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

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at First Gathering of Metro Manila Clergy [text]

By N.J. Viehland

POWER PLANT MALL, Makati City, PHILIPPINES – Let me share my transcript of the homily of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila for the closing Mass for the Oct. 3 First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila. It ended with priests singing “you are the answer to my lonely prayer.” This is what Cardinal Tagle said the priests are to their flock. He asked priests not to disappoint Church members.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila's homily for the closing Mass of the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”,  October 3, 2013 celebrated with some 130 priests bishops in the chapel of Rockwell Tent, Power Plant offered points for priests' reflection of themes during the days activities at the Makati City mall, including mission of the Church, servant priesthood and discipleship. NJ Viehland Photo

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila’s homily for the closing Mass of the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, October 3, 2013 celebrated with some 130 priests bishops in the chapel of Rockwell Tent, Power Plant offered points for priests’ reflection of themes during the days activities at the Makati City mall, including mission of the Church, servant priesthood and discipleship. NJ Viehland Photo

Text of homily:

The Levites in the first reading declare to the people today is holy, we must not be saddened. I can only say, “Amen. Today is truly holy, and there is no room for a sad face and a sad heart.” I guess we can spend the whole night, if we ever fall asleep tonight, and even the whole day tomorrow reflecting on the significance of today. It’s only around 3:00 and already I can consider these past hours a real feast: a feast for all the senses – a feast for the mind, the spirit and the heart.

We have been fed not only by deep thoughts and wonderful words, not only by good food, but also the witness of the nobility of the human spirit – even through jokes – even through those two crazy men (see following photo)

Comedian Michael Angelo Lobrin, an ex-seminarian and author of Laugh with God [left] with Comedian/musician Brod Pete sent priests, bishops and guests at the Rockwell Tent in Makati on Oct. 3 for the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila” laughing for about an hour with their jokes and songs, including commentaries on seminary life and Philippine culture, language and society. N.J. Viehland Photo

Comedian Michael Angelo Lobrin, an ex-seminarian and author of Laugh with God [left] with Comedian/musician Brod Pete sent priests, bishops and guests at the Rockwell Tent in Makati on Oct. 3 for the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila” laughing for about an hour with their jokes and songs, including commentaries on seminary life and Philippine culture, language and society. N.J. Viehland Photo

Somehow I feel the Spirit could work through them. (laughter) And so, I don’t think I need to add to the possible spiritual indigestion that we might get.

But this Mass being offered for us and for all the ordained ministers of the Church and the readings  for today give us valuable lessons. Pardon me if I don’t expound on them. I will let the Holy Spirit just speak to us regarding these thoughts.

It is very clear from what we heard from Vatican II, from Bishop Mylo and the reflection on the Gospel presented to us also by Bishop Nes Ongtiocothat from the Bible up to the recent Ecumenical Council, there is a consistency of insight, of doctrine, even, that we the ordained inherited the apostolic mission. As Jesus sent the apostles so we are sent. And if we want to understand better what it means for us to act in persona Christi capitis,  [In the person of Christ, the head] I think we have to go to those very clear words of Jesus, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you. If I your Lord and Master washed your feet, then you should wash each other’s feet.”

We can only act in the name of Christ in the area of mission and ministry. Yes there is sacred authority, but without mission and ministry, acting in persona Christi could end up being an ideology and not anymore the grace of ordination. We know from the history of the Church how fatal it would be whenever acting in the name of Christ, in the person of Christ is located on sheer power forgetting the sending, the mission, and the call to serve.

And that’s precisely the Gospel for today . They were sent. Aside from the 12, another 72. And let me just indicate another few things for our reflection.

First, he sent them in pairs – sacramental brotherhood. Yes, the calling and the sending are intimately personal, but because they are personal, they open our hearts to other people. And so the calling is also communal. We cannot walk alone. There is no room for lone rangers in Jesus’ view of the ministry. There are only pairs… sent in pairs.

More than 130 priests from the Metropolitan See of Manila concelebrated with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle  the closing Mass for the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila” on October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. N.J. Viehland Photo

More than 130 priests from the Metropolitan See of Manila concelebrated with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle the closing Mass for the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila” on October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. N.J. Viehland Photo

“Kaya kung minsan, ang mga pari who cannot live and work in pairs, ang solution natin pag hiwalayin. Baka hindi tayo sumusunod sa mga turo ni Hesus. Parang gusto ko sabihin, [ That’s why sometimes, with priests who cannot live and work in pairs, our solution is to separate them. We might be violating the teachings of Jesus. I want to tell them…] ‘Work it out! Work it out, you were sent in pairs.'” Who are we to violate Jesus’ way of sending?

The second point is he sent them in pairs as lambs among wolves. He did not send wolves among lambs. The lamb of God sends his ministers and missioners as lambs. In persona Christi . If he is a lamb, then those who act in his person should also be lambs. In the way Jesus describes being a lamb, it is total vulnerability. No body bag, no sandals, not greeting anyone on the way because it is not my purpose to form a fans’ club. I have only my companion and the message of peace of the kingdom. And when you have your brother minister and the message of the Gospel you have all that you need.

Third is part of being lambs and laborers is eating and drinking what is offered to you for the laborer deserves his pay. Normally, we interpret this part, “for the laborer deserves his pay” in terms of we can demand something. But in the teaching of Jesus, “the laborer deserves his pay” means if you are given something to eat and drink, eat it and drink it and do not go to another house that will offer a better meal or a better drink. That is what you deserve – what the house is able to offer. Para bang ano ito? Good news ba ito o ano? [It’s like what’s this? Is this good news or what?] But it’s in the Gospel. I cannot change this.

It is surprising that what is often used to recall a principle of justice – a laborer deserves his payment – is actually, in the mind of Christ as “Whatever the people could give you for payment in terms of food or drink, accept . You do not set it. What they can offer, that is what you deserve.”

And finally, in the first reading, it is not enough to imitate Ezra in proclaiming the word of God to people. I think we should also imitate the people. They open themselves to the word of God and the people upon hearing the word of God were in tears. They were weeping when they heard the words of the Lord. They were mesmerized by the words that they had missed during their exile. And they probably repented for their lack of fidelity to the word.

I ask myself, countless of times I have been opening the book of the law of Moses, proclaiming. But how many times have I wept listening to the word of God. Have I allowed my heart to be vulnerable to this two-edged sword called the word of God? Do I allow myself to be affected by the word of God? Do I allow the word of God to judge me, to disturb me, to cause me discomfort, to lead me to repentance so that I do not only proclaim. I also listen and I am judged by the word of God – another form of vulnerability.

Let us thank God for the gift of this mission and ministry to ordained life. Let us appreciate our companion priests for we were sent in pairs. Let us be like lambs – vulnerable – if you want to embrace the person of the lamb of God who was persecuted by wolves.

Let us be simple, content with what people have to offer. What they can give us is what we probably deserve – a different type of measuring what we deserve.

And finally, we are not just proclaimers of the word, but real servants, hearers of the word, allowing ourselves to be hit, to be touched unto tears by the word of God.

We said this is a holy day. We should not be sad. I can see Jesus really happy and it goes with this: he said to them, to the disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few. So ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for the harvest.” We are mysteriously those laborers. But we are not just sent. We are the answer to the prayer directed to the Master. “Send laborers.” And the prayer was answered through us.

When I was much younger, there was the song – You are the Answer to my Lonely Prayer.  Yung nakakaalam po paki kanta lang yung tono… [Those who know it, please sing the tune] For the sake of the young ones. (laughter)

“You are the answer to my lonely prayer. You are an angel from above…”

(priests sang part of the song …)

We call the priesthood a gift, and for many people a priest or pairs of priests sent to the community is the answer to their lonely prayer. And then they see us, we are like angels sent from above. Let us not fail Jesus. May we be truly answers to the prayer sent by the community to the Lord of the Harvest. May it never be told that we will pray again because God sent the wrong answer. Let us be the answer to people’s prayer to God.

END

* Part II of III
 ( photos/articles available on request : newsdatabank@yahoo.com)
* Readers’ comments convey opinions, positions only of the posters

Cardinal Tagle to First Gathering of Metro Manila Clergy: “Let’s not fail our flock”

[updated Oct. 9, 2013 10:23 p.m.]
          “Let’s not fail our flock,” Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila appealed to priests in his homily for the Mass that closed the First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila last Thursday at Rockwell Tent in Makati City.
          He reminded fellow clergymen, “For many people a priest sent to the community is the answer to their lonely prayer and when they see us, we are like angels sent from above. Let us not fail them. Let us not fail Jesus.”
           Some 200 priests belonging to and serving in the greater Archdiocese of Manila, or what is officially known as the Metropolitan See of Manila, gathered Oct. 3 at the Power Plant Mall for a special reunion to mark the 10th year of the new dioceses that were carved out of it.
           The Metropolitan See of Manila is now composed of the mother Archdiocese of Manila headed by Cardinal Tagle,
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila's homily for the closing Mass of the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”,  October 3, 2013 celebrated with some 130 priests bishops in the chapel of Rockwell Tent, Power Plant offered points for priests' reflection of themes during the days activities at the Makati City mall, including mission of the Church, servant priesthood and discipleship. NJ Viehland Photo

