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Pope Francis

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Filipino college rector: Pope's visit to suffering typhoon victims would be meaningful

2014-06-15

Pope Francis has always been vocal about his desire to visit Asia, and his failed wishes to go on mission to Japan when he was young. On the way back from the Holy Land, he announced his travel schedule for the coming months.

POPE FRANCIS
"With regard to Asia, two trips are planned: the one to South Korea, for the meeting of young Asians, and then, next January, a two-day trip to Sri Lanka and then on to the Philippines, to the area affected by the typhoon.”

Though it's last on his schedule, so far, his visit to the Philippines will be highly significant. The country boasts the third largest Catholic population. More importantly, it's location is highly strategic for the Catholic Church in Asia. 

FR. GREGORY GASTON
Rector, Pontifical Filipino College (Rome)
"Our advantage as Filipinos, I think, is that we can easily adapt to the different cultures, and that way we can also bring the message of Christ to the different peoples in Asia.”

The exact details of the Pope's trip to this devout, Asian archipelago is still unclear. The only thing confirmed is that he'll tour areas damaged by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. 

FR. GREGORY GASTON
Rector, Pontifical Filipino College (Rome)
"There's still a lot of suffering, until now, so his presence, God willing, would really help a lot, would really be meaningful, would really touch the hearts of the Filipinos. Not only in that area but all over the world.”

The Church has been one of the main driving forces in the reconstruction efforts. In fact, in February, the Church broke ground on the Pope's personal project, an orphanage next to the diocesan building in Tacloban.

FR. GREGORY GASTON
Rector, Pontifical Filipino College (Rome)
"For us the visit of the Pope is like, well without making him an idol, but really it's like the presence of Jesus himself, the presence of God himself.”

Paul VI and John Paul II visited the Philippines as well. During the last visit, in 1995, nearly five million people gathered in Manila to see the Polish saint. It would hardly be surprising is a similar turnout greets Pope Francis in January.


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