MANILA — Pope Francis is expected to deliver his message to the Filipino people during the Eucharistic Celebration at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park on Jan. 18, Rev. Fr. Rufino Sescon Jr., Executive Secretary of the Steering Committee for the Papal Visit 2015, said on Monday.
He said the Holy Father will be addressing the public during the Mass in Manila.
“Pope Francis is to deliver his message to all Filipinos. Doon sa ibang activities niya, in-address niya ang iba-ibang groups. Itong Mass sa Luneta, it is for everyone,” Sescon said during the weekly Papal Visit briefing Monday.
He added that the Holy Father is expected to go around the Luneta to greet the people before the start of the Mass, which is set at 3:30 p.m.
According to Fr. Carmelo Arada, Service Committee on Liturgy, before the start of the Mass, devotees from Cebu will bring images to join the Sinulog dance.
Jan. 18 is the date when the Filipinos celebrate the Feast of Sto. Nino.
“The profession of faith to be led by the Holy Father, ‘Sumasampalataya ako’ intercessions, will be prayed in different languages. The response is in Tagalog and English,” he said.
On the part of the government, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. urged the people to be calm and to unite and show the Pope how Filipinos behave.
“Bayanihan para sa kaayusan at kaligtasan para sa pagdalaw ng Santo Papa… Kaya ating ipakita ang mahinahon at pag-galang sa isa’t isa. Umaasa kami ng buong puso at pagkakaisa para mairaos ng matiwasay ang pagdalaw ni Pope Francis,” he added.
For his part, Fr. Alex Bautista, architect/designer of the Altar and Papal Chair for the Luneta Mass, said that the concept of his design is “to serve the liturgical and reflect the simplicity of the Vicar of Christ.”
“A floating element — like lifting the gifts and offerings of the altar. The anahaw leaves — Philippine National Leaf — will have alternating doves representing souls. Marble top is from Romblon. If you cannot bring the Pope around the Philippines, we would bring elements to the Pope,” he explained.
On the other hand, Gerardo Bayugo, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health, urged the devotees to bring plenty of water to prevent dehydration, to have concern for others and do not push or shove elderly people.
The Mass at the Quirino Grandstand is the last activity in the four-day Apostolic and State Visit of Pope Francis in the country before he return to Rome on Jan. 19.