Pope's homily for New Year's Day Mass, 2018
(repost full text from

Pope Francis delivered a homily at Mass on New Year's Day, the Solemnity of the Mother of God. On 1 January, the Church also observes the World Day of Peace

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
1 January 2018

The year opens in the name of the Mother. Mother of God is the most important title of Our Lady. But we might ask why we say Mother of God, and not Mother of Jesus. In the past some wanted to be content simply with the latter, but the Church has declared that Mary is the Mother of God. We should be grateful, because these words contain a magnificent truth about God and about ourselves. From the moment that our Lord became incarnate in Mary, and for all time, he took on our humanity. There is no longer God without man; the flesh Jesus took from his Mother is our own, now and for all eternity. To call Mary the Mother of God reminds us of this: God is close to humanity, even as a child is close to the mother who bears him in her womb.

The word mother (mater) is related to the word matter. In his Mother, the God of heaven, the infinite God, made himself small, he became matter, not only to be with us but also to be like us. This is the miracle, the great novelty! Man is no longer alone; no more an orphan, but forever a child. The year opens with this novelty. And we proclaim it by saying: Mother of God! Ours is the joy of knowing that our solitude has ended. It is the beauty of knowing that we are beloved children, of knowing that this childhood of ours can never be taken away from us. It is to see a reflection of ourselves in the frail and infant God resting in his mother’s arms, and to realize that humanity is precious and sacred to the Lord. Henceforth, to serve human life is to serve God. All life, from life in the mother’s womb to that of the elderly, the suffering and the sick, and to that of the troublesome and even repellent, is to be welcomed, loved and helped.

Let us now be guided by today’s Gospel. Only one thing is said about the Mother of God: “Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). She kept them. She simply kept; Mary does not speak. The Gospel does not report a single word of hers in the entire account of Christmas. Here too, the Mother is one with her Son: Jesus is an “infant”, a child “unable to speak”. The Word of God, who “long ago spoke in many and various ways” (Heb 1:1), now, in the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4), is silent. The God before whom all fall silent is himself a speechless child. His Majesty is without words; his mystery of love is revealed in lowliness. This silence and lowliness is the language of his kingship. His Mother joins her Son and keeps these things in silence.

That silence tells us that, if we would “keep” ourselves, we need silence. We need to remain silent as we gaze upon the crib. Pondering the crib, we discover anew that we are loved; we savour the real meaning of life. As we look on in silence, we let Jesus speak to our heart. His lowliness lays low our pride; his poverty challenges our outward display; his tender love touches our hardened hearts. To set aside a moment of silence each day to be with God is to “keep” our soul; it is to “keep” our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting.

The Gospel goes on to say that Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. What were these things? They were joys and sorrows. On the one hand, the birth of Jesus, the love of Joseph, the visit of the shepherds, that radiant night. But on the other, an uncertain future, homelessness “because there was no place for them in the inn” (Lk 2:7), the desolation of rejection, the disappointment of having to give birth to Jesus in a stable. Hopes and worries, light and darkness: all these things dwelt in the heart of Mary. What did she do? She pondered them, that is to say she dwelt on them, with God, in her heart. She held nothing back; she locked nothing within out of self-pity or resentment. Instead, she gave everything over to God. That is how she “kept” those things. We “keep” things when we hand them over: by not letting our lives become prey to fear, distress or superstition, by not closing our hearts or trying to forget, but by turning everything into a dialogue with God. God, who keeps us in his heart, then comes to dwell in our lives.

These, then, are the secrets of the Mother of God: silently treasuring all things and bringing them to God. And this took place, the Gospel concludes, in her heart. The heart makes us look to the core of the person, his or her affections and life. At the beginning of the year, we too, as Christians on our pilgrim way, feel the need to set out anew from the centre, to leave behind the burdens of the past and to start over from the things that really matter. Today, we have before us the point of departure: the Mother of God. For Mary is exactly what God wants us to be, what he wants his Church to be: a Mother who is tender and lowly, poor in material goods and rich in love, free of sin and united to Jesus, keeping God in our hearts and our neighbour in our lives. To set out anew, let us look to our Mother. In her heart beats the heart of the Church. Today’s feast tells us that if we want to go forward, we need to turn back: to begin anew from the crib, from the Mother who holds God in her arms.

