Friday, September 21, 2007

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C): "Dishonest Wealth"

Please click on this or on the title above for my commentary on Luke 16:1-3 (25th Sunday in Ord Time - C).

Old Testament Group Meet in Fairview

Members of the OT Group of CBAP
September 2007 meeting

lthough this post is not exactly about news in and out Divine Word Seminary, this may interest readers of this blog.

Last Sept. 19 (2:00 pm - 4:00 pm) the Old Testament group of the Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines (CBAP) met in the hall of the Holy Spirit Church in B.F. Homes, Fairview (QC) to listen to and discuss the papers of two pastors/professors.

Pastor Leo F. Galanza, Jr delivered a paper on "Biblical Interpretation in the Second Period" where he outlined the complexities of this period. The body of literature in the Second Temple Judaism is not only diverse but also bigger than the canonical texts of the Old Testament. He assured that this period provides a better background to the New Testament rather than the Old Testament. He recommended to the group to take a look at George W. E. Nickelsburg, Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins: Diversity, Continuity, and Transformation (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003). The group also also referred to Gabriele Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism (Grand Rapids, Mi / Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998) and idem, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, From Ezekiel to Daniel (Grand Rapids, Mi / Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2002).

Pastor Leo is a senior pastor of Marikina Christian bible Church and faculty member of Center for Biblical Studies. He is working on an MA degree at the Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary.

The second paper was delivered by Pastor Noli Mendoza on "The Threat of Chaos: Jeremiah's Vision of a Suffering Earth". He argues that the "in the book of Jeremiah there exists and intimate relationship between God, human community, and the environment... the threat of chaos... in Jer 4:23-26 portraying the reversal of creation into disorder, is cuased by a profound violation in the symbolic relationship between God, the environment and human community" (from the abstract).

Pastor Noli is a faculty member of Asian Theological Seminary teaching where he also finished Master of Divinity in Biblical Studies (2001). He is writing a thesis for his Master of Theology in Biblical Studies at the Asia Graduate School of Theology - Philippines. he is a chaplain and translator in the Philippine Bible Society, pastor of Family Christian Fellowship of the Conservative Baptist Association of the Philippines (also abbreviated CBAP). He is married to Ma. Melissa Mendoza with whom he has two daughters, Haraya Marikit and Biyaya Marilag.

Listening to these pastors before a Catholic organization such as CBAP in Catholic parish, I remember what the late Raymond E. Brown said of biblical studies as the greatest achievement of ecumenism ("The Contribution of Historical Biblical Criticism to Ecumenical Church Discussion," in Richard John Neuhaus (genearal ed.), Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: The Ratzinger Conference on Bible and Church, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1989), pp. 24-49.

Present in this meeting were Sr. Arleene Riccio, DSMP who hosted the meeting; Sr. Helen Graham, MM; Fr. Fruto Ramirez, SJ; Msgr. Noe de los Santos (who came all the way from Naga); Fr. Mer Viuya, MJ; Fr. Chris Pine, OFM; Bishop Ambo David; Pastor Caleb Dignadice; Mr. Resty Adoremus; and Ms. Bing Kasilag acted as the coordinator.

Important Announcements

1. The next OT meeting will be on February (date to be fixed yet) in Villa San Miguel in Mandaluyong. Speakers will be Bishop Ambo David and Carmelo Sorita (author of The Son of Man as Jesus and His Messianic Community (Naga: Ateneo de Naga, 2005). They will be discussing collective messianism and the "son of man". Bishop Broderick Pabillo will host this February meeting.

2. The New Testament group will meet here in Divine Word Seminary (Tagaytay) on October 6 (Sat) beginning at 9:00 am. Frs. Vic Nicdao and Carlito Reyes will discuss issues in Paul as preliminaries to the celebration of the Year of St. Paul (2,000th birthday; celebration is from June 29, 2008 - June 29, 2009).

3. The Ad-Infinitum group (members are lay who are into biblical studies) will hold their regular meeting tomorrow (22 Sept) beginning at 2:00 pm where Mr. Mike Lapid will deliver a paper on the Crisis of the Documentary Hypothesis and will also share his experiences with the Bat Kol program in Jerusalem.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C): "Until one finds it"

For my commentary on the Gospel reading, please click on this or on the title above.

Canon Law Festival held

Fourth year students of Canon Law under Fr. Jerome Marquez, SVD, JCL hosted a Canon Law festival last Friday (14 Sept) at the Mariapolis Center auditorium here in Tagaytay City. They presented an audio-visual production on the Teaching Office and Temporal Goods of the Church elaborating the canonical, theological, and pastoral aspects of these legal provisions. The production was divided into these six themes:
  • 1) Understanding CBCP
  • 2) “How Catholic is your School?”
  • 3) Sustaining Dioceses
  • 4) Sustaining Poor Parishes
  • 5) Banking Options for the Church
  • 6) Microfinance for the Poor
The festival, which began at 9:00 am until 11:00 am, was attended mostly by members of the academic community of Divine Word Seminary and a number of religious brothers and sisters. Fr. Nielo Cantilado, SVD and current provincial of the Philippine Central Province was one of the board of judges. Show director was Fr. Joey Guinto, SVD, parochial vicar of Hesus Nazareno Parish in DBB, Dasmarinas, Cavite.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (C): "Hate Your Family"

For my commentary on the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time year C: Luke 14:25-33, please click on this "Hate your Family"or on the title above.

