On the morning of Maundy Thursday, April 14 of the year of our Lord 2022, the Most Reverend Bishop Roberto O. Gaa, DD from the Diocese of Novaliches, celebrated the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd. This momentous event was concelebrated by the clergy of the diocese in honor of the institution of their priesthood and a clear expression of unity and sacrifice of Christ, which continue to be present in the Church.
After almost two years of having the Chrism Mass online, today is a blessed opportunity to gather on-site and have the celebration for our Mother Church face-to-face.
During his homily, Bishop Gaa expressed his gratefulness as God allows us to minister one another in the most creative ways during this time of pandemic even through social media. He said, “Ang daming binago sa mukha ng ating simbahan at hanggang ngayon ay patuloy pang binabago. Ngunit marami ring iba’t ibang pagkakataon na ang simbahan ay tunay na naging simbahan para sa atin.”The current situation posts many challenges but also allows us to go back to the basics and walk in faith.
As he revisits his two and a half years of being a bishop, he shared his amazement at how God accompanied him every step of the way. He felt His presence most especially during these changing times. He said, “it may not be so easy, but we are so blessed that we just need to continue to push forward.”
Bishop Gaa reminded us that the Chrism Mass calls for two celebrations – the renewal of priestly vows and the blessing of oils. He mentioned that the most challenging part of renewing priestly vows is the “call for obedience”. In one way or another, we are all leaders that need to watch over other people. “During this dark era of the pandemic, God made me confident not in myself but to trust and be obedient to God.”, said Bishop Gaa. God is most present in the people he called, just like the priests and the church servants. He advised everyone to trust and obey the Lord, for those called to serve are also blessed by God.
Finally, Bishop Gaa encouraged all the priests to embrace their vocation, grow with it, and submit their will to God for the good of His people.
During the said celebration, Bishop Gaa also blesses three oils — the oil of catechumens to prepare for the journey of faith; the oil of the infirm to strengthen in this life and sent forth into eternity the healing and pardon; and holy chrism to permanently seal the Holy Spirit with the fragrant Chrism of prophets, priests, and kings. These oils will be used in the administration of the sacraments for the entire year throughout the diocese.
Through the blessing of these oils, may our hearts turn to our Most Gracious Lord, who bestows His infinite love and mercy on us through these sacraments. Let us also pray for our bishop and all the priests who are called to minister these sacraments in their respective parishes, that they may be the humble and generous servants of God. May they be blessed with the strength of body, mind, and spirit as they continue to shepherd the people of God entrusted to them. [Hanie Banzuelo, SocComM Nova]
Chrism Mass 2022
April 14, 2022 | Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd
Special Commission on Social Communications and Media
Diocesan Synodal Journey Initiates A Listening Church
#25March2022 The Diocesan Synodal Journey may have formally closed but a mature and listening Church has been initiated.
This was emphasized by Most Rev. Roberto O. Gaa, DD, during his Homily in a Mass he presided on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord to celebrate the said Diocesan occasion.
Citing what transpired in the Annunciation, the Bishop said that when Mary, in her obedience, said ‘yes,’ God took flesh in her womb.
“Just like Jesus in the womb of Mary, the synodality has taken on flesh in us, but it has to grow in us as well,” he said. “Bigyan ng pagpapahalaga yung inumpisahan natin sa Pre-Synodal Consultations so that it will also transform the Church just like Mary, her ‘yes’ transformed her life, and our ‘yes’ to the process will transform our lives.”
Reiterating that this is just the beginning, the Bishop said that the synodal path and process undertaken has initiated a listening Church.
“We look forward to a Church that is growing and mature, a church that is learning from its mistakes, that continues to value the voice of the voiceless, so that we learn how to accommodate and welcome them,” he added. “We learn to listen to the voices of those who are hurting so that we can be instruments of healing; we listen to the voice of those marginalized so that we can walk with them and serve them.”
