Catholic Church leaders will discuss the plan to invite Pope Francis to visit the country in 2021, for the celebration of the 500th year of Christianity, at the 118th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) this weekend.
CBCP secretary general Fr. Marvin Mejia said the bishops will talk about the proposal and finalize the invitation to the Holy Father.
When asked, however, Mejia said he has no idea if the Pontiff will accept the invitation or not.
“What is important is to put it on calendar for the 2021 travel schedule of the Pope. He has (so many) places to visit. What is important is we have an invitation,” he said, adding that after finalizing it, the invitation will be sent to the Vatican and they will wait for a response.
While noting that a Pope seldom visits a country twice, Bishop Arturo Bastes, expressed hope that the head of the Catholic Church will visit the Philippines again.
“It must be noted that the new Pope came to the Philippines four years ago. It was he who volunteered to come in view of the big catastrophe caused by Yolanda. We were so happy that his voluntary visit was treated by us like a State visit. Since it was he who volunteered, there is still some possibility that he will come upon the invitation of the CBCP,” he said.
The bi-annual meeting, which is also held in July, is considered as the highest decision-making body of the bishops’ group in the country.*PNA
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