Family Feast 2007

Fr. Antolin Uy, at 70 something,
still plays tennis and wins;
here with Fr. Alex Muana playing
doubles for his family.

Not a few readers of this blog wonder why its hibernation. The double demand of teaching and dissertation writing was taking toll on me plus the ongoing operation to locate our missing seminarian. This holds true, likewise, for my other blog Misalinggo (commentaries on Sunday readings) whose last post was on May 5.

Nonethless, here's an opportunity to resume blogging - on the 132th anniversary of the SVD (founded in Steyl, Holland in 1875) celebrated traditionally in the seminary with a Family Feast.

Family Feast kicks off with a cheering competition

Ate Cory Belardo, the most senior of the employees,
leads this cheering squad

Ate Viray of the laundry department

Manang Andring and some of the girls

Volleyball game:
Basketball used to be the major game,
times have changed.
In his book Witness to the Word (Logos, 2005), Fr. Estioko portrayed Arnold Janssen with these four characteristics: hard worker, silent type, true to his ideals, closeness to God (pp. 23-24) In short, the founder is a serious person or, or as we often say of him, “strict”.

In all that seriousness,, we are surprised that he knew how to have fun. The founder established July 2 as the common feast day for all priests, brothers, and sisters, in order to foster a feeling of belongingness. It was to be celebrated this way: a free day for everyone; solemn High Mass with deacon and subdeacon; celebration in the aula with a missionary theme; a community excursion in the afternoon. The joint celebration was restricted to the priests, brothers and seminarians; sisters were not invited (Alt, Journey in Faith, p. 841).

In 1905, he wrote to his assistant with the suggestion “to introduce a celebration in connection with our patrons and the goals of our Society. It should be on the feast of the Transfiguration (Aug 6) or on the following Sunday.” After the Founder’s death, this feast developed into what we call and celebrate every year as family feast.
Fr. Schenk and Fr. Ronnie perform
at the cultural night --
a rare appearance of Fr. Schenk,
the most senior of the confrères,
to bring his team to no. 1

Also starring: Frs. Gerry Paat,
Lito Reyes (guest professor),
Meng, and Mike Layugan

scholastics and staff


Board of Judges

Friday, August 10, 2007

Update (2) on Frt. Eliseo Cadivin, SVd

We are entering the third week of the disappearance of Eliseo Cadivin, SVD scholastic and 2nd year theology student of Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City. He was last seen at the vicinity of Olivarez Plaza in this city.

Tagaytay Police has insisted he could not have been forcibly abducted. His relatives think he is kidnapped for still unknown reason. We, his confreres in Divine Word Seminary, do not see any reason that could have pressured him to leave us without informing his superiors. We do not doubt Ely's integrity.

With the help of his relatives and an agency, we are doing all what we can to locate him. We continue to pray for his safety.

In the meantime, GMA's 24 oras had aired a news on Ely last Monday August 6. QTV 11 "Sana Muling Makapiling" hosted my Ms Jessica Soho will feature a story on Ely on Tuesday 14 August.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Update (1) on Eliseo Cadivin

Eliseo "Ely" Cadivin, SVD
Missing since 23 July 2007
Time: between 1:00pm - 3:00pm)
Place: Olivarez Plaza, Tagaytay City
Age: 34
Height: 5'4"
Weight: 120 lbs
Body: Slim, fair complexion
Wearing black shirt with collar and carrying a black bag.
Any information, pls. contact: 09209475791; 09179952275; 046-4131253

his is an update and correction on the previous post on this blog and on newspaper reports on our seminarian, Eliseo "Ely" Cadivin, SVD. Our search is still negative, although we are pursuing an important lead.

Established Facts
1. Ely rode with our driver before 1:00 pm 23 July 2007 (Monday). Ely got off in front of Mercury Drugstore (Aguinaldo Hi-way, near Rotunda).

2. Ely withdrew money from Western Union (few meters from Mercury) amounting to P1500 at 1:17 pm. The guard saw him getting out of the establishment, “parang nagmamadali”, walking northward.

3. Between 3:00 - 4:00 pm, He bought candies from a stall at the Olivarez area (along the Mr. Quickie side). When his picture was shown, the sales woman immediately recognized him. She claimed that her buyer (Ely) was wearing a black shirt and carrying a black bag.

4. On that Monday afternoon also, his brother received a message from Ely informing him he got his money transfer. The brother read the message around 3:00 pm.

Corrections 1. It was posted earlier that he sent text message to his brother at 3:00 pm. The brother thought he could have sent it even earlier. Unfortunately, the message was deleted.

