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MAY 16 - 29, 2016 VOL. 20 NO. 16 Monitor





OF PEACE CBCPMONITOR@AREOPAGUSCOMMUNICATIONS.COM Volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible

Volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) consolidate transmitted election results from different provinces in its command center at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, May 9, 2016. MARIA TAN

Catholic Church vows ‘vigilant collaboration’ with next admin

By Chrixy Paguirigan

THE Catholic Bishops’ C o n f e r e n c e o f t h e Philippines has vowed to work more closely with the next administration as Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is set to become the country’s next president.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, tempered this pronouncement by saying that the Church will be maintaining “vigilant collaboration” with the government. “The greatest promise the Church can offer any government is vigilant

collaboration, and that offer, we make now,” Villegas said in a statement issued few hours after the local and national elections on May 9. “We will urge our people to work with the government for the good of all, and we shall continue to be vigilant so that ever so often we may speak out to teach and to prophesy, to admonish and to correct — for this is our vocation,” added the prelate. The CBCP head also credited God’s will in the election results, saying soon-to-be winners should recognize their victory as the Lord’s doing. “God’s hand is to be recognized in the events of history. Credit then, your victory, neither to fame nor popularity but to God who calls

you to service and to care for the weakest and the most distressed in our midst,” he said.

Prayers, wisdom In a spirit of unity, the CBCP’s post election statement e m p h a s i z e d t h e C h u r c h ’ s continual guidance and prayers for the elected leaders. “To those who have been voted to office, we assure them of our prayers, principally for wisdom, that they may discern God’s will for his people and courageously do as he bid,” said Villegas. As for the other candidates, the archbishop said they are more than the positions they ran for and challenged them to do good even if they do not get to hold their desired public office.

“To those who did not succeed, you, as persons, as sons and daughters of God, are infinitely so much more than the positions after which you aspired. Rather than becoming despondent and discouraged, you should challenge yourselves – It is for you to discover your paths, in faith and in docility to God’s spirit,” he said. The document concluded with a positive message that the Church and government should work together and aim for the greater good of all. Beforethis,Villegasledthebishops in criticizing the presumptive president for supposedly cursing Pope Francis and for making a rape joke.

Vigilant / A7

Next admin told: Investigate unused ‘Yolanda’ funds

A CHURCH aid agency has called for the next administration’s urgent action in investigating the Aquino government’s unused Yolanda funds amounting to billions of pesos. According to Caritas Philippines, the public, especially the typhoon victims, deserve to know how the hefty donations given by foreign donors were spent. “This is an important agenda that the incoming administration needs to address,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas Philippines executive secretary, in Filipino. Presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly vowed to be a “dictator”

against corruption and criminality in the country. Gariguez said an investigation on the Yolanda funds will be “a good start” for the next administration which promised to stamp out irregularities in the government. “This is a good angle that needs scrutiny and we need to hasten the giving of aid because this is one of the issue,” the priest said. More than two years after the typhoon, Gariguez stressed many survivors are still waiting help from the government. He added that the Church will continue

to collaborate with the government and its efforts to rehabilitate areas ravaged by Yolanda in 2013 and other programs to help the poor. “We are always open to collaboration and just recently, we had a lo of projects together with the government, specially since it’s clear that these are in response to the needs of the country,” he said. R e c o r d s f r o m t h e F o r e i g n A i d Transparency Hub showed that the Philippines received about US$386.2 million in foreign aid for the Yolanda victims. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)



The Cross:



God doesn’t barter, rewarding the good, punishing the bad, pope says


Get up, let us go! (Matthew 26:46):

CBCP Post Election Statement

Don’t spoil your bishops, faithful told

THE country’s bishops are called to be servants and not to seek power and enjoy VIP treatment, said Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen- Dagupan. I n h i s h o m i l y a t t h e installation of new Alaminos Bishop Ricardo Baccay, the archbishop said bishops, as shepherds, are called “to die with Jesus.” “Jesus is calling him to die with Him. Therefore, do not spoil him. Give him the venue to suffer with you,” Villegas said. “Give him a chance to be an apostle of joy. He is not here as the president of an NGO. He is here as a reminder of the kingdom of God,” he said. Papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto installed Baccay at the St. Joseph Cathedral on Wednesday, May 4 as the third bishop of Alaminos, a diocese of more than half-a-million Catholics. The occasion was graced by by more than a hundred bishops, priests, religious, and thousands of churchgoers and well-wishers. Aside from being shepherds, Villegas added that bishops are also “companions,” telling the churchgoers that Baccay “will walk, cry, laugh, and suffer with us.” “The good shepherd does not enjoy lamb and sheep o n t h e t a b l e . T h e g o o d shepherd is willing to be killed protecting his flock,” said Villegas. (R. Lagarde/ CBCPNews)

Wanted: More missionary families

FOR most kids, summer means one thing and one thing only: vacation fun! The Nakpils of Makati,

who belong to that illustrious clan of Old Quiapo that counts among its members

a Katipunero hero and

a National Artist for

Architecture, are heaven- bent on enjoying a different kind of summer fun. For four years now, the family of six have a completely different,

spiritually rewarding reason

to look forward to this time

of the year: mission. This program of the

w o r l d w i d e C a t h o l i c movement Regnum Christi (RC) allows the Nakpils, especially the kids, to experience firsthand at least for a brief period the life lesser privileged Filipinos, that is, those with hardly anything. And they’ve become

so much the better for it, both

individually and as a family.

much the better for it, both individually and as a family. The Nakpils during their catechesis

The Nakpils during their catechesis in Laguna. CATHY STA. MARIA

Keeping grounded “Hopefully, I think that it keeps them grounded because they see that these situations exist, that there are families who live in this kind of condition, and not

everybody is as lucky as they are,” said Doris of her kids cum co-missionaries Anina, Betty, Rocio, and Julio, in an interview with Family Time at their home in the city’s posh Salcedo Village.

According to her, going on mission makes them realize how blessed they are and that they should be more appreciative of what they have or the little that comes

Missionaries / A6

‘Effective communication’, key to happy marriage


W H I L E c o u p l e s f r o m the Marriage Encounter F o u n d a t i o n o f t h e Philippines, Inc. (MEFP) believe no relationship is all sunshine, two people can share an umbrella and survive the storm together,

especially when God is at the center of their union and the couple know how to communicate effectively. “We’ve all been called to adopt conscious and God- centered communication in

Communication / A6



May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16

CBCP Monitor

Nearing 50 years of legal abortion, U.K. pro-lifers take a stand

BIRMINGHAM, England, May 14, 2016--Thousands of men, women, and children took to the streets of Birmingham on Saturday to take a stand for the unborn and be witnesses to their community. “At the very heart of this is the life of the unborn, and the protection of that life,” Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham told CNA ahead of this year’s March for Life U.K. “Alongside that is the Church’s concern for the mother, for those who are advising, those who are family, and the concern to support and to reflect God’s mercy in those circumstances.” T h i s i s t h e t h i r d consecutive year the March for Life has been held in heart of Birmingham. The archbishop said the event aims to witness in a peaceful way to the Christian faith as well as to the “intrinsic, God-given value of life.” “It’s overcoming the stereotypical response of people who don’t actually know the full teaching of the Catholic Church on the value of life,” Archbishop Longley said. He said he thought people “would be much more open to hearing about that message if they did know the fullness of the Church’s teaching.” The day began with Mass held in St. Chad’s Cathedral,

before moving to the city center for the first part of the event. Participants heard the testimonies of speakers such as American Ryan Bomberger, who was conceived in rape and has since become founder of the Radiance Foundation. Canadian pro-life activist Stephanie Gray also spoke. Stalls were set up to featured various pro-life groups in the U.K. There was also a “Mercy Bus” -- a double-decker bus where priests were available to hear confessions or to speak with anyone who wished to talk. “It’s more like a pro-life family festival which is taking place in the city-center of Birmingham,” Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, co-director of March for Life U.K. told CNA. She explained that in previous years the march had started from the cathedral. This year it began and ended in the city center itself. As a result, it was “more high profile” than in the past. Although the march takes place in the busy center of the city, Vaughan-Spruce said that the tone of the march contributes to its positive reception. “It’s not like a big protest. We are a joyful celebration of life, as well as being a serious reminder of the hurt and damage that abortion

causes. So, it’s both-and. And there’s a time for joy, as well as being a time for quiet reflection,” she said. This joy had an impact, she explained. During the 2015 March for Life, for instance, a young pregnant w o m a n c o n s i d e r i n g abortion changed her mind after seeing the juxtaposition between the small “aggressive” group of pro-abortion activists and the joyfulness of the pro-life marchers. “She immediately knew from looking at the two groups which side she wanted to be on,” Vaughan- Spruce said, adding that she has since met the baby which the mother chose to keep on that day. “That shows how the general public do actually recognize that joy when they see us,” she said. Abortion was voted into law in the U.K. on Oct 27, 1967 with the Abortion Act, which took effect April 27 the following year. Since then, millions of legal abortions have taken place in the UK. According to official statistics, 184,571 abortions took place in England and Wales in 2014 alone. “The fruits of this event are very real,” said Paschal Uche, a seminarian at St. Mary’s College, Oscott. He was one of the emcees for the March for Life.

“It’s really at the heart of what it means to be a Catholic,” Uche told CNA. “Jesus came that we might

have life, and life to the full. At it’s very basic level that means the right to life for every person.” Pro-life work such as the March for Life renews his sense of vocation, he said. “We stand for life,” he said. “Personally knowing two girls who have gone for abortions, I know something of the pain of what the opposite (side) says, and we will never really know the pain of what the unborn baby feels.” Toby Duckworth, a newly accepted seminarian for the Archdiocese of Birmingham, also served

as an emcee. “The March for Life is

a way of witnessing to

my belief in life, and in the sacredness of that,” Duckworth said. He voiced hope that people will come to share that belief and join in. Archbishop Longley was unable to attend this year’s March for Life due to another commitment. He said he hoped that the marchers’ witness would “touch people so that people think” and come to feel “the rightness of speaking in defense of life” within Birmingham and beyond. (CNA)

Archbishop of Singapore: Be proud of Jesus, we fight for his values

SINGAPORE, May 13, 2016--If being Singaporean means fighting for Singapore, “the same way if we are proud of being Catholics we have to fight for Jesus. We have to make him known and loved. The Good News can not be hidden, but to be seen by others so that their gifts light “. It is the task we gave to the faithful of Singapore, the archbishop of the city Msgr. William Goh’s message for Pentecost. In the letter, the prelate made a balance of the activity of the Church in the difficult society of the city-state, often deaf to the calls of the faith, describing the limits and responsibilities of the individual faithful. The first appeal of Msgr. Goh is the unity of the society: “What the world needs most right now is unity,” but “there can be no unity without love, and there can be no love that is not based on truth. So where can we find the truth? “. The Church’s response to the desire for true unity, the archbishop wrote, “is the Holy Spirit who leads us to Jesus, the fullness of truth.” For this reason, “be proud of

Christ is to be even more patriotic as citizens”, and “Christians are called to play an active role in society, to build a unit that is not superficial as that which binds the world now.” According to Msgr. Goh, “Catholics should be prepared, as individuals, to speak and to fight for their faith and Catholic values. Nowadays there are many possible tools: internet, Facebook, blogs, Twitter and mass media. We can not afford to remain spectators on the sidelines, while our faith is challenged, denigrated and ridiculed “. “But before you can do all these things - we warn the Archbishop - we must be educated in the faith.” And that’s where Msgr. Goh describes all the limits of the Catholic community Singaporean: “Our knowledge of the faith and teachings of the Church is weak and superficial:

less than 10% of the congregations are involved in the service of the Church.” In addition, “they are often too worried by ‘doing’, and have no time for spiritual and doctrinal formation”. The Archbishop goes on to describe the “little sense of community” that

goes on to describe the “little sense of community” that people who go to Mass on

people who go to Mass on Sundays, and the sadness that comes from lay people and religious who do not speak in favor of faith or betray for money. At the same time, Msgr. Goh warns against being “too judgmental. In this Jubilee of mercy we are reminded of the gospel of compassion and forgiveness. “ “We fight for Jesus - said the prelate - not to condemn others, but to bear witness to the fullness of life, truth and love.” (AsiaNews)

End the violence, seek God’s peace – a Mexican bishop calls for hope

IRAPUATO, Mexico, May 11, 2016--A Mexican bishop is seeking answers after recent attacks on Catholic churches

and priests, and years of high murder rates. “The solution lies in changing people’s hearts, and in making peace to really be peace with God and with your brothers and sisters, otherwise we shouldn’t expect

a good future,” Bishop José

de Jesús Martínez Zepeda of Irapuato said in a recent interview with the Mexican weekly Desde la Fe. According to Mexico’s

National Institute for Statistics and Geography, between 2007 and 2014 there were 164,345 reported homicides in the country. The period includes some of the bloodiest years of fighting between the drug cartels and the Mexican government, following the beginning of a “war on drugs” begun in 2006. Such violence came home

to Irapuato last month. On April 26, four armed men assaulted Fr. Efren Silva while he was in the sacristy of Lord of Mercy parish in Irapuato’s Lazaro Cardenas

neighborhood, stealing nearly $400. Bishop Martínez lamented the crime. “The robbers came in, tied him up and roughed him up so he would tell them where the money was. In reality, it’s a very poor parish, when the money comes in and goes out on a daily basis.” The prelate said this is not an isolated incident. He recently learned of a priest from Salamanca who had been attacked by some robbers. They “struck him on the forehead, inflicting

such a wound that he had to go to a medical center to get stitches.” “We hope these incidents will soon stop,” he said. In 2015, three priests were murdered in Mexico, according to the Investigation U n i t o f t h e C a t h o l i c Multimedia Center. Bishop Martínez told the faithful that there is no reason to lose hope, for “Christ has risen, the tomb is empty; we need to work so that the Resurrection of Christ encompasses our society.” (CNA)

Korean bishops send message for Buddhist peace day

SEOUL, May 13, 2016—On the occasion

of the Buddhist feast day of Vesak, which

falls on May 14, South Korean church leaders released messages calling for Buddhists and Christians to cooperate for building peace through the spirit of love and mercy. Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju said “The peace, love and

mercy that Buddhism and Catholicism seek are much alike. For authentic peace, we should respect and care for each other through love and mercy.” “In modern society which is full of materialism and secularism, the mutually benefited interreligious dialogue based on the spirit of love and mercy can be an alternative measure

to solve various social problems,” said Archbishop Kim, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea. Archbishop Kim visited Songgwangsa Temple in South Jeolla province on May 6 to convey his message to Buddhists. He presented Venerable Jinhwa, head monk of the temple, a large-sized Bible and painting of “The Last Supper.”(UCAN)

Vatican Briefing

Generate new models of economic progress, Pope urges business leaders Economic worldviews based only on material well- being cannot contribute to dignified labor and new models of economic progress are needed, Pope Francis told a gathering of business experts on MAY

13. “An economic vision geared to profit and material well-being alone is – as experience is daily showing


– incapable of contributing in a positive way to a

globalization that favours the integral development


the world’s peoples, a just distribution of the

earth’s resources, the guarantee of dignified labour and the encouragement of private initiative and local enterprise,” Pope Francis said to the members


the Centesimus Annus pro Pontifice Foundation.

The foundation is in the midst of its international conference on “Business initiative in the fight against

poverty: the refugee emergency, our challenge.” The foundation was founded in 1993 by St. John Paul


to study and promote Catholic social teaching.


For Pope Francis, missionary work is ‘love without limits’ On Pentecost, Pope Francis praised missionary

work as a massive work of mercy based on the desire for everyone to be saved and loved. The mission


the nations is “a great, immense work of mercy,

both spiritual and material,” he said. The Church’s missionary mandate means that the Church “cares for

those who do not know the Gospel, because she wants everyone to be saved and to experience the Lord’s love.” Pope Francis said the Church must “announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel” and proclaim mercy in every part of the world to reach every person, young and old. Pope Francis spoke about mission work in his message for World Missionary Day, celebrated Oct. 23. The message’s text was released on Pentecost Sunday, May 15. (CNA)

Pope Francis: You can’t love your pet more than your neighbor People in need deserve more love from us than the animals do, Pope Francis has said. In off-the-cuff remarks May 14, he said: “How often do we see

people greatly attached to cats, to dogs,” but fail


“help their neighbor, their neighbor who is in


This will not do.” The Pope’s catechesis for

the Jubilee of Mercy audience discussed the theme


piety and how it shows God’s mercy through

compassion for the suffering and afflicted. “The piety of which we speak is a manifestation of God’s mercy,” the Pope told the rain-soaked crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The pontiff explained that piety, or “pietà” – which in Italian can also be translated as compassion, pity, or mercy – should not “be confused with compassion which we feel for the animals who live with us.” (CNA)

No one can take our dignity – not even the devil, Pope says On May 11, Pope Francis said the father’s embrace in the Parable of the Prodigal Son is a reminder that we never ought to despair, because nothing and no one

can take away our dignity as children of God. Pointing


how the father in the parable had watched and

waited for his younger son’s return, Francis noted how “tenderly he saw him from afar, meaning that he waited for him constantly, from above.” “The mercy of the father is overflowing, unconditional and manifests itself even before the son speaks,” he said. Even though the son recognizes his sin and voices remorse, “these words dissolve in front of the forgiveness of the father.”

Our state as sons of God “is a fruit of love from the heart


the father,” the Pope said, adding that “it doesn’t

depend on our merits or our actions, and therefore no one can take it away. No one can take this dignity away from us, not even the devil! No one can take this dignity!” (CNA)

Pope did not say he’d ordain women deacons, spokesman says Pope Francis “did not say he intends to introduce a

diaconal ordination for women,” and he certainly did not speak about the ordination of women priests, the Vatican spokesman said. Pope Francis met members


the International Union of Superiors General, the

leadership group for superiors of women’s orders, May 12 and accepted a proposal that he establish a commission to study the role of New Testament

deaconesses and the possibility of women serving as deacons today. After some news outlets reported the pope was considering ordaining women deacons and comments were made about women deacons leading


women priests, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi

issued a clarification May 13. The spokesman insisted “it is wrong to reduce all the important things the pope said to the religious women to just this question.” (CNS)

Vatican bank publishes 2015 annual report Continuing its reform and efforts to promote financial transparency, the Vatican bank published its annual report for the 2015 fiscal year. The Institute for the Works of Religion, as the bank is formally known, released the report May 12 and presented the document during a round-table event with Vatican Radio and L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. The bank’s net profit for 2015 was 16.1 million euros ($18.3 million) compared to 2014 net profits of 69.3 million euros ($75.5 million at last year’s exchange rate). Gian Franco Mammi, director general of the bank, said that although the document reports a lower profit than the previous year, 2015 “has been compatibly profitable, considering the objective difficulties of the market, its volatility and the crises that have occurred, such as Greece.” (CNS)

CBCP Monitor

May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16


God doesn’t barter, rewarding the good, punishing the bad, pope says

V A T I C A N , M a y 1 1 ,

2016--Salvation has nothing


do with the tidy business


bartering — earning

God’s love in return for good behavior, Pope Francis said. “If you do well you get a reward; if you do poorly you get punished. This is not the logic of Jesus,” whose

ability to love and forgive is unconditional and infinite, the pope said May 11 during

his weekly general audience.

The pope reflected on the

Gospel parable of the prodigal son, which teaches everyone


a child of God not because


one’s merits or actions, but

because of God’s “unchanging

love and ready forgiveness.” The father patiently waits

for his sinning son and rejoices

with a celebration when he returns home, the pope said. Even though the son

tells his father, “I no longer deserve to be called your son” because of the extent of his sins, the father immediately seeks to restore “the signs of his dignity,” because in his eyes, he never stopped being

his child, the pope said.

No one can take away this dignity of being a child of God, “not even the devil,” the pope said. The father responds to his repentant son with tenderness and love; he doesn’t say, “‘You’ll pay for this.’ No. The father embraces him, he waits with love.” The parable also talks about the older son, who never strayed from the father and worked hard, obediently serving him. This older son, however, lacks the tenderness and understanding of the father,

lacks the tenderness and understanding of the father, Vatican City - April 3, 2016. Pope Francis

Vatican City - April 3, 2016. Pope Francis on Divine Mercy Sunday in St. Peter’s Square on April 3, 2016. CNA

and he speaks with disdain and resentment, the pope said. “He only thinks about himself. He boasts about having always stayed by the father’s side and served him; and yet, he never lived this closeness with joy.” “Poor father. One son left and the other had never been truly close” to him with his heart and love, the pope said. The older son needs the father’s mercy, too, he said. The older son represents the self-righteous, he “represents us when we ask ourselves whether it’s worthwhile to work so hard and then we get nothing in return.” “Jesus reminds us that you stay in the house of the father not to get compensation, but because you have the dignity of being a jointly

responsible child. It’s not about ‘bartering’ with God, but following Jesus who gave himself on the cross.” God only follows the logic of love and mercy — not the mindset of the younger son, who “thought he deserved punishment because of his sins,” or of the older son, who “expected a reward for his service,” the pope said. The parable, he said, does not explain what happened between the two brothers, who can “decide to join in the father’s joy or refuse.” The fact that it is open-ended can inspire people to reflect on what they would do, he said. The parable teaches that everyone needs to “enter in the house of the father and share in his joy, in his celebration of mercy and brotherhood.” He said, “The

greatest joy for a father is to see his children recognize each other as brothers and sisters.” It teaches people to open their hearts to be merciful like the father, and it offers encouragement to parents whose child has strayed onto dangerous paths, to pastors and catechists who wonder if their efforts are in vain, and to prisoners and all people who have made mistakes and believe they do not deserve forgiveness and mercy. No matter what happens, “I must not forget that I will never stop being a child of God, of a father who loves me and waits for my return. Even in the ugliest of situations in life, God waits for me, God wants to embrace me, God expects me.” (Carol Glatz/ Catholic News Service)

Beijing, Taipei, and the future of Vatican-Chinese relations

VATICAN, May 11, 2016– A new phase

find together solutions to the problems

seen in a different light.


relations between the Holy See and


the presence of the Catholic Church

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli,

mainland China could begin with a new

Chinese Civil War; it has been a hurdle


that huge country.”

president of the Pontifical Council for

vacancy in the apostolic nunciature now based in Taiwan. The presence of an apostolic nunciature in Taiwan dates back to the

T h e c a r d i n a l g r a n t e d t h a t “perspectives are promising.” He hoped that “the blossom will flourish and bear good fruits, for the good of the same China and of all the world.”

Social Communication and involved in the Holy See-China dialogue from the 1980s, spoke on this topic during a book presentation in December 2015. He said the narrative insisting on a

diplomatic relations for decades. The People’s Republic of China


The interview was published May 4 on the occasion of the translation of the

dichotomy between an “underground Church” and an “official Church” in

( m a i n l a n d C h i n a ) h a s n e v e r acknowledged the existence of Taiwan

San Francesco Rivista into Mandarin Chinese.

