Page 3Monitor CBCP
Vol. 10 No. 8
Caring for Vocations and Shepherding Seminarians
Society JulyMission 31, 2006 Marks Fil-Mission Sunday
“Show Evidence,” Archbishop Appeals CATHOLIC Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) head Archbishop Angel Lagdameo has challenged the accusers who linked him along with five other bishops to the alleged plot to oust President Arroyo to come out with evidence. Show Evidence / P4
Self-Sufficiency Through Giving: A Modified Tithing Program firstname.lastname@example.org
CBCP Monitor Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace July 31, 2006
Vol. 10 No. 8
2006 AMRSMP Convention Statement
Collegio Filippino Elects New Officers THE community of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino (PFC) in Rome elected its new set of “coresponsibles” this year. Fr. Richard Tan of the Diocese of Calbayog was elected as the new main coordinator while Fr. Nemer Chua and Fr. Oscar Cadayona as vice coordinator and Treasurer, respectively. Collefio Filipino / P16
Men Religious vow to Fight Social ills By Ma. Lourdes Ebilane THE superiors of major religious congregations of men in the Philippines have united to more aggressively tackle the issues of poverty, corruption and political killings that continue to plague the country. In a statement after a recent convention in Cebu, the Association Major Religious Superiors of Men in the Philippines (AMRSMP) affirmed they will fight political killings, environmental destruction, corruption and the alleged railroading of charter change process. “We have spent time in reflecting on the conditions of the people that we serve and we are compelled to address the concerns that plague our society today,” it said. The group wants the government to put an end the extra-judicial killings in the country and the culture of impunity by bringing to jus-
1st East, West and South Luzon Regional Assembly of Prison Chaplains and Volunteers in Prison Service Assembly at Quans Worth Farms, Lucena City, July 28-30.
Church Offers Mass for OFWs in Lebanon THE Catholic Church has offered prayers for the safety of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in Lebanon and Israel as fighting between the two countries has become more critical. Organized by the CBCP Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) together with the Manila Archdiocesan Ministry, a special mass was held July 23 at the Nuestra Señora de Guia Church in Ermita, Manila. The Archdiocese of Manila, meanwhile, has started integrating in all its Masses a special prayer for peace in the Holy Land as well as the entire Church Offers / P4
Family Seen as Key to Solving Youth Problems By Roy Lagarde ENHANCING family values is the key to solving the problems concerning the youth of today. This has been the consensus of those present during the “Vicariate Reload,” a gathering of around 400 youth from eight parishes of the Diocese of Parañaque last July 22, 2006. Organized by the Vicariate of San Martin de Porres, the youth gathering held lately was part of the first vicariate general assembly held at the Mary Help of Christian Parish where young people shared about the chal-
Tobias: Providing Sanctuary, A Moral Imperative WHEN a person needs refuge from perceived persecution, the Church must be open to anyone without exceptions. Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias pursued this pastoral concern after he admitted of coddling renegade soldiers that were part of the
so-called Oakwood Mutiny and the alleged moves last February to overthrow the Arroyo administration. “My position is clearly within the bounds of Christian moral imperatives in providing sanctuary to those who are fleeing from ‘justice’ and persecution,” he said. A pastor at heart, the bishop emphasized that the Church is and
that they were pulling out of the project because of the lack of community support. The coal project was supposed to have been built adjacent to towns of Naguillian, Benito Soliven and Cauayan City but they all rejected the PNOC’s request for endorsement of the project. This would have been the country’s first coal-
lenges prevalent among the youth today. “We, as their parish priests, want to know what the youth are also thinking in view of guiding them to become better persons,” said Fr. Vicente Servania, Mary Help of Christian parish priest who was among the priests who joined the discussion to come up with collaborative strategies to help the youth. From the many youth issues presented, the ones related to broken homes topped as the most common among the youth today. The other problems stem from discrimi-
fired power plant located in a mine site. “We absolutely reject PNOC’s proposed mine-mouth coal-plant because it will threaten the lives of the people in the surrounding communities,” said Isabela AntiCoal Mine Alliance leader Fr. Tony Ancieta in a phone interview. The decision also PNOC Recalls / P4
nation, poverty, lack of access to quality education and peer pressure. The participants of the gathering expressed that because of poverty, most of them were left with no choice but to work and earn money for a living. They have to help their parents earn more income in order to keep up with their basic daily needs and be able to pay their debts. The youths declared that the family is the “foundation” that serves as their “guide” on whatever they do. Family Seen / P4
Parañaque Bp. Jesse E. Mercado, DD
CRS Calls for Ceasefire and Humanitarian Corridor in Lebanon
Tobias / P4
PNOC Recalls Coal Mining Project THE Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) has withdrawn its proposed coal mining project in Isabela province after a decade of dispute with church leaders, environmentalists and local residents. In a dialogue with Isabela folks and environmentalists, PNOC President and Chief Executive Officer Eduardo Mañalac said
tice the perpetrators, “whoever they may be.” They also vowed to continue working to eradicate corruption in the government’s institutions and other areas where they carry out their mission. AMRSMP represents major religious congregations of priests, brothers and their mission partners, who work in various ministries in the country. Gathered for an annual assembly in Lipa City last June, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Women in the Philippines (AMRSWP), on the other hand, called on government leaders to train their attention to the suffering Filipinos and urged their religious sisters and lay partners to live their prophetic calling by exposing and denouncing the prevailing social evils.
BALTIMORE, MD, July 21, 2006—Catholic Relief Services (CRS) joins Pope Benedict XVI and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in calling for an immediate ceasefire to end the violence in the Lebanon and Gaza, before it expands into a wider and deadlier regional conflict. We condemn Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s provocative terrorist and cross-border attacks, as well as indiscriminate Israeli military action which is causing the death and suffering of civilians.
CRS is also advocating for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor into Beirut for the safe passage of aid workers and life-saving relief supplies. CRS aid workers report transport of humanitarian assistance is becoming increasingly difficult. “Israeli forces have declared that all trucks and large transport vehicles are legitimate targets for air and missile attacks,” reports Mark Schnellbaecher, CRS Regional Director for the Middle East. “As a result, truck drivers are unwilling to work for fear of being bombed, creating a complete cut-off of supplies from Beirut to the villages in the South - Marjeyoun, Tyre, Ain Ebel, Bint Jbeil, and others.” The situation is particularly acute in Lebanon’s third largest city of Saida (Sidon), where residents and the many internally displaced people who fled from the south are cut off
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from supplies and escape routes because access roads have been destroyed by tricity has taken a severe toll on the industrial sector, and many businesses have come to a complete halt as they cannot produce their goods, especially those that produce food or other perishables. “What we’re seeing is the degradation of human dignity,” says Tom Garofalo, CRS Country Representative for Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. “The assault on Gaza has come to resemble a siege; the most vulnerable suffer and die and there is insufficient discussion of a diplomatic solution by Israel or the United States.” In Gaza, CRS is distributing non-perishable food items such as sardines, beans, lentils, oil, olives, tea and sugar, and household items such as dish detergent, soap, dishes and basins. These CRS Calls / P2
Catechesis of Creation for Protection of the Environment VATICAN City, July 20, 2006—Made public today was the text of a Message from Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople for the 6th symposium on the environment organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as part of its “Religion, Science and Environment” project, the theme of which this year is “The Amazon River: source of life.” The symposia of the project are always held afloat, and this year’s edition is being celebrated from July 13 to 20 on a ship sailing along the Amazon River. The aim of the project is to promote “awareness of the grave problems threatening creation, and commitment to joint action among Christians and men of religion in attempting to solve them.” The symposium, which is also taking place under the patronage of the Catholic Church in Brazil, is being attended by, among others, Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia, and by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, vice dean of the College of Cardinals, who delivered the Pope’s Message to the Patriarch Bartholomew I. In that Message, the Pope thanks Bartholomew for “your support for the Brazilian episcopate’s commitment in Amazonia and your activity in favor of the environment, the deterioration of which has grave and profound repercussions upon peoples.” “The task of highlighting an appropriate catechesis of creation in order to recall the meaning and religious significance of its protection - is intimately connected to our duty as pastors,” writes the Pope, “and could have an important impact on the perceived value of life itself and on the adequate solution of ...
social problems.” T h e Holy Father expresses the hope that the Amazon symposium “may once again draw the attention of peoples and governments to the problems and urgent needs of an area ... so threatened in its ecological balance.” He also highlights how, with this initiative, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has sought to demonstrate “Christian support to the people of the Amazon regions.” “In our common commitment,” says Pope Benedict in his Message,” I see an example of that collaboration which Orthodox and Catholics must seek constantly in order to respond to the need for a shared testimony. This means that all Christians must cultivate that interior openness of soul which is dictated by charity and has its roots in the faith. In this way, they can together offer the world a credible witness of their sense of responsibility towards the defense of creation.” Remarking on the presence at the symposium of figures from the great monotheistic religions, the Pope observes how “reciprocal respect” between faiths also comes about through initiatives such as this one, which concern the interests of all. “It is necessary,” he concludes, “to find common ground in which to bring together the commitment of each individual to defend the habitat ordained by the Creator for human beings.” (VIS)
Congo Bishops Say Conditions for Fair Elections not Met
KINSHASA, Congo, July 24, 2006— Congo’s Catholic bishops have threatened to withhold their recognition of the validity of the upcoming July 30 general elections, saying that all the conditions for a transparent, free, and democratic vote have not been met. The Bishops Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENCO) said in a statement on Thursday, the bishops said instead there have been allegations of manipulation, deception, and fraud. In the message directed at the voters in the country with over 30 million Catholics, titled, “The end of transition in national concord,” the leaders said these irregularities had created tensions a few days before the elections.
CENCO’s chairman, Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo of Kisangani, told the missionary news service MISNA that the Congolese population needs to be reassured on all aspects of the elections. “We reject the incomprehensible slowness and hesitation, the regrettable double dealing, inadmissible subterfuges that so far have impeded the country from proceeding along the path towards elections, in an atmosphere of comprehension and national harmony,” he said. Congo’s electoral commission is organizing the elections with the help of the United Nations in an effort to move on from the 1998-2003 civil war that killed about four million people. Congolese bishops have been active in preparing the people for elections, but they have been disheartened by contradictory declarations on the electoral lists and failure to list the exact number of voters, the presence of “reserve” ballot boxes, the suspicious location of servers in the electronic counting system, and the absence of a clear elections timetable. (CWNews)
CRS Calls / from P1 items, which will assist approximately 1,300 families (about 10,000 people), will be distributed through CRS’ local partners. CRS is giving $50,000 to the
American Jewish Joint Jerusalem Distribution Commitee, based in New York, to aid people displaced by cross-border shelling in northern Israel. (CRS News)
CBCP Monitor Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
Methodists Adopt Catholic-Lutheran Declaration on Justification SEOUL, South Korea, July 25, 2006— In a historic step on the road toward Christian unity, the World Methodist Conference adopted the Catholic-Lutheran joint declaration on justification July 23. The declaration had been previously approved by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, called the signing in Seoul, South Korea, “historic” and “a gift of God.” The agreement on justification, which explains how people are made just in the eyes of God and saved by Jesus Christ, “provides a basis for a more profound common witness before the world,” the cardinal reportedly said at the signing. Two representatives from each of the three church bodies signed the agreement. Cardinal Kasper expressed his hope that the joint agreement would lead to a commitment to deepen com-
mon prayer; to continue theological dialogue, and to “an increase in joint witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Dialogue between the Methodist and Roman Catholic churches has been ongoing for more than four decades. A Methodist statement about the declaration was drafted and circulated among all member churches of the World Methodist Council for consultation and approval, and all responses were positive. On July 18, delegates to the World Methodist Conference voted unanimously to adopt the declaration. The 1999 declaration said: “By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping us and calling us to good works.” The Methodists said the declaration “corresponds to Methodist doctrine.” “The Methodist Move-
ment,” which grew out of the Anglican Church, “has always understood itself as deeply indebted to the biblical teaching on justification as it was understood by (Martin) Luther and the other reformers,” the resolution said. “But it has also always embraced elements of the doctrine of justification which belong to the Catholic tradition of the early church.” As a guest speaker, Methodist Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, said the signing was “a giant step to … overcoming Christian divisions.” “Our world needs a church that bears witness to the Gospel in word and deed,” he added. (CNA)
Cor Unum: Special Collection of Funds for Lebanon VATICAN City, July 22, 2006 - The Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” today published the following communique: “Given the persistence of the conflict in the Middle East and of the terrible plight of the peoples involved, the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum’ wishes, in the name of the Holy Father, to demonstrate its closeness to those who are suffering, sending preliminary aid to help shel-
ter the thousands of displaced people. “This aid is directed towards a project being promoted by Caritas Lebanon, the Custody of the Holy Land, the AVSI Foundation and other organizations present on the ground, in order to supply materials for welcome centers (mattresses, blankets and sheets), drinking water, food and hygiene kits, and medicines.”
The communique also indicates where to send donations for this special collection of funds: Italian Post Office current account number 603035, made out to Pontifical Council Cor Unum, stating the reason: for Lebanon. Banca di Roma current account number 101010 - ABI 3002, CAB 5008 (from abroad: SWIFT code: BROMIT)—made out to Pontifical Council Cor Unum, stating the reason: for Lebanon. (VIS)
Papal Meeting to Discuss New Appointment? ROME, Jul. 24, 2006—Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone met privately with Pope Benedict XVI during the Holy Father’s vacation in Valle d’Aoste on Monday. The current archbishop of Genoa—who will succeed Cardinal Angelo Sodano as the Vatican’s Secretary of State on September 15— arrived in the village of Les Combes by automobile for the private meeting with the Holy Father. Journalists who saw the cardinal said he arrived around 11 am and remained with the
Pope all afternoon. According to sources, Bertone’s meeting with the Pope involved certain important matters, particularly the appointment of the future Secretary for Relations with States, the number 2 position within the Secretariat of State, often compared to the secular governmental post of foreign minister. The current “foreign minister” of the Holy See, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, was named on June
22 to head of the Vatican City-State governorate, also beginning on September 15. Pope Benedict will leave Les Combes on July 28, having arrived there on July 11. According to reports, the Pope made his vacation productive as well as relaxing by taking the time to work on several projects, in particular, a book on Jesus which he had begun the drafting before his election as pope last year. (CWNews)
Kerala Christians: “New Education Law is Undemocratic”
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India, July 24, 2006—Priests from all the churches in Kerala yesterday read out a pastoral letter exhorting believers to protest against the state’s new higher education act. The letter, jointly drawn up and signed by leaders of all rites, condemned the law as “unconstitutional, anti-democratic and anti-minority”. Fr Babu Joseph, spokesperson of the Bishops’ Conference of India, shares their view. In an interview with AsiaNews, he accused the government of “wanting to abdicate its responsibility to guarantee education for all and of planning to dump it onto the shoulders of a minority that has worked hard and is being punished for this.”
