• Luneta Mass testament of Filipino faith

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    This general view shows millions of faithful attending a mass held by Pope Francis Rizal Park in Manila on Sunday. AFP Photo

    This general view shows millions of faithful attending a mass held by Pope Francis Rizal Park in Manila on Sunday. AFP Photo

    Pope Francis’ concluding Mass at the Rizal Park was a testament of the faith of millions of Filipinos who defied inclement weather.

    An estimated 2.5 million people lined the streets from the Apostolic Nunciature in Quirino Avenue to the Rizal Park, based on figures from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

    Many of the faithful who gathered at the Quirino Grandstand had been in the area since Saturday. Thousands who came from the provinces stayed in hotels near park, thinking they would have a better chance of seeing the Pope.

    The grandstand was filled to capacity as soon as the gates were opened at 6 a.m., leaving those who came late to watch from large TV screens set up around the park.

    The pope left the Apostolic Nunciature at past 2:30 p.m. The pontiff hugged and kissed at least eight children on his way to the stage of the Quirino Grandstand.

    In his homily, the pontiff honored the Sto. Nino, whose feast was celebrated yesterday. He also highlighted the need to protect families and the children.

    “We need to care for our young people, not allowing them to be robbed of hope and condemned to life on the streets,” he said.

    The Prayers of the Faithful were said in Tagalog, Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, Ilokano, Cebuano, Binisaya and Bikolano.

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