“I am happy to be a part of your Advent Celebration!”
It was a whirlwind yet a very spiritual and fruitful visit of His Eminence Luis Antonio Tagle, DD, to the island of Saipan.
The prelate of the Archdiocese of Manila, well known around the globe for his charismatic talks and his trademark smile, celebrated back-to-back Simbang Gabi Masses at Mt. Carmel Cathedral to commemorate the 40th year of Simbang Gabi in the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa.
“I want to thank you inviting me to be a part of your Advent celebration. I am happy to be here after receiving invitation the past 4 or 5 years to visit”, says Cardinal Tagle at the beginning of his Advent talk on Saturday evening.
Reflecting on the readings of Gaudete Sunday, Cardinal Tagle spoke about the ‘joy’ which the Church announces in this season of Advent. He pointed out three ways to be joyful: First, to admit that we are poor, prisoners and broken hearted. In other words, that we are ‘in need’ today of a savior. Second, He invited all to pray, taking the cue from the Second Reading where St. Paul said: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.” Being aware constantly of the presence of God is a source of joy. And finally, he urged the faithful to be truthful and honest just like John the Baptist who remained true on who he is.
Despite the early time of the day, hundreds of people attended both Simbang Gabi Masses and listened to the homily of the Filipino cardinal who is a world-renowned speaker. With his natural and humble charism and mixed in with his healthy humor, he managed to draw the crowd hanging on his every word and transmit to them God’s message.
His Excellency Ryan P. Jimenez, DD and the clergy at Mt. Carmel Cathedral concelebrated with the cardinal. With the help and blessing of Bishop Ryan, the Simbang Gabi Group invited Cardinal Tagle to be the guest of honor on this historic occasion.
He arrived late Saturday afternoon where he led the Advent talk on Missionary Discipleship at Mt. Carmel Cathedral attended by the clergy and religious and hundreds of faithful from around the island. After the 4 AM and 6 AM Simbang Gabi Masses at the Cathedral on Sunday morning, some of the faithful had a chance to greet him before he proceeded to the airport for is flight out.
The 60 year old cardinal was ordained priest for the Diocese of Imus, Cavite. In December 12, 2001, he was ordained bishop for the same diocese. Ten years later, he was appointed Archbishop of Manila and eventually elevated to cardinal on November 24, 2012.
Cardinal Tagle is also the President of Caritas Internationalis, a worldwide Catholic organization dedicated to help the poor especially those affected by different calamities.