Catholic schools launch nat’l congress on family set on papal visit

Congress on the Filipino Family SMX NJ Viehland

[l-r] Dennis Salvador SMX Convention Director of sales, Dexter Deyto VP/Gen. Manager signing with Miriam’s Rose Bautista, Jose Arellano, OIC Executive Director of CEAP, Maricel Salapantan, MC High School Family Councilpresident. / NJ Viehland Photos

Updated Nov. 19, 2014

Miriam College (formerly Maryknoll College), has teamed up with Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) member schools and ABS-CBN media network to convene the National Congress on the Filipino Family.

The national congress is slated on Jan. 16-17 coinciding with Pope Francis’ Jan. 15-19 visit to the Philippines, but is not included in the Pope’s itinerary.

The congress to launched today supports the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that closed in Rome Oct. 19 on the topic, “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization”. “It aims to highlight the voice of the laity in discussion of what actually takes place within the family,” organizers said in their press release. 

Miriam College High School principal Edizon Fermin, Adviser of the Executive Council National Congress on the Filipino Family said organizers hope to be as open and inclusive as possible. The congress will gather a broad range of participants, including same-sex couples who have raised families, “housebands” who have shifted from the traditional roles of household men, career-oriented couples juggling work with parenting, teenaged mothers abandoned by the fathers of their children, separated parents with custody of their children, children orphaned by soldier parents, children growing up in the digital world. These are also topics to be discussed in engaging talks and workshops.

Ed Fermin of Miriam College hands to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle the working document of the Congress on the Filipino Family convened by school family councils, PTA particularly from Catholic Schools - NJ Viehland Photos

Ed Fermin of Miriam College hands to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle the working document of the Congress on the Filipino Family convened by school family councils, PTA particularly from Catholic Schools – NJ Viehland Photos

Fermin presented last September the congress concept paper to Cardinal Tagle which Fermin said was drafted primarily by parents’ associations during the cardinal’s Theological Hour lecture on the 2014 synod at Loyola School of Theology.

Related post

CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas: Random thoughts at the close of the synod 

Synod on the Family: Commentary by Hector Welgampola

 

 

Sri Lanka bishops’ conference president: Pope Francis to visit Jan. 13-15

Archdiocese of Colombo website photo

Archdiocese of Colombo website photo

Archdiocese of Colombo website, citing remarks attributed to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, reports that Pope Francis is expected to visit Sri Lanka on Jan. 13, 14 and 15. 

The pope has announced he would visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines in January, but did not give the exact dates.

Read the full Archdiocese of Colombo report 

 Related reports

Gifts Sri Lanka bishops asked from Pope Francis

Thy will be done…even on The Voice!

Ursuline Sister Cristina Scuccia’s success in The Voice certainly breaks stereotypes, including,
nun = spinster (to borrow from Pope Francis’ message to some 800 women religious representing International Union of Superiors General (UISG in May 2013)

 

CNS Blog

ROME — Ursuline Sister Cristina Scuccia’s landslide victory on The Voice of Italy last night wasn’t as big a surprise as much as what she did with her winner’s platform.

prize

She thanked everyone on the talent show for their help and support, but left her highest praise for God.

“My final and most important thanks go to the one who is up there,” she said to applause.

thank him

She said her presence on The Voice wasn’t to walk away a winner or a music star, but to show people a different kind of victory:

“My dream is to recite the Our Father together, maybe we can all hold each other’s hands and pray. I want Jesus to come right here inside!”

It left most people perplexed and unsure, but Sister Cristina was in charge, telling the band to strike up a soft melody to set the mood.

Half-joking, the MC said…

View original post 409 more words

Vietnam priest, other Asians among 100 “information heroes”, Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders, (RWB) an organization that monitors attacks on journalists has cited a Vietnamese Catholic priest and other  Asians among 100 “information heroes” for standing up to powerful forces that suppress information and journalists.

