News & Events

Archbishop Charles Brown, the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines arrived in Manila on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020.

According to CBCP News, Archbishop Brown arrived at the NAIA Terminal 2 onboard Philippine Airlines from his home city, New York, at around 7:20 a.m.

Archbishop Charles John Brown, the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, arrives in Manila on Nov. 29. | Photo Credit: Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas Tolentino Facebook Page

The Vatican Ambassador was welcomed by Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David who is also the Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), and Paranaque Bishop Jesse Mercado.

Upon his arrival at the airport, Archbishop Brown was greeted by some government officials and staff of the Apostolic Nunciature, said the CBCP News

On September 28, 2020, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Brown as Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines and is expected to present his credentials to the Philippine government anytime soon.

Archbishop Brown worked for the Congregation for the Faith from 1994 up to his appointment as nuncio. He became a Chaplain of His Holiness in May 2006. He was appointed Adjunct Secretary of the International Theological Commission in September 2009.

The 61-year old archbishop was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland on November 26, 2011, and Apostolic Nuncio to Albania on March 9, 2017. He was consecrated Archbishop on January 6, 2012, by Pope Benedict XVI.

He replaced Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, who now heads the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission in the United Nations in New York.

An apostolic nuncio (also known as a papal nuncio or simply as a nuncio) is an ecclesiastical diplomat, serving as an envoy or a permanent diplomatic representative of the Holy See to a state or to an international organization.

A nuncio is appointed by and represents the Holy See, and is the head of the diplomatic mission, called an Apostolic Nunciature, which is the equivalent of an embassy. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)


The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has appointed Msgr. Bernardo Pantin from the Archdiocese of Palo, Leyte province as their new secretary-general.

According to CBCP News, Msgr. Pantin’s appointment was confirmed during the CBCP Permanent Council meeting on Wednesday. He replaced Fr. Marvin Mejia of the Cebu Archdiocese who has been in the position since 2013. His term ended on October 31, 2020.

Before his appointment on November 25, Msgr. Pantin has been CBCP’s assistant secretary-general, a post which will also be filled-in according to CBCP News.

Msgr. Bernardo Pantin, the new Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. | Photo Credit: CBCP News

Msgr. Pantin, 59, was born in McArthur, Leyte, took his Philosophy at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo, and Theology at the UST Central Seminary in Manila, where he earned his Licentiate in Canon Law.

He was ordained priest in 1986.

He finished his Doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome in 1990.

In December 1994, he was installed as papal chaplain and was given the title of monsignor.

He became Rector at the St. John the Evangelist School of Theology in Palo. He also held the post of Vice President for the Visayas of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines.

Msgr. Pantin was also the Rector of the Palo Cathedral when Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck Leyte in 2013. In 2014 he was transferred to the CBCP office in Manila. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)

Becoming Jesus’ Missionary Disciples


Dearly Beloved People of God,

The Philippine Church rejoices as it enters a national celebration of the 500 Years of Christianity in our treasured homeland. Five centuries ago we received the marvelous gift of the Christian faith; our hearts overflow with joy and gratitude. Why of all the nations and peoples in Asia was the Philippines chosen by God to be among the first to receive this precious gift? The clear answer is simply this: God’s magnanimous, overflowing love.

We recall what God told his people Israel regarding his choice: “It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations. It was because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity…” (Dt 7:7-8). Only God’s freely given love can illuminate the choice of the Filipino people to receive this valuable gift of faith!

The Christian faith arrived and prospered in our land through the dedication and heroic sacrifices of thousands of men and women missionaries from various parts of the world. They treasured the gift of faith they had received and desired to share this gift with others. As the theme chosen by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for this fifth centennial notes: all Christians are “gifted to give.” This “giftedness” motivated generous missionaries over the centuries; it must also enflame the hearts of all of us today to engage in mission here at home and in other countries (missio ad gentes). Indeed, this is part of Jesus’ mission mandate to his disciples: “What you have received as a gift, give as a gift” (Mt 10:8). We pray for a missionary renewal of our Church—both at home (ad intra) and beyond our borders (ad extra) during our celebration of the 500 years—and into the future!

Missionary Transformation. Our beloved Pope Francis, who visited us in 2015, is committed to the missionary renewal of the entire Church; we can take inspiration from his document Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). He asserts that we need an “evangelizing Church that comes out of herself,” not a Church that is “self-referential” and “lives within herself, of herself, for herself” (cf. EG 20-24). Francis says: “I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation…. All renewal in the Church must have mission as its goal if it is not to fall prey to a kind of ecclesial introversion” (EG 27). We seek to renew our mission enthusiasm here at home as well as missio ad gentes, mission to other nations and peoples.

