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Can We Not Be United?

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in altum

 

Atty. Aurora A. SantiagoIt was very disgusting to see one senator put off the microphone of another senator while the latter was cross-examining the witness in the Senate hearing on extrajudicial killing. The culprit Senator actually curtailed the constitutional right to freedom of speech of a fellow senator. Has character and good breeding been blown by the wind?

I share the observations of a colleague in the law profession, Prof. Jemy Gatdula, and I quote: “What matters is your integrity, consistency, reliability, in a word: character… Do you want a better Philippines, an independent country that has values, standards, and actually stands for something? Because if you do, then … let’s work together, and talk and smooth our differences over… If you must criticize, back it up with a constructive suggested solution. Otherwise, prudence and good intelligence dictates silence… Politics and governance require serious people, of serious intent, of serious character = all working together and not against each other… This is our country, our Philippines, not mine or yours alone. Let’s remember that this country has always been intended to be a sum greater than our individual parts. So let’s work together as a people, not as individuals or province-mates, but as one people for one, strong-principled Philippines. Frankly, I am tired of seeing my friends – smart, hard working, kind people, well intentioned, and all wanting a better country – fight against each other like kids.”

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The Council of the Laity of Kalookan initiated a concert for a cause to finance the Rehabilitation Program of the Diocese for drug dependents who surrendered to the authorities. It is entitled “LaYKo si Pads, Level Up (Habag at Awa)” with clergy and surprise guest celebrities as performers. The Concert is on November 18, 2016, Friday, at 7pm at the PICC, Pasay City.

A fitting quote from St. Augustine: “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sigh and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”

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We annually observe the National Laity Week during the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz, who together with San Pedro Calungsod are the patron saints of the laity. This year it is on September 24 to October 01, 2016; the theme is “Masayang FAMILIA… naglilingkod sa Sambahayan, sa Sambayanan!” The Launching’s host is the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan on September 24 from 7am to 6pm. The Closing Ceremony’s host is the Diocese of Dumaguete on October 01.

To celebrate the National Laity Week, the Council of the Laity of Kalookan will sponsor a Recollection on September 29, 2016, Thursday, at 5p.m. at San Roque Cathedral, A. Mabini St., Caloocan City. The Recollection Speaker is none other than His Excellency, Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio “Ambo” David, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan. The 6pm Mass will follow. All parishioners, lay organizations, renewal movements, students and schools are invited to attend the Recollection. It is open to all; no registration fee.

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Bishop Ambo David personally handed to His Holiness, Pope Francis, his book entitled “The Gospel of Mercy According to Juan and Juana” at the General Audience at St Peter’s Square on September 7, 2016. Bishop Ambo said the Pope’s eyes “lighted up with delight when I gave him what I called our humble contribution to the Jubilee of Mercy, from the Filipino perspective. But when I told him I had it translated into Spanish just so he could really read and enjoy it and presented the elegantly hard-bound Spanish version, he opened the book, flipped its pages, raised his eyebrows, his eyes switched from dim to bright, opened his mouth in disbelief and said, “No me digas!” (No kidding!) I said, “Yes, Holy Father, a friend of mine and one of my priests in Caloocan, an Argentinian, have translated it for you. I felt blessed; so I’m sharing the joy.”

Bishop Ambo also gave Pope Francis a specially-hand-carved wooden Papal Ferula or pastoral staff done by a wood carver from Betis, Pampanga. Ferula is for the Pope, as Crosier is for the bishops. The Pope joyfully accepted the Ferula.

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St. Teresa of Calcutta, called “living saint” when she was still alive, was canonized by His Holiness, Pope Francis, last September 04, 2016 at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican, amidst 300,000 devotees. Like St. John Paul II, she had been in the Philippines; she had her mission by caring and being with the poor, because “she sees Christ in them”.

I considered myself blessed. I had seen both saints during their lifetime. I had a closer view of St. John Paul II when his motorcade passed in front of the Rizal Monument in Luneta during the World Youth Day 1995 Vigil. He gave his blessing when he was right in front of us. Everyone around me, including me, were all crying with joy. The following day’s Mass at Quirino Grandstand, I could see him just a few meters away from where I was; as member of the Secretariat of the then Ecclesiastical District of CALMANA (Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas), I can enter the cordoned area in front of the Grandstand.

I saw St. Teresa of Calcutta when she was walking the streets of Tondo, Manila together with the nuns of Missionaries of Charity, the congregation she organized with aim and mission:”to quench the infinite thirst of Jesus on the cross for love and souls by labouring at the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor.”

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Congratulations Most Rev. Francisco De Leon! We pray that our good Lord inspire and guide you in your journey as the new Shepherd of the Diocese of Antipolo. His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle led the Canonical Installation of Bishop Francis as the 4th Bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Dagupan-Pangasinan was the Homilist. The message of Nuncio Giuseppe Pinto, who was in Vatican City, was read during the ceremony. Archbishops, bishops, clergy, religious, deacons and seminarians from the Dioceses of Antipolo, Kalookan, Manila witnessed the solemn ceremony. We pray for the good health of Most Rev. Gabriel Reyes, Bishop Emeritus of Antipolo.

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Happy Birthday to Fr. Jeronimo Ma. Cruz, our parish priest in San Ildefonso de Navotas and Vicar General of the Diocese; Fr. Elpidio “Jun” Erlano, Fr. Nestor Fajardo; also Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Rufino Yabut, Fr. Jun Erlano and Fr. Oscar Lucas,OMI.

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