Month: January 2016

“Give me souls, take away the rest”

Ika-4 na Linggo sa Karaniwang Panahon—Taon K
Dakilang Kapistahan ni San Juan Bosco
31 Enero 2016

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Ngayong araw, nagtatapos ang 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) na ginanap sa Cebu nitong mga nakaraang araw. Nag-uumapaw ang isang buong linggong ito ng mga pagninilay, panayam, at mga gawaing patungkol sa pagpapaibayo ng debosyon patungkol sa Eukaristiya.

Bilang isang studyante ng Theology, ikinagalak kong maging bahagi ng IEC dahil ang mga theologians at authors na sa mga libro ko lang nababasa, o kaya naman ay sa mge lectures nila sa Youtube, ay personal kong mapapakinggan–at kung papalarin, makapag-pa-picture na rin kasama nila.

Pero hindi ko inaasahan na mas tatawag ng pansin sa akin ang mga pagbabahagi ng mga ordinaryong tao, kung paanong naging tunay na tinapay para sa kanila ang ating Panginoon sa pamamagitan ng pagdiriwang ng Banal na Eukaristiya.

Halimbawa na lang ay ang kuwento ni Cardinal Tim Dolan kahapon tungkol sa isang obispo sa China na nakakulong ng mahigit 40 taon dahil lamang sa kanyang pagiging isang Kristiyano. Isang madilim, at napakaliit na selda ang pinaglagakan sa kanya. Siya lamang ang nag-iisa doon. Makalipas ang apat na dekada, tila lumambot ang puso ng mga gwardiyang nagbabantay sa kanya. Binigyan siya ng mga ito ng pagkakataong humiling ng kahit na ano: masarap na pagkain, makapag-lakad-lakad, lumipat sa isang silid na mas malaki, o ‘di kaya naman ay makapaligo at makapag-palit ng mas malinis at komportableng damit. Ngunit wala sa mga ito ang pinili niya; at ang kanyang kahilingan–ang makapagdiwang ng Banal na Misa!

Ngayong Linggo, maaari nating bigyang pansin ang kakayahan ng Diyos na baguhin ang buhay natin kung hahayaan lamang natin Siyang maging Diyos ng buhay natin.

Sa unang pagbasa, makikita natin na ganoon na lang ang pagtanggi ni Propeta Jeremias sa paanyaya ng Diyos na maging isang propeta. Alam niyang hindi lang mahirap ang maging isang katulad nila, mapanganib ito. Hindi lang ang kanyang dignidad ang nakataya, maging ang kanyang buhay din.  At sigurado siyang hindi siya handa sa gawaing ito.

Ngunit ang problema, mas sigurado ang Diyos sa paghirang sa kanya. At dahil ito ang kalooban Niya, hindi siya nito hahayaang mapahiya. Ang kabuuan ng ating pagbasa ngayon ay mistulang pagdedetalye ng kanyang buhay at paniniguro nito sa Kanyang hinding hindi Siya nito iiwanan.

Ito ang pangako ng Diyos kay Jeremias, “Ang bawat isa sa lupaing ito – ang mga hari ng Juda, ang mga pinuno, ang mga saserdote, at ang buong bayan – ay sasalungat sa iyo. Ngunit gagawin kitang sintibay ng isang lunsod na naliligid ng mga muog.” At ito rin ang pangako Niya sa bawat isa sa ating nagsusumikap ganapin ang Kanyang Salita sa pamamagitan ng ating buhay.

Sa ikalawang pagbasa, ipinapaalala sa atin ni San Pablo ang kalidad ng tunay na pag-ibig. Marami man sa atin ang nakaranas na ng kabiguang magmahal, ang mensahe ni San Pablo ay patuloy na nagbibigay sa atin ng pag-asang sumubok muling umibig, at isang hamong ganito rin nawa ang uri ng pag-ibig na ipagkakaloob natin sa iba. Huwag magsawang magpatawad. Huwag mapagod magbigay. Huwag maging manhid sa pangangailangan ng iba.

Sa pamamagitan ng pag-ibig na ipinakikita natin sa iba, masasalamin sa buhay natin kung anong klaseng Diyos mayroon tayo: Dyos na hindi napapagal sa pagmamahal. Diyos na hindi  nagsasawang yakagin tayo pabalik sa Kanyang piling. Kahit na hindi naman tayo karapat-dapat sa Kanyang pagmamahal.

