Month: June 2015

[Speech] Lord, I am Yours!

What follows is the gratitude speech of one of the newly ordained deacon, Rev. Phil Vincent Dumanacal, of the Diocese of Monterey.

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Rev. Phil Vincent Dumanacal of the Diocese of Monterey gives the speech in behalf of the newly ordained deacons. Photo by Alexander Amora Juni

Good Afternoon!

This vocation is a gift, undeserved, from the Lord. He calls, we respond. The blend of smiles, appreciations, excitements, joy intensifies today’s aura of gratefulness and love. However, deep in the hearts of the newly ordained, our tears illustrate embarrassment and unworthiness. We are not worthy. The Lord’s generosity impels us to belittle and depreciate ourselves. We’ve been hiding from Him, but he searches faithfully. May panahon na nagtago kami sa kanya, ngunit hinanap niya kami. Nakita. Niyakap.

Indeed, when God calls he qualifies. This is our beautiful love story with the Lord. The real essence of love is found only in giving, in serving. We therefore chose the theme: “If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” With your prayers, it is our earnest desire to perpetuate the fruits of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross by our life as servants of the Church. The Lord ordains us despite our weaknesses and limitations. He knows everything. We are humbled to face all our reservations with filial trust and confidence that this love story will inspire the whole Christian community to once again, trust and love. Thank you Lord!

We thank the Most Reverend Jesse Mercado for his ardent conferral of the Sacred Order to the Diaconate to us. Thank you for showing what it means to be real servants, in a concrete way. Thank you dear Bishop! A sincere gratitude, too, to our respective families: our parents, to those who have made it here, thank you.

To those who were hindered by inevitable circumstances, thank you for your prayers. I am sure, their hearts rejoice because we made a noble decision in our life. Their sacrifices and love shape our hearts to respond generously to God’s call. Their tears and hardships lay concrete on the way to persistence, as St. Monica struggled for her son who later became St. Augustine. Thank you Parents!

We would like to thank in special manner the following for making this ordination possible and meaningful: Fr. Anthony Paul Bicomong, the Provincial Superior of the Philippine North Province, Fr. Godofredo Atienza, Provincial superior of the Philippine South Province, Most Rev. Richard Garcia, bishop of the Diocese of Monterey, Fr. Roy Shelly, Fr. Danny Torres for our wonderful retreat, Fr. Edwin Limpiado for the inspiration and care, Fr. Peter Zago, Fr. Valeriano, Fr. Raymond Ratilla, priests from different dioceses: Cagayan, Tandag, Parañaque and Monterey; the Seminaryo ng Don Bosco community led by our Rector Fr. Henry Mark Bonetti, Don Bosco Canlubang specially THE TRIO of our philosophy years: Fr. Mike, Fr. Joel, and our dear Fr. Provincial, Fr. Paul. Masters and Doctors of Don Bosco Center of Studies, who satisfy our eagerness to know our faith and love for the Lord, and all the Salesians on Don Bosco and concelebrants for your presence and brotherly love. For our friends, classmates and benefactors thank you for your continuous support and prayers. For Don Bosco Calauan Community, you are very lucky, you are very close to the Cross of Christ, thank you for coming, Word and Life Publications’ family, Rinaldi Community, thank you!

Thanks also to Timorese Students in the Philippines, Sisters from Timor, Indonesia and the Philippines. Representative of the ambassador of East Timor, Students affairs of East Timor, Tuloy sa Don Bosco community and our Kenyan, Congolese and African friends.

Archbishop Fransoni endorsed some of his seminarians to do their ecclesiastical studies under the guidance of Don Bosco. In fact, the archbishop was amazed with the dedication and love that the new members of the clergy revealed in their ministry. What I want to say is this: It is not the first time in the congregation to cater formation for the secular clergy; and my experience validates what the Archbishop believed. Salesians are capable of giving up their lives for the love of God, manifested in their love for the young. The young provides them inner joy.  And this is the blood that streams from their hearts. This is their breath, their life.

