Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
STORY #3 “HOMILY”
TACLOBAN City – UNFAZED by the storm, Pope Francis presided yesterday a
Holy Mass to console and assure an estimated 160,000 Yolanda
survivors and pilgrims that they are not alone in facing very
difficult trials, adding that God is with them.
In his homily, Pope Francis, who wore a yellow raincoat, asked the
people to continue to trust Christ and hold on to Mother Mary.
“Let us [be reminded] that we have a Mother Mary and our senior, great brother,
Jesus. We are not alone,” Pope Francis, who spoke in Spanish that was
translated in English by his translator, told the crowd which gathered
near the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport.
“As a child holds the hand of her mother as when he is in fear. It is
the only word to say at this difficult time: mom, mother,” the Pope
“In moments when we have so much pain, when we do not understand
anymore, all we could do is grab, hold of her hand firmly,” he added.
Yolanda pulverized the Visayan region on November 8, 2013, killing
some 6,300 people, with 1,060 still others missing, and damaging
some P25-billion worth of properties and public structures.
Pope Francis asked the pilgrims to pray in silence, get strength
from their faith, and move forward from the devastation left by
“With the power that comes from Jesus on the cross, let us move
forward and walk together,” Pope Francis said.
He admitted that the magnitude of devastation that Yolanda left was
something that would test the people’s faith. It was this thought, he said, which prompted him to visit
the Philippines 14 months since the tragedy.
“I am here to be with you. A little bit late, I have to say, but I’m
here,” he said, drawing applause and cheers from the teary-eyed crowd.
“I felt that I had to be here. I decided to come here and be with
He admitted that he was at a loss for words to the survivors after the tragedy.
“So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you.
But the Lord does know what to say,” the Pope said. “This is what
comes to my heart, and forgive me if I have no other words to express
this. But please know, Jesus never lets you down.”
The Pope vowed to silently walk with the trials of the survivors.
“Some of you lost families. Al I can do is keep silence. And I walk
with you all in my silent heart.”
The Pope also assured the pilgrims that Jesus will understand the
sentiments of the survivors because He also experienced so much pains.
“You might say I have lost my house, my family, but Jesus nailed
Himself there to the cross. He experienced all calamities we
experienced,” the Pope said, explaining that Jesus never “let us
“He understands us because He underwent all the trials that you have
experienced,” he said.
“That is why we have a Lord who is capable of crying with us, capable
of walking with us in the most difficult moments of life,” the Pope