What a blessing and a joy to be able to assemble powerful speakers who delivered uplifting and thought-provoking perspectives at the recently concluded “A Journey of Faith Conference and Thanksgiving Mass” held at St. Mary’s Cathedral in celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. All speakers invited to speak at the conference celebrating 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines delivered powerful messages that drove home the message to all Filipino Catholics: the Filipino diaspora are now the modern-day missionaries of the world. In his homily, Bishop Oscar Solis, who concelebrated at the Thanksgiving Mass, extolled the deeply ingrained piety of the Filipino people. He emphasized the meaning behind the quincentennial celebration theme “Gifted to Give,” which is inspired by the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:8 — “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost, you are to give.” The milestone celebration inspires gratitude for the gift of faith and the responsibility of sharing that faith. As overseas Filipino workers are spread in almost every country in the world, Bishop Solis quoted Pope Francis fondly calling the Filipinos “smugglers of faith.” Bishop Solis’ homily was spiced with witty quips and funny one-liners about Filipinos that extolled their resilience and strong faith in God…that amid their poverty and daily challenges in life they are still able to smile. And he attributed the amazing optimism and hopeful attitude of the Filipino people to the popular saying, “May awa ang Diyos,” (God has mercy).
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David (more popularly known as Bishop Ambo), Bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), provided a great historical perspective on how Filipinos rejected the Spaniards’ colonization of the Philippines for 300 years but embraced the gift of faith. Click here to view his full presentation. Reverend Ricky Manalo, a Paulist priest, composer and author, expounded on the spiritual gifts and treasured presence of Filipino-American Catholics in the United States. Please click here to watch Fr. Manalo’s presentation. Sr. Nona Barairo, Director of Faith Formation at Saint Augustine parish, spoke on the missionary work and ministries of the Filipino religious sisters in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Chris Mariano, Coordinator of the Youth and Young Adults in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, discussed the challenges faced by youths and young adults in practicing their faith in a secular environment.
A “Quincentennial Journey of Faith” video that chronicled the journey of faith of the Filipinos for 500 years was shown as part of the celebration.
Also shown during the conference was an intermission video that featured the Filipino clergy and religious sisters in leadership roles, providing pastoral care across parishes in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The video also featured various Filipino faith-based organizations that reflect the Filipino lay leaders and parishioners’ vibrant participation in all aspects of parish life. Click here to watch the video.
Click here to view the video presentation prepared by the St. Augustine’s Children’s Choir in honor of the 500 YoC celebration.
Click this link to view the special message from Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to the Filipino faithful of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.