Pope Francis tells reporters he plans to visit PH, Sri Lanka

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014


POPE Francis said he plans to visit the Philippines and Sri Lanka in January.

The Catholic News Service (CNS) report said the Pope made the announcement in a press conference during his return flight from Tel Aviv, Israel on May 26.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, in an interview yesterday, said the archdiocese has yet to receive formal communication from the Vatican regarding the Pope’s visit.

The archdiocese said it is ready to welcome Pope Francis to Cebu.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) secretary general Fr. Marvin Mejia and the Manila Archdiocese have also not received word from the Vatican or Apostolic Nunciature.

There were earlier reports that the Pope may attend the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in January 2016 in Cebu. A team from Vatican had been to Cebu to check on venues and hotels but there have been no confirmation of the Pope’s presence during the event.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle earlier said he is confident that the Pope will visit the Philippines next year.

Tagle was quoted as saying that the Pope wants to visit areas in that Visayas that were affected by typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake last Oct. 15.

If Pope Francis pushes through with his visit, he will be the second Pope to visit the Philippines.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II visited some parts of the country, including Cebu, as part of his historic pastoral visit to Asia. He again visited the country in 1995.

Invitation

Henrietta de Villa, the country’s former ambassador to the Vatican, said that there is a standing invitation for the Pope to visit the Philippines.

“There is no official response yet. We are all hoping that he would come this coming year,” she said in a telephone interview.

She noted that the announcement of the Holy Father’s visit would come either from the Nunciature, CBCP, or Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

“We are hopeful he could come because I think the pope wants to come sooner than 2016,” she said. “Officially, he is invited to attend the International Eucharistic Congress in January 2016 in Cebu. But he has expressed several times that he wants to come sooner, especially after Yolanda.”

Tagle expressed confidence that the Holy Father will visit the country early next year.

“The Vatican has not yet announced the dates and specific itinerary that the Pope will observe, but I am confident it will happen early next year,” Tagle said in an article posted on the CBCP news website. (Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 28, 2014.

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