Sunday, April 29, 2007

Good shepherd, Good Sheep

Jn. 10:27-30
Our Gospel today speaks of the relationship of the shepherd and his sheep. And I believe that this is the model that any relationship should emulate. every relationship , in some way or another has a reflection of sheep-shepherd model, there is always somebody who guides and been guided by.

If Christ is our Good Shepherd, we as his sheep should also be like Him - good. How can we be. Jesus Christ clearly speak it up. There are three important factors that we should not forget.

1. Hearing. We should listen to our Good shepherd. faith comes first by hearing. God speaks to us in many ways, we must know how to listen. Last Sunday, I have announced of the candidates forum on the local level here in our town, simply because it will help you to listen to their political platforms. So that you might know who is the right person for the position. However, it was unfortunates that it was canceled. I canceled it through the recommendation of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) chairman because of lack of security. I cannot put the lives of any candidates and of any parishioners to harms way. The Philippine Nationa Police (PNP) chief cannot put the mayor on check, if ever the said event occur. Fundamentally, the importance of hearing all the candidates political platform is necessary for the individual to make a right choice. It is one of the ways of which the voters could gather enough information.

2. Knowing. The shepherd knows his flock. To govern a group of individual it is important that one might know the real situation, the real people. Biblical meaning of knowledge is of the deepest understanding of the individual as person. There are three kinds or level of knowledge.

a. On the level of the head. Knowledge in terms of information, transfer of information whether first hand or otherwise. You know his bio-data.
b. On the level of the heart. Knowledge in terms of affection. You feel what he/she feels. You are in communion with her thoughts and feelings. Nakikiramay ka sa kanyang damdamin.
c. On the level of the Gut. Knowledge in terms of personification. Up to the extent of becoming like him. remember the last sunday Gospel. e hear Jesu Asked Peter "Do you love me?" three times, and when Peter answered "yes", the words that comes from Jesus are, "tend my sheep". Peter becoming Jesus Christ.

It is clear, that Jesus wants us to reach the third level.

3. Following. This one is easy if we have the first two. I will not deal much on this subject today.

Point of action.
Since childhood, we are taught to listen attentively. We should not forget that as we advance in age. We still need a lot to be learned on this world, especially in following our Lord Jesus Christ. Children listen to the elderly, there is much to be learn from their experience. Do not frown when you hear everytime the same thing they are saying. They are just making sure you are hearing them. Parents,you are the shepherd of your children. Do not forget to remind them of that by teaching them things that will be of need as they grow up.

As we prepare for the coming election, I implore you all to listen to all the candidates for what they say, we are the one who will put them in their positions, we should know them as the right person for the right job.

For all leaders in your own field, let us try to know th people and situations so that we may find the right solutions to the problems at hand. Good governance starts by knowing the present situation so that we may give the proper solutions. Usually , we are giving right solutions to the wrong problem because we do not really know the right situation.

My analysis on the Philippine economy (though I am not an economist)why the upper-ups, the government officials in particular the President and her cabinet members of this country are always claiming that we are improving while the people are saying the opposite because the both are using different gauge. If you will simply base the growth of the economy on dollar exchange and dollar reserve that is only a piece of the pie and could be unstable. Unstable because our dollar reserves mostly came from our OFW, that is violatile. Especially now that the effect of globalization has shift other governments from other countries who could offer workers with lower wage. This is also the reason that the price of common commodities remain high because when their is an increase of price in basic needs we blame the dollar. Why the price of commodities does not go down because most of it or its ingredients are imported. We are not yet dealing here on the issue of taxation. My poit is this, Do our political leaders have enough study and knowledge of the present situation that affect the lives of Filipinos. Do we really know our problem? sorry problems, there is a lot to note. Are we addressing the problems.

After the Mass in the afternoon, I have also attended the birthday of one of the Knights of the Altar. He is now 42 years old but his mental capacity is to the age of 5 to 7. We call him Bobby. Bobby, happy birthday.

I have also tried to fix the two other segment of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting voters' education video. I will post it later.

PPCRV Volunters

The Parish Pastoral Council have intensified its drive for the recruitment of volunters. We want to raise the volunters from the fifty persons to 141. The municipality has 141 precints to be watched during the election scattered among its villages. Some prospects are asking for a fee just like the watchers of political candidates. Sorry, but this one is free, a volunter. Others are afraid of the violatile situation of the local nominees. They do not want to be identified because other political parties
are also recruiting them. Some political parties technique is to get as many poll watchers because it could secure them their votes.

