Month: May 2015

This Venerable is actually a Saint

Drift Wood. Photo by Br. Donnie Duchin Duya, SDB Graphics by Br. Paul Dungca,SDB

Drift Wood. Photo by Br. Donnie Duchin Duya, SDB Graphics by Br. Paul Dungca,SDB

May 25 is the liturgical feast of Venerable Bede. The proper of the saints part of my Christian Prayer book tells me that he was not just a priest, but he is also proclaimed a Doctor of the Church.

Bede was born in 673. He himself tells us that he became a monk at an early age (some say he was just 7 years old) and lived most of his life at Jarrow located in Northeast England. He was ordained a deacon when he was only 19 years old, and became a priest at the age of 30.

Scholar, teacher and writer, he wrote biblical commentaries and other works. He has been described as the ‘Father of English History’ and is widely regarded as the greatest of all the English scholars. His use of anno domini contributed to its wide use now, though he did not invent that dating method, Dionysus Exiguus is credited for having invented it.

Some 40 books are credited to have come from his pen. He was deeply versed in the sciences of his times: natural philosophy, the philosophical principles of Aristotle, astronomy, arithmetic, grammar, ecclesiastical history and especially the Holy Scriptures.

The honorific title Venerable was conferred to him due to his being a polymath (a person of encyclopedic learning). This title is derived from the Latin inscription on Bede’s tomb:

Hic Sunt In Fossa Bedae Venerabilis Ossa
Here are buried the bones of the Venerable Bede

At a young age, he was entrusted the care of the Monastery of St. Paul in Jarrow. The combination of genius and the instruction of scholarly, saintly monks produced a saint and an extraordinary scholar. His intellectual acumen has led kings to seek his counsel.

Among his works, His Ecclesiastical History of the English People is commonly regarded as the most significant in the history of historiography. This work has become a key source for the understanding of early British history and the arrival of Christianity. This became widely read in Western Europe throughout the Middle Ages.

Bede’s teaching and writing were based on the resources of the library. These included Latin grammars, history, hagiography and patristic commentaries on the Bible.

However, he regarded himself primarily as a Biblical commentator.

He died in his cell in 735 on May 26, Feast of Christ’s Ascension.

Advertisements

#Serviam

Light and shadows. Photo by Br. Donnie Duchin Duya, SDB. Graphics by Br. Paul Dungca, SDB.

Light and shadows. Photo by Br. Donnie Duchin Duya, SDB. Graphics by Br. Paul Dungca, SDB.

I asked Fr. Vester last week what I should do to better prepare myself for the diaconate ordination which is exactly one month from now. He told me in reply, rather casually, “You’ve been doing it already.”

He reminded me that I was already serving as a member of the Knights of the Altar (KOA) in our chapel (the last time I checked, it’s already more than a decade-old parish!) before I entered the seminary.

As a KOA member then, I recall the enormous pride of donning the cassock and being able to assist in the Mass.

Assist

That word reminds me of our KOA motto “Called to Serve,” put in Latin, it’s neatly summarized in just one word “Serviam.”

One month to go from, I’ll be ordained as a deacon. The word has a long standing tradition in the Church which goes as far back as the earliest Christian community. For example, St. Luke’s account in the Acts of the Apostles reveals that they serve at the table (Acts 6:2), they preach (Acts 7:2–53), and they administer baptism (Acts 8:38).

One of my favorite Catholic authors and a theologian, Scott Hahn, has this to say about the “Deacon” in the Catholic Bible Dictionary of which he is the General Editor.

[A Deacon is] An ordained assistant to priests responsible for such ministerial duties as preaching, baptizing, witnessing marriages, distributing Communion, and presiding at funerals (but not saying the funeral Mass). In the modern Church there are two forms of the diaconate: the permanent diaconate (including single and married men) and the transitional diaconate (for those who will eventually be ordained as priests)

The traditional understanding is that the diaconate was established in Jerusalem through the ordination of seven men (Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas) for the task of serving the poor and distributing alms (Acts 6:1–6). Deacons were also known as clerical ministers who assisted the bishops (Phil 1:1). Paul establishes high standards for the dedication and service of deacons (1 Tim 3:8).

