Sunday, February 27, 2011

The March

Here are some of the photos taken from the Anti-RH Bill rally held on February 25, 2011 in Tacloban City. It was attended by students from different schools and colleges (mostly Catholic). The Sacred Heart Seminary wasn't one to miss this opportunity to make itself clear on our stand on this moral issue.

preparing the placards

This one sums it all

before the afternoon session with Dra. Ligaya Acosta

Registration and signing the statement

Yours truly in the foreground with some seminarians

to be fair, I wished to take this picture, this time with the photographer of the previous photo in my place.

a shot of the Veneremus Chapel

animation  before the talk

Dancing brothers
could this be representative of a new age of martyr-witnesses for Life? Behind bars?

I could not resist taking this picture

With Fr. Amadeo Alvero, Official Spokesperson of the Archdiocese

Students from the Leyte National High School, which is a state-run school

the rally through the streets of downtown Tacloban

may our earthly city be blessed for its fidelity to the Truth!!!


Friday, February 25, 2011

On Pro-Life Rallies, RH Bills and the Filipino Freegarbage

This afternoon I will be joining many of the faithful in a march against the RH Bill to be held in Tacloban. At the moment of blogging the seminarians are coming up with colorful placards for the rally. In the meantime, I would like to pose this for consideration, something that I got from the website of the Filipino Freethinkers, (no, I won't give you the link, else you might soil yourself  with  so much garbage) it just shows that it's possible to think even with an empty head (comments in red mine):

We’d like to invite you all to the biggest meetup yet.
This Sunday, Feb 27, the Freethinkers along with more than 1,000 men and women will be walking our ethical talk ("ethical"? unethical is more like it. No, make that IMMORAL).
In our numbers we will march straight up to the CBCP compound in Manila, in support of the Reproductive Health Bill. This will be by far the largest mass mobilization to descend upon the CBCP compound in history.
Indeed we are angry but this will be a silent, peaceful protest. (That's good. If you have nothing good and true to say, better shut up. Just pout and grumble  like  a naughty child who wasn't allowed to do all the naughty things that  he wanted to do) We do this in the name of the dying mothers, 11 of whom die needlessly ( If you're so concerned about the dying, why don't you do soemthing about them yourselves? Go visit them in their sickbeds, give them medicine, bring to their sickbeds attentive medical help, come up with medical missions. You don't need a law to do good, much less a law that will only actually lead to more deaths. This only manifests what I have been thinking about these kind of people in their pro-RH bill advocacy: those "dying mothers" that they seem so concerned about seems to be faceless to them. Do they know of any dying mothers? Why don't they help them themselves if they're so concerned? I 'm now convinced that their advocacy is for advocacy's sake. Do something more useful, for love of God) while these virgin Fathers (thank you for this affirmation of our celibacy)and their minions do everything in their considerable power to stop the RH Bill (and you should thank us. What else would you do when someone tries to stop the hand that's about to stab you to death?).
When: Sunday, February 27, 4PM
Where: CBCP Compound
Attire: White shirts
Assembly: Cory and Ninoy monument, Bonifacio Drive corner Padre Burgos Street (across Manila Hotel)
RSVP on Facebook
Likhaan (RH Action Network) Press Release
With the Consolidated RH Bill finally scheduled for both House and Senate Plenary hearings on March 1, there has never been a more crucial time to show the Filipino people that the bishops of the CBCP hold no monopoly on morality  (that is true. We don't HOLD any monopoly over morality. GOD does. We are only useless servants. we have only done what we are supposed to do.)and that we will no longer tolerate the bishop’s interference in our nation’s governance (inasmuch as the wicked cannot tolerate the ways of truth and righteousness).
The CBCP fear us (we fear the evil that this bill will unleash. that's why we are busting our asses (forgive the language) in championing that which is good and true. to fear is perfectly human. Courage doesn't mean the absence of fear, but that we are able to overcome it in order to fight for what's morally right and true, and what is really advantageous for the Filipino people. Besides, this "the CBCP fear us" crap is bullying; bullying is another of cowardice, a manifestation of fear that is not overcome.). They know their presumed moral supremacy is merely an illusion that rests on their assumed superiority and infallibility as embodied in the serenity of their bishop’s palace (this is so verbose it's nothing but air). We know their fear,(we as pastors fear what we would say before the Supreme Pastor when our time comes. It's not you that we fear) they’ve threatened several pro-RH NGOs with withdrawal of support should they dare mobilize on their CBCP palace (what' s this thing about a palace? don't tell me you people live in shacks. Why, these people are as elitist as those whom they purportedly call elitists. Hypocrites!).
This is the kind of petty intimidation that we intend to stand against this Sunday (one would wonder who's intimidating who this Sunday).
Where there was once fear, let our voices be heard! Our silent rage will ring loud round the nation as a call to action: democracy and freedom (With such zeal, and in fairness to the intentions of some of these people who might as well be blinded, it's a pity they don't really know what these two key and oft-abused concepts really mean. Divorced from moral truth and goodness, Democracy becomes tyrannical, and freedom is agonizing slavery)!
We had visitors this morning, some nuns and their charges from a parrochial school in Dulag. Observing the seminarians working on their placards, i commented that we would be going to the rally this afternoon. The Sister I was conversing with said that they don't go to rallies; they'd rather pray. I told her, "Sister, you have chosen the better part". We're not on this battle alone, because ultimately, this is not just a battle against forces that malign in the Congress, in the streets, in the blogospheres and social networks, all bent to destroy the family; this is ultimately the battle between the angels of God, both human and spiritual, and the minions of satan (yes, with the small "s", he deserves no better), that father of lies.We need prayers.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A PROPHECY IGNORED, and something to think about