China should be replaced, and that it is more correct to speak about the


the Republic of China. It considers

In order to harvest the fruits of

Church in China as being partially

Taiwan a rebel province that should be re-absorbed by its homeland. Relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China enjoyed a mild thaw in November 2015, when mainland China president

this diplomatic thaw, it is possible that the nunciature in Taiwan will be left without a high-ranking papal representative for a time. This does not mean that the nunciature will be closed. A source

acknowledged by the government and partially not. One idea to help the so-called underground Church out of the catacombs is to have the Pope appoint bishops from a roster proposed by


Jinping and Taiwan president Ma

familiar with the Chinese environment

(or at least acceptable to) the Beijing

Ying-jeou met in Singapore. In recent decades, the nunciature

notes the possibility that the Vatican may decrease the rank of the nunciature

administration. This procedure would smooth the

has no longer been headed by a nuncio. Rather, its head is a lower-ranked diplomat, a chargé d’affairs. The most


U.S. citizen who is 57 and who hails

that Msgr. Russell had been appointed

China to that of an inter-nunciature,

which is not considered a diplomatic delegation. The news outlet China Post


Holy See relations before both states


process to get the twofold approval of the Holy See and the mainland Chinese government for bishops’ appointments.

recent chargé d’affairs in Taiwan was

predicted this outcome some months


would make easier the regularization

Monsignor Paul Fitzpatrick Russell,

ago. Surprisingly, the inter-nunciature

of bishops who are still considered “clandestine” by the mainland Chinese


papal trip to China seems to be less

from Greenfield, Mass. On March 19 the Holy See announced

apostolic nuncio to Turkey and

model can be compared to U.S.-

stablished full diplomatic relations in

government. The Holy See established relations with China in 1922, though at a minor level. In 1946 the Holy See established



In 1893, Pope Leo XIII had established

an inter-nunciature to China. The

The appointment leaves a vacancy


nunciature at a “non-diplomatic

Holy See’s diplomats left Beijing in


Taiwan. The fact that he has been

level” as a reference point between the

China and the Holy See are not going

1951, ousted by the new government

moved to a new post may signal some developments in Holy See – mainland Chinese relations. This could mean that the Holy See wants to leave the post vacant, while in the process of normalizing relations with People’s Republic of China. Under Xi, the Holy See’s relations with mainland China improved at a diplomatic level. It is noteworthy that Pope Francis has been the first Pope allowed to fly through the country’s

Pope and the Catholic hierarchy in the United States. This approach contrasts with the so-called “Vietnam solution.” Vietnam lacks diplomatic ties to the Vatican, but it is engaged in a series of bilateral meetings with the Holy See. In 2011 it accepted a Holy See “non- resident representative.” However, this position implies a diplomatic role. At present the People’s Republic of

of the People’s Republic of China after the retreat of Chiang Kai-shek to Taipei. The inter-nunciature was elevated to the rank of nunciature in 1966. It maintained its name of the Apostolic Nunciature to China, amid the disputed claims of the two governments. Advances in mainland Chinese- Vatican relations in no way mean that the Holy See wants to forget Catholics in Taiwan.

airspace, during his flights to South

been signals from both side that there


establish any kind of diplomatic ties.

While relations with the People’s

Korea and the Philippines. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican

The Holy See could move the headquarters of the nunciature from

Republic of China tend to improve, and

Secretary of State, recently said that relations with mainland China “have been and are part of a long path with different phases. This path is not concluded yet, and we will finalize it according to God’s will.” Cardinal Parolin told the Italian magazine San Francesco Rivista that mainland China-Holy See relations “are living a positive phase, as there had

Taipei to Beijing. Xi might accept this if the Holy See also asks Taiwan to close its embassy to the Holy See. The steps toward some kind of official relations between the two States should come together with an unspoken agreement on the appointment of bishops; the Chinese government has not always acknowledged the Holy See’s episcopal appointments. Some experts have said the Church-

of a dream and more of a possibility, Taiwan wanted to claim its long term link with China. Time will tell if there will be a new chargé d’affairs in Taiwan or if Msgr. Russell’s tenure marks the end of an era. At the moment, he has been simply moved to Turkey, with the mission to improve and strengthen relations with the country that has become a gateway to Europe. (Andrea Gagliarducci/


the wish to keep on talking in order to

State controversies in China should be


Missionaries are the heroes of evangelization, pope says

Missionaries are the heroes of evangelization, pope says Vatican City - February 9, 2016. Procession of

Vatican City - February 9, 2016. Procession of the Missionaries of Mercy to St. Peter’s Basilica on February 9, 2016. CNA

VATICAN, May 10, 2016– Young women and men who are tired of today’s self- centered, materialistic society should consider becoming missionaries — the heroes of evangelization, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass. “Life is worth living” to the full, “but in order to live it well, ‘consume’ it in service, in proclamation and keep going forward. This is the joy of proclaiming the Gospel,” the pope said May 10 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. So many men and women have left their families, homeland and culture to bring the Gospel to other continents, he said. So many of them never returned home, dying in mission lands from disease or martyrdom — “offering their life for the Gospel. These missionaries are our joy, the joy of our church.” Many missionaries are “anonymous,” having served

and died in foreign lands, he said. “They ‘consumed’ life,” far from home and their loved ones, but lived knowing they could say, “what I have done was worth it.” Open to the work of the Holy Spirit, they felt an irresistible urge — they were “compelled” — to “consume their lives” for God in the farthest corners of the earth, the pope said. “I want to tell today’s young men and women, who do not feel at ease” or happy with “this culture of consumerism and narcissism, ‘Look at the horizon. Look over there. Look at these missionaries of ours,’” he said. Pope Francis asked those dissatisfied with worldly pursuits to pray to the Holy Spirit “to compel them to go far, to ‘consume’ their life” by being fully dedicated to serving others and the Gospel. (Carol Glatz/ Catholic News Service)

Fatima message ‘more relevant’ today

JARO, Iloilo City, May 14, 2016 – At the threshold of the centenary of Holy Mary’s 1917 appearance before three young shepherds, a bishop affirmed that the message of Our Lady of Fatima about the family continues to be relevant today as

it was almost a hundred

years ago. In his homily on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima celebrated in the Diocesan Shrine built in her honor in Alta Tierra, Iloilo City, Bishop Jose Romeo Lazo of San Jose de Antique underlined that the message of Fatima is more relevant today because of the attacks on the family. “Pope Francis himself saw that the family never was so attacked as it is nowadays throughout the world that he moved to convoke two synods on the family in Rome and

the World Meeting for Families in Philadelphia

in the past two years.”

Following the message of Fatima as a great call to the sanctification of the family, the bishop sees in Our Lady’s message concrete ways to help the family live in holiness and, at the same time, to be a witness of faith.

Prayer, sacrifice, and sharing “At Fatima, Our Lady taught us the ways of prayer, sacrifice, and sharing in the family,” Lazo explained. “Praying the Rosary as

a family is a wonderful

practice that does not only teach the children to pray but

also fosters family bonding.” “I am a strong believer of the now famous saying, ‘The family that prays together stays together’,” he said. “The message of Fatima also promotes sacrifice. If you are part of a family,

you realize that you have to share and sacrifice yourself for the others. At Fatima, Our Lady asked us to offer sacrifice for the conversion of sinners.”

Building families

On the part of the Shrine

community, Msgr. Sergio

Jamoyot, rector of the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, said the faithful of the parish strive to live Our Lady’s message as shown in the care not only for the material and spiritual well-being of their own families but for the welfare of their neighbor as well.

A concrete example

of the parish is the effort to build strong families founded on the sacrament of marriage. “Common-law marriage, or live-in partnership, is on the increase nowadays,” Jamoyot observed. “As a pastoral response, inspired by the Jubilee of Mercy and the CBCP’s Year of the Eucharist and the Family, the parish is holding Catholic mass weddings to help u n m a r r i e d c o u p l e s solemnize their union in church,” the priest said. According to him, aside from the occasional mass wedding, the parishioners, t h r o u g h t h e p a r i s h organizations, such as the Legion of Mary and the

Holy Spirit Catholic Parish Community, are getting more pro-active by going house to house, offering unmarried couples the

opportunity to receive sacramental marriage with the needed preparations. The celebration of Our Lady of Fatima centered on the theme: “The Family journeying with Mary in the Year of the Eucharist and Mercy”. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)



May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16

CBCP Monitor


What happens next?

THE interesting elections are over. The winners are celebrating. The losers are mourning. The general public is waiting. What happens next? So much money changed hands. So many lives were put in danger if not actually lost. So many enticing promises were made. What happens next? The merely talking and simply posturing national leadership is going--after having so much errant deeds done and many needed socio-economic agenda left undone. Someone of apparently few hard words but a professed action-man is taking over. The criminals are waiting. The crooks are looking. The dregs of society are watching. What happens next? The people were told that they will surely know within three to six months from take-over. Will the infamous KKK definitively be driven away and gone forever and ever? Will the big thieves in government deservingly go to jail? Will the criminals in the streets disappear? Will the crooks here and there go away? Will the drug syndicates vanish forever? Will casinos decrease in number as well as having less in gangster players and money launderers? Will illegal gambling eventually be a thing of the past? Will customs discontinue in their customary lying and cheating? Will women and children prostitution become but

a vicious phenomena of the past? And within six years, will families living under bridges and by the canals eventually have humane and decent homes to live in? Will the time come when children no longer gather rubbish to sell, no longer seek food from garbage cans? Will they eventually go to school instead of trying to earn a living for themselves and their families? And will homeless children with their parents finally leave the sidewalks? No. This is definitely not asking for heaven on earth. It is simply asking and hoping that the in-coming administration will gradually but surely be the opposite of the out-going one – as it promises to be so. Will farmers eventually own the farms they have been working on for decades--with the hacienda owners simply looking on and living well by the sweat and tears of others? Will farmers eventually have the needed water to make their plants grow, their harvest increase, and provide the people enough food to eat and live? Will Filipinos finally have reasonably priced power to use by having their own local cheap power producing sources? Will socio-economic development then become a reality and not merely an impossible dream in this country? There is something great waiting for the new President when he takes over the reigns of the government. This: The out-going one has done so little so badly that the in-coming one cannot but do better, do more. The former wasted his time and opportunities in rendering public service for public welfare. The latter will then find it easy to attend to public interests, to promote the common good. The vanishing presidential figure has institutionalized social injustice. The appearing one will find it likewise easy to restore and uphold social justice. The appearing one will find it likewise easy to restore and uphold social justice more concretely in the use of public funds--even minus the oppressive VAT. The time has come for the people to watch and see not only what will happen in three to six months but specially so in the next six years--with the question: Was six years too long for the people to suffer from the past administration? Will six years be too short for the people to enjoy the advent of the new administration?

Beware of the technological craze

THE phenomena like young men and even women already taking

beer as early as 6 in the morning in convenience stores, seminarians hooked on social media are getting rampant these days. They indicate a big, worrying shift not only in behavior but also of attitudes and values that is now asking to be regulated properly. Those young seminarians remiss in their academic requirements while immersed in cyber distractions are just a thumbnail image of a widening problem besetting our youth today. Obviously, the computers and the internet can stimulate their thinking, but they can also stimulate other unwelcome practices in them. The predicament actually has deeper causes and needs to be framed within a wider perspective. Pope Emeritus Benedict hits

it bull’s eye when he said in his encyclical “Caritas in veritate”

(Charity in the truth): “Technological development can give rise to the idea that technology is self-sufficient when too much attention is given to the ‘how’ questions, and not enough to the many ‘why’ questions underlying human activity.” (70) We are slowly being lulled and intoxicated by the many wonders of the technological potentials. We are being detached from our true human foundation as we are slowly being made into slaves, victims and preys of the predatory side of our increasingly technological culture. With this frame of mind, our grip of reality hardly goes beyond what is instantly practical, pleasurable, popular. We get hooked to a knee-jerk, Pavlovian way of reacting, without giving any thought to long-range effects. We have been deceived by a modern Trojan horse. For sure, technology offers us a lot of advantages. But we have to make sure that technology is used properly, that is, directed by a solid sense of moral responsibility on our part. Technology should serve us in our objective needs, and not the other way around. It should make us better persons, better parents and children, better workers and students. Most of all, it should make us better children of God, who know how to live the fullness of charity in the very midst of our mundane and temporal affairs that now rely a lot on technology.




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Nirva’ana E. Delacruz

Associate Editor

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News Editor

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Features Editor

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Marketing Supervisor

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The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the Areopagus Communications, Inc. with editorial and business offices at Ground Flr., Holy Face of Jesus Center & Convent, 1111 F. R. Hidalgo Street, Quiapo, Manila. Editorial: (632) 404 - 2182. Email Address: cbcpmonitor@areopaguscommunications. com, Business: (632) 404 - 1612. ISSN 1908-2940.

404 - 1612. ISSN 1908-2940. ILLUSTRATION BY BLADIMER USI Views and Points Abp. Oscar V. Cruz

Views and Points

Abp. Oscar V. Cruz

Miserable Philippines

THERE is a multi-faceted and non- debatable reality in this country – supposedly the Pearl of the Orient Seas but in fact a Paradise Lost. This:

If the innumerable, impressive, and magnificent promises formally and officially, repeatedly and insistently made by public officials--especially when initially running for elections and particularly so when thereafter already occupy and enjoy well rewarded and much favored national offices upon winning the elections--became ground realities, then the Philippines would be nothing less than heaven to live in and a paradise to enjoy. So it is that among other things, they loudly promise when running for election and proudly proclaim after winning the election the following--among other glorious commitments:

Public service by public officials. Public interests over and above private concerns. Common good over individual benefits and family welfare. Honesty and integrity in government. Respect for human rights, deference for human dignity. More: Pervasive and full economic

growth. Intensive and extensive development all over the country. Reign of justice and peace, of unity and solidarity in all regions. No more poverty and want. No destitution and misery in the land. More: Education for everybody. Work for everyone. Big salaries with small deductions. Low taxation for big incomes. Land for the landless. Housing for everyone. Abundant and cheap food supply. Medicine grants and hospital care for the sick. Yet after no less than six years in the highest and wherefore most powerful office in the land, its soon outgoing occupant--immersed in high self-esteem and wallowing in self-appreciation in the light of its tired and tiring hurrah of “Daang Matuid” that in fact went nowhere--is leaving behind a people who know and still remember well the Luneta killings, the Atimonan murders, the SAF 44 massacre, the Kidapawan bullets that killed farmers merely pleading for rice to eat. This is not to mention the customary graft and corrupt practices; the spectacle of a well-funded and much-hurried impeachment of a Chief Justice (R.I.P.); the unique and shameful

phenomenon Tanim Bala included. There are more but few examples are enough to prove incompetence in governance, corruption in administration, indolence in management on the part of the supposedly illustrious, exemplary and saintly supreme chief-in-command. So is it that no less than the same supposedly saintly figure himself was the real and fundamental cause of the honest- to-goodness huge loss of his replacement bet--not really on account of the negative features of the endorsed but rather due to the many and big liabilities of the endorser. So it is that the said endorser is the real cause of the opposition leader being clearly the winner in the last political exercise. Again: The big loss of the endorsed--notwithstanding all available resources spent and influence exerted to promote his candidacy-- was precisely due to the big and many official as well as personal liabilities of his endorser. The voters did not choose him on account of their dismay and frustration for his patron. Philippines my Philippines: There seems to be but one way for you to go--seeing how down you are. Up!

Eucharist: A Precious Spiritual Jewel

Living Mission

Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM

‘Year of Eucharist and Family’ Reflection

H. Kroeger, MM ‘Year of Eucharist and Family’ Reflection CARDINAL Charles Maung Bo, Papal Legate to

CARDINAL Charles Maung Bo, Papal Legate to the Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, presented an enriching reflection on the Eucharist in his homily at the opening Mass on January 24, 2016, an event that attracted 350,000 participants. One of the many images the Cardinal used to describe the Eucharist was that of a multi-faceted jewel. Noting that the previous International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) held in the Philippines was in 1937 (79 years ago), Cardinal Bo described the Philippines as a “great land of faith.” He recalled the many recent calamities the country faced; he addressed Filipinos directly, telling them “you have proved your resilience, your faith, rising from all challenges.” Draw your strength from the Eucharist! Only through such an “intense faith encounter with Jesus” in the Eucharist can Christians “feel the presence of God in our brothers and sisters.” The Eucharist remains “a major challenge to the whole of humanity.” Cardinal Bo invited all to a deepened appreciation of the Eucharist, God’s gift, a “treasure of faith,” a precious “spiritual jewel”! Social Involvement. Cardinal Bo spoke forcefully about the relationship between

the Eucharist and social commitment. He noted that we are to be more than devotees of the Eucharist; “Christ is calling us to be disciples…. The Mass of the devotee ends in an hour, but the Mass of the disciple is unending. The Eucharist of the devotee is confined to the clean, decorated altars of the church. The Eucharist of the disciple continues with the streets as altar.” The Cardinal recalled that Mother Teresa advised her sisters: “The love for the Eucharist helps us to love the poor. Be the love, the compassion, the presence to the poor.” Dedicated Commitment. Cardinal Bo challenged participants to put their faith into concrete actions. Christianity offers “a new vision of humanity through Eucharist. Before the Passover meal, Christ offered an example of service, washing the feet of his disciples…. The Eucharist remains a sign of hope for humanity.” “Let this congress set in motion a movement for reconciliation. The Eucharist is always preceded by reconciliation…. This unity and reconciliation needs to start with our families and communities, among

religions…. Peace is the bread that the Catholic community waits to share with all communities.” Message to IEC from Pope Francis. “Dear friends, may this Eucharistic Congress strengthen you in your love of Christ present in the Eucharist…. There are two gestures of Jesus at the Last Supper which I would ask you to reflect on. Both have to do with the missionary dimension of the Eucharist. They are table fellowship and the washing of the feet.” “We know how important it was for Jesus to share meals with his disciples, but also, and especially, with sinners and the outcast. Sitting at table, Jesus was able to listen to others, to hear their stories, to appreciate their hopes and aspirations, and to speak to them of the Father’s love. At each Eucharist, the table of the Lord’s Supper, we should be inspired to follow his example.” “The other image which the Lord offers us at the Last Supper is the washing of feet. On the eve of his passion, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as a sign of humble service…. The Eucharist is a school of humble service. It teaches us readiness to be there for others. This too is at the heart of missionary discipleship.”

This too is at the heart of missionary discipleship.” Candidly Speaking Fr. Roy Cimagala May the

Candidly Speaking

Fr. Roy Cimagala

May the month of Mary

WE may still be reeling from the heat of summer, but the month of May somehow regales us with its distinctively Marian character. Like a flower in full bloom, this Marian month exhibits a very special color and air of exuberance as it lives out the Marian devotion in many places. Just the other day, for example, I already saw little boys and girls, accompanied

by their mothers or some elders, troop to their parish church with flowers in hand. Obviously, they are doing the “Flores de Mayo” devotion. In many parts of the country, there will be the extravaganza of the Santacruzan that commemorates the finding of the Holy Cross by Sta. Elena. Of course, she has to be escorted by her little son, who became emperor, Constantine.

Fiestas galore will also take place all over the country. In Bohol, for example, it’s legendary that the island province is said to sink a little during this month, as many of her children from different places here and abroad, and some say, even from heaven, come home to celebrate the feast of their town’s patron. There’s indeed a great reason to be happy and thankful. What we have in

May is not just a natural phenomenon but rather a divine gift that has managed to sit well with our temperament and the way we are. We just hope and pray that as these festive annual celebrations occur, the devotion to our Lady also deepens. Let’s hope that this affection to Mary becomes purified, becomes more

Candidly Speaking / A7

CBCP Monitor

May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16



CBCP Monitor May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16 OPINION A5 Duc In Altum

Duc In Altum

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

We Must Do Our Share For Change

THE people have already spoken. In the early hours when partial and unofficial results are being fed by the COMELEC Transparency Server, it was very apparent that Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte was leading by landslide, not by hundred thousands but by millions of votes. It was really very unprecedented. 81% of 54.4 million voters cast their ballots. It is higher than 75% in 2010 presidential election and 77% in 2013 midterm election. The nation benefitted from the high voters turn- out. One newspaper editorial stated “The more people who vote, the more credible the election is and the stronger mandate of the winning candidate”. As of press time, the latest partial and unofficial results from the COMELEC Transparency Server represent 96.06% of election returns. Mayor Duterte garnered 15,957,615 votes while the 2nd placer Mar Roxas got 9,696,382 votes or a difference of 6,261,233 votes. It is neck to neck in the vice presidential race, Leni Robredo got 14,015,098 votes while the 2nd placer Bongbong Marcos obtained 13,799,034 votes or a difference of 216,064 votes. *** It is very clear that the vote garnered by Mayor Duterte is a protest vote by the Filipino people. It is a real, desperate vote. It is a referendum of “Daang Matuwid” of President Noynoy Aquino. It is a vote for change. The citizens are sick and tired of the corruption in the government offices. The “tanim bala” or “laglag bala” at the airports victimize the OFWs, our modern day heroes. The taxing, opening and stealing of contents of “balikbayan boxes” in the Bureau of Customs also victimized the OFWs

and their families. The perpetrators of theft and robbery of pieces of baggage of international passengers in the airports are never apprehended because the CCTVs are not working and never replaced. The commuting public composed of students, employees, and workers suffer long lines before they could ride the MRT and worst, the trains always bog down. The motorists and riding public (bus, jeeps and taxis) suffer the worst traffic situation in the history of the Philippines. There is loss of manhours and of manpower which amount to millions of pesos. Working parents and children lost quality time to be with their family. Yet, the government is insensitive to these simple things the citizens complained of, not to mention the rising rate of criminality. Hence, the voters did not want the status quo. They want change. *** While Mayor Duterte is not yet proclaimed winner by Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate meeting jointly act as the National Board of Canvassers for president and vice president), he will be called “Presumptive President Duterte”. Once proclaimed by Congress as the winning presidential candidate, he will be called “President-elect Duterte”. Then, after he had taken his oath as President of the Philippines, he will be called President Duterte, however, he prefers to be called President Rody.

*** Sen. Grace Poe immediately conceded to Mayor Duterte, even though at the time she made the decision, she was number 2 in the partial and unofficial returns. She stated then “As a staunch supporter of

electoral reform, I have a firm belief in the voice and sentiment of our people. I honor the result of our elections. I congratulate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and pledge my support in working to heal our land and to unite our people toward the continued development of our country.” I admire this lady; she sincerely thought that the votes she gathered were not enough to beat Mayor Duterte. Less than two hours before midnight of election day, she had made up her mind to hold a press conference and did it at exactly 12 midnight, after she called up and conceded to Mayor Duterte. Sen. Grace fought a good fight and never stooped down to using black propaganda against her opponents. Other presidential candidates one by one conceded. We hope this is the start that good “change is coming” to our beloved Philippines. *** How does the 2016 national elections differ from past national elections. Only in this election where voters engaged in serious exchange of opinions using the social media. Such discussions resulted to family members, officemates and friends either “unfriend” or “unfollow” their peers. It resulted to break up in relationships within the family, workplace and even friendships. Obscene and haughty words were freely used to humiliate and embarrass not only the candidates but also their supporters. Name calling and curses were uttered degrading the personality, dignity and integrity of each other, not even thinking that their candidates do not even know if they existed. Some candidates failed to discuss their

Duc In Altum / A6

The WOEs and WOWs

of Life (Part 2 of 2)

IN the first part about t h e W O E s ( W o r d s O f Encouragement), we came up with helpful ideas for those who are recovering

from some trials or struggles in their life. Now we are going to see some WOWs (Words Of Wisdom). These are for persons who are doing fine but sense they can still do better. Again, as with the WOEs, there is no particular order in the list. Here are some helpful


• High fives and also lows.

