by Joel V. Ocampo
Photos from Pamati - Archdiocese of Capiz
On June 18, 2021 (Friday) at 3:00 in the afternoon (Manila time), the Rites of The Imposition of the Red Hat (Biretta), The Giving of the Ring, The Assignment of the Title, and The Thanksgiving Mass of His Eminence, Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Archbishop-elect of Manila was held at the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Archdiocese of Capiz, in Roxas City, Province of Capiz, Philippines. The solemn rite was done in the presence of His Excellency Most Rev. Charles John Brown, D.D., Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines. Also present on the said event were H.E. Most Rev. Jose Romeo O. Lazo, D.D., Archbishop of Jaro; H.E. Most Rev. Jose Corazon T. Tala-oc, D.D., Bishop of Kalibo, the clergy, the consecrated people, the laity of the Archdiocese of Capiz, and some local government officials.
The “red hat,” also called “biretta” is the sign of the dignity of the cardinalate. In wearing this, the Cardinal is asked of his “readiness to act with courage, even to the shedding of [his] blood; for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and the tranquility of the people of God, and for the freedom and growth of the Holy Roman Church.”
The ring, is a reminder that the cardinal’s “love for the Church is strengthened by the love of the Prince of the Apostles.”
To the honor of Almighty God and of the holy Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, the title “St. Vigilius” was entrusted to Cardinal Advincula.
In his homily, Cardinal Advincula told the people of God that “the cardinalate, which is holiness bestowed upon this lowly servant is truly a gift to all of us. It is a gift to the local Church; it is a gift to the Church in the Philippines.”
He added, “The true crowning glory of the Church is the people of God in our parishes, mission stations, and Basic Ecclesial Communities. The true crowning glory of the Church are you, my dear fellow servants of God in our rectories, convents, schools, ministries, and apostolates. Each one of you, my dear brothers and sisters, are the true gems and treasures of our Church. However, this gem will continue to shine only when it is constantly renewed by the Holy Spirit.”
He continued, “It is my humble realization that the office of the cardinal, the cardinalate, just like any office and service in the Church will continue to shine and be relevant in the Church when it is constantly renewed. Because the cardinalate is itself a call to serve, to listen, to renew. Servire, audire, renovare.”
Cardinal Advincula then proceeded with these three points of reflection:
The Cardinalate is a call to serve. Service is the foundation of all our calling in the church. The cardinal must not only profess that he will serve, but he must always ready to serve; and even to suffer for the sake of those he serves. For that is the essence of a true servant. He is a servant of the Gospel and not of any ideology. A servant of communion and dialogue in the church, a servant of every family, and of the people.
The Cardinalate is a call to listen. The word “cardinal” comes from the Latin word “cardo cardinis.” Which according to one scholar should be translated as “pivot,” as it depicts the role of the cardinalate. Upon this pivot, which is a small nail light device, symbolically hangs the relationship between heaven and earth, between Christ and His Church on earth. The stem of the pivot is the Sacred College, the pivot’s head is the pope, who together with the College of Cardinals serve the Church as her guardians on earth. Today this symbolism can be seen in the role of the college before the pope. A cardinal listen to the pope. He listens also to the people so that he could bring their voices to the pope. He listens to the people so that he could bring their voices to God; their joys, hopes, dreams, even their cries and frustrations.
The Cardinalate is a call to renew. The words of the Holy Father in his homily during the consistory last November urges us new cardinals to remain or to stay on the Lord’s road. He said and I quote, “Dear brothers, all of us love Jesus. All of us want to follow Him, yet we must always be careful to remain on the road and be with Him. Our bodies can be with Him, but our hearts can wander far afield and so lead us to off the road. We can think of so many kinds of corruption in the priestly life. The scarlet of the Cardinal’s robe which is the color of blood, can, for a worldly spirit become the color of a secular ‘eminence’. In that case, you will no longer be a shepherd who is close to his people. You will simply think that you are an ‘eminence.’ Once you feel that way, you are already off the road.” To remain on the road with the Lord is a great challenge for a servant of God. He should feel that constant need to be renewed in order to stay on his track. To be renewed no less than the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Come to Jesus
Our Gospel reading today teaches some practical ways for renewal. Jesus said, “Come to me.” This is the first step towards renewal. A very simple advice which we often overlook. Come to Jesus and learn from Him. We can only be fruitful and faithful servants when we come to Jesus and learn from Him. What does He do? He goes to the people. When we always come to Jesus, and come to His people we shall have and shall know what Pope Francis used to remind us priests, “to have the smell of the sheep and the smell of the Tabernacle.”
After all the struggles of our busy days in the ministry, at the end of the day, you will find rest for yourselves, when we have the smell of the sheep and the smell of the Tabernacle. We will realize, that the yoke is easy and the burden, light. Or perhaps, the yoke has become easy and the burden has become light. This is where we have to find rest for ourselves: with the Lord and His people. Truly the Word of the Lord in the Gospel are consoling, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Servire, Audire, Renovare
Cardinal Advincula also invited the people of God “to take it (to serve, to listen, to renew) even in the simplest way in our Church and in our society today.” He also told the clergy, the consecrated people, the laity, his family, and the entire people of God in the Archdiocese of Capiz that his ministry as a priest and bishop have never been so easy, but the burden became light because of them; and he thank them for their prayers, understanding, and cooperation.
Finally, he asked the people to join him in praying to the Holy Spirit: “Send forth your spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.”
Cardinal Advincula concluded his homily saying, “It is our firm and humble prayer that the cardinalate bestowed on us by His Holiness Pope Francis will be an instrument for the renewal of God’s people. Pray for this your lowly servant, that I will be a true instrument of God’s ever renewing and ever refreshing grace.”