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Cardinal Tagle in Bethlehem, PA

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On Saturday, Sept. 19th  Cardinal Luis Antonio G Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, will be the keynote speaker at the Make Sad Eyes Smile Fundraising event at the Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel and Conference Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The Cardinal, who was tagged the Asian Pope Francis by the Boston Globe, is known for asking the poor, living on the street, into his office for lunch and riding a tricycle to his office. His great calling to serve the Lord by caring for the poor, are obvious as he was elected president of Caritas Internationalis,  the church’s organization representing 164 Catholic charities around the world, in July. Make Sad Eyes Smile is an event to raise funds to place a mobile clinic in the Philippines to care for the poor, particularly the street children.

The fundraising event starts at 11 am at the Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel and Conference Center, 3000 Gateway Drive, Bethlehem.  From 11 am to noon, individual professional photographs of antendes with the Cardinal and  Bishop John Barres, Allentown Diocese will be taken. Lunch is served beginning at noon with the Cardinal’s keynote speech to follow. At 5 pm a Mass to he held at St. Anne’s Church, Easton and Washington Ave in Bethlehem.  Tickets can be purchased for the event on line at www.makesadeyessmile or by calling 484-935-1573.  Tickets for adults are $100 and for children accompanied by two adults the ticket will be $25 each.  A large percentage of the adult cost is tax deductible.

Cardinal Tagle, is one of the most respected religious figures on Facebook and You Tube.  His Word Exposed is a weekly video with The Cardinal’s reflections on the readings is watched by many on You Tube and Facebook.  In an interview on Radio Vaticana he expressed in his definition of Charity, “These people (the poor) are forced into poverty so their context of life is something like lack of love so just being able to assure them in little acts of kindness that love still exists.”

According to Father Robert Kosek CRSP the goal of the Barnabite Heart to Heart Mission, the sponsoring group, is to spread God’s love through service to and communion with the poor by providing support for a long and honorable life. “Make Sad eyes Smile will help the poor street children in the Philippines by giving them medical and dental care,” Father Robert stated.  Continuing he said “by doing that, we are showing them God’s Love and helping them feel and live better.” The group needs to raise $100,000 to obtain the van, build the interior, equip it and operate for the first year, which is the reason for the visit of Cardinal Tagle.

Recently Bishop Barres joined Father Robert, founder of the sponsoring organization, for an interview about the event held to serve the poor and the involvement of Cardinal Tagle. “Part of the Catholic Church’s global mission of evangelization is to reach out to the needs of the poor, the needs of those that suffer,” the Bishop said. He continued saying that organizations such as Caritas Internationalis, the Pontifical Mission Society, of which he is the Episcopal Liaison for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Relief Services all have the goal of bringing the “compassion and mercy of Christ to those that suffer most in this world.”      

In commenting about Cardinal Tagle’s visit Bishop Barres said “We are so excited by the Cardinal’s presence in the Allentown Diocese in September.  He is a global figure and has a beautiful contemplative spirit as Archbishop of Manila.  He has experienced the suffering of the people in the Philippines. He is deeply connected to Pope Francis. I think his presence among us is an expression of the Pope’s vision and approach to global poverty.” He went on to say that the approach in that the church is similar to a combat field hospital that tends to all of the different wounded in humanity.

In a way the mobile medical van it like a combat hospital for the hurting.  It was the idea of Father Robert, the group’s founder when he returned in 2014 from the Philippines.  The Father had been stationed previously in the Philippines as rector for the the Barnabite Seminary when he realized the immense poverty and he started the House of Care of Fr. Semeria, or a school for the poor children which provided at first just education then it added health and food. “ I noticed that beside just education there was a great need for poverty and health, Then really after my recent trip and talking to Cardinal Tagle, we thought about  how can you reach , and as the Bishop spoke about reaching the needs of the children.  This became wonderful opportunity for us (Heart to Heart) to be a team with Bishop Barres and the Diocese of Allentown,” stated Father Robert.  According to Father Robert simple things such as a vitamin and some food can make a big difference.  He tells about when he was just there in 2014, he took some time to bring rice out to the poor.  “The look on their faces when they got the rice was unbelievable,”he said.  When he saw a very sick child he asked the mother about going to a doctor, she explained that she did not have the money.  After asking how much (the amount she said was about $7) he gave her money, she thanked him saying said that she couldn’t take it because there was no money to even take a tricycle to the Doctor.  The money needed all together was equal to about $10 in US dollars. So little to us can do so much for the children of the Philippines


Bishop Barres added “Cardinal Tagle’s presence among us, his support of the raising of funds for the medical van is a wonderful opportunity for the people of the Diocese of Allentown to raise their consciousness of the people of the Philippines.” - Sue Braff ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

The Filipino Express

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