ROME, April 14, 2011?The Filipino community in the Vatican celebrated the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Holy See on Thursday with a Eucharistic celebration presided by His Excellency Most Rev. Dominique Mamberti.
Archbishop Mamberti is the Secretary (Relations with States) of the Vaticanâ€™s Secretariat of State or the Vaticanâ€™s foreign minister. Prior to his current assignment at the Vatican, he has held posts as apostolic nuncio to Sudan (2002) and Eritrea (2004).
Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See, Mercedes Tuason has invited all Filipino priests, religious and lay members of religious communities in Rome to the event which was held at the Cathedra Petri (altar of the chair of St. Peter) inside the Basilica of St. Peter.
Designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the chair of St. Peter is held by four doctors of the church: Sts. Ambrose and Athanasius (left); and Sts. Augustine and Chrysostom (right). The chair represents the teaching authority of St. Peter and his successors in the See of Rome.
Ambassador Tuason was grateful that the liturgical celebration was held at the altar of the chair of St. Peter in order to highlight the bonds of communion between the Philippine nation and the See of St. Peter.
In his message to the Philippine bishops at the end of their ad limina visit (29 November 2010), Pope Benedict XVI pointed out this special â€œbond of communion which stretched back over four centuries to the first offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice upon our shores.â€
Pope Benedict XVI prays that this communion of faith and sacrament â€œmay continue to serve as a leaven in the broader culture, so that current and future generations of Filipinos will continue to encounter the joyful message of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.â€
It was during the presidency of Elpidio Quirino that the Apostolic Delegation to the Philippines was raised to the status of Nunciature. Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi became the first Apostolic Nuncio on 9 April 1951, and H.E. Manuel Moran became the first ambassador of the Philippines to the Holy See when he presented his Letters of Credence to Pope Pius XII on 4 June 1951.
The celebration hopes to strengthen more the diplomatic bond between the Philippines and the Holy See which has been marked by fruitfulness in promoting the gospel values for all Godâ€™s people. (Fr. Jose V.C. Quilongquilong, S.J.)