Vatican City (Fides Service) – “I am uneasy. I feel like Saint Joseph after he had the vision of angel telling him not to worry, when Mary was expecting Jesus, or troubled like the Blessed Mother after the annunciation by the angel Gabriel who told her not to fear. Every important moment of my life has been like this, my ordination as a priest and then as a bishop. But I have complete trust in the help of the Holy Spirit.” Mgr Gaudencio Rosales, whom yesterday Pope John Paul II appointed Archbishop of Manila, said this in an interview with Fides Service.
In the interview, the first since his appointment, the Archbishop said, “I am honoured to receive this charge from the Holy Father. Of course I have no pastoral plan for the archdiocese of Manila. I will elaborate it with all the components of the local Church once I have taken possession. But the overall plan is always the same: to render present the Kingdom of God, give space to evangelisation and also to personal reflection and works of charity.”
The Archdiocese of Manila has just said goodbye to Cardinal Jaime Sin, in charge since 1974, who resigned for reasons of age and health. Mgr Rosales says: “I thank Cardinal Sin for all he has given the Church in the Philippines and the country in the last 30 years. His heritage and charisma will not be lost. I pray that he will never be without the Lord’s grace. In my ministry I will work for continuity to carry on his pastoral plan”.
With regard to the present situation in the Philippines the new Archbishop said: “This is a difficult time, and as Bishops we issued a recent statement calling on political leaders, the army and all citizens to fight corruption and work for the unity and progress of the Philippines. This commitment is basic for the Church: we must instil into society the values of the Gospel”.
The new archbishop was born on 10 August 1932, at Batangas City, archdiocese of Lipa. He studied philosophy and theology at Quezon City and was ordained a priest on 23 March 1958. After serving as Rector of Lipa minor seminary and spiritual director of seminaries in the archdiocese, in 1974 he was appointed Auxiliary of Manila and titular Bishop of Esco. He was ordained a Bishop of 28 October of that year. In 1982 he was appointed coadjutor Bishop of Malaybalay and became the Bishop of that diocese in 1984. He was promoted to the metropolitan see of Lipa in 1992. Between 1997 and 1999 he was vice-president of the Bishops’ Conference and since 1999 he has been president of the Bishops’ Commission for the Clergy. PA (Fides Service 15/9/2003 EM lines 43 Words: 486)