PH ‘close to my heart’ — Pope
• August 9, 2014
• Written by Mia B. Billones
• Published in Nation
EVEN before super typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines Pope Francis had considered travelling to the country which he described as a place “close to my heart.”
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle revealed the pope’s eagerness to visit the country in a recent interview with Vatican radio which was recorded by the Catholic Church.
The cardinal recalled that after the conclave that elected Pope Francis, he invited the pontiff to visit Asia especially the Philippines “where you have almost half of the Christian population of Asia”.
The pope replied that he “would love to go to Asia because Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was not able to do a pastoral visit in the region.
“He repeated this to me last June – and this was before the typhoon – ‘I want to go to Asia’ he said and asked us to start thinking of a program. And since the Philippines 2014 was dedicated to the laity we thought we could have this as a theme for the Holy Father,” he said.
However, the super typhoon which devastated parts of the Visayas changed the nature of the pope’s visit to the Philippines which is scheduled on January 15 to 19, 2015.
“The visit now acquired a new configuration. It’s not just a general or generic visit, but especially to show the Holy Father’s solidarity with the victims and survivors and to pray with these people,” Tagle said.
“He is coming especially to meet with the people who suffered on account of the typhoons and earthquakes that hit the country last year,” he added.