By: Sheryl D. Abia –
I am one of the fortunate people that witnessed a historical event, the visitation of the Pope here in the Philippines. That will probably be one of the experiences that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. Our group went through a lot just to get inside the Grand stand, which is where our tent was assigned. We arrived in Luneta sometime around 3:30 in the morning but we got to our tents already past 8:00 morning. It was just morning but we were already beaten down and tired but we didn’t put our efforts in vain.
It started raining around 9:00, we didn’t bring any rain coats so we had to find ways to prevent us from getting wet. We made our own makeshift tent using various plastics they gave us. We spent the whole day with soaked clothes because the rain just kept on pouring continuously. We didn’t ignore the rain but instead we found a way to enjoy the rain. We joined other people in dancing the “Sinulog” and shouting “Papa Francisco, Mahal ng Pilipino“.
Then the time we were all waiting for finally came, the arrival of the Pope at Grand stand. 6 hours of standing in line and 7 hours of waiting. Even though we were all wet and freezing all of our fatigues were like washed away when we saw the smile and the slow hand waves of the Pope to us. That is probably the 10 seconds of my life that I’ll never forget. Being that close to him just felt so amazing. My brother carried me on his shoulders when the motorcade went by us and I saw him up close. I didn’t think of taking a picture or video anymore because I want these eyes of mine to be the ones to capture the image of the Pope’s smile up close. Like my post on the social media “Pope Francis your smile’s forever in my mind and memories” which I got from the lyrics of the song thinking out loud. I couldn’t avoid bursting to tears at the time because of unexplainable reasons. I felt wonderful and joy that I got to see the Lord’s instrument to us. I saw how strong people’s faith is because they didn’t let any obstacle bring them down that day.
Then the mass started. I saw how people were deeply participating in the mass. Everyone was praying and wishing for the sake of loved ones. People were joyous when they saw the Pope’s wonderful smile while he was praying. During those moments every one of us felt the hope that Pope Francis has brought to us, that everything will be okay if we would surrender everything to the Lord and trust in him. He also showed the importance of the children and the youth in the church. The message of the Pope will always remain with us even though he has parted with us. The mercy and compassion he was pointing out all the time; may we apply this throughout our lives that we may learn to value our neighbors and show compassion. We were also able to do our task as communion ushers, to protect the Blessed Sacrament. On that chance we were able to feel the duty of being a Servant to the Lord even more.