Pope’s Francis: Proclaim Gospel With Humility

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At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Criticizes Preachers Seeking ‘Life Insurance Policies’

April 25, 2017 Deborah Castellano Lubovpope & Holy SeePope’s Morning Homily

We are to proclaim the Gospel with humility.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis urged this today, April 25, 2017, the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, his second since the Easter break.

The Pope’s homily focused on the passage from the Gospel of St Mark, which relates the story of the Great Commission. He said “the Gospel is always proclaimed on the journey, never seated, always on the journey.”

The Gospel, Francis stressed, must be proclaimed with humility, overcoming the temptation of pride, and Christians, he encouraged, must go out to proclaim the Good News, remaining on that journey, without stopping.

On Preachers Who Seek Life Insurance Policies

A preacher, Francis also said, must always be on a journey and not seek “an insurance policy,” seeking safety by remaining in one place.

Christians, the Pope said, need “to go out where Jesus is not known, or where Jesus is persecuted, or where Jesus is disfigured, to proclaim the true Gospel.”

“To go out in order to proclaim. And, also, in this going out there is life, the life of the preacher is played out. He is not safe; there are no life insurance policies for preachers. And if a preacher seeks a life insurance policy, he is not a true preacher of the Gospel: He doesn’t go out, he stays in place, safe.

So, first of all: Go, go out. The Gospel, the proclamation of Jesus Christ, goes forth, always; on a journey, always. On a physical journey, on a spiritual journey, on a journey of suffering.

But what is “the style of this proclamation?” the Pope asked.

The Pope observed that Saint Peter, who was St Mark’s teacher, was perfectly clear in his description of this style, namely that the Gospel must be announced in humility, because the Son of God humbled Himself, annihilated Himself.”

This, the Pope said, “is the style of God,”noting there is no other.

Not a Carnival, Nor Party

“The proclamation of the Gospel,” he said, “is not a carnival, a party.”

With humility and overcoming the temptation of worldliness, the Gospel must be preached, the Pope said. Never can it be announced, he cautioned, “with human power, cannot be proclaimed with human power, cannot be proclaimed with the spirit of climbing and advancement.”

“This is not the Gospel,” he said.

The Pope then asked those present why is this humility necessary.

“Precisely because,” he answered, “we carry forward a proclamation of humiliation – of glory, but through humility. And the proclamation of the Gospel undergoes temptation: the temptation of power, the temptation of pride, the temptation of worldliness, of so many kinds of worldliness that they bring [to] preaching or to speaking; because he does not preach a watered down Gospel, without strength, a Gospel without Christ crucified and risen.”

“And for this reason,” the Jesuit Pope recalled, “St Peter says: ‘Be vigilant, be vigilant, be vigilant… Your enemy the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.’ The proclamation of the Gospel, if it is true, undergoes temptation.”

Lord Will Comfort

If a Christian says he is proclaiming the Gospel “but is never tempted,” Francis highlighted that it means that “the devil is not worried,” because “we are preaching something useless.”

For this reason, the Holy Father continued, “in true preaching there is always some temptation, and also some persecution.” However, when we are suffering, Francis explained, the Lord is there “to restore us, to give us strength, because that is what Jesus promised when He sent the Apostles.”

“The Lord will be there to comfort us, to give us the strength to go forward, because He works with us if we are faithful to the proclamation of the Gospel, if we go out of ourselves to preach Christ crucified, and if we do this with a style of humility, of true humility.”

Pope Francis concluded, praying, “May the Lord grant us this grace, as baptized people, all of us, to take the path of evangelization with humility.”

Filipino islanders set up ‘disaster-resilient’ community

Faith-based group provides typhoon victims with storm-proof housing

Construction of an evacuation center on the island of Manicani in the central Philippines is ongoing with the support of church-backed groups. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

Mark Saludes, Eastern Samar 
Philippines

April 24, 2017

When Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines in 2013, Catalina Badocdoc lost everything except for an image of the Child Jesus and copies of the Bible.

