Sunday, March 22, 2015

SALAMAT SA DIYOS, PARI PA RIN KAMI!


Homilya ni Bp. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, Pagdiriwang ng Diyosesis ng Pasig
Para sa ika-25 Taong Anibersaryo ng Pagiging Pari,
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pasig City, ika-21Marso 2015

Dalawampu’t limang taon na po akong pari at sampung taong obispo.  Ang bilis po ng panahon.  Naalala ko pa nung kami nina Msgr. Clem, Frs. Sel, Cesar, Joven, Henry, at Odon ay natulog sa bahay ni Cardinal Sin sa Villa San Miguel nung gabi bago kami ordenahang pari 25 years ago.  Di ko nga maintindihan kung bakit kailangan pang dun mag-overnight. Baka sinisiguro lang ni Cardinal Sin na walang mangyayari sa aming masama bago ordenahan, parang proteksyon sa ikakasal na.  Nung gabing yun, nagsalita si Cardinal Sin sa aming pito pagkatapos maghapunan para ihanda kami sa susunod na araw para sa ordinasyon.  Di ko makalilimutan yun sinabi niya: “Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, tomorrow, you will conceive Jesus Christ.”  Yun sinabi niya ay patungkol sa pagdiriwang ng Solemn Feast of the Annuciation na nataong naganap nung March 24 at araw ng Sabado. Kasi ang March 25 (yun talagang piyesta) nung taong yon ay Linggo kaya iniurong sa liturgical calendar ng March 24 ang kapistahan ng Annuciation.  Parang sabi ni Cardinal Sin, ipaglilihi at ipagbubuntis naming si Hesus. At pagkatapos, naisip ko at napangiti ako sa aking sarili: “Iluluwal namin siya, di ko alam nun kung pagkatapos ng siyam na buwan?”  Pero alam ko, pagkatapos ng isa o dalawang taon, naglakihan na ang mga tiyan ng ilan sa amin (lalo na po ako) sa sobrang pagkain bilang mga batang pari.

Nung umaga, pinagising kami ni Cardinal Sin ng alas kuwatro ng umaga para sabayan siyang magdasal. Masyadong maaga ang gising namin noon, parang Misa de Gallo.  Pinilit kong maagang gumising at pumunta sa private chapel ni Cardinal Sin at baka mapaglitan kung ma-late.  Eh laking gulat ko nung nakita ko si Cardinal na mas maaga pang nandun at nagrorosaryo. Yun iba sa amin eh nahuli pang dumating sa chapel.  Pero sabay sabay pa rin kaming nagdasal ng Liturgy of the Hours o Panalangin ng Kristyano.  Nag-almusal kami pagkatapos, kasama pa rin si Cardinal Sin, at naghanda nang magbiyahe sa isang sasakyan patungo sa Manila Cathedral para ordenahang pari.  Nagsimula ang misa at ordinasyon ng alas nuwebe ng umaga at natapos ng halos alas dose ng tanghali.  Mahaba ang naging rito kasi pito kaming inordenahan nun.  Parang dumaan lang ang tatlong oras at di namin namalayan—mga pari na kami!   

Fast forward tayo.  Twenty-five years na, pari pa rin po kami at naglilingkod sa Diyos at Simbahan.  Binabalikan ko sa aking panalangin at pagninilay yung: sampung taong naging tagahubog ako ng seminarista sa Holy Apostles Senior Seminary kasama na rin dito yun pagiging chaplain ng Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord sa SM Megamal at Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel sa Greenbelt, Makati, dalawang taong parish priest ng Sta. Rita de Cascia sa Philam Homes, QC, dalawang taong parish priest ng Holy Sacrifice Parish sa UP, anim na taong obispo ng Diyosesis ng San Jose, Nueva Ecija at halos apat na taon ng obispo niyo dito sa Pasig.  Katulad siguro ng mga batchmates kong nagdiriwang ng silver anniversray ngayon, isa lamang ang sinasambit ng puso ko: pasasalamat!  Salamat sa Diyos at pari pa rin ako at pari pa rin kaming lahat ngayon.

