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Manila Cathedral honors past papal visits with exhibition

Manila Cathedral at night

alentilove | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 06/28/23

Titled 'The Popes in the Philippines,' the display will include mementos related to the papal visits of Pope St. Paul VI, Pope St. John Paul II, and Pope Francis.

The Manila Cathedral is preparing to commemorate the papal visits of three popes who visited the Philippines. From June 29 to July 2, the Filipino Catholic monument church will showcase an exhibit featuring memorabilia related to Pope St. Paul VI, Pope St. John Paul II, and Pope Francis. 

In a Facebook post, the Manila Cathedral announced the event – titled The Popes in the Philippines – noting that the four-day exhibition will include a prayer services and a “pledge of loyalty to the Holy Father,” Pope Francis.

The message went on to list a few of the articles that will be on display, including the portrait given by St. Paul VI to the Apostolic Nunciature, the chair used by St. John Paul II, and the Missal used by Pope Francis.

According to the Filipino news outlet PhilStar, the exhibition will further feature a variety of “liturgical and extra-liturgical items used by the popes who visited our country,” which will be displayed for public viewing. The exhibit is scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m. on June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, followed by a special Mass at 6 p.m., celebrated by the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles Brown.

All three of the featured popes celebrated Mass at Manila Cathedral during their visits, which brings a special relevance to the event for the Catholics of Manila. In 1970, Pope St. Paul VI visited the Philippines, during which he survived an attempted assassination by a man dressed as a priest. Although the Pontiff was mildly injured, he continued his papal visit, meeting with poor families in the Tondo district. 

Pope St. John Paul II was the next to make the trip to Manila, in 1981. During this trip, JPII beatified Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint, and met with dictator Ferdinand Marcos, to whom he decried the state of human rights in the nation. The Polish Pope would make another trip to Manila in 1995, to attend World Youth Day. 

Pope Francis is the most recent pontiff to visit the island nation, making a state and pastoral trip to the Philippines in 2015. There, the Pope also traveled to the island of Leyte, where he met with those affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

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