Pearl of Great Price” and pressing on to “True Gold,” it is a time to pause in our journey, and to ask: “What were my three biggest learnings over the past 30 years of Community?” Some say our biggest learning is realizing that the calling and vision of the Lord for CFC is unchanging, its constancy and strength like a house built upon true Rock. Storms will come, but the vision will remain, and the mission will continue, because these are not plans of men, but a calling ordained by God! Others would say, “We have learned that the Lord has built among us a stronger and clearer Community during the storms we have faced. Our mission today is crystal clear, focused on Christ, Family, and Poor (or Holiness in Christ, Building the Church of the Home, and Building the Church of the Poor). Our mighty Lord has even built us our own CFC Home during the period of our storm, to make sure we get the point that He, our God of utmost power, can shape blessings out of the harshest winds that buffet us! Still others declare with conviction that after 30 years, our CFC battlecry of “Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth” is no longer just a slogan, or a dream, or a PowerPoint slide, but the living, felt presence of Christ’s redemptive love in our lives! For we have seen Him transform nations and families, starting with our own family, and our own sinful life! We join the Blessed Mother in proclaiming, “The Lord who is mighty has done great things!” Beyond reminiscing the past, 2012 also is a time in our journey to look forward to the future of CFC, fillled with the sure hope of the Lord! The Lord who is mighty has not only done great things but will continue to do great things for CFC and our families! We are excited about our new theme, “Proclaim the Greatness of the Lord!” It brings us back to the heart of our calling - Proclamation or Evangelization. It affirms the fullness of the CFC mission, for He will lift up the lowly, and bless our children and generations after us. Our theme also inspires us with the example of the holiness, obedience, faithfulness, and humility of Mary -- the first and perfect disciple. We are as exuberant with our CFC Roadmap – our “GPS” (God’s Plan for Soldiers) towards our CFC Vision, capturing with clarity our shared CFC “strategies,” our plans and measures, and the key mission enablers in our work for Him! But 2012 is not just about reviewing the past and hoping for the future. The new year challenges us to seize the present moment and the present year, as the time not just to shout and to hope, but to ACT, with hands on fire! After all, the Lord Himself reminds us, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” This New Year is our arena where our hands, prepared by the Lord for spiritual battle, will implement our Area Action plans flowing out of the CFC Roadmap, as our offering for the sure victory of our Lord. We seize the moment, knowing that the Holy Spirit will renew the face of the earth by moving through a people who will act courageously in attempting to fulfill the calling faithfully and excellently for the King! Lastly, we know there is that big, singular element in the New Year standing out with utmost importance, that assurance carrying with it unmatched confidence than what the past, present and future can conjure. That one thing is both Person and God – a Savior always with us! Our past may haunt us with regrets, our present will continue to be marked by our own frustrating transgressions, the future though hopeful will remain uncertain. But our LORD JESUS CHRIST is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow! He is the Lord who calls and sends us to the mission. He is the Father who comes before us yet always holds our hand along the way. And even before we step out of our homes to plan and implement His work today, this day in 2012, He is already surely victorious. Therefore, we will not be afraid! At this start of 2012, let me then greet you again, not just a happy new year, but a surely triumphant, victorious, and joyful New Year! Let us in Couples for Christ proclaim His Greatness, and proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord!
