Summer Youth Mission 2019

May is not only the month of “Flores de Mayo”, but also, in the SCJ parishes, of “Summer Youth Mission.” Here below is an account of the youth mission in Banal na Krus Parish and some pictures from Cagayan de Oro and Dumalinao.

As we celebrate the year of the youth, Banal na Krus Parish (BNKP) Youth Ministry happily granted the challenge of being missionaries and be with the people of Sitio Pantay, Brgy. Tandang Kutyo Tanay, Rizal on May 18-23, 2019, for the first time since the Dehonian Priests run the parish. In relation with the Year of the Youth, the theme of the first BNKP youth mission is: “BNKP Youth in Mission: Beloved. Gifted. Empowered.”
This mission was participated by 17 young missionaries under the Parish of Banal na Krus. The said mission started in two (2) days formation seminar last May 03 – 04, 2019, at the BNKP formation hall. During the seminar, the missionaries had the chance to know more about themselves, to work with others, to grow mentally, morally, emotionally, and more importantly spiritually. They also experienced the team building, recollection, and Taize Prayer.

The Missionaries of Banal na Krus had sent off in the mission area at Sitio Pantay Brgy. Tandang Kutyo Tanay, Rizal last May 19, 2019. They arrived in mission area at exactly 10 in the morning of the said date. And they were able to meet the Chapel officers of that area. The missionaries were divided in three groups to handle the kids, youth, and adults.
Every morning, the missionaries assigned to handle the kids are off to chapel for “Flores de Mayo”, which will be included the catechism of the children, teach them the basic prayers, pray the Holy Rosary, offer flowers to Mother Mary and after that the assigned missionaries will lead the game for the kids.

There are also missionaries who are assigned for house visitation. The visitation is meant to talk them personally and listen to their experiences in the family and the community. After the visitation of the house, the BEC cells had also a chance to do the Lectio Divina together with the missionaries.

In this mission, the people of the area were touched and inspired by missionaries’ community life on how to live the life of BEC. They learned and idolized the young missionaries for serving, and sharing the word of our Lord Jesus Christ at their young age. Moreover, they were inspired and enlightened also about the purpose of Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) by witnessing through the life of the missionaries as community.

Having experienced with the life in Sitio Pantay Brgy. Tandang Kutyo Tanay Rizal, and with the community, the missionaries were inspired and became appreciative to what they have, and knew the importance of being contented in their lives. They learned so many things in this mission, and looking forward to have more missions in the future and be an inspiration to others in their personal and spiritual lives.

This mission will not be successful if there is no support from our Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Marcial C. Aguirre, SCJ., Assistant Priest Rev. Fr. Nathaniel D. Robilla, SCJ., Bro. Victor S. Lingasa, SCJ., parishioners and benefactors.

By: Justine Estrella

Balungkot, Dansolihon Chaplaincy

Lambayao, Dumalinao

Sacrament of Confirmation in Dumalinao

On May 21, 2019, 535 young people in Dumalinao (Zamboanga del Sur) received Sacrament of Confirmation. On May 22, 2019, another batch of 530 will be confirmed; 380 from Tigbao and 150 from MAIS area (Mga Anak sa Inahang Simbahan – Children of the Mother Church, barangays:  Pag-asa, Pag-laum, Camanga, Sumadat and Pinig). The ceremony of confirmation was held at the San Isidro Labrador Parish church, during the Holy Eucharist presided by the Bishop of Pagadian, Most Rev. Ronald I. Lunas, D.D., who was assisted by the Regional Superior, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, Fr. Horst Steppkes, SCJ from Germany, Fr. Yohanes Sono Pribadi, SCJ, from the nearby Novitiate Fr. Dehon and Fr. Robertus Sutopo, SCJ, the parish priest. The last confirmation was held four years ago.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is one of the three Catholic sacraments of initiation. Confirmation in the Catholic Church includes the laying on of hands, and anointing in the sign of the cross with Chrism oil. Confirmation is the third and final sacrament which completes Christian initiation for Roman Catholics, as well as eastern Catholic churches, and is also prominent in the Orthodox Church and other Mainline Christian denominations, including the Church of England, Methodist and Lutheran churches.

