(Vatican Radio) The head of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, Cardinal Luis Tagle told reporters that the Pope was struck by how energetic the Filipino people are and how they don’t get tired. Cardinal Tagle’s revelation came at a press briefing presided over by himself and the Director of the Holy See’s Press office Father Federico Lombardi where both men provided comments on Friday’s papal events in the Philippines. Cardinal Tagle said the Pope exclaimed to him, “Wow, the Filipinos are energetic, you don’t get tired.” He said he responded to this papal observation by explaining: “We are a youthful people.” This prompted the Pope to remark that this youthfulness represents “a promise” and declared that “the future of the Church is here in Asia.”
Speaking about the Pope’s earlier unscheduled stop to visit a shelter for street kids, Cardinal Tagle described it as a “beautiful” event, a “really moving encounter.” “You could see the Holy Father was in his element,” he said, and told the reporters that they could see “tears” beginning to well up in the Pope’s eyes during his time with the children.
For his part, Father Lombardi disclosed that President Aquino had presented as a gift to the Pope, a wooden Madonna made from the wood of a tree that was destroyed by the typhoon Haiyan (that devastated the country in 2013).
Like Cardinal Tagle, Father Lombardi stressed the importance of the Pope’s emphasis on the plight of the poor during his visit and how the poor are “at the centre of the gospel,” as well as his comments about corruption and social inequalities. Father Lombardi particularly singled out the Pope’s “strong message” about the challenge of proclaiming the radical message of the gospel in a society grown comfortable "with social exclusion, polarization and scandalous inequality.”
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