Tuesday, January 28, 2014

PASTORAL LETTER ON THE YEAR OF THE LAITY: BISHOP MYLO HUBERT C. VERGARA, DD, BISHOP OF PASIG

LAIKO NG PASIG PRESENSYA NG DIYOS SA DAIGDIG

“Dapat ninyong paliwanagin ang inyong ilaw sa harap ng mga tao
Upang luwalhatian ang inyong Amang nasa langit”. (Mateo 5:16)

Minamahal kong Sambayanan ng Diyos ng Diyosesis ng Pasig,

Kapayapaan mula sa Panginoong Hesukristo, ang Prinsipe ng Kapayapaan!

Buong galak kong ipinahahayag sa inyo ang taong 2014 bilang “Year of the Laity” o “Taon ng Laiko.” Habang naghahanda tayo sa ika-500 taon ng pagdating ng Kristiyanismo sa ating bayan, nagtakda ang mga Obispo ninyo ng iba’t ibang paksa bawat taon (“Live Christ, Share Christ,” CBCP Exhortation on the Era of the New Evangelization, July 23, 2012). Noong isang taon ay “Year of Integral Faith Formation” na napaloob sa mas malawak na “Year of Faith” o “Taon ng Pananampalataya”  ng buong Simbahan sa buong daigdig. Naging makabuluhan ang nagdaang taon dahil sa “National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” tuwing unang Sabado ng buwan. Sa tulong ng Kalinis-linisang Puso ni Maria, bawat Pilipino ay nagkaroon ng pagkakataong maunawaan, maisapuso at maisabuhay ang pananalig sa Diyos.

Ngayong “Taon ng Laiko” hangad ng inyong mga Obispo na muling tuklasin ng lahat ng laiko ang kanilang katauhan bilang binyagan na isinasabuhay ang kanilang bokasyon at misyon ng pagka – PARI, pagka – PROPETA at pagka – HARING LINGKOD sa Simbahan at lipunan. Ito ang biyayang tinanggap natin mula sa Diyos sa Binyag, pinagtibay sa Kumpil at pinalakas sa Banal na Eukaristiya.

Pagnilayan natin ang “Taon ng Laiko” sa tulong ng ilang laikong huwaran sa pagsasabuhay ng biyaya ng kanilang pagiging binyagan. Sa loob ng aking pagpa – pastol sa Diyosesis ng Pasig, tatlong laikong Katoliko ang nagsisilbing inspirasyon sa akin.

Ang una ay si Miss San Juan na madalas kong nakikita sa pagdiriwang kon gn Misa kapag Linggo ng umaga sa ating katedral. Mahigit siyamnapung taong gulang na at naka – ‘wheel chair” kapag nagsisimba si Miss San Juan. Nasabi nga po ng aking ina na naging guro pa niya ito sa high school. Nakakatawag pansin sa akin ang taimtim nyang debosyon sa Banal na Misa at taimtim na pananalangin pagkatapos ng Misa. Kahit hirap na ang kanyang katawan dala ng kanyang katandaan at kapansanan para pumunta pa sa simbahan para magsimba at magdasal ay buong tapat at tiyagang ginagawa ito, patunay ng pagsasabuhay ng kanyang pagka – PARI bilang binyagan. Dinalaw ko nga siya noong nakaraang Pasko sa kanyang bahay. Hiniling ko sa kanyang ipagdasal ako at lahat ng pari ng ating diyosesis. Binigyang – diin ko sa kanya na napakabisa ng pagdarasal nya at pagsa-sakripisyo niya para mapabanal kaming mga pari.

Ang ikalawa ay si Ka Luring na bantog na katekista mula sa St. Michael Parish, Hagonoy. Batang Pari pa po ako nang nakilala ko si Ka Luring. Pumanaw siya halos tatlong taon na ang nakaraan. Nagsilbi siyang inspirasyon sa akin dahil isa siyang tapat na taga-pangaral ng salita ng Diyos at ng katuruan ng Simbahan. Kahit pagod na pagod siya at walang pera, hindi ito naging hadlang sa pagtuturo niya sa “public school” at mga mumunting pamayanan. Usapang nga naming mga pari noon, kapag kailangan niya ng tulong ng pari para sa Misa o sa Kumpisal, isang paki usap lang niya ay di mo na siya matatanggihan kahit punong-puno ang iskedyul mo. Tunay ngang naging inspirasyon si Ka Luring sa akin dahil isinabuhay niya ang pagka-PROPETA niya bilang binyagan.

Ang ikatlo as si Bro. Ferdi Fuentes na taga Holy Family Parish, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig Bago siya yumao dala ng sakit na kanser noong nakaraang taon, naging huwarang lider-lingkod siya ng parokya. Malaki ang naitulong niya sa pangangasiwa ng proyekto ng bagong tayong simbahan ng Holy Family Parish. Minsan, dinalaw ko siya sa ospital at damang dama ko ang malalim niyang pananampalataya sa Diyos at patuloy na hangaring maglingkod sa kanya hanggang kaya ng kanyang katawan. Nagsilbi din siyang inspirasyon sa kanyang asawa at mga anak at pati na rin kapwa lingkod sa parokya. Pinatunayan niya sa akin ang pagsasabuhay niya ng pagka-HARING LINGKOD bilang binyagang Katoliko.

