Papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown called on Catholics of Palawan island on Thursday to continue the mission and seek out those who have gone astray.
Speaking during Mass at the Puerto Princesa Cathedral, he encouraged the faithful to see the lost members of the flock as an opportunity to bear witness to the joy of the Gospel.
“We have to tell the people who, perhaps, drifted away from the faith or lost the light of faith, to come and see the Catholic life,” Brown said in his homily.
“We have to tell them to come to church, receive that gift of light and faith and find the joy that the world cannot give you, the joy that success cannot give you,” he said.
The nuncio presided over the liturgy held on the eve of the culminating activities for the year-long celebration of 400 years of Christianity on the island.
It was his first visit to the island, which he praised for its “incredible natural beauty”.
In 1910, St. Pope Pius X elevated the island, making it an apostolic prefecture. Some 45 years later, in 1955, Pope Pius XII established the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan.
In 2022, St. Pope John Paul II divided Palawan into two present apostolic vicariates: Taytay in the north and Puerto Princesa in the southern part of the island.
From approximately 82,000 Catholics in 1959, Palawan now has a population of approximately one million Catholics.
“But numbers are not that important because what is important is the depth of Catholic faith,” Brown pointed out.
He further encouraged the parishes, mission stations, and Basic Ecclesial Communities to ensure that all their efforts are geared towards evangelization.
“Let us be evangelizers in our day because that is the best way that we can honor the memory of 400 years of Catholic faith in Palawan,” the archbishop added.
“I encourage you to live that faith, to live that light and to share that light with those around us,” he also said.