Confirmation calls us to live a life of holiness and obedience to God’s will. That call is primarily through a renewal of our baptismal promises that were, in most cases, made for us by our parents when we were baptized. Our parents also made a promise at our baptism to raise us in the faith and teach us about our Church. That might take the form of encouragement to pray the rosary or adopt other devotional practices like the Stations of the Cross to deepen our faith. Hopefully, these statements within our creed were made real for us in our home-life, so that when the time comes for us to receive the Holy Spirit, we would be prepared to confirm our faith. We receive the Holy Spirit in seven unique ways through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are:

  • Wisdom – Helps us to rightly order our interpersonal relationships and the centrality of God and his will in our lives.
  • Understanding – Helps us to comprehend the Gospel and the will of God as communicated through his message.
  • Knowledge – The capacity for exploring and pondering God’s revelation along with the awareness that some mysteries of faith are beyond our ability to grasp completely.
  • Counsel – Helps us to choose the path of God when presented with choices that relate to our journey toward him.
  • Fortitude – Also refered to as courage or strength helps us to do what we know is right even when it might be difficult or costly.
  • Piety – Is a strong devotion to God through prayer
  • Fear of the Lord – Is not to be afraid of God, but to be in wonder of his power and might, and to marvel at his majesty.

The blessing that the bishop gives over the confirmands during the Roman Rite of Confirmation encapsulates all of these gifts beautifully

“All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters from sin
and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them
to be their helper and guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.”

(CCC 1299)

Empowered by these gifts and the sacramental grace of God, the confirmed Catholic has everything they need to spread and defend the faith in both word and deed, or as many put it, to be a “soldier of Christ.”

Thanksgiving Masses of Newly Ordained SCJ Priests

On May 19, 2019, the two newly ordained priests were saying their “Thanksgiving Masses”, Fr. Joel J. Bolo, SCJ in Dansolihon and Fr. Ruel C. Paalisbo, SCJ in Bacolod (Lanao del Norte).

The celebration in Dansolihon started at 8:00 AM and was attended by some SCJ priests from the formation community in Cagayan de Oro and parishioners from the Jesus Nazareno Chaplaincy. The homily was delivered by Fr. John Karl Cabaluna, SCJ, the parish priest of Kumalarang, who once was in charge of the chaplaincy.

After the Mass, Fr. Joel gave his individual blessing to all who approached him and kissed his hands. The practice of kissing the hands of a newly ordained priest is a long-established custom in some countries. During ordination a new priest’s hands are anointed with chrism as a sign of consecration and of the change that has been effected in his soul. The custom of kissing his hands stems from a recognition of the fundamental change that has occurred and of the particular importance of the sign of the hands in priestly ministry. After ordination the priest uses his hands to hold the Eucharistic species during the consecration, to make the sign of the cross while absolving sins, to anoint the sick and dying, and on occasion to impart the sacrament of confirmation.

The celebration ended at the table which is a very essential element in the Philippine culture.

Similar celebration was held at Santo Niño Parish in Bacolod, Lanao del Norte, the place of Fr. Ruel C. Paalisbo, SCJ.

30 Years Anniversary of SCJ Presence in the Philippines

Thirty years ago, on May 17, 1989, the first group of SCJ missionaries arrived in the Philippines. The group was composed of eight (8) priests representing five (5) SCJ provinces and seven (7) nationalities.

After six months in the language school in Davao City, they were entrusted with three parishes: Kumalarang and Margosatubig (Prelature of Ipil) and Dimataling (Diocese of Pagadian). As they say “the beginnings were very simple and challenging.”

Today, the SCJ Philippines Region has 44 members: 34 priests (22 Filipino priests), 1 religious brother, 7 scholastics on temporary vows, and 2 scholastics on final vows. In addition to this 3 novices will profess their first vows on June 28, 2019. At the moment they run 3 formation houses and 8 parishes.

The celebration of this special anniversary started in the morning with the meeting of the families of the Filipino SCJs. The visitors were introduced to the activities  of the Philippine Region and the Founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Venerable Fr. Leo Dehon.

In the afternoon, the activities resumed at 4:00 PM with the Eucharist presided by Mons. Perseus Cabunoc, VG, SSJV, at the Immaculate Conception Parish church in Aluba.

The Holy Mass was followed by the Special Program held on the grounds of the Sacred Heart Formation House and was composed of the cultural presentation, message of the regional superior, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, and two testimonies given by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, member of the first group, and Fr. John Karl Cabaluna, SCJ, the first SCJ Filipino priest.

The celebration was attended by the family members of the Filipino SCJs, representatives from different SCJ parishes and local benefactors, visitors from Germany, Poland, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, different religious congregations and Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro, Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, D.D., who joined the second part of the program.

