MANILA, Oct. 3, 2014—A Catholic priest reminded the faithful that Pope Francis’ upcoming visit is primarily about showing “mercy and compassion” to survivors of recent calamities still struggling to get back on their feet.
“I think that [Pope Francis’] primary purpose is to reach out to the victims so that they may feel that the Church is standing by them after all the trials they have been through,” said Fr. Resty Ogsimer.
In a recent interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, the priest, who is the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), lauded the Holy Father for his effort to bring the Church’s message of mercy and compassion to all, in spite of the many challenges being faced by the Christian community.
“It is a good thing that the Pope is doing his best to connect with people, assuring them that the Church will always be there for them, especially in times of troubles,” Ogsimer added.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked Bohol and other parts of Visayas in October 2012 killed 222 residents, while approximately10,000 lost their lives to typhoon Yolanda in November of the same year.
The Holy Father is scheduled to come to the Philippines on Jan. 15 to 19, 2015.
Pope Francis will be the third pontiff to set foot on Asia’s largest Catholic nation, following Pope Paul VI and Pope St. John Paul II.
With over 80% of the population identifying as Roman Catholics, local church officials see the awaited apostolic visit as a “blessing” to Filipinos, expecting it to start a spiritual transformation. (Raymond A. Sebastián)