In his first Eucharistic celebration with the lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Manila on Friday, June 25, His Eminence Jose F. Cardinal Advincula recognized their indispensable and crucial role as “sharers of God’s saving mission”.
The new Archbishop of Manila said that the contribution of the laity is a special vocation where gifts and talents are being utilized to respond to the call of God.
“In your own particular contexts or life situation in the world, and through the gifts which you have received, you are called to be witnesses of Christ to others – in your faith, hope and charity. Your various life situations and your corresponding challenges and responses actually manifest the ‘wonderful diversity’ that you are as members of the Church,” he said.
Cardinal Advincula emphasized that as God’s shepherd, his mission is not just to serve as the leader of His Church in Manila but also to work together with its laity.
“My role is to help and lead you in fulfilling your special vocation – as your shepherd sent by Christ. As I have emphasized in my homily yesterday at my installation, you are Christ’s sheep, not mine; I serve you as your shepherd in the name and on behalf of Christ our Chief Shepherd. But you and I are “joined together by a close relationship.” As your shepherd, I am called to “minister” to you, while you, as members of Christ’s flock, are called to “eagerly collaborate” with me as your shepherd and teacher. But all of us are Christ’s witnesses and living instruments towards the fulfillment of His saving mission,” the new archbishop said.
He also asked for the cooperation of the laypeople by renewing their duty in serving the Christ and together, “fulfill our mission in the Church “for the life of the world.”
“I would really need your ‘prudent advice’ and your service in various offices. As I renewed yesterday my commitment to be a listening shepherd to you all, I would also need your renewed commitment and zeal to serve Christ in the Church,” Cardinal Advincula pleaded the faithful.
“For that to happen, we must learn how to listen – first of all, listen to Christ our Chief Shepherd; and second, to listen to one another as Christ’s sheep or disciples in order to discern Christ’s bidding and for us to empower one another to bring His will to fulfillment,” he added.
Cardinal Advincula was officially installed as the 33rd leader of the country’s 442-year-old Metropolitan See on June 24, 2021, after sixteen months of being “sede vacante” due to the Holy Father’s appointment to His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle as prefect of the Congregation to the Evangelization of Peoples. (Lem Leal Santiago/SOCOM-Binondo Church Photo by Rian Salamat/RCAM-AOC)