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El Shaddai (movement)

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El Shaddai DWXI-PPFI
Classification Catholicism
Headquarters Sucat, Parañaque City
Founder Mike Velarde
Origin 1992 registered as religion in Philippines.
Congregations 300 Estimated
Members 8 million
Other name(s) El Shaddai

El Shaddai DWXI-PPFI most popularly known as El Shaddai (Hebrew for God Almighty, which is one of the names of God) is the biggest Catholic Charismatic Renewal group in the Philippines.[1][2] It is currently headed by Brother Mike Velarde, its servant leader and founder. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Teodoro Bacani of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines serves as its spiritual director.

History

Inspired by his recovery from a heart ailment in 1978, Mike Velarde started a weekly Bible-quoting radio show on DWXI, a station he acquired in 1982 as part of a real estate deal. Listeners, he says, began reporting that his voice had cured their afflictions.[3] In 1984, Velarde called his show "El Shaddai," a biblical name for God that he found in an American religious pamphlet.[3]

Velarde then held monthly prayer rallies outside the vicinity of the radio station. As the number of attendees kept growing, he made the rallies weekly until the crowd could no longer be accommodated by the area. The rallies were then moved to various locations such as a football stadium and then transferring several times to the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park in Manila; the open grounds outside the Philippine International Convention Center and the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City near Manila Bay; and finally in Amvel Business Park, Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque City (a site owned by the family) in order to accommodate the movement's followers.[4]

El Shaddai Movement has grown rapidly in the last decade and, as of 2005, had a reported 8 million members worldwide.[5]

In 2001, Velarde and Jesus Is Lord Church leader Eddie Villanueva engaged in a legal battle over control of the Christian television station DZOE-TV (Channel 11).[6] Villanueva has the franchise and the authority to operate the facility, but Velarde, using political connections, was able to import transmission equipment, the value of which he claims to have converted into equity in the station. Congress intervened and awarded Villanueva the right the acquire the frequency, with him paying Velarde for the stock and assets held by Delta Broadcasting System (DBS).

On August 20, 2009, El Shaddai inaugurated a 1 billion (approx. US$21 million at the time) House of Prayer on a ten hectare site in Amvel Business Park. The cost does not include the land, which will be paid for over 20 years. The building is 10,000 square meters and seats 16,000 with standing room for another 25,000, with space on the site for an overflow of the crowd.[7] The building was inaugurated by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the fourteenth President of the Philippines, on Velarde's 70th birthday.[8]

As it is a Roman Catholic movement, its diocesan bishop is Rev Jessie Mercado of the Diocese of Parañaque, while its Spiritual Director is the Bishop Emeritus of Novaliches Teodoro Bacani.

Political influence

Conspiracy theorists propagate the belief that El Shaddai plays a major role in Philippine politics. They assert that former President Fidel V. Ramos won the 1992 general election because of the movement's votes, although this has never been corroborated with an actual tally of votes correlated with El Shaddai membership rosters. Moreover, the Catholic Church, of which El Shaddai is an apostolate, refrains from interfering in temporal matters and, as such, does not dictate to its members which candidates to support or oppose.[9][10] In the same vein, individual members of the Catholic Church are free to form voting blocs that are independent from the Church itself, as in the case of Catholic Vote.

During the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada in late 2000, Velarde, in line with Catholic teaching regarding temporal matters, rejected the call of then-Archbishop of Manila Jaime Cardinal Sin to join a prayer rally urging Estrada to resign. Velarde said that El Shaddai members were free to join the rally of their own volition and reiterated that the movement was neither for nor against Estrada's resignation.[9]

It was reported that Velarde attempted to end a 2005 Philippine electoral crisis by uniting the Estrada and Arroyo camps.[11]

Controversy

In 2005, Katharine L. Wiegele said that El Shaddai has spread prosperity theology outside Protestant Christianity in the Philippines.[12]

International chapters

The movement has the following chapters internationally:[citation needed]

Africa

Asia

Europe

North America

Oceania

References

  1. ^ Katharine L. Wiegele (2007). Investing in Miracles: El Shaddai and the Transformation of Popular Catholicism in the Philippines. Ateneo de Manila University Press. 
  2. ^ Allan Anderson (2004). An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity. Cambridge University Press. p. 155. 
  3. ^ a b "Pacman deep into Bible study." Filipino Reporter 23 Mar. 2012: 21. Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 15 Feb. 2013.
  4. ^ Niña Catherine Calleja (August 20, 2009). "P1-B church of El Shaddai opens Thursday". newsinfo.inquirer.net. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  5. ^ Philippines: International Religious Freedom Report. U.S. Department of State (2005).
  6. ^ http://www.pathfinder.com/asiaweek/98/0227/feat1.html
  7. ^ "El Shaddai P1-B church opens today". CBCP News.[better source needed]
  8. ^ "Velarde opens El Shaddai church". The Philippine Daily Inquirer.[dead link]
  9. ^ a b Lockwood, R. P. (2008, July 11). "Catholic urban legends: The Catholic vote". Catholic Answers.
  10. ^ Akin, J. (2015, September 18). "Is voting for pro-abortion politicians sinful?" Catholic Answers.
  11. ^ Velarde: Arroyo open to joint rule with foes (archived from the original on 2007-03-11).
  12. ^ Wiegele, Katharine L. (2005). Investing in Miracles: El Shaddai and the Transformation of Popular Catholicism in the Philippines. University of Hawaii Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-8248-2861-5. 

Further reading

External links