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. Niño 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)

Friday, February 6, 2015

29th National Migrants Sunday

PASIG City - February 22, 2015 is declared by the CBCP as the National Migrants Sunday.

This was announced by Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos, D.D., Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant People.

The following is the message of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, regarding this day:

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE 101st WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES (2015)
Church without frontiers, Mother to all

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Jesus is “the evangelizer par excellence and the Gospel in person” (Evangelii Gaudium, 209). His solicitude, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized, invites all of us to care for the frailest and to recognize his suffering countenance, especially in the victims of new forms of poverty and slavery. The Lord says: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Mt 25:35-36). The mission of the Church, herself a pilgrim in the world and the Mother of all, is thus to love Jesus Christ, to adore and love him, particularly in the poorest and most abandoned; among these are certainly migrants and refugees, who are trying to escape difficult living conditions and dangers of every kind. For this reason, the theme for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees is: Church without frontiers, Mother to all.

The Church opens her arms to welcome all people, without distinction or limits, in order to proclaim that “God is love” (1 Jn4:8,16). After his death and resurrection, Jesus entrusted to the disciples the mission of being his witnesses and proclaiming the Gospel of joy and mercy. On the day of Pentecost, the disciples left the Upper Room with courage and enthusiasm; the strength of the Holy Spirit overcame their doubts and uncertainties and enabled all to understand the disciples’ preaching in their own language. From the beginning, the Church has been a mother with a heart open to the whole world, and has been without borders. This mission has continued for two thousand years. But even in the first centuries, the missionary proclamation spoke of the universal motherhood of the Church, which was then developed in the writings of the Fathers and taken up by the Second Vatican Council. The Council Fathers spoke of Ecclesia Mater to explain the Church’s nature. She begets sons and daughters and “takes them in and embraces them with her love and in her heart” (Lumen Gentium, 14).

The Church without frontiers, Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance and solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place or disposable. When living out this motherhood effectively, the Christian community nourishes, guides and indicates the way, accompanying all with patience, and drawing close to them through prayer and works of mercy.
Today this takes on a particular significance. In fact, in an age of such vast movements of migration, large numbers of people are leaving their homelands, with a suitcase full of fears and desires, to undertake a hopeful and dangerous trip in search of more humane living conditions. Often, however, such migration gives rise to suspicion and hostility, even in ecclesial communities, prior to any knowledge of the migrants’ lives or their stories of persecution and destitution. In such cases, suspicion and prejudice conflict with the biblical commandment of welcoming with respect and solidarity the stranger in need.

On the other hand, we sense in our conscience the call to touch human misery, and to put into practice the commandment of love that Jesus left us when he identified himself with the stranger, with the one who suffers, with all the innocent victims of violence and exploitation. Because of the weakness of our nature, however, “we are tempted to be that kind of Christian who keeps the Lord’s wounds at arm’s length” (Evangelii Gaudium, 270).
The courage born of faith, hope and love enables us to reduce the distances that separate us from human misery. Jesus Christ is always waiting to be recognized in migrants and refugees, in displaced persons and in exiles, and through them he calls us to share our resources, and occasionally to give up something of our acquired riches. Pope Paul VI spoke of this when he said that “the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others” (Octogesima Adveniens, 23).

The multicultural character of society today, for that matter, encourages the Church to take on new commitments of solidarity, communion and evangelization. Migration movements, in fact, call us to deepen and strengthen the values needed to guarantee peaceful coexistence between persons and cultures. Achieving mere tolerance that respects diversity and ways of sharing between different backgrounds and cultures is not sufficient. This is precisely where the Church contributes to overcoming frontiers and encouraging the “moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization … towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world” (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2014).

Migration movements, however, are on such a scale that only a systematic and active cooperation between States and international organizations can be capable of regulating and managing such movements effectively. For migration affects everyone, not only because of the extent of the phenomenon, but also because of “the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises, and the dramatic challenges it poses to nations and the international community” (Caritas in Veritate, 62).

