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.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Fourth Sunday of Lent (C): Parable of the Prodigal Son

For my commentary on the Gospel reading for this 4th Sunday of Lent, please click on this: Prodigal Son. or on the title above.

To the blogreaders, regrets for the delayed upload due to other call of responsibility.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Third Sunday of Lent C: "Hope For A Tree"

For my commentary on the Sunday Gospel Reading (Luke 13:1-9) of the 3rd Sunday of Lent (C), please click on this "Commentary on Sunday Readings".

You can also follow the link to your right or click on the title above.

Arnoldus Company once again in Concert

01 One Heart, Many...
Fr. Raul Caga, SVD, Moral Theology professor and Divine Word Seminary's Arnoldus Company will stage a concert on March 17, 2007 at Fr. James Reuter Auditorium of St. Paul's University (Quezon City). Appointment time is 7:00 pm. The concert also features the actress and environmentalist Miss Chin Chin Gutierrez.

Tickets are available at Christ the King Seminary (Quezon City); or text 09282756270

Here's a write up of the concert's reportoire:

Called By Love-The Concert, proclaims the message of God's universal call for every person to love through songs.

At the basis of this call is our experience of how God has lavished us with his love, compassion and forgiveness.

This concert features some songs from the cd album with the same title Called By Love of Fr. Raul Caga, SVD with the Arnoldus Company which made it to the 2006 Catholic Mass Media Awards as one of the finalists in the religious album category.

The concert repertoire includes One Heart, Many Faces, By The Roadside, Tinawag Mo Ako, The Fire of Your Love, and many more songs of praise and worship.

As the lenten season progresses, the concert may just offer you an experience of spiritual animation and rejuvenation. Don't miss the opportunity of proclaiming God's love and goodness with Fr. Raul, The Arnoldus Company, and Chin-Chin Gutierrez as their guest performer. Proceeds of the concert will go to the education and formation of the seminarians of Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City.
Here's my brief review (written last year) of "One Heart Many Faces", a cut from the album Called by Loved:
The song creates a genre that could forshadow cosmic unity between the sacred and the profane, faith and reason, heart and mind. Its melody sways from a typical soulful pinoy-hum inflected by a forlorn voice to a more emphatic, confidence-filled hymn, marked by heightened voices and polyphony of instruments. A theme song called paradoxically, "One heart, many faces" strides along this route: from a lonely sound of a singular, undefined flute as if in a far-away mission land a la Morricone's The Mission, to the African sounding drums, ba dam ba's of Arnoldus Co. and to the syllabaric o-a-o of the reverend sisters of the Holy Spirit.. With the thought alone that the Pink Sisters append their voices to the praise part of the song could make one feel "co-canonized." The songs' spirit moves from lament to praise; from "wounded" to "graced".

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Lost Tomb of Jesus

The Philippine Daily Inquirer, the country's leading daily, has published (headline) my article on the so-called Lost Tomb of Jesus. Please click on this.

For another view, read the article of Prof. Jodi Magness, click on this.

Last year, I've also written an article on the Gospel of Judas for the same daily. Click on this.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Second Sunday of Lent Year C: Transfiguration

Mt. Everest, transfiguration place
of great mountain climbers
photo grab:


In order to put into one place all my commentaries on Sunday Readings (for easier search), I decided to transfer them into another blog. This is also to make our Divine Word Seminary blog exlusive for news in and around the seminary. Commentaries are usually uploaded before Saturdays . For Commentary on Sunday Readings, please click on this .

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Divine Word College of Urdaneta celebrates 40 years

Present at the 40th anniversary of DWCU
from left: Mr. Roque Acluba (former seminarian); Mrs. Fatima Ambrosio (former Chemistry teacher); Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD (former prefect); Fr. Rodel Abanto, SVD (former regent); Ambol (alumna); Cathy de Guzman (alumna); Mimi David (alumna);
Fr. Chito Lorenzo, SVD (former regent).
All roads led to Urdaneta last Feb 23-24 (Frid-Sat). The SVD College there was celebrating its one generation of existence. A number of former seminarians of the Divine Word Formation Center came for an alumni homecoming to honor and thank this institution. Former regents, rectors, and presidents were also there.

Out of around 300 graduates of the seminary (both in highschool and the two year college), 36 were ordained priests, something like a priest per year. That's a good "harvest".
On exhibit: SVD Ordinations' invitations.

Here's a brief history of the school and the seminary written by Fr. Bernard Teneza, SVD, the present rector and Fr. Joe Pareja, SVD, the school chaplain and spiritual director of the seminarians.

