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My dear brothers, my dear friends in San Carlos Borromeo and the Lord Jesus Christ, we have come together to celebrate the feast of St. Charles under the shadow of a pandemic worldwide, you can look at it that way. But we are also under the light of a beautiful theme, “Save Others, Imitate the Lord, Imitate Christ.” Let us look at the light – save others and imitate the Lord.

The two phrases are not co-equal because the imitation of Christ takes priority. Because if we do not imitate Christ and attempt to save others, we are only false messiahs.

The salvation of others can only come about after we, the shepherds have imitated Christ. So, the question to ask in the midst of this pandemic, my dear brothers is, but then, how do we imitate Christ? How do we imitate Christ so that we can save others?

In the life of another reformer of the church, Santa Teresa de Jesus, maybe it was a legendary account but the account says that Teresa was tempted by the devil and the devil attempted to destruct her by looking like Jesus. But after a while, Teresa understood that this was not Jesus, this is the devil. And the devil shook his head and said, “But how did you recognized me, I look like the Lord?” And Teresa only said, “Christ has wounds, you do not have wounds.” Christ has wounds. You have none. You are not Christ. Christ has wounds.

So, the first step to the imitation of Christ is an inclination towards those wounds. I do not say choose the wounds all time, you must be discerning. But when the pleasure and the wounds are on equal footing, you must choose the more difficult one. You must choose the distressing one. You must choose the less easy one. That is inclination to the wounds.

My dear brothers, I say it again, Christ has wounds and where are your wounds? Christ has wounds and where are the wounds of the priests to prove that they are priests of the Lord?

Do not be afraid of wounds. Do not be ashamed of your wounds. Do not even ask the Lord to change your wounds into scars. Because if the Lord wants you to bleed for the rest of your life, say yes. As Padre Pio bled practically his whole life, those wounds can only save. They will not make you worst, they can only make you better and deeper in holiness.

A smile is good. St. Theresa of Calcutta says, “Evangelization begins with a smile.” But tears are also good. Jokes are good. But the sharing of our heart brokenness is also good. Fun is good. But to cry with your brothers is liberating. We can start the good news by smiling but remember, only tears can be liberating. And a priest who does not know the value, the beauty of woundedness will not be able to save others. Incline towards the wounds. Do not be afraid of the wounds. Do not be ashamed of the wounds. Do not even ask the Lord to change your wounds into scars. I say it again, our destiny is to bleed for life because the Lord sheds His blood everyday on the altar. And the priest of Jesus Christ cannot be a priest less than that. Our wounds are our proof that we belong to Him. Christ has wounds. Where are yours?

How can we imitate Christ? The imitation of Christ is not mimicry. You do not imitate Christ by growing your hair long because Christ has long hair. You do not imitate Christ by constantly wearing sandals with dusty feet because Christ has sandals and dusty feet. You do not imitate Christ by constantly wearing a long tunic because Christ is wearing always wore a tunic. That is mimicry. That is not imitation.

Imitation comes from intimacy. Intimacy. If you have a chance and the Lord provides, I invite you to come to Rome in the Basilica of San Ambrose and San Carlos, there, the heart of San Carlos is venerated by pilgrims. The heart. Because that heart was the rendezvous for his intimacy with the Lord. The heart.

Imitation of Christ does not always mean to do what He did. Imitation of Christ means, the reason of Christ must be our reason. The dream of Christ must be our dream. The motivation of Christ must be our motivation. And where does that happen? Not here in the brain but in the heart. That is why that heart has been preserved from decomposition from bacteria. Why? Because that heart was the rendezvous, was the meeting place of intimacy.

My dear brother seminarians, my dear brother priests, there is no imitation of Christ without intimacy. And that intimacy does not come about with common work. It does not come about with common writing. It comes about by opening your heart to Him and allowing your heart to be the dwelling place of the Lord and resting in the heart of the Lord because that is the only place where we can truly rest.

Intimacy. Intimacy by prayer. We have a lot of time in the recent months during the quarantine to be intimate with the Lord. But did we choose the time for intimacy? Or more time for plantitos? More time for baking, more time for cooking. As Fr. Ben Carlos would ask us, “Anong apostolic value niyan?”

We had plenty of time. The time was practically ours. To kneel before the Lord, to open our hearts to the Lord in intimacy. Let us not waste it. The pandemic is still with us and we are not still able to do the normal things but we have plenty of time.

Let the agriculturists take care of the plants. Let the bakers take care of the bread. Let the chefs take care of the food. But the priest, the priest must take care of his intimacy with the Lord because without intimacy with the Lord there is no imitation of the Lord, and without imitation of the Lord, there is no salvation for others. Intimacy which comes from giving the Lord time. Inclination towards His wounds, intimacy in your heart.

And the last I is, there is no imitation if you don’t know the power of being invisible.

St. Charles for known for Humilitas.  If you have a difficulty living Humilitas, just choose to be invisible. Invisible not in the sense of being secretive. But invisible in the sense of, he must increase and I must decrease. Invisible in the sense that, he must shine and I must only be a spotlight focusing on Him. The invisibility of humility.

Humility is imitation of Christ. And invisibility, not that we shine but that Christ shines through us. Not our face but the face of Christ in us. Be invisible.

For all the apostolic works that St. Charles did in his ministry in Milan, it was not St. Charles in the streets taking care of the victims of the plagues that sanctified him. It was not his involvement in the Council of Trend that made him a saint. The bottom line of it my dear brothers is this, St. Charles, our patron, at the end of the day was not just an apostle in the pandemic, he was not just a brilliant star in the council, he was a mystic. He knew the power of hidden goodness. He knew the power of hidden intimacy with the Lord. At the end of the day, it is mystics not activist who will be the salvation of San Carlos Seminary.

And you, my dear seminarians are here to grow in that mysticism. We need parish priests who are mystics in the midst of the noise of the world. We need priests who know the value, the power of hidden goodness who will teach the world that Christ’s work is hidden. And in that hiddenness, we are set free.

Imitate the Lord and then be able to save souls. Imitate the Lord by not being afraid of wounds. Incline towards those wounds like the wounds of the magnet. Incline towards those wounds because those wounds have gravitas. They are attractive because wounds are beautiful. Do not be afraid, do not be ashamed, let them bleed for the Lord, it can only be for your good.

Choose the Lord. Renew your heart for the Lord. Recognize, my dear brothers that in your woundedness, you would be able to save souls. In your invisibility, you will live Humilitas. In your intimacy in prayer, you are going to grow in holiness.

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda – the world is always reforming. The church is always reforming. And you, my dear brothers, are called to be the agents, the apostles of that renewal. But that renewal cannot come about, that reform cannot come about, the rebooting of the world cannot come about unless we open our hearts to the Lord in imitation of Him. At the end of the day, it is the imitators of Christ who will bring about the reform and renewal. (Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC)









The COVID-19 pandemic is really affecting our lives. We feel this in a special way today, November 1. It is customary for many of us to honor our beloved dead this day and tomorrow to go to the cemeteries.

Hindi na natin ito magagawa ngayon at naintindihan naman natin bakit. Mahirap mapigilan ang pagkalat ng virus sa maraming mga tao na magkukumpulan sa mga sementeryo.

In a way, by not being allowed to go to what we customarily do, we are forced to confront the meaning of our custom and to consider how we can express our belief in other ways.

Kapag pinapahayag natin ang ating pananampalataya sa ating dasal, ating binabanggit, “Sumasampalataya ako sa samahan ng mga banal.” I believe in the communion of saints. Who are these saints and what does this communion consists? Ano ba ang samahang ito?

Ang mga banal na tinutukoy ay ang lahat ng mga nasa grasya ng Diyos. Sila yung nasa kanila ang buhay ng Diyos. Ang Diyos ay naging tao upang tayong mga tao ay makiisa sa buhay niya. Ipinagkaloob sa atin ang buhay ng Diyos noong tanggapin natin siya sa ating Binyag.

Ang buhay na ito ay winawala natin at nawawala natin kung tinatanggihan natin ang Diyos. Ang pagtangging ito ay tinatawag na kasalanan. Kung hindi natin tinatanggihan ang Diyos kahit nasaan man tayo, kahit ano ang kalagayan natin, nabibilang tayo sa mga banal.

