Archbishop-elect Ricardo Baccay of Tuguegarao. PHOTO FROM THE DIOCESE OF ALAMINOS

By Roy Lagarde

October 18, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Ricardo Baccay on Friday as the new archbishop of Tuguegarao.

Baccay will succeed Archbishop Sergio Utleg, 76, who served the archdiocese for eight years.

The pope has accepted Utleg’s resignation a year after he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.

A bishop of Alaminos since 2016, Baccay will be the eighth archbishop of Tuguegarao in Cagayan province.

Born in 1961 in Tuguegarao, the archbishop-elect was ordained a priest in 1987.

In 2007, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Tuguegarao. Nine years later, he was transferred as bishop of Alaminos in Pangasinan.

Within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Baccay has been serving as chairman of the Commission on Bioethics.

During the bishops’ plenary assembly last July, he was also elected as a member of the new CBCP Permanent Council who will serve over the next two years.

As of writing, there is still no official date on when the archbishop-elect will be installed.

In the meantime, the pope has named Utleg as apostolic administrator “sede vacante” until Baccay takes canonical possession.

Pope appoints new Tuguegarao archbishop

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Addressing some misconceptions about the rosary, a church official said that the prayer is repetitive because it needs to be.

Using the analogy of saying “I love you” to someone dear, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan stressed that the words “are the sweetest greeting of all”.

“It is not redundant to say I love you. It is never repetitious to say I love you,” Villegas said.

In the same way, he said that each time people pray the rosary, they are saying ‘I love you’ to Mary and to Jesus.

“And so it is with the Hail Mary. It is never redundant, it is never repetitious, it is never too much to repeat the Hail Mary,” Villegas said.

According to him, it is “never too much” to repeat the prayer in every mystery of the rosary “because every Hail Mary is a rose of love to the Virgin Mary and to Jesus her son”.

The archbishop underscored that the rosary is the word of God or the life of Jesus on beads.

“So when we reflect on the mysteries of the rosary, we are actually reflecting on Jesus himself, on the life of Jesus and we want that life to be ours,” he added.

His statement comes on a video reflection released on Thursday, as the Church marks October as the month of the holy rosary.

On why the Church honors the Blessed Mother, he said that God himself honored Mary, by finding her worthy to be the mother of his only son.

“So the first to honor Mary was not a mortal like you and me, the first to honor Mary was God himself. And in honoring Mary, we imitate God himself,” he also said.

Villegas invited the faithful to pray the rosary, saying that its power lies in the hands of the people.

“And if all of us can turn to Our Lady, through the rosary, we can see changes in our lives we can see wishes fulfilled, we can see peace achieved,” he said.

The rosary is repetitious, why?

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Pope Francis’ envoy to the Philippines will join hundreds of Filipino children in praying the rosary for unity and peace in the world on Oct. 25.

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia will take part in the global rosary movement with students of Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City.

The activity is part of the yearly “One Million Rosary Praying the Rosary” campaign which will simultaneously be held in several countries at 9am on Oct. 18.

Organized by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, it aims to gather children from every continent to pray the rosary for mutual harmony among nations.

In the Philippines, it will be joined by children in about 40 dioceses across the country.

ACN Philippines, however, decided to move its celebration to Oct. 25 at 8am due to the availability of the papal nuncio.

“It’s okay to hold it any day in October since the whole month is dedicated to the Holy Rosary,” said Jonathan Luciano, ACN Philippines national director.

He said that participants will also get rosaries personally blessed by Pope Francis.

The campaign came into being in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas in 2005.

ACN Philippines started the campaign in 2016 after it began its operation in Manila, as one of the two national offices in Asia.

Luciano expressed hope that the yearly activity will inspire Filipino Catholics and families to pray the rosary.

“If children don’t see their parents or elders’ praying it’s going to be very difficult for them to imbibe the importance of praying the rosary and prayer for that matter,” he added.

“Let us intensify the campaign starting with the youth. Let’s do it not only this month but even after,” Luciano also said.

Papal nuncio to join Filipino children in praying for peace

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Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Jose Alan Dialogo of the Manila archdiocese as the new bishop of Sorsogon.

