Gem of thoughtsIt certainly is beneficial that there are individuals who have the courage to sound the alarm against some monkeyshines in serious affairs. Take for instance the coming visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines where tickets as earlier as yet are allegedly being sold to those who are too much eager to attend the Holy Mass that the Holy Father Pope Francis will celebrate in the Philippines, and in other events he could be gracing. Thanks to the social media, the gook is into the hook.

Facebook posts of YouthPinoy disclosed the request of His Excellency Apostolic Nuncio Guiseppe Pinto to Lingayen (Dagupan) Archbishop Socrates Villegas, as president of Catholic Bishops “to use every possible channel at the disposition of the CBCP (media, Radio, Television, CBCP website, etc) to announce to the Filipino people that no tickets will be sold for any of the papal gatherings, and to persuade people to desist from purchasing such tickets.”

He made this written call on July 8 after the Apostolic Nunciature’s attention “has been drawn to a very unpleasant information regarding some groups already selling tickets for the Masses and various events scheduled during the visit of the Holy Father to the Philippines.” He remarked, “It is regrettable that some cabal might wish to take advantage of the Papal visit to exploit innocent people and enrich themselves.”

A day after, CBCP media office director Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III cleared the air quipping, “How can there be tickets for the pope’s visit when there has been no announcement as to the exact date of his visit and the places where he would got to?” These tickets, if indeed they exist and are now circulating, are spurious, according to the cleric from Eastern Samar.

Rev. Fr. Ric Marpa, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Palo, in a text message gave no details on what the Archdiocese’ action is in response to this concern raised by Papal Nuncio Pinto. In one line reply he stated that Palo Archbishop John Du “is already advised.” No word has yet been heard of the stand of the Archdiocese on this issue.
It was earlier reported that the Pope will fly to the Philippines on January 15 from Sri Lanka and will be visiting areas worst hit by typhoon such as Tacloban City and Palo. In his homily during the Tacloban Fiesta Concelebrated Mass, Archbishop Du announced that the Pope will definitely be here between January 15 and 20.
On July 3, the protocol committee of Vatican went over to do an ocular inspection of the possible sites where the Pope could say the Holy Mass, which are the DZR Airport apron and seaport both in Tacloban and the Government center in Candahug, Palo. The Pope, in his 6-hour visit to Leyte, is also said to inaugurate the Pope Francis Complex for the Poor which include an orphanage and a chapel.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle disclosed that the Pope Francis requested that his visit be pastoral and simple and that he wants to encounter people who suffered.” He said that due to the Pope’s senior age and medical condition, the local protocol committee would have to limit his movements by designating certain areas which he will visit.
GMA online news reported, “Before the Pope’s visit to the areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda, the Catholic Church’s social action arm will soon roll out typhoon-resilient chapels and churches in the said communities. Citing information from National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace executive secretary Fr. Edu Gariguez, “These structures are designed to withstand powerful earthquakes.”

Report added that the project was part of Nassa’s P60-million pastoral infrastructure repairs program funded by Germany-based Missio Aachen, covering the restoration of at least 37 churches and chapels in Palawan; 33 in Leyte, three in Western Samar and 12 in Eastern Samar, per data from the CBCP. Meantime, Archbishop Villegas called on the people to be spiritually prepared for the coming of Pope Francis by reviving personal and family prayer and by being charitable. “We must prepare the nation to receive the Holy Father by setting our kinds and hearts in communion with our dear Pope Francis, the messenger of peace, love, and the apostle of poor,” he said, quoted in the GMA news.

“Our compassionate shepherd comes to show his deep concern for our people who have gone through devastating calamities, especially in the Visayas. He comes to confirm us in our faith as we face the challenges of witnessing to the Joy of the gospel in the midst of our trials,” he was quoted of exhorting in the online report.
Whoever aims to cash in on the Pope’s visit should rather visit his own conscience. Instead of plotting his devious scheme, it would be better for him to be still and heed the urging of Archbishop Villegas. Perhaps by this, he could gain indulgence and blessings and not curse for the evil he is concocting or is now doing.