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Filipinos welcome pope's installation

Cardinals hope for papal visit in 2016 reporter, Manila

March 19, 2013

Filipinos around the country offered Masses and prayers on Tuesday morning as Pope Francis set out on his "Petrine ministry."

Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the bishops' conference, earlier requested all bishops to offer special prayers for the intention of the Holy Father.

Vice President Jejomar Binay left for the Vatican on Monday afternoon to represent the Philippines at the inauguration of Pope Francis.

"I'll be bringing the letter of [President Benigno Aquino] congratulating the Pope," Binay said before departing for Rome.

He also urged Filipinos to pray that Pope Francis "lead the Church with wisdom, humility, compassion and grace."

Earlier, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, archbishop emeritus of Manila, and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, retired archbishop of Cebu, invited the new pope to visit the Philippines in 2016.

The invitation was extended during Pope Francis' audience with cardinals at the Vatican on Friday.

Local news reports said Rosales and Vidal invited the pope to grace the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu.

Rosales said he told the pope in Spanish," Your Holiness, the Philippines is now preparing for your first pastoral visit as Pope!" Rosales said the Pope smiled and said, "Vamos a ver (Let us see)."

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