COMMENTARY: AFTER THE VISIT


PHOTO Pope Francis bids goodbye as he leaves Villamor Airbase for Rome on January 19 in Manila. Pope Francis has ended his five- day visit to the Philippines. By Dr. Micahel Tan  --MANILA
, JANUARY 26, 2015 (INQUIRER) Thanks to the print and broadcast media, and the new media of the Internet and social media sites, the nation was swept up by the papal visit so that it was possible for people to be almost totally enveloped, almost continuously, by religious activities. I feel like someone who has just come out of a religious retreat, still inspired and determined to be “good” but well aware of the many scientific studies that show all these feelings come about from the intensity of religious rituals, times when we shut out the world and become rapt in religious fervor. It is impossible not to be moved, even if the participation is via television, when you are with multitudes of people. READ FULL STORY...

ALSO: Filipino Pilot Shares 'Humbling' Experience in Flying the Pope Amid a Storm


The strong winds didn't stop the Pope from visiting our kababayans in Tacloban. Roland Narciso, the pilot of the Philippine Airlines aircraft that brought Pope Francis to Tacloban, said that the presence of the Pope on the flight calmed them amid the storm. Tropical storm "Amang" made landfall on the day of the papal visit to Tacloban. But it didn't stop the Holy Father from spending time with our kababayans in Tacloban who were devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda. FINISH READING. FULL REPORT...

ALSO: What was on the ID That Pope Francis Wore in the Philippines' Oldest University?


The Holy Father wore an identification card during the Mass and his encounter with the Filipino youth at UST! What was on his ID? Find out here. Many people who stayed tuned to the Mass held at Manila's University of Santo Tomas, especially on TV, probably wondered what was on the ID card that a child wore around the neck of Pope Francis. MORE...

ALSO: The Caravaggio effect


Chalk portrait of Caravaggio by Ottavio Leoni, circa 1621.---“If you have time,” Pope Francis said during his encounter with thousands of young people last Jan. 18 at the University of Santo Tomas, “go see the picture that Caravaggio painted of this scene.”  By “this scene,” he meant Jesus calling the tax collector Matthew to come and follow him. This surprise invitation, as narrated in the Gospel (Matthew 9:9), caused a stir among the self-righteous because Jesus was consorting and eating with the so-called scum of society. And in the case of Matthew, Jesus even called him to join his team, his ragtag band of apostles. The Pope painted his own scene to stress a point: that God springs surprises and we must allow ourselves to be surprised. “The important thing is to let yourselves be loved by him,” he said in his native Spanish, which he used when he wanted to strongly express something. In that encounter with the youth from all over the country, Pope Francis put aside his prepared speech in English and spoke from the heart with passion and joy. READ FULL REPORT FROM INQUIRER


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

After the visit Michael L. Tan @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:20 AM | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015


Dr. Michael Tan, medical anthropologist and Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist, was chosen as the new University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman chancellor, the institution announced Thursday.
Tan, Anthropology professor and dean of the College of Social Science and Philosophy and Professor, bested six other nominees after seven out of 10 members of the Board of Regents (BOR) voted for him. His term will start on March 1, 2014 and will end on February 28, 2017.

MANILA, JANUARY 24, 2015 (INQUIRER) Thanks to the print and broadcast media, and the new media of the Internet and social media sites, the nation was swept up by the papal visit so that it was possible for people to be almost totally enveloped, almost continuously, by religious activities.

I was out of Manila for a conference and didn’t get back until Saturday morning but I was still able to “attend” two Masses (a replay of the one in Tacloban, and a live attendance at Sunday’s Quirino Grandstand celebration), as well as the Liturgy of the Word at the University of Santo Tomas.

I feel like someone who has just come out of a religious retreat, still inspired and determined to be “good” but well aware of the many scientific studies that show all these feelings come about from the intensity of religious rituals, times when we shut out the world and become rapt in religious fervor. It is impossible not to be moved, even if the participation is via television, when you are with multitudes of people.

These “be good” feelings fade rapidly as we go back into the world. I was in fact feeling a bit of despair the afternoon after Pope Francis visited, while waiting for a traffic light to change. There was the bad traffic, the smoke-belching jeeps, the vendors, and the beggars… I don’t know if it was just my imagination but I thought there were more of them, and I wondered if they were capitalizing on the Pope’s call to be concerned about the poor.

