Get Adobe Flash player
ICTHUS Song

Archive for March 2018

GOD’S PRIESTS: TAOIR NA PANANISIA

Homily of Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas during the Chrism Mass held at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, 29 March 2018.

Today around this altar, we gather again to celebrate the memory of our priesthood. We bring together yesterday, today and tomorrow in one single action—the Chrism Mass. This Chrism Mass is memory. This Chrism Mass is Presence. This Chrism Mass is our hope for even greater things than we have right now.

We gather as a ninety year old Church in Lingayen Dagupan looking forward to the year 2028, our one hundredth anniversary as a particle of that one holy Catholic and apostolic Church. We know that Bishop Cesar Maria Guerrero is not just a personality in our Church history book as our first bishop. His memory endures time.

This year 2018, the first year in our decade of communio leading to our centennial, our hearts are invited to ponder over the mystery of our priesthood as taoir; a legacy that is forever; an inheritance that only God can give and no one else.  We are the legacy of God. We are the memory of God. We are taoir.

We are the legacy of the Lord. You my brother priests are the enduring signs of God’s faithfulness to His people “I will be with you always”. Today, in the presence of our flock, we declare “The Lord is my inheritance, I will not be forsaken”.

We want to be remembered and remembered for a long time. To be ignored and forgotten gives us an unpleasant feeling of uselessness. Priests and bishops are usually given grand funerals in gleaming coffins surrounded by large wreaths, but after a few years, we eventually become just a part of the collective past and our bones are exhumed and reburied and our memories fade away steadily. We are not even a footnote in a research paper. Occasionally they remember us when they print baptismal certificates.

Is that all about our priesthood? To work hard? To preach well? To beautify churches and build grand parish halls? To send scholars to school? To build hospitals? To build schools and then just fade away eaten up by the worms of amnesia? No children to carry our names? No endowment funds to be named after us? Is that all about us?

No. We are the memory of God. We are the legacy of God. We are the inheritance of God for His people. The memory of governors and mayors is a fragile gift of this world. Political memory can be easily deleted and erased. Our names as priests are not just written in the memory of history books. God is a God of the living and our memories are eternally safe in the heart of the Lord! We are the memory of God and our life is the fulfillment of His promise to His people “I will be with you unto the end of the ages”.

The death of God’s faithful priests is not only remembered but is precious in His sight. How beautiful is the life of a priest who labors quietly without broadcast or publicity, without recognition or awards. How beautiful is the hidden and quiet labor of a priest known only to God and kept secret from society!

The priest is the legacy of the Lord. The priest is God’s enduring inheritance.

But the question still needs to be answered? What will be your legacy when you leave? If they still remember us, how will the people talk about us? What will they say about us? What is the taoir we will leave behind? May they remember us when they remember the Lord! May they remember the Lord when they remember us!

What do you stand for, priest of God? Who are you? You are the battle frontiers of God. Your action is the action of God and the action of the Church always. You are a gift. The more you give yourself the more you become who you really are. The higher you go, the lower you must stoop. Everything you do is touched with glory because you are Christ, not only at the altar but even at games, at recreation, at rest or in vacation. You are Christs!

You, brother priests, are God’s gift to His people. When they see us, do they really thank the Lord? Does our giftedness lead our parishioners to say “Salamat sa Diyos”? Are they happy to see us? Are they inspired to be with us? All of them? All of us? Always?

Let our giftedness lead our people to gratitude. When they remember us, may they give thanks!

Growth is easier when gratitude is abundant. When the people of God are grateful, they also become holier, more generous and more courageous.  A heart that always complains will not grow. Our duty as priests is remind our parishioners that they are blessed; that they have so much to be grateful for. Gratitude makes us saints.

When they see us, do they hide for fear of another fund raising? For fear of being scolded? For fear of being openly rebuked or ignored? For being of being humiliated in front of the rest? Mukhang masungit? Mukhang galit? Mukhang suplado? Mukhang pera? Mukhang pilyo? Mukhang may itinatago? Amoy alak? This is not us. This is not what God sent us to be. Say no! Wish to be remembered as a good priest. Paring pari. Laging pari!