2. It is not sure whether he went to Metrobank or not.

3. It is not also sure that he told our driver that he is going to Manila.

4. Likewise, it is not sure that he was receiving money to shop for his birthday (report from a tabloid).

5. It is not also true that his cell phone keeps on ringing (report from Philippine Star).

After a week of search and analysis of the situation, we suspect that he was kidnapped.
When we told this to the police, they disagree for the following reasons:
1) The amount he had was too small to attract kidnappers.
2) It happened during the day and just few meters away is a police station.
3) He could have gone underground or disappeared on his own.

The following is our rebuttal:
on 1) How could kidnappers know ahead that he had only P1500? How about cases of mistaken identity, "pinag-tripan", innocent people killed for just only a few bucks?

on 2) Only yesterday, a car parked in front of Shakey's Pizza and it was robbed of a laptop computer right under the nose of the police whose station is just across the rotunda.
-We also gathered information on the following robberies that happened in the city since summer.
(1) A Carnapping incident in Olivarez Plaza.
(2) Owner of a Forex center in the same area abducted but released alive.
(3) A missing Indian businessman until now.
(4) Thieves posing as costumers to buy cell cards from a store in Olivarez.
(5) Theft at the Seminary Tahanan ng Mabuting Pastol.
(6) Car forcibly opened in front of Shakey's.

on 3) If he went underground or disappeared on his own, do the you think we still go the police? His fellow seminarians, superiors, and relatives see no indications that Ely would do such a police suspicion (or imagination).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Eliseo "Ely" Cadivin, SVD seminarian missing

Eliseo "Ely" Cadivin, 34, SVD Seminarian
Missing since Monday afternoon 23 July 2007
any information, please contact: 09179952275 (Fr. Meng)
046-4131253; e-mail

It is with anxiety and sadness that I resume this blog. Eliseo “Ely” Cadivin, 34 a second year theology student of this seminary has been missing since Monday afternoon 23 July 2007.

We suspect that he was snatched after he picked up a money transfer at the Western Union along Silang Crossing (Rotunda), Tagaytay City.

Ely is a SVD seminarian (scholastic) who was born in Sta Clara, Zamboanga Sibugay. He finished BS Medical Technology at Unibersidad de Zamboanga.

He became an SVD seminarian in 2003 joining the associate program in Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City.

He came to Divine Word Seminary (Tagaytay) in 2006. He has been assigned as his weekend apostolate to Phoenix Drug Rehabilitation Center of Tagaytay (2006); Dampalit in Malabon (Summer 2007); and Magallanes, Cavite (present apostolate area).

He is slim, weighing 120 lbs and 5"4 in height.

Around 1:00 pm Monday, our driver dropped him at Western Union in Olivarez Plaza. He received his money transfer at 1:17 pm. The security guard saw him walking northbound. Between 3:00 – 4:00 pm he went to Metrobank located few meters away from Olivarez Plaza and few meters before the city’s jeepney terminal and bus stop. Around this time too, he bought candies at a stall near Mr. Quickie. The saleslady noticed that he was wearing a black shirt and carrying a black bag. Around 3:00 pm, his brother received a text message from Ely with notice that he received the money transfer. It appears that this was his last communication.

We have reported this case for blotter to the police of Tagaytay, Mendez, Indang, Trece, Silang, Dasmarinas; Sta Rosa; and Talisay & Laurel. DZMM and DZBB have also announced it last Monday evening (Dr. Love program of Jun Banaag) and Tuesday morning (Saksi sa Double B of Mike Enriquez) respectively.

Around 9:00 last night, we received a text from a psychic that he was dumped but still alive somewhere in Trece Martires. Since I read elsewhere that “Pentagon Has Spent Millions On Tips From Trio Of Psychics...” (written by R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post November 29, 1995; Page A1 Section), I joined, with skepticism, the search team composed of SVD Seminarians, Priests, Ely’s two brothers, and Trece Martires Police.

By the way, Ely’s brother and a sister belong to the police force of Mindoro. The brother was with us.

For three hours, we searched in the areas that looked the place described by texter-psychic described.

The result was negative.

I will keep you updated in this blog on our on-going search. Please pray that nothing bad happened to our seminarian, Eliseo Cadivin.

By Fr. Randolf Flores, SVD

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Certificate in Theological Studies Program: Enrollment Going ON

Fr. Ronnie Crisostomo, SVD
New Member of the Faculty of Divine Word Seminary
CTS Professor in Liturgy
Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy (2007 San Anselmo, Rome)

Divine Word Seminary, southern Luzon major school of Theology, is offering for the first time a Certificate in Theological Studies Program. Classes are held every Saturday in one of the most pleasant cities of Southeast Asia -- Tagaytay City. The program is meant for everyone, the lay and religious, the faith-seekers and the retired - those who are interested to deepen their understandng of the Bible and the Christian Faith.

