This issue of The Messenger of Divine Love is, to a great extent, a “Commemorative Issue” of the long-awaited Pastoral Visit of the Holy Father, which took place on January 15-19. Pope Francis was, indeed, a “Messenger of Divine Love” wherever he set foot, either walking or riding the jeepneylike Popemobile, or celebrating the Eucharist, or delivering his homilies. His conquering smile, his joyful wave to the endless, delirious crowds that had waited for long hours, just to get a glimpse of “The Gentle Christ on Earth” (as St. Catherine of Siena called the Pope) . . . left in all the Catholics an indelible impression that will be treasured for the rest of their life.

            Pope Francis came to the Philippines on a Mission of Mercy and Compassion and he did not disappoint us, as he gave preferential attention to the survivors of the Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban, and the former street children of Tulay ng Kabataan. He listened sympathetically to the emotionally stressed young people in the gathering at the University of Sto. Tomas, and spoke to all of them “straight from the heart,” putting aside his prepared speech, as he had done when he addressed the families gathered in the Mall of Asia Arena. His constant message was a pressing invitation

to take care of the poor in the land, to respect them, to empower them, and even to learn from them, for they have much to teach us, especially, through their strong faith, their humility, their resiliency and simple joys. The observance of the Year of the Poor has received from the visit of the Holy Father a special boost and new vigor.

            Love for the family and the youth were two other important leitmotifs that resounded repeatedly in Pope Francis’ speeches and homilies. And they found an eager hearing in the attentive

audiences, everywhere he spoke. He got a warm response from the gathering of families at the Arena in MOA; the exuberant youth at UST, and the more than six million Filipinos from all walks of life who had camped out for hours on end, for his closing Mass, at the Luneta Park and along the adjacent roads, braving the rain and the fatigue. . . .

Much of the content of this issue focuses on the Holy Father’s Pastoral Visit, either directly, or in a related manner, such as the article on the Year of the Poor (pp. 12-14); the one entitled “God’s Children in Our Streets” (pp. 15-16); and the touching testimonies of the “Bridge-builders of TNK” who are serving former street children (pp. 17-20).

The remaining articles featured in this issue, as can be gleaned from the Table of Contents, are like the icing on the cake, as each in its own way, contributes variety, renewed interest, and color to this exceptional issue of The Messenger.

Altogether, its content will not only be a precious souvenir of the days of faith and joy that we all lived, but also of the richness of inspiration and consolation, which our Catholic faith can give.

May the Lord give us now the persevering efforts to live out all these beautiful messages and prolong these inspiring events, for the greater glory of Jesus, King of Mercy and Compassion.

 > Messages to Treasure and Live By

 The MDL Editorial Team