Many Filipino Catholics believe in healing power of Pope’s presence, blessing | Inquirer News

Many Filipino Catholics believe in healing power of Pope’s presence, blessing

/ 10:40 PM January 15, 2015

The faithful react as they watch a screen showing the arrival of Pope Francis in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. Ecstatic crowds greeted Pope Francis as he arrived Thursday in the Philippines, Asia's most populous Catholic nation, for the first papal visit in 20 years. AP

The faithful react as they watch a screen showing the arrival of Pope Francis in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. Ecstatic crowds greeted Pope Francis as he arrived Thursday in the Philippines, Asia’s most populous Catholic nation, for the first papal visit in 20 years. AP

MANILA, Philippines—Seeing a pope for only the second time in her life is a blessing in more ways for Salvacion Infante, 73.

“I’ll wave my arms at him and blessings will come my way. If he blesses me, I will be cured, God willing,” the former laundrywoman said as she waited patiently since the morning for Pope Francis’ motorcade to pass along Andrews Avenue from Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.

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She is among many Filipinos who believe just the sight of him will bring healing, answer prayers and grant blessings.

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Infante, who attended Catholic school, got a glimpse of Pope John Paul II in 1981 as he motored along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

She said she was too ill to get out of the house when Pope John Paul II returned in 1995.

This time around she made sure to be with the group of 300 senior citizens and persons with disability (PWDs) who were given roadside seats by Barangay 185 so they could have an unobstructed view of Pope Francis in his popemobile.

“I want to see him. It’s a blessing. Gusto kong gumaling (I want to be healed),” she said.

Ria Rulida, 51, believes her prayer for her children was granted when she was able to get near enough to touch Pope John Paul II’s popemobile in Luneta in January 1995.

“I prayed then, ‘Will I be able to have my children finish their studies?’ Now they have their jobs. One is working in a cruise ship and another has been to Australia and wants to stay there,” said Rulida who traveled from her home in Cavite to stand for hours outside Villamor Airbase to get to see the pope.

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In 1995, she went to the papal mass in Luneta (Rizal Park) by herself. On Sunday, her grownup daughter will join her.

Rulida recalled how she felt when she got close to Pope John Paul II.

“I felt very blessed, for myself, my life, for my family,” she gushed.

“Now I have a wish for myself since I have many ailments now,” she added.

Elena Giray, 42, an overseas Filipino worker in Canada, was feeling overwhelmed as she looked forward to seeing the pope for the first time.

She was working abroad during Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1995.

“I feel it’s a huge blessing. I’m having goosebumps,” said Giray who counted herself and her daughter Jaylyn, 17, lucky to catch a glimpse of the pope before she had to return to Canada on Friday.

She and her daughter did not mind spending the entire day waiting for the pope even though it was her daughter’s birthday.

She also made time to join the Black Nazarene feast last January 9. She would have wanted to go to Pope Francis’ Luneta mass on Sunday too but she could no longer postpone her return to Canada.

Giray said she has been praying for a good future for her and her daughter whom she will be taking back with her to Canada.

Right after Pope Francis zoomed past in his popemobile, a police officer facing the crowd along Andrews Avenue near the Villamor Airbase made the sign of the cross.

Although they only got a few seconds’ glimpse of the pope after a day-long wait, the crowd appeared satisfied.

Several moments after the pope had gone, people were still cheering and some children were still chanting “Pope Fran-cis! Pope Fran-cis!”

As the crowd walked away, police officers finally sat down on the street curb after being on their feet since early morning.

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TAGS: blessing, healing, miracle, News, papal visit, Pope Francis, Ria Rulida, welcome

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