Wednesday, January 24, 2007

2nd National Catholic Bible Quiz held

The four families at the finals
of the 2nd National Bible Quiz.
Winner was Tabilin Family (4th from left)

The Tabilin Family of the Diocese of Malolos (Bulacan), besting three families, won the 2nd National Catholic Bible Quiz, held on Jan 22, 2007 at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City. The broad knowledge on the biblical text manifested by these four families, especially the Tabilin family, were amazing and impressive. Question such as "Where can find in the Bible the verse that says: "Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death" (answer: Deut 30:15), was answered correctly and precisely in just a few seconds.

Mr. Leopoldo Tabilin, the father of the family is a jeepney driver while his wife Edna is vendor in a local public market. Among the three sons who were with them (Patrick, Percival, and Peter Paul), it was Patrick who had been winning earlier bible quizzes. The family was trained by a lay catechist and supported by the nuns of the Handmaids of the Divine Word Sisters from the Diocese of Malolos. Winning a bible quiz with a P50,000 prize is not only a family matter, the local church plays a significant role.

Among the alumni of the Divine Word Seminary who were present are Fr. Oscar Alunday, SVD, the executive secretary of Episcopal Commision on Biblical Apostolate; Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, head of the Commision; Bishop Elect Pol Jaucian, SVD, former provincial of the Philippine Central Province (he, this blogger and five others were asked to be part of the judges in the contest); and Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese of Masbate and head of the Episcopal Commissionon Youth (he did his theology in 1975-79, formation house was Tahanan ng Mabuting Pastol).

Miss Elvira Yap Go heads the Catholic Bible Quiz secretariat.
Members of of the Bible Quiz secretariat
includes Fr. Oscar Alunday, SVD (third from left)
and singer Miss Ivy Violan

Well, the biblical text was never really intended by the biblical writers to be quizzed on. We do have an instance in the Gospel of John, where, in a sort of true or false, the scribes and the Pharisees quizzed Jesus on the Hebrew Scripture: "The Law of Moses ordered adulterous women to be stoned to death" (see John 1-11). Many biblical experts, however, consider this text as a non-Johannnine interpolation.
The winning family and their supporters
with Cardinal Vidal and Bishop Bastes, SVD

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time C: Santo Niño, Feast Proper to the Philippines

Fr. Paul Bumanglag, SVD missionary in Vicenza, Italy
poses in front of the monument of Antonio Pigafetta,
Magellan's chronicler. Vicenza was Pigafetta's hometown.

The Text: Isaiah 9:1-6 (NAB)
1 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
2 You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, As they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as men make merry when dividing spoils.
3 For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, And the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
4 For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames.
5 For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
6 His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, From David's throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains By judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!

Santo Niño
This Sunday, third Sunday in Ordinary Time, is feast of the Santo Niño (Holy Child), a feast proper to the Philippines. The origin of the first image of the Santo Niño (now in Cebu) is interesting. When Magellan came to the Philippine Islands in 1521, his chronicler, the Italian Antonio Pigafetta gave as a gift to the local queen, Doña Juana, an image of Santo Niño. When the Spaniards returned in 1565, they found an image of the Santo Niño inside a house, enthroned in a sort of an altar, the image adorned with flowers. Thus, it shows that the locals continued their veneration of the image even without the Spaniards for more than 40 years. A legend today would even claim that locals addressed the image as "Bathala" (the Filipino name of God). See other stories on the origin of the image of Santo Niño, click on this site.

The Liturgical Readings
The Old Testament reading (Isa 9:1-6) and the Gospel text (Lk 2:41-52) are probably chosen as Liturgical readings for this Filipino feast because they allude to the child as divine. The prophet Isaiah speaks of "a child is born to us…on whose shoulders dominion rests…and whose name is “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace" (9:6). The evangelist Luke tells us a story of a child who gets lost from his parents and eventually found in the Temple. Asked why such a comportment, the child replies that he must be in his "Father’s House' (2:49). The child would grow to become the divine Jesus of Christian faith.

Historical Background of Isaiah 9:1-6
The context of Isaiah 9:1-6 is not so clear though biblical scholars share some reasonable suggestions. The text is likened to ancient Egyptian rituals celebrating the accession of a new pharaoh. Such enthronement is usually accompanied by the giving of throne names by the assembly of the gods and goddesses which ends with the divine assembly adopting the king as their child. Notice that in Isaiah 9, four names are conferred on the child.

A few suggestions have also been made as to the identity of this anonymous child “who is born to us” and who becomes a ruler. The most reasonable that we can think of here is the birth of Hezekiah, the future king of Judah. Both biblical and extra biblical sources attest to the war strategy employed Hezekiah against the invading Assyrian army led by Sennacherib (705 BC – 681 BC). In that invasion, through Hezekiah’s negotiation and prayer, Jerusalem was spared (2 Kings 18-20, Isaiah 36-39, click also this).
The Downfall of Sennacherib, an early work of Rubens (photo grab Wikipedia)

The text speaks of oppression in the familiar images of servitude yoke, pole, and rod (v. 3) - a "yoke placed in the neck" (Isa 10:27); the pole is used to strike the shoulders (see Isa 10:24); and the rod is an instrument for beating prisoners into subjection (see Isa 10:24).
The identity of the oppressor in this text is not also specified but interpreters point to a brief period foreign rule by the Assyrian empire, perhaps during campaign of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 B.C., see 2 Kgs 15:29) and later on continued by Shalmeneser V (726-722 B.C.). Oppressive means in those times include the payment of tributes to the empire and the exile of its leaders.
In any case, prophet Isaiah portrays in symbolic imagery the coming liberation of its people from oppression: the transition from the land of gloom (9:1), figurative language for the underworld (see Job 10:21-22) to a place of brilliant light. In other words, there will be an end to hostilities, war is abolished and replaced by "abundant joy". There will be peace (shalom) characterized by "judgment and justice" (mishpat and tsedaka, see 9:6).
All these great events would surely unfold because of the birth of a wonderful child.
The fact that such great hope could rest on a child would be a factor for Christians to identify the child with Jesus (note that this text is read at Christmas midnight mass, see also Lk 1:33).

The Child as Divine
It is unusual in the Bible and even in ancient Near East that a deity assumes the form of a child. In contrast, when gods are described, images that characterize strength and power are used. In Canaanite religion, the supreme god, called El, bears the title of "Bull". The goddess Anat could take form of an eagle. The god Baal is associated with thunder. In the Bible, God is at times compared with a lion (see Amos 1:3) or an eagle (Exod 19:4), even with a mother (Isa 66:13), but rarely with a child. The reason, perhaps, is that a child symbolizes weakness.

In short, that our God would assume the form of a child speaks of his humility and solidarity with those who are weak. St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians articulates best this divine humility and solidarity (called kenosis in Greek):

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance,

he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. (2:6-8 NAB).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Edwin Fernandez and Teofilo Perey, SVD missionaries here for a visit

Fr. Edwin Fernandez (left) missionary in Chile
and Fr. Popo Perey (right) missionary in Chad

Two former SVD scholastics, graduates of the Divine Word Seminary, dropped by their former home for a visit. Fr. Edwin Fernandez, SVD, 37, born in Binmaley, Pangasinan ordained in 1996 is the present recor of the SVD seminary in Chile. He has been a missionary in Chile for ten years now, going there immediately after ordination. Please click on this for SVD Chile website.

Fr. Teofilo "Popo" Perey, SVD, 51, is from Indang, here in Cavite. Before he entered Christ the King Seminary in 1985, he was an engineer working with Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) in Quezon City. After ordination, he was sent to Togo, a country in West Africa, and a former German colony. Three years ago, the SVD superior general asked Popo to be one of the pioneeer SVD missionaries to Chad in Central Africa.
Fr. Tony Pernia, SVD superior general
celebrating a Mass on his visit to Chad

A day in the life of a missionary:
Fr. Popo Perey (wearing a hat) helped "liberate"
their mission car stuck in the mud.

