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Published News of Claves

Pope names new bishop of Laguna;

2 bishops retire early

MANILA, Jan. 25, 2013— Two Filipino Catholic bishops have resigned before the mandated retirement age of 75.

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignations of Bishops Deogracias Iņiguez, 72, of Kalookan and Leo Drona, 71, of San Pablo.

The information was relayed to the Media Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) by Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines on Friday.

The two prelates’ resignation was made under Canon 401, par. 2 of the Code of Canon Law which provides that a diocesan bishop who becomes unsuited for duties due to illness or other grave reason is requested to tender his resignation from office.

Bishop Buenaventura Famadico

Meantime, Benedict XVI has appointed current Gumaca Bishop Buenaventura Famadico, 56, as successor of Drona.

Famadico was ordained a priest in 1983 and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Lipa in July 2002. In June 2003, the pontiff appointed him as the second bishop of Gumaca in Quezon province.

Currently, he is a member of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life.

As the new bishop of San Pablo, Famadico will serve the more than two million Catholic population of the diocese.

Drona was ordained a priest on December 22, 1967 in Rome, Italy and was appointed bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija in July 1987 and served until 2004 until he was transferred to San Pablo.

Iņiguez, meanwhile, was the first bishop of Kalookan and had served the diocese since August 2003.

Born in Cotabato City in December 1940, Iņiguez was ordained a priest in 1963.  He   served as Auxiliary Bishop of Malolos from 1985 to 1989 and bishop of Iba in Zambales from 1990 to 2003.

Iņiguez is currently the chairman of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs. (CBCPNews)

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Poblete dies at 88


After enduring health complications due to old age, the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Elias, O. Poblete, JCD, MEd, PA, first rector of the St. Peter’s College Seminary, finally commended his soul to the Lord in the morning of April 17, 2010, Saturday.

The prelate was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Calamba Medical Center, Calamba City with high blood pressure, adding to his already worsening situation. Most Rev. Leo M. Drona, SDB, DD, bishop of San Pablo, was able to administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to the ailing minister before he succumbed to cardiac arrest and respiratory failure at 1:00 a.m. on April 17. News of Monsignor’s demise quickly reached his relatives, friends, and fellow priests in the diocese.

Arrangements for the funeral wake were immediately prepared. Clad in full regalia befitting a monsignor of the highest papal award, protonotary apostolic supernumerary, Msgr. Poblete’s remains were first laid in state at St. John the Baptist Parish, Calamba City, where he served as pastor for almost two decades. His body was brought to the Cathedral Parish of St. Paul the First Hermit, San Pablo City on April 19, 2010 for a funeral Mass attended by the clergy of San Pablo after their monthly assembly. He also served as parish priest of San Pablo and was appointed the first vicar general of the Diocese during the time of Most Rev. Pedro N. Bantigue, DD. On the same day, his remains were transferred to the St. Peter’s College Seminary where a funeral Mass and necrological services were held. Rev. Fr. Jerry E. Gaela, rector and a former student of Msgr. Poblete, shared in his homily two distinctive characteristics of the late rector. First was Monsignor’s emphasis on discipline matched by his strong character. Fr. Jerry recalled how the seminarians would tremble before Monsignor’s presence. But as they would fear Monsignor during their seminary days, they now just laugh at their past mistakes and thank him for instilling in them such discipline which is indispensible for a fruitful priestly ministry. Second was his great thirst for knowledge which he imparted to the seminarians through extensive reading. Fr. Jerry noted Monsignor’s great passion for reading, seen in his collection of books of all sorts of topics.

As Msgr. Poblete’s remains were laid in state in the seminary until April 22, 2010, more insights on his life were revealed. Former students of Monsignor, priests and lay, came to pay their last respects for their great “Disciplinarian” and “Patriarch” which brought smiles and laughter to the bereaved relatives in their times of sorrow.   

Finally, Msgr. Poblete’s remains were taken to his hometown, Mabitac, on April 22, 2010. Friends, former parishioners, and relatives arrived to express their love for the great pastor of the Church through flowers, sharing of experiences, and prayers. A necrological service at 9:00 a.m. followed by a Solemn Mass presided by Most. Rev. Leo M. Drona, SDB, DD, bishop of San Pablo, were held before Monsignor’s remains were finally laid to rest.