One of our teachers is known for preaching that diaconate does not end when one is ordained to the priesthood. For to be ordained a deacon is to live a life of service for a lifetime.

Please pray for me that I may be true and faithful to the challenges this life entails … #forever.

FIN Salesian Family Honors MHC @ 200

23 May 2015, Parañaque City FIN—The members of the Salesian Family of the Philippine Province of St. John Bosco North (FIN) held a Eucharist honoring the Blessed Mother under her title Mary Help of Christians (MHC) after Pius VII instituted the title 200 years ago.

Some forty priests lead the FIN Salesian Family in paying homage to the principal protectress of  the congregation: Mary Help of Christians. Photos by Br. Isidore, SDB

Some forty priests lead the FIN Salesian Family in paying homage to the principal protectress of the congregation: Mary Help of Christians. Photos by Br. Isidore, SDB

With no less than His Excellency, Leo Drona, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of San Pablo, as the main presider, he was joined by some 40 concelebrating priests. The Eucharist was held at the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians,

Bishop Drona holds the distinction of being the first Salesian Filipino priest and bishop. Fr. Remo Bati, SDB, director of the Marian Affairs of the Shrine and a classmate of Bishop Drona revealed that the bishop was also the first rector of the Shrine.

"Bishop Leo Drona is an icon of a Filipino Salesian priest." Fr. Remo Bati, SDB

“Bishop Leo Drona is an icon of a Filipino Salesian priest.” Fr. Remo Bati, SDB

Unable to take part in the gathering of Salesian Bishops in Turin, Bishop Drona gladly accepted the invitation to preside the Mass in honor of MHC.

In his homily, he traced the development of the devotion to MHC in the Philippines which took off when Monsignor William Piani, himself a Salesian, was assigned in the country as Papal Nuncio some decades before the Salesians of Don Bosco finally settled down in 1951.

To date, there are at least 32 parishes and quasi-parishes in the Philippine archipelago.

DSC_0035

Members of the Salesian Cooperators, Alumni, Caritas Sisters of Jesus, Association of Mary Help of Christians, Volunteers of Don Bosco, Damas Salesianas, and Caballeros came in full force.

After the Holy Mass, everybody was treated with a sumptuous lunch provided by the Shrine.

St. John Bosco propagated the Marian devotion under the title of MHC among his children, the Salesians, and to numerous close sympathizers.

Interestingly, this bicentennial celebration of the institution of the title of MHC coincides with the 200th birth of Don Bosco, her ardent son and foremost disciple. The site where the Shrine is located stands along Don Bosco Street, in a village popularly called “Barangay Don Bosco.”

Ang Espiritung Nagbibigay-buhay

Dakilang Kapistahan ng Pentekostes—Taon B
24 Mayo 2015

may24

Ang kapistahan ng Pentekostes ay itinuturing na kaarawan ng Simbahan. At ang kahandaan ng mga alagad ng Panginoon na lumabas ng silid upang ipangaral ang Ebanghelyo ay isang katangiang taglay Niya hanggang sa panahon ngayon. Likhang sining ni Br. Paul Dungca, SDB

Isa sa mga paborito kong kuwento sa Bibliya ay ang kabanata sa buhay ni Propeta Elias kung saan nasumpungan niya ang pagdating ng Panginoon, hindi sa dagundong ng lindol, o sa malakas na hangin, o ng pagputok ng bulkan, kung hindi sa simoy ng banayad na hanging at katahimikang dumating pagkatapos nito.

Sa ganito paraan maaari din nating ihambing ang naganap sa unang pagbasa ngayong Linggo (Gw 2:1-11), kung saan ang mga disipulo’y nagkatipon sa isang lugar. Mayroong mahalagang kapistahan sa araw na iyon, at nakaugalian na nilang tumungo ng templo upang ipagdiwang ito, ngunit sila’y nandoon lamang sa lugar na iyon (ipinagpapalagay na naroon sila sa mismong silid kung saan idinaos ni Hesus ang kanyang huling hapunan kasama nila).

