Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Archbishop of Manila to be elevated to the cardinalate

The Vatican Press Office has just announced the forthcoming elevation, on November 24, 2012, of six prelates to the cardinalate, among them our very own Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila.

Therefore, on November 24, 2012, the short absence of Filipinos from the ranks of the cardinal-electors since Cardinal Rosales turned 80 on August 10 of this year will come to an end. The same for Colombia, which has had no cardinal-elector since September; the currently reigning Archbishop of Bogotá, Rubén Salazar Gómez, is one of the six prelates who will be created cardinals. At present, the Philippines and Colombia, which respectively have the 3rd and 7th largest Catholic populations in the whole world, are the only ones among the 15 countries in the world with the largest Catholic populations to have no cardinal-elector.

Congratulations to the new Cardinal-elect!

For the record: the full video of the canonization rites in Rome, October 21, 2012

This is the ceremony where St. Pedro Calungsod and six others were canonized. The broadcast is from the US, hence the focus on St. Kateri Tekakwitha, one of the newly-canonized.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Two Popes on St. Pedro Calungsod

The section of the Pope's homily during the canonization Mass regarding St. Pedro Calungsod:

From the website of Rome Reports comes the following transcript of the Pope's remarks on the second Filipino saint. Emphasis mine:

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!

This echoes the statement of Pope John Paul II twelve years ago, during his homily at the Mass of beatification for Pedro Calungsod and 43 other martyrs (March 5, 2000):

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).

San Pedro Calungsod, ipanalangin mo kami!

(10/22/12 - I've replaced the original picture in this post with the following photo from News.Va)

St. Pedro Calungsod, pray that before long, your fellow Filipino martyrs of the Marianas missions will also be recognized and raised to the honors of the altar...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Philippine Daily Inquirer Front Page, October 21, 2012

Way Sukod ang Pagmahal (Love Without Recompense) -- Song in Honor of St. Pedro Calungsod

I first heard this at the performance of the "Teen Saint Pedro" musical in Meralco Theater on October 17 and was quite impressed by it. It was originally written for the beatification of Pedro Calungsod (and other beati) on March 5, 2000.

Monday, October 8, 2012

On Liturgical Dance: Congregation for Divine Worship answers a query from a Filipino Catholic

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)

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's final: "ecumenical version" of the Lord's Prayer will no longer be used at English Masses in the Philippines beginning Dec. 2, 2012

Source: Clarification on the use of the English version of the “Lord’s Prayer”

Bishop Patricio Alo's strong words versus Freemasonry and Freemasons

The following exhortation was posted on Sept. 26, 2012 on the blog maintained by CBCP Media Office on behalf of Most Rev. Patricio Alo, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Mati in Davao Oriental. I've put some sentences in bold in order to highlight the bishop's plain speaking regarding Freemasonry:

There are societies in this world that have evil plans against the Church and society but the only way we can beware of them is by following Jesus’ warning who said in the gospels (Mt. 7:15), “Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves.  You will be able to tell them by their fruits.”  Yes you know the false prophets or false friends because of their evil deeds, which are already known from past events and happenings in history.  In the gospel of Jn. 8:44 Jesus tells that the devil is a liar and the father of lies.

Jesus called hypocrites those who pretended to be good and religious people but were really greedy and ambitious ones.  That’s what the insincere people pretend to be while inside they secretly plan to do harm to the neighbor.  God wants us to have a simple and open life, after all He knows our deepest secrets which we cannot hide from Him.  “Do not be afraid of them therefore, for everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear.  What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers proclaim from the housetops” (Mt. 10:26-27).  Yes, open and fearless speech, not hidden agenda. 

God wants us to be simple and sincere unlike the nature of snakes which are deceitful, hidden and cunning.  As Jesus warns in the cited text: “You will know the false prophets by their deeds as you know the tree by its fruit” (Mt. 7:15).  You can know that studying the history, of peoples and events, God wants us to be true to ourselves in all we say or do.  Do not pretend to be what you are not.  Say what you mean, and mean what you say.  In all things be true to God, yourself and your neighbor.  The proverb is ever true: Truth will out.  (One way or another, in spite of all efforts to conceal it, the truth will come to be known.)  Even the famous poet William Shakespeare talks about this in Hamlet Act I, sc. 3: “This above all—to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

In particular I am talking about Freemasonry or other societies of the same sort, which plot against the Church or against legitimate civil authority.  The Catholic Church, under penalty of excommunication, forbids Catholics from joining above-mentioned secret societies which normally operate with strict secrecy.

In 2005, this same bishop had forbidden Freemasons from even entering Catholic churches in his diocese: Bishop bans Masons from entering church in Mati.

Image of Bishop Alo from Mati - A Place Like No Other
The picture of Freemasonic regalia is taken from this page and is not part of the original article from Bishop Alo. 

Declaration of Sto. Domingo Church, Quezon City, as a National Historical Treasure on October 4, 2012

Video streaming by Ustream

The Philippine Daily Inquirer's October 1, 2012 article Santo Domingo Church, La Naval de Manila shrine to be declared National Cultural Treasure summarizes the artistic treasures to be found in this great church: 

Showcase of great architecture, great art 
Measuring 85 meters in length, 40 meters in width and 25 meters in height, with a total floor area of 3,300 sq m, Santo Domingo Church is the biggest in Metro Manila and one of the biggest churches in Asia. 

The massive church is a unique blend of Spanish colonial and modern architecture. 

It was designed by José Ma. Zaragoza, who was still a student of architecture at UST when the Dominicans commissioned him to design the church. 

Unlike the huge Baroque churches of the Hispanic period, the Santo Domingo is modern. But it follows the Mission-style architecture—with shades of Romanesque and Gothic designs—which welcomes more space. 

Aside from being an architectural jewel, the Santo Domingo Church houses artistic treasures. 

In the nave are eight colorful murals by National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco depicting the life and times of Santo Domingo de Guzman, the Spaniard who founded the Order of Preachers, whose members are now called Dominicans. Legend has it that it is to Saint Dominic that Our Lady gave the Rosary for the Dominicans to promote. 

Francisco’s murals are just below the equally brilliant murals of the Four Evangelists in vivid brown tones by Vicente Garcia Llamas. 

History of the Diocese of Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija

Coat of Arms of Most. Rev. Sofronio Bancud SSS, DD, Bishop of Cabanatuan from the 2005 to the present

Embedding of these videos has been disabled by request, so I will just post the links to the Diocese of Cabanatuan's official documentary on its history: