Warm welcome, our dear Papa Francis!!!

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - January 15, 2015 - 12:00am

"Please pray with me for everyone in Sri Lanka and the Philippines as I begin my trip," twitted Pope Francis. After Sri Lanka, today, our dear Papa Francis will be in our own country!

Viva El Papa!!! Mabuhay, Papa Francis! Warm welcome to the Philippines!

Pope Francis continues to walk the path for God and his trips remind us of Jesus who reminded his apostles, "Let us go to the nearby villages so that I may preach there too for that is why I came." (Mark 1:38)

Pope Francis continues to show us how to preach- with sincere acts, with love, with mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.

No pomp for this Pope. In his unique brand of papacy, Pope Francis' simplicity and deep love for all, especially the needy, continues to reflect God's love for all through His Son, Jesus Christ.

When. in his previous trips, Pope Francis stopped along the road to embrace a sick person or to lift and kiss a child, did he not remind millions all throughout the world about God's love and personal touch for all? When he starts on a trip, twitting for all to pray for all the people in the various places he would visit, did he not ask millions to remember their brothers and sisters and lift them in prayer to God?

Instead of calling attention to himself, to his trip, this wonderful Pope, as always, calls everyone's attention to remember others, to pray for others, to love others.

The needy are his priority. In the Philippines, he has clearly reminded all that he wants to reach out to the typhoon victims, especially those in Tacloban. He could well have decided to join the festive Sinulog celebration for Sto. Niño in Cebu which is very close to Tacloban. Instead, he preferred to be among the homeless, the grieving, the needy. He prefers to meet them in open public places, not in grand palaces reserved for the few. Pope Francis is walking in the path of Jesus , all for the glory of God the Father.

What a profound privilege to have this disciple of God visit our country. What a beautiful gesture on the part of Pope Francis to include our people and our country "among the villages" to share God's love with!

Thank you, our dear Papa Francis! Thank you, Lord, for sharing Pope Francis with us all!

Although he never asked for it nor called attention to himself, millions are joining Pope Francis in his journey with prayers for a God-graced, safe, protected, and productive trip for him. Come to think of it, this is the only Pope who has touched millions to journey with him to all the places he has visited so far. His journey is not only for those who are in the places to be visited. His journey has become everyone's journey - this Pope has, from the start, shared his papacy with everyone. Where he goes, he brings all with him. What he does, he does for all. How he does his work for God, he shares with all.

What a happy blessing to be among those the Pope touches personally during his visits. May we ourselves be graced with the providence to be, to see, to be touched by this wonderful humble servant of the Lord someday! Meanwhile, let us all continue to join Pope Francis in his trips and in his service for the Lord!!!

Reminders are out as well for all to remember Pope Francis' message about taking care of  the earth that God gifted us with. Gentle reminders , for example, have been posted for a trash-free papal visit which include eating at home rather than at the venue, or packing simple waste-free food in a reusable container, bringing water in a reusable container rather than buying bottled water, carrying a litter bag in one's pocket and a reusable bag for items to be brought home, if any, declining paper brochures to be distributed in the venue, not to smoke or litter and to support all waste reduction efforts at the venue and finally, to encourage and to cooperate with all else to make Pope Francis' visit to our country meaningful and protective for God's earth as well.

The present trip of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka and our country takes only a few days but the meaningful essence and message of his journey: to touch and be with the needy, to share God's love with all remain in everyone's hearts. Better yet, may we all be moved to follow Pope Francis and take our own journeys and share God's love and ours with the most needy, the less privileged.


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