About the Visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Philippines

Our friend Amelita Go, the National President of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, (Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas) sent us her first notes about the visit Many Thanks

Dear Maria Gracia,

Peace and Joy!
Wow! We are truly blessed to be visited by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ. What a grace for us - especially the Filipino laity!
Everywhere that Pope Francis went, we followed him - in the streets where the Pope's mobile would pass by, in the meeting of the families at the Mall of Asia, and most especially during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the Luneta Park in Manila.
The Laiko Board joined the more than 6 million faithful in chanting, "Papa Francisco, mahal ka ng Filipino!" ( "Pope Francis, the Filipino people love you!"). It was raining all throughout the Eucharistic Celebration in Luneta, with our raincoats and ponchos drenched. Truly, it was a beautiful celebration of faith, love, life, and unity of the laity in the Church with our ecclesiastical authorities.

The Papal visit will bear lasting fruits especially among us as a people and the whole Church. This amazing encounter with Pope Francis will never leave us. It is now part of our journey of faith which could become more alive and luminous in our lives as we live his message of mercy and compassion.

With His visit, the Philippine government and the Church have been visibly coordinating with each other. Reconciliation, unity, and partnership between the government and the Church was demonstrated. We call this the "Pope Francis effect."

The Pope is an inspirational leader. He walks his talk. His messages were sincere, short, relevant and they touched the hearts and minds of the Filipino people, as he spoke especially on the care of the poor and the marginalized. Surprises were always expected wherever He went. I think this is the language he uses to communicate.

Following Christ, Pope Francis is a champion of peace, justice, mercy, and compassion. He drew cheers from the crowd at the University of Santo Tomas, in Manila, when he mentioned the importance of listening to women. The Pope said, "Women have much to tell today's society. They are able to see things from a different angle, with a different eye. They are the only ones who can ask a question to which there are no words for answer, but only tears to express. When the next Pope comes, please have more women and girls among your numbers."

The Pope's powerful messages truly made His visit to our country memorable, grace-filled, and significant. It is a challenge for us and for every Laiko (laity) in our country. I can see more energized, inspired, and devoted lay people in our parishes because of the "Pope Francis effect."
The Pope has given us the challenge, the way to go forward, with the Mission characterized by humility, sincerity, and joy.

Viva il Papa!