Archive for July 2011
Dagupan City – 25 July 2011. “Grant, we pray, Almighty Father, to this, your servant, the dignity of the priesthood..”
Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, DD, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, ordained to the sacred order of the priesthood, Rev. Dexter Zamora Cariño in solemn rites of ordination celebrated at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Dagupan City. It was attended by the new priest’s family, relatives and friends. Msgr. Renato P. Mayugba, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, and more than 60 priests of the archdiocese concelebrated with Archbishop Villegas.
The Sacred Order of the Priesthood
The ordination to the priesthood is one of the most solemn occasions in the Church. From among God’s people, men are especially called by Christ to live in His name and preach the Gospel. Rev. Father Dexter Z. Cariño is called also to perpetuate the fruits of Jesus’ eternal Sacrifice on the Cross through the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.
Guilt, Grace, Gratitude
At the same time, he told Fr. Dexter that as he would celebrate mass, he should not forget who he is before God who knows everything about him, including his sins. “Do not forget the sense of sin in your priesthood.” This sense of sin and unworthiness should make you ask for forgiveness from God, and whenever you would pray the “I confess..’, or the prayers before and after you read the Gospel, “Cleanse my heart and my lips, almighty God, that I may worthily proclaim your holy Gospel”, and “Through the words of the Gospel may our sins be wiped away.”
The Archbishop mentioned the greatness of God’s grace in spite of one’s guilt. “God touches you and says, ‘I don’t care about your guilt! How awesome and wonderful is the love of God for you!” “Ordination is not a reward, but God’s gift and grace to you”, he further said.
In response to this mysterious gift and grace from God, the Archbishop told Fr. Dexter to be grateful to God. “Celebrate the Eucharist in thanksgiving for your priesthood. Make an effort to offer daily the Eucharist in gratitude for God’s gift and grace”. “Touched by God’s grace, you can only say ‘Thank You, Lord! Kahanga-hanga ang pag-ibig ng Dios. Salamat sa Dios’. Experience the love of God for you in spite of everything.”
The newly ordained priest in his thanksgiving speech, mentioned four families he was born into. To these, he expressed his gratitude: to his family and relatives, to the family of the community of people, to the family of seminarians and to the family of priests.
Fr. Dexter is assigned as the parochial vicar in the Cathedral Parish of St. John the Evangelist, Dagupan City. The pastoral assignment of Fr. Dexter was read by Rev. Fr. Jeremias B. Cera, Vice-Chancellor.
(Pictures courtesy of Fr. Estephen Espinoza)
July 25, 2011
Feast of St. James the Great
My dear brothers in the priesthood:
Please be reminded that the annual clergy retreat for all diocesan and religious priests doing pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan will be from August 1 to 5, 2011 at the Good Shepherd Spiritual Center, Sumulong Highway, Antipolo City.
All the priest-retreatants will go together by a common bus from Saint John Cathedral in Dagupan at 7:00 am on August 1 and will pick up other retreatants from the Parish of Saint Ildephonse in Malasiaqui onward to the retreat venue.
We will have a team of retreat facilitators including Father Catalino Arevalo, SJ, Father James Ferry, MM, and me. The retreat will end with a Mass in the morning of August 5 with the Bishop of Antipolo presiding. We hope to be back to Pangasinan by August 5 in the afternoon.
Please request your parishioners to pray for us during our retreat days. The parishioners with substitute guest priests while we make the retreat must coordinate with the guest priests assigned to them about the parish duties and schedule.
Oremus pro invicem.
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
Homily delivered by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas during the Mass held on July 22, 2011 on the occasion of the declaration of the Shrine of Manaoag as an affiliate of the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major.
Something is memorable about today. On this same day, the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene in 1587, the first Dominican friars arrived in the Philippines to start their mission to bring Christ to this part of the world. The first four Dominicans went right away to Bataan while six other Dominicans went straight to Pangasinan. Bataan and Pangasinan, blessed provinces indeed to have first heard the Good News from eloquent Dominican preaching! Other religious orders came to Pangasinan ahead of the Dominicans but abandoned the mission too soon. Against all odds, the Dominicans came, lived among us and have continued to live on. We gratefully stand on the shoulders of the great Dominicans down through the centuries.
