Belen scene from the "Belenismo" exhibit in Tarlac City in 2009.
Source for the picture: Dennis Capulong's blog.
His Excellency MOST REV. PEDRO N. BANTIGUE, JCD, D.D., Bishop Emeritus of San Pablo, was born on the 31st of January, 1920 at Sta. Monica Hagonoy, Bulacan. The son of Marcos Bantigue and Eusebia Natividad.
He was ordained priest in the Archdiocese of Manila on May 31, 1945. On May 29, 1961, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Manila and Titular Bishop of Catula. Finally, on July 25 of the same year, he was ordained Bishop by Rufino Jiao Cardinal Santos.
On April 18, 1967, six years after being lifted to the Episcopate, he was appointed the First Bishop of San Pablo (Laguna) and remained in the same office until July 12, 1995. He retired at the age of 75.
|Consecration of the Philippines to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by President Ramon Magsaysay, December 2, 1956. Picture scanned from the souvenir album for the Second National Eucharistic Congress of the Philippines, November 28 - December 2, 1956.|
...the Archbishop paid attention to what our constitution, and what the Church law state that “there should be inviolable separation of the Church and the State…Hindi dapat pagsamahin ang gobyerno at simbahan. Hindi puwedeng ilipat ang katedral sa kapitolyo, at hindi puwedeng mag-office si governor sa katedral…Mayroong separation of Church and State.”
But he also stressed that that separation is not absolute, because there is no separation between God and citizens, between God and man. When we separate God and man, it is not only immoral, it is also unconstitutional, because in the constitution we all recognize that all of us have a God. Citing the late Cardinal Sin, the Archbishop said that the Church and the State are like railroad tracks parallel all throughout and not too near, not too far from each other so that the train could move forward. The train is our country, our nation.
Then Archbishop Villegas mentioned several areas of collaboration and cooperation between the Church and the State:
The First is Peace. Everyone is longing for peace. It is the responsibility of the State to promote peace, and it is also the mission of the Church to take care of peace. Stating it in Filipino, he said: There will be no peace if the people are fighting against each other; there will be no peace if God is not there. There will be no peace if we do not treat each other as brothers and sisters, and there will be no peace if we destroy our environment and natural resources.
The Second is Progress. As the election campaign progresses, all candidates promise to work for progress. We will not vote for any candidate who does not guarantee progress when he/she is elected. But this progress that the candidates promise to promote, this progress of the people is also the concern of the Church. When people progress, the Church is also happy with the progress. But it is not an absolute progress. It should be a progress with God; it should be a progress walking with God, because the Gospel says: What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but suffers the loss of his soul. “Anong kuwenta ng progress kung nahiwalay tayo sa Diyos; anong kuwenta ng pag-unlad kung nawala ang Diyos sa ating kaunlaran. Progress of the people is the duty of the government, and the Church supports governments in promoting total human progress."
The Third is People. It is the people that relate the Church and the State. “’Yung taong nagsisimba, ‘yun din ho ang bumuboto; ;yung taong nagpapa-bless, ‘yun din po ang nagbabayad ng buwis. Ang ibig sabihin po, ang ating pagmamalasakit sa tao ay hindi lamang pagmamalasakit ng gobyerno; ang pagmamalasakit sa tao ay pagmamalasakit ng Diyos para sa atin. Thus, there must be proper distance between the Church and the State so that we can serve the people best. There is what we call in the Church “Common Good”, the good of all, of the many. And this is the duty of both the Church and the State.
He concluded by saying that “before the Lord, we are only brothers and sisters. And in the presence of the Lord, let us promise together, government and Church, munisipyo and Kapitolyo, and the Cathedral and the parishes, let us work together, hand in hand, for peace, let us work together hand in hand for true, Godly progress, let us work together keeping in mind the people always. Because it is only in caring for one another that we can show our love for God...
Pedro Calungsod was born around the year sixteen fifty-four, in the Visayas region of the Philippines. His love for Christ inspired him to train as a catechist with the Jesuit missionaries there. In sixteen sixty-eight, along with other young catechists, he accompanied Father Diego Luís de San Vitores to the Marianas Islands in order to evangelize the Chamorro people.
Life there was hard and the missionaries also faced persecution arising from envy and slander. Pedro, however, displayed deep faith and charity and continued to catechize his many converts, giving witness to Christ by a life of purity and dedication to the Gospel. Uppermost was his desire to win souls for Christ, and this made him resolute in accepting martyrdom. He died on the second of April, sixteen seventy-two. Witnesses record that Pedro could have fled for safety but chose to stay at Father Diego’s side. The priest was able to give Pedro absolution before he himself was killed. May the example and courageous witness of Pedro Calungsod inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the Kingdom bravely and to win souls for God!
If anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven" (Mt 10: 32). From his childhood, Pedro Calungsod declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to his call. Young people today can draw encouragement and strength from the example of Pedro, whose love of Jesus inspired him to devote his teenage years to teaching the faith as a lay catechist. Leaving family and friends behind, Pedro willingly accepted the challenge put to him by Fr Diego de San Vitores to join him on the Mission to the Chamorros. In a spirit of faith, marked by strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion, Pedro undertook the demanding work asked of him and bravely faced the many obstacles and difficulties he met. In the face of imminent danger, Pedro would not forsake Fr Diego, but as a "good soldier of Christ" preferred to die at the missionary's side. Today Bl. Pedro Calungsod intercedes for the young, in particular those of his native Philippines, and he challenges them. Young friends, do not hesitate to follow the example of Pedro, who "pleased God and was loved by him" (Wis 4: 10) and who, having come to perfection in so short a time, lived a full life (cf. ibid., v. 13).
It would be useful to arrange for the preparation of pamphlets and leaflets of an apologetic nature (cfr. 1 Pt 3:15), which should be done with the help of theologians and authors. Every member of the faithful would then be enabled to respond better to the questions which arise in difficult contexts – whether to do with sects, or the problems related to secularism and relativism, or to questions “arising from a changed mentality which, especially today, limits the field of rational certainties to that of scientific and technological discoveries,” or to other specific issues. (Recommendations II.8)