First Visit of Pope John Paul II to the Philippines

joeldgreat By joeldgreat, 12th Dec 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>Philippines>Manila & Around

Many of us Catholics may say that Pope John Paul II visited the Philippines twice and those visits were on 1981 and 1995 respectively, then many of us were not entirely correct. The truth is that Pope John Paul did not only visit once or twice but rather three times.

First Official Visit

Pope John Paul II (his real name is Karol Józef Wojtyla) became the Pope of Vatican and the entire Catholic Church on October of 1978. In the year 1981, his first “official visit” to the Philippines happened, as a Pope. It was said that one of the condition of his visit to our country is the removal of the Martial Law that was declared by President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., on September 21, 1972 through the Proclamation No. 1081. With this condition, Marcos lifted his Military Rule in order for the Pope to agree to the visit.

Agenda of the First Visit

But the real agenda of the Pope’s visit to the country was centered to the canonization or declaring the first Filipino Saint – San Lorenzo Ruiz. With the canonization, the Filipino people were given its first official Filipino Saint in 1981. Some believed that after lifting the Martial Law Rule in the country and having its first Filipino Saint, the Filipino Nationalism slowly awakens from almost 2 decades of dictatorship. The spark was only happened, after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in the tarmac of the Manila International Airport, wherein the whole Filipino community took their patriotic stand to the streets to fight for their freedom against the tyranny and dictatorship. And to make the story short, the Marcos Regime was ousted in the government, democracy was restored, and rest is history.

Popes Second Visit

Meanwhile, Pope John Paul II returns to the country on 1995 to head the historical celebration of the “World Youth Day”. It was estimated that there were between four to five million people who attended the gathering in Luneta Grandstand.

The First and Unofficial Visit

These two visits were the “official” visit of Pope John Paul II. But, many of us did not know that prior to becoming a Pope; he already visited our country in 1973.

Pope John Paul II first visit to the Philippines on 1973 was “not official”. During that time he was formerly known by his former position as the Kraków Archbishop Cardinal Karol Józef Wojtyla, five years before he was declared as the highest priest of the Catholic Church.

And many of us did not even know what the Pope did during his first “unofficial” visit to the country.

From the Manila International Airport in Pasay, Cardinal Wojtyla requested if he could visit the nearest Catholic Church from the airport. He was directed to the “National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help”, which is more commonly known as the “Baclaran Church”. There, he facilitated a Holy Mass to the Filipino people.

When he returns to the country on 1981 (as the Pope), he again requested to go back to Baclaran Church to which he baptizes the whole church with Holy Water. Until today, whoever went to the Baclaran Church will noticed a plaque in front of the church that commemorate the Holy Mass held by then Cardinal Wojtyla, who later became the most loved Pope in the entire Catholic Religion.


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