Ito naman po ang diwa ng misa natin noon, ngayon, at sa hinaharap: walang hanggang pasasalamat sa Diyos at di po niya kami pinabayaan sa buhay pagpapari at panalangin pa rin naming maging pari magpakailanman!  Hindi po naging madali ang 25 years. Maraming tukso laban sa mga sinumpaan namin katulad ng pangakong maging dukha at mamuhay ng simple, manatiling malinis ang puso at di mag-asawa, maging masunurin sa obispo at sa kalooban ng Diyos. Minsan nga may pabirong nagtanong sa akin kung ano ang mga tuksong hinarap ko bilang pari.  Gusto ko sanang sagutin ng ‘secret’ pero nasabi ko na lang ng pangiti-- ‘lahat’.  Tao lang po kaming katulad ninyong lahat, marupok at nagkakasala.  Marami din pong mga pagsubok sa ministro: yung kahit pagod o bagot ka na ay kailangan mo pang ngumiti at maglingkod, yung hirap pagbigyan ang lahat ng nakikiusap sa iyo na mag-misa o mag-talk, at yung nahusgahan ka na ng kapwa pari mo o mga lider-laiko kahit wala ka namang ginagawang mali at marami pang iba.  Kasama ito sa buhay ng kahit sinong pari. Pero sa gitna ng lahat ng ito, nandiyan pa rin ang Diyos at binibigyan kami ng lakas ng loob para magpatuloy sa aming paglilingkod.  Pari pa rin ako. Pari pa rin kaming naglilingkod sa Diyos.  Salamat sa Diyos.

Isa lamang siguro ang patuloy na mensahe sa akin ng Panginoong Hesus ngayong naabot ko na ang dalawanpu’t limang taon ng pagiging pari.  At ito’y napapaloob sa tanong niya sa akin noong ako’y tumugon sa pagpapari nung pumasok sa seminaryo, naordinanhang pari at pati na rin sa pagka-obispo.  Ito yung tanong niya kay Simon Pedro sa ebanghelyo: “Mahal mo ba ako?”  Mabigat yun tanong sapagkat kahit paulit-ulit akong sumagot ng “Oo”, alam kong alam ni Hesus na di ko ito hustong napatutunayan dala nang aking mga kahinaan at kasalanan.  Marami pa rin akong dapat baguhin sa aking sarili para maging banal at mabuting pari.  Isang motibasyon na humihikayat sa aking maglingkod bilang pari ay ang utos at hamon ni Hesus, sa kabila ng aking karupukan, sinasabi pa rin niya sa akin: “Pakanin ko ang aking mga tupa.”  Alam ni Hesus na wala akong maipagyayabang sa kanya pagkatapos ng dalawampu’t limang taon.  Kilala niya ako mula ulo hanggang paa, lalu na ang laman ng isip at puso ko sa bawat sandali ng aking buhay.  Kaya nga buong pakumbaba na lang akong tumatalima sa kanyang kalooban.  At umaasang sa awa ng Diyos, ay magagawa ko ang lahat ng iutos niya sa akin.

