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5.25.2011

CHARITY AND CONSCIENCE ON THE RH DEBATE

Pastoral Statement of the Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan to be read as
the homily in all Masses on May 29, 2011, the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Love is the core of the message of Jesus in today’s gospel. Love is
indeed the trademark of the followers of Jesus. The Lord promises
further in the gospel that if we choose the path of love and keep His
commandments we will never be orphans.

The past few months have seen many of us who belong to the same Church
and who share the same faith in Christ at odds with one another on the
issue of the reproductive health bill in Congress. It is indeed sad
and perhaps even scandalous for non Christians to see the Catholic
flock divided among themselves and some members of the Catholic lay
faithful at odds with their own pastors. If we fail to have love, we
make ourselves orphans.

BRING BACK CHARITY

It is certainly not our intention to add more flame to the fire but
rather to make an appeal for the triumph of reason and sobriety. We
want to make a plea for greater charity even as we passionately state
our positions on this divisive issue. At the end of the heated
debates, we will all be winners if we proclaim the truths we believe
in with utmost charity, courtesy and respect for one another. Charity
is at the heart of the social doctrine of the Church Pope Benedict XVI
reminds us. In the first letter of Peter today, he admonishes us today
never to be without gentleness and reverence.

RETURN TO CONSCIENCE

We appeal to our Catholic brethren who stand on opposing sides on the
reproductive health bill to return to the voice of conscience, to
state their positions and rebut their opponents always with charity.
Today’s second reading is a call for clarity of conscience beyond
reproach. The moral conscience is man’s sanctuary through which the
voice of God is heard, that voice that tells us to embrace what is
good and reject what is evil. However, conscience is not the ultimate
tribunal of morality. Conscience must be formed in the light of truth.
Conscience must be enlightened by the Spirit of God. We appeal to both
sides engaged in debate to pray, to seek the light of God and allow
the voice of an enlightened conscience to prevail. We pray conscience
does now allow itself to be swayed by statistics or partisan political
positions. The only voice conscience must listen to is the voice of
God. The only way for conscience to speak is through the language of
Christ-like charity.

RESTORE UNITY

We appeal to our Catholic brethren to remember that the unity of the
Church does not only pertain to the acceptance of a set of doctrines.
Our Catholic faith has a moral mandate. It is not enough to recite the
Apostles’ Creed; we must show that we are Catholics by living by the
norms of Catholic morality. We are Catholics by creed and cult and
code. We are Catholics in beliefs. We are Catholics in prayer. We are
Catholics with one moral life.

In matters of faith, unity; in matters of opinion, liberty; in all
things charity!

The issue of contraception belongs to the realm of faith not opinions.
Blessed John Paul II repeatedly taught us during his papacy that
contraception can never be justified. We must not make wrong right by
the sheer force of surveys or legislation by the majority or the
convenience of some. People in authority who mislead others on the
matter of contraception put themselves in open conflict with the law
of God and lead others to sin.

FIGHT ALL CORRUPTIONS

The Church holds close to her heart the dream of everyone to rise out
of poverty and live the fullness of life. Pope Paul VI correctly
pointed out to us that “the causes of underdevelopment are not
primarily of the material order. They lie above all in the will, in
the mind and, even more so, in "the lack of brotherhood among
individuals and peoples". In other words, the greater cause of
underdevelopment is corruption of the soul and corruption of society.
Contraception adds to the moral corruption of our society and family.

We all want progress for the nation and for the family of nations. We
cannot progress without freedom. Jesus died and rose to set us free.
Indeed EDSA 1986 taught us that. But freedom must always be grounded
in truth. Freedom is not absolute. Freedom must submit to truth.
Freedom without truth is only sentimentalism and will only lead to
social laxity.

In fact, ethical relativism eventually leads to totalitarianism.
Ethical relativism destroys freedom. Ethical relativism turns freedom
into licentiousness. Licentiousness and laxity has destroyed many
great civilizations of history. Those who ignore the mistakes of
history are doomed to repeat them.

CHURCH AS MOTHER

We plead with our officials in government and our friends in media to
look at the Church as a partner in the mission of development. The
Catholic Church throughout its two thousand year history in the world
and almost five hundred years in the Philippines has proven itself as
a potent agent for holistic authentic human progress and not an
obstacle for development. If the Church issues this stern warning
about the reproductive health bill, it is not to impede national
progress but to protect our nation from greater harms and tragedies in
the generations ahead. On this highly divisive issue, the Church is
still a mother protecting her children from greater dangers and moral
traps which until now her beloved children are still unable to
foresee.

We need God if we want development. Jesus is the only Way, the only
Truth, the only Life for us. There is none like Him. We will be lost
without Him. Ignoring Him and setting Him aside in pursuing progress
we do only at our own peril.

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, May 24, 2011, Feast
of Mary Help of Christians.

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
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5.22.2011

Why pop-control is not the Solution to Poverty

The main objective of a population program is to reduce fertility measured in terms of the number of children born of every woman. The means to achieve fertility reduction is to increase contraception, and sterilization (ligation). The persuasion is done mainly under the guise of health and well-being of women and family and are also directed at young people under the forms of anti-birth sex education programs from grade school to College level.

Population Policy is Anti-poor
The premise for the population control argument is as old as Thomas Malthus' 1789 essay on the social consequence of unchecked human population growth. The Malthusians today, are indoctrinating international opinion that poverty does not find its cause in social injustice, or in economic failure, or in political incompetence, or in ideological aberrations. According to them, poverty has its source in the dizzying proliferation of poor people, of the weak, the Blacks, the Indians, etc.

Most growth of the world's population takes place in the Third World, thus a tendency to claim that underdevelopment, poverty and hunger are caused by overpopulation or "the poor having too many children." Many people assume that these population control notions are valid because they have heard them so often, especially in the media. The population controllers never seem to see themselves as part of the "overpopulation problem," only the defenseless poor, whom they belittle, coerce and seek to reduce in number.

Poverty is not a fatality, nor is hunger. What the poor expect is that they be given aid to get out of their misery, not that they be left to stagnate after having been "offered" sterilization or contraception.

The following evidences unmistakably contradicts the assumption that the cause of poverty is too many people and that reducing the number of people will reduce poverty.

Debunking the myths of overpopulation. The world is not exploding!
When one looks around and sees the masses of people, the congestion, the homeless, the slums, the pollution, and gets caught up in the daily traffic jam, it is tempting to think that the world is indeed overpopulated. Currently the world population is numbered at 6,004,428,557 and is growing by an estimated one million people every four or five days. This rapid growth has caused much concern and it seemed to confirm the existence of a "population bomb."

However, the catastrophe that some saw approaching may in fact never come. The latest statistics from the United States Census Bureau reveals that the world's population growth rate has "declined to about 1.5 percent at present," the lowest rate in fifty years. The same study also says that the birth rate is declining faster than population has been growing that the U.S. Census Bureau has just cut its three year old estimate of world population in the year 2000 by one hundred twenty million, and in the year 2020 by more than three hundred million.

In the Philippines, improvements in female education, job opportunities outside the home, rising economic expectations, improved life expectancy, migration, low death rate are among the factors listed by experts on family life that decreased birth rates. So, even without the government family planning program of fertility reduction, there will be less babies born in the future.

Overcrowded cities, not overcrowded countries
According to basic calculations by area, all six billion people on the earth today would fit within the state of Texas, with each family having a house with a little yard. So, it is not a question of area. The problem is the growing concentration of large numbers of people in certain cities, caused by the deterioration and lack of opportunities in the rural areas. This migration to cities, occurring mostly in developing countries, has left most of the countryside uninhabited, while the cities are confronting serious problems with basic infrastructure, health services, food supplies, education, transportation, sewage disposal, and housing.

An example of this is Egypt, where 98% of the population (62 million) lives in a few cities on the banks of the Nile River, in an area that encompasses only 3.5% of Egypt's territory.

Every nation has enough resources and the capacity to feed its people well
In contrast to what the population controllers would have us believe, most countries in the world have the natural resources to feed and provide a life with dignity for every citizen. According to a report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, every nation has the capacity to feed its people well. Thus, no Filipino should be starving. The problem is food distribution and not food supply.

Furthermore, population-control advocates also insist that it is better to have smaller populations in order to increase resources. If this were the case, then Bolivia, for example, with only 7.8 million people, but with a territory the size of California and Texas combined, and possessing abundant natural resources, would be a wealthy country, which unfortunately it is not.

There is no connection between population growth and economic growth
There is no population problem. Population growth is the result of the plunging death rate and increasing life expectancy worldwide. That is progress.
- Sheldon Richman
CATO Institute

In 1967, Nobel prize winning economist Simon Kuznets published the result of a study in which he compared population growth rates and economic growth rates of a group of countries over the last hundred years to see if high rates of population growth correlated with low rates of economic growth. He found that there was no connection. Indeed, historical data suggest the contrary, that population growth is a positive factor in the economic development process. Sheldon Richman of CATO Institute, in his testimony on International Population Stabilization and Reproductive Health Act further revealed that the United States, England, Hongkong, and other countries became rich during unprecedented growth in population. The most densely populated nations are among the richest. There are many nations much richer than the Philippines where population density is greater. There are also many nations much poorer than the Philippines where population density is lower. Low population density may contribute to poverty.

COUNTRY ----------------GNP($) PER CAPITA----------------PERSONS PER SQ. KM.
West Germany------------10,940-------------------------
--------635
Netherlands----------------9,316-----------------------------------346
Japan---------------------11,300------------------------------------840
Hongkong------------------7,136---------------------------------4,850
South Korea---------------2,150---------------------------------1,121
India------------------------ 270--------------------------------------606
Philippines-----------------1,740-----------------------------------161
Ethiopia---------------------284--------------------------------------27
Zambia---------------------730----------------------------------------8
Source: Statistical Abstract of U.S. World Development Report 1987

The true cause of poverty
International experts have identified that the causes of a country's underdevelopment, like that of the Philippines, can be both internal and external. The internal causes may include social injustice, unjust distribution of wealth, the absence of equal opportunity for all in education and economic life, poor political and economic administration combined with widespread corruption, exaggerated military budgets in contrast to inadequate spending on health and education, overconcentration of productive capacity in urban centers, the unbridled pursuit of profit at the expense of the common good, the heavy burden of foreign debt accompanied by lack of controls on the flight of capital, unequal access to property, etc. The list is endless!

