POPE Francis on Sunday praised the ability of Filipinos to face numerous adversities, including the raging Covid-19 pandemic, and even deepen and strengthen their faith, in the last 500 years.
In his video message for the Quincen-tennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the country, the pontiff likened the belief of Filipinos in God to how Jesus Christ carried His cross with conviction before His crucifixion.
“How many difficult moments have you suffered? I think, especially, during these years of immediate preparation for the Jubilee: earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions and the Covid-19 pandemic,” Pope Francis said.
“But in spite of all the pain and devastation, you have known how to carry the cross and to continue walking. You have suffered much but also you have risen up one time after another. Continue working, reconstructing, helping one another like good Cyrenians,” he added, a reference to Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus carry His cross part of the way to Calvary.
He remarked on how Christianity is deeply rooted within the Filipino family, just like how it was fostered by Mary and Joseph with the young Jesus Christ during their time in Nazareth.
Last, Pope Francis also discussed the role of Filipinos in spreading the faith as what the Apostles of Jesus Christ did after Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on them.
These three terms—the Cross, Nazareth, and Pentecost—Pope Francis said, are the three milestones in the country’s 500 years of Christianity.
Sharing the faith
He said he hopes Filipinos will continue to share such “gifts” of their faith with other nations.
“You are generous. You are bountiful. You know how to celebrate the feast of faith. Don’t lose that even in the midst of difficulties,” Pope Francis said.
“I am a witness that you know how to transmit the faith, and you do it well, be it in your own country or abroad,” he added.
On Sunday, a total of 537 pre-identified pilgrimage parish churches, basilicas, and cathedrals simultaneously opened their “Jubilee Doors” to mark the official opening of the 2021 Jubilee Year.
Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo explained that during the 2021 Jubilee Year, people visiting the said sites will receive plenary indulgence.
“We invite everyone to go to church [during the celebration], confess, pray, and receive blessing from God. For the entire year, the [plenary] indulgence can be received in these jubilee churches,” Pabillo said during his homily on Sunday.
“Let us schedule our visits to these churches when the restrictions are relaxed,” Pabillo said.