Echoing this dynamic of listening, Rev. Msgr. Jesus Romulo “Monsi”C. Rañada, revealed that what he has learned from the Pre-Synodal Consultations, and surely, he said, others too, is to really listen to each other. “Listening to one another which hopefully would redound to us hearing God and what He wants us to be and to do,” he further said.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo, unang-una sa Panginoong Diyos sapagkat sa gitna ng pandemya, kahit mahirap gawin nito ay naisagawa natin at natapos natin according to schedule,” he said. “And I’d like also to thank the Synodal Path Team ng ating diocese, ang mga pari, mga madre, and especially mga Layko, sila talaga yung nanguna sa consultation process na ito.”
He then went on to turn over to the Bishop eight boxes of documents, composing of papers and reports, including synthesis, gathered from the different groups and sectors of society that were consulted.
Sealed and secured, the said boxes will be opened during the Pastoral Diocesan AssemblyinSeptember.
Reading of the decree to formally close the Diocesan level of the Synodal Journey was done by Rev. Fr. Reynaldo Percival Flores, Chancellor.
“The solemn Mass was a way of thanking the Lord for the grace of a successful journey together,” he began. “We also asked the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Church and our Mother.”
On the same Eucharistic celebration, the Mass attendees joined Pope Francis in consecrating Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. [Lulu Reclusado-Nario- Soccomm Nova]
Photo: Special Commission on Social Communications and Media
PPCRV Volunteer Poll Watchers for the May 9, 2022 National and
To: All Parish Priests, PAM Coordinators, PPCRV Coordinators and PYM Coordinators
Peace be with you!
In line with our preparations for the forthcoming National and Local Elections which will be held on May 9, 2022, we are requesting your Parish to submit the list of your Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) Volunteers (minimum of 10 but not more than 15 volunteers preferably coming from the youth sector and fully vaccinated) to serve as PPCRV Poll Watchers.
Attached is a Form that they need to fill out and submit on or before 25 January 2022.
All accomplished Forms may be forwarded to the Chancery c/o Mr. Sam Ferrer, Public Affairs Ministry (PAM) Lay Head or to Ms. Maricar Labiano, PAM Secretariat.
Given in the Chancery in Fairview, Quezon City, January 2022.
National Bible Sunday and National Bible Week 2022
The month of January is proclaimed National Bible Month and the last week of January as the National Bible Week, and on 23 January 2022, our country will be celebrating the National Bible Sunday.
For this reason, every parish and institution in our Diocese through the Diocesan Biblical Apostolate and the Parish Biblical Ministry is being advised to participate in the activities recommended by the episcopal Commission on the Biblical apostolate of the CBCP for this year’s celebration.
To start the month-long celebration, every parish is to have their Bible Enthronement on 2 January 2022. I encourage every parish to establish their own Parish Bible Ministry Team and participate in this year’s celebration that will culminate on 23 January 2022, the National Bible Sunday.
Attached are documents that can help and guide you in the celebration. For more information, you may call Rev. Fr. Ferdinand C. Dulong, Priest Coordinator of the our Diocesan Biblical Apostolate.
Given in the Chancery in Fairview, Quezon City, 20 December 2021.
The active participation of the Laity is imperative to the success of the Diocesan Pre-Synodal Consultation to be done in preparation for the Synod in 2023 to be held in Rome.
This was underscored by Most Rev. Roberto O. Gaa, D.D., Bishop of Novaliches, as he led ceremonies to officially start the consultation — Diyosesisang Yugto ng Landasing Sinodal — highlighted by a Eucharistic celebration that he officiated.
“In this Synodality, marami po’ng pagko-konsulta na gagawin,” said Bishop Gaa in his Homily.”This pre-Synod consultation on the diocesan level will be a tedious process and we need everybody’s prayer so that this can really be successful.”
He added that “when we say a prayer, it’s a time of silence, a time of listening, a time of hearing what God wants to tell us, not just in prayer, but also in consultation.”