At the international level, frequent debates take place regarding the appropriateness, methods and required norms to deal with the phenomenon of migration. There are agencies and organizations on the international, national and local level which work strenuously to serve those seeking a better life through migration. Notwithstanding their generous and laudable efforts, a more decisive and constructive action is required, one which relies on a universal network of cooperation, based on safeguarding the dignity and centrality of every human person. This will lead to greater effectiveness in the fight against the shameful and criminal trafficking of human beings, the violation of fundamental rights, and all forms of violence, oppression and enslavement. Working together, however, requires reciprocity, joint-action, openness and trust, in the knowledge that “no country can singlehandedly face the difficulties associated with this phenomenon, which is now so widespread that it affects every continent in the twofold movement of immigration and emigration” (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2014).

It is necessary to respond to the globalization of migration with the globalization of charity and cooperation, in such a way as to make the conditions of migrants more humane. At the same time, greater efforts are needed to guarantee the easing of conditions, often brought about by war or famine, which compel whole peoples to leave their native countries.

Solidarity with migrants and refugees must be accompanied by the courage and creativity necessary to develop, on a world-wide level, a more just and equitable financial and economic order, as well as an increasing commitment to peace, the indispensable condition for all authentic progress.

Dear migrants and refugees! You have a special place in the heart of the Church, and you help her to enlarge her heart and to manifest her motherhood towards the entire human family. Do not lose your faith and hope! Let us think of the Holy Family during the flight in Egypt: Just as the maternal heart of the Blessed Virgin and the kind heart of Saint Joseph kept alive the confidence that God would never abandon them, so in you may the same hope in the Lord never be wanting. I entrust you to their protection and I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 3 September 2014

FRANCISCUS

Source: vatican.va

El Shaddai to evangelize neighborhoods

PASIG - Charismatic movements spiritual director Fr. Emmanuel Hipolito endorsed activities the officers and members of the El Shaddai DWXI-Prayer Partners Foundation International, Inc. to pursue their neighborhood evangelization program in the parishes of the Diocese of Pasig.

The evangelization program aims to bring the Gospel to the faithful, especially the unchurched and gather them into a prayer group and eventually lead them back to the parishes, quasi-parishes, and/or chaplaincies.  It also aims to to reach out to the youth to make them experience that they are part of the Church and to let them experience the presence of God through prayer, worship , and intercession,  Finally, movement hopes to teach the faithful the Charismatic way of fellowship.

Activities include identification of target areas, formation of the working groups in-charge with evnagelization, coordination with the parish priest, pastoral councils, and barangays, and scheduling of visits to identified households.

Fr. Hipolito appeals for the spiritual and pastoral support of the parish priests in the implementation of this program. (report by Fr. Joselito Jopson)

23rd Celebration of the World Day of the Sick

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE 23rd WORLD DAY OF THE SICK 2015

Sapientia Cordis“I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame”
(Job 29:15)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this, the twenty-third World Day of the Sick, begun by Saint John Paul II, I turn to all of you who are burdened by illness and are united in various ways to the flesh of the suffering Christ, as well as to you, professionals and volunteers in the field of health care.
This year’s theme invites us to reflect on a phrase from the Book of Job: “I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame” (Job29:15). I would like to consider this phrase from the perspective of “sapientia cordis” – the wisdom of the heart.

1. This “wisdom” is no theoretical, abstract knowledge, the product of reasoning. Rather, it is, as Saint James describes it in his Letter, “pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity” (3:17). It is a way of seeing things infused by the Holy Spirit in the minds and the hearts of those who are sensitive to the sufferings of their brothers and sisters and who can see in them the image of God. So let us take up the prayer of the Psalmist: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps 90:12). This “sapientia cordis”, which is a gift of God, is a compendium of the fruits of the World Day of the Sick.

2. Wisdom of the heart means serving our brothers and sisters. Job’s words: “I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame”, point to the service which this just man, who enjoyed a certain authority and a position of importance amongst the elders of his city, offered to those in need. His moral grandeur found expression in the help he gave to the poor who sought his help and in his care for orphans and widows (Job 29:12-13).

