Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle bid farewell to the faithful in the Archdiocese of Manila on Jan. 27, before his expected transfer to Rome in the coming weeks.
He thanked the bishops, priests, religious men and women, and lay people for attending the Thanksgiving Mass that he celebrated at the Manila Cathedral.
In his homily, he asked the faithful to always be thankful to God. “We may not always understand, but in faith we know God is good,” he said.
“God’s design are not our design. Sometimes, God’s design disrupts our plans, but we say I believe God is good,” said the outgoing prelate of Manila.
“We fall, we falter. We are disappointed … but we know God is good and his mercy endures forever,” he added.
Pope Francis has named Cardinal Tagle prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, also known as Propaganda Fide.
The congregation oversees the Church’s work in most of the dioceses in Africa, Asia and Oceania, which is around one-third of the world’s 4,000 dioceses.
Cardinal Tagle is only the second Asian to be the prefect of Propaganda Fide, with the other being Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias who served from 2006 to 2011.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, meanwhile, assured the outgoing Manila prelate that he is always in Manila.
“In case you feel tired of the work on that part of the world, be assured that you have a home among us here in Manila,” said Bishop Pabillo during the Thanksgiving Mass.
“Every departure, every separation brings pain. But if we look at it on the other side, we in the Archdiocese of Manila have been very much privileged in the eight years you have been with us,” he told Cardinal Tagle.
“We have been privileged that you have been our shepherd,” added Bishop Pabillo. “We appreciate very much your ministry among us,” he said.
Bishop Pabillo later led everyone in praying for the Manila prelate.
“Thank you for his heart conformed to the likeness of the Good Shepherd, your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,” prayed the bishop.
“Protect him with your loving embrace. Hold him by the hand and keep him close to your heart as he embarks on his new mission,” he added.
The Eucharistic celebration was Cardinal Tagle’s last Mass with members of the Manila clergy.
Cardinal Tagle was ordained a priest in 1982 for the Diocese of Imus where he was made bishop of in 2001 at the age of 44. He was given the cardinal’s hat in late 2012.
Cardinal Tagle is also president of Caritas Internationalis and the Catholic Biblical Federation.
He is the second Filipino to become prefect of a dicastery, following the late Cardinal Jose Tomas Sanchez, who was prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy from 1991 to 1996.
The 62-year-old Cardinal Tagle is popular at home and around the Catholic world and has been mentioned in the past as a potential candidate for the papacy.