Personally addressing the Laity, he asked, “how will you speak, what will you say?” then advised everyone to call on the Holy Spirit, so that the Holy Spirit may touch their hearts, and speak not what they want to say but what the Holy Spirit wants them to say.
“May paggabay,pagliliwanag, at paggalaw ng Espiritu Santo,” he stressed.
In an earlier invitation, he described the process that will entail a series of consultations in all sectors of society, including the poor and the marginalized; and encouraged everyone’s participation.
“Sana’y tayong lahat ay makilahok at tayong lahat ay makinabang,” he said, adding that we may only benefit if we participate. “Kung kayo ay kokonsultahin, buong puso niyo ibigay ang inyong saloobin, masama man, masakit man, ang lahat ay makakatulong sa pagbuo ng isang simbahan na nakikinig at isang simbahan na nagninilay at nakikipaglakbay.
The Bishop thanked Msgr. Jesus Romulo “Romy” C. Rañada for leading and guiding the Synodal Path Coordinating Team to do the long and challenging consultations that aim at arriving at the true face of the church in the Diocese of Novaliches. “That can be our starting point sa pagkilala at pakikipaglakbay sa Diocese so that we can really walk together as a Diocese,” Bishop Gaa said. “Pray with me, journey with me so that together we can listen to the Holy Spirit through one another.” On the same occasion, members of the Synodal Path Coordinating Team were officially introduced and blessed. They are composed of the Clergy, Laity, and the Religious.
Among them are Rev. Fr. Antonio E. Labiao, Jr., Vicar General for Pastoral Affairs; Rev. Fr. Jaime Z. Lara, Bishop’s Delegate to the Council of the Laity of Novaliches (CLaN); Rev. Fr. Luciano A. Felloni, Priest Director, Special Commission on Social Communications and Media (SocComM); Fatima Estacio, CLaN president; and Sr. Zenaida Cabrera, coordinator of the Association of Consecrated Lives in Novaliches Diocese (ACLIND).
In an AVP shared by the Saint Francis Xavier Parish shown before the ceremonies, synod and a synodal church were defined. This is a time, it said when the Church is called together “to communion, participation, and mission.”
It is likewise “a call for the involvement of all who belong to the people of God … to pray, listen, analyze, dialogue, discern, advice.” [Lulu Reclusado-Nario]
This is a famous line uttered by people whose lives were touched by Rev. Fr. Juan Bosco “JB” Abellana, Parochial Vicar of the Holy Cross Parish in Caloocan City, who joined His Maker too soon on the first day of July. He was 62 years old.
These people weren’t touched in a bad way as the word is associated with violence. It simply means they were shown Fr. JB’s special kind of tough love that teaches and nurtures one to be a good observant of the Holy Mass as well as a humble and obedient Church servant.
“Pag na-tokhang ka, malamang dapat may natutunan ka after ma-experience mo ‘yan,” revealed Shirly Benedictos, Holy Cross Parish’s SocComm lay coordinator, during a Eulogy held in honor of Fr. JB.
She went on share a story on how Fr. JB would not let go of a chance to instruct a Mass attendee on how to properly receive the Holy Communion, never mind if the communion line would stall. A reprimand is always in order for church servants who do not take their tasks seriously.
She also admitted being intimidated, at first, by the priest. “Kasi talagang pagsasabihan o pagagalitan ka as a server pag may palpak ka during the Mass, asahan mo na may sermon so medyo kinatatakutan siya sa parish,” she narrated. “Pero nung nakausap ko na siya ng personal, doon ko nalaman yung kanyang pagmamahal kay Jesus, sa Misa.”
Ate Shirly said that Fr. JB put emphasis on one’s readiness when serving during Mass. “Sabi pa niya, bakit ka matatakot mag-serve kung handa ka naman or kung alam mo naman ang mga dapat mong gawin?” she added.