Being high is grace is also

a grace. One will even gain

higher ground if he often recalls his own low moments from where God has raised him up with His mercy. • Impossible is something.

S o m e t i m e s w e m a y experience we’re good and that things are definitely

better than before. But all this wouldn’t have been possible if it were not for God’s grace. Never forget that the impossible, that is, the supernatural life is attained always and only with His help. • Your Profile pic. Never be satisfied with a generic or anonymous spiritual life. Every person’s love for God is unique. Know yourself and discover what is yours, and

only yours to give to God and neighbor.

Now! A

wonderful cliché is to simply think about doing something

good but never putting it into action. Pray, Plan, and Proceed with action.

• Get used to saying

ENOUGH! St. Josemaría often said: ‘Get used to

saying NO.’ It can be further developed with ‘saying ENOUGH’ to superfluous

• Just



with ‘saying ENOUGH’ to superfluous • Just do it Pitik-Bulag Fr. Wilfredo Samson, SJ Whatever Fr.


Fr. Wilfredo Samson, SJ


Fr. Francis Ongkingco

Fr. Wilfredo Samson, SJ Whatever Fr. Francis Ongkingco material things and plans that do nothing more

material things and plans that do nothing more than distract us and make us

inefficient in our apostolic mission.

• SMILE. Don’t forget you

have no reason at all to never SMILE. I always say that the word S.M.I.L.E. expresses to others what’s in your heart: Simply Means I Love Everyone!

• Occasions of grace. Now

that one has learned, with God’s grace, to be wiser in avoiding sinful occasions,

he must eagerly turn his attention to discovering occasions of grace and leading others to them. • Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade! There is a frenzy

for upgrading gadgets nowadays. Together with material things, and more importantly, let us upgrade our spiritual and moral life. Let us remember St.

Augustine’s wise advice: ‘He who does not daily advance

spiritually is already taking

a step backwards.’

• Good > bad. You don’t

have to know math in order to understand that good is greater than bad. Good is more natural to man than evil. Even though experience shows it is difficult to do good (arduous and lasting)

than to avoid evil (instant gratification but fleeting),

we should just keep on doing good (habit) and drown evil in the process. There are more good things to do in

a given day, than bad ones!

• You’re Bad if you’re

ONLY Good. The young often say, ‘I’m good!’ to mean they’re okay. In the spiritual life, however, virtue isn’t about being good but about being HOLY. One cannot remain comfortably

Whatever / A6

A Prayer to Let Go and Move On

A Prayer After the National Elections

DEAR God, the election is finally over. We have discerned and voted our candidates. We have made our choice and prayed for them. But after casting our votes, we place our trust in You. We are not in control of the results; we need to let go of them. Our country, as a nation, has already made a decision. Let us trust the decision of the majority, whatever is the result, For we do believe that the voice of the majority is the voice of God. Today, we pray, that all candidates will seek the good of the nation, and not for the good of themselves – for them to let go if they lost, and to give their full trust and support to the winners of this election. We pray for all of us too, the voters, to set aside our differences and biases, as well as our resentment and disgust over each others’ choice and the way we voted. Let mutual respect and resignation to the WILL OF GOD be our

guiding values now. It is all over. Time to MOVE ON and REBUILD our country towards unity and progress.

W e p r a y f o r t h e L O S I N G

CANDIDATES and supporters. To be humble enough to let go of their frustrations and be humble enough to

accept the will of God. They gave a good fight. We thank and respect theml. But we pray that they humbly abide to the will of God as manifested by the result of the elections.

O God, there are spots of violence,

cheating, and attempts to disrupt this generally peaceful and honest election. Intervene now. Protect us with your angels. Never allow such evil attempts to destabilize our beautiful country. And for ALL OF US, we earnestly pray for support for all our newly-elected leaders. For respect the decision of the majority. To honestly pray for all winners. That God may bless them with humility, wisdom, and dedication to serve our country. We are tired of promises. We want action and change for our country.

O Lord, You are the source of Good

and Wise Leaders. Let them have FEAR OF THE LORD in their hearts. Let them have the WISDOM OF SOLOMON in their minds. Let them have the STRENGTH OF KING DAVID in their hands. Let them have the LOVE OF JESUS in their whole being. We want better leaders now. We are tired of poverty, war, and chaos. We want peace, progressm and unity in our nation. Bless our new Leaders with your Holy Spirit. Election Day is over. It’s time to move on and heal our wounded hearts and ego. We may not understand God’s ways, But He works in mysterious ways.

Time to let go and give our full support

to all the winners of this election.

May God bless them all. May God bless our NATION! Amen.

go and give our full support to all the winners of this election. May God bless



May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16

CBCP Monitor

CBCP exec to Duterte: Hasten El Niño fund release

AN official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) social arm appealed to presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to prioritize the immediate release of government funds to farmers, who continue to suffer from the El Niño phenomenon. “We are appealing to the newly- elected president to listen to the cries of the hungry farmers, especially here in Mindanao. They have already suffered enough from this climate crisis. Why let them wait for too long when money is readily available?” pointed out National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Edwin

Gariguez during a recent five-day Farmers’ National Sustainable Agriculture Training in Tagum City in Davao Oriental. In his homily, the priest emphasized that the government not only has the capacity, but the obligation to respond to the needs of hungry farmers and the poor, particularly those long affected by El Niño.

Billions available Mainstream media quoted Senator Ralph Recto as claiming that a Php19-billion national budget allocation for disaster funds is available for calamities like El Niño, and appealed to Malacañang for its immediate release to provinces with

widespread drought, adding that Congress has already appropriated the funds thus a further delay is unwarranted. Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reportedly has Php500-million in Quick Response Funds (QRF) at its disposal. Senate Finance Committee Chairperson Loren Legarda also claimed that “we have funds, but they are not being accessed”. DA still has a Php11.9 million balance in its 2015 QRF and Php496.6 million for 2016, while the DSWD has a balance of Php703.6 million in its QRF for 2015 and Php1.6 billion for 2016. Gariguez also said Duterte, who ran with a platform of “change”

US speaker: Church needs ‘new language’ for faith

WHILE the Church’s message never changes, her methods and language can and should, said a US-based international keynote speaker and author during a Theology of the Body (TOB) training on May 7 – 8 at the San Carlos Seminary Auditorium. According to Katrina Zeno, a Theology of the Body resource person from Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, there is a real need to propose the

“heritage of faith with a new language … creating

a bridge between the

language of the church and of modern society.” “Our doctrine doesn’t change, but the language d o e s . B e c a u s e t h e language of the Church is what I would like to call ‘churchy language’ and most people can’t relate to that,” explained the

coordinator of the John Paul II Resource Center for Theology of the Body

and Culture, Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona.

Discovering the Feminine Genius: Every Woman’s

ordinary language that more people can relate

New doctrine, new language Shesaidthebishopscame to the same conclusion of this new “challenge” presented to the Church at the Synod of Bishops

Journey. Among other things, TOB proposes that the human body reveals God; man’s destiny is to share in the Trinitarian God’s eternal exchange of love in heaven; and that man can

to,” she explained to more than 140 participants of the said training, which gathered top Couples for Christ (CFC) leaders, officers from Filipinos for Life, and people serving in the dioceses.

on the Family in October

only find himself when he

This much-needed


as well as during the

gives a total and eternal

“translation” can have


Third Extraordinary

gift of self to another.

implications on the wider

General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Zeno, whose personal interest in TOB began

St. John Paul II’s original text is not exactly light reading, admitted Zeno, which is

Church and on ordinary members of the faithful. “If you have langugae, you can think. If you can


f t e r a n s i n g u l a r

why lay people need to

Language leads to love

think, you can choose.

encounter with then

reintroduce TOB using

If you can choose, you

pope St. John Paul II in June of 1992, said this is precisely what the pontiff did when he came up with

everyday language to reach more of the faithful.

can love… Language is all about love,” explained Zeno, who will be in the Philippines until May

the Theology of the Body, the saint’s teachings on marriage, human destiny, and God’s promise. “He’s not inventing

“ S o m e t i m e s , t h e language of the Theology of the Body is ‘churchy ‘language… because it’s theological and

19 for a series of TOB workshops and trainings. The Theology of the Body is a series of talks given by Pope John Paul II during

new doctrine but a new



his weekly Wednesday

language… hopefully, to reach people’s hearts, to introduce us to Christ,”

is why] you and me have to be translators from English to English, from

audiences from September 1979 to November 1984. ( N i r v a ’ a n a E l l a


a i d t h e a u t h o r o f

‘churchy’ language to more


Whatever / A5

in some middle ground between virtue and vice and think he’s good. This only clears a path for mediocrity and lukewarmness.

• Look at the bigger picture.

Improving in the spiritual life is one thing, the other is discovering that improvement is meant for something bigger. Have a sense of mission. You’re not struggling alone! God has a bigger plan for you, ask Him about it!

• Concretize, don’t dramatize.

Every now and then you get discouraged with some small weakness or fall. Don’t fall into sentimentalism or a victim complex. This only reveals your

hidden pride. Objectively identify your fault, its causes, concretize and apply the remedies.

• Feel, don’t chill. There’s

no problem to chilling. But sometimes it comes close to indifference when we are no longer sensitive to the feelings and conditions of those around us (i.e. our parents, the poor, the beggars, and the sick).

• Aim high but at something. The

sky isn’t the limit in the spiritual

adventure. In fact, there is no limit because the object of our love is

God who is infinite. In any case, we reach the infinite when we unite ourselves to God’s infinite love in carrying out our finite earthly duties with silence, cheerfulness, and constancy.

• What goes up doesn’t always

come down. According to the law

of spiritual gravity, we should

never expect anything in return for what we offer God and our neighbors. And if we are ever praised for whatever good we

do, then let us lift it up to Him as well.

• Invisible is visible. Never get

discouraged when you don’t see

results in your spiritual life and apostolate. The very effort you

invest is a visible proof of your trust and love for God. If He sees your perseverance, He will take care of what you and I on our part can never do.

• Make big small, and small

big. Like the saints, we can do more when we put more love in the smallest things we do. Thus, we learn to discover God’s presence and serve Him constantly in our most ordinary daily duties. Moreover, like God’s “favorites”, the saints and the blessed struggled to “make little” of what the world considers big: trials, illness,

misunderstandings, possessions, power, and wealth. Instead, they sought out the “hidden pearl of great price” in the most common occurrences of life. • Home court advantage. Always take your spiritual life to the next level. Victories are never ensured when we choose to play in the

devil’s playground (sloth). Instead, let us engage life and others in our spiritual home court. Concretize daily, weekly, and monthly targets in your prayer, the Sacraments, professional and social duties, and in carrying out in the best possible manner your apostolic mission or ministries where God has called us

to love and serve.

and hails from Mindanao, would very well understand the plight of the farmers. “He gives much hope to the people of Mindanao. We are hoping that the new government would heed the call of the farmers, not just for the immediate release of funds, but also for genuine agrarian reform and sustainable agriculture,” explained Gariguez.

Farm-first NASSA/Caritas Philippines, which Gariguez heads, has programs for farmers’ rights, agrarian reform and land rights, good governance, and sustainable agriculture. Aside from implementing

the Catholic Church’s largest rehabilitation program for super typhoon Yolanda survivors, the office also implements a climate change adaptation program in eight provinces called FARM-FIRST which helps farmers and fishermen adapt to changing environmental conditions, sustainable agriculture, and disaster management. It can be recalled that Duterte cited the pursuance of a genuine agriculture development strategy by providing support services to small farmers and rural development as part of his eight-point economic agenda when he assumes office next month. (CBCPNews/NASSA/ Caritas Philippines)

Duc In Altum / A5

platforms of government, instead, resorted to mudslinging and false accusations.

*** We have newly-elected officials, both national and local. Let us set aside our differences. Let us respect each other’s decision. Forget the hurt inflicted on each other during the election campaign. Let us respect the

decision of the majority. It is now time to heal each other’s wounded feelings, to heal our land. Mayor Duterte thanked those who voted for him and those who did not vote for him. He said “It’s with humility, extreme humility, that

I accept this, the mandate of the

people,” adding that his law and order platform was the key to his success. He offered peace to his political opponents. He said:

“I am here because the Filipinos are suffering from the hands of corrupt government officials and

its failure to protect and provide the needs of the people. I am here to correct and establish order in my beloved country. Many will stop me, many will go against me, and many even try to kill me because my principle and dignity (over) on how to fix this country. This will be my last candidacy because of my age. But if God will bless me with your help, I might change this country that you all (will) be proud of, and my legacy will extend far beyond next Filipino generation.” We want Mayor Duterte to introduce change, but how many are willing to do their share for a change. Let us work together. God bless the Philippines! God bless us! *** Happy Birthday to my sister- in-law Jinky Santiago, wife of my brother Dr. Andres Santiago and mother of my nephew Romarico “Rome” Santiago.

Communication / A1

our marriages. Let’s step forward

in humility and faith as we prepare

ourselves to witness how He transforms us and our union,” shared Boyet and Nellie Pascual, couple shepherd (M.E. Batch 14) to CBCP News in an interview.

Affection “Spouses should learn how to express themselves in different ways: telling each other that they care, giving gifts and surprises, and even engaging in physical expressions of affection like hugs, kisses, and touch,” they added. The MEFP leaders stressed how affection is an important aspect of every relationship, expressed through verbal or physical intimacy that demonstrates the couples’ positive feelings towards one another. Couple Jim and Mel Miralles of M.E. Batch 3 also shared how “keeping the lines of communication open” has helped them during 26 years of marriage. “ C o m m u n i c a t i o n i s v e r y essential in our marriage as it has made us more than just husband and wife,” they said in an interview. “We see to it that we communicate not only in words but most importantly, in actions

– showing love and appreciation as often as we could.” “The M.E. community has

amazingly changed our marriage and family life in many ways. We are indeed blessed as we’ve also become a blessing and an inspiration to other couples,” they added.

Community of life, love “ M a r r i a g e i s a l i f e t i m e commitment and an exclusive partnership. It is an intimate community of life and love, established and endowed by God,” explained Nuestra Señora de Lourdes parish priest and Diocese of Malolos, Indigenous People Apostolate director, Fr. Nap Baltazar during his talk at the Marriage Encounter Weekend seminar. “All husbands and wives must understand the power of prayer in their union, especially when they begin to raise a family of their own. Praying together is the best way to preserve relationships and unite families,” the prelate added. In its efforts to strengthen marriages and support families, the Marriage Encounter Prayer Community of the Parish of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy will hold its annual Marriage Encounter Weekend Seminar (Class No. 15) on May 27 to 29, 2016 at Betania Retreat House in Baguio City. (Myraine Carluen Policarpio / CBCP News)

Missionaries / A1

their way simply because others have less or next to nothing. It’s a far cry from their pre- mission life, really. Before joining RC, Dennis the head of the family, confessed they would also spend summers in some cool rural getaway

just to escape the hustle and bustle

of the metro.

Nowadays, the restaurant owner, who serves as lay minister on Sundays, said they don’t go so far as the impoverished barangays of Cabuyao and Santa Rosa in Laguna, and of Lipa in Batangas for their annual mission, which is actually immersion, exploration, and recreation, evangelization rolled into one. Doris explained a normal mission day would have them going house to house, meeting and greeting the villagers, inviting them to take part in the various activities they’ve prepared. “… knowing the families, talking to them, sometimes it’s not even having to evangelize, but being there with them, feeling them, [doing] small talk. Basically like

that,” she noted. “What’s really nice is we get to know the family. We kind of like feel each other, I guess. I just know that it’s something right,” she added.

‘Basketball evangelization’ Even an ordinary basketball game presents an excellent opportunity to talk about the faith, what her husband Dennis wittily refers to as “B & B”: Bible and Ball. “It’s fun. The binatilyo (the young men) they don’t know this thing. Meron pang kodigo (They even have cheat sheets). At the same time it’s informing these people,” she shared. The Nakpils would also treat locals to film screenings as a way to instill in them the basics of the faith, which they find many desperately need. “You’d be surprised a lot of them, majority of them, are not married, because of the [lack of] funds. You need to prod them. The requirements… You need to let them know … the state you are in, it’s not proper. The proper way is, if you

really are, you feel you are a family, you love each other, then you have to get married. You just don’t wait to have the money. Because that’s the problem. They want to have a celebration,” lamented Dennis. Sadly, it’s an all too common problem. Filipino couples today tend to cite limited finances as an excuse to delay marriage indefinitely until they start losing what little interest they have left in formalizing their union. The usual alibi runs along the line of: “We wed only once. Why not make it as grand as possible?” To overcome this obstacle the Nakpils sponsor mass weddings in the community. “Dennis and I became ninong and ninang (godparents) to some of the couples. That’s something we know like yes because RC, the main core part is to bring people to the Kingdom of God. So we know they’re already a step ahead, right? A step closer to the Kingdom,” said Doris. The surprising thing is that the couples they have sponsored have

since taken upon themselves the duty of convincing others still “living in” to follow suit and get married in the Church.

Outside comfort zones And like any lifestyle change, it’s not easy adjusting to this new commitment they’ve made. Doris admitted, “Honestly speaking, it’s hard for me because I like being at home on my own, [in] my own bed, in my own bathroom. So it’s really going outside of my comfort zone. Being there in places I’m not so familiar with… It’s hard. It’s a lot of sacrifice.” In trying to “do what the Romans do,” there were times they had to feed on adobong kangkong, sardines mixed with veggies, or whatever could be had, endure steamy, mosquito- infested evenings, and make do with primitive plumbing, if at all. Doris exclaimed,“Sa akin OK lang. Paano ‘yung mga bata? (For me, that’s fine. How about the kids?)” As if these are are not challenging enough, there are the tons of pre-

immersion concerns to attend to before the mission proper. “The whole process, getting the families together, organizing, scheduling, who’s going when and that,” commented Dennis. “We meet every week for eight weeks. We start planning like two months prior or probably even more. It’s like scheduling things, donations, logistics. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of our time,” added Doris. But fortunately, the blessings outweigh the challenges. Over the years, these “troubles,” if you will, have become more manageable for them all. “I think it [family mission] has brought us closer to God. In the sense that we are now more prayerful as a family. All of us are involved in activities that has to do something with the Church,” observed Dennis. The full story on the Nakpil family’s travails and joys is found in CFC Ablaze – Communications’ Family Time magazine, May – June 2016 issue. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCPNews)

CBCP Monitor

May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16


Bulacan shrine gets solar-powered

A T U R E S A 7 Bulacan shrine gets solar-powered Msgr. Luciano C. Balagtas,

Msgr. Luciano C. Balagtas, P.C., of the National Shrine and Parish of St. Anne in Hagonoy, Bulacan (right) raises a tarpauline announcing the installation of a solar power panel generator system, the first ever

in the diocese. BULACAN DIOCESE

HAGONOY, Bulacan--As part of caring for the environment, the National Shrine and Parish of St. Anne in Hagonoy, Bulacan, in cooperation with SolaRex International and Steel Corporation (SISCORP), installed on April 20 a solar power panel generator system, the first ever in the diocese. According Msgr. Luciano C. Balagtas, P.C., parish priest and shrine rector, SolaRex had fully operational installations ready by April 20 in preparation for the shrine’s Pistang Pasasalamat ng Bayan last May 1. According to Balagtas, the reasons for this daring move came with solar generator’s versatility in serving the parish’ various power needs.

‘Green’ example On normal days, the solar-powered generators can supply the needed electrical consumption for the church, especially with the shrine’s eight Sunday Masses besides daily weekday Masses. The priest also said it will considerably reduce the shrine’s electrical bill in the long run. Also, since Hagonoy is prone to flooding, the alternative power source can

be a way to supply electricity to the shrine whenever disasters like heavy flooding cause black-outs which become common whenever Bulacan’s Hagonoy and Calumpit towns are hit by storms. Balagtas also mentioned the endeavor was also an attempt by the Church to show a pro-environment example to Hagonoy locals.

More parishes to go solar He also revealed that some parishes in the diocese are already in the process of installing similar solar-powered systems. Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Heritage Homes, Marilao, Bulacan and San Isidro Labrador Parish in Liciada, Bustos, Bulacan are just two parishes in the diocese that are following the lead taken by the national shrine. He also said the Praxis Fides Mutual Benefit Association, Inc., which has been promoting financial stewardship among Church workers and catechists since 1987, could help Church institutions with regard to funding for the procurement of these systems. (Kendrick Ivan Panganiban/CBCPNews)

Candidly Speaking / A4

theological than emotional, more operative than just nice words and good intentions. I believe that with what is happening in our country and everywhere else in the world today, we need to identify ourselves more with our Lady, for she is the surest, safest, quickest, and shortest road to Jesus. Yes, we have to understand that rather than becoming obsolete, she in fact is becoming more urgently relevant. We just have to look around, and we cannot deny that signs are aplenty that many people, especially the young ones, and girls at that, are plunging into a new paganism disguised as expressions of freedom. I, for one, got a bit shocked when even in the social networks, postings were made of pictures showing risqué situations. And I thought I have filtered my network friends quite well. The other day, for example, a young

couple, still in their teens, and using their own cellphone camera, posted

a picture of themselves in bed—ok,

still covered and hopefully made just for fun—but that picture already tells

a lot about what can be inside young

people’s minds these days. And all the comments from their friends simply expressed mirth and fun. No one even went as much as to hint that such pose was not proper at all. It crossed my mind that I must have drifted to another planet or that some creatures have mutated radically as to be beyond recognition. I don’t think this is just

a case of generation gap. There are things that have to be upheld no matter what generation we belong. We need to go back to Marian devotion. Devotion to our Lady will recover and strengthen our commitment with our Christian faith, with our calling to follow what Christ has told us about how we ought to live and behave. Mary is the epitome of how we ought to be toward God and toward one another. She is God’s most perfect creature. Higher than her, a saint once said, there’s no one else except God himself. She teaches us, first of all, how to be humble, a very fundamental virtue without which many other virtues would fail to sprout and grow. In the beautiful prayer of the Magnificat, it is precisely said it was because of her lowliness that all generations will call her blessed. It was her humility that attracted God to her, making her nothing less than to be the mother of the Son of God, thereby making her, though only human and without contributing at all to the divinity of Christ, the Mother of God herself, since precisely the son who was born of her was/is the Son of God. We need to know more about our Lady and to deal with her more frequently, if not, abidingly. We can say the rosary everyday, or go on pilgrimages to Marian shrines from time to time, or pray the Angelus at noon time, or cultivate the habit of looking with piety at images of our Lady, accompanying it with ardent words of affection.