We are also in need of financial resources. We need to fed these volunters for a day's work, some even will stay more for the counting of ballots. We need also bottled waters.

Late that afternoon, I also met the members of young professional who are in-charge of Marian devotion during may in offering flowers to Mary and asking for her intercession. One day, before May, they have to make some arrangements to decorate the church and to make sure that there is someone who will lead the prayers.

Some of those who are assigned did not came. The practise here is that the hermanas and hermanos are the one who look for their replacement for the next year event. It seems that people they chose before are not aquainted with the devotion to the Virgin Mary, the Lady of Flowers.

Blogs commenting Fr. Jessie's post

Technorati icon

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Part I of III on PPCRV Voter's Education Video
* Producer - Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV)
* Executive Producer - Ma. Esnestine Tamana
* Director - Aleah Aliporo
* Assistant Director - Tony Silvestre
* Associate Producer - Dex Ravana
* On-cam Talent - Niel de Mesa “dindo”
* Voice Talent - Oliver Dy,SJ “coach”
* Editors - Mac Eugenio
* - Mari Bianca Orenciana
* - Ernestine Tamana
* - Jonathan Mabini
* Graphics Artists - Dea Toribio
* Ryan Ocampo
* Scriptwriter - Divine Love Salvador
* Cover La-Out and Design - Ryan Ocampo
* Production House - Jesuit Communication Foundation, Inc

people clamor for right information for the orderly and peaceful election. Here is the video that will help us to understand the meaning and process of this political exercise.
Part I of III-Philippine Political Situation

Part II of III-How To Vote

Part III of III-How to Guard and Count the Vote

The last two parts have taken me a lot of time to convert and upload it to the internet because of their file extension and size
Blogs commenting Fr. Jessie's post

Technorati icon

Friday, April 27, 2007

Benefits of a Senator in Philippines

A video taken from the correspondents as an investigative study on the work and benifits of a senator in the Philippines. How much is the monthly salary of a senator? What is pork barrel? How much does a senator receives in senatorial pork barrel? What is lobbying? Are all senators accepts their pork barrel? These are just some of the question which this video would like to answer on this segment.

I just hope that all Filipinos will be politically mature enough to vote for public officials. I also pray that all public officials who will win this coming election will care enough for the Filipinos. To serve this country above self and family.

This is a slide presentation of the profiles of the senatorial candidates. Additional information on their tract record.

You and I

Attorney Realeza of Siniloan Laguna invited me to their gathering You and I, It is a group of composed of Siniloan residents of high standing in the community who wishes to come together for civility once a year. There presentations of the Filipino culture is superb. Some of the said presentation are Pandango sa Ilaw, Tinikling, Maranao Dance. It is a night remembering our cultural heritage because it is what we are.

It was late when I arrive there, however, they have just started. I was ushered by Ruben Tuazon to the stage to company of those invited from Sta. maria, Laguna. Fr. Doy Bariring prayed the invocation. Fr. Albert San Jose just came right after me. Fr. Doy Nariring invited us in the presidential table because as all of us are, new to our respective assignments.

I left the venue when they are dancing the quitillion.

Blogs commenting Fr. Jessie's post

Technorati icon

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My Mother Turns 75

Actually, her birthday was yesterday, however because of the schedule of her sibling, we decided to make it a day after. Grace, Josie, Marybe along with their respective husbands and wives have decided to treat her with a simple celebration. I brought lechon, buko pie, and sinukmani, the rest were shared by my brother and sisters.

I brought the lechon from Laguna because the last time we had our lechon , it was not tasty at all and crispy. To be able to buy something which they will not forget, I brought it from a respected lechonista of pansol, Calamba, Laguna.

I have also to buy a car carrier to bring it to Marikina. john was furious then when I told him of my plan to buy nanny a lechon as a present simply because it will leave a stain and odor to the car. So I decided to buy a carrier. Though it was not a part of the budget. I have to find some means to buy it before the said date. We drop at Binan which is famous in installing car accessories. I was hoping to find a carrier that need not to bore a hole in the ceiling of the car. But I could not find one, so we have to buy what is available.

I also brought with me three companions from Bay, Laguna. One of them is Dr. Ligaya Quidayan who have just celebrated her 75th years several days ago.