Pope Francis continues: “Missionary outreach is paradigmatic for all the Church’s activity…. We need to move ‘from a pastoral ministry of mere conservation to a decidedly missionary pastoral ministry'” (EG 15). “I want to emphasize that what I am trying to express here has programmatic significance and important consequences…. Throughout the world, let us be ‘permanently in a state of mission'” (EG 25). We must seek to “put all things in a missionary key” (EG 34). We recall the challenge of Pope John Paul II during his 1981 visit to our Church: “I wish to tell you of my special desire: that the Filipinos will become the foremost missionaries of the Church in Asia.” This is a clear invitation to engage in missio ad gentes!

Pope Francis’ insights about Church missionary renewal come from his deep personal relationship with Christ. He writes: “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ…. I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day” (EG 3). A pivotal insight of Pope Francis is that “we are all missionary disciples” (EG 119); through baptism, “all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples” (EG 120). All Christians are “agents of evangelization.” Missionary evangelization “calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized…. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries,’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples'” (EG 120).

Joy: A Convincing Sign. For Pope Francis, salvation history is a “great stream of joy” (EG 5) which we must also enter. Let the joy of faith be revived, because God’s mercies never end (cf. EG 6). Unfortunately, “there are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter” (EG 6). “An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral” (EG 10). We must not become “querulous and disillusioned pessimists, ‘sourpusses'” (EG 85). “May the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ (EG 10; cf. EN 75). We all must not “end up stifling the joy of mission” (EG 79), both here at home and in other lands!

Mercy: Today’s Pathway in Mission. Pope Francis continually insists that mercy is the very essence of God. In his Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy) Francis expresses it this way: mercy is God’s identity card. He says: “We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace…. Mercy [is] the bridge that connects God and man” (MV 2). Francis quotes Saint Thomas Aquinas, who asserts that “mercy is the greatest of all virtues; … all the others revolve around it … it is proper to God to have mercy” (EG 37). “Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love” (MV 10).

“The Church is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel, which in its own way must penetrate the heart and mind of every person…. As the Church is charged with the task of the new evangelization, the theme of mercy needs to be proposed again and again with new enthusiasm and renewed pastoral action…. In our parishes, communities, associations and movements, in a word, wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy” (MV 12).

Conclusion. Pope Francis’ profound thoughts on missionary renewal, joy, and mercy provide a solid compass to guide us as individuals and communities during our 500-years celebration and in the year 2021 which is dedicated to missio ad gentes (mission to all peoples). With Pope Francis we ask two graces of the Lord: “Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary vigor” (EG 109). “Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary enthusiasm” (EG 80). We remain constant in prayer, asking our two canonized “foreign” missionary saints, Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod, to intercede for us so that our loving God will always abundantly bless our Church in the Philippines and all her many missionary endeavors!

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,

Archbishop of Davao
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
29 November 2020, First Sunday of Advent


Archbishop Charles John Brown, the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, will arrive in the country on Sunday, November 29, 2020, according to the communiqué to the bishops

According to CBCP News, upon his arrival, he will present his credentials to the Philippine government.

Archbishop Charles John Brown, the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines | Photo Credit:

Bishops shall welcome the new apostolic nuncio, as the country sets to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Christianity in 2021.

He will be coming from New York, where he had a few weeks break after his duty as nuncio to Albania.

On October 23, 2020, Archbishop Brown met Pope Francis during a private audience in the Vatican.

His Holiness Pope Francis appointed His Excellency Most Rev. Charles John Brown, D.D. as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, succeeding Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, on September 28, 2020, at noon (Rome time) and 6 pm (Philippine time.) (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC)

The Red Wednesday, the annual campaign for awareness for persecuted Christians organized by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), will be held online this year on November 25, 2020. With the theme “Red Means Love: One Church Against COVID-19,” the campaign is dedicated not only to those being persecuted because of their faith but also to the heroic frontliners responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, to those who got sick with virus and also for the victims of the recent typhoons that devastated some regions in country.

According to Jonathan Luciano, National Director of ACN Philippines, this year’s Red Wednesday is dedicated to the "martyrdom" of frontliners who took the risk of being infected by the coronavirus during the pandemic because of their love for their service and for the people they serve.

“For this year, we decided to go back and reflect - love, indeed is the root of everything. Of charity, of hope, of faith. Ang pag-ibig ng Diyos ang pinagmulan ng lahat. We hope that Red Wednesday, together with the Recollection Concert, will inspire the faithful. Despite hard times, there is a reminder of love,” Mr. Luciano told the Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications.

The 2020 celebration of Red Wednesday will be the first-ever institutionalized celebration in the Philippines, where all dioceses and parishes will participate.

