Your Eminence Jose Cardinal Advincula, your Eminence Cardinal Rosales, your Eminence Cardinal Quevedo, dear bishops and priests, consecrated persons, religious sisters and brothers, lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Manila, government officials, brothers and sisters in Christ one and all, today is truly a day of great joy! An historic day - the day in which we have celebrated the Rite of Canonical Possession and the Installation of the 33rd Archbishop of Manila, His Eminence Jose Cardinal Advincula.
And so it is for me, your Apostolic Nuncio, the representative of Pope Francis here in the Philippines, a real privilege to be part of this celebration this morning.
What we have experienced today has not happened in this Cathedral for almost 10 years since the day in December 2011 when Cardinal Luis Tagle became Archbishop of Manila. Cardinal Tagle, who sends us his greetings this morning.
Our new Archbishop, His Eminence Cardinal Advincula, is the 33rd Archbishop of Manila, in a line stretching back for 442 years to the year 1579 when Pope Gregory the 13th named the first Bishop of Manila.
And today in the 500th year since the arrival of Christianity in these islands, that history continues. A new chapter begins. Manila is gifted with a new shepherd.
It seems providential, doesn't it, that we celebrate this new chapter, this new gift on a birthday? The birthday, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The announcement of Pope Francis’ choice of Cardinal Advincula to be your new Archbishop took place three months ago, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation - the day in which Our Lady learned from the Angel Gabriel that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant, notwithstanding her advanced years. At that moment she, Elizabeth, was in the sixth month of her pregnancy. And Mary, as we know from the Gospel of St. Luke, went in haste to help Elizabeth who today gives birth, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
This shows how attentive Our Lady is, doesn't it? How she accompanies… how she accompanies us also with her quiet but powerful, loving presence. Surely, she has accompanied Cardinal Advincula in these three months. And surely, she will continue to do so as he now takes up his weighty, indeed very weighty, responsibilities as Archbishop of Manila. And here today in this beautiful Cathedral dedicated to her in front of her image she is close to all of us as we welcome the Cardinal as your new Archbishop.
May God bless you, dear Cardinal Advincula. May He give you many years of shepherding this flock. We promise you our unwavering support and our fervent prayers for your mission.
Brothers and sisters, I cannot let this occasion pass by without also saying a word of very sincere gratitude and appreciation to His Excellency Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who... His Excellency Bishop Broderick Pabillo who has served as apostolic administrator of Manila over these past many months - 16-17 months. Thank you, dear Bishop Pabillo for shepherding the Archdiocese so effectively with so much love and care during this time of transition. We are deeply grateful to you.
Dear brothers and sisters, we welcome your new Archbishop today with open hearts and with joy. We promise as we've said that we will pray for him, that we will support him as he continues his service to the church now as the shepherd here in Manila.
May God bless you all. Let us pray also for Pope Francis, who I'm sure is very, very close to us today in this beautiful celebration. God bless you.