I also bless the house of Marybe. we make it also as the venue of the birthday celebration. The house in Parang could only accomodate a handful of guest.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Is the Department of Agrarian Reform Dying?/Feast of St. Mark


Amang Makapangyarihan
Diyos ng san nilikha
Ikaw na may gawa ng langit at lupa
Kami ay nagpapasalamat sa mga bagay
Na iyong pinagkakaloob
Na aming pinapakinabangan
Naway'y ang lupa na iyong nilikha
Ay lubos naming mabungkal at
Magbigay sa amin ng kaligtasan

Nagpapasalamat din kami sa iyong kagandahang loob
Sa pagbibigay mo sa amin ng iyong bugtong na Anak
Ang Panginoong Hesu Kristo.
Siya na nagtuturo sa amin
Na ang kahirapan ay pwedeng mapagtagumpayan
Nawa'y ang kanyang pagsasakripisyo
Para sa kaligtasan ng sangkatauhan
Ay maging lakas namin at kanlungan

Diyos ng Kasaysayan
Ipadala mo sa amin
Ang Espiritu Santo
Upang kami'y gabayan sa pang araw-araw
Na hamon nitong sanlibutan
Nawa'y liwanangan ang aming mga isip
Upang lubos nating malaman ang tamang kasagutan.
Nawa'y patatagin ang aming mga puso
Upang ang mga desisyong tama ay maisakatuparan

Sa pagpupulong na ito ng
Laguna Provincial Agrarian Reform
Assessment and Planning workshop
Ay magkaroon kami ng pagkilala
Sa mga tagumpay na pagkilos.
Bigyan mo rin kami ng sapat na kaalaman
Upang maging totoo kami upang makita namin ang mga bagay
Na kinakailangan ng pagpupuno upang
Lubos naming pakinabangaan

Ang lahat ng ito ay hinihiling namin
Sa iyong ngalan sa pamamagitan ng Iyong Anak
Ang panginoong Hesu-kristo
Kasama ng Espiritu Santo.

This is the prayer I delivered in the PCCARD Conference Hall, Los Banos, Laguna this morning in the occasion of the Laguna Provincial Agrarian reform Assessment and Planning Workshop hosted by the department of Agrarian Reform. They have invited me to deliver the prayer/invocation of the said event because their provincial office is situated within my parish. They hold it in PCCARD because it is the most suitable place that could accomodate the participants.

What is Dar? Dar is the Department of agrarian Reform, the implementing arm of the government in coordination with the different agencies of the government such as department of public works and highways (DPWH), Philippine National Irrigation, department of Trade and Industry (DTI), department of agriculture (DA), land bank, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), national registry of deeds as the implementing arm of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program of the government. To know more of the said agency log on to Department of Agrarian reform website

To be brief, the very purpose of the said meeting is the dissimination of information why they want an additional extension of ten (10) years for the implementation of CARP. This is the seconf time that they are asking for an extension. The first one was before its expiration last 1998. R. A 3582 states that the funding of Comprehensive agrarian reform program will expires on june 30 2008. Part of the reason is the need to facilitate the 1.3 million hectares of land to the farmers mostly located in Visayas and Mindanao. In the Laguna province of which there are still 2,283 hectares of land to be distributed. To successfully implement it, they need an additional 4 years, however to enable it to sustain they need a total of 14 years. The provision of the law states that if the farmer was unable to till the land for farming in the period of ten years the government will take it back.

They are aware that there are opposition on other sectors of the society included are that of the politicians. this is also the reason that they have launch their own party list to pursue their goal even to the congressional hall.

Feast of St. Mark, one of the four evangelist of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today, is also the birthday of my mother.

St. Mark is the author of the Gospel according to St. Mark, one of the shortest and the oldest. Scholars of the Holy scriptures reffered that his works is one of the other Gospel. It was noted that there are only 4 passages in his books that were not quoted by other Gospel. One of these passages is this one.

“...This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come” (Mark 4:26-29).

He is also known as the patron saint of notaries

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

KOA Summer Camp/Balikatan/Prisoners/Page Loading

Some members of the Knights of the Altar here popularly known as Lingkod ng Dambana will attend the KoA summer camp in the St. Peter's College Seminary as part of the yearly affair of the KoA and also a venue to recruit future seminarians and priests. There are ten representatives from the Parish.
Here is the list of all the members of the KoA of the parish:

