Father Bruno Vanin died this morning (July 7 2015) in Lecco, Italy. He was suffering from cancer for the past one year. Born in Treviso on November 26,1956 and ordained priest on December 27,1980, he was assigned to the Philippine’s mission in 1981 and worked there since.
Negli ultimi giorni di Rancio nella stanza terminale, con la barba bianca, il volto scheletrico, i desideri che rimpicciolivano, le gambe vacillanti, il tramonto riflesso sulle montagne a nord (San Martino), con la sola serenità e il calmo avvertimento dell’unica stella notturna a lui rimasta, lui, Bruno, con grande dignità si beveva la vita in tutto quello che in Mindanao era stato, che era e sarebbe stato.
Late in May, the Catholic Church beatified the martyred Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Will similar recognition come someday to Mindanao?
That’s where missionaries Tulio Favali and Fausto Tentorio were likewise murdered. The two were members of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (Pime). “Why do you wish to be a priest, even though priests are being killed?” someone once asked Favali. His reply: “So that they will have more priests to kill
Established in 1850 in Italy, the Pime is now in 17 countries, including the Philippines. Its roster includes 18 martyrs and one canonized saint.
As in El Salvador, paramilitary operatives of counterinsurgency groups in Mindanao have tarred popular movements for change as “subversive.” Their agents smeared Pime missionaries—whispering about the Communist Party of the Philippines’ praise for Father Tentorio, for example.
Pope Benedict XVI met these smears head on. He asked Giuseppe Pinto, then the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio in Manila, to convey his message to Filipinos. Tentorio was “a good priest, a fervent believer,” the Pope wrote. “For many years, he served the people of the Philippines in a courageous and indefatigable way.”
Benedict’s statement was published in the Vatican’s official daily, L’Osservatore Romano.
Who slammed the replay button?
For years, opponents within the Vatican blocked the cause of Blessed Oscar Romero. “But with the presence of Pope Francis, a sensible Latino who knows Latin America, the process was revived,” then finally pushed through, writes Bernardo Barranco, the president of the Center of Religious Studies, an institute in Mexico City. “It acknowledged a figure of the Church who has been denied for decades.”
Romero was shot while saying Mass by a junta gunman. A “truth commission” later concluded that former army major Roberto d’Aubuisson ordered the killing. He was never tried. Impunity enabled him to establish the conservative Arena party, which governed El Salvador until 2009. He is now in the opposition.
“For a whole generation of Christians in Latin America, Romero’s murder demonstrated the barbarity of military dictatorships,” writes Barranco. Romero morphed from a timid bishop to an outspoken prelate after El Salvador goons gunned down a Jesuit priest who defended the poor.
In the Philippines, it has been four years now since the murder of Tentorio (or “Father Pops”).
Last October, a caravan disembarked in Arakan, North Cotabato. The caravan members heard Mass concelebrated by 15 priests. The theme of the liturgy was Pope Francis’ call: “Go. Do not be afraid. Serve the people.”
They recalled that after arriving in Kidapawan, Father Pops stayed in the village of Kabacan to learn the local languages.
He trekked to far-flung villages to reach the neglected tribals and farmers. And he taught them how “to unite into organizations where they developed a new kind of education that empowered them to struggle for their rights.”
Lawyer Gregorio Andolana documented “some investors racing to exploit the natural resources of Arakan.” He pinpointed the corrupt politicians who feared that the organized farmers and tribals would no longer sell their votes.
These politicians considered priests like Tentorio and Favali as subversive. For some, this was sufficient motive for an extrajudicial killing.
After many appeals to the President, a new special investigating team for unsolved cases is now conducting an in-depth review of Tentorio’s killing. We want to see results, says Fr. Peter Geremia of the Pime.
Filipinos will find the Romero case instructive. After years in which the process was stalled, Pope Francis’ beatification decision was “a surprise and a thrill for everyone,” said Simeon Reyes, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church in El Salvador.
