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

 

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Benedict & Francis: 2 ways to be powerful – Fr. Paul Tighe

The approaching anniversary of Benedict XVI’s announcement of his resignation as pope calls to mind reflections on exercise of power shared by Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, when he closed the Catholic Social Media Version 2 Summit (CSMS2) in Manila last November.

The Sunday Gospel for the closing Mass of the Nov. 23-24 summit was Luke’s story of Christ, the King. [LK 23:35 – 43]

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Monsignor Tighe took more than 400 people inside San Juan de Letran’s stadium back to “key Church events” of 2013; the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in February, and the election of Pope Francis in a conclave the following month.

These back-to-back events brought before our eyes what Monsignor Tighe called “two very powerful examples” of “a different way to be powerful.”

Pope Francis addressed the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization speaking publicly in English for the first time in a video message screened at the end of the closing Mass Oct. 18, 2013 at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. NJ Viehland Photo

Pope Francis addressed the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization speaking publicly in English for the first time in a video message screened at the end of the closing Mass Oct. 18, 2013 at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. NJ Viehland Photo

Monsignor Tighe said:

We’ve seen Pope Benedict…a man of enormous power and prestige…somebody who had a very unique and special office to be pope, and he decided to let all that go. He relinquished the power.”

“He wasn’t sure he had the strength to continue any longer to do what was required….” It wasn’t about himself… It was about building up the church. And when he couldn’t build up the church if he wanted to with his own strength and powers he said it’s moment for me to step aside and let somebody come in.

That very rarely happens in our world. People rarely give up power, very rarely give up office, but he did it because he saw his power and his office as being all about service.

Do you have friends, relatives or anyone you know personally who has given up power because he or she judged it would be the best move for people one is  serving?

Pope Benedict’s resignation led to the election of Pope Francis. There would be no Pope Francis if it weren’t for Pope Benedict stepping aside, Monsignor Tighe reminded summit participants.

In his view:

Pope Francis then has defined for us a way of being pope, a way of being a leader, a way of having power which is there in his example of his simplicity… He showed us it’s about reaching out in the style of Jesus to the sick, it’s about going to those who had been set aside…it’s about washing the feet of the Muslim…it’s about doing all these things that symbolize that as Christians, we are about service.

What does power mean for you?

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(for official full text of Monsignor Tighe’s homily, contact the summit organizer,Youth Pinoy)

– All NJ Viehland photos

Spying or not, no cellphones in the confessional

NSA Spying or no spying: No Cellphones in the confessional - audiosancto.org / NJ Viehland Photo

NSA Spying or no spying: No Cellphones in the confessional – audiosancto.org / NJ Viehland Photo

A US National Security Agency (NSA) official has reportedly denied an allegation that the agency had spied on the Vatican, now Pope Francis and cardinals, but it has not allayed worries among certain Catholics about the use of cellphones for eavesdropping in confessions.

Audio Sancto, a website created and maintained by Catholic laypersons who record and publish sermons by Catholic priests, with permission of the priests who preach them, has broadcast a sermon addressing concerns about the use of cellphones for spying.

On Oct. 30, The Telegraph reported  the NSA American spy agency had monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.

The British news service cited claims  made by Panorama, an Italian-language weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.

Rorate Caeli (@RorateCaeli) on Nov. 1 tweeted:

Rorate Caeli @RorateCaeli

NSA spying on @Pontifex? @SenRandPaul says maybe. Either way, Catholics should not take phones into confessional!

Servus Immaculatae @servusimaculata replied:

Servus Immaculatae @servusimaculata

Indeed. No phones in the confessional as was preached from the pulpit here:

 (It listed the link to the Audio Sancto sermon)

In the Audio Sancto sermon, the preacher stresses the priest’s absolute duty not to disclose anything revealed by the penitent in the Sacrament of Confession. In this age of technological advancement, then, he maintains that banning cellphones from the confessional is needed to protect the Seal of Confession.

The website says recorded preachers are  “Catholic priests, in good standing with their local ordinaries and Rome, incardinated with normal faculties and jurisdiction, and serving in North America.”

They are unidentified so that “their attention for their flock won’t be divided by folks outside of their parish who might seek them out for questions rather than going to their local priests.,” the site explains. “The message they happen to be preaching – the Catholic Faith – is what is important, not the human beings preaching it,” the backgrounder page adds.

Click here to listen to information gathered by the preacher on how cellphones are used for spying and reasons why he prohibits bringing a cellphone into a confessional. It is the first part of the sermon, before the priest goes into talking about healing a person from a troubled family.

What are your thoughts and feelings about this sermon on safeguarding secrecy in the confessional, and how it affects the activities of the Church in your end of the world?

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

Society of Saint Pius X Priests and Members in the Philippines

Society of Saint Pius X Priests and Members in the Philippines

From left: SSPX Fathers Michael Fortin, Thomas Onoda, Dr. Marie June Viray led the forum on Marian Apparitions and the Crisis of Faith at Wack Wack Golf Club on Nov. 2012 that discussed scriptural, dogmatic and theological warnings. – N.J. Viehland Photos

Cardinal Tong grateful for Pope Benedict’s loving concern for Church in China

Hong Kong’s  Cardinal John Tong Hon thanked Pope Benedict XVI for his “loving concern” for the Church in China, citing actions the pope had taken to show this. The cardinal expressed his gratitude in a message on the pope’s resignation released by his office.

The cardinal who served as president of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization held in Rome last October is voting in a conclave for the first time. Following is the full text of Cardinal Tong’s message released by his office:

Heartfelt Thanks to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI

  Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, the successor of St. Peter and head of the Apostles, has always loved the Church, putting all his heart and energy into the pastoral service of the People of God. As the Bishop of Hong Kong, I am especially thankful for his loving concern for the Church in China.

In 2007 he issued a Letter to the Catholics in China and established the Commission for the Catholic Church in China. At the end of every meeting of that Commission, he came to see the members in person and encouraged us. On February 10, one day before he announced his decision to resign, he extended special greetings and a blessing to people celebrating the Lunar New Year throughout the world, especially Chinese people everywhere. In his words and deeds, the Holy Father has fittingly mirrored the exchange between the Risen Jesus and Simon Peter: “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others do?” “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” “Feed my sheep.” (cf. John 21:15-17)

The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, is a man of fervent prayer. In his statement announcing his resignation from the Petrine Ministry due to his advanced age, he pointed out that he had finally made this serious decision after a long period of prayer and extended reflection. He is deeply aware that in order to fulfill his papal duties, he cannot rely on word and deed alone, but also needs prayer. He entrusts the future of the Church to the Lord Jesus and to our Blessed Mother. After he resigns, he will serve the Church wholeheartedly through prayer. We express our heartfelt thanks to the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, for his guidance and good example, and we will always pray for him.

We have profound faith that both the resignation of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, and the selection of his successor, are in the wise hands of Divine Providence. May all of us Catholics in Hong Kong pray for the smooth election of the next Pope. We firmly believe that the incoming Pope will lead the Church according to the holy will of the Lord Jesus and ecclesial tradition, and that he will continue the proclamation of the Gospel, to bring salvation to the whole human race. This is also the objective of the Year of Faith which we are now celebrating.

+Cardinal John TONG

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong

February 12, 2013