MANILA, May 27, 2014— Refuting media reports on Pope Francis’s visit to the Philippines, local Catholic Church officials said there is no official announcement yet about the much-anticipated trip.
“The Secretariat has not yet received any official communication from the Vatican or Nunciature,” said Msgr. Marvin Mejia, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines secretary general.
The communications office of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle also made a similar statement, though it expressed a desire for such a visit.
“No official word from Vatican yet,” said Peachy Yamsuan, communications chief of the Archdiocese of Manila.
Media reports on Tuesday revealed that Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines in January next year without definite dates and details.
Henrietta de Villa, a consultor to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, said there is a “standing invitation” for the pontiff to visit the country, “but there’s no official response yet”.
“We are all hoping that he could come this coming year, but the one who would announce it is the nunciature or the CBCP president or Cardinal Tagle,” De Villa said.
Tagle earlier said that he has high confidence that the pope will visit the country, particularly, the areas in the Visayas affected by recent calamities, in 2015.
“Cardinal Tagle is very hopeful because he oftens travel to the Vatican because the pope gave him much work. He has the ear of the pope so we hope [the visit pushes through],” added De Villa.
“We are hopeful he could come because I think the pope wants to come sooner than 2016 and there’s a standing invitation (for the pope) to come anytime,” she added.
Last year, the Filipino bishops also invited Pope Francis to join the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu City in 2016. (CBCPNews)