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Trust in God to help change society, pope says in Mexico’s heartland

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Popular piety on the Holy Week

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Ugnayan
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Casino will have a high social cost—bishop
A CATHOLIC archbishop has warned the Aquino government of the negative ripple effects the country could suffer from casinos than its supposed economic benefits. Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, a vocal anti-gambling crusader, said that if plans to build the multi-billion “Entertainment City” project go ahead, there will be high social cost to local people. “In a nutshell, gambling addiction is definitely not a small matter. Reason: It causes ethical deterioration and moral debasement in terms of personal degradation and social
Casino / A6

Youth orgs blast student leaders’ threat vs pro-life lawmakers
By Diana Uichangco

March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

Php 20.00

AFTER a group of university student leaders declared recently its intention to campaign against lawmakers opposed to the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, several youth organizations representing an even bigger number of young people blasted the mistaken notion that majority of the youth are easily swayed by proRH propaganda.
Youth Pinoy! President Eilleen Esteban criticized the statement made by the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) national spokesperson JC Tejano as “irresponsible and very assuming.” Tejano has said that “we are ready to launch the full force of the youth against anti-RH legislators” [by campaigning against them]. But Esteban took Tejano’s statement as a “hollow threat, [just a] propaganda to make them seemingly look huge but the truth is they are just a noisy minority.” “SCAP is in no position to make wholesale statements
Youth / A6

Thousands turn up for the annual “Walk for Life” organized and led by the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines in support of the Catholic Church’s advocacy on life and the family, and the campaign against the legislation of the Reproductive Health Bill, March 24. The “walk for life” was held a day before March 25, commemorated as the “Day of the Unborn” in the Philippines and some other countries. See story on A8.

Bishop backs calls for wage hike
AN official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has voiced support over calls for salary increase to keep pace with inflation. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, said the worker’s purchasing power has been reduced, thus the need for wage hike. Pabillo said he is hoping that the Aquino administration would do something to help the public cope with the continuing increases in the prices of gasoline, cooking gas, electricity and other services. “Dapat kung itataas mo yung oil (prices), siyempre itataas mo yung pamasahe, dapat itataas din yung sweldo ng mga tao… kasi paano makaka-cope up yung mga tao kung hindi tataas ang sweldo nila,” Pabillo said. But Pabillo noted the government’s “refusal” to act on the matter, which according to him, only proves that he is only heeding the voice of the few rich individuals and not the impoverished majority. “Ang problema nito ang pinapakinggan yung magtaas yung oil pero hindi pinapakinggan yung pagtaas ng sweldo ng tao. Talagang maiipit ang tao niyan,” said Pabillo. Since January, there have been at least nine rounds of increase in petroleum products in the country. This has prompted jeepney operators and drivers to petition for a 50-centavo “provisional” fare hike, which the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has approved. On the other hand, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) had petitioned for a P90 wage hike in the National Capital Region (NCR). In the House of Representatives, some lawmakers are pushing for the passage of the long-standing bill mandating a P125 across-the-board pay hike. Malacañang, however, immediately rejected the passage of House Bill No. 375 saying it is “too much” and “not practical”. CBCP head joins calls The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has added his voice to the growing chorus of workers calling for salary increases. Citing Blessed John Paul II’s principle, CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said the government’s actions must be conducted within the prescriptions of “labor over capital.” “We hope that they could give the increase,” Palma said over Church-run Radio Veritas, March 26. The CBCP head said the Church is hoping the Aquino administration would adopt the same principle which is people first over profit. “For me, there is an agency who studies that they can support the government to really be conscious on the plight of the poor and of the workers,” said Palma. Several labor groups have been pushing for wage hike amid the increasing prices of oil, fares, as well as other basic commodities and services. The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, in particular, filed for a P90 pay increase in the National Capital Region (NCR) citing the diminished purchasing power of the workers. (CBCPNews)

Gov’t urged to solve power outages in Mindanao
A CATHOLIC bishop has called on the government to address the looming longer blackouts in Mindanao due to the island’s continuing power shortage. Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad is hoping the government can find a quick solution to the situation and help cushion the impact of brownouts. “Due to blackout, many things are affected. I hope the government can find a solution to this problem,” Jumoad said. Longer blackout is looming this summer in Mindanao which is largely dependent on hydroelectric power generated mainly from Pulangi River in Bukidnon and Lake Lanao in Marawi City, whose water levels have gone down beyond normal. The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has already implemented load curtailment as early as two months ago which would allow them to still distribute power to different utilities in Mindanao. But NGCP officials said this will still be insufficient, resulting to blackouts of up to 18 hours a day in some parts of Mindanao. Malacañang earlier said it is doing everything possible to address the lingering power shortage. The Department of Energy (DOE) has already come up with ways on how government agencies and private firms can help in easing the ongoing blackouts in Mindanao. It said the measures include the dredging of rivers to improve the performance of hydropower plants and the implementation of energysaving programs. “The DOE has determined the urgent need to come up with a framework that will optimize and rationalize the utilization of all available generation capacities in Mindanao, including a provision for the reserve requirements in order to meet the demand for electricity in Mindanao region,” it said. (CBCPNews)

Bishop asks SC to order transfer of Luisita land titles
AN official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines appealed on the Supreme Court to order immediate transfer of land titles of the Hacienda Luisita to farmer-beneficiaries. Saying that “time is of the essence,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the SC must issue the order as initial step leading to the issuance of the Certificate of Land Ownership Awards to the farmers. “As the situation of poverty and hunger in the hacienda increases, the legal installation of the farmers will bring great relief to their long-suffering families,” Pabillo said. “As it is, their potential livelihood is being continually held off by the delay of implementation of the Supreme Court decision,” he said. Pabillo chairs the National Secretariat for Social ActionJustice and Peace (Nassa) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The prelate also urged the High Court to sustain its November 22, 2011 ruling ordering the distribution of the land to
Luisita / A6

Unemployed fresh grads urged to work for the Church
ADMINISTRATORS of Catholic schools, colleges and universities nationwide are encouraging their graduates to render volunteer work for their parishes while awaiting employment. Fr. Gregg Bañaga Jr., CM of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) invited fresh graduates to consider working as a volunteer for the Church especially if they will be unemployed. “Volunteering for parish work is a worthwhile activity during the summer break and also while one is still unemployed,” he said. Bañaga made the suggestion after government reportedly expects thousands of students to graduate this month as the school year ends. The fresh graduates are unfortunate to add to the growing statistics of unemployed Filipinos due to scarcity of job
Fresh / A6

Rep. Cojuangco told: ‘Get your facts straight’
A PRO-LIFE group called on Pangasinan Representative Kimi Cojuangco to check her facts first before “uttering falsehoods.” In yet another attack on prolife advocates, Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco repeated the same, old anti-Catholic rhetoric in a failed attempt to force a vote on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill seeking billions of pesos in public funds to provide free contraception and sterilization services. The RH lobby’s bid to railroad
Facts / A6

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

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World News
29, 2012. Other countries cited for violations during the same period include Burma, China, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey, and Vietnam. During the reporting period, the commission found that Egyptian authorities “continued to prosecute and sentence citizens charged with blasphemy and allowed official media to incite violence against religious minority members, while failing to protect them or to convict responsible parties.” According to the commission, the police and courts “fostered a climate of impunity in the face of repeated attacks against Coptic Christians and their churches.” In October 2011, security forces were accused of shooting Coptic protesters during street clashes that left at least 24 people dead and 200 injured. Last year’s report marked Egypt’s first appearance on the list of countries singled out for concern by the government commission, which maintains a list of countries found to have “engaged in or tolerated systematic and egregious violations” of religious liberty. The commission’s most recent reporting period was also a time of difficulty for religious believers in the People’s Republic of China, where authorities have pursued a policy of nationalistic control over the Catholic Church and other institutions. In its 2012 report, the commission said the Communist nation “continues to interfere in the religious activities of Chinese Catholics,” particularly through its harassment of both state-recognized and unregistered clergy. Commission members accused Beijing of blocking Catholic clergy from communicating with the Vatican, and said the government “continues to deny Catholic leaders the right to abstain from activities that contravene Holy See policies.” Figures from the U.S. government’s Congressional-Executive Commission on China, cited by the religious freedom commission in its report, allege that “at least 40 Roman Catholic bishops remain imprisoned or detained, or were forcibly disappeared”

CBCP Monitor
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

Egypt remains on US list of worst religious freedom violators
during the reporting period. In his announcement of the report’s release, commission chair Leonard Leo explained that governments “too often stand idly by in the face of violent attacks against religious minorities and dissenting members of majority faiths.” He described religious freedom as “inseparable” from other civil rights, noting that it is often “the first human right threatened by tyranny.” During 2011, the commission’s own work was threatened when a bill reauthorizing its existence was stalled in Congress. According to CQ Weekly, which reports on developments in Congress, the re-authorization stalled because of a “hold” placed on it by Richard Durbin (D-Ill.). The last-minute re-authorization, passed in December 2011, established term limits and travel restrictions on the commissioners. Its provisions called for five of the nine commission members to resign their positions on March 21, one day after the release of its 2012 report. (CNA)

WASHINGTON D.C., March 23, 2012—Egypt is still among the world’s worst violators of religious freedom, according to a U.S. commission whose 2012 report has named it as a “country of particular concern” for the

second year in a row. “In Egypt, an epicenter of the Arab Spring, hope turned to dismay, as human rights conditions, particularly religious freedom abuses, worsened dramatically under military rule,” the U.S.

Commission on International Religious Freedom stated in its report released March 20. The report covers the period from April 1, 2011—two months after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned—to Feb.

Vatican Briefing
Pope blesses Eucharistic Congress bell

During March 14’s general audience Benedict XVI blessed the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) bell. The IEC will take place June 10-17 in Dublin. The bell was presented to the Pope by an Irish delegation, led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin. The bell has been touring Ireland and up to around a quarter of a million people have rung it, according to a press release published by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. (Zenit)
Pope sends condolences to family of Italian engineer

Americans speak up for religious freedom at nationwide rallies
WASHINGTON D.C., March 23, 2012—Men and women of all ages raised their voices in support of religious liberty in the nation’s capital on March 23, speaking out against the federal contraception mandate and joining with those who participated in the Rally for Religious Freedom in locations across the country. “I think it’s remarkably important because it’s a gateway move by the government,” said Libby Barnes, age 22. Barnes told CNA that she is “used to the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception being unpopular.” But while she has become accustomed to having Church doctrine mocked, questioned and misunderstood, she believes that the mandate reaches a new extreme. Barnes said that she took time off work to attend the D.C. rally. While she does not routinely miss work, she said that she made an exception in this case because she believes that the issue is critical to the future of the nation. It is “hard to believe” that the government could try to remove a right that is so clearly protected in the U.S. Constitution, Barnes said. “The bottom line is they’re taking away religious freedom.” Barnes joined a crowd of Americans who gathered at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services building in Washington, D.C. at noon on March 23 to stand up for religious freedom. Tens of thousands of individuals were expected to participate in rallies taking place in about 150 cities across the country. The rallies were organized by pro-life groups to voice opposition to the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, which will soon require employers to offer health insurance plans that include coverage of contraception, sterilization and early abortion drugs, even if doing so violates their conscience. Rally participants said the mandate infringes upon their First Amendment right to religious freedom. Joseph Jablonski, a freshman at The Catholic University of America, said that he “joyfully” accepts the Church’s teaching on contraception and human sexuality. Jablonski said that he might one day own a business, and he fears that the contraception mandate may infringe upon his ability to do so in accordance with his faith. The regulation prohibits free exercise of religion because it prevents the Catholic Church from “being able to spread her joy,” he explained. Cindy Harris attended the rally with her three young children to show that she is “totally, totally against this mandate.” Harris said that she is “very annoyed by the media turning this into a women’s issue.” The Church is not threatening to prevent women from accessing contraception, which is already widely available at low cost, she said. Rather, she explained, the federal government is “coming into our churches and our institutions” and telling them what to do. She warned that the mandate may be a “slippery slope” to further government intrusion on people’s lives that could eventually lead to a type of “tyranny” in America. Harris hopes that her presence, as well as that of the others at the rally, will encourage members of all faiths and religious backgrounds, so that “all religious institutions, not just Catholic ones, will stand up and fight this.” (CNA)

Heartfelt sympathy is expressed in the telegram that the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, sent March 12 in Pope Benedict XVI’s name, to the Archbishop of Vercelli, Enrico Masseroni, on the occasion of the funeral of engineer Francesco Lamolinara. The Italian technician, kidnapped in Nigeria on May 12, 2011, was killed together with his British colleague, Christopher McManus, last March 8, during a military action intended to free them. The Holy Father “wishes to send his relatives the expression of his sympathy and assure them of his heartfelt participation in the grave mourning that has stricken them.” (Zenit)
Benedict XVI: Mary invites us to pray for more than ourselves

Benedict XVI shifted the focus of his catechesis series on prayer today, turning to teachings on prayer as found in Acts of the Apostles and the writings of St. Paul. He began his reflections with a look at Mary’s prayer. “If the Church does not exist without Pentecost, neither does Pentecost exist without the Mother of Jesus, since she lived in a wholly unique way what the Church experiences each day under the action of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope said in the general audience. He considered Mary’s prayer at the beginning of Jesus’ life up through the beginning of the Church and beyond. (Zenit)
Controversial Vatican stem cell conference cancelled

In 3 decades, 1,000 missionaries slain
ROME, Italy, March 22, 2012—According to a report published Wednesday by the Rome-based Fides news agency, at least 1,000 missionaries were killed in the period from 1980 to 2011. In the years 1980-89 there are 115 deaths among missionaries recorded. This number is below the true total, Fides said, as it only refers to confirmed cases. In the following decade there was a sharp increase in deaths, for a total of 604. Among the causes for the much higher number was a widening of the criteria for counting deaths. Instead of just being deaths due to direct religious persecution the number now includes all those killed in a violent manner in the course of their pastoral duties. As well, the Rwanda conflict in 1994 caused at least 248 victims among missionary workers. Fides also mentioned improvements in the mass media, with news being spread from even isolated places, as another reason for the higher total. In the period 2001-11 there were 255 recorded deaths among missionaries. In the most recent year, 2011 there were 26 missionaries killed: 18 priests, 4 women religious, and 4 laypeople. (Zenit)

A controversial scientific conference which featured proembryonic stem cell researchers and was sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life has been canceled, just one month before it was set to take place. “I am infinitely relieved that the Church has avoided a major blunder which would have confused the faithful for decades to come,” said one member of the Pontifical Academy who asked for anonymity in commenting to CNA. The 3rd International Congress on Responsible Stem Cell Research was scheduled to take place at the Vatican April 25-28, concluding with an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. (CNA)
Pope’s use of cane is nothing new, Vatican clarifies

Bishop, priest taken for ‘learning classes’
BEIJING, China, March 22, 2012—Coadjutor Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou and his chancellor Father Paul Jiang Sunian were spirited away this week to attend “learning classes,” sources say. Bishop Shao, 49, was appointed by the Holy See in to lead Wenzhou’s “underground” community in 2007 and is not recognized by the government. He and Fr Jiang were taken on Monday. If Bishop Shao and Father Jiang are “intelligent enough in their learning,” they will be allowed back soon; if not, they will be detained longer, local Church sources quoted government officials as saying. “This implies their release depends on whether they accept the government’s religious policies,” one of the sources said. Among 17 underground priests, a few of them have been summoned to meet with religious officials in the past two days, the sources said. Some were told to remain behind while others were allowed to return home the same day, they added. Though no official reasons have been given, the sources suspect the recent events may be linked to the secret episcopal ordination in Tianshui diocese in Gansu province last year. Government officials are investigating who was involved in the ordination, they said. Bishop John Wang Ruowang of Tianshui was taken away for “learning classes” at an undisclosed location in January. A Church observer who asked not to be named said China’s religious policy is “moving backwards” and is reflected in the current situation with the Catholic Church and with the 30 Tibetan monks and nuns who have self-immolated in the fight for religious freedom.

Pope Benedict XVI’s use of a cane during his trip to Mexico is not a new development or a sign of “debility,” according to the vice-director of the Vatican Press Office. “It’s nothing new,” Fr. Ciro Benedettini told CNA, explaining that the Pope “uses the cane while passing through the Vatican Gardens.” “At almost 85 years of age, it’s prudent for him to walk with a cane,” the Vatican spokesman noted. “There is no reason for alarm, nor anything new in reference to the Pope’s health.” (CNA)
Vatican hosts first cultural summit of African ambassadors

The first cultural summit for African ambassadors to the Holy See is being hailed as a success by its organizers. “It went much better than we had expected, with everybody involved very keen to do it again but perhaps over two or three days next time,” Father Theodore Mascarenhas of the Pontifical Council for Culture told CNA on March 26. The one-day event involved over 40 diplomats from 23 embassies, many of whom flew in from across Europe for the occasion. (CNA)
Pope names bishop once accused of improprieties to Vatican council

www.i.telegraph.co.uk

Coadjutor Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin (right) and Father Paul Jiang Sunian of Wenzhou

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a German bishop who had been accused of financial irregularities and hitting children to the Vatican’s health care council. Retired Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg was named a member of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry March 21. It is the 70-year-old bishop’s first appointment as a member of a Vatican dicastery. He served as the bishop of Augsburg and the German Military Ordinariate until he resigned in 2010. (CNS)
Vatican announces investigations into document leaks

The spate of detentions of underground clergy since the fall of last year was a decision coming from the government, he noted. On March 2, a bureau chief of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China told a joint meet-

ing of leaders of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China that he hoped the two Church bodies could do a good job in “converting the underground community.” (UCAN)

Korean Christians call for the release of clergymen arrested on Jeju
SEOUL, March 23, 2012—Korea’s Catholic Church has called on the government to release a Catholic priest and a Protestant pastor who were arrested for opposing blasting at Gurumbi Beach, on Jeju Island, where the South Korean government plans to build a naval base despite local opposition. The demand was made during a large Mass organised by the Korean Conference of Major Superiors of Men’s Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life. The service was held at the Jesuits’ Apostolate Center in Seoul, with 60 priests concelebrants and some 500 religious and lay people. Participants urged the government to release the two clergymen, Fr Kim Jeonguk and Pastor Yi Jeong-hun, claiming that their arrest violates the principle of religious freedom as sanctioned by the constitution. For Christians, the clergymen acted according to their religious conscience and evangelical conviction. A delegation submitted a petition to the Public Prosecutor, demanding their release. In 2008, after meeting strong criticism from civil society groups and the Church, the government shelved its plans to build a naval base on the island. However, with local objections ignored, construction began on 8 March of this year, with blasting on the beach. Famous for its pristine nature and beautiful landscapes, Jeju Island is located south of the Korean Peninsula in the Korea Strait and is governed as an autonomous province. Opponents to the naval base want to save the local environment and tourist sector. The government says that the US$ 970 million base is necessary for national security. (AsiaNews)

Pope Benedict XVI has established a commission to investigate a series of leaks of letters exchanged among Vatican officials and between the officials and the pope himself. Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Vatican substitute secretary of state, said March 16 that the papal commission would try “to shed light on the whole affair,” while a Vatican tribunal would look into taking legal action against those who gave the documents to reporters, and the Vatican Secretariat of State would carry out an administrative review of every Vatican office. While some of the leaked letters are gossipy, others include allegations of serious financial misconduct. (CNS)

www.ucanews.com

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 7
March 26 - April 8, 2012

News Features

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Trust in God to help change society, pope says in Mexico’s heartland
SILAO, Mexico, March 25, 2012—Celebrating Mass in the Catholic heartland of Mexico, Pope Benedict XVI told a nation and a continent suffering from poverty, corruption and violence, to trust in God and the intercession of Mary to help them bring about a “more just and fraternal society.” “When addressing the deeper dimension of personal and community life, human strategies will not suffice to save us,” the pope said in his homily during the outdoor Mass at Guanajuato Bicentennial Park March 25, the second full day of his second papal visit to Latin America. “We must have recourse to the one who alone can give life in its fullness, because he is the essence of life and its author.” Citing the responsorial psalm for the day’s Mass— “Create a clean heart in me, O God” —the pope said that evil can be overcome only through a divinely inspired change of the human heart. The pope made note of the monument to Christ the King visible atop a nearby hill and observed that Christ’s “kingdom does not stand on the power of his armies subduing others through force or violence. It rests on a higher power that wins over hearts: the love of God that he brought into the world with his sacrifice and the truth to which he bore witness.” That message was consistent with Pope Benedict’s frequently stated objections to strategies for social progress that blend Christian social doctrine with Marxism or other secular ideologies. “The church is not a political power, it is not a party,” the pope told reporters on his flight to Mexico March 23. “It is a moral reality, a moral power.” In his Silao homily, the pope did not specifically address any of Latin America’s current social problems, but after praying the Angelus following the Mass, he recited a litany of ills plaguing Mexico and other countries in the region: “so many families are separated or forced to emigrate ... so many are suffering due to poverty, corruption, domestic violence, drug trafficking, the crisis of values and increased crime.” Speaking in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, which was a stronghold of the 1920s Cristero Rebellion against an anti-clerical national regime, Pope Benedict recited the invocation that served as the Cristeros’ rallying cry: “Long live Christ the King and Mary of Guadalupe.” But reaffirming his message of nonviolence, the pope prayed that Mary’s influence would “promote fraternity, setting aside futile acts of revenge and dict and his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, who, with his five visits, became one of the most beloved figures in an officially secular country. “With Benedict, I feel something indescribable,” said Guadalupe Nambo Gutierrez, a retired secretary from Guanajuato City, who saw the pope in the colonial town March 24 and attended the Mass the following day. Getting a ticket was another matter. Nambo won a raffle for some of the tickets the Archdiocese of Leon allotted to St. Joseph and St. James the Apostle Parish. Others simply decided to try their luck by showing up— and many could be seen outside the Mass site behind barricades guarded by federal police officers. Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of Saltillo said his diocese only received its allotment of 2,500 tickets 10 days before the Mass, making it difficult for parishes to plan trips for churchgoers. Still, all the tickets were claimed and more than 6,500 requests were made. Most of those coming from Saltillo, in northern Mexico, traveled overnight and were expected to return immediately after the Mass. Some parishes opted not to send people to the Mass because of concerns about security along the route. “We hope that things calm a little after this visit,” said Silao resident Jorge Morales as he walked to the Mass. The previous evening, Pope Benedict met privately in Guanajuato City with eight people who have lost relatives to recent violence, much of it drug-related, which has killed an estimated 50,000 Mexicans over the last five years. That meeting preceded Pope Benedict’s brief appearance before a crowd in Guanajuato’s main square. Addressing his remarks there particularly to local children, the pope called on “everyone to protect and care for children, so that nothing may extinguish their smile, but that they may live in peace and look to the future with confidence.” On several previous international trips, Pope Benedict has met with local victims of clerical sex abuse, but no such meeting has been announced for this visit. On March 24, sex abuse victims of the late Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, held a press conference to present a new book criticizing the Vatican’s failure to act against Father Maciel, whom Pope Benedict eventually disciplined and posthumously repudiated. (CNS)

banishing all divisive hatred.” The presidential candidates from Mexico’s three main political parties attended the Mass, along with President Felipe Calderon and his family. Church authorities expected at least 300,000 people to attend the Mass, and Mexicans turned out in force, with many taking long trips just to see Pope Benedict on his first trip to the country since being elected in 2005. The journey was not easy for many. Thousands of the faithful walked more than three miles

from parking lots in the town of Silao, 220 miles northwest of Mexico City. “This is nothing too difficult,” quipped Jose Trinidad Borja, 81, a retired hardware store owner from Queretaro who boasts of having participated in the annual eight-day diocesan pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City for 65 straight years. An army of vendors hawked water, coffee and tamales along the route in addition to Vatican flags and photos of Pope Bene-

The cry of the poor: Pope likely to repeat October synod’s evangelization document nears launch criticism of Cuba embargo
VATICAN City, March 21, 2012—The Catholic Church’s position on the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba is “no mystery,” the Vatican spokesman said, and there’s a good chance Pope Benedict XVI will publicly criticize the embargo when he visits Cuba. At the same time, Pope Benedict also will call for greater freedoms—particularly religious freedom—and respect for other human rights during his stay in Cuba March 26-28. The church’s calls for an end to the embargo, which the United States imposed in 1962, are not peculiar to its Cuba policy, and are not concessions granted in negotiations with the communist government. They follow from established principles of Catholic social teaching, which have been applied to a variety of countries over the years. “The Holy See maintains that the embargo is something for which the people suffer the consequences and which does not reach the aim of promoting the greater good,” said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. “The people suffer; therefore, the Holy See does not believe it is a measure that is positive or helpful.” “The position of the Holy See has been repeated many times,” Father Lombardi told reporters March 16. “It’s not a mystery.” The Vatican’s position on economic embargoes—not just the embargo against Cuba, but even briefer embargoes against Iraq and Libya—has been repeated many times and is explained in the official Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. The church recognizes international sanctions as a legitimate and potentially effective means of trying to pressure a government to change its ways when it threatens peace or oppresses its people. However, in a way that is both reasonable and motivated by concern for people, especially a society’s weakest members, classic Catholic social doctrine places conditions on the use of sanctions. The purpose of sanctions “must be clearly defined” and regularly evaluated by the international community “as to their effectiveness and their real impact on the civilian population,” the compendium said. “Economic sanctions in particular are an instrument to be used with great discernment and must be subjected to strict legal and ethical criteria,” it said. The compendium also said that “an economic embargo must be of limited duration and cannot be justified when the resulting effects are indiscriminate.” In other words, if the nation’s rulers are the target, it’s not right that only the country’s powerless suffer because of the embargo. Pope Benedict, like Blessed John Paul II before him, is expected both to call for an end to the U.S. embargo and for increasing freedom in Cuba, especially in the area of religious freedom. In fact, Pope Benedict did just that in late 2009 when he welcomed a new Cuban ambassador to the Vatican. He said he knew Cubans were suffering from the global economic crisis, which “together with the devastating effects of natural disasters and the economic embargo particularly strikes poorer people and their families.” At the same time, the pope said the real key to progress in Cuba is to “put the person and his rights, his material and spiritual well-being, at the center of concern. Indeed, the primary capital to be safeguarded and saved is man, the whole person.” The church is prepared to help and already shows its dedication to the Cuban people through its educational and charitable work, “although small VATICAN City, March 22, 2012—The document that will guide the deliberations of the world’s bishops as they chart the re-evangelization of the West is on the verge of being released. “Things are going well at this stage and the working document, the instrumentum laboris, is about to be published,” Cardinal Francis Arinze told CNA. “It is the actual one that every participant in the synod in October will have.” The former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship is now a member of the preparatory committee for this year’s Synod of Bishops. It will take place at the Vatican October 7-28 under the title of “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.” Cardinal Arinze said the working document will outline “the necessity to revisit” those areas of the world “that have been evangelized maybe for 1000 years or 500 years and where the faith was once very strong” but where “now people are rather cold in the faith.” It will also stress the need for this “new freshness” and “new ardor” to be communicated using new technology, he said. This year’s Synod of Bishops will help launch Pope Benedict’s Year of Faith, which also relates to the Church’s New Evangelization efforts. It marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Arinze believes that life in the Western world has “many other offers to the human person” which are “attracting” or even “distracting” people away from Christianity so that “the message of Christ can sometimes

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in size,” the pope said. He added that he hoped “concrete signs of openness to the exercise of religious freedom would continue to multiply as they have in recent years.” In 1995, three years before he went to Cuba where he made similar points, Pope John Paul laid out the ethical criteria for evaluating economic embargoes. In a speech to diplomats serving at the Vatican, he said economic embargoes must be used “with great discernment and must be subject to rigid juridical and ethical criteria. It is an instrument of pressure to urge governments that have broken the international code of good conduct to rethink their choices.” “Still, in a certain sense, it is also an act of force and, as several current cases demonstrate, it inflicts great privations on the population of the countries that are its object,” the pope said. Pope John Paul said the matter was not simply theoretical for him. “I often receive requests for help from people who are the victims of this isolation and indigence.” “I want to remind you diplomats that before imposing such measures, the eventual humanitarian consequences of sanctions must be taken into account” and the possible harm sanctions can cause a population must be weighed against “the evil one wants to remedy,” he told them. (CNS)

Cardinal Francis Arinze

be forgotten, given a second place, put as a footnote.” “So someone has to come who has the enthusiasm of an evangelizer, who has the convincing power of a witness who lives with conviction what that witness is preaching” and who is also “ready to use modern methods to contact people.” This should also involve a direct appeal to “the intelligentsia” of western society, said Cardinal Arinze. “When St. Paul went to Athens he didn’t avoid the men of culture, the elite, but he presented the message of Christ to them in terminology that would be suitable for that group.” Despite the focus being on the West, the 79-year-old Nigerian cleric believes that the rest world will also play its part and benefit from the New Evangelization. “Africa can contribute because there’s a type of freshness which the African countries bring to the practice of Christianity” which can “contaminate” those “who have been evangelized for more years.” (CNA/EWTN News)

2K ‘patriotic’ trees to be planted near Taal Lake
ANTIPOLO City, March 17, 2012—About 2,000 trees are to be planted as part of the campaign of Bayan Muna Parylist to save the famous Taal Lake in Batangas and to teach residents surrounding the lake to fight climate change by preserving and defending the environment, which is their only source of livelihood. In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro “Teddy” Casiño said the 2,000 ‘patriotic trees’ would be the living monuments of the people’s fight against the privatization of the lake, as well as to foster environmental awareness among the inhabitants of the six barangays (villages) in Tanauan City. “We are optimistic that with this joint undertaking with the City Government of Tanauan —the tree planting project along the lakeshore of Taal— we can further enhance the formation of positive values among concerned communities and other project partners through shared responsibilities in sustainable management of the easement zone,” said Casiño. The trees to be planted are narra (Pterocarpus indicus), a type of hardwood that is known as the Philippines’ national tree; mahogany (Shorea almon), which is under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species; alibangbang (Bauhinia monandra Kurz or the pink butterfly tree); caballero (Caesalpinia pulcherrinma); and fire tree (Morella faya). The project was co-sponsored by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Region IV-A and the Tanauan City Government, represented by Honorable Mayor Sonia Torres and was supported by the the Sangguniang Panglunsod ng Tanauan, Sangguniang Barangay of Ambulong, Banadero, Gonzales, Wawa and Boot, Janopol Oriental Farmers Association, Banadero Farmers Association, Wawa National High School, Boot National High School, Tanauan School of Fisheries, 727 Riders, Log-Out Riders, Bikers of Tanauan, Kabalikat Civicom, Generation for Christ, the Samahan ng mga Mangingisda ng Tanauan and Tanauan local police. Meanwhile, Bayan Muna is also planning to re-forest the denuded watershed of Laguna Lake and Talim Island, a small island within the bay. Casino said that they are also involved in the reforestation of mangroves along the shores of Manila Bay, as proposed by the fisherfolk group, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya). (Noel Sales Barcelona)

Anti-demolition groups march against ‘arson’ of urban poor dwellings
QUEZON City, March 18, 2012—Anti-demolition groups commemorated Fire Prevention Month with a twist—by marching against arson, or the crime of intentionally setting a fire into a structure to destroy, which they say, a new “demolition technique” to force the urban poor to leave their respective communities. Members of the Concerned Organizations Opposed to Transfer, Layoff and Privatization for the Central Business District (Contra-CBD) and the Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon (AKD), in a joint statement, said the authorities sometimes hire professional arsonists to burn the homes of urban poor communities, thus making it easier and faster to “relocate” the residents and to transform the vacated lands into commercial and other business uses. Carlito Badion, a veteran urban poor leader and co-convener of the AKD said there had been a series of dubious fire incidents, involving different urban poor communities in the Metro, thereby affirming their theory that these are all orchestrated or induced. “Now, it’s not surprising that the urban poor areas in North and East Triangles, the BIR Road, the Botanical area, and NIA Road, all are within Quezon City, had all suffered from, we believe, fires that are due to arson,” Badion said. A former resident of NIA Road, Delia Flonansa, also believes that there are powerful people behind the NIA fire that occurred last December 2011, since there are indications that the fire was induced. Based on the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) data, fires in the urban poor communities had left around 580,000 families or about 2 million individuals, homeless and without any livelihood. In the past, there were rumors that arson was one of the “dirty tactics” employed either by private entities or concerned agencies, to force the informal settlers out of the lands that they occupy. However, this remains a theory and no one had been found accountable for the incidents. Kadamay, meanwhile said they would continue to be vigilant on the attempts of inhumanely evict the urban poor from their homes, either by actual demolition or by other tactics such as arson. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)

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A4
EDITORIAL

Opinion
‘Where goest thou?’

CBCP Monitor
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

LIVING is hard and employment is scarce. Prices are high and take-home pays are low. Human dignity is also low and criminality is likewise high. There are less and less educated Filipinos and wherefore more and more ignorant ones. The multi-national corporations are raking in the money and the consumers are shelling out the little cash they have. The murders, crooks and law breakers are becoming more daring while the police authorities are becoming less able to accomplish their task—if emerging as law offenders themselves. Human life has become cheap, human dignity is low and basic human rights are held but by a selected few. The Executive Department is merely looking and talking much but in fact doing nothing much, if any. Most of the local public officials from the provincial to the municipal levels are indifferent to the miserable plight of their constituents—unless their own self-interests are being undermined by fed-up people in their jurisdictions. The relatively few wealthy individuals are well secured in both their lives and livelihood while millions of poor and miserable families are fast becoming not only more and more angry but also progressively feeling desperate. Meantime, the administration merrily continues taxing them from birth to death, charging them the infamous VAT. “You are my boss!” When the over-all chief of government shouted such a surprising and promising declaration upon assumption of Office, people thought they were really sovereign after all. They were actually then made to believe that government was of their making, by their own choosing and for their own well-being. Thus it was that they cheered long, loud and clear. They then thought that at last, their liberator has come and their liberation was at last on hand. But after less than three or so years, the on-the-ground reality came to fore and the “cat is out of the bag!” The previous administration was bad but the present one is not really that great either. Questions: What will the present government do? Will it simply show someone signing papers, holding folders and other futile advertisement of industry and dedication? What will the present generation do? Will it be contented by merely holding strikes, by simply making rallies and doing protests? Would it merely go to the streets and stage its “Noynoying” spectacle? Where goest thou, Philippines? You are anywhere but in possessing of truth, in experiencing justice, in enjoyment of peace, in foreseeing development.
Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ

Pastoral Companion
ON 7 March 2012, at the former cemetery site of the archdiocese, 67 evacuee families affected by Typhoon Sendong had the inaugural blessing of their new transitional shelter homes. These low-cost housing units were constructed under the supervision of Catholic Relief Services which had teamed up with the archdiocese in the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Sendong on Dec. 16-17. Thirty-five families coming from the washed-out area of Macasandig had been housed in the basement of Our Lady of Fatima Parish Church in Camaman-an. Thirty-two other families, formerly living under the Marcos bridge, had been given shelter on the grounds of Sacred Heart Parish in Kauswagan. These two groups were now coming together in “Amakan Village”—so called, because the walls of the housing units are made of interwoven bamboo slats (amakan). Each housing unit has a floor space of 18

Lent among Sendong evacuee families
cese through our Social Action Center has also been helping about twenty community associations to be organized among the families of “internally displaced persons” (IDP’s). Four community organizers have been hired for this purpose. This participatory approach will enable their leaders to choose from among possible relocation sites for permanent housing and to avail of the Community Mortgage Program (CMP). Under this scheme, the government’s Socialized Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) purchases the land and allows homeowners to pay by monthly instalments over a 25-year amortization period. The National Housing Authority (NHA) offers a similar program for formal settlers. Meanwhile, both government agencies and private sector donors have offered to construct nearly 5,000 housing units at an average cost of P90,000 − P110,000. The core
Pastoral Companion / A7

Renewal of Faith-Communities, Civil Society, Political Leaders
WE have to come together then as communities of faith, as we your Bishops said back in 1986 after the Snap Elections of that year, to “pray together, reason together, decide together, act together,” form groups of thinking and praying people—in our schools, seminaries, parishes, mandated organizations, lay movements, social action groups, most especially in basic ecclesial communities. We zero in on what we say is the basic fault in our communities’ political and social life: the subordinating of the common good to private good. We see how this flaw in our national character evinces itself in our community life. We need to seek ways and mean of correcting it in whatever way we can—but always according to the principles of active-non violence—together, creatively and imaginatively, as we bishops exhorted in 1986. We have to form ourselves into real communities of faithdiscernment and -action. We ask this of explicitly Church groups. But we will ask it too of all citizens who have a concern for the nation’s good, especially those who hold the reins of power, from Malacañang on to Congress, provincial and municipal governments, all the way down to barangay councils. People in government—and as well as all other civic and business groupings—can they too reflect together in all manner of associations and look into themselves to see if, in all their actuations, the demands of the common good are in fact captive to merely personal and selfish interests? And if they are, can they rise up to the challenge and decide themselves to contribute to the general effort? This must sound like a preposterous request, but we make it anyway for we believe that what it seeks is the critical need of the moment. Already it is being responded to here and there by various concerned groups such as those that have been organized and trained to fight corruption. So we seek a wider response from all our faithful towards a more vigorous work for good governance and a more active promotion of responsible citizenship in our society in the light of the Gospel and the social teachings of the Church. If in your minds, corruption—the worst offender against our common good—is rampant today, sparing no level of social and political life, and most glaringly and reportedly so in the various corridors of power, we have to confess that corruption is in truth our greatest shame as a people. But if it goes on unhindered, it is because, as we have had occasion to point out in the past, we all too often condone it as part of the perquisites of power and public office. -- CBCP Statement: “Reform Yourselves and Believe in the Gospel!” (Mark 1:15), 2008

square meters. A slightly tilted roof made of galvanized iron sheets provides some air circulation from the top in addition to two open windows on the sides. Common cooking and toilet areas are also located to serve the needs of a cluster of ten housing units. In the coming weeks, CRS will be completing 50 more amakan-type housing units on the open grounds of San Jose de Mindanao Seminary. Nearby, 33 units are being constructed on the open field of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. Among the evacuee families expected to occupy these housing units are the 40 families living in tents (called shelter boxes) on the grounds of Mount Carmel Parish. Other families will be coming from the evacuation centers in barangay covered courts in Macasandig and Tibasak. In addition to these transitional shelter arrangements which may last from several months to one or two years, the archdio-

From those who put rice on our table
HAVE you ever walked through the rice paddies? The other day was the first time in my life to tread on the “pilapil”. In spite of all the care I took to follow the footsteps of the woman ahead of me who kindly would look back every so often to see if I am still there, then holding out her hand for me to cling on whenever I have to jump over canals, I still slipped—sprawled flat in the mud, my feet and hands soaked in mud and my skirt all muddy! Thank God that was just once. That means I could have fallen many times more but I had good guides. I visited the farms in Munoz and Caranglan, Nueva Ecija as part of our Pondo ng Pinoy Projects monitoring program. We spoke with the farmers to whom we had given loans for their organic farming project. This was facilitated by the Diocese of San Jose Social Action Desk and it was great to see how more and more farmers were using the organic farming technology while getting away from the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. The diocese had aptly called their project “Gratia Plena” or “Full of Grace”. On display in one of the rooms of the twostory building that serves as their training center, packing area, storage and marketing office were packs of organically grown rice–white, red, brown, pink and violet. In another shelf were beautifully bottled jams and fruit juices from wild berries, passion fruit, guava, and other mountain harvests. We were told that their products are now for sale at leading department stores and

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Love Life
groceries through the efforts of their marketing staff who bring the products to Manila every week. The farmers in “Gratia Plena” patiently explained to us how they produce the natural fertilizer by composting the rice stalks and husks. We saw those spread out at the back of the building, waiting for time to transform them to rich soil once again after the farmers had sprayed them with home-made fermented ingredients. They said that the artificial fertilizers had depleted the soil of natural minerals and vitamins and had killed the helpful organisms so that it takes years for the soil to be “alive” again. Organic farming, while more tedious and takes longer to accomplish, involves more people and keeps funds within the community, unlike commercial fertilizers and pesticides that siphon our money to multinational companies. My trip to the rice paddies during their harvesting time filled me with even more insights into the life of the farmers and their families. I found out that very few farmers in the Philippines have their own land. Most of them are hired. So a hectare of rice land would need around 25 persons to prepare the land and plant the seedlings, each one given a space they would take care of from land preparation to planting to weeding and then to harvesting and threshing. Each one is paid P150 a day for the five days of preparation and planting. In order for more income per family, not only the
Love Life / A5

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
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Outgrowing the carnal man
That’s the reason why St. Paul talks about the spiritual man which we should try to develop out of our being simply carnal man. This is the challenge and task for all of us. And we just have to help one another in this. This will involve some war because our carnality and sensuality will resist the spirituality proper to us. Remember St. Paul saying, “I am delighted with the law of God according to the inward man, but I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that is in my members.” (Rom 7,22-23) In the school where I work, I try my best to help the young boys overcome their sensuality. With prayers and sacrifice, with the insights and lessons I get from my personal prayers and study as well as the experience of my own personal struggles, I give them tips, suggestions, pieces of advice, admonitions, etc. on how to wage this war. I often tell them to pray and be generous with sacrifices, to link their mind with God and with others, not allowing them to go
Candidly Speaking / A7

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

THIS is everyone’s war, a universal struggle. We all need to overcome our carnality and sensuality to allow reason and eventually our faith to take root and dominate in us. This is because we are meant to be spiritual men, not carnal men. Reason, will, faith, hope, charity—all these make up the spiritual character of our life. We have to acknowledge the true dimensions of our life, the range and scope of our humanity. We are not meant to be animals only, ruled by instincts and the senses, nor even rational animals, which is how our classical philosophers define man to be. That’s already a lot, but not quite enough. We have to be careful with the many ideological definitions and descriptions of man that can contain certain elements of truth but still miss the core point. Man is not just a social, economic or political being. He is a lot more than these. Much less is he a purely material being, completely imprisoned in time, space and worldliness, and detached from God, the eternal, supernatural, perfect being, who created him to be God’s image and likeness,

as what some Marxist doctrine teaches. There is something spiritual in man, because he can think, judge, reason, love, etc., operations that transcend the material dimension of our life. Since operations are determined by nature (operare sequitur esse), then he must be spiritual because he is capable of spiritual operations. Since our spirituality is not self-generated or self-created, then we must understand that it comes from an eternal spirit whom our reason alone can start to identify as God. We actually have some inkling of God which we should try, with God’s grace, to develop and cultivate as fully as possible. That’s why we are said to be a naturally religious being that we should bring to maturity. That’s the natural consequence of being spiritual. From God our spirituality can never be detached, although it can choose to cut away from its creator and preserver. In its objective reality, our spirituality is always bound up with God. It now depends on us to conform our spirituality in its subjectivity to this objective reality.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 7
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Opinion
Catholic faithful in action
II to Benedict XVI” and “Accion Catolica, a gift of the Spirit to the Church”; Prof. Sandro Calvani, Director of the Asean Center of Excellence on U.N. Millenium Development Goals, Asia Institute of Technology talked on “For a more humane world values and choices areas which call for Christian lay people’s attention.” Oana Tuduce of Romania did a “Presentation on the Catholic Action (Vatican Council II, Christifidelis Laici and Church Teachings), while Chiara Finocchietti talked on the “IFCA Identity and Objective”. Delegates from the different countries talked about their respective countries, the role of the laity in the church and the goals and programs in each country. This columnist gave the report for the Philippines. The participants were also divided into three small groups to discuss the catholic action in their country. Dr. Babes and this columnist gave the report of their respective groups to the plenary session. All of us four participants from the Philippines considered ourselves blessed by the Holy Spirit to have contributed, in our own way, to the active discussion in the conference as well as the participation in the liturgy as lectors and choir members. Because of the hectic schedule of the conference, the participants did not have the chance to visit Bangkok’s historical and famous places as well as had some shopping. However, the organizers were kind enough to give a half day bus city tour of Bangkok. To Accion Catolica, the bishops and priests and lay participants of the Conference, congratulations, more power and may our good Lord bless us all in our apostolate in the propagation of lay action in our respective countries. *** The Chrism Mass in the Diocese of Kalookan will be held 7:30 a.m. at the San Roque Cathedral. Blessing of the Bishop Deogracias Iniguez Conference Room will follow on the occasion of the launching of his 50th Sacerdotal Anniversary in 2013. *** Happy Birthday and Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Bubuy San Andres, our former co-anchor at Hello Father 911 Saturday Edition, Radio Veritas846; also the sacerdotal anniversary of Fr. Ildefonso de Guzman, both from the Diocese of Kalookan. Condolence to the family of former Malabon City Vice Mayor Arnold Vicencio for his untimely demise due to a motorcycle accident.

A5
Fr. Francis Ongkingco

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

Duc in Altum
BANGKOK, Thailand. As of press time, this columnist as President of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Laiko), together with other Laiko officers Dr. Amelita Dayrit-Go (Vice President for Luzon) and Engr. Nida Ruiz (Vice President for Visayas), is attending the First Continental Meeting in Asia in Bangkok, Thailand. Another Filipina, Ms. Reyna Deloso attends the Conference and represents her organization International Young Christian Students Asia as its Asian Coordinator. The conference is from March 22-25, 2012 with the theme “50 Years after Vatican II: Catholic Action, a gift from the Holy Spirit; Lay people’s commitment in the church and in the society for a more humane world.” It is sponsored by Foro Internacional Accion Catolica (Accion Catolica) or International Forum of Catholic Action (IFCA) and is supported by the Italian Bishops Conference. The Accion Catolica officers Ms. Maria Grazia Tibaldi and Chiara Finocchietti ably managed the conference. Accion Catolica is an Italianbased organization recognized by the Pontifical Council of the Laity in 1995. It is made up of Lay Apostolate Associations which are constituted at national level. Its goals are to be a place where catholic action associations from different countries share their concerns and support one another; to analyze the worldwide dimension of the great problems that contemporary society poses to the Church and to Catholic Action; and to encourage and promote “new evangelization” in different pastoral contexts and set ups. Different countries from Asia, Africa and Europe sent their delegations – Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, India, China, Burundi, Romania, Italy and of course, the Philippines. The Taize Community in France was also represented. The Bishops and clergy also attended the Conference and presided over the daily Masses during the Conference: His Excellencies Louis Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, I.V. Dei, Bishop of Pakse, Laos on Days 1 and 3; Domenico Sigalini, Bishop of Palestrina (a place close to Rome) on Day 2 – his 6th Episcopal Anniversary on March 24; and Felix Machado, Bishop of Vasai, India on Day 4. The priests-concelebrants were Fr. Michael (Thailand), Fr. Aniceti (Myanmar) and Fr. Salvador (Burundi). Bishop Machado talked about the “Evangelization in Asia in the Third Millenium: challenges and proposal for the continent and for the world”; Bishop Sigalini talked about the “Lay People in the Church from Vatican Council

Whatever ‘iUpgrade’
THE word upgrade always rings a sweet note to our ears. The list of possible things we can upgrade is endless: smart gadgets, car accessories, house and kitchen appliances, our burger, coke and fries, additional perks and products included in our purchases, etc. An upgrade is always appreciated and desired even though it may require paying a little more or having to change the entire gadget or appliance. Upgrades can be accidental or improvements that don’t radically or dramatically change the product itself. Say, a smart phone with additional screen features, short-cuts or a newer version of a program. Essential upgrades are those that give a greater advantage to work or certain practical needs. These changes don’t have to be necessarily big. For example, minor technological improvements in speed, space and security can save one millions in investments. Whether essential or accidental, we are always inclined to upgrade. This only demonstrates our natural predisposition for what is good, how something can be improved and in a limited sense, perfected. This inclination originates from God’s creational design aimed at man’s ultimate and authentic good which is union with Him. Choosing to live according to this truth is what will give man true happiness and identity. If man, however, forgets this divine design, he will reduce his existence— and also his identity—to simply materially and superficially improving what he has, and not who he can and ought to be. A disorder begins in one’s endless insecurity of acquiring material things which will shrinks his heart’s capacity to grow in love and generosity. In order to avoid reducing personal growth only in material things, one has to consider the importance of upgrading oneself spiritually. If professionally or socially, we are eager to find our place, our talent and even our fame as someone good in something, the spiritual life also demands that we strive for our spiritual identity to develop our spiritual ‘I’. Jack Philip says, “It is a healthy thing to develop a spiritual ‘I’ because it drives one to pursue skills and talents and to emulate specific role models. Aspiring to be like Francis of Assisi or Teresa of Calcutta may be the first sign of a vocation or one’s first step along the path to holiness. Of course, it is much better to aspire to be ‘somebody’ whose life reflects the Gospel values. The question of identity is a dangerous one if left unanswered.” (J. Philip, “I Choose to be Free: The Power of Faith, Hope and Charity”) One must, however, be cautious when attempting a spiritual upgrade. We can be falsely led to think that such an improvement will depend on how much we invest or sacrifice in time for prayer, virtues, apostolate and community service. As much as all these are signs of our desires to be holy, we must constantly remind ourselves that the work of upgrading, that is, the work of our holiness depends solely on God. Philip continues saying that we undoubtedly are fulfilled when striving for the good and holiness. But he warns us of a hidden danger even in our effort to attain our spiritual ‘I’. He says, “We find self-fulfillment in practicing certain virtues or in acquiring specific spiritual traits. This means that we unconsciously identify ourselves with the good that we are capable of doing. Good deeds (e.g., prayer, fasting, service to one’s neighbor, or engaging in some apostolic activity) are certainly laudable, but it would be very dangerous to identify ourselves with the spiritual good that we are capable of doing.” (Ibid.) In other words, there too is the danger of becoming attached to the ‘materiality of our spiritual life.’ This happens when the spiritual things we do (and mistakenly think of solely capable of doing), become an end in themselves rather than a means to transform us into and identify us with Christ. If we, therefore, are to achieve a genuine spiritual upgrade, we must be ready to downgrade ourselves. Downgrading is another term for being humble. John the Baptist had as his motto ‘He must increase, and I must decrease.’ This is essentially what spiritual upgrading is: allowing Christ to take more control of our lives (i.e. thoughts, words and actions), by being less ourselves, by being less sure of ourselves, and by striving to trust more in Him each day. Here are some examples where humility can be lived: “Prayer is the humility of the man who acknowledges his profound wretchedness and the greatness of God. (…) Faith is the humility of the mind which renounces its own judgment and surrenders to the verdict and authority of the Church. Obedience is the humility of the will which subjects itself to the will of another, for God’s sake. Chastity is the humility of the flesh, which subjects itself to the spirit. Exterior mortification is the humility of the senses. Penance is the humility of all the passions, immolated to the Lord.” (St. Josemaría, Furrow, #259) Living these examples shows how we are upgraded spiritually when we let God do the upgrading with His grace. This is because only He can give us grace, without which we are literally incapable of doing anything except to dispose ourselves to its action. Disposing ourselves is further achieved when we first empty ourselves of any obstacle to His grace (i.e. pride, greed, fame, etc.), then purify ourselves further which is made possible with the acts of humility mentioned by St. Josemaría, and expanding our possibilities to receive more grace through the constant exercise of human virtues. We can end with St. Augustine’s wonderful analogy on upgrading. “A container has to be empty before it can be filled. Well, then pour out the evil that is in you, since you should be filled with goodness. Imagine that God wants to fill you with honey, but if you are full of vinegar, where are you going to put the honey? First you have to empty the container, and then you have to clean it and wash it, even though you may get tired and you may need to scrub it, so that it is capable of receiving something.” (In Ep. I Joann. 4, 2, 6: PL 35, 2008)
Love Life / A4

The last stand
WE know Poland, mother Spain, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Philippines as predominantly Catholic. Take two, today: Poland, mother Spain, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Guatemala, period. Notice the difference? In those countries, abortion is allowed mostly in three instances: danger to the life of the mother, an impaired foetus, conception from rape or incest. This fact remains to this day. And this facet of reality is touted to the hilt by the RH-contraception-pro choice agenda. For good measure (or otherwise), its advocates are fast to add that overwhelmingly Catholic Philippines is ridiculously and obtusely stubborn, notorious to a fault in its unwillingness to even approve an RH law which is “not even about abortion.” Not about abortion, my foot! The epithets hurled at the Catholic Bishops and their vigilant faithful are downright malevolent and intentionally undecorous to be printed here. It is thus a surprise that a report posted by a local affiliate of “Catholics” for a Free Choice to its foreign funder uses tempered and poetic language, “The Catholic Church is the single biggest obstacle to a reproductive health law in the country”, meaning here, the Church messes up with Caesar. This brings to mind the legislative debates now afoot in Catholic Poland where Parliament continues to deliberate on a bill to remove all three exceptions to their anti-abortion law so as to ban abortion completely. The ban won the first voting last year, we are told. But attacks against the

Atty. Jo Imbong

Pro Bono
though, El Ministro has been attacked as “a Catholic fundamentalist and affiliate of the notorious Opus Dei.” How far will things go? It remains to be seen. The problem in Italy is something we Filipino Catholics should consider. Italy has a 1978 law that allows abortion in the same three cases as in Poland. While it is mostly Catholic, the Faith’s teaching does not influence the majority of Italians. One pretty bambolina, very Catholic, declared in UTube, “I want to choose my life.” Mama mia! Fact is, Italy’s abortion law is reportedly one of the most liberal in Europe. This is tragic. It is said that to tragedy belongs a world that is not in the hands of the living God. In those far-away places we listed, the grand cathedrals are bare of worshippers, their kneelers unused, their confessionals empty. In this country, the Church naves are packed, the aisles bursting, the queues to the Santo Intierro and the Virgin of Manaoag unending. There is a so-called “modern world” of 195 countries in the world (that’s actually 196 minus the Philippines, the one man standing) self-isolated, complete in itself, far from its Creator and Sustainer, where the last paling shimmer of a once proud and true Kingdom of freedom—that of God and his grace—is only a remnant that makes no demands on the heart and consoles itself only by its own poor and paltry false ‘freedom.’ Not in this country! The Filipino soul stands its ground—buffeted, tempted maybe—but it knows whereof it stands.

Catholic voice are as violent as ever, faulting the bill’s sponsors as “writing a law according to the wishes of another country’s leader (the Holy See).” The pro-choice voices got it all wrong, in Poland and in this country. When Christ was asked, “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not?” he refused to fall into a sly trap and squelched the Pharisees with a smart answer, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” What Jesus is actually saying is, over and above Caesar, regardless of who he is or what he is, stands GOD. That is Jesus’ real answer. And that is the Church’s answer to pro-RH Congressmen, to media surveys, to so-called street opinion, and to opinion mongers. That will always be the Church’s voice. Truth cannot be silenced. Christ’s retort silenced the Pharisees, and the Pharisees withdrew. With a new government, can Poland still redeem itself of its 20 years of abortions? Perhaps, not likely. Not with a new Deputy Speaker in Parliament that is openly pro choice, not in a Parliament that has its first trans-sexual member elected, not with another elected MP who heads Poland’s Planned Parenthood Institute, not with another new member who is reportedly an LBGTBQ (that’s for Queer, if you must know) activist. And how about mother Spain? Could it be possible to overturn former Prime Minister Zapatero’s liberal abortion law of 2010? Spain’s new Justice Minister, Ruiz-Gallardon, recently announced plans to tighten the country’s abortion laws. Last time we heard

Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

…and that’s the truth
A NAGGING question is: what causes poverty in the Philippines: corruption or overpopulation? To justify corruption it is easy to quash “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” with“Kung walang mahirap, walang corrupt.” And if you tell the “baby factories” that their “overproduction” is keeping the Philippines poor, they may squelch your arguments with “But our children are our wealth!” We know that the greed of the corrupt is never satisfied, and that the supposed “wealth” of the poor are exploited as beggars, thieves and white slaves. Lest we think that the only cause of poverty in our country is either corruption or overpopulation, I dare say it is neither. The real culprit is lack of love. We do not really love ourselves and our country. Notice that hardly anyone sings the national anthem at the movie theaters? People stand up when it is played but they don’t sing; some continue to chat, giggle, chat, or eat. Mine may be an unscientific observation but I think it indicates an indifference of some kind. We are gung-ho about selling the Philippines as a prime tourist destination without realizing that we have a responsibility to present a respectable country, culture and people to visitors by employing well-trained tour guides. Like ambassadors, tour guides are a country’s call cards; what they say creates the first impression visitors have of us. On those times I’ve accompanied international conference delegates on day tours, I’d cringe to see official tour guides at a loss when asked about something outside of their memorized spiels. At a calesa tour of Intramuros I was appalled to hear the rig driver mention an underground tunnel that “in the Spanish time” connected a nunnery and a monastery “where the priests and the nuns would meet at night”. A friend of mine who showed her Balikbayan relatives around Intramuros, too, said their tour guide was an articulate and engaging performer but he seemed to have a hidden agenda as he made comments to take digs at respected persons in our society. In telling the world “it’s more fun in the Philippines”—without addressing the age old problem

Philippines, my Philippines
of uncollected trash, urban street dwellers, bus terminal toilets, illmaintained resort facilities and the peace and order situation, etc.—what kind of “fun” exactly are we trying to sell? One big sore that continues to fester in our consciousness is the presumption that Manila is the Philippines, and that what matters most for the country is what the Manila media’s headlines reveal. As divisive as that viewpoint is that which presupposes that the worthiest Filipinos are those who make decisions and pass laws. An unchecked preoccupation with the affairs of those headliners, in fact, could dull our sensitivity to the needs of our fellow countrymen in the shadows—those in remote barangays and far flung islands—they are Filipinos, too, and they are too poor to care about oil price hikes, politicians’ popularity surveys, the impeachment trial, even the blazing issue of the RH Bill. Who really cares? Politicians own islands big enough for their whole clan to live in while the island residents do not even have electricity and proper toilets. It is no wonder then that their constituents would rather migrate to Manila to squat and sleep like sardines in hovels. And in the Big City, are we really expressing “solidarity with the poor” when we give them old toys and used clothes during Christmas? What concept of charity would children of the rich have when from a tender age they are shown that discarded toys are good enough for the poor while they always have new ones? What kind of love do the rich show when they invite orphans to their homes in exclusive villages to partake of their Christmas feast? They feel nice about “doing good” but have they ever wondered how these orphans feel or think once they are back to their bowl of lugaw at the orphanage? May not love move “charitable people” to want less, to be voluntarily poor, to say “enough” to themselves, in order to create more opportunities to spread the nation’s wealth more evenly? The nation’s wealth in natural resources is more than enough to free every Filipino from want but who are benefitting from them? Not our small kababayans. When our miners who risk their
And That’s The Truth / A6

father works. I saw the wives and older children involved too. I even saw children as young as 9 years old working side by side their fathers, all quietly bent in cutting the sheaves of palay and looking up only when we passed by. Before noontime, a couple of girls around 12 years old arrived carrying the lunch for their parents. This means that the children skip school during the planting and harvesting time, if

they even go to school at all. My greatest shock was to find out that the farmers do not get paid during harvest time. The arrangement with the land owner is that each farmer would get one sack of palay rice for every 13 sacks he/she harvests and threshes. It takes around 3-4 months from planting to harvesting. So the rest of the months, the farmers wait and wait, often
Love Life / A7

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POPULATION control efforts among Mindoro’s local Iraya Mangyan tribe remained futile after rural health workers failed to introduce birth control methods to tribal members. Iraya Mangyan indigenous people refusing artificial contraception insisted that they need more children for their community to grow and to have more help in tending to farm lands. “They go away whenever rural health workers arrive. They don’t want rural health workers talking

