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Circular 2018-14: Confraternity of Mary Help of Christians

July 11, 2018

Memorial of Saint Benedict

ALD Circular 2018-14

RE: Confraternity of Mary Help of Christians

Reverend Fathers:

Beyond the historic day of the papal coronation of the image of Mary Help of Christians this coming August 22, we envision a people in this part of the world growing in piety and maturing in the faith under the mantle of Our Lady. We dream of generations of young men in the archdiocese eager to answer the call of the priesthood, sustained by the sacrifices and prayers of our parishes and schools.

We dream with Mary Help of Christians and through her we pray for an abundant harvest of vocations to the priesthood.

Beginning July 15 this year until December 8, we will be sending seminarians from the Mary Help of Christians Seminaries to visit your parishes and speak to the parishioners for a couple of minutes and animate them to join the Confraternity of Mary Help of Christians.

As members of this lay association, they will pray for the sanctification of priests and seminarians, promote vocations to the priesthood and build up a scholarship burse for seminarians in need.

Let us dream of a renewed Church together and let us together honor Our Lady through the Confraternity of Mary Help of Christians.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

 

Question and Answer Catechism on the Canonical Coronation of Mary Help of Christians

Who is Mary Help of Christians?

Mary Help of Christians is the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. She has many titles like Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Manaoag. She has another title Help of Christians but she is the same Virgin Mary. Mary is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why do we worship Mary?

We do not worship Mary. Only God can be worshipped but we revere Mary as Mother of God. Mary is a creature like us. In faith she is our mother. If we honor our parents, in the same way, we honor our spiritual mother. She is the Virgin Mary. We have two reasons for revering Mary—she is the Mother of the Lord Jesus and she is our spiritual mother.

Is it in the Bible that we should honor Mary?

Yes in the Gospel of Saint Luke 1:29 the angel greeted her Hail full of grace. When we honor Mary, we follow the example of the angel who was the spokesman of God. It was God who honored Mary first, not us human beings.

Is it sinful to make images of saints?

In the Old Testament, it is indeed forbidden to make graven images (Ex.20:4). But since God Himself took human form in the face of Jesus Christ, the prohibition against images was repealed in the New Testament. Because God has become man, God is no longer absolutely unimaginable.

Why is Mary called Help of Christians?

The first person to invoke this title of the Virgin Mary was Saint John Chrysostom recorded in the year 345. The title Help of Christians came to be identified with winning battles for Christianity most specially the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Pope Pius VII under threat of persecution and imprisonment by Napoleon invoked the protection of Mary Help of Christians. The Pope attributed the safety of the papacy from the attacks of Napoleon to Mary Help of Christians in 1815.

Why is Mary called Helper?

Our first and only helper is God. Among all creatures, the Virgin Mother stands out from all the rest as the person who has received greatest help from the Creator. Her Immaculate Conception is through God’s help. Her virginity is a fruit of God’s help. Her motherhood is from God’s help. Her assumption to heaven is through the help of God. Mary can help because God has helped her. If God ignored Mary, she would not be any better than us, helpless sinners. All that Mary can do is because of God’s help. Mary is Help of Christians because God is the helper of all.

What is the relevance of Mary Help of Christians today?

From the accounts of Church history, the Marian title Help of Christians is related to troubled times and distressful eras from which the Church had been spared. When anti-Christian forces intimidate the Church, Mary Help of Christians comes to our help. Those anti-Christian forces still attack the Church such as the culture of death, the destruction of family life, the loss of the sense of sin and many more.

What is a canonical coronation?

It is a favor granted by the Pope to a particular Marian image in any part of the world that has contributed to the growth of Christian piety and devotion. The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments on the authority of the Pope mandates that a Marian image be decorated with a crown and diadems as a recognition of the role of the image in fomenting Christian devotion.

Is this the first time to happen in Pangasinan?

No. The first coronation of a Marian image held in Pangasinan was celebrated on April 21, 1926 when the Apostolic Delegate Guiglelmo Pianni canonically crowned on behalf of Pope Pius XI the image of Our Lady of Manaoag. The Archbishop of Manila, Michael O’Dougherty crowned the image of the Child Jesus in the arms of Our Lady.

Where did the image of Mary Help of Christians come from?

Although the devotion to Mary Help of Christians is popularly connected to Saint John Bosco, the devotion of the Diocese of Lingayen in fact started formally in 1928 when Bishop Cesar Maria Guerrero received the image as a gift for the newly created diocese. Bishop Guererro initially wanted to put our seminary under the patronage of Saint Alphonsus Liguori but he later changed it to Mary Help of Christians.

When will the canonical coronation happen?

It will happen on August 22 this year at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist so that more people can witness the historic occasion. The Apostolic Nuncio who represents Pope Francis will preside at the coronation rites.

Where can we venerate the image after her coronation on August 22?

The image of Mary Help of Christians will be enshrined at the Mary Help of Christians Theology Seminary in Palapad, San Fabian, Pangasinan. We will put up a small shrine behind the seminary chapel so that pilgrims can come to venerate her without disrupting the seminary silence and discipline. Every year, the image will be transferred to the Cathedral every August 22 to celebrate the coronation fiesta.

Why do we need to crown Mary Help of Christians?

Mary does not need our coronation. God has already honored her and we cannot add more honors than God has bestowed on her. We crown her to remind us that humility is the crown of all virtues. The best way to show our love to the Virgin Mary is to imitate her. True Marian devotion is Marian imitation of her virtues.

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Sino si Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano?

Si Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano ay ang Inang Birheng Maria.  Marami siyang titulo katulad ng Birhen ng Lourdes, Birhen ng Fatima, Birhen ng Manaoag.  Meron siyang ibang titulo katulad ng Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano pero ito ay tumutukoy pa rin sa ating Inang Birheng Maria.  Si Maria ay ang Ina ng ating Panginoong HesusKristo.

Bakit natin sinasamba si Maria?

