MANILA, Philippines – Responding to the call of Pope Francis to be missionaries of the faith, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle first thanked him for strengthening the people’s faith and then pledged that Filipinos would join him and go to the peripheries.
“Tomorrow, you will go. Every Filipino wants to go with you. Don’t be afraid. Every Filipino wants to go with you – not to Rome – but to the peripheries,” Tagle said, eliciting laughter from the crowd. (READ: FULL TEXT: Tagle’s message to Pope Francis in final Mass)
But he continued, “We want to go with you to the shanties, to the prison cells, to hospitals, to the world of politics, finance, arts, the sciences, culture, education, and social communication. We will go to those worlds with you to bring the light of Christ.”
In his homily during the concluding Mass that highlighted his 5-day visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis said Filipinos are called to be “outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia.” The Philippines is home to 80 million Catholics and is the largest Catholic nation in Asia.
“We will go, Holy Father, with you where the light of Jesus is needed. Here in Luneta, the Quirino Grandstand, where heroes are revered, where newly elected presidents take office, and popes meet the Filipino people, here in this place of new beginnings, please, Holy Father, send us as your missionaries of light. Send us,” Tagle said.
The Manila Archbishop also assured the Pope, the Filipino people “are with you in spreading the light of Jesus.”
He also promised and assured Pope Francis that Filipinos will pray for him as he often asks. “Your Holiness, you are blessed, Jesus prays for you. How blessed you are. And we, your beloved Filipinos unite ourselves with Jesus, in praying for you to God, the Father.”
Earlier, Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas also told the Pope his love for Filipinos is “stronger than all typhoons. Your love is typhoon-proof.”
Villegas promised that Filipinos will be the light in Asia and the world. “We will light the world with mercy and compassion.
“You are our friend, our inspiration, our raincoat in the rain, our sunshine when it’s cloudy…You are our sunshine. Pope Francis, we love you,” Villegas said. – Rappler.com