Pope to say Mass in Latin, speak to Filipinos in English
Pope Francis will celebrate Masses in Latin but will speak English when he addresses Filipinos during his five-day visit to the Philippines in January next year.
“He will be delivering his speeches to the Filipinos in English,” said Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Commission on Social Communications. “But the Pope is the Pope of surprises. He might make off-the-cuff comments in Italian and Spanish.”
The Pope will celebrate Masses in Latin but the responses will be in English, Vergara said in a press conference on Friday.
The Argentinian Pope speaks six languages—Spanish, Italian, Latin, French, German and English, which he spoke during his recent visit to South Korea.
Arriving in the afternoon of Jan. 15, the Pope will be in Malacañang on Jan. 16, where he will be given welcome honors and will meet with President Aquino, other officials and the diplomatic corps. On the same day, he will deliver the homily during Mass at Manila Cathedral. In the afternoon, he will have a meeting with families at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Mass at Tacloban airport
On Jan. 17, the Pope will go to Tacloban, where he will hold a Mass at the Tacloban international airport. After the Mass, he will be joining some of the survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” for lunch at the Archbishop’s Residence in Palo town. This will be followed by the blessing of the Pope Francis Center for the Poor and a meeting with the religious community at Cathedral of Palo before returning to Manila.
On Jan. 18, the Holy Father will be at the University of Santo Tomas, where he will meet separately with religious leaders and the youth. He will later celebrate Mass at Manila’s Rizal Park.
Pope Francis will leave for Rome at 10 a.m. on Jan. 19 after a departure ceremony at the Presidential Pavilion of Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle announced the Pope’s official itinerary in a news conference on Friday at the Archdiocese of Manila.
He was joined by Vergara; Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines; former Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Marciano Paynor; Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.; and Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.
Immediately after the 7 p.m. press conference, the official website of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines crashed due to an unexpected number of Internet users visiting it.
According to a post on the CBCP website, www.papalvisit.ph was down for at least three hours after “high traffic” caused the server to crash.
The website, which serves as the official source of statements, press releases, homilies and speeches related to the Pope’s pastoral visit, was restored at 10:30 p.m on Friday.
Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, of the papal visit media and information committee, said they would set up measures to prevent it from crashing again. He said they were expecting more online visitors as the papal visit nears.
With the announcement of the Pontiff’s itinerary, Paynor, who arranged Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1995, appealed to the public to refrain from forming a “people surge” in following the Pope to allow him to keep his schedule.
Ochoa, who chairs the national organizing committee for the papal visit, declined to elaborate on the planned security measures. He also refused to divulge if there was any specific threat against the Holy Father but, he said, they were preparing for everything, including unruly crowds.
Ochoa cited as an example the unruly behavior of some devotees scrambling to get near the Black Nazarene image during its annual procession in January.
“If that’s the kind of behavior of the people when the Pope comes, we’re a bit worried—[he] is a living image of God. We’re concerned not just about the safety of the Pope but of our countrymen as well,” he said, adding that 95 percent of government preparations were all about security.
“We want to make sure that the Pope is safe,” he added.
Pope Francis will bring his message of mercy and compassion during his visit.
“He will bring the message of solidarity and hope,” Tagle said, adding that the Holy Father really admired the faith and resilience of Filipinos, particularly the survivors of Yolanda in Tacloban and in Palo.
Inspired by simple people’s faith
“I’m quite certain [that the Pope] would also want to imbibe and to be edified and inspired by the faith of the simple people,” Tagle said.
Tagle said the papal visit “will surely bring much blessing” to the Filipinos, especially the poor, the survivors of recent natural and man-made calamities, and the victims of injustices.
Tagle believes that the visit is a call to “personal and societal responsibility,” and a “challenge to reach out with love to the neglected and abandoned; to help heal the wounds inflicted on women, children, and families; to respect neighbors who differ from us; to form the youth in responsible freedom; to value life and creation; and to imbue our culture and society with mercy and compassion.”
On the other hand, Pinto is hoping that the Filipino faithful will experience “an intense spiritual preparation for this encounter with grace and mercy.”
“He will go to the geographical and existential peripheries. We will listen to him as if he were speaking to each one of us. Every tear, every sorrow and every hope he will make his own,” Pinto said.
“The expectation of the Filipino people calls to him and he will come,” he said.
Archbishop John Du of Palo, in a statement, said the Pope’s visit to Palo was “very unexpected but is also very much welcome.”
He said he was hopeful that the visit would bring “hope and encouragement, unity and peace to all,” and he expected “hundreds of thousands” of pilgrims to join the celebrations in Leyte province.
Pope’s itinerary: ‘Our official joy begins now’
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