My Encounter With The Shepherd One
By. Meline Ngo
January 17, 2014, I and my sister Melody Dy-Prieto was boarded in an Expedition bound for Manila along with our friends from the Filipino Chinese Catholic Youth (FCCY) who will be representing our church, The Our Lady of Fatima Church of Tabuco, Naga City, during the Pope’s Encounter with the Youth at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) while I and my sister will be heading straight to Quirino grandstand (Luneta) for the Popes Concluding Mass.
We left Naga City at 12:30AM anticipating all the traffics and close roads in Manila due to Pope’s arrival from Tacloban, but due to typhoon Amang Pope’s trip in Tacloban was cut short and we were spared of the traffic. Despite the difference of our destination, we are one in spirit. Our trip was full of excitement, energy and hope and we are all in suspense too!!! But confident enough that we will see the Holy Father, Pope Francis, up close and personal and pray with Him!
In Manila, we were adopted by the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Tony Olaguer, LRMS, of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Damar Village, of Quezon City and his big-hearted parishioners. Upon arrival, everyone can already feel the spirit of the event!!! The joy is in the air! And here comes Fr. Tony, followed by Rev. Fr. William Tan, LRMS, who was our former Chaplain in Naga City but now based in Taipei, and of course also present there was our own Chaplain who went ahead of us Rev. Fr. Clarence Canafe Jr. LRMS. Hi hellos and laughers were nonstop and planning was made for next day. Time and place where discussed and it was a big bang surprise and God’s gift for me and my sister!!! And that is also through Fr. Tony and his parishioners Tita Alice and Tita Luz! There was no need for me and my sister to wake up at 3am and walk to Quirino Grandstand because we are privileged to sleep that night with them at the Hotel located along Roxas Blvd.!!! right in front of the Quirino grandstand!
Thank you Papa God!!!
Our Saturday night surprise was not over yet, just 30 minutes before the anticipated mass we were to attend whom Rev. Fr. Tony Olaguer was to celebrate, the whole parish was overwhelmed when the Bishop of Brunei Bp. Cornelius Sim, D.D. arrived, and celebrated the mass instead. God’s love is indeed so marvellous.
The Big Day has come; it was the day to see the Holy Father, Pope Francis. The Shepherd One. The successor of St. Peter. I and my sister woke up at 5:30 am had breakfast. positioning, finding ourselves a spot as early as possible together with us are the parishioners from ICP. It started raining at 9am, and we were their waiting under the rain with our –P-25 disposable raincoats until the end. It was fun looking at my raincoat and comparing it to the improvised garbage bag turned to raincoats, I would trade mine to the garbage bag!!! Please to whoever manufactured that disposable raincoat, “Have Mercy and Compassion” don’t ever sell that again. All of us were really “Basang sisiw” with that raincoat.
The policemen in front of us were moving from left to right, from right to left. With the long hours of wait, we were able to communicate with some. They were from Nueva Ecija, and we shared some of our biscuits since it’s been way past lunch and they haven’t eaten yet and they too seemed so tired and really hungry. They said they’ve seen the Pope 3 times, and they too and very kind enough to tell us when the Pope is already coming and really want everyone to see the Holy Father.
I and my Sister Melody was really standing beside the barricade, it was a great position! YES!!! As early as we got that spot we were already hugging each other and thanking God and our smile was up to our ears!!! All we had to do was wait. And we knew we both have the endurance to do so.
At 1pm, one by one, bus by bus with all the escorts are passing by! Our spirit, excitement are ticking!!! Then helicopters are now up in the air. The Medias are now in the vicinity. Some even passed by our site, even some personalities made the crowd more energised.
By 2:30pm 2 MMDA motorcycle police patrol stopped in front of us, in less than 2 minutes here comes the Holy Father!!! With my camera on, He passed by on His Pope Mobile so visible with his height, all smiles on His face, waving His hands on us, with his yellow raincoat on, it was so brief, just a split seconds, the mobile was running at 20 kilometer per hour, and yet the effect after seeing The Holy Father was a boggle of emotions. Deep inside me, I was so converged by His presence and can’t let go. I had goose bumps all over my body, tears in my eyes, my heart just felt so strapping.
Then we witness the mass on the big screen, listened to His heart-rending homily. On His way back seeing Him again on His Pope Mobile, as I was waving at Him I felt I have gained all the blessings I was asking for. And I said to myself, this is a new beginning of me.
If Your Love for us is weatherproof Holy Father, so we must Love You the Same, and we Shall Love the Lord more than just weatherproof.
It was an all in package. Seeing the Holy Father, The Shepherd One is like looking at St. Peter Himself, our steward next to Jesus.
His coming here is a call for “Communion” of all church, for all the rich and the poor, for all the Christians and the Non-Christians, for the all ordained, the bishops, and all the lay through “Mercy and Compassion”.
Viva El Papa!!! Viva Francisco!!!