MANILA, Nov. 14, 2014– Pope Francis will bring his message of “mercy and compassion” to at least 11 different venues in the province of Leyte and Metro Manila during his Apostolic Visit to the Philippines on January 15 to 19, 2015.
Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Manila from Sri Lanka, the first leg of his Asian trip, around 5 p.m. on January 15, and will go on a motorcade to his residence in Manila.
The following morning, January 16, the pope will be officially welcomed by President Benigno Aquino III at Malacañang Palace on J. P. Laurel Street in Manila and will be followed with a meeting with the members of the diplomatic corps.
After the Palace reception, he will go on a motorcade to the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros for a Mass with bishops, priests, and the religious.
After the Mass, Pope Francis will also have an encounter with families at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
On January 17, the pontiff will visit some areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in Leyte particularly Tacloban City and its adjacent town of Palo.
Pope Francis will offer Mass upon his arrival at the Tacloban Airport and will later dine with the poor and survivors of recent natural calamities at the residence of the Archbishop of Palo.
Among those who will be sharing lunch with the Pope are victims of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that levelled several century-old churches in Bohol.
He will also bless the Pope Francis Center for the Poor and visit the Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration, both in Palo, to meet with priests and the religious before going back to Manila on the same day.
On January 18, the Pope have a brief meeting with the religious leaders and will meet young people at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila. In the afternoon, he will go on a motorcade for the Concluding Mass at Quirino Grandstand in Rizal (Luneta) Park.
Pope Francis will leave for Rome on January 19.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said that Pope Francis is bringing the “joy of Gospel personally, to us, on the five special days in January that we have officially announced.”
But the bishops reiterated that the papal visit “carries a message of pastoral love, mercy and compassion” and it is “through the understanding and living out of this message that the grace will flow.”
“I invite you all, my fellow Filipinos, to extend a hearty and warm welcome to our Pope. But most importantly let us open our hearts to the message he will bring and, even now, extend the love, mercy, compassion and kindness that he practices to one another, that he may find in our country a blessed, kind, and grateful people,” Villegas said.
“Let us all work and act together to make his visit a moment of grace for us and our country,” he said. “When Pope Francis comes, he will show us the face of God. When the Pope sees us Filipinos, may he see the living God in us.”
The official itinerary is as follows:
January 15, 2015 Arrival from Sri Lanka – Villamor Air Base Motorcade to the Apostolic Nunciature – Taft Avenue, Manila
January 16, 2015 Welcome Ceremony – Malacañan Palace, Manila Motorcade to the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral) Mass with Bishops, Priests, and Religious – Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral) Motorcade to the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay Encounter with Families – Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay
January 17, 2015 Departure for Archdiocese of Palo – Villamor Air Base Arrival at Tacloban Airport Holy Mass – Tacloban Airport Lunch with the Poor and Survivors of Calamities at Gonzagahaus (Residence of the Archbishop of Palo) – Palo, Leyte Blessing of the Pope Francis Center for the Poor – Palo, Leyte Meeting with the Priests and Religious at Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration (Palo Cathedral) – Palo, Leyte Departure for Manila Arrival at Manila – Villamor Air Base
January 18, 2015 Brief Meeting with the Religious Leaders and Encounter with the Youth – Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, España, Manila Motorcade to Rizal Park, Manila Concluding Mass, Rizal Park, Manila
January 19, 2015 Motorcade from the Apostolic Nunciature Departure for Rome – Villamor Air Base (CBCPNews)