16 October 2013, 7:35 p.m. – FOLLOWING the massive quake in the Visayas that destroyed some of the country’s oldest churches, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged the faithful Wednesday to “rebuild” the Church not just physically, but also inwardly.

Tagle also called for a constant strengthening of faith amid national tragedies, as he opened the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) hosted by the University of Santo Tomas.

In his homily during the Opening Mass at the Quadricentennial Pavilion, Tagle called on Filipinos to “rebuild” the Church by putting Christ in their hearts.

“Habang napapanoood kong gumuguho ang mga simbahan na nagsilbing simbolo ng pananampalataya sa dakong Bisaya, naririnig ko ring muli ang sinabi ng Diyos kay San Francisco: ‘Itayo ninyong muli ang Aking Simbahan,’” Tagle said.

Aside from the suffering caused by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that has claimed more than 100 lives as of posting, Tagle also cited the three-week Zamboanga crisis and the corruption controversy involving lawmakers’ pork barrel funds.

“Hindi natin maaaring isantabi ang nangyari sa Cebu at Bohol. Ang mga antigong simbahan at mga bantayog ng pananampalataya na ngayon ay napulbos,” Tagle said. “Hindi rin natin makakalimutan ang mga kapatid natin sa Zambaonga na nayanig ang buong buhay sa marahas na paraan.”

Tagle lamented that the country was suffering not only from natural disasters, but also from the misdeeds of government officials. 

“Tayo rin ay hindi pa nakababangon sa paghagupit ng mga nababalitang pork barrel, ang mga pinagpaguran ng simpleng mamamayan na dapat sana ay mapupunta sa matiwasay na paglilingkod,” Tagle said.

These are times for the faithful to be involved in evangelization and strengthen one’s faith, he added.

With the theme “God makes all things new,” the three-day conference aims to renew the faith of Filipinos, the prelate said.

Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P., Rector of UST, welcomed almost 6,000 participants, which include delegates from dioceses all over the Philippines and from Brunei, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.

“Embarked on our own missionary journey, may this conference be the source of inspiration and enlightenment as we come together to see the happening of grace and witness the spreading of the good news,” Dagohoy said.

The PCNE is being organized by the Archdiocese of Manila at the close of the Year of Faith declared by the now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis is scheduled to deliver a message to Filipinos from the Vatican during the PCNE’s closing ceremony on Oct. 18. Angeli Mae S. Cantillana


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