Hindi natin sinasamba si Maria.  Tanging ang Panginoon lamang ang sinasamba pero pinaparangalan natin si Maria bilang Ina ng Diyos.  Si Maria ay nilalang din na katulad natin.  Sa pananampalataya siya ay ating ina.  Kung iginagalang natin ang ating mga magulang , ganoon din naman ay iginagalang din natin ang ating ispiritwal na ina.  Siya ay ang Birheng Maria.  Mayroon tayong dalawang rason kung bakit natin pinangangaralan si Maria – siya ay Ina ng ating Panginoong Hesus at siya ay ang ating ispiritwal na ina.

Nasa Bibliya ba na dapat nating kilalanin si Maria?

Oo.  Sa Ebanghelyo ni San Lukas 1:29 siya ay binati ng anghel bilang napupuno ng grasya.  Kapag ating pinararangalan si Maria, sumusunod tayo sa halimbawa ng anghel na siyang tagapaghatid ng mensahe ng Diyos.  Ang Diyos ang unang nagparangal kay Maria hindi tayong mga tao.

Kasalanan ba ang lumilok ng mga imahe ng mga santo?

Sa Lumang Tipan, hindi ipinapahintulot ang umukit ng mga larawan (Ex.20:4).  Subalit noong nagkatawang tao ang Diyos sa pamamagitan ng mukha ni Hesu-Kristo, ang pagbabawal sa pag uukit ng mga imahe ay pinawalng-bisa sa Bagong Tipan.  Ito ay dahil sa ang Diyos ay naging tao.  Dahil dito ang Diyos ay nagkaroon na ng mukha naa pwedeng ilarawan.

Bakit tinatawag si Maria bilang Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristoyano?

Ang unang tao na tumawag sa titulong ito ng Birheng Maria ay si San Juan Crisostomo noong taong 345.  Ang titulong Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano ay kinilala sa mga panahong ipinakikipaglaban ng mga Kristiyano ang relihiyon lalo na sa laban sa Lepanto noong 1571.  Noong si Pope Pius VII ay may banta ng pag-uusig at nanganganib na makulong sa mga kamay ni Napoleon, siya ay tumawag sa pangangalaga ni Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano.  At kinilala ng Santo Papa ang kanyang kaligtasan sa anumang pagtuligsa ni Napoleon sa pamamagitan no Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano noong 1985.

Bakit tinawag si Maria na Mapag-ampon?

Ang una at ang tanging tumutulong sa atin ay ang Diyos.  Sa lahat ng mga nilalang, ang Birheng Maria ang pinakanakatangap ng tulong mula sa ating Tagapaglikha.  Ang paglilihi sa kanya na walang-bahid kasalanan ay sa pamamagitan ng tulong ng Diyos.  Ang kanyang pananatiling birhen ay dahil sa bunga ng tulong ng Diyos.  Ang kanyang pagiging ina ay dahil sa tulong buhat sa Diyos.  Siya ay iniakyat sa langit dahil sa pamamagitan ng tulong ng Diyos.  Magagawa ni Maria na tumulong dahil siya ay tinulungan ng Diyos.  Kung si Maria ay hindi kinalinga ng Diyos, siya ay magiging katulad lamang natin, makasalanan.  Ang lahat ng pwedeng gawin ni Maria ay dahil sa tulong ng Diyos.  Si Maria ay Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano dahil ang Diyos ay tumutulong sa lahat.

Ano ang kahalagahan ni Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano ngayon?

Mula sa kasaysayan ng Simbahan, ang titulo ni Maria bilang Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano ay ang siyang tinatawag sa mga pagkakataong mayroong panganib at pagsubok sa ating Simbahan.  Sa mga panahon na may mga umuusig sa mga Kristiyano, si Maria bilang Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano ay ang siyang nagiging takbuhan upang makahingi ng tulong.  Nananatili sa makabagong panahon ang pag atake ng mga umuusig sa mga Kristiyano sa pamamagitan ng kultura ng kamatayan, pagsira sa pamilya, at sa hindi pagkilala sa mga kasalanan at marami pang iba.

Ano ang canonical coronation?

Ito ay ang pagkilala ng Santo Papa sa isang imahe ni Maria sa kahit saang bahagi ng mundo na nakapag aambag sa paglago ng kabanalan at debosyon ng mga Kristiyano.  Ang Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments sa pamamagitan ng kapangyarihan ng Santo Papa ay ipinag-uutos na ang imahe ni Maria ay palamutian ng korona at mga natatanging uri ng mga bato bilang pagkilala sa papel na ginagampanan ng imahe sa pagpapatibay ng maka-Kristiyanong debosyon.

Ito ba ay unang beses pa lamang mangyayari sa Pangasinan?

Hindi.  Ang kauna-unahang ganitong pangyayari sa Pangasinan ay ipinagdiwang noong ika-21 ng Abril, 1926 noong kinilala ni Pope Pius XI ang imahe ng Birhen ng Manaoag sa pamamagitan ng paglalagay ng korona ng kanyang kinatawan Apostolic Delegate Guiglelmo Pianni.  Ang Arsobispo ng Maynila na si Michael O’Dougherty ang siyang naglagay ng korona sa imahe ng Batang si Hesus na nasa bisig ng Birhen.

Saan nagmula ang imahe ni Maria Mapag-ampon sa mgs Kristiyano?

Bagaman ang debosyon kay Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano ay pinaging tanyag ni San Juan Bosco, ang debosyong ito sa Diyosesis ng Lingayen ay pormal na nagsimula noong 1928 noong tinanggap ni Bishop Cesar Maria Guerrero ang imahe bilang regalo sa noon ay katatatag pa lamang na diyosesis.  Noong una ay hinangad ni Bishop Guerrero na ilagay ang seminaryo sa pangangalaga ni San Alfonso ng Liguori subalit pinalitan niya ito ng Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano.

Kailan mangyayari ang canonical coronation?

Ito ay mangyayari sa ika-22 ng Agosto sa taong kasalukuyan sa Katedral ng San Juan Ibanghelista upang mas maraming tao ang makasaksi sa napakahalagang pagdiriwang na ito.  Ang Apostolic Nuncio na siyang kinatawan ni Pope Francis ang siyang mangunguna sa rito ng pagkokorona.

