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Pope Francis thanks PH officials who organized his 5-day visit

/ 03:04 PM January 19, 2015
Pope Francis, left, waves to the crowd beside Philippine President Benigno Aquino III before boarding his plane as he departs Manila, Philippines on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. AP

Pope Francis, left, waves to the crowd beside Philippine President Benigno Aquino III before boarding his plane as he departs Manila, Philippines on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. AP

MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to government officials who organized his five-day visit in the Philippines.

“Thank you in the name of Pope Francis,” said Papal Nuncio Giuseppe Pinto on Monday at a press conference after the Pope left the country for Rome.

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Before he left the Apostolic Nunciature for Villamor Air Base, the Pontiff met members of the National Organizing Committee, an encounter described by an official as a “spiritually enhancing five second” meeting.

“Yes, (I) was privileged to be invited this morning along with other members of the National Organizing Committee,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya Abaya said in a text message.

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“It was a meeting. It was a chance to thank us and also our last chance to request the Pope to pray for us as we pray for him,” he said, when asked to describe their meeting with the Holy Father.

“It was just five seconds for me—spiritually enhancing five seconds,” Abaya added.

“Binigyan kami ng blessings ni Father. Nagpasalamat siya dun sa security then bliness kami, lahat ng involved ([Pope] Francis blessed us. He thanked the security then he blessed us, all those involved),” Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr. said.

Also in attendance were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino.

The organizing committee in charge of the papal visit was headed by Ochoa.

The Pope’s visit was one of the Philippines’ biggest security operations as it deployed nearly 40,000 police and soldiers in Manila and Tacloban.

“It was very successful kasi everybody cooperated. [It showed] we are willing to face the challenge of securing the Pope and making his visit successful,” Catapang said.

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They were also given rosaries aside from the blessings.

Catapang said they will go through their recent security operation for their assessment and it will be used in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit to be held in the Philippines later this year.

Originally posted at 10:17 a.m. Monday, January 19, 2015

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TAGS: Apostolic Nunciature, departure, National Organizing Committee, Papal Visit 2015, Pope Francis, Villamor Airbase
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