Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ’s newest book to launch this Sunday

With a concert pianist-grandmother and a songwriter-uncle as one of his first teachers, music has been the lifeblood flowing through Manuel Simplicio “Manoling” Valdes Francisco’s veins since his birth in 1965.

Upon entering the Society of Jesus on May 30, 1985, Fr.Manoling Francisco SJ has built a list of noteworthy accomplishments that include completing a doctorate in Systematic Theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, teaching at the Loyola School of Theology and leading the Tanging Yaman Foundation’s nationwide food, disaster relief, education and livelihood initiatives as its chair.

Yet, it is his timeless liturgical compositions that continue to engrave Fr.Manoling Francisco’s name in the hearts of millions of Filipino Catholics both here and abroad. Honing his remarkable gift since his high school days with Norman Agatep and Jandi Arboleda, Fr.Manoling and his closest friends co-founded the acclaimed Bukas Palad Music Ministry in 1986.

Among the contemporary worship musical ensemble’s greatest pieces are Fr.Manoling’s over a hundred original compositions including “Tanging Yaman” and “Hindi Kita Malilimutan”, which have been covered by OPM icons Basil Valdez, Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Jamie Rivera and Noel Cabangon to name a few. Having recorded several albums with the Jesuit Music Ministry (JMM), Fr.Manoling and Bukas Palad’s music has since gained global appeal, staging concerts in Japan, Hong Kong and the US , bringing the warmth of hope and comfort of prayer to our kababayans.

As the faithful continues with its observance of fasting and abstinence this Lenten season and looks forward to celebrating Christ’s Resurrection, Bukas Palad debuts its latest album “Behold the Risen Christ”  in a prayer-concert on March 24, Sunday, 3:30pm at the Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University. The gathering also marks the launch of “To Gaze Upon the Lord”, a decade’s worth collection of Fr.Manoling’s inspiring Sunday Gospel reflections published in the Philippine Star. 

Reflecting on the image of the father’s unwavering gaze at the path left behind by the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:20, Fr.Manoling describes how “we turn our gaze on the world and on the fattened calves it has to offer…We learn that we become miserable in life not because the Lord casts us away or inflicts suffering upon us, but because we have walked away from our true home—communion with the Lord.”

In his landmark compilation of Gospel reflections, Fr.Manoling hopes that “To Gaze Upon the Lord” would “spur us to contemplate the infinite beauty of our Lord who never stops nor tires of gazing lovingly and mercifully upon us” – another splendid title to add in the album of accolades for this remarkably gifted servant of the Lord. 

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