Wednesday, 22 August 2018 09:20

Message delivered by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle as he led the First General Assembly of all Seminarians from the Archdiocese of Manila (KASAMA) last August 10, 2018


Good evening and ah welcome to the Arsobispado and welcome to the Chapel of the Arzobispado. Ah who is the youngest here? Sino ang youngest? Ako, ako, oh sige ako na lang. (LAUGHS) How old are you? Eleven. Mayroon pa bang bababa sa eleven? Eleven ka rin? Eleven din. Oh ayan, so eleven yung ang ano natin. Who is the ano? (LAUGHS) The… the… the… most senior in age? How old are you? (CROWD ANSWERS) Fifty-three? Anyone higher than fifty-three? Wala? Oh, yan that’s a good age ha from 11 to 53. How many are below twenty? Good. Oo, good majority is below twenty. How many are 20 to 29? (LAUGHS) 30 to 39? (CLAPS) 40 to thirsty? (LAUGHS) So, our pyramid is still healthy with the base is the younger ones are more numerous than the seniors. Kasi in some countries it is an inverted pyramid. Very few young and the seniors are more numerous and so very few young people can take care of the elders. So, tayo medyo normal pa. There are many young ones who will take care of us, very few elders which is a good sign. So, thank you very much for responding to the call to be seminarians and thank you also for responding to the calling to the seminarians of the Archdiocese of Manila. I know from eleven years old to the greater stages of formation, there is a lot that you have to go through or undergo. But let it be something exciting. Do not think of formation as a burden, think of it as something that is joyful and something that is an adventure.

Photo by Charles Caluza

But, I want, before my voice is abused, I want to highlight just one message – be attentive to the changing, changing mentalities, attitudes and values of the world, not only of the Philippines but of the world. There are many good things that are happening in the world. Hindi naman totoo na puro pangit ang nangyayari sa mundo mayroon ding maraming magaganda. But we also cannot deny the existence of some very challenging realities and some of them even challenge our traditional values and traditional ways of looking at things. And some of them may look negative at first glance, but if we look at them calmly and if we are honest enough to be challenged by some of those new trends, we might even say that they could be helpful to us. Hindi lahat ng mukhang negative ay laging makakasira, makakasira yan depende kung hahayaan mong sirain. Pero may mga bagay na mukhang negative pero pag hinarap mo at dinala mo nang maayos baka makatulong pa yan sa iyo. And one thing that might at first glance look negative is this – in many parts of the world, the respect for priests and religious seems to be going down. Mabuti pa nga dito sa Pilipinas eh, pag nakita ka pa lang na… “Ah, si Father” ganyan, parang ano pa sila eh. Like last time I celebrated mass in San Roque sa Blumentritt, ‘no. So, ano yung mga… masikip do’n…  so they… there were mga Knights of Columbus, mga pulis who were monitoring the traffic and the parking ano and alam ko hinihintay din nila ako eh kung kailan darating. So, yung sasakyan namin dumating, binuksan pa nung isa, “Hindi, hindi, hindi pwedeng pumasok do’n, hindi pwedeng pumasok”. Sabi nung driver, si Mang Muloy, “Ibababa ko lang yung sakay ko lalabas ulit ako.” Sabi nya, “Hindi nga ano eh, hindi ganon, dito mo na ibaba, dito mo na ibaba.” Sabing ganon, tapos yung isa mukhang nag-suspetsa yung isa tapos lumapit tapos habang kausap si Mang Muloy sinisilip yung sakay. Eh nakita ako, sabi do’n sa isa, “Si Cardinal yan eh” tapos eh di nanginginig na yung isa, bukas lahat ng pintuan. Lahat.  Bawat ano, lahat ‘yon nabuksan. So, dito medyo may ganun pa ano, medyo pag nag-ano, “Ah si Bishop pala… Ah si ano” so nanginginig pa sila ‘no? Akala ko nga mangungumpisal pa yung ano eh, yung ayaw magpapasok parang original sin ‘yun eh. (LAUGHS) But, you know, even here in our country medyo nababawasan yan. But in some countries para bang pati owner, wala ‘no. Ah, I remember nung estudyante ako sa abroad, I missed a flight, kasi na traffic ako. Pagdating ko do’n sa airport, nakaalis na yung flight. Sabi ko do’n sa counter, “Naku, is there another flight going to Washington, D.C?” Sabi nya, “Meron pa”. Sabi ko, “Can you book me on that next flight?” Sabi nya, “Yes”. Tapos sabi nya, “You have to pay additional ano”. Sabi ko, “Why would I pay? It was not my fault. The traffic was the cause of my---” Sabi naman niya, “But it was not also our fault. It’s not the fault of the airlines”. Sabing ganon, tama rin siya. Sabi ko, hindi, “But I was not able to use this ticket. So, it’s a matter of using it for the next flight.” Oh tinanong, “Your ticket has restrictions. Alam mo ba yan?” Pag hindi mo nagamit on this day, on this hour, parang bibili ka ng bagong ticket. Eh di nakiki-argue ako tapos nung wala na talaga akong ma-ano, gamitin ko na yung last card, “You know Ma’am, I am a Roman Catholic priest.” Sabi niya, “So what?” (LAUGHS) “If you don’t pay, you don’t… you don’t get on that flight,” ganyan sa ibang bansa ha. Dito, “Ay Father baka… ay tingnan ko kung anong magagawa kong paraan.” But in other countries, “so what?” Pari ka, iwan ka, pulis ka, driver ka, gusto mong sumakay sa eroplanong yan? Magbayad ka. Ganyan, syempre, nasaktan ako parang hindi ako ginagalang. Pero, in the end, I appreciated that, why? Sometimes we get used here in the Philippines to what we call entitlement. Have you seen how entitlement is connected to title? May title ako eh, kayo ang title n’yo, seminarians, wow! And because of that title I expect to be treated differently. Mamaya-maya, deacon, naku, ibang title na. Mamaya-maya, Father, priest na. Wow, ibang title. At habang nag-iiba yung title parang naiiba yung demand. Eh dapat mas respected ako kasi kahit sa purgatory yung Deacon nasa baba ‘yan, mas apoy sya, mas inaapoy, ang Pari medyo presko nakatungtong sa balikat ng deacon. Eh Bishop, mas mataas pa ko pati sa purgatory. Eh kung Cardinal na, aba syempre. (LAUGHS) And we might get used to that ‘no na, I have a title and because of my title I deserve something. But in our contemporary world, titles now, don’t really matter. In fact, your title becomes a burden. You are a priest? Don’t expect us to respect you because you have the title “priest”. Sasabihin nila, “Ah, you are a priest? We want to see that you are behaving as a priest.” And when we see, we see the consistency of your life that is when we will respect you not because you have a title. And if we do not see you, your respectable life then you don’t get it from us. Lalo ka pa ngang maa-aaccuse, yan ang title mo pero ang buhay mo hindi nagco-correspond sa title. So dati yung title, passport mo ‘yan. Ngayon, yung title, yan ang ghost mo kasi you have to show the people that you are living up to your title. Sa isang banda, ano nga ‘no, masakit kasi you lose some privileges but in the long run, it might be good. It might be good. But I am appealing to you, here in our country they still respect our titles but do not… do not take advantage of that and do not rest on that na for as long as I have the title, I will be respected. No. Live up to our calling and that is the best way to earn the title and even if the title is not present anymore, your life, your life will make you respectful. Wag na nating dagdagan yung mga tao na parang nag-aagawan sa mga titulo kasi may fringe benefits. Kaya nasisira ang lipunan at ng bansa at ang mundo dahil doon, ang hanap lang titulo pero hindi naman hanap yung misyon, yung dapat gawin at yung dapat na na iaalay sa lipunan. So, habang bata kayo ah, pati sa bahay pag umuuwi kayo kapag tinatrato kayo ng mga magulang niyo, mga lolo niyo, lola niyo, tiya niyo nang medyo espesyal compared sa mga kapatid niyo, wag kayong papayag. “Uwi ro’n hijo, ako ang maglilinis” tapos sasabihin nila “Kawawa naman yung kapatid mong seminarista pagpahingahin mo,” “Kayo. Kayo ngang magkapatid, kayo nga maghugas ng pinggan.”  Akala nila pagod na pagod tayo, hindi naman. Hindi naman eh. Eh kayo aarte kayo, “Oo nga, oo nga”. (LAUGHS) Pag nasa bahay… ano… nasa bahay, nasa ano, nasa – don’t… don’t… don’t look for it. If it is given to you, the respect is given to you, thank God. But do not get used to it, do not look for it and don’t let it be the motivation. We are here simply because of a reason, whether they recognize or not, this or nothing. And tell them not if you do things quietly ‘no, sabi nga, “Walk yourself up, let the Father in heaven see what you do in secret then He will reward you.” 

