DWFC – Divine Word College of Urdaneta

Urdaneta City

July 14-15, 2008



The annual Board of Directors’ meeting was held at the Divine Word Formation Center of the Divine Word College of Urdaneta last July 14-15, 2008. In spite of the bad weather, the slow moving storm “Helen” did not impede the determined spirit as each of the participants braved their way to the booming City of Urdaneta.

First arrival in the list was Miss Virginia Godoy from the Apostolic Vicariate of Tabuk who reached the place a day earlier. We, the John Paul I Biblical Center staff with our new director Fr. Jaimelito Gealan, SVD, and two companions representing the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia arrived safe with our heavy duty service car amidst experiencing heavy rains inside and out. Participants coming in one after the other as we kept ourselves warm with the prepared hot drinks, biscuits, puto (native delicacy) at the lobby of the venue.

The soft spoken rector of Divine Word Formation Center Fr. Bernard Teneza, SVD and some of the seminarians welcomed us, assisted us in our needs and made us feel comfortable in approaching them whatever we need during our stay.



The meeting was attended by 23 participants led by the Bishop Chairman Most Rev. Renato P. Mayugba, D.D., 6 priests, 4 religious women, 1 major seminarian from the Immaculate Conception School of Theology and 11 lay coordinators, representing the 11 arch/dioceses of Northern Luzon. Only three dioceses were not represented: the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, the Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe and the Prelature of Batanes.

The good bishop chairman officially opened the meeting at 4:25P.M. with a prayer to the Holy Spirit. He then introduced the new faces in the group; the new director of JPIBC Fr. Jaimelito G. Gealan, SVD, the new BA director of the diocese of Bayombong Fr. Crispin Costales, and Mr. Carlito Avisado, a lay proxy of Fr. Vic Hernando, director of the Diocese of Laoag.

The meeting started with the re-echo of the experiences in Tanzania, the CBF’s 7th Plenary Assembly followed by the opening mass presided by Bishop Rene at 5:00 P.M.



The next activity was the exchange/report on the role of Biblical Apostolate in BEC, Biblical Apostolate activities and the meaningful distribution of Bibles facilitated by Fr. Gealan.

Highlights were given attention to such as the following:

  1. the representative of Tabuk and Bayombong asked the assistance of the group to help them jumpstart their Biblical Apostolate.
  2. the making use of module on Creative Use of Scriptures in Catechesis learned from WABI 2008
  3. networking of Northern Luzon Biblical Apostolate with Catholic Schools, BEC, FLA, Catechetical and Indigenous Peoples Apostolate.
  4. prison apostolate emerged as one of the Biblical Apostolate activities
  5. there is a solid and strong family of Biblical Apostolate of Northern Luzon through the Regional Center.

Mrs. Lina Cacal updated the group of ECBA’s (Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate) activities such as the Bible translations’ workshop, coordinating with PBS for Bible distribution, the schedule of the next Catholic Family Bible Quiz with a new feature on-the-spot Painting Contest.

Fr. Doms continued the sharing of the Tanzanian experience through power point presentation after dinner. His presentation was the result of daily reflections on the Word of God – or Encounter with the Word in Tanzania through the Lectio Divina Group. He also distributed to everyone copies of the major talks delivered by resource persons during the 7th Plenary Assembly together with the draft of the Final Statement. He took the opportunity also to thank the group for the cooperation and support they accorded to him for the past six years as director of the John Paul I Biblical Center.

The continuation of the meeting on the next day focused on the following:



I. JPIBC concerns on:

A. Financial

The Center has survived thru the years through generous donations in addition to the meager annual average income. Its income is much, much less than it actually spends. Income includes Bishops’ annual contribution, 30 % Bible Week share, honoraria from seminars, recollections, Retreats, Ilocano Lectionary and Bible sales. Fr. Nilo opened to the board the financial concern of the Biblical Center.

Some concrete suggestions:

Ø JPIBC to regularly inform the dioceses on a quarterly basis about Bible Collecta.

Ø Bishop Rene will continue informing/writing his fellow bishops about their contributions.

Ø Directors order DBRG (Daily Bible Reading Guides) to JPIBC, 1 carton of 5,000 copies cost Php 500 to help finance the center

Ø Dioceses/parishes to encourage school children to donate their 25 centavos to the Center like Pondo ng Pinoy, but give it another distinct name.

B. Programs

1. JPIBC to collect modules from the dioceses for editing, layout and publish them for sale. Deadline for submission on August 30, 2008.

