TNK street children on the visit of Pope Francis

By , on January 20, 2015


Pope Francis hugs and comforts two former street children during the 'Encounter with the Youth' event at the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, January 18, Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Radio-Television Malacanang)
Pope Francis hugs and comforts two former street children during the ‘Encounter with the Youth’ event at the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, January 18, Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Radio-Television Malacanang)

MANILA — Twelve-year old Glyzelle Palomar of the Tulay ng Kabataan (TNK) Foundation said she cried during her speech before Pope Francis at the meeting with the youth in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) last Friday because she remembered her father.

Naiyak po ako kasi naalala ko ang tatay ko, para din siya (Pope) ang kumakatawan kay Hesu Kristo. Parang ganun ang tatay ko, ganun kabait,” she said in a press conference held at the TNK headquarters in Intramuros, Manila on Monday.

When asked what she felt when she met the Pontiff, the grade 5 student answered, “Kinabahan po at may nerbyos.

Palomar said her companions and friends at the centre hugged her when she arrived, and told her that they also cried when they saw her crying on television.

Umiyak silang lahat sa harap ng tv. Swerte daw ako at niyakap ako ni Pope,” she added.

Palomar is hoping that her encounter with the Pope, people would realize and continue to help street children.

Sana po dumami kami pang mga bata na matutulungan,” she said.

Palomar noted that she will never forget her encounters with the Pope, one when the Pope visited the TNK centre on January 16 and during the meeting with the youth last Sunday.

PEOPLE'S POPE: Pope Francis makes an unpublicized visit to Tulay Ng Kabataan (TNK), an institution dedicated to helping street kids, after the High Mass at the Manila Cathedral on January 16, Friday. (CBCP News photo)
PEOPLE’S POPE: Pope Francis makes an unpublicized visit to Tulay Ng Kabataan (TNK), an institution dedicated to helping street kids, after the High Mass at the Manila Cathedral on January 16, Friday. (CBCP News photo)

The Holy Father spent some minutes at TNK centre, after the Mass he officiated for the bishops, priests, nuns and religious men and women at the Manila Cathedral, which was few meters away from the Apostolic Nunciature in Taft Avenue, Manila.

According to Fr. Matthieu Dauchez, TNK executive director, they were surprised when the Pontiff entered their gate.

“We thought that his convoy will just passed by since we are located along General Luna St., but when we saw his escorts entered our premises and seeing him, we were all surprised and at the same time very happy,” he said.

The French priest noted that the Pope stayed 15 minutes at the centre, where he was greeted and hugged by the children. The center houses 260 street children.

On the other hand, Jhun Chura, 14, who read his message to the Pope, said that he was also happy to have met and able to hug the Holy Father.

He noted that his encounter with the Pontiff showed that there is hope.

Pagyakap ko kay Santo Papa, pahiwatig na hindi lahat ng bata nawawalan ng pag-asa. May pag-asa para magbago para sa kinabukasan nila,” Chura said.

The Grade 4 student, who wrote the letter he read before the Pope during the UST event, said that his message was inspired by his experiences while he was still living in the street.

Inisip ko lang nangyari sa akin sa labas para mabuo ko yung mensahe ko sa kanya,” he said.

On the other hand, Dauchez was convinced that the visit of the Pope will have a great impact on them as well as other non-government organizations (NGOs) helping the poor.

“What (the) Pope did would be great for the foundation and help the TNK and all the NGOs working for the poor, there are so many in Manila and other parts of the country. NGOs need help,” he said.