Manila Joins People’s Climate March
Beat the heat, Cool the Planet!
On April 29 churchgoers and parishioners of Our Lady of Remedies Parish/Malate Catholic Church joined the supporters and members of different environmental groups in a People’s Climate March, dubbed “Beat the Heat, Cool the Planet”. Starting with a Holy Mass in Malate Church, the event culminated with a cultural presentation in Malate Church grounds.
The Global Catholic Climate Movement Pilipinas (GCCM-Pilipinas), led by its National Coordinator John Din, spearheaded the People’s Climate March, together with the multi-sectoral Ecological Justice and Interfaith Movement (Eco-JIM), to raise awareness and highlight issues on climate change, human rights and the current and possible impacts of the policies of the Trump Administration. Given the United States’ global role, any negative shift in its climate policy could have deleterious effects around the world.
The People’s Climate March in Manila was in solidarity with the 'Peoples Climate Movement', where over 200,000 people gathered in the streets of Washington D.C. and thousands more from across the US to show a united front for jobs, justice and climate action. April 29th is the 100th Day of the Trump administration and the US President has already issued an executive order nullifying climate change policies issued by the previous administration, and has directed to start legal proceedings in withdrawing and rewriting the Clean Power Plan of the US.
Fr. John Leydon, convenor of the GCCM-Pilipinas, said Trump’s regressive climate policies could severely affect the people of the earth, and his view could be reversed if people could make him understand the global effects of his climate policies. (see http://www.ucanews.com/news/filipinos-rally-against-shift-in-us-climate-policies/79088)
Present were members from faith based groups/institutions, climate justice organizations, human rights advocates and affected communities, such as Eco-Waste Coalition, Alyansa Tigil Mina, Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development, 350 Pilipinas, WWF Pilipinas, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Sanlakas, and Zone One Tondo, among others. Several artists also rendered songs that spoke about the plight of our endangered earth. One of the highlights of the program was a video message from Gina Lopez, the embattled secretary of the Department of Natural Resources who is a staunch supporter and activist for the environment.
At least 70 volunteers, parishioners and some priests of Malate assembled as early as 3:30AM in Malate Church on February 18 to join the Walk for Life at the Quirino Grandstand Parade Grounds. Organized by the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas under the CBCP Episcopal Commission of the Lay Apostolate, the event became a most welcome and longed for opportunity for the lay faithful to express their stand and commitment to the promotion of human life.
The Malate delegation, carrying flaglets bearing messages about the sacredness of life of each individual, the need to respect human rights, as well as the preservation of the environment, joined thousands of like-minded and like-hearted people who uphold life and denounce the culture of death which is evident in the spate of extrajudicial killings, incidences of abortion, and the proposed revival of the death penalty.
The highlight of the Walk for Life was the communal recitation of the Holy Rosary while the thousands of participants from various lay organizations and dioceses with their “pro-life” banners walked around the Quirino Grandstand. Members of the clergy and some religious groups also joined the walk.
The participants received a much needed boost and encouragement to stand up for life from our Church leaders as Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, and Bishop Valentin Dimoc took turns to speak to their flock at the assembly.
New Backdrop for Our Lady
The image of Our Lady of Remedies has a new backdrop in shades of blue, thereby creating the impression of our Lady adorned simply by her crown of twelve stars floating against a clear night sky and warmly welcoming the pilgrims and devotees from the doorsteps of Malate Church and guiding them all the way to the beautiful altar. The backdrop is a work of art created by multi-awarded artist Ambie Abaño, who meticulously painted till the wee hours to finish the backdrop in time for the Kasalang Bayan, one of the activities leading to the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Remedies on November 20. Well-known for printmaking and mixed media art, Ms. Abaño is an architect turned visual artist and a professor at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. Ms. Abaño has been awarded study grants in Europe and has held several successful art exhibits in the metropolis. Generous of her time and talent, she has also volunteered to conduct art workshops for church volunteers, the first of which was successfully held in June 2016 during the Laudato Si Week.
Parish Community Celebrates Fiesta!
In a generous outpouring of love and devotion, the Malate Community joyfully celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Remedies with varied activities to honor its Patroness. The theme for this year is “Maria at Pamilyang Pilipino, Mga Misyonero ng Eukaristiya sa Taon ng Awa” since 2016 is the Year of the Family and the Eucharist in the CBCP calendar and coincides with the Jubilee Year of Mercy as declared by Pope Francis.
The traditional Dalaw ni Maria kicked off the fiesta preparations. The image of Our Lady was brought to various institutions and barangays starting October 10 and ended before the start of the nine-day novena masses on November 11 until November 18. All the visits (Dalaw), which reached even the Greenbelt Chapel, were well-received by the institutions as well as barangays covered by Malate Church. Many parish volunteers and community members accompanied Our Lady during these visits.