Registration is going on! Please send a message to Bing at 0915-7884117
Phone 046-4131253 (the seminary phone number); fax 046-4131251
write to
or to me
For more information visit our blog:

View of Taal Lake from Tagaytay City

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fr. Fransiskus Madhu, SVD laid to rest

3:00 PM
April 9, 2007
Quezon City

After a solemn and heart-rending funeral and burial rites that lasted for three hours, the slain SVD missionary, Fr. Fransiskus Madhu was laid to rest at Christ the King Seminary Cemetery in this city.

The rites began with a Mass presided by Fr. Jerome Adriatico, the provincial superior of the SVD Northern Province (the Province where Madhu belonged). Indonesian lament songs and Gregorian chants filled the Church of the Shrine of the Divine Word. A big number of Indonesian religious as well as Indonesians from both Christian and Muslim communities came. People from Kalinga, especially from Lubuagan were also there even during the wake (since Holy Wednesday, April 3) led by the mother and sister of the bishop Andaya, CICM, the bishop of Tabuk, Kalinga. The bishop himself was born in Lubuagan. More than 100 priests concelebrated. Bishops Ongtioko of Cubao and Pol Jaucian of Bangued were also present. [During the wake, Papal Nuncio Filoni, Cardinal Rosales of Manila, and Former President Cory Aquino also came.]

At the wake. Fr. Adriatico, provincial of the SVD Northern Province
shows to Papal Nuncio pictures of the of the wounds of Fr. Madhu.

The homily was preached by Fr. Lodovikus Mamu Koten, SVD and Fr. Gerardo Gudmalin, SVD. Fr. Mamu Koten, who preached on the mystery of death and the Christian answer of eternal life, is the other Indonesian who is assigned in Kalinga. Fr. Gudmalin was Fr. Francis’ parish priest and district superior of the SVD Kalinga District.

He recounted how they equally divided their assignments for the Holy Week, one liturgical service for each of the seven villages (called "barangays" or "barrios"), including the next town of Pasil which is part of the parish. For the Palm Sunday Mass, since Fr. Francis did not know how drive a motorcycle, he was assigned to the village of Mabungtot, a one hour trek going down from the town while Fr. Gudmalin went to the farther village.

It was around 5:30 in the afternoon.

The mass was to be held inside the public school since there is no chapel in the village. Fr. Madhu was still seated waiting for some things needed for the mass when a man with an M-16 slung from the shoulder fired at the priest at close range. Fr. Madhu sustained five bullet wounds in his lower abdomen and side. He died on the spot.

Police has identified the suspect who was with three companions during the shooting and who fled after the incident. At this writing, the suspect and his cohorts remain at large.

The news carried by some national dailies that Fr. Madhu had a heated argument with the suspect is a mere speculation. Fr. Gudmalin reiterated that there was no clear reason why Fr. Madhu was shot. Fr. Madhu had neither enemies nor spoke of any. His journal cum diary that was found in his room does not report of any threat.

If the philosopher Hannah Arendt writes of the banality of evil, the sages in the Bible speak of violence for nothing. The Book of Proverbs warns the youth of the invitation of the wicked and his cohorts: "Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent for nothing" (1:11).

It is this violence for nothing that the bishop of Tabuk denounced in his speech before the end of the Mass. The killing of Fr. Madhu was just one of the many unsolved violent deaths in Kalinga. He appealed to all people of Kalinga to cease violence. The bishop, in that powerful speech, broke down in tears as he addressed his fallen priest: "Fransis, forgive us."

The Indonesian ambassador to the Philippines gave a brief but strongly worded speech, asking the Philippine Government to give justice to Fr. Madhu.

Since the Fr. Madhu’s family was too overwhelmed by the sad news to be able to come to the country, Fr. Alfonsus Betan, SVD represented them. Fr. Betan is doing his post-graduate studies in Manila and the former professor and spiritual director of Fr. Madhu back in his seminary days in Indonesia. Fr. Betan echoed the sorrow of the Madhu family who lost the only son among five siblings. When they first heard the news, the Madhu family's reaction was: "Why did they kill him? Fransis was a good son."

At the end funeral rites, the Indonesians sang a moving hymn of one returning home-- "Pulang" as the Indonesian priests came around Fr. Madhu’s coffin to weep and bid farewell to their fallen brother and friend.

After as short procession to the cemetery, around 6:00 pm, as the day was ending, Fr. Madhu was finally laid to rest, to go home to his eternal Father.

This post ends with this short prayer (slightly edited) found in Fr. Madhu’s diary:

I believe that you will always be with me
To do my activities.
Bless me to have a good heart
To hear others
To answer the needs of my people;
And grant them
The generosity to transform themselves
To always hear your Word.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Empty Tomb

Women arriving at the Empty Tomb
photo grab:

In the resurrection narratives of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the only passage common among them is the visit of some women to the tomb of Jesus, or the so-called "empty tomb". Since the supposedly discovery of another tomb of Jesus (lost tomb?) wants us to believe that a critical challenge has been posed on gospels' account of the empty tomb, I'm going to post once again an unedited version of the article I have written on the topic published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Click on this for the published article. Since the publication of this article, there have been numerous studies, accessible online, supporting what I have written. Click on this to ge a free e-book on the topic.

