MANILA — Forty elderly Filipinos living in the United States and Canada, mostly wheel-chair assisted, have made the long trip home in hopes of catching a glimpse of the pope during his visit to the Philippines.
Catching a connecting flight from Taiwan, they said that while they started out as strangers, they have banded together on the journey.
Pacita Venezuela is heading with her husband and her 81-year-old mother Conchita to their hometown in Tacloban in eastern Leyte province. Francis is scheduled to visit Leyte on Saturday to celebrate a Mass and have lunch with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the province on Nov. 8, 2013.
“It is my biggest opportunity to see him in Tacloban, and it is very emotional because of what happened in Tacloban, it affected my family and relatives,” said Venezuela, who has lived in Canada since 1990 and still has siblings in the city.
“I thank God,” she said, “that Pope Francis, he had a heart to see the people of Tacloban and the Philippines.”