Over 1,000 priests, nuns attend first Mass of Pope Francis in PHL PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 17 January 2015 11:37

Over 1,000 priests and nuns attended the first Mass of Pope Francis in the Philippines since his arrival late Thursday afternoon.

With this, the Holy Father urged the clergy and religious to be simple and embrace poverty so as to be real ambassadors for Christ.

“Only by becoming poor ourselves, by stripping away our complacency, we will we be able to identify with the least of our brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said in his homily during the Eucharistic Celebration he officiated at the Manila Cathedral on Friday.

He added, “[After then], we will see things in a new light and thus respond with honesty and integrity to the challenge of proclaiming the radicalism of the Gospel in a society which has grown comfortable with social exclusion, polarization and scandalous inequality.”

On the other hand, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle welcomed the Holy Father together with the members of the clergy and the religious.

“Most Holy Father before you are the representatives of the bishops, priests, religious men and women and lay faithful of the Philippines and of Asia. In their name I welcome you to our country to the City of Manila and to the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception,” he said.

The Cardinal added, “We are filled with joy for you are with us especially in the first Eucharistic Celebration of your pastoral visit.”

He also related the history of the Manila Cathedral, which was destroyed by man-made and natural calamities to the sufferings of the Filipinos.

“This cathedral has been razed to the ground many times but it refuses to disappear. It boldly rises from the ruins just like the Filipino people. Yes, Holy Farther we bishops, priests, and religious men and women have seen and had lived the sufferings but also the determination of our people. We are afflicted in every way possible but we are not crushed,” he said.

Meanwhile, authorities said an estimated 22,000 people were outside the Manila Cathedral who attended the Mass by Pope Francis.

MPD Deputy Dir. for operations S/Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel said that some 12,000 people occupied the Plaza Roma, the garden fronting the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

“The estimated crowd at the Plaza Roma is 12,000 while the people in auxiliary streets are 10,000,” the police official said.

After the Mass at the Cathedral, Pope Francis was expected to  proceed to the SM Mall of Asia Arena for his encounter with Filipino families.