Devotion to Mary is not spiritual etiquette; it is a requirement of the Christian life. Looking to the Mother, we are asked to leave behind all sorts of useless baggage and to rediscover what really matters. The gift of the Mother, the gift of every mother and every woman, is most precious for the Church, for she too is mother and woman. While a man often abstracts, affirms and imposes ideas, a woman, a mother, knows how to “keep”, to put things together in her heart, to give life. If our faith is not to be reduced merely to an idea or a doctrine, all of us need a mother’s heart, one which knows how to keep the tender love of God and to feel the heartbeat of all around us. May the Mother, God’s finest human creation, guard and keep this year, and bring the peace of her Son to our hearts and to our world.

Our Lady Of Remedies’ Fiesta Celebration
19 November 2017

The fiesta celebration started on October 9 - November 10 when the image of Our Lady of Remedies visited private institutions, schools and barangays for the Dalaw ni Maria. Novena Masses were presided by Columbans (who are celebrating their centennial anniversary) and two other guest priests.

Several choral groups and guest performers serenaded the Blessed Mother during the Harana Kay Maria on November 17.

On November 18, Bishop Teodoro Bacani presided the Sacrament of Confirmation for the Grade 6 students of Aurora Quezon Elementary School.

Fiesta Day - November 19
The Fiesta High Mass was concelebrated by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the Columban fathers and some priests from the Vicariate. In the afternoon, there was a Sayawan sa Patio were young dancers performed honoring Our Lady. This was followed by the Procession around the parish. Students of Malate Catholic School, several bands, parishioners and devotees joined the procession.

The theme of this year's celebration 'Maria, Ina ng Nagkakaisang Parokya sa Pagsasabuhay ng Dakilang Pag-ibig ng Diyos' highlights and culminates the Year of the Parish.

Fiesta procession

Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
1 October 2017

For the past decade and a half, Malate Church has been celebrating Creation Month with month-long festivities every September. There is a special liturgy for all Sunday masses dedicated to Creation and Ecology. Talks and lectures are held to further increase awareness among volunteers and parishioners in caring for Mother Earth. This culminates on the Feast of St.Francis every first Sunday of October. Now, September is referred to as the Season of Creation following Pope Francis’ declaration and starts on September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for Creation.

This year’s Season of Creation culminated on October 1, the Feast of St. Francis. Special blessings of animals and plants were held after the 9am and 12 noon masses. Dogs and cats were given free anti-rabies vaccinations, freebies and treats. Organic and natural products were sold at the mini-tiangge.

The Care for the Earth Ministry organizes these activities from September to the first Sunday of October. The Ministry leads the Parish in creating and spreading awareness and action on the care for our common home. As Pope Francis said in his Laudato Si encyclical, ‘ the cry of creation is the cry of the poor’. We are called to be responsible stewards for Mother Earth, Brother Sun and Sister Moon.

Cardinal Tagle’s Homily (Transcript)
Luneta Park, 1 September 2017

Maraming salamat po sa pakikiisa sa araw na ito. This is happening not only in this spot, in the world, we are united with the whole Catholic Church at least for the day of prayer for the caring of creation and we also unite ourselves with our Muslim brothers and sisters on this holy day for them and in a special way we unite ourselves with our brothers and sisters in Marawi. We pray that caring in the sense of responsibility for each other and for the beautiful creation that we have all inherited may prevail.

For the Archdiocese of Manila, today we also open the Season of Creation until the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Francis of Asisi. Parang hindi kayo masaya? (laughter… Nakikinig lang kami…) ahh nakikinig lang. There are many things that we can and should reflect on, but we will not end itong walk, and we hopefully that the walk will be also a time to continue reflecting. But the readings provide for us in the Eucharistic Celebration also, they provide for us some sort of a framework for reflecting on the significance of this day and of this season. Let me start with the first reading on the first letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, where he reminds us that our calling, our vocation as followers of Christ is sanctification, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit , we cannot be Holy by our own efforts. God is holy, holy, holy Lord God of all. Only God is holy, but we are called to be God like, that’s holiness. We are called to be like Jesus, the holy one of God. Our calling is holiness, pagiging makadiyos. I think part of our mission today and in the coming years is to include more consciously the caring for creation as part of holiness. Kasi, we participate in holy events, but immediately after the holy event or even during the holy event, we do not see caring for creation. Minsan sisimba, kakain ng kendi habang nagsisimba, tapos yung balat ng kendi itatapon doon sa baba, para bagang yung caring for creation is an extra-curricular activity and not yet integrated into my discipleship, my being holy as a calling. I think it is part of the celebration of this day and of the season to impress upon all of us specially the young ones that holiness includes as an integral part of discipleship and holiness, being Godlike after all God is the source of all, God is the creator, so God is the first to care for creation and if we want to be Godlike, holy, then we should be like God, in caring for all beings. Yun ho ang unang panawagan. Alam ko marami dito cathechist, marami po tayong mga BEC, bible sharing group, coordinators and mga teachers, nandito, parents, pwede ho ba na atin pong ipunla yun? Bahagi ng kabanalan, bahagi ng buhay na pagsunod kay Hesus ang pangangalaga at tamang pangangasiwa ng san nilikha.

The next point my dear brothers and sisters, that I want to dwell on is the very word used by Pope Francis in the encyclical, caring for our common home. Laudato Si is not a document just on climate change, some people say, “Oh! That encyclical on climate change,” hindi e, it is about caring for creation as part of our spirituality. And it is appropriate for our time, especially in our country. What has happened to caring? Kumusta na ba ang tinatawag nating kultura, culture of caring. Minsan malimit mo pang marinig, “I don’t care!” o kaya, people are careless. Ano ang mangyayari sa kultura, sa tao na hindi na marunong ng tinatawag nating caring? And it is I think urgent for us to preserve, to nurture, a culture of caring, for without caring, we destroy creation and destroy human lives. That’s why for this opening day, this day of prayer, the Holy Father ask us to listen to two cries, the cry of the earth the cry of creation, and the cry of the poor, because the poor are the first victims of the misuse of creation. But the type of listening must generate a whole culture of caring. What does it mean to care; marami po yan pero let me focus on two. To care is to be concerned for someone or for something. Yun bang meron akong pananaw na kailangan ko, o kahit na parang natural na aking iniisip ang kapakanan ng iba. Tunay na pagmamalasakit, na ang kakontraryo ay yun bang, “wala akong pakialam basta gusto kong gamitin, edi kung ano ang gusto kong gamit yun nalang.” E kung minsan hindi lang naman ang kalikasan ang ginagamit ng walang pakundangan at walang concern, pati tao, gagamitin na at kakasangkapanin na para sa mga huwad na Diyos. Concern, pagmamalasakit. Naalala ko po nung ako’y elementary at highschool, wag n’yo nang tanungin kung kailan yon, naiimagine nyo na, yung iba dito hindi pa siguro pinapanganak. Wala pa noong subject na stewardship, caring for creation, di ko nga narinig noon itong salitang stewardship, pero ngayon ko nakikita, hindi iyun itinuro as a subject pero itinuro bilang kultura at nagpapasalamat ako sa mga CICM fathers na nagturo sa amin. Wala akong naitago na kahit na anong libro nung elementary at highschooll, bakit? Hindi naman kasi kami pinabili ng libro. Ang libro ay pag-aari nung eskwelahan at pinagagamit sa amin, pinahihiram sa isang kondisyon, alagaan mo yan. Alagaan mo yung libro kase hindi lang yan papel, nandyan ang dunong ng maraming henerasyon na ipinamamana sa iyo, at alagaan mo yang libro para magamit yan ng mga susunod na henerasyon ng estudyante. And for 10 years, every day we took care of 10, 12 books and you are thinking of the next school year, the next batch of students who must benefit from those books. Kaya hanggang ngayon kahit yung mga leaflets, na ibinibigay sakin pag fiesta, hindi ko maitapon, may isang pari, pumasok sa kwarto ko ang sabi, “Bishop, ano ba yang mga kinokole-kolekta mo na yan, yung table mo wala nang masulatan puro ano na,” sabi ko “Ewan ko ba, hindi maatim ng puso ko na magpunit at mag-ganyan, parang bata pa rin akong grade 1 na kapag ginawa ko yun e halos pinupunit ko ang mga libro na hindi na ngayon mapapakinabangan ng iba. Ngayon, taun-taon bumibili ng libro, “libro ko to!” “Susulatan ko ito!” wala nang [pakialam sa ibang gagamit]. Tama na. Itong sinasabi ko, we may be talking, talking, talking about stewardship as a topic, but the culture, how do we instill that and Pope Francis, talks about consumerism, how can we teach caring, concern, not only for an object like a book, but also for the next generation if the spending habits, the buying and the selling of goods, all these system is not supportive of a culture and attitude of stewardship? Noon pati yung mga damit di ba mga [pinapamana sa susunod na gagamit]. Naala-ala ko kaya noon yung unang mga sapatos, “maluwag po ito, maluwag,” “O, lagyan natin ng cardboard, para yan na ang sapatos mo hanggang grade 3,” hindi yung sa isang taon e nakakalima ka [o] anim, kasi in one month, obsolete na yung modelo ng sapatos mo. The culture of obsolescence that makes us greedy, that exerts so much pressure, you have to conform to latest fashion, how do you combat that? “May cardboard naman, pasikipin yung sapatos,” pati yung uniform noon malalaki ang allowance di ba, para pagtumaba-taba ka pwede naman tahin yan. Di na tatastasin o ano, o kung ikaw naman ay lumiit, edi lalaki pa ulit yung allowance. Nagbibigay po ako ng ilang halimbawa para, it is through this mindset and the corresponding daily action of caring, being concerned simultaneously for what the earth produces for us, how the earth cares for us, how creation cares for us, do we care? And how about for the next generation? Ako my great learning and cultural acquisition of stewardship happened through the books. I wish Catholic Schools to teach stewardship by reviewing our connections with publication houses, o tama na… [Kidding aside] [Laughter] but concern for creation, a culture of concern, pagmamalasakit for creation and for human beings according to the first reading would require a lot of discipline. Sabi ni St. Paul, learn how to control your body, learn how to control your appetites, he is talking here about lustful relationships, but lust is not only in relationships, very often on a daily basis and more very often daily, lust is experienced in the way abuse the goods of creation and abuse human beings. So concern requires dsiscipline. So yun po, unang kultura ng caring ay ibalik ang concern. Yun hong ano[concern], simulan natin, yung mga nakaupo, baka meron kayong hindi napapansin d’yan na nahihimatay na nakatayo o merong medyo mas mahina sa inyo, concern. Pag sumakay sa jeep, sa bus, alam ko yung iba binubuksan agad yung libro, pocket book, para kung may umakyat man, “hindi ko na kita, nagbabasa kasi ako, nagtetext kasi ako,” ayan, nawala na ang concern. Tumingin, baka may nangangailangan.

