Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal became emotional as he concluded his mass for the inmates of the New Bilibid Prison Maximum Security, last December 21, 2019.
This was after the inmates offered prayers for him, in his new mission as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evanglization of Peoples, one of the top offices in the Vatican.
The inmates were aware that this may be the last mass of the Cardinal with them, so they took the opportunity to bless him and say a prayer for him.
In the prayer, the prisoners expressed their love for the Cardinal who celebrates a mass for them every year during the Christmas Season.
They asked God to guide him, protect him from danger and bless him with good health so he can fulfill his duties as a faithful servant of God.
“Sa kanya pong pag-alis, nais po naming ipabaon sa kan’ya ang aming pagmamahal, pagmamahal ng mga bilanggo. Hinihiling din po namin na sa ibang panahon, makadalaw pa rin s’ya dito sa amin. Panginoon, patnubayan po ninyo ang aming Mahal na Kardinal, saan man po s’ya mapunta ay maging ligtas po s’ya sa anu mang sakuna o panganib. Pagkalooban po ninyo s’ya ng kalakasan at malusog na pangangatawan para po lubos n’yang magampanan ang kan’yang paglilingkod bilang tapat mong alagad.” Part of the prisoners’ prayer for Cardinal Tagle.
Filled with gratitude, Cardinal Tagle promised that if there will be a chance to visit the Philippines, he will ask the NBP to allow him to celebrate mass for the prisoners even if it’s not Christmas.
Cardinal Tagle admitted during the mass to the prisoners that his mind is also full of uncertainties towards his new appointment but what is important, he said, is to place our faith in Jesus, the reason why we celebrate Christmas.
“Katulad nung kwento ko kanina, sabi nung bilanggo maraming bagay hindi raw sigurado sa kan’ya, ganun din ho ang pakiramdam ko ngayon ang daming hindi ko alam. Yun nalang, magtiwala sa Panginoon, na napakaraming tao na kahit hindi ko nakausap, hindi ko nakaulayaw pero nagsasabi na magdarasal at ako po’y umaasa talaga sa mga dasal ninyo sa selda, sa chapel, dito sa covered court lalo na galing po sa inyong puso.” (Leahna Villajos / Radio Veritas and Jheng Prado / RCAM-AOC)