Archive for September 2011
Homily delivered by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas at the Mass on the occasion of the Second Asia Oceania Mariological Conference held at the San Sebastian Metropolitan Cathedral last September 9, 2011.
My dear sons and daughters of the handmaid of the Lord:
We have come together around the table of the Lord to thank Him for the gift of Mary for the Church. Human words and human deeds are so inadequate to express our gratitude for such a sweet gift to humanity like Mary. We ask Jesus to bring to the Father our praise and thanksgiving. Today, on the first working day of our mariological conference, let us put ourselves inside the heart of Jesus and allow Jesus to speak for us to the Father. Almighty God, we adore you and we praise you for blessing Mary among all women and creating her full of grace. Through Mary, we received Jesus your Son whose birth has made all things new for us here on earth.
What does Mary teach us about the Eucharist? What does the Eucharist teach us about the Mother of Christ? Is Mary here with us now? Was Mary at the Upper Room when Jesus instituted this sacrament? Was Mary at the Last Supper?
To the last question “Was Mary at the Upper Room at the Last Supper?” our first reply must be “The gospels are quiet about it.” The gospels do not say she was not there; neither do the gospels declare her presence. Blessed John Paul II answered the question for us by saying “Although the gospels are silent about the presence of Mary at the first Eucharist, in my heart I know that Mary was at the Last Supper.”
Let us reflect on the words of Jesus “This is my Body…This is my Blood!” Where did Jesus get that body but from the body of Mary! Where did Jesus get that blood but from the blood of Mary! He was born from the Virgin! The Virgin whose body has never been known by man; the Virgin whose every drop of life blood has been dedicated to God, allowed her body to become the tabernacle of God for nine months. Indeed, the Body of Christ is the body of Mary. The Blood of Christ is the blood of Mary. Was Mary at the first Eucharist? I answer with another question “How can Mary not be there?” She must be there because the Eucharist is the reason why the Son of God wanted to become man—so that He can give us His body and Blood for the forgiveness of our sins.
The Eucharist is the love of Jesus for us at its highest and deepest. Jesus is able to show us this depth and height of His love because He has a Body like us human beings, that Body he received from the body of His Virgin Mother. Do you understand how much Jesus loves you? Brethren, you will never completely understand how much God loves you in the Eucharist because if you would understand, you would die. Your mind is too small and your heart is too little to fully understand how much Jesus loves you through the Eucharist.
Do you understand what power is given to us by God in the Eucharist? The Eucharist has power to change the cosmos. The Eucharist has power to change society. The Eucharist has power to change all of us. We have within our hands and in our hearts the singular secret for the transformation of society—the Eucharist. If our devotion to Mary will have any impact for social engagement and cosmic transformation, that power cannot come from this woman but from her Son. How are we to use the power of the Body of Christ for total human development and human liberation?
The Eucharist and our Lady teach us that the most powerful person is the most generous person. There is power in giving. This world is weak because it seeks its power in grabbing. This society is a slave of its own obsession to get more, to gain more, to accumulate more. If the Church is to be an instrument of true social change, it must heroically teach society that there is no greater love than to die for your beloved and the one who stoops down to give humble service is the greatest of all. People who do not give do not get richer; they die early. They die even if they are still alive because they have lost the meaning of living which is giving. God started the cycle of giving by sending us His only Son. Mary joined the bandwagon of giving by giving her yes, her body, her soul, herself to the plan of God. We can change the world and set our society free from all its enslavements by proclaiming the value and beauty and power of selfless giving. There can be no true liberation without giving. There can only be true development if we give like Jesus and Mary.
To the secularism and materialism that is almost omnipresent like God, the Eucharist and our Lady offer a deep sense of mystery. When we lose the sense of mystery, we lose our sense of wonder and awe. We are no longer captivated by visions and dreams and we live like a people with nothing to look forward to. The dollar is almighty and the bullet solves all problems. The self is number one and what cannot be seen does not exist. When we forget the joy of kneeling down caught in awe and captivated by the sacred, we also lose the joy of living. This world has enslaved itself to materialism and pragmatism. Society needs to be set free from its enchainment to a Godless ideologies.
