Non-Catholics in Leyte look forward to papal visit

by PNA | FRI, JAN 16, 2015 12:14 AM


TACLOBAN CITY, Jan. 15 (PNA) — Not only Roman Catholics are thrilled over Pope Francis’ visit in Leyte, but Christians of other denominations as well.

Ricardo Aban, Tacloban stake president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) also known as the Mormon Church, said that the visit of Pope Francis in the Archdiocese of Palo is something that should not be missed by the people.

Under his watch are about 5,000 LDS members in this city and the towns of Palo, Tanauan, and Alang-alang in Leyte; and Basey, Samar.

Pope Francis’ arrival this Saturday is something that could uplift the spirit of people especially those that suffer so much from the recent disasters that struck Eastern Visayas.

Even though they don’t agree on some teachings, Aban stressed that they honor people who preach God’s words because they are trying to help people grow spiritually.

He said that if he would be given a chance, he will attend the mass of Pope Francis at the airport as he would like to listen to what Pope Francis would say, knowing that the leader of the Catholic Church is known for his great wisdom.

“Being in front of the pope and listen to what he says is a way of educating and learning from him,” Aban shared.

LDS Church has been forging humanitarian response ties in different countries, including the Philippines in the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda.

One example is the partnership with the Catholic Relief Services, a Catholic humanitarian organization that benefited hundreds of homeless typhoon victims in Leyte.

Like Aban, Tacloban Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin, a Protestant bible minister raised by his Roman Catholic parents, is also excited to see Pope Francis in Leyte.

The presence of Pope Francis is needed by the city, said Yaokasin as it fulfills the theme of his visit,

“Mercy and Compassion.”

With the Pope’s visit in Leyte, Yaokasin expects that devotees will renew their faith, revive their hopes, and rekindle love for each other.

“Him being here is truly to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ, which is to be with the poor,” Yaokasin stressed.

Fr. Chrispo Salinas, a priest at the Antioquian Orthodox Congregation under the Archdiocese of Australia is also eager to see the pope.

But instead of going to the open air mass at the DZR airport, Salinas will be at the Palo Cathedral where Pope Francis will have an audience with religious groups, family of typhoon Yolanda survivors and collaborators of the Archdiocese of Palo.

“His visit brings great blessing and inspiration for typhoon Yolanda survivors,” said Salinas, adding that he is thrilled with this opportunity to see and meet the highest leader of Roman Catholics.

This is an inspiration as this will bring men closer to God after the possibility that some of those who suffer so much during typhoon Yolanda had lost their faith, he added.

In Eastern Visayas, the Orthodox religion has an active congregation in Burauen town.

Unlike any other religion, the Orthodox and Roman Catholic are much the same as they also believe in the Holy Trinity, Mary and the saints, according to him.

In the outdoor mass of Pope Francis at the DZR airport, 60 members of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation will attend.

Fr. Amadeo Alvero, information and social communication director of the Archdiocese of Palo, said that “all are invited” to join the large religious gathering.

“The visit of the Pope to our place is for all of us. He wants to reach out to all,” Alvero added. (PNA)