Cardinal: Church Should Be A Welcoming Community

His Excellency Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle during the Culminating Mass of the 6th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE6) at the University of Santo Tomas last July 21, 2019. (Photo credit: Minnie Agdeppa)

The Archbishop of Manila, His Exellency Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, urged everyone to be all-embracing, most especially to the Youth, during the Closing Mass of the 6th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE6) at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila last July 21, 2019.

“After welcoming the Word of God, the Disciple acts on the Word of God. Then you receive Jesus in the hungry, in the thirsty, in the naked, in the sick, in the homeless, in the prisoner,” Cardinal Tagle told participants of the Conference in his homily.

He stressed that, as disciples, it is not enough to believe and accept Jesus in one’s life but to also accept and help those who need us the most. He stressed the need to “recover welcoming human beings created in God’s image” the way Jesus welcomed sinners and outcasts genuinely into the Church.

Citing the Readings of the day that spoke on the experiences of Abraham, St. Paul, and Mary–the sister of Lazarus and Martha–he said, “To welcome the Word of God also means welcoming a mission and welcoming the suffering.”

Since this year’s PCNE focuses on the Youth, the Cardinal underlined the need of the Youth to be listened to. He explained that most of the time elders tell the Youth to listen to them, but now it is the opposite. He encouraged everyone to pass their experience of God to the young.

“As we urge the young people to listen to our stories, may I invite you to welcome the stories of the young,” he said, “And you will see how our stories in the hands of God are woven into the story of God, into our families, into our lives.”

Cardinal Tagle, who revealed that the last day of the PCNE coincided with the day his parents had him baptized, explained how the Sacrament of Baptism welcomed us in the Church as a Child of God. He elaborated that when one is welcomed, one is given new life—without which, “we experience death”.

He further stressed that the PCNE is actually a “plea to mutual welcoming, to synodality”.

“Let welcoming be a synodal act. Everyone welcoming the Word of God and welcoming brothers and sisters. That’s what the Church is supposed to be: a welcoming community,” he undermined.

However, Tagle also made an appeal to priests, nuns, educators and parents for simplicity and authenticity–to interact with people and to evaluate “the non-programmed ways by which” one “reject (s) people.”

The Closing Mass served as the syntesis of this year’s PCNE which focused on the theme, “Filipino Youth: Walking With Jesus”. The Conference began with a closed-door gathering for Priests and Religious on July 18, 2019 before a For-All event that began on July 19, 2019. (~Shirly Benedictos)