With more than six millions devotees who braved the rain and cold at the Luneta papal mass, Pope Francis has become the religious fortitude, an inspiration and powerful moving spiritual father of more than 80 million Roman Catholics in the Philippines, and most specially, the hope and the sunshine of million of children whom he has hugged, kissed, embraced, smiled, whispered and talked with his voice, so assuring, and so fatherly.
Even the international and local media had captured the religious intensity of the people, and ever smiling, always waving Pope Francis. As described by Caroline Wyatt, BBC religious correspondence, she broadcasts: “The atmosphere has been electrifying, despite the heavy rains, Pope Francis’ visit has been a resounding success. There’s been enormous enthusiasm for the Pope and themes he’s focused on: helping the poor, the importance of the family, and protecting the environment.”
Other broadcasts and print media had played the warmest welcome by the Filipinos, with more 80 millions are Roman Catholic, on how they braved the rain and waited for many hours, just to see Pope Francis, waving and smiling in the jeepney like pope’s mobile.
“Salamat sa Diyos at nakita ko ng personal si Papa Francis, binabasbasan niya ako, at sa tulong ng Diyos, mahi-heal ako sa aking sakit, ” a forty-year old woman said when asked by one of the reporters. Other woman said: “Kahit hindi ko nakita si Papa Kiko, masaya na ako. at kasama ako dito sa daming taong naghihintay sa kalsada.”
Upon his arrival in the Philippines to start the 5-day visit, the Filipinos in millions, waited and cheered along the routes leading to the airport, to say mass at the Manila Cathedral,to UST, and to Luneta for the final mass. And when he arrived in Tacloban, despite the signal No. 2 of tropical tyhpoon Amang, he was able to meet and greet thousands of people along the way, during the mass at the Tacloban airport; and in Palo, Leyte, where he apologized for cutting short his visit. And he blessed all the Leytenos, and those devotees/typhoon victims who attended from the neighboring provinces. After the mass, one volunteer died due to the bad weather and Pope Francis consoled with the father of the victim and gave him a rosary and a religious medal.
Before the mass in Luneta on the last day of his visit, Pope Francis met the more than 20,000 youth and children at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas where the rally for the youth was held.
With so much meaning of his presence and his messages, the youth and children listened intently to the Holy Father and what caught most of the attention when he mentioned about the three languages: the language of the mind (to think); the language of the heart (to feel) and the language of giving. He requested the audience to repeat the three languages. And when a 12-year old girl, Glyzelle Palomar, a former street child, wept as she told her story and asked why God had allowed children to suffer so much. Touched by the girl’s action, Pope Francis replied: “Only when we are able to cry we are able to come closer to respond to your questions.
If you can only record all the wisdom of Pope Francis, one can be totally enlightened his purpose in visiting the Philippines.Even in the early preparation, he wanted to meet the youth and the children, no lavish receptions and gatherings, more time to the Yolanda typhoon victims, and most important, no grrandstanding by politicians.
In one of his qoutes: “Through sin, man has destroyed the beauty and unity of human family creating structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption.”
While heading to Rome, millions of Filipinos still chanting: Papa Francesco! And requesting him to return.
Yes, Pope Francis, an Argentinian, is the pope of the people, especially for the more 80 million Filipinos who have gained so much blessing,so much faith and hope, for better life.