MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – In his first encounter with the Filipino youth at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila, Pope Francis challenged them to “think well, feel well, do well” amid a wave of information brought about by technology.
Tens of thousands gathered at UST on Sunday morning, January 18, to see and listen to Francis, the 3rd pope to visit Asia’s oldest university. He acknowledged the youth who shared their testimonies on stage, noting how one of them spoke about information technology. (READ: Pope, a young Thomasian and going vs the tide)
“With so many means of information we are overloaded with information,” the Pope said. “Is that bad? Not necessarily. It is good and can help.” But he warned: “There is a real danger of living in a wave of accumulation of information. We have so much information. But maybe we don’t know what to do with that information. We run the risk of becoming a museum of young people that has everything but without knowing what to do with them.”
The Pope told the youth: “We don’t need youth museums. But we do need holy young people.” (READ: Full text of the Pope’s message)
He challenged them to “think well, feel well and do well, and to be wise.” The Pope said: “Allow yourselves to be surprised by the love of God. That’s a good life.”
The Pope spoke extemporaneously and did not read his prepared speech. (READ: Francis’ undelivered speech at UST). He explained why.
“I am sorry I have not read the prepared remarks but reality is superior to ideas,” Francis said. (READ: Reality is superior to ideas)
The Philippines is Asia’s only predominantly Catholic nation, with about 80 million of its 100 million people Catholics. The venue of the Sunday event, UST, is formally called “The Royal and Pontifical University University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines.” It’s the second university in the world to be called pontifical (after Gregorian University), offering ecclesiastical degrees which are prerequisites for bishop candidates. (READ: Fast facts on UST)
The country is also the world’s social media capital.
Students gathered at the campus come not only from UST but other schools and universities in Metro Manila and other provinces. There were also out-of-school youth in the crowd.
The Pope was met with a resounding welcome shortly past 9 am Sunday, where he spent time greeting leaders of various religions before he rode his popemobile that brought him around the campus, which was packed with thousands of young people and their parents. He kissed children along the way.
Girl breaks down
The gathering turned more emotional when a 12-year-old street kid who was chosen to read her testimony before the Pope cried and broke down before him.
Carrying a prepared speech to relate her life as a street kid to Pope Francis, Glyzelle Palomar started by introducing herself as one who lives in the streets who’s exposed to all sorts of problems such as drugs and prostitution. “Why does God allow this to happen,” she asked in Filipino and then cried and stopped speaking.
The Pope later hugged her and another street kid, Jun Chura, from the Tulay ng Kabataan foundation.
Reacting to Palora in his speech, Francis said: “She is the only who has put a question for which there is no answer. And she wasn’t able to express it in words but rather in tears.” (READ: Where are the women, Pope asks)
The Pope left UST shortly before 12 noon and proceeded to the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila, where he will have lunch and rest before his 3:30 pm prayer rally at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park, Manila. – Rappler.com