We Need Mary More than ever

October 30, 2016

(Column of Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, D.D. for Ulat Batangan October issue. )

During the WORLD APOSTOLATE OF FATIMA CONGRESS, one German priest lamented that the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference recently decided to reminisce the quincentennial of the emergence of Martin Luther and the Protestant reform as a remarkable event in Church history but no mention was made of the centenary of the apparitions in Fatima which St Pope John Paul II called probably one of the most important happenings in the Church of our times. Benedict XVI, in his visit to Fatima in 2010 encouraged the faithful to make a seven year preparation for the centenary (2010 – 2017), contending that not all what the Blessed Mother said in Fatima has been fulfilled. That was also left unheeded. Pope Francis realizes the magnitude of that event slating his participation in the Fatima festivities on May 12 to 13, 2017.

The Church in the Philippines is not oblivious of the Fatima phenomenon. Post World War II years witnessed countless people enthused by its spiritual wonder becaming its avid promoters. Fr Patrick Peyton who popularized the importance of the Family Rosary was one of the great Fatima apostles. Fr Roger Moore hopped from country to country, and in the Philippines from parish to parish setting aflame still more the already ardent love of Filipinos for Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother, that earned for our Catholic faithful the label PUEBLO AMANTE DE MARIA. Upon hearing the German priest’s lament about the German Catholic Bishops’ apparent misplaced priority (Martin Luther’s rebellion as against the Marian phenomenon), one may ask: can the CBCP be similarly faulted for its silence about next year’s important Church commemoration, namely, the hundredth anniversary of the Fatima apparitions? Without doubt, many bishops, like their faithful and stirred by them, are aware that this year is the hundredth year of the visit of the Angel of Peace to the little shepherds.

Instead bishops are explicably and deeply distressed along with several citizens at the Philippine presidential overtures to China and Russia. Some openly vent their angst that communists have made inroads in government, and the anti-American rhetoric has become the people’s daily bread creating destabilizing consequences in regional and global politics. Others believe that the communist bogeyman raises goose bumps no longer. As a feared ideology communism has become passé if not at death’s door. Russia, or the former Soviet Union, exudes no more the feared character evocative of atheism, cruel dictatorship, religious persecution, oppression, etc. On the contrary, religion thrives in that country which produced martyrs in its land and elsewhere. It is the long-time ‘friend’ that appears to promote a Godless society and while pretending to champion human rights is seen as the power peddling death. Ninety-nine years ago, the Lady of Fatima warned that Russia would spread its errors. It did. But She also asked prayers for the conversion of Russia. It seems the famed Holy Russia comes back acknowledging the true God, returning to her heavenly Mother and Queen. Mary seems more loved there than in the neighbor beyond the tempestuous Pacific, whose economic assistance packages legalized killing of the unborn and the adoption of same sex union and other anti-God policies.

China is still ruled by self-declared communists. But the leaders are no different from other power hungry and market economy wizards of the West. The majority fear the current demagoguery reveals a dangerous shift in the direction of the uncertain path involving loss of long and hard earned friendship ties and the sure support of powerful allies. They are not ready to accept that the former anti-God and highhanded stance is now taken over by former masters who impose a secular view that excludes the Creator and the moral life He demands of creatures. The Blessed Mother indeed gave the warning that China has great designs to make trouble in the region and even the entire world and the Philippines is a primary target. On the other hand, the Holy Mother also pleads for prayer for the conversion of this immense land.

This year is the centenary of the ANGEL OF PEACE who visited three shepherd children in the once unheard of place in the westernmost extremities of Europe to prepare them for the visit of the Lady from Heaven. This angelic year must introduce the year of the QUEEN OF PEACE. Peace is the issue so prevalent these days. In the pursuit of peace even chrch people may be unconsciously drawn to wrong solutions. Peace certainly cannot be achieved by war. Neither does negotiation achieve peace. Most truly peace cannot be bought. The Angel taught the children to pray on their knees and recite: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not bleve, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.” Innocently but truly the children learned from the angel and communicates to all that true peace can be achieved if we believe, adore home in and love God. Is this not what is lacking in the world. The children pleads for those who fail to believe, adore, hope in and love God. This is the duty of the Church. There is no peace in the world because, following the iniquity of the enemy of God, humanity makes himself his god, knowingly and unknowingly. When the true God is not acknowledged and adored, false gods appear. This is the reason for the lack of peace. Therefore the Queen of Peace appeals to humanity (1) to pray which in the first place means adore the true God. (2) pray especially the Rosary, because the Rosary is the meditation of the Life of Jesus as lived by Mary and of the life of Mary s totally taken up by Jesus, (3) to be converted (to return) to the Lord, (4) to make reparation for the sinfulness of the world, (5) to go to confession and the Eucharist which is being reconciled and united to God, (6) to be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The call is as simple as that.

The world is in great upheaval. Many solutions have been offered by great and intelligent minds. Even within the Church intellectuals and exprts have their contrasting remedies. The Holy Mother says it very simply: Pray, Pray, Pray. Return to God. In the pursuit of elusive peace we need Mary to tell us still and remind us: Peace is a gift from Heaven, peace is from Heaven, from God, peace is God. It cannot be found elsewhere, only in God. A hundred years after the Fatima apparitions, in the time of even greater trouble than ever, the Queen of Peace needs to remind us where peace can be attained. Not outside God but only from God Who sends the world the Prince of Peace. #UB


Goodbye, Bishop Salvi

August 7, 2016
His Excellency Bishop Salvador QUIZON, passed away on Friday, 5 August 2016, at the Mary Mediatrix Hospital, Lipa City.  It was on the Feast of the Dedication of St. Mary Major and a First Friday attesting to his closeness both to Mama Mary and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  He was 91.  He was born on 6 December 1924 in Manila.  
 
In his early years as priest and bishop, he is known for his athleticism, dashing presence and for his being a man of prayer, of “Canonical” wisdom, priestly prudence, simplicity and tact.  On top of this, specially in the twilight years of his life, “Bishop Salvi” distinguished himself more for his gift of appreciative and affirming presence.  For that, his company will be greatly and sorely missed.
 
Bishop Quizon’s remains lie in state at the St. Francis de Sales Theological Seminary Chapel in Barangay Marawoy, Lipa City, until Tuesday morning, 9 August 2016. 
 
The funeral Mass shall be on Tuesday afternoon, 9 August 2016 at 1:00 at the Chapel of the same Seminary.  Interment follows at the Chapel of the Living Shrine of the Holy Souls, behind the seminary grounds.  May he rest in God’s peace and love.
 
His Excellency Most Reverend Ramon C. Arguelles, Archbishop of Lipa, the entire Clergy, Religious Men and Women and the laity of the Archdiocese express their deepest sympathy to the family and all loved ones of the late Bishop Salvador Quizon. 
 

Archbishop Bows to CDF Directive

July 6, 2016

LET IT BE MADE KNOWN TO ALL

IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE DIRECTIVE EXPRESSED IN THE DECEMBER 11, 2015, CDF DOCUMENT, TO WIT,

CONSISTENT WITH MY FEBRUARY 16, 2016 LETTER TO THE CDF WHERE I STATED ‘may I declare that I recognize the exclusive jurisdiction of the Holy See regarding the Apparitions of Lipa and I defer completely to the decisions of the CONGREGATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF FAITH’,

I HEREBY PUBLICLY DECLARE THAT I BOW TO THE CDF PRONOUNCEMENT THAT MY SEPTEMBER 12, 2015, DECREE BE NULL AND VOID.

Given this 8th day of June, in the year of the Lord two thousand and sixteen.

ARCHBISHOP RAMÓN C. ARGÜELLES

(published in Archbishop Arguelles’ Facebook Account)


Post-election Statement of Archbishop Arguelles

May 10, 2016

(Lipa City, May 10, 2016) – The Batangueños have chosen their leaders for the next three years. Regardless whether there were vote-buying, high tech cheating, tricks or anomalies, the fact remains: leaders have been chosen and will soon be declared. The advocacy should however continue: save the environment! Strive to render healthy atmosphere for our citizenry including those who voted for those promoting the destruction of our province and threaten the total good of the general public. Persist in rescuing the poor from misery and exploitation even if their poverty forced them to make the wrong choices. All efforts to help our people should go on with even greater fervor because the salvation of our people, most especially the exploited and neglected, the protection of the environment, the beauty of our province, is a Divine mandate, the pope wants us to protect our common home and go to the peripheries to serve the poor. We will not give up. We will double our efforts. Thank you, young people, for your dedication. Let us not fall into apathy. With God we will succeed in giving our people reason to hope for a brighter future.


