Dominican Fraternities Join Friars in Historic Siete Palabras

Siete Palabras

For the first time in its 30-year history, "Siete Palabras," the longest-running Lenten program on television in the Philippines, features two non-friars as preachers. Traditionally composed of seven Dominican friars reflecting on the last words of Jesus, this year's presentation, which is aired live nationwide on Good Friday, includes personalities representing both the lay and priestly groups of the Fraternities of St. Dominic, that is, what used to be called the Dominican Third Order.

Reflecting on the Fourth Word (John 19:26-27) is Fr. Carmelo Arada of the Most Holy Trinity Parish in Balik-balik, Manila. He is a secular priest of the Archdiocese of Manila who is also a member of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic, an association of diocesan priests who share in the spirit of the founder of the Order of Preachers through a Rule of life that the members observe. He received theological formation at the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary where he was formed under the direction of the Dominican friars. Now working as pastor and member of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission, Fr. Arada also engages in many other collaborative works with the friars, especially involving the preaching ministry in the university and the seminary.

On the other hand, meditating on the Fifth Word (John 19:28) is Bro. Jun Banaag, a radio broadcaster of DZMM, who belongs to the Lay Dominican Fraternity Chapter in the Diocese of Pasig. To his listeners on air, Brother Jun is Dr. Love, whose radio show has been a potent platform for preaching the Gospel in the concrete realities of family life and other human relationships. For having been instrumental for leading many lives to holiness, his radio program earned the Hall of Fame award for Best Radio Counseling Program in the Catholic Mass Media Awards given by the Archdiocese of Manila. As a member of the Dominican laity, he currently serves as vice-provincial for the lay fraternities of the Philippine Province, while also engaging in apostolic work as lay preacher in spiritual retreats and in pilgrimages. He recently established a foundation to cater to the medical needs of developmentally challenged children.

The "Siete Palabras" is organized annually by the Dominican Province of the Philippines, and, since 1995, has been held at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City, which was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum. This year's innovative inclusion of non-friars is not only an observance of the Year of the Laity as declared by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), but also a fitting testimony to the preaching of the Dominican Family, having in mind the Jubilee celebration of the 800th year of foundation of the Order of Preachers in 2016. The program will also feature a special message from the president of CBCP Most. Rev. Socrates Villegas, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan. Friars Preachers include Fr. Enrico Gonzales, Fr. Roman Santos, Fr. Julius Paul Factora, Fr. Rodel Aligan, and Rev. John Stephen Besa. The program will air live on GMA 7 on April 18, at 12 noon (GMT +8:00), and will also be heard on Radyo Veritas 846. Live online streaming will be via

(16 April 2014)