Our Empty Tomb


By: Estrella (Star) del Mar



Easter 2018

Our old sins, old weaknesses, old bad habits are part of our old selves.

If they are still part of us now.  Then there is new life to talk about.

But let us suppose that during the Season of Lent, we had made a good confession, a good reflection and good resolutions of a new self to welcome Easter.

Old selves are our tomb.  Can we step out of our tombs?

Do we need assistance to roll away the stone?

Who will roll away your tomb stone?

It is not always easy to recognize the risen Lord!

We are given the signs but we do not pay much attention to them.  We have the Word and the Eucharist as signs of God’s presence among others.  For example, do we really recognize Jesus in the Eucharist? Or does He vanish when we leave the Church? Or do we continue to live the usual routine of the day as if Jesus is not there?  Do we find time to read the Word, reflect on God’s message, and live it?

People do not need preachers, they need witnesses who can share their faith!

The Lord has a mission for each one of us.  We need time to be quiet and listen to His Word and message.

We are busy with livelihood and a lot of things that use up a lot of our time and energy.  We need to try our best and exert effort to cooperate with God.  Ours is the human effort and God’s is the divine grace.

Easter 2018

In Scripture, we read the text and reflect on our lives as the context.

Let our lives become the text and the Scripture as the context.

Then Easter becomes a reality in our lives!






We, the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, gathered to celebrate the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu City, Philippines (January 24-31, 2016) now relive the beautiful experience of the two disciples of Emmaus.

We are convinced that the Holy Spirit sends us forth in order to proclaim the story of Jesus. This congress is like the gathering of the early disciples when they joyfully shared stories of how each of them encountered the Risen Lord in the Sacred Scripture and in the Breaking of the Bread.

Bread of Hope. The Eucharist, being a living and life-giving encounter with Christ in the totality of his Paschal Mystery, is truly the source of and impetus for hope. Through the Eucharist, we come to feel that we are possessed by the love of God and with this conviction, conversion of the heart begins. When our worship is done through Christ, with him and in him, then the Eucharist becomes source of healing and our hope of glory. The Eucharist is our bread of hope for it challenges us to live thankfully and joyfully, notwithstanding all the difficult realities of life.Only those who have endured a lot or have faced various crises in life, those who suffer almost on a daily basis, can know and possess spiritual resilience and truly celebrate life’s joys and remain hopeful.

Bread for the Poor. The Eucharist commits us to the poor, to love and to come to their help. We are challenged to reach out to the poor and help uplift them materially and spiritually as a concrete way of living out the Eucharist. The Eucharist compels us to act and to give them something to eat. The example of Jesus, particularly the meal stories, teaches us what every Eucharist should be: breaking bread with the poor and the marginalized. The presence of our brothers and sisters who have less in life is a constant reminder that the poor is the privileged place of encounter with Jesus outside the Eucharist.

Bread of Dialogue. The Eucharist which is the sacrament of the bread of life fills our spirits and strengthens our resolve as we take the tortuous path of dialogue with religions, cultures, youth and the poor. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit for mutual understanding, openness and conversion of hearts and minds. The Eucharist – the real presence of Jesus – sustains our hearts and nourishes our souls as we journey towards the convocation where God gathers us all in an inclusive communion, banishing distinctions that alienate and celebrating the gift each one brings.

Bread for Mission. Energized and renewed by the Eucharist, Christ’s missionary disciples are sent into the world to be broken bread for a broken world. They move from Eucharistic celebration to Eucharistic commitment. The Eucharist is not just a gift but also a task and mission that can change the world. Indeed, Eucharist enables us to effectively respond to the cry of the poor, the cry of the earth and the cry of Jesus Christ. Missionary dynamism springs from an encounter with Jesus through deep prayer because the lungs of evangelization is prayer. We are a people on mission; truly, IEC 2016 is a clarion call to mission for all of us. Our Eucharist is the source and goal of the Church’s mission.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word and the Eucharistic Lord, accompany us, missionary disciples, in order to share Jesus Christ is us our hope of glory.




Grace-filled Christmas and New Year!


Grace-filled Christmas and New Year!

Dear CBFSEA Brothers and Sisters,

Wishing each one of you

a blessed and grace-filled

Christmas and New year.

As we contemplate baby Jesus,

God’s greatest gift to mankind,

let us remember also that this tiny Baby

is the future KING of the KINGDOM of GOD;

a mighty warrior who will triumph

over all the evil in the world,

the LAMB of God who takes away

all the sins of the world;

the GOOD SHEPHERD who seeks and saves the lost,

heals the sick and comforts crushed hearts.