The bishop-elect will succeed Bishop Arturo Bastes, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 last April. He served the diocese for 16 years.

Dialogo’s appointment was made public by Bastes himself during the ordination of three men to the priesthood at the Sorsogon Cathedral on Tuesday morning.

The news was supposed to be announced in Rome at 12 noon today (6pm, Manila time) but Bastes sought permission from Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia to announced it earlier.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila also announced the appointment during their clergy meeting at San Carlos Seminary in Makati City today.

Bastes said the bishop-elect originally hailed from Naga City so “he is a Bilocano himself and can speak our language at once”.

Dialogo is currently the Director of the Jaime Cardinal Sin Welcome Home, a facility for retired priests of Manila, in the city’s Sampaloc district.

In the meantime, the pope has also named Bastes as Apostolic Administrator “sede vacante” of the diocese until Dialogo formally assumes his new post.

Born in 1962 in Laganoy, Camarines Norte, Dialogo finished a degree in psychology at the Nueva Caceres University in Naga City before entering the seminary.

After his philosophy and theology courses at the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary, he was ordained priest for the Manila archdiocese in 1996.

In 1999, he also obtained his Licentiate in Spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

A priest for 23 years, he served as parochial vicar at the San Roque Parish in Mandaluyong in 1996; Vice-Rector at the EDSA Shrine in Ortigas in 2015; and parish priest at the St. John of the Cross Parish in Makati in 2018.

He also served as Dean of Seminarians and Rector at the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary in 1999 and 2003 respectively.

In 2008, he became a member of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Manila.

No date has been announced for the episcopal ordination of Dialogo and his installation as the fifth bishop of Sorsogon.

Pope names new Sorsogon bishop


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VATICAN— Saints are people who recognized their need for God’s help, who took risks to discover God’s will and to help others and who nurtured a habit of thanksgiving, Pope Francis said.

“The culmination of the journey of faith is to live a life of continual thanksgiving. Let us ask ourselves: Do we, as people of faith, live each day as a burden, or as an act of praise?” the pope said in his homily Oct. 13 after formally declaring five new saints for the Catholic Church.

Those canonized at the Mass were: St. John Henry Newman, the British theologian, poet and cardinal who died in 1890; Brazilian St. Maria Rita Lopes Pontes, popularly known as Sister Dulce, who died in 1992; Indian St. Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family, who died in 1926; St. Marguerite Bays, a Swiss laywoman and mystic, who died in 1879; and St. Josephine Vannini, the Italian co-founder of the Daughters of St. Camillus, who died in 1911.

“Three of them were religious women,” the pope noted in his homily. “They show us that the consecrated life is a journey of love at the existential peripheries of the world.”

“St. Marguerite Bays, on the other hand, was a seamstress; she speaks to us of the power of simple prayer, enduring patience and silent self-giving,” he said.

Rather than describing St. Newman, Pope Francis quoted from him to illustrate the meaning of “the holiness of daily life”: “The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world sees not …. The Christian is cheerful, easy, kind, gentle, courteous, candid, unassuming; has no pretense … with so little that is unusual or striking in his bearing that he may easily be taken at first sight for an ordinary man.”

And, referencing St. Newman’s famous hymn, “Lead, Kindly Light,” the pope prayed that all Christians would be “‘kindly lights’ amid the encircling gloom.”

Tens of thousands of people filled a sunny St. Peter’s Square for the canonization ceremony and Mass. Among them were Britain’s Prince Charles, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Martins Mourao, a member of Switzerland’s federal council and the deputy foreign minister of India.

Melissa Villalobos from Chicago also was there with her husband and children, and they brought up the offertory gifts at the Mass. Villalobos’ healing, which saved her life and the life of her unborn child, was accepted as the miracle needed for St. Newman’s canonization.

Hours before the Mass began, Holy Family Sisters Manjula and Aruna stood just outside the security checkpoint, handing out Indian flags, rosaries and prayer cards, caps and scarves with the image of their order’s founder, St. Thresia.

The new saint’s focus, and that of her order today, is assisting families, said Sister Manjula, whose ministry is “counseling and visiting houses and helping solve problems. We help all families — non-Christian, non-Catholic, anyone.”

