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SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

VOL. 68, NO. 1

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SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

Behold the King of Kings The Academy of Our Lady Guam presented its annual Christmas performance Dec. 13, 2013 entitled “Behold the Star! A Christmas Journey to the Light of Christ”. With help from faculty, staff and other adults, the Academy students presented the performance as their gift to their parents and families. Here, the Three Kings herald the birth of Jesus Christ, the King of all Kings, alongside Joseph and Mary. William Mamangun, standing, second from left, is St. Joseph. The Magi are, left to right: Ivan Pineda, Vic Santiago, and Shuichi Ema. Keana Lynn Artero, Class of 2014, portrays the Blessed Mother with Roy Joseph Gamboa as baby Jesus. The Church celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family, Sunday, Dec. 29 and celebrates the Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany today, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF ACADEMY OF OUR LADY OF GUAM.

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FAITH

“We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. Pope Benedict XVI

Pope calls everyone to overflow with God’s love in 2014 STORY, PAGE 12

During a Dec. 31 “Te Deum” evening prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis thanked Our Lord for the blessings of the past year and urged everyone to “welcome God made man so that every year, every month, every day be overflowing with his eternal love." He asked each of us to step outside of our comfort zones and work to make each of our communities a better place.


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A Christmas Journey to the Light of Christ

SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Agana 196 B Cuesta, San Ramon Hill Agana, Guam 96910 PUBLISHER

Most Reverend Anthony Sablan Apuron, O.F.M., Cap., D.D. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Sister Marian Arroyo, RSM Division of Pastoral Ministries EDITOR

Tony C. Diaz GRAPHIC & PRODUCTION DESIGN

Sedrick S. Serisola BUSINESS MANAGER

Doris Pablo ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE

John Joseph Bautista CONTACT

The Office of U Matuna Si Yu’os is located at the Chancery at 196 B Cuesta, San Ramon Hill Phone: 671-562-0065 671-562-0063 www.umatuna.org

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tudents of the Academy of Our Lady of Guam lifted their voices and hearts in joyous celebration of our Savior’s birth as they presented their Christmas gift to their families Dec. 13, 2013. Families enjoyed the Christmas spirit with the students’ annual Christmas performance entitled “Behold the Star! A Christmas Journey to the Light of Christ.” Portraying the Holy Family are William Mamangun as St. Joseph, Keana Lynn Artero, Mother Mary and Roy Joseph Gamboa, baby Jesus. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ACADEMY OF OUR LADY OF GUAM.

NEWS DEADLINE

Deadline for news stories and photos is close of business Monday prior to the date of publication. Please note that the U Matuna reserves the right to select, prioritize, and edit content based on relevancy and editorial discretion. Contact news@umatuna.org ADVERTISING DEADLINE

Deadline for reserving advertising space is close of business Monday prior to the date of publication. Camera-ready copy is due no later than close of business Tuesday prior to the date of publication. Contact sales@umatuna.org ANNOUNCEMENTS DEADLINE

Announcements are published on a first- come, first-served basis. Deadline to submit announcements is close of business Monday prior to the date of publication. Contact announcements@umatuna.org

MISSION The U Matuna Si Yu’os is published every week by the Archdiocese of Agaña, Guam. Our mission is to print and distribute a true report of the Roman Catholic Church’s ministry of changing lives through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By offering news and commentary about issues impacting the Catholic Church, it aims to serve as a focal point for the expression and discussion of the Catholic faith on Guam.

SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS The U Matuna Si Yuos is committed to bringing news to Catholics on Guam and abroad. Please support our a­ dvertisers who help make our weekly editions ­possible. Tell them you saw their ads in U Matuna! THANK YOU!


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SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

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Feast of Santo Niño to be celebrated Jan. 12 For the U Matuna Si Yu’os

In 1521, Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed upon the shores of Cebu in the Philippines bringing Christianity to all he encountered. Upon the baptism of Cebu chieftain Rajah Humabon and his queen Hara Amihan, Magellan gave them a gift of the image of the Santo Niño, the Holy Infant Jesus, thus establishing the Catholic faith in the region. The Santo Niño is venerated and worshipped throughout the world by the Catholic faithful but never more so in the southern Philippine regions of Cebu, Iloilo and Aklan where the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated in January. These boisterous celebrations include parades led by the image of Santo Niño set to rhythmic drumbeats. Immigrants from these areas brought the

celebrations of Sinulog (Cebu), Dinagyang (Iloilo) and Ati-Atihan (Aklan) to Guam and celebrated separately in their preferred parishes around the island. In 1999, in a gesture reminiscent of Magellan’s baptismal present to Hara Amihan and Rajah Humabon, Archbishop of Cebu, Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal gave an image of the Santo Niño de Cebu to Guam Archbishop the Most Reverend Anthony Sablan Apuron. In accepting the image, Archbishop Apuron challenged the Santo Niño devotees of Guam to celebrate the Santo Niño fiesta in a single celebration at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral. To the archbishop this would be a most fitting worship to the Holy Infant Jesus in January to follow the honoring of His mother Mary in December. The Santo Niño - Guam 2000 was formed for this purpose. It is composed of several

Deacon Aspirants of the Archdiocese of Agana For the U Matuna Si Yu’os Reprinted from U Matuna.

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The following men are currently enrolled in the Formation Program for the Permanent Diaconate of the Archdiocese of Agana. They are undergoing a process of academic, spiritual and personal formation. It is also a period in which they are scrutinized to determine if they should proceed to the next level of formation. Should anyone in the community wish to correspond with the Director of Formation regarding any of these men, please email or write to: Fr. Adrian Cristobal Director of the Diaconate Formation ­Program 196-B Cuesta San Ramon Hagatña GU 96910 Tel (671) 562-0000 Email acristobal@archagana.org  GREGORIO T. CALVO, from the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes in Yigo. Age 64.  IRENEO J. DELA CRUZ, from the parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Toto. Age 62.  JOHN S.A. FERNANDEZ, from the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Rita. Age 70.  JOSE S.N. GUMATAOTAO, from the parish of Santa Barbara Dededo. Age 51.  ROMEO M. HERNANDEZ, from the parish of Santa Barbara, Dededo. Age 58.  HUAN HOSEI, from the parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Toto. Age 47.  RODOLFO QUE, from the parish of St. Anthony Tamuning. Age 65.  GEORGE C. QUITUGUA, from the parish of Santa Teresita, Mangilao. Age 62.  ANTHONY F. REYES, from the parish of San Dimas, Merizo. Age 49.  KOSME K. SOS, from the parish of Santa Barbara, Dededo. Age 51.  GERALD A.Q. TAITANO, of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica parish. Age 63.  JOHN C. TERLAJE, from the parish of San Francisco de Asis, Yona. Age 47.  JOAQUIN A. TORRE, from the parish of Santa Barbara, Dededo. Age 80.