“There were always priests who were not in agreement with him,” said Gaspar Romero, the slain bishop’s brother. “But the Vatican has recognized him as a man of faith, a man who spoke for the neediest, defending the poor from injustices, and who was killed for it.”
Romero’s case for sainthood became bogged down in Church politics, recalls Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who guided the beatification cause through the process.
Over the years, Romero’s opponents argued that he was too politically controversial and a follower of “liberation theology,” a movement within the Church focused on fighting injustice and inequality.
“A mountain of paper, unfortunately, weighed down” Romero’s case. Will that be the case in Mindanao?
Pope Francis bypassed senior prelates to pick the second Filipino cardinal from Mindanao, Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato.
The violence that Romero encountered, including the killing of his fellow priests, “radicalized [him] and made him aware that the repression had no limits, that they would attack anyone equally, including the Church,” said Jose Jorge Siman, a friend for many years.
A prayer, wrongly attributed to Romero, says it is also for martyred missionaries Favali and Tentorio:
“The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work….
“Nothing we do is complete, which is saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us… We plant the seeds that one day will grow….
“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that… We may never see the end results… We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”
FFPTFI Mid Report RELIEF AND REHABILITATION ASSISTANCE FOR TYPHOON YOLANDA-‐AFFECTED AREAS LA PAZ, SOUTHERN LEYTE
Tomorrow is the Death Anniversary of Father Tullio Favali. This song is for Saint Pedro Calungsod pero applicable rin kay Father and all the martyrs.
WITH LOVE AND FAITH (SONG FOR SAINT PEDRO CALUNGSOD)
To be the Lord’s companion and his friend,
you vowed to turn away from sin.
And with your passion and your piety,
you showed us how to hope and trust in him.
To spread the Lord’s salvation and his truth,
you traveled far to preach your dream.
And with your mighty selfless heart and soul, you showed us how to live and die for him.
With your love and faith you conquered doubt and hate.
Lead us to God’s Word and bring light to the world.
Guide us all as we prepare our hearts and be your company
in mission to create God’s kingdom here on Earth.
To prove the Lord’s compassion and his strength,
you shed your blood to save a kin.
And with your loyalty and sacrifice,
you showed us how to laud and honor him.
God’s kingdom here on earth!
At a certain moment, during suffering, ….. I did answer Yes to Someone – or Something -and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self-surrender, had a goal.
Brother Giovanni came here in 1968 and was one of the founders of PIME-Philippines. Till 1981 he worked, most of the time, in the squatter’s area of Tondo, Manila. Then in 1981 was assigned to PIME-Italy. He came back to the Philippines in 1987 and, after three years, finally, returned to Italy. Joyful spirit often and suddenly he would have burst out singing popular songs and his filipino friends were filled with such delight as they must have found in freedom that time, under the rule of Martial Law.
Con percorso che segue le vicende di Pietro e del Discepolo Amato nel vangelo di Giovanni, capitoli 13-17, 20-21. Chi e’ l’apostolo di Cristo? La sua identità e come attuare la sua missione.
