Welcome Address of Rev. Fr. Reginald R. Malicdem, Rector of the Manila Cathedral
CELEBRATE ASIA IN MANILA [500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines and the 50th Anniversary of Federations of Asian Bishops' Conferences - FABC]
Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat!
On behalf of the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Jose F. Advincula, I welcome you all to The Manila Cathedral, to our brothers and sisters who are here and to those who are joining us online. I thank Fr. Jason Laguerta and the Office for the Promotion of the New Evangelization of the Archdiocese of Manila for choosing the Manila Cathedral to be the venue of this conference “Celebrate Asia in Manila”, which highlights the 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines, and the 50th Anniversary of Federations of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).
It is just right that we hold this conference here because the Manila Cathedral played an essential role in these two momentous events. While Christianity was first introduced in 1521 in Cebu, in 1579, Manila was chosen to be the seat of the first diocese in the Philippines; and the church standing on this very same spot where we are now, was designated as the first cathedral in our country, and would remain as the only cathedral in our country for the next sixteen years, until Cebu, Nueva Segovia, and Nueva Cáceres were made dioceses in 1595. Thus, elevating the Diocese of Manila to an archdiocese; and for the next 339 years, from 1595 to 1934, Manila was the only archdiocese, and this church as the only metropolitan cathedral in our country. So, we cannot really tell the history of Christianity in the Philippines without even mentioning the Manila Cathedral.
This church has also been part of the establishment of the FABC. In 1970, 180 Roman Catholic bishops from different parts of Asia gathered in Manila for their first general conference. It coincided with the visit of Saint Pope Paul VI to the Philippines, the very first time a pope ever stepped on our soils. On November 27, 1970, Saint Pope Paul VI presided over a Mass here in the Manila Cathedral, with the Asian bishops concelebrating with him. It was then that the FABC was formally inaugurated. And so, God really wants us to be here. I pray that our coming together today may truly be a celebration of our Christian faith as Filipinos and as Asians.
Muli po, welcome po sa inyong lahat at maraming salamat po.
Transcribed by Joel V. Ocampo