On January 15,1995 which was marked as the last visit of the late John Paul II in the Philippines,Filipinos all over the place sent solemn prayers and joined the vigil for the World Youth Day.
That was a day worth remembering, as people warmly welcomed Pope John Paul II while they swayed through every words that he had spoken. I recalled when my mother told me that she was there at that time, joining millions of people as missionary servant. At those moments, the streets were teeming with children, mostly street children. Different races, different bloodlines made up the memorable phenomenon of the nation.Some were smiling, while some were sad. Others were weeping and others were contented.
Times has flown so fast but still, the reminiscence of memories with the Pope still remained unscathed.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Papal visit, indicating that another history will be recreated, together with the on-the-way experiences in the midst of unexpected struggles.On 12th of January of this year, Pope Francis set feet in Manila. By this day, the Quirino Grandstand which will be a location for the jam-packed crowd, is being readied for the approaching blessed event for the country.
January 13,2015– Roads were cleared, people were heading to the vicinity. Streets were organized and police officials gathered for the safety of the civilians as well as the Pope.
Upon arriving in the said place, Pope Francis soulfully led the large mass, blessing all the officers,enforcers, officials and other responsible persons who helped in maintaining the order and peace in the city.He also prayed for the solitude and love; a widespread exhibit of Catholic concern to everyone.
Bells rang simultaneously across the country, as a tribute to Pope’s visit.Millions of priests, nuns, church staffs gathered together. Even the skies were gloomy that day, Pope Francis continued to spread messages of inspiration given from above. His words struck the hearts of the listeners. Some were left speechless, nothing to say but to anticipate every change that life has offered them; some were left teary-eyed, as realization has pulled them to a tranquility of their soul and living while others were left emptied-face, but not empty inside, as their innermost emotions were released in the urns made from past and present breaths.
The following day,Pope Francis and his group headed to Tacloban, Leyte, a prosperous city before it was subjected to typhoon’s vicious wreckage.The yesteryear’s wounds were still fresh for the natives of the Leyte. Even in the middle of the weeping weather, Pope Francis, with his raincoat, persisted to deliver his words of compassion and mercy, hence the theme for this year. Alongside him was Cardinal Tagle, who also shared words of wisdom to the people. While Pope Francis uttered his prayers and wishes, the people joined the rain in an emotional outburst of tears; tears of abandonment and joy had shrouded the area. Hearts shrank and seemed to tear to smithereens as a powerful voice infiltrated their tender spirits.People were longing for affection. People were craving for warmth. Even I’m just watching over the television, I also couldn’t control the tiny tears that leaked at the side of my eyes. I’m not a fan of the church because I don’t believe in religion, but his expression and sympathy moved me to tears. Even though I managed to control the flow, the tides of his message flooded in my mind.
I can still recall the memoirs with Typhoon Haiyan, clogging my brain with misfortune and black thoughts I couldn’t handle. But I’m thankful that the Pope had held a nationwide prayer for the victims. The survivors of the yesterday grew inspired upon hearing the songs of epiphany and there’s still a gleaming hope to everyone, but those souls who passed away during the tragic catastrophe will forever be blessed beside Almighty.
One more thing I liked to Pope Francis was his sincere helping. He didn’t choose any religions, and he proved it when Muslims approached him. As a Catholic, we opposed to the beliefs of the Muslim but to him, Muslims should be treated like Catholics; fair and respectful.
While others were easily disgusted to the street children living alongside the smoggy sidewalks and rough roads, Pope made it to hug some of them, without insisting that he could get untidy from the greasy hands, or clothes that were reeking of rubbish and city smoke. One instance I remembered was when a boy asked him to give his camauro, ( his hat) he handed it unhesitatingly and wore the boy’s cap in return.This only manifested that Pope’s love never chooses a special person. Every person is special in his heart, no matter how rich or how poor he or she is.Still, he also embraced one boy who happened to have leprosy, without minding the seriousness of the contagious disease. On the other hand, the boy felt relieved upon receiving a one-in-a-million cuddle from the highly respected Catholic figure. People don’t choose love, God chooses love to those people who deserve it.
Learn how to cry. This was inspired by a girl named Glyzelle Palomar, who told her harsh life on the streets through brave testimony.Pope told everyone to let the tears flow freely. I really believe in what he said, because sometimes, crying is the only key to feel repentance. In addition, Catholics won’t be Catholics if they didn’t know how to cry. As for others, crying is a sign of weakness, but to Pope, it is just a way to let the unspoken emotions fly in the wind. Like butterflies, we should let our worries and fears draw their own path.
The smiling pope – Even amid a violent downpour, Pope’s tenacity remained sturdy. Without minding that he might get heavily soaked, he still continued his inspirational talk, with just a worn raincoat tinted in yellow.He never got tired. Even in motorcade, the grin of his face was a priceless possession people can see to him. His cheerful smile was so contagious, that everyone who saw it will be hooked in an instant.
Think well, feel well, do well This statement was addressed to the youth; the selfie generation. In the heart of University of Santo. Tomas, Pope Francis summoned life-changing talks about youth, stating “Your reality is more important than these papers! You are more real than ideas,”. I couldn’t agree anymore, as my generation grew worse, valuing luxuries more than basic needs. Sadly, this generation of mine is subjected to greed for things of less importance. We took things for granted, without knowing in the first place that we should go for the priorities. Amid of the happenings, I still believe that our generation can still be salvaged and put their attention to things of great significance.Meanwhile, Pope requested the youths to pray for the victims of the typhoon aftermath, and to thank God for another life he had given to them. Always be grateful for small blessings, because some people want them badly but never had a chance to have it. All of us are lucky so be blessed and appreciate everything, though some are less fortunate but already contented in their living.
Pope Francis is indeed the man who made the light possible for the blinds, created a way for the deaf-mutes to listen and feel the sound throbbing in their hearts and paved a bright way for the those handicapped.Let there be impurities be cleansed by the fountain of purity; where water never gets old but always stays gold.
Summing these up, Pope visited the Philippines not because of the religion. I do believe he persevered to go here to spread faith, hope, peace,mercy and compassion to us Filipinos. The angelic message of him brought us to a different world of change and holiness. The poverty will still remain a talk for this issue but Pope will always pray for them. The revival of a new nation will rise in the horizon; a nation known to Catholicism, a nation that is God-fearing. I also hope that this occasion will ignite actions that includes national and global unity, spirituality and unconditional and unbreakable love. Pope has formed chains which will connect people fluidly from different religions. An enlightenment was set in for the mind of those who didn’t believe in God. But as for Roman Catholics like me, Pope brought Christianity to a higher level of understanding and enlivenment of spirits pacing emotional and spiritual struggle.
Pope Francis, we honestly salute you and we hope that you can inspire more people through your words of wisdom. We also wish for your safe trip back to Vatican city, together with your comrade priests and other staff. Let God be your compass on your humble abode, while we continue to savor every taste of your praises and prayers.
You rocked our souls and moved us to tears we never expect to fall.We will forever cherish your heartfelt quotations that you left in our vulnerable hearts.
Long live Pope Francis! Long live people!