Pinoys in Rome see Pope Francis as servant leader for poor

Filipinos in Rome welcomed the election of the Catholic Church’s 266th Supreme Pontiff — Pope Francis (Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina), the first Latin American and first Jesuit pope.

In an interview with “Unang Hirit” host Arnold Clavio, Father Greg Gaston, head of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome, said he expects the pope to be a true servant of the servants of God through his new role as the servant leader of the Catholic faith.

The 266th pontiff in the Church’s 2,000-year history, Francis became a priest at 32, nearly a decade after losing a lung due to respiratory illness and quitting his chemistry studies.

Francis was born into a family of seven, his father an Italian immigrant railway worker and his mother a housewife.

Pope Benedict resigned unexpectedly last month, after saying he was too frail to tackle the problems assailing the world’s largest organization, with an estimated 1.2 billion members.


Gaston recalled how the atmosphere at the Vatican was very festive, with people cheering loudly, after a white smoke appeared, signalling the election of a new pope.

“Napakasaya. Galing kami doon sa Vatican mismo sa Saint Peter’s,” Gaston said.

“Napakaraming tao sa saint Peter’s plaza sa harap lang ng basilica and then nag-ring na yung bells ng Saint Peter’s and then mamaya lumitaw na yung pope,” he continued.

“Blessing in disguise”

Meanwhile, Filipinos at the Vatican told “Unang Hirit’s” Ruth Cabal, that although they were personally rooting for Manila Cardinal Antonio Luis Tagle to become pope, they said that it might have been a blessing in disguise because the Philippines still needs him.

The Filipinos also said they believe Tagle, as a clergyman, was still young.

They also said they have accepted the election of Pope Francis because the result of the conclave of cardinals is the decision of God.

“Unang Hirit’s” Jiggy Manicad, on the other hand, described how the pope’s aura enveloped the massive Vatican crowd.

“Alam mo yung dating niya ang gaan. Parang tatay, parang lolo. Walang ka effort effort [o arte] na nagsalita. Walang dramatics, talagang very sincere at yung humility [niya] nag raradiate. Mararamdaman mo talaga yung humility niya,” Manicad said.

He added that although Pope Francis spoke in Spanish for his first message, this did not affect his appeal to the people with him appearing as someone who isn’t very formal with his being the new supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church.

“Maabot mo siya. Ganoon yung pakiramdam,” he said.

On the other hand, Jess Dela Fuente, a Filipino Vatican pilgrim who was present during the appointment of Pope Benedict XVI now Rome’s bishop emeritus said he was happy of Pope Francis’ appointment.

“Ako’y natutuwa at natapos na yung election ng papa dahil kailangang kailangan natin talaga,” Dela Fuente told Unang Hirit’s Pia Arcangel.

He believes that the new pope’s thrust will focus on the poor since he took the name of Saint Francis of Assisi who is known to be simple, meek and for the people. – Andrei Medina, VVP, GMA News