“A Church that is not open to renewal easily grows old, insignificant, and obsolete.”
This was what His Eminence, Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, said to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Manila, the Philippines’ oldest diocese, formally capped off its celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the country at the Manila Cathedral on Monday, February 6.
The Archbishop of Manila underscored the need for renewal of faith and re-creation within the Filipino Catholic Church to make it “docile, responsive, and open to renewal” and to remain “ever young and vibrant”.
“Ang Simbahan na takot sa pagbabago, ang Simbahan na ayaw nang magbago, ang Simbahang kung paano noon, ganoon pa rin hanggang ngayon, ang Simbahang ganito ay mabilis tatanda,” Cardinal Advincula said.
“Magandang suriin natin ang ating mga parokya, pamayanan at institusyon. Baka naman tayo’y simbahang ang mga gawain at programa ay paulit-ulit na lang, pinamumunuan ng mga pare-parehong tao, , sila-sila pa rin, at sila-sila na lang, takot sa mga bagong pamamaraan, mga bagong ideya, mga bagong mamumuno na maaaring magdala ng mga bagong ideya at pamamaraan. Kapag ganito ang simbahan, ang simbahang ito ay matanda na. Hindi ganito ang Simbahan ni Hesus,” he added.
He also reiterated the areas in the archdiocese that need re-creation such as establishing mission stations, conducting its charitable programs and initiatives, and creating effective listening tools for an effective synodal Church which he likened to the virtues of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Rose of Lima and Saint Dominic de Guzman who served as secondary patrons of Manila.
Cardinal Advincula expressed his gratitude to the men and women of the Archdiocese of Manila for their cooperation in his task to renew and recreate the 444-year-old center of Christian faith.
“In my almost two years as Archbishop of this great Archdiocese, I have seen how we, as a Church, respond to the new challenges and mission before us. And I thank the Lord for all of you, my dear priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful, for your openness to these calls to renewal and re-creation,” Cardinal Advincula said.
Established as a suffragan diocese on February 6, 1579 by the virtue of Pope Gregory XII’s “Illius fulti praesido”, Manila was led by its first bishop, Fray Domingo Salazar, OP and elevated to archdiocesan status 16 years later on August 14, 1595.
The Cardinal Advincula is the 33rd and current Archbishop of Manila and was installed on June 24, 2021 during the 450th anniversary of the City of Manila. (Lem Leal Santiago/Volunteer Writer/Santo Nino de Pandacan Parish | Photos by Maricar Santos | Homily)