Pope thanks Palo prelate, apologizes

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PALO, Leyte. February 3, 2015 — In humble letter, Pope Francis thanks Palo Archbishop John Du for the hospitality shown to him during his trip to Leyte, apologizing for “for any impatience on [his] part at that time.”

In a communication sent by the Vatican through the Apostolic Nunciature Pope Francis expressed deep sadness that “the weather warning forced us to anticipate our departure by four hours, [which] prevented a more relaxed visit with your people and in the Cathedral later that afternoon.”

Pope Francis wrote to Palo Archbishop John Du to thank him and the people and to apologize say sorry for his impatience during the abbreviated visit to the Archdiocese. (Photo: Archdiocese of Palo)

Pope Francis wrote to Palo Archbishop John Du to thank him and the people and to apologize say sorry for his impatience during the abbreviated visit to the Archdiocese. (Photo: Archdiocese of Palo)

Witness of faith

Notwithstanding his sadness, the Holy Father conveyed his gratitude to the the prelate for the “pastoral example of strength and generosity” he showed in the service of the Church in Palo. He likewise expressed his profound appreciation for the welcome and accommodation he and his delegation received during his trip to Leyte.

In the same letter, which Du received yesterday, the pontiff also requested prayers from him and from the faithful of the Archdiocese of Palo.

Pope Francis acknowledged the “witness of faith and endurance” that the people of the Archdiocese of Palo showed him “in the midst of their trials.” This, he stated, he will never forget, praying that the Lord will never permit him to.

It could be recalled that over 150,000 pilgrims flocked to the Tacloban Airport for the open air Mass with the Holy Father on Jan. 17 in spite of a storm signal number 2 declared over Leyte. This number does not count the hundred thousands more who lined the streets for his motorcade from the airport to the Archbishop’s Palace in Palo and back, unmindful of the strong winds and heavy rains.

Serving the poor

Fr. Chris Militante, the Information Officer of the Archdiocese of Palo, disclosed that Du has yet to reply to the Holy Father’s letter.

Although it has been two weeks after the visit of the Pope, “the Francis effect is still strongly felt,” said Militante.

“We can keep the closeness of God felt continuously by imitating the example of the Pope – serving and being with the poor,” he added. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCPNews)

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