Nung nakaraang Martes, may pumunta sa aking nag-aaral sa UP na nakiusap sa akin na mai-cast o maimolde yun aking isang kamay para i-exhibit sa “stations of the cross”.  Gagawin itong isang uri ng hand sculpture.  Masteral thesis daw niya sa “Fine Arts” na-imolde ang mga kamay ng ilang personalidad na naging parte ng kasaysayan ng “Parish of the Holy Sacrifice” sa UP sa bawat estasyon ng krus.  Kung naalala niyo, nasabi ko kanina na ako’y naging Parish Priest dun bago ako naging Obispo. Sabi niya sa akin na naimolde na niya yun kamay ni Fr. Henry Ferreras na kasalukuyang kura paroko.  Ang porma ng kamay ni Fr. Henry ay yung kamay ni Hesus nung Last Supper.  Yun kamay ko raw ang huling imomolde para sa huli at ikalabing-apat na estasyon.  Sabi niya dapat iporma ko daw na parang nagbebendisyong kamay sa larawan ni Hesus na muling nabuhay mula sa libingan.  Tinanong pa nga niya ako: “Paano po ba kayo nagbebendisyon kapag nagmimisa?”  Habang pinoporma ko yun aking kamay para imolde eh napag-isip isip ko na sa loob ng dalawampu’t limang taon, marami na rin pala akong nabedisyunang  tao.  Di ko na ito mabibilang.  Naisip ko pa: ginamit ni Hesus ang kamay ko para magbinyag, magkumpil, magpatawad, mag-orden ng pari, magbendisyon sa ikakasal, magpahid ng langis sa maysakit at, higit sa lahat, maging katawan at dugo niya ang tinapay at alak. Ginamit ni Hesus ang kamay ko para ibahagi ang pagpapala ng kanyang pag-ibig at kapayapaan sa maraming mananampalataya, sa inyo pong lahat. 


Hiling ko lang po at hiling din nina Msgr. Clem, Frs. Sel, Cesar, Joven, Henry, at Odon: patuloy niyo kaming ipanalangin na ang pagpapala ng Diyos ay aming maibahagi bilang mabuti at banal na pari magpakailanman.  Salamat po. Amen.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Council of the Laity holds Ecology Conference

PASIG - The Council of the Laity, in coordination with the Diocesan Social Services and Development Ministry  (SSDM) will be sponsoring an Ecology Conference as part of the Year of the Poor Program.

This conference aims to provide lay leaders with the information regarding global warming and climate change as well as prevention and alleviation of its effects.  It also aims to help the parishes establish and activate their Disaster Risk Reduction and Response Management Groups (DRRRMG) through the help of the Diocesan SSDM, the lead ministry for the Year of the Poor, and the Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS).

This will be held on March 14, 2015 at the Aula Minor, PCC from 7 AM to 12:30 PM.  Each parish is invited to send fifteen delegates preferably comprising of the PPC Lay Coordinator, SSDM Coordinator, and other PPC Officers.

Oratio Imperata for Peace

To be prayed from March 1 to March 28, 2015 before the post communion prayer in every Mass.

Lord of Peace, we come to You in our need.
Create in us an awareness of the massive forces of violence and terrorism that threaten our world today.
Grant us a sense of urgency to activate the forces of goodness, of justice, of love and of peace in our communities.
Where there is armed conflict, let us stretch out our arms to our brothers and sisters.
Where there is abundance and luxury, let there be simple lifestyle and sharing.
Where there is poverty and misery, let there be dignified living and constant striving for just structures.
Where there is selfish ambition, let there be humble service.
Where there is injustice, let there be humble atonement.
Where there is despair, let there be hope in the Good News.
Where there are wounds of division, let there be unity and wholeness.
Where there are lies and deceit, let your Truth set us all of us free.
Where there are thoughts of vengeance, let there be healing and forgiveness.
Help us to be committed to the Gospel of peace.
In spite of our differences in faith traditions and ethnic roots, teach us Your spirit of mercy and compassion.
For it is only in loving imitation of you, Lord of Peace,
that we can discover the healing springs of life that will bring about new birth to our earth a new era of peace and a new harmony among all
Forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

MENSAHE NG OBISPO NG PASIG MYLO HUBERT VERGARA SA PAGBUBUKAS NG TAON NG MGA DUKHA SA DIYOSESIS NG PASIG

Enero 31, 2015

MAGLINGKOD SA MGA DUKHA

Pinakamamahal na mga kapatid kay Kristo,

Kapayapaan sa inyong lahat!

