MANILA, Jan. 17, 2015—Young Filipinos on Sunday will have the rare opportunity to be blessed by Pope Francis in a youth encounter to be held at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), with the aim to underscore the important role they play in shaping the future of the country and of the Church.

Young people from all over come to see the Pope on his way to the Nunciature after arriving at Villamor Airbase earlier today. Pope Francis spent nearly half a day in Leyte to celebrate a holy Mass with the faithful in Tacloban City. (Photo: Charmaine Malate)

Millions are expected to attend the event, which will commence with the Pope’s expected arrival at the University at 9:45 a.m.

He will briefly meet with the country’s religious leaders at the Arch of the Centuries, to be followed by a tour around the campus onboard an open vehicle before he ascends the grandstand at the open field.

Liturgy of the Word

Pope Francis will be welcomed by Bangued Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, Episcopal Commission on Youth Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, together with selected members of the youth.

The program activity will begin with the enthronement of the Cross and delivery of testimonies by three young Filipinos— out-of-school youth Jun Chura, law student Leandro Santos II, and typhoon relief volunteer Rikki Macolor.

The faithful are expected to learn from the youth’s testimonies, which will focus on their personal experiences as God’s children.

The Liturgy of the Word will follow with a reading, responsorial psalm, Gospel, and allocution of the Holy Father. The Prayers of the Faithful will be relayed in different languages, namely Ilocano, Kapampangan, Tabaco, Bicolano, Cebuano,
Waray, and Hiligaynon.


The Holy Father will end the brief encounter with a mission-sending activity, wherein the Filipino youth will be challenged to live the Word of God in their lives.

The visit of Pope Francis to UST marks the fourth time a Pontiff visits the University. Pope Paul VI first visited it 1970, and Pope John Paul II (now a saint) did so twice, in 1981 and 1995.

Pope Francis arrived in the country late Thursday, kicking off his five-day pastoral visit to the Philippines from Jan. 15 to 19.
He will be presiding over the concluding Mass of his visit at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta on Sunday afternoon. (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCP News)