Pope Francis to Ozamis pilgrims: ‘Be models in works of mercy’

November 20, 2023 - 11:30 AM
Pope Francis meets with pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Ozamis, Nov. 17, 2023. (Vatican Media via CBCP News)

VATICAN — Pope Francis on Friday met with pilgrims from the southern Philippine archdiocese of Ozamis, encouraging them to spend their lives in the service of others.

Led by Archbishop Martin Jomuad, the pilgrims composed of priests and laypeople are on a Marian pilgrimage in Europe as part of Ozamis’ golden jubilee celebration as a diocese.

The pope expressed hope that other planned activities marking the occasion will help Catholics “deepen their awareness of their baptismal call to always live as faithful disciples of the Lord.”

In this way, according to him, the archdiocese “will be able to contribute to the advancement of God’s kingdom of justice, unity and peace”.

“In this regard, it is my hope that your parishes and communities will be models in practicing the works of mercy and in being neighbours to all, especially families, young people, the sick, the elderly and the poor, with the charity that Jesus asks of us,” the pope said.

“This includes, as well, being responsible stewards of creation, in the realization that our care for one another and for our common home are intimately bound together,” he said.

The 86-year-old pontiff also encouraged the pilgrims “to journey together in fraternal solidarity, listening to one another and above all to the Holy Spirit who guides the entire Church in discerning new and creative paths for the proclamation of the Gospel”.

In 1951, the Prelature of Ozamis was established out of Misamis Occidental, with Columban Fr. Patrick Cronin as its first apostolic administrator. In 1955, he was appointed its first prelate.

Ozamis attained the status of a diocese on Feb. 17, 1971, with Bishop Jesus Varela serving as its first local ordinary. During this period, Cronin had already become the archbishop of Cagayan de Oro.

On Jan. 24, 1983, Ozamis was further elevated to an archdiocese, with the dioceses of Dipolog, Iligan, Pagadian, and the Prelature of Marawi assigned as its suffragans.

Despite plans for various activities lined up for the jubilee celebration in 2021, they were hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic.