a Get-together given by Child Prodigy
As a Classical pianist/musician, there are certain things I've realized these past 15 years. So here's a list of things to think about and remember if you want to enter this field:
1. Age is just a number.
Although it is true that it will be easier for you to learn ANYTHING when you're younger, it doesn't necessarily mean you wont learn when you're older. Personally, i started when i was very young, but I've met a fair number of people who started very late! Dr. Raul Sunico , Enzo, Almond, and Alicia dela Rocha...-provided you are driven and passionate
2. A good teacher can make the biggest difference
-The teacher has the responsibility to teach you the proper technique, stylistic playing, interpretation, etc. --- but must still motivate and inspire you!
3. Protecting the work: Learning to practice properly and Work ethic
- The number of hours does matter but what is most important is how you practice.
HOW TO PRACTICE:
a. warm up properly
b. have set goals
c. be patie
d. complete focus
e. learn to have breaks
f. be ready not to have immediate results
-- The sacrifice this profession requires -- social life, sleep... haha, sanity, etc.
4. Center stage
A musician is also a performer. You can"t just practice for yourself. The whole point of a musician's existence is to share their music. And for us, although at first it is terrifying and nerve wracking, there is nothing more exciting, more fulfilling or more fun than to communicate and touch people with our music.
5. Healthy competition is healthy.
-These days, one of the ways to 'Make it' is to compete. The prizes usually in these competitions are money and exposure. But more importantly, competitions can bring out the best in you. Aside from the contests, another crucial place where competition happens is during auditions for big schools----------- UST, Juilliard, Curtis, finally, RCM
6. the big NO.
Rejection is a HUGE part of any musician's life. Especially for classical musicians nowadays where the market for classical music is lower than before. There are fewer spots to fill and more talented people to compete with. One must be able to stand up from these situations. It can be heartbreaking but it also makes you stronger and better. It also is good for you because then you realize that you are never and will never be the 'best'. It will humble you.
7. Fighting loneliness; having a support system!
-Something I've realized recently is how lonely the musician's life can be sometimes. You have to give your time and your self to your instrument or to your craft for anything to happen. And especially for the classical musician, practice is best when you're left on your own to do it.
Family and friend support are the best booster!
BUT by remembering the reasons why you do it in the first place, you will get out -of your funk and get through it.
8. Playing for the passion, not for the money.
The reality of things is that this profession will not give you a lavish lifestyle. If the monetary reward is what you are after, you should never go near the classical musician's life. True, there are those few who have risen to rock star status like Lang Lang or Evgeny Kissin, but more often than not, a musician's life is more passion and love than money and status.
9. The best musicians are not the ones who can play the fastest, the loudest or the 'best' in the usual standards of people today. They're not the ones with fireworks and super unnecessary movements. The real and the best musicians are those with their own 'voices' and who can show the Truth in their performances. They're the ones who can communicate and touch their audience and give them something to think about and to feel.
10. You Are Your Biggest Competition- Laziness, Pride and Greed. Once your performance becomes about the money or the fame then everything goes down the toilet. Once you are too complacent and start thinking that you can make do without practicing properly, you're in trouble. And once you start believing that you've already 'made it' then you are done.
11. Trusting God and His plan will always and forever be infinitely better than trying to make yours work.
If you do, your music will always be at its best. Everything will be bearable. And everything will fall into place.
By May Valencia, IV Accountancy, UST
Looking at the pictures of our Bataan outreach, I was very happy. Our goal? To beautify Mt. View Elementary School inside and out! That is, to teach the kids and paint the school from April 2-9, 2013.
It was an enjoyable experience for all 9 volunteers to teach the eager students of the Mt. View Elementary School every morning. We focused on reading comprehension, virtues and cultural enrichment like arts and crafts, singing, dancing, games and Tae Kwon Do.
At noon, we would go back to the Papas’ Family Garden Resort, where we were housed by Capt. Rudy and Mrs. Rose Papas, to take the tasty lunch that Pareng, the cook, prepared for us. Soon after eating, we would prepare to battle the heat of the afternoon summer sun as we were going to beautify the walls of school. We armed ourselves with umbrellas or hats while others lathered sun block lotions, wore sunglasses and even arm bands to protect the skin.
