WASHINGTON DC – Signs of the papal visit are all over the U.S. capital and Filipino-Americans, local and from out of state are all getting ready to see the people’s pope — Pope Francis.
Very excited ako talaga, pinuntahan ko nga kahapon yung Basilica of the National Shrine, yun nakita ko naghahanda na sila,” said Cecile Salonga. “Di naman ako makapunta sa Rome so dito na lang. Pupunta ako dun sa Ellipse circle, balak ko bukas ng umaga, maagang maaga pupunta na ako dun.”
Filipino nurses Nenita Aure and Rosemarie Zamora came all the way from Santa Ana, California.
They’ve been planning to see Pope Francis, after his U.S. trip was announced during the pope’s visit to the Philippines earlier this year.
“Really, six months booked na talaga kami, especially sa mga areas na he’s gonna go pero the thing is the ticketed hindi namin masyado nakuah kasi ang bilis maubos, but we’ll try,” said Aure.
For these Filipino faithfuls, they say they are here because they resonate with the pope’s message.
“Sa akin yung nag-reresonate is his love for the poor, and the underprivileged, and we are the one that are blessed and we should share it with other people,” said Aure.
“Yung isyu tungkol sa global warming, yun ang na ano ako dun kasi, we are stweards of the Earth, so nagreresonate talaga sa akin yun,” said Zamora.
“Open siya sa lahat ng tao, yung nakikinig siya sa lahat ng opinyn pero sinusunod pa rin niya yung mga utos ng Diyos,” said Salonga. Ayung being merciful, and yung being welcoming sa lahat ng tao, hindi nag-descriminate.”
When the pope visited the Philippines, his message was mercy and compassion. In Cuba it was hope. Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. José Cuisia Jr. says the pope’s message in the U.S. will focus more on reconciliation.
“I think the pope will make an effort and try to get Catholics come back to the Church because unfortunately quite a big number of Catholics have really stopped practicing as Catholics,” said Cuisia. “I think the Pope will make a terrific impact in trying to get these Catholics back to practicing the faith.”
For many kababayans, to be in the presence of the holy pope is a big privilege an honor to witness God’s representative on earth making a difference in people’s lives.