Eugenio Pacelli, titular Archbishop of Sardes, and Nuncio to Germany, future Pius XII

"   I am worried by the Blessed Virgin's messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul. … I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject Her ornaments and make Her feel remorse for Her historical past.

A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, “Where have they taken Him?” "

-Vatican Secretary of State, Eugenio Pacelli (later Pius XII), 1931

Sanctuary lamp, Sacred Heart Seminary Chapel, Palo, Leyte (Philippines)


Got this from the blog Da Mihi Animas, courtesy also, of course by YouTube. The other commercial is the otherwise famous "Catholics Come Home" commercial, also very nice



I've always thought that thought the Internet current social networking sites and blogs are a ready instrument for the spread of the Good News and a good tool for the New Evangelization, the habit of taking to these things too much would result in losing ones' habit. You can get news of a nun losing her habit over her FB habit here.

NOT JUST AN HONORARY CHAIR: the feast of the chair of peter (Feb. 22)

Allow me to pen just a few thoughts as we celebrate this feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Many Christian fundamentalists always hit us Catholics for our veneration of the saints (funny I don't seem to observe them do that with Eastern Orthodox Christians, who are also effusive and equally fervent in their veneration of saints and their images), and their images and icons. I would imagine them going ballistic if they ever find out that in the Catholic calendar there is a feast seemingly dedicated not just to a saint or an icon, but to a chair. That would seem to pretty far out, aside from the fact that you normally don't give honor to a chair, much less commemorate it with a special date.

Today's feast comes to us from antiquity, with sources telling us that it was already being celebrated as early as the year of Our Lord 394, according to the oldest Roman calendar. To more knowledgeable Catholics, this feast turns our attention to that relic kept in that effusive and "explosive" piece of Baroque art situated at the end of the nave in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Kept within the Gloria of Bernini is a chair originally thought to have been used by Peter himself, though actually was a gift made to the Pope by Charles the Bald in the 9th century. You can learn more about the relic here
However, what we are celebrating is not a material chair, a piece of furniture. What we are celebrating is that office which that seemingly innocuous chair represents and symbolizes, not only for each of us, but for the whole Church of Christ. The cathedra (which simply means chair pr seat in Greek and Latin) is the chair of the bishop, and is indicative of his teaching authority, of his office as teacher over the particular church which has been commended to his care. The cathedral church derives its name form the fact that it houses the Bishop's chair.

Anyway, we celebrate, just as I was saying, not a piece of furniture but rather the special position that Peter holds over the Church instituted by Christ Jesus on earth. The Gospel for today recounts the episode of the confession of Peter about the divinity of Christ: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" To this confession of faith the Lord responds by giving Peter the special mission of being the rock upon which the faith of the Church in Christ will stand; the Lord Jesus explicitly gives over to him the mission of the Keys, something which the rest of the Apostles would receive later on after the Resurrection of the Lord. Pope St. Leo the Great comments that "it is not without reason that the authority bestowed on all the Apostles is entrusted to one. For Peter received it separately in trust because he is the prototype set before all the rulers of the Church". Pope Benedict XVI says celebrating this feast means "to attribute to it a strong spiritual significance and to recognize in it a privileged sign of the love of God, good and eternal Shepherd, who wants to gather the whole of his Church and guide her along the way of salvation."It is the celebration of the Church entrusted to the ministry of Peter. whose task is to confirm us all in the Faith in Jesus Christ. 