Externally, underdeveloped nations are victims of an inequitable distribution of the world quotes resources as well as international trade and financial arrangements which work against them. Economic experts blame the economic recession being experienced in the Asian region to globalization. We are witnessing a reduction of jobs, a cutting of social services and the laying of greater stress on the laws of the international market rather than the laws of the land. Globalization means global competition in trade and business. As always the case has been, it is only the superpowers who win the game because with deregulation, privatization and liberalization of trade, they can maintain status quo.

Birth (Out Of) Control
"Since absolute security for one power means absolute insecurity for all others, it is obtainable only through conquest, never as part of a legitimate settlement."
- Henry A. Kissinger in World Politics, January 1956

Overpopulation is a concoction of contraceptive pushers and abortion pushers who have banded together in a conglomerate called International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). These are owners of multinational corporations which manufacture infant formulas, contraceptives, condoms, IUDs, sterilization and abortion gadgets like suction machines. They are the same people who control international money lending institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Frankfurt-based Development Loan Corporation and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

IPPF was founded by Margaret Sanger, the woman who coined the expressions "birth control", "human weeds," "less children from the unfit," "right to destroy," and "freedom of choice." This must sound familiar because Hitler applied this to thousands of Jews whom he considered an inferior human race. Margaret Sanger's whole life was devoted to racism and "contraceptive imperialism."

IBON Databank analysis says that, the Philippine's population program was undertaken to please the rich countries who provide money through loans, grants and investments, crucial to the government's economic plans. Rich countries, including the international organizations they dominate, are only willing to help the poor nations if they allow their population to be controlled. USAID, for example includes population reduction as one of the objectives for giving financial assistance to the Philippines. The focus of "planned parenthood" is an economic strategy of transnational corporations. As long as the population program exists in the Philippines, the foreign-dominated pharmaceutical industry has a ready market for contraceptives that pollute the internal environment of men and women.

Secondly, the Information Project for Africa in a book entitled Excessive Force: Power, Politics and Population Control also revealed that third world countries constitutes the largest population group. Out of every baby born, only one belongs to the white race. Obviously, if the third world population grows too fast, the white Anglo-Saxon race will eventually be swallowed. To quote Bertrand Russell, in his famous speech Marriage and Morals (London, 1929), "It cannot be expected that the most powerful will sit while other nations reverse the military nations balance of power by the mere process of breeding."

Is it moral to allow the Population Bill to be enacted to law?
Most of the countries in the West are suffering from a decline of births. As a consequence their population is ageing. In Japan, the average age of the labor force is 44. Countries whose population is slowing down are also suffering from economic stagnation. This is more than a coincidence. Slow population growth means smaller markets and therefore a less dynamic economy. Aside from these economic problems these countries are also suffering from many social and health problems: high divorce rates, breakdown of the family, juvenile delinquency, sexual promiscuity and serious side effects from the use of contraceptive methods.

Given this scenario there is no reason why we should support a bill that we know poses so many problems. If we appreciate and value the strength of the Filipino family we cannot remain indifferent to the government' s population control programs.

Natural Family Planning not Artificial Methods of Contraception
Catholic teachings has always been firm in its stand on the subject of population control: "The duty to safeguard the family demands that particular attention be given to securing for the husband and wife the liberty to decide responsibly, free from all social or legal coercion, the number of children they will have and the spacing of their births. It should not be the intent of governments or other agencies to decide for couples but rather to create the social conditions which will enable them to make appropriate decisions in the light of their responsibilities to God, to themselves, to the society of which they are part, and to the objective moral order. What the church calls "responsible parenthood" is not a question of unlimited procreation or lack of awareness of what is involved in rearing children, but rather the empowerment of couples to use their inviolable liberty wisely and responsibly, taking into account social and demographic realities as well as their own situation and legitimate desires, in the light of objective moral criteria.
(L'Osservatore Romano. 23 March 1994)

Scientists and millions of couples worldwide agree that modern scientific fertility awareness methods such as the Billings Ovulation Method are reliable, effective, safe, healthy and easy-to-use ways of planning the family.

Speaking on this subject, Mother Teresa of Calcutta has remarked: "In destroying the power of giving life through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gift of love in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in Natural Family Planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception."

Other References :
Mercedes Arzu Wilson, "Love & Family: Raising A Traditional Family in a Secular World" , Ignatius Press, San Francisco

Michael Schooyans, "Bioethics and Population", Copyright 1996 by Central Bureau, CCVA

Jacqueline R. Kasun, PhD, "Birth (out of) Control: The Failure of Government Family Planning Programs", The Population Research Institute, 1994

"Debunking the Population Myths: Philippine Setting", Manila: Pro-Life Philippines, 1993

Fr. Anthony Zimmerman, STD, "Catholic Teachings on Pro-Life Issues", Humanae Vitae Research Institute, Kagosima-ken, Japan, 1996
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Source:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_216971028320803&id=218204861530753&notif_t=group_activity:

5.17.2011

RH bill HB 4244

by:  Bishop  Broderick  Pabillo

Do we need this RH Bill HB 4244?