Saan natin maaaring puntahan ang imahe pagkatapos ng araw ng ika-22 ng Agosto upang pangaralan?

Ang imahe ng Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano ay iluluklok sa Mary Help of Christian Theology Seminary sa Palapad, San Fabian, Pangasinan.  Maglalagay ng maliit na dambana sa likod ng kapilya ng seminaryo upang ang mga deboto ay makapunta sa lugar na ito na hindi nakakasagabal sa katahimikan ng seminaryo.  Taon-taon ang imahe ay dadalhin sa Katedral tuwing ika-22 ng Agosto upang ipagdiwang ang kapistahan ng koronasyon.

Bakit natin kailangang koronahan ang imahe ni Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano?

Sa katunayan, hindi naman kailangan ni Maria na siya ay koronahan.  Siya ay pinarangalan na ng Diyos at wala na tayong maidadagdag pa sa pagkilala na ibinigay ng Diyos sa kanya.  Siya ay ating kokoronahan upang ipaalala sa atin na ang kababaan ng kalooban ay ang pinagmumulan ng iba pang mga magagandang katangian.  Ang pinakamabuting paraan na maipahayag natin ang ating pagmamahal sa ating Inang Birheng Maria ay siya ay ating matularan.  Ang tunay na debosyon kay Maria ay ang pagtulad at pagsasabuhay ng kanyang mabubuting halimbawa.

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Siopa si Maria Tulong daray Cristiano?

Si Maria Tulong daray Cristiano et mismon si Inan Birhen Maria. Dakerakel iray pamagalang ya tawag (titulo) ed sikato, a singa Inan Birhen na Lourdes, Inan Birhen na Fatima, Inan Virgen na Manaoag. Walay sakey a pamagalang a tawag ed Ina ya Tulong daray Cristiano. Balet sakey so Inan Virgen Maria. Si Maria so Ina na Katawan tayon Jesucristo.

Akin et sasambaen tayo si Maria?

Agtayo sasambaen si Maria. Say Dios labat so sasambaen balet iiter tayo so niduman pamagalang ed si Maria, Ina na Dios. Sakey ya pinalsa si Maria a singa sikatayo. Ed pananisia, sikato so ina tayo. No papagalangan tayo ray ateng tayo, ontan met, iiter tayo so pamagalang ed si Maria ya spiritual ya ina tayo. Sikato so Birhen Maria. Walay dwaran rason no akin et papagalangan tayo si Maria – si Maria so Ina na Katawan tayon Jesucristo tan si Maria so spiritual ya ina tayo.

Wala tad Biblia ya nepeg ya pagalangan si Maria?

On. Naalmo diad Ibanghilyo nen Lukas 1,29 nen inbano na say anghel si Maria “Ave, napno kay grasya”. No papagalangan tayo’y Maria, oliran tayo may anghel ya managsalita na Dios. Say Dios so unaan ya angitanduro ed si Maria, aliwan sikatayo ran totoo.

Kasalanan ta so manggaway talintao odino imahen na saray sasanto?

Diad Daan a Sipan, isesebel so manggaway talintao na sarayan imahen (Ex. 20,4). Balet, nen say Dios et mismon dili To so nagmaliw a Too diad say pakanengnengan a lupa  nen Jesu Cristo, sayan panagsebel nipaakar ed saray talintao so inwaklit na say Balon Sipan. Lapud say Dios et nagmaliw a too, aliwa lan pulos ya agnaomameng.

Akin et tatawagey Maria ya Tulong daray Cristiano?

Say unaan ya anawag ed say Inan Birhen Maria na sayan titulo et si San Juan Crisostomo nen taon 345. Sayan titulon Tulong daray Cristiano so nabibirbir ed saray inpanalon bakal na saray Cristiano, laut lad Bakal na Lepanto nen 1571. Say Santo Papa Pio VII, ed say isabin panagtaktakot na panagpairap tan panagkulong nen Napoleon, so kinmerew na panangiyagel ed si Maria Tulong daray Cristiano. Binirbir na Santo Papa ya say pangiyagel na say papacy ed saray panag-atake nen Napoleon nen 1815 et lapud si Maria Tulong daray Cristiano.

Akin et tatawagey Mananulong si Maria?

Say manunaan tan mananulong tayo labat et say Dios. Ed amin ya pinalsa, say Inan Birhen so nibiig ed amin lapud sikato so akaawat na sankabalgan ya tulong a nanlapud say Manamalsa. Say Immaculada Concepcion na Ina et nanlapud say tulong na Dios. Say inka-birhen lawas nen Ina et nanlapud say bunga na tulong na Dios. Say inka-Ina to et nanlapud say tulong na Dios. Say Intokotok na Ina ed tawen et nanlapud say panamegley na tulong na Dios. Makatulong si Maria lapud sikatoy tinulongan na Dios. No si Maria so pinaolyan na Dios, sirin anggapoy pidumaan tayod sikato, sikatayo ran anggapoy pakayarin managkasalanan. Amin ya nagawaan nen Maria et lapud say tulong na Dios. Si Maria so Tulong daray Cristiano lapud say Dios so Mananulong na amin.

Anto so kabaliksan nen Maria Tulong daray Cristiano ed sarayan panaon?

Unong ed say awaran na Simbaan, sayan titulo nen Maria Tulong daray Cristiano et naisalaysay nen say Simbaan et naiyagel ed saray magulon panaon. No saray onlalaban ed Cristiano so manataktakot, si Maria Tulong daray Cristiano so onlan ontulong ed sikatayo. Sarayan sumlang ed Cristianon panagbilay so wadia niran manaatake ed Simbaan a singa say kultura na patey, say panagderal na bilay na pamilya, say pakakabalang ed say kabaliksan na kasalanan tan arum nira.

Antoy kabaliksan na “canonical coronation”?

