10 years of Pope Francis: A look back at his visit in the Philippines
Posted at Mar 13 2023 09:16 PM | Updated as of Mar 13 2023 09:17 PM
It's been a decade since Pope Francis was elected as the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics.
Since assuming the post, he already traveled to more than 50 countries, including the Philippines.
The pope, who was the third pontiff to visit the Southeast Asian country, made his apostolic visit from January 15-19, 2015.
To mark the 10th anniversary of his pontificate, here are the top 10 moments during his visit to the Philippines.
Pope Francis was welcomed by then-Philippine president Benigno Aquino III at the Villamor Airbase. Other high-ranking officials of the Catholic Church in the Philippines led by then president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
The pontiff then boarded the popemobile and was welcomed by thousands of Filipinos who lined up the streets leading to the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila. Ettore Ferrari, EPA/File
As part of his five-day visit, Pope Francis also went to Malacañang, the official residence of the president of the Philippines.
He met with members of the Cabinet and other leading government officials.
In his speech, the pontiff hailed the Filipinos' "important role in fostering understanding and cooperation among countries of Asia." Benhur Arcayan, Malacañang Photo Bureau/File
Like his predecessors who went to the Philippines, Pope Francis also visited and presided over a Holy Mass at the Manila Cathedral.
The event was attended by hundreds of Filipino bishops and priests and consecrated men and women.
In his homily, the pope reminded everyone that the poor are the "center and heart of the Gospel." Ettore Ferrari, EPA/File
Perhaps one of the most emotional parts of his visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis faced the wrath of a severe weather disturbance as he led a Holy Mass amid heavy rains and strong winds near the Tacloban Airport.
The pope went to Tacloban to meet those who lost their home, livelihood, and family members due to the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) that struck the southern part of the country in 2013.
Visibly moved by the circumstances, there were parts in his homily when the pope set aside his prepared words and instead made impromptu messages.
"Forgive me if I have no words to express myself. Please let me know that Jesus never lets you down," the pope said. Benhur Arcayan, Malacanang Photo Bureau/File
Pope Francis made sure to have close encounters with the Filipino people during his five-day visit.
In Palo, Leyte the pontiff visited families who were severely affected by super typhoon Yolanda. Benhur Arcayan, Malacanang Photo/File
An ecstatic crowd met Pope Francis at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City for his meeting with Filipino families.
In his message, the pontiff spoke about how countless families in the Philippines are still suffering from the effects of natural disasters and poverty.
"Protect your families! See in them your country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always by prayer and the grace of the sacraments," the pope said. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN News/File
Emphasizing the importance of ministering to the youth, Pope Francis met with thousands of young people at the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas.
During an encounter, the pope was asked by one of the former street children why God allows children to suffer.
"When they posed this question to us – why children suffer, why this or that tragedy occurs in life – our response must be either silence or a word that is born of our tears. Be courageous, don’t be afraid to cry," the pope said. Ettore Ferrari, EPA/File
During the final day of his visit, Pope Francis held a historic mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila which was attended by 6 million people thus becoming the largest papal event in history.
It was reminiscent of Pope John Paul II's mass at the same venue in 1994 for World Youth Day.
Despite the rains, people filled the entire park and streets surrounding it hoping to get a glimpse of the pope. Ryan Lim, Malacañang Photo Bureau/File
Another defining moment of Pope Francis's visit was when he boarded the iconic popemobile.
Instead of a bulletproof vehicle used by two of his immediate predecessors, Pope Francis opted for a more open-type vehicle to get closer to the people.
During his final Holy Mass at Luneta Park, the pontiff did not mind the bad weather and went around the throngs of people who patiently stood under the pouring rain to meet him. Mark Cristino, ABS-CBN News/File
For the final time, Filipinos lined up the streets leading to Villamor Airbase to bid Pope Francis goodbye. Francis R. Malasig, EPA/File