The second and last thing po sa aking pagbabahagi ay responsibility. Part of caring is to assume responsibility for the others. Magkasama po yung malasakit at pananagutan, and alam naman natin yung opposite. Irresponsible behavior is a manifestation of pride. I can do what I want, I am not responding to anyone, I am not accountable to anyone, kaya I lose the sense of caring, if I don’t have any person to whom I will be accountable then I take everything into my hands but that is not the attitude of a steward. A steward knows that he or she will be answerable. A steward knows that he or she is not the creator, not the source, not the owner, kaya aalagaan ko ang ipinagkatiwala sa akin dahil mananagot ako sa tunay na may ari. So being a steward is to be humble, to be truthful, who am I, at sana poi tong kulturang ito ng pananagutan para sa ibinigay sa ating ng Diyos at para sa isa’t-isa ay huwag mawala. Let the walk for creation, be also our way of promoting and protecting a very beautiful human and Filipino culture, a culture of caring which is very much threatened by so many idols. False gods, false creators of false worlds. Every false god is a false creator, and its creation is a false world, a phantasmal. Every false god and a false creator creates a false world which is a big lie, but it is packaged beautifully, you don’t even realize it is a lie, and so it attracts many inhabitants that care for that false world that are responsible in nurturing that world. That is not the culture that we want. We want culture of true caring, of true responsibility for the creation of the true God and not the false world created by false gods. In the world created by God, ther is harmony, there is interdependence, there is mutual support, there is mutual caring. Ngayon palang yung hangin, it cares for us, the earth cares for us, kaya hindi tayo lumulutang, there is a mutual caring, but in the false world, created by false gods, there is no room for mutual caring. If I can eliminate you because you’re a nuisance to me, then I am making my world better. If I could use you for my purposes then I have reconstructed my world according to my plan. But in the end, what spreads is a culture not of caring but of destruction, and in the end we destroy the earth, we destroy humanity. A culture is supposed to build up through caring and responsibility. May warning yung gospel, the bridegroom will come at the time we do not expect, we do not know. Typhoons, earthquakes, disasters, in increasing intensities and degrees come, but we should be wise, we should be wise by being caring, by being responsible, for in the end we will be destroyed by the very destructive culture that we have propagate. O tama nap o, baka sabihin n’yo, “ikaw nga you don’t care, tagal na naming naka tayo.” So let us enjoy this day, let us give thanks to God for this beautiful creation and I don’t know may kanta yata para sa preparation of the gifts pero bago sila kumanta kasi hindi na natin malimit naririnig this is one of the most, for me, most beautiful prayer in the mass, when the priest takes hold of the bread, we say, “Blessed are you Lord God of all creation for through your goodness we have this bread to offer you, fruits of the earth and work of human hands,” you remember the goodness of the earth, you remember the laborers, you remember the hands that cooperate with the earth, hands that are forgotten, hands that work but don’t receive their fair share. But thanks to God who works through the earth and human labor, we have this bread, and by the power of the spirit, this bread will become the bread of life, will become the presence of Jesus. That’s how God cares for us, feeding us, with bread that becomes the bread of life, and if we care for each other our community becomes the body of Christ also, the community that praises God through caring and responsibility.

