Nuncio praises Filipinos’ faith amid disasters as he bid farewell
Outgoing Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto receives a token from the Filipino bishops during a send-off gathering in Manila, July 31, 2017. ROY LAGARDE
MANILA— Outgoing Papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto said that the Filipinos’ deep faith and resilience in the wake of super typhoon Yolanda had a huge impact on him.
Speaking at a send-off gathering for him at Pius XII Center in Manila on Monday, the archbishop said that with the inspirations he learned in the country, “I could say that I received much more than I gave”.
“I will bring with me wonderful memories of the Filipino people who, in spite of their many hardships and trials, remain resilient supported by resolute faith in God,” Pinto said.
“They do not ask God to provide only for their materials needs but rather to abandon themselves to Him as their Father. They believe that God is greater than all their needs,” he said.
Arranged by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the simple gathering drew dozens of prelates including Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila and his predecessor retired Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales.
For the bishops, the nuncio will also be remembered for his role at the height of Yolanda when he went to Leyte and immersed himself with the suffering of the people.
It was during his watch that biggest calamities befell on the Philippines— earthquakes and typhoons and even man-made disasters.
In those times, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President, said Archbishop Pinto was “a pastor, a father, a brother and friends to the Filipinos.
“We saw that very clearly at the height of Yolanda. He showed us the face of the Lord which is mercy and compassion,” Villegas said.
He said it was also during Pinto’s term that Filipinos were “blessed” with the visit of Pope Francis.
“Pope Francis, like Archbishop Pinto has shown us the face of Jesus, God of compassion, God of mercy,” added Villegas.
With the “wisdom of a pastor and a prudence of a Church diplomat,’ he also guided the bishops, the clergy and the lay Filipinos during the 51st International Eucharistic Congress that was held in Cebu in 2016 and the 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy held in Manila and nearby dioceses last January.
After six years in the Philippines, the 65-year old Italian prelate is leaving next week for his new post in eastern Europe.
On July 1, Pope Francis appointed Pinto to serve the same position in Croatia, a country with around 4.2 million population and where Catholicism is the dominant religion.
It will be his seventh assignment as papal ambassador ever since he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1984.
For his part, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle thanked the nuncio for his “trust and confidence” to the Filipino church leaders.
“And wherever you are know that you have a home here in the Philippines and you will always have a home in our hearts,” Tagle said. CBCPNews