Manila (AsiaNews/CBCP) - Digital technology is coming to the rescue of many Filipinos eager to take part in the historic canonization of two Popes but unable to "take the road that leads to Rome" due to travel costs. It will be possible to watch live streaming of the ceremony that will raise John XXIII and John Paul II to the altars of the saints, tomorrow, April 27, thanks to Jesuit Communications ( JesCom ). The Smart- Araneta Coliseum in Cubao , Quezon commercial heart of the city ( in the region of Metro Manila), will broadcast the images live from St. Peter's Basilica.
The canonization , which coincides with the feast of Divine Mercy, is a "really special event, which of course I cannot miss" shared Neomi Agustín, a housewife who was a sixth grade student when Pope John Paul II visited Manila for the 1995 World Youth Day celebration. The ceremony, which will be followed by millions of people to Rome and throughout the world, will be presided over by Pope Francis, but the presence of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is not excluded.
According to JesCom's Dit G. Sablan, the event billed as "Shepherds, Servants & Saints" will be held in the building in Cubao's commercial district, which John Paul II affectionately renamed the "Collosseo of Papal Audiences" during his first pastoral visit to the Philippines in 1981. "Shepherd in the Bible represents personal care and mercy. Servant in the Bible represents service and humility. Saints in the Bible represent consecration and holiness. Thus, the title 'Shepherds, Servants & Saints' captures the various themes that we would like to convey to the faithful," Sablan added.
To cap the occasion, Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle will be celebrating holy mass in honor of the now "pope-saints" who, for many Catholics, had been two of the most admired and beloved pontiffs in the Church's recent history. In particular, the Polish Pope - who visited the archipelago on three occasions, twice as pope and a previously when he was still a cardinal - is perhaps the most beloved and revered personality, as well as family for Filipinos. On the occasion of World Youth Day 1995 he gathered around him four to six million people, described as " the greatest papal gathering" in history.
"I was among the lucky few St. Paul students chosen by my school to welcome the Pope [John Paul II] with flowers and streamers at the old Manila International Airport" recalls Noemi Agustín. "I remember everyone, including me, was in joyful tears that day just seeing the Vicar of Christ even from afar getting out of his Alitalia plane and blessing the crowd. On that one brief moment, we felt as though God literally came down from heaven. It was an experience like no other"