Feast of St. Francis of Assisi


St. Francis of Assisi’s Feast Day Mass and
The St. Francis’ Awards for Outstanding Parishioners of SSAP

The eucharistic celebration of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi was held in Santuario de San Antonio on October 4, 2013 at 6:00 PM. Main presider was His Excellency, Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, D.D., Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan with concelebrants, Fr. Joel Sulse, OFM and Fr. Reu Galoy, OFM. The members of OFS were in full attendance.

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Fr. Reu Galoy, OFM, PPC President Mike Limpe, Ester Cumagun, Carmelita Ascalon, Lulu Goquingco, Aurora Villanueva, Amelita Guevara, Most. Rev. Socrates Villegas, Grace Padilla, Remo Abella (Proxy for Isabel Abella), Andrew Huang, Jeannie Bitanga (Proxy for Peachie Maramba), Jose Luis Gomez, Randy Limjoco (Chairman of Francisfest 2013), Fr. Joel Sulse, OFM, PPC heads and all OFS members were in attendance. Photos, courtesy of PPC Vice Pres., Jaime Blanco.

After the mass, The St. Francis’ Awards for Outstanding Parishioners of SSAP were given. Each awardee received a medal and a plaque of appreciation. The plaques read in part; “For her/his exemplary commitment, dedication to christian ideals, selfless generosity, responsible stewardship, guided with the values of St.Francis…..”

The awardees are:
1. Aurora B. Villanueva, Lulu C. Goquingco and Rose L. Avanceña posthumous) – For their untiring service in the Altar Ministry since the time of Fr. Hugh in the 1980s. They have been in charge, and continue to be so, of physical arrangements in the church, including plants, special liturgical banners, altar linens and flowers.
2. Carmelita A.S. Ascalon – For being in the the Finance Council since the 1980s
3. Amelita D. Guevara – In 1962, the Coro de San Antonio, under Amelita Guevara as musical director, began singing in church as a yearly christmas choir. Starting in 1975, it sang also during Easter and the Feast of St. Anthony. From the time of Fr. Hugh Zurat in the 1980s until today, it has provided music every Sunday at the 6:00 PM mass as well as all the major liturgical feasts of the Church Year and other special occasions.
4. Grace M. Padilla – For her role in the Secular Franciscan Order since 1976 and the Contemplative Ministry since the 1980s
5. Isabel A. Abella – For her active participation in the Music Ministry and the Liturgical Ministry since the 1980s
6. Elfrida R. Maramba – For providing the Communication Ministry through the Parish Bulletin, since the 1980s, with her regular column, Random Thoughts
7. Ester M. Cumagun – For her active participation in the Music Ministry, being organist in many masses, since the 1980s
8. Andrew L. Huang – For his active participation in the music Ministry since 1984, as regular pianist and singer for the Saturday 6:00 PM mass
9. Jose Luis R. Gomez – For reviving and now continuing the activities of LUKE 18, Antioch and SYA Weekends.
To all these ladies and gentlemen, the parish salutes you for your unselfish and untiring dedication to the CHURCH. GOD BLESS!


“Vigilance” by Fr. Balltazar Obico, OFM

“Be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.“

It has been said by many cultural anthropologists that one of our cultural traits as Filipinos is the mañana habit; to postpone tasks to be done for some other days with the thought of having ample time to finish them. In most cases people wait for the deadline, either in the payment of taxes, registrations in the Comelec, enrollments; we have students cramming in the last few days before the final exams or rushing their research papers. Basketball players trying to make up in the last two minutes in the ball game. I think we don’t have the monopoly of procrastination; it is fundamentally a human weakness to think that we are in control of the events in our lives, that everything is in our hands.

The gospel begins by once again speaking of the goods we possess and of their prudent use. As addressed to the community of believers, it clearly concerns men’s preparation and vigilance for the return of their Lord. They are constantly admonished to be on guard, to remain ready, wide awake, busy during their master’s absence in order not to be surprised by the arrival of the Son of Man. Be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Similarly, the steward will render accountability of his stewardship. He can get distracted with the presumed delay of the master’s return. He will be shocked to find the master is coming at an unknown hour. All of life is lived in expectation of the Lord’s return, the time of his arrival is unknown, his coming certain.

At first reading we can argue that it seems unfair on the part of the master to be assuring us of his return without giving us the specific timetable. Justice demands that at least we know some approximate time. Our objection loses its force because God does not exist in time. With God, all is eternal. There is no yesterday, today or tomorrow in God. All time is eternal present; every second, every minute is a potential grace encounter with Him if we are faithful stewards. For one who is in love, time does not matter. He does not exist in time. One lives in the eternal present.

