Filipinos are still prayerful and fond music lovers

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Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales (photo by Melo Acuña)

Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales (photo by Melo Acuña)

CEBU City, Jan. 25, 2016 – One of the privileged few who attended the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress in Manila in 1937, then a five-year old boy who later became Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales said what the Jesuit historian and scholar Horacio V. dela Costa wrote during the late 1930s still holds true today.

In an interview with CBCP News, the 83-year-old prelate referred to what Fr. dela Costa wrote about the Filipinos being prayerful and fond music lovers.  Filipino Catholics across the country have their own respective devotions to their favorite saints represented by icons and religious images in their homes.

“While 80 to 90% of the Filipinos may not have received formal instructions about faith, they are contented with the Theology of Touch,” he said.

He was referring to the Filipinos’ practice of touching sacred images whenever they visit churches.

Ang Theology of Touch, ang pagpupunas sa mga imahen ay isang paraan ng panalangin,” (The Theology of Touch, the touching of images is a form of prayer) he added.  He added this is further expressed in how Filipinos value feasts.

He also observed Filipinos in gatherings have guitars to liven up occasions though technology has introduced videokes which have gained wider acceptance here and abroad.


Mass attendance

He said most Filipinos may not regularly attend Masses due to their distance from churches but they do remain steadfast in their faith.  He added scholars will never have measures for one’s faith.

Contrary to what some people say that church attendance has gone down in metropolitan areas, the former Archbishop of Manila said shopping malls, banks, offices and even prisons have regular Masses.  He added the demand for priests to officiate Masses have remained high.


Filipinos abroad

Cardinal Rosales said he has received encouraging information about Filipinos actively participating in church activities abroad.  He said he has visited various countries and have been told by his fellow prelates that Filipinos form a significant portion of their faithful.

Ang Filipino ay kapit sa patalim, kapit sa Krus,” (Filipinos are willing to swallow the bitter bill and carry the cross.) he said. There are over 10 million Filipino migrants worldwide.


The Eucharist

Referring to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in this city, Cardinal Rosales said it is an opportunity for the faithful to remain assured of Jesus’ presence at every Mass celebrated at any given time.

“The Eucharist is not just the priest’s prayer but is the prayer of Jesus to his Father, where Christ brings our prayer to his Father,” Cardinal Rosales said.

He went on to describe the Eucharist as a “beautiful sacrament” where Jesus Christ joins the people in prayer.

Over the years, Cardinal Rosales said the message at every International Eucharistic Congress is clear for the Catholic faithful to understand that Jesus Christ is with everyone during eucharistic celebrations.

He said this is a special privilege accorded Catholics.  (Melo M. Acuna / CBCP News)





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