Chad has 7.5 million people with 20% Christians (7% Catholics), 60% Muslims and the rest Ethnoreligionist. 80% of the population lives below poverty line due to a hostile climate, long years of civil war, corruption, and a high rate of illiteracy. Chad is easily one of the poorest countries in teh world. This is the kind of place that the SVD would want to go to "preach the Good News."
Chad missionaries themselves have to till the soil to survive

Chad's Basic Ecclesial Community meeting under the tree

Chad photos credit: Fr. T. Perey, SVD

Friday, January 12, 2007

Points for Homily: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time C -- A New Name, A Crown, and A Wedding (Isaiah 62:1-5)

A wedding in Aguinaldo, Ifugao
Here are some points for Homily and Spiritual Reading on this coming Sunday's Readings (14 January 2007). This commentary will focus on Isaiah 62:1-5 (first reading) entitled in some commentaries as "Apostrophe to Jerusalem".

Text: Isaiah 62:1-5 (from NAB)
1For Zion's sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,
Until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch.
2 Nations shall behold your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
You shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
3 You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
4 No more shall men call you "Forsaken,"
or your land "Desolate,"
But you shall be called "My Delight,"
and your land "Espoused."
For the LORD delights in you, and makes your land his spouse.
5As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you.

1. The ministry of the prophet. Note that the speaker here is a prophet whose ministry is one of being "not silent" and "not quiet". Reading further this ministry is compared to sentinels ("watchmen" or "security guards") stationed on the walls whose task is to remind Yahweh continually of his promise to liberate Jerusalem. This prophetic ministry is one of intercession and prayer in behalf of the community.
2. The background. The prophet is anonymous but preaches in the tradition of Isaiah. This section of the book, from chapters 55-66, is often called by biblical scholars as Third Isaiah written after two hundred years from the time of Isaiah. The context of our reading is the end of the Babylonian Exile (around 537 B.C.).

It was becoming certain that the exiled people of God would be allowed to return to their homeland in Judah and once again be free to worship Yahweh in Jerusalem and to begin a new life. This exciting change to a better life is symbolized in the change of the status of Jerusalem. This change is expressed in three symbols -- (1) a new name, (2) a crown, and (3) marriage.

3. A new name. From the name "Forsaken" (Hebrew "Azubah" = Abandonada) and "Desolate" (Hebrew "Shemamah"), Jerusalem is renamed "She's my Delight" (Kepsi-bah = Tagalog "O Giliw ko") and "Married" (Hebrew Beulah, Tagalog "Pinakasalan") In the Bible, change of names indicates a new status. We have another example in the book of the prophet Hosea where the prophet is told to rename his children from Lo-ruhamma-"No Mercy" to Ruhamma -"Mercy" and Lo-ammi – "Not My People" to Ammi - "My People" (Hosea 1:6,9 and 2:25). We recall also Ruth's mother-in-law who invited the people of Bethlehem to call her Mara ("Bitter") rather than Naomi ("Pleasant") because of the suffering that she experienced - she was widowed (see Ruth 1:20). Likewise, the change of name from Saul to Paul might have something to do with Paul’s conversion on the way to Damascus (Acts 13:9).

Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah
to return to the land of Moab by William Blake, 1795
photo grab wikipedia

4. A crown. In this text, there seems to be a coronation. The Lord is presented as placing a crown and a diadem on Jerusalem (v. 3). In antiquity, like in Babylon, when a city is said to have been crowned by a deity, that city is to be protected by the gods. In the same way, the crowning of Jerusalem is not only to raise her status from being a slave city to a free and honorable one but also because the Lord assures Jerusalem to be under his care.

5. The marriage. Here the prophet uses the metaphor of marriage to express the new status of Jerusalem. If Jerusalem felt abandoned during the exile, now she is being loved, in fact being courted by no other than the Lord. Here the Lord is the groom marrying his bride, Jerusalem. Such relationship between God and his people expresses more intimacy than the usual covenant relationship which is more political and diplomatic. Again we are reminded here of the love story of Hosea imitating the love story between God and Israel. As unfaithfulness led to the break-up of the marriage between Hosea and Gomer, so is Israel's infidelity. But the Lord is always a faithful lover that he seeks out Israel in spite of her infidelity (see also Isa 62:12). The use of the symbolism of marriage to express God's love to his people is probably the reason why, in our liturgy, the Gospel reading is about the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12).

6. Certainty of God’s promise. In any case, each of these symbolisms indicates the certainty of the prophetic word and the fulfillment of God’s promise to act in behalf of his people. This is also our assurance and our hope as we live in this "valley of tears". As St. Paul says in one of his letters, "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God" (Rom 8:28).