Local News
about reducing the number of their children because for them children are very precious since they lose many of them. They like to have children,” said Sr. Lilia J. Frondoza of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception who assists the community through medical missions and other means. “Their children often die of TB, malaria and gastro-intestinal problems. These are what should be addressed,” she added. The Iraya Mangyans live in the municipalities of Puerto Galera, San Teodoro and Baco in Oriental Mindoro but most are in Occidental Mindoro, particularly in the municipalities of Abra de Ilog, Paluan, Mamburao and Santa Cruz. They are known producers of rice, bananas, sweet potatoes and other root crops. Frondoza, who has been working in poverty alleviation in Mindoro since the 1990s, taught Iraya Mangyans the rudiments of cultivating land and selling crops. Owing to instruction in organic farming, too, the quality of Mindoro rice has improved. The nun, however, was concerned that population control—should its implementation succeed—will have disastrous consequences on the people. “Mawawalan tayo ng pagkain, at sila yung mga indigenous na kababayan natin na nagpo-produce ng rice at corn. They still plant up in the mountains,” she pointed out. “Hindi papayag sa birth control ang mga Mangyan dahil precious sa kanila

CBCP Monitor
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

Mindoro’s Iraya Mangyans refuse population control
ang anak. Manpower sa kanila yun,” Frondoza added. Mangyans, who compose 10 percent of the inhabitants on the island, lived peacefully for centuries. Fishing was their means of livelihood, till migrants arrived and settled on the island and prompted the indigenous groups to withdraw to the mountains to avoid disputes. They would descend to the lowlands only occasionally to obtain food and other provisions. (CBCP for Life)

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farmer-beneficiaries, thus nullifying the constitutionality of stock distribution option (SDO). The SC also assured the HLI of just compensation based on the land’s value in 1989 of P40, 000. Just compensation for the 4,335 hectares was calculated to a total of P173 million. The HLI, however, filed a motion for the reversal of the grant to the farm workers beneficiaries of the option to remain as stockholders of the Hacienda Luisita, Inc. It also asked that the point of reckoning date in determining the valuation of the lands
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should be moved to January 2, 2006 from 1989, as ordered by the SC, which was the date of issuance of the Notice of Coverage. To make 2006 as a point of reckoning as demanded by the Cojuangcos, he also said, is the “height of injustice” as this would force the government to pay the family an exorbitant sum of P10 billion. “To this day, however, Hacienda Luisita remains undistributed. This motion is a clear attempt by the Cojuangcos to derail the distribution of the land,” Pabillo claimed. (CBCPNews)

More U.S. troops in Phl, more human rights violations to expect—Karapatan
HUMAN rights watchdog Karapatan fears that allowing more U.S. troops in the Philippine shore, more human rights violations will happen as the American soldiers are allegedly notorious in abusing women, especially young girls. “The joint military exercises are essentially meant to prop up the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan, P-Noy’s (Aquino’s moniker) version of the US counter-insurgency guide. As it is, Oplan Bayanihan has already wrought terror and violence among the populace. At the expense
Facts / A6

opportunities. Although volunteering for parish work may not be a money-making venture for fresh graduates, it is nevertheless an opportunity to serve the Church especially for Catholic school-raised students, according to Bañaga. The priest, who is the president of Adamson University, also encouraged fresh graduates to take some time to rest from schoolwork before getting employed. “I advise them to take rest
Casino / A1

first before looking for jobs. Their vacation can also be a time for them to rest and think more deeply about their plans in life,” he said. Earlier, Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon advised students and graduates to spend some time for spiritual recollection during their summer break so as to have meaningful observance of Lent. Baylon, who chairs the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth, also invited the young faithful to gather their friends and attend to-

gether summer camps and leadership conferences being organized by the parishes near them and youth organizations in their community to make their summer vacation more meaningful. “While it is great to be with friends on vacation, it is also fulfilling to be with them in attending summer camps, youth conferences or Bible study classes, which are alternative activities this summer where they can even learn a lot from,” he added. (YouthPinoy)

of, and in exchange for, the people’s rights and the country’s sovereignty, US military troops and aid are welcomed by PNoy to instigate further rights violations on the ground,” said Karapatan spokesperson and Tanggo Bayi convener Cristina “Tinay” Palabay in a statement sent to CBCPNews. Palabay recalls the 2005 rape incident in Olongapo City, involving a U.S. Marine personnel. “We do not want another case of ‘Nicole’ where the perpetrators go unpunished by virtue of the Visiting Forces the pro-life message.’” Cojuangco also accused Catholic bishops of being a stumbling block to taxpayer-funded contraceptives and sterilization provided under the RH bill, claiming the Philippines was still in the “dark ages.” The bill, however, has been proven by other lawmakers to be 80 percent redundant, considering that similar provisions are found in the Magna Carta for Women passed by Congress in 2009 and other government issuances, F4L pointed out. Clueless of ill effects? “The congresswoman herself appears to be in the dark about the ill effects of artificial contraceptives which she wants to distribute to women at the expense of taxpayers. Oral contraceptive pills are classified by a World Health Organization (WHO) research unit as Group 1 carcinogens along with asbestos, arsenic, formaldehyde, and plutonium,” F4L said. F4L called on Cojuangco to carefully study the Church’s position on the RH bill, instead of engaging in “juvenile attacks unbecoming of a legislator.” For instance, the group said, the Church is opposed to chemical pills because these can

Agreement (VFA),” Palabay said. “In effect, the US bases are back, despite the government’s denial and its insistence that these troops are only in the country for short periods of time. This is a clear encroachment on our sovereignty and a violation of our Constitution. Also, the United States’ new defense strategy called “Rebalance to Asia” is but a euphemism for economic domination and political repression not only in the Philippines, but in the Asia Pacific region,” she furthered. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews) lead to very early abortions. “It’s irresponsible for a lawmaker to recommend chemical contraception without disclosing its dangerous side effects and without considering the ethical and moral implications. Women deserve to know the truth about the pill,” F4L added. The group also labeled as “erroneous and misleading” Cojuangco’s facile claim that “the [family planning] method being espoused by the Church does not work.” RH bill trampling on civil, religious rights “For Rep. Kimi Cojuangco to accuse the Church of meddling in state affairs is deceptive,” F4L said. The bill carries provisions that will trample upon individual and religious rights, such as forcing Catholic hospitals and doctors to provide contraceptives and sterilization services and mandating Catholic schools to teach contraception to students, it added. Worse, Catholic taxpayers will shoulder the expense, F4L said. “The proponents of the bill are in fact the ones seeking to impose their own views, using taxpayers’ money, and with the coercive force of law,” F4L furthered. (CBCP for Life)

deterioration,” Cruz said. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) is planning to develop a Las Vegas-style casino facility in Manila. Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez has immediately welcomed the plan saying it would help them achieve its targeted 10 million annual tourist visits by 2016. “To think that the Philippine Government plus Pagcor are looking forward to some kind of a ‘Las Vegas Philippines’, the Aquino claim of following the ‘Matuwid na Daan’ is the joke of the decade!” he said. Aside from gambling hubs, the 120-hectare Entertainment City shall also house luxury hotels, malls, museums, cultural centers, sports arenas, residential villages and theme parks. The Church, Cruz stressed, believes that
Youth / A1

gambling and subsequent addiction do nothing but to destroy morals of individuals. The prelate also said gambling is associated with other negative spillover activities and crimes and one of his concerns is how the government will mitigate the effects of these issues. Gambling, he added, could also result to loss of normal domestic and/or standard social relationships, inclusive of job, profession or occupation. “These are some of the more common errant value system and erratic behavioral pattern of those victimized by Gambling Addiction,” Cruz also said. “These marked liabilities have, not only personal, but also social repercussions, which can be anything but dignifying and inspiring,” he said. (CBCPNews)

the bill by abruptly cutting interpellations has so far been futile, with House leaders deciding to prioritize urgent legislative measures before going on a six-week break. In a privilege speech, Cojuangco went as far as claiming that a rally had been scheduled on March 25, the “Day of the Unborn” which is also observed in other countries. But the group Filipinos for Life (F4L) denounced the speech, saying that Cojuangco had spoken “utter falsehoods,” and called on the lawmaker to “get her facts straight.” “Rep. Kimi Cojuangco needs a fact-checker. First of all, no massive rally has been called to mark the ‘Day of the Unborn,’ an international celebration promoting the dignity of human life. Rather, it was suggested by Pro-Life Philippines that pro-life groups hold ‘candle-lighting activities for the unborn; prayer meetings to spread the message of life and love; poster-designing contests revolving around the pro-life theme; seminars and exhibits related to prolife issues; printing and distribution of leaflets and other information materials to encourage awareness of culture of life issues; and rallies or small public meetings to propagate

about the voice of the youth on the RH issue,” Esteban said. “They are not even a quarter of the majority of the voting youth that they claimed to be, even if we talk of the numbers game.” “You want to talk about the voice of the youth that reckons real numbers?” the youth leader said. “Talk to millions of Catholic youth based in our 86 dioceses, the Catholic schools and the transparochial organizations with millions of members that extend globally—then we could talk of a threatening number.” “In my opinion, the youth are the most intelligent sector in the voting population,” Esteban said, adding that she was at the PPCRV Command Center during the 2010 election, mobilizing millions of young people who wanted to take part in the historic first automated election. “And their power to move on causes they truly believe in is just so spectacular that it’s almost miraculous,” she said. “They are the vigilant and idealistic slice of the pie that inquires, critically studies and acts on a sound judgment. What made SCAP think that the youth will just give away their precious votes just because the candidate voted against the bill?! That’s wishful thinking.” RH bill benefits only a few “We the members of Federation of National Youth Organization are really standing up against the RH bill because we know that it will only destroy our family, our values, our morality, lalo na
And That’s The Truth / A5

ng mga kabataan,” said National Federation of Youth Organizations (NFYO) Council Member Maria Lea Dasigan. “Kung ‘di pag-aaralan, hindi natin maiintindihan na ang RH bill ay para lamang sa kapakanan ng mga iilan at hindi talaga para sa kapakanan ng mga kabataan.” “Personally,” she added, “I don’t believe na marami [silang mga pro-RH] na parang nananakot na majority of the voting population are young and for the RH bill. I really don’t think so.” The NFYO has organizations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and its members have recently come up with a signature campaign, the result of which they intend to send to Congress. Part of the group’s preparations for the 2013 elections is educating its various organizations on electoral candidates who are true to pro-life legislation. ‘I am part of the youth and I oppose the RH bill’ Even students of the University of the Philippines pointed out that newly elected University Student Council (USC) chair Heart Diño, who expressed support for the RH bill at the SCAP press conference, does not reflect their convictions. “Heart Diño’s seat in the USC was favored by a mere 17.02% of UP’s student population. Heart was voted into the council by 3,290 students out of roughly 19,300. Tell me, does Heart Diño speak

the voice of UP’s studentry? Ideally, yes. But in reality, no,” stated Kiboy Tabada, convenor of UP Against the RH Bill. “Heart was reported to have said that lawmakers ‘should not belittle the youth vote,’ that ‘they should listen to what the youth are actually saying.’ Listen to the youth? Or listen to you? I am part of the youth and I oppose the RH Bill. I believe that a lawmaker’s vote for the RH Bill is a vote against the real welfare of the youth, against the future of the youth. And I speak for the youth who stand against it and for the rest of my generation who do not know that it’s their future that’s at stake. On this matter, Heart Diño does not speak my voice. By what strong mandate can Heart speak the youth’s voice?” Pro-life legislators can bank on youth support The engineering student also reiterated his group’s all-out support for legislators who act on a genuine, lifeaffirming concern for the youth and for the future of the country. “To pro-life legislators, stand your ground. The youth are with you. The youth know that you have our best interests in mind in your opposition to the RH Bill. There is no honor in instilling fear to get you to vote for the measure. There is no honor in ruining someone else’s credibility to forward our own. We from UP Diliman ought to know this. We remain ready to

speak for and defend our position by its merits. And we will stand with and campaign for you by your merits as real representatives of the youth’s welfare,” Tabada said. John Walter Juat, also of UP Against the RH Bill, said that though the proRH student group was free to present its views, “they do not represent even close to the majority of those in the youth sector.” “While the pro-RH camp may choose to go with ‘wrath,’” he continued (referring to the news item’s title ‘RH bill foes face the wrath of student groups’), “the anti-RH camp will choose the peaceful but strong assertiveness to convince our legislators to take a stand against this divisive bill, and support the pro-life legislators in the next election. The pro-RH individuals noted in the article may be university leaders, but they do not intimidate us, even a little bit. The fight to preserve our nation’s pro-life, pro-family, pro-God culture will continue and will not stop until this RH bill is finally trashed.” RH bill is not the answer World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific (WYAAP) regional director Renelyn Tan criticized the misleading assertion that the RH bill will empower women as well as provide a solution to poverty. “Working with young people in World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific al-

lows me to see the great concern they have on issues relating to women and children. Our members clearly do not want women dying during childbirth or children missing out on opportunities but unfortunately, the current RH bill version does not provide a holistic way of addressing the fundamental causes of poverty and challenges to true women empowerment,” Tan said. In an earlier statement, Tan explained that she and other young people find it unfortunate that the media often portrays young people as “callous, who don’t know when to stop. But this is not true,” she asserted. “Kaming mga kabataan, we are all made for excellence and we really hope that our government, our institutions, our leaders and civil society will be able to provide [the necessary conditions] because our lives should be seen as an expression of our intrinsic and inviolable dignity. We would like to reiterate that young people are not only sexual beings.” “Much has been said about the RH bill, but it cannot be an issue totally conclusive of a young person’s future,” Esteban of Youth Pinoy! added. “Education comprises the biggest chunk, though we’re not talking about sex education here but good quality education that leads to an individual’s progress,” she said.

lives for a measly pay are killed in collapsing mining pits, media cameras focus on the victims and the “charity” people extend to their grieving families—again another opportunity for dogooders to shine—but where are the capitalists who should have invested more in the workers’ safety in the first place? Why won’t the media expose them? Does the public even get to know who they are? Recently, a Vietnamese boat was caught off Palawan smuggling 39 (!) marine turtles (four of them dead). The incident

reached the local authorities’ ear but apparently not the media. So, were the smugglers detained or fined, the boat confiscated, the turtles returned to the sea? If anyone knew the answers, no one is saying anything. Where is love of country here? Whether it’s about a Taiwanese boat illegally fishing off Batanes or Japanese tropical fish traders behind dynamite fishing in Mindanao, the stories reflect a pattern of neglect on the part of our authorities to protect our territory and resources. Are we simply being tolerant or are we

selling our country cheap? What happened to the Chinese nationals caught manufacturing shabu in Ayala Alabang? How come nothing was heard about them after the discovery? Didn’t our media think it was newsworthy, as they did about the Filipino drug mules executed in China? And speaking of drug mules, why is it that no one runs after their “connections” in China? Do they want us to believe that our kababayans will peddle the smuggled drugs by themselves in Tiananmen Square?

“Foreign aid” is another item that goes unexamined in the Filipino’s vocabulary. Such aid never comes without strings attached; whether it is cash, goods, medicines or military support given in exchange for our natural resources and our cherished values as a people, we stand exploited, believing we are helped when in fact we are being used. Sad to say, our leaders do not seem to know any better, and in fact, would even tend to take advantage of our people’s ignorance in entertaining “foreign aid”. Shouldn’t

we, instead of boasting we’re “more fun”, just call our beloved country “User-friendly Philippines”? How many of those we elect to public office truly love our country and our people? When they are bent on polishing their image, cosmeticizing history to make heroes of themselves and eternal villains of political enemies; when they substitute shallow slogans and publicists’ yarns for solid leadership; when their pursuit of truth is propelled only by vested interests; how can they unite the Filipinos to deliver

themselves from poverty and march on to genuine progress? We need to unshackle ourselves from superficial thought habits in order to understand the true meaning of freedom, heroism, democracy, service, human life—and be humble enough to admit that we are our own oppressors. Our national anthem ends with “Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi, ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo.” We do not love our country enough to believe in it, fight for it, suffer for it, die for it. And that’s the truth.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 7
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Diocesan News

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Iloilo holds Youth Forum on negative impacts of RH Bill
City Congressman Karlo Nograles and 2nd District Lanao del Norte Congresswoman Fatima Aliah Dimaporo, along with World Youth Alliance representative Renelyn Tan who clarified issues surrounding the controversial bill and highlighted its negative impact on the youth sector. Tan encouraged the youth to get themselves responsibly informed and to be more critical on the consequences of the laws being crafted, especially the RH Bill in its present version. She emphasized that the youth must be heard because they are the future leaders of the country. There is no use of becoming a leader, she said, if as an effect of population control, there will be nobody to serve. She also presented key points of the RH Bill that clarified the position of the pro-life movement. Nograles, meanwhile, revealed that if the RH bill is passed into legislation, educational and structural developments will be sacrificed since emphasis will be given to the promulgation of the RH Bill such as allocations for contraceptives which will be distributed to the youth. Nograles said that, instead of giving contraceptives to the people, the government should focus on educating the youth. He further rebuked the lengthy sex education program which will be imposed once the RH bill is passed by asking, “Do you want your children to master sex before they graduate high school?” For her part, Dimaporo explained the rights of citizens and the duties of the legislators to preserve and uphold the rights of the family. Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, who was also present in the forum, lauded the efforts of nine young solons in Congress, known as the “9YL” or the “Nine Young Legislators”, who “are swimming against the tide” and are fighting for the right to life. He encouraged everyone to pray for the young solons that they will never stop the fight. After the talks, Dr. Dolores Octaviano, of the Archdiocesan Commission on Family and Life, gave enlightening comments about the contraceptive mentality that the RH Bill will perpetuate among the youth. She stressed that the impact will be so alarming to the extent that the youth will unconsciously learn how to “kill the unborn” without being guilty about it. Discussions and open forum followed the talks which covered public issues and unspoken experiences of the youth about the RH Bill, proving that the younger generation strongly disagrees to a culture of death and immorality that is imposed by the proposed measure. The forum ended with a song number from the singing priest Fr. Jonas Mejares, OSA, who serenaded the youth with classic love songs. The youth forum was in response to reports that the RH Bill will be hastened into legislation before Congress adjourns for the Holy Week recess. But the last day of plenary sessions in Congress ended without tackling the bill, seemingly an indication of lawmakers’ waning interest on the divisive measure. House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte has been quoted as saying there are members of the House leadership and majority coalition who are opposed to the bill. (Elena D. Santisteban, Jayrel Javier Encontro, and Fr. Mickey Cardenas)

2nd District Lanao del Norte Representative Fatima Aliah Dimaporo, a member of the “Nine Young Legislators” (9YL), explains to participants the rights of citizens and the duties of legislators to oppose the RH bill.

JARO, Iloilo City—Despite the short notice and the ongoing final examinations in most schools, hundreds of youth and pro-life supporters from various institutions and organizations in Iloilo City gathered in a youth forum on the controversial reproductive health bill.

Organized by the Commission on Family and Life of the Archdiocese of Jaro and the Citizens for Life in cooperation with the University of San Agustin, the forum was held on March 16 at the University of San Agustin. Speakers include 1st District Davao

Campus Ministers’ national convention to be held in Cebu
CEBU City—The Campus Ministries of the Archdiocese of Cebu and the Archdiocese of Manila are jointly organizing the 4th National Convention of Campus Ministers to be held at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City on April 24 to 26. With the theme “New Directions in Campus Ministry: Discovering Roadmaps for Youth Guides of Today”, the convention aims to be a venue for exchange of stories and approaches in ministering to the youth of today. “We have invited guest speakers and facilitators from Manila, Cebu and Davao. We wish to nurture and enhance the personhood and competencies of campus minister in order to face the challenges of ministering to the young,” said the organizers. “In view of this, we wish to invite you to this large gathering of campus ministers, chaplains, youth directors, youth ministers, educators, theologians, religion teachers and student leaders. We hope that this shall be an occasion where we are together in our search for better ways and approaches and forge a network that will create positive impact to the growth and spirituality of young people,” they added. Organizers estimate that around 800 ministers will participate on the said convention. Interested participants may email the Cebu organizers (headed by Fr. Jake Reyes, the Director of the Cebu Archdiocesan Campus Ministry) at cebu_acm@yahoo.com.ph or inquire through their fax/telephone number +32 4168002. (Jandel Posion)

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Briefing
Cebuanos rally anew vs RH bill

Taytay’s BECs stage Lenten human Cross vs RH Bill
TAYTAY, Rizal—The Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) of St. John the Baptist Parish in Taytay once again staged its annual Lenten Station of the Cross with a “human Cross” echoing Pope Benedict XVI’s Lenten message that urges “love of others and good works” in reference to Hebrews 10:24. The second time in a row, the parish BEC’s Lenten activity was launched last year as a reaction against the culture of death being espoused by the RH Bill pending in the lower and upper House of Congress. Prominently held in the front row of the human cross was the banner imprinted with “Tutulan ang RH Bill, Pag-ibig sa kapwa at mabubuting gawa” (Oppose RH Bill, Love others and do good works). Penitents carried the sentimental “Jubilee Cross,” a big wooden cross used by the parishioners during the Church Jubilee year 2000 celebrations and the image of Divine Mercy and of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Philippines and the unborn children. The fourteen Stations of the Cross reflected the moral and value issues confronting society today, encouraging understanding of the constant teachings of the Church on morality, human dignity and sanctity of life, family and marriage. The prayerful response, in the first station for instance, asked for sharing of oneself to others as exemplified by the Lord’s sacrificial love of others. The 12th Station delved on life being at the very core of Christian faith, that no man or government must rip asunder while the 13th Station reiterated the Church’s undaunted stand in choosing life and rejecting the RH Bill. At 3 p.m. a group of penitents gathered at the town’s Kalayaan Park and prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy as a prelude to the Station of the Cross. BECs from barrios,
Pastoral Companion / A4

CEBU City— Less than a week before the adjournment of session in Congress for a six-week break, another public demonstration of rejecting the Reproductive Health (RH) bill was held in Cebu City. Cebuanos took to the streets on March 17 for a show of force against the legislative measure that has had a growing number of socio-civic groups, family and life advocates, child development specialists and faith-based organizations voicing out their opposition. Dubbed “Lenten Walk for Life,” the event started at Plaza Independencia and proceeded up to Plaza Sugbu, in front of the Cebu City Hall. (Miguel de Dios)
82K families to be evicted over Laguna Bay dike project

sitios and subdivisions simultaneously started from first to eight Stations. They converged at 4 p.m. at the park timed for the ninth Station. The participants, in solemn procession resounded the “Pananagutan” song as they continued with the Stations along the half-kilometer route in the main avenue toward the Church, bearing placards that cried out loud with The BECs of St. John the Baptist Parish in Taytay stage their Lenten activity the messages of each in a form of a human Cross to show their opposition to RH Bill. Station. The salvific meaning of sacrifice is re- ing of “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” as vealed at the Cross where our Lady stands they were welcome to the celebration of the venerated at the 11th Station being the Eucharist until 7 p.m. Mother of Life, who cares for us like her The parish “human Cross” was distinctive Son from her womb to the tomb. The Di- in its four-hour of pro-Life, Evangelical and vine Mercy is adored in the 14th Station as Catechetical initiative of the faithful in the the Risen Christ, the Redeemer, who pours public arena. Himself out in selfless love. St. John the Baptist BECs’ claims their The “human Cross” was formed in front Lenten human cross is the fourth biggest in of the church at around 5:20 p.m. in the the world with about 700 participants last 14th Station. When the Gospel reading pro- year and this year. nounced that “Christ is risen” the “Jubilee Third place is held by “Oslo, Norway Red Cross” was erected at the center of the “hu- Cross” in May 2010 with 935 participants; man Cross.” Effingham, Illinois, USA “9/11 AnniverA “dove,” an image of the Holy Spirit, was sary” in September 2011 is second with 2,000 also formed to the left of the “Human Cross.” participants. Paper slips written with penitents’ petitions The distinction of the biggest human and messages were burned as “holocaust” cross in history as declared by the Guinness by Bro. Nelson Cruz, the Parish Pastoral World Records is held by the University of Council Coordinator, as everyone sang “All Sto. Tomas, in Manila. In March 2011, UST to Jesus I Surrender.” formed its “Ash Wednesday Dominican Bro. Nelson led the recital of the Apostle’s Cross”, that had 24,000 participants. (Ding Creed. Penitents were greeted by the sing- Fernandez) the sisters on weekends or free days are a personalized way of accompaniment much appreciated by the evacuee families. We have also encouraged our ministry workers to offer various kinds of seminars in the evacuation centers for those interested – e.g., on the Bible, Natural Family Planning, values formation for family life, devotion to the Divine Mercy, etc. Catechists and formators of Basic Ecclesial Communities may also find a receptive audience among the evacuee families. As we continue to move on in the season of Lent and approach the events of Holy Week, com-

Photo courtesy of Ding Fernandez

ANTIPOLO City—About 82,000 families will lose their homes due to the P23 billion-worth Laguna Lake road-dike project. This was the revelation of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) after they saw the blueprint of the so-called “2020 Laguna Lake Master Plan” of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA). When done, the Pamalakaya expects around 500,000 people to be left homeless and penniless, since most of their livelihood comes from fishing in the lake. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Only about 50% of graduates will land a job— Anakbayan

QUEZON City—While graduating students are busy getting their grades, preparing their attire for graduation, and thinking about where they should go after the graduation rites, a sad reality faces the newly grads—about half of them would not land a job. “Based on the statistics,” says Anakbayan chairperson Vencer Mari Crisostomo, “only 40.8 percent to 37.4 percent of all youth members of the labor force in the past decade have been able to land any job; and 43 per cent of jobless youth do have a college degree.” (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Luisita farmers decry series of harassments

TARLAC City— Farmworkers of the controversial Hacienda Luisita decried the alleged harassments of private security hired by the Yuchengco Group’s Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation. In a statement, the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura revealed that some alleged “hired goons” of the RCBC had recently attempted to disperse the farmworkers-on-camping, near the 184-hectare land in Brgy. Balete, which the farmworker-beneficiaries began to till since July last year for food and livelihood. The said parcel of land, also inside the Hacienda Luisita territory, was purchased by RCBC 16 years ago from the Hacienda Luisita, Inc. management. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Siete Palabras at Sto. Domingo Church to air on Good Friday

houses will have a floor space of 21 square meters. Homelot sizes may range from 40 to 80 square meters. The challenge now is to negotiate for the purchase of more housing sites at affordable prices. In this regard, the archdiocese is looking at the possibility of helping homeowners’ associations acquire and develop a threehectare area in upper Macasandig. An access road is being cleared with the assistance of government equipment. Other possible sites in Indahag and Lumbia are also being eyed by these homeowners’ associations. Xavier University on its part had a ground-breaking
Love Life / A5

ceremony on March 3 for its 570 permanent housing units to be constructed on its five hectares in Xavier Ecoville, Lumbia. In one sense, the archdiocese’s contribution is not so much in housing, but in the spiritual ministry focused on the multiple and complex needs of evacuee families that have been traumatized by the sudden loss of loved ones or of entire homes. The Association of Women Religious of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro (AWRACO) has designated various congregations of sisters to particular evacuation centers. Household visits by

munity activities like the block rosary, outdoor Stations of the Cross, and Mass celebrations can be an effective way of creating new bonds of solidarity among evacuee families. In the Lenten Message of Pope Benedict XVI, we are reminded of the exhortation in the Letter to the Hebrews (10:24): “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.” Let this be our own call as we continue to be one with our brothers and sisters in their journey of transition from evacuation centers to the creation of more sustainable and life-giving human communities.

QUEZON City—The Dominican Province of the Philippines (DPP) will again be holding the Siete Palabras at the Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City on April 6 with the same theme as last year: “Ang Pasyong Mahal sa Buhay ni Juan.” Fr. Christopher Jeffrey Aytona, OP, chairman of the DPP Media Board, said the organizers intend to stress that Christian religion is a significant part of the Filipino culture. A live telecast of the Lenten special will be aired by GMA-7, with a simultaneous broadcast by Radio Veritas 846 on Good Friday. (Levine Andro H. Lao)

Candidly Speaking / A4

with no other source of income. If the area has water irrigation, planting can be two times a year. Otherwise, the farmers just wait for the next rainy season, and pray that no typhoon would devastate what they had so laboriously planted. I left the place with deeper commitment to help our poor brothers and sisters in

whatever way I can – at present, through assisting with more Pondo ng Pinoy projects, through giving out information on what is the state of agriculture in our country, and through joining efforts in lobbying for more just laws, policies and programs. My heart was filled with resentment at how our government and

rich people have so neglected such an important sector of our society, but my heart was filled with inspiration from the stories of the farmers, their faith in a God who year in and year out do not abandon them but continue to send the rain and the sun and the wind to be able to put rice on our tables.

empty and idle but rather fired up in love and desire for the good. Chastity is more a matter of affirmative action of love than that of denying oneself. I tell them to be wary of pride that can come from one’s privileges in looks, health, talents, intelligence, etc., things the young are most vulnerable to, as well as gluttony and laziness. These are where the devil can gain a foothold on us. Temptations should as much as possible be ignored, and if not, then tackled while still far from one’s heart. I also tell them to be highly disciplined in their thinking and imagination, to keep close if discreet guard on their senses,

especially the eyes and the touch, to minimize unnecessary “pacute and pa-charming” with the girls. And when the sting of the flesh manages to come, then one has to do what comes naturally and supernaturally, including intense prayers and sacrifices. Saints have done extraordinary things like wrapping themselves with thorns, rolling on snow, whipping with spikes, etc. One can do what the Spirit inspires him. Recourse to the sacraments and devotion to our Lady, Mother most chaste and Mother of Fair Love, helps a lot. Take it from the saints.

