Pope Francis to ‘Yolanda’ survivors: Hold on to Jesus, Mary

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/17 January) — Coming 14 months after super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) leveled Tacloban City, Pope Francis held a mass Thursday in Ground Zero and asked the survivors to hold on to their faith in Jesus Christ and Mama Mary.

Wearing the same thin yellow raincoat worn by those who attended the mass, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church consoled the faithful and assured them that Jesus Christ shares their suffering.

The Pope had planned to deliver his homily in English but, apparently wanting to speak from the heart, decided at the last minute to say it in Spanish while a translator spoke in English.

“So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say,” he said.

“Some of you lost families. Al I can do is keep silence. And I walk with you all in my silent heart,” Pope Francis said.

“This is what comes to my heart and forgive me if I have no other words to express this. But please know, Jesus never lets you down,” he said.

He said that Jesus “understands us because he underwent all trials that we that you have experienced,” he added.

Pope Francis told the Yolanda survivors that like a frightened child holding on to a mother, they should hold on to Mama Mary’s hand whenever they feel anguish because of what the typhoon did to them.

“As a child holds the hand of her mother as when he is in fear, it is the only word to say at this difficult time – “Mom,” “mother,” he said.

Pope Francis flew to Tacloban City Thursday aboard a Philippine Airlines Airbus 320 amid stormy weather and landed at around 8:45 a.m. without hitches.

The crowd who had waited and prayed for the Pope’s safe arrival cheered as he came down the aircraft.

The faithful chanted “Viva El Papa, Papa Francisco” while hundreds of children in colorful costumes performed native dances as Pope Francis went around the crowd aboard his mobile before holding the mass. (MindaNews)