New Year’s letter: Peace And Fraternity—The Road Map For A New Myanmar

By Charles Bo, SDB, Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar

Happy New Year to all of you!

Today is the Day of Peace. For the citizens of Myanmar this is a day of a common dream, a common hope. I wish each one of you a blessed and peace-filled new year.

As we prepare for the dawn of a New Year, so too in Myanmar we are preparing for the dawn of a new era. A new era of freedom, democracy, justice, peace and hope. A new era of fraternity among the diverse peoples of our beautiful nation. There is much to be grateful for.  There is much to be hoped for.  We stand at that blessed and challenging juncture in history. We are just at the very beginning of a new chapter in Myanmar’s story. Over the past two years, the doors of our nation have opened to the world. There are many reasons for hope. In the past two years, restrictions on freedom of expression have been relaxed, there is more space for civil society, the media and political actors, there have been preliminary steps towards peace in the ethnic states, and many political prisoners have been released. After many years under house arrest, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been elected to Parliament, along with her colleagues in the National League for Democracy. These steps encourage us to see the prospect of a new dawn.

For the first time in more than fifty years, there are reasons to be hopeful for Myanmar. And all these came because some of our brothers and sisters, from 1988 onwards refused to accept the powers of darkness. Some of them were willing to lay down their lives on the altar of supreme sacrifice. They gave their yesterday so that our today may be free and the tomorrow of Myanmar may be justice oriented. Yet we must remember that this is just the very beginning of the beginning. As some political prisoners have been released, others have been arrested. As talks about peace take place, military attacks against civilians in Kachin State continue. And as we begin to enjoy more freedom of speech, some have used this to preach hatred and incite violence against our Muslim brothers and sisters. So there is a very long way still to go, there are many grave challenges to be addressed, and on the horizon alongside the sunshine of hope and a new dawn sit storm clouds of suffering and strife. Myanmar will never be truly free and at peace until all the peoples of Myanmar can live in freedom and peace. Democratic reforms in the cities will not, by themselves, end decades of conflict. It is often said that genuine peace will only be achieved through a peace process, not simply ceasefires, and that such a peace process must involve a political dialogue leading to a political settlement for Myanmar’s ethnic nationalities.

This is true. However, real, true peace can only be achieved through a revolution in our hearts, a renewal of our minds and a rediscovery of the value of fraternity. Peace, Pope Paul VI warned, is not the absence of War.  Once again he guided the nations:  If you want Peace, work for Justice.  No Justice No Peace. Catholic Social tradition struggles for this noble concept: Peace that is born of Justice. As Pope Francis says in his New Year’s message for this World Day of Peace, “in the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced.”

For six decades the country was suffocated by an inhuman dictatorship. You and I and every human being were suffering in our long night of silent tears.  And after all those tears and brokenness, after darkness of merciless persecutions, dawn arrives and we seek light.  But suddenly there seems to be darkness at the midday.  I refer to the interreligious conflicts that has brought sorrow, stigma to the young nation. Do we deserve this. Over the past eighteen months, a wave of hatred and violence  that included violence towards our Muslim brothers and sisters has been unleashed, wreaking destruction and death across Rakhine State, Meikhtila, Oakkan, Lashio and some other parts of our country. This hatred and violence led not only to the deaths of many people and the destruction of homes and shops, but to the death of fraternity and the destruction of brotherhood. Our country’s good name was tarnished world over.  The senseless acts of few brought grief to many.  All communities suffered.

Our task is to rebuild not only the destroyed buildings, but destroyed relationships. Our task, individually and in community, is to rebuild our hearts. The Holy Father says that “without fraternity, it is impossible to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace”. Whatever our religion, we need to refocus our minds on our common humanity and our fraternity as peoples of Myanmar. The Pope says “in the dynamics of history, and in the diversity of ethnic groups, societies and cultures, we see the seeds of a vocation to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another.” We need to rediscover the value of “unity in diversity”. Myanmar is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, rich in ethnic and religious diversity. This diversity is something to celebrate. After the storms, when the sun comes out, we should be able to see that we are a nation of many colours.  

