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•A3 •B1 CBCP lauds ‘Earth Hour’ efforts NASSA signs partnership with CARE International •C1 Current trends in vocation recruitment in the Church THE National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) signed a memorandum of understanding today with CARE International at the CBCP Headquarters in Intramuros. UGNAYAN Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Inc Supplement Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace March 31 - April 13, 2008 Vol. 12 No. 7 Social / A6 Php 20.00 NASSA / A6 Sumilao farmers reclaim land IT’S OVER. After 10 years, the Higaonon farmers finally got what they wanted— the 144 hectares of agricultural land in Sumilao, Bukidnon. Feeling overjoyed, a farmer hugs Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales after the signing rites at the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City March 29, 2008. AFTER 10 years, the Higaonon farmers finally won their battle March 29 to reclaim the 144 hectares of agricultural land in Sumilao, Bukidnon. The Sumilao farmers have forged an agreement with San Miguel Corporation Saturday, returning the ownership of 50 hectares of the 144 hectares disputed property to the farmers. The agreement was a result of negotiations initiated by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales after he expressed support for the cause of the farmers last December. Under the pact, the farmers will gain 50 hectare within the contested 144-hectare property through a deed of donation by SMC. The remaining 94-hectare, however, will be taken from properties outside but within the vicinity of the contested area. The 94-hectare will be distributed to the Sumilao through the voluntary offer to sale (VOS) scheme under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales together with Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo signed the agreement as witnesses. Rene Penas, a Sumilao farmer leader, said that the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement is a significant breakthrough for the Sumilao farmers who have been victims of injustice for more than 12 years now. “We have suffered all sorts of injustices in our claim over the land. We have chosen non-violent action to press for our legal claim and rights under the law.” Sumilao / A6 Photo by Noli Yamsuan / RCAM Photo by Noli Yamsuan / RCAM By Roy Lagarde Sumilao farmers hold each other’s hands after successfully reclaiming their land saying, “"Today our exodus ends, today we finally become tillers of the land we own since the beginning." KC celebrates Vatican recognition of ‘heroic virtue’ of founder opened by Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin of Hartford (USA) in December 1997. The cause was presented to the Vatican in 2000 where it has been under intensive review by the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Ordained by Cardinal James Gibbons in 1877 at the Baltimore Cathedral, Fr. McGivney was first assigned as curate of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1884, he was made pastor of St. Thomas Church in Thomaston, Conn. He became seriously ill with pneumonia and died in 1890 at an early age of 38. Eight years before his death, he founded the Knights of Columbus that has grown to 1.7 million in membership worldwide today. In the Philippines, there are now about 260,000 members through the hard-work of another “heroic” priest Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ, who died in 1977. With the pope’s decree and the authentication of a miracle at Father McGivney’s intercession, the priest could be beatified. A second miracle will be required for his canonization. On learning of the pope’s decree, KCFAPI President Antonio Borromeo commented, “The news on Vatican recognizing and approving the heroic virtues of Fr. McGivney in such a historic short time of 10 years, gives the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines and the rest of the Knights worldwide a sense of pride and belonging to the Order.” The “misa de gracia” offered today in celebration of Venerable Michael McGivney coincided with the 126th Founder’s Day of the Knights of Columbus. (CBCPNews) Bishop blasts jueteng resurgence in Batangas JUETENG is back in Batangas province and it appears that local authorities are “helpless” to stop it, a Church official said. Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles admitted the resurgence of the illegal numbers racket despite concerted efforts of the Church and the local officials of Batangas. Arguelles suspects top government officials might be serving as jueteng protectors leaving those in the local government powerless. “We are trying to figure out who could be ultimately responsible for these jueteng operations,” he said. The prelate said it’s very unfortunate that gambling and corruption are now part of the Filipino culture. He said the national government should do something to end the illegal gambling for the sake of the country. “They must do something,” Arguelles told CBCPNews. “There should be no sacred cows in government’s drive against illegal gambling,” Arguelles said. “I believe it needs a