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Padre Pio’s incorrupt heart relic brought to UST

The incorrupt heart relic of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was brought to the University of Santo Tomas yesterday, October 8.

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Photo by Tristan Deang

The incorrupt heart relic of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was brought to the University of Santo Tomas yesterday, October 8.

The UST community together with the Santisimo Rosario Parish and the priests and brothers from the Priory of Saint Thomas welcomed the relic in front of the UST Chapel.

A conference with the clergy and religious about the life and works of Padre Pio titled, “The Person, Priesthood and Spirituality of St. Padre Pio” followed where they were called to embody an ‘Ubuntu’ life.

Rev. Fr. Jojo Gonda, rector of the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, who led the conference said that, “Ubuntu, if we want to be happy, we’ll be happy together,” emphasizing the meaning of Ubuntu in a story in Africa as ‘I am because we are’ whereas our happiness is manifested in the happiness of others.

“Let’s have an Ubuntu life. I am because we are,” he added.

The conference was a challenge to all priests and religious to exemplify their duties as followers of the Church with Padre Pio as their role model.

Fr. Gonda gave importance to the physical, emotional, and spiritual conditions of the religious in order to fulfill their roles in the community and their love for the ministry.

“When we take care of ourselves, we take care of our community. If we don’t care or take care of ourselves, we are abusing the community we are serving because we cannot serve well,” he said.

While there are many trials that the society, especially the Church, is currently facing, the Rosary will serve as a weapon during these times.

“Don’t stop praying the Rosary, according to St. Padre Pio,” Fr. Gonda said and urged the religious to be the light in the midst of the darkness and problems that continuously arise.

The pain that wounded Padre Pio’s heart

After the conference earlier that day, it was followed by the Holy Hour and celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

In the healing mass at the UST Plaza Mayor, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, the mass presider, said in his homily that “Many of us have these stigmata too even if they not be in the right places.”

Bishop David said that “Stigma no longer had the neutral meaning that it had before. Modern English has assumed this Greek word in its vocabulary but has given it a very negative meaning […] Very much like unclean in the time of Jesus.”

Bishop David also said that the “modern equivalent in the Philippines” of the stigma are the drug suspects.

“It is probably the worst stigma that can be given as label to people who land in the drug watch list,” he added.

“This stigma can get people jailed or even killed. Then people just shake their heads with pity when they see their dead bodies in the street alley. And it takes just one toxic whisper to justify the murder. ‘Drug supect siguro ‘yan,’” he added.

“Unlike other criminals, Jesus bore a fifth mark, a fifth stigma, and that is the mark that pierced his heart,” said Bishop David.

Bishop David also stressed that, “The pain that Padre Pio experienced in his heart after that mystical experience is what we came here to reflect on today […] We’re not just here to venerate a relic. We are here to reflect on the priestly life of Padre Pio, and on that which wounded his heart to be so configured to the heart of Jesus, our Supreme High Priest.”

“Tiyakin natin na sa bawat pagpasok ng mga mananampalataya sa ating simbahan ay may apoy pa rin silang maiuuwi at maiibahagi sa kanilang kapwa,” said Bishop David to the religious priests, sisters and brothers attending the mass.

“Ang sakit na naramdaman ni Santo Padre Pio sa kanyang dibdib ay parang apoy na nag-alab sa kanyang puso […] ang hatid ni Padre Pio ay isang bagong apoy na nagdulot ng bagong init at bagong liwanag ng pananamplataya,” said Bishop David.

He added, “Hilingin nating siya ang maging inspirasyon nating lahat, sa pagpapari at sa buhay sagrado, upang manatiling maalab sa ating puso ang pag-ibig ni Kristo, at ang pagsisikap na maging tapat sa pag-ibig na ito na dulot ng ating karupukan at kataksilan.”

After the Holy Mass, Padre Pio’s heart relic was brought around the University for the procession back to UST Chapel where it was opened for public veneration until 5:30 am the next day.

After its farewell mass at UST Chapel, it will be brought to Manila Cathedral and will be opened for public veneration for 24 hours until Thursday.

Saint Pio de Pietrelcina, who is more commonly known as Padre Pio, is one of the most popular saints in the Roman Catholic Church who carried the stigmata (the wounds of Christ) which miraculously appeared on his body.

Padre Pio’s incorrupt body is on display in his hometown in San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy.

His incorrupt heart has been brought already to four countries and the longest stay will be here in the Philippines for 21 days.

2018 is also a significant year for Saint Padre Pio for it marks two milestones in his life: September 20 is the centennial anniversary of Padre Pio’s receiving of the stigmata and September 23 is his 50th death anniversary.

The said relic is set to be brought around to Cebu, Davao and Batangas.