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Thousands join ‘Walk for Life’
AN estimated 15 to 20 thousand members of the Knights of Columbus and their families marched from Intramuros to the Rajah Sulayman park on Roxas Boulevard, March 24, for the annual ‘Walk for Life’ in support of life and rejection of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. Themed “We Value Life”, the activity started with a 6 a.m. Eucharistic celebration at San Agustin Church, Intramuros, with Luzon State Chaplain and Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco as main celebrant. Participants from different Knights of Columbus Councils and other organizations assembled in front of the church after the Mass, then walked to Roxas Blvd. carrying streamers and placards identifying their group, and bearing life-affirming messages as well as expressions of anti-RH bill sentiments. Some of the placards read: “Give us a chance to breathe because life is a wonderful gift,” “No to RH bill, We value life,” “Defend life,” “We fight for the Culture of Life, Against the Culture of Death,” “Ang buhay na isang regalo huwag sayangin, pahalagahan ito” and “Take my hand, not my life”. The kilometric line of participants of varied ages, from a handful of preschool children and numerous elementary school and high school kids, to adults and quite a few seniors were upbeat during most of the way to Rajah Sulayman where a program was held. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim commended the supposed concern of the RH bill’s proponents for caring for women’s health issues but pointed out that the measure’s name can be deceiving. “Ang hindi ko ho maintindihan, ang title ng proposed bill na ito, ‘reproductive health bill’. Ang sinasabi ng mga proponents nito, ay pinangangalagaan daw nila ‘yung kalusugan ng mga ina na manganganak dahil maaari daw mamatay sa panganganak at meron silang mga statistics na nagsasabi kung ilan ang namamatay sa panganganak,” Lim said. “Sa biglang pandinig, napakagandang pakinggan—inaalagaan ang kalusugan ng mga ina natin.” He segued into a personal testimony of living a welcoming attitude toward life and being contraceptives-free with his first wife of 44 years before she died and with whom he has eight children, and with his second wife with whom he has four children. Zambales Representative Ma. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay, known for her firm opposition to the RH bill as well as her prowess in discussing it in plenary debates, explained what makes the measure unnecessary and thereby unworthy of support. Some 80 percent of the provisions in the RH bill, she said, are contained in the Magna Carta of Women which was signed into law in 2009. “Nakalagay po sa proposed RH bill that we should provide pre-natal and post-natal care sa lahat ng mga babae dito sa Pilipinas. Iyang provision na ‘yan nasa Magna Carta na eh. Kapag sinabi niyo pong ‘access to all kinds of family planning methods,’ nasa Magna Carta na rin ‘yan. Kapag sinabi mong ‘the right to space your children,’ nasa Magna Carta ‘yan.” “Kapag sinabi mong dapat magprovide ng birthing facilities ang mga health centers nationwide, nasa Magna Carta na rin ‘yan. At ‘pag sinabi mong dapat magkaroon ng midwife, nurse at duktor ang mga health centers nationwide, nasa Magna Carta na rin ‘yan,” Magsaysay continued. The congresswoman also delved on the concept of essential medicines and how she regards the attempt to categorize birth control drugs and devices as “essential medicines” as senseless. The bigger picture that could explain the bill’s proponents’ motivation was revealed by Magsaysay. “Ang sabi kasi nila, sa DoH, mas mabilis ang priority sa pagbili ng gamot kapag ‘essential medicine’ ang classification. Kaya gusto nilang lokohin tayong lahat at sabihin ang contraceptives ay dapat gawing ‘essential medicine,’ she said. The Zambales congresswoman also mentioned that she would rather that students were taught values formation rather than sex education, as the youth need to learn to know and value their self-worth, understand principles such as integrity and focus on character building in general.

People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

Filipinos urged to observe Earth Hour

The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines lead participants from various pro-life organizations in the annual “Walk for Life” from Intramuros to Rajah Sulayman Park, March 24.

Allen Paolo Guballa, State Chief Squire, also spoke as part of the program, which ended with the release of white balloons as the song “Habang May Buhay” was played. The Walk for Life took place a day before the Day of the Unborn, a special day officially designated in several countries including the Philippines for

celebrating the sacredness of the lives of babies before birth. Besides the Philippines, other countries that mark March 25 with a pro-life theme are El Salvador, Argentina, Guatemala, Chile, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Peru, Panama, Paraguay, Slovakia, Cuba, Austria and Romania. (CBCP for Life)

Markings
CELEBRATED. Msgr. Joselito C. Asis celebrated the 25th anniversary of his sacerdotal ordination with a thanksgiving Mass on March 19, 2012 at the Chapel of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ headquarters in Intramuros, Manila. Daet Bishopemeritus Benjamin Almoneda and some 12 priests concelebrated. Also in attendance during the event were Asis’ mother, siblings, relatives, friends and executive secretaries and staff of various Episcopal commissions of the CBCP. Currently assigned as the secretary general of the CBCP, Asis was born on October 4, 1960 in Paracale, Camarines Norte and was ordained to the priesthood in 1987 at Daet by the late Bishop Celestino Enverga. He finished his Licentiate and Doctorate in Canon Law Magna cum laude from the Angelicum University in Rome, in 1994 and 2000, respectively. Among his various pastoral assignments include a stint as Catechetical Director, Chancellor, Oeconomus, Mass Media Director, Judicial vicar and parish priest in the Diocese of Daet. He was also assigned as secretary to the Papal Nuncio Gian Vincenzio Moreni at the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila from 1995 to 1998. In 2007, Asis was serving as Vicar General of the diocese when he was called to Manila to assume the post of assistant secretary general and assistant treasurer of the CBCP. Asis will have another thanksgiving celebration on Easter Sunday in Paracale, Camarines Norte at the parish of Our Lady of Candelaria where he said his first Mass 25 years ago. CELEBRATED. The Diocese of Mati marked the twin anniversaries of the diocesan 5 kw Catholic stations – Radyo Totoo DXHM-Heart of Mary, 549 khz, and DXDV (Dei Verbum)-Spirit FM, 97.5 mhz, on March 19, Feast of St. Joseph. Both stations were formally inaugurated on the feast of St. Joseph, the stations’ patron saint – DXHM, 21 years ago on March 19, 1991, and 18 years later on March 19, 2009, the total music station, DXDV – Spirit FM. The two stations are members of the nationwide umbrella of the Catholic Media Network (CMN) formerly known as the Philippine Federation of Catholic Broadcasters (PFCB) based in Manila, and affiliated to the Episcopal Commission on Social Communications. DXHM and DXDV-Spirit FM are both identified as CMN Mati, and have a website, ww.cmnmati.com which is capable of live streaming. The anniversary celebration was highlighted with a Eucharistic celebration in thanksgiving to God for the continued existence of the radio stations despite the huge costs and financial obligations of keeping both stations running and operational. Mati Bishop Patricio H. Alo, Founder and Station Director, celebrated the Eucharist at 8:30 a.m., followed by snacks for everyone and a sharing in word and agape for the radio personnel and block-timers. The slogan Kasaligan sa Kamatuoran or “Nothing but the Truth” remains the stations’ battle cry as it has been through the years, focused on the vision/mission of Media Evangelization to live out Jesus’ summons to “go out to the world to preach the good news” (Mt. 28:19), thus proclaiming the Truth in Jesus Christ as He ushers in a Kingdom of Truth, Love, Freedom, Peace, and Justice. INAUGURATED. Philippine’s first environment-friendly chapel, solar-powered and constructed from indigenous and recycled materials was opened in a simple blessing ceremony March 19, in Bacolod City. Located within the area of the Greenheart Hermitage on the campus grounds of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, the chapel was a collaborative effort of three Negrense artists who offered their talents and skills pro bono to build the “earth chapel” out of their common advocacy to protect the environment. The chapel structure was made of indigenous materials that include mud, bamboo, rice straw and stalk and cogon grass. Recycled objects including wine bottles, discarded tiles, discarded wood slab and other bits and pieces were also added in the structure. Brother Tagoy Jakosalem, a Rekoleto friar and an official presenter of The Climate Reality Project, did the interior of the chapel. He conceptualized and incorporated renewable energy into the structure, making the chapel true to form and function in its liturgical scheme. “The chapel is the first solarpowered religious edifice in the country, it is envisioned both to have a sound spiritual and environmental atmosphere, LED lights are used to illumine the interior. Wine bottles are incorporated in the structure, natural lighting effects emanating from the green-colored wine bottles, serving as recyclable stained-glass windows,” said Jakosalem, a religious environmentalist who was personally trained on climate change science by Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore through The Climate Reality Project. The other two artists who worked with Jakosalem were Marisol Alquizar, a visual artist who spends her time building mud houses in Negros island; and Nunelucio Alvarado, a leading social-realist in the country. Alquizar designed the chapel while Alvarado transformed his pen and ink version of “Kristo ni Alvarado” into a colourful mosaic as the chapel’s centerpiece.

CBCP youth office joins post WYD 2011 meeting in Rome
REPRESENTATIVES from various Episcopal conferences will gather in Rome later this month to do a post-evaluation of the World Youth Day celebration held in Madrid last August 2011. Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and Maria Victoria Tacderas, senior staff of the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate (NSYA), are among those participating in a post-evaluation international meeting of last year’s World Youth Day (WYD) celebration. Garganta said the meeting will be a sharing of experiences of the WYD 2011 in Madrid. “We, from the Philippines, particularly ECY was asked to deliver a 10-minute report and in that report, the Pontifical Council for the Laity Youth Desk expects that there will be reports about the pastoral implications or the pastoral gains from the young peoples’ experiences during the World Youth Day celebration,” he explained. Garganta emphasized that the meeting will raise the issue on how the international celebration helped today’s

youth, their mission and vision as members of the Church and how it enhanced their spiritual life. The priest said there had been a 100 percent positive feedback from the young people who participated in the international gathering. Garganta noted that the report shows positive gains and effects on the youth in their involvement during the World Youth Day 2011 Madrid celebration, as most participants have grown in their understanding of their relationship with God, their role in the

A CHURCH official is inviting Filipinos to participate in the worldwide event promoting energy conservation and care for Mother Nature. Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), specifically urged the youth to encourage their family, friends, community, and other people in their network to observe the Earth Hour on March 31. “As in the past years, I enjoin everyone to join in the observance of Earth Hour this 31st of March 2012, the last Saturday of this month, and to extend this invitation to everyone within our respective networks to take part,” Garganta said. “Let us join millions in our country and around the world in switching off non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., and using this time to engage in activities which promote care for our planet,” he added. The priest likewise urged young Filipinos to join the “I Will If You Will” campaign. The ECY has started off with its "I Will if You Will" statement “the ECY will change its office light bulbs to compact fluorescent lights if you will switch off your lights on March 31, join the ‘I Will If You Will’ campaign, and share these two with your community.” “This campaign empowers people to share to the world their own personal contribution on how they can willingly do ways to save Mother Earth,” Garganta added. Organizers of the Earth Hour hope that the initiative will spur people to be more aware of their energy usage and its effect to the environment. The initiative began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and has since become a global event. (YouthPinoy) Church and the significance of the Eucharist in their life. He furthered that the report also mentions the participation of the ECY’s official media delegation to document and cover the Filipino youth participants during the World Youth Day celebration. YouthPinoy! the youth media arm of the Filipino Catholic Youth was the one who conducted the media coverage for the Filipino delegation. (Jandel Posion)

Youth ministers urged to join teen sexuality workshop
THE CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) is inviting youth directors and ministers in the parishes, schools and organizations nationwide to attend the seminar on “Teaching Teachers on Teen Sexuality Workshop” being organized by Pro-Life Philippines. ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta urged diocesan youth directors, coordinators and leaders of memberorganization of the Federation of National Youth Organization (FNYO) to participate in the event scheduled on May 17-19 at the St. Joseph Retreat House in Sampaloc, Manila. Garganta, together with the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate (NSYA) hopes that youth collaborators will strongly consider the invitation. Organizers on the other hand said that the training/seminar aims to strengthen the ability of the participants to respond to the needs of today’s teens with respect to issues on human sexuality, marriage, family planning and population education according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. “Furthermore, this year’s seminar is designed to further the participants’ knowledge and understanding of the problems of Aids in the country as well as to dissect the objectionable provisions of the RH bill like the mandatory sex education from grade 5 to 4th year high school,” they said. “Participants will be trained to implement training modules on teen sexuality packaged in the manual titled “Learning to Live and Love” and will be provided updated supplementary activity and reading materials,” they added. The seminar-workshop requires a fee of Php 1,500, inclusive of snacks, meals, handouts and certificate, from participants. For further inquiries, interested parties are advised to call telephone number 632 7377027, telefax number +632 7349425, mobile number +63 9192337783 or send email at life@prolife.org.ph. (Jandel Posion)

ECY endorses youth summer leadership camp
THE CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) is endorsing a leadership camp for youth leaders to participate in this summer. ECY Chairman and Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon said the camp will surely be helpful for the youth leaders in various settings and communities. “With the multitude of challenges facing the young today, Latitude [summer camp] offers a timely and invaluable experience, as it is designed to ‘equip youth leaders with principles and skills needed to think freely, broadly and correctly about important socio-political and human rights issues,’ and help them decide about these with confidence and truthfulness,” Baylon said. The ECY is urging all youth ministers in the dioceses and member-organizations of the Federation of National Youth Organization (FNYO) and their collaborators to attend the Summer Leadership Camp organized by Youth United for the Philippines (YUP) titled “Latitude: Breadth of Influence”. Organizers pointed out that the camp aims to prepare young people to be able to handle life issues they are confronted with, one of which is the RH bill. “The course will help young people to speak on pro-life issues with charm, conviction and depth,” said the organizers. Among the invited guests are Dr. Bernardo Villegas who will speak on population and development; Dr. Angie Aguirre on the medical-ethical implications of the RH bill; Atty. Jemy Gatdula on its legal-constitutional implications; Dr. Raul Nidoy on its historical-ideologicalmoral dimensions; Dr. Lucille Montes on the understanding of human sexuality, marriage and the family; the 9YL (Nine Young Legislators) for a forum with the delegates; Prof. Rachel Khan of UP Mass Communication for a writing workshop; and Ms. Chichi Robles, a seasoned broadcaster, for a speaking workshop. Around 400 youth leaders from all over the country are expected to attend the course which will be held on April 22 to 27 at St. Michael Retreat House, Antipolo City. Youth leaders aged 17 to 25 years old may apply. The course requires a fee of Php 3,000.00 for board and lodging. Interested participants can download application forms from the LATITUDE website www.latitudesummercamp.wordpress.com and email accomplished forms to weareyup@gmail.com. (Jandel Posion)

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

www.mikehorn.com

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 7
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Pastoral Concerns

B1

Popular piety on the Holy Week
Excerpts from the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy Principles and Guidelines issued in 2002 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
IN accordance with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, this Congregation, in furthering and promoting the Liturgy, “the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed...and the fount from which all her power flows”(1), wishes to draw attention to the need to ensure that other forms of piety among the Christian people are not overlooked, nor their useful contribution to living in unity with Christ, in the Church, be forgotten(2). Following on the conciliar renewal, the situation with regard to Christian popular piety varies according to country and local traditions. Contradictory attitudes to popular piety can be noted: manifest and hasty abandonment of inherited forms of popular piety resulting in a void not easily filled; attachments to imperfect or erroneous types of devotion which are estranged from genuine Biblical revelation and compete with the economy of the sacraments; unjustified criticism of the piety of the common people in the name of a presumed “purity” of faith; a need to preserve the riches of popular piety, which is an expression of the profound and mature religious feeling of the people at a given moment in space and time; a need to purify popular piety of equivocation and of the dangers deriving from syncretism; the renewed vitality of popular religiosity in resisting, or in reaction to, a pragmatic technological culture and economic utilitarianism; decline of interest in popular piety ensuing on the rise of secularized ideologies and the aggressive activities of “sects” hostile to it. The question constantly occupies the attention of Bishops, priests, deacons, pastoral assistants, and scholars, who are concerned both to promote the liturgical life among the faithful and to utilize popular piety. In its constitution on the Liturgy, the Second Vatican Council explicitly touched upon the relationship between the Liturgy and pious exercises(3). The question of popular piety has been more amply considered on various occasions by the Apostolic See(4) and by the Conferences of Bishops(5). In his Apostolic Letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus, John Paul II raised the question again in relation to the liturgical renewal and indicated that it remained among those to be addressed at a future date: “popular piety can neither be ignored nor treated with indifference or disrespect because of its richness and because in itself it represents an religious attitude in relation to God. However, it has to be continually evangelized, so that the faith which it expresses may become more mature and authentic. The pious exercises of the Christian people and other forms of devotion can be accepted and recommended provided that they do not become substitutes for the Liturgy or integrated into the Liturgical celebrations. An authentic pastoral promotion of the liturgy, will know how to build on the riches of popular piety, purify them and direct them towards the Liturgy as an offering of the people”(6). Veneration of the Crucified Christ 127. The journey of Lent ends with the Easter Triduum, initiated by the celebration of the Coena Domini Mass. During the Triduum, Good Friday which is dedicated to the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, is eminently suited for the “Adoration of the Holy Cross”. Popular piety tends to anticipate the cultic veneration of the Cross. Throughout Lent, every Friday is observed, since very ancient times, as a commemoration of the Lord’s Passion and the faithful easily direct their devotions towards the mystery of the Cross. They contemplate the crucified Savior, they sense more easily the great suffering which Jesus, the Holy and Innocent One, suffered for the salvation of mankind. They understand his love and the effectiveness of his redemptive sacrifice. 128. The various and numerous devotions to the crucified Christ acquire a special significance in those churches dedicated to the mystery of the Cross or where authentic relics of the true cross are venerated. The “invention of the Cross” in the early fourth century, and the subsequent diffusion throughout the Church of particles of the true Cross, gave notable impulse to devotion to the Cross. Devotions to the crucified Crist contain many elements usually found in popular piety: hymns and prayers, acts such as the unveiling and kissing of the Cross, processions and blessing with the Cross. These can lead to the development of pious exercises often containing many valuable formal and material elements. Devotion to the Cross, however, sometimes requires a certain enlightenment. The faithful should be taught to place the Cross in its essential reference to the Resurrection of Christ: the Cross, the empty tomb, the Death and Resurrection of Crist are indispensable in the Gospel narrative of God’s salvific plan. In the Christian faith, the Cross is an expression of the triumph of Christ over the powers of darkness. Hence, it is adorned with precious stones and is a sign of blessing when made upon one’s self, or on others or on objects. 129. The Gospel texts of the Passion are especially detailed. Coupled with a tendency in popular piety to isolate specific moments of the narrative, this has induced the faithful to turn their attention to specific aspects of the Passion of Christ, making of them specific devotions: devotion to the “Ecce Homo”, Christ despised, “crowned with thorns and clothed in a purple cloak” (John 19, 5), and shown to the multitude by Pilate; devotion to the five sacred wounds of Christ, especially to the side of Christ from which flowed blood and water for the salvation of mankind (John 19, 34); devotion to the instruments of the Passion, the pillar at which Christ was scourged, the steps of the Praetorium, the crown of thorns, the nails, the lance that pierced Him; devotion to the Holy Shroud. Such expressions of piety, often promoted by persons of great sanctity, are legitimate. However, in order to avoid excessive fragmentation in contemplation of the mystery of the Cross, it is always useful to emphasise the whole event of the Passion, as is the case in biblical and patristic tradition. Reading of the Lord’s Passion 130. The Church exhorts the faithful to frequent personal and community reading of the Word of God. Undoubtedly, the account of the Lord’s Passion is among the most important pastoral passages in the New Testament. Hence, for the Christian in his last agony, the Ordo untionis informorum eorumque pastoralis curae suggests the reading of the Lord’s Passion either in its entirety, or at least some pericopes from it(136). During Lent, especially on Wednesdays and Fridays, love for our Crucified Saviour should move the Christian community to read the account of the Lord’s Passion. Such reading, which is doctrinally significant, attracts the attention of the faithful because of its content and because of its narrative form, and inspires true devotion: repentance for sins, since the faithful see that Christ died for the sins of the entire human race, including their own; compassion and solidarity for the Innocent who was unjustly condemned; gratitude for the infinite love of Jesus for all the brethren, which was shown by Jesus, the first born Son, in his Passion; commitment to imitating his example of meekness, patience, mercy, forgiveness of offenses, abandonment to the Father, which Jesus did willingly and efficaciously in his Passion. Outside of the liturgical celebration of the Passion, the Gospel narrative can be “dramatized”, giving the various parts of the narrative to different persons; or by interspersing it with hymns or moments of silent reflection. Via Crucis 131. Of all the pious exercises connected with the veneration of the Cross, none is more popular among the faithful than the Via Crucis. Through this pious exercise, the faithful movingly follow the final earthly journey of Christ: from the Mount of Olives, where the Lord, “in a small estate called Gethsemane” (Mk 14, 32), was taken by anguish (cf. Lk 22, 44), to Calvary where he was crucified between two thieves (cf. Lk 23, 33), to the garden where he was placed in freshly hewn tomb (John 19, 40-42). The love of the Christian faithful for this devotion is amply attested by the numerous Via Crucis erected in so many churches, shrines, cloisters, in the countryside, and on mountain pathways where the various stations are very evocative. 132. The Via Crucis is a synthesis of various devotions that have arisen since the high middle ages: the pilgrimage to the Holy Land during which the faithful devoutly visit the places associated with the Lord’s Passion; devotion to the three falls of Christ under the weight of the Cross; devotion to “the dolorous journey of Christ” which consisted in processing from one church to another in memory of Christ’s Passion; devotion to the stations of Christ, those places where Christ stopped on his journey to Calvary because obliged to do so by his executioners or exhausted by fatigue, or because moved by compassion to dialogue with those who were present at his Passion. Initspresentform,theViaCrucis, widely promoted by St. Leonardo da Porto Maurizio ( 1751), was approved by the Apostolic See and indulgenced(137), consists of fourteen stations since the middle of seventeenth century. 133. The Via Crucis is a journey made in the Holy Spirit, that divine fire which burned in the heart of Jesus (cf. Lk 12, 49-50) and brought him to Calvary. This is a journey well esteemed by the Church since it has retained a living memory of the words and gestures of the final earthly days of her Spouse and Lord. In the Via Crucis, various strands of Christian piety coalesce: the idea of life being a journey or pilgrimage; as a passage from earthly exile to our true home in Heaven; the deep desire to be conformed to the Passion of Christ; the demands of following Christ, which imply that his disciples must follow behind the Master, daily carrying their own crosses (cf Lk 9, 23). The Via Crucis is a particularly apt pious exercise for Lent. 134. The following may prove useful suggestions for a fruitful celebration of the Via Crucis: the traditional form of the Via Crucis, with its fourteen stations, is to be retained as the typical form of this pious exercise; from time to time, however, as the occasion warrants, one or other of the traditional stations might possibly be substituted with a reflection on some other aspects of the Gospel account of the journey to Calvary which are traditionally included in the Stations of the Cross; alternative forms of the Via Crucis have been approved by Apostolic See(138) or publicly used by the Roman Pontiff(139): these can be regarded as genuine forms of the devotion and may be used as occasion might warrant; the Via Crucis is a pious devotion connected with the Passion of Christ; it should conclude, however, in such fashion as to leave the faithful with a sense of expectation of the resurrection in faith and hope; following the

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Updates
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
IN recent years, there has been a growing number of so-called healing ministries. One hears of “healing Masses”, “healing services” or simply “prayer meetings for healing”. There is at least one regular Healing Mass featured on national television, and at least one temple has been erected in recent years primarily as a venue for the ministry of a socalled “healing priest”. On the other hand, the Philippines has always been known for faithhealers, a good number of them turning out to be bogus, to the consternation of gullible or simply desperate victims. What does Canon Law provide for this phenomenon, especially in the hands of ordained ministers? The Instruction on Prayers for Healing Ever sensitive to what is happening in the world, the Holy See—through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF)—had in fact issued an Instruction regarding prayers for healing on September 14, 2000, “above all—the document states—as a help to local Ordinaries so that the faithful appeal is sometimes made to a claimed charism of healing.” These prayer meetings for healing need to be properly discerned from a liturgical perspective, particularly by the Church authorities, whose responsibility it is to watch over and give appropriate norms for the proper functioning of liturgical celebrations. Hence, the publication of the aforementioned Instruction. Disciplinary Norms The second part of the Instruction proceeds to give the disciplinary norms for such prayer meetings in 10 articles, as follows (italics added to emphasize the parts more relevant to local phenomena). Art. 1 – It is licit for every member of the faithful to pray to God for healing. When this is organized in a church or other sacred place, it is appropriate that such prayers be led by an ordained minister. Art. 2 – Prayers for healing are considered to be liturgical if they are part of the liturgical books approved by the Church’s competent authority; otherwise, they are non-liturgical.

CBCP Monitor
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

Deviations in Holy Week
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following queries:) Q1: The past two years at our parish the liturgy for Good Friday has been changed in the following manner: The pastor and other readers begin the liturgy by reading a part of the account of the Passion. Then, they stop about a fifth of the way through, and the readers respectively proceed with the first and second reading. Then, the pastor and readers resume, reading another fifth of the Passion, after which the general intercessions take place. Another fifth of the Passion is read, after which the veneration of the Cross takes place. Again, another fifth of the Passion is read, and then Holy Communion is distributed. After Holy Communion is distributed, the final fifth of the Passion account is read and the liturgy ends. Obviously, this ordering of the liturgy does not follow the rubrics. Since the Good Friday liturgy is not a Mass, does the following statement from Sacrosanctum Concilium still apply, since the Good Friday liturgy is, indeed, a sacred liturgy: “Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop …. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (22.1, 2)? Q2: [Last] Lent, during the Sundays leading up to Palm Sunday, our pastor and his assistants employed the following changes when reading the Gospel: The priest and another layperson(s) read the Gospels very much in the same manner as the Passion is read, by multiple readers, on Palm Sunday or Good Friday, that is, the priest reads the part of Jesus, and the other readers read the parts of the blind man, Martha, Mary, the Samaritan woman, etc. In addition, the music minister invited the congregation to sing a response throughout the Gospel. So, at different points during the Gospel, either the priest or the layperson would cease reading, and the entire congregation would sing a response, very much in the same manner as the psalm is recited. I am concerned that this is taking place because, according to Redemptionis Sacramentum: “[I]t is not permitted for a layperson, even a religious, to proclaim the Gospel reading in the celebration of Holy Mass, nor in other cases in which the norms do not explicitly permit it” (63). While the lector did not read the entire Gospel, is it still right to be concerned that a layperson read parts of the Gospel? It seems to me that the liberty taken by making this change is a liturgical abuse. -- E.R., San Clemente, California Q3: I am not so sure that my country is unique in trying to “recreate” the liturgy of the Easter triduum, but I’ve seen and heard enough to imagine that perhaps our clergy are not so familiar with either the rubrics or the meaning of the paschal triduum. My question is, basically, how far can a priest go before what is celebrated is no longer, legally speaking, the Easter triduum? Some examples from televised liturgies: [One] Good Friday, a Liturgy of the Passion was shown from County Kerry. The only Scripture reading was from Matthew’s Gospel (it seemed to be an edition of the Good News Bible) and dramatized by mime. I think the remainder of the liturgy was more or less per the liturgy. Then the Easter Vigil from the same parish was structured as follows: Fire blessed (outside), clergy came inside and began the Old Testament readings. After the last Old Testament reading, the Easter candle was prepared in the usual way, people’s candles were lit, Exsultet sung and then the Gloria. The remainder of the liturgy was as per usual. -- F.R., Dublin, Ireland A: These are just a selection of many inquiries about blatant reordering of the liturgy in general and the Easter celebrations in particular. Why these things happen and why some priests are deluded into thinking that this is a more “pastoral” approach than following the prescribed rubrics, remains a mystery. I remain convinced that the best and most effective pastoral policy is to offer Christ’s faithful the rites that his Church proposes. This is what has stood the test of time and of widespread use. Our personal tinkering can only impoverish and weaken their effectiveness. From the legal standpoint, all of these initiatives violate Sacrosanctum Concilium 22’s basic principle of liturgical law quoted by our first questioner. This norm is not restricted to the Mass but to the entire liturgy, including all celebrations of the sacraments and also the sacramentals. In the case of the sacramentals and the Liturgy of the Hours the official books themselves occasionally allow for greater leeway in choosing texts and modes of celebration, provided that certain core criteria are always met. As our first correspondent observed, they also explicitly violate many other liturgical norms. This is the case in Q2 where, effectively, the only occasions when laypeople are allowed to read the Gospel along with the priest is Palm Sunday and Good Friday. The other exception, foreseen in No. 47 of the Directory for
Deviations / B5 Piety / B1

