Article By: Sarah Kim
On January 15 – 19, 2015, 6 million Filipinos gathered to catch glimpses of the pontiff. The theme of the papal visit was “Mercy and Compassion.” Pope Francis visited the Philippines mainly to comfort the Filipinos devastated by Typhoon Haiyan and the detrimental earthquake that hit the Visayas. The Pope visited to provide aid for the citizens of the Philippines, which has one of the largest Catholic populations in the world. He held youth conferences and masses for everyone, blessed myriads of street children and adults, and left the citizens on January 19th, filling the people with hope and happiness.
Liana Lopez, grade 11, mentioned that the experience of seeing the pope was “a surreal moment.” She also mentioned that “it was so empowering to see that millions of Filipinos were able to come together from different cities and provinces to be in the presence of the Pope. I am so blessed to have been able to not only see Pope Francis, but also listen to him address the youth. What was unforgettable for me was how he was always smiling and that he looked extra cute in his yellow raincoat!”
Regarding the services that he has done in the Philippines, Liana added that “the main purpose of the Pope’s visit was to personally interact with the victims of Tacloban and to witness the effects of the devastation for himself. Although his visit to Tacloban was shorter than planned due to poor weather conditions, the Pope was still able to inspire hope in the country. His services were endearing to many Filipinos and his visit was definitely an unforgettable one”, exemplifying and representing what the body of 6 million people has thought in unison.
Although the papal visit in Tacloban has been truncated due to the harsh weather conditions, Pope Francis has left a cardinal mark in the history of the Philippines, uniting 6 million citizens as one in the name of the Catholic religion. He helped provide hope and inspiration to the Philippines, visited orphanages and victims of natural disasters – the importance of his visit cannot be overstated.