When Rome is too far, Quirino Avenue will do
MANILA, Philippines – Neighbors Nenita Escorpiso and Monette Ayora came all the way from Bacoor, Cavite, to attend Pope Francis’ Luneta mass on Sunday, January 18.
They didn’t want to go to any other papal event during 5-day Philippine visit of Pope Francis, so they made sure they left early for the Sunday mass. But after seeing the long lines in the park at 8 am, they realized they did not go early enough.
“Kasi gusto talaga naming Luneta, para sana umattend ng mass, kaso di mo rin naman makikita sa monitor wala rin, walang naririnig (We really wanted to go to Luneta to attend the mass, but you can't see or hear anything because there's no monitor),” Escorpiso told Rappler.
They had to change plans. They left Luneta past noon and went instead to the Apostolic Nunciature along Taft Avenue.
There, thousands of people – 5,000 on average, according to police – waited despite light rains just to get a glimpse of the Pope.
After a few hours of waiting, Escorpiso and Ayora finally saw Francis as he made his way to Luneta past 2 pm.
The crowd dispersed immediately after the Pope passed by, but the two remained. They want one more look at the Vicar of Christ as he returns to the Apostolic Nunciature later after mass.
“Mabilis man, masilayan lang siya, kasi ang hirap kayang pumunta ng Rome (Even just a fleeting glimpse of him will be okay. It's hard to go to Rome),” Escorpiso said.
Ayora added, “Mahal pamasahe, may visa pa (The fare is expensive, and you have to get a visa).”
The two plan to get up earlier on Monday, January 19, to see the Pope one last time before he leaves the Philippines. Like many Catholic faithful, they feel blessed to see him in person.
“Kasi siya yung parang representative ni Christ sa buong mundo, parang si Jesus Christ na rin nakita mo (He is the representative of Christ on earth, so it's like you've seen Jesus Christ as well),” Escorpiso said, expressing a common view. (READ: Yolanda survivors: Pope 'like Jesus visiting Leyte)
The Luneta mass is the last event in Pope Francis' official itinerary. He departs for Rome at 10 am Monday, January 19. – Rappler.com