 The Philippine Constitution states:
The State recognises the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution.  It shall protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.  The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government”.  (Sec 12, Art II)

The State shall defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood”. (Sec 3(1) Art XV)
The State shall defend “the right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.” (Sec 3 Art XV)
Due commendation is to be given to the authors of the bill 4244 when they made several amendments to it on March 15, 2011. The amendments take away some of its objectionable features. The amendments are:

a.       The wording on Sec 13 asking the barangay health workers and volunteers to “be capacitated to give priority to family planning work” was changed. The phrase “give priority to family planning work” is  deleted. Barangay health workers are not there to prioritize reproductive health. There are so many health issues to be addressed, and very grave and basic ones too, in our barangays.
b.      In Sec 15 the Mobile Health Care Service that each congressional district are mandated to have will no longer be funded from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), popularly known as the Pork Barrel, but instead “the procurement and operation of which shall be funded by the National Government”. This may be a way to get the support of some congress men and women who do not want their Pork Barrel to be reduced. This is more of a political ploy.
c.       The controversial Sec 16 which deals with sex education entitled: “Mandatory age-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education” has been diluted with the addition of another paragraph which reads: “Parents shall exercise the option of not allowing  their minor children to attend classes pertaining to reproductive health and sexuality education.” This may be a concession but how many parents will exercise this option, and whether their option will be respected in our public schools.
d.      Sec 20 on the “Ideal Family Size” has been totally deleted, and rightly so. While this section recognized the rights of parents on how many children they may have, still it is suggested that two children is the ideal. A law, if it is a law, is mandatory and not exhortatory.
e.      Sec 21 on “Employers’ Responsibilities” has been entirely deleted on the reason that “this provision is a restatement and amplification of the existing Art 134 of the Labor Code.”
f.        Another contentious section is on the Prohibited Acts, Sec 28 (e). One of the prohibited acts is “any person who maliciously engages in the disinformation about the intent and provisions of this act.” This infringes on the freedom of expression. This part is deleted.
  1. With these amendments, can we say that the bill 4244 is now acceptable? I say no! The some basic objectionable elements are still there.   
  2. Reproductive Health is now seen by its international promoters as including the control of population, the provision of abortion, the promotion of contraception (including agents and methods known to be abortifacient), promotion of a particular form of sexuality education, and the promotion of an ethic with regard to sexuality that separates it from life and self-giving love. Though the present bill says that it does not promote abortion yet it cannot detached itself from the ideology espoused by the language of reproductive health. The elements of the reproductive health ideology are in the present bill.
  3. There is no mention of the sexual act. Mention is made of pregnancies and HIV and STI, which are results of sexual actions. The bill wants to prevent the results but do not attack the root. Results are to be controlled but not the sexual actions. In a way it brings the message: any sexual activity is alright, just prevent its undesirable consequences, which are sexuality transmitted deceases and pregnancy!
  4. There is no mention of the value of life of the unborn, the value of family, and the value of the sexual act. However, by promoting contraception devices a value is being subtly put forward without even mentioning it: one can engage in sex as long as one does not get unwanted pregnancy or one does not get sick. In truth if one does not want to get unwanted pregnant and sexual disease the solution that is and without cost and complication is to abstain from any inappropriate sexual behavior. But proper sexual values are not promoted. There is even no mention of abstinence and fidelity in marriage in the bill.
  5. There are many provisions that say that devices, commodities, and supplies are to be promoted, made available and provided. This already shows the bias towards artificial family planning methods which would have need of these supplies. Money is to be given for these supplies and commodities to make them available while no mention of money being spent on teaching people, which natural planning methods require. The mention of the natural family planning is just a palliative in the bill with no real intention of promoting it. Instead there is great intent to promote the “devices”.
  6. Sec. 10 entitled “Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines” is totally unacceptable! Medicines are for the sick. What sickness do “Family Planning Supplies” cure? These supplies are surely contraceptive pills, IUDs and condoms. Except in particular cases contraceptives do not treat any medical condition.  On the contrary they are used upon perfectly healthy women to restrict a natural function. The government cannot even procure real basic medicines as paracetamols, anti-biotics and other basic medicines, and we will stretch out our meager resources to buy commodities that can be done away with with enough information and responsible self-control. By labelling these agents as essential medicines, the bill promotes inaccuracy. They place matters within the province of choice alongside those which are largely outside of it.  That is to say, healthy people can choose whether to use contraceptives or not, unhealthy peoples’ choices are seriously limited and their need for genuinely essential medicines is realistic and warranted.
  7.  The money to be spent to provide for this “essential medicine” will be taxpayers’ money. Most of the taxpayers are Catholics in this country and their money will be spent on something that they believe to be wrong and immoral. (Will you allow your money to be used to buy condoms and pills to be given to the people?) Let the people who believe in the good of these devices provide them freely to others. No one is hindering them from doing it. They have freedom of choice. These devices are already available in the market in the first place. If the government wants to help the poor let it give them the basic necessities: light, water, truly basic medicine, free hospitalization, basic education, and the like.
  8. The basic presupposition of this bill is that the number of children and consequently the number of population is a hindrance to sustainable development. This has already been debunked by many studies. This fallacy is so prevailing that great responsibility to execute this bill, if it becomes a law, is given to the Commission on Population both in the LGU and the national level. For the authors of this bill reproductive health is an issue of population and not of health. All the talks about “reproduction” and “health” are misnomers or may even be an intent to deceive. Yes, it is true that the PopCom is under DOH, but why should it be? Is population a disease?
  9. It is known in the medical field that the artificial planning devices that are in use are not 100% sure both in protecting oneself from STI and “protecting” oneself from pregnancy. This makes the idea of “protection” dangerous. With the confidence given by this “protection” as advertised by the proponents, people will engage more, and not less, in inappropriate sexual activities. With more frequent sexual activities the effectivity of their “protection” lowers down. They put themselves all the more at risk.
  10. The artificial devices also have medical side-effects and are shown to lead to certain diseases, such as cancer, high blood and cardiovascular diseases.  Naturally so! One is putting something in the body that should not be there! There is no mention in the bill that the women who are victims of these devices will be provided with free health care afterwards. The bill claims to champion the health of women but in truth and in the long run it does harm to them. Besides, with the claim of men that they are now “protected” they will easily deal with the women as objects to be used and not as persons to be respected.
  11. There is the concern that many people die because of unwanted pregnancies. Many of these devices, IUDs and Pills among them, are contraceptives and abortifacients. They really kill the life that is already there. The bill and the contraceptive mentality behind it do not recognize the equal dignity of life of all – preferring that of the woman than that of the child that she had engendered. It is killing the ones who are innocent and defenseless. No wonder insensitivity to life in contraception eventually leads to abortion.
  12. In is noteworthy that the bill speaks both of the youth and the adolescent. It defines who the adolescent is but not who the youth is. It really targets the adolescent, both for its sex education and for the services of its “devices.”
  13. There are several good provisions in the bill. Among them are Sec 5 “Midwives for skilled attendance” and Sec 6 “Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care”. Both demand that there beenough personnel and hospital facilities to address maternal care. Both end with this sentence: “Provided that people in geographically isolated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access.” Beautiful words, but will the government do this? The bill does not provide where the money shall come from for these services, and this is indeed a very basic need which can really address a lot of deaths and sufferings among women and children. Are these then just dressings to the real intent of the bill, not to really help the poor and the women but to put forward the contraceptive mentality
  14. Other countries have the reproductive health services in place for many years already but they still have the problems that our law makers claim will be solved by this bill:
a.       Even more abortions. In fact they have to legalize abortion in these countries. In international circles abortion is part of the reproductive right! Either the promoters of HB 4244 are naïve or they are cunningly deceptive when they say that they are not for abortion. All those who promote contraception end up upholding abortion, if they are consistent with their position of contra-ception!
b.      Even more teen-age pregnancies, so more unwanted pregnancies. This is the result of more promiscuity and less respect which stems from the ideology of contraception. By the way, there is no mention the word ‘contraception’ in the bill but its ideology is all over in the language of ‘Reproductive Health’.
c.       Their poor people are not improved by the availability of these devices. The poor do not get a better chance in life even if they have fewer children if basic services are not given to them and if the perspective of governance is pro-foreign investment rather than harnessing local resources, pro-investor rather than pro-labor, increased GDP rather than equity.
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5.13.2011