Honoring the Niño at Guam’s churches ABOVE: Faithful of Guam observe the traditional mangingi – veneration – of the Niño during the Christmas season. RIGHT: Husband and father Jojo Fernandez venerates a statue of baby Jesus after the 12 noon Mass at Santa Barbara Catholic Church in Dededo on New Year’s Day, Wednesday Jan 1, 2013 on the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. PHOTO COURTESY OF EVANGELINE.

Filipino organizations such as the Cebu Association, Aklan Association, Iloilo International Association, Capizenos of Guam and Leyte-Samar Association was formed for this purpose.

Philippines’ Archbishop Advincula guest homilist this year Preparations are underway for the 15th year of this Santo Niño celebration. A Mass of Thanksgiving will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, January 12 at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica. Each year a bishop from the Visayan area is invited to be a special guest and be part of the celebration in propagating our faith and the belief to the Senor Santo Niño here in

Guam. This year, the guest homilist will be His Excellency Jose F. Advincula, Jr., D.D of the Archdicese of Capiz. A procession around Skinner Plaza will take place after the Mass. There will also be a dinner reception held at the Guam Bakery compound in Dededo at 6 p.m. Among many other entertaining numbers, the evening’s program will feature the traditional cultural dances of the areas of Cebu, Iloilo and Aklan. The island’s faithful are invited to participate in the festivities. For more information, please contact Mr. Tim Oftana of the Cebu Association at 6325644; Mr. Jun Ganaan of the Cebu Association at 486-5128; Susan Ibit of the Aklan Association at 888-2370; Jesusa Umbrero of Iloilo International Association at 998-3259; or Sonia Sotelo of the Capizenos of Guam at 787-6626.


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ARCHDIOCESAN

SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

Sunday Gospel and Reflection Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, O.F.M. Cap., D.D.

Jesus is the one true guiding star in our lives Brothers and Sisters: This is a popular Christmas story though it marks the end of the long holiday season. Little does one realize that it anticipates the passion and resurrection narratives which form the summit of the mystery of Christ. Let us take a closer look at the magi. They are pagans or Gentiles. Originally a designation of the Persian priestly caste, the word “magi” is later used in reference to those who are regarded as having more than human knowledge. St. Matthew presents them as astrologers. It is significant to note that it is through stargazing that God call them to his Son’s presence. Through the ages, God calls pagans through his creation or through nature. This is why nobody is excused from following God’s invitation issued by whatever means he chooses. But the initial revelation to the magi is imperfect. They need the perfect revelation of God to the Jews. The Chosen People know where to find the Messiah through God’s revelation in the scriptures. So the magi, like other pagans, have to come to the Jews to learn more about the Messiah. It is a paradox that those who are supposed to know more about God reject him. The Jews in the person of Herod and his subjects plan to do homage to the Messiah by

Pinagat Atsubispo Anthony Sablan Apuron, Kapuchinu Manelu-hu, este i gof matungo’ na istorian Krismas ya este lokkue’ humuhuchom i anakoko na tiempon silebrasion. Didide’ ha ta’lo ta ri’alisa na este ha a’a’tan mo’na kun tiempo i istorian mina’sapet yan kinahulu’ ni fumofotma i tagahlo’ na misterion Jesu Kristo. Nihi ta gef atan i manmagu. Siha i mampaganu pat ti manHudios. Gi magahet unu gi grupun i mamale’ Persia, i palabra ‘magu’ ma’` usa para marifieri ayu i mangaitiningo’ mas ki tiningo’ taotao. Si San Mateo ha prisenta siha komu i manmanistutudiha istreyas. Gof gai siknifikasion para ta tungo’ na ginen i ma’istudian i istreyas na ha a’agang si Yu’os i taotao para i ginaigen i Lahi-na. Sa’ siklu put siklu, ha agang si Yu’os i mampaganu ginen i nina’huyong-na pat ginen i natura. Put este na rason na taya sina ma dispensa ginen i matattiyen i inbitasion Yu’os maseha hafa taimanu na hana’huyong. Lao i tinituhon na mana’matungo para i manmagu ti gof kabales. Ma nisisita i mas kabales na mana’matungo’ para i manHudios. I Manma’ayek na Taotao Yu’os matungo’ ha amanu nai sina ma sodda’ i Mesias ginen i mana’matungo’ Yu’os gi eskrituras. Pues ennao mina’ i manmagu manmatto guatu gi manHudios para u matungo’ mas put i Mesias. Kulan ti fa’hongge na ayu siha i debi di umatungo’ mas put si Yu’os marichasa gue’. I Manhudios gi petsonan Herodes yan i taotaona maplaneha para u ma’adora i Mesias gi mapetsigi gue’. Annai ti mangonfotme, manlalalu’ ya mana’fanlamen i maninosente na famagu’on. Hana’annok este hafa sina macho’gue para umaprutehi i pribilehu na istao-niha.

