By Christina Hermoso and Leslie Ann Aquino
Pope Francis has named Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
Tagle’s appointment was announced in Rome, Italy on Sunday noon (7 p.m. Manila time), said a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines News post.
He will replace Cardinal Fernando Filoni who was appointed as the new Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.
Tagle’s appointment marks the return of an Asian cardinal to the leadership of the important congregation for evangelization after Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias who served from 2006 to 2011.
The Vatican News said the Pope “once again shows great attention to the Asian continent.” The announcement was made near the end of his trip to Thailand and Japan. Tagle will be installed at the Vatican early next year.
Prelates hail Tagle’s appointment
Catholic prelates welcomed the appointment of Tagle saying it was a “blessing” to the country.
“For his appointment, we glorify our God, we are grateful to His Holiness,” Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said in an interview.
“It is an immense blessing to our country, overflowing grace to His Eminence,” he added.
His appointment, Santos said, showed the trust and confidence of Pope Francis on Cardinal Tagle.
“He makes us proud as Filipinos and our country as beacon for new Evangelization,” he said.
Santos assured the cardinal of their collaboration and services.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo also welcomed the appointment of Tagle as the country will again have a Filipino cardinal working in the Vatican.
“That would be good. We have again a Filipino Cardinal who is working in the Vatican. He can bring his wisdom to the work of evangelization,” he said.
“We wish him success in this heavy responsibility and we pray for him,” added Pabillo.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco explained that as servants of the Church, they are always ready to go where they are assigned by the Holy Father.
“We obey and we know the Lord will give us strength and graces plus heavenly wisdom,” he said.
Tagle, 62, was ordained priest for the Diocese of Imus in 1982. Saint John Paul II named him bishop of the diocese in 2001. In October 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as Archbishop of Manila, and as cardinal in 2012.
He has been serving as president of Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican’s social action arm since 2015.