Want to see Francis? Be in shape, faithful told | Global News

Want to see Francis? Be in shape, faithful told

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 08:44 AM November 29, 2014

Pope Francis. AP FILE PHOTO

Pope Francis. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Planning to join the mammoth crowds expected to gather in the events lined up during the visit of Pope Francis in January? Better start your fitness regimen.

Msgr. Rex Ramirez, the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Palo, has advised the faithful to prepare for the much-anticipated papal visit to the Philippines not only spiritually but physically as the rare occasion will truly test one’s strength and endurance, especially among the elderly and the youth.


“The requirement for physical fitness among pilgrims is due to the fact that staying long after an exhausting walk to the airport will be really tasking for the elderly and the very young,” Ramirez was quoted as saying in a post on the CBCP website, www.papalvisit.ph.


Pope Francis, who will arrive in Manila on Jan. 15 next year after a trip to Sri Lanka, will fly to Tacloban on Jan. 17 to mingle with survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”


Lunch with survivors

Upon his arrival in Tacloban City, the Pope will officiate a Holy Mass near the Tacloban Airport. He will then proceed to the nearby town of Palo to share lunch with the typhoon survivors at the Archbishop’s Residence.

Expecting a huge crowd to gather in and outside the region, Ramirez stressed that the faithful attending events related to the papal visit must be fit enough and ready to join big crowds.

He added that the anticipated crowd of thousands will most probably take over the road from the city’s San Jose district to Palo and spawn massive traffic jams. Walking might be the only option to get from one place to another during the Pope’s visit to the province, he pointed out.


In Manila, four to six million people are expected to attend the Eucharistic celebration to be led by Pope Francis at the Quirino Grandstand on Jan. 18. Thousands are also anticipated to show up at the youth encounter at the University of Santo Tomas, also on the same day.


Be early

Ramirez advised those who will attend the Holy Mass to be at the site very early. “We call the people coming to hear the Papal Mass as pilgrims and not as delegates because this is not a simple social event but a solemn one,” he added.

At a press briefing on Thursday, Fr. Jaime Marquez, executive secretary of the committee overseeing the Pope’s accommodations, also urged Filipinos to open their homes to friends, relatives and neighbors returning to the Philippines for the papal visit, who may have trouble looking for accommodations.

With hotels already fully booked this early and room rates becoming expensive due to the occasion, Marquez said the faithful could help in the lodging of fellow Filipinos coming home for the event.

“There are many people who are very accommodating. If you have a friend coming from abroad and if you feel that they have difficulty with these hotel fees, let us accommodate them in our own homes as well,” he said.

He also reminded the faithful that the Holy Father’s visit would come after Christmas, when Jesus was born without a proper accommodation.

“We are fascinated by the coming of the Holy Father because it comes late after the Christmas joy and we remember that Jesus did not have any accommodations,” said the priest.

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“That is why we are so fascinated at the same time, we see this as providential for us because the Holy Father is coming to us at the time when the people need Jesus the most,” he added.

TAGS: Archdiocese of Palo, papal visit, Pope Francis, Tacloban City

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