Leyte seeks volunteers for papal visit
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Want to see Pope Francis up close and personal when he visits Leyte next year? Become a volunteer.
The Archdiocese of Palo is looking for at least 40,000 volunteers who will serve during the Pontiff’s six-hour visit to Tacloban City and Palo town on Jan. 18.
“We need volunteers for the visit of Pope Francis in January 2015. The areas of assignment are the following: security, health services, ushers/usherettes, animators, and formators and facilitators at the catechetical sites,” said Fr. Amadeo Alvero, Palo archdiocese social communications director.
He said some of the volunteers may be able to see the Pope up close.
“But their work is to facilitate so that others may see the Pope,” said Alvero. “When we volunteer, we expect to serve others, not ourselves.”
Those interested have until Dec. 18 to apply, said Alvero.
Lunch with 30 survivors
The volunteers will have to be at least 18 years old and physically fit to handle the demands of the job, especially those assigned to man the roadsides where the Pope will pass by, he said.
After celebrating a Mass at the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban, Pope Francis will proceed to Palo, about 12 kilometers away, to have lunch with 30 survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Cebu and Leyte and of the strong earthquake in Bohol.
The lunch will be held at the Archbishop’s Palace, before the Pontiff blesses the Pope Francis Center for the Poor located in the compound and meet with Church officials at the Palo Cathedral.
Those who want to volunteer can either go to their local police station or parish priest. All applicatants will undergo a background check to determine if they have prior convictions or police records.
Over 5,000 applicants
Applicants may also see Fr. Kim Margallo, the chair of volunteer management.
Margallo said at least 5,000 people have already signed up to become volunteers.
He said he expected the number to increase before the deadline.
One of the prospective applicants was Glen Ruba, 20, an environment student at Eastern Visayas State University.
He said that to serve during the papal visit, which would be a first in Eastern Visayas, would be both a “great honor” and a “privilege.”
“This is a lifetime experience to work as a volunteer for our Pope. I will not pass up this chance,” said Ruba, a resident of this city.
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