Today too, how many Christians show, not by their words but by lives rooted in a genuine faith, that they are “eyes to the blind” and “feet to the lame”! They are close to the sick in need of constant care and help in washing, dressing and eating. This service, especially when it is protracted, can become tiring and burdensome. It is relatively easy to help someone for a few days but it is difficult to look after a person for months or even years, in some cases when he or she is no longer capable of expressing gratitude. And yet, what a great path of sanctification this is! In those difficult moments we can rely in a special way on the closeness of the Lord, and we become a special means of support for the Church’s mission.

3. Wisdom of the heart means being with our brothers and sisters. Time spent with the sick is holy time. It is a way of praising God who conforms us to the image of his Son, who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). Jesus himself said: “I am among you as one who serves” (Lk 22:27).

With lively faith let us ask the Holy Spirit to grant us the grace to appreciate the value of our often unspoken willingness to spend time with these sisters and brothers who, thanks to our closeness and affection, feel more loved and comforted. How great a lie, on the other hand, lurks behind certain phrases which so insist on the importance of “quality of life” that they make people think that lives affected by grave illness are not worth living!

4. Wisdom of the heart means going forth from ourselves towards our brothers and sisters. Occasionally our world forgets the special value of time spent at the bedside of the sick, since we are in such a rush; caught up as we are in a frenzy of doing, of producing, we forget about giving ourselves freely, taking care of others, being responsible for others. Behind this attitude there is often a lukewarm faith which has forgotten the Lord’s words: “You did it unto me’ (Mt 25:40).
For this reason, I would like once again to stress “the absolute priority of ‘going forth from ourselves toward our brothers and sisters’ as one of the two great commandments which ground every moral norm and as the clearest sign for discerning spiritual growth in response to God’s completely free gift” (Evangelii Gaudium, 179). The missionary nature of the Church is the wellspring of an “effective charity and a compassion which understands, assists and promotes” (ibid).

5. Wisdom of the heart means showing solidarity with our brothers and sisters while not judging them. Charity takes time. Time to care for the sick and time to visit them. Time to be at their side like Job’s friends: “And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great” (Job 2:13). Yet Job’s friends harboured a judgement against him: they thought that Job’s misfortune was a punishment from God for his sins. True charity is a sharing which does not judge, which does not demand the conversion of others; it is free of that false humility which, deep down, seeks praise and is self-satisfied about whatever good it does.

Job’s experience of suffering finds its genuine response only in the cross of Jesus, the supreme act of God’s solidarity with us, completely free and abounding in mercy. This response of love to the drama of human pain, especially innocent suffering, remains for ever impressed on the body of the risen Christ; his glorious wounds are a scandal for faith but also the proof of faith (cf.Homily for the Canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II, 27 April 2014).

Even when illness, loneliness and inability make it hard for us to reach out to others, the experience of suffering can become a privileged means of transmitting grace and a source for gaining and growing in sapientia cordis. We come to understand how Job, at the end of his experience, could say to God: “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (42:5). People immersed in the mystery of suffering and pain, when they accept these in faith, can themselves become living witnesses of a faith capable of embracing suffering, even without being able to understand its full meaning.

6. I entrust this World Day of the Sick to the maternal protection of Mary, who conceived and gave birth to Wisdom incarnate: Jesus Christ, our Lord.

O Mary, Seat of Wisdom, intercede as our Mother for all the sick and for those who care for them! Grant that, through our service of our suffering neighbours, and through the experience of suffering itself, we may receive and cultivate true wisdom of heart!

With this prayer for all of you, I impart my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 3 December 2014

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier

FRANCIS

Source:  vatican.va

National Marian Days of Prayer and Asia-Oceania Mariological Conference

PASIG - The Archdiocese of Lipa will host the 12th National Marian Days of Prayer in Lipa and the 4th Asia-Oceania Mariological Conference on September 7 - 12, 2015, the venue to be announced later.

