Pope Francis has officially concluded his week-long trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. CNA’s Rome Bureau Chief Alan Holdren was on the ground for the papal visit to the Philippines. Holdren spoke with two religious sisters who stood in the rain for hours for the chance to attend Mass with Pope Francis in Rizal Park in Manila. The Mass had a record attendance of 6-7 million. 

Sister Marigold Magbanua of the Carmelite Missionaries, Quezon City Provincial House. Sr. Marigold is the provincial superior of the Philippine Province - including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and Australia.

Sister Marigold Magbanua of the Carmelite Missionaries, Quezon City Provincial House. Sr. Marigold is the provincial superior of the Philippine Province – including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and Australia.

 

Holdren: What is the emotion you’re feeling right now as the Pope comes?

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Sr. Marigold: I’m feeling serene at the moment but, I guess when he comes, I will be overwhelmed, because when I was just watching him on T.V., I could feel mixed emotions of joy and also, it’s like very edified.  

 

Holdren: The Pope seems to be giving special attention to Asian countries. Why do you think that is?

Sr. Marigold: Well, I think it’s because in Asia a lot of people are basically poor and I think that the Holy Father has a special place for the poor. Especially for children, the infirm, and the women. And also Asia is the home of different religions and I think it’s very open to it. 

 

Holdren: What do you think Pope Francis will do for the Philippines, as a result of this trip?

Sr. Marigold: I haven’t thought about it, but I think the Philippines will remain as it is now – a special place in his heart. I think he’s going to pray very much for us and I think his trip to Tacloban is really touching because it was at first an experience of really seeing the people. And, as he said, he was kind of late, but he said it’s not too late to be with the people – to be one with them. Although, I think he couldn’t do much physically, but I think he’s going to be with us in spirit and he’s going to be united with us in all of our miseries and pains as well as in our joys. 

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Sr. Editha Ledda of the Daughters of St. Paul in Gumaka, Quezon Province, Philippines.

Sr. Editha Ledda of the Daughters of St. Paul in Gumaka, Quezon Province, Philippines.

 

Holdren: How long have you been waiting here in the park today?

Sr. Editha: I am here since four in the morning.

 

Holdren: And you’re here to celebrate Mass with Pope Francis?

Sr. Editha: Yes, of course! Because we love the Pope.

 

Holdren: What is the emotion that you’re feeling right now, as the Pope comes?

Sr. Editha: I’m very happy, I’m very lucky be here because most of the people, they really wanted to come here but since they are far…they are just watching the TV. But, now, my heart is breaking because of joy because of happiness because this is a great moment to be with the Pope in this Mass.

 

Holdren: What has Pope Francis done for the Philippines?

Sr. Editha: I think when I saw the people in the streets – it is the hope, it is the love, it is the mercy that Jesus Christ has for the Filipino people. I love the Pope. I really want to kiss him but, I am just contented to be here. Just to see the Pope is my joy, my pleasure.

 

Holdren: What is it that you have in your hand there?

Sr. Editha: It is the Santo Nino (Holy Child). We are celebrating today the Feast of the Santo Nino. That is why we were encouraged to bring the image of the Santo Nino. Because today the Philippine country is celebrating the Feast of the Santo Nino and we are encouraged to bring him because now with the Pope we will celebrate the feast of the Santo Nino.

 

Holdren: Do you have a devotion to the Santo Nino?

Sr. Editha: Since childhood I’ve been a fan of the Santo Nino because (it is) representative of the little baby Jesus who is always asking the help of the father and a childlike attitude. This is an image of the child, of a little boy, who is always calling the father. So, that is why our people are a fan of Santo Nino because they know that if the son calls the help of the father, the father will immediately give the help.