Good Shepherd Sr. Pilar Verzosa remembered with Pro-Life fund-raising party

Good Shepherd Sister Pilar Verzosa, pioneering head of Pro-Life Philippines, smiles from a picture as Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, retired Archbishop of Manila, blessed her ashes during her funeral Mass at the chapel in the RGS convent in Aurora Blvd, Quezon City, - NJ Viehland Photos

Good Shepherd Sister Pilar Verzosa, pioneer and long-time head of Pro-Life Philippines, smiles from a picture as Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, retired Archbishop of Manila, blessed her ashes during her funeral Mass at the chapel in the RGS convent in Aurora Blvd, Quezon City, – NJ Viehland Photos

Pro-Life Philippines is organizing a “Lugaw Party” (congee/soup party) on September 20, 2014, Saturday, 9:00 a.m-11:00 a.m. at its “new home” on 70 Main Horseshoe Drive, Horseshoe Village, Quezon City, coinciding with the birthday of its late foundress, Good Shepherd Sister Pilar Verzosa.

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Philippines cardinals team up to promote 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

MANILA – The four Philippine cardinals who faced media last month drew the connection between everyday life and the 51st International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Cebu, central Philippines, in 2016.

The first International Eucharistic Congress held in the Philippines was in 1937.Cardinals Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato and Luis Tagle of Manila, with retired Cardinals Gaudencio Rosales and Ricardo Vidal, at a June 10 press conference in the Manila archdiocese’s chancery building helped launch the theme, logo, prayers and the song for the meeting, which will be held Jan. 24-30, 2016.

With nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, they shared reflections on the meeting’s theme, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The cardinals and Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu (chairman of the gathering), priests and lay partners answered media’s questions, watched popular Philippine singer Dulce and her son sing the congress song and viewed videos, including a promotional video in which Tagle, Quevedo, media personalities, an actress and Congresswoman Grace Poe appear.

The International Eucharistic Congress is a church event where people from different parts of the world gather to celebrate the Eucharist, reflect its richness and pray before it.

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

More than 130 priests and bishops concelebrated at the closing Mass of the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, October 3, 2013 at the chapel of Rockwell Power Plant Mall in Makati City. N.J. Viehland Photo

More than 130 priests and bishops concelebrated at the closing Mass of the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, October 3, 2013 at the chapel of Rockwell Power Plant Mall in Makati City. –  N.J. Viehland Photos

Children, teachers, staff, volunteers, nuns, novices, joined in thanksgiving at Mass onFatima Center for Human Development's 30th foundation anniversary / N J Viehland Photo

Children, teachers, staff, volunteers, nuns, novices, joined in thanksgiving at Mass onFatima Center for Human Development’s 30th foundation anniversary – N J Viehland Photos

Read the full report and insights of the Church leaders on the upcoming congress, the first to be held under Pope Francis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faith of Vietnam Catholics offers bright future for Church – Cardinal Rosales

By N.J. Viehland

Recently appointed Vietnamese Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Dinh Duc Dao of Xuan Loc Diocese, while serving as rector of the diocese’s Saint Joseph Seminary last December addressed delegates and participants of the Xth Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) Plenary Assembly during a cultural program held in the diocesan pastoral complex.

He expressed gratitude to the FABC  “…for the joy of faith you have brought to us…” and “have inspired in us.”

Bishop Dao told us the presence of so many bishops, priests, religious women and lay Church workers in their country at one time “… opens up our mind and heart to the whole Church of Asia, and reminds us that we have other brothers and sisters who believe in the Lord as we do, scattered in the whole of Asia.” 

The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) is an association of conferences of bishops of Catholic Churches in South, Southeast, East and Central Asia. The federation fosters solidarity and joint responsibility for church and society welfare in the region.

The conference includes sixteen Bishops’ Conferences from Bangladesh, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos-Cambodia, Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Churches in places where there are no bishops’ conferences have been included as associate members, including Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, Novosibirsk (Russia), Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

FABC gathers in plenary in various countries, and the 2012 assembly was the first to be held in a country under communist rule.

