Seeing Pope Francis is ‘worth the sacrifice’ – priest

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TACLOBAN City, Jan. 11, 2015 – Heat. Hunger. Standing for hours. A priest reminds the faithful the sacrifices required to personally see the Holy Father are all worth it.

“It is a one day affair which is worth the sacrifice to be under the heat of the sun for a while or suffering a little hunger for a while, but he is the Pope and to see him is an overwhelming experience,” said Fr. Alvin Nicolasora, pastor of the St. Jose Maria Escriva Mission Station in Brgy. Apitong, Tacloban City.

Pope Francis (Photo: CNA)

Pope Francis (Photo: CNA)

Chance of a lifetime

According to the priest, people usually spend a lot to go to Rome, while some get excited about the World Youth Day because of the possibility of seeing the Pope.

“Now the Holy Father is coming to us yet we do not want to meet and see him,” he said, making reference to how some Catholics are getting discouraged about attending the papal events because of the required security measures like the need to register their attendance.

Nicolasora said people all over the world do not even know if they will be able to see the Pope in their lifetime, stressing how people in Tacloban are so blessed.

“Let us make sure that we will welcome him with affection,” he added.

The Pope, our father

Nicolasora, who is in charge of the altar for the Papal Mass, told his parishioners: “His coming here is not just a visit in Manila or the Philippines as such. It is really a visit for the victims of typhoon Yolanda or of the earthquake in Bohol.”

“He comes to bring the mercy and compassion of God because we have been struck by a difficult situation, a terrifying experience,” he asserted.

The local pastor stressed further that Pope Francis is coming to “tell us that God is with you, God is with us [so] do not be afraid. You will be able to rise up and He will help us to rise up.”

The Holy Father is our father, the one appointed by Christ as foundation of the Church like Peter upon which rock Christ has built His Church, Nicolasora added.

“We have to anchor ourselves on this rock because the Holy Father is our father in the faith, where the stability of our faith is upon him,” he exhorted, encouraging the people to anticipate the coming of the Pope with joy.

‘Disciplined, orderly’

Nicolasora expressed his wish for the people to be more eager about the papal events in Tacloban.

He admitted that the clergy should have spoken up [more] on the significance of the visit and what it means to the people.

Nicolasora further called on the pilgrims to the papal visit to be patient and try to understand the necessity of security measures to ensure the Pope’s and the people’s safety.

“We have to be disciplined and orderly,” he urged, citing Korea, where the AsianYouth Day was just conducted, as one recent example of a successful foreign visit of the Pope although there were security restrictions, much like those imposed in Tacloban and Palo for the Pope’s visit.

“If we are told do not cross, let us not cross. If we are told do not break the line, do not break the line. That is how simple it is,” he added.
(Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCPNews)

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