Let me mention some: Fr. Salvatore Putzu has taught me how to be strong and how to work selflessly for evangelization. He said to me once: “I will work as long as I live, I will just rest when I die.” Fr. Jose Reinoso’s love and holiness replicates Christ’s mercy and compassion. Fr. Henry Bonetti’s constant reminder to give what the people wants from us – God himself. Too many beautiful memories, too many to mention. There’s one thing that is sure… I am thankful for the rest of my life for this beautiful journey with you. You gave me love for the young. Don Bosco will be known in my life!

Diakonia does not cease after presbyteral or episcopal ordination. It continues. It becomes more precise and vibrant everyday. The problem lies when we become what we are actually not. Humility and love fuels us to walk in constant fidelity. Pope Francis says, “The Church does not grow by means of proselytizing but by attraction, by witnessing.” It is always beautiful to realize that we become the reason of people’s holy life. Don Bosco said, “Be cheerful, but let your cheerfulness be sincere, curtailing from a soul at peace with God.” The Lord calls us during this time where love becomes a weakness, where faith becomes a desperation, and where hope becomes a harassment to the soul. The world labels people. Humanity suffers from hatred and arrogance.

This ordination reminds us that love is still real. I was asked once, by one of the young people in my apostolate: “May Forever nga ba?” I would say “Yes.” God’s love is infinite and forever.

We cannot outdo Christ in generosity, in love. It is our hope and prayer that our ministry will be a ministry of life-giving love, that our lives may glorify the Lord forever, that our lives may inspire others to become holy. That we may be faithful always to the Salesian maxim: “Da mihi Animas Caetera Tolle.” With this intention, please… please accompany us with your prayers.

Thank you and May God bless you all.

Manalig tayo!

Ika-13 Linggo sa Karaniwang Panahon—Taon B
28 June 2015

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Naiimpluwensiyahan ng takot ang ating pag-iisip at maging ang ating pag-kilos.

Ayaw nating pumunta sa isang madilim na silid dahil hindi natin alam kung ano ang naroroon. Ayaw nating manligaw, kasi, takot tayong ma-basted.

Pero isang bagay ang kinakatakutan nating lahat: ang kamatayan.

Hinuhudyat ng kamatayan ang pagtatapos ng lahat: Ang paghinto ng paghinga, ang pagbagsak ng blood pressure, ang biglaang paghinto ng tibok ng puso. Wala nang gamot na magbibigay lunas sa isang taong patay na. Gayundin ang koneksyon ng taong namayapa na sa mundong patuloy pa rin sa pag-inog. At ang isang taong namayapaya na ay magsisilbi lamang bilang isang ala-ala.

Sa unang pagbasa (Karunungan 1:13-15;2:23-24), mapapakinggan natin mula sa Aklat ng Karunungan ang sagot sa tanong na “Ano ang kinalaman ng Diyos sa kamatayan?”

Ang kamatayan ay hindi likha ng Diyos.
Ang pagkamatay ng alinmang may buhay
ay hindi niya ikinalulugod
(Kar 1:13).

Tayo raw ay “dust in the wind.” Ito ang pinaniniwalaan ng ating modernong mundo. Dito tayo nagmula, at ito rin ang ating destinasyon. Isang alikabok lamang. At walang Diyos na lumikha sa atin.

Ngayong Linggo, tampok si Jairus sa ating Ebanghelyo, isa siyang amang lubhang ikinatakot ang sitwasyon ng kanyang anak na nasa bingit ng kamatayan. Tagapamahala si Jairus ng sinagoga. Siguradong mayroon siyang magandang katayuan sa kanilang pamayanan. Ngunit dahil sa kagustuhan niyang hindi mangyari ang kanyang kinakatakot—ang mawala ang kanyang anak na babae—hindi lamang siya lumapit kay Hesus. Nagpatirapa siya sa harap ng Panginoon, at nagsumamo siya sa harap nito. “Kung maaari, sumama kayo sa akin at ipatong ninyo sa kanya ang inyong kamay upang siya’y gumaling at mabuhay!”

Ang tagpong ito sa Ebanghelyo ni San Marcos ang maituturing na pinakarurok sa serye ng mga bagay na imposibleng posible pala sa Panginoon: Hindi lamang Siya nanggamot (Mc 5:30), o nagpaalis ng demonyo (Mc 5:12), o ‘di kaya’y nagpatahimik ng bagyo (Mc 4:40), ngayong araw, gusto sa ating sabihin ng Panginoon, na kaya Niya ring bumuhay ng patay.