Let us therefore REJOICE,

for God is good and merciful.

And may this Divine Babe set our hearts afire

to shower love and mercy to all we meet.

Merry Christmas to all of you

and your loved ones….

and a blissful New Year too!

Sr. Emma with Star and Fr. Doms






By Estrella (Star) del Mar

20150619_114938The 9th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation was held at Ad Gentes Missionari Verbiti at Nemi on June 18-23, 2015 with the theme: HOLY SCRIPTURE, SOURCE OF EVANGELIZATION. Many thanks to our new General Secretary, Fr. Jan Stefanów, SVD, for having arranged and organized everything, that made these five days an enriching and fruitful experience of the Word in its global dimension.

A Lectio Divina guide was prepared that focused on the four aspects of relationship on Word and Mission from the perspective of a “Church which goes forth.” We had Lectio Divina in small groups according to language groups and a mixture of Bishops, Priests, Religious and Lay. This was done every morning before breakfast. The Lectio Divina sharing was so enriching, inspiring and challenging as well.

The Eucharistic Celebrations, prepared by regional groups, were celebrated in the evenings except for the Sunday mass that was held in the morning with the Region of Asia preparing the Liturgy. The Sunday mass was presided by the Bishop from India and the homilist was Bishop Ambo David, DD of the Philippines. His homily is also published in the CBF-SEA website.

Bishop Ambo was inspired by the Sunday readings especially the Gospel and made a good summary of the CBF journey especially the hard and painful times. Now, we do not talk about it. We need to learn from it and move on for a new start, for our new beginnings. He proposed three steps:

  • Learn to leave the crowd every now and then.
  • Quiet, be still!
  • Have faith—in the sense of “remember”.

20150621_164955-1The homilies of our new President, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, DD, from the Philippines reminded us to be humble, forgiving, trusting, caring, and be sensitive to the Spirit to make God’s Kingdom a reality in our world. In his conference, he enumerated several challenges for us to respond to the needs of the times, to do something about the present situation and to proclaim all the more God’s Word in our lives. The Final Statement summarized these challenges there.

We are happy to have a President who leads the way, who guides us with questions and proposals that are concrete enough to show us the directions. Now, we have a lot of tasks to do. The CBF General Secretariat had prepared a blueprint of a 6-year plan of action that is concrete and doable. These were translated into programs and projects by the Regions that could be accomplished in 6 years. A sample curriculum of a 2-year course for a Masters in Biblical Pastoral Ministry was presented to us that we could easily duplicate in our sub-region. A concrete plan (based on the Luxembourg template was already worked out by the Members guided by our new South East Asian sub-regional Coordinator that is ECBA represented by Bishop Ambo David.

CBF PA 2015__DSC5956-2CBF-SEA will have its own Masters’ Program for Biblical-Pastoral Ministry at the SVD School of Theology in Tagaytay City, Philippines – which some of the faculty of the Seminary had already started in the past. We only need to enrich it and invite more CBF Experts to be resource persons. An educational trip to the Holy Land will also be a part of this course. We need to tap the Resource Persons who are already giving courses at the Holy Land. Since some possible participants may not be able to afford a long stay-in course or finish the 2-year program, some shorter modular courses will also be available for them. Bible Translation is given a priority too and need to be given the proper resources for the success of the project. The Catholic Lectionaries could be a joint project of the Bible Scholars and the Liturgy Commission. Since the Bible is to permeate all the pastoral activities of the Church, it is important that our future priests would also get a good training on Biblical Pastoral Ministry and how it is done aside from their Exegesis courses.

Workshops, meetings and communication networks were also planned out and given tentative schedules.

So much had been planned to be worked out and implemented in the next 6 years before the next Plenary Assembly.

The two resource persons: Nuria Calduch-Benages and Maricel Mena López posed challenges in the new way of reading Scriptures highlighting the challenges of Dei Verbum, Verbum Domini and Evangelii Gaudium. Cardinal Tagle put concrete images of the present situation of the world that these new way of reading and interpreting Scriptures would have to be worked out in concrete programs centering on the Word of God. Pope Francis reminded us to look at the lives of the people and their present socio-economic-political situations and make the Word of God speak to them in these present conditions for inspiration, enlightenment and hope.20150621_120436

This is also true to the Catholic Biblical Federation. We cannot continue to dwell on the past that cannot be changed as it had already happened. We had learned our lessons. We move on with wisdom, renewed inspiration and vitality to respond to the challenges of the times in God’s Word. We need to face the present realities guided by the Word which also needs to be read and listened to in a new way.

