MANILA, August 27, 2014—Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal.Tagle expresses his readiness to play the host to Pope Francis on the pontiff’s five-day visit to the country next year.
“Let’s wait for the formal announcement. It’s highly possible Tacloban will be included…Yes, I am ready to host the Holy Father,” he said.
Aware of the Pope’s aversion to overly formal routine, the prelate said Filipino Church authorities can handle any “erratic” situation that will have the Bishop of Rome “disobeying” his own official itinerary.
Tagle told Radyo Veritas they have been closely coordinating with officials from the Holy See in charge of the Pope’s overseas trips.
The Caviteño cardinal confirmed he has been receiving suggestions to come out with a “Pope mobile” that will have “jeepney motifs”, but he said Church officials have yet to study its feasibility.
A jeepney-inspired Pope mobile, proponents shared, will give the papal visit a uniquely Filipino touch, the colorful, if often inconvenient, vehicle being iconic of the Filipino spirit.
Meanwhile, Tagle rejoices over the recently concluded Asian Youth Day held in South Korea where delegates from the predominantly Catholic Philippines actively took part.
The prelate attests to the Christian youth of Asia’s idealism and the enthusiasm for goodness, waving off allegations that today’s young people only cause troubles and headaches.
“In Korea, most especially, I have been a witness the people’s capacity for martyrdom, of the willingness to offer their lives to the faith if need be,” observed Tagle.
124 Korean martyrs
Pope Francis’ beatification of 124 Korean martyrs in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square on August 16, 2014, is seen as the highlight of his trip to the peninsula, with hundreds of thousands of people packing the open-air mass.
“They were willing to make great sacrifices and let themselves be stripped of whatever kept them from Christ – possessions and land, prestige and honor—for they knew that Christ alone was their true treasure,” a BBC News article quoted Pope Francis as telling the crowd in his sermon.
“They challenge us to think about what, if anything, we ourselves would be willing to die for,” the report added.
South Korea is home to approximately 5.4 million Catholics, making up some 10.4% of the population. (Raymond A. Sebastián)