Ang buong simbahan ay binubuo ng tatlong kalagayan: the Victorious Church, the Suffering Church and the Militant Church. Ang mga ito’y nasa isang samahan kaya ang mga ito’y nagtutulungan.

Yung mga nasa Victorious Church, ay yung mga nasa langit na, matagumpay at masaya na kasama ni Hesus. Yung mga nasa Suffering Church, ay yung dinadalisay pa sa purgatory. Sila’y hinahanda na pumunta sa langit. Tayong nasa lupa ay nabibilang sa Militant Church. Nakikibaka pa tayo laban sa kasamaan.

Ang tatlong ito ay nagtutulungan. Here on earth we help one another in our struggle against evil. So, we pray for one another and we care for each other. We also ask the help of those in purgatory and in heaven so we call on the holy souls.

Yung mga nasa purgatory ay tinutulungan din natin sa pamamagitan ng ating mga sakripisyo at ating mga dasal. Yung mga nasa langit ay hindi na kailangan ng tulong. Nasa kaluwalhatian na sila. Wala na silang kailangan, sila yung nakakatulong sa atin sa kanilang mga dasal sa Siyos dahil kapiling na sila ng Diyos.

Ngayong araw, All Saints Day, ang ating atensiyon ay naka-focus sa mga nasa langit. At bukas, All Souls Day, ang ating atensiyon naman ay naka-focus sa mga banal sa purgatory.

Minsan, si Hesus ay tinanong, “Marami po baa ng maliligtas?” Hindi ito sinagot ni Hesus ng diretso. Ang sabi lang niya ay, “Magsikap kayong pumasok sa daan na makipot kasi malawak ang daan papunta sa kapahamakan.” Ang tanong na ito kung marami ba ang maliligtas ay sinasagot sa ating ngayon sa Unang Pagbasa natin na galing sa Aklat ng Pahayag, the Book of Revelation, ang huling aklat sa Bibliya.

Ang Aklat ng Pahayag ay gumagamit ng maraming mga simbolo. Nilarawan ni Juan, ang manunulat, ang kanyang pangitain sa langit. Doon nakaupo sa trono ang Diyos kasama ang Korderong sugatan, si Hesus na inalay. Sila ay sinasamba ng apat na nilalang na buhay na sumasagisag sa mga  kapangyarihan sa mundo – ang Toro ay kumakatawan sa kalakasan; ang Leon ay kumakatawan sa katapangan; ang Tao ay kumakatawan sa katalinuhan; at ang Agila ay kumakataawan naman sa kaliksihan at katayugan.

Kasama nila sa pagsamba sa Diyos ay ang 24 elders na kumakatawan naman sa mga namumuno sa panahon ng lumang tipan at bagong tipan. Sumasamba sila sa Dyos na niluluwalhati sa langit. At kasama nila ang 144,000 na nakasuot na puti na may tatak sa noo at may hawak na mga palaspas, tanda ng tagumpay.

Ang 144,000 ay twelve times twelve times one thousand. Ang bilang na one thousand sa Bibliya ay sumasagisag sa maraming marami. Ang unang twelve ay kumakatawan sa twelve tribes of Israel. At ang pangalawang twelve ay sa twelve apostles ng bagong tipan.

Kaya ang 144,000 ay nagpapahiwatig ng napakaraming mga kaluluwa ng naligtas mula sa panahon nglumang tipan hanggang sa panahon ng bagong tipan na sila’y galing sa lahat ng lahi, sa lahat ng lenguwahe, sa lahat ng mga tao. Nilinis sila sa dugo ng Kordero na namatay para sa kanila kaya nakasuot sila ng puti.

Ngayon ay kapistahan ng Todos Los Santos, lahat ng mga banal sa langit, all the saints. Pinapakita sa atin na marami ang maliligtas. Marami ang nasa langit. Hindi nasayang ang dugo ni Hesus. Ito ay mabisa kaya ang kabanalan ay para sa lahat.

Let us be confident about salvation. Lahat tayo’y tinatawag na maging banal dahil sa lahat tayo ay tinatawag sa kaligtasan. Hindi naman tayo makakapunta sa Diyos na banal kung hindi tayo banal. Kaya sikapin natin na maging banal dahil sa iyan ang plano ng Diyos sa bawat isa sa atin. At ang kabanalan ay hindi lang kapag namatay na tayo. Ngayon pa lang inaalok na sa atin ang kabanalan.

Alam po natin ang kalagayan natin sa buhay ngayon ay pangsamantala lang, pang mundo lang – ang ating trabaho, ang ating posisyon, ang ating pamilya, ang aking pagiging obispo, ang iyong pagiging tatay, ang iyong pagiging manager, lilipas ang mga ito. At ang mga ito ay mga tulay lamang para maging banal tayo at makapunta sa langit kung saan tayo lahat ay tinatawag.

Noong kami ay bata pa at palagay ko’y ito’y karanasan din ng mga may edad na, hindi ko makalimutan ang pina-memorize sa amin sa katesismo. Isa sa mga unang tanong ay, “Bakit ka nilikha ng Diyos?” Ang sagot ay, “Ako ay nilikha ng Diyos upang maging banal para maging masaya kasama ng Diyos dito sa lupa at doon sa langit.”

Bata pa kami idinidiin na sa amin ang layunin ng buhay kung saan tayo patutungo. Sa kapistahan natin ngayon, hinihiling sa atin na tumingala tayo. Para doon tayo at napakaganda ang langit. St. Paul wrote, “I consider that the sufferings of the present times are as nothing compared to the glory to be revealed to us.”

Masusulit ang lahat ng effort natin. Kaunting langit na, Sulit na ang lahat. At lahat tayo’y may karapatan sa langit dahil sa tayo ay mga anak ng Diyos. Yan ang sinabi ni San Pablo sa ating ikalawang pagbasa, “Kaya nabubuksan ang langit sa atin dahil sa binyag. Ang karangalan natin ay tayo’y anak ng Diyos.”

Maaaring hindi pa natin na-a-appreciate ngayon ang ating pagiging anak ng Diyos. Pero doon sa langit ay lalabas ang ating tunay na karangalan at kaningningan. Magiging tulad talaga tayo ni Hesus. Makikiisa talaga tayo sa kanyang kaluwalhatian. Hangarin po natin yan.

Hindi lang pinakita ni Hesus kung saan tayo pupunta. Ipinakita rin niya ang paraan. At ito nga ang narinig natin sa ating ebanghelyo, the Beatitudes. These are the formulas, how to be holy and be happy, now and here after. Kakaiba ito sa mga formula ng kaligayahan na binibigay sa atin ng mundo at nakasanayan nating hanapin. Para sa marami, magiging masaya at masuwerte tayo kung tayo ay mayaman, makapangyarihan na sinisunod ng iba, nabubuhay sa layaw, pinipuri at kinatatakutan ng mga tao. Kakaiba yan sa narinig natin na sinabi ni Hesus, “Mapalad kayo, masuwerte kayo, magiging masaya kayo kapag kayo ay dukha, tumatangis, mababa ang loob, maawain, naghahangan ng katarungan, malinis ang puso, nagsisikap sa kapayapaan, inuusig at iniinsulto.”

Bakit tayo mapalad? Ang Diyos mismo ang magpapaligaya sa inyo. Ang tunay at tatagal na kaligayahan ay hindi yung inaabot natin, kinukuha natin, ating achievement kundi iyung ibinibigay sa atin ng Diyos. May tiwala ba tayo? May kababaang loob ba tayo na tanggapin ito?

Ngayong Undas hindi tayo makakapunta sa sementeryo pero maipagpapatuloy ang dahil bakit tayo pumupunta sa sementeryo. Bakit nga ba? Para sama samang maalaala ang mga yumao natin. Ito’y pinapakita natin sa ating pagsama sama bilang pamilya at sa ating pagdarasal.

Magagawa din antin ang mga ito kahit hindi tayo makapunta sa sementeryo. Pwede parin tayong magsama sama bilang pamilya. Magkaroon ng family reunion sa dalawang araw na ito. Pwede tyong magkaroon ng handaan sa bahay at pg-usapan ang ating mga yumao. Our memories about our beloved dead unite us not only with them but with each other.

