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Do You Love me

Jan. 16, 2015

“Do you love me?”

Pope had just started to read the well-known passage where Jesus asks Peter this question, to over a thousand members of the clergy and religious when they respond with a resounding “Yes!” To which the Pope, with equal good humor, answered: “Then, thank you very much!” The laughter of everyone, Pope Francis’ included, was spontaneous and overwhelming.

“This was not scripted. No one expected this,” said Fr. Jesse Gragasin, parish priest of San Sebastian Parish, Tarlac City. “I was even thinking of what I was to say. That ‘yes’ simply came out of me,” Gragasin said as he explained the congregation’s reaction to the Pope’s words. “Perhaps, the feeling was already welling inside us and it had to come out,” Gragasin added. Another Tarlac priest, Fr. Cris Lozano, of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, said, “We were so surprised when we shouted that “yes!” But according to Lozano, what surprised the Mass attendees more was the Pope’s reaction.

Pope turns red

“We saw Pope Francis’ face turn red, smiling, as if he were so excited and so happy to hear priests and religious respond to him in such way. In other words, I was touched much more to see how the Pope was touched.”

Fr. Ricardo Bie, parish priest of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Tarlac, said: “More than the Pope’s words in the homily, it was his humanity itself that moved us.” “He is the personification of the ‘Gospel of Joy’. I saw him approach the sick and elderly priests and religious and how he embraced them. With the Pope’s affection so palpable, it’s as if the lame would be able to walk again” Bie exclaimed. Pope Francis is said to be a “Pope of surprises.”

Today, Pope Francis has seen that the Philippines has a clergy and religious also full of surprises. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCPNews)

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