‘Healing Masses’
liturgical prayer meetings and liturgical celebrations properly so-called is to be carefully avoided. §3. Anything resembling hysteria, artificiality, theatricality or sensationalism, above all on the part of those who are in charge of such gatherings, must not take place. Art. 6 – The use of means of communication (in particular, television) in connection with prayers for healing, falls under the vigilance of the Diocesan Bishop in conformity with can. 823 and the norms established by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Instruction of March 30, 1992. Art. 7 – §1. Without prejudice to what is established above in art.3 or to the celebrations for the sick provided in the Church’s liturgical books, prayers for healing – whether liturgical or non-liturgical – must not be introduced into the celebration of the Holy Mass, the sacraments, or the Liturgy of the Hours. §2. In the celebrations referred to §1, one may include special prayer intentions for the healing of the sick in the general intercessions or prayers of the faithful, when this is permitted. Art. 8 – §1. The ministry of exorcism must be exercised in strict dependence on the Diocesan Bishop, and in keeping with the norm of c.1172, the Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of September 29, 1985, (31) and the Rituale Romanum (32). §2. The prayers of exorcism contained in the Rituale Romanum must remain separate from healing services, whether liturgical or non-liturgical. §3. It is absolutely forbidden to insert such prayers of exorcism into the celebration of the Holy Mass, the sacraments, or the Liturgy of the Hours. Art. 9 – Those who direct healing services, whether liturgical or non-liturgical, are to strive to maintain a climate of peaceful devotion in the assembly and to exercise the necessary prudence if healings should take place among those present; when the celebration is over, any testimony can be collected with honesty and accuracy, and submitted to the proper ecclesiastical authority. Art. 10 – Authoritative intervention by the Diocesan Bishop is proper and necessary when abuses are verified in liturgical or nonliturgical healing services, or when there is obvious scandal among the community of the faithful, or when there is a serious lack of observance of liturgical or disciplinary norms. In Summary: 1) It is licit for the faithful to pray to God for healing. When this is organized in a church or other sacred place, it is appropriate that such prayers be led by an ordained minister. These prayers can be of two types: Liturgical, if they are part of the liturgical books approved by the competent Church authority; Non-liturgical, if they are not part of such officially approved liturgical books. These also fall under the vigilance of the local Ordinary in accordance with c.839, §2. Confusion between non-liturgical prayer meetings and liturgical celebrations properly so-called is to be carefully avoided. 2) It is the competence of the Bishop of the Diocese to issue norms for his particular Church regarding liturgical services of healing, which must be followed by those who prepare such liturgical services. Permission to hold such services must be explicitly given, even if they are organized by other Bishops or Cardinals, or include such as participants. Given a just and proportionate reason, the Diocesan Bishop even has the right to forbid the participation of an individual Bishop. 3) Anything resembling hysteria, artificiality, theatricality or sensationalism, above all on the part of those who are in charge of such gatherings, must not take place. Those who direct healing services, whether liturgical or non-liturgical, are to strive to maintain a climate of peaceful devotion in
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‘Healing priest’ Fr. Fernando Suarez performs his healing ministry after celebrating the Holy Mass.

may be better guided in this area, though promoting what is good and correcting what is to be avoided.” Furthermore, to ensure the correct approach and to make clear the reasoning behind the norms, the CDF had “judged appropriate to preface the disciplinary part of the Instruction with an extensive doctrinal note.” Christian Meaning of Suffering and the Proliferation of Healing Ministries The Instruction starts by stating that “the longing for happiness, deeply rooted in the human heart, has always been accompanied by a desire to be freed from illness and to be able to understand the meaning of sickness when it is experienced. This is a human phenomenon, which in some way concerns every person and finds particular resonance in the Church, where sickness is understood as a means of union with Christ and of spiritual purification. Moreover, for those who find themselves in the presence of a sick person, it is an occasion for the exercise of charity.” “Prayer for the restoration of health—the Instruction continues—is therefore part of the Church’s experience in every age, including our own. What in some ways is new is the proliferation of prayer meetings, at times combined with liturgical celebrations, for the purpose of obtaining healing from God. In many cases, the occurrence of healings has been proclaimed, giving rise to the expectation of the same phenomenon in other such gatherings. In the same context,

Art. 3 – §1. Liturgical prayers for healing are celebrated according to the rite prescribed in the Ordo benedictionis infirmorum (“Rite of Blessings of the Sick”) of the Rituale Romanum and with the proper sacred vestments indicated therein. §2. In conformity with what is stated in the Praenotanda, V., De aptationibus quae Conferentiae Episcoporum competunt of the same Rituale Romanum, Conferences of Bishops may introduce those adaptations to the Rite of Blessings of the Sick which are held to be pastorally useful or possibly necessary, after prior review by the Apostolic See. Art. 4 – §1. The Diocesan Bishop has the right to issue norms for his particular Church regarding liturgical services of healing, following c.838, §4. §2. Those who prepare liturgical services of healing must follow these norms in the celebration of such services. §3. Permission to hold such services must be explicitly given, even if they are organized by Bishops or Cardinals, or include such as participants. Given a just and proportionate reason, the Diocesan Bishop has the right to forbid even the participation of an individual Bishop. Art. 5 – §1. Non-liturgical prayers for healing are distinct from liturgical celebrations, as gatherings for prayer or for reading of the word of God; these also fall under the vigilance of the local Ordinary in accordance with c.839, §2. §2. Confusion between such free non-

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example of the Via Crucis in Jerusalem which ends with a station at the Anastasis, the celebration could end with a commemoration of the Lord’s resurrection. 135. Innumerable texts exist for the celebration of the Via Crucis. Many of them were compiled by pastors who were sincerely interested in this pious exercise and convinced of its spiritual effectiveness. Texts have also been provided by lay authors who were known for their exemplary piety, holiness of life, doctrine and literary qualities. Bearing in mind whatever instructions might have been established by the bishops in the matter, the choice of texts for the Via Crucis should take a count of the condition of those participating in its celebration and the wise pastoral principle of integrating renewal and continuity. It is always preferable to choose texts resonant with the biblical narrative and written in a clear simple style. The Via Crucis in which hymns, silence, procession and reflective pauses are wisely integrated in a balanced manner, contribute significantly to obtaining the spiritual fruits of the pious exercise. The Via Matris 136. As Christ and Our Lady of Dolours

were associated in God’s saving plan (Lk 2, 34-35), so too they are associated in the Liturgy and popular piety. As Christ was the “man of sorrows” (Is 53, 3) through whom it pleased God to have “reconciled all things through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, when he made peace by his death on the cross” (Col 1, 20), so too, Mary is “the woman of sorrows” whom God associated with his Son as mother and participant in his Passion (socia passionis). Since the childhood of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s life was entirely lived out under the sign of the sword (cf, Lk 2, 35). Christian piety has signalled out seven particular incidents of sorrow in her life, known as the “seven sorrows” of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Modelled on the Via Crucis, the pious exercise of the Via Matris dolorosae, or simply the Via Matris, developed and was subsequently approved by the Apostolic See(140). This pious exercise already existed in embryonic form since the sixteenth century, while its present form dates from the nineteenth century. Its fundamental intuition is a reflection on the life of Our Lady from the prophecy of Simeon (cf. Lk 2, 34-35), to the death and burial of her Son, in terms of a journey in faith and sorrow: this journey is articulated in seven “stations” corresponding to the “seven dolours” of

the Mother of Our Saviour. 137. This pious exercise harmonises well with certain themes that are proper to the lenten season. Since the sorrows of Our Lady are caused by the rejection of her Son (cf. John 1,11; Lk 2, 1-7; 2, 34-35; 4, 28-29; Mt 26, 47-56; Acts 12, 1-5), the Via Matris constantly and necessarily refers to the mystery of Christ as the suffering servant (cf. Is 52, 13-53, 12). It also refers to the mystery of the Church: the stations of the Via Matris are stages on the journey of faith and sorrow on which the Virgin Mary has preceded the Church, and in which the Church journeys until the end of time. The highest expression of the Via Matris is the Pietà which has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Christian art since the middles ages. Holy Week 138. “In Holy Week, the Church celebrates the mysteries of salvation accomplished by Christ in the last days of the earthly life, beginning with his messianic entry into Jerusalem”(141). The people are notably involved in the rites of Holy Week. Many of them still bear the traces of their origins in popular piety. It has come about, however, that in the course of the centauries, a form of celebrative parallelism has arisen in the Rites of Holy Week, resulting in

two cycles each with its own specific character: one is strictly liturgical, the other is marked by particular pious exercise, especially processions. This divergence should be oriented towards a correct harmonisation of the liturgical celebrations and pious exercises. Indeed, the attention and interest in manifestations of popular piety, traditionally observed among the people, should lead to a correct appreciation of the liturgical actions, which are supported by popular piety. Palm Sunday Palms, olive branches and other fronds 139. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, or “Passion Sunday”, which unites the royal splendour of Christ with the proclamation of his Passion”(142). The procession, commemorating Christ’s messianic entry into Jerusalem, is joyous and popular in character. The faithful usually keep palm or olive branches, or other greenery which have been blessed on Palm Sunday in their homes or in their work places. The faithful, however, should be instructed as to the meaning of this celebration so that they might grasp its significance. They should be opportunely reminded that the important thing is participation at the procession and not only the obtaining of palm or olive branches. Palms or olive branches should

not be kept as amulets, or for therapeutic or magical reasons to dispel evil spirits or to prevent the damage these cause in the fields or in the homes, all of which can assume a certain superstitious guise. Palms and olive branches are kept in the home as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ, the messianic king, and in his Paschal Victory. The Paschal Triduum 140. Every year, the Church celebrates the great mysteries of the redemption of mankind in the “most sacred triduum of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection”(143). The Sacred Triduum extends from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper to Vespers on Easter Sunday and is celebrated “in intimate communion with Christ her Spouse”(144). Holy Thursday Visiting the Altar of Repose 141. Popular piety is particularly sensitive to the adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the wake of the Mass of the Lord’s supper(145). Because of a long historical process, whose origins are not entirely clear, the place of repose has traditionally been referred to as a “a holy sepulchre”. The faithful go there to venerate Jesus who was placed in a tomb following the crucifixion and in which he remained for some forty
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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 7
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Year of the Missions

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By Sr. Ging S. Villador, AMP

My Missionary Journey with the Pontifical Mission Societies
by the sharing of the different Mission Collaborators on their experiences of initiating, embracing/espousing and implementing the formation of little missionaries in their respective areas of mission. A Canossian Sister, Maureen Cejas, FSDC, shared her joys of organizing the Sacta Infantia which is a communitybased model. For almost eleven years of inspiring mission with the children of indigent parents, giving information and education to the parents, children and the family as a whole in the art of evangelizing and bringing them close to knowing and loving Jesus and sharing this to less fortunate and eventually facilitating conversion was commendable. They helped children pray for other children, inspiring other children and loving other children and later making them conscious of their responsibility as little missionaries in their own giftedness and capabilities. A Missionary Sister of the Blessed Sacrament, Sr. Maricel Deligencia, shared her Congregation’s experiences of organizing and doing mission with the youth through the Society for the Propagation of Faith in a parishbased approach. We cannot belittle the movement of the Holy Spirit in trying to gather people, especially the outof-school youth, and share their time and personal resources in order to be involved and to develop their person according to the person of Jesus. Instead of being led astray by bad influence, they are helped to get involve in church activities such as bible study/ sharing, learn the rudiments of prayers and enhance their sense of Christian responsibility as children of God. Another lay teacher-organizer, Ms. Flora Carandang, shared her mission in a school-based set up of organizing school children and bringing them to the heart of the mission which is in the poor and deprived community. There is a regular and constant visit and integration with
Photo courtesy of the Pontifical Mission Societies

IT was April of 2009, during the Augustinian Missionaries of the Philippines (AMP) Summer Mission Encounter, that Bishop Gilbert Garcera, then National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines, was invited as a speaker and talked about the mission challenges in Asia. It was in that sharing that I was again awakened and challenged by the realities of missionaries and the mission demands in the world specifically in Asia. In that talk, Bishop Garcera oriented the AMP Sisters of the history, nature, objectives and mission involvement of the four societies under the Pontifical Mission Societies. On May 25 of the same year, the PMS National Director called for a reorientation/re-organization meeting of all PMS-MEC (Mission Education Committee) members from among the Catholic Schools in Manila. My superior, Sr. Ma. Cecilia P. Bayona, AMP, delegated me to be our Congregation’s representative. In that meeting the new National Director, Rev. Fr. Socrates Mesiona, MSP, was introduced and in the ensuing deliberations a recollection about the Societies’ fruitful and laborious journey for the last seventy-five years or so was presented which gave encouragements to the participating delegates and a deeper understanding of the how’s and why’s of MEC surfaced. The heads of schools and those involved in school apostolate and evangelization mission were inspired. That was the start of an interest-provoking journey. That meeting in May was followed by an invitation to attend the Luzon Regional Assembly of Diocesan Mission Directors and Collaborators in San Fernando, Pampanga on July 1-4, 2009 with the theme: “Let the Children Come to Me” (Lk. 18:16). In that assembly we were inspired

The author, Sr. Ging Villador, AMP, third from left.

the children in the depressed area near their school. The last one who shared was also a teacher-program coordinator in Bicol which employed the Club Model. They organized students’ clubs in the school which take charge of missionary involvement in and out of the school. After all the sharing, I have come to realize that all the activities, programs and services they are involved with are closely related or is at par to what our Mission school apostolate as a Congregation used to engage in, that is, our Outreach Program and Services only with different and varied expressions and creative responses. From that assembly I was encouraged to strengthen it all the more in the school where I am presently assigned here in San Agustin Diocesan Academy, Jaen, Nueva Ecija. Thereafter the assembly, I took the initiative of inviting the PMS Team from Manila to conduct an orientation and leadership training in our school and it was successfully done. We invited Fr. Socrates Mesiona, MSP, the National Director with Brother Anthony Dameg and Sister Hermie de Guzman

who facilitated the two-day orientation and leadership training. The students pledged to support and embrace the objectives and good intentions of the two societies, namely, the Association of the Holy Childhood and the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. We organized the whole school as an add-on feature to what is existing and being practiced in our day to day strivings of giving witness to our charism and spirituality in prayer and in building life-giving communities among teachers, non-teaching personnel, students and in our outreach area in Sitio Macapulo in San Pablo, Jaen, Nueva Ecija. This is another form of enhancing our leadership capabilities and promoting the spirit of sharing our mindfulness in praying even just one Our Father and one Hail Mary and Glory Be for themselves and other children and youth in the world particularly in the five continents namely America, Oceania, Europe, Asia and Africa. The output of the orientation and leadership training developed us all the more to pray for each other, for other children, help and inspire other children and share whatever we have

to others who have less or none at all. Inspired and spirited realizing that these faith-filled experiences are also in line with the thrust of our Congregation as Augustinian Missionaries, one of which is developing little praying missionaries. I shared this with other school leaders in our Diocese bearing in mind the power of prayer, the very core of our being missionaries. In our monthly meeting of all school administrators on August 20, 2009 held in Barangay Balaring, General Natividad, Nueva Ecija, Fr. Ariel Musngi, our Diocesan Mission Director of the Diocese of Cabanatuan, shared the PMS orientation to school administrators encouraging them to organize their schools in this undertaking. Since that summer of 2009 I became a regular participant of the activities organized by PMS national office. Even if I am based in Nueva Ecija, I would try as much as possible to attend meetings of the Mission Education Commission which are usually held in the national office in Manila. We have also participated inter-school activities held in Metro Manila. Indeed, we come to a collective realization that the little amount we have shared can facilitate a multitude assistance these Societies can share. To date, we have enlisted 558 High School students and 33 personnel to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and 86 Grade School pupils to the Society of the Holy Childhood. We pray that these faith-laden undertakings bear much fruit in all our apostolic involvement. Let us continue to pray for one another that we can reach out for more children and youth in our own locality praying for one another. More power to the Pontifical Mission Societies – Philippines, to the God who calls us all to share n His redemptive mission and to all of us commissioned by Him in the formation and education of little missionaries of our time!

THE Pontifical Mission Society (PMS) is already starting preparations for the upcoming Grand Mission Festival on April 18-20 in Marikina Sports Complex, Marikina City. According to Anthony Dameg, PMS senior staff, the registration of participants and follow-ups of Catholic schools and religious congregations that will participate in the mission festival are being done. Dameg also said that promotions about the mission event, such as radio interviews, are being done with the help of Parto Communications. He disclosed that several mission ambassadors will be present during the GMF such as GMA 7 Anchorman Mike Enriquez, GMA 7 Reporter/News Anchor Mariz Umali, Celebrity siblings Makisig and Mayumi Morales, Actor Aljur Abrenica, TV Host and PBA player Chris Tiu and Miss Philippines Earth 2011 Athena Imperial. PMS estimates around three to five thousand participants for the Grand Mission Festival. As of the moment, there are 1,000

participants who have already registered for the event. Deadline for registration with a fee of Php 500.00 that includes food and accommodation will be on March 30. Walk-ins are also welcome during the event itself but have to pay the fee of Php 1,500.00 but without food and kit, in order to participate. Main speakers for the mission festival are Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle and Bo Sanchez while workshop speakers are Fr. Francis Lucas and Fr. Bong Osial. Mass celebrants for the three-day event are Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, bishopchairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) who will celebrate the opening Mass; Marawi Bishop Edwin Dela Pena, bishop-chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Mission (ECM) who will lead the Mass on the 2nd day; and CBCP President and Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma for the send-off mass. Bukas Palad Music Ministry will be one of the performers during the said event. (Jandel Posion)

Prelature of Isabela de Basilan participants in the Faith and Mission Seminar.

nature of the Church and the missionary work here in the country and abroad. He also taught the participants on how to awaken the missionary spirit of every person especially the children. Mesiona and Dameg were joined by Msgr. Santiago Agoo, Jr. who shared about faith in the biblical perspective; and Fr. Edgar Rivero, who gave a brief historical presentation of mission in the prelature. Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad presided the opening and send-off mass for the said seminar. Jumoad pointed out that “if we talk about faith and mission, we should be

first rooted and anchored in the Word of God and we must always pray.” The bishop also said that “loving God’s Word and praying is the heartbeat of our mission.” The seminar is in its second run after the clergy and religious sister’s seminar last February 27. Other seminars for faith and mission are slated on April 10 for the catechists and April 14 for the teachers of Claret schools. The seminar in May which will coincide with the celebration of Flores de Mayo will be dedicated for the youth and children. The series of seminars will end in November. (Jandel Posion)

May They Be One
Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home

Bible Campaign
to raise awareness on the importance of God’s Word and to raise funds for the printing of five million Bibles for distribution to the Filipino poor. It was made even more memorable by several unusual sights: nuns wearing jerseys over their habits, families striding together in cadence, excited students running with their teachers, white-haired grandmas and grandpas registering alongside policemen and soldiers. “It was an amazing sight. I’ve never seen anything like it,” says sportscaster Chino trinidad who emceed the Bible Run with former beauty queen turned newscaster Joyce Burton Titular. Bishop Pabillo was particularly moved by the participation of some 20 blind runners from the Resources for the Blind. “It was a beautiful experience because it showed that they were one. their presence is also important; it signifies that they are not outcasts of society.” He added that it was encouraging to witness the determination and sac-

BIBLE RUN—Fun, Dream and Unity of Purpose
BIBLE believers from different parts of the country—some flying in from as far as Cotabato and Davao in the South—came to show overwhelming support for the May They Be One (MTBO) Bible Run held March 3, 2012. Over 5,600 people registered for the historic run for the Bible held at the Quirino Grandstand. The Run brought together people from various religious groups and denominations, schools, organizations, agencies and sectors with a shared dream of a Philippines transformed by the power of the Scriptures. At 6:05 a.m., Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim fired the shots that sent the 3K and 5K category participants off and running. Bishop Broderick Pabillo, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Manila and head of the MTBO Committee led the opening prayer. The colorful event was laced with camaraderie, unity and purpose—

rifices of Filipinos to raise funds to subsidize the cost of the Bibles that will be put in every home through the MTBO Campaign. Members of the MTBO Advisory Committee: Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo DD, Fr. Oscar A. Alunday, Mr. Rod G. Cornejo, Mr. Rene E. Cristobal Sr., Dr. Philip C. Flores, Mr. Dante M. Lanorio, Fr. Antonio B. Navarrete, Fr. Art B. Orense, Dr. Natividad B. Pagadut and Mr. Albert S. Tanlimco.

praise God for the tremendous show of support and unity from different sectors for the first ever Bible Run held in the country. pray that the interest spurred by the MTBO Bible Run for the Bible Campaign will grow and spread more rapidly throughout the country so that every poor Filipino family will soon have access to the Word of God. To learn more about how you can be part of the Campaign and make significant change, call us at PBS

526-7777, ECBA 527-9386 or visit www.bible.org.ph and www. ecba-cbcp.com. Donations can be made by making a deposit to the following bank accounts: PBS-MTBO Account #393-064934 (BPI Sta. Mesa Branch) Fax deposit slip to 521-5803 or ECBACBCP Account #0251-021376 (BPI-Tayuman Branch) Fax deposit slip to 527-9386. For credit card payments—go to PBS website (www.bible.org.ph)

Photo courtesy of the Pontifical Mission Societies

Preparations for Grand Mission Festival underway

Basilan conducts seminar on faith and mission
MORE than a hundred priests, religious nun and lay missionary attended the two-day seminar on faith and mission conducted by the Prelature of Isabela in Basilan last March 16 and 17 at the Bp. Querexeta Formation Center in the said city. Diocesan Mission Director Fr. Arnel Lagman said that the seminar was one of the activities lined up and designed by the preparatory committee for the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Prelature of Isabela de Basilan on October 12, 2013. “With the theme ‘Renewing the Local Church of Basilan through Faith and Mission’, the seminar aimed to deepen the knowledge of local Church leaders about how to strengthen the faith and to be a missionary of the Church,” said Lagman. PMS National Director Fr. Soc Mesiona and PMS Staff Anthony Dameg gave several talks about faith and mission. Mesiona talked about the Pontifical Mission Society, its background and charism while Dameg pointed out the missionary

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By Atty. Miguel L. Abas, CFD

Features

CBCP Monitor
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

Is apologetic catechesis old fashioned?

AS baptized Catholic, I made a personal resolve to respond to the Church call for the laity to take part in the task of evangelization as provided for in the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity. For the past 37 years up to the present, I have been involved in the apologetic catechesis founded on the Sacred Scriptures and Tradition of the Church, as my humble contribution to the task above-mentioned. Long before the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines of 1991 (PCP-II) was ever convened, apologetic catechesis and biblical apostolate of the Catholic Faith Defenders, Inc., has been there to assist the Philippine Church in addressing its “special problem” created by the coming of the fundamentalist groups to our shores through their persistent attacks “on catholic teachings and practices, especially against Marian devotion and the use of religious statues” that “have won over a number of Catholics to their ranks.” (DECREE NO. 219, PCP II) It was in the early part of the year 2000 that I started to receive various unpleasant comments from some of the catholic faithful and clergy alike, on the use of apologetic approach in the biblical study of the catholic doctrines and practices. In spite of this negative attitude and indifference of our catholic brethren, it did not diminish my burning desire to help educate Catholics and our separated brethren in the fundamentals of the Catholic faith duly illustrated and confirmed in the Bible pages. After evaluating this indifference of our Catholic brethren, I learned that it was because they have the feeling that with the passage of the Vatican Council II document on the Decree on Ecumenism, apologetics is already inappropriate and a hindrance for the attainment of the desired unity with our separated brethren. This is the attitude which Pope Paul VI had prophetically commented in 1965, when he forewarned the temptation for Catholics “to shelve the controversial points, to conceal… and to deny, if necessary, those teachings of the Catholic Church which are no longer accepted today by our separated brethren. We have called it a ready temptation because it can appear a small matter to minimize and remove from their path certain truths, certain dogmas which are the object of controversy, in order conveniently to reach the much-desired union, whereas Christianity is divine truth which we have no right to change, but must verify and accept for our salvation… The aim is good but the method is not.” (PAUL VI, COMMENTARY ON THE DECREE ON ECUMENISM, PAR 4 & 5). This is now happening in our times. Even the Decree on Ecumenism itself does not prohibit, rather it decreed to all Catholics to explain the Catholic faith to everyone, when it said: “The attainment of union is the concern of the whole Church, faithful and shepherds alike. This concern extends

Bro. Wendell Talibong, a Catholic Faith Defender from the Archdiocese of Ozamiz, explains the doctrines of the Catholic faith during a debate.

to everyone, according to his talent…in his theological and historical research… To achieve this purpose, study is of necessity required…Most valuable for this purpose are meetings of the two sides—especially for discussion of theological problems—where each can treat with the other on an equal footingprovided that those who take part in them are truly competent and have the approval of the bishops… It is, of course, essential that the doctrine should be clearly presented in its entirety. Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism, in which the purity of Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded. At the same time, the Catholic faith must be explained more profoundly and precisely, in such a way and in such terms as our separated brethren can also really understand.” (DECREE ON ECUMENISM, CHAPTER II, pars, 5,9,11 & 12) The above-quoted provisions of the Decree could only be attained through APOLOGETICS, which explain and defend the truth of the Catholic faith, for the truth shall set us free (John 8:32). The “Church” being “the pillar and mainstay of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), must explain the faith and confirm it with the Sacred Scriptures and its Sacred Tradition under the guiding arms of its Magisterium. Thus, Pope Bene dict XV , in

his Encyclical Letter, “SPIRITUS PARACLITUS”. Dated November 15, 1920, urged the faithful to read and study the bible, with the aims of: “First, that from the Bible pages we learn spiritual perfection… Second, it is from the Bible that we gather confirmations and illustrations of any particular doctrine we wish to defend.” (par 47,48) Moreover, the Code of Canon Law of 1983, English Translation, has reminded the lay people of their duty and right to know Christ’s teaching: “Lay people have the duty and the right to acquire the knowledge of Christian teaching… so that they may be able to live according to this teaching, to proclaim it and if necessary to defend it…” (Can. 229, PAR 1) The duty of the lay people to defend the truth is made more urgent by the another Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XIII, “PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS”, on the study of the Holy Scriptures, dated November 18, 1893, thus, “For there is nothing which We believe to be more needful than that truth should find defenders more powerful and more numerous than the enemies it has to face…” (Inspiration Incompatible with Error, pp. chapter 22) All the above-quoted Church documents, speak of explaining and defending the Holy Faith, because the Church is aware that since the birth

of Christianity, it has been subject to attacks and distortions of its doctrines to which it had to defend itself. The Philippine Church, after it had experienced the demolition agenda of the fundamentalists in the latter part of the 1980’s and its seeming success, had admitted that, “They succeeded because the Church has failed in many ways to satisfy the spiritual hunger of many of the faithful. This we must correct.” The Philippine Bishops point many challenges raised by the presence of the fundamentalists, one of which is: “We are also challenged to provide catechesis which will enable Catholics to make a defense ‘to anyone who calls to account for the hope that is in you.’ ” (1 Peter 3;15)” (PCP-II 1991, DECREES NOS 223,224 & 225). To respond to these above-cited challenges, the Church in the Philippines had decreed for its faithful and shepherds to do something to stop this phenomenon, to wit: “Faced with these realities, there is a need of widespread catechesis and apologetics. We need not apologize for apologetic catechesis. Since its birth, Christianity has been subject to attacks from which it has had to defend itself. Jesus had to answer objections to His teachings, as the Gospels testify… Apologetics has always been part of the pastoral and theological tradition of the Church. We must today be willing and

able to defend our teachings in public fora, and we need to equip the faithful so that they can defend their faith. Parish priests must encourage and support the training of lay catholic faith defenders” (PCP-II, DECREE NO. 222) While the Philippine Church has such vision, the Universal Church had also confirmed the urgent need for apologetics, to explain and defend the Catholic faith. No less than the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, William Cardinal J. Levada, who assumed the post from Pope Benedict XVI, made a statement at a conference on “new apologetics”. “The rise of “new atheism” and the popularity of books that distort church doctrines call for a “new apologetics” to explain and defend the Christian faith. Proclaiming the good news always involves explaining and defending the faith, tailored to the sensibilities of particular times and places. Today, with…the so-called ‘new’ atheism addressing thousands on college campuses, with books caricaturing the doctrines and philosophy of the Christian tradition …how ripe are the times for a new apologetics!” Defending the faith does not mean being defensive and, to be effective, it must be well thought out and based on “a renewed fundamental theology where faith and reason, credibility and truth are explored as necessary foundations of the Catholic Christian faith,” (CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, by Cindy Wooden, Vatican City, May, 2010) Finally, the most recent Church pronouncement on the need for apologetics is that of January 6, 2012, embodied in the Notes and Recommendations of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as among the activities to be observed of this Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Letter, PORTA FIDEI dated October 11, 2011, is quoted hereunder; “3. It would be useful to arrange for the preparation of pamphlets and leaflets of an apologetic nature (cfr. 1 Pt 3:15), which should be done with the help of theologians and authors…” (RECOMMENDATIONS NO. 8 ON THE LEVEL OF EPISCOPAL CONFERENCES) All had been said. Based on the above-quoted Church documents, one could readily conclude that apologetic catechesis is still fully alive and is needed of the times. However, in the conduct of this apostolate, we are also concerned for everybody involved to have a change of heart and that the apostolate must be pursued with due respect, humility and love to all, especially to our separated brethren in order to attain the muchdesired unity as Christ’s wish for His people that, “May They Be One”. (JOHN 17:21) (Atty. Miguel L. Abas, CFD is a Diocesan Biblical Apostolate Coordinator of the Diocese of Dipolog; also a member of the Catholic Faith Defenders based in Dipolog)

www.catholicfaithdefender.blogspot.ca

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 7
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Statements

