Pope Francis greets Filipinos worldwide on quincentennial of evangelization
MANILA – With the government’s extension of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for at least another week with the National Capital Region and four adjacent provinces with the ever-increasing number of COVID-19 cases, His Holiness Pope Francis called on millions of Filipinos worldwide to continue living and sharing the faith which reached the country five centuries ago.
In his video message uploaded on the Vatican News website at 8:00 A.M. today, Pope Francis said the three mysteries of faith which he described as part of the “deepest Christian roots of the Filipino people.”
He said these are Nazareth, the Cross and Pentecost. He said the tender love of the Holy Child which is a symbol of the arrival of Christianity in the archipelago reminds the faithful of the hidden life of the Holy Family in Nazareth.
“By opening the doors of your families to the Holy Child, he said ‘you too will be able to transmit to your children the faith that you received from your parents,” he said.
Underscoring the significance of the Cross, Pope Francis enumerated the difficulties Filipinos have had to face, especially in the preparation for the Jubilee from devastating earthquakes to violent typhoons volcanic eruptions and quite recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You continued to carry the cross and to keep walking. You suffered greatly, but you also got up, time and time again,” he said as he referred to the Filipinos resilience and deep faith.
He called on the Filipino faithful to “keep working, rebuilding and helping one another like good Cyreneans” as he thanks millions of Filipinos for their “witness of strength and trust in God, who never abandons you.”
On the Pentecost, Pope Francis reminded the Filipino faithful that “it is a point of arrival but also a new beginning.” He said the Mother of Jesus who was always at his side at the most difficult moment of his life, “standing at the foot of the Cross.” He added Mary “never leaves our side” and asked for her intercession “for a new Pentecost of the Church in the Philippines.”
Pope Francis called on the faithful to reflect on the words of Jesus for constant guide: “Without cost you received, without cost you are to give” as they are an invitation to thank God for all who handed on the faith to the present generation.
“Renew your enthusiasm for evangelization. Reach out to others and bring them the hope and joy of the Gospel,” he added.
He recalled his visit to the Philippines in 2015, the last meeting of which was attended by almost seven million in attendance.
“You are generous and you know how to celebrate the feast of faith. Never lose those qualities, even in the midst of difficulties,” the 84-year-old Pontiff said.
He said Filipinos need not be afraid because two great saints continue to accompany them, Saints Pedro Calungsod and Lorenzo Ruiz, whom he referred to as catechists.
“Keep moving forward; the Pope is always at your side. Do pray for me as well,” he concluded his message. (Melo M. Acuña)
Pope Francis. (Screen grab from Vatican News/8:00 A.M., Sunday, April 4,2021/Melo M. Acuna)