Refer to: Ms. Dale Zapata
25 April 2005
‘I am glad with
Filipinos’ - Pope Benedict XVl
VATICAN CITY. Pope Benedict XVl expressed gratitude to Filipinos for
leading Roman Catholicism in Asia and for keeping the faith in God and
Catholicism strong and firm. ‘I am happy that the Philippines remains
the bastion of Catholicism in Asia and I am glad that Filipinos remain
strong and firm in their faith in the Roman Catholic church,’ the Pope
said to Vice President Noli ‘Kabayan’ De Castro. For the longest
time, the Philippines was the only predominantly Roman Catholic nation
in Asia. East Timor became the second Asian catholic nation when
it gained independence recently.
Vice President Noli ‘Kabayan’ De Castro was received by the Holy Father
prior to his first mass at the St Peter Square Sunday morning. De
Castro headed the Philippine delegation during the investiture of Pope
For his part, Vice President De Castro appealed to the new Pope to
‘pray for the Philippines and for the strengthening of Filipino
families’ during these challenging times.
De Castro described his audience with the Pope as ‘very touching,
encouraging and a humbling experience’. De Castro, then an anchorman of
the popular TV Patrol, was, at one moment, ‘touched and teary-eyed’
while hosting the live news coverage of the visit of Pope John Paul II
to the Philippines during the World Youth Day celebration in 1995.
Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Leonida Vera, Philippine
Ambassador to Italy Philip Lhullier and Catherine de Castro accompanied
Vice President De Castro in his audience with the Pope.
Earlier, the Vice President met with Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal
Vidal, Jose Cardinal Sanchez and other leaders of the Filipino
community in Rome where he conveyed the message of President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo to Pope Benedict XVl. The greetings of President
Arroyo were handed over by the Vice President to Cardinal Sodano, the
Vatican’s Secretary of State.
He said that Filipinos in Rome and the Vatican have the responsibility
to pray and pray harder for the attainment of peace and development of
Philippines as they are very near to the ‘power centre of prayer’.
“Kailangan ng mga kababayan ninyo sa Pilipinas ang patuloy ninyong
pagdarasal para sa ating bansa at para sa ating Pangulo upang lalong
sumulong ang pag-unlad ng ating bayan,” Vice President told the
Filipino community in Rome after hearing mass at Urbana Church, outside
the Vatican City. The mass was especially organized and celebrated for
the Filipino community in honour of the new Pope.
Office of the Vice President (OVP)
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