MANILA - It was a scene familiar to many Filipino faithful.
Two decades after Pope Saint John Paul II concluded the 1995 World Youth Day with a mass, millions once again gathered at Rizal Park in Manila and sang in unison "Tell The World of His Love," this time in the presence of Pope Francis.
Before the final blessing of the Eucharistic celebration, an apparently pensive pontiff watched as an expected 6 million Filipinos sang the tune about discipleship, the official theme song of the papal visit 10 years earlier.
The song by Trina Belamide, it seemed, stayed with most who flocked to the Quirino Grandstand for the concluding mass of Pope Francis' five-day pastoral visit. The huge crowd was led in singing by a 1,000-member choir and a 200-member orchestra.
"Tell The World of His Love" was also performed at earlier papal events in the Philippines -- by "The Voice Kids" runner-up Lyca Gairanod at the Mall of Asia Arena, during the pontiff's encounter with families last Friday; and by her runner-up, Darren Espanto, earlier on Sunday at the conclusion of the Catholic leader's meeting with the youth at the University of Sto. Tomas.
The official theme song of Pope Francis' Philippine visit, "We Are All God's Children," was similarly performed at three different papal activities. Composer Jamie Rivera once again took the stage with the song at the Rizal Park on Sunday, as the pontiff greeted attendees while on the popemobile.