Today on Rappler:
Pope Francis flies to Leyte Saturday morning to visit survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda.
His trip is cut short by tropical storm Amang, international name Mekkhala.
Thousands brave the wind and rain for Holy Mass with the Pope.
During the homily, Pope Francis tells the crowd why he decided to come to Leyte.
POPE FRANCIS: When I saw from Rome that catastrophe. I felt that I had to be here, and on those very days I decided to come here. I’m here to be with you, a little bit late I have to say… but I’m here. So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you, but the Lord does know what to say to you. Some of you lost part of your families, all I can do is keep silence, and I walk with you all with my silent heart.
Pope Francis praises Mary the mother of Christ. Catholic Filipinos hold Mary in very high regard.
POPE FRANCIS: In moments when you have so much pain, when you no longer understand anything, all we can do is grab hold of her hand firmly and say, “Mom,” as a child does to her mother when he or she feels fear. It is perhaps the only word that we can say in such difficult times: “Mother, Mom…”
On the popemobile, Pope Francis visits the neighboring town of Palo to bless the Pope Francis Center but didn’t get a chance to interact with the sick and elderly waiting for him there.
He also makes a quick stop at the Palo Cathedral.
He apologizes for cutting his trip short because of the storm and boards the plane back to Manila at 1PM.
POPE FRANCIS: There's a typhoon that is around us, and the pilots of the airplane have insisted that we have to leave at 1pm. After 1 pm the typhoon will get much worse. I apologize to you all.
Shortly after the Pope’s plane takes off, a private plane, part of his entourage, skids off the Tacloban airport runway.
Live images from the airport showed firetrucks hosing down the plane.
All on board are safe including government officials Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, former military chief Emmanuel Bautista, and undersecretary Felizardo Serapio.
But another accident in the airport ends in tragedy.
Strong winds blew away the scaffolding supporting a speaker stack that hit Kristel Mae Padasas, a 27 years old volunteer.
She died in the hospital.
AMANG INTENSIFIES, LEYTE AT SIGNAL #2
The storm that cut short Pope Francis’ Leyte trip intensifies with some weather forecasters like Weather Philippines classifying it a typhoon.
State weather bureau PAGASA says tropical storm Amang will hit Samar late Saturday putting neighboring province Leyte at Signal Number 2.
The Philippine Coastguard says over 11,000 are stranded in sea ports because of the storm.
ANOTHER SURPRISE: POPE FRANCIS MEETS WITH FILIPINO JESUITS
Pope Francis pulled off a surprise Friday night and met with his fellow Jesuits.
40 Jesuits spent close to an hour with the Pope at the Papal Nuncio’s residence in Manila.
The Jesuits were informed about the meeting with the Pope a week before his Philippine visit but details were not given until this week.
Ateneo de Manila University president Fr. Jett Villarin describes the meeting as “very Jesuit, very casual.”
The 40 came from various Jesuit schools and ministries across the country.
POPE FRANCIS IN PH SOCIAL MEDIA
On his third day in the Philippines, Pope Francis continues to dominate social media with small gestures that capture people’s hearts.
After his Tacloban mass riding the Popemobile... he swoops down to bless a baby in the crowd.
Upon arriving in Villamor Air Base from Leyte, he poses with girl in a wheelchair for a selfie and exchanges skullcaps with a man in the crowd.
POPE’S ITINERARY: JANUARY 18
Tomorrow Sunday will be Pope Francis’ last full day in Manila.
At 9:45 am he will meet with leaders of other religions at the University of Santo Tomas or UST in Manila.
At 10:30 am he will meet youth delegates at the UST sports field followed by a motorcade to Rizal Park, where he will hold Mass at 3:30 PM.
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