Cardinal Tagle thanks Manila Catholics in farewell Mass

Prelate says his goodbyes as move to head up Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples edges nearer
Cardinal Tagle thanks Manila Catholics in farewell Mass

A priest takes a selfie with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila at the end of the Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by the cardinal on Jan. 27. (Photo: Joe Torres/UCA News)

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila gave thanks to Catholics in his archdiocese as he prepares to take on a new role as head of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the Vatican.

In his homily during a Thanksgiving Mass in Manila Cathedral on Jan. 27, the cardinal spoke of "giving thanks" according to the Scriptures before bishops, clergy and laypeople.

"We truly give thanks to God for having gathered as a community, as one family of faith, as one archdiocese, as one church," he said as he opened his address.

He reminded the gathering to thank God "for the calling that we have received not just individually but as one community to witness his Gospel."

The cardinal said there is "much to thank the Lord for," especially for being "called by the Father, in Jesus Christ to be one body, one people ... the body of Christ."

"What does it mean to give thanks?" he asked his audience.

"The moment of death is the moment of supreme thanksgiving. I will give my body, my blood as a living, pleasing sacrifice as an act of thanksgiving," said an emotional Cardinal Tagle.

He called on his "brothers and sisters” in Manila Archdiocese to be reminded to give thanks to God "in whatever we do in words and deeds."

As early as last month, the Manila archbishop was making the rounds to bid farewell to Filipino Catholics by celebrating Masses.

"This kind of celebration gives me strength," he told a gathering in his hometown in Cavite province, south of Manila.

He told the gathering he would soon be "an overseas Filipino worker" and appealed for prayers.

Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Tagle prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, also known as Propaganda Fide, in December.

The Manila prelate's new assignment is an important position in the Vatican as it takes care of the mission in territories mostly in Asia and Africa.

The congregation was established nearly 400 years ago in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV with the task of "transmission and dissemination of the faith throughout the whole world."

As head of the office, Cardinal Tagle will oversee the work of most dioceses in Asia, Africa and Oceania, in which one third of the Catholic Church’s 4,000 dioceses are found.

Cardinal Tagle is president of Caritas International, a confederation of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations operating in over 200 countries and territories.

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