Makulay ang paglalahad ni San Lucas (siya ang kinikilalang may akda ng mga Gawa ng mga Apostol) ng pagdating ng Espiritu. Aniya, sa lugar na iyon, nakarinig sila ng isang ugong mula sa langit,   animo’y hagunot ng malakas na hangin, at napuno nito ang bahay nakinaroroonan nila. May nakita silangwari’y mga dilang apoy na lumapagsa bawat isa sa kanila. At silang lahatay napuspos ng Espiritu Santo atnagsalita ng iba’t ibang wika, ayonsa ipinagkaloob sa kanila ng Espiritu.

Tunay ngang kamangha-mangha! Kagila-gilalas! Kahindik-hindik!

Ngunit katulad nang naganap sa mga disipulo, ang tunay na sukatan na naroroon nga ang Espiritu–at higit sa lahat, na Siya nga ang Espiritung bumaba mula sa Diyos–ay ang mismong pagbabagong naganap sa bawat isa sa kanila. At tunay ngang pagkatapos ng kabanatang ito ng Pentekostes, ang mga susunod na pahina ng aklat na ito ay magpapahayag sa pagbabagong dulot ng pagbaba ng Espiritu Santo sa kanila. Si Pedro na kinikilala nilang pinuno bilang kahalili ng Panginoon, ay buong lakas na mangangaral kasama ng labing-isa. Sa huli, tatlong libong tao ang magpapabinyag sa kanila (Gw 2:38–4).

Sa ikalawang pagbasa (1 Cor 12:3- 7.12-13), pinapaalalahanan ni San Pablo na ang bawat isa’y binigyan ng kaloob na naghahayag na sumasakanya ang Espiritu, hindi para sa pansariling dahilan, ngunit para sa ikabubuti ng lahat. Lahat tayo ay biniyayaan ng iba’t-ibang talinong nagbibigay yaman sa Simbahan na nagsisilbing katawan ni Kristo.

Ang kapistahan ng Pentekostes ay itinuturing na kaarawan ng Simbahan. At ang kahandaan ng mga alagad ng Panginoon na lumabas ng silid upang ipangaral ang Ebanghelyo ay isang katangiang taglay Niya hanggang sa panahon ngayon.

Sa pamumuno ni Papa Francisco, binigyang diin niyang ang Simbahan ay dapat na laging “on the move.” Nais niyang makita ang Simbahang mayroong galos at madungis tanda ng paglalagalag upang makasama ang mga tao sa kalye, at kung saan saan pa.

Kasama natin ang Espiritung ipinangako ng Panginoon. At hatid Niya ay biyayang makakatulong sa ating pangatawanan ang mga pangakong binigay natin nang tayo’y binyagan, nang tayo ay maging bahagi ng Simbahan.

Sa araw na ito, ipanalangin natin ang Simbahan na patuloy na maging buhay na simbolo ng Panginoong palagiang handang magmahal, umunawa, at magpatawad. Tayo nawang nakikibahagi upang mapatatag ang pundasyong meron ito sa lupa ay maging karapat-dapat ding maging tagapagmana nito, pagdating ng panahon, sa kalangitang ipinangako sa atin ng Ama.

Tagapaghatid ng Mabuting Balita

Dakilang Kapistahan ng Pag-akyat sa Langit ng Panginoon–Taon B
Ika-49 Linggo ng Komunikasyong Pandaigdig
17 Mayo 2015

"Tayong mga inatasan Niyang maging tagapagdala ng Mabuting Balitang ito ay nagsisilbing isang mabuting balita rin sa mundong uhaw sa katarungan, sa pagpapatawad, sa pag-ibig." Likhang sining ni Br. Paul Dungca, SDB

“Tayong mga inatasan Niyang maging tagapagdala ng Mabuting Balitang ito ay nagsisilbing isang mabuting balita rin sa mundong uhaw sa katarungan, sa pagpapatawad, sa pag-ibig.” Likhang sining ni Br. Paul Dungca, SDB

Brads, wala na po si Mama.”  Patulog na ako noong Linggo nang natanggap ko ang text message na ito sa cellphone ko. Galing ito sa isang dating estudyante. Naalala ko na ilang linggo pa lang ang nakakaraan nang  una kong mabalitaan sa kanyang isinugod ang mama niya sa ICU.

