Vatican inspectors on way to Philippines ahead of papal visit

Venues and exact dates still to be decided reporter, Manila
June 30, 2014
Vatican inspectors will arrive in the Philippine province of Leyte this week to examine potential venues to be visited by Pope Francis in January 2015.

"The venues … are not decided yet because it has to be approved by the Vatican people," Archbishop John Du of Palo said on Monday.

The inspectors will decided whether Pope Francis will visit Palo Cathedral, which was badly damaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan last November.

Repair work on the cathedral is almost done, the archbishop said.

He announced during a Mass in Tacloban City on Sunday that Pope Francis is "tentatively scheduled to visit" the Philippines from January 15 to 20.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, said early this month that one of the purposes of the visit was to "come close to the people" seriously affected by Typhoon Haiyan in November and a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol province in October.

Archbishop Du said the pope’s visit is "another big blessing" and would boost the morale of typhoon survivors.

The last time a pope visited the Philippines was in 1995 when Pope John Paul II attended World Youth Day in Manila.

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