Photos by Frankie Adame - Malate Catholic Church

Cardinal Tagle’s Homily for Walk for Creation Mass

Thousands Join Walk for Creation
Luneta Park, 1 September 2017

Not even the strong rain could stop them, the thousands of kindred spirits who joined the first ever Walk for Creation held at the Burnham Green of Luneta Park to usher in the Season of Creation following the declaration of Pope Francis of September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

People were gathered at Burnham Green as early as 3am while the wind and rain were pounding on the canopy of the stage where the altar is to be set. They waited under several tents that were set up in the place, each one of them silently praying for the weather to clear. At exactly 4:30am, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the bishops and priests stood up to begin the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which was to be the commencement of the event. As if on cue, the rain slowly came to a drizzle, and then stopped altogether, allowing the Holy Mass to proceed smoothly and solemnly until the final blessing was given by the good Cardinal.

At the break of dawn, the Angelus Prayer for Creation which was created for the event by Archbishop Socrates Villegas was prayed by the crowd and the torch was lighted. The different groups then arranged themselves and got ready for the reflective walk on the five Moments of Creation which was prepared for the occasion by Rev. Fr. John Leydon of Malate Catholic Church. The huge circle of people, intently listening to the enlightening passages of the Moments of Creation, and contemplating while walking on the wet, muddied Green, was a sight to behold as the golden sun was coming up the clear sky.

After the Walk, Fr. John Leydon led everybody to say the Laudato Si Pledge to pray for and with creation, live more simply, and advocate to care for our common home. Staunch environment advocates led by Bishop Broderick Pabillo urged everyone to care for creation, while Bishop Pete Montallana invited everyone to support the Save Sierra Madre Movement. Sister Regina also gave a message from the Association of Major Religious Superiors (AMRSP). Environmental initiatives of the Couples for Christ, NASSA, and other groups were also presented.

The Walk for Creation was an uplifting and inspiring event as members of about 30 organizations, students from several schools, priests and religious, volunteers from different parishes, people young and old and from different walks of life communed with creation and with the four elements, water from the strong rain, the cold air, the mud and soil of the earth, and the warmth coming from the fire of the sun that has risen that beautiful morning. For everyone, there was enough good feeling and inspiring thoughts to bring home to family and friends as Cardinal Tagle exhorted everyone in his homily to promote a very beautiful human and Filipino culture – a culture of caring and mindfulness for one another and for God’s creation.

The Walk for Creation was spearheaded by the Global Catholic Climate Movement-Pilipinas (GCCM-Pilipinas) and strongly supported by various faith-based organizations and schools, as well as ecological and social movements. It is aimed to promote and raise awareness about September 1 as “a significant occasion for prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate lifestyles”. It is also a celebration to praise and thank God for His wonderful creation as well as highlight efforts and initiatives that respond to the challenges of ecological crisis. It is hoped that this celebration will bring about unity, inspire one another and amplify the people’s commitment to take bold action together to hear both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, as Pope Francis has strongly urged in his powerful encyclical, Laudato Si.

Photos by Frankie Adame - Malate Catholic Church

Title - Pope Francis & Patriarch Bartholomew Joint Statement on World Day of Prayer for Creation

Join the Walk for Creation on September 1

All people of goodwill are invited to join the Walk for Creation on September 1, 2017 to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to be held at Burnham Green in Luneta Park starting at 4am until 8am.

In his encyclical entitled “Laudato Si’, On Care for our Common Home, Pope Francis made this appeal: “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. (LS#14)

In response to the message and call of Pope Francis, the Global Catholic Climate Movement-Pilipinas, together with various faith-communities and ecological and social movements, spearheads this activity that also marks the opening of the Season of Creation. In 2015, Pope Francis declared September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

The Walk for Creation aims to praise God as Creator, celebrate the goodness and beauty of creation and the spirit at work in all our initiatives in caring for our common home; inspire one another to hear both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor; and promote September 1 as World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation as the start of the Season of Creation.

