Key to papal visit success: sacrifice

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TACLOBAN City, Jan. 27, 2015 -– Despite the bad weather brought on by typhoon Amang, what made Pope Francis’ visit to Tacloban a success? Sacrifice.

In a recent press conference, Fr. Amadeo Alvero, spokesperson and media coordinator of the Archdiocese of Palo emphasized the sacrifice the Holy Father made in choosing to come to the Philippines.

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the Tacloban Airport, which was attended by some 150,000 people, Jan. 17, 2015. (Photo: Aira Purificacion)

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the Tacloban Airport, which was attended by some 150,000 people, Jan. 17, 2015. (Photo: Aira Purificacion)

‘I am here’

“I am a little bit late…but I am here,” Alvero quoted the pontiff’s now famous words during his homily at the DZR Airport on Jan. 17.

The sacrifice of the Holy Father was reciprocated by the generosity of spirit of super typhoon Yolanda survivors who stayed on for Pope Francis’ Mass amid face of strong winds and continuous rains brought by typhoon Amang which hoisted Signal Number 2 over the area.

“We never thought the papal visit will push through because there was typhoon, but despite it he came and no event was cancelled although briefly but he attended them all,” Alvero stressed.

Chance to see Pope Francis

Fr. Chris Arthur Militante, information and social communications officer of the Archdiocese of Palo meanwhile denied having knowledge of any threat on the life of Pope Francis, saying the only worst case scenario the team had was of a possible mob.

He admitted that the disclosure of security restrictions contributed to the poor initial turnout of registration and was not solely the media’s fault.

Militante said what drew an estimated 150,000 pilgrims to the Tacloban Airport, as well as thousands more along the motorcade route, was the chance of seeing, listening and being blessed by Pope Francis.

The Holy Father recently concluded a pastoral and state visit to the Philippines from Jan. 15 to 19. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCPNews)

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