Millions gather in Manila for Pope Francis’ 2 events PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 January 2015 17:12

Millions gathered in Manila on Sunday for two events in Pope Francis’ fourth and last full day of his Philippines’ state and apostolic visit that started Thursday.

Some six million catholic faithful converged at Rizal Park in Manila’s old district in the afternoon to hear the pontiff say an outdoor mass and tens of thousands more had jammed the campus and outside the perimeter of University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the morning where the world catholic leader met with some 24,000 young Filipinos, including former street children.

The state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported that the crowd had started building up as early as 10 p.m with hundreds of people lining up outside the UST gates.The crowd swelled at  3 a.m.

Big crowds of people  who can no longer move closer to UST, the oldest university founded in 1611,  stayed in the streets hoping  to take a glimpse at the pope. More crowds converged outside the Nunciature where the pope stays.

In his encounter with the Filipino youth at UST, Pope Francis said the world needs more women representatives and young people not imprisoned in “youth museums.”

Noting that there were few women in the UST crowd, Francis speaking In Spanish, asked why there were a few women representatives in front of him which included a little girl name Glyzelle — a former street child—  who unashamedly wept and hugged him as she asked: “Why would God allow these kinds of hardships to fall upon us?”

“Women have a lot to tell us in today’s society. Sometimes, we’re too machistas (men-centric) and we don’t allow room for the women. But women are capable of seeing things from a different angle. Women are able to pose questions that men are not able to understand,” he said.

“Look out for this fact today, Glyzelle is the only one who has put to question [an issue] where there is no answer,” he said.

He described Glyzelle as very brave even if she was not able to finish what she had to say before bursting out into tears.

“Only when we too can cry about things which you said, are we able to come close to replying to that question. Why do children suffer so much? When the heart is able to ask itself and cry… then we can understand something,” he said.

“Let us learn how to weep as she has shown us today,” he said.

The pope urged the youth not to become “youth museums” or living dangerously in a world that is full of information but with no sense of compassion and love.

“[The world of information] is that bad? Not necessarily. It is good and it can help, but there is a real danger of living in a way of accumulating information. We have so much information, but we don’t know what to do with that information,” he said.

He urged the young to “use the three languages: of the mind, of the heart, of your hands. And to use them in harmony… To feel, to think, to do.”

In the UST, the pontiff also asked the youth present to offere prayers for a young female volunteer who was killed    on Saturday after a papal Mass in Tacloban City.

“I would like all of you, young people like her, to offer a moment in silence with me... then we pray to our Lady in heaven,” Pope Francis said through an interpreter at the start of his message.

Kristel Mae Padasas, 27, was hit by a big sound box toppled by scaffolding that collapsed due to  strong winds.

The Pope said Kristel worked for Catholic Relief Services. He asked the youth to pray for her parents, noting she was their only daughter.

“Her mom is coming from Hong Kong and her father has come to Manila,” he said.

The Pope’s visit to Tacloban was cut short due to the approaching Tropical Storm Amang (Mekkhala).