Saya et sakey ya inpangaro na Santo Papa ed sakey a imahen na Inan Birhen Maria ed anggan iner ya pasen ed mundo. Sayan imahen so bibirbiren ya akapangiter para say inbaleg na Cristianon panagbilay tan dibosyon. Say “Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments” diad say pakauley na Santo Papa so mangagangan ya say sakey a imahen nen Maria so  arkosan na korona tan mabli ran bato para pamirbir ed say baleg a kabiangan na sayan imahen ed say pamabiskeg na Cristianon dibosyon.

Natan ta labat nagawa ya ed Pangasinan?

Andi. Say unaan ya inpankorona ed sakey ya imahen nen Maria ya agawad Pangasinan et nen Abril 12, 1926 nen say Apostolic Delegate Guiglelmo Pianni so nankorona na say imahen na Inan Birhen na Manaoag unong ed say Santo Papa Pio XI.

Nanlapoan na sayan imahen nen Maria Tulong daray Cristiano?

Anggaman say dibosyon ed Maria Tulong daray Cristiano so kabkabat lapud si San Juan Bosco, say dibosyon na Diosesis na Lingayen so ginmapo la nen 1928 nen si Obispo Cesar Maria Guerrero so angawat na sayan imahen a sakey a inpangaro para say niletneg a balon diosesis. Labay lawari nen Obispo Guerrero so manpaalagey na seminario ed  ngaran na patron nen San Alfonso Liguori balet nansalat na kanunutan to, tan ingaran tod si Maria Tulong daray Cristiano.

Kapigan nagawa so pankorona?

Nagawa ya no Agosto 22 ed sayan taon diad Katedral na San Juan Ibanghelista, pian mas dakel a totoo so makaimaton ed sayan awaran ya okasyon. Say Apostolic Nuncio ya mangilalaman ed Santo Papa Francisco so mangipangulo na say silibrasyon ya pankorona.

Iner so laen pian nabibisita’y imahen kasumpal na koronasyon no Agosto 22?

Say imahen na Maria Tulong daray Cristiano so awiten ed Mary Help of Christians Theology Seminary ed Palapad, San Fabian, Pangasinan. Walay melag a shrine ed beneg na kapilya na seminario pian saray diboto so makapangalang ya ag-nadisturbo so kareenan tan kinaoksoy na seminario. Tinaon, say imahen so awiten ed Katedral kada Agosto 22 pian silibraan so fiesta na koronasyon to.

Akin et nepeg ya koronoan si Maria Tulong daray Cristiano?

Ag nakaukolan nen Maria so korona tayo. Inter la na Dios so kagalangan ed sikato tan anggapo la so naiyarum tayo nin pamagalang ya inter na Dios ed sikato. Koronaan tayo pian walay pakanunotan tayo ya say panagbaabeba so korona na amin a virtudes. Say san-karakepan ya pangipanengneng na panangaro tayod say Inan Birhen Maria et say pagmaliwen ya sikatoy oliran tayo. Say twan disbosyon ed si Maria et say pan-alig ed aming ya virtudes nen Maria.

Circular 2018-13: Coronation of Mary Help of Christians

June 29, 2018 Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Circular 2018-13 RE: Coronation of Mary Help of Christians

My dear Reverend Fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ:

As we approach the year 2028, the one hundredth anniversary of the creation of the Diocese of Lingayen, we are blessed that this year 2018 at the opening of our DECADE OF COMMUNIO the image of Mary Help of Christians will receive canonical coronation on the mandate of His Holiness Pope Francis. This image, a gift from the Apostolic Nuncio to our first bishop, is as old as our diocese.

For nine decades now, Mary Help of Christians has guided us, inspired our minds and ignited our hearts to love the Lord.

The coronation of the image will take place on August 22 this year at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist at nine o’clock in the morning.

This milestone event of grace stand on three legs, namely FORMATION, CELEBRATION and LEGACY.

On Formation

  1. You will find enclosed herewith the Question and Answer Catechism on the Coronation of Mary Help of Christians in English, Pangasinan and Tagalog. Please use all the means to instruct our Catholic faithful on the pastoral theological significance of this event. You may print them together with the misalettes, project them on the video screen in church, post them on social media and other similar means. Please start the extensive catechesis as soon as you receive this letter.
  2. You will receive Sunday homilies for July 29, August 5, 12 and 19 relating the Sunday readings to the forthcoming Marian coronation. Please be creative and passionate on teaching the parishioners specially the youth about Mary Help of Christians.ARCHBISHOP’S HOUSE Jovellanos Street, Dagupan city Pangasinan, Philippines Telephone: 075 523 5357 * Telefax: 075 522 1878

On Celebration

  1. We shall hold an archdiocesan wide Triduum of Prayers on August 19, 20 and 21 in all our parishes, chaplaincies, pastoral stations and Catholic
  2. schools. The liturgy for this triduum will be released to you at the appropriate time.
  3. Parishes, chaplaincies, pastoral stations and Catholic schools must organize delegations to attend the Coronation Mass on August 22. The Cathedral as well as the cathedral parking area will be prepared to accommodate the pilgrims and our Catholic faithful. This is a historic event that everybody must be able to witness and celebrate.
  4. After the Coronation Mass, the Olupan na Layko (ONLA) will organize vicariate delegations to pray the rosary continuously until five o’clock in the morning of August 23 interrupted only by the Mass and the grand procession in the evening of August 22.
  5. After the 5:30pm regular Mass at the Cathedral on August 22, the Virgen Coronada will be brought out of the Cathedral for the first time in a grand Marian procession. Please encourage the parishioners to attend this grand procession as an expression of gratitude to the holy Mother of God. Upon the return of the procession to the Cathedral, the continuous rosary praying will resume until 5:00 am the next day.
  6. The Virgen Coronada will be brought by motorcade to Palapad, San Fabian at 6:30 am on August 23. At the foot of Bishop Cesar Guerrero Street in Palapad, San Fabian, the seminarians will lead the Catholic faithful in a procession to the Beso Manto Chapel inside the Mary Help of Christians Theology Seminary where the Virgen Coronada will be permanently enshrined.

