Of faith and resilience

During the recent papal visit in the Philippines, Filipino Catholics have once again displayed its religious devotion.
According to previous reports, Asia is recognized as “one of the great frontiers” of Catholic Church, and sees a wonderful opportunity of spreading Christianity. Also it has been mentioned that the Vatican believes the Philippines, a predominantly Christian country with a great number of its citizens belonging to the Catholic Church, is a great place to start with.
Prior the expected arrival of Pope Francis in the Philippines, the anticipation and excitement were already high. From meetings and liturgical preparations, to the government’s heightened security precautions, airport guidelines, road closure, and to pope’s transportation – the customized popemobile, all sorts of preparations were in full swing.
One will see most of Manila’s streets with welcome signs and tarpaulins, while papal souvenirs of various kinds were sold in shopping malls and by street vendors. Barricades were repainted, projectors and sound systems in selected public areas were set up, and media (including citizen journalists who team up with Catholic news groups) providing up-to-the-minute coverage.
Despite the long hours of waiting outside on the streets, Filipinos, some who traveled from nearby and faraway provinces, showed strong spirit and enthusiasm just to get a few seconds of glimpse of the pope as he passed by aboard his popemobile. A man who hails from Bukidnon walked 36 days to Leyte, just to attend the mass delivered by the pope. Some people camped outside, slept overnight in their cars, or traveled despite the long walk for the once-in-a-life-time opportunity of seeing the Vicar of Christ.
It has been mentioned before that the original intention of Pope Francis was to visit the victims. Not even the bad weather on the day of the visit to the typhoon-hit Tacloban in Leyte stopped him from spreading God’s love. Huge cheering crowd welcomed him amid the rains and strong winds. And though it was cut short due to the approaching Storm Amang, the beloved pope, who donned a yellow raincoat, was all smiles as he blessed the people who waited for him. In an open field near the airport, he successfully celebrated a mass.
During the youth encounter back in Manila, the oldest Catholic University in Asia – the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (UST), was graced by the presence of Pope Francis where he had responded to the issues involving youth as he met with religious leaders. About 24,000 representatives from youth sector were also present. There, a former homeless young girl recounted her experience and had no more words to say instead she burst into tears. The pope embraced the young girl together with another young boy who also shared his testimony. The pope has once again touched the hearts of many when he spoke of compassion and the importance of children having a family.
After the event at the UST, the pope headed to the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for his concluding mass which was attended by crowd of almost 6-7 million. And due to tight security measures, it was a must to come early at the main activity area which could only accommodate 700,000 people. So on eve of the mass, Filipino Christians started taking long walks since roads were closed and alternate routes would cause heavy traffic on the way to the venue. Despite the gloomy weather and heavy rain, people came and had shown great enthusiasm for the pope. Though others were not able to reach the park for the mass, they waited in line along the side of the roads only to catch a glimpse of what many regard as a historic visit.
And even on his departure at the airport, thousands of people came to see him, as close as they can, and bid goodbye.
Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines was a once in a lifetime experience, definitely one for the books. It has become a wonderful opportunity for the Christians to renew their faith. And though the Pope had touched, and perhaps changed, the lives of many during this visit, the undying Filipino spirit and steadfast Catholic faith of people has captivated not only his heart but of the whole world as well.

***

Mango Tours is a provider of quality, affordable and convenient travel services that include low-priced airline tickets, customized Philippine and International Tour Packages, Cruises, Land Transfers, Passport and Visa Concerns. It is the #1 producer of reliable travel services particularly when it comes to Philippine travel arrangements to the Filipino-American community in the US Mango Tours is able to provide its customers with a number of travel options at affordable rates because of its consolidator contracts with over 11 airlines. Book your travel bookings with Mango Tours by calling its 24/7 US toll-free number at 1(866)-2-MANILA (1-866-2-626452). Visit www.mangotours.com to know more about its latest promos and travel offers.

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.

Copyright © 1991-2023 Asian Journal Media Group.
All Rights Reserved.