Manila (AsiaNews/CBCP) - The central theme of Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines will be "mercy and compassion", which will hopefully turn into a "spiritual typhoon", this according Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, and Manila's Card Luis Antonio Tagle, who spoke after the announcement by the Holy See Press Office that the pontiff will visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines in January 2015.
The pope will be in the country - the only Asian country with a Catholic majority together with East Timor - on 15-19 January next year, but the trip's schedule has not yet been made public.
Card Tagle stressed the Francis wants to travel to the areas affected by typhoon Yolanda. "I was a witness by how Pope Francis was affected by the typhoon Yolanda," the cardinal explained. "Let us show Pope Francis who we really are as Filipinos."
For Mgr Pinto, the diplomatic representative of the Holy See, the papal visit will be an occasion for prayer and spiritual renewal. "My wish is that this visit will be a spiritual typhoon," he said.
Francis' visit falls on the 20th anniversary of the historic World Youth Day of 10-15 January 1995 that saw the gathering of five million people.
"Another way is to do works of mercy - the corporal and spiritual works of mercy," Tagle added.