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THE government’s allocation of P500 million for birth control supplies supposedly to reduce maternal and child deaths is a waste of taxpayer’s money, a Catholic Church official said. Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life said that if the Department of Health really wants to reduce the problem, adequate health care services for pregnant mothers and unborn children is needed. “They should use that P500 million in improving medical facilities and services
Contraceptives / A6
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Benedict announces next Congress to take place in Phl
DUBLIN, Ireland, June 17, 2012—Thunderous applause erupted at Croke Park Stadium as Pope Benedict XVI appeared on the video screens to address those present at the closing Mass of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin today. The Holy Father greeted all the participants who reflected on the theme of the congress: Communion with Christ and With One Another, saying that the notion of koinonia (communion) has been central to the understanding of the Church, its relationship with Christ, and in the sacraments, particularly, the Eucharist. The pope also spoke of the congress coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. “Based upon a deepening appreciation of the sources of the liturgy, the Council promoted the full and active participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic sacrifice, he said. “At our distance today from the Council Fathers’ expressed desires regarding liturgical renewal, and in the light of the universal Church’s experience in the intervening period, it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities.” Speaking of the impact that the Eucharist has had on the history of the Church in Ireland, Pope Benedict applauded the nation's monks, martyrs, and missionaries that “have heroically lived the faith at home and spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness well beyond your shores.” “You are the heirs to a Church that has been a mighty force for good in the world, and which has given a profound and enduring love of Christ and his blessed Mother to many, many others. Your forebears in the Church in Ireland knew how to strive for holiness and constancy in their personal lives, how to preach the joy that comes from the Gospel, how to promote the importance of belonging to the universal Church in communion with the See of Peter, and how to pass on a love of the faith and Christian virtue to other generations, he said.” Pope Benedict also addressed the scandal of clergy abuse in the Catholic Church in Ireland, saying that the Christianity of those in the church who have abused and undermined the credibility of the Church “was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit.” He then
Congress / A6
Bishops hit ‘Ban God bill’
By Roy Lagarde
Vol. 16 No. 13
WHY ban something that would remind about God and be good citizens? Catholic bishops raised the question as a reaction to a proposed measure filed in Congress, which seeks to ban prayer services and religious symbols in government offices.
According to church officials, such things do not violate any law and there is no reason for banning them in public offices. “Majority of our employers and employees are Catholics. The small crucifix and a short prayer will remind them
to be good, honest and just employers and employees,” said Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. “It has many positive and advantageous results. I hope our legislators will be more discreet,” said the former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said the people have always the right to express their faith “because of its social dimension.” “Since majority of our people are Catholics, then they should be respected in expressing their belief,” Ongtioco said. For Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez: “We have freedom in practicing our religion. That bill is a limitation of the exercise of religious practices.” A left-leaning lawmaker has earlier pressed for approval of the Religious Freedom in Government Offices Act,
a bill that seeks to ban all religious ceremonies including Mass, prayers, Christmas parties and blessings, among others in all government premises. The measure, filed by Kabataan party list Rep. Raymond Palatino, also pushes for the removal of religious symbols like crucifix, Bible, Koran and others in public offices. “If the majority wants the image there, then well and good. If it doesn’t like it, well and good… but I am quite amazed that somebody could think of this bill, honest,” said retired LingayenDagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, also a former CBCP president. “It’s a good advertisement if you really want to run for higher office. People will talk about you and, before you know it, you will become better known. In that regard, I admire him. I think it is a very good strategy,” he said.
Hit / A7
Palace creates taskforce to assure CARPER completion
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
While pleased for having President Aquino met and dialogued with them, the farmers are not ready to go home yet without clear assurance from the multi-sectoral task force that their demands will be met. The farmers are currently staying at Caritas Manila in Pandacan.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan prays in front of the tomb of Jaime Cardinal Sin at the crypt of Manila Cathedral after holding a Mass to mark the 7th death anniversary of the former Manila archbishop on June 20. Sin played a key role in the People Power revolt that toppled the regime of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. Sin died on June 21, 2005, at the age of 76.
Bishop favors US military help if there’s ‘real threat’
IF there is a “clear threat” from China, Filipinos should allow the United States to help the Philippines defend its sovereignty, a Catholic bishop said. Retired Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani said the Philippines apparently lack the military strength and asking for help would be necessary. “In case of real security threat or danger, if we really need help then that is something that we should also consider instead of letting other country get our territory,” Bacani said. “The government should consider what is to our self-national interest. If US help is really needed, we should be open to that,” he said. The Philippines has been embroiled in a heated dispute with China over ownership of the Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal. However, the church official cautioned the government of just allowing US to have their permanent military bases in the country. He also called on the Aquino administration to study carefully moves that would allow US forces to stay in the Philippines. “Under the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement), US forces are not allowed to have permanent bases in the country. It is also stated in our Constitution,” said Bacani. The bishop also warned of more human rights violations after the government affirmed that more US troops are coming on rotation and through increased military training exercises and port calls. Recently, the government announced that the US is again welcome to use its former naval
and air facilities in Subic Bay in Zambales and sprawling Clark Air Base in Pampanga. Defense Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta said US troops, ships and aircraft can make use of old bases as long as they have prior clearance from the Philippine government. The US had key bases in the Philippines for decades after World War II. In 1992, however, the bases were shut down after the Philippine Senate rejected extension of their presence in the country. (CBCPNews)
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has created a multi-sectoral task force, and promised to remove all the barriers for the full implementation of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-Extension with Reforms (Carper) before 2014. The action taken by the palace was one of the matters discussed during the closed door meeting between the president and the farmers on June 14, according to Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice & Peace (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. Gariguez was among the Church officials present in the meeting together with other
concerned groups. The special task force will be headed by no other than President Aquino, in line with his commitment for the fast completion of CARPER and will be supervised by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon ‘Dinky’ Soliman. Task force members are from Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), people’s organization, civil society groups, and Church communities. But Gariguez said they will have to wait to see the result of Aquino’s promises. “They are sick and tired [poor people] and promises are made to be broken. If the
Completion / A6
'Church has no shortage of vocations'
VOCATIONS in the religious life are not declining, but the process of inviting possible candidates has to be changed, a vocation director from a monastic order said. Some vocation promoters still follow the traditional method that is no longer acceptable in this generation, according to Fr. Ransom Rapirap, vocation director of the Order of Discalced Carmelite said. “Based on my encounter with the youth, they still have this longing [within them]. What they need is someone to guide them,” Rapirap said. The priest said there is this idea that is prevalent among vocation promoters to work for vocations only for one’s own congregation. Instead, he said every vocation promoter should work for vocations for the whole Church. “It was good when Archbishop Luis Tagle of Manila said that when we promote vocation, we [should not be promoting it only] for a particular order but we should promote and attract vocation for the Church, that must be the correct concept,” he also said. The priest said there are many possible candidates for the religious life but they have little knowledge about the life of consecrated men or women. Rapirap believed today’s generation of young men and women need someone to listen to them and with whom they could talk to. “Accompanying these young people who need someone to talk to, to listen to their story… This is the right process to catch the attention of possible vocations to religious life or to single blessedness or to married life,” he said. He emphasized that even lay people can do this process and will be of help for the good of the Church. Rapirap sees that the greatest fear of young people today is commitment. “They are afraid to commit mistake, that is why it is very crucial for us to journey with them, accompany them, to listen and make constant followup on them,” he said. The community of the Order of Discalced Carmelites is located at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in New Manila, Quezon City. They live a contemplative way of life. (Jandel Posion)
Bulacan folks honor elderly priests on Father’s Day
IN observance of the Father’s Day, Catholics in Bulacan province honored their “other” fathers – priests. For the faithful of Plaridel town, any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a daddy. And in the spiritual ministry, priests are “daddies” to them all. Around 50 elderly priests from different dioceses attended the celebration facilitated by the Ephesus Ministry, an organization attending to the needs of elderly and sick priests. “They are here to be together and to savor once more for a little while the love of the laity as they recognize and recall with gratitude the service of the elderly priests,” said Monsignor Sabino Vengco, Jr., founder of the Ephesus Ministry.
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
No future for humanity without family, says Pope
‘You are the Heirs to a Church that has been a Mighty Force for Good in the World’
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Vatican aims at transparency in financial institution
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 13
Changes in Vatican media
On June 12, the Vatican announced that as of this July 31, the Vatican Information Service (VIS) will cease to exist as a separate office providing information distinct from the Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office. There will, however, be a Press Office Bulletin. Some of the VIS staff will be transferred to work on the multilingual news.va portal, which was established a year ago. Others will be employed in the multilingual development of the Press Office Bulletin. The Vatican news portal provides a daily service in Italian, English, Spanish and French. Up to now the Press Office Bulletin has mainly been published principally in Italian, unless the original texts were in other languages, while VIS has published not only in Italian but also in English, French and Spanish. (Zenit)
UN President visits Pontiff
to Thursday’s commencement of the “Fortnight for Freedom” declared by the US bishops as days dedicated to the defense of religious liberty. (Zenit)
Catechism now an e-book
ATLANTA, Georgia, June 14, 2012—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is promoting the availability of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in an e-book format. Since its release in 1992, the Catechism of the Catholic Church has become a bestseller in the Church. The USCCB alone has sold more than 988,000 print copies of the second edition. Late in 2011, the USCCB released the e-book edition, which has sold more than 7,100 copies since then. “Providing the Catechism in this particular electronic format will make this foundational resource even more accessible to people,” explained Bishop John Wester, chair of the USCCB Communications Committee. “It is free to anyone who has access to the Internet.” Users can bookmark or highlight areas, see footnotes in a “light box” without leaving the original page, and search within the Catechism, including by paragraph number. “The USCCB is wisely using technology to serve their constituents and they are raising the bar for engaging users,” said Dave Gallerizzo, CEO of Fig Leaf Software, the interactive Web agency that partnered with the USCCB to create the e-book. “There might be some e-book readers that have a few of these features, but I doubt you can find one that offers all of these features in a single application.” The USCCB is also making use of new media possibilities to promote the Year of Faith. “The central image of the Year of Faith is the ‘door of faith’ based on Acts of the Apostles,” said Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. The Year of Faith starts Oct. 11—the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church—and runs until Nov. 14, 2013, the feast of Christ the King. Online resources for the Year of Faith include the expansion of Facebook posts about the lives of saints, an online catechism quiz and a USCCB Web page. (Zenit)
Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, president of the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, visited Benedict XVI at the Vatican June 15. The president subsequently went on to meet with the Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. “The central theme of the cordial discussions was the role of the United Nations Organisation, and especially of the General Assembly, in conflict resolution,” a Vatican communiqué reported. “Particular consideration was given to the conflicts currently affecting various regions of the world, especially Africa and the Middle East, and to the serious humanitarian emergencies they provoke. (Zenit)
Vatican’s new project dives into sports ethics
Vatican confirms SSPX is being offered Personal Prelature
The Vatican has confirmed that the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X is being offered the status of a personal prelature as part of a deal to heal the group’s 24-year rift with the Catholic Church. “Clearly the ball is now in the court of the Society,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said on June 14. A personal prelature is a Church jurisdiction without geographical boundaries designed to carry out particular pastoral initiatives. At present, the only personal prelature in the Church is Opus Dei. (CNA/EWTN News)
Priest named head of Australia ordinariate just before ordination
Father Harry Entwistle and Pope Benedict XVI.
One hour before the Mass at which he was to be ordained as a Catholic priest on June 15, Fr. Harry Entwistle, 71, was named by Pope Benedict XVI as the first head of the personal ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, a jurisdiction for former Anglicans in Australia. Father Entwistle, who was ordained an Anglican priest in England in 1964, immigrated to Australia in 1988, joined the Traditional Anglican Communion in 2006 and was later named Australia’s Western regional bishop. The Traditional Anglican Communion is a worldwide group of Anglicans that separated themselves from the Anglican Communion led by the archbishop of Canterbury. (CNS)
Asian bishops tell world leaders to stop arms trade
US bishops appreciate reprieve for some immigrants
WASHINGTON D.C., June 15, 2012—The U.S. bishops' conference offered its praise for a June 15 presidential order halting the deportation of younger immigrants who would have been eligible for benefits of the proposed DREAM Act. “This important action will provide legal protection, and work authorization, to a vulnerable group of immigrants who are deserving of remaining in our country and contributing their talents to our communities,” said migration chairman Archbishop Jose H. Gomez in a response to the announcement. The young people affected by the executive order “are bright, energetic, and eager to pursue their education and reach their full potential,” he said. Up to 800,000 unauthorized immigrants, brought to the U.S. as children, may apply for a work permit and a deferral of possible deportation. President Obama announced the plan at a press conference on June 15, saying the measure was “not amnesty,” nor “immunity” or “a path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants. He described the limit on some deportations as “the right thing to do” for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. His plan allows some unauthorized residents, who are under age 30 and arrived before age 16, to avoid deportation if they have been in the U.S. for five consecutive years. They must have a U.S. high school diploma, a GED, or a record of military service. Immigrants with a criminal background are excluded. Qualifying residents can apply for a two-year work permit that can be renewed indefinitely. The president, however, noted that the move was “not a permanent fix” to the immigration question. The move is seen as a partial fulfillment of the DREAM Act, a failed legislative bid to give citizenship to qualifying immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally during their youth. The U.S. bishops' conference
launches this new endeavor in the vast lands of ‘down under,’” Fr. Steenson said. Fr. Entwistle was born in Lancashire in England on May 31, 1940. He studied at the University of Durham and was ordained for the Anglican Diocese of Blackburn in 1964. He emigrated to Australia in 1988. He has served as a parish priest and a prison chaplain. In 2006 he joined the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, which is part of the Traditional Anglican Communion. He was ordained a bishop for that church body in November 2006. He married Jean Barrett Bolts in 1967 and has a married son and a single daughter. Fr. Entwistle said Pope Benedict has made it “very clear” that Christian unity is not achieved by agreeing on “the lowest common denominator.” Those who join an ordinariate “accept the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith,” he said. (CNA)
NEW DELHI, India, June 15, 2012―"Arms trade is a major cause of human rights abuses," said Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon. In an appeal to Asia's bishops, the president of the Office of Human Development of the Federation of the Asian Bishops' Conference (FABC) calls on world leaders to sign the Arms Trade Treaty. Between 2 and 27 July, world powers are set to meet in New York to negotiate the UN-sponsored treaty that would regulate conventional weapons trade. The FABC's campaign in its favour is based on a number of points: no arms for atrocities, genocide, or violence against humanity; no arms for violation of human rights or humanitarian law; responsible transfers of weapons with transparency; and accountabil-
ity and respect for sustainable development and peaceful coexistence. "Some governments spend more on military expenditure than on social development, communications infrastructure and health combined," Msgr. Bo noted. "Global military expenditure and arms trade is $ 1,000 billion dollars, annually." The possession, production and trade of weapons have deep ethical and social implications, the FABC press release said. For this reason, "They must be regulated by paying due attention to specific principles of the moral and legal order. Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." (AsiaNews)
supported the plan in 2010. In its response to the executive order, the bishops' migration committee reaffirmed its support for the DREAM Act, saying Friday's action was “no substitute” for its enactment. Archbishop Gomez urged “elected officials of both parties to take this opportunity to work together to enact this important law, which would give these youth a path to citizenship and a chance to become Americans.” The U.S. bishops' conference also stressed the need for “bipartisan efforts to enact comprehensive and humane reform” to fix the country's “broken immigration system.” (CNA)
MP appeals to Pope over prelate attacks
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, June 15, 2012—Over 5,000 attend a public show of support for Bishop Rayappu Joseph at St Sebastian’s Church in Mannar. An opposition lawmaker has appealed to the pope this week to put pressure on the government to diffuse a row in which alleged threats have been made against Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar. In a letter sent to the pope on Wednesday, Jayalath Jayawardena said the bishop is coming under increasing attack by several government ministers and the media. “Use your good offices to dialogue with the Sri Lankan government to ensure his [Bishop Joseph’s] safety so he can continue his mission without threats, intimidation and false allegations,” the United National Party lawmaker’s letter said. The bishop is under fire after calling for an independent international body to investigate allegations of war crimes committed by the government in a letter sent to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva earlier this year. The bishop aspires to be the Cardinal of “Tamil Eelam,” is involved in a conspiracy against the government supported by INGOs, and disturbing MuslimTamil harmony are just some of the accusations being leveled against the prelate. “Government ministers have called for his arrest and prosecution over the letter and a statement he made to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission,” said Jayawardana. “The bishop was questioned by intelligence officers last month. At no time has the bishop ever called for a separate country or a renewed armed struggle,” Jayawardena said. “He had also condemned attacks on journalists and human rights defenders.” Pope Benedict and President Rajapaksa met at the Vatican last week. It is not known whether the situation regarding Bishop Joseph was discussed. Meanwhile, Father Jayabalan Croos, a priest from the bishop’s diocese has expressed appreciation for the large show of support for the prelate. Mashal Rajanayagam who attended a recent prayer service for Bishop Joseph condemned all those attacking him. “The bishop for many years has been a voice for the voiceless and for victims of war. He is also one of the most prominent spokespersons on matters of social justice, human rights, peace and reconciliation,” he said. (UCAN)
The ethics of sports will be the focus of a new initiative launched June 14 by two Vatican departments. In a June 14 interview with CNA, Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, described the world as being “choked by the market, which is suffocating the values promoted through sport.” He believes that the ethics of sports are “interesting to all of society,” and it’s for that reason that the pontifical council wants to start a debate about it. (CNA/EWTN News)
Pope establishes Australian ordinariate for former Anglicans
MELBOURNE, Australia, June 15, 2012—On June 15 Pope Benedict officially erected the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross for Anglican groups and individuals who want to enter full communion with the Catholic Church. Archbishop Dennis J. Hart of Melbourne, the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, assured former Anglicans of “a warm welcome in the Catholic Church throughout Australia,” and offered his “respect and admiration” for the “gifts” that Anglicans bring. “For them and for us, this is a very special moment on which we pray the blessings of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of Our Lady of the Southern Cross,” he said. In an interesting twist, Pope Benedict named former Anglican bishop Harry Entwistle as the first ordinary of the group, making his appointment effective as soon as he was ordained a Catholic priest, which happened on June 15. Archbishop Hart welcomed Fr. Entwistle, saying he and his people have “made a long journey.” The ordinariate is a special church jurisdiction similar to a diocese. Pope Benedict XVI announced the ordinariates for former Anglicans in his November 2009 apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus.” They allow Anglicans to join the Catholic Church while retaining aspects of their liturgy and customs. The decree establishing the new ordinariate came from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “The supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls,” the decree said. “As such, throughout history, the Church has always found the pastoral and juridical means to care for the good of the faithful.” Fr. Entwistle said that membership is open to former Anglicans who accept what the Catholic Church believes and teachers, as well as to former Anglicans who have previously joined the Catholic Church. Those who have close family members in the ordinariate may also join. The Pope has also created ordinariates in England and Wales and the U.S. Their leaders welcomed the Australian ordinariate. Msgr. Keith Newton, the ordinary of the England and Wales Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, said he is “very pleased” to hear of Fr. Entwistle’s “encouraging” appointment. “Fr. Entwistle has a wealth of experience from his Anglican ministry in England and in Australia, and I look forward to working with him closely as we seek to articulate the vision of ‘Anglicanorum Coetibus,’” he said June 15. Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the head of the U.S. Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, also welcomed the news. He offered support for Fr. Entwistle’s “important work” in making a home for Anglicans in Australia who have been “called by God to full communion with the Catholic Church and the rock from which we were hewn.” “May God bless Fr. Entwistle as he
The resignation of the president of the Institute of Religious Works (IOR), Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, has led to widespread speculation over what is happening at the institution. But The Holy See reiterated in a communiqué its intention to achieve greater transparency, a decision that the change at the top of the IOR has not modified in any way. The communiqué “confirms that the motion of trust adopted, in discussions with professor Gotti Tedeschi on the part of the Council of Superintendence, is founded on motives pertaining to the governance of the Institute, and not determined by an alleged opposition to the line of transparency, which is in fact at the heart of the Authority of the Holy See, as it is for the Institute itself.” (Zenit)
Catholic Health Association makes turn around on Obama’s Health Plan
Sister Keehan Sides with U.S. Bishops in Rejecting Rule to Fund Abortifacients
members in the health care sector. One in every six patients in the United States is cared for in a Catholic hospital each year. The letter explained that the CHA has long campaigned for affordable health care for all people and for the provision of preventative care services. “We remain deeply concerned, however, with the approach the Administration has taken with respect to contraceptive services, especially abortifacient drugs and sterilization,” the letter stated. “If the government continues to pursue the policy that all employees should have access to contraceptive services, then it should find a way to provide and pay for these services directly without requiring any direct or indirect involvement of ‘religious employers,’ as broadly defined,” Sister Keehan insisted. Addressing the matter of the exemption for religious organizations the letter pointed out that: “The exemption in the final rule is narrower than any conscience clause ever enacted in federal law and reflects an unacceptable change in federal policy regarding religious beliefs.” The distinction made by the HHS rules between religious and secular organizations creates “a false dichotomy between the Catholic Church and the ministries through which the Church lives out the teachings of Jesus Christ.” The letter comes just prior WASHINGTON, D.C., June 18, 2012—In a surprise move Sister Carol Keehan, DC, president of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), has come out saying the association cannot accept the changes to the Health and Human Services (HHS) rules that require Catholic organizations to fund contraceptives and abortifacients. Although the CHA initially indicated its support for the new rules, a letter released by Sister Keehan last Friday said that while at the time the administration’s changes to the religious exemption seemed to be “a good first step,” on further examination the proposal “has not relieved our initial concerns.” The CHA has more than 2,000
Vol. 16 No. 13
June 18 - July 1, 2012
No future for humanity without family, says Pope
VATICAN City, June 6, 2012—Benedict XVI says the future of humanity absolutely depends on the family, which he says is humanity's "principle patrimony," the "community of life and love which God Himself has willed for man and for woman." The Pope offered his reflections on family life at today's general audience, as he reviewed his trip last weekend to Milan for the 7th World Meeting of Families. "It is within the family that we experience for the first time that the human person is not created to live enclosed within himself, but in relationships with others; and it is in the family that the light of peace is first set aflame in our hearts so that it might illumine our world," he said. The Holy Father recalled his address to the world of culture and education in Milan, which "allowed me to highlight the importance of legislation and the work of state institutions being ordered to the service and protection of the person in his various aspects, beginning with the right to life, the deliberate suppression of which can never be allowed, and the acknowledgement of the proper identity of the family, founded on marriage between one man and one woman." He also noted his questionand-answer session with families, which he said enabled him to "give a sign of the open dialogue that exists between families and the Church, between the world and the Church." Rest Benedict XVI emphasized his call for a defense of family time, "threatened by a kind of “overbearance” of work commitments." "Sunday," he said, "is the Lord’s day and man’s day, a day when everyone should be able to be free, free for family and free for God. In defending Sunday, we defend man’s freedom!" The Pope also recalled his appeal for Church communities that are more and more family oriented, and "capable of reflecting the beauty of the Most Holy Trinity and of evangelizing not only with words, but by radiating the strength of love lived, for love is the only force that can transform the world." “The 'triad' of family, work and celebration [are] three dimensions of our lives that must find a harmonious equilibrium in order to build a society with a human face," he stated. The Bishop of Rome said the World Meeting of Families was an "an eloquent
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Vatican looks online as it retools its communications strategy
VATICAN City, June 13, 2012—The Vatican has announced that it wants to create a “.catholic” domain name as a way of validating official Catholic institutions online—just one day after rolling out a major shift in its communications strategy. “Our idea is that those communities that make up the Church will be able to apply to have this ‘dot catholic’ web address as a way of authenticating their presence in the web space,” said Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, in an interview with Vatican Radio. The online suffix would be granted by the Vatican to Catholic bodies across the world so that internet users “can be certain that it’s coming from a genuinely Catholic source,” he said. The Vatican is just one of nearly 2,000 new applications to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the California-based organization that decides on new domain names. The news comes only a day after the Vatican announced that the Holy See Press Office will start to publish media releases in English, Spanish and French from September 2012 onwards. At present, Vatican media releases are published principally in Italian, unless the original texts are in other languages. The Vatican Press Office will also increase its staff, following the parallel decision to transfer workers across from the Vatican Information Service, which will close down at the end of July. Commonly referred to as the “VIS,” the service has issued news updates at 3:00 p.m. every Vatican workday since 1991. It currently has about 60,000 subscribers. They will now receive the translated Press Office bulletin instead. The Vatican’s Press Office also announced June 12 that “the extensive archive of more than 85,000 articles” in various languages that were created by the VIS … “will be conserved and integrated, with a simple and rapid search engine,” which will be accessible on the press office’s website. Meanwhile, those VIS employees who are not transferred to the press office will be deployed “to reinforce the multilingual 'news.va' portal which was established a year ago by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications,” the statement said. Launched by Pope Benedict XVI in June 2011, the news.va site brought together all the Vatican’s communication outlets into one online location for the first time. That list includes Fides News Agency, the newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican Information Service, Vatican Radio and the Vatican television ser-
'epiphany' of the family, which manifested itself in its variety of expressions but in the uniqueness of its essential identity: a communion of love, founded on marriage and called to be a sanctuary of life, a domestic Church, a cell of society." "From Milan," he concluded, "a mes-
sage of hope was sent out to all the world, substantiated by lived experience: it is possible and joyous, even if demanding, to live faithful love 'forever' which is open to life; it is possible to participate as a family in the mission of the Church and in the building up of society." (Zenit)
Catholic schools maintain ‘No Permit, No Exam’ policy
MANILA, June 6, 2012—Private schools under the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) will comply with the government’s instruction to implement the Kindergarten to 12 (K to 12) basic education program starting this school year but they insist on continuing their infamous “No Permit, No Exam” policy. The 1345 Catholic schools nationwide registered as CEAP members will continue to implement the infamous “No Permit, No Exam” policy even if a proposed law penalizing the school’s refusal to administer examination to students with delinquent fees is gaining support in the Senate and Houses of Representatives. CEAP executive director Rhodora Angela Ferrer said their organization has been opposing the Anti-No Permit, No Exam bill, saying that Catholic schools merely relying on tuition to sustain their operation will find it difficult to operate if students are not obliged to settle their accounts as a requisite for taking preliminary, mid-term and final examinations. “The existing policy in the Manual of Regulations, which does not allow schools to prevent students who have accounts from taking their final examinations, is fair enough to the student and the school,” Ferrer said. “If the policy includes mid-term examinations, as the proposed bill suggests, private schools solely relying on tuition and school fees will find it difficult to manage their finances,” she added. Ferrer urged the government to refrain from “over-regulating” private schools especially in the area of fiscal management since Catholic schools are non-stock and non-profit educational establishments. “Parents are assured that all fees paid are used for school operations. And with the strong sense of mission of Catholic schools, parents get their money’s worth in terms of quality education for their children,” she said. Misconceptions Ferrer stressed that it would be wrong to say that private schools, especially those identified with the CEAP, are charging “high” tuition and fees compared to public schools. “Some Catholic schools, especially the mission schools charge very little. But since the public school system is free, it is but logical for parents who are economically burdened to opt to enroll their children in public schools even if they want to avail of Catholic education,” she said. Admittedly, CEAP memberschools, especially those with clientele belonging to the lower economic levels, are experiencing a drop in their enrollees over the past school years. Ferrer said the big established private schools, which have economically stable clientele, do not experience enrollment problems as those whose students are more prone to migrating to public schools due to their parent’s financial instability. And contrary to public notion, public schools are not the only ones experiencing perennial operational problems like lack of classrooms or teachers. CEAP said private Catholic schools also have their own share of difficulties. “One concern that has always been raised in private schools is the low salaries of teachers. Private schools teachers, in general, are paid lower than public school teachers. This results in the migration of teachers from private schools to public schools,” she said. Staggered Despite the financial and operational setbacks that threaten the maintenance of private Catholic schools annually, Ferrer said congregations and diocesan systems try to sustain their schools’ operation to continue providing students with quality education. Private schools, especially CEAP member-schools, will even endure the cost and adjustment for complying with the government-ordered shift from the existing 10-year basic education program to the internationally practiced 12-year cycle. But the implementation of K to 12 basic education program for private schools will be implemented on a staggered basis, as approved by the Department of Education, to allow private schools to design and manage their transition from the old to new systems. “The K to 12 program will be implemented by phases,” Ferrer said. “For this school year, only grades 1 and 7, which is technically year 1 in high school, will have a new curriculum. The rest of the grade levels in basic education will implement the old curriculum.” “The additional two years in senior high school will start in 2016, that is, grade 11 shall start in 2016,” she added. The flexibility that the government accorded to private schools in implementing K to 12 program is expected to cushion the “pains” of transition. “Of course, the transition to K to 12 will not be exactly painless. But CEAP has already articulated its support for this reform initiative in several fora. At this time, we should come together to make this education reform happen,” she added. Before the new school year opened, CEAP has conducted various K to 12 summits for private school administrators in Manila, Cebu, Davao, Dagupan and Naga. The CEAP website, www.ceap.org. ph has also published curriculum guides and other information on K to 12 for educators’ reference. (YouthPinoy)
Monsignor Paul Tighe
vice, CTV. However, each news source still maintains its own independent website. Finally, Vatican Radio has also announced plans to reduce its short and medium wave transmissions to most of Europe and the Americas, starting July 1. Founded in 1931, the station is increasingly using the newer technologies of satellite and the internet, as well as local rebroadcasting, to transmit its programs in 40 different languages around the world. “After celebrating its 80th birthday last year, Vatican Radio is ready to open a new chapter in its history by committing its message of service to the Gospel and the Church to new communication technologies,” said the station’s Director General, Father Federico Lombardi. (CNA/EWTN News)
Int'l confab affirms family's entitlement to protection by State
MANILA, June 11, 2012—While marriage and the family are being devalued based on changes in public policy worldwide in recent years, international events such as the World Congress of Families (WCF)—the most recent of which took place in Madrid in May—have continued to work to preserve and protect these vital institutions. The Madrid Declaration, adopted by some 3,100 delegates from 80 countries, reaffirmed Article 16 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights which noted that the family is “the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.” In part, The Madrid Declaration affirmed that: “The natural family, not the individual, is the fundamental unit of society.” “The natural family is the ideal, optimal, true family system. While we acknowledge varied living situations, all other ‘family forms’ are incomplete or are mere fabrications of the state.” “Each newly conceived person holds rights to live, to grow, to be born, and to share a home with its natural parents bound by marriage. Abortion, euthanasia and all forms of manipulating human beings in their embryonic or fetal state are therefore attacks on human life.” “Human aging and depopulation are the true demographic dangers facing the earth in this new century. Our societies need more people, not fewer.” “The natural family is the main source of social and economic prosperity and the main pillar on which to achieve the overcoming of the current world economic crisis.” “The complementarity of the sexes is a source of strength. Men and women exhibit profound biological and psychological differences. When united in marriage, though, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.” Parents have “a right to educate their children for their good with no interference from the state.” “Every human being is entitled to religious freedom and that the political community must respect the freedom to profess one’s faith, to hand it on, and to raise one’s children in it.” The entire Madrid Declaration may be read here. The document is the WCF’s response to the growing corruption of cherished and timetested values, resulting in a host of problems. According to the WCF, “Recent legal and public policy changes have corrupted the meaning and dignity of marriage, devalued parenting, encouraged easy divorce and births outside of marriage, confused sexual identities, promoted promiscuity, created conditions that increased child abuse, isolated the elderly, and fostered depopulation.” The next WCF will be held in Sydney, Australia, in May 2013. The World Congress of Families is an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars, leaders and people of goodwill from more than 60 countries that seek to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and the ‘seedbed’ of civil society (as found in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). The WCF was founded in 1997 by Allan Carlson and is a project of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society in Illinois, USA. To date, there have been six World Congresses of Families—Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004), Warsaw (2007), Amsterdam (2009) and Madrid (2012). (CBCP for Life)
RH bill a foreign concept to Filipinos―US pro-lifer
MANILA, June 14, 2012—Some sectors may praise what they understand as the merits of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, but another pro-lifer from a nation that is grappling with the consequences of institutionalized contraception, comprehensive sex education and abortion has pointed out the measure is alien to a culture that is immensely fond of children, such as that of Filipinos. “The RH bill is not in favor of the Filipino people. It’s a concept that is foreign to the Filipino culture that is very welcoming of children, and loving of children, “said Brian Caulfield, communications specialist at the Knights of Columbus (KC) and vice postulator for the cause for canonization of KC founder Father Michael McGivney. In an interview over online radio program Kape at Balita, Caulfield explained that the bill will have adverse effects especially on a promising developing nation such as the Philippines, pinpointing provisions that are contrary to Filipino values. “The RH bill may not, like China, limit you but the force of law can be very persuasive in saying that you should limit your family to a number of children, and that there are sanctions if you speak out against this kind of bill. And there’s sex education that will indoctrinate children at a young age to this anti-life mindset,” he stressed. “I think what the Knights would like to do is have an educational initiative. This is what we really do. We don’t get involved directly in politics—that’s not in our bylaws. As Knights we are involved in education efforts and we are involved in getting the word out. We are involved in mobilizing the vote.” Filipinos must be educated about the dangers of the RH bill, he said. Citing the example of the Knights of Columbus as an organization, Caulfield said, “We involve ourselves in things of education about issues and about citizen and civic issues where we support the democratic process. I think it is important that all Knights become educated about this [RH Bill] issue, that they talk about it within their families, that they spread the word in their parishes, that politely and with charity they may engage those who may disagree.” “This is how democracy is pushed forward,” he continued, “and Filipinos really live in a very vibrant culture that discusses these things and hopefully comes to an understanding of the issue really that the RH bill is not in favor of the Filipino people.” Caulfield has recently written an extensive view of the bill in parallel of the controversial US Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate, which also coerces religious institutions to provide birth control services even if contrary to their moral convictions. Titled ‘A bill to nowhere’, the article was published last month in the Catholic News Agency (CNA) website. (CBCP for Life)
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 13
Agrarian Reform and the Hacienda
SOME kind of a preamble though simple and brief is in order to better situate a gross socio-economic malady long since notoriously existing in this country. On one hand, there are the farmers tirelessly tilling the land—toiling hard and sweating much while suffering from destitution and despair. On the other hand, there are the landowners—enjoying the fruits of the long and tedious labor of farmers and thereby living in boundless opulence and consummate comfort. In other words, while certain landowner dynasties act with delirious ease and live in enormous opulence, there are thousands of farmers who live in abject poverty and depressing uncertainty. Behold the utter contradiction: Wealthy hacienderos and impoverished farmers. Gloating farm owners and lamenting farm workers. Haughty landlords and abused land tillers. This atrocious phenomenon has been long existent and firmly established in this supposedly “Land of the Morning” and “Bayang Magiliw.” Is this really the land where the morning sun tenderly shines for everyone—or only for a chosen few? Is this really the country that is not only lovely but also lovable for everybody or merely for some privileged and selected clans? Is this really the land where there is “More Fun”—precisely when “Planting rice is never fun”? It is not only depressing but also revolting when landlords are worshipped by landless farmers who do the planting, attend to the caring and doing the harvesting of their farm products—with them thereafter having barely enough to eat and less to live by. No wonder then that a past matriarchal government vowed to remedy such a gross agrarian social malady. No wonder then that the so-called “Agrarian Reform Program” was made as the centerpiece of the priority agenda of the same government. But surprise, surprise! The said government came and disappeared. The Program was said to have been acted upon and even extended to cover the agenda of present government. But there are hitches—big ones—along the way: First, the past matriarchal government belonged to a formidable haciendero dynasty. Second, the now existing reality wherefore is that there is more than a million hectares of prime agricultural areas that prove immune to the same program. Third, the present government—a direct descendant of the matriarchal one—is a direct heir of infamous “Hacienda Luisita” that occasioned the bloody “Mendiola Massacre,” not to mention the lamentable Tarlac killings, nor to say the loss of no less than a chief judicial office for a final and executor judgment dissolving the sacrosanct “Hacienda.” As of this writing there are brewing moves among farmers who are merely insisting in having what is theirs according to law based on truth that is productive of justice and causative of peace. The dissolution of certain haciendas? Perhaps. The distribution of “Hacienda Luisita?” Well, good luck! Or it is next time—after 2016.
Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ
Pacem in Terris and Catholic Pastoral Companion Peacebuilding today
Significance of Pacem in Terris Echoing the angelic message of peace on earth on that first Christmas night, Pope John’s encyclical has been called the “first declaration of human rights by the Catholic magisterium.” Indeed, Pacem in Terris only came 15 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. But its systematic exposition of human rights complements and deepens the meaning of human rights enumerated in the United Nations document. The U.N. declaration of human rights came in the aftermath of two world wars that had witnessed the gross violations of human rights against individuals as well as against sovereign states. On the other hand, Pacem in Terris came in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 which brought the superpowers onto the brink of a Third World War. The papal encyclical does not make the usual appeal to banish war and uphold the ideal of peace. Rather, as pointed out by Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, PCJP President, the encyclical starts out on the building blocks of human dignity and human relationships. From these core values, in widening circles, Pope John’s social encyclical describes Order between men (PT 8-45); Relations between individuals and the public authorities (PT 46-79); Relations between states (PT 80-129); and Relationship of men and of political communities with the world community (PT 130-145). The encyclical ends with an exhortation to uphold the four pillars of peace – namely, truth, justice, love and freedom. These are virtues that need to be pursued and concretized – whether it be a judicial trial, the massacre of defenseless citizens by an oppressive state, or the continued outcry for social reforms. Pacem in Terris was signed by Pope John XXIII only a month before he died. It was also his legacy to the Second Vatican Council that he had convened to open the windows of the Church to the modern world. In the half-century since the issuance of the encyclical in 1963, the world has undergone dramatic changes in technological innovations in communications, and socio-economic globalization. Human rights awareness has been institutionalized in practically every
Pastoral Companion / A6
Universal purpose of earthly goods
RELATED to human solidarity is the fundamental principle that “God destined the earth and all it contains for all men and all peoples so that all created things would be shared fairly by all mankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.” (Gaudium et spes, 63). Such a teaching is an indictment of the international economic system that has resulted in the many serious imbalances between North and South or the developed world and the less developed world. The “injustice of the poor distribution of the goods and services originally intended for all” is “one of the greatest injustices in the contemporary world.” (Sollicitudo rei socialis, 28). Because earthly goods are meant for all, there is a responsibility for developed countries to aid developing countries and to correct the terms of commercial relationships that presently favor the richer and more powerful countries. For our own situation, the same principle underscores the social dimension of private property. An almost exclusively privatistic view of private property has contributed to the wide chasm between the poor and the rich and the increasingly oppressive deprivation of thousands of Filipino families. Orthopraxis, and not rejection, of the Catholic social teaching on private property is a burning imperative in our situation. We need to re-affirm the truth that private property is derived from the nature of the human person, “is valid and necessary in itself,” and “ought to be considered an extension of human freedom.” (GS 71). This is a constant teaching of the Church. But equally constant, and—sadly—not so faithfully practiced is the perennial truth that private property has a social dimension. This social dimension is the clear implication of evangelical Christian love: “If anyone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and in truth.” (1 Jn 3:17-18) Furthermore, Christian tradition “has always understood this right within the broader context of the right common to all to use the goods of the whole creation: the right to private property is subordinated to the right to common use, to the fact that goods are meant for everyone.” (Laborem exercens, 14). As St. Ambrose declared: “You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. The world is given to all, and not only to the rich.” This is the social dimension of private property. Private property is thus subordinated to the universal destination of goods. As an element of its social dimension it prompted Pope John Paul II to refer to private property as under a “social mortgage.” ―Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
IN preparation for next year’s 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical, Pacem in Terris, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in collaboration with Caritas Internationalis and the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, held a seminar on “New Challenges for Catholic Peacebuilding.” This was held on 29-30 May 2012 at the PCJP conference hall, San Calisto, Vatican City, in Trastevere, Rome. More than 40 participants representing a cross-section of Catholic peacebuilders came from different parts of the world, particularly from conflict areas in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Catholic Church has been called “a powerful force for peace, freedom, justice and reconciliation.” However, the courageous peacebuilding efforts of many Catholic communities often remain unknown and under-analyzed. Hence the objectives of the seminar were to map out the best practices of contemporary peacebuilding and to reflect on Pacem in Terris as a living document that could inspire “the further development of Catholic theology, ethics, practice, and spirituality of peacebuilding.”
Nurses, uphold the Conscience Clause
WORKING abroad? Is abortion legalized in the country where you are or will be working? Is abortion in demand conducted in the hospital in which you serve? Is abortion against your moral and religious beliefs? Are you concerned that you will be made to participate in abortions indirectly? Then you must be made aware that USA laws, as well as those of most other countries, protect health personnel from legal charges of termination of hob through the CONSCIENCE CLAUSE found in job contracts. If you have a conscientious objection, you do not have to participate in abortions. This is bound to be respected under Section 4 of the 1967 Abortion Act (Great Britain/ England). In the United States, however, it is necessary for nurses to submit to the hospital a written statement of refusal to assist in abortion in order for them to be legally protected. Sign a job contract only if the “CONSCIENCE CLAUSE’ is clearly indicated in the paper. You can point this out to your supervisor or physician when you are made to assist in abortion, or euthanasia. Pro-life groups in all countries will assist health personnel who are being threatened because they refuse to assist in such cases. Contact your nearest prolife group as soon as you arrive in that country. Their telephone numbers are often listed in the phonebook.
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
In the United States, contact: National Association of ProLife Nurses Post Office Box 64 Elysian, Minnesota 56028 In England: Society for the Protection of the Unborn Children 7 Tufton Street, Westminster SWIP 3QN Tel. No. 01-2225845 What about Filipino nurses working here in the Philippines? The 1987 Philippine Constitution clearly states: “The state shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from the conception” (Art. II Sec. 12). The Population Policy of the Philippine government likewise indicates in the Basic Principles: 1) “Respect for the rights of couples to determine the size of their family and choose voluntarily the means which conform with their moral convictions and religious beliefs”; and 2) “Rejection of abortion as a means for controlling fertility”. If you have a conscientious objection, you do not have to participate in abortion, contraception or sterilization. You have a right to refuse, and that right is legally protected. And to all you faithful prolifers objecting to the passage of the RH Bill, the above Conscience Clause also holds true for all of us. Let us carry on our mission to stop the RH Bill. The law is on our side. And certainly, God is on our side!
Fr. Roy Cimagala
Pedro C. Quitorio
Detachment and simplicity
our parents and others as much as possible and get seriously immersed in our earthly affairs, we just have to see to it that our heart and mind are solely for our Lord, that our motives are nothing other than love for God and love for others which should go together. We cannot underestimate our duty to love our parents, since our parents are our first link to God and to life itself and also the first representatives of God to us, especially in our upbringing and education. But our love for our parents should start and end with God. It should not replace our love for God. Neither can we underrate our duty to love others, since loving them is a concrete manifestation of our love for God. We just have to see to it that our love for others truly leads us to God, and not away from him, as
Ronalyn R. Regino
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940
THESE virtues may not be popular these days—in fact, they are unpopular, as in, ignored if not disliked and hated—and that’s why we have to bring them up from time to time, for they are actually important and indispensable in our life. The gospel is filled with reminders and encouragements for us to live these virtues. Just one passage to prove the point: “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. “But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Mk 10,29-31) We have to relish these words because,
since they were spoken by Christ, they will always come true. They never fail, they are no mere bluff. It’s worthwhile to build our hope on them and to make them give shape and direction to our thoughts, desires, words and actions. If we bother to study the lives of saints, then we will see how these words are indeed effective. We should try to give more attention to saints than to media-hyped idols and celebrities, since the former truly give more authentic witness to our life’s true character than the latter. It’s not that we have to reject our parents, the family, our business and other earthly affairs we have. Our Lord himself commands us to honor our parents and to subdue the earth. We just have to learn how to love our parents and to get involved in our temporal concerns properly. That means that while we have to love
Candidly Speaking / A5
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Vol. 16 No. 13
June 18 - July 1, 2012
– the lack of good candidates limit options for voters and the absence of real political parties limit the support mechanism for good candidates. No wonder those who start with good intentions usually do not sustain it. We need to go deep in dealing with these matters, one step at a time. Active patience is crucial. *** One morning, after jogging at the IT (Information Technology) Park in Lahug, Cebu City, I chanced upon an elderly vendor who was selling bananas. Although I was alone, I decided to buy five pieces from her. I consumed one for my potassium source after the run. Moving towards the seminary, I noticed four street kids milling at the side of the road. They looked like they were siblings. The bananas were actually meant for them. For six months now, a small group of working students in Cebu has been regularly interacting with a group of street kids (or skids). They had met the kids through a police officer who had become a father-figure to the skids. He gave them food, sometimes allowing some children to sleep at the police stations; even praying and running with them. Alas, due to unforeseen circumstances, the officer had been assigned to another city. The students picked up the slack. They become “Ates” to the skids. Saturdays at 3 pm they picked up the children, ran with them, had a meal together, prayed, and got to know each other. The children are not objects of pity but subjects with dignity. They have names. The skids are so because of conditions of poverty or dysfunctional families. One child, during a bible-sharing session, disclosed that the word in the verse that struck him was “kahadlok” (i.e. fear) as he recalls his fear when his uncle would advise him to be a snatcher. He has so far resisted the idea. With a positive support group, he can stand his ground. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs begin with physiological needs before talking about other needs like security, belongingness, and self actualization. But this hierarchy has a western bias. A friend of mine points out that an Asian version of Maslow concludes that Asians begin with the need to belong since the group to which one belongs provides the other needs. As a prayer promoted by the CBCP in 2009 puts it: “O Sacred Heart of Jesus, the reality of our deeply wounded and broken country impels us to respond with new urgency to the most pressing problems of our time… We need your Heart O Lord as we seek to be made whole…” One wonders about the many disconnects we have in our country today and the many opportunities for priests be instruments of making our nation whole again. Unless we get involved, our aches would only go from bad to worse.
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Spaces of Hope
LAST 1 June I had a dental operation for my right molar where abscess had formed in the gums. Preliminary x-rays revealed that the tooth infection had spread through a root canal that had been operated upon on the tooth some years back. “My dental professor from the U.S.A. happens to be in Cebu this Friday and I would like him to be there while I am doing the operation. Can we have your operation this Friday?” my dentist had asked me three days before the operation. My dentist had a challenge before her. Most root canals go only 3 mm. deep. My infection went all the way down to 11 mm. Not only that. My canals diverged in opposite directions. We were in deep territory needing competent steady hands, a trusted companion, sensitive instruments, and, above all, prayers. After four and a half hours we were through. The operation took longer than expected with intermittent moments of consultation between the two professionals when unfamiliar territory was reached. “That was the most difficult operation I ever did,” said my dentist beaming with well-deserved pride at her accomplishment. Surely without the operation, albeit difficult, my tooth would still be aching. Thank God. *** This recent episode in my life reminds me of the many aching teeth in our society today. One abscess is the mentality behind the RH bill that seeks to impose a mindset foreign to our culture and our Christian faith. Interestingly, a similar situation has become a battle of sorts for the soul of the USA with the Obama Administration imposing a healthcare program that infringes upon the call and freedom of conscience, a foundation stone of American culture, by requiring Catholic health-care facilities to provide services that go against the Church’s teachings. With this offensive in the domestic scene in the USA, surely the Obama administration would take it upon itself to pressure their allies, including the Philippines, to do the same. With the Scarborough-issue trump card, Obama and pharmaceutical companies producing condoms and birth-control pills would have a second wind in our shores. And with Obama looking over our shoulders, would political pressure for same-sex marriages be far behind? Another abscess is the way we conduct our elections. Election problems in our country are indeed multifaceted – the controversies surrounding the PCOS machines, dynasties, election funds from jueteng and drug money, etc. In addition there is the lack of credible and good candidates to run for office and, correspondingly, the lack of real political parties. While the church has focused on poll watching and voters’ education – two crucial efforts
Along The Way Celebrating the Eucharist in government buildings
A BILL banning religious symbols and ceremonies in government buildings and premises has recently been filed in congress. The rationale behind this is to uphold the separation of Church and State. I do not know what moved the proponent to file this bill at this time. But during the recent impeachment trial, it was reported on TV and newspapers that Novena-Masses were held in the Supreme Court in support of Chief Justice Renato Corona. Aside from this, a Mass was also celebrated in the same government premises as part of the Christmas party of the employees of the Supreme Court. Masses have been celebrated in some government offices during special occasions and on first Fridays. I remember being asked to say Mass in the lobby of an SSS building as part of its anniversary celebration. I was also invited to say the regular First Friday Mass in the chapel of a government waterworks office building. There has been no complaint about these Masses in government facilities. In a predominantly Catholic country this is taken for granted. Yet, the question persists: is a government building or facility the proper place to celebrate the Eucharist? From the legal perspective of the separation of Church and State this appears to be questionable. This can give the impression that Catholicism is the official religion of the State. This becomes objectionable when the Eucharist is celebrated during office hours, when the employees are expected to attend the Mass, and when transactions are disrupted. When Chief Justice Corona was impeached, Masses were held for nine days before the start of the trial and another nine days before the Chief Justice’s appearance as witness in the senate. This gave the impression that the Church was right behind the Chief Justice. This also gave the impression that Catholicism is the official religion of the Supreme Court. If this happened in other countries that uphold the separation of Church and State, (such as the US or in Europe) there would have been an uproar and a case would have been filed in court. From a liturgical and theological perspective, this is highly questionable. The Eucharist is the sacred celebration of the Christian Community – the community of believers. It is a gathering of those who share the same faith, who believe in the real presence of the risen Lord in their midst, celebrating their unity with the Triune God and with one another. A government office, even if the majority are Catholics, cannot claim to be a Christian community that has the right to celebrate the Eucharist. It would also show a lack of respect for non-Catholics. The Novena-Masses are celebrated in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Misa de Gallo) and the saints (nine days before the fiesta). To have a Novena-Masses in a government building to express support for a public official who is being impeached is highly irregular. It opens up to the accusation that the mass is being instrumentalized or abused. The proper place for the celebration of the Eucharist is where the Christian Community gathers regularly for worship – the church or the chapel. In the case of the Basic Ecclesial Communities in urban areas that do not have chapels, they celebrate the Eucharist with their parish priest in whatever available space – a covered court, gymnasium, side-street, backyard, large house, community center or lobby of a condominium. In the past, the Eucharist have also been celebrated in unusual places. In front of Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo, while facing the tanks and troops during the EDSA revolt in 1986. In the middle of the road in San Fernando, Bukidnon, during the barricade against logging that led to a total log ban in 1988 declared by President Cory Aquino. In the evacuation center of Tulunan, Cotabato in 1990, at the launching of the Peace Zone. The Eucharist was celebrated in these places by Christian Communities and BECs, united in their struggle for freedom, for peace, and for the integrity of creation. So does this mean that the Eucharist cannot be celebrated in government buildings or facilities? There are small faith-communities that are emerging within government offices. Their membership is voluntary in nature. They come together outside office hours to pray and to reflect on the Word of God. They gather in unoccupied halls or rooms for this purpose. Some have been able to set aside a place as prayer room or chapel. Celebrating the Eucharist occasionally for these small faith-communities outside office hours is not objectionable for as long as they are permitted by the parish priest or bishop. It will not be a violation of the separation of Church and State when government employees, organized as faith-communities, come together to pray or attend Mass in designated places within government buildings whether during noon-break or after office hours. If there are chapels or prayers rooms, these should not be for the exclusive use of Catholics but should also be made available for groups of employees who belong to other denominations or religious traditions. The New Evangelization being advocated by Pope Benedict XVI can be carried out everywhere—in the neighborhood, in the workplace and even in government offices.
Candidly Speaking / A4
Full implementation of CARP
THE farmers are the tillers of the soil. We owe it to them for having enough supply of crops, vegetables and fruits on our tables. It is only just and appropriate that the farmers have their own land. Sometime last week, Jnard Monterona of Radio Veritas 846 phone patched me for a live radio interview. He asked for my opinion about the comprehensive agrarian reform and its effect on the farmers. I have been a supporter of agrarian reform since it was crafted up to the time some modifications were made during President Cory Aquino Administration when it was referred to as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). I am of the belief that the farmers will be more aggressive and productive in farming if they knew that they are the owners of the land they cultivate. The land is not actually given free to them, hence, no injustice on the part of the landowners. The government pays the landowners the value of the land; the farmers pay the government the value of the land, on instalment basis. The CARP will expire in June 2014 and we hope that the government will do its best to fully implement the program. We congratulate Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, who has always been advocating for the rights of the farmers. *** The youth from the Ecclesiastical Province of Manila will hold the First National Capital Region (NCR) youth day. The highlight of the discussion will be the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, which the young people
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
Laiko office at LAIKO Building, 372 Cabildo Street, Intramuros, Manila; Telephone No. 527-5388; Fax No. 527-3124; Mobile No. 0919863-4218 and email at laiko_phils@yahoo. com.ph. Contact persons: Joseph S. Jesalva/ Catherine Buenconsejo. *** Congratulations to the Parish Pastoral Council of San Ildefonso de Navotas and the heads of the different ministries and organizations for having finished the parish pastoral planning. The completion process is now in the hands of the parish planning core group, headed by the parish priest, Fr. Jerome Cruz. Happy 27th Foundation Day of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Morning Breeze and 29th Foundation Day of San Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions Parish of the Diocese of Kalookan. Happy Feast Day to the parishioners of San Antonio de Padua (Fr. Tim Guarin), Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Morning Breeze (Fr. Gigi Yabut), Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Tugatog (Fr. Nestor Fajardo), Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish (Fr. Dennis Salise) and Sts. Peter and John Parish (Fr. Adrian Magnait), all in the Diocese of Kalookan. Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Joel Sabijon and Mario Cueto. Happy Birthday to Fr. Ardie Ong, Fr. Rodel Lopez OMI and Fr. Nestor Estanislao, all of the Diocese of Kalookan; Birthday greetings to Merle Desiderio, Beth Joseph, Boy Marcelo, Fe Abina, Marie Perez of the Special Ministers of the Word of San Ildefonso de Navotas Parish.
consider as the leading problem of today’s Filipino youth. The youth event is scheduled on July 22, which they call “The National Capital Region Youth Day for Life! Live. Love. Learn.” The theme is taken from 1 Timothy 4:12 (“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.”) The occasion will serve as a venue for the youth to discuss the subject and issue statement about RH Bill and its effects on the lives of the youth. There will be talks and workshops during the youth gathering, some of which are “RH bill, saan ka nanggaling?,” “RH bill, ano ka ba talaga?,” and “RH bill, bakit di kita ma-take?,”. The workshops are about “Live, Love and Learn.” *** The Filipino people had their frustrations and disappointments twice in a row. First was Jessica Sanchez not winning the American Idol category. Second was the loss of pound for pound champion Manny Pacquiao to Timothy Bradley. It only shows us that we cannot always have the victory in competitions. *** For those who are interested in the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Laiko) 10 days Pilgrimage on the Occasion of the Canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod from October 18 to 27, 2012, land arrangement are also available for those who would be coming from outside the Philippines. To get flyers of the pilgrimage, please contact the
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
IT is only from a human point of view, precisely because we are human, is it possible to conceive a prodigal father. Why? the reader may ask. Because God, only He who is perfect, is our Father who can never fail us in love and care for us. This is demonstrated by our Lord’s moving parable about the prodigal son. We can be sure that Jesus narrated this story not only to console us in our falls and encourage us to begin and begin again. He also wanted to set for us the model of His fatherly heart whose mercy and compassion knows no bounds. A heart which every man and woman ought to aspire to identify themselves with. In our brief experience of life, we realize that there are no perfect parents. But this isn’t a pretext to abandon parenthood altogether as a hopeless venture. One can look at it from another angle: that it is a project on the road to perfection. It is a vocation. And it can only be both fulfilling and fulfilled if modeled once again according to the example of the Father’s heart in the parable. What follows is a touching witness of a father’s desire to mend what others may deem too late to repair. He was dying of cancer but was reluctant at first to inform his son about it. It developed and it became very advanced that he could die any time. This prompted him to write this letter to his son who was living in another country. Once again we see that it is never too late to love and forgive, as long as we anchor our efforts towards personal conversion always with the help of God’s grace. *** Dear son, By the time you read this letter, I think I will be dead. I’m sorry to startle you but I suppose there is no pleasant way to break such news.
I’m a little young to go and I must say I don’t feel ready but that is because I have accomplished so little. I look back on my life and there is not much there. Your mother has been a fine wife and I have no regrets on that score. But I seem to have led such a thoroughly secondrate life—not only compared to my father but in view of my capabilities. I’m finished now, but the last word on my life rests with you. If you turn out well, I can still claim some kind of success in the afterworld. Remember this if you can: there is nothing, nothing more precious than time. You probably feel that you have a measureless supply of time, but you haven’t. Wasted hours destroy your life just as surely at the beginning as at the end—only at the end it becomes more obvious. Use your time while you have it, my son, in making something of yourself. Take care of your mother, if she lives to be very old, and be kind to her. She has many faults but she’s good, and she has loved you and me very truly. Think of me and of what I might have been, my son, at the times in your life when you come to crossroads. For my sake, for the sake of the father who took the wrong turns, take the right ones. Goodbye, my son. Be a man. Dad *** On the day like Father’s Day, may we realize that our letters to our children need not have this tone nor have to be literally written on paper. If we have a realistic view of life, one sincerely and generously lived before God and our family, we will write constant and daily ‘letters’ penned by the love and sacrifice of our hearts, and engraved through the good and lasting example of our virtues.
when we just use them or take advantage of them. That would corrupt our love for others. As to our involvement in the earthly and temporal affairs, like our profession, business and politics, etc., we have to understand that God wants us to immerse in them without getting lost as to the purpose of our participation there. These earthly affairs are our paths to God. They are not avenues to pursue merely personal goals. Everything has to be related to God. The virtues of detachment and simplicity help us to keep our proper focus on God. They help us to keep our intimacy and closeness with God, which is important if we are to survive spiritually and morally in our world today, full of temptations and distractions. These virtues are not just a matter of self-denial and of keeping a kind of low-profile in
life. They, in fact, can sometimes require us to be assertive and to do things in a big scale or in public or in a very artistic or trail-blazing way. They simply ask us to keep our heart whole for God and for authentic loving, instead of being entangled with earthly if not personal and self-oriented things. And this is a big challenge to us nowadays, since we are constantly tempted to be merely worldly and egoistic. They keep us properly anchored, enjoying a sense of stability along the flow of life that is getting increasingly rapid and complicated. We have to examine ourselves frequently to see if our heart is still with God or is it already held hostage by something or someone else. Let’s be firm in our belief that what we give up for God is nothing compared to what we will gain from him even now.