The Novena Masses, under different sub-themes, were celebrated by guest priests from the parishes under the Vicariate of Nuestra Señora de Guia, and joined by Fr. Leo Distor and Fr. Dan O’Malley of Malate Church. Barangay Chairpersons of the eleven barangays of the Malate Parish Community and their constituents attended the nine days of novena masses and generously presented their gifts for the poor during their assigned days.
On the feast day itself, the Fiesta High Mass was celebrated by Msgr. Clem Ignacio of – with a Parangal Kay Maria led by the Malate Church Choir. A communal praying of the Holy Rosary and Sayawan sa Patio preceded a well-attended procession. The beautiful enthronement of Our Lady, led by the Denofra Family, culminated the Fiesta Season. These liturgical activities were well-prepared by the Worship Coordinator Cori Nebreja and the pointpersons Jeannie Villanueva (Dalaw), Ferdie Macato (procession), Gayline Manalang (Novena Masses), Cita Aure (Fiesta High Mass), Genny Baltazar (Vestments), Emma de Paula (Communal Rosary prayer), Gary Borlas (Parangal) and Nono Arevalo (Enthronement).
The liturgical fiesta activities also included the Confirmation of more than 300 children of the Aurora Quezon Elementary School led by their catechist Grace --. The confirmation rite was officiated by Msgr. – assisted by Fr. Leo Distor. Baptism rites were also held for many babies during the fiesta day. Ampie Marzan of the Ministry of Greeters and Collectors led her members in ensuring a smooth and orderly proceedings for the hundreds of people who were in church during the ceremonies.
Special events such as the Kasalang Bayan and Harana kay Maria marked the fiesta celebration this year. On November 11, seventeen couples from the parish community were wed in a solemn marriage rite. (See related article) During the Harana Kay Maria held on November 18, the Church was filled with beautiful music rendered by the Malate Catholic School Grade School and High School Glee Clubs under the baton of ---, the St. Paul – led by Sister Anunciata, the UP Manila Chorale under their -- --, and the Malate Church Choir under Chris Añago. A special number was rendered by --- . Parishioners enjoyed the Marian Concert. PPC officers of the St. Vincent de Paul Parish and Nuestra Señora de Guia, namely Babes Dagandara and Cora delos Reyes were seen among the guests. Special Committee chair was Nono Arevalo, together with his pointpersons Emma de Paula and Norma Lloren (Kasalang Bayan), Gary Borlas (Harana) and Manuel Soriao (Sayawan sa Patio) worked hard for these events, together with their groups Legion of Mary, Choir, and Parish Youth members.
The volunteers of Malate Church joined hands with our parish staff and priests led by Fr. Leo Distor to make the fiesta celebration a success. Behind the scenes, Royce Chua, chairperson of Logistics and Finance Committee, worked with Gloria Ojo to meet the food requirements in all the events, while the documentation, social media, and photography needs for all the fiesta activities were provided by Gigi Arevalo, Jenny Crespo, Ramil Espina, Frankie Adame, Andrew Mayang, Sherwin Layoso, led by Czarina Pascual and Mel Bacani, head of Team Website and Malate Production Team, respectively.
All of these happy events were made possible by the strong support of the Barangay officers and the Parish community as well as the officers and members of the different Ministries, Areas and Organizations (MAOs). The Parish Pastoral Council extends its heartfelt gratitude to everyone who made this year’s Fiesta a joyful occasion!
A Columban Centennial
100 Years of Fidelity to Mission
By Fr. Sean Coyle
One hundred years ago on 10 October, the Bishops of Ireland gave their blessing to a new venture known as the Maynooth Mission to China. On 29 June 1918, this venture became the Society of St. Columban, in the Diocese of Galway, Ireland. The Missionary Society of St Columban, as it is now known, is already preparing to celebrate its Centennial in 2018.
So it was on 29 June 1918 when the Society was ‘baptized’. It had been ‘conceived’ in China between 1912 and 1916 when Fr. Edward Galvin, ordained in 1909, and three or four other Irish diocesan priests working there saw the need for a mission of the Irish Church to China. It was ‘born’ on 10 October 1916 when the Irish bishops, approached by Fr. Galvin and Fr. John Blowick, ordained in 1913 and already a young professor at St Patrick’s, Maynooth, the national seminary for Ireland, gave their assent to the ‘Maynooth Mission to China’.
In Easter Week 1916, an uprising against British rule in Ireland took place, mainly in Dublin. The country was still part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and Irish regiments of the British Army were fighting in the Great War (1914-18), mainly in Belgium and France. Nearly 30,000 of them died during that conflict. There was widespread extreme poverty in Ireland, particularly in the cities. 1916 did not seem a good time to start such a foolhardy venture as sending Irish priests to preach the Gospel in China, a country very few Irish people knew anything about.
But the Irish bishops said ‘Yes’ to the Maynooth Mission to China. And the people supported it, as they have continued to do down the years. Fr. Blowick once said that the pennies of the poor were more important than the pounds of the rich. But he welcomed both.
