The Catholic faithful in the Philippines are looking forward to the coming visit of Pope Francis from January 15 to 19, 2015. He is the third pope to visit the country. The first was Pope Paul VI in 1970 while the second was Pope John Paul II who visited the country twice in 1981 and 1995. To guide everyone interested in knowing the activities lined up for the Papal visit to the Philippines, here is an infographic of his itinerary.
Not everybody will be able to physically follow Pope Francis in all his stops throughout the country. It is a good thing that there is another option to do this and that is to watch this part of history unfold before our eyes in the comfort of our homes. SKYcable will provide full coverage of the papal visit to the Philippines via a live, uninterrupted and in high definition free view. On January 13 and 14, a collection of His Holiness’special documentaries will be shown as a fitting introduction to his arrival.
The Philippines and the Filipino people are very fortunate to have been visited by three popes with the coming of Pope Francis. He will bring his message of mercy and compassion to us who have been the recipients of great mercy and compassion from other countries in the face of the recent tragedies that struck our country. Let us prepare ourselves both physically and spiritually as we welcome another unforgettable chapter in our nation’s history – the Papal Visit to the Philippines 2015.
About the Guest Blogger
Ramon Martinez writes for Dateline Movies and Ambos Mundos Family Food Blog. He considers himself very fortunate for having lived through the visits of three popes . He says he certainly wouldn’t mind living through three more papal visits .
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has confirmed the coming visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines. Pope Francis is expected to be in the country from January 15 to 19, 2015. This apostolic visit will come right after his visit to Sri Lanka from January 12 to 15, 2015.
Purpose of the Visit
Pope Francis has long expressed his desire to visit the victims of the super typhoon that hit Eastern Visayas last year as well as the victims of the earthquake that resulted to the destruction of many homes and heritage churches in the country. He will have the chance to do so during this visit. This is in keeping with his desire to show solidarity and compassion to people who have been affected by deadly calamities.
The other purpose of the visit is to be present in the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the celebration of the World Youth Day. We would remember that that this event was presided over by then Pope John Paul II, now a saint, when he came for his second visit in Manila. Pope John Paul first visited the Philippines in 1981 while another pope, Pope Paul VI, also did so in 1970. Pope Francis will be the third pope to visit the country.
Theme of the Visit
The Pope has expressed his desire to have a simple and pastoral visit. In connection with this, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has come up the visit’s central theme. It will be focused on mercy and compassion.
The people are encouraged to spiritually prepare for the coming visit by doing acts of mercy everyday. Acts of mercy would include all acts that seek to help other people in whatever way such as visiting the prisoners, giving food to the poor, or even just supporting a person going through an especially difficult time. The faithful are also encouraged to go to confession while the priests are likewise encouraged to make themselves more available to people who would want to.
And so it has come to pass that the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church was elected in the person of Pope Francis I. The election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina came as a surprise even with the much touted openness stance of the Church in accepting changes. He is the first non-European Pope in 1,300 years of an institution that has existed for 2,000 years.
Cardinal Bergoglio came out the choice on March 13, 2013, the second day of voting in a conclave participated in by 115 cardinal electors. It would appear that the aspect of age has been relegated to the background since Bergoglio is 76 years old, only 2 years younger than Pope Benedict XVI when he was elected. It is to be noted that Pope Benedict XVI decided to step down from his post due to health reasons after serving as Pope for more than 7 years only as compared to his predecessor Pope John Paul II who served for 27 years. Pope John Paul II was elected when he was 58 years old.
The choice of the name Pope Francis I was done in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, who was known for living a life of simplicity and poverty. Pope Francis is intent on having ” a Church that is poor and for the poor”. He seemed to have started demonstrating such intentions when he chose to ride the shuttle bus with the other cardinals for a trip back to the Vatican residence instead of riding the papal limousine.
This action is not very different from his usual choices as a cardinal when he chose to ride public transportation and stay in low-budget living arrangements. It is of note that many people see the Vatican or the people in it as leading a life of luxury. Pope Francis I’s humility is expected to bring the Roman Catholic Church into a new light as he tackles the most serious problems confronting the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI announced his decision to step down from papacy by February 28 and sent shock waves in the entire Catholic Church. The tradition of a pope serving until his death has been observed for more than 600 years. There were only two other popes who made a similar decision of stepping down – Pope Celestine V who abdicated in 1294 and Pope Gregory XII who resigned in 1415.
The Pope’s decision came totally unexpected in spite of his reported declining state of health for the past months. His decision was announced in a meeting of cardinals which Pope Benedict XVI called for. He termed his decision as a “decision of great importance for the life of the church”.
He was elected to papacy in April 19, 2005, succeeding Pope John Paul II. His relative short term was induced by what he calls his inadequate strength due to advanced age thus leading to his faithful decision to renounce his position. He has always believed that strength in mind and body is needed to perform the duties of the Petrine ministry.
Pope Benedict XVI is an uncompromising conservative specifically on social and theological issues. His resignation will lead to an unusual situation where an ex-pope and a current pope exists at the same time. He is not expected to participate in the process of choosing his successor.
There are hopes that the successor can possibly come from developing countries where Catholicism is widespread. For a long time, chosen popes were of Italian descent. The two most recent were non-Italians since Pope John Paul II was Polish and Pope Benedict XVI is German.