By 2pm we were ready to begin our manual work. Kuya Francis, the trusted school’s caretaker, patiently demonstrated to us how to paint the stone wall fences of the school. Using steel brushes, we intensely scrubbed off the dust and algae of the walls before painting it carefully with thalo green paint. Once we finished our target of 8 walls daily, we would excitedly go back to the resort to take our refreshing snacks.
At 6pm, we would find ourselves hearing Mass in St. Gemma Galgani, a church which is just a few minutes away from our place. Before supper, we would listen to Miss Gemma's interesting talks on the camp's theme: Looking Good Inside and Out. We listened intently to many new things about dressing fashionably according to our personality, body types and color but still taking into account the virtue of modesty. Most importantly, it was emphasized to us that it is the virtues (like fortitude, temperance and justice) that makes a person really beautiful. After a yummy dinner we would gather around the garden’s pretty grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes to pray the rosary.
Because of too much vitamin D we absorbed from the sun, we never ran out of energy to participate in the evening activities. These were memorable moments that forged friendships: volleyball, swimming, movie, games, karaoke or simply being at the gazebo to talk and joke with each other.
We were lucky to see some beautiful sites of Bataan: the historic Mt. Samat, the cool waters of Dunsulan Falls, and the enchanting sunset at the Port Area of Mariveles. The Marian pilgrimage to the beautiful Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Orani, Bataan was a good occasion for us to pray for our students.
For our last day at the school, we made creative handmade key chains decorated with colorful butterflies for our students which were given during the culminating activity. This event was a success because the kids enjoyed playing and participating in the games and were amused with our “well-practiced” singing and dance performances. They were also touched by the personalized souvenir key chains we made. Some of them even cried after hearing the farewell speech of Miss Gemma.
It was certainly a very fulfilling way to spend the start of summer: teaching and being with the less fortunate ones. I can’t help but recall what Cardinal Gomez told Pope Francis during the conclave: “Don’t forget the poor.” We definitely won’t! And so we made up our minds to go back there for the next outreach.
by Rochel Reyes, II Accountancy, UST
What is the best way to spend a warm summer day? Well, I decided to go to visit the sick at Philippine Orthopedic Center with my friend from Iraya Study Center. It was a very hot day and as I observantly entered the hospital, I wondered how the people inside, who were physically and emotionally in pain, were able to bear a place which was not properly ventilated. I felt sad over the first patient we talked to for he was still young to be in a situation like that. His name is Jason and he has a tumor on his hips that need to be operated on. I saw in his face the burden it brings to him. It was really distressful yet, hope must not be forgotten. Jason’s very young mom willingly share to us her problems, that is, in between smiles and tears. She also heaved a brief sigh of relief upon receiving us, their first visitor, ever since Jason’s admission to the hospital more than a month ago. After promising to pray for each other, we said our goodbyes and left them with some refreshments we bought at a food store. As we were leaving the hospital premises, we met another lady whose husband was also confined in the ward. Sensing what she needed, we gave her a food package which she gratefully accepted. It has been months since her husband was admitted in the hospital and, like Jason, they were wanting of money needed for an operation.
The experience made me aware of how people can be at very rough times. Those bed-ridden patients really need prayers and love. We are lucky enough to be blessed with food and safety each day and we must not take all these for granted. It’s all about learning to share and thanking God for what we have…even during summer.
By Dianne Argamosa
Rurals 2012 in one word is: fulfilling. From the activities that maximized time, effort and resources to the people that made our stay more meaningful, the experience was simply wonderful and we all felt blessed.
On the afternoon of October 15, we, the volunteers, met the 70 female students for the first time. They cutely greeted us “Mabuhay” as they stood up from their seats. After the initial introduction, we realized that the students from the room were in fact a mixture of 3rd graders and 6th graders. We were highly impressed by their good behavior and looked forward to tutoring them.
The next day, we conducted the reading and virtues classes for the students. Around 6-7 students were assigned to each volunteer tutor, so that the learning could be more personal and focused. The students were very polite and hardworking. They would actively participate in all lectures and activities, but they also seem greatly prefer the latter. There were two things that highly helped all the volunteers, the modules which were specific, practical and well-rounded and the good behavior of the students.