A rainbow nation. We must build a nation in which every person born on Myanmar’s soil feels at home, has a stake in the country’s future, is treated with equal respect and equal rights, and is accepted and cared for by their neighbours. A nation where the histories, languages, customs and religions of all are respected and celebrated. There must be no second-class people. As Pope Francis says, “in many parts of the world, there seems to be no end to grave offences against fundamental human rights, especially the right to life and the right to religious freedom.” This is true in our corner of the world. Even as talks continue in Kachin State, we hear reports of attacks on villages, looting of churches, and the rape of women and girls. In other parts of our country, we hear of mosques destroyed. We hear of the tragedy of an entire people, known as ‘Rohingyas’, treated as if they were not human, consigned to dire conditions in displacement camps or forced to flee the country in boats, embarking on a precarious escape across the seas.

The cause of Rohingya is highly contested. Every human being, Christianity believes, is created in the image of God.  All of us belong to God’s immeasurable embrace of dignity reaches all. The Myanmar government and the International community need to settle citizenship issues. But as a people, as a nation that has taken Karuna and Metta  as the guiding principles, we should not allow a fringe to stain a nation known for its forbearance through random violence. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, says Martin Luther King Jr.. We know that many of the Rohingya people have lived in Myanmar for generations, yet they are not accepted as citizens and are rendered stateless. This misery cannot be allowed to continue. Every person born in Myanmar should be recognized as a citizen of Myanmar. While wars and interreligious conflicts go on, a much under reported human agony unfolds elsewhere which affect all communities. Those agonies are much more deeply wounding the nation.  But sadly attention is wanting in these day to day issues that affect millions in our country.

We hear of human trafficking of women and children, as well as more subtle abuses, such as land confiscation or discrimination against religious minorities in business and government employment. The Pope notes: “The tragic phenomenon of human trafficking, in which the unscrupulous prey on the lives and the desperation of others, is but one unsettling example … Alongside overt armed conflicts are less visible but no less cruel wars fought in the economic and financial sectors with means which are equally destructive of lives, families and businesses.” Those words speak to our situation in Myanmar today and remind us of the challenges we must face. A nation that successfully conducted the SEA games deserves a great praise.  When needed, the Myanmar as a nation and people can rise up to any challenge. The same spirit is needed to fight chronic wars  that bleed the nation. We refer to the absolute poverty of 40 percent of our people. We refer to the millions, languishing in the hell of Malaysia, Thailand, victims of human trafficking, the modern day slaves. The multiple faces of poverty is a pestering wound in the soul of the nation. The great challenge is poverty.

The Holy Father says that fraternity is “a prerequisite for fighting poverty”. We must put richness of heart first, if we are to end material poverty. In Pope Francis’ words, “This means not being guided by a ‘desire for profit’ or a ‘thirst for power’. What is needed is the willingness to ‘lose ourselves’ for the sake of others rather than exploiting them, and to ‘serve them’ instead of oppressing them. The ‘other’ – whether a person, a people or a nation – is to be seen … as our ‘neighbour’.” He continues: “Christian solidarity presumes that our neighbour is loved not only as ‘a human being with his or her own rights and a fundamental equality with everyone else, but as the living image of God’.” And so as we begin a New Year and move towards a new era, I echo Pope Francis’ words on behalf of the Church, to all who are suffering the consequences of hatred and war: “To all those who live in lands where weapons impose terror and destruction, I assure you of my personal closeness and that of the whole Church, whose mission is to bring Christ’s love to the defenseless victims of forgotten wars through her prayers for peace, her service to the wounded, the starving, refugees, the displaced and all who live in fear.

The Church also speaks out in order to make leaders hear the cry of pain of the suffering and to put an end to every form of hostility, abuse and the violation of fundamental human rights. For this reason, I appeal forcefully to all those who sow violence and death by force of arms: in the person you today see simply as an enemy to be beaten, discover rather your brother or sister, and hold back your hand! Give up the way of arms and go out to meet the other in dialogue, pardon and reconciliation, in order to rebuild justice, trust, and hope around you!”

I wish all my brothers and sisters, of all religions and ethnicities, throughout our nation a truly happy and blessed New Year. Let’s join hands together to build a new rainbow nation in Myanmar. Let 2014 mark a new era not only of greater freedom, but of fraternity, throughout Myanmar, and in growing in fraternity, we can secure lasting peace and prosperity. A new Myanmar is possible My brothers and Sisters.  That Myanmar will be born   through Peace that comes through Justice. That Myanmar that will make poverty history That Myanmar that will celebrate unity in diversity A free Myanmar freed from hatred is possible. Let us echo with Tagore the great Poet and Nobel Laureate :  Into that land of freedom and prosperity,  My Father, Let my Country Awake.

