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Pope Francis’s 2015 visit confirmed

It’s official.

Pope Francis will visit the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle officially announced the schedule of the pontiff’s visit in a press briefing yesterday at the Arzobispado de Manila in Intramuros.

“Accepting the invitation of the civil authority and the bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an apostolic visit to Sri Lanka from January 12 to 15 and to the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015,” he said.

The visit of the Holy Father to the Philippines was formally announced simultaneously in Rome and in Manila yesterday.

President Aquino immediately called on all government agencies and all Filipinos to help ensure the successful visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines. He designated Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. as the government’s point person for the Jan. 15-19 visit of the Pope, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said

The news was officially released by the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto and announced by Cardinal Tagle to the media yesterday.

Tagle, however, said the program of the visit will only be made public by the Holy Father later this year.

The pontiff had earlier revealed his plan to visit the Philippines, particularly the victims of super-typhoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Visayas.

Coloma, who was at the press conference, welcomed the news of the pontiff’s upcoming visit, noting that it will mark the 20th anniversary of the World Youth Day in the country in 1995.

“The government joins the Filipino people in welcoming the Vatican’s announcement confirming that His Holiness Pope Francis will make an apostolic visit to the Philippines… Pope Francis’ visit marks the 20th anniversary of the celebration of World Youth Day Manila that was presided over by now St. John Paul II. Filipinos will most certainly afford to Pope Francis the warmth of their hospitality and manifest the fervor of their faith as they welcome the first pontiff from South America,” he said.

Earlier this month, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) asked the faithful to spiritually prepare for the papal visit.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, said the most distinctive way to prepare spiritually for the coming of Pope Francis is for the country to become “a people rich in mercy.”

“Let us make mercy our national identity. Trust in God’s mercy is part and parcel of our traditional Filipino Christian culture. Let us make the practice of mercy our gift to the pope when he comes to visit us,” he said at that time.

“He comes to confirm us in our faith as we face the challenges of witnessing the Joy of the Gospel in the midst of our trials. This is an eloquent way of showing mercy and compassion,” Villegas said.

The bishops also encouraged Filipinos to resolve to make an act of mercy everyday such as giving food to the hungry, helping build homes for the typhoon victims, visiting the prisoners, or the charity ward of hospitals, drug rehabilitation centers, homes for the elderly and orphanages.

Pope Francis will be the third pontiff to visit the Philippines after Pope Paul VI in 1970 and Pope John Paul II in 1981 and 1995. (With a report from Genalyn D. Kabiling)

  • flor m. akins

    What day will the Pope be at the rizal stadium? We are senior citizens who are planning to hear mass at the grandstand. We live in the province and would like to make arrangements to make sure we can attend His mass. Thank you a lot.

  • Erica Fajardo

    Many Filipinos are good resemblance of ‘God’s mercy’. However, it seems that our officials whom will be the one to accompany the Pope are the ones who does not know what mercy is.

    Its a happy thought that the Pope, after how many years since the last time we were visited by one, will again lay feet in the Philippines, but I feel ashame because our country has become a corruption den which shows no mercy to people, no mercy to those who work hard and get deducted with huge taxes and only officials take advantage of it for personal greed. No mercy to people who have nothing to eat, nowhere to live, nothing to wear, no book to read.

    Our officials are full of boast and no pride they could be proud of in pront of the Pope.

    I pray hard for our country. May the Pope’s visit enlighten the minds of these greedy people.