Weeks before Pope Francis visits the Philippines, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) disclosed that at least 10 religious leaders are set to meet with the Pope at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila.
Fr. Carlos Reyes, CBCP executive secretary for the Commission on Inter-Religious Dialogue, on Tuesday said the religious leaders who are actively promoting the “ecumenical movement” are qualified to sit down with the pope.
“We tried to seek peace and unity and the Pope is promoting the ecumenical movement and another thing, inter-religious dialogue,” Reyes noted.
He said the “inter-faith and inter-religious dialogues would further create healthier understanding between the different communities.”
Reyes added that he also hopes that the papal visit would bring more cooperation, mutual respect and trust among other religious leaders.
Pope Francis, the third pontiff to visit the Philippines, will set foot at UST on January 18, 201, to meet not only with the religious leaders but also the youth.
In the itinerary issued by the Archdiocese of Manila, Francis will hold a brief meeting with the religious leaders at UST at 9:45 a.m. and at 10:30 a.m. of the same day, he will rally the youth at the university’s parade grounds.
UST is the only pontifical university in Asia.
Fr. Filemon dela Cruz, UST vice rector for religious affairs, said they have not decided on the venue for the pope’s meeting with the religious leaders.
He also disclosed that the meeting with the religious leaders would only run for 30 minutes.
Dela Cruz, who considers the papal visit as a blessing to UST, said some areas will be declared restricted for the papal encounter with the youth.
He added that other young people who wish to see Francis can go to Rizal Park (Luneta) where the pope will say Mass.