O Risen Lord!

O Risen Lord,
the way, the truth and the life,
make us faithful followers
of the spirit of your resurrection.
Grant that we may be inwardly
renewed; dying to ourselves
in order that you may live in us.
May our lives serve as signs
of the transforming power of your love.
Use us as your instruments
for the renewal of society,
bring your life and love to all
and leading them to your Church.
This we ask of you, Lord Jesus,
living and reigning with the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God forever. Amen

Priestly Ordination of two Vietnamese SCJs in Manila

20170108_121304On January 8, 2017, on the Feast of Epiphany, which in the Philippines is celebrated on Sunday after January 6, two SCJs from Vietnam: Dn Dang Van Nguyen and Dn Luong Van Nguyen were ordained priests. The ceremony of ordination, as in most cases, took place in the San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Tierra Verde Homes I Subdivision in Quezon City, a walking distance from the Dehon House, which at the present is under the pastoral care of three SCJ priests.

The ceremony of ordination headed by the Bishop of Novaliches, Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD, was held during the main Sunday Mass at 10:00 am, and it was attended by many SCJ confreres from Vietnam and the Philippines, priests and religious from different congregations, family members and friends.

Fr. Dang  is 33 years old and comes from the Diocese of Thai Binh, while Fr. Luong is 37 years old and comes from the Diocese of Bui Chu. Both of them arrived in the Philippines on September 30, 2007, where they underwent the process of initial formation and completed their studies. Prior to this, both of them were active in the Church; Fr. Dang was the organist for the children’s choir and Fr. Luong was the leader of altar servers. Fr. Luong wanted to become a diocesan priest, but due to some circumstances he was not able to fulfill his plans. Instead of entering the seminary he went to Saigon to continue his studies. In Saigon he met Fr. Jerry Sheehy, SCJ, who invited him to join the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr. Dang’s vocation to the priesthood was born when he was still in the grade 6. As he relates “I felt that I am a sinful person and I should become a priest to repair it.” In Saigon where he studied and taught catechesis in a Dominican Parish, he met also Fr. Jerry, who deeply impressed him and helped him to enter the seminary.

Wishing to the newly ordained priests all the best, especially perseverance in their vocation and serving the people, we offer a prayer for them as we expect them to pray for us too.

Christmas Greetings

nativityq2Celebrating the great mystery of our salvation, of God who out of His love became one of us. May the Light of the World shine in our lives and be reflected in our daily choices, decisions and actions.

Let us allow Jesus to be reborn in our hearts and lives, not only during Christmas, but every day, so that he may radiate the light of his presence from within us expressed in compassionate words and deeds, unconditional forgiveness, the spirit of humble service and overflowing generosity.

As a newborn Baby is a gift to the humanity, let’s be a gift to all our brothers and sisters, especially those who need it most: the poor, the sick, the oppressed…. those who are alone. For “You will find life by giving life, hope by giving hope, love by giving love” (Pope Francis).

Christ is Emmanuel, God with us. As we celebrate the feast of God-with-us, let us be a people who are with God.

We wish all a Blessed Christmas and Joyful New Year 2017!

Sending Off Ceremony in Cagayan de Oro

20161108_184319On November 11, 2016, Fr. Patro Gier, SCJ, will leave for his new assignment in Finland.  The main purpose of his joining the SCJ Finnish District will be  taking pastoral care of the numerous Filipino people living in Finland. He will follow in the footsteps of Fr. Jigger Ganados, SCJ, the first SCJ Filipino missionary to Finland who went there in December 2014.

The ceremony of sending off was held in Cagayan de Oro Formation House on November 8, 2016, during the Holy Eucharist, right after the SCJ meeting. The concelebrated Mass was presided by Fr. Patro. After the Holy Communion the Regional Superior, Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, gave him a special blessing and handed over the Missionary Cross, a symbol of being sent to proclaim the Good News.

Feast of the Patron and Establishment of St. John Paul II Chaplaincy in Talisay

20161022_112453June 11, 2016 marks the official start of SCJ presence in the Diocese of Maasin. The local bishop, Most Rev. Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB, DD, entrusted to the Congregation a part of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Hilongos, particularly St. Pope John Paul II Southern Mission Territory with its main chapel in barangay Talisay. The idea behind this agreement is twofold: on the side of the Diocese, it is to answer the spiritual needs of the faithful and develop this area into a future parish and on the side of the Congregation is to expand the SCJ presence into the Visayas Region.

 

On October 22, 2016, on the liturgical memorial of St. John Paul II, the Southern Mission Territory was elevated to the rank of Chaplaincy. The Bishop of Maasin in his “Decree of Establishment” declared the following: “Since the Faithful in the southern part of the Immaculate Conception Parish needs the constant presence of the Minister of the Catholic faith in response to the mission of the Church to foster the growth of the catholic faith, and to care for the spiritual desires of the Catholic Communities in the said area; and after having duly consulted the Diocesan Board of Consultors, with the full knowledge of the Presbyterium, I, Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB, DD, Bishop of Maasin, hereby solemnly decree the canonical establishment of the Chaplaincy of St. John Paul II, with all the rights and privileges accrued to such an entity in accordance with the Code of Canon Law, and our Diocesan Statutes and Decrees.