The Catholic Biblical Federation with its new set of members of the Executive Committee, the Commission groups, the new Coordinators of the regions and sub-regions will move ahead to meet these present challenges to make the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God become more and more relevant in the lives of our people. And we begin with ourselves. We need to witness to the people the message of the Word – to build a loving, caring, forgiving, trusting and hoping community.

We pray that our number will grow and communities of the Word will flourish. We dream that people may say to our Federation “See how they love one another!” And we support each other in different ways by sharing whatever we have.

CBF has started the new beginning. Let us rejoice and be glad in the Lord as we thank our great leaders of the past that made CBF grow in number around the world. We are a global community in the Word! How happy we are to stay and share together in these few days and all in God’s Word! Praise be the Lord of love, compassion and mercy!

CBF PA 2015__DSC6394-2


Happy Easter!


By: Estrella (Star) del Mar

225px-Victory_over_the_GraveIf Christ has not risen, our faith is meaningless.

I remember my trip to Bombay some years ago where I met a good Doctor who specialized in treating leprosy.  I went with him to a far barangay where he served several lepers in a small clinic as a volunteer Doctor for these poor lepers.  The Doctor has a good heart for service and for the poor.  However, he was bitter with the social situation.  I told him that he was their hope for healing and a fairly normal life in the future.  I told him that he was like Jesus Christ for them.  And he retorted with anger in his voice.  “Jesus Christ?  He was the hope of his people to free them but he died!”  So I told him to continue reading the gospel story when Jesus rose from the dead and lived as He promised.  No one could take Jesus’ life from him.  He freely laid it down.  And he resurrected and continued to be present with us and among us.  Jesus was and is present in this good Doctor.  I knew later that the Doctor was a Hindu and not a Christian!

I realized that the good Doctor ended with the death of Jesus.  No wonder that he stayed bitter with the situation.  He has not experienced Easter.  The resurrection gives us hope.  It is a victory over death!

What about us? Do we stay in our bitterness, our hurts, our disappointments, frustrations and hopelessness?  Then we are not ready for Easter!

The Apostles’ daily company with Jesus seems not to be enough. Their listening to Jesus’ teachings; witnessing Jesus’ healings and even bringing the dead Lazarus and the young man back to life – all these seem not enough for the apostles to understand Jesus’ mission.

Easter is to make a difference in our lives!

We also need to resurrect from our own death to new life!

The Peter before the resurrection was a different Peter after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The apostles went away afraid during the passion of Jesus Christ.  After the resurrection, they became courageous and zealous in their daily witness to the Lord.  The apostles before the resurrection were very different persons after the resurrection as we can read in the Acts of the Apostles.  There was a dramatic transformation of these people.  Faith, for them, became a profound belief that was tested in their daily witnessing to the Lord’s words and deeds.

Are we ready for our own Easter?

Have we died to our selfishness, self-centeredness, self-righteousness, our own hurts, our own wants, disappointments and failures?  Can we forgive from our hearts those who had hurt us deeply? Can we humble ourselves and accept our own limitations, mistakes and sins of omission? And most of all, can we love as Jesus loved?

Am I ready for a new life in Christ? This is God’s gift to us.  It is my choice and my decision to accept it and do likewise.000000Easter040515

May our Mother Mary, whom Jesus gave to us, help us and guide us to be like her as a true disciple of Jesus.






Millions Of Filipinos Witnessed the Visit of Pope Francis In the Philippines

Millions Of Filipinos Witnessed

the Visit of Pope Francis In the Philippines

01. Pope Francis in the Philippines

02. Pope Francis in the PhilippinesCatholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Socrates Villegas, in his gratitude message, compared Pope Francis to both a raincoat and sunshine.

“You are our friend, our inspiration, our raincoat in the rain and sunshine when it is cloudy. Pope Francis, we love you,” Villegas said Sunday before the pontiff gave his final blessing during his concluding Mass at Luneta.

“Holy Father, you are our sunshine. For many days since you came, it has always been a sunrise of smiles for us Filipinos. We are not feeling the rain. You have brought us joy, you have brought us hope, you have brought us warmth. You have brought us Jesus,” he added.

