PALO NEWS – Pope Francis left Leyte at 1pm this afternoon, cutting short a visit to the disaster stricken area that was originally planned to cover activities up to 5pm.
An hour earlier, the Pope apologised to thousands of devotees, religious, and ordinary citizens from all over Visayas who braved the foul weather and flocked to the Metropolitan Cathedral in Palo, Leyte to meet with him.
“I have to tell you something that displeases me”, he told the crowd through an interpreter, and proceeded to inform them that he had been advised to leave early because of the worsening weather condition. “I apologize to you, I am sad about this, truly saddened”, the Pope who is generally known for his pleasant humility said.
The pilots of the plane carrying the Pope had insisted that the Pope’s departure time be moved earlier lest they will not be able to take off. Storm signal no. 2 is up over Leyte and Samar and is continually threatening the rest of Southern Luzon.
Wearing a raincoat, Pope Francis earlier held Mass at the DZR Airport before a sea of rain-soaked devotees and victims of super typhoon Haiyan who waited for his much anticipated arrival despite the bad weather brought by Tropical Storm Amang.
Tears flowed among those present as the pontiff “spoke from his heart” during his homily. “While you have lost so much, Jesus will never abandon you”, he said.
“When I saw from Rome the catastrophe, I felt that I had to be here, and on those very days I decided to come here. I am here to be with you. And though late, I have to say, I am here. I come to tell you that Jesus is Lord and He never lets us down,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis later went around the mass area on board his Popemobile to bless the people before proceeding to visit the poor family of a Yolanda survivor in San Jose, Tacloban City.
The Pope also had a brief lunch with survivors of calamities in Visayas at the Archbishop’s Residence in Palo after which he blessed the Pope Francis Centre for the Poor. Pope Francis also blessed a mass grave located at the Palo Metropolitan Cathedral before proceeding to the airport for his 1pm flight back to Manila.