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Pope Francis Saturday travelled to the city of Tacloban, in the center of the region devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
In his homily at Holy Mass on the grounds of the city's airport, Francis confided to an estimated 500,000 pilgrims who braved wind and rain to take part in the liturgy that he decided to visit them the day the catastrophic typhoon hit their land.
Setting aside his prepared text, Pope Francis spoke from the heart and said: “So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say to you.
Some of you have lost part of your families. All I can do is keep silence and walk with you all with my silent heart. Many of you have asked the Lord, ‘Why Lord?’ And to each of you, to your heart, Christ responds with his heart from the Cross.”
The Pope then paused and said: “I have no more words for you. Let us look to Christ. He is the Lord. He understands us because he underwent all the trials that we, that you, have experienced. And beside the Cross was his Mother. We are like a little child in the moments when we have so much pain and no longer understand anything. All we can do is grab hold of her hand firmly and say ‘Mamma’ — like a child does when it is afraid."
Pope Francis invited the faithful to take a moment in silence and to look to Jesus on the Cross. “He understands us because he endured everything,” he said. “Let us look to our Mother and, like a little child, let us hold onto her mantle and with a true heart say ‘Mother.’ In silence, tell your Mother what you feel in your heart. Let us know that we have a Mother, Mary, and a great Brother, Jesus. We are not alone.”
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.