Vietnamese Father Le Ngoc Thanh, a member of the Redemptorist congregation in Vietnam is a citizen-journalist who worked amid Communist government harassment.

In its citation, Reporters Without Borders noted that Father Anton le Ngoc Thanh is a journalist and a Catholic priest whose more than a decade of work for Vietnamese Redemporist News, a Catholic news organization, has caused him numerous problems with the Vietnamese authorities.

In 2012 he was stopped for questioning on his way to Bac Lieu in the south of the country, where a woman had set fire to herself in protestagainst her daughter, the blogger Ta Phong Tan, being put on trial. He was held for several hours for causing a traffic accident while travelling on foot.

He was arrested again last year during a demonstration in support of the blogger and activist Dinh Nhat Uy, convicted for organizing a campaign for the release of his jailed younger brother. Thanh is under constant police surveillance and is frequently prevented from covering and publicizing the human rights abuses that he has witnessed.

Cambodian Photojournalist and radio reporter Oudom Tat, is the youngest “hero” listed, and Muhammed Ziauddin, a Pakistani newspaper journalist for 45 years is the oldest.

Among the Asians, Iran, China, Azerbaijan, Vietnam are each represented by at least three heroes.

Some journalists cited work in democracies, while others, such as Jila Bani Yaghoob, who runs the Kanoon Zanan Irani (Centre for Iranian Women) website, work under “the most authoritarian regimes,” RWB’s announcement said.

Among women, Filipina Rowena Paraan, a journalist for 25 years now chairwoman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines was cited for her role in the organization’s long-time journalists’ safety program. “This is a major issue in a country where 32 journalists were massacred in Ampatuan in Maguindanao province in November 2009, a scar on the national psyche which is unlikely to heal,” Paraan’s citation reads.

 

Philippines parish takes Way of the Cross to the streets

Good Friday at San Isidro Parish, Bagong Silangan community, Quezon City, in pictures:

san isidro Mary NJ Viehland

Youth and Worship committees of San Isidro Labrador Parish in the Diocese of Novaliches took the Stations of the Cross to the streets of their teeming community northeast of Manila on this steamy Good Friday and was met with this:


san isidro kids climb NJ Viehland

Boys climb to catch a glimpse of actors re-enacting Jesus’ crowning with thorns. NJ Viehland

san isidro kids on jeep NJ Viehland

san isidro youth senakulo kids NJ Viehland

san isidro senakulo children bus NJ Viehland

Curious children take refuge from scorching sun and watch from inside a parked bus. NJ Viehland

Children and elders among the 100,000 parishioners wanted to catch a glimpse of “Jesus Christ” and his “tormentors, followers” and his “mother.”

Parish priest Father Aris Escobal of the Order of Carmelites (OCarm), Philippines, agreed to hold the Good Friday activity called “Senakulo” around the parish this year. “Older parishioners resisted, but the youth were eager,” he told Catholic in Asia. Eventually the Parish Youth Group and Worship Committee worked together also in collaboration with Basic Ecclesial Communities that set up the stations of the cross and Titus Brandsma Media Center of the Philippines OCarm.

After catechesis on the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ, youth worked out their scripts, prayers, music, props, routes, decorated their costumes and re-enacted the story of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

san isidro costume NJ Viehland

san isidro group pic NJ Viehland

san isidro alindayu NJ Viehland

Rev. Arnold Alindayu, OCarm deacon lent a hand (with Krisna Furing as Herod). NJ Viehland

Most of the short dramas were staged in the streets after short processions up and down the hilly Bagong Silangan community under the scorching sun

san isidro way of the cross NJ Viehland

san isidro soldiers NJ Viehland

The community prayed their last stations in their favorite place to hang out – the basketball court near the church.