Ang dalawang pigurang ginamit ni Hesus ang nakatawag sa pansin ko sa Mabuting Balita: Ang balo ng Sarepat kung kanino humingi ng tulong ang propetang si Elias, at si Naaman, ang pinagaling mula sa sakit na ketong–ang dalawang ito ay itinuturing na taga-labas dahil hind sila mga Israelita. Ngunit sila man din ay nakalasap ng mapagkalingang pag-ibig ng Diyos. Walang itinaangi ang Diyos. Lahat ay kasama sa Kanyang plano.

Ang mga kababayan ni Hesus, hindi sila makapaniwalang mayroon Siyang kakayahang mangaral sa kanila dahil batid nila kung Sino siya. Isa lang Siyang anak ng karpintero. Lalo pa sigurong nagpuyos ang kanilang damdamin ng ipaalala ni Hesus ang kasalanan ng kanilang mga ninuno. Ipinagtabuyan nila Siya. Ngunit gayunpaman, alam nating malalim ang pinag-huhugutan ng Diyos ng pag-ibig. Alam ni Hesus na mahina sila. Higit sa pang-unawang kaya Niyang ibigay sa kanila, minahal Niya sila ng sobra sobra.

At itong klase ng pagmamahal na ito ang uri ng pag-ibig na handog Niya sa atin.

Ngayong Linggo din ipinagdiriwang ng buong Simbahan ang kapistahan ni San Juan Bosco, isang dakilang tagasunod ni Hesus na nag-alay ng kanyang talino, lakas at buhay upang maipadama sa napakadaming mga kabataan ang bottomless na pag-ibig ng Diyos. Ang buong buhay niya ay umikot sa kanyang motto, “Give me souls, take away the rest” (Kunin na ninyo ang lahat, maliban na lang sa mga kaluluwa). Ang kanyang

Nang siya’y pumanaw, inilarawan ng doctor na tumingin sa kanya na tila isa siyang kandilang natunaw na lang dahil wala na siyang ibibigay pa.

Sa pamamagitan ng panalangin ni Don Bosco, nawa’y makatugon din tayo sa panawagan ng Diyos na maibigay din natin ang lahat-lahat ng nasa atin para sa Kanyang ikakaluwalhati, at sa kaligtasan ng mga kaluluwa.

 

[Video] The Eucharist and the Missions

In the midst of the on-going reflection on the Holy Eucharist in these days of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress, Br. Ryan Oliver Bautista, SDB reflects on Don Bosco’s love for the Eucharist and consequently, how it affected his mission–all the way from Cebu, seat of the cradle of Christian civilization in Asia.

51st IEC Opening Mass Held in Cebu

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Photo taken from the IEC Facebook Page.

The 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) opened with the characteristic warm festivity only Cebuanos can pull off. It was held at the historic Plaza Independencia.

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“A rousing magnificent welcome program.” Photo taken from IEC Facebook Page.

 Just before the opening Mass, the delegates and local faithful who took part in the celebration were treated with what Fr. Marty Macasaet, SDB, describes as a “rousing, magnificent Welcome Program, featuring a song-and-dance re-enactment of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.”

Fr. Macasaet concelebrated in the IEC opening Mass along with more than 1,500 priests, and with over 200 bishops and 10 cardinals.

In the first part of the Mass, the appointment letter of the Papal Legate was read. The letter, originally published in Latin, and is dated November 18, makes official the delegation of Pope Francis for Cardinal Charles Maung Bo to represent him in the 51st IEC celebration. Cardinal Bo is from  the archdiocese of Yangon, Myanmar and himself a Salesian of Don Bosco.

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The Letter of Appointment is read. Photo taken from the IEC Facebook Page.

After which, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu delivered the salutation to Cardinal Charles Bo.

In his homily, Cardinal Bo called Pope Francis as the prophet of the new millennium and hailed the Philippines “as a great nation, a light to Asia,” for the presence of Filipinos means evangelization. Quoting the late Jesuit bishop Francisco Claver, he pointed out how the Philippines appeared to have been merited the disaster capital of the world due to the natural calamities that strike the country, and yet, the Filipinos have shown how resilient they are!

