Filipinos urged: It’s time to live Pope’s message

Thea Alberto-Masakayan
Pope Francis waves from the popemobile before leading a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila
Pope Francis waves from the popemobile before leading a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila January 18, 2015. Huge crowds converged on a Manila park on Sunday to see Pope Francis wrap up his Asian trip with an outdoor Mass expected to draw one of the largest crowds in Philippine history. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo (PHILIPPINES - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY)

Pope Francis touched millions of lives with his simple wave, contagious smile, and heartwarming messages of love and hope.

Now that his mission to deliver God’s message to the Philippines is over, it’s time for Filipinos to do their part, a Church official said.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who has been friends with the pontiff for years, said the responsibility to “implement" the message is now in Filipinos’ hands.

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"May I recommend that we spend time relishing the event. The event is so deep, there is so much to reflect on, so much to pray over, so much to learn,” Tagle said at the Villamor Air base, shortly after Pope Francis left for Rome.

During his visit, Pope Francis called on Filipinos to reject corruption "at all levels," to keep the sanctity of the family, care for the poor, welcome children, help women, among others.

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Tagle said pope’s visit left a lasting feeling of hope on most Filipinos.

“We must spend time to understand the spiritual message and the missionary message…the centrality of loving the poor, appreciating every child. Streets are not for the children. May [his visit] prod us into action,” Tagle added.

The cardinal added that he expects pope’s influence to linger for years, just like how Filipinos still vividly remember Pope John Paul II’s 1995 visit.

“Look at how people still react when they hear the song ‘Let us tell the world of his love,' how deeply people were touched by Pope John Paul II,” Tagle said.

Tagle said the challenge to to carry out pope’s message is not just for Christians but for every Filipino.

“It is a decision all of us has to make. We will reiterate that message and call on the priests and the religious to implement the message of the don’t have to be a christian,” he added.  

Pope Francis departed for Rome Monday, after a high-energy, 5-day pastoral and state visit.

Malacanang believes the visit was without a glitch, attributing the success of the event to Filipinos’ show of discipline and government preparations.  

"In all the Pope’s events, the Filipino people demonstrated warmth, discipline, and faith, making Pope Francis’ visit truly meaningful and successful,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.