The Legacy

While the core of the event is the coronation of Mary Help of Christians with a golden crown with diadems, more important that the crown of gold and precious stones on the image is the CROWN OF LOVE that we want to offer Mary Help of Christians beyond August 22.

As crowning legacy to Our Lady, we will launch a perpetual ALAY PARA KAY INAY in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan envisioning it to spread to the other dioceses where there are alumni priests of the Mary Help of Christians Seminary.

We will request our Catholic faithful, led by the parish priests, to be regular donors of prayers and funds to the Alay Para kay Inay through a Libro na Panangaro. The fund offerings will be remitted to the Chancery periodically.

  1. The Alay Para kay Inay will be used for the scholarship of our seminarians, the post ordination studies of our priests and the health care of our elderly and sick priests. Every seminarian and every priest is a gift of Mary Help of Christians to the Church. Let us thank Our Lady in return by caring for her seminarians and priest sons.
  2. As we have been devotedly joining our parishioners in the Misa de Gracia at the Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag, let us now begin a pious tradition of organizing parish and school pilgrimages to the Beso Manto Chapel in Palapad, Pangasinan. A pilgrimage to Mary Help of Christians to beg Our Lady to help us preserve the Catholic faith in Pangasinan will be truly meritorious.
  3. Beginning next year, we will observe the traslacion of the Virgen Coronada from her Beso Manto Chapel in Palapad to the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist on August 21 to 22. The Mass and the Marian procession will be the most important acts of devotion during the traslacion that we must do year by year.

De Maria nunquam satis.

Let us teach about Our Lady with one voice and with one message. Let us celebrate Our Lady with singular joy and eminent love. Let us carry this love of Mary into the future so that the words of the Scriptures may ring all over our land that all generations will call her blessed!

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

God is Love

Fatherly Message to the Youth and Children of the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan

My dear children of God in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan:

Through social media, you have been sadly exposed to the cursing, threats and shaming by the President of our country. Choose to love him nevertheless, but stay in the truth of our faith. Be firm in faith.

He must have received so much rejection and hurts in the past that he blurts out so much hatred and angst now. If he had been loved much, he would be giving so much of that love too. He could be a victim of his scarred past and his wounded background. Pray for him with compassion. We pray for his healing and for God’s forgiveness on him but we must rebuke his errors about our Christian faith. He is a person in authority and some of you might get confused when you hear him. To pray for him is not enough. We must serve you the truth as we pray for him.

I am writing this to defend you from the gross errors that you have been hearing. If I keep quiet you might be misled. God gave you to us, your priests in Lingayen Dagupan, as our children. It is our duty to teach you. Some of you might ignore me or even rebuke me; but that will not stop me from teaching those among you who sincerely ask for guidance. I cannot stop serving you the truth.

You have heard the President attack our Christian beliefs. The story of creation is being taunted repeatedly. You have been hearing him curse God. God has been called insulting names–words we always told you not to say or even write. You are even being challenged to leave this Church of your birth, the Church of your grandparents.

Here are some questions and the right answers from the YouCat (Young Catechism of the Catholic Church) and I encourage you to read it.

Why did God create us?

God created us out of love. God is love. God is mercy. Never forget or doubt that.

What is religion?

Religion is man’s natural longing for God. God has placed in our hearts a certain kind of restlessness that can only be cured if we rest in God.

What do we mean when we say “God created the world”?

It does not mean that God himself by His direct action created the world all at once, completed in six days, as if the Book of Genesis were an eye witness account. This error is called “creationism”. (YouCat 41)

Creationism naively interprets biblical data literally. This a wrong interpretation of the teaching “God created the world”.

The creation account is not a scientific model to explain how the world began. When we say God created the world, we mean God willed the world. It means the world is not a product of chance.

Each of us is a result of a thought of God, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. (Pope Benedict XVI).

Does God want us to suffer and die?

God does not want us to suffer and die. Listen to what the saints say.

We have lost paradise but have received heaven; the gain is greater than the loss (Saint John Chrysostom).

Human weakness cannot upset the plans of God. A divine master builder can work even with falling stones (Cardinal Michael Von Faulhaber).

O God, to turn away from you is to fall. To turn to you is to stand up. To remain in you is to have sure support (Saint Augustine)

Is that not beautiful and wise of God to do? Only a beautiful and wise God can turn sin into a great blessing. The devil is opposed to this kind of love. The devil cannot understand or refuses to accept what is so clear. The devil is blinded by pride so he cannot love like God.

What is original sin?

Although sin implies guilt for which one is responsible, original sin is not like that.

Pope Benedict XVI explained it this way. Human beings were born with a drop of poisonous thinking of “not trusting God”. Human beings look at God as a “rival” who curtails our freedom. Human beings harbor a “suspicion against God”. Human beings think that we can be fully human if God is cast aside. Human beings trust deceit rather than truth. Because of this tendency, human beings sink to emptiness and death. That is what original sin is. Jesus came to lift us out of that emptiness and death.

What does “Church” mean?

The Church is all of us called forth by God. The Church is not just bishops and priests, deacons and nuns. The Church is people, the people called by God together. God wants to redeem us, not individually, but together. The Church continues what Jesus started.

Is the Church a sinful institution?

Viewed from outside, the Church is only a historical institution perhaps with historical achievements but also faults.  In its history, the Church had made mistakes and even crimes—a Church of sinners indeed.

But that view is quite shallow and incomplete.

Christ is so involved with us sinners that he never abandons his Church even if the Church betrays him every day.

The Church is an embroidery of sin and grace. In the Church, sinful humanity and holy godliness are one. The holiness of God never leaves the Church.

Is it time to stop believing in God?

Said Pope Benedict XVI, “When God disappears, men and women do not become greater. They lose their dignity and splendor and eventually end up abused and used”.

This is what our present national situation is showing us. When we cast God aside and curse his name, killing becomes easier. Stealing is normalized. Vulgarity becomes funny. Adultery is applauded. All because we want God to disappear in our lives.

What is the second Commandment?

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

What does the second Commandment require?

It is a terrible offense to blaspheme God, to curse using God’s name. Places, things, names and people who have been touched by God are “holy”. Sensitivity to what is holy is called “reverence”.