Vigilant / A1

‘God-given’ authority As of press time, the country still awaits the official Commission on Elections (Comelec) count of votes, especially for national posts. Meanwhile, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo assured the the faithful of God’s special love for the country during a Mass held at the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting command center in Manila on May 10. In his homily, Pabillo, who chairs the bishops’ Commission on the Laity, also acknowledged that all authority is “God-given” and so whoever is elected deserves respect. “Jesus said all authority comes from God, so we respect all the elected because this is part of our

respect to an authority that came from God,” he said. Withthedutiesandresponsibilities awaiting every Filipino, elected or otherwise, he emphasized that “we all need openness to the Holy Spirit for us to be victorious.” “Christ promised the Holy Spirit in order to guide us to all truth, that we may be enabled to do what is right, it s not easy to do what is right – on our own,” he said. The priest also stressed that the period of waiting for the final, official count of votes should also be seen as a time to pray. “Just as the apostles waited and prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit, we too should pray for the elections that it would be clean, peaceful, and believable,” he said.

Groups gather in Tawi-Tawi for Bajau empowerment

he said. Groups gather in Tawi-Tawi for Bajau empowerment Bajaus perform traditional dances during a cultural

Bajaus perform traditional dances during a cultural immersion, as part of the 9th Pastoral Assembly of Care for Nomads and Bajaus in the Philippines (CNBP) at the Beachside Inn in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi from May 16 to 19. JOHN FRANCES FUENTES

BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi--A gathering of different groups based in Mindanao is happening here to empower the Bajaus, who are considered a marginalized group in society. The Claret Samal Foundation Inc. (CSFI) based in Basilan has organized the 9th Pastoral Assembly of Care for Nomads and Bajaus in the Philippines (CNBP) at the Beachside Inn in Bongao, Tawi- Tawi from May 16 to 19. Bishop of JoloAngelitoLampon, who also heads CNBP as president, said members were gathered from different areas in Mindanao like Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga, Basilan, and Davao tol have the chance “to experience the life and culture of the Bajaus.” With the theme, “Empowering Bajau Communities: Educational I n n o v a t i o n s f o r C u l t u r a l Development,” the assembly also gave the participants a glimpse of the living conditions of the Bajaus and the educational initiatives to improve their lives during their visit to the BongaoBajau Village.

Education is empowerment CSFI brought two of their graduates, Gaira Nelson and Rowena Nulaji, who are now teaching in learning centers for Bajaus in Basilan, to participate in the assembly in Bongao to prove that education will help fellow Bajaus and to encourage them to pursue education. The gathering also aimed to encourage the Bajaus to preserve and be proud of their cultural and spiritual identity. The gathering also presented educational innovations that will integrate the Bajau culture and improve their quality of education, as well as inputs from speakers coming from the academe and from the government.

Discrimination against Bajaus During the sharing of stories, it was learned that Bajaus feel discriminated, not only by settlers from the Visayas but also by other tribes like the Tausug. Sr. CresenciaLagunsad of the Sisters of Charity of St. Charles Borromeo said she initiated the

day care center in MatinaAplaya in Davao City to prepare children, who are finding it difficult to continue schooling, to enroll in elementary schools. She added that non-Bajau children bully the Bajaus to the point of physically assaulting them. She said Bajaus are looked down because they are considered filthy beggars, especially since they are seen asking for alms in cities like Davao and Metro Manila. In an interview with CBCPNews, Ma. Wendy Parojinog of CSFI said the foundation set aside a reserved area in Maluso and Pangasahan in Basilan exclusively for the Bajaus, adding that other tribes tried to settle there, but the CSFI strongly opposed it to protect the Bajaus. She added the Bajaus are peace- loving people who would opt to avoid conflict and leave their houses, specially if violence arises. Meanwhile, CSFI plans to hold the 10th assembly in Maluso, Basilan to also share their best practices in promoting the Bajaus’ welfare. (John Frances C. Fuentes/ CBCP News)

St. Anthony’s modern miracles awe faithful

TABON-TABON, Leyte- -Ending a moving visit to the Philippines, the first-class relics of St. Anthony only inspire more confidence and devotion in the 12th century miracle-working saint from Portugal. Many are hopeful that

a visit to the St. Anthony

of Padua Parish Church would help hasten answers to prayers for passing licensure examinations, total healing, among others. Thelma Concepcion, 65-years old, was teary- eyed when she narrated in an interview how her devotion to St. Anthony of Padua and a visit to his shrine in Sulangan, Eastern Samar cured multiple cysts in her uterus a decade ago – all without going under the knife.

Modern miracles She said the saint answered her prayer for healing without the need for surgical operations or even medications to stop her monthly period. Jennifer Balbao, a 33- year old mother of two, had to bring along her 3-year old daughter all the way from Babatngon some 60 kilometers to Tabon-Tabon to attend the Mass for St. Anthony of Padua’s pilgrim relics, which had been visiting various parishes all over the Philippines.

She is asking the

P o r t u g u e s e s a i n t ’ s

intercession to help her pass the licensure exam she took again in March after two attempts. She said her friends, who also failed twice in the same licensure test, finally passed on the third try after going to the St. Anthony Church in

Sulangan, Eastern Samar to ask for his help. M a r i a n B i b a r ,

c h o i r m e m b e r a n d

a s s i s t a n t c h a i r m a n of the commission on youth in St. Anthony of Padua Parish in this city, is hopeful St. Anthony will touch more young hearts in her parish and inspire them to devote their time and talent to the Church. She attributed the success in her career to her belief in St. Anthony of Padua, her parish’ patron saint.

Deborah Torres, who arrived at the church in a wheelchair pushed by her husband, is seeking the healing intercession of St. Anthony for the lingering sickness she has been enduring for six months now. Diagnosed with anemia, she needs regular blood transfusions, which leaves her chronically weak. She was advised to seek medical attention in hospitals in Metro Manila, which her family could no longer afford


Finding a ring at sea Palo Archbishop John

Forrosuelo-Du in his

a ring at sea Palo Archbishop John Forrosuelo-Du in his The pilgrim relics of St. Anthony

The pilgrim relics of St. Anthony of Padua. MICHAEL DALOGDOG

homily, narrated the miracle of finding his golden St. Anthony ring from the bottom of the sea. Du recalled how the foot of one of the ten swimmers looking for the ring got entangled in seaweed, forcing him to swim deeper where a shining object caught his eye: the bishop’s ring The prelate narrated further that his brother who is a polio victim was able to walk again after his mother constantly prayed to St. Anthony for intercession and healing. T h u s h i s m o t h e r warned him to always keep the ring safe with him. “Sometimes, we get lost in our way, we lost important things and persons, we are indeed very grateful to our saints for helping us,” said Du, who admitted to being a devotee of St. Anthony.

Future national shrine During the relics’ visit to the St. Anthony of

Padua Parish, Du also announced the plan to make church a national shrine. “We’ll make it (the church) a shrine, a pilgrimage site for the devotees,” said Du. The newly-erected church in Tabon-Tabon where the relics were venerated had not yet been blessed and dedicated as finishing touches are yet underway. “St. Anthony came first before I blessed this church,” he said, adding, “San Antonio de Padua really is a miracle worker,” considering the fast construction of the church through the help of U.S. donors. D u h i m s e l f c o u l d not believe how the old structure of the said church, which was severely damaged by super typhoon Yolanda and later by typhoon Ruby, was able to rise again on a separate l o t a n d w i t h m u c h bigger space. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCPNews)


May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16

CBCP Monitor

PH marks World Communications Day amid ‘terrible’ poll campaigns

World Communications Day amid ‘terrible’ poll campaigns Areopagus Communications join the global celebration of the

Areopagus Communications join the global celebration of the 50th World Day of Communications at the Holy Face of Jesus Shrine in Quiapo, Manila on Sunday, May 8, 2016.


THE predominantly Catholic Philippines is marking 50th World Communications Day amid an increasingly aggressive political discourse over social media. For poll watchdog leader

Henrietta de Villa, this year’s election campaigning is distinctly “terrible” compared

to the past polls.

“Since the beginning of the automated election system in 2010, I’m sad to say that it’s only now that we experienced this terrible campaigning,” said De Villa. After years of efforts to shake off bad poll habits, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said the usual pre-election argy-bargy has reached scary new lows.

‘Vicious campaigning’ ”Never had there been a time when the elections have been subjected to such vicious campaigning,” De Villa said.

“It seems that good manners and right conduct doesn’t matter anymore. What is important is to win at all cost,” she added. This Catholic Church’s World Communications Day 2016 falls on the eve of the country’s synchronized local and national elections. “There’s a lot of accusations and character assassinations. These confuse our voters whom and what to believe in,” added De Villa, referring to social media dirty tricks that wafted the election trail. In his message for the annual celebration released in January, Pope Francis said digital technology and the Internet are “a gift from God which involves a great responsibility.” “It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal,”

said the 79-year-old Pope. He said modern means of communications such as social networks could help bring people together but also had the potential to create deep wounds. “Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarization and division between individuals and groups,” he said.

Vigil, Mass for elections The pontiff has chosen the theme “Communication and Mercy: A fruitful encounter” which was inspired by the ongoing Jubilee Year of Mercy to highlight how social communications should be centred on mercy and dialogue. “In a broken, fragmented and polarized world, to communicate with mercy means to help create a healthy, free and fraternal

closeness between the

children of God and all our brothers and sisters in the

one human family,” he said.

Meanwhile, Church media organization Areopagus Communications joined the global celebration of the 50th World Day of Communications at the

Holy Face of Jesus Shrine in Quiapo, Manila on Sunday, May 8, 2016. The group, which handled

the media coverage as well

as the media accreditation

teams for the papal visit to the Philippines in January 2015, celebrated a Mass and participated in a vigil for honest and clean election

on May 9 at the Holy Face

Center in Hidalgo, Quiapo, Manila. CBCP Media director, Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio

III presided over the said

celebration at the Holy Face Convent chapel. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)

PPCRV volunteer killed in Pagadian

A VOLUNTEER of the Parish Pastoral

Council for Responsible Voting was killed in a predawn ambush in Pagadian City Tuesday, May 10. Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV national chairperson, identified the victim as Adela Elmida who was reportedly killed by unidentified assailants at about 4:00 a.m. while on her way to a local command

center bringing copy of election returns. On Tuesday morning, a Mass, presided over by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, was offered for Elmida and other volunteers at the PPCRV command center in Manila. The bishop also requested prayers for all PPCRV volunteers as they

continue to work for clean elections. The poll watchdog has deployed an estimated 700,000 volunteers nationwide on the May 9 synchronized local and national elections. In Cotabato City, the PPCRV has pulled out its volunteers from Cotabato City, also in Mindanao, for safety reasons due to alleged “massive cheating.” (CBCPNews)

St. Ignatius ‘present’ during Ignacio filming

WHAT would it be like to have a saint on the creative team of a film

about his life? The director, producers, cast, and crew of Jesuit Communications Philippines’ most ambitious project to date, the movie “Ignacio de Loyola”, know the answer.

“I felt like st. ignatius was

exerting editorial control over the film at a lot of the times,” shared Paolo Dy, a

Filipino director who makes his feature film debut with the JesCom movie, which will be out in theaters in July 2016. “We felt that St. Ignatius was there guiding us. As you know Php50 million is not

a big amount if you shoot

abroad. You have to pay for everything, including soil,” added JesCom creative director Pauline Mangilog- Saltarin during a press conference on May 2.

The bread, soil, sheep story According to Saltarin, the 16th century theologian and founder of the Society of Jesus made his presence

and founder of the Society of Jesus made his presence JesCom creative director Pauline Mangilog-Saltarin, Andreas

JesCom creative director Pauline Mangilog-Saltarin, Andreas Muñoz, director Paolo Dy, and Jescom head Fr. Emmanuel Alfonso, S.J at “Ignacio de Loyola” movie press conference at Cabalen restaurant, Quezon City, May 2, 2016. NIRVA DELACRUZ

felt from day 1 when the technical crew were faced with the logistical nightmare of having to produce a flock of sheep, artisanal bread and cheese, and soil to cover up

the already-cemented and modern-looking castle that was supposed to be the castle of Loyola in today’s Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain. She said the crew had to scout nearby areas for the three things they needed for some of the scenes, eventually being uncannily led to the right place at the right time, something which they could only attribute to the Jesuits’ first Superior

General guidance. “Our production designer saw a shepherd with a flock… He said would you happen to be here on so and so date… and the shepherd said ‘Yes, because we will be bringing [the sheep] down… Just tell me when and where and we’ll be there,’” recounted Saltarin, adding that the same shepherd would offer their own bakery that could provide artisanal bread and cheese, food that would depict the era of the revered saint. “[The shepherd said], ‘We do have our own bakery, we have our own milk…so we can

give you.’ And these things were given to us for free,” added Saltarin.

Deleted scene Finally, on the same day, they saw a pick-up truck

unloading loads of dirt by the side of the road. The crew immediately approached them and asked them to deliver the soil to their location and “they readily did”, said Saltarin. “These are signs… It’s

not even a sign. St. Ignatius

was present. And these are just three [instances] of the many, many things [that happened],” said Saltarin. Dy personally felt the saint’s intervention when they shot a scene but decided against using it because it

started to rain while shooting. “…and looking back… You know, the story’s better without that scene,” he said, noting the saint’s influence

on the creative process of

producing the Php50-million movie that stars Spanish actor Andreas Muñoz in the lead role. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCPNews)

US speaker gives talks on new ‘love language’ in PH

US speaker gives talks on new ‘love language’ in PH Some 60 participants attend a Theology

Some 60 participants attend a Theology of the Body (TOB) speakers’ training on May 14 to 15, given by Katrina Zeno, in one of the SMX Convention Center’s meeting


INTERNATIONAL speaker and author Katrina Zeno is currently in the Philippines giving a series of talks and workshops on the Theology of the Body (TOB), St. John Paul II’s groundbreaking teachings on married love, the destiny of the human person, and God’s promise and why it’s so important to talk about it. Invited by Couples for Christ (CFC), Zeno, an international keynote speaker

and author gave her first talk

on Philippine soul to some

130 married couples and singles during a Theology of the Body training on May 7 to 8 at the San Carlos Seminary Auditorium. “Language is all about love,” explained the coordinator of the John Paul II Resource Center for Theology of the Body and Culture for the Diocese of Phoenix in the US.

Modern bridge of words Zeno stressed how getting

introduced to the TOB lexicon allows a person to have a whole new perspective of

seeing the human person and

his destiny.

“If you have language, you can think. If you can think, you can choose. If you can choose, you can love,” she said. According to the Argentine tango enthusiast, the course proposes “the heritage of faith with a new language” … “creating a bridge between the language of the Church and of modern society.” “Our doctrine doesn’t change but the language does. Because the language of the Church is what I would like to call ‘churchy language’ and most people can’t relate to that,” she explained.

Kicking off from her first TOB salvo, Zeno gave a TOB speakers’ training on May 14 to 15 in one of the SMX Convention Center’s meeting rooms with some 60 participants.

‘Sacramental’ teaching During the said weekend, Zeno, who first got interested in delving deeper into TOB when she read St. John Paul

II’s “Love and Responsibility”, said TOB has to be taught in a “sacramental” way. She explained: “We need to learn how to teach Theology of the Body, give a talk in a way that is sacramental… not just to be cute or just to be entertaining.” According to Zeno, talking about TOB to a variety of audiences means finding ways

to provide visible symbols to

show “invisible realities” like when she employs props, gestures or visual cues to

show theological concepts. Interested parties may follow live updates from her training on https://www.



Zeno also got to have a

short session with the leaders

of Couples for Christ Central

A sector at the Divine Mercy

Shrine in Mandaluyong City on May 11. She also addressed the top leaders of CFC during the Metro Manila Mission Core Group Assembly at Christ the King parish in Libis, Quezon City on May 17, 8:00 p.m. and the CFC full-time missionaries at the CFC Global Missions Center in Quezon City on May 18, Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCPNews)

Customs ‘delaying’ historic bell release?

A SCHOLAR from the

University of the Philippines (UP) School of Health Sciences in Palo, Leyte has voiced out his dismay over what seems

to be a “bureaucratic” delay in

the Bureau of Customs’ release

of clearance for the historic San Pedro bell days before

its scheduled homecoming in

Bauang, La Union. “Alert! Help needed! The San Pedro Bell arrived at Clark, Pampanga from the U.S. last Monday, May 16. But it is now being held up by the Bureau of Customs over

nonsensical issues, to include their advice that it might

be Friday (May 20) before

clearance could be granted,” complained Prof. Rolando O.

Borrinaga in a recent post on

his social media account.

According to him, the municipality of Bauang in La Union is set to hold on May 23 a welcome ceremony to mark the return of the bell, which is yet to be installed on

a pedestal fronting the town’s 16th-century Church of Saints Peter and Paul.

Returned, but not quite “By the way it looks, it was easier to get this bell released from the U.S.

Military Academy at West Point than from the grasp of the Philippine Customs. Bad custom,” Borrinaga added.

The San Pedro bell had been

on display for several decades

outside West Point’s Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel in New York, with a placard that partly reads: “Symbol of

peace that even the ravages of war could not destroy.” After the Philippine-

American War, the bell fell into the hands of Lt. Col. Thomas Barry of West Point’s class of 1877, who reportedly served in the islands from 1900 to 1901.

In 1915, Barry gave the bell

to his alma mater at whose

Catholic chapel it was kept

in 1937.

Balangiga bells soon? Based on his research,

Borrinaga was able to establish the Bauang, La Union origin of the bell which invites comparison to the better known “Bells of Balangiga.” “I’m part of the small group that made possible the return of the West

Point bell. We use this as

a test case to pressure the

Wyoming opponents to consider the return of the two Balangiga bells in their territory,” Borrinaga told CBCPNews in an interview.

H e a d d e d , “ T h e y

[Americans] have long lost the legal, ethical, and logical reasons for holding on to these bells. All they have now are emotional attachments, and power and influence to hold on to these items. Americans who fought in the Philippines at the turn of the century took home with them bells from Filipino Catholic churches, both as

“war mementos” and as a way

to prevent “insurgents” from

melting them to make weapons. (Raymond A. Sebastián /

CBCP News)



May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16



Get up, let us go! File photo
Get up,
let us go!
File photo

(Matthew 26:46) CBCP Post Election Statement

Johann Mangussad
Johann Mangussad

BROTHERS and sisters in Christ:

“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” (Mt. 28:18)

This is the Lord Jesus’ ultimate claim to universal kingship and dominion. These are the words of the Ascended

One, gloriously sitting at the right hand of the Father. We wrote to you before the elections. We write to you once more now that the elections are done. Several criti- cal, even spite- ful, voices have asked us to desist from “interfer- ing” in politics. We cannot. We do not aspire after office and we have sought none. We do not even impose upon the Catho- lic faithful a set of anointed can- didates. But it would be a deni- al of Christ’s uni- versal lordship were we to desist from reminding his disciples of what fidelity to him — in all things, includ- ing political life — demands. The votes have been cast and are now being counted. To t h o s e who have been voted to office, we assure them of our prayers, principally for wisdom, that they may discern God’s will for his people and cou- rageously do as he bids. God’s

hand is to be rec- ognized in the events of history. Credit then your victory, neither to fame nor popularity, but to God who calls you to service and to care for the weakest and the most distressed in our midst. Children need care that cannot be postponed. And many women still find themselves in

situations of exploitation. Indig- enous peoples remain marginal- ized and the vaunted growth in

the economy still has to mean something significant for Filipinos living outside urban areas. To those who did not suc - ceed, you, as

The greatest promise the Church can offer any government is vigilant collaboration, and that offer, we make now. We will urge our people to work with the government for the good of all, and we shall continue to be vigilant so that ever so often we may speak out to teach and to prophesy, to admonish and to correct — for this is our vocation.

persons, as sons and daughters of God, are in- finitely so much more than the positions after which you as- pired. Rather than becoming despondent and discouraged, you should chal- lenge yourselves by asking how it is that the Ris- en Lord sends you “to make disciples of all nations”. Sure- ly there are so many other ways to contribute to the building of the Kingdom of God. It is for you to discover your paths, in faith and in do- cility to God’s spirit. The great- est promise the Church can offer any government is vigilant collab- oration, and that offer, we make now. We will urge our people to work with the government for the good of all, and we shall continue to be vigilant so that ever so often we may speak out to teach and to prophesy, to ad- monish and to correct — for this is our voca- tion. Get up now let us go…

From the Catholic Bishops’ Con- ference of the Philippines, May 9, 2016

+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS Archbishop of Lingayen - Dagupan President, CBCP


May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16 CBCP


The Church and the Birth of Christian Liturgy CNA
The Church and the Birth of Christian Liturgy

(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following queries:)

Q: Does the institution of the sacra- ments by Christ also signify the birth of the liturgy? Can we say that the Church commences with Jesus Christ? Does the liturgy have its origin in Christ? What are the sources of the history of the liturgy? — A.T., Yaoundé, Cameroon

A: This question, originally in French, would probably require several vol- umes to answer fully. I will necessarily have to stick to essentials and be rela- tively succinct. To the first question we can say yes, the institution of the sacraments can also signify the birth of Christian liturgy since the sacraments form the core of the liturgy. It is true that the New Testa- ment does not reveal most of the ritual elements of the sacraments, and these often developed much later. But every sacrament insofar as it is a prolongation of the Incarnation under a regime of signs is necessarily liturgical in nature. We can also affirm with total certainty that the Church commences with Je- sus Christ. Statements such as Jesus preached the kingdom and St. Paul (or the Emperor Constantine) founded the Church have been repeatedly shown to be false and based on biases or weak scholarship. Unfortunately, it would be impossible for me to address this question here. Our readers can find good initial answers to these ques- tions in popular apologetic sites such as Catholic Answers or go for more in-depth treatises such as Blessed John Henry Newman’s 1845 “Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.” From what we have said above regard- ing the sacraments, we can also say yes to the question that the liturgy begins with Christ. But this statement must

be qualified. Christ is the source of the liturgy on several levels. At the deepest level of all Christ is the source of the liturgy because the liturgy is essentially our participation, through, with and in Christ as members of his mystical body, in the worship that Christ as high priest offers to the heavenly Father. At this level, which is the most important, there is no liturgy without Christ and the Church. On the level of the external ritual ele- ments of the liturgy, Christ establishes the essential elements in instituting the sacraments and in giving certain models such as when he blesses children and gave us the Our Father, but he himself did not offer detailed instructions on the structure of the liturgy. This is also logical as he is

“Jewish liturgy and Christian lit- urgy. A better knowledge of the Jewish people’s faith and religious life as pro- fessed and lived even now can help our better understanding of certain aspects of Christian liturgy. For both Jews and Christians Sacred Scripture is an essen- tial part of their respective liturgies: in the proclamation of the Word of God, the response to this word, prayer of praise and intercession for the living and the dead, invocation of God’s mercy. In its characteristic structure the Liturgy of the Word originates in Jewish prayer. The Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical texts and formularies, as well as those of our most venerable prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer, have paral- lels in Jewish prayer. The Eucharistic

Christian worship. Several times the Acts of the Apostles mention “the breaking of bread” as something exclusive to the Christian community. The writings of St. Paul and Revelation contain examples of early Christian hymns, the fact of gathering on a Sunday and even the name “the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10). These texts show that very soon after the As- cension the Christian community had begun to develop a basic structure of prayer to carry out Christ’s commands to “do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19) and “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”

We can also affirm with total certainty that the Church commences with Jesus Christ. Statements such as Jesus preached the kingdom and St. Paul founded the Church have been repeatedly shown to be false and based on biases or weak scholarship.

also the object of liturgical worship, and the Church would need time to digest and transform into prayer the great mystery of his existence. The Church he founded would have to develop and grow in many new cultures while simultaneously remaining rooted in the time when the Incarnate Word walked among us. This is why there are changeable elements such as languages and rites and unchangeable ones such as the use of bread and wine in the Eucharist which are intimately bound up with Christ himself. The sources of the history of the liturgy are many and complex. Among the most important sources are the Jew- ish elements. As the Catechism says in No. 1096:

Prayers also draw their inspiration from the Jewish tradition. The relationship between Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy, but also their differences in content, are particularly evident in the great feasts of the liturgical year, such as Passover. Christians and Jews both celebrate the Passover. For Jews, it is the Passover of history, tending toward the future; for Christians, it is the Passover fulfilled in the death and Resurrection of Christ, though always in expectation of its definitive consummation.” Other sources can be found in the New Testament even though they are not detailed descriptions. Apart from the Gospels, the rest of the New Testa- ment reveals some elements of a distinct

(Matthew 28:19). They also considered that it was Christ’s command to “pray without ceasing, give thanks in all cir- cumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This would lead to forms such as the Liturgy of the Hours. All of this means that it is quite natu- ral that Christian communities would develop different prayer structures in an organic way and would adapt the external forms of worship as the Church grew in number and in precision in articulating its faith in Christ both through conciliar definitions and as expressions of worship. Documents are scarce from the gen- erations that follow immediately after

the apostles, but they show continuity in the development of structured rites and prayers. Among the texts the most important ones are usually considered as being the “Didache,” or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. This brief work, written around the year A.D. 100, contains several prayers and a description of bap- tism. Other writings of the Apostolic Fathers (some of whom were disciples of the apostles) such as St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Polycarp give indica- tions regarding the hierarchical struc- ture of the Church and the structure of liturgical prayer An important document from the next generation is St. Justin’s “Apology” (written around A.D. 155-157) which contains the first description of the Mass in a form which is substantially the same as we celebrate today. Among the earliest written texts are those found in the so-called “Apostolic Tradition” attributed (probably incorrectly) to St. Hippolytus of Rome (A.D. 215). In this work we find formulas for ordination and a text which forms the basis of the second Eucharistic Prayer of the current Roman Missal. In the centuries that followed, the production of liturgical texts contin- ued, and the vast majority of the major texts of the liturgy in all liturgical rites and families were produced during the fourth through the seventh centuries. The oldest known Latin liturgical texts would seem to be from about A.D. 350 or so and the earliest extant manu- scripts from around the year 450 to 500 although subject to much debate among scholars. All in all we can conclude that the liturgy begins with Christ and ends in Christ. The development in different liturgical forms and styles are always rooted in Revelation and develop or- ganically from the paschal mystery of the Incarnate Word.