And to end this, kaninang breakfast, there were three young Italian girls, 20 years old, 19 years old who are here in Manila for missionary exposure. Mga Italyano, banyaga nagsisikap mag-aral ng Ingles, nando’n sila sa condo galing sila sa Happy Land, galing na sa Roma, mahirap sila do’n. Ang sabi nila ngayon namin naintindihan ang buhay ng mga migrants, ngayon namin naintindihan yung mga Filipino migrants sa Italy. Tapos yung isa sabi, “Sa Italy kapag stranger, foreigner parang natatakot kami. Hindi po pinapansin. Pero dito, eh bakit ang Pilipino wine-welcome kami?” Sabi n’ya “sana wag mawala sa mga Pilipino yung ganong hospitality.” These are… kaya tinatanong ko kung ilang taon kayo, kasi yung mga bisita ko ngayon, 20 years old, 19 years old who volunteered to spend time here. And I’m sure when they go back home they will earn so much respect from their families and their peers. Bago ito ano galing lang ako sa wedding, nagkasal at nag-ninong sa kasal nung isang dating seminarista. He was my seminarian nung rector ako. So, bago yung identity niya ngayon, pero natutuwa ako kasi nakita ko kanina sa kanila, kilala ko rin naman yung girl eh. Kita ko na, they have found God in their relationship with one another. And I’m pretty sure he’ll be a good husband and his wife will make sure that he becomes a good husband. (LAUGHS) Kita ko yung mga gano’ng character ng mga babae.

So, this day nakakatuwa, may mga lay, young girls who are searching path to lay missionary life tapos a former seminarian who found his calling ang daming paring nagconcelebrate. Sabi ko nga, “Ano ito, ordination?” Ang daming pari who are rejoicing with him ‘no. Finally, you have found your place in life. Ngayon namang gabi, kayo naman. Ilan kaya sa inyo ang ikakasal namin? Ilan kaya sa inyo o-ordinahan namin. Just be open to God’s ano ‘no, it is not the title, it is not the entitlement. It is the desire to find God’s will and if you find God’s will you would be productive, you will be happy. It’s not title, it is God’s will that you are looking for. 

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