PASAY City, June 13, 2015 – The “Poor Man of Asia”. This is just one of the less than flattering things the Philippines has been called, but a prelate recently affirmed how Filipinos are wealthy in the truest sense.
“The richness that we (Filipinos) have, is the richness that comes from the blessing of the Lord, not the richness of the world,” said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma during a Mass at the 7th National Catholic Charismatic Congress on June 6 at the SMX Convention Center.
Telling the estimated 5,500 attendees story after story about Filipinos’ natural sense of faith and hope, the prelate said his prayer is for Pinoys to recognize this spiritual richness as a grace from God.
“My point is we are rich in faith and may we recognize that because that is the goodness, the blesing that we share,” he added.
According to the former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, a recent meeting for the upcoming International Eucharistic Congress in January 2016 had Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses (IEC) commenting on this richness of Filipinos.
During an IEC meeting from April 24 to 28, Palma quoted Marini as saying: “Many Filipinos will say ‘We’re a poor country” and yet…I’d like you to notice how rich you are. You are rich in hope, joy, faith. And I see lot of lay people very active, and of course, volunteering, reaching out to others for the love of God and for the Church.”
Palma was also quick to remind Filipinos everywhere to ignore the world’s measures of success as the number of “cars that you park or the money in the bank” and to look instead at what really matters.
Goodness of the Lord
The prelate also recounted another story of how a parish priest in Switzerland thanked him profusely, saying, “Thank you very much. Thank you for the Filipinos!”
According to Palma, the parish priest, who heads three big churches, has only seven regular Mass-goers. The situation got even more challenging, he said, when two of them died. Things changed when the Filipino group, the Association of San Pedro Calungsod, decided to come every Sunday.
“Our church is full…And they sing so beautifully!”, Palma quoted the priest as saying.
“This is the reality in many places…Today, I’d like us to thank the Lord for this richness..[Our richness is] our firm conviction in the goodness of the Lord,” he said in conclusion. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz/CBCPNews)