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 13
Columnist assails NCR youth day highlights RH bill as colleagues accepting lead problem among young people bribes to promote RH bill
RENOWNED newspaper columnist Bobit Avila recently lambasted his colleagues from the media for accepting payment in exchange for promoting the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. In an interview Avila said, “The media writing about these things about the RH bill is not what you call indigenous to our country because the RH bill law comes from the United States, pushed by the United States through the United Nations. Thus, I would say they are traitors to our country.” In his newspaper column titled “Foreign agents funding the RH bill” Avila exposed foreign financial support for local lobbyists to promote the RH bill, citing as an example the Wallace Global Fund which, in 2009, gave $75,000 for a pilot program dubbed “Translating Research into Action” in support of the advocacy for Reproductive Health Rights in the Philippines. The columnist further lamented that “media who is paid and who promotes that kind… I tell you, they are really a disgrace to our country and our profession in the media.” Avila called on his colleagues to be independent and to resist bribes in exchange for dubious information. “I am a columnist and I write anything under the sun because I am given that golden opportunity to be able to express my views. But let me tell you, express your views; don’t express the views of others that have been imposed upon you. You must really believe in what you believe in, not in what other people believe in and you just write it because anyway they paid you. My message is, don’t be paid! Tell the truth as you see it, not because you’ve been paid to tell their truths.” (CBCP for Life) YOUNG people from the 10 ecclesiastical territories of the National Capital Region are set to gather for the 1st National Capital Region (NCR) youth day that will highlight a discussion on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill as the leading problem of today’s Filipino youth. Slated on July 22, the youth event is dubbed “The National Capital Region Youth Day for Life! Live. Love. Learn.” The theme is taken from 1 Timothy 4:12 (“Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.”) Aside from getting together the young crowd, the event is also aiming to gather different leaders of the parish youth ministries or commissions, the leaders of different campus ministries of parochial, private and public school in the region, as well as the leaders of the different transparochial groups or organizations to reflect on the NCR youth’s stand regarding the RH bill. The NCR youth ministry believes the gathering will serve as a venue for the youth to discuss in depth the content of the consolidated statement of the region on the issue of RH bill and the effects of the controversial measure on the lives of the youth Aside from that, they will also provide the youth an opportunity to share their inputs and to better understand their statement as well as recommit themselves in the efforts of educating the young people on the region regarding the issue. According to Peter Eric Pardo, regional youth coordinator of NCR, there will be three talks and three workshops that will be scheduled during the event. Pardo will be one of the speakers together with Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, country director of the Human Life International and Ms. Renelyn Tan, regional director for Asia of World Youth Alliance.
Youth leaders to join translation team for Pinoy version bible
SOME diocesan youth leaders have been recommended by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Youth (CBCP-ECY) to join the team that will translate the Bible into a Pinoy version that is understandable to the youth. In an interview, Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of CBCP-ECY, confirmed that four youth leaders were endorsed by the commission to the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) for the task. ECY has endorsed Ms. Clarizza Sagmit and Mr. Sir Llen Hugh Tadeo both from Cubao diocese, Mr. Del Cabanog of Parañaque diocese and Mr. Richard Pazcoguin of Manila archdiocese. “PBS [will] contact them personally if they passed the qualifications and screening done by the group,” Garganta said. Garganta disclosed that Del Cabanog’s application has been approved by PBS. “As of now, he is the first one to be approved. We will be waiting for the feedback of PBS regarding the application of the remaining three youth leaders,” he said. Cabanog took part in the workshop from June 12 to 15 which PBS scheduled for those who will do the translation work. PBS earlier said it recognizes the potential of the youth in the society that they endeavor to equip the young with a Bible translation that speaks the way they speak, one that enables them to understand the Bible, God’s love letter to people. “More importantly, the reader will see God as a personal friend that the young can chat with. All the truth in the Bible, expressed in the language of the young is the goal of the Pinoy Version, the most recent Bible translation project of the Philippine Bible Society which aims to reach the urban Filipino especially those between 13 to 20 years old,” it added. The group said that aside from the composition of the actual translation by the team, much of the time was spent in doing research on the acceptability of the translation. The Pinoy Version project of the Bible was started by PBS in 2007. It has so far finished the translation of the Gospel of Mark and the Epistle to the Galatians. (Jandel Posion)
For the workshops, speakers and facilitators will be Mr. Peter Capistrano, former NCR Youth Leader and Coordinator of the Diocese of Pasig Youth Ministry; Ms. Ann Rosselle Cortes, diocesan youth coordinator of Novaliches and Mr. Dani Villanueva, diocesan youth coordinator of Antipolo. Scheduled talks are “RH bill, saan ka nanggaling?,” “RH bill, ano ka ba talaga?,” and “RH bill, bakit di kita matake?,”. The workshops are about “Live, Love and Learn.” Pardo added that they are targeting 200 young people ages 15 to 39 from each ecclesiastical territories of NCR. No venue yet has been announced by the organizers at the moment. NCR is comprised of Archdiocese of Manila, Dioceses of Parañaque, Pasig, Antipolo, Novaliches, Cubao, Kalookan, Imus and Apostolic Vicariates of Puerto Princesa and Taytay in Palawan. (Jandel Posion)
Retired Catholic priests with Bishops Emeritus Cirilo Almario of Malolos (center) and to his left Ruben Profugo of Lucena during the Father’s Day tribute offered for them by the parish of St. James the Apostle Parish in Plaridel, Bulacan on June 16, 2012.
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instead of wasting that hefty amount on contraceptives,” Castro said. DOH Secretary Enrique Ona announced they would be allocating P500 million for family planning commodities and supplies in community health centers. The move, he said, is in line with the government’s doubling of efforts to reducing maternal and child deaths in the country as sought by the Millennium
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Development Goal (MDG). However, Castro said it is unfortunate that the DOH continues to give “false justifications” in promoting the widespread use of condoms and other artificial family planning methods. “The contraceptives, by its nature, are population control. So let’s not invoke maternal deaths because they are using the women just to push population
control,” he said. Castro also believes that Filipinos will not support the government’s desire to promote the use of contraceptives in the country. “I trust our people. Even if they give it free, Filipinos with well-formed conscience will not accept it… their morality will not go down,” he said. (CBCPNews)
Among those who graced the occasion were Retired Bishops Cirilo Almario of Malolos and Ruben Profugo of Lucena. The Saint James the Apostle Parish under Fr. Dennis Espejo with the help of different church-based organizations hosted the event. Vengco then called on the faithful to continue praying for the priests,
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especially the elderly members of the clergy, “As they now reach the point where they must now turn inward in their search for God.” “They need all the support we can give not only externally and materially, but also spiritually so that they can get the best fruits and graces in this last years of their lives,” he said. (CBCPNews)
president fails to fulfill his promises, these people [farmers] will lose hope and justice as well,” Gariguez said. The priest said the meeting discussed the allocation of additional budget for the farmers and their needs; and removal of some government employees who did not implement the administrative orders in favor of the farmers like DAR Region 11 Director Yusoph Mama, who gave an illegal exemption to Hacienda Bitoon and Hacienda
Bitanagan. “For now, we cannot say that we are successful, of course we are in the sense that we urged the president to have a dialogue and he gave us that chance; however, the big part is in the government –the implementation and so on and so forth. We [Church community] are just here to support. A sense of urgency and political will, these the government should have,” Gariguez said. He added that the Aquino
administration should be a transformational government and social reform must be amended; unlike the ‘business as usual’ attitude of the Arroyo administration. Meanwhile, the farmers were pleased and thanked Aquino for facing them. “For the first time, we met our president and we are hoping that he will keep his promise,” said Edna Sobrecaray, a farmer from Negros Occidental and spokesperson of Task Force Mapalad
(farmer organization). “The multi-sectoral task force will convene on June 18 and if we perceive the clarity of this organized group, we will go home,” Sobrecaray added. The farmers also expressed gratitude to the various groups and individuals who supported them, specially the Catholic Church, which provided temporary shelter, food and medicines through Caritas Manila. (Yen Ocampo)
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country’s constitution. Yet, sadly, armed conflicts and internecine wars continue to afflict many countries in various stages of development. More often than not, these conflicts take place within the boundaries of a state – in terms of armed rebellion, civil war or terroristic acts of violence. Catholic Peacebuilding in practice It is in this light that Catholic peacebuilding practices, while espousing universal guiding principles, are carried out under localized circumstances. In Colombia, beset over many decades by the incursions of several armed movements fighting over territory and drug trafficking, many bishops have taken the initiative to provide spaces for dialogue in their dioceses. Msgr. Hector Fabio Henao, Director of the Secretariado Nacional de Pastoral Social, describes how the Colombian bishops have formed an Episcopal Peace Commission to periodically reflect and exchange information on current conflict situations in different parts of the country. Some of the bishops have also joined a National Conciliation Commission with government and other sectors to create conditions for peace and reconciliation in the country. In Nigeria which fell into a three-year period of civil war in the 60’s that claimed nearly a million lives, the Catholic Church responded positively to the federal government’s policy of the three Rs: Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation. Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto diocese
reported in the seminar how the two pastoral visits of Pope John Paul II to Nigeria in 1982 and 1998 helped to arouse in the people the imperatives of dialogue, power sharing and justice. Throughout the years under dictatorial rule, “the average Nigerian citizen whether Muslim or Christian, acknowledges that the Catholic Bishops have been truly the voice of the voiceless,” Bishop Kukah commented. On the Philippine island of Mindanao, I reported on the formation of the Bishops-Ulama Conference involving Catholic and Protestant bishops and Muslim ulama as partners in dialogue over the past 16 years. This was cited as an unprecedented example of how religious leaders can look on their religions not as sources of conflict but rather as resources for peace. In one or other of these dialogue meetings, bishops and ulama shared convergent passages from the Bible and the Koran on the sources of peace; the exalted role of Mary or Maryam; the meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation; and love of God and of neighbor as the two greatest precepts of both religions. Other seminar participants gave summary reports on their various activities related to human rights, justice, and peace— e.g., Sr. Marie-Bernard Alima Mbalula on the need for international action to address widespread rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Archbishop Charles Bo on the human rights situation of cultural minorities in Myanmar; Fr. George Sigamoney on labor problems among the
plantation workers in Sri Lanka; and Mme. Laura Vargas on the plight of indigenous people communities in Peru. The challenges ahead As a living document, how do we interpret the message of Pacem in Terris for the future. In his summation of the seminar’s proceedings, Dr. Scott Appleby, CPN Director, outlines some challenges. First, the Church affirms in this document that we should move beyond “negative peace” to a just peace. Our goal is not simply to end wars, but to rebuild social relations that have been sundered or choked with suspicions and prejudice. This is pertinent to the Philippine government’s peace negotiations with Muslim armed groups and with the National Democratic Front. Both armed struggles have a long history that can be traced back to the root causes of the conflict. Secondly, church groups working for peace need to work with other partners and institutions, including government agencies and international organizations. We also need to expand our peace constituency – i.e., among local communities and civil society groups that can be crucial advocates for a just and lasting peace. Among Christian and Muslim communities in the southern Philippines, the yearly Mindanao Week of Peace has encouraged various sectors to work for peace. In other parts of the country, the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform has conducted sub-regional seminars on
the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law signed by both government and NDFP panels in 1998. Thirdly, we have to be aware of new forms of social conflict – e.g., in drug and human trafficking, environmental destruction, and acts of terrorism. The consciousness and appreciation of new rights has likewise come to the fore, such as the rights of the unborn, the rights of cultural minorities, the right to a healthy environment, and even the right of succeeding generations to a sustainable environment. Finally, a distinctive aspect of Catholic peacebuilding is the call for healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Catholic peacebuilders work first with the victims of violence; they accompany internally displaced persons; they are present to the oppressed even as they take the risks in confronting the oppressor; they strive to broker the peace by providing spaces for dialogue. On my last day in Rome, I had a chance to visit St. Peter’s Basilica just before its closing in the evening. There in the quiet glow of an archway light, I came across the laid-out body of Blessed Pope John XXIII, lying serenely underneath a side altar. As I paid my respect and said a prayer, the concluding words in his encyclical came to mind: “Peace is but an empty word, if it does not rest upon…an order that is founded on truth, built up on justice, nurtured and animated by charity, and brought into effect under the auspices of freedom” (PT 167).
stated that both the Second Vatican Council and the Eucharistic Congress aims at overcoming that kind of Christianity and lead to a rediscovery of true faith in Jesus Christ. Towards the end of his statement, the pontiff announced that the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in 2016 would be held in Cebu City, Philippines. As the announcement was made, thousands of participants from the future host nation waved their flags and applauded with joy. “To the people of the Philippines I send warm greetings and an assurance of my closeness in prayer during the period of preparation for this great ecclesial gathering. I am confident that it will bring lasting spiritual renewal not only to them but to all the participants from across the globe,” he said. The pope concluded his message by imparting his Apostolic Blessing to all present. After the papal message, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, archbishop of Dublin reminisced on the events of the past few days, saying that the Eucharist “has awakened in our hearts something which went way beyond our plans and expectations.” “The Eucharist has been the nourishment of the extraordinary sense of our communion with one another which those of us who have been in the RDS and are here today have experienced. We have experienced the communion of the Church. We have been enriched by our sharing with those who have joined
us from over 120 countries, he said.” The Irish prelate expressed his gratitude to Irish president, Michael D. Higgins, who along with Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny and other public figures from all of Ireland were present at the Mass. Archbishop Martin also congratulated the diocese of Cebu City on their selection as host city of the next Eucharistic Congress. “We pray that the Congress will bring the same special blessing to that city and diocese and nation as this Congress has brought to Dublin and Ireland. I am told that in the monsoon season you can produce rain storms which equal or even surpass the ones we experienced in these last days.” The archbishop concluded his statement asking those present to carry what they have received in this congress as a preparation for the upcoming year of faith, which will be inaugurated by Pope Benedict XVI this October. “His words about that year can be a program for us as we move forward from this Eucharistic Congress,” he said. “We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope…; to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist…; to ensure that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility; to rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed.” (Zenit)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Vol. 16 No. 13
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Villegas leads 40-hour devotion for peace
Church, LGU work to protect Calbiga River
CALBIGA, Samar—The parish church and the local government of Calbiga in Western Samar established an ecological partnership to protect the town’s river from common environment threats. The campaign called “Calbiga River Care” will be launched on June 24, as the town celebrates the feast of San Juan Bautista. “It is one living body and must be treated as such to enhance and restore the health and well-being of the river that it may not cause calamities to the people,” said Our Lady of the Annunciation parish priest Fr. Joaquin Colminas. The move is seen as another effort to create more opportunities for practical cooperation between the two sectors in a wide range of areas, such as water resources protection and biodiversity preservation. “The river serves as a major transport route and lifeline of the people here, a vital ecosystem and an irreplaceable natural resource. People should take care of it,” said Calbiga Mayor Melchor Nacario, a known environmentalist. The 20-km Calbiga River is one of the 25 major rivers on Samar Island. Among the highlights of the launching ceremony include a “fluvial procession and the blessing” of the river, according to the project proponent CalbigaWatch, an association of local residents advocating ecotourism and good governance. A nine-day novena was also started last June 15 along with a daily tree planting and cleaningup activities along the riverbanks. The June 24 festivities will start with a Mass at 8 a.m. and will be followed with various other activities like boat race,
DAGUPAN City—Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas led the faithful in holding a forty hour of devotion for the preservation of peace in the Asian continent. Saying that “a world at prayer is a world at peace”, the devotion was especially done to settle the ongoing dispute between Philippines and China over the Scarborough Shoal. The 40-hour devotion was held at the Annunciation of the Lord Parish in Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City beginning at twelve midnight on June 15 until 4 p.m. of June 16. (CBCPNews)
Marian event answer to threats vs. life, practice of faith
fishing competition and leisure boating using local “subirans.’ The day will be concluded by lighting more than 150 floating vigil candles immediately after
the 6 p.m. Mass—a special offering of thanksgiving and prayers for the eternal repose of those who died in the river. (RL/CBCPNews)
CEBU City—As the moves to uphold life and the faith must always be accompanied by the Blessed Mother, a Marian Congress on Faith & Life has been organized as the Catholic faithful’s answer to the current threats against life and the practice of faith. The two-day event, sponsored by Human Life International (HLI) Pilipinas and revolving around the theme “You Have Been Warned: Marian Messages from Fatima to Lipa,” will take place on July 13 to 14 at the Sacred Heart Center, Jakosalem Street, Cebu City. Organizers aim to inform, challenge and ignite the commitments of religious and lay Catholic leaders to make strong, urgent and concerted efforts to respond to the current moral and spiritual challenges confronting the country. (CBCP for Life)
Eco groups urge public against indiscriminate waste dumping
Christian, Muslim youth gather for dialogue in Mindanao
ZAMBOANGA City—The Silsilah Dialogue Institute is gathering young Christian and Muslim leaders and professionals from Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in several forums scheduled throughout the year to teach them the importance of building dialogue as a sustainable foundation of personal and social transformation. Silsilah is organizing a threeday seminar themed “Rediscovering the Culture of Dialogue, Path to Peace in the Light of the Beatitudes and the Great Jihad.” The first of the series is scheduled from June 25 to 28 at the Harmony Village in Pitogo, Sinunuc, Zamboanga City. The same seminar will be conducted in Pagadian City on July, in the province of Basilan, Jolo and Sulu by September and other forum areas by November. According to organizers, the program will seek to bring together government and nongovernment individuals to rediscover the importance to live and promote the Culture of Dialogue, Path to Peace. “Silsilah is determined to give priority to forming Muslims and Christians to rediscover the central part of their religion, encouraging each one to be guided by what is essential in the two religions—love of God and love of neighbor—in order to live and promote the spirituality of dialogue for the common aspirations of peace and harmony,” the organizers said. The seminar is a replication of the formation program organized in Quiapo, Manila last April 13 to 15 by Silsilah in coordination with Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio, the rector of the Quiapo Church. Earlier this month, members of the Interfaith Council of Leaders (IFCL) of Zamboanga City met and aired their wish to provide a similar formation program for Muslims and Christians in the grassroots level of Mindanao. Members of the IFCL, who are respected in their respective communities and organizations, volunteered to be the resource speakers in the Silsilah seminars. For the Muslim communities, the topic of the seminar will be “Focusing on Islamic Teachings and Practices in the Light of the Common Word,” while the Christian communities will be given talk on “Rediscovering Dialogue and Peace in the Church in the Light of the Beatitudes.” “These initiatives are designed for Muslims and Christians, specifically for the Catholics, in Mindanao with special attention to ZamBaSulTa (Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu & Tawi-tawi) areas,” the organizers emphasized. Interested parties who would want to attend the seminars can contact the organizers firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 983-0952/983-0014 or 0927651-311. Just look for Cristina Beltran. (CBCPNews)
QUEZON City—As the perennial floodwaters swamped low-lying areas at the onset of rainy season, environmental groups called on authorities to exercise political will and educate the public against indiscriminate dumping of waste that clog waterways. Environmental network EcoWaste Coalition and Mother Earth Foundation urged officials to inform the public, especially informal settlers living along creeks and rivers to properly manage their garbage to avoid flooding in the metropolis. The groups conceded those living along creeks and riverbanks will stay unless the government first addressed their basic needs, such as housing and livelihood. (CBCPNews)
Franciscan youth meet to strengthen organization
CEBU City—Members of the Franciscan Youth (Youfra) organization met last May 25 and 26 in Cebu City’s San Vicente Parish to address issues and concerns facing the organization in the Visayas region. Representatives from 5 regions in the Visayas and members of the national council, discussed among other things, an update of each region’s membership, their local activities such as prayer life, formation, and apostolate. The group commended the reports from each region as these provided a good venue to further discuss and exchange insights from all officials who attended the meeting. Aside from the meeting, the participants also had fraternal visitation to four local groups in Cebu City. (Hiyasmin Malicdem/Jandel Posion)
Govt urged to halt magnetite mining on ricefields
MACARTHUR, Leyte—An executive official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines called on national government to stop the ongoing extraction of magnetite sand from rice fields in Leyte province. The conversion of rice fields into mining areas has put the lives of villagers in imminent danger, as their livelihoods are at stake here, according to Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of National Secretariat for Social Action of the CBCP. Gariguez lamented that the government is prioritizing the demands of Chinese companies for magnetite sand over people’s right to food sufficiency and security. “Can we eat magnetite sand? Why are we prioritizing mining over rice and fish production?” Gariguez asked. The priest urged DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and other national officials “to visit MacArthur to see for themselves how the Chinese suck our magnetite sand and transport it with ease to China.” “We are fighting for our sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal, but here in front of us—face to face—they are gradually claiming our lands,” Gariguez said. Landowners have either sold or leased their farms to the mining company leaving their tenant-farmers jobless and eventually forced to work for Nicua
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Mining Corporation which exports magnetite sand to China. Extraction of magnetite from once rice producing irrigated lands has been going on since 2010. Last month, a massive fish kill happened in Lake Bito which fisherfolks blamed on the mining activities in the area. ‘A series of fish mortalities this year is enough and scientific studies from government agencies have proven that among others, oil and grease from mining have contributed to the recent fish kills in the lake,’ said Jesus Cabias, president of Unahin Lagi Natin ang Diyos – Bito Lake Fisherfolks Association (UNLAD-BLFA). Farmers and fisherfolks from the nearby Villa Imelda and Liwayway villages put up a barricade to prevent further damages to Lake Bito where tilapia fish is grown. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) stressed that three factors led to the fish kills in the lake. ‘Domestic pollution, irresponsible aquaculture practice and contamination from oil and grease from the mining operations are factors that should be dealt with equally and comprehensively,’ said Dr. Nancy Dayap, an environmental scientist from BFAR. The findings of BFAR complement the studies of the Visayas
Fisherfolks ask bishops’ help to stop Pampanga reclamation project
SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—An alliance of fisherfolks has appealed to San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto and to Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros to stop the Pampanga Bay reclamation project, which will leave thousands of families homeless. In a statement, Anakpawis partylist vice chair Fernando Hicap asked the bishops to issue a pastoral statement on the alleged immorality of the “clean-up” project in the areas of Manila Bay, particularly in the Bulacan-Pampanga area, since it aims to demolish the fishing villages, in order to pave way for the conversion of the 2,500 hectare Pampanga bay area into commercial and residential use. “Being church of the poor, the Roman Catholic Church and the other religious organizations as well must stand against this aberration,” Hicap said. Meanwhile, Pamalakaya vice chair Salvador France revealed that 80 houses in Macabebe and 562 houses in Masantol, both in Pampanga and 12 houses in Hagonoy town in Bulacan had already been abolished and they are expecting the number of the demolished houses to increase as the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and other government agencies involved in the “clean-up” continue to push the publicprivate partnership project along the Manila Bay and the nearby coastal areas. “The Supreme Court ruling pertaining to Manila Bay clean up and rehabilitation is being used, exploited and abused by the national government, its concerned agencies and local government units to effectively demolish the livelihood of small fisherfolk and fish open operators along Pampanga River and in the mouth of Manila Bay for a grand corporate project in Central Luzon known as Public-Private Partnership inspired reclamation venture,” said France. However, the said project is not “original” to President Benigno C. Aquino III, but of former president and now Pampanga (2nd District) Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Based on records, the Pampanga Bay reclamation was in virtue of Administrative Order No. 288, which the former chief executive signed a month before she stepped down from presidency as her term expired on June 2010. “Arroyo’s AO No. 288 argues that Pampanga Bay can be potential site for a reclamation project considering the relatively shallow sealed over a large portion with an approximate area of 2,500 hectares which is almost double the size of the reclamation along Manila Bay,” France told CBCPNews. He also said that the plan involved the construction of river dikes along two (2) major river systems to define the boundaries of riverbanks and create land strips with an average width of not less than one hundred (100) meters and extending from the towns proper of Lubao and Sasmuan up to the Pampanga Bay. “Such and strips will provide areas for road right of way and for human settlements of mixed land uses following a linear type of development, the AO furthered. However, the reclamation project will result not only to demolition and destruction of livelihood and fishing villages, but it will cause a “Great Deluge” in the Central Luzon because the reclamation in Pampanga Bay and in the mouth of Manila Bay will cause heavy floods contrary to the claim of the government that it would ease flood in the region, particularly in the provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan,” France further explained. France and Hicap also appealed to Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSAJP) to push for a dialogue with Malacañang and other involved with the project, and re-assess the potential ill effect of the Pampanga Bay reclamation. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)
Mining equipment extracts magnetite sand from ricefields at Villa Imelda and Liwayway villages in Leyte province.
State University conducted by a team led by Dr. Humberto R. Montes, Jr., Director of the Institute of Tropical Ecology and Environmental Management. ‘The elevation of the lake is lower than that of the mining site and naturally the turbid water coming from the mines will backflow through the lake’s outlet and eventually intrude the lake—the recent settling pond water backflow has proven this,’ said Montes. Montes further stressed that a study conducted in 2010 predicted that the water level of the lake may decrease if large excavations are conducted in nearby areas. The villagers in the barricade have lamented the gradual drying up of Lake Bito during a Soli-
darity Mission led by Gariguez and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) together with the Social Action Centers of the Archdiocese of Palo and Dioceses of Calbayog and Borongan. ‘This is the first time in the history of the lake that it dried up and the water level has gone down, the theory of VSU experts are becoming true. We are afraid, very much afraid—our freedom is suppressed and our economic, social and cultural rights are violated. Ganun na lang ba ‘yun? (Is that it?),’ said Cabias. Gariguez said that the series of unfortunate events are gross negligence and plunder, violation of human rights and disrespect for the integrity of creation. (CBCPNews)
Repression Even youth leaders are strongly reacting against the proposed measure. Contrary to its supposed objective of having religious freedom, Joy Candelario, former Youth Desk head of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences – Office of Laity and Family, said the bill is simply represses religious freedom”. “It is like asking someone to take off his clothes,” she said. Candelario said that she would more readily support a bill promoting equality among different religions. The solon is also drawing flak from young University of the Philippines – Diliman alumni who do not think Palatino is truly championing “religious freedom” by authoring the bill. Mylene Kaye Dones, a fresh art studies graduate from UP, said: “You don't create an environment for religious freedom by doing away with what seems to [be] the dominant religion.” Dina Ileto, a UP graduate student who serves in the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice youth ministry in the Diliman campus, said that a true example of “religious freedom” is UP Diliman itself where a Catholic Church is
just a few feet away from churches of other religions. Other young people went so far as to say that Palatino never represented the interests of young Filipinos to begin with. Guilian Geronimo from De La Salle explained that Palatino’s party Kabataan party list only represents the aspirations of young Filipinos who embrace “SocialistCommunist ideals” and who consequently do not believe in God, a small percentage in contrast with the majority of young Filipinos who are Catholic. Esteve Medina Mata of the Columbian Squires challenged Palatino to come up instead with legislation that would help the youth find jobs. Free exercise of faith Justifying the filing of the bill, Palatino claimed that displaying religious symbols and holding religious ceremonies in and around public offices can give a bad impression of government due to a perceived lack of neutrality. “The religion of the minority ought to be respected, too. In a democracy, the rights of the minority should be protected also,” Palatino said in a television interview. He said that people—who may be of differ-
ent faiths—who drop by government offices go there “not to affirm their spiritual beliefs” but to transact with the government. “So not all religious icons are acceptable. That’s why the government has to be neutral,” Palatino explained. But Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life, said the measure counters a constitutional provision that allows the free exercise of religious worship for all. “There should be no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. There should be no establishment [of a State religion] but there’s also no prohibition of free exercise,” Castro said. But Castro pointed out leaders don’t impose the display of religious symbols in government offices—it is individual employees who decide on this. It is contradictory to refer to the bill as one promoting religious freedom, he added, since it is the curtailment of the freedom of religious expression that the measure does. The practice of faith is an expression of individuals, and piety is part and parcel of our humanity, Castro also said. (With reports from Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz, and Diana Uichanco)
Photo Courtesy of ATM
People, Facts & Places
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 13
IN spearheading the use of online media to spread the Gospel, the Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged parishes, schools, youth organizations and religious communities to attend the 1st Catholic Social Media Summit being organized by a group of young Catholics promoting digital evangelization. No less than ECY Chairman and Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon had endorsed attendance to the 1st Catholic Social Media Summit on July 14 and 15 at the Renaissance Convention Center in Riverbanks, Marikina City. The two-day summit being organized by YouthPinoy is the first nationwide confab to discuss how the Catholic Church and the lay faithful can exploit social media to benefit their evangelization and mission works. “With the advent of online technology, we as Church present in parishes, schools, youth groups, organizations and other communities should explore social media as a platform to spread the Gospel,” Baylon said in inviting the faithful to attend the summit. “As we celebrate the Year of the Pontifical Mission Societies this year, we would like to look into ways of evangelizing the so-called ‘digital continent’ of the internet, where many of
Bishop endorses 1st Catholic Social Media Summit
our young people are ‘digital citizens’ and whose presence in the Church and in society we have just celebrated in our CBCP Year of the Youth last year,” the prelate added. Participants of the 1st Catholic Social Media Summit will benefit from the talks on how to use social media in marketing or promoting religious events, how to maximize electronic banking and online donations for resource-building and fundraising, how to establish digital presence for their parish or organizations through websites, and how to incorporate wireless devices and applications for their activities, among others. Registration fee, including summit kit, meals and certificate, costs P1,000 per participant. Interested parties can register at the YouthPinoy office, 3rd Floor CBCP Building, 470 Gen. Luna St. in Intramuros, Manila, or contact Ms. Nirva Delacruz through mobile: +639321469436/+639164831443; landline: +6327096486; and email:ypopportunities@gmail. com. Details of the summit, such as the program, registration guidelines, and summit files, are available online at www. youthpinoy.com. “Aside from participating, I also ask for your support by helping spread word about this Sum-
Lay Vincentians discuss challenges affecting ministry among poor
Photo Courtesy of SSVP Documentation Committee.
Leaders from the East Asian region of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a lay association affiliated with the Vincentian Fathers, met in Cebu recently to discuss challenges affecting their mission among the poor.
mit to your circles of influence. With your help, we can make this a powerful learning event in ministering to the world of social media,” Baylon added. The 1st Catholic Social Media Summit is organized by
YouthPinoy, in partnership with the CBCP Media Office, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Mission, +BIG, and the Catholic Media Network. (YouthPinoy)
Youth promote Calungsod’s canonization via new media
VARIOUS youth organizations and ministries have banded up to promote the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod this coming October in Rome. Headed by Ms. Eilleen Esteban, YouthPinoy! president, the team aspires to promote the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod (BPC) using technology and the internet through different online campaigns targeting young people. The team will provide realtime update and coverage of the events before, during and after the canonization by setting up a website that will act as online portal of all reports, presentations, videos, artworks and important information that is to be disseminated to the public. Esteban said there are many young people involved, not only from Metro Manila and Cebu, but also from other parts of the country. YouthPinoy!, an alliance of young Filipinos who bear witness to their Catholic faith through online evangelization is involved in promoting the big event. Esteban said new media is the cheapest, faster and most effective tool for promotion among younger generation at present. According to data, the Philippines, is no. 3 in the world as the fastest growing social media user and no. 7 in terms of traffic in Facebook, making it a hotbed for social media promotions. Esteban also said that aside from teens, their main market is in the age group of 18-25 years old at 41% and 25-above at 45%. She said the new media platforms will be a venue for information to millions of Filipinos abroad. A series of campaigns will be done to broaden their scope in promoting the canonization event. The team also disclosed the different platforms to be used in promoting the said event, such as websites, facebook, twitter and mobile promotion. Esteban emphasized that the promotion work is a consolidated efforts of Manila with Cebu promotions and the programs committee of the National Commission for the Canonization of Pedro Calungsod. (Jandel Posion)
PHL joins South East Asia youth ministry workshop
represented the Philippines in a workshop on “New Evangelization for Catholic Youths in Asia Context” from June 12 to 15. Organized by the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences—Office of Laity and Family—Youth Desk, the workshop gathered youth ministers from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, and Timor Leste to discuss topics on “Evangelization in Church of Asia”, “Evangelization in Pluralism (Asian Context)”, and “South East Asia 2 Youth Situation and Needs”. Participants also had an exposure at the NahdlatulUlama, an Islamic boarding school or a “pesantren” to see first-hand the reality of pluralism in South East Asia. Before leaving for Jakarta, Borja said in an interview that despite being predominantly Catholic, the Philippines can still benefit a lot from participating in the workshop. “I look forward to an enriching encounter with our counterparts in the sub-region,” he added. Borja observed that previous SEA2 meetings usually have a “slant” on inter-faith dialogue, which is especially needed in areas like Mindanao where Balanay, the other Philippine representative, comes from. The Philippines, together with Malaysia and Indonesia, also attended the SEA2 sub-region's organizational meeting last June 2011 in Bali, Indonesia. Filipino youth ministers, through the CBCP – Episcopal Commission on Youth, have been actively participating in the sub-region's activities since the establishment of the Youth Desk in 1993. (Nirva'ana Ella Delacruz)
Photo courtesy of FABC-OLF Youth Desk
Young delegates from South East Asia 2 sub-region make their way into a "pesantren", an Islamic boarding school, for immersion.
MORE than 300 lay leaders from the East Asian Region of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) gathered to discuss and share on the various realities and challenges that affect their ministry among the poor. The lay Vincentians’ Asian Meet aimed to share among participants the current challenges that affect the lives of the poor and to find new meaning on these realities in the context of God’s love and the Vincentian way of life. The participants also outlined some concrete lines of action as expressions of solidarity with and for the poor in the region. Following the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul and Blessed Frederick Ozanam, the 1st East Asia Group Meeting (EAG) dwelt on the theme “Sowing seeds of Hope” as it tackled the issues of hunger and poverty, overseas migrant workers and their families, persons living with HIV/ AIDS, primary education, and environmental sustainability. “Sowing seeds of HOPE is our concrete response to address these challenges,” said Karl Michael Hila, National Youth Coordinator of SSVP National Council of the Philippines. The meeting followed the See-Discern-Act methodology, according to Hila. “See because we want to see life experiences and the human reality that we would like to reflect on. Discern on the other hand is for the reflection in faith, in the light of faith/Vincentian charism, life integration and attempts to make reality part of my life and Act is our life response where concrete action that will make reality a part of the person,” Hila added. Held in Cebu’s City Park Hotel from May 24 to 27, the international meeting opened with a keynote address of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, also president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. Territorial Vice President Bro. Thomas Tan opened the event
while Mrs. Mayleen Bernardino, SSVP Philippines National President and the Chairperson for the EAG Meeting gave the welcome address. Among the speakers were Ms. Lynette Bautista, director for Policy Development and Planning Bureau of the Department of Social Welfare and Development who discussed Hunger and Poverty Alleviation in the first session and Fr. Edwin Corros, CS, executive secretary of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People who facilitated session 2 on the Upliftment of Overseas Workers and Their Families and Persons Living with HIV Aids. Sr. Amelia Torres, DC, coordinator in the Ministry on HIV and AIDS, Philippine Province of the Daughter of Charity shared on the topic of HIV and AIDS in the Philippines while Dr. Ma. Helena Desiree Terre, president/ chair Vincentian Management Team, Integrated Administration of Colegio de San Jose, Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus & St. Louise de Marillac School of Miagao, Iloilo City discussed Primary Education on the third session. Engr. Nestor Archival, the president of N.A. Systems Inc and NGA Development Corporation in Cebu spoke on Environment Sustainability with Disaster during the fourth session. A statement of commitment was issued by SSVP youth leaders on the last day of their meeting. Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes celebrated the closing Mass. SSVP East Asia region is divided into 3 zones; with Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore comprising Zone 1. Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam comprise Zone 2, while Hongkong, Japan, Korea, Macau (China) and Taiwan belongs to Zone 3. SSVP youth leaders from Australia and New Zealand of the Oceania region also attended the assembly. (Jandel Posion)
Photo courtesy of CBCP-ECY
TWO Filipino youth ministers were among the participants in a four-day youth ministry workshop held in Indonesia for the South East Asia2 (SEA2) sub-region.
Stephen Borja, a junior staff of the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate, and Fr. Jeffrey Balanay, Diocesan Youth Director of Iligan from the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference,
ORDAINED. Rev. Ian Paul Exito Empig was ordained to the Order of Priesthood in the congregation of the Society of St. Paul. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo led the ordination rites on May 5, 2012. The Society of St. Paul is a congregation of religious priests and brothers engaged in evangelization using the means of social communications. It was the first among five religious and five lay institutes founded by Blessed James Alberione. CELEBRATED. First Profession of Religious Vows of Clerics Anthony Azariah Capirayan, Martin Nomer de Lumen, Omar Joseph Thomas Delgado, Keiv Aires Francis Dimatatac, Levy Matthew Faderanga, John Evagrius Ferdinand Malatag and Christian Augustine Tafalla among the Society of St. Paul, June 3, 2012. CELEBRATED. The De La Salle University has ended the year-long observance of its 100th year of presence in the Philippines with week-long culminating activities last June 10 to 17, 2012. Among the activities held were: a fun run at the Mall of Asia grounds and a book launch at the Most Blessed Sacrament Chapel on June 10; a centennial bazaar, Misa ng Bayang Pilipino, Vision-Mission and DSLU Publishing House Ebooks and Print book launch on June 11; unveiling of Centennial Tree Marker and National Historical Commission of the Philippines Marker, and Testimonial Dinner for the DLS College/DLSU GS and HS Faculty and Staff on June 13; Unveiling of the Eco-marathon cars and Youth night on June 14; Centennial Culminating Eucharistic celebration presided by Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto at the Most Blessed Sacrament Chapel, blessing of the Henry Sy Sr. Hall, launch of DLSU website, and cultural presentation among others, on June 15; motorcade on June 16 and Kasalang bayan on June 17. The De La Salle College was first opened in 1911 by the Brothers of Christian Schools, also known as La Salle Brothers on General Luna Street in the historic district of Intramuros, in Manila. Today, the De La Salle University is committed in providing a liberal Christian education to its students even as it instills the importance of Christian values and seeks to develop leadership quality among its students. The Brothers are religious educators who were inspired by their founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle and have consecrated their lives for the service of the youth. DIED. Mother Maria Assumpta David, RVM on June 16, 2012 in Davao City at age 85. Mother Assumpta has spent 61 years of her life as a member of the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary. She served as the congregation’s superior general for two terms from 1985 until 1996, aside from handling many other important apostolic assignments. She also served for many years as a board member and Region II trustee of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).
Tarlac holds 1st Summer Youth Camp
OVER 100 young people turned up for the Diocese of Tarlac's first ever Summer Youth Camp held last May 18 to 19 at San Luis Educational Foundation in Brgy. San Luis, Tarlac City. Young people from various Tarlac parishes experienced a spiritual overnight vigil consisting of prayers, talks, songs and dances. Themed “Youth and Media: One Faith, One Mission”, the youth gathering was part of the summer mission activities organized by the Sisters of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP). Kicking off with the procession of the Bible with accompanying reflections, the vigil lasted until morning with an ensemble consisting of a mini-concert by the FSP Sisters in initial formation, a talk on the theme Youth and Media: One Faith, One Mission by Sr. Carmel Galula, FSP, and sharing and creative group presentations based on the theme. Seminarians from the Our Lady of Peace College Seminary (OLPCS), parish youth groups, and the young Sisters themselves wowed the crowd with their presentations and animation dance numbers. At around 2 a.m., the Blessed Sacrament was exposed as the Sisters led the youths in prayer with a modified Taize service based on the Alberionian spirituality, Way, Truth and Life. Confession and counseling followed in which all attendees save for some born-again Christians who were also present at the vigil were assisted by the OLPCS priests and FSP Sisters. The overnight vigil ended with a Eucharistic Celebration presided by Rev. Fr. Jowi Mendoza, the Parochial Vicar of the San Sebastian Cathedral Parish and the symbolic burning of pornographic materials and calendars gathered by the Daughters of St. Paul as they made their home visits at Brgy. San Luis and Sitio Balanti, an isolated sitio in Tarlac City. The youth camp was the culminating activity for this year's summer mission of the Daughters of St. Paul in initial formation. Tarlac Bishop Florentino Cinense generously supported the Sisters’ missionary activities as they conducted home visits and media displays in eight parishes in his diocese. The young missionaries composed of 18 formands from as-
Following Eucharistic celebration that culminated the overnight vigil, the FSP Sisters, together with the youth burn pornographic materials gathered by the Sisters from their home visits in the barangays.
pirancy to juniorate—plus a perpetually professed sister-adviser, Sr. Leah Delos Santos; also gave a series of Bible seminars to Parish Youth Ministry (PYM) members of San Sebastian Cathedral Parish, children and adult catechism sessions, vocation talks in various parishes, and launched Paulines' newest publication, “Kultura ng Buhay” a novena promoting the culture of life. From April 27 to May 21, the Sisters distributed and enthroned Bibles in over 40 homes as part of the Daughters of St. Paul-Philippines-Malaysia-
Papua New Guinea-Thailand Province's “Biblia sa Bawat Pamilya,” a Diamond Jubilee project whose aim is to spread 75,000 copies of Bible around the Philippines. The Daughters of St. Paul is an international religious congregation of women who are called and consecrated to proclaim Jesus Master, the Way, the Truth and the Life through the apostolate of social communications. They will be celebrating their 75th year of foundation in the Philippines in 2013. (Kristine Andrea Fernandez)
Photo courtesy of FSP Sisters
Vol. 16 No. 13
June 18 - July 1, 2012
‘You are the Heirs to a Church that has been a Mighty Force for Good in the World’
(Statement of Pope Benedict XVI delivered at the Closing of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress on June 17, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland)
Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Some Reflections from Asia
(A talk delivered by Most Rev. Luis Antonio G. Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, during the 50th International Eucharistic Congress held in Dublin, Ireland; June 10-17, 2012) THE so-called crisis of the clergy unfolding these past years is immense in scope. It includes allegations of sexual misconduct, suspicions about the clergy’s handling of money, accusations of misuse of authority, inappropriate lifestyle and a host of other things. The faithful are appalled at the rudeness of their pastors. Priests who do not preach well or do not preside at sacraments religiously cause scandal as well. So when we refer to the crisis in the Church related to the clergy, we are dealing with a multi-faceted reality. But our colloquium is centred on the allegations and actual cases of sexual misconduct on the part of the clergy. At first glance, this crisis seems to be about explicitly sexual behaviour only. But a closer look at the actual cases reveals that deep theological, spiritual, anthropological and pastoral issues are involved. That is why the impressionist way by which some people tackle the problem is quite inadequate and even unfair. We almost automatically associate the word crisis with a problem or a difficult situation. But the root of the word crisis is the Greek krino, which means to make distinctions and to exercise judgment. It also connotes being subjected to judgment or being brought to trial. So the core of a crisis lies in the fact that a particular situation demands discernment, right judgment and decision. On the basis of our judgment and decision, others will judge us. I believe the allegations and actual cases of sexual misconduct on the part of the clergy present a crisis in the two senses of the word. On the one hand, we have to understand, judge and decide on various aspects of the matter. On the other hand we should listen to what the world and the rest of the Church say about the clergy. To pretend that no problem exists does not help. An Attempt at Understanding the Crisis It is good to be reminded at the outset that the sexual misconduct of the clergy covers a whole range of actions that are quite diverse and could not be lumped together under one category. Unfortunately, treating all the cases uniformly has been the panic response in some quarters. While they all fall under the general heading of sexual misconduct, each case is unique. But due to the limitations of our conference, we cannot deal with the incidents individually. My reflection is meant to offer perspectives on the sexual misconduct by the clergy from the Churches in Asia. Since the vast continent of Asia is home to diverse cultures, traditions and histories, it is almost impossible to pin down a single Asian perspective. My Philippine background will undeniably surface in this paper. But I consulted with some bishops, pastors, religious, laypersons, social scientists and theologians from the member Churches of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) to gather some data, though not in a strictly scientific way. Because the Church is a tiny minority in most Asian countries, the reported cases of sexual abuse of children and other sexual misconduct by the clergy are fewer compared to the national averages. This does not mean, however that the Churches could ignore the few reported cases. In some parts of Asia, incidents of paedophilia are less than those of homosexual and heterosexual relations with adults. Some priests have sired children. So far there have been few legal cases filed against clerics in Asia in the area of sexual criminal acts. When the crisis erupted in the Northern hemisphere, there was a tendency to think of the problem as mainly tied to Western cultures. But such a view changed when similar cases surfaced in Asia. While the various Episcopal conferences and religious orders have been addressing the allegations as they arose, there is a pressing need to formulate national pastoral guidelines for handling such cases. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has undergone a long process of crystallizing its guidelines that are now being finalized for presentation to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Other Episcopal conferences in Asia are in various stages of formulating their respective guidelines and codes of conduct for the clergy. The relative “silence” with which the victims and Asian Catholics face the scandal is partly due to the culture of “shame” that holds dearly one’s humanity, honor and dignity. For Asian cultures, a person’s shame tarnishes one’s family, clan and community. Silence could be a way of preserving what is left of one’s honor. It could also be a sign of trauma. But many victims and counselors have discovered the potential of “shame” or love for one’s human dignity as a source of self-respect, courage and determination to act towards healing and renewal in the Church, especially of the clergy. At this point I would like to indicate some aspects of the crisis generated by the sexual misconduct of the clergy. The experiences of the Churches in Asia have called our attention to these elements. First is the personal and relational aspect. In the holistic and person-oriented worldview of Asian peoples, sexuality deals with a person’s identity and relationships. It is not just about sexual preferences and actions arising from them.
Misconduct / B2
DEAR Brothers and Sisters, With great affection in the Lord, I greet all of you who have gathered in Dublin for the Fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress, especially Cardinal Brady, Archbishop Martin, the clergy, religious and faithful of Ireland, and all of you who have come from afar to support the Irish Church with your presence and prayers. The theme of the Congress— Communion with Christ and with One Another—leads us to reflect upon the Church as a mystery of fellowship with the Lord and with all the members of his body. From the earliest times the notion of koinonia or communio has been at the core of the Church’s understanding of herself, her relationship to Christ her founder, and the sacraments she celebrates, above all the Eucharist. Through our Baptism, we are incorporated into Christ’s death, reborn into the great family of the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ; through Confirmation we receive the seal of the Holy Spirit; and by our sharing in the Eucharist, we come into communion with Christ and each other visibly here on earth. We also receive the pledge of eternal life to come. The Congress also occurs at a time when the Church t h ro u g h o u t t h e w o r l d i s preparing to celebrate the Year of Faith to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, an event which launched the most extensive renewal of the Roman Rite ever known. Based upon a deepening appreciation of the sources of the liturgy, the Council promoted the full and active participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic sacrifice. At our distance today from the Council Fathers’ expressed desires regarding liturgical renewal, and in the light of the universal Church’s experience in the intervening period, it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities. The renewal of external forms, desired by the Council Fathers, was intended to make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery. Its true
purpose was to lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist, and thus with the living God, so that through this contact with Christ’s love, the love of his brothers and sisters for one another might also grow. Yet not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and “active participation” has been confused with external activity. Hence much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal. In a changed world, increasingly fixated on material things, we must learn to recognize anew the mysterious presence of the Risen Lord, which alone
and eternal covenant for the forgiveness of sins and the transformation of the world. Ireland has been shaped by the Mass at the deepest level for centuries, and by its power and grace generations of monks, martyrs and missionaries have heroically lived the faith at home and spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness well beyond your shores. You are the heirs to a Church that has been a mighty force for good in the world, and which has given a profound and enduring love of Christ and his blessed Mother to many, many others. Your forebears in the Church in Ireland knew how to strive for holiness and
can give breadth and depth to our life. The Eucharist is the worship of the whole Church, but it also requires the full engagement of each individual Christian in the Church’s mission; it contains a call to be the holy people of God, but also one to individual holiness; it is to be celebrated with great joy and simplicity, but also as worthily and reverently as possible; it invites us to repent of our sins, but also to forgive our brothers and sisters; it binds us together in the Spirit, but it also commands us in the same Spirit to bring the good news of salvation to others. Moreover, the Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, his body and blood given in the new
constancy in their personal lives, how to preach the joy that comes from the Gospel, how to promote the importance of belonging to the universal Church in communion with the See of Peter, and how to pass on a love of the faith and Christian virtue to other generations. Our Catholic faith, imbued with a radical sense of God’s presence, caught up in the beauty of his creation all around us, and purified through personal penance and awareness of God’s forgiveness, is a legacy that is surely perfected and nourished when regularly placed on the Lord’s altar at the sacrifice of the Mass. Thankfulness and joy at such a great history of faith and love have recently been shaken in an appalling way by the revelation
of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care. Instead of showing them the path towards Christ, towards God, instead of bearing witness to his goodness, they abused people and undermined the credibility of the Church’s me ss a g e . H ow a re we t o explain the fact that people who regularly received the Lord’s body and confessed their sins in the sacrament of Penance have offended in this way? It remains a mystery. Yet evidently, their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit. The work of the Council was really meant to overcome this form of Christianity and to rediscover the faith as a deep personal friendship with the goodness of Jesus Christ. The Eucharistic Congress has a similar aim. Here we wish to encounter the Risen Lord. We ask him to touch us deeply. May he who breathed on the Apostles at Easter, communicating his Spirit to them, likewise bestow upon us his breath, the power of the Holy Spirit, and so help us to become true witnesses to his love, witnesses to the truth. His truth is love. Christ’s love is truth. My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that the Congress will be for each of you a spiritually fruitful experience of communion with Christ and his Church. At the same time, I would like to invite you to join me in praying for God’s blessing upon the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2016 in the city of Cebu! To the people of the Philippines I send warm greetings and an assurance of my closeness in prayer during the period of preparation for this great ecclesial gathering. I am confident that it will bring lasting spiritual renewal not only to them but to all the participants from across the globe. In the meantime, I commend everyone taking part in the present Congress to the loving protection of Mary, Mother of God, and to Saint Patrick, the great patron of Ireland; and, as a token of joy and peace in the Lord, I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing.
but celebrations of the Church itself, which is “the sacrament of unity”…therefore liturgical actions pertain to the whole body of the Church and manifest and affect it…. Every liturgical act is never just a private act of an individual, but constitutes the culminating moment when the whole Church renders public and complete worship to God. 4) The actions are approved by the authority of the Church. Thus, c.846 explicitly establishes: §1. The liturgical books approved by the competent authority are to be faithfully observed in the celebration of the sacraments; therefore no one on personal authority may add, remove or change anything in them. §2. The ministers are to celebrate the discipline of sacred liturgy shows an acknowledgment of the insufficiency of the proclamation of the Word of God alone. The Church also has the fundamental mission of carrying out the salvation that it proclaims “through the sacrifice and the sacraments around which revolves the whole liturgical life” (SC, 6). Thus, the Code establishes the doctrinal principle that liturgy—at the center of which are the sacraments—is simultaneously an act of worship and an act of sanctification: through it “God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified” (SC, 7). To those who object to the very notion of liturgical laws, a recent Instruction from the Congregation for Divine Worship pointed out that on which is based the exclusive competence of the ecclesiastical authority in the regulation of all matters regarding the liturgy. 1) Principle of Substantial Unity. “By virtue of its pastoral authority, [the Church] can ordain what may be useful for the good of the faithful, according to the circumstances, times and places. But it does not have any power to change what pertains to the will of Christ, which is what constitutes the immutable part of the Liturgy.” 1 This principle is premised on the distinction between changeable and unchangeable (immutable) elements of the liturgy: immutable elements are those which depend on the foundational will of Christ—e.g.,
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 13
The Importance of Liturgical Law
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
VATICAN II affirmed that it is through the liturgy or the public worship of the Church that “the work of our redemption is exercised” and that the liturgy is “the outstanding means by which the faithful can express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the Church” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n.2). Therefore, the Council concludes, “the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the fountain from which all her powers flow” (SC, n.10). After the liturgically-rich celebration of Holy Week and the pageantry of the Marian month of May, with the implementation of the new English translation of the Roman Missal, it is timely to consider once more the reality of Liturgical Law and the importance of observing it during liturgical celebrations. The underlying question is: Are there Church laws regarding the conduct of the liturgy, or is public worship open to the free initiative of the individual parish priest and his parishioners. What is Liturgy? a. Canonical Definition of Liturgy The Code of Canon Law gives a working definition of sacred liturgy in c.834, which states: §1.The Church fulfills its office of sanctifying in a special way in the sacred liturgy, which is indeed the exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ; in it through sensible signs the sanctification of humankind is signified and effected in a manner proper to each of the signs and the whole of the public worship of God is carried on by the mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and the members. §2. This worship takes place when it is carried out in the name of the Church by persons lawfully deputed and through acts approved by the authority of the Church. b. Essential Elements of Liturgical Actions From the above, the following essential elements of a liturgical action can be deduced, the last three of which are juridic requirements: 1) A fundamental element of the liturgy is that it is an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. Thus, in the Holy Mass, it is Christ who consecrates the Eucharist; when the confessor absolves, it is Christ who forgives sins; even when an ordinary faithful baptizes, it is Christ who baptizes. 2) Sens ib le s ig n s a re u s e d , which both signify and effect the sanctification of mankind. In this regard, it is important to comment that the liturgical sign should keep close relation with the sanctification that it signifies (to the exclusion of the vulgar and the inane). 3) The public worship of God is carried out by the whole Mystical Body—i.e., it is offered in the name of the Church. Thus, c.837, §1 states: Liturgical actions are not private actions for ecclesial communion. Thus, any arbitrariness in its celebration implies a rupture of this ecclesial communion and must therefore be avoided. 3º Lex orandi, lex credendi. The liturgy is closely linked to the deposit of faith. Hence, any laxity in liturgical discipline is at the same time effect and cause of important dogmatic errors. 2) Principle of Centralization. This reinforces the previous principle, and is contained in c.838: —§1. The supervision of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, which resides in the Apostolic See and, in accord with the law, the diocesan bishop (c.838, §1). —§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal
sacraments according to their own rite. 5) The actions are carried out by persons lawfully deputed—a deputation that is different, as previously mentioned, from that enjoyed by all the faithful by virtue of baptism, which is a sharing in the common priesthood mentioned in c.836 and described by Vatican II. The Existence of Liturgical Laws a. Place of Liturgy in Church Law Vatican Council II emphasized the importance of liturgical laws, leading to a greater systematic autonomy to liturgico-sacramental norms in the present Code of Canon Law (CIC). Such a systematic emphasis on the canonical
the finality of the liturgical norm is not only to avoid errors, but above all and precisely to unify efforts in the transmission of the truth. In this regard, the liturgical norm finds its reason in the double quality of any liturgical act—i.e., they are public (of the community, of the Church), and they express the faith. b. Principles of Liturgical Law Liturgical actions are not private actions but are celebrations of the whole Church—i.e., the People of God united and ordered under the guidance of the bishops. This public character of liturgical actions, as well as their intimate connection with the principles of the Faith, constitute the ratio legis
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the substance of the sacraments and whatever is more directly related to that substance; changeable elements are those which do not belong or are not directly related to the substance of the sacraments. The basis of this principle is threefold: 1º The liturgy belongs to the public patrimony of the entire Church, and should therefore be subject to the regulation only of the capital offices. Thus, Vatican Council II had categorically declared that “no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (SC). 2º The liturgy is the principal factor
Church, to publish the liturgical books, to review their translations into the vernacular languages and to see that liturgical ordinances are faithfully observed everywhere. Thus, the following are reserved to the Holy See: 1º All that refers to the validity of the sacraments (c.841). 2º All that refers to the licitud of the sacraments the regulation of which the Holy See has not decentralized to the Episcopal Conferences and to the diocesan Bishops. 3º The edition of liturgical books (c.383, 2). 4º Recognition of versions of
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Using an iPad at the Gospel
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: I want to know if the spirit of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal will allow the use of the iPad for the reading of the Gospel by the priest? What does he venerate then—the iPad or the Book of the Gospels?—H.A., Lashibi, Ghana A: So far the universal Church has made no official pronouncement regarding the use of electronic tablets in the liturgy. At least one cardinal, celebrating in his cathedral, has publicly used a tablet in lieu of a missal, but this does not constitute official ratification. In contrast, a recent statement from the bishops of New Zealand said that tablets should not be used for Mass and other public rituals. Hence what I say has no official standing whatsoever. I limit myself to what I consider to be the liturgical principles involved. Although I use a computer, I admit that I am no technology buff and have so far managed to survive without even a mobile phone much less a tablet. With respect to using phones or tablets I do not see any great difficulty in a priest or anybody else using these instruments to pray the breviary, especially while traveling. With respect to using a tablet to substitute the missal, lectionary and Book of the Gospels at Mass I would be much more hesitant. On the one hand, it can be argued that the liturgical books, like any other book, are a means of conserving and transmitting information. In this sense the tablet fulfills the same function as the printed page but with some added advantages. For example, the tablet can contain all the ritual books in one place, and it allows the celebrant to switch the text from one language to another as needed and adjust the letter size to his own comfort level. On the other hand, there is a principle which, while not essential to liturgy, should be weighed very carefully before using such instruments. The Church has traditionally reserved the objects used in the liturgy exclusively for the sacred functions. Because of this, these objects generally receive a blessing which separates them from all other uses. One does not use a blessed chalice for domestic purposes; nor would a priest drive around town in alb, stole and chasuble. The reason for this is not the impracticality of the action but because such sacred objects are reserved for a specific time, place and function. Likewise the books used in the liturgical celebration are usually blessed and reserved for sacred use. They are also printed and bound in a format which underlines their holy purpose. Tablets, however, by their very nature, are capable of multiple uses. There is something incongruous in using a tablet as a missal or a lectionary and shortly thereafter utilizing it to respond to e-mail, surf the web, or download a movie. The Book of the Gospels is one case in which I believe that norms exist that apply to our question. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 120d, specifies that only the Book of the Gospels, and not the lectionary, can be carried in the entrance procession and placed upon the altar. This distinction would certainly hold for a multiuse tablet, and thus I think we can say that the norms preclude carrying a tablet in procession, laying it upon the altar, and incensing it. It is possible to speculate that eventually someone could develop a tablet for exclusively liturgical use with an appropriate design and no other programs installed. That might change the terms of the debate. Until such a time arrives, I think it best to avoid using such instruments so as to maintain that sacred distinction of the liturgy from the humdrum of ordinary activities. In special cases, however, such as when a traveling priest finds himself in a bind and has no access to a missal, I believe he could use a tablet in order to be able to celebrate Mass.