Katatapos pa lamang ng mabiyaya't mabungang pagbisita ni Pope Francis sa Pilipinas noong nakaraang ika-15 hanggang ika-19 ng Enero.  Sigurado akong ramdam na ramdam pa natin ang mga naganap noong mga araw na iyon.  Sa iba’t ibang paraan, nakita, narinig, at naranasan natin ang pastoral na pagdalaw ng ating Santo Papa.  Marami tayong maikukwento katulad ng paghihintay natin sa daan upang masilayan lamang siya na nakasakay sa pope mobile at makunan ng litrato gamit ang celphone, camera, o computer tablet.  Yung iba naman, sari-sari ang karansanan nang dumalo sa misa sa Tacloban at Luneta na pinuspos ng halos walang tigil na ulan.  Marami siyang sinabing pangaral na tumimo sa ating isip at puso.  May mga ilan ngang nagsabi sa akin na kahit sa TV lang, naiiyak na habang nakikita si Pope Francis magmula sa kanyang pagdating sa ating bansa hanggang sa siya’y lumisan pabalik sa Roma. Masasabi nating naka-enkwentro natin nang personal ang Panginoong Hesukristo sa pamamagitan ni Pope Francis.

Nakakatawag-pansin sa lahat ng kanyang pangaral ang mariin niyang sinabi na pastulan ang mga dukha.  Akmang-akma ito sa pagdiriwang natin ng “Year of the Poor” o “Taon ng mga Dukha”.  Iba’t iba ang mukha ng karukhaan: materyal, espiritual, at moral.  Para kay Pope Francis, mahalagang harapin ang ating karukhaan sa mata ng Diyos at mahalin ang mga dukha na pinag-uukulan ng kalinga ni Hesus.  Magagawa lamang natin ito kung tatalikdan ang mga tukso ng kamunduhan lalo na ang materialismo.  Nasabi nga niya sa aming mga Obispo, pari, madre at seminarista sa kanyang misa sa Manila Cathedral na dapat naming tularan walang iba kundi si Hesus, na piniling maging dukha at makipamuhay sa mga dukha na pinagpahayagan ng Mabuting Balita.  Idinagdag pa ng Santo Papa na kapag inalis ang mahirap sa bibliya ay hindi natin ito mauunawaan. (cf. Homiliya, ika-16 ng Enero 2015).

Dahil dito, nais kong samantalahin ang pagkakataong ito upang humingi ng tawad sa inyo kung ako na inyong pastol at pati na rin ang mga pari ng ating diyosesis ay hindi naging huwarang saksi ng simpleng pamumuhay at hindi nag-ukol ng maraming panahon sa patulong at pagkalinga sa mga dukha ng ating mga parokya.  Pakiusap ko na dagdagan pa ninyo ang panalangin para sa amin upang maisabuhay namin ang pangakong maging dukha na aming sinumpaan noong araw ng aming ordinasyon.  Sa inyong panalangin at pagpapaalala, nawa’y masalamin namin si Hesus na ayon kay San Pablo: “bagamat mayaman ay nagpakadukha upang yumaman kayo sa pamamagitan ng kanyang karukhaan.” (2 Cor 8. 9)  Sa ganitong paraan, lalo kaming taos-pusong makapaglilingkod sa mga dukha.

Ngayon ding taong ito ay itinakdang “International Year of Consecrated Life” na idineklara ni Pope Francis. Lubos tayong nagpapasalamat sa mga paring relihiyoso at madreng religiyosa na naglilingkod sa ating diyosesis.  Di kaila sa marami sa atin ang paglilingkod nila sa mga dukha ng ating mga pamayanan tulad ng mga “mentally handicapped children”, “abandoned children”, “prostitutes”, at mga maysakit na nagangailangan ng pagkalinga at pagtulong. ‘Yung iba sa mga madre at paring ito ay babad din sa pagbubuo ng munting pamayanan o Basic Ecclesial Communities o BECs sa lugar ng mahihirap at naglalaan ng panahon para sa pagbibigay ng katesismo at pagtulong sa ilang kabataan upang makapag-aral sa paaralan.

