CARDINAL Luis Antonio Tagle, former Manila archbishop, arrived back in Rome on Sunday after a month-long visit to the Philippines.
The cardinal left Manila on Saturday evening to return to his work in the Vatican as prefect of the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples.
The cardinal was in the country since Sept. 10 for a brief late summer break, seven months after he assumed his Vatican post.
Before leaving Manila, Tagle celebrated Mass in the morning in his hometown Imus in Cavite, wherein he called for compassion to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
In his homily at the Imus cathedral, he reminded the faithful — and as the pandemic reveals — that “we are all connected.”
He said that now, more than ever, it is the time to harness the power of compassion and working together.
“We’re all affected. And hopefully the response of helping, caring and empathy will be general… an attitude that does not discriminate,” Tagle said.
“So we hope that a deeper collaboration will live in the midst of the pandemic. Let us show that this virus can be defeated by stronger love and sympathy,” he added.
What was supposed to be a low-key visit made headlines far and wide when the cardinal tested positive for Covid-19 upon his arrival in Manila.
Although asymptomatic, the former Manila archbishop went on quarantine and took another swab test after two weeks, which turned out negative.
Tagle came home also to visit his elderly parents in Imus, especially his mother, who celebrated her 90th birthday on Sept. 30.
On Oct. 4, he surprised the churchgoers at the Manila Cathedral as he presided over a Mass after recovering from the disease.
The cardinal also led the blessing of a Covid-19 testing laboratory run by the Philippine Red Cross in Mandaluyong City, where he was swab tested, on Thursday.