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Pope speaks to Manila in Tagalog

MANILA (Mabuhay) : While the first public words uttered in English by Pope Francis have stirred great excitement, he also signed off his English language live stream message to a conference on facing the challenges of the new evangelisation in Asia with a final greeting in Tagalog, saying, Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang Asia! Pagpalain kayo ng Diyos (Long live The Philippines! Long live Asia! God bless you).

The pope said in his message to the October 16 to 18 gathering held in Manila that the challenge to the Christian is to discern exactly how Jesus is present, recognise him and appreciate his presence, no matter where it may be or in what form.

It is an invitation to Christians not to be afraid of the world or shut themselves off from the world, because if Jesus is present, it cannot be such a terrifying place.

His statement needs to be read alongside his message for World Mission Day (Sunday Examiner, October 20) in which he describes the current challenge of the Church as renewing awareness of its
presence in the contemporary world as a community of believers among the diversity of religions, people, cultures, nations and ways of life.

The pope reminded the delegates, “The Holy Spirit is active in you,” but added that the further challenge is to recognise this and not to resist his lead.

However, the pope adds a bit of his own advice, gleaned from his long years of dedicated service to the poor.

“Do not get tired of bringing the mercy of the Father to the poor,” he said, “the sick, the abandoned, the young people and families.”

In closing the conference, the archbishop of Manila, Luis Cardinal Tagle, said, “We are sent as humble and poor servants of the kingdom and its message. We are not sent in order to prove something to God or ourselves. We are not here for conquest. We are here simply to share the riches that we have heard, seen and touched.”

Cardinal Tagle was moved to tears during the closing Mass. 

Although tears a conversion do not make, 56-year-old Veronica Antonio told CBCP News, “The way I perceive my mission became clearer… I have learned that I should not mind whatever position it is that I hold. What I should focus on is the mission that I have to fulfill in my parish.”

One of the younger delegates at the conference, 18-year-old Gladys Tagle added, “Being part of this celebration makes me feel so good. I often ask myself if I am really meant to serve, but now that question has been answered. It became clear to me that I will do everything the Lord asks of me, all in high hopes that he will never leave me in this journey.”

 

Giovanni Pang, who travelled from Hong Kong for the event, reflected, “Everybody in society is finding a position, thinking they have to grab power and get money. As Tagle said, trust in God, because you have a mission.”