Radio Caritas Mariae

A Past Revisited

June 1994. A new quest was launched by the Institute of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Three Filipino friars trained in Rome, Italy were sent by their Superior General to pilot a new venture, i.e. Rev. Fr. Carmelo del Rosario (priest-psychologist), Rev. Fr. John Carlo Ma. Rosales (priest-engineer), and Bro. Gerard Buen (radio technician). All three were caught by surprise upon being told to search for the possibility of putting up a Radio Broadcasting System in Naga City – the Heart of Bicol. Arriving in Naga City by the 2nd of June they immediately began seeking new acquaintances who could be of help in securing the necessary data for the project. Gradually the development began.

  1. June 5, 1994 – the Friars approached Rev Fr. James Reuter, SJ and seek for diplomatic advice, being the head of the National Federation of the Catholic Broadcasters of the Philippines. Assurance of support was promised by him in turn.
  2. June 8, 1994 – an audience with His Excellency Msgr. Teodoro Buhain was sought he being the Bishop-in-Charge of ZNN Radio Veritas Global the franchise of which was then granted for use and affiliation.
  3. June 15, 1994 – His Excellency Msgr. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP, DD, approved the project proposal on behalf of the future Radio Broadcasting System saying “I personally endorse this project…and their ardent desire to be in solidarity with the goals of my diocese for a renewed effort to have a radio station of its own…”

The positive results of the initial transactions triggered further zeal for the first missionaries to advance the cause of the planned radio. Solicitations began in the country and abroad while the missionaries continue to support the project thru their most relevant investment – the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament! Ironically the journey began and it began with nothing at hand!

                8th of September. The Missionaries were so much amazed to receive a surprise gift from a benefactor whose devotion to Mary is as strong as her desire to spread the Gospel of Christ thru Radio. “Pasensya na po kayo…” was her humble excuse. And with childish shyness, she handed over a gift check enough to pay “half” of the entire cost of radio equipment. Praised be Jesus thru Mary!!!

The Search

Mother Mary’s birthday gift inspired the missionaries to begin searching for the future venue of the planned Radio Station. Amidst the rain of September, they eyed possible places in Naga City, Camarines Sur where the new mission was mandated to commence. After some days, they found a new home at 632 Barlin Street, Naga City just in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Nueva Caceres. The new haven was then called: Caritas Mariae Tabang Banuaan Center.”

Caritas Mariae. They are Latin words meaning “Charity of Mary”. They are expressive of the very charism of the missionaries themselves. Theirs is a mission of charity towards humanity most especially for those marginalized both by material and spiritual poverty. It is a radical sense of loving in a manner dearest to the heart of every Bicolano – a love borne of Mary, The Lady of Peñafrancia!

Tabang Banuaan. They are words native to the Bicolano dialect meaning “Community Service”. Prelude to the dawn of the Radio Station, the missionaries thought of getting more acquaintances through their initial pastoral immersion. “Service” was the imperative word that was immediately evident in the new center. Daily Mass, outreach to visiting beggars, assistance to the Parishes, and Media Networking like film shows, exhibits, etc.

September 13, 1994. Caritas Mariae was formally approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission by the Director of SEC Corporate and Legal Department, Ms. Sonia Ballo. The ratification categorizes Caritas Mariae as a “non-profit” Foundation with SEC regulation number 003475. The Board of Trustees is comprised of Mr. Virgilio Pulayan as President with some other Franciscan Tertiaries in Metro Manila. Its main office is at 753 P. Sevilla St., Kalookan Metro Manila.

According to the pioneering staff, the following are the projected goals of the Foundation.

  1. To help and support the apostolate of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate everywhere in the Philippines especially in their undertakings towards the less fortunate citizens of the country.
  2. To act as a legal entity on behalf of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate especially in terms of proprietorship since their religious vow of poverty allows them only to possess through a third entity and not themselves directly.
  3. To be able to raise and hold funds for the works of charity of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and eventually act as secondary channels connecting them to philanthropic benefactors, associations, all of non-profit nature.
  4. To deposit and withdraw money in aid of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate’ s non-profit apostolic works of charity through legal banking systems under the very name of the corporation.
  5. To invest the money of the corporation in excess of its immediate requirements in such a manner to be determined by the corporation and solely with a firm purpose of channeling the investment results to the non-profit apostolate of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

With the approval of the foundation, the Center became equipped with a possible set-up organization that would result in the following terms: the preservation of the strict observance of poverty on the part of the missionaries and their access to volunteers who will take part in the foundation and are willing to act as a third entity to any financial transactions.

