Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Passiontide veiling in the Philippines (updated post)

Prior to the introduction of the Missal of Pope Paul VI (popularly known as the "Novus Ordo" or "Forma Ordinaria" / Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) in late 1969, the Roman Rite had the practice of veiling all (or most) of the crosses and images in churches during "Passiontide", which began with the Fifth Sunday of Lent (known in the Roman Rite as "Passion Sunday" until 1960 and as the "First Sunday of the Passion" from 1960 until 1969) and ended with Holy Saturday. This practice is still retained in many churches abroad (even those that use the Missal of Paul VI exclusively), as well as in the churches and oratories where the pre-Conciliar Roman Rite is followed. It is not required, but encouraged. 

In the Philippines, at least in my experience, churches in the Metro Manila area normally veil their images only beginning with Palm Sunday. Some do so only for the Triduum, and I've gone to one major parish (which I shall not name here, out of charity) where the veils are used only on Good Friday. I've also heard from a number of friends that some Metro Manila parishes never veil their images at any time during Passiontide. On the other hand, some parishes veil their images as early as Ash Wednesday. 

At any rate, there are at least two cathedrals in Metro Manila that follow the Roman Rite's historic tradition in this regard, namely, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of the Diocese of Pasig and the San Roque Cathedral of the Diocese of Caloocan, which have veiled their images since this past Sunday (March 25, the Fifth Sunday of Lent):

Immaculate Conception Cathedral of the Diocese of Pasig

San Roque Cathedral of the Diocese of Caloocan

(H/t to Kristoffer Balazuela for the picture of Immaculate Conception Cathedral and to Noah Acha for the picture of San Roque Cathedral.)


Observation # 1 (March 31, 2012): Today I visited 7 churches in central Batangas. None had veiled images.

Observation #2 (April 5, 2012): According to a friend of mine, the Cathedral of the Diocese of San Pablo and the Catholic parish in Los Banos veiled their images today, Holy Thursday.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fresh graduates urged to volunteer for Church work while awaiting employment

From CBCP News:
Unemployed fresh grads urged to work for the Church 
MANILA, March 21, 2012—Administrators of Catholic schools, colleges and universities nationwide are encouraging their graduates to render volunteer work for their parishes while awaiting employment. 
Fr. Gregg Bañaga Jr., CM of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) invited fresh graduates to consider working as a volunteer for the Church especially if they will be unemployed. 
“Volunteering for parish work is a worthwhile activity during the summer break and also while one is still unemployed,” he said. 
Bañaga made the suggestion after government reportedly expects thousands of students to graduate this month as the school year ends. The fresh graduates are unfortunate to add to the growing statistics of unemployed Filipinos due to scarcity of job opportunities. 
Although volunteering for parish work may not be a money-making venture for fresh graduates, it is nevertheless an opportunity to serve the Church especially for Catholic school-raised students, according to Bañaga. 
The priest, who is the president of Adamson University, also encouraged fresh graduates to take some time to rest from schoolwork before getting employed. 
“I advise them to take rest first before looking for jobs. Their vacation can also be a time for them to rest and think more deeply about their plans in life,” he said. 
Earlier, Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon advised students and graduates to spend some time for spiritual recollection during their summer break so as to have meaningful observance of Lent. 
Baylon, who chairs the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth, also invited the young faithful to gather their friends and attend together summer camps and leadership conferences being organized by the parishes near them and youth organizations in their community to make their summer vacation more meaningful. 
“While it is great to be with friends on vacation, it is also fulfilling to be with them in attending summer camps, youth conferences or Bible study classes, which are alternative activities this summer where they can even learn a lot from,” he added. (YouthPinoy)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Felipe Songson: When will he be beatified?

Blessed Pedro Calungsod, martyred in Guam in 1672, is now on his way to a definitive place on the altars of the Catholic Church. However, he is not the only Filipino to have been suffered for the Catholic faith in that island. This blog post is dedicated to another such witness for the faith: the Macabebe aristocrat and Jesuit donado Felipe Sonson (also spelled Songsong), who faithfully and devoutly served with Jesuit missionaries in Guam for almost 18 years, finally dying in 1685 after being seriously wounded in an attack that was brought about by hatred for the Catholic faith.

