Pope Francis to see PH in 2015-A A +A
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
POPE Francis will visit the Philippines for the first time in January next year, church officials in Manila confirmed yesterday.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in a press conference, said that the pontiff will visit the country on Jan. 15 to 19, 2015, but that the itinerary has yet to be finalized.
On the initial list of destinations for the papal visit is the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, as well as the areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, in a separate interview, said he received confirmation of Pope Francis’s visit during the 109th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines last July 5.
“We already knew about it but were barred from disclosing it until the Vatican officials would send confirmation,” the archbishop told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.
Palma said that while it’s still a tentative plan, Cebu is among the places being considered for the Pope to visit next year.
“After Typhoon Yolanda, the Pope expressed that he wants to be one with those who suffered during the calamity,” Archbishop Palma added.
If the Pope does visit Cebu, Palma said it was unlikely that he would attend the annual Sinulog Festival, adding that it would take a year to arrange an invitation for him to attend the event.
For now, the archbishop urged Catholics in Cebu to pray and hope that the Pope will include Cebu as part of his pastoral visit to the Philippines.
“Mercy and compassion” will be the theme of the papal visit, and Archbishop Tagle urged the Catholic faithful to do “corporal works of mercy” before the grand event.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government is all set to provide security during the visit.
It will be the first time the Pope will visit the country since 1995, when St. John Paul II attended the World Youth Day festivities in Manila. (Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2014.