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20/3/2013 - Philippines - United around the Pope
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(ANS – Manila) – Joy at the election of the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis has been contagious amongst many faithful Catholics around the world. In Philippines North Province (FIN), as soon as the news was public they organised two special processions to thank God and call down his blessing on the new Pontiff.

In a show of filial devotion, representatives from the various segments of the Educative-Pastoral Community of Don Bosco Mandaluyong (students, teachers, parents, alumni, lay mission partners and friends) trooped to the small chapel on March 15, 2013, at 10:30 am to attend the Eucharistic celebration offered for the intentions of the new Holy Father, Pope Francis.

The simple but solemn celebration of the Mass was presided over by the school's Rector, Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB. In his homily, Fr. Marty said that the election of Cardinal Bergoglio to the Papacy shows indeed that “God’s ways are beyond man’s ways… and God’s thoughts are beyond ours.” He encouraged everyone to persevere in praying for the Pope, especially after the initial uproar of jubilation has faded. Finally he reminded everyone about Don Bosco’s devotion to the Pope, that is, to the dignity bestowed by God on this holy office, and not on any specific personality.

The next day, 16 March, at around 3:00 pm, parishioners and youth groups,  Bosconian representatives from Don Bosco Makati and Mandaluyong, Salesians and seminarians from Canlubang, and some students from the Don Bosco Center of Studies and the Seminaryo ng Don Bosco, gathered at the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in the grounds at Better Living, Parañaque City for a prayer rally spear-headed by Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB, Rector and head of the office for Marian Devotions and the Parish-Shrine.

In his short homily in the prayer service, he shared with those gathered that Don Bosco left the Salesians three devotions: Jesus in the Eucharist, Mary Help of Christians and the Holy Father. Likewise, he said that the present pope is close to the Salesians because he was mentored by a Salesian at least in his student life; he has a special devotion to Mary Help of Christians as he would always volunteer to preside at the 24 May celebrations in Buenos Aires; he has supported a football team established by a Salesian; and he has a special devotion to Blessed Artemides Zatti, whom he knew personally. Finally, he encouraged those gathered to continue praying for the pope for his health and ministry and also to share the devotions which Don Bosco left us as a legacy.

The short program was also covered by two leading media giants in the Philippines (GMA 7 and ABS-CBN), the One Million Stories website, Youth Pinoy and Reuters Media.

Published 20/03/2013

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