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Their Eminences Chito Tagle and Joseph Zen are among the 10 cardinals who came to concelebrate for the opening Mass. Photo by Alexander Amora Juni

He peppered his homily with Filipino and Cebuano languages to the delight of the local faithful. “Pope Francis loves you very much. Ang atong Santo Padre gihigugma kamo’ng tanan. Kayo’ng lahat ay mahal na mahal ng Santo Padre,” Cardinal Bo said, which elicited applause from the congregation, which was estimated to reach about 350,000.

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Cardinal Charles Bo on the screen.

His Eminence emphasized that, “Devotion is good. But it is not enough insofar as we are called to be disciples.” He then pointed out that devotion is different from discipleship, for the Mass of a devotee ends in an hour, but the Mass of a disciple is unending; the Mass of a devotee is done in a clean altar while the Mass of a disciple continues in the streets.”

The homily of Cardinal Bo was spirited that it went beyond to the realm of faith in order to call the attention of the people that the poor and the Eucharist are inseparable, for “The love of the Eucharist calls us to love the poor.”

“The greatest terrorism, the greatest mortal sin is seeing a child die of starvation,” he furthered.

Fr. Francis Moloney Gives a Talk in DB Formation House in Lawaan

With the conclusion of the Synod on the Family last year, family has been one of the hot topics of late. Hence, the Philippine edition of the book of Fr. Francis Moloney, SDB “A Body Broken for a Broken People” originally published in 1990 has received a warm welcome in the Philippines, the largest Christian nation not just in the EAO region, but also in the whole of the Asian continent as well.

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After Fr. Moloney’s successful speaking stint in the recently-concluded Theological Symposium of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (EIC, he addressed the members of the Salesian Family of the FIS Province. The affair was held in the aspirantate chapel, jam-packed with the students of Theology who are in Cebu for the EIC, sisters of other congregations in Don Bosco Formation Center, and ordinary people who heard about the notice of Fr. Moloney’s talk.

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Before he proceeded in discussing about the book, he expressed his joy in being in Cebu for the first time. The enthusiasm of the Filipinos in deepening their faith has never failed to impress him.

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One of the many takeaways from his talk is this line, “Eucharist is not for the good people, but it is where a loving God welcomes everyone especially the sinner,” which may represent the core message of his book.

Right after his talk, there was no gap in between since the audience peppered him with questions. The open forum was moderated by Fr. Randy Figuracion, SDB, FIS Social Communication Delegate. There was the book signing right after this. The members of the Salesian family headed to the refectory for an agape lunch.

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Photos courtesy of Mr. Jan Odivilas

A ‘Salesian’ Sidebar to the #EIC2016

By this time, someone who is immersed in the cybersphere must already be familiar with “#EIC2016.” This hashtag refers of course to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) which is still to open today, January 24, but the Theological Symposium which traditionally precedes it, ended last Friday.

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Students of Theology from the Seminaryo ng Don Bosco have this light moment with Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP and Fr. Francis Moloney, SDB.

While someone not attending the congress could conveniently follow its live stream, or catch the gist of the talks of the speakers via the memes uploaded in the social media arms of the IEC, not to mention the quick posts of savvy members of the clergy and lay people in their social media accounts as regards what’s happening in the events. But what is not given emphasis are those which take place in the sidelines, which may also be equally interesting as those which have been scheduled as part of the program.

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The Salesians of the FIS Province take charge in shuttling the IEC2016 Theological Symposium delegates.  Photo from the Facebook page of Ivy Jumao-as Barazona.

On the first day of the Symposium, when the floor was opened for the question and answer after the first plenary conference, two Salesians immediately dispatched questions one after the other. This prompted the facilitator to say, in jest perhaps, that the third one to ask the question should not be a Salesian.

There are Salesians in the congress, who are not just mere observers. Fr Francis Moloney, SDB is the second plenary speaker on the first day and another Salesian, Fr. Mel Racelis, FIS head of the Commission on Formation and a liturgy professor, was one of the reactors to the plenary talk of Bishop Piero Marini.

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Meme lifted from the Facebook page of the IEC2016.

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Screen grab from Br. Marc Will Lim’s Facebook page. 

