Philippines Church ready for Pope Francis

 

Fr Mario Francisco, SJ reviews Tagalog language lyrics he composed for the public Mass of Pope Francis at Rizal Park (Luneta) Jan. 18./ NJ Viehland Photos

Fr Mario Francisco, SJ reviews Tagalog language lyrics he composed for the public Mass of Pope Francis at Rizal Park (Luneta) Jan. 18./ NJ Viehland Photos

… But this is the Philippines, where “the Christian story and Christian symbols have played a very important role in everyday life,” said Jesuit Fr. Jose Mario Francisco, who teaches contextual theology at Loyola School of Theology in Quezon City.

“Even when the percentage of people who have regular contact with the church through Mass and activities may be much smaller than the 80 percent who are Catholic or the 90 percent who are Christian,” Francisco said, “the influence of Christianity in the Philippines remains very strong through devotions, worship, music and other symbols.”

He cited Haiyan survivors who were photographed fleeing…

Read full report

 

 

 

South Asian Jesuits conduct special prayers for abducted confrere – Matters India

New Delhi: More than 4,000 Jesuits in South Asia have been praying for the release of a confrere who was abducted in Afghanistan nearly two weeks ago.

“There is growing frustration as there has been no progress in the case,” Father Joy Karayampura, spokesperson for the South Asian Assistancy of the Society of Jesus told Matters India Friday.

Jesuit Father Alexius Prem Kumar was abducted by suspected Islamic militants Taliban from Sohadat village, 25 km from Herat province of Afghanistan, on March 2. The 47-year-old priest, a member of the Madurai Jesuit province, is the country head of the Jesuit Relief Service (JRS), an international NGO.

Read full story 

Kodaikanal tribals pray for abducted Jesuit’s release – Matters India

Matters India photo published with permission
Matters India photo published with permission

A group of tribals joined NGO workers in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, to pray for the  release of a Jesuit priest who was abducted in Afghanistan.

Fr Alexis Prem Kumar, who is suspected to be in Taliban custody, had earlier worked in Kodaikanal to spread education among tribal people, reported mattersindia.com .  Unidentified gunmen took him into custody when he had gone to visit a school in Herat region of Afghanistan.

Volunteers at the mass prayer fondly remembered the 47-year-old priest’s dedication and commitment for the advancement of poor tribal people. The prayer was held at the unorganized sector workers’ union office in the hill station on Wednesday.

Read full report 

Kodaikanal is a city in the hills of the Dindigul district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India 

Father Kumar reportedly visited tribal communities there. Members of a settlement of about 40 families in Lower Kodaikanal spoke to Times of India about their shock over the news of abduction of  the  priest who has helped them.

Related posts

Afghanistan ‘sui iuris’ head appeals for silence, prayers for kidnapped Jesuit

Indian Jesuit kidnapped in Afghanistan – Matters India news service

 

 

 

 

Afghanistan ‘sui iuris’ head appeals for silence, prayers for kidnapped Jesuit

Fr Alexis Prem Kumar, a 47 year-old Jesuit priest from Tamil Nadu, Southern India, was abducted by armed men in Sohadat village, outside Herat,  when he was on a visit to a school for Afghan returnee children managed by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). - Matters India June 3, 2014 Newsletter photo, published with permission. http://mattersindia.com/

Fr Alexis Prem Kumar, a 47 year-old Jesuit priest from Tamil Nadu, Southern India, was abducted by armed men in Sohadat village, outside Herat, when he was on a visit to a school for Afghan returnee children managed by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). – Matters India June 3, 2014 Newsletter photo, published with permission. http://mattersindia.com/

The superior of the church mission of Afghanistan (sui iuris) has appealed for “silent prayer” for the resolution of yesterday’s kidnapping of the priest who heads Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in the country.

Unidentified gunmen seized Father Alexis Prem Kumar on Monday afternoon in Sohadat village outside Herat province when he visited a school there for Afghan returnee children managed by JRS.

JRS South Asia Regional Director Jesuit Father Stan Fernandes in a statement to independent news service Matters India, yesterday described the kidnapping and explained the mission of JRS and Father Kumar’s involvement in the Catholic organization and the Society of Jesus.