The big question now: How do we retain, how do we nurture, the insights and lessons picked up from the papal visit?

The Pope himself referred to an information overload marking our times, and I would include a kind of papal overload—people moved not just by his homilies and formal speeches but also by his many ad-lib and spontaneous remarks, jokes included, made during his many encounters with the people.

Sorrow, joy, glory

I’m going to share mainly my reflections coming out of the three religious celebrations. Each had its own character and I can’t help but use metaphors from the Roman Catholic mysteries of the rosary: sorrowful, joyful, glorious.


Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at Rizal Park, in Manila, Philippines, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015. Millions filled Manila’s main park and surrounding areas for Pope Francis’ final Mass in the Philippines on Sunday, braving a steady rain to hear the pontiff’s message of hope and consolation for the Southeast Asian country’s most downtrodden and destitute. (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano, Pool)

I will go backward, starting with the Mass at Rizal Park, with television providing varying panoramic views of the crowd, and Manila Bay serving as a spectacular backdrop. That, I thought, was “glorious,” with all its pomp and pageantry, a Pontifical High Mass with a symphony orchestra and a choir that must have had at least 100 people. The estimate is that some six million attended.


Pope Francis, center, dances with Filipino children during his meeting with the youth at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015. Francis opened his meeting with the Filipino youth on a somber note, reporting to thousands gathered at the centuries-old university the sad news that a female church volunteer had died during his visit to central Tacloban city the previous day, and led prayers for the woman. At top left with a red sash is Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The UST Liturgy of the Word was meant to be an encounter with young people. I thought of the joyful mysteries here, young people full of hope, although the high point, a poignant one, was when 12-year-old Glyzelle Palomar, a former street child, broke down in tears and asked how God could allow so much misery. It was a question philosophers and theologians have asked, repeatedly, through the centuries, and it took the Pope to take up the question and urge people to be courageous enough to weep. “Certain realities,” he said, “we see only with eyes cleansed by tears.”


Devotees attending a mass held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on Jan 17, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

The Tacloban Mass was marked by sorrow, people still in grief from the destruction left by “Yolanda” in 2013. Tropical Storm “Amang,” appropriately named, had made it a point to trail the Holy Father with wind and rain. We take storms for granted, given that we have so many each year, but it must have been a different experience for the Pope, who has not lived in a monsoon area.

But that Mass was, as far as I was concerned, the most beautiful, people braving the wind and rain, and the Pope showing his solidarity by insisting on saying Mass outdoors, wearing a yellow light raincoat like everyone else. Solidarity with Filipinos was what this papal visit was all about.

Inclusiveness

Never have I seen such efforts at inclusiveness from the Roman Catholic Church, starting with the use of languages. The Pope himself would shift from English to Latin to Italian to Argentine Spanish. At UST and Luneta, there was one part of the celebration where the readings were made in Ilokano, Kapampangan, Tagalog, Bikol, Cebuano, Waray and Hiligaynon.

There was more to inclusiveness than languages. The organizers made sure there would be special places for people with disabilities, the ill, the infirm, and the elderly. I was touched when, during the Luneta Mass, a blind woman read Isaiah 9:1-6 from a Braille document. All the telecast celebrations had a sign interpreter for the deaf.

The inclusiveness goes beyond political correctness. We talk here of a church whose very name, Catholic, speaks of universality. We talk, too, of a pope who never tires of reminding people about mercy and compassion. In the Philippine context, his strongest messages were about solidarity with the poor, and especially with poor children.

At the UST encounter, the Pope drew applause as well when he noted the under-representation of women among the speakers. A new take he had on “woman power” was how women, and girls (he was referring specifically to Glyzelle), often had perspectives, ways of looking, that men did not have.

Toward the end of the Luneta Mass, Cardinal Chito Tagle promised the Pope that Filipinos would go out to the peripheries to engage the marginalized. He mentioned many groups, among them the poor, the sick, the elderly, all the way up to non-Catholic Christians and non-Christians.