Taoir na pananisia. If we truly are a gift of legacy, then we must be the reason for the parish or the school to be a constantly grateful people. Gratitude sanctifies.

May the GIFT that we are lead others to GRATITUDE! May the gratitude we sow lead them to GENEROSITY and may that generosity we inspire open the paths to endless GROWTH! May the gift of our priesthood make our people holy!

My dear people of God, look at us your priests. We are the gifts of God to you in spite of us. Pasensiya na kayo sa amin! You are the gifts of God to us. With you we give thanks. With you we want to grow. People of God, your priests love you. Let us be grateful and generous and faithful saints together.

Holy Week Thoughts 2018

Holy Week Thoughts 2018

Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas

Saint Mark retells the last hours of Jesus on the cross by simply telling us that a few minutes before Jesus breathed His last, the Lord said “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Saint Mark’s story of the passion and death is brief, direct and forthright. It was as human as can be.

In this passion and death story written by Saint Mark, the last question of Jesus was “Why”. He was begging for reasons.

My God my God…I obeyed, you abandoned me. I proclaimed your greatness, you allowed me to be shamed. Father…I healed them in your name, you now leave me in great pain. I loved them as you loved me, now you leave me alone. I trusted them with the secrets of heaven, now you leave me naked, mocked and laughed at. I called them friends not slaves, now I look like not even as slave but like a wretched worm.

Why Father?

He heard no answer. He received no reason. He got no explanation. Jesus asked “Why” and his question was met with silence. No reply but just silence. This is the mystery of the Father’s love.

Centuries later, Blaise Pascal will say “The heart has reasons that reason does not know”. Indeed that was what happened at Calvary. The logic of human reason failed the grasp the logic of the Father’s love.

Love is a mystery. Love is not illogical. Love is beyond logic. There was no reply even if there was much love.

Nineteen years before Calvary, when Jesus was only twelve years old, Saint Luke recorded the first word of Jesus recorded in the Bible “Why were you looking for me?”

His first word was “Why” like His last word was also “Why”.

Why were you looking for me? Were you afraid you lost me? Were you afraid to be punished for being negligent parents? Were you afraid I could have fallen into criminals’ hands? Were you looking for me so I can give you the joy of having a child? When children lose parents they are called orphans; when parents lose an only child like me, there is no word to describe the loss. Were you afraid?

As at Calvary, so was it in the temple when the Lord was twelve. He received no answer from Mary and Joseph. His question was met with silence. Mary and Joseph could not understand.

Circular 2018-6: Pilgrim Jubilee Cross

March 19, 2018

Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary

Circular 2018-6

RE: Decade of Communio PILGRIM JUBILEE CROSS

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

In order to prepare the people of God more deeply and fittingly for the celebration of the centennial jubilee of the creation of the Diocese of Lingayen in the year 2028, we have declared a DECADE OF COMMUNIO for the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan.

I was inspired to have a PILGRIM JUBILEE CROSS launched for our archdiocese. The pilgrim jubilee cross has a stone relic from the Upper Room where the first Eucharist was celebrated and where the Apostles received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem graciously accommodated our request for this unique relic. The Upper Room is closely linked to our Cathedral patron Saint John the Evangelist who rested his head on the chest of the Lord at the Last Supper (cfr. John 13:23).

The PILGRIM JUBILEE CROSS has ten icons embedded on the vertical and horizontal planks corresponding to the Communio themes that we have assigned for each year:

Jesus Gives Keys to Peter 2018 for Taoir na Pananisia

Jesus Accompanies the Disciples of Emmaus 2019 for Tabin

Jesus and Samaritan Woman by the Well 2020 for Pandurungo

Jesus at Last Supper 2021 for Dayew tan Pisasalamat

Jesus Meets Blessed Virgin after Resurrection 2022 for Panaabetan

Jesus Heals the Ten Lepers  2023 for Aro tan Panangasi

Jesus Washes the Apostles Feet  2024 for Panag-asikaso tan Panaglingkor

Jesus in the Manger  2025 for Panagpaabeba

Jesus Ascends to Heaven 2026 for Pasimbalo

Jesus at the Wedding in Cana 2027 for Sipanan

 

There will be Para-Liturgical Guide which may be used by the Catholic faithful when the pilgrim cross visits the schools, pastoral stations or parishes.