Pope Francis waves to the crowd next to President Aquino upon his arrival at Villamor Air Base in ManilaVillegas made the comments amid a steady downpour in Manila, where an estimated six million people gathered to hear Pope Francis speak.

“Please receive our message of gratitude for celebrating the Sto. Niño feast today,” Villegas told a smiling Pope.

In the same message, Villegas waxed poetic about the power of Pope Francis’ words on the faith of Filipino Catholics, calling the Holy Father’s love for Pinoys “typhoon-proof.”

Young Filipinos welcome Pope Francis on his Popemobile as he arrives for the "Meeting with the Youth" at the University of Santo Tomas

“The sun is now setting on Manila Bay. The romantic poets among us call the Manila Bay sunset view the most beautiful sunset in

Pope's Mass With the Religious and Clergy at the Manila Cathedral

Pope’s Mass With the Religious and Clergy at the Manila Cathedral

the world. Some of us are afraid of the sunset as we are afraid of the dark, but we are not afraid anymore, because yesterday in Tacloban, you taught us that love casts away all fears. Your love for the Filipino people is stronger than all typhoons; your love is typhoon-proof,” he said.

Finally, Villegas promised not to forget the pontiff’s words to spread the message of Catholic faith.

“Holy Father, when you give us the blessing tonight, we will be your lights. We will light Asia and the world with mercy and compassion of Jesus. We will light the world with the joy of the gospel,” he said. — BM, GMA News


His Holiness in Tacloban City

His Holiness in Tacloban City

Cardinal Tagle’s Thanksgiving Message to Pope Francis in Luneta:

Most Holy Father,

In the name of the Archdiocese of Manila, the people who worked tirelessly for your pastoral visit, and the Filipinos whom you have been strengthened in faith these past days, I once again say Thank You. I say “Maraming Salamat po” (Thank you very much) on behalf of the street children, the orphans, the widows, the homeless, the informal settlers, the laborers, the farmers, the fisher folk, the sick, the abandoned elderly, the families of missing persons, the victims of discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation, human trafficking, the Filipino migrant workers and their families, the survivors of natural calamities and armed conflicts, the non-Christian Catholics, the followers of non-Christian religions, the promoters of peace especially in Mindanao and creation that groans. We say again, “Maraming salamat po, Santo Padre.”

You often end your encounters with people by saying, “I ask you to pray for me.” We promise to pray for you. But we

The Pope's Mass in Tacloban

The Pope’s Mass in Tacloban

want to assure you that Jesus prays for you. Jesus himself declared to Peter, “I have prayed for you that you own faith may not fail.” (Luke 22:32). Your Holiness, you are blessed. Jesus prays for you. We your beloved Filipinos unite ourselves with Jesus in praying for you to God the Father.

You arrived in the Philippines three days ago. Tomorrow you will go. Every Filipino wants to go with you – not to Rome – but to the peripheries, to the shanties, to prison cells, to hospitals, to the world of politics, finance, arts, sciences, culture, education, and social communications. We will go to these worlds to bring the light of Jesus, Jesus who is the center of your pastoral visit and the cornerstone of the Church. We will go where the Light of Jesus is needed. Here in Luneta, the Qurino Grandstand, where heroes are revered, newly elected presidents take office and popes meet the Filipino faithful, here in a place of new beginnings, send us forth as missionaries of the light. Before you go, Holy Father, send us to spread the light of Jesus. Wherever the light of Jesus shines, you and the Filipino people will always be united. Mabuhay, Santo Padre! Mabuhay si Kristo! Let the light of Christ shine!

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis With the Orphans

Pope Francis With the Orphans

With the Families at the Mall of Asia

With the Families at the Mall of Asia

Pope Francis

The Largest

The Largest Sunday Mass in History

World record. Filipinos fill the Rizal Park and the areas nearby to attend the mass celebrated by Pope Francis (inset) at the Quirino Grandstand on Sunday. Ey Acasio and AFP

World record. Filipinos fill the Rizal Park and the areas nearby to attend the mass
celebrated by Pope Francis (inset) at the Quirino Grandstand on Sunday. Ey Acasio
and AFP


