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MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis ends his 5-day visit to the Philippines wherein his messages were constant: learn compassion, serve others.
Will his words of advice sink affect the reality of the thousands of Filipinos who came out to see him?
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
And so it ends. After 5 days of nonstop events with Pope Francis, the Philippines finally bids farewell to the beloved pontiff.
Pope Francis departs Manila a little before 10 am from Villamor Airbase. President Benigno Aquino III, church leaders and cabinet members send him off, as well as throngs of Filipinos who line the streets to say goodbye and get a final glimpse of the pope.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle asks Filipinos after the visit to relish the Pope’s trip, especially the central theme of serving the poor. He says the people must allow the pope’s message to deepen and influence their actions. He also says the visit is not only for Christians but for all Filipinos.
CARDINAL LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE, ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA: We need to allow it to deepen… the centrality of loving the poor, centrality of loving children who are helpless.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma also thanks the public for their cooperation in making the trip a huge success.
SONNY COLOMA, PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OPERATIONS OFFICE SECRETARY: Our people responded from the heart and they responded with faith.
Tagle agrees, saying the Philippines is able to show the world that communication and collaboration is possible, adding Vatican officials praise the hospitality of the Filipino people.
The Pope returns to Rome after a successful visit but it’s fruitfulness depends on whether Filipinos, government officials or the church will take to heart his messages on corruption, poverty and service. As Pope Francis departs, pilgrims say he leaves behind a Philippines that is stronger in faith, and in hope.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila. – Rappler.com