Lipa Archdiocese Happy without PPCRV

May 3, 2016

(Lipa City) – The 2013 elections was coming close when the Archdiocese of Lipa made a surprising decision to breakaway from the CBCP-backed Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and formed its own Lipa Archdiocesan Council for Electoral Reforms (LACER). And LACER performed the usual duties that the Tita de Villa-led PPCRV usually did during elections.  IN fact,  the local COMELEC praised LACER’s opus during that electoral exercise.

This year,  LACER will again go out and help COMELEC monitor the elections all over the province.  IN fact,  trainings were held in various times to train volunteers in their election duties.  It has tied up with NAMFREL, and Fr. Ildefonso Dimaano, LACER’s head was named NAMFREL Provincial Chairman.  He has also met up with the new Batangas Election Supervisor, Atty. Allan Enriquez, for the issuance of IDs of the LACER volunteers. This year will see 6 districts to be covered compared to 4 last 2013 elections.

As in the past, the Archdiocesan Radio stations are expected to tie up with LACER, which administratively is under the Lipa Archdiocesan Commission on Social Action (LASAC).


Archdiocese of Lipa Hosts First Salvo vs. CFPP

May 3, 2016

(Batangas City) –  The Archdiocese of Lipa, led by the feisty Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, will host the first ever international action to stop global climate change with a mass action slated for May 4, starting at 6:00 am.  The participants, expected to number more than ten thousand, with foreign climate activists in attendance, will come from two starting points:  underneath the bridge at Bolbok, Batangas City and at the parish church at Lourdes Subdivision, Sta. Rita, Batangas City.  The groups are expected to start with their Lakadasal (Prayer March) towards the Batangas Sports Complex.

There the Archbishop will lead a concelebrated Mass at 7:00 am, after which a program which would feature environmentalists and celebrity guests from giant TV network ABS-CBN will be held.  The program, according to the organizers will last till around 10:30 in the morning.

The event, locally dubbed “Piglas Batangas, Piglas Pilipinas” is part of the international movement “Break Free from Fossil Fuels”.  The Philippines was chosen as the first venue as Philippine government has announced its plan to put up another 27 coal-fired power plants to add to the already 19 coal-fired power plant already in operation.  It would be recalled that world leaders converged in Paris early this year and agreed to lessen the carbon emission.  President Aquino is a signatory to this pledge.

In his statement, Archbishop Arguelles reiterated Pope Francis’ call in his encyclical letter “Laudato Si” to act on climate change and protect the Earth, “urging solidarity with the poor and the most vulnerable, for it is they who suffer most severely the effects of global warming.  Batangas was the first to put up a coal-fired power plant during the time of strongman Ferdinand Marcos.  The plant situated in Calaca, Batangas experienced environmental damage and health hazard to its citizens even up to this time.  JG Summit, which already operates a naphta cracker plant at Barangay Pinamucan, Batangas City, has  applied for a permit to build a coal-fired power plant.  This has caused political division in the city as its application is awaiting judgment at the City Council.  The church has led the opposition to this plan.

Organizers said that this is just the beginning of such protests.  Similar mass actions are scheduled in other parts of the country till May 14.


Lipa Archdiocese Starts Lenten Pilgrimages

February 14, 2016

Except for the first week which marked Saturday with a pilgrimage to the Parish of Our Lady of Mercy, the following six Fridays will see the faithful of the Archdiocese in what Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles tagged as “Pilgrims of Mercy”.

Next week, Vicariate Two will host the next pilgrimage which features activities like whole day confessions, holy hour, conferences on true devotion to the Divine Mercy, and of course, the Holy Eucharist. The Parish of St. Isidore of Cuenca will be the venue of this affair on Jan. 19.