Weeks before Pope Francis sets foot on Philippine soil, a compatriot of the pontiff expressed joy as he is among the priests who will celebrate Mass with the pope on January 16, 2015.
Fr. Luciano Felloni, an Argentinian priest serving in the Philippines, said he looks forward to celebrate the Holy Eucharist with Francis now that he is the much-respected, well-loved Vicar of Christ.
He recalled that he met then Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, renamed Pope Francis.
Felloni is a missionay priest based in Novaliches diocese’s Holy Trinity Parish in Quezon City.
He said he had the good fortune to personally meet Francis in their South American homeland.
“I hope to see him again personally. I met him years back when he was still an ordinary priest. I would like to see him closer again this time,” Felloni added.
“He is my kababayan [countryman]. I met him because we used to live in one neighborhood for three years. I confessed to him many times. I was also among those who had attended a recollection he gave when he was still an ordinary priest,” he added.
Pope Francis is set to visit the Philippines from January 15 to 19. He will personally console victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City, Leyte.
Official itinerary of the papal visit showed that Francis is scheduled to hold a concelebrated Mass on January 16, 11:15 a.m. at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception or at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica in Intramuros, Manila.
Felloni said as many as ten priests—five diocesan and five religious—from each diocese are expected to join the pope in the Eucharistic celebration at the Manila Cathedral.