*Archbishop Charles Maung Bo, of Yangon, Myanmar was among 15 cardinal electors Pope Francis is to create in February.

From Radio Veritas Asia, Quezon City, Philippines

 

Will Pope Francis come to the Philippines for the Eucharistic Congress?

Four Philippines cardinals with nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto (in black) helped Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, 51st IEC Chairman, and his team present the congress to media at the June 10 press conference in Arzobispado de Manila, Intramuros. - NJ Viehland Photos

Four Philippines cardinals with nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto (in black) helped Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, 51st IEC Chairman, and his team present the congress to media at the June 10 press conference in Arzobispado de Manila, Intramuros. – NJ Viehland Photos

This is question #14 in Frequently Asked Questions {FAQ) on the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) scheduled to be held in Cebu on Jan. 24-30, 2016.

Traditionally, the Pope doesn’t attend International Eucharistic Congresses, and sends instead a Papal Legate to represent him in this gathering, the printed FAQ handed out at the June 10 press conference in Manila says.

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI's video message announcing last year the 51st International Eucharistic Congress venue would be in Cebu was screened at the June 10 press con in Arzobispado de Manila. - NJ Viehland Photos

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI’s video message announcing last year the 51st International Eucharistic Congress venue would be in Cebu was screened at the June 10 press con in Arzobispado de Manila. – NJ Viehland Photos

IEC is a Church event where people from different parts of the world gather together to celebrate the Eucharist; to reflect the richness of the Eucharist and to pray before the Eucharist, organizers explained.

Eucharist is the Sacrament in which Jesus Christ gives himself – his body and blood – for us, so that we too might give ourselves to Him in love and be united with him in Holy Communion (YOUCAT, 208)

The first time delegates came to Asia for an IEC was for the 1937 congress held in Manila.

Philippines' most senior cardinal amused guests at the June 10 press conference in Arzobispado de Manila, Intramuros, with stories of his first communion at 6 years old during the 1937 International Eucharistic Congress in Manila. - NJ Viehland Photos

Philippines’ most senior cardinal amused guests at the June 10 press conference in Arzobispado de Manila, Intramuros, with stories of his first communion at 6 years old during the 1937 International Eucharistic Congress in Manila. – NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, 57, said he had no personal experience to share about the 1937 International Eucharistic Congress when his parents were only 7 years old. He shared instead his reflections on the theme of the 51st IEC, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." - NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, 57, said he had no personal experience to share about the 1937 International Eucharistic Congress when his parents were only 7 years old. He shared instead his reflections on the theme of the 51st IEC, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – NJ Viehland Photos

"Eucharist is the unique prayer of Jesus, he is just taking us along. It is the 'ruruk' (summit) of our Christianity," retired Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales explained, teaching some a new Tagalog word. - NJ Viehland photos

“Eucharist is the unique prayer of Jesus, he is just taking us along. It is the ‘ruruk’ (summit) of our Christianity,” retired Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales explained, teaching some a new Tagalog word. – NJ Viehland photos

At the press con to formally present the IEC to media, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, Congress chairman replied to a request for confirmation of Pope Francis’ attendance at the congress:

 “We have heard of reports he’s coming next year, we pray he will come to the Eucharistic Congress, but until we have definite word he is coming we are not sure.

  “Meantime we can pray because we believe the holy father loves us. The fact is he has sent many cardinals to come over to manifest his love for the people especially those affected by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)…

Meanwhile, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato said:

“If the holy father is coming to visit disaster areas, there are two kinds of disaster – natural and man-made. I hope…I wish that he will also visit the disaster area called Central Mindanao. But that will depend on the nuncio, the pope, Archbishop (Socrates) Villegas (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president), perhaps the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front.”

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato answers reporters at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress press con in Arzobispado de Manila, Intramuros on June 10, 2014 - NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato answers reporters at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress press con in Arzobispado de Manila, Intramuros on June 10, 2014 – NJ Viehland Photos

After the press conference Cardinal Quevedo explained:

“I was simply wishing that perhaps for the Holy Father when he comes to the Philippines to visit Yolanda victims he can have a side trip if his time allows to go to Cotabato City and perhaps push the peace process there.

