For the Filipinos who turned up in large numbers to attend the Sunday mass last April 3, 2016 at the Basilica Parroquia de la Medalla Misericordia, that mass was a special one – for a good number of reasons. First, it was celebrated in commemoration of the Feast of the Divine Mercy, to whom the Filipinos are known to openly express their great adoration, love, and devotion. Second, the text of the holy mass was in the Filipino language. Third, it was officiated by no less than His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, the charismatic religious head of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation in Asia.
The morning exhibited dark skies, and the air, while less than biting compared to that of the previous days, was cold just the same. Yet, it hardly did much to dampen the enthusiasm of the Filipino community that patiently waited at the church along Calle de Garcia de Paredes to see the cardinal. Finally, he arrived, and was evidently euphoric as he was greeted by the excited crowd. He was accompanied by the Philippine Ambassador to Madrid His Excellency Carlos C. Salinas, Mrs. Isabelita Salinas, and the officers and staff members of the embassy.
Like the splendid master of wit that he is, Cardinal Luis Tagle injected light jokes at intervals during the mass; and every time, it caused thunderous reverberations of chuckles and shouts to be sent all over the basilica. It was clear he intended his actions to ensure that his words got through. And he didn’t fail as it was apparent that he captured the full attention of his audience. Still, he was earnest and firm when it was necessary, like during moments when he spoke of the need to maintain the strong devotion and faith to the Catholic religion.
His Eminence urged the Filipinos to make the most of the opportunities given to them while in Spain. He advised them to determine ways on how they can contribute to the betterment of the world, and set goals that go beyond the desire to meet the needs of their families back home. He challenged everyone to follow God’s teachings – to love, believe, forgive, and sacrifice – to the best that they can, while they continue with their hectic lives in Madrid.
Cardinal Tagle likewise acknowledged the Filipino workers as among the most praised and sought-after in the world, and a great source of pride of their country. In the end, he expressed his appreciation for the warm reception that the Philippine community in Madrid accorded to him.
Cardinal Luis Tagle spends time to exchange pleasantries with Philippine Ambassador Carlos Salinas and Mrs. Isabelita Salinas, and the officials of the basilica His Eminence Cardinal Tagle of Manila officiates the mass at La Parroquia de la Medalla Milagrosa. Concelebrants are Rdmo. Mons. Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of Madrid (left) and Mons. Santiago de Wit, Primer Consejero Nunciature Apostolica de la Sta Sede en Madrid