The Lost Tomb of Jesus
by Randolf C. Flores, SVD
Bible and Hebrew Language Professor
Divine Word Seminary
4120 Tagaytay City

"His disciples may go and steal him away" (Mt 27:64). This was what the chief priests and the Pharisees suspected to happen after Jesus’ death so they came to Pilate a day after with a request to station a security guard at the tomb of Jesus. In that culture, like ours, where deception, lying, hypocrisy, and secrecy are social strategies, the missing corpse would prove that Jesus was raised from the dead. Does this text allude that Jesus’ body was transferred, if not stolen, to another tomb?

The recent announcement of Discovery Channel that they have found the "lost tomb of Jesus" could be an intriguing attempt to shed light on this question. Discovery is coming out with documentary this Sunday with James Cameron of "Titanic" fame as executive producer and Emmy award winning documentarian Simcha Jacobovici as director. Its website gives ample information on the circumstances of the discovery, the process of interpreting the inscriptions involving respected New Testament Scholars and the use of DNA testing—thus the univocal assertion that the tomb “belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth.” The title of the just release book of Jacobovici which he co-authored with Charles Pellegrino sums it all: The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History (HarperCollins, 2007).

The Catholic hierarchy (CBCP ) issued an immediate reaction through the media, "it’s not true", arguing that "Jesus" was a common name in the first century A.D. and so coincidental. But that was precisely what Jacobovici disproved. For the documentary, he sought the help of a respected statistician who did a study of the probabilities leading to the conclusion that the odds is at least 600 to 1 in favor of the tomb being Jesus' family tomb. The ratio is reduced dramatically if one runs the name “Jesus, son of Joseph”, a combination name in one of the inscriptions.

The bone of contention is actually the bone-boxes or ossuaries found in 1980 in a tomb in Talpiot, a neighborhood southeast of Jerusalem. The ten ossuaries reveal inscriptions written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin and interpreted by Jacobovici as the names of Jesus and his alleged "family" including Mary Magdalene as his wife and a certain Judah as his son. That Jesus had a wife and that he had a son is certainly an over-interpretation of the inscriptions disregarding critical reading of history. However, the Aramaic inscription "Jesus, son of Joseph" is something that New Testament scholars should reckon with. Discovery’s website informs that no less than the Harvard scholar Frank Moore Cross, a name in biblical studies and biblical archeology, did an epigraphic study of the said inscription and assessed that the lettering reads "Jesus, son of Joseph" and dates to the Herodian Period (from around 1 B.C. to 1 A.D.). If we accept statistics and epigraphic evidence, we have here a plausible Jesus’ ossuary.

What are the implications of this? Jesus underwent a secondary burial. His bones were placed in an ossuary to be buried possibly near to his family. And thus we are faced with a theological problem -- that there was no resurrection, or if there was, it was simply a spiritual resurrection "in which the husk of the body is left behind," as James Tabor, controversial New Testament scholar and consultant on the film said in an interview.

What theologians have to say on this would be interesting to know. But let me just pinpoint some loopholes in the claim of Discovery.

First, the title "Jesus, son of Joseph" was never a title used by the early followers of Jesus. It was used later and by outsiders (see Luke 3:23; John 1:45 & 6:42). It’s difficult to understand why such a rare title was inscribed on a Jesus’ ossuary.

Second, it was next to impossible to transfer the body of Jesus if we consider the biblical account of his burial: the tomb had a large stone rolled to it, was sealed, and was guarded (Matthew 27:60-66). The women discovered an empty tomb in the first hours of the Sabbath (Mark 16:2; Matthew 28:1). If there was an attempt to move the body out, it would have been during the Sabbath, a serious violation of the Sabbath prescription.

Third, sometime around 50 B.C. to 50 A.D., the Roman emperor issued an edict, Diategma Kaisaros (Caesar’s Edict) that sepulchers and graves should remain unmolested in perpetuity as a way of honoring the dead. The edict also warned of serious punishment for violators.

Fourth, Eusebius, a Church historian in 4th cent. A.D., wrote that the tomb of James, the "brother" of Jesus, became a pilgrimage spot in Jerusalem for many Christians. If this was part of the family tomb of Jesus in Talpiot, Christian pilgrims would not have gone there since that would contradict their belief in a Risen Jesus. Eusebius’ description of the tomb of James, who as martyred around 62 A.D., appeared to be a singular tomb. Why he was not buried in the family tomb of Jesus?

Lastly, what is the significance of Talpiot as the final resting place of Jesus and his family? Jesus came from Nazareth and most probably some members of his close family (like Mary) were still alive at the time of his death. Followers could bury him there or somewhere in Galilee like in Capernaum, his adopted town.

In short, the Discovery’s "Lost Tomb of Jesus" does not have a compelling evidence to "rewrite Christianity".

