Cardinal Chito Tagle is Pope Francis’ new Prefect for Evangelization in the Vatican

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Filipino Cardinal Chito Tagle
Cardinal Luis Antonio “Chito” Tagle is now serving as a top Vatican official. Photo from Vatican News.

Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio “Chito” Tagle on Monday began his new overseas post as the Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the department in charge of the Catholic Church’s missionary activities worldwide.

Cardinal Tagle flew to Rome on February 9, 2020, after bidding participants farewell in his last celebration of the Holy Mass as Archbishop of Manila at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Intramuros.

“Tonight I say goodbye. Work starts for me this week at the Congregation. It was an honor and blessing to have known you and have collaborated with you. I will always treasure my time with you. You can count on my prayers,” Cardinal Tagle told the mass participants.

The new Vatican official asked for prayers and wished everyone well. “Please pray for me and my mission as well. Let us pray for docility to the Holy Spirit as we continue our life as an archdiocese and await the next archbishop. Stay well and joyful,” said the Catholic leader.

The 62-year old cardinal was afterwards celebrated as the 32nd archbishop of the Archdiocese of Manila with his coat of arms inlaid in the marbled floor on the nave of the cathedral, a tradition for archbishops who end their term.

The Cardinal’s personal secretary and rector of the Cathedral, Father Reginald Malicdem, led the unveiling of the marker saying, “This signifies that you will be remembered in all the prayers and Masses offered in this cathedral. This is also a sign that you continue to be a clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila. You still belong to us. And this is an assurance that you always have a home in this cathedral”.

“Manila Cathedral will miss your voice. If you happen to be in Manila, please know that the doors of Manila Cathedral are always open for you, and it will always be a joy for us to tell you, welcome home. Thank you very much Cardinal Chito,” said Fr. Malicdem.

The well-loved Philippine Catholic church leader from Cavite province was earlier appointed by Pope Francis on December 8 to the top Vatican post, succeeding Cardinal Fernando Filoni who assumed his new posting as the Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the naming of Tagle to the Vatican leadership post marks the return of an Asian cardinal in the important department after Cardinal Ivan Dias served from 2006 to 2011.

Cardinal Chito Tagle started serving as president of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of Catholic charities around the world, in 2015. The post made Tagle the first Asian president of the umbrella organization comprised of 165 Catholic charities.

CBCP reports that Cardinal Tagle will have his first public appearance in Rome as a new Vatican official during the launching of a book published by Marcianum Press at the Pontifical Urban University on February 25. He will be joined by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, and Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Tagle’s predecessor.

Pope Francis has named Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo as the caretaker of the Archdiocese of Manila until the appointment of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s successor.

SEND WELL WISHES in the comments below to Cardinal Chito Tagle as he takes on a greater role as the Vatican’s chief of evangelization missions.

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