By Kristine Erika Agustin & John Aaron Pangilinan

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Millions of Filipino faithfuls display devotion to Black Nazarene for Traslación 2019

In display of their unwavering devotion, the devotees, young and old, mostly barefooted, endured a 21-hour long procession of the annual Traslación, Wednesday, Jan. 9.

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black nazarene/Traslación
Photo by Christine Tapawan.

The devotees, young and old, mostly barefooted, endured a 21-hour long procession of the annual Traslación, a re-enactment of the passage of the dark-skinned, cross-bearing Jesus Christ from Intramuros to the Minor Basilica, Wednesday, Jan. 9.

For centuries, the Filipino faithfuls have displayed their fervent devotion to the revered Black Nazarene, a historical and iconic statue that has become a symbol of fierce faith, devotion and sacrifice, as millions of devotees clad in maroon braved the push and shove in hopes to experience its supposed miracles.

Lola Mel, a devotee from Sta. Ana, Manila testifies to the graces she’s received from joining the procession.

“Nararamdaman ko ‘yung resbak niya sa’kin, feel na feel ko, hindi material—talagang hindi rin ako bumibitiw,” she said in an ambush interview with TomasinoWeb.

She added that the tradition of flocking to the route of the procession has been passed down onto her, generation after generation.

“Minana ko pa ito sa lolo ko, sa tiyuhin ko, sobra hindi ko na mabilang. Maliit pa ako nag-jo-join na ako,” she said.

Some faithfuls also believe in the miraculous healing powers the image hold.

Lita Castaño, 59, said she trooped to Quiapo to pray for her daughter and sister’s healing.

“This time ‘yung youngest daughter ko may sakit siya and my sister may cancer siya,” she said.

According to the Quiapo Church website, quoting Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio, the devotion that has drawn millions to the Black Nazarene, he admitted, is a “remnant of the animistic faith of Filipinos.”

He added: “People have sensed the spiritual wealth in Quiapo Church and there is a huge attendance for Mass every day and especially on Friday.”

Fridays are known colloquially to be “Quiapo Day” where devotees pay homage and veneration to the renowned icon. Outside Manila, various grand celebrations also took place in Northern Samar and Cagayan de Oro.

“Filipinos are resilient, but where is this resiliency coming from? It’s the practice of our faith,” Msgr. Ignacio elaborated.

Furthermore, History Prof. Xiao Chua said that Filipinos established connection with the image because of its “skin tone and resilience.”

“When we look at the Black Nazarene, kulay natin siya, maitim siya tapos naghihirap siya pero alam natin na mabubuhay siya ulit so that is also the hope that every devotee brings into his heart,” Chua said in an interview published on 2013.

The day before the procession, the traditional Pahalik (Kissing) vigil already witnessed throngs of devotees as they awaited the morning mass that commenced the celebration.

According to Metro Manila Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar, nearly 4 million faithfuls took part in various activities including 2.5 million devotees who joined the Traslacion.

The image returned to its home in Quiapo Church at exactly 2:21 am of Jan. 10, after the procession started at around 5 am of Jan. 9.

Tightened security

According to the Philippine National Police, a total of 7,200 police secured and maintained peace and order on the route of the celebration. The Metro Manila Development Authority, on the other hand, deployed 850 personnel to aid the police and military.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) deployed 400 personnel on stand by and 600 manning the route, with 18 first-aid stations and 50 ambulances scattered along the procession route.

By noon, PRC already aided and assisted 619 devotees, including 18 people who sustained major injuries like bleeding, difficulty in breathing and bone fractures, while some 131 devotees suffered minor injuries.

In 2018, an approximate of 1,150,000 devotees attended the celebration that took 22 hours to complete. — With reports from Alecsandra Go and Christine Tapawan

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Disney-themed Paskuhan attracts 100,000 crowd

This year’s highly anticipated Disney-themed Paskuhan Fair with the theme “Light from Light for the Prince of Peace” drew thousands despite experiencing light rainfall throughout the event last December 21.

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yael yuzon singing in paskuhan
Photo by Miguel Yap

This year’s highly anticipated Disney-themed Paskuhan Fair with the theme “Light from Light for the Prince of Peace” drew thousands despite experiencing light rainfall throughout the event last December 21.

According to the UST Central Student Council (CSC), this year’s Paskuhan played host to a crowd of an estimated 100,000 people, over 30,000 more than the previous year’s festivities.

The Paskuhan Fair concert at the UST Grandstand started at around 3 PM with a performance from the UST Drumline which went around the campus. It was followed by performances from I Belong to the Zoo, Fourplay, Quest, The Ransom Collective, Sponge Cola and other Thomasian bands and artists.

