By Roy Lagarde
MANILA (23-Mar-2013) – The new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics is most likely to visit the Philippines soon, a cardinal said.
Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said the chances are high that Pope Francis will have his pastoral visit to the country in three years time.
One possibility for the papal visit, he said, is for the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), which will take place in Cebu City in 2016.
“I told him ‘Your Holiness, we are going to prepare for your pastoral visit to the Philippines.’ He then answered ‘Vamos a ver’ or we are going to see,” Rosales said.
“We have a feeling that he might (visit the Philippines for the IEC),” he said. “Let us pray for that. We will learn many things from him.”
The pope earlier told Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle that he had “high hopes” for the Philippines, asking the Filipinos to strengthen their faith, deepen their devotion to Mary and mission to the poor.
“The message to me was quite compact but still quite compelling,” Tagle said. “Now those three are already a whole program as it were for the whole Church in the Philippines.”