MANILA — Church bells all over the country will peal simultaneously when Pope Francis arrives for his four-day Apostolic and State Visit on Jan. 15 at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
In a statement addressed to all bishops and priests,Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the ringing of the bells at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday will be “a symbolic gesture of welcome to the Holy Father.”
Likewise, the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate said it is a call on the Filipino people to pray for the Holy Father during his stay in the country.
“We urge the people who are unable to see him personally to at least pray for the Pope for the duration of his Philippine Visit,” said Villegas in an article posted on the papalvisitph website.
Pope Francis will be in the country from Jan. 15 to 19.
Meanwhile, a senior Vatican correspondent reminded the 14 Filipino journalists who will be part of the Vatican Accredited Media Personnel (VAMP) to be ready to be fascinated by the Holy Father.
“He’s an icon, globally recognized. But what is he like? Expect the unexpected,” said Alan Holdren, EWTN Rome correspondent in an article posted on the said site.
He added, “[Pope Francis] never stops. He keeps on going. He hardly sleeps. He does things spontaneously.”
The 14 Filipino journalists, coming from different media organizations in the country, will be covering the Holy Father’s events from Rome to Sri Lanka and finally to the Philippines.
On the other hand, Msgr. Wilfredo Andrey, vice rector of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino (PCF) Chapel, reminded the group of their crucial role, not just professionally, but spiritually.
“You also have a mission to bring God’s love… highlight what [Pope Francis’] pastoral visit really is. Spread the good news far and wide through media for people to experience God’s mercy and compassion,” the priest said in his Homily during a send-off Mass at the PCF on Jan. 9, attended by the members of the media from the Philippines.
“Let’s consider the a great event. You journalists… you are also with him, spread those good tidings through media,” he added.