31 October 2011

Mass requests for dead now made online


Too many departed relatives and so little time or too far away to visit them all?
Mass requests for the dead can now be made online as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) launched its new website for the Filipino tradition of “Undas,” http://undasonline.com.
Monsignor Pedro Quitorio III, CBCP Media Office director, said this feature of their website is particularly for Filipinos abroad, who cannot make it to their parish this All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
“For those who cannot make it to your parishes, especially Filipinos in other countries or the seafarers, you may request masses to be celebrated for your beloved dead,” he said.
All they need to do, Quitorio said, is go to the website and click the box below the “Requests for Masses” title and then list down the names of the persons for whose souls they wish to offer mass by filling out the form.
He said those who wish to send their mass requests via e-mail may do so at undas_cbcp@yahoo.com.
The names of the persons, Quitorio said, will be included in the masses that will be celebrated at the CBCP Chapel in Intramuros, Manila, from Nov. 1 to 8, at 11:30 in the morning.
He said while mass request is free, those who wish to make a donation or give mass stipends of whatever amount may also do so by simply clicking the “Donate” button above the form.
Presidential family
On the eve of All Saints' Day, President Aquino offered prayers to his late parents, former President Corazon C. Aquino and Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. at the Manila Memorial Park in ParaƱaque City.
The President was with his sisters Ballsy, Pinky, Viel and Kris when they visited the tomb of their late parents.
In a private and solemn affair, the First Family heard mass and later prayed the rosary at the grave of their parents.
All Saints’ Day
Tuesday is All Saints’ Day, one of the oldest Catholic traditions when we remember the life and times of all the holy men and women, led by the Blessed Mother, the Queen of all Angels and of all the Saints, who have attained the beatific vision in heaven.
Observed as a holy day of obligation, the clergy in white vestments will lead the faithful in reciting prayers in honor of the saints, including those not listed in the Church calendar.
Locally known as “Undas” or “Todos los Santos,” this day, as well as the days before and after it, meaning, All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) and All Souls’ Day respectively, are traditionally spent visiting the resting sites of deceased loved ones, relatives, and friends to offer prayers and flowers and to light candles. It is a time for quiet reunions and trips to the provinces.
Church officials said, “All Saints’ Day enriches the faith of all who observe it. When we honor the saints, we actually give glory to God.”
According to tradition, requests for the intercession of saints is as old as Christianity itself, while the veneration of saints goes back to the beginning of Christianity. Catechism 2683 said, “Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask for them to intercede for us and for the whole world.”
Originally known as the Feast of All Martyrs in memory of the martyrs of the early Church who died for their faith in Christ, All Saints’ Day has evolved into a solemn observance during which the Church remembers all who have died in the faith.
Pope Gregory (731-741) consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, Italy to all the saints and fixed the observance to Nov. 1. Pope Gregory IV (827-844) extended the celebration to the Universal Church in 837.
No celebret, no entry
The Church is guarding against unscrupulous individuals who may roam cemeteries disguised as priests in order to cash in on requests for prayers and blessings.
Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez instructed security personnel guarding the La Loma Cemetery and other cemeteries under his diocese to ask for a priest’s celebret upon entry as a preventive measure against fake priests.
A celebret is a document stating that the owner is a priest in good standing and requesting that he be permitted to say Mass. It must be signed by his bishop or religious superior.
“Dapat sa gate pa lang ng mga sementeryo ay mapigilan na ang mga pekeng pari (Right at the gate o the cemetery fake priests should be stopped),” he said over Church-run Radyo Veritas Monday.
This, he said, is the reason he asked the security guards to ask priests to present their celebret before allowing them to enter the cemetery.

Tradition for the dead lives on

Filipinos are known to use the occasion for family reunions at the graves of their departed relatives.
As they gather, the family offers prayers and prepares meals to be shared, which are mostly the dishes which were the favorite of their departed loved ones.
It will be a day of cleaning, repainting and beautifying the tomb, with visitors bringing flowers and candles. Some set up makeshift tents.
However, the tradition of observing All Souls’ Day is not unique to the Philippines as it runs in other countries worldwide. Each has its own way of remembering the departed loved ones.
In Mexico, they celebrate All Souls’ Day as el dia de los muertos, or “the day of the dead.” Customs include going to a graveyard to have a picnic, eating skull-shaped candy, and leaving food out for dead relatives.
In Hungary, the day is known as Halottak Napja, “the day of the dead,” and a common custom is inviting orphans into the family and giving them food, clothes, and toys.

‘Undas’ security up

More than 1,000 policemen have been deployed by the Southern Police District (SPD) in various cemeteries around the southern part of Metro Manila Tuesday and Wednesday.
Chief Inspector Jenny Tecson, spokeswoman and concurrent chief of the SPD’s Public Information Office, disclosed that some 1,053 police personnel are now deployed in some 28 cemeteries located in the cities of Taguig, Makati, Pasay, Paranaque, Muntinlupa, Las Pinas and the municipality Pateros, to provide security for thousands of people who will pay their respects for their dead relatives during “Undas”.
Tecson added that force multipliers such at barangay personnel or (BPATS), non-government organizations or NGOs and members of the Bantay Bayan, numbering about 1,720 will also help the police in providing security and traffic assistance to commuters.
She said that aside from securing cemeteries, policemen on foot patrol will also be assigned to guard MRT/LRT stations, bus terminals, malls and other places frequented by people during the “Undas”.
Meanwhile, Senate Committee on Public Services Chairman Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. urged all concerned agencies to ensure the safety of travelers this coming All Saints’ Day by maintaining the worthiness of all public land, air and sea transport.
The senator particularly warned against overloading of buses and sea vessels which are the common causes of travel-related accidents in the country.
He said appropriate sanction must be given to transportation companies that shall be found guilty of taking advantage of the expected huge crowd of passengers during the long weekend. (With reports from Genalyn D. Kabiling, Christina I. Hermoso, Sarah Hilomen Velasco, Francis T. Wakefield, and Rolly T. Carandang)

By LESLIE ANN G. AQUINO
Manila Bulletin

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