From a reflection of John Donahue, SJ.

In the early church the Epiphany cycle included other manifestations of Jesus—his baptism and the wedding at Cana. Today’s liturgy focuses on the third manifestation, the wedding feast at Cana, the first of Jesus’ signs, that is, symbols of the divine power at work in the incarnate Word. The Gospels this Sunday and next provide distinct pictures of the inauguration of Jesus’ public ministry. Please click on this for the full article.

From a reflection of Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM

The Gospel of the second Sunday in Ordinary Time is the episode of the wedding feast at Cana. What did Jesus want to tell us by participating in a wedding feast?

Above all, in this way he in fact honored the marriage between man and woman, implicitly reaffirming that it is a beautiful thing, willed by the Creator and blessed by him. But he wanted also to teach us something else. With his coming the marriage between God and humanity promised through the prophets was realized under the name of the "new and eternal covenant."
Please click on this for the full article.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bishop-elect Leopoldo C. Jaucian: Curriculum Vitae

Bishop-elect Pol Jaucian, SVD concelebrating
with Bishop Chito Tagle at the fiesta of
Poong Hesus Nazareno Church
Dasmarinas Bagong Bayan, Cavite

The ordination of Bishop-elect Pol Jaucian, SVD is set on 26 March 2007, this years solemnity of the Annunciation, at the Divine Word Shrine in Christ the King Mission Seminary along E. Rodriguez Blvd, Quezon City. His Eminence Gaudiencio Cardinal Rosales is the ordaining bishop.

The installation of the bishop-elect will be on 31 March 2007 at the Cathedral of St. James in Bangued, Abra. He will be installed by Archbishop Ernesto Salgado of Nueva Segovia (Vigan, Ilocos Sur).

Here's more biographical data of the incoming bishop of the Diocese of Bangued in Abra (source: Provincialate of the SVD Central Province):

Date of Birth : July 27, 1960
Place of Birth : Santa, Ilocos Sur
Civil Status : Single
Citizenship : Filipino
Religion : Catholic
Parents name : Ernesto Ballesteros Jaucian, Sr.
Veronica Bello Corpuz
Home Address : Catholic Trade Bldg. 1916 Oroquieta,
Sta. Cruz, Manila


Lalapac Elementary School : Elementary Education 1966-1972
Divine Word Academy, Urdaneta, Pangasinan: Secondary Education 1972-1976

Christ the King Seminary,Q.C : A.B Philosophy, Postulancy 1977-1979
Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay : Novitiate 1979-1981
, R.O.C : Overseas Training Program 1982-1984
Fu Jen Catholic University Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C : Theology 1984 - 1987
De la Salle University, Manila: MA units in Guidance Counseling 1992-1995

Work Experience
Christ the King Mission Seminary : Sacristan 1976-1977

Religious Vows and Ordination
Chiayi, Taiwan,R.O.C : Perpetual Vows September 8, 1987
Fu Jen Catholic University : Ordination to Diaconate September 27, 1987
Divine Word Academy Chapel, Urdaneta, Pangasinan : Ordination to Priesthood
Ordaining Prelate : Bp. Miguel Cinches, SVD,D.D March 12, 1988

St. Joseph the Worker Parish Chiayi, Taiwan, R.O.C : Assistant Pastor June 1988 - 1989
Fu Jen Catholic High School Chiayi, Taiwan, R.O.C : Campus Minister August 1989 - 1992
St. Jude Catholic School near Malacanang : Campus Minister, Assistant Principal and Assistant Director July 1995-July 2000

From August 2000 to March 2005
St. Jude Archdiocesan Shrine near Malacanang: Parish Priest;
Discrict superior of the SVD Manila District;
Vicar Forane of the Archdiocese of Manila - Vicariate of San Jose de Trozo

From March , 2005 to January 2007: Provincial Superior of the SVD Philippine Central Province

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Feast of Poong Hesus Nazareno celebrated

Children danced the Gloria in
the Holy Mass for the fiesta of Hesus Nazareno Church;
main celebrant: Bishop Chito Tagle