Naisipan kong tawagan siya nang oras ding iyon upang makiramay. Hindi na ako nagtaka nang mapansin ko ang kalungkutan sa boses niya. Pero sa kabila nito, batid ko din ang kaluwagan ng kanyang kalooban dahil kahit papaano, tapos na rin ang paghihirap ng mama niya.

Ngayong darating na Linggo, ipinagdiriwang natin ang Pag-akyat ng Panginoon sa kalangitan. Madalas, tinitingnan nating ang kaganapang ito sa buhay ng ating Panginoon bilang pag-alis Niya sa ating piling dahil tapos na ang Kanyang misyon sa lupa. Ngunit ayon kay San Agustin, kahit na nasa langit na ang Panginoon, patuloy pa rin Siyang nagdurusa sa pagkakataong nagdurusa tayo dito sa lupa. Kahit na malayo na Siya, higit Siyang naging mas malapit sa atin dahil nasa langit na Siyang muli.

Isang kahulugan din ng Kanyang pag-akyat sa langit ay ang pagpapatuloy ng Kanyang misyon dito sa lupa. Sa Linggo ngang ito, maririnig natin ang pagwiwika ni Kristo sa ating Mabuting Balita na “Humayo kayo sa buong sanlibutan at ipangaral ninyo sa lahat ang Mabuting Balita” (Mc 16:15-20).

Ganito rin ang temang tintatalakay ng ating unang pagbasa (Gw 1:1-11). Iginawad ng Panginoon ang misyon sa kanyang mga alagad na nakasaksi na muli Siyang nabuhay at maging Kanyang mga tagapagtotoo hanggang sa dulo ng daigdig.

Sa pagtatapos ng bawat pagdiriwang ng Banal na Misa, iginagawad sa atin ang pagbabasbas, kalakip ng katagang “Humayo kayo, tapos na ang Misa!” Hindi lamang ito isang paraan ng pagsasabi sa ating “nagampanan na natin ang ating Lingguhang obligasyon, pwede na tayong umuwi.”

Sa bawat pagdiriwang ng Misa, pinapalalim ang kahulugan ng pag-ibig sa atin ni Kristo. At ang bawat pagtatapos ng Misa ay isang hudyat na sa pag-uwi natin sa ating mga bahay, sa pagpasok natin sa ating mga trabaho, sa pag log-in natin sa mga social media sites, sa mga transaksyon natin sa ating negosyo, sa paraan ng ating pakikitungo natin sa iba, mapanatili natin ang mensahe ng ating Panginoon sa ating mga isip at puso upang maibahagi natin ito sa iba.

Sa pag-alis ng ating Panginoon patungo sa kalangitan, hindi Siya tuluyang lilisan. Patuloy na mababatid ng sanlibutan na mayroong isang Diyos na lubos na nagmahal sa sangkatauhan sa pamamagitan ng Kanyang pag-aalay ng buhay alang-alang sa ating kaligtasan.

Ngayong Linggo din, ipinagdiriwang natin ang Linggo ng Komunikasyon. Sa pamamagitan ng okasyong ito, ipinapahayag ng Simbahan ang kakaibang kapangyarihang mayroon ang iba’t-ibang teknolohiya ng komunikasyon hindi lamang upang maisiwalat ang pag-ibig ng Diyos, ngunit upang makapaglingkod din ito sa pagpapanatili ng dignidad at pag-kakaisa ng sangkatauhan. Ito nawa ang nasa ating ulirat sa bawat pag-gamit natin ng ating cellphone, social media sites at maging sa simpleng pakikipag-talastasan natin sa ating mga kapwang nasa harapan lamang natin.

Tayong mga inatasan Niyang maging tagapagdala ng Mabuting Balitang ito ay nagsisilbing isang mabuting balita rin sa mundong uhaw sa katarungan, sa pagpapatawad, sa pag-ibig. At tulad ng panalangin ni San Pablo sa ikalawang pagbasa (Ef 1:17-23), nawa’y pagkalooban tayo ng espiritu ng karunungan at ng tunay na pagkakilala sa Kanya upang higit nating malaman ang naghihintay sa atin kalakip ng pagtugon sa Kanyang hamon.

Animating communities through Social Media

This coming Sunday, 17 May 2015, we celebrate the 49th World Communications Sunday. To mark the event, I’m sharing here my talk on Animating Communities thru Social Media which was held last year, 27 September 2014, at Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City when the FIN Province held an assembly on social communications.


Slide1

Wrapping up our novitiate in 2007, we were given this requirement entitled “Do something Salesian.” The gist of the project is this: We are to choose any endeavor that is connected with the Salesian ministry. A batch of novices before us chose to reinforce its presence in the Sunday oratory; one novice resolved to do the first approach. Another one chose to establish a youth group he called Lawaan Angels.

I chose something which was a bit different: for one whole month, I wrote letters—just short letters—to our alumni whom I taught in Canlubang—asking them how were they doing, when were they graduating; inquiring from them what happened to so and so, etc.

Slide2

Eventually, I tried to expand my “Do something Salesian Project” by preparing a testimonial for them in Friendster, and making myself available to everyone in Yahoo Messenger.

I was able to use a print screen of my notes to them since we’re asked to record it day-after-day. Most notes received replies, very few did not.

I was asked to share my story on how I serve the Church and the Good News through the media, but I am not sure if my way is a way to proclaim God’s Word in cyberspace. What I am sure about is this: In order to win the love of the young people, Don Bosco used the same method in his own context: a whisper in the ear.

Don Bosco was fond of making the first approach, of meeting the young people where they were, with a view of teaching them, in order to lead them to a higher place.

Facebooking

I opened my Facebook account when I was in the postnovitiate. My six years of using it and being in it afford me to see the world from two perspectives.

FB has become a window for me. Stepping into this world has allowed me to become familiar with the common people’s language, videos, music, images which trend within my virtual wall but outside my physical confines.

FB allows me to zoom in to be more familiar with persons. It gets me to be acquainted to people by the posts they like and share. It gives me an inkling whether the person before me is into gardening, a devotee of Padre Pio, or a yellowed citizen of the republic.

The world of FB can be likened to a holding room, an antechamber, which leads me to meet and interact with young people and even confreres first here in the cyberspace, before I get to finally see them in the real world.

I-Gramming

I am relatively new to Instagram. It’s a channel of social media which has revolutionized the sharing of photos. By opening an account just last year, I have been able to capture “the best moments of life in simple things I see around me.

Slide3

Slide4

Slide5

Slide7

And by “things,” I mean, people, events, activities in my world which I would like to share with the world outside.  It makes me share with the world the beauty of just being alive, the greatness of interacting with people, the great feeling of how good it is to be a Salesian.

It is interesting to see how my photos of the images of the saints have gradually attracted my ‘followers.’ I can fairly say that the world of Instagram is a breeding ground where we can invite the young to foster and celebrate our faith.

Tweetering

Twitter is one social media channel which limits each message to just 140 characters, but it challenges its users to be very creative.  I see Twitter comparable to the goodnight talk of the Salesians which ideally lasts for under three minutes.

I use Twitter as a prodding device to get to people I need to reach. For example, I was able to get in touch with three authors whose advice I needed badly. Without falling in line, and in just one tweet, all of them replied to my query and shared their expertise on the matter I was asking.

Slide8

I’ve been using Twitter to announce having posted something in my blog which could interest them; to prod people; to provoke them with an idea, to inspire … the list is infinite!

Blogging

I’ve been into blogging since 2006. I was an aspirant back then. And we were reviving the InsideOut, Don Bosco Seminary’s official publication. I recall that our circulation was just about 200—enough copies to be given away to our parents, benefactors, and Salesian settings which have their aspirants in Canlubang.