By Nonoy Dalman, CFC Council
Lifting Up The Lowly
WHEN Pope John Paul II first came to the Philippines in 1981, the theme for his visit was: “To die for the truth is a gift to some; to live the faith is a call for all.” He brought with him a message of love for the poor when he visited the slums of Tondo and echoed the promise of God: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall inherit God’s kingdom.” The message of the Magnificat follows the same path. It is central to our mission of building the church of the poor. It is the canticle of celebration, the canticle of God the liberator and the canticle of the church of the poor open to all those who wish to be poor in spirit according to the first beatitude of St Matthew. The word lowly is mentioned twice in the Magnificat. The first, referring to Mary as a humble servant, and the second referring to one who is humble. In both Magnificat and in the 1st Beatitude, God has the same promise. The humble person shall be lifted high, he shall be exalted, thus it is written; the kingdom of God belongs to the lowly, to the humble person. The lifting up of the ‘lowly’ is the reward from God, which happens when we truly live out our faith as Christians. This is the call for all. As we journey in our service, we are lifted up with the hope that God will give us the grace to become humble servants and as lowly as those whom we serve. This is what God has reserved for all of us for doing His mighty work. To proclaim the greatness of the Lord is to bring to heart the message of the Magnificat; a message of celebration (Mary sings in praise of God), of liberation (Jesus means to establish God’s kingdom here on earth), of victory and of hope for the poor. This message is a divine call for all of us in CFC. Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall inherit God’s kingdom! God shall lift up the lowly and the humble shall be exalted. The “lowly” are the poor in spirit who shall inherit God’s kingdom; the “lowly” are the humble, those who are detached from wealth, pleasure, power and honor. The “lowly” can be the poor who are poor in spirit – those who keep their eyes on God ready to share their homes and tables with the hungry and the homeless; the rich who are poor in spirit – the rich man who opens his heart to the hungry and deprived; and the powerful who are poor in spirit – the rich man who does not rest so long as a brother or sister is entrapped in injustice and powerlessness, one who holds political power but remembers that it is given to him for the common good only. So, the message is clear: the “lowly” who are the poor in spirit and the humble shall inherit God’s kingdom. The table of the Magnificat is the opportunity given by God to all of us to become lowly, humble and poor in spirit. What is the table of the Magnificat? “Here is a table set before nations and generations, the table of the Magnificat, table for the meal of the new family. Already satiated upon arrival, the rich leave emptyhanded. They leave in tears, hungry and thirsty for what they have seen and do not have in which others watch as jealously as they do. They are perhaps generous in that they have given, but they have never been able to share. They are the kind who give without being able to share and, without doubt, this is why their gift- taken from what is superfluous is often superfluous for the poor. To this table come the poor, the disinherited of civil and religious societies, the least affluent of every nation, those who wager on values other than those which can be measured and quantified. These poor are raised up and satiated. They are filled with what they receive as their rightful share. Admitted to the table of the Magnificat where fellowship ceases to be an empty word, the race of the poor, this new humanity, eats and sated. In praise of the Lord, they understand the fellowship, recognition, love, the power of liberation, conversion and pardon are given to them like daily bread.” African Synod Bishop Anselme Titianna Sanon (Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso) The Table of the Magnificat is an invitation for us to share our lives with others. Here in this feast we shall be given the opportunity to experience God. Set before us are different expressions of love for the poor, the ‘Table of the Magnificat’ for Couples for Christ. The different programs in our work with the poor are the following: Ancop; (Livelihood, Education, Health, Community Development) and the Social Ministries; (GKare, Isaiah 61:1, Oikos Society, STMA, SOG) The Magnificat is also a call to celebrate God’s victory over sin. Preparing to join the ‘new meal of the family’ and becoming an active part of it entails the following: knowing self, personal conversion, rising above human weaknesses and becoming lowly servants ourselves It is also a call to liberate the afflicted and the oppressed. Preparing for such liberation entails proper organization, onfire evangelization and making ready the lowly. It is God’s call for repentance—for deep, heartfelt, sincere and radical change in a person’s thinking and way of life. How do we prepare ourselves for the work? We prepare through Prayer (Scripture reading, meditation, silent prayer); by learning to deal with personal issues (pride, anger, greed, lust, sloth, gluttony, envy); and with the practice of humility. Working with and serving