In a mini-concert that fused her faith and pride as a Filipino, Sarah Geronimo performed before a crowd of thousands in the United Arab Emirates during the historic visit of Pope Francis there.
Geronimo, 30, took the stage at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi following the pontiff’s mass, which was attended by some 130,000 faithful including many Filipinos.
Geronimo, who wore creations by Dubai-based Filipino designer Furne One, sang a number of faith-centric tunes including “The Prayer.” She also performed “The Climb,” “Rise Up,” “Man in the Mirror,” and her own single “Forever’s Not Enough.”
Clips of each performance were circulated online by fans of the Geronimo. One video showed her imparting a prayer by St. Francis of Assisi, who inspired the papal name.
“Where there is hatred, let us sow love. Where there is offense, kahit mahirap po, let us forgive. Let us do our part to heal the world,” she said.
The pop star, in her concerts over the years, has been vocal of her faith, which she has credited as her source of strength amid personal challenges.
Interestingly, Tuesday wasn’t her first time to perform at a papal event. In 1995, she was also among the performers during the visit of the late Pope John Paul II to the Philippines in 1995.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News’ Maxxy Santiago after her performance, Geronimo thanked Filipinos who stayed on after the Papal Mass to watch her.
“Maraming salamat po sa bawat kababayan ko po na nag-stay to watch me perform. Thank you very much. God bless you,” she said.
Some 643,000 Filipinos live or work in the UAE, most of them in Abu Dhabi in Dubai, according to July 2018 data of the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.