San Isidro youth Way of the Cross point NJ Viehlandsan isidro labrador Youth senakulo NJ Viehlandsan isidro youth senakulo crowd NJ Viehland

“Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world,” they prayed together. The look on these children’s faces remind me of Pope Francis’ tweet : @Pontifex How beautiful it is to stand before the Crucifix, simply to be under the Lord’s gaze, so full of love. (EG 264)

san isidro fr escobal youth NJ ViehlandFr. Aris Escobal, OCarm (center in brown) with San Isidro Parish Youth

[more to follow on these “Easter people” of San Isidro parish)

Coco Martin, Judy Ann Santos and Christopher de Leon Exposed

UST, Manila – So you think actors and actresses are nothing but shallow, empty creatures of glitz and glamor ?

You should have heard Coco Martin, Judy Ann Santos, and Christopher de Leon, three bright television and big screen stars share about their particular Catholic devotion on the second day of the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization today Oct. 17, 2013 at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas led by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.

TV and film actor Coco Martin share about his devotion to the Black Nazarene at the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at University of Santo Tomas on Oct. 17, 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

TV and film actor Coco Martin share about his devotion to the Black Nazarene at the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at University of Santo Tomas on Oct. 17, 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

Judy Ann Santos, popular movie/tv actress and tv game show host, narrated the development of her devotion to Our Lady of Manaoag during today's faith sharing at the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, Manila Oct. 17, 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

Judy Ann Santos, popular movie/tv actress and tv game show host, narrated the development of her devotion to Our Lady of Manaoag during today’s faith sharing at the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, Manila Oct. 17, 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

Award winning actor, Lorenzo Ruiz play producer Christopher de Leon closed the sharing session with "Amazing Grace" song after he told the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at University of Santo Tomas, Oct. 17, 2013  the role of the first Filipino Saint in his journey from drug addiction to producer and acting awards. NJ Viehland Photo

Award winning actor, Lorenzo Ruiz play producer Christopher de Leon closed the sharing session with “Amazing Grace” song after he told the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at University of Santo Tomas, Oct. 17, 2013 the role of the first Filipino Saint in his journey from drug addiction to producer and acting awards. NJ Viehland Photo

Cardinal Tagle thanked Judy Ann, Christopher and Coco for taking time off to contribute to the Stories of Faith section of this morning’s conference with experiences with the shrine of  Our Lady of Manaoag,  the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene and an offer to play Lorenzo Ruiz in a planned movie on the first Filipino saint. De Leon said even if the movie was never produced, he had a lingering preoccupation with the life of St. Lorenzo that drove him decades later to produce a musical play that drew good reviews in Manila recently.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle thanks Film/tv actress and game show hostess Judy Ann Santos for sharing about her devotion to Our Lady of Manaoag on the second day of the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at the pontifical University of Santo Tomas on Oct. 17, 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle thanks Film/tv actress and game show hostess Judy Ann Santos for sharing about her devotion to Our Lady of Manaoag on the second day of the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at the pontifical University of Santo Tomas on Oct. 17, 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle thanks tv and film actor Coco Martin for sharing about his devotion to the Black Nazarene while Actor, producer Christopher de Leon looks on at the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at University of Santo Tomas, Manila Oct. 17, 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle thanks tv and film actor Coco Martin for sharing about his devotion to the Black Nazarene while Actor, producer Christopher de Leon looks on at the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at University of Santo Tomas, Manila Oct. 17, 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila thanks Christopher de Leon, award-winning film actor and producer of Lorenzo Ruiz Play for sharing about his journey from drug addiction to successful come-back to show business. TV/movie actor Coco Martin looks on at the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization Oct. 17, 2013 at pontifical University of Santo Tomas. NJ Viehland photo

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila thanks Christopher de Leon, award-winning film actor and producer of Lorenzo Ruiz Play for sharing about his journey from drug addiction to successful come-back to show business. TV/movie actor Coco Martin looks on at the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization Oct. 17, 2013 at pontifical University of Santo Tomas. NJ Viehland photo

Monsignor Clem Ignacio of Quiapo Church also shared about how he used to be so ashamed about his mother’s devotion to the Black Nazarene. “Mommy, get up, people are looking at you,” he remembered telling his mother who would get on her knees and go down the long aisle to the altar praying for her special intentions. In hindsight, “For all I know I was the one people there were looking at,” Monsignor Ignacio said.

