Monday, May 21, 2012

Requiem: Fr. Proceso Barroga

Fr. Proceso Barroga
(2 July 1954 - 22 May 2012)

May I invite you to please include FR. PROCESO BARROGA in your prayers.  He passed on to our Creator this morning (May 22, Manila time).  Let us pray for his eternal repose.  Fr. Ceso was once rector of the Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary in Vigan.  Among the parishes he served were San Juan Sahagun in Candon, St. James the Greater in Santiago, Ilocos Sur, and Our Lady of the Assumption in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur.

May the Lord who has called him to become His priest receive him into His Kingdom.  May the Lord who extended forgiveness for His people through him, also forgive his failings.  May the Lord who made him partake of the Eucharist on earth make him now share in the Eternal Banquet in heaven.  May the Lord who made him His servant call him, "Come, beloved of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of time." (Mt. 25:34)

Eternal rest grant unto Fr. Ceso, O, Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.

His remains lie in state at the Aula de Caridad at the Arzobispado compound in Vigan.  For schedule of wake mass and funeral, please contact the Chancery of Nueva Segovia at (077) 722-2018.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ANS, Reshuffle 2012

Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia

Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines 2700


Parochial Assignments:

San Nicolas Tolentino, SINAIT: Fr. Ferdinand Ragasa, parish priest; Fr. Amador Cabaluna, vicar; Fr. Leobardo Inofinada, attached priest

San Markos Ebanghelista, CABUGAO: Fr. Felix Costales, parish priest; Fr. Sherwin Aquino, vicar

San Juan Bautista, SAN JUAN: Fr. Albert Rabe, parish priest

San Guillermo, MAGSINGAL: Fr. Gerry Antolin, parish priest; Fr. Magdaleno Ruelos, vicar

San Isidro Labrador: Fr. Ernesto Juarez, Jr., parish priest

PURO, MAGSINGAL: Fr. Manuel Galimba, parish priest

Sto. Domingo, STO. DOMINGO: Fr. Lovell Soller, parish priest; Fr. Peter Dagsi, vicar

San Ildefonso, SAN ILDEFONSO: Fr. Flor Rebebes, parish priest

San Agustin, BANTAY: Fr. Jack Cabatu, parish priest; Fr. Amancio Garcia, vicar

San Vicente Ferrer, SAN VICENTE: Fr. Roque Reyes, parish priest

Santa Catalina, STA. CATALINA: Fr. Victorio Rabacca, parish priest

Our Lady of Hope, CAOAYAN: Fr. Felicisimo Ferrer, parish priest

Conversion of St. Paul, VIGAN: Fr. Vicente Avila, parish priest; Fr. Ronald Doña and Fr. Carlito Feria, vicars, Fr. Avelino Sipin, attached priest

Christ the King, PAING, BANTAY: Fr. Alex Malcaba, parish priest

Sta. Catalina, SANTA: Fr. Virgilio Cabaccang, parish priest

San Francisco Javier, LUNGOG, NARVACAN: Fr. Anselmo Samson, parish priest

Santa Lucia, NARVACAN: Fr. Cosmenio Rosimo, parish priest; Rev. Rosmell Cairel, vicar

San Jose, NAGBUKEL, Fr. Mar Barroga, parish priest

Assumption of Our Lady, STA. MARIA: Fr. Jerry Avisa, parish priest; Fr. Arnel Ramos, vicar

Holy Name of Jesus, BURGOS: Fr. Flor Escalona, parish priest

San Esteban, SAN ESTEBAN: Fr. Robert Somera, parish priest

St. James the Greater, SANTIAGO: Fr. Reginald Paul Pira, parish priest

Our Lady of Lourdes, BANAYOYO: Fr. Danilo Martinez, parish priest

Our Lady of Lourdes, LIDLIDDA: Fr. Reynaldo Rebebes, parish priest

San Miguel Arkanghel, SAN EMILIO: Fr. Rufo Abaya, parish priest

San Juan Sahagun, CANDON: Bp. David William Antonio, parish priest; Fr. Marcelo Cantorna and Rev. Feliciano Bugtong, vicars

Mary, Help of Christians, TALOGTOG, CANDON: Fr. George Tabangcura, parish priest

Sacred Heart, GALIMUYOD: Fr. Rex Rilveria, parish priest

San Jose, SALCEDO: Fr. Constantino Atinaja, Jr., parish priest

Our Lady of Lourdes, DEL PILAR: Fr. Raymond Ancheta, parish priest

San Jose Labrador, SIGAY: Fr. Juan Taqueban, parish priest

Immaculate Conception, STA. CRUZ: Fr. Ethel Agamata, parish priest; Fr. Proceso Barroga and Fr. Michael Tanacio, vicars