REUNION

Karugtong . . . . .

Lukas 24:13-35


Nang Linggo ding iyon, ang dalawa sa mga alagad ay patungo sa isang nayong tinatawag na Emaus, may labing-isang kilometro ang layo sa Jerusalem.  Pinag-uusapan nila ang mga pangyayari.

Samantalang nag-uusap sila at nagtatanungan, lumapit si Jesus at nakisabay sa kanila.  Siya’y nakita nila, ngunit hindi nakilala agad,  Tinanong sila ni Jesus, “Ano ba ang pinag-uusapan ninyo?”  At tumigil silang nalulumbay.  Sinabi ng isa na ang ngala’y Cleopas, “Kayo lamang po yata ang dayuhan sa Jerusalem na hindi nakalam sa mga bagay na katatapos pa lamng nangyari roon.”

“Anong mga bagay?”, tanong niya.  At sumagot sila, “Tungkol kay Jesus na taga-Nasaret, isang propetang makapangyarihan sa gawa at salit, maging sa harapan ng Diyos at ng mga tao.  Isinakdal siya n gaming mga punong saserdote at mga pinuno upang mahatulang mamatay, at siya ay ipinako sa krus.  Siya pa naman ang inaasahan naming magpalaya sa Israel.  Hindi lamng iyan.  Ikatlong araw na ngayon mula nang mangyari ito, nabigla kami sa ibinalita ng ilan sa mga babaing kasamahan naming.  Maagang-maaga raw silang nagpunta sa libingan, at di nila natagpuan ang kanyang bangkay.  Nagbalik sila at ang sabi’y nakakita raw sila ng isang pangitain – mga anghel na nagsabing buhay si Jesus.  Pumunta rin sa libingan ang ilan sa mga kasama naming at gayon ang natagpuan nila, ngunit hindi nila nakita si Jesus.”

