Sunday, January 31, 2010

Awesome 5 days of 'fine tuning,' renewal for RP priests

Philippine Daily Inquirer/Feature/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Manila, Philippines--“I SHED TEARS of joy. It was a time of renewal,” said Fr. Rocero Barroga of Ilocos Sur, a priest for 28 years.

Salesian Fr. Francis Gustilo of the National Congress of the Clergy II (NCC II) program committee said of the experience: “It hit the core of our priesthood. It was a happy surprise, a common learning experience. We relearned and renewed. It will have a great impact."

For Fr. Jun Estoque, 36, of Negros Occidental, the encounter with so many priests was unforgettable.

It was an event that was unprecedented for its sheer magnitude and spirit. “Na-calibrate na tayo! (We have been fine-tuned),” participating priests shouted with glee when it was all over.

Uniformly clad in white chasubles and cream-colored stoles, 5,542 priests and bishops were an awesome sight as they ended their five-day NCC II with a huge concelebrated Mass, which many of them had never experienced.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When 5,000 priests gather

Philippine Daily Inquirer/Opinion/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
STARTING MONDAY AND UNTIL TOMORROW, Friday, some 5,000 Catholic priests, both diocesan and religious, from all over the Philippines are closeted at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Pasay City for the Second National Congress of the Clergy (NCC II). They are on a spiritual retreat.

Political candidates are not allowed in the venue. During last week’s press conference, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales stated this plainly.
People who are into cosmic projection, energy tracking, mystical divinations and the like will no doubt consider this gathering as highly and divinely charged, from whatever spiritual tradition or angle in the universe you may look at it.
For me, it also conjures awesome cinematic images, like the one in James Cameron’s “Avatar” where the imperiled beings of the forest gather to pray and chant in unison and radiate pulsating energy and immense beauty. Call me and the comparison pagan if you like.

Haiti’s Filipino nuncio counters critics on slow aid

Philippine Daily Inquirer/Feature/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

MANILA, Philippines—“Getting better every day.”

This was how Filipino Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, described the progress of relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital city.

He had some words for his critics who said relief efforts had been slow, chaotic and hampered by rivalries. “They have forgotten the tragedies when four hurricanes hit Haiti in 2008. Conducting relief efforts on a grand scale in a country without the basic infrastructures and with significant security and social problems is hugely problematic.

“Haiti imports 80 percent of its basic needs—like food. When disaster struck, most of the aid had to be flown or trucked from other countries, mainly from the United States and Haiti’s neighbor, the Dominican Republic. But the tremendous good will and human solidarity of all have overcome these negative factors,” Auza reminded the critics.

“I have been constantly visiting relief centers, especially those managed by Catholic agencies and have attended many meetings related to aid distribution,” Auza told the Inquirer in an interview via e-mail.

“There has been evident progress in the relief efforts,” he added. “As a way of encouraging aid agencies, I half-jokingly suggest to relief agencies that their motto should be ‘getting better every day.’ It has been that way.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti's history of slavery and bravery

DESPITE SO MANY deprecating descriptions of Haiti, this country whose capital city is in ruins because of last week’s deadly earthquake, has produced remarkable individuals that shine in the field of art, music and literature. Right now when I think Haiti, I think reggae, too.
Last month, before the great destruction in Port-au-Prince, journalist Joel Dreyfuss who is of Haitian origin and who calls himself a “diasporate,” wrote for The Haitian Times an article titled “A cage of words” where he lamented the frequent use of what he called “The Phrase” to describe Haiti. And that is “the poorest nation in the western hemisphere.” (Sorry, I have to repeat it here.)
True enough, when I opened my Time magazine that arrived Wednesday just before I wrote this column piece, “The Phrase” was there. Time’s cover story (“Haiti’s Agony”) was about the earthquake that is believed to have killed at least 100,000 Haitians and foreign nationals working there, Filipinos included. “The phrase” is right smack on the first paragraph. It is the second sentence of the cover story. “Tragedy has a way of visiting those who can bear it least. Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere….”

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Taking child's play seriously

Sunday Inquirer Magazine/FEATURE/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

“FOLLOW the child.” This was what it all meant.

In a dream she had many years ago, noted child psychotherapist Doctor Ma. Lourdes A. Carandang found herself looking deeply into a child’s eyes. The child was looking back into hers. Later, during a spiritual retreat, Carandang realized the dream’s significance. It was not only an affirmation of her calling.
Shortly after, her career as a therapist took an even more focused direction. It moved toward the healing of children.
In her latest book “The Magic of Play: Children Heal Through Play Therapy” (Anvil, 2009), Carandang and the therapists who had trained and worked with her share their experiences and journey with children. The book is not just about the therapists’ view but also about the children who were themselves a source of learning and inspiration. One could even consider the children as “co-authors” because their insights, drawings, written and art works are a vital part of the book.

Catholic lay faithful's letter to bishops, priests, religious

Philippine Daily Inquirer/Opinion/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
A GROUP OF FILIPINO Catholics are preparing for the scheduled "Discernment on the Prophetic Calling of the Lay Faithful in Philippine Society" in Feb. 2010. A prelude to that gathering is a letter they (I, among them) have written and addressed to the bishops, priests and religious asking them to hold high the moral compass and provide pastoral and prophetic accompaniment for the laity during these crucial times. The letter lists urgent tasks that need to be addressed.

Please go to the link http://www.gopetition.com/online/33369.html and read the letter. Involved and concerned Catholics are enjoined to sign online or on paper. The signatures are needed before Jan. 18 so that they could be included when the letter is delivered to the National Priests' Assembly and the meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines that will be held soon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The subject is women's urinals

ALBERT EINSTEN and Simone de Beauvoir were among those quoted in a treatise on women’s urinals delivered at the British Toilet Association by one Mr. Orde Levinson. I found the piece in the Internet while trying to learn something about women’s urinals. Despite the piece’s seriousness, it could make you laugh if you use your imagination.
It begins with a quote from Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” And from the irrepressible Beauvoir: “If women start acting like people, they will be accused of acting like men.”
After putting up those hot pink enclosures for men’s urinals on Metro Manila’s sidewalks, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is planning to have women’s urinals as well. The brainchild of former MMDA chair Bayani Fernando (now vice presidential candidate) the men’s urinals which have been around for a couple of years were the object of jokes and speculations when they were being planned.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Free trade bad for Asean, warns solon

Philippine Daily Inquirer/News/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
“ALL OUR FEARS have come true,” said Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello, reacting to the launch of the world’s biggest free trade area comprising China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Jan. 1
The China-Asean Free Trade Agreement (Cafta), lauded by governments as a spur to intraregional trade and investments, cuts import tariffs on about 90 percent of products and offers members access to a combined market of 1.7 billion consumers. Cafta is bigger than the European Union and the North American FTA in terms of trade value and population involved. But it has its detractors.
“We have warned against the detrimental effects of free trade agreements with strong economic powers like China, Japan, the US and Europe,” said Bello. “Unfortunately, all our fears have come true.