Pontiff begins intense three day visit to the Philippines
At 5:35 pm local time, after a nearly six hour flight, Pope Francis arrived by plane at the Villamor Air Base in Manila, the second leg in his apostolic visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
The Pope was officially welcomed by the President of the Republic, Mr. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquina III and several dignitaries, including the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Giuseppe Pinto, and the President of the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines. Approximately 1000 faithful also warmly welcomed the Pope with lively hymns and dance.
After the presentation of their respective delegations, and a brief meeting with the President, the Pope made his way through streets of Manila, thronged with cheering faithful, to the Apostolic nunciature of Manila.
Tomorrow marks the first full day of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines. In the morning he will travel to the Presidential Palace for a courtesy visit with the nation’s leader, and meet with the public authorities and the diplomatic corps.
At 11:15 am on Friday, the Pope will celebrate the Holy Mass with the Bishops, priests and religious of the Philippines, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Manila.
At 5:30 in the afternoon, Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with a large gathering of families.
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.