Pwede pa din tayong sama samang magdasal kaya hinihikayat natin ang mga katoliko na magsimba sa araw ng Nov. 1 at Nov. 2. The Holy Mass is the best prayer that we can offer. At pwede din tayong magdasal ng rosary bilang pamilya sa mga yumao natin.

Kung gusto nating magtirik ng kandila, pwede natin itong gawin sa mga simbahan natin. The lighting of candles is a symbol of our burning faith in God and our ardent love for our beloved dead.

At maaari parin tayong pumunta sa sementeryo, any day of November after November 4. Ang plenary indulgence of visiting cemeteries has been extended to the whole month of November. And any time during the month of November na tayo’y pumunta sa simbahan na magdasal para sa mga yumao at magdasal sa intention ng Santo Papa, ay nakakatanggap din tayo ng indulgence.

Ang hindi natin pagpunta sa sementeryo ngayong Undas ay nagpapalalim ng kahulugan at kaugalian natin sa Undas. Yan ay alaala sa ating mga yumao na patuloy tayong pinag-iisa bilang pamilya sa ating pagdarasal at pagsamba sa Diyos at sa ating hangarin na maging banal at magkita kita muli sa langit.

Kapag dinadala po yung mga patay sa simbahan pagkatapos na mamisahan at nabendisyunan, may isang ritwal po ng pagbebendisyon at pamamaalam sa mga patay. Ito’y gustong gusto ko ang dasal na ito. At ganito po ang nilalaman ng ganitong dasal:

“Paalam sayo kapatid na pumanaw, mapasapiling ka nawa ng Poong Maykapal. Ang pagpapala ng Diyos ay baunin mo, sa paraiso magkikitang muli tayo. Samahan ka ng mga santo, kahit na may nauuna, tayo rin ay magsasama upang lagi tayong lumigaya sa piling ng Diyos Ama. Amen.”
(Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC)

Radio Veritas, the Catholic radio station of the Archdiocese of Manila and Caritas Manila, the social service arm of the archdiocese will launch Caritas OPLAN Damayan telethon tomorrow, Wednesday for the victims of super typhoon Rolly.

The theme of the telethon is “Thriving in Crisis thru Faith and Charity” that will run from 7 in the morning to 6 in the evening. Part of the Telethon will also be aired on TV Maria from 1 pm to 3 pm to reach more people who may contribute to fundraising.

According to the latest report, about 400,000 people have fled and remained in evacuation centers while 20 people have been killed in the typhoon.

Initially, Caritas Manila has set aside one million pesos for the dioceses severely damaged by the super typhoon or 200 thousand pesos each for the archdiocese of Caceres and the dioceses of Daet, Virac, Legazpi and Gumaca.

At the height of the typhoon Rolly, Caritas Manila and other church institutions have called for prayers and help for the families who were victims of the typhoon. Churches also opened its doors as evacuation centers and serve as temporary shelters for the victims.

For those who would like to pledge donations, please get in touch with Radyo Veritas, at telephone number 8925-7931 to 39 or text 0918-837-4827. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)


When news broke past 7:00 pm Philippine time on October 25, 2020, that Archbishop Jose F. Advincula Jr., D.D., was named by Pope Francis as one of the 13 new cardinals from all over the world, the relatively small and less prominent but humble province of Capiz was more than surprised and thrilled, rather skeptical to some extent, if such news is real.

On late Sunday afternoon, the skies of Roxas City turned dark because of the impending landfall of typhoon Quinta in the Bicol region. Heavy rains fell around 5:00 pm and most people were forced to stay home, some getting ready for an early Sunday dinner. But around 7:00 pm, news about a new cardinal from Capiz started to swell in the social media. All of a sudden, a surge of queries arose about an unknown and hardworking Capizeño archbishop becoming one of the newly elected cardinals.

Seemingly stunned and in utter disbelief that his name is included in the list of new cardinals, Monsignor Joe became the focus of the incessant barrage of text messages, calls and congratulatory messages in social media. Could it not be a hoax, a prank, or a late April Fools’ Day? He later quipped. It can be a mispronunciation or a case of mistaken identity, according to him, for there are other bishops in the Visayas region carrying the name Jose: Archbishop Jose Romeo Lazo of Jaro, Iloilo, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, and Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc of Kalibo.

His companion-priests, Fathers Anthony Baustista and Mico Dellera, however, were quick to verify the news with their smartphones. In a few seconds, the recorded video clip of Pope Francis at the veranda of the Vatican apartment in Rome was played. And the pope, speaking in Italian, was unmistakably clear: Monsignor Jose Advincula, arcivescovo di Capiz, Filippine. Roma locuta est, Rome has spoken, the new Filipino cardinal-elect is no less than the humble, simple, unassuming but hard-working Capizeño archbishop, the Most Rev. Jose F. Advincula Jr., the ninth Filipino cardinal.

Minutes later, the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Capiz, Monsignor Cyril Villareal, and some priests rushed to the archbishop’s residence where the newly elected cardinal, who just finished his dinner and was about to pray, remained calm and utterly overwhelmed, without any hint of entitlement or aggrandizement. He later admitted, in a live one-on-one interview with Father Emilio Arbatin, that the honor of being chosen as a cardinal is not all his, but a recognition as well of the pastoral work of his priests and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Capiz.  

That fateful night of October 25, Sunday, was by far a historic moment, but surely one of his longest nights, as Archbishop Advincula was slowly absorbing and musing as well, not about the new title and honor bestowed on him, but the corresponding responsibility and expectations that lie ahead. Thus, a new journey for the cardinal-elect, at 68, begins to unfold.



As the third Archbishop of Capiz, having succeeded the late Archbishop Onesimo C. Gordoncillo, Jose Cardinal-elect F. Advincula Jr., D.D., suddenly rose to prominence, hogging the limelight both in local and national news, including the social media. The nation celebrates in jubilation the election of another Filipino to the much respected cardinalate together with the cardinal-elect of Washington, D.C., U.S.A., and other countries. Notably, no Filipino cleric had made it to the list of new cardinals in the past three consistories summoned by Pope Francis. The last Filipino cardinal-elect was His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, of Cotabato but who is no longer eligible to vote in the next papal conclave having reached the age of 80.

Everyone else cannot but be more than overjoyed and exceedingly proud that a Capizeño has been chosen as the newest Filipino cardinal, joining the ranks of illustrious and well-known Filipino prelates who have served and graced the Philippine Church and the country, namely, Rufino Santos of Pampanga, Julio Rosales of Samar, Jaime Sin of Aklan, Ricardo Vidal of Marinduque, Jose Sanchez of Catanduanes, Gaudencio Rosales of Batangas, Luis Antonio Tagle of Cavite, and Orlando Quevedo of Ilocos Norte and South Cotabato.

Capiz, whose capital is Roxas City, the birthplace of the fifth president of the Philippines, Manuel A. Roxas, is a relatively small and laid-back province. On the other hand, the Archdiocese of Capiz, a less-prominent ecclesiastical province with two suffragan dioceses, Kalibo (Aklan) and  Romblom, comprises 64 parishes and missions station churches, with more or less 135 priests including a few religious priests and sisters. To many Capizeños, the cardinal-elect is simply known as Monsignor Joe, while most priests and former seminarians from Capiz, Aklan, Romblon, Iloilo, Bacolod, Kabankalan, San Carlos, Antique, including those from Pangasinan, Vigan, and other parts of northern Luzon simply call him Fr. Joad or Apo Joe, an abbreviation of his long name JOSE LAZARO FUERTE ADVINCULA  JR.

A story goes that when Father Joe was assigned as professor at St. Joseph Regional Seminary of the Archdiocese of Jaro, Iloilo, there was another priest-professor whose name was also Jose, the former rector of the said seminary. He is no less than Monsignor Jose Palma, the current archbishop of Cebu.  To dispel the confusion between the two Joses, shorter names were used; thus, the then Father Jose Advincula became “Joad” and the former Father Jose Palma was fondly called “Jopal.” Almost two decades later, these two endearing priest-formators have emerged in the Philippine Church as equally important not only for their leadership in the see or territory they represent, but also for their exemplary service to the Church in various capacities as professor, seminary rector, and pastor of some parishes.



