Today, we had a thanksgiving mass for the 37 years of love, service and faith of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila – Student Catholic Action (PLM-SCA). Fr. Santosh Kumar Digal from India presided the Holy Eucharist and he said that for our behavior to fit with that of our Lord Jesus, a gesture of humility is fundamental.

Jesus exhorted us to bear witness of our Christian life through our example, the consistency of our life and the honesty of our intentions.

We must behave, mostly, for the sake of our love for God and the glory of the Father. As we can read in the Catechism of the Church, «God created everything for man but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all Creation back to Him».

I would like to commend Liz Manalang, a student servant leader who stood tall amidst great challenges. A torchbearer of the organization whose passion and commitment is a source of inspiration to many. Together with our members, our gratitude to all for keeping the flame always ablaze.

Many thanks to Ate Shionie Tabada, our PLM Campus Minister for all the love and support.

Special shout out to all our alumni all over the world for your unwavering hope in our vision and mission to bring more young people closer to God.

There were times we want to give up but God’s relentless love conquers our fear and our doubts. He is the source of our strength. He is our biggest why – the reason for our being.

Our hearts remain steadfast and full of zeal to continue and to strive harder.

Let us remain faithful and committed.

To more years of loving and serving the Lord!


“Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; to serve you as you deserve to be served; to give without counting the cost; to fight without counting the wounds; to work without seeking the rest; to spend my life without expecting any other reward than the knowledge that I do Your holy will. Amen.” 

A Brief History of SCA

In the Philippines, the Student Catholic Action was founded in 1936. Since then, it has undergone a gradual process of development and expansion. Evolving from a loosely formed city-wide association in the early years it has established itself as a well-knit organization with SCA Units in practically all educational institutions in the Archdiocese of Manila.

Demonstrating adaptability as one of its main assets, SCA first concerned itself with the problem of education in the state university.

It was here that the first unit was formed by Columban Father Edward J. McCarthy in 1936 at the University of the Philippines-Manila. It was formally approved by his grace, Archbishop Michael O’ Doherty on April 12, 1936.

During the occupation era the impetus of the early enthusiasm of SCA maintained the organization for a short time. Registered with the Japanese authorities “SCA for secular colleges and universities,” the organization continued with its regular student Masses but eventually, due to lack of priestly assistance, all activities gradually ceased.

After the war in 1948, with the archbishop’s request in Manila, an immediate objective of establishing religion classes in non-sectarian and public schools was called for. SCA was revived and expanded for the main purpose of providing many catechists required for this work not only in Catholic Schools. SCA then had an increasing influence until such time it did not only focus on catechism but also embraced the SIX AIMS (presently the SCA Areas of Concern).

In 1969, during the heightened student activism on Martial Law Years, student organizations including SCA was banned due to the infiltration of the leftists. Other arch/dioceses however continued the program in their own. CBCP abolished SCA in 1985 and the national coordination was lost. In 1998, CBCP, through the efforts of Bp Rolando J. Tria Tirona, ECY Chairman and Ms. Teresita E. Nitorreda, SCA gained back its national structure and was granted a mandate as a recognized youth organization by the Episcopal Commission on Youth.


I went to the PLM chapel today for the Eucharistic Celebration of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord presided by Rev. Fr. Lenen E. Deciar, SSS.


Shine forth! The PLM Campus Ministry team all smiles after the first friday mass.

The feast reflects the one light of Christ from different angles and in different ways.

Historically the feast has been known by different names, each stressing a different aspect of the same mystery: the mystery that God has chosen to dwell among us.

Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph traveled to Jerusalem to present him at the Temple. This was the first time Jesus entered the temple that years later he would cleanse of merchants with great zeal. The same temple where he would teach his disciples and challenge the Pharisees. The same temple where Judas would receive thirty silver coins in return for his betrayal.

Mary and Joseph presented Jesus with grateful hearts and offered the sacrifice prescribed by the Law of Moses for the poor: two young pigeons. God fulfills the prophecy of Malachi when Simeon identifies the child as the awaited Messiah. Simeon’s words at first are joyful and triumphant, “the child is a light for revelation, the glory of Israel,” but then he turns to the Blessed Mother and his tone becomes somber speaking of suffering and sacrifice: “this child will be contradicted and a sword will pierce your heart.”

This feast invites us to celebrate with Simeon that all prophecy has been fulfilled, while at the same time, it invites us to remember that Jesus was born to die as a sacrifice for our sins.

For centuries this feast was known as the Purification of the Virgin Mary, an event we also commemorate today. When a Jewish person had direct contact with blood, the person became unclean and he or she had to undergo religious rites to be purified. Recall the Parable of the Good Samaritan where the priests did not help the dying man for fear of touching blood and becoming impure.

When women give birth, obviously they have contact with blood. The Book of Leviticus prescribed that forty days after giving birth a woman had to be ritually cleansed. Today, forty days after Christmas Day, we commemorate that the Blessed Mother faithfully followed the Law of Moses and was purified. She who was conceived pure, without the stain of sin, obediently offered the called for sacrifice of two pigeons.