the poor is one of the expressions of discipleship and a natural consequence of personal holiness. Serving the “lowly” is the fruit of one’s spiritual maturity. It is the product of the fullness of God’s transforming love. It is the consequence of one’s spiritual transformation and conversion. It is part of our imaging of Christ. As we are chiseled into the likeness of Christ, whatever we do for the poor becomes our second nature. We do it out of love for God, not out of compulsion. We do it as our joyful answer to God’s call to serve the least of our brethren. We do it because we ourselves have become lowly for doing God’s work with humility and love. Lifting the lowly, a call to humility, exemplified by Mary, God’s lowly servant, is a divine call to all. As we journey with our members, we follow the footsteps of Jesus- moving from household to household, from chapter to chapter, from cluster to cluster, from sector to sector, from country to country; traveling here and abroad- living, preaching and teaching about the kingdom of God. When Jesus walked the earth, he healed the sick, loved the poor, cared for the powerless and brought down the haughty. By doing all these, he gave his followers a taste of what the kingdom of God was like. And he told them essentially: do this, create this here on earth. Fill your lives and fill this land with justice, peace, compassion, love, fairness, equity. Watch me. Follow me. Do this now. With his friends and followers, Jesus created the kingdom of God here on earth. Wherever they went, they preached and established little pockets of heaven. And so we model our lives after Jesus and our Mother Mary. We hear the Magnificat, the song of Mary, filled with the certainty that God has already shown strength, scattered the proud, brought down the powerful, lifted the lowly, filled the hungry and sent the rich away. We hear God’s divine call to us- charged with the same mission of building the kingdom of God on earth wherever we are… with our acts of compassion and service, our love for the poor, our generosity and our work for justice, our commitment to peace and our allegiance to fairness and equity. As committed followers of Jesus we move on, proclaiming God’s greatness, touching people’s lives, as families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth.
Vol. 16 No. 3
January 30 - February 12, 2012
By Joe Yamamoto, CFC Council
By Ernie Balarbar
CFC North B’s Cornerstone Encounter
(Ed’s Note: Ernie is the sector head of Metro Manila North B. Here he shares his sector’s experience in implementing CFC’s newest educational program, Cornerstone.) WHAT is the Cornerstone Program all about? It is one of CFC’s evangelization “gateways” and a component of our work with the poor, in partnership with the Ateneo Center for Education (ACED). It is aimed at supporting the elementary and high school students’ learning process in public schools. The CFC Metro Manila North B Sector was one of the sectors tasked to implement the Cornerstone program this school year. We were assigned five public elementary schools and one high school in Quezon City. We believe that it was God’s design that five elementary schools were assigned to us, because there are currently five clusters in our sector. Therefore, each cluster was assigned one elementary school, except for one cluster that has an additional
CFC Hold 1st ANCOP Cup Golf Tournament
high school assignment. Other Metro Manila sectors partnered with us so that they may gain the required experience that will prove useful when they implement the Cornerstone program in their own areas this coming school year. What happens in the Cornerstone program of each elementary school? Thirty (30) Grades 2-3 pupils (called “tutees”) who can’t cope up with the rest of the class or are “slow” in Reading, Math, etc, and who are pre-selected
by the school authorities, are tutored every Saturday by our volunteer brothers and sisters from the CFC community. Each tutor handles three tutees using the materials prepared by ACED. After the tutoring sessions, they are given kids’ values formation/catechism. The tutees are then given a light meal to end the half-day activity. The parents of the children are also included in the program. Once a month, they meet with our CFC volunteers. They are
given talks on Values Formation and Christian Parenting. In the high school, the 30 top performing students from 3rd & 4th Year, also pre-selected by the school authorities, undergo a formation program that aims to enhance their character, leadership and moral values. The YFC program is currently being adopted for this. Volunteers come from the CFC community, including members of Youth for Christ Campus-based from various universities. Last December, the children assigned to our sector were treated to some faith-filled fun at our Christmas party. Some 30 tutees were also blessed to join a Jollibee party last January 5, hosted by a balikbayan friend from Canada. They were treated to a wonderful experience and came to a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Christmas i.e. sharing and giving. We in North B praise God for the opportunity to serve Him through Cornerstone and commit to setting hearts on fire with it as one of our avenues. We pray that other people may also be moved to discover the Lord’s goodness through the program during this year, and the years to come.