Monsignor Joad comes from the town of Dumalag, Capiz, a deeply religious town that has also produced another revered local church leader, Archbishop Antonio F. Frondosa, D.D., the first archbishop of Capiz, who ordained another cardinal, the well-loved Jaime Cardinal L. Sin, former archbishop of Manila. Dumalag can now rightly claim its historical importance in the local history of Capiz and the nation as well, for it has now produced a cardinal of the Church, famously called “prince of the Church.”

Cardinal Joad was born on March 30, 1952. His parents were the late Jose “Toting” Firmalino Advincula and Carmen “Inday” Falsis Fuerte. Blessed with 12 children, 6 boys and 6 girls, the Dumalagnon couple, through hard work and diligence, managed to provide all twelve children with more than modest education. Two daughters have become doctors of medicine, namely, Dr. Anafe Lustre and Dr. Consolacion Feca; and one, a doctor of dentistry, Dr. Fatima Fajardo; Carmela, the fourth daughter, is an architect; two sisters became respected teachers: Josefa Dimalanta, formerly affiliated with St. Paul’s University, Manila, and Coronacion Grant, now in Canada. The Advincula boys are equally successful in their chosen fields: the late Felixberto was a mechanical engineer; the late Antonio, a chemical engineer; and Candelario, an electronics technician.



But what truly makes the Advincula family of Toting and Inday astonishingly remarkable is the fact that three of the 12 siblings became priests, namely, the older brother, the late Monsignor Benjamin called “Manong Ben,” Rev. Fr. Neil Peter or “Petbong,” the youngest among the twelve siblings, presently the parish priest of Cuartero, Capiz, and Fr. Jose Jr., also known as “Teting,” the cardinal-elect.

Vocation to the priesthood is always a rare gift from God to a family, but the family of Toting and Inday Advincula seems to have gotten a better portion of such gift, for two of Monsignor Joe’s maternal uncles were also distinguished priests of the Archdiocese of Capiz. They were: the late Monsignor Sinforiano Fuerte, his mother’s only brother, who became the longest serving rector of Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion in Roxas City, and the late Monsignor Edmundo Fuerte, his mother’s first cousin, the longest serving rector of the Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral in Roxas City.

Another maternal first cousin is a priest, the Rev. Fr. Antonio Fuerte Arinquin, now a team minister member of the parish of Dumarao, Capiz.

Father Teting finished his elementary studies at Dumalag Elementary School and completed his high school studies as salutatorian in 1968 and a college degree in 1972 at the venerable St. Pius X Seminary in Roxas City, the same institution once headed by the legendary Cardinal Sin, its first rector in 1957. The young Father Teting was a Latin student of then Father Jaime L. Sin. Literally, Father Teting sat at the feet of a cardinal of the Church who himself was considered a local missionary of Capiz prior to his appointment as rector. Decades later Cardinal Sin, born in Aklan but ordained for the Diocese of Capiz, was the rightful choice to deliver the homily during the episcopal ordination of Bishop Joe on September 8, 2001 at the Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral in Roxas City, Capiz.

If he were alive today, the ever-ebullient Cardinal Jaime Sin would be beaming with pride as his former high-school Latin student now joins the ranks of cardinals. Maybe Cardinal Sin could have said it better: “arriba, Joe”!



After his ordination to the priesthood on April 4, 1976 having completed his theological studies at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila and priestly formation at the Central Seminary of the same university, Father Joe, the young priest, returned to his alma mater as professor and spiritual director. There Father Joe manifested his charism in dealing with high school and college seminarians aged 12 to 20. He was not just considered by most seminarians as a Latin teacher or Philosophy professor in Logic but, most of all, as a spiritual director who joyfully found time in listening to their worries and cries (literally) of homesickness, of being away from their parents and families. The young Father Joe was a priest whom the seminarians could easily relate to, someone who would joke with them like a friend inside and outside the classroom, but who would also offer constant words of encouragement.

Father Joe, feeling a sense of inadequacy of being spiritual director at a young age, pursued a degree in Master of Arts in Education, major in Guidance and Counselling at De La Salle University in Manila that further helped him become a better priest-counselor and spiritual director to many seminarians. Through the years, the Pians, the name given to seminarians of St. Pius Seminary, have found a friend, a mentor, and an older brother, as Father Joe would sometimes call some of them not just by their first names but even by their parents’ names. This has made Father Joe truly endearing to many PIANs beyond the walls of the seminary.

One enduring characteristic of the new cardinal-elect is his pursuit for what is best. It seems Cardinal Joe cannot afford to be lackadaisical in his pastoral ministry either as a simple priest or a less-known bishop.

His ministry at St. Pius X Seminary, however, was cut short after he was asked by the late Archbishop Frondosa, his townmate, to study in Rome in 1984. God must have other plans for him. While residing at Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome, he enrolled at the Pontificia Universita di San Tomaso, known as the Angelicum, for a degree in Canon Law, the same university where St. John Paul II also studied.

Returning to the country in 1990, the then Father Joe was given an assignment so far away from Capiz. He was appointed canon law professor, spiritual director, and dean of studies of the Immaculate Conception School of Theology, the regional seminary of northern Luzon, in Vigan, Ilocus Sur. He was definitely back to his original love!  For the meantime, Capiz had to wait for his much anticipated come back. Though miles away from Capiz, he reckoned the thought of serving once again his home diocese.  

After serving the Archdiocese of Vigan for three years, everyone thought that the Father Joe would finally come back to Capiz. But God sent him to another place though closer to Capiz. He was appointed professor and spiritual director of St. Joseph Regional Seminary of the Archdiocese of Jaro in Iloilo from 1993 to 1995.

But being away from home was an opportunity for Father Joe to be acquainted with other priests from the whole Panay Island, Region VI, Negros, and the northern parts of the Philippines. He must have covered and travelled the entire archipelago! Until today, Cardinal-elect Joe  can carry a conversation in Ilocano and Cebuano. He amazingly possesses the gift of language and is blessed with a sharp memory. One may bet that, at 68, he can still recall the intricate Latin conjugations or even win a scrabble match.



His episcopal motto, “Audiam” (I will listen), explains everything that Archbishop Joe does, a bishop who loves to listen, truly a discerning leader in times of crises and trials. He never gets tired of listening to his priests, seminarians, religious, and lay people in their moments of difficulties. Never quick to judge, he avoids being biased to any priest. He epitomizes an all-embracing kind of person shunning no one, giving each one a chance to be heard or listened to.

In most monthly meetings of priests that sometimes run for more than four hours, Archbishop Joe patiently listens without losing his thought and composure, except for a bathroom break, a result perhaps of drinking too much coffee around 6:00 am, that has become his daily routine, aside from an early jog or walk around the seminary grounds surrounded by lush and tall trees. He gladly boasts that a one-hour jog energizes and prepares him for the daily grind. For instance, he would even take a quick jog at the Luneta Park, whenever he was in Manila for meetings with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines as former member of its permanent council and head or member of other episcopal committees.



Monsignor Joe has always been a lover of nature and environment. Up to this day, he can still identify and even name the numerous trees he once planted in the college seminary in Brgy. Cagay, Roxas City, with instructions to preserve them. In his younger years as a priest, Monsignor Joe loved to trek mountains and hills. When in the States, for instance, he would first look for mountains or hiking trails or, at least, an open park where he could jog or walk. Seldom would he look for a shopping mall, except for a sporting store where he could buy his running shoes and shorts.

As the first rector of Sancta Maria Mater et Regina Seminarium in 1999, the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Capiz, Monsignor Joe would spend his weekends together with some seminarians and priests trekking the mountains of Tapaz that, unknown to many, brought the newly elected cardinal to be in contact with the Tapaz Bukidnons, the indigenous people of Capiz. Because of those mountain hikes, his passion for years, the would-be cardinal literally saw the sad plight of poor people in far-flung areas; and thus, recognizing the need not only to evangelize but also to help them. This is actually called the culture of encounter espoused by modern theologians as a means of bringing the gospel message to diverse people and culture. Up to this day, Archbishop Joe still shares his dream of having indigenous songs being sung in the local Church of Capiz.



