MANILA — Pope Francis has applauded Filipino strength and resilience amid the calamities that hit the Philippines.
Speaking at a welcome ceremony hosted by President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Presidential Palace, the Pope said his visit to the country is intended particularly to express his “closeness to our brothers and sisters” who endured the suffering, loss and devastation caused by typhoon ‘Yolanda.’
Haiyan, locally known as ‘Yolanda’, struck the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, with Tacloban the worst hit city.
“Together with many people throughout the world, I have admired the heroic strength, faith and resilience demonstrated by so many Filipinos in the face of this natural disaster, and so many others,” he said.
The Pope said those virtues, rooted in the hope and solidarity instilled by Christian faith, resulted in goodness and generosity.
“In that moment of national crisis, countless people came to the aid of their neighbors in need. At great sacrifice, they gave of their time and resources, creating networks of mutual help and working for the common good,” he recalled.
Pope Francis is on the second day of a five-day pastoral and state visit to the Philippines.
The pontiff is scheduled to visit Tacloban Saturday to get together with Yolanda survivors.
He will also deliver a mass to thousands of people in the city.