Manila's New Archbishop Is Uneasy, But Trusts in God

Gaudencio Rosales Says It’s a Difficult Time in Philippines

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ROME, SEPT. 16, 2003 ( Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales does not hide his concern — nor his trust in God — in carrying out his mission as the Manila Archdiocese’s next leader.

«I am uneasy,» the archbishop said in his first interview after being named by the Pope to succeed the retiring Cardinal Jaime Sin as the head of the Philippine archdiocese.

«I feel like St. Joseph after he had the vision of the 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,» Archbishop Rosales said in an interview with the Fides news agency.

«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,» said the former archbishop of Lipa.

«I am honored to receive this charge from the Holy Father,» he continued. «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 evangelization, and also to personal reflection and works of charity.»

Cardinal Sin, who resigned for reasons of age and health, led the Manila Archdiocese since 1974.

«I thank Cardinal Sin for all he has given the Church in the Philippines and the country in the last 30 years,» Archbishop Rosales said. «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.»

Regarding the present situation in the Philippines, he explained: «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 instill into society the values of the Gospel.»

Gaudencio Rosales was born on Aug. 10, 1932, at Batangas City, in the Lipa Archdiocese. He studied philosophy and theology at Quezon City and was ordained a priest on March 23, 1958. After serving as rector of Lipa’s minor seminary and spiritual director of seminaries in the archdiocese, he was appointed auxiliary of Manila in 1974.

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.

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