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Slain Indonesian priest was inspired by work in Kalinga

Fr. Patrick Guru, SVD talks about fellow Indonesian, slain SVD priest Fr. Fransiskus Madhu and the latter's dedication in the Kalinga mission. Click on this article from or on the title above.

photo grab:

Interment of Fr. Fransiskus Madhu, SVD

The body of our slain SVD missionary Fr. Fransiskus Madhu will be flown from Tabuk, Kalinga to Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City tomorrow (April 4). He will be buried on Easter Monday, April 9, 2007, 3:00 pm, at Christ the King Seminary cemetery. R.I.P.

photo grab:

Indonesia to ask RP about Fr. Madhu's killing in Kalinga

Please click on this or on the title above [news source: Phlippine Daily Inquirer, by Veronica Uy Last updated 03:01pm (Mla time) 04/03/2007]

Update on Fransiskus Madhu, SVD


Local and international news agencies have carried the killing of SVD missionary Fransiskus Madhu in Lubuagan, Kalinga. There have been confusing interpretations of the killing. One senator even associated it with extra-judicial killings being accused of the government, a remark that is not only premature but irresponsible. Click on this.

A more accurate report is filed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Please click on this.

Let us wait for the full report coming from the SVD provincialiate. The SVD provincial superior, Fr. Jerome Adriatico has now arrived in Tabuk, the capital and the seat of the diocese and where the body Fr. Madhu lies in state coming from Lubuagan last night. He will be flown to Manila tomorrow, to Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City awaiting for further instructions from the generalate and the Madhu family for his burial.

Fr. Madhu was assistant parish priest. Fr. Gerry Gudmalin, SVD, the parish priest of Lubuagan and superior of the SVD Kalinga District had been working with Fr. Madhu since 2005.

Monday, April 02, 2007

SVD Missionary in Kalinga killed

Our SVD missionary assigned in Kalinga, Fr. Francis Madhu, 31, from Indonesia was shot dead while saying an afternoon mass in Barrio Mabongtot, Luguagan, Kalinga, yesterday April 1, 2007.

Here's an initial report from our superior general:

A young Indonesian confrere who worked in the Philippine Northern Province (PHN) was murdered this afternoon with a single pistol shot fired by a man with a criminal record. Fransiskus was already vested for the afternoon Mass at 17.30 (5:30 p.m.) when a man suddenly appeared before him and fired a pistol at him without any apparent motive. It seems that the attacker had personal problems and was wanted by the police. Our young confrere died immediately. The Province of Ende has been informed, as has the family of Fr. Fransiskus. Let us pray for Fr. Fransiskus Madhu that the Lord may receive him into his Kingdom.

Fr. Antonio M. Pernia, SVD
Superior General

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Abra receives Bishop Pol Jaucian, SVD

After the canonical possession
and liturgical reception at St. James the Elder Cathedral
Bishop Pol with the Northern Philippine Bishops
led by Archbishop Ernesto Salgado (left of Bp Pol) of Nueva Segovia

Bangued, ABRA
March 31, 2007

Bishop Pol Jaucian took his seat as bishop of the Diocese of Bangued this morning at 9:30 at the Cathedral of St. James the Elder here in Bangued. Metropolitan Archbishop of Nueva Segovia, Ernesto Salgado led the bishop to his "cathedra" (seat) and thus formally making him the fourth bishop of Bangued (after the SVDs Etspueler, Raval, and Rillera). This canonical possession was also the occasion in which the faithful of Abra formally received the new bishop. The bishop was led by a Tinguian dance to the altar and the mandate to serve the Diocese was proclaimed with the sounding of the carabao’s horn, the ancient Abra way of announcing important news.

The Eucharistic liturgy was celebrated in mixture of English, Ilocano, Tinguian, Tagalog, Mandarin, and Cantonese. The first reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah was chanted in Binongan, one of the Tinguian dialects. A high school student prayed in Cantonese, representing the Cantonese speaking Chinese in the province. The languages reflect the richness of the culture that is shaping Abra today.

More than sixty high school seminarians belonging to St. Joseph Seminary, the diocesan minor seminary led the singing under the direction of Frs. Floro Bautista and Cecilio Tupasi. The preacher was Fr. Linus Nicasio, SVD who gave a powerful reflection on the role of a bishop today in the Christian community. Before the closing of the mass, a letter from the Papal Nuncio was read thanking Msgr. Nilo Peig for serving the Diocese as administrator for two years while waiting for the appointment of a bishop.

Bishop Pol’s thanksgiving speech was opportune and allegorical. He narrated a story of two brothers who were always fighting and finally sued each other in court. Strangely, the judge before pronouncing the verdict, asked them to drink a glass of milk. They soon realized they were brothers who sucked milk from the same mother's breasts. Was the new Bishop referring to the series of violence, killings among Abrenians themselves , brothers and sisters themselves, because of politics? One woman told me later in Ilocano, "nagpasagid ni Apo Obispo" (loose translation, "The Bishop was referring to someone").

