Message of Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula on the occasion of the Episcopal Ordination of Archbishop Arnaldo S. Catalan, Titular Archbishop of Apollonia and Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda, Manila Cathedral, Feb. 11, 2022

Your Eminence, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; Your Excellency, Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines; Your Excellencies, the Archbishops and Bishops of the Philippines; Your Excellency Archbishop-elect Arnaldo Catalan, Titular Archbishop of Apollonia and Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda; Reverend Monsignori and Fathers; Religious Men and Women; the members of his family of Archbishop Arnie, and other guests; those who are joining the live streaming of the Mass, especially those at the Vatican, in Taiwan, and in Rwanda; my dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Last Sunday, the 6th of February, we celebrated the 443rd anniversary of the establishment of Manila as the first diocese in the Philippines, declaring also the church of Manila dedicated to the Immaculate Conception as the first cathedral of the country.  From this mother church, all the dioceses of the country were born.

Pope Francis, in his letter on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the rebuilding of the post-war Manila Cathedral, said, “When our predecessor Gregory XIII established around 440 years ago the Diocese of Manila, comprising the entire archipelago, had he thought at that time of how prosperous the development of the Catholic faith there would be?  Indeed, the noble Church in the Philippines now stands among the great Catholic nations in the entire world.  Hence, no wonder, she continuously sends missionaries to other regions.”

It is in this context that I wish to view our grace-filled and historic gathering this evening.  After 443 years, one of the priests of Manila is ordained to the episcopacy for a particular mission in the Church, that is, for the diplomatic service to the Holy See.  We thank the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for this gift and honor.   Archbishop Catalan’s ordination adds meaning to our celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines.  We are indeed gifted to give.  The Archdiocese of Manila has indeed been very blessed.  Now it is our turn to give.  And we are offering our very own Archbishop Arnie as a missionary to the world.

Archbishop Arnie, in the name of the clergy, religious men and women, and all the lay faithful in our beloved local Church, I congratulate you on your episcopal ordination today.  We are very proud of you.  You are our gift to the Church.  In your mission as an official representative of the Holy Father, enrich the diplomatic service with the wealth of our Filipino spirit.  Wherever you are sent, bring with you the Filipino faith, the Filipino warmth, the Filipino hospitality, the Filipino personalism, the Filipino joy, and the Filipino smile.  And know that your brothers and sisters here in the Archdiocese of Manila support you with our love and prayers.

We entrust you to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Immaculate Mother, that she may always protect you and lead you to whatever Jesus wants you to do and to wherever Jesus wants you to go.

Archbishop Arnie, pagpalain ka nawang lagi ng Diyos!  (Photo by  Maricar Santos/RCAM-AOC | Photogallery)


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