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10 things you need to know about Pope Francis

From the moment he stepped into the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica upon his election to the papacy on March 13, 2013, His Holiness Pope Francis has captured the world’s attention for his simple message of God’s boundless love and mercy. Here are 10 things you need to know about His Holiness Pope Francis:

1. Pope Francis is a pope of many “firsts”.
2. Pope Francis sees himself as a sinner.
3. Pope Francis believes the Church should be more like a “field hospital after battle,” with bishops serving as true pastors and priests spending more time in confessionals, consoling wounded souls.
4. Pope Francis wants to keep it simple but “cannot live without people.”
5. Pope Francis only has the deepest of affections for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, his “brother” who now lives in a monastery at the Vatican.
6. Pope Francis is a reformer; he is not afraid to shake things up.
7. Pope Francis says “no” to an economy of exclusion.
8. Pope Francis warns Christians against falling into the trap of spiritual worldliness,” which is “self-centeredness cloaked in an outward religiosity bereft of God.
9. Pope Francis is a fervent devotee of the Blessed Mother.
10. Pope Francis is a son of the Church.

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Selected Sources:

Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, November 24, 2013
“A Big Heart Open to God: The Exclusive Interview with Pope Francis” (America: The National Catholic Review), September 30, 2013
Press Conference of Pope Francis During the Return Flight from the Apostolic Journey to Rio de Janeiro on the Occasion of the XXVIII World Youth Day, July 28, 2013

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About the Theme of the Apostolic Visit: ‘Mercy and Compassion’

The Apostolic Visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines from January 15 – 19, 2015 will have for its theme “Mercy and Compassion”.

Pope Francis will visit the Philippines primarily to comfort Filipinos devastated by the typhoon and the earthquake that hit the Visayas.

This visit calls to mind what Jesus did as recounted in the Gospel.  In Matthew 9:36, Jesus after “seeing the people, felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.”

And like the Good Shepherd of Whom he is the Vicar here on earth, the Holy Father saw the suffering of his flock. He felt compassion and comes to us bringing “the joy of the gospel” to revive our “drooping spirit” and to lead us to greener pastures (cf. Psalm 23).

The message the Holy Father brings with him challenges us to imitate Christ, the Good Shepherd, who is Mercy and Compassion.

In his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis proclaims that “the Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel” (Evangelii Gaudium 114). Thus, the Holy Father’s visit is to bring Christ’s compassion for our suffering people still struggling to rise from the devastations wrought by the earthquake and the typhoon that hit the Visayas last year.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president and Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, said the most distinctive way to prepare spiritually for the coming of Pope Francis is for the country to become “a people rich in mercy.”

“Our compassionate shepherd comes to show his deep concern for our people who have gone through devastating calamities, especially in the Visayas. He comes to confirm us in our faith as we face the challenges of witnessing the Joy of the Gospel in the midst of our trials. This is an eloquent way of showing mercy and compassion,” Archbishop Villegas said.

Filipinos as a preparation for the papal visit resolve to make an act of mercy everyday, such as giving food to the hungry, helping build homes for the disaster victims, visiting prisoners or patients in the charity ward of hospitals, drug rehabilitation centers, homes for the elderly, and orphanages.  It is a time to re-learn and live the Spiritual and Corporal Acts of Mercy.  Further, the bishops encourage us to meet Christ, Mercy Himself, in the Tribunal of Mercy, the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  There, in the person of the priest, He awaits us with open arms to show us His mercy, compassion and love.

“Let us make mercy our national identity. Trust in God’s mercy is part and parcel of our traditional Filipino Christian culture. Let us make the practice of mercy our gift to the pope when he comes to visit us,” the CBCP president said at that time.

 

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The Papal visit Itinerary

His Holiness Pope Francis will bring his message of “mercy and compassion” to at least 11 different venues in the province of Leyte and Metro Manila during his Apostolic Visit to the Philippines on January 15-19, 2015.

Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Manila from Sri Lanka, the first leg of his Asian trip, by plane past 5 p.m. on January 15, and will go on a motorcade to his official residence in the Philippines. The following morning, January 16, Pope Francis will be officially welcomed by President Benigno S. Aquino III at Malacañan Palace on J. P. Laurel Street in Manila. The Pope will also meet Philippine authorities and members of the diplomatic corps.

After the Palace reception, Pope Francis will go on a motorcade to the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral) in Intramuros for a Mass with bishops, priests, and women and men religious. Later, he will have an encounter with families at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

In Leyte Province in Eastern Visayas, Pope Francis will visit the Archdiocese of Palo. He will offer Mass near Tacloban Airport  in the morning of January 17 and will have lunch with the poor and survivors of natural calamities at the residence of the Archbishop of Palo. Afterwards he will bless the Pope Francis Center for the Poor in Palo, and visit the Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration (Palo Cathedral) to meet with priests and women and men religious.

On January 18, the Pope will meet religious leaders and young people at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila. In the afternoon, he will go on a motorcade for the Concluding Mass at Quirino Grandstand in Rizal (Luneta) Park.

Pope Francis will leave for Rome on January 19.

 

APOSTOLIC TRIP OF HIS HOLINESS, POPE FRANCIS, TO THE PHILIPPINES

15-19 JANUARY 2015

Thursday 15 January 2015
17:45 Arrival at Villamor Air Base in Manila
OFFICIAL WELCOME
Friday 16 January 2015
09:15 WELCOME CEREMONY at the Malacañan Palace
COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT
10:15 MEETING WITH THE AUTHORITIES and the DIPLOMATIC CORPS at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of the Presidential Palace
11:15 HOLY MASS with the bishops, priests, women and men religious at the Cathedral – Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila
17:30 MEETING with the FAMILIES at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila
Saturday 17 January 2015
08:15 Departure by plane from Manila for Tacloban
09:30 Arrival at the airport of Tacloban
10:00 HOLY MASS near Tacloban International Airport
12:45 Lunch with some of the survivors of typhoon Yolanda at the Archbishop’s Residence in Palo
15:00 Blessing of the Pope Francis Center for the Poor
15:30 MEETING with the Priests, Women and Men Religious, Seminarians and Families of the Survivors at the Cathedral of Palo
17:00 Departure by plane for Manila
18:15 Arrival at Villamor Air Base in Manila
Sunday 18 January 2015
09:45 Brief Meeting with the Religious Leaders of the Philippines at thePontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila
10:30 MEETING WITH THE YOUTH at the Sports Field of the University
15:30 HOLY MASS at Rizal Park in Manila
Monday 19 January 2015
09:45 Leave Taking Ceremony at the Presidential Pavilion of Villamor Air Base in Manila
10:00 Departure by plane from Manila for Rome
17:40 Arrival at the airport of Rome/Ciampino

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