An all-Salesian team (Fr. Vicente Cervania, Fr. Vester Casaclang, and Fr. Jose Lorbeth Vivo) headed by Fr. Francis Gustilo, SDB was charged to run one of the afternoon workshops entitled “The Eucharist in the Church’s Dialogue with the Youth.” The workshop recommends the Salesian Youth Spirituality, which is meant to foster in the young people a life that goes beyond seeking what is pleasurable, a life that is full.

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Screen grab from the Facebook page of IEC2016.  

Meanwhile, last Thursday, January 21, a dinner was organized in the nearby Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, so that the Salesians attending the event could have some time together in an intimate, sit-up dinner. It was Fr. Moloney’s idea.

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The obligatory photo op taken just before the agape meal. 

These all have taken place just before the 51st International Eucharistic Congress begins today, and as we await the coming of His Eminence Charles Cardinal Bo of Myamar who is the official representative of Pope Francis in this event.

Cardinal Bo is also a Salesian of Don Bosco.

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Photo from the Facebook page of Don Bosco Educational Center–Philippines.

Tayo ang Mabuting Balita

Ika-3 Linggo sa Karaniwang Panahon—Taon K
24 Enero 2016

JANUARY 24

Graphics by Aspirant Paul Lopez. 

Sumainyo ang Panginoon!” Ito ang bati ng diakono sa mga taong kaharap niya sa simbahan na magpapabinyag ng kanilang mga anak. At dahil walang sumagot sa kanya, ito na lang ang nasabi niya sa kanila “At sumaakin din!

Totoong pangyayari ang tagpo sa taas. Pero isang paglilinaw: Hindi ako ang diakonong iyon. Ngunit malinaw ang puntong gustong bigyan niyang diin: Masigla naman sana tayong makilahok sa pagdiriwang! Hindi sapat na magpunta lang tayo sa simbahan. Umawit tayo kasabay ng koro; tumugon tayo kasama ng tao.

Kaya nga, malamang na kaiinggitan niya ang nangyari sa unang pagbasa (Aklat ni Nehemias) ngayong Linggo kung saan ang paring si Ezra ay nagpahayag ng Salita ng Diyos “mula umaga hanggang tanghali,” at ang mga tao ay hindi lamang tumugon ng “Amen, Amen,” kung hindi, “nagtaas din sila ng kanilang mga kamay.”

Kung sabagay, pagkatapos ipatapon ang mga Israelita ng maraming taon sa Babilonya, halos lahat sila’y noon na lamang ulit nakapakinig ng Salita ng Diyos matapos silang bumalik ulit sa kanilang bayan. Ganun na lang ang kanilang pananabik makapakinig sa Salita ng Diyos. At nang mapaalalahanan sila kung ano ang mga bagay na inaasahan sa kanila ng Panginoon, marami sa kanila ang lumuha dahil nabagabag ang kanilang kalooban.

Dito, makikita natin na ang Salita ng Diyos ay hindi lamang dapat na manahan sa ating mga tainga at isipan. Tulad ng ating mapapakinggan ngayong Linggo, ito’y dapat na mangusap sa ating mga damdamin. Hayaan nating bulabugin tayo ng Salita ng Diyos. Kulitin. Takutin. Konsiyensiyahin. Sapagkat sa pamamagitan lamang nito tatawagin ang ating pansin upang tayo’y kumilos upang tumulong sa mga nangangailangan.

Ganito rin ang paanyaya ni San Pablo sa atin sa ikalawang  pagbasa (1 Corinto). Inihalintulad niya tayo sa iba’t-ibang bahagi ng iisang katawan: mata, tainga, bibig ng isang katawan; bagamat magkakaiba, sila nama’y bumubuo sa iisang katawan. May kasabihan tayong mga Pilipino hinggil dito: Ang sakit ng kalingkinga’y sakit ng buong katawan. Ang hapdi ng pinagdadaanan ng isang parte ng ating katawan ay hindi maaaring balewalain. Kinakailangan nating dumamay sa iba.

Gayundin, dahil tayo ay bumubuo ng katawan ni Kristo, dapat ay hindi tayo nag-iiwan ng espasyo para sa inggit at selos sa ibang bahagi ng ating katawan. Ganito rin kung may isang bahaging pinangangaralan—ikinagagalak ito ng lahat!

