On December 2, 2018, the First Sunday of Advent, the Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro City, celebrated its Family Day. As seen on the pictures the celebration was attended by many parishioners and it included different presentations, fun and of course common meal. The Family Day is an annual event and a part of preparation for the Parish Feast of Immaculate Concepcion on December 8.
In the Church’s liturgical calendar, November 1 is the Solemnity of All Saints. The preceding eve is known as “All Hallow’s Eve” or Halloween. The root word of Halloween – ”hallow” – means ”holy.” The suffix “een” is an abbreviation of “evening.” It refers to the Eve of All Hallows, the night before the Christian holy day that honors saintly people of the past. Unfortunately, the Western influence took away the “Holy” in Halloween through dress up parties on October 31 where people wear costumes to look like monsters, ghouls, and other evil entities. Whether they willfully know this or not, the practice of dressing up like creatures of the night and demons have pagan origins.
In what is seen as a “counter-cultural revolution” to the Western Halloween observance, Catholic parishes around the country dress up their faithful followers in costumes that are of the complete opposite of vampires and zombies. Instead of wearing terrifying and bloody costumes and masks, the Church encourages the faithful to hold “Parade of Saints” or let the children wear costumes of Saints.
Meaning and Origin of All Saints Day
In the early years when the Roman Empire persecuted Christians, so many martyrs died for their faith, that the Church set aside special days to honor them. For example, in 607 Emperor Phocas presented to the pope the beautiful Roman Pantheon temple. The pope removed the statues of Jupiter and the pagan gods and consecrated the Pantheon to “all saints” who had died from Roman persecution in the first three hundred years after Christ. Many bones were brought from other graves and placed in the rededicated Pantheon church. Since there were too many martyrs for each to be given a day, they were lumped together into one day. In the next century, All Saints Day was changed by Pope Gregory III to today’s date–November l. People prepared for their celebration with a night of vigil on Hallows’ Eve — Halloween (possibly because of the strong holdover influence of the Celtic Samhain festival which many Christians in Ireland, Britain Scotland and Wales had continued to observe).
In the 10th century, Abbot Odela of the Cluny monastery added the next day–November 2nd–as “All Souls” Day” to honor not just the martyrs, but all Christians who had died. People prayed for the dead, but many unchristian superstitions continued. People in Christian lands offered food to the dead–as it had been in pagan times. The superstitious also believed that on these two days, souls in purgatory would take the form of witches, toads, or demons and haunt persons who had wronged them during their lifetime. As happens so often in Church history, sacred Christian festivals can absorb so many pagan customs that they lose their significance as Christian holidays.
“Parade of Saints”
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Laity (CBCP-ECL) on Saturday, October 27, 2018, called on the faithful to refrain from participating in “secular” activities, including the celebration of Halloween and wearing of scary costumes.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of CBCP-ECL, said such event is not a Christian celebration as Halloween is a “celebration of death” while All Soul’s Day and All Saints’ Day are “celebration of life”.
In an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas, the bishop explained why the two-day observance is more about life than death.
When people visit the dearly departed during these days, they say prayers, offer flowers, light candles and bring food, which are all signs of life. “It is really a celebration of life,” he said.
“Let us go to the cemeteries to remember and pray for our departed,” Bishop Pabillo said.
“The Parade of Saints is a reclaiming of the Eve of All Saints day for Christ. It really belongs to Christ because it is the beginning of All Saints’ Day, the feast of all who have washed their robes with the Blood of the Lamb.”
The “Parade of Saints” was also, not for the first time, organized by the Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro. As usual, the celebration started on November 1 at 7:00 am with the Holy Eucharist and was followed by the “Parade of the Saints.” around the parish.
Similar parade was also held the day before, on October 31, at the Medalla Milagrosa Quasi Parish in Talisay, Hilongos, Southern Leyte, during the culmination of the Month of Holy Rosary.
To reclaim the sacredness of the eve of All Saints, we need to create a counterculture that will serve as a Christ-centered alternative to Halloween by starting a tradition of our own. The Parade of Saints is a fitting tradition that can be firmly established in every parish and diocese to bring back the sacredness of All Saints Day and to give back the glory to God.
On June 7, 2018, the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro celebrated the Episcopal Ordination of Fr. Raul Dael, SSJV. Fr. Raul is the third priest from the archdiocese, who became bishop. The other two are Bp. Jose A. Cabantan, DD, the Bishop of Malaybalay and Bp. Vilsom Basso, SCJ, who was assigned in the archdiocese when he was called to become a bishop in Brazil.
The new bishop, was on September 29, 2014, giving a spiritual input to the SCJs, who were starting their 1st Regional Assembly in Cagayan de Oro City. In his talk, Fr. Raul emphasized the mercy of God and the importance of being priests and religious after the Heart of Christ.
The main consecrators of Fr. Raul as bishop were: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, DD, from the Archdiocese of Manila, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, DD, archbishop of Cagayan de Oro and Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar, DD, JCD, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Tandag, Surigao del Sur, who is being replaced by the new bishop Raul.
The celebration was attended by 30 Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, hundreds of priests from different archdioceses and dioceses and many people. The celebration that lasted three hours was beautifully prepared. The new bishop and people of Cagayan de Oro and their guests enjoyed also a meal together and the very nice weather.
The pilgrim relics of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus is for the fourth time in the Philippines. It arrived on January 13, 2018, and will stay until May 31, 2018, visiting different dioceses and parishes.
At the moment the relics is visiting the Diocese of Pagadian. On April 24, 2018, the relics, for a short time, visited the St. Isidore Parish in Dumalinao run by the SCJs.
The pilgrim relics of Saint Thérèse have visited the Philippines in 2000, 2008 and 2013.
