Catholic in Asia, don’t stop at baptism

Bishop Claver baptizes Aaron Viehland NJ Viehland

Bishop Francisco Clave baptizes Aaron / NJ Viehland Photos

Francisco F. Claver, S.J. (20 January 1926 – 1 July 2010) was a Filipino Jesuit priest, appointed and consecrated first bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Malaybalay in the Philippines.  He was the first member of the Igorot ethnic groups in the northern Philippines to be made a bishop. 

Claver completed a masters degree in Anthropology in the Ateneo de Manila and finished his doctorate in the University of Colorado. Ordained to the priesthood on 18 June 1961, he was appointed as the bishop of what is now the Malaybalay Diocese on 18 June 1969 and was consecrated on 22 August 1969. Claver resigned in 1984, but was appointed Apostolic Vicar of the Apostolic Vicariate of Bontac-Lagawe, Philippines. He retired on 15 April 2004.

Much talk about Church renewal and change today under Pope Francis’ reform movement echoes some of Bishop Claver’s ideas articulated decades ago. In particular, he has asserted that lay people need to reform also. It is not enough for Church members to be baptized and take part in Sacraments. Laity need also to participate in leadership roles for the change that needs to happen. They are not only subjects who will be affected by change, but also key players who will effect the change.

Bishop Claver “Ikoy” was born in the province of Bontoc, Mountain Province and was one of the most influential people of the Cordilleras and courageous leader against martial law. In his activities and writings, he has emphasized the importance of a participatory Church that is necessary in carrying out the aggiornamento called for by the Second Vatican Council. For him, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) or the Basic Christian Communities (BCCs) are the primary and particular embodiment and vehicles of participation and Church renewal. He died in Manila on July 1, 2010.

 

 

Flashback: Why Pope Francis’ supposed “revolution” isn’t new for some in Asia

By NJ Viehland

AMOR, NJ Viehland

Religious women postulants offer flowers at Mass at 2013 AMOR meeting in Tagaytay City, Philippines/ NJ Viehland Photos

Taking renewal in the Church as the overarching theme of its structure, reflection and activities through the past four decades, the FABC has drafted what Father Arevalo calls a “map for evangelization in Asia.”

        

NCR PCNE tagle arevalo by NJ Viehland

Father Catalino Arevalo (right) with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila at the 2013 Philippine Congress on the New Evangelization in Manila / NJ Viehland Photos

 MANILA — “It’s a new world,” Jesuit Father Catalino Arevalo, premier theologian of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), says 40 years after the Catholic association was formally established.

         Retracing the FABC’s journey in an interview at Loyola House of Studies in Quezon City, he marveled at how “the average Catholic person today with all the new media is very different from the ordinary Catholic person when I was a young priest at 40 in 1960.”

         He said he never imagined that people in the mountains of Bukidnon province would see the multi-awarded Grammy winner Lady Gaga on television nor the Philippine popular artists as they performed more than 560 miles northwest in Manila. In his view, this reflects a similar situation in many Asian nations.

         In bringing the Gospel to the peoples of Asia, “we are like Jesus and the first disciples,” said the priest who has advised Asian Church and other leaders. “We have to start anew.”

FABC, Mapping Evangelization in Modern Asia

          More than 50 presidents and delegates of the 19-member bishops’ conferences (were to be) guided by this same spirit of renewal and vision of evangelization when they gathered in Vietnam for the Tenth FABC Plenary Assembly (X FABC Plenary Assembly) Nov. 19-25, 2012 , [1] the latest of such assemblies. They represented local Churches stretching from Kazakhstan in Central Asia to East Timor (Timor Leste) in Southeast Asia. The theme of that year’s assembly was: “FABC at Forty Years – Responding to the Challenges of Asia: The New Evangelization.” 

         The delegates were joined by resource persons as well as observers from the Vatican, other continental bishops’ groups and funding agencies, all accompanying the bishops as they reflected on opportunities and pastoral challenges that society presents the Church in Asia in the 21st century.

         The FABC plenary assembly, held every four years, usually brings together about 100 bishop-delegates with about the same number of resource persons to study a particular theme, pray together and draft a statement at the meeting’s close.

X FABC group picture

Xth FABC Plenary Assembly in Xuan Loc, Vietnam, Dec. 2012 / NJ Viehland Photos

         The working document for the event invited the delegates to discern how the Church can spread the Gospel in societies of Asia impacted by dynamics triggered by globalization, cultural diversity, poverty and many other factors. They will also try to take account of concerns such as: migrants and refugees, indigenous peoples, population, religious freedom, threats to life, social communications, ecology, laity, women, youth, Pentecostalism and vocations.

         The Holy See approved the statutes of the FABC in 1972. This voluntary association of bishops’ conferences in South, Southeast, East and Central Asia was formed “to foster among its members solidarity and co-responsibility for the welfare of Church and society in Asia, and to promote and defend whatever is for the greater good.” 