“Reverence is the pole on which the world turns,” said Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe. We lose reverence for the sacred and we ruin the world.

What duties do citizens have toward the State?

A Christian must love his homeland. We must defend our nation in time of need, serve the institutions, pay taxes, vote and even run for office if needed. Every Christian has a right to offer constructive criticism of the State and its organs. The State is there for the people, not the individual for the State (YouCat 376)

When must we refuse to obey the State?

If a State should establish laws and procedures that are racist, sexist or destructive of human life, a Christian is obliged in conscience to refuse to obey, to refrain from participation and offer resistance. (YouCat 377).

Admonition

My dear children in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan, please pray the rosary, go to confession and receive Holy Communion frequently. We are in a spiritual warfare against error and sin. Shield yourselves from error and guide your fellow youth in godliness. Read more about the faith. Study the true teaching of the Church.

Harbor no grudge but be critical and discerning. Be respectful of your parents and those in authority and choose good manners all the time even if you hear and see the opposite. Do not bash back at those who bash you in social media. Fill social media with kindness and truth. Take courage but be loving all the time. Be firm in the faith. Bawal ang duwag pero huwag makipag-away. Conquer evil with good (Romans 12:21)

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, June 25, 2018 Memorial of Santo Domingo Henares, a missionary who served in Pangasinan and died a martyr in Vietnam.

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

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DIYOS AY PAG-IBIG

Makaamang Pahatid sa mga Kabataan at Anak ng Arsidiosesis ng Lingayen Dagupan

Minamahal kong mga anak ng Diyos Arsidiosesis ng Lingayen Dagupan:

Sa social media, nakalulungkot na nalantad kayo sa pagmumura, pagbabanta at panghihiya ng Pangulo ng ating bansa. Piliin ninyong mahalin pa rin siya, ngunit manatili sa katotohanan ng ating pananampalataya. Magpakatatag kayo sa pananampalataya.

Marahil ay nakatanggap siya ng labis-labis na pagtanggi at sakit sa nakaraan, kayat nagsasabog siya ngayon ng labis na poot at ngitngit. Kung sana’y busog siya sa pagmamahal, makapag-aalay din sana siya ng pagmamahal. Baka biktima siya ng may pilat na nakaraan at sugatang pinanggalingan.

Ipagdasal natin siyang may malasakit. Ipanalangin natin ang kanyang paggaling at ang pagpapatawad ng Diyos, subalit dapat pa rin natin ituwid  ang kanyang mga kamalian tungkol sa ating pananampalatayang Kristiyano. Isang tao siyang may kapangyarihan at baka may ilan sa inyo ang malito kapag siya’y naririnig ninyo. Hindi sapat ang ipagdasal siya. Dapat nating ialay ang katotohanan kasabay ng pananalangin para sa kanya.

Isinusulat ko ito upang ipagtanggol kayo laban sa mabigat na kamalian na inyong naririnig. Kung tatahimik lang ako, baka kayo ay malinlang. Ipinagkaloob kayo ng Diyos sa amin, kaming inyong kaparian sa Lingayen Dagupan, bilang aming mga anak. Tungkulin naming magturo sa inyo. Maaaring may ilan sa inyo na hindi ako papansinin o kaya’y sawayin ako; ngunit hindi niyan ako mapatitigil na turuan ang mga tapat na naghahanap ng paggabay. Hindi ako maaaring huminto sa pag-aalay sa inyo ng katotohanan.

Narinig naman ninyo kung paanong tinuligsa na Pangulo ang ating mga Kristiyanong paniniwala. Paulit-ulit na pinagtatawanan ang salaysay ng paglikha. Narinig din ninyo na sinusumpa niya ang Diyos. Tinawag ang Diyos sa kung anu-anong nakaiinsultong pangalan—mga salitang sinasabi naming huwag ninyong sasambitin o kahit pa nga isusulat. Hinahamon pa kayo na tumiwalag sa Simbahan na inyong kiagisnan, ang Simbahan ng inyong mga lolo at lola.

Narito ang ilang tanong at tamang sagot mula sa YouCat (Young Catechism of the Catholic Church) at hinikayat ko kayong basahin ito.

Bakit tayo nilikha ng Diyos?

Nilikha tayo ng Diyos mula sa pag-ibig. Diyos ay pag-ibig. Huwag na huwag ninyo itong pagduduhan.

Ano ang relihiyon?

Ang relihiyon ay ang likas na paghahanap ng tao sa Diyos. Inilagay ng Diyos sa ating kalooban ang isang uri ng kawalang-kapanatagan na matutugunan lamang kapag nanahan tayo sa Diyos.

Ano ang ibig nating sabihin kapag sinasabi nating “Nilikha ng Diyos ang daigdig?”

Hindi nangangahulugan na mismong ang Diyos ang tuwirang nilikha ang buong mundo ng sabay-sabay, at nabuo na sa anim na araw, na para bagang nag Aklat ng Genesis ay isang kuwento ng pagsaksi. “Creationism” ang tawag sa kamalian ito. (YouCat 41)

Napakaliteral ng interpretasyon ng “creationism” sa Biblia. Mali ang ganitong pag-unawa sa turo na “Nilikha ng Diyos ang daigdig.”

Ang salaysay ng paglikha ay hindi isang siyentipikong modelo upang ipaliwanag kung paano nagsimula ang mundo. Kapag sinasabi nating  Nilikha ng Diyos ang daigdig, sinasabi nating niloob ng Diyos ang mundo. Nangangahulugan na ang daigdig ay hindi lang basta lumitaw.

Bawat isa sa atin ay bunga ng diwa ng Diyos, bawat isa ay minamahal, bawat isa ay kailangan. (Papa Benedicto XVI)

Nais ba ng Diyos na tayo’y magdusa at mamatay?

Hindi gusto ng Diyos ng tayo’y magdusa at mamatay. Pakinggan ang sinasabi ng mga banal.