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An Attentive, Silent, Open Heart Is More Important Than Many Words
(A concluding catechesis on the prayer of Jesus that Pope Benedict XVI gave in a series during his general audiences in this season of Lent 2012; this last of a series is on silence.)
Exhortation Verbum Domini, I recalled the necessity of our being educated in the value of silence: “Rediscovering the centrality of God’s word in the life of the Church also means rediscovering a sense of recollection and inner repose. The great patristic tradition teaches us that the mysteries of Christ all involve silence. Only in silence can the word of God find a home in us, as it did in Mary, woman of the word and, inseparably, woman of silence” (n. 21). This principle—that without silence we neither hear nor listen nor receive the word—applies above all to personal prayer, but it also pertains to our liturgies: in order to facilitate an authentic listening, they must also be rich in moments of silence and unspoken receptivity. St. Augustine’s observation forever holds true: Verbo crescente, verba deficient—“When the Word of God increases, the words of men fail” (cf. Sermon 288; 5: PL 38, 1307; Sermon 120,2: PL38,677). The Gospels often present Jesus—especially at times of crucial decisions—withdrawing alone to a place set apart from the crowds and from his own disciples, in order to pray in the silence and to abide in his filial relationship with God. Silence is capable of excavating an interior space in our inmost depths so that God may abide there, so that his Word may remain in us, so that love for him may be rooted in our minds and in our hearts and animate our lives. The first way, then: to learn silence, [to learn] the openness to listening that opens us to the other, to the Word of God. However, there is a second important element in the relation of silence with prayer. For in fact there exists not only our silence, which disposes us to listening to God’s Word; often in our prayer, we find ourselves before the silence of God; we experience a sense of abandonment; it seems to us that God is not listening and that He does not respond. But this silence of God—as Jesus also experienced—is not a sign of His absence. The Christian knows well that the Lord is present and that he is listening, even in the darkness of suffering, rejection and solitude. Jesus reassures the disciples and each one of us that God knows well our needs at every moment of life. He teaches the disciples: “In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:7-8): an attentive, silent, open heart is more important than many words. God knows us intimately, more deeply than we know ourselves, and He loves us: and knowing this should suffice. In the Bible, Job’s experience is particularly significant in this regard. This man quickly loses everything: family, wealth, DEAR brothers and sisters, In a previous series of catecheses I spoke about the prayer of Jesus, and I would not wish to conclude this reflection without briefly pausing to consider the theme of Jesus’ silence, which is so important in our relationship with God. In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, I made reference to the role that silence assumes in the life of Jesus, especially on Golgotha: “Here we find ourselves before the “word of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The word is muted; it becomes mortal silence, for it has “spoken” exhaustively, holding back nothing of what it had to tell us (n. 12). Faced with this silence of the cross, St. Maximus the Confessor places upon the lips of the Mother of God this touching phrase: “Wordless is the Word of the Father, who made every creature which speaks; lifeless are the eyes of the one at whose word and whose nod all living things move”. (The Life of Mary, no. 89: Marian texts of the first millennium, 2, Rome 1989, p. 253). The cross of Christ not only portrays the silence of Jesus as His final word to the Father; it also reveals that God speaks through the 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. Hanging from the wood of the cross, he lamented the suffering caused by that silence: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46). Advancing in obedience to his very last breath, in the obscurity of death, Jesus called upon the Father. He commended himself to him at the moment of passage, through death, to eternal life: ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’ (Luke 23:46)” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, 21). The experience of Jesus on the cross speaks deeply of the situation of the man who prays and of the culmination of prayer: after having heard and acknowledged God’s Word, we must also measure ourselves by God’s silence, which is an important expression of the same divine Word. The interplay of word and silence that marks the prayer of Jesus during his entire earthly life—especially on the cross—also touches our own lives of prayer, in two ways. The first concerns our welcoming of God’s Word. Interior and exterior silence are necessary in order that this word may be heard. And this is especially difficult in our own day. In fact, ours is not an age which fosters recollection; indeed, at times one has the impression that people have a fear of detaching themselves, even for a moment, from the barrage of words and images that mark and fill our days. For this reason, in the already mentioned Jesus the newness of our dialogue with God is revealed: filial prayer, which the Father awaits from His children. And we learn from Jesus how constant prayer helps us to interpret our lives, to make decisions, to recognize and accept our vocation, to discover the talents that God had given us, to daily fulfill His Will, which is the only path to attaining fulfillment in our lives. The prayer of Jesus indicates to us who are often preoccupied by the efficiency of our work and the concrete results we achieve that we need to stop and to experience moments of intimacy with God, “detaching ourselves” from the daily din in order to listen, to go to the “root” that supports and nourishes life. One of the most beautiful moments in the prayer of Jesus is precisely the moment when he -- in order to face the disease, distress and limitations of his interlocutors -- turns to his Father in prayer, thus teaching those around him where the source of hope and salvation is to be sought. I already recalled the moving example of Jesus’ prayer at the tomb of Lazarus. The Evangelist John recounts: “So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’” (John 11:41-43). But Jesus reaches the heights of the depth of his prayer to the Father during his Passion and Death, when he pronounces his supreme “yes” to the plan of God and reveals how the human will finds its fulfillment precisely in adhering fully to the divine will, rather than the opposite. In Jesus’ prayer, in his cry to the Father on the Cross, “all the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up … Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them beyond all hope, answers them by raising his Son. Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2606). Dear brothers and sisters, with trust let us ask the Lord to enable to live out the journey of our filial prayer, by learning day by day from the Only Begotten Son made man for us how to turn to God. The words of St. Paul on the Christian life apply also to our own prayer: “For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

friends, health; it seems that God’s attitude towards him is precisely one of abandonment, of total silence. And yet Job, in his relationship with God, speaks with God, cries out to God; in his prayer, despite everything, he preserves his faith intact and, in the end, he discovers the value of his experience and of God’s silence. And thus, in the end, turning to his Creator, he is able to conclude: “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee” (Job 42:5): nearly all of us know God only through hearsay, and the more we are open to His silence and to our silence, the more we begin to know Him truly. This supreme confidence, which opens way to a profound encounter with God, matures in silence. St. Francis Severio prayed, saying to the Lord: I love you, not because you can give me heaven or condemn me to hell, but because you are my God. I love You, because You are You. As we approach the conclusion of our reflections on the prayer of Jesus, a number of the teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church come to mind: “The drama of prayer is fully
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revealed to us in the Word who became flesh and dwells among us. To seek to understand his prayer through what his witnesses proclaim to us in the Gospel is to approach the holy Lord Jesus as Moses approached the burning bush: first to contemplate him in prayer, then to hear how he teaches us to pray in order to know how he hears our prayer” (n. 2598). And how does Jesus teach us to pray? In the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church we find a clear answer: “Jesus teaches us to pray not only with the Our Father”—certainly the central act in his teaching on how we are to pray—“but also when [He himself] prays. In this way he teaches us, in addition to the content, the dispositions necessary for every true prayer: purity of heart that seeks the Kingdom and forgives one’s enemies, bold and filial faith that goes beyond what we feel and understand, and watchfulness that protects the disciple from temptation” (n. 544). In surveying the Gospels, we saw how the Lord is the interlocutor, friend, witness and teacher of our prayer. In

‘Everyone especially the Government should be concerned with the welfare of the poor’
A Lenten Message
WE, the bishops and clergy of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group are one with Pope Benedict XVI in his Lenten message to be “concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works” (Heb 10:24). This Lenten Season, the Holy Father invites us to reflect on the heart of Christian life which is charity. “Being concerned” means being responsible for our brothers and sisters and not being indifferent to their plight. The true followers of Christ hold the griefs and sufferings of the poor as their own (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 1). In the context of the Philippine society, we witness the miserable situation of a sizeable number of our people who are hungry, jobless and homeless. The unabated oil price increases result to the skyrocketing price of basic commodities, which in turn, add a heavier burden to our already suffering people. Pope Benedict XVI also exhorted in his Lenten message that we must not remain silent before evil. With the resurrection of Jesus Christ, He conquered sin, death and the law. His resurrection spells hope and total salvation, the salvation of the whole person. A challenging implication of this is that God chose to partner with us in his project of salvation. Since salvation is both a gift and a task, we have to struggle untiringly for the salvation of all. In this light, we echo Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation in Caritas in Veritate that governments must safeguard and value the human person who is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life (cf. Caritas in Veritate, 25). Independent research institutions, however, have recently reported that oil companies have overpriced the pump price of oil by 8%-43%. In addition, the government is said to have benefited from the unregulated oil price increases as it earned revenues of P48 billion pesos annually or a total of P239.6 B in the last five years due to the 12% VAT on oil. We thus call on the Aquino Government to manifest that it is indeed concerned with the well-being of the Filipino people by taking steps to alleviate their sufferings such as: regulating the oil industry so that oil companies will be stopped from overpricing the price of oil; removing the VAT on oil; and instituting price control over basic commodities. May Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection inspire all of us to work for a transformed world: a new heaven and a new earth where there is no more hunger, injustice, oil price hike, exorbitant taxes, skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, graft and corruption, unfair labor practice, land monopoly, profitorientedness and insatiable greed; where all people enjoy the fullness of life, truth, justice and genuine peace. As Christ lives, BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA, DD Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG) March 20, 2012

Masses with Children, does not apply to Masses celebrated for the whole parish community. With respect to Good Friday I would say that even though it is not a Mass it is one of the most ancient and important celebrations of the year and merits the maximum degree of adherence. The Congregation for Divine Worship’s circular letter on the celebration of these feasts is very explicit: “64.Theorderforthecelebration of the Lord’s passion (the liturgy of the word, the adoration of the cross, and Holy Communion) that stems from an ancient tradition of the Church should be observed faithfully and religiously and may not be changed by anyone on his own initiative. “66. The readings are to be read
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in their entirety. The responsorial psalm and the chant before the gospel are to be sung in the usual manner. The narrative of the Lord’s passion according to John is sung or read in the way prescribed for the previous Sunday (cf. n. 33). After the reading of the passion, a homily should be given, at the end of which the faithful may be invited to spend a short time in meditation.” Regarding the Easter Vigil the indications are similar: “2. The Structure of the Easter Vigil and the Significance of Its Different Elements and Parts “81. The order for the Easter Vigil is arranged so that after the service of light and the Easter proclamation (which is the first part of the Vigil), Holy Church

© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media

meditates on the wonderful works that the Lord God wrought for his people from the earliest times (the second part or liturgy of the word) to the moment when, together with those new members reborn in baptism (third part), she is called to the table prepared by the Lord for his Church, the commemoration of his death and resurrection, until he comes (fourth part). “This liturgical order must not be changed by anyone on his own initiative.” Thus these rites have an inner spiritual logic that is broken when the rite is not respected. Some of the manipulations described by our reader are so egregious that one could say that the rite is no longer that of the Catholic Church. seem to “instrumentalize” the Holy Eucharist, taking away the centrality of the Holy Sacrifice and converting the Eucharistic liturgy into a simple backdrop for the healing ministry of the “healing priest”. Secondly, the over-emphasis on such “healing Masses” seem to have resulted in the neglect of the real “healing ministry” in the Catholic sacramental tradition, which is the administration of the Anointing of the Sick, preceded by sacramental Confession and followed by Holy Communion (viaticum)—to the detriment of the sick persons concerned who would have been deprived of the sacramental graces involved (which include also the healing of the body should such be spiritually beneficial to the person concerned).

the assembly and to exercise the necessary prudence if healings should take place among those present. This is to avoid unduly fomenting hysteria or—what could be worse—any backlash of religious skepticism should such alleged cures later on prove to be bogus. Thus, when the celebration is over, any testimony of such alleged cures should be collected with honesty and accuracy, and submitted to the proper ecclesiastical authority for proper authentication and evaluation. 4)Prayersforhealing—whether liturgical or non-liturgical—must not be introduced into the celebration of the Holy Mass, the sacraments, or the Liturgy of the Hours. The Instruction from the Sacred Congregation

for the Faith was quite taxative on this point. Therefore, so-called Healing Masses—unless just an ordinary Mass with prayers for healing included in the Prayer of the Faithful— are clearly contradictory to this norm. 5) Authoritative intervention by the Diocesan Bishop is proper and necessary when abuses are verified in liturgical or nonliturgical healing services, or when there is obvious scandal among the community of the faithful, or when there is a serious lack of observance of liturgical or disciplinary norms. To conclude, I would like to echo a pair of observations made by a couple of diocesan priest friends of mine during a recent study session. Firstly, the so-called healing Masses that he has witnessed

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Ref lections
God is described in Isaianic four songs (Isa 42:1-4; 49:1-7; 50:4-9, 52:13-53:12) which attempt to give sense, meaning and purpose to Israel’s historical experience of exile in Babylon. The author probably hoped that in identifying themselves with the Servant of Yahweh so described, the people of Israel would find meaning in their seemingly senseless history, painful and humiliating as it was. The 1st Reading is part of the third song which portrays the Servant who does not refuse the divine vocation to bring the message of liberation to God’s people. Though people do not accept him, yet he persists in obeying God, willingly submitting to insults and beatings: “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting”(Isa 50:5-6). He has great confidence not in his own power but in the power of God who called him (v 7), The Church takes the Servant of God in Isaiah to refer to Jesus who, according to the 2nd Reading (Phil 2:6-11), was obedient to the Father’s will. Like the suffering Servant, he accepted the task of proclaiming the gospel to the poor, taking up their cause, and of liberating men from sin. His faithfulness to the task was proven by his acceptance of his death on the cross, a shameful and humiliating death, even as the Servant of Yahweh, though harshly treated, submitted and opened not his mouth, like a lamb led

CBCP Monitor
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

Jesus’ death: a victory over the forces of darkness
An exegetical reflection on the Gospel of Passion Sunday of Year B (Mark 14:1-15:47) April 1, 2012
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
FROM the 1980s to the 1990s, the country of El Salvador has been described as a land full of violence against the poor. During these years, thousands of Salvadorans, including farmers, teachers, elderly, and children were killed, not sparing the innocent. Among the victims of the regime was a certain Christian named Oscar Romero, an archbishop. In the exercise of his prophetic ministry, his mouth was unstoppable; it gave voice to the cry against the violence to the poor. He was the outspoken critic of the regime. Treated as an Enemy of the State, he was brutally murdered on March 24, 1980, while celebrating the Holy Mass. That his death occurred during a Eucharistic celebration has much symbolic value, because it imitated the body and blood of Jesus which he was consecrating, themselves signs of God’s love for the poor, even as Archbishop Romero died defending their cause. But apart from its symbolic value, the death of Oscar Romero is a concretization of what, in the theology of the Gospel of Mark, the death of Christ means for us. Although Jesus was treated by his enemies as a criminal, and died like one, yet he gave up his life as the faithful Servant of Yahweh. In the Old Testament, the figure of the Servant of to the slaughter (Isa 53:7). Because of his faithfulness, God proved him right, and glorified him (Phil 2:11). His death is therefore not his defeat. In Mark’s understanding, the battle with Satan that began in the temptation story (Mark 1:13) ended with the victory of Jesus who, in his crucifixion, was acknowledged as the Son of God (Mark 15:39). Hence, those who mocked him, derided him, and crucified him were proven wrong. For this reason, Jesus’ loud cry before he died on the cross (Mark 15:37) should be interpreted as a cry of victory over his enemies. It is, of course, not difficult for us, as Christians, to see in the death of Jesus an example to follow (cf 1 Pet 2:21-25). And Archbishop Romero was one of those who understood the exemplary meaning of Jesus’ death. Like the Eucharist which he celebrated (1 Cor 11:26), his death was a proclamation of the death of the Lord. But what is relevant to us is the view that even though Romero died, his death did not mean the triumph of the government which had a hand in the assassination to silence him. The Salvadoran government did not become a showcase of justice with the murder of the Archbishop. Rather, like Jesus’, his death can be seen as part of the fulfillment of God’s plan to liberate the people of El Salvador, especially the poor, from misery. His death was an act of liberation itself. It brought light to the plight of the poor.

www.salvationthroughjesuschrist.blogspot.com

Death / B7

Reflections on the Passion/Palm Sunday (B) Alay Kapwa Sunday, April 1, 2012
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
JESUS’ entry into Jerusalem was the first scene in the last act of his life. That was a day of glory in his life, the apex of his popularity. It could have been the prelude to his crowning as King of Israel, or at least as the official recognition that he was, indeed, the longawaited Messiah. Such was the feeling of all his disciples and of the greatest majority of the crowds of admirers that welcomed him with shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” He had had his moments of glory before, while still in Galilee, when people, at the sight of the miracles he was performing, shouted, “We have never seen anything like this! God has visited His people!” But it was especially after he had miraculously fed a crowd of five thousand men (without counting women and children!), with just five loaves of bread and two fish, that the popular enthusiasm exploded. They wanted him king and they shouted it loud and clear. So loud and so clear, in fact, that Jesus had to slip away in all haste and hide himself, so as to avoid the inevitable unpleasant political consequences of that excessive enthusiasm. But while he had always avoided the crowds’ enthusiasm, Jesus enjoyed the rapturous welcome given him by the simple people of Jerusalem as he entered the Holy City, surrounded by his delirious disciples. He accepted that manifestation of love with a grateful heart. He saw their sincerity, their need for affirmation and guidance. He saw their happiness in seeing the prophecies of old fulfilled in him. He received their crown of love and glory with the same joy and condescension with which parents receive the manifestations of affection of their children. But Jesus knew also that their enthusiasm would be short-lived. He foresaw that most of those who were acclaiming him now would fall silent and lack the courage to stand up for him in the face of the violent mob that would be mustered by his enemies, just a few days later in front of the Roman Procurator. That was going to be one of the many cases in which the majority, made up of good people, grows silent, out of fear or shame, and a small minority upstages them with their raucous shouts full of hatred. Jesus knew that such a “change of scene” was part of the “final act” in the drama of his life. It was an integral part of the fatal “Hour” when his love and obedience were to be put to the severest test. He knew that and accepted it both in principle and in practice. In fact, when the time came for him to be vilified, accused unfairly, beaten up by rascals, mercilessly scourged and crowned with thorns, nailed to the cross and jeered by his enemies, Jesus accepted all that with immense patience, humility, and love. Yes! He accepted even that with LOVE. One could even say that he accepted those manifestations of rejection and hatred with the same love with which he had accepted the cheers of his supporters when he entered Jerusalem in triumph. He accepted with love all those terrible sufferings unfairly inflicted on him because he knew that they, too, were part of the “package deal” with which he paid the “ransom”

When hatred seems to overpower love

Jesus, the King who reigns from the cross
Reflections on Good Friday (B) April 6, 2012
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
JESUS had a mission to accomplish: to set mankind free from the enslavement to the devil and establish the Kingdom of God on earth. That was the main purpose for the Eternal Son of God being born a frail and vulnerable human being. And nothing ever deflected him from pursuing his course. The devil tried his best, more than once, to make him choose the easier route of a self-indulgent, or political messiah that could use his power for his own advantage. Jesus answered by remaining steadfast in his choice to be “the messiah of God.” The account of his passion was the fulfillment of his enemies’ worst wishes and plans, which the Father had accepted as a means for His Son to atone for the sins of all mankind. Jesus could have used his power to strike his captor blind and thereby escape arrest as he had done on other occasions. But that time he didn’t. He could have spoken forcefully in his defense in front of the Roman procurator, using the magic of his words, which for three years had left the crowds spellbound. But he remained silent—silent like a lamb led to the slaughter. (See Is 53:7. See also Jer 11:19.) He chose to laet things “take their course,” as the Servant proclaims in today’s First Reading: “I have not rebelled. I have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffet and spitting” (Is 50:5-6). Jesus carried the instrument of his own execution to Calvary. For three hours he hung from it, fulfilling what had been written about him in the scriptures. Till he breathed his last, he endured all that with sublime dignity, always in full control of himself and of the situation. He ended his earthly life and his passion with a few short sentences and one last act, full of meaning and lasting consequences: “Woman, behold your son!” “Behold your mother!” “I thirst!” “It is finished!” “He handed over the Spirit.” The two sentences addressed respectively to Mary, his mother, and to John, his beloved disciple, are his last will—the binding wish of a dying man. Through the first sentence, he entrusts to his Mother, the new Eve, not only his disciple John, but all his disciples, indeed, the whole of mankind. With the second sentence, Jesus tells not only John, but all his disciples and, indeed all human beings that they should consider his own Mother as their spiritual mother. The third sentence—“I Thirst!”—is to be seen as the fulfillment of Messianic Psalm 69 which states: “When I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar” (v. 21).

Hatred / B7

Ordained to become Eucharist through humble service
Reflections on Holy Thursday (B) April 5, 2012
and rejoicing. It was also a foreshadowing of the final liberation which the Messiah would bring and which would be celebrated in the banquet of the Kingdom. When Jesus came as the promised Messiah, he brought to completion all the prophecies and promises of old. And at the last Passover Meal he celebrated in earthly life, he actualized in advance what all the previous Passovers had foreshadowed and symbolized—the liberation of the whole of mankind from the slavery to the Devil. In the bread and the wine that he handed to his “special disciples” as their spiritual food and drink, he made his person and saving sacrifice present for all generations to come. No other meal is more sacred and satisfying than the Eucharist that Jesus instituted at the Last Supper. No other sacrifice is more fruitful than the one that is made present every time the Eucharist is celebrated. No other Communion is more perfect on earth than the one that is achieved when a believer receives Christ’s body and blood properly disposed. No other perfect identification is attained on earth than the one that takes place between Christ, the Eternal Priest, and the priest who offers the Eucharistic sacrifice in obedience to the Lord’s command. That identification is full of meaning and challenges. From the moment of their sacramental ordination, all priests are not just commanded and empowered to offer the Eucharistic sacrifice. They are also commissioned and expected to BECOME what they celebrate and offer—a LIVING EUCHARIST, just as Jesus is. The Eucharist is “THANKSGIVING”— thanksgiving to God for the gifts of Creation and of His Providence, and most of all for the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Hence, the life of the priest—of any priest—must be a life of thanksgiving. The Eucharist is “SELFGIVING”—the self-giving of Christ as the divine Victim to

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE Passover meal was to be held yearly by all Jews in commemoration of, and in thanksgiving for, the first Passover which brought

about the liberation of the Israelites from the situation of slavery in which they had been living in Egypt. That sacrificial meal, during which the participants ate the roasted Paschal Lamb, was synonymous with freedom

File photo

King / B7

Ordained / B7

Christ’s resurrection: the beginning of a new life for all
Reflections on Easter Sunday (B) April 8, 2012
Christ’s shattering the shackles of death (manifested through the breaking of the seals of his grave) is like the cracking of the shell of a seed which allows the sprout to burst forth with all the freshness of the new life it carries. That sprout is Christ, but is also all mankind. It is also each one of us. On Easter morning a new world dawned, a new humanity rose from the slavery of sin and death, in Jesus, through him and with him. (See Col 2:12-13.) This is what the “Paschal Mystery” is all about. The Resurrection reveals this with a

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE Resurrection is, first of all, an event that concerns Jesus Christ. He experienced it in all its transforming vitality, just as he had experienced the destructive power of sin in his agony and death. The resurrection can be seen as “God’s greatest comeback” in Jesus. But this is not all. Whatever happened to Christ has also a cosmic resonance. It influences and affects positively the whole universe, but especially mankind. At the

Incarnation, the Son of God united himself in a permanent way to every human being with a solidarity that makes him share in all the miseries of every individual (including the deadly consequences of sin), and makes every human being a sharer in Christ’s dignity, holiness and glory. This is why Jesus’ coming out of the tomb alive, transformed, immortal . . . concerns us, too. It concerns all human beings. His Resurrection is also mankind’s resurrection, because it marks mankind’s liberation from the oppression of sin.

glorious clarity perceived through the eyes of faith. Hence, Easter is also God’s reclaiming what had been lost or destroyed through our sinfulness. No human expression can exhaust the transforming greatness of this mystery. The Church has been proclaiming it during her 20 centuries of existence through her liturgy, her creeds, and her life. She will continue to do so until the liberating power of the Resurrection will have reached its full manifestation in the Kingdom of heaven. There are a billion and one reasons

for celebrating, then, as we remember, re-live and rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus because it is our resurrection, too. But we have also to do our share. The resurrection of Jesus challenges us to live a new life. We have to get rid of the “old yeast” of corruption and wickedness, and live a life characterized by sincerity and truth. (See 1 Cor 5:7-8.) We have to set our hearts “on what pertains to higher realms” (Col 3:1). Then will our actions ring the joyous notes of the Easter alleluia, and we shall become a living “proof” of the “truth” of Christ’s Resurrection.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 7
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Social Concerns
nature. Today, all that has changed, the forests and animals are long gone and a greatly diminished environment is all that remains. When the American-Spanish war broke out in 1898 and soon became the American-Filipino war, 90 percent or more of the rainforests were intact. Today, there is hardly three percent left, all have been logged out and mostly shipped abroad. After the World War II, the logging hardly ever stopped, and still today it continues. In Pangasinan on Western Luzon Island, a fifty kilometer road has been cut there to the last remaining rainforest. Loggers are still at it and either the government agencies are in cahoots or totally inept to stop it. In the village of Hukay, Calatagan, Batangas, huge swaths of mangrove have been cut to shreds damaging the land, causing erosion and the ocean to invade the rice fields and causing a huge loss to the agriculture in the area. Food loss is the result, hunger soon follows. Their survival depends on mixed farming and the bonus of the mango harvest. They too are facing food crises as prices of rice and other essential

B7

How we help end hunger
commodities increase and the prices that they get for their root crops, bananas, wild honey and mangos have been getting lower. Traders exploit them without compassion. It is only the Preda Fair Trade that buys from them at just and fair prices and delivers some social benefits to enhance their lives and help some of their children go to school. Government services and help hardly ever reach them. They are part of the 4.5 million Filipinos who say they go hungry from time to time and part of the one billion people seriously hungry all the time worldwide. When drought hits, the result of climate change due to industrial pollution, famine can overwhelm them in a few months. That’s when the rains fail and the soil turns to dust blown in the wind. That’s when you see the skeletons of dead cattle and emaciated skeletal babies dying in their mother’s arms. As I said in a previous column, 300 children die every hour every day worldwide for the lack of food. Malnutrition is with us and the millennium goal to eliminate or greatly reduce this hunger will not be reached by 2015.

By Fr. Shay Cullen
HIKING through the Zambales hills visiting the villages of the Aeta indigenous people is an exhilarating and yet saddening experience. I have been thinking about my recent visits to the villages of the aboriginal people that first settled the Philippine islands and survived for thousands of years as hunters and gatherers in the abundant rain forests. Today, their future is uncertain and fraught with danger. There, they developed a simple but beautiful culture that was at one with nature. They never over-hunted; their numbers were well-balanced for survival and healthy living. They had a well developed herbal medical practice that helped them survive thousands of years like the natives of the Amazon forests without modern medicine or much contact with the western world. They protected the natural habitat and the native birds and animals thrived. Their cultural dances imitate the creatures of the forest such as their respect for
Piety / B2

Preda’s CEO Fr. Shay Cullen visits small farmers during harvest time.

The poor people in the developing world are facing a growing food crises that is getting more serious. Most of them do not have fertile land or the means to plant and nurture it. The best lands are owned and protected and unused by rich and wealthy families. It is investment in property for them not land to use for growing food.

