By Vatican News staff reporter
Pope Francis sent a video message on Sunday to the faithful of the Philippines, who are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the first preaching of the Gospel in the country.
Three mysteries of faith
In it, he shared with them three mysteries of faith, which are part of the deepest Christian roots of the Filipino people: Nazareth, the Cross and Pentecost.
He said that the tender love of the Holy Child, “which is a symbol of the arrival of Christianity in your archipelago, reminds us of the hidden life of the Holy Family in Nazareth.”
“By opening the doors of your families to the Holy Child, he said, “you too will be able to transmit to your children the faith that you received from your parents.”
Dwelling on the Cross, the Pope recalled all the difficulties that the people of the Philippines have had to face, especially in the years of immediate preparation for this jubilee. He called to mind the earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Keep moving forward
Yet despite all that pain and devastation, he said, “you continued to carry the cross and to keep walking. You suffered greatly, but you also got up, time and time again.”
Pope Francis urged them to keep working, rebuilding and helping one another like good Cyreneans. He also thanked them for their “witness of strength and trust in God, who never abandons you.”
A new beginning
Turning his attention to Pentecost, the Pope reminded the faithful of the Philippines that Pentecost “is a point of arrival, but also a new beginning.”
He recalled the Mother of Jesus who was always at his side at the most difficult moment of his life, “standing at the foot of his Cross.”
The Pope also pointed out that Mary “never leaves our side” and asked for her intercession “for a new Pentecost of the Church in the Philippines.”
Reach out to others
During this jubilee year, said Pope Francis, let the words of Jesus guide you: “Without cost you received; without cost you are to give”
These words, he continued “are an invitation to thank God for all those who handed on the faith to you.”
“Renew your enthusiasm for evangelization. Reach out to others and bring them the hope and joy of the Gospel," the Pope urged.
Generosity and faith
Recalling his visit to the Philippines with great fondness, Pope Francis highlighted the final meeting, with almost seven million people present.
“You are generous and you know how to celebrate the feast of faith. Never lose those qualities, even in the midst of difficulties,” he said.
The Pope called on the faithful of the Philippines not to “be afraid.” You are not alone in this mission; two great saints of your land accompany you: Saint Pedro Calungsod and Saint Lorenzo Ruiz,” he said.
Concluding his video message Pope Francis said, “Keep moving forward; the Pope is always at your side.”