Month: July 2016

SYM Philippines all set for Local WYD Celebrations Tonight

The Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) and Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in the FIN Province has cooked up a local World Youth Day (WYD) celebration to coincide with the WYD celebrations taking place in Poland.

The organizers wanted only 500 participants due to the limited space of Don Bosco Sta Mesa in Manila, but around 700 are expected to come after the on-line registration.

The catechetical talk, patterned after the WYD theme “Blessed are the Merciful” will be delivered by Fr. Joji Inocentes, SDB.

The FMAs and the SDBs will each have its God Academy which aims to serve as a resource center for vocational discernment among the young people.

Other “academies” include the Family Academy, which zeroes in on the importance of the family. Film Academy, which features the lives of WYD patron saints, Sports and recreation, Cafe FM, which deals on the millenial culture and volunteerism among the young people.

SDB priests have been invited to help the participants in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Way of the Cross and Adoration are also lined up for the participants to re-acquaint them with the merciful stance of the Father. Praise and worship concert will take place just before midnight for the participants.

This is an overnight event that will hook up with the WYD celebrations in Poland in real time when the Pope addresses the young people gathered there.

The event will conclude tomorrow with a Eucharistic celebration to be officiated by Fr. GC Carandang, SDB, past SYM Salesian delegate who was himself a WYD delegate in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Ang Tanging Yaman!

Ika-18 Linggo sa Karaniwang Panahon—K
31 Hulyo 2016

July 31

Graphics by Asp. Paul Lopez, Don Bosco Seminary Canlubang.

Man cannot stand a meaningless life.”

Paniniwala ito ng psychologist na si Carl Jung. Ganito rin ang paniniwala ko, likas kasi sa atin ang maghanap ng kahulugan sa buhay. At kung wala nito, nawawalan ng kulay ang mundo, tumatabang ang panlasang mayroon tayo, at hindi na tayo interesado pang malaman kung anong mayroon sa darating na mga bukas.

Totoo ito dahil may mga kilala akong sa kamusmusan ng kanilang kabataan ay iniisip na nilang magpatiwakal. Wala na daw kasi silang makitang dahilan pa kung bakit sila kailangang mabuhay pa kung wala din naman silang makuhang kahulugan mula dito.

Parehas sa temang ito ang tinatalakay ng ating unang pagbasa ngayong Linggo (1:2; 2:21-23) hango sa Aklat ni Qoheleth. Sa unang pangungusap pa lang ay ramdam na natin ang lalim ng pinaghuhugutan ng mangangaral, “Walang kabuluhan, walang halaga ang lahat ng bagay.”

Kaya nga mapapatanong tayo kung bakit nga ba nating kailangang magpasalamat pa sa Diyos matapos ipahayag ang pagbasang ito, dahil sasagi sa isip natin, “E wala rin naman palang kahulugan ang buhay!”

Ngunit kung babalikan ang pagbasa at susuriin itong maigi, at kung ating itatanong, “Nasaan ang Diyos sa pagbasang ito?” mapapagtanto din nating “Sadya ngang walang kabuluhan ang buhay kung ang batayan lang natin ay ang ating mga sarili.”

Hungkag. Walang laman. Nada. Nil. Zero. Buta. ‘Yan ang mukha ng buhay na walang Diyos.

Sa liham ni San Pablo sa mga taga Colosas (3:1-5.9-11) na tampok sa ating ikalawang pagbasa ngayong Linggo, ang paalala sa mga Kristiyano: Isaisip ninyo ang mga bagay na panlangit, hindi ang mga bagay na panlupa. At mayroong malalim na dahilan kung paano natin ito maisasakatuparan: Dahil kasama natin si Kristo.

Pinatay tayo ng ating mga kasalanan. Ngunit nasumpungan nating muli ang isang bagong buhay kasama ni Kristo. At kalakip ng bagong buhay na ito ay isang buhay na punong puno ng kahulugan.

Ngunit ang kahulugang ito ay hindi natin matatagpuan sa mga bagay na materyal. Sa huli, wala rin silang kabuluhan. Hindi natin sila madadala sa hukay na paglalagakan sa atin sa kabilang buhay.  At hinding hindi nila tayo mabibigyan ng tunay na kaligayahan.

‘Ika ng isang status ng kaibigan ko sa Facebook: The most important things in the world are not things!

Sa Ebaghelyo (Lucas 12:13-21), tampok ang tanong na ito: kung ang buhay ay dumarating sa ganitong pagkakataon, saan tayo sumisilong? Kanino tayo humuhugot ng lakas?