Sta. Lucia, STA. LUCIA: Fr. Rene Leo Rosabia, parish priest; Rev. Angelito Degracia, vicar

San Jose, SAN JOSE, STA. CRUZ: Fr. Arwin Rebollido, parish priest

Our Lady of Guadalupe, SEVILLA, STA. CRUZ: Fr. Gaudelio Donato, parish priest

Our Lady of Lourdes, ALILEM: Fr. Michael Tolentino, parish priest

San Antonio de Padua, SUGPON: Fr. Melchor Reonal, parish priest

San Agustin, TAGUDIN: Fr. Bernardo Gonzales, parish priest; Fr. Cristeto Cortez, vicar

Immaculate Conception, QUIRINO: Fr. Alen Villareal, parish priest

Holy Child of Prague, CERVANTES: Fr. Divinus Sanctus Rabang, parish priest

St. Andrew the Apostle, SUYO: Fr. Moises Andrada, parish priest

Non-parochial Assignments:

Msgr. Gary Noel Formoso: Oeconome, Matrimonial Tribunal, Vicar for the Religious

Fr. Olivete Rojas: Station Manager, DZNS

Fr. Segundino Cortez: Rector, Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary

Fr. Amador Foz: Spiritual Director, ICMS

Fr. Jeric Jaramillo: ICMS

Fr. Garret Ulanimo: ICMS

Fr. Lester Joseph Plana, Formation Director, SFY, Immaculate Conception School of Theology

Fr. Erwin Echalas, Spiritual Director, SFY, ICST

Fr. Willie Jones Ducusin: Chancellor, Professor at ICST, Superintendent of Archdiocesan Schools

Outside of the Archdiocese:

Missionaries to the Diocese of Honolulu: Fr. Antonio Reclusado, Fr. Ronilo Ernesto Villa, Fr. German Somera

Study Leave: Fr. Nick Vaquilar, Fr. Marlon Belmonte, Fr. Ramelle Rigunay

Military Ordinariate: Fr. Randy Val Dizon

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Marriage, Family and Society

The Pope, Benedict XVI in his message to the American bishops of the Dioceses in the Midwest on the ad limina visit to Rome reflected on the challenges that the Church in America faces, among them on marriage, the family, life, sexuality, culture and catechesis.

The Pope noted:

It is in fact increasingly evident that a weakened appreciation of the indissolubility of the marriage covenant, and the widespread rejection of a responsible, mature sexual ethic grounded in the practice of chastity, have led to grave societal problems bearing an immense human and economic cost.

Yet, as Blessed John Paul II observed, the future of humanity passes by way of the family (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 85). Indeed, "the good that the Church and society as a whole expect from marriage and from the family founded on marriage is so great as to call for full pastoral commitment to this particular area. Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself" (Sacramentum Caritatis, 29).

I hope we in the Philippines learn from the experience of "progressive" and "liberal" nations who have embraced "liberal" ideas which are now manifesting their consequences not only in the life of the Church and Christians, but even, in the society at large.

God bless us. Kyrie eleison.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Second Sunday of Lent

From the First Sunday of Lent's desert, the readings of the Second Sunday bring us to the mountains. In our figures of speech we speak of mountains as obstacles, something we have to rise above, overcome, or flatten. In the Scriptures, mountains are a privileged place of encounter with God. Mountains are a privileged place of God’s revelation.

In the first reading, we could be horrified with the test God gives Abraham – he asked Abraham to offer his son as a holocaust, as a burnt offering. I remember from our class in Old Testament Historical Books, how the story unfolds in drama and intensity. Only a part of the story is read to us, but still, we could have a feel of the intensity. God called Abraham to test him. At one shout, Abraham responds immediately, “Here I am.” Abraham was always attentive to God, and he responds quickly. Maybe we should also ask ourselves, how quick we are to respond to God.

Then God tells Abraham, “Take your son, Isaac.” We could just imagine Abraham light up with joy at the mention of his son. Then God adds, “Isaac, your only son, whom you love.” We could just imagine Abraham’s love and affection for his son show up in his face. I always see this in my father’s face when he talks about us his children, all nine of us. But then there is more to God’s message: “Take you son, Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.” We could just imagine Abraham’s face drop in anguish. But he does not complain. Early the next day, he sets everything up, and as commanded, he obeys. It is not included in today’s selection, but at one point, while they going to the mountain, there was a conversation between Isaac and Abraham. “Father,” Isaac began. Affectionately, Abraham answered, “Yes, my son?” Isaac innocently asks, “I see that you have the coals and wood, but where is the lamb for sacrifice?” We could only imagine, this breaks Abraham’s heart, but not his faith, and he responds, “God himself will provide one.” And we know the rest of the story. God did not intend to have Isaac sacrificed. He was asking Abraham to sacrifice himself totally. Abraham obeyed, and for this he becomes the source of blessing for all nations.

