“WORK hard and never blame yourself, your parents and God for being poor.”
This was Papal Legate Charles Maung Cardinal Bo’s message to residents of Barangay Pasil, one of the poorest and densest communities in Cebu City, during his visit to Don Bosco Youth Training Center yesterday.
The visit was part of Cardinal Bo’s itinerary for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC).
He said being inside the training center was a special experience for him since he is part of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) congregation.
Before the short program inside the center, Cardinal Bo walked from L. Flores St., the main road of Barangay Pasil, to Sitio Mahayahay, the tip of the village where the Don Bosco center is located.
He was all smiles as he interacted and waved his hands to residents who packed both sides of the road and waited to meet him.
The gesture of Cardinal Bo touched many.
Some senior citizens and youths got emotional when Cardinal Bo of Myanmar waved at them.
Jan Claire Campo, 21, said he could not explain how he felt during the visit of the papal legate, who was representing Pope Francis.
“Lahi ra gyod ang feeling, labi na nga naka-perform ko in front of him. Happy ug excited kaayo ko nga maka-kita niya kay sa kadaghan sa pwede niyang bisitahon, kami pa gyod diri sa Pasil, mapasalamaton kaayo mi (It feels different to be in his presence, especially that I was able to perform in front of him. I was happy and excited to see him, and grateful because of all the places he can visit, he chose to be with us here in Pasil),” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Campo is the leader of the Knights of the Altar of Pasil, and is also among the youths under Don Bosco Training Center.
Campo said the while Cardinal Bo was there, he prayed that he finds a job so he can give back to the center.
He is a marine engineering graduate.
In his message, Cardinal Bo also called on the residents to continue to be happy.
“As what Don Bosco has been saying, always be happy, shout it, jump it, play but don’t do sin,” he said.
In the early part of his speech, Cardinal Bo greeted everyone in Cebuano and even danced the Sinulog while holding an image of Sto. Niño, drawing applause from the residents.
“Ang atong Santo Padre gihugma kamong tanan, gihigugma kamo sa atong Ginoo,” he said.
He then asked the crowd if his Cebuano was good.
Cardinal Bo arrived 40 minutes earlier than scheduled and stayed for more than an hour in Don Bosco.
Also during the program, two youth scholars of the center shared their testimony.
Korina Tabay, 17, said she was overjoyed with the papal legate’s visit.
“Life is hard for us here in Pasil. Some of us are facing the problem of illegal drugs, please pray for us,” she said.
Junley Tura, 19, for his part, said he felt special as he was given the chance to personally speak to Cardinal Bo.
Pasil Barangay Captain Julius Guioguio said he is hopeful that residents who saw and joined Cardinal Bo yesterday will bear in mind the message that the church official shared with them.
“Makita gyod nato sa mga taga Pasil kung giunsa nila pagsugat si Cardinal Bo. Mainiton kaayo mao nga mapasalamaton kaayo mi nga gibisita mi (We can see the warm welcome the residents extended to Cardinal Bo. We’re thankful to him for visiting us),” he said.
Cardinal Bo ended his visit by asking the public to pray for him.