Manila Philippines: Recent Papal Visits
Manila, Philippines is the most densely populated city in the world. Manila is the second largest city in the Philippines. It is the capital city of the Philippine Nation. There are 16 cities that make up Metro Manila. Over 12 million people call Metro Manila home.
The Philippines is a secular country. It has a constitutional separation of church and state. Over 90% of the people are Christian. About 80% are members of the Roman Catholic Church. It is one of two countries in Asia that are predominantly Roman Catholic. East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, is also predominantly Roman Catholic.
Even though the Philippines is a secular country, 80% of the voting block of the nation are Roman Catholic. You can see that this voting block is respected. Currently the government of the Philippines declared a 5 day Holiday where no one needed to work in honor of the Papal visit. This island nation has been eagerly awaiting the visit of Pope Francis. Men, women, and children lined the streets of Manila to see the first glimpse of the Pontiff. Pope Francis announced in Manila that the theme of his visit is “The plight of the poor.” He also made it clear that killing in the name of God is not acceptable. He stressed that all needed to show respect for the religion of another, but no one had the right to kill. These comments were in reference to the tragedy in Paris. He took great interest in the children and noted that many were too short to see him. They left crying. The Pope took notice and was deeply moved. Children learn early that the pope is the most important person in their church.
Recent Papal visits to the Philippines include Pope Paul VI in 1970. Pope Paul was the target of an assassination attempt. He was not hurt. Pope John Paul II visited twice. He was there in 1981 and again in 1995. Pope Francis is currently in the Philippines and is expected to return next year for the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines. The Eucharistic Congress is a gathering of clergy, religious, and laity to acknowledge the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Last minute flights can still be had for this weekend Mass. If you are pre-planning for next year, it is not too early to plan and book next years trip. Pope Francis is expected to be in the country January 15-19, 2016. The Pope is quite often in the Philippines once a year. Check the website for future years. Registration for next years congress is available online on the Congress website.