Prelate says Mass of Pope Francis in the Vatican for 500 YOC in PH shows his deep affection for the country

Published March 5, 2021, 2:58 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

For Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, the Mass of Pope Francis in the Vatican for the celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines shows his “deep affection” to the country.

This photo taken and handout on March 03, 2021 by The Vatican Media shows Pope Francis holding a live streamed weekly private general audience in the the library of the apostolic palace at The Vatican. (Photo by Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP)

“It is a overflowing blessings for us all, Filipinos and shows deep affection of our Holy Father to our country,” he said in a statement on Friday, March 5.

“We have to glorify God for that holy and historic day, and be ever grateful to our Holy Father,” Santos added.

The vice chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People also consider the occasion as a great moment of God’s graces for overseas Filipino migrants.

“We, at CBCP ECMI, appeal to our OFWs in Italy to make use of this spiritual celebration as our missions to help and to heal, to be disciples of mercy and peace for one another; and from our country to the world,” said Santos.

“Please collaborate and participate with your Filipino chaplaincies there,” he added.

Santos said Masses will also be celebrated in the country in solidarity with those in Italy.

Scalabrinian Father Ricky Gente of the Filipino Chaplaincy in Rome on March 3 told CBCP News that the Pope will lead Filipinos in Italy in celebrating the 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines with a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at 10 a.m. on March 14.

He said the celebration will be livestreamed from the Vatican to reach Filipinos in different parts of the world.

The pontiff will be joined by Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the Pope’s vicar of Rome.