Filipino Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales (in front), Archbishop Emeritus of Manila was welcomed by a drum and bugle corps and a reception line stretching through the main roads of Xuan Loc Pastoral Complex in the diocese east of Ho Chi Minh City on Dec. 11, 2012, after he delivered his address citing Pope Benedict XVI's message to the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC). He is accompanied by Assistant of the Papal Legate Father Marcelino Antonio M. Maralit, Jr. (N.J. Viehland Photo)

Filipino Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales (in front), Archbishop Emeritus of Manila was welcomed by a drum and bugle corps and a reception line stretching through the main roads of Xuan Loc Pastoral Complex in the diocese east of Ho Chi Minh City on Dec. 11, 2012, after he delivered his address citing Pope Benedict XVI’s message to the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC). He is accompanied by Assistant of the Papal Legate Father Marcelino Antonio M. Maralit, Jr. (N.J. Viehland Photo)

Two months after the FABC plenary assembly on Feb. 28, Pope Benedict appointed Monsignor Dao auxiliary bishop for Xuan Loc. He was the last bishop appointed by Benedict XVI before he stepped down as pope.

Bishop Dao said the presence of FABC delegates “… reminds us of our responsibility to share with other brothers and sisters in Asia the joy of faith in Christ.” Less than 3 percent of the population in most countries in Asia are Catholics.

The presence of Filipino Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales as special envoy for then Pope Benedict XVI , along with Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, secretary of the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples and Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, resident representative of the Holy Father to Vietnam “connect us to Rome and the Holy Father, and through the Holy Father with the whole Church,” Bishop Dao said.

He appealed to them, “Please, eminence and excellencies, convey to our beloved Holy Father, our love, our respect and our obedience. Please tell him that he has children here who are faithful to Christ and to the Church.”

In response, Cardinal Rosales promised bishops, priests, religious men and women and lay members of the Vietnam Catholic community gathered for a cultural presentation in the diocesan pastoral complex in Xuan Loc that he would convey their message of faith, love and loyalty to the Church and to Rome.

“I want to tell him (Pope Benedict) when I see him and report to him next month what I have seen, what I have witnessed and felt about what it is really to be Church of Jesus Christ, yes, in the whole of Asia, but in particular here in Vietnam. And I will assure you…I will remind him, ‘Do not forget, your Holiness, that you have children in that part of Asia.'”

Cardinal Rosales said he would tell Pope Benedict “I know you keep them (Vietnam Catholics) in your spirit, in your prayer, in your blessing, but they want me to remind you that you have children there who not only obey the Church, but they love you.”

He said one gift he will give the pope is an embroidery he received from a Vietnam government official during his visit to Hanoi prior to the FABC assembly. “…No less than the minister interpreted it and he said, ‘Look, Your Eminence, there are two islands in a big sea. This is Vietnam, and the other one is the Vatican. All you need is a bridge.”

Cardinal Rosales, however, told hundreds of people attending the cultural program, ” I am going to explain this to the Holy Father: A bridge is about to be built, but I think I saw a boat there. If there is no bridge, there should be a boat. After all, the Holy Father is pontifex. 

In Cardinal Rosales’ view, the FABC experience showed “how bright the future is that God is preparing for Vietnam.”

END

Advent in Vietnam during the 10th FABC Plenary Assembly 2012

N. J. Viehland Photos

 

A symbol of the Star of Bethlehem hanging around Xuan Loc Pastoral Complex remind delegates and guests attending activities of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences about the meaning of Advent, the season during which the assembly commemorating the 40th anniversary of effectivity of FABC's Statutes and studying together challenges to the Church in Asia. (N. J. Viehland Photo)

A symbol of the Star of Bethlehem hanging around Xuan Loc Pastoral Complex remind delegates and guests attending activities of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences about the meaning of Advent, the season during which the assembly commemorating the 40th anniversary of effectivity of FABC’s Statutes and studying together challenges to the Church in Asia. (N. J. Viehland Photo)

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai led the opening Eucharist for the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) . The statutes of the voluntary association of episcopal conferences in South, Southeast, East and Central Asia was approved by the Holy See on Nov. 16, 1972. The federation has been created 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. Filipino Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales served as Pope Benedict XVI's official representative to the assembly whose activities were held in Xuan Loc and Ho Chi Minh City from Dec. 10-16. (N.J. Viehland Photo)

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai led the opening Eucharist for the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) . The statutes of the voluntary association of episcopal conferences in South, Southeast, East and Central Asia was approved by the Holy See on Nov. 16, 1972. The federation has been created 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. Filipino Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales served as Pope Benedict XVI’s official representative to the assembly whose activities were held in Xuan Loc and Ho Chi Minh City from Dec. 10-16. (N.J. Viehland Photo)

Filipino Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales (in front), Archbishop Emeritus of Manila was welcomed by a drum and bugle corps and a reception line stretching through the main roads of Xuan Loc Pastoral Complex in the diocese east of Ho Chi Minh City on Dec. 11, 2012, after he delivered his address citing Pope Benedict XVI's message to the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC). He is accompanied by Assistant of the Papal Legate Father Marcelino Antonio M. Maralit, Jr. (N.J. Viehland Photo)