The Kerala Professional Colleges Bill 2006 reserves the right to decide whether a community is a minority or not, and on this basis to decide how many schools this community can run as well. The state government will also be empowered to decide the proportion of minority students a school may accept in relation to other students. Christian institutes have taken the case to the state’s high court that should issue a ruling this week. Christian leaders declared yesterday to be a “day of prayer and fast to protest the law”, which, as they wrote in the letter, “excludes Christians, who form only 19% of the population of Kerala, from the definition of minorities… This means we will have to run our institutions like government institutions. This move penalizes us.” The letter, signed by the Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara rite, Cyril Mar Baselius, on behalf of all bishops, said Christian institutions would press ahead with legal action to fight the new act. It also accused the government of distancing com-
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munities from each other. “The campaign mounted against us, claiming that we have more colleges, is intended to create a negative feeling against Christians among other communities.” Fr Joseph told AsiaNews: “The Christian community pioneered in establishing education institutions in Kerala nearly 150 years ago and all the communities derived benefits from its work... The new law aims to annihilate the development work of minority communities, apart from the fact that it goes against the Constitution. These communities should be encouraged to contribute to the development of the nation rather than being punished for services rendered, which is what this law does.” He continued: “In fact, it is minorities who invest all their resources to build up institutions while the government takes the benefit from them in the name of social justice.” “It is the government,” he added, “that collects taxes from the public and therefore it has the duty to provide an education for the less wealthy. But it seems that now it wants to abdicate that responsibility by dumping it onto the shoulders of a minority that has worked hard to create institutions with their scarce resources.” (AsiaNews)
Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
Church’s Social Doctrine Urges ‘Preferential Love for the Poor’
© Denz Dayao
by Bob R. Acebedo
THE Philippine Church’s declaration of 2006 as Year of Social concerns has precipitated, no doubt, a new wave of dynamism towards a clearer understanding of the Social Doctrine of the Church. In a conference on “Human Rights and the Eradication of Poverty” held last July 15 at the University of Asia and the Pacific, Pasig City, Fr. Fausto Gomez, OP, a noted professor in Moral Theology, has stressed that the Social Doctrine of the Church calls even more for people to exercise “preferential love for the poor.” Citing as basis the moral principles of “human dignity, common good, solidarity and subsidiarity” articulated by the Compendium
sponsibility of the Catholic Church in the Philippines of spreading the Faith to other countries and peoples. “Fil-Mission Sunday is a day of thanksgiving for the gift of faith that we have received from God through the efforts of the missionaries in the past. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on our common missionary calling or responsibility to share our faith with other people, especially with those who have not yet heard the Good News,” Fr. Messiona told CBCP Monitor. With its theme “Eucharist: A Mission of Thanksgiving and Sharing,” MSP marked this year’s celebration of FilMission Sunday with mission awareness and promotion campaigns in several parishes in Metro Manila. Fr. Eladio Oliver, MSP’s Bursar General, in an interview with CBCP Monitor, said that during last July 30’s celebration of Fil-Mission Sunday, MSP missionary priests, seminarians and together with the Fil-Mission Auxiliary Association (FMMA), its lay volunteer group, joined the Sunday masses in some 14 parishes in Metro Manila to campaign for missionary vocations and appeal for public support—prayers and mate-
THE Philippines, being a predominantly Catholic country in Asia and after over 400 years as recipient of foreign missionary efforts, is now rather a major source of priest missionaries serving several countries in the Asia Pacific region, and even beyond. In its celebration marking the Filipino Mission Sunday or Fil-Mission Sunday last July 30, the Mission Society of the Philippines (MSP), the flag bearer of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for foreign missions, proudly revealed that its numerous all-Filipino diocesan missionary priests are now scattered in several Asian countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and Japan; and in some countries in the Pacific region like Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Cook Islands; and even in Guyana, South America and the Netherlands. According to Fr. Socrates C. Messiona, MSP, Father Moderator of the Mission Society of the Philippines, the celebration of Fil-Mission Sunday is an occasion for Filipinos to be aware not only about the efforts of MSP missionaries but also of the collective re-
of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Gomez pointed out that all are “obliged to share something—or much—with the poor around us.” “Preferential” love (or option) for the poor, according to Fr. Gomez, means “to choose the poor as a priority of justice and, principally, of charity.” Gomez clarified however that such “preferential love for the poor” should not exclude “loving the rich”—but only “preferentially” the poor—pointing out that the virtue of charity after all demands loving “all” unconditionally. “The poor are the economically and socially deprived: the powerless, the marginalized, the oppressed, and the exploited. In our ecological context, the poor are the most
threatened specie of the earth. Poor are those human beings who lack what is needed to live a truly human life. In Asia, the priority of service to the poor is focused on migrants, indigenous and tribal peoples, women and children. PCP II presents to us faces of our poor: the rural and urban poor, tribal Filipinos, street children, farmers, fishermen, women, and the disabled,” Fr. Gomez said. That all are “obliged” to render preferential love for the poor, Fr. Gomez cited some compelling reasons. “Because God created the earth for all, including the poor, who are also entitled to their share in the goods of the earth; because we are stewards of God’s creation and are obliged to share what truly belongs to God
3 with the poor around us; because we are followers of Christ and have to see him in the poor, the doubles of Christ; and because at the end, we will be examined on love, particularly on love of the poor.” The preferential love for the poor, Fr. Gomez added, requires everybody to practice “poverty in spirit, a simple lifestyle, and solidarity with the poor.” Quoting the noted Catholic writer Jose Luis Martin Descalzo who once quipped that “no one can be poor in spirit while living like the rich man,” Fr. Gomez said that “poverty in spirit” implies “the power to recognize the Lord in the poor, the downtrodden, and the ‘fallen’ on the many roads of injustice, oppression and exploitation.” A “simple lifestyle”, Fr. Gomez further explained, demands that “we live simply so that others might simply live”. “When we see people dying of hunger, or merely surviving, how can we waste food, or other resources, or simply have too much?” Moreover, “solidarity with the poor”, Fr. Gomez said, is “sharing with and accompanying the poor on their way to their equal dignity and rights.” Distinctively so, “solidarity with the poor”, Fr. Gomez stressed, may also imply condemning rich countries and international lending institutions for exploiting poor countries with unjust debt schemes and forcibly pushing them into an interminable poverty. Fr. Gomez explained, “Vatican II notes that if a person is in extreme necessity, he has the right to take from the riches of others what he himself needs. St. Thomas Aquinas asked himself: Is theft justifiable in case of necessity? He answers in the affirmative: In case of necessity everything is in common. In this case there is no theft—morally speaking. Could we not apply this doctrine also to poor countries in relation to their huge debt to rich countries? Why should the poor countries pay back when the rich countries do not need the money and for the poor countries the payment is a great obstacle for their basic development? Some rich countries have begun to erase some of the debt, which from being external debt is becoming also an eternal debt!” The conference, jointly organized by the Society of Catholic Social Scientists (Philippine Chapter) and the School of Economics of the University of Asia and the Pacific, was attended by noted academicians, Church groups, the business sector and non-government organizations.
Mission Society Marks Fil-Mission Sunday By Baltz Acebedo rial assistance—for the cause and efforts of the Mission Society of the Philippines. “How can we support our own Filipino missionaries? First, we ask for your prayers. Most of our missionaries have to face loneliness, sickness, cultural barriers and even sometimes threats to personal security as they preach the Gospel in foreign lands. They are doing extraordinary work so they need and equally extraordinary strength that can only come from God’s grace; they need your prayers,” Fr. Oliver said quoting the MSP’s appeal that was read during the Sunday masses in some parishes. “Second, we ask for your material support for our Fil-Missioners. We can take part in the mission work of the Church by sharing our material blessings to our mission-
aries. Through your generous gifts the MSP will be able to train more seminarians, send more missionaries and share our Faith to more countries,” the MSP’s appeal added. The Mission Society of the Philippines (MSP) is a community of zealous and committed Filipino diocesan missionary priests who live out the charism of spending their lives by proclaiming the gospel in the foreign missions. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines established the MSP in 1965 to mark the 4th Centennial celebration of the beginning of the Christian Faith in the Philippines. The mandate that the Catholic bishops gave to the MSP is “to recruit, train and send Filipino missionaries in order to share our faith with other countries especially in Asia as a sign of our gratitude for the faith
we received from God; and in response to the missionary challenge of evangelization as a predominantly Christian country in the region.” The Fil-Missioners or MSP missionaries serve the pastoral needs of the local communities in their respective mission areas. Some of them assist in the formation of the local clergy. They also take part in the human development of the flock under their care and engage in dialogue with other religions. In some countries, they also minister to the needs of the overseas migrant workers. In 1967, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines declared every last Sunday of July as the Filipino Mission Sunday or Fil-Mission Sunday for the whole Catholic Church in the Philippines.
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Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
Bishops Chide Arroyo’s SONA WHILE they extolled President Arroyo’s programs for the country, Catholic bishops scored her State of the Nation Address (SONA) saying it did not deal with the country’s real situation and problems. Lingayen-Daguapn Archbishop Oscar Cruz said what the President did was a futuristic approach because the present state of the nation is “dim and dismal.” “While it is understandable to say where the country is going and what people can expect, it is incongruous to have a SONA precisely so much focused instead on what it is not,” he said. Cruz noted that Arroyo’s SONA “cannot but be commended in its content and spirit,” but it provided blurred directions for achieving the reforms and addressing the poverty. Arroyo vowed to share power with provinces and outlined a massive spending in her vision of a great future for the country basically in terms of an aggressive nationwide socio-economic development outlined in her SONA recently in Congress. The bishops, however, are cynical with Arroyo’s agenda becoming concrete realities. Cruz underscored that there must be a sufficient funding to do them, unity among government leaders and enough time. Arroyo has less than 4 years left in her term to have her plans done. “But then, if the same national leadership cannot even clean the country of a stupid illegal numbers game like ‘jueteng’, it is quixotic for it to even imagine that it can deliver so many fantastic and grandiose national projects,” he said. Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez also said Ar-
royo should have discussed the several impeachment complaints she is facing because it shows the real picture of the country. “It’s something that undermined the situation of the country,” said Iñiguez, also the chair of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Public Affairs Committee. The Citizens’ Battle Against Crime and Corruption (CIBAC) yesterday filed the sixth impeachment complaint before the office of House Secretary General Roberto Nazareno. House Speaker Jose de Venecia immediately referred to the Committee on Justice all six impeachment bids lodged against Arroyo. This, he said, was done to break speculations that he and other pro-Arroyo legislators are blocking the referral of the complaints to protect the president. The complaints filed by different groups had been endorsed by some minority lawmakers. Bishop Antonio Tobias, meanwhile, was dismayed over Arroyo’s enumeration of accomplishments saying they totally contradict the current situation of most Filipinos. “Arroyo said that poverty had been reduced but I don’t agree because there are still two million people that are poor,” he said. He said the issue of legitimacy remains unsolved and hounding Arroyo from governing the nation. Tobias added that the President must also learn to offer self-sacrifice and let the truth prevail on the controversies and issues haunting her bureaucracy. (CBCP News)
CBCP’s Committee on Church’s Cultural Heritage Bares Projects RECOGNIZING indeed the rich cultural heritage of the Catholic Church as an invaluable aid to evangelization and catechesis, the Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church (CCHC) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines cannot pose as bereft or wanting in programs and activities to pursue its mandate of promoting, protecting, and conserving the ecclesiastical cultural heritage. Headed by Bishop Julito Cortes, the Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, during the CBCP’s midyear plenum last July 9-10, revealed its various accomplishments, ongoing projects and other future activities. As of date, the CCHC is already preparing the second issue of its official publication, Pintakasi, in joint efforts with the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Pintakasi’s second issue will include papers presented during the 2nd biennial National Convention of Church Cultural Heritage Workers held in September 2001 in Butuan Diocese, and some speeches delivered during the 1st Ordinary Regional Fora on the Church Cultural Heritage held in July 2002. Meanwhile, preparations for the 2nd Ordinary Regional Fora on the Church Cultural Heritage are already well under way. A series of fora will be held in Legazpi City, Albay, for the Luzon leg; in Cebu City, for
the Visayas leg; and tentatively in Surigao City, for the Mindanao leg. The CCHC is also currently following up the Vatican-Philippines Bilateral Agreement on the Care of the Cultural Heritage of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. The final document, reportedly already in the possession of the Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, is due for submission to the Holy See. The CCHC is doing a final review of the Draft Statutes of the Society of Ecclesiastical Archivists of the Philippines (SEAP). The Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church is also networking with the Culture Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK), whose members signified their desire to network with the CBCP’s CCHC to observe and obtain information about heritage work and advocacy in the Philippines Future projects of the CCHC include the 5th Biennial National Convention of Church Cultural Heritage Workers in Mindanao next year. The CCHC is also mulling the formation of a board of experts in heritage particularly in pursuing one of its stipulated functions, articulated by the CBCP statutes, which states that the Committee “shall serve as a consultative Body on the scientific conservation of cultural ecclesiastical goods.” (Sr. Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
Tobias / from P1 will always be a haven for people in need “without questions” and “exceptions.” “As pastor of the flock, all request for sanctuary are given the presumption of credibility as we make no judgments of good or evil on anyone,” said Tobias. In this case, he said, the soldiers were put in a disadvantage by state laws and needed our help. He said some of Mrs. Arroyo’s allies today who were troubled in the past took refuge in the Church but they are still welcome if needed. Government leaders cautioned the bishop that he could be charged for criminal offense for harboring the mutineers saying that no one is above the law even the servants of God. But Tobias justified that his action did not help them to break the law but to give them respect and the moral bearings to guide them in their actions. “Sanctuary is sacrosanct. It is beyond the laws of man. Human institutions of the State, the administration of man’s law by the State are not contradicted by my grant of sanctuary for these young men who came seeking comfort and aid,” he pointed out. Tobias earlier confessed he provided shelter and refuge for three days and three nights to Magdalo soldiers, including Army 1st Lt. Lawrence San Juan, who fled from their detention cell in Fort Bonifacio last January. The bishop also stressed he has no regrets for helping the fugitives saying that what he did was for the common good. “We wanted to resolve the problem in a peaceful way.” Tobias also called on the government not to destroy the tradition of “Christian charity of sanctuary”
to all those who need it. “Let not this government pervert this act of Christian charity and turn it into something so sordid and vile to cast aspersions of obfuscation and deceit to tarnish the character and integrity of the cleric who dares to practice his faith about Christian charity,” he said. At press time, the government was reportedly studying the possibility of filing charges against the prelate and sought the help of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in an investigation. But Tobias is fearless saying he is ready to face his supposed “misdeeds” and submit himself for any investigation. “Let the country be my judge,” he said. Meanwhile, the militant group Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME) expressed their full support to the bishop for his “humanitarian deed and exercise of rights and responsibilities as both Church leader and a citizen.” “We emulate and give our high respects to our bishops. Their courage and steadfastness are raising our hopes and spirits in this tortuous journey for national economic sovereignty as the basic condition for a democratic and just society,” The CBCP also reiterated its support for Tobias in helping some members of the Magdalo group. Tobias said he is overwhelmed by the support given by his fellow bishops, which earlier offered to send him lawyer if he need one. “I really felt the support of the CBCP. My fellow bishops called me from their dioceses,” he added. (Roy Lagarde)
Show Evidence / from P1 “I appeal that the sources of such stories will clarify themselves for the sake of common good,” said Lagdameo. The prelate admitted he is saddened by the reports “fabricated without proof as to their veracity.” Two former “jueteng” witnesses have accused, through a television news program, six prelates in a conspiracy to overthrow the Arroyo administration. Richard Garcia and Abe Riva claimed the bishops had also planned to push Sen. Panfilo Lacson as alternative to Arroyo. The erstwhile witnesses identified other bishops as Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Bp. Antonio Tobias, Bp. Deogracias Iñiguez, Bp. Julio Labayen and Bp. Teodoro Bacani. Garcia and Riva served as Cruz’s witnesses during the Senate investigation on “jueteng” early last year. They took refuge with Tobias until they withdrew their testimony in August. Contrary to the reports, Lagdameo said they did not have any meeting together with any group— including any member of the Magdalo group—to unseat Arroyo.
“It is very possible that an accusation is being leveled against the credibility of the bishops, because of our stand on issues which are not pleasant to certain groups” Lagdameo said. The CBCP head also said that if he and other bishops have spoken against the conduct of anyone or any group— in favor or against the government— it was for the interest of the common welfare. “As bishops we always promote peace, non-violent and constitutional means of reform in government,” he said. Cruz, meanwhile, belittled Garcia and Riva’s claim. He said he is convinced and confident that no one would believe anymore the allegations of his two former witnesses because of their “tarnished” credibility. Bacani, for his part, said he is certain that Garcia and Riva’s statement are intended to discredit the bishops. He cautioned of more allegations to come. “I think common sense tells me that this is only the beginning.” (CBCP News)
PNOC Recalls / from P1 drawn from anti-coal stance through a petition signed by more than 15,000 people and resolutions from local government officials of said three places, all strongly rejecting the proposal. Protest rally An island-wide resolve to stop coal mining was known among the young and old who protested in front of the Philippine National Oil Company in Taguig, Manila few days before the PNOC came out with a decision. To drive their message home, parishioners from Isabela and volunteers from Greenpeace, a non-profit organization, some wore protective coveralls and gas masks, blocked the gates of the PNOC with signs displaying skulls to symbolize the illeffects of coal plants to the environment and to human health. “We made sure that the message gets out and clear to the government that we strongly oppose coal mining,” Ancieta said. The project, he said, will only taint their air and water supply and ruin crops, devastating health and livelihoods. “I think people have realized there’s
a lot at stake here,” the priest said. Victory “The people of Isabela have defeated a coal plant,” he stressed. “And unity was the key factor for the victory.” He said the “victory” is a tribute to the communities in the province who have been tirelessly working against the said project ever since it was proposed. Coal, according to Greenpeace, is the dirtiest fossil fuel. “The acute and long term environmental and social costs associated with coal usage make it expensive and unacceptable burden to its host communities. The coal moreover is a major contributor to climate change, the greatest threat to our world today.” Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner Jasper Inventor said the growing resistance “to this dirty fossil fuel” should be a signal to the government that coal is not a wise investment. “If President Arroyo is serious in achieving a ‘Green Philippines’ in five years, the government should stop construction and expansion of more coal plants in the country,” he added. (CBCP News)
Church Offers / from P1 Middle East. The full text of the prayer reads as follows: “We pray for peace in the Middle East, especially in the Holy Land and Lebanon. May the governments at war with each other come to realize that nobody wins in war and that peace is the only way to genuine community of humankind. We pray to the Lord.” “We pray for those who are suffering and grieving because of this conflict of powers in the Holy Land and Lebanon, that they may continue to hold on to the power of love and peace rather than the destruction of hatred and vengeance. We pray to the Lord.” Earlier, a message was relayed by the Vatican through Papal Nuncio Archbishop Fernando Filoni asking the CBCP to offer special prayers for unity in the war-ravaged region. Filoni then requested CBCP
President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo to immediately convey the message of Pope Benedict XVI to all the Philippine bishops. CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, for his part, promptly responded by sending a circular letter containing the Pope’s message to all the bishops. In the letter, the Pope said, “what is happening in the Holy Land... is a cause of new and serious concern for everyone, especially for the many victims among the civilian population.” “At the root of such pitiless contrasts there are unfortunately... violations of rights and of justice,” he said. Around 34,000 Filipinos work in Lebanon and most of them are working in Beirut. There are 25, 000 domestic workers and the rest work in hotels or United Nations missions. (CBCP News)
Family Seen / from P1 “Because there is no solid foundation among broken families, the youth will look for guidance from other people,” a representative from the Holy Infant Jesus Parish said. The youth will meet and gain friends. But most of the time they will meet friends who will drag them to vices like smoking, drinking alcohol, and worse, taking drugs. It was noted that the best that should happen to the youth is to build better families. With broken families come broken youth values. The youth gathering was the result of
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the First Diocesan General Assembly held on February 20-24, 2006 that considered youth apostolate as one of the diocesan pastoral priorities. The eight parishes composing the Vicariate of San Marin that joined the event were San Martin de Porres, Mary Help of Christian, Holy Infant Jesus, Holy Eucharist, Our Lady of Beautiful Love, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, San Agustin, Mary and Immaculate Quasi-Parish. The diocese of Parañaque was established only in 2002.
Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
Caring for Vocations and Shepherding Seminarians Most Rev. Reynaldo G. Evangelista, D.D.
