Editor’s note: Josephine Darang is in the hospital, but religious organizations and her readers continue to send announcements and dispatches to her. Sunday Lifestyle is publishing them in behalf of her well-read column Purely Personal.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is against the return of the death penalty.
Fr. Jerome R. Secillano, executive secretary of CBCP Episcopal Commision on Public Affairs (ECPA), told a Senate committee that capital punishment is not a deterrent to crime.
“Crime prevention is not about killing criminals,” he explained, “it’s about having an effective police force that will protect the citizenry and apprehend those who would inflict harm on the same; it’s about having uncorrupt court personnel who will punish the guilty and set the innocent free and not the other way around because of money; and it’s all about having a disciplined Bureau of Corrections that is committed to reforming those imprisoned and not to babysitting them!”
Evils of human trafficking
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villeges, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), called on Christians that they are called to fight human trafficking.
In a recent pastoral letter, Villegas called on Christians so that “those who have fallen into the traffickers’ trap are set free and are able to come home and resume their normal lives with their families, friends, and community”.
“As serious a duty this is of individual Christians, even more serious is it the duty of the State and society,” said Villegas.
“Christians exert every effort to free human traffickers from the motives and attractions of their illicit trade and to draw them back to genuinely good and beneficial pursuits,” the prelate added.
“To drown evil in an abundance of good, and convert the wrongdoer into a source of good is the ultimate triumph we should aim for in this fight,” he shares.
Marian devotion upheld
The Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All-Grace (CMMG) held a spiritual recollection at the Manila Cathedral as a spiritual preparation for the papal visit.
Fr. Melvin Castro, Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All-Grace (CMMG) director general and founder, urged Catholics not to be ashamed of their Marian devotion.
“Let us not be ashamed of or let’s not doubt our devotion to the Blessed Virgin,” he said. “That is the work of God, that is His action, that is His wish…that everything flows through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin,” said Fr. Melvin Castro during the “To Jesus through Mary: The Journey from Misery and Sin to Mercy and Grace.”
Quoting St. Louis de Montfort, a saint known for his devotion to Mary, the priest said, “Everything will go back to Christ also through the mediation of this woman.”
Castro, who is also executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission of Family and Life, said Mary herself is a model of holiness for the laity for her closeness to Christ.
“Do we now know better than God? And we will say that we do not need the Blessed Mother? And we will say, ‘I’ll just go directly [to God]’? That is not how God acted,” the priest added.
“We can be sure that if there is true devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the Lord is there,” he said in closing.
Colorful versions of the “Belen” or the Nativity scene EW on display on the third floor of the Museo ng Arkidiyosesis ng Maynila in 121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros, Manila.
Dubbed “Halina sa Sabsaban,” the exhibit consists of “Belen” versions from the private collection of Fr. Genaro O. Diwa of the Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM)’s Commission on Liturgy.
Admission is free.
Belen, which comes from the Spanish word for “Betlehem,” is a sacred diorama depicting the Nativity scene.
It is said to be St. Francis of Assisi who started the practice in the 13th century of presenting the Nativity scene during Christmas in Franciscan churches.
New Dominican priests
During the Solemn Feast of All the Saints of the Order of Preachers recently, three brothers of the Dominican Province of the Philippines were ordained to the priesthood by Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco at Santo Domingo Church, Quezon City.
The newly ordained brothers were Noel Kristoffer Castor (from Centro Norte, Pandan Antique), Ramiro de Belen (Caloocan City) and John Stephen Besa (San Mateo, Rizal).
Bishop Ongtioco challenged to the newly ordained Dominican priests to become good and faithful witnesses to their community and to the people of God.
Former Ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta Tambunting de Villa was conferred a Doctor of Humanities degree, honoris causa, by the Collegio de San Juan de Letran in Calamba recently.
It was the first time that an honorary doctorate was given by the prestigious Dominican educational institution in Laguna province.
De Villa is national chair of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and National President of the Mother Butler Guild (MBG).
Leading the conferment were Fr. Gerard Francisco P. Timoner, III, OP, the prior provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines and chair of Letran board of trustees and recently appointed by Pope Francis to the International Theological Commission; Fr. Honorato C. Castigador, OP, Letran Calamba rector and resident; and Emmylou B. Yangga, Region IV-A director of the Commission on Higher Education.
Witnessing the ceremony was Vicente de Villa Jr., the honoree’s husband.
In her address of acceptance, De Villa expressed her gratitude and presented to Letran Calamba an image of San Pedro Calungsod as a token of her appreciation.