Aside from the churches and shrines that yearly join in the campaign, this year hospitals will be participating and will be decorated and lit in red, simultaneous with the celebration of the Holy Mass at 6 in the evening in Dagupan to be presided by Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, ACN Philippine President.

The Mass will be followed by a Recollection Concert at 8 pm with Msgr. Gerardo Santos as the Recollection Master. Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David will also give a reflection in the vent.

Among the guests who will take part in the concert are Kantabella, Young Voices of the Philippines, selected priests from the Archdiocese of Lngayen-Dagupan and Mr. Jose Mari Chan, who will be joined by his family.

The recollection concert, Mr. Luciano said, is also a reminder of the coming Christ, as the Catholic has just celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King and is now preparing for the Advent Season.

“Brothers and sisters, the love of God will remain. The recollection concert is also our way of reminding everyone that Christmas is about to come. Christ is about to come, at nararapat tayong magbunyi. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Advent is coming, and dawn is near,” said Mr. Luciano.

The Red Wednesday campaign is an initiative of the Aid to Church in Need that creates awareness among Filipino Christians about the severity of Christian persecution and invites everyone “to make a visible statement by wearing red and, if resources allow, light their own parishes or respective buildings or local monuments in red.

ACN is a Papal charity organization dedicated to the service of Christians around the world, through information, prayer, and action, wherever they are persecuted or oppressed or suffering material need. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)

May iba’t bang paraan ng pagtingin sa panahon kasi may iba’t ibang kalendaryo. Familiar tayo sa civil year na nagsisimula sa January 1. Diyan naka-base ang ating mga kalendaryo. Pero mayroon din naman tayong school year, ang kalendaryo ng mga eskuwelahan. Mayroon ding fiscal year, ang kalendaryo ng business. Alam din natin ang Chinese New Year, na ibang kalendaryo din ang sinusundan.

Sa simbahan, mayroon din tayong liturgical year, ang kalendaryo ng simbahan. Sa simbahan, ang Linggong ito ay ang huling Linggo ng taon ng simbahan. Sa susunod na Linggo, magsisimula tayo ng bagong panahon ng simbahan – ang panahon ng adbiyento.

Today, which is the last Sunday of the year of the Church, we remember the end of time. Lahat ng bagay ay nagtatapos pati na ang panahon ay magtatapos. At ang lahat ng bagay sa mundong ito ay magtatapos. Bilang mga Kristiyano, naniniwala tayo na ang lahat ay nasa kamay ng Diyos. Sa Kanya nagsimula ang lahat, ang lahat ay babalik sa Kanya.

Narinig natin sa sulat ni San Pablo sa mga taga Korinto, “Kapag ang lahat ay nasa ilalim na ng kapangyarihan ni Kristo, ang anak naman ang paiilalim sa kapangyarihan ng Diyos na naglagay  ng lahat ng bagay sa ilalim ng kapangyarihan niya. Sa gayon, lubusang maghahari ang Diyos sa kalahat lahatan.”

Dumating si Hesus sa mundo upang iligtas tayo. Hanggang ngayon patuloy ang proseso ng pagliligtas. Magtatapos ito sa wakas ng panahon at hindi mabibigo ang balak ng Diyos na kaligtasan. Ang tagumpay ni Hesus sa kamatayan at kasamaan ay magiging klaro na sa lahat kaya ngayong Linggo, pinagdiriwang natin ang dakilang kapistahan ni Kristong Hari. Ito ay paalaala sa atin sa wagas na tagumpay ni Kristo.

Ayon sa ating ebanghelyo, uupo siya sa Kanyang maringal na trono na puno ng kaluwalhatian, na napapalibutan ng lahat ng mga anghel at lahat ng mga tao. Si Kristong Hari ay siya rin ang dakilang hukom. Tulad ng pastol, paghihiwalayin niya ang mga tupa, hahatulan niya ang bawat isa.

Sa isang talinhaga ni Hesus, tayo ay parang mga isang bukid na sama samang tumutubo ang mga trigo at ang mga damo. Pagdating ng tag-ani, ihihiwalay ang mga trigo sa mga damo. Ang mga trigo ay dadalhin sa warehouse habang ang mga damo naman ay susunugin.

Sa isa pang talinhaga, inihambing ni Hesus ang paghahari ng Diyos ngayon sa isang lambat na itinapon sa dagat. Lahat ng uri ng isda ay napasaloob ng lambat. Hihilahin ang lambat sa dalampasigan at doon na paghihiwalayin ng mangingisda ang mabubuti at mapapakinabang na mga isda at itatapon ang mga walang kuwenta. There will be a judgment. There will be a separation between the good and the bad.

