Saturday, January 17, 2015

Papal Visit: Pope Francis Blessed the Philippines

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Lolo Kiko or Francisco to some, #PopeFrancisPH started his homily saying "Do you love me?" The crowd said yes, and the Pope replied, "Thank you very much," he replied and laughed. "I am here to be with you. A little bit late, I have to say, but I am here." The fact that #PopeFrancisPH showed up despite storm signal no. 2 is already comforting enough. Pope's insistence on visiting Leyte despite the typhoon shows how important this is for him.

Braving storm, poncho-clad pope visits typhoon zone. Pope's well-wishers refuse to seek shelter amid reports of hospitalizations due to hypothermia. The Pope's heart-warming homily in his Tacloban mass was well-attended by lots of people they massively call as pilgrims. #PopeFrancisPH set aside the prepared English sermon and delivered the homily in Spanish, which allowed him to speak from the heart.

Many pilgrims, wearing raincoats or none, suffered in the cold weather and got drenched from the heavy rains in Tacloban airport

Though words are never enough in times of unspeakable grief but his presence gave everyone some sort of relief. Wearing a yellow raincoat (Are the yellow raincoats on purpose? Really? No other color available?), he shared many words of wisdom on love, trials, and hope as his speech to the people of Tacloban. Pope Francis said to the Yolanda survivors that Jesus "never lets us down" and that "When I saw from Rome that catastrophe, I felt that I need to be here." Pope Francis comforts the Yolanda victims and tells them that "Jesus knows your suffering" and that "We have a Lord capable of walking with us in the most difficult moments of our life." He also expressed "Please know that the love and tenderness of Mother Mary never lets you down."

“It is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty." says Pope Francis in an effort to touch the soul of our government officials, and maybe also the church leaders, to see enlightenment. On board the Tacloban-Manila flight, #PopeFrancisPH had some potato chips (natural sea salt flavor) & 4 seasons juice drink - the same food served to all. No VIP treatment. Also, he mentioned earlier in Manila that "Too many people live in dire poverty. Others are caught up in materialism & lifestyles which are destructive of family life." Here's hoping there would be positive change in the people and the country.

Most who have lost a loved one always ask “Why God? Why me?” and really there are no answers . But #PopeFrancisPH showed ways to comfort. "I know you have lost much. In my silence, I am with you." continues the Pope while the people can be visibly seen shedding tears inspite of the rains. "Jesus always goes before us. When we experience the cross, know he passed there before us."

Despite the shortened trip to Palo, Leyte #PopeFrancisPH still managed to bless the Pope Francis Center for Poor from the "Popemobile." Sorry #AmangPH but the Pope and the Filipinos faith is stronger than you.

Though we had a few mishaps when strong winds from the Amang storm forced a private plane carrying Philippine government officials namely ES Ochoa, Sec. Coloma, Usec. Bautista, Usec. Serapio, 8 staff, and 3 crew members, to overshoot while in the process of taking off from the Tacloban airport. All 15 passengers and crew members are all safe and suffered no injuries; families of those on board have been assured. They were taken to RTR Hospital "to check" for minor injuries. President Aquino already instructed the CAP to check on the accident.

DILG Secretary Mar Roxas already asked DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya to check if the incident was a mechanical malfunction, weather-related or other occurrence.

Also, the storm tragically killed a Papal Visit mass volunteer when a 27-year old female pilgrim Kristel Padasas died this morning in Tacloban Airport after a scaffolding with speakers fell on her. We were informed that Pope Francis has her name and will pray for her.

#PopeFrancisPH apologized for having to fly out of #Leyte by 1PM and requested the crowd to "Pray for me" and (jokingly) said "Be quiet."

Pope Francis is back in Manila from his visit at Tacloban, Leyte and now at the Apostolic Nunciature for the much needed rest. He is awaiting confirmation for updated itinerary for the rest of the day and for tomorrow. Though 78 years old, he never complains despite of his hectic schedule here in the Philippines and still smiles whenever he sees the crowd, just like a celebrity. He is that energetic, genuine, giving, compassionate. What's our excuse??

Amidst the photo ops, selfies, captured smiles, surprise visits to former street children, and "rockstar" hand symbols and gestures caught on camera and video of media, politicians, church people and the masses, it's so heartwarming seeing Pope Francis here in our land. Our country is so blessed to have him personally visit us.

Friends are now camping out in Luneta for tomorrow's mass at the Quirino Grandstand. Quirino Grandstand entrance as of 3:30pm Saturday. Gates open 6am Sunday. The government advised the crowd to bring "baon" or packed meals, and raincoats instead of umbrellas.

The PNP and AFP have been securing #PopeFrancisPH in both Manila & Leyte and hoping they remain in high spirits doing their job. Policemen remain in their posts along #PopeFrancisPH's motorcade route despite the bad weather. Can anyone confirm if traffic enforcers indeed wore diapers during the Papal visit? Should we all be wearing adult diapers too since it might be hard to find a toilet in the middle of the crowd. What I don't like is the jamming of mobile signals because I believe the act does the public more harm than good.

"He understand us because He underwent all the trials that we, you, experienced." At a very brief moment, #PopeFrancisPH, has become a Filipino like us, understanding our pain and walking with us. He is a loving, comforting presence.

Sancte Padre, thank you for being a conduit of God's comforting words and grace. Thank you for igniting the Filipino Faith. Thank you @Pontifex for inspiring the Filipino people. We are so grateful!

Viva il Papa! Papa Francesco. Papa Francisco, Mabuhay po kayo!

*Credits to all owners of photos

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