I used my blog as a receptacle of my opinion columns so that others who were not able to receive our InsideOut issue could still read them. The last time I checked, my blog has registered 33,570 visits.

Slide9

In the novitiate, we were asked to summarize a volume of the Biographical Memoirs, print it so that we could put it in the library. But I told myself, “Who would ever read my summary in this library? They might as well go to the original source instead.” And so, I asked the permission of my Salesianity professor if I could upload my summaries in the net, and create a blog just for it.

Slide10

My endeavor in social media is not something I do alone. Since I know that there are confreres who excel in lay out, I ask for help.  For example, since June of this year, I started to share my Sunday Gospel reflections through my blog. To make my article call the attention of young people, I use photos taken by confreres or Sunday Gospel memes prepared by them.

Slide11

Slide12

Slide13

With these, I might not be fully doing the task of evangelization, but I am sure that through social media we offer alternatives to the rubbish that is plaguing the net.

Slide14

As Menardi, author of Theology of Social Media puts it:

Social media gives us an unprecedented entry point into people’s lives … And its theology is the heart of Catholic faith: We are all members of the Body of Christ and we need to be connected. Communication conveys information. But only through connection can we be engaged into a relationship that engages. Connection is vital to evangelization today (Menardi, 2013).

In Closing

It was Palm Sunday in 1846 and Don Bosco was in a real predicament. He was told to leave the field he was renting where he held his activities for his poor young people.

Don Bosco noted that on a good day, the youngsters would reach to about 400. Sadly, that Sunday though a good one, would be unfortunately their last; he began to weep. This must have been one of the most heartrending episodes in the life of the Father and Teacher of youth. He wrote in his Memoirs: “My God, why don’t you show me where you want me to gather these children? Oh, let me know! Oh, show me what I must do!”

Slide15

Will the next “Pinardi Shed” be the social media for the Salesians?

***

Let me hear your thoughts. Let’s dialogue:

My instagram
My twitter
My facebook

Magone and Mary

General Micky: at home in the school of sanctity.

General Micky: at home in the school of sanctity.

Most of the Bosconians I know could very well relate with the naughty General Mickey more than the perpetually holy Savio.  I can perfectly understand the reason why. Dominic, they perceive, must have been groomed right from the very start to become a saint.

General Mickey, on the other hand, had to find his way towards the greater scheme of holiness. It was not an easy feat for him to turn his back on his former life; to leave a life of sin did not happen in a snap. He agonized over the past evils he committed.

Mickey Magone figured into my consciousness when I read in that classic orange book entitled “Don Bosco: Spiritual Director of Young People,” that he made six resolutions to prepare himself to celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of our Lady.

  1. To detach my heart from all earthly things so as to give it completely to Mary.
  2. To make a general confession in order to ensure a peaceful conscience at the hour of my death.
  3. To skip breakfast every morning as a penance for my sins and to recite the Seven joys of Mary to merit her assistance at the last hours of my life.
  4. To go to communion every day provided my confessor advises it.
  5. To tell my companions an anecdote in honor of Mary each day.
  6. To place this sheet at the feet of Our Lady’s statue and, with this act, to consecrate myself completely to her and for the future, I wish to be entirely hers until the very last moments of my life.

All of these were approved by his confessor except for the first part of the third resolution, that is, to skip breakfast every morning as an act of penance for his sins.

Some observations:

First, you see in these resolutions the awareness of Magone of the reality of death.

At a very young age, he did not consider death morbid. In fact, he welcomed the idea of it. He longed for it to happen. He embraced it. And when it finally came, instead of it conquering him, he conquered ‘it.’

Second, we see here an image of a young person who desired greatness, not through the use of force and might, but through his submission to the will of the Father.

Third, Magone took advantage of the sacraments, particularly confession and communion, to attain holiness.

And finally, he allowed Mary to be his guide.

Magone died more than 100 years ago. But he lives on in that orange book, and in the many young people who continue to believe and declare, through their words and deeds, that God is still in charge after all.

This is an entry in the book Thoughts from the Seedbed. You can download it here for free.