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A year of faith: for hope, peace, love

/ 06:16 AM January 11, 2013

It is significant that in this Year of Faith, we are reminded in the Philippines that in this first month of January, we honor the Lord in three religious commemorations: His manifestation or Epiphany on the 6th, His Feast as the Santo Niño or Holy Child of Cebu on the 20th, and his carrying of the Cross in Manila’s Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo on the 9th.

Our religious folk celebrations usually start with processions on the eve of these feasts respectively: of the Three Kings or the Magi, the Holy Child or Santo Nino and the Black Nazarene. The procession for the Black Nazarene last Wednesday drew even more than the expected crowd of devotees, all eager to come close to the passing “carroza” bearing the image hoping to touch it personally or with a handkerchief. This fervor, unfortunately, gives rise to major peace, order amd safety problems that have to be handled by the police. The Santo Niño de Cebu procession, on the other hand is thankfully orderly, participated in by praying devotees.

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The festive highlight of the Santo Niño Fiesta Señor is the Sinulog Grand finale, joined in by dancing groups. The Sinulog 2013 theme this year is “Cebu City: Turning Diamond. Gems of the past, brilliance of the present.” A press release tells us that the Sinulog “will showcase the significant events that happened in Cebu in the various eras up to the present which is now on its 75th year,” including the canonization last year of the second Filipino and first Cebuano saint, San Pedro Calungsod.

A point of observation and clarification: the Sinulog Grand finale has recently also been disturbingly called the Sinulog Grand mardi gras. Webster’s College Dictionary defines mardi gras, literally from the French “fat Tuesday,” as “the day before Lent celebrated, as in New Orleans, as a day of carnival; Shrove Tuesday.” Also, “a pre-Lenten carnival period climaxing on this day.”

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Here in the Philippines our “longest Christmas season” ends either on the 13th of this month, or on Feb. 2nd, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Candlemas or “Candelaria” when candles are blessed.

To remember the beginning of this Year of Faith on Jan. 1, when we in the Church observed the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, as well as World Day of Peace. In his Midnight Mass at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, which was aired live by on TV over EWTN and later reported by print media, Pope Benedict XVI said that peace will prevail in 2013, despite the inequality, terrorism and “unregulated financial capitalism” that afflict the world today. Later in his annual New Year’s speech at the Vatican to diplomats regarding press concerns he had raised in that speech, he urged world leaders to try to reduce the growing gap between the rich and the poor in regions such as Europe as they reform their economies. Thank God for our pontiff, who, in his world travels to various countries, like his predecessor, is concerned, not only with their spiritual, but also physical and worldly concerns.

Speaking of worldly involvements, last Sunday, we held our first monthly meeting of the year of our Cebu United Radio and Television Artists (Curta) Inc. at the Rizada residence in barangay Tisa, Cebu City. While it dealt mainly with administrative concerns regarding our fulfilling Christmas activities and and fund-raising projects, it gave us members an opportunity to meet and see each other in renewed friendship and companionship for the new year.

And now, even as we look forward in this New Year, we continue to keep in touch, not only with those we know personally, but also with those we hear and know about through radio and print media where we have been personally involved most of our professional life. Now, TV, together with print, keep me informed in my current mostly-stay-at-home years as a still Concerned Bystander. Which is how I came to know with a shock about the passing away last Friday of a media colleague and good friend, Vicente “June” Kintanar, Jr. at the age of 73.

Saturday, I attended the vigil for him at the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes in Nivel Hills. There I met, after so many out-of-touch years, his wife, good friend Paula “Lee” Boholst Kintanar, and his four children. They have grown up into three successful men and woman. Sheldon Vincent “Boobi”, Han Christopher whose society column I follow, Neil Richard and Carla now married to retired basketball star Ramon Fernandez.

June and Lee were colleagues at dyRC, he as a newscaster, commentator and news director in the late pre-martial years, and she a broadcast announcer. In 1972 with the closing of dyRC at the declaration of martial law, I left the station, later joining dyLA until my retirement after the 2001 Twin Tower bombing in New York. But I had kept in touch with June’s rise in broadcasting, politics and civic work.

Again, through print media I have been brought up to date on his successful accomplishments reported in the various biographical tributes to June. So now, let us pray for him, that God may grant his soul eternal rest after his completion of God’s job for him.

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And now, in closing, I have also learned even more about a multi-faceted Man of God through tributes written about Fr. James Reuter, SJ by Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, and Nestor Torre in the Philippine Daily Inquirer; fellow Cebu Daily News columnist Malou Guanzon Apalisok; and his obituary by the DIWA and Bato Balani Foundation, Inc. which I quote: “With genuine appreciation for allowing us to share in your life, love and wisdom: Fr, James B. Reuter, SJ, Man for Others, Teacher, 2005 The Man of Many Faces of the Teachers Honoree. May 21, 1916 – December 31,2012.”

Till next week, as always, through this New Year, may God continue to bless us one and all!

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