TACLOBAN CITY– Despite moderate rains brought about by Typhoon Amang which brings Leyte and the rest of the provinces in Eastern Visayas to Typhoon Signal No. 2, pilgrims from the different parts of Visayas, Mindanao and nearby parts of Luzon are determined to see Pope Francis in person and attend his mass at the DZR airport, Tacloban City.

Huge crowd of pilgrims numbering more than 100,000 eagerly wait for Pope Francis at the mass area at the DZR airport, Jan 17, 2015. The aircraft carrying the Pope and his entourage arrived Tacloban 8:45 in the morning.
Huge crowd of pilgrims numbering more than 100,000 eagerly wait for Pope Francis at the mass area at the DZR airport, Jan 17, 2015. The aircraft carrying the Pope and his entourage arrived Tacloban 8:45 in the morning.

As early as one o’clock in the morning today, Saturday, January 17, pilgrims started to walk from their billeting areas in Tacloban City proper and areas near the airport to be able to position themselves in their quadrants of assignments at the DZR airport, the venue of the mass. Others stayed overnight in the place.

More than 100,000 pilgrims are gathered right now at the mass venue waiting for Pope Francis to arrive at the Tacloban airport.

Everyone is excited and eagerly waiting for the Pontiff to arrive in Tacloban City.

Cherrie Ann Biron, 35 years old and a mother of a four-year old child from the Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Calubian, Leyte under the Diocese of Naval said, “ I am grateful to God that a way was made for the Pope’s visit to our country and I feel blessed with his visit to Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte”.

“ My wishes are good health for my family and everyone gathered in this place, world peace and unity of all people. I also pray for Pope Francis safety in his trip to Leyte”, she added.

On the other hand, Eddie and Consuelo Meniosa, husband and wife, both in their late 50’s from Ormoc City said, “ this is an opportunity for us to see Pope Francis in person, a once in a lifetime experience. This is our second time to see a Pope in the Philippines, the first one was in 1991 when Pope John Paul II visited Manila.

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The pilgrims gathered around the mass area clapped their hands for joy then they saw the first airplane hovering around DZR airport, preparing for landing, believing it was already the aircraft carrying Pope Francis.

The mass to be celebrated by the Pontiff at the Tacloban airport is set at 9:00 o’clock today, Saturday, January 17.

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After the holy mass, Pope Francis’ other engagements are lunch with the 30 poorest of the poor who were victims of typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas and the earthquake victims from Bohol province at the Archbishop’s Palace, blessing of the Center for the Poor and meeting with the clergy at the Palo Cathedral, all of Palo, Leyte. (fjackson/PIA 8 Biliran)

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