The participants were given special tokens: t-shirt and a mug with the logo of the celebration. The elements of the logo include: a boat which signifies the Philippine Region. The boat sails on blue waves shaped like an open book, which is the Gospel that guides the journey of the region. On the boat there are three passengers, who represent the members of the region and different communities who raise their hands in jubilation and thanksgiving. There is also so called “Dehonian Cross”, the symbol of an SCJ identity and the theme of the celebration: “Sharing Dehonian charism, serving the Gospel and living in the community.”

The Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Philippines are thankful to God for all His blessings and protection and all the people of goodwill, who became a part of their success and helped to prepare this beautiful celebration.

Priestly Ordination in Cagayan de Oro

On May 16, 2019, two SCJ deacons, Rev. Joel J. Bolo and Rev. Ruel C. Paalisbo, were ordained priests. The ceremony of ordination was held at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro and was presided by the local archbishop Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, D.D.

Fr. Joel C. Bolo, SCJ, comes from Ugyaban, a part of Dansolihon Chaplaincy served by the SCJs, while Fr. Ruel C. Paalisbo, SCJ from Bacolod, Lanao del Norte, where the SCJs were in charge of the parish from 1994 – 2003.

The ordination to the priesthood was a part of bigger celebration of 30 years of SCJ missionary presence in the Philippines. The ceremony was attended by Bishop of Pagadian, Most Rev. Ronald Lunas, D. D., all members of the SCJ Philippines Region, SCJs from: Germany (Fr. Horst Steppkes), Poland (Fr. Zbigniew Chwaja and Fr. Bogdan Kuta), Indonesia (Fr. Titus Purbosaputra and  Fr. Vincent Sri Herimanto), Vietnam (Fr. Loc Nguyen and Fr. Luong Van Nguyen) India (Fr. Anthony Sundar Raj Mallavarapu), diocesan priests from Pagadian, Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, lay volunteers from Poland, parents and family members of the Filipino SCJs, parishioners from Quezon City, Dumalinao, Kumalarang, Bagong Silang, Talisay, Tandang Kutyo, Dansolihon, Aluba, Margosatubig, Bacolod, family members and friends of the newly ordained priests and other guests.

The ceremony started at 9:30 in the morning and ended with a common meal.

Christ is alive!

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

Easter, the feast of the Resurrection, invites us to move beyond the tomb and share the good news of the Resurrection with one another. Easter calls us to look for life among the living with grateful and joyful hearts. Easter urges us to courageously follow Jesus Christ, the risen one, and to boldly proclaim that out of darkness and suffering come new life.

Easter is about a new life, about Jesus risen from the dead, giving us hope when things feel hopeless, courage when we want to run away, strength to be open and vulnerable, confidence in the face of death, when things are at their worst, when things are dark and when human possibilities are exhausted.

Let us bring the joy of the gospel to the world by reflecting the Risen Lord in us, by living joyful lives filled with love and compassion. Let us be a resurrected people and testify to others that Christ is indeed risen in us!

Wishing you a blessed and holy Easter!

Celebrating Feast of St. Joseph at KDFI

St. Joseph is not only the Saint Patron of the Universal Church, but also one of main patrons of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJ) and a Saint Patron of Kasanag Daughters Foundation, Inc. (KDFI). Each year, on March 19, the foundation holds a special celebration, which starts with the Holy Eucharist and ends with a simple meal. As usual, the celebration is attended by beneficiaries of the foundation, staff, board members, former daughters, benefactors, SCJ priests and friends. The purpose of this  is to honor  their patron and thank him for his protection and guidance.

This year the main celebrant was Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ, the KDFI coordinator, who at the same time celebrated the feast of his Patron Saint.

St. Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, was probably born in Bethlehem and probably died in Nazareth. His important mission in God’s plan of salvation was “to legally insert Jesus Christ into the line of David from whom, according to the prophets, the Messiah would be born, and to act as his father and guardian” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy). Most of our information about St. Joseph comes from the opening two chapters of St. Matthew’s Gospel. No words of his are recorded in the Gospels; he was the “silent” man. We find no devotion to St. Joseph in the early Church. It was the will of God that the Virgin Birth of Our Lord be first firmly impressed upon the minds of the faithful. He was later venerated by the great saints of the Middle Ages. Pius IX (1870) declared him patron and protector of the universal family of the Church.

St. Joseph was an ordinary manual laborer although descended from the royal house of David. In the designs of Providence he was destined to become the spouse of the Mother of God. His high privilege is expressed in a single phrase, “Foster-father of Jesus.” About him Sacred Scripture has little more to say than that he was a just man-an expression which indicates how faithfully he fulfilled his high trust of protecting and guarding God’s greatest treasures upon earth, Jesus and Mary.

