At a recent conference on the New Evangelization, Cardinal Louis Antonio Tagle of Manila emphasized the need for interior conversion as the faithful seek to be a light for the world.

"The evangelizer," he explained, "has to be evangelized."

The cardinal, who heads the organizing committee of the Philippines Conference on New Evangelization, presided at the Opening Mass for an Oct. 16-19 conference in Manila.

Part of a diocesan celebration of the Year of Faith, the gathering focused on carrying out the New Evangelization.

Cardinal Tagle stressed the need for humility in evangelization, asking, "How can one be the bearer of the Good News when one seeks praise, adulations and the best seat?" 

"People of ambition look for positions and not for missions," he said, encouraging conference participants to recognize their own need for conversion and evangelization.

In addition, the cardinal voiced sorrow for those affected by various catastrophes, including an earthquake in Cebu in the Central Philippines, violence in Zambonga, recent monsoons and the "horrendous" scandal of the misuse of government funds.

Such corruption is "the typhoon of the poor" and an abandonment of "those who need to hear the Good News," he said.

The New Evangelization conference, held at the 400-year-old Catholic University of Santo Tomas, brought together representatives from all over the world and local dioceses.

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The conference was divided into three days, with the first day exploring the theme of "Encounter with God," the second day dedicated to "Communion with the Church" and the third day focused on "Missions in the Church."

Father Renato de Guzman, an official organizer of the conference, told CNA that the primary intention of the conference was to pray together, although the 5,000 participants were later divided into small groups to discuss various topics.

After the conference, participants were sent back to their families and dioceses as "missionaries" entrusted with the charge of proclaiming Jesus, similar to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Delegations and bishops from various countries also participated in the conference. Among the countries represented were India, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan and the United States.