Filipinos in Milan and Northern Italy woke up to a bright sunny day on Sunday, February 23, after several days of clouds and rains. Filipinos welcomed the good weather since this was the much awaited day for the 11:00am Holy Mass celebrated by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at Milan’s famous landmark, the Duomo (Cathedral) for the Filipino communities. As early as 9:00am, long lines of people were already seen outside the entrances of the Duomo waiting for the doors to open at 10:30am.
The Duomo was full to capacity at 8,000 people including those standing at the sides. The piazza in front of the Duomo had another 5,000 people who patiently followed the Holy Mass and proceedings through a wide screen set up by the Filipino Catholic Community of Milan, the main coordinators of the event, together with the Philippine Consulate General in Milan and other Filipino organizations. They also waited for Cardinal Tagle to emerge from the church to join them at the piazza.
Cardinal Tagle was visibly emotional at seeing the huge turnout of Filipinos and the children who flocked to him. Choking back his tears, he reminded them again of his homily earlier to never forget to pray, always love one another and continue to lead good lives. Consul General Lourdes Tabamo, in her message after the Holy Mass, commended the Filipinos to Cardinal Tagle “who are exemplary apostles of Christ in spreading and living their faith” and requested him “to enclose their hopes and aspirations in your heart and with your daily prayers” and added “because you have a direct line to heaven”, which elicited a humble denial and a smile from Cardinal Tagle.
Photos and article courtesy of DFA press release, 01 March 2014.