Saturday, May 31, 2008


Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form: Recitation of the Confiteor

The Archdiocese of Chicago is spearheading a five-day Training for Priests who would like to learn to say the Traditional Latin Mass according to the 1962 Edition Typica of the Roman Missal. Here is a brief qoute from the News item from Zenit:

"Cardinal George, the archbishop of Chicago, said this about a five-day Traditional Latin Mass Training Workshop for priests and seminarians hosted last week by the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Chicago.Hailing from all over the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Lithuania, Italy, and the Philippines, the participating priests and seminarians stayed at the campus of Mundelein Seminary to attend a hands-on workshop on the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass of the Roman rite held at the Cardinal Stritch Retreat House. " Read more from Zenit .

Here is my opinion: How I wish that the steps undertaken by the Archdiocese of Chicago to comply with the express wishes of the Holy Father in his Motu Proprio S.F. will encourage other dioceses or ecclesistical provinces to equipp their seminarians and priests with the knowledge of this form of celebrating the Mass.

Reminiscence: The Catholic Church in Bandung, Indonesia

While checking my computer files this afternoon I found these photos. I took this pictures in November of 2007 during my second visit to Bandung, Indonesia. Bandung is the Capital City of West Java province. Its a two-hour drive from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Bandung has a long colonial History under the Dutch. It was the favorite vacation hide-away of the Dutch and even today it is still a famous tourist city in Indonesia. It is called Parsi von Java (the Paris of Java) It is connected by a six lane highway from Jakarta making land trip easier and faster. The majority of the People living in Bandung are called Sundanese or simply, Sunda. They have a reputation for beauty and gracefulness and also a valiant history. In 2007 I participated in the Programme Training on the Human Rights and Equal Status of Women in Southeast Asia sponsored by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Lund, Sweden in cooperation with the Padjadjaran University in Bandung. The two weeks workshop was hectic from dawn to dusk. But I tried my best to find time to visit the Cathedral of Bandung. The titular of the Cathedral is St. Peter. I was able to attend a Sunday Mass. The Sunday Mass was marvelous very solemn. The responsorial Psalms were sung and the Music were traditional hymns, very reverent in rendition. I hope that our Masses here in the Philippines could be celebrated in the same way. To think that in Indonesia Catholics are in a Minority. Yet despite of being a Minority Group, the Catholic Church exert influence especially in the field of Education. There are famous universities in Indonesia run by the Jesuits. In bandung they have the Parahayangan Catholic University, famous and one of the oldes in West Java. Established and administered by the Jesuits.

The Belfry of the Cathedral of St. Peter, Bandung, Indonesia

The Cathedral of Bandung is located in the City Center of Bandung located near the Bank of Indonesia Building and the Central Police Station. It is a prominent building and a sight to behold. Can you imagine the Catholic Church, a mere minority in Indonesia, yet it has a huge cathedral right in the Middle of Bandung? Indonesia is tolerant and respects freedom of religion. Although there is freedom of religion, the state recognizes only six religions, Islam, Roman Catholic, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism.

The Chancery, Bandung, Indonesia

This is the chancery and Pastoral center of the Diocese of Bandung. The Bishop's chair was vacant since January 19, 2006. It was only in May 17, 2008 that Johannes Maria Trilaksyanta Pujasumarta was elected as its current Bishop.

In front of the Chancery

After the mass, I tried every effort to meet the Parish Priest. I kissed his hand in a gesture of respect and I tried to strike a conversation with him in English. But he found it hard to speak in English instead he keep on talking to me in Bahasa Indonesia. But nonetheless he was delighted when I told him that I came from the Philippines.