Refleksion Ibangheliun Damenggon Epifania (Tres Reyes) Ineru 5, 2014 Ibangheliu (Mateo 2:1-12) Mafanagu si Jesus giya Belen, un songsong giya Judea, guihi na tiempo annai estaba rai si Herodes. Ti apman na tiempo despues manmatto giya Jerualen lalahi siha ginen i sankattan ni umestutudiha i kinalamten i puti’on manmamaisen: “Mangge nai gaigi i neni ni para umafanagu ni para rai i Manhudios? In li’e’ na dokko i puti’on-na gi sankattan ennao mina’manmatto para in adora gue’. Nina’atburotao si Rai Herodes yan todu i taotao Jerusalen annai mahungok este. Ha na’fandana’ todu i manma’gas mamale’ yan i ma’estron i Lai ya hafaisen siha: “Manu nai para umafanagu i Mesias? Manmanoppe, “Iya Belen na songsong, giya Judea. Estague’ tinige’ i prufeta: “Hagu, Belen, ni gaigi gi tano’ Juda, Ti hagu mas takpapa’ gi entre i siuda siha giya Juda; Sa’

persecuting him. Feeling threatened, they react by inflicting violence on the innocent children. This shows what they are willing to do to cling to their privileged status. It is an even greater paradox that Herod the Great, who is famous for erecting magnificent edifices as well as rebuilding the Temple of Jerusalem, considered the heart of Judaism, is responsible for the initial persecution of the Messiah, the heart of religion itself. The Jewish religious hierarchy, the Sanhedrin, follow suit when Christ’s passion comes. They who are the guardians of faith are its first attackers. The infancy narrative shows the Jewish rejection and the Gentile acceptance of Christ. This is even more evident after the Resurrection. The Jews expel Jewish Christians from their synagogues. The first generation of believers then share God’s word with the Gentiles and a great number is converted. We may wonder about this turn of events. But the answer may be found in our own hearts. We accept Christ when we see him as the star in our lives, posed to guide us to something new, and we consider ourselves lucky recipients of so great a gift. But when we find that the gift is radical enough to dislodge us from our comfortable positions, and we cannot cope with this “unsettling God,” we reject him. The problem is aggravated when we consider Heaven as a birthright and salvation as automatic by virtue of our religion or race. Then we become like Herod and his subjects rather than like the magi who truly found the Lord. This gospel reflection is taken from St. Paul’s 365 Days with the Lord. May your day be filled with love and may Almighty God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Sen ti fa’hongge na si Herodes i Ma’gas, ni mas matungo’ put i manhatsa mansenbunitu na guma’ dangkolo siha kun todu i maritokan i Templon Jerusalen, ni makunsidera i korason i Manhudios, na guiya responsapble ni tinituhon i mapetsigen i Mesias. I manrelihosun mamale’ Hudios, i Sanhedrin, matattiyi gue annai matto i mina’sapet Jesu Kristo. Siha ni manguatdian i hinengge siha fine’nana manmanataka. Este i istorian mafanagu-na muna’a’annok i marichasa ni ManHudios yan i ma’akseptan Jesu Kristo ni ti ManHudios. Este mas annok despues di luma’la’ gue’ ta’lo. I ManHudios madulalak huyong i mangilisyanu na ManHudios ginen i sinagogan-niha. I fine’nana na henerasion mangilisyanu manniha gi fino’ Yu’os yan i ti ManHudios ya linahyan manmakombiette. Sina manmanman hit ni este na matalabiran sinusedi. Lao i ineppe gaigi gi halom i mismo korason-ta. Ta aksepta si Jesu Kristo yanggen ta li’e’ gue’ komu i istreya gi lina’la’-ta, tumohtoge’ para u giha hit guatu gi nuebu , ya ta kunsidera hit mansuette na ta risisibi este na tagahlo na rigalu. Lao yanggen ta sodda’ na i rigalu sumentakpapa’ para u yengyong hit ginen pusision-ta annai mansatisfecho ha hit, ya ti sina ta kunsidera este i “manyeyengyong na Yu’os,” siempre ta richasa gue. Ya este na prupblema sen atdet yanggen ta kunsidera i langet komu direcho’-ta desde i manmafanagu-ta yan i satbasion komu esta ha iyo-ta ginen i bittut i rilihion-ta yan i rasa-ta. Ennao mina’mantaiguihi hit yan si Herodes yan i ManHudios in lugat di tafantaiguini i Manmagu. Este na pinagat machuchule’ ginen i Lepblon San Papblo 365 yan I Saina. Ohalara ya u bula guiniaya i ha’anen-miyu ya i todu hana’sina na Yu’os infambinendisi gi na’an i Tata yan i Lahi-na yan i Espiritu Santo. Amen.

ginen hagu nai u fatto un ma’gas ni para i dinirihi i ‘taotao-hu ManIsraelitas.’” Pues si Herodes ha agang i bisita siha ni manginen sankattan ya manhunta sikretu ya ginen este na hatungo’ i fecha’ annai umannok i puti’on. Despues hana’fanhanao siha para Belen ya ha inkatga siha na nu este: “Fanhanao ya in gef espiha i patgon, ya yanggen in sedda’ na’tungo’ yu’, ya guahu lokkue’ bai hu adora gue’.” Pues manhanao ya mientras manhahanao siha mali’e’ gi sankattan ya manfine’nanaigue siha ya annai matto gi hilu’ ayu na lugat annai estaba i patgon pumara. Nina’fan senmagof siha annai mali’e’ i puti’on. Manhalom siha gi gima’ ya annai mali’e’ i patgon yan si Maria i nana-na, mandimu papa’ ya ma’adora gue’. Pues mababa i balutan-niha ya mana’i i patgon rigalon oru, insensiu yan paopao, ni mafa’nana’an mira. Mansinangani siha as Yu’os gi guinifen-niha na cha’-niha fannata’lo tatte as Herodes; pues matulaika i chalan-niha tatte para i tano’-niha.

2014 LITURGICAL CALENDAR JANUARY yy January 5 - Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord yy January 11 - Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, Tumon yy January 12 - Baptism of the Lord Santo Nino Visit Archdiocese of Agaña’s website: www.aganaarch.org and U Matuna online: umatuna.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS SCHOOLS ACADEMY OF OUR LADY OF GUAM yy Jan 6: Third Quarter begins; Backto-school prayer service. yy Jan. 18: AOLG Annual 5K “Fund” Run/Walk. Race numbers available for purchase at school Business Office and Hornet Sporting Goods. Show time: 5:15 a.m., Go time: 6 a.m. yy Jan. 25: Catholic Schools Week Family Walkfest, 6:30 a.m. at Plaza de Espana. AOLG families encouraged to attend with students. yy Jan. 27: Parents invited to attend AOLG Catholic Schools Week Liturgy, 8:30 a.m., Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica. See www.aolg.edu.gu or call 477-8203. NOTRE DAME HIGH SCHOOL yy Jan 6 — Classes Resume yy Jan 8 — 10th Grade parent/Guardian Songfest ­Committee meeting 6 p.m. at Phoenix Center

GENERAL DIVISION OF PASTORAL ­M INISTRIES Archdiocese of Agana’s annual “Run for the Son” 5K fun/run/walk Saturday, April 26, 2014 planning has begun. Volunteers needed. Interested persons please call pale Mike Crisostomo at Division of Pastoral Ministries (562-0021/22). U MATUNA SI YU’OS CATHOLIC NEWSPAPER Love our faith? Love to write? Combine the two as a freelance writer for our Catholic newspaper, U Matuna Si Yu’os. Report on the exciting events of our Catholic Church on Guam and receive help developing your writing skills too. Photographers welcomed. Info.: Tony Diaz, Editor, 562-0065, e-mail editor@ umatuna.org.


SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

ARCHDIOCESAN

Academy students donate to Pro-Life Committee

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LOCAL ROUNDUP

Join Chain for Life to promote sanctity of life Jan. 19 U Matuna Si Yu’os staff

Academy of Our Lady students recently donated a check in the amount of $1,190.35 to the Guam Pro-Life Committee. Students collected donations through Walk for Life pledges. Pictured left to right: Ivan Pineda (AOLG Junior Theology Teacher), Mary Meeks (AOLG Principal), Mrs. Maria Tenorio (Guam Pro-Life), Anjolais Mendiola, Christina Oh, Melissa Houmeang, Liana Santos, and Christy Alcantara (AOLG Theology Department Chairperson). PHOTO COURTESY OF ACADEMY OF OUR LADY OF GUAM.

Archdiocese of Agana youth and adults will gather once more in peaceful and prayerful protest against abortion in the annual Chain for Life set for Sunday, January 19. Groups and individuals will assemble at the four corners of the International Trade Center (ITC) Intersection on Marine Corp Drive and Chalan San Antonio in Tamuning, to publicly demonstrate and show our united stand against abortion. This is the 41st Anniversary of the tragic ROE v. WADE Supreme Court decision legalizing the heinous act of killing human beings in the womb. The Chain for Life program will commence at exactly 3 p.m. This event is organized each year by the Guam Catholic Pro-Life Committee, along with the Walk For Life in October to bring awareness of the evil of abortion through peaceful prayer and protest. Hundreds of babies are killed in the womb each year on Guam through abortion. Please help us show our solidarity against

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abortion!

Catholic Social Service seeks help sorting Food Pantry, Thrift Store On Saturday, January 11, Catholic Social Service will be doing a general clean-up, sorting and restocking of its Food Pantry and Thrift Store. If you are interested in volunteering your time please be at the CSS main office in Barrigada behind the Department of Revenue and Taxation from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Call Claire at 635-1441 for more information.

2014 Catholic Sweethearts Ball set for Feb. 14 at Marriott Resort The faithful of the Archdiocese of Agana will celebrate sacred marriage with the 3rd Catholic Sweethearts Ball to be held from 6:30 p.m. to midnight on Friday, February 14 at the Guam Marriott Resort and Spa. This year’s theme is “For Better & Forever”. All are welcome (those who are dating, engaged, newlyweds and seasoned married couples, even singles) to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage with an evening of fun. There will be dinner, dancing, entertainment, witness to marriage and fellowship. Dress to impress! Tickets are $40 per person and will be on sale soon. Information on ticket sales, hotel room reservations and others will be forthcoming.


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SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

A day to remember: Father Duenas cadets meet the CNO For the U Matuna Si Yu’os Father Duenas Memorial School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) cadets met Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, our Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). The Admiral’s All Hands Call was probably just one of those ordinary days for him because he has done so many of them but for the NJROTC cadets of Father Duenas’ Phoenix Company, it was a very memorable day that they will forever remember for the rest of their lives. What are the odds for a cadet to see and meet the CNO? Could it be the same odds for a novice golfer to make a hole in one? Upon hearing that the CNO was coming to Guam, FDMS NJROTC SNSI, Master Chief Val Separa, immediately made contacts with Naval Base Guam Staff and requested for the CNO to come to Father Duenas Memorial School. The request was denied, however they were invited to attend the Admiral’s All Hands Call. Being a short fuse notice and a day before the school’s second

quarter exams, it was rather a monumental challenge to arrange and get approval from the school principal and eventually the parents who signed each field trip form. The trip to see the CNO was agreed upon and approved. Eight outstanding FD NJROTC cadets were selected to attend the CNO’s All Hands Call. They wore their Service Dress Blue uniform and were among the audience of some 600 people who respectfully listened and asked questions to the CNO. Cadet LTJG Ryan Brown, Phoenix Company Color Guard Commander was one of 10 attendees who asked the CNO a question. After an hour-long All Hands Call, the FD cadets were able to have a photo taken with Admiral Greenert. While on the stage, Phoenix Company Commander, Cadet CDR Scott Min presented the CNO with the Phoenix Company Ball Cap. The CNO then gave each cadet his challenge coin. This story was written by Father Duenas JROTC cadets.

ABOVE: SNSI, Master Chief Val Separa, left, and Father Duenas Phoenix Company NJROTC cadets have a group photo taken with Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, center, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Dec. 11. PHOTOS COURTESY OF FATHER DUENAS NJROTC.

RIGHT: Phoenix Company Commander, Cadet Commander Scott Min, right, presents the Phoenix Company Ball Cap to Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, center. Master Chief Valentino Separa, FDMS SNSI, left, looks on.

Academy invites everyone to ‘Fund’ Run/Walk Jan. 18 For the U Matuna Si Yu’os Academy of Our Lady of Guam High School (AOLG) will hold its 12th Annual 5K “Fund” Run/Walk on January 18, 2014. Everyone is invited to participate in this worthwhile, very fun “fund” run. It promises to be a memorable, exciting, and healthy public event. Proceeds from the event are earmarked for scholarships and tuition assistance.