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato summarizes CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas' letter as Bishop Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao and retired Cardinal Vidal listen to him answer a reporter's question on the pork barrel controversy. - NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato summarizes CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas’ letter as Bishop Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao and retired Cardinal Vidal listen to him answer a reporter’s question on the pork barrel controversy. – NJ Viehland Photos

Dulce and her son sang the International Eucharistic Congress theme song at the June 10 press conference at Arzobispado - NJ Viehland Photos

Dulce and her son sang the International Eucharistic Congress theme song at the June 10 press conference at Arzobispado – NJ Viehland Photos

 

(more)

 

Cardinal Lourdusamy, “bridge between India and Rome”

Lourdusamy to Puducherry The Hindu

The remains of Cardinal Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy now rest in his home diocese where Catholic and political leaders paid their respects to the first cardinal of Asia outside the Middle East to be appointed to serve in the Roman curia.

Cardinal Lourdusamy,‎ former prefect of the ‎Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches and former Archbishop of ‎Bangalore, passed away June 2 morning in a Rome clinic where he ‎had been hospitalized due to failing health, the Vatican announced. He was 90.

Father Albert Thambidurai, director of Pondicherry Multipurpose Social Service Society recognized Cardinal Lourdusamy’s participation in the Second Vatican Council  (Vatican II), the assembly convened by St. John XXIII that gathered more than 2,000 bishops, clergy, religious and lay people from around the world in Rome for discussions between 1962-1965 to settle doctrinal issues.

Through Cardinal Lourdusamy’s work, “He became a bridge between Rome and India,” The Hindu newspaper quotes Father Thambidurai.

Read full report here

Social dev’t. movement anniversary shines spotlight on charcoal making project

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle discusses with Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, his predecessor as archbishop of Manila in the sidelines of a plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in Manila / Dave Viehland Photo published with permission.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle discusses with Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, his predecessor as archbishop of Manila in the sidelines of a plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in Manila / Dave Viehland Photo published with permission.

            Pondo ng Pinoy the movement began by Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales in the Archdiocese of Manila marks its 10th year by showcasing the Eco-Uling project that gives livelihood to persons with disability and that promotes the environment. The project produces charcoal briquette from a combination of water lily, coconut husk and shell.
 
            The celebration for its 10th year on June 12, 2014 will be held at the community where the Eco-Uling project is located in Taguig City. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle leads visitors at the project site where there will be a demonstration of how the unique charcoal briquettes are produced starting at 8 a.m., followed by a program at the Ed Carlos Property, C6 Road, Brgy. Calsada, Taguig City. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle will celebrate the Mass at 11 a.m.  About one thousand delegates from 21 Pondo ng Pinoy member diocses are expected to attend the celebration.
Charcoal maker in small home industry in San Isidro Parish, Bagong Silangan, Novaliches diocese on Good Friday 2014 - NJ Viehland Photos

Charcoal maker in small home industry in San Isidro Parish, Bagong Silangan, Novaliches diocese on Good Friday 2014 – NJ Viehland Photos

 
            Some 20 persons with disability and their young Muslim friends run the project, from the gathering of the materials, to the technical production and marketing. With this project, Pondo ng Pinoy has enabled the disabled persons to earn a living by themselves. Also, the project is able to utilize water lily which causes problems in the waterways because of its proliferation that leads to clogging and flooding especially during the rainy season.
 
            Pondo ng Pinoy initially granted the project Php300,000 (US$6,880) and gave an additional Php280,000 to expand the operation.
 
            Cardinal Rosales saw in Pondo ng Pinoy a way by which every person, “no matter how poor, no matter how humble, the freedom to give, to help and live fully.” This is because Pondo ng Pinoy aims to cultivate the culture of giving and helping another, through saving as little as 25 centavos a day as an act of love for the poor and as symbol of one’s good works. The money, Cardinal Rosales said, would be meaningless without the love that is generated from saving it. Cardinal Rosales summed up the Pondo ng Pinoy principle in this motto, “Anumang magaling kahit maliit basta’t malimit ay patungong langit.” That is, small ordinary acts can accomplish great things if done or given by many, frequently and consistently pooled together for a common vision.
A March 27-30 nationwide survey of the Social Weather Stations found that 17.8% of the respondents -- equivalent to an estimated 3.9 million families -- claimed to have experienced having nothing to eat in the past three months. - Ed Gerlock photo, published with permission.