That initial seed of faith has borne rich harvests for the Lord yielding abundant fruits of sanctity and martyrdom, heroism and statesmanship, excellence and magnanimitas. In this part of the country, the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Manaoag has drawn millions of pilgrims seeking healing for body and spirit, success and victory in their undertakings, peace and serenity in the midst of life’s troubles. The poor and the rich, young and old, men and women, powerless and powerful—they are all children of the Virgin of Manaoag. No one has gone to Manaoag and left the shrine the same. All of us have been touched by the Virgin’s loving presence. All of us have been spoken to by our Mother ‘s sweet voice. All of us have experienced what it is to be gazed upon by our tender mother. All of us have become what we are because Manaoag has been a blessing for us.
Today, you have every reason to be proud children of the Virgin of Manaoag. This shrine of our Lady is the first, and until now the only, church in the Philippines to be given the title “affiliate” of one of the four papal basilicas. This shrine, among all other shrines, has been honored by the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome with a special bond of spiritual affinity in perpetuity! The spiritual benefits that you can gain by visiting the papal basilicas, you can also receive by visiting the Shrine of Manaoag. The only one in the Philippines right now! Manaoag, you are blessed among all the Marian shrines of this country.
What is special about this affiliation with the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore?
This basilica holds the relics of the crib where our Lord lay when He was born from the Virgin Mary. This same basilica is the oldest church dedicated to the holy Mother of God as a fruit of the Council of Ephesus in the year 431. According to Catholic pious tradition, the site of the basilica was personally chosen by the Blessed Virgin when during a summer month in Rome, snow appeared over the hill where the present basilica now stands. For some periods in church history, the popes also lived in this basilica. This is the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. People of God: please realize that Manaoag has been deemed worthy to be linked to this rich history and immeasurable value of the papal basilica of the Mother of God! Manaoag is now a part of that historic papal basilica. How can we not be proud! How can we keep quiet when the grace of God is so admirably and incredibly shown to us! Like Charlie Brown, we say, it is very difficult to be humble when you are as great as Manaoag!
But as we celebrate with pride and joy this singular honor being given to the Shrine of Manaoag, we must not forget that even before the affiliation of these two great church buildings, we have long been considered affiliates of God himself. We are his sons and daughters. No honor can equal that of being called a child of God. The church of Manaoag is beautiful and historic, it is memorable and awesome. The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is an even more magnificent piece of church art. But someday in God’s time, these churches that our eyes see will crush down and crumble. But you, you are destined for life without destruction, life everlasting, life without end. The church of Manaoag and the basilica of Santa Maria are beautiful but you are more beautiful than these churches. Men and women made these churches but you—God alone can make you. How beautiful you all are! You have been made only a little lower than the angels. You are awesome and beautiful to behold for you carry the imprint of God’s love in you. Ang gaganda nating lahat!
What does the affiliation of the Shrine of Manaoag with the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore mean for us?
The Holy Father assures all the pilgrims who come to this revered sanctuary his apostolic blessings and the spiritual graces of the Church. In Manaoag, the voice of Our Lady will always be heard “Turn away from sin and return to my Son”. In Manaoag, the voice of the priests saying over our offerings of bread and wine “This is my Body…This is my Blood” will be heard, constantly inviting the faithful to receive the Lord in Holy Communion. In Manaoag, the rosary will be prayed without relent and vigil candles will burn day and night as a tribute of love to the handmaid of the Lord. In Manaoag, the Supreme Pontiff the Pope can always count on his spiritual warriors praying that the mission of Peter may continue in the church with loving children faithfully obeying him. In Manaoag, we commit to be proud of our Catholic faith, to defend it, to preserve it, to share it, to live it.
As you can see, our affiliation with the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore speaks more of duties than privileges. This affiliation demands from us greater fidelity to the Lord and to the Church. It calls on us for more heroic obedience. It challenges us to be more vigilant against the attacks to our faith, to be more humble and to be more repentant, to be more zealous and to be more loving. Truth to tell, the real indulgence is really when all of us live as faithful disciples of her Son. Come to Manaoag not for the blessings you can get or for the indulgences you can gain. Come to Manaoag to renew your faith, to strengthen your hope and to increase your love. This is the real fullness of grace! This is how our Lady, full of grace, wants us to be!
