Pope apologizes for cutting short his Leyte visit

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Pope Francis waves towards children who survived of Typhoon Yolanda, as he arrives at the Palo Cathedral in Palo, Leyte, on Saturday. Pope Francis braved heavy rain on January 17 to celebrate an emotional mass with a sea of weeping survivors of the super typhoon that killed thousands, saying their pain silenced his heart. AFP PHOTO

Pope Francis waves towards children who survived of Typhoon Yolanda, as he arrives at the Palo Cathedral in Palo, Leyte, on Saturday. Pope Francis braved heavy rain on January 17 to celebrate an emotional mass with a sea of weeping survivors of the super typhoon that killed thousands, saying their pain silenced his heart. AFP PHOTO

Pope Francis apologized to the people of Palo, Leyte for cutting short his visit because of bad weather.

The Pope was supposed to stay in Leyte until 5 p.m. on Saturday, but the pilots insisted that the papal plane had to leave by 1 p.m. as tropical storm Amang intensified in Leyte and nearby provinces.

Some advisers earlier urged the Holy Father to cancel his trip because of inclement weather. Pope Francis, however, won’t be stopped, and he managed to complete his activities in Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte despite the signal number 2 typhoon.

Addressing the faithful inside and outside the Palo Cathedral, the Pope said he is saddened by the change in schedule “because I have something especially prepared for you.”


The Pope personally explained to the priests, seminarians, nuns, the religious and the lay people gathered in Palo that the pilots insisted that his plane has to leave by 1 p.m. because the storm is going to worsen.

He then asked the people for two things: “First, pray for me,” and with his signature smile, “Second, be quiet.”

Before he left, the Pope was presented with the sculpture of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception made from the debris of the Church that was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda.

It was also reported that Pope Francis gave a parting gift to the people of Leyte: a mosaic of the La Madonna del Popolo, which he already blessed. The mosaic depicts the Mother of God presenting to her all–merciful Son the needs of a people engrossed in the preoccupations of everyday life.

Before announcing the changes in his schedule, Pope Francis celebrated a Holy Mass at the Tacloban City Airport, had a close encounter with selected families that were victims of the typhoon, blessed the Pope Francis Center for the Poor, and met with the religious at the Palo Cathedral.

He was supposed to deliver a liturgical message for the religious at the Palo Cathedral, but had to cancel it.

Pope Francis was supposed to ride in a closed vehicle going to the airport, but opted at the last minute to go on a motorcade to greet the people on the street.

His visit to Tacloban and Palo are said to be the top priorities of Pope Francis, and the primary reason why he wanted to visit the Philippines.

 

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