It said the Afghan National Security and Afghan Police are conducting intensive search operations for Kumar.

Related posts

Indian Jesuit kidnapped in Afghanistan – Matters India news service

Related videos

Afghan refugees return – from “Inside Afghanistan”

Indian Jesuit kidnapped in Afghanistan – Matters India news service

Herat, Afghanistan. - Matters India Photos

Herat, Afghanistan. – Matters India Photos

Independent Indian news service Matters India citing a note from the Jesuit Provincial of South Asia has reported today that a Jesuit priest from India working among refugees has been kidnapped by unknown persons from a village in Afghanistan.

“Alexis Prem Kumar SJ had gone to visit a school for the returnees in Sohadat village 25 km from Herat with the teachers. He was kidnapped from the school as he was about to return to Herat,” said the note from Father Edward Mudavassery, Jesuit Provincial of South Asia.

The 47-year-old priest belongs to Madurai Jesuit province. The incident occurred on Monday morning, Fr Mudavassery said.

For the full story and Father Kumar’s photo, read Indian Jesuit kidnapped in Afghanistan

What do Pope Francis and Cardinal Tagle have in common?

Angeles City, Pampanga – Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and Pope Francis are “two of a kind,” former DoTC Secretary Jose “Ping” de Jesus told the convocation of faculty and university officials at the conferment of Holy Angel University‘s honorary doctorate on Manila’s archbishop.

Holy Angel University president Dr. Arlyn Villanueva and Benedictine Sister Josefina Nepomuceno, Board member put the academic robes and hood on Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle during conferment of his honorary doctorate from the university in Angeles City, Pampanga Aug. 16, 2013. [N.J. Viehland Photos]

Holy Angel University president Dr. Arlyn Villanueva and Benedictine Sister Josefina Nepomuceno, Board member put the academic robes and hood on Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle during conferment of his honorary doctorate from the university in Angeles City, Pampanga Aug. 16, 2013. [N.J. Viehland Photos]

The full citation for Cardinal Tagle read by De Jesus follows:  [Note:  unofficial copy – my transcript from recording]

Ex-DoTC Secretary Jose "Ping" de Jesus, member of Holy Angel University's Board of Trustees read a citation for Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle during the conferment of its honorary doctorate on the cardinal Aug. 16, 2013 in Angeles City, Pampanga. [NJ Viehland Photos]

Ex-DoTC Secretary Jose “Ping” de Jesus, member of Holy Angel University’s Board of Trustees read a citation for Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle during the conferment of its honorary doctorate on the cardinal Aug. 16, 2013 in Angeles City, Pampanga. [NJ Viehland Photos]

Citation

When the student is ready, the teacher will come

What the Vatican and the Catholic Church needed at this point in history is precisely what the Vatican got – the person of Pope Francis , a humble pope, a fearless pope, a pope who knows how to communicate to his people. By the same token, the Archdiocese of Manila and the Philippine Church as a whole got exactly the kind of leader and pastor they needed, in the person of our honoree today. Also a humble cardinal, a fearless cardinal, a cardinal who knows how to use broadcast media and social media, and who uses the language that Manilenos and Filipinos would understand.

We can say that the pope and the cardinal are two of a kind. Both educated by the Jesuits, both leaders of the Church in the Third World, both charismatic and both known for their humility and simple ways.

The pope rides a taxi, the cardinal rides a pedicab.

WP cardinal Tagle tricycle By NJ Viehland copy

His Holiness washes the feet of prisoners, His Eminence invites beggars to his refectory.

Indeed, they are both shepherd who smell like sheep.    (pauses as audience laugh)

If indeed Pope Francis has started a revolution in the Church, then his strongest ally would be Cardinal Tagle. The power of their combined examples should compel all Catholics, particularly Filipino Catholics, both clergy and laity, to adopt a major paradigm shift in their personal lives and lifestyles.

His Eminence speaks softly, but carries a big stick against poverty, injustice, atheism, materialism and the Reproductive Health Bill.