Ministries of Lector and Acolyte

Q: I’m a seminarian, and I am interested in the liturgy of lec- tor and acolyte minor orders. Can you please help with me with a short introduction for this liturgy? The objective is to give people some information on what the minor order is about and its significance. — L.L., Mumbai, India

A: I might be too late to help this particular seminarian, as it is likely that he has already received these ministries. However, the information may benefit others. The lay ministries (they are no longer called minor orders) of lector and acolyte were es- tablished by Pope Paul VI in 1973 with the apostolic letter “Ministeria Quaedam.” They are to be given to all candidates for orders. These ministries are also open to male laity not aspiring to sacred orders, but in reality few dioceses have made effective use of this possibility. In order to confer them, the following conditions should be met:

“8. The following are require- ments for admission to the ministries:

“a) the presentation of a peti- tion that has been freely made out and signed by the aspirant to the Ordinary (the bishop and, in clerical institutes, the major superior) who has the right to accept the petition; “b) a suitable age and special

qualities to be determined by the conference of bishops; “c) a firm will to give faith- ful service to God and the Christian people. “9. The ministries are con- ferred by the Ordinary (the bishop and, in clerical in- stitutes, the major superior) through the liturgical rite De

same person. “11. Unless they have already done so, candidates for ordina- tion as deacons and priests are to receive the ministries of reader and acolyte and are to exercise them for a suitable time, in order to be better disposed for the future service of the word and of the altar. Dispensation

Dear sons in Christ, as people chosen for the ministry of acolyte, you will have a special role in the Church’s ministry. It is your responsibility to assist priests and deacons in carrying out their ministry, and as special ministers to give holy communion to the faithful at the liturgy and to the sick.

institutione lectoris and De institutione acolythi as revised by the Apostolic See. “10. An interval, determined by the Holy See or the confer- ences of bishops, shall be ob- served between the conferring of the ministries of reader and acolyte whenever more than one ministry is conferred on the

from receiving these ministries on the part of such candidates is reserved to the Holy See. “12. The conferring of minis- tries does not bring with it the right to support or remuneration from the Church. “13. The rite of institution of readers and acolytes will soon be published by the competent de-

partment of the Roman Curia.” The essential norms of this document were later incorpo- rated into canons 230 and 1035 of the Code of Canon Law. “Canon 230 §1. Lay men who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the con- ference of bishops can be admit- ted on a stable basis through the

does not appear that one may become an acolyte without pass- ing through lectorate. For many practical reasons these ministries are almost exclusively conferred upon candidates for the priest- hood and diaconate. Canon 1035 says the following:

Ҥ1. Before anyone is pro-

Dominic Barrios
Dominic Barrios

prescribed liturgical rite to the ministries of lector and acolyte. “Nevertheless, the conferral of these ministries does not grant them the right to obtain support or remuneration from the Church.” A man can thus be instituted lector without necessarily aspir- ing to become an acolyte, but it

moted to the permanent or transitional diaconate, he is required to have received the ministries of lector and acolyte and to have exercised them for a suitable period of time. “§2. There is to be an interval of at least six months between the conferral of the ministry of acolyte and the diaconate.”

With respect to the functions of the ministry the General In- troduction to the Roman Missal has this to say:

“C. The duties of the acolyte “187. The duties that the acolyte may carry out are of various kinds and several may coincide. Hence, it is desirable that these duties be suitably dis- tributed among several acolytes. If, however, only one acolyte is present, he should perform the more important duties while the rest are to be distributed among several ministers. “The Introductory Rites “188. In the procession to the altar, the acolyte may carry the cross, walking between two min- isters with lighted candles. Upon reaching the altar, the acolyte places the cross upright near the altar so that it may serve as the altar cross; otherwise, he puts it in a worthy place. Then he takes his place in the sanctuary. “189. Through the entire celebration, the acolyte is to ap- proach the priest or the deacon, whenever necessary, in order to present the book to them and to assist them in any other way required. Thus it is appropriate, insofar as possible, that the aco- lyte occupy a place from which he can conveniently carry out his ministry either at the chair or at the altar. “The Liturgy of the Eucharist “190. If no deacon is present,

Lectors, B7



May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16


Spirituality and Ministry with Persons-with-Disabilities

By Fr. Nonnette C. Legaspi

I AM Rev. Fr. Nonnette C.

Legaspi from the Diocese of Novaliches. I am currently Parish Priest of Christ the King Parish, Atlas St., Filinvest Homes II, Batasan Hills, Quezon City. I am also a priest minister for Persons- with-Disabilities in our diocese. My years of exposure to and ministry with PWDs in gen- eral and the deaf in particular, spanning some 27 years (since

PWDs. The report further said that disability was highest among

persons aged 5 to 19 years. Children aged 10 to 14 years comprised the largest age group (7.2 percent), followed by those in the age groups 15 to 19 years (6.9 percent), 5 to 9 years (6.7 percent).

Catholics The Good News So Far. In a recent Philippine Daily Inquirer article (August 11, 2013), in an

parish pastoral structure. These are, admittedly, positive signs of charity at work. But as to the presence of a permanent com- mission, ministry, an ecclesial office or even a desk for PWD affairs on the archdiocesan and diocesan levels (i.e., the wider level) our search brought us to only two localities, again, ten- tatively, viz., the Archdiocese of Manila and the Diocese of Novaliches. Where Are They? So, we ask, where do these 1.1 million

both legs/feet or quadriplegic). Are these persons-with-mobility disabilities still Catholics today, after 13 years? With the active, creative and productive programs of non- Catholic Christian and non- Christian sects attending to our Catholic PWDs, many of these our sisters and brother have either left the church or are contemplating on leaving the Church even as I write this very moment.7 The Silence of the Lambs: Children of a Lesser

disabilities bringing their physi- cal presence before the Real presence of God in the Eucha- ristic celebration, and all I care about is close to sending them back home and be content with the Sunday TV mass, perhaps because they need God less than my entire congregation? The silence of the PWDs through all these centuries of Catholicism in the country will not change. It is in this still si- lence where they encounter God. What should change is our noisy culture of ignorance, compla- cency and shallow religiosity. A wrong culture obviously begets wrong language, spoken or unspoken. A “religious culture” bereft of spirituality, bereft of the culture of encounter, is a sham. In such a religion, some are children of God, while others are children of a lesser God. And for- tunately, such is not the Catholic religion. No one Catholic is a child of a lesser God.

Pope Francis’ Call: Spread a Culture of Encounter In his audio message to the Italian Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired last June 11, 2013, His Holiness Pope Francis exhorted everyone to “always spread a culture of encounter, solidarity, and hos- pitality towards persons with disabilities.”8 It was in the same spirit of encounter when, visiting the Serafico Institute of Assisi, which provides care for the sick and children-with-disabilities, last October 4, 2013, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, he put aside his prepared message and spoke comparing the scars of Christ to the suffering carried by the young peo- ple before him. “These scars need to be recognized and listened to,” he said.9 Interestingly, this was not the first time he used the term. Earlier, in one of his homilies, also known as “fer- vorino,”10 last April 29, 2013, he spoke of the sacrament of reconciliation as an “encounter with Jesus,” who always awaits us and takes us as we are, ready to give us his love and healing. Similarly, in his discussions with two Eastern Christian Churches in India, whose relationship for centuries had been marred by division and rivalry, he encour- aged them to “work towards reconciliation and harmony through theological dialogue” and to cultivate a “culture of en- counter,” overcoming prejudices and closed attitudes.11 The 1st

newed expressions.”

He might not have mentioned “encounter” but that was clearly the essence of PCNE. It is only by allowing God to make all things new can a culture of en- counter spoken of by the Holy Father be retrieved, renewed and sustained.

Spirituality Re-defined: A Sec- ond Look at Spirituality On the 2nd day of PCNE,

I was one of the speakers for a “Pathways” session. My topic was on Spirituality and Min- istry with Persons with Dis- abilities: A Journey Towards a Culture of Encounter.

I introduced my presentation

by offering a review of the cur- rent spiritual theology definition and description of spirituality in view of coming up with a new definition that is more in keep- ing with the culture of encoun- ter. New wine in new wineskins.

Spirituality: The Soul’s Auto- Search for the Sacred It is not easy to look for a defi- nition of spirituality that does not tend to be exclusive. Com- mon Catholic definitions almost always involve the operation of one’s intelligence and will, in being engaged in introspection (again involving the cognitive faculties), or referring to a life lived with some degree of in- tensity marked by an explicit concern with the best things there are (i.e, those things most wanted by one’s intelligence and will), or similarly, the raising of the mind and the heart. These definitions are good, in that they capture for the “intelligent” and “willing” individuals (who can read and understand these definitions) the essence of the human spirit and its engage- ments. But to the extent that they seem to exclusively involve cognitive faculties lends the defi- nition to being misconstrued as only for people who will pass an intelligence test and can strongly will to even take it. What of those who have developmental disabilities? What of those who have severe mental disabilities? Don’t they have a spirituality we can speak of? Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ,12 gives

a kind of descriptive definition:

“At the heart of the notion of spirituality is the people’s search for the sacred, for a transcendent di- mension to life, for something that gives people meaning in their lives,


my seminary days), had always

posed a personal challenge to re- view, re-examine and re-new my Christian and priestly commit- ments. When I was invited to be one of the speakers of the First Philippine Conference on the New Evangelization (PCNE),

I had initially simply wished to

articulate the challenges I have always known, encountered and ruminated on these past years. My purpose, as was the overall purpose of the PCNE, was to re- awaken new fervour within the Catholic Church to take up these challenges too so that She may be a more inviting, healing, and reconciling community of faith, where a “culture of encounter” thrives. Of course there are many challenges that the Catholic

Church faces today. I know that all of them easily make it to the news. Undeniably, the media hype they receive compounded by the gravity of the issues had always shaken the morale of the hierarchy and the laity with intensity 7s. Fortunately so, we are not only a “human” Church, we are Christ’s Body. Our Divine Head keeps us alive, fully human and indefatigable. He makes us rise through these rubbles of our own human doing. His mercy endures forever. But there are challenges that never make a sound, nary a quiver. In this little write-up,

I would like simply to focus

on one big reality: the lack of active participation of persons- with-disabilities in the life of the church.

The Obvious: Numbers National Luzon has the greatest num- bers of PWDs. As per our National Statistics Office’s 2010 Census Report released in January 10, 2013, the total population of the Philippines is estimated at 92.1 million.1 It indicated that 1.4 million or 1.57 percent of this number had disability. Among the 17 regions, Region IV-A (CALABARZON)2 had the highest number of PWDs at 193 thousand. This was followed by the National Capital Region (NCR)3 with 167 thousand PWDs. Region III (Central Luzon)4 ranked third with 139 thousand PWDs. These three re- gions with the greatest numbers of PWDs are in Luzon.

Children and Youth Sectors have the greatest numbers of

attempt to verify the popular impression that the number of Filipino Catholics has been dwindling, the reporter noted with optimism the following:

“The Catholic Directory of the Philippines has said six million more Catholics in the country

have been counted so far in 2013, an eight-percent leap from figures culled in 2012. This year, the number of Filipino Catholics reached 76.18 million out of the country’s estimated population of 96.8 million. The Catholic Di- rectory also recorded 1.37 million baptisms since 2012.”5 The Not So Good News. Of this 76.18 million Catholics, we ask how many are PWDs? We do not know for sure as we have no Church records. And so we turn to our National Statistics Office (NSO). Unfortunately, however, except for the total PWD population (estimated at 1.4 million, in 2010, three years ago), the most relevant report pertaining to our inquiry that we can gather from their website is thirteen years old.6 So, to simplify matters for our purposes, let us just tentatively use the old data (viz., “81.48% of the total PWD population are Roman Catholics”) and apply it to our 2010 PWD population (1.4 million) to get an estimate of PWD Roman Catholics. This results to more than 1.1 million Roman Catholics who have dis-

abilities. And that is just based on antiquated data.

The Not-so-Obvious: Church Realities Church PWD Ministries. The Catholic Church in the Philippines has 16 Archdioceses, 68 Dioceses, 4 Prelatures, 7 Ap- ostolic Vicariates and a Military Ordinariate. A quick website survey and examination of the latest Catholic Directory of the Philippines (2011) will tell us that, so far, only two dioceses have an organized diocesan min- istry for persons with disability. Let me state though that this is only a tentative result, as we continue to validate our quick survey results via phone inter- views and correspondences. There may be service ministries done by religious congregations, even diocesan priests ministering to the elderly, sick, abandoned and PWDs, maybe even regular medical-dental missions coordi- nated on the parish and diocesan levels where PWDs are welcome, or maybe even some parishes having PWD ministries in their

PWD Roman Catholics go to church? Who do they look up to as Mother, the Church? Where do they go for spiritual nourishment? The Census of Population and Housing Report in 2000 indicated that there were a total of 121,598 persons with deafness of varying degrees. Of these there were 43,610 who belong to the children and youth sectors (ages 1-39). And majority of these, as we indicated above, were Catholics. How many Catholic Churches have signed masses (i.e., with interpreters at least in one mass every Sunday)? Are these deaf people still Catholics today, after 13 years? The same Census Report in 2000 yielded the highest record- ed number of persons under one

God? A parish priest once blurted out to a volunteer sign inter- preter, “Hindi na naman nila kailangang mabasbasan ni Lord; mga innocente ang mga batang iyan! Mas banal pa nga sila kaysa sa atin!” (“These children don’t need to be blessed anymore by the Lord; they are innocent! They are even holier than most of us!”) It may sound cute but the context was far from patron- izing the deaf children who want to occupy the first two pews in his church to have a better view of the mass and the interpreter. What he was actually and effec- tively saying was: “You and your group of deaf children should stay on the far side of the sanctuary near the sacristy where they will not be a cause of distraction for

File Photo
File Photo

disability: blindness, at 473,143. The report also indicated that in the National Capital Region alone, there were 58,311 with blindness of varying degrees. Again, majority of these were Catholics. Do we see them in our Catholic Churches? Or do we see them more often in the streets begging more than in our churches? Are these legally blind people still Catholics today, after 13 years? Thirteen years ago there were 135,569 persons with physical impairments (loss of one or both arms/hands, loss of one or

my congregation.” They obeyed. They stayed there, at the margins, because they were just distractions. My heart bled for them when this was reported to me. For 27 years, this has probably gone on, in various places, in different dialects, in varying situations. But where are these subtle and obvert attitudes of marginaliza- tion coming from? I don’t know. I am not a social psychologist nor an anthropologist. But it is not rocket-science to know and feel exclusion and rejection. Here you have children with

PCNE: Retrieving Our Culture of Encounter

In the Opening Mass of the PCNE, Cardinal Tagle closed his homily with this invitation:

“Tell your stories; share your dreams, your sorrows, your fears, your tears. Only in the weaving of our stories with the story of Je- sus can the wider bigger story of humanity especially here in Asia can we see again the path that the Lord opens to us: to proclaim the Good News with renewed fervor, with renewed methods, with re-

something that ennobles them to think of and be concerned about a higher cause, something that offers them inner connection and

deeper purpose in life, something that helps them celebrate life and


I prefer this description that

could especially be narrowed down to: “a soul’s search for mean- ing and the sacred.” But as to the “search” term, let me add a rather modern qualifier: “auto,” so that our definition reads: “Spiritual- ity is a soul’s auto-search for meaning and the sacred.”

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May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16 CBCP


Addiction, freedom and disciples

By Fr. Shay Cullen

THE greatest upset in Philippine presidential elections this past May 9 has been the phenomenal ninety-day campaign by the then little-known mayor of Davao City in Mindanao, Rodrigo Duterte, a one term congress- man but mayor for more than two decades. He rose to national prominence three months ago by being his own true self. However bombastic, crude, and frightening his threats to impose autocratic rule and kill without trial may have been, one thing is sure - it worked and more than sixteen million Filipinos approved and voted him in as presumptive president. However 26 million plus Fili- pinos did not vote for him but one of the other four candidates. Yet his 40 percent support of the voting public across all sec- tors of society is astounding. It was a rejection of the Aquino administration which failed to improve the plight of the poor and the middle class. Rodrigo Duterte is the head of a local powerful dynasty, his family and friends have controlled Davao city since 1988. He is frank, honest, and unrepentant in his oft-repeated admission on television of his human weaknesses, his crude, offensive language and manner- isms. “That’s the way I am, that’s the way I talk,” he explained. One outrageous statement or vile joke about rape was followed by another yet he was still the darling of the media as audiences were excited to hear his latest gaffe or dire threat of murder and mayhem that he would un- leash on corrupt officials, crime bosses, and drug lords. He is known as the “punisher.” The 40% of voters who sup- ported him were likely to be angry, the unemployed, the disgruntled traders, and small business people, the victims of corrupt, bribe-taking officials,

Roy Lagarde
Roy Lagarde

and totally disillusioned with the rich, elite-dominated political establishment run by million- aires. They were the 26 million hungry poor people without hope of a Messiah until Duterte came along. He, imperfect and flawed, as he humbly confessed in public, was one of them. He talked and cussed like them and threatened the violent retribution that they want unleashed on their per- ceived oppressors and exploiters. The left of center political class see him reluctantly as the only alternative leader capable of breaking the strangling grip of political dynasties on the economy and the lives of mil- lions of poor Filipinos. By declaring himself a social- ist, he won over the left, center- left, and the poor who expe- rienced no relief from hunger and poverty despite a six percent growth in the economy.

He was said to have approved the extrajudicial killing of over one thousand suspects in Davao as mayor and to the delight of the adoring cheering crowd he declared, “the 1,000 will become 100,000,” “it will be bloody” and there will be “no need for more jails–just funeral parlors.” He promised to “eliminate criminality in the entire country within 3-6 months.” Of course, it was hyperbole but the voters loved it. Yet he seldom, if ever, talked about bringing justice and defending human rights. Many are hoping his talk of threats was just a campaign tactic and as president he will follow the rule of law and respect human rights and the Constitution. He is an outsider and an- nounced at one interview that he was a socialist and seemed to have closer ties with the com- munist armed groups than to any establishment clique. His

campaign manager is a former commander of the New People’s Army (NPA). That fact might cause much discomfort and unhappiness to the chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Who engineered this amaz- ing political victory? One of the leading architects of his victory is a former Catholic priest, Leoncio Evasco Jr., ordained a priest in 1970. He joined the communist rebels of the NPA during the oppressive Martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos after his par- ish in Catigbian was raided by the Marcos military. He became a brilliant strategist and leader of the communist underground resistance in Mindanao. In 1983, he was arrested in Midsayap and four of his com- panions were killed on the spot during a wedding. He was tor- tured and then prosecuted by the then city prosecutor Rodrigo Duterte, found guilty, jailed but

when the regime of Marcos fell, President Cory Aquino released him from prison. Davao was then plagued by an NPA hit squad called the Spar- rows. Whatever deal was made between them, Evasco became the campaign manager of Ro- drigo Duterte when he ran for mayor of Davao in 1988. Years later, Leoncio Evasco ran and won as mayor of his hometown Maribojoc in Bohol province. They remained good friends and today the former NPA commander has engineered an astounding presidential win for his former public prosecutor. As mayor of Davao City, Duterte created an image of a successful peace and order mayor on his reputation as a sup- porter of vigilantism, turning a blind eye to extrajudicial killings by the so-called Davao Death Squad. This supposedly evolved from the NPA hit squad, the

Sparrows, and is still active today. These unproven allegations and innuendos will unfortu- nately follow and overshadow his term as president unless they cease and they do not spread across the nation as a solution to criminality. Thousands of cor- rupt judges and officials would have to be targeted. He denied any connection with the Davao Death Squad and claims he had no part in the 1,424 documented killings over a ten-year period although it is claimed he read out lists of suspects over the ra- dio who later were found dead, his critics say, but they cannot connect him to killing any one. Yet that is a troubling allega- tion. Among those allegedly killed by the death squad are 132 children (17 and below) – 126 boys and 6 girls. The youngest was a 12-year old boy and a 15-year old girl. For the last five years (2011-2015), there were 385 victims of extrajudicial kill- ings in Davao – 39 of them be- low 17-years old and 118 young adults (18-25). Extrajudicial killings, if it happens as claimed, is not a very effective crime control method and no big time drug pushers or crime bosses have been elimi- nated or put on trial. According to the data from PNP covering 2010-2015, out of 15 chartered cities, Davao was fourth in terms of Total Index of Crimes:

37,797 incidents. In terms of murder, Davao was No. 1 (1,032 incidents) and in terms of rape, Davao was no. 2 (843 incidents). Whatever the propaganda about the success of violent solu- tions by a death squad in every town, it will not end crime and injustice but create more. Only the conversion to spiritual values and respect for the dignity and values of every human person will bring about positive change in society. We hope, pray, and work for justice and respect and that this will be the path that the new administration will follow for the good of every Filipino.