Sinabi sa kanila ni Jesus, “Kay hahangal ninyo!  Ano’t hindi ninyo mapaniwalaan ang lahat ng sinabi ng mga propeta?  Hindi ba’t ang Mesiyas ay kailangang magbata ng lahat ng ito bago niya kamtan ang kanyang marangal na katayuan?”  At ioinaliwanag sa kanila ni Jesus ang lahat ng nasasaad sa kasulatan tungkol sa kanyang sarili, simula sa mga aklat ni Moises hanggang sa sinulat ng mga propeta.

Malapit na sila sa kanilang patutunguhan, at si Jesus ay waring magpapatuloy pa ng lakad.  Ngunit siya’y pinakapigil-pigil nila, “tumuloy na po kayo rito sa amin,” anila, “sapagkat palubog na ang araw at dumidilim na.”  Kaya’t sumama nga siya sa kanila.  Nang siya’y kasalo na nila sa hapag, dumampot siya ng tinapay at nagpasalamat sa Diyos, saka pinaghati-hati at ibinigay sa kanila.  Nabuksan ang kanilang paningin at nakilala nila si Jesus, subalit ito’y biglang nawala.  At nawika nila, “Kaya pala gayon ang pakiramdam natin habang tayo’y kinakausap sa daan at ipinapaliwanag sa atin ang mga Kasulatan!”  Noon di’y tumindig sila at nagbalik sa Jerusalem.  Naratnan nilang nagkatipon ang Labing-isa at ang ibang mga kasama nila na nag-uusap-usap.  “Muli ngang nabuhay ang Panginoon!  Napakita kay Simon!”  At isinalaysay naman ng dalawa ang nangyari sa daan, at kung paano nila siya nakilala nang pinaghati-hati niya ang tinapay.

Ano ang Emmaus ng iyong buhay?
Saan ka patungo?
Sa iyo bang paglalakbay, nakakasabay mo ba si Jesus sa daan?
Kasama mo ba siya sa iyong paglalakbay?

Sa ikatlong araw matapos nang ipako si Jesus sa Krus, muling nakasama at nakapiling ng dalawang alagad si Jesus ngunit hindi nila nakilala siya.  Gayunpaman, naroon ang mahabang pasensiya ni Jesus upang akayin ang dalawang alagad upang siya makilala ayon sa sinasaad ng Banal na Kasulatan tungkol sa kanya at maniwala sa pagiging totoo ng Muling Pagkabuhay.

Hanggang naging bukas ang puso ng dalawang alagad upang papasukin, patuluyin at tanggapin si Jesus sa kanilang buhay.  Sa personal na pakikipagtagpo kay Jesus higit nilang nakilala siya at nagbigay sa kanila na italaga ang sarili upang ipamansag ang katotohanang si Jesus ay Muling Nabuhay.

Hindi lamang tatlong araw kundi mahabang panahon na hindi natin nakakasama ang ating mga kamag-anak, kaibigan at naging kamag-aral na nasa malayong lugar ngayon.  Kaya halos hindi na natin sila nakilala dahil sa maraming mga pagbabago ang naganap sa mga sarili.  Kahit ang pangalan, halos nakalimutan na.  Ngunit, bumabalik ang ating mga gunita dahil merong mga salita at gawa na nagpapa-ala-ala sa mga naging kaganapan at karanasan noong magkakasama pa.

Hindi lamang tayo ang tumatawag na magkaroon ng reunion at ipagdiwang ang pagsasama-sama kundi maging si Jesus din ay nag-aanyaya na magkaroon tayo ng reunion sa kanya, lalo na kung matagal na siyang nawalay sa ating buhay.

Anumang pamilya o samahan ang ating kinabibilangan, tayong lahat ay kasapi sa iisang pamilya – ang Pamilya ng Diyos o ang Simbahan.  Sa loob ng pamilya nating ito, may tinatawag tayong Liturhhiya.  Ito ay tumutukoy sa pagdiriwang ng Pamilya ng Diyos o Simbahan bilang pagsamba sa Banal na Santatlo.  Sa loob ng Liturhiya ginaganap ang mga Sakramento ng Simbahan.  Ang mga Sakramento ay mga gawa at salita ni Kristo at ang mga ito ay nagbibigay ng kanyang biyaya sa tumatanggap nito na may pananampalataya.  Ang mga Sakramentong ito ay ang Sakramento ng Binyag, Sakramento ng Kumpil, Sakramento ng Banal na Eukaristiya, Sakramento ng Pagbabalik-loob, Sakramento ng Kasal, Sakramento ng Banal na Orden o Pagpapari at Sakramento ng Pagpapahid ng Langis sa Maysakit.  Ang mga ito ay nagbubuklod sa atin sa pagsamba sa Diyos at ang mga paraan upang makamit ang biyaya ng Diyos na nagpapabanal sa atin.  Kaya nga, ang mga Sakramento ay mga pagdiriwang na wow! Nagbibigay-buhay talaga!

Ang sentro ng liturhiya ng Simbahan ay ang Eukaristiya na nagpapaalala ng Misteryo Paskwal ng ating Panginoong Jesu-Kristo – ang kanyang Pagpapakasakit, Kamatayan at Muling Pagkabuhay, Pag-akyat sa Langit at ang Pagsugo ng Esiritu Santo.  Sa pamamagitan ng Misteryong ito, inaalok sa atin ang kapangyarihan ng mapanligtas na pag-ibig ng Diyos. 

