Pope to hear priests’ sorrow in Manila Cathedral Mass
MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis arrived at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila, at 11 a.m. on Friday morning for the Eucharistic celebration with priests and religious.
Thousands of Catholic devotees, who patiently waited for long hours–some camped out on the lawn fronting the cathedral since Thursday night–went wild when the “rock star,” the “Pope of the People” arrived.
They greeted the pontiff with loud cheers as his convoy entered Plaza Roma.
Pope Francis waved at the crowd before alighting from the popemobile, accompanied by Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
The Pope then went straight to the main door of the church escorted by Tagle despite the continued chanting by the crowd.
Just as he was about to enter the door, the Pope turned and waved again at the people for a few more seconds before proceeding into the church.
After changing into liturgical vestments, the Holy Father immediately began the celebration of the Mass with priests and religious.
The Mass started at exactly 11:15 a.m. with Pope Francis joining the entrance procession. It was the first of three masses the Pope is set to say during his five-day trip to the country.
From Malacañang, where he paid a courtesy call on President Benigno Aquino III, Pope Francis traveled in a popemobile to the Cathedral in Intramuros.
He was greeted along the way by hundreds of Filipinos, waving, cheering and flashing their gadgets to take pictures of the Holy Father.
In the Mass, the Pope is expected to talk about “mercy and compassion,” the theme chosen by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for his pastoral visit.
“It will bring to the fore the distinctive role of priests as ministers of and the religious as witnesses to God’s mercy and compassion; that having experienced themselves the mercy and compassion of the loving Father, they are able to effectively fulfill their ministry and mission,” according to a handbook furnished to the media for the papal visit.
There will also be a “Confessio Peccati” where the priests and the religious would express sorrow for the sins they have committed against the Lord and His people and resolve to be faithful to the promises and vows they made at their ordination or profession.
For this rite, instead of the usual format of the penitential act where there are acclamations of praise followed by the “Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy),” there will be three prayers that dwell on the priestly promises of obedience, poverty, and celibacy, the handbook said.
“For each prayer, two priests approach the crucifix: one leads the prayer and the other burns incense in a brazier placed near the crucifix,” it further said.
After the Mass, the Pope will go back to the Apostolic Nunciature, the official papal residence along Taft Avenue in Manila.
At 4:05 p.m., the pontiff is scheduled to leave for the Mall of Asia in Pasay City for the “Meeting with Families” before returning to the nunciature.
UPDATED 11:19 a.m.
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