Palo, Leyte – On November 28, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle led the celebration of the culminating mass of the 75th jubilee anniversary of the Archdiocese of Palo as a diocese at the ruined Palo Metropolitan Cathedral. The Cardinal was grateful that the Archdiocese decided to push through with the celebration. “We need to pray, we need to gather, we need to give thanks. After all, with or without Yolanda, the Archdiocese of Palo is a diamond; and diamonds are forever,” the Cardinal said.
Cardinal Tagle shared three points in the homily that stirred the hearts of all who were present. First, he said that the Diocese is a living presence of God with his people. He added, quoting from Vatican II documents, that a “Diocese is the presence of Christ in the world especially in the local Church where it is located” and this is a reason to celebrate. “Buildings may collapse, fields may be flattened, but the church will continue thriving. For as long as the Spirit calls us to be one people, and we proclaim and hear the word of God and celebrate the Eucharist and serve on another, we are Church,” he added.
Secondly, he hailed that the victims of Yolanda continue to strengthen and inspire the whole world.“You think we are the ones stronger, more lucid, that we come to the rescue with relief goods and with kind words to strengthen you? But, I want to tell you; in your hidden silent ways, through your tears and through the laughter and the jokes of young people, you have inspired the whole nation, in fact the whole world,” Tagle said.
Lastly, he encouraged the faithful to not fear asking God why. He likened the victims’ situation to Jesus Christ before His death. “The last word of Christ before dying was ‘Why did you abandon me?’ Jesus died asking why,” the Archbishop noted. He added that amidst the destruction wrought by Super Tyhoon Yolanda, the people may not find all the answers to their questions. “In full trust, we have to ask God why,” Tagle said. He also shared his experience in Rome with the Pope, where he expressed his solidarity and his prayers with the Church in the Philippines.
Palo Archbishop John Du, suffragan Bishops, and the clergy of the Archdiocese of Palo joined the Archbishop of Manila in the celebration.