MANILA, March 28, 2015 – Inspired by Pope Francis’ call to make women more visible in the Church, the Dominican Province’s Siete Palabras 2015 on Good Friday at the historic Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City will have a woman preacher and sharers.
Only the second time in the 17-year history of Siete Palabras that a woman has been invited to preach in the program, this year, the preachers is Sr. Catherine Edith Cruz, OP, dean of Colegio de San Juan de Letran de Manaoag (formerly Our Lady of Manaoag College) in Pangasinan and member of the Religious Missionaries of St. Dominic.
The seven women leaders from various communities who will give their personal testimonials are as follows:
- Sr. May Escalano, OP, who aids farmers and people with disabilities in Pampanga; Lourdes Ukila, a teacher of less fortunate children in Dagat-dagatan, Navotas; Lucy Guya, a community builder for indigenous peoples;
- Sr. Cecilia Espenilla, OP, who attends to victims of human trafficking;
- Catherine Ramos, OP, a dedicated teacher in Aquinas School;
- Sr. Elvira Delfonso, OP, a survivor of two critical ailments
According to producer Fr. Christopher Jeffrey Aytona, OP, the decision to invite more women in the program was brought about by Pope Francis’ encouragement during his recent visit to the country: “Women have much to tell us in today’s society. They can see things with a different eye.”
Aytona also said, “Catherine of Siena, Margaret of Castello, and Rose of Lima had their share of preaching ministry, the women members of the order today should continue this legacy.”
An annual production of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, Siete Palabras, in its earlier years, only had Dominican friars as preachers for the “Seven Last Words.”
Partnering with Radio Veritas and the Catholic Media Network, Siete Palabras organizers aim to reach Filipinos abroad through the program’s live internet streaming, on April 3, 12 to 3pm. Its live TV broadcast will be aired by GMA Channel 7.
The other preachers for Siete Palabras are Fr. Gallardo Bombase, OP from Albay; Fr. Norman Quilaquil, OP from Davao; diocesan priest Fr. Carlo del Rosario of Manila; veteran preacher Fr. Enrico Gonzales, OP; Fr. Filemon dela Cruz, Jr. OP of the University of Santo Tomas (UST); and Fr. Allan Lopez, OP from Pangasinan.
This year’s production includes performances from the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe; Letran Filipiniana Dance Company; Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir; Letran Calamba Culture and Arts Department; Br. Kenneth Rey Parsad, among others. (CBCPNews)