Strong winds and rain blew away her home that used to stand a few meters from the seashore on Manicani Island in Eastern Samar province.

What saved the 51-year-old woman and her 13 children was a chapel that sits near her small farm, and her plants.

Badocdoc says she believes in miracles, but only “if we care to make them happen.” The real miracle was her “mini forest” of mangroves, bananas, assorted vegetables, and lemon trees.

“The wind toppled my plants before knocking down the house,” recalls Badocdoc. “My forest kept us alive even as the typhoon destroyed it.”

From a window of the concrete chapel, the woman watched her plants trying to weather the storm. “It was sad to see them fall,” she says.

Like Badocdoc’s plants, her village was devastated by Haiyan; the strongest typhoon in recent history to have hit land.

Most of the houses on Manicani Island, which had over 500 households, were leveled by the strong winds and rain.

The village chapel became an emergency shelter for some 50 terrified men, women, and children.

Badocdoc’s family shared whatever they had — dry clothes, fruit from the garden, and space to sleep in — with their neighbors.

It took almost a week before help reached their shores.

After the devastation, not all were as “fortunate” as Badocdoc and her neighbors.

Rufina Loyola, also in her fifties, lost her hut. She tried to seek shelter in a neighbor’s concrete house with 15 other people, but it too was damaged by the typhoon.

“No one was hurt, but we were all shocked,” recalls Loyola. She described what was left of the neighborhood — a “sea of debris covered with sand and mud.”

“All the houses were gone and I could see nothing but a pile of trash,” says the woman.

Typhoon Haiyan claimed at least 6,300 lives and at least 2,000 others were declared missing. A “humanitarian crisis” was announced after an estimated two million people were left homeless.

An evacuation center stands in the village of Hamorawon on Manicani Island. The shelter, which was built by Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc., was handed over to the community in February. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

‘Long-term reconstruction program’

After a thorough assessment of the disaster, the Philippine-Misereor Partnership Incorporated (PMPI) decided to launch a “long-term reconstruction program.”

PMPI is a social development network of people’s organizations, faith-based groups, and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany.

Yolanda Esguerra, PMPI national coordinator, says relief efforts developed into a post-disaster initiative that promotes a “sustainable island ecosystem” that is “disaster resilient.”

Tao-Pilipinas, a women-led organization of engineers, architects, and planners, introduced what they described as “risk-proof modern houses” that are designed to stand typhoons but are “not expensive to common people.”

Some 120 beneficiaries from the “most vulnerable sector” were given free shelter units that cost about US$5,700 each. Misereor funded the project with Christian Aid and Terres des Hommes.

In September 2015, Tao-Pilipinas turned over 40 houses to the beneficiaries on Manicani Island. On April 8, another 10 houses were handed over on nearby Homonhon Island.

PMPI aims to complete the building of the houses by July, but “we want to make sure that every structure will pass our strict quality evaluation,” says Francisco Paciencia, the organization’s project officer.   Continue reading

Pope Francis’s Regina Coeli Address: Divine Mercy Sunday

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“This Sunday Invites Us to Take Up Forcefully the Grace that Comes from God’s Mercy”

APRIL 23, 2017 | ZENIT STAFF | ANGELUS/REGINA COELI

After the Regina Coeli 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Every Sunday we remember the Lord Jesus’ Resurrection, but in this season after Easter, this Sunday has an even more illuminating meaning. In the Church’s tradition, this Sunday, the first after Easter, was called “in albis.” What does this mean? The expression intended to recall the rite carried out by all those who received Baptism in the Easter Vigil. Each one of them was given a white garment – “alba” – ”white” — to indicate their new dignity as children of God. This is also done today: newborns are given a small symbolic dress, whereas adults put on a true and proper one, as we saw in the Easter Vigil.  And, in the past, that white garment was worn for a week. until this Sunday, and from this stems the name  in albis deponendis, which means the Sunday in which the white garment is taken off. And thus, the white garment removed, the neophytes began their new life in Christ and in the Church.