The Church of Poong Hesus Nazareno, an SVD administered parish in Dasmarinas Bagong Bayan in Cavite, celebrated its fiesta last 09 January with Bishop Chito Tagle as the main presider in the Eucharistic Celebration. Most parishoners are relocatees, meaning former "squatters" of Manila who were resettled to this place in the mid-80's.
Concelebrants in the photo are
Fr. Joey Guinto (assistant parish priest);
Fr. Arnel (diocese of Imus);
Fr. Alex Muana, SVD (missiology professor at the DWS);
Fr. Marty (diocese of Imus);
also in the picture is Mrs. Teresita R. Jaca, lector and one of
the pioneer members of the church

The parish is significant to Divine Word Seminary as two of its professors, Fr. Jerome Marquez (Canon Law) and Fr. Randolf Flores (Biblical Studies), had helped begun in the summer of 2001 the establishment of the church and basic ecclesial communities. Seminarians from DWST also come to the parish for their week-end apostolate.

Click on the image for a videoclip of Bishop Tagle's homily on Hesus Nazareno.

You can download the full homily here, click on this Poong Hesus Nazareno
note: at megaupload wait for 45seconds, at the last 10 seconds an ad pops out and blocks the download box, close that ad and click download. This is an MPEG file 431MB, it will take some time to download, be patient.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Ordination date of bishop-elect Leopoldo C. Jaucian set

Fr. Pol Jaucian during the Triduum Mass
for the Hesus Nazareno Fiesta
Poong Nazareno Church, DBB Dasmarinas, Cavite

Leopoldo "Pol" Jaucian, SVD, bishop-elect of the Diocese of Bangued in Abra will be ordained as bishop on 26 March 2007 at the Shrine of the Divine Word in Christ the King Seminary along E. Rodriguez Blvd, Quezon City.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Leopoldo Jaucian new bishop of Bangued, Abra

Bishop-elect Pol Jaucian (middle) was the main celebrant
in the Mass of the Epiphany at the SVD administered
Poong Nazareno Church in Dasmarinas, Cavite,
also a Triduum mass for the Church's fiesta on 09 Jan 07.
Concelebrants were Joey Guinto (right, assistant parish priest)
and Ed Orpilla (left, parish priest)

The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Leopoldo "Pol" C. Jaucian, SVD, the current provincial of the SVD Central Province as bishop of the Diocese of Bangued in Abra. The appointment was posted at the Vatican Information Service and broadcast over Radio DZPA in Bangued at 7:00 this evening (05 Jan 2007)

Indeed, this is a good news for Abra as the province needs urgently a shepherd in the midst of worsening political situation and violence. Before Christmas, the congressman of Abra, Luis Bersamin, was murdered in the compound of a church, after attending a mass.

The Diocese has a population of 236,545 with 198,497 Catholics. There are 38 priests and 38 religious. Abra was the first mission area of SVD missionaries when they first came to the Philippines in August 1909.

Fr. Jaucian was born in Santa, Ilocos Sur on July 27, 1960. He grew up in Urdaneta, Pangasinan and finished his high school at the Divine Word College ofUrdaneta. He entered Christ the King Seminary not as a seminarian but as one of the sacristans being a working student. He later joined the postulancy program and in 1979 entered the Novitiate in Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City. He spent a number of years in Taiwan for the Overseas Training Program for SVD scholastics and also did his theological studies there. He pronounced his perpetual vows in 1987 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1988.

After ordination, Pol worked as a missionary in the China province of the SVD (Taiwan and Hongkong). After sometime, he was appointed parish priest of St. Jude Shrine near Malacanang and in 2005 he was elected provincial of the Philippine Central Province.
Bishop-elect Fr. Pol Jaucian(first one standing from right, in white Polo Barong)
with the Filipino delegates of the SVD Chapter in Rome last July 2006
Standing from left: Jerome Marquez (St. Jude Catholic School director),
Pablito Tagura (rector of Christ the King Seminary),
Ronnie Crisostomo
(student, Liturgical Studies),
Jerome Adriatico
(provincial of the Northern Province),
John Benas (missionary in Mexico),
Bubi Scholz
(now the SVD Archivist),
Dionisio Miranda
(Moral Theology professor),
Jing-Jong Rocha (Vice-Provincial of the Southern Province),
and bishop-elect Pol Jaucian;
seated from left: Oliver Quilab (doctoral student in Germany),
and Joey Artienda (missionary in Ecuador).