He urges his fellow clergy to assume an attitude of humility, respectfulness and silence, but he will not hesitate to raise his voice against the systems and conditions that cause suffering and violate the dignity and sanctity of human life.

The media savvy communicator does not consider an early morning tv show, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter beneath his exalted position. To him, these are tools that bring the Gospel of Christ to the youth, the members of the Church who will ensure its survival and shape its future.

His Eminence certainly knows and shows the way how to match the magnetism of Protestant evangelicals and resist the temptation of an increasingly secular culture.

Like Pope Francis, Cardinal Tagle has the meekness of Assisi but the sophistication of Loyola as well.

Their mission is to disturb the rich and the powerful, and to create a mess in the diocese, to set the world on fire, to bring not peace on earth, but the sword.

This is the time of Pope Francis, this is the time of Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as well.

********************

Cardinal Tagle and “Superstar”

By : N.J. Viehland

“Looking forward to The Word Exposed Easter recollection with Cardinal Tagle this Sunday. 8am-12nn at Araneta @JesComPH.” This is what tv news anchor and correspondent Bernadette Sembrano tweeted on Friday.

It’s perfectly understandable, Bernadette. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle isn’t called “superstar” for nothing.

Long before Manila’s archbishop, Cardinal Tagle, drew raves as “possible next pope” in past months, he had already built a reputation as “speaker who will reach deep in your mind and heart”, and a broad following among retreat groups and congresses in the Philippines and other countries. No one I’ve spoken to after his talks has come out unmoved.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle explains to Catholics from around Manila and surrounding dioceses the theology and spirit behind the Year of Faith and what New Evangelization requires of all Church members during a seminar at Manila Archdiocese's Layforce center in San Carlos Seminary compound last Nov. 2012. [N.J. Viehland Photo]

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle explains to Catholics from around Manila and surrounding dioceses the theology and spirit behind the Year of Faith and what New Evangelization requires of all Church members during a seminar at Manila Archdiocese’s Layforce center in San Carlos Seminary compound last Nov. 2012. [N.J. Viehland Photo]

He is a charismatic speaker, many agree. More than that, I believe he is effective, even infectious, because he keeps his focus steadily on the true “superstar”, Jesus Christ, and fully commits to making Christ’s story relevant to the audience and to life. “Cardinal (Tagle) makes the most out of each interaction with people, no matter the length of time,” one catechist at last November’s Layforce seminar on the Year of Faith told me.

Cardinal Tagle marvels at the power of media, particularly, the Internet, and acknowledges the opportunity it presents to tell people about Jesus, and what he teaches us.

He asked us during his talk at the First Catholic Social Media Summit in Marikina City last July, “How many people can I reach with my homilies in church?” He recalled the story of an overseas worker who came up to him at the airport to tell him he likes to watch his The Word Exposed videos on YouTube especially because he cannot go to the few Masses held in Saudi Arabia where he works.

Weekly, Cardinal Tagle preaches on TV through The Word Exposed, whose producers organized tomorrow’s recollection. In front of the camera, the theologian bishop shares his reflections and insights on the First Reading, Second Reading and the Gospel for that Sunday.

The program, which uses illustrations, video clips, music and other media, is posted on YouTube after the TV show has been aired. It aims “to bring the Gospel closer to the lives of the audience,” explained New Media Manager Mari Bianca Orenciana.

Cardinal Tagle’s The Word Exposed is right at the “top of the list” of “success stories” of Jesuit Communications Foundation (JesCom) that produces the program, foundation director, Father Emmanuel “Nono” Alfonso, says.

“It is our answer to the need of Philippine media and society today for sound theology,” the Jesuit priest said in our interview last August.

Cardinal Tagle, a leading theologian in Asia has also served as consultant to the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. He heads the Office of Theological Concerns of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, an association of bishops’ conferences in East, Southeast, Central and South Asia.