Sa Taong ito ng mga Dukha, nawa’y maging inspirasyon din natin si Kristel Mae Padasas na kinilala ni Pope Francis na “huwaran ng paglilingkod” sa kanyang kabataan.   Siya ay taga-Taguig at parokyano ng Sto. NiƱo Parish, Signal Village dito sa Diyosesis ng Pasig.  Kasama siya sa mga naghanda sa pagdalaw ng Santo Papa sa Tacloban.  Sa di inaasahang pangyayari, siya’y nabagsakan ng scaffolding at namatay , dala na rin siguro ng matinding hangin at ulan dala ng bagyong “Amang” noong nagmisa doon si Pope Francis.  Noong nabalitaan ito ng Santo Papa nang nakabalik na siya sa Maynila, agad niyang ipinatawag ang ama ni Kristel upang makiramay nang personal sa kanya.  Sa pagkakataong ito, nakilala ang kabutihan at kagandahang loob ni Kristel.  Naikwento ng kanyang ama na tinalikuran ng kanyang anak ang ambisyong magtrabaho sa isang malaking kumpanya at magpayaman pagkatapos ng kolehiyo.  Pinili niyang maging volunteer ng Catholic Relief Services na tumulong sa mga nasalanta ng bagyong Yolanda sa Samar.  Naikwento din na sa halip na bumili ng cake o maghanda tuwing birthday, inilalaan niya ang kanyang pera para bumili ng mga notebook at ballpen para magamit ng mga dukhang bata sa eskwela.  Tunay ngang si Kristel ay huwarang inspirasyon para sa atin lahat.

Nawa’y tulad ni Maria, Ina ng mga Dukha na lubos na nagtiwala sa Diyos, maisakatuparan natin ang ipinahayag at isinabuhay ni Hesus mula kay properta Isaias na hamon din sa atin:  “Sumasaakin ang Espiritu ng Panginoon, sapagkat hinirang niya ako upang ipangaral ang Mabuting Balita.  Sinugo niya ako upang ipahayag sa mga bihag na sila’y lalaya, at sa mga bulag na sila’y makakakita; upang bigyang –kaluwagan ang mga sinisiil, at ipahayag ang pagliligtas na gagawin ng Panginoon. “ (Lucas 4: 18 – 19)

Nagmamahal,

+Lubhang Kagalang-galang Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, DD

Obispo ng Pasig

Pastoral Letter of Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara for Ash Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Indifference to our neighbor and to God, a real temptation for us Christians - Pope Francis

MESSAGE
OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR LENT 2015
“Make your hearts firm” (Jas 5:8)


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church, for each communities and every believer. Above all it is a “time of grace” (2 Cor6:2). God does not ask of us anything that he himself has not first given us. “We love because he first has loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). He is not aloof from us. Each one of us has a place in his heart. He knows us by name, he cares for us and he seeks us out whenever we turn away from him. He is interested in each of us; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to us. Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure… Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.

When the people of God are converted to his love, they find answers to the questions that history continually raises. One of the most urgent challenges which I would like to address in this Message is precisely the globalization of indifference.

Indifference to our neighbour and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.

God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation. In the Incarnation, in the earthly life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, the gate between God and man, between heaven and earth, opens once for all. The Church is like the hand holding open this gate, thanks to her proclamation of God’s word, her celebration of the sacraments and her witness of the faith which works through love (cf. Gal 5:6). But the world tends to withdraw into itself and shut that door through which God comes into the world and the world comes to him. Hence the hand, which is the Church, must never be surprised if it is rejected, crushed and wounded.

God’s people, then, need this interior renewal, lest we become indifferent and withdraw into ourselves. To further this renewal, I would like to propose for our reflection three biblical texts.