Thailand: Bibliodrama Exchange 2014

Thailand: Bibliodrama Exchange 2014

Written by: MissTadsanee Mathurotsuwan

Pictures taken by: Mr.Monsingh   Kraisomsuk


Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana, the president of the Catholic Commission on Catechetical Education – Desk for the Biblical Ministries of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand and Fr. Somkiart Trinikorn, the person in charge of the Bible Commission of the Pastoral Council for the Archdiocese of Bangkok joined forces to organize a seminar on Bibliodrama entitled the Bibliodrama Exchange 2014. Fr. Oscar Alunday, SVD of the Divine Word Missionaries – Philippine Northern Province and Miss Mary Almonte of Notre Dame de Vie  Institute from the Philippines were the guest speakers of the seminar assisted by Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana, Sr. Bang-on Mathurotsuwan of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Bangkok, Teacher Prapa Virasilp of the Commission for Catechetical Education – Desk for Catechesisof the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand, Teacher Tadsanee Mathurotsuwan of the Catechetical Education Department of the Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Bangkok and Professor Monsingh Kraisomsuk of the Bible Commission as the event’s coordinator. There were 28 participants in this course, which was promoted and supported by the Bible Commission of the Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Bangkok.


These were the objectives of the Bibliodrama Exchange 2014:

  1. To share the different Bibliodrama programs, that were organized in the past in different places in order to learn from the differences and, eventually, improve the skills in the organization of Bibliodrama programs.
  2. To learn new methods from programs applied to different groups so that training participants may be able to apply Bibliodrama to the local culture in a better way.
  3. To listen to the various challenges of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium and be able to apply it as a part of Bibliodrama, making it a testimony of the good news that the Gospel brings
  4. To plan for a regular Bibliodrama Exchange training programs in Thailand (every 2 years) to assure continuous training and improvement for facilitators and participants of Bibliodrama in Thailand.


The following topics were discussed in the seminar:

 1. Bibliodrama Thailand team reports (by diocesan team, institute,  congregation).

  • Processes (biblical texts used, new elements / approaches explored)
  • Discoveries from the experiences(mixed groups, adults, youth, kids, indigenous tribes,  in/out of school, ecumenical groups, and religious communities)
  • Collaboration – links with other ministries (bibliodrama and catechetic, bibliodrama elements in seminars / prayers)

 2. And other additional topics

  • New Approaches(solo with local partner, bi‐lingual, with translation& demonstration, with physically impaired groups (sign language), with traumatized groups (use of dolls,symbols, shadows, lights,etc.)
  • Bibliodrama Inculturation(meanings of symbols, colors, gesture, workshop on cultural dance/gestures using Bibliodrama elements)
  • Bibliodrama Journey to the Past (Jewish Dance, my joys in Bibliodrama, my struggles in Bibliodrama)
  • Sharing of Best Practices in Bibliodrama (creative module making)

At the end of the Bibliodrama Exchange seminar, the guest speakers suggested the BIBLIOLOGUE method as an approach – a bibliodrama element, APPRECIATIVE COMMUNICATION(I thank you, I’m sorry, I hope that…) and INTERVIEW.

Bibliodrama-3Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana also took this occasion to present the topic Evangelii Gaudium and the BiblicalPastoral Ministry “The Holy Father’s dream in this apostolic exhortation is for the Catholic Church to move ahead in reviving the pastoral and missionary work both in the personal and public life that is the capacity to change habits, lifestyle, language and the many comforts of life geared towards the spreading of the Gospel rather than protecting one’s self.   (Self-preservation)”  (EG 27)

After this session, there was a group discussion and they were given a question which they can reflect on and share their insights.

The question was: As a teacher, a catechist, a religious, a trainer, a lay person, a youth leader and a person in charge of the Bible Commission, how can you promote or help turn the proposal of the apostolic exhortation of the Holy Father into a reality?

The session was then followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to conclude the seminar and certificates were distributed by Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana. The entire Bible Commission and all the seminar participants intend to continue the exchange of ideas, sharing of experiences and proposal of alternatives in the future following the guest speakers’ suggestions. On the 21st to 23rd of July 2015, information about the next event will be disseminated.

We thank the entire Bible Commission, our guest speakers and everyone who sent their staff to participate in this seminar. May God bless all of you!


Various Impressions on the Bibliodrama Exchange 2014 Seminar



Maria Natthawadi Choepo

Maria Natthawadi Choepo

Maria Natthawadi Choepo, an Akha who is a catechist at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Ngao District of the Province of Lampang

The Bibliodrama Exchange 2014 seminar was a synthesis, a way of sharing and a review of what we have learned from the other participants. It was a way to encourage each other reciprocally. The speakers reassured us that we can apply Bibliodrama anytime. It was a discovery of God in a simple and natural way like when we see each other every day. I hope that there would be another Bibliodrama Exchange seminar in order to review what we have learned and to provide the participants a chance to stay still and commune with God through His Words.