The darkest hours of his life may well have been those when he first learned of Mary’s pregnancy; but precisely in this time of trial Joseph showed himself great. His suffering, which likewise formed a part of the work of the redemption, was not without great providential import: Joseph was to be, for all times, the trustworthy witness of the Messiah’s virgin birth. After this, he modestly retires into the background of holy Scripture.

Of St. Joseph’s death the Bible tells us nothing. There are indications, however, that he died before the beginning of Christ’s public life. His was the most beautiful death that one could have, in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Humbly and unknown, he passed his years at Nazareth, silent and almost forgotten he remained in the background through centuries of Church history. Only in more recent times has he been accorded greater honor. Liturgical veneration of St. Joseph began in the fifteenth century, fostered by Sts. Brigid of Sweden and Bernadine of Siena. St. Teresa, too, did much to further his cult.

At present there are two major feasts in his honor. On March 19 our veneration is directed to him personally and to his part in the work of redemption, while on May 1 we honor him as the patron of workmen throughout the world and as our guide in the difficult matter of establishing equitable norms regarding obligations and rights in the social order.

—Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

St. Joseph is invoked as patron for many causes. He is the patron of the Universal Church. He is the patron of the dying because Jesus and Mary were at his death-bed. He is also the patron of fathers, of carpenters, and of social justice. Many religious orders and communities are placed under his patronage.

Patron: Against doubt; against hesitation; Americas; Austria; Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; California; Belgium; Bohemia; bursars; cabinetmakers; Canada; Carinthia; carpenters; China; confectioners; craftsmen; Croatian people (in 1687 by decree of the Croatian parliament) dying people; emigrants; engineers; expectant mothers; families; fathers; Florence, Italy; happy death; holy death; house hunters; immigrants; interior souls; Korea; laborers; Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin; Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky; Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire; Mexico; Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee; New France; New World; Oblates of Saint Joseph; people in doubt; people who fight Communism; Peru; pioneers; protection of the Church; Diocese of San Jose, California; diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; social justice; Styria, Austria; travelers; Turin Italy; Tyrol Austria; unborn children Universal Church; Vatican II; Vietnam; Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston West Virginia; wheelwrights; workers; working people.

Symbols: Bible; branch; carpenter’s square; carpenter’s tools; chalice; cross; hand tools; infant Jesus; ladder; lamb; lily; monstrance; old man holding a lily and a carpenter’s tool such as a square; old man holding the infant Jesus; plane; rod.

Source: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2019-03-19

Prayer to Joseph,
Who is Known by Many Titles

Faithful Joseph:
Teach us to listen and not be afraid to trust
as you did in God’s promise.

Loving Joseph:
Teach us to love courageously with a heart
that is free and just.

Protector Joseph:
Teach us to protect one another and all
that belongs to God.

Dreamer Joseph:
Teach us to dream a world where all are neighbors;
a vision illuminated by God’s light.

Teacher Joseph:
Teach us to keep the Word of God close to our hearts, and to proclaim it in word and action.

Gentle Joseph:
Teach us to be gentle with our power and
strong in our tenderness.

Parent Joseph:
Teach us to be for all persons a living lesson
of goodness and truth – a blessing for all
generations to come.

Amen.

Celebrating Founder’s Birth Anniversary in Cagayan de Oro, Manila and Dumalinao

March 14, the Birth Anniversary of Fr. Leo John Dehon is remembered and celebrated by the entire Dehonian Family around the world. It is also a special day of prayers for new vocations to the priesthood and religious life, especially to the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ). On this day, all the SCJs and all lay associates, inspired by the life and works of Fr. Dehon, gather together to reflect on the charism of their founder, which they consider as a special gift from God to the Church.

As usual, the Sacred Heart Formation House in Cagayan de Oro  City, together with members of the Lay Dehonians and Dehonian Youth, joined this worldwide celebration of the 176th Birth Anniversary of their founder. During the Holy Eucharist, Fr. Francis Pupkowski, scj, the main celebrant and homilist, presented the life and vocation of Fr. Dehon, whose driving force of all his activities was to bring about “The Reign of God in souls and society.”

Besides the members of the Dehonian Family, the celebration was attended by all the SCJs from the neighbor communities, friends and benefactors. The celebration was culminated with the common super prepared by the formation community.

Similar activities were held in Dehon House in Manila and Novitiate Fr. Dehon in Lower Lucoban, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. In Manila the Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, the Regional Superior, who instituted Bro. Argol Chavez, SCJ, to the ministry of acolyte.