These words of Pope Francis—spoken when he went to Tacloban but resonating as a message to all Filipinos during his four-day stay in the country last January—comprise the title and running theme of the coffee-table book about that apostolic visit. It was launched at the Arzobispado de Manila in Intramuros and the Edsa Shrine.
The book launching was led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Socrates B. Villegas, and apostolic nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto.
During the event, Cardinal Tagle said he had lunch with the Pope last June 1 at the Domus Martha in the Vatican, in which the Holy Father spoke happily of his Asian visit. “The Pope said there is hope for the Church in Asia,” the Manila prelate related. “He said the future of the Church is in Asia.”
“I Am Here to be with You” is published for the CBCP by Maria Teresa Cancio-Suplico, president and CEO of the Goodwill Group of Companies. It contains a wide collection of photographs contributed by various photographers present at the events during the visit. The 160-page book also includes the full text of all the speeches and homilies of the Pontiff while in the country.
A special feature of the book is the personal narrative of Cardinal Tagle, who was by the Pope’s side most of the time throughout his pastoral journey in the Philippines. Cardinal Tagle gives more than a reporter’s account of the visit. He shares his own thoughts and insights as he witnesses the events unfold from his perspective—as a priest, as shepherd of a flock and as a companion to the Holy Father while in the Philippines, able to see his every expression and gesture, and hear his whispered words of comment and reaction.
Archbishop Villegas provides the introduction and Fr. Catalino G. Arevalo, S.J., the foreword.
Personal reflections have also been shared by personalities who were involved in and present at the events. The contributors include Palo Archbishop John F. Du, writing on the Tacloban experience; Parañaque Bishop Jesse M. Mercado on the Pope’s departure; Fr. Rufino C. Sescon Jr. on the Luneta Mass; Fr. Carlos V. Reyes and Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., on the University of Santo Tomas (UST) encounter; Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny B. Coloma on the welcome in Malacañang; and Inquirer editor and UST professor Lito B. Zulueta on traveling with the Pope.
Book production team includes Louie O. Reyes, production director; Peachy E. Yamsuan, editorial coordinator; Jesselynn G. de la Cruz, editor; Noli I. Yamsuan Jr., photo editor; and Ani Reyes-Reyes, book designer and graphic artist.
Cover photo is by Christopher Leones. The book is printed by House Printers Corp.
Copies are available at Goodwill Bookstore and Catholic Book Center.
With the St. Anthony Shrine in Bustillos, Sampaloc, Manila, as producer, Fr. Cielo Almazan, O.F.M., the Franciscan vice provincial, organized the musical concert “Take Courage” to raise funds for the ongoing construction of the five-story multipurpose Franciscan Evangelization Center adjacent to the shrine.
The concert was held May 30 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.
Main artist was David Wycoco, a multitalented Filipino-Canadian musician and composer. He performed with the Slice Band from Pasig, Dolce String Quartette from Las Piñas (featuring the amazing 7-year-old violinist-cellist Damodar Castillo), and Franciscan Dream Chorale from Frisco, Quezon City.
Fr. Cris Tibong, O.F.M., was stage director, while Fr. Tony Rosales, O.F.M., was emcee.
Readers who may want to donate to the construction of the Franciscan center or in thanksgiving for graces received through St. Anthony of Padua may deposit to BPI Family Bank, Bustillos Branch, St. Anthony Shrine, Savings Account No. 5585047181. Or they can make checks payable to “St. Anthony Shrine.”
May the Lord reward you.
Free prayer cards
Nory Reveche of Nagcarlan, Laguna, has written this column to ask for prayer cards. They’ve just been mailed to her.
For readers who would like to receive free prayer cards, write to “Miss Josephine Darang c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer, Chino Roces Ave., Makati City.” Please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope for easier mailing.