Giovanni rappresenta il semplice discepolo, quello che vuole bene e si lascia amare da Gesù mentre Pietro, il pastore e ministro della Chiesa nella sua visibilità. Impersonano due ruoli ecclesiali distinti, ma non separabili. Si tratta di due figure dell’evento cristiano. Giovanni l’amore permanente personificato dell’apostolo verso Cristo e Pietro che invece diventa apostolo attraverso un percorso. Fu in Giudea, nel luogo dove si manifestò il Battista che e’ situata la prima chiamata: due discepoli infatti, sentendo Giovanni Battista indicare Gesù come l’Agnello di Dio, gli si avvicinarono e gli chiesero dove abitasse; quindi passarono la giornata con lui. Andrea, il fratello di Simone, era uno dei due discepoli e per primo egli avvertì suo fratello: “Abbiamo trovato il Messia”, e lo condusse da Gesù, il quale, “fissando lo sguardo su di lui, disse: Tu sei Simone, il figlio di Giovanni: ti chiamerai Cefa”, che vuol dire Pietro. Quindi Simone cerca il messia e suo fratello Andrea glielo indica. I veri discepoli sono sempre in attesa, di nuovi sguardi e incontri. Nell’incontro Simone si accorge di essere visto. Gesu’ coglie la sua identità perché conosce tutti. Guarda con l’intenzione di un progetto per questo da un secondo nome a Simone e lo chiama Cefa, Pietro, la roccia. La nuova comunità ha bisogno di stabilità. A noi dice che l’apostolo deve essere un uomo in ricerca, in attesa non ancora arrivato e quando sosta, o e’ raggiunto, si pone domande profonde, nei luoghi della fragilità e nell’ordinario, mostrando uno stile di vita stabile ed evangelico.
Il Vangelo di Giovanni non descrive l’istituzione dell’Eucarestia, ma riferisce di un gesto di Gesù’ normalmente lasciato a degli schiavi: lavare i piedi. Stupefatto, Pietro protesta con energia ma Gesù’ risponde: “Se non ti laverò, non avrai parte con me”. Poi il comandamento nuovo di reciproco aiuto. A noi dice umiltà e servizio.
Ma c’è un’immagine che più di ogni altra che indica chi e’ il discepolo amato, quando nell’ultima cena lo vediamo sdraiato a mangiare – come era consuetudine – quasi poggiandosi sul petto di Gesù’. È questa un’immagine intensa perché sappiamo che quel discepolo (Giovanni) ha un rapporto con Cristo lo stesso modo che il Cristo, secondo il prologo, ha presso il Padre. Al discepolo che Gesù vuole bene – cioè a ciascuno di noi – viene chiesto di farsi amare da Cristo e di rimanere nella sua amicizia.
Durante la cena il ‘discepolo amato’ si confronta con il peccato dell’altro discepolo Giuda. Gesù’ rivela solo a Giovanni chi sarà il traditore. Però anche a Giuda sono lavati i piedi ed egli rimane pienamente inserito in un atto di amore che perdona. Peccato come presa di possesso progressiva. Giuda ultimo atto di un processo consumato nel tempo. Anche Pietro tradirà. A noi dice che il mondo rimane una sfida dove il male può pian piano prendere possesso della nostra vita e quindi occorre la capacità di rivedere la propria storia in modo critico.
E poi incontriamo, il discepolo amato, ai piedi della croce, in una scena drammatica e di portata simbolica, dove è invitato dal Cristo a prendere il suo posto di figlio presso sua Madre. A noi dice un’attenzione possibile, fino all’ultimo respiro, per coloro che ci hanno generato Sulla maternità che da la vita e genera una nuova generazione di uomini (come Eva). Poi sulla croce sangue e acqua. A noi dice essere conquistati dalla croce. Contemplarla. Abitarne il mistero.
Infine la Missione. L’entusiasmo di Pietro che si getta in acqua per raggiungere Gesù risorto; sulla riva. Ma poi tristezza perché gli viene indirettamente ricordato il suo triplo tradimento. Dopo la prova di fiducia la sua autorità e’ confermata perché vuole bene sinceramente: “Signore, tu sai tutto; tu sai che ti voglio bene”. Pietro si sente quindi predire quello che lo attenderà in età avanzata. Dopo di che Gesù disse: “Seguimi” ma l’apostolo vedendo che il discepolo amato seguiva le loro orme, interrogò Gesù sul destino di quel discepolo prediletto. La risposta del Cristo è molto importante: «Se voglio che egli rimanga finché io venga, che importa a te? Tu seguimi». Forse voleva dire a Pietro: A te ho affidato il compito di governare il mio gregge, ma questo gregge non è il tuo. Seguire Cristo appare più importante che gestire una organizzazione ed infatti Pietro diventerà martire ed evangelizzatore. A noi dice di dare molta più importanza allo stile di vita e meno al ruolo che ci viene assegnato. Interessati agli altri compagni di cammino, esserne sinceramente amici anche se il destino di ciascuno può rimanere un segreto che solo Cristo sa amministrare.
