Totus Tuus…all yours

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Thursday, March 15, 2012


WE ARE in the season of Lent and the Latin phrase Totus Tuus is so significant. Totus Tuus is the motto of John Paul II, the most beloved Pope during his papacy which was one of the longest in the history of the Catholic Church.

“All Yours” was how Jesus lived His earthly life for the Father in heaven and John Paul II in all his human capacity did his excellent best to pattern his life after Jesus. Pope John Paul II also had a great devotion to Mary and her life was likewise a total Totus Tuus.

Many of us who have been fortunate enough to have had a glimpse of the Holy Father during his visit here in Bacolod were mesmerized by even that momentary glance. Many have been moved to a deeper spirituality.

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Although that was many years ago, we were again given a chance to recollect and be aware of our journey in spirituality as the phrase Totus Tuus is echoed and reechoed as the new Papal Nuncio comes to town. We, more often than not, have fleeting memories. And the spiritual encounters are eroded when temptations and attachments conquer our lives.

But as always, we are blest because Bacolod has been designated by the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines via the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life to be the seat of the Philippine Campus of the Pontificio Institute Giovanni Paolo II per Studi Su Matrimonio e Familia in Rome as a venue for pastoral reflections.

The JP II Institute Campus continues to be in the University of St. La Salle while the Centro Giovanni Paolo Research Center at 111 Lacson St. owned by the Esteban family.

Antonio Esteban and his wife Gloria Araneta have made countless contributions when it comes to Church matters. The Adoration Chapel in both the San Sebastian Cathedral and here at the Sacred Heart Shrine have been through the generousity and devotion of the couple to the Church that they so loved. These are just a few of the things that they have extended of themselves to please God. Daughters, Amelia, Gloria, Xenia and Merle also are well aware that when they have passed on, this ancestral home is to be for the service of the Church.

There was much love in this home, according to Xenia Esteban, and it is a fitting place to have the Research Center here.

Rev Fr. Jose Granados, Vice President of the Vatican-based John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family said that the mission of the Church is to foster the values of family and marriage. The ministry of the family inspires all the churches’ activities as it touches all persons and all Christians in some aspects of their lives.

There is no vocation of Pope John Paul II that is not connected with the family, he says.

Granados continues: “Family is the wealth of society. We cannot serve as children of God if we don’t know what it is to be a child… what it is to be born in a home, in a family”.

“The family is set up for the mission of the church. The church cannot fulfill her mission without the family. The Church serves family and, through family, serves society,” said Granados. The family is the way where the Church is present in the heart of society. The family produces social wealth, which is the most important wealth, he added.

Indeed the Esteban couple, Antonio and Gloria, served the church and, through the church, they served society. They have many projects and programs designed for the community and, even now that they are both gone, still their work continues.

Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, blessed the Centro Giovanni Paulo II Research himself and there was a turn over by the children to Monsignor Victorino Rivas, Vicar General and Director of the Institute in the evening with a dinner to commemorate the event.

Totus Tuus… All Yours! Let us be reminded always that our life should be a daily Totus Tuus to the Lord. That way, we can ensure our visa to heaven!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 15, 2012.

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