The Pope’s Arrival
This is it! Today is the day we have been waiting for, the arrival of Pope Francis to the Philippines. The past days, I’ve been glued to the TV screen on news on what the government and social media has done in preparation for the Pope’s 5-day visit which starts today at 6pm. Just like the rest of the Filipino Catholic community I am excited to see him. I could imagine the warm welcome from a predominantly Catholic nation.
Thursday, Friday and Monday are special non-working holidays here in Metro Manila since most roads are closed to give way to the motorcade and masses that would be held at the Manila Cathedral and in Luneta. The most important event would be his visit to Tacloban and Palo, Leyte and meet the survivors of typhoon Yolanda, saying mass there and having lunch with choiced families from different barangays in the province.
UST Papal Visit
The Pope would visit University of Santo Tomas to meet the youth on Sunday at 10am and the campus is open to the public. There will be a motorcade inside the campus. They have allotted separate gates for the Thomasian community at the Espana side, the football field where the grandstand is would be exclusively for the youth participants though. The youth delegates will come from the Archdiocesan Commissions on the Youth, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on the Youth, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), member-schools of the Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines, and the 2nd Philippine Conference on New Evangelization. The public are allowed to enter the back gates of the campus. Gosh, even old/expired Thomasian alumni IDs will be allowed. I have mine but it expired three years ago and haven’t renewed it yet. Spiritual renewal is the core of Pope’s Francis visit to UST this coming Sunday, January 18.
A lot of people are asking “why UST, why always UST?” “How lucky can UST get?” When Pope Paul VI visited the Philippines, he went to UST. When Pope John Paul II came, he also visited UST. Pope Francis will also visit UST. Here’s the answer provided by the Central Media Committee for the Papal Visit.
The University of Santo Tomas is a pontifical university, directly under the authority of the Roman Pontiff—the successor of Peter, the first pope. Aside from its function as a regular university, a pontifical university has a special mission of spreading the Gospel and promoting the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Rector of a pontifical university is appointed by the Vatican, and whenever the pope travels to a country where there is a pontifical university, it is his duty and pleasure to visit this university not only to see how it’s doing but also to inspire and encourage its students, faculty, and staff in their evangelization efforts.
Mercy and Compassion
Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old.- Psalm 25:6
I love this logo. According to the official website of the Papal Visit to the Philippines, this symbolizes the following:
The colors of the logo (blue, red, and yellow) are the colors of the Philippine flag. The colors therefore represent the country and its people. It is in solidarity with the victims of recent calamities that the Pope is coming to the Philippines.
The innermost circle resembles a pearl, and again it symbolizes the Philippines, which is known as the pearl of the orient seas. The white Cross symbolizes the Christian faith, and our fervent prayer that the center of our country be our Lord Jesus Christ. It serves as a reminder as well that more than a State Visit, the primary objective of the Papal visit is a religious one. He comes to show and share the Lord’s mercy and compassion with the Filipino people.
The red circle symbolizes Mercy, one of the themes of the Papal visit. Red is the color of blood and recalls the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross for our salvation, a holy sacrifice that manifests and exemplifies Divine Mercy for sinful humanity.
The blue circle means Compassion, the other theme of the Papal visit. Blue is the color of divine presence – it is the color of the sky and the sea that surround our life, much like God’s presence, that is, God’s compassionate love that permeates and sustains human existence.
The sequence of the colors follows the order of the colors of the Philippine flag: Yellow at the center, blue on top, and red at the bottom.
The red and blue circles appear like arms embracing the yellow circle. These are the merciful and compassionate arms of the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, embracing the Philippines, the pearl of the orient seas. The current Pope is well known for expressing his love and care for people by spontaneously hugging and kissing them. The red and blue circles or arms therefore symbolize the Pope’s Merciful and Compassionate Embrace, and by extension, Christ’s loving embrace. The Pope now comes to the Philippines to embrace us with his arms of love.
Finally the blue and red circles appear like ripples, or waves emanating from the inner circle, from the Cross. We pray that the Papal visit will indeed create ripples of compassion and mercy throughout the Filipino nation and beyond January 2015.
THANK YOU POPE FRANCIS. Praying for your safety and looking forward to your visit here in our country. We are indeed blessed.
Welcome to the Philippines!