        Since the start, Father Arevalo has served as a resource person, writing adviser and theological consultant for the FABC. Bishops who pioneered the federation were just settling back in their dioceses after the close of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II, 1962-1965). They forged their plans for the FABC as local Churches in Asia grappled with questions on how to spread the Gospel in a “new world” being born after the colonial period

        Taking renewal in the Church as the overarching theme of its structure, reflection and activities through the past four decades, the FABC has drafted what Father Arevalo calls a “map for evangelization in Asia.”

Local Church

         “The FABC already made a general map of evangelization in Asia” in the 1970s, Father Arevalo pointed out, and its primary agent has always been the local Church.

          When Asian bishops came to Manila during the visit of Pope Paul VI in 1970, they met to discuss setting up a permanent structure by which Asian Church leaders could gather regularly to share their experiences and develop among themselves what local Churches could do to bring the realities of Vatican II to life in Asia. “Local Church” refers to the Church in each country, Father Arevalo explained, and the FABC gatherings were envisioned to “begin with bishops, but not just bishops.”

         Among those who gathered in 1970 were several prelates who would be instrumental in bringing the FABC to life, including Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan of Korea, Cardinal Valerian Gracias of India and Cardinal Justinus Darmojuwono of Indonesia, as well as Archbishop Mariano Gaviola of the Philippines and Bishop Francis Hsu of Hong Kong.

         In 1971, Bishop Hsu convened a meeting in Hong Kong for the presidents of 13 episcopal conferences, a gathering that would become the FABC Central Committee. Today, 19 episcopal conferences in Asia are FABC members : Bangladesh, East Timor, India – CBCI (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India), India – Syro-Malabar, India – Syro-Malankara, India – Latin Rite, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos-Cambodia, Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan (ROC), Thailand and Vietnam. The newest member is the bishops’ conference of East Timor, which was launched just this year. Previously, the youngest member was the Bishops’ Conference of Kazakhstan, which officially joined the FABC in 2008.

         The FABC also has associate members in nine Asian places that have no episcopal conference. Three are dioceses: Hong Kong and Macau in China, and Novosibirsk in eastern Russia. Four other associate members are in Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The remaining two are Mongolia and Nepal.

         In India, four distinct episcopal conferences belong to the federation. The bishops’ conference of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and that of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church represent the Oriental rite, while the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India represents the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. CBCI, the general body for the whole country, was among the FABC’s founding members.

         The first FABC plenary assembly in 1974 brought hundreds of bishops together in Taipei. The statement and recommendations they issued under the title “Evangelization in Modern Day Asia” spell out the perspective of the Asian context, as well as the FABC vision and approach to evangelization in the region.

         The statement stresses that the local Church immediately and primarily must be the agent, the subject of evangelization, in contemporary Asia. Father Arevalo elaborated that instead of always waiting for instructions from Rome on exactly what to do, “The Vatican Council already said it is time now for each of the local Churches to reflect and define how they see and how they prioritize the work that they must do.” Even so, he added, the FABC has always acknowledged that local Church activity would always work together with Rome.

         “It’s just like a man and a woman who are married now,” he continued. “Must they ask their grandmother or grandfather what they do each day of their lives? No. They get advice and direction from the grandfather or the grandmother, but it’s their responsibility to know what they must do with their own family, following with fidelity what their grandparents taught them also. So that’s the meaning of the local Church’s priority of responsibility.”

Part 2 Triple Dialogue

[Written for a project: 40 Years of FABC, September 12, 2012]

[1] The Xth FABC Plenary Assembly was actually held Dec. 10-16, 2012 to make way for a surprise consistory then Pope Benedict XVI set for Nov. 24 to create new cardinals, including Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.

published with permission, FABC Office of Social Communication Executive Secretary

Priests apologize for shaming of unwed mom

The priest who harangued and scolded an unwed teenage mother during the baptism of her baby has apologized and his religious order has promised to discipline the priest.

Screenshot of Fr. Obach's letter of apology.

Screenshot of Fr. Obach’s letter of apology.

The baby’s grandmother recorded the incident on her cellphone and later uploaded it to her Facebook page. She also wrote about the humiliation the priest subjected her daughter to.

Read full report

The baptizing priest, Father Romeo Obach belongs to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) – Cebu Province  which issued on July 8 its statement on Fr. Obach, CSsR

Following is the full text of the Redemptorists-Cebu statement :

CONGREGATIO SS. REDEMPTORIS
Provincial Superior
Cebu Province
Provincial Office
Don Ramon Aboitiz St.
6000 Cebu City, Philippines

1. We, the Redemptorists of the Province of Cebu are deeply saddened by the incident that happened on July 6, 2014 at the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy in Jagobiao, Mandaue City. The said incident involved one of our confreres, Fr. Romeo Obach, CSsR. We were made aware that the incident was videoed and uploaded on social media and has since gone viral.

