While Metro Manila is getting ready to host Pope Francis this week, other parts of the country are also gearing up with their special way to greet the Holy Father.
In Angeles City, the faithful took it to the stage.
A musical titled, “I love Pope Francis,” saw its first run at the Holy Angel University (HAU) last November, but has been running up to the days before the Pontiff is set to arrive in the Philippines for his first visit.
The musical play, produced by Teatru Kapampangan, includes a cast of 50 members composed of youth, businessmen, professionals, and even five priests. It runs two hours in two acts and also incorporates 24 original songs.
San Fernando, Pampanga Archbishop Florentino Lavarias described the musical as a “very wonderful gift.”
The play follows the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the birth name of Pope Francis. through his calling to the priesthood during the Feast of St. Matthew’s; how devotees kept him away from temptations while he was a young seminarian, his acceptance of the vocation and his visits to the poor in his home country Argentina.
It also revealed Bergoglio’s planned resignation and his taking part in the conclave to choose a replacement for Pope Benedict XVI whom he eventually succeeded as Bishop of Rome.
HAU Vice President for External Affairs Robert Tantingco said the staging of the musical is the Kapampangan people’s gift to the Holy Father.
“Only the Kapampangan can come up with a gift like this. We are known for our fidelity to the Church, having produced the first Filipino cardinal, first priest, first nun and first priest-governor,” Tantingco said.
The play is set to be staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on January 17 through the efforts of former Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Maria Mercedes Tuason.
Meanwhile, another play about the Pope’s life, “With Love, Pope Francis” by veteran writer-director Nestor Torre will run from January 15-19 at the Mabuhay Restop theater cafe at Rizal Park and Tacloban.
“With Love, Pope Francis” is about the much-loved pontiff’s visit to Tacloban. Aside from telling the Yolanda survivors’ stories, it goes into Pope Francis’ life, to discover what has made him so uniquely loving, caring and charismatic,” explains producer Rose Cabrera.
While the Pope wouldn’t be able to watch the staging of either plays when he visits the country, organizers nonetheless say that this artistic expression of their faith is their gift to the Holy Father, who has served as inspiration to them and to people around the world, Catholic and non-Catholics alike.
Watch the ABS-CBN report here: