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The Ten Best Moments of Pope Francis’s Philippine visit

From the moment he arrived, Pope Francis has amazed the nation with his unique and endearing gestures.

The Ten Best Moments of Pope Francis’s Philippine visit-Maureen Marie Belmonte
Maureen Marie Belmonte

Twitter: @MissHappyWriter


01/20/2015 12:44 PM
The Ten Best Moments of Pope Francis’s Philippine visit

There’s no doubt that the Pope Francis effect is real, with a majority of the Filipinos affected by his arrival last January 15 until his departure on January 19.

The five-day papal visit to the country has touched and changed lives for the better through the pope’s heartfelt homilies and one-of-a-kind gestures. Earning him the title “The People’s Pope.”

Here are some special moments that Filipinos witnessed.


1. Welcome hug with the kids
Apart from his megawatt smile and signature wave, this moment set how warm and endearing he was as a Church leader when he hugged the two orphaned kids tightly and with much gusto.

2. First ride in the pope mobile to the nunciature
There’s nothing like the public’s first sight of the Pope when he left Villamor Airbase and passed through Pasay to get to the nunciature. The crowd patiently waited and cheered with much fervor from the sidewalks even if they only got a glimpse of him for a few seconds.


3. Secret visit to the orphanage
He was known for his humble and simple ways, but nothing speaks more of his humility and shunning of the limelight than his secret visit to an orphanage in Intramuros where he mingled, kissed, hugged, and blessed the kids.


4. Homily for his first mass in Manila Cathedral
Held at the historic Manila Cathedral, the Holy See preached about showing love to the poor and lauded the 80 million Filipinos’ lasting piety and devotion to Mother Mary and the Church.


5. Meeting with the families
For once, the SM Mall of Asia Arena was packed with people not for a performance, but for the Pope who met with various families. In his mass before some 16,000 people, the Catholic leader preached not to forget the fire of young love and dreaming as well as the importance of families.


6. Secret meeting with the Jesuits
Since he started his service, reports have it that he has been sneaking out of Vatican at night to give money to the poor and do other charitable deeds. In the country though, the Pope once again shocked the public as he met with his brothers in the Jesuit order secretly sans the knowledge of the press by having them at the nunciature.


7. Meeting with the youth and other religious leaders
The Pope really values the youth which he showed when he visited the pontifical University of Santo Tomas on Sunday morning. Apart from reminding the roaring crowd about the importance of weeping in order to see the world differently, the Pope likewise had a short dialogue with different religious leaders as a response to the call of the Second Vatican Council for the Church.


8. Hugging orphan Glyzelle Palomar
Another highlight of the Pope’s trip was his encounter with young orphan Glyzelle, who broke down halfway through her testimonial in front of the Pope and the thousands of mass goers at the University of Santo Tomas.

Before she was reduced to tears, Glyzelle posed a very bold question to the pontiff: “Why is God allowing such things to happen, even if it is not the fault of the children? And why are there only very few people helping us?”

Her question and emotional reaction led to Pope to deviate from his prepared speech and speak extemporaneously and pointed out, “If you don’t learn how to cry, you can’t be good Christians.”


9. Personally consoling the father of Tacloban mass casualty
Kristel Padasas, a papal visit volunteer in Tacloban, died tragically after some scaffolding fell on her just after the Pope’s mass on Saturday. Upon learning about the incident, the Pope offered a moment of silence for Kristel during his mass in UST. But Pope didn’t stop there, he made an effort to personally speak with Kristel’s father Paulino Padasas.

The meeting was held in the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila, where Pope Francis stayed during his five-day visit.

"Sabi niya, kinilabutan talaga ako, sabi niya, 'Ipagdadasal ko si Kristel. Nasa heaven na siya with God, namatay siya na tumutulong,'" Paulino, who has accepted that his daughter has died meaningfully, said in reports. He added that the Pope gave him three rosaries and two medallions with the image of Sto. Niño.


10. Tacloban mass
What could very well be touted as the most meaningful part of his trip is the mass held in Tacloban which was attended by a good number of survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 which reduced thousands into tears.

The Pope’s strong homily, in a way, has seemingly led the tearful Taclobanon to get the “closure” that they have been meaning to receive since the tragedy struck their province.

The following are excerpts from the Pope’s homily in Tacloban:

“I’d like to tell you something close to my heart. When I saw from Rome the catastrophe, I felt that I had to be here and on those very days I decided to come here. I am here to be with you. A little bit late, I have to say, but I am here. I come to tell you that Jesus is Lord and He never lets us down.”
“So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say to you. Some of you have lost part of your families. All I can do is keep silent. And I walk with you all with my silent heart. Many of you have asked the Lord, why Lord?”
“And to each of you, to your heart, Christ responds from His heart upon the cross.”

“I have no more words to tell you, let us look to Christ, He is the Lord. He understands us because He underwent all the trials that we, that you, have experienced. And beside the cross was His mother. We are like this little child, just there.”