40th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood

Forty (40) years ago on February 21, 1979, Fr. Yohanes Sono Pribadi, SCJ, member of the SCJ Philippine Region, was ordained priest. The ceremony of ordination took place in Metro, Lampung Tengah, Indonesia, his native place and was officiated by the Most Rev. Albert Hermelink Gentiaras, SCJ, Dutch, Bishop of Tanjungkarang. It should be noted that he was ordained as a diocesan priest for the Diocese of Lampung. However, knowing many SCJ priests, Fr. Yohanes had enough opportunities to learn about their charism and spirituality. Besides, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was embedded in him by his father, a great devotee of God’s Heart. These all helped him to decide entering the Congregation.

On July 20, 1980, Fr. Yohanes made his first profession of vows and in 1983 the final profession. His first assignment was as a Parish Priest in Trinity Parish in Belitang, South Sumatra, where he served for three (3) years. His next assignment from 1984 – 1988 was in Muara Bungo, Province of Jambi, Sumatra. In 1988, Fr. Yohanes was appointed to join the international mission in the Philippines and sent to the United States to study English.

On May 17, 1989, Fr. Yohanes arrived in the Philippines in a group of eight missionaries, where he stayed until the year 2003. During thirteen years of his stay in the Philippines he was assigned in parishes of Dimataling, Cagayan de Oro City, Bacolod and Kumalarang. Also for many years he was in-charge of vocations.

In Indonesia, Fr. Yohanes was assigned for two (2) years as a parish priest in Kotabumi, Lampung, where he also took care of the dormitory for boys, three (3) years in Jakarta and four (4) years in Pasangsurut, Diocese of Palembang.

In 2014 Fr. Yohanes returned to the Philippines and was assigned in the Novitiate Fr. Dehon in Lower Lucoban, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. Besides being the superior of the community and assistant to the Novice Master, Fr. Indra Pamungkas, SCJ, he is taking care of the garden and his coffee plantation of which he is very proud of.

As mentioned above, Fr. Yohanes is a member of the first group, the very first missionary from Indonesia, the oldest member of the Philippine Region in age, ordination and first profession. He was born on June 2, 1950. Among his relatives there are four (4) priests: three (3) diocesan and one (1) SS.CC. Congregation of the Sacred Hearts and three (3) religious sisters.

The Thanksgiving Mass was held in the chapel of the SCJ Novitiate in Lower Lucoban and was attended by a number of SCJs, religious sisters and friends from the places of his assignment: Dimataling, Bacolod and Kumalarang.

In his, not very short homily, Fr. Yohanes shared about his vocation, way to the priesthood and experiences. The ceremony was very nice and solemn.

HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY OF ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD!

Renewal of Marriage Vows at San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish

On February 16 – 17, 2019, ninety (90) couples from the San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Quezon City, Diocese of Novaliches, renewed their Marriage Vows in this love month of February. The Family and Life Ministry organized this activity to celebrate the inspiring and grace-filled union of the married couples in the parish.

All six (6) Masses of the parish including the Saturday anticipated Mass held the Renewal of Vows. The couples were requested to wear white or their Sunday’s best dress for the event. Upon their arrival each couple was welcomed and escorted by the usherettes to their reserved seating places at the front of the Church.

The ceremony was integrated within the Mass. They were serenaded by the Music Ministry and received the special blessing from our assistant parish priests, Rev. Fr. Showereddy Nekkanti, SCJ, Rev. Fr. Donald Longno, SCJ and guest priests Rev. Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, and Rev. Fr. Rechie Gier, SCJ.

After the Mass, the couples took pictures and everyone was given a copy of their vows in the form of a certificate and was handed a stem of heart balloons.

The Parish Youth Ministry meanwhile, distributed packets of chocolates and candies to all parishioners who attended the Mass.

By: Fr. Niño Etulle, SCJ

Dehonians join “Walk for Life” 2019

San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish (SLRP) joined the entire Catholic Church in its stand to “Walk for Life” on February 16, 2019 at the Quezon City Circle, led by the Assistant Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Showe Reddy Nekkanti, SCJ. The SLRP Community was well represented with participants from the Parish Pastoral Council, Religious (Dehonian Brothers and Adorers of the Blood of Christ Sisters), Youth and other ministries of the parish.

