Monthly Archives: March 2010
That’s Ivy as Kim. She is my cousin! Miss Saigon was one of the first Musicals I ever watched. And has always had a special place in our lives (as Pinoys). I am so proud of her! I didn’t even know about this until I watched the video. Wow. I hope to get to watch her one day. I want to be in a Musical. Haha. Maybe as a back-up back-up singer.
Des and I are now in Vienna. We left Rome yesterday after going around Rome with Keith and Klibert. We even met Ambassador Mercy Tuason and Monsignor Jerry Bitoon. Now we are with the Javiers and Jaramillos. We went around the city center today, and Des left bringing 2 bags. She is VERY happy.
Pictures from Rome after the jump.
>And so do millions of others.
So don’t believe the NY Times.
March 28, 2010
Tito Totti and Tita Chona’s House, Rome
Today was a fairytale. We went back to the Vatican for Palm Sunday Mass. And World Youth Day. We were there at 8:00AM. The Mass started about 9:30, and ended before 1:00 PM. What an awesome experience!
So near the Pope again! Some delegates got to read during the Mass, do the offering, etc. I did have a bit of Pope-envy there, but why should I complain when I got to see the Pope twice in only 3 days?!
I love being Catholic. I love God. I love the Church. And I love being able to be a servant to her. God, may your Will always be done in our lives!
I do not want to wake up from this dream!
I will make a new post just for Papal Pics
After the jump, see the delegates
March 27, 2010
Mondo Migliore (A Better World), Rocca di Papa, Rome
Today, Sabine was a flower girl for the 2nd time. She was at the wedding of Wally And Chinky Magtibay. Des and I are Candle Sponsors. Sabine walked with a smile, according to my mom. And she had fun the entire time. She asks where we are, and then says “Roma”. Congratulations, Magtibays! May you be as sturdy as your name implies. I miss my girls
It is the last day of the IYF! Tomorrow we go to the Vatican to celebrate World Youth Day. We will be in our National Costumes, so hopefully it won’t be too cold. Then after the whole celebration tomorrow, we meet up with CFC FFL and go home with them. I miss CFC FFL Rome!
Breakfast was interesting today. We sat with Nigeria, Ghana and UAE. And ended up talking about Soccer. And once you start, it being a World Cup year, it doesn’t stop! It was fun seeing them so passionate about the sport. Lunch was with Scotland, Ireland and Australia. I can’t write about the things we talked about And dinner was with the Asian Barkada again! This time Japan and Bangladesh joined us. The Latinos are getting together, and so are the Africans, so the Asians are gathering as well. Maybe we should have an Asian Youth Forum? Hmmm… I will propose it tomorrow.
The only session (lecture) for today was given by Americans! Yes, ENGLISH! No headsets! And there was a sense of guilty pleasure hearing them talk speedily, and knowing the translators will be having an interesting time coping with the speed. Naughty, naughty.
Steven and Kari Colella (both working with the Diocese of Boston) spoke on “The path of preparation in view of marriage”. Now this was a hands-on, project proposal type of lecture. Where they presented their in-process program for engaged couples. It is called Transformed in Love: Living Your Catholic Marriage. I loved it! Since I have been working with engaged couples, and young couples and all other types, I loved what they presented. I am going to try to get a hold of it (their program) and see how is can be done in the Philippines as well. It was clear, concise, Catholic (!) and wonderful!
There were testimonies after that from a priest from Spain (Leopoldo Vives Soto) and a couple from France (Alex and Maud Lauriot-Prevost). I have to admit that my eyes were so heavy by this time, and I was only getting bits and pieces of their sharing. It was bound to happen after all the heaviness of the topics, the activities, the CARBS!
We had mass celebrated by Monsignour Josef Clemens. Who was with us the entire time! He emceed, and when he wasn’t onstage, he was in the audience listening. What a nice example
We went back to our discussion groups and it was bittersweet. Just when the group was really starting to gel and exchange opinions and ideas, it was the last group time. My group had people from Belgium, Malta, Ghana, USA, Serbia, Hungary, FICEP (who read about Des and I from YouthPinoy), Slovakia, India, Sudan and Moldova. It was a wonderful mixed group of people with such diverse backgrounds and different opinions! I hope we get to keep in touch afterwards.
Cardinal Rylko gave the closing remarks. And he is right to say that we need to keep this dialogue open even when we all go home to our respective places. Because all this cannot just end here. I have learned SO MUCH over the past few days. I know it will take me more days to re-visit everything. Even more days to find a way to transmit all this information. And hopefully get the chance to make the message of the IYF – Learning to Love – known to the youth of the Philippines, and even Asia. What a herculean task, but every one of the 200+ people here are thinking, hoping and yearning for the same chance to spread the message of the weekend.