                October 4, Solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi, Patron of the Franciscans of the Immaculate marked the birth of Caritas Mariae Center, Rev. Fr. Carmelo del Rosario, FFI inaugurated the mission house honored by the presence of their friends and benefactors. A simple Mass was celebrated in the then little Chapel of adoration located in the heart of the newly renovated house. The following important features took place:

  1. The first encounter of all the willing volunteers who so far showed renewed interest in the new apostolate of the missionaries.
  2. The official launching of the new fundraising movement called “Caritas Mission Partnership Program” which is known as “a-peso-a-day” contribution to any partner member, all proceeds of this program went to the funds for the future radio station.
  3. The official recognition of thanks of those who initially contributed their efforts to realize the new center at 632 Barlin St., Naga City.

After a week, that was the 11th of the same month, His Excellency Msgr. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP, DD officially ratified his consent to keep the Blessed Sacrament in the Center for public adoration and functions. They “…will be holding a 24-hour adoration prayer to serve as the media center’s “powerhouse” as St. Maximilian did when he put up his apostolate for the media” (Letter to the Bishop, docum006./301).

The Development

With the Eucharist in their midst, the missionaries began to feel the renewed confidence in advancing their cause. November 1994 marked further developments in the progressing mission on the first three friars. Rev. Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, FFI, Founder of the Institute of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate invigorated them more when he came for a canonical visit from Italy. His presence was indeed a grace. The missionaries, therefore, have had the opportunity of being in colloquy with him regarding some difficulties which they naturally encountered in the newly born Center. And based on the capitulary reports submitted by Rev. Fr. Carmelo del Rosario, Director of the Center, the following were their details:

  1. The Center was badly in need of further renovation to fit the increasing number of people frequenting the adoration chapel as well as the Holy Masses held daily. The upper portion of the edifice was temporarily converted into a recreation hall for young kids who also preferred to hang around the Caritas Center. Eventually, the second floor was converted into the Radio Station itself.
  2. The Center witnessed the uncontrollable influx of young people who frequented the Caritas Center. By November 1994, the listed members of “Caritas Mariae Youth Club” (CMYC) was ranging from 400 to 500 youngsters. In the short time that the missionaries were there, various youth activities were already held like retreats, Marian catechesis, outreach programs to the poor, and even educational tours.
  3. The Center was also blessed with laypersons willing to offer their time and effort for the advancement of the mission. With the consent of the Local Ordinary, the Confraternity of the “Tertiary Franciscans of the Immaculate” was formally institutionalized. They are lay collaborators of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate who wished to take part in the Franciscan Ministry by doing their roles as consecrated laypersons willing to spent the rest of their lives in the service to Jesus thru Mary.

In the realm of technical progress. Caritas Center was blessed with more positive transactional results. By the 14th of November 1994, a gratuitous letter from Commissioner Simeon L. Kintanar of the National Telecommunications Commission was sent to the Radio Veritas Global Broadcasting System, Incorporated containing the official “permit to purchase” the Radio equipment. This ratification was indeed a big grace from the Lord since the future Radio Station was then under the franchise of the said broadcasting system. Eight days later, on November 22, 1994, the feasibility study was made by the National Telecommunications Commissions based on the technical and economic liabilities of the future Radio. The study was done under the supervision of Commissioner Kintanar.

  1. A Year-round of a challenge for the little community. Everything seemed to be an influx of graces and blessings. On January 5, 1995, a letter was released granting Radio Veritas Global Broadcasting System, Inc., the authority to import the various types of radio equipment. Twenty days later, the Broadcast Service Department of the National Telecommunications Commissions issued the paper containing the proper documentary quotations of the future radio station with all its particular data. Five days later, Radio Veritas Global requested the kind-hearted OIC of the Broadcast Services Department, Engr. Carlos Saliuan the permit to amend the permit to purchase a Radio Transmitter given by the office of the Honorable Commissioner Simeon L. Kintanar of the National Telecommunications Commissions. The benevolent engineer granted the request without much difficulty to the great contentment of the missionaries.