  • Exequel Matthew C. Casapao

  • Erren Evans C. Casapao

  • Ephraim James C. Casapao

  • Philip Arvin Andaya

  • Lexter T. Alamag

  • Marc Joseph Bondad

  • John Carlo Comia

  • Angelo Durgo

  • Eduardo Encardques

  • Reymart Guevarra

  • John Paul Jaraplasan

  • Conrad Rhoi Jaraplasan

  • Noel Nino Lat

  • Daniel Brandon Layog

  • Dominique Brylle Layog

  • John Joshue Loleng

  • Robin Marasigan

  • Ken Martinez

  • Ramil Me-J Odero

  • Pocholo Pareja

  • Luther Sydney Ramos

  • Jed Ivan Reyes

  • Jiggs Nikko Reyes

  • Kenneth Ace Sungcaya

  • Jarol Villegas

  • Mark Joseph Gulay

  • Mario "Bobby" Pantas

  • Jake Paulo Elomina

  • Andrew Darantinao

  • Christ John Sison
Inactive members

  • Arlon Noguera

  • Reymart Reyes

  • Alvin Jay Gelves

  • Jeffrey Mabuyo

  • Jessie Boy Mabuyo

  • Kohn Rey Mabuyo

  • John Leo Mabuyo

  • Christian Jaraplasan

  • Gene Matt Bautista

  • Jonathan Casabul

  • Sherveen Renz Capua

  • Arthur Elechosa

  • Keith Olivares

Damian Sotto, no relation with the actor Sotto, approached me this morning asking for Mass on May 7 of this year on the basketball court of their barrangay. For four years they are trying to revive the history of Bay as they commemorate the first site of the town for more than a hundred years. They have a thanksgiving mass followed by a medical and dental clinic and on the next day a Gabi ng Parangal.

I believe that the cultural roots of any human being should not be forgotten at all. And we have to try to revive it especially of the global trends of our society. One's identity should always be a part of one's consciousness. one of the potent safeguard to protect is our cultural heritage that should be relive, if not everyday at least for some moments of our life from time to time.


I was shocked when I first learned that there are live-ins and live-outs prisoners in this municipality. Today, one of the living out, I am not really certain of what they really meant of it but it seem a prisoners who can go out of the prison cells and can go home during meal time or they are staying in their homes but reporting everyday in the prisons and stays there during the day, he approached me and asking for some financial assistance for the rest of the prisoners. I told them that I will give food instead of money since it is one of the things they lacked there. Some of them were not been visited by their loved ones. I am told.

These inmates are here because their cases ranging from petty thefts to murder have not yet been resolve by the lower court and/or they do not have the money to bail bonds for their temporary release. I will also coordinate with the local coordinators of the parish to see what they could do. They might asked the relatives to visit them or to send something for their meals.

Thse are the list of the names they sent me:

  • Michael Talla - Brgy. San Antonio

  • Jomar Ortix - Brgy. Masaya

  • Romulo de Vera Brgy. San Isidro

  • Petronilo - Brgy. San Antonio

  • Edgar Bamayado Brgy. Maitim

  • Nick Bamayado Brgy. Maitim

  • Arnold Punzalan Brgy. Tranca

  • Jinjoy Rlante Brgy. San Antonio

  • Jess Aragon Brgy. San Agustin

  • Julius de Castro Brgy. Calo

  • Jenre San Pablo City

  • Dondon Tijada San Pablo City

  • Poll Del Valle Brgy. SanIsidro

  • Leo Suares Brgy.Dila
I am trying to unclogged the loading of this page by creating some arrangements on the site. Here are some of what I have learned of what makes the loading of the pages slower:

  • graphics - I am trying to load my picture in a smaller space. Some instruction have points out of manipulating the resolution and adjusting to the full resolution later on. But, Iam not yet that professional on manipulating the html code.

  • slideshow- instead of dowloading all the pictures as I have done before., I make use of the web clientr slides and paste the code on the blog site.

  • links - I have put the general links on the sidebar and creating another table for redirection. Some say that links are eating the bandwidth.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pinoy Directory/Twitter/rico Sollorano

Pinoy Directory
I am painstakingly trying to include this site on Pinoy directory. I find some difficulty on the word verification section. Are my eyes no longer functioning well. Yes, I have to go to the optometrist to get my eyeglasses.

I really do not know if my submission is successful because there is no message I received after I sent it for the last time instead the form re appers without the blog name and the description. While the other fields I have filled up remained.

I would like to share also the advisory on Twitters. This was posted in one of my threads, I am following. Posted by Jim Ayson. Here it is:

A note of caution to the Twitterholics out there. Remember that your
public tweets are not as ephemeral as instant messages. They can be as
permanent as blog posts - they are archived and can be retrieved by
anybody, so be prepared to reap the consequences of what you might
think are just inconsequential ramblings.

Take the case of Steve Rubel, a PR guy for tech companies. He dissed
PC Magazine as irrelevant in a single Twitter post. The "tweet" was
picked up by Jim Louderback, who then threatened to boycott him and
Rubel's clients. If that went through, it would have have been
disastrous for his business.