Ipinapaalala sa atin ng Panginoon na ituon ang atensyon natin sa mga bagay na hinding hindi malalaos, hinding hindi mapapanis at hinding hindi mabubulok. At kasabay nito ang isang babala, “Mag-ingat kayo sa lahat ng uri ng kasakiman,  sapagkat ang buhay ng tao ay wala sa laki ng Kanyang kayamanan.”

Mahalagang pagnilayan ang mensahe ng ating liturhiya ngayong Linggo, lalong higit sa marami sa ating nagpapagal upang makamit ang mga pangarap nating umiikot lamang naman sa mga materyal na bagay.

Tila magkasalungat ang binibigyang diin ng dalawang pagbasa ngayong Linggo—si Qoheleth, ang pansamantala, samantalang ang Mabuting Balita naman ay kung ano ang bagay na patuloy na iiral sa kabila ng pagwawakas ng santinakpan.

 

WYD2016-Day 4

Here’s the Day 4 of Ms. Jessa’s adventures of the 31st World Youth Day.

The message of Pope Francis for the young during the World Youth Day 2016 is something that I would probably reflect on for a long time.

I remember him saying how it makes him sad when he sees young people living their lives as if their lives do not have meaning or as if nothing makes sense. I am guilty of this most of the time. I need to appreciate how blessed I am to be living this life, no matter how imperfect or no matter how much I wish things would be different. I am still blessed. I should not let one thing ruin everything for me.

I should not let life’s trials get the best of me. I am blessed and loved and I should make use of the life I have to spread the Gospel to those who do not have access to it. In times where I am lost I should always take the hand of Jesus who is always willing to walk with me through life. Living in God’s love and mercy is living the life to the fullest.

I should take Christ personally and I should set a good example to my companions so that they would also do the same. It’s never too late. The time is now.

Here’s the Facebook speech of the Holy Father to the delegates of WYD.

St. Martha

Memorial of St. Martha
29 July 2016

Saying “We can still be friends” after a break-up is like saying “Hey, the dog died but we can still keep it.”

Ang text ni Guy, “Let’s be something more than friends.”
Ang reply naman ni Gurl, “What, Bestfriends?”
Ang hirit ulit ni Guy, “No. I mean, something more than that…”
Excited si Gurl, ang textback niya, “Mega bestfriends?!”

Kung magpapatawa ka, siguruduhin mong dalawa tayong matatawa. Hindi ‘yung ikaw lang ang natawa, tapos ako in love na.

The encounter of Jesus with Martha in the Gospel we just heard allows us to take a good look at one intimate feature of Jesus’ humanity: His closeness to the siblings Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.

One of my scriptures teachers in the theologate mulled over that Jesus would visit the house of the siblings in Bethany on his way to Jerusalem.  In his every stop in that house, he was not just welcomed with  a comfortable roof over his head, He enjoyed the warm company of these siblings. To Him, after the apostles, they are His closest friends.

Hence, a little beyond the end of today’s reading we find one of the shortest verses in the Bible.  It simply says, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Jesus mourned the death of his friend Lazarus, too!

But let me stop myself from talking about Lazarus. I’d like to focus on Martha. After all, it is she whom we commemorate today. The Gospel enlightens us today of three things which help us strengthen our relationship with Jesus: Comfort, Confidence, and Candidness.

Comfort

Many Jews came to console Martha and Mary when they knew that Lazarus died. St. Luke was keen on the detail that upon Martha’s learning that Jesus was coming, she herself went out of her way in order to meet Him.

Because Jesus is around, everything is under control. Because Jesus is here, there is nothing to fear. That was what Martha must have experienced when she met Jesus.

Like Martha, when problems come our way, do we seek comfort from Jesus, too?

Confidence

Martha expressed her confidence in Jesus. She called Jesus Lord. And like Peter, Jesus was for her the Messiah, the Son of God. She lost her brother because He was not around. But because Jesus is back, she was certain that He could do wonders. Because of Jesus, she is confident that her brother will live again.

We can say of the same confidence which happened in the life of Jeremiah in the first reading. He proclaimed what he heard from God as it is. If they persisted in disobedience, it would ruin their city and temple. He did not seek to please men, or to save himself from harm.

The priests and prophets didn’t like what they heard from Jeremiah, and so, they wanted to kill him. But knowing that God is on his side, he stood his ground. He was not afraid of them.

Candidness

The third C speaks of Martha’s candidness. She gently chides Jesus for His delaying His coming with these words “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Who among us can speak in this way to Jesus? Only those who enjoy friendly and familiar relationship with Him.

Dominic Savio must have prayed his prayers so candidly that God listened to him. One Sunday, upon hearing Don Bosco’s homily that it is easy to be a saint, it became his life-long mission. He wanted to become a Saint. His friendship with Jesus obtained for him what he prayed for.

