PASAY CITY, Jan. 20, 2015 – “I came to Villamor to bid farewell to the Pope! “, Jaime Antonio Rama exclaimed, gasping for air, after a long dash from South Super Highway until he reached the gates of Villamor Air Base on the morning of Jan. 19, the last day of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to the Philippines.
Rama, a third-year Physical Therapy (PT) student of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) is just one among the thousands of people who lined the streets from the Apostolic Nunciature in Taft Avenue until Villamor Air Base to get a final glimpse of the Holy Father before his flight back to Rome.
Goodbye to a Pope
“On the day the Pope arrived I was in Roxas Boulevard to welcome him. It’s only fitting that I say goodbye to him”, the PT student added.
John Derrick Derecto, just like Rama, ran to Villamor in an attempt to see Pope Francis for the last time.
“The Pope looked tired”, said the 1st year Accountancy student from Lucena, Quezon, who saw the Pope for the first time along Roxas Boulevard in the afternoon of his arrival on Jan. 15.
His first impression of the Roman Pontiff gave him the resolve to be one of the thousands of behind-the-scenes volunteers for the papal visit.
“I volunteered with Alliance for the Family (ALFI) to be part of the human barricade at the Mall of Asia (MOA), and I had to stand [at] my post for 16 hours” Derecto shared.
Worth the running
Derecto, together with other friends who ran towards Villamor Air Base, were no longer able to see the Pope.
He said: “Nevertheless, I consider it was worth the effort, to be part of thousands, if not millions, of people who love Pope Francis and would like to show it to him.”
“Now I understand that to live mercy and compassion is not only during times of calamities, or by just occasionally giving alms, but it is in daily life when we see in each person a brotheror a sister because we are all God’s children,” Derecto added.
Bernard de Guzman, a 3rd year Chemical Engineering student of UST also ran to Villamor Air Base that morning to get a final glimpse of the Pope.
“I just can’t enough of him,” de Guzman exclaimed, explaining his presence in Villamor.
De Guzman also missed seeing Pope Francis, “But coming to Villamor was worth it. Even while I was running I was already praying for the Pope and his intentions,” he said.
“I hope that Pope Francis will come back to visit our country,” De Guzman said. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCPNews)