By Justin K. Vestil
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
CEBU - Church officials in the Visayas are urging the Holy See to include Bohol as part of Pope Francis’s itinerary when he visits the country next year.
Bohol bore the brunt of the damage caused by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that also struck Cebu on October 15, 2013, said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
“Subo man kita sa nahitabo sa bagyo, pero kung makakita ta sa old and heritage churches nga natumpag, subo sad kaayo (We’re saddened by what happened to victims of typhoon Yolanda, but the swathe of destruction left by the quake also saddens us)” Palma told reporters Wednesday.
Earlier this year, Palma said, he and other Visayas-based clergymen met in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental for the 9th Visayas Region Pastoral Assembly where they discussed, among other things, the upcoming papal visit.
Palma said they’ve sent numerous requests to the Vatican for the Pope to visit other areas in the Visayas during his five-day trip.
The archbishop said he understands why the Pope chose Tacloban City because he wants to show solidarity with the typhoon’s victims.
“Mas kusog ang iyang compassion sa mga (The Pope has more passion for) typhoon victims, due to the huge death toll sa (in) Leyte. Subo man gyud hunahunaon (It’s really sad when you think of it), that is why we recognized that,” Palma said.
He said they’ve also tried to convince the Pope to visit Cebu, which will host the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in 2016. During his trip to Rome, Italy to meet the international organizers of the IEC, Palma said he was able to talk to the Pope four times, during which he tried to convince the pontiff to visit Cebu.
“I made mention to him on the possibility of visiting Cebu, but the Pope only smiled and did not comment,” he said.
However, the archbishop said he is not discounting the possibility that the Pope might break protocol during his trip to the country.
Because of this, Palma said the archdiocese will be extra careful in terms of its preparations. “His (Pope Francis) schedule is not final. Anything can happen,” Palma said.