Assembly time will be at 4am, with a walk around Burnham Green to start at 4:15am, followed by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 5am, and a short program at 7am culminating with a call to make the Laudato Si Pledge.

Catholics urged to support climate movement inspired by Pope’s letter
By Leslie Ann G. Aquino
18 June 2017

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said those who signed the Laudato Si’ Pledge should take their oath seriously.

The Laudato Si’ Pledge, which was launched here in the Philippines, Saturday, is a worldwide campaign by the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) and its member organizations to raise awareness about the message of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on ecology and climate change, “Laudato Si.”

Laudato Si is an invitation to everyone to care for our common home.

In the encyclical letter released on June 18, 2015, the pontiff made a forceful call to action to both the Church and all people of good will, to urgently change course in order to avoid ecological disaster.

Father’s Day – Retired Catholic priests and bishops from different parts of the country celebrate Father’s Day at the Diocesan Shrine and Parish of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Antipolo, Rizal in an event by the Kadiwa sa Pagkapari Foundation, yesterday. Priests also commemorate Father’s Day, being the spiritual fathers of the Catholic faithful. (Alvin Kasiban|Manila Bulletin)

He said, “It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter…can help us to acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face.”

Cardinal Tagle reminded those who signed the pledge that they should also live out what they promised to do.

“It is not enough to sign and affix your signature. Please take the pledge seriously and live it. Pray for and with creation, live more simply and advocate to protect our common home,” Tagle said in a video message during Saturday’s launching of the Pledge for Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ at the La Consolacion College in Manila.

To pray for, and with creation, live more simply, and advocate to protect our common home are the three things that signatories are being encouraged to do when they signed the pledge cards that were distributed in the venue.

In his homily, Father John Leydon, convenor of the GCCM, echoed Tagle’s appeal.

“We will launch our pledge but let it come from the heart. If it doesn’t come from the heart, then it is false,” he said.

Leydon said while many in the country are devout Catholics, many are not aware that they are destroying God’s creation through their lifestyle. “By our lifestyle we are destroying God’s creation,” he said.

That’s why, Leydon said, Laudato Si’ is a call to “conversion.”

“We are all in need of conversion…that leads to change to lifestyle change,” said the priest.

In their website, the GCCM cited ways on how the encyclical can be put into action such as shifting away from fossil fuels and embracing renewable sources of energy, recycling, putting up solar panels, conserving energy, among others.

The goal of the two-year campaign is to encourage 12 million Catholics and 22,000 parishes all over the world to sign and live the Laudato Si Pledge.

“There are 105 million (people) in the Philippines and how many of those could we reach with the teaching of Laudato Si? How many could we get to make a pledge to undertake all that is required by Laudato Si? The number of Catholics in the planet is 1.2 billion, that’s 12 hundred million…If we can influence even one percent to sign the pledge worldwide, that’s 12 million,” he said.

The campaign is led by the NASSA/Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), and the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM)–Pilipinas.

Sign the pledge to #LiveLaudatoSi: Laudato Si Pledge Promotion Toolkit.pdf

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

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.

Malate Joins Walk for Life
Harriet Ducepec
21 February 2017

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’.

Brave beginnings
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,, 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

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:

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.[1]

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.[2]

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!

[1] Richard Tarnas: The Passion of the Western Mind, Understanding the Ideas that have shaped our World View, Pimlico, Random House, London, 1991.

[2] 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.

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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.

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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.

PPC Secretariat
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


    Taking guidance from the Worship Spiritual Adviser and other priests, the ministry takes charge of liturgical activities and Eucharistic celebrations in the parish. Coordination is likewise done with the Ministry of Liturgical Affairs at the Arzobispado de Manila regarding basic formation/ trainings of volunteers, and information dissemination concerning liturgical practices, among others. Headed by the Worship Coordinator, the Ministry is composed of:

    • Lectors and Commentators Guild (LCG)
      Guided by its Vision-Mission to effectively proclaim the Word of God during liturgical celebrations in the Parish and render other liturgy-related services as may be necessary, the Guild is in-charge of enhancing the proclamation skills of its members as well as the recruitment, screening and training of volunteers as readers, lectors and commentators.

    • Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC)
      Male volunteers assist in giving communion to parishioners and church-goers during weekday and Sunday masses. They also assist the Legion of Mary by giving communion to the sick within the Parish every Sunday or upon request.