Brief History of Divine Word Formation Center of Urdaneta

Need of an SVD Seminary in the North
The idea of opening a Minor Seminary in Pangasinan was thoroughly discussed at the Provincial Chapter held in January 1963. A resolution was passed to open a Minor Seminary in or near Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

Fr. Augustine Herbers was charged with the care for the project. One day Fr. Castillo, parish priest of San Manuel, Tarlac, heard the plans of opening an SVD Seminary in his hometown in Urdaneta. He suggested to his aunt, Dona Loling Sison and his Uncle Don Manuel Sison to offer a property in Bayaoas. The negotiations however, dragged on when other lots in San Manuel, Tarlac, and Barangay Pinmaludpod in Urdaneta were offered. Dona Loling, who had a sincere desire to have a seminary opened in Urdaneta, died in the course of the negotiations. It was only after Fr. Superior General himself had visited the final two lots in question that a definite decision was reached. He decided in favor of the Sison property in Barrio Bayaoas.

The lot held several advantages over the other lot; it is close to the highway crossing of the national highway leading to the North and West - East road Lingayen-Dagupan and Eastern Pangasinan. Nevertheless, is at the same time secluded and quiet enough for a Seminary. It was as this moment that Father Superior General decided to connect the Seminary with the High School and College. The area of the Campus is 6.5 hectares and has direct access to the Asingan road.

Some alumni share the joy of DWFU
at the back is the school chapel
from left: Fr. Elmer Flores, SVD, Fr. Robert Ibay, SVD, Mr. Jake Calatrava; Fr. Bernard Teneza, SVD (the present rector), Mrs. Calatrava (Jake's wife and alumna); standing at the back: Fr. Vhen Yator, SVD (former regent); Fr. Fred Saniel, SVD (former spiritual director)

After the decision was reached, negotiations moved fast. The Deed of Sale was signed July 28, 1964. Since no funds for the building were available, Fr. Herbers went to Germany to arouse interest for this project and raise the necessary funds. He returned in January 1966. After an over-all development plan and detailed building plans were drawn up and approved by the Generalate, the construction begun in March 1966. The construction was supervised by the architectural office headed by Bro. Joseph, Alfred Hueger and the two architechs Messrs. Esting Calma and Lito Reyes. Archbishop Mariano Madriaga, the archbishop of Lingayen – Dagupan, blessed the corerstone on March 20, 1966 in the presence of Fr. Provincial George Heinemann and secular priests of Urdaneta.
Bishop A. Rillera, SVD (of San Fernando, La Union), former rector of DWFU was the main celebrant of the 4oth anniversary.

The building is a functional structure for school purposes. It has a total length of 98 m. and three storeys, while the tower in front has been elevated for four storeys to accommodate two visitors’ rooms and the water tank. The axis of the building runs from East to West to minimize the exposure to direct sunshine. The classrooms have a standards size 7 x 9 m. and are furthermore protected from heat by three-meter wide corridors. A unique feature of the building is the ramp that leads to the upper floors. People like to joke and say that the students can ride in a tricycle right up to the door of their classrooms in the second and third floor. The floor of the corridors and the ramp have a black pebble wash-out to prevent slipping and noise. For the time being the seminary is housed in the third floor where two and a half classrooms serve as temporary chapel. The furniture in the classrooms was made by the Arnoldus Carpentry Shop under the able direction of Brother Richard Huette. An 8" deep well has been drilled to a depth of 400 feet. The well became artesian. It delivers 30 gallons per minute day and night. Since not all the water is used, it is envisioned to build a swimming pool and let the overflow of the artesian well feed and renew the water of the pool. Three basketball courts have been cemented in front of the building to give the students and the youth of Urdaneta good and easy sports facilities.
The friendship game between former seminarians and SVDs won by the former.

Formation as Priority
According to Fr. Herbers, much goes into the formation of good and educated Catholics and more even into the formation of a good priests and Religious. The new SVD building is a proof that we shall spare no efforts or means to give our Seminarians and students the best we can afford. We are deeply indebted to our many friends and benefactors in Germany and the Philippines. God bless the house for "in vain is the builder’s toil, if the house is not of the Lord’s building" (Psalm 127:1).
Some concelebrants include (from left): Fr. Abet Viernes (alumnus); Fr. Rodel Abanto, SVD (former regent); Fr. Teddy Abas, SVD (former regent); Fr. Raki Aquino, SVD (alumnus); at the back are students of DWC.

For the list of seminarians from 1968-2007, please click on this.

For the list of formators, click on this.