Pope Francis breaks protocol on his way out of Manila Cathedral
MANILA, Philippines—After the Mass at the Manila Cathedral, instead of going out the front door of the church, Pope Francis surprised everyone when he exited its side door and walked toward Gen. Luna Street in Intramuros, and stopped at ANAK-Tnk, a foundation that helps street children.
All the bishops, priests and the religious who went in front of the Church’s entrance as well members of the press sprinted toward its side door, hoping to catch up with the Pope.
The Pope, together with Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, walked along Intramuros and stopped at ANAK-Tnk.
The Pope is known for breaking protocols and traditions in order to be closer to the people.
“He was walking along the street and he suddenly turned towards our office. We were so surprised,” a staff of the foundation said.
Aside from street children, the foundation also provides assistance to mentally challenged children and children in slum areas.
Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Pope spent almost half an hour with over 300 children who welcomed him with song, dance and hugs.
“It was a very moving moment,” Fr. Lombardi said over Vatican radio.
He said the children gave the Holy Father small gifts including a wooden image of Our Lady.
The ANAK-Tnk staff said over the phone that the children have prepared gifts hoping to find an opportunity to give these to Pope Francis once he celebrates Mass at the Manila Cathedral.
“We were so blessed that we were given that opportunity. The children were so happy,” she said.
Last September, ANAK-Tnk launched a letter-writing campaign requesting a visit from the Pope. Cardinal Tagle brought the letters to the Vatican plus a video of the children when he met the Pope last October.
The Mass at the Manila Cathedral was the first he conducted a day after his arrival in the country.
Although the one he conducted was a regular Mass, it was exclusive for the bishops, priests and the religious. Also, the ceremony had a distinct feature which was the “confession of sin” in lieu of the penitential rite” where they sought forgiveness for their omissions related to their promises of obedience, poverty, and chastity.
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