PALO, Leyte, Jan. 17 — Stormy weather cuts Pope Francis visit in Leyte, skipping lunch with disaster survivors.
The pontiff arrived at the Archbishop Residence around 11:40 a.m., but went down around 12:10 p.m., skipping the meal and briefly blessed the Pope Francis Center for the Poor before heading to Palo Cathedral for a meeting with the religious around 12:15 p.m.
Instead of having lunch, he had a brief meeting with 30 survivors of super typhoon Yolanda and Bohol Earthquake inside the building.
“Pilots have insisted that we have to leave by 1 p.m. due to bad weather. I have to go early,” the 78-year-old Pope Francis told the crowd packed at the Palo Cathedral.
Pope Francis arrived and left the Archbishop Residence greeted by a crowd chilling from strong winds and rain showers brought by storm “Amang.”
“I feel like I’m contended now that I saw Pope Francis even just for few seconds. I believe this is the only chance in my life to see the highest Roman Catholic leader,” said Samuel Enage, 59, a former postman from Milgarosa village in Sta. Fe, Leyte.
Dripping wet, he walked alone for one hour under the rain to get to the entrance of Archbishop Residence where Pope Francis had a brief meeting with carefully vetted poor survivors and bless the home for elderly and orphans named after him.
Pilgrims shouted “I love you Pope Francis” when the popemobile briefly stopped at the gate around 11:40 a.m. for the ponchos-wearing Pope Francis to wave the crowd.
“Now that the Pope is in our village, we are confident that we will be blessed with fast recovery from recent calamities,” said Nimfa Pabona, 44, a resident near the Archbishop Residence.
Several of her neighbors are inside the residence complex to render a dance and greet the 78-year-old pontiff. (PNA report by Sarwell Q. Meniano)