PCNE7: “Am I A Neighbor to Others?”

HIs Eminence Luis Antonio Card. Tagle, DD, Archbishop of Manila
HIs Eminence Luis Antonio Card. Tagle, DD, Archbishop of Manila

QUEZON CITY—The Philippine Conference on New Evangelization was held at Smart Araneta Center Coliseum last January 28-29, 2020, with the theme “Who, then, is my neighbor?” The Church, nowadays, is trying to make a step on how to achieve peace and unity amidst the challenge of differences and diversities of beliefs particularly in religion, culture and contextual lifestyle lived by indigenous people. This motive is not new as even Pope Francis told the missionaries to go beyond the boundaries and reach out to those who are in the peripheries. For this reason, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has advocated to make this calling be made realized through ‘Ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue and indigenous peoples.’

Due to this, a two-day conference was conducted and led by His Eminence, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. This event evidently made the peoples’ hearts shout with joy and left them with inspiring and heart-warming experiences as they listen to the wonderful experiences shared by the key speakers who came from other Christian denominations and religious faith namely, Islam. The whole arena was full of lovely noises as the people expressed their faith and love to one another. There were so many things that every person can learn; nevertheless, one of the most important things that a person must ought to know is the importance of listening and paying attention to the voice of others. This was done in the activity itself particularly the ‘listening hearts’ where there were guests invited to share their experiences of their journey of faith.

All of the key speakers shared their inspirational stories of their lives. Perhaps, one of them is a businessman whose hobby was t-shirt designing and printing for the UAAP and NCAA. Along the way, he thought why not spread the faith through this hobby. And so, he did not only produce plain t-shirts with random prints on them, but with biblical lines and religious manifestations instead. I supposed many were touched by listening to his experiences with God as he lived his life as a businessman with a great faith in Him.

Succeedingly, a Muslim who studied in a Catholic School also shared her experience during the gathering. By only imagining at it, it is not easy to become one with others that in the first place, you are not familiar with as she belongs to another religion and she has her own beliefs and practices which she managed to live with them. This experience of her was a great gift that she received in her life because no one is perfect despite of being discriminated as she shared one unfortunate event in her life wherein her classmates made fun of her by pin-pointing that as a Muslim, they are known for selling pirated CDs and DvDs in local markets. Of course, these painful but she knows in herself that she is a great person fighting for peace and unity.

Furthermore, Mariel and Robin were also part of the guests of that event. They shared their experiences within the context of being a husband and wife. I, myself, was touched by their married life especially with the way they live even though they came from different religions. Mariel said that they respect one another and they never let religion become a reason for misunderstanding and miscommunication between her and her husband. Additionally, they practice their diverse religions with respect like how they celebrate Christmas and Ramadan in their own ways. Love knows no religion, Mariel said. Overall, there is no barrier in their home.  But, what struck me was their knowledge of each other’s faith. Mariel jokingly said that Robin would remind her particularly in holy week not to post on social media because during that time, Christ is dead and Mariel would remind Robin as well if he forgets something. In summary, there were many good stories that other guest speakers have shared but these experiences have one common ground that is, their experience of God and how they lived their uniqueness of faith with understanding, unity, peace and respect.

Towards the last part of the event, Cardinal Tagle posed this question to everyone ‘are you a neighbor to others?’ This is the best expression to identify and to know the authentic experience of being a neighbor because we might not be aware that they are all our neighbors regardless of what denomination or religion they belong. Yet, the question is ‘are you a neighbor to your neighbor?’ This was the challenging one given to all the participants; to know your neighbor by identity and to know them by heart and intimate relationship. We must have a direct experience of how it is to live with your neighbor. And so, we ask these questions: how is it to listen to the voice of others? How is peace and unity concretely express in day to day living? As what Cardinal Tagle asked, what prejudices, biases, prejudgments do we have that hinder our capacity to dialogue with others especially to Non- Catholic Christians and from other religions? All these questions are part of the challenge of‘Ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue and indigenous people.’ As what Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME said ‘Catholics are called to renew their faith, they are also invited to rediscover the importance to journey together in solidarity with people of different faiths, cultures and religions.’ Then again, for Christians, as I relate it to Mary when Jesus was told that his mother was there, Jesus responded “who is my mother but those who listen to the word of God?”.

In the same way to ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue and indigenous people, who are our neighbors? Our neighbors are those who listen to the voice of God through the mouths of other Christian denominations, other religions and different indigenous people. They are our neighbors! This is a great challenge to the Church: how to battle against self-righteousness and pride so as to maintain unity, understanding among our neighbors. Start to discover the beauty of conversing, open our ears and listen to the voice of others, empty our hearts and fill it with their love.   

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fray Renz Calex Soriano, OAR

Fray Renz Calex Soriano, OAR

Religious of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno

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< 2021 >
January
SMTuWThFS
     1
  • All day
    January 1, 2021

    SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

    54th WORLD DAY OF PEACE

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Cristita Cha, AR

2
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    January 2, 2021

    ATTENTION: Provincial-Level Christmas Party is CANCELLED.

    SIMPLE PROFESSION OF VOWS OF FRAY CHRISLEAN REY PAMILAGA
    SEMONORE, Antipolo City / 10:00 A.M.