Our Lady of Manaoag, you know my love for you. Help me to love you even more. Virgin of Manaoag, I heard your voice calling me to follow Jesus. Help me to follow Him as you did. Loving Mother of Manaoag, I am all yours, the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan is all yours, my life, my vocation is all yours. Take me into your arms and let me stay with you forever. Loving Lady, I love you. Amen.
Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Manaoag and Saint Mary Major in Rome: A Special Bond of Spiritual Affinity
Manaoag, Pangasinan – 22 July 2011. In solemn rites attended by thousands of Marian devotees, the “Special Bond of Spiritual Affinity” between the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Manaoag was formally proclaimed.
The formal proclamation was read during the Holy Mass presided by the Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, DD, the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, with the Most Rev. Renato P. Mayugba, DD, Auxiliary of Lingayen-Dagupan and Most Rev. Marlo M. Peralta, Bishop of Alaminos. The two Vatican Decrees were first read in Latin and then in English. The two documents were separately signed by Fortunatus S. R. E. Cardinal Baldelli, Paenitentiarius Maior and Bernard Francis Cardinal Law, Papalis Basilicae Liberianae Archipresbyter on 20 April 2011 and 21 April 2011, respectively.
The marker commemorating the event was blessed before the solemn Eucharistic Celebration.
“Today, you have every reason to be proud children of the Virgin of Manaoag. This shrine of our Lady is the first, and until now, the only church in the Philippines to be given the title ‘affiliate’ on one of the four papal basilicas”, Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas said in his homily. (Please read Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas’ homily “The Greatness of Manaoag” by following this link).
“The spiritual benefits that you can gain by visiting the papal basilicas, you can also receive by visiting the Shrine of Manaoag. … The Holy Father assures all the pilgrims who come to this revered sanctuary his apostolic blessings and the spiritual graces of the Church”
By virtue of the Spiritual Bond of Affinity on 20 April 2011, the Apostolic Penitentiary granted in perpetuity that Plenary Indulgence may be obtained from the Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Manaoag, provided that in addition to living a virtuous Christian life, they comply with the conditions required, namely: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intention of the Pope with the rite having been completed by the truly repentant faithful in the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Most Holy Rosary.
Those who wish to receive the plenary indulgence must participate in the following:
1. On the Feast day of the titular Liberian Basilica, namely on 5 August;
2. On the Feast day of the titular church itself, (1st Sunday of October and 3rd Wednesday during Easter Season);
3. On all the Solemnities of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God;
4. In the same year, on the day freely chosen by each of the faithful;
5. As often as a group of pilgrims go there for reason of devotion.
Indulgences remit temporal punishment due to sin which is already forgiven. An indulgence, according to Can. 992, of the Code of Canon Law, is “the remission before God of temporal punishment for sins whose guilt is already forgiven, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faithful gains under certain and defined conditions by the assistance of the Church which as minister of redemption dispenses and applies authoritatively the treasury of the satisfactions of the Christ and the saints”.
Indulgences do not forgive sin, but remit punishment due to already forgiven sin. The indulgences do not eliminate the need for or substitute for Confession, but rather presuppose that one has already received sacramental absolution in Confession (for those who were in a state of moral sin). Hence, one must be in the state of grace to receive indulgences.
Plenary and Partial Indulgence
A plenary indulgence is a complete remission of all temporal punishment due to sin. A partial indulgence frees a person from some of the temporal punishment due to sin.
Indulgences do not eliminate the requirement of restitution, but should be obtained in addition to making restitution. For example, if someone were to steal an item from another, he should go to Confession ( and receive sacramental absolution), restore the item (or otherwise make full restitution), and obtain indulgences.
(Photos courtesy of Fr. Estephen Espinoza)
16 July 2011 – Dagupan City. An estimated 4,500 people from all walks of life joined the “Run for Life” organized by the Ministry of Social Action (MISA) and the Family and Life Apostolate (FLA) of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, led the runners in church’s defense, protection and promotion of life.