Harmonizing the Gospels (2)
(This is the second of a two-part series on the sites of the Holy Land visited by the recent pilgrimage of CFC members. The author connects the sites to the particular Biblical events and invites reflection on how the events of 2000 years ago impact on our lives today.) FALL 30 AD- As he continued his Galiliean ministry in Capernaum, Jesus healed a blind and dumb man, and was accused of accomplishing the deed through the powers of Satan. As a result of this event, Jesus began to speak in parables when addressing the public and spoke plainly only to his own disciples. The seven Kingdom parables in Matthew were narrated by Jesus as He continued in Galilee. One of the more memorable storm stories in the gospel occurred when Jesus, together with his disciples, proceeded by boat from Capernaum to Gadara, an area in the region of Perea, i.e. east of the River Jordan. Jesus rebuked the storm, calming the lake and impressing upon his fishermen disciples his power and majesty even over nature. Jesus encountered the demoniac in Gadara and expelled two thousand evil spirits (Legion) from the man. He permitted the evil spirits to enter the herd of swine which ran in panic, fell off the cliff and drowned. Winter 30 AD- Late in the year, two unforgettable miracles happened -- the daughter of Jairus was raised from the dead and the hemorrhaging woman was healed of her infirmity upon touching the tassel of the cloak of Christ. The miracles are unforgettable because, on the one hand, a Jew was healed and on the other, a Gentile. Faith in Jesus was the thread that connected the two occasions. Two blind men and a possessed man were healed and around this time, Jesus returned to his native Nazareth. Once again, his townspeople took offense at his presence. In the winter of this year, John the Baptist was beheaded on orders of Herod Antipas. The disciples were sent two by two on mission. Spring 31 AD- Jesus went back to Capernaum, and the twelve returned as well. He spent some time in Bethsaida and came back to Capernaum, where he fed the five thousand after multiplying the loaves and the fishes. This trip also recorded the miracle of Jesus walking on water. From Capernaum, Jesus went to Tyre along the Mediterranean coast of Phoenicia (modern day Lebanon). Here he heard the heartrending plea of a Gentile mother (Greek Syrophoenician) to heal her daughter who was demonpossessed. Jesus initially discouraged the mother, explaining that he was after the lost sheep of Israel. When the woman answered humbly that even dogs were allowed to eat crumbs that fell from the table of the children, Jesus was touched by the extraordinary faith of the Gentile mother and He honored that appeal by healing the young girl. Next Jesus healed a deaf and dumb man, fed the four thousand, then went to Magdela where the Pharisees demanded a sign. In a ship going to Bethsaida, Jesus took up the leaven of the Pharisees discourse. Traveling north, Jesus and his disciples proceeded to Cesaria Philippi, one of the ten Gentile cities comprising what was then known as the Decapolis. In a momentous encounter, Jesus asked the disciples “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Everyone except Peter answered in a roundabout fashion. The response of Peter was defining for him as well as for the ministry of Christ.: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”(Matt. 16:15-16). It was on that foundation that Jesus built his church. Then Jesus ascended Mount Tabor with Peter, John and James. The miracle of the Transfiguration occurred on that mountain. Another healing of a possessed happened, after which Jesus returned to Capernaum. Jesus took time to go to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Feast of the Tabernacles at which occasion, he declared himself to be the Living Water (John 7). After forgiving the woman caught in adultery (John 8), he journeyed back to Galilee. Winter 31AD- Jesus traveled through Samaritan country and, not surprisingly, was rejected. Proceeding to Perea, a region to the east of Jordan, Jesus took occasion to present the parables of the Good Samaritan, the Unrighteous Steward, and the Rich Man and Lazarus. Thereabout, the seventy disciples were sent out on their mission. Going back to Jerusalem, Jesus healed the man born blind. The feast of Hanukkah in that particular year was the setting for the discourse about the Good Shepherd. He then proceeded to Bethabara, the site of his baptism. Spring 32 AD- After staying for sometime in Bethabara, Jesus journeyed to Bethany, his base of work when he was in the Jerusalem area. Lazarus was raised from the dead during this period (John 11). The gospel tells about the plot of the Jewish leaders to kill both Lazarus and Jesus on account of this miracle. Back in Perea, he healed the ten lepers. It was also at this time that the mother of John and James put forth her appeal for her sons to sit on each side of Jesus during his reign, igniting jealousy among the other disciples. After this episode, Jesus traveled back to Jericho where He healed the blind Bartimaeus. Then followed the encounter of Jesus with Zacchaeus, the short-statured tax collector who climbed a sycamore tree to get a better view of Jesus. During this period Jesus presented the Parable of the Talents. He then proceeded to Bethany for the final week prior to the Passion week. The historical story of Jesus ends at the events of the Passion Week and his resurrection from the dead. But mankind’s salvation history had just begun. The sites of the Holy Land inspire the pilgrim to reflect on this shared history and to reflect on the amazing grace that is now poured out upon all of us as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice.
