Filipino Catholics in Western Sydney turned out in force to welcome the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, on Sunday 26 July 2015. A Mass in St Michael’s Church in Blacktown was followed by a celebratory lunch.
The Archbishop was greeted by Fr Ruben Elago MSP, Coordinator of the Filipino Chaplaincy, and Deacon Leon Decena.
The gathering was an opportunity for members of the largest migrant community in the Diocese to greet Archbishop Yllana, who was born in Naga City in the Philippines.
The 68-year-old has served in the diplomatic role of Papal Nuncio for more than 30 years, spending time in at least 15 countries.
“A Papal Nuncio is one who represents the Holy Father,” he explained in the June 2015 issue of Catholic Voice. “We serve to strengthen the bond between the Holy Father and the bishops.
“We carry out his thoughts and his wishes, communicating them so that we are able to serve the local community and they can see that the Holy Father is concerned for them and he loves them.”
It is almost three months since Archbishop Yllana arrived in Australia to take up his post in Canberra.
Aside from passing through Brisbane and Sydney airports, he had never been to Australia prior to his arrival on 30 April.
“It’s a new world for me and a new experience,” he said. “It’s more organised. I’ve never lived anywhere like Australia in all my assignments.
“It’s a big challenge, because this is a big country, but there is a well-rooted Christian tradition here.”
Archbishop Yllana has a strong devotion to the patroness of the Philippines, Our Lady of Peñafrancia, as well as to St Joseph.
Our Lady’s feast day will be celebrated in Penrith on Saturday 19 September 2015 with a Novena, Mass and Fluvial (water) Procession on the Nepean River.