Watch out world, here we come!
PS. Tonight we have the “talent night”. But, as usual, I am being anti-social. Des and go and represent us. Haha. The time is going to jump forward tonight, and we have to be up before 6AM. So I am going to get as much sleep as I can get. I won’t doze off tomorrow with Pope Benedict watching me.
>March 26, 2010
Rocca di Papa, Rome
I snuck out of the last session today. Des is still at the chapel (where most of the other delegates still are) where the World Youth Day cross is. I prayed, venerated the cross, and then had to leave (nature called). It is amazing that the WYD cross is traveling all over the world. So many people have been touched by it.
I realized while praying, that I am happy. I mean, I know I am happy, but I just needed to affirm it to myself. I wasn’t crying buckets of tears. Nor was I moping about my problems. I went to the cross and told Jesus: “I am happy.”
I am happy with my family. My community. My being in Rome. My sharing with Des. My work. I am happy. And it is because God’s will is being done in my life. And I hope I continue to be open to that will, no matter what else is in store for us as a family.
Today was a heavy day. And it was good that heaviness is always balanced with fun mealtimes. We had breakfast with Latvia. Lunch with ICYCW, FILCAP and Indonesia. And dinner with the Asian Barkada (Myanmar, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and us)… Hungary came along as well.
We had a lot of lectures and a lot of sharers. The lectures in the morning were heavy, but very interesting. All about sexuality and culture. The first was “Sexuality, God’s gift, a personal treasure, language of communion” by Attilio Danese and Giulia Paola Di Nicola of Brussels (i think). And the second was on Cultural shifts in sexuality today. Msgr. Jean Laffitte (Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family) spoke on “Consequences of the sexual revolution” and Lola Velarde (President of the Institute for Family Policy) spoke on “Gender ideology”. Both were SO INTERESTING. And I am so excited to re-visit my notes on it.
There were testimonies from people from Austria (about chastity), Italy (from the organization New Horizons), Argentina (a nun) and Italy (a priest).
And then…. us.
We were chosen to give a testimony during the session on “Newness of Christian life experienced in marriage: fruitful love!”. Along with us, was a couple from France (one year married) and a couple from Ireland (2 years married). It is weird that we are married the longest. We are so used to being one of the younger ones. Des and I are actually part of the older delegates here.
We were one of the few testimonies given in English (a fact that has been the rumblings of some delegates – why there were so few english sharers, and no english speakers.. yet). And we were the ONLY SHARERS FROM ASIA. It was an honor to be able to speak in front of the IYF about our marriage, representing the Philippines – and Asia. An honor we will never forget. I hope we get to share this blessing with even more people.
After us, there were more testimonies. One by a Rwandan couple that was spared from the genocide there (Francois-Xavier and Solange Ngarambe). And another by the head of John XXIII Movement (Giovanni Paolo Ramonda).
It was a heavy day. But I am happy. And the smile on my face just won’t go away.
At the Vatican, we were able to go to the tombs underground. We stopped in front of the remains of St. Peter, went beside him to the tomb of Pope John Paul II, and passed more Popes on the way out.
Peter is the rock upon which the Church is built. The Popes after Him are also rocks upon which the Church was built.
Pope John Paul II is the rock of the Church of the youth. Pope Benedict XVI is the rock of the Church of deeper theology.
And we too should be rocks on which the Church is build. We must be strong. We must be founded on Christ. We must be unwavering. We must be brave. Just like Peter. And just like all the Popes after him.
And, it can be done, mind you. We are one body. We are one Church. You are not alone.
>March 26, 2010
Rocca di Papa, Rome
Yesterday was amazing.
We went to the Vatican to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of World Youth Day! We were on the stage, a few feet from Pope Benedict XVI! It was an amazing experience.
This wasn’t the World Youth Day itself. We will be coming back on Palm Sunday for the celebration of World Youth Day (when the WYD is not out of Rome – every three years – it is celebrated on Palm Sunday in Rome). We will wear our National Costumes, and hopefully sit near His Holiness again.
It is a good thing we didn’t wear our costumes last night! The night started at 6PM with some singing and dancing. And the Pope didn’t come out (on his Pope-mobile) until about 8:30PM. At that time, it was freezing already! We got our beanies out and our sweaters, and lit the candles we were given (which were for later in the program, but we lit them for heat). The Pope’s stage has heat lamps on its roof. How cool is that?
