MANILA – Pope Francis’ envoy to the Philippines challenged the country’s consecrated men and women to bring Christ in the midst of the people.
Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia said that everyone, especially the men and women religious, are called to serve God in the presence of others, particularly those in “difficult and unjust situation”.
“We cannot claim to love God who we don’t see if we don’t love our brothers and sisters who we do see,” said the prelate during his homily at a Friday Mass at the Manila Cathedral.
The liturgical service celebrated the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and marked this year’s World Day of Consecrated Life.
The nuncio urged the religious to always look at Jesus who sacrificed His life for others “out of love”.
“A good father and a good mother sacrifice for the good of the children and even more,” added Caccia.
The archbishop also spoke about the important role of religious life, describing it as “a gift” from God.
According to him, to be religious means to testify and witness to His presence, “not as duty but as a gift”.
“…Religious men and women should be somebody who brings in his arms always the presence of God,” he added.
During the Mass, priests and nuns also washed the feet of 12 people from different sectors of society including a mother of an alleged victim of extrajudicial killing, a former drug addict and a Muslim woman.
For his part, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, called for renewal of the clergy and consecrated persons as servant leaders for the new evangelization.
“Renew your values, mind-sets, behavior, and life-styles by following the example of Christ, the Good Shepherd,” he said.
“Truly become servant-leaders, who care most especially for the least, the lost, and the last,” said Valles. CBCPNews