Good news, Popesters! Pope Francis might be visiting the Philippines sooner than you might have expected!
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has reportedly sent a formal invitation for Pope Francis, asking him to visit the country in 2021––in honor of the 500th anniversary celebration of Christianity’s arrival in the country.
According to reports, this is the first time that the local Church invited a pontiff to visit the country.
“When Pope Francis came to the Philippines four years ago, it was he who volunteered to come in view of the big catastrophe caused by Yolanda.” Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, head of the CBCP’s commission on mission, said in an interview.
While Bastes acknowledged that it is seldom for the pope to visit a country twice, he says that Filipino Church officials are still hopeful that the Santo Papa will accept the invitation.
“Pope Francis might still consider to accept the invitation to celebrate with us the commemoration of the introduction of Christianity to our country,” Bastes said.
Meanwhile, the new Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni confirmed with Catholic news website Crux that the Pope has received the formal invitation from CBCP. He says that the Vatican has yet to confirm the Pope’s attendance at the event as their agenda for the years 2020 and 2021 has not yet been planned.
As the Philippines is still the largest Christian nation in Asia and the third-largest Catholic nation in the world, the Pope’s visit to the country is expected to break records once again. During the Papal visit in 2015, the Philippines made history after 6 million Filipinos came to Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to personally see the Pope. It was reportedly the largest event in papal history.
While there are no details as to when will Pope Francis send in his response, one thing is for sure: The 500th Catholic anniversary celebration is something to look forward to! Are you starting to clear up your schedule for this big event? Send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org!