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"Love is Stronger than Death" - Papal Nuncio Tito Yllana at Solemn Entrance to Holy Sepulchre

by Margaux Salcedo


His Excellency Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, appointed Apostolic Nuncio Israel and Cyprus and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine by Pope Francis in June 2021, made his Solemn Entrance to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre on September 30, 2021.


He was welcomed by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Fr Francesco Patton, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land, who received him as he entered the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.


Missio Ad Gentes


Archbishop Tito Yllana is a native of Naga in the Bicol Region and studied at the Holy Rosary Seminary. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Caceres before getting a doctorate from the Lateran University in Rome and completing diplomatic studies at the Academia Ecclesiastica.


A living example of Missio Ad Gentes, the final theme of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines for the Philippine celebrations of 500 Years of Christianity, Archbishop Yllana has had diplomatic posts in Ghana, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Lebanon, Hungary and Taiwan.


In 2001, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea. In 2002, he also became Apostolic Nuncio to the Solomon Islands. In 2006, he became Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan. In 2010, he became Apostolic Nuncio to the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2015, he was appointed by Pope Francis as Apostolic Nuncio to Australia.


500 Years of Christianity: Gifted to Give


In June 2021, Pope Francis named him Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus as well as Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.


What a blessing that as Christianity was introduced to the Philippines 500 years ago, on this solemn occasion, it was a Filipino who, representing the Pope himself, was solemnly welcomed into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, addressing not only Catholics but also the Greek Orthodox, the Armenians, even the Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as other Christian communities in the Holy Land. A true symbol of Filipinos being Gifted to Give as we celebrate 500 Years of Christianity!


Watch this video clip with the message of Archbishop Yllana before the Tomb of Jesus Christ in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and read his message in full below:





I express my sincere thanks for the kind words of welcome by the Latin patriarch, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and the Custos of the Holy Land, who received me as I entered this Holy Place, Very Reverend Francesco Patton.


I give my sincere greetings to the Greek Orthodox and the Armenian apostolic communities whose patriarchs are represented here, as well as the other Christian communities present.


My sisters and brothers all in the Risen Lord.


In awe I come to this Holy Place, the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where our Divine Master, our Shepherd and Lord completed his Paschal Mystery.


I cannot but feel that in this hallowed place, the words of our Lord are still alive. When we enter this Basilica, what Christ spoke to his disciples, he tells us now, in a most eloquent and profound way. That we cannot fail to understand that, indeed, he truly loved the whole world -- all peoples: men, women, young and old, all of us here present.


Greater love had no man than this. That the man laid down his life for his friends.


Pope Benedict the XVI, pondering in this holy place the wondrous event of Christ's death and resurrection, spoke that here, the history of humanity was decisively changed.


Evil never had the last word. Love is stronger than death.

Our future and the future of humanity lies in the hands of a faithful and provident God.


In the words of Pope Francis, as he came to this Holy Place, he said we receive a special grace to rediscover the grandeur of our Christian vocation.


That we are men and women of resurrection and not of death.

John Paul II, venerating the tomb of the Risen Lord, said the grace of the resurrection is at work within us to overcome every conflict and tension and remove every obstacle both within and without standing in the way of our common witness to Christ and the reconciling power of love.


Through this glorious event which we contemplate at the Holy Sepulchre, the fruits of discrimination and hostility can finally be overcome, and the future of justice, peace, prosperity and cooperation can rise for every man and woman for the whole human family, and in a special way for the people who dwell in this land so dear to the heart of the Savior.


From the place where our Lord was laid, his living words once again reach us distinctly:


In all truth, I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain but if it dies it yields a rich harvest.


As children born of the love freely offered and revealed to us in this holy place, may we truly strive to reap the fruits of this single grain of the immense love sprung forth from this place so that genuine peace, bound together by righteousness ,which indeed our Lord will give, may ring among us for the Risen Christ himself is our peace.


We all endeavor with firm hope that Jerusalem may truly be a city of peace where God can truly dwell among all His people, for He will be all in all.

Let then this fruit of peace be in the words of the Psalm:


Love and faithfulness meet together

Righteousness and peace kiss each other

Faithfulness springs forth from the earth

And righteousness looks down from heaven


Contemplating the Risen Lord we make now our prayer in the words which Pope Paul VI offered here when he came:


Almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sad, the strength of those who suffer, let the purse of those who cry out for whatever tribulation specially those who are afflicted during this pandemic may come to rejoice that your mercy is present to them in their own necessities.


On this solemn occasion, representing the successor of Peter in the person of Pope Francis, I bring to you all his warm greetings of communion in the same hope and love in the Risen Lord.


I express my sincere thanks for the kind words of welcome by the Latin patriarch, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and the Custos of the Holy Land, who received me as I entered this Holy Place, Very Reverend Francesco Patton.


I give my sincere greetings to the Greek Orthodox and the Armenian apostolic communities whose patriarchs are represented here, as well as the other Christian communities present.


I greet my brother Catholic bishops and patriarchal vicars here present with whom we will share during my term of office the ecclesial ministry of service for God's flock.

I offer my sincere thanks to the Consuls General and their representatives who have graciously come to participate in this solemn religious function.


Sharing our faith in God, our Father, my fraternal greetings to all our sisters and brothers of Islamic and Jewish faith present in the Holy Land and with whom I pray that God's loving presence may always accompany each one of us and our communities.


Finallly, to all who have come here for prayer and veneration, as well as joining in this solemn act, I express my sincere thanks and extend to you all and to those who pray with us but not present here the Holy Father's blessing.

Thank you.



Video: Christian Media Center

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