Celebrating this feast means being grateful to the Lord for continuing to guide and feed and protect His Church through the ministry of Peter, in the person of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, gloriously reigning. But celebrating it fruitfully also means praying for the Holy Father and his intentions, as well as praying that the work of Christian unity would progress so that we may find all of us who bear the name of Christian under the care of the Supreme Shepherd, who continues to guide us all through the ministry of Peter, the rock upon which the Lord built His Church.

Prayer for the Holy Father

V. Let us pray for our Pontiff, Pope Benedict.

R. The Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him to be blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies (Roman Breviary).

Our Father. Hail Mary.

V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.

R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. [Ps 40:3]

Monday, February 21, 2011


I came upon something this afternoon which kind of transported me back about eight years ago. It doesn't seem that long ago but nevertheless one could just see how fast time flies. I came upon a copy (the only surviving copy, in fact) of my college thesis. Way back then we had to come up with a philosophical thesis, not unlike today that college seminarians are just told to come up with their vocation stories. I still feel that quiet satisfaction when I see that I was capable of whipping up a book of 135 pages (or more, since the introductory pages are not included in the count.
"HUMAN DIGNITY ACCORDING TO KARL MARX AND KAROL WOJTYLA: A COMPARATIVE EVALUATION" was how I entitled my very first intellectual and academic opus. I originally thought of something about communism but a professor sniffed at the idea and called my choice of the topic "old-fashioned and lagging behind the times" (actually my thesis got a far better grade and review than most of my companions, the aforesaid professor's directees included) so I zeroed in on Karl Marx. I had read the Communist Manifesto already by that time and I was looking for a significant question which could serve as the basis for my thesis. John Paul II was--and still is--one of my great heroes and knowing that had some philosophical writings and ideas as well, especially concerning man, so I came up with the happy idea of having a comparative study between Marx and Wojtyla about Man, knowing that between the two the Communist ideal stood as a bridge. Marx's was largely responsible for the formulation of the Communist genesis of thought which would later gravitate to the rise of Communist totalitarian systems in Europe, most especially after the Second World War. Wojtyla would live in one of its strongholds as a young man, a priest an a bishop. Later on as Pope he would be one of the architects of it downfall.
The work cost me many a sleepless night and long hours chained to the desk, first writing the manuscript, and then encoding it. It took me a year to finish the job. I remember being hugely frustrated when a printer glitch happened at the very last hour; it was the final printing and the stupid printer won't just work. I remember  being frustrated at that time seeing that I was so close to casting this weight from my shoulders and being held from blessed post-thesis peace by a stupid printer.  But the long hours paid of:


I was stepping upon the shoulders of giants: Fr Gil Manaog, Fr. Lito Maraya, Fr. Ric Marpa and Fr. Al Cris Badana all had a hand in this experience.
As I said, hard work always pays of: a grade of 92.33 was what I got.
It's nice to think that very soon one of the subjects of the thesis would be approved for public veneration by the Church.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


After a rather long absence and after a literary and "bibliophic" shopping spree from which I've just arrived yesterday evening, I would want to share something from one of our newest acquisitions:

Cardinal Manning once attended a dinner at which he sat next to Dr. Alder, the Chief Rabbi, when a huge ham was passed around. Cardinal Manning turned to the Rabbi and said, "Dr. Adler, when are you going to be liberal enough to eat ham?"
The Chief Rabbi smiled and said, "At Your Eminence's wedding".


Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman was traveling in a railway carriage and sitting opposite were a couple of men who made continual and derogatory remarks about the Church. The Cardinal said not a word until one of the men came to his destination. As the man was getting out of the train, the Cardinal said, "Here. You've forgotten something behind."
The man turned arond quickly. "Have I left something behind?"
"Yes," said the Cardinal, "a very bad impression."