2. Pastoral visitations by the Bishop Chairman and staff with the following objectives: to “sell” the Center’s activities, to consult our co-workers, to collect modules, fees, and to give formation. Schedules if possible should coincide with an event e.g. bible congress or a seminar.

3. Gospel Song Writing Contest. – Fr. Nilo will give the theme, mechanics of the Contest

4. Hearts on Fire 2009. – It is a summer youth bible camp, a week long affair slated on April 2009. Its activities include bible lectures, celebrations, and bible walks. “Hearts on Fire” is Abra’s property; it is a festival in nature and done in a day annually. It was suggested that Hearts on Fire 2009 get another name to avoid confusion – e.g. Emmaus Gospel Gathering with a subtitle Summer Bible Youth Camp. It was decided that the venue will be in Peñarubia, Abra because it will be celebrated in conjunction with the Jubilee of SVD’s in Abra. One Hundred participants from Northern Luzon dioceses are invited. It will be coordinated with the Diocesan Youth Ministry.

5. The Word of God in the Schools – a program intended for Catholic schools.

Activities of the students include sharing on the Word of God during their Religious education classes, writing of reflections with note from their parents.

6. WABI 2009. April 20 – May 10.

Based on the financial report, expenses for the WABI is much more than it gets. Thus the question, is WABI worth keeping? The body’s answer is yes. Some suggestions to make it more viable: get in more participants, lessen the number of days from 21 days to 14 but keep registration fee as is, improve on the curriculum: lessen number of subjects and on project making, Level 1 participants should be required to undergo the BBS before enrolling. These are proposals for further study.

II. 24th Regional Biblical Workshop for Northern Luzon

The date of the 24th Regional Biblical Workshop for Northern Luzon will be on October 13 -16, 2008, to be hosted by the Diocese of Urdaneta, with the venue at John Paul II Pastoral Center. The theme, registration fee and other details will be announced later after some planning between the Bishop Chairman, Fr. Larry Hortaleza and JPIBC staff.


The 44th Board of Directors’ meeting concluded with a Eucharistic celebration at the Divine Word Formation Center chapel presided by Fr. Efren Ambre, the Vice- Chairman. Fr. Efren challenged the group to do something as planned unlike those mentioned in the Gospel that “they are not doing evil but they are not doing good either”.



Reported by:

Ms. Zusan G. Asistin

22 July 2008



Pastoral Statement on the Jubilee

of St. Paul 2008-2009

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!”
(1 Cor 1:3)

We, the Bishops of the Philippines, welcome with eagerness the announcement of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that the universal Church would celebrate a special Jubilee Year of the Apostle Paul. On June 28, 2007, during the celebration of the solemnity of the holy apostles Peter and Paul in the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls, the Pope said: “I am happy to announce officially that we shall dedicate a special Jubilee Year to the apostle Paul, from 28 June 2008 to 29 June 2009, on the occasion of the bi-millennium of his birth, which historians have placed between the years 7 and 10 A.D.”

Together with the rest of our fellow Asian Catholic Christians, how can we Filipinos not be moved to greet with enthusiasm the commemoration of the man who made it possible for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to go beyond the confines of Israel and reach the rest of us, “Gentiles”?

The Apostle to the Gentiles

Saul, who later became Paul—the man we call “the Apostle to the Gentiles”—was formerly known as a rabid persecutor of Christianity before he became its most avid propagator. He was the arch-enemy of that fledgling sectarian movement of the early first century that claimed that Jesus of Nazareth, the man whom Pilate had executed on the cross, had been raised by God from the dead and was in fact the Messiah the Jews had long awaited. This zealous Pharisee saw the nascent Jesus movement known as “The Way” as a threat to Judaism, and took upon himself the task of destroying it—until that fateful day on the road to Damascus. That experience would effect in him a complete turn-around; he became a whole new person, like one who had been totally possessed by Christ. Dazzled by the blinding light of Christ, he received an entirely “new sight” that would make him see as rubbish what he formerly held to be of utmost importance, “in view of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil 3:8)

Many of our present-day nominal Filipino Catholics who experience conversion at some late stage in their life and turn into active participants in the Church’s work of evangelization, cannot but relate with Paul’s moving story of spiritual transformation. Unfailingly, they often also find themselves drawing from Paul’s writings to sustain their process of renewal as disciples of the Risen Lord, as is the case with many members of our Catholic Charismatic communities.

Paul considered the Damascus event as a revelation and a call from God. His description of it echoes the prophetic call of Jeremiah and the Servant of God in Isaiah: “God, who from my mother’s womb called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles…” (Gal 2:15-16; cf. Jer 1:4, Is 49:1). From then on, his life was given fully to Christ and the Gospel. He traveled the Mediterranean world, preached the Gospel especially to the Gentiles, founded churches and wrote letters that would become Sacred Scriptures. His toil and hardship for the Gospel would easily equal, if not surpass, those of any follower of Christ. And so would his success. It would be claimed that the conversion of Paul was second only to the Christ-event in importance to the Christian faith. But Paul would consider himself only as a “servant of Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:1). What he was, all his toils, was due to the grace of God which was at work in him. Paul’s life was then crowned with his martyrdom; like Simon Peter he shed his blood in Rome. The two apostles are considered the two pillars of the Church of Rome which would become the mother of the churches.

Liturgical, Cultural and Ecumenical Initiatives

Pope Benedict XVI has proposed various activities for the Pauline Year, some of which would take place in Rome in the Basilica of St. Paul. Others can easily be carried out in various places in the world, and concerning these we invite the initiative and involvement of the Filipino faithful. The Holy Father notes that initiatives like penitential pilgrimages, study conventions and special publications on the Pauline texts can be implemented in the dioceses, shrines and places of worship, by the Religious and by the educational institutions and social-assistance centers which are named after St. Paul or inspired by him and his teaching.

Let us together mobilize the Filipino faithful so that the Pauline Year may turn into a kairos–a graced occasion–to know and imitate Saint Paul more in his consuming love for Christ and his zeal to spread the Gospel. We call upon all dioceses to come up with their own specific programs for the Pauline Year. The Bishops can designate churches dedicated to St. Paul where the faithful can go on pilgrimage and earn the gift of indulgences after following the requirements of the Church. We call upon Bible scholars to help us appreciate the Pauline Letters, the most precious legacy of the Apostle to the Church, but which many Christians remain unfamiliar to. We especially call upon the “Pauline” religious congregations, institutions and shrines to take special initiatives in leading the people to a greater awareness, love, and imitation of St. Paul whose life was wholly directed to Christ. The apostle would tell his converts: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). May these initiatives help us make “St. Paul alive today” and propel us in our common apostolic mission as Filipino Catholics towards the rest of Asia!

In particular, the OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) among our faithful can draw a lot of inspiration from the Apostle Paul, who took every opportunity at each time he came into contact with people of other nations, to witness to the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ, often even at the price of so much suffering, persecution, and imprisonment.

Lastly, the Holy Father points to one aspect that must be paid attention to during the celebration—the ecumenical dimension. “The Apostle to the Gentiles,” the Pope noted, “who was especially committed to taking the Good News to all peoples, left no stones unturned for unity and harmony among all Christians.” While ecumenical initiatives are usually carried on the level of Church authorities, the faithful could always appreciate the universal and encompassing spirit of the apostle Paul which would like all believers to be one mind and one purpose (1 Cor 1:10). He himself became “all things to all… for the sake of the gospel” (1 Cor 10:23). In the words of the Holy Father, may the apostle help us “to progress in the humble and sincere search for the full unity of all members of Christ’s Mystical Body.”

May the universal Church and the Filipino faithful experience God’s abundant blessing during this year of the Apostle’s Jubilee!

For and on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,

Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
July 6, 2008



RP to send 8 delegates to biblical assembly

(Out of the 8 delegates 4 (four) come from or active in Northern Luzon)

06/19/2008 | 01:23 AM

“MANILA, Philippines – Eight delegates from the Philippines will take part in a gathering of Biblical scholars in Dar Es Salaam, Africa on June 22 for the 7th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF).

Bishop Arturo Bastes, the moderator of the Executive Committee of the CBF and president of Philippine Bible Society, will lead the group of Philippine delegates.

A statement on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Web site ( Wednesday said Bastes also chairs the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA).

Other participants include Bishop Renato Mayugba (Lingayen-Dagupan), Chairman of John Paul I Regional Biblical Center of Northern Luzon and Cordillera; Fr. Dominador Ramos, president of Divine Word College, Urdaneta and former Director of John Paul I Biblical Center;

Sr. Miriam Alejandrino, Mary Almonte (Mother of Life), Sr. Antonia Anas SIHM (BA Director SIHM), Estrella del Mar (Cebu Lay Formation Center) and Fr. Oscar Alunday (ECBA).

The Plenary Assembly with 230 delegates is considered to be the most attended ever in its history. The theme is “God’s Word, Source of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.”

