MANILA – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Tuesday that Pope Francis is trying to learn Tagalog in time for his visit to the Philippines but finds it “difficult.”
“We were able to talk with him. That’s why before that day, I practiced my Italian, what I would tell him,” said a Filipino seminarian based in Rome when he met the Pope last December 31, 2014.
“He asked me if I spoke Tagalog. He said, ‘You speak Tagalog?’ I said, ‘Yes!’ Then he said, ‘I’m trying Tagalog but it’s difficult,” said Bro. Francis Dominic Vergara of Congregation of the Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that Pope Francis is learning the phrase “Sumasampalataya ako,” during his Mass on January 18 at the Quirirno Granstand.
“I think he is prepared to say ‘Sumasampalataya ako.’ It would be stressful for the Pope to recite the Apostles’ Creed in Tagalog. Mercy and compassion for the pope,” said Villegas.
Based on reports, Pope Francis will deliver his Masses in Tacloban City and in Rizal Park in English, while the Mass in the Manila Cathedral will be in Latin.