There is something else. In the Jubilee of the Year 2000, Saint John Paul II established that this Sunday be dedicated to the Divine Mercy. It is true, it was a beautiful intuition: it was the Holy Spirit that inspired him in this. A few months ago we concluded the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy and this Sunday invites us to take up forcefully the grace that comes from God’s mercy. Today’s Gospel is the account of the Risen Jesus’ apparition to the disciples gathered in the Cenacle (cf. John 20:19-31). Saint John writes that, after greeting His disciples, Jesus said to them: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” Having said this, He made the gesture of breathing on them and added: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven” (vv. 21-23). See the meaning of mercy that is presented in fact on the day of Jesus’ Resurrection as forgiveness of sins. The Risen Jesus transmitted to His Church, as her first task, His same mission to take to all the concrete proclamation of forgiveness. This is the first task: to proclaim forgiveness. This visible sign of His mercy brings with it peace of heart and the joy of a renewed encounter with the Lord.

In the light of Easter, mercy is perceived as a true form of knowledge. And this is important: mercy is a true form of knowledge. We know that one knows through many ways. One knows through the senses, one knows through intuition, through reason and also other ways. Well, one can also know through the experience of mercy, because mercy opens the door of the mind to understand better the mystery of God and of our personal existence. Mercy makes us understand that violence, rancor, vengeance make no sense, and the first victim is the one who lives these sentiments, because he deprives himself of his dignity. Mercy also opens the door of the heart and enables us to express closeness especially to all those who are alone and marginalized, because it makes them feel brothers and children of one Father. It fosters the recognition of all those in need of consolation and makes us find the appropriate words to give them comfort.

Brothers and sisters, mercy warms the heart and makes it sensitive to the needs of brothers with sharing and participation. In sum, mercy commits all to be instruments of justice, reconciliation and peace. Let us never forget that mercy is the turnkey in the life of faith, and the concrete way with which we give visibility to Jesus’ resurrection.

May Mary, Mother of Mercy, help us to believe and live all this with joy.

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Regina Coeli

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Yesterday the priest Luis Antonio Rosa Ormieres was proclaimed Blessed at Oviedo in Spain.

He lived in the 19th century and spent his many human and spiritual qualities at the service of education, and for this he founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Guardian Angel. May his example and his intercession help, in particular, all those who work in schools and in the educational field.

My heartfelt greeting to you all, Roman faithful and pilgrims from Italy and from many countries, in particular the Confraternity of Saint Sebastian of Kerkrade, the Netherlands; the Nigerian Catholic Secretariat and the Liebfrauen parish of Bocholt, Germany.

I greet the Polish pilgrims and express my earnest appreciation for the initiative of Caritas-Poland in support of many families in Syria. A special greeting goes to the devotees of Divine Mercy, gathered today in the church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia, as well as to the participants in the “Race for Peace”: a relay that starts today from this Square to reach Wittenberg in Germany.

I greet the numerous groups of youngsters, especially the Confirmed and the candidates for Confirmation – you are so many! –: of the Dioceses of Piacenza-Bobbio, Trento, Cuneo, Milan, Lodi, Cremona, Bergamo, Brescia and Vicenza, and also the “Masaccio” School of Treviso and the “San Carpoforo” Institute of Como.

Finally, I thank all those that in this period have sent Easter greeting messages. I return them from my heart invoking for each one and for every family the grace of the Risen Lord. Have a good Sunday and do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!

[Original Text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

“Meet a Migrant” and spread the Easter spirit – Cardinal Tagle

Easter message by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis

 

My family began with the migration of a child. My maternal grandfather was born in China. His mother was very poor so she sent her son with a relative who travelled to the Philippines – and that’s where I was born and grew up.

Migration is a chance for people to bloom as human beings. It is a chance for them to create a better life for themselves and future generations. Even though destructive forces such as war and poverty disrupt human and family life, migration shows us the nobility of the human spirit. Like Christ on his journey to the cross, migration pushes people beyond their physical and mental borders, it stretches their capacities and takes them through deserts of loneliness and rejection. But people bear this journey of sacrifice for a noble cause.

