PASAY City, July 21, 2015— Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has underscored anew the need for the older generation to hand down the faith to today’s youth if the Filipino faithful are to avoid the problems the Church in much of the Western world faces with its reportedly rising number of lax Catholics.
“When I celebrated Mass at a church in Milan, I felt bad. Was it because of my Italian? I didn’t know why until I went back to my seat. I realized there was not a single youth in my congregation,” lamented Tagle in his homily for the installation Mass of Fr. Macías Wency D. Seráfica, the new head pastor of San Isidro Labrador Parish in Pasay recently.
The prelate stressed that what is taking place in the Church in Europe could also be the fate of the Church in the Philippines if the young faithful are left to themselves with nobody to guide them and to ensure the transmission of the faith.
Church as museums
He went on to share that many church buildings in Europe, cathedrals even, which some of the greatest Catholic saints frequented, had to be sold to the tourism department, given that former parishioners no longer had interest in them.
“Before I got irritated whenever there was a baby crying or toddlers running around during Mass. I got easily distracted by them. Now I crave them. I welcome them,” he said.
“Because of them I am convinced that our faith community has a future ahead of it,” he added, stressing that evangelization is the duty not of the clergy alone, but of all baptized persons.
Lumen Gentium (LG), the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, speaks of the family as the “domestic Church” where children first learn about the faith.
Part of LG 11 reads, “From the wedlock of Christians there comes the family, in which new citizens of human society are born, who by the grace of the Holy Spirit received in baptism are made children of God, thus perpetuating the people of God through the centuries. The family is, so to speak, the domestic Church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care vocation to a sacred state.”
Challenge of evangelization
Tagle ended by urging Seráfica to take on the challenge of shepherding his new flock to the best of his abilities, so the forthcoming generations will have a chance to hear the Good News.
Likewise, the cardinal exhorted the San Isidro parishioners to help their pastor out, to work with him, in the task of evangelization. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)