He mentioned, too, victims of discrimination and exploitation, but did not name particular groups. I think of the phrase “elephants in the room,” used to describe tremendous problems within organizations, but which people might still prefer to deny or pretend as nonexistent. The elephants are the issues that hound the Church, from clerical sexual abuse to the “gay issue.”

There was much dialogue during the papal visit, some scripted, others spontaneous and moving, some publicized, and others held quietly. If the papal visit is to leave a lasting legacy, the issues the Pope brought up need to be repeated, reiterated, and processed, not so much as sermons as through other activities.

Several times during the Luneta Mass cameras showed Jose Rizal’s monument, and I thought about his struggles as a “lapsed Catholic” who tried to dialogue with his Jesuit mentor, Fr. Pablo Pastells, in letters filled with questions but never lacking in a love for the Church of his youth. Pastells was stern and harsh, but also trying desperately to reach out to Rizal.

I think Rizal would have been pleased to see a more open Church today, one that will heed the Pope’s call to use three languages: that of the mind, the heart and the hand. Feel what you think, he told the crowds, and feel what you do. Simple advice from a caring pastor calling on Filipinos to go out into the world.


FROM CHOOSE PHILIPPINES DOT COM

Filipino Pilot Shares 'Humbling' Experience in Flying the Pope Amid a Storm Philippines Choose Philippines | Jan 20, 2015 Story from Zen Hernandez, TV Patrol

The strong winds didn't stop the Pope from visiting our kababayans in Tacloban.

Roland Narciso, the pilot of the Philippine Airlines aircraft that brought Pope Francis to Tacloban, said that the presence of the Pope on the flight calmed them amid the storm.

Tropical storm "Amang" made landfall on the day of the papal visit to Tacloban. But it didn't stop the Holy Father from spending time with our kababayans in Tacloban who were devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda.

"The takeoff was rough because of the strong winds, but you have the pope inside the aircraft, so you have God on your side," said Roland.

He also shared his personal encounter with the pontiff.

"There's a certain glow, he has a different aura, hindi ka na makasalita. It was a very humbling experience, as I've said you try to refelct on what you did in the past and what you're doing now," he added.

The Holy Father paid Roland and his co-pilot a visit at the cockpit before getting off the aircraft, smiling as if thanking them.

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VIDEO URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CltVZVNW8Y


FROM CHOOSE PHILIPPINES DOT COM

What was on the ID That Pope Francis Wore in the Philippines' Oldest University? Philippines Choose Philippines | Jan 19, 2015

The Holy Father wore an identification card during the Mass and his encounter with the Filipino youth at UST! What was on his ID? Find out here.

Many people who stayed tuned to the Mass held at Manila's University of Santo Tomas, especially on TV, probably wondered what was on the ID card that a child wore around the neck of Pope Francis.

Photo from The Varsitarian He wore a specially made UST identification card with ID number (as seen below) 16112015-00. What does this mean?

1611 is the year of the foundation of UST 2015 the current year 001 symbolizes that he's the first of all Thomasians

Pope Francis is the third Pope to visit the oldest Catholic university in Asia after Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. His visit also marked the 20th anniversary of the 1995 World Youth Day, a celebration headed by the late Saint Pope John Paul II.


FROM THE INQUIRER

The Caravaggio effect Ma. Ceres P. Doyo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:09 AM | Thursday, January 22nd, 2015


Chalk portrait of Caravaggio, by Ottavio Leoni, circa 1621.FROM WIKIPEDIA

“If you have time,” Pope Francis said during his encounter with thousands of young people last Jan. 18 at the University of Santo Tomas, “go see the picture that Caravaggio painted of this scene.”

By “this scene,” he meant Jesus calling the tax collector Matthew to come and follow him. This surprise invitation, as narrated in the Gospel (Matthew 9:9), caused a stir among the self-righteous because Jesus was consorting and eating with the so-called scum of society. And in the case of Matthew, Jesus even called him to join his team, his ragtag band of apostles.

The Pope painted his own scene to stress a point: that God springs surprises and we must allow ourselves to be surprised.

“The important thing is to let yourselves be loved by him,” he said in his native Spanish, which he used when he wanted to strongly express something. In that encounter with the youth from all over the country, Pope Francis put aside his prepared speech in English and spoke from the heart with passion and joy.