The vision of a mission of the Irish Church to China broadened to a more international one. After the Society of St. Columban was set up – all the founding members were Irish diocesan priests and seminarians – priests were sent to the USA and Australia to establish roots there, especially among the large Irish diaspora. Irish-American Archbishop Jeremiah Harty of Omaha, Nebraska, USA, invited the Society to set up shop there. He had been Archbishop of Manila (1903 – 1916), the first non-Spaniard to hold that position.
The first group of Columban priests went to China in 1920.
Growth of the Society
In response to an urgent appeal by Archbishop Harty’s successor in Manila, Irishman Michael O’Doherty, the Columbans took over Malate Parish in 1929. By the 1970s, around 260 Columbans were working in Luzon, Negros and Mindanao. All the parishes they staffed and opened, except Malate, are now served by diocesan priests and the number of Columban priests in the Philippines is around 30.
Over the years, the Columbans have taken on missions in Korea, Burma (now Myanmar), Japan, Chile, Peru, Fiji, Pakistan and Taiwan. They have had missions also in Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Guatemala and Jamaica.
Most of the younger Columban priests are from countries the older men had gone to from the West. Fr Leo Distor, the first Filipino Columban parish priest of Malate, is a symbol of the changing face of the Society. After serving in Korea, he spent many years in Chicago and in Quezon City in the formation of future Columban priests from Asia, the Pacific, and South America.
This year, there are Columban seminarians from China, Fiji, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Tonga in the formation house in Cubao, Quezon City and on the two-year First Mission Assignment (FMA) overseas. The Filipinos include Louie Ybañez of Holy Rosary Parish, Agusan, Cagayan de Oro City, a former Columban parish, recently returned from his FMA in Pakistan, and Erl Dylan Tabaco from the same parish as Louie, and Emmanuel Trocino from Pulupandan, Negros Occidental, back from FMA in Peru.
The young Fr. Edward Galvin (1882-1956), later Bishop of Nancheng, China, and the young Fr. John Blowick (1888-1972), not to mention the Irish bishops in 1916, could not have foreseen how the Maynooth Mission to China would evolve from being a purely Irish venture into the international Society it is today with Priest Associates from dioceses in Ireland, Korea, Myanmar and the Solomon Islands, and Lay Missionaries from Chile, Fiji, Ireland, Korea, Philippines and Tonga currently involved in its mission.
Thank God for the birth of the Maynooth Mission to China on 10 October 1916!
The birthplace of Maynooth Mission to China. Retrieved from
Our Lady of Remedies Parish Sponsors Community Wedding
Seventeen couples were united in Holy Matrimony held on November 11, 2016 in Malate Catholic Church. The solemn wedding ceremony was concelebrated by Fr. Leo Distor and Fr. Kevin McHugh. Sponsored by the Church to encourage and strengthen family life in its community, the special wedding is one of the special events prepared by the Parish Pastoral Council leading to the feast of our Lady of Remedies on November 20, 2016. The parish Legion of Mary (3 praesidia), led by Emma de Paula and Norma Lloren, diligently scouted and encouraged couples to be blessed by the Sacrament of Marriage.
The wedding reception was beautifully prepared at the Function Hall located at the third floor of the Remedios Jubilee Mission Center, with asumptuous meal prepared by Vickoy's Catering. During the lively program hosted by Emma de Paula, the couples shared a glass of wine and a piece of delectable cake generously provided by the Aristocrat Bakeshop. The Parish also gifted the couples with individual wedding cakes specially ordered from Aristocrat Bakeshop.
The Special Events chairperson for this Fiesta activity is Nono Arevalo, coordinator of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC).
Volunteers Enjoyed Church Cleaning
In preparation for the upcoming Fiesta, some seventy volunteers from our Ministries, Areas, and Organizations and parish community, church sacristans, and Escuela Taller crew joined hands in the cleaning of the Malate Church last November 7. Starting promptly at 8 o’clock in the morning, the group, led by Fr. Leo Distor and Vic Dela Cruz of Temporalities Ministry, started work armed with their brooms, rugs, cleaning detergents, mops, and specially their energy and enthusiasm for this activity. It was a heartwarming view of the people taking on the cleaning of the entire church, with some of them singing and dancing while mopping the floors or wiping each and every pew in earnest. Fr. Leo took some rugs and helped in the cleaning, while documenting the event. Our Sacristans scrubbed and polished the church tiles while some Escuella Taller crew helped in cleaning the dome and ceiling of the church. The Adoration Chapel was also spruced up and the wide church patio was swept clean. Interrupted only by a simple but enjoyable lunch, the cleaning of the church ended at around 3pm with everyone having a nice, fulfilling feeling of having accomplished a task and an enhancedsense of belonging to the church, their second home.