There was a prayer procession of the Holy Rosary for life; video presentation on the persecution of Christians around the world; youth sharing on Extra Judicial Killings, lowering the age of criminal liabilities, purity and chastity, family life, environment, corruption, and protecting the sanctity of life in general.
The event culminated to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by His Eminence Luis Antonio ‘Chito’ Tagle, Archbishop of Manila.

Also in Cagayan de Oro City the Dehonian seminarians joined the simultaneously held march.

The “Walk for Life” is a marching event, wherein participants walk hand-in-hand, to show united support to Christian values.

It was initially organized as a form of action or protest against cruelty and killings, with one example being the extrajudicial killings stemming from the war against drugs and drug abuse.

The activity is also a way of showing support to the marginalized communities, especially those who have experienced abuse, neglect, and denied of their human rights.

“Walk for Life” is being participated by priests, bishops, church personnel, those faithful to the church, and those with a stand in preserving life of all.

The first “Walk for Life” event took place at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on February 18, 2017 and was attended by thousands of members of Catholic and Christian Churches, as well as from religious and non-religious organizations.

Regional Assembly 2019

On February 11, 2019, the SCJ Philippine Region started its annual assembly. The assembly is being held at the Sacred Heart Formation House in Cagayan de Oro City and is attended by 35 confreres, including Fr. Alexander Sapta Dwi Handoko, SCJ, General Councilor for Asia from Rome, Fr. Quang Nguyen, SCJ, the Vice Provincial of the US Province and Fr. Khoa Nguyen, SCJ, from the District of Vietnam.

The assembly started with the welcome address of the superior of the community Cagayan de Oro I, Fr. Patrick Gutib, SCJ and the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, followed by a service of reconciliation led by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ. The next activity was a short reflection by Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, focusing on the “Year of the Youth” in the Philippines and the 30th Anniversary of the SCJ presence in the Philippines, ending with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and confession.

In the afternoon of the first day, the participants following the guide questions shared in groups their personal experiences of the last year in the light of the incoming anniversary.

The day ended with the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, followed by the supper and common recreation.

The second day was dedicated to the reports by communities and different commissions of the Region. The main celebrant  of the Eucharist was Fr. Robertus Sutopo, SCJ, who on February 12 celebrated his 50th birthday.

On the third and fourth day the group will discuss the agenda that came out of the reports, future celebrations and plans.

The assembly is to conclude on February 14, 2019 lunch time.

Viva Pit Senyor!

Today, on the 3rd Sunday of January, the Church in the Philippines celebrates the Feast of Santo Niño, one of the most popular religious celebrations not only in Cebu City, but also in the entire Philippines.

Short History of the Image of Santo Niño de Cebu

In April 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, in the service of Charles V of Spain, arrived in Cebu during his voyage to find a westward route to the Indies. He persuaded Rajah Humabon and his chief wife Humamay, to pledge their allegiance with Spain. They were later baptized into the Catholic faith, taking the Christian names Carlos (after Holy Roman Emperor Charles V) and Juana (after Joanna of Castile).

According to Antonio Pigafetta, Italian chronicler to the Spanish expedition, Ferdinand Magellan himself presented the Santo Niño to the newly baptized Queen Juana as a symbol of the alliance. To her husband Carlos, Magellan presented the bust of “Ecce Homo”, or the depiction of Christ before Pontius Pilate. He then presented an image of the Virgin Mary to the natives who were baptized after their rulers. Magellan died on April 27, 1521 in the Battle of Mactan, leaving the image behind. Legends say that after initial efforts by the natives to destroy it, the image was venerated as the animist creation deity Bathala. Many historians consider the facial structure of the statue made from Belgium, where Infant Jesus of Prague statues were also common.

In 1980, Filipino historian Nicomedes Márquez Joaquín wrote about the 44 years after Magellan’s soldiers left before the next Spanish expedition came under Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Joaquín said that the statue was once denounced by natives as originally brought by Magellan, but was reinforced again by de Legaspi which the natives continued to dispute claiming that the statue came originally from their land.

On April 28, 1565, Spanish sailor Juan de Camus found the statue in a pine box amidst the ruins of a burnt house. The image, carved from wood and coated with paint, stood 30 centimeters tall, and wore a loose velvet garment, a gilded neck chain and a woolen red hood. A golden sphere, a replica of the world, was in the in the left hand, and the right hand is slightly raised in benediction. Camus presented the image to Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the Augustinian priests; the natives refused to associate it with the gift of Magellan, claiming it had existed there since ancient times. Writer Dr. Resil Mojares wrote that the natives did so for fear that the Spaniards would demand it back. The natives’ version of the origin of the Santo Niño is in the Agipo (stump or driftwood) legend, which states that the statue was caught by a fisherman who chose to rid of it, only to have it returned with a plentiful harvest.

