Filipinos love Pope John XXIII as they do John Paul II – bishop

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Pope John XXIII may not have visited the Philippines but he is still remembered and loved by Filipinos just like Pope John Paul II, an official of the Catholic Church said on Friday.

Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, contradicting claims that Pope John Paul II was the most loved Pope of the Filipinos, recounted meeting Pope John XXIII when he studied in Rome.

“He was a very simple and a very jolly person,” Reyes said.

Reyes explained that the Filipinos may not remember Pope John XXIII as he was not able to visit the country, saying such pilgrimage was not yet allowed during his time.


He, however, said the Pope was the one who blessed the Colegio Filipino in Rome in
October 1961.

The Colegio Filipino serves as the residence of priests who are studying in Rome.

“It was raining cats and dogs and his first opening sentence in Latin . . . he said, many rivers and plenty of rains will not extinguish my love for the Philippine Islands [and]for the Filipino people,” Reyes recalled Pope John XXIII as saying during the blessing of the Colegio Filipino.

He said the Pope was the one who called the Second Vatican Council, paving the way for “fresh wind [to come]into the Church.”

On Sunday, the two Popes will become saints in the first-ever double canonization ceremonies in Catholic Church history.

A Mass will be concelebrated by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City to mark the historic occasion.

Various dioceses in the country—especially those that Pope John Paul II had visited—will observe the double canonization rites.

Thousands of Catholics will be able to witness the ceremonies via live streaming.

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