Introduction UPON further reflection on the topic assigned to me, I was inspired to give this the subtitle, “CARING FOR THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH.” Without vocations and without the careful shepherding of seminarians—our future priests—the life of the Church is jeopardized. Caring for vocations actually extends to those called to consecrated life and even to those called to married life or to single blessedness because they too are also called by God to holiness; but for this particular moment, we will limit our focus on vocation to the priesthood, religious or diocesan. This will bring us later on to our reflection on shepherding seminarians. We are all familiar with the topic at hand because all of us started with our experience of a call from God. We heard God’s call through some people around us. For many of us, we entered the seminary through the invitation of a priest. Some of us initially thought of entering the seminary through a vocation campaign in our school listening in awe to the priests and nuns telling us their vocation stories. A few of us were enticed by playing basketball with seminarians who spent their summer apostolate in our parish. This may solicit a smile from us, but it is also a reality that some vocation stories started from our grandmother— yes, our lola—who was so consistent in going to church, so very caring to priests and more importantly, the lola who prayed assiduously that one of her grandsons would become a priest someday. Some of us may have accidentally read a vocation poster at the entrance of a church or may have read a book on the Lives of Saints. The list of vocation stories is endless because God continuously calls man to serve Him and His Church. I heard God’s call to the priesthood when I used to tag along with my mother visiting my eldest brother who was then in the seminary. I remembered enjoying the food whenever we visited him—something I still enjoy today. I admired the seminary basketball team my brother played for in several championship and exhibition games. After finishing my elementary studies I took the entrance examination at the minor seminary and everything was history, as the cliché goes! In all of these events, God made His voice heard gradually, lovingly, and slowly into our hearts and consciences. God in His unfathomable ways and plan has called us to be His priests. Unworthy though we are, He set us apart from among other candidates to the priesthood to serve Him and His Church. As priests and bishops, we have our own vocation stories to tell. I encourage you to go back to your vocation story after this conference and allow God to speak to you again, to listen to His assurance that He loves you so dearly and it is the reason why He called you to be a shepherd of His flock. Vocation is a gift and mystery Each vocation is a unique dialogue of friendship between God and man. Vocation to the priesthood is a gift of God. It is a heresy to claim that it was the candidate to the priesthood who presented himself to God—to be a priest. It is God who calls; man simply responds. It is God who initiates the call; man merely continues to follow that voice that called him. Responding to God’s call to be His priest is a daily decision. Though one becomes a priest by the Sacrament of
Holy Orders, the nurturing of the gift of the priesthood according to the Priesthood of Christ, the Eternal Priest, takes a lifetime. This is the reason why a priest has to maintain his deep connectedness to God in prayer especially through Eucharistic spirituality and life of virtues. The story of how the apostles were called and then gradually transformed by our Lord Jesus Christ— this is what we now call seminary formation—is somehow repeated in every candidate to the priesthood. Like Peter and Andrew, James and John, and the rest of the apostles and disciples, he is uprooted from the first seedbed of life—that is the family, and even the community. Then, God placed him in the seedbed of vocations—that is the seminary—where he is eventually crafted and carefully honed to be His priests. It is in the seminary that he is offered his identity and slowly being introduced to his mission for God and His Church. It is in the seminary that a candidate to the priesthood is gradually transformed into the thoughts, ways, and holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Configuration to Christ is the direction and purpose of the whole formation program in each seminary under the bishop’s supervision. And like any gift freely given, the gratuitous gift of vocation can also be freely returned or utterly rejected. Aside from being a gift of God, vocation is also a mystery. Only God knows why among so many young men of our age, he called us—and not them—to enter the seminary. And the deeper mystery is, from among the many seminarians who may possess more outstanding human qualities, we are the ones who reached the day of our ordination and were chosen by God to be his priests. Quoting His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal in his message to the National Congress of the Clergy, “Why you and I received this gift is the mystery. It is a “mystery of divine election.” The mysterious character of vocation has been the common subject of liturgical readings for ordinations, citing the expression of unworthiness of a Jeremiah or one of those reluctant prophets. Since many of us became seminary formators, we are very much aware of the mysteriousness of vocation to the priesthood. On many occasions we have to discern the will of God for a particular seminarian. On many occasions we have to wait for signs if a candidate to the priesthood is indeed being called by God for the priestly ministry or just following his personal agenda. Even with the aid of psychological tests and other scientific matrix we experienced how as seminary formators we have to go back to prayer to know God’s mysterious plan for each candidate to the priesthood. As seminary rector for nine years, the truth that vocation is a gift and mystery encouraged me to spend hours of prayer to consult God for each and every vocation that is entrusted to my care. We are all aware that in seminary formation, the Holy Spirit is the Formator Par Excellence. His will should always be over and above all human decisions. The Importance of Prayer for Votions “It is the duty of bishops to encourage people to foster vocations, and to see that all their energies and undertakings are closely coordinated, sparing themselves no sacrifice in their efforts to help, as fathers, those who in their judgment have Caring for / P10
© Roy Lagarde
Bishop of Boac
Shadows Over My Beloved Country By Rev. Euly Belizar, Jr. WHEN I came home to the Philippines on the fourth Thursday of November, 2004 I didn’t quite expect to find Utopia. Even Lolo Jose Rizal (that’s how we used to call him back in high school and college) already called la patria adorada also nuestro perdido Eden. ‘Our lost Eden’. Those words have haunted me to this day (especially these days, if I may add). But I’d have remonstrated with Lolo Jose. I still see traces of our Eden in the lush greenery of Samar’s forests, in the chaotic serenity of our white-sand (and even black-or-gray-sand) beaches (if you disagree, just come in the weekends), in the awesome majesty of our plains and mountains, in the gentle kindness and hospitality of simple barangay folks. Yes, Lolo Jose. My beloved country isn’t anymore “our lost Eden” but only a “hidden” one that has to be rediscovered and coaxed out of the shadows. Ah, speaking of shadows—these make me agree with Lolo Jose on his “lost Eden” phraseology. There are just so many shadows over my beloved country right now that it’s simply so easy to lose sight of our Eden. Let me talk of three. First, there is our continuing massive poverty. Despite official (they’re often understandably very rosy) reports of poverty reduction or alleviation, the truth isn’t so hard to detect even when you travel around Metro Manila. High rise buildings, imposing flyovers and stupendously sleek malls, such as the one called ‘Mall of Asia’, do not banish from view the scandal of shanties, many of which stand in line and in sharp contrast to these modern amenities alongside highways and bi-ways. Not that I hate official figures and scientific statements on our poverty situation. I simply think those are, in this case, needless. All that anyone needs to do is open his eyes, ears and mind. Many voices from government say it’s our exploding population that is at the bottom of our being at the bottom of the economic ladder. But, again, all one needs to do is to travel by plane and look down on the islands. All the populated areas are just tiny specks of the still vast uninhabited, undeveloped lands below (and they call that ‘population explosion’?). I personally think that the real causes are a host of factors, among which are the lack of true agrarian reform which is at the root of our social inequity, corruption, destructive political culture etc. But I’d be going ahead of myself. Second, there is the seemingly interminable bad governance responsible for a seemingly ineradicable inefficiency in delivering basic services. A good case in point is the state of road disrepair in my province (Eastern Samar). We are already in the Third Millennium but on coming to Samar you would think you traveled by time machine back to 1950 or, to put it more kindly, 1960. I’d been asking our local politicians why we still presently have primitive, potholed roads (that would have put the Wild, Wild West to shame) and invariably they repeat statements, such as, “It’s not really my responsibility but that of the Department of Public Works and Highways”. Then I try to dis-
creetly ask the same question to DPWH authorities and I get an answer I find so much beyond belief, “Well, we just don’t have enough funds”. If that is really the case, then why, I ask, can the department afford to hire so many employees that scarcely do anything more than receive a monthly paycheck and play chess or pass around tsismis during office hours? I often wonder if this state of things isn’t true in other provinces. Third, there is the culture of impunity of crimes against life (among other crimes, for there are others that occur with equal impunity). Very recently the head of the republic went to the Vatican to proudly report to the Holy Father the ‘timely’ (for the trip to Europe, that is) demise of the death penalty in the Pearl of the Orient Seas. To some observers the move was ironic; to others, hypocritical. The death penalty, it’s true, is no longer executed by law but it is, even to this writing, being carried out by motorcycleriding men in bonnets all over the republic and the targets are not criminals but leaders of militant organizations, plain activists, journalists, sometimes even religious workers who loudly register their protests over unjust conditions in the country. It’s simply shocking, I know, for a Pinoy in America or elsewhere to hear all these things (for Pinoys in the Philippines it would be a shock not to hear them). These are realities that can’t be simply wished away. I used to remember my hometown, Borongan, Eastern Samar, to be a simple, even idyllic place. Now all that is a cruel memory. To date we have more than eleven cases of extra-judicial killings perpetrated by the same motorcycleriding killers in bonnets (in some cases they take them off) that prowl the islands. And (this one is for Ripley’s Believe It or Not) not one of these has been solved (to put hope in the equation, let me add an adverb) yet. From the pulpit I have mustered as much courage as I can, with our bishop and other priests in my diocese, to denounce such travesty of the sanctity of human life. (I notice that our diocese has become, for the local population, a mini-CBCP in issuing pastoral statements defending the integrity of the environment or upholding the sanctity of human life against the vicious political killings now obtaining all over the land. I also notice we sometimes reap similar results. Pastoral statements could fall on deaf ears). Lately a parishioner asked me if I may not have made myself a target for having vehemently denounced from the pulpit the killings as sins not only of the killers and the masterminds but also of all of us who make them possible when we succumb to the culture of silence in word and in deed, a culture on which the culture of criminal impunity feeds. In a flash I felt something that, to my mind, many who accept this culture feel—fear. Then I realized I was face to face with what could be the greatest threat to life, decency, democracy and, most of all, the practice of the Christian faith in the Land of the Morning. Cry to heaven for my beloved country.
“From the pulpit I have mustered as much courage as I can, with our bishop and other priests in my diocese, to denounce such travesty of the sanctity of human life. “
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Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
Tears for OFWs THE ongoing repatriation of thousands of OFWs in Lebanon typifies the saga of the socalled modern-day Filipino heroes that pitiably wrestle daily with precariousness, indignity and instability. But for lack of a better domestic option and despite the uncertainty of personal safety, the number of Filipino workers going abroad keeps swelling by each day. They are heroes, all right. And that’s because they buoy up literally an ailing economy in their home country. Last year, for instance, about US $10.7 billion were remitted to the country through the official route of the banking system. And, according to economic sources, about 50% more are remitted — yet unaccounted — because they are sent through informal channels. This has been the reason why the OFW remittances have become a stable source of foreign exchange more than the combined totals of foreign aid (or borrowings) and investments. Observably, the burgeoning remittances are fueling domestic consumption and, in effect, sustaining local business. In that sense, the OFWs may be said to consequently reduce direct poverty as may be seen in OFW families being able to construct new houses and afford home appliances. The only rub is, most of these monies are spent in consumer goods rather than in investments and similar initiatives that could propel future economic values.
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
Insta LAST January, the CBCP presented a goal on which a roadmap for the Philippine public life could be conceptualized. The CBCP said in its Pastoral Statement “what clearly emerges is the continued and urgent need for renewal on the public life of our country” through the adoption of correct moral values. The CBCP has declared 2006 as “Social Concerns Year” under the auspices of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One of the social concerns is the condition or circumstances of the working population, such as: the workers, the laborers in the farms, in industry, in factories, in plantations and in government offices. Included in the list are health workers and media practitioners. The welfare of the country depends on them more than on politicians. There is a workbook published lately entitled, “The Spirituality in the Work-
But while the government is flaunting on OFWs as its lucky charm, a remittance-based national economy is not really as rosy as it looks—because it is dependent on the performance of economies of other countries and not of its own. That being the case, as what is happening now in Lebanon, that economy is very vulnerable to the downturns of foreign economies. One million Filipinos not remitting for a month or two, for instance, because of the war will unmistakably create a big ripple in the national economy. This maybe the wisdom of the NGO that is presently campaigning for a halt in remittances. On a long-term basis, the OFW economy—which is what the country presently is—is more precarious rather than secure. But that is about macroeconomics. A more devastating scenario is about the social costs exacted of Overseas Filipino Workers and the country as a whole. One will not dare imagine a future where 40 million Filipino children are growing up without mothers or fathers or both, without shedding a tear.
CBCP Monitor of
Tr u t h ,
Pedro C. Quitorio
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Baltazar R. Acebedo
Marcelo T. Dalanon
Dennis B. Dayao
Ma. Lourdes G. Ebilane
Roy Q. Lagarde
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. Email: email@example.com Website: www.cbcpworld.net/cbcpmonitor
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place.” This has been scholarly prepared by Ms. Isabelita “Sabsy” Palanca under the guidance of a Salesian, Fr. Ely Santos, SDB, a Jesuit, Fr. Tony de Castro, SJ, and Dominican, Fr. Mon Merino, OP. The vision of “Spirituality in the Workplace” is to offer an instrument for transforming workplaces as “Communities with Ethics and Governance.” Its mission is to trailblaze a movement among our workers that will renew public life through moral values. The workplaces and the workers are a very important segment of Philippine society. More than 60% of our population are workers of some sort, professional and non-professional. They too should be object and subject of social transformation in the country. These workers are the ones supplying food in the tables of the wealthy and the governing class. These are the same
World Meeting of Families IT was exciting, so full of expectations the way to Valencia, Spain. Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family sent such a warm letter inviting me to the V Encuentro Mundial de las Familias that moved me to immediately pack a suitcase and fly Lufthansa on 02 July. O, my favorite travel agent, Catholic Travel, put me on a circuitous route—on the way there, 4 airports as stop-overs with an average 3-hour wait in each for my connecting flights; on the way back, 3 airports for my connecting flights with a 7-hour wait in Munich, 4 hours in Frankfurt, and about 2 hours in Guangzhou. In the beginning, I was somewhat miffed at this itinerary. But then, it turned out to be a grace … as always for those who love God. The wait in the first 2 stop-overs gave me the chance to comply with all the rosaries I had promised to pray for many friends and even strangers asking for prayers. The last stop before Valencia, was Madrid. I had looked forward to this one because I was going to finally meet there a friend of my Theresian friend. She assured me that her friend would know me the moment I stepped out of the Madrid airport. And she did … and for some strange reason, I did too. It must be grace—the way
Spirituality in the Workplace
Henrietta T. de Villa
love of the Lord puts us in touch with one another. Immediately Marilou Amistoso Calero, a Filipina wife and mother, and a brilliant career woman living in Spain for over 30 years gave me a breath-taking 2hour taxi tour of Madrid and a hip barstooltype of Spanish tartlet-tasting in the crowded salon of Cocina de Mallorca in the center of Madrid. And then finally … Valencia. Doing immigrations was fast. The airport being compact was not difficult to navigate. So I headed straight to the luggage carousel … waited for the suitcases and various packages of our flight to be unloaded. The carousel went around, I went around— once, twice … ten times. My suitcase was nowhere. Not only mine, but also those of 2 other Filipinas and 3 foreigners. After almost an eternity of describing my suitcase, finally I was handed a slip for my missing suitcase with the parting advice that if they find if they would let me know. The prayers of my husband and children, and my beloved Mother Butlers back home proved more powerful than the inefficiency of airlines. Two days later, my suitcase arrived. How does one describe the combustion of grace when families in multitudes from 61 countries come together in thanks-
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workers who are in the C, D, and E classes, whose families suffer many disadvantages, from lack of food, education, social and health benefits. The Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference on Human Development has taken interest in Ms. Palanca’s work because it believes that Catholic Social Principles must be lived and applied in the workplaces. The workers all too often suffer from human rights violations. At the same time they have to be made aware of the rights of the people they work with and work for. We must start the education in moral values and human rights from the beginning. We advocate that Catholic schools, colleges and universities be the foremost proponents of formation in moral values and human rights. When the government takes care of the workers, the workers will take care of the country.
