By Tracy Cabrera
EVEN as the Philippine Catholic Church rejoices with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s recovery from the deadly coronavirus, College Pontificio Filippino rector Father Gregory Gaston enthused how God wants (Tagle) to continue . . . to bring God’s good news of love, joy, peace, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation, all of which the world needs in a special way.”
In a recent pronouncement, the Manila Archdiocese announced Tagle—the Filipino prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples—has recovered from his brush with Covid-19.
“We are happy to announce that Cardinal Tagle is now free from Covid-19 as was confirmed by swab test results,” local Church officials and likewise in Rome said in a statement on September 23.
The Collegio Pontificio Filippino, a college for diocesan priests from the Philippines studying at pontifical universities in Rome, also confirmed that the former Manila archbishop had recovered: “It is with great joy that we announce to the Filipino people and to the world that our dear Cardinal (Tagle) is now free from coronavirus.”
Gaston said the Cardinal’s recovery was ‘God’s gift’ to the Catholic Church to continue Christ’s mission on Earth.
Cardinal Tagle tested positive for the coronavirus upon returning to the Philippines on September 10 to visit his elderly parents. As the first head of a Vatican dicastery to catch the virus, he went into self-quarantine in a hotel in Manila on learning the test results.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had called for prayers from the country’s prelates in their daily masses.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan had called for churchgoers to recite 10 Hail Mary’s at midday every day for the cardinal’s speedy recovery.
Retired Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said prelates and churchgoers in the Philippines have rejoiced in spirit and in prayer after learning about Cardinal Tagle’s recovery.
“The people of God are so happy (Cardinal Tagle) is now Covid-free. God wants him to continue his mission in the Philippines and in the world. He is very active in the ministry and has been visiting many places including refugee camps,” Bishop Bastes said.
He also said that although the leading Filipino official at the Vatican has recovered, Tagle’s experience should tell him that his body needed rest.
“We, bishops and priests, are also to be reminded by this event. As much as we want to stretch ourselves in fulfilling our ministry, we are still human with bodies that also need to rest,” the bishop said.
Manila Archdiocese parishioners said they were elated when they heard the news.
“God heard our prayers. We knew (he) was 63 years old, which made him vulnerable to the virus. That is why we (fellow parishioners) were worried. Now we thank God for this great blessing,” parishioner Vanessa Gerona said in an interview with Union of Catholic Asian (UCA) News.