Pope Francis to visit PH Jan. 15 next year
MANILA, Philippines–The date has been set. Pope Francis is reportedly scheduled to arrive in the Philippines on Jan. 15 next year after a two-day trip to Sri Lanka, according to the Catholic News Agency (CNA).
The Denver-based Catholic news provider said the coordinator of Sri Lankan migrants in Italy, Monsignor Nevin Perera, provided details about the Pope’s forthcoming trips to Sri Lanka and the Philippines in a recent interview.
According to the CNA report, the pontiff will leave for Manila on the morning of Jan. 15 after the two-day visit to Sri Lanka, where Catholics are expecting the canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz, an Indian priest who travelled to Sri Lanka as a missionary during the Dutch occupation.
Initially, the CBCP News, the official news service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), carried the CNA report announcing the pontiff’s date of arrival in the country.
But a source said CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas asked on Wednesday that it be taken down from the website because the Vatican has not yet formally announced the dates and specific itinerary of Pope Francis.
In an earlier interview with reporters, Fr. Francis Lucas, executive director of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Communication and Mass Media, said the Church hierarchy was most likely to make an official announcement about the pontiff’s visit following the CBCP biannual plenary assembly next month.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said one of the purposes of the papal visit was to “come close to the people” who suffered from Super Typhoon Yolanda in November last year, and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake last October.
The Vatican considers Asia a continent of growth for Catholicism. Its 2012 records showed that Catholicism in Asia was growing faster than in any other region in the world.
Pope Francis is also set to travel to South Korea on Aug. 14-18 this year for the 6th Asian Youth Day in the diocese of Daejeon.
“The Pope’s visit is another big blessing,” CBCP News quoted Palo Archbishop John Du as saying.
Du added that the papal visit would definitely boost the morale of Yolanda survivors, especially those struggling to rebuild their lives.
The last time the Philippines was visited by a pope was 19 years ago when St. John Paul II graced the World Youth Day in Manila in 1995.–With Nestor Corrales, INQUIRER.net
Originally posted: 3:48 pm | Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
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