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Friday, December 5, 2014

Pope Francis Said: 'Let Jesus be the Focus of my Pastoral Visit'

In the thick of preparations and euphoria on his upcoming Philippine visit, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said Pope Francis asked Filipino well wishers to focus on Jesus, not on him.
“The pope said: I hope I will not be the focus of this pastoral visit. Let Jesus be the focus of my pastoral visit,” Tagle said.
“The Holy Father wants his pastoral visit to be an occasion for us to turn to Jesus… I’m telling you this, we who will play big roles in this visit let us not lose sight of that because it came from him himself,” the Cardinal told members of the media during a recollection held at the University of Santo Tomas to let members of the media who will cover the papal visit “spiritually ready”.
More than disseminating important updates to the public during his five-day apostolic visit, Tagle said “it is important for media practitioners covering the historic event to be spiritually ready for the coming of the pope” consistent with the overall purpose of the papal visit.
He reminded media practitioners “to highlight the fact that when the Holy Father comes, he will bring with him the message of “Mercy and Compassion,” “Awa at Malasakit”– the theme for the papal visit. We are all products of the mercy of God. Let us focus on why he is coming here in the first place. He wants to be one with calamity survivors. He wants to spread God’s love, God’s message of mercy and compassion.  When the pope meets us, we hope to make him see a people touched by God’s mercy and living out the compassion of God.”
“The role of media in bringing the latest news and developments to the public is very important. It requires not only hard work and commitment but a deep sense of spirituality. Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this most important, meaningful task,” he added.
The prelate said the papal visit “is an invitation to strengthen one’s faith as well as one’s own pastoral and communal life. Let us not loosen our sight. The papal visit needs a pastoral life and a communal life.”
The Cardinal also expressed hope that Filipinos will be an inspiration to Pope Francis.
“I hope Pope Francis will be inspired and learn from Filipinos. I hope he’ll see how merciful and compassionate we are to each other,” he said in his talk during the recollection for the media.
Tagle said Francis is visiting the country not only to inspire Filipinos but also to be inspired by them.
“The pope will come not only as a teacher but also as someone in need of inspiration. Let us inspire him,” he said.
It is for this reason that the cardinal is urging the faithful to be instruments of mercy and compassion to those who are suffering such as the poor especially this Advent Season.
“Let us be the instruments of Advent, the coming of mercy and compassion especially to the poor not only for the visit of the pope but on a daily basis,” said Tagle. 

Meanwhile, the official itinerary of Pope Francis stays.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Vilegas denied reports that Malacañang was pressuring them to skip the pope’s visit to Tacloban City, one of the hardest hit areas by typhoon “Yolanda.”
“No such pressure,” according to Villegas, a member of the central committee and one of the chairs of the Papal Visit Steering Committee.
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