Way back in 1995, Father Joe came home quietly after a long journey of seminary assignments outside the province of Capiz. He was immediately appointed rector of St. Pius X Seminary upon the retirement of Monsignor Daniel Viloria. Father Joe went back where he once belonged and where it all started.

As the sixth rector of St. Pius X Seminary starting in 1995, Monsignor Joe persuasively and patiently introduced some radical changes in the seminary life and formation of young seminarians. Foremost of which was his emphasis on community life of seminary priests by having common recreations and annual outings. Notably, Monsignor Joe instilled to younger seminarians the need to break the so-called culture of seniority so prevalent at that time.

Heeding the call of the late Archbishop Onesimo C.  Gordoncillo, D.D., the second archbishop of Capiz, who had already foreseen in 1995 the need of a separate building for college and theology seminarians in Capiz, Monsignor Joe supported and helped such initiative. His immediate proposal to send priests abroad for higher studies in theology and philosophy in preparation for seminary and school assignments showed his impeccable sense of foresight often seen in his ministry. He certainly thinks ahead as a leader. Inevitably, he became the first rector of Sancta Maria Mater et Regina Seminarium when it formally opened in September 1999.

In February 2000, however, he was given his first and only pastoral assignment as parish priest of Sto. Tomas de Villanueva in Dao, Capiz. But after a year or so, a new journey began to unfold. Monsignor Joe was appointed bishop of San Carlos Diocese, Negros Occidental on July 25, 2001 by St. Pope John Paul II and was ordained bishop on September 11, 2001. It looks as if his ministry as a priest is filled with journeys outside and inside the Archdiocese of Capiz, or one may say, a continuing journey.

Fast forward to 2012, Monsignor Joe made his third homecoming to Capiz, after serving so well the Diocese of San Carlos in Negros Occidental from September 2001 to 2012, where he initiated the building of ten mission churches and three mission schools in far-flung or mountain areas. He gladly recalled those experiences climbing mountains just to reach a particular mission church. In many ways, prior to Pope Francis, Bishop Joe has already assimilated the meaning of going to peripheries.

On January 12, 2012, the province of Capiz did not just welcome a distinguished son but also witnessed the installation of the third archbishop of Capiz, the Most Rev. Jose F. Advincula Jr., having been appointed archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI on November 9, 2011. And immediately, new things and perspectives in leadership in the Church of Capiz began to reverberate among priests and laypeople. The late Leny Mabasa, a lay papal awardee, once mused in Hiligaynon: sa pag-abot ni Monsignor Joe, maga-arriba gid ang Capiz (with the arrival of Monsignor Joe, Capiz will soar high). Those words proved prophetic. Sadly, Leny Mabasa, the generous donor of the lot where the Cagay Seminary now stands, died a year before Monsignor Joe became a cardinal. May he rest in peace. A cardinal is now praying for him.



Archbishop Joe’s first meeting in 2012 with the Clergy of Capiz, about 120 priests at that time, was rather more prophetic if not monumental. Usually priests expect to get new parish assignments upon the assumption of a new bishop in a particular diocese. But Archbishop Joe’s first announcement was nothing but the creation of mission station churches all over the archdiocese.

Enriched by his pastoral experience in the Diocese of San Carlos, he is convinced that the creation of small and new churches in the mountains and far-flung barangays in the whole province of Capiz will bring the Church closer to the people and that the priests themselves will become more available to the people. He would often repeat one pastoral reminder to all his priests: not to be comfortable but readily available for people. In many ways, Archbishop Joe has stirred and eventually molded a new pastoral approach for the Church of Capiz. He remains hopeful that someday Capiz will hold its first ever diocesan synod in celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines come 2021.

The establishment of mission churches is no less daunting for it requires financial and human resources, including the much feared breaking up of bigger parishes into small churches in some towns. But all of a sudden, growing interest and excitement ensued among laypeople upon hearing the news of having a new church nearer and closer to them. Thus, some well-meaning and generous Capizeños started to donate a portion of their lot for the construction of mission churches while most people worked hand-in-hand with their mission station-priests in various fundraising initiatives such as fun-run, raffle tickets, offering of rice-produce, selling of shirts, candles, and solicitations both here and abroad. The mission station churches have reinvigorated the whole Church of Capiz as laypeople have become more involved and participative in Church activities. Significantly, mission station churches have contributed to the growth of vocation to the priesthood, as more young men from far places or barangays have become interested in entering the seminary.

In a span of eight years, 29 mission station churches were erected and built in far places and remote towns across the 17 municipalities of the province of Capiz. Today, the Archdiocese of Capiz boasts of 64 parishes. Archbishop Joe has increased the number of churches in less than eight years, a phenomenal growth indeed, from 35 to 64 churches. More than these, the gospel message of Christ has been brought closer to many people in far-flung, remote, obscure, and poor places. Silently yet effectively, the urgent call of Pope Francis, at the beginning of his pontificate, of bringing the Church to the peripheries finds its clearest expression in the evangelizing and trailblazing efforts of Archbishop Joe together with the clergy and the faithful of Capiz.



Another expression of renewal introduced by Archbishop Joe in Capiz can be gleaned from his overarching concern towards the welfare of his priests, particularly by paying attention to the needs of old, sick, and retired priests. For this purpose, he established a religious group called Merciful Missionaries of St. Joseph to work in Capiz to primarily take care of the old, sick, and retired priests. He spearheaded the construction of a two-story facility called Lolek’s Home located inside the compound of St. John Paul II Parish in Roxas City. With the generous support and donation of Capizeños, benefactors, friends from abroad, and various fundraising activities of priests and parishes, the dream will soon become a reality.

His concern and love for the clergy is as palpable and tangible as that of a father for his children. He would personally visit his priests in hospitals or sick beds, and even be at the side of his dying priest. He never hesitates to make an unannounced visit to a particular parish for a cup of coffee or join a simple birthday lunch for his priest. He would always make himself available by being the mass presider during parish fiestas or Misa de Gallo in far places or towns. In several instances, he did not mind waking up as early as 2:00 am just to be on time for the celebration of the Eucharist for people in far-flung parishes and newly created mission churches. Like a true shepherd to his flock, Archbishop Joe shares the joys, hurts, and trepidation of his priests. He was, for instance, exuberant when Monsignor Victor B. Bendico, the former vicar general of the Archdiocese of Capiz, was appointed Bishop of Baguio in 2017.

Archbishop Joe’s love for his priests goes beyond the construction of a retirement home for them. Starting in 2012, he carefully planned out the continuing education and formation of his priests after ordination. Though scant in financial resources, he sends priests to various universities in Manila and abroad. He is convinced that continuing education of the clergy is needed for seminaries and schools. Aside from the usual pontifical degrees pursued by priests, Archbishop Joe encourages his priests to enroll in other sciences including civil law that would eventually help the Church of Capiz. As of now, some priests have already taken courses in Educational Management either at De La Salle University, the University of Sto. Tomas, the University of the Philippines, or St. Paul’s University. Recently, two priests have already earned their professional licenses as civil engineer and architect respectively. Despite the high cost of education abroad, he does not stop sending Capizeño priests to Rome, where one of his young priests has been admitted recently to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the school of future diplomats, papal delegates and nuncios of the Roman Catholic Church. A first in the history of the Church of Capiz.

Archbishop Joe’s vision for the Church goes well beyond the peripheries. Aside from parochial or domestic concerns, he truly understands the universality of the Church. One, then, should not be surprised to accidentally meet a Capizeño priest studying in the famous University of Vienna or another Capizeño priest serving a diocese either in the US mainland, Guam, or England.  These priests were all sent by Archbishop Joe to other dioceses needing immediate help due to scarcity of priests abroad. At one point, he even mentioned of sending Capizeño priests to Africa as missionaries.



The international Tyhoon Yolanda in 2013 had also brought havoc to many churches and institutions under the Archdiocese of Capiz. Hours after the landfall of the said typhoon, Archbishop Joe was already calling almost all his priests, expressing solidarity and concern for those whose rectories and churches had been badly damaged. Even when national roads remained impassable, Archbishop Joe hastened to assess the actual situation on the ground by visiting churches and schools affected by the typhoon. Unknown to many, the Archbishop Joe’s residence, particularly his room, was also heavily damaged-- he himself did not know where he would stay in the following days or months.

