PALO, Leyte, Nov. 29, 2013—Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle led the celebration of the culminating Mass of the Archdiocese of Palo’s 75th jubilee anniversary in the midst of destruction caused by typhoon Yolanda.
“Because we need to pray, we need to gather, we need to give thanks. After all, with or without Yolanda, the Archdiocese of Palo is a diamond; and diamonds are forever,” the cardinal said.
Tagle was grateful that the archdiocese decided to pursue the closing celebration of the jubilee in spite of what had happened.
“In spite of the pains and the sufferings because of the great loss brought about by the typhoon, we have to celebrate our being Church. Perhaps this is the only thing left for us to celebrate that we are still gathered by the Holy Spirit, that the Word of God is still being preached; and that the Holy Eucharist still feeds us,” Tagle added.
He emphasized that the Church still “lives here” in the archdiocese.
“Buildings may collapse and fields may be flattened, but the Church will continue thriving, our Church will never be destroyed,” Tagle declared.
Since November 8, the people in the regions have been inspiring all people in the world.
“In your hidden and silent ways, through your tears, through the laughter and the jokes of the young people, you have inspired the whole nation; in fact, the whole world. You inspired us to rediscover what being human is all about, you have inspired us to rediscover what faith is all about, you have inspired us to love once again, to think of others, to be brave, to smile and to hope,” he said.
The cardinal assured the clergy of Palo that the Archdiocese of Manila is in communion with Palo and all priests are willing to assist them.
He also extended the assurance and the love of Pope Francis to the people of the region who have touched the international community where the Pope also feels the pains and sufferings of the people.
“Do not be afraid in asking God ‘why?’ all these things happened. Perhaps, this is the right prayer during this kind of calamities. Maybe this will attract our Father in heaven to look at us. We may not have the answer, but with His eyes looking at us, we are assured that He is with us, that He has never left us,” the cardinal furthered.
Collections on Nov. 24 Mass in the Vatican was made for the Philippines. On 1st Sunday of Advent, mass collections in all parishes in Italy will be given to the Philippines.
According to Fr. Amadeo Alvero, the archdiocesan spokesperson, in spite of what Leyteños are experiencing right now, the cathedral was full of attendees and the support of bishops in the region is visible.
Concelebrating with Tagle were Palo Archbishop John Du, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Naval Bishop Filomeno Bactol, Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas, Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez, Catarman Bishop Emmanuel Trance and Catarman Bishop-Emeritus Angel Hobayan, and Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez, and visiting priests from dioceses in the region. (Jandel Posion)