Faith and F ir e Fir ire giving for the family and in defense of the family. In that sprawling ode to modernity— Feria Valencia—where the International Theological and Pastoral Congress was held, so palpable was the unyielding realization that the love that comes from God is infinitely greater than any marriage problem, than any threat to annihilate the family as the future of humanity. The ITPC Congress, though still heavily European and South American in content, was an awesome assembly of the world’s families. Many of the congress speakers were the same. But it must be grace that puts a new enthusiasm into these speakers, and a new openness in the hearts of those listening to them. Hearing Kiko Arguello for the 3rd time proclaim that the family is in crisis, that every 30 seconds a marriage somewhere in the world is breaking up, that as an ordinary painter he heard the Lord tell him to prepare the world for a new time, could perhaps elicit a “so what’s new” from the audience. But no, my mind and my heart—the same for the multitude there—were stirred anew, because with this ordinary Spanish painter came thousands from different parts of the world who live his Neocatechumenal Way. What other proof does one need that indeed the 3 altars of the family—Eucharist, bedroom, dining table—are sanctified places where parents and children Faith and Fire / P8
Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD
Tidbits THE Couples For Christ (CFC), just days after their 25th anniversary celebration, sent a strong letter of appeal to all the active bishops in the Philippines. In a nutshell it states: “Please accept us in your dioceses and respective parishes. We love God and our Mother Church, and are zealous to proclaim the good news of Jesus to all. May we be given the opportunity to share that love with others and bring Christ to the ends of the earth.” I am personally struck by the tone of the letter. It sounds like the voice of a stranger at the door pleading for admittance; of an outsider who begs to be accepted as part of the household. And yet they are not strangers in the parish. They are familiar faces, close relatives and friends, all genuine residents of the dioceses and parishes. Baptized that they are, they are duly recorded in the parish book, expected to participate in the activities of the community in worship and in the apostolate. They are in short the lay men and women in the parish. It is a fact, however, that for some time many of them were mere passive members of the parish, Catholics in name but not in life, indifferent to the call for the apostolate and work of mercy. And then, one day they were there in the Church, singing and dancing in groups, praising the Almighty, invoking the Holy
Spirit. For them the Holy Mass ceases to be a routine to comply or an obligation to go over with. It is a celebration; it is life. Hence, they attend the Mass with much devotion and gusto. They are also seen taking care of the old and orphans; they build houses in remote barangays; they are with the poorest of the poor helping out with their livelihood programs. And, look how they love their family. These were the same lay men and women of yesterday, residents in the parish, now transformed by the CFC. In a way, they are strangers to the parish, for they attain a spirituality that does not come from the pastoral program of the parish; nor from the inspiring homilies of the parish priest, of the sacraments that the pastor has faithfully administered to his flock, of the great example of his life. And so, like strangers, they are knocking at the door of the parish waiting to be received. But why does the CFC or any other ecclesial community seek the acceptance of the parish? What is there in the parish that it is seeking? Is there something still deficient in the ecclesial community that only the parish can supply? Or, is there perhaps the possibility that the ecclesial movements and faith communities can eventually supply that deficiency and replace the role of the parish in their spiri-
Seventy Times Seven to Infinity SEARCH, we could, but we search in vain. There is, in Holy Scripture, not the slightest trace of vengeance in Christ during his entire public life. His works were labeled as works of Satan! Did he rage at the hecklers? The devil mocked his divinity and challenged him to show it: “If you are the Son of God ... “ (these words still reeking with Satan’s primordial sedition.) Did Christ oblige? His enemies did everything to discredit the healing of the blind young man. Their pathetic meanderings of ill logic failed to confuse the lad who now can see. The Gerasenes raged at Him when He put a higher value on a possessed man than on a herd of swine. Jesus merely “entered into the boat ... and ... “passed over the water.” One would think that during the moment of derision and taunting in Calvary, it would have been the perfect time for Innocence to protest, for Power to shred the nails, for God to shatter the minions beneath Him with the blinding force of a Matrix superhero. But there was none of that. In the end, the minions at Calvary
Vie ws and P oints iews Points
tual needs? The Parish and its Significant Role By design the parish is irreplaceable. It has a unique and fundamental role in the spiritual life of the faithful, for it is necessarily linked to the sacramental structure of the Church, the permanent core in which Christ acts through the Holy Spirit. The parish is, as the late John Paul II finely observed, the ultimate presence of the Church in a territory. It is, in some sense, the Church itself, close to the homes of her sons and daughters. It is the common home of the faithful, the first place of the incarnation of the Gospels. It is a mother who with its preaching of the Word, the baptismal font, the Mystery of the Lord’s Supper and the other sacraments gestates, gives birth, nurtures to full stature its sons and daughters. Vatican II expressed this doctrine beautifully in these words: “This Church of Christ is really present in all legitimately organized groups of the faithful, which, in so far as they are united to their pastors, are also appropriately called Churches in the New Testament” (LG 26). Based on this theology the parish is defined by law as an organizational structure of the Church. It is not an association of the diocese, but part of its structure. It Tidbits / P13
Jo M. Imbong
Text and Conte xt Context
could only “look upon Him whom they have pierced,” Him who had already made a plea for mercy in their behalf to His Father, because these hirelings “know not what they do.” We forgive because we know undeniably that we are small. Small because Someone looms it over us, someone Great and High. We forgive because in our personal calculator, all the keys are for minuses just as the Eternal Mercy knows only subtraction. Forgive them for they know not what they do. And He keeps on subtracting, for as long as we do not change our calculator. The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion. Bishop Fulton Sheen once said that if we had full consciousness of the evil we do, that is, if we had perfect deliberation and perfect understanding of the consequences of our deeds, there would be no room for forgiveness. That is why, he said, there is no redemption for the fallen angels. They knew what they were doing. In our case, when we do wrong, it is because we can be very ignorant—ignorant of ourselves and ignorant of the other
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
ONE is rightly inclined to think that a state of the nation address says where the country is, how the people are. While it is understandable to say where the country is going and what people can expect, it is incongruous to have a SONA precisely so much focused instead on what the is it not. The reason for this futuristic approach is because the present state of the nation is dim and dismal. Hence, the present of the state is better left unaddressed. This is why some say that the SONA 2006 was but a good geography lesson. Others think that it was a blitzkrieg for support from the military general, local officials and certain church leaders. There are also those who consider the SONA as the preview of an “Enchanted Kingdom”. No. The SONA 2006 forwards a vision of a great future for the country ba-
Ecclesial Movements and the Parish
person. For instance, do we know the inside of our neighbor’s heart, he whom we say we find “hard to forgive?” Why do we always say that our neighbor would forgive us “if he only understood”? Why not the other way around also? But do we really know ourselves too? About as much and as thoroughly as we claim to know our neighbor’s “hidden” life? Oftentimes, if we turned the searchlight upon our own selves, we could be our own worst enemy. Bishop Sheen couldn’t have put it better when he said, “If we met ourselves in others, we would hate them.” The clenched fist is ever a phenomenon of our time, as it has always been even before that. I can still hear the shepherdly reminder of Bishop Antonieto Cabajog during the rites of Good Friday at Surigao Cathedral. He told his flock, “Do not pray, Our Father who art in Heaven ... forgive us our sins ... if you cannot say in the same breath that you forgive those who hurt you!” Strong words. Words that cut through the heart. The question is—will we count seventy times seven to infinity?
sically in terms of its being aggressive nationwide socio-economic development. It looks with hope and enthusiasm on what infrastructures should be built, improved and/or promoted—under the following conditionalities: ONE: There is enough money to do them TWO: There is unity for doing them THREE: There are 3 years, 11 months, six days to have it done. The 2006 SONA wherefore cannot but be commended in its content and spirit, in its programs and projects. All Filipinos should support its vision and resolve to have the nation listed among not merely the “developing” but actually “developed” countries. Its citizens can then once again claim its rightful place of respect and pride in the community of nations.
Thus: when babies are born, they would no longer be already multi-thousand pesos indebted to the government. When men and women want to work, they can readily find work in the country and do not have to go to a foreign country like Lebanon. When parents want their children to have enough food, clothing, shelter and proper education, they have the sufficient resources to provide all these. In other words, who would not want the 2006 SONA agenda to become realities as envisioned and designed by the present national leadership? But then, if the same national leadership cannot even clean the country of an illegal numbers game like jueteng, it is quixotic for it to even imagine that it can deliver so many fantastic and grandiose national projects!
8/4/2006, 7:25 PM
7 Jose B. Lugay
Laik o Lampstand Laiko
On Charter Change and the Mining Issue WHAT do these two issues have in common—charter change and the mining issue? These were the two topics chosen by the Bishop Businessmen’s Conference for their 30th General Assembly & Annual Meeting last July 7. Why discuss them again when these two issues had been the subjects of previous CBCP pastoral statements? The CBCP released a “Pastoral Statement on the Alleged ‘Peoples’ Initiative’ to Change the Constitution” on April 7, 2006. It explained their stand against the peoples’ initiative as a process. Their choice of amending the constitution is through a constitutional convention instead of the peoples’ initiative or the constituent assembly. The latter process would ensure discussion of the pros and the cons of the proposed changes in the constitution by representatives elected by the people. It must be noted that the CBCP first issued their stand on charter change on July 7, 2003 and the present stand is consistent with it. The statement on mining issues and concerns was issued only last January 29, 2006. This also reflects the same concern that the CBCP expressed two years ago in their Pastoral Letter on Indigenous Peoples in which mining devastated their ancestral lands. The Assembly had to come up with their yearly action plans for the improvement of the common good, supporting their chosen theme, “Bishops and Businessmen in Solidarity for the Common Good”. This is the primary reason why these two issues had to be discussed by many distinguished speakers during that day. Considering the present poverty situation where 60% of our population is struggling for bare existence, the improper implementation of charter change and the mining law will obviously affect the poor to a greater disadvantage than to the rest of the population. BBC’s chosen speakers dwelled on these two issues on different perspectives, taking the side of business, the Church, the NGOs and the people. 2On the topic of responsible mining, Bishop Arturo M. Bastes the chairman of the Rapu-Rapu Fact finding Commission expectedly decried the government’s position to allow Lafayette Philippines, Inc., to resume its operations for 30 days purportedly to prove to the government that the company has now the determination and new capability to implement all DENR’s guidelines on the protection of the environment.. He elucidated further on the geo-ethics of mining. Destruction of the environment violates the integrity of creation and the common good. The final victims are the poor, mostly the indigenous people of the area. Mr. Paul Dominguez, former presidential adviser for Mindanao, ably defended the government’s implementation of the 1995 mining law. Mindanao is where most of gold, copper, nickel and chromite minerals are found. He presented charts to show that Mindanao compared to Luzon and the Visayas has been consistently low in terms of investments for industrial development and concomitantly lower in income derived from these investments. With the implementation of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Mindanao is expected to have investments in mining and explorations to the tune of $ 1,640,000,000 of which $ 1 billion will solely be from the operation of the Tampakan Copper mines in South Cotabato. (Reference: Mining Revisited by Environmental Science for Social Change, BBC) The Mines & Geosciences Bureau claims that with the development of 10 “world class deposits” making use of stateof-the-art technologies, the foreign exchange earnings alone will be U.S. $4 billion or P 208 billion pesos yearly! This is the businessman’s point of view. Taking the side of the inhabitants of victims of a mining disaster, Bishop Reynaldo V. Evangelista, Bishop of Boac, related the experience of the devastation of Boac, Marinduque due to the Marcopper mine spill. This caused a permanent destruction of the mined areas and will remain as such since the old mining law did not provide for its rehabilitation. Their experience in Marinduque has made the people poorer and deprived of livelihood due to the pollution of the river and the destruction of the fishing grounds. A comment from the floor, by Dr. Gonzalez from U S.T. gave a very relevant and doable suggestion; that is, to harness the resources of the sea in place of mining. The Philippines being an archipelago and having a vast coastline, fish, like tuna, which now commands a high price abroad may be raised. Developing fishery resources in our tropical waters, with the right technology inputs can make the Philippines earn sufficiently, possibly more than what our people can earn from mining operations. The presentation for charter change was straightforward coming from two distinguished speakers, former Senator Vicente Paterno and past Comelcc Chairman Christian Monsod. Mr. Paterno dwelled on the transitory provisions recommended by the CONCOM on charter change—the interim period where President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Laiko Lampstand / P10
Episcopal Commission on Vocations IN 1972, a handful of concerned individuals met to address the subject of vocations in the Philippines more vigorously and systematically. At the outset, the group was called the National Board of Vocations (NBV). Their maiden meeting was held at the Pope Pius Catholic Center in Manila on March 14, 1972. The first vital accomplishment of the NBV was the formulation of a Plan of Action for Vocations in the Philippines entitled “A Pastoral Approach to the Vocation Apostolate.” It was in 1974 when the Episcopal Commission on Vocations (ECV) was formally organized by the Philippine Hierarchy to coordinate programs in the promotion, accompaniment and preservation of vocations to the priesthood, the consecrated life, the secular institutes and lay missionary groups. The commission is composed of vocation directors/ directresses and lay vocation promoters from dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, secular institutes and lay associations. From the time of its inception the DVP has worked hand in hand with the Episcopal Commission on Vocations. For the past three decades the ECV and the DVP have successfully worked together for vocations in the Philippines through the following: • vigorous coordination with all Diocesan and Religious Coordinators, on the national and local level; • national conventions which provide the skills needed for vocation work and formulate the necessary guidelines; • the development of training programs for Vocation Directors and Directresses; • the monitoring of developments/ situations crucial to the integrity of vocations, from the promotion stage of recruitment, to initial formation and ongoing formation. Guided by the general orientations of Vatican II on Vocation Promotions, DVP strives to mobilize the “whole Christian community to foster vocations so that sufficient provisions are made for the needs of the sacred ministry throughout the entire Church.” DVP also has a responsibility to implement the resolu-tions of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), it coordinates with other dioceses, parishes, schools, and other ecclesial communities, in the effort to encourage and stimulate vocational awareness and activities.
DVP Main Functions 1. To serve as a national coordination center in promot-ing, informing, recruiting, screening and accom-panying vocations to the priestly and consecrated life. 2. To initiate vocation promotion activities and to assist in the on-going formation of vocation promoters. 3. To collaborate in the use of mass media for the promotion of vocations and to disseminate printed information materials relevant to the promotion of vocation. Pope Benedict XVI Benedict XVI, in his first papal message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (the 43rd World Vocations Day celebrated May 7, 2006), centered on two key points: an understanding of vocation in the context of the mystery of the Church and the importance of praying for vocations. The particular church vocations are to be seen within the framework of the universal call to holiness, that everyone is in the state of being called. Indeed, he asks, “What should be said therefore of the temptation, which is very strong nowadays, to feel that we are self-sufficient to the point that we close ourselves to the mysterious plan of God for us?” Acknowledging the great need to continuously pray for vocations, Benedict XVI observes, “It is not surprising that, where people pray fervently, vocations blossom.” According to ECV, the preceding words of the Holy Father, in more ways than one, set the tone for doing vocation ministry in the Philippines: to work and pray together, collaborate and not “to each his/her own” congregation, seminary or diocese. Events Given the challenges of modern life especially in the spiritual and moral formation of the youth, the ECV-DVP regularly holds a convention once every two years to promote a “culture of vocation” in our society and identify the many crucial factors that affect the “waxing and waning” of vocations today. In the 20th DVP National Convention held last April 24-28, 2006 in the Diocese of Surigao, the group discussed the crucial role of mass media in the vocation ministry. By understanding the dynamics and intricacies of Mass Media, it was the goal of the convention to make it as a partner rather than an enemy in at-
tracting church vocations. Meanwhile, the ECV-DVP National Vocation Center regularly conducts a series of Vocation Seminars in 4 Phases. The following have been conducted in 2005 and 2006 facilitated by Fr. Rolly Agustin and Sr. Denny Giroux, DW: • Basic Orientation Seminar on Vocation Promotions (53 participants) • Spiritual Direction Aspect of Vocation Promotions (36 participants) • Family Relations in Vocation Promotions (53 participants) • Human Sexuality in the Vocational Journey (35 participants) Some dioceses and regions have been very active in promoting vocation activities such as vocation concerts, overnight vigils and festivals, campaigns in schools and parishes, summer camps, masses and prayers for vocations. 2 Other dioceses and regions though have yet to consider working and praying for vocations as a pastoral priority. ECV said there is an emerging need for the different regions to coordinate and network to maximize resources and double the impact on the young people. “Culture of vocations” For the past 32 years, the DVPECV has been doing its best to stimulate and establish a “culture of vocations” in the Philippines. There has been no let up in working and praying for vocations. The DVP group is one of the more persevering sectors in the church today. The members are expected to “produce” and to achieve results through growth in the number of those who aspire to the priesthood, religious and lay consecrated life. Yet, some efforts seem to be “wasted” because of so many factors. The low number of applicants or discontinuance in formation does not mean failure on the part of the vocation director or directress. ECV said there are just various reasons why vocation to the religious life is not that attractive to the young people today. Based on their recent experiences and information gathered, therefore, ECV propose the following as the direction which the ECVDVP, hopefully with the wholehearted support of all the bishops, should take: 1. Organizationally, there is a need to coordinate more among dioceses in the different regions as
well as to network with the other CBCP Commissions (e.g. Youth, Family, and Mass Media). Not all are represented in the meetings and conventions. Some dioceses do not participate in the DVP activities; while some activities could have been maximized if there was communication among the different ministries. Why organize and network? For coordination, for exchanging notes to help one another (e.g. in exchanging information for vocation promotion, data and statistics, experiences of each diocese, resources, and scheduling of activities). 2. In terms of programs, each dio-
CBCP Monitor Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
cese has existing activities and plans, but much has to improve in terms of creativity and networking. New approaches may have to be tried to get the attention of the young people. Some dioceses though have not identified their vocation directors and vocation programs, therefore, are not in the priority list. The lay consecrated vocation is also being left out in the promotion of the different church vocations. 3. In terms of personnel, there is a fast turn-over of vocation directors and directresses. The problem of following up the possible candidates arises. Sadly, vocation ministry is considered by some as a transition ministry to the other more serious ministries; as if it is a second class ministry. The collaboration of the clergy, religious, and lay needs to be strengthened. The support of the arch/bishop is also important for any vocation program to work. 4. A National Survey on the state of priestly and religious vocations in the Philippines is in order. Research is crucial if we are to understand where we are and where we are going. For vocation programs to be effective, empirical studies have to be conducted. 5. There is a need to come up with a truly National Vocation Program (similar to the Fishers of Men Program of the USCCB). The commission needs to maximize the power of the tri-media (TV, radio, and print) for a national campaign for vocations. People are willing to work. Funding has been the perennial problem. The first chairman of the ECV was Ricardo Cardinal Vidal who served from 1972 to 1983. He was succeeded by Bishop Wilfredo Manlapaz from 1983 to 1990 then Bishop Vicente Navarra 1990 to 1999. Bishop Antonieto Cabajog, meanwhile, chaired ECV from 1999 to 2003. Bishop Florentino Lavarias took over the Commission from 2003 up to the present.
Faith and Fire / from P6 learn to put their history under the Word of God. How my heart thrilled to high heavens to see and hear our very own Gerry and Frank Padilla tell the wondrous story of Couples for Christ. That the Vatican and the universal Church recognize there is something amazing happening in the Philippines for the family and through the family, and through the holiness and perseverance of lay couples, is worth all the stress of losing a suitcase. I could only say to those congratulating me because I am a Filipino, “God is splendid!” In my heart I hoped aloud, “Filipino families, become what you are—God’s blessing.” For the Linguistic Mass—Holy Mass celebrated in designated parishes for different language groups—I was so excited to go to San Mauro Parish assigned for the Filipinos … walking the distance from my hotel to the Church because traffic was closed to all vehicles with very few exceptions—really few.The Philippine delegation was composed of some 40 lay faithful and priests gathered together by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. Kit and Fenny Tatad with their 2 daughters came as a family. Senator Nene Pimentel and his Bing came as a couple. Two Congressmen, Edmund Reyes and Banham Mitra blended well with the delegation. His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal was the main celebrant with Bishop Jose Oliveros of Malolos, Bishop Socrates Villegas of Balanga, Bishop Angel Hobayan (Emeritus of Catarman), Archbishop Pedro Dean (Emeritus of Palo), and some 5 other Filipino priests concelebrating. The Mass was festive. I noticed that when Filipinos are in a foreign country, especially on a short term basis, it seems easier to generate that certain closeness with kababayans. And then there was the Holy Father
8/4/2006, 7:25 PM
Pope Benedict XVI. Instantly the mourning of Valencia for the 42 dead and more than 40 wounded from the train accident in estacion de Jesus on the eve of the opening of the 5th World Meeting of Families was turned into joy. The Pope, for his first act after landing in the Valencia airport, prayed and offered a floral wreath at the very entrance of the station that was the tragic point of pain. And in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken (Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados), he literally gathered the families of the victims in his arms, shed tears with some of them, planted a kiss on the picture of the fallen daughter raised to him by the grieving mother. And for those around, including some hardened Socialists who a week before cheered their Parliament’s approval of homosexual marriages, the encounter with the Pope was an encounter with the Lord. For the Testimonies of Families on the evening of 08 July, Bishop Soc and I lined up with selected families to give brief testimonials (all part of a script) to the Holy Father. When my turn came, with confidence and smiles I went through my first 2 lines. Then I looked at Pope Benedict XVI seated on his white chair at the center of the altar. I saw him smiling with recognition at me and moving his hands approvingly. In a fleeting instant I remembered Cardinal Ratzinger telling me about his Bavarian childhood as I sat across him during one of my visits with him at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In that season in Rome, and again there in Valencia, my heart could hear God saying, “You are my beloved” … all because His Vicar on earth is Love like Him. The Christian family, even in these times of bewilderment, passes on the faith when fathers and mothers love their children, and impart to them “the art of living and the art of loving.”
Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
Diocese of Dumaguete
Relentless Witnessing to Faith and to the Gospel By Rev. Fr. Glenn M. Corsiga BEFORE April 5, 1955, the time when Dumaguete became a separate See from Bacolod, the area under the jurisdiction of what is now the Diocese of Dumaguete was merely the recipient of missionary efforts of the Spanish friars from the Archdiocese of Cebu, the Diocese of Jaro and the Diocese of Bacolod. Between 1580 (when Christian faith was first introduced to what is now the Diocese of Dumaguete) and 1955, Dumaguete was yet far from the helm in deciding for the spiritual formation and direction of its own people and in the management of pastoral concerns of the newly founded parishes. The founding, in fact, of the first Catholic school in the place— St. Paul College of Dumaguete— was the initiative of the Bishop of Jaro, Bishop Frederick Rooker. Pastoral initiatives, therefore, were not really based on the actual local needs, as felt by or drawn from the local faithful. This socio-religious background influenced the shaping of the life and mission of the Diocese of Dumaguete when it was established as a local Church in 1955. The first bishop of the Diocese, the Most Rev. Epifanio B. Surban, DD, took off managing the young diocese with the aim of building it, firmly establishing basic Catholic institutions and creating avenues for people to be truly evangelized. It was therefore during his term as bishop when the foundation of a vibrant and evangelizing Church was laid. Parochial and diocesan schools were founded in many parishes; a local radio station, DYWC, was acquired; formation of future diocesan priests at the St. Joseph Seminary became a reality; and the envisioned apostolate of taking care for the sick became concrete
with the institution of its diocesan Catholic hospital, the Holy Child Hospital. Never feeling weary from all the initiatives he did, he established linkages abroad for financial assistance extended to the young diocese. He openly accommodated various religious orders, congregations and organizations to help in the spiritual formation and amelioration of its people. He organized diocesan commissions and tasked them to address the peoples’ temporal as well as spiritual needs. After all the basic structures were put in place, the Most Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo, second bishop of the Dumaguete, organized in 1991 the First Diocesan Synod of Dumaguete to strengthen the pastoral programs and priorities of the diocese. Bishop Lagdameo introduced the concept of basic ecclesial communities. He started organizing priests through team ministries and awakened people’s interest through various pastoral celebrations and congresses. Year after year, people gathered by the thousands to heed and respond to ecclesial calls for renewal and evangelization. Today, the Diocese continues her journey, but whilst aware that forging initiatives or simply preaching may not be her only principal concern, she has to sustain herself through a life of authentic witnessing to the Faith and to the Gospel. The Most Rev. John F. Du, DD, shortly after his installation in 2001 as the third bishop of Dumaguete, embarked on a challenging mission to steer the Diocese in accomplishing its divine mandate to holiness. He formalized priests’ training and formation, and heeded the laity’s challenge of a more meaningful and profound participation and spiritual advance-
ment. He created mission teams and opened new parishes in many parts—extending even to the hinterlands—of Negros Oriental. Pastoral Priorities and Direction The Dumaguete Diocese, for its part, follows the direction of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) and National Pastoral Consultation for the Church Renewal (NPCCR). Drawing inspiration from the encyclical letter of the late Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Eneunte, the Diocese of Dumaguete cannot be less faithful in conforming to or adopting NPCCR’s nine (9) pastoral priorities as to embody the Diocese’s pastoral programs and direction, namely: (1) integral faith formation; (2) empowerment of the laity toSt. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral Parish Church
ward social transformation; (3) active presence and participation of the poor in the Church; (4) the family as the focal point of evangelization; (5) building and strengthening of participatory communities; (6) integral renewal of the clergy; (7) journeying with the youth; (8) ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue; and (9) animation and formation for mission “ad gentes”. Inarguably, the Christian Faith painstakingly passed on by the missionaries more than four hundred years ago in this part of Negros has never been futile—not at all. The missionaries’ sweat and blood, shed and planted in the past, have grown to become the vibrant Church that it is now. And this will continue to grow as, truly, the Diocese of Dumaguete unfalteringly pursues its journey in its relentless witnessing to the Faith and to the Gospel. (Fr. Glenn M. Corsiga is currently the Rector of St. Joseph Seminary College in Sibulan, Negros Oriental – Ed.)
Important Facts Population 1,010,896 Catholics (91.37 %) 923,680 Area 4,955.9 sq. kms.
High Schools Diocesan By Religious
Bishop Priests: Diocesan Religious Brothers Sisters Diocesan divisions: Vicariates Parishes Chaplaincies
Elementary Diocesan By Religious Kindergarten Diocesan By Religious
Educational Centers: College/University Diocesan By Religious
1 95 15 6 115 7 41 15
12 9 4 7 4 5
Catholic Institutions: Retreat Houses Hospital Clinics Orphanages Radio Station (Diocesan) Catechetical Center
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7 1 2 3 1 1
His Excellency, Most Rev. John F. Du, DD Bishop of Dumaguete
Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
Laiko Lampstand / from P7 acts as both president and prime minister. Obviously this reeks of political maneuver to empower the present political leadership much more than the power they have now. Mr. Monsod strongly objected to any move to cancel the 2007 elections. He says that “A credible 2007 elections can become an indirect referendum on the issue of whether the President should serve her full term, depending on how people choose their congressmen and senators… On the same breath, he brought to light that whatever options we choose whether to have charter change through the people’s initiative or through constituent assembly, the results will not be credible without an electoral reform. With the incumbent COMELEC officials, the outcome will be tainted with doubts. The good news however is that the 3 new appointees are trustworthy men, says Mr. Monsod. Let us wait for the fourth appointee and the results of the Ombudsman’s verdict on the case of COMELEC’s purchase of the automatic vote counting machines. Prior to the end of the session, the participants were requested by the presiding Emcee to write their recommendations for the action plan that BBC should pursue for the coming year relative to the two issues of charter change and mining. On Charter Change, LAIKO Vice-President Mia Zafra informed the body of LAIKO’s program of dissemination of the issues on charter change to the different lay leaders of the dioceses within Metro Manila and the fact that LAIKO is ready to conduct more sessions of this nature for other lay groups. I have not heard any action plan on the mining issue declared on the floor. The arguments for and against are strong and one may
either be on one side or the other—for the support of the mining law or for its repeal. Probably the January 29 statement of CBCP on mining issues was still vivid in the minds of the participants that no one stood up to take a stand. Relevant to both the charter change and to the mining issue is this portion of the statement: “We are apprehensive that the proposed deletion of the nationalist provisions to the Constitution by the Constitutional Commission (CONCOM) can pave the way to the wholesale plunder of our National Patrimony, and undermine our Sovereignty: • To support, unify and strengthen the struggle of the local Churches and their constituency against all mining projects, and raise the anti-mining campaign at the national level. • To support the call of various sectors, especially the Indigenous Peoples, to stop the 24 Priority Mining Projects of the government, and the closure of large scale mining projects, for example, the Rapu-rapu Polymetallic Project in Albay, HPP Project in Palawan, Didipio Gold-Copper Project in Albay, Didipio Gold-Copper Project in Nueva Viscaya, Tampakan Copper Gold Project in South Cotabato, Canatuan Gold Project in Zamboanga del Norte, and the San Antonio Copper Project in Marinduque, among others; • To support the conduct of studies on the evil effects of mining in dioceses; • To support all economic activities that are life-enhancing and poverty-alleviating. It is very clear that the Church’s unequivocal stand is a big NO to mining. Businessmen, however, will want to consider responsible mining, since this is one of the best ways to increase investments and eventually accumulate earnings and funds required for develop-
ment to reduce the level of poverty in the country While there are many NGOs and lay advocacy groups taking the same stand as the Church, like Greenpeace, The Dapitan Initiative, Defend Patrimony, Stewards of Creation and Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, their pleas will be heard but not necessarily acted upon. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau will continue to issue mineral exploration permits and the DENR, the mineral production agreements. The President is the sole authority to approve the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement. The advocacy groups should continue their work in convincing our legislators to repeal the mining law. However our legislators will surely consider the lobby group for mining. With the election year in 2007, this is the time for them to source funds for their reelection. Mining company executives are realists and profit-oriented. They can justify bribe money as “facilitation fees” or include it in the “mobilization fee” or “contingency funds” of their budget. It is predictable that our economic expert, the President herself, will not give in easily to any advocacy group’s entreaty. Perhaps she honestly believes this is the only “gold” mine (pun intended) that her administration can tap for the accelerated development of the country as well as paying our foreign debt within her tenure. As realists, lay groups should be ready with another type of advocacy which will focus on the prevention of mining disasters and not wait for it to happen. This is the same approach as the recent moves to mitigate the harm that landslides can do—by conducting geo-mapping of critical landslide-prone areas and installing rain gauges in those localities.
For this advocacy we need different groups of expert volunteers, geologists, sociologists, civil, mechanical and chemical engineers, architects, finance experts, chemists, quality control experts, human resource managers, lawyers, etc. who will monitor among many other areas, a) the total area covered by the mining permit before it is awarded, b) the incursion of the mining area into the ancestral domains of the indigenous people, c) the conduct of the dialogue between the mining officers and the local government for the required Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), d) the technical aspects of the structures—the design of the dam and spillways, the containment area for acid mine drainage, e) laboratory testing facilities for quality control, f) the rehabilitation design and process of mined areas, etc. Their function would be to act as process controllers by having access in all deliberations of the processes cited above as it is happening rather than waiting for the disaster to happen. More importantly, we also have to be sure that the men who have the authority to give permits have no record of graft and corruption. Probably, one can easily say, where are we going to have volunteers to do this? Well, that is the real challenge to all dioceses—to harness their lay leaders for advocacy work of this nature. Prevention of corruption is the name of the game. Our selected lay leaders to do this job will also be subjected to the same bribe money. This is where evangelization comes in—the training of our volunteers on the Social Doctrines of the Church and Servant Leadership. We pray that they will also have the commitment to God and country to do the job for the benefit of all generations to come.
Caring for / from P5 been called to God’s service.” (Optatam Totius #2) The most efficacious way to promote vocations is through prayers. The Apostolic Exhortation on the Bishops, Pastores Gregis, emphasized that “the force which inspires and forms vocations is primarily prayer” (PG# 48) Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself admonished us to pray for workers to his harvest. “The harvest is rich but the workers are few, therefore ask the harvest-master to send workers to his harvest. (Luke 10:2) Pope Benedict XVI in his message for the 43rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations emphasized—”Where people pray fervently, vocations flourished. The holiness of the Church depends essentially in union with Christ and on being open to the mystery of grace that operates in the hearts of believers.” In line with this truth about the importance of prayer for vocations, the words of His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal when he was still Archbishop of Lipa, still reverberates in my mind: “The increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life is an indicator that the faith and prayer life of the community grows. If there are no vocations in a parish, then, we can say that the people (and maybe the parish priest) are not praying enough!” If there are very few vocations in our diocese, we should encourage our priests, the religious, and the laity to be more fervent in praying for vocations. “Vocations need a vast network of people who pray fervently to the Lord” (PG# 48). As bishops, we should always pray for more vocations especially to the priesthood. Aside from asking God to call boys and young men to the priesthood, we should offer daily prayers for our seminarians that they may persevere in their priestly vocations. It is also of utmost importance for us bishops to pray for our deacons and priests that they may be faithful always to their vocation as ordained ministers of God. His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales used to tell us when he was still in Lipa that each day while in
front of the Blessed Sacrament, he prays for each individual priest. He will make a tour in his imagination of the whole archdiocese visualizing the face of every priest in each parish or diocesan assignment to ask God for a particular grace needed by each and every individual priest. I am doing that now in our Diocese of Boac, only that it is easier for me to go on “a tour” of our diocese in my daily prayers because we have only fourteen parishes in Marinduque. Being a formator to the seminarians for more than fourteen years, moderator of the Association of Seminarians for five years, and head of the Vocation Team of our Archdiocese for a couple of years, and now as more than a year as bishop, I gradually developed, maintained, and witnessed a deep pastoral concern for vocations to the priesthood. I never miss a day without praying for my priests and seminarians. In my recitation of the Holy Rosary everyday I always include in my petitions the intention for the perseverance of priests and seminarians in their vocation. The Pastoral Care and Promotion of Vocations This Pastoral Care of Vocations and Diocesan Promotion of Vocations is being demanded of us bishops. The Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops says, “The pastoral care of vocations, closely linked with the pastoral care of young people, is properly served through a central diocesan agency for the promotion of vocations. It is therefore appropriate to establish in the diocese a single office for all vocations, under the direction of a priest, in order to coordinate the various initiatives, always respecting the proper autonomy of each ecclesial institution.” (DPMB #91) I hope that during this time, all of us have a Commission on Vocation in our diocese, properly staffed and actively engaged in the promotion of priestly vocation. Though we have enough priests in our dioceses, as bishops, we should continuously campaign for
priestly vocations because there are so many places in the world that lack priests. I’ve been telling my priests especially our Vocation Director that we should always think of the Universal Church and not just our Local Church of Boac in terms of priestly ministry and mission. At present, we have three priests performing their ministry in the Diocese of Dodge City, Kansas, which is a rural diocese experiencing an acute shortage of priests. As an act of gratitude to our diocese for sharing to them our priests, the Diocese of Dodge City is sending us financial support for the formation of our seminarians. Aside from vocation campaigns or promotions, we are to give moral and even financial support to those who have decided to enter the seminary to undergo formation to the priesthood. Special attention should be given to seminarians coming from poor or hard up families. “The bishop will make every effort to provide financial support and assistance for young candidates for the priesthood.” (PG# 48) Seminarians feel very much encouraged to give their best to their formation when they are given proper attention by their bishop. They highly appreciate the opportunity given them by their bishop to have colloquium with him regularly. In my more than a year of ministry as a bishop of our diocese, I regularly scheduled my seminarians for colloquium especially during summer or semestral vacation. I discuss with them the evaluation of their seminary formators regarding their performance in the different areas of formation. Our small diocese is blessed with thirtytwo seminarians. We are truly grateful to God for giving us five deacons who will be ordained priests before the end of this year. Regular dialogue with seminarians was also done by my predecessor, Bishop Jose F. Oliveros who was also my former rector and himself a formator to numerous seminarians for many years. Caring for and promoting vocations by a bishop is also shown when he encourages his priests to organize and invite lay people in
the parishes to support seminarians and priests through the Association of St. John Mary Vianney, Seminary Benefactors’ Association and other similar groups. The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines decree #566 says: “Everyone has the task of promoting priestly vocations. To prepare priestly vocations and purify motivations, the highest criteria are: the mind and heart of Jesus and the good of the Church for the service of which a man is called to be a priest.” To ensure the realization of this very important decree of the Council, the bishop has been given the highest and full responsibility of promoting priestly vocations and of monitoring the selection of candidates to the priesthood in order to maintain the quality of vocations in his diocese. Shepherding Seminarians As God provides the seed of priestly vocations in every place and time for the Church, the Church herself has the responsibility of nurturing the seed, watering it with continuous prayer, providing it with integral formation in the seminary and sustaining it with an on-going formation when the candidate becomes a deacon and eventually a priest. In the initial phase of priestly formation, our shepherding of seminarians depends greatly on our collaborators—the seminary priest-formators. “Each bishop will show his concern above all by selecting with great care those charged with the training of future priests and by establishing the most suitable and appropriate means of preparing them to exercise their ministry in a setting so fundamental for the life of the Christian community.” (PG #48) Let it not be said that priests are assigned to the seminary because they have other place of assignment in the diocese. Much more so, that a priest is assigned to the seminary because he has to undergo some kind of renewal of his priestly life. The Seminary is not the place for reforming erring priests and much less for soothing hurt egos.
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The Bishop should be a source of inspiration to and moral support for the seminary formators. “It is not only the bishop’s duty to make his people active in promoting vocations but he also ought to inspire those who work in the seminary.” (UPPPF # 186) Seminary formators are deeply encouraged by the familiar presence of the bishop in the Seminary, not only during special occasions, but more so even if there are no special occasions to speak of. The Directory For the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops #84 states: “Among diocesan institutions, the Bishop should consider the seminary to have primacy of place, and he should make it the object of his most intense and assiduous pastoral care, because it is largely on seminaries that the continuity and fruitfulness of the Church’s priestly ministry depends.” The old Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops explicitly mentions: “With the greatest care the bishop selects seminary directors, a spiritual director, confessors and professors from among the best priests of his diocese. (#192) It is unfortunate that in some dioceses, priests consider seminary assignments as “too much for them” or not very fulfilling or even a temporary short-time assignment. The demand to be consistently present in the seminary to ensure quality formation of future priests seems to be too harsh or utterly demanding for some priests. We should also accept the fact that not all priests, even those we consider the best intellectually, are fitted to this special pastoral task of forming future priests. Thus, “the bishop is to secure stability of seminary formation by implementing a program that prepares priests for seminary ministry, secures their tenure of office, and provides for their on-going formation.” (UPPPF #86) This instruction to bishops clearly shows how the Church values priestly vocations and the quality of future priests. The bishop should monitor the implementation of the Updated Philippine Program for Priestly FormaCaring for / P13
Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
THE Archdiocesan Commission on Service, a charity and social welfare office of the Archdiocese of Cebu, was organized in 1959. It existed under different names: Catholic Aid, Archdiocesan Social Action Center, Cebu Caritas, Inc., unto its present name, Commission on Service, after the Fourth Diocesan Synod of Cebu. The Commission on Service is the social welfare and development arm of the office of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cebu. It is based at the Cebu Caritas Inc. Building, P. Gomez St., Cebu City. Cebu archdiocese’s Commission on Service envisions itself to build self-reliant communities of disciples immersed in Gospel values. To achieve such vision, it commits itself—as its mandate or mission—to serving Cebu’s “community of disciples” by: providing technical and financial resources to the poor; initiating and organizing groups to work together as a community imbued with Gospel values and ecological concern; facilitating and networking with other Commissions of the archdiocese, Government Organizations (GO’s), People’s Organizations (PO’s) and Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) in accord within the framework of the Archdiocesan Plan or Program of the Archdiocese of Cebu. To upgrade directly the quality of life of the beneficiaries and indirectly the entire Cebu population, the Commission of Service’s vision and mission are attained through— health, nutrition and development intervention programs; providing opportunities and empowerment for communities to organize themselves and acquire income-generating projects; assisting oneself and others, and accessing immediate help to victims of man-made and natural disasters; and establishing linkages with government and non-government organizations to enhance services to the poorest of the poor. Current Programs and Services The social concern programs and services being currently undertaken by the archdiocesan Commission on Service may be classified into three principal areas: the
Archdiocese of Cebu
Building Self-Reliant Communities of Disciples By Msgr. Roberto F. Alesna, H.P.
