MANILA, March 15, 2013—Hours after the Camerlengo announced “Habemus Papam!” (We Have A Pope!), young people in the Philippines hailed the new Pope through the social networking site facebook.
Karl Michael Hila of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) Youth said the first words Pope Francis said signified his desire to build a more personal relationship with the people.
“I was very touched by his first words. He is like a Pope who reaches out, of which the people especially the youth can easily relate to,” Hila said.
“Everyone is very eager to know his background, and it is very good to know how he is living in simplicity, choosing to live in an apartment and riding public transportation. A picture of his, kissing and washing the feet of some AIDS patient touched me the most. For me it signifies the importance of the last, the least, and the lost to our new Pope, just as Jesus gives preferential love for the poorest of the poor,” Hila added.
He mentioned that for now, he is excited to know more about the new Pope and is looking forward for the great chance to see him during the upcoming World Youth Day (WYD) in Rio de Janeiro this July 2013.
“My prayers are with you, our very dear Holy Father, Pope Francis, together with our very dear Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, all the faithful around the world, and the Saints in heaven,” he furthered.
Melanie Santos from the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate mentioned that during WYD 2011 in Madrid, young people chanted the name of Pope emeritus Benedict as “Benedicto”, but in Rio, it will be “Francisco”.
Santos joins all people in praying for the new Pontiff in his ministry and prays that he will always love the Church, especially the young.
Mark Vertido, a youth from the diocese of Laoag pledged his obedience to the Roman Pontiff.
Meanwhile, Charlotte Casinillo and her friends were discussing about the possible names of the new Pope and insisted that Pope Francis would sound good.
“Just a few hours before sleeping, I told myself, when I wake up, there is already a Pope. All that came true,” said Casinillo, coordinator of the UP Campus Ministry.
For JC Perez, youth leader of Pasig diocese, the new Pope is a strong and clear moral teacher, unafraid to tackle issues, yet embodies a spirit of service and of mercy.
“As a Cardinal, he cooked for himself, took the bus to work, refused to live in a palace but lived in an apartment instead. Folks, I think we’ll have a Canonizable Pope here. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!,” Perez added.
And Jodi Herrera, a student of De La Salle University is happy that there is already a Pope who will lead the whole Catholic community.
Fr. Favie Faldas, SDB, from the Salesian Youth Movement, posted his prayer over Facebook, “Dear Holy Spirit, again you are a God of surprises. You surprised us with a quick election, with someone that was not thought of as ‘Papabile’, with someone this time outside of Europe. Dear Holy Spirit, thank you for Pope Francis. May you continue to guide him and the Church in these our times. Amen.” (Jandel Posion)