MANILA — Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. is leading members of the House of Representatives in expressing their collective gratitude for the much anticipated historic visit of His eminence, Pope Francis, to the Philippines on Jan. 15 to 19, 2015.
Belmonte, together with Majority Leader Neptali M. Gonzales II, Minority Leader Ronaldo B. Zamora, and Rep. Rodolfo T. Albano III, are principal authors of House Resolution No. 1701, which conveys the bigger chamber’s collective and “strong support to the Pope’s mission of pastoral love, mercy and compassion among the members of the Catholic church and all mankind.”
“With his visit, Pope Francis will deliver the joy of the Gospel personally through his understanding and living out the message of God’s love and kindness, thus bringing a moment of divine grace and abundant blessings for the Filipino People,” the House leaders declared unanimity.
But prior to his visit is another heart-warming red-letter day to celebrate – Pope Francis’ 78th birthday on Dec. 17, 2014!
Sharing the Filipino people’s expected prayerful celebration, Rep. Eric L. Olivarez authored House Resolution (HR 1683) “expressing the House of Representatives’ warmest congratulations to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, more popularly known as Pope Francis on the celebration of his 78th birthday.”
“Pope Francis is noted for his humility, his concern for the poor, and his choosing to live a simpler life and less formal and rather novel approach to the papacy,” Olivarez said.
He was elected as the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13, 2013, adopting the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi of Italy.
Pope Francis’ election set several precedents by becoming the first from the Americas (Argentina), the first non-European pontiff and the first Jesuit priest to be named Pope.
Pope Francis earned his Master’s Degree in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires prior to entering the society of Jesus in Villa Devoto and earning a degree in Philosophy at the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel and his doctorate in theology in Freiburg, Germany.
“Pope Francis has earned the respect of the peoples of the world for his reputation of being a doctrinal conservative with regard the long-held customs and traditions of the Catholic Church, his thoughts on same-sex marriage, contraception and artificial insemination, the conflicts in the Middle East, his advocacy for open dialogue and reconciliation, his progressive views on scientific issues and his simple and practical lifestyle,” the authors said.
Pope Francis, who is both Bishop of Rome and absolute sovereign of the Vatican City State, was elected after the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 28, 2013.