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Why Pope Francis asks Filipinos to pray for him
By Camille Diola Updated Wednesday January 21, 2015 - 10:18am

Pope Francis prays during a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015. Millions filled Manila's main park and surrounding areas for Francis' final Mass in the Philippines on Sunday, braving a steady rain to hear the pontiff's message of hope and consolation for the Southeast Asian country's most downtrodden and destitute. AP/Alessandra Tarantino

MANILA, Philippines —  During his brief stay in the Philippines, Pope Francis several times asked thousands of Filipinos before him to pray for him.

The pontiff even sent a Tagalog tweet to his social media followers after he left Manila for Rome.

Addressing the faithful waiting for him in the cathedral of Palo, Leyte last Saturday, Pope Francis also asked them for two things: To pray for him, and to keep quiet—the latter being said in jest.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle vowed in the pope's final Mass in the Philippines on Sunday that he will be remembered in Filipinos' prayer.

"We, Filipinos, promise: We will pray for you. But we also want to assure you, to remind you that Jesus, Jesus prays for you," Tagle said in a message that moved many, including evidently the pope himself.

The request, however, is not something unusual for this particular pope to issue to the faithful around the world. A foreign journalist even asked him aboard the papal plane in August 2013 on a return flight from Brazil: "Holiness, I want to ask you why you ask so insistently that we pray for you? It's not normal, usual, to hear a pope ask so much to pray for him."

To this, Pope Francis answered:

I've always asked for this. When I was a priest I asked for it, but not so frequently. I began to ask for it with a certain frequency in my work as Bishop, because I feel that if the Lord doesn't help in this work of helping the People of God to go forward, one can't … I truly feel I have so many limitations, so many problems, also being a sinner - you know it! - and I must ask for this. But it comes from within! I also ask Our Lady to pray for me to the Lord. It's a habit, but it's a habit that comes from the heart and also from the need I have for my work. I feel I must ask … I don't know, it's like this.

In Catholic teaching, praying for the intentions of the Holy Father is one of the three conditions for one to gain plenary indulgence, or the remission of all temporal "punishment" due to sin.

The other two requirements are going to confession and receiving Holy Communion.

RELATED: Why Pope Francis carries his own bag

  
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