Cardinal Jose Advincula took over as the 32nd archbishop of Manila in a scaled-down ceremony at the Manila Cathedral, vowing to listen to his flock amid problems and challenges wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Advincula, in his homily during Mass for his canonical installation, admitted he had only expected to be transferred to another diocese, and was caught off guard when he was nominated as the new archbishop of Manila.

The former Capiz prelate, who is nearing his 70s, said he had hoped to spend his remaining years in the Archdiocese of Capiz close to his family and fellow Capiceños.

“God has called me to get away from my comfort zone, and serve Him in a manner far beyond my expectations,” Advincula said. 

Advincula also thanked the faithful of the Archdiocese of Capiz and the Diocese of San Carlos in Negros where he had also served as bishop. 

Advincula’s installation followed historical tradition, with the new prelate entering the old walled city of Intramuros via the Postigo gate, the entrance reserved for Manila archbishops.

He was welcomed by local government officials, namely the mayors of Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, San Juan and Pasay, at the Ayuntamiento Building, the Spanish colonial city council building rebuilt in 2013 for the Bureau of the Treasury.

Advincula took possession of the See of Manila in rites led by Archbishop Charles Brown, the apostolic nuncio. The cathedra or chair now bears his coat of arms, which carries the motto “Audiam,” Latin for “I will listen.”

Advincula was appointed by Pope Francis as the 32nd archbishop of Manila on March 25. He was among the 13 cardinals from eight countries elevated by Pope Francis to the College of Cardinals in October 2020. 

Advincula succeeded Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who was transferred to Rome to head the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Dominic Emanuel Apolona