“Lead Jesus to your children and lead your children to Jesus.”
This was the call made by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle on Father’s Day, June 21, during Mass at the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome.
“As we thank you dear fathers, we invite you especially this moment of pandemic, to exercise your spiritual fatherhood in your homes,” the prelate said.
He asked parents, especially fathers, to “lead Jesus to your children and lead your children to Jesus.”
“Introduce them to Jesus and bring the message of Jesus to them,” he said.
Cardinal Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, asked fathers to bring their children to church.
“Nowadays a good father is measured by how many times you bring your children to a shopping mall. How many times you allow them to spend money,” he noted.
“We bring our children to restaurants, cinemas, shows and that’s fine,” said the cardinal. “But do we bring our children to the church? Do we bring our children close to Jesus?”
The cardinal said the transmission of faith, which he said is essential to life, is an integral part of fatherhood.
The prelate celebrated his 63rd birthday on Sunday, June 21, by donating food to the poor.
He said some friends informed him that about 2,500 homeless and street children were given lunch during the day.
“They said for your birthday, we will give free lunch especially to those finding it difficult nowadays to have a decent meal,” said the cardinal.
He said he was surprised to hear that in the city of Tagaytay south of Manila, some religious communities are begging for food.
They go around knocking. They said they usually receive or get support from their communities in Europe, but the communities have nothing to send.
The former Manila archbishop thanked those who donated food.
Cardinal Tagle left the Philippines in February to assume his new post in the Vatican.
On May 1, Pope Francis elevated Cardinal Tagle as cardinal bishop, the highest rank within the College of Cardinals of the Catholic Church.