In honor of Monsignor’s tireless pastoral zeal, a local museum is being prepared by his relatives and friends which, in its completion, would house the prelate’s personal belongings. It is also planned that the museum would be the final resting place of Monsignor’s remains.  

A Day of Healing

Our life is a journey beset with many obstacles. One of them is having sickness which makes a person physically weak, emotionally unstable, and spiritually arid. But God never leaves us alone in our illnesses. He has His own “Healing Team” ready to aid us. We realized this when our community celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day for the Sick on February 11, 2010, a day of healing through the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Padre Pio and thanksgiving to our seminary doctors.

            At 3:00 PM, Rev. Fr. Jerry E. Gaela commenced the celebration with an hour of Eucharistic adoration followed by the exposition of St. Padre Pio’s relic. In a short reflection, Fr. Jerry reminded everyone that it is only God Who grants true healing, but He wills that His graces be poured out through the Blessed Mother and the saints. With fervent trust in God’s loving mercy and Padre Pio’s intercession, the devotees solemnly formed a queue to touch the holy relic. Fr. Jerry anointed the people with the “infirmorum”, holy oil used for the sick.

A Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place at 6:00 PM. The seminary doctors were invited to express the community’s gratitude for their selfless service. In his homily, Fr. Geminiano Formeloza reminded the doctors that they are instruments of God in showing His care for His people. 

As we continue to struggle in life, God’s Healing Team – the Blessed Mother Mary, the saints, and the doctors – are on standby to help us. All we need to do is to ask for their help and entrust ourselves in their prayers and expertise. We might not get well physically, but their emotional and spiritual support can be ascertained until we come together before our Ultimate Healer.

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The Seminary Commemorates the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

“I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of God.” In granting him primacy over the apostles, symbolized by the “keys of Heaven”, Jesus appointed St. Peter as the visible head of the Church, His Mystical Body. As a commemoration of this great event in St. Peter’s life and in the history of the Church, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the seminary patron, was celebrated on February 22, 2010. Pari: Gabay ng Kabataan tungo sa Pag-ibig at Pagkakaisa was the theme of this year’s celebration. Rev. Fr. Gomer B. Torres, spiritual director, was the priest-in-charge of the occasion, with the cooperation of selected seminarians who formed the Fiesta Ad Hoc Committee.

The Novena Masses and Activities

          As traditionally done, guest Mass presiders and different parish choirs graced the Novena Masses from February 13 to 21. But this year’s celebration saw not only the seminary community and usual Mass goers attending the Novena Masses. In line with the fiesta theme, high school students and Church-based youth ministries were also invited: St. Michael’s College from Biņan City; Academia de San Ignacio de Loyola and MSC, San Pablo City; the Liceos of the Diocesan School System; Canossa Schools from Calamba City and San Pablo City; Lingkod ng Dambana; Parish Youth Commission; and Parish Vocation Commission. Before the 5:30 p.m. Novena Mass, the young guests were toured around the seminary, followed by a short Vocation Awareness Program in the auditorium, focusing on the priestly and religious vocation.

       A day of fun and relaxation after many days of tiring preparation was set for the seminarians. On Saturday, February 20, 2010, the traditional Palaro ng Lahi prepared by the Socio-Cultural Ministry was held in which the seminarians were grouped into five: Pepeng, Reming, Santi, Tino, and Ondoy. The whole morning was filled with excitement as teams played “Mary Went to Market”, “Amazing Race Food Relay”, and “Catching the Water”. Tino, Santi, and Reming got the 1st, 2nd, 3rd places, respectively.

The Grand Finale: Fiesta!

          The feast day began with the Solemn Lauds in honor of the Chair of St. Peter presided by Rev. Fr. Marcelino Ramos, Human Formation Director. In the afternoon, the seminary community with Mass goers and sponsors held a procession around Villa Lozada, San Pablo City. Upon returning, the people were welcomed by the amazing banduria band of Paaralan ng Pag-ibig at Pag-asa (PPP), a school for the physically and mentally handicapped, which is one of the apostolate areas of the seminarians. Rev. Fr. Jerry E. Gaela, PhD presided at the 5:30 p.m. Solemn Mass with the seminary formators. The following priests of the Missionaries of Faith also concelebrated: Fr. Boyet Asesor, rector and oeconomous; Fr. Jesus Emmanuel Obias, spiritual director; Fr. Dante Almiņana, chaplain of San Pablo Colleges; and Fr. Iņego Adona,

