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PH church leaders to Pope: ‘Filipinos will be your light in Asia, world’

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MANILA, Jan. 22, 2015—High-ranking church officials on Sunday assured Pope Francis that the Filipino faithful will be one with him in becoming heralds of the Good News tasked to bring God’s word to the different sectors of society.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in his thanksgiving message following the Holy Father’s Mass at the Quirino Grandstand, asked for the Pope’s blessing as Filipinos embark into their holy mission of becoming “missionaries of light” in the modern world.

To peripheries

“Every Filipino wants to go with you—not to Rome—but to the peripheries, to the shanties, to prison cells, to hospitals, to the world of politics, finance, arts, sciences, culture, education, and social communications,” Tagle said in his message to the Holy Father.

“We will go to these worlds to bring the light of Jesus—Jesus who is the center of your pastoral visit and the cornerstone of the Church. We will go where the light of Jesus is needed,” he added.

Pilgrims light candles during the closing of the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at 3:30 p.m. as part of a send-off ceremony for all Filipinos to continue being missionaries to Asia, Jan. 18, 2015. (Photo: Kathleen Lumandas)

“Send us forth as missionaries of the light. Before you go, Holy Father, send us to spread the light of Jesus. Wherever the light of Jesus shines, you and the Filipino people will always be united,” Tagle said.

Source of hope

For his part, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), likened Pope Francis to “sunshine” that gives hope to Catholics all over the world.

“In the many days and months and years ahead, we will always bask in the sunrise because you have brought us awesome sunshine to last us many lifetimes. Holy Father you are our sunshine!” he said.

“You have brought us joy. You have brought us hope. You brought us warmth. You have brought us Jesus,” he added.

Villegas said Filipinos will bring the message of the Holy Father to the different parts of the world.

“We will be your lights; we will be the lights of Jesus for Asia and the world. We will light the world with the mercy and compassion of Jesus. We will light the world with the joy of the Gospel,” he said.

Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines on Thursday, following his visit to Sri Lanka. He flew back to Rome early Monday on board Philippine Airlines flight “Shepherd One” PR 8010, concluding his week-long trip to Asia. (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCP News)


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