‘Pope Francis gave hope, light to PH’
He said he struggled to understand why he was born that way, with weak bones that stunted his development.
"The biggest struggle in my life is to accept (my state) and of course, discrimination," Medallon told Rappler on Monday, January 19.
He added: "Actually, I couldn't see before that God loved me. It was my cathecism and my experiences, and [later] my faith, that showed there really is a God."
The Pope, he said, has further strengthened that faith.
"He gave me hope. With my physical [disability], of course I've struggled. But when I saw the Pope, I thought of God – that there is always hope," he said.
Medallon was among the handful of wheelchair-bound guests who came to Villamor Airbase on Monday morning, January 19, for the send-off ceremonies for the Pope. He knows he is lucky and would not be there without the help of some friends in the Air Force.
Medallon had tried to do it on his own, to see the Pope the day before at his open-air mass in Luneta, but failed.
"I was in Luneta yesterday, I was there at 11:30 pm the night before but yesterday the rain started to pour. I was in a quadrant but I never had the chance to go closer to the stage, to the designated area for PWDs. I wasn't able to get close," he said.
In the end, Medallon only caught a glimpse of the Pope's head.
The Pope's visit he said, has helped not just him but the country.
"We know the country has gone through so much, so many typhoons. But now when he visited, he brings hope. In darkness, it's as if the sun rose. It is him that brought the light," he said.
Being in his presence, he said, has been a blessing in itself.
"The faith of the people increased even more. Even when we were muddy and wet, the people wouldn't leave. Their faith strengthened, and their hope," he said.
"For me, it is a great privilege. Even to just hear his voice, it was enough for me."
Medallon was among the estimated 6 to 7 million people who flocked to the Quirino Grandstand on Sunday, January 18 to attend the Pope's mass. The gathering was a show of faith in the biggest Catholic country in Asia, where 80% of its 100 million total population consider themselves Catholic.
The Pope left the country after his first-ever Philippine trip, a 5-day state and pastoral visit. – Rappler.com