Bro. Rico Sollorano, a former seminarian and currently one of the lay ministers of the Eucharist of this parish celebrates his birthday this evening in his residence in Calauan, Laguna. He is teaching in Liceo de Calamba, Laguna

Though, he is from Calamba, he is serving here for several years already. So, I leave it as it is, since I also need some companion here to help me out in my adjustment in this new parish.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Free Medical and Dental Clinic

One of the Program of the Parish is the quarterly, dental and medical check up. Today it was handled by the Lectors and Commentator's Guild to facilitate the said program. It was been discussed in the previous meeting that to familiarized with the work on the matters of social concern. It should be the work of only one group who will specialized on that field because rotating it on all the existing organization will require a lot of work from all. All organization will start from the scratch, and before they could handle the same project they might not be around to do it. Since we have 30 organizations.
So it is better that one group will host the said event with the cooperation all the members of the Parish Pastoral Council. I have asked the Catholics Womens' League if they have enough strength do undertake the said project. They have responded positively which is also very in alignment with the thrust of their apostolate, social action.

We would like to thank all those concern who make this event successful. The Doctors who responded with our invitation to assists us are
  • Dra. Arnet Focunda
  • Dr. Dino Focunda
  • Dr. Genedina Oliveros Aljama
  • Dr. Fe Pantas
  • Dra. Conicondi
And the Dentists who helped us to extract teeth from the patients are:
  • Dra. Lisa quidayan -Gero
  • Dra. Ada Solmerano
  • Dra. Eye delos Santos
  • Dra. Lynnette Coniconde
  • Dra. Rhoda Billate
  • Dra. Loida Lanceras
  • Dr. Isagani Timog

Saturday, April 21, 2007

50th Birthday

I was been invited by Mr. Restituto Alip, the founder and chairman of Card in his 50th birthday that he celebrated in Tranca, Bay Laguna today. We celebrated the Mass for the said intention. It is just coincidence that my homily focus on good governance as Peter has given the instruction to feed the lambs of our Jesus Christ after Christ's resurrection.
The challenge lies on feeding the lambs as part of the responsibility. In doing so we have to cast our nets in the right side of the boat as the instruction the apostles received.

To become good leader we have to take note the pronouncement of the church particularly of CBCP concerning the Ten Commandments of Rigth Voting and recently the 6 Criteria of a Good leader, we have to chose especially this coming election.

* A person who loves and fears God

* One who is guided by a well-formed conscience, always sensitive to the choice of what is good

* One who lives and serves consistently with moral principles

* One who is honest, non-violent and compassionate

* A person who respects and protects the limited sources in nature and requires others to do the same

* One who is ready to sacrifice personal, party or group interest for the sake of unity, peace and the integral development of the country and the people.

I have focused my attention on the second and sixth criteria.
Mrs. Cory Aquino, the former president came also as I am concluding my homily.

I have to left immediately after the Mass because of my other schedule in the barrio. I would like to stay but my duty does not permit me. A fact that I have to accept and live.

Summary of 04019-202107

Voter's Education Video

As part of the role of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting to educate the people concerning the importance of one of our rights, the right to vote and to be able to quide the voters on the coming May midterm election 2007. It has three parts which responds to different issues on election in the Philippine situation

The Present political situation of the beloved country - Philippines

Instruction on how to vote.

Instruction on how to guard the ballot.
Blogs commenting Fr. Jessie's post

Technorati icon

Archbishop Antonio Ledesma on the Role of the Church on Politics

a video clip of the talk of Archbishop Antonio Ledesma during the 7th National Convention of the Knights of Columbus in Cagayan de Oro City

Blogs commenting Fr. Jessie's post

title="Technorati Cosmos: other blogs commenting on this post">
alt="Technorati icon" />

Fr. Ed Panlilio for Governor!

Fr. Ed Panlilio left indifinitely the service of the Church to run for governorship in Pampanga hoping to make a difference on Pampanga situation.

Blogs commenting Fr. Jessie's post

Technorati icon

Politicians and Religion in Mindanao

PROBE 05.02.2007. An investigative look at how politicians used religion in Mindanao, particular in Lanao.

Blogs commenting Fr. Jessie's post

title="Technorati Cosmos: other blogs commenting on this post">
alt="Technorati icon" />

Friday, April 20, 2007

Candidates Attended the Celebration of the Eucharist

The United opposition slate headed by candidate for governor along with his followers and fellow candidates of the same party asked for the celebration of the Mass for the success of their campaign and for the peaceful May election. many also attended the celebration, but the church was not full packed. They have not even been able to secure all the pews of the Church.

