COTABATO City, September 5, 2014—Filipinos must show to Pope Francis the “strength of their faith” on his visit, a top church official believes.
In an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Beltran Cardinal Quevedo said, he will be glad to see Filipinos with firm faith despite the many natural calamities and economic hardships that rocked the country.
“I think the Holy Father will be delighted with the solidity of our faith [here] in the Philippines, and also of [its] simplicity and its endurance in spite of the difficulties,” he said.
The prelate invites all the faithful to a life of charity, one dedicated to helping fellow humans, of practicing what the Gospel teaches, especially since the “downtrodden, the dispossessed, the marginalized, and the outcasts” of society occupy a treasured spot in the Pope’s heart.
Quevedo calls on Catholic Filipinos to pray for the success of the “Apostolic Visit”—almost 20 years since St. John Paul II’s phenomenal visit in 1995—scheduled on January 15-19, 2015, which will have the Vicar of Christ personally meeting the local faithful, particularly the “poorest of the poor” and survivors of “Yolanda”, listening to their hopes.
“I encourage everyone, the Catholic faithful, to pray for the visit of Pope Francis … that he will be one in mind and heart with us in going to the margins of society, especially in demonstrating his empathy with the victims of disasters.”
Earlier, Bishop Pedro Arigo, who heads the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa in Palawan, urged local organizers of the papal visit to make the Filipino welcome a model of warm simplicity.
Arigo pointed out that an ostentatious outpouring of hospitality—a trait Filipinos are “notorious” for—will likely be a slap on the face of people who have next to nothing in life.
The prelate also counseled against treating the Holy Father “like a celebrity”, reminding the Filipino faithful to internalize the message the Pope will be sharing with the Filipino faithful, rather than on satisfying one’s personal “need” to brag about having met him in person. (Raymond A. Sebastián)