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Circular 2017-16: Pari sa Sambayanan

October 10, 2017

Circular 2017-16: Clergy Formation

Reverend Fathers:

In pursuit of the need for ongoing formation for the clergy as indicated during the Second Synod of Lingayen Dagupan, we shall have a seminar for diocesan and religious priests entitled Pari para sa Sambayanan to be held in two batches on October 26 (first batch) and October 27 (second batch) both at the Guerrero Hall of the Archbishop’s House from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm.

The aim of this seminar is to equip our clergy with skills and knowledge in community organizing and pastoral leadership. I trust that you agree that such talents are greatly needed these days in view of our current social situation and on account of the vision set forth by the Synod.

You are kindly requested to contact the Chancery in order to reserve a slot in the batch you have chosen to join before October 16, 2017.

Thank you for your openness to participate in ongoing formation programs like this.

Oremus pro invicem.

Sincerely yours,

 

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

To be Angels of Compassion

Law enforcers have come forward confidentially to us, their spiritual leaders, to seek sanctuary, succor and protection. They have expressed their desire to come out in the open about their participation in extrajudicial killings and summary executions. Their consciences are troubling them.

We will look prudently into the sincerity of their motives and the veracity of their stories. Within the bounds of Church and civil laws, we express our willingness to grant them accommodation, shelter and protection (including their families if necessary). The hospitality, comfort and acceptance that they seek from the Church will be attended to. Whatever we do to the least of our brethren we do to Christ. (cfr. Mt. 25:40)

If such law-enforcers wish to testify, then the Catholic Church will see to it that they are in no way induced to speak, to disclose nor to make allegations by any member of the clergy or the hierarchy. Statements, especially in the form of affidavits and depositions, must be made with the assistance of competent independent counsel. If their preference is to stay with us in the Church, they will not be turned over to the State under its own witness-protection program.

My brothers priests in Lingayen Dagupan are requested, in the name of the Lord, to open their hearts and their rectories, the convents of religious communities and seminaries as well as other secure buildings and to be responsible for the security of the gallant men and women in uniform who may have something important to tell the nation or to testify on before the proper forum.

But our priests are admonished to refrain from discussing with “asylum-seekers” the contents of their testimonies and depositions. It is furthermore recommended that volunteer lawyers, preferably those who belong to alternative law groups, assist the witness and also readily affirm that no member of the clergy instructed, directed, and couched the testimonies they give.

But when they so decide or opt to identify themselves and to testify, every means must be provided for a fair, accurate and unconstrained or unrestrained testimony that may be used in evidence.

We are likewise putting our Ministry of Mercy at the service of these law enforcers who need the hospitality of the Church. In the areas of pastoral counselling and values formation, the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan will be the loving teacher and mother of our law enforcers. Let us be guardian angels for one another.

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, October 2, 2017, Memorial of the Guardian Angels

+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Circular 2017-15: Oratio Imperata for October

September 22, 2017

Circular 2017-15

Oratio Imperata for October

Reverend Fathers, brothers and sisters in consecrated life:

Trusting in the power of prayer, we renew our practice of praying to the Lord to deliver us His flock from calamities.  With strong typhoons, destructive floods and high intensity earthquakes happening in many different parts of the world, we turn to the Lord who created everything to deliver us from these calamities.

Enclosed is the ORATIO IMPERATA Against Calamities in English, Tagalog, Pangasinan and Ilocano to be prayed BEFORE the Post Communion Prayer in ALL Masses in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan from October 1 until 31 this year.

Prayer has power. Prayer is our power. We trust in the mercy of God.

Sincerely yours,

 

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

 

BAYAN GUMISING!

Homily delivered by Archbishop Socrates B Villegas at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist Dagupan City on September 21, 2017 at 12noon

Today is the feast of Saint Matthew one of the writers of the Gospel. He found Jesus. He followed Jesus. He wrote about Jesus. He died like Jesus offering the Mass and stabbed to death from behind his back.

The color of Saint Matthew’s day is red. Red is for blood. Red is for faithfulness. Red is for courage.