Lastly, the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary can bring the world and our society a sense of freedom by proclaiming the gospel of presence. The onset of the internet and computer generation has also opened a new chapter in human history called virtual presence. Our loved ones are absent to us. We have become comfortable with distances and separation. Absence does not hurt anymore. Children do not play games with one another anymore. The computer is their playmate. The teacher is a robot. Everything is available from the clicking a button. This age of absence has also made us more impatient and stressed. The Eucharist is presence. It is a presence of love. It is presence in patience. It is a presence in trust and faith. Nearness and presence is a message of love. Although travel and communication has become so much easier, people have become more isolated and loneliness has spread more. The world needs to be liberated from the loneliness and depression. It needs to hear the gospel of presence. Presence and love go together always.
If the Church is to be an instrument of social change, liberation and real development, it must offer a new world for the modern man. A world liberated from commercialism and materialism and loneliness can only come about by embracing the gospel of giving, the gospel of mystery and the gospel of presence.
Later as you receive the Lord’s Body in Holy Communion, speak to Him from your heart. As He gives Himself to you, may you learn the art of giving so you may love like Him. As He comes to you in mystery, may your faith in Him even more grow. As he stays with you and shows you His loving presence, may you bring that same to all so that His love may be present to all.
Dear Mary, thank you for giving Jesus your body so He can give His body to me.
September 26, 2011
Memorial of Sts. Cosmas and Damian
My dear brothers in the ministry:
In pursuit of our pastoral thrust for renewed catechesis and intensified devotion to the Eucharist, we shall conduct the annual renewal seminar for all extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, readers and commentators on all the Saturdays of October and November and the first Saturday of December 2011 at the Lay Formation Center, Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm. The seminar fee is PhP200 to cover the expenses for the snacks and lunch.
The “I” of ICTHUS, i.e. integration of faith and life, will be the formation theme for this year. The modules on the “Spirituality of the Social Teachings of the Church” will be given by Father Allan Soriano.
Enclosed is the schedule of formation seminars and the parishes assigned for each of the Saturdays.
According to an existing archdiocesan policy, this seminar is obligatory for all extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, readers and commentators. Their mandate to exercise this liturgical ministry will be revoked if they fail to attend the annual renewal seminar. They must bring a letter of recommendation from the parish priest upon registration at the start of the seminar.
I trust that you share my conviction that what the Church needs now is lay formation for true lay empowerment. Please continue to encourage new and young lay leaders from the parish community. I invoke my blessings upon you and your ministry.
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
SCHEDULE OF UPDATING SEMINAR for LITURGICAL MINISTERS
(Lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion)
October 1: St. Gabriel the Archangel, Holy Cross, Holy Family (Sta. Barbara), Cristo Divino Tesoro, Chapel of the Resurection.
October 8: St. John the Evangelist, St. Therese.
October 15: St. Ildephonse, St. Dominic, San Lorenzo Ruiz, Malasiqui Catholic School.
October 22: St. Hyacinth, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Holy Family (Tandoc), St. Columban’s College, Jesus the Nazarene.
October 29: Annunciation of the Lord, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Sts. Peter and Paul.
November 5: St. John the Evangelist-District, St. Rose of Lima, St. Pius V, St. Joseph the Patriach, Mary Help of Christians.
November 12: Our Lady of Purification, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John the Baptist, Our Lady of Miraculous Medal.
November 19: Epiphany of the Lord, VMUF Chapel, St. Vincent Ferrer.
November 26: Most Holy Rosary, St. Fabian, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Joseph Husband of Mary, St. Anthony of Padua, Binmaley Catholic School.