The statue was later taken out for procession, afterwards which Legaspi then ordered the creation of the Confraternity of the Santo Niño de Cebú, appointing Father Andres de Urdaneta as head superior. Legaspi instituted a fiesta to commemorate of the finding of the image, and although the original celebration still survives, Pope Innocent XIII moved the celebration to the Third Sunday of January to avoid conflict with Eastertide.

The Minor Basilica of Santo Niño (Spanish: Basilica Minore del Santo Niño) was built on the spot where the image was found by Juan de Camus. The parish was originally made out of bamboo and mangrove palm and claims to be the oldest parish in the Philippines. Pope Paul VI elevated its rank as Minor Basilica on its 400th year anniversary.

Viva Señor Jesus Nazareno!

Feast of the Black Nazarene, a miraculous statue of Jesus Christ carrying his cross, is one of the most popular religious celebrations in the Philippines. Every January 9 thousands of people join the celebrations in Quiapo  Manila and  Cagayan de Oro City, where the replica of the original statue is located.

The Black Nazarene represents Christ’s passion and suffering, and through the centuries it has become the Filipino people’s symbol of struggle and faith. Devotees have experienced numerous instances of answered prayers and miracles, making the devotion to the Black Nazarene one of the strongest spiritual and religious phenomena in the country.

It is said that the Black Nazarene was carved by an unknown Mexican sculptor from a dark wood in the 16th century in Mexico and then transported via galleon from Acapulco, Mexico to the Philippines on May 31, 1606. According to some stories, a fire that broke out inside the ship reached the statue and blackened even more the image.

It was brought by a group of Augustinian Recollect missionaries who brought it to the Church of San Juan Bautista in Bagumbayan (Saint John the Baptist Church at Luneta). After a couple of years, the Black Nazarene was moved to a bigger church near the area.

On January 9, 1767, the image of the Black Nazarene was transferred (Traslacion) to Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) whose patron is also John the Baptist. Since that time, the annual feast day has been celebrated by millions of devotees thronging to touch the icon and lasting for around 20 hours.

Black Nazarene is also the patron saint of the Chaplaincy in Dansolihon, Cagayan de Oro City, administered by the SCJs. The feast, which is also  celebrated on January 9, was preceded with 9-day novena as a spiritual preparation for the main celebration. Each day, there was a special Novena Mass and procession with the little statue of Black Nazarene around the village of Dansolihon.

The main celebration on January 9, 2019, was held in the new church and was presided by Monsignor Florencio “Boy” Salvador, SSJV, the parish priest of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Pueblo, Cagayan de Oro Cty. The day before, on January 8, 2019, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, Most  Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ,DD. administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to the 220 young Catholics from different communities of the chaplaincy.

Parish Feast Day Celebration in Aluba

On December 8, 2018, the Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro City, celebrated its Patronal Feast of Immaculate Conception. The concelebrated Mass was presided by Fr. Bon Genson, SSJV, first diocesan priest who comes from this parish.

At the end of the Holy Eucharist, the parishioners renewed their Act of Dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, followed by floral offering and common meal.

The Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba is being administered by the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJs) since June 1, 2011. At present Fr. Janusz Burzawa is the Parish Priest and is assisted by a deacon Rev. Ruel C. Paalisbo, SCJ.

Installation of the new Parish Priest in San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish

On July 21, 2018 Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D. the Bishop of Novaliches Diocese installed Rev. Fr. Niño B. Etulle, SCJ as second SCJ Parish Priest of San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, Tierra Verde Homes I, Brgy. Culiat, Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

The celebration started at 5:00PM that lasted for one hour and thirty minutes. There were more than 200 people attended the installation. A good number of Parishioners and leaders from the different organizations of San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish attended the celebration together with the cooperation of some religious men and women coming from different religious congregation, guests, family members and close friends of Fr. Niño and SCJ’s coming from different communities were present to witness the installation.

The celebration ended with simple dinner prepared by the Parish Pastoral Council of San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish.

By: Fr. Joseph Butlig, SCJ

Episcopal Ordination in Cagayan de Oro

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.