Forty five years ago, the red of Saint Matthew’s day was replaced by black, the black of darkness, the black of uncertainty, the black of death, the black of warrantless arrests, the black of solitary confinement, the black of bleak future, the black of lost freedoms. Many died in the dark of midnight with no hope of seeing the dawn.

Araw ng Kahihiyan

When we were children forty five years ago, we were compelled to call this day Araw ng Pasasalamat. The vision forty five years ago was a new society bagong lipunan where discipline was observed but opposition was silenced. The streets were clean but dead bodies were mixed with garbage in the dumping sites. There were admirable cultural buildings and long bridges across wide rivers but the wheels of justice had stopped turning and money was the right of a lucky few. Our elders spoke in whispers for fear someone was spying. We had elections but we knew the results even before the ballots were cast. Television and radio were censored and newspapers were controlled.

Martial law destroyed our national values and ruined our integrity. Martial law was sustained by a culture of lies. Martial law stayed afloat by murders in the dark of night and in the light of day.

Martial was murders and lies. Martial law was hidden wealth and fake medals. Martial law was the egoism and insanity of the dictator.

Araw ng Kadakilaan

But those years of murders and falsehood also brought about the best in so many. It made so many our elders martyrs for freedom and heroes of democracy. When darkness set in, many of our leaders chose to light a candle rather to curse the darkness. Our heroes and martyrs of martial law fought darkness with light and fought evil with the power of good.

They refused to bow down to the authoritarian rule and made the grounds where they stood holy by their courage and conviction. The martial law years made us see the weeds from the wheat, the opportunists from the real patriots, the true Filipinos from the fake ones.

May mga bayaning kinilala ng bayan at tinatanawan ng utang na loob. May mga bayaning nakiangkas lang sa bandang huli. May balimbing na sisipsip kahit kanino mayroon din namang nanindigan sa prinsipyo kahit kailan.

For the martyrs and heroes of martial law, we offer our thanksgiving to the Lord. We are standing on their shoulders, they who died in the darkness without seeing the sunrise. Sa mga balimbing hanggang ngayon, walang kupas at walang kahihiyan, maawa kayo sa bayan!

Araw ng Pagbabantay

We have only martial law in Mindanao but the murders are all over more than 13,000 now since last year. Killing the poor and the poorest is the only solution they know to stop crime. Fake news abound and liars succeed to mislead and confuse. Decency has given way to cuss words. The respectful and the polite are ridiculed and the rude and ill-mannered are the new saints. Human rights and the indigenous peoples are worth one thousand pesos.

We must stand up for the real Filipino. Marangal tayo. Magalang tayo. Makabuhay tayo. Matapat tayo. Matapang tayo. We are losing our national soul to the Father of Lies and Prince of Darkness. They are killing the poor and poisoning our consciences.  We must return to the Lord and regain our national soul.

We pray to stay free. We ring bells every night. We light candles. We help the orphans of the killings.But we must do more!

We have a right as people to demand change. We voted for change and we want to see it. Keep on demanding for it. Do not relent. Do not tolerate excuses and jokes. Demand for the change promised. Bayan gumising!

 

The change we need is for the better not the change from life to death. We need a change from darkness into light not the change of darkness into deeper darkness. Bayan gumising!

Wrong is wrong and right is right. When they confuse one for the other, stand up and correct the wrong with courage but with love. Stand up. To keep quiet in the face of evil is a sin. Bayan gumising!

Let the September 21 forty five years ago be the last Araw ng Kahihiyan. Never again!

Let everyday be Araw ng Kadakilaan. Bawat Pilipino bayani!

Let every moment be Araw ng PagbabantayHuwag na tayong papayag na mawalang muli ang ating kalayaan.

Panginoon maawa po kayo sa Pilipinas hirap na hirap na po kami. Palayain po ninyo kami sa aming sariling pang lilinlang at kabaliwan!

LORD HEAL OUR LAND (2 Chronicles 7:14)

CBCP Pastoral Letter

Our brothers and sisters in Christ:

Kian, Carl, Reynaldo…they were young boys, enjoying life, loving sons of parents who doted on them.  Now an entire nation knows them by name because their lives have been snuffed out so cruelly, their dreams and aspirations forever consigned to the sad realm of “what could have been but never will be”.

