Every Papal Visit to the Philippines is an occasion of national significance as well as controversy. It is with Filipino's deep faith in God that everyone would struggle just to see God's representative on earth in person.
This occasion also give rise to the issue of separation of church and state as mandated in Philippine constitution. Though both the church and Philippine authorities are astute enough to circumvent this constitutional provision by regarding the Papal Visit as a state visit by a head of state.
Previous Papal Visits by St. John Paul II, gathered throngs of Catholic faithful to the events, the aerial shots of which show sea of humanity.
What is behind this kind of Filipino's following for the Pope?
Interviews of Filipinos who encountered the Pope have lots of stories to tell. In the Pope's presence, they feel the presence of God and hence, they also feel blessed. One testimony was that of a poor family visited by St. John Paul II. The couple said that his visit was pivotal for the transformation of their fate into affluence.
Another story was that of a lady who was brought to Vatican by her parents when she was still a baby. She was fortunately picked by St. John Paul II during his audience at St. Peter's Square. She grew up to be an intellectually gifted child, and that blessing was attributed by her parents to God's blessing through her contact with the Pope.
There are also many stories of healing brought about by St. John Paul II's Papal Visits way back in 1981 and 1995.
Transcending all these material affluence, fortune and miracles, Pope Francis' intent for his visit is to show compassion to those marginalized in the Philippine society. These sector comprise a significant number of Philippine population who are vulnerable to suffering, oppression and exploitation by unscrupulous compatriots including politicians.
Knowing the dire situation of his suffering flock, Pope Francis wants to show them that they belong to the love of God and that no sin can ever surmount His compassion.
As such, it is in this very love and compassion where the cult of papacy emanates which every Filipino are blessed by their faith.