The Cathedral Church in early Morning Dawn

Bank of Indonesia Building in Bandung

Co-Participants in the Human Rights Training in Small group Discussion, Malya Hotel, Bandung, Indonesia

Friday, May 30, 2008

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

I almost forgot that today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. The devotion to the Sacred Heart along with the Holy Rosary is one of the most popular devotion among Filipino Catholics. I believe that in the economic, social and political turmoil that our country is in, the more that we need to ever get closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Some Protestants accused Catholics of worshiping the Heart of Jesus. The heart of Jesus as depicted in the iconography symbolizes the love of God for all of us. He longs for our response and adoration. Each time we pray before the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Sacrament let us remember that in Christ we have the hope to be become better persons and enjoy eternal life.

Sacred Heart of Jesus on the High Altar of the Cathedral Church of St. Patrick in El Paso, TX


Lord, Almighty God, you have chosen to make your love for us humankind manifest through the heart of Jesus. May the Blood and water that gushed from his pierced heart become for us life and peace. Jesus Bless us as we obey and have great devotion for your heart, may we be filled with love for others. Amen.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


The month of May is a festive month in the Philippines. It is the month where most fiestas are celebrated in by villages and towns. Above all the Filipinos have a beautiful cultural as well as religious tradition known as "Santacruzan". The "Santracruzan" is a folkloric reenactment of the exultation of the Holy Cross. The different living dioramas shows Constantine as a little boy together with his mother St. Helena. On a given date a prade is held in the village or town where people renact the finding of the True Cross. This activity specially delightful to children. As a child I had fond memories of this events. We certainly love to participate in these processions and tableus because after the processions we were always treated with cookies, sweets and drinks by the Hemano or Hermana Mayor. The Hermano or Hermana is the leading lay person in the community who by recognized piety and means is willing to provide for the needs of the festivals. The Santacruzans are usually initiated by lay persons. The Procession is always preceded by a huge lantern made in the shape of a cross with bamboo as frames and Japanese paper as cover. The Cross usually depicts the symbols of torture such as the crown of thorns, the nails and flagellation instruments. On the side of the Cross there are two lanterns made in the shape of stars. Then at the middle of the procession is the Cross born on a platform with women and children singing as the procession goes its way. The singers are called cantoras (singers / chanters), the singing are accompanied by drums and trumpets as well as other musical instruments. Actually this folksy religious practice is Hispanic in origin, promoted by the Spanish Missionaries during the colonial period. The Friars were very creative in trying to convey the truth of the Christian Faith to the native population who were still young in faith. This practice aside from entertaining is also cultural. Although in some places this practice as denigrated into fashion shows, still in many rural areas it has retained its charm and religious significance.

The Santacruzan is taken from the story of St. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. St. Helena is a woman of Character, simplicity, and deep personal piety. She was marrid to a Roman General and bore him a son - Constantine. She was divorced by her husband and after the death of her husband Constantine became Emperor and subsequently made Chriatianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. You can read more about her from the Wikepedia.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Photos and Narration by Dr. Herbert

Here are some more pictures of our field research activities in Marinduque. Join us in our journey!

Botilao, Sta. Cruz

This is barangay (Filipino term for village) Botilao. We visited this barangay for the puspose of conducting interview with people who had direct experience with the environmental catasthrope that happened in Marinduqe almost ten years ago. Botilao is a remote village. One has to traverse narrow and treacherous roads along hillsides. We came on a rainy day. The Jeepney driver was prodding us to hurry and wrap up our interviews and visits because the downpour may create mud pools along the road which could get our vehicles stuck.

Giant Boulder

Along the Buenavista - Torrios Route, I saw this boulder and was inspired to take this picture. There are plenty of giant boulders along the way, which made me think that perhaps this part of the island was volcanic in origin. I was reminded of the words of Christ to Peter in Capenaum. "Thou art Rock and upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of hades will not overcome it!." Indeed what a statement summarizing the powers of God and the beauty of God's Church.

