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.

Family Day celebration in Aluba

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.

Feast Day of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Talisay

On November 27, 2018, the Quasi-Parish Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Talisay, Hilongos, Southern Leyte, celebrated its second Patronal Fiesta. While last year the celebration was held in the Barangay Hall, this year the Holy Mass was offered in the new, although not yet finished, church. The feast was preceded with nine day Novena together with various  activities.

The main celebrant was the Bishop of Maasin Diocese, Most Rev. Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB, DD. As of now, the new church, which construction started on January 1, 2018, is completed in around 55 percent. The community is going to use it during the Novena de Gallo and Christmas celebrations.

Celebration of the SCJ Memorial Day in Cagayan de Oro

On November 26, 2018, members of the three SCJ communities in Cagayan de Oro area, together with the Dehonian Youth, Lay Dehonians and friends, celebrated the SCJ Memorial Day. The celebration was held at the Sacred Heart Formation House and was presided by Fr. Joseph Butlig, SCJ,  who on this day celebrated his fifth anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.

Prayer for All Souls Day – November 2

Merciful Father,

On this day, we are called to remember those who have died,
We pray for their joyful reunion with you, their loving creator.
As your son taught us to call the stranger
neighbor, our fallen are many.

Names we will never know,
Voices we have never heard,
In lands we may never visit,
Yet brothers and sisters all.
And so we pray.

For victims of war, caught in the crossfires of
conflicts we could not quell,
for soldiers and civilians,
adults and children, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

For those migrants who have died seeking a
haven where they hoped to find safety
and opportunity for themselves and for their families, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

For victims of hunger, denied their share in the
bounty you have placed before us, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

For victims of AIDS, Malaria, Ebola, and other infectious diseases,
who died before adequate care could reach them, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

For those refugees seeking asylum from war,
who died in a land that was not their home, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

For victims of emergencies and calamities everywhere,
who died amid chaos and confusion, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

Lord, as you command, we reach out to the fallen.
We call on you on behalf of those we could not reach this year.
You raised your son from the dead
that all may share in his joyful resurrection.

In Jesus’ name, we pray …

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescant in pace.

Amen

‘Parade of the Saints’ instead of Halloween Party

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.

Seminar – Workshop in Manila

On September 10 -13, 2018, 32 perpetually professed religious and 2 on temporary vows, members of the Philippine Region, participated in a four day on going formation seminar, held at St. Camillus Pastoral Healthcare Center, 18 Nicanor Reyes Street, Loyola Heights, 1108 Quezon City.

The first two days of the seminar was facilitated by Rev. Fr. Lauro V. Larlar, OAR, School Prior of the Recoletos School of Theology. The theme of his input was about “Renewed Servant-leaders for the New Evangelization” using the Dehonian ways of evangelization focusing on how to strengthen the spirituality and Dehonian identity in doing our mission in the Philippines.

The other two days of the seminar was facilitated by Sr. Julie Micosa, MCSH, board member of the Galilee Center and CBCP center for Human and Spiritual Development, Tagaytay. The focus of her input was more on self awareness in connection with emotions, thoughts, mood, anger, loneliness, sexuality, intimacy and anxiety that would allow the participants to come up with an effective features of on-going programs that members of the Philippine Region need to go through to address the different needs in order to become more effective Dehonian missionaries.
The seminar was concluded with a regional meeting to discuss important matters of the region.

By: Fr. Joseph Butlig, scj

Celebration of the Founder in Cagayan de Oro

On August 12, 2018, the formation community of Cagayan de Oro, together with the SCJs from nearby communities, members of the Dehonian Family and friends of the Congregation, celebrated the 93rd Death Anniversary of Fr. Leo Dehon, the founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The concelebrated Mass was presided by the Regional Superior, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, while the homily was delivered by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ. Fr. Francis recalled the last moments of the life of Fr. Dehon, summarized his activities and reflected on the challenges lying ahead of his spiritual sons and daughters. As usual the celebration was concluded with a common meal.

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