But the calamity has unraveled Archbishop’s Joe servant-leadership with a sense of prophetic urgency to rise above every dire situation. Wasting no time, he indefatigably looked for funds by appealing to various funding and charitable agencies and dioceses for the rebuilding of churches all over Capiz. At one point, he went abroad to personally appear before international agencies like Caritas Italiana and Caritas Vienna, armed with a development plan for the rebuilding of the Archdiocese of Capiz. Indeed, his efforts were not futile; the Archdiocese of Capiz providentially received grants and donations from abroad, countries like Italy, the United States of America, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, among others.

Through a systematic planning creatively crafted and executed by Fr. Mark Granflor, the Social Action Director of the Archdiocese of Capiz, various housing projects in poor parishes badly hit by the typhoon were implemented, coupled with several livelihood programs for sustainability. Added to this program was the construction of three evacuation centers in typhoon-prone parishes and a new vocational and technical school for out-of-school youth and those people who cannot afford a formal college education. This newly created school is named after Archbishop Joe’s favorite saint, of course, his namesake, St. Joseph, the silent and hardworking carpenter.



One may think that Archbishop Joe, at 68, deserves to rest, a respite after all these pastoral initiatives he has endeavored throughout his episcopal ministry. Or, it is but natural for him to anticipate, as he often does in most things, his retirement. That could have been his final journey, so to speak, just fading quietly away from public ministry. He envisions a serene and rustic area planted with trees, vegetables, and perhaps raising native chicken at his backyard. Surely, he is looking forward to a place where he can still walk with verdant and tall trees around.

However, far from the least he expects, he braces for another journey soon to begin come November 28, 2020 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome when the Holy Father, Pope Francis, during the ordinary consistory of cardinals, hands him a red hat, a symbol of martyrdom and willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the Church and not for any pomp or grandeur.

On that day, we Filipinos here and abroad will be watching an unknown archbishop of Capiz and the ninth Filipino cardinal dressed in full regalia fit for a prince of the Church, as they say. He will be marching solemnly towards the altar, where the remains of a once hesitant but nevertheless courageous fisherman from Galilee, an apostle named Peter chosen by Christ to lead the Church, will stand as a silent witness to the unknown journey of another Filipino cardinal, His Eminence Jose Cardinal Fuerte Advincula Jr., all the way coming from an unknown, far, and remote local church, the Archdiocese of Capiz, Philippines. Mabuhay si Cardinal Teting, Mabuhay ang Paring Pilipino!  

“I also ask all SocCom (Social Communications) ministries to help in the dissemination information regarding the forthcoming typhoon. Try your best to provide TRUE, TIMELY and USEFUL INFORMATION to our people.” This was the message of Most Rev. Marcelino Antonio Maralit, Jr., 

head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – Episcopal Commission on Social Communications (CBCP-ECSC) during an interview with Radio Veritas.

Most Rev. Marcelino Antonio Maralit, Jr., Head of CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Communications | File Photo of RCAM-AOC


Bishop Maralit, who is also the bishop of the Diocese of Boac, has called on the social communications ministry of all the parishes in the country to make use of the media, particularly the social media, in disseminating information about typhoon Rolly for people to be informed and guided. Rolly is said to be the world’s strongest typhoon so far in 2020 according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The Bishop pointed out the importance of being prepared as well as being informed of the situation and the advisories from various agencies during times of calamities to ensure the safety of the people, emphasizing that it is more important than any of the material possessions.

“Try your best to prepare what we can and please listen to the warnings being given. And always remember that your life is much more important than anything we may own,” said the Bishop.

Bishop Maralit then urged the faithful to unite in prayer and ask God’s mercy and protection from the threats brought about by typhoon Rolly in the country.

“Sa lahat po let us pray together and ask for the Almighty’s Loving protection that we may be saved from the threat of this coming typhoon. Let us entrust ourselves to our God, and believe that even if we are hit by this typhoon, our Lord, just like in any of the trials we have already gone through, would always give us the graces we need to get back on our feet. We will survive this together,” Bishop Maralit said. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)

"Para maging banal, magdasal at magkaroon ng mabuting asal," says Rev. Fr. Hans Magdurulang, Parochial Vicar of San Felipe Neri Parish, in his homily during the Holy-Win: Dress Like A Saint Contest 2020.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the parish held its 8th year of the contest on Friday, October 30, 2020.

San Felipe Neri Parish holds its 8th year of Holy-Win: Dress Like a Saint contest on October 30, 2020, in commemoration of the feast of All Saints’ Day. | Photo by Dein de Leon/SPCPM-San Felipe Neri Parish


While observing the health protocol guidelines of the community quarantine, participants ages 30-60 years old gathered representing the different ministries, areas, and organizations in the parish. And so in addition to their saintly costumes, they also wore facemasks, face shields and observed physical distancing.

The event was concluded with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 6:00 PM, presided over by Rev. Fr. Hans Magdurulang. After the Mass, the winners of the contest were announced and awarded.

The Holy-Win: Dress Like A Saint-Contest has become a yearly activity of the parish where participants, including children, teenagers, and adults are dressed in saints’ vestments or costumes to commemorate the celebration of the "Hallowed Eve" or the Feast of All Saints. This was a response to the usual practice of wearing scary and horrific costumes of ghosts, witches, and other evil characters, which is not part of the Catholic tradition.

It is not only a contest but an occasion that teaches everyone to be holy and not scary. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC)

The Manila City Government earlier announced the cancellation of the Black Nazarene Procession on January 9, 2021.  In line with this, Quiapo Church has also canceled its traditional veneration ("pahalik") of the image amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The image of the Black Nazarene during the Traslacion 2019 | Photo by Maricar Santos/RCAM-AOC

According to CBCP News, Msgr. Hernando Coronel, Rector and Parish Priest of the Minor Basilica of St. John the Baptist or Quiapo Church, said that the traditional kissing of the image or “pahalik” would be replaced with the viewing of the image or “pagtanaw” from the Church’s balcony for two weeks.

“The pilgrim image of the Nazarene will be brought up to the balcony of the church fronting Plaza Miranda two weeks before the actual Feast Day,” said Msgr. Coronel.

It will be the first time in history that the annual grand Traslacion has been canceled.

Every January 9, thousands of devotees join the procession of the Black Nazarene from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church. The kissing of the image is usually held a day before the Traslacion at the Quirino Grandstand.

Last October 23, 2020, the city government of Manila and Quiapo Church have agreed to cancel the procession of the Black Nazarene for 2021.

"There is no harm in having none for a year or two. Because they're still a hundred years, 50 years, 20 years, ten years, five years... to continue to practice 'yung pamana, 'yung kustumbre at 'yung pamamanata,” said Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC)

Vatican has announced the extension of the plenary indulgences to avoid the influx of people in public places such as churches, cemeteries and columbaries.

According to the Catholic News Agency, last October 23, 2020, a decree was signed by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, stating that indulgences can be acquired for the whole month of November.

Indulgences are merits received through certain pious acts, which can help revoke temporal punishment caused by sin for those who have died.

Cardinal Piacenza said that the new provisions were made after the bishops’ request of the extension of plenary indulgence given the importance of the commemoration of the feasts of All Saints’ Day on November 1 and All Souls’ Day on November 2. He also mentioned that live-streamed Masses were beneficial for those individuals who cannot attend the liturgy physically.

“There is therefore a pursuit by the bishops to implement all possible solutions to bring people back to the Church, always respecting everything that needs to be done for the particular situation in which we unfortunately find ourselves,” said the Cardinal.

With the penitentiary’s new decree, individuals who cannot go outside may still receive indulgences, while others may attend mass in the Churches and visit their departed loved ones, following the implemented health protocols.

The decree also highlights the importance of the availability of the sacraments during the whole month of November.

“For an easier attainment of divine grace through pastoral charity, this penitentiary earnestly prays that all priests endowed with the appropriate faculties offer themselves with particular generosity to the celebration of the sacrament of Penance and to administering Holy Communion to the sick,” according to the decree.