He recalled his struggles and “rock bottom” moments as a priest until Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales as Archbishop of Manila assigned him rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene.  While serving this assignment, the Monsignor Ignacio said he came to see the sincerity and devotion of people to the suffering Christ.

Cancer-stricken retired Archbishop Leonardo Legazspi of Caceres, northern Philippines also gave a faith reflection on how his medical tests showed he was clear of cancer after people prayed with him to Our Lady of Penafrancia  during the filming of the movie project “Ikaw ang pag-ibig (you are love) to commemorate the tercentenary of the devotion in 2010. The cancer originally in the lungs later showed up again at stage 4 after all anniversary activities had been completed. Archbishop Legaspi said he was leaving his fate all up to God.

Retired Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi of Caceres, a member of the Dominican order who had served as president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, talked about his prayers to Our Lady of Penafrancia with emcee Boots Anson-Roa, movie and tv actress and hostess, during the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila Oct. 17, 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

Retired Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi of Caceres, a member of the Dominican order who had served as president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, talked about his prayers to Our Lady of Penafrancia with emcee Boots Anson-Roa, movie and tv actress and hostess, during the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila Oct. 17, 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

Still to come: more photos and reports on this and Fr. Catalino Arevalo, S.J.’s discussion of popular religiosity

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.

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

Titus Brandsma Awards 2013 Philippines , Part 1 : Red Batario

Congratulations, Red Batario: Titus Brandsma Awards  2013 Philippines  – for Leadership in Journalism

 

Red Batario accepted the Leadership in Journalism Award from Titus Brandsma Awards 2013 via Fr. Tjeu Timmermans, former Prior Provincial of the Dutch Carmelite Province and Carolina Malay, Journalist, editor, teacher and member of the Titus Brandsma Award Philippines Board. - Philippines Aug. 7, 2013. [NJ Viehland Photo]

Red Batario accepted the Leadership in Journalism Award from Titus Brandsma Awards 2013 via Fr. Tjeu Timmermans, former Prior Provincial of the Dutch Carmelite Province and Carolina Malay, Journalist, editor, teacher and member of the Titus Brandsma Award Philippines Board. – Philippines Aug. 7, 2013. [NJ Viehland Photo]

 

VICTOR REDMOND “RED” S. BATARIO is the Executive Director of the Center for Community Journalism and Development, Inc. (CCJD), a non-profit, non-stock organization that aims to support, encourage and help sustain efforts of journalists working with citizens, communities and institutions for social change.

Batario is also the representative for Asia of the London-based International News Safety Institute (INSI). The institute is a global network dedicated to the safety of journalists and media staff, and commited to fighting the persecution of journalists everywhere. It is a coalition of media organizations, groups working to uphold press freedom, unions and humanitarian campaigners working to create a culture of safety in media worldwide.

Titus Brandsma was a Dutch philosopher, professor, and Carmelite priest who was thrown in prisons during the Nazi occupation of Holland in the 1940s. While serving as the Church’s adviser to Catholic journalists in the Netherlands in 1935, he criticized anti-Jewish laws in his talks and writings, and wrote against publishing Nazi propaganda in Catholic publications, saying it was incompatible with Catholicism.

He reportedly suffered from beatings, hunger, hard labor and being used for medical research in Germany’s Dachau concentration camp from April 1942 until his executioner gave him lethal injection on July 26, 1942. Blessed John Paul II beatified him on Nov. 3, 1985, a year after the Church proclaimed him a martyr.