A First for the Parish: The InterFaith Forum on “Laudato Si and the Interfaith Climate Change Movement”
By Fr. Kurt Pala, MSSC
The Our Lady of Remedies Parish hosted an interfaith forum on “Laudato Si and the Interfaith Climate Change” last June 11, 2016 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at the 3rd Floor of the Remedios Jubilee Mission Center (RJMC) as a kick-off activity of the parish’s Laudato Si Week celebration and to support the Sacred Earth Sacred Trust celebrations on June 12.
This is the first inter-faith gathering in the Parish and the event was made even more significant by the presence and active participation of the heads of the various religions.
The opening prayer was led by Malate Church Choir singing “St. Francis Prayer Hymn.” Fr. Leo Distor, the Our Lady of Remedies parish priest welcomed everyone to the forum. A clip on the Sacred Earth -Sacred Trust global campaign was shown to the group. Fr. John Leydon, a co-convenor of the Global Catholic Climate Movement presented an input on Laudato Si and the Interfaith Climate Change Movement. He then introduced the example set by one small country - Bhutan through a video clip of Bhutan’s prime minister presenting the efforts of the country to combat climate change. A special intermission number was given by some representatives of the parish youth ministry, after which the representatives of various faiths and religions were given the opportunity to respond and present their faith beliefs regarding environmental conservation and the climate change.
The Interfaith Climate Change Statement was presented to the group and in solidarity with the global movement, the faith leaders adopted and signed the same before the forum ended. A part of the statement includes the following:
“Caring for the Earth is our shared responsibility. Each one of us has a “moral responsibility to act,”as so powerfully stated by the Pope’s Encyclical and in the climate change statements by Buddhist,Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and other faith leaders. The planet has already passed safe levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Unless these levels are rapidly reduced, we risk creating irreversible impacts putting hundreds of millions of lives, of all species, at severe risk. The challenges ahead require honesty and courage and we all must take action to reduce emissions.”
The highlight of the forum was the presentation of the statement of the different faith leaders concerning the care of the earth and climate change. The leaders expressed their concern and desire to work together to address the plight of the Earth. They also shared their basic understanding and faith traditions concerning the care for the Earth. Some of them spoke about their experiences in terms of projects and programs already undertaken to address these issues. Excerpts of their statements are available in this report.
Some also recommended that follow-up activities should be done like a national gathering of leaders for a forum on climate change and possible hands-on and practical projects. Fr. Kurt Pala thanked all the guests who responded to the invitation and expressed his hope that the forum is only a beginning of a fruitful relationship to work together as a family to address climate change and protect the Earth, our common home. A song of a prayer of Pope Francis was shown to close the program.
After the forum, the participants continued to share their stories and experiences over some refreshments of Indian sweets, Chinese dumplings, and Tausug rice cakes.
The faith and religious leaders present at the forum included: Msgr. Hernando Coronel, rector of the Minor Basilica of St. John the Baptist (Black Nazarene); Fr. Leo Distor, parish priest of the Our Lady of Remedies; Imam Ebrar Moxsir, president of the Imam Council of the Philippines (Islam); Dr. Potre Dirampatan-Diampuan, Senior Representative of the United Religions Initiative (Islam); Dr. Shakuntala Vaswani, co-founder of the Peacemakers’ Circle (Hinduism); Ven. Master Miao Jing, abbess of Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple (Buddhism); Mr. Alfredo Li, CEO of Tzu Chi Foundation – Philippines (Buddhism); Mr. Bonhao Rivas, Manobo tribe leader; and Holly Celeste, National Assembly of Baha’is in the Philippines.
The gathering was attended by about 60 Malate Parish volunteers and around 60 guests from different civic and religious organizations which included the following: Quiapo Church, Sta. Cruz Parish,350.org, Khayrah Umma, Imman Council of the Philippines, Zentech Global, Habitat Humanity, Religious Discernment Group, Tzu Chi Foundation, Inc., Church People Workers Solidarity, Katribu, Columban Lay Missionaries, Great Work Movement, St. Scholastica JPIC, Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple, Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation, Inc., Silsilah Dialogue Movement, United Religions Initiative and the Al-Mufarrudin Masjid - Malate.
The faith traditions represented in the forum were Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Baha’ faith and Islam.
| The Quiapo Experience on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation
ild Resilient communities - two were identified: Baseco and Parola. According to studies, these groups are the most vulnerable and the poorest, those lacking in capacity, they are the groups that will be hit the most. That is why it is our initiative with groups in the parish like the Hijos who are members of the balangay (devotees of the Black Nazarene) to help out the members during crisis, calamity or disaster like a 7.2 earthquake particularly the poor and vulnerable.