The succeeding months were evident manifestations of God’s caring hands. Young people began to feel the need of responding to the pastoral challenges laid down by the friars. The daily Masses also began to touch the hearts of many lives so much so that the Center continued to be inadequate in as far as space was concerned. Eventually, the following developments took place.

  1. The Formation of the Tertiary Franciscans of the Immaculate (TFI)

Friends, benefactors, and volunteers felt a common desire to link themselves to the charism imparted by the Franciscan missionaries. Beginning on the feast of the conversion of Saint Paul a good number of volunteer ministers at the newly launched center agreed to consecrate themselves as Tertiary Franciscans of the Immaculate (TFI). The pioneering candidates were Sr. Clare Alfonso and Sr. Agnes Dee both of whom are natives of the place. Their cheerful and high-spirited concern for the poor invited further applicants to the tertiaries. Up till the present, the number of tertiaries has increased to 230 in the Bicol Region. 30 in Metro Manila and some 20 in Palawan Islands.

  1. The Formation of the Basic Caritas Community (BCC)

Vocations also began to sprout among young boys frequenting the Center. In less than a year, the missionaries began to organize a regular day for “vocation search-in”. Many boys indeed responded to it and the Center was then never short of applicants up to the present. Regular volunteers began to stay as full-time collaborators of the Center which somehow answered the friars’ difficulty in making a balance between the apostolate and prayer obligations. This activity, therefore, is more popularly known among youngsters as the “Basic Caritas Community” or BCC. By May 1995, four BCC boys were transferred to the Our Lady of Consolation Formation Center in Cebu City for further Franciscan Training.

  1. The AKI (Youth) Foundation, Incorporated

Young people were not also left behind in the Center. The AKI Foundation Incorporated was also organized simply to answer the growing need for redirecting the faith of the youth of today towards real values and proper leadership orientation. The regular leadership training program was conducted for their formation and they were given the monthly youth encounter called “Caritas Renewal Experience” which was more popularly known as “CREX”. They actively took part in the youth program of the Diocese most especially in its endeavor to be present during the World Youth Day activities together with His Holiness Pope John Paul II. The Foundation was then ratified as a non-profit entity on September 25, 1995, by the Security Exchange Commission.

  1. The Perpetual Adoration Guild

Strikingly, many people frequent the center for one sublime purpose – the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The Foundation of the Confraternity of the Tertiary Franciscans of the Immaculate did help to make an extension of another apostolic endeavor. With their acquaintances, they decided to put a team that will perseveringly cater to the midday adoration as well as the afternoon adoration since the morning adoration is being taken care of by the BCC Volunteers.

                While Caritas continued to face the pastoral challenges Bicolwide, certain technical development began to materialize. March 1995 marked another stepping stone to the upgrading of the Caritas Radio-in-the-making.

  1. March 29, 1995. The Construction of the Radio Antenna began with a projected height of 66.15 meters high. The project was being spearheaded by Engr. Ignacio “Dante” Pagalan Jr. of Balazo-Pagalan and Associates stationed at Cebu City.
  2. September 6, 1995. The issuance of the height clearance permit was made by the Department of Transportation and Communication with No. 495-95.
  3. October 4, 1995. Feast of St. Francis. The National Telecommunications Commissions issued the permit for test broadcast with the final specifications of the much-awaited Radio Station namely DWMM – 98.3 5KW.
  4. December 1995. The Pagalan Antenna Project was nearing its end. The tower was then ready for painting.

                The rapid proceedings of Radio Caritas were indeed a striking one. Much to the surprise of its critiques, the silence of the ongoing construction was suddenly broken at the outbreak of its inauguration. On January 20, 1996. His Excellency Monsignor Leonardo Legaspi, OP, DD, celebrated the inaugural Mass at the Caritas Center. That day historically marked the realization of a seemingly impossible mission catered to the three missionaries. Radio Caritas Mariae is now a real entity in the world of arts and communications.

Gallery

Listen Live

Radio Caritas Mariae
"The Mother's Touch"
Sponsor
Favorites
Daily Readings
Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth week in Ordinary Time
Saint of the Day
Saint Paul of the Cross
Homily
"We are called to become FFI. FULL OF and FOOL FOR THE IMMACULATE. WE ARE ALL F F I"
Homily of Rev. Fr. Joey D. Gonzaga, SThD