In his homily, Fr. Jerry explained that the Chair of St. Peter is a sign of power, greatness, and unity of the Church that Jesus established upon Peter. “Feed my sheep” (Jn 21:15-17), the Resurrected Lord’s summons to Peter by the lake, clearly shows how Jesus gave not only the visible primacy to Peter and his successor, the Pope, but the important responsibility of keeping the flock of Christ in unity, symbolized by the Cathedra (bishop’s chair) of the Pope in St. John Lateran Basilica, Vatican City. The Catholic Church remains united because of the apostolic succession of the Pope, down to Benedict XVI, the 265th successor of St. Peter.

Fr. Jerry also expounded on the infallibility of the Pope with regards to teachings on Faith and morals, which is not the same with impeccability, i.e. inclination to personal sin. The Pope’s infallibility, solemnly proclaimed by the 1st Vatican Council, has always been a part of the Church’s Sacred Tradition and rooted in Scriptures. It is God’s assurance of His abiding Spirit so that no erroneous teachings may arise. Even immoral popes throughout Church history never did pronounce any doctrine contrary to the Faith – a clear proof of the Pope’s infallibility.  

To conclude, Fr. Jerry encouraged the faithful to pray always for the Pope who is given an overwhelming responsibility over the Universal Church. Since the Chair of St. Peter symbolizes the unity of the whole Church, Fr. Jerry also moved everyone to intercede for the unity of all Christians, the respect for the right to religious expression, and for all Catholics to submit themselves with filial trust and love to the admonitions of the Pope, Christ’s Vicar on earth.

       After the Mass, Fr. Gomer expressed his deep gratitude to all the sponsors, priests, guests, and other people who extended their help and generosity for the success of the celebration. He said, “Ang Fiesta ay hindi lamang dapat mabongga kundi mabunga.” (The Fiesta should not only be extravagant but also fruitful.) It is his belief that the whole affair, from the Novena Masses to the Fiesta day, was truly a fruitful celebration of love and unity. Fr. Gomer would not accept the title Hermano Mayor because for him, it stands for those who in their God-given ways spiritually and financially supported the success of the celebration.

       With great thanksgiving, the community prepared a short dinner program at the Padre Quirino Glorioso Auditorium emceed by Sems. Urayjan Borlaza and Joseph Dorado. During dinner, the students from PPP presented another special banduria number. Rev. Fr. Niņo Formeloza and Ms. Leilanie Aninao, a student from Canossa San Pablo, serenaded the visitors with their heartwarming voices. The seminary band, Crushed Bizkits, also entertained the guests with contemporary songs.

It was a great event for the St. Peter’s College Seminary community that tirelessly worked for the success of the feast. In their simple contributions of talents and resources, the seminarians mirrored the unity of the whole Church under St. Peter which Jesus earnestly prayed for.


Special Thanks to the Following:

Guest Novena Mass Presiders (in chronological order): Rev. Fr. Rico Villareal, parochial vicar of St. Paul the First Hermit Cathedral, San Pablo City; Rev Msgr. Melchor Barcenas, VG, rector of St. Paul the First Hermit Cathedral; Rev Frs. Tootsie Flores, SSP; Clifford Miras, parochial vicar of Sto. Sepulcro Parish, Brgy. Landayan, San Pedro; Jayson Caballes, parochial vicar, San Isidro Labrador, Calauan; Emil Urriquia, parish priest, San Vicente Ferrer, Biņan City; Reine Eriga, parish priest, St. John the Baptist, Calamba City; Mauricio Llarena, parish priest, Immaculate Conception, San Pablo City; and Most. Rev. Leo M. Drona, SDB, DD, bishop of San Pablo.


Guest Parish Choirs (in chronological order):  Seraphim Choir, San Roque Parish; Sta. Isabel Choir, Immaculate Conception Parish, San Pablo City; Canossian Youth Choir, Canossa School; Grand Choir and Sancti Joannes Choir, St Paul the First Hermit Cathedral; Ave Maria  Chorale, Sto. Rosario Parish, Pacita Complex; and Balibago Youth Choir, Chair of St, Peter Parish, Sta. Rosa City.

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