Isang katangiang mahalaga ng liturhiya ay hikayatin tayo na lampasan ang matalik na ugnayang pampamilya tungo sa kaisahang pansambayanan batay sa pananampalataya kay Kristo.  Umuusad tayo tungo sa pagkakaisa  at pagtutulungang nakasalig sa pagiging Kristiyanong alagad at hindi lamang ugnayang panlipunan.

Isang layunin ng panliturhiyang pagdiriwang ay upang tayong mananampalataya’y magbalik sa ating mga karaniwang ginagawa na may bagong lakas sa pananampalataya, pinatatag sa pag-asa at pinag-alab sa kapangyarihan ng pag-ibig.  Nilalayon ng liturhiya na pagtibayin ang ating misyon bilang mga Kristiyano na maging ilaw ng daigdig at lebadura ng masa.  Ang liturhiyang pagsamba kung gayon ay kaugnay sa paglilingkod sa kapwa.

Bakit nga ba muli tayong nagsasama-sama?
Bakit natin ito ginagawa?
Si Jesus ba ang sentro ng reunion?

Sa ating reuinon, pinapaalala sa atin ni Jesus ang ating misyon bilang Kristiyanong alagad, biyayang tinanggap natin sa Binyag at pinagtibay sa Kumpil. 

Pagkatpos ng reunion, what’s next?
Saan ba patungo ang ating reunion?
Hihintayin pa ba nating lumubog ang araw at dumilim pa bago makilala si Jesus at ang ating kapwa?
Handa ba tayong pagpira-pirasuhin at ialay ang buhay sa Diyos at kapwa?





5.11.2011

REUNION


Likas sa atin ang magsaya at magdiwang.  Kung kaya sa ating pamilya o sa anumang samahan ay may mga okasyon na ipinagdiriwang.  At sa bawat pagdiriwang na ito hindi nawawala ang handaan o salu-salo.  Anumang paraan nila ito ipinagdiwang nand’yan pa rin ang kainan at inuman sapagkat sa ganitong kaugalian higit na nagkakakilala sa isa’t-isa, lalong lumalalim ang ugnayan ng bawat kasapi nito, nagiging matatag at matibay ang pagsasamahan.

Isa sa mga pagdiriwang na ito ay ang reunion - ang muling magsasama-sama ng mag-kakamag-anak, magkakaibigan, magkamag-aral at magkakilala.  Anuman ang layunin, sapat na ang pagkikita-kita upang tayo ay magsaya at magdiwang.

Maraming dahilan ang muling pagtatagpo.  Marahil ang pagkagutom at pagkauhaw sa  isa’t-isa ang isa sa mga dahilan.  Merong ugnayang namuo noon na naputol kung kaya ngayon ay nais na muling dugtungan ang kahapon upang higit pang maipadama ang pagmamahal.  Kaya, maliban sa handang pagkain at inumin, handa na rin ang bawat isa sa mga baon na kuwento.  Usapang walang katapusan, pagsasariwa ng nakaraan at pagpaplano para sa kinabukasan.

Isa ako sa mga naniniwala at tumataguyod sa kagandahan ng reunion sapagkat likas sa atin ang pakikipag-ugnayan, pakikipagkaibigan at pakikipagkapwa.

Dahil dito, noong ika-18 ng Disyembre, 2010, sinikap naming buuin muli ang Pamilya GM [mula sa salitang Ingles na “God and Man”.]  Kami ang mga mag-aaral na handang pahubog upang maging Katekista at balang araw ay magtuturo at magdadala kay Kristo sa mga bata at kabataan sa pampublikong paaralan upang sila ay magkaroon hindi lamang ng pakikipagtagpo kundi pakikipagniig kay Kristo. 


Kami ang mga hinubog noon sa Archdiocesan Catechetical Formation Center na ngayon ay naging Institute of Catechetics of the Archdiocese of Manila na matatagpuan sa San Carlos Seminary Complex, Guadalupe, Makati.  Tinawag kaming “GM” dahilan sa ang Modyul ng ginamit sa aming paghuhubog ay may pamagat sa Ingles na “God and Man in the Covenant of Love” (Ang Diyos at ang Tao sa Tipan ng Pag-ibig.) Umabot sa labing-limang taon ang programang ito.


Ako ay kabilang sa batch na kung tawagin ay GM 4 [Batch 4].  Ang grupo na ito ay binuo ng dalawang grupo – ang GM 4-A na tinaguriang St. John Mary Vianney group sapagkat nagsimula ang grupong ito sa paghuhubog sa buwan ng Agosto kung kailan ang kapistan ng Santo ay Agosto 4 at GM 4-B na tinawag naming St. Therese of the Child Jesus sapagkat nagsimula ang aming paghuhubog noong ika-1 ng Oktubre, 1991, kapistahan ng nasabing Santa.



Ginanap ang aming reunion sa Notre Dame de Vie Retreat House na pag-aari ng Notre Dame de Vie Isntitute kung saan ang diwa ng GM ay nagmula.

Noong ika-26 ng Pebrero, 2011, muling nagsama-sama ang aking batch sa kolehiyo – ang batch 85-89.  Kami ang mga mag-aaral ng Makati Polytechnic Community College na naging Makati College at ngayon ay ang University of Makati o UMAK.