Disability, B3

Why “auto-search”? Because even the spirit of the still-born, without relying on cognitive faculties normally hosted by a physically grown brain, is instinctively attracted to or drawn by the Spirit from whence it came. It, thus, automatically searches for the Sacred. Even with the passage of time and the nuances of growth bringing with it the “age of reason” and its convoluted evo- lution, this auto-search-ability quality of the human soul is persistent. Of course, using the same “reason,” the existence of the Sacred can be ignored, denied, rejected and dismissed as a product of infantile magical thinking, but, I opine that the soul’s innate nature to auto- search this prime Spirit is eternal. “’Spirit’ signifies that from creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to commu- nion with God.”14 That man is “ordered to an end” and “can be raised” are strong indications that spirituality, Christian spirituality in particular, to the core of its meaning, is about a relationship with God, initiated, facilitated and sustained by God.

A soul’s auto-search for meaning and the sacred,” my working definition for spirituality, is retrieved from this defini- tion of “spirit” from our Catechism. It is more of the spirit being acted upon than man acting on his own. Not that man’s activities of actively searching for God and doing good do not matter in this life. They do. In fact these activities are the bases of ministry to Persons- with-Disabilities (hereafter, PWDs) by non-PWDs. But if we are to seriously consider ministry with PWDs which is more inclusive, then we also need to consider a more inclusive understanding of the nature of our human spirit.

Ministry: The Language of Spiritual- ity of Encounter Ministry is the language of the culture of spirituality. To speak the right lan - guage, one has to get the right culture. Thus, if spirituality is understood as only for those who are intellectually ready to grasp the “set truths” put forth as re- quirements in order to belong to a faith community as the Catholic Church, if spirituality is taken to exclusively mean the wilful engagement of the cognitive faculties of the individual with the sacred, then our doing ministry with PWDs will be a language that is irrel- evant at best, useless at worst. Let me illustrate this. Somewhere, I once saw a disability access ramp sign on a sidewalk. It pointed to a ramp. At

least it was a good attempt at a language; potentially beneficial indeed. But then I noticed that the ramp’s actual location was some distance away from the pedes- trian crossing. The ramp went straight to the busy street. It was actually useless for PWDs. Not only did it ignore the culture of safety of those who use the wheel chair, it actually revealed a care- less, even an indifferent culture where probably wheelchairs are confused with grocery carts or with non-motorized ve- hicles. Wrong culture, therefore wrong language. The point of the illustration is simple. If we take spirituality to mean active cognitive engagement in search for the Divine encounter, then the language we soon would use would be one of unreasonable expectations: “I expect you to keep still while seated,” “I need these children to know the basic prayers,” “I want them to keep quiet at all times,” etc. all these regardless of the inability of children with autism or ADHD to sit still or be quiet all the time, regardless of the inability of those with develop- mental delays to pick up even simple concepts and instructions and retain them. Sadly, we have seen and heard so much of these “wrong” language end- ing with a “no-deal” stance, “Nah, they don’t need God; they’re innocent. They’re already blessed any way! Let them stay home. Besides, they are distracting the solemnity of the mass. Some parishioners are complaining already.” The litany goes on, longer than the litany of reasons why PWDs, especially children, should have a place inside the Church. A correct reading of this PWD cul- ture has implications in the way we communicate (i.e., the language we use for) catechism to PWDs, be it for adult pre-baptismal preparation, or the anointing of the sick, be it inside the classroom or in the church pews. This will definitely affect the way we conduct our liturgical and para-liturgical activi- ties and our spiritual exercises intended for the laity. This will hopefully guide us in assessing the architecture of our ecclesial edifices - not only our par- ish churches but also our parish and diocesan offices and other venues of encounter. The Church, being, the primary locus of encounter, initiates and facilitates this cultural dialogue. Where this dialogue is lacking, priests and church ministers will continue to refuse to give Holy Communion to children with downs syndrome, or call them “mongoloid,” or call the Deaf “deaf and dumb.” Real ministry only happens in the context of a “culture of encounter.”

Henri Nouwen, a Dutch-born Cath- olic priest and writer, said that “Real ministry starts taking place when we bring others in touch with more than we our- selves are - the center of being, the reality of the unseen - the Father who is the source of life and healing.15 Ministry, then, is basically, the work of creating and sustaining a Christian culture where the encounter between God and man per- sists and is facilitated. This presentation is of the belief that the Ministry with and for PWDs is doing “real ministry” when it brings PWDs in touch with the Body of Christ, the Church, and allows the same PWDs to be active and full members of this same Body. RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Creation of a New CBCP Com- mission on Persons-with-Disabilities Since the early beginnings of the Persons-with-Disabilities Ministries in the Archdiocese of Manila and in the subsequent initiatives in the diocese of Novaliches through NPOWRD, the vision of the ministry has always been consistent. The ministry envi- sions persons-with-disabilities (PWDs) upholding their dignity as active, produc- tive, self-reliant and fulfilled members of God’s community in particular and our society in general. Guided by this vision, the PWD ministries created in the diocesan and parochial levels in the aforementioned dioceses have likewise been steered toward a common goal:

the full participation of persons with disabilities in the life of the Church.

Since their incipient stages, the diocesan ministries for persons-with- disabilities have always been under the CBCP’s Commission on Health Care under the umbrella of the Department of Social Services and Communications. Thus, in effect, in the diocesan level, the PWD ministries are subsidiary social action programs of the Commission on Social Action.

Having cited this structure let me mention the following observations:

Health Care View. In the Interna- tional Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), disability is considered an umbrella term for any or all of the components: impairments, activity limitation and participation restriction, as influenced by environ- mental factors. Health conditions are a prerequisite but not a determinant. This consideration tells us that disability is not primarily a health issue.

Social Action View. To date, while

sincere efforts of opening our Church doors to persons-with-disabilities are being undertaken in both the Arch- diocese of Manila and the Novaliches Diocese, many dioceses still do not seem to have the same established ministries. Our faithful PWDs are often only reached out to when social action programs like free medical-dental mission services are sponsored by local parishes. The following noteworthy insights from the Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities (November 16, 1978), no. 17, may help us verbalize this second observation:

“When we think of people with disabili- ties in relation to ministry, we tend au- tomatically to think of doing something for them. We do not reflect that they can

do something for us and with us

they have the same duty as all members of the community to do the Lord’s work in the world, according to their God-given talents and capacity. Because individuals may not be fully aware of the contribution they can make, Church leaders should consult with them, offering suggestions on practical ways of serving.” (emphases mine)

[ ]

Urgent Appeal to CBCP. In the light of the aforementioned observations, we are requesting the CBCP to create a new Commission on Persons-with- Disabilities to effectively correct the misunderstood views that a) PWDs are only beneficiaries of Social Services and b) that disabilities are primarily health issues. As a separate commission, the proposed Commission on Persons- with-Disabilities will coordinate with other commissions within the CBCP structure with regards to the wide rang- ing scope of PWDs’ needs. 2. Issuance of CBCP Pastoral State- ment and Guidelines This request involves the CBCP’s creation of:

1) Pastoral Statement of the CBCP on the Pastoral Care of Persons- with-Disabilities This will basically be a guide for all Dioceses and Parishes is setting up a local PWD ministry. It will re-affirm what the Catholic Church believes about persons with disabilities. It will present principles and faith-based be- liefs that will form the foundation for the integration or inclusion of persons with disabilities into our church and our society. 2) Pastoral Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities

This will basically be pastoral guide for Ministers ordained and lay that will give consideration to Canon Law, Sacramental Theology, the culture and language of Persons-with-Disabilities so that the celebrating the Sacraments with persons with disabilities could be well directed and ordered.

3. Set Up PWD Ministry in the Di- ocesan and Parish Levels

This request is directed to all Bishops and Parish Priests. The objective of which are the following:

1) For the Bishops: To create a Com -

mission on PWD in the diocesan level, and assign a priest (diocesan or reli- gious) who will coordinate the diocesan PWD ministry.

2) For the Priests: To integrate PWD

Ministry as one of the mandated minis- tries in the parish level and assign a Lay

Coordinator who will regularly report to

the Parish Priest as well as the Diocesan Priest Coordinator, when needed.

3) The PWD Ministry Diocesan

Priest Coordinator: To design and devel-

op pastoral care programs (e.g. sensitiv- ity programs and awareness campaign for the members of the church, inclu- sion of the PWD Day in the liturgical celebration, the training of Catechist who will teach Special Education stu- dents in their local Public schools with Special Education Departments)

4) The PWD Ministry Diocesan

Priest Coordinator: To check for Acces -

sibility issues and matters in the Dioc- esan and Parochial levels. Accessibility refers to these three categories:

a. Physical (e.g. structural design,

church facilities, priority seats and priority lane)

b. Spiritual (e.g. all sacraments and

formation/catechism, vocation promo- tion (religious/priesthood) c. Religious materials for formation/ catechism (e.g. braille bible, inserts

and sub-title for presentation/talks and catholic television programs)

4) Engage in Inter-Diocesan Efforts

In August 2013, the Archdiocese of Manila PWD Ministry and the PWD Ministry of the Novaliches Diocese have taken the initiative of creating a discernment-action group we initially called GOOD IDEAS, acronym for Guarding Our Open Doors through Inter-Diocesan Exploratory Assessment of Structures/ Services.

The immediate intentions and objec- tives of the GOOD IDEAS group are the following:

a) See. To provide a venue of ex -

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May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16



Missionary Church, Witness of Mercy

(Message of Pope Francis for the World Mission Sunday that will be celebrated on the Third Sunday of October; issued at Pentecost Sunday)

DEAR Brothers and Sisters, The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which the Church is celebrating, casts a distinct light on World Mission Sunday 2016: it invites us to consider the mis- sio ad gentes as a great, immense work of mercy, both spiritual and material.

On this World Mission Sunday, all of us are invited to “go out” as missionary disciples, each generously offering their talents, creativity, wisdom and experi- ence in order to bring the message of God’s tenderness and compassion to the entire human family. By virtue of the missionary mandate, the Church cares for those who do not know the Gospel, because she wants everyone to be saved and to experience the Lord’s love. She “is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel” (Misericordiae Vultus, 12) and to proclaim mercy in every corner of the world, reaching every person, young or old. When mercy encounters a person,

it brings deep joy to the Father’s heart;

for from the beginning the Father has lovingly turned towards the most vul- nerable, because his greatness and power

are revealed precisely in his capacity to identify with the young, the marginal- ized and the oppressed (cf. Deut 4:31; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 111:4). He is a kind, caring and faithful God who is close to those in need, especially the poor; he involves himself tenderly in human reality just as a father and mother do in the lives of their children (cf. Jer 31:20). When speaking of the womb, the Bible uses the word that signifies mercy: therefore it refers to the love of

a mother for her children, whom she

will always love, in every circumstance and regardless of what happens, because they are the fruit of her womb. This is also an essential aspect of the love that God has for all his children, whom he created and whom he wants to raise and educate; in the face of their weaknesses and infidelity, his heart is overcome with compassion (cf. Hos 11:8). He is merciful towards all; his love is for all people and his compassion extends to all creatures (cf. Ps 144:8-9). Mercy finds its most noble and complete expression in the Incarnate Word. Jesus reveals the face of the Father who is rich in mercy; he “speaks of [mercy] and explains it by the use of comparisons and parables, but above all he himself makes it incarnate and personifies it” (JOHN PAUL II, Dives in Misericordia, 2). When we welcome and follow Jesus by means of the Gospel and sacraments, we can, with the help


Mercy finds its most noble and complete expression in the Incarnate Word. Jesus reveals the face of the Father who is rich in mercy

God’s maternal love. Women, lay and religious, and today even many families, carry out their missionary vocation in various forms: from announcing the Gospel to charitable service. Together with the evangelizing and sacramental work of missionaries, women and fami- lies often more adequately understand people’s problems and know how to deal with them in an appropriate and, at times, fresh way: in caring for life, with a strong focus on people rather than structures, and by allocating human and spiritual resources towards the build- ing of good relations, harmony, peace, solidarity, dialogue, cooperation and fraternity, both among individuals and in social and cultural life, in particular through care for the poor. In many places evangelization begins with education, to which missionary

of the Holy Spirit, become merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful; we can learn to love as he loves us and make of our lives a free gift, a sign of his good- ness (cf. Misericordiae Vultus, 3). The Church, in the midst of humanity, is first of all the community that lives by the mercy of Christ: she senses his gaze and feels he has chosen her with his merciful love. It is through this love that the Church discovers its mandate, lives it and makes it known to all peoples through a respectful dialogue with every culture and religious belief. This merciful love, as in the early days of the Church, is witnessed to by many men and women of every age and con- dition. The considerable and growing presence of women in the missionary world, working alongside their male counterparts, is a significant sign of

work dedicates much time and effort, like the merciful vine-dresser of the Gospel (cf. Lk 13:7-9; Jn 15:1), pa- tiently waiting for fruit after years of slow cultivation; in this way they bring forth a new people able to evangelize, who will take the Gospel to those places where it otherwise would not have been thought possible. The Church can also be defined as “mother” for those who will one day have faith in Christ. I hope, therefore, that the holy people of God will continue to exercise this maternal service of mercy, which helps those who do not yet know the Lord to encounter and love him. Faith is God’s gift and not the result of proselytizing; rather it grows thanks to the faith and charity of evangelizers who witness to Christ. As they travel through the streets of the world, the disciples of Jesus need to have

a love without limits, the same measure

of love that our Lord has for all people. We proclaim the most beautiful and greatest gifts that he has given us: his

life and his love. All peoples and cultures have the right to receive the message of salvation which is God’s gift to every person. This is all the more necessary when we consider how many injustices, wars, and hu- manitarian crises still need resolution. Missionaries know from experience that the Gospel of forgiveness and mercy can bring joy and reconciliation, justice and peace. The mandate of the Gospel to “go therefore and make disciples of all na- tions, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that

I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20)

has not ceased; rather this command commits all of us, in the current land- scape with all its challenges, to hear the call to a renewed missionary “impulse”, as I noted in my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium: “Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel” (20). This Jubilee year marks the 90th an- niversary of World Missionary Day, first approved by Pope Pius XI in 1926 and organized by the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith. It is appro- priate then to recall the wise instructions of my Predecessors who ordered that to this Society be destined all the offerings collected in every diocese, parish, reli- gious community, association and eccle- sial movement throughout the world for the care of Christian communities in need and for supporting the proclama- tion of the Gospel even to the ends of the earth. Today too we believe in this sign of missionary ecclesial communion. Let us not close our hearts within our own particular concerns, but let us open them to all of humanity. May Holy Mary, sublime icon of redeemed humanity, model of mis- sionaries for the Church, teach all men, women and families, to foster and safe- guard the living and mysterious pres- ence of the Risen Lord in every place, he who renews personal relationships, cultures and peoples, and who fills all with joyful mercy.

From the Vatican, 15 May 2016, Solemnity of Pentecost


Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis on the occasion of the Day of Friendship between Copts and Catholics

TO His Holiness Tawadros


Pope of Alexandria and

Patriarch of the See of Saint


Recalling with pleasure the third anniversary of our fraternal meeting in Rome on 10 May 2013, I offer heartfelt best wishes to Your Holiness for peace and

entering into dialogue, and

cooperating together in pro- claiming the Gospel and serving humanity. In this renewed spirit of friendship, the Lord helps us to see that the bond uniting us is born of the same call and mission we received from the Fa- ther on the day of our baptism. Indeed, it is through baptism that we become members of the

Copts and Catholics can witness together to important values such as the holiness and dignity of every human life, the sanctity of marriage and family life, and respect for the creation entrusted to us by God.

health, and I express my joy at the ever deeper spiritual bonds uniting the See of Peter and the See of Mark. It is with gratitude to the Lord our God that I recall the steps we have taken together along the path of reconciliation and friend- ship. After centuries of silence, misunderstanding and even hostility, Catholics and Copts increasingly are encountering one another,

one Body of Christ that is the Church (cf. 1 Cor12:13), God’s own people, who proclaim his praises (cf.1 Pet 2:9). May the Holy Spirit, the mainspring and bearer of all gifts, unite us ever- more in the bond of Christian love and guide us in our shared pilgrimage, in truth and charity, towards full communion. I would like also to express to Your Holiness my deep ap- preciation for the generous hospitality offered during the

thirteenth meeting of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue Be- tween the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church- es, held in Cairo at the invitation

we share the ardent hope that this important dialogue may continue to progress and bear abundant fruits. Though we are still journeying towards the day when we will

holiness and dignity of every human life, the sanctity of mar- riage and family life, and respect for the creation entrusted to us by God. In the face of many contemporary challenges, Copts

of our respective traditions, then we will see more clearly that what unites us is greater than what divides us. Your Holiness, every day my thoughts and prayers are


of the Patriarchate of the See of Saint Mark. I am grateful to you for receiving the members of the Joint Commission at the Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi Natrum, and I am certain that

gather as one at the same eu- charistic table, we are able even now to make visible the com- munion uniting us. Copts and Catholics can witness together to important values such as the

and Catholics are called to offer a common response founded upon the Gospel. As we continue our earthly pilgrimage, if we learn to bear each other’s burdens and to exchange the rich patrimony

with the Christian communi- ties in Egypt and the Middle East, so many of whom are experiencing great hardship and tragic situations. I am



May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16 CBCP


Our God is the God of life

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Luke 7:11-17; June 5, 2016

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

THERE are people who believe that life on earth has appeared by chance, the fruit of a blind evolu- tion that has no mind, no heart, no purpose … They are grossly wrong! This nonsensical explanation of life is an insult to human intelligence, and deprives our existence of any meaning and purpose. Life, in all its innumerable forms, beauty and potentials, cannot have originated by itself or by chance. It has been created by God, the eternal Source of all life. He is the One who has conceptual- ized it and has traced for it, billions of years before computer science came into being, those wonderful “programs” that govern and guide its development and manifesta- tions. That’s why God is rightly called “The Source of all Life.” The opening chapters of the Book of Genesis and the Book of Wisdom tell us, in a figurative and poetic way, how God com- municated life to all that exists. He spoke His mighty Word and things came to be. (See Genesis, chapter 1). He blew His breath into the nostrils of the first earth- lings and man became a “living being”! (See Gn 2:7.) All forms of life are wonder-

ful, though not all have the same degree of preciousness. There is a physical life, an intellectual life, an emotional life, a moral life, and a spiritual life. Our faith tells us that, in addition to natural life, there is also a supernatural life – the life that transcends all others and which enables us to share in the most intimate way in the very life of God. But life, for all its preciousness and richness, has also its enemies. And the most terrible of them all is the Devil, the fallen angel who dwells in hell, “the Kingdom of Death.” He is the one that has injected into life the terrible viruses of weakness, decadence, sickness and death. That is his way of showing his hatred for God, Whom he cannot harm directly. Unfortunately, these destructive forms of virus affect us all. They become our torment. Our victories are destined to remain short-lived, for in the end, death does strike all with its implacable sickle that spares no one. That’s why the very Son of God took human nature. He came that all human beings might have life and have it to the full. (See Jn 3:15 and 10:10.) He defined himself as “The Life.” (See Jn 11:25.) The power of his divinity, hidden in his vulnerable

and mortal human life, slew death itself through his sacrificial death and resurrection. Jesus Christ, God’s incarnate Son, the firstborn of all creation and of the new mankind, rose from death, thereby becoming also the firstborn of all the dead. That momentous event was un- paralleled in its occurrence and universal in its effects. It became also the spiritual resurrection of all those buried in the grave of their sins. Likewise, it became the “first- fruits” and the “prototype” and guarantee of the final resurrec- tion of all human beings. (See 1 Cor 15.) St. Paul proclaims this truth in his Letter to the Romans (Rom 8:29); (Col 1:15. 18); the First Letter to the Corinthians, where Christ is called the “first- fruits” of the victory over death (see 1 Cor 15:22-23.26); and the Letter to the Colossians

As children of Christ’s Resurrec-

tion, we have eternal life with God

as our final destiny. This vocation/

privilege makes us also God’s/ Christ’s partners in the promotion

of life in all its forms already in

the earthly stage of our existence. Only those who love, protect and promote life on earth as God does

are worthy to inherit and enjoy it forever.

Antonio da Correggio
Antonio da Correggio

The roots and fruits of forgiveness

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Luke 7:36-8:3; June 12, 2016

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

TODAY’S Gospel episode (together with the reflection we can make on it) fits perfectly the central theme of the “Year of Mercy” that we are celebrat- ing: the theme of God’s merciful love, which finds its privileged manifesta- tion in forgiving sinners. This is the first and fundamental rela- tionship between love and forgiveness:

God forgives because He is boundless love. We can also add that God’s love is gratuitous and unconditional: He loves us before we can do anything to deserve His love, and He continues to love us even when we do something that would make us unworthy of His love. But the God who forgives us also expects and demands that we learn to do likewise. He expects that we do so

according to the teaching and example

of His Son Jesus who made forgiveness

one of the basic requests and duties included in the only prayer he taught his disciples. Forgiveness of offenders remains

a duty for all, but especially for us

depth of our love. To those who think and say that for - giveness is only for the weakling who lack the capability and courage to take revenge, we answer that forgiveness is real moral strength. Only those who are morally strong are able to forgive.

that does good to the “forgiver” even before affecting positively those who are forgiven. But it is especially in the person who receives it that forgiveness shows all its life-giving power. Whenever it is received with humility, forgiveness

It was God who ‘invented’ forgiveness as a way to mend and heal wounded love and to make life blossom again in this ‘valley of tears.’

Christians who profess to follow the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. Both God and people expect us to be “forgiving persons” – which means that we are expected to be better per- sons than our offenders. Our ability to forgive will reveal and measure the

Genuine forgiveness is love that refuses to be defeated. It is love that refuses to die. Forgiveness is an overflowing of mercy which, like a gentle balm, soothes the wounds caused by the scourge of resentment and hatred. Forgiveness is something

revives the wrongdoers, restoring to them the worth which they lost through the wrong they did. The very forgiveness, which is prompted by love in the one who offers it, evokes in the recipient a return of love. It causes love and trust to be reborn in

the persons who are forgiven. Peace flourishes in them again as a flowerbed revives after a storm. It was God who “invented” forgive- ness as a way to mend and heal wounded love and to make life blossom again in this “valley of tears.” Love and forgiveness, then, come from God and lead to Him. They have in Him their champion and their reward. They form a wonderful equation. One recalls and demands the other. Their presence creates life, just as their absence equals death. The more we love, the more ready we are to forgive. The more we are forgiven, the more eager we feel to love. Such is the amazing spiraling effect of the equation between love and forgiveness. And in the process we, mere mortal people, become evermore God- like--a “final product” which we are all destined and challenged to attain.