Archdiocesan Welfare Services, the Alay Kapwa—Relief, Emergency and Rehabilitation (AK-RER), and the Cebu Archdiocesan Program for Self-Reliance (CAPS-R Grameen). The Archdiocesan Welfare Services, a short term program intended to provide the immediate needs of walk-in clients and indigents, include the following services: (1) Material assistance such as free medical assistance (free clinic on regular schedule to immediate indigents and, upon request, free medical mission to remote parishes), and food and clothing provision; (2) Transportation assistance (boat and bus tickets or transportation discounts) to needy clients; (3) Burial assistance, financial aid to the be-
TITHING was officially approved by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) in 1991 to gradually replace the arancel system in the country. Accordingly so, the Diocese of Kabankalan in Negros Occidental has adopted and implemented, since its endorsement during the First Diocesan Synod of Kabankalan (DSK-I) in 1997, the “Modified Tithing Program” throughout the entire Diocese. From its inception, the Diocese of Kabankalan’s Modified Tithing Program, under the able supervision of the Diocesan Vicar General, Msgr. Rogelio Cruz, then aimed to achieve the following objectives: (1) to inculcate in the faithful the awareness or realization that they are the Church, and thus (they) share in Christ’s mission to teach, to sanctify and to serve; (2) to motivate the faithful to take up their duty to support the local Church, i.e. the diocese, parish, or chaplaincy; and (3) to attain self-sufficiency for the pastoral programs and projects in the diocese, so that the arancel system may be eventually phased out. Inarguably, tithing cannot fail to present its strong biblical foundations, with both the Old and New Testaments being replete with sources or teachings about tithing. From the Old Testament, we find the following attributes and purposes of tithing: (a) tithing is an offering of 10% of one’s produce or goods as an act of gratitude and thanksgiving to God (Gen. 14:17, 28:20); (b) tithing became a law strictly observed among the Chosen People (Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:21; Neh. 10:37; Amos 4:4); (c) the tithe was intended as sacred offering to God, but part of it was distributed to the poor and the needy (Deut. 14:22-29; 26:12-15); (d) part of the tithe was
reaved family; (4) Referral services, or problems not met by the office are recoursed to other social welfare organizations. A brief definition of terms is deemed appropriate to understand the second area of COS’s (Commission on Service) area of social concern programs and services, the Alay Kapwa – Relief, Emergency and Rehabilitation (AK-RER). “Alay” literally means offering what we have and what we are to poor and distressed fellowmen or “kapwa”. “RER” (Relief, Emergency and Rehabilitation) is a process through which a particular distressed community is helped to manage its environment and resources in order to alleviate poverty and help-
lessness brought about by disasters and calamities. Thus, the Alay Kapwa—Relief, Emergency and Rehabilitation (AKRER) area involves the following component services: evangelization; giving information or education on current social issues and problems like poverty and environmental problems; solicitation of material and financial aid or support; and distribution of the resources received through the bishops and parish priests in the archdiocese. The third social concern program area, the Cebu Archdiocesan Program for Self-Reliance, or better known as CAPS-R Grameen, aims at bringing the disadvantaged or the poor into a self-reliant community of
disciples immersed in Gospel values. Through small loans, the poor are given the access to productive resources which enable them to manage their own development in a selfsustaining manner. This program, which started on March 1997, has remarkably provided help or assistance to already 4,500 women members covering 52 parishes in the Archdiocese of Cebu. Not discounting the fact that this approach benefits those who are willing to work hard, endure discipline and work together with others, the program has noted considerable effects of improvement in the lives of the recipients. The CAPS-R Grameen involves the following program components and services: (1) Capacity Building; (2) Value Formation; (3) Credit Services; (4) Savings Mobilization; and (5) Members’ Mutual Savings Fund. No question, it is ascertained that the program indeed precipitated some positive implications like, among others—(a) banking facilities and services are readily extended to poor women who can access small loans; (b) exploitation by unscrupulous money lenders and usurers is eliminated; (c) opportunities for selfemployment for vast unutilized manpower resources are created; (d) disadvantaged people are brought within the folds of some organizational format which they can understand and operate and can find sociopolitical and economic strengths through mutual support; and (e) recipients become self-reliant communities of disciples immersed in Gospel values. Admittedly, on the whole, the activities and programs of Cebu’s archdiocesan Commission on Service may yet fall short as to embody or address the indubitably bigger and numerous concerns that are unavoidably brought to the fore during this Year of Social Concern. But, palpably so, the archdiocesan Commission on Service cannot fail to remain undaunted in pursuing its mandate of building self-reliant communities of disciples immersed in Gospel values—such is our humble contribution. (Msgr. Roberto Alesna, H.P. is currently the Chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission on Service of the Archdiocese of Cebu—Ed.)
Self-Sufficiency Through Giving: A Modified Tithing Program By Rev. Fr. Rembert Rivera also given to the Levites in return for the ministry they rendered to the Lord (Num. 18:2); and (e) to withhold tithes from God is tantamount to cheating Him (Mal. 3:7-12). Similarly, from the New Testament, tithing continued to be practiced by the Jews. But Jesus demanded that it be accompanied with righteousness (Mt. 23:23; Lk 11:42; 18:12). The early Christians shared their goods in common. They would voluntarily sell their properties and give the proceeds to the apostles who would distribute them according to their needs (Act 2:42-47; 4:32-37; 5:1-10). But why do we have to give tithe to God? We owe everything to God who created all things. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it” (Ps. 24:1). “What have you that you have not received? And if you received it, why are you proud, as if you did not receive it?” (1 Cor. 4:7). “We brought nothing into the world and we will leave it with nothing” (1 Tim. 6:7). God made man caretaker or steward of his creation. “What is man that you should be mindful of him?...You have given him dominion over the works of your hands, you have set all things under his feet” (Ps. 8:5,7; cf. Gen. 1:27-30). The steward is not the owner and must manage what is entrusted to him according to the wishes of the owner (cf. Lk. 12:42-46). According to God’s will, the created goods of this earth must be used for three purposes:
• To serve our basic needs. God allows us to own things so as to attend to our needs. But on one hand, we must not lose trust in God’s providence (Mt. 6:25-34; 7:7-11). While on the other hand, we must not place our trust on riches (Mt. 6:19-21, 24; Lk. 12:15-21; 1 Tim. 6:17). • To share with others, especially the poor and the needy. We must also learn to share our bounty with others, especially the poor and the needy (Prov. 19:17; Mt. 25:40; Lk. 14:1214; 16:19-31; 1 Tim. 6:18-19). We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mk. 12:31). Faith without good works is dead (Jas. 2:15-17). We must learn to share from our substance, and not only our excess (Lk. 21:1-4; 2 Cor. 8:14). • To promote the kingdom of God. We must seek first the kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33). For, we are to love God above all else (Mk. 12:2830). Thus we must give to God what belongs to him (Mt. 22:21; cf. Mal. 3:7-12). The proper use of our talents will merit us a place in his kingdom (Mt. 25:14-30). Mechanics of Tithing and its Benefits For its part, the Diocese of Kabankalan has readily devised the following procedural points in implementing the modified tithing system: • Parishioners compute their income so they can estimate the tithes they can give. If tithing is new and hard for them, they start with
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a lower percentage and gradually increase. • Parishioners secure their tithing envelopes from the parish and offer their individual tithes during offertory as they attend the Sunday Mass. • Parishioners are not forced to follow the 10% stipulated in the Bible. Rather, they pledge only the amount they can afford, but in proportion to the blessings God has given them. As a viable alternative to the arancel system, it cannot be denied that tithing— particularly in the Diocese of kabankalan— has since been successfully answering the fixed or regular expenses or needs of parishes or chaplaincies like, among others— utilities as water and light; salaries of personnel; allowances of the parish priest; maintenance of the church, rectory and other facilities; apostolate, outreach, charitable projects and activities, etc. Nonetheless too, through tithing the parishes or chaplaincies are able to support the diocese—the bishop and the diocesan commissions, the social action office, the diocesan seminary, the missions, and other diocesan pastoral programs. In sum, truly it can be said that tithing provides the faithful not only the means or faith experience of thanking God or of sharing God’s blessing to others but, more so, the opportunity as well to participate actively in fulfilling the Church’s collective mission of liberation.
Commentaries Pure and Simple
© Denz Dayao
the wishy-washy position they have, they will only encourage the (un)faithful to distrust the clergy some more.” (PDI, July 12, 06, P A12) There are three sets of positions here. The first from the bishops statement, politics which covers political processes and rules that govern these as well as the persons who implement the latter, officially called politicians are altogether suspect “unless these are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good…” (Cf. CBCP Statement) The second from Malacanang and its supporters and obvious beneficiaries, the Church, especially its bishops is such a wonderful ally. The church should keep up the good work. The third from the opposition both formal and informal, the church has a duty to encourage hope and participation, clarity and courage in moral thinking, judgment, decision and action and the capacity to show genuine concern and involvement (engagement) in the not so neat and pure reality of socio-political renewal and transformation. Conrad de Quiros has a scathing and disturbing critique of the latest CBCP position, “…the way the CBCP has answered it ( the question in the minds of the people, What do we do about someone who stole the vote?) opens itself up to charges that it’s basically saying, “Bahala na kayo diyan. We ourselves can’t do a thing about it. Or worse, “Pasensya na, we just want to play safe.” (PDI, July 12,06, P12) Conrad describes a church that is distant, above, away, indifferent, afraid, unsure and unwilling to soil its “impeccably white vestments and unstained hands,” perhaps, a church that wants to be and remain “pure?” Two operative words seem to guide the church position, “Bahala na kayo (That’s your concern not ours.)” “Naniniguro lang (Just making sure).” These past months, while I watched events at home from afar, I cannot help but feel bad because I could not be involved. I feel so far from what I used to constantly experience, the dust, heat, crowds, antiriot cops, fire trucks, make-shift stages, harassment and threats of all kinds, meetings, discussions, subpoenas, preliminary hearings, court hearings, etc. Yet, from where I am I cannot say, “Bahala na kayo…Naniniguro lang…” My heart, soul, mind, spirit, my entire being aches to be part of my people’s struggle. Yes, it is dan-
July 31, 2006
Roles of Clergy and Laity in Politics
Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
THE CBCP has spoken, the official Church position has been said, so be it. And in the wake of the Bishops’ statement, for good or for bad, a variety of reactions have also been naturally generated. Let us look at some of these. First, the favorable: Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, “We concur with bishops that impeachment is not the way toward change and resolution in our current political concerns… the administration welcomes and ponders with humility and sincere appreciation the moral counsel from the pastoral letter of the CBCP…the message offers many points of agreement and shared objectives between the government and the Church…” House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles, “The House or Congress is not a correct venue to find guilt or innocence. It’s the courts that will decide guilt or no guilt, not Congress in an impeachment case because Congress decides, as a policy, whether good or bad, to remove an official.” (Cf. PDI, July 11, 06, page A1) Second, the unfavorable: Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., “says he does not understand the CBCP…impeachment is the best, most peaceful way of seeking the truth.” Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., “That’s the CBCP’s privilege. While I don’t see how impeachment can succeed, I find it strange that they are not convinced that complainants seek the public good.” Minority Leader Francis Escudero, “If they favor the search for truth but not through the impeachment, then through what means?” The Hyatt 10 said that the impeachment case they filed would proceed, with or without the support of the CBCP. (PDI, July 11,06, page A1) Third, it is worthwhile noting reactions from respected citizens and opinion makers. Former Senate President Jovito Salonga, “the bishops may be pushing the people to stage another people power. The bishops are virtually telling the people there is no more hope.” Former Commission on Elections Chair Christian Monsod said “ that next year’s midterm elections were another way out of the political impasse. (Cf. PDI, July 12, 06, Page 1) Conrado de Quiros, “ That is the richest irony of all. The bishops worry that by going through another unproductive political exercise we will only encourage the public to distrust politicians some more? They should worry that by taking
Vol. 10 No. 8
gerous and difficult. There are no clear-cut, full-proof solutions. Yes, there are crooks, corrupt politicians, communists and activists of all colors from blue to red, from yellow to pink. Amid the ache, I go to the Lord and ask, “what would you do Lord if you were in the Philippines today?” I wait and listen if He too will say, “Bahala na …naniniguro lang. I wait some more and listen again. He seems quiet until I feel something burning deep within. From my heart of hearts, a vision emerges: a man walking among the people, on roads of dirt, mud and stone, sitting and eating among prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners. I see a man whose robes are soiled with dust, mud and various stains from contact with oily and grimy cart wheels, unkempt and stinking beggars. I see the man who seems ordinary as he so naturally blends with the crowd. He is full of peace, gentleness and compassion. But there is heat, magnetism, light that flow almost visibly and palpably from him. He is not distant, safe and secure. He has become part of those around him, the hungry, the sick, the rejects, the sinners. They come to him or does he go to them? They seem to belong to each other but not so much as he reveling in dirt, sin and misery as he wanting to give life to those who feel lost, hopeless and deprived. No, he does not say “Bahala na…naniniguro lang.” Instead, he says something that I keep hearing…”Come follow me….follow me.” Perhaps I should ask, “where Lord?” But there is no need. I see where he goes….and there I want and joyfully want to follow Him. We seem to forget asking this basic question not only now but always, “where is the Lord in all these, and what does the Lord want me, us to do for others? Yes, most if not all politicians are driven by vested interest. They are not pure. However, do we become pure simply by condemning their impurity and dismissing their efforts with our “Bahala na and naniniguro lang” attitude? Jesus did not make statements. Jesus spoke words directly to persons and amid crowds. He did not have an office nor a title that gave credibility to his words. Crowds sought him and literally ate his words because he was always in their midst. He was one of them, one with them, indeed not in their sins but in their feeble and even impure efforts to find life and more life, God and more God.
© Denz Dayao
By Fr. Roy Cimagala I believe that our country is now in that interesting stage where a clarification on the roles of clergy and laity in politics is much needed. Nowadays, different opinions on the matter are expressed, leaving many people confused. It might be good to remit verbatim the official teaching of the Catholic Church, so that everyone can have a clear idea about the matter and can be guided accordingly. Part of paragraph 43 of the pastoral constitution of the Catholic Church Gaudium et spes contains the pertinent teaching. I invite everyone to study it, slowly, calmly. Here it goes: • Secular duties and activities belong properly although not exclusively to laymen. Therefore acting as citizens in the world, whether individually or socially, they will keep the laws proper to each discipline, and labor to equip themselves with a genuine expertise in their various fields. • Laymen should also know that it is generally the function of their wellformed Christian conscience to see that the divine law is inscribed in the life of the earthly city. • From priests they may look for spiritual light and nourishment. Let the layman not imagine that his pastors are always such experts, that to every problem which arises, however complicated, they can readily give him a concrete solution, or even that such is their mission. • Rather, enlightened by Christian wisdom and giving close attention to the teaching authority of the Church, let the layman take on his own distinctive role. • Often enough the Christian view of things will itself suggest some specific solution in certain circumstances. Yet it happens rather frequently, and legitimately so, that with equal sincerity some of the faithful will disagree with others on a given matter. • Even against the intentions of their proponents, however, solutions proposed on one side or another may be easily confused by many people with the Gospel message. • Hence it is necessary for people to remember that no one is allowed in the aforementioned situations to appropriate the Church¡¦s authority for his opinion. • They should always try to enlighten one another through honest discussion, preserving mutual charity and caring above all for the common good • Bishops, to whom is assigned the task of ruling the Church of God, should, together with their priests, so preach the news of Christ that all the earthly activities of the faithful will be bathed in the light of the Gospel.. • All pastors should remember too that by their daily conduct and concern, they are revealing the face of the Church to the world, and men will judge the power and truth of the Christian message thereby. • By their lives and speech, in union with Religious and their faithful, they may demonstrate that even now the Church by her presence alone and by all the gifts which she contains, is an unspent fountain of those virtues which the modern world needs the most. • By unremitting study they should fit themselves to do their part in establishing dialogue with the world and with men of all shades of opinion. Above all let them take to heart the words which this council has spoken: • Since humanity today increasingly moves toward civil, economic and social unity, it is more than ever necessary that priests, with joint concern and energy, and under the guidance of the bishops and the supreme pontiff, erase every cause of division, so that the whole human race may be led to the unity of God¡¦s family. Given this indication, it is quite clear that in secular, temporal matters like politics, the laity takes the more active and direct role, while the clergy gives guidance and fosters the proper atmosphere for dialogue and discussion especially when the issues generate different, even conflicting positions. In this area, there can be no specific Catholic position, and it is not the mission of the clergy to give one, since the matters are by nature open to valid opinions and the free discussion of men.