1. “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor 12:26) – The Church
The love of God breaks through that fatal withdrawal into ourselves which is indifference. The Church offers us this love of God by her teaching and especially by her witness. But we can only bear witness to what we ourselves have experienced. Christians are those who let God clothe them with goodness and mercy, with Christ, so as to become, like Christ, servants of God and others. This is clearly seen in the liturgy of Holy Thursday, with its rite of the washing of feet. Peter did not want Jesus to wash his feet, but he came to realize that Jesus does not wish to be just an example of how we should wash one another’s feet. Only those who have first allowed Jesus to wash their own feet can then offer this service to others. Only they have “a part” with him (Jn 13:8) and thus can serve others.

Lent is a favourable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him. This happens whenever we hear the word of God and receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. There we become what we receive: the Body of Christ. In this body there is no room for the indifference which so often seems to possess our hearts. For whoever is of Christ, belongs to one body, and in him we cannot be indifferent to one another. “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honoured, all the parts share its joy” (1 Cor 12:26).

The Church is the communio sanctorum not only because of her saints, but also because she is a communion in holy things: the love of God revealed to us in Christ and all his gifts. Among these gifts there is also the response of those who let themselves be touched by this love. In this communion of saints, in this sharing in holy things, no one possesses anything alone, but shares everything with others. And since we are united in God, we can do something for those who are far distant, those whom we could never reach on our own, because with them and for them, we ask God that all of us may be open to his plan of salvation.

2. “Where is your brother?” (Gen 4:9) – Parishes and Communities

All that we have been saying about the universal Church must now be applied to the life of our parishes and communities. Do these ecclesial structures enable us to experience being part of one body? A body which receives and shares what God wishes to give? A body which acknowledges and cares for its weakest, poorest and most insignificant members? Or do we take refuge in a universal love that would embrace the whole world, while failing to see the Lazarus sitting before our closed doors (Lk 16:19-31)?

In order to receive what God gives us and to make it bear abundant fruit, we need to press beyond the boundaries of the visible Church in two ways.

In the first place, by uniting ourselves in prayer with the Church in heaven. The prayers of the Church on earth establish a communion of mutual service and goodness which reaches up into the sight of God. Together with the saints who have found their fulfilment in God, we form part of that communion in which indifference is conquered by love. The Church in heaven is not triumphant because she has turned her back on the sufferings of the world and rejoices in splendid isolation. Rather, the saints already joyfully contemplate the fact that, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, they have triumphed once and for all over indifference, hardness of heart and hatred. Until this victory of love penetrates the whole world, the saints continue to accompany us on our pilgrim way. Saint Therese of Lisieux, a Doctor of the Church, expressed her conviction that the joy in heaven for the victory of crucified love remains incomplete as long as there is still a single man or woman on earth who suffers and cries out in pain: “I trust fully that I shall not remain idle in heaven; my desire is to continue to work for the Church and for souls” (Letter 254, July 14, 1897).

We share in the merits and joy of the saints, even as they share in our struggles and our longing for peace and reconciliation. Their joy in the victory of the Risen Christ gives us strength as we strive to overcome our indifference and hardness of heart.

In the second place, every Christian community is called to go out of itself and to be engaged in the life of the greater society of which it is a part, especially with the poor and those who are far away. The Church is missionary by her very nature; she is not self-enclosed but sent out to every nation and people.

Her mission is to bear patient witness to the One who desires to draw all creation and every man and woman to the Father. Her mission is to bring to all a love which cannot remain silent. The Church follows Jesus Christ along the paths that lead to every man and woman, to the very ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8). In each of our neighbours, then, we must see a brother or sister for whom Christ died and rose again. What we ourselves have received, we have received for them as well. Similarly, all that our brothers and sisters possess is a gift for the Church and for all humanity.
Dear brothers and sisters, how greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!

3. “Make your hearts firm!” (James 5:8) – Individual Christians

As individuals too, we have are tempted by indifference. Flooded with news reports and troubling images of human suffering, we often feel our complete inability to help. What can we do to avoid being caught up in this spiral of distress and powerlessness?

