Home away from home: Pope Francis now in Manila nunciature
January 15, 2015 7:54pm
Roughly an hour after he first set foot in the country, and after thousands welcomed him in the streets, Pope Francis will retire for the night at the Papal Nunciature here in Taft, Manila.

Francis, whose official visit to the Philippines commenced when he landed at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City, arrived at the Nunciature at around seven in the evening, Thursday.

Pope Francis travelled from Villamor Air Base, where he landed, to the nunciature in an open popemobile.

Aside from serving as official residence of the Pope, the Nunciature is also the Vatican’s embassy in the country.

The streets around the Nunciature, which were closed to vehicular traffic in anticipation of the Pope’s arrival, were filled with people eager to catch a glimpse of the Holy Father.

Tears, cheers

As Pope Francis’ motorcade approached, the crowds cheered, applauded and waved in greeting.

Criselda Cabial, who came with her husband and grandchildren, was moved to tears after seeing the Pope speed by in his open aired Popemobile.

“Nakita ko siya, nakita ko si Pope!” Cabial cried, saying she felt blessed because she was able to witness a historic event.

“It’s so overwhelming. Sinama ko yung mga bata para ma-bless sila ni Pope. I prayed for good health sa family and sa mga bata,” she added.

This particular encounter with the Pope is special to the Cabial family, as they initially travelled to the Vatican to witness the canonization of Pope John Paul II. However, the thick crowds in Rome prevented them from catching a glimpse of the Pope, leaving them disappointed.

Little did they know they would see the Holy Father in the flesh, in their own country.

“Dito pa namin siya nakita. Hindi mabibili ng pera yun,” Criselda’s husband added.

Official residence

Meanwhile, Pope Francis was welcomed to the Nunciature by Msgr. Giuseppe Pinto, current Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.

The Pope will continue his official visit to the country with Masses and a visit to Tacloban, where he will condole with victims of Typhoon Yolanda

Before the Philippines, Pope Francis visited Sri Lanka for the canonization ceremony of Joseph Vaz. He chose Sri Lankan Airlines to fly him to the Philippines instead of the Italian carrier Alitalia.

The trip comes just five months after Pope Francis visited South Korea, signalling the huge
importance the Vatican places on Asia and its potential for more followers. — BM, GMA News

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