CFC ANCOP-Tekton Foundation hosted its inaugural Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, January 13, 2012, at the Villamor Golf Course, Pasay City, Philippines. Funds raised will go to CFC ANCOP’s two major programs, namely: the Child Sponsorship Program (CSP) and Community Development Program (CDP). The priority beneficiary areas are Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, two cities in Mindanao that were ravaged recently by typhoon Sendong. Eric de los Reyes, CFC ANCOP President, awarded trophies to the winners, namely: Ms. Lally Trinidad, Champion in the Ladies Division; Dino Justiniani, Champion for the Class ‘C’ (HDCP 25 & above); Mel Latinazo, Champion for Class ‘B’ (HDCP 19-24); Doming Santillan, Champion for Class ‘A’ (HDCP 18 & below); Abe Avena, Overall Gross Champion; and Greg Monteclaro, the 1st CFC ANCOP CUP Champion. For the team competition, 1st Runner up was composed of Rudy Diez, Tristan Tatel, Ramon Lopez and JB Balicanta. The 1st CFC ANCOP Cup Team Champion was bannered by Abe Avena, Chito Recto, Reggie Ragojos and Greg Monteclaro. The following were hole sponsors: GT Radial, Erica Crafts, KIG Glasswares, Letty Alconcel-Santiago, Solis Household West B, and Feati U CE Batch 65. Patrons and donors were: Airnergy and Renewables Corp., i-Remit Inc., Montebello Villa Hotel, Maxibuilders, Rene Bello, Ben Gamez, and Art Alabanza.
Presenting… the Malunggay!
AS a culminating event of the CFC Handmaids of the Lord for their year-long campaign to promote the malunggay as a wonder vegetable, the Metro Manila HOLD staged the first Malunggay Festival last January 21, 2012 at the DAR covered court in Quezon City. The Malunggay Festival is a culinary contest, which highlighted the malunggay as a main ingredient in five categories—soup, appetizer, main course, dessert and beverage. The entries will be featured in a malunggay cookbook that HOLD will be producing soon.
Mayor of Markham, Canada Visits ANCOP Markham Village
By Romy Medina
MAYOR Frank Scarpitti of Markham, Ontario, Canada visited the CFC ANCOP Markham Village in Las Piñas City on January 17, 2012. His delegation included Andy Taylor, Chief Administrative Officer; Councilor Alex Chiu and wife Alicia, with Christopher and CherrieMarie, their son and daughter. Susan Yao-Arkilander and Liang Tang of the Royal Bank of Canada were also part of the delegation. Also joining the celebration were Pedro Chan, the Philippine Consul General in Toronto; Clemencio Montesa, Former Consul of Toronto; Jose Brilliantes, Undersecretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs; Brgy. Captain Manny Ochoa; CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca; CFC ANCOP Chairman Joe Yamamoto; CFC ANCOP President Eric de los Reyes; and CFC Metro Manila South B Sector Head Romy Alfaro. Rev. Fr. Glenn Infiesto blessed five finished houses that were then turned over to the beneficiaries after a simple ribbon cutting ceremony. Thirty-one families are now living decently in Markham Village, with twenty more houses under construction. This is being made possible through the generosity and fund-raising drives of Markham Councilor Chiu and his wife Alice, and the committed efforts of local CFC members, the ANCOP team and the local government unit (LGU). During the event, Alex and Alice issued a $10,000 check for the construction of a Multipurpose and Educational Center, much to the delight and gratitude of the residents. In his closing remarks, Eric de los Reyes, quoting Isaiah 25:4, thanked the visitors and all partners for being a “defense
for the helpless and the needy in distress.” For the mayor of Markham, the visit was made more meaningful by the signing of sisterhood agreements with Paranaque City and Las Pinas City. The agreements were forged to foster cultural and economic exchange and cooperation between the cities. The agreement with Paranaque
was signed on January 17 between Paranaque City Mayor Florencio Bernabe and Mayor Scarpitti at the Paranaque City Hall while the agreement with Las Pinas City was signed on the same day with Vice Mayor Louie Bustamante. The sisterhood agreements were facilitated by Couples for Christ and ANCOP in Canada and the Philippines.