A March 27-30 nationwide survey of the Social Weather Stations found that 17.8% of the respondents — equivalent to an estimated 3.9 million families — claimed to have experienced having nothing to eat in the past three months. – Ed Gerlock photo, published with permission.

 
            To date Pondo ng Pinoy has sponsored more than 300 projects on health, livelihood and development, alternative learning, housing, and Hapag-Asa (subsidy) feeding program, amounting to more 200 million.
 
            Pondo ng Pinoy movement operates through the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation. It has as members, aside from the Archdiocese of Manila, 18 dioceses, two apostolic vicariates, and the Military Ordinariate. 

Secularism and fundamentalism demean religious heroism – Sri Lanka cardinal at UNESCO

 

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka, addressing guests at the May 21 kick-off of events commemorating the birthday of Buddha in France said he was delighted to be the cardinal in a country where 74 percent of the population is Buddhist.

There are also about 1.2 million Catholics among Sri Lanka’s population today (about 6 percent), and there are Hindu and Muslim minorities. 


Cardinal Ranjith described relations of Sri Lanka’s people of different faiths as “a long standing amity.” However, secularism and fundamentalism “demean the supreme value of religious heroism which can help humanity to achieve true nobility, freedom from self and unity,” the cardinal said at the celebration of the festival called Vesak.

The Catholic Church of Sri Lanka faces the challenge to work towards national reconciliation and peace after a 26 year war with ethnic Tamil people ended in 2009 with accusations of human rights violations by both sides leaving tens of thousands of civilians dead.

Cardinal Ranjith who is president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka was among “distinguished” guests at the inauguration organized by the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization  (UNESCO) and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in France to commemorate Vesak at UNESCO in Paris. 

Sri Lanka First Lady Shiranthi Wickramasinghe Rajapaksa also addressed the gathering centered on the theme “Interfaith and Intercultural Awareness towards Peace.” Guests included a delegation of government officials, Buddhist leaders and priests from around the world.

To read the full report, view photos click First Lady inaugurates series of events to mark Vesak at UNESCO

 

Cardinal Quevedo’s titular church in Rome announced

 

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo at the Mass in thanksgiving for his 75th birthday and creation as cardinal urged thousands of people inside the cathedral in Cotabato City and multi-media audiences to unite, cooperate so that peace and justice will reign in Mindanao and each person's lives. NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo at the Mass in thanksgiving for his 75th birthday and creation as cardinal urged thousands of people inside the cathedral in Cotabato City and multi-media audiences to unite, cooperate so that peace and justice will reign in Mindanao and each person’s lives. NJ Viehland Photos

Vatican City, 15 April 2014  – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff under Pope Francis today announced that on Thursday, 24 April, at 6.00 a.m., Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., archbishop of Cotabato, Philippines, will take possession of the title of St. Mary “Regina Mundi” in Torre Spaccata (Via Alessandro Barbosi, 6), the Vatican’s VIS news agency reported.

It is located in Torre Spaccata suburb (south-east of Rome) whose name is taken from the ruined tower on the east border of the area.

It’s website says St. Mary (Queen of the World) parish in the Diocese of Rome has been entrusted to a Carmelite Friars community of the Italian Province since 1961.

Today, the cardinal priests have a loose patronal relationship with their titular churches. Their names and coats of arms are inscribed on plaques in the churches, and many raise funds for their church’s maintenance and restoration, but they no longer participate in the actual management of the churches.

 

 

Manila Cathedral reopens with thanks and warning on ‘false gods’

Sharing my notes from the homily of Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila last Wednesday, when he led the celebration of the reopening of Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila:

1. It just dawned on me that I took canonical possession of the Archdiocese of Manila on Dec. 12, 2011 and one of my first decisions as the new archbishop was to close my cathedral.

NJ Viehland Photos

NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Luis Tagle, Mass for reopening of Manila Cathedral, April 9, 2014, Intramuros - NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Luis Tagle, Mass for reopening of Manila Cathedral, April 9, 2014, Intramuros – NJ Viehland Photos

2. The story is too long and profound to share with you. But let us realize that this is the 8th rebuilding in the more than 100 years of history of the Archdiocese of Manila. Buildings that have gone down because of fire, earthquake, wars, but a building that does not remain down. It just refuses to be dead. It rises.