presidential directive to stop jueteng in Batangas or elsewhere,” he added. Batangas police said jueteng has returned in the towns of Calatagan, Calaca, Laurel, Tamayo, Balayan, Tuy, Taal, Ibaan and Lipa City. News reports said that jueteng re-emerged last month through guerilla and kangaroo style operation by still unidentified group. It can be recalled that Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz brought the issue of jueteng to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s doorstep in 2005. In senate hearings, he and his witnesses—former gambling operators—testified that Arroyo, her immediate family and her associates had allegedly received money from jueteng operations. “The tentacles of jueteng go as far as Malacañang,” Cruz earlier claimed. Until now, Cruz and several other bishops condemns the resurgence of the illegal numbers game, it seems with “renewed vigor.” Left and right attacks were already thrown against the Arroyo government for not doing enough to eradicate jueteng. But still, “no substantial action against gambling has been done,” said Cruz. (CBCPNews) Photo by Denz Dayao / CBCP Media THE Knights of Columbus (KC) in the Philippines celebrated the Vatican recognition of “heroic virtue” of its founder Father Michael McGivney. Attended mostly by members of the Luzon State Jurisdiction and officers of the KC Fraternal Association of the Philippines (KCFAPI) that filled the big church to overflowing, a Eucharistic celebration was held March 29 at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, with KCFAPI Chaplain Msgr. Pedro Quitorio presiding and with Msgr. Joselito Asis, Fr. William Araña, OSA, Fr. Jerome Cruz, Fr. Asis Bajao, OSA, and Fr. Ramon Sala, OSA, concelebrating. A wreath-laying ceremony led by Luzon State Deputy Alon Tan was held immediately after the mass on the life-size statue of Fr. Michael McGivney at the headquarters of Council 1000 in Intramuros. On the eve of Palm Sunday, March 15, Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. The papal declaration is a major step that significantly advances the process towards sainthood and gives Father McGivney the distinction of being regarded as “Venerable Servant of God.” “The recognition made by the Pope on the “heroic virtues” of Fr. Michael J. McGivney brings increased inspiration to the members of the Order— a drive that will propel each one to work harder in the spirit of Columbianism,” said Patrocinio Bacay, chairman of the Board of KCFAPI. The process for Father McGivney’s sainthood was Kalookan ordains first priest THE Diocese of Kalookan has ordained its first priest 5 years after it was erected a diocese in 2003. Ildefonzo “Jun” de Guzman was ordained priest at the San Roque Cathedral in a Mass officiated by Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez on March 15. Bishop Iñiguez said the new priest would surely help bring strength to the Catholic Church. De Guzman, 31, was born in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro and earned his degree in philosophy before beginning his theological studies at St. Vincent College Seminary in Manila. De Guzman, who also has a diploma in Marriage and Family Ministry from the Ateneo de Manila University, came to the Kalookan diocese in 2001. In an interview, the priest said that like other “servants of God,” he also wants to be the kind of priest “who is sensitive to the sufferings of people” and goes out his way to help them. De Guzman was immediately assigned parish priest at Immaculate Conception Parish in Malabon. During his homily, Iñiguez said priests are like good shepherds, who are willing to lay down their lives for their flocks. The Diocese of Kalookan is ministered by 53 diocesan, religious and guest priests in 26 parishes. (CBCPNews) Church taps YouTube for online lenten retreat “WHO is God?” was one of the leading questions asked by Google surfers last year. And to somehow figure this out, the Catholic Church has joined the YouTube bandwagon and posted videos on the Church’s teachings in order to minister to the flock. Since April 2007, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines already posted 58 video documentaries in YouTube as new way to introduce Jesus Christ to people especially to the new generation. This year, the CBCP Media Office has tapped again the video-sharing website for online recollection to reach those who might not be able to make it to church for the Holy Week, such as overseas Filipino workers in nonChristian countries. The video catechesis entitled “Holy Week 2008” is a take with Balanga Bishop Socrates Villegas, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education. The episode of the Holy Week 2008 video series ( immediately gained over seven thousand views since it was uploaded on Holy Tuesday. According to Neilson/NetRatings, YouTube has nearly 20 million visitors per month, with the dominant age group being 12 to 17 yearolds. CBCP Media Office Msgr. Pedro Quitorio said it catches online viewers better when video clips are done in short packets even if the subject is something catechetical. Church / A6

March 31 - April 13, 2008

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