His Holiness Pope Francis, together with Cardinal Tagle and Cardinal de Donatis, celebrated the 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines through a Papal mass held last March 14, 2021. The mass was also shared through the Campus Ministry Office’s Facebook page.

In his homily, Pope Francis reminded attendees that the heart of the gospel and the source of our joy is Jesus. He also shared how God’s saving act worked towards our salvation.

“God so loved the world that He gave his only-begotten Son. This is the heart of the gospel and the source of our joy. The gospel message is not an idea or a doctrine, for it is Jesus himself, the Son whom the Father has given so that we might have life,” Pope Francis said.

The Pontiff also reiterated that our source of joy should come from the realization that we are loved gratuitously and are not alone.

Pope Francis thanked Filipinos for the joy that they brought to the world, the same way when the Christian message first arrived in the Philippines 500 years ago. 

“Dear brothers and sisters, 500 years have passed since the Christian message first arrived in the Philippines. You received the joy of the Gospel, the good news that God so loved us that he gave his Son for us. This joy is evident in your people. We see it in your eyes, faces, songs, and prayers,” Pope Francis said.

He shared how this joy is evident and experienced not only in Rome but throughout the world.

The Pope also said that Filipinos in Rome are “smugglers” of faith because they sow their faith wherever they go to work. He said it is part of their genes, a blessed “infectiousness” that he urges everyone to preserve.

The homily ended with the Pope urging Filipinos to persevere in the work of evangelization. 

“On this anniversary of God’s holy people in the Philippines, I also want to urge you to persevere in the work of evangelization. The Christian proclamation that you have received needs constantly to be brought to others. Never be afraid to proclaim the Gospel,” the Pontiff said. 

Before the papal mass ended, Pope Francis received a painting made by Mr. Ryan Aragon, which depicts Ferdinand Magellan giving the image of Sto. Nino to Queen Juana. David Lumba, Marcus Sison // Image from Vatican News

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