Pope Francis and the Filipino Deaf

Pope Francis together with Filipino Cardinal Antonio Tagle make an "I Love You" sign to the Filipino Deaf in the audience.
Pope Francis together with Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle make an “I Love You” sign to the Filipino Deaf in the audience. (Photo taken from Facebook)

I am not a Catholic. But I’m one with the entire Filipino nation in welcoming the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis! He is such a charismatic and modern yet down-to-earth person. He advocates for openness and respect to others’ beliefs. He connects with everybody. I even made a Facebook post about his statement when asked about his comment regarding the recent attacks in France. He replied, “You can’t provoke. You can’t insult the faith of others. You can’t make fun of faith.”

He is now on his final leg here in our country for a five-day visit (January 15 – 19). He has recently cut short his trip in Tacloban City, Leyte because of the impending typhoon Amang. He will be officiating a mass at the Rizal Park later today.

I won’t be dwelling much about his itinerary because tons of news articles both locally and internationally had already done that. But what I want to highlight is the Pope’s activity touching the Filipino Deaf. Here are the three things I gathered so far:

  1. He made a genuine “I Love You” sign with a sincere smile, at the Mall of Asia Arena where he met with selected families and individuals.

    Here is another image of Pope Francis and Cardinal Tagle doing the "I Love You" sign.
    Here is another image of Pope Francis and Cardinal Tagle doing the “I Love You” sign. (Photo courtesy of Raph Torralba, a prominent Hard of Hearing who works at the Department of Foreign Affairs)
  2. For the first time, the three major National TV networks (ANC for ABS-CBN, TV5 and GMA 7) covered the entire activity with sign language insets. A power house cast of my interpreter buddies were all there to lend their speaking hands in order for the Pope’s message to reach out to the Filipino Deaf. The GMA-7 and ANC telecast were organized by volunteers from DLS-College of St. Benilde while the TV5 braodcast is an ongoing interpreting service of the company. They were all doing a swell job interpreting for the Pope. 🙂

    TV Screenshots of President Aquino's speech in Malacanang during courtesy call of Pope Fancis
    TV Screenshots of President Aquino’s speech in Malacanang during courtesy call of Pope Fancis (FB Photo courtesy of Ms. Rosario Dela Cruz)
  3. One of the three families who had an opportunity to express their gratitude for Pope’s visit comes from the Deaf group representing the Persons With Disabilities Sector. His name is Renato Cruz, a Cathecist and one of my friends from Philippine School for the Deaf and Catholic Ministry to the Deaf People. He was very fortunate to be chosen to personally meet and be blessed by Pope Francis. He told the Pope about his conviction as a deaf person in promoting the Catholic faith to his fellow deaf.
    Rene Cruz gives his message in sign language.
    Rene Cruz gives his message in sign language.

    Pope Francis personally blesses Renato and his family.
    Pope Francis personally blesses Renato and his family.

Truly, Pope Francis is the People’s Pope. He did not disregard nor neglect anyone. He embraced everybody including the Filipino Deaf. Mabuhay po kayo Pope Francis and thank you very much for visiting our country. 🙂

Update Photo:

Pope Francis waves to the faithful riding an iconic Filipino Jeepney converted into a popemobile on the way to Quirino Grandstand to officiate the mass.
Pope Francis waves to the faithful riding an iconic Filipino Jeepney converted into a popemobile on the way to Quirino Grandstand to officiate the mass.
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