Archbishop confirms Pope Francis visit to PHL on Jan. 15-19 next year

By Ferdinand G. Patino

MANILA, July 29 (PNA) — Pope Francis will visit the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015 which also marks the 20th anniversary of the World Youth Day in Manila in 1995.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Tuesday announced the Apostolic Visit during a press briefing at the Arzobispado de Manila in Intramuros, Manila.

“Accepting the initiation of the Civil Authority and the Bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Visit to Sri Lanka from January 12 to 15 and to the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015,” said the head of the Archdiocese of Manila.

Tagle, however, did not reveal the itinerary or the schedule of the visit, as they are still waiting for the announcement of the Vatican later this year.

“The program of the visit will be made public by the Holy See later in the year,” he said.

Pope Francis earlier expressed intentions to visit the survivors of super typhoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Visayas particularly Tacloban City.

Tagle noted that the news of the Papal Visit was officially released by the Papal Nuncio to Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto.

The Apostolic Visit was formally announced simultaneously in Rome (12 noon) and in Manila (6 p.m.) on July 29.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma, who was also at the press conference, said the Aquino government welcomes the Vatican’s announcement on the Holy Father’s visit early next year.

“The government joins the Filipino people in welcoming the Vatican’s announcement in confirming that His Holiness, Pope Francis will make an apostolic visit to the Philippines on 15 to 19 January 2015, Pope Francis’ visit marks the 20th anniversary of the celebration of World Youth Day in Manila that was presided over by now Saint John Paul II,” he said.

Coloma added, “Filipinos will most certainly accord to Pope Francis the warmth of their hospitality and manifest the fervor of their faith as they welcome the first pontiff from South America. President (Benigno) Aquino (III) is calling on all concerned government offices and the citizenry to work closely with the papal visit committee in ensuring the success of the Apostolic Visit of Pope Francis.”

The Malacanang official said that President Aquino has designated Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa Jr. as the government’s lead point person for the Pope’s visit.

On the part of the church, Tagle will be the head of the Apostolic Visit committee. (PNA)