Hearts are full seeing Pope from a distance
“Distance” is from Jasaan, Misamis Oriental, in Mindanao. Even here, it was nonstop viewing of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines—from his arrival to his departure. For us, the world stopped for four days.
While million of people showed up at the Luneta, demonstrating the single-minded resolve and desire of Catholic Filipinos to bask in the presence of Francis, a saint-in-the-making, we Jasaanons, 1,000 miles away, were very content to be “TV bystanders” and could say we were not “shortchanged” because of our inability to go to Manila; after all, we had the “best seats,” switching channels for the clearest and the best up-close look at the man.
The coverage of the papal entourage, especially the zoom-ins on that famous face with the captivating smile, brought the usual reactions. When he smiled, we roared; when he raised his hand in benediction, we got healed; and when he looked flustered by Glyzelle Iris Palomar’s gut question on why God allowed innocent children to suffer, we cried. For his every motion, he got a hearty reaction. He was not a rock star to us, for the relationship with a rock star is a one-way thing—with only the fans in adoration.
But Pope Francis was a good friend. He defined friendship as an important ingredient in the recipe for good life. And he offered a simple one everyone could afford: A dew of compassion is a tear. And tears that do not feel for others are not tears of true friendship. Another ingredient is to dream: The moment one stops dreaming, one stops loving.
A 50-ish man who was watching the papal visit couldn’t help but asked aloud—why there was no screen showing at the plaza of the historical event, unlike when “National Kamao” Manny Pacquiao would slug it out on a global stage, in a boxing ring. If the national government declared four national holidays for an event that may happen only once in a lifetime, why was the Pope’s visit not given the same treatment as Pacquiao’s fights were? He said he was directing the question to the local government and church officials. Many of the Jasaanons are devout Catholics.
We know that Pope Francis is not likely to come to Mindanao, but we were very content just to see him step on Philippine soil. Our hearts are full here in Jasaan for seeing him on television.
—FLOR S. TEMPLE, former teacher, Philippine Science High School, Diliman, Quezon City
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.