Besides, even unused public land is not distributed with the means to help poor families grow their own food, they are turning the land into housing projects for the rich or they are leasing the land to foreign companies for food production to be shipped back to foreign lands. There will be an additional 2.5 billion people in the world by

2050, how can they survive? If we act now and get involved with the agencies fighting the world hunger through Fair Trade and social justice, we can help halt the destruction of the environment and end chronic hunger. This we cannot ignore, we cannot turn away, we have to stand up for them and help them overcome the food crises.

hours. It is necessary to instruct the faithful on the meaning of the reposition: it is an austere solemn conservation of the Body of Christ for the community of the faithful which takes part in the liturgy of Good Friday and for the viaticum of the infirmed(146). It is an invitation to silent and prolonged adoration of the wondrous sacrament instituted by Jesus on this day. In reference to the altar of repose, therefore, the term “sepulchre” should be avoided, and its decoration should not have any suggestion of a tomb. The tabernacle on this altar should not be in the form of a tomb or funerary urn. The Blessed Sacrament should be conserved in a closed tabernacle and should not be exposed in a monstrance(147). After mid-night on Holy Thursday, the adoration should conclude without solemnity, since the day of the Lord’s Passion has already begun(148). Good Friday Good Friday Procession 142. The Church celebrates the redemptive death of Christ on Good Friday. The Church meditates on the Lord’s Passion in the afternoon liturgical action, in which she prays for the salvation of the word, adores the Cross and commemorates her very origin in the sacred wound in Christ’s side (cf. John 19, 34)(149). In addition to the various forms of popular piety on Good Friday such as the Via Crucis, the passion processions are undoubtedly the most important. These correspond, after the fashion of popular piety, to the small procession of friends and disciples who, having taken the body of Jesus down from the Cross, carried it to the place where there “was a tomb hewn in the rock in which no one had yet been buried” (Lk 23, 53). The procession of the “dead Christ” is usually conducted in austere silence, prayer, and the participation of many of the faithful, who intuit much of the significance of the Lord’s burial. 143. It is necessary, however, to ensure that such manifestations of popular piety, either by time or the manner in
Death / B6

which the faithful are convoked, do not become a surrogate for the liturgical celebrations of Good Friday. In the pastoral planning of Good Friday primary attention and maximum importance must be given to the solemn liturgical action and the faithful must be brought to realize that no other exercise can objectively substitute for this liturgical celebration. Finally, the integration of the “dead Christ” procession with the solemn liturgical action of Good Friday should be avoided for such would constitute a distorted celebrative hybrid. Passion Plays 144. In many countries, passion plays take place during Holy Week, especially on Good Friday. These are often “sacred representations”which can justly be regarded as pious exercises. Indeed, such sacred representations have their origins in the Sacred Liturgy. Some of these plays, which began in the monks’ choir, so as to speak, have undergone a progressive dramatisation that has taken them outside of the church. In some places, responsibility for the representations of the Lord’s passion has been given over to the Confraternities, whose members have assumed particular responsibilities to live the Christian life. In such representations, actors and spectators are involved in a movement of faith and genuine piety. It is singularly important to ensure that representations of the Lord’s Passion do not deviate from this pure line of sincere and gratuitous piety, or take on the characteristics of folk productions, which are not so much manifestations of piety as tourist attractions. In relation to sacred “representations” it is important to instruct the faithful on the difference between a “representation” which is commemorative, and the “liturgical actions” which are anamnesis, or mysterious presence of the redemptive event of the Passion. Penitential practices leading to selfcrucifixion with nails are not to be encouraged. Our Lady of Dolours
King / B6

145. Because of its doctrinal and pastoral importance, it is recommended that “the memorial of Our Lady of Dolours”(150) should be recalled. Popular piety, following the Gospel account, emphasizes the association of Mary with the saving Passion her Son (cf, John 19, 25-27; Lk 2, 34f), and has given rise to many pious exercises, including: the Planctus Mariae, an intense expression of sorrow, often accompanied by literary or musical pieces of a very high quality, in which Our Lady cries not only for the death of her Son, the Innocent, Holy, and Good One, but also for the errors of his people and the sins of mankind; the Ora della Desolata, in which the faithful devoutly keep vigil with the Mother of Our Lord, in her abandonment and profound sorrow following the death of her only Son; they contemplate Our Lady as she receives the dead body of Christ (the Pietà) realizing that the sorrow of the world for the Lord’s death finds expression in Mary; in her they behold the personification of all mothers throughout the ages who have mourned the loss of a son. This pious exercise, which in some parts of Latin America is called El Pésame, should not be limited merely to the expression of emotion before a sorrowing mother. Rather, with faith in the resurrection, it should assist in understanding the greatness of Christ’s redemptive love and his Mother’s participation in it. Holy Saturday 146. “On Holy Saturday, the Church pauses at the Lord’s tomb, meditating his Passion and Death, his descent into Hell, and, with prayer and fasting, awaits his resurrection”(151). Popular piety should not be impervious to the peculiar character of Holy Saturday. The festive customs and practices connected with this day, on which the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection was once anticipated, should be reserved for the vigil and for Easter Sunday. The “Ora della Madre” 147. According to tradition, the entire

body of the Church is represented in Mary: she is the “credentium collectio universa”(152). Thus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as she waits near the Lord’s tomb, as she is represented in Christian tradition, is an icon of the Virgin Church keeping vigil at the tomb of her Spouse while awaiting the celebration of his resurrection. The pious exercise of the Ora di Maria is inspired by this intuition of the relationship between the Virgin Mary and the Church: while the body of her Son lays in the tomb and his soul has descended to the dead to announce liberation from the shadow of darkness to his ancestors, the Blessed Virgin Mary, foreshadowing and representing the Church, awaits, in faith, the victorious triumph of her Son over death. Easter Sunday 148. Easter Sunday, the greatest solemnity in the liturgical year, is often associated with many displays of popular piety: these are all cultic expressions which proclaim the new and glorious condition of the risen Christ, and the divine power released from his triumph over sin and death. The Risen Christ meets his Mother 149. Popular piety intuits a constancy in the relationship between Christ and his mother: in suffering and death and in the joy of the resurrection. The liturgical affirmation that God replenished the Blessed Virgin Mary with joy in the resurrection of her Son(153), has been translated and represented, so as to speak, in the pious exercise of the meeting of the Risen Christ with His Mother: on Easter morning two processions, one bearing the image of Our Lady of Dolours, the other that of the Risen Christ, meet each other so as to show that Our Lady was the first, and full participant in the mystery of the Lord’s resurrection. What has already been said in relation to the processions of “the dead Christ” also applies to this pious exercise: the observance of the pious exercise should not acquire greater importance than the liturgical celebration of Easter Sunday
Hatred / B6

nor occasion inappropriate mixing of liturgical expressions with those of popular piety(154). Blessing of the Family Table 150. The Easter liturgy is permeated by a sense of newness: nature has been renewed, since Easter coincides with Spring in the Northern hemisphere; fire and water have been renewed; Christian hearts have been renewed through the Sacrament of Penance, and, where possible, through administration of the Sacraments of Christian initiation; the Eucharist is renewed, so as to speak: these are signs and sign-realities of the new life begun by Christ in the resurrection. Among the pious exercises connected with Easter Sunday, mention must be made of the traditional blessing of eggs, the symbol of life, and the blessing of the family table; this latter, which is a daily habit in many Christian families that should be encouraged(155), is particularly important on Easter Sunday: the head of the household or some other member of the household, blesses the festive meal with Easter water which is brought by the faithful from the Easter Vigil. Visit to the Mother of the Risen Christ 151. At the conclusion of the Easter Vigil, or following the Second Vespers of Easter, a short pious exercise is kept in many places: flowers are blessed and distributed to the faithful as a sign of Easter joy. Some are brought to the image of Our Lady of Dolours, which is then crowned, as the Regina Coeli is sung. The faithful, having associated themselves with the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin in the Lord’s Passion and Death, now rejoice with her in His resurrection. While this pious exercise should not be incorporated into the liturgical action, it is completely in harmony with the content of the Paschal Mystery and is a further example of the manner in which popular piety grasps the Blessed Virgin Mary’s association with the saving work of her Son.
Ordained / B6

It made clear how evil the regime was. It had a saving value for the people of El Salvador. Therefore, he was not really defeated, nor was he silenced. Indeed, like the Servant of Yahweh, one can assume that Romero has already been crowned with victory in heaven, for he was obedient to his

vocation to proclaim the gospel of liberation to the poor. Our analogy, to be sure, has its limits, because, for one thing, unlike Christ’s, Romero’s death has no eschatological significance. Still, it somehow gives us an idea how the death of Jesus was a victory over the forces of darkness.

Finally, the last sentence uttered by Jesus on the Cross, “It is finished!” proclaims that, with his impending death, he has completed his mission to the very end as regards his pain-filled redeeming passion. “It is finished!” means “Mission accomplished!” It is the cry of

a victorious soldier. Such was Jesus Christ throughout his Passion. And the culmination of his triumph is precisely his death. That’s why he can then “hand over the Spirit”—the life-giving Spirit that will bring Christ’s salvation to all—the very last act of the Messiah.

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due for the liberation of all human beings from their bondage to sin. Such is the wonderful and generous love we celebrate today—a love that enjoys all manifestations of affection, loyalty, and admiration; a love that endures rejection, tortures, and even death by crucifixion with unconquered patience, humility, and a loving and forgiving heart. There is so much we can learn, so much we should learn from this. But when the “hour” of utter desolation arrived in Gethsemane and the awareness of the crushing weight of human wickedness pressed his sensitivity, like the grapes that are crushed in the wine press, and made his sweat turn to blood, then the frailty of Jesus’ human nature cracked. That torment was so terrible that the brave man who had endured all forms of opposition with unflinching strength, this time broke down and pleaded with the Father that he might be spared the “cup of suffering and humiliation” that awaited him. But his humble plea lasted only a split of a second. It was immediately followed by the total acceptance of the Father’s will. It happened three times. And three times, in the dark night of Gethsemane, Jesus’ conclusion was: “Your will, not mine, be done!”

the Father in expiation for the sins of mankind, and the selfgiving of Christ to all believers as food and drink of eternal life. Hence, the life of the priest—of any priest—must be a life of total self-giving to God and to His people. A priest no longer belongs to himself. He has been consecrated, made sacred, and offered up to God for ever. And God sends him to his brethren that he may be the “sacrament” of Christ’s total self-giving to his brethren. The Eucharist is “LIFEGIVING”—a source of life that flows from the sacrifice of the Cross and enlivens all the souls that it touches, heals, and renews with its fresh stream. The priest—any priest—is, likewise, called and sent to be a bearer, in the power of the Spirit, of the supernatural life earned by Christ, the Eternal Priest, on the altar of the Cross. A priest must give life, even at the cost of his own mortal life, in imitation of Christ. This should give us some idea of the greatness of the nature and mission of the Catholic priest. We should pray that each of them may always be mindful of such greatness and live it out not just when he is at the altar, but in every moment of his life.

www.preda.org

B8
Moral Assessment

Entertainment
Technical Assessment

CBCP Monitor

March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

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

 poor  Below average  Average  Above average  Excellent

DISTRICT 12 is in the Republic of Panem which is ruled by the elite in the distant Capitol. The citizens of Panem’s 12 districts exist to serve the Capitol’s needs. An earlier uprising of the Districts results in the extinction of District 13, and the creation of “The Hunger Games”, a televised survival reality show that has contestants called “tributes”—a boy and a girl from age 12-18 from each District—participating until all but one remains alive. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) lives with her mother and younger sister Primrose in District 12. When Primrose’s name is drawn to be District 12’s girl tribute, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She together with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are swept away to the Capitol to be trained at jungle survival with 22 other youngsters, knowing fully well that they would be compelled to kill in order to win, and, in fact, could even be each other’s killer. Unfairly compared with Twilight, Hunger Games is of a totally different genre. The former is romance/adventure; the latter is adventure-scifi. The only thing they have in common is their box office aim: teenage girls as the primary target audience. Lawrence’s intensity as the heroine Katniss carries the movie, but, of course, with the able support of secondary actors

that include Donald Sutherland, Wes Bently, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and others. It is a film version of the trilogy by Suzanne Collins who is also its handson scriptwriter. The Hunger Games incorporates touches from Greek mythology and Roman history as well as themes from productions in the not-sodistant past, like broadcasting of violent contests to pacify the masses (Vengeance on Varos), best friends fighting to the death (Amok Time, a Star Trek episode), the bloodthirsty crowd (Survivor). The plot is fast paced, making its 140 minutes running time strangely entertaining and thought provoking at the same time. “The Hunger Games” as entertainment for the elite in the Capitol is the reality tv show to end all reality tv shows. Unlike the ordinary “survivor shows”, it is not just a question of being voted off the island—it means having to kill human beings for no reason at all but to satisfy the murderous instincts of the audience, and we ought to know the dire consequences of such an episode on the life of the winner-killer. The “hunger” in the movie could be two-faced—the audience’s hunger for bloodshed and managainst-man violence, and the actual hunger of the contestants who must for instance navigate

TITLE: The Hunger Games CAST: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland DIRECTOR: Gary Ross DISTRIBUTED BY: Lionsgate GENRE: Action/Drama/Sci-Fi/ Thriller LOCATION: USA RUNNING TIME: 142 minutes TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: MORAL ASSESSMENT:  Cinema rating: For viewers 14 years old and above

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a mine field in order to get to the food pile. The Hunger Games may actually mirror a reality in human society where the decadent and powerful one percent “in the Capitol” live in abundance with no other concern but to adorn and indulge themselves while the impoverished and powerless 99 percent work like beasts of burden just to survive and do the elite’s bidding. The movie attempts to insert a ray of hope towards the end with the decision of the two youngsters, but still, it fails to assure that the hope is potent enough to effect a turn towards justice. Watch with caution—we shouldn’t let such slick reality shows dictate our realities.

MAC en COLET

Ni Bladimer Usi

Buhay Parokya

Look for the images of the Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Peter, and Holy Bible. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

TITLE: The Witness CAST: Gwen Zamora, Pierre Gruno, Marcelino Ledrandt, KimberlyRyder, Feby Febiola, Agung Saga DIRECTOR: Muhammad Yusuf GENRE: Suspense, Thriller/Drama DISTRIBUTOR: GMA & Skylar Pictures LOCATION: Indonesia RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT:  ½ MORAL ASSESSMENT:  Cinema rating: For viewers 18 years old and above

SYNOPSIS: A Filipina expat who works as general manager of a hotel in Jakarta finds her whole family massacred by a mysterious man. Her parents, her only sister Safara, her maid, security, are all dead. She was also shot but somehow managed to survive. Haunted by the incident and a strange dream that keeps coming over and over, she then decides to uncover all the mystery by herself to find out the reason of what she has been going through.

TITLE: Mirror Mirror CAST: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Sean Bean, Nathan Lane, Michael Lerner and Mare Winningham DIRECTOR: Tarsem Singh GENRE: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Comedy CINEMATOGRAPHY: Brendan Galvin DISTRIBUTED BY: Relativity Media LOCATION: Czech Republic RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes Technical Assessment:  Moral Assessment: ½ Cinema Rating: For viewers 13 years old and below with parental guidance

SYNOPSIS: An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.

Vol. 16 No. 7

CBCP Monitor

March 26 - April 8, 2012

C1

The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Servants of the Lord: At the Forefront
By Bobbee Mella
“FoRERUNNERS” . . . precursors . . . pioneers . . . heralds . . . CFC men at the forefront of the mission – the mission to build the church of the home and the church of the poor – this was the message the Servants of the Lord heard during the three-day 11th CFC International Men’s Conference held from March 16-18, 2012 at the balmy Hadsan Cove Beach Resort in Mactan Island, Cebu. Befitting the historical significance of the place – where our Christian faith was brought into being – 500 true men of God from all over the country as well as from nearby Brunei and Malaysia, and the USA, once again affirmed their faithfulness to the mission, amidst crisis and uncertainties, and beyond the call of duty and sacrifice. With the sundown as the backdrop on a grandstand at the beachfront, the conference started with the mass on First Friday celebrated by Fr. Luisito Igloria. After the Mass, a spectacular opening number, courtesy of CFCCebu, delighted everyone. This was followed by the luau dinner, “sinulog” and fire dancers and the Lapu-Lapu night depicting the history of Christian evangelization of Cebu, complete with a majestic fireworks display. After the opening worship of Arnel Sacris of CFC-Cebu, the first session titled “The Mission Remains The Same” was given by George Campos, MM Sector Head & USA Country Coordinator. He reiterated the urgency of the mission God has tasked CFC with. Rod Bustos, CFC-USA Family Ministries Head, and Ed Villaflor, CFC-Brunei SOLD Head, shared how they were able to prevail over the hardships of rendering mission work in a foreign land. As the sun rose over the fabled island on Saturday morning, Ben Cabahug of CFC-Bohol led the participants in a rousing morning worship. Then the various events unfolded: the Amazing Cebu Challenge which dared bands of men to go around the city of Cebu in search of the “covenant,” the cathedral building contest, and the beach volleyball and soccer games, with the men divided into four regions, Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The Leaders Forum after lunch was facilitated by Joe Yamamoto and Manny Garcia, CFC-IC members. Here, the men saw the real vision through the eyes of Mother Mary and discovered how the mission to conquer the world should be pursued. The open forum that followed was spirited and enlightening. Before the celebration of the Lord’s Day rite, another animated contest was held, this time, the “haka” competition where different groups showed their talents in shouting out their native chants. The second session was given by Boyet Rafael, MM Sector Head and Apayao Area Head, entitled “Forerunners: prepare the Way.” He related how forerunners are visionaries proclaiming in their generation the visions they see in their time. Willy padida, SoLD ICG member and Regional Head, Northwestern Luzon, and Jackie Ciego shared how they hurdled the difficulties in their mission, having been sent to areas unfamiliar to

them and how they remained steadfast in continuously planting seeds of faith in different places. The last session for the night, “Nothing is Impossible” was given by Arnel Santos, MM Sector Head and Singapore Country Coordinator, who talked about how God envisioned the unthinkable and gave men impossible missions to overcome, with Him as the source of all empowerment. The day was concluded with the pray-over of all the participants. Sunday morning commenced with the Holy Mass presided over by Msgr. Rommel Kintanar who delivered a very inspiring homily. The highlight of the Mass was the imposition of the Brown Scapular on all the participants. After the opening worship by Nick pineda, the winners in the various competitions

the previous day were announced. The final session, “Mission Accomplished” was given by Mannix ocampo, CFC-International Council member, in which he urged all the men to respond actively to the call of duty and eventually proclaim the greatness of the Lord in their daily undertakings. He then led the throng of the 500 true men of God and about 80 women into a prayer of commitment to be empowered Servants of the Lord. The conference ended with the jubilant praisefest led by Bobbee Mella, CFC-USA SoLD National Head and Germany Country Coordinator. once again, as Magellan did more than 400 years ago, the sands of Mactan Island bore witness to a commitment to proclaim God to the ends of the earth!

5000 Mindanao CFC Leaders Attend “Magnificat” Conference in Digos City
ment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” Narrating a personal experience, he emphasized that “devotion to Mary is authentic only if it leads to Jesus.” Talk 2, “All Ages Will Call Me Blessed: Call to Holiness and Discipleship,” was delivered by Bong Arjonillo, a member of the CFC Board of Elders. He described Mary as “the first and perfect disciple” (St. Agustine), “great sign of the Church in the contemporary world, fully consecrated to Christ” (pope paul VI, Signum Magnum), and “a woman of silence and attentiveness”, among other descriptions. Talk No. 3, “Lifting Up the Lowly” was given by Arnel Santos, another member of the CFC Board of Elders. Quoting Pope John Paul II when he first visited the philippines to beatify St. Lorenzo Ruiz, he said that “lifting up the lowly happens when we truly live our faith as Christians.” Arnel said that “working with and serving the poor is one of the expressions of discipleship and a natural consequence of personal holiness.” The third day started with a concelebrated mass again presided by Bishop Afable with Fr. Bong Lunas and other priests. His homily was interrupted by applause and loud shouts of “Viva Maria, Viva Jesus!.” He exhorted everyone to treasure the experiences each one got from the conference and thanked all participants for making the Diocese of Davao del Sur a part of the conference. The final talk, Talk 4 on the topic “God is Faithful to All Generations” was given by CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman. He said: “As we continue with our work of evangelization, as we struggle to be a good disciple of Christ, as we endeavor towards personal holiness, as we serve the poor, there will be difficulties
5000 Mindanao / C4

CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman, Jr. addresses CFC Middle East leaders.

CFC Middle East “On Fire”!
By Samantha Catabas Manuel
Top leaders of Couples for Christ from all over the Middle East region gathered for the 1st CFC Middle East Leaders Conference last February 24 to 25, 2012, at the United Arab Emirates.) The conference, hosted by CFC-UAE, was attended by the CFC National Councils and Governance Teams from Bahrain, Qatar, oman, UAE and other Middle East countries. The event commenced with an empowering worship led by Manny Lector of CFC Middle East, followed by a welcome address from CFC UAE National Director Leo Verdolaga, who thanked everyone for responding to God’s invitation to this gathering. The newly-appointed Middle East Regional Coordinator, Jimmy Ilagan and his wife Lorna were formally welcomed and introduced to the region. Jimmy thanked his predecessors, Rouquel and Nina ponte, for planting and nourishing the seed of God’s greatness in the region. He further emphasized the theme for this year based on Mary’s Canticle and challenged the leaders to indeed “proclaim the greatness of the Lord.” CFC-Singles for Christ UAE performed an inspiring and moving interpretative dance number based on the Magnificat of Mary. The first session, “CFC: on Fire” was given by Executive Director Melo Villaroman. In this session, he led everyone to an honest reflection of the state of their hearts and challenged everyone to continue burning with desire in order to effectively proclaim the good news to other people. Together with his wife Nini and two sons, Dave and Sam, it was indeed inspiring to witness how their life as a family continues to be a legacy which all began with a simple “yes” to the Lord. Day two of the MELC started with another spirit-filled worship led by Qatar National Director Toots Garduce. This was then followed by a presentation on the CFC Middle East Regional Missions office led by CFC fulltime missionaries, Noli and Sam Manuel. Noli shared how the Lord had blessed the work of the Regional Office since its launch in 2008. He also gave credit to the volunteers who have committed their time and talent to serve in the Regional Missions Office. Sam presented the basic functions and services that the Regional Office can provide as support for the areas. Then, CFC Middle East fulltime missionary Bads Ellica presented the status and situation of the evangelization and mission in the region. He enlightened everyone on the realities of life in the Middle East and how much work we, as a community, still have to do in order to bring Christ into the lives of others. Melo Villaroman once again presided over the assembly by presenting the CFC Roadmap which highlights the various strategies for evangelization. An open discussion was conducted during this session wherein the CFC Middle East leaders shared their personal learnings, challenges, victories, and blessings they have received from the Lord through their service in community. In the afternoon, Melo and Jimmy discussed the Work with the poor program as a means for effective governance and stewardship. This discussion was followed by a solemn and highly-spiritual Intercessory prayer led by CFC UAE National Council member Ramuel Garcia. Finally, the assembly ended with an open forum to clarify various issues and matters in relation to service. After the open forum, Emil Reyes of Bahrain closed the event with a spirit-filled prayer which centered on thanking the Lord for inspiring everyone during the MELC.

By Tom Sentillas
LAST March 9 to 11, 2012 all roads led to Digos City as about 5,000 leaders of the Couples for Christ (CFC) community gathered at the beautiful and brand new Davao del Sur Coliseum in Mati, Digos City for the Mindanao Leaders Conference, an annual gathering of CFC leaders in Mindanao. The theme for this year’s celebration is “proclaiming the Greatness of the Lord” taken from the Magnificat or Canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46-55). The three-day event started on Friday afternoon with a mass presided by Digos City Bishop Jimmy Afable assisted by Fr. Bong Lunas and guest priests. In his homily, Bishop Afable expressed happiness that CFC now embraces Mary as part of its devotion. The bishop was the first parish priest in Davao to formally accept CFC as a community when he was still parish priest of San pablo parish of Davao City. He recalled that even then, he had advised CFC to include Mary in its formation and teachings. Davao Sur AGT member Roel Habaradas led the worship that opened the conference, followed by a cultural presentation by the Davao del Sur provincial Tourism Office and Southern philippines Agri-Business and

Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SpAMAST) featuring native and modern dances. provincial Board Member Didi Cagas welcomed the delegates. The highlight of the evening was the dance interpretations of Broadway musicals phantom of the opera, Cats, West Side Story and Grease by CFC members from the Mindanao regions. CFC North Central Mindanao was adjudged the best presentation with their rendition of Grease. Day 2 started with a mass presided by Fr. Bong Lunas and the guest priests. After the mass, it was now the turn of Davao del Sur Governor Douglas “Dodo” Cagas to welcome the delegates to the province. The conference proper began with a powerful worship led by Jimmy Ilagan of the CFC Board of Elders. As an introduction to the chosen theme, Fr. Bong Lunas expounded on Magnificat as a canticle of God’s love for the lowly, and a canticle of adoration, trust and gratitude. He ended by saying that “the Magnificat is not just the song of Mary. It is the song of the Church. It is the song of our community, our own song.” Jun Uriarte, a member of the CFC International Council, expounded on Talk 1, “proclaim the Greatness of the Lord.” Quoting pope John paul II’s Redemptoris Missio, he declared: “I sense that the mo-

C2
By Ricky Cuenca, CFC Chairman

Ugnayan
By Joe Yamamoto

CBCP Monitor
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

Towards Defining A Leader
Matt.28:10- “… then Jesus said to them, “ Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee and there they will see me”. The commissioning of the Disciples The eleven disciples went to the mountain in Galilee, as Jesus had ordered them. Then Jesus approached and said to them. " all power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go , therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold , I am with you always, until the end of age." The gospel passage narrates Jesus’ express command for His disciples to meet Him. But this was after His Resurrection! Considering the adverse and uncertain circumstances immediately after the Crucifixion of Jesus, the news of Him being seen alive was undoubtedly explosive and incredible. Jesus, consistently, was very deliberate in His timetable in terms of empowering and preparing His disciples for the next level of work, i.e. the Great Commission, the challenge of transforming the world for God. Jesus instructs the apostles to go and meet him in a specific mountain to prepare them for that monumental task. The mountain where the encounter happened is believed to be any of two possibilities - the Mountain of theTransfiguration, Mount Tabor and the Mountain of the Beatitudes. Mount Tabor of course was the place of the Transfiguration, where Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus. The Mountain of the Beatitudes is also considered because of its location close to the shore of Lake Galilee, the place where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes. Not too far off was the lakeside site where peter was restored to his relation with the Lord after his three-time denial in Jerusalem. Although most Bible scholars believe Mount Tabor to be that particular mountain, the significance of the two places in relation to the mission of Christ is not lost. Mount Tabor was where the divinity of Christ was revealed and his fate on the cross defined. The Mountain of the Beatitudes’ discourse defined the way of life for the disciples and set the standard for followership. References to mountains and mountaintop divine encounters pervade the stories of many old Testament and New Testament leaders patriarchs, prophets, kings, judges when they experienced their particular call from the Lord. It is certainly consistent with the way Jesus handed out the Great Commission and the place He did it from -- a mountain top. The disciples received a powerful "Call," one that was destined to shake the whole world. There is something in the encounters with God on mountains that make them sublime and intimate.The mission of leaders throughout the ages start with a clear CALL from God, the same principle of call that applies to Christians and especially for CFC leaders. As leaders, modern Christians are heirs to the mission and, without exception, are expected to participate in the Great Commission. That specific mission echoes through the millenia and centuries up to contemporary times and remains unchanged. Jesus saw to it that the disciples were prepared to take on the work with the proper equipping but foremost was that they were to rely solely for power from on high, the power of the Holy Spirit. The three years of the public ministry of Jesus provided the best model ever of leadership training and development. By human standards, three years of training is strikingly inadequate but in the hands of Jesus, it was enough. At every step of the way, Jesus was there - from recruitment, training, empowerment, equipping, sending off and succession planning while achieving mission propagation. Designed with the heart and mind of God, nothing was left to chance. The Call that comes to a leader is usually adapted to the circumstances particular to his life, mission and station. on special occasions, God's call would be radical, unanticipated and would turn one's life over, not just once but many times. Great examples of radical calls in the Bible were Joseph, Moses and David. Consistently, God's assignment starts with the admonition, "Do not be afraid." In today's increasingly secular and competitive society, wouldbe leaders are easily intimidated and lost, hence courage and fortitude that comes from on high are requisites. The beloved John paul II reassured the Catholic faithful during his Pontificate to "Be not afraid." It was both an advice and a reminder that is constant and timeless. Jp II gave emphasis to it, exhorting everyone to "...open wide the gates to Christ. open up to his saving power..." Christian leaders must lead people to Christ by proclaiming the saving power of the Risen Christ. Today Couples for Christ is determined to be a loyal and faithful arm of the Church, in oneness and solidarity through its two-fold Church- building and evangelizing mission for home (families) and the poor. As a community embarking in the direction of the New Evangelization mandated by Mother Church, CFC unfolded its expanded and reinforced Road Map with eyes focused and glued on the True North, Jesus our Lord. The formalization of the CFC Leadership Development, with the goal for a future Leadership Institute, is a fresh and timely strategy in the right direction. It goes towards preparing the community in the present and for the future by building on generations of Christian leaders- the young of all ages, passionate and exuberant in vitality for the Lord's call. Because our True North is Christ, the leadership training that must be set in place should be Christ- centered and because CFC is anchored on the Scripture, necessarily it must be a Biblical model of leadership - Christ-centered, inspired and illumined by the Scriptures and the Traditions of the Church. one contemporary Christian leader observed that communities/ organizations rise or fall on the qualities of leadership .And so towards that goal, it is wise to adopt the 3Ds of leadership training - Define, Develop and Deploy- as exemplified by Jesus' training of the apostles. The way to Define CFC leadership is to see a leader whose life is anchored on prayers and the scripture- precisely as Biblical and Christ-centered. No matter how difficult and challenging, it must mirror the process by which the disciples were raised and trained. After all, disciples of all eras are expected to obediently respond to the great commissionioning. Once defined, the training of the leaders can be Developed through the disciple-making process started at the time of the apostles who in turn learned to serve and lead at the feet of the Master Himself. A successive new wave of leaders will reinforce those already in place, multiplying their numbers in the course of transforming the world in which they live and exist. Anchored on the Eucharist and the Scriptures that are underpinnings of the pontificate of pope Benedict XVI, CFC indeed has the capacity and energy to influence more and more families to become " families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth." The next step is to strengthen and accelerate the energized Deployment of the members of the community far and wide and intentionally influence all the layers of society. From the early years of CFC, it has lived its calling to be a missionary community by sending pastoral workers and volunteers but the next opportunity must be towards making the whole community missionary in orientation and practice.We need to field more disciple makers who are not afraid to set the world oN FIRE by being oN FIRE themselves. While this is not the first time that CFC members have been called to be on fire, it is timely to emphasize and inspire the community to be ready to embody what is enshrined in our mission statement ":.... To set the world on fire with God's transforming love." The theme "proclaim the greatness of the Lord" bolsters our commitment to do just that. one good advice are the words written at the pedestal of a statue of St. Ignatius in the Church of Jesu in Rome- "Ite inflammate est," or “Go, it has been set on fire!!.” The Holy Spirit working on the disciples and Christians since the beginning, has already set the world on fire. The only correct response is to Go, and to emulate Mary: "go in haste." To display no hesitation and to move forward fearlessly are marks of true dedicated disciples. There are indeed two favorite words used by Jesus, after He brought each one of his followers to their very own 'mountain top' experience. He called them by extending the invitation to CoME and after spending precious time with them and training them to love and serve during his public ministry, He gave the power and mission to Go. Lessons in Summary Following the footsteps of Jesus and moving along the tradition of the first disciples who responded to the Great Commission, CFC leaders must: 1. Listen and respond to personal calls to discipleship and leadership- it might turn out to be your own 'mountain top' realization. 2. Assume readiness to receive empowerment for the mission as Jesus calls us to CoME and be prepared to set out and Go 3. Follow the posture of a good disciple - "Be Not Afraid". 4. Study and train to be CFC leaders who are Christ-centered and anchored on Biblical followership as embodied in the Scriptures. 5. Be passionate to "proclaim the greatness of the Lord" by emulating Mary, the first and perfect disciple who never hesitated to "go in haste." 6. Remember we inherited the mission of the disciples- Ite inflammate est, GO it has been set on fire. Let us remember that the Lord can only use us in the work of His vineyard when we are open, obedient and responsive. Be the change that you desire in the world!