Nawala sa atin ang Paraiso, ngunit tinanggap natin ay langit; ang gantimpala ay higit sa nawala. (San Juan Crisostomo)

Hindi nasisira ng kahinaan ng tao ang mga balak ng Diyos. Nakakapagtrabaho ang maestro karpintero kahit sa nahuhulog na mga bato. (Cardinal Michael Von Faulhaber)

O Diyos, pagbagsak ang tumalikod sa iyo. Pagtindig ang pagbaling sa iyo. Tiyak nap ag-alalay ang manataili sa iyo (San Agustin)

Hindi ba tanda ito ng kagandahan at karunungan ng Diyos? Tanging ang maganda at magaling na Diyos ang may kakayahang gawing dakilang biyaya ang pagkakasala. Ayaw ng demonyo ang ganitong uri ng pag-ibig. Hindi maunawaan o ayaw tanggapin ng demonyo ang napakalinaw. Nabubulagan ng kapalaluan ang demonyo kaya hindi siya makapagmahal tulad ng Diyos.

Ano ang kasalanang orihinal?

Bagamat ipinahihiwatig ng kasalanan ang pananagutan tao sa kanyang nagawa, hindi ganyan ang kasalanang orihinal.

Ganito ang paliwanag ni Papa Benedicto XVI. Isinilang ang tao na may patak ng nakalalasong pag-iisip ng “di pagtitiwala sa Diyos”. Ang tingin ng tao sa Diyos ay bilang “karibal” o “kalaban” na sumisikil sa ating kalayaan. May dalang “pagduda sa Diyos” ang tao. Inaakala ng tao na magiging ganap na tao tayo kung isasantabi natin ang Diyos. Nagtitiwala pa ang tao sa daya kaysa katotohanan. Dahil sa ganitong hilig, nahuhulog ang tao sa kahungkagan at kamatayan. Ganyan ang kasalanang orihinal. Dumating si Jesus upang iahon tayo sa Ganyang kahungkagan at kamatayan.

Ano ang kahulugan ng “Simbahan”?

Ang Simbahan ay tayong lahat na tinawag ng Diyos. Ang Simbahan ay hindi lang mga Obispo at pari, diakono at madre. Ang Simbahan ay sambayanan, ang mga taong sama-samang tinawag ng Diyos. Nais ng Diyos na iligtas tayo, hindi bilang indibiduwal, kundi bilang magkakasama. Itinutuloy ng Simbahan ang sinimulan ni Jesus.

Makasalanang institusyon ba ang Simbahan?

Kung tingnan sa labas, ang Simbahan ay isa lamang institusyon lumitaw sa kasaysayan, masasabing may mga kagitingan at mga kahinaan. Sa kasaysayan nito, marami siyang nagawang kamalian–at krimen pa nga—totoong Simbahan ng mga makasalanan.

Ngunit ang ganyang pananaw ay mababaw at kulang.

Sangkot na sangkot si Kristo sa ating mga makasalanan, kayat hindi niya pinababayaan ang kanyang Simbahan, kahit ipinagkakanulo siya nito araw-araw.

Ang Simbahan ay isang burda ng sala at biyaya. Sa Simbahan, ang makasalanang pagkatao at banal na pagkadiyos ay iisa. Hindi iniiwan ng kabanalan ng Diyos ang Simbahan.

Panahon na bang huminto sa paniniwala sa Diyos?

Sabi ni Papa Benedicto XVI, “Kapag naglalaho ang Diyos, hindi bumubuti ang mga tao. Nawawala ang kanilang dangal at kaluwalhatian at sa bandang huli ay naaabuso at nagagamit.”

Ito ang ipinakikita ngayon ng pambansang kalagayan. Kapag binabale-wala natin ang Diyos at minumura ang kanyang ngalan, mas madali na ang pagpatay. Naging normal na ang magnakaw. Tinatawanan ang kabastusan. Pinapalakpakan ang pangangalunya. Dahil gusto lang nating maalis ang Diyos sa ating buhay.

Ano ang ikalawang utos?

Huwag mong lapastangin ang pangalan ng Panginoon mong Diyos.

Ano ang hinihingi ng ikalawang utos?

Napakalaking kasalanan ang lapastanganin ang Diyos, ang magmura na gamit ang ngalan ng Diyos. Ang mga pook, bagay, ngalan at tao na nadantayan ng Diyos ay “banal”. Ang pagiging “sensitibo” sa banal ay tinatawag na “pitagan”.

“Pitagan ang haliging iniikutang ng daigdig,” ani  Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe. Kapag tinatabig natin ang pitagan sa banal, sinisira natin ang sandaigdigan.

Ano ang tungkulin ng mga mamamayan sa Estado?

Dapat mahalin ng Kristiyano ang kanyang bayan. Dapat nating ipagtanggol ang ating bansa sa panahon ng pangangailangan, paglingkuran ang mga institusyon nito, magbayad ng buwis, bumoto at kung kailangan ay tumakbo para sa posisyon sa gobierno. Bawat Kristiyano ay may karapatan na magbigay ng konstruktibong puna sa Estado at sa mga galamay nito. Ang Estado ay nariyan para sa tao, hindi ang indibiduwal para sa Estado (YouCat 376).

Kailan tayo dapat sumuway sa Estado?

Kapag ang Estado ay nagtatakda ng mga batas at patakaran na racista, sexista o mapanira sa buhay ng tao, ang isang Kristiyano ay inuudyukan ng budhi na sumuway sa Estado, tumangging makilahok, at magpahayag ng pagtutol.

Panawagan at Paalala

Minamahal kong mga anak sa Arsidiosesis ng Lingayen Dagupan, magdasal tayo ng rosaryo, magkumpisal at madalas na tumanggap ng Banal na Pakinabang. Nasa digmaan tayo ngayon laban sa kamalian at kasalanan. Protektahan ninyo ang inyong sarili laban sa mali at gabayan ang inyong kapwa kabataan tungo sa kabanalan. Magbasa pa tungkol sa pananampalataya. Pag-aralan ang tunay na turo ng Simbahan.

