Pope to Filipinos: Be missionaries of the faith
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Pope Francis on Sunday, January 18, said Filipinos are called to be “outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia.”
In his homily, the pontiff said that for the Philippines, being the foremost Catholic country in Asia is “both a special blessing and a vocation.”
The Sto Niño, whose feast was celebrated Sunday, reminds us of the “goal to spread the reign of Christ throughout the world,” Pope Francis said. (FULL TEXT: Pope Francis' homily, Mass at Luneta)
In his homily, Francis said, "The Apostle tells us that because God chose us, we have been richly blessed! God 'has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens' (Eph 1:3). These words have a special resonance in the Philippines, for it is the foremost Catholic country in Asia; this is itself a special gift of God, a special blessing. But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia."
"He chose us, each of us to be witnesses of his truth and his justice in this world," the pontiff said in his homily.
He also prayed that Filipinos continue working together "beginning with your families and communities," for a "world of justice, integrity, and peace."
"May the Santo Niño continue to bless the Philippines and may he sustain the Christians of this great nation in their vocation to be witnesses and missionaries of the joy of the Gospel, in Asia and in the whole world," he said.
As a response, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that "every Filipino wants to go with you, not to Rome, but to the peripheries."
"We will go to those worlds with you, to bring the light of Christ... we will go with you where the light of Jesus is needed," Tagle said.
"Send us, your beloved Filipinos, to spread the light of Jesus. And wherever you see the light of Jesus shining, even in Rome, even in Santa Marta, remember: the Filipino people are with you in spreading the light of Jesus," Tagle added.
At the end of the Mass, the song "Tell The World of His Love" was sung, again echoing the Pope's message in the homily of being missionaries of the faith.
There are an estimated 80 million Catholics in the Philippines, a country of 100 million. (See: MAP: Catholicism in the Philippines) – Rappler.com