CATHOLIC bishops believe that the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines will further strengthen the faith of Filipinos, especially those who suffered from calamities.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco on Wednesday said the papal visit will enable Filipinos to renew their faith, and will give joy and peace not only to the Catholic Church, but to the entire nation.
He added that the apostolic visit will strengthen the faith of those people who have suffered in the recent calamities that struck the country.
“This good news will bring joy, peace and renewal [of faith]to many people not only to us bishops, priests, but to the Filipino people,” Ongtioco said in an interview.
Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon, the former chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) Commission on Youth, said the visit of the Argentine pope will be both a “blessing” and an “opportunity” for the Filipinos, especially the youth.
Pope Francis will be the third pontiff to visit the Philippines after Pope Paul VI in 1970 and Pope John Paul II in 1981 and 1995.
Malolos Bulacan Bishop Jose Oliveros said the Pope will console the victims of natural calamities.
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said the papal visit “is a great honor for our country.”
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle earlier said Pope Francis will be in the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015.
The Pope’s visit will mark the 20th anniversary of the World Youth Day held in Manila in 1995.