Pope practicing English skills for PH visit
MANILA, Philippines – English may not be Pope Francis' mother tongue, but the Argentine pontiff is said to be practicing his English speaking skills in preparation for his visit to the Philippines next week.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said on Wednesday, January 7, that all of Francis' speeches and homilies in the Philippines will be delivered in English.
Earlier, the Vatican decided that Francis' Masses in the Philippines will be said in English instead of Latin.
The 78-year-old pontiff delivers his speeches mostly in Italian.
In October 2013, Francis delivered his first English-language message, which was sent for a Philippine conference convened by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. (READ: Pope to PH: Don't get tired of mercy)
In his first trip to Asia in August 2014, Francis used English before a live audience in South Korea.
In an interview on RTVM, Gregory Gaston, rector of Pontificio Collegio Filippino, said the Pope has been practicing reading his homilies for his Philippine visit from January 15 to 19.
If there are conversations or questions asked in the local dialects, Gaston said Tagle would serve as the Pope's translator.
In the briefing, Lombardi said Francis' second trip to Asia was significant as it seeks to "recover a sense of the papal presence" in the continent.
Francis' predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, was not able to make a trip to Asia during his papacy.
Francis is set to spend two full days in Sri Lanka before arriving in the Philippines on January 15.
He will spend two full days in the capital Manila and one day in the province of Leyte to meet with disaster survivors. – Rappler.com
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