1. To live in the eternal present is to be vigilant. If God were to give specific time, we are most likely to squander time and opportunity with the thought that it is still a long way off. If God says it is next month in September, with our tendency to procrastinate, we will say to ourselves we still have plenty of
time. The absence of a timetable is an invitation for us to live in the sacrament of the present moment, not to pine for the lost golden ages of yesteryears or to be anxious for a future that is yet to come.

2. Secondly if God were to give us the exact timetable of His return, then our response to his invitation will be tainted with ulterior motives other than loving him freely in return. It is like a patient who is terminally ill and the doctor has given him three months to live. The patient will give up his old ways of unhealthy lifestyle so that he can still prolong his life. He will be forced to shape up, motivated by fear, not by a free response to the invitation of God. If there is one characteristic that makes us children of God, it is freedom. Grace is freely offered and it must be freely accepted.

3. There is something beautiful in the absence of a timetable, apart from the fact that every moment is a potential encounter with Him. The best way of preparing for the Lord’s return is not by trying “to get in under the wire” by doing some great things just in time; but by being faithful, all the time! Imagine every day is the potential day of His coming. If that is the case, then each day I become a faithful steward; spending quality time in my daily work and quality time as well with my loved ones. If I take each day as the potential last day, then every thing I do is my last performance; I shall be doing my best in the task at hand; there is no waste of time and effort as I focus on the last performance. In the same way, with my relationships; if every time I leave home, I take it as the last time I will see my loved ones, then I will hug them tight, and express my love to them with all the warmth that I can muster.

as published August 11, 2013, Parish Bulletin
About Fr. Tasang and his reflections >>>>>>

“What should we do?” by Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM

This personal and self-implicating question needs to be answered during this season of prayer, reflection and self-examination.

The Third Sunday of Advent has been called Gaudete Sunday, after the Latin gaudete, “to rejoice.” The mood of joyful expectation is what characterizes the readings for this Sunday. The First Reading from the Book Of Zephaniah (Zep 3:14-18a) addresses four imperative verbs to Jerusalem in calling her to rejoice: “Shout for joy! Sing joyfully! Be glad and exult with all your heart!” The Lord is “in your midst” bringing about salvation, and this calls for rejoicing.

In the Second Reading Paul exhorts the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4-7). “Rejoice in the Lord” is a common Pauline phrase that implies union with Christ as the very source of joy. In the face of tribulations and trials, joy is experienced as an interior peace in the Lord that “guards our minds and hearts.”

But before we can truly celebrate the joy of God’s presence and salvation, we must first allow ourselves to be confronted by John the Baptist. John reminds us that repentance is the only Advent route as we continue to prepare
for the Lord’s coming.

The Gospel periscope today (Lk 3: 10-18) consists of an exchange between John and the crowd, the tax collectors and the soldiers on the question, “What should we do?” and of John’s response to the question of his identity vis-a-vis the Christ.

“What should we do?” is the same question that the crowds ask at Pentecost in response to Peter’s preaching (Acts 2:37). John’s answers to the said groups of seekers confront the issues of inequalities and injustices prevalent in the society. Those who have clothes and food must share with those who have none. Tax collectors must stop imposing exorbitant taxes that oppress people. Soldiers must cease victimizing citizens with extortion, threat and blackmail. In short, people must change their ways and dealings with others.

The answers of John the Baptist to the seekers are to be pursued in response to the need to “straighten the paths” and “smoothen the ways”of one’s life for the coming of the Lord and His offer of salvation. The advent of the Lord demands personal conversion, communal renewal and social and structural transformation.

Each one of us is challenged to grapple with the same question, “What should we do?” as we continue our Advent journey. This personal and self-implicating question needs to be answered during this season of prayer, reflection and self-examination. Joy springs out of the experience of renewed conversion to the Lord and to His ways and of turning away from sinful, immoral and unethical practices.

Like John the Baptist, we must also know who we are before the Messiah. Pope Benedict XVI said, “John plays
a great role, but always in relation to Christ.” John, without any pretense and usurpation of the Lord’s identity,
declares that he is only the unworthy herald of the mighty Messiah. The Messiah’s baptism is a baptism of the
Holy Spirit and of fire; his is only a baptism of water, of repentance and of forgiveness.

St. Francis of Assisi prayed, “Who are you, Lord my God, and who am I?” These two questions are fundamental
not only to the Christian life but also to the Advent journey. The question, “What should we do?” can only be
properly faced by asking and answering first, “Who are you, Lord my God, and who am I ?”

Our Lord Jesus, by embracing with great humility and generosity the mystery of the Incarnation and the Passion of the Cross, has shown us the human face of God. He is our Messiah who has revealed to us God’s unconditional, boundless and forgiving love. In response, we can try to be the very best that we can be in relation to God, to others and to ourselves. Then, we begin to authentically experience the joy of living in the Lord who is Emmanuel, God-with-us.

as published on December 16, 2012, Parish Bulletin
About Fr. Robert and his reflections