FROM MANILA TO ROME – Cardinal Tagle assumes office at the Vatican

– Fr Leonard Dollentas

The archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle has assumed his post as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples at the Vatican. Cardinal Tagle left the Philippines on February 9. Before leaving his archdiocese, the Cardinal officiated his last Mass as archbishop of Manila at the Manila Cathedral.

During the Mass the cardinal quipped that he was leaving Manila to become an Overseas Filipino Worker in Rome. This remark lightened the somewhat sober moment. Meanwhile, Pope Francis has named Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo as the apostolic administrator (caretaker) of the Archdiocese of Manila until the appointment of Tagle’s successor is named.

After the Mass, the Cardinal’s coat of arms was unveiled at the central nave on Manila Cathedral, marking his last day of ministry in the archdiocese of Manila. Fr Reginald Malicdem, his personal secretary and rector of the cathedral described this gesture after the Mass: “It has been a tradition in the Manila Cathedral that as an archbishop ends his term, his coat of arms is placed on marble at the central nave.” Speaking with joy and sadness he continued “This is a source of pride and joy for us… this signifies that you will be remembered in all the prayers and Masses offered in this cathedral.”

He went on, “This is also a sign that you continue to be a clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila. You still belong to us. And this is an assurance that you always have a home in this cathedral.”  Cardinal Tagle is the 32nd archbishop in the 441 years of the Archdiocese of Manila.

At age 62, Cardinal Tagle is eligible to vote in the event that a conclave is convened to choose the successor of the Pope. Only cardinals below the age of 80 may participate in the conclave. In that event, he is also automatically considered a candidate to be successor to Peter. The Cardinal is also the president of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of Catholic charities around the world, the first Caritas Internationalis president who hails from Asia. (Photo courtesy of Vatican News.)