Filipino Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales (in front), Archbishop Emeritus of Manila was welcomed by a drum and bugle corps and a reception line stretching through the main roads of Xuan Loc Pastoral Complex in the diocese east of Ho Chi Minh City on Dec. 11, 2012, after he delivered his address citing Pope Benedict XVI’s message to the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC). He is accompanied by Assistant of the Papal Legate Father Marcelino Antonio M. Maralit, Jr. (N.J. Viehland Photo)

The Grand Chapel is one of five chapels on the block of buildings in Xuan Loc Pastoral complex where Saint Joseph Seminary stands. The seminary's introductory booklet says this chapel is built in the shape of three rice buds indicating the impending rich harvest of the Church. In front of the chapel Vietnamese Catholics, mostly from Xuan Loc diocese, lined the pastoral complex road to welcome bishops and other delegates from around Asia, the Vatican and other continents, at the opening of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference on Dec. 11, 2012. (N. J. Viehland Photo)

The Grand Chapel is one of five chapels on the block of buildings in Xuan Loc Pastoral complex where Saint Joseph Seminary stands. The seminary’s introductory booklet says this chapel is built in the shape of three rice buds indicating the impending rich harvest of the Church. In front of the chapel Vietnamese Catholics, mostly from Xuan Loc diocese, lined the pastoral complex road to welcome bishops and other delegates from around Asia, the Vatican and other continents, at the opening of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference on Dec. 11, 2012. (N. J. Viehland Photo)

Xuan Loc was created in 1965 from places under the pastoral care of Ho Chi Minh City archdiocese. In 2010, more than 35 percent of the 2.34 million people living in the diocese had been baptized Catholics. Today, more than 1,700 women religious are helping in Church ministries diocesan officials say. Many of them contributed to discussions, services and operations in support of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences Dec. 10-16, 2012. (N. J. Viehland Photo)

Xuan Loc was created in 1965 from places under the pastoral care of Ho Chi Minh City archdiocese. In 2010, more than 35 percent of the 2.34 million people living in the diocese had been baptized Catholics. Today, more than 1,700 women religious are helping in Church ministries diocesan officials say. Many of them contributed to discussions, services and operations in support of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences Dec. 10-16, 2012. (N. J. Viehland Photo)

Philippines Archbishop Jose Palma was among 13 presidents of Catholic Bishops Conferences in Asia who joined the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences in Xuan Loc and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Dec. 10-16, 2012. (N. J. Viehland Photo)

Philippines Archbishop Jose Palma was among 13 presidents of Catholic Bishops Conferences in Asia who joined the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Xuan Loc and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Dec. 10-16, 2012. (N. J. Viehland Photo)

Participants, including Ursuline Sister Mary Walter Santer processed from the Xuan Loc diocesan offices building to the auditorium for the opening of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of the Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) on Dec. 11, 2012. Sister Santer was honored at the assembly for her long-time service as Executive Secretary of the FABC Office of Consecrated Life, a post now held by Religious of the Assumption Sister Deanna Maria Villavert Combong. (N. J. Viehland photo)

Participants, including Ursuline Sister Mary Walter Santer processed from the Xuan Loc diocesan offices building to the auditorium for the opening of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of the Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) on Dec. 11, 2012. Sister Santer was honored at the assembly for her long-time service as Executive Secretary of the FABC Office of Consecrated Life, a post now held by Religious of the Assumption Sister Deanna Maria Villavert Combong. (N. J. Viehland photo)

On Friday, December 14, the plenary hall during the evening prayer filled with voices of hope singing:

“Waiting in silence, waiting in hope; We are your people, we long for you, Lord. God ever with us, Emmanuel, Come, Lord Jesus, Maranatha! –  “Waiting in Silence” by Carey Landry

Reports from the FABC plenary assembly are posted on the FABC’s website with photos on the website Gallery

Luis Antonio Tagle, Philippines’ seventh cardinal

By:  N. J. Viehland

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle receives an honorary doctorate from the Benedictine Fathers’ San Beda College in Mendiola, Manila in March 2012 / N J Viehland Photo

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle who will be officially made a cardinal in today’s consistory in Rome will become the seventh filipino Cardinal in the nearly five-hundred year history of Catholicism in the Philippines.  

Cardinal Tagle follows Cardinals Rufino Santos, Julio Rosales, Jaime Sin and Jose Sanchez, who have all passed away. Cardinals Ricardo Vidal and Gaudencio Rosales are both past 80 years old. Cardinal Rosales will be attending the consistory, Manila archdiocese’s communication officer reported.