Thanks to God for this seminar because I was able to find quietude and God in a simple way. I pray that the love and peace of God may be with all of us.

Margarita Kommala Suriyapongpraphai

Margarita Kommala Suriyapongpraphai

Margarita Kommala Suriyapongpraphai, a catechist at St. Peter School at Samphran

I felt that this seminar seemed like a retreat. It was an occasion of reflection through the Word of God as the center of contemplation. At the same time,we learned varied techniques in sharing the message of the Bible to others in a lively way. Personally, I intend to use these forms in sharing the Word of God to students and parish community under my responsibility so that they too may experience the Word of God in their hearts and find happiness in those words.

Sr. Kanlaya Trisopha

Sr. Kanlaya Trisopha

Sr. Kanlaya Trisopha, Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Bangkok

This Bibliodrama course was excellent. It helped us to learn how to integrate the Bible and the Lectio Divina and how to read the Bible by using together your mind, heart and body. We learned to read it in a lively way through the use of bodily movements in sync with the music. In this way we were able to reach a more profound contemplation. When we were focused on the steps or movements, we were able to remain quiet with better concentration. It is something that we can also apply in reflective prayers.  This course helped us to revitalize our physical and spiritual life,

definitely another form of harnessing the power of the Bible in improving Christian life.Teachers and trainers who participated in the seminar can apply this technique in teaching catechism and prayers and in organizing seminars with various topics for different groups made up of either adults or children. It is an effective means to liven up the training courses. Special thanks to Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana for introducing this new way of reading the Bible.

Ms. Sumalee Mukpaksacharoen

Ms. Sumalee Mukpaksacharoen

Ms. Sumalee Mukpaksacharoen, Thailand Catholic Society for the Deaf under the Department of Christian Laity of the Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Bangkok.

I was very impressed. For me who is a deaf person, I would only remember a little even if I study the Bible every week. But after this seminar, dancing to the music and the presentation of a play based on a part of the Bible, which are all a novelty for me, helped me to understand better the Holy Scriptures. They also helped me to reflect more on the Word of God in our own lives. In one of the workshops while we were dancing we were holding hands. When I placed my hand on the hand of the other and the other person placed her hand on mine, I felt the love of the brother or sister whose life is centered on God. I did not study much like normal people did, so when we were asked to go around and look for one word from a variety of different words from the Bible, I was worried at first because I did not understand anything. But I felt that the Holy Spirit helped me to understand the various words and choose well. I chose the word “back (come back)”. When I saw that word, I thought of my daughter who was not baptized into the Catholic faith. I want her to have her conversion. I will pray hard so that she too may become a Catholic.

Written by: MissTadsanee Mathurotsuwan

Pictures taken by: Mr.Monsingh   Kraisomsuk



October 28-30, 2013

Christ the King, Quezon City, Philippines

Last July Bishop Renato “Rene” Mayugba, DD as Asia Oceania representative attended the Executive Committee Meeting in Rome. Bishop Rene then convened a meeting of Asia Oceania coordinators and some others to discuss the outcome of the EC Meeting and the future of our beloved Federation.

So on the last three days of October we gathered at Christ the King. Present were Bishop Rene and Bishop Ambo (ECBA), Fr. Jacob Theckanath (India) and Cecilia Chui (China), Fr. Doms, Star and Sr. Emma (CBFSEA team), Nati Pagadut (ECBA) and Menchie (EAPI).

CBF ASIA 1We discussed at length the EC report, studied the latest revision of the Constitutions compared with the earlier revisions, in light of the Canon Law and the new Federation we want to give birth to. We also proposed some outstanding personalities whom we could trust to be the president and the general secretary, and their roles based on the Canon Law.

Indeed, we worked so hard that we often forgot mealtime. Cora and Jingy, two wonderful cooks who took care of our ”body fuel” often had to remind us that it was time for lunch break, or coffee or dinner.

Beside working and eating, considerable time was given to prayer to keep in touch with Christ, our Lord, the Living Word, source of life. We thank Cecilia who has richly provided us with all the colored paperwork, including Lectio Divina for each day, and symbols for the liturgy and other surprises.

We felt that a number of issues need to be discussed in a bigger forum.CBF-5 We thought that the FABC Meeting in Bangkok from 4 to 7 December 2013 would be a golden opportunity for that purpose. Fr. Jacob suggested that the meeting be prolonged until the next day for CBF Asia-Oceania. So we are looking forward to see you in Pattaya, Thailand on the morning of December 8. God bless us all!