December 3: Those who were not able to attend their scheduled date can only move to this date. But it is important to call 515-8306 so that they will be pre-registered on this date.
September 21, 2011
Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle
My dear brothers in the priestly ministry:
In order to instill liturgical order and discipline, the following observances are hereby made mandatory for the whole Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan on the matter of announcing Mass intentions, effective October 1, 2011:
- The Mass intentions must be announced before the singing of the entrance song according to the format herein enclosed. It is considered liturgical abuse to read these intentions in the introductory part of the Mass or during the Presentation of Gifts or even worse within the Eucharistic Prayer or while Holy Communion is being distributed. Although the Mass intentions may also be proclaimed during the Prayers of the Faithful, for the sake of unity and harmony, you are advised to have the intentions read before the entrance song as mandated herein.
- Care must be taken such that the announcement of Mass intentions does not delay the beginning of the Mass according to the generally known schedule.
- The Mass intentions are to be clustered by the parish secretary according to three basic classifications: thanksgiving, special intentions and eternal repose. It is not necessary to include specific occasions like “birthdays, anniversaries, novenas for the dead or the similar occasions.”
- According to a long tradition of the Church, only the baptismal names without surnames are mentioned in the Mass intentions. Civil or professional titles like “doctor” or “engineer” or even positions in government must not be attached to the baptismal names to be mentioned.
- The Catholic faithful must be instructed appropriately that the practice of making offerings for Mass intentions does not make the Mass the private prayers of the donors. It is rather a request for the parish community to pray for the intentions proposed. The Catholic faithful who make the Mass offerings must also make every effort to be present at the Masses where their intentions are to be prayed for.
- The list of Mass intentions properly clustered and written out in the attached prescribed format must be read at the beginning of the Mass. It is considered liturgical abuse to read out the names of those who made Mass offerings from the envelopes that are brought forward during the Presentation of Gifts.
- Pastoral caution must be taken to avoid any appearance of commercialism or secularism in the dispensation of liturgical services.
- The monetary offerings for Mass intentions are to be used for the charity work of the Church, for the upkeep of the facilities for divine worship and for the sustenance of the ministers of the Church.
It is our solemn duty to insure that liturgical order and discipline is maintained in the parish churches, barangay chapels and in every place where Mass is celebrated.
I trust that you will instruct your parish secretaries and Mass commentators to heed the these directives and observe them diligently.
I invoke the blessings of God upon all who contribute to making the liturgical acts of the parish true occasions of encounter with the Almighty.
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
The Parish Secretary is given this format for the Mass intentions. It is filled up in the office and given to the assigned Mass Commentator to be read before the Mass.
Good morning brothers and sisters in Christ! (Masantos a kabwasan ed sikayon amin, agagik ira ed Kristo!)
or, Good afternoon brothers and sisters in Christ! (Masantos a ngarem ed sikayon amin, agagik ira ed Kristo!)
or, Good evening brothers and sisters in Christ! (Masantos a labi ed sikayon amin, agagik ira ed Kristo!)
Welcome to the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Our parish community requests you to join our fellow parishioners in their thanksgiving for special blessings received from the Lord. They are:
(Kekerewen na say Parokya ya mikasakey tayo ed saray parokiano tayon misasalamat ed saray bindision ya naawat da ed say Katawan. Sikara di:)
For the Parish secretary, write only first names. Do not mention “offered by”. Do not mention reasons like “passing the exams or birthday”.
Likewise we beg you to pray for the special intentions of the following brothers and sisters in our parish community:
(Ontan met, kekerewen mi ya ipikasi yo ray special ya intension na sarayan onguendan ya agagi tayo:)
For the Parish secretary, write only first names. Do not mention “offered by”. Do not mention intentions like “Speedy recovery, or board exam”, etc.
Lastly let us pray for the eternal repose of our departed loved ones:
(Ipikasi tayo met so maandon inawa na saray inararo tayon andilad bilay:)
For the Parish secretary, write only first names. Do not mention “offered by”. Do not mention “death anniversary” or “lapag”, etc.