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Holy Week in Tagaytay City

For those who will be spending Holy Week up here in Tagaytay City, here's the schedule of Divine Word Seminary Chapel for the Liturgical Services (Triduum) on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday.
Please click on the image to enlarge.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Seven Last Words at Divine Word Seminary Chapel

Please click on this or on the title above.

Pol Jaucian, SVD ordained bishop

The newly-ordained Bishop
with his brother Bishops and the Philippine President

Quezon City, Philippines, March 26, 2007 --
n the midst of the sweltering summer heat of Metro Manila, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, ordained Leopoldo Corpuz Jaucian, SVD bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. The Archbishop of Manila was assisted by Papal Nuncio Fernando Filoni and La Union bishop Artemio Rillera, SVD (former Abra bishop) who acted as co-consecrators.
Close to 3000 faithful were present in Christ the King Seminary at the Divine Word Shrine Chapel which was celebrating its first fiesta in honor of the Feast of the Annunciation. The solemn mass and ordination that lasted for three hours was also attended by 44 bishops and around 250 priests. The President of the Republic, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was also present and stayed throughout the ceremony. When he was parish priest of St. Jude Shrine, the newly ordained bishop acted as chaplain of Malacanang, the president's official residence.

In his speech, Bishop Pol thanked the many people who were part of his journey to the hierarchy, beginning when he was a simple sacristan of Christ the King Seminary.
A view from the Choir Loft
(photo grab: first xvd website)

Here's a short biography written in the missal guide:

Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian was born on July 27, 1960 in Santa, Ilocos Sur as the first child of Ernesto Ballesteros Jaucian, Sr. and Veronica Bello Corpuz. He has three brothers and three sisters. The nature of the work of his father necessitated the move of the family first to Victoria, Tarlac, and eventually to Urdaneta, Pangasinan, where the family settled permanently.

It was in Urdaneta that Bishop Leopoldo, (or Pol, as he is fondly called) came to know the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) as he studied high school in the Divine Word Academy of Urdaneta (now Divine Word College of Urdaneta). After finishing high school, he came to Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City to work as a sacristan in 1976. Here his interest to join the SVD bloomed and he was admitted to the philosophy course in CKMS as a full-fledged seminarian. After his novitiate in Tagaytay in 1982, he was chosen to study Chinese language and culture, adn theology in Taiwan. In 1987, he finished his theological studies in Taiwan. Then on March 12, 1988 , in the Divine Word College Chapel of Urdaneta, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Miguel Cinches, SVD, DD.

After ordination, he returned to Taiwan. he was assistant pastor at the St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chiayi for one year. Then he worked as Campus Minister in Fu Jen Catholic School, also in Chiayi, for three years. He returned to the Philippines to take up studies in Guidance and Counseling at De La Salle University from 1992 to 1995, whole helping out at the St. Jude Catholic School and the St. Jude Archdiocesan Shrine.

From 1995 to 2000, he was assigned at the St. Jude Catholic School with responsibilities varying from Campus Minster, Assistant Principal and Assistant Director. In 2000, he was appointed parish priest of St. Jude Archdiocesan Shrine. Concurrently, he was also appointed the Superior of the SVD Manila District and Vicar Forane of the Vicariate of San Jose de Trozo of the Archdiocese of Manila.
Present were around 400 Filipino Chinese
representing St. Jude Church and St. Jude Catholic School

In January 2005, he was elected Provincial Superior of the Philippine Central Province of the SVD.

On January 5, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Bishop of the Diocese of Bangued, Abra.
Some members of the Abra Clergy

Coat of Arms
Here's the explanation of the bishop's Coat of Arms"

The shell of the upper left corner is the symbol of hierarchy of the Diocese of Bangued, Abra. This item adapted from the coat of arms of the Diocese of Bangued. The shell also pertains to St. James being a fisherman. A symbol of authority being fishers of men [and women].

The lion in the upper right corner calls to mind the animal symbol of the name 'Leopold'. Like a lion, the bishop hopes to be courageous and strong in facing up to the challenges of the Diocese of Abra.

The figure at the bottom (with the dove) is a Chinese character symbolizing the Divine Word, a reminder of the Society of the Divine Word wherein the Bishop belongs to. At the same time, it is a symbol of the Blessed Trinity. The Chinese element in the Coat of Arms is a memory of his apostolate to the Chinese of the Society of the Divine Word. The first SVD missionary to Abra was a former missionary to China. Now the new Bishop has in his resume a long running involvement in the Chinese apostolate.

The dove bearing an olive branch is the universal symbol for peace. To be an instrument of peace is the foremost concern of the Bishop of Abra.

The Coat of Arms is completed by the gold processional cross behind the shield; the green hat with the tassels at the sides, indicated of his Episcopal rank; and the motto on an ornamental scroll.

The motto "Manete in Me" ("Remain in Me"), from John 15:4,9 was chosen as a reflection of the constant prayer the Lord, and the Bishop, will be always with his people.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Seven Last Words at Divine Word Seminary Chapel

Divine Word Seminary invites everyone to a whole day meditation on the Cross on Good Friday, April 6, 2007.