Academy “Fund” Run/Walk Race Day/Sat., Jan.18, 2014 Show: 5:15 a.m., Go time: 6 a.m. Course: 3.1 Miles with start and finish line adjacent to Academy of Our Lady School, Hagatna Fee: $10 per person; $6 per student (19 yrs. & under); $12 on race day including students) Registration forms/­numbers at AOLG Business Office and H ­ ornet Sporting. ­Registration forms at AOLG, Hornet, Paradise Fitness, and Kontendas. Info.: 4778203

Our local community along with the school’s students, alumnae, families, and friends are invited to help ring in the new year, get fit, and help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Golden Jubilarian Class of 1964. The Academy was established in 1949 and graduated its first class in 1953. Since then, more than 5,000 women have made Academy their second home as young women. Today, these graduates continue to be active in our community as well as leaders in our society, locally and

globally “making a world of difference.” Academy’s annual 5K will be dedicated to the graduating class celebrating their 50th class reunion, the Class of 1964. The race will open both on foot and in a trolley alongside the many Academy alumnae present. The event will begin with warm up at 5:30 a.m., followed by a “Moment of Silence” in memory of alumnae who have gone before us. The traditional “Passing of the Torch” from the Class of 1963 to the Class of 1964 will follow. The race

starts promptly at 6 a.m. The course runs through Hagatna. The starting point is between Pacific Daily News and the school on Archbishop Flores Street. “Show time” is 5:15 a.m. and “Go time” at 6 a.m. Certificates and medals will be awarded to top finishers in general categories. The alumnae class with the most attendance will be awarded the “Most Spirited AOLG ­Alumnae Class.” Main sponsors include Royal Bics, Ada’s Trust & Investment,

Bank of Guam, Mobil Oil Guam, Inc., Sylvan Learning Center, Sagua Mañagu, KUAM CareForce, and Cars Plus. If you’re interested in helping the school with this event or would like more information regarding the AOLG 5K “Fund” Run/Walk, please contact Joni Cepeda at 477-8203. Join the Academy family on January 18th and enjoy the early morning with a brisk walk/run or ride the “trolley” along the streets of Hagatna and celebrate with the Academy!


SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

ARCHDIOCESAN

A family is R-A-I-S-E-D Father Dan ­Ferrandiz For the U ­Matuna Si Yu’os

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RELFECTION

he celebration of the feast of the Holy Family after Christmas is a fitting opportunity to emphasize the theme of the Christian family because it calls us to reflect on some dynamisms and dimensions in the human family that have been taken for granted. It challenges us to look at what it means to be a family. By looking at the Nativity scene we are invited to see beyond the ceramic or wooden statues of the Holy Family and imagine them in the flesh and blood. The Holy Family is no different from us. The Holy Family is a representation of every human family. Born in a human family, it tells us that Jesus is real. His mother Mary is real. Her story of unexpected conception brought unexplained joy but was accompanied by real fear of the uncertain future. His anxious stepfather Joseph experienced real fear as he confronted the scandal that rocked his own family for taking a pregnant woman as his wife. Threatened by Herod’s wish to kill the baby, Joseph took his family to Egypt. These are stories of real experiences of fears and anxiety just like

the story of Jesus lost at the temple. Jesus became human. He is not a machine that goes “auto pilot.” He grew up aided by his parents. Luke narrates that Jesus “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). Though considered an exceptional child, Jesus’ human nature was shaped in the family of Joseph and Mary. He underwent a natural maturing process similar to any growing boy but because he is also fully God, he was endowed with God’s spirit and grace far advanced than ordinary 12-year-old kid. The temple story gives us a glimpse of how Jesus’ human life was shaped and raised in the family like us. This dynamics in the Holy Family serves as a model on how to raise our family like the Holy Family. Being R-A-I-S-E-D in the family involves the following elements: 1. RELIGIOUSITY: He was reared in a religious home shown by the family’s faithful observance of the annual religious festivals. In a study conducted by Dr. Pat Fagan, Director of the Center for Research on marriage and religion, he said that church attendance of kids have great effects on the lives of kids. “Their civil life flows from the positive consequences that flow from their church life.” According to Rob Kerby, church kids are less likely to divorce or live in poverty.” 2. ATTACHMENT: Attachment here should not be understood negatively as somebody so attached to his parents that he becomes dependent on them for everything. No. Attachment here means a process whereby children learn character and morality; right and wrong from their parents. The judgment of the rightness or wrongness of situations is the consequence of the emotional ties that

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children have with their parents. Children learn from and are influenced most by those persons who are most meaningful to them. And the most meaningful adults are those to whom the child is emotionally attached. If a child does not have a strong emotional attachment to a parent, the effectiveness of the parent as a teacher and moral guide is greatly diminished. As social psychologist Willard W. Hartup said: "A child's effectiveness in dealing with the social world emerges largely from experience in close relationships.” Hence, moral values and good examples must be purposely taught because strongly attached children will follow the examples of parents. 3. Not IDEAL but REAL. To be raised in the family may not be IDEAL but REAL. Not all families are ideal or perfect families. Some families have divorced parents. Others have single parent raising a family. These are not “ideal” families but it doesn’t mean the love within it is not real. There are divorced parents who remain good dads and moms before, during and after the break up. Being in a divorced family does not make you a bad mom or dad because even a family with only one parent is still a place where people can grow in character and faith and develop the sense of self-worth. 4. SELF-WORTH. Make the family a place where children develop a sense of SELF WORTH. In the beginning when everything was simple, the family was the place where people learned, received medical attention and care for old age and the place where the child received his initial faith. Now, things have changed. Those functions have been taken over by the schools, religious education programs, hospitals and nursing homes for the aged. But, however things have changed there are features in the family that should not be replaced – that is, it should still be the place where people develop their sense of self-worth where we see our faith lived,

where our attitudes and behavior toward God and others are formed. 5. ENCOURAGEMENT. The family is the place where people learn to love and encourage one another. Whether your family is complete or not it should be a place where all members grow toward spiritual maturity. If you are a single parent encouraging your child to love his or her other parent is the healthiest way to help him or her cope with the divorce. According to Lee Rosen, letting your child know that you genuinely want him to love his mother and father and to be close to both parents is the most loving, caring, and healthy thing to do for a child. Research indicates that the strongest predictor of child health in the aftermath of a divorce is the ability to have close relationships with both parents. 6. DEDICATION. The Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus publicly expressed their commitment to dedicate their life to God and to raise a family that honors God. Dedication focuses on the parents’ commitment to raising a family that honors Christ. By living out your faith in Christ, the likelihood of your child making its own personal commitment to Christ is greatly increased. Learning at an early age that there is a God and that each person is made in His image provides a healthy atmosphere for well-adjusted children. Joseph and Mary furnished a home centered on God’s love, His Commandments and His way of life. If we want to be RAISED in a family God wants us to have, we have to decide first to be a family. Because it’s one thing to have a family but a very demanding choice to be a family. Whatever family you have if there is that choice to be a family — then all can grow in love, wisdom and the grace of God — only if we decide to be a family. When Jesus grew up things have changed but He had his family in the end. In our life other things may change us too, but we start and end with the family. (Anthony Brandt)