Titus Brandsma Award Philippines recognizes Filipino journalists and community media who best epitomize Blessed Titus’  life and principles. It also recognizes individuals and groups who have created an impact and influenced the fields of Leadership in Journalism, communication and culture and arts. “It honors the modern-day prophets and martyrs” for press freedom, Order of Carmelites Philippines Prior Provincial Fr. Christian Buenafe explained.

Fr. Christian "Toots" Buenafe, first Prior Provincial of the Carmelite Province of Blessed Titus Brandsma-Pilipinas welcomed awardees and guests to the 2013 Titus Brandsma Award Philippines ceremony and dinner at Titus Brandsma Center, Acacia Street, Quezon City on Aug. 7, 2013 - Photo by N.J. Viehland

Fr. Christian “Toots” Buenafe, first Prior Provincial of the Carmelite Province of Blessed Titus Brandsma-Pilipinas welcomed awardees and guests to the 2013 Titus Brandsma Award Philippines ceremony and dinner at Titus Brandsma Center, Acacia Street, Quezon City on Aug. 7, 2013 – Photo by N.J. Viehland

Following is the text of Batario’s acceptance speech during the awards ceremony last night at Titus Brandsma Center of the Order of Carmelites in Acacia Street, Quezon City…

News Agenda Setting…By the People 

When I was a reporter…back when I was still young and pretty…journalism was defined by the newsroom’s own agenda setting…which was to follow the old dictum that what bleeds…leads.

It didn’t help any that my newsroom baptism came during the Marcos years of martial regime…and that the newspaper I worked for was owned by a presidential crony.  It was the worst and best of times to be a journalist.  Worst in the sense that journalists learned oh so easily how to succumb to the blandishments and siren song of a despotic regime that was trying to project a benevolent image… and best in the sense that it also forced them to re-examine their….and journalism’s role….given the realities that confronted them every day.

That episode in my career taught me to think more clearly and deeply about journalism as a transformative tool….and reporting not simply as a means of relaying information but as a way of connecting with people.

Much later, I came across a thought-provoking article by Ervin S. Duggan, president of the US Public Broadcasting Service, on the workings and attitudes of the news media and I was struck by this passage: “The idea of journalists that the purpose of the story is the story itself invites a terrible kind of journalistic amorality…trying to do the story just for itself invites cynicism.  It doesn’t invite the kind of heroic approach to journalism at all.  It invites compromises and corruptions that deaden the enterprise at its heart.”

But what is at the heart of this journalistic cynicism? Is it because the rules that govern the news cycle no longer apply?  Is it because uncorroborated stories are now the norm?  Is it because journalism has become so competitive that the idea of stewardship, that we as journalists serve causes higher than ourselves no longer have an honorific cachet?  That the story has become expedient to the demand for speed?  Or is it symptomatic of an unraveling of the social fabric that the news media, wittingly or unwittingly, have contributed to?

These were some of the hard questions that…. a long time ago…in a galaxy seemingly so far, far away… prodded me and my partner, Girlie Sevilla Alvarez, to reexamine journalism both as craft and philosophy and whether it is contributing to the determination of democratic development in the Philippines. These were the very same questions that underscored the need to address the challenges faced by local communities and how journalism can provide them a roadmap to identifying problems and crafting solutions.

So it was not mere happenstance that allowed us to flesh out the concept and philosophy of public journalism as a way by which citizens can understand better the impact of the news on their lives, how journalism can provide opportunities for community debates to take place, and how they can actively participate in setting the news agenda. This is the thinking that guides us…this is the framework from which we proceed.

One of the lessons I learned in my work as a journalist over 30 years was that journalists are expert at agenda setting.  In his book Coming to Public Judgment, sociologist Daniel Yankelovich said, “we have so much fun with it that we dash around raising consciousness here, raising consciousness there, then rush on to raise consciousness somewhere else, leaving all previous crises unattended.”

We need to take pause not only to examine the gains and pains of our work, but to see where we are and where we are going.