Papunta na sila Hesus sa bahay ni Jairus nang may ilang dumating upang ibalitang patay na ang anak niya. Inilarawan ni San Marcos na nagsisiksikan ang mga taong sumusunod kay Hesus. Malamang, nang marinig nila ang balitang ito, nakahanap sila ng pagkakataong maibaling sa kanila ang atensyon ng Panginoon. Ang wika ng isa, “Bakit pa ninyo aabalahin ang Guro?”

Ngunit bago pa siya makakilos, nagwika ang Panginoon,  “Huwag kang mabagabag, manalig ka.”

Sa harap ng mapait na balitang karirinig pa lamang ng tagapamahala, may kung anong tila kapangyarihan ang sinabing ito ni Hesus. Hindi pa pala tapos ang lahat! Dahil nagwika ang Panginoon, nagkaroon siya ng dahilang patuloy na umasa.

At nangyari ang kanyang inaasam-asam: Binuhay ng Panginoon ang kanyang anak!  

“Huwag kang mabagabag, manalig ka.” Ito  ang katagang binanggit ng Panginoon kay Jairus noon. Ito rin marahil ang pinanghawakang salita ng napakaraming taong nag-alay ng buhay tanda ng kanilang pagsunod sa landas na tinahak ng Panginoon. Nanalig sila! Nagsugal ng buhay para sa kanilang pinananampalatayaan.

Kamakailan lang, nabalita sa Internet ang pagpatay ng mga ISIS sa isang grupo ng kanilang mga Kristiyanong bihag. Isinilid ang mga ito sa isang kulungan, pagkatapos, ibinaba sa isang swimming pool, at sa pamamagitan ng isang underwater video, na-i-record kung paano sila naghirap bago tuluyang malagutan ng hininga. Karumal-dumal. Nakakatakot.

Pero hindi na natin kailangang mapanood ito upang matakot.

Marami na tayong ikinakatakot. Ngunit sa harap ng mga bagay na ito, nawa’y ang Salita ng Panginoon ang magbigay ng lakas ng loob sa atin. Katulad ni Jairus, Huwag tayong mabagabag, manalig tayo!

Let Me Be Your Servant

Here’s the text of the homily delivered by His Most Reverend, Bishop Jesse Mercado, DD, during our diaconate ordination. He is Bishop of the Diocese of Parañaque.

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Moments from now, following the example of the Apostles, I shall pray over you brothers and lay my hands upon you, thereby consecrating you, setting you apart, humbly dedicating you for the diaconal ministry to which you have been called. In so doing, I shall invoke upon you the Holy Spirit that you may be strengthened by the gift of his sevenfold grace for the carrying out of the diaconal ministry. May the Holy Spirit fashion in the depths of your being the image of Christ who came to serve and not to be served, to give his life as a ransom for the many. The ordination to the Diaconate is a cause for celebration not only within the seminary community and the diocese, not only with the families and friends but a celebration that extends beyond the local church to the whole Church. It is a celebration, a joyful reminder of who we are and should be people of love and of service. By the laying on of hands, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the life of the ordinandus is radically changed, one is so deeply marked so as to be reminded as well as to serve as a reminder that one’s life is  not lived for one’s self alone but for God and neighbor, one’s heart does not beat for anyone or anything else but for God and his people.

Brothers, ang magpaliyab nawa sa inyung hangaring maglingkod sa Diyos at sa kapwa ay walang iba kundi pag-ibig. Ang tanging magbibigay nawa sa inyo ng ligaya ay ang maialay puno ng pagmamahal ang inyung buhay sa paglilingkod sa Diyos at sa kanyang sambayanan.

In what does the diaconal ministry consist?

Your service is three fold:
Service to the living Word of God
Service at the altar of the Lord;
Service to those in need.

Allow me a word about each of these.

As deacons, you shall proclaim the Gospel, occasionally preach homilies, enunciate the needs of the people in the General Intercessions, and offer many other forms of instruction. In a word, you are to be good servants of the Word and enthusiastic agents of the New Evangelization.