Msgr. Hernando Coronel (Christian)
To the Hindus the whole of creation is divine. They are sacred as said also in Christianity. All living things like people, animals and plants including non-living things like rivers and mountains they are all part of our beautiful Mother Earth. They are all to be treated with respect. Each one of us must share and care for the mountains and all. We have seen the Catholic Church has taken the lead and the world is following. We have to raise our consciousness to see that this is our Earth. We breathe the same air. We have the same sunlight. And if we will misuse it or for our selfish purposes. Then ultimately it will come back to us and we will suffer. We can put it in a statement that we support the initiative of the Pope and of course we will in our community try and raise awareness. Our generation we have done so much harm and we must have a cleaner environment for our next generation to grow and also to initiate the young generation into the practical ways of saving the environment.
Dr. Shakuntala Vaswani (Hindu)
We need to realize that the environment is related to man. Man, nature and mind are actually one. We will have to practice oneness and coexistence with ourselves (body and mind), man and man and together co-exist with nature. Because man, mind and nature are actually one. Venerable Master Hsing Yun ( our founder) is willing to be the one bird that will save the forest from fire. In the scripture it is said that a bird was trying to put out a fire by going to the river and bring back a mouthful of water to put out the fire. Then the heavenly King asked the bird, “Why it is doing it.? The effort is very minimal or little and could kill yourself flying to and fro from the river to the forest”. The bird replied that “I am doing my part. This is my role because the forest is my home. I am doing my part to be a family.”
Ven. Master Miao Jing (Buddhist)
You will be surprised that there is an abundance of verses in the Holy Quran that talk about our responsibility as vice stewards of earth on how we should deal, how we should protect and how we should relate with mother nature. And one whole chapter called Al-Rahman which tells us about the magnificence and glory of Allah indeed in all his creation not only man but the whole of the cosmos. I would like to steer the thinking of everybody that the faiths are the real and best alternative for everyone to be conscious now of our responsibilities because any violation of the various teachings of our faiths is considered a sin. So I would like to challenge everyone that we create, we come together as one big force that we can stage a national summit of interfaith gathering on climate change something like that. And all of our faiths can give in their own resources from their own faith traditions, from our own religions and then bring this back to our people, to our own faith communities. And make everyone aware of our own responsibility as creation of God.
Dr. Potre Dirampatan – Diampuan (Muslim)
Our foundation is called Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. Tzu Chi are two Chinese words: Tzu means mercy,compassion, love, kindness. Chi means relief, help, to give. In the name of our organization and the teachings of our founder Dharma Master Cheng Yen, when we help people it must come from the heart. Another thing is PET bottles. When we drink mineral water, what do we do? We throw it away and it goes to the canal, the river and then it goes to the sea. The PET bottle remains a PET bottle in 100 years. In the Pacific Ocean there is a big island with plastics already. Our founder said if you can make nylon into clothes why not PET bottles into clothes and usable products. I would like to show you what we brought with us. These blankets and shirts are made from PET bottles. There are commercial companies who make products from PET bottles but they are virgin PET bottles but Tzu Chi is from recycled bottles. We recycle them and make them into shirts and blankets. And during typhoon Yolanda, we gave out 75,000 blankets in Leyte.
Mr. Alfredo Li (Buddhist)
We, the Indigenous Peoples are very pleased of having the opportunity to be a part of this gathering as a response to the call of our Pope for the protection of our environment. Kami na mga katutubo, hindi naman ini-iba, hindi naming inihiwalay ang pagtatanggol sa aming lupaing ninuno at sa pangangalaga sa kalikasan even before dumating ang mga mananakop sa bansa. Dahil ang mga katutubo ay kinikilala namin na naka-ugat ang aming buhay sa kalikasan. Kung wala ang kalikasan at ang mga lupaing ninuno maglalaho din ang aming identidad bilang mga katutubo. Wala na ang mga pangalang katutubo. Hindi na ako matatawag na katutubo kapag wala na ang lupa at kalikasan. Kinikilala naman na ang Haring Magbabaya ay naka-ugat sa Kalikasan. Kaya kapag nawala ang kalikasan, mawala ang kagubatan,
mapollute ang mga ilog ay maglalaho din si Magbabaya. Kaya hindi namin hinihiwlaay ang aming struggle for defense of our ancestral domain sa pangangalaga sa kalikasan.
Mr. Bonhao Rivas (Indigenous People, Manobo)
We, the Imam Council of the Philippines will supports this Forum on Thinking, Planning and Doing together to promote greater awareness and action in environmental protection and preservation among the many religions in our beloved country through discussion and dialogue. The ICPI have been thinking about how we can care more for our mother earth. We talked about how our fellow Muslim Filipinos inspires to care for creation. I would like to share with you what we discuss during our regular meeting: everything we do has an impact on others, and also the earth( an example is smoking, which harms us, others and the air we breathe); Islam teaches us to preserve water and also Islamic teaching is about not doing harm, so we must care for the environment, for example we can use cloth bags for marketing or shopping rather than plastic ones.
