Last Jan. 28 during the 106th Plenary Assembly of the Episcopal Conference, the Catholic Bishopâ€™s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) with one mind and body declared the holding of a simultaneous National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 8, today at 10 a.m. in the morning in all the cathedrals, parish churches, shrines and chapels in their respective archdioceses or dioceses, prelatures and apostolic vicariates.
What a great blessing that the Philippine Clergy is giving to our nation. On Oct. 17, 1917 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three little children and asked them to pray the Rosary and consecrate Russia into her Immaculate Heart so there will be world peace. Since then, this has been a great debate at the Vatican whether the Pope consecrated Russia or not.
Fatimists believe that while Pope John Paul II did consecrate the world to her Immaculate Heart, it was not the one that the Blessed Virgin Mary requested in order to have world peace. But we laud the CBCP under the presidency of Archbishop of Cebu his Excellency Bishop Jose Palma for initiating this National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as today is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Our nation is in trouble today as much as the world is in trouble, and it is only by way of prayer that God can look down upon the Filipino people who are devoted to his Mother, so we can lift up our burdens to our Lord Jesus for this is what he said in Matt. 11:28, â€œCome to me all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.â€ Please join us in this hour of consecration to the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
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I was in Manila last Thursday to accept the Rotary Club of Manilaâ€™s (RCM) â€œOpinion Writer of the Yearâ€ Award during the 47th edition of RCMâ€™s Journalism Awards for 2013. Call it a defining moment in my career where Journalism was not even in my radar screen during my boyhood days, Although the Avila family used to operate the Cebu Advertiser (Cebuâ€™s first English language newspaper) way back in the roaring â€™20s.
By now my readers already know much of my storyâ€¦ that I was taken in by the late Sir Max Soliven to be his Cebu bureau chief way back in 1986 just as he shifted from the Inquirer to the newly-opened Philippine STAR. The rest is history. With the support of Sir Miguel Belmonte who received for The Philippine STAR the Rotary Clubâ€™s â€œBest Newspaper of the Yearâ€ which was entered into RCMâ€™s Hall of Fame, and my very supportive editor Mon Lim and yes, before him Tony PaÃ±o and of course our faithful readers, we would never ever hope to bag this highly-prestigious award.
It was only last April 18 when the same Rotary Club of Manila bestowed on me a recognition for our articles on Tourism, so in effect this is a double whammy (it was a first for RCM to bestow two awards within a year to a single awardee) for me and The Philippine STAR. Of course Journalist of the Year went to our fellow columnist Federico â€œDikâ€ Pascual, while Bong Osorio who also writes for the STAR bagged Television Station of the Year for ABS-CBN. De0 Macalma also bagged Broadcast Journalist of the Year. As Sir Miguel pointed out, he also writes for the STAR Group.
It was the first time I met Miguel â€œMikeâ€ Enriquez (we have a lot in commonâ€¦like our diabetes) of GMA-7 who bagged Journalist of the Year for Television, while Neal Cruz and Deedee Siytangco were given special awards for the Media Forum Award. Business Newspaper of the Year went to Business Mirror of Anthony Cabangon, while Community Newspaper of the Year went to Mindanao Daily Tribune of Davao by Virgilio Bermudez. DZMM got Radio Station of the Year given to Mara Capuyan.
Why do I consider the Rotary Club of Manila as the most prestigious in the country is due to the fact that it is Asiaâ€™s first Rotary Club where they recently celebrated their 94th charter anniversary. My Rotary Club of Cebu is the second oldest club at 80 years old, which is why we call RCM our Mother Club. Thanks once again to RCM president Obet Pagdanganan who will be replaced next month by my good friend president-elect Rudy Bediones, while Sir Obet has been nominated as district governor for District 3810.
Reading the rich history of RCM, did you know that the Boy Scouts of the Philippines emanated from RCM? Scouting was signed into law in 1936 by President Manuel Quezon. The same is true in our Rotary Club of Cebu where my maternal grandfather Capt. Valeriano J. Segura was one of the charter members of our club and he was responsible for creating Boy Scouting in Cebu. Finally, did you know that the American Caesar Gen. Douglas MacArthur was an â€œHonoraryâ€ member of RCM? But World War II prevented him from formally accepting this honorary membership. Thatâ€™s RCM for youâ€¦ so much historyâ€¦ so much prestige! More power to RCM!
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