Writing Field Notes

I required my students to write field notes. After each day of field interviews, visitation, and observations, I require them to write expanded field notes. In order to set the proper learning athmosphere, I forbade them from bringing in guitar or cards. I even forbade them from watching television for the entire duration of the field work. As a teacher for the past 13 years I have learned that discipline is very important. A teacher has to be firm and should impose discipline. Thus I have developed a refutation for being strict and demanding teacher. Indeed, these character traits have contributed to the success of my teaching work. Young people need role models and figures whom they can emulate and respect. Hence a teacher is expected to behave in a mature manner and must show that he or she has moral ascendancy over his or her wards.

The Chancery

The Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marinduque helped us with our field work and in our research work.

The Tomb of Bishop Rafael Lim

Class Picture
This photo was taken just minutes before we left Marinduque. On the background is the dormitory of the Marinduque State College.

The Chefs

These are the group of students who were assigned with doing the household chores during our entire stay in Marinduque. They cooked for us, washed dishes, did some shopping, etc.. At times when the rest were busy with their Field Notes and writing reports, I would visit these group in the kitchen and would find time to chat with them. Sometimes I would supervise their cooking and washing of dishes. The three boys seated in the photo were nicknamed "Kung fu Kids" by their classmates because they looked younger for their age. But they were very helpful and industrious. They volunteered to carry my luggages and the teaching paraphernalia we brought along with us.

My Favorite Saint

Here again is my favorite saint, St. Anthony of Padua. I found his image occupying a nich in the right side of the reredos. St. Anthony pray for us!

St. Mark

Here is another saint close to my heart. St. Mark the Evangelist. St. Mark wrote a brief narrative of Christ's life and Passion. He is credited with founding the Church in Alexandria

Rev. Fr. Diego de Saura

I saw this marker on the grounds of the Boac Cathedral, the inscription reads: "El Pueblo de la isla de Menorca, a su Hijo Reverendo Padre Diego de Saura, Misionero Jesuita en la isla de Marinduque, 1598-1631".

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Marinduque: The Beauty of Nature Proclaims the Glory of God

Pictures and Narration by Dr. Herbert

"The Heavens declares the Glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork..." proclaims the psalmist.

A small island-province in Central Philippines, Marinduque speaks of such profound natural beauty that will not escape the notice of a well seasoned traveller. The island-province is divided into six municipalities namely Boac - the Capital, Mogpog, Gasan, Buenavista, Santa Cruz and Torrijos. It hit world wide attention in 1996 becuse of the environmental damage caused by the spilt of the mine tailings on the Boac River. But despite of this tragic event, the island-province has done its best to overcome the negative consequences brought by the accident. The outstanding characteristics of the Marinduquenos in general is their is their friendliness and hospitality.
I considered my recent visit to Marinduque as a grand homecoming. It was twenty years ago since I visited the Island-Province. Nothing much has changed, except that most of the main roads are now paved, more vehicles on the road and of course the improved nautical highway.
The wooden boat that use to fly the Balanacan-Dalahican ports is now gone and is replaced by larger and safer ferry boats. However, one thing is sad - there is no more airline service to the island. There use to be the Philippine Airlines, but it suspended its service some years ago. Then there was the Asian Spirit, but it also decided to suspend flights. The cost and the lack of regular customers perhaps were the reasons for the suspension of the flights. But with the "roll-on-roll-off" service, travel by sea has been made more efficient and safe. Those wishing to visit Marinduque can take the Bus from Manila to Lucena City in Quezon Province and from there take the ferry boat from Dalahican to Balanacan. Travel by ferry takes three hours on the average.

Elephant Island

A couple of days before the conclusion of the field practicum of my students, we decided to tour Marinduque. We passed by this beautiful scenery I caputured on the camera. It was a stormy and windy day because of typhoon Cosme and the moonsoon rains. We though we came at the wrong time. But no... It was actually a blessing in disguise. The island you see on the picture is called Elephant Island - called elephant because its shape, as seen from a distance, resembles that of a reclining elephant.
The seeming isolation of this small islet reminds us of the need to trust in the Lord. They that trust in the Lord shall remain forever. Oh Lord how wonderful are you in all the earth.