    • Ministry of Greeters and Collectors (MGC)
      Volunteers in this group serve as collectors and ushers during Masses at the Church. Occasionally, they are also invited by the Arzobispado de Manila to assist during special events/activities in other parishes. It has its regular meeting every first Tuesday of the month and a General Assembly every quarter.

    • Choir
      They offer their voices in song during Sunday liturgical celebrations and in special events in the parish. They regularly hold practice-meetings every 1st Saturday of the month.

    • Sanctuary Assistants
      Male youth members, ages 12 to 18, assist the priest-presider during Eucharistic celebrations.

    • Liturgical Vestments Ministry c/o Mother Butlers Guild
      The group sees to the upkeep and orderliness of liturgical vestments during Eucharistic celebrations and special events. It regularly meets every second Wednesday of the month.

    This Ministry identifies and addresses formation needs of all members of the Parish; supervises and coordinates all the education/formation of the different ministries, organizations and areas; and is directly involved in the formation of student beneficiaries and their parents, children and youth ministries, and the small basic ecclesial community. Other groups involved in formation and education as their primary mandate are included under the Education Ministry, such as:

    • Care for the Earth Ministry
      its thrust is the dissemination of information on the protection of the environment, particularly on the Spirituality of all of God’s creation. The ministry takes the lead during the Creation Month celebration every September culminating with the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi and the blessing of animals and plants. Part of the advocacy is the promotion of eco-friendly lifestyle and the after-care of the parish herbal garden.

    • Public Affairs Ministry
      is tasked with providing information and a venue for discussion of issues of national concern to raise the social awareness of the parishioners to enable them to make a stand on issues confronting the nation. It is the Parish’ s response to the CBCP’s call for the people to ‘watch and pray’ in the wake of grave national concerns and controversies.

    • Family Life Ministry
      aims to strengthen and empower families through Suyuan (marriage encounter) and family counseling.

    • Pre-baptismal Seminar Group
      The group undertakes the seminars given to parents who wish to have their child baptized in Malate Church. Parents are re-oriented on the significance and importance of the sacrament of Baptism and their roles and responsibilities in bringing up their children in the Christian Faith.

    • Pre-Cana Seminar Group
      The group is in charge of a half day seminar given to couples who wish to be married in Malate Church. Intended to somehow prepare the couples of the concerns of married life, the seminar attendees are given an understanding of the Christian marriage and family, the nature of man and woman, husband and wife relationship, stages of love in marriage, levels of communication and birth control.

    • Parish Website Team
      Responding to the need to provide a source of accurate information about the Parish, the group is tasked to handle the design, development and maintenance of the parish website and related social media intended to facilitate the dissemination of information and to enhance communication between the Parish and its constituencies.

    This ministry assists parishioners or people residing within the parish and sometimes even non-parishioners through its various programs and services. Programs and services and programs include Livelihood Skills Training, MABADAN in charge of street families, Kaisaka for members with disability, Parish Educational Assistance Program, Prison Visitation, Health program, legal assistance.

    This Ministry is responsible in assisting the parish in the maintenance and repair of facilities, structures and materials within Church grounds and other buildings under the care of the parish. During special occasions, the group also serve as logistics coordinator and works with the members of the Holy Name Society in the physical set up.

    This Ministry is tasked to oversee the preparation of information materials about the Parish. It is also assigned to assist in the planning/ preparation, and documentation of special events and programs. It also takes charge of maintaining the Mission Exhibition at the second floor of the RJMC.

    The Parish is in the process of establishing a Young Adult Community for single male and female volunteers between 23-39 years of age for them to have a venue where they can discover more of themselves, to bond and share their stories and concerns with others, and to grow and develop in body, mind, heart and spirit. This is a group that will focus on empowerment and growth of each member. It is a kind of support group; a place where young people can find rest and seek refuge from the pains and struggles in life, and just be one’s self.

    This ministry is open to young people, ages 16 to 23. Major formations like Youth Encounter (YE), Youth Ecozoic Learning and Living (YELL), and Formation for Formators take place every summer. They receive monthly formation in the Parish and from the Vicariate. They actively participate in all of the major activities in the Parish.

    This ministry caters to young children from ages 8 to 15 years old. Every summer they attend seminar workshops like PUNLA (a workshop where children discover more their real self, family, community and God) and Cabiao kids (which deals with growing in ecology awareness and concern). In addition, they receive monthly formation on Christian Living and Ecology, sports, teambuilding and camaraderie. Lastly, they participate in their own children’s mass every Saturday at eight o’clock in the morning, where they serve as lector and commentator, choir, sanctuary assistants, collectors and ushers.