Never offer your own word, your own views, in place of the Word of Christ as it comes to us through the teaching of the Church. Allow the Word you proclaim to shape your inmost thoughts, and to shine forth in your every word and deed. But do not merely read the Word!

Pray and live the Word you proclaim and make it your goal to help those you serve to embrace the truth, beauty, and goodness of our Catholic faith. Pray, proclaim, preach, evangelize! Be joyful servants of the Living Word!

You shall also serve at the altar of the Lord, preparing the altar for the banquet of Christ’s sacrifice, distributing Holy Communion to the faithful, as well as to the sick and homebound.

You will baptize, preside at weddings and funerals, and other prayer services. As a servant of the liturgy, always point to Jesus whose saving deeds are the cause of our joy! And back up your ministry to the Church’s public prayer by an avid life of private prayer and virtuous living, so as to make your service at the altar genuine.

Finally you are to serve the poor and needy, imitating the Lord who washed the feet of the apostles at the Last Supper. In the Gospel account of the Lord’s washing of the feet of His disciples, we read how Jesus rose from table, removed his outer garments, and knelt to wash the feet of Peter and the other Apostles: the Creator before the creature, the Eternal Son of God, who stripped himself of glory so as to clothe us with his.

Because you have heard and proclaimed the Word and shared deeply in the sacramental life of the Church, you are prepared also to empty yourself by reaching out in love to the poor, the vulnerable, the sick, and the troubled, Christ in all his “distressing disguises” as Blessed Mother Teresa often said.

One final word: there are three parts to your ministry but it is only one ministry that you assume. The ministry of the Word and ministry at the altar in no way conflicts with the ministry of service.
On the contrary, the Word proclaimed and the mysteries celebrated oblige us to love one another and to be good servants of the poor. You must show how the three essential elements of the Church’s life, Word, Liturgy, and Service, presuppose one another and are inseparable.

And remember also that a deacon’s ministry is neither fully diaconal nor unified if he is only a servant of the Word or the altar, but does not serve the poor directly. Your ministry must include some form of direct service to the poor.

Allow me to end with this Prayer for Deacons:

Lord Jesus, You came to serve, not to be served.
Form within us your generous Spirit.
Fill us with your love, that we may love the Father as You love Him.
Fill us with your compassion
that we may see our brothers and sisters as You see them.
Fill us with your courage,
that we may give our lives in service to the Church as You give Your life for her.
Fill us with that Spirit which will make us
Preachers of Your Word,
Ministers of Your Sacrifice,

Servants of Your Bride,

Friends of the poor

and the Voice of the forgotten.
Transform us through Your Holy Spirit
     so that we may transform the world into your Kingdom of Justice and faith.
Amen.

(Fr. Benedict D. O’Cannsealaigh, Archdiocese of Cincinnati)

Ordination to the Diaconate

diaconate ordination

The Salesian Society of St. Francis of Sales and the Diocese of Monterey are very grateful to the Lord for the gift of seven ordinands for the order of Diaconate.

Deacons are ordained by the laying on of hands, a tradition handed down from the Apostles, so that through the sacramental grace they may effectively fulfill their ministry.

On this Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, our candidates will not just be hearers of the Gospel but also its ministers. Holding the mystery of faith with a clear conscience, may they express by their actions the word of God which their lips proclaim, so that the Christian people, brought to life by the Spirit, may be a pure offering accepted by God.

They have chosen as theme for today’s celebration, “If Anyone Serves Me, the Father Will Honor Him.” John points to Jesus, the Word made flesh, always asking us to prepare ourselves to encounter Him. Trying to hit upon the meaning of all that he has witnessed himself, he responds totally to God with humility and with joy.

Indeed, this is a great day of rejoicing and thanksgiving!

Psalm 139

Today’s the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist. Examining the set of readings in the liturgy today, the psalm has particularly called my attention.

Mt. Batulao at Dusk.

                                                                     Mt. Batulao at Dusk.

This psalm is one of my favorites. It reminds me of a God who loves me, and that He has thought of me even before I came into existence.

I recall that when I had my retreat two weeks ago, the first two lines jumped out of the page and called my attention:

O Lord, you know me:
You have scrutinized me.

