Mary and ‘significant moments’ of Cardinal Tagle’s life

Mary and ‘significant moments’ of Cardinal Tagle’s life

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle views the famous column of the Immaculate Conception from his window at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in central Rome on Feb. 12. COURTESY OF FR. REGIE MALICDEM

By Roy Lagarde

February 14, 2020

Manila, Philippines

On the first day of his work in Rome, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle looked outside his window and saw a figure that is very close to his heart — the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Known to have a deep Marian devotion, the cardinal always noted that the “significant moments” of his life have connections to the Blessed Mother.

The latest was when Pope Francis named him Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples last Dec. 8, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The announcement was made after the pope led a prayer service at a Marian statue atop a tall column at the Piazza de Spagna, just outside Tagle’s new office.

The Immaculate Conception statue was erected in 1857 to commemorate Pope Pius IX’s declaration three years earlier of the dogma that Mary was conceived without sin.

On some occasions, Tagle shared that the Marian month of October played a huge part in his life.

For instance, he was informed of his appointment as bishop of Imus on Oct. 22, 2001. It was formally announced in the Vatican five days later.

Tagle received his episcopal ordination on Dec. 12, 2001, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

On Oct. 12, 2011, the feast Our Lady of Pillar, the patroness of Tagle’s hometown Imus, he was told that he will the next Manila archbishop. He assumed the post on Dec. 12 of the same year, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

And then on Oct. 23, 2012, while he was in Rome, he was informed that he was going to be made a cardinal.

Cardinal Tagle started his new mission on Wednesday, Feb. 12, but told his collaborators that he came not as a boss but as a ‘student’.

“I am the Prefect but I am not perfect. I came here as a student in order to learn from you, my masters and teachers,” he said.

Before leaving Manila, he did not mince words in admitting his “unworthiness” for the influential Vatican post.

“I know what I’m capable of and what I’m not capable of,” said Tagle, adding that he never had been a member of a curia even in the diocesan level.

If anything, his reputation as a pastor exceeds that of his image as a prolific theology teacher and a much-sought-after speaker.

“But anything related to the curia, I’m totally ignorant,” he said.

When he bade farewell to Philippine bishops, among his words were: “We entrust everything to the loving protection of the Blessed Mother.”