Let us bow down our heads and recognize the presence of God in His holy temple.
(Ontewek tayon amin tan birbiren tayo so masanton kiwawala na Dios ed sayan masanton timplo Da:)
After one minute of silence:
Please stand and sing the entrance song.
(Onalgey tayo tan kantaen tayo so entrance song.)
September 8, 2011
Feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary
RE: Formation Modules for Stewardship
My brothers in the priestly ministry:
In pursuit of our ecclesial vision mission ICTHUS and in recognition of the spirituality of stewardship as the means to reach our pastoral goals, I am sending you the enclosed book SERVANT LEADERSHIP by Frank Padilla. Among all the resources I have encountered on the theme of servant-leadership-stewardship, this is the best material I have found so far. It is divided into six chapters which can easily be used as six modular talks for our formation in stewardship. The themes are comprehensive and the explanations are simple and down to earth.
Please compose a STEWARDSHIP TEAM for your parish or school community. I suggest that you select from the pool of lay leaders in your parish or school who have attended or are enrolled currently in the School of Lay Leaders (SLL).
A team of six lay formators will be ideal. You can assign them one chapter of the enclosed book for their study, mastery and delivery in the parish stewardship formation program. This team can conduct formation seminars in the school or parish to disseminate the spirituality of servant-leadership-stewardship. Let me reiterate that the stewardship program is not a finance scheme but a spirituality formation. Through these stewardship formation programs, may we be saints together.
I entrust this matter to your prompt pastoral action. Thank you.
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
3 September 2011 – Dagupan City. In a letter addressed to the different School Directors and Principals of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan Catholic Schools (ALDCS), Rev. Fr. Manuel S. Bravo, Jr., the Superindent of ALDCS, outlined the upcoming schedules of the schools:
- CEAP National Convention in Davao City on 20-23 September 2011.
- Meeting of Communio Staff on 15 September 2011, Thursday, 9:00 AM at the Guerrero Hall, Archbishop’s House. “Communio” is a magazine published by the ALDCS. The teacher-in-charge of the each school paper is to bring two students to attend the said meeting.
- Visit of the Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Manaoag to ALDCS from 3-21 October 2011. The image of Our Lady stays overnight in the school. It is to be fetched by the next school at 9:00 AM the following day. Rites of farewell and acceptance are being prepared. Activities during the visit include: procession, confessions, praying of the rosary and Eucharistic Celebration with Vigil.
- “Live Pure Movement” is a one-day seminar on Human Sexuality and Family Life for all High School Students. This will be done on the third week of November.
- Faculty Retreat. The retreat will be by school. Smaller schools shall be combined. A common retreat module will be given to all.
Schedule of the Visit of Our Lady of Manaoag to ALDCS:
- 3 October, Monday – San Jacinto Catholic School
- 4 October, Tuesday – Archdiocesan School of San Fabian
- 5 October, Wednesday – Sto. Tomas Catholic School
- 6 October, Thursday – St. John’s Cathedral School
- 7 October, Friday – Jesus the Nazarene Academy
- 8-9 October, Saturday-Sunday – Mary Help of Christians College Seminary
- 10 October, Monday – Binmaley Catholic School
- 11 October, Tuesday – St. Columban’s Institute
- 12 October, Wednesday – St. Columban’s College
- 13 October, Thursday – St. Charles’ Academy
- 14 October, Friday – Mary Help of Christians Catholic School
- 15-16 October, Saturday-Sunday – Mary Help of Christians High School Seminary
- 17 October, Monday – Urbiztondo Catholic School
- 18 October, Tuesday – St. Vincent Catholic School
- 19 October, Wednesday – Malasiqui Catholic School
- 20 October, Thursday – Mapandan Catholic School
- 21 October, Friday – Holy Cross Academy