The fundamental question of sexuality is “Who am I?” If we put it more philosophically and theologically, it asks “What is a human being? What is the role of relationships in being human? What types of relationships are truly human and humanizing?” The second aspect of the crisis is cultural. The crisis has put Asian cultures and culturally accepted behaviors to judgment. The Bishops of the Philippines have engaged on a reflection on some elements of Filipino culture that might serve as breeding ground for possible abusive behavior. Let us indicate some examples from the Philippine scene that may have similarities with the experience in other countries of Asia. 1.) Filipino culture is a touching culture. It is almost second nature for Filipinos to touch. People flock to the priests after mass to kiss their hands. They appreciate a gentle touch from their pastors too. Groups of teenage boys or girls find nothing wrong to hug one another or envelope a friend’s shoulders with their arms in public. We touch children a lot. But they cannot clearly distinguish an affectionate touch from a malicious one. They are vulnerable to manipulation through touch. 2.) Philippine culture confers much power on adults and those in authority. Minors and subordinates tend to be seen as “possessions” of adults who could do as they please in the name of discipline and their good. The perspective of the child or subordinate is rarely considered. This vacuum could make adults insensitive to a child’s emotion, pain and
needs. 3.) Family is loosely and broadly defined in Philippine culture. We are amazed at how a priest is easily counted a member of a Filipino Catholic family. They open their doors and allow him to enter the most private sections of the house, even the bedrooms of their children. Culturally that expresses trust in the priest. But when abuse occurs, it is more painful because the abuser is not a stranger but one considered a “family member.” 4.) Our culture tends to regard the clergy as more than ordinary humans because they possess extraordinary or divine powers. Power in whatever form can harm when misused. Because the culture clouds over the clergy’s humanity, some of them hide their true selves and lead double lives. Duplicity can breed abusive tendencies. In sum, Asian cultures are being asked to discern. What is our concept of “boundaries”? How can we prevent cultural expressions of affection and intimacy from becoming tools of abuse? How do our cultures view women, the sexual act, maleness, etc.? Third is the ecclesiastical aspect. When a cleric transgresses, even if the action is not criminal in the civil forum, ecclesiastical vows or promises are violated due to norms that are in place. The crisis urges us to understand more deeply the Church’s discipline and to help the world understand it too. A case in point is celibacy. A fuller and more just understanding should situate it within the Church’s rich spiritual, pastoral and canonical tradition. The crisis has challenged us to have a
more adequate understanding of the promise to remain celibate and to lead a chaste life. This approach will resonate with the traditions of the ancient religions in Asia that value celibacy. We need, especially in formation, theology, canon law and moral theology a serious evaluation of this issue and the varying opinions on it. Many people think that celibacy is simply a rule that the conservative Church has to observe for the sake of tradition. Some make it the culprit for all types of sexual misconduct. Others defend it but in a narrowly legalistic way that proves ineffectual. We need a serene but comprehensive consideration of the matter. The fourth is the legal aspect. The laws of countries cover a whole range of acts deemed criminal, some of which are in the area of sexual acts. There are also legal definitions that do not always correspond to our ordinary usage of terms. It is good for the clergy to know how the law defines a child, rape and harassment. For example, there are laws safeguarding the well being of employees. Church people must be sensitive to harassment in the workplace. What signs of affection and types of gifts are not offensive? What could be construed as harassment? The diverse political situations in Asian countries necessitate that the Churches instruct their clergy in their country’s legal systems. Clerics are not exempt from the observance and weight of civil law. It should be noted that the jurisprudence in the Philippines
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Vol. 16 No. 13
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Year of the Missions
Laoag culminates jubilee year highlighting importance of mission
THE Diocese of Laoag culminated its year-long 50th jubilee festivities with a symposium on mission facilitated by the Philippine Mission Society (PMS). PMS National Director, Fr. Socrates Mesiona, MSP and staff Anthony Dameg, in their talk had reminded the faithful of the importance of missionary work in the Church. “It is very providential that the Philippine Church celebrates the year of the mission this year which coincides with the celebration of the golden anniversary of the diocese of Laoag. This is the time that we as a diocese look back to the gift of faith sown by the missionaries. So it is just and fitting to talk about mission in order for us to be reminded of the work of mission and our mission,” diocesan priest Fr. Jojo Alnas said. In this aspect, Alnas continued, it is high time also for the faithful of the diocese to know about the PMS in particular and mission in general which was the content of the talk of Fr. Soc and Bro. Anthony. He also said that the faithful must be aware that the Christian Catholic faith was handed down to us through the work of missionaries, particularly the Augustinians who rooted the faith in Laoag. Around 600 teachers of Catholic schools in the diocese, catechists, religious men and women, parish pastoral councils, students and other faithful attended the culminating event at St. William the Hermit Cathedral. Aside from the mission talk, other activities include a film showing about the Church in Mission, the burying of a time capsule and the closing Eucharistic celebration. (Jandel Posion)
Pedro Calungsod: A mission Seeing God’s grace for a Vertueux Catechiste at work among
(Lifted from the book of Fr. Ildebrando Jesus Aliño Leyson titled Pedro Calonsor Bissaya: Prospects of a Teenage Filipino) ONE sunny day in June 1662, the Spanish ship San Damian, bound for the Philippines from Acapulco, made the routine stopover in the Ladrones Islands, a series of approximately seventeen volcanic and uplifted coral formations in the west Pacific Ocean, 1,500 miles (2,400 km) east of the Philippines. There was yet no Spanish settlement in those islands at that time, so that ship did not anchor but only stood offshore from an inlet of one of the islands for some time to obtain water and fresh food from the islanders who sailed out in their proas (A proa is a typical Micronesian canoe). The islanders eagerly passed up baskets filled with glistening fish, colorful fruits and other fresh produce in barter for iron and nails on which they depended to replenish their stock of knife blades, adzes and fishhooks. The iron and nails were lowered on ropes by the ship’s crew because the islanders were never allowed to get into the ship by the visitors for fear that they might steal things, for the sad reputation of the natives was that they were ladrones, that this, thieves. On the deck, watching the islanders clamor for the iron and nails, was the thirty-year-old Jesuit Priest, Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores, who was on his way to his new assignment in the Philippines. The sight of the pagan islanders made a deep impression on Padre Diego. From that time on, establishing a Mission in the Ladrones Islands became his obsession. Before departure, the crew of the San Damian took on board for Manila a Visayan named Esteban who had been aboard the galleon Concepcion when it was wrecked in the Ladrones in 1638. During his long residence in the Ladrones Islands since the shipwreck, Esteban had become fluent in the language of the islanders. An impossible dream While working in Manila, Padre Diego also tried to campaign for a Mission in the Ladrones. The Royal Ministers—the civil authorities at that time—praised the zeal of Padre Diego, saying that they would like to be able to cooperate with him; nevertheless, they were always ready to raise difficulties. There was no available ship; no money with which to pay the cost of sending missionaries to the Ladrones; no priest who could be availed of, for there were not enough to take care of all the work in the Philippines. Padre Diego met their opposition with a firm response: Nothing is impossible with God. Realizing that he could not obtain a satisfactory hearing in Manila, Padre Diego appealed to the King of Spain, Philip IV, with whom he had strong connections through his friends and confrere Padre Everard Nithard, the confessor of the Queen Maria Ana. The King granted the request and ordered the Governor-General of Manila, Diego Salcedo, that a ship be provided for Padre Diego. Although annoyed at Padre Diego’s pulling strings in Spain, GovernorGeneral Salcedo and the Manila authorities nonetheless complied with the royal decrees and ordered that an auxiliary galleon of 300 tons be constructed in Cavite for the nowelated Padre Diego. Not only that, Salcedo commanded that the ship be named San Diego in honor of both himself and Padre Diego. Although matters had progressed satisfactorily thus far, there was still disappointment ahead, for the malevolent Royal Ministers in Manila contrived to have San Diego sail first to Peru for commercial purposes. But the threats of Padre Diego and the ship’s coincidental rolling over on its side at the port made the governor decide in his favor. Having obtained the needed ship, Padre Diego only had to face the problem of finances and personnel for the Mission. He decided to sail first to Mexico (at that time known as Nueva España) to request for money from the Viceroy and the Audiencia of Mexico. As for the personnel, he had in mind his fellow Jesuit, Padre Tomas de Cardeñoso, and some quince o veinte Indios cristianos de los mas antiguos y temerosos de Dios de estas Islas (Filipinas), varones virtuosos y pacientes del trabajo, who would evangelize the natives of the Ladrones mas aun con el ejemplo que con palabras. Pedro Calungsod meets Padre Diego 7 August 1667. The port of Cavite was busy. The brand-new San Diego was leaving for Acapulco. On board was the triumphant con palabras. Young though they were, they must have already burned with zeal for the salvation of souls. They must have realized that they were embarking on a holy and serious mission. As missionaries, they may have also been aware that they may not be able to return home. Among those boys was Pedro Calungsod. Had his parents been able to send him off? Cavite was just too far away from their home in the Visayas. Was not his family made anxious about the trip across the Pacific Ocean, knowing that there could be any typhoon which they called bagyo in Bisaya? It may have been heartrending to see the boy part from his dear ones as they tried to console each other with the hope of being reunited again somehow—God willing. But bridges had to be burned; for he who does not do so is not worthy to be a disciple of Christ. Did not Jesus say that “everyone who has left houses, brother, sisters, father, mother, (…) or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life?” (Mt 19:29). We do not know exactly how, when and where Pedro Calungsod came to meet Padre Diego. Pedro Calungsod was from the Visayas; yet Padre Diego had never set foot in the Visayas as his apostolate was concentrated only in Manila and Mindoro. T h e re f o re , P e d ro Calungsod and Padre Diego could not have met in the Visayas. Pedro Calungsod must have been in Manila or in Cavite at the time when Padre Diego was preparing for the Ladrones Mission. Why? How? Was he recommended to be among the missionaries for the Ladrones and sent from the Visayas to Manila by the Jesuits—confreres of Padre Diego—who were evangelizing the Visayas in those days? We do not know. It seems more probable that Pedro Calungsod and Padre Diego cold have met each other in Manila or just before their departure in Cavite. The Ladrones Islands during that time were under the jurisdiction of the old Diocese of Cebu. Thus, Padre Diego also had to ask permission to start the Ladrones Mission from the then Bishop of Cebu, Padre Juan Lopez, O.P., who gladly responded, “Whatever I can do to help and solicit for an enterprise so much for the service of God, I will do it as I should, for it is my obligation.” Being a Visayan, Pedro Calungsod belonged to that diocese. Could it be that he was numbered among the missionaries for the Ladrones because he was sent as a proper gesture of support by that concerned diocese? Or did he himself volunteer to join the Ladrones Mission? We do not know. It is quite probable that Pedro Calungsod was chosen to be among the first missionaries for the Ladrones because he was found to posses the ideal qualities of an exemplary missionary. There may not have been any problem on the part of Pedro Calungsod for he was trained for the missions and Padre Diego was just the Mission superior anyone could ever dream of. It may even be said that those companions of Padre Diego were more than willing to help him in the Ladrones Mission not only on account of their apostolic zeal but also because they were arrastrados de su cariñoso y santo proceder (“attracted by his kind and holy manner of life.) (To be continued)
Photo courtesy of PMS
By Evelyn de Alba, FI
THE Congregation of the Hijas de Jesus or Daughters of Jesus, was founded by Saint Candida Maria de Jesus in Salamanca, Spain. At present, our religious community here in Mae Hong Son, Thailand is composed of three Hijas de Jesus sisters, two from the Philippines and one from the Dominican Republic. We were sent here to work with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). Unlike other missionaries, we do not do direct teaching about Jesus and His Gospel. Through the programs that we coordinate we help in carrying out the mission of JRS: to accompany, to serve, and to advocate for displaced persons. We work among the more than 18,000 refugees from Myanmar who are now living in the two Karenni camps here in Mae Hong Son. The JRS works in the field of education, providing training, stipends for the teachers, as well as teaching and learning materials for the students. It has several programs; one of these is the Accompaniment Program. My work is coordinating the Accompaniment Program which involves planning, implementation, evaluation and making reports. I visit the refugees in their homes and shelters, befriend them, listen to their stories and concerns (this is through the help of an interpreter), and try to help them either directly or by referring them to other organizations. Another activity that I’m involved in is the Family Friendship Group meetings. It was started by Sister Lina Cornelio, FI, in 2005 in one section of Camp One. Sister Lina was the first Coordinator of the Accompaniment Program. She spent her time visiting and befriending the refugees and saw their need to come together, to share and support each other. In response to that need she started with a core group in one section in Camp One. When I took over her work in 2005, I continued meeting the group and started to introduce it to the other nineteen sections of Camp One and the four sections of Camp Two. Since then the Friendship Group meetings have continued. I remember well the common concerns I heard in the meetings at that time: no work, no money, forbidden to go out of the
(From left) Sr. Ana Mendoza, JRS-Adult literacy coordinator, Rebbeca, Burmese Adult literacy trainer in Camp 2, and Sr. Evelyn de Alba, FI, pastoral accompanier stand in Ban mae Surin refugee camp on Thai-Burmese border.
Padre Diego de San Vitores accompanied by Padre Tomas de Cardeñoso, a complement of soldiers and some survivors of the 1638 sinking of the Concepcion in the Ladrones, among whom was a Tagalog and the Visayan named Esteban. These survivors who had returned to the Philippines were to serve as interpreters for the missionaries for they had learned the language of the people of the Ladrones during their years of refuge in those islands. There was not lacking, among those who were sailing off, the Patroness of Padre Diego in all his undertakings: an image of Our Lady of Good Voyage. With them were also some boys—the usual assistants of the Jesuits. Going abroad to an unknown region may have been the kind of adventure those boys delighted in. As normal boys, perhaps yes. But they were also trained missionary catechists and they were going to the Ladrones because they must have passed the high standard of Padre Diego for would-be pioneer missionaries of that difficult mission: Indios cristianos de los mas antiguos y temerosos de Dios de estas Islas (Filipinas), varones virtuosos y pacientes del trabajo, who would evangelize the natives of the Ladrones mas aun con el ejemplo que
camp, unable to provide for the clothes, food and money of their children, fear of being forced to return to Myanmar. The atmosphere seemed depressing and hopeless. I carried in my heart their sad stories and concerns and brought them before the Lord both in mine and in our community prayer. Always I asked the Lord for guidance in my visits and meetings with the refugees. Little by little I tried to help them see the other positive reality in the camp: there is regular food ration, they have houses, their children can go to school, and there are clinics that provide for their health needs, NGOs are there to help them, and so on. I realized that hope, gratitude and appreciation for whatever good one has come from the Lord and He alone can give these gifts to anyone and everyone. So I begged the Lord for these graces for them who feel depressed and hopeless because of the difficult situation they have in the camps. Little by little I saw the change among them as I listened to their sharing in the meetings; they started to express gratitude for the things they have in the camp. Now I try to help them see the opportunities provided for them by the different NGOs through training, and I encourage them to make the most of those opportunities while they are in the camps, because this attitude can help them in their future. I continue to respond to the concerns they raise in my home visits and the Family Friendship Group meetings, sometimes directly or by referring them to relevant agencies who can respond to their concerns on health, resettlement, education or protection. I am happy and truly grateful to the Lord, to the Congregation and to JRS for the opportunity to work with our refugee brothers and sisters in the camps. Looking back to the past six years of accompanying the refugees, I can say that the Lord, who sent us here, has always been and will always be with us. Indeed, the work we do is not only ours but His too. Praised be to Him who continues to attend to His beloved children through all those who respond to His loving call: “Follow Me.”
Photo by Yonap Yosep/JRS Thailand
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 13
The World Meeting of Families Great hope and joy in the Church
By Bishop Gabriel Reyes
THE 7th World Meeting of Families (WMF) was held on May 30 to June 3 in Milan, Italy. It consisted of two parts - the International Theological-Pastoral Congress, and the meetings with the Holy Father, Benedict XVI. The theme of the WMF was “The Family: Work and Celebration.” The family, work and celebration represent three aspects of life, starting with family and opening it up to the world. Work and celebration are ways in which the family inhabits social “space” and experiences human “time.” The theme looks at relationships (the family), the world (work) and human elements of time (celebration). During the WMF, families from five continents came together and discussed their experiences and testimonies. The participants learned and worked together during the Congress. They confirmed their faith and celebrated with the Holy Father. The official Philippine delegation was led by Bishop Gabriel Reyes, Chair of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. Together with him were his secretary, Fr. Giovanni Yago, and the delegate-couple, Kit and Fenny Tatad. Also with them were members of the Pontifical Council for the Family - Archbishop Socrates Villegas, and couple Frank and Gerry Padilla. The Congress was attended by 7,000 delegates. Among the workshop talks was that on Family and Migration given by Bishop Gilbert Garcera of Daet, Camarines Norte. The meeting of the Holy Father with confirmands drew 70,000 people, mostly youth. That was followed by the Feast of Testimonies with 350,000. Then the Mass with the Holy Father had 850,000 attendees. On the whole, the WMF (done once every three years) was a grand event where the people of God were refreshed and energized, wonderful friendships made or affirmed, the continuing focus on the family emphasized, and Catholics once again sent into the world to fight for faith, family and life.
Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes leads Philippine delegation to the 7th World Meeting of Families held in Milan, Italy.
Bishop Purugganan, a channel of righteousness and peace
A tribute to a man of God
By Rev. Fr. Francisco R. Albano
THE history of mankind and all of creation is the story of God’s love for all. A mini-bio of God really. And a short summary is the biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation. Shorter still is the Jesus Story—of promise, hidden life, ministry, passion, and death, resurrection and ascension into glory, all for the salvation of God’s people. The God-stories are also of human persons, their stories of righteousness and unrighteousness, the outpourings of their own love for God and neighbor as well as low-quality responses to God and neighbor ’s love. A minibio of man and woman really. On the whole the stories a re o f l o v e t r a n s f o r m i n g person, society, and creation. Of God using channels to distribute grace of life and love in many forms: historical events, institutions, and people whether they are conscious of it or not. Above all, good people. Above above all, his only begotten son, Jesus. As he would have it, simple people are special conduits of his and their own love to confound the wiles of worldly wealth, power, and prestige. MIGUEL GATAN PURUGGANAN, fondly called Bishop Mike, was a special channel of God’s love for people as well as of his own, no matter that, in his humility, he
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considered his to be pale and wanting. Our part of the world has been of better lot for this. A fast run-down of data: Bishop Mike was born on November 18, 1931 in Cabagan, Isabela, to Dr. Jose Purugganan (+) and Remedios Gatan (+). He finished his elementary education in his hometown, classical high school studies at the Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary in Vigan, I l o c o s S u r. E c c l e s i a s t i c a l studies towards the priesthood were completed at the Central Seminary of the University of Santo Tomas. Doctoral d e g re e s i n T h e o l o g y a n d Canon Law were earned at the Gregorianum in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome in 1957. Performed with grace were Bishop Mike’s pastoral assignments: Vice-Chancellor and Prefect of Discipline of the San Jacinto Seminary in Cagayan; Secretary to Bishop Teodulfo Domingo at Vatican II; Pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish (Cabagan); Rector, San Jacinto Seminary; Vicar General of the then Diocese of Tuguegarao; Consultant of the Episcopal Commission on Seminaries; Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia; Chairman, Episcopal Commission on Lay Apostolate; Bishop of the Diocese of Ilagan (1974); Member, Episcopal Commission on Social Action; N a t i o n a l P re s i d e n t , B a s i c Christian CommunityCommunity Organizing
Program; Member, Episcopal Commission on Canon Law; Member, Permanent Council of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines; Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of St. Ferdinand College, BOT of Our Lady of the Pillar College-Cauayan, and BOT of the Isabela Diocesan Schools System; Founding member, Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum. In all these assignments Bishop Mike was a special conduit of God’s love to which he added his own. H e p ro v e d h i m s e l f t o b e a most worthy channel of righteousness and peace in the years of martial law and after when he supported, nay, participated in, the people’s struggle for justice and peace towards national freedom and democracy. We remember God’s enduring love and mercy for his people: •When the clergy restructured the organizational pastoral setup of the diocese to strengthen the worship, evangelization and social action commissions, the religious organizations, and pastoral programs according to the rubric of integral evangelization towards salvation and liberation. •When together with six magnificent Bishops, he denounced martial law and the dominant (at the time) stance of critical collaboration. •When he refused to be intimidated by the military when it raided the Bishop’s
residence and that of the CFIC sisters on August 23, 1983. •When he co-founded and chaired for many years the national Roman Catholic Basic Christian CommunitiesCommunity Organizing (BCCCO) Program for people’s ecclesial empowerment, regarded with suspicion by the government and the military. •When he set up the diocesan Community-Based Health and Development Program (CBHDP) for the poor, placed under constant surveillance by the military. •When he and the clergy supported the struggle of farmers in the Hacienda Sta. Isabel and Hacienda San Antonio against the plot of Tabacalera Corporation and the ANCA Corporation of mogul Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco not to honor land distribution to the farmer beneficiaries after the Tabacalera lease ended in 1980 (as stipulated by the Treaty of Paris), but to transform the disputed hectares into a base for agribusiness. Alarmed by the violent response of Ta b a c a l e r a , A N C A , a n d security guards and members of the military to the people’s rallies, demonstrations, pickets, the Bishop and clergy c a l l e d o ff t h e C h r i s t m a s midnight Masses of 1982. The Tabacalera-ANCA scheme was crushed by this decisive act of protest, and these estates were placed under the Department of Agrarian Reform. (Sad to
say, till now genuine agrarian reform is wanting in these estates, but that’s another story). •When he did his share to promote Christian unity by being an early member of the prophetic national Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum. •When he gained the respect of national democratic for justice, peace and prosperity, and no less the National Democratic Front of the Philippines could not contain itself in declaring: “The Filipino people, especially those that were privileged to experience his bravery, his keen sense of justice, his organizing ability, and his caring ministry, will long cherish his noble memory. Long live the inspiration and exemplary spirit of service of Bishop Miguel Purugganan!” (NDF Statement, July 9, 2011) •When in 1986 he obtained the decree from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines(CBCP) that the shrine of Our Lady of the Visitation of Guibang declaring this to be a National Shrine, a site of pilgrimage for the entire nation •When he invited several religious organizations of men and women to serve in the diocese, especially the contemplative sisters of the Order of St. Clare to be a special dynamo, a power house of prayer in Isabela. •When he encouraged a n d f o s t e re d s a c r a m e n t a l brotherhood among the clergy,
and insisted on their loyalty to the diocese and its vision and mission. Why did the good Bishop act as he did? Surely, because he believed that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. That the imperative of this faith is to be on the side of life, of justice, of human rights and human care. To be on the side of God’s people of life. The Most Reverend Miguel Purugganan, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Ilagan passed away on July 7, 2011, at 05:01 p . m . H e d i d n o t re c o v e r from a cardiac arrest and complications due to a large clot in his brain. He was honored with a three-day wake at his residence in Cabagan, and five-day wake at the diocesan cathedral. On Friday, July 15, final liturgical honors were accorded him, presided by the Metropolitan Archbishop, the Most Reverend Diosdado Talamayan of Tuguegarao, with the Most Reverend Joseph A. Nacua, OFMCap, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Ilagan, and the Most Reverend Camilo Gregorio, Bishop of the Prelature of Batanes, and a host of priests concelebrating. The cathedral was filled with p arishioner s from a ll t he vicariates. As the Salve Regina was being sung Bishop Miguel, channel of righteousness and peace, was buried in the cathedral crypt. Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord. May perpetual light shine on him.
regarding sexual misconduct of the clergy is not fully developed yet. Lawyers generally follow the unfolding jurisprudence in the United States. The fifth aspect is the media. Blessed Pope John Paul II called the contemporary means of social communications as the new areopagus. We live in a world dependent on and driven by social communication. In itself the world of media and internet constitutes a new culture. For the Church, mass media need to be evangelized as they could very well serve as a means for the spread of the Gospel and its values. However media practitioners observe that when they report on abuses committed by politicians, financiers, etc, the Church appreciates them. But when they expose anomalies within the Church, they are branded as anti-Church and anti-Catholic, even if their information comes from people close to the Church. The crisis invites us to reassess our relationship with the media. As we challenge them to be fair and truthful in whatever they are reporting, the Church should also be prepared to be scrutinized by media, provided the norms of fairness and truthfulness are applied to all, especially the victims. We cannot ignore the fact, however that in some parts of Asia, an anti-Christian sentiment has penetrated social communications. Finally there is a pastoral and spiritual aspect to the crisis. Ultimately the question for the clergy is one of personal integrity before God and the Church. I admit that some of the beautiful teachings of the Church on priesthood are not always observed by
us priests. Integrity in ministerial life and relationships is demanded not only for the good of the clergy but also for the good of the Church community. The Church is harmed and wounded when pastors are abusive in their behavior. The crisis definitely has a pastoral dimension. Some Elements of a Pastoral Response to the Crisis We now present some directions that the Bishops of the Philippines have identified in their response to allegations and actual cases of sexual misconduct. Many Churches in Asia are opting for the same pastoral thrusts. The first element of a response is the pastoral care of the victims and their families. Pastoral care encompasses justice for them, compassion for them, protection for them, and even restitution in some cases. The leaders of the Church have always been accused of helping only the priest offender to the neglect of the victim. It is painful to listen to victims. But allowing their stories to unfold does not only help them but hopefully awakens compassion in us. We learn the dynamics of victimization and the victim’s reaction to their situation. Such learning could serve as a deterrent to victimization in the Church. The pastoral care of victims and their families resonates with cultural and religious traditions of Asia that put high value on compassion for the suffering. The second aspect is the pastoral care of the hurting community, whether a parish, a diocese, or a congregation. The communities where the violations occurred are also wounded and need
pastoral attention. The priest could be taken out of a parish to undergo renewal or even be dismissed. The victim could transfer residence. But the community remains. For a parish community the pain lies in the violation of trust. How do we handle communities whose trust in their priests has been violated? If we do not take the right steps or show empathy, the community might conclude that the Church tolerates these kinds of behaviors, or the Church simply does not care. Then their wounds become deeper. I suggest that in Asia diocesan and congregational guidelines be drawn to protect and to care for wounded communities. Changing pastors is not enough. We should find an effective way of allowing people to voice hurts, to grieve, to understand, to forgive, to institute reform, and to move on in hope. The Asian propensity to quickly restore “harmony” often makes us believe that healing has already occurred when it really has not. We need to discover ways of community healing akin to Asian sensibilities. The third aspect is the pastoral care for the priest offender. The offender who has admitted guilt is often lost, confused, and shamed. He needs help, especially from experts, to understand and evaluate his situation. He must discover whether or not he has the capacity for celibate living. Some decisions have to be made. The best way to care for the offender is to make him face up to the misconduct. He must be made aware of ecclesiastical and canonical processes governing his particular case. The bishop must carefully observe the
procedures especially when the grave matter could lead to dismissal from the clerical state. And if the offender decides to be dispensed from the obligations of the clerical state, then the diocese or the religious order helps the priest to start a new life. All the way, every step should be taken to ensure fairness, truthfulness and compassion. We are happy to note that many priests, religious women and men and laypersons in Asia have been preparing themselves professionally to be of help to clergy with special needs. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) established and operates the St. John Marie VianneyGalilee Centre for Priestly Renewal that offers various programs, one of which provides pastoral care to offender priests. The CBCP also has an Office for Bishops’ Concerns to extend fraternal help to bishops in difficult situations. The fourth aspect especially needed in Asia, is the pastoral care of the priest offender’s family. The offender is not the only one shamed. His family suffers too. The family members feel betrayed by their son or brother. They even blame themselves. “Where did we go wrong in raising him?” Though seldom verbalized, guilt nags their heart. They withdraw from the community and suffer in silence. They need caring, particularly in Asia where the dishonor of one person wounds the family and clan. The fifth aspect is the pastoral care of the non-offender clergy. Those priests who have not committed any offense are also confused. Some might be fearful of their own past and wounds. It is also
possible for priests to look at one another with suspicions about each other’s past. Some of the priest offenders have been dismissed from the clerical state, some are serving their prison terms and some are confined in treatment centres. But who continue to face the community and the rest of the world? The non-offender clergy carry that burden. They have to answer questions. They have to share the shame of their fellow priests by their mere belonging to the one priesthood. Even if they do not talk openly, doubts about their vocation could creep in. The caring for non-offender clergy still needs to be developed in the Churches of Asia. The sixth area of response is the pastoral care of superiors and bishops. It is difficult and painful to be a superior or a bishop nowadays. They feel lost when a cleric commits sexual abuse. As they help their priests, they also have to judge on a matter many of them do not fully grasp. At the same time they cannot defend the priests while neglecting truth, justice, and the good of the victims and the community. Superiors feel battered from all sides. They are accused of covering up if they try to be discreet. If they are firm, they are accused of lack of compassion. But experience in Asia has taught that inaction, mere geographic transfer of priests and insensitivity to the victims compromise the integrity of the religious superior or bishop. We commend the FABC Office for the Clergy for organizing formation programs that would equip the bishops of Asia to understand and handle cases of sexual misconduct of the clergy.
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Vol. 16 No. 13
June 18 - July 1, 2012
An Open Letter to the Philippine President
1 June 2012 HIS EXCELLENCY BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III President Republic of the Philippines Malacañang Palace Manila Dear President Aquino, “… I have witnessed the affliction of my people… and have heard their cry… I know well that they are suffering.” (Exodus 3:6) Mr. President, the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and the Association of the Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) are writing to you today on behalf of our poor farmers on the matter of agrarian reform as it affects the million poor in the countryside. God loves the poor. God hears the laments of the poor in the person of the farmers, who for generations have been enslaved in farms they do not own, trapped in a life of dependency and deprived of their dignity as human beings. . God was with the farmers when the CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) and the CARPER (CARP with Extension and Reform) were enacted. A taste of the Promised Land that seemed within their grasp. Records show, however, that the current Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has been consistently underperforming in implementing the CARPER, particularly the LAD (land acquisition and distribution). This is shown by the huge backlog in covering the remaining 1,093,000 hectares of agricultural lands. In 2011, it only accomplished 54.6% of its national LAD target. In Negros Occidental, the current DAR only managed to distribute 1,798 hectares in 2011. The DAR will have to work at 20 times its current pace to meet its targets. There has been no significant movement in the 135,199-hectare total provincial backlog as of January 2012, and no notices of coverage (NOCs) had been issued on large estates. The DAR performance for the first six months of 2012 is expected to be equally dismal. The current DAR administration has recorded the lowest CARP accomplishment when compared to all DAR-CARP administrations. With this appalling situation, farmers and tillers become restless and desperate. They fear the winds of August 2014, the end year of the extended period of CARP. They have fought for land reform for decades and fear that it will be all for naught. It is in this regard that thousands of farmers will be holding actions around the country that will culminate in the holding of a Lakbayan (national march) from Mindanao to Metro Manila. They are tillers from haciendas and plantations of Negros, Davao Oriental, Davao Norte, Bukidnon, Bicol, Quezon, Batangas, etc. They will be coming to the nation’s capital to knock on the hearts and minds of the nation and call their attention to the gridlock situation of the CARP. They come at great risk and expense because they have nowhere else to go but to their President. The church has known them - these farmers risked their lives for Cory and believed her promise that the CARP will liberate them from the bondage of serfdom. They voted for PNoy because he represented their last chance at realizing their dream of owning their own land. These are the mainstream peasants who have patiently abided by the cumbersome ways of democracy and have resisted the calls for violent revolution. They wish to ask the President to use his enormous political capital to fulfill the vision of CARP by distributing all the remaining balance of “carpable” agricultural lands and by providing the necessary support services and financial support that would help them become successful ownercultivators. This is the meaning to them of the President’s campaign promise of “Daang Matuwid” and Pnoy para sa Mahirap”. Such a judicious use of political power also results in dividends of food security for all, of job creation and rural development. Agrarian reform helps achieve both the equity objective and the sustained economic development that is embodied in the “inclusive growth” theme of the Aquino Economic Development Program 2011-2016. As they come to the doorsteps of Malacañang, they are respectfully requesting for a meeting with their President to personally share their experiences and views on the problems of CARP implementation and on the ways by which these problems could be overcome. This is also a most fitting way to celebrate the 24th CARP anniversary. The farmer leaders request the meeting either on June 8, or June 9, 2012 in your office, at your most convenient time. We make this joint appeal to His Excellency to grant this dialog with our poor sacadas, farmworkers and tillers. We appeal that the President listen to the laments of the poor farmers, in the name of the bountiful God who has shared his bounty with you. In the same manner, this goodwill extended to His people will be returned a thousandfold in terms of the peace, stability and progress of our country under your leadership. For coordination and other information, please contact Fr. Marlon Lacal, Executive Secretary of the AMRSP for Men through Mobile Number 09265076339 and Ms. Belinda L. Formanes of the SULONG CARPER secretariat through Mobile Number 09291685305. Thank you very much and God bless. “Therefore everyone has the right to possess a sufficient amount of the earth’s goods for themselves and their family. This has been the opinion of the Fathers and Doctors of the church, who taught that people are bound to come to the aid of the poor and to do so not merely out of their superfluous goods. Persons in extreme necessity are entitled to take what they need from the riches of others. Faced with a world today where so many people are suffering from want, the council asks individuals and governments to remember the saying of the Fathers: “Feed the people dying of hunger, because if you do not feed them you are killing them,” and it urges them according to their ability to share and dispose of their goods to help others, above all by giving them aid which will enable them to help and develop themselves. (The Church in the Modern World”, Compendium of the Social Doctrines of the Church #69) MOST REV. BRODERICK S. PABILLO, DD National Director, CBCP-NASSA REV. FR. MARLON LACAL, O.CARM Executive Secretary, AMRSP
Is the Philippines truly Free and Sovereign?
