CBCP: No Vatican confirmation yet on papal visit

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

AN OFFICIAL of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said they have not received any information regarding the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines in January next year.

"The Secretariat has not yet received ay official communication from the Vatican or Apostolic Nunciature," said CBCP secretary general Fr. Marvin Mejia in a text message.

"No official word from Vatican yet," added Peachy Yamsuan of the Manila Archdiocese communications office.

Reports circulated on Tuesday that the Holy Father stated that he will visit the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas and the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu.

Henrietta de Villa, the country's former ambassador to the Vatican, said that there is a standing invitation for the pope to visit the Philippines.

"There is a standing invitation for him at anytime although there is no official response yet. We are all hoping that he would come this coming year," she said in a telephone interview.

She noted that the announcement of the Holy Father's visit would come either from the Nunciature, CBCP, or Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

"We are hopeful he could come because I think the pope wants to come sooner than 2016. May standing invitation to come anytime. Officially, he is invited to attend the International Eucharistic Congress in January 2016 in Cebu. But he has expressed several times that he wants to come sooner especially after Yolanda so we feel sooner would be next year," De Villa said.

Tagle expressed confidence that the Holy Father will visit the country early next year.

“The Vatican has not yet announced the dates and specific itinerary that the pope will observe, but I am confident it will happen early next year,” Tagle said in an article posted on the CBCP news website.

The pope's first Asian trip will be this year where he will attend the Asian Youth Day (AYD) in South Korea from August 14 to 18.

South Koreans are still reeling from last month’s sinking of a ferry carrying over 400 people, mostly high school students bound for a field trip to the resort island of Jeju.

The maritime accident was said to be the nation’s deadliest in 21 years. (FP/Sunnex)

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