By Robin Gomes
The Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines who is ending his term as the Holy See’s representative to the country urged Filipinos “not to get tired” of protecting and respecting life.
Celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King on Sunday at the St. Vincent Ferrer Prayer Park in Bayombong, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia urged the faithful to the “guardians” of life, especially of the poor. "Don’t get tired of life even if it is very difficult… respect and promote life.” the Italian archbishop said in his homily.
“See each person as a child of God. We are called to share the same life, the fullness of life,” he told more than 3,000 faithful. Among them were Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan and dozens of other bishops, priests and religious.
As Christians, he said that they are called to be servants of Christ “by sharing the love we have received” to others. “We are called to give our life for others," he said, adding this is how "the disciple of Jesus is recognized".
This year’s celebration also marked another historical event with the blessing and grand opening of the St. Vincent Ferrer Prayer Park in Bayombong, some 300 km north of Manila. The park features a 50.23-meter statue of the saint, the world’s tallest bamboo sculpture.
Funded by Kasama Kita sa Barangay Foundation, the statue was built to mark the town’s 405th founding anniversary and the 400th year of the parish.
This year also marks the 600th death anniversary of the Spanish saint and preacher, St. Vincent Ferrer.
Pope Francis on Nov. 16 appointed Archbishop Caccia as the new Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York.
The Italian prelate succeeds Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who on Oct. 1, 2019, was named by the pontiff as Apostolic Nuncio to Spain and Andorra.
Archbishop Caccia, 61, was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines on September 12, 2017.
Upon his appointment as Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the UN, he expressed his nostalgia for the Southeast Asian nation. “I have really loved my time in the Philippines and will miss this beautiful country and its faithful people, to whom I express my deepest gratitude,” he said.
After finishing his duties in Manila, Archbishop Caccia is expected to assume his new post in New York on Jan. 16, 2020. (Source: CBCP News)