Joyful Sinulog experience overwhelms Pope’s envoy
CEBU CITY — The representative of Pope Francis in the Philippines was ecstatic over the experience of joining the Fiesta Señor in Cebu City for the first time.
Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, waited at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño on Saturday shortly after he arrived at the Queen City of the South to witness the four-hour procession of the Sto. Niño image on Saturday.
He later took part in the 6 p.m. Pontifical Mass celebrated by Palo Archbishop John Du and joined the dancing of the traditional Sinulog.
In a message he delivered after he arrived in Cebu, Caccia said he was extremely happy for being able to attend the religious activities in honor of the Sto. Niño.
“My heart is full of joy and gratitude and I want to say a big thank you to dear (Cebu) Archbishop Jose Palma, the bishops, and especially to all of you dear people of God,” he said.
Caccia, who assumed his post in November 2017, said the fluvial and street processions of the Sto. Niño manifested the need to follow God throughout life’s journey.
“It means that when we do not know where to go and what to do in life, the right way is to follow Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life,” he said.
“And I want to follow you, not alone, but as people. When I’m weak, I can be healed by people close to me. When I want to stop, the others will bring me alone. We help each other to be better Christians and disciples of Jesus,” he added.
As a gift of gratitude, Caccia gave the blessing of Pope Francis to the people who attended the Mass.
“He (Pope Francis) loves the Filipino people. And for sure, he has vivid memories of his visit in the Philippines three years ago,” he said.
“When I met him, he would tell me ‘You will find the faith of the people (Filipinos). You will be edified by these wonderful people.”
Caccia said he was hoping that the Cebuanos would continue to spread the light of Christ, not only in the country and in Asia, but around the world.
“We will bless you so that you will continue to become a sign of hope, joy, and peace for your society, country, and for this great Asian continent, and the world,” he said.
Caccia will stay in Cebu until Jan. 27 as he is expected to attend the national conference of seminary formators from January 22 to 26 in Cebu City, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Plenary Assembly from January 27 to 29 in Mandaue City. /cbb
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