Survey on the Pastoral Challenges to the Family For the U Matuna Si Yu’os Pope Francis has called for an Extraordinary Synod focused on Marriage and Family, to be held on October of 2014. A preparatory document entitled “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization” with accompanying questions has been distributed to the bishops of the world. Bishops have been encouraged to seek consultation from as many participants

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as possible. The document and questions allow the local churches to actively participate in the preparation of the Extraordinary Synod. The Archdiocese of Agana has developed a user-friendly survey to help answer the questions. The survey is available online at: www.archagana.org. Please reflect prayerfully and answer as many questions as you are able. The survey has been extended to Tuesday, January 14, 2014. THANK YOU!


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SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

For some Syrian Christian refugees, Christmas not a happy time By Dale Gavlak Catholic News Service

AMMAN, Jordan — Some Syrian Christian refugees sheltering in neighboring Jordan did not have a happy Christmas, fearful for their uncertain future as the violent conflict in their homeland grinds on past 33-months with no end in sight. "Just see how Christians in Iraq were targeted on our sacred holiday, Christmas Day, in Baghdad," said Abu Reda, referring to bomb blasts that left at least 37 dead. The 30-year-old Catholic entrepreneur once ran a successful beverage business in a suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus, but now collects plastic containers from the streets to sell just to feed his family in exile. He and his family of four huddled in front of a TV that broadcast Christmas programs over a Christian satellite channel in a cold, sparsely furnished apartment in the Jordanian capital. He used a familial name, rather than his given name, to protect relatives still in Syria. A pair of calendars for the coming year with pictures of Jesus and the Holy Family adorned the otherwise bare living room walls. There was no Christmas tree in sight. "Christians are being targeted in Syria. I was one and that's why we

fled here," said Abu Reda. Islamist extremists' repeated threats of kidnapping and death forced Abu Reda and his family to flee about a year ago. The final straw was the killing of a cousin by extremists and the destruction of a family home. Fighters from the Nusra Front, an Islamist militant group linked to the al-Qaida terror network, began putting messages on his shop's door and later on his home. "Selling alcohol is forbidden," the messages read. "We consider your money to be ours and we'll turn your wife and children into our slaves." Shortly afterward, Islamist rebels kidnapped his father and held him for 15 days until the area where he was being held was overrun by the Syrian government military, which released him. Later, a cousin was kidnapped. The family was given too short a time to collect the ransom money, he said, and the man was killed. Although, Abu Reda discovered that at least two men threatening him were former employees, reports to the Syrian government security services did not prevent the threats from stopping. "The men warned me, 'We will follow you wherever you go in Syria,' he said, his dark eyes expressing the danger he felt for him and his family. "We knew we had to leave

A child reacts as he is carried on a stretcher at a damaged site after what activists said was heavy shelling by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus Dec. 26. Many Syrian refugees found Christmas a difficult time with the ongoing violence in their homeland. CNS PHOTO/BASSAM KHABIEH, REUTERS

because of the lack of central control and chaos now reigning in the country." Abu Reda's wife sobbed as she recalled the traumatic events. "We are far away from our family at this Christmas. It is difficult. We want Christians to return to Syria as well as peace to come again to our homeland," she said.

Unlike in other Middle Eastern countries, in Jordan, Christians from Western Christian traditions and those from Eastern, mainly Orthodox, traditions tend to celebrate Christmas together Dec. 25, according to the Gregorian calendar. Likewise, Jordanian Christians from both traditions have celebrated Easter together, according to Julian

calendar. Abu Reda said he was grateful to the international Catholic charity, Caritas, and several Jordanian priests for practical help, including a space heater and other household basics. He praised the Franciscan Sisters for educational assistance to his 8-year-old daughter, Angie, and for providing his family with some basic furniture and a rug to help ward off the bitter winter cold in the apartment. "My daughter refused to go to a Jordanian public school after they tried to make her wear the hijab, or Islamic headscarf," he said. "I appealed to our priest and now she attends a Roman Catholic school in Amman and is much happier. "I, like other Syrians, are used to working hard for a living. My money is running out. I am not permitted to work legally in Jordan," Abu Reda said. "It's my hope and that of other Syrian Christians in exile to be allowed to settle in the West, at least for the sake of our children's future." "For us, Christians in Syria and Egypt, the so-called Arab Spring has brought lots of problems," he said. "Rather I'd call it the Arab Destruction, not the Arab Spring." "Still as Christians, our hope is always in Jesus Christ, whom we trust will give us the strength to get through these very tough times," he said.


SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

Retired Pope Benedict visits Pope Francis for lunch VATICAN CITY — Three days after Pope Francis paid his predecessor a visit on Christmas Eve, retired Pope Benedict joined the pope for lunch at the Vatican guesthouse. The two shared the meal Dec. 27 at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives. According to a report by Vatican Radio, the pope and the retired pope were joined by their personal secretaries and by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vati-

Parishioners from Rome may attend the Holy Father’s morning Masses VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Ordinary members of parishes in Rome will be able to attend Pope Francis' private morning Masses in 2014. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the cardinal vicar of Rome would tell local pastors how to apply on behalf of their parishioners beginning in January, according to a Dec. 27 report by Vatican Radio. The pope celebrates Mass every morning in the Vatican guesthouse, where he lives. Excerpts from his short, off-the-cuff homi-

NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL can's secretary for relations with states, and U.S. Msgr. Peter B. Wells, assessor in the Vatican Secretariat of State. Pope Francis had invited Pope Benedict to lunch Dec. 24, when the pope visited the retired pope in his residence to offer Christmas greetings. Pope Benedict lives in the former Mater Ecclesiae convent, also in Vatican City State. During the pope's visit, the two prayed briefly together and then spoke privately for about half an hour. Following their private talk on Christmas Eve, Pope Francis greeted members of Pope Benedict's household, including the consecrated women who assist him and his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, who also serves as prefect of the papal household under Pope Francis. lies there have attracted worldwide attention for their frank, spontaneous style and have occasionally made news with remarks on such controversial topics as the salvation of atheists and the credibility of purported Marian apparitions. Most of Pope Francis' morning congregations so far have consisted of Vatican employees. The guesthouse chapel was constructed to accommodate 120 cardinal electors and a few attendants during a papal conclave. Father Lombardi said Rome parishioners would probably be admitted in groups of 25 at a time. Blessed John Paul II and retired Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass every morning in a private chapel in the Apostolic Palace; Blessed John Paul's congregation frequently included invited guests.

