Pope Francis honors 9 Filipinos for service to Church

January 18, 2024 - 11:06 AM
Pope Francis leads a special audience to deliver a Christmas message to Vatican workers at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, December 23, 2021. (Reuters/Remo Casilli/File Photo)

Honoring nine lay Catholics with papal awards, Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila prayed that they may be “models to inspire others to follow the path of love and service”.

During a Mass at the Manila Cathedral on Wednesday, the cardinal bestowed the Cross Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice upon Ramon del Rosario Jr, Manuel Pangilinan, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Maria Goolsby, and Arnulfo Veridico.

Ayala Corp.’s Zobel, Metro Pacific Investment Corp.’s Pangilinan, PHINMA’s Del Rosario are part of the board of trustees of Caritas Manila. UnionBank’s Goolsby and Veridico, meanwhile, are long-time supporters of the archdiocese’s social action arm.

The same recognition, the highest papal award for laity, was conferred upon Roselina Quismundo, Elmer Sy, Tomasita Lim, and Corazon Rodriguez from the Parish and Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Joseph in Manila’s Sta. Cruz district.

Bestowing the awards, the cardinal paid tribute to the awardees for being the archdiocese’s “long time partners in the mission and collaborators in evangelization”.

“And, unworthy as I am, in the name of our Holy Father Pope Francis and the Church of Manila, we thank you for your commitment to the teachings of the Church and for your selfless service, which has touched the lives of many, leaving indelible marks on those you have served,” Advincula said in his homily.

The cardinal, however, said that the award does not mean that they can retire from the services they provide. On the contrary, he said it means that they must continue the work they have done “and do even more.”

“You are sent to look for many opportunities to do good for others and to make more of our brothers and sisters feel God’s care, compassion, healing and love through you,” Advincula added.

Addressing the lay faithful in general, he encouraged them to emulate Jesus “who does good to anyone in need anytime and anywhere”.

“Like them, the Lord also invites each one of us, unworthy as we are, to be His hands that serve and care, His feet that run to attend to those in need, His mouth that proclaims his Good News, and His heart that beats compassion and love,” he said.

The Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal, first issued in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII, features a gold Greek cross with the images of apostles Peter and Paul and the name of the reigning pope in Latin.