33rd National Convention Catholic Faith Defenders Inc.
Talisay City, Cebu, Philippines
May 22-23, 2010
Theme: “Catholic Faith Defenders as Witnesses of Peace, Hope and Reconciliation”
(By: Bro. Ryan R. Mejillano)
Philippians 1:16 “Some out of charity, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.”
Last May 22-23, 2010, The Catholic Faith Defenders Inc. had its 33rd National Convention (every three (3) years). It was graced by the re-elected Mayor and our dearly beloved brother of the faith Bro. Socrates “Soc” Fernandez of Talisay City, Cebu.
The Beautiful City Hall of Talisay
Early January this year, the outgoing National President Atty. Miguel “Bro. Mike” Abas, announced that the upcoming National Convention will be held at Talisay City, Cebu. Since the advent of cell phone communications, the announcement became a wild fire to every CFD Chapters throughout the country.
Despite my hectic work schedules, I was able to file my leave of absence for that day (May 22 Saturday) solely for that religious convention. I was able to convince Bro. Hector (VP-External of CFD-San Pedro) to attend the said convention.
Another young and bright leader of CFD-Davao Bro. Hector Damaso. Like Bro. Ryan he is also a good friend of Fr. Abe, CRS.
So it was on May 22 (Saturday) at 7:15 a.m. that we took off by plane reaching the “Queen of the South” after 45 minutes of travel via Cebu Pacific Air. To my surprise, Atty. Marcelo “Bro. Mars” Bacalso (National Legal Adviser) called me up and told me that he will be fetching us in Mactan International Airport, Lapu-lapu City, Cebu. Thanks to Atty Mars since Talisay City is quite far from the airport and we don’t know exactly the area of the convention.
Atty. Mars Bacalso, Ed.D. and Bro. Ryan from Mactan Airport
The two-day program of activities
Past 11 o’clock a.m., we were able to reach the beautiful newly-built City Hall of Talisay. We registered our names in the attendance logbook and were given each one a kit (folder with programs and other articles) purposely for 2 days activity. Roughly three hundred (300 plus) attendees were there, mostly elderly defenders and witnesses of the Catholic Faith. Meals, snacks and lodging were served and prepared for free courtesy of Mayor Soc.
Engr. Ramon Gitamondoc, the prime-mover of the activity
The afternoon’s event was resumed at 2pm. Rev. Fr. Dondon Aquino gave us the topic “Scriptures and Prayer”, wherein he reiterated the importance of prayer in the life of an apologist.
Rev. Fr. Lucas Inoc in his topic “Gaudium et Spes” The Sacrament of Reconciliation colloquy was given by Rev. Msgr. Dennis Villarojo. He extensively discussed the benefits of the sacrament and made a coherent and historical examination of the doctrine.
Bro. Lesty of CFD-CDO Chapter raises question to Fr. Inoc After the open forum, the National Convention opened the presentation of candidates for the year 2010-2013. Each applying candidate must have the following qualification envisaged by the National Constitution and By-laws Article IX Section 1;
1) He must be an active member of the organization for at least three (3) consecutive years prior to his election;
2) He must be a member of the National assembly as defined in Section 4, Article V hereof;
3) He must be of proven honesty and integrity;
4) He must not have been suspended or penalized for violation of any rules and regulations of the organization and;
5) He must be generally a responsible person. The committee on election gave each candidate the chance to introduce himself and speak about his plans for the group. There were 35 candidates for the Board of Governors position wherein only 21 shall be chosen by majority votes.
The following defenders of the Faith were chosen to be the governing body for the period of three (3) years, to wit;
National President – Bro. Ramon Gitamondoc
(Engr & Prof. University of San Carlos, Cebu City)
V-Pres. Internal – Bro. Cleb Calimutan
(Instructor of Theology, Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro City)
V-Pres. External – Bro. Wendell Talibong
(Radio Anchorman, DXDD Catholic Media Station, Ozamis City)
Secretary National – Bro. Ryan R. Mejillano
(Instructor of Theology, Liaison officer, Davao City)
Treasurer – Bro. Adam Amper
(Bank Manager, Certified Public Accountant, LL.B, Cebu City)
P.I.O. – Bro. Reynaldo Rosal
– Bro. Raymundo Bascones
Board of Governors members
Bro. Miguel Abas – Dipolog City
Bro. Septofel Apurado – Cebu City
Bro. Francisco Pastorite – Cebu City
Bro. Alejandro Purca – Cebu City
Bro. Dionesio Pepito – Oroquieta City
Bro. Nelson Dalam – Cebu City
Bro. Hector Damaso – Davao City
Bro. Rey Entila – Bacolod City
Bro. Hernando Mangitngit – Cebu City
Bro. Juvenal Alesna – Ormoc City
Bro. John Diona – Davao City
Bro. Celestino Cubol – Cagayan de Oro City
Bro. Woodrow Maquiling – Dumaguete City
Bro. Ricardo Felizarta – Zamboanga City
Honorary Adviser – Bro. Socrates Fernandez
(Mayor of Talisay City)
Bro. Ryan R. Mejillano At 6pm, after the end of the first day convention, the participants were able to witness the live radio streaming program of Bro. Soc via DYHP. The CFD participants were given the chance to ask questions which they thought, could break the head of Bro. Soc. Elucidating with clarity, Bro Soc answered all their questions and remained calm throughout the radio program.
Mayor Soc in his live radio program….
as witnessed by CFD participants…
the untiring Bro. Soc…
elucidating brilliantly the catholic faith… He is indeed a legend of Philippine Catholic Apologetics. The CFD National has its own Television Network that will be reported in my succeeding posts.
I saw different banners, insignias and shirts bearing the names and mottos of the different chapters of the Catholic Faith Defenders Inc. from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Atty. Mike Abas during his President’s report That was my first time to see legions of defenders marching for the holy crusade for the Faith. Others are young, relatively older, and Senior citizens for the Faith respectively. I saw Bro. Romy Birad and Bro. Boy Naranjo of CFD-Mangagoy Chapter where we held our CFD-USEP outreach apologetics. I saw the followers of late National President Dr. Fortunato Dayot of Tagum City, Dr. Rey Entila (Doctor of Religious Studies, University of St. La Salle Bacolod). The Honorable Judge Dangaso of Gingoog, Atty. Mike Abas of Dipolog, Atty. Bacalso of Cebu, and many more whose charism is to stoutly defend the Sacred Truth once and for all.
Dr. Entila, Atty. Abas and Bro. Ryan chatting of experiences…There were also presentations of reports by different chapters. Luckily, our Davao chapter was ready all the time for their presentation since they had been presenting the Davao apologetics since 2007 (updated time to time). Listening to the reports by different chapters made me realized that the defense of the Sacred Truth would be a lifetime apostolate. Once you embrace that apostolate, take heed of the sacred words of Our Lord “those who will persevere shall be saved” (Mt. 24:13).
Oath of office for tenure of three (3) years
Second day, a Pontifical Mass was celebrated by His Excellency Julito Cortez D.D., Metropolitan Auxiliary bishop of Cebu.
Bro. Ryan, His Excellency Cortes and Bro. Hector after the oath taking The oath taking and sending forth were conferred by him after the Holy Mass, followed by a lecture on the topic “Fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium”. Below is the electronic copy of his colloquy: (emphasis mine)
Fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium
May 23, 2010 (Solemnity of Pentecost/ Whitsunday)
Catholic Faith Defenders and Friends, Good Morning!
I have been tasked today to reflect and share with you some ideas on the topic: Fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium. But before I do that, allow me to welcome you to Cebu- and to the Archdiocese of Cebu- Maayong Pag-abot sa Sugbu-. It is my wish that you will have a memorable and meaningful convention and stay here in the city of the Santissimo Nombre de Nino Jesus (the City of the Most Holy Name of Jesus), as Cebu was known in the ancient chronicles. It is also my prayer that this convention of yours and mine be a moment of grace for each of us and for us as an organization, so that we can be further inspired to pour ourselves to the Church we dearly love.
Bishop Cortes delivered his speech “ Fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium” Fidelity in Today’s World
Fidelity is definitely a topic worth reflecting these days. In the aftermath of our recent national elections, we can probably ask ourselves: were we really yellow? or orange? or green? or did we shift colors depending on the color of money before us? or because of the promise that should this candidate win, we will be rewarded? was our vote influenced by political commitments and social obligations? or was it really a vote for conscience? and now since it seems that the yellow has won, will other colors like orange and green in the political horizon turn yellow overnight?
Fidelity in other words, implies a center. A center where our life revolves. If money is the center of our lives, then, definitely seek ways to be famous. If our conscience- if God- is the center of our lives, whether or not there be money or fame, then we will do what our conscience bids us.
Now, the question is – what is our center? Or, for us, as catholics, who is our center? The question of fidelity can only be answered when we are clear what or who our center is. Otherwise, everything will only be an exercise of linguistics calisthenics.
Oath taking and sending forth ceremony by Bishop Cortes (Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu) The Catholic Faith Defenders’ Mission
The center of the Catholic Faith Defenders, I believe, is God. Hence, as its mission, the CFD seek ways to defend the Catholic Faith from erroneous teachings, and at the same time, seek ways to instruct others on how to defend and treasure this Faith, so that all may find their way through Jesus to the Father.
At this point, allow me to express my gratitude for the good work you are doing. You are doing something very valuable and very productive to our Church. And I think, the Church cannot thank you enough for the zeal you have shown in the exercise of your particular charism.
As is, the parish priest in many parishes can no longer do what you are doing. He attends to other ministries in the Church so, pastorally, he would have very little time doing the “apologetical” work that you do. You are therefore responding to a sensitive area of weakness in the Church. And, besides, as Roman Catholics, we are taught to be loving and charitable – it is not our mission to attack the faith of others and find errors in this faith of theirs. Lamentably, others attack us – and, fortunately, the Church has you. So, once again, thank you very much for the great service you are doing for our Church.