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, also called Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, was born on January 2, 1873, in Alençon, France. She died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24.
She is one of the most popular Catholic saints. As a doctor of the church, she is the subject of much theological comment and study, and as an appealing young woman, whose message has touched the lives of millions, she remains the focus of much-popular devotion.
Relics are the material remains of a saint or holy person after death, as well as objects sanctified by contact with his or her body.
Real or first-class relics include the skin and bones, clothing, objects used for penance and instruments of a martyr’s imprisonment or passion, while representative relics are objects placed in contact with the body or grave of a saint.
The Catholic faithful venerate the relics of saints because as intercessors with God for the living, through their relics—a record of the saint—God manifests his presence.
On April 19,2018, at the Butuan Doctors’ Hospital, passed away Most Rev. Zacarias C. Jimenez,D.D, an Auxillary Bishop-Emeritus of the Diocese of Butuan, and big friend of SCJs (Dehonians) in the Philippines.
Born on November 5, 1947, in Inabanga, Bohol in the Philippines, Bishop Jimenez was ordained to the priesthood on April 17, 1973, at the St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Tagbilaran. He was consecrated as bishop on January 6, 1995, at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
He served as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pagadian, Philippines, from December 2, 1994 to June 11, 2003. He then served as auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Butuan, Philippines and as titular bishop of Arba from June 11, 2003, until his death.
After suffering from two strokes, he died due to the acute respiratory failure.
Fondly called as Bishop Iti, served as the parish priest of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish in Butuan City. As a longtime seminary formator, was seen as a gentle, slow to anger, reasonable, nonjudgmental, and Spirit-abiding person. He was not only a good pastor and follower of Christ, but also true believer of Christ’s humility and compassion.
He was like a father to all SCJs, especially during the time of kidnapping of Fr. Giuseppe Pierantoni, SCJ, (October 17, 2001 – April 8, 20012) in Dimataling, Zamboanga del Sur, working tirelessly for the release of Fr. Beppe.
As we thank God for the gift of his presence in our lives, we ask God to accept him into His Kingdom. Requiescat in Pace!
On April 21, 2018, more than 750 youths coming from different parishes of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro attended the Vocation Jamboree prepared by the Directors/Directresses of Vocations in the Philippines (DVP) Cagayan de Oro Chapter, headed by the Rev. Fr. Roger Gabac, SSJV, the Archdiocesan Vocation Director with the cooperation of the members of DVP represented by different Religious Men and Women that works in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.
The activity started at 3:00PM with a Pilgrim Walk from Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Camaman-an going to the venue at Saint John Vianney Seminary covered court. Upon arriving at the venue there were opening salvo to animate the participants while at the same time registration was going on. At around 6:00PM dinner was served .
Right after dinner, Bishop-elect Raul Dael, SSJV gave a talk about vocation in general. All throughout the talk, the participants were attentive to the speaker. After, the talk on vocation , the big group was divided into three groups for another talk on Married Life, Priestly, Religious and Single Blessedness. After each talk, the youths were given time to interact by encouraging them to ask questions to the speakers.
The vocation talk was followed by the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. While the adoration was going on, priests, religious men and women around the venue were conducting counseling, to those who were willing and needed it. At 5:00AM the Vocation Jamboree was concluded with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist celebrated by Bishop-elect Fr. Raul Dael, SSJV and concelebrated by all priests who attended the activity.
By: Fr. Joseph Butlig, SCJ
On April 9, 2018, more than 400 parishioners of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro City made their “Walk with Mary.” The walk started at the “Our Lady of Snows” Parish Church in El Salvador City and ended at the Divine Mercy Shrine.
Divine Mercy Shrine is located at the Divine Mercy Hills, PSB-Ulaliman, El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental which is overlooking Macajalar Bay. The shrine has a 50-feet long statue of the Divine Mercy , the biggest statue in Asia.
The pilgrims were accompanied by their parish priest: Fr. Janusz Burzawa, SCJ and the parochial vicar Fr. Niño Etulle, SCJ.
The walk was held a day after the feast of Divine Mercy Sunday and was culminated with the Eucharistic celebration.
Divine Mercy Sunday 2018
On September 29, 2017, faithful of the Sub-Parish in Balongating, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur, celebrated their patronal feast of St. Michael, the Archangel. The main celebrant and homilist was Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, the parish priest of St. Isidore, the Farmer Parish in Dumalinao, and was accompanied by SCJs from the Zamboanga del Sur area and from Cagayan de Oro. The Eucharist was clebrated in a local Visayan dialect. As usual the celebration was preceeded by nine-day novena, organized and sponsored by different chapels, members of the sub-parish.The celebration was followed by a cultural show, common meal, and raffle draw, where the main prize was a Honda motorcycle. The money gained in this way will be used for the construction of new formation house for the lay leaders, which the community needs very much.Balongating is a part of the St. Isidore, the Farmer Parish in Dumalinao and was declared as a Sub-Parish in August 1991 by Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD.
Since February 2003, the parish in Dumalinao is being administered by the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ). The incumbent parish priest, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, was preceeded by Fr. Janusz Burzawa, SCJ.
Among SCJ priests in charge of Balongating were the following: Fr. Franciszek Pupkowski, Fr. Delio Ruiz, Fr. Arthur Guevara, Fr. Jigger Ganados, Fr. Marcial Aguirre and presently Fr. Robertus Sutopo.
As of now, the sub-parish is composed of 19 chapels in 4 zones. It has all ministries and mandated organizations accredited in the Diocese of Pagadian. So far, the SCJ pesence in that area inspired Deacon Roger Pausanos, SCJ, to enter the congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.