MANILA, Nov. 29, 2013—The lessons taught by the first Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) continue to ripple, touching the lives of the Catholic faithful both inside and outside of the country, a ranking church official said.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that even if the PCNE is long over, its fruits are continuously being reaped as those who participated continue to echo the lessons they have acquired, expressing a different kind of faith renewal rooted to the graces of the Holy Spirit.
“The formal event (of the PCNE) is over but we continue to reap the fruits; we continue to hear the echoes of PCNE and the ripples are reaching us,” Tagle said during the PCNE thanksgiving mass held at the Arzobispado de Manila Chapel last November 25.
“As a pastor, I really thank God for the gift of communion; for the gift of the coming together of different persons, different temperaments, different backgrounds, and different economic and educational standing,” he added.
The PCNE, considered as the Philippine Church’s humble contribution to the Universal Church’s mission of new evangelization, was held at the University of Santo Tomas last October 16 to 18.
“The gifts of the Holy Spirit were all lent, generously offered, to make PCNE happen. So PCNE is really the work of the Spirit for it is the gifts of the Spirit that animated PCNE,” Tagle said.
Faith renewal, conversion
In one of his visits to Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome after the PCNE, Tagle noted the enthusiasm and excitement shown by religious and lay Filipinos as they listened to him share what transpired in the PCNE.
“Why am I saying this? Not just to congratulate ourselves, far from it, but for us to realize that our simple, humble contribution to the search of the whole Church for ways to pursue the New Evangelization, it cannot be contained if it is the work of God,” Tagle said.
“Even if we do not advertise it, people would want to learn from it. And I tell you, just telling them stories, some of them were in tears already as they hear the testimonies,” he added.
He also shared the story of Dominic Chan, a priest perceived as terror by many, who said “there in the PCNE, I felt like there was enough room for me to grow. I could spread my wings!”
“I was amazed and quietly thankful the PCNE could have an effect deep down there in the heart of someone who has discovered a new way of being a person and a new way of being a leader. So it is not just the grand events but also what happened in the heart of this one monsignor,” he said.
“So I told the priests, come and visit the Philippines, come and visit Manila, and you will also be a changed person when you come back to Hong Kong,” he added.
“We started (the PCNE) and now they are asking us, please do it again. Please repeat it here. Please share it with us. So this is our humble offering to the Year of Faith and the search for the new evangelization. But we are humble in our thanksgiving knowing that it is the beauty of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit that really made all this possible,” Tagle noted.
Pope’s PCNE address
Tagle also shared that in an interview he had with the Vatican Radio, he was told that the Philippines “made history” for making the “Pope speak in English,” noting that it was the first time that the Supreme Pontiff did so.
“So even being able to encourage the Holy Father, whom we know is really simple and very pastoral but enabling him to venture him into a new territory of addressing a whole people in a language that he was not quite comfortable with. But he ventured and it is a bit of a new evangelization,” Tagle said. (Jennifer Orillaza)