But this penchant for the strict observance of the Holy Mass and proper behavior by both parishioners and church servants is just a part of Fr. JB’s colorful character.
Rev. Fr. Abe Argoniosa said that Fr. JB never said anything bad towards anybody.
“He was always very charitable, kind, benevolent in mind and in heart in his attitude towards another person,” he said. “Layunin niya na tayo ay maging faithful and on time pag naglilingkod sa Panginoon, hindi maaring magpabaya sa ating tungkulin.”
Fr. Abe added that his “pag-tokhang” to people is only part of his being a good father and a good shepherd.
FIGHTER, TRUE FRIEND
Michael Acosta of Pagkabuhay Parish considers him a loving father and a fighter. “Para siyang ama na mahigpit ngunit may dahilan,” he said. “Fighter siya kasi basta merong service, hindi mo makikita na nahihirapan, at mahal niya ang taong simbahan.”
Au Roque of San Bartolome de Novaliches and the Parish’s former PPC [Parish Pastoral Council] chair, describes him as “a gentle breeze, very unassuming.”
“Katulad ng sinasabi ng lahat ,when it comes to worship, gusto niya lahat na gumagampan ng tungkulin sa Liturgy ay alam ang ginagawa,” she added. “To the highest level ang pagdiriwang ng Banal na Misa.”
Cecille de la Cruz, also of San Bartolome and former coordinator of the Parish’s Social Services and Development Ministry [SSDM], is touched by the fact that Fr. JB treated her as a friend. She was also witness to Fr. JB’s genuine love and concern for the poor.
“In-encourage niya kaming magsikap para maging matagumpay ang aming ginagawa sa livelihood program na itinayo namin,” she said.
The Bishops Emeritus of Novaliches, namely Most Rev. Teodoro Bacani and Most Rev Antonio Tobias came to pay their respects to Fr. JB and expressed their deep love for him; while Most Rev. Roberto O. Gaa, D.D., current Bishop of Novaliches, celebrated the Funeral Mass on the 5th day of July, according to the Rites of the Roman Catholic Church at the Pagkabuhay Parish.
His resting place is at the clergy plot of the Diocese of Novaliches at the Holy Cross Memorial Park in Novaliches, Quezon City.
Fr. JB was born in Cortes, Bohol on the 20th of January 1959. He was ordained to the Sacred Order of Presbyters at the age of 25.
Coming to Manila after serving in various churches in Bohol and Tagbilaran City, his first assignments were at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish [Project 6, QC, 1992-1997], and Saint Paul the Apostle Parish [Timog, QC, 1997-1999].
He was still assigned as Parish Priest of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish in Camarin, North Caloocan City [1999-2006] and the Priest Coordinator for Mandated Organizations, when he was assigned by Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D., the Bishop of Novaliches at that time, here at Pagkabuhay Parish [Bagbag] where he lied in state, in fulfillment of his last wish or request.
During the Second General Reshuffling of Parish Assignments in 2013, he was assigned as Parish Priest of San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish [Tierra Verde Homes, J. Culiat], which would be cut short on June 2016 because he was asked by Bishop Tony to prepare for his renal transplant that will be done on his failing kidneys that year. He was transferred to Our Lady of Visitation Parish [Sacred Heart Village], serving as Parochial Vicar under the close watch of Bishop Tony, for several months while waiting for his kidney transplant that did not happen due to his donor’s previous drug addiction history.
In 2017, Fr. JB was assigned as Parochial Vicar of Fr. Roger S. Positar at San Bartolome Parish to help him in his medical needs and condition. During the Third General Reshuffling of Assignments in 2019, he was asked by Bishop Tony where he would like to stay and he said he wanted to join Fr. Roger in his new assignment at Holy Cross Parish [Amparo Village, Caloocan City] where he served until his last hospital confinement at Cardinal Santos Memorial and Medical Center, and his untimely demise.
Image Source: Jun Magtagnob, Social Communications and Media Ministry