Prepare spiritually and physically for Pope’s visit, Palo priest asks faithful

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December 16, 2014 8:18pm


A church official from Leyte on Tuesday asked those that will flock in Tacloban and Palo for Pope Francis’ visit to “ready themselves” for the large crowds that they will face.
In a press briefing in Intramuros, Msgr. Bernie Pantin, vicar-general of the Archdiocese of Palo, called on the people “to ready themselves physically and spiritually,” as well as to “bear the little inconveniences.”
Pantin also asked the people to be careful to avoid getting hurt, as well as to look out for each other during the public events.
“We are praying that the faith, restraint, and resiliency that our people showed at the face of so much suffering will once again prevail over the frenzy of excitement, so that no untoward incident will happen,” he said.
Mass, motorcade
Pope Francis will spend most of the third day of his Philippine visit on January 17 in Leyte.
While most of his visit in the province will be spent with a select number of people, the public will get to commune with him in a mass at the Tacloban airport,
Pantin said the airport grounds may accommodate about 150,000 people, adding that the area will be secured by barricades.
He also pointed out that the public may get the chance to see him in motorcades to and from Palo.
The popemobile that Pope Francis will use will be “open” and not bulletproof to enable him to reach out physically to the people, as well as to hear cheers and shoutouts from those who will line up the road, church officials said.
During the press briefing, Pantin said the “worst case scenario” is that people will also occupy the side of the road from the airport where Pope Francis’ vehicle will pass.

“There’s only one way to the airport. Siguro ‘yung worst case scenario is baka hindi na makadaan doon kasi puno ng tao. The place is small,” Pantin said.

“Although half of the road will be given to the people, so sana hindi talaga matakpan ‘yung side of the road kung saan dadaan ‘yung motorcade. Otherwise, hindi na magmo-motorcade, baka i-airlift na lang [si Pope] papuntang Palo,” he added.
Visiting survivors, siesta
After the mass, the Pope will head to the Archbishop’s Resident in Palo for lunch with 30 survivors of super typhoon Yolanda and the magnitude-7.2 earthquake in Bohol last year.
According to Pantin, 15 of the individuals chosen will come from Leyte, while five persons each will come from the cities of Borongan and Calbayog in Samar, and Tagbilaran in Bohol.
After this and a 30-minute “siesta,” the Pope will bless the Pope Francis Center for the Poor in Palo, where he will meet 50 persons with disabilities, orphans, and elderly.
Pope Francis Center, which was briefly used as an evacuation center for people affected by Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit), will have an orphanage, a home for the aged, and a dispensary.
The Pope will be “praying and lighting a candle” there before going back to Tacloban airport for his flight back to Manila, Pantin said. —NB, GMA News