Every November, Catholics have two traditional means of obtaining plenary indulgences for the souls: the faithful may receive full indulgence each day from November 1 to November 8 when they visit a cemetery to pray for the departed and fulfilled other conditions, and when they go to a church or an oratory to pray for the faithful departed on November 2, All Souls’ Day.

These plenary indulgences had been extended throughout November to avoid large gatherings in public places that may expose the faithful to the risk of COVID-19. The indulgences can thus be obtained on any day in November.

Those who cannot leave the house, on the other hand, including the elderly, the sick, the children, and others for serious reasons may receive indulgences by reciting prayers for the deceased in front of an image of Jesus or the Virgin Mary.

One also must fulfill certain conditions such as: having a spirit detached from sin; going to confession; receiving the Eucharist; praying for the pope’s intentions; and being united spiritually with all the faithful. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC)

Maraming beses sa mga Bible study na ginagawa ko, natanong ko ang mga umaattend, “Maaari bang utusan na mahalin ang isang tao? Mauutusan ba ang pag-ibig?” Almost all the time ang sagot ay, hindi.

Ang pag-ibig sabi nila, ay dumadating na lang. kapag tinamaan ka ng pana ni Cupid, magmamahal ka, hindi na ito mapipigilan.

Sa ganitong pananaw, ang nasa isip ng tao ay ang romantic love. Ito ay pag-ibig na nasa damdamin lang. At ang damdamin ay hindi mauutusan. Hindi ito maco-control pero ito ay hindi ang pag-ibig na siyang pinaka-sentro ng katuruan ni Jesus Christ.

Ang center ng ating pagka-Kristiyano ay ang pag-ibig. Ang pinakamahalagang kautusan ay magmahal. Kaya mauutusan tayong umibig kasi ang pagmamahal ay wala lang sa damdamin o sa feeling. Ito ay nasa kalooban, nasa will. Ito ay dine-desisyunan natin. Dine-desisyunan kong magmahal. Mas maaasahan at mas malalim ang ganitong pag-ibig. Love is forever if we decide it to be so. It is a commitment.

Ang kautusan ni Moses na matatagpuan natin sa Pentateuch o sa Torah, ang unang limang aklat ng Bibliya na siyang pinakamahalaga sa lumang tipan. Ito ang Bibliya ng mga Hudyo. Ito po ay naglalaman ng 613 laws. Napakaraming batas. Hindi ito magagampanan ng lahat kaya isa sa pinaka pinagdedesisyunan, pinagdidiskusyunan ng mga dalubhasa sa batas ng mga Hudyo ay, alin baa ng pinakamahalaga sa mga ito? Kung hindi naman masunod ang lahat ng 613 laws, at least sundin ang mahahalagang batas.

Sinubok si Hesus ng kilalang guro sa Israel, “Alin ba ang pinakamahalgang batas?” Walang pasubali at walang pagdududa ang sagot ni Hesus, “Mahalin mo ang Diyos ng hiti sa lahat.” Ito po ay galing sa aklat ng Deutoronomyo, chapter 6, na nire-recite ng mga Hudyo ilang beses araw araw. Ang tawag sa dasal na ito ay “Shema Israel.” Makinig ka Israel, iisa lang ang Diyos, si Yahweh, ang Panginoon. Mahalin mo siya ng buong puso, ng buong kaluluwa at ng buong pag-iisip. Ang ibig sabihin, mahalin mo siya ng buong pagkatao mo.

Isa lang ang tanong kay Hesus, ang pinakamahalagang utos. Hindi lang isa ang sagot ni Hesus kundi dalawa. Ibinigay niya ang pangalawang utos. Ang pangalawa ay tulad ng una, “Mahalin mo ang iyong kapwa tulad ng iyong sarili.” Galing naman ito sa aklat ng Levitico, chapter 19. Dalawa ang binigay ni Hesus kasi hindi makatatayo ang una ng wala ang pangalawa. Walang pag-ibig sa Diyos na walang pag-ibig sa kapwa.

Kung walang sukatan ang pag-ibig sa Diyos sapagkat siya’y iisa lang at mahalin natin siya ng buong pagkatao natin, mayroon naming sukatan ang pag-ibig sa kapwa. Ang sukatan ay ang pag-ibig sa sarili. Ang ibig sabihin nito kung ano ang ibig mong gawin sayo, gawin mo sa iba. Ano ang ayaw mong gawin sayo, huwag mong gawin sa iba. Ibig mong unawaiin ka, unawain mo ang iba. Gusto mong pakinggan ka, pakinggan mo ang iba. Gusto mong igalang ka, igalang moa ng iba. Ayaw mong dayain ka, huwag mong dayain ang iba. Ayaw mong murahin ka, huwag mong murahin ang iba. Ayaw mong lamangan ka, huwag kang manglamang sa iba. Simple lang hindi ba?

Paano ba natin mamahalin ang Diyos ng higit sa lahat? Unahin natin siya sa ating panahon. Paano mong masasabi na mahal mo siya ng higit sa lahat kung sa halip na magdasal, inuuna mo pa ang TV. Sa halip na magsimba, inuuna mo pa ang trabaho. Minamahal din natin ang Diyos ng higit sa lahat kung ang ating material resources, ang Diyos ang inuuna natin. May mga budget tayo para sa bahay, para sa kuryente at para sa iba pang mga bilihin.  Pero wala naman tayong budget para sa Diyos. Wala tayong inilaan o isinasantabi para sa Kanya. Kung may kontribusyon para sa simbahan, kung anon a lang ang mabunot, yan ang ibinibigay. Hirap nga ang mgataong magbigay ng tithing, ang hirap naman magbigay ng ikapo. Isa lang sa sampu ang maiibibigay natin. Ang siyam naman ay naiiwan sa atin. Akala ko ba mahal mo ang Diyos ng higit sa lahat?

Isa pang paraan ng pagmamahal sa Diyos ay ang pagmamahal sa kapwa. Kaya hindi hiniwalay ni Hesus ang pag-ibig sa Diyos sa pag-ibig sa kapwa.

St. John tells us in his first letter, “In this is love, not that we have love God but that He loved us and sent His son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us and His love is brought to perfection in us.”

Kapag pag-ibig ang pinag-uusapan, ang unang dapat i-consider ay ang pag-ibig ng Diyos sa atin. Mahal tayo ng Diyos. Totoo ba, mahal ba tayo ng Diyos? Paano natin alam na mahal Niya tayo? Ang madalas na sagot na binibigay sa akin ay, sapagkat buhay pa tayo, sapagkat malusog tayo wala tayong sakit. Kapag namatay na tayo, hindi tayo mahal ng Diyos? Kapag nagkasakit na tayo, hindi tayo mahal ng Diyos? Hindi. Ano man ang kalagayan natin mahal tayo ng Diyos at ang tanda, ibinigay niya si Hesus sa atin. Ganun tayo kamahal ng Diyos na ang the best niya, ang kanyang kaisa isang anak ay ibinigay niya sa atin. Dahil sa ganun ako kamahal, dapat kong mahalin ang aking kapwa.

Hindi natin nakikita ang Diyos, paano natin siya mamahalin? Nakikita natin ang ating kapwa at kasama natin ang ating kapwa, kaya sa pagmamahal natin sa kanila nagiging ganap ang pag-ibig natin sa Diyos. Nagiging konkreto ang pag-ibig natin sa Diyos.

Sino naman ang kapwang mamahalin natin? Sabi ni Jesus, “If you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not tax collector do the same? If you greet your brothers only, what is a unusal about that? Do not the pagans do the same? Love is not a close circuit affair. I love those who love me and are good to me and in turn they love me back.”

Kaya ang kapwa na ating unang mamahalin ay iyung mga mahihina. Yung mga hindi pinapansin. Yung mga isinasang tabi, pinagsasamantalahan. Kaya nga sa ating First Reading na galing sa aklat ng Exodo, wina-warningan tayo na huwag natin pagsamantalahan ang mga vulnerablepeople na noong panahon ay ang mga dayuhan dahil sa wala silang kakampi. Ang mga balong babae wala nang asawa na katuwang, mga ulila, mga bata na wala nang magulang na magproprotekta sa kanila at ang mga mahihirap. Walang wala na sila sa buhay.

