Pope Francis to address Filipinos on Oct 18
MANILA, Philippines – For the first time, Pope Francis will address Filipinos who will be attending a Manila-based conference on October 18, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said.
Tagle on Thursday, October 3, announced that Francis has agreed to deliver a video message at the closing Mass for the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE).
The PCNE, which takes place from October 16 to 18 at the University of Santo Tomas, is the biggest event in the Philippine Catholic Church this year. Convened by Tagle himself, it is also a first.
Tagle said the Vatican will closely watch the event to understand “what the churches in Asia can contribute to the universal search for new approaches, new expressions, and new methods in evangelization.”
“The Holy Father, who will send a message – that's a sign that they're really interested,” Tagle said in an interview with reporters.
He said the Pope readily agreed to deliver the message he requested. “When I explained the project, he said, 'Yes, yes, a message, sure, sure,'” Tagle said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Tagle said he will get confirmation this week if the message will be live or recorded. He said he doesn't know the theme of the Pope's message. “Hayaan natin siya, ayokong pangunahan ang Pope,” a smiling Tagle said. (Let's leave it to him; I don't want to preempt the Pope.)
The cardinal also said he doesn't know if the Pope will push through with a visit to the Philippines.
“Pero sinabi naman niya eh, sa press conference niya, na he desires to visit Asia, at inamin niya na may mga invitations to come sa Philippines, Sri Lanka, at mukhang may mga iba pang countries,” he said. (But he said in his press conference that he desires to visit Asia, and he acknowledged invitations to come to the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and perhaps other countries.)
For 'ordinary' Catholics
The Pope, who earlier said he has "high hopes for the Philippines," will address up to 5,000 delegates at the PCNE.
“Hindi lang unity in the Metro Manila area, kundi unity in the Philippines, unity in Asia,” Tagle said. (It's not only unity in the Metro Manila area, but also unity in the Philippines, unity in Asia.)
He said the PCNE will cater not so much to priests, but more to Catholics who have grown tired in their faith. One of the PCNE sessions, in fact, is titled, “Boring! Kailangan ba akong magsimba?” (Boring! Do I need to go to church?)
“We took these questions and concerns seriously in crafting the program,” Tagle said.
The Manila Archdiocese considers the PCNE the “grand climax” of its celebration of the Year of Faith, which the Catholic Church marks worldwide. When he was pope, Benedict XVI declared the Year of Faith to reignite faith at a time of rising secularism.
Francis has taken the Year of Faith seriously, and has said the Church should “go back to being a community of God's people.”
He has also vowed to build a “poor Church for the poor" – a relevant promise for the Philippines, the most predominantly Catholic in Asia and also among the poorest. – Rappler.com