Tagle: Pope’s PH visit ‘mission’ more than privilege

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MANILA, June 5, 2015—Recalling those historic events of nearly half a year ago, the head of the country’s premiere episcopal see said that while it was indeed a rare privilege encountering the Vicar of Christ himself in person on Philippine territory, the papal visit overall was more of a mission given that it urged all those who saw, heard, and touched Pope Francis to share God’s Word—Jesus—with others.

The Pope during his Encounter with the Youth at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST), Jan. 18, 2015 (Photo: Torio Flojo)

World lived, proclaimed

“For if it is about the Word of God lived and proclaimed, it must not be kept. It should be shared. It must be proclaimed in its simplicity, in its rawness, in its nakedness,” stressed Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle during the launch of a coffee table book on the Holy Father’s record-breaking apostolic trip held at the Arzobispado, Intramuros on Thursday, June 4.

The prelate noted hosting the Holy Father was the closest they got to the “original” event of being with Jesus, comparing members of the papal visit committee with modern-day apostles who were graced “to see, to hear, and to touch.”

Modern-day apostles

“Bishop Soc [Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas], the Apostolic Nuncio [Giuseppe Pinto], and many other people had not only the privilege but the mission to be quite close to the original event. We were like the modern-day apostles. We were graced to see, to hear, and to touch. It was not just a privilege. It was more of a mission,” he explained.

Echoing 1 John 1-4, Tagle said: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life—for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.”

‘Mission book’

According to the cardinal, who was recently elected president of Caritas Internationalis, the book itself has a mission, calling it a “mission book.”

“[…] coming from apostles who want to share their stories, and hopefully, through the book and the accounts, our hearts will be stirred again, our hearts will be disturbed, our hearts will start again and again to return to the Word of God, Whom the Holy Father tried to witness to us, the Living Person of Jesus,” he added. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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