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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – About an hour before he was to meet hundreds of families near a major mall here, Pope Francis tweeted how “the Philippines bear witness to the youthfulness and vitality of the Church.”
The pontiff, who has received a welcome fit for a rockstar in the predominantly Catholic Southeast Asian country, first tweeted in English at 4 pm Manila time on Friday, January 16.
This was followed by the Tagalog version of the earlier tweet a few minutes later:
Ang Pilipinas ay patunay ng kabataan at kasiglahan ng Simbahan.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 16, 2015
As of posting, the Tagalog post from @pontifex, the Pope’s official account, is his most retweeted tweet of all time.
Protect the family
In the evening, after his meeting with some 20,000 families, the Pope tweeted again in English and Filipino, this time to reiterate his message of the need to protect the family against ideologies that threaten to destroy it.
“The family is the greatest treasure of any country. Let us all work to protect and strengthen this, the cornerstone of society,” went Francis’ tweet after the event.
It was followed by the Tagalog version:
Ang pamilya ay ang pinakamahalagang kayamanan ng isang bansa. Naway pagsikapan nating ipagtanggol at patatagin itong pundasyon ng lipunan.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 16, 2015
“Ang kahabagan ng Diyos, ang kanyang sakripisyo, ay nagbibigay saysay at halaga sa lahat ng ating paghihirap,” his 3rd tweet in Filipino said on January 17. (The com-passion of God, his suffering-with-us, gives meaning and worth to our struggles and our sufferings.)
Ang kahabagan ng Diyos, ang kanyang sakripisyo, ay nagbibigay saysay at halaga sa lahat ng ating paghihirap.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 17, 2015
On January 18, he tweeted twice focusing on the message of helping the needy.
“Bilang Kristiyano, miyembro ng pamilya ng Diyos, tinatawag tayo upang hanapin at paglingkuran ang lahat ng mga nangangailangan,” the Pope Francis tweeted for the fourth time in Tagalog on January 18. (We who are Christians, members of God’s family, are called to go out to the needy and to serve them.)
Bilang Kristiyano, miyembro ng pamilya ng Diyos, tinatawag tayo upang hanapin at paglingkuran ang lahat ng mga nangangailangan.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 18, 2015
“Madalas nating makalimutang pagtuunan ng pansin ang mga bagay na talagang mahalaga. Nakakalimutan natin na tayo’y Anak ng Diyos.” (How often we forget to dedicate ourselves to that which truly matters! We forget that we are children of God.)
Madalas nating makalimutang pagtuunan ng pansin ang mga bagay na talagang mahalaga. Nakakalimutan natin na tayo'y Anak ng Diyos.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 18, 2015
On Monday, January 19, his last day in the country, he reminded Filipinos to continue praying for him.
“Sa aking mga kaibigan sa Sri Lanka at Pilipinas: Naway pagpalain kayo ng Diyos. Sana´y patuloy niyo akong ipagdasal.” (To my friends in Sri Lanka and the Philippines: May God bless you all! Please pray for me.)
Sa aking mga kaibigan sa Sri Lanka at Pilipinas: Naway pagpalain kayo ng Diyos. Sana´y patuloy niyo akong ipagdasal.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 19, 2015
During his visit to Sri Lanka, his stop before the Philippine trip, the Pope also tweeted in the country’s official languages on January 15.
Before this, the last time the Pope mentioned the Philippines on Twitter was at the start of his Asian tour, on January 12.
Please pray with me for everyone in Sri Lanka and the Philippines as I begin my trip.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 12, 2015
Francis is the first pope whose election was announced on Twitter. His predecessor, Benedict XVI was picked in 2005, a year before the microblogging site was founded.
Filipinos are considered among the most active social media users in the world.
Francis on Friday was on the second of his 5-day visit to the Philippines. Before the meeting with families at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City late afternoon, he had come from a meeting with President Benigno Aquino III, where he urged government officials to reject corruption, and a mass for the clergy, where he called on the Philippine Catholic Church to actively fight inequality and injustice and heed the vow of poverty.
On the night of the Pope’s arrival in Manila on Thursday, the Vatican spokesman told journalists that the pontiff was encouraged by the enthusiastic welcome that the Filipinos gave him. The Pope supposedly said upon seeing the crowd, “The Holy Spirit will have to work with me to touch the hearts of all the people here.” – Miriam Grace Go/Rappler.com