More than 40,000 youth from various universities and sectors gathered at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Sunday morning to personally see Pope Francis, the “rock star” pope to young people of today.
But who is really Pope Francis to the Filipino youth?
Miguel Naguit, 14, of Mount Carmel School of Cavite, said the Pope is a “role model” and a “bridge” between the Catholic Church and those who have lost their paths and faith.
He added that the Holy Father is also a living testament to equality.
“Siya po yung nagpapadama na lahat tayo ay pantay-pantay. Hindi dapat siya yung sinasamba kundi ang God pa rin po [Francis makes you feel that we are all equal. He wants us to worship God, not him],” Naguit said.
Naguit was member of his school’s band that perform for the Holy Father during the encounter with the youth, as well as religious leaders, at UST in Manila.
Ara Mae Delos Santos, 16, of Ballesteros National High School in Cagayan Valley echoed the Cavite student’s sentiments.
She said Francis is a”great model” for the Filipino youth for he is the Vicar of Christ.
She added that the Holy Father is also “humble” and sends “good vibes” to the people, especially the young, because he is “always smiling.”
Aldheja Medrano, 24, of the Archdiocesan Commission on Youth, San Juan de Nepomuceno in Pasay City (Metro Manila), said the youth should emulate the “humility” of Pope Francis.
Medrano added that she is thankful to the Catholic Church for having a “modern Pope” like Francis.
“Ngayon lang nagkaroon ng Pope na malapit sa kabataan [This is the first time that there is a Pope who is close to the youth],” she said.
The Sunday encounter was also attended by 40 persons with disability (PWD), babies and the elderly.
Miracle Lasala, 15, also of Cavite, had prepared a letter for Pope Francis.
In her letter, she thanked the Holy Father for he did not fail the Yolanda survivors on his promise to console them.
“First of all, thank you very much for visiting the Philippines and you are so blessed because we have seen the peace and humanity during disasters and we thank you because God has sent you here [to the]Philippines,” Lasala stated in her letter.
Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated Tacloban City, capital of Leyte province in the country’s Eastern Visayas region, in November 2013, leaving more than 6,000 people dead and thousands more missing and displaced.