Abraham here is a figure of God the Father who, as the Gospel of John tells us, “so loved the world that he sent his only Son so that all who will believe in him will have life.” At the same time, Abraham too is a figure of Jesus, who obeyed God’s will, even if it meant giving up what is most precious as Paul’s letter to the Philippians attest to: “Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God, something to grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself, took the form of a slave, and accepted even death, death on the cross.”

Jesus accepted the will of God, not without human struggle. Remember that in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed, “Father, if possible, let this cup pass me.” But in the end, he submitted and obeyed, as he prayed, “But not my will, but yours be done.” Jesus knew what he was facing and so he intimated this to his disciples, who were of course incredulous, shocked and confused. “How can this man, whom we have followed and whom we think will lead us to defeat our oppressors talk about being arrested, tortured and killed? What is this all about? Where can we pin our hopes now?” These and many others could have been the confused questions of the disciples. And so Jesus brings three of them to a mountain. There, he transfigures before them. He shows them a glimpse of his glory. This was a revelation of who he is – that he is divine. It is thus an encouragement to the disciples that even though he will suffer and die, it will not be the end. Rather, there is glory that will come with it. Having revealed the glory of the Son, the Father speaks – “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

Peter would have wanted that they stay in glory. But then, Jesus tells him that they have to go down the mountain, and face the command of the Father. They were to go down the mountain and obey the command of God, which will entail much difficulty, even persecution and death, but not without hope.

Today, we too are faced with the command of God – to turn to Jesus and to listen to him. There are many other voices. Often they are loud, forceful and dominant. There are voices telling us that this or that is what life is about, that this or that is what love is about, that this or that is what marriage is about, that this or that is what freedom is about, that this or that is the new and better way, that this or that is what consists of happiness, that this or that is what we should be and do. But there is only one voice that matters – Jesus. And this is what the Church echoes. It may be drowned, muffled, jammed, ridiculed by some, or even by many, but it still does not change the imperative. Jesus is God’s beloved Son. It is to him alone that we should listen. It is him alone whom we should obey.

As we continue with our Lenten journey, we pray for the gift of obedience – that we may listen to Jesus and obey only God’s will – even when unpopular, even when marginalized, even when ridiculed or labeled as outmoded, even when threatened by powers that be. We may be disdained by those whose values are of the world, but we know that true blessing can come only with obedience to God. Those who hold to the values of the world may consider us out of touch with trends, but what matters is that we are in touch with God’s will, and in the forthcoming, which is eternal, we will be justified.

The words of Paul in the second reading encourages us – “If God is with us, who can be against us? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? Jesus, who is at the right hand of God intercedes for us.”

Have a holy Lent.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Light is on...

In the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington, all parish churches are open on all Wednesdays of the Holy Season of Lent from 6:30PM-8:00PM for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This program has been called, "The Light Is On For You."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

First Week of Lent, Friday

One of the most awesome and inspiring about priesthood, and at the same time the most humbling, is to be able to be used by God to grant forgiveness.

The sacrament of reconciliation always amazes me. It is amazing how good and gracious God is, how he does not deal with us as our sins deserve. Thank you, God, for, “if you O, Lord should mark our guilt, who would endure?”

The words of the Lord through the prophet Ezekiel are encouraging:

If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced. Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?

God does not want any of us to die. God wants us to live, and so he offers his forgiveness. It is an offer we can receive, ignore, or reject.

Since God forgives and desires that we be reconciled with him, we, his children are also called to ask forgiveness from our brothers and sisters whom we have wronged, to give forgiveness to those who have wronged us, and to seek reconciliation with them.

Forgiveness is a gift of life and liberty. When we ask for and receive God’s forgiveness, we are freed from sin, and restored to life. When we ask forgiveness from persons we have wronged, and give forgiveness to those who have wronged us, we end the cycle of resentment (which causes violence and “death”) and we open up the renewal of life-giving relationships. Somebody said, and I think he said it well: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and then you discover, the prisoner was you.”

This season of Lent, may we receive the liberating and life-giving grace of forgiveness. Amen.

Have a holy Lent.