Bishop Cortes in the Q & A portion Historical Triumphs and Baggages
While it is clear however, that fidelity needs to have a center- which we acknowledge, is the Lord- it is crucial to acknowledge that our Church, through which we got to know the Lord, while being divine is also a human institution and a product of history. And, being a human institution, the Church is subject to the activities of men and women, to power struggles among kings and emperors, and even among bishops and priests. It cannot be denied, then, that through history, mistakes and errors have been made.
Your experiences in the field would reveal that we are most vulnerable to attacks in the following areas: Church getting involved in politics or in issues like the Reproductive Health Bill; or in basic concerns like repetitive prayer like the rosary, confessions before the priest, masses of the dead, plenary indulgences and many others. We are vulnerable to attack because we are certainly wanted to make our voice known. To be quiet on issues like the Reproductive Health Bill, among others, would be like keeping quiet to the killing of the unborn in our midst-which, for us, would constitute grave sin.
In a meeting with the Bishops of Scotland in Rome, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI said these words: “Recent developments in medical ethics and some of the practices advocated in the field of embryology give cause for great concern. If the Church’s teaching is compromised, even slightly, in one such area, then it becomes hard to defend the fullness of Catholic doctrine in an integral manner. Pastors of the Church, therefore, must continually call the faithful to complete fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium, while at the same time upholding and defending the Church’s right to live freely in society according to her beliefs.
The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Chapter 25, moreover, has these lines: Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic Truth. In matters of Faith and Morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ, and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent of souls. This religious submission of will and of mind must be shown in a special way to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra, his supreme Magisterium is acknowledged, the judgment made by him…adhered to….known chiefly from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, from his manner of speaking.
Certainly, we do not follow nor obey blindly. That is why you and I are called to participate in Church’s activities, like on-going church formation, deepening of catechism lessons, and others, so that we will understand better appreciate what the Church teaches. But again, as I have hinted earlier, it is good to acknowledge that we, as Church, while divine, are a product of history. Acknowledgment that we, as Church, are a human and historical construct would place us in a better position to answer questions and to clarify certain issues.
Church as Magister as well as Mater
But even as we acknowledge that the Church is Magister or Teacher, we also need to realize she is Mater or Mother. That while as Magister she teaches, corrects, and, sometimes, punishes with words like anathema sit, at heart, the Church is mother and will only lovingly welcome back an erring child.
At this point, it may be best to accept that everything is grace. To be faithful to the Church’s Magisterium is grace. But even as we acknowledge that everything is grace, I still would like to believe that two things are crucial in being faithful to the Magisterium:First, personal prayer; and, Second, participation in the communal expression of the faith like the Sunday Eucharist. Prayer disposes us to dialogue with God and makes us ready to receive the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit who alone helps us to interpret scriptures correctly. And communal participation in the Eucharist strengthens our bond with the Body of Christ. That while we directly relate to the Father individually, we are all members of God’s kingdom.
Definitely, fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium is one of the best expressions in showing how we dearly love our Church: through the Church, we receive our Faith; In the Church, we nurture and express our Faith; The Church is one of God’s greatest gifts to us- Let us value this gift by always being faithful to her teachings.
By the Most Reverend Julito B. Cortes, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu
The newly selected National Board of Officers 2010-2013 The first Board of Governor’s meeting was held in a lunch meeting at the conference hall of Talisay City. It was a close door meeting. We laid down our proposed plans and programs and set our next quarterly meeting by August.
Honorable Judge Dangaso of CFD-Gingoog Chapter In the afternoon session, Bro, Ramon Gitamondoc discussed about “Ways of doing apologetics” followed by Bro. Soc Fernandez on his “Joys of being a CFD”.
National Convention Certificate of attendance The convention formally ended with a closing remark by Bro. Adam Amper and giving of certificate of attendance.
Pro Deo et Ecclesia.
The pictures below are taken when I and Bro. Hector visited some of our classmates and fellow CFD-USEP who are now residing in Cebu. We went to Ayala Mall and have a coffee break @ Starbucks. We went to the Order of Augustinian Discalced (OAD) where our friends and fellow CFD’s, Rev. Giovanni (soon to be deacon) and Bro. Roderick (graduated Cum Laude), are doing their apostolate. This congregation regularly celebrates the Extra-ordinary Form (Tridentine Latin Mass) every Sunday 10:30 a.m. We went also to the Metropolitan Cathedral and Magellan’s cross at night to personally thank God for all the blessings He had given to us since our college days with Bro. Hector. God indeed is working in us in a very mysterious ways.
We returned to Davao City early Monday bringing with us the beacon of experiences. God bless CFD. (“,)
am the cameraman hehehe…
seldom to drink @ Starbucks..
thanks to this temporary abode near the city proper…
Order of Augustinian Discalced (OAD)
OAD with its schedule every 10:30 a.m. (Extra-ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, A.k.a. TLM)
The OAD Blessed Sacrament Chapel
Mysteries of the Rosary shrine…
Sta. Rita (Saint of the Impossible)
Our Lady of Fatima Shrine..
Façade of the Metropolitan Cathedral
The magnificent interior of the Cathedral
Recessional after the post communion
My Dear Lady of Guadalupe (Patroness of the Philippine Island)
The High Altar of the Metropolitan Cathedral
the cathedra of His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal D.D.