#Throwback: My Own Papal Visit Experience

As much as I wanted to see Pope Francis a.k.a. Lolo Kiko for his first Papal Visit here in the Philippines, the super exaggerated security measures is preventing me to do so.

Pope Francis to Meet Filipino Families at SM MOA Arena on Papal Visit 2015
Pope Francis to Meet Filipino Families at SM MOA Arena on Papal Visit 2015

As much as I am excited like all Catholic and Christians out there,  I may not be that resilient enough to not have an umbrella, water or food just to be a chance “viewer” of the Pope Francis when he arrives. I am also unhappy and discouraged with the kind of sugar coating the Philippine government has been doing dressing up the country so the Pope will have a pleasant visit.  Disallowing home owners in Palo Leyte to view the Pope at the second floor of their own homes/property and having the Philippine Police eat on plastic packed lunched for the every 5 meter barricade is just too much.

Papal Visit 2015 Philippine Police barricade eating lunch on plastic packed lunch

Pope Francis is the Pope of the people and he believes in “inclusion” “embracing everyone” into Catholicism.  This kind of security is just making it so “exclusive” and to me very discriminating and shooing everyone away.

I also learned that Internet services in the country(?) will be shut down an hour before he arrives today, January 15,2015 6pm.

I understand we want to protect the Pope from threats of terrorism.  We want to keep him safe.  We don’t want to suffer the embarassment and prosecution of the entire world if something bad happens to him.  But this kind of securitu is really provocative.  Is there something they know that we don’t know?

I know I sound so disappointed. I may just be having bitter thoughts for not having not having a guaranteed chance to see Pope Francis this time around.

Twenty years ago, I was one of the million youth in the Philippines who saw now Saint Pope John Paul II during the World Youth Day 1995.

Security was not as tight as this.  People were allowrd to hold vigils at the Rizal Park.  I saw the Saint Pope John Paul II twice.  One was when we were at the Chinese Garden at Luneta Park lounging with my fellow choir members and the Pope mobile surprisingly passed by unannounced!

The second time was his last day, when he held a mass at the Quirino Grand Stand . Bracing the crown I made it at the stage. In front of the Saint Pope John Paul II, I was able to touch his hands, I was blessed!

It was such an exciting feeling. It was an experience to remember.

I understand why there are a lot of people who will still go brace the barricades and the scorching sun, thirst and hunger just to see the Pope Francis Lolo Kiko.  I had the same feeling back then 20 years ago and its all coming back to me!  I may still root for a chance meet tomorrow January 16, 2015 at Manila Cathedral where those who will attend are encouraged to bring their own Sto. Nino because it is also the feast of the Sto. Niño!

Good luck everyone and God bless!

If you have an awesome experience with the Pope or a Papal Visit I would live to hear your stories! Share yours at the comment section below!

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