Bishop Pat Alo


A listening presence

WE acknowledge the myriad blessings from above, including the elections that have just passed and given us hopes of new and honest leadership; and in our environment, the show- ers of rain on our dry land that has revived dying crops and restored hope and confidence that God indeed listens to our crying needs. The coming of the Spirit this Pentecost Sunday also awakens us to the challenge of continuing Jesus’ legacy of

ongoing evangelization and to the ever-living presence of a God in touch with His people, His redeemed children in Christ. As our Philippine Church continues the ‘journey wake’ to the Year 2021 ‘Missio ad gentes’ the focus especially on this year of the Family is that

families remain the seed- bed of evangelization, and parents and children listen to each other. The listen- ing gesture will generate towards a healthy spirit of dialogue that will steadily expand into the outer, larg- er community being served. Many Filipino missionaries were born from mission- conscious families where parents have sown the seed of a ‘Christified’ spirituality that seeks to sacrifice the self for the sake of service. This will also serve as preparation for the Year

Dialogue will call for a spirit of ready listening, first to the God of love in prayer and to different members of society.

2020 of Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue. Dialogue will call for a spirit of ready listening, first to the God of love in prayer and to different members of society in inter-actions towards building com- munity and strengthening solidarity in the struggle for social change, unity in healing social ills, integrity and social justice in our land. A dialogue has also to put on the atmosphere of patience and put aside all biases and prejudices as Jesus made that a consistent rule: “Judge not and you will not be judged; because the judgments you give are the judgments you will get” (Mt. 7:1-2), but the greatest of them all is love (1 Cor. 13:13).

Bo Sanchez


Bless your loved ones

MAY I share this with you? My friend sent it to me and I found it… uh… enlightening (I think).

W h a t I L e a r n e d F r o m M y

Mother (Anonymous) My mother taught me about Priori- ties. Because when my brother and I fought, she’d usually say, “If you want

to kill each other, go outside because I just cleaned the house.” My mother also taught me about Re- ligion. Because whenever I dirty her carpet, she’d say,

“Start praying that

I can remove this

stain, or I will chop your head off.”

My mother also taught me about Log- ic. She liked say- ing to me, “Here’s

why you need to do it. Because I said so!” M y m o t h e r a l s o t a u g h t m e about Contortionism. When I came from school sweaty and

dirty, she often told me, “You’re filthy! And look at the dirt at the back of your neck. Look at it!” My mother taught me the meaning of Genetics. She often said, “You really took after your no-good father!” And the favorite lesson I learned from Mom is what Justice is all about. She often told me, “One day, you’ll have kids of your own. I pray they’ll be just as stubborn and hard-headed

as you are…”

Let me tell you a very old—and very weird—story. Old blind Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. When Isaac felt he was dying, he called his eldest son Esau. He said, “Hunt me some animal and cook me a hearty meal. I’m going to give you my personal blessing before I die.” As Esau ran off, he didn’t notice that his mother, Rebekah, was eavesdrop- ping.

What’s The Fuss About A Few Syl- lables? If there’s anything you learn from this story, it’s this: Parents, don’t ever play favorites! When you do, you may just create a war that will curse your great-great-great-great grandchildren. What’s the big hullabaloo over a

personal blessing from a sick old man? Why were Jacob and Esau fighting over words? Syllables? Sounds? From the lips of a dying

father? Because the ancients understood what we moderns don’t—that words create reality. According to Gen- esis, God created the entire universe by speaking it forth. “Let there be light!” He said, and there was light.

Why were Jacob and Esau fighting over words? Syllables? Sounds? From the lips of a dying father?

Because the ancients understood what we

moderns don’t— that words create reality.

She called Jacob, her favorite son, and explained everything to him. “Quick!” she said, “Get two goats from our flock. I’ll cook them and you give the meal to your father. He’ll give you a personal blessing!” Jacob went off and did as was told. Now believe me, it’s much quicker to get goats from your own flock than to hunt for a wild boar from the wilderness. So Jacob went to his father and said, “I’m Esau. Here’s the meal. Can you bless me now?” Remember that Isaac was now almost blind. So he gave his blessing. T h a t w a s w h e n E s a u r u n s i n with his meal. And his father said, “Alas! Your brother Jacob fooled me. I have no more blessing to give you!” Strange story, right?

Why Are Words Powerful Parents, be careful of what you say to your kids. Because your words proph- esy their future. If you don’t believe me, try this ten- year experiment. St a r t i n g t o d a y, s h o u t t o yo u r kids, “You’re hard-headed!” Do this daily for the next ten years. Be- lieve me, your children will grow up to be the most bull-headed kids in the world. Why do words have power? Because love is the greatest force on this planet—and words have the capacity to either give or take away love. When we bless someone with our words, we give love. And when we curse, we take away love. That’s why words are powerful.

A Very Strange Story Poor guy—whoever wrote that piece above.

According to the Bible, words aren’t


syllables bunched up together.

can impact the future lives of others.



May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16



A happy giver


Juansing Ramirez and his wife Susan are happy to receive a new house that they decided to give a parcel of land to another shelter beneficiary of Caritas.

“SINCE I was born, I never had a house as beautiful as this.” These were the words exclaimed by Juansing Ramirez, a member of an indigenous group in Coron, Palawan when asked about the new house he received from Caritas. He said his new house is not just sturdy but also very well-ventilated as winds naturally keep it cool. Juansing said before they used to live only in a shabby house made of light materials. And it was destroyed after ryphoon Haiyan made landfall in Palawan in November 2013 as it exited

the Philippine archipelago. So it was like a dream Juansing never thought would ever come true when he was among those chosen by the Catholic Church through the Apostolic Vicari- ate of Taytay Social Action Center and NASSA/Caritas Philippines to receive

a new house. “I will never forget this for the rest of my life,” he wholeheartedly said. To show his gratefulness to the bless - ing he has received, he donated a parcel of land to another beneficiary who land- less so that Caritas could also provide him shelter.

He said his brother-in-law also did the same to another supposed shelter beneficiary of Caritas in need of land. “I am very happy because I also be- came a bridge for others to be happy.”

NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. It works in partnership with the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay Social Action Center in imple- menting the REACHPhilippines program for Typhoon Haiyan survivors in the prov- ince of Palawan. For more information, please visit

From waste plastics to decorative pieces!

BEFORE Haiyan came and devastated the village of Caluwayan in Marabut, Western Samar, Lorna Bacuñata used to spend most of her time at home rearing her four children. Her husband was the only one supporting their family through farming, which allowed him to earn Php 500 weekly. Lorna admitted his income then was not enough to support their fam- ily’s growing needs. Thus, she was delighted to have been given a livelihood opportunity as part of the Catholic Church’s rehabilitation program for typhoon Haiyan survivors. The Diocese of Calbayog – Yolanda Recovery and Development Of- fice, with NASSA/Caritas Philippines has implemented a Solid Waste Management Project for Lorna and other Haiyan survivors in Western Samar. By collecting soft drink bottles made of plastic, she makes various decorative pieces, which she sells at Php 30 to 300 per piece, depending on their size. Usually, it takes her 15 minutes to finish one decorative piece. “Even my children already knew how to make these decors,” Lorna shared. Sometimes, her husband would also help make the recycled flower pieces, which are more meticulously done. Since then, Lorna is already earning at least Php450 every week from making decorative pieces out of recycled materials in addition to her husband’s Php 1,500 income, who now works as a motorcycle mechanic. “Thank you very much Caritas for helping us. Now, I am not only able to support our family’s basic needs, we are also able to buy the things that we want,” she said. Since Lorna became part of the Solid Waste Management Project, she was already able to buy a refrigerator and water dispenser for their family!

NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. It works in partnership with the Diocese of Cal- bayog - Relief and Rehabilitation Unit in implementing the REACHPhilippines program for typhoon Haiyan survivors in the province of Western Samar. For more information, please visit

Lector, B2

after the Prayer of the Faithful is concluded and while the priest remains at the chair, the acolyte places the corporal, the purifi- cator, the chalice, the pall, and the Missal on the altar. Then, if necessary, the acolyte assists the priest in receiving the gifts of the people and, if appropriate, brings the bread and wine to the altar and hands them to the priest. If incense is used, the aco- lyte presents the thurible to the priest and assists him while he incenses the gifts, the cross, and the altar. Then the acolyte in- censes the priest and the people. “191. A duly instituted aco- lyte, as an extraordinary minis- ter, may, if necessary, assist the priest in giving Communion to the people. If Communion is given under both kinds, when no deacon is present, the aco- lyte administers the chalice to the communicants or holds the chalice if Communion is given by intinction.

“192. Likewise, when the distribution of Communion is completed, a duly instituted acolyte helps the priest or deacon to purify and arrange the sacred vessels. When no deacon is pres- ent, a duly instituted acolyte carries the sacred vessels to the credence table and there purifies, wipes, and arranges them in the usual way. “193. After the celebration of Mass, the acolyte and other min- isters return in procession to the sacristy, together with the deacon and the priest in the same way and order in which they entered. “D. The duties of the lector “Introductory Rites “194. In coming to the altar, when no deacon is present, the lector, wearing approved at- tire, may carry the Book of the Gospels, which is to be slightly elevated. In that case, the lector walks in front of the priest but otherwise along with the other ministers.

“195. Upon reaching the altar, the lector makes a profound bow with the others. If he is carrying the Book of the Gospels, he approaches the altar and places the Book of the Gospels upon it. Then the lector takes his own place in the sanctuary with the other ministers. “The Liturgy of the Word “196. The lector reads from the ambo the readings that precede the Gospel. If there is no psalmist, the lector may also proclaim the responsorial Psalm after the first reading. “197. When no deacon is present, the lector, after the introduction by the priest, may announce from the ambo the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. “198. If there is no singing at the Entrance or at Communion and the antiphons in the Missal are not recited by the faithful, the lector may read them at the appropriate time (cf. above, nos.

48, 87).” Perhaps the best presentation of these ministries comes from the discourse that the bishop delivers before conferring the ministry that is found in the rite itself. Before conferring the ministry of lector:

“Dear sons in Christ: Through his Son, who became man for us, God the Father has revealed the mystery of salvation and brought it to fulfillment. Jesus Christ made all things known to us and then entrusted his Church with the mission of preaching the Gospel to the whole world. “As readers and bearers of God’s word, you will assist in this mission, and so take on a spe- cial office within the Christian community; you will be given a responsibility in the service of the faith, which is rooted in the word of God. You will proclaim that word in the liturgical assem- bly, instruct children and adults

in the faith and prepare them to receive the sacraments worthily. You will bring the message of salvation to those who have not yet received it. Thus with your help men and women will come to know God our Father and his Son Jesus Christ, whom he sent, and so be able to reach eternal life. “In proclaiming God’s word to others, accept it yourselves in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Meditate on it constantly, so that each day you will have a deeper love of the Scriptures, and in all you say and do show forth to the world our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Before conferring the ministry of acolyte:

“Dear sons in Christ, as peo- ple chosen for the ministry of acolyte, you will have a special role in the Church’s ministry. The summit and source of the Church’s life is the eucharist, which builds up the Christian community and makes it grow.

It is your responsibility to assist priests and deacons in carrying out their ministry, and as special ministers to give holy commu- nion to the faithful at the liturgy and to the sick. Because you are specially called to this ministry, you should strive to live more fully by the Lord’s sacrifice and to be molded more perfectly in its likeness. You should seek to understand the deep spiritual meaning of what you do, so that you may offer yourselves daily to God as spiritual sacrifices accept- able to him through Jesus Christ. “In performing your ministry bear in mind that, as you share the one bread with your brothers and sisters, so you form one body with them. Show a sincere love for Christ’s Mystical Body, God’s holy people, and especially for the weak and the sick. Be obedi- ent to the commandment which the Lord gave to his apostles at the Last Supper: ‘Love one an- other as I also have loved you.’”

Disability, B4

change (experiences and best practices) among priests and lay collaborators (church-based ministers) involved in the pwd ministry either officially or volun- tarily within the Suffragan Dioceses of Manila, viz., Diocese of Antipolo Diocese of Cubao Diocese of Imus Diocese of Caloocan Diocese of Malolos Diocese of Novaliches Diocese of Parañaque Diocese of Pasig Diocese of San Pablo

Should the other dioceses find this initiative beneficial, we can move towards a larger inter-diocesan circle.

b) Judge. To discern together on the

very nature of the ministry with pwds in the light of the call for New Evangeliza- tion in the Church;

c) Act. To move together:

as an inter-diocesan team network- ing and collaborating with each other through shared resources; to help dioceses set up a PWD min- istry where there is none; to encourage the CBCP to draw up a Pastoral Statement on Persons- with-Disabilities which will serve as a Magna Carta for PWD Ministry in the Philippine Church; by speaking for and on behalf of the pwd ministries as we lobby together for the creation of a new Commission on Persons-with-Disabilities within the structure of the CBCP (instead of being categorized as a subsidiary program of the Commission on Health Care); or if the foregoing is not possible (considering the logistical and time constraints as well as the tedious pro- cess of having the proposed creation submitted for the approval of Rome), we can at least request CBCP that the PWD ministry be placed under

Commission on Family and Life instead, as clearly the primary care for persons with disabilities falls within the ambit of Family and Life formation and not social services nor health care.

CONCLUSION As a Church, we need to dialogue with persons-with-disabilities. Last July 27, 2013, while speaking to political, economic and cultural leaders in Brazil, the so-called “ruling class of Brazil,” Pope Francis spoke of the culture of encounter as a culture of dialogue. “Today, either we stake all on

dialogue, on the culture of encounter, or we all lose.” He said that dialogue is

a third way between “selfish indifference and violent protest.” Dialogue is the

only way to promote social peace.16 This cannot but remind me of how Filipino PWDs trooped to the Office of Commission on Human Rights to file their complaints against non-

compliance by the MMDA of BP344 or the Philippine Accessibility Law and non-implementation of the Magna Carta on the Rights of the Disabled with regards the 20% discount on medicines that they ought to receive. That Rally was held in July 19, 2010. Is a rally like this far from happening in the Church? I don’t think so. Do we want to hear the mandate and princi- ples laid out by the Vatican Committee for the Jubilee Day of the Community With Persons With Disabilities in their document entitled The Duties Of The Civil And Ecclesial Community17 read to our bishops and priests by PWD Catholics through megaphones from streets fronting the CBCP building or in front of our local parish churches? I don’t think so. But these are not impos- sible from happening given the long decades of silence - bereft of encounter

- that we have accorded our catholic

PWD sisters and brothers. No, like you, I don’t think our PWD Catholics will be violent. No, like you, I don’t think our silent innocent children

with disabilities will understand and care about what the grown-ups read from magna cartas and philosophi- cal principles. For all they care, they would just squint at the hot midday sun, perspire and put their hands to their ears because of the noisy protests of grown-ups. These do not make them smile. They will not enjoy that kind of togetherness - in an indignation rally? C’mon! But do you know what they only care about? They only care about wearing that white polo shirt or dress, wear that butterfly tie or tie that ribbon on her head, and she would put on a white veil, and they would hold a lighted white candle on one hand and place the hand other on their chest, queue up while others sing for them, at the right sacred time and sacred space, struggle with all their might to ut- ter one word they have rehearsed for so long: “Amen,” as they receive the Body of Christ in their first holy com- munion. That is all they care about. That relationship is all that matters to them - at the right sacred time and sacred place. Do we care about them? Do we care about their sense of presence before the presence of God? Do we care about their simple desire to belong? Do we hear their voices crying out wanting to celebrate their life despite their dis- abilities? If yes, then, first, as a Church, we need to dialogue with persons-with- disabilities and their families and their guardians. Because when we do, then we are already creating a culture of encounter. Let us create this encounter right now, in our hearts, our homes, our parishes and our dioceses. Yes, in our nation. Because where we encounter God, we cannot but be transformed into His Image. And that is all that matters. Thank You.


On December 7, 2013, Saturday, at the Cuneta Astrodome, Roxas Boule-

vard, Pasay City, from 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m we held the FIRST IDEAS PWD DAY gathering. This pioneering inter- diocesan engagement served both as our Catholic Persons-with-Disabilities Day and Pre-Christmas celebrations as we closed the Year of Faith and continue to journey through our Era of New Evangelization. We gathered close to 5,000 participants from the PWD sec- tors of 13 Suffragan Dioceses of Manila and other dioceses near or far.

Please support us in this advocacy. Email me at for more info on how to be of help.


content/persons-disability-philippines-re- sults-2010-census

2 CALABARZON region is composed of five provinces, namely: Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon; whose names form the acronym CALABARZON. The region is also more formally known as Southern Tagalog Mainland.

3 NCR stands for National Capital Region, also known as Metro-Manila or the Manila metropolitan region, which is composed of the City of Manila and the surrounding cities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon City, San Juan, Taguig, and Valenzuela, as well as the Municipality of Pateros.

4 Central Luzon regional provinces are: Auro- ra, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.

5 Jocelyn R. Uy, “Filipino Catholic population expanding say Church officials,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 11, 2013. (empha- ses mine) Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.

net/463377/filipino-catholic-population-ex- panding-say-church-officials

6 As of the time of writing this paper, NSO has not included in its 2010 report the data of distribution of disabilities by religion. This detail was however present in its Census of Population and Housing Report in 2000, thirteen years ago. Back then, the total Philip- pine population estimate was 75.33 million. The PWD population then was only 942,098, of which, according to their analysis, Roman Catholic was the most dominant religious af- filiation (81.48 percent) among PWDs

1 Source:

7 In his opinion column, “Public Lives,” soci- ologist Randy David in April highlighted three findings of a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in February: “First, that weekly church attendance has significant- ly gone down from a high of 64 percent in July 1991 to a low of 37 percent in February 2013. Second, that only 29 percent of Filipino Catho- lics consider themselves “very religious,” com- pared to 50 percent of Protestants, 43 percent

of Iglesia ni Cristo members, and 38 percent

of Muslims. And finally, that 9.2 percent (one out of 11) “sometimes think of leaving the Church.” Source:: http://newsinfo.inquirer.

net/463377/filipino-catholic-population-ex- panding-say-church-officials#ixzz2gikC9QYT





10 Fervorino (plural: fervorini, fervorinos) is an Italian noun for: a) exhortation, admonition, advice, pep talk; or b) “a small spontaneous prayer or meditation of love, affection, trust, thanksgiving that arises from the heart and flies like an arrow to the heavenly throne.” There is an important distinction between fervorinos and authoritative teachings. In

a Catholic News Service article (“In inter-

views, Pope Francis crafts a new genre of papal language” Oct 3, 2013), Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, is cited to give the distinction: “’Catholics have traditionally heard or read a pope’s words in certain authoritative forms: magisterial documents, such as encyclicals or apostolic exhortations, which carry the full weight of the papacy’s teaching authority; canonical decrees with the force of church law; and homilies delivered at major papal liturgies. In all such cases, Vatican officials ordinarily review the texts prior to delivery and provide official translations in major languages to reduce the possibility of ambiguity or confu- sion.’ Pope Francis’ addition to the magiste- rial, canonical and pastoral forms of papal communication, Father Lombardi said, is a genre that might be termed ‘conversational,’ comprising not only the pope’s interviews with journalists but also his off-the-cuff homilies at daily morning Masses, of which the Vatican publishes only summaries with verbatim excerpts. When the pope speaks spontane- ously, his words should carry correspondingly less weight than in more traditional forms and contexts, Father Lombardi said.” This second definition (b) is from: http://www.pilgrimread- id=29620. The quotation from Catholic News Agency is from:




12 Alejo, Albert, SJ., “Popular Spirituality As Cultural Energy.” This paper was delivered during the Spirituality Forum III on August 5,2003 at University of Sto. Tomas CME Auditorium, Manila, Philippines, previously published in Lecture Series 3 on Spiritual- ity, 2004. Source: alejo.pdf

13 Alejo, Ibid., p.4.

14 The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), §367.

15 Henri Nouwen in Turn My Mourning into Dancing, cited by Wil Hernandez in Henri Nouwen and Soul Care: A Ministry of Integra- tion (Kindle Location 664). Kindle Edition. 16







May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16 CBCP


Moral Assessment  Abhorrent  Disturbing  Acceptable  Wholesome

Moral Assessment










Technical Assessment



Below average




Above average



MAGKABABATA sina Ava (Nadine Lustre) at Coby (James Reid), pero taon-taon lamang nagkikita sila, tuwing bakasyon sa tag-init, pagkat ang lolo at tumatayong magulang ni Coby (Freddie Webb) ay isang ambas- sador, at sa iba’t-ibang bansa sila naninirahan. Habang sila’y mga musmos pa, may lakip na pag- iinisan ang kanilang pakikitungo sa isa’t-isa, pero sa paglakad ng panahon, kapag mga teenag- ers na sila, magsisimula silang magkalapit, at paglao’y mag- kakaroon ng pagkakaunawaan bugso ng kanilang pagiging dalaga at binata na nagsisimula nang maghanap ng isang es- pesyal na nilalang na maaari nilang mahalin habang buhay. Sa kabila ng kanilang madalas na pag-uusap sa tulong ng in- ternet, mamabutihin pa rin nila ang personal na pag-uugnayan na mangyayari naman sa Japan, at lalong magpapatingkad sa kanilang pagkakalapit. Malaking bagay na nakakadis- karil sa panonood ang hindi pagkakasabay ng tunog at pag- buka ng bibig ng mga tauhang nagsasalita. Hindi rin pantay- pantay ang lakas ng tunog sa pananalita—minsa’y sapat lang, minsan naman ay biglang na- kakabingi sa lakas. Dagdagan pa ito ng medyo malabong pagsingit ng flashbacks na na- kakalito sa manunuod, at lalong nagmumukhang kathang-isip lamang talaga ang inihahay- ag na kuwento sa pinilakang- tabing—nababawasan ang likas na kapangyarihan ng istorya na “pasakayin” ang mga tao sa pag- kamakatotohanan nito. Gayun- paman, nananaig pa rin ang tam- balang “Jadine” sa mga eksenang maromansa—kilig na kilig ang mga manunuod, bigay-hilig ang paghiyaw kapag nagkakalapit na ang mga bibig ng binata at dalaga sa bawa’t halik. Kaaya-aya

ring masdan ang mga eksenang kuha sa Japan; nakapagbubukas ito ng isip tungkol sa kakaibang kultura nito. Maraming inihahantad na mabubuting bagay ang This time. Isa na rito ay ang ka- halagahan ng pagkakaroon ng magandang pakikitungo ng mga miyembro ng pamilya sa isa’t isa. Sa anumang pagka- kataon, lalo na sa panahon ng kalituhan o kalungkutan, ang suporta at katapatan ng isang maunawaing pamilya ang ang


DIRECTOR: Nuel Naval LEAD CAST: James Reid, Na- dine Lustre, Freddie Webb GENRE: Romantic Comedy DISTRIBUTOR: Viva Films LOCATION: Philippines/Japan RUNNING TIME: 2 hours TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT:




CINEMA rating: PG 13

umaalalay sa isang tao. Ang mga matatag at malusog na relasyon, sa pamilya man o sa labas nito, ay nakasalalay sa paggalang, sa ka- lawakan ng isip, at sa katapatan ng bawa’t isa sa kani-kaniyang sarili. Itinatampok din ng This time ang pagiging kanais-nais ng isang malinis na relasyon sa pagitan ng isang binata at isang dalaga, at ang kagandahan ng paghihintay sa tamang panahon ng pagkakalapit ng mga puso. Dahil may mga close-up na halikan sa pelikula, mungkahi ng CINEMA na ipaliwanag ito sa mga paslit na inyong isasama sa sinehan—hindi halikan ang pundasyon ng pagmamahalan nila Ava at Coby; bagkus ito ay sumisibol mula sa isang malinis na pagkakaibigang nagsimula noong kapwa walang malay pa ang dalawa.

