The Manila Cathedral culminates the 60th anniversary of its reconstruction and
consecration post war with two important celebrations.

The first celebration will be on Saturday, December 8, Saturday, the Solemnity of the
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary at 12:00 in the afternoon. We will
welcome the Envoy of His Holiness Pope Francis in the person of His Eminence
Thomas Aquinas Manyo Cardinal Maeda, the Archbishop of Osaka. He will lead us in a
Eucharistic Celebration to honor the Patroness of the Cathedral and of the whole
Filipino people, and he also brings a message and a special blessing from the Holy
Father himself.

In the letter of Pope Francis to Cardinal Maeda released originally in Latin by the
Vatican on December 1, 2018, the Pope writes, “You are to act in our name, therefore, on
the 8th day of the coming month of December, more than four years since we have
visited it, at the Cathedral in Manila—also called the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate
Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary—giving thanks to God for the beauty of this
temple, but most importantly for the lively faith of the pastors and of the Christian
faithful . . . We therefore abundantly pour upon you our Apostolic Blessing; and we
generously share it with all of those to whom you will be sent: beloved pastors,
seminarians, religious men and women, and lay Christian faithful, most especially the
poor and the children. (Full text of the English translation attached.)

It is a very symbolic gesture on the part of Pope Francis to send a Japanese Cardinal as
Envoy. Aside from being the newest Cardinal in Asia, Cardinal Maeda’s presence on
December 8 will signify the reconciliation and peace between our two nations once torn
apart by war. In fact, one of the biggest contributions for the rebuilding of the Manila
Cathedral came from the Japanese people. Moreover, a few weeks before it was
announced that Cardinal Maeda would be named a Cardinal, he visited the Manila
Cathedral and concelebrated Mass with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

Cardinal Maeda will be in the country from the evening of December 7 until the
morning of December 10. He will also visit the Chapel of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod
ng Maynila, San Carlos Seminary, Sto. Domingo Church, and the University of Santo
Tomas. He will be accompanied by Msgr. Esteban Lo, LRMS, a priest of the
Archdiocese of Manila and Episcopal Vicar for Foreign Communities Concern, and Fr.
Eric de Guzman, a Filipino priest working in the Archdiocese of Osaka.

The second celebration will be on Monday, December 10, at 5:00 in the afternoon. We
will gather once again to witness the Solemn Dedication of the Altar of the Manila
Cathedral according to the Rites of the Second Vatican Council. This is a great time for
many of us to come together in our Mother Church, as we dedicate the table where, as
one people of God, we offer our sacrifices and our prayers.

One special feature of the celebration will be the veneration of the altars of the eight
side chapels of the Manila Cathedral which were all consecrated in 1958 by bishops who
came from different parts of the country. On December 10, we invited their present
successors to venerate, together with the some priests, religious women, and lay people
of the Archdiocese of Manila, these chapels. It is interesting to note that two Filipino
prelates who are on their way to sainthood were present during the consecration rites in
1958 – Archbishop Teofilo Camomot and Bishop Alfredo Ma. Obviar who consecrated
the altars of the Pius X Chapel and the Our Lady of the Pillar Chapel respectively.

In a video message, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila, invites
all the faithful to these significant events of the Manila Cathedral. He said, “I hope you
could mark these dates as days when the Filipino people can come together as brothers
and sisters in our Mother Church, and show that hate and destruction can be overcome
by God’s rebuilding love. These are very special occasions of our Mother Church.

Please come home!”