CFC Mission Core: Epiphany — Proclaiming God’s Greatness
Gathering (MCG) for the year. The gathering started with the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, celebrated by Rev. Fr. Ben Nebres, SJ. In his homily, Fr. Nebres shared how God revealed Himself to us in many ways, such as through the patriarchs, the prophets, and the saints. But more than that, God revealed Himself to us as a child; a humble child who had nothing and was born in a manger - a child so sweet yet hunted by a greedy king. Today, He reveals Himself to us among the poor, the suffering, and the needy. Fr. Ben emphasized that God wants us to see Him, despite His greatness, as someone who lives amongst us. Only then can we learn to allow Him to help us continue His mission here on earth. The “First Fruits Offering,” a yearly tradition wherein those present offered their “first fruits of labor” (in monetary form) followed after the Mass. CFC International Council member Rouquel Ponte, exhorted the congregation to give joyfully and generously to the Lord, stressing that God is happy to see us, His “missionaries,” offering our thanksgiving through our First Fruits offerings – our simple way of joyfully giving back to the Lord what He has given us during the previous year. On the other hand, the offerings are also a way for us to gather the resources needed to continue CFC’s mission in being “proclaimers of His Word.” An inspiring and Spirit-filled worship session followed the First Fruits offering. Different sharers then gave their testimonies on how God indeed is a great God, and how He revealed His love, glory, and power in their lives. They wholeheartedly shared their different experiences of God’s grace in
January 30 - February 12, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 3
By Beth Comahig
IN 2012, CFC is tasked to respond to the call to “Proclaim the Greatness of the Lord.” It was fitting, then, that on January 8, the Feast of the Epiphany, around 1400 leaders from CFC and the Family Ministries gathered at the Ateneo Grade School covered court to proclaim God’s greatness at the first Mission Core
Rouquel Ponte gives the First Fruits exhortation.
Bishop Paul Hinder blesses Executive Director Melo Villaroman during the Mass offering
their unique circumstances: grieving the loss of a beloved husband; serving the victims of the recent Typhoon Sendong; responding to the call of mission by choosing fulltime missionary work over a highly-paid secular job; going on short-term mission to non-English speaking countries and allowing God to see missionary work as a way of proclaiming God’s love. The different sharings were instrumental in helping the Mission Core Group members present to remember
that, just as it was during the Epiphany that God revealed Himself to the three Magi, we, too, are invited to know what the Epiphany is to each of us, i.e. what does the Lord want us to see and act on. As we proclaim the greatness and goodness of the Lord in our lives this year, God also calls us to be the “salt of the earth and light to the world,” spreading His good news of salvation and sharing His love to all, especially to the needy, to those in suffering and to the poor.
By Tina Rodriguez
LAST January 15, 2012, more than 700 leaders of Couples for Christ (CFC) gathered at the Meralco Fitness Center in Ortigas Avenue to attend the CFC Evangelization and Mission Conference, spearheaded by the Evangelization and Mission Office (EMO). With the theme “Blazing the Trail,” the conference aimed to do the following: inspire and exhort the CFC leaders to action through a clear understanding of the CFC Road Map; to introduce the new CFC integrated structure, i.e. the pastoral and mission structure that can best deliver our shared strategies, and to encourage leaders to be involved in resolving key issues on the structure; and engage leaders in action planning on how to deploy the Road Map. The whole day event, which coincided with the Feast of the Sto. Nino, started with the Celebration of the Holy Mass, led by Bishop Paul Hinder, OFM Cap,
the Vicar Apostolic of Southern Arabia. In his homily, Bishop Hinder told the leaders that they “are called to take care of Jesus Christ in the world,” and that “each child that comes into the world, whether in good health or not, is a blessing.” The conference began with CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca exhorting the leaders on the importance of continuing the journey of CFC “from pearl to gold.” The first session had the entire nine-man CFC International Council (IC), namely Ricky Cuenca, Melo Villaroman Jr., Rouquel Ponte, Joe Tale, Joe Yamamoto, Mannix Ocampo, Manny Garcia, Jun Uriarte and Nonoy Dalman forming a panel to help define the CFC Roadmap for 2012. Jun Uriarte served as the panel moderator. Rouquel Ponte talked on pastoral formation as a way of life for CFC members and dis-
CFC: Blazing The Trail
cussed plans for strengthening the households and formation. Joe Tale spoke about CFC’s “evangelization headways,” including gateway events (evangelistic events that are aimed at attracting non-community members) and point-of-entry events (the Christian Life Program or CLP). Mannix Ocampo discussed the response and involvement of the Family Ministries to the roadmap, while Melo Villaroman Jr. talked
about how CFC is to “build the Church of the Poor,” focusing on three elements, i.e. ANCOP, Cornerstone and the Social Ministries. The afternoon session featured something new -- Rouquel Ponte explained the CFC Intercessory Prayer, and how it would be incorporated into the CFC culture and way of life, especially in the household meetings. Ponte then led everyone in the intercessory prayer
and Holy Rosary. Joe Yamamoto continued the discussion on the Road Map by sharing the thrusts for leadership formation, including the “dream” to someday have our own CFC Leadership Institute. Manny Garcia also spoke about how the “One CFC Global Database” can help further CFC’s evangelization and mission work. Nonoy Dalman expounded on the importance of being good stewards and “transparent” with our transactions and other aspects of CFC Finance. He was followed by Melo Villaroman who spoke about the new CFC integrated structure. The panel answered questions from the floor after every presentation. Kirby Llaban then introduced certain key people who talked about “best practices,” namely: Lynda Geraldez of HOLD International Missions, who talked about the HOLD “Mission Express” as a way to raise short-term and longterm missionaries who can go on foreign mission even with
their own funding; Lawrence Quintero of Youth for Christ, who shared how the YFC Live Loud Worship Concert has become a “gateway event” for non-YFC members and the parents of YFC members; Rob Escaño of Singles for Christ, who discussed how SFC Metro Manila has been able to use their online database in evangelization; Jimmy Ilagan of CFC Metro Manila Central A, who shared how CFC in their sector has also been blessed by the use of the online database; Gift of Life Core Group members Aldy and Joy Katigbak, who talked about how Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB) has been taught and “streamed down” to a number of community members, and how the TOB will be integrated into CFC’s pastoral formation; and Nic Escalona Jr. of Kids for Christ, who shared about the KFC Global Day of Service as a “gateway event.” It was a long but fruitful day for all involved, with everyone going home excited to “blaze the trail” for the Lord.
