Vatican Officials Ask Filipino Faithful to Use Images of Christ, Not Pope

Gesture Falls In Line With Pope’s Call to Keep Eyes on Christ

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Use images of Christ, not the Pope, is the message Vatican officials have been trying to send faithful in the Philippines, who eagerly await Pope Francis, who arrives in their country tomorrow and departs Monday.

In a set of instructions for the Popes motorcade from Tacloban City to its neighboring municipality of Palo on Saturday, Vatican officials told the Archdiocese of Palo welcomes in the Asian nation should be done without banners bearing his image, according to CBCP News.

In Nov. 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) largely destroyed the Filipino city of Tacloban. The Pope will be meeting with victims of the disaster during his visit to the Philippines.

Marking his second Apostolic Visit to Asia Jan. 12-19, Pope Francis has nearly concluded the first leg of his trip in Sri Lanka and will be welcomed in the Philippines tomorrow.

The head of the information and social communications committee of the Papal visit to the Archdiocese of Palo, Father Amadeo Alvero, said those faithful who wish to welcome the Pope should instead carry banners with images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, or parishes patron saints.

This request follows the various instances of the Jesuit Pope’s preferences for simplicity and calls on the faithful to keep their eyes on Christ and Mary, not him.

According to Archbishop of Palo John Du, the families who survived typhoon Yolanda in Nov. 2013 are encouraged to join in welcoming the Holy Father, as well as in attending the papal Mass and motorcade.

This is a rare opportunity to experience the mercy and compassion of God through the apostolic mission of the Vicar of Christ on earth, the pope, he added.

The archbishop said that such a once in a lifetime experience would be an experience of healing and hope. He also urged the faithful to carry banners with the message God is merciful and compassionate.

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