MANILA -- On May 13, 2018, Solemnity of the Ascension in the Philippines, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle sent a letter to all priests and communities of consecrated persons in the Archdiocese of Manila, calling for twelve (12) days of prayer for truth and love.
In his letter, the Cardinal invites all to come together as one community and invoke the help of the Holy Spirit in these troubled times. He proposed certain activities to be held during those days and encouraged parishes, schools, and other communities to participate by organizing events of their own. The days of prayer will begin on May 20, Solemnity of the Pentecost (when we commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit and how He empowered the Apostles to preach the truth), and will end on May 31, Feast of the Visitation.
His Eminence, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila
Here is the full text of His Eminence's letter:
Dear Brother Priests and Communities of Consecrated Persons,
As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension, we cannot deny that we are facing a crisis of truth. It is almost impossible for us ordinary citizens to know which news is true and which is fake. Experts in the Constitution give us conflicting interpretations of basic questions of law. The crisis of truth has sown seeds of suspicion, mistrust, and fragmentation. Partisan politics has turned into political "tribalization." The common good is one of the first casualties. So, as we prepare for the Solemnity of the Pentecost we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus, "Send us your Spirit of truth and love to renew the face of our land!" But our prayer must be sincere. Will we welcome the Holy Spirit? Will we allow Him to lead us to truth and love for the common good?
The Ascension of Jesus into heaven is intimately connected to the Sending of the Holy Spirit. Seated at the right hand of God, Jesus will ask the Father to send us the Spirit of Truth (Jn. 14:16) who will guide us to all truth (Jn. 16:!3), will instruct and remind us of all that Jesus told us (Jn. 14:26). The world cannot accept the Spirit (Jn. 14:17) but the Spirit will prove the world wrong about sin, justice, and condemnation (Jn. 16:8). To each member of the Church is given a gift or manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (1 Cor. 12:7). The Spirit of Truth is the Spirit of Love.
The contemporary world needs a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Our own country needs the mighty wind and fire of the Spirit of truth and love. In the Archdiocese of Manila, I ask that for twelve days starting on May 20, 2018 (Pentecost Sunday) until May 31, 2018 (The Visitation), we engage in the following:
At 3:00 PM, the Church bells will be rung in commemoration of the Death of Jesus and as an appeal to the Father in Jesus' name to send the Holy Spirit. At 3 PM we will also pray together the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in parish churches, barangay chapels, convents, schools, homes, offices, BECs, etc. We ask pardon for sins committed against truth and open ourselves to the action of the Spirit of Truth.
We accompany our prayer with fasting. For those who cannot engage in fasting due to sickness or age, we recommend concrete actions of charity and service. Through fasting we redirect our focus from ourselves and our groups to the community.
The parishes, convents and schools can organize "feasts of truth and love" on these twelve days. Please highlight and strengthen existing programs/projects that inculcate sharing, promote the common good, and restore trust and reconciliation. You may organize study sessions on the Constitution, on charter change, federalism, etc. with the help of lawyers, law students, or law professors whom the Archdiocese will invite. You can organize also on the vicariate level.
We chose May 31 as the culmination of the days of prayer, fasting, and action for the truth and the common good. It is the feast of Mary's visit to Elizabeth and final day of our Flores de Mayo. Through her openness to the Holy Spirit, Mary became the Mother of Jesus and a compassionate neighbor. She will surely visit us and the Filipino people to show us Jesus her Son, who is Truth and Love.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+ Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle Archbishop of Manila
/ YTP Social Media Committee
Young Thomasian Professionals Lay Dominican Group
Santísimo Rosario Parish, University of Santo Tomás
España Boulevard, Manila 1015 Philippines