A note of gratitude: 

We are grateful to Fr. Dante for giving us the best facilities and the best personnel to serve us and make us comfortable. God bless you abundantly for your hospitality and generosity!




A Blessed Pentecost …

Come Holy Spirit…

Renew the Face of the Earth!

Pentecost Sunday

Dear Friends in the Word,

Today the Church is born through the Holy Spirit.

Have a blessed and fruitful Pentecost!

Let us invoke the Holy Spirit every day,

that he may open our hearts for the Word of God,

for everything that is good and for the beauty of God.


Come Holy SpiritThis is Pope Francis’ message when he talked 

about “the Work of the Holy Spirit”:

 “One isn’t a Christian ‘part time’, at certain moments,

in certain circumstances, in some choices.

One is a Christian at all times!  Totally!

The truth of Christ, which the Holy Spirit teaches us and gives us,

forever and totally affects our daily lives.

Let us invoke him more often so that he may guide us on the road of the disciples of Christ. 

I make this proposal to you:

let us invoke the Holy Spirit every day,

thus the Holy Spirit will draw us close to Jesus Christ.

The CBF-Southeast Asia Coordinating Team

with Sr. Emma Gunanto, OSU

Ms. Star of CLFC

Doms, SVD



The Word to Lead New SVD General Council (2012-2018)

The Word to Lead New SVD General Council (2012-2018):

Congrats to Fr. Heinz and Thanks to Fr. Tony


The Pope was greeted by Fr. Heinz

Hearty congratulations to Fr. Heinz Kulüke, the Provincial of the Philippine Southern (PHS) Province in Cebu, elected as the 11th Superior General of the SVD in this 175th birth anniversary year of the Society’s founder, St. Arnold Janssen, in 2012.

The 17th SVD General Chapter, held at the Ad Gentes Center in Nemi, was also specially graced with the historic visit of Pope Benedict XVI on 9 July, six days after the announcement of Fr. Heinz as the new head of the congregation. Outgoing Superior General, Fr. Tony Pernia, welcomed the Pope to the Ad Gentes Center and recalled the distinct connection between the center and the Second Vatican Council. It was at the Ad Gentes Center that the draft of the document on the Church’s mission to the world “Ad Gentes” was prepared in 1965 by the commission headed by the then SVD Superior General, Fr. Johannes Schütte. The Pope was a “peritus” (= expert) of that commission as a young theologian.

The Holy Father said: “I have often thought of those days in Nemi which for me were an essential part of the experience of the Council. And I’m happy to see that your Congregation flourishes. Father General spoke of six thousand members in so many countries, from so many nations. Clearly the missionary dynamism is alive, and it is alive only if there is the joy of the Gospel, if we experience of the good that comes from God and that must be and desires to be communicated.”

 “Thank you for this dynamism of yours. I wish you during this Chapter every blessing of the Lord, a lot of inspiration: that the same inspiring impulses of the Holy Spirit that accompanied us almost visibly during those days may be present among you and help you find the direction for your congregation, and also for the mission of the Gospel ad gentes for the coming years.”

 During his first homily given as the fresh new Superior General on 3 July, Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, Fr. Heinz gave an inspiring sharing in answer to this question: What does God want the Society and me to do within the years to come? “We know that genuine change will only happen if we allow the Lord to come back into the center – through Jesus Christ the whole structure is held together.” (cf. Eph 2:19-22)

Sr. Emma Gunanto ( Indonesia ), Estrella “Star” del Mar (Cebu) and Cecilia Chui ( Hong Kong ) happily met Fr. Heinz on the Feastday of St. Arnold in 2010

Friends of the Word based in the Philippines, Indonesia and Hong Kong recalled fondly meeting Fr. Heinz, the God-desired next SVD Superior General after Fr. Tony, during the closing celebration of the 100th death anniversary of St. Arnold held at the Adoration Chapel of Divine Peace (where the Pink Sisters station) on 15 January, 2010 in Cebu.

Pope Benedict’s gracious visit to Nemi on 9 July, Feast of the Chinese Martyrs and Saints, mentioned his remembrance of the 6th SVD Superior General, Fr. Johannes Schütte, as a person full of missionary zeal who had suffered in China. This highlight brought back memories of Fr. Tony’s visit to Hong Kong and Macau after his attendance at the celebration of SVD’s centennial presence in the Philippines in August 2009. That year also marked the 130th anniversary of St. Joseph Freinademetz’s arrival to Hong Kong in 1879, preparing for his future pioneer lifetime SVD missionary work in Shandong, China that commenced in 1881.

