44 days from today, the Philippines, especially the Catholic community, will again witness another historical event. His Holiness Pope Francis will visit 11 different venues in Leyte and Metro Manila from January 15-19, 2015. (Complete itinerary here)
The main objective of Pope Francis’ visit this 2015 is to “bring Christ’s compassion for our suffering people still struggling to rise from the devastations wrought by the earthquake and typhoon that hit the Visayas”. This is according to the Pastoral Letter to Prepare the People of God for the Apostolic Visit of Pope Francis by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Here are some pictures of the churches in Samar and Leyte badly ruined by Yolanda: (source: http://www.cbcpnews.com/)
Last Sunday, November 30, a “Preparation for the Papal Visit” seminar was held in Banilad Study Center. The speakers gave helpful insights about the following:
- Go to the venue as early as possible to secure your place.
- Wear strong colors to be noticed by the Pope.
- Prepare for the heat by bringing water, wearing a cap, and applying sunblock lotion.
- Be careful with your personal belongings.
What to Bring?
- Comfortable Shoes
Ms Kathryn Lupisan and Ms Tricia Quesada from Banilad Study Center (BSC) have organized an all-female group to go together to Tacloban and Manila for the papal visit. They’re encouraging Cebuanos to take part in this historical event, thus the seminar last Sunday in BSC. Some of the reasons they have specified to motivate people to attend were:
1. The last papal visit in the Philippines happened 19 years ago, and who knows, the next one after Pope Francis could be 20/30+ years after. TODAY IS THE PERFECT TIME.
2. Seeing Pope Francis in person will be a historical event. Imagine meeting the world’s first American pope! (Know other interesting facts about the pope here.)
3. You will experience a “deep spiritual encounter” upon seeing the pope in person. This is according to Ms Lupisan who has also witnessed the papal visit last 1995.
4. You will see your vocation. If you’re in the process of deciphering where to go and what to do in this life or determining God’s real purpose for you, then participating in the papal visit might be your wake-up call.
TICKETS ARE FREE. They are given by invitation, so if you are interested to witness the Pope yet do not have any idea how to get tickets, you are still free to go to places included in his itinerary. Simply seeing his vehicle pass would be a really overwhelming experience. However, for safety purposes, you may go with a group from your church. Or better yet, ask your questions by filling out this form.
Watch this hair-raising video documentary to know why Pope Francis is considered “The Pope from the New World”.