MANILA, July 21, 2014—With his eyes fixed intently on the future, the country’s chief prelate discussed the indispensable role the youth play in keeping the Church alive.
Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle confessed that while before he got distracted and annoyed by children screaming, fighting, and running around during masses, now children inside churches are a welcome sight, and their noises have since become music to his ears.
“[Because] they assure me somehow that the Church in the country has a bright future ahead of it,” the cardinal said during a holy mass held in celebration of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Camba (Our Lady of Solitude of Camba) in Binondo’s fifth anniversary as parish, Sunday, July 20.
He called on the faithful to “always be on guard” and to hand down the faith to the next generation of young believers.
Surveying the church’s interior, Tagle noted. “Your cramped place of worship can barely accommodate all of you here. But that is good news. It means that your parish is pulsating with life.”
He laments that in some dioceses in Europe, only foreign tourists spend time inside basilicas and cathedrals, however grandiose and impressive they may be, because, he regrets, the local faithful have lost interest in them except as revenue-generating “museums”.
Tagle shared, “When I was celebrating mass in Italy for some reason I didn’t feel at ease, only to find out that there were no youthful members in my audience, only the elderly.”
This, he stressed, must not happen in the Philippines.
He explained that Christian communities become what they are, not of their own accord, but only by the grace of God. He’s the One who called us and gathered us together, he explained.
Tagle told those present, “While the Lord provides for everything the community needs, it remains incumbent on you to do your share in giving back to the Him the generosity He lavishes on you by being responsible and active members of this young parish.”
According to Tagle, the fact that the parish has made it to its fifth year is proof enough of God’s faithfulness.
“Give Him thanks. Look constantly back to the past so that you could give meaning to your ever-changing present. That way, you can look confidently forward to a hundred, a thousand more anniversaries,” he reminded the parishioners. (Raymond A. Sebastián)