Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 04 August |
Saint of the Day: St. John Vianney
home iconChurch
line break icon

Pope urges Filipinos to continue being “smugglers of the faith”

POPE FRANCIS

Tiziana FABI | AFP

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 12/16/19

In a first, Francis celebrates the initial Mass of the Simbang Gabi Christmas novena at St. Peter's

Pope Francis celebrated Mass with members of Rome’s Filipino community on Sunday evening, beginning with them the traditional Simbang Gabi Christmas novena.

This novena involves Masses traditionally held before dawn for the nine days preceding Christmas, in remembrance of Mary’s nine months of pregnancy.




Read more:
How Filipinos prepare for Christmas for nine days before dawn

It was the first time that a Successor of Peter has presided over the Mass, also known as the Aguinaldo Mass, though the special event has been held in previous years in St. Peter’s.

Some 150 priests concelebrated with the Holy Father, including the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Angelo de Donatis, and Father Leonir Chiarello, head of the Scalabrinians worldwide.

The chaplain for the Filipino community in Rome is a Scalabrinian Missionary (also known as the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo.)

In his homily, Francis said that as the world prepares to celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation, of Emmanuel, “we must ask the Lord to renew the miracle of Christmas every year, offering ourselves as instruments of his merciful love towards the least and the lowest.”

There are more than 167,000 Filipinos residing in Italy, according to the Italian Ministry of Labor, and thousands of them requested to attend the Mass, but only about 7,500 were granted access, due to the seating capacity of the basilica.
Fr. Ricky Gente, chaplain for the Filipino community in Rome, addressed Pope Francis at the end of Mass:
“Almost 500 years ago, European missionaries planted the seed of faith in our beloved Philippines. We are happy and blessed because after five centuries we are here in Europe and throughout the world transmitting the joy and beauty of the Gospel,” Fr. Gente said. “Before the celebration of the last World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the Holy Father shared with me that Filipino women are ‘smugglers of the faith,'” the priest added.

Fr. Gente said that the Filipino community is a “happy and smiling people” because the “flame of faith continues to burn intensely in our hearts.”

The Filipino community offered the Holy Father an early birthday gift — a statue of Our Lady — as he turns 83 on December 17.

Pope Francis responded after receiving the gift: “Be smugglers of the faith!”

Tags:
AdventChristmasPhilippinesPope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
2
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
3
CARLO ACUTIS
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
4
JEDZENIE
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
5
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
6
ANTENUCCI
Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz
1st Feast of Our Lady of Silence is August 1
7
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.