In the days and weeks prior to Pope Francis’ arrival, media has really pumped up the anticipation with features mostly of the palpable and nitty gritty, ranging from security dry runs and supposedly favorite recipes of the Pope so I liked that the Philippine Inquirer organized a couple of ‘conversations’ with Cardinal Tagle and Archbishop Villegas who talked about the more salient points of the visit. I especially liked Archbishop Villegas’ discussion of ‘mercy and compassion’.

I just have one critique which is that the initiative was once again centred in Metro Manila. With 80% or so Filipino Catholics spread across the 12 other regions one wonders how these places are doing in preparation and celebration. In Baguio City, the Bishop along with a delegation went down to Metro Manila to join in the activities there and no word as to what the faithful who are left behind will do in their absence.

What should regions do? you ask. Well, conversations especially at this opportune time about the essential things like mercy and compassion which I’m sure are virtues shared across religions and beliefs, if only to gain deeper understanding of such and out of that perhaps arrive at reasonable resolutions to enhance community life unique to the region.


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