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

Tagle will receive the red hat and the ring, symbols of his membership in the College of Cardinals, during the solemn consistory at St. Peter’s Basilica on November 24, 2012, the eve of the Solemnity of Christ the King. The three-cornered hat is said to be a symbol of a cardinal’s readiness to lay down his life for the gospel. It also signifies his rank in the Church that qualifies him to elect a pope.

In the College of Cardinals, “Every cardinal is a candidate” when election of a pope is required, Canon lawyer Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran, who represents the Eastern Visayas region in the Permanent Council of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) told me in early November.

The Consistory will be held at 11 am (6 p.m. Manila time) and Catholic global television EWTN will broadcast the event.

Philippines’ newest cardinal

Manila-born Tagle, 55, completed his A.B. Philosophy studies at Jesuit-owned Ateneo de Manila University and San Jose Seminary for diocesan priests in 1973. He finished his M.A. studies in Theology at Loyola School of Theology and San Jose Seminary in 1982, the same year he was ordained a priest for Imus Diocese, in Cavite, northern Philippines.

He obtained his licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1987 and his doctorate in Sacred Theology from the same university in 1991.

Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Imus in 2001, a post he served until his installation last December as Archbishop of Manila.

Tagle, whose ministry in the Philippines included serving as parish priest, seminary spiritual director, rector and episcopal vicar for Religious, also taught in various seminaries in his country.

He served as Facilitator for the CBCP National Ongoing Formation of Priests, and acted as consultant of its Episcopal Commission on Seminaries and Commission on the Doctrine of Faith, which he now chairs.

Beyond Church in the Philippines, he was member of the Editorial Board of Storia del Concilia Vaticano II, Instituto per le scienze religiose in Bologna, Italy, and was presenter and member of the drafting committee of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) Plenary Assemblies VI and VII. He has since been elected to head the Office of Theological Concerns of that most authoritative body through which Asian bishops have spoken as a body. Tagle presently holds that post.

When he was ordained a bishop, Tagle was serving in the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. He has served various synods as council member and expert. As a priest in 1998, he was appointed as theologian expert for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia. He was also appointed member of the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in Vatican City.

He was serving in the Message Committee of the recent Synod on New Evangelization when Pope Benedict announced his elevation to cardinal on October 24, 2012 as the synod was winding down. Five others were also named cardinals to be created in an unusual second consistory in a year. These other new cardinals expected at tonights consistory are from America, Africa and Asia, including:

*Archbishop James Michael Harvey, Prefect of the Pontifical Household, who will be appointed Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls

*His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Raï, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites (Lebanon)

* His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro- Malankara (India)

* Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja (Nigeria)

* Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez, Archbishop of Bogota (Colombia)

Pope Benedict in announcing the new cardinals said, “the Cardinals have the task of helping the Successor of Peter in the performance of his ministry of confirming the brethren in the faith, and that of being the principle and foundation of unity and communion of the Church.” He also asked for prayers “for the newly elected.

Philippine cardinals have performed the task described by the pope in a variety of roles.

Unlike the other Philippine cardinals, Sanchez who died at the age of 91 in the Philippines just last March served all of his active years as cardinal in the Roman curia.

Nuns of the Dominican Daughters of the Immaculate Mother community where Cardinal Jose Sanchez resided until his hospital confinement in March 3, 2012 cover his casket during the funeral Mass at the packed Good Shepherd Cathedral Shrine in Novaliches, Quezon City celebrated on March 12, 2012 by Filipino and foreign priests and bishops led by Cardinal Ricardo Vidal / N. J. Viehland Photo

In 1985 Pope John Paul II  appointed Sanchez  Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome three years after he was named archbishop of Nueva Segovia, Ilocos Sur 

Sanchez was elevated to cardinal in 1991 and was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See the same year. He held his position in the Congregation for the Clergy until he retired in 1996.

Catholics have organized thanksgiving Masses for their new cardinal in Imus on Dec. 3 and in Manila the next day. 

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle [second from left] before concelebrating at the funeral Mass for Cardinal Jose Sanchez last March 2012 at Good Shepherd Cathedral in Novaliches with [left to right] Bishops Gilbert Garcera, Camilo Gregorio and Mylo Vergara / N J Viehland Photo

Who knows where Cardinal Tagle’s path will lead from here? Will he be sent down a similar path Sanchez traveled ? Will he be engaged for a longer time for the archdiocese in the way of his predecessors in Manila?

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