Imam Ebrar Moxsir (Muslim)
The Impact of Laudato Si on Our Lady of Remedies Parish
The issuance of Laudato Si one year ago, on June 18, 2015, was a major cause of celebration in Our Lady of Remedies Parish, also known as Malate Catholic Church. It was a cause of celebration because we found the Encyclical as a validation of all the efforts of the Parish for the last twenty years aimed at raising ecological awareness of the parish community and churchgoers as well.
The story of the Parish’s active involvement in this advocacy for the environment began in the mid-1990s when Malate Catholic Church initiated the celebration of the Feast of St. Francis on the Sunday nearest to October 4. The parish celebrated the day by blessing plants and animals during the Holy Mass, and having pets vaccinated or consulted with veterinarians. This is to serve as a gentle reminder for people to care for all of God’s creation and that man is connected with all creatures. This has become a tradition as it is carried annually to this day. Parishioners and churchgoers have enthusiastically participated in the blessing of their beloved pets – dogs, cats, rabbits, cubs, tarantulas, pythons, among others.
A year after the first St. Francis Day celebration, the program was expanded to include the theme of caring for creation in our traditional liturgical celebrations and practices. So we have started Creation Time, which begins on the first day of September and ends with the celebration of the Feast of St. Francis. During this Creation Month, creation themes are interwoven in parts of the Holy Mass. The Four Elements, Fire Air Water and Earth, are celebrated as the traditional sources of creation. Homilies and prayers of the faithful follow the theme. The celebration of the Season of Creation has also become an annual tradition.
We are thankful that last year, Pope Francis declared September 1 as a Day of Prayer for the Care for Creation.
Encouraged by the strong response from the community and mindful of the message in CBCP’s Pastoral Letter, “What is Happening to our Beautiful Land?”, the Malate Parish felt a deep need to further raise awareness about the environment and thus developed a Care for the Earth Ministry. For more than 10 years now, under the able leadership of priests and church volunteers, the Care for the Earth Ministry has been the prime mover in the dissemination of information on the protection of the environment and the spirituality of all of creation. The Ministry takes the lead during the Creation Month in September and all other celebrations where care for the earth should be emphasized. This includes the Earth Hour celebration in March, the Lenten Fast or Detoxification Program during the Holy Week where care for the human body is particularly emphasized, the Iwas- Paputoxic Campaign during Christmas and New Year festivities, which reminds everyone to avoid the use of harmful firecrackers. All of these parish-wide activities are supported by the Parish Pastoral Council.
Malate Parish has also introduced a module on the Story of Creation as part of its formation program and developed a theme called Moments of Creation telling the story of the birth of the atom, the birth of life, the birth of the human, the birth of human civilization, and the promise of the Ecozoic Era, that is when the human would undergo ecological conversion and participate In a new era, a new earth.
For its traditional devotions, Malate Parish has developed the Cosmic Rosary, a living rosary with reflections on the Joyful Mysteries from the point of view of the creation story. For this first Laudato Si Week celebration, Fr. John Leydon, our Spiritual Adviser on Education and Care for the Earth, also made a beautiful reflection on creation vis-a-vis the Glorious Mysteries.
Indeed, the Parish has transformed traditional practices to include programs, themes or modules designed to enhance awareness of God’s creation.
Moreover, for the practical application of our education about the environment and ecology, parish volunteers and parishioners have been invited to the Center for Ecozoic Living and Learning, or CELL as we fondly refer to it. Fr. Leydon was involved in setting up CELL in Silang, Cavite in 1998. CELL is an eco-spirituality center that propagates the New Story of Creations as ‘a framework for understanding our current crisis and forging a way forward for the future’. Life with the basic amenities, respect for animals and insects, plants and birds, peace and quiet, communing with nature, all of these one can experience in CELL which helps to appreciate creation.
As abovementioned, Laudato Si was a major cause of celebration in Malate Parish. This is evident by the way the Parish has responded to the celebration of the Encyclical’s first anniversary. During this Laudato Si Week, our parishioners, volunteers, and community led by the barangays have enthusiastically participated in a clean-up campaign in all the three Areas covered by the parish; business, academe, barangays, and church volunteers actively participated in a roundtable discussion on how to respond to the call for action of Laudato Si; and the invitation of the Parish for an interfaith dialogue on climate change and Laudato Si was well received and attended by representatives of other religions.
What is the impact of Laudato Si on Malate Parish?
We can honestly say that Laudato Si has affirmed the Parish’s position on the need for a deeper ecological awareness, a need for a change in lifestyle, a need for ecological conversion. Whereas before, the priests of our parish, led by Fr. John, with their passionate homilies to fight against the destruction of the earth and to fight against climate change, seemed like a voice in the wilderness, now no less than the Pope, thru this brave encyclical, has exhorted all peoples of the world towards ecological conversion.