The day will begin with the liturgy of the hours at 8:00 am to be followed by meditation on the Seven Last Words of Jesus (Siete Palabras) by two biblical exegetes: Fr. Randolf C. Flores, SVD, Bible Professor of Divine Seminary, and Fr. Carlito Reyes of the Diocese of Pasig. Fr. Reyes, who just did his doctoral research work at Oxford University, is working on Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians.

Fr. Raul Caga, SVD of the Arnoldus Company will render a meditative song after each reflection.

At 12:00 noon, there will be Stations of the Cross (Via Crucis) on the hills of the seminary. Each station will be led by a volunteer family in the carrying of the cross.

And at 3:00 pm, The Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord (in Passione Domini).

There will be priests availabe for confessions through out the day.

Divine Word Seminary is located along SVD Road, Brgy San Jose, Tagaytay City. From Sta. Rosa turn right when you reach Tagaytay, just before Estancia resort, turn right, follow the road till you see the gate of Divine Word Seminary (on your left).

For more information, text Fr. Raul 09282756270; or write to

[The image above is one of the earliest depictions of the Crucifixion (5th century A.D.). This is a wooden carving found on the door of the basilica of Santa Sabina, in Rome, Italy.]

5th Sunday of Lent (C): The Story of the Adulterous Woman

For my commentary on 5th Sunday of Lent, The Story of the Adulterous Woman (John 7:53 - 8:11), click on this or on the title above.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fr. Louie Dailisan, SVD Missionary in Congo

Fr. Louie Dailisan, SVD (in African shirt)
here with his former classmate and former missionary to Africa
Fr. Natoy Tampol, SVD, DWS procurator

I've got a chance to talk to Fr. Louie Dailisan, our SVD missionary in Congo who was here for a visit (3/7). Louie, 41, came from Iligan City and entered the seminary in Davao as an electrical engineer. He was ordained in December 1999 and the following year he went to Africa, first to Togo to learn French and then to Congo.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), a former Belgian colony, is the third largest country in the African ccontinent with a total land area of 2,344,858 km and an estimated population 63,655,000. It is a rich country inhabited by poor people.Thirty-two years of a dictatorial regime and the subsequent decade of civil and ethnic wars have wreaked the lives of the Congolese people.

This how Wikipedia describes the recent political conflicts in Congo:

Since 1994, the Congo has been rent by ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees fleeing the Rwandan Genocide. The government of Mobutu Sese Seko was toppled by a rebellion led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila in May 1997; he changed the country's name back to Democratic Republic of The Congo-Kinshasa (the capital of Congo/Zaire). His former allies soon turned against him, however, and his regime was challenged by a Rwandan and Ugandan-backed rebellion in August 1998. Troops from Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad, and Sudan intervened to support the new regime in Kinshasa. See Foreign relations of Congo and First Congo War.

A cease-fire was signed on July 10, 1999; nevertheless, fighting continued apace especially in the eastern part of the country, financed by revenues from the illegal extraction of minerals such as coltan, cassiterite and diamonds. Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 and his son Joseph Kabila was named head of state. The new president quickly began overtures to end the war and an accord was signed in South Africa in 2002. By late 2003, a fragile peace prevailed as the Transitional Government was formed. Kabila appointed four vice presidents, two of whom had been fighting to oust him until July 2003. Much of the east of the country remains insecure, primarily due to the Ituri conflict and the continued activity of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda in the Kivus.

This period of conflict has been the bloodiest in history since World War II. Almost four million people have died as a result of the fighting. The United Nations is concerned that 1000 people a day are still dying as a result of the conflict and have described 2006 as a "make or break point" for the continuing humanitarian crisis.

The SVD missionaries arrived in this country in 1951 as the Belgian government was about to give independence. The SVD Filipino missionaries who have been assigned there are: Menardo Alcober, Ganie Ehido, Regie Domino- the three are now working in the Philippines; Xene Sanchez, the former provincial is now the present rector of the seminary, Alex Cinco is the present prefect, and Louie Dailisan is stationed in Bandudu. Two newly ordained priests will also be going there there, Nonito Gallego and Dondon Soriano.

Louie arrived in Congo in the midst of political turmoil, a year before president Kabila was assasinated. An essential part of his ministry until now is listening to the stories of war victims, building communities out of a war torn country, preaching reconciliation even if it seemed impossible in such circumstances of tribal conflicts.

When I asked Louie what did he do first when he arrived in his mission area, he spoke of immediately immersing himself learning French (in Togo), Lingala, the national language, and two more local languages. There are at least 242 spoken languages in the country! Indeed, an essential element in doing mission is learning languages. No wonder at Pentecost, the birth of the Church, the writer of the Acts of Apostles associates the event with 15 languages (Acts 2:9-10).

At present, Louie is involved in a project of building a barge for cars to cut 300 kilometers of detour along a river--symbolic, since boat is one of earliest images of the Church.