    BIRTHDAY
    Bro. Conrado Flores, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Emma Toro, SAR (Valencia Chapter)
    Sis. Marcelina Nicolas, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Rizalina Salera, SAR (Cavite Chapter)

3
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    January 3, 2021

    SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY

    500th Year of the Excommunication of Martin Luther (1521-2021)

    60th Anniversary of the Establishment of a Catholic Hierarchy in Indonesia

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Bella Mojica, AR
    Sis. Basilisa Espinola, SAR (Miranila Chapter)
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    Sis. Melodina Paragat, SAR (Talisay Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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4
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    BIRTHDAY
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    Sis Mary Grace Susas, SAR (Talisay Chapter)
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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5
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    BIRTHDAY
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    Bro. Jose Pepito Gabriel Bonete, SAR (Puerto Princesa Chapter)
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    Leila Barizo (RAY-Cavite)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Cleofe Claro, AR
    +Fray Casiano Cosmilla
    [Attention Recoletos de Manila Community: “the community to which he belongs will celebrate… Mass on the first anniversary of his death” (Add. Code 94a)]

6
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    BIRTHDAY
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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    +Bro. Rustico Magdales, SAR (Manila Chapter)

7
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    BIRTHDAY
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8
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    RST: START OF ENROLMENT

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    Sr. Leticia Cerdeño, AR

9
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    FEAST OF THE BLACK NAZARENE
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    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Rosario Bianes, AR
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    |+Sr. Dominga Gargarita, AR

10
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    FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

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    +Sr. Paulina de la Purisima Corazon de Maria, AR

11
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    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Catalina Ruiz, AR
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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12
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    BIRTHDAY
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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13
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    January 13, 2021

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    (1998-2021)
    Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D. (Archdiocese of Cebu)

    BIRTHDAY
    Bro. Jonathan Casiño, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Bro. Antonio Sonsona, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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14
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    January 14, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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15
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    Bro. Maximo Epanto, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Virgin de la Consolacion, AR

16
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    COMMEMORATION OF THE DEAD RELATIVES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE ORDER

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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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    +Sis. Amelia Casiño, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)

17
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    FEAST OF THE STO. NINO

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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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    +Sr. Cesaria Barbarona, AR

18
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    WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
    Inclusive dates: January 18-25, 2021
    Theme: “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (John 16:1-17)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Joseph Dexter Palagtiosa
    Sis. Guia Gonzales, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)

19
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    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Cleofe Maria Agua, AR
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    Sis. Myrna Amante, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

20
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    ST. SEBASTIAN (PATRON SAINT OF MANILA & CAVITE COMMUNITIES, DIOCESE OF BACOLOD)

    SSC-R MANILA’s FOUNDATION CELEBRATIONS
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    BIRTHDAY
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    Sis. Mercedes Velada, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

21
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    BIRTHDAY
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    Sis. Alice Catulong, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Sis. Anecita Paglinawan, SAR (Laray Chapter)

22
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    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Victor Bendico, DD (Bishop of Baguio)

23
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    BIRTHDAY
    Bro. Marciano Cleofas, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Gloria Acosta, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Esterlina Silva, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)
    Sis. Rosemarie Gaspar, SAR (Valencia Chapter)
    Judith Mondejar (RAY-Caidiocan)
    Kathrine Bacalso (RAY-Laray)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Gertrudis del Pilar, AR
    +Sr. Cresencia Vailoces, AR

24
  • All day
    January 24, 2021

    SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD
    [NOTE: Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio Aperuit illis, published on 30 September 2019, establishes that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”.]

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Paz Bawagan, AR
    Sr. Faith Niña Fuertes, AR
    Sis. Florida San Juan, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Raymunda Co, SAR (Laray Chapter)
    Analyn Martinez (RAY-Valencia)

25
  • All day
    January 25, 2021

    SOLEMNITY OF THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL

    CSNT-Rs 50th (1971-2021) FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY Inclusive dates: January 25-30, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis. Erlinda Casaje, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Bro. Rodelio Gasparillo, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Bro. Feddie Junsay, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Joelle Maria Mendoza (RAY-Miranila)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Lucia Sagmit, AR

26
  • All day
    January 26, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Cristopher Maspara
    Sis. Henrietta Morales, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    (2005-2021)
    Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista, D.D. (Diocese of Imus)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Margarita Zafra, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

27
  • All day
    January 27, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Marilyn Cula, AR
    Sr. Remilyn Leonido, AR
    Sis. Evelyn Balingit, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Murita Jara, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

28
  • All day
    January 28, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Louie Gabinete

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Fernanda del Pilar, AR
    Sr. Ines Garcia, AR

29
  • All day
    January 29, 2021

    LAUNCHING OF HEART SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN 2021 / Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno only

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Francisca Rojas, AR
    Sis. Lourdes Insigne, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Jona Mendoza (RAY-Miranila)

30
  • All day
    January 30, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jonathan Caballero
    Sr. Angelica Fuentes, AR
    Sr. Pascualina Peral, AR
    Sis. Violeta Siozon, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Fedencia dela Criz, SAR (Brooke’s Point Chapter)
    Sis. Minerva Alcarde, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)

31
  • All day
    January 31, 2021

    4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

    68th WORLD LEPROSY DAY

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Josephine Ativo, AR
    Sis. Saturnina Antolihao, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Lance Raven Lapinig (RAY-Talisay)

      

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