Monday, October 8, 2012

UPDATED: Defensores Fidei Foundation to hold its 8th Annual Apologetics Seminar

UPDATED 10/8/12: The previous poster has now been replaced with a new one that corrects a typo and contains the dates for each lecture.  

Originally posted on Sept. 25, 2012:

Since 2005, Defensores Fidei Foundation has held an annual seminar introducing Filipino Catholics to the whys and hows of Catholic apologetics. Broadly speaking, Catholic apologetics as it is now understood is the art of charitably but firmly defending the Catholic faith in the face of attacks against it. Since 2005, hundreds of Filipino Catholics have learned the basics of Catholic apologetics through these lectures. It should be noted that H.E. Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales endorsed the work of Defensores Fidei while he was Archbishop of Manila. 

Every year except for 2011, the seminar was primarily led and taught by laymen. Last year, DFF decided to hold the apologetics seminar in the Alabang area and to have priests take the lead in teaching the course, with a greater emphasis on a catechetical approach and shorter sessions. For this year, DFF has decided to go back to its earlier pattern for the apologetics seminar, with each session consisting of more than 3 hours of lectures and wide-ranging Q&A. However, unlike the annual seminars from 2005 to 2010 which had 12 or 13 sessions each, this year's seminar will have only 9 sessions. Topics not covered in the course of the 9 sessions will be touched in the course of the Blessed to be Catholic monthly lecture series that DFF will hold in 2013, except in March (to make way for a planned apologetics-themed pilgrimage) and October to December, when the 9th annual apologetics seminar will be held (God willing!). 

Who are the speakers?

1. Rev. Msgr. Carlos Estrada -- Regional Vicar of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei. Msgr. Estrada has long been a friend of Defensores Fidei and it has been a 'tradition' for him to give the Christology lecture during the annual apologetics seminar. 

2. Fr. Stanislaus Kostka Balucanag OATH -- The (tentative) speaker for the "Sacraments II" session, which will focus on the Eucharist and the Priesthood. "Fr. Stan" is a 30-year-old priest of the Oblates of the Alliance of the Two Hearts. He takes up the lecture traditionally given from 2005 to 2010 by DFF associate member and blogger, Fr. Abe Arganiosa. He moved to the United States this year. (Yes, Fr. Arganiosa is a priest in good standing.)

3. Ed "Chief" De Vera -- A founding member of Defensores Fidei Foundation, author of two books (Catholic Soul and Mysteries of Salvation History – Promise and Fulfillment in the Holy Rosary) and columnist for Kerygma magazine.

4. Bro. Marwil Llasos OP -- A lawyer (educated at UP College of Law), formator of the Company of St. Dominic (a secular institute canonically subject to the Archdiocese of Manila that practices Dominican spirituality) and without question the Philippines' leading lay Marian apologist. His many activities and voluminous writings on apologetics, especially Marian topics, can be seen in his blogs such as The Knight of Mary and its predecessor Marwil N. Llasos.

5. And, finally.... nah, no need to talk about him. =)

The "Graduation" will take place on December 15, 2012. It will be preceded by the ninth and final talk of the whole apologetics seminar, and will be followed by Mass. From 2007 to 2010 the closing Mass of the Defensores Fidei Foundation apologetics seminar was in Latin, celebrated ad orientem; from 2007 to 2009 it was in the Forma Ordinaria / Novus Ordo (with the 2008 Mass being concelebrated by Bishop Angel Hobayan and Fr. Abraham Arganiosa with Fr. Carlos Estrada as Master of Ceremonies) and in 2010 it was according to the Extraordinary Form / Traditional Latin Mass. At present, the plan is to conclude the seminar once more with a Latin Mass, although there is no word yet on what Missal will be used. After the Mass there will be lunch followed by an informal reunion of Filipino Catholic apologists, the first since 2007.

It should be noted that the DFF seminar for this year will occur entirely within the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013) proclaimed by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. In its Note with Pastoral Recommendations for the Year of Faith (Jan. 6, 2012) the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted the need for apologetics:

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,”[26] or to other specific issues. (Recommendations II.8)

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