Monday, January 19, 2015

Pope Francis in PH - Papal Visit 2015!

I would like to recollect my experience during January 18, 2015, at Pope Francis's Concluding Mass at the Quirino Grandstand. This day is also the Feast Day of Sto. Nino in my birthplace, Tondo, Manila.

From Sri Lanka, the Pope went to the Philippines January 15-19, 2015. For most offices, it was a 5 day Holiday. He also visited Tacloban, badly hit by super typhoon Yolanda. He just had to leave the province early because of typhoon Amang.

Pope Francis (an Argentinian, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, birthday- December 17, 1936) is very warmly accepted in the country. His sincere smiles, genuine concern and his untiring waves, handshakes, and eagerness to meet the crowds made us adore him more. We are charmed by his simplicity and humility. We see hope in him and we highly respect him. There had been a few bashers on social media, but me and other devout Catholics will not be mocked, we fiercely defended our faith!

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I had always tuned in to IBC 13 for the latest on the Santo Papa's  Pastoral Visit because they show news only about the Pope. That means no telenovelas in between. The headlines, trivias, interviews with priests, everything is about the Head of the Vatican! I'd get goosebumps watching him.

Me and my husband rode a taxi from Caloocan going to Quirino Grandstand, but along the way, the road seemed blocked already, so we alighted. It was about 12:30 noon, before the Anda Circle. The signal on our cellphones was blocked in the vicinity but I don't mind the "no network connection" because we all would like the safety of the Pope.

We walked among hundreds of other people. There were numerous vendors. We bought raincoats (a pair for Php 150. After the Mass 1 piece is down to just Php 20.) There were also other merchants selling food, drinks, T-shirts, memorabilia, pins, necklaces, etc.

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Near Katigbak cor. Burgos, we came to a halt. There were numerous people in front of us and a metal barricade. We were like leaning against each other. If one were claustrophobic, he/she might give up since there was really no personal space. Pushing/shoving was minimal. Seems like people were quite disciplined. However, there were those who did not follow the government order not to use umbrellas.

If I heard it right, the crowd in Luneta is a record breaking millions! And I am fortunate to be a part of this historical event.

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I cannot see the road. About thrice, people cheered- but it was only joke or practice.  They were even shouting "Payong! Payong!" (Umbrella! Umbrella!) so the other people would put it down.Then there were helicopters, about 5. It was 2:30 PM. This time the shouting were longer and louder- the Pope had already passed! I did not even see because there was a lot of people and the road was partially covered by posters.

I just consoled myself thinking, I was in his presence, we were under the same sky, breathing the same air, but I was still a little sad because I was not able to catch a glimpse of Saint Peter's Successor.

We went along the flow of the people and we headed to where we came from. We were about to eat but the restaurant was full. We thought of going to the Apostolic Nunciature. We walked a little and my husband said we can return to where we stood and wait for the Pope to pass again.

By some Divine Providence, we noticed a little gate at the side where a few people were coming in. We did not see it earlier. It was the entrance to the Quirino Grandstand. I was overjoyed! We can see its orange roof!

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We listened to the Mass and looked at the big screen. In my opinion, Catholics should really be solid, should have unity. We should embrace all, follow the complete teachings and defend the Church's stand. Especially being Pro-Life! We should not  be selective or bend the law to suit our desires.


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The people in official umbrellas are lay ministers giving the Host during the Communion. I did not need to budge from where I stood because they are walking around and came to my place. Some people just jut out an arm- but the correct way is two hands- right hand below the left hand and you say "Amen."

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Then my husband begged one of the security to let me past the cordon, to the area of the nuns. He kindly let me but my husband was left behind. I feel so blessed to finally see the Pope in person though so very, very far away!

Near the end, people lighted candles, sang Tell The World of His Love, Pananagutan, and the official song We Are All God's Children. Our handkerchiefs/towels were waving in the air. It was very touching. The rain drops seem to be like holy water cleansing us.

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After the Mass, Pope Francis went around in his Pope Mobile to meet as many as possible. I saw him nearer but I was not able to take a picture- I wanted to see him with my own eyes though my vision was blurred due to the foggy eyeglass. I think he was able to shake the hand of those in front of us! We felt truly blessed!

Afterwards, we got chilly because we were soaked (I also have cold/flu for a few days now,) but not really tired. Though my feet ached a bit because of my bunion and wedge rubber shoes (hey, it's very helpful with the flooded roads!) I am not complaining, I am merely recounting the event and my feelings!

It was Alay Lakad (sacrifice walk) again going to Manila City Hall to eat and ride a jeepney home but it was all worth it. We were very happy to have seen the Pope in person. Thank you for your message of Mercy and Compassion and all you've taught us. Lolo Kiko. Papa Francisco, mahal ka ng Filipino (we love you!)

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