  • The parish of Our Lady of Remedies covers 3 areas with large urban poor communities, namely Area 6, Area 8 and Area 9, each of which has its own set of officers who are likewise volunteers in the Parish. The area council leaders coordinate all activities and disseminate information throughout their respective communities regarding parish programs.

    • Area 6
      boundaries of San Andres and Remedios Streets and J. Bocobo and Ma. Orosa Streets.

    • Area 8
      boundaries of San Andres Street, Quirino Avenue, M. Adriatico Street and Brgy. 705 boundary.

    • Area 9
      boundaries of San Andres Street, Quirino Avenue, Leveriza and Brgy. 704 boundary.

  • Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC)
    This is a group who gathers weekly to share the Word of God through their own personal life experiences. Yearly formations are also offered to them, such as the study of the four Gospels and writings of Paul, and Bibliodrama.

This group answers the call for interreligious dialogue with our Muslim brothers and sisters and other denominations. It aims to bring solidarity, peace and unity. The group gathers once a month to have a dialogue on life (and not of religion). They discuss concerns and problems that affect the community of Malate and share the good news with the community. Yearly formations are given to deepen the understanding and camaraderie of the various groups.

The SPP is a federation of housing associations composed of about six sub-housing groups organized by the residents from the urban poor communities within the parish. They help protect the rights of the urban poor communities against unannounced and violent demolitions and other abuses, through networking with Urban Poor agencies and organizations within Metro Manila. They also lobby and negotiate with government agencies for the proper and humane treatment of the urban poor and proper resettlement procedures, if needed.

The mandated organizations are religious/socio-civic groups meeting and doing apostolic works in the Parish in the spirit of their respective group’s ministry. They actively participate in the various activities and programs of the Parish, though they are guided by the rules and guidelines of their respective organizations. The heads of these organizations attend the monthly meetings of the Parish Pastoral Council.

  • Apostleship of Prayer (AP)
    Aligned with their mission to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the AP’s apostolic works include promotion of the enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus during mid-year about June or July, food distribution to street children, sick visitation in hospitals, and together with the Prison Ministry of the Parish, conducts visitation of prisoners at the Bicutan Jail and other precincts.

  • Crusaders of the Holy Face
    Its mission is to propagate the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. Their apostolate include sick visitations, conducting Bible study, selling religious and non-religious items for the Parish, and fulfilling their adoration vigil commitment.

  • Daughters of Mary Immaculate
    The DMI’s mission is to help the less privilege in the community. Their regular activities include the promotion of Pro-Life, morality in media, and upliftment of women workers. They also assist by conducting livelihood projects, welfare and assistance to prisoners, Bible study for the elderly, and hospital visitation.

  • Holy Name Society
    This Brotherhood of men give honor and glory to the name of God through different apostolic works. They assist in the different activities of the parish. They are usually in-charge of the logistics and physical arrangement during parish activities.

  • Knights of Columbus
    Basically a Catholic fraternal organization, the group promotes educational, charitable, religious and social welfare activities. The members also assist in the activities of the parish.

  • Legion of Mary
    The LOM’s main object is the personal sanctification of members through apostolic works which include: home, hospital, jail and sick & elderly visitations; conducting block rosary; encouraging people to receive the sacraments as well as apostolate work to vendors, pedicab drivers and street families. The parish has 3 senior and 3 junior praesidia as follows:
    • Senior Praesidium Maria Remediorum
    • Junior Praesidium Regina Mater
    • Senior Praesidium Star of the Sea
    • Junior Praesidium Mystical Rose
    • Senior Praesidium Mary Refuge of Sinners
    • Junior Praesidium Maria, Maningning na Tala

  • Mother Butler Guild
    The group is referred to as ‘handmaids of the altar’, a community that serves with love and humility and finds joy in the Lord. Their tasks include preparation of vestments for daily Masses; decorating the altar and environs, assist in the sacristy during Liturgical Celebrations; and help maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of altar linens and vestments.

  • Perpetual Eucharistic Adorers
    This small but cooperative group supervises the adorers in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. They welcome volunteers 20 years old and above.

    is found at the Remedios Training Center and serves the health and medical needs of parishioners of the Vicariate of Nuestra Senora de Guia.

    is a program of the Archdiocese of Manila which is strongly supported by the parish.

Our Community