Let us also be honest and sincere in our way of relating with Jesus. Do not be shy to ask Him what you need.

So, how do we find out that we are friends with Jesus? Let us look at the example of Martha. Her friendship with Jesus comforted her. It gave her confidence in Jesus. And because Jesus is a friend, she candidly asks from Him.

In this great Sacrament of the Eucharist, let us ask Jesus to help us become His good friends.

WYD 2016–DAY 3

On the third day of her #WYD2016 adventure,  Ms. Jessa Dela Peña chronicles her experience with the Salesian Youth Movement Forum. 

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The SYM Forum was a great opportunity for me to find out more about how the Salesian Youth Movement works in different countries. In the group work that Fr. Fabio Attard, SDB gave us, I met some Salesians and Salesian Youth from Malta, USA, Germany, Sweden, Austria, England, and Italy. They shared the daily struggles of the young people in their settings and how God’s mercy is at work through these challenges. Especially for the case of those countries with refugees, those where the young people are apathetic.

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I saw how God is at work with those who came from countries where attending something like the world Youth day was impossible, where being a Catholic could be a death sentence in itself. Their joy and unfaltering spirit is God’s mercy moving hearts, moving mountains. That this kind of change can also happen to me if i would be open to see it.

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We are blessed and we are worthy. Blessed to be living in God’s presence. Worthy of his mercy. We just have open ourselves to accepting The work of God’s love in us. With God, many things can change. We should let God’s love and mercy transform us. Let His work of mercy extend to those around us.

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Photos are lifted from the Facebook Pages of Ms Jessa dela Peñ

WYD 2016–Day 2

From the #WYD2016 Diary of Ms. Jessica Mariel dela Peña of the Salesian Youth Movement–Philippines.

We started the day by walking to the Vocation Fair not far from the Parish we are staying at. It was an exhibit where young people could talk to members of different religious congregations and organizations.

The Salesians of Don Bosco were present as well. There were hundreds of booths and so much to learn, that the day was not enough to visit each exhibition. I learned a lot from the people I talked to. Each booth had its own gimmick–from giving away trinkets and souvenirs, nuns joyfully singing and dancing with the young, to priests and seminarians praying for me right there and then, it was an experience that allowed me to see how the love of God moves people, how God’s mercy transforms people. The stories of the people I talked to during the Vocation Fair were all inspiring. There are a lot of great congregations, movements, and organizations that are working to let the people know of how great life with God is. 

At around 3 in the afternoon, we started moving to the Blonia Park where the opening Mass will be celebrated. The sky looked gloomy but that did not dampen the spirit of the young people. Even as it began to rain, the WYD pilgrims walked with joy, singing and dancing as they travel to the celebration site. 

The ground was wet and it was not the most comfortable situation but no rain could stop us from celebrating God’s love and mercy. 

The Cardinal of Krakow challenged us to extend the WYD experience to the young people by sharing the flames of our faith. He challenged the young people to carry God’s news to the world: That the young shares the mission to share the Gospel to those who do not have access to it. 

He also reminded us that with God, we can do all things. Nothing will separate us from the love and mercy of God.

WYD 2016–Day 1

Ms. Jessa Mariel dela Peña of the Salesian Youth Movement–Philippines writes straight from where the 31st World Youth Day is unfolding. On their first day in Karokow, Poland, she writes in her WYD Journal the following:

Today was a “free” day for us here in Krakow.  After more than 24 hours of traveling to Poland, a bit of relaxation was something we were all looking forward to.  

We are staying in foster homes, the kind members of the Parish of Saint Stanislaus Kostki generously volunteered to host us for this week. The Parish where we are staying is run by the Salesians here in Krakow. 

Our group decided to visit the Basilica of St. Mary the great first. It is the seat of the bishop of Krakow. The word is beautiful is not enough to describe how marvelous that church is. The architecture and the art of the Church were things I only saw in encyclopedias when I was younger. We were blessed to have been allowed to celebrate mass in one of the small chapels inside the basilica. 

In Fr. Joebeth Vivo’s homily, he reminded us of how blessed we are to be in Krakow and how participating in the World Youth Day would make us great, how it would make us famous back home. He also told us to make good use of the “greatness” and the “fame” that comes with the experience. 

As I was listening to the homily, I remembered the famous quote from Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Being here in Krakow comes with great responsibility. Aside from representing the Salesian Youth of the Philippines, the bigger task is to allow the WYD experience to transform us. 

The real challenge is to not just keep the input to be given to us in the following days in our heads, but to allow it to extend to our hearts and hands. That way, more than sharing the experience by telling stories when we get back home, we will be able to be examples of God’s mercy by being more patient, more forgiving, and more compassionate.