Villa San Miguel, 22 October 2019– Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle hosted a sumptuous dinner to formally launch the Archdiocese’s regular benefit Christmas Concert, “The Patron of the Arts.” The special night was emceed by Fr.Nono Alfonso SJ, Executive Director of Jesuit Communications, which has staged the benefit concert the last seven years.
“Patron of the Arts has two important goals,” Alfonso explained, “these are to celebrate art and support the Cardinal’s many projects for the Archdiocese of Manila. Every year, we choose an awardee hailing from a different form of art- visual, performing, music, etc. Patterned after the Royal Variety Show in the UK, which helps gather funds for artists and their crafts, we are also able to raise funds for the Cardinal’s noteworthy causes.”
“It is fitting of the church to celebrate this, as historically it has been a legitimate patroness of the arts. Through the support and generosity of the Church, many of the world’s greatest artists flourished,” he continued.
Among Patron of the Arts’ distinguished list of awardees are sculptor Napoleon Abueva, film director Marilou Diaz-Abaya, composer Ryan Cayabyab and playwright Dr.Onofre Pagsanghan. The highly anticipated Patron of the Arts concert annually falls on December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and jointly, the ordination anniversary of Cardinal Tagle.
Since its first staging in 2012, donations and proceeds from Patron of the Arts have retrofitted the Manila Cathedral, built social housing for the Archdiocese’s employees, sustained parochial schools, established medical funds for the poor as well as aging priests, and helped families victimized by Extra-Judicial Killings.
Acknowledging the presence and vital contributions of major sponsors and both corporate and individual donors, Fr.Nono officially turned over the P7.5 million check for the Archdiocesan Commission on the Youth to Cardinal Tagle assisted by Moderator Curiae Msgr. Clem Ignacio. The said commission was the identified beneficiary for last year’s Concert.
This year the beneficiary would be the Office for the Promotion of New Evangelization (OPNE). Its Director, Fr. Jason Laguerta, gave a brief presentation of the breadth and value of their work.
“There is the need to evangelize, not just preach the Good News but convince people of the truthfulness of faith. There is the need for families to become bearers, transmitters of Good News. The vision is clear- we are a community. The Lord wants this very moment to be a new Pentecost to us. Let us evangelize our families and communities. By doing so, we proclaim Jesus to them.”
Among the OPNE’s most successful programs is the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE), an annual three-day gathering first organized by Cardinal Tagle in 2013. What Fr.Jason described as a “manifestation to the call for renewed evangelization” draws an average of over 6000 participants yearly, including foreign delegates, who experience communion with God, in the context of the new millennium.
With so much room for growth and expansion, OPNE’s goal of re-proposing the Gospel in an integrated way to today’s Catholics has already gained significant notice. Before imparting his final blessing to the evening’s guests, Cardinal Tagle shared an enlightening anecdote.
“In a meeting with Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella (President, Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization), he told me that it is only in Manila that there is such institutionalized gathering on New Evangelization. With our little effort, the Vatican has recognized something great is happening in Asia and has to be taken seriously.”
As he bid goodbye, Cardinal Tagle echoed feast-day celebrant Saint John Paul II’s timeless message of evangelization.
“Do not be afraid. Open the doors to Christ. Tayo rin, do not be afraid to share Jesus. Let us open our doors, our hearts to share Jesus.”