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Pope: Don't forget plight of exiles, elderly marginalized by own family VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Just as people must never ignore the plight of today's immigrants and refugees, they must also remember today's "hidden exiles" — the elderly and other relatives who are abandoned or forgotten by their own families, Pope Francis said. "One sign for knowing how a family is doing is to see how they treat children and their elderly" relatives, the pope said at his noon blessing at the Vatican Dec. 29, the feast of the Holy Family. Remembering how Jesus, Mary and Joseph had to live in exile, seeking escape in Egypt, Christians must also think about the tragedy of "migrants and refugees who are victims of rejection and exploitation, who are victims of human trafficking and slave labor," he said before praying the Angelus with visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square. "But let us also think about the other 'exiled,' I would call them the 'hidden exiles,' Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus those exiled by their own family: the elderly, from the window of his studio overlooking for example, who sometimes are treated as a St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 29, the burden," he said. The pope said today's families should be feast of the Holy Family. CNS PHOTO/MAX ROSSI, inspired by the Holy Family's simplicity and REUTERS) (DEC. 29, 2013 way of life, so they, too, can become "communities of love and reconciliation where one "The proclamation of the Gospel, in fact, experiences tenderness, helping one another is promoted above all by families so that it and mutual forgiveness." then reaches the different areas of daily life." God wanted to be born in a human family After the Angelus, the pope underlined and "wanted to have a mother and father, like how the family will take center we" have, the pope said. Jesus stage during the next consistory also wanted to belong to a famor consultation with the College ily that had to go through many of Cardinals in February and at an hardships "so that no one would October Synod of Bishops, whose feel excluded from God's loving work, he said, he was entrusting closeness." to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Holy Family's forced exThe pope created a special ile shows that "God is where peoprayer for the world's families, ple are in danger, where they sufwhich he recited to the crowd fer, where they flee, where they gathered in the square. experience rejection and abanThe prayer, dedicated to the donment," he said. But God is Holy Family, asks for their interalso where there is hope — hope cession to help today's families in returning to one's homeland, be places of love, prayer and healin being free and being able to ing; be free from violence and build a life of dignity for oneself - Pope Francis division; and be mindful of the and one's family, he said. sacredness and beauty of the traThe pope reminded people ditional family. that the key phrases for cultivating peace and joy in one's family are "May I; thank you; and I'm sorry," so that everyone treats each other The text of the pope's prayer in English is online at: http://www.vatican.va/ with respect and generosity. Families must also recognize how impor- holy_father/francesco/angelus/2013/docutant they are for the church and society, he ments/papafrancesco_angelus_20131229_ en.html#PRAYER_TO_THE_HOLY_FAMILY said.

One sign for knowing how a family is doing is to see how they treat children and their elderly (relatives).”


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PERSPECTIVES

SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

All hail the gift of our Jesus: Our King, God and Savior

The Prophet Isaiah is quoted in the Mass today: “All they from Sheba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and showing forth praise to the Lord. Arise and be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” I quote further from The Saints Calendar 2014 published by Tan Books: “Epiphany is the feast commemorating the day the Three Wise Men sought out Our Lord and brought Him gifts shortly after His birth. In Greek, the word ‘epiphany’ means ‘appearance or manifestation,’ and this feast is particularly important for Gentiles, whose forerunners are the Three Wise Men, and who, through the Three Wise men, were called to believe in and worship the true God.” “Having seen the bright star in the East, a sign of the Savior’s birth, the three journeyed to Jerusalem and asked King Herod where the newborn king was. Herod asked the chief priests and scribes where (this king) would be born. They answered that the prophet Micheas has foretold that Bethlehem was the place. Led by the star, the Three found the Holy Family in the place described. Here they prostrated themselves and worshiped the Infant Jesus, acknowledged Him to be a king; presenting gifts:

gold for a King; frankincense – acknowledging Him as God; and myrrh – in testimony that our Lord, our King, and our God would die for the redemption of mankind.” Another quote (from today’s Mass): “O Lord, look with favor upon the gifts offered by Your Church. It is not gold, frankincense, and myrrh that is offered now, but the King, God and Savior, Who was signified by these gifts, is Himself our sacrifice, and our food; Jesus Christ Your Son, Our Lord; Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit…. O Almighty God, grant that we may understand with pure minds the revelation of Christ which we here solemnly commemorate.” We are the Gentiles, represented by the Three Kings from different countries, who seek this King, this Savior, this God; this Infant, Who from all eternity has promised to suffer as a human, the humiliation, abandonment by His friends; be handed over as a common criminal to be publicly scourged, spit upon, and nailed to a cross which He was forced to carry to the place of execution. Why? “If you would love Me, take up your cross daily and follow Me.” Lord, Infant Jesus, grant that we may persevere through the daily hardships of life united with You here on earth, that we may rejoice with You in that heavenly Jerusalem. Zacchaeus is the pen name chosen by 91-yearold Guam Catholic Daniel Bradley, Sr. in this weekly column. The views expressed in this commentary are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of U Matuna Si Yu'os and the Archdiocese of Agaña.

Pope Francis kisses a figurine of the baby Jesus as he begins an evening prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 31. CNS PHOTO/PAUL HARING

If you would like to place a special ­announcement commemorating your loved ones in the U Matuna Si Yu’os, call 562-0062.


