TACLOBAN CITY- The impending visit of Pope Francis to Leyte will be a “blessing” and ‘will help the people bring their lives” after what they have suffered from the Supertyphoon Yolanda. Thus said the spokesperson of the Palo Archdiocese, Father Amadeo Alvero, on the Holy Father’s visit January of next year. “We are very happy to know that our Pope is planning to come to visit us. He is our spiritual father. We need him in our side in this time of pain of the great devastation brought about by Yolanda,” Alvero said. “His presence will be of great help in bringing our life back and hope back, and rising after the tragedy. We will indeed be blessed with the visit of the Pope. With his visit it means Christ visits us too. Because he is the Vicar of Christ,” the spokesperson of the Palo Archdiocese added. It will be the first ever that Leyte and the Eastern Visayas composed of more than one million Catholics will be visited by a Pope. “He really wants to come here to be with us, to comfort us, to console us and give us hope,”Alvero said. Earlier, Francis personally announced that he will be visiting the country January of next year and expressed his desire to come to Leyte, which is still reeling the aftermath of Yolanda close to seven months ago. The seat of Catholicism in Eastern Visayas is in Palo town where the archbishop, John Du, resides, and the cathedral is located. Du had earlier announced that the Pope had expressed his desire to see Leyte and Tacloban after it was devastated by Yolanda with about 70 churches within the archdiocese were damaged or destroyed by Yolanda. The cathedral itself, known officially as Metropolitan Cathedral of Transfiguration of our Lord, sustained damages particularly its main roof that was blown away during the disaster on November 8, 2013. Alvero said that planning regarding the visit of the Pope to Leyte will be held. For storm victim Rosario la Torre, the visit of Francis is something that she would not miss seeing. “He is a Holy Father and while it will be hard for me to get near to him due to security reason the thousands of people who also like to get near him, knowing him that he is in our midst is something,” the 43 year old mother of eight children said. “His coming will surely be a blessing to us and I know will somehow help us ease our sufferings,” she said. (JOEY A. GABIETA)