Napakaraming kasamaan ang nangyayari sa mundo natin. May mga masasamang tao, nakikita natin ang maraming masasama ang nang-aapi, nagssamantala at hindi napananagot. Parang maganda pa nga ang buhay nila. Umaasenso pa ang masasasama. Kung dito lang ang mundo, napakalupit ng buhay. Pero hindi lang dito magtatapos ang lahat. May matuwid na hukom. Itutuwid ang lahat. Gagantimpalaan ang mabuti at paparusahan ang masama.

Sinulat ni Papa Benedicto, “Evil doers in the end do not seat at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction as though nothing had happened.”

Matuwid ang Diyos, hindi siya pabaya. Pananagutin niya ang lahat. Ang Diyos na makatarungan ay maghahari. Ang katotohanang ito’y nagbibigay ng lakas ng loob sa mga nakikibaka sa katarungan. Hindi masasayang ang pagsisikap nila. Magtatagumpay sila.

This is the dire warning to those who are unjust. You cannot forever hide in lies and in injustice. You will answer for your wrong doings.

And the message this Sunday is also clear – there is a forever.  Magpasawalang hanggan ang kaligayahan sa langit na inihanda ng Diyos para sa atin. At magpasawalang hanggan ang parusa sa impiyerno na inihanda ng Diyos hindi para sa atin kundi para sa diyablo at sa kanyang mga kampon. Doon pupunta ang masasama.

Wala pa tayo saw akas ng panahon pero papunta tayo doon at bawat sandal ay lumalapit tayo sa wakas ng panahon. Mabuti at sinabi na sa atin ngayon ng Salita ng Diyos kung ano ang batayan ng paghuhusga ng bawat isa sa atin. Magbibigay sa atin ng test ang Diyos. Ang huli at pinakamahalagang test sa ating buhay at ibinigay na niya ang test question. Kailangan na lang nating sagutin sa pang araw araw na buhay natin ngayon ang test question na ito. There will be no surprise question. Kung hindi binigay ni Hesus ang test question, magugulat tayo.

In our usual way of thinking, in order to have good standing with God, we have to do religious things like praying, going to Mass, going into fasting, praying the rosary, reading the Bible at iba pa. Pero hindi tayo gaanong titignan sa mga pang simbahang gawain tulad ng mga ito. Tatanungin tayo sa mga ginawa natin sa ating kapwa.

The way to God is through our fellow human beings. Yes, we do religious things, but these are only means so that we can approach and do good to our fellow human beings. The religious things and activities that we do are not ends in themselves, they are means to lead us to people. The religious activity should make us more human to others and being more human, we become more divine.

Isa pang sorpresa kung hindi agad sinabi ni Hesus, para sa marami, mabuti na tayo kung hindi tayo gumagawa ng masama sa iba - Hindi naman ako nagnanakaw, hindi naman ako pumatay, hindi naman ako nanira sa iba. Pero ayon kay Hesus, titignan ng Diyos ang mga kabutihang ginawa natin o hindi natin ginawa. Naging masama tayo at ganun kasama na ipapatapon tayo sa impiyerno dahil sa kabutihan na hindi natin ginawa – hindi nagpakain, hindi bumisita, hindi nag-alaga.

We should consider this seriously because many of us do not do bad things to others. However, we also do not go out our way to do good to others. And there are so many others to do good to. And who are these others? Not the big people in our society, not our relatives and friends, yung mga hindi pinapansin, yung isinasantabi, yung binabale wala. Maraming mga tao ang nandiyan pero hindi natin nakikita at hindi pinapansin. There are invisible people around us not because they are ghost but because we are so accustomed not to mind them. Maaaring yan ay ang driver, ang taga laba, ang nagbebenta ng bulaklak, ang naglalako ng taho, ang pulubi sa daan o kalsada, ang mga bilanggo – libu libo yang isinasang tabi at pinagsasamantalahan pa sa mga kulungan. Ang mga may kapansanan na itinatago pati na ng kanilang mga pamilya. Ang mga may bisyo na para sa iba ay okay lang na patayin sapagkat wala naman daw pakinabang. Ang mga matatanda na madalas ay nasa sulok lang ng bahay, kung may bahay pa nga.

Sila ang dapat pansinin. Ang tulong na ibibigay sa kanila ay hindi naman espesyal at hindi naman magastos. Basic needs lang tulad ng food, water, clothing, shelter, pagbisita at maaari pang dagdagan -  kausapin lang, ngitian, batiin, kamustahin. Samakatwid, ituring na tao, ituring na kapwa. Ipakita sa kanila na tayo ay magkakapatid, na tayo’y magkakaibigan. Ito ang sinabi ni Papa Francisco sa kanyang liham na Fretelli Tutti – scial friendship, solidarity. Sana magkaroon ng muha at pangalan ang mga mahihirap sa ating buhay at hindi lang sila numero o statistics.