Sa Mabuting Balita, maririnig nating umuwi si Hesus sa Nazaret. Sa bayang ito siya lumaki. At tulad ng Kanyang nakagawian kapag sumasapit ang Araw ng Pamamahinga, pumunta Siya ng sinagoga upang busugin Niya ang sarili sa pamamagitan ng Salita ng Kanyang Ama. Ang Aklat na naibigay sa Kanya ay mula kay Propeta Isaias.  Sa Kanyang pagpapahayag ng nilalaman nito, kapansin-pansin  ang atensyong binigay ng Panginoon para sa iilan. Totoo nga atang may favorite ang Diyos. At sa totoo lang, sila iyong mga nangangailangan: mga dukha, bilanggo, may kapansanan, at mga isinisiil.

Ang biro ng iba kapag nakikita nila tayong pumupunta sa simbahan ng madalas, “Baka lumagpas ka sa langit ha?!”  Ang pakikinig ng Salita ng Diyos ay hindi lamang isang paraan ng pagsamba. Sapagkat binubuksan din nito ang ating mga mata sa pangangailangan ng ating mga kapatid na nangangailangan. Ngunit kung tunay tayong nakikinig sa Salita ng Diyos at ginaganap ang kalooban ng Ama, mas nagiging tao tayong higit na nakauunawa sa pinagdaraan ng iba at hindi nagpakalayo-layo sa kanila.  Ito ang larawan ng isang sumusunod sa Diyos.

Ngayong Linggo, 24 ng Enero, sinisimulan sa Cebu ang 51st International Eucharistic Congress, magtatagal ito ng isang linggo. Nawa’y sa mga araw ng pagninilay na ito, maituon natin ang ating atensyon sa Eukaristiya, ang pinakamataas na antas ng paraan ng pagsambang iniwan sa atin ng Panginoon. At sa pagninilay na ito, maging katulad tayo ng Panginoon  sa Kanyang pagmamahal sa mga nangangailangan. Sapagkat kung magkakagayon, tunay ngang magaganap natin ang nakasaad sa kasulatang mismong ipinahayag Niya.

Kung magkakagayon, tayo mismo ang Kanyang Mabuting Balita sa mundo.

 

 

 

 

 

51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu

Mandaue City, Cebu, the Philippines, 22 January 2016–The Theological Symposium of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress took off the other day with a contingent of Seminaryo ng Don Bosco and Bl. Stephen Sandor communities, our formation houses based in the FIN Province, present to take part in the on-going theological reflection on the Eucharist.

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The first plenary address was delivered by Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP on the Christian Virtue of Hope.

His talk zeroed in on his experiences in refugee and migrant camps where, as it were, “can teach us what it means to hope in the most acute crisis of our time.”

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The Dominican Fr. Timothy Radcliffe opens the Theological Symposium with his talk on Hope.

Fr. Francis Moloney, a Scriptures scholar and himself a Salesian of Don Bosco led the participants in seeing how Christ loved us to the end, via his plenary talk which explicates the Eucharistic undertones in chapter 13 of the Gospel of St. John.   

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Our very own, Fr. Frank Moloney, SDB gives the plenary address.

The afternoon sessions had seven concurrent sessions developing the various sub-themes of the Eucharistic Congress: (1) The Eucharist: Source and Goal of the Church’s Mission; (2) The Church’s MIssion in Asia-Mission-in-dialogues; (3) Mission in Dialogue with Peoples and Cultures; (4) Mission in Dialogue with Religious and Religious Traditions; (5) Mission in Dialogue with the Poor; (6) Mission in DIalogue with the Youth; and (7) Mary and the Eucharist in the Church’s Mission.

The theological symposium may sound esoteric and highfalutin. But it is interesting that in more than 2,000 participants gathered for the event, one cannot not take notice of the large attendance of the laity. One lay woman, a retired teacher, commends the speakers on the first day for using narratives in their talks to make themselves more grounded.  

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The contingents from Seminaryo ng Don Bosco and Bl. Stephen Sandor communities.

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Our Salesians avail themselves of some breather during the break for a photo op.

The FIS Province has generously welcomed our Salesians from the formation houses and are currently billeted in the Don Bosco Retreat House in Lawaan, Talisay City.

The Congress proper is set to open on January 24, via a Eucharistic celebration.