His Holiness, Pope Francis, has a special place in his heart for Catholic Philippines, which he called “dear nation.” During Angelus prayers in St. Peter’s Square at Vatican, Rome, on October 20, 2013, he urged the faithful and pilgrims to pray for the Philippines. Pray always, without growing weary, the Pope said, reminding them to “seek the Lord day and night, not because God does not know our needs, or does not listen to us, but because the daily struggle requires patience.” God is our ally, faith in Him is our strength, and prayer is the expression of this faith, he said.
Earlier, on October 18, 2013, in his video address – his first English message since the start of his pontificate on March 19, 2013 – to participants in the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at the University of Santo Tomas he urged all Catholics to love the Church more and share the Good News with all peoples with humility and joy. “Bring Jesus Christ into the world of politics, business, arts, science, technology, and social media,” he said, praying to the Holy Spirit to “bring forth justice and peace in the Philippines and in the great continent of Asia that is close to my heart.”
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the Holy Father is proud of Filipinos because of their Catholic faith, noting that he asks them to be a light to the Philippines and to bring the faith to other countries. He gave Filipinos a missionary mandate – to spread the Gospel of Jesus, suggesting the big challenge for the Church is to connect with young people, to be involved with the poor and the family, to live in integrity as a Church, and to practice what it preaches.
On the two important church occasions that the Holy Father gave his messages, he urged the faithful to pray for him and, in return, he promised to pray for them to the Blessed Virgin Mary whom he described as the star of the new evangelization.
We offer a special prayer for His Holiness, Pope Francis, that he will be guided in the great spiritual mission of shepherding his Catholic flock. We wish him the best, good health, and success in all endeavors. We echo his blessing spoken to the Filipino people in their own language: Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang Asia! Pagpalain kayo ng Diyos!