Thomasian Dance troupe ACES also graced the stage with a dance number and the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe rocked the stage with their CDC 2018 performance.

The concert finished with the much awaited pyromusical display featuring Disney movie theme songs “I See the Light” from Tangled, “We Know the Way” from Moana, “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas, and “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, lasting about 15 minutes..

Before the concert, raffle draws for minor prizes were held in front of the Main Building while major prizes were drawn during the concert. This year’s Paskuhan started with the opening of lights and the traditional Thomasian Agape held last December 4.

No Paskuhan date, no problem

In the weeks leading up to the Paskuhan season, many Thomasians on social media expressed (rather jokingly) their frustration over their lack of a date for this year’s Paskuhan, some even going so far as to advertise their need for one on Twitter. But most Thomasians managed to get along just fine even without a date.

Angel Adora, a senior high school student, said she still managed to enjoy the event even without a partner.

Una sa lahat, yung happiness hindi palaging nagre-revolve sa jowa, makukuha mo rin ‘to sa friends mo and family. May mga friends akong nandito” Angel expressed.

Gabriel Enriquez also shared the same sentiment when it comes to having a Paskuhan date:

For me, mas OK na nagsasaya ka lang kahit wala kang kasamang lover, ayos lang yun.” Gabriel said.

Non-Thomasians were also present in the 27-year-old Thomasian yule tradition. Both Maria Victoria Dela Rosa and Nathaniel Arizala felt “welcomed and one with the UST community.”

Hindi ko na-feel na out of place ako, kasi feel ko na welcome ako sa UST.” Arizala shared.

One of the highlights for them is the pyromusical display that capped off the event and made everyone in awe of the spectacle.

Highlight ng gabi ko ay yung Disney-themed fireworks, para talaga akong nasa Disneyland.” Dela Rosa said.

The yearly University Christmas celebration started in 1991 and included the sharing of donations to calamity victims, which is still observed today, and was formally named Paskuhan in 1993.

The Christmas lights and other decor inside the University will remain lit every night until January 6.

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University’s Rare Map collection featured in International Map Symposium

The 36th International Map Collector’s Society (IMCoS) Symposium visited Miguel the Benavidez Library’s Antonio Vivencio Heritage Section’s collection of rare and historical maps yesterday, October 16.

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one of UST's rare map
Photo by Corinne Vizconde.

Participants of the “Insulae, Indiae, Orientalis”: The 36th International Map Collector’s Society (IMCoS) Symposium visited Miguel the Benavidez Library’s Antonio Vivencio Heritage Section’s collection of rare and historical maps yesterday, October 16.

International delegates and local map collectors converged in the said event for the first time not just in the Philippines but in South East Asia held at Ayala Museum, Makati City.

Assoc. Prof. Giovanna V. Fontanilla M.A., Director of UST Office for Public Affairs, welcomed the international delegates and local map collectors participants of the event.

In his welcoming speech, UST Secretary General Rev. Fr. Jesus Miranda O.P. said that, “You made the right decision to visit the 407-year-old University of Santo Tomas […] Whether you like it or not, this is the pride of the Philippines and of the whole South East Asia when it comes to the rich collection of artifacts about our heritage and history.”

The University’s Prefect of Libraries, Rev. Fr. Angel Aparicio O.P. said in his words of appreciation that, “For some people, maps are a powerful tool, for others a tool of power. For me, a map is a metaphor, a vehicle carrying me through my piece of paper, parched me in canvass, or screen to another place that can be real or imaginary.”

“One of the speakers of this symposium has written that, and I put, ‘The Philippines is a young nation with a long history. Its narrative complex.’ From my own personal stand as a Spanish, as a Dominican, a resident of this beautiful islands and people, I like to make a personal correction to that statement. The Philippines is a young nation with many stories waiting for a historian to give us a coherent narrative, said Fr. Aparicio.

He added, “These maps I have seen in this exhibit tells many stories. I really commend and appreciate the efforts of the organizers of this symposium, to assemble all these map nobles, collectors, researchers and dealers around the Philippines, ‘Insulae, Indiae, Orientalis.’”

A small map exhibit will follow today, October 17 until October 26 at the library’s exhibit area and along 5th floor hallway from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Philippine Map Collector’s Society, which is an affiliate of the London based IMCoS, and Gallery Prints organized the said event which presents series of lectures and excursions to libraries and museums and visited the Antonio Vivencio Heritage Section of the Benavidez Library as part of the said event.

The Antonio Vicencio del Rosario Library is a repository of rare and prestigious collection of books about the country’s history including Filipiniana rare books, rare periodicals, rare collection of books of medicine and pharmacy, and some collection of Chinese books.

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