In a pre-dominatly Catholic societies like the Philippines, 2015 has started by declaring it by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines as the ‘Year of the Poor’. Indeed, ever since Pope Francis became a Pontiff, the care for the poor and the needy has been the subject of his missions – and that includes his visit to the Philippines especially to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban. His experiences from the past has truly shaped his life centering to the poor and the marginalized. And that way of life has been inspiring many lives all over the world regardless of religion, class, and race.
It’s kind of unfortunate on my part to haven’t seen the Pope in person while I am outside Manila. Worst is that I can’t focus watching the live streaming of the entire 5-day visit while doing my work loads. It’s either I left my work for a moment, which I have done often, or missed this historic moment in the Philippine soil. So definitely, I depend my observations through the social media. And the warm crowd all my countrymen has shown from his arrival up to his last mass in the Rizal Park has brought back my faith in humanity of the Filipino people and brought back hope that the Philippines can do become a better society.
The moment I saw Pope Francis in the window of the Sri Lankan Airline that brought him safe in the Philippines, I started to feel amazed and wowed. Tumayo balahibo ko and even more when he went down the plane and started his short journey that tremendously changed so many hopeless lives of people.
I know many of us have felt the same way too. His presence gives a lighter feeling that we almost forgot our shortcomings. In his motorcades where pope mobile drives at around 20kph, I have read facebook posts and tweets saying that all their waiting is worth it even though they just saw the pope in more or less 3 seconds. People felt blessed seeing the Pope. So do I. His closeness to the mass and to the children and elders, his simple gestures of hugs and kisses shows his very sincere care to the people, to God’s people – calling him the People’s Pope.
Many of the people have come from different walks of life. Every people has their own unique stories to tell. Pope’s meeting with the families, the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, and the youth have testified God’s greatness to the faithful. Their stories have inspire many to never lose hope especially those who feel weak and abandoned. Even Pope Francis sees hope to all of us when he says that…
The Pope wants all of us to keep the faith to God and continue the hope lit on fire. His visit reminds us that God never left us. We may have faced so many trials in the past years and have questions left unanswered but God’s faithfulness to us have never vanished. Pope Francis reminds us that just like him, many people still care for the people who have already lost their purpose to live, those who are burdened and felt abandoned.
And as people find hope in him, I found hope that collectively, little by little, people will discover their ways to help themselves. Little by little, the government will discover their ways to help the people in need most. And little by little, each of us will discover ways to help in the society and contribute for the greater good. And soon, Philippines will be a better place.
Credit to rappler.com for the photo.