Cardinal Tagle as a baby and his grandfather. Photo from personal collection

We mustn’t forget that people have the right to migrate and choose the place where they feel they can flourish. But they also have a right not to migrate and live a dignified life at home. Many people would like to stay in their countries and villages where they were born, as I’m sure my grandfather wanted to, but when your homeland is torn apart by war or quite simply can’t offer you a job and a stable life you find yourself making the hardest of choices.

If there is one blessing to being called to the presidency of Caritas Internationalis it is to meet with refugees and migrants, especially those in detention. It has brought into sharp focus the suffering that human beings can inflict on each other. Wars and hatred have become systemic in some parts of the world,  destroying human lives and communities.

Those who migrate show us in “living colour” the consequences of hatred and division and bias and prejudice. We must never forget the inalienable dignity and worth of each of these people. We are called to promote the common good of our global human family, not just the good of our own families or countries. Migrants are living reminders to be stewards of creation and to change unjust systems as many of them are victims of climate change or poverty caused when the Earth’s resources aren’t shared equitably.

In migrants we also have the opportunity to marvel at the beauty of the person and explore the depths of love and of caring that people such as Caritas volunteers and also communities are capable of. No sorrow, no pain, no tiredness, no weariness can totally remove from the human heart generosity, compassion and nobility.

Meeting migrants in all their difficulties, and hearing about their hopes and dreams, has caused me to ask myself what’s really important to me. Things I used to consider essential now pale in comparison to the values of human dignity, life, family, the future and the next generations.  I hope the global migration and refugee situation might lead the whole world in a corporate examination of consciousness and also of our value systems.

We understand that each country goes through its own pains and its own struggles. There is the temptation to say “Why should we respond to the needs of these people when we have our own needs to address?” People may say, “charity begins at home” but we need to remind them that it shouldn’t end at home. We can expand ‘home’.   Continue reading

Ekstraktib | Music and Arts Fair on E-Scrap

Where are your old phones? Do they go back to the mountains, whence they came? Do we reuse the minerals that may have displaced communities in order to be obtained?

Tell us your E-Scrap story.

Ekstraktib, derived from the English word extractive, means something that is capable or tending toward withdrawal of natural resources by extraction.
The Ekstraktib Music and Arts Fair is a part of the relaunching of End Up Better Campaign: An Advocacy for E-scrap and Metals Recycling by the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) as an ALTERNATIVE TO MINING.

Through a music and arts fair, the campaign hopes to arouse public consciousness on the importance of recycling minerals from e_scrap materials to ease the burden of extraction from forests and mountains.

It also hopes to raise awareness of the undisclosed environmental and human effects of modern and competetive electronic production that leads to an even more massive mineral extraction to meet the demands of the market.

It also aims to promote the idea of being a responsible consumer by popularizing the idea of “Sapat Dapat,” or sustainable lifestyle as means to help save the environment from too much mineral extraction and waste production.

The campaign initiated a study conducted by UP Diliman College of Mass Communication Professor Eulalio R. Guieb III on the viability of metal recycling from cellular phones. The study confirmed that given specific design, precious metals from cellular phones may be mined or recycled. It also noted the potential of mining metals from electronics and electrical equipment (EEE) may produce significant volume that would come close to the volume of metals produced through mining. The study was funded and initiated by PMPI.

This initiative will target mostly urban communities in Metro Manila and other key cities in the Philippines where e-waste issues are most prevalent.

The fair will be highlighting activities promoting e-scrap recycling and management. It also aims to facilitate understanding of environment and social impacts of e-wastes through art and creativity. Rap battles, poetry readings, and musical performances will showcase rhymes, poems, verses, songs, and musical pieces that push for environmental causes.

Kids will also be invited to join a poster-making contest, while an arts booth welcomes anyone who’s willing to share their take on the issue while showing their artistic talents.