In the afternoon, we cleaned fifteen panels of the front wall of the five-year old Mt. View Elementary School. When the dust, mold and moss were gone, we then painted it with a light green color, especially mixed by one of the maintenance staff, Manong Nap. He also gave us a quick lecture on how to paint the walls properly, since even though we were highly enthusiastic on this, we were all just beginners. We did this for two days, and then the next two days were delegated to painting the front pots with cool pastel colors.
At night, Ms. Gemma would give lectures inspired by the calling of the Year of Faith. Topics were about Friendship, Preferential option the poor, etc. We even had the chance to watch a movie based on the story of St. Sir Thomas More, a lawyer and martyr who was very certain of his faith despite all the ills of society and the attacks on the Catholic Faith.
On Saturday, we conducted a medical-dental mission to the 70 students who went to our program. Some had their teeth removed, some had boxes of medicines with them, most were very happy for the opportunity.
Reaction/Further Thoughts (by Dianne Argamosa)
As I’ve stated, the experience was simply fulfilling. Even though we only tutored for four days, the students have grown attached to us, and we to them. When we said our goodbyes, all of the students present were crying, telling us not to forget them, some silent but waving their hands. I remembered how every day after returning to our temporary home provided by the great Papas, we would talk about how to improve our lectures to better cater to the needs of the students. What could be a better strategy? How can we instill all the learning? How could we bring out their potential? And how can we make them more inclined to English/Reading, which most of them more or less not favored? These kinds of questions would fill our minds, and it made us more or less realize that we have really worn the shoes of teachers. In some way, it made us think that even at our tender age, we can still have these thoughts for kids whom we only got to know during this camp. Even the time where we finished our pilgrimage and went to a mall, we were still thinking of what to give our students. We spent a lot of time searching in the store, some even bought treats because their students would still be hungry.
I remember when one of the teachers told me how some students would still have to sell goods before they go to school, or others that would hide from them before eating because they only had rice for meals or simply snacks which were least costly. But most of all, I remembered my student who wrote me a letter saying she had someone who she had an argument with, but whenever she goes to the tutorials, she would be happy and forget the argument for a while.
What was fulfilling was that we spent our time so well. Forming ourselves through our lectures with Ms. Gemma; being friends with people who were going through the same experience; transforming ourselves as teachers for the students; then working hard on the walls and pots that would beautify the school and offering all these to God—these are the things that we couldn’t achieve all at the same time during our daily activities or other outreach programs. It was also fulfilling, because we know that we made a difference. The school felt that people cared, even though before that, it was quite a struggle to get funds. Our students learned, and for those who weren’t under us, they saw how we worked hard for the walls and the pots to make their school beautiful, that they too affirmed that it was better this way. And through the medical and dental mission, we were able to alleviate them from spending much in pharmacies for medicine or vitamins, or for dentists’ professional fees. Though we were simply volunteers, the experience was so special, because we were the ones God sent to be there, and we gained so much. I think we will all keep Rurals 2012 experience close to our heart, and remember it as our catapult to further extend our abilities to people who might need it. :-)
by Maria Beatriz D. Mendiola
Last February 17 was an uphill—ergo, mountain—climb for us as we sought to conquer the heights of Mount Batulao. This activity, organized by Iraya Study Center, a center for leadership for female high school and university students established by the Kalinangan Youth Foundation in 1986, sought to contribute to the holistic development of its attendees. As most of us were first-time mountain climbers, we were accompanied by seasoned mountaineers from a chapter of mountaineers from the University of the East.
Being one of this majority of amateurs, my perspective on this excursion may probably turn out to be a documentation of my clumsy struggles to go on with the hike or my amusing laments for not actually preparing enough for this agile quest. Nonetheless, I did gain valuable insights on life through this experience as it was patterned on Saint Josemaria Escrivá’s vision of the universal call to holiness and the great truth that any noble activity—including mountain-climbing—can actually be offered to God and sanctified. In fact, he once wrote,
“Let those very obstacles give you strength. God’s grace will not fail you: ‘Inter medium montium pertransibunt aquae!’ You shall pass through the mountains!” (The Way, 12).
Besides the overflowing gratitude that I share on behalf of everyone else in Iraya, here then are five insights I gained and hope to share from this challenging yet fulfilling climb.
#1. The climb begins even before the first step on the mountain.
So did I realize some paces through the climb, almost breathless and already tired from walking probably only on the first stretch. Perhaps, to actually gain enough strength and agility to climb with poise, I should have slept enough, taken the proper breakfast and begun a consistent exercise routine way ahead of the day for the climb. At any rate, the same truth seems to apply in the deeper facets of life: Your exam begins even before you actually take it; the way you save your family life and friendships begins even before great trials come to unsettle it; living your faith truly and daily, in the little things, actually lessens the chances of your falling into greater temptations when they come; etc. Indeed, the little things account for so much.
#2. Good company and sweeteners are needed along the way.
Perhaps, the good company and the little glucose bits (fancy term for raisins and jellyace) that we had during those times contributed partly to the fact that we did finish both ascent and descent even if we were all very tired. The encouragement of the others and the mere realization that you are not alone in the journey are enough drivers to actually continue on even for exhausted feet. Besides, sugar does give great energy not only in the biological level but in higher planes as well. Consider this: Even when life is at its most difficult peak, it is precisely the cheerful person who gets to continue living life and not mere existence. This awesome, cheerful composure in the midst of suffering can also inspire this person’s immediate company to do the same. So, cheer up! That smile not only brings you back to life but also revives other people.
#3. Suffering is not always bad.
In relation to the second insight, one also understands that good can be brought out even from suffering. “The ways of the Lord are not easy, but we were not created for an easy life, but for great things, for goodness.” So did Pope Emeritus Benedict once say and so does apply too in the context of the mountain climb. Perhaps, strictly speaking, there’s no easy way to climb a mountain. Whichever way you choose, the path will offer some amount of challenge and no peak can be reached by a simple straight path. Once you reach the peak of the mountain, though, breathlessness and soring limbs no longer matter: the view is just too picturesque to absorb. Here perhaps lies a great antithesis of the modern erroneous equation that suffering equals evil. Suffering is simply a fact of life. How we take it—as a path to see greater goodness or as a pit to give things up—spells a great difference.
#4. It is easier to climb up than to lower oneself.
This realization may seem wrong because it is easier to slide down than to climb the ladder but it starts to make sense once you contextualize it in a rugged terrain. There, sliding down carelessly cannot be an option because such an act can be detrimental to one’s life. Thus, while carrying yourself to reach the top indeed requires strength and agility, shifting your weight properly to avoid falling off as you go down the unpredictable paths of a mountain is even harder. In the same manner, perhaps, however difficult it is to “rise through the ranks” in this extremely competitive world, I reckon that the other path is actually harder to take: Lowering yourself to serve other people and humbly accepting your position if it is where your calling lies—that is a greater challenge. Few may probably prefer this way but in its unnoticed excellence, however paradoxically, is greater nobility.
#5. Nature’s picturesque beauty sings the praises of God.
This is, perhaps, the greatest realization that any mountaineer or any nature adventurer may probably come across in his adventures: in the unpredictable and limitless beauty of nature, one can actually see God’s greatness. In the first place, before the beauty that only nature can provide—the type that seizes the heart in wonder and the eyes in awe—one cannot but admit the amazing craftsmanship of the Supreme Artist. Here, one sees almost limitless beauty not reached by manmade works. Second, away from the rigid and predictable structures of city life, one is reminded in activities like this hike that, indeed, we cannot control everything. There must be Someone else who intelligently designed this intelligentlypatterned universe. Here springs a great comfort that I abide in the Catholic faith: This Someone is Love Himself and not some impersonal, distant Supreme Being.
So, there. Those were just some thoughts I gathered from the February 17 hike. Given the richness of the experience which tapped not only our physical make-up but our capacities to reflect as well, I no longer regret any portion of this worthwhile experience. If only to remind myself and my friends of these five thought-provoking insights, another climb would not be so bad to consider. Until our next climb, though, let me content myself with applying the same quote to life’s other mountains:
“Let those very obstacles give you strength. God’s grace will not fail you: ‘Inter medium montium pertransibunt aquae!’ You shall pass through the mountains!” (The Way, 12).
The pictures say it all! Reading tutorials, painting the school, medical and dental services, camp talks, sports, pilgrimage, celebrations...all were imbued with friendship, fun and service. That's why 7 days were not enough for Dyanne, Val, Marya, Pauline, Diane, Mikay, Soren, Ria, Tetchie, Alex, Gemma and Sal. We didn't want to leave...and so we shall do this again and again and again....
Another fun and fulfilling mission! Definitely added more memories to my Iraya Family as well as to more moments that Valerie and I will never forget! From the preparation months before including cataloging medicines, buying gifts for the kids, and planning activities, then finally giving the art and health classes, helping out with the medical mission, "shuutttaaasssss", "Youuu knowww," mermaids, turtles, and so much more! We pumped our own water every day, washed our laundry by hand, finished the mural in less than 3 days, worked really hard, sweat, blood, mosquito bites, language barriers, but all worth it, because in the end, when you seek out to help or teach other people, you gain so much more than you give and learn the priceless lessons no one can teach... Truly a glimpse of God's love for us. And did I mention how good the food was? :)
Thank you so much to Emerie Gold Pangalinan for taking charge, Mommy Emmy, to Val for more pics, and esp. to the Campo family for their hospitality and generosity! Looking forward to the next missions AND LIFE, with wider eyes, a lighter soul, and a more grateful heart.
And just in case anyone else is interested, the next one's in December! Just in time for CHRISTMAS!! :)
by JELLICA SADI
Dr. Aliza Racelis introduced this year's UNIV research topic: Reality check: Discovering Human identity in a Digital World, to some student participants from UST, Lyceum, UE and UAP. She gave them guidelines and ideas on how to write a research paper about this relevant topic.
For those who are interested to join the UNIV forum, we are reproducing an article about this year's UNIV topic for research (from www.univforum.org)
Reality Check: Discovering Human Identity in a Digital World
The digital world is opening a world of possibilities in communications, in the economy and in personal relations. Even twenty years ago, only a few visionaries would have guessed how naturally we would come to terms with this world. The Internet and its associated technologies allows us to communicate with an ease unprecedented in history: to spread ideas, share information, offer help, resolve problems, get to know people with similar interests, develop business projects…
But this digital revolution often seems to be going faster than we can properly take in, and to be taking place in a fragile cultural context, one marked by fragmentation and the lack of a clear vision of what it means to be human. There is scepticism regarding the possibility of discovering any universal human values; a matter-of-fact acceptance of the notion that cultural differences seem to be insuperable, in spite of our noble desires for world peace; the conviction that the human being has an unlimited capacity for self-reinvention, and that everything that is technologically possible is, for that very reason, desirable: this is the shifting ground of postmodernity, which places its trust in the new technologies in the hope that they will lead to the much-needed terra firma of a truly human world. But technology alone, with all its advantages and benefits, has no power to tell us what are the signs of human identity.
Human identity is linked not simply to the preservation of the individual and collective memory, but rather—above all—to the possibility of conceiving one’s own existence as a meaningful history, a narrative that does not dissolve into absurdity, into a mere collection of fragments of happiness, a frenetic succession of fleeting relations, or a “progress” with no clear direction other than progress itself. Identity is forged in the continuity of a conversation open to ourselves, to others, and to reality; in the determination to discover the roots of a genuine human ecology and to develop our own lives in consequence.
The demands of constant connection and instant information; a de-localization which allows us to do different things in different places simultaneously; the creation of complete parallel virtual worlds, with their own laws: all this brings with it the risk of de-personalizing human relationships, if it means that we are always “elsewhere”. As Benedict XVI has pointed out, if the desire for virtual connection becomes an obsession, “the person becomes isolated, and his real social interaction is interrupted. This also ends up by changing the rhythms of rest, silence and reflection which are necessary for healthy human development.”
The challenge is all the more urgent, then, to think in an interdisciplinary fashion about how we can preserve a time and a space of human dimensions in which people can put down roots, and from which they can build human worlds in all fields of social life: in the economy, in architecture, in education, in entertainment, in communications, in politics… In a society that appears to dissolve ever more into an overwhelming choice of possibilities, we need to rediscover its origins, the reality that is our home and that we can never renounce.
We are reproducing the full text of Bishop Soc's
Message to the Youth. (cbcpforlife.com)
We hope many young people will join the fight (for life). As starters, we suggest that you read the proposed rh bill(http://filipinosforlife.com/2011/03/10/15th-congress-house-bill-4244-full-text-final-consolidated-rh-bill-hb-4244/ so that you will understand what is at stake.
