Pope Francis Encounter with the Youth at UST

I feel so blessed to be one of the Thomasian Youth Particpants last January 18, 2015 during Pope Francis' Encounter with the Youth at my school, the University of Santo Tomas. "To date, the current location of UST in Espana, Manila has seen three papal visits—by Pope Blessed Paul VI in 1970 and Pope St. John Paul II in 1981 and 1995". This was the 4th and I am extremely grateful to be a part of history. :)))

Read this article: The favored university: Why all popes visiting PH stop by UST

It was a great honor to be blessed by "Lolo Kiko" (Pope Francis) this year. I really feel so blessed because he visited my country, the Philippines, during my term as a Senior Sister of UST's Youth for Christ Beato (College of Fine Arts and Design and College of Architecture). I am so blessed because I had the opportunity to be just a few steps away from him during this encounter. And I had no idea why but upon seeing him, tears started falling down my eyes. I really had no idea why I started crying but the encounter was unexplainable. I am actually speechless right now while writing this blog entry and I can't find the words to express and describe the feeling I felt. All I can say is, seeing Pope Francis in person and hearing God's message through him, gave me hope. He gives me hope. Seeing him in person made all my hurt and pain go away. He made me realize that Jesus is always with me and that he loves me very much. And because of the experience, Pope Francis inspires me to spread God's love and word more and that in my calling (as YFC-Beato Senior Sister), God is with me. And I will let God's will be done through me. I felt God's love in so many different ways and I want to share that, especially to the hopeless and to the less fortunate.


As early as November 2014, I volunteered for the Papal Visit in Luneta (Quirino Grand Stand). But on January 13, 2015, during the Student Religious Organizations' Papal Visit Orientation, I found out that I was one of the chosen few (from the thousands and thousands of UST students) to be a youth participant! We were told that we are no longer volunteers or human barricades but we are the Thomasian Youth Volunteers! (I was already feeling so blessed by this time!)

My Thomasian Youth Participant/ Volunteer ID!

Since I live in a city far away from UST, I was allowed to sleep inside UST the night before Pope's Encounter with the Youth. It was a fun experience. And I got to cross-out the "overnight at UST" off of my bucket list! hihi.

Our call time was at 2 am but we all woke up at around 1:30 am.

Selfies inside our Org room before breakfast and before going to the field!

 Selfies while waiting in line. :)

The Thomasian Youth Participants.

Time check: 3:38 am
We heard mass at 5:00 am

More selfies while waiting for Pope Francis!! :)

The UST Yellow Jackets taught us cheers for Pope Francis' arrival.

Angeline Quintos sang.

And also Jed Medala.

The waiting moments were fun if I must say. And then... we heard cheers and screaming. We realized that Pope Francis is now inside UST! woohoo!

Because we were in front of the stage, we had no idea that this was happening while we were hearing all those screams and cheers! We did see the Pope Mobile. Just a glimpse of it though. Of course I knew that a motorcade would happen. :)

Lolo Kiko is so nice. And is smile is so contagious. :)))

Among all the photos I took, this one is my favorite. :")

Pope Francis is so adorable!

He was so inspiring!

FULL TEXT: Pope Francis' message, youth encounter, UST

I never realized how many devotees and Catholics were actually there for we entered UST grand stand at around 3am and we went straight to our designated place in front of the stage. I mean, I knew there were thousands of people but I never imagined the crowd this huge!!!

The Filipino faith is indeed something to be proud of. And yes, it was typhoon-proof. :)

Because I had a little sleep and my last full-food intake was hours and hours ago (2am), plus so many people and it was raining and I had no protection, I almost fainted! I knew the feeling I swear, I've felt it before so when I realized that I was having a difficulty in breathing, and I feel kind of dizzy, and my sight was slowly darkening and I'm losing my sense of hearing, I asked the person beside me to tell them (short for whoever can help me) that I am "nahihilo" dizzy. And I swear if the girl didn't guide me out / took me to the nearest first-aid station, I swear I could have fainted! :( Promise, hinang-hina na ko nun and I could barely speak. They took my blood pressure and I could tell it wasn't good. It was two digits over two digits. I was conscious so I could hear what was happening. I heard them that I should really be taken to the "clinic". The exact words were, "kailangan na talaga natin siya dalhin sa **the words faded. im not sure*. Then they asked me if I can (capable) to walk any further and I said I can't anymore so I was taken out of the crowd via stretcher.

My college best friend was there with me. I heard someone say to her, "sumama ka na rin. malapit ka na din oh". And so she did. And because she's my "true friend", she decided to take tons of photos of me! hahaha :\

The encounter ended with the song, "Tell the world of His love", the theme song used in 1995 World Youth day during Pope St. John Paul's visit.

I wasn't here anymore because I was still at the clinic by this time. And if I didn't almost fainted, I would have gotten straight to Quirino Grand Stand as well for Pope Francis' last mass before he leaves the Philippines.

Anyway, it was truly a memorable and heart-warming experience! Hopefully, I will be a much better person after this encounter and I will be able to share God's love even more.

God bless us all and Thank you for reading! :)

DISCLAIMER: All photos belong to their rightful owners. 
I took the liberty to appreciate each minute and moment I was there thus, I only took few photos. Most photos found in this post are either mine, from Tomasino web, and from my friends.

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  1. How nice you got the chance to see Pope Francis! I'm so inspired by him...his words and actions. There is so much love within this holy father. I hope I will get the chance to see him too. Vatican is not that far away from my country, so I should really try to plan a visit:)

    all the photos are adorable...and it's good you had a friend to help...I have low blood pressure so I often get dizzy when there is a crowd around me and not enough air.


  2. First I am happy you were able to experience this and second I am so sorry you almost fainted... that is kind of scary. I am glad you friends and others took you for some help Rae.

    I understand your excitement, I once was able to meet the head of our church, only 2000 people were chosen in Nova Scotia and I was one of the lucky ones. He was so spiritual and uplifting, it is something I will never forget.

  3. omg! you are so blessed to be given that once in a lifetime chance!!!!!!