Kung kaibigan natin ang mga nagtitinda sa kalye, matitiis ba natin na sila’y basta alisin na lang at kunin ang kanilang paninda ng mga pulis at mga MMDA? Kung nakikiramay ba tayo sa namatayan, pababayaan lang ba natin na ang nanay ay pigilan na tumangis sa kanyang baby na namatay?

Kadalasan, nagwawalang kibo lang tayo sa mga maliliit na tao na pinagsasamantalahan dahil hindi naman sia mahalaga sa atin. Hindi naman natin sila kaano ano. Anong hindi kaano ano? Kapwa tao natin sila. Magkaisa tayo sa kanila sa ating pagkatao. Kapag ang isang tao ay hindi pinahahalagahan at sinasaktan pa nga, ang ating pagkatao ang tinatamaan. Isa lang ang pagkatao natin. Anong hindi kaano ano? Sa bandang huli, saw akas ng panahon at the last judgment, ang ngiti nila sa atin ang magpapapasok sa atin sa langit. Sana hindi naman mangyari sa atin, dahil sa simangot nila sa atin, pupunta tayo sa apoy na walang hanggan. (Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC)

In the midst of the outbreak of coronavirus in the Philippines, the Archdiocese of Manila celebrated the 4th World Day of the Poor on November 15, 2020.

The Commission on Social Services of the Archdiocese spearheaded the activity for this year’s celebration. Parishes, organizations and communities were requested to contribute rice to support families in the archdiocese that were affected by the typhoons that recently struck the country.

Photo Credit: Most Holy Trinity Parish Facebook Page

In his homily during the celebration of World Day of the Poor, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of Manila, has reminded the faithful of the challenges that this pandemic has brought. He then called on the people to rise up together and help one another.

“In all of these, we are being challenged to stand up together and put our resources together and help. Una, ang mga kalamidad na ito ay masakit na paala-ala na hindi talaga natin mapanghahawakan ang mga ari-arian at pati na ang buhay natin. Isipin na lang natin ang mga bahay na lumubog. Ang lahat na pinundar sa bahay na iyon ay nawala na rin. Kaya kung iyan lang ang pinag-iipunan natin, kay daling nawala. Pangalawa, ang mga sakunang ito ay maaaring malakas na panawagan sa atin that we help one another. We help not only with what is extra for us, but even with what we need, because others are more in need,” said the Bishop.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has also declared Nov. 15, 2020, as Alay Kapwa Sunday. Alay Kapwa Sunday is usually a Lenten Season Program during which a second collection is done in churches. The collections are used as funds to respond to the needs of those who are affected by calamities.

In the Vatican City, His Holiness Pope Francis also celebrated Mass for the 4th World Day of the Poor at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy. Although, according to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), the pandemic has forced the Vatican to scale down the activities for the poor in marking the event.

During the Mass, around 100 people along with volunteers and benefactors were present inside the basilica wearing face masks. Others who attended wore yellow vests with the logo of the World Day of the Poor.

Pope Francis was not able to host and organize the annual lunch for the homeless people in Rome, which he does after the Mass in the past years. The Vatican was also unable to provide a “field hospital” for the poor in Saint Peter’s Square for a week as it had in the past. But still, they were able to set up a smaller clinic under the colonnade at Saint Peter’s Square where free COVID-19 tests are provided.

In his homily, the Pontiff reflected on the Gospel reading (Matthew 25:14-30) also known as the Parable of the Talents. He said: “Good servants are those who take risks. They are not fearful and overcautious, they do not cling to what they possess, but put it to good use. For if goodness is not invested, it is lost, and the grandeur of our lives is not measured by how much we save but by the fruit we bear.”

The World Day of the Poor is celebrated yearly every 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time as was established by Pope Francis when he promulgated his Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera on Nov. 20, 2016, to celebrate the Extraordinary Year of Mercy. This year’s theme for the celebration is “Stretch forth your hand to the poor” (Sir 6:7).

In his message for the 2020 World Day of the Poor, the pope said: “This pandemic arrived suddenly and caught us unprepared, sparking a powerful sense of bewilderment and helplessness. This has made us all the more aware of the presence of the poor in our midst and their need for help.” (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)

My dear People of God in the Archdiocese of Manila,

Christmas is already in the air. Even with Covid-19 and the series of typhoons that visited us, we see signs of Christmas around us. The air is cooler and the light longer. Christmas decors are being set up in the streets and in the stores.

Now and then we hear Christmas songs. However, within us we sigh, how will Christmas be this year? It will surely not be the same as the previous years. Let us not just take the Advent and Christmas seasons as they come. Let us make them happen, yes in a different but also in a more meaningful way. Perhaps the limitations that the pandemic impose on us can make us celebrate these seasons in a truer way.