 
Sa Aberdeen Court, Makati, naman isinagawa ang reunion ng aming batch.

Makalipas ang dalawang buwan, kapiling ko naman ang aking mga ka-batch noong high school  - ang Zamora Memorial College [Zamora Memorial Institute noon] or ZMC Batch ’84.  Naganap an gaming pagsasama-sama noong ika- 24 ng Abril, 2011 – araw ng aking kapanganakan at Easter Sunday.



Kasama naming nagdiwang ay ang mga batches mula 1948 hanggang 2011 kaya tinawag itong ZMC Grand Alumni Reunion.  Ipinagdiwang namin ito sa aming paaralan at nagsalu-salo sa hapag kainan sa bahay ng isa naming klasmeyt.

At ang latest, noong May 8, 2011.  Ang kasama ko naman dito ay ang aking mga estudyante noong nagtuturo pa ako sa Jose Rizal Elementary School, Park Avenue, Pasay City kung saan nakatalaga ako bilang katekista ng Parokya ng San Rafael.


Ang mga kabataan ito ay tinuruan ko noong sila ay nasa ikatlong at ika-apat na baytang. Pagkalipas ng higit kumulang labing-anim na taon, muli kaming nagsama-sama sa tahanan ni Jean.

Sa apat na reunion na aking nadaluhan, merong itong pagkakapareoho.  Maliban sa handaan at kuwentuhan, hindi lahat ng miyenbro ng isang pamilya ay nakadalo.  Gayunpaman, mararamdaman mo rin ang kanilang presensiya sapagkat wala man ang kanilang katawan doon, naroroon naman ang kanilang diwa na nakikiisa sa pagdiriwang.  Naroon ang kanilang suporta, pagbati at panalangin.  May mga dahilan kung bakit hindi nakadalo ang ibang kasapi ngunit hindi naging hadlang ito upang kami ay magsaya at magdiwang.

Matagal nang panahon na nagkahiwalay ngunit ngayon ay nagkakaisa.  Nagkarooon ng kanya-kanyang landas, ngunit ngayon ay nagkatagpo-tagpo sa isang daan.  Wow! Kay ganda ng Buhay!

Malaki ang naitulong ng makabagong teknolohiya lalo na ang Internet.  Dahil sa social networking tulad ng Facebook at iba pa, pinagkaisa tayo. Nagkaburunyog kita.

Higit sa lahat, ito ang araw na ginawa ng Panginoon upang tayo ay magsaya.

Bago tayo nagsama-samang muli, nagkatapong muli, nagkita-kitang muli, naka-k’wentuhang muli, nakasalo muli . . . matagal na tayong nagkahiwalay.

Kumusta na ang ating paglalakbay?


Itutuloy . . . . .

5.01.2011

BEATIFICATION OF POPE JOHN PAUL II

Pope beatifies John Paul II before a crowd of over 1 million, tears and cheers erupt

 

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI beatified Pope John Paul II before more than a million faithful in St. Peter’s Square and surrounding streets Sunday, moving the beloved former pontiff one step closer to possible sainthood.

The crowd in Rome and in capitals around the world erupted in cheers, tears and applause as an enormous photo of a young, smiling John Paul was unveiled over the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica and a choir launched into hymn long associated with the Polish-born pope.

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Catholics worldwide celebrate late Pope John Paul II’s beatification with prayers, memories 

MANILA, Philippines — Catholics worldwide celebrated the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II on Sunday, with the faithful jamming churches to pray, cherishing his mementoes and witnessing on TV screens the Vatican ceremony that brought him one step closer to possible sainthood.

From Mexico to Australia, bells pealed in churches and cathedrals and people erupted in applause and tears to celebrate after Pope Benedict XVI bestowed one of the Catholic Church’s greatest honors to Polish-born Karol Wojtyla, who visited 129 countries in his 27-year papacy to become the most-traveled pope ever. 

In the Philippines, where many adore the John Paul II with rock-star intensity, people flocked to see mementoes: a piece of his cassock believed to have healing powers and a set of plate, spoon and fork — still unwashed after he used them 16 years ago during a visit to the country.

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 Saint-Maker John Paul II Gains Beatification in Record Time

May 1 (Bloomberg) -- Pope John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church’s biggest saint-maker, was elevated within a step of sainthood himself in a beatification ceremony today led by his successor, Benedict XVI.

City authorities say more than 1 million pilgrims, tourists and Italians packed St. Peter’s Square and piazzas in central Rome to watch Benedict pronounce his Polish-born mentor worthy of veneration by the world’s billion Catholics by declaring him “blessed,” the penultimate step to sainthood.

“The expected day has arrived, it has arrived soon. Pope John Paul II is blessed,” Benedict said, interrupted by the applause of the pilgrims.

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Pope declares John Paul II 'blessed'

Pope Benedict XVI has bestowed the status of 'blessed' on the late John Paul II in Saint Peter's Square as more than one million took part in the mass.

The crowd cheered as Benedict pronounced the formula of beatification for John Paul and a giant banner bearing the Polish pontiff's portrait was unveiled over the facade of St Peter's basilica. 

 

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!