Fr. Tony was accompanied by Fr. Frank Budenholzer, Provincial Superior of the SVD China Province, for the visit to the SVD community set up in Macau since 2007. The programme also included a lunch gathering with Bishop José Lai of the Diocese of Macau. On their way back to Hong Kong from Macau, Frs. Tony and Frank enjoyed a fellowship meal with some SVD confreres, plus the presence of Cecilia Chui as guest, at the SVD House in Boundary Street. As a meaningful remembrance for their visit to Hong Kong, where St. Joseph had lived for two years (1879-1881), Cecilia offered a Chinese silk painting each to Fr. Tony and Fr. Frank.

It is interesting to note that both Fr. Tony and Fr. Heinz, as the immediate past and the new Superior Generals respectively, were from the SVD PHS Province. Looking back, the 100th death anniversary year of St. Arnold (1837-1909) in 2009 also spiritually connected with SVD’s missionary presence in the Philippines for a century (1909-2009). In one of his addresses made at the Philippine SVD Centennial event, with the adopted theme “We Remember… We Rejoice… We Renew”, in August 2009, Fr. Tony highlighted the Prologue of the SVD Constitutions: “God’s loving grace has gathered us from various peoples and continents into a religious missionary community dedicated to the Divine Word and named after him: The Society of the Divine Word …. We see our special dedication to the Divine Word and his mission expressed in our name. His life is our life, his mission our mission…. We perform our missionary service one in mind and heart with the Divine Word who offers us a living example of loving dedication to the Father and selfless service of others.”

Cecilia presented a Chinese silk painting of “Our Lady of China ” to Fr. Tony, who said it would be framed for display at the St. Joseph Freinademetz Center of the SVD Collegio in Rome

Fr. Tony described beautifully the image of the SVD and all those associated with the SVD – “Persons of the Word”, in two senses. First, a disciple of Jesus and a follower of the Divine Word, who is God’s ongoing dialogue with the world. And secondly, a person who is true to his word, who keeps his word, who “walks his talk”, who lives a coherent and integral life. We are missionaries because we wish to be witnesses to the fact that God keeps his word and is faithful to his promises.

Fr. Tony’s elaboration on “Persons of the Word” resonates with Fr. Heinz’s homily and personal sharing made in Nemi following his election as the 11th Superior General: “Holding such an office requires great trust in God and His very special blessings as well as the constant prayers of confreres around the globe.” “Persons of the Word” – that was what Arnold Janssen, Joseph Freinademetz, and our Blessed Martyrs were. Going forward, may we continue be “Persons of the Word” – persons whose lives and actions are many different words which echo the Word of God, the Divine Word, Jesus Christ.

In 2012, the new SVD General Council has emerged in the 50th anniversary year of holding the Second Vatican Council called by the great Blessed Pope John XXIII. Though he was called to eternal rest by God (in 1963) before the Council concluded, the Blessed Pope gave this insightful message: “The moment has come to discern the signs of the times, to seize the opportunity and to look far ahead.”

Reflecting on the theme of the 17th SVD General Chapter – “From Every Nation, People and Language: Sharing Intercultural Life and Mission”, Fr. Heinz is convinced that “a lived intercultural spirituality also inspired by the Lay we work and live with, can be a unique contribution to people’s life wherever we work.”

 The relay of Word-oriented leadership from Fr. Tony (2000-2012) to Fr. Heinz (2012-2018) will start in Steyl at the tomb of St. Arnold in mid-September. Then on Fr. Heinz’s 56th birthday on 29 September, Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, the new SVD General Council will commence its God-entrusted mission in Rome. Fr. Heinz summed up his envisioned spirit of team leadership for the next six years with the following quote from Deus Caritas Est: “In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. It is God who governs the world, not we. We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength. To do all we can with what strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: “The love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor 5:14).” (Pope Benedict, Section 35)

Agape meal with Frs. Tony and Frank (second from right) at the SVD House in Boundary Street , Kowloon , Hong Kong

Congratulations and abundant blessings to Fr. Heinz in his new responsibility with vision and dynamism! Deep thanks to Fr. Tony for his tremendous services and well-appreciated contributions in the past 12 years! May the Light of the Word and the Spirit of Grace continue to lead the SVD forward in fulfilling God’s Holy Will!