There were questions from the youth of Rome and Lazio (those were the areas invited for this event), and the Pope answered them. It was all in Italian, so I have no idea what he said.
When it was over, he got into his Pope-mobile, and passed (again) in front of us. He was literally maybe 3 feet away from me. I was taking pictures, and when I looked with my eyes (instead of through the camera), his nearness just struck me. I was overwhelmed with awe and happiness and a sense of belongingness. He truly does make you feel loved, just be his presence.
We had breakfast with Myanmar, the Emmanuel Community, Switzerland and Italy.
The whole morning was in Rocca di Papa with speakers on the vocation to love and about marriage. It wasn’t as heavy and theological as the day before, but was more experiential. The speakers were not priests, either. One was the founder of Shalom community in Brazil (“Life as a vocation” by Moyses Louro de Azevedo Filho), and the other was a couple from the Notre Dame Movement in Quebec, Canada (“Matrimony, a sacrament of spousal love and a way of holiness” by Martin Bergeron and Ginette L’Heureux). There was a Mass before all that celebrated by Cardinal Antonelli (President of the Pontifical Council for the Family).
Over lunch, we met Fr. Eric who is the head of the Youth Section of the PCL. And he said it was a shame that there are no speakers or resource people from Asia. Our speakers have been from all over the world, and there will be some speakers from Africa as well.
The different discussion groups presented their output, and one interesting feedback was that the usual marriage issues that are presented (like “Is it still relevant?” etc) are usually Western problems. So a lot of the Oriental countries were saying that those aren’t issues that they are faced with. They don’t see that (and other issues) as problems. That was very interesting! There are still a lot of bastions of good values out there.
We got to the Vatican at about 3:00PM. And we were given a private tour of the Vatican (it was closed to the public that day). The administrator, Cardinal Ruini (I think), welcomed us and gave a brief background of the things around us. Then we got a tour – care of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Center.
And the rest of the night, as I mentioned, was amazing.
>March 25, 2010
Rocca di Papa, Rome
Meals are interesting here. It starts off with carbs. Either pasta or rice (rice with milk and meat). Just that. Then they bring out a meat dish. Then salad and fruit. On the table there is bread, normal water, sparkling water and always a bottle of white wine…. with 10% alcohol! After 1 glass, I get so buzzed. And suffer with a headache the next day. While the Europeans drink it like water!
Meal times are always fun because we get to interact with different nationalities! Czech Republic and Cameroon over dinner the first night. Taiwan, Bangladesh, Poland, Sri Lanka, Slovakia and Slovenia (who knows the Tootills!) over breakfast yesterday morning. Hong Kong, Uzbekistan and Khazakhstan over lunch yesterday. South Korea, Malaysia and Croatia over dinner last night. We are trying to get into the Latin American clique, but the language barrier is so high.
The IYF is done in 4 languages – English, Italian, Spanish and French. Everyone has a headset and there are translators. I sometimes just go through all the different channels just to hear what the translators are saying. I wish I were multi-lingual. One Pinay here (part of the service team) speaks 6 languages! For the english translators, there are 2 girls alternating. One is very good, and the other one struggles a lot (and makes a lot of extra noises like “eeeehhh”, “uuuuurrrhhh”). Once, she went: “Hail Mary… Blessed are… etc etc.” Haha funny.
The Forum itself is inspiring, yet very taxing. The speeches are so full and rich, and it takes all your concentration to follow. But it is so full of learning.
Yesterday we were welcomed by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko (President of the Pontifical Council of the Laity). A message was read to us – from Pope Benedict XVI. A talk on love (“Made to love: the truth and beauty of love”) by Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, the Archbishop of Bologna (with sharings from some participants – from Russia, Madagascar, Uzbekistan, Uruguay and USA). A talk on the problems of the youth (“To live and grow in true love: challenges and difficulties for young people in our times – An overview of the situation of youth today”) by Monsignor Tony Anatrella from Paris, France. And group discussions. It was a full day. We ended with a multi-lingual mass. This is beauty.
In the group discussions, I mentioned that in the Philippines, divorce is illegal. One other delegate was so surprised! And I think, even shocked that there existed a place where you couldn’t get a divorce. I am still mulling it over if she was shocked in a good way, or shocked that there was no way out. I hope it was in a good way. And then, when talking about homosexuality, there were more liberal views from the European countries. It is interesting to see all this, and how we are all learning from one another.