My dear youth of Pangasinan,
I know how much it saddens you to see your parents fight in front of you—at the dinner table, in the car or anywhere in the house. I know how much such quarrels between your parents confuse you, disillusion you and discourage you deeply yet quietly.
As it is at home so it is in community, in society, in the country. As your Church parents and parents in government “quarrel” again in public over issues of contraception, abortion and birth control, I am worried that you might be left on the fringes as usual to be voiceless spectators. You might start to say “Here they go again!” and walk away angry, confused and misled. You might start to get rebellious against authority and grow cynical about society because we your adults cannot agree.
If our rallies and exchange of harsh words hurt you, please forgive us your elders. It is surely not our intention to cause you distress or to lead you to get discouraged. Believe me my dear sons and daughters, we your Church elders stand against contraception and abortion because we love you, we love God and we love His commandments. Maybe our fault is that we have not clarified it earlier that we are not fighting to win over the other. This quarrel is not for us. It is for you. I am standing to defend you. We are fighting error because you might be misled. We are battling against contraception because we know it can harm your soul. Believe me. Contraception harms your soul. Contraception is corruption.
You heard then candidate now President Noynoy Aquino during his campaign “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap!” He was elected in a landslide victory because he spoke what we carried in our hearts. Corruption is the cancer of the Philippines that prevents us from growing. When he called us his “Boss”, we cheered. When he banned “wang wang” in the streets and the moral “wang wang” in the bureaucracy, we followed his vision.
My dear youth, contraception is corruption. The use of government money, taxpayers’ money, to give out contractive pills is corruption. Contraceptive pills teach us this “It is alright to have sex with someone provided you are safe from babies. Babies are a nuisance.” A culture of contraception looks at babies as reasons for our poverty. Birth control, they say, means more food, more classrooms, more houses and better health for mothers. If more babies are the cause of poverty, are we now saying “Kung walang anak, walang mahirap?” It does not rhyme because it is not correct. We can have more classrooms, more food, more jobs and more hospitals if we would be less corrupt. Send out the corrupt officials not the babies! My dear youth, your birth was not a mistake. Your birth was God’s gift to us your elders. You are not the problem. You are our blessing. The problem is the corruption of your elders, we your elders. We your elders must change so your future can be brighter. Pardon those who say children are a nuisance. No! No! No! You are a blessing and I embrace you all and I love you all!
Contraception always fails like all human inventions. When contraception fails, a birth control generation will give birth to an abortion generation. A contraceptive pill is to be considered an essential medicine. If it is a medicine, what sickness is it curing? Is pregnancy a sickness? If it is a medicine that is supposed to cure, why do healthy women get sick with cancer after taking the contraceptive pills? My dear youth, contraception makes healthy people sick. It makes pure people corrupt. It makes us look at babies as nuisance not gifts. My dear youth, anyone who treats you as nuisance, I will fight. I am against contraception because I am pro-child. I am against contraception because I am pro mother. I love you my dear children. Thank God for mothers who give birth to jewels like you!
I know that many of you my dear youth do not believe in the Church anymore. You thank the Church does not understand. The Church is autistic—“may sariling mundo! The bishops are not listening. The bishops preach from their ivory towers. The bishops are not aware of what the majority of the people undergo. They are distant and unreachable.”
You are somehow correct but not fully.
Matanda na kami! Totoong matanda pero ang matanda ay tagapag paalala sa mga bata. Kung puro bata na lang tayong lahat, wala ng magtuturo at magpapaalala sa mga gintong aral ng kahapon. There is
a wisdom that only age and experience can give. We are old but God made us old so we can be reminders for you not to forget our Filipino values, the commandments of God and the rules of good character. You have jokingly told me to dye my hair so I can look young and handsome. Jokingly yet truthfully I told you, I will not. It took me fifty one years to have this. I am proud to be gray haired and old. Being old makes me different from you but it also gives me a chance to be a reminder of the silver lessons of the past and the golden promises of the life to come. Ang matanda ay tanda! Ang matanda ay living reminder.
