At least 1, 600 Filipinos, mostly members and cooperators of Opus Dei, are expected to leave Sept. 22 for Madrid, Spain, to attend the beatification of Venerable Bishop Alvaro del Portillo on Sept. 27.
Portillo succeeded Msgr. Josemaria Escriva when the latter died on June 26, 1975 from heart attack. Portillo became the first bishop of the Opus Dei Prelature when it was established in 1982 with the approval of Pope John Paul II.
Ongoing at the University of Asia & the Pacific until Sept. 30 is a multimedia exhibit on the life and virtues of Del Portillo. Presented at Hans Seidel Hall, the exhibit is based on the biography of Del Portillo by Salvador Bernal (not the Philippine National Artist).
The people of Sto. Tomas, Batangas will celebrate the feast of St. Padre Pio on Sept. 23 with a Concelebated Mass at 9 a.m. at the St. Padre Pio Shrine and Parish with Cardinal Emeritus Gaudencio Rosales as main celebrant.
Concelebrants are Lipa Arcbishop Ramon Arguelles, Bishop Salvador Quizon and Fr. Jojo Gonda, parish priest, together with guest-bishops and the clergy.
Hermana mayor is Yolinda Gonda Balmes.
The Parish of St. Padre Pio in San Pedro, Santo Tomas, Batangas was initially established as the chapel of Barangay San Pedro by Rosales when he was archbishop of Lipa.
In 2003, current Lipa Archbishop Arguelles declared the church, just a humble affair of nipa and wood, as the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. Fr. Joselin C. Gonda was appointed parish priest and shrine rector on Sept. 27, 2009.
Since then, the main church building, Blessed Sacrament Chapel, Chapel of the Saints, belfry, parish rectory, the Sanctuary of the True Cross of Christ have been constructed.
In 2010, the shrine received two special relics of Padre Pio from Fr. Ermelindo Di Capua, OFM, Cap., a Capuchin priest who had served the saint when the latter was still alive. These have become a focus of devotion among the faithful. In the same year, it was declared as one of the pilgrimage churches of the Archdiocese of Lipa during its Centennial Year.
People go to the Padre Pio Shrine to participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and celebrate the other sacraments and sacramentals.
On a deeper personal level, they go there to pray and encounter God, reflect His Word, and beseech Him for blessings through the intercession of Padre Pio. Many people have attested they have received blessings and healing through fervent prayers and devotion to the miraculous saint.
Caring Hands turns 19
Caring Hands Foundation, headed by Stella “Babot” Oretaas pas resident and Sixto Antonio as chair, turned 19 years old last Sept. 3, with a Thanksgiving Mass by Fr. Cecil Datar, its spiritual director.
The foundation had been trying to address the needs of priests in poor parishes in selected dioceses. It also provides livelihood assistance to poor parishes and communities.
For the people of the Diocese of Gumaca, Quezon, for example, fishing boats were provided to fishermen through small loans.
Oreta told me that Caring Hands has done medical missions in the Annunciation Parish in Bacon, Sorsogon, and in the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Sorsogon City. It has also helped priests higher ecclesiastical studies at UST.
The Confraternity of Our Lady of All Nations is inviting Marian devotees to A Day of Prayer at the Holy Family Chapel in VirraMall, Greenhills on Sept. 25, 4 p.m.
The session will consist of the recitation of the Holy Rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament; Marian talk at 5:50 p.m.; and Mass at 6:30 p.m.
Main celebrant is Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo.
Helping in organizing the event is Center for Peace of Asia, Bahay Maria.
Call 5311314, 8904539, 0905-3423999.
Bishop Verzosa musical
The play dates of the Bishop Alfredo Verzosa musical in theaters are as follows: Sept 22, 10 a.m. and 2 and 6 p.m. Tanghalang Pasigueño, Pasig City; Oct. 10, 1 and 5 p.m., Quezon Convention Center, Lucena City; Nov. 28, Batangas Sports Coliseum, Batangas City; Dec. 10, 2 and 6 p.m., Yñares Stadium, Pasig City.