Stormy Shores along the Gasan - Buenavista Route

I was sitting in front of the Jeepney. I took this picture while we were driving the Gasan - Buenavista Route. The Tres Reyes Islands as seen from the stormy seas. We made this trip on a stormy day. This event reminded me of the words from the Scriptures which say, "Even the storm engulfed us, we will trust in the Lord... Oh Lord our God how wonderful is your name in all the earth..."

A Fisherman's Shanty on the Shore of Lipata, the Elephant Island on the Background

A lone fisherman's shanty along the shore. The poverty and the humility of this home evokes pity, but I am reminded of our Lord's Incarnation. He was born poor, in a stable, and wrapped in swaddling clothes. Christ said that the foxes have holes, the birds have nests but the Son of Man has no where to lay his head.
"Poverty let me be your sister that like Christ and like St. Francis I may discover the true wealth that lasts to eternal life, where moth nor rust will not destroy. Who will separate us from the love of God? shall persecution, poverty, death, etc..., no... no one will separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus..."

Poctoy White Beach, Torrijos, Marinduque

Poctoy white beach in Torrijos, Marinduque. The Marinduquenos are proud of this beach. On our way home a young gentleman approached me and introduced himself as the Vice-Mayor of the Municipality. He asked me how I found their beach and he wished that I would have enjoyed my stay. He was apologetic that about the weather. We came on a windy day because of the storm Cosme and the brewing low pressure area somewhere near Cagayan. I assured the Vice-Mayor that we really enjoyed our stay. The Marinduquenos are really very friendly. They will never hesitate to approach strangers and they will show every form of hospitality if only to please their guests. This reminded me of the Pauline instruction to be hospitable, because some unknowingly have entertained angels. Hospitality is a virtue and not every one has it. But one thing is sure, hospitality is second nature to almost every one in this island. Majority of the people here are not rich in terms of material possessions, but they are rich in goodwill and hospitality towards guests and strangers.

Wood Carvings on Display

The island is rich in flora and fauna. There are different birds and flowers around the island. This is reflected in their wood carvings. Most ornamental carvings in Gasan portrays birds, flowers and the omnious Longinus of the Moriones. Birds, butterflies and flowers are often featured in their carvings, perhaps because once upon a time this beautiful island was home to a variety of birds and butterflies.

Ornamentals for Sale

The wood carvings of colorful birds are really beautiful. This never failed to fascinate me.

Shoppers Delight

Shoppers bargaining and haggling with souvenir vendors. In this island, there seems to be no fixed price. Haggling is an art and a way of life. One has to be skillful in the art of human relations. But Marinduquenos are very generous and ever ready to grant concessions. We found great bargains on this shop in Gasan.

Beautiful Handicrafts

Carvings of Longinus masks. Marinduque is a place where the legend of Longinus is celebrated every Holy Week of each year. Hence Marinduque though a small island is known for the Moriones Festival.

Souvinir Shop in Gasan, Marinduque

There are not too many shops in Gasan, but this one truly satisfied our wants and curiosity.

The Giant Image of Our Lady of Immediate Succor, Mogpog, Marinduque

"My Lady your beauty is above all..." The giant image of Our Lady of Immediate Succor stands proud at the Balanacan Port in Mogpog Marinduque. Balanacan is the entry point for passengers going to Boac and the low lying areas of Marinduque. This giant image proclaims the faith of the Marinduquenos. The people of Marinduque are deeply religious. It is interesting to note that Cardinal Vidal of the Archdiocese of Cebu is a Native of Mogpog, Marinduque.

Clouds, Sunny Skies, Nipa and Bamboo Hut

A typical native hut. This picture was taken from the shores of Banuyo. Our friend Aling Consol arranged for us to get a pump boat that will take us to the beautiful Tres Reyes Islands. I met Aling Consol twenty years ago and she was delighted to see me again and she said many things has changed in my appearance and bearings. I told her that I have grown older...

