Thousands welcome Pope Francis in his Manila residence
MANILA, Philippines – After a rock star's welcome upon arriving at Villamor Airbase, Pope Francis made his way to the Apostolic Nuncio, his residence while in Manila.
Riding on the popemobile, the pontiff was welcomed by thousands of Catholic faithfuls eager to get glimpse of their leader.
David Lozada reports.
Pope Francis is in Manila! A festive atmosphere welcomes the pope here in the Apostolic Nuncio, where he will stay during his 5-day visit.
“Viva il papa! We love you Lolo Francis!” were just some of the shouts that greeted the charismatic leader as he paraded the streets of Manila.
Some of the devotees here have been waiting since before dawn but they say their exhaustion is worth it given that they’ve seen their idol even for just a few seconds.
Earlier today, some groups held prayer vigils for the pope’s safety. Some activists even tried to enter the barricade to leave a letter for the pope but they were stopped by the police.
But once news of the pope’s landing in Villamor Airbase reached the Nuncio area, the police barricades were not able to stop Catholic faithfuls to rush to see the pontiff’s motorcade.
One pilgrim tells us about her first experience in seeing a pope.
ANNA CRUZ, DEVOTEE: Yung lahat ng pagod namin kanina kakahintay sa Pope, ngayon parang wala na. Wala na talaga kaming pagod. Masaya kaming lahat. Lalo na nung tumingin sa amin si Pope naka-smile siya. Iyon lang naman gusto namin makita eh. (All the hours we spent waiting are worth it. We were so exhausted while waiting for the pope but now we don’t feel tired. We’re very happy especially when we saw him smile at us. It’s a blessed feeling that we’ve been waiting for.)
More Filipinos are expected to participate in Pope Francis’ activities in the remaining 4 days. He is expected to give strong messages on the problems that plague the country. Devotees and pilgrims in Asia’s largest Catholic nation will look for inspiration and blessing from their beloved leader.
David Lozada, Rappler Manila. – Rappler.com