Cardinal Tagle shares a message of conversion, renewal

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Hundreds of parishioners filled St. Ann Church in Arlington March 3 to hear Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, speak on good, evil, renewal and conversion.

In the spirit of the new evangelization, Cardinal Tagle's homily was a treatise on conversion and renewal during the season of Lent.

"No one can say that we do not need conversion," said the cardinal. "We are all in need of renewal."

The cardinal went on to discuss the eternal topics of good versus evil. It's a good thing to avoid evil, the cardinal said, but sometimes people avoid evil because they're not doing anything.

"Complaining about evil is not enough," he said. "Evil will prosper if we do not do good."

The cardinal said that many times people see evil in everyone and everything. We can be like the Pharisees of the Bible, he said, condemning people, but being guilty of the same transgressions.

Cardinal Tagle said that as Catholics we need to practice humility and not draw attention to ourselves. He said we must be consistent in what we preach and what we do.

The cardinal concluded his homily with a simple phrase, "Resist evil, do good."

Parishioner Elly Escobal said the cardinal's visit was important to the parish. She said the cardinal is dedicated to the Philippine people.

Parishioner Gigi Montgomery said the cardinal's visit and homily were "awesome."

"We're so blessed. I think this is such an honor," said Montgomery.

Femilia Riguera has heard Cardinal Tagle speak before.

"He always has a beautiful sermon," she said.

Two typhoons hammered the Philippines over the last two years. Massive Typhoon Haiyan wracked the Philippines in 2013, and Typhoon Hagupit slammed the islands last year.

Pope Francis visited the Philippines in January, and part of the trip was spent with storm victims.

The storms were on the minds of many parishioners who had friends and relatives still in the Philippines.

Cardinal Tagle said the pope's visit was a blessing for the Philippine people after all their anguish.

"The people felt solidarity after suffering through the typhoons," he said.

There was a reception after the Mass, and parishioners jockeyed for position to talk to the cardinal.

Missionhurst Father Ramel O. Portula, pastor, kept the parishioners in an orderly line for the food and to speak to Cardinal Tagle. He understood the attraction of the cardinal.

"He is a bishop that personifies what Pope Francis preaches," he said. We are very blessed for his visit."

The cardinal spoke at Catholic University in Washington March 2.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015