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Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
GATHERED in convention in Talisay City, Cebu with the theme “Prophetic Witness, Reflecting the Mission and Option for the Poor” we represent consecrated men, priests and brothers and our mission partners, who work in different ministers in all parts of the country. As leaders of our congregations, we fell the need to continue offering hope to our people in the midst of political, economic and moral crises that continue to affect the majority of the people especially the poorest of the poor.
2006 AMRSMP Convention Statement
Our Reading of the Situation: We have spent time in reflecting on the conditions of the people that we serve and we are compelled to address the following concerns that plague our society today: the mounting number of extra-judicial killings, the ill effects of mining and its control by foreign corporations, the railroading of the charter change process, rampant corruption in both public and private sectors, ad the immediate and dire consequences of poverty throughout. We would like to acknowledge that many of these concerns are already being addressed by the individual congregations and by the mission partners of AMRSP. Recommendations: In addition to what is already being done by individual congregations and the mission partners, we recommend the following actions: that the government immediately work to end the extra-judicial killings that are happening around the country and the culture of impunity be put to an end by bringing to justice those who are responsible for these murderers, whoever they may be; and that the Mining Act of 1995 be immediately repealed and replaced by a new mining law which is environmentally sound, sustainable and in the national interest. Commitments: We commit ourselves to the following: In agreement with the CBCP position on charter change, “we do not support hasty efforts to change this fundamental law of the land without the widespread discussion and participation that such changes require (which
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has appointed me. He has sent me to bring the good poor, to to proclaim proclaim liberty to captives and news to the poor, to the blind new sight, to se the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of of favour. favour. (Like (Like 4:18) 4:18)
could be) best done through a constitutional convention.” We will continue working to eradicate corruption in our institutions and in those areas of society where we live and carry out our ministry. We will work and collaborate critically with the government, as far as is feasible, to achieve
21 of each year as a day of remembrance for the victims of martial law. This is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) AMRSMP 2006 Convention Participants July 19, 2006
Caring for / from P10
Tidbits / from P7 is a group of the faithful that the bishop must establish in the diocese for the convocation of the faithful around the Eucharist and the development of the liturgical life (SC 42). Structurally, it represents a part of the diocese, entrusted to the bishop with the assigned pastor as his cooperator in the care of souls (CD 30). The parish is therefore a pastoral organization established by the bishop in his diocese. It is not an autonomous institution, but an entity that is dependent upon, yet integral to, the diocese. Within the context of these Conciliar teachings, the Code of Canon Law defines the parish as: “A parish is a certain community of the Christian faithful stably established within a particular Church, whose pastoral care, under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, is entrusted to a parish priest as its proper pastor “ (Can. 515, § 1). The Role of the Ecclesial Movements in the Parish The parish therefore is the locus wherein the faithful is placed to meet their Creator in the Word and the sacraments, the place where they respond to the exigencies of evangelization. However, it is limited in its resources. It cannot for instance contain every possible form of Christian life, whether individual or group. It is in this area that every parish has to be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit that more often than not are manifested in the irruptions of ecclesial movements and faith communities. John Paul II had oftentimes in the past expressed his optimism and confidence in the capacity of these movements to renew the Church’s apostolic action. There are parishes, he said, that are languishing, turned into mere “providers of pastoral services.”
the Millennium Development Goals for the eradication of poverty. We will intensify our efforts to network and collaborate among ourselves and with our mission partners to maximize our service to the poor. As a way of working towards national reconciliation, we will commemorate September
It is precisely in these cases that the role of the movements is not only providential, but important. They produce mature Christian personalities, conscious of their own baptismal identity, their own vocation and mission in the Church and in the world. They offer a significant testimony to what Christian life should be. In his encyclical Redemptoris Missio John Paul II said these prophetic words: “When these movements humbly seek to become part of the life of the local Churches and are welcomed by bishops and priests within diocesan and parish structures, they represent a true gift of God both for new evangelization and for missionary activity properly so-called.” Meantime, the zealous pastor of the parish, to fulfill his mission to the lay men and women entrusted to his care, has drawn up the pastoral program of the parish, complete with vision, mission, plans, organizational set-ups, programs, objectives, and activities. This pastoral organizational set-up and plans are supposed to be the standard program of the parish. Will it not be disturbed or disrupted by the insertion of these ecclesial movements into the life and activity of the parish? To this apprehension, it is good to again listen to and reflect the words of the present Holy Father, Benedict XVI, who in his homily of the Mass at the opening of his Pontificate said: “My true program of government is that of not doing my will, of not following my own ideas, but of listening, with the whole Church, to the word and will of the Lord and of letting myself be guided by him, so that it is he himself who guides the Church in this hour of our history.” In other words, in the Church uniformity is not the ideal, it is catholicity which admits of plurality, diversification.
tion in the seminary. He should personally participate in the formation of the seminarians by his encouraging and motivating presence and most especially through his conferences and homilies in Eucharistic celebrations. The Bishop’s Personal Knowledge of the Candidates for the Priesthood “Regular contact between the bishop and the seminary community constitutes a vital component in seminary life. Let the bishop’s own efforts at being fully human inspire the seminarians” (UPPPF #58). One of the vivid memories that I still treasure when I was a minor seminarian is the image of our Archbishop then who would frequently visit our seminary community. Because he lived just next door to our seminary, he would often surprise us with unannounced visit. He would engage us in casual conversations— ”Have you been kind and well-behaved?” Of course, we would readily answer him, Yes”. And jokingly he would gently twist our hands or make a slight finger strike to our ears as he encouraged us to be good and prayerful seminarians. We respect him so much and we love him for his fatherly concern for each one of us. As a bishop, I always try my best to imitate that fatherly concern and gesture that I experienced when I was still a seminarian. In my own little ways I let my seminarians feel that I truly support them in their desire to answer God’s call. The bishop should strive to gain personal knowledge of his seminarians especially those in the Philosophy and Theology departments. As much as possible, the bishop should address his seminarians by their first names. “He calls his own sheep by name” (John 10:3) In order to hasten my knowledge of my seminarians, I join them in the evaluation of their summer apostolate. We pray
together, eat together, play together and above all, I listen to their sharing. I give a deepening of their experiences in the parish and connect the rich pastoral exposure that they had to the total priestly formation that they are undergoing. “A genuine personal knowledge of the candidates for the priesthood in his particular Church is indispensable for the Bishop. On the basis of these direct contacts he will ensure that the seminaries form mature and balanced personalities, men capable of establishing sound human and pastoral relationships, knowledgeable in Theology, solid in the spiritual life, and in love with the Church” (PG # 48) The bishop’s genuine personal knowledge of the candidates for the priesthood is his perfect gesture of showing his love for the Church. The quality of new priests in every diocese whether they are good or bad is significantly a result of how the bishop knows them personally. “When the time comes to confer Holy Orders, each bishop will carry out the necessary investigation. In this regard, conscious of his grave responsibility for the conferring of priestly Orders, only after careful inquiry and ample consultation according to the norms of law will the Bishop receive into his Diocese candidates coming from other Dioceses or from a Religious Institute.” (PG # 48) The Future of the Church Clearly Depends in the Bishop’s Care for Vocations and Shepherding of Seminarians Sooner or later, all of us here will get old and gray—some faster than others. We are all passing this world. We should prepare and mold future priests who are holy, zealous, and totally dedicated to God and His Church. As bishops, this is a very serious and demanding responsibility considering the many other obliga-
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tions that are entrusted to us. But just as a bishop has the full responsibility of shepherding his flock; he is the shepherd of his priests, he is the shepherd of the religious and the laity, and he is also the shepherd of seminarians who will be his future priests. The future of the Church depends greatly on the quality of priests who are ordained by their bishop. Indeed, the obligation to promote and care for priestly vocations, monitor the quality of formation of seminarians, and maintain the holiness of those promoted to the priestly Orders form one continuum. It is in the bishop’s deep concern for vocations and shepherding of seminarians that the Church is provided with holy priests. It is also in this way that the Church is ensured with sustained and dedicated service. God will surely reward every effort of a bishop to promote vocations and guide seminarians to a deep love and service of the Church. Conclusion I am deeply convinced that our care for vocations and shepherding of seminarians will always be sustained by God with His grace. As God promised “I will be with you till the end of time” (cf. Mt. 28). He will always call ministers for His Church to continue His mission. The reason why Christ entrusts to bishops the care for vocations and formation of seminarians to become holy priests is His love for the whole mankind in need of salvation. The quality of our concern for priestly vocations somehow reflects the quality of our love for our own vocation. As we encourage young men to serve God as priests, we silently tell God and all the faithful that the life we embraced is indeed the life worth living in Christ. (This piece is one of the talks delivered during the annual retreat of the bishops held last July 4-6 preceding their 93rd Plenary Assembly, 2006 at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila.)
The Silence of the Lamb
Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
FROM THE INBOX The Right of the Church to Guide Her Flock
© Roy Lagarde
(For page 14. pictures that may be used in this article: crowd of people, a group of priests and religious, church goers or a flock of lambs)
By Fr. Romuald P. Zantua, D.S. THE Book of Ecclesiastes says that there is a time to speak and a time to be quiet. Both moments need discernment. Jesus broke his silence before Pilate not to defend himself but to remind the governor that the only power he had over him came from above. The same thing he did to the servant of the High Priest. Instead of giving the other cheek, he confronted him with the truth: “If I said something wrong, tell me what it was, but if none, why did you strike me?” Jesus, the Truth, reminded two public servants, both high and low, of the truth. Before Herod, he said nothing. Sometimes, when we have accomplished the task of speaking, in season and out of season, silence is the best move, especially when people are already tired of listening to so many conflicting voices. Yes, Jesus knew the right time to speak. In the midst of noisy accusing men ready to cast a stone at a woman, he broke his silence, only after writing something on the ground. Yes, unprovoked, he could also start a conversation with a person
the law said one was not supposed to speak to in public. One can be very fruitful in silence. The silence of the lamb brought to its shearer, describes the Lamb of God. No voice of his was heard in the streets. “A smoldering wick he would not quench; a bruised reed he would not even break.” But his voice reaches to the farthest ends of the earth. Another high public servant whose silence could have meant an approving “yes” maintained his silence. His condemning silence was construed as a resounding “no” to a wrong-doing of his king. His silence was more eloquent than spoken or written words. It is the silence granted to martyrs with a cause, which fools can never understand. I do not know the context of this hearsay anecdote about St. Francis. I heard that he said to his brothers that they were meant to preach the Gospel always, and, if necessary, by words. Silence can also be deeply and effectively prophetic. Indeed it can be of great service to the truth, especially when the search for the truth has become fruitless.
Evelyn C. Mijares High School Teacher
I wasn’t much of anything, re-
Your Past Doesn’t Define your Future I can still see it. There was a bamboo hut I saw while traveling in a far-flung island in the country. Right smack in the middle of nowhere, with mountain ranges and farmlands around it, lay this tiny shack the size of your regular toilet. I had to stop to take a good look, because it had a sign on top of it. And the sign was bigger than the house itself. I read it, in big, bold, bright, red letters:
I would like to express my reaction to the article written by Alcuin Papa, entitled, Church urged: Be more open to sex education in Philippine Daily Inquirer last July 19, 2006. The Catholic Church is being pressured by the identified civic groups in favor of sex education, to concede to the plan of DepEd to institutionalize the teaching of sex education nationwide from elementary grades above. Why should these civic groups prejudice the Catholic Church for defending its rights? Don’t they realize that their behavior is unconstitutional? Article III, Sec. 5 under Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution states that “… The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed…” I hope they will respect and honor our Catholic Church for doing what She is supposed to do to guide Her faithful. I am a Catholic and I believe that what the Church says on matters of faith and morals is God’s. The Catholic Church knows what is best for Her flock in dealing with sex education. She always deals with it with extreme care and sacredness, in an appropriate time and manner, in an appropriate environment and with appropriate words that observes holy purity and sacredness of God’s love for man. Such treatments are consequences of the time-tested philosophical and sacred theological studies, the Church’s Magisterium, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (through the gift of infallibility given to the Holy Father) the Catholic Church has invested, that cannot be doubted. Moreover, such studies had always been imbued with abundance prayers, sacrifices and holiness. We can learn from history that whenever God’s designs for love, marriage, transmission of life, family and nurturance of the dignity of the human person are observed, lived and defended, abundant goodness reigns in the world; otherwise, corruption, chaos, and all sorts of evil prevail. The Church Hierarchy has been a Good Shepherd to its faithful—protecting them from the evils of confusion, deception and corruption. It deserves the support of all because it works for their best interest. Once more, I hope the Catholic Church’s right to guide Her flock is respected and honored by all, especially by our government officials and lawmakers. I am a Catholic and I believe that what the Church teaches on matters of faith and morals is always God’s. In keeping with the Philippine Constitution on the right to profess one’s religious belief and the right of families to education their children in such delicate and sacred matter, I hope DepEd will pay heed to the exhortations of the Catholic Church.
“GLOBAL OUTREACH FOR JESUS” (INTERNATIONAL) Now they’d be in trouble if that were their central office. Then boy, whoever put that sign had faith. I actually felt like that bamboo hut when at fourteen years old, a prayer group leader “prophesied” to me that I will preach to different nations all over the world. She said she heard God tell her that in her prayers.
Wow. Me, an international preacher. Ha! I’m not insane, thank you. You see, I knew myself. I saw who I was every time I looked at the mirror, which I tried to avoid to relieve myself of unnecessary stress. I was a small-packaged, toothpickstructured, pimple-infested, grotesquely-formed, fourteen-year-old creature who also wasn’t very bright. I was struggling in high school algebra, chemistry, physics, and Pilipino.
Oh, I was a preacher all right. At that time, I was already leading a small prayer group of thirty (30) people. Impressed? Don’t be. My audience was um... a little bit biased. The regular members of my prayer group were the following: my mother, my father, my five sisters, their husbands, my nieces, my aunts, their husbands, my cousins, and the neighborhood dogs. Count that and you get thirty very loyal people with a few representatives from the animal kingdom. International Preacher? Lunacy. But listen. I’m now thirty-three years old. With lesser pimples, but
with a receding hairline now. (I don’t run out of problems.) And insane has happened: I’ve preached to sooooo many nations all over the world these past years, I sometimes wonder if my next flight will be to a planet called Jupiter. I’m not boasting. You see, I don’t think I can. Ever. I still see myself as that bamboo hut out in the middle of nowhere. I’m still that fourteen year old nobody. All it had to take was God. And a guy who failed in algebra, physics, and chemistry. The truth? Your past doesn’t define your future.
Capiz’/ from P16 but larger communities was one of the earliest colonial undertakings in order to facilitate their conversion into Christianity, spiritual administration, civil control, recruitment of corvee, and the collection of tributes. The responsibility for this reduccion (resettlement or gathering) fell ultimately on the missionaries, who devoted considerable efforts to bringing the dispersed inhabitants of their wide jurisdictions bajo de campana (under the bells), into a cen-
tral place of residence where they could establish a permanent church and community in the Hispanic urban tradition. “After the geographical distribution of the missionary orders throughout the archipelago, where they concentrated their religious works, they attempted to establish doctrinas or mission stations, and to encourage inhabitants to take up residence in the villages. The Patronato Real required and assured that for
every settlement or encomienda, a doctrina has to be established. The settlement with the largest population or that which was most suitably located within the area was chosen for this purpose. This is usually by the sea or riverside, to take advantage of fluvial transportations and make living more practical. “The actual doctrina or central mission village usually became the cabecera (more frequently referred to later as the poblacion) or
administrative center, of the emerging pueblo (municipality). ‘It was here that the earliest church and rectory (convento) were erected and where civil administrative activities, were conducted, eventually in an edifice that came to be known as the casa tribunal or municipio (municipal building). Once established, the cabecera, with its universally replicated ‘plaza complex,’ became the focal point for religious conversion and the continued ef-
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forts toward reduccion. “Later on the mission station and the larger settlements associated with it were generally organized into municipalities or towns (pueblos) and parishes (parroquias). By the end of the eighteenth century, almost all Christian Filipinos lived in or were assigned to the jurisdiction of a municipality-parish. “Towns during this time had barrio chapels called visitas, which were regularly visited. As visitas
developed, they were regrouped to become parishes (or ministerios) for permanent priests to minister.” These important historical vignettes may just very well reflect the colorful historical saga that the parish of St. Lawrence the Deacon went through in the past two centuries and, true to the noble legacy of St. Lawrence the Deacon and Martyr, it continues ever more to remain undaunted in Faith and as a living witness to the Gospel.
July 31, 2006
Title: WHITE LADY Running Time: 110 mins Lead Cast: Angelica Panganiban, Pauleen Luna, JC de Vera, Boots Anson-Roa, Jason, Iwa Moto, Franzen Fajardo, Katrina Perez, Glaiza de Castro, Ketchup Eusebio, Gian Carlo Director: Jeff Tan Producer: Roselle Monteverde-Teo Screenwriters: Don Michael Perez, Joel Rufino Nuñez Genre: Horror Cinematography: Tim Jimenez Distributor: Regal Entertainment Location: Los Baños, Laguna Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
sa simbahan ay himig din nito ang naging tunog. May mga bahagi sa kuwento ng White Lady na hindi malinaw at kapani-paniwala, maging ang paglalarawan ng mga tauhan.. Mabait ba o masama si Christina? Matino ba o sira ang ulo ni Lola Tasya? Mahinahon ba o mapusok si Pearl? Lubos bang napakasama ni Mimi at napakahina ba naman ang loob ng lahat niyang kabarkada? Kung minsan ay parang naglalaro lang ng "takutan" ang mga gumaganap. Kahit na nga ang make-up ng White Lady ay parang ipinipinta lang ng mga pumupunta sa Halloween party. Napakarami ring eksena ng karahasan. Ipinakita sa White Lady na may kaibigang nagtataguyod sa mabuti at meron din namang nagbubulid sa masama. Kaya nga't kailangang maging maingat sa pagpili ng mga kaibigan o barkada at nang hindi mapahamak. May pakikisama na nauuwi sa pakikipagsabwatan. Kahit mali ay sunod-sunuran, huwag lamang matiwalag sa samahan. Isa pang mensahe ng pelikula ay ukol sa pakikipag-relasyon na kung minsan ay hindi lamang nakakaabala sa pagaaral kundi mapanganib pa rin. Bukod sa hindi pa handa sa pananagutan ang mga nasakolehiyo pa lamang ay mahirap makilala ang tunay na pagkatao ng karelasyon sa maikling panahon.. Tinalakay din sa pelikula kung bakit 2nagbabalik ang espiritu nang yumao. Nanghihingi ng katarungan si Christina sa kalupitan ng barkada na nagpahamak sa kaniya. Hindi tama ang mensahe na sa paghihiganti lamang matatahimik ang kaniyang kaluluwa, na karahasan ang dapat iganti sa karahasang ginawa sa kaniya.. Nasaksihan ng mga estudyante at guro nang basbasan ng pari ang bodega na pinangyarihan ng krimen at inasahan ng lahat na mamamayapa at lilisan na ang espiritu. .Sa halip ay mukha pa ngang nagwagi ang kasamaan sapagkat galit at poot ang nanaig sa White Lady at ipinahiwatig na nararapat lamang na buhay ang kapalit ng buhay. Walang pagsisisi na nakita sa mga nagkasala at walang pagpapatawad na iginawad ang biktima. Nakalulungkot na ito ang nangibabaw sa White Lady---hindi ito ang diwa ng Kristiyanismo.