The Word Exposed episode : Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle (bishop here) explains Church concerns about the Reproductive Health Bill with Jesuit Father Emmanuel "Nono" Alfonso, currently Director of Jesuit Communications Foundation, that produces The Word Exposed. (screen shot courtesy of JesCom)

The Word Exposed episode : Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle (bishop here) explains Church concerns about the Reproductive Health Bill with Jesuit Father Emmanuel “Nono” Alfonso, currently Director of Jesuit Communications Foundation, that produces The Word Exposed. (screen shot courtesy of JesCom)

In its August 12, 2012 episode in which Cardinal Tagle preached on the Sunday Gospel, YouTube user “elmsvd” commented, “I’m a priest here in New Zealand, and I have used the reflections as guide for my homilies.”

However, it took a winding path for the program to firm up and grow popular. Father Alfonso recalled that while still bishop of Imus, Cavite, Cardinal Tagle taught at Jesuit-owned Loyola School of Theology on the same campus where JesCom is based. JesCom got him for two-minute television prayer segments and, feeling it wasn’t enough, the organization experimented on an hour-long program called Light Talk  in 2008. The taped show featured the bishop talking about a subject with expert guests.

“Viewers commented and I, too, felt dissatisfied not to hear enough of the bishop, so we changed the format, and the rest is history,” Father Alfonso said.

Tony Boy Cojuangco when he owned the secular station TV5 approached JesCom to produce programs for the first three hours of broadcast on Saturday and Sunday morning. Light Talk was developed, but as the TV station changed management the show was cancelled.

“It was timely to experiment on another format, The Word Exposed, but we had no money, so we just appealed and people started giving,” Father Alfonso said.

“Very honestly, Archbishop Chito (Cardinal Tagle), in front of the camera, said that if you like our reflections you can help us continue this show if you can donate,” the JesCom director narrated.

Catechists, teachers, youth ministry, liturgical ministry and other workers for a "Church of the Poor" in Manila and neighboring dioceses listened to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle's presentation about the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization at Layforce center in Manila archdiocese's San Carlos seminary last Nov. 2012. [N.J. Viehland photo]

Catechists, teachers, youth ministry, liturgical ministry and other workers for a “Church of the Poor” in Manila and neighboring dioceses listened to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s presentation about the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization at Layforce center in Manila archdiocese’s San Carlos seminary last Nov. 2012. [N.J. Viehland photo]

Today, the show thrives in what the audience gives. “Individuals, rich and poor, Filipinos and non-Filipinos here and abroad,” pitch in what money they can give, Father Alfonso said. “There’s no funding agency, no corporations buying commercial spots. It’s really just the audience and some donations from organizations,” he added.

He said JesCom’s websitehas online donation features  , “but people also hand over bills to Jesuit priests after Mass in their parishes, even just 100 pesos (US$2.43), and tell them to please give the money to bishop (Tagle).”

The JesCom head attributes “overwhelming response” locally, from Australia, the US and other countries to people’s perception of Cardinal Tagle as a credible theologian, Church leader and a person of integrity. 

Even prominent personalities, such as Washington Sycip, founder of Sycip, Gorres, Velayo and Co., the Philippines largest multi-professional services firm were moved to send in what an SGV official told me was a “personal donation.” In sending his one-time donation, he wrote how hopeful he was that then Bishop Tagle would lead the Church to improve, Father Alfonso said.

He shared that Knights of Columbus had committed to a regular monthly donation of around 50,000 pesos. “We would like that, for donors to give regularly,” Father Alfonso said.

He estimates, “It costs at least 40,000 pesos to produce a show, and the biggest expense is for the crew.” He said Cardinal Tagle is given only “a small token.”

JesCom also produces other programs and multi-media materials for evangelization and education, and trains people in communication at The Garage creative technologies center.

The Easter recollection its The Word Exposed group organized can expect to gather another large and colorful crowd, including Bernadette, to come and listen to their brilliant, charming, funny cardinal from 8 a.m. to noon at the concert, circus, and basketball landmark: Smart Araneta Coliseum, in Cubao, Quezon City.

Hopefully, if candidates for the May 13 general elections join, it will be to worship God and reflect on leadership as caring and serving their people like the Good Shepherd does, and not to campaign for themselves.

END