MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Philippine church officials said the pope will be riding in open vehicles during his five-day visit in January.
For months, papal visit organizers had been asked about what kind of popemobile the pontiff would use during the Jan. 15-19 visit, especially after the notoriously violent group that calls itself the Islamic State said it planned to target Pope Francis during his travels.
Father Anton Pascual, who is involved in papal visit preparations, said the popemobile will not be bulletproof and will simply have a roof.
“The Holy Father wants to be accessible to the people,” he told Catholic News Service by phone. “(So) the people can see him and he can hear and be one with the people.”
Church officials said Pope Francis requested that there not be any barriers between himself and the masses.
“The pope will be vulnerable, like the church is vulnerable, and will be dependent upon the government and people for security and order,” Father Pascual said.
The pope will have two popemobiles: one in Manila and one in Tacloban, on Leyte Island.
Father Pascual said crowd control will be a “major concern” during the pope’s one-day visit to Tacloban and nearby Palo, the area that took the brunt of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at the airport in Tacloban before going to Palo to have lunch with survivors of the typhoon and other calamities and bless the Pope Francis Center for the Poor.
“There is only one road passage from the airport to Palo,” said Father Pascual. “That’s why they have to perfect the place for the people and to make the road passable for the popemobile.”
In mid-December, the country’s military said President Benigno Aquino declared a longer-than-usual Christmas cease-fire with communist rebels. It will begin Dec. 18 and run through Jan. 19, the day the pope leaves the Philippines.
Apart from a security contingent made up of a special police task force and the military, the presidential security group will escort Pope Francis. Government officials had said earlier they were working on multiple contingency plans so that there would be “no surprises” during his visit.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103