Huwag magtanim ng galit, ngunit maging mapanuri at mapangilatis. Maging magalang sa inyong mga magulang at sa mga may katungkulan at piliin ang mabuting asal sa lahat ng sandali, kahit kabaligtaran ang inyong naririnig at nakikita. Lakasan ninyo ang inyong loob, ngunit manatiling mapagmahal sa lahat ng oras. Maging matatag sa pananampalataya. Bawal ang duwag, ngunit huwag makipag-away. Gapiin ang kasamaan sa pamamagitan ng kabutihan (Roma 12:21)

Mula sa Katedral ni San Juan Ebangelista, Lungsod ng Dagupan, Junio 25, 2018. Banal na Kapistahan ni Santo Domingo Henares, isang misyonerong naglingkod sa Pangasinan at namatay bilang martir sa Vietnam.

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WE MUST NOT KEEP QUIET

Summary of the Prayer Reflection Session of the Clergy of the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan held last June 15, 2018

As our brother priest Father Richmond Nilo was being interred in Cabanatuan last Friday, the clergy of the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan gathered in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, to atone for the sins of blasphemy, sacrilege and murder that our blessed Lord and His Church are being subjected to these days.

We shared with one another our doubts and confusions, our frustrations and heart aches, our anger and our afflictions, our tears and our hopes. We shared our faith. We shared from the heart. We do feel the pain of persecution but we also know we are not forsaken. The consoling assurance of the Lord was overwhelming too.

Searching Our Hearts

We allowed our hearts to be disturbed by the noise of blasphemy, sacrilege and murder. We are not quiet. Our souls are ready to be disturbed for conversion.

In what ways have we contributed to the erosion of moral values so much relished by Catholic Filipinos for centuries? Is there anything of what we do or how we live or how we preach that make those who ridicule the Church and curse God sound right?

Have we failed the Lord and failed in our mission to be credible teachers? Is not the ignorance of our people about moral values an indication that we have failed in our mission to teach? Are we really being persecuted or are we just being shaken from stupor?

We recalled how Shimei threw stones and cursed David but David refused to stop the cursing. Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction and repay me with good for the curses he is uttering this day. (2Sam 16:12).

Is this the time to live the Lord’s command Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:28)?

We prayed and searched for answers in grief but with hope, with anger but with tenderness.

The Authority of Experience

There is an authority that we churchmen hold, or at least, believe we hold. That authority comes from the faith transmitted to us from the first companions of Jesus. We teach that the Church stands on solid rock with Jesus as the cornerstone. We are keepers of tradition. Tradition has its authority.

There is another authority that universities hold. Schools of learning keep safe the authority of truth. They hold the wisdom than men and women down the ages have handed down to us. Experts and masters are holders of this authority.

But there is yet another source of authority that is growing in credibility amongst us–the authority of experience. It is neither divinely revealed truth nor a researched or invented learning. It is the glorification of experience as the best teacher. How can we refute experience?

These times perhaps demand from us not just to guard and teach the Truth that we have received or look at new expressions to teach those truths. Our countrymen need to experience us as friends not as moralizing guardians. Our countrymen need to experience kindness from us before we give a homily on compassion. Our countrymen need to experience us as one of them. We can preach to empty stomachs if the stomach of the parish priest is as empty as the stomach of his parishioners. We must let go of our entitlements.

The growing importance of experience as teacher also prompts us priests to see and believe that God is at work among our people; that it is not just books that teach but ordinary people as well. Each person has a lesson to teach. If we are to continue our mission as teachers, we must not forget our need to be taught all the time. This calls for much humility from us. It needs patience. It needs an open mind.

We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us

We must not keep quiet but neither do we forget that we preach best not by talking but by example.

We admit: we need to improve our homilies. This is the perennial complaint against us. The people crave for relevant, nourishing and refreshing preaching. We need to make the sacraments and sacramentals memorable experiences in faith. Sloppy vestments and careless gestures at the altar do not inspire. We must avoid being too casual with sacred things lest the sacred events become disdainful.

There are days of fasting and days of abstinence. We should fast more. Let us go farther and fast on our own beyond the required laws of fasting. Let us move deeper than where we are and return to ascetic practices. If our nation seems possessed by evil, let us not forget that some evils can only be cast out by prayer and fasting (cfr.Mark 9:29).

We recognize that the best place to change society is in the confessional; unfortunately, we hardly sit there. The confessional increases our capacity for love. Conversions that happen in confession are the enduring conversions that change society. We need to take time to be visible again in the confessional waiting patiently for every penitent. True love waits. Mercy is not in hurry.

But We Cannot Keep Quiet

How can we keep quiet when the blood of the killed is crying from the ground? How can we keep quiet when the majesty of God is being pounced? How can we keep quiet when the noise of vulgarity is all over the air? How can we keep quiet when fake news seems more credible than truth?

Yes we are dirty and filthy, dirtier than our detractors can imagine, but the Lord has looked kindly upon us. We are not here as holier than the flock. We are here as the most miserable among sinners but we have been raised to this dignity by the sheer kindness of the Almighty. We have no illusions of sanctity. But not even our sins can stop us from teaching the Gospel. Woe to us if we do not preach. We cannot keep quiet. We would be judged by the Word made flesh for keeping quiet. Not even our sins can stop us from proclaiming the Gospel because the power of the Gospel is not from us but from God. We are earthen vessels (2Cor 4:7)

From deeper prayer, we will refute error. From more fasting, we will share our love. From longer silence, we will teach right. From being forgiven, we will forgive. From being broken, we will heal. From our loneliness, we will console. From our dirt, we will rise with our people to return to the house of the Father.

It is not in our nature as priests to keep quiet. We are men of the Word. We cannot keep quiet; but we are not noise makers. We break our silence in order to be teachers by example ready even for martyrdom. We will keep teaching. Kill us if they wish but our blood will speak louder than our voices. There is a message that only martyrdom can teach. We will not be threatened.

Our only fear is to fail the Lord. We are not afraid. We trust in the Lord. For us life is Christ and death is gain! (Phil 1:21)

From the Archbishop’s House, Jovellanos Street, Dagupan City, June 18, 2018

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

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