The Jurisdiction of this Chaplaincy will be composed of the following barangays: Talisay, Kanghaas, Tabunok, Tuguipa, Hitudpan, Lunang, San Agustin, Bun-ot, Catandog I, Catandog II, Bantigue of the Municipality of Hilongos, Leyte… 

…Moreover, I designate Fathers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJ) to look after this new chaplaincy. I also designate the chapel of Talisay to be the official chapel of the Chaplaincy…”

The “Decree of Establishment” was read during the Holy Mass by the Chancellor of the Diocese Fr. Alexes Villarubin, JCL. The concelebrated Mass was presided by Msgr. Oscar A. Cadayona, the Vicar General from Maasin, while the homily on “Life and Legacy of St. John Paul II” was delivered by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, the SCJ Philippine Regional Superior. Among the concelebrants were Msgr. Antonio M. Gaviola, PC, the Pastor – Moderator of Hilongos Parish, Fr. Conrado C. Saavedra, Jr.,, Fr. Joseph Butlig, SCJ, Fr. Elpidio Luza Jr., SCJ, Fr. Arthur Guevara, SCJ and Fr. Christopher Alburo, SCJ.

Seminar for “Baby” Parish Priests and not only

20161018_085154This year the SCJ Philippine Region was entrusted with three new pastoral areas. Because of this several SCJs for the first time became parish priests. Although they were assigned in the parishes and have some pastoral experience many things for them are new. Being an assistant to the parish priest is  like sitting in the front seat, but not being a driver. According to the Canon Law “The Parish Priest is the proper pastor of the parish entrusted to him… exercising the pastoral care of the community entrusted under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, whose ministry of Christ he is called to share…” (Can. 519). The role of a Parish Priest is twofold: as an administrator and as a shepherd, who acts in the name of the local bishop and is accountable to.

In many dioceses there are special orientation seminars for new parish priests, so they would be properly informed of their duties and responsibilities. One of them is the Diocese of Novaliches, where the SCJs are entrusted with two parishes: San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Quezon City and St. Roque in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City.

Following this good example, the SCJ Philippine Region, considering the needs of new parish priests, organized similar activity. Initially it was intended for those who are directly involved in the parish ministry, but finally it was open for all the members of the region. The seminar was held on October 18 – 19, 2016 at the Dehon House in Manila. On the first day, Fr. Rei Flores, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Novaliches, presented the theme “Canonical and pastoral implications of the office of the Parish Priest.” On the second day, Msgr Antonio Labiao, the Vicar for Pastoral Affairs of the same diocese, shared his insights on the theme “Parish Church: Community of Communities” and financial management of the parish. On the first evening, the group was graced with the presence of Bishop of Novaliches, Most. Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD, who joined the Holy Mass and supper.

Renewal of Vows in Manila

On September 28, 2016, the SCJ community at the Dehon House in Manila celebrating the memorial of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint martyr, also witnessed the renewal of religious vows of one of its members. During the Holy Eucharist, Fra. Vincent Bat Nguyen, SCJ, a member of the SCJ Vietnam District, renewed his vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience in the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The vows were accepted by his superior Fr. Francis Vu Tran, SCJ, the main presider of the ceremony, which was attended by a number of SCJs, religious from different, male and female, congregations and friends. As usual, the ceremony was followed by a simple yet delicious dinner.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz – First Filipino Saint

231St. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first Filipino saint. He is also the first Filipino martyred for the Christian Faith. Lorenzo Ruiz was a layman, married, and had two sons and a daughter. Born in Binondo, Manila, about 1600’s, he was educated in the school of the Dominicans there. He served as an altar boy and later was a helper and clerk-sacristan in the church of Binondo. He was a member of the Confraternity of the Rosary. He made his living probably as a calligrapher, one who renders documents in beautiful penmanship for private or official use. To be sure, that work denoted an accomplished and educated person, especially at a time when many an illustrious personage were far from excelling in this art. An adverse event made him leave the Philippines in 1636.

When he was in his late twenties or early thirties, he became involved or was accused of being involved in a criminal case, the circumstances of which are far from clear. Whether he was involved or not, one thing was clear, he was afraid that, as a consequence of a trial or mistrial, he might be given a death sentence. Upon landing in Japan where Christians were being persecuted, he was arrested and imprisoned together with his companions. He underwent inhuman tortures and valiantly confessed his Christian Faith. Refusing to renounce his Faith, he told his executioner that he was ready to die for God and give himself for many thousands of lives if he had them. On September 27, 1637, he was hung from a gallows by his feet, his body falling into a pit. After two days of agony, he died of bleeding and suffocation. His body was cremated and the ashes thrown into the sea. He and fifteen companions, martyred in the same persecution, were beatified by Pope John Paul II in Manila on February 18, 1981 and elevated to full honors of the altar by canonization on October 18, 1987 in Rome. Their feast day is on September 28th.