San Nicolas de Tolentino Church, Macabebe, Pampanga. Source.

Posted below are two readings regarding Felipe Sonson. 

1) The following passage regarding Sonson -- reproduced on this blog post without its footnotes --  is from pp. 281 - 282 of the article of Fr. John Schumacher SJ, "Early Filipino Jesuits" [Philippine Studies 29 (1981) pp. 271 - 308.]

"...Felipe Sonson of Pampanga ... was among the members of the Jesuit mission in the Marianas who were killed by the natives in 1684. (He actually died in 1685. See the Tantingco article below. CAP.) He is mentioned several times in a series of documents listed in the Maggs Brothers Catalogue no. 442, most of them letters from various Jesuits to the Duchess of Aveiro, great benefactress of the Marianas mission (...) A letter of 30 May 1686 to the Duchess by Fr. Lorenzo Bustillo, S.J., is reported as describing "the martyrdom of Padres Pedro Canaano and Pabon [sic], and the death of Padre [sic] Pelippe [sic] Sonson, a native of Pampanga 'whose solid virtues were an example to his countrymen, and who, being a noble among his own people, is now, we believe, from his blameless life, a most noble citizen of the Realm of Heaven.'" A letter of Fr. Antonio Zerezo to Fr. Balthasar de Mansilla, dated in Agadna [Agaña], Guam, 17 May 1686, is quoted as saying: "We have also learnt of the death of the saintly Philippine, Filipe [sic] Sonson...." Finally, a note of the Duchess of Aveiro from about 1686 to Fr. Luis Morals, S.J., written on the back of a list of martyrs, says she is returning it 'because I think that of the five or six martyrs and the good Sonson we can make a report which I shall have printed." The compiler notes after the name of Sonson that he was "a native Catholic who perished with the Padres." The list itself contains the names of four priests and Bro. Pavon (a Spaniard), not that of Sonson. From these contradictory annotations and partial quotations, a series of questions arises: was Sonson a Filipino? was he a Jesuit or not? And if a Jesuit, was he a priest or a brother?

He was in fact a Filipino from Macabebe, Pampanga. Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde speaks of him as an "Indio Philipino" who was attacked by the Guamanians together with Bro. Pavon. He does not, however, give him the title of either Padre or Hermano, a fact which is also true in both the direct quotations from letters given above (as distinct from the annotations of the cataloger). He was rather a donado, as is explicitly noted after his name in the manuscript Jesuit catalog of personnel in the Marianas mission in 1681 - 1682. Born in 1611, he had joined the Jesuits in 1667, at the age of 56, and had spent the past thirteen years in the Marianas as a helper in domestic labors, particularly as carpenter. Hence he would have been 73 years old when killed with Bro. Pavon in 1684 (See the article below. CAP)

2) Next is the 2010 article of Mr. Robby Tantingco, with the title A Macabebe in heaven? [Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Conclusion] For easier reading I have put this five-part article into a single Word file on Scribd:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A tribute to Cardinal Sanchez, by Sen. Francisco Tatad

His Eminence José Tomás Cardinal Sanchez, the fifth Filipino to be elevated to the cardinalate (in 1991), the only Filipino ever to serve as Secretary and as Prefect of a Vatican Dicastery, and a prelate who had the privilege of being the Coadjutor and successor to the eminent Servant of God, Msgr. Alfredo Maria Obviar, as Bishop of Lucena, died on the morning of March 9, 2012, only 8 days before his 92nd birthday.

The following is a tribute to the late Cardinal, written by former Philippine Senator and pro-life advocate Francisco Tatad: 

In Memoriam - Jose Cardinal Sanchez (F. Tatad)

With the passing of Cardinal Sanchez, there are only two Filipino Cardinals left: the 81-year-old Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, and Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila, who will turn 80 later this year.