Pealing of church bells to welcome Pope Francis in PH
DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines -– The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has asked all parish priests in the country to ring their church bells as soon as Pope Francis arrives on Jan. 15.
“Let them ring all over the land!” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a post on his Facebook page on Saturday night.
He said the simultaneous pealing of bells will be done to welcome Pope Francis, who will visit the country for the first time. The Pope is expected to arrive at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday.
“This will be a symbolic gesture of welcome to the Holy Father, calling on the people who are unable to see him personally to at least pray for the Pope for the duration of his Philippine visit,” he said.
Last week, Villegas issued a circular for the Catholic faithful in the Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese in Pangasinan province to pray the novena from Jan. 6 to 14 for the safety of Pope Francis.
“Unable to use the regular security precautions, like bulletproof vehicles and armed security men, we turn to the Lord and ask Him to keep the Holy Father safe from all harm,” he said in his circular.
“If we come together in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, we claim the Lord’s blessings of security and peace and order. God is our refuge; in His love we are secure,” he added.
Villegas also said that the novena has been made “obligatory” in the archdiocese and must be prayed at a time when most of the parishioners can participate.
Francis, the third Pope to visit the country, will be in at least 11 different venues in Metro Manila and Leyte province during his visit from Jan. 15 to 19, according to an itinerary posted at papalvisit.ph.
President Aquino said on Saturday that about 25,000 soldiers and policemen have been assigned to secure the Pope and ensure his safety.
At least 1,500 policemen from the Ilocos region will be sent to Metro Manila to help secure the Pope, according to a local police official.
In Nueva Ecija province, the provincial police said it would send 700 policemen to augment the security forces during the papal visit.
According to Senior Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, Nueva Ecija provincial police director, some of these policemen will report to the police’s National Capital Region command while the others have been flown to Tacloban City, where the Pope will meet typhoon survivors.
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