First Week of Lent, Thursday

Today’s readings are obviously about prayer. Queen Esther prayed with all her heart, completely entrusting to God the life of the Israelite people. Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel are very encouraging – “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you. For he who asks receives; he who seeks, finds. And he who knocks shall be opened to.” But experience tells us that we do not always receive what we asked for, find what we seek, and have the door opened to us. We ask, why? Going back to the Gospel, Jesus continues, “Will not your heavenly Father give you what you need?”

Perhaps what we asked for and sought is not what we need. The door we want opened is not the door that would lead to God.

I am reminded of a poem attributed to an unknown Confederate soldier. It speaks of God’s answers to our prayers. I quote:

I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

Today, as we continue with our Lenten Journey, we ask the Holy Spirit for enlightenment to know what we truly need, and that we may pray with the confidence and trust of a child to a loving and provident Father. Amen.

Have a holy Lent.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

At an adult catechism class, the catechist noted that the story of Jonah was not actually historical, that it did not actually, literally happen as it is related. He followed his comment with a rhetorical question (one that does not actually needed an answer) – “Well, how can we not say that the story of Jonah and the Ninevites did not actually happen?” A couple of answers came, though. One blurted out, “well, it could not be that one could still be alive after three days of being in the belly of a whale.” “Some practical, empirical guy,” the catechist thought. Another remarked: “well, because the people actually repented?"

The first reading and the Gospel were intentionally put together.

The figure of Jonah in the belly of the whale for three days is a figure of Jesus in the tomb for three days. The juxtaposition of the first reading and the Gospel shows this vividly. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale, but after three days was brought out alive to the shore, Jesus will stay in the bowels of the earth, but on the third day will rise again.

But there is another thing that we should not miss in the juxtaposition of the first reading and the Gospel. In the first reading, Jonah preached to the people, and the people repented – from the king to last citizen, and in the Jewish hyperbole, even the cats and dogs fasted. In the Gospel however, we see the obstinacy of the people who still failed to heed the call of Jesus to repent and believe. Time and time again, God called his people to repentance, but they kept on sinning. Time and time again, God calls us to repentance but we keep sinning.

This season of Lent, God again is calling us to repentance. Jonah speaks to us today – “repent for the hand of God is upon you.” And we have a greater than Jonah here – Jesus Christ who invites us, “Repent and believe in the Gospel” threatening us not with destruction, but offering us love and compassion.

How will our story unfold?

As we prayed in the Responsorial Psalm, may we wholeheartedly pray:

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.

This season of Lent, may we come to true repentance, turn away from our sinful habits and strive towards virtue and goodness. Amen.

Have a holy Lent.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday of the First Week of Lent

Lent calls us to turn to God, and in doing so, also turn to others, especially those in need. That is why one of the paths of Lent is alms-giving – acts of compassion. The readings indicate our motives for treading this path of compassion. First of all, as the First Reading intimates, it is the command of God. Second, as the Gospel unequivocally puts forth, by these acts, or our neglect of them, we shall be judged.

Although these are noteworthy motives, they are not enough. Alms-giving, acts of compassion hopefully, will spring from a heart that loves God and sees God in the needy. Hopefully, our alms-giving, our acts of compassion, our pursuit of the good and true and rejection of evil and false will not simply be motivated by a desire for the joys of heaven and a fear of the pains of the eternal fires of hell, but be motivated by our love of God who has loved us first.

The truth is, we ourselves were once (and continue to be!) the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, homeless, and imprisoned who have been loved by God. To us, hungry for food that satisfies fully, Jesus gives us himself in the Eucharist. To us, thirsty for the truly life-giving water, Jesus gives us the saving waters of baptism. We, naked in our helplessness to free ourselves from the shame of sin, are clothed by Jesus with his righteousness that we may stand before God with confidence. To us, homeless with the loss of paradise, Jesus opened the gates of the Father’s house where there are many mansions, and in which Jesus prepared a place for us. To us, sick because of sin, Jesus offers us the healing balm of forgiveness. Enslaved and imprisoned by our wrongful choices and bad habits, and constantly tormented and tempted by the evil one, Jesus offers the freedom of the children of God.

We have been loved first. Now it is our turn to acknowledge God’s goodness by loving him in others. “Caritas Christi urget nos.” (2 Cor. 5:14)


A prayer by St. Francis Xavier may help us reflect on today's message.

O God I Love you,
not simply to be saved,
and not because those who fail in love to you
will be punished with eternal fire.

You, you, my JESUS, have all-embraced me on the cross.
You have borne the nails, the lance, much ignominy,
numberless griefs, sweating and anguish, and death,
and these on account of me and for me, a sinner.