As a religious community we DO NOT CONDONE such an UNACCEPTABLE ACT as it is contrary to the Charism and Mission for which our Congregation was founded – compassion especially to the poor and the most abandoned. We sincerely feel for the family and to them we extend our heartfelt apology.

2. An INTERNAL INVESTIGATION is underway. Rest assured that appropriate SANCTIONS on the part of the involved will be applied once the investigation is complete so that justice may prevail.

3. We will reach out the aggrieved family at the appropriate and most opportune time to address this particular matter. We respect their situation at the moment and sympathize with their hurt and anger over this matter.

4. The Redemptorist Community has always upheld the rights of the poor and disenfranchised since the first missionaries arrived here in Cebu in 1906. And this has been our conviction through the decades. It is but unfortunate that the incident involving Fr. Obach occurred, as he has been a good missionary for many years. He has served in many capacities and various places heeding the challenges of the congregation, yet he is also human and prone to lapse of judgment and imprudence.

5. We appeal for calm and sobriety from everyone even as we try to assess both the outcome of the investigation of our confrere and at the same time reach out to the family. We appreciate that if you have further concerns, address them to the SUPERIOR of the Redemptorists.

6. May this also serve as a reminder to us in the religious life and the clergy of our role as pastors: that we are called to serve and not be served and to offer our lives for all (cf. Mt. 20:28). On behalf of the Redemptorist Community of Cebu, we extend our sincere and humble apologies.

Fr. Alfonso Suico, Jr, C.Ss.R
Media Liaison

 

CBCP Document: Our Moral Response to the Unconstitutionality of DAP

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines addresses a press conference at the end of the 2012 CBCP plenary assembly at Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila. NJ Viehland Photo

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines addresses a press conference at the end of the 2012 CBCP plenary assembly at Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila. NJ Viehland Photo

The Supreme Court has ruled that many government acts under the Development Acceleration Program (DAP) are without constitutional authority. Earlier, it ruled the Priority Assistant Development Fund (PDAF), more popularly known as the ‘pork-barrel fund’ also unconstitutional.

Why this Statement

The just distribution of the resources of the nation in accordance with the prescriptions of law and the tenets of morality is an issue of social justice. It is therefore a concern of the CBCP — and of the entire Church in the Philippines — as well.

Both DAP and PDAF involve enormous sums and while it is claimed by the government officials involved that these went into projects that benefited the people, there are serious allegations that we cannot summarily dismiss and ignore. Three senators have been charged, together with others, for the illegal use of pork-barrel funds. It is claimed that a considerable part went into ghost NGOs set up precisely to facilitate the conversion of public funds for personal and other illegal and immoral uses.

Benedictine Sister Mary John Mananzan joined women legislators, whistleblowers, students and other members of Babala (warning) movement for the abolition of pork barrel and prosecution of legislators and public officials guilty of graft, corruption and plunder. NJ Viehland Photo at St. Scholastica's College museum.

Benedictine Sister Mary John Mananzan joined women legislators, whistleblowers, students and other members of Babala (warning) movement for the abolition of pork barrel and prosecution of legislators and public officials guilty of graft, corruption and plunder. NJ Viehland Photo at St. Scholastica’s College museum.

Communal Guilt

But there is no reason to direct our ire only at the three senators, nor at those presently accused, for we must humbly recognize that the propensity to make use of what is not ours to better the lives of our families or to gain access to luxuries that would otherwise be beyond us will be found in all of us.

We are all guilty by attitude and by our disposition.

We renew our call for national conversion — the conversion not only of individuals but of institutions as well! It will be well for us to remember that conversion is our response to the ceaseless call of Love Incarnate, Jesus, to ‘turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel’.

We must pray together for the grace of conversion, because the prosecution and punishment of a few will not rid the nation of the propensity to corruption that is found in us all!

Appeal to Government

We call on the Commission on Audit and on the Office of the Ombudsman to tell the nation where DAP funds went. While, indeed, in many cases, it would be impractical, unhelpful even, to undo every project funded by what the High Court has ruled to be unconstitutional means, we must nevertheless know how these monies were used, for where there was illegal and immoral application of funds, there must be restitution.

There must be accountability.

We reiterate our position that investigation and inquest cannot and must not be selective, for public perception that some are shielded while others are persecuted detracts from the confidence people must repose in their institutions.

A government that professes to tread the straight path must remain true to that profession and must be willing to let go of the corrupt in its own ranks! We in the Church will do the same.

Many of our bishops have already established systems for the accountability of our pastors and parish leaders. We have issued guidelines so that we may be more vigilant about the provenance of donations and grants. This way, we in the Church strive to respond to the demands of honesty and fairness.

Let us restore integrity in our land.

From the Pius XII Catholic Center, Manila, July 4, 2014

+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
President, CBCP

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.

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

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