When we teach you that contraception is corruption, we are not being insensitive to the challenge of modernity or deaf to surveys of social behaviour. Rather, we are just being protective of you because we know it can destroy you sooner that you think. Europe is on the downtrend. It is losing its soul because it now relies on the influx of migrants to keep it afloat. They are facing a severe wintertime in their child births. It is losing its identity because it does not have children and youth to carry the torch. They started with contraception, they embraced abortion and now they are killing their weak and sick grandparents. Paul VI prophesied that artificial contraception could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. And it is happening in Europe. We your elders plead with you do not follow that path to moral corruption. Dare to be different. Dare to be better!
We want to be a tiger economy in Asia like our neighbour countries. What is a tiger without teeth? What is progress without giggling children? For whom do we envision progress—just for ourselves? What is victory at the expense of our immortal souls? Matanda na kami. Kaya kami tumanda para mayroon kayong tanda sa buhay.
Mga apo, mga anak, mga pamangkin at mahal sa buhay. There is no Tagalog or Pangasinan word for contraception because it is not only ungodly, it is also unFilipino.
Contraception is corruption. Contraception is the mother of abortion. Contraception makes sex pleasure cheap without responsibility. Contraception says babies and children are annoying. Contraception is contra youth. Contraception is contra children. Contraception is against us.
Fight contraception or we perish as a godly nation. Youth of Pangasinan, youth of the Philippines, I love you. Because I love you, I will fight contraception. This battle is for you and I fight for love of you.
From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, August 4, 2012
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
Apostolic Administrator of San Fernando de La Union
First, thank you JPII for being an unfaltering defender of the dignity of man. Amidst the wave of opposition during your pontificate, you remained ever-firm in safeguarding this inviolable human gift. “The inalienable dignity of every human being,” you once told us, “and the rights that flow from that dignity—in the first place, the right to life, and the defense of life—as well as the well-being and full development of individuals and peoples, are at the heart of the Church’s message and action in the world.” (Greeting to Mr. Bill Clinton, 1993)
Do not be afraid,—you once again told us—in defending this inalienable gift. In my unworthiness to paraphrase, let me quote your words again,
“Never tire of speaking out in defense of life from conception and do not be deterred from the commitment to defend the dignity of every human person with courageous determination. Christ is with you: be not afraid.” (Address to the Bishops and Apostolic Administrators of Albania, 2001)
Next, thank you JPII for being the propeller of the youth. Your youthful energy always kept us comfortable with you. Didn’t you once call yourself, “[a] young man of 83?” (Meeting with Young People, Spain, 2003) You always energized us whom you dearly called “the hope of the Church and of society.” (Ibid)
But, with this endearment came your firm call for us to act: “Dear young people of every language and culture,” you once addressed us, “a high and exhilarating task awaits you: that of becoming men and women capable of solidarity, peace and love of life, with respect for everyone.” (World Day of Peace Message, 2001) This responsibility is surely daunting, JPII, but we ought not to be afraid as you have told us, “Do not be disheartened for you are not alone...” (Meeting with Young People, Spain, 2003)
Third, thank you, JPII, for being our model of holiness in suffering. Your final years were especially difficult. Parkinson’s disease was no joke: it took away your physical prowess. –Yet you never gave up. All the more strength did you display especially when you struggled to give your final blessing on March 30, 2005. These and so much more have made us realize that suffering can be a path to sanctity so long as we unite it with the Lord’s. May your words always remind us of this: “Suffering is transformed when we experience in ourselves the closeness and solidarity of the living God.” (Meeting with the Sick and the Suffering, Cuba, 1998)
At present, the world remains a battleground for the defense of human dignity. I have been one in securing this inviolable gift and doing so has not been easy. But, why should I, and the rest of my co-defenders fear? I know we’re standing for what is right. Besides, we have the great Pope Blessed John Paul II as a co-defender of human dignity. We have responsibility on the nation’s—and the world’s—welfare. And, we suffer for something worthwhile.
Therefore, for those of us who haven’t done their part, may JPII’s life be a wakeup call. For those of us who still hesitate but know that they’re in the right, may JPII be an inspiration. For those of us who know what to do but are still caged by fear, may JPII’s epic words resound forever:
"Do not be afraid!” (Homily during Inauguration, 1978)
*NOTE: All quotations were lifted from www.vatican.va.
-Maria Beatriz D. Mendiola