Church officials in the Philippines and Rome say Cardinal Luis Tagle has recovered from the coronavirus. (Photo: Angie de Silva)
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Filipino prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has recovered from his brush with Covid-19, according to Catholic officials in the Philippines and Rome.
“We are happy to announce that Cardinal Tagle is now free from Covid-19 as was confirmed by swab test results,” Manila Archdiocese said in a statement on Sept. 23.
The Collegio Pontificio Filippino, a college for diocesan priests from the Philippines studying at pontifical universities in Rome, also confirmed that the former Manila archbishop had recovered.
“It is with great joy that we announce to the Filipino people and to the world that our dear Cardinal [Tagle] is now free from coronavirus,” Father Gregory Gaston, the college rector, said.
He also said Cardinal Tagle’s recovery was “God’s gift” to the Catholic Church to continue Christ’s mission on Earth.
“God wants him to continue … to bring God’s Good News of love, joy, peace, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation, all of which the world needs in a special way these days,” Father Gaston added.
Cardinal Tagle tested positive for the coronavirus upon returning to the Philippines on Sept. 10 to visit his elderly parents.
The cardinal, the first head of a Vatican dicastery to catch the virus, went into self-quarantine in a hotel in Manila on learning the test results.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had called for prayers from the country’s prelates in their daily Masses.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan had called for churchgoers to recite 10 Hail Marys at midday every day for the cardinal’s speedy recovery.
Retired Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said prelates and churchgoers in the Philippines have rejoiced in spirit and in prayer after learning about Cardinal Tagle’s recovery.
“The people of God are so happy [Cardinal Tagle] is now Covid free. God wants him to continue his mission in the Philippines and in the world. He is very active in the ministry and has been visiting many places including refugee camps,” Bishop Bastes told UCA News.
He also said that although Cardinal Tagle has recovered, his experience should tell him that his body needed rest.
“We, bishops and priests, are also to be reminded by this event. As much as we want to stretch ourselves in fulfilling our ministry, we are still human with bodies that also need to rest,” Bishop Bastes said.
Manila Archdiocese parishioners said they were elated when they heard the news.
“God heard our prayers. We knew [he] was 63 years old, which made him vulnerable to the virus. That is why we [fellow parishioners] were worried. Now we thank God for this great blessing,” Vanessa Gerona told UCA News.