Sa ating panahon ngayon pwede nating palawakin itong mga vulnerable people. Nandiyan yung mga matatanda na hindi na tinatanggap ng kanilang mga pamilya. Nandiyan yung mga bilanggo, nandiyan yung mga may kapansanan. Nandiyan yung mga HIV-AIDS victims. Sila po yung mga bago nang vulnerable ngayon. Huwag natin silang apihin at pagsamantalahan.

Dalawang beses narinig sa maiksing pagbasa natin na kapag sila ay tmatawag sa Diyos at dahil sa wala naman silang kasama, kakampi, sa Diyos lamang sila tumatawag, pakikinggan sila ng Diyos sapagkat ang Diyos ay mahabagin.

May isang mahalagang bagay na  dapat pansinin sa narinig natin na galing sa aklat ng Exodo – yung pagpautang ng may tubo.

Ngayong panahon ng pandemic, maraming tao ay nawalan ng hanap buhay. One way to cope is to borrow. Kung ang kapwa ay nanghihiram dahil sa kahirapan, wala ng pagkain, may sakit. Hindi tama na magkakainterest pa tayo sa kanyang kagipitan sa buhay na tayo ay kikita dahil sa siya’y naghihirap. Iba ang nanghihiram para magtayo ng negosyo. Okay lang na makibahagi tayo sa kita ng ating pera na ginagamit niya pero huwag nating pagkakakitaan ang kahirapan ng iba.

Ito ay totoo rin sa mga bansa. Kaya nananawagan ang Santo Papa at maraming mga world leaders na magkaroon ng debt cancellation. Tanggalin na ang mga utang ng mga mahihirap na bansa upang matugunan nila ang basic needs ng kanilang mga tao, mga gamut, mga pagkain kaysa magbayad ng interest o kaya ng utang sa mga malalaking bangko at mayayamang bansa.

Tulad ng sinabi kanina sa simula ng misa, ngayon ay Prison Awareness Sunday. Ang mga bilanggo ay mga kapwa din natin na naisasangtabi na sila ay vulnerable kasi sila ay nakakulong at sila ay dapat din nating pansinin at mahalin. Kaya nandito sa atin yung mga pari na nagtratrabaho sa Prison Ministry sa ating RJ ministry natin. So, nandito yung mga madre, nandito yung mga BJMP, nandito yung ibang mga volunteers sa iba’t ibang mga jails natin upang  mabigyan ng tunay na rehabilitation ang ating mga bilanggo. Kasi kawawa ang kalagayan ng mga nasa bilangguan nating mga kapatid. Yan ay aabot sa hindreds of thousands.

Nakakalungkot at nakakagalit ang kalagayan ng ating mga jails. Inhuman ang kanilang kalagayan. Siksikan, madumi, walang basic services, pinagsasamantalahan at kung minsan inaabuso pa. Dapat yun ay mga rehabilitation facilities ngunit people there are not rehabilitated at all. There is very little program for rehabilitation. At sila po’y nangangailangan ng tulong. They appreciate very much kahit na sabon lang o toothpaste na inaabot sa kanila.

At si Hesus mismo pinahalagahan ang mga nasa piitan na sinabi niya, “Ako’y nasa bilangguan, dinalaw nyo ako. Halina sa kaharian na inihanda sa inyo. Ako’y nasa piitan, hindi nyo dinalaw, punta kayo sa impiyerno.”  Kaya ang prison ministry ay malaking bahagi ng gawain po ng ating simabahan sa ating pagsunod kay Hesus.

Sabi ng iba, hayaan na ang mga bilanggo, masasamang tao yan. Dapat naman na sila’y parusahan. Mga kapatid, hindi po totoo na ang mga nandoon ay masasamang tao. Marami na nasa jails natin ay hindi naman dapat naroon. Sila’y biktima ng injustice. Marami sa kanila ay maliliit na tao na napagbintangan.

At ito’y totoo, lalung lalo na sa mga political prisoners. And there are hundreds of political prisoners. They are there because of their political beliefs and they are victims of injustice done by law officers who plant evidences and make cases against them.

Senator de Lima is a clear example of this. She is in detention for four years already without any conviction. Justice delayed is justice deied. At yan ay totoo hindi lang kay Senator de Lima, napakaraming mga nasa bilangguan na dapat ay wala na doon. Ang bagal ng takbo ng ating justice system kaya kumpulan sila sa mga bilangguan natin. Sana po alamin natin ang kanilang kalagayan at panindigan sila.

Love is not just a romantic feeling. It is not just about feeling good. It is a commitment for the good. And there are so many who are uncomfortable on the Christian message of love of God and love of neighbor. This is why even today, Christianity is the most persecuted religion.

Bakit naman uusigin, sisirain ang mga simbahan? Ikukulong ang mga tao na naniniwala at nagsisikap na isabuhay ang pag-ibig sa Diyos at pag-ibig sa kapwa. Tulad ng ginagawa nila sa China ngayon. Bakit? Dahil sa kung talagang mahal natin ang Diyos ng higit sa lahat, uunahin natin siya at ang kanyang mga utos. Ayaw yan ng mga regimes, mga systems at mga tao who claimed that they are the greatest.

Bakit? Dahil sa kung mahal natin ang ating kapwa, lalo na ang mga pinagsasamantalahan, malalantad ang pang-aabuso na ginawa nila at ayaw yan ng mga nang-aabuso.

Every Holy Mass is a celebration of love, how God love us so much in Christ Jesus. He gives Himself to us that we may live. At sinabi ni Hesus sa bagong tipan, “Magmahalan kayo tulad ng pagmamahal ko sa inyo. Ang sukatan ng pag-ibig ngayon ay hindi na pag-ibig natin sa ating sarili. Ngunit ang pag-ibig ni Hesus sa atin. At paano siya nagmahal? Ibinigay niya ang sarili niya sa atin. Kaya nakikinabang tayo dahil sa Siya’y nagbigay ng sarili niya.

The fruit of this celebration is the deep consciousness that we are loved. Dahil sa ganoon tayo kamahal ng Diyos, mahalin natin ang bawat isa. (Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC)

His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Jose F. Advincula of the Archdiocese of Capiz as among new Cardinals together with 12 others.

The Pope made the announcement during his Sunday Angelus in the Vatican on October 25, 2020. The new cardinals will be elevated at a consistory on November 28, 2020.

Cardinal-elect Archbishop Jose F. Advincula 

Born on March 30, 1952, in Dumalig, Capiz, Archbishop Advincula was ordained priest on April 14, 1976. He completed his studies in Theology and Canon Law at the University of Santo Tomas.

He was appointed bishop on July 25, 2000, and was consecrated on September 8, 2001. On November 9, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as Archbishop of Capiz after the retirement of Archbishop Onesim Cordoncillo. He has been serving as Archbishop of Capiz since January 2012.

According to Vatican News, nine of 13 new cardinals are “younger than 80” and therefore, have the right to participate in a future conclave,” and Archbishop Advincula will be one of them. Four others are older than 80 years of age.”

Archbishop Advincula, according to CBCPNews becomes the ninth Filipino cardinal, following cardinals Orlando Quevedo, Luis Antonio Tagle, Gaudencio Rosales, Jose Sanchez, Ricardo Vidal, Jaime Sin, Julio Rosales and Rufino Santos.

He will also be among the four current Filipino cardinals, alongside Rosales, Quevedo and Tagle. Both Rosales and Quevedo are over 80 and are no longer eligible to take part in a conclave.

Here is the list of the 13 new cardinals: Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Maltese Bishop Mario Grech; Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Italian Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, who has served as the Preacher to the Papal Household since 1980; Archbishop Celestino Aós Braco of Santiago, Chile; Archbishop Antoine Kambanda of Kigali, Rwanda; Archbishop Jose Fuerte Advincula of Capiz, Philippines; Bishop Cornelius Sim, Vicar Apostolic of Brunei; Archbishop Augusto Paolo Lojudice, former Rome auxiliary bishop and current Archbishop of Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-Montalcino, Italy; Fra Mauro Gambetti, Custos of the Sacred Convent of Assisi; Emeritus Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico; Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, Permanent Observer Emeritus to the United Nations Office and Specialized Agencies in Geneva; and Enrico Feroci, parish priest of Santa Maria del Divino Amore at Castel di Leva, Rome. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC) 


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