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Pope’s visit triggers more vocations

MANILA (Agencies) : With an increase of seminarians this year, a seminary in Manila said that Pope Francis’ recent visit to the Philippines may have sparked more  vocations. More tourists have also went to various places in Palo related to the pope’s visit.

Rector of San Carlos Seminary in Makati City, Father Hernando Coronel, said the number of people training for ministry continues to grow this year.

He said the number of philosophy and theology students has increased to 166 or 13 per cent more this year against the 145 enrollees from last year.

According to him, more seminarians have come from the Archdiocese of Manila, and even as far as Borongan, Samar in the Visayas, and Tandag, Surigao del Sur in Mindanao.

He told CBCP News that the increase may be attributed to the papal visit in January along with the Church’s intensified campaign for vocations.

Father Coronel said other possible factors include the inspiring role of Manila Archbishop Luis Cardinal Tagle and the high trust levels of the Church as reflected in the recent Philippine Trust Index survey.

The priest added that while he does not have the enrollment figures of other seminaries, he is optimistic they have upward trends as well.

“We are glad that with the fervour of the laypeople, there is also an increase in vocations. Now put to the test is the level of perseverance of the seminarians and the quality of their commitment,” he said.

Aside from the “spiritual legacy”, Pope Francis’ visit to typhoon-ravaged Leyte has also boosted tourism.

Father Chris Militante, spokesperson of Palo archdiocese, said an influx of local and foreign tourists has been observed this summer, particularly to the places that the Pope visited in Palo.

He said many Catholic pilgrims and tourists have come to the Palo Cathedral to see the statue of Mary holding the child Jesus, which was displayed during the papal Mass at the Tacloban airport.

The priest said before the Mass in Palo, Pope Francis venerated and touched the image.

The image is made to illustrate the suffering of Typhoon Yolanda victims. The statue depicts Mary standing on waves while carrying the baby Jesus on her waist, who is lifting and saving another boy from drowning with a rosary.

Made by known sculptor Willy Yalug out of yakal wood from the debris of the destroyed cathedral, the life-size image was officially named “Our Lady of Palo” with Our Lady of Salvation as inspiration

Father Miltante also noted tourists are even interested in visiting the archbishop’s residence where the pontiff had lunch with some typhoon victims. However, he explained that the archdiocese has to control the number of those who can get inside at a certain point because the residence of the archbishop is a private place.

He added that there are also people coming to make donations to the Pope Francis Centre built inside the archbishop’s residence compound, which is composed of an orphanage, clinic, and home for the elderly. 


Father Miltante said the facility so far is home to seven seniors although it has been used several times as an evacuation centre during recent storms that struck the province.