Key features of the event include Fair of Ideas, where several testimonies and talks will be shared, coming from communities from all walks of life that are involved and affected by this issue. An exhibit will showcase ideas, data, and informative tidbits through creative infographics and artworks.

The activity will be held in an open area, where people are very much welcome to visit and spare few moments of their time to enjoy and learn at the same time.
More importantly, the event aims to be a venue of connection among communities who are passionate about issues on e-waste and of our environment.

INVITATION LETTER

17 April 2017

Dear Partners,

Warm greetings of peace!

In line with our advocacy against mining in the country, the Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) will be relaunching its E-scrap campaign through an interactive music and arts fair a, day before the Earth Day Celebration.

Through this activity, we hope to create public awareness to the communities the undisclosed environmental and human cost of producing innovative electronics. Alongside this, it also aims to promote the idea of being a responsible consumer by popularizing the idea of “Sapat Dapat’” lifestyle as a means to help save the environment from too much mineral extraction and waste production.

It is within this context that we write to you.

We would like to invite you to our “EKSTRaktib” Music and Arts Fair on April 21, 2017. Key features of the event include a Fair of Ideas (FOI) where several testimonies and talks from representatives of different organizations pushing towards environmental consciousness will be shared. The FOI will be held at the Audio Visual Room (AVR) of Malate Church from 1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.

A music fair will also follow at the Church Grounds where musical performances and rap battles will take place from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Through the use of artistry and creativity, the fair aims to help raise consciousness the importance of E-scrap/Ewaste recycling and the growing issues of the environment. We will be having photo exhibit, as well, showing the same theme.

A poster-making contest will be hosted for the youth in the morning.

You may contact Jen Moling at 09228501875 or Joy Quito at 09195097297 for further details. You may also look into the other attachments for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the event. Thank you very much!

Sincerely yours,

Jeanette Moling
PMPI AMC Project Officer

Noted:

Yolanda R. Esguerra
PMPI National Coordinator

The Beauty and Riches of Benham Rise: Kamayan para sa Kalikasan Forum

Dear Friends:

Benham Rise is one of the most exciting things that have happened in our country recently.  Imagine, an area approximately the size of Luzon added to our territory!  it is supposed to be rich in oil and natural gas but again,  as if  the Lord is teasing us, it is also rich in marine biological resources!  What to prioritize?

To listen and to see a video on the fantastic beauty of Benham Rise,  please  come to

Kamayan para sa Kalikasan Forum with the theme
“The Beauty and Riches of Benham Rise”
on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10:30 am-1:30pm
at  Kamayan Restaurant on EDSA ( near Ortigas Ave., across the gate of Corinthian Gardens subdivision).

Our partner for this session is Oceana Philippines.  Oceana is a non-profit international organization dedicated  solely to protecting the oceans. it has offices in several countries among which is the Philppines.

Speakers  will be  Jimley Flores, Senior Marine Scientist, Marianne Saniano, Marine scientist, and   Gregg Yan, Director of Communications 

This Kamayan is organized every third Friday of the month  by Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy together with SALIKA.

We thank Kamayan Restaurant which has been supporting this Forum as part  of the company’s environmental advocacy for the past 25 years.

Thank you.

God bless,

Angelina P. Galang
President
Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy
Environment and Sustainable Economy

Special Edition on the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles

Focus Web  17 April 2017

To mark the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles, Focus on the Global South releases this special edition that puts together articles on issues that small farmers and peasants continue to face.  These pieces also highlight the different forms of resistance that farmers and peasants put up amidst these challenges.

Mary Ann Manahan of Focus-Philippines remembers the hard work of her grandfather, a small farmer who eked out a living from his small farm of coffee and fruit, and died with hardly anything to pass on to his family but his small plot and his pride for being a farmer. Ms Manahan would realize the bigger context of her grandfather’s hardships as she grows up, studies, and becomes involved in the agrarian reform struggle in the Philippines.

