Friday, January 16, 2015

Papal Mania

Ever since His Holiness Pope Francis set foot on Philippine soil in the early evening of January 15, 2015, Thursday, the whole nation has been gripped with excitement. Well, I think even way before his flight landed at Villamor Airbase, we, Catholic Filipinos have been enthusiastically awaiting his Holy presence in our land.  I am filled with a renewed sense of spiritual religiosity as I tune in to the TV and watch the live coverage of his visit here. 

I grew up in a strictly Catholic environment, was educated in institutions steeped in Catholicism and I tried my best to lead a lifestyle befitting a Christian. But after my graduation from the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in the early 1990s, I strayed from its traditions. The Church was the last place you would see me in during Sundays. I shunned the act of Confession and Communion.  The main reason is I was not worthy of entering a holy place of worship as my lifestyle back then was governed by sinful acts. Let us not enumerate them as they outnumber the 10 Commandments!

Despite my waywardness, I always respected the Pope as the Vicar of Christ and I never shunned what he stood for and what he represented in the grand scheme of things. In fact, in 2001 my sister and I (despite both of us being non Church goers during that period) even stood in line and waved at then Pope and now Saint John Paul II when he blessed the congregation at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican after he said mass. He was waving from the second or fourth floor of the Vatican and you needed a binocular to see him but still a papal blessing is quite sacred and we have never forgotten that encounter.

I started hearing Mass on a regular basis when I began dating my husband in 2007. His idea of a perfect date is to hear mass on Sundays then have lunch together. The first time we ever met (after several months of text messaging) was at the 4:30 pm Sunday mass at the Greenbelt chapel. So I thank God for D as he 'mended' my errant ways, guided and paved my way back into the loving folds of the Catholic Church. Although my sister teasingly tells me it was L-O-V-E that jolted my faith back into life. Heh!

So even though I rather stay home and witness His Holiness' activities on live TV, I still feel truly blessed as this is the closest I can 'get' to the Holy Father. I have to commend the media networks for their comprehensive coverage of the Papal visit.

May God continue to bless the Holy Father as he visits our country. May God give him strength and guidance as he tends to his growing flock by spreading his message of compassion and mercy. 

Photo credits: D's co-faculty who managed to grab a pivotal spot along the Papal route. These photos were taken this morning when Pope Francis was en route to make his courtesy call at Malacanang.

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