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This is my personal Pope Francis story

by Raffy Magno, as originally posted in his Facebook wall post

The whole journey started at 3:00AM. Very eager, I went out of the house and waited for a cab to bring me to our meet-up place. After getting the ID, my friends and I went to the University of Sto. Tomas where thousands of young people are waiting for the cue for them to enter the football field. There was lots of singing and dancing, the mood was very festive. At around 9:20AM, the crowd started yelling. Pope Francis entourage entered the gates of the Pontifical University. Everything went fast. Tears started falling when Pope Francis’ mobile passed by our spot – it was a surreal experience to see the Pope’s most genuine smile.
We were just meters away from the Pope, though he’s just a tiny dot for most of the people who were there, his presence filled the entire grounds as he started the liturgy. Beautiful testimonies were delivered, challenging questions were shared – but I believe Glyzelle Palomar’s piece stood out – not because she cried, but because it was deeply felt by all of us. Glyzelle asked the most difficult questions that even the Pope cannot answer. “Why is God allowing such things to happen, even if it is not the fault of the children? And why are there only very few people helping us?”. At that moment, everyone stood still. That brave little girl asked the questions I, myself, am afraid to hear.

Pope Francis delivered his very touching homily. I expected that it will be the lightest since he will be the youth. But I guess, the homily he delivered impromptu had been the most profound in all of his homilies here in the Philippines. Here he talked about the importance of crying and weeping; thinking, feeling, and doing well; and reality being superior over ideas. Tears free flowing while listening to God’s beautiful and empowering words delivered through Pope Francis.

The 1995 World Youth Day Theme Song: Tell the World of His Love perfectly closed the gathering. I can’t help but cry because of gladness while singing the song. As Fr. Lombardi puts it, “when we are very profoundly moved, until the roots of our hearts, of our being, and it happens that we are a little confused and it’s not easy to explain what we are experiencing – we are given the very special gift of tears.”

Thank you Pope Francis! To see you face to face, listen to your voice, pray with you, and cheer for you are undeserved blessings that I will forever treasure. Thank you for this surreal feeling that I still can’t explain. I hope that this energy will be sustained for the longest time possible. This wonderful blessing is truly incredible. I’m still in awe, still in wonder. Dios mabalos, Lolo Kiko! Dios mabalos po sa graciang pigheras mo.


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