POPE Francis has recognized Filipinos as the unsung messengers of the Church, who have tirelessly spread their “infectious” faith in the last 500 years.
During his homily for the 500th Anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippine, the pontiff thanked Filipinos for “sowing the faith” in different parts of the world through evangelization for half a millennia.
“I think, as I mentioned, of the many beautiful experiences in families here in Rome – but also throughout the world – where your discreet and hardworking presence became a testimony of faith. In the footsteps of Mary and Joseph, for God loves to bring the joy of faith through humble, hidden, courageous and persevering service,” Pope Francis said, referring to Filipinos.
He said the faith has been ingrained in the genes of each Filipino since they were introduced to Christianity in 1521.
The local celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christianity of the Philippines will officially start on April 4, 2021.
Church that gives
Pope Francis urged Filipinos to continue spreading the gospel to “those who are hurting and living on the fringes of life,” without forgetting the values taught by the Church.
“The Church is called not to judge but to welcome; not to make demands, but to sow seeds; not to condemn, but to bring Christ who is our salvation,” Pope Francis said.
“How beautiful and attractive is a Church that loves the world without judging, a Church that gives herself to the world. May it be so, dear brothers and sisters, in the Philippines and in every part of the earth,” he added.
Gifted with faith
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and and Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the pope’s vicar of Rome, were among those who participated in the mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
Also present in the event, which was livestreamed, were around 100 members of the Filipino community in Vatican.
In his short speech, Tagle thanked the pontiff for his participation in the country’s historic celebration.
He noted how Filipinos were “gifted” with the Christian faith, which helped shape their culture and allowed them to overcome calamities.
Such gift, Tagle said, must continue to be shared by Filipinos with others.
“The gift, if it is to continue being a gift, must be shared. If it is kept for itself it ceases to be a gift,” Tagle said.