Hindi lamang sina Miss San Juan, Ka Luring at Bro. Ferdi Fuentes ang mga laikong naging inspirasyon natin sa kabanalan at kabayanihan sa paglilingkod sa Diyos at sa Simbahan. Sigurado akong marami pang iba ang dapat nating alalahanin at pasasalamatan sa ating panalangin.

Nawa’y tandaan at isaloob ng ating laiko ang isinulat ng mga Obispo ng Pilipinas. “You, our dear lay faithful, have as your particular mission the sanctification and transformation of the world from within. In fact, many of you are called by the Lord to do service in the Church and for the Church”. (Filipino Catholic Laity: Called to Be Saints… Sent Forth as Heroes, CBCP Pastoral Exhortation for the 2014 Year of the Laity, December 1, 2013).

Harinawa maging mabunga ang taong ito para sa ating diyosesis sa pamamagitan ng masigasig na paglilingkod na laiko sa iba’t ibang ministro at apostolado ng mga parokya, lalung – lalo na ang mga mumunting pamayanan. Ipagdasal nating marami pang maidagdag sa laikong lingkod sa ubasan ng Panginoon dahil alam naman nating: “Sagana ang anihin ngunit kakaunti naman ang mag – aani.” (Mateo 9:37)

Sa pamamagitan ng ating mga Pilipinong Santo at mga banal na laikong sina San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila at San Pedro Calungsod, at pati pa rin ang ating Patrona, ang Immaculada Concepcion , panalangin ko na dinggin ng mga laiko ng Diyosesis ng Pasig ang tawag ng Panginoon na maging tunay na banal, at tahakin ninyo ang daan na maging mga bayani ng Simbahan at lipunan sa “Makabagong Panahon ng Ebanghelisasyon.”

Nagmamahal,

+Lubhang Kagalang-galang Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, DD
Obispo ng Pasig
Ika-26 ng Enero 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pope Francis' Message for the 48th World Day of Social Communications

Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we are living in a world which is growing ever "smaller" and where, as a result, it would seem to be easier for all of us to be neighbours. Developments in travel and communications technology are bringing us closer together and making us more connected, even as globalization makes us increasingly interdependent. Nonetheless, divisions, which are sometimes quite deep, continue to exist within our human family. On the global level we see a scandalous gap between the opulence of the wealthy and the utter destitution of the poor. Often we need only walk the streets of a city to see the contrast between people living on the street and the brilliant lights of the store windows. We have become so accustomed to these things that they no longer unsettle us. Our world suffers from many forms of exclusion, marginalization and poverty, to say nothing of conflicts born of a combination of economic, political, ideological, and, sadly, even religious motives.

In a world like this, media can help us to feel closer to one another, creating a sense of the unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all. Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better, and ultimately, to grow in unity. The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listenand learn from one another. We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect. A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive. Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.

This is not to say that certain problems do not exist. The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression. The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests. The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings. The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us. We should not overlook the fact that those who for whatever reason lack access to social media run the risk of being left behind.

While these drawbacks are real, they do not justify rejecting social media; rather, they remind us that communication is ultimately a human rather than technological achievement. What is it, then, that helps us, in the digital environment, to grow in humanity and mutual understanding? We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen. We need also to be patient if we want to understand those who are different from us. People only express themselves fully when they are not merely tolerated, but know that they are truly accepted. If we are genuinely attentive in listening to others, we will learn to look at the world with different eyes and come to appreciate the richness of human experience as manifested in different cultures and traditions. We will also learn to appreciate more fully the important values inspired by Christianity, such as the vision of the human person, the nature of marriage and the family, the proper distinction between the religious and political spheres, the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, and many others.

How, then, can communication be at the service of an authentic culture of encounter? What does it mean for us, as disciples of the Lord, to encounter others in the light of the Gospel? In spite of our own limitations and sinfulness, how do we draw truly close to one another? These questions are summed up in what a scribe – a communicator – once asked Jesus: "And who is my neighbour?" (Lk 10:29). This question can help us to see communication in terms of "neighbourliness". We might paraphrase the question in this way: How can we be "neighbourly" in our use of the communications media and in the new environment created by digital technology? I find an answer in the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is also a parable about communication. Those who communicate, in effect, become neighbours. The Good Samaritan not only draws nearer to the man he finds half dead on the side of the road; he takes responsibility for him. Jesus shifts our understanding: it is not just about seeing the other as someone like myself, but of the ability to make myself like the other. Communication is really about realizing that we are all human beings, children of God. I like seeing this power of communication as "neighbourliness".

Whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others, we are dealing with a form of violent aggression like that suffered by the man in the parable, who was beaten by robbers and left abandoned on the road. The Levite and the priest do not regard him as a neighbour, but as a stranger to be kept at a distance. In those days, it was rules of ritual purity which conditioned their response. Nowadays there is a danger that certain media so condition our responses that we fail to see our real neighbour.

It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply "connected"; connections need to grow into true encounters. We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves. We need to love and to be loved. We need tenderness. Media strategies do not ensure beauty, goodness and truth in communication. The world of media also has to be concerned with humanity, it too is called to show tenderness. The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity; a network not of wires but of people. The impartiality of media is merely an appearance; only those who go out of themselves in their communication can become a true point of reference for others. Personal engagement is the basis of the trustworthiness of a communicator. Christian witness, thanks to the internet, can thereby reach the peripheries of human existence.

As I have frequently observed, if a choice has to be made between a bruised Church which goes out to the streets and a Church suffering from self-absorption, I certainly prefer the first. Those "streets" are the world where people live and where they can be reached, both effectively and affectively. The digital highway is one of them, a street teeming with people who are often hurting, men and women looking for salvation or hope. By means of the internet, the Christian message can reach "to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Keeping the doors of our churches open also means keeping them open in the digital environment so that people, whatever their situation in life, can enter, and so that the Gospel can go out to reach everyone. We are called to show that the Church is the home of all. Are we capable of communicating the image of such a Church? Communication is a means of expressing the missionary vocation of the entire Church; today the social networks are one way to experience this call to discover the beauty of faith, the beauty of encountering Christ. In the area of communications too, we need a Church capable of bringing warmth and of stirring hearts.

Effective Christian witness is not about bombarding people with religious messages, but about our willingness to be available to others "by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence" (BENEDICT XVI, Message for the 47th World Communications Day, 2013). We need but recall the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus. We have to be able to dialogue with the men and women of today, to understand their expectations, doubts and hopes, and to bring them the Gospel, Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us from sin and death. We are challenged to be people of depth, attentive to what is happening around us and spiritually alert. To dialogue means to believe that the "other" has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective. Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.

May the image of the Good Samaritan who tended to the wounds of the injured man by pouring oil and wine over them be our inspiration. Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts. May the light we bring to others not be the result of cosmetics or special effects, but rather of our being loving and merciful "neighbours" to those wounded and left on the side of the road. Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world. The Church needs to be concerned for, and present in, the world of communication, in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ. She needs to be a Church at the side of others, capable of accompanying everyone along the way. The revolution taking place in communications media and in information technologies represents a great and thrilling challenge; may we respond to that challenge with fresh energy and imagination as we seek to share with others the beauty of God.

From the Vatican, 24 January 2014, the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales.

FRANCISCUS

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

An evening of ecumenical liturgical service

In the schedule of activities of the Catholic Church, January 18 – 25 is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Annually it is celebrated by the Catholic faithful with our brother Christians from the National Council of Churches in the Philippines or NCCP through ecumenical liturgical services.

This year, the Diocese of Pasig will host this event on Friday, January 24, 7 PM at the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish, Santolan, Pasig City with the theme “Has Christ been divided?” (1 Cor. 1: 1 – 17)


The Ministry of Ecumenism and Inter-faith Affairs headed by Fr. Daniel Estacio is requesting five delegates from each Parish and three delegates from each school to witness this momentous event.

/DPOC20140115

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Homiletic Tips for Feast of the Lord's Baptism

From Bishop Mylo Vergara, D.D.

We are challenged to seriously live out the three roles bestowed upon us when we were baptized: 

1) PRIEST- We all share a common priesthood in the way we worship the Lord, pray to him affectively and effectively, celebrate the Eucharist devoutly and concretely in our daily life; 

2) PROPHET -- We share our common prophetic role to proclaim the truth of Christ coming from his Word even though it will hurt secular sentiments-- His uncomfortable truth of justice, freedom, forgiveness and unconditional love; 

3) KING-- We share a common kingship of service willing to stoop down, to reach out to those who no longer go to Church, to serve the poor, the unwanted, the sick, the aged, the dying and especially those who have no one to turn to; 

4) A final thought: there are three baptisms outlined in the gospel-- 

[a] the baptism of water which is the baptism of repentance proclaimed by John the Baptist, 

[b] the baptism of the Spirit bestowed on us by, in and through Christ when we received the sacrament of baptism that made us children of the Father, co-heirs of his Kingdom,

[c] the baptism by fire granted to us when we received the sacrament of confirmation  empowering us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to become a witness-soldier of Christ to the world. We are blessed with these three baptisms. Can we hear God the Father telling each of us? -- 'You are my beloved son/ daughter in whom I am well pleased.'

Advise to preachers: "When preaching takes place within  the context of the liturgy, it is part of the offering made to the Father and a mediation of the grace which Christ pours out during the celebration." (EG 138)