We Caught the Pope Fever

by Mackinley Ngo (G10B) and Marc Justin Ong (H4D)
Photos by Marc Justin Ong (H4F)

The following are testimonials by Mackinley Ngo (G10B) and Marc Justin Ong (H4D), shared during the high school assembly last January 29, 2015.

“What’s the difference between Jesus and Pizza? Jesus cannot be topped. As corny as it seems, that seems to be true in all possible ways. Jesus is God, and God is our Creator. Although He is the one and only almighty Father, God has shared His love through His people–through us. God has shared His love through Pope Francis.

Pope Francis visitied the Philippines from January 15-19. During his trip, he came by the University of Santo Tomas to spread the Word. On a Sunday, having to wake up at 2:00 in the morning, squeezing through a crowd for two hours, waiting another hour for his holiness to arrive, and having barely heard of the Pope’s words with the inaudible sound systems, I had upon me the temptation to doze off. However, amidst the the drowsiness, I finally came to realize how I had been driven to listen to him. Seeing him approach people of all kinds, I had obtained newfound strength, not only to wake up and listen to him, but also to follow his example and share the love as well.

Pope Francis had left me inspired when he said, “Do not be tempted to walk alone; do not be afraid to walk together.” His words marked a beginning for me to extend my hand towards those who need it — to walk together for the peace of humanity and for the greater glory of God. All of us can share God’s love.”

– Mackinley Ngo

photo 3

“I’m Mong, and I’m one of the delegates sent by Mary the Queen parish to meet the Pope.

I, too, didn’t have sleep the night before the encounter. The gates were supposedly opened by 3 AM, and so to have a good place in the university, MTQ’s call time was at 1 AM. I did really pull off an all-nighter, but I’m glad to say that it was all worth it.

We got to UST at 2:30 AM, but the gates opened just when the sun started rising. Though we waited for around four hours to get in the gate and another three hours in our place for Pope Francis to arrive, we never backed out for we knew that even a glimpse of him would already make-up for all those sacrifices.

Before the Pope came up to the stage, he rode the Pope-mobile and went around the area. To be in his presence was really overwhelming. Just like what our Youth for Christ prefect quoted in his Instagram post: “Seeing him was like seeing a friend you’ve known for so long.” Our day was made right when Pope gave the MTQ delegates a thumbs up because of our loud cheers.

In YCLC, we have this activity called the “Vigil Night,” wherein we don’t sleep the night before the Christmas program to await Jesus’ coming. This was kind of what was running in my mind the whole time. Though we were undeserving to meet his Holiness, we were there anticipating his arrival and this very much shows how much he is like the human representation of Christ here–that we’ll do everything that we can to meet him.

Inside the university, the thousands of youth gathered there was really unbelievable. It was touching how the strong winds and rain didn’t make them lose their interest in the Pope. Although the Pope was really really small from quadrant 1, which supposedly was the nearest area to the stage, I don’t regret partaking in that memorable event at all.

I’d like to end by saying that if you were given a chance like this, take it. Despite it clashing with your schedule or ruining your body clock, make sure to take it. What are the chances that someone will actually meet the Pope, right?  Watching it live was definitely different from watching it on TV. Right when I stepped out of UST, never have I felt so blessed. Like everyone else, I caught the Pope fever.”

– Marc Justin Ong

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