“Significant worldwide issues are set to be tackled during the Assembly which will give impetus to the upcoming African Synod that will take place three months before the Bishops’ Synod on the Word of God in Rome on October 2008,” the CBCP said.

It added the event will offer the delegates a rare opportunity to meet, exchange, plan and celebrate together once again as a worldwide Federation. GMANews.TV”



Bible Facilitators’ Seminar – Core Team Formation Seminar

Diocese of San Jose

San Jose City, Nueva Ecija

Way back 2002 and 2003, the John Paul I Biblical Center staff was invited by the Rector of Mary Help of Christians Quasi Parish and at the same time the Diocesan Biblical Promoter, Rev. Fr. Peter Albino Jr. to conduct Basic Bible Seminar to selected leaders of the diocese.

The Basic Bible Seminar given to the participants that succeeding years was followed by Basic Bible Seminar – Core Team Formation Seminar to complete the training.

This year, once again Fr. Peter called the attention of JPIBC staff headed by the new director Fr. Jaimelito G. Gealan, SVD, staff: Flordelis D. Dacquigan, Felicidad J. Gines and Zusan Asistin and requested their help to facilitate the same basic seminar to new selected 26 leaders representing parishes of the diocese for their initial training. Through constant communications, adjustment of dates and given availability of both sides, the date of the BBS was finalized last May 27-19, 2008

The seminar was conducted in Gethsemane Retreat House, Brgy. Parang Mangga, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.

The group of participants has shown fervor and willingness to learn in order to meet the call of service in the Word. They were all energetic inspite of their age gap from 70’s down to early 20’s, a team of Damayang Kristyano (taking by heart the vision-mission of their diocese) as they project their life and mission throughout the seminar.

To enhance the skills of the team, Fr. Peter asked a follow-up seminar and the JPIBC staff offered the Basic Facilitators’ and Core Team Formation Seminars. It is for the 16 participants who were left and returned to complete their training for them realize a clearer vision of their own to do their apostolate.

They were inspired by their young bishop, Msgr. Milo Huebert C. Vergara, D.D., who presided one of the masses held during the 3-day seminar. At the same time some of parish priests (who send their own chosen leader in their parish) visited the “soldiers of Christ” in the making.

The ever-calm and energetic Fr. Peter assured the team not to be afraid to be sent later on because their bishop, parish priest and himself as their servant-leader in the Biblical Apostolate will always be there to give the support they need. He said, “they are being instruments and just started to contribute their venture to the divine mission, the work of Jesus Christ.”

All the way from the north, the weather was increment. Typhoon signal #3 was hoisted over the places on our way to the venue, and indeed heavy rain welcomed us as we reached the St. Joseph Cathedral of San Jose City.

Inspite of the challenge of the strong winds, we took the risk to reach the place. We know there’s always possible way and things will be in place that only God can do and assure us through experiencing the manifestation of His powerful Word. We remembered the disciples sailing through the rough seas amidst the howling winds with Jesus’ words: be not afraid!

By: Zusan Asistin


“I thank you Fr. Provincial for your confidence and trust in me. Aware of my limitations, I promise to fulfill my responsibilities faithfully to the best of my abilities. I ask God and also you, my brothers and sisters to help me in this difficult task.” These were the words of promise made by Fr. Dominador O. Ramos, SVD during his installation rites as new President of Divine Word College of Urdaneta, June 18, 2008 at the school gymnasium.

Fr. Jerome Adriatico, SVD, Provincial Superior of the Northern Province installed and handed over a great responsibility to the new President. He entrusted him the students, administrators, faculty and personnel. Father Adriatico, who was the presider during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, stressed in his homily the importance of the Holy Bible in our modern world and how it could help each member of the DWCU community in the pursuit of excellence as individuals and as Divinians. “As a Catholic institution, the Divine Word College seeks to form persons, who, following the teachings of Christ, will devote their lives to the service of their fellowmen and through the promotion of justice, peace and integrity of God’s creation,” Father Adriatico added. With these, he expounded the theme, “In Witness to the Word in Pursuit of Excellence.”

Gracing the occasion were the SVD Priests and Brothers coming from their different missionary stations from the SVD Northern Province, the school administration, the teaching staff, parents, pupils, students and guests of the New President.

Before his appointment as President of DWCU, Fr. Dominador O. Ramos, SVD was assigned as the Director of John Paul I Biblical Center, Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The day after the installation the new president left for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa to represent the SVD-PHN and JPIBC – Northern Luzon to the 7th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation held on June 22 to July 3, 2008 with the theme: “Word of God – Source of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace.”


by: Mr. Sixto Lopez