Small Fishing Boat

A small fishing boat ready to sail.

Pristine waters and Coral Shores

A coral shore in one of the islets known as Tres Reyes. Named after the Three wise men who presented gifts at the Nativity of Our Lord. These three islets are named, Melchor, Baltazar and Gaspar. A famous diving area rich in bio-diversity. We enjoyed our entire afternoon in this beach. The waters were clean and crystal clear. The sun was pure and the air was one hundred percent fresh.

Cool and inviting waters off Tres Reyes, a Diver's Delight

The submerge portion of the shore of Tres Reyes. This is not white sand but small particles of corals gathered by the current of the sea and naturally form a shore like appearance. The view looks very inviting, but you must be a good swimmer because the waters are deep. If you decide to walk on these coral formations be sure you know how to swim.

The National Museum in Boac

Boac Hotel and the Main Street

Marinduque State College Student's Dormitory

Our group comprising of fifty-five persons all in all stayed on this Dormitory for a week. This is the student's dormitory of the Marinduque State College in Tanza, Boac, Marinduque

The Cathedral of Boac

Photos and narration by Dr. Herbert

Jesus said, "...and when I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me."

St. John the Evangelist

Organizational Structure of the Diocese of Boac

The Vision of the Diocese as shown on the bulletin Board: "A Church of the Poor, with Justice, Love and Peace." Catholic Doctrine teaches that the Diocese is the local Church with the faithful gathered around their Bishop as the Head of the Local Church, successor to the apostles. The Bishop in communion with other Bishops must stand united to the Successor of St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome, in doctrine, praxis and faith, bound by the chain of obedience.

Benedict XVI, Supreme Pontiff

The portrait of Pope Benedict XVI in the receiving room of the Chancery. Unlike other Bishops, the Bishop of Rome exercises universal jurisdiction, possess infallibility in matters of doctrine and faith. Every one is bound by obedience to the occupants of the Chair of St. Peter. Hence in every chancery, pastoral offices and other religious houses it is customary to display the portrait of the reigning Pontiff to show its allegiance to Rome and demonstrate its Catholicity.

Most Rev. Reynaldo G. Evangelista, D.D. Bishop of Boac

The Bishop is the leader of the local Church. In his Church he is father, leader and teacher. The exalted quality that a Bishop must possess is his ability to teach. They stand as a successors of the apostles. The Bishop possess the fulness of the Priesthood, a High Priest. We owe our obedience to our Bishop.

Venerating the Crucified Christ

I could not help it but be moved by personal piety to touch and pray before the crucified image of Christ found in the side wall of the church building.

A Collection of Pre-Vatican II Missals, Chalices, Ciboriums, Humeral Veils and Photos at the Chancery of Boac Cathedral

An Old Missal

An Old Missal and Sacramentary
With the reforms after the Second Vatican Council, many churches underwent repair in order to suit the principles promoted by the reformed Liturgy. For instance, many churches have to build a new altar detached from the wall and also the removal of the communion rails. And also the beautiful baroque reredos and the saints. In Boac however, they have retained the ornate and baroque sty reredos. Its inspiring to see how these marvelous works of art are preserved. Art is not simply a passing expression of emotion but it also en capsulize principles and beliefs. Thus the church places importance in religious art. Let me share with you some photos I have taken while touring the Boac Cathedral. To me it was not just a simple visit, but it was a "mini-pilgrimage". Once I saw the image of the Virgin, it evoked peace and tranquility in my heart. Right there and then I know that the Blessed Lady is watching over us and extending his protection over us.

Carved Angel Perched on the branches of a vine on the side of the Reredo.