Some have asked me if it is possible to hold a Eucharistic Celebration with the success of election result in the favor of a party. Presumable the one who asked the question belongs to the contender candidate. I replied, yes, of course because anybody could ask God to be the winner of the election. I aslo told the inquirer that the other party could also offer the celebration of the Eucharist. And since it is this party that asked for prayers, I will attend to their need. However it is to God who will grant the said petition.

Going back to the celebration of the Mass. During the homily I told the faithful that in the Gospel Jesus was followed by the people and would like him to be their King. They want our Lord Jesus Christ to be their king because he made the loaves and fish multiplied. Jesus multiplied them because he is filled with pity to those who followed him for several days. Likewise, the leaders of the people should be sensitive to the needs of the people. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines have given the 10 commandments of right voting and the Archdiocese of Manila have published in the Circular letter the 6 (Six) Criteria for a choosing a good leader.
The Six Criteria For Choosing Leaders are:

* A person who loves and fears God

* One who is guided by a well-formed conscience, always sensitive to the choice of what is good

* One who lives and serves consistently with moral principles

* One who is honest, non-violent and compassionate

* A person who respects and protects the limited sources in nature and requires others to do the same

* One who is ready to sacrifice personal, party or group interest for the sake of unity, peace and the integral development of the country and the people.

During the Mass, I noticed that some of the candidates ( I am tempted to name names but out of delicadeza , I will left them nameless because I do not know are reading this Blog. If I name them, there is a window of oppurtunity to misunderstand me) arrived late although we have started 40 minutes late waiting for them. I noticed they arrived at SANCTUS and yet they received communion. I do not want to create scandal but next time I see them, I will reprimand them of doing so.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

On Church Construction

Fr, Jun Olaso came to visit me to inform me that the Diocesan Commission on Church Construction of which he is a member and the former director decided that the Parish of St. Augustine will be the venue for the first ever forum of Church Architecture and design to be held on May 16 2007, From 8:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon.

I am happy to the idea that the diocesan commissions are working already on this matter especially now that the controversial renovation of Cathedral altar has cause an uproar from different sectors.

The controversy is based on the letter sent to all parish priest before the reshuffle of assignments sign by Fr. Marasigan, the Director of Diocesan Church Construction and of the bishop of San Pablo, Bishop Leo Drona.

The Summary of the content of the letter are two:
1. Moratorium of all major church construction for the period of six months the reshuffle of assignments
2. If there was an undergoing construction that has started before the reshuffle is an exemption to the rule.

The problem has risen when some priests started construction in their parishes. The focus of attention is the cathedral of San Pablo, simply because it is the seat of the diocese. This becomes a major concern because it seem that there is no bishop at all. Sorry for the word. Because it is a frontal defiance of the circular letter or it could be with the permission of the bishop which entail contradiction to his own circular letter. I really do not know but it is what appears to be. The San Pablo Cathedral is just a throw away from the bishop's residence.

One of the deficiency of the letter is it does not define what does it mean of major construction and repair. These words can have different meaning to anybody. since there is a lack of definition, the argument will be on the definition and it will not resolve the problem.

Another area of concern here is that there is no guidelines from the diocese which will be the basis of this discussion. Some have relied on the assumption that everyone has taken the subject of Church architecture in the seminary. Church architecture is part of our subject but as an organization, there is a need of some kind of guidelines that we have to follow.

Now the Diocesan committee would like to pursue that line. Every parishes will have four delegation for the said forum, the parish priest, the Parish Pastoral Council president, the Parish Finance Council/Committee president/chairperson and the Parish Construction Cormittee chairperson.
Speaking of Church architecture, I happen to stumble on one of the articles of Professor Duncan Stroik written on the Fall of 1998. After ten years, I believe the same is true

Ten Myths of Contemporary Church Architecture
(Sacred Architecture) Fall 1998

1. The Second Vatican Council requires us to reject traditional church architecture and design new churches in a Modernist style.