(A Statement of the Ecumenical Bishops Forum on the Occasion of Celebrating the 114th Year of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence)
“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1, NRSV). ON June 12, we the Filipino people, will celebrate our 114th year of freedom from the yoke of slavery. It was on June 12, 1898 when General Emilio Aguinaldo and the Filipino revolutionary forces proclaimed independence from Spain after three and a half decades of colonization. The Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK) or simply Katipunan founded by Andres Bonifacio in 1896 defeated the Spanish colonial forces on May 1, 1898 under the watchful eyes of US forces under Commodore George Dewey. The Philippine independence, however, was short-lived because Spain and the United Sates did not recognize it. In the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain ceded the whole Philippine archipelago to the United States for twenty million US dollars. Unknown to the Filipino revolutionaries, US had a previous agreement with Spain for the latter to surrender not to the Filipinos but to the Americans. Feeling betrayed by the US, Aguinaldo declared war against the new colonizers on June 2, 1899. With inferior firearms and ammunition, though, the Filipino revolutionaries were roundly defeated by the Americans with their superior firepower in less than two years. The Katipunan was finally subjugated on March 23, 1901, although America formally declared the “insurrection” over only on July 4, 1902 in time with the US Independence Day celebration. But the war did not end there. Some Katipunan members continued to wage battles against American forces in various parts of the country, from North Luzon to the Visayas. (Mindanao was never colonized by Spain or the Americans.) But again those heroic battles ended in defeat. Filipinos massacred including women and children were estimated between 34,000 to 1000,000. On July 4, 1946 the US granted formal independence to the Philippines. This was not after ensuring America’s control over Philippine social life – politics, economics and culture. Unequal Treaties and Acts were imposed on the Philippine government before and after the “grant of independence” such as the Bell Trade Act with its so-called parity rights provision, the American Tariff Act of 1909 which established free trade, the Hare-Hawes Cutting Act (the same as the Tydings-McDuffie Act) which provided for independence which ensured the pro-Americans to be in political power (Osmeña and Roxas against Recto and Quezon, a divide-and-rule tactic), the PayneAldridge Act which provided for free trade between the Philippines and the US, the RPUS Military Bases Agreement of 1947 which officially allowed the US to set up, maintain and operate air and naval bases in the country for a period of 99 years in various parts of the country, particularly in Luzon, the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951 which allows the US the right to intervene in Asia-Pacific affairs, and many more. Philippine armed forces are also trained according to US military school’s standards and the current Internal Peace and Security Plan (Oplan Bayanihan) is patterned after US Counterinsurgency Guide. On September 16, 1966 the Ramos-Rusk Agreement reduced the term of the RPUS Military Bases Agreement to 25 years beginning that year, which meant it would last only till 1992 instead of 2046. When the agreement was about to end the US asked for a 10-year extension. On September 16, 1991, however, the Philippine Senate under the leadership of Senate President Jovito R. Salonga, voted to terminate the agreement. On December 21, 1992, the US formally left its military bases in the country. But the American soldiers are back! The US managed to have the Visiting Forces Agreement approved in February 1998 before the West Pointer President Fidel V. Ramos ended his term. The Philippine Senate ratified the VFA on May 27, 1999. The US considered the VFA a mere Executive Agreement which did require US Senate ratification. The VFA is silent on how long the “visiting forces” may stay in the country and what sorts of activities they may undertake. But the Balikatan exercises are among them. US troops had been reportedly seen in actual combat operations in Mindanao, Bicol and other places in Luzon. Suspicions are rife that the US vessels that dock temporarily on our shores carry nuclear weapons which are prohibited by our Constitution. The US neither confirms nor denies this. There are other political problems in the VFA provisions which favor the US, such as the jurisdiction over American soldiers who commit crimes under Philippine laws. The VFA’s constitutionality has been questioned before the Supreme Court several times but which unfortunately but understandably ruled on its constitutionality. This year, with the Philippine-China row over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, American soldiers were allowed by the Philippine government to re-occupy their former military bases in Subic in Zambales and Clark in Pampanga in order to defend the Philippine territory from China. But the Scarborough conflict is only being made an excuse in order for the US to deploy their forces in the Asia-Pacific to protect its economic interest in the region and to counteract its economic rival China’s expansionism. A plan to establish a huge pier in Dadiangas purportedly for fishing purposes is underway. In reality this is to strengthen the US marine presence in Southern Philippines as part of their long term plan to maintain their troops in Asia. The visit on June 3 of Gen. Martine Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other top US military officers to talk with top Philippine military officers aims to forge additional security agreements in line with US strategic security plans in this region. We also read in the papers of the presence of US military forces in relation to the Asia Pacific Program and Trans Pacific Partnership towards the economic recovery of the US through the Asia-Pacific markets. The visit of President Aquino to the US this past week was also about the US military deployment in the Philippines, although the President officially denies it as among the topics he discussed with US President Barack Obama. In the field of economy, our leaders are subservient to the dictates of global economic institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade and the World Trade Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. We implement the economic globalization on their behest in spite of the sufferings it caused and continues to cause among our workers, farmers, fisherfolks and indigenous peoples. The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) which gives cash to the poor which is a palliative and does not solve the people’s poverty, is an IMF prescribed measure, We are also bound by the foreign loan automatic appropriation act signed during
the dictatorship rule of Marcos to pay our foreign debts to the detriment of the Filipino people. The Freedom from Debt Coalition claims that 60% of our annual budget goes to loan payment which significantly reduces the budget for social services. This became glaring with the opening of classes on Monday where teachers, classrooms, chairs, blackboards and books are sorely lacking for about 15 million students. In the cultural front, Filipino historian Renato Constantino wrote of the mis-education of the Filipino. English had become the Philippines’ second (actually first in practice) national language and other cultural forms from US proliferate. The K-12 program which was hastily implemented this year by the Department of Education was an IMF imposition which aims to train our young people for deployment in transnational corporations (TNCs) and other jobs overseas providing cheap labor. With all this, can we say that we as a people are free and sovereign? Are we truly independent? The Roman Catholic Church says that “peace is founded not only on respect for human rights but also on respect for the rights of peoples, in particular the
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Pro-Life Philippines Position Paper on Rep. Palatino’s HB 6330, or ‘Religious Freedom in Government Offices Act’
LAST weekend Cong. Raymond Palatino of Kabataan Partylist filed HB 6330 entitled “Religious Freedom in Government Offices Act”. Under the measure, the conduct of religious ceremonies and the display of religious symbols should be prohibited within the p rem i ses a n d perimeter of offices, departments and bureaus, including publiclyowned spaces and corridors within such offices, departments and bureaus. This is, in effect, taking God out of the government and in the public sphere. Therefore, the title of the act is misleading: it should be: Freedom from Religion in Government Offices Act. Cong. Palatino was quick to add that this bill seeks to ‘empower’ heads of offices and departments to follow strictly the constitutional provision on the freedom of religion, particularly the non-establishment clause, and reminds us that ‘public space is for everybody’ in an interview. What for? According to statistics, Christians comprise 81% of the population in the Philippines, with Catholics being 73% of these Christians and about 9% from other Christian denominations. Take away prayers, crosses, religious signs and symbols and portraits, and take away all that remind people of God. How does that make our government officials and employees better public servants? Would making the public space devoid of religious symbols, a move seen to appease those who do not adhere to the religion be fair for the vast majority who adhere to Christianity? Cong. Palatino also wishes to do away with the prayer that starts every Congress session. This move is viewed by many as taking God away from the public sphere. But as many government workers are also religious people, they would find inspiration, solace, consolation, and strength from the various icons, statues, pictures, and symbols found in their offices. Taking them away will certainly not make them better workers. Unconstitutional The very preamble of the Constitution renders this bill unconstitutional: “We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of the Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society...” Although it may initially seem to enforce the Separation of Church and State by citing the non-establishment clause, it goes against the spirit of the Separation of Church and State that is assured by the 1987 constitution. The framers of the 1987 constitution, fresh from the 1986 EDSA Revolution, realized that religious freedom plays a vital role in the democratic process of the Philippines. This is why they set up the Separation of Church and State patterned after The United States. Their version was crafted and championed by Thomas Jefferson, who made sure that the government will not endorse a state religion in the US. In essence, therefore, this Separation of Church and state was made to protect the people from the government’s interference into their chosen religion—just like what Cong. Palatino is doing by filing this unconstitutional bill. Senseless Infatuation with Foreign Ideologies Why are our solons so infatuated with foreign ideologies? They are supposed to represent the people, but it seems that they now represent foreign powers. First it was the RH bill, then the divorce bill, the anti-discrimination bill, and then this. The United States have outlawed the reading of the bible and saying prayers in schools. This bill filed by Cong. Palatino looks eerily the same measure that is being implemented in the US. We are Filipinos. We live by Filipino values and sentiments and one of those values is religiosity. We never forget God. Catholics make the Sign of the Cross whenever riding a vehicle or passing by a church. Public or private buildings are often blessed by a priest or a pastor. All fiestas are connected to a religious figure or saint, or in thanksgiving to God for a bountiful harvest. Our great schools and universities were brought here by religious congregations. These bills being brought forth to Congress for passing are all products of foreign ideologies from countries who have long disregarded the sanctity of life and marriage and the true dignity of the human person. Our Congressmen want to start a slow, downward spiral towards the culture of death. Pro-Life Philippines will do its utmost in order to stem this tide. Turning Away from God And there was the 1986 EDSA Revolution, whose success is still highly attributed to Divine Intervention. With all those soldiers and tanks deployed, not a single drop of blood was shed. It was a modern-day miracle brought about by people who acknowledged that it was God’s greatness that allowed those days of peaceful and bloodless revolution to transpire, a first in the world. The miracle of EDSA was a lesson that has never been learned nor understood fully by the Filipino people. It was an event so extraordinary that it came and went and left us awestruck by what we can do. Today, nearly 30 years after the said event, the likes of Cong. Palatino turn their back from God and propose a law that will make sure we do the same. We can only pray that our leaders be guided by the wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit in order to lead us closer towards God, not away from him. A Call for the Youth’s True Empowerment
Palatino / B7
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 13
Nativity of John the Baptist: The Exigency to Prophesy
John, the great forerunner
Birth of John the Baptist; June 24, 2012
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
CHOSEN before his conception to be the herald of the Messiah, John already caused quite a stir at his circumcision when his elderly father Zechariah regained his ability to speak, after more than nine months of ominous silence. People wondered what that child would be. God had, indeed, great plans for him, for, in due time, he would prepare for the Lord a people well disposed. (See Lk 1:17.) Thirty years later, when John started preaching and administering a baptism of repentance along the banks of the Jordan River, the stir he caused was much greater. It was so great, in fact, that people from all over Palestine and even from Jerusalem flocked to him with expectation and trust. Not a few concluded that he himself was the promised Messiah. But John was an honest and righteous man. He knew that “he was not the light, but had come only to testify to the light” (Jn 1:8). His mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah by calling people to conversion. John considered himself only as a feeble voice shouting in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths!” That is why, right at the height of his popularity, he did not hesitate to state that he was not at all the Messiah but only his herald, and that he considered himself unworthy even to untie the strap of his master’s sandals. Nor was that all. Shortly after, as Jesus was passing by, John directed his own disciples’ attention to him as he proclaimed: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” That was his veiled way of saying that Jesus was the man to be welcomed and followed by all because he was, indeed, the awaited Messiah. As more and more people became Jesus’ disciples and John’s followers started feeling worried about their dwindling numbers, the Baptizer soared to new heights as he declared: “Now my joy is complete. He must increase while I must decrease!” (Jn 3:29-30) John was humble and honest because he was a man of God and a man of principles. He knew what was right and did it, without hesitation or second thoughts. He knew what was wrong and opposed it without fear or compromise. John had the courage to call a spade a spade even when that hurt some people in authority, including King Herod Antipas himself, who had scandalized everyone by taking the wife of his brother Philip. While all others in Galilee, including the religious authorities of those days, preferred to keep quiet or just whisper their disapproval in small circles of friends, John didn’t. He spoke up clearly and fearlessly for all to hear and know that adultery was wrong even when the one committing it was the highest authority in the land. That cost John his freedom. Eventually it would cost him his life. But he was not afraid. He knew that such had been the fate of most of the prophets. Even when chained physically, his spirit remained absolutely free, and from behind the bars of his prison he made his last attempts to set the King free from the prison of sin by reminding him that God’s moral law binds rulers as well as subjects. Even before the news of John’s death reached Jesus, the untamed prisoner received from the Divine Teacher the highest praise one could get: “I solemnly assure you, history has not known a man born of woman greater than John the Baptizer.” Such, indeed, was John—the new Elijah, the last of the prophets of the Old Testament, and the first of Jesus’ disciples, after Mary Most Holy.
Lk 1:57-66, 80; June 24, 2012
the world. John’s preaching and pointing to the Lord preface Jesus’ earthly ministry in all four Gospels. In the Gospel of Luke, John’s birth is recorded in the style of the births of Sampson and Samuel. It is a preface to the birth of Jesus. Something momentous was taking place. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity was becoming man. This was the central event of mankind’s history. The one who would announce the Lord, whose life was foretold in the Book of Malachi, John the Baptist, would be the greatest of the prophets in the Old Testament tradition and the first of the prophets in the New Testament. His birth would also be recorded and celebrated as we do today. John the Baptist was a prophet. We use
By Fr. Joseph Pellegrino
TODAY we leave the rotation of the Sundays of the Year for a celebration of the Calendar Feast Day: the celebration of the Birth of John the Baptist. This feast is put near the first day of summer, because, in the Northern Hemisphere, the days will now begin to grow shorter. John the Baptist proclaimed that he must decrease and the Lord must increase. I want to begin today with a brief look at the Book of the Prophet Malachi. Malachi is the last of the minor prophets, minor not in stature but in length. Using the medieval division of the books into chapter and verse, the major prophetic books, Isaiah, Jeremiah
and Ezekiel are 66, 52, and 48 chapters. The longest of the twelve books of the minor prophets are Hosea and Zacharia, 14 chapters. The other ten are 3 to 5 chapters. Malachi is always put at the end of the list of minor prophets because it has a dramatic ending: “Behold I send my messenger to prepare the way before me.” and “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.” Elijah was the greatest, most powerful of the ancient prophets. The one who would come to prepare the way, would come in the power of Elijah. This one is John the Baptist, a central figure in the introduction of the Messiah to
that term prophet rather loosely to refer to anyone who has made an educated guess or simply a good guess about the future. Sports figures and reporters are called prophets when they correctly predict the outcome of a game or match. Political hacks are called prophets when an election turns out as they expected. In Sacred Scripture, prophecy is much more than that. In scripture prophecy refers to the proclamation of the Truth of God. This Truth is timeless because God is timeless. The prophecy might not always refer to the future. For example, John the Baptist, was being prophetic when he pointed to Jesus and said, “There is the Lamb of God.” John
the Baptist was also being prophetic when he told Herod that the king was a sinner. That was the truth, and John lost his head for proclaiming it. “The time will come to pass that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” That is from the prophet Joel. That time is now. The Holy Spirit has been poured out upon us since Pentecost. We are called, like John, to prophesy, in the full meaning of the term prophet. We are called to proclaim the Truth of God. Truth is not necessarily something that people want to hear. On Friday we celebrated the feast of the martyrs John Fischer and Thomas More. Both opposed the King of England, Henry VIII, in his declaration that he was the Supreme Head of the Church. He did not want to hear that he was committing adultery by marrying Anne Boleyn. He demanded that all the bishops and nobles sign the Act of Supremacy, declaring that the King had complete authority over the Church. Archbishop John Fischer and Sir Thomas More refused. Even after they were imprisoned, Fischer and More’s very existence irritated the King. These martyrs died because they were prophets, committed to the Truth of God. There are times that I have had to tell people that their lifestyle is detrimental to their future. I can assure you that they don’t want to hear it. I have told many people that for them, this or that leads to deep problems. They don’t want to hear it. I have had young couples leave my office quite upset because I told them that there is a considerable increase in the percentage of unsuccessful marriages for those who cohabitate. They would rather that I lie to them, or make believe that I don’t know the truth. No, we are called to proclaim the Truth, even if it is unpopular. I am sure everyone here has gotten into a squabble or two or ten with family members when you mention that a particular lifestyle isn’t proper. Certainly, if you ever told your children that something which is the other kids are doing is wrong, you have had a fight on your hands. Good parents put up the good fight. And, in the long run, the Truth always wins. When John was born, his father Zechariah, his voice restored, proclaimed a great truth, “You, my child, shall be called the Prophet of the Most High.” The song, or Canticle of Zechariah, is prayed every day by the entire Church as part of the Morning Prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours, or Divine Office. This prayer reminds us both of the central event of mankind, the Christ Event, and of our call to join John in proclaiming the Truth. For when we proclaim the Truth, we proclaim Jesus Christ.
We believe in the God of life and wholeness
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time; July 1, 2012
greater (See Mk 5:23.38.) Then the question rings even more dramatically, “Why should young people die?” And when the person who dies seems to be especially good and needed in a family, a group or mankind at large, still the question is asked, “Why should such people, who are so good and needed by others, die?” Men have come up with answers that range from furious rejection to fatalistic acceptance. The Catholic faith has a more articulate answer that ventures even beyond the question itself. Suffering and death are not
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
SUFFERING and death are part and parcel of human existence. They strike all: strong and weak, poor and rich, young and old, good and bad alike. Such truth makes them an even deeper mystery which no one will ever be able to explain fully. All normal human beings do their utmost to keep away suffering or diminish it as much as possible. Mankind has been partly successful in this struggle, thanks to medical science and technology.
Yet, there comes a time, like in the episode of the woman featured in today’s Gospel passage, when even the best physicians seem impotent to cure sickness. (See Mk 5:26.) Such helplessness becomes total in front of death. For a time we may treasure the illusion that we succeed in delaying it and even in “cheating it.” But in the end, death does come for all, as sure as the night follows the day. It comes with its train of pain, ruptures, and dissolution. And whenever a person dies in the springtime of his/her life, the grief is so much
part of God’s plan for man. They are the fruit of the devil’s envy and of man’s yielding to him. One day, this temporary disorder introduced by sin (see the First Reading. See also Gn 3:16-19) will be eliminated. The power of the devil ends with death. God’s power; instead, stretches far beyond death and finds its clearest display after death. It is then that His plan will be revealed and actualized in full. Then “God shall wipe every tear . . . there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain” but only perfect happiness. (See Rev 21:4.)
All this sounds like a wonderful promise of dreamland. Will it ever be fulfilled? Our faith says “YES!” and sees its foreshadowing in the miracles performed by Jesus. Those described in today’s passage are just two of the numberless healing miracles and several resuscitations he performed. The message is always one: Our God is a God of wholeness and life. (See Wis 1:13-14.) He wants us to have life and have it to the full. For this he came to earth. The guarantee of the truth of all this is condensed in the life of God’s Son and his resurrection. And this is all that we need.
Bishop Pat Alo
Sincerity in love
SINCE God knows all things, it is important that we be always sincere in our truthfulness of relationships towards our fellow men and women. We cannot deceive God. And the Bible points clearly to us. “Pardon, and you shall be pardoned. Give, and it shall be given to you…..for the measure you measure with will be measured back to you” (Lk. 6:38). With more reason we should exert efforts in doing good sincerely towards our service to God and the neighbor since God knows our secret intentions and purposes and how much the Lord detests such hypocritical pretense and attitudes in relationships towards others, both towards God and our fellow men and women. Such was the reason why Jesus objected to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. “It is because you are unable to understand my language. The devil is your father, and you prefer to do what your father wants. He was a murderer from the start; he was never grounded in the truth; there is no truth in him at all: when he lies he is drawing on his own store, because he is a liar, and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:43-45). St. Teresa often advised her nuns to be truthful always. Rightfully so, because God is a God of truth and the devil is the father of lies. Even while here on earth we have to keep our lines of connection open to God because God is a God of truth (cf. Jn. 8:45). So if your love for God and the fellow men and women is true and sincere, you can only reap the golden harvest of God’s undying word which assures us: “We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his decree” (Rom. 8:28). If you are true and sincere you will certainly endeavor to seek for His will and do God’s will in your life. God Almighty knows your every secret desire and intention. Even William Shakespeare in his play Hamlet expresses how that sincerity is essential: “To thine own self be true and it will follow as day follows night you will be true to every man.” (Hamlet act i, sc.3)
The anatomy of habitual sin
LET me tell you something that very few people will tell you… Behind every sin is a cry for love. Your greatest and deepest need is to be loved. Mother Teresa said, “the greatest poverty is the poverty of being unloved.” When you don’t fill this great hunger for love, you scramble and grab anything that will quiet this hunger. S o y o u l o o k f o r a re p l a c e m e n t . A painkiller. An anesthetic. That narcotic is sin. Because the pleasure of sin is the pirated version of the pleasure of being loved. The problem with the fake version is that it’ll never truly satisfy your deepest hunger. Instead, it will increase your need. What used to satisfy no longer satisfies. Over time, you’ll need to increase the dose of the narcotic. A porn addict starts looking for unnatural sex. A gambler starts gambling with higher amounts of money. An adulterer starts searching for more partners. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. Gambling. Materialism. Food addiction. Approval addiction. A t t h e c o re o f a l l a d d i c t i o n s , t h e y ’ re all the same: It’s a desperate need for love.
Vol. 16 No. 13
June 18 - July 1, 2012
CARP in Hacienda Luisita: Caught between the Family and the Law
By Belinda Formanes
ON November 2011, the Supreme Court issued the historic decision declaring the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) of the Hacienda Luisita as violative of the spirit of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The single biggest hacienda in the country today was acquired by the Cojuangco family 55 years ago through loans from the Central Bank (CB) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) on the condition that the land would be distributed to the tillers ten years after and at cost. When President Benigno Aquino III was asked for his reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision ordering Hacienda Luisita to be turned over to its farmers, he quickly replied: “But there is also just compensation for landowners.” The Supreme Court decision last April 24, 2012 reaffirmed its ruling of November 2011, ordering redistribution of Hacienda Luisita to more than 6,000 farm workers and fixing compensation for the sugar estate at 1989 prices
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which has been described as a “litmus test” of the firm resolve of the administration to follow the law and implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program launched by the President’s mother, Cory Aquino, in 1987. Inside Hacienda Luisita now A study on the situation in the hacienda titled “Sustaining the Agrarian Reform Process Today and Beyond 2014” was undertaken by the Center for Research and Special Studies (CRSS). The study found that most of the 1989 original farmworkers whom the Supreme Court upheld as agrarian reform beneficiaries of the sugar estate in Tarlac are either dead or aging. (Aging farmers, land leases stalk Hacienda Luisita, Tonette Orejas, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 2, 2012.) The study also found that more than 3,000 hectares of the estate owned by the family of President Aquino in Tarlac had been leased to financiers, local politicians and groups connected with Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), a mill within the estate also owned by the Cojuangcos. This lease arrangement is called
“ariendo.” It was started by the FWBs after the 2004 strike when the high court issued a temporary restraining order stopping the DAR and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) from placing Hacienda Luisita under the coverage of CARP. According to the study, the lands were taken by the FWBs and the barangay councils. The original purpose was to fill the food shortage and lack of employment in the hacienda.
Financiers rented lands at P10,000 per hectare a year. Several financiers replaced the FWBs with Visayan farm workers who are paid P120 a day for 12 hours of labor. The ariendo system explains the mill’s continuing operations. Some ariendos are effective until 2015. In the meantime, FWB households languish in deep poverty. Many families eat what local folks regard as “exotic food” like rats and snakes. This was not the case in the hacienda prior
to the land contention periods. There are also reports of management’s efforts to bring the hacienda to agreements long employed in Mindanao plantations—of deceptive 25 year leaseback agreements with agrarian reform beneficiaries renewable for another 25 years. This is what may be considered a bittersweet comeback for the Cojuangcos that will no doubt decimate CARP in Hacienda Luisita! After two life terms of SDOs and leasebacks, there can only be injustice and misery! Social justice demands the giving of more law to those who have less in life. But for the farmworker-beneficiaries (FWBs) of Hacienda Luisita, granting more law is never enough. Social justice should lift them out of destitution and the freedom to transform themselves and their children to meaningful development. This means that freedom should be realized now, not later, not after debilitating episodes of unrest. We call on President Benigno S. Aquino and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to hasten the CARP process in the hacienda now. Let Pnoy dismantle the other SDOs in
Negros, in Mindanao and to stop the illegal maneuvers of haciendas and plantations to evade CARP by leaseback agreements. The challenge to President Aquino is to be President for the poor farmers and the country. More importantly, to heed the call for justice: “If someone who has the riches of this world sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 Jn 3:17). It is well known how strong are the words used by the Fathers of the Church to describe the proper attitude of persons who possess anything towards persons in need. To quote Saint Ambrose: “You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. The world is given to all, and not only to the rich.” (On the Development of Peoples, #23) (The author is a member of the secretariat of SULONG CARPER and Secretary-general of Climate Change Congress of the Philippines -CCCP)
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The final area of response is formation, both seminary formation and the ongoing formation of the clergy. First is formation in human maturity. Of the many aspects of human maturity one important area is responsible relationships. This is the focus of the crisis: the capacity to relate responsibly and with accountability. Sensitivity to women and children, understanding one’s human and sexual development, and working in teams are necessary. Many formation centers, schools of theology, Episcopal commissions for women and religious communities of women in Asia have been actively involved in helping seminarians and clergy in this regard, as they also assist victims. The second is ministerial accountability arising from clarity of purpose and identity. If a priest is not clear about his identity and purpose, then he will not be accountable for his actions as a minister. He becomes accountable for all his actions to the extent that he is clear about who he is as a priest and what he is for in the Church. Third is the purification of motivation. Why am I in this kind of life? Is it for a sense of grandeur, a sense of authority that the culture and the Church give? Is it in order to get money the quickest way possible? In Asia we should also appeal to our Catholic faithful not to pamper or spoil our seminarians and priests. Fourth is formation in spirituality. We need to develop a spirituality that enables us to discern God’s calling at every moment and to respond in service to God in and at all times. Finally we need to take preventive steps in the ongoing formation of the clergy. The aspects of formation mentioned above should continue in
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priestly life. But because of the specific crisis we are facing, we need to revitalize the community life of priests, common prayer, sharing of resources, spiritual direction, simplicity of lifestyle, and academic renewal among other things. We rejoice that the stigma associated with “renewal programs” has been slowly disappearing. In the Philippines, the CBCP Vianney-Galilee Centre has contributed much to the positive regard for clergy renewal. The trained members of the team offer not only therapeutic sessions but also pro-active programs like the Priests’ Assisted Renewal Integration, Courses in Human Sexuality and Celibate Living, Assisted Intensive Renewal for Seminary Personnel, Sessions for priests in Mid-life Transition and in Senior Years. The centre has been frequented by bishops and priests from other Asian countries as well. We do not need to wait for a bomb to explode. Preventing it from exploding is the best response. I think more work needs to be done in Asia in developing programs for protecting children, women and the vulnerable members of the Church from sexual abuse. Each episcopal conference also needs clear directions on how to deal with their respective government authorities when criminal cases involving the clergy arise. The Churches in Asia are now examining the cultures, traditions, family structures and emerging trends in our societies to understand the roots of the crisis. We also want to tap the resources offered by Asian philosophies and religiosity embedded in our cultures for an adequate response. The most important resource for us however is the Christian faith that impels us to live in integrity, justice, truth and love.
We lament that in the vast continent of Asia children are exploited in many ways: a booming sex tourism that attracts pedophiles, the kidnapping and selling of children, the trading of body parts of children, abortion especially of girls, child labor or slavery, children being trained for warfare or crimes and many other untold acts of violence against children. A Church that loves and protects children could be a force of renewal in Asia, even if it is a little flock. Blessed Pope John Paul II said in Ecclesia in Asia that Jesus was born on Asian soil. The Word of God became a child and grew in wisdom and grace in Asia, as an Asian. Jesus has indeed united himself with every child in Asia.
Some Resource Materials Asian Vocations Symposium: Asian Vocations Today, Samphran, Bangkok, Thailand, Oct. 2227, 2007, FABC Papers No. 123, (Hongkong: FABC, 2007). Bermisa, Sr. Nila, M.M., That She may Dance Again: Rising from Pain of Violence Against Women in the Philippine Catholic Church (Manila; Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines), 2011. Kochappilly, Paulachan, “Sexuality as an Invitation to Intimacy and Integration,” Journal of Dharma 34 (2009): 19-35. Mynatty, Hormis, “A Comprehensive Vision of Sexuality from a Christian Perspective,” Jeevadhara 33, no. 198: 458-475. Parappully, Jose, SDB and Mannath, Joe, SDB, “Religious and Priestly Formation and Emotional Health,” Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflections 73 (2009): 274-293. Pinto, Lawrence, MSIJ, Editor, “Seminar for Bishops of Asia: Caring for Priests – Especially for Those with Difficulties, Redemptorist Center, Pattaya, Thailand, 27-31 August 2007,” FABC Papers No. 122 (Hong Kong: FABC, 2007). Srampickal, Thomas, “Reflections on Celibacy,” Jeevadhara 33, no. 198: 497-509.
right to independence” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 157). Where the right to independence of peoples and nations are tarnished by the domination of foreign powers, their freedom and sovereignty is a sham. This holds true as far as our nation is concerned. The return of US troops to Philippine soil undermines our peoples’ sovereignty. The continued subservience of our political leaders to the US and its international instrumentalities betrays our freedom and sovereignty. The Lord wants every people and every nation free, free to do God’s will and not the will and whims of other nations however powerful they may be. God is the only genuine power whose will is to be honored and kept. As we, the Filipino people commemorate the true freedom we gained from Spain 114 years ago, let us make our cries reverberate and assert these calls: US troops, out now! Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement! Scrap the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty! Expose and oppose K-12 program! AbrogatetheAutomaticAppropriation Law! End subservience to US dictates! Seek and obey only the sovereign will of the Lord! Done and signed this 10th day of June, 2012 MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS S. IÑIGUEZ, JR., DD, CBCP Co-chairperson BISHOP SOLITO K. TOQUERO, UMC Co-chairperson
Instead of this useless bill, why can’t Cong. Palatino craft laws that would truly empower our young people? Pro-Life Philippines have a few ideas on how this can be done: • Encourage the proliferation of Art and Culture among the young, as well as Science and Technology. From these young minds we will produce the next generation of scientists and artists. • Curb the high drop-out rate of Filipino students. Out of those who start studying in elementary, only a small fraction ever makes it to college because of various reasons, mostly because of poverty. This exacerbates poverty in turn and this endless cycle can only be ended if we can help the young including the out-of-school youth to go back to school and finish their education. • Encourage students to take up extra lessons, whether curricular or extra-curricular, that would make use of their talent and creativity in learning a craft they could use in order to generate extra income and at the same time make them eligible for work even if they only manage to finish High School. Examples are: Machine, automotive, and electronics shops, dressmaking, basket weaving, and computer repair. Pro-Life Philippines therefore denounces this useless bill filed by Kabataan Partylist representative Raymond Palatino. There are more bills that could be filed that can truly empower the young; this is not one of it. ERIC MANALANG President, Pro-Life Philippines SR. PILAR VERZOSA, RGS Founder, Pro-Life Philippines
liturgical books in the vernacular (c.383, 2). 5 º Vi g i l a n c e o v e r t h e fulfillment of the universal liturgical norms everywhere (c.383, 2). 3) Principle of Liturgical Elasticity. The rituals in force do not impose uniformity, but rather permits the use of different forms for celebrating, which are expressions of the richness of the liturgy of the Church. They are at the service
of the pastoral function of the liturgy of stimulating and increasing the sense of Christ among the faithful (cf. IGMR, n.313). A particular application of this principle is what has come to be known as inculturation— i.e., the incidence of the different cultures of peoples in whatever is fitting to better express the inexhaustible riches of Christ, provided that it is compatible with the Gospel and
does not contradict ecclesial communion. A different matter is the exaggerated adaptation of the liturgical norms to more specific and even simply p e r s o n a l c i rc u m s t a n c e s — e.g., not to wear all the vestments for Mass on a warm day—under the guise of a misunderstood principle of contextualization. Such “experimentation with the liturgy is illicit, unless it
counts with the expressed authorization of the Holy See”. 2 4) Principle of Decentralization. The ecclesiology of Vatican II, which re-emphasized the particular Churches and the dignity of the diocesan Bishops, opened a wide margin for Particular Law in the matter of liturgy. Thus, after establishing the aforementioned principles, the rest of c.838 enumerates
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the different competencies, corresponding to the need for a certain plurality of liturgical forms, in accordance with the different mentalities and traditions of different peoples (cf. SC, 37-39). This is channeled through: a) Primarily the Episcopal Conferences: It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare translations of the liturgical books into the vernacular languages, with the appropriate adaptations within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves, and to publish them with the prior review by the Holy See (c.838, §3). The Instruction Varietates legitimae gave further indications on the ambit of this power of the Episcopal Conference and the procedure for its exercise (nn.55 & 66-67). b) Secondarily the Diocesan Bishop: It pertains to the diocesan bishop in the church entrusted to him, within the limits of his competence, to issue liturgical norms by which all are bound. (c.838, §4). 5) Principle of Full and Active Participation of the Faithful. Of less juridic impact than the foregoing principles is one which is latent in the whole liturgical renewal ushered in by Vatican II, and that is the desire for the full and active participation of all the faithful in the liturgy, each one according to his state and condition.
Conclusion John Paul II expressed all these ideas in a conference regarding the implementation of the Second Vatican Council: “The Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium explained the premises of a liturgical life that would give God the true worship owed him by the people called to exercise the priesthood of the New Covenant. The liturgy must allow every member of the faithful to enter deeply into the mystery to grasp the beauty of praising the Triune God. The liturgy, in fact, is an anticipation on earth of the praise that the hosts of the blessed give God in heaven. At every liturgical celebration, therefore, the participants should be given the possibility of a foretaste, albeit under the veil of faith, of some of the sweetness that will flow from contemplating God in paradise. For this reason, every minister, conscious of the responsibility he has to all the people entrusted to him, must faithfully maintain respect for the sacredness of the rite and grow in his understanding of what he celebrates.” 3
1 SCDW, Instruction Varietates legitimae, 25.I.1994, n.26. 2 SCDW, Instruction Varietates legitimae, 25.I.1994, n.66. 3 Cf. John Paul II, Vatican II was Spirit’s gift to the Church, in L’Osservatore Romano, 8.III.2000, 4.
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 13
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THE diabolical Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) becomes the second wife of the King and father of Snow White (Kristen Stewart). On their wedding night, the Queen kills the King and locks the child Snow White in a room in the castle. Living in terror of losing her beauty, the Queen in time is told by her magic mirror that Snow White has grown up and will soon outshine her in beauty; meanwhile Snow White escapes to the Dark Forest. The Queen recruits Eric the Huntsman (Chris Helmsworth), the only one known to have survived the Dark Forest, to capture Snow White. Threatened with death should he refuse t o f o l l o w h i s o r d e r, t h e Huntsman finds Snow White, and upon learning that the Queen has tricked him, begins training Snow White for the arduous battle ahead. Later on they are joined by the dwarfs (Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Eddie Izzard, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, and Stephen Graham) to restore the land taken over by the darkhearted queen. It’s an enchanted realm that Snow White and the Huntsman ushers us to, thanks to the magic of CGI.
Rupert Sanders, its director, has a knack for establishing memorable places, perhaps owing to his background in TV commercials. Here, two places stand out in contrast to each other: the Dark Forest where Snow White seeks refuge is creepy and m e n a c i n g , a p l a c e w h e re apparently nothing lives but where tree branches morph into serpents and a m o n s t ro u s t ro l l s e e m s t o materialize from the bones of dead trees. The Fairyland where the dwarfs hide Snow White and the Huntsman is an awesome wonderland where hundreds of oneeyed mushrooms regard the human visitors while paleskinned naked sprites pop up here and there to guide them. Whether it’s black magic or white, every scene calling for the supernatural is a triumph of art direction. And there’s acting to match. Theron is especially effective as a wicked witch-queen, flawless and radiant—even when 90 percent of her part is screaming and glaring. Stewart is plucky enough for the part, and her most shining moment is her stare-down with the giant troll which she faces unarmed in order to save a fallen companion. In Snow White and the
TITLE: Snow White & the Huntsman CAST: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin DIRECTOR: Rupert Sanders GENRE: Drama, Action-Adventure- Fantasy DISTRIBuTOR: universal Pictures RuNNING TIME: 127 minutes TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: MORAL ASSESSMENT: CINEMA RATING: For viewers 14 years old and above
Huntsman, there is betrayal, wickedness, deception, vanity and greed in the movie (not to mention implied incest) but there is also nobility of spirit, bravery, trust, innocence, and self-sacrificing love of others. Outstanding is the mention of innocence and purity of heart as the only thing that can vanquish evil: here it means recapturing the glory of the dying kingdom; taken to the personal level it could mean turning away from error in order to enter a paradise on earth. Adults will have no problem with the movie’s dark side, but children might have nightmares from the violence, and young teens might be misled by all that chicanery and spell-casting lurking beneath veneered exteriors.
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
TITLE: Prometheus CAST: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan MarshallGreen DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott DISTRIBuTOR: 20th Century Fox GENRE: Science fiction TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: MORAL ASSESSMENT: CINEMA Rating: R 14 (For ages 14 and above)
Look for the image of the Holy water font, Pope Benedict XVI and Saint John the Baptist (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
IT is year 2093. Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her boyfriend Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover a series of ancient cave drawings from different cultures, the oldest dating 37,000 years, spanning various civilizations, and pointing to a single location in space—an earth-sized moon circling the sun, called LV-223. Shaw and Holloway both believe that LV-223 could provide clues to the truth about the beginnings of mankind. Their belief happens to mirror that of billionaire Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), CEO of Weyland Corporation, who, upon hearing of the couple’s findings, agrees to finance a space mission to LV-223. Dr. Shaw and Dr. Holloway are to be lead scientists in the mission, accompanied by Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), who, representing Weyland Corporation, is in charge of the expedition; David (Michael Fassbender), an android who with almost human intelligence has inscrutable motivations; and 13 other crew members. The spacecraft is named PROMETHEUS. Arriving on LV-223, however, the team quickly realizes that the two doctors had underestimated the implications of the expedition, as their discovery of a superior humanoid life form in suspended animation results in horrible consequences threatening humanity itself. This must be said: casting is spot-on, and the acting, superb. Shot entirely with 3D cameras, Prometheus offers a captivating and believable scenario of Earthlings’ space science a few years short of the 4th millennium. Although director Ridley Scott helped define the genre about three decades ago with Alien, it matters little whether the viewer has seen Alien or not—Prometheus can stand alone, and maybe even elicit enough enthusiasm to warrant the making of Prometheus 2. Unlike most sci-fi movies nowadays which offer little more than fascinating gadgetry and jawdropping CGI, Prometheus has gorgeous visuals plus a plot that challenges the imagination and engages the viewer’s moral judgment. Not that it has a perfectly plausible story—it has overthe-top assumptions, too, like in that scene where Dr. Shaw undergoes strenuous action right after a brutal surgery: not one staple on her abdominal wound gets undone. Incredible—but you give it the benefit of the doubt since it’s set almost Circa 3000; perhaps medicine and surgery on our planet will be superior by then, and humans will have superhuman strength as well. It also has a scene which sticks out like a huge wart to mar the movie’s almost perfect face: a scientist lost in the underground maze fools around with a strange cobra-like creature—even kindergarteners are smart enough to stay away from unknown creatures, so why would a serious expedition like Prometheus include a buffoon in its crew only to be eliminated in just a stupid way? What’s fascinating in Prometheus is that it unwittingly assures the audience that almost a century from today, humans will still be humans—being smug about their knowledge, having sexual needs, wanting to have children, and still searching for answers about human creation. A belief in God and Christianity is still compelling for a scientist: Dr. Shaw cherishes the cross around her neck as a meaningful memento from her father. Theron’s character, Vickers, also exclaims at two crucial moments “Jesus Christ!” We wonder if this is intentional in the director’s part, subliminal, or simply, an oversight of the scriptwriters. It is not dwelt upon at length in the movie but (spoiler coming!) the fact that it is the believer alone who survives must say something about the movie’s message. Elsewhere in the movie, Shaw asks Holloway: “…they created us. If they created us, why would they want to destroy us…?” The voice-over close to the movie’s ending has Dr. Shaw asking more questions, saying the search goes on—which implies that searches of such kind will never find answers.
Vol. 16 No. 13
June 18 - July 1, 2012
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
By Joe Yamamoto
Couples For Christ in Rome: A Blessed Day to Remember
CFC Leaders Meet with Cardinal Rylko
ALTHOUGH it was not quite summer time, Rome was bright and sunny on the morning of May 23. The sun rose early and shone brightly that morning, as though celebrating with CFC leaders and other Catholic lay groups who patiently waited to see the Holy Father during the regular Wednesday Papal audience. When the presence of CFC leaders was called out and acknowledged by the Vatican official, there was loud and passionate singing of the Couples for Christ theme song and verbal expressions of love for Pope Benedict XVI- " CFC is ON FIRE! We love you Pope Benedict!!!" When CFC was acknowledged, the beloved Pope Benedict paused, and shook his clasped hands joyfully towards the area where CFC stood. As is practiced during general papal audiences, two representatives from each group were allowed to approach the Pope and to kiss the papal ring. When it was the turn of CFC, and after Chairman Ricky Cuenca had kissed the ring, the Pope greeted him with “CFC, you are doing good. You are doing good.” These were words that
By Joe Yamamoto
The Christian Family in Focus
the community received with joy, since this was affirmation of CFC’s standing as the only organization from Asia among 123 Vatican-recognized lay private international associations of the faithful of pontifical right.
The 37 CFC leaders at the Vatican audience came from the Philippines, US, Canada, Australia and Europe. IC members who led the delegation were CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca and wife Irma, and CFC AN-
COP Chairman and CFC Europe Overseer Joe Yamamoto and wife Mila. Making up the delegation from the US mainland were CFC USA National Council members and their spouses -National Director Eric/Pat Villanueva, Glen/Beth Santayana, Cris/Marissa Cagahastian, and Roger/Josie Santos. The CFC Canada delegation included Noli/Beth Arzadon, concurrently serving as CFC Europe Northwest Regional Coordinator, Carlito/Luisa Hael, Butch/ Lourdes Butalid, Rogerio/Nerissa Ajero, and Manuel/Purita Fausto. Joining the group were CFC Australia leaders Dom/ Josie Pangilinan, Rodel/Pacita Leano, Lourdes Zaballa, and SFC Kristone Paulo Capistrano. Leaders from CFC Europe were Chris/Chipo Mautsi, Country Head of CFC UK, Junfer/ Christianne de la Cruz, Country Head for CFC Netherlands and daughter Charly. Not to be left behind were representatives from the Philippines -- Boie/ Angging Sescon, Country Coordinator for CFC Netherlands and Regional Head for Northcentral Mindanao, Clarke Nebrao of Clergy Integration Office and mother Merlinda Nebrao, and Nolet Ladrido, Regional Coordinator for the Central Region of CFC Europe.
By Joe Yamamoto
HIS Eminence, Stanyslaw Cardinal Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council of the Laity, warmly received CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca and CFC ANCOP Chairman/CFC Europe Overseer Joe Yamamoto on Wednesday May 30, 2012. His opening greeting when the two leaders were ushered into his office in Trastevere was a wide smile and the exclamation "Couples for Christ!" The warmth was palpable as he offered his hand for the traditional kiss on his Cardinal’s ring. The visit is part of a commitment that the International Council has made to visit His Eminence at least annually and to report to him the many exciting events, progress and milestones in the life of the global CFC family. The May visit was marked by the Cardinal’s warmth and enthusiasm as he listened to the progress report of Ricky Cuenca and Joe Yamamoto. He also accepted the gift of the community’s Pearl Book, which was published on the occasion of CFC’s 30th anniversary in 2011, and the CFC pamphlet, The Origins of Couples for Christ. Cardinal Rylko encouraged CFC to "continue its great and important work, especially that on the family," as he bestowed on the two leaders, and on the entire global community, the Apostolic Blessing.
THE Vatican- sponsored 7th World Congress on Families, held in Milan, Italy from May 30- June 3 was a crowning event that highlighted and honored God's plan and design for Christian families. The successful biannual meeting, entitled " The Family: Work and Celebration" underscored the pivotal role of the Christian families in society and in the world, a world that is constantly in need of good news. Mother Church responds with love and affection to its children by providing the venue to express their concerns and challenges. Through conferences such as this, She also offers maternal help by sharing the solutions to a world grown seriously disordered. The challenges to the family are formidable, coming as it were from all around it and all over. The threats and dangers are up close and very real, and constantly interfere with and disrupt the design of the Creator for the family, the basic unit of our society. The family, particularly the Christian family, is continuously besieged by hostile forces and by the realities of contemporary life. For it to survive, the family must not only be kept strong under the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit but it must assume a proactive role in society. Christian parents, with the help of the Church Magisterium and equipped with the practical and natural
means to accomplish its mission of giving birth to and protecting life, and nurturing the children, must rise to the challenge. The words of Blessed John Paul II echo across time about the role of the Christian family. He said: "The family finds in the plan of God the Creator and Redeemer not only its identity, what it is, but also its mission, what it can and what it should do. The role that God calls the family to perform in history derives from what the family is; its role represents the dynamic and existential development of what it is. Each family finds within itself a summons that cannot be ignored, and that specifies both its dignity and its responsibility: family, become what you are." Because of the importance of this World Congress, the CFC International Council delegated CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca and wife Irma and CFC ANCOP Chairman and CFC Europe Overseer Joe Yamamoto and wife Mila to represent our global community.
CFC Italy, particularly our Milan leaders and members, fielded a very strong team, participating actively in the pre-conference planning. During the conference proper, Couples for Christ was tapped to serve as one of the pillars of the Milan Diocesan conference logistics and service teams. It was a great honor and privilege for CFC when Milan Unit leader Fernando (Dong) Gomez and wife Bernadette were assigned to share their lives as family during the forum on Migrant Families. Fr. Emil Santos, the CFC Milan Chaplain and Fr. Giancarlo Quadri of Milan, Chaplain for the Migrants, expressed their appreciation and gratitude to CFC leaders and members, especially those from Milan, for their hard work in evangelization and family life renewal. In one of the Masses celebrated by His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Scola of Milan, he acknowledged the presence and active participation of the Filipinos, particularly CFC, in the life of the diocese.
DZMM interviews ANCOP scholars
Of Men and Women of God
By Aiza Garnica
ON June 9-10, fifty young men and women from North and Central Bangkok and Chiang Mai gathered at the Pine Resort in Pathum Thani for the very first Singles for Christ Knights Tale and Princess Diaries activity in Thailand. The first day started with worship led by Andrew Balgoa of SFC Central Bangkok. The men and women then went to separate venues for their respective weekend retreat. For the sisters, it was a day of laughter, sharing and reflection as they listened to the talks and testimonies of the service team from Manila. As for the brothers, they learned how to be a true man of God through the sessions given by Art Roa, CFC North Bangkok chapter head and Lance Fernandez, SFC Metro Manila mission volunteer. After the third session, the participants gathered together for the penitential rite
By Ethel Balenton
FOUR ANCOP scholars guested recently in Julius Babao and Kaye Dacer’s tele-radyo program DZMM Aksyon Ngayon. Featured were Mylene David, an Aeta child, who recently graduated as valedictorian in elementary; Jordan Ablong, another Aeta child from Angeles, Pampanga, a consistent first honor student from Grade 1 to 5; Sophia Henson, child of a healed Hansenite, who is in grade 4 and belongs to the top 10% of her grade level of 13 sections; and Gilbert Lagueta, himself a healed Hansenite and lives with his widowed mother, who is also in the top 10% of the freshman high school class. The scholars were chaperoned by their parents and Ethelyn
officiated by Fr. Doroteo Reyes, who also celebrated the Eucharistic Mass afterward. Fr. Dorot, as he is fondly referred to, discussed the parable of the Prodigal Son during his homily, relating it to the three elements of the sacrament of Reconciliation, namely: confession, conversion and celebration. The Eucharist became a very personal encounter with the Lord as Fr. Dorot, giving
the Body and Blood of Christ in each hand, reminded them of what St. Augustine said about the Eucharist becoming a font of forgiveness for sins, no matter how grave. The night ended with a healing session for the women and the fourth and final session for the gentlemen. On Sunday morning, the sisters began the day with worship as the brothers prepared
Balenton, Program Director for the ANCOP Child Sponsorship Program (CSP). Both Mylene and Jordan come from big families, having 12 and 8 siblings, respectively. Both their fathers are farmers while their mothers stay at home to take care of the brood. When asked what she wants to be when she finishes school, Mylene quipped, “I want to be a lawyer!” Jordan, on the other hand, dreams of becoming an engineer. Sophia, who wants to be a doctor, and Gilbert, who wishes to be a teacher, shared that they both want to serve the families of Hansenite victims like themselves. The children impressed Babao and Dacer in their responses to serious questions, such as the impeachment of CJ Corona and on environmental concerns.
By Ricky Cuenca, CFC Chairman
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 13
AS I stood at Mass at the Sanctuario de San Antonio reciting the new missal response, “And with your Spirit,” I recalled my experience of the Holy Spirit in the country trips I took in the month of May. On this month Irma and I travelled to: • Guam for the Magnificat Conference and to give teachings; • Bratislava, Slovak for the
European Magnificat conference; • Houston, Texas to give a message for the ANCOP fund raising concert for the benefit of the Texas Village in Balanga, Bataan and Our Lady of Banneux in Montalban and to give MER 3 with Irma • Rome, for audience with the Pope and meeting with Cardinal Stanislav Rylko,President of the Pontifical Council of Laity • Geneva, to give teachings and celebrate their CFC anniversary • Milan, to give teachings and attend the World Congress on Family • Singapore, to attend their
Leadership of the Spirit
25th anniversary celebration In all these countries, my general impression is that the spirit is very much alive among the members and leaders of CFC! There is no stopping the Holy Spirit. CFC is On Fire! During discussions with the leaders, I found a common thread. The leaders of these countries have a deep and mature discernment on what CFC leadership is all about. CFC leadership is Servant Leadership for life and for Christ. There is only one agenda – the global mission of Christ for CFC: “Families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth.” In their woundedness, these leaders allowed the Holy Spirit to empty their ego, calm their fears and remove their personal agendas and lead them to the truth. They made painful sacrifices for the good of CFC as an organization. The leaders embraced Christ as their true leader and flowed with the urging of the Spirit. The fruits of this life in the Spirit are forgiveness, humility and gratitude. And now CFC is strong and alive. Membership has expanded. Attendance in major conferences and activities is swelling, members are more generous. CFC members are passionate, dedicated and excited in these countries and ever ready to do God’s will to ripple On Fire Evangelization. We are about to celebrate 31 years of this wondrous life with God and looking forward to our golden jubilee, grateful for the gift of renewal. The attacks and trials in our individual and family lives as well as leadership challenges such as personal agendas remain. Temptations of pride, influence, power and righteousness continue to threaten our organizational growth. But our leaders, filled with the wisdom of
the Holy Spirit, have matured and have learned to discern God’s true agenda for CFC. As I sat and reflected after that Mass in Sanctuario, I realized that it is the leadership of the Holy Spirit that makes our organization strong and blessed. And so with the new missal response I say, “And with your Spirit.” The country visits speak eloquently of this fullness of the spirit and I thank the Lord for the experience. Truly CFC is renewed with the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
By Joe Yamamoto
The Christian Family: Cradle and Bedrock for Leaders
the genocides committed by the murderous dictators of Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and East Timor, it still would not approximate the lives lost to abortion!! And this is only in America! Let us not forget the abortions carried out in other first world countries around the world today. The Holy Family of Nazareth modeled the simplicity, humility and obedience that flows naturally for those who love the Lord and walk in his ways, St. Joseph was very protective of Mary and Jesus; it is no small wonder that he is worthy to be emulated by all fathers. The story of the family’s flight to Egypt to escape Herod’s evil plan to kill Jesus (as told to Joseph in a dream) is a riveting and timely reminder for contemporary families of the commitment that parents should have for the welfare and well being of their children. Participating in the Development of Society Pope John Paul II stressed in Familaris Consortio- "Since the Creator of all things has established the conjugal partnership as the beginning and basis of human society, the family is the first and vital cell of society." The family has vital and organic links with society; it is from the family that citizens come to birth and it is within the family that they learn the social virtues that are the animating principle of the existence and development of society itself. Based on what the Holy Father says, the family is the fertile breeding ground of children who become individuals and citizens who will not only change their lives but can also have the opportunity to be 'game changers' or even 'world changers.' Since the family is the building block of society, then it is incumbent for us laity to ensure that the families would be instilled with that conviction as well as given the empowerment needed to animate, transform and influence society. A society that does not honor God will certainly manifest apathy and disregard for good moral and spiritual values. Its institutions will succumb to the lure of relativism and cynicism; it will be a society where nothing is sacred and where moral, spiritual and family values can be easily set aside and compromised with expediency. One Christian author wrote that the way to help the individual grow to his maximal potential is to cultivate the family as the right environment to accomplish just that. In short, the family, particularly the parents, must realize that the home is the first and foremost school for the children. Erik Rees used the acronym SHAPE- Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Attitude, Personality and Experiences- to drive home this lesson. Spiritual Gifts – In order for a Christian to make a difference, he needs to make an inventory of the Spiritual gifts and he needs to desire to have those gifts and use them in his daily life. In the hands of God, ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results by discovering the gifts that they have been richly endowed. These gifts are given freely by a God who desires only the best for his people and plans for a future full of hope and fulfillment. Once this is known to parents, they can use those gifts to contribute to the realization of the potential of their children. Heart - Unless the heart of the individual is in tune with God’s ordained purpose, one is likely to feel no sense of completeness. It is only when there is congruence between core values and core principles on the one side and passion on the other can the right combination for fulfillment happen. Another Christian author, Tom Paterson, wrote: “Heart is where you are centered, where you desire to serve, the altar upon which to place your talents... heart refers to empathy, attraction, or factor that draws one toward a group of people, a field of expertise, or a particular type of service. Evaluating your heart helps you determine where you might best use gifts, where you wish to serve, and whom you wish to serve.” Abilities - this refers to discovering what you are good at, to recognizing the need to align passion, abilities and gifts if one is to uncover one’s purpose in life. Abilities are best seen as some innate capabilities that a person is born with and which over time can be honed to a level of expertise or strength through training and practice. For all intents and purposes, abilities and strengths can be interchangeably used. Author Marcus Buckingham defines strength as consistent near perfect performance in an activity. As such, what has been recognized as a strength must be done with consistency in order to maximize it. If it is to be valued, a strength must produce intrinsic satisfaction. It cannot bear fruits when done reluctantly or negatively. Once again Scripture comes to our aid: Romans 12:6a: “…Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them..” Personality - In simple terms, it refers to who God has made us to be- different one from the other and yet equally precious in the eyes of God. Rick Warren aptly states: “Like stained glass, our different personalities reflect God’s light in many colors and patterns.” Some of us are comfortable in the presence of many persons and therefore are able to relate rather quickly and easily while others are led to a more quiet life. One is not superior over the other but simply different. Given proper orientation, cultivation and appreciation by the person concerned or the people charged with his or her growth, one will certainly find the right environment to allow his talents and giftedness to bloom fully. Such is the challenge and opportunity confronting leaders of organizations, churches or communities and the sooner this is addressed, the better the outcome. Experiences – This variable determines or defines where we have been or how we have been shaped by the past. Whether accepted or not, there is nothing that one can do to unravel the past but that is not to say that one cannot derive or apply lessons from the past. In God’s plan, we are all works in progress. Just like clay in His hands, He continues to shape us and correctly expect our lives to be masterpieces. He uses all our experiences, both the enjoyable and pleasant as well as the painful ones, to produce the finished product. Not all experiences are supposed to be personally gone through, because, lessons can be learned vicariously, i.e. through the experiences of other people. Here is where study, fellowship, and sharing of community life teach invaluable lessons. The revelations of God through the millennia made through the patriarchs, prophets and God’s people are sources of valuable lessons and records gleaned from the books of the Bible. Erik Rees puts it succinctly. “Imagine yourself walking a long hallway. On the walls are paintings that reflect those life-shaping moments in your life. On one side are portraits of experiences that brought you excitement, achievement, and fulfillment. On the other side hang pictures of experiences that caused pain, frustration, and remorse. Walking slowly down the hallway, looking carefully at each painting, is an important step toward understanding who God created you to be and discovering the Kingdom Purpose he has set aside just for you.” By understanding the relevance of SHAPE and helping their children exercise them, Christian families can really make their homes the source of Godly individuals who are responsible citizens of society and the world, who can contribute to the upliftment of human dignity. Sharing in the Life of the Church In December 1975, Pope Paul VI issued the very important encyclical, Evangeli Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern Word), summing up the responsibility of the Church, both clergy and laity, in the responsibility of gospel proclamation. In that document, a very critical exhortation that should always be in the consciousness of even the laity is that “the Church exists in order to evangelize.” In Redemptoris Missio, the Pope emphasized that evangelization is an issue of faith, “an accurate indicator of our faith in Christ and his love for us.” It becomes our primary responsibility simply because “the love of Christ impels us.” (2 Cor 5:14) In short, there can be no true evangelization without the explicit proclamation of Jesus as Lord, by word and witness of life. This is in recognition of the fact that people today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers, in experiences than in teaching and in life and action than in theories. It is important to remember that the foundation of effective evangelization is a life of prayer. Thus our words of proclamation must always be bathed in an intense life of prayer. Corollary to prayer, and one which must likewise stem from a prayerful life, is humility. This is the message of the parable of the mustard seed, that great realities often have humble beginnings. Humility dictates that evangelizers must not expect immediate results nor demand that these results be attuned to their own will and timing. For the Lord of the harvest is God. He alone decides the pace, the timing, and mode of growth of the seed. We only need to remind ourselves of this truth in order to be protected from being discouraged as we discharge our missionary commitment. For all these to happen in our lifetime, all of us must honor, affirm and support the Family, "the first and vital cell of society," the cradle and bedrock of leaders.
THE Vatican- sponsored World Congress on Families in Milan, Italy from May 30- June 3 had as theme: "The Family: Work and Celebration." It underscored the pivotal role of the Chrisitian families in society and in the world. Familiaris Consortio, the 1981 Apostolic Exhortation authored by Pope John Paul II, with much clarity, strongly emphasized the four general tasks for the family: (1) Forming a community of persons (2) Serving life (3) Participating in the development of society (4) Sharing in the life and mission of the church Forming a Community of Persons The first experience in life that has immeasurable impact on children is the unconditional and selfless love of the parents. A happy and secure childhood characterized by parental and fraternal love, care and affirmation provides the strong foundations and life experiences that positively impact on the individual, particularly in the exercise of his chosen vocation in later life. In Biblical times, when the Pharaoh in Egypt ordered the merciless killing of all Hebrew male babies, God intervened so His plan of redemptive love for His people can come to pass. He allowed Moses to be 'drawn' from the river Nile and sent Him first into the court and house of the Pharaoh and later set the 'life' of Moses on its ordained path. Moses grew up to be an important man who walked along the path cut out for him by the Lord. His life story, known and recited widely by Jewish and Christian children of all generations, continues to inspire and underscore the importance of forming a community of people and leaders, especially under the mighty hand of God. Serving Life Life is sacred and any violation of its sanctity and integrity offends our Creator. Ever since 1973 when abortion was legalized in America, an estimated 53 million estimated abortions have been performed. This figure far exceeds the sum total of all the American military and civilian casualties of all the wars waged by that nation from its founding. Even if one throws in all the victims of the Nazi holocaust, the Bolshevik pogroms, and
CFC Aurora Conducts CLP for PNP Personnel CFC Northern California
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Volume 16, No. 12
Melo Villaroman, Jr.
Executive Director Editor-in-Chief
Zenaida Gimenez Marivie Dalman
Managing Editor Associate Editor
Writer/Lay-out Artist Circulation Staff
Jesse Pimentel addresses the PNP personnel at the start of the session
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
By Mon Banas
JESSE Pimentel, a member of the Area Governance Team of CFC Aurora and head of the province’s Mission and Evangelization program, does not think that mega-CLPs are no longer possible. He and the province of Aurora just saw one mega-CLP happen in the province. The Christian Life Program
(CLP) was given to more than 90 personnel of the Philippine National Police and single men and women over three weekends that began May 19 and ended on June 2, 2012 in the PNP compound in Aurora. It all started when the newlyappointed Aurora Provincial Director (PD) of the Philippine National Police (PNP), PS Su-
perintendent Benjamin Hulipas, approached Jesse and told him that the policemen in Aurora had to have some kind of spiritual transformation. Jesse suggested the conduct of Christian Life Program (CLP) for the policemen and their spouses and when the PNP leadership agreed, he informed Mon Bañas, newlydesignated Provincial Area Head (PAH) of CFC Aurora of the exciting development. The planning for the first-ever CLP for the policemen of Aurora began in earnest. The first hurdle was to gather the team and the speakers. Aurora leaders were ably helped by a team from Meralco in Manila led by Chris and Marivic Yap who handled the talks of module 1 on the first weekend. The second module on the following weekend was given by speakers from CFC Nueva Ecija led by Pabling Trinidad. A mission team from the Pastoral Support Group (PSG) of Central A in Metro Manila provided the speakers for module 3. Mon and his wife Marge were on hand for all the modules.
Going Strong at 20
By Mauril Mariano
CFC Northern California (NorCal) celebrated 20 years of God’s blessings at St. Timothy’s Church in 1515 Dolan Ave. San Mateo, California last May 12, 2012. Twenty years ago on May 14, 1992, CFC NorCal was officially begun at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Milpitas with six couples ( Boni and Baby Capuyan, Rolly and Nila Fajilan, Cris and Celia Naza-
reno, Loy and Mely Sagrado, Carl and Solly Sinsay and Larry and Lorna Tamayo). To date, three of these couples (Fajilan, Nazareno and Sinsay couples) remain in CFC which now totals 2,434 adult members, 550 YFC, and 400 KFC. The celebration started with praise and worship led by Jun Faustino at 9AM, followed by the opening remarks from Eric Villanueva, CFC-USA National Director. He urged CFC Norcal
California / C3
Vol. 16 No. 13
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Hongkong under the leadership of Shok and Carel Ariola. The CFC Migrant Workers Program blossomed with programs and trainings given to sector and area Leaders for implementation in their parishes and barangays. Partnerships and linkages with the Catholic Church through the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant Workers (ECMI) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) as well as manpower agencies and NGOs were formalized. The program has continued with greater participation from Jess conducts the MVRP for OFWs in Hongkong. other volunteer facilitators all (and if time permits the Christian CFC members from Paranaque, over Metro Manila. In 2011, when Shok and Carel Life Program) to all our departing Las Pinas, Muntinlupa and Taguig, (South A, South B and were appointed as International workers and their families. Joining the CFC community Central C) and majority are forCoordinators for Singles For Christ (SFC), the responsibility in 1997 has entirely changed my mer OFWs or who have family as National Coordinators for the perspective in life and in business. members overseas. We conduct CFC Migrant Workers Program If you take care of God’s business, the Moral Values Reorientation was given to me and my wife He will take care of yours. He Program (MVRP) at the Overseas Mercy. At that time, we were will never be outdone in gener- Workers Welfare Administration cluster leaders in MM Sector osity. Mercy and I rarely go on (OWWA), for Household Service South B and Country Coordina- overseas marketing missions to Workers (HSWs) at the National tor for Guam, Federated States of promote our services but we are Reintegration Center for OFWs Micronesia, Marshall Islands and still blessed with several solid, (NRCO) in Intramuros and at the Commonwealth of Northern reputable clients because of our the Philippine Association of overseas evangelization missions! Service Exporters Inc. (PASEI), an Mariana Islands. Being a former OFW myself, The Lord uses our recruits to do association of about 700 private Recruitment Agencies where the and owner of an overseas recruit- the marketing for us! The members of our Migrant Pre-Departure Orientation Semiment and placement agency, I knew firsthand the problems Workers Program team are all nar (PDOS) is conducted for about that OFWs face and the challenges that they daily go through as a result of being separated from their families. I have tried to alleviate some of their worries by not collecting placement fees from applicants so that they do not have the added burden of paying off debts. As a direct offshoot of being CFC, I was also giving Values Formation CLP graduates from the JM International Overseas Recruitment Agency.
200 departing workers daily as service to its member agencies. To date, at OWWA, around 20,800 OFWs have undergone the MVRP since 2010 while about 60,000 have gone through the program in PASEI since Feb. of 2011. Equally important in the program are the families or dependents of OFWs that are left behind, which we call Family Circles. Through partnership with OWWA and various parishes, the MVRP for Family Circles is starting to gain ground. The CFC MVRP-FC modules have available programs for each member of the family. The program was first piloted with dependents of OFWs organized by OWWA from Taguig; it will soon to be done in strategic major cities around the country. We are also doing the MVRP-FC in several parishes, among them the Mary Help of Christians Parish in Better Living Subd. Paranaque, where two batches have already finished the modules; at Golden City, Sta.Rosa, Laguna, and at the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish where on going Family Circles MVRP has close to 40 participants. Other parishes that are already in the pipeline are St. Joseph in Upper Bicutan; Mother of Perpetual Help in Perpetual Village Taguig; Mary Queen of the Apostles SAV 5 Paranaque and other parishes in Las Pinas and Muntinlupa. Apart from the OWWA, PASEI and Parish Engagements, the team likewise saw the immediate need to minister to other departing OFWs not covered by OWWA and PASEI. Thus, arrangements were done directly with several recruitment agencies to conduct the MVRP to their departing workers and dependents. For instance, in two agencies, we have already conducted MVRP-FC and follow-up seminars for more than 700 families since 2010. God gave us an even bigger bonus. Five owners and officers of big recruitment agencies were invited to attend the strategic Christian Life Program last March 30 and 31 and they all attended and graduated! All are now active members of CFC Handmaids of the Lord. With God’s grace they will in turn be the light to others in the overseas recruitment industry. The work with migrants is indeed so vast. With about 10 million Filipinos working overseas, assuming that each person has an average of five family members, we can see that about half of the population is affected by this migration phenomenon. Despite the OFWs positive contributions to the economy, the social cost is unquantifiable. Sadly, we hear of so many tragic stories of OFW families breaking up, with the children leaving home and school because of lack of guidance. The result of this breakdown is growing substance abuse, teen pregnancies, distorted values, broken lives and even suicide. Mercy and I consider ourselves blessed that we have been given the opportunity to contribute to this great work. We are also blessed because we belong to a community whose vision and mission are geared for family renewal, a gigantic work indeed but doable work because God remains to be our focus in everything that we do.
By Jess Ferrer
IN 2009, Couples for Christ, seeing the trend of migration and realizing the vulnerability of the migrants and their families to forces that tend to destroy it, embarked on a program to support the needs of migrant workers. Conducted through TEKTON, a CFC ministry, modules for Moral Values Reorientation, designed to strengthen moral fiber and family relationships, were developed. This response is in line with the call of the late Pope John Paul II in Erga migrantes caritas Christi #86: “In both the Church and society, the lay faithful, lay associations and ecclesial movements, with all the diversity of their charisms and ministries, are called to bear Christian witness and to be in the service of migrants.” In the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), #108, it is likewise stressed that “A growing awareness of the missionary potential of Filipino migrant workers abroad has also dawned upon us…. We also need to provide the pastoral and social care for them and their families. In that way, their spiritual and material welfare is served, their rights protected and their faith strengthened. The program was first initiated through the efforts of Nolet Ladrido who was able to formalize a partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment for the conduct of moral values orientation for departing workers. In 2009, the program began to take off with the first seminars conducted for Filipino workers in
Working with Migrants
On Mission in Laos
Alarin, leaders of a group of HOLD Laos members at the Scavi Lao Garments Factory. The group had a chance to experience greater bonding with workers in the factory, who attended the Christian Life Program in July 2011, but who are not able to regularly attend the assemblies or teachings due to their very tight work schedules. Dining with them where they live and work gave the CFC governance a deeper appreciation and understanding of their limitations and a better idea of how best to cater to their needs for spiritual sustenance. The weekend mission officially started with a Eucharistic Celebration at 10:30 by Fr. Doroteo. The members of the team and the attendees to the teachings were then ferried to the Philippine Embassy where the teachings were held. A total of 29 brothers and sisters attended, 14 of whom have not yet attended the Christian Life Program, but who expressed their desire to be part of the next CLP in July 2012. A spirit-filled worship prepared everybody for the afternoon sessions which started off with a presentation on the Great Commission and a talk on Evangelization. The teachings and discussions, handled jointly by JM Yupangco and Alex Escucha served as timely reminders of God’s mandate to all Christians to spread the good news and baptize our brethren, even as the Lord
Silence, Words, and Writing
By Rey and Lyn Feria
A TEAM of elders composed of JM Yupangco, Alex Escucha and his wife Bess conducted another series of teachings and talks for the brethren in Laos recently. Upon arrival at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane City, Laos, the team were whisked immediately to the residence of the Philippine ambassador to Laos, Ms. Honey Isleta for a courtesy call that was only expected to last a few minutes but ended three hours later, as pleasantries quickly evolved into ideas for expansion in the country. The mission team from Manila were joined by members of the CFC Lao governance (Rey and Lyn Feria and Ronnie and May Villanueva and by Fr. Doroteo Reyes, OMI, a Bangkok-based Filipino priest who visits Vientiane monthly to celebrate Mass, to support CFC Laos and to assist in the continuing spiritual formation of Filipinos in Vientiane. Later that day, the group enjoyed dinner hosted by Baby Lantican and Glenda
gave the assurance that He will be with us to the end of the age. The talk on the Great Commission was a fitting prelude to the succeeding presentation on Evangelization, which focused on the various ways by which we can deliver God’s love and bring others to experience a much deeper personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. A special talk on Christian Personal Relationships was given by Alex, with special emphasis on the role of our tongue as an instrument to praise or to curse others; an instrument to upbuild relationships or to destroy them. The presentation was pregnant with numberless illustrations on how brothers and sisters can continue to enrich their relationship with one another in an atmosphere of true brotherhood and sisterhood, and in the spirit of God’s unconditional love, touching on the many ways by which we use our tongue to admonish, to counsel, to correct, to praise, and to console. The rest of the afternoon was devoted to a presentation on Financial Stewardship. It was indeed very heartening to know that for those who respond to God’s call to share their resources to the less fortunate, the Lord in fact gives more so that they may have enough surplus to share with others. Even more heartening is the realization that nobody can outgive the Lord --- a fact which has been experienced and proven by many brothers and sisters who have never found themselves wanting even as they continue to share of their time, talents and treasures to further the Lord’s kingdom. And as if in immediate response to the just-concluded teaching, everybody responded joyfully during the First Fruits ceremony that capped the day’s program.
By K.I. Martin
RECENT reports state that the Philippines is the texting capital of the world, with over P1B worth of text messages sent nationwide everyday. In light of this phenomenon, Pope Benedict XVI’s “Silence and Word” became even more relevant to those who heard it last June 3, 2012 during the recollection held at the Mary the Queen Church in San Juan, MM. SFC Communications’ (SCOM) organized the recollection, its first activity since its inception. The recollection was given by the director of Jesuit Communications, Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ. During his talk, Fr. Nono emphasized the role of every Christian as evangelizer, juxtaposing the equal importance of speech and silence in the path to evangelization. He discussed the problem with words: its excessive use which results in the crowding out of the message; superficiality; and lastly, the use of words as a means for violence. On the other hand, he noted the integral part of silence in the communication process, reminding the crowd that silence allows for true listening, facilitates understanding, and enables discernment. Silence can also be a medium for prayer, as it is not merely the absence of noise, but can also pave the way for the pregnant presence of God. Towards the end of the recollection, Fr. Nono quoted Henry Nouen and
California / C2
CFC Guam Celebrates 17th Anniversary
By Jess Ferrer
HAFA ‘adai! This was the warm greeting of the CFC Guam brethren in welcoming the Mission Team from Manila who arrived May 2 to join the celebration of CFC Guam’s 17th Anniversary and to echo the Magnificat Conference in that Pacific Island U.S. territory. The mission team was composed of CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca and wife Irma, Guam country coordinator Jess Ferrer and wife Mercy and fulltime worker Mike Serapio. Mike had arrived a week earlier to conduct a Music Ministry workshop, to meet with the YFC and SFC ministries and to assist in the preparations for the conference that was held on May 6, 2012. Apart from the Magnificat Conference, Country Coordinators Jess and Mercy Ferrer conducted a Household Leaders’ Workshop while CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca gave a teaching on “Commitment” among others, updated the community on the latest positive developments in and around CFC and discussed the CFC Roadmap. During the team’s stay in the island, CFC Guam Country Head Ebet Sapida arranged meetings with several parish priests that included Fr. Paul M. Gofigan of the Parish of Sta. Barbara in Dededo, Fr. Jeff San Nicolas of the “Our Lady of Lourdes” Parish in Yigo, Fr. Danny Ferrandiz of Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral and Monsignor David Quitagua, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Hagatna, the capital of Guam. Each was given a copy of the CFC 30th Anniversary Pearl Book. All the priests and the monsignor expressed their appreciation of the work of CFC and gave their full support and blessings. The mission team also had a radio interview at 101.9 KTKB’s Damdaming Pinoy, a weekly program produced by the Filipino community. The work of CFC in Family Renewal was highlighted during the one-hour interview.
provided the upside of passivity—surrendering to God’s will and allowing His plan of salvation to unfold for us. A workshop on Events Scriptwriting followed the recollection. It was given by Mae Manalac, an industry professional who has worked for some of the biggest TV networks in the country. The workshop was a crash course on writing for events the way it is done in the entertainment world today—but with an SFC edge, of course. Mae provided the participants with a typical writing process prior to the event and on the day itself, emphasizing that the team must always be ready for anything and that the writer must allow God to work in spite of the plans that were prepared. She taught the basics of writing sequence guides and treatments as well as scripts, sharing some trivia and commonly-used terms along the process to further enrich the talk. Afterwards, the participants were split into five groups and experienced a baptism of fire of sorts, as each group was asked to come up with a sequence guide and opening script for a specific SFC event. Mae then gave a very short introduction to VTR Basics. In the end, all the participants left the recollection/ workshop excited to apply what they had learned in their own chapter-based events, and with a renewed understanding of the importance of both silence and word.
The Magnificat Conference was held at the Parish Hall of the “Our Lady of Lourdes” Parish and was very well attended. The participants were all fired-up, motivated and inspired by the various topics and raring to “go” with renewed vigor to further the work. Presentations by the various Family Ministries were done during the lunch break as part of the 17 th anniversary celebration. The whole day activity culminated with a Holy Mass concelebrated by Fr. Jeff San Nicolas and Fr. Paul M. Gofigan, CFC Guam Spiritual Director.
to continue to be On FIRE for the Lord, saying: “CFC Norcal now stands at the threshold of greater things to come.” He urged CFC Norcal to offer to God all the works over the past 20 years and to recommit to God. “CFC is a way of life, designed by God to help you become all you can be.” There was much fun, fellowship and food as the celebration continued, but this will never be complete without the Eucharistic Service which was celebrated at 10:15AM by Most Rev Fr. Richie Bueza, Pastor of St John the Baptist Catholic Church (CFC NorCal’s first Parish). Various chapters and ministries put
up booths and helped fund-raise with such offerings as halo-halo, gulaman, maiz con hielo, coffee, soda and water, and other food items. There were also game booths and a photo booth that every enjoyed. The main event was the Amazing Race were everyone participated. In between these fun activities, door prizes and cash prizes ranging from $5 to $100 were given away. The highlight of the fellowship was the drawing of raffle tickets for cash prizes of $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place, and $1,000 for third place . The celebration was ended with a praise fest led by Gerard Talampas, an SFC leader.
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By Roseller Ayson
Ugnayan CFC Ilocos Norte Conducts CFC ANCOP hosts Press Conference to Promote Global Walk 2012 Magnificat Weekend Retreat
June 18 - July 1, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 13
AROUND 400 warm bodies from the 3 chapters of Ilocos Norte and from the nearby provinces of Apayao and northern Cagayan gathered at the Gerry’s Grill of Museo Ilocos Norte in Laoag City on May 12 and 13 for the Magnificat Weekend Retreat. The retreat started with a Holy Rosary at 7:30 AM led by Medel and Mary Dawang, followed by Holy Mass celebrated by Rev. Fr. Melchor Palomares, the assistant parish priest of Immaculate Conception Parish of the City of Batac. Fr. Melchor is also the parochial vicar of the Southern Vicariate and the director of the Legion of Mary of the Diocese of Laoag. In his homily, Fr. Palomares expressed his delight that the CFC community has incorporated teachings on the Blessed Virgin Mary in its formation tracks. Fr. Palomares also gave a comprehensive explanation of the essence of ‘Mary’s Magnificat’. According to him, the Magnificat summarizes perfectly Mary’s faith and trust in God. After the Opening Worship which was led by Amboy Tan, Talk 1: “Proclaim the Greatness of the Lord” was delivered by Robert Maranan, Ilocos Norte Provincial Area Head and member of the Sector Governance Team of West B in Metro Manila. His wife, Cynthia and Freddie Mercado affirmed the message of his talk with their powerful testimonies. The afternoon session began with Talk 2 “All Ages will Call Me Blessed” which was given by Ed Garcia, a cluster head of West B Sector followed by a sharing from his wife Dina. Talk 3 “Lift up the Lowly” was given by
From left to right: CFC ANCOP Program Director Ethel Balenton, CFC ANCOP President Eric de los Reyes, CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca, ANCOP Global Walk Ambassador and Miss Earth Philippines 2011 Athena Imperial, and CFC Indonesia country coordinator Jimmy Santiago
By Alma Alvarez
Arnel Santos, country coordinator for Singapore and sector head of West B. His talk was supplemented by sharings from Ninfa of HOLD, Apayao and Warren Isaguirre, ANCOP coordinator of West B Sector. The climax of the day’s activity was the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Hour led by Fr. Cipriano Alnas, the director of the Commission on Family Life of the Diocese of Laoag. The second day was opened with a Holy Rosary led by Ver and Damie del Rosario, unit leaders of South Chapter, Ilocos Norte. After the opening worship led by Roger Labayan, Provincial Area Director of Ilocos Norte. Talk 4 “God is Faithful to All Generations was given by Raymund Bucu, cluster head in West B member of the ANCOP core team. His wife shared their family’s blessings as affirmation of God’s faithfulness. The administrator of the Diocese of Laoag, Msgr. Ian Rabago celebrated the Sunday Mass that capped the weekend retreat. In his homily, Msgr. Rabago said May 13 is the international “Mothers Day” and the anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima or Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, and that it is just fitting that the retreat coincides with these significant events that depict the life and mission of the Blessed Mother. Like Fr. Palomares, Msgr. Rabago expressed delight that CFC has incorporated teachings on the Blessed Virgin Mother in its formation tracks. He stressed that as followers of Christ, we should emulate the 3 “Rs” of Mama Mary: Receptive, Reflective, and Responsive to God’s message. The weekend retreat ended with a praisefest led by Fernan Agcaoili, unit head of Mangato, Laoag City. LAST June 14, 2012, CFC ANCOP hosted an afternoon gathering for bloggers and the press to promote the ANCOP Global Walk (AGW) 2012. ANCOP Chairman Joe Yamamoto and AGW 2012 Ambassador Miss Earth-Water 2011 Athena Imperial welcomed the bloggers and members of the press at MyCinema in Greenbelt 3, Makati. Fish & Co. served refreshments before the program started. Members of the press had the chance to interview Yamamoto and Imperial about the ANCOP Global Walk. ANCOP scholar-alumni Ken Mark Agustin, who graduated magna cum laude, Simon Beringuela, who finished in the top 10% of his graduating class, and current scholar Jean Rey Supera also gamely answered questions and invited the press to join the Walk. During the Q and A, ANCOP
Thank God for CFC: West B Magnificat Weekend
By Arnel Santos
“WE thank God for you. We thank God for the CFC. We thank God for the gift of faith, for the gift of mission.” These were the words of His Excellency Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco, D.D., Bishop of Cubao, in the mass celebrated by him during the CFC West B Magnificat Echo Conference held at the Quezon City Performing Arts Theater, Amoranto Sports Complex, Quezon City, on May 19-20, 2012. With over a thousand CFC WB members and Family Ministries in attendance, Bishop Ongtioco exhorted all to “ask for the grace that we will always remain faithful. Thirty one (31) years we have been journeying as a community of disciples--- believing and struggling to live our mission, to strengthen family life, to share with the world, lasting values.” He pointed to the Blessed Mother Mary for inspiration as “Mary’s greatness is not because of her own merits. Si Maria ay naging dakila, naging ina ng Diyos, hindi dahil sa ano pa mang katangian, ngunit ito ay isang malaking
President Eric de los Reyes gave the press an overview of ANCOP being Couples for Christ’s work with the poor program. Likewise, he explained how the AGW is an effective way of involving people from all walks of life and all ages in answering the cry of the poor in terms of education. CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca delivered the closing remarks, reminding the press how the power of the pen can help spread the word about the ANCOP Global Walk. This year, ANCOP aims to gather 150,000 walkers from Metro Manila alone, and raise enough funds to send this year’s 1,000 AGW scholars, plus another 1,000, to school next school year. ANCOP Global Walk 2012 is happening simultaneously on August 12, 2012. For Metro Manila, the Walk will be at the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta. Gun start is at 5:00 AM. Walk registration is P300. For details, go to www.ancopglobalwalk.com.
ANCOP, DZMM Partnership Funds 25 Children of Sendong Victims
Four generations of CFCs after their sharing at the CFC West B Magnificat Echo Conference on May 19-20 at the Amoranto Theater.
biyaya. Biyaya na hindi mo inaasahan, pero ipinagkaloob ng Diyos.” (Mary was glorified and became the mother of God, not because of any other characteristic but because it was a great blessing. Blessing that was unexpected, but which the Lord granted.) Bishop Ongtioco further explained, “Ang biyayang ito o anumang biyaya ng Diyos ay hindi para sa iyong kapakanan lamang, ngunit ito’y para ibahagi, ipamigay sa iba. (This blessing or any other blessing from God is not for
your own benefit but it should be shared and given to others.) And so if we do this like Mary, the Lord will continue to bless us and we can honestly proclaim the greatness of the Lord.” The two-day conference was a Spiritfilled activity with the introductory talk delivered by Msgr. Sabino A. Vengco, Jr., S Th D, and sessions led by CFC WB’s Bob Lasalla, Ed Garcia, Leony Balmeo, and Danny Lopez. A powerful praisefest led by Kirby Llaban concluded the conference.
By Ethel Balenton
LAST May 24, 2012, CFC ANCOP and DZMM awarded scholarships for 25 children of Sendong victims at the Pagatpat Elementary School, Cagayan de Oro City. Parents of the scholar children signed the MOA of scholarship, after the orientation given by Jinggoy Acebu, ANCOP Head of Misamis Oriental. DZMM distributed school opening provisions to the children, such as school bags, school supplies
SELPIE THE MUSICALE: A Gateway Evangelization
alien to him. When he finally listens to the small voice, he makes a wonderful discovery. The beautiful story of Jesus is artistically woven into this simple plot, using not only Christian music but even adapting very secular songs like the Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” The Square Head’s “Happy” and Van Halen’s “Jump.” This makes Selpie the Musicale not only evangelistic, but entertaining as well. Selpie has an appeal for all ages: from kids, to youth, to young adults and married couples. The scenes are emotionally “loaded” and will break even the most hardened heart. The verse from Psalm 95:7-8 is the message that is presented throughout the play, “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts”. Some comments from those who have watched it: “Sobrang ganda, I was crying the whole time,” “Bitin! 90 minutes just flew by,” “My children enjoyed it.” “Made it clear how cunning the devil can be,” “Awesome,” “Amazing,” “Spirit-filled,” “Beautiful script, beautiful everything.” Selpie is directed by Jethro Tenorio, a faculty of the Kagawaran ng Filipino of the Ateneo de Manila University. Musical director is Nonong Sampang of CFC. The story was written by Bob Serrano with the dance sequences choreographed by Dayloe Ranario, Tank Bautista, Rey Guardaquivil, and Joms Vicencio. The lead roles are played by Stephen and Grace Umaguing, Tank Bautista, Bubi Camus, Cerisse Balatbat, Gretchen Yaoyao, Paul Salita, Emer Guingon, AJ Angeles, Mimmon Vicente, Hanz Zaragoza, and Edmund Martinez. All cast and crew are volunteers and members of CFC and its various Family Ministries.
and funds to buy uniforms and shoes. CFC ANCOP, on the other hand, will implement the CFC ANCOP education program, providing the transportation and food allowance, tutorials, value formation and spiritual enhancement for the children and the parents for the whole school year of 2012-2013. This scholarship was the result of ANCOP’s participation during the Takbo Para Sa Karunungan marathon organized by DZMM Tele-radyo last March 11, 2012.
IC Member Nonoy Dalman Meets CFC NorCal AGT
By Bob Serrano
COUPLES for Christ, in its passion to proclaim the greatness of the Lord to all, continues to seek new and creative ways of evangelization. Over the years, music is one avenue that has greatly helped in mission. The most recent musical effort is Selpie, the Musicale. Selpie is a 90-minute musicale that presents the different talks in CFC’s Christian Life Program. For all CFCs, the CLP is the starting point of a lifelong journey to seek Jesus and build a deeper personal relationship with Him. Drawing inspiration from the CLP, the musical aims to achieve these objectives: to present Jesus through music, dance and stage acting; to present the reality of spiritual battles going on for our souls; to inspire people and plant seeds
of revival in their hearts , through the power of the Holy Spirit, that will drive them to seek Jesus more. The main character, Selpie (it is not a coincidence that his name sounds like CLP) is a hard-hearted, arrogant man who does not know God. The hardness of his heart has damaged his relationship with his wife and with his son, Galileo, a gang leader addicted to illegal drugs. After getting involved in a brawl, Galileo is imprisoned and a big fight ensues between Selpie and his wife, Moira. Confused and deeply hurt, Moira runs away. She finds refuge in a church, asking God for answers and praying for her family. Left alone, Selpie is torn between staying in the artificial and temporary comfort of his old evil ways and listening to the small voice within him that urges him to a path
IC member Nonoy Dalman and wife Marivie (extreme right in photo) met the Area Governance Team (AGT) of CFC Northern California (NorCal) last May when he gave a talk to the NorCal brethren on the CFC structure. The NorCal AGT is composed of Raffy and Carl Estrera (Sector Head), Rolly and Nila Fajilan (Family Ministries Head), Carl and Sollie Sinsay (Regional Head Southwestern Region), Pidz and Joy Banasan (Pastoral Formation), Bobbee and Marivic Mella (Mission Support Services) and Ding and Joy de Guzman (ANCOP Regional Coordinator).
Men / C1
for their team building. The highlights of the second day included the knighting ceremony for the brothers and the crowning ceremony for the sisters. The plenary session followed where the women were given the opportunity to share their realizations and experiences during the weekend. The day ended with a very moving praisefest
led by Nemboy Rivera of SFC Central Bangkok. The Knights Tale and Princess Diaries are part of the new pastoral formation track of SFC which aim to instill in the hearts and minds of SFC members the truth that they are sons and daughters of the King and that they were created men and women for a specific purpose.
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