The New Evangelization
By Arnel Santos
“TELL the story of Jesus Christ in a way that is humble and credible. Do so boldly and respectfully, honestly yet humbly, and in all instances, lovingly.” This was the central message of Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, in a lecture entitled, “Proclaim the Greatness of the Lord: The New Evangelization,” delivered to the CFC Mission Core Group (MCG) at Christ the King Parish, Greenmeadows, Quezon City, on January 17, 2012. Archbishop Quevedo called on the CFC MCG to proclaim the greatness of the Lord in the context of the Year of Mission (2012) as declared by the CBCP, and in preparation for the Year of Faith, as declared by Pope Benedict XVI, which shall begin on October 11, 2012, to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the opening of Vatican II. In proclaiming the greatness of the Lord, Archbishop Quevedo said that “the first thing that comes to mind, after reflection, are the words of the psalmist’s: “How majestic is your name, O Lord, in all the earth!” These evoke wonder and awe at the majesty, beauty and intelligent order of the heavens and the fact that God has made the human person little less than the angels and placed him at the pinnacle of all material creation. Archbishop Quevedo emphasized that the proclamation of the greatness of God is a proclamation of the infinite love of God at the level of Creation (Gloria Dei vivens homo); at the level of the Incarnation (Gloria Dei vivens Jesus) and at the level of Redemption, when Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed His life for us on the cross and rose from the dead, reconciling us with God. “Jesus Christ is the center,” said Archbishop Quevedo. “When we evangelize, we do not teach a book, but we tell the story of a Person, who said that there is no greater love than to die for a friend, and more astoundingly, who even “died for us, who were yet His ‘enemies.’” In today’s dramatically changed pastoral situation, however, a new proclamation, a new evangelization is necessary. Invoking the Lineamenta for the XIII Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 7 - 28, 2012, Archbishop Quevedo invited the attention of CFC to what Pope John Paul II referred to as the new Areopaghi or the new “Court of Gentiles” (Pope Benedict XVI), both referring to new “mission fields,” as follows: 1. Culture. While today’s culture promotes individual freedom, equality, human dignity, rationality, democracy, the immense possibilities of science, opening the mind to truth in reason and science, and religious tolerance, it also spawns godlessness, loss of faith, loss of a sense of the sacred, weakening of divine and church authority, sexual irresponsibility, excessive individuality, breakdown of family life, and “dictatorship of relativism.” Archbishop Quevedo exhorted all to purify the negative elements of culture. The social dimension, which is marked by migration and the impact of the mixing of cultures and globalization. Archbishop Quevedo said “migration creates an opportunity to develop new forms of human solidarity.” 3. S o c i a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n s , which is the great educator of today. “Find new ways, with new spirit, methods, ardor and boldness to evangelize people in media,” said Archbishop Quevedo. He also noted the CFC way of worship prior to his lecture during which he saw how people were lost in their prayer song. “Perhaps that kind of body prayer can be brought to the courtyard of social communications,” remarked Archbishop Quevedo. 4. Economy. “How do you tell the story of Jesus in a world of growing poverty and to the rich?” asked Archbishop Quevedo. “Public profession of faith, with boldness, is what we need to do.” 5. Civil and political life. As one cannot separate the human soul from the body, when we enter this courtyard, we must not compromise our faith. “We cannot do this unless we know our faith. Concluding his lecture, Archbishop Quevedo reminded everyone that “faith will give reason for the new evangelization. There is hope because of your faith that is personal and is celebrated and growing day by day.” 2.
By Ditas Garcia
“I will give thanks forever. I will bring praise forever. I will worship forever. Lord Jesus I surrender!” THIS was the prayer which was repeatedly sung by about 7,000 youth at the end of the Youth for Christ LiveLoud concert last January 21. The Cuneta Astrodome was filled to the rafters with youth eager to express their love for God through music. YFC LIVELOUD 2012 has been held annually for the past three years. It
that the youth live out their faith not just in words but also in action. It means making every day, every action, and every word as a living proclamation of their deep and great love for God. It’s more than singing or launching their original compositions but it’s their way to attract other youth to another way of life, a life dedicated to spreading the Good News. The concert is open to non-community members. This has been an effective gateway evangelization strategy because non-community members who attend the LiveLoud concert would be
is a campaign to enable the youth to share their God given talents in music either through songwriting, singing or instrument playing. YFC LIVELOUD is also a spring board program with one goal of sharing new original songs with the whole of YFC. It is through the annual YFC LIVELOUD PRAISE CONCERT where the youth can share, teach and launch new YFC original songs. But above all, YFC LIVELOUD means
open to attend the YFC youth camp and other YFC activities. The LiveLoud concert held last January 21 was notable for its very high energy, a level maintained through the entire concert. Everyone praised and worshipped the Lord through songs with beat and tones appealing most particularly to the youth and the not so young. There was also sharing of God’s love and faithfulness through testimonies that touched everyone’s hearts.
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