In years past, we have been accustomed to external and consumeristic ways of celebrating these seasons. The malls and the stores had dictated our Christmas. Nowadays, despite of the gradual lifting of restrictions, many of us still hesitate to go to the malls and we also have become more conscious on how to spend our money. But we continue to celebrate, though in more subdued ways. Let us bring Advent and Christmas to our families with prayers, family religious services and joy. Prayers are available that can help us pray together as a family.

Let each family make an advent wreath that can decorate our tables or our family altars. With prayers, songs and Bible readings, the family can gather together during the Sundays of Advent to light a candle in expectant hope for the Lord’s coming. There will be many online advent recollections. Let us take time to participate in them. With the gradual easing of lockdowns, the sacrament of confession is more readily available in our parishes. Let us go out of our way to go to confession in one of the advent days. The Simbang Gabi Masses continue.

Those who cannot yet come out to join in our Churches can participate online. Let us receive communion in those days. The Son of God physically became man to be with us. Let us also physically receive him in holy communion, if not everyday during the Simbang Gabi, at least in one of these days. Communion can be requested from the parish.

There are many decorations that remind us of Christmas. These can be done in our homes and prayers will be provided by the Liturgical Commission when these can be blessed by the head of the family. Thus we can set up our parols, our Christmas tree, and our Belen in our homes, with appropriate Christmas lights. We need not buy them. The effort of doing them together will give special value to them. Let each family have a figure of the Baby Jesus displayed in a prominent place. This will be the center of attention during the Christmas season.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day let the family be gathered together and make the day memorable by singing together Christmas carols and have some family games. We discourage parishes and parish organizations to have Christmas parties as a precaution against the spread of the virus. But Christmas parties can be done in the homes among family members. There we can sing together, share stories, and have some fun as a family. Family members can give each other handmade Christmas gifts and hand drawn Christmas cards.

Let not Covid-19 lock down our Christmas joy and family togetherness. God has come down to be with us. We accept him together as a family in our homes. Let us be creative this year in celebrating God’s presence among us. We do not allow Covid-19 to deprive us of Christmas joy. God is with us!



Yours sincerely in Christ,


Bishop Broderick Pabillo
Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila
November 20, 2020

Most Rev. Rex Andrew Alarcon, Bishop of Daet and chairman of CBCP's Episcopal Commission on Youth, expressed his gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis for remembering and sending his message to the victims of the recent typhoons that had caused severe damage to different provinces in the country, particularly to those in the Bicol Region.

According to Radio Veritas News, Bishop Alarcon said that while financial and material support is urgently needed, the victims also need moral and spiritual support to overcome the desolation that has come to them caused by the typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses.

“We are very glad to receive Pope Francis’ expression of closeness and solidarity. It brings hope and assurance of God’s closeness to us, especially to our brothers and sisters who suffer much from the wrath of the recent typhoons. In addition to our material needs, we need the moral and spiritual support to lift our spirits. More than our eyes can see, the moral-spiritual support and bond with the Holy Father and many others, as well as the material support, are a witness to our being Brothers and Sisters, sharing a common humanity,” the Bishop said in an interview with Radio Veritas.

He also explained that Pope Francis’ contribution is a real practice of Fratelli Tutti, the most recent document released by the pontiff,  to give strength to those who are emotionally weakened to rise and start over.

“Ang maramdaman na kasama natin ang Holy Father ay nagbibigay sa atin ng lakas upang pasanin ang krus at bumangon muli. Indeed, we are Fratelli Tutti, tayong lahat magkakapatid! We are very much grateful to the Holy Father. We remember, ‘he arose in haste’ to be personally with the victims of Typhoon Yolanda –braving the bad weather. We felt his closeness and solidarity. Once again, we feel we are not alone. The presence and assurance of a father is very important for the family, esp. the young, the children, and the most vulnerable,” the bishop added.

Diocese of Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon also expressed his gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis for his prayers to the Filipino typhoon victims. He said that the message serves as a call to the faithful to take part and to extend help to the needy.

The Bishop hopes that the message of Pope Francis will inspire more people to help in alleviating the difficult situation of the victims.