Once there was a bachelor posted as Ambassador to Peru. At a reception dance given by him in the embassy he spent more time with his whiskey bottle than with his guests. Emboldened by the intake of spirits he decided to ask what appeared to him his most important lady guest, to dance the Viennese Waltz with him. The guest turned down the request with the following words:
"There are three reasons why I will not dance with you. The first is that you have undoubtedly had too much to drink. The second is that the orchestra is not playing the Viennese Waltz; it is playing the Peruvian national anthem. And thirdly, I am the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima and Primate of Peru."

New York's Francis Cardinal Spellman was watching a World series baseball game, back in the days when they had such things in Brooklyn, and a high foul fly was hit towards his box seat. Roy Campanella, the catcher, tried to catch it but missed and the ball bounced against the Cardinal's knee. Roy inquired anxiously if he had been hurt.
"Don't worry about it Roy," the Cardinal said, "a priest's knees are the toughest and the most thickly padded part of his anatomy."

Francis Cardinal Spellman relates this personal experience:
"During my recent trip overseas, Cardinal Machory invited all the bishops of Northern Ireland to meet me. He had been fortunate enough to secure a large fish for dinner and it reminded me of one I had seen mounted in a friend's office in the United States. When some media men asked me a great many questions which no human being could possibly answer, I pointed to the fish on the platter and told them of the mounted fish back home with the significant label: If I had kept my mouth shut, I wouldn't be here".

Saturday, February 12, 2011

6th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: Happiness is living the Law of God in the Spirit of God

Blessed are they who follow the Law of the Lord!

The question of what really amounts to happiness has gripped man for centuries, for as long as he has existed. It is an essential human question, one which is very much related to the question of meaning in life. Both questions ultimately turn to the truth that man’s search for meaning is actually his search for happiness in the final instance.

This is a question which has been expressed in many cultures and in many philosophies. We hear it in the Gospel most especially, through the lips of an unnamed rich young man in the account of Matthew (cf. chapter 19:16-19) who poses this question to the Lord: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” In answer the Lord says, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

Keep the commandments. This is something which the readings this Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time enjoins us, we who wish to follow Christ, who came that we may have life, and have it to the full. Keeping the commandments allow us to provide an answer to this question that man has made to himself concerning happiness, which equivalently means living life, entering life, having it to the full. In the Responsorial Psalm itself we hear beatitude—happiness, being blessed—as something which is given to and belongs to those who follow the Law of the Lord.

This is an injunction, a command, which the people of Israel were very much aware of. Ever since this Law was given to them through Moses by God they knew that, before this positive expression of God’s will already revealed tacitly in nature, a choice yawned open before them: the choice between life and death, between happiness and damnation; with the voice of the Lord their God telling them to “choose life” they realized that following the commandments of God was the sure way of arriving at authentic answer to the question of true happiness.

This Law, preserved in the holy writings of the people of Israel—the Torah—is brought into fulfillment in the coming of the Son of God, the same Lord had given the Law to the people. Though he came to renew all things (cf. Rev. 21:1), it did not mean the abolition of this Law; with respect to the Law, the Lord “upgrades” so to speak the way we view the following of this same Law as a guide—not the source, as some of his contemporaries (among them especially the Pharisees) believed—to happiness and salvation in God.

In the Gospel the Lord Jesus is careful to point out that it is not the scrupulous and legalistic accomplishment of the Law that saves and gives glory to God. This is what he means by the righteousness of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. These were people who were utterly punctilious in obeying the Law to the letter. Not that obeying it to the letter is bad, but that which the Lord attacks in the attitude of the Pharisees is that in sticking to the letter so rigorously they had forsaken its spirit. They had forgotten that holiness does not come from following a dead letter but rather from being moved by the Spirit of the Living God that breathes through the letters of the Law, through the Commandments.

Jesus the Lord tells us that we need to go deeper than the words of the Commandments themselves. Following the commandments is the basis of our morality; this means that the commandments of God are not just letters, but a life to be lived. It is not merely superficial, but one that affects the persons in all levels, especially his mind and heart, which only God sees. A superficial following of the commandments leads to a pharisaical morality of life: it is living the commandments in a way that does not surpass that of the Pharisees.

This is something that could be said of how many Christians today live morally: it is merely skin-deep. Here the commandments are best seen as mere prohibitions and not as a life to be lived. Seen as an imposition, it is grudgingly followed as something which curtails my own personal freedom, not as something which actually guarantees it.

