Pope Francis was so impressed and energized by the rapturous welcome he received upon his arrival late Thursday that he smiled all the way from Villamor Airbase in Pasay City to the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila, his temporary home in the Philippines.
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. said the pontiff was especially delighted when he saw children dancing to welcome him. He added that Francis is excited to meet the youth on Sunday at the University of Santo Tomas.
Lombardi said the Holy Father sees the Philippines as a necessary destination for every Pope because of its stature as the center of Catholism in Asia. Eight out of 10 Filipinos are Catholics.
Lombardi said the pontiff is in good health, and that he had drawn inspiration, energy and enthusiasm from the thousands of Filipinos who cheered for him along the 28-kilometer route that he travelled from Villamor Airbase to the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila.
Lombardi said the Holy Spirit is working actively in bringing the Filipinos to the heart of the Pope, who smiled all the way from the airport to the nunciature.