“Deeply grateful & appreciative of the Holy Father’s expression of solidarity & prayers for our people in the midst of this difficult time! May his oneness & sincere concern inspire in us the same spirit of solidarity to work together with renewed hope in our efforts to rebuild and rehabilitate our respective communities. God bless Pope Francis!” said Bishop Baylon during an interview with Radio Veritas

Super typhoon Rolly, one of the 3 typhoons that recently hit the Bicol Region, was the second Super Typhoon recorded in the Philippines, according to PAG-ASA.  It followed Super Typhoon Yolanda which struck the Eastern Visayas Region last 2013. Both Yolanda and Rolly struck the Philippines in November. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC)

Steward. Katiwala. Tagapamahala. Caretaker. OIC. Administrator. Ang mga salitang ito ay magkaugnay. Ang mga ito ay may tungkulin at may kapangyarihan. Pero hindi sila ang may-ari. Ang kanilang kapangyarihan ay pansamanta lang kaya mananagot sila pagdating ng tunay na may-ari. Kunin natin bilang halimbawa ang aking gampanin ngayon bilang administrator ng Archdiocese ng Maynila. May tungkulin ako at may kapangyarihan. Makakadesisyon ako. In a way, ako ang namamahala ngayon ng Archdiocese of Manila. Pero ginagamit ko lang ito bilang katiwala, caretaker, para sa archbishop ng Maynila na ibibigay sa atin, na siya ang talagang magiging tunay na pastol natin. Pagdating ng bagong archbishop mawawala na ang aking tungkulin. At mananagot ako sa bagong archbishop kung maayos ba ang aking paggamit ng pamamahala ko o hindi.

Pinag-uusapan natin itong stewardship, o bilang tagapamahala o katiwala o administrador kasi iyan ang paksa ng mga pagbasa natin ngayon. Sa ating ebanghelyo pinagkatiwala ng may ari ang kanyang kayamanan sa kanyang mga alipin. Malaki ang tiwala niya sa kanila kasi malalaking halaga ang pinagkatiwala sa kanila. Ang salitang Talent na ginamit ay isang panukat ng bigat. Mga 33 kgs ang katumbas nito. Imagine 1 talent ng gold, or 33 kgs ng gold! Sa halaga ngayon aabot iyan ng mga 60 Million pesos! Imagine ang laking halaga na pinagkatiwala! 5 talents! 2 Talents! Kahit na ang 1 talent ay hindi biro. Kaya ang tagalog translation natin na 5,000 pesos, 2,000 at 1,000 pesos ay napakaliit. Ganoon kagalante ang may-ari. Ganoon ang tiwala niya sa bawat isa.

Kahit na malaki ang halaga, hindi naman kanila. Bilang mga katiwala lang, alam nila na isasauli nila ang pinagkatiwala sa kanila. Ano ang isasauli nila? Natuwa ang may-ari na tunay na mapagkakatiwalaan ang nakatanggap ng 5 at 2 talento.  Alam nila na hindi lang pinatago sa kanila ang pera. Ginamit nila ito sa business – at tumubo ng 100%.

Ang pagsisikap ng mabubuting katiwala o tagapamahala ay pinakita ng babaeng asawa sa ating unang pagbasa. Inilarawan sa huling chapter ng book of Proverbs ang isang asawa na masipag at maaasahan. Magaling siyang maybahay. Nag-aalaga ng pangangailangan ng lahat. Naninigurado na ang lahat ay may sapat na damit, at ang damit noon ay hindi binibili sa ukay-ukay o department store, kundi hinahabi pa. Sariling gawa ang mga damit. Nag-aayos ng pagkain para sa lahat, nangangalakal pa. Nagtatanim sa bukid at tumutulong pa sa mahihirap. Iyan ang magaling na asawa  na ikatutuwa ng buong pamilya. Dahil sa siya ay may takot sa Diyos, ginagampanan niya nang mabuti ang pinagkatiwala sa kanya sa tahanan.

Ganoon din ang lahat ng mabubuting stewards. It is not just enough to give back what has been given. Nagsikap sila na lumago at tumubo ang ibinigay sa kanila. So it was with pride that they said: “Here I have made 5 talents more! Here I have made 2 talents more!” Pero nagalit siya sa nag-sauli lang ng kanyang tinanggap. Gusto ng Diyos na lumago, tumubo, mamunga ang kanyang ipinagkaloob sa atin. May pagsusulit at maghahanap siya ng bunga. Jesus said:  “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” (Jn. 15:8 NAB)  “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” (Jn. 15:16 NAB) May talinhanga rin si Jesus ng isang may-ari ng lupa na sinabi sa tagapangalaga na putulin ang puno ng igos kasi tatlong taon na siya naghahanap ng bunga at wala siyang makita. Naghahanap ng Diyos ng bunga.

Ano ba ang ipinagkatiwala niya sa atin? Ang lahat ng mayroon tayo ay galing sa Diyos – ang ating buhay, ang ating pamilya, ang ating mga talento, ang ating trabaho, ang ating pera at ari-arian. Huwag nating angkinin ang mga ito. Pinagkatiwala lang sa atin ang mga ito. Iniingatan ba natin ang mga ito at pinapalago? Huwag nating hayaang masira o mawala. Sa halip gamitin natin at palaguin. We will have to give an account of them to the Lord, the real owner of these things.