Many of my colleagues who are in this room right now would agree with me that much still needs to be done to improve journalism practice….just as there is so much more that needs to be done to ensure the independence and safety of those who practice the craft….given the chillingly increasing number of journalists killed while trying to lift the veil of darkness in their communities.

I humbly accept the Titus Brandsma Award Philippines 2013 for Leadership in Journalism for the countless journalists…especially those from local communities…who gave up their lives so that we all could come closer to the truth….for those who continue to bravely shine the light on what others with devious intent would want to keep hidden…for all of us who believe that while journalism as a craft is challenging…it can also be edifying sanctifying.

Red Batario with partners in community journalism work, guests Rep Satur Ocampo, Carolina Malay, keynote speaker Prof Inigo MK Bocken PhD, Fr. Bernard Roosendaal, OCarm at Titus Brandsma Awards 2013 - Philippines ceremony. [NJ Viehland Photo]

Red Batario with partners in community journalism work, guests Rep Satur Ocampo, Carolina Malay, keynote speaker Prof Inigo MK Bocken PhD, Fr. Bernard Roosendaal, OCarm at Titus Brandsma Awards 2013 – Philippines ceremony. [NJ Viehland Photo]

On their behalf, I would like to say thank you most sincerely to the Board of the Titus Brandsma Award-Philippines…. the Philippine Province of the Order of Carmelites in the Philippines….Rev. Fr. Christian Buenafe…. my partner and my family who are my constant sources of inspiration…my friends and colleagues in media and civil society who have always been steadfast in shaping a better journalism landscape…and the Lord who has given me more blessings than I truly deserve.
My mother and father used to tell me: “In our time, journalism practice was good.”  When he was alive, my grandfather told me: “In my time, journalism was very good.”  Today I would like to be able to tell my grandchildren: “Journalism is so much better now.”END

9,000 people came to hear Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

By: N.J. Viehland

Choir in the back, Mother Butler Guild members, some people in wheelchairs, groups in the Church's ministry to the deaf and security personnel at the Easter Recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle April 21, 2013 at Smart-Araneta Center, Quezon City, northeast of Manila / N.J. Viehland Photos

Choir in the back, Mother Butler Guild members, some people in wheelchairs, groups in the Church’s ministry to the deaf and security personnel at the Easter Recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle April 21, 2013 at Smart-Araneta Center, Quezon City, northeast of Manila / N.J. Viehland Photos

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s Easter Recollection was expecting a large crowd at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum last Sunday, April 21, but 9,000 people ? That is awesome.

More than the numbers, though, the mix of people I saw and spoke to was impressive: people in their 80’s, young adults in their 20’s, children, couples holding hands, nuns…

Outside the big arena, there was a lot of excitement, especially by the food stalls and tables for book and multi-media sales. Not surprising, the chatter included admiration and pride over how their cardinal was cited in the past month as possible next pope.

But inside the huge hall, especially while Cardinal Tagle spoke, all were still and quiet, interrupted periodically by bursts of laughter and applause. At one point when Cardinal Tagle shifted to a serious tone while challenging the audience to be missionaries and witness to Christ, he asked, why did you all suddenly get quiet?

The 9,000 people who spent their Sunday in an Easter Recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle April 21, 2013 included nuns, couples, young adults shown here during the break at Smart-Araneta Center. / N.J. Viehland Photo

The 9,000 people who spent their Sunday in an Easter Recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle April 21, 2013 included nuns, couples, young adults shown here during the break at Smart-Araneta Center. / N.J. Viehland Photo

Somehow, inside the big dome noted for big league and college basketball, pop concerts and the legendary “Thrilla in Manila” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975, it seemed like everyone knew each other – like neighbors in one community.

Cardinal Tagle spoke in three parts:

Focusing on Christ’s instruction to the disciples to “Go to Galilee”, he reflected on “Galilees in our life” including the hurts and frustrations, fears and failures. Cardinal Tagle said as Jesus met the disciples in Galilee after resurrecting from the dead, he also meets us and stays with us in these places of hurt, frustration, fears and failures. He helps us to know more about Him. This prepares us to “go to the ends of the earth” to tell all people about God’s love and justice, by showing these to them in the way we live and relate with others.