They cannot be statistics, for to reduce them to numbers in an increasing tally is to heap yet more injustice than has already been visited on them.  They are only three of so many, awfully many, who have paid the price of what is touted to be the country’s resolute drive against criminality!

We mourn.  The nation must beat its breast in a collective admission of guilt for in our silence and in our inaction, in our diffidence and in our hesitation lie our complicity in their deaths!

We are appalled by the remorselessness by which even the young are executed.  The relentless and bloody campaign against drugs that shows no sign of abating impels us your bishops to declare:

In the name of God, stop the killings! May the justice of God come upon those responsible for the killings!

For the good of the country, stop the killings! The toll of “murders under investigation” must stop now.

For the sake of the children and the poor, stop their systematic murders and spreading reign of terror! In memory of those killed, let us start the healing of our bleeding nation.

The healing must begin. Malasakit must be restored. Pakikiramay must be active. Pakikipag kapwa tao must be gained back.  The rule of law must prevail.

Because we Christians are heralds of a Gospel of Life there is no way that one can be a faithful Christian, let alone a fervent Catholic, and yet stay safely quiet in the face of these shocking attacks against human life.  The very Gospel that the Church was founded to teach is a Gospel of Life. The Church must either be at the forefront of the intense and fervent struggle against a culture of death or the Church betrays Christ.

Saint John Paul II taught years many years ago:

Brother kills brother. Like the first fratricide, every murder is a violation of the “spiritual” kinship uniting mankind in one great family, in which all share the same fundamental good: equal personal dignity.…

Cain’s killing of his brother at the very dawn of history is thus a sad witness of how evil spreads with amazing speed: man’s revolt against God in the earthly paradise is followed by the deadly combat of man against man. (EV, 8)

When we label members of our society because of the offenses they commit – or that we impute rightly or wrongly against them – as “unsalvageable”, “irremediable”, “hopelessly perverse” or “irreparably damaged”, then it becomes all the easier for us to consent to their elimination if not to participate outright in their murder. We stand firmly against drugs and the death drugs have caused, but killing is not the solution of the problem.

The mercy of the Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine in search of the lost sheep is the only reason why we are still here—awa ng Diyos.  The “mandate” to kill the lost sheep is poison for humanity.  The wounded need healing, not more blows, and the fallen need our hands to be able to rise again, not our feet to trample on them.

We your bishops call for pakikiramay, pakikipagkapwa-tao and malasakit in action; the action to which we bid you all is utterly Christian.  It is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal – the action of prayer.

1.    We invite you to offer prayers particularly for those killed in the government’s campaign against drugs, as well as for all victims of violence and the war in Marawi, in our country for a FORTY DAY period, starting SEPTEMBER 23 and ending on NOVEMBER 1.  Please offer the rosary daily for the killed and receive Holy Communion as an offering for their souls. May the souls of the killed find rest. Prayer heals us. Prayer helps their souls.

2.   Subject to the approval of the diocesan bishops, we appeal for the pealing of church bells at 8:00 pm during the same forty day period in remembrance of the souls of those killed. The ancient pious tradition of De Profundis is worth restoring. Let the bells call us to pray for the dead.

3.   One beautiful Filipino custom observed in prayerful remembrance of the dead is the tirik ng kandila sa patay.  So we urge our Filipino Catholics, during this same 40 day period, to light candles in front of their homes, in cemeteries, in public places, and particularly, at spots where the victims of the on-going violence have been felled and have lost their lives, while praying for them and for their families. Candle lighting can soothe grieving hearts.

4.   Finally, we beg you to contribute to the support and the schooling of the orphaned children of the victims of these murders, or of their siblings, or the support and sustenance of their families. Almsgiving covers many sins. Almsgiving heals.

We intend to offend none but the evil in our midst.  We are angry at none but the indifference amongst us. We fight the darkness not with spark of bullets but with the light of Christ. We beg for prayers and we ask for a change of heart in all of us.

Let us turn once more to God, for they who put their trust in bullets and weapons will be confounded.  But upon the nation that turns to God and prays, God promises the healing of the land and the calming of the storms that rage in our hearts.

Let the healing begin.

For the Permanent Council of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Intramuros, Manila, September 12, 201

 

+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

President, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines

 

 

 

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