This feast invites us to ponder how the Blessed Mother faithfully followed the Law of Moses and went to the Temple with her son to be purified.

Today’s feast has also been called Candlemass throughout the centuries, a celebration of light (or candles). Traditionally candles are blessed on this day, followed by a procession in a darkened church, reminding us of Simeon’s words, that the child born on Christmas day is the “light of the nations.”

This feast invites to recognize Jesus as the light that has come into the darkness to destroy sin and death.

As if this feast didn’t have enough layers, there is one more. Today half of the Catholic world celebrates the feast of Our Lady of the Candle, La Candelaria, who appeared in Spain and devotion to her spread throughout Spain’s colonies in the new world; devotion to her, remains strong in all Latin America.

The one light of Christ is reflected from different angles and in different ways today. The light that shines forth from the mystery that God has chosen to dwell among us cannot be contained. All is renewed, all is transformed, all things are different because God has become man.

The joy of knowing the Messiah, the sorrow of recognizing he will be sacrificed, the blessedness of his mother and his perpetual light that dispels the darkness; all converge on this feast forty days after his birth.

The Church never ceases to proclaim the mystery that God has become man.

The Church never ceases to proclaim that our God who created all things has emptied himself to become like one of his creatures.

As a candle offers itself as a sacrifice to give us pure light, ceasing to exist as its wax melts away, slowly and selflessly dying as it shines for others to have light, so too Our Savior is a light that offers itself in sacrifice so that others may have life.

Candles always accompany the altar of sacrifice, burning themselves to death as a sacrifice, reminding us of the One who died so that we could have life.

May the Lord help us to be candles of his light, dying to our selves, so that the light of Christ may shine brightly in us.


We celebrate today the Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul.

Why is it significant in our relationship with God?


Seating beside God’s messenger of faith, hope and love. Taken inside the PLM Chapel last year.

Father Bill Carmody shared that before Saint Paul’s conversion he thought he was a very good man. He thought he did everything very, very well. He was full of zeal, convinced of the direction he was taking in life, and was very successful within the scope of the people who mattered to him.

He had no idea that he was very misguided. Then the Lord entered his life, shook him up, blinded him, threw him to the ground and left him confused and unnerved for three days.

Having encountered the Risen Lord he was transformed. He re-evaluated everything in his life and became the most impacting force in the Church other than Jesus Himself. Paul translated the experience of Jesus not only from Aramaic into Greek, but from an Asian mentality to a European mentality. He became the greatest missionary the Church as seen, establishing churches that survive even to this day, and he wrote two thirds of the New Testament.

Paul’s conversion not only changed him; it changed the world.

This brings us to this feast’s application to us. God is calling some people here present to undergo a major change in the way they are living their lives.

All of us, in fact, are being invited by the Lord to undergo some kind of transformation, some form of conversion, some new way of believing and thinking. Wouldn’t you agree that all of us have some kind of obstacle to our following Christ more closely? And wouldn’t we all agree that the mother of all vices is pride? So as we celebrate Paul’s conversion let us take as look at the virtue that conquers pride: humility.

There are 3 different degrees of humility.

The 1st degree of humility is necessary for salvation. It’s having enough humility to stop justifying mortal sin in our lives. It’s the humility needed to recognize that I have this major obstacle in my life, some major sin, that keeps me at a distance from God. And it’s having enough humility to recognize that so far I have been unwilling to do what I need to do to remove this obstacle from my life. Without this 1st degree of humility I make the decision to live with my sin, even to justify it. The 1st degree of humility leads us to say to the Lord, “Not for all the riches in the world would I ever commit a mortal sin.”

The second degree of humility is a move towards holiness. In this state of relationship with the Lord, He, the Lord, has become so important to me that I don’t want to do the least little thing against the Lord. This is not scrupulosity but rather a desire to be one with Christ, to see Him in all things, to encounter him in all the people and events in our lives, a desire to rise above my mediocrity, and not settle for a half-hearted response to the call of Christ. And now we don’t want even venial sins to stand in our way, preventing a clear sight of the Lord who loves us so. This is the state of no longer wanting to disagree with, for instance, the teaching of the Church on the sanctity of life and settle for some compromise between good and evil. This second degree of humility leads us to say, “Not for all the money in the world would I ever want to commit even a venial sin.”

The third degree of humility is a move into true sanctity. In this degree of humility I see myself as part and parcel of all of sinful humanity and I see my call to be among those who are despised, rejected, ostracized, spat upon, and facing extreme oppression, because thus was treated my Lord and Savior. This is the degree of humility that hears the teaching of our Church as the voice of Jesus and embraces it, especially on such tough subjects as there being a need for a redistribution of wealth so there is a greater bond between the rich and the poor. A person who abides in this 3rd degree of humility not only understands, but lives, the Church teaching that says, “No one may appropriate surplus goods solely for his own private use when others lack the bare necessities of life.” (Populorum Progressio, 23)

Oh, how far away from this degree of humility we all are! But now we can see what is the trajectory of holiness the Lord is calling us to. Let us on this feast of Paul’s conversion let us ask the Lord to help us grow in holiness.