Laudato Si calls for an environmental spirituality, and this has affirmed the formation programs and practices of the parish. Through all these events and activities, practiced and observed for the last two decades or so, a change in people’s sense of awareness of creation and the environment can be felt. Parishioners have actively participated and people speak from the heart about caring for the environment and how they can contribute to it.
In this regard, the impact of Laudato Si on Malate Parish is made even more significant by being cognizant of the indispensable role that our priests, members of the Missionary Society of St. Columban (MSSC), have played in this rising consciousness and growing respect and care for creation of the parish community. The Society’s advocacy to promote justice, peace, and the integrity of creation is manifested in the way it has worked in areas which suffer poverty, political unrest, and severe climate change problems. Malate Parish is doubly blessed by having a team of Columban fathers who have blazed the trail and laid the foundation for environmental education and awareness at a time when it was yet not in vogue. Definitely, the Care for the Earth program of the Parish has harnessed the strengths of our Columban priests while the SSC’s strong support for this advocacy has sustained the program through the years when care for creation and fighting against climate change was not yet a global agenda.
Affirmed by Laudato Si, the Parish is now even more committed towards a program that will deepen awareness of care for creation, and promote measures to mitigate climate change by actively espousing the use of renewable energy. In fact, it has opened the Laudato Si Week celebration on June 12 with the blessing of the solar panels installed on the rooftop of the newly restored Malate Church.
With the issuance of this Encyclical, there is no doubt that its message will continue to reawaken in our parish community a deep sense of awareness of what is true about being human and love for God’s creation. And we are certain that with Laudato Si, the reawakening and heightened awareness of our humanity will be, in the words of Laudato Si, “like a mist seeping gently beneath a closed door.” (LS # 112)
To quote Fr. Leydon, “Malate Parish used to be in the peripheries; now, we can say we are mainstream."
Thanks to Laudato Si! Thanks to Pope Francis!
*Acknowledgment: Excerpts and quotes from Fr. John Leydon at www.catholicclimatemovement.global
Where did the World go Wrong with Regard to Climate Change
One particular objective of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) is: “to advance the Catholic relationship between faith and reason, especially as it relates to adaptive decision making in areas of climate change policy”.
The topic of Faith and Reason, deals with many issues; relationship of Faith to Science, Philosophy, History and Anthropology etc. There is one particular question that I would like to deal with in this blog: what is the root cause of the ecological crisis, what went wrong, or where did we go wrong? Finding an answer to this is of vital importance, because it can point us in the right direction as to a solution.
Everybody has an implicit, if not explicit answer to that question. A common answer among Christians is: we are basically a flawed species – a variation on the doctrine of Original Sin. If we accept this as the explanation then the solution is to pray, or do nothing since nothing can be done, or be converted in some way.
Recently, I revisited my philosophy studies, (something I never thought I would do!), and came across a very interesting proposal as to where Western Civilization went wrong. It brings us back to the pre-modern 13th and 14th centuries the debate between Realism and Nominalism. (Don’t run away, yet!). This involves St. Thomas Aquinas (Realism) and William of Ockham (Nominalism).
St. Thomas Aquinas – picture sourced from: thomasaquinas.edu
Aquinas (d.1274), using the Philosophy of Aristotle, brought about a great synthesis between faith and reason. It is one of the flowering achievements of Medieval Culture. The compatibility of faith and reason was symbolized in the drawings on many pulpits of the time – the book and the branch symbolizing Revelation and Nature as two ways that God was speaking to us. Richard Tarnas, summed up this achievement:
Aquinas (d.1274), using the Philosophy of Aristotle, brought about a great synthesis between faith and reason. It is one of the flowering achievements of Medieval Culture. The compatibility of faith and reason was symbolized in the drawings on many pulpits of the time – the book and the branch symbolizing Revelation and Nature as two ways that God was speaking to us. Richard Tarnas, summed up this achievement:
Aquinas … affirmed the Creator’s providential intelligence and the resulting order and beauty within the created world. …the more the world was explored and understood, the greater the knowledge of and reverence for God would result…. Nothing that was true and valuable, even if achieved by man’s natural intellect, could ultimately be foreign to God’s revelation, for both reason and faith derived from the same source.
However, this wonderful synthesis did not last long. It was challenged and displaced by Nominalism that attacked the connection between reason and faith. Ockham (d. 1349) felt that Aquinas’, synthesis between nature and grace threatened God’s Transcendence and Omnipotence. How could God still be all powerful if He was confined by the laws of nature? Knowledge of God, according to Ockham, could only be attained through Revelation – faith and grace, not through natural reason.
Nominalism soon became the dominant way of thinking about Nature and with the Protestant Reformation, Nominalism received a boost: as the thought of nature being a source of revelation was anathema to Luther who stressed Scripture alone, scripura sola. Then, we had the dispute with Galileo and other thinkers. The condemnation of Galileo, created a rift between faith and reason. The Church and the thinkers of the day, parted company, with the Church confining itself to ‘revealed truths’ and the thinkers, free to explore Nature, without any religious or moral restraint.
