Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:
From January 30 to April 29, 2000, the Year of
the Great Jubilee, the relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Doctor of the Church, will be in the Philippines. This occasion is for us a moment of grace. Though she lived and died more than a hundred years ago in
the little town and in a Carmelite Monastery of Lisieux in France, many Filipinos are devoted to her and she is for them a friend, model and intercessor. She has been a chosen instrument by God to show to us that
holiness is available to each person. Through her little way of confidence and love she teaches us that by entrusting ourselves completely and obediently to our Father who loves us, and by doing and enduring all things
for love of God we can also attain to holiness and serve the salvation of the world.
Her relics, which will be brought to us, will remind us of this saint whom Pius X called the greatest saint of modern times and
should inspire us to follow her little way for which the Church has given approval.
Families will be inspired to be prayerful and God-centered as they remember that St. Therese was the finest flower of a prayerful
and God-centered family.
Priests and seminarians will be encouraged to fidelity and perseverance by her who entered Carmel to pray for sinners, and especially for priests.
The young will see in her who died at the
young age of twenty four a model of holiness for the youth.
Those who suffer from infirmities of the body and trials of the soul will be encouraged and strengthened by her fortitude and endurance.
And all of us
will be inflamed with her missionary zeal which caused her to be declared patron saint of missions with St. Francis Xavier.
Let us therefore welcome these relics in a spirit of faith and say to St. Therese herself, "tuloy po kayo sa aming mga puso!". Let us turn this visit into a means of making our own and showing in our
lives the little way of confidence and love she so well taught and exemplified.
For the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines:
+OSCAR V. CRUZ, D.D.
10 July 1999