MOTHER’S Day, the holiday, is fast approaching, and families, especially mothers in the upscale neighborhood of Buckhead, in Atlanta, are nearing panic mode as they prepare for the special day. Mother’s Day, the movie, is played out like a deck of playing cards—as the cards are thrown on the table at random, one never knows what each may reveal, because nearly all the characters in the houses harbors a secret. Divorced mom Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) can’t get over the fact that her ex-husband is marrying a teenaged whistlebait. Sisters Jesse and Gabi (Kate Hudson and Sarah Chalke)—one is married to an Indian, the other is a lesbian whose partner is a single mom—shield their own children from their bigoted Texan grandparents. Widower Bradley (Jason Sudei-

kis) suddenly has to cope with maternal duties raising two young daughters recently orphaned by their military mother who died in Afghanistan. Miranda (Julia Roberts) whose skills as tv-shopping guru have raised her to celebrity status is about to meet a biological daughter she had abandoned as an infant. With such a roster of mega-

stars believably playing their roles in a story that throws the limelight on relatable mother- oriented fixes, viewers may not bother at all to scrutinize the other technical aspects of the movie, such as lighting, sounds, music, cinematography, etc. At least not the moviegoers in Metromanila who filled up the cinemas during last Mother’s Day weekend. Most American film reviewers (regularly pub- lished in may under- standably have a different take on Mother’s Day—presumably rooted in social cultural fac- tors—thus they mercilessly lash out at its director for habitually exploiting the “estrogen crowd”

with such holiday-based potboilers as Valentine’s Day (2010) and New Year’s Eve (2011), and now Mother’s Day. The critics’ claim is true that Mother’s Day does not go deep into the issues it brings up, rendering it superficial and rife with “forced nuttiness” and “shallow sentimentality”. The contentious issues—sudden death of a spouse, racist beliefs, homosexual relations, modesty in dress in the presence of children, career vs. motherhood, parents and children’s differences in outlook, etc.—are indeed serious enough to each merit a drama feature

themselves. But it must be remembered that Mother’s Day chose to be a comedy, and as such is bound to be light, albeit laced with pathos. It is deliberately “shallow”, not probing the psyche of the characters, but rather assigning them their specific spot in the picture, surrounding them with challenges, and leaving the thinking and the analysis to the viewer. That Mother’s Day touches on the abovementioned issues and engages the imagination and discernment of the viewer is enough. Not many movies designed to make us laugh can do that.


DIRECTOR: Garry Marshall LEAD CAST: Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Jason Sudeikis, Britt Robertson, Timothy Olyphant, Hector Elizondo, Jack Whitehall GENRE: Romantic Comedy PRODUCTION COMPANY: Ca- pacity Pictures, Gulfstream Pictures, PalmStar Media DISTRIBUTOR: Open Roads Film LOCATION: United States RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT:




CINEMA rating: V 14

Buhay San Miguel

Brothers Matias

½ CINEMA rating: V 14 Buhay San Miguel Brothers Matias Lolo Kiko Bladimer Usi Buhay Parokya

Lolo Kiko

Bladimer Usi

V 14 Buhay San Miguel Brothers Matias Lolo Kiko Bladimer Usi Buhay Parokya Look for the
V 14 Buhay San Miguel Brothers Matias Lolo Kiko Bladimer Usi Buhay Parokya Look for the

Buhay Parokya

Look for the images of Pope Francis, Archangel Gabriel and Saint Lorenzo Ruiz. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

Parokya Look for the images of Pope Francis, Archangel Gabriel and Saint Lorenzo Ruiz. (Illustration by
Parokya Look for the images of Pope Francis, Archangel Gabriel and Saint Lorenzo Ruiz. (Illustration by
THE CROSS A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus


A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus

of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus CBCP Monitor Vol. 20, No. 16

CBCP Monitor Vol. 20, No. 16

May 16 - 29, 2016

Insurance Commission Renews KCFAPI’s Mutual Benefit Association’s License

From Left to Right: Vice President- Treasury, BRO and HRCC Group Mary Magdalene G. Flores,
From Left to Right: Vice President- Treasury, BRO and HRCC Group Mary Magdalene G. Flores, Vice President-MIS, Admin and Underwriting Group Ronulfo Antero G. Infante, Chairman Arsenio Isidro G. Yap, Executive
Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Vice President - Fraternal Benefits Group Gari M. San Sebastian and Vice President- Actuarial and Business Development Angelito A. Bala received the Certificate of Authority
from the Insurance Commission’s Deputy Commissioner Vida T. Chiong last May 12, 2016.
Deputy Commissioner Vida T. Chiong last May 12, 2016. THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of

THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. had once again successfully renewed the valuable Mutual Benefit Association’s license given by the Insurance Commission last May 12, 2016 at the Insurance Commission Office, UN Avenue, Manila. The said certificate was handed by Insurance Commission’s Deputy Commissioner Vida T. Chiong to KCFAPI Officers led by Chairman Arsenio Isidro G. Yap and Executive

Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia. This achievement truly certifies KCFAPI’s unyielding commitment to its Benefit Certificate Holders and this Certificate of Authority allows the Association to transact as a mutual benefit association which is valid until December 31, 2018. Currently KCFAPI offers the following products that are very affordable and convenient:

• KC Term Protect 5 a term life insurance plan that provides life

protection for five (5) years.

• KC Prime Shield a term life

insurance that provides life

protection up to insurance age 65.

• KC Health Guard Plus a ten

(10) year term plan that provides Accidental Benefits, Hospital Cash Reimbursements, Surgical Cash Support, Intensive Care Unit Benefits and Money Back Feature. • KC Family Protect Series a whole life plan that provides lifetime protection.

• One Time Contribution Plan

a single contribution endowment insurance plan that provides life and living benefits protection for ten

(10) years. • Special Plan for Elderly Knights a whole life plan that provides lifetime protection for elderly Knights of Columbus members. • KC Gem Savings Series a flexible endowment plan that provides life and living benefits protection that can be paid for either five (5), seven

(7), or ten (10) years. • Endowment Plans an endowment plan that provides life and living benefits protection for ten (10) to twenty (20) years. • Elite Pro Series a permanent life insurance plan that provides retirement benefits. These products were created to address the needs and ensure the protection of its members and their dependents during their times of need.

KCFAPI Employees Unite for Customer Service Excellence

need. KCFAPI Employees Unite for Customer Service Excellence KCFAPI employees with Ariva Academy Speaker Mr. Howell

KCFAPI employees with Ariva Academy Speaker Mr. Howell V. Mabalot (4th from left) with KCFAPI Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia (4th from right) cheerfully pose for the camera during the Customer Service Excellence Workshop held at the 3rd floor Social Hall, KCFAPI Bldg., Intramuros Manila.

LAST May 7, the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. together with Ariva Academy, held its first company-wide in-house training for 2016. The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Howell V. Mabalot who is a Fellow of Royal Institute of Management Singapore and


of experience in conducting trainings. Employees coming from different departments and wholly owned companies participated on the much awaited event such as:

Underwriting, Benefit Certificate Relations Office, Corporate Audit, Financial Reporting and Control, Treasury,HumanResourceand Corporate Communications, Keys Realty Development Corporation and Holy Trinity Memorial Chapels. Aside from the employees, the said training was participated by KCFAPI Officers namely: Vice

President – MIS, Admin and Underwriting Group Ronulfo Antero G. Infante; Vice President – Treasury, BRO and HRCC Mary Magdalene G. Flores and Vice President – Actuarial and Business Development Angelito A. Bala as they willingly participated on some of the group activities that were judged by KCFAPI Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia. W i t h t h e g r o w i n g competition of providing better products and services, KCFAPI management endorsed the said workshop to equip its employees on how to manage customer expectations and address customer complaints by understanding better their customers and their own individual personality thru games and group activities with they could later on relate and recall. Finally, Mr. Mabalot ended the training with this quote to ponder: “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

First Luzon North State Convention Highlights Environmental Concerns



e n v i r o n m e n t a l


o n c e r n s

w e r e

t h e

highlights in line with the theme “Answering the Call to Evangelize” during the first state convention of the Knights of Columbus Luzon North State Jurisdiction headed by State Deputy, Jose Reyes, Jr. held on April 30, 2016 at the Manila Grand Opera Hotel. Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines - National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA), Fr. Edwin Gariguez, encouraged the Brother Knights to heed the call of Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si. “We must continuously work towards the sustainable development practices in order for us to protect our common home and to hear the cry of mother earth and the poor,” said Gariguez.

hear the cry of mother earth and the poor,” said Gariguez. KCFAPI President Justice Jose C.

KCFAPI President Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr. welcomes the brother Knights and their guests during the Luzon North’s State Convention held at the Manila Grand Opera Hotel last April 30, 2016.

He added that we must be worried because our common home, which is the earth, is gradually destroyed by the people itself. Gariguez, who was also a KC Priest Scholar, described the climate change as the world’s most “urgent and alarming”

Four priests in a row According to State Deputy Reyes, the first Luzon North state convention was the first

moral issue. A global sustainable ecology was urged by Gariguez by protecting our environment.

major event of the Knights of Columbus, wherein all invited guests were priests. “We are very blessed for having these priests as our special guests. This is by chance, we did not plan this, perhaps, the Holy Spirit allowed this to happen in order for us to be aware,” said Reyes, who was very happy on the outcome of their event. Aside from Gariguez, other guest priests were Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III, Luzon North Assistant Chaplain; Rev. Fr. Arthuro C. Batac, Diocesan Fr. Prior of the Columbian Squires; and Rev. Fr. Arlo Bernardo Yap, SVD, Coordinator for Biblical Apostolate of Social Communication of the Christ the King Parish.

Program Proper The event started with a

Convention / C3

Program Proper The event started with a Convention / C3 KCFAPI Fraternal Counselors who participated in

KCFAPI Fraternal Counselors who participated in the FST 2 Program posed for a picture taken at the Museum of Fr. George J. Willmann together with FBSD Manager Michael P. Cabra.

J. Willmann together with FBSD Manager Michael P. Cabra. Vice President – FBG Gari M. San

Vice President – FBG Gari M. San Sebastian welcomes Fraternal Counselors during the Fraternal Service Training 2 Program held last April 26-27, 2016 at the 3rd Fr. Willmann Memorial Building.


May 16 - 29, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 16

The Cross

Arsenio Isidro G. Yap

Chairman’s Message

C r o s s Arsenio Isidro G. Yap Chairman’s Message FOR the first time in

FOR the first time in such a long time, we had a generally peaceful, orderly and probably the most honest and transparent election ever. It was also very efficient and very fast in more ways than one. The queue moves a whole lot faster than in any election before. The steps were shorter as the second signature after casting your vote and the thumb mark to boot were omitted. Credible unofficial results were being broadcasted on the internet, television and over the radio barely an hour after the polling places were closed. This was made possible by COMELEC’s transparency server. It prevented any hocus focus in previous elections like the “dagdag bawas” allegations against COMELEC Commissioners and personnel, vote switching of candidates and the likes. The results were so fast that it leaves little doubt that there was enough time to tamper with the electronic transmission. Of course there were the usual complaints e.g. malfunctioning “Picos” machines which cause delays in casting the votes and transmittal of election results. Doubts were cast on the machines tamper proof claim by its provider. Difficulty for PWDs, women in an advance stage of pregnancy, the septuagenarians and octogenarians in climbing flight of stairs or even walking deep into the campus as vehicles are not allowed in the school compounds. There’s also the rampant vote buying and flying voters in some areas. Other complaints and most common are the so-called “missing names” on the voters’ list. In some instances, the voters were searching for their names in the wrong precinct number and/or in the wrong cluster. A good number claimed that they were disenfranchised for no apparent reason. They claimed that they were able to vote in the last election and that they’re wondering how come their names were not on the list. In our analysis of such situations, we cannot put

the blame on COMELEC but on the voters themselves. They could have checked the COMELEC’s website long before election time to verify if their names are still on the list and at what precinct number. But instead they were blaming it on the hapless personnel manning the Help Desk, teachers, PPCRV Poll watchers and other volunteer groups. At times even shouting invectives. Such are some of our voters. All the PPCRV has to do now is to validate the electronic transmission with the hardcopy their volunteers have gathered from the polling polls. COMELEC will do the official tally and proclaim the winners in the days ahead mostly from the different municipalities and provinces. Hopefully, they would be able to expeditiously do the same for the President, the Vice-President and the Senators. The PPCRV in partnership with COMELEC is doing a very good job. Its level of credibility is in an all-time high.

It is well respected by the voters, the candidates and by the

teachers and/or BEI. Without the PPCRV, COMELEC would have extreme difficulty in convincing the general public of whatever results they would announce. It is sad to note however, that Adela Elmida, a PPCRV volunteer from Pagadian City was gunned down on her way to the command center to submit her copy of an election return. She died on the way to the hospital. It is such a senseless killing as there are more than twenty copies of these returns given to different groups, political and non- partisan on top of the electronic transmittal. The assailants’ ill motives will not prevent the truth to come out and only the rightful winners will be proclaimed. Adela’s death will not be in vain as the truth and the true voice of the people will reverberate throughout our country. The people have spoken. Let their voice prevail.

Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr.

President’s Message

The Recent Election

Jose C. Reyes, Jr. President’s Message The Recent Election IN the 2016 presidential elections, values seemed

IN the 2016 presidential elections, values seemed to have guided our choice of candidates. For the presidential post, there were two women and three men. People hungry for change chose the candidate who they perceived as brave enough to make drastic changes – now president elect Rodrigo Duterte. At the same time, a significant number voted for Grace Poe, who showed compassion as a woman ready to help the poor and care for them. The other woman candidate, Miriam Santiago also got some votes but not because of having motherly concern but firmness, in spite of her femininity. The other values people must have used in choosing who to vote for were integrity, capability to govern, and sense of urgency. Looking at the vice-presidential bid, candidates were men except for one neophyte woman who can be considered as

a non-traditional politician – Leni Robredo. She is not a

famous showbiz personality but became known only when her husband, Jesse Robredo, then Secretary of Local Government in the Aquino Cabinet, died in a plane crash in the middle of his term. She showed her motherly love to her children and her sisterly love for disadvantaged women. Her feminine touch complemented her being a capable lawyer as well. Her opponents were qualified traditional politicians who had their own significant achievements to boast of. Maybe there were other values considered, but being an observer and a voter myself, I thought and felt these were what people used to vote in this year’s election. Being a good mother is surely one of them. Women power clearly shows that even in politics and public service, mothers can contribute once given the opportunity to expand their

territory. Their being mothers at home is their training ground in exercising discipline, patience, self-sacrifice, love for service, fairness, and wise use of resources. The home

is also the place they teach their children to be God-fearing,

industrious, honest in dealing with others, and many other values they themselves practice. Congratulations to our victorious women candidates who were and will continue to be mothers and homemakers. Let us support them to become successful public servants. May they always make Mary, our mother, as their model of gentleness, firmness, love and power in leading us to God. Happy Mother’s Day!

Ma. Theresa G. Curia

Curia Settings

Essence of a Mother

Day! Ma. Theresa G. Curia Curia Settings Essence of a Mother THE essence of a mother

THE essence of a mother is in being a woman. All the things that psychologists and sociologists attribute to a woman predispose her to be a mother. But her dignity as a creature springs not only from her being a woman, but also from her being feminine. Perhaps what I like to say is that we do not start with the physical motherhood when we honor our mothers. Her being a woman and being feminine, are what make our mothers impress on us such a huge gift of life and of being as well as all the lessons about life which we live by. Mothers make us know and experience that God is Father and Mother to all of the created universe. After all, God’s feminine side makes God Creator, productive, provident to all creatures; and this we experience from the love and presence of our mothers. So it is absolutely correct when single women are greeted “Happy Mothers’ Day” by all those who have felt the mothering from them. Teachers, doctors, politicians, aunts, godmothers are usually the ones who fall under this category. Having cleared the wider universe under which mothers belong, please allow me to trace the gold which makes the heart and soul of all mothers who physically bear children, or those who actually take care of another human being even if they did not grow within her body. So we honor and pay tribute to all who carried their children for 9 months in their wombs. We honor also those who have accepted the role of officially and legally mothering children who they did not conceive physically. So we go back to our initial question:

What indeed is the essence of being a mother?

o A mother looses herself and becomes

somebody who exists for her children and who wants nothing but to see her children happy, fulfilled, whole.

o A mother gives, nurtures life, despite

the dangers that conceiving and giving birth entail.

o She sacrifices, will suffer anything

for the good of her children—like the OFWs who bear homesickness bravely,

slaving herself to others, to long hours of work, even working on double or triple jobs.

o Some widows will not imagine

getting married again for love of their children.

o Gives all she has — an OFW sends

all her money for the education of the children; will not mind not eating just

to be able to feed the hungry children.

o When the children get sick seriously, will spend all her money for their

welfare; will do everything in her power for their recovery.

o Thinks constantly of her children and

their dreams; in whatever she does, she keeps the image of her children in her mind as inspiration.

o Gets hurt, feels the pains of her

children whether it be of sickness or

rejection, failure in studies or in the field of love.

o Will defend her children at all cost, from all harm, detractors, bullies.

o Accepts and loves her children

unconditionally, even in their gender

preferences; as long as their choices do not harm them and make them happy.

o Is ready to adjust, adapt new ways

of doing things in order to connect with her children.

o Nothing makes her happier than to see her children happy.

o Forgives them seventy times seven;

is ready to give second and limitless

chances for their reformation; will not give up on them.

o On top of all the hardships that being

a mother demands of her, a mother is

expected to be a model to her children. The world is merciless in judging her

when she errs; yet her heroic acts, her worries and fears, her sleepless nights get unnoticed. o She has no day offs, works 24/7, seldom has time for leisure, recreation or social life.

o And if she is a stay-home Mom, gets

no salary, no insurance or pension plan.

o But there is no joy that equals the

Thank you, I’m sorry, and I love you that she hears from them straight from their hearts. o And definitely no joy can be greater than the Happy Mothers’ Day greetings

that she receives with hugs and smiles and promises of being good.

o What gives her immense peace of

mind is when they tell her: Don’t worry Mom, I will take care of you when you get old. Perhaps, no vocation could equal that of being a mother. Mothers share to a very high degree God’s powers of procreation, providence, sanctification and even redemption in case their children fall to serious misfortune. May motherhood continue to be a blessing to our broken world. [The author, Ma. Theresa G. Curia, is the Executive Vice President of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. and also the Diocesan Regent of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate International.]

Michael P. Cabra

My Brother’s Keeper

GEM Savings Series Plans: Best Gift for Moms!

Keeper GEM Savings Series Plans: Best Gift for Moms! LIKE precious gems, mother’s value is expensive.

LIKE precious gems, mother’s value is expensive. If you had to put a peso figure on the things she does for the family, her worth tends to equal that of the breadwinner. From ‘yaya’, to cook, to budget manager, they do a little bit of everything. The value of the tasks a mother does almost always surpasses everyone. On the contrary, when it comes to life insurance ownership, it is a different story. Among individual policies sold to married c o u p l e s , t h e a m o u n t of coverage on women is substantially lower. Mothers tend to be underinsured. According to LIMRA (Life Insurance Management and Research Association), married couples are less likely to buy individual coverage for wives than husbands, and the amount of coverage purchased for women is about 69 percent of men’s coverage. Is it the same in your respective households? Is your father’s insurance coverage higher than your mom? For married brother knights, is your insurance

Erwin John Mallari

coverage higher than your wife? We should at least balance the scale if we believe both have equal value in the family. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, KCFAPI just launched KC Gem Savings Series Plans. They are ideal gifts for moms to show how much, like precious gems, they are highly valued. KC GEM Saving Series Plans are endowment plans that provide both living and family benefits. Living Benefits are Cash Value, Cash Participation and Cash Maturity. Cash Value is a guaranteed amount usually available at the end of the 2nd BC year and increases every year. It is loanable up to 90% in case of mom’s future financial emergencies. Cash Participation is the share in the Association’s excess of revenue over expenses. Cash Maturity is 100% of the face value given at maturity date. Moms can use it for her dream of family vacation outside the country or purchase a new car for the family. Family Benefit is 100%

of the face value given to the beneficiaries in case of untimely demise of the BC Holder during the protection period. Moms passing will never be a financial burden to the living members of the family. Moms can choose from three maturity options namely KC Emerald (10 years to mature), KC Ruby Savings (15 years to mature) and KC Diamond (20 years to mature). All maturity options are available in 5, 7 and 10 years to contribute. Please see issue ages below:

5, her annual savings is only Php159,410.00. On its 5th year, it will be Php797,050.00 but at the end of the 10th year, she will receive the full Php1,000,000.00. It is with 2.5% interest rate of return for 10 years. If she placed it in a bank, she will never earn the interest amount of Php202,950.00. It is only one of the many features, advantages and benefits of KC Gem Saving Series Plan. For other details, please contact your fraternal counselor.

Plan Name

Years to

Issue Age


KC Emerald


1 to 70


KC Ruby


1 to 65


KC Diamond


1 to 60


If Mom is age 40 now and availed one million (Php1,000,000.00) face value of KC Emerald Savings

If you love your Mom, you will never let this opportunity pass. Happy Mother’s day!

will never let this opportunity pass. Happy Mother’s day! Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident THE end

Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident

THE end is nigh so best be prepared. It is no longer 2012 and the ancient Maya prophecy (a mysterious planet on a collision course with Earth, or a reverse in Earth’s rotation) or at least, the interpretation of it, had not come to pass. In the bible, the book of Genesis chapters 6:9 to 9:17 tells the story of the great flood. It details that on Noah’s 600th year, on the 17th day of the 2nd month the floodgates of heaven were opened and it rained for forty days and forty nights. In the end, God made a covenant with Noah, that Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And He set a rainbow among the clouds as a reminder of this covenant. In Genesis Chapter 19 verse 24, God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by raining down

burning sulfur out of the heavens. All those living in the cities were destroyed and the vegetation in the plains were destroyed as well. As Abraham looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like that of smoke coming from a burning furnace. During the past few years, we have been experiencing heavy torrential rains that have caused flooding even in areas where flooding had not been a problem before. Fire prevention month has come to pass and it has been statistically indicated that March is the month that has the most number of fire incidents in a year, it does not mean we should ease up and be care free. According to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), an average of 9 fire incidents nationwide are happening everyday. While these incidents may not

be of the same magnitude as the ones that have happened in the bible, it still affects people’s lives. The old adage says that prevention is better than cure. This is true, however, not all things can be prevented so it is best be prepared for such calamities. While it is of utmost

importance to look out for our safety first, we can ensure the safety of our material belongings through non-life insurance. Mace Insurance Agency, Inc. is the non-life insurance agency fully owned by the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Phils., Inc. Mace was organized in May 1980 with an initial capital of P50,000.00. Its total assets

is at Php 10.63 million as of December

2015. For the past 36 years, the goal of

the company has always been to provide