At the Holy Mass with the Holy Father Pope Francis in Cyprus, Filipinos were noticeably among the faithful not only in the audience but especially in the choir.
According to Ester Beatty, chairperson of the Federation of Filipino Organisations in Cyprus, “Cyprus is a small country, but the number of Filipinos living here is huge."
There are only 38,000 Catholics on the island, making up about 4.7% of the population yet many of the 10,000 worshippers at the Papal Mass were Filipinos.
Members of the Choir from the Filipino community in Nicosia | Photos from Ester Beatty
One of the intentions in the Prayers of the Faithful was also read in Tagalog, the native language of Filipinos.
Pope Francis is on an apostolic journey from December 2 to 6 to Cypress and Greece. His itinerary in Cyprus has included a courtesy visit to His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus at the Orthodox Archbishopric of Cyprus in Nicosia, followed by a meeting with the Holy Synod at the Orthodox Cathedral in Nicosia, the Holy Mass mentioned above at the “GSP Stadium” in Nicosia, and an Ecumenical Prayer with Migrants at the Parish Church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia.
On Saturday the Pope leaves Cyprus and heads to Athens, Greece, where he is scheduled to arrive at 11:10 local time. His itinerary here includes a courtesy visit to His Beatitude Hieronymos II, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, at the Orthodox Archbishopric of Greece in Athens, followed by a meeting of both leaders with their respective entourages in the “Throne Room” of the Orthodox Archbishopric; and a private meeting with members of the Society of Jesus at the Apostolic Nunciature in Athens.
On Sunday morning the Pope will travel to the Greek Island of Lesbos to visit with refugees at the "Reception and Identification Centre" in Mytilene town. He returns to Athens in the afternoon he will preside over a Mass at “Megaron Concert Hall” and in the evening he will welcome the courtesy visit of His Beatitude Hieronymous II at the Apostolic Nunciature in Athens.
Finally, on Monday morning, 6 December, Pope Francis will welcome the President of the Parliament at the Apostolic Nunciature in Athens. He will later meet with young people at Saint Dionysius School run by the Ursuline Sisters in Maroussi, Athens. After that, he heads to Athens International Airport for the farewell ceremony and his return flight to Rome leaving at 11:30.
The current Papal Nuncio to Cyprus is Archbishop Tito Yllana, who hails from Naga and was a priest of the Archdiocese of Caceres.