This myth is based more on what Roman Catholics have built during the past thirty years than on what the Church has taught. Even by professional accounts, the church architecture of the past decade has been an unmitigated disaster. However, actions often speak louder than words, and the faithful have been led to believe that the Church requires buildings to be functional abstractions, because that is what we have been building. Nothing could be farther from the intentions of the Council fathers who clearly intended the historic excellence of Catholic architecture to continue. It is most important to keep in mind that "there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them, and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing." (Sacrosanctum Concilium)

Just as to do Catholic theology means to learn from the past, so to design Catholic architecture is to be inspired and even quote from the tradition and the time-tested expressions of church architecture. the Second Vatican Council makes this clear in stating that . . . "The church has not adopted any particular style of art as her own. She has admitted styles from every period, in keeping with the natural characteristics and conditions of peoples and the needs of of the various rites. Thus in the course of the centuries she has brought into existence a treasury of art which must be preserved with every care. The art of our own times from every race and country shall also be given free scope in the Church, provided it bring to the task the reverence and honor due to the sacred buildings and rites. Thus it is enabled to join its voice to that wonderful chorus of praise in honor of the Catholic faith sung by great men in past ages." (Sacrosanctum Concilium)
user posted image

2. New churches must be designed in accordance with the document Environment and Art in Catholic Worship, published by the Bishop's Committee on Liturgy in 1977.

Due to the lack of any alternative, this pamphlet has become the veritable bible for many new and renovated churches. This document, which was never voted on by the American Bishop's conference and holds no canonical weight, is based more on the principles of Modernist architecture than on Roman Catholic teaching, or her patrimony of sacred architecture. Among its weaknesses is an overemphasis on a congregational view of the Church, an antagonism towards history and tradition, and a strident iconoclasm. Because of the controversial nature of the document, the Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy is presently drafting a new and hopefully improved version.

3. It is impossible for us to build beautiful churches today.

This is a bit like saying that it is impossible for us to have saints in the modern age. Of course we can and should build beautiful churches again. We live in an age which has sent men to the moon and large sums of money are spent on museums and sports arenas. We should also be able to construct buildings of the quality of the early Christian basilicas or Gothic cathedrals. In recent secular architecture we are witnessing a great revival of traditional architecture, craftsmanship and construction. There are a growing number of young talented architects who are designing buildings in the classical tradition (many of whom would be delighted to design sacred buildings). Students at the University of Notre Dame, who are all trained in the Classical tradition, are in great demand by architecture firms and clients.

Also to the point, there are any number of churches which have been built over the past two decades which exemplify the principles of durability, convenience and beauty including: San Juan Capistrano in California, 1989; Brentwood Cathedral in England, 1992; the Benedictine Abbeye Sainte-Madeleine in France, 1989; the Church of the Immaculate Conception in New Jersey, 1996; the Church of Azoia in Portugal, 1995; the Church of St. Mary's in Texas, 1997; the Church of St. Agnes in New York City, 1997; The Pittsburgh Oratory, 1996, etc.

4. We can't afford to build beautiful churches today. The Church doesn't have the money it had in the past.

In fact, Roman Catholics are the wealthiest denomination in the country today. We have more CEO's and civic leaders than any other religious group. We have never been wealthier, yet we have never built such cheap churches. This reflects American giving priorities; from 1968 to 1995 the portion of personal income members gave to the Church dropped 21 percent. The people of God need to be encouraged to generously support the construction of houses of prayer. Bishops and dioceses should be encouraged to promote the highest quality rather than placing a cap on construction costs. The faithful should be willing to spend more on the house of God than on their own houses and build with a quality exceeding other public buildings. One story of great philanthropy concerns Holy Spirit Church in Atlanta which received a generous sum of money from a few of its parishioners enabling them to build a very elegant substantial brick Romanesque church in the early 1990's. Other parishes, in order to build a worthy and beautiful church, have taken the time to raise substantial budgets or have chosen to build in phases.

5. The money spent on churches is better spent on serving the less fortunate, feeding the hungry and educating the young.

If the church were merely a meeting place this view would be legitimate. However, a beautiful church is also a house for the poor, a place of spiritual feeding, and a catechism in stone. The church is a beacon and a city set on a hill. It can evangelize, by expressing the beauty, permanence, and transcendence of Christianity. Most importantly, the church building is an image of our Lord's body, and in constructing a place of worship we become like the woman anointing Christ's body with precious ointment. (Mark 14:3-9).

6. The fan shape, in which everyone can see the assembly and be close to the altar, is the most appropriate form for expressing the full, active and conscious participation of the body of Christ.

This myth comes out of the extreme view that the assembly is the primary symbol of the church. While the fan shape is a wonderful shape for theater, for lectures, even for representative government - it is not an appropriate shape for the liturgy. Ironically, the reason often stated for using the fan shape is to encourage participation, yet the semicircular shape is derived from a room for entertainment. The fan shape does not derive from the writings of the Second Vatican Council, it derives from the Greek or Roman theater. Up until recently, it was never used as a model for Catholic churches. In fact, the first theater churches were 19th century Protestant auditoriums designed so as to focus on the preacher.