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila’s homily for the closing Mass of the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, October 3, 2013 celebrated with some 130 priests bishops in the chapel of Rockwell Tent, Power Plant offered points for priests’ reflection of themes during the days activities at the Makati City mall, including mission of the Church, servant priesthood and discipleship. NJ Viehland Photo

            Diocese of Cubao led by Bishop Honesto Ongtioco,
Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao Diocese laughing along with other participants watching professional comedians Brod Pete and Michael Angelo Lobin spoof priests and joke around at the "First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, on October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. NJ Viehland Photo

Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao Diocese laughing along with other participants watching professional comedians Brod Pete and Michael Angelo Lobin spoof priests and joke around at the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, on October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. NJ Viehland Photo

            Dioceses of Kalookan, Novaliches, Parañaque, and Pasig
Bishop Jesse Mercado of Paranaque, Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez of Manila, Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Francisco de Leon, apostolic administrator of Kalookan during the procession to the altar for the closing Mass of the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. NJ Viehland Photo

Bishop Jesse Mercado of Paranaque, Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez of Manila, Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Francisco de Leon, apostolic administrator of Kalookan during the procession to the altar for the closing Mass of the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. NJ Viehland Photo

Antipolo Auxliary Bishop Francisco de Leon, Administrator of Kalookan diocese, Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Bishop Mylo Vergara of Pasig and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle celebrated Mass to close the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”,  October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. NJ Viehland Photo

Antipolo Auxliary Bishop Francisco de Leon, Administrator of Kalookan diocese, Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Bishop Mylo Vergara of Pasig and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle celebrated Mass to close the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. NJ Viehland Photo

             Before the Archdiocese of Manila was divided in 2003, it had 272 parishes and 402 diocesan priests and almost 11 million Catholics under its care, the archdiocese’s office of communications reported. The late Jaime L. Cardinal Sin as archbishop of Manila initiated the split to allow priests to minister better to the region’s growing population due largely to migration from rural areas.  Today the Metropolitan See of Manila has 631 diocesan and religious priests.
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 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 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 Photo

             Aside from Eucharistic adoration and reflections by Bishop Ongtioco, Pasig Bishop Hubert Mylo Vergara and group reflection and sharing among priests in the morning, lay professional artists shared their impressions of Filipino community life, culture, expression of faith and aspirations using music and humor. Performers included:
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila poses with Brod Pete (right) and ex-seminarian Michel Angelo Lobin (author of Laugh with God) after the professional comedians entertained the "First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila" with spoofs on priests, seminarians, Philippine culture and language and more on Oct. 3, 2013 at Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. N.J. Viehland Photo

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila poses with Brod Pete (right) and ex-seminarian Michel Angelo Lobin (author of Laugh with God) after the professional comedians entertained the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila” with spoofs on priests, seminarians, Philippine culture and language and more on Oct. 3, 2013 at Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. N.J. Viehland Photo

           Composer, singer, musician of inspirational music Noel Cabangon shared his music and his experiences as a man with a family, talent and aspirations for a full life for Filipinos and the world.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle poses with Noel Cabangon after the professional singer/composer sang inspirational songs at the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, on October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. N.J. Viehland Photo

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle poses with Noel Cabangon after the professional singer/composer sang inspirational songs at the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, on October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City. N.J. Viehland Photo

Priests at the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, on October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City laugh during the stint of professional comedians Brod Pete and ex-seminarian Michael Angelo Lobin, author of Laugh with God. N.J. Viehland Photo

Priests at the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila”, on October 3, 2013 at the Rockwell Tent, Power Plant Makati City laugh during the stint of professional comedians Brod Pete and ex-seminarian Michael Angelo Lobin, author of Laugh with God. N.J. Viehland Photo

* Part I of III
 ( photos/articles available on request : newsdatabank@yahoo.com)
* Readers’ comments convey opinions, positions only of the posters

9,000 people came to hear Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

By: N.J. Viehland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cardinal Tagle spoke in three parts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Cardinal Tagle and “Superstar”

By : N.J. Viehland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle – Flashback Imus

By N.J. Viehland

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the final ordination rites he led as Bishop of Imus in Cavite on Dec. 6, 2011, just days before his installation as Archbishop of Manila. He ordained the five priests in white vestments in his row. [N. J. Viehland Photo]

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the final ordination rites he led as Bishop of Imus in Cavite on Dec. 6, 2011, just days before his installation as Archbishop of Manila. He ordained the five priests in white vestments in his row. [N. J. Viehland Photo]

As early as 2011, Filipino Catholics had expressed great pride in possibly having a Filipino pope, even if it was only wishful thinking. 

Father Mark Reyes at the end of the Dec. 6, 2011 ordination rites for five priests for Imus diocese in Cavite, southwest of Manila, drew lively applause from people in church when he said his group of new priests is very “grateful and proud” to have been ordained by a possible future pope.

“We are proud to have been ordained by Bishop Tagle  who people will soon be calling ‘His Eminence’, and maybe even ‘His Holiness’,” Father Reyes told people in church  in Tagalog language. He said he and confreres are proud to have been ordained by Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle just before the prelate left their diocese to become Archbishop of Manila later that month.

Among his seminarians, Cardinal Tagle was a model of “servant leader.” Since his installation in Imus in 2001, the theologian bishop had lived in the diocese’s Good Shepherd seminary serving as rector of seminarians studying Theology.

“He has shown me concretely what it means to be humble and to serve by not living in a ‘bishop’s palace,'” seminarian Renier Dumaop told me after the ordination and Mass. “Bishop Tagle stayed with us in a simple seminary room doing routine work like washing his own dishes,” said the ordination Mass choir leader.

Aside from Father Reyes, Cardinal Tagle ordained Fathers Glenn de la Peña, Joseph Mayola, Ryan Serafin Sasis, and Eric Orcullo. On their behalf, Father Reyes thanked seminary formators, sponsors, their parishioners and their own families for supporting their training for priesthood.

Their ordination brought to 121 the number of priests serving the northern Philippine diocese’s 64 parishes with help from 89 male and 639 women religious from various congregations.

Less than a year later on Nov. 24, Pope Benedict elevated Archbishop Tagle to the College of Cardinals along with five other new cardinals. Pope Benedict on Feb. 11 announced he would resign at the end of this month. Cardinal Tagle is among more than 160 cardinals who will be electing the next pope most likely from among themselves.

END

Cardinal Tagle tells what the Year of Faith can contribute to the Christmas spirit

By N.J. Viehland

In his second Christmas message as Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle connected the spirit of Christmas to  the Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI from October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013.

Manila Archbishop Luis Cardinal Tagle blesses the faithful who joined the Mass last November launching the archdiocese's commemoration of Year of Faith at San Fernando de Dilao Church in Paco, Manila. (N. J. Viehland photo)

Manila Archbishop Luis Cardinal Tagle blesses the faithful who joined the Mass last November launching the archdiocese’s commemoration of Year of Faith at San Fernando de Dilao Church in Paco, Manila. (N. J. Viehland photo)

Cardinal Tagle highlights God’s action of coming to believers and initiating the relationship with them both as faithful, as well as in the Christmas story. Jesus’ invitation to a relationship, and one’s acceptance of the invitation carries a commitment and responsibility to share in God’s saving mission, Cardinal Tagle said.

Following is the text of Cardinal Tagle’s message emailed to journalists by Manila archdiocese’s office of communication on Dec. 20.

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012

This year we celebrate the Christmas Season within the Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI. What can the Year of Faith contribute to the Christmas spirit? Faith is a living and sustained relationship with God. It is the Triune God who initiates this relationship by coming to us. Faith becomes complete in our response to God in trust and love, transforming our relationship with other people, society and creation.

Children join a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary's search for a room in the inn carrying streamers that plead, "Christmas, stop demolitions" of shanty homes built by migrant settlers on government of privately-owned land. (Ed Gerlock photo published with permission)

Children join a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for a room in the inn carrying streamers that plead, “Christmas, stop demolitions” of shanty homes built by migrant settlers on government of privately-owned land. (Ed Gerlock photo published with permission)

In a real sense, Christmas is all about faith. To remove faith from Christmas is to empty it of its meaning. It is a season born of faith and a privileged time to renew our faith. On the one hand, Christmas vividly recalls the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ, incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit. He comes as one like us except in sin, because as the Savior he cannot participate in humanity’s rejection of God. He opens the door for us to enter God’s life. His obedience and fidelity is the door to God. He is the way.  On the other hand, every Christmas season invites us to receive Jesus as the true Son of God become flesh, to accept him as our Savior and to enter the door to life in the Holy Spirit. Faith in God leads us to solidarity with our neighbors, especially the poor whom Jesus loves. Faith makes us sharers in Jesus’ saving mission and heralds of true freedom from all that enslaves us.

Children in impoverished communities around Manila survive with very little food and other basic needs. (Ed Gerlock photos published with permission)

Children in impoverished communities around Manila survive with very little food and other basic needs. (Ed Gerlock photos published with permission)

I pray that all Christians may appreciate more the precious gift of faith during this Christmas season. As we behold the Christ Child, humble and poor, let us thank God for his great love for us and let us respond with all the love we could give. Only pure divine love can save us! I wish all you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas and a Peaceful New Year!

+ LUIS ANTONIO G. CARDINAL TAGLE

Archbishop of Manila