Both in the Bible and in Tradition Angels play important roles in the history of salvation. During the time of Moses, the Lord instructed him to put an image of an angel before the Ark of the Covenant. Angles are ministers of the Lord especially in the worship of God. It was said that angels are organized according to Choirs. Isaiah the prophet, when brought into the vision of God bowed down in humble adoration and felt his unworthiness. He heard the angels without ceasing sung the words "Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty, Lord of hosts..." Thus in the Mass we join the angels in singing the song of praise to God. St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians told the Christians in Corinth to behave well and to be orderly in their assemblies because the angels are watching, ready to minister according to the word of God. Angles are also messengers as in the case of St. Gabriel, they are also healers as in the case of St. Raphael.

Our Lady of Salvation

I was surprised to see the image of Our Lady of Salvation in one of the side altars. This image of Our Lady is the Patron Saint of the diocese where I belong, the Diocese of Legazpi. This is a venerated image in the entire province of Albay. In the icon, the Lady is depicted as drawing souls out of perdition and distributing help to those in need. Indeed, our Lady continues her work in cooperation with the Most Blessed Trinity. Truly a handmaid of the Lord. By her intercessions and prayers she helps souls discover the goodness of God.

St. Luke the Evangelist

St. Luke one of the companions of St. Paul, a teacher of the Word of God, an Evangelist and a writer. His rendetion of the Gospel appear to be scholarly reflecting his status as a learned physician. This nearly life size carved image is in the main door of the Cathedral.

The Gate of the Cathedral Church

"Come to me all of you who are burdened, learn of me for I am meek and Humble of Heart."

Unlike the pharisees who created man made laws to burden the faithful, the teachings of Christ is simple, it makes people holy, and enduces one to love the Lord with a pure heart. For he said, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light..."

An Angel perched on the Gate of the Cathedral as in the gesture of Protecting the Church.

The ancients believed that every Church has a guardian angel. Thus when we attend the Mass it behooves us to be conscious of this reality - that we have a powerful guardian always ready to protect us.

The Ornate Door of the Cathedral Church, depicting the four evangelists, Luke, Matthew, John and Mark.

I was so fascinated with this door. My companions keep on bugging me why I feel so fascinated by this door. I really dont know why, perhaps its because they have the image of the four evangelists. The author of Gospels I love so much and has been part of my childhood.

Pentecost Sunday at Boac Cathedral, from Left my students Gebar and Andrei, myself and Mrs. Gina Oropesa

The Boac Cathedral dedicated to the Immaculate Conception has a two hundred years or so history. As the marker indicates, that in the past its fortress like structure has been a shelter for both Spaniards and Natives during intermittent attacks from pirates and roving Moros. The structure really facinates me. The Cathedral is situated on top of a hill known as Mataas na Bayan (Tagalog term for Village on Top of a Hill) overlooking the town of Boac. Its towering belfry calls the faithful of Boac to Prayer at the same time it is also used to warn people of impending dangers, such as fires and attacks from pirates during the 17th century.

Christ Over the Skyline of Boac

The Towering Image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in front of the Chancery Overlooking the Main Street of Boac with Jesus in the gesture of extending both a Blessing and an invitation.

The Social Hall

The Social Hall of the Chancery where my students attended a lecture given by Members of the Staff of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Boac

Visiting the Bishop's Private Chapel

This is the Chapel of the Bishop. Very beautiful, quiet and if you are a lover of art you will recognize its beauty, dignity and simplicity. Displayed on the Chapel is the Image of Our Lady of Immediate Succor, Patroness of the Diocese of Boac.

Holy Water Font at the Entrance

Its interesting to observe that in Boac the faithful still dip their fingers in Holy Water Fonts before entering the church. Our Catechism says that Holy Water can remove venial sins when in a state of grace we bless ourselves with it.

The Main Gate to the Cathedral Church

Newly Built Shrine to the Virgin of Biglang-Awa

We feel blest for being the first one to attend Holy Mass in this newly built chapel. The Priest who celebrated mass said that it was the first time that a Mass was held in this newly built chapel. Indeed what a blessing and a sign of grace.

Marker at the Boac Cathedral