First, we can pray in communion with the Church on earth and in heaven. Let us not underestimate the power of so many voices united in prayer! The 24 Hours for the Lord initiative, which I hope will be observed on 13-14 March throughout the Church, also at the diocesan level, is meant to be a sign of this need for prayer.

Second, we can help by acts of charity, reaching out to both those near and far through the Church’s many charitable organizations. Lent is a favourable time for showing this concern for others by small yet concrete signs of our belonging to the one human family.

Third, the suffering of others is a call to conversion, since their need reminds me of the uncertainty of my own life and my dependence on God and my brothers and sisters. If we humbly implore God’s grace and accept our own limitations, we will trust in the infinite possibilities which God’s love holds out to us. We will also be able to resist the diabolical temptation of thinking that by our own efforts we can save the world and ourselves.

As a way of overcoming indifference and our pretensions to self-sufficiency, I would invite everyone to live this Lent as an opportunity for engaging in what Benedict XVI called a formation of the heart (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 31). A merciful heart does not mean a weak heart. Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart, closed to the tempter but open to God. A heart which lets itself be pierced by the Spirit so as to bring love along the roads that lead to our brothers and sisters. And, ultimately, a poor heart, one which realizes its own poverty and gives itself freely for others.

During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: “Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum”Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.
It is my prayerful hope that this Lent will prove spiritually fruitful for each believer and every ecclesial community. I ask all of you to pray for me. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you.

From the Vatican, 4 October 2014

Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi
FRANCIS

Bishop Mylo endorses Congress on Prayer


Pasig - the Order of the Discalced Carmelites in the Philippines through the National Commission for the Celebration of the Fifth Birth Centenary of St. Teresa of Avila cordially invites you and your parish to the Congress on Prayer dubbed "Prayer: A Dialogue of Love" to be held on March 15, 32015 Sunday, 8 AM to 5 PM at the Mass Of Asia Arena, Pasay City.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle will be the main presider in the Eucharistic Celebration.

St. Teresa of Avila, first woman doctor of the Church and foundress of the Order of Discalced Carmelites inspires us to gather a first - ever assembly of people from various walks of life to share her doctrine on prayer and our prayer experience on the occasion of her 5th birth centenary on March 28, 2015.

Chairman of the National Commission for the Celebration of the Fifth Birth Centenary of St. Teresa of Avila Fr. Danilo Lim, OCD reminds us of the significance of this assembly.

"With the challenges of the new evangelization in the present times characterized by secularism, hedonism, and relativism, our first call is an encounter with Christ, an experience with God, a life of prayer. thus we hope to gather as many lay faithful as possible in this event," clarified Fr. Lim.

He also requests parishes to mount posters and or tarpaulins withing the church premises or bulletin boards, announcements of the event or showing of a short AVP after communion during Sunday Masses proximate to the date of the event as well as our personal presence.

"Your presence, which is a declaration that in this path toward God amidst the many vicissitudes of life and challenges of the times, there is no surest road but the way of prayer," encourages Fr. Lim.

Registration is free.  Please coordinate with your parishes and ask for a registration form. For more information contact, Yolly Miranda at 9953949 and 09065732305.

Meanwhile, below is the complete message of endorsement from Pasig bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

With much joy I endorse the Congress on Prayer, an event in celebration of the 5th Birth Centenary of St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and first woman doctor of the Church, to be held on March 15, 2015, Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City.

I appeal to the Parish Priests to allow post-communion announcements or a projection of an AVP during the Masses proximate to the event and the mounting of tarpaulin and/or poster on the designated areas of the parish.

I also appeal to all Religious communities, schools, and the various Lay associations, organizations and movements to welcome and support the organizing team of the Centenary so they could share with you the abiding teaching and significance of St. Teresa of Avila.

thank you very much for your kind attention.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

MOST REV. MYLO HUBERT C. VERGARA, D.D.
Bishop of Pasig

(report by Fr. Lito Jopson)