Why therefore, should I not love you,
O, most loving JESUS?
Not that in heaven you shall save me,
nor lest for eternity you shall condemn me;
not with the hope of any reward,
but as you have loved me, so also will I love you,
only because you are my King,
and because you are my God.

This has been put to song in Filipino by Fr. Manoling Francisco. Translation was made by another Jesuit, Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ. Here is the link: Pagkabighani.

Have a holy Lent.

First Sunday of Lent

We have just begun the Holy Season of Lent. We began with Ash Wednesday. We were marked with the ashes to remind us of our human condition of sin and death – of our need for forgiveness and our hope of eternal life. I noted in my reflection last Wednesday that we were marked with ashes in the sign of a cross, not with an “X”. At the outset, for me, this shows that although we have sinned, and because of that, we merit the consequence of sin, which is death, God has not put an “X” on us. God has instead given us the Cross – the Cross of Jesus Christ. And we are marked with the Cross – we are marked with the Love of God shown in its fullness by Jesus Christ, the Love of God which forgives ours sins and that gives us eternal life. This love we commemorate and celebrate at the most holy days of the Paschal Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday).

But we do not only commemorate and celebrate our redemption. We rather, enter into these mysteries – we take part in these mysteries, so that we will be recreated anew – we die with Christ so that we may rise anew with him. We are not passive recipients and inactive spectators. By our Baptism, we have died to sin, and have received new life. But as we go through every day of our lives, we come face to face with sin and death, and often times fall prey to them again. That is why, every year, we go through the liturgical seasons. Every year, we are invited to be made new again. Lent is part of this process of renewal.

The readings proclaimed to us today express this hope. In the first reading, from the book of Genesis, we hear what God did after the flood. The flood was a figure of the devastation that sin brings to us and to the world. Sin can, and does destroy not only our souls, but our whole selves, our relationships, our culture, the moral fabric of society, social, economic and political institutions, and even the environment, and the whole of creation. Sin brings destruction – and at its worst, total destruction. The flood, which symbolizes destruction is not God’s punishment. God does not want to destroy us and creation. Remember, he created us all and he saw and affirmed that was all good. It was our sin that destroyed our original goodness, and the original harmony of all.

But God does not mark us with an “X”. God did not give up on us. He delivered those who obeyed him – symbolized by Noah and his family, who made and boarded the ark. After the flood has subsided, God renewed his covenant with Noah and with all of creation. Creation has been made new. The promise of God, that never again will a flood destroy humanity and all creation, is actually both a promise and a challenge. God renews his love, gives it again to man, hoping that man will not turn away again, disobey God and sin, and bring destruction again to himself and all creation.

Now, it is interesting that all kinds of animals were with Noah and his family in the ark. Would not the animals fight against each other – prey and predator? Would not the wild animals pose a danger to the humans? They were in one ark, and nothing bad happened! Sin brought the disorder, chaos, violence to the world. Sin brought the flood, destruction to the world. But being in the ark somehow restored order, harmony and peace in creation. Being in the ark saved Noah and the animals.

Now, was there anybody too who was with wild animals but was not hurt, instead was even attended to by angels? The Gospel tells us that Jesus was in the desert, and he was with the wild animals, but there was no mention of conflict. Instead, it was just related by Mark as a matter of fact, and that he was attended to by angels. Mark tells us that Jesus is the new ark. Amidst the floods of chaos, violence and destruction caused by sin, in Jesus, order, harmony and peace are restored. In Jesus, we are saved.

Lent is a call to enter the ark. Lent is a call to return to Jesus. Peter in the second reading tells us that in Jesus, the waters that destroyed humanity and creation is transformed into the saving waters of baptism, by the love of God revealed in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. Unlike Noah, we do not need to build the ark. We need only to enter the ark. We need only to return to Jesus.

What does returning to Jesus entail? Jesus himself tells us – “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” First of all, we need to repent – to recognize our sins, ask for God’s forgiveness, and resolve not to sin again. And then we need to believe – to believe with our minds and hearts that God’s will is best for us, that God’s will alone can bring us true happiness, and to live in our lives what we believe.

This season of Lent, let us enter the ark. Let us return to Jesus. Let us obey the call of Jesus to repent from our sins, and believe in the Good News of God’s love. And hopefully, by the end of Lent, and as we take part in the celebrations of the Paschal Triduum, we may become a renewed person, renewed in our covenant with God, in our relationship with one another, renewed in our relationship with all of creation.

We pray for the grace of obedience. And let us this first week of Lent, consciously practice the virtue of obedience.

Lord God, teach us to turn from our sinful selves to your saving grace. When we pray, “thy will be done,” may we truly let go of our false independence and obey only your most holy will.” Amen.

Have a holy Lent.