by Joel V. Ocampo
Today, His Excellency, Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio S. David, D.D., Bishop of Kalookan and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), celebrates his 63rd birthday.
Bishop David was born in Betis, a small town in Guagua, Pampanga on March 2, 1959. He shares the same birth day with his father, Pedro Sahagun David (1920-1980), a lawyer who married Bienvenida Sanchez Siongco (1922-2000) in 1944. Bishop Ambo, as he is fondly known, is the 10th of 13 children: 7 boys and 6 girls, all of them professionals.
LOVE STORY WITH GOD
During his childhood years, he studied at Betis Elementary School. It was during this time that his “love story” with God began. It started with visits to the Blessed Sacrament in the old church of Betis. According to Bishop Ambo, after school, before playing in the churchyard, he would usually go inside the church together with his classmates. At the start, it was all out of pure curiosity. Later, it became like a regular meeting with a friend.
He once said in his storytelling with children back in May 23, 2009, “When I was a child, I was told that the way to know if God is present in a church was through a vigil lamp hanging on the left side of the sanctuary area. He was supposed to be there in the tabernacle if the vigil lamp was burning; otherwise, it was supposed to mean that God was not there.”
He added, “The first time I became aware of this, I immediately went to the church after school in order to check. I dropped by with my classmates but the light of the vigil lamp was hardly visible from the fixed wood that covered what looked like a bottle so I was not sure then if God was there. The next time I came for a visit, I was alone. This time the lamp was burning brightly. Its flame was visible even from the main door and my heart beat with excitement. I drew as closely as possible to the sanctuary area until I reached the communion rail. I was so sure God was there. But I did not know what to say to him and so I whispered, ‘You are there, right? I am here, too. I hope to visit you again next time.’ It was to find this light also started to burn inside me.”
MOTHER OF GOOD COUNSEL
Bishop Ambo attended secondary school at the Mother of Good Counsel Minor Seminary (MGCS) in Pampanga. Then, inspired by His Excellency Most Rev. Paciano B. Aniceto, D.D., Archbishop-Emeritus of San Fernando, Pampanga, whom he first saw in Betis Church, talking to Jesus in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Bishop Ambo continued his philosophy and theology courses at San José Seminary, Quezon City, Philippines. He received his Sacerdotal Ordination on March 12, 1983.
After some years following his ordination to priesthood, he spent a year in the École Biblique in Jerusalem, and five years at the Flemish Campus of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, where he wrote a doctoral dissertation on the Book of Daniel.
SIMPLE YET MEANINGFUL BIRTHDAY
Since the birthday of Bishop Ambo this year falls on Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence, and this year accompanied by a day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine as requested by His Holiness Pope Francis, he chose to celebrate his birthday not with feast and merriment but with prayer and sacrifice, united with the suffering of Christ (cf. Col. 1:24) for the salvation of the world.
He said in a pastoral letter, “Mga kapatid, samahan natin ang Santo Papa at ang ating mga kapatid sa Ukraine sa pamamagitan ng pananalangin at pag-aayuno simula ngayong ika-2 ng Marso, 2022, araw ng Miyerkoles ng Abo, simula ng Kuwaresma. Ang Panginoon mismo ang nagturo sa atin na walang ibang panlaban sa mga tukso ng diyablo, lalo na sa mga nahuhumaling sa kapangyarihan, kayamanan at katanyagan, kundi ang pag-aayuno, pananalangin, at pagkakawanggawa(Mateo 4:1-11).”
Yesterday, before the final blessing of the Mass, the clergy and the faithful of Kalookan prayed for Bishop Ambo. The prayer was led by Rev. Fr. Jeronimo Ma. J. Cruz, Vicar General of the Kalookan Diocese.
Panalangin ng Pagpapala Para sa Kaarawan ng Ating Mahal na Obispo
by Rev. Fr. Jesus Salonga Wenceslao,
Parochial Vicar, San Roque Cathedral Parish
Panginoon na may likha at pinagmulan ng lahat ng buhay,
kami ay lubos na nagagalak at nagpapasalamat sa biyaya ng buhay
na ipinagkaloob Mo sa aming mahal na obispo na si Bishop Ambo.
Idinudulog namin siya sa Iyong harapan.
Bigyan Mo siya ng malusog na pangangatawan at mahaba pang buhay.
Gabayan Mo siya at liwanagan ang kanyang landas
habang tinatahak niya ang makulay ngunit mapanghamon na daigdig na ito.
O Hesus na dakilang Pari,
pagkalooban Mo s’ya ng mas matatag pang pananampalataya,
isang maliwanag at matibay na pag-asa,
at pag-ibig na mas lalo pang mag-aalab sa buong buhay ng kanyang pagkapari.
Sa mga oras ng pangungulila, patatagin Mo ang kanyangkalooban,
Sa mga oras ng kahinaan, bigyan Mo siya ng lakas;
Sa mga oras ng pagkabigo,
ipakita Mo sa kanya na sa paghihirap, naroon ang Iyong presensya;
Pagkalooban Mo siya ng biyaya na labanan
ang anumang uri ng kasamaan at magtagumpay
sa anumang maganda niyang gawain para sa Simbahan.
Idulot Mo sa kanya ang mga grasyang kanyang kinakailangan
sa kanyang pagpapastol sa Bayan ng Diyos.
Iparamdam Mo rin sa kanya na kami ay laging nasa kanyang tabi,
kaisa niya at handang tumulong sa kanya.
O Mahal na Birheng Maria, Ina ng lahat ng mga Pari,
ingatan mo sa iyong puso si BISHOP AMBO
na pinakamamahal mo dahil sa kanyang bokasyon
at sa misyon na iniatang sa kanya na ipalaganap ang Mabuting Balita.
Hinihiling namin ito sa pangalan ng aming Panginoong Hesukristo,
kasama ng Espiritu Santo, magpasawalang hanggan. Amen.