Gregory K. Hillis, a professor of theology at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, was representing his university at the Mass, but his presence was very personal, too.

“Newman is important to me theologically and for my spirituality,” he said. “And I like his conversion story” of how, as an Anglican priest, he became a Catholic at the age of 44. “I became a Catholic 13 years ago, and Newman was an important guide. He converted, but maintained his friendships, his respect and love for the tradition that he left.”

“I’m an ecumenical convert as well,” Hillis said. “I’m tired of converts who hate the tradition they left.”

An official delegation of Anglican bishops and priests also attended the Mass, and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England, recorded a message for the occasion.

“His legacy is far broader than one church or two churches,” the archbishop said. “It is a global legacy, a legacy of hope and truth, of the search for God, of devotion to being part of the people of God.”

St. Newman’s role in founding the Oxford Movement in the Church of England, a push to rediscover the early Christian writers and to recover the Catholic roots of Anglicanism, “had a fundamental, lasting, beneficial and important influence on Anglicanism,” Archbishop Welby said.

As is his custom at Mass, including at canonizations, Pope Francis used his homily to reflect on the day’s Scripture readings and only made passing reference to the people being declared saints.

The day’s short Gospel reading from Luke recounted the story of 10 lepers who, seeing Jesus approach, cry out to him for healing. He tells them to go show themselves to the priests and, as they go, they are healed. But only one returns to thank Jesus.

“Like those lepers,” Pope Francis said, “we, too, need healing, each one of us. We need to be healed of our lack of confidence in ourselves, in life, in the future; we need to be healed of our fears and the vices that enslave us, of our introversion, our addictions and our attachment to games, money, television, mobile phones, to what other people think.”

The story also illustrates how, “on the journey of life, purification takes place along the way, a way that is often uphill since it leads to the heights,” he said. “Faith calls for a journey, a ‘going out’ from ourselves, and it can work wonders if we abandon our comforting certainties, if we leave our safe harbors and our cozy nests.”

And, finally, he said, the story teaches that returning to Jesus with a heart full of gratitude is the culmination of the journey of faith.

“To give thanks is not a question of good manners or etiquette; it is a question of faith,” the pope said. “To say ‘Thank you, Lord’ when we wake up, throughout the day and before going to bed, that is the best way to keep our hearts young.

“This also holds true for families, and between spouses,” he added. “Remember to say thank you. Those words are the simplest and most effective of all.”

Kindly lights in gloomy world: Pope declares five new saints

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VATICAN— The Vatican hung banners of the Catholic Church’s newly canonized saints four days before the Mass that would officially recognize that they are in heaven with God.

While the hanging of the banners Oct. 10 did not coincide with the Mass, it did coincide with the kickoff of exhibits, conferences, prayer vigils and other celebrations focused on the new saints from Brazil, England, India, Italy and Switzerland.

For the dozens of Brazilians at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, most of the attention was on Blessed Maria Rita Lopes Pontes, popularly known as Sister Dulce.

Born in 1914, she was a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and founded the first Catholic workers’ organization in the state of Bahia, started a health clinic for poor workers and opened a school for working families. She created a hospital, an orphanage and care centers for the elderly and disabled and became known as “the mother of the poor.”

St. John Paul II, who called her work “an example for humanity,” met her in 1980 during his first trip to Brazil and, returning in 1991, he visited her in the hospital. She died in 1992 at the age of 77 with tens of thousands attending her funeral and even more gathering for her beatification in 2011.

Among English-speakers, though, most of the attention was on soon-to-be St. John Henry Newman, the theologian, poet and cardinal who lived from 1801 to 1890.

Sally Axworthy, British ambassador to the Holy See, led the inauguration Oct. 10 of an exhibit about the four visits Blessed Newman made to Rome: first as an Anglican, then as a Catholic seminarian, later as founder of the first communities in England of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, and finally, when he came to be made a cardinal in 1879.

The canonization was causing a lot of excitement in England, she said, and Prince Charles was planning to travel to the Vatican for the Mass Oct. 13.

“Cardinal Newman was really a very important figure. He was a giant of the 19th century,” Axworthy said.