Continue reading

The Children are the First to Die

Agony: Abdul was pictured cradling the bodies of his dead twins after they were killed | Daily Mail photo

Father Shay Cullen
06 April 2017

The children of Khan Sheikhoun were the first to suffer as the suspected nerve gas sarin, a deadly, fast-killing agent, caused the children to suffocate their damaged lungs caused racking pain.  As they tried to breath with damaged lungs, they started to foam at the mouth. Twenty died horrible deaths at the last count, there may be more. By last Wednesday April 5 at least 72 people had died and over a hundred more people are struggling for life in makeshift clinics. One clinic treating the victims of the sarin attack was targeted and hit by a Syrian rocket.

Such barbaric war crimes are revolting and cry out for justice. But where are the countries with any moral values that will try and investigate and gather the evidence and bring Assad or the Russian military that are propping up his cruel torturing regime to justice? Will any one arm the rebels with weapons to defeat the death-dealing helicopters that are dropping the sarin gas on civilians?

The human suffering as a result of the chemical warfare waged by the brutal regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is indeed a heinous crime against the people of Syria. He has crossed the American red line laid down by President Obama some years ago. In 2013, the Syrian regime used sarin gas and killed more than 1,300 civilians, men, women and children.

Assad and the Russians brokered a deal to avoid the US entering the war against him by surrendering what was supposed to be all his horrible chemical weapons. It is clear that he has used chlorine bombs dropped from helicopters 24 times on civilians for several years and since 2013 has on two occasions dropped sarin gas bombs on the civilians. The last sarin attack in December 2016 killed 93 people in eastern Hama and now this latest attack in Idlib. The world is just accepting this as normal and takes no actions but just condemns the attacks. He will pay no penalty now, no red line, and why is that?

Assad must be brought to justice and not be supported, aided and abetted by Iran and Russia in the crimes of his vicious military. They have denied any responsibility and blamed the rebels in Idlib for having sarin gas on hand. In other words, they gassed themselves, Assad says. Experts say that this is highly unlikely.

Assad has been described as a war criminal and he has once again crossed the US red line against the use of chemical weapons drawn by President Barak Obama in 2013 when more than 1,300 civilians were killed by a sarin gas attack in this hate-filled civil war. The war is now six year old and millions of people have fled the country. There are twenty-thousand or more dead and at least five million displaced. Once developed cities have been reduced to crumbling ruins due to the relentless air strikes by Syrian government warplanes backed by Russian military power. They have wrecked havoc and killed hundreds of civilians.

It was the threat of US intervention by Obama that caused Assad to surrender his chemical weapons, but did he give up all of them? It’s clear he kept back some sarin and had lots of chlorine. President Trump blames Obama for not enforcing the red line so will Trump do so now? Will he challenge what he called a “heinous” crime by Assad and his Russian backers?

Will he make America great again and take a moral stand against the war criminal and order a punitive rocket attack perhaps on Assad’s palace in Damascus? Will he arm the US backed-rebels with ground-to-air shoulder-fired missiles to take out the bomb dropping helicopters? It’s highly unlikely.

That’s what the US did in the rebel war against the occupying Russians in Afghanistan and the rebels shot the war planes and helicopters out of sky and defeated the Russian army. Without air power, the Syrian army and the Russians have no chance of beating the highly motivated Syrian rebels.   Continue reading

​Calvary of the poor

“Uphold democracy, our human rights”

In observance of the Holy Week, 3,000 strong- protesters took to penitence their “sorrows” on the status of human rights in the country.

The urban poor community members of the Community Organizers Multiversity (COM) trooped to Plaza Miranda on Holy Tuesday morning, April 11, and walked all the way to Mendiola bearing seven large crosses.

The crosses presented issues that heavily affect the urban poor areas: Extra-judicial killings and death penalty; lowering of minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 down to 9; non-movement on the issue of housing and other basic services; spread of wrong and malicious information; climate change issues being used on eviction of informal settlers; the culture of fear and the lack of respect for women’s rights; the oppression and the double-standard observance of democracy, where the poor’s space is diminishing.

