MANILA — A series of events will welcome the new Archbishop of Manila, Jose Cardinal Advincula, who will be installed in his new role on Thursday on the Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist.
It happens to be the 450th founding anniversary of the City of Manila and its first parish, which will later become the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, or the Manila Cathedral.
Cardinal Advincula arrived in Manila on Tuesday and was welcomed by Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo in the Residencia del Arzobispo in Intramuros.
A native of Dumalag, Capiz, Cardinal Advincula will lead an archdiocese with approximately 3 million Catholics in key cities in the capital region.
Advincula's installation day begins at 8 a.m. with a formal welcome by Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso and Intramuros Administration head Guiller Asido at the Postigo Gate, the historic gate that was used exclusively by the Archbishops of Manila and Governors-General of the Philippines during the Spanish colonization period.
At 8:30 a.m., a civic ceremony will be held at the Ayuntamiento, the old city hall of Manila that now houses the Bureau of the Treasury. Five mayors of the cities within the Archdiocese of Manila — Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and San Juan — will be present.
From the Ayuntamiento, there will be a short procession to the Manila Cathedral. Advincula will be accompanied by Pabillo, Moreno, Asido, and the representatives of the Knights of Columbus, the Order of Malta, and the Equestrian Order of Jerusalem.
At 9 a.m, the solemn installation and celebration of the Holy Mass will be held at the Manila Cathedral.
The Mass will be attended by the bishops of the Philippines, priests from the Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM), the clergy from the Archdiocese of Capiz, government officials, representatives of religious men and women, the Council of the Laity of RCAM, and the family and guests of Cardinal Advincula.
Following COVID-19 health protocols and restrictions, events are by invitation only and the number of attendees inside the Cathedral will be limited to 400. Intramuros will be closed to traffic in the morning and car passes will be issued to authorized vehicles.
Manila Cathedral rector Fr. Reginald Malicdem asked for the faithful’s understanding of the restrictions, saying that LED screens will be placed outside the Cathedral for those who will not be able to enter the Cathedral.
The rest of the faithful are asked to watch the celebration via live streaming on the church’s social media channels and TV Maria.
“Because of the pandemic, we hope that everyone understands the situation,” Malicdem said.
The celebration of the Eucharist is intended to catechize people and explain to the faithful in ritual form the role and function of the Bishop in the Christian community, said Fr. Carmelo Arada, in charge of the liturgy.
The church celebration will begin at the door of the cathedral where the new archbishop will be received. Advincula will then be presented with and kiss the crucifix as a reminder of his relationship with Christ.
“He is to give witness to Christ the good shepherd, his self-giving love. We read in the Scriptures the self-giving love of the good shepherd, no greater love than to lay down one’s life to his friends,” Arada said.
Cardinal Advincula will then sprinkle people with holy water as a “recalling of the baptismal character” shared by the Bishop with all the priests and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Manila.
After the sprinkling of the holy water, the Archbishop will kneel and spend moments of prayer before the Holy Sacrament.
“The Bishop will become a living witness of the power of prayer for his priests, for his people. We will see how the Bishop will give witness and will challenge everybody to be men and women of prayer,” Arada said.
Cardinal Advincula will then be brought to the vesting area at St. Joseph Chapel, a side altar inside the Cathedral dedicated to the saint, where the Cardinal, on his request, will offer prayers and flowers to his namesake.
He is expected to pray the prayer of entrustment which was written by Pope Francis at the end of his Apostolic Letter Patris corde (“With a Father's Heart”) inaugurating the Year of St. Joseph.
The mass will begin after the Cardinal wears his vestments.
Malicdem will read the Apostolic Letter from Pope Francis that appoints and elects Cardinal Advincula as Archbishop of Manila.
The attendees will then sing the Acclamation “as a sign of acceptance, gratitude and promise of prayer and support” for the new archbishop who will be “accepting the responsibility of taking care of the local church in the Archdiocese of Manila.”
Archbishop Charles John Brown, the Apostolic Nuncio and the installing prelate, will lead the new archbishop to his cathedra or his chair, which bears the coat of arms of the new archbishop.
“Itong cathedra ay hindi po trono kundi upuan na tanda ng Obispo na nagtuturo at pastol. He is a teacher and he is a shepherd of the diocese,” Arada said.
Bishop Pabillo will then deliver words of homage in the name of all the priests, the religious and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Manila to signify respect and obedience of the people of God. Under normal circumstances, the faithful would have been allowed to approach the Cardinal as homage.
There will also be a renewal of the priestly promises of the clergy of Manila to the new Archbishop, who will deliver the homily as his first preaching as Manila's top prelate.
On Friday, June 25, Cardinal Advincula will preside over a Mass at 9 a.m. with the representatives of the laity and young people in RCAM.
The following day, at 5 p.m. he will pray the solemn vespers (evening prayers) with religious men and women.
And on Sunday morning, he will visit the community of Maricaban in Pasay City and celebrate Sunday Mass at the Mary, Comforter of the Afflicted Parish.
SIGNIFICANCE OF NEW ARCHBISHOP
Bishop Pabillo, who will stay on as the Manila Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General, explained the significance of a new archbishop, saying long-term decisions such as ordination, contract signings, the opening of new churches, and reshuffling of priests may now be made.
Pope Francis chose Cardinal Advincula in March to lead the archdiocese Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle vacated.