“The first half of his life he was Anglican, and he was a major figure in the Anglican Church,” influencing the church to draw more deeply from its Catholic roots and from the early Christian theologians, Axworthy said. “He defined Anglicanism as a middle way between Catholicism and Protestantism.”

Once he joined the Catholic Church, she said, “he had a similarly great impact” on this new community, “particularly with his ideas on the development of doctrine, which I understand opened the way to Vatican II, and also his ideas about conscience, about conscience being the voice of God in every one of us.”

Cardinal Newman already is honored as a saint on the Anglican calendar — on Aug. 11, the day of his death. His feast day on the Catholic calendar is Oct. 9, the date he joined the Catholic Church at the age of 44.

In London on the eve of Cardinal Newman’s beatification in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said the cardinal had been an “important influence” in his own life and thought.

At the beatification Mass the next day in Birmingham, England, Pope Benedict paid special tribute to Blessed Newman’s vision of education, which combined intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment.

He quoted the theologian’s appeal for a well-instructed laity and said it should serve as a goal for catechists today: “I want a laity not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it.”

In addition to Blessed Newman and Blessed Dulce, the three others to be canonized Oct. 13 are:

— Blessed Marguerite Bays, a laywoman from Switzerland known for her service to the poor, her simplicity of life and her devoted faith in the face of great physical suffering. St. Bays also was known as a mystic and for bearing the stigmata of Christ. She died in 1879 at the age of 63.

St. John Paul II beatified her in 1995, lauding her as an example for all lay Catholics. “She was a very simple woman with a very normal life,” he had said. “She did not accomplish anything extraordinary, yet her existence was a long and silent progression on the path toward holiness.”

— Blessed Josephine Vannini, an Italian who co-founded the Daughters of St. Camillus, adding to the usual vows — poverty, chastity and obedience — a fourth, which is to serve the sick, even if it means risking death.

Born in 1859, she was orphaned at a young age and was sent to live with the Daughters of Charity, an order she later applied to join. After leaving the novitiate because of illness, though, she was not readmitted. She and her spiritual director, Blessed Luigi Tezza, founded the Daughters of St. Camillus. She died in 1911.

— Blessed Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, the Indian founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family, a religious order dedicated to helping couples and families and serving the poor, the sick and the dying. Born in 1876 to a well-off farming family, she insisted on living a life of austerity, sleeping on the gravel floor instead of a bed, for instance.

When she received the stigmata in 1909, her bishop ordered that an exorcism be performed. But she continued with her prayer life and serving local families.

Under direction of the local bishop in 1913, her spiritual director set up a “house of solitude” where Thresia could go to pray. Three friends joined her in the house, and in 1914, she received canonical permission to launch the Congregation of the Holy Family. She died in 1926.

Banners unfurled as faithful share stories of five saints

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The Archdiocese of Manila and the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines will hold the Pista ng Misyon on 18 October 2019 Friday 730 am – 3 pm at the Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City.

The Pista ng Misyon is in celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month (EMM) of October 2019 declared by Pope Francis.

The tone of our Pista ng Misyon on 18 October 2019 at Cuneta Astrodome will be that of every Pista – celebratory, full of thanksgiving and joy, with singing, dancing, praying and sharing of stories about God’s abiding graciousness in the ups and downs of our lives, in both the ordinary and extraordinary moments of our journey. Like any Pista we will have celebrities joining us. Ms. Cherry Pie Picache, Mr. Dindong Dantes and Ms. Marian Rivera will join His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle in our Usapang Misyon segment.

Come and celebrate with us Pista ng Misyon. Registration is free.

For walk-in Registration, kindly bring an endorsement letter from your parish priest or the head of your organization.

For Online Pre-Registration: kindly sign-in at


For Manual Pre-Registration: Kindly contact or go to

SM Megamall Chapel c/o Clark – (02) 86388801

AIRD, San Carlos Seminary, EDSA, Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City c/o Jefferson (02) 88958855 loc 132

OPNE, Arzobispado de Manila, 121 Arzobispo St, Intramuros Manila c/o Beng (02) 84050093

PMS, 824 Don Quijote St, Sampaloc, Manila c/o Sr. Sherlyn 87313208 / 87819518


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Pope Francis has appointed Filipino Archbishop Bernardito Auza on Tuesday the new Apostolic Nuncio to Spain and Andorra.

