Monday, January 26, 2015

A gift for the pope of children

How do you give a pope a gift from children? Apparently it's not that simple.
HOPEFUL. The author (with the gift) camps out 
by the island of Quirino Avenue while waiting for Pope Francis' arrival.

"If you think you've done everything you could, then do something more," my colleague shared over lunch.
That's the advice her hopeless romantic friend told her. And it's exactly what I need to hear.
You see, I have this inspiration to send Pope Francis the calendar which features the works of 10 child artists with disability. It's the perfect gift to the people's pope who loves children and who lives and breathes his teaching of mercy and compassion.
I tried to look for contacts who would have access to him during his 5 day visit to the Philippines. There were a few but all of them were convinced that it is impossible to go near him; more so, present him a gift. So, on the day of his arrival, when my friends coaxed me to wait for his motorcade I eagerly obliged; not knowing that the waiting time will take forever (6 hours to be exact). I enjoyed the experience of being one with the whole nation in prayer and excitement but I didn't get to hand him his gift in the 10 seconds that he passed by my line of vision. I found the perfect spot behind the policemen's line along the stretch of Quirino Avenue. If he went down his pope mobile, I could have easily handed the gift to him. Also, my friend made it a point to befriend all the policemen near us so there would be a high probability that they'll allow me to give the item without any commotion. But then, he didn't come down.
On Day 2, I got word that someone was able to hand him a gift at the papal nunciature where he was staying. So, my colleagues and I trooped there. We braved the empty streets and walked miles and miles on end to be able to pass by the back of his residence. Apparently, they decided to barricade the entrance of his home for security purposes. I had my 3 seconds view of Pope Francis and a wave this time around but again I wasn't able to give him the gift.
Then on Day 3, my colleagues, friends and family were all telling me to drop it. But, I am not one who easily gives up. Instead, I sent copies of the calendars to Cardinal Tagle and the bishops involved in the papal visit. I tweeted, sent inquiries online, posted an open letter on Facebook, and wrote messages to the organizations involved via Instagram, but still no word. 
Finally, Day 4, I think I have done everything I could except have this article published. If you're reading this, I hope you share it so this plea gets to Pope Francis and his entourage before he leaves on Monday. I do not intend to present the gift to him face to face. In behalf of the children who will never ever bug anyone to acknowledge them or their works, I pray that I can simply get an address or a contact person so we can send Pope Francis our love and our very special calendar. This, my friends, is my 'something more'.
The author hands the gift to Captain Skee Tamayo, the PAL head pilot who flew 
Shepherd One from Manila to Rome. Tamayo had already confirmed that the gifts
have been given to Pope's closest aide, Dr. Gasbari.

This article was first published in

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