Pope Francis Papal Visit 2015: Philippines, January 15-19

Pope Francis will arrive in the Philippines for a Papal visit on January 15-19, 2015, Manila Archibishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said.

Pope Francis
Photo courtesy of www.presidencia.gov.ar
"We have received a letter from the Vatican City and the following message is being announced: 'Accepting the invitation of the civil authority and the bishops, his Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic visit to Sri Lanka from January 12 to 15 and to the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015'," Tagle announced during a press conference held in Intramuros, Manila, GMA News reports.

Next year's Papal visit will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the World Youth Day in the Philippines held in 1995, which was led by then Pope now Saint John Paul II.

Tagle reportedly said that the programme for the event will be made public by the Holy See later this year. He said Pope Francis will go to various places in Manila and areas in Visayas greatly affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

"Mercy and compassion" will be the theme for the event, Tagle reportedly said. "That has been the recurring theme not only of the teaching, of the homilies, but also of the actions of His Holy Father, so the bishops thought of using this as the theme."

The Catholic church leader said the Filipino people are encouraged to begin observing acts of "mercy and compassion" this early in preparation for the Papal visit.

"Spiritual preparation is the most important... through spritual renewal, returning to the word of God, frequenting the eucharist, adoration, returning to God through the sacrament of reconciliation and confession, these are some of the ways by which we can prepare spiritually," he said, according to the report.

"Feeding the hungry, visiting those in prison, and giving counsel to the suffering" are among the "specific actions of mercy" that the nation must be accustomed to, he shared.

Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas and Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, Tagle added, will lead the preparations for the visit of Pope Francis.