PHILIPPINES' 400 `YEARS OF GRACE'
CELEBRATIONS to mark the fourth century of the introductiOn of Christianity to the Philippines, held at Cebu last week. closed with a broadcast by Pope Paul in which he recalled the "intrepid" missionary pioneers who brought the faith to the islands.
Speaking at first in English, the Pope said the Filipinas should show their gratitude for four centuries of grace by striving to give the hest example of the Christian virtues to the whole world, "and especially to the nations nearest to you".
They should "conserve and dee-pen" their belief in the Holy Eucharist, especially during the days of the National Eucharistic Congress held in conjunction with centennial celebrations.
MILLION AUDIENCE Then. speaking in Spanish. Pope Paul said: "The geographical position and historic destiny of your nation in the Far East. the splendour of religious life, and many ether titles are reasons to expect from you riot only sincere Catholic profession hot an increasing missionary expansion."
The papel message, heard by at least a million people was the highlight of a Solemn Pontifical Mass offered by Cardinal Antoniutti, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Religious, who served as Papal Legate to the celebrations. During the Mass. President Macapagal and his wife offered the bread and wine. Later the President led prayers consecrating the Filipino people to Christ.
He prayed that "our republic may flourish and become increasingly influential for good in the council of nations. as a people imperetively commanding the respect of all for its adherence to the sacred traditions of the Christian way of life and the principles of Justice and charity of which Your Heart is the source".
Also at the Mass were VicePresident Pelaez and his wife. leading members of the government and representatives Of the diplomatic corps. The many high ecclesiastics included Cardinal Santos, Archbishop of Manila, Archbishop Rosales of Cann.
Cardinal Antoniiitti stressed in his sermon that "in order to obtain peace, we must unite our prayers with those of the Holy Father, the incomparable apostle of peace".
The Papal Legate gave Holy Communion to the President and Vice-President and their wives on the stops of the altar: 150 priests then distributed Communion to throngs of faithful.