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Over years, response to 'On Eagle's Wings' humbling for composer By Darlene J.M. Dela Cruz Catholic News Service

Father Jan Michael Joncas, composer of the well-loved "On Eagle's Wings." CNS PHOTO/COURTESY CATHOLIC SPIRIT

HONOLULU — Father Jan Michael Joncas has composed more than 300 liturgical songs, but his name is widely known for the one that tops a list of favorites: "On Eagle's Wings." The hymn by Father Joncas, 62, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, was named by hundreds of voters as their No. 1 liturgical hymn in a 2006 poll sponsored by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. Since "On Eagle's Wings" was written in 1979, it has become a staple at Sunday Masses, funerals and memorial events as a reminder of God's uplifting presence in times

of sorrow. "Most people associate me with this single piece," Father Joncas told the Hawaii Catholic Herald via email. Father Joncas said the song came about when he was visiting a friend at the major seminary in Washington. One evening, Father Joncas' friend got word that his father had suffered a fatal heart attack. Father Joncas wrote "On Eagle's Wings" in the days that followed. It was sung for the first time publicly at the friend's father's wake service. The song is based on Psalm 91, its lyrics drawing from the Scripture's descriptions of God's protection and providence. Lyrics include the lines "You need not fear the ter-

ror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day," and "For to his angels he has given a command to guard you in all of your ways." Although there are no mentions of eagles in Psalm 91, the song's chorus uses the metaphor to depict God's high, secure places the verse describes. "And he will raise you up on eagle's wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his hand." "I have been humbled by the number of times people have spoken or written to me about how God has used the song to bring them comfort and peace," Father Joncas said. The song's colorful imagery is woven together by a melody with airy highs and a crescendo refrain. Father Joncas said the verses were meant to be sung by a cantor capable of handling the wide range of notes. Congregants would join in singing the simpler chorus. "I have been amazed to find congregations singing the entire thing, because I think the verses are somewhat difficult," said Father Joncas, who, with fellow composer Marty Haugen, participated in a liturgical arts con-

I have been ­humbled by the number of times people have spoken or written to me about how God has used the song to bring them comfort and peace.” - Father Jan Michael Joncas Composer of “On Eagle’s Wings” ference in Honolulu in the fall. The priest has been composing new material recently, after his recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome. The illness paralyzed him in 2003, but he has recuperated well. Haugen, 63, wrote "Shepherd Me, O God" in the mid-1980s. It is cherished by many Catholics for its treatment of Psalm 23, which begins, "The Lord is my shepherd, I

shall not want." Speaking by phone from Minnesota, he explained that depicting "shepherd" as an action instead of a noun brought forth the now famous song. "I have never met a shepherd," Haugen said. "My wife was finally the one who suggested ... make it a verb. That sort of was a breakthrough." Haugen, who is not Catholic but has worked in Catholic parishes, was living at an ecumenical retreat center in Washington State with his family when he was commissioned to do a version of Psalm 23. He knew it would be a challenge. "It's hard to write something that everybody knows the text to," Haugen said. The retreat center community held vespers every night. Haugen said they would regularly integrate his new music into prayer time. That winter, with little else to do on snowed-in evenings, the community helped critique his work. "Shepherd Me, O God," Haugen joked, is the one of several versions he wrote that received the least amount of criticism. "You don't really know if a piece is going to be helpful or not until a congregation has sung it a number of times and they'll tell you," he added. "Shepherd Me, O God" stays close to the words of the psalm, with verses such as "Surely your kindness and mercy follow me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of my God forevermore." Haugen's tight lyrical adherence to Scripture comes from a pastoral studies degree he earned at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. "If you're writing liturgical music, your two main sources are the rite and the Scripture," he said. "The more you can know about both, the more you feel you have something to offer when you start to write." In a song such as "Shepherd Me, O God," where the words are already familiar to many, Haugen said "the melody is at the service of the text." "You want people to remember the music because if they remember it, then they're remembering the words," he said. Dela Cruz is a staff writer at the ­Hawaii Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Honolulu Diocese.

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SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014

Pope: In new year, step outside your comfort zone, get involved VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The new year will be brighter only if everyone steps outside their safe havens, gets involved and works together to solve local problems with generosity and love, Pope Francis said. As 2013 comes to a close, let everyone ask God for forgiveness and thank him for his patience and love, the pope said as he presided over a Dec. 31 evening prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica. May Mary "teach us to welcome God made man so that every year, every month, every day be overflowing with his eternal love," he said on the eve of the feast honoring her as Mother of God. Leading the annual "Te Deum" prayer service to thank God for his blessings in 2013 and the gift of salvation in Christ, the pope asked people to reflect on how they have spent the past year — the precious days, weeks and months the Lord has given as a gift to everyone. "Have we used it mostly for ourselves, for our own interests or did we know to spend it for others, too? How much time did we set aside for being with God, in prayer, in silence, in adoration?" People should also reflect on how they used their time to ­contribute to

their communities. The quality of life in a community — how it runs and looks — depends on everyone, he said in his homily, which he delivered standing from a lectern. "A city's face is like a mosaic in which the tiles are all those who live there," he said. While public officials and other leaders certainly have more responsibility, "everyone is co-responsible, for the good and bad." "Have we contributed, in our small way, to making (our communities) livable, orderly, and welcoming?" the pope asked. "What will we do, how will we act in the new year to make our city a little bit better?" As the bishop of Rome, the pope looked at the Italian capital in particular, noting its "extraordinary" spiritual and cultural riches. "And yet, Rome also has many people marked by material and moral poverty, people who are poor, unhappy and suffering, who prick the consciences of every citizen," he said. "In Rome, perhaps we feel this contrast more strongly" with such a stark difference between its "majestic setting, loaded with artistic beauty" and the difficulties people struggle against. A city of opposites, Rome is

teeming with tourists, "but is also filled with refugees. Rome is full of people who work, but also people who can't find work," who are underpaid or have jobs that harm their dignity, he said. "Everyone has the right to be treated with the same attitude of welcome and fairness because everyone possesses human dignity" and are part of the same human family, he said. Pope Francis said Rome, like all communities, will be more beautiful, hospitable, welcoming and kind "if all of us are attentive and generous toward whoever is in difficulty; if we know how to collaborate with a constructive and caring spirit for the good of all people." Every community will be a better place "if there are no people who watch it 'from afar,' like a picture postcard, who observe its life only 'from the balcony' without getting involved" directly with the many problems of the men and women who, "whether we want it or not, are our brothers and sisters." The pope underlined the important work and duty of the church in contributing to people's lives and future, and how, with the leaven of the Gospel, the church is a sign and instrument of God's mercy.

Pope Francis speaks as he leads an evening prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 31. CNS PHOTO/PAUL HARING

Jan. 05, 2014  
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