From malls, stalls to e-shopping, Pope Francis paraphernalia are a hit!
Whether you call it “Pope Mania,” “The Francis Effect” or “Francis Fever,” the excitement leading to the ongoing papal visit has touched Filipinos from all corners of these islands, including entrepreneurs big and small.
Heeding to Pope Francis’ call for “Mercy and Compassion”—the theme of his three-day official and apostolic visit to Manila and Leyte—let us kindly refer to this sub-phenomenon of endless Pope paraphernalia in malls, stalls, and even internet shopping websites say as a “blessed opportunity.”
For, in an interview with The Manila Times, instead of frowning upon industrious individuals—not to mention religious organizations and government agencies—who others deem to be “cashing in” on the visit of the Vicar of Christ, St. Scholastica College Manila theology professor Rembrandt Santos sees nothing wrong with their business.
“From international events like the Olympics or the World Cup, to more common yet special events like class reunions or weddings, souvenirs are simple a reminder for people about a milestone or a major event that took place in their lives,” Santos explained. “And in my opinion, T-shirts to umbrellas to ball pens are staples in any major event—and the papal visit is not an exception to this phenomenon.”
The theologian quickly added, “Besides, one has the choice of buying them or not . . . to do so is not requirement, but I understand that there are those who want a ‘piece’ of him—whether on a shirt or a poster—to remember his visit by.”
At the end of the day, according to Santos, what is important—and what he hopes for—is that these pieces of the Pope, which have been a hit since the Catholic Bishops’ of the Philippines (CBCP) launched the first set of official Pope Francis memorabilia in October 2014, will remind the faithful of his messages during his historic visit to the country.
Today, The Manila Times gathers top picks for a piece of the People’s Pope. With A report from Sarah Villan, Intern