From February 7th to February 27th, the Titular Archbishop of Selsey embarked on a pastoral visitation to the Philippine Territory. His Grace led a series of religious and social events across the region, aimed at strengthening the faith and connection of the local Old Roman community.
The visitation began with a welcome party to greet His Grace at the airport led by Bishop Joash Jaime the episcopal administrator for the Old Roman apostolate in the Philippines, and representatives of the local clergy and faithful. The Archbishop was accompanied as chaplain on this visitation by Fr Thomas Gierke OSF from Chicago.
His Grace’s main message and motto for the visit was, “Tell it to Jesus” a phrase to remind clergy and faithful alike to remember the sacrifice of Our Lord on Calvary to encourage sacrificial living for the gospel and each other. When tempted, forlorn or anxious, the Archbishop encouraged the faithful to think of Our Lord’s perseverance in His Father’s Will for love of us, and look at a crucifix and think, is our excuse worthy of His sacrifice?
During his visit the Archbishop offered daily Mass, gave homilies, conferred minor ordinations, celebrated liturgies, participated in processions and visited shrines. His Grace met with government officials, including city mayors and state governors, to discuss issues affecting the Old Roman apostolate and the Catholic community in the regions served by the Old Roman apostolate.
His Grace visited the Tagapo Chapel to see the refurbishment progress and inspire the rejuvenation of the local apostolate. Many people turned out for Sunday Mass to meet the Archbishop and receive his words of hope and encouragement. Phase 1 of the renovation i.e. new ceiling, sanctuary and electric circuitry is complete, but fundraising continues for Phase 2, i.e. installation of a WC and refurbishment of the priest’s quarters. To make a contribution please visit here.
His Grace also visited the other chapels of the apostolate in the Philippines, including Divine Mercy, Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo and Holy Hearts, Barangay 418 Zone 43, Sampaloc as well as Divine Mercy, Bacoor.
The Archbishop attended a conference held for the clergy of the territory, a day of prayer and fellowship. His Grace gave conferences on the nature and spirituality of priesthood, with a particular emphasis on Tradition, the liturgy and perennial magisterium of the Church, and vocation as personal sacrifice. Fr Gierke gave a presentation on the living out of his bivocational ministry as a Franciscan religious and prison nurse, and Bishop Jaime discussed matters regarding the local apostolate.
One of the highlights of the visitation was a special event for lay pastoral leaders. The day conference brought together lay representatives from all the missions and chapels in the territory for Mass, fellowship and discussion. The Archbishop gave conferences on the history and raison d’être of the Old Roman apostolate, an overview of the global dimension of the apostolate, and facilitated a discussion on mission, fundraising and social action partnerships. Meals were prepared by the hosting mission and the day concluded with a prize raffle drawn by the Archbishop.
In addition to the religious events, the Titular Archbishop also took part in several social activities. He visited local communities and participated in cultural events, where he experienced the rich and diverse Filipino culture and generous hospitality.
The unintended mascot of the visitation was a little kitten, named “Luke” by the Archbishop who, with Fr Gierke was moved to rescue him from the streets. Appearing to be blind, Luke was taken to a vet for treatment and then left with one of the faithful for recuperation! He has wonderfully recovered his sight!
The visitation concluded on February 27th, with a farewell celebration attended by the local clergy and faithful. His Grace expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome he received and for the opportunity to serve the Catholic community in the Philippine Territory.
The Archbishop returned to the United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 28th, with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to his faith. His visitation to the Philippine Territory was a testament to the power of faith and the importance of building strong connections between Catholic communities and the Old Roman apostolate around the world.