MAY nagmumultong babae sa Arts Academy. Ayon sa janitor na nakakita ay mahaba ang buhok nito, nakakatakot ang sunog nitong mukha, at nakasuot ito ng puting damit kaya't tinawag itong "White Lady". Nagparamdam ang White Lady kay Pearl (Pauleen Luna), isang probinsyanang Ilongga at mahusay na estudyante. Sapagkat mapapakinabangan si Pearl ay inimbita siya ni Mimi (Iwa Moto) na sumama sa kaniyang grupo. Ang popular at laki sa layaw na si Mimi ang lider ng mapagsamantalang barkada na kinabibilangan nina Joshua (Jason Abalos), Eva (Katarina Perez), Jowee (Glaiza de Castro), at si Hector (Ketchup Eusebio). Hinihikayat ng grupo si Pearl na siyasatin ang hiwagang bumabalot sa White Lady ngunit hindi ito pumayag. Nagsimula na ang sunodsunod na aksidente sa mga barkada ni Mimi. Sa wakas ay natuklasan din ni Pearl ang sekreto ng White Lady at kung ano ang tunay na nangyari kay Christina. Sa simula pa lamang ng pelikula ay makahulugan na ang ginamit na puting pamagat sa itim na pondo at hinaluan ng mga nagliliparang alipato (apoy na nililipad ng hangin mula sa nasusunog na bagay). Inihahanda nito ang kalooban ng mga manonood sa mangyayari?madalas na sa gabi nagaganap ang mga tagpo. Malimit gamitin ang Ilonggong awit na Ili-Ili Tulog Anay at maging ang mga kampana
Title: NACHO LIBRE Running Time: 90 mins Lead Cast: Jack Black, Ana de la Rguera, Hector Jimenez, Darius Rose, Cesar Gonzalez Director: Jared Hess Producer: Steve Nicolaides Screenwriters: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess, Mike White Music: Danny Elfman Editor: Billy Webber Genre: Comedy Cinematography: Xavier Perez Grobet Distributor: Paramount Pictures Location: Mexico Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance
IGNACIO/Nacho (John Black) an orphan, who grew up under the care of the friars, has always dreamed to be a "luchador" (mex wrestler). But he's stuck as a cook serving meager and stale food to orphans. One day, a young, beautiful nun, Sister Encarnacion (Ana dela Reguera) comes to stay in the monastery. Wanting to impress and serve something more than the barely palatable food, Ignacio enters a local amateur "fight night". But, first, he teams up with Esquelle (Hector Jimenez) another rag-tag, scrawny, streetsmart toughie. They lose but earn enough to buy a more delectable dish. Ignacio becomes a cook by day and Nacho, the luchador, by
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FROM his cottage by the swimming pool, Cleveland Heap (Paul Giamatti), the sad, stuttering, middle-aged caretaker-manager of The Cove Apartments, hears splashing sounds in the deserted pool at night. Once while investigating the phenomena, he falls into the pool and is rescued by a creature who appears every inch like a human female except for the ephemeral quality exuded by its waif-like, finely chiseled facial features. It is called a "narf", a sea nymph, who has a mission among humans but whose return to the sea is being prevented by a "scrunt", an wolf-like animal whose emergence from the grass is signaled by the sprinkler turning on by itself. This narf lives under the pool, can tell your future, and calls herself Story (Bryce Dallas Howard); her identity as a narf is authenticated by a similar Korean folk tale told by one of the tenants, Mrs. Choi (June Kyoko Lu) and translated by her daughter Young-Soon Choi (Cindy Cheung). Story falls unconscious when attacked and wounded by the scrunt. Cleveland is joined by some of the tenants in an attempt to save Story so she can return to the sea. In order to fully appreciate Lady in the Water, the viewer must allow director M. Night Shyamalan to turn playful in this story, taking a dig at unfriendly film critics and boldly assigning himself a pivotal role in the film. A departure from his usual approach to film fantasy (in which The Village is a classic), Lady in the Water is supposed to be a bedtime story for children, a fairy tale set not in some never-never land of elves and dwarves or flying sorcerers but right in our own 21st century backyard, a lower middle class apartment complex in suburban Philadelphia populated by ordinary folk simple enough not to question the presence of narfs and scrunts in their midst. The movie calls for little CGI (Computer Generated Images) for its wit resides in its script, in lines that Shyamalan makes sure get heard. To bring home a point in the dialogue, director of photography Christopher Doyle's camera supplies the enhancement and the
night. They continue to lose but the more they lose, the greater is Nacho's will to win. Despite Ignacio's wearing a mask to conceal his identity, he is soon exposed and forced to leave the community. His loneliness and depression are alleviated somewhat by Sister Encarnacion's encouragement to fight for a noble cause. Nacho uses this to psyche himself up for his fight with Ramses (Cesar Gonzales), the haughty, reigning champion of the ring. Nacho wants to win in order to bequeath a legacy to his beloved orphans. "Nacho" combines the comedic, athletic, singing and acting abilities of Jack Black. But one man can't
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emphasis by well-timed close-ups and points of view. As with other Shyamalan films, Lady in the Water imparts a life-sized message composed of many bite-sized messages. To benefit from his brand of wisdom conveyed through the fantastic, the viewer should turn a blind eye to lapses in logic in the events and be open instead to what is being said and left unsaid. For instance, in Lady in the Water, one might ask 'If Story is a sea nymph, why does she need an eagle to take her back to the water? Why don't they just throw her back into the pool where she lives and let her swim her way to the ocean?' Or 'What happened to the character attacked by the scrunt? Why didn't anybody miss him? Did he die? Where is the corpse? Was the scrunt so famished he licked the place clean of every trace of the attack?' One strong message of Lady in the Water is the supremacy of innocence over worldliness? to direct their action the community depends on a child whose takes guidance from his "oracle", a collection of cereal boxes. No candles, incense, crystal balls and abracadabras but plain supermarket cereal boxes "read" with innocence and sincerity. The leader, according to the cereal boxes, must be one who has no secrets and whose word is respected by others. Another strong but veiled statement for the importance of purity of heart as a pre-condition for saving the world. Very Christian.
a movie make. The story line of monastery cook by day and a fighter by night is dramatic enough. But the drama is not sustained and after a while it drags and bores. The attempt of the director and screenwriter tandem, Jared and Jerusha to combine hilarious absurdity with religious sensitivity fails. Also, the movie is plagued by too many inconsistencies, goofs and mistakes to enable one to enjoy it. Nacho Libre has a noble intention: to deliver the message that everyman, even an orphan, could find his place in the sun with enough determination and inspiration. Coupled with a noble cause to fight for, anyone could be a champion.
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Title: LADY IN THE WATER Running Time: 110 mins Lead Cast: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bob Balaban, Jeffrey Wright, Sarita Choudhury, Freddy Rodriguez, Bill Irwin, Jared Harris, M. Night Shyamalan Director: M. Night Shyamalan Producers: Samuel L. Mercer, M. Night Shyamalan, John Rusk Screenwriter: M. Night Shyamalan Music: James Newton Howard Editor: Barbara Tulliver Genre: SciFi Cinematography: Christopher Doyle Distributor: Warner Bros. Location: USA Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
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Vol. 10 No. 8
Now, really? It is the height of naivete to expect that prayer alone could transform a perennial loser into a champion overnight. It may be dramatic and cinematic, but that's about all. It is silly to believe that this could happen in real life. The movie's simplistic assumption detracts, rather than, inspires. Real life and reel life should merge and coincide at least for the duration of the movie, and in Nacho Libre, this doesn't happen. For the film's message to effect a realization (or even a transformation) in the viewer, it's up to the viewer to determine the human effort one needs in addition to prayer to "become a champion."
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People, Facts & Places
Capiz’ St. Lawrence the Deacon Parish Observes Bicentennial Jubilee Fete and the Departed Paniteños” (Nov. 1 & 2); “Day for Overseas’ Workers” (Dec. 17); “Day for the Youth” (Jan. 14, 2007); “Day for Christian Families” (Feb. 11, 2007); “Day for Professionals” (March 4, 2007); “Day for Farmers” (April 1, 2007); “Day for the Aged, the Sick and the Disabled” (May 13, 2007); “Day for Government Officials, Personnel and Soldiers”(June 10, 2007); and “Day for Thanksgiving” (July 15, 2007). The various preparations and activities for the year-long celebration are spearheaded by Msgr. Dexter Irisari, parish priest, Fr. Ramel Talabucon, parochial vicar, and by the officers of the Parish Pastoral Council which include, namely, Nida Buenvenida, Faustino Lara, Mary Ann Villarais, Milagros Dais, Graciosa Diaz, Medina Espiritu, Francis Dadula, Rachelle Dayang, Joyce Denosta and Angelita Pelaez. The parish of St. Lawrence the Deacon was first evangelized by the Augustinian missionary priests some 200 years ago and, like all other countryside parishes in the Philippines evangelized by the Spanish friars, the manner of evangelization followed a general pattern. Noel Vincent Abalajon gives a historical account of such typical pattern of evangelization by the Spanish missionaries: “When the Spanish missionaries started to preach the Gospel among the early Filipinos, they encountered this problem of dispersed settlement pattern of the inhabitants. Thus, the resettlement of the population into fewer Capiz’ / P14
CWL Holds Leadership Training By Roy Lagarde THE newly elected officers and board members led by Catholic Women’s League National President, Josephine S. Gaviola and advisers held its national leadership training last July 27-30, 2006 at CBCP-NASSA BEC Development Center in Tagaytay City with the theme “Living the Eucharist in the Ministry of the”. The main objective of this leadership training is to discuss the national action program for the year 2006-2008 that will be implemented down to the parish level. Topics discussed were concerns for women, family, youth and environment and identifying the strategies to address the problems of poverty, migration, degradation of the environment, problems of the youth such as the use of prohibited drugs and the effects of media on their moral values.
Special emphasis was given on the spiritual formation of the members especially on the importance of the Eucharist and prayers as the source of strength and grace to witness and live the Eucharist in their ministry. Towards the end of the seminar, Mrs. Filipina Ranada talked on sex education in public and some private schools detailing its possible consequences. “To allow sex education in the classroom is risking the student’s moral and spiritual well being,” she said quoting Episcopal Commission on Family Life (ECFL) head Abp. Paciano Aniceto. After four days of intensive prayer and work, the officers and board members finally were able to formalize the national action program ready for implementation for the years 2006-2008.
Vol. 10 No. 8 July 31, 2006
by Msgr. Dexter Irisari, HP THE parish of St. Lawrence the Deacon in the municipality of Panitan, Capiz is marking its bicentennial foundation anniversary this year as it celebrates its annual town fiesta in honor of St. Lawrence the Deacon, its patron saint, on August 10 with its general theme, “St. Lawrence the Deacon and the Church’s Social Concerns”. The major activities marking the celebration are the novena masses on July 31 to August 8, the vespers mass on August 9, and the concelebrated fiesta mass on August 10. The presiders-homilists and specific themes for the novena masses, held at 3:00 pm from July 31 to August 8, are: Msgr. Dexter Irisari, “Building a Civilization of Love”; Fr. Ramel Talabucon, “Resisting Graft and Corruption”; Fr. Victor Bendico, “Renewing Politics in Our Land”; Fr. Clemente Fungot, “Protecting Our Environment”; Fr.Butch Abalajon, “The Scourge of Illegal Drugs”; Fr. Aris Pedrajas, “Strengthening the Christian Family”; Fr. Berman Ibañez, “Peacemaking”; and Fr. Edsel Delfin, “Protesting Against the Aswang Festival”. The Vespers Mass presider and homilist on August 9, 4 p.m., will be Msgr. Vicente Hilata. Archbishop Onesimo Gordoncillo will be the main celebrant and homilist during the solemn concelebrated Fiesta Mass on August 10 at 8 a.m. The parish is also set to hold the following activities in observing the year-long bicentennial foundation anniversary celebration: “Ecclesial Basic Communities’ Day” (Sept. 3); “Religious Organizations’ Day” (Oct. 8); “Days for the Saints
C E L E B R AT E D . Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, 66, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, 66th birth anniversary; August 2, 2006. Lagdameo, who is currently the Archbishop of Jaro (Iloilo) since 2000, assumed office as the 17th CBCP president on December 1, 2005. Born in 1940 in Lucban, Quezon, Lagdameo was ordained priest on December 19, 1964 in Lucena City. He was first appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu in 1980, and as Coadjutor Bishop of Dumaguete in 1986, then as Bishop of Dumaguete in 1989 until his appointment as Archbishop of Jaro in 2000. Archbishop Lagdameo took his minor seminary formation, philosophy and theology studies at the San Jose Seminary, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City. CELEBRATED . Rev. Fr. Samson Silloriquez, OAR, 52, Councilor of General Curia for the Order of the Augustinian Recollects-Philippines in Rome, Italy; 25th sacerdotal ordination anniversary; July 18, 2006; in Marcilla, Navarra, Spain. Ordained priest in 1981 to the Philippine Province of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects, Silloriquez was first assigned to the OAR community in Via Sistina, Rome in 1981-1984, then with the San Sebastian CollegeRecoletos, Manila in 1984-1987, and with the Recoletos Formation Center in Quezon City in 1987 to 1994. Prior to his current assignment in Rome, Fr. Silloriquez served as parish priest of San Sebastian Basilica in Manila from 1994 to 2001. He took his college seminary formation at the Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary in Baguio
City and his theological studies in Marcilla, Navarra, Spain. In 1983, he earned his Licentiate degree in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. APPOINTED. Sr. Grace S. Namocatcat, D.C., 62, as Information Officer and Assistant Supervisor of CBCP Secretariat; after whose appointment was approved by the CBCP president Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo last June 15, 2006. First admitted to the religious congregation of the Daughters of Charity in 1964, Sr. Grace’s prior assignments include, namely: as Director for the Religious Education Department and Campus Ministry Office of the Universidad de Sta. Isabel; Assistant Director and Faculty member of the Institute of Catechetics of the Archdiocese of Manila; as National Director of the Association of Children of Mary; Religious Education Ministry Coordinator of the Daughters of Charity schools; and as administrator of the Cebu Archdiocesan Institute of Catechetics, Cebu City. Sr. Grace finished her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the Colegio de Sta. Isabel, Naga City and obtained her Master of Arts degree in Religious Education from the De La Salle University in Manila. She also took special studies on Pastoral Theology at the East Asian Pastoral Institute, and on Spiritual Direction from the Center of Ignatian Spirituality in Quezon City. CELEBRATED. Bishop Manuel Del Rosario, Bishop Emeritus of Malolos (Bulacan), 51st episcopal ordination anniversary, July 25, 2006. Ordained bishop in 1955, Bishop Del Rosario was bishop of Calbayog from 1955 to 1962, and then as bishop of Malolos from 1962 to 1977. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 25, 1939.
Collegio Filippino / from P1 Other officers elected to head the PCF’s various committees are: Fr. Melchor Braga, Liturgy; Fr. Venusto Suarez, Spirituality; Fr. Joselito Jopson, Music; Fr. Rodelio San Juan, Socials; Fr. Wagner Nalitan, Physical Arrangement; and Fr. William Santiago, Sports. The PCF is the home in Rome of Filipino Diocesan priests who have been sent by their bishops to pursue advanced ecclesiastical studies sub umbra Petri. It is thus a community that provides a special type of ongoing priestly formation that is significantly influenced by a proximity to the Holy Father and the cultural diversity that Rome provides. In January of 1959, the Catholic Hierarchy of the Philippines approved a resolution authored by the late Rufino Cardinal Santos, then Archbishop of Manila, calling for the establishment of the Pontifical Filippino College.
Pope John XXIII instituted the Pontificio Collegio Filippino through an Apostolic Letter, and on October 7, 1961 officiated at its inauguration in Rome. To date, the Collegio has been home to 564 seminarians and priests, 50 of whom have become bishops. For the school year 2005-2006, Collegio Filippino has a population of 40 priests (36 are student-priests, three members of administration and one assigned at the Pontifical Council for the Family), four sisters of the Religiosas Misioneras de Santo Domingo and five lay workers. The resident priests are often invited to celebrate the Eucharist in Filipino migrant centers in Rome and its environs. This offers them a perfect opportunity to minister to Filipino migrant workers, of which there are many in Rome and to initiate the building of Christian communities among them. (CBCP News)
CENTENNIAL COMMEMORATIVE STAMP. The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines officially launched its KC Centennial Commemorative Stamp in a turn-over ceremony held last July 7, 2006 at the KC Fraternal’s Fr. George J. Willmann Center in Intramuros, Manila. From left: the KC Centennial Commemorative Stamp; Hon. Alfredo G. Gabot, Philippine Postal Corporation’s Board of Trustees, and Sir Knight Alberto P. Solis, KC Supreme Director and KC Fraternal’s Chairman.
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