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Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Pope Francis will finally visit the Philippines for the first time on January 15 to 19, as reported by Manila Archbishop Luis Cardinal Tagle, after the apostolic visit to the Sri Lankan nation.
The Pope earlier expressed his intention to condole with the thousands of survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda which hit Tacloban last November 2013, and magnitude 7.2 earthquake at Bohol, in October of 2013.
The full program of this visit shall be announced later.
If the visit pushes through, Pope Francis will be the third head of the Roman Catholic Church to come to the Philippines.
It may be recalled that from 1970 to 1995, there were three (3) papal visits to the country, where 80 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, namely :
January 1995 when he beatified the first Filipino martyr, Lorenzo Ruiz.
Pope Francis canonized John Paul II in April 2014 and approved a decree beatifying Pope Paul VI in October 2013.
Central theme of the papal visit is mercy and compassion. The faithful are advised to prepare spiritually by becoming “people rich in mercy” . . . “by setting our minds and heart in communion with the Pope as messenger of peace, love and apostle of the poor.”
Special thanks to Catholic News Agency and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for the info bits.