“Run for Your Life”
Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas with the clergy of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan celebrated mass before the actual run. In his homily, Archbishop Villegas recalled the July 16, 1990 earthquake. He said that when the earthquake struck Dagupan and several towns of Pangasinan, it was a “run for your life”. People were running for safety, running for their lives. “Some chose to leave Dagupan City; but many chose to stay to rebuild what was destroyed by the earthquake”, he further said. “We are commemorating today the heroism of Pangasinenses and the people of Dagupan!”
The 1990 Earthquake
On July 16, 1990, Monday, at 4:26 PM local time, the densely populated island of Luzon was struck by an earthquake with a 7.8 magnitude at the Richter scale. About 90 buildings in Dagupan City were damaged, and about 20 collapsed. Some structures sustained damage because liquefaction caused buildings to sink as much as 1 meter (39 inches). The earthquake caused a decrease in the elevation of the city and several areas were flooded. There were 17 deaths recorded in Dagupan City in that earthquake.
21 years later: A New Earthquake
Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas said that a new earthquake is among us today, 21 years after the earthquake of 1990. “We are praying that there will be no more earthquakes. But there is another earthquake that is slowly destroying us, eating us up.” Archbishop Villegas called this new earthquake: moral degradation.
Speaking in front of the young who composed the majority of those who celebrated the mass, he said that when he was young the words “abortion”, “divorce”, “euthanasia”, “Same sex marriage” were not yet in his vocabulary. “These words have now become part of your vocabulary today. These are destroying you!”
“Boiling a Frog”
A frog when put in a boiling water will jump out of the container. He said that when you put a frog in a cold water, it will stay and swim leisurely. If the water is slowly heated up, the frog will not notice the change of temperature. It will not jump. It will stay until we will have a boiled frog! Archbishop Villegas likened the moral degradation that is killing our soul and society to the frog who did not notice the gradual boiling of water leading to its death. He challenged the youth not to be eaten up by these “bad words” in the society today but instead to stand up for life, defend life, promote life.
Participants from all walks of life
The more than 4,500 participants came from the different parishes and schools of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, students from the different colleges and universities in Dagupan City, non-government organizations as well as the members of the Couples for Christ. Governor Amado T. Espino, Governor of Pangasinan, former Speaker Jose de Venecia and Congresswoman Gina de Venecia and Congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco and several government officials joined the advocacy for life.
The run has 1K, 3K, 5K and 10K distances. The finishers were given ID cards telling that they have completed the run. They also put their thumb marks in a huge “Run for Life” board.
The Catholic Church has always been teaching the value and dignity of human life. Blessed Pope John Paul II in his Evangelium Vitae: "Precisely in an age when the inviolable rights of the person are solemnly proclaimed and the value of life is public affirmed, the very right to life is being denied or trampled upon, especially at the more significant moments of existence: the moment of birth and the moment of death." (Evangelium Vitae no. 18, John Paul II)
The Church has the duty and the obligation to defend life from the many attempts to demean and even to destroy it, where a life is preferred over material and economic gains or over the quality of life of another: the sick over the healthy, the poor and the underprivileged over the wealthy and the powerful, the young over the old.
Abortion and Contraception
It has been noted that couples who unintentionally conceive a child while using contraception are far more likely to resort to abortion than others. Tragically, our society is being bombarded by the mentality that views children as a burden and invites many to consider abortion as a "backup" to contraceptive failure. The Church warns that with the acceptance and use of contraception, so will come the acceptance and use of abortion. An end to abortion will not come from contraceptive campaigns but from a deeper understanding of human sexuality, and of human life, as sacred gifts deserving careful stewardship.
Mother Teresa’s quotation on life
Printed on the tarpaulin for the thumb marks of the run-finishers are the words of Blessed Mother Teresa: “Life is beautiful, admire it; life is costly, care for it; life is wealth, keep it; life is a promise, fulfill it; life is too precious, do not destroy it; life is life, fight for it”.
(Pictures courtesy of Fr. Manuel delos Santos, from his Facebook account)