For those interested to attend the event please inform or contact Nikki Capulong at 09276714366 or Mavreen Macatangay at 09178068388.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Thank you, Kristel ... Thank you, Lord**

Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, DD, MA, SThdphoto by: 

Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, D.D. MA, SThD

photo by Lou Echano Dominguiano, Sto. Nino de Taguig Parish


Today, we celebrate the funeral mass for Kristel Mae which is also a mass of thanksgiving for her.  One wonders how two contrasting emotional moods of grieving and gratitude are possible in today’s Eucharistic celebration. 

In a funeral mass, the emotion of deep sorrow is experienced because after days of being with the dead body of Kristel during the wake services in her home, we finally lay to rest her dead body when she is buried after this mass.  How can Jun and Judy, her parents, thank the Lord for the death of their only beloved daughter?  For all of us gathered here, she has been a good daughter, relative and friend.  How can we express a positive disposition of thanksgiving when we know that we will no longer see Kristel’s physical body once the coffin is laid to rest in her grave?  We still feel overwhelming sorrow and pain for the loss of Kristel, someone dear to us.

Remember what Pope Francis said in Tacloban and also in the University of Santo Tomas (U.S.T.).  He said that during a time of tragedy, all we can do is weep and be silent.  He told us that we cannot say anything and that it is normal to just cry.  For Jun and Judy and for all of us, it is okay to cry and be silent; it is okay to grieve and to mourn.     

However, the Eucharist means thanksgiving.  Every mass evokes from within us to express gratitude.  It is an opportunity to be grateful to the Lord for all the blessings we have received in life.  In this sense, the Lord invites Jun and Judy, and all of us, amidst this seemingly negative experience of death, to thank the Lord. So what do we thank the Lord for? 

First, we thank the Lord for his compassionate and loving presence, during this unexpected, tragic death of Kristel.  Pope Francis told us that, as we cry silently, we just have to set our gaze on the crucified Lord who understands everything and assures us that he is with us during these trying times (cf. Homily, Mass in Tacloban Leyte, January 17, 2015).  As Catholics, we are grateful to God because, during this negative experience of loss and death, we can hold on to our faith to carry us through. 

Secondly, we thank the Lord for the gift of Kristel.  After her death, we discovered her goodness and holiness.  We learned how Kristel became a volunteer of the Catholic Relief Services to help the Yolanda typhoon-stricken victims of Samar.  We also found out that instead of buying a cake for her birthday, she would use the money to buy notebooks and ballpens given to children who cannot afford them for their school use.   Indeed, the words from our first reading affirm Kristel’s fate that the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God (cf. Wisdom 3:1).  Even our second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans describes how Kristel lived her life—that she lived and died not for herself but for God and others (cf. Romans 14:7).  And our gospel tells us how Kristel, in more ways than one,  was judged to merit God’s kingdom because she fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, welcomed strangers, visited the sick and those in prison (cf. Matthew 25:34-35)

Finally, we thank the Lord for receiving Kristel in heaven. We are consoled today because we know that Kristel is with the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, with Mary and all the saints in God’s eternal kingdom.  We look forward to the time when, one day, when God calls us, we will be with Kristel in what we all hope for—eternal life.


Pope Francis shared with us and, even in his papal flight back to Rome, that Kristel’s did not die in vain, that “she died in service” (January 19, 2015).  Thus she was truly a “model of service” in her youth.  We pray that there may be many more “Kristels” who will follow and live a life of service for God and the Church.

**  This is the English translation of the homily delivered by Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, DD, Bishop of Pasig during the funeral mass of Kristel Mae Padasas, the youth volunteer who accidentally died when scaffoldings hit her due to strong winds and rains brought about by typhoon “Amang” at the time when Pope Francis celebrated mass in Tacloban on January 17, 2015.  Most Rev. Guiseppe Pinto, DD, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, was the main presider of the mass that was held on January 27, 2015 in Sto. Niňo Parish Church, Signal Village, Taguig City which belongs to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Diocese of Pasig, Philippines.