The activity is dubbed as Calvary of Urban Poor Communities or Kalbaryo ng mga Maralitang Taga-Lungsod

A short play version of the Passion of Christ featuring the victims of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings was presented where the group reiterated their calls. This was followed by a mass led by Manila Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo and running priest, Fr. Robert Reyes.

Calvary Hill of the poor

In a statement shared by COM, the group expressed their distress on the slow investigation on killings perpetrated both by the police force and by vigilante assailants, where the most common victims are the poor accused as drug offender.

“All of them who died, guilty or not, have the right to defend themselves in court. But that may never come. Most of them are rotting in morgues. Where is the justice?” Luz Domingo, COM Community Organizer and rights activist.

She shared that this Holy Week is one of the most painful for the urban poor who lost their families.

“Those who are spreading malicious information that even as accused and not proven, these victims deserved their deaths equally have to answer the law. They are spreading not just wrong information but hatred and discrimination,” Domingo added.

Bishop Pabillo encouraged all to observe what Jesus has done during the Lenten Season.

“We must as we preach practice compassion, love, and mercy. Let’s not be Judas Iscariot who condemned Christ, his brother, to the centurions and the Pharisees, the Sadducees. As we implement the law, let us as well promote justice and uphold human rights of each,” Bishop Pabillo said.

Each community leader and cross-bearer share a piece for the crosses they carried: for EJK to end and to stop the reinstatement of Death Penalty; to provide help and guidance instead of prison for the children in conflict with the law; to prioritize proper housing and relocation for the urban poor and fisherfolks; to uphold the human rights of the poor amid culture of discrimination; to advocate for a pro-poor climate change solutions; to respect the rights of women; and to protect the democracy and equal participation of the poor and the vulnerable.

COM urban poor areas who participated include communities from BASECO Compound, Isla Puting Bato in Tondo, Barangay Tatalon, ULAP-QC & Manila, Montalban Action Group, Montalban Resettlement, Taytay Floodway: Bagong Pagasa HOA, Exodus HOA, Maharlika HOA, Taytay Arenda, APOLA, and Alyansa ng mga Pederasyong Kumikilos sa Lawa ng Laguna.

Assembly of Metro Manila Laiko Leaders Focused on Basic Ecclesial Community

The Regional Assembly of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas leaders this April discussed the Year of the Parish theme: Forming Basic Ecclesial Communities as Agents sof Communion, Participation and Mission. Held at the Poveda Learning Center Gymnasium on 8 April 2017 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, the event was attended by around 50 leaders from national lay organizations and diocesan councils of the laity based in Metro Manila. Bp. Broderick Pabillo opened the conference with an introduction to the seven pillars of the Basic Ecclesial Communities. These are:

  1. Kamalayan bilang nagpanibagong Kristiyano (metanoia)
  2. Komunyon o Pagkakaisa (koinonia)
  3. Salita ng Diyos (kerygma, catechesis)
  4. Panalangin at Eukaristiya (leiturgia)
  5. Gawaing Pang kapwa / Lipunan (diakonia)
  6. Pangangalaga sa mga dukha (anawim), and
  7. Pinunong Lingkod at Kasaping Nakikilahok

Bishop Pabillo emphasized that BEC is more than just an activity or a ministry. It is a culture, a way of life, a shared belief, and relationship.

Guest speaker for the occasion is Msgr. Emmanuel Gabriel, who made a presentation on the call to communion. He discussed the context of Basic Ecclesial Community as a call to mission within the church. There are several levels of being called to participate in the mission of Jesus Christ. The BEC is the call-to-mission of families or households, he said, for us to share in the priestly, kingly and prophetic mission of the Church. It is a means for every Christian home to sense its belongingness to the Church.

The LAIKO leaders’ assembly is held every month to tackle current issues that impact on the moral and spiritual welfare of the Catholic laity.