Paano kaya mapalalago ang mga ipinagkatiwala niya? Una, gamitin natin. Ang lahat ng hindi ginagamit ay nasisira o nanghihina. Ang sasakyan na hindi ginagamit ay nasisira. Pati na nga ang muscle na hindi ginagamit ay nanghihina. Ang talino na hindi ginagamit ay nangangalawang. St. Paul wrote: “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them” (Rom 12:6) Hindi lang na gamitin ang mga gifts na ito. Gamitin natin hindi lang sa sarili kundi sa iba. Sabi ni St. Peter:” As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pt 4:10). Remember that we have social responsibilities to the things that we have. Ang mga biyaya ng Diyos na ipinagkatiwala sa atin ay hindi lang para sa atin. Ito ay para din sa iba. Gamitin din natin sa iba ang mga ipinagkaloob sa atin. In fact we become happy when we use our talents to help others. We are fulfilled when we are able to share our time with others.

Ito ay totoo din sa mga material wealth na ipinakatiwala sa atin. Minsan may sinabi si Jesus: “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Lk. 16:9 NAB) He also said: “Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.” (Lk. 12:33 NAB) Let us then invest what we have so that we may gain real wealth. Itulong natin sa iba ang makamundong kayamanan natin at ito ay magkakaroon ng panibago at mas mataas na halaga, makalangit na halaga.

Maganda ang paalaala na ito na ngayong Linggo ay World Day of the Poor with the theme: Stretch out your hand to the Poor. At ngayon din ay Alay Kapwa Sunday na magkakaroon tayo ng mga collection para sa mga biktima ng kalamidad. At sa mga araw na ito maraming kalamidad ang tumama sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng ating bansa. Dumaan pa lang si Quinta at sumunod agad si Rolly. Halos hindi pa nakakabangon kay Rolly at nandiyan naman si Ulysses. Ang daming mga bahay at mga tanim na dumapa at lumubog sa kabikulan, sa Southern Tagalog region, sa Metro Manila, sa central at northern Luzon. And all of these are happening when we are battling with Covid 19! Mamulat na sana tayo. Climate change na ito. Hindi pa tayo nagkaroon ng sunod-sunod na bagyo. Signs of climate change are not only stronger typhoons but also more frequent storms.

In all of these we are being challenged to stand up together and put our resources together and help. Una, ang mga kalamidad na ito ay masakit na paala-ala na hindi talaga natin mapanghahawakan ang mga ari-arian at pati na ang buhay natin. Isipin na lang natin ang mga bahay na lumubog. Ang lahat na pinundar sa bahay na iyon ay nawala na rin. Kaya kung iyan lang ang pinag-iipunan natin, kay daling nawala. Pangalawa, ang mga sakunang ito ay maaaring malakas na panawagan sa atin that we help one another. We help not only with what is extra for us, but even with what we need, because others are more in need.

Let us be convinced that whatever we give to help others is not a loss for us. Kung tayo ay pumunta sa bangko at nagdeposit ng 10,000 pesos, paglabas natin ng bangko nalulungkot ba tayo dahil wala na ang 10,000 sa ating pitaka? Hindi! Wala na nga sa ating bulsa, pero atin pa rin ang 10,000 na iyon. Nasa account na natin sa bangko. Ganoon din dapat ang isipin natin. Hindi tayo manghihinayang na nagbigay tayo ng 5,000 pesos sa tinamaan ng bagyo. Hindi nawala ang 5,000 pesos natin. Dineposito lang natin sa ating account sa langit. Hindi iyon nawala sa atin. Pinagpalit lang natin ng makalangit na halaga. Do we believe this?

Ngayong Alay Kapwa Sunday magbigay tayo sa mga collections sa simbahan. Kung sa bahay lang tayo nagsisimba magpadala tayo sa simbahan para sa Alay Kapwa. Ang programang ito ang tumutulong sa mga nasalanta ng mga bagyo sa buong bansa. Ang Alay Kapwa ang nagcocoordinate ng tulong sa mga dioceses sa bansa, kasama na diyan sa mga dioceses sa Cagayan Valley at sa Kabikulan. Ang Alay Kapwa ay programa ng Caritas Pilipinas, Caritas Manila at Caritases ng mga dioceses para sa relief at rehabilitation ng mga biktima ng mga calamities.

Sana pagkaraan ng mahabang panahon at bumalik na ang ating Panginoon, masasabi natin sa kanya nang may kaunting yabang: “Panginoon heto po ang 5 talento na pinagkatiwala ninyo sa akin. Heto pa po ang 5 talento na tinubo ko!”

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