7. The church building should be designed with noble simplicity. Devotional chapels and images of saints distract and take away from the liturgy.

This principle has been used to build and renovate churches in a most iconoclastic manner. The art historian, Winckelmann used "noble simplicity" as early as 1755 to describe the genuine work of art that combined sensual and spiritual elements as well as beauty and moral ideas into one sublime form - which for him was embodied in classical Greek art. Thus "noble simplicity" must not be confused with mere functionalism, abstract minimalism or crude banality. Sacrosanctum Concilium states that sacred art should turn men's minds devoutly toward God, and "that in encouraging and favoring truly sacred art, they should seek for noble beauty rather than sumptuous display." The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states that "church decor should aim at noble simplicity rather than ostentatious magnificence." The concern over distraction grows out of the Modernist aversion to figural images and a desire to be didactic rather than symbolic. But GIRM states that "buildings and appurtenances for divine worship ought to be beautiful and symbolic." The Second Vatican Council states that "the practice of placing sacred images in churches so that they can be venerated by the faithful is to be maintained." The GIRM elaborates "from the very earliest days there has been a tradition whereby images of our Lord, his holy Mother and of saints are displayed in churches for the veneration of the faithful."

8. The Catholic Church should be building the most avant-garde architecture of its day, just as it has throughout history.

For fifteen hundred years, and even up until World War II, the Roman Catholic Church was considered the finest patron of art and architecture. The Church formed Christian artists and architects who in turn influenced the architecture of the secular realm. During the last half century, however, the roles have changed, and the Church has been following the lead of the secular culture and architects who have been formed in a non-Catholic world view. Whereas previously the development of Catholic architecture was inspired by and in continuity with works from the past, the Modernist concept of the "avant-garde" means progress through a continuous breaking with the past.

The Church documents ask bishops to encourage and favor truly sacred art and to imbue artists "with the spirit of sacred art and of the sacred liturgy." The present revival of interest in liturgical architecture by the faithful indicates that Holy Mother Church may regain her rightful place as the preeminent patroness. In this role she has "always claimed the right to pass judgment on the arts, deciding which of the works of artists are in accordance with faith, piety, and the laws religiously handed down, and are to be considered suitable for sacred use." Also, "bishops should be careful to ensure that works of art which are repugnant to faith, morals, and Christian piety, and which offend true religious sense either by depraved forms or through lack of artistic merit or because of mediocrity or pretense, be removed from the house of God and from other sacred places" (Sacrosanctum Concilium).
user posted image

9. In the past, people saw the church building as the domus Dei or "house of God", today we have gone back to the early Christian view of the church as domus ecclesia or "house of people of God".

Catholicism, it has been pointed out, is not a religion of "either/or" but of "both/and". In contrast, it is an antinomial view, derived from the Enlightenment, which claims that a church cannot be both God's house and the house of His people, who are members of His body. When the church is thought of merely as house of the people of God, it becomes designed as a horizontal living room or an auditorium. These two historic names, domus Dei and domus ecclesia, express two distinct but complimentary natures of the church building as the presence of God, and the community called together by God. "These visible churches are not simply gathering places but signify and make visible the Church living in this place, the dwelling of God with men reconciled and united in Christ." (The Catechism)

10. Since God dwells everywhere, He is just as present in the parking lot as in a church. Therefore, church buildings should no longer be seen as sacred places.

This is a very attractive contemporary idea which has more to do with pop theology than with Catholic tradition. From the beginning of time, God has chosen to meet His people in sacred places. The "holy ground" of Mount Sinai became translated into the tent in the wilderness and the Temple in Jerusalem. With the advent of Christianity, believers constructed buildings specifically for the divine liturgy which would reflect the heavenly temple, the upper room and these holy places. In Canon Law "the term church signifies a sacred building destined for divine worship to which the faithful have a right of access for divine worship, especially its public exercise." As "a place set apart" for reception of the sacraments, the church itself becomes sacramental having as its focus the sanctuary, which means a holy place. Just as the ceremonies, elements such as the altar and ambo, and the art are all referred to as "sacred" so are the buildings designed for them. Therefore to seek to remove the distinction of the church as a sacred place for sacred activity is to diminish our reverence of God, which the buildings should help to engender.

Duncan Stroik

Duncan Stroik, A.I.A. is an architect and an associate professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame.