'Tell The World of His Love' composer Trina Belamide. Photo from Belamide's official website
MANILA - Trina Belamide, the composer behind "Tell The World of His Love," was one of the 1,000 choir members who led a millions-strong crowd Sunday in singing in the presence of Pope Francis.
The song about discipleship was performed before the pontiff gave his final blessing at the concluding mass of his apostolic visit to the Philippines. Held at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila, the highly anticipted event attracted at least 6 million people -- a world record for a papal gathering.
Belamide, a member of the Ateneo Chamber Singers, joined choral groups from various dioceses and a 200-member orchestra in bringing the song to a new generation.
"Tell The World of His Love" was the winning entry out of 85 submitted to become the official theme song of the 1995 World Youth Day, which was presided by Pope Saint John Paul II in Manila.
Originally sung by Carelle Mangaliag and Jeff Arcilla, "Tell The World of His Love" was popular among the Filipino faithful at the time. And going by the millions who sang in unison on Sunday, it has remained indelible to most who witnessed both papal events.
"I've come to realize the song will always be associated with not just Pope Saint John Paul II but with any other pope or papal event," Belamide told CBCB News. "I guess it's because the World Youth Day was such a big event for us Filipinos, something we all have fond memories of. The song brings us back to a happy time in our history."
Aside from the mass at Rizal Park, "Tell The World of His Love" was also performed at two other papal events in Manila -- 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.
For Belamide, the message of the song remains applicable to Pope Francis' mission today, two decades after the historic event she had written it for.
"'Tell The World Of His Love' is about going out into the world and spreading God's message of love, so the message isn't all that different from Pope Francis' message of reaching out and showing compassion to those who most need it," she said.