Here is the 2018 schedule of the pilgrim cross vicarial and school visitations:

April 2 to April 30 within the Vicariate of Saints Peter and Paul

May 1 to May 31 within the Vicariate of the Epiphany

June 1 to June 30 within the Vicariate of Saint Thomas Aquinas

July 1 to July 31 within the Vicariate of Saint Dominic

August 1 to August 31 within the Vicariate of Saint Vincent Ferrer

September 1 to September 30 within the ALDCS

October 1 for safekeeping at the Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral until the next pilgrimage season in 2019

The Vicars Forane  and Superintendent of Schools will make the schedule of visits to the parishes or schools in coordination with the parish priests, school directors or pastoral directors for this year’s pilgrimage season.

When the pilgrim cross is brought to a parish, school or pastoral station:

1.    The parish or school must organize a FESTIVE  jubilee welcome procession of the pilgrim cross attended by a good number of the faithful;

2.    The Eucharist is celebrated to welcome the pilgrim cross;

3.    Parish organizations or campus ministry may venerate the cross by kissing or touching the cross;

4.    The para-liturgical guide is used by the Catholic faithful assigned to take turns in praying before the cross.

5.    The priests in the vicariate must be available for confessions at particular times while the pilgrim cross is present in the church or school.

I trust that you understand that pious devotions such as these are closest to the heart of our Catholic faithful. While some of us priests have a tendency to intellectualize our faith, the JUBILEE PILGRIM CROSS can be a focal point for raising awareness about the Church and fomenting devotion to the Lord and loyalty to the Church.

Let us encourage and inspire such pious devotions as avenues for new evangelization.

I advise the parish priests to discuss with the parish lay leaders and the school directors with the campus ministry, the activities that the community may hold while the JUBILEE PILGRIM CROSS is visiting the parish or school.

We dream of a community of Christ’s disciples called to Christian witnessing and mission living out the spirit of ICTHUS inspired by Mary Our Lady of Manaoag.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

 

Circular 2018-5: Ministry of Mery

March 12, 2018

Circular 2018-5

RE: Ministry of Mercy

Reverend Fathers:

In order to respond pastorally to the serious problem of drug abuse and the alarming cases of extra judicial killings related to the drug problem in the past two years, we constituted last year an archdiocesan MINISTRY OF MERCY  to extend pastoral assistance to the affected families including those orphaned by the killings.

By the grace of God, we are prompted to move forward to a wider and more focused program to attend to the various pastoral aspects of the socio-pastoral problem of drug dependence, sale and abuse.

The Ministry of Mercy will now have three interrelated components namely, Education and Prevention Advocacy (EPA), Community and Family based Rehabilitation of drug dependents (CFR) and the Ministry of Compassion to the families of EJK victims (MC-EJK).

The Ministry of Mercy will be under the Ministry of Social Action (MISA) in the spirit of our Synod.

There will be a Seminar Training Program for the Ministers of Mercy to be held on April 5, 2018, Thursday, from 8:00am until4:00 pm at the Lay Formation Center, Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City.

Each parish must DILIGENTLY and PRUDENTLY choose THREE lay leaders who can be assigned to each of the three component teams of the ministry, that is, Education and Prevention Advocacy (EPA), Community and Family Based Rehab (CFR) and Ministry of Compassion to the families of EJK victims (MC-EJK). Please refrain from sending just anyone available. The diligent selection will insure the stability of this important pastoral ministry.

After a general introduction to open the seminar, the parish Ministers of Mercy will be divided immediately into three workshop groups each with a competent resource person trainer to equip them for their particular tasks.

I plead with you to prepare for this post Easter training seminar. We have a duty from the Lord to take care of the least of our brethren and we will be judged at the sunset of life by what we did to the least of our brethren. Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

 

wordpress statistics