Finally, living the commandments would remain dead letter for us who follow Christ unless we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit. Only the Spirit, who probes everything, even the depths of God (cf. 1 Cor.2:10), can teach us how to live the commandments, leading lives that are pleasing to God. May his breath vivify us and bring us the happiness that each of us was destined for.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


a sign placed by parishioners above the portals of the parish church

 (homily preached during the Mass of the translation of the remains of Fr. Nicolas A. Valeriano III from the Parish Church of San Jose, Tacloban to the Church of the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish, Tacloban, 8 February 2011)

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord

Today we gather before the altar of the Lord in order to pray for the soul of Nicolas III His priest, whom he has called to himself. We gather with sadness in our hearts because of his passing, which caught us unaware because of it suddenness. The Lord had come for his faithful priest in the manner in which he has told us in the Gospels, like the master who comes from the wedding feast (cf. Lk 12:36), like the thief in the night in its suddenness (cf. 1 Thes. 5: 2-4). A saint once likened death to the Lord coming silently upon his saints and surprising them from behind, so that when they suddenly turn to face Him, they may find themselves looking face-to-face with the Lord. Seen this way, death is a pleasant surprise, and Fr. Nick, who was sometimes known for pleasantly surprising us with his humor and his antics, has received the most pleasant surprise of his life when, one day, he suddenly turned about and saw himself face-to-face with the Lord whom he had loved and served so much on this life. In death, around his mortal remains, before the altar of God, we gather in grief, in sadness; and yet, more importantly, we gather together in faith, a faith that makes our gaze pierce through the darkness and allows us a glimpse of the enduring day the Resurrection.
Waiting for the cortege to arrive

Fr. Kelvin, Vice-Rector and Main Celebrant before the remains of Fr. Nick

blessing the body

One thing that strikes us about the death of a Christian—and especially a Christian is a priest—is that there is an interplay of darkness and light, wherein we see more clearly the fact that the idea of death leads us to think more about life itself. We may think of death as the end of life, but our faith and the symbols with which we express it teach us that there is more to death than just a simple end. There is more to death than just darkness. There is more to the death of a Christian, a disciple of Christ, than just DEATH.

With our eyes fixed upon the face of the Risen Christ, we see that in him who rose from the dead, our hope of resurrection dawned (cf. Preface for the Dead), and that the sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of immortality. Death is not so dark, because it has been illumined with light of Christ, whose symbol stands among us in the Paschal Candle that has its rightful place by the mortal remains of the baptized at every Christian funeral, shedding its light upon the believer in death as it has done in life. Thus we could be able to say truly that even though we may walk in the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil (cf. Ps. 23), for we have Christ as our light. In death we say that we close our eyes to this world, but what also happens is that in death, we also open our eyes to the light that never goes out; we are born into a life that knows no end, because for those who believe, death is merely the beginning of life.

me delivering the homily

We may be oftentimes tempted to think of death as a mere separation: the internal separation of the organism that leads to death and decay; death which causes families and loved ones to get separated; death which stops life from continuing. Yet our faith makes us see that it is more of a reunion than just mere separation. It is a reunion with those who have gone before us in the faith, be they our friends, our family members who have already preceded us. it is a reunion with the saints who have interceded for us all throughout our struggle here on earth. Finally, it is the much-awaited reunion between us and the Lord, from whose love neither death, nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, could we be ever separated(cf. Rom 8: 37-39). It is a reunion towards which we all hope to be when our time comes. It is the definitive embrace of the Lord which we all hope to enjoy after our sojourn in this valley of tears.

It is into this embrace which Fr. Nick is being held. In our hearts we pray to God that he may forgive all of the sins and failings that he may have committed due to human weakness, and that they may be washed away in the flood of God’s love. 

the father of Fr. Nick receiving communion

Our condolences goes out to the father of Fr. Nick, Nicolas Jr., to his siblings, nieces and nephews and other family members; our sympathies go to the faithful of the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish, bereaved by the loss of a zealous pastor and father. In the end all of us are bereaved and saddened and a bit orphaned by the passing of this father who, precisely because of his celibate vocation as a priest of Jesus Christ, has given birth to countless sons and daughters.

Finally, despite of our bereavement, in our hearts we rejoice, for after a life lived in the service of God’s people, he has finally heart the voice of the Master calling out to him: 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' (Mt.25:23). Amen.

me blessing the body with holy water

seminarians and mourners viewing the body