With Francis Bacon’s scientific method of inquiry based on experimentation and inductive reasoning – as the only way of knowing and then Rene Descartes famous “I think therefore I am” – both consolidated the Nominalist denial of any inherent value or meaning in Creation. The triumph of reason then became complete with the European Enlightenment. The so-called ‘enlightened’ age saw the emergence of the Nation State, based on reason, free from the shackles of Church and Monarchy.
Thus, Nominalism unwittingly laid the foundation to a Church that no longer focussed on Nature as a source of Revelation about God; and for a long time this meant they had nothing to say about the destruction brought about since the Industrial Revolution.
If this is our problem, then it points to a solution where we need to recover a world-view where Nature is intrinsically valued, as revelatory of the Divine. As St. Columban said “if you want to know God, know creation”. The good news is that, in our times, such a world-view is possible because of the putting together of a story of creation, based on the scientific evidence.
The Church today has no problem, in principle, with the evolutionary story of creation, but work needs to be done in developing and propagating such a world view. Thomas Aquinas will undoubtedly be happy, as it will mean a re-affirmation of his Realism over the Nominalism of William of Ockham!
 Richard Tarnas: The Passion of the Western Mind, Understanding the Ideas that have shaped our World View, Pimlico, Random House, London, 1991.
 See Tarnas pp 206=207.
This blog posting is written by Fr John Leydon, a GCCM founding member, a Columban Missionary in the Philippines and the Director of Center for Ecozoic Living and Learning (CELL) which he co-founded in 1998.
– See more at: https://catholicclimatemovement.global/where-did-the-world-go-wrong-with-regard-to-climate-change/#sthash.Thkm6kzJ.dpuf
Laudato Si in Earth Day: North Pole and Paris Agreement Ceremony
April 22, 2016 – Happy Earth Day! So many things happened today.
Here’s a brief summary:
To start with, the Laudato Si North Pole expedition finally reached the North Pole! After 9 challenging days of marching through the Arctic ice, they brought a Laudato Si encyclical to the North Pole to raise awareness about the climate crisis and the moral imperative to take climate action.
After witnessing the dramatic impact of climate change in the Arctic, the North Pole expedition sent a message today to world leaders gathered in the U.N., asking them to take bold action to protect our common home:
Pope Francis sent a letter to the expedition (see original in Spanish) saying: “Thank you for bringing the Laudato Si cry to the polar ice for future generations … I am convinced that the problem is serious and that initiatives like yours are helping raise awareness about environmental degradation, depletion of the natural resources, pollution and also the severe wealth inequality.”
At exactly the same time, the Paris Agreement signature ceremony took place and over 170 nations signed the treaty. We know that this Paris Agreement is very far from what we need and we are aware that words on paper mean nothing, but this was a crucial and historic first step that is required to effectively fight climate change.
Today’s ceremony sent a strong signal confirming that the fossil fuel era is coming to an end. We celebrate that and increase the pressure to make sure that action accelerates dramatically. There is no time to waste.
The GCCM Global Coordinator, Tomás Insua, attended the ceremony and brought the banner with the same message as the North Pole expedition:
This builds on top of the groundbreaking Interfaith Climate Change Statement that we delivered last Monday to the President of the U.N. General Assembly, which was signed by prominent Catholic bishops and cardinals together with other renowned faith leaders.
The transition away of fossil fuels is unstoppable. It’s up to us to decide on how fast it happens.
Most governments are moving too slowly, and some are still not moving at all, so we need to increase the pressure for them to take the climate crisis seriously. There is a big gap between what they are doing and what scientists are asking them to do.
We, Catholics, have a big contribution to make by promoting the moral call to action of Pope Francis in Laudato Si. Your donation to the Global Catholic Climate Movement can make a big difference to mobilize the Catholic community to take action worldwide and bring Laudato Si to life.
– See more at: http://catholicclimatemovement.global/earth-day-2016/#sthash.UpMgbiva.dpuf
Author: Czarina Pascual
The Parish Pastoral Council
The primary body in charge of planning and implementing the various programs in the Parish. With the Parish priest as its head, together with the PPC officers, heads of the Ministries, the Areas, and the Organizations (MAOs), the Council links the entire volunteer corps to the Parish by coordinating its different activities, cascading information and encouraging active involvement in all parish-related endeavors.
This unit of the PPC, composed of the Parish Priest, the Coordinator of the Parish Council, the Vice-Coordinator, the Secretary, the Treasurer and the Coordinators of the Ministries-Worship, Education, and Social Service, which initially prepares and formulates plans and programs for the consideration by the Parish Council. This group meets before the PPC monthly meeting to discuss the agenda for the upcoming meeting and other matters that need to be brought to the attention of the Council.
Ministries, Areas and Organizations