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The Christian faith in the Philippines is 500 years old this year and celebrated worldwide by Filipinos, including those in the Diocese of Orange. Ferdinand Magellan of Spain arrived in the Philippines on March 16, 1521. Joining us in-studio today are some very special guests to share with us what this blessed anniversary means to them.




Originally broadcast on 7/24/21


MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Filipinos who live outside the country can offer Masses and prayers for their dead relatives on All Souls’ Day through the internet.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines revived a “virtual cemetery,” which was first launched in 2011, in time for this year’s observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day, report

The observance of “Undas,” or Day of the Dead, is a major family affair in the Philippines.

Nearly everyone in this predominantly Catholic country goes to a cemetery Nov. 1 and 2, public holidays to mark All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Tombs are cleaned and repainted, candles are lit and flowers are offered. Traditionally, Filipino families spend a night or two in the cemetery near their relatives’ tombs, playing card games, eating, even drinking, singing and dancing.

For Filipinos who cannot be home, however, the country’s Catholic bishops offer an alternative.

“For those who cannot make it to your parishes, especially Filipinos in other countries or seafarers, you may request for Masses to be celebrated for your beloved dead,” said Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, director of the bishops’ media office. said people can visit, click “Prayer Request,” and list the names of the dead for whom Mass or prayers are to be offered.

Masses will be held at the chapel of the bishops’ conference in Manila starting Nov. 1.



MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Philippine Catholic bishops called for vigilance against bullying, ostracism and harassment of gay people in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

“No matter that we may disapprove of the actions, decisions and choices of others, there is absolutely no reason to reject the person, no justification for cruelty, no reason for making outcasts of them,” the country’s Catholic bishops said in a statement.

The bishops described the incident in which a gunman entered a nightclub, began shooting patrons and held some at gunpoint for several hours as a “hate crime” that was perpetrated against persons for their sexual orientation, reported.

The church leaders said the Philippines must address discrimination, explaining that many Filipinos are forced to the peripheries of the human community because the norms of “decent society” forbid association with people of different sexual preferences.

At least 50 people (including the gunman) were killed, and more than 50 others were injured in the June 12 incident.

“We must continue the dialogue and the conversation with (the gay community) over the things about which we disagree,” read the statement signed by Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, president of the bishops’ conference.

“This dialogue must always be an encounter of brothers and sisters, an encounter of friends in the Lord,” the bishops added.

They said the shooting “challenges us to ask ourselves how we can all, not Americans alone, become a better people after having recovered from our grief.”

In his statement, Archbishop Villegas said it is regrettable that the tragedy occurred in the midst of the observance of the Catholic Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“This grim event merely underscores how right Pope Francis was in convoking this year as a year of mercy,” he said.

“The heartlessness with which so many were cut down in their youth or in the prime of life only makes clear how much the world needs mercy,” Archbishop Villegas added.

The Filipino bishops also expressed their condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

“We can and should never reconcile ourselves with violence in society — whether this be the violence of lawless elements, the violence of the self-righteous, the violence of vigilante groups or the violence of government,” the bishops said.