By Bea Paola Mondares, Green FM Field Reporter Everything went well last January 16, 2015 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena for the second day activity of Pope Francis in the country, a meeting with the Families with the theme of “The Holy family’s Journey: The pilgrimage of every family.”
As early as 12 midnight of January 16th, devotees camped out in front of MOA Arena for them to have a good view of Pope Francis. The management of MOA Arena set up barricades as early as the 14th and 15th of January because they anticipated that devotees will be camping out in front of the Arena.
Reservists from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police were there as early as 2 A.M. There were more or less a thousand police personnel, AFP reservists, Red Cross rescuers, and bomb squads.
Devotees came from all over the country some from as far as from Masbate and Zamboanga. They stood in place for almost 12 hours just to get a glimpse of Pope Francis. “Kahit sandai lang naming makita si Pope okay na. Sulit na ang byahe mula Masbate papunta dito. Pinag dadasal ko talaga ‘tong mangyari matagal na. (Even if we see the Pope for only a while, it would be okay. The travel all the way from Masbate would be worth it. I have been praying for this to happen for a very long time.),” a 60-year-old grandmother from Masbate told this reporter.
Meanwhile, the gates of Mall of Asia Arena started to accommodate families with tickets at 11 in the morning and closed at exactly 3:30 in the afternoon. After the gates closed no one was allowed to enter with or without tickets. Security personnel were able to manage the crowd and there were no untoward incidents reported.
Pope Francis arrived at the Arena at 5:15 P.M and roamed around the MOA Arena grounds on his Pope mobile. Out of thousands of people and children who were waiting for Pope Francis’ arrival, a baby girl named Sabriel La Sallete Rosete was kissed and blessed by the Pope. Baby Sabriel’s mother, Jona May Cajigas-Rosete and father Stephen Janssen Lu Rosete said their baby was so lucky. They cried when the Vatican security reached for their baby girl to be blessed by Pope Francis. They believe that what happened will provide their baby blessings and holiness in her life.
The families that met up with Pope Francis inside of the Arena were able to share their stories and messages. Around 7:16 P.M, Pope Francis left the Arena. Before he reached the exit he was sitting down and looked exhausted but when he saw the crowd was still waiting for him outside he stood up, waved and smiled at them looking refreshed and full of energy. Truly, Pope Francis is the “People’s Pope.”