Relive Pope Francis’ visit as you drink your coffee
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has launched what it calls the “second best documentation of the papal visit”—a coffee table book chronicling the journey of Pope Francis in the Philippines in January this year.
“I say second best because the best documentation of the papal visit are the 100-million Filipinos touched by Pope Francis,” said Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the CBCP, at the book launch last Thursday at the Arzobispado de Manila in Intramuros.
The 160-page publication has the title “I am here—to be with you,” the words spoken by Pope Francis when he was in Tacloban, the place most devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in November 2013.
“If we are to document all the faith stories, all the stories of love, all the stories of conversion that happened during the papal visit, not even all the books in the world will be able to contain all of them. So this book is only an attempt, maybe a weak attempt, because it is impossible to document in full, the impact of Pope Francis on the Filipino people,” Villegas said.
The book contains photographs contributed by various photographers who covered the papal visit from Jan. 15 to 19.
Published for the CBCP by Maria Teresa Cancio-Suplico, president of the Goodwill group of companies, the book includes the full texts of all the speeches and homilies of the Holy Father in the country. It also has personal reflections of personalities present at the events. The contributors include Palo Archbishop John Du, Parañaque Bishop Jesse Mercado, Fr. Rufino Sescon Jr., Fr. Carlos Reyes and Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma and Inquirer Lifestyle assistant editor Lito Zulueta.
Villegas provided an introduction and Fr. Catalino G. Arevalo, S.J. wrote the foreword.
A special feature of the book is a personal narrative by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who was by the Pope’s side most of the time throughout the visit.
“Tagle gave more than a reporter’s account of the visit. He shared his own thoughts and insights as he witnessed the events unfold from his perspective—as a priest, as a shepherd of a flock and as a companion to the Holy Father while in the Philippines, able to see his every expression and gesture, and hear his whispered words of comment and reaction,” said a statement from the Archdiocese of Manila.
Speaking during the launch, Tagle said that while it was indeed a rare privilege to encounter the Vicar of Christ in person in Philippine territory, the papal visit overall was “more of a mission, given that it urged all those who saw, heard and touched Pope Francis to share God’s Word—Jesus—with others.”
The prelate said that hosting the Holy Father was the closest one could get to the “original” event of being with Jesus.
“Bishop Soc, the Apostolic Nuncio [Giuseppe Pinto] and many other people had not only the privilege but the mission to be quite close to the original event. We were like the modern-day apostles. We were graced to see, to hear and to touch. It was not just a privilege. It was more of a mission,” he said, adding that the book itself had a mission.
The book will be exclusively distributed by Goodwill Bookstore and the Catholic Book Center.
Villegas said they will be sending Pope Francis a copy of the book soon.
“We want to share with him our feelings of pride, gratitude that he came amongst us and we saw Jesus in him. His visit was a visit of Jesus to the Philippines,” said the CBCP head.
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