Nov. 7, 2014, 5:51 p.m. – FILIPINOS are in dire need of
mercy and compassion.

This was the message of Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates
Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, to
the attendees of the one-day spiritual gathering titled “A Nation of Mercy and
Compassion” yesterday at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church in UST.

As Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to the Philippines draws
near, Villegas urged the laity to look at Jesus to recognize that humanity is
“poor and in need of God’s love.”

“See the suffering of Jesus as your own sufferings and his
pains as our own pains. Look at Jesus and see how he had suffered for his love
for us,” Villegas said in a pre-recorded video message shown during the event.

The best way to look at Jesus is to look at Pope Francis who
is  the “sweet scent and odor of Jesus,”
Villegas said.

“There is no better place but to look at the face of Pope
Francis. Let us listen, watch, and stand by the Pope and you’ll see yourself
looking and listening to Jesus,” he added.

He also reminded the attendees that mercy and compassion,
which is the theme for the Pope’s apostolic visit, is a gift from God that
needs to be shared.

Organized by the UST Theological Society, the one-day
“gathering of prayer, music, fellowship, and reflection,” aimed to prepare the
UST community for Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to the country on Jan. 15 to
19, 2015.

It featured talks from Fr. Filemon dela Cruz, Jr., O.P., UST
vice rector for religious affairs, and Michaelangelo Lobrin, an inspirational
speaker and author.

The gathering was capped by a praise and worship session led
by JC Libiran of the The Feast, and a Eucharistic celebration. Angeli
Mae S. Cantillana


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