MANILA — Catholic Filipinos are greatly hoping for the immediate return of Pope Francis in the Philippines after his successful five-day State and Pastoral visit from Jan. 15-19, 2014.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in a briefing after the Pontiff’s departure to Rome Monday, said the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has formally invited the Pope to attend the International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Cebu in January 2016.
He said he does not know if the Pope will attend the event since he just concluded his trip to the country.
“Tingnan natin. Kung pupunta sya — Wow. Salamat (Let’s see. If he’ll come back — Wow. Thank you),” he said.
“But it is the decision of the Holy Father. The event is there but the Holy Father will have to decide,” he said.
Tagle said people were overwhelmed right now because of the Pope’s visit, thus, he called on all the people to “spend time relishing the event.”
”The event is so deep – so deep. There is so much to reflect on, so much to pray over, so much to learn. And it is only in meditation, in prayer, in silence, that we can really get to the depths of the profound meaning of this event,” he said.
Tagle dubbed the event as “an act of communion, an act of solidarity” and “a miracle in itself” since people showed so much sacrifice.
For one, the Cardinal said some people woke up as early as 2 a.m. Sunday to attend the concluding mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila but were not even able to go to the Luneta Park quadrant.
Tagle said the effect of Pope Francis’ visit was similar to that of Pope John II’s when the latter went to the Philippines in 1995 for the World Youth Day “but we need to allow that (effect) to deepen.”
He said everyone who were touched by the Pope’s visit should reflect on the spiritual and missionary message of the event.
”Let us think about it. Let us feel what we have thought about and then do according to the impulse of ideas and a profound spiritual and pastoral challenges,” he added.