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Bishops hail new papal nuncio at special Mass

The country’s Catholic hierarchy has formally welcomed the new Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, in a special mass yesterday afternoon at the Manila Cathedral.

Jaro, Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), led other prelates in giving honors to the new representative of Pope Benedict XVI to the country who arrived here Nov. 1.

“We hope you will have many years with us, long enough to even desire, like some of your predecessors to retire in the Philippines to desire it at least,” Lagdameo said in his message to Adams.

The CBCP head has assured Adams he would feel at home in the Philippines “just like how many American missionaries felt when they stayed here.”

“I said earlier that we would welcome Pope Benedict XVI anytime he desires to come to visit the Philippines, so today we wholeheartedly welcome Your Excellency. The Filipino people, in fact, would most gladly welcome in person the Holy Father, whose worthy ambassador you are,” he added.

Lagdameo was joined by Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales in welcoming Adams.

The traditional welcome mass, however, was presided by no less than the new nuncio himself with other bishops and priests concelebrating.

Adams was appointed by the Pontiff as the country’s new Apostolic Nuncio  on Sept. 3.

The post had been vacant since Archbishop Fernando Filoni was appointed Substitute (Sostituto) of the Vatican Secretariat of State in June 2007.

An apostolic nuncio or papal legate is considered the representative or ambassador of the Holy See to the bishops of the Episcopal Conference and particular churches.

His principal task, according to church law, is to make firm and effective the bonds of unity between the Pope and the heads of States and the bishops. In his first letter to the CBCP after his appointment, Adams said he is glad to be serving for the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

 “My only wish is that I may be of service to the Church, as I seek to represent worthily among you our Holy Father, whose ministry is essentially one of love,” Adams said in his letter to the bishops.  Even when he arrived in the country, Adams also vowed not only to support the local church but also do anything for the good of the country.

  “He (Adams) said that he will do his best for the church and the country,” said Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, one of the bishops who welcomed the new nuncio during his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. – Edu Punay 


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