Another visit in 2016? Let’s see, says Pope | Global News

Another visit in 2016? Let’s see, says Pope

JANUARY 18, 2015 Pope Francis waves to the crowd upon his arrival at the  University of Santo Tomas (UST)  to give his traditional address to the youth at the UST football field. PHOTO BY EDWIN BACASMAS

Pope Francis waves to the crowd upon his arrival at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) to give his traditional address to the youth at the UST football field. EDWIN BACASMAS

MANILA, Philippines–Pope Francis is leaving the Philippines Monday, but already the possibility of another papal visit is being held out by organizers of his highly successful visit.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the Philippine Church would host next year in Cebu the 51st Eucharistic Congress and he would raise the matter with the Pope during the consistory next month in Rome.


“Will the Pope come? I hope so,” the cardinal said.


The same invitation had been extended to the Pope in 2013 right after his election as the first Pope from the Americas.

The invitation was then extended by retired Cardinals Gaudencio Rosales and Ricardo Vidal of Manila and Cebu.

At the time, Cardinal Rosales had told the just elected Pope, the former Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, that the Philippines was already arranging his “first” papal visit in connection with the congress in 2016.

Francis reportedly indicated openness to the idea, saying “Vamos a ver” (Let’s see).

But after Supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) devastated Eastern Visayas, the Pope decided to make his first papal visit this year.

If the new visit pushes through, Francis will come again to the Philippines on Jan. 24-31, 2016.


The Eucharistic Congress is like the World Youth Day; it is a global gathering of the clergy, religious and laity. The last time the Philippines hosted the Eucharistic Congress was in 1937.

In January 1995, Pope, now Saint, John Paul II made his second visit of the Philippines to attend the World Youth Day.


Francis closed his tumultuous visit of the Philippines by commending Filipinos to Jesus and urging them to become the light of Asia and the world by preserving their Christian identity and by “building a world of justice, peace and integrity.”

“Now, at the end of my visit to the Philippines,” he said in his homily for the Mass held Sunday during the feast of the Santo Nino or Infant Jesus, the biggest Catholic devotion in the Philippines, “I commend you to him, to Jesus who came among us as a child.

“May the Santo Niño continue to bless the Philippines and to sustain the Christians of this great nation in their vocation to be witnesses and missionaries of the joy of the Gospel, in Asia and the whole world.”

The Pope, before ending the Mass, witnessed a lighting ceremony that signified the Filipinos’ resolve to be the light and the leading missionary Church of Asia.

Cardinal Tagle thanked Pope Francis, saying his visit has “strengthened (the) faith” of Filipinos.

In connection with the papal visit theme of “mercy and compassion” especially toward the poor, Tagle said he was giving the message of thanks “on behalf of the streetchildren, the orphans, the widows, the homeless, the informal settlers, the laborers, the farmers, the fisher folk, the sick, the abandoned elderly, the families of missing persons, the victims of discrimination, abuse, exploitation, human trafficking, the Filipino migrant workers and their families, the survivors of natural calamities and armed conflicts, the followers of non-Christian religions, the promoters of peace especially in Mindanao, and the creation that groans.”

Tagle told the Pope the Philippines was taking on the latter’s challenge to be the light of Asia by going “to the peripheries, to the shanties, the prison cells, to hospirals, to the world of politics, finance, arts, sciences, culture, education, and social communication.”

“We will go to these worlds to bring the light of Jesus who is the center of your pastoral visit and the cornerstone of the Church,” he said.

A visibly moved Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas pointed to the sunset at Manila Bay as signal that the Pope would soon be ending his four-day visit to the Philippines.

“Some of us are afraid of the sunset as we are afraid of the dark,” the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines told the Pope. “But we are not afraid anymore.”

“You have brought us awesome sunshine to last us many lifetimes,” he said. “Holy Father, you are our sunshine!”


In his homily, the Pope said that the Philippines was blessed for being “the foremost Catholic country in Asia.”

But he said the “gift” carries with it a “vocation”: Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of Asia.”

He said it was the task of Christians to bring justice and peace to a world “disfigured” by sin, materialism and “unjust social structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption.”

He urged Filipinos to protect the institution of the family.

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“Sadly, in our day, the family all too often needs to be protected against insidious attacks and programs contrary to what we hold true and sacred, all that is beautiful and noble in our culture,” the Pope said.

TAGS: Cardinal Tagle, papal visit, Pope Francis, Soc Villegas

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