MASAYA NG masaya a ko t h i s 2 0 1 2 . Wh y ? Because I am experiencing a new spirit in CFC proclaiming the goodness of the Lord. This spirit of joyful proclamation was alive among our CFC members in the January Leaders Conference in Araneta, the Baguio Magnificat Conference attended by 2,300 couples and the MCG Teaching in Christ the King. In the First Fruits in Ateneo we received abundant blessings of p1.2 Million contributed by Metro Manila MCG members. The SFC Icon in Bohol, the Mindanao Magnificat conference in Davao, the SoLD Men’s conference in Cebu and the other activities of CFC, Ancop and the Family Ministries were all very successful and spirit-filled where the attendance exceeded all expectations. The same spirit of praise, love and gratitude shines in the USA and in other places. We can truly say CFC is on Fire! I am filled with gratitude for God’s saving power in C F C . G o d h as a pl a n f o r CF C t o e v a n g e l i z e and to set the world on fire. our YES to CFC took us to great challenges resulting in a deeply rooted pro c es s o f F ai th fo r m a t i o n . I c a n s e e n o w h ow God loves CFC and the purpose that He brings to o ur c o m mu n i ty – oN FI R E E V A N G E L I Z A T I oN . And o u r c o m mi tted r e s po n s e t o G o d ’ s c a l l i s a c o ns ta n t YE S. The Magnificat story, the spirit of Mary, her humility, o b ed i en c e and gr a t i t u d e we r e m a n i f e s t e d among CFC couples in the general assemblies that I at ten d ed as I trav e l l e d a c r o s s U S A . I f e l t t h e strong FAITH, the excitement and vibrant energy of inspired members. I experienced the power o f Go d ’ s savi n g l o v e a mo n g CF C c o u pl e s i n t h e assemb l i es th at w er e f i l l e d t o c a pa c i t y - - i n N e w Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia; Miami, Jacksonville, orlando, Florida; Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Texas, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jo se, F reemo n t, Ca l i f o r n i a a n d L a s V e g a s . I believe in my heart that this same vitality is being exper ie n c ed i n C an a d a , E u r o pe , L a t i n A m e r i ca , Middle E ast, A fri c a , o c e a n i a a n d A s i a . Something noble and magnificent is happening in CFC an d th at i s wh y t h i s ye a r , 2 0 1 2 , e x c i t e s me. our on F i re evan g e l i z a t i o n i s ma s s i v e , u r g e n t , bo ld and i n so l i d arit y w i t h t h e Ch u r c h a n d o t h e r Christian movements. We are blessed as a global co mmu n i ty o f evan ge l i z e r s f a s h i o n e d i n l o v e a cco rdin g to G o d ’ s p la n . The CFC community is ready for great transformation, for positive growth changes, for strategic approaches and innovations, for the empowerment o f i ts l ead ers a n d m e mb e r s a n d t h e m o v i n g fo rward o f th e g l o ba l o r ga n i z a t i o n t o e n t e r i n t o new t erri to ri es, to s e t t h e w o r l d o N FI R E . Truly, we have many blessings to thank God fo r. T his i s th e Year of t h e L o r d f o r o n Fi r e E v a n gelizati o n . My s o u l p ro c l ai m s t h e gr e a t n e s s o f t h e L o r d ! our Yes wi l l al so l e a d t o t h e w i n n i n g o f s o ul s fo r Go d !

My Soul Proclaims the Greatness of the Lord

The Eucharist: the Source and Summit of our Christian Life
By Arnel Santos
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ Volume 16, No. 6
THE CFC mission core group (MCG) reflected on the Eucharist as “a mystery to be believed, celebrated and lived,” during the monthly MCG Teaching Night held on March 20, 2012, at the Christ the King parish in Greenmeadows, Quezon City. Based on the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, Fr. Joselito “Jojo” Buenafe, delivered a lecture on the Eucharist as the source and summit of our Christian life. Fr. Jojo explained that the Eucharist is a commemoration of the last supper, an act of thanksgiving and an invitation to reconciliation. Meal “We commemorate the last supper because Jesus told us to, when He said, ‘do this in memory of me’,” said Fr. Jojo. While the last supper was a Jewish passover meal commemorating the last night before the Jews were freed from exile, Jesus “took us into a different state, from being enslaved to being free” through the blood of the lamb. More than the commemoration though, is God’s presence. Fr. Jojo explained that “In Eucharist, we feel God’s presence, the best gift for us. In Eucharist, God’s love is not in the abstract but concrete. He is the self-offering God.” The “submissive, innocent, pure and lamb” is Jesus himself. Fr. Jojo challenged CFC to also “make your love concrete, by your presence.” He exhorted everyone to be like God who “initiated his love and entered into a dialogue with us, knowing us,” and then presenting himself to us in a way we can understand. “The Eucharist is no other than God wanting to establish relationship with us,” Fr. Jojo continued. “Totoo, nagpapakababa ang Diyos. (Truly, God humbles Himself.) The King is very much present even in a squatter’s area where there is a parish.” In this Eucharist, our relationship with God is founded. “We become a family of faith. It inculcates in us that we are brothers and sisters to each other and we care for one another.” Thanksgiving Fr. Jojo explained that “Eucharistov” means “thank you.” In the Eucharist, we thank God and God is thanking us. “Thanksgiving and blessing is synonymous. one cannot live a blessed life without being thankful and one cannot live a holy life without being grateful.” Fr. Jojo noted that “forgetful tayo. Sa buhay na malakas at masaya, nakakalimutan ang Diyos.” (We are forgetful. In times of strength and joy, we forget God.) He reminded CFC to “approach Him in times of trial, but go to him during happy times.” In the multiplication of the loaves, after being told “we got nothing” to feed 5,000 people, Jesus Christ commanded the disciples to go around and

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Executive Director Editor-in-Chief

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In the same Gospel, Jesus commanded, “Gather the crumbs!” and the disciples were able to fill twelve baskets of crumbs. Fr. Jojo explained that the “twelve baskets of crumbs” signifies the Church. “We are the crumbs,” which Jesus wants. “If alone, latak ka lang, tinga nga lang (you are just the dregs); but with other crumbs, we can fill up twelve baskets pa rin.” Fr. Jojo admonished those present to not be insecure “if you only have crumbs. Trust the God who can provide us with daily bread. The little that you have when you give it to God, God can multiply it.” Reconciliation The Eucharist is a meal of reconciliation. The words of Jesus, “Take this, all of you..” is an offer of reconciliation as Jesus wants us to be fed, with his own peace and reconciliation “The Good News is Christ is willing always to forgive us,” said Fr. Jojo, “but it is we who, sometimes, cannot forgive ourselves.” The Eucharist is the greatest manifestation of the love of God. We should rely on the mercy of God. Fr. Jojo concluded that “in Eucharist, God invites us to rewrite our stories, giving us chances. We see how weak we are. When gathered in Eucharist, we serve a God who is love and who willingly offered Himself to us, to be eaten, to be consumed. We are invited to be blessed, to be broken and shared.”

Rev. Fr. Joselito Buenafe

Lawrence Fernandez
Writer/Lay-out Artist Circulation Staff

Vangie Mecedilla
The Ugnayan News Supplement is published by the Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Incorporated with editorial offices at 156 20th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City. Editorial trunk line: (063)709-4868 loc. 23; Direct line : (063)709-4856

look for what they have. After finding out that there were two fishes and five loaves, Jesus blessed that and was able to feed the 5,000. Fr. Jojo said that, “a lot of times, that’s our attitude. We say, wala, but we have the gifts; we are not just recognizing them. What an offense to the Giver of gifts.” “Recognize that in us, we have two fishes and 5 loaves. When God blesses that, that’s something,” Fr. Jojo continued. Instead of comparing and complaining, “we have to be contented. Count the two fishes and five loaves in you. They matter.”

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 16 No. 7
March 26 - April 8, 2012

Ugnayan

C3

By Jun Uriarte

There is no duplicity in Him (John 1: 47)
ST. Conrad of piacenza was born in 1290 of a noble family. At an early age, he married Euphrosyne, from a noble family of Lodi. His favorite pastime was hunting. one day while he was hunting, his prey hid inside a dense forest undergrowth. To force the animal to come out, he set the area around the undergrowth on fire. Unfortunately, the wind carried the fire to the nearby grain field and forest, destroying the entire crop and a large swath of forest. Scared that the damage caused by his recklessness might be discovered, he fled into the city, deceptively passing through lonely roads to avoid being seen. When the authorities arrived at the scene of the fire, they came upon a poor peasant who was gathering pieces of charred wood to be sold in the city. The men seized him believing that he was the guilty person. He was tortured until he was forced to admit the crime and was sentenced to death. In the meantime, Conrad kept his deceitful silence and remained free. on the day of the peasant’s execution, the procession to the gallows passed by Conrad’s house. Upon seeing the innocent man, Conrad was stricken with a guilty conscience. He rushed out to save the man and admitted before all the people that he was the guilty person. He explained how he deceptively left the burning area and offered to pay for all the damage done. Since the damage was quite extensive, he and his wife used up all their savings and sold their possessions to raise the needed funds. The incident taught Conrad about the transitory nature of worldly possessions. From that moment on, he started to increasingly value eternal goods and spiritual concerns. Until one day, he and his wife agreed to pursue only spiritual matters. He joined the hermits of the Franciscan Third order while his wife joined the convent of the poor Clares. Within a short time, Conrad progressed in virtue and the fame of his holiness and piety attracted many friends and acquaintances to join his hermitage. Later, he relocated to the Noto Valley in Sicily and spent the rest of his life in a deserted cave in prayer and contemplation, sleeping on bare earth, and taking only wild herbs, bread and water for nourishment. As a result of his ardent prayers, he was given by God the gifts of prophecy and miracle. When Conrad felt that his end was near, he went to Syracuse to make a general confession to the bishop. on his way to and from the bishop, he was seen to be accompanied by a flock of birds, some perched on his shoulders, much like in the case of St. Francis of Assisi. Upon his return, he was afflicted with fever. In a few days, on 19 February 1351, he died peacefully while kneeling in prayer before a crucifix. Many miracles had been attributed to his intercession and he was canonized a saint in 1625. The young Conrad’s cunning escape and ensuing deceitful silence to escape blame for his mistake echoes to mind the call of Nathanael when Jesus said that there was no duplicity or cunning in him: Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (Jn 1:47-51) When Jesus saw Nathanael, he said two things. First, he called Nathanael a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit. Second, he told Nathanael that he had seen him under the fig tree. The first statement of Jesus calls to mind the patriarch Jacob in whom there was a lot of deception. Through deceit, he took the blessing that was due his elder brother Esau from their dying father Isaac (Gen 27:1045). He deceived his father-in-law, Laban, to get the bigger share of the flock of sheep and goat under his care (Gen 30:25-43). only after he wrestled with an angel, when he was renamed Israel, that his life was completely changed (Gen 32:23-32). Jesus’ reference to the fig tree recalls the prophecies of Zechariah and Micah. After describing how God will remove the sin of the high priest and the land, Zechariah wrote: on that day, says the Lord of hosts, you will invite one another under your vines and fig trees (Zec 3:10). Micah used the image in the same way. He described the state of man after the kingdom had arrived: Every man shall sit under his own vine or under his fig tree, undisturbed; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken (Mic 4:4). Because of these imageries, the fig tree became a symbol of messianic peace and plenty and the Israelites used the shade of the fig tree as a place for prayer and Scripture study. The image of the “angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” comes from the vision of Jacob in Bethel: Then he (Jacob) had a dream: a stairway rested on the ground, with its top reaching to the heavens; and God’s messengers were going up and down on it (Gen 28:12). In the old Testament, the image of angels ascending and descending expresses the fact that God reveals his presence to Israel in places of worship. But now Jesus, the Son of man, is the special “place” where God manifests himself to man. Through this image, Jesus was telling Nathanael of God’s plan to build a great nation, God’s heavenly kingdom on earth, where Jesus will reign. It is not easy to understand how Nathanael could have recognized Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel, from the mere fact that Jesus told him that he saw him under the fig tree. Something more must have happened. The Holy Spirit must have inspired Nathanael to see the connection between Jesus who was calling him and the prophecies he was reading while under the fig tree. Surely, when Jesus called him a true Israelite with no deceitfulness or duplicity, he must have been reminded of Jacob or Israel of the Torah he was reading. He must have been aware of the messianic image of the fig tree, which Jesus specifically mentioned. And thus inspired by the Holy Spirit, connecting the prophecies to the presence of Jesus, he was able to proclaim, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” The same Holy Spirit must have revealed to St. Conrad the gravity of the deception he had committed. While Jesus saw no cunning or deceit in Nathanael, Conrad, on the other hand, used all the cunning and deception he could muster to hide the truth for a time. But God in his infinite wisdom and mysterious way calls both the truthful and the treacherous. For Nathanael it was his sitting under the fig tree that occasioned his call by God but for St. Conrad it was his burning of the trees. For Nathanael and Conrad, those were their defining moments, the turning point of their lives. And with God’s special grace, through the action of the Holy Spirit, they were able to commit to follow Jesus and leave everything behind. We too have our defining moment. For many of us, this moment occurs, like St. Conrad, while we are hiding from God, covering up our errors, living in deception and sin. For some of us, this moment occurs, like Nathanael, while we are seeking God, devoting ourselves to prayer, studying the Scriptures. Either way, when God calls, he wants all of our self. God is not content with just a portion of our time, a part of our talent, a slice of our treasure. He wants everything. And we should be able to give him our all, if there is truly no duplicity in us. Taken from the Letters of Aquila and Priscilla

By Lance Fernandez
DURING the Leaders' Assembly of CFC-Singles for Christ last March 17 at the AFp Theater, Fr. Joel Jason emphasized that we have to go through the Lenten Season in order to cherish victory which is Easter. If that's the case, the MMLA can be compared to Easter for it was victorious in planting a positive mindset about Lent. Around 1,000 leaders and members of CFC-SFC Metro Manila got this message loud and clear during the assembly that started with the Holy Mass celebrated by Rev. Fr. Arnold Magana. Nino Tuyay, SFC fulltime pastoral worker, led the praise and worship. Then, the stage was turned over to Fr. Jason who delivered a talk entitled "Journey Towards Easter: The path to Conversion." Fr. Jason started by pointing out that people do not want to go through the Lenten Season due to the suffering and sacrifice that it entails. However, he stressed

that this season is vital to conversion. Fr. Jason's talk was divided into two main parts: the Lenten meaning of ashes and the principles of conversion. Jason mentioned that the ashes which are placed on our foreheads during Ash Wednesday is a symbol of man's transience. This means that nothing lasts forever on earth, even human life. Since people are always reminded of their morality, they delay aging by prolonging youthfulness. However, it would be better to treasure every moment and make them fruitful in this life and in the next. Man's transience is also evident in the fleeting character of worldly possessions and the three attitudes that people have towards the riches of the Earth. The first attitude is a stoic one wherein people are suspicious of earthly goods. The second attitude is that of an addict wherein man craves in excess of what he needs. The third attitude towards earth's possessions, and the most ideal, is that of a mystic who understands that the goods

The path to Conversion

of this world are just a glimpse of the riches that are waiting in heaven. With that in mind, Jason invited the attendees to have the mindset of a mystic that can delay immediate gratification for the greater reward. Transience also implies the common origin of men as manifested in the same quality of ash

that is used in all churches during Ash Wednesday. Therefore, the Lenten Season calls for everyone to view others as an equal being regardless of titles and life status. The third meaning of the Lenten ash focuses on its penitential character. When ash is placed on a person's forehead, God invites him to revoke his wrongdoing

through confession and conduct penance through prayer, fasting and alms giving. The penitence that the ash brings also calls us to reconcile with ourselves, with God and with our neighbors. Lastly, the ashes during Lent signify purity because it underwent heating before being used. Thus, the ashes remind man of his true beauty and to refrain from denying who he truly is because of sin. In relation to this, God's intentions are pure when he calls his disciples. Instead of breaking them, He will recreate those who have been anointed. With the nature of the Lenten ashes clarified, Fr. Jason revealed the five key principles of conversion. The first principle states that God is not mad at His children but rather mad about them. This means that God is willing to do anything for His children and even His anger is a manifestation of his love. True conversion can only happen if people would realize that God is a God of love. The second principle states that the past does not define the future of a person. Therefore, the

soiled memories of the past can be buried in order for conversion to begin. The third principle clarifies that conversion is a process and that the focus must not only be towards the vision. This also certifies that God is a God of process and He has a concrete plan for his children. principle number four points out that conversion is going beyond limitations. Man creates limitations that stop him from gaining success. However, everyone is called to be a child of God no matter what the circumstances are. Finally, conversion will only happen if man changes from a selfseeking to a self-giving state. Catholics are called to undergo the paschal death which only happens when a person is willing to purify his desires for God's cause. The Leader's Assembly ended with a praisefest led by Rob Escano, SFC Metro Manila Head, and the announcement of Lucena, Quezon as the venue of the upcoming CFC-SFC Metro Manila Conference.

CFC Isabela: Blessed to Proclaim

SFC: Ready to Proclaim God’s Greatness
By Aiza Garnica
DURING the 2nd SFC Global Leaders Summit in Thailand last october 2011, CFC-Singles for Christ International Coordinator Michael “Shok” Ariola announced that the Backpackers Great Adventure Tour in the Greater Mekong Area is just a glimpse of how the ministry aims to uphold its vision in a greater and bolder magnitude. It was also during the GLS when he proclaimed that SFC aims to send out 200 mission teams to the different corners of the globe. Thus, it’s very fitting that SFC’s willingness to proclaim God’s greatness coincides with the CBCp’s Year of the Mission. To turn this goal into reality, Ariola encouraged the delegates of the 19th SFC International Conference in Bohol to form mission teams. This prompted the ICon delegates to commit themselves to go out and contribute to SFC’s cause. Soon enough, the drop boxes placed around the conference venue were filled with sheets of paper from empowered SFCs who responded to the challenge. The teams that will be sent on mission starting April until the 3rd Global Leaders Summit in Brazil next year will have at least five members. Each team will spend a week in their chosen mission area to conduct pastoral

CFC Batangas Joins Day of the Unborn Event

B y M a bel l e Di m ayu ga
AFTER a successful Mission Core Gathering Last February 25, 2012, the Governance Team of Isabela headed by the newly anointed provincial Area Director Amang Roxas and the new provincial Area Head Rommel B. Ancheta with his wife Layle had a dinner fellowship with Most Rev. Bishop Joseph A. Nacua, oFM Cap, DD at the Chancery of Saint Ferdinand’s Cathedral in Gamu, Isabela. It was a night of fellowship, stories, and laughter where everyone gained insight regarding the direction of CFC in Isab ela an d o f th e C h ur c h in the Dio c ese. During the fellowship,

Bishop Nacua recognized CFC as a blessing to the Diocese of Ilagan. Bishop Nacua also emphasized that our community should remain focused in evangelizing more families. Despite the big challenges ahead, the community being regarded as a blessing is an affirmation of the work and mission that we’re pa s s i o n a t e a b o u t . o u r w o r k o f evangelization in the province of Isabela will not be possible without the support of Bishop Nacua a n d t h e pa r i s h pr i e s t s . In line with CFC’s theme this year, the Governance Team of CFC Isabela and the Diocese of Ilagan will work handin-hand in proclaiming the Lord’s Greatness to everyone.

formation retreats or community relations activities. More than eighty areas in Metro Manila, the philippine provinces, and other countries are opening their doors for these missionaries. France, Italy, Malta, Greece, and Switzerland are gearing up for the great adventure in July while the USA and Australia are set to welcome backpackers in August and September respectively. SFCs who are more than willing to pay for their own fares, sacrifice their time, leave their families and career for a while to fulfill their calling, get out of their comfort zones and contribute to the proclamation of God’s love can take part in these spiritfilled mission trips. Having the full armor of God, packed with overflowing passion and love for the mission, SFC is ablaze and is set to conquer the world for Christ. To know more about this great adventure, interested parties may send an email to sfcbackpackers@sfcglobal.org.

By Vic Alvarez
THE Lipa Archdiocesan Commission on Family and Life Ministry joined the worldwide celebration of “The Day of the Unborn” last March 25 at the plaza Independencia, Lipa City,Batangas at 6:30 AM. Couples for Christ Batangas came in force, in a show of solidarity not just with the Church but with all pro-lifers everywhere. Holy Mass was concelebrated by Lipa Archbishop Most Rev. Archbishop Ramon C. Argulles, parish priest of the Lipa Cathedral Msgr. Boy oriondo, and Archdiocesan Family and Life Commission Director Fr. Eugene peñalosa. Aside from Couples for Christ,

the other organizations who joined the celebration were Daughters of Mary Immaculate at Samahan ni San Jose. In his homily, Archbishop Arguelles deplored the situation in our country where babies are being abandoned by their own parents, where contraception is widespread, causing very negative influences on society, where abortion is resorted to in order to avoid having another child. During the Mass, prayers were said for babies who were aborted, who were not baptized and who never had a name. After the Mass, everyone went on procession from plaza Independecia to the Lipa Cathedral, holding aloft pro-life placards saying “obey God’s Will, No to RH Bill.”

C4

Ugnayan

CBCP Monitor

March 26 - April 8, 2012

Vol. 16 No. 7

Couples for Christ Toronto ON FIRE!

"HO LARAN MANAS!"
By Bembem Asunto
oN Fire! was what the conference was all about. At the end of the sessions last March, on Fire! was what everyone who attended felt they had become. The occasion was the echo CFC leaders Conference held in San paolo Formation Center in Comoro, Dili, Timor Leste attended by about 100 leaders from CFC and its Family Ministries. Father Alan Bondoc celebrated the Mass that began the conference. In his homily, he touched on CFC’s mission and vision, and how CFC members continue to set Timor Leste ablaze by sharing the fire of Christ that is in their hearts to others. The participants could readily relate to the fire theme, since many of them remember Timor Leste’s recent history --- when the place was literally set on fire when Indonesians IT may have been cold outside but inside the Anapilis Christian Centre, Couples for Christ was on fire! Burning with desire to hear the word of God, Couples for Christ and its family ministries came, gathered, sang, danced, cheered, chanted, praised and proclaimed the greatness of the Lord during the community’s annual Evangelization Rally on February 12, 2012 in Mississauga, ontario. The participants came from across the GTA, Hamilton and Windsor. Dynamic emcees, Vina Aligaen and Bernie Quiros, led the crowd of approximately 900 in chanting “CFC on Fire!” throughout the day. Ferdie Velasco kicked off the celebration with a lively praise and worship encouraging all in attendance to lean on the cross as a symbol of our dependence and reliance on Christ’s mercy and dominion over CFC. Talent and creativity were evident as each group made their way to the stage and started their interpretative song, dance and rallying chants using the acronym, “CFC oN FIRE.” Couples for Christ’s new National Director for Canada, Greg parillas, enlightened the members by giving a clear interpretation of what being “oN FIRE for the Lord” meant. Inspiring sharers brought life to the meaning of oN FIRE by sharing their own experiences of triumph and victory with Christ amidst difficulties and challenges The keynote speaker, Father Ben Ebcas, expounded on the meaning of this year’s theme, proclaim the Greatness of the Lord (Luke 1:4) and challenged CFC members with thoughtprovoking questions relevant to this year’s theme. According to him, “our world may have changed but we still proclaim the same message because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). The rally would not be complete without the Eucharistic celebration. His Excellency Bishop John Boissonneau celebrated the Holy Mass and, in his homily, reminded the community that Jesus wants to touch and heal us. He reiterated that Christ is eager to strengthen all of us. Full-time pastoral worker, Gelo Saludo, led the audience in a spirit-filled praise fest the end of the day. Gelo gave the members a clear message that if Christ is at the centre of our lives and we work together hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder; the burden, the challenges will be lighter. occupied the country until they relinquished control in 1999. It was a fire manifested in anger and hatred. In contrast, the fire that CFC has brought into this land 10 years ago is a fire that manifests the love and faith in God: the fire that consumes but never will turn into dust for it transforms lives. This was concretely shown during the commitment part where the leaders lighted their candle starting from the Governance Team down to the household heads. Everyone was asked to pray for one another while putting their candles on top of the map of Timor Leste, symbolizing the fire of Christ that they will bring to every corner of the country. The conference did serve as a challenge to our leaders to not just continue the work of evangelization but also to become bolder and be open to "new evangelization" which requires greater passion and commitment.

Magnificat Weekend: East A Proclaims God’s Greatness

CFC West C Magnificat Echo Weekend
By Marla Rances
A MoNTH after the Magnificat Weekend for the leaders of Couples for Christ Metro Manila was held, it was time to bring the message to the Unit Leaders, Household Leaders and senior members of CFC West C. Led by Steve and Minnie Maningat, the sector held their Magnificat Echo Weekend at the Teachers' Camp in Baguio City from March 2-4, 2012. As early as the morning of Friday, more than six hundred participants from the six clusters of West C converged in Baguio to participate in this monumental event. By Friday night, the echo conference proper started with a fellowship night-cum-chorale competition entitled "West C Goes Glee." Saturday's and Sunday's activities started with the praying of the Rosary followed by a Mass celebrated by CFC Spiritual Director Msgr. Allen Aganon. To kick off the Saturday sessions, Msgr.

Steve Maningat, sector head of CFC West C, Metro Manila

Aganon gave the prologue, expounding on the significance of the Magnificat from which CFC's theme this year is based on. over the course of the conference, four talks were delivered and all of them delved on the faithfulness of Mary to her Son, Jesus. From these words, we learned that Mary was always there for Him at all phases of His life and therefore, she could be considered the first disciple of Jesus. It was also Mary's "yes"

to Angel Gabriel hat paved the way for mankind's salvation. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed at the end of the Saturday sessions. The CFC West C Magnificat weekend ended with a praisefest and healing session. As the echo conference came to its inspiring end, everyone was spiritually high and ready to emulate Mary and ready to take on the mission that God has entrusted to them.

By Beth Comalig
MoRE than 580 CFC and Family Ministry members from Metro Manila East A sector geared up for the echo Magnificat Weekend last March 9-11, 2012 at Teacher’s Camp in Baguio City. Friday night was showtime! participants performed Glee-style and when all the notes had been sung, Cluster 2 was declared champion with their rendition of Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now and Victory to our King. CFC Spiritual Director Monsignor Allen Aganon gave the prologue after the Saturday opening worship led by Chito Nepomuceno after which Edwin Cruz gave the first session entitled "proclaim the Greatness of the Lord." He was followed by CFC International Council Member and Family Ministries Director Mannix ocampo who gave the talk entitled "All Generations Will Call Me Blessed." The third session, entitled "Lifting Up the Lowly" was delivered by Vic Yamamoto. Sharers were mostly comprised by
5000 Mindanao / C1

members of the Sector Governance Team who humbly shared their own stories, their own Magnificats. Saturday's activity ended with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament led by Msgr. Aganon. George Campos, CFC East A Sector Head, used the opportunity to urge the participants to continue to support the Build My Home project, a fundraising activity to enable CFC to complete payments on its new Home Office in Cubao, Quezon City. on Sunday, Rudy Talosig gave the fourth and last talk entitled "God is Faithful to All Generations." Afterwards, the Cardillo family, whose members span two generations most of whom serve in CFC and SFC, shared how faithful God has been to them over the years. Before the event came to its conclusion, the brown Scapular was imposed on every delegate. The conference proper ended with a worship led by Erick Fresnosa who urged everyone to learn, live and love like Mary in response to God's call in proclaiming His greatness.

CFC IFUGAO ANCOP ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM
By Noel and Baby Malamug
ACKNoWLEDGED as UNESCo’s World Heritage, the Ifugao Rice Terraces of Banawe, Battad and Kiangan are some of God’s given wonders that bear witness to His majestic creativity. Viewed from afar, these terraces remind us of scenic stairways leading perhaps even the heavens above. But, after thousands of years, this scenic wonder has been ravaged by a lot of factors. With psalm 2:8 as their inspiration: “Ask of Me and I shall give you the nations of your inheritance and the outermost parts of the earth as your possession,” CFC Ifugao, through its ANCop program Environment, calendared the first weekend of March to concretize its Magnificat year of building the church of the poor. A terrace of Liwang Ibayong, Banaue was chosen as a site to rehabilitate because the rice field has been eroded by a common culprit: giant earth worms! Cutting the tall cogon grass, digging the loam soil then constructing the terrace pathway took the

and trials, but we should remember God’s promise that he will be with us forever, that his mercy is infinite and everlasting.” He traced his own generation of believers from his grandparents --his grandfather is still strong at 100 -- to his parents, and now to his own children, all four generations. The occasion was memorable to Melo as that day (March 11) was also the birthday of his wife, Nini, and at the same time their wedding anniversary. To the delight of the participants, Melo serenaded Nini with their love song of yesteryears. As a fitting end to the talk, Bishop Afable did the imposition of the Brown Scapular on the leaders of the community who in turn imposed the scapular on all the delegates. The conference ended with a very lively praisefest led by Bebot Matela of General Santos City. Filling the coliseum to the rafters, the jubilant crowd vowed to proclaim the great-

ness of the Lord in their respective areas, following the example of Mary. This year’s conference was jointly hosted by the CFC communities of Davao City and Davao del Sur.

CFC volunteers, led by Noel and Baby Malamug, Ifugao provincial Area Head, a day of work but also a day full of fun and bonding. The Ifugao State University (IFSU) Dean of School of Nursing, Nancy Ann Gonzales, also an active CFC member, demonstrated how the giant earthworm could be eradicated through the use of liquid concocted with lime. The day ended with the owner and recipient appreciating and committing to join

the Christian Life program, which will be conducted during the lull of farm activities after the planting and while waiting for the harvest season. This initiated move will be duplicated in many places of Ifugao as a tool to introduce Jesus Christ to the residents. Indeed, repairing the beautiful Rice Terraces has become one gateway to evangelization. Haggiyo CFC Ifugao!

New CFC International Council Appointments
CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca recently announced new appointments for two members of the International Council. In a memo dated March 21, 2012, Cuenca announced the appointment of Rouquel ponte as Head of the Church Integration Office (CIO) and Melo Villaroman Jr. as Director for Work with the poor. ponte took over the CIo from Joe Tale, who has retired from full time work and taken on a consultancy in the corporate world. However, he continues to serve as an IC member and still assumes other leadership roles. The Church of the poor Director is a new position created to synergize the work in ANCop, Social Ministries and Cornerstone. Being also Executive Director, this will allow Villaroman to more fully integrate the work of CFC with the poor with mainstream programs and activities.

Villaroman Jr.

Ponte

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