(OFF) – Neither rain nor bad weather, nor the long hours in queues, were deterrent for Filipinos go to Rizal Park, in Manila, to attend the last Mass of the Pope in the country.
Never such a large crowd gathered in the Philippines before: estimated 6-7 million people attended the Pope’s closing Mass.
The Mass coincided with the traditional celebration of the Feast of the Santo Ninho, which means the “Holy Child”, much celebrated in the country.
Pope Francis recalled this fact and told the crowds that, as children of God, they have responsibility to proclaim the Gospel.
(FRANCIS) – ” Today Saint Paul has told us that in Christ we have become God’s adopted children, brothers and sisters in Christ. This is who we are, our identity” “We are all God’s children”. That is what the Santo Niño tells us. He reminds us of our deepest identity. All of us are God’s children, members of God’s family.
(OFF) – The Philippines is the most Catholic country in Asia. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia. The Pope asked to be faithful to the Gospel, even in the mist of temptations and difficulties.
Sometimes, when we see the troubles, difficulties and wrongs all around us, we are tempted to give up. It seems that the promises of the Gospel do not apply; they are unreal. Be strong, because that’s when the devil comes up and temp us.
(FRANCIS ) -.. “The devil is the father of lies. Often he hides his snares behind the appearance of sophistication, the allure of being “modern”, “like everyone else”. He distracts us with the promise of ephemeral pleasures, superficial pastimes”
(OFF) – He also asked that, as a society, the street children be not forgotten, those who are in need or being exploited.
Before the end of the Mass and the Pope’s departure, the archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Tagle, delivered a farewell message by saying:
(CARDINAL LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE) – All Filipinos want to go with the Pope … Not only to Rome, but everywhere, even to the peripheries, prisons, hospitals …
(OFF) – After the Mass the Pope gave them a missionary blessing. Millions of people wanted to be present despite requests from the government asking the population to restrict from going to the event because of the difficulties and dangers that big numbers can bring.
But it was in vain: When, in his Popemobile, Pope Francis said goodbye to the faithful, he was able to see that not only Rizal Park was full, but even all the streets around it were completely taken by the crowds. (JSG)