Pope’s visit a ‘morale-booster’—priest

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MANILA, August 20, 2014—A Catholic priest believes the Holy Father’s scheduled visit to the Philippines next year will boost the morale of the Filipino youth, especially as the event is an invitation to relive the record-breaking World Youth Day (WYD) held in Manila in 1995.

In a recent interview over church-run Radyo Veritas, Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Youth (CBCP-ECY), underscored the important role the new generation of young Filipino Catholics will be playing in celebrating the 20th anniversary of WYD ’95, which was presided over by then Pope St. John Paul II, from January 10 to January 15, 1995 in different venues in Manila, but more memorably at Quirino Grandstand in Luneta and at the University of Santo Tomás.

The faithful believe the Holy Father’s visit to the Philippines will be a source of inspiration, much like his recent visit to Korea for the Asian Youth Day. (Photo: CNA)

The priest shared that Pope Francis’ mere presence will bring back memories of tons of spiritual blessings and graces obtained by the Filipino faithful during the last papal visit which had registered the most number of Christians in a single event, with a conservative estimate of five million people attending, mostly youth.

He noted, “It’s been 20 years since World Youth Day, and since Pope St. John Paul II came over and spent time here with us. Now that it’s Pope Francis’ turn to visit us, we must take the rare occasion as an opportunity to commemorate the graces we had then received [during WYD ‘95] as Catholic Christians.”

According to Garganta, the Philippine bishops are coming out with a program or a module which will allow Filipinos outside Manila, Tacloban, or Palo to take part, spiritually at least, in the event.

The priest explained that the module will draw inspiration from the papal theme “Mercy and Compassion”.

“We at CBCP-ECY are the ones tasked to make modules. These modules will then be distributed to all dioceses down to the parishes. This year our module will focus on the overflowing mercy and superabundant compassion that we as Christians are called to practice, not only during times of disasters, but also in our everyday lives.” (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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