The Lord didn’t just come to know me because of His sheer power, but that He spent time thinking about me.  This psalm wrapped me in gratitude for my existence alone, and more so, realizing that He has called me to this state of life.

“Nasa Puso Mo”

Ika-12 Linggo sa Karaniwang Panahon—Taon B
21 June 2015

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Minsang nakaranas ng matinding tukso si Sta Teresa, nilabanan niya ito ng husto. Kinabukasan, nang mapansin niyang lumisan na ang demonyo, tinanong niya kung nasaan ang Panginoon sa gitna ng pagsubok na ito. Sumagot ang Panginoon, “Nasa puso mo.” Likhang sining ni Mark Anthony Ramos.

Natutulog ba ang Diyos? Kapag may mga unos na dumaraan sa ating buhay, marahil, nasambit na rin natin ang tanong na ito.

Ganito rin ang karanasan ng mga apostoles sa Mabuting Balita ngayong Linggo (Mc 4:35-41).

Hinahampas ng malalaking alon ang bangka, anupat halos mapuno ito ng tubig. Si Hesus nama’y nakahilig sa unan sa may hulihan ng bangka at natutulog. Tinawag nila ang atensyon ni Hesus. Mababanaagan dito ang kapangahasan. “Guro,” anila, “di ba ninyo alintana? Lulubog na tayo!

Mangingisda sila at sanay sa mga pangyayaring tulad ng sinapit nila sa laot. Malamang, hindi ikinagulat ni Hesus ang kanilang pagkatakot sa bagyong bumabayo sa kanila; kahit na sino’y hindi masasanay sa panganib na dala ng kalikasan. Ngunit ang ikinabigla Niya ay ang kawalan nila ng pananampalataya sa Kanya. Palagian Niya silang kasama, at malamang, hindi lang nila minsang nasaksihan kung ano ang posibleng magagawa ng Panginoon.

Hindi pinalampas ni Hesus ang pagkakataong iyon upang pagsabihan ang mga alagad at ipaunawa sa kanilang ang kanilang reaksyon sa harap ng isang umaalimpuyong unos ay walang katuturan sapagkat sila’y mga alagad Niya.

Ganito rin ang nilalaman ng ating unang pagbasa (Job 38:1.8-11), sa gitna ng nag-aalimpuyong bagyo, tinugon ng Panginoon ang mga katanungan ni Job. Kung susumahin, ang unang 37 na kabanata  ng aklat ay nagdedetalye ng mga katanungan at maging ng pagbatikos ni Job patungkol sa Diyos dala ng kanyang sinapit.

Sa katunayan, ang tanong ni Job, ay naipukol na rin natin sa Diyos: Bakit nangyari ang masasamang bagay sa isang mabuting tao?

Sa harap ng isang napakabigat na suliranin ng buhay, wala tayong maapuhap na mainam na sagot sa katanungang ito at maging sa mga daing ng mga malalapit sa ating nagbabahagi sa atin ng iba’t-ibang tanong sa buhay: “Bakit kailangang maghirap ang tatay ko?”; “Paano naaatim ng asawa kong magpabaya sa aming mga anak?”; “Bakit parang walang nangyayari sa mga pagsisikap ko?

Kalakip ng mga katanungang ito, inaanyayahan tayo ng ating liturhiya ngayong ika-12 Linggo ng Karaniwang Panahon na huwag pag-aksayahan ng panahon ang unos o maging sa ating mga sarili, at pamalagiing nakatuon ang ating atensyon sa Panginoong dahil sa pag-ibig sa ati’y dumanas ng pasakit hanggang sa namatay—ngunit sa kalauna’y dumaig din naman sa kamatayan! (ikalawang pagbasa: 2 Cor 5:14-17).

Sapagkat ang Diyos ng pag-ibig ay wala sa labas ng bangka at malayo sa unos ng buhay. Nasa loob Siya nito—kasa-kasama natin sa pagsuong ng kung anong balakid na mayroon tayo.

Minsang nakaranas ng matinding tukso si Sta Teresa, nilabanan niya ito ng husto. Kinabukasan, nang mapansin niyang lumisan na ang demonyo, tinanong niya kung nasaan ang Panginoon sa gitna ng pagsubok na ito. Sumagot ang Panginoon, “Nasa puso mo.”