TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – “Viva il Papa, Papa Francesco!”
They danced, they cheered, they chanted: Viva il Papa, Papa Francesco!
Survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) gave a colorful and warm welcome to Pope Francis on Saturday morning, January 17, braving the wind and rain caused by Tropical Storm Amang (Mekkhala) that put Leyte and nearby provinces under signal no. 2.
Francis had to wear a raincoat after his arrival.
That he was greeted by a storm was symbolic. After all, the Pope is here to console the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, which devastated the region and killed at least 6,000 in November 2013. (WATCH: Leyte braves storm for Pope Francis)
Despite the storm, the Pope decided to push through with his trip here because it is his priority. He left an hour ahead of his original departure time at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City. (READ: Pope in Tacloban: ‘I am here to be with you’)
The mass began at 9:27 am in a makeshift altar at the airport, an hour ahead of the original schedule. Among the concelebrants is Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
A doctor from Palo, Leyte, did the first reading during the mass in the local dialect. She lost 11 members of her family due to Yolanda. – Rappler.com