The papal envoy succeeds retired Italian Archbishop Renzo Fratini, who has been in the post since 2009.

Fratini turned 75 in July, the age at which canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation into the pope.

The appointment of Auza, who is fluent in Spanish language, was announced in Rome at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Upon his appointment, the archbishop has been serving as the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, a post he held since 2014.

It also came less than two years before the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines through the Spanish missionaries.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said that it is “very significant and meaningful” that the new papal envoy to Spain will be a Filipino.

“On the forthcoming grace-filled event of 500 years of Christianization of our country, the Philippine Church gives her gift and gratitude in the person of Archbishop Auza,” he said,

“God’s graces and the Gospel our Spanish missionaries have sown in us are our fruits for Spain and for the whole world.”

“It is indeed a call for us to celebrate with gratitude and with deep appreciation our 500 years of Christianization,” Santos added.

A native of Talibon in Bohol province, Archbishop Auza was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Tagbilaran in 1985. He was incardinated to the then newly-formed Diocese of Talibon in 1986.

In 1990, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See. His first assignment was in Madagascar from 1990 to 1993 and was a member of the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the U.N. before assuming his post in Haiti in 2008.

Archbishop Auza also served in the Secretariat of State in the Vatican, after his assignment to the Apostolic Nunciatures in Bulgaria and Albania.


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Three events will mark the days of the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019. On Tuesday, October 1st at 6:00 p.m. in St. Peter’s Papal Basilica in the Vatican, the Holy Father Francis will preside the celebration of Vespers which will be introduced by the Missionary Vigil and witnesses’ testimonies beginning at 5:15 p.m. The following on October 7th at 3:00 p.m., an international rosary will be held at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major led by H.E. Card. Fernando Filoni. The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Mission Societies have invited Radio Maria to organize this event, which will have worldwide coverage, since it will be broadcast live on radio and video by almost 80 Radio Maria stations scattered throughout five continents. Volunteers and Radio Maria staff have been working for months to ensure the success of the event, which will be a source of many graces for each of us, for our families and for the whole world. On Sunday, October 20th on World Mission Day at 10:30 a.m., Pope Francis will preside over the Eucharistic celebration in St. Peter’s Square.


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Children also become protagonists of the Extraordinary Missionary Month.


With BUILD A WORLDWIDE BRIDGE (COSTRUISCI UN PONTE MONDIALE) initiative, a formation program that helps little ones to discover the meaning of their own Baptism and to commit themselves to the mission that results from it.

For the Extraordinary Missionary Month, the Italian secretariat of the Pontifical Missionary Society of Childhood (Missio Ragazzi) has created an ad hoc section on the website www.pontemondiale.missioitalia.it.

From this page, after registering for free and clicking on “October – Extraordinary Missionary Month” you can access the recommendations for activities, dynamics, games, designed both for individual children (with the online registration of a parent), and for an entire group (catechism, school, scouts, etc.).

The formation program that is designed for children, and supported by the presence of an educator, is developed for the month of October, ideally divided into four weeks. For each week, an aspect of Baptism to be rediscovered is presented and a commitment that characterizes being a missionary is suggested, that is, prayer, sharing, proclamation, and fellowship. Each proposal is presented in the form of a game, which educators can offer to the children (parents to their children) or adapt according to the context in which they work.

At the end of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, each child will receive a certificate inviting them to continue their commitment to the mission in their daily lives.

The formation program BUILDING A WORLDWIDE BRIDGE (COSTRUISCI UN PONTE MONDIALE) continues even after the extraordinary October. In fact, those who wish can continue the journey for the rest of the year (November – June) by clicking on the four sections (prayer, proclamation, sharing, fellowship) and carrying out the suggested activities with the children, so that they themselves can be helped to live the four indispensable commitments of being a missionary in their day-to-day life by having fun.

As all this becomes concrete, it will be possible to build a bridge with four steps, each one corresponding to a commitment – a way to make the path visible to children’s eyes as they walk through the pastoral year.


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