“Real love is opening yourselves to the love that wants to come to you, which causes surprise in you. God is a God of surprises.” I thought of God calling in gentle and sometimes dramatic ways—calling us by name, calling to mission, but first, to conversion. In his homilies since Day One of his visit, Pope Francis had been directly pointing to areas where we needed conversion.

The baroque-era oil painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) that the Pope was referring to is “The Calling of St. Matthew” (a huge 322 x 340 centimeters) that shows Jesus bursting into what looks like a dimly lit backroom where several men are seated. Jesus stretches out his hand toward someone who looks befuddled, as if asking, “Who, me?”


The Calling of Saint Matthew (1599–1600). Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome. The beam of light, which enters the picture from the direction of a real window, expresses in the blink of an eye the conversion of St Matthew, the hinge on which his destiny will turn, with no flying angels, parting clouds or other artifacts.FROM WIKIPEDIA

(That room reminds me of that stolen video footage that went viral and shook a presidency that eventually crashed.)

In the painting, Peter (it must be him), ever the protestor, stands in the way and, like the Pharisees, might be asking, “Jeez, why him?” In the words of Pope Francis: “This one? He’s no good. And he keeps money to himself. But the surprise of being loved overcomes Matthew and he follows Jesus.”

This Caravaggio masterpiece, along with “The Conversion of St. Matthew” and “The Martyrdom of St. Matthew,” hangs in the church of the congregation of San Luigi dei Francesco in Rome. The Pope must have gazed upon it during one of his Roman visits before he became pope and bishop of Rome. Why did Caravaggio suddenly cross his mind? I wondered. The painting must have had an impact on him.

Caravaggio was not himself a straight-and-narrow-path guy, but he painted many with religious themes. His style would have obvious influence on the likes of Rembrandt and other Caravaggisti of a later era. But that is another story.

In the Bible scene that Caravaggio painted, Jesus chides his critics: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ I did not come to call the righteous but the sinners.”

“Mercy and compassion” was the theme of Pope Francis’ four-day visit to the Philippines that ended last Jan. 19.

The Pope continues Matthew’s conversion story: “That day, when Matthew left his home, said goodbye to his wife, he never thought he was going to come back without money, and concerned about how to have such a big feast to prepare… for him who had loved him first, who had surprised Matthew with something very special, more important than all the money that he had.” (A translation of the Pope’s Spanish narration)

But because “he loved us first, he awaits us with a surprise.” As God surprised Matthew, so would God’s surprises “shake the ground from under your feet and make you unsure. But they move us forward in the right direction. Real love leads you to spend yourself… even at the risk of having your hands empty.”

He then segued into St. Francis, his namesake, who “died with empty hands, empty pockets, but with a very full heart.” He exhorted us: “Think well, feel well, do well. Be wise, allow yourselves to be surprised by the love of God.”


Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstas (c.1595)

But although the story of Matthew’s calling and conversion did not come up in the Pope’s other speeches and homilies, it could very well have applied even more strongly when he spoke to the so-called “young once,” those in high positions of power who can make things happen, who can do good and do badly as well.

At his first address to government officials and the diplomatic corps in Malacañang, the Pope said: “More than ever, [it is] necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good… The great biblical tradition … bids us to break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring and, indeed, scandalous social inequities. Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires and conversion of mind and heart.”

The Philippine bishops had asked the Pope that 2015 be proclaimed “The Year of the Poor.”

The Pope also rallied the bishops, priests and religious: “The Gospel is also a summons to conversion, to an examination of our consciences, as individuals and as a people… [to] combat the causes of the deeply rooted inequality and injustice that mar the face of Filipino society, plainly contradicting the teaching of Christ.” Christians should “live lives of honesty, integrity and concern for the common good.”

So, as Pope Francis said, when you are in Rome, gaze upon that Caravaggio painting and contemplate the meaning of it. Or you can go to the Internet; it is only a click away. “Be quiet,” as he reminded us. Listen to the call. Hearken and heed.

Send feedback to cerespd@gmail.com or www.ceresdoyo.com 


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