Pope Francis: A superstar of our time
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - August 2, 2013 - 12:00am

My heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Chito Misa on the passing of his wife Mrs. Consuelo “Pet” Escaño Misa in a Manila hospital of hemolytic anemia. Pet’s passing was quite surprising because I didn’t think that her health problems were life threatening. Her unexpected passing comes when at the end of this month, the Escaño Family commemorates the 1st death anniversary of their matriarch, Tita Gloria Escaño who was close to many of us.

Pet was my age and being close family friends, we often dropped by the Escaño house (which is now Casa Escaño) in Juana Osmeña. I knew her even before I met my wife Jessica. But in Inmaculada both of them were “Most Exalted Sister” of their Kappa Lambda Sigma sorority in the old days. For the boys of my generation, she was called the “Crush ng Bayan”.

How time has flown so fast indeed and now, our dear friend has left us. Her remains are at the Nivel Cosmopolitan. Funeral will be at Cempark this Saturday Aug. 3rd after the 2:00PM Requiem mass in St. Therese Church. May we request the pious reader to please pray for the repose of her soul.

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The World Youth Day (WYD) in Rio de Janeiro was without any doubt the biggest and the most well-attended WYD in its 28-year history. This is proof of the acceptance of our new Pope Francis by the millions of young Catholics all over the world. Ask yourself, which religion the world over has been doing this; gathering a minimum of hundreds of thousands up to three million of young people in Rio? Only the Catholic Church has done it.

What made things even greater was that, the major events like the Way of the Cross was interpreted in the Brazilian way… and the Latin beat was just perfectly in tune. But more importantly… the Superstar of the WYD was no rock star that the youth would idolize… but the Pope! Indeed, no rock superstar ever gathered three million of the youth in one place. This is why Pope Francis has earned the title… Superstar.

I just can’t imagine what things would be like if and when Pope Francis agrees to attend the 51st World Eucharistic Celebration that will be held in Cebu City. If the Sinulog procession and the Sinulog parade on the following day brought in nearly 2.5 million people last January, you better believe that when the Pope comes… we can expect more than 3 million people to flock into Cebu City. We better get ready for this event… as Cebu will be the center of Catholicism when Pope Francis comes.

Allow me to share my dream with you… that when the Pope comes… he will guest on my talk show Straight from the Sky… you may laugh, but I can dream, can’t I? The reason why I’m entertaining this dream is due to the fact that under Pope Francis… he has broken the strict and stiff protocol created by the Vatican Curia. Even his luxury BMW was replaced with a Ford Focus… that should give you an idea how things have changed under the servant leadership of this Pope.

In fact, on the flight enroute back from Rio to Rome, Pope Francis once more broke protocol and gave the media a memorable press conference on the plane 36,000 ft in the sky. I saw that photo of Pope Francis standing in the aisle while the journalists were on their seats. That 80-minute very candid interview included issues like homosexuality, priests with homosexual tendencies and the so-called “Gay lobby” inside the Vatican.

When he was asked about the gay issue, the Pope retorted, “Agh… so much is written about the gay lobby. I have yet to find on a Vatican identity card the word gay. They say that there are some gay people here. I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. They are bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this point beautifully but say, wait a moment, how does it say, it says, these persons must never be marginalized and they must be integrated into society.” Indeed I fully agree with the Pope’s statement. It is the homosexual act that is sinful, but we must not condemn all gays; after all not all of them do these sinful sexual acts. 

One issue that Pope Francis answered was about the date of the canonization of Blessed Pope John Paul II, here the Pope revealed his concern for the millions of pilgrims who would be going to Rome, especially from Pope John Paul II’s beloved Poland and I’m sure many people from the Eastern bloc countries would also be coming for that memorable event.

Pope Francis said that the roads by November or December might be icy because of harsh snow… so there is a good chance that the canonization may take place during the Divine Mercy Sunday one week after Holy Week in 2014. Let us all start praying that Pope Francis will come to Cebu.

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com



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