Manila (AsiaNews) - "Pope Francis has high hopes in the Catholic Church in the Philippines, and asks all the faithful to pray for him," said Card Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, on his return from Rome, where, on 15 June, he took possession of his titular church, San Felice da Cantalice Parish Church, on the outskirts of the Italian capital.
Speaking at the at the 8th General Assembly of the Family Rosary Crusade, held yesterday in Manila, the cardinal stressed Pope Francis's great love for Asia and the Philippines, which along with East Timor is the only Asian country with a Catholic majority.
"One of the first things Pope Francis said right after his election as pope, when we approached him individually, was: 'I have high hopes for the Church in the Philippines'," Tagle noted.
On that same occasion, he also encouraged Filipinos to intensify their faith and deepen their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"For the Holy Father, advancing in faith is connected to our true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which leads to the zeal in our mission," he added.
The cardinal explained that in his recent meeting with Pope Francis, the supreme pontiff confirmed once again his trust in and high esteem for the Church and Filipino Catholics.
He also urged people to remember him in their daily prayers, and support him in his mission as pastor of the universal Church.
"These words," the archbishop said, "show his great faith and humility."