Morale Booster but with ‘OVERBLOWN’ Preps? OFWs Weigh in on Pope Francis’ Visit to PHL
Updated 4:43 p.m.) Several Filipinos abroad have weighed in on the five-day visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, with some excited over it despite the distance and some noting what they perceived as overblown preparations for the event.
For YouScooper Nobie Limpio of Alberta, Canada, Pope Francis’ visit to Metro Manila and Leyte from January 15 to 19 will definitely resound to Filipino Catholics everywhere, even to those outside the country.
“Para sa ‘kin I’m happy kahit na wala ako sa Pilipinas, ramdam ko na ang mga Katolikong Pilipino ay hindi na makapaghintay sa pag-dating niya!,” said Limpio, who works for Boston Pizza.
Limpio added that to see the Pope in person should be considered a blessing by every individual who has faith in God.
Julieta Consul-Mozier, an assistant manager in retail in the United States, sees the visit in a different light, saying although it wasn’t strictly necessary, it would be a big boost for the Philippine economy and the national morale.
“Every once in a while, the faithful do need an uplift on their faith. And it is good for the local economy too. People are traveling, staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, and buying souvenirs,” Mozier said.
Then there was those who wished for the Pope’s visit to inspire honesty and compassion among local politicians and government officials.
“Hopefully, Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines would challenge our politicians to set aside their own interests and really serve the people,” said Jonathan Perez, a reporter in the CNMI.
Perez also welcomed the Pope’s decision to include meeting the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda and the earthquake in Bohol on his itinerary.
“He truly is the People’s Pope after he included visiting the displaced families of super typhoon Yolanda in Palo and Tacloban City in Leyte province on his itinerary. His visit to the areas affected by Yolanda would give hope to the hopeless,” he said.
Entrepreneur Gill Concha said the Pope’s visit to the Philippines will be a good thing for Filipinos, as it sends “a strong and inspiring message” that serves to “inspire, strengthen and hopefully change people.”
“Especially at this time that terrorism and its origin is threatening peace around the world, our country, needs a symbol of hope for Christianity,” said Concha, the chapter commander of The Order of the Knights of Rizal in Monaco.
A simple welcome will do
Meanwhile, fellows like Colorado-based intern Uminga Ice think the preparations for the visit were quite unbecoming of the simplicity of Filipinos.
“Filipino hospitality doesn’t need all those things such as a grand welcome. A simple welcome is enough,” said Ice.
California-based Ed Junio believes trimming the visit down to a tech-based tour might be more cost-effective, and may even reach more faithful especially in areas that will not be part of the Pope’s itinerary.
He added that he finds the fanaticism of some Filipino devotees alarming and bordering on worship.
“In my opinion though, a lot of Catholics tend to go overboard with their respect for the Pope — more like a worship. The country in particular always seem to want to make an impression on the Pope,” Junio said.
Cecelia Bachmeier, currently working for a medical equipment manufacturer in San Diego, said the preparations for Pope Francis’s tour was justified for its ability to strengthen and unify Catholics.
“The Pope’s visit will help the new generation of youth to research about faith. I can see that the preparation urged people to learn more of Christianity,” she said.
While some Filipinos abroad said they will keep themselves updated on Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines via TV news reports and social media, some — like Junio — see no reason to do so.
“We’re not really watching the news about his visit. Not sure about the other Catholic communities in the LA area,” Junio said.
“Yes, we are watching the news of the visit here in America through our media, especially through the Catholic cable channel,” said Mozier.
Regardless of this, most still believe that Pope Francis will enjoy his stay in the Philippines.
“I hope he likes our country as those wonderful summer vacation by the beach. The kind when you just go and enjoy yourself,” said Ice wistfully.
“It doesn’t matter kung engrande o simple as long as ang bawat Pilipino ay may pagkakaisa at mairaos o maipag-diwang ng ligtas. Ang bawat isang dadalo o sasalubong sa mahal na Papa! At ‘yon ang pinaka importante dahil alam naman nating lahat na ang bagong halal na Pope ay hindi materialistic,” Limpio said.