A priest accompanying six bishops from the Philippines on their five-yearly “ad limina” visit in Rome met the Pope and asked for prayers and blessings for his ministry among the Filipino migrants in Italy. It all happened in a matter of less than a minute, said Salesian Father Joriz Calsa from the Philippines Southern Province in Cebu. Father Joriz went with his former provincial superior and now bishop of Kabankalan, Negros Occidental diocese, Bishop Patricio “Pat” Buzon, on 18 February. Father Joriz said: “I joined five other priests who posed as secretaries to the visiting Bishops and we drove out of Collegio Filipino in two vans at 10 am and entered the Vatican City through the official entrance Porta Sant’Anna. "While waiting in the adjacent room for audience with the Pope, the attendants briefed us on protocols and among other things they repeatedly insisted that we 'don’t tire the Pope'. “Bishop Pat and I were the first to enter the hall where Pope Benedict XVI was standing, ready to welcome each of us. There was an aura of holiness about him and I was awestruck by that simplicity and holiness. I kissed his ring, held his gentle hands as Bishop Pat introduced me saying: This is Don Joriz Calsa, studying at the Salesian Pontifical University...,” he said. "I did not hesitate to interrupt Bishop Patrick and tell the pope in English, “Your holiness, I would like you to bless the Filipino families especially here in Italy.” He nodded his head in approval. "We presented him our gift of dried mangoes, a Cebu delicacy." For the last one and half years, Father Joriz, 39 and studying youth ministry in Rome, has been chaplain to two Filipino communities. He is also visiting chaplain to Yahweh Elohim Charismatic Communities (YECC) in Bologna and Parma in Italy. There are some 113,000 Filipino Catholics in Italy, including around 23,000 in Rome. ZY13352.1642
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