Cardinal Tagle urged thousands of Catholics at the coliseum and many others listening on the radio to go out and serve in mission. [Click the link to read about it.]

Several people I spoke with said they felt “inspired” to become priests, or “challenged” to be patient and influential teachers.

Catechist Mirasol Bautista and Sherry Canchela of Pansol, Quezon City hope to have patience and be effective teacher to hundreds of students after listening to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the April 21, 2013 Easter Recollection in Smart-Araneta Coliseum / N. J. Viehland Photo

Catechist Mirasol Bautista and Sherry Canchela of Pansol, Quezon City hope to have patience and be effective teacher to hundreds of students after listening to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the April 21, 2013 Easter Recollection in Smart-Araneta Coliseum / N. J. Viehland Photo

Aljon Carpio [left], 22 year-old religion teacher at Notre Dame of Greater Manila with Jose Miguel Pacheco, 4th year high school at University of Santo Tomas felt "inspired" and amused with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle's storytelling at the April 21, 2013 Easter Recollection in Smart-Araneta Coliseum.  / N.J. Viehland Photo

Aljon Carpio [left], 22 year-old religion teacher at Notre Dame of Greater Manila with Jose Miguel Pacheco, 4th year high school at University of Santo Tomas felt “inspired” and amused with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s storytelling at the April 21, 2013 Easter Recollection in Smart-Araneta Coliseum. / N.J. Viehland Photo

Finally, Cardinal Tagle celebrated Mass with Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, which covers Quezon City, and Fr. Emmanuel “Nono” Alfonso, JesCom director.

In the end, Cardinal Tagle directed the congregation to “go to the ends of the earth” and tell others about Christ.

Here are some of the things I saw while I was at Smart-Araneta Coliseum from 8:00-past 1 p.m.

Applauding Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as he returned to the stage for the second part of his talk for the Easter Recollection April 21, 2013 at Smart-Araneta Center in Quezon City, northeast of Manila./ N.J. Viehland Photo

Applauding Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as he returned to the stage for the second part of his talk for the Easter Recollection April 21, 2013 at Smart-Araneta Center in Quezon City, northeast of Manila./ N.J. Viehland Photo

Orchestra playing during the break in the Easter recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle April 21, 2013 at Smart-Araneta Coliseum / N. J. Viehland Photo

Orchestra playing during the break in the Easter recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle April 21, 2013 at Smart-Araneta Coliseum / N. J. Viehland Photo

 

Breaktime at Smart-Araneta Coliseum during the April 21, 2013 Easter Recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle - not exactly up-scale dining , but lots of a different kind of "nourishment" / N.J. Viehland Photos [display of brands not an endorsement]

Breaktime at Smart-Araneta Coliseum during the April 21, 2013 Easter Recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle – not exactly up-scale dining , but lots of a different kind of “nourishment” / N.J. Viehland Photos [display of brands not an endorsement]

Bringing the faith to the people: The 1975 "Thrilla", was in fact the legendary Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier boxing match. Easter Recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle on April 21,2013 ended with Mass for Good Shepherd Sunday. N.J. Viehland Photos [Product logos are not an endorsement by this blog.]

Bringing the faith to the people: The 1975 “Thrilla”, was in fact the legendary Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier boxing match. Easter Recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle on April 21,2013 ended with Mass for Good Shepherd Sunday. N.J. Viehland Photos [Product logos are not an endorsement by this blog.]

 

After the Easter Recollection at Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Sunday TV program followers offered support for The Word Exposed featuring Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle / N.J. Viehland Photos

After the Easter Recollection at Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Sunday TV program followers offered support for The Word Exposed featuring Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle / N.J. Viehland Photos

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