* * *
John is the simple disciple, the one who loves and is loved by Jesus and Peter, the pastor and minister of the Church in his visibility. They embody two distinct ecclesial roles, but not separable. John personified the permanent love of an apostle and Peter the follower who became apostle through a journey. It was in Judea, the place where the Baptist appeared where in situated the first call. Two disciples, hearing John the Baptist who points to Jesus as the Lamb of God, went to Jesus and asked him where he lived, so they spent the day with him . Andrew, the brother of Simon, was one of the first disciples and he told his brother: “We have found the Messiah” and brought him to Jesus, who “looked at Simon and said, Thou art Simon, the son of John: You shall be called Cephas “, which means Peter. True disciples are always waiting, new encounters where to be seen by Jesus. Jesus captures his identity because he knows everyone. In Simon He finds also a project for this reason gives a second name to Simon and calls him Cephas, Peter, the rock. The new community needs stability. We can say then that the apostle must be a man in research, not yet arrived and in constant wait to be reached. He poses profound questions in places of weakness and in the ordinary way of life, but showing a stable and evangelical style of living.
The Gospel of John does not describe the institution of the Eucharist, but refers to a gesture of Jesus normally left to the slaves: washing of feet. Stunned, Peter protested vigorously but Jesus answer: “If you I do not wash you, you have no part with me.” Then the new commandment of mutual help. We can say then humility and service.
An other image shows who is ‘the beloved disciple, during the Last Supper when we see him lying down to eat – as was customary – almost leaning on Jesus’ breast’. This image is strong because we know that the disciple (John) has a symbolic relationship with Christ the same way that Christ, according to the prologue, has with the Father. The disciple that Jesus loves you – that is each of us – are asked to be loved by Christ and to remain in his friendship.
During dinner, the ‘beloved disciple’ is confronted with the sin of the disciple Judas. Only to John Jesus revealed who is the traitor. But Judas too has his feet washed by Jesus, so he too remains fully inserted in an act of love that forgives. Sin is seen as something taking possession progressive. Judas is in the last act of a process consumed over time. Peter also will betrayed Jesus. We can say then that the world remains a challenge where evil can gradually take possession of our lives and therefore we need the ability to review our history in a critical way.
And then we meet, the beloved disciple at the foot of the cross, in a dramatic and symbolic scene, where he is invited by Christ to take his place as a child of his mother. We can say attention to the last breath, for those who have generated us, an in this case, a motherhood that gives life and creates a new generation of men (as Eve did). Then on the cross, blood and water. We can say then … to be conquered by the cross. Contemplate it. Living its mystery.
Finally, theMission. Peter with enthusiasm throws himself into the water in order to reach the Resurrected Jesus, on the shore. But then sadness because Christ indirectly recalled his triple betrayal. After this test his authority and trust is confirmed because he sincerely loves Christ, “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you.” Peter then hears the prediction of what will happen to him in the future. After this, Jesus said, “Follow me” but the apostle saw that the beloved disciple was following in their footsteps, and asked Jesus about the fate of this beloved disciple. The answer of Christ is very important: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what does it matter to you? Follow me. ” Maybe he wanted to say to Peter, to you I have entrusted the task of governing my flock, but this is not your flock. Following Christ is more important than managing an organization and in fact Peter will become a martyr and an evangelist. We can say then that we must give much more emphasis on lifestyle and less to the role that it has been assigned to us. To be interested in the other companions and travelers, be sincere friends even if the fate of each can remain a secret that only Christ can administer.