Manila Cathedral door and barricade, April 10, 2014 - NJ Viehland Photos

Manila Cathedral door and barricade, April 10, 2014 – NJ Viehland Photos

3. From what I’ve seen the past two years (of work on the cathedral) let me answer my own question, how does one rebuild a church? What does it take to rebuild a church?

a. generosity of the people – that’s how a church is reconstructed

Companies, individuals, simple faithful … people so many to mention. God knows who you are.

We cannot reconstruct, rebuild and strengthen the Church without generosity of spirit… Generosity with resources, expertise, dedication – they all need to be fueled by faith: love of God, love of the Church, devotion to Our Lady.

Henrietta de Villa, vice chair of the Manila Cathedral Basilica Foundation Board of Trustees, April 9, 2014, Reopening of Manila Cathedral, Intramuros, Manila - NJ Viehland Photos

Henrietta de Villa, vice chair of the Manila Cathedral Basilica Foundation Board of Trustees, April 9, 2014, Reopening of Manila Cathedral, Intramuros, Manila – NJ Viehland Photos

4. That’s why I know, especially for our brethren who are going through great trials brought by earthquake,  typhoons, people-made calamities like that in Mindanao in Zamboanga, people affected by Pablo, Sendong, those in Samar, Leyte, Iloilo, Cebu, Capiz, Aklan, Palawan, Nueva Ecija – I believe that in the same way Manila Cathedral collapsed into rubble, rose up and is now so beautiful again – the Filipino nation can rise up! (my translation from Tagalog)

Cardinal Luis Tagle with two young survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) after his dialogue with People Surge survivors' group at his residence in Intramuros, Manila April 8, 2014 - NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Luis Tagle with two young survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) after his dialogue with People Surge survivors’ group at his residence in Intramuros, Manila April 8, 2014 – NJ Viehland Photos

5. We are celebrating the reconstruction, the retrofitting of Manila Cathedral, which is not just a building, but a living symbol of community of faithful that has journeyed through centuries.

Reopening of Manila Cathedral, April 9, 2014, Intramuros, Manila   - NJ Viehland Photos

Reopening of Manila Cathedral, April 9, 2014, Intramuros, Manila – NJ Viehland Photos

Banda Kawayan Pilipinas (bamboo band Philippines) swayed and shuffled while playing Filipino cultural staple music ahead of the Mass for reopening of Manila Cathedral led by Cardinal Luis Tagle April 9, 2014 in Intramuros, Manila. - NJ Viehland Photos

Banda Kawayan Pilipinas (bamboo band Philippines) swayed and shuffled while playing Filipino cultural staple music ahead of the Mass for reopening of Manila Cathedral led by Cardinal Luis Tagle April 9, 2014 in Intramuros, Manila. – NJ Viehland Photos

Cultural dancers drew people outside Manila Cathedral hours before Cardinal Luis Tagle led the Mass to reopen the church after 2 years of reconstruction work. - NJ Viehland photos

Cultural dancers drew people outside Manila Cathedral hours before Cardinal Luis Tagle led the Mass to reopen the church after 2 years of reconstruction work. – NJ Viehland photos

People of all ages watched musicians and dancers perform cultural numbers outside Manila Cathedral while waiting for the reopening Mass led by Cardinal Luis Tagle after 2 years of reconstruction and retrofitting work. - NJ Viehland Photos

People of all ages watched musicians and dancers perform cultural numbers outside Manila Cathedral while waiting for the reopening Mass led by Cardinal Luis Tagle after 2 years of reconstruction and retrofitting work. – NJ Viehland Photos

5. As we strengthen our place of worship, we learn how to truly worship, and I’m thankful to God that the readings for today are about true worship. Lo and behold, when I opened the missal, I said, Lord, the choice of the day was really yours, it was not ours. 

6. The essence of worship is just to worship because God deserves such worship.

students offer bottles of coins at Mass for reopening of Manila Cathedral April 9, 2014 - NJ Viehland Photos

students offer bottles of coins at Mass for reopening of Manila Cathedral April 9, 2014 – NJ Viehland Photos

7. As we reopen this place of worship, let us commit ourselves to the worship of the true God, and let us commit ourselves to ignoring idols, for example, idolatry of money, power, lust…

8. Jesus tells us in the Gospel, “If you remain in my Word, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free – free from idols, free from inspiration of false gods – that’s the fruit of true worship: truth and wisdom in Jesus Christ.