MANILA (Mabuhay) – The two masses open to the public during Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines will be in English, in the pontiff’s bid for the congregation to understand him better, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said.
According to Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, the Vatican approved that two eucharistic celebrations – the one near the Tacloban airport in Leyte (January 17) and the concluding mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila (January 18) – will be delivered in English.
“He wants to reach out to more people,” Villegas said. “Latin is hard for many, while English is easy to understand.”
This is despite the Pope’s admitted difficulty with English, one of the official languages of the Philippines.
According to the National Catholic Register, Pope Francis, an Argentine, is fluent in Spanish, as well as in German and Italian. In his biography, he admitted that he has “the most problems” in English, “especially the phonetics.”
However, the mass at the Manila Cathedral on January 16, to be attended by priests, nuns, and religious men and women, will be held in Latin, as the “clergy and bishops” are used to it, Villegas said.
Pope Francis will be the third pontiff to visit the Philippines, following his predecessors Blessed Paul VI and Saint John Paul II.
His official itinerary for the five-day visit includes visiting Tacloban and Palo in Leyte to meet survivors of recent natural disasters, as well as meetings with families and the youth. (MNS)