Pope Francis and the three “H”s: “Humanity, Humility, Humour
(Vatican Radio) Working against time to define and set up all that is necessary to accommodate and respond to the needs of media operators in a digital world during Pope Francis’s journey to the Philippines, is Bishop Mylo Vergara who is in charge of communications for the Philippine Bishops’ Conference.
He speaks to Vatican Radio’s Sean Patrick Lovett of preparations for the Papal visit and talks of the appeal Pope Francis has for Filipinos from all walks of life.
Listen to the interview:
Bishop Vergara points out that the Philippine nation is the only one in Asia that counts a majority of Catholics in its population: “I think that’s a blessing” he says.
He points out however that there is a need for continuous renewal, and Pope Francis, he says “with his magnetic touch and charism makes real the personal encounter with Christ”.
“His coming here draws all the more people to the faith” he says.
Vergara speaks of how people from other faiths as well are expressing how Pope Francis has influenced them in their lives and in their faith.
So – he says – “not only for Catholics, but for people of all faiths and from all walks of life, Pope Francis is an instrument of the Lord to bring people to God”.
Pope Francis he says is “pontifex”: the bridge for people to experience God.
Bishop Vergara speaks of the enormous effect Pope Francis has had on bishops and on priests with his continuous encouragement to be shepherds and to be in touch with the people, “to smell like sheep”.
His – Vergara says – is a wake-up call for priests to not lose their true identity as shepherds of the Church.
People he points out are drawn to Pope Francis for many reasons, and Vergara says he has coined the Pope’s appeal in three words: his humanity, his humility, his humour”.
“He is a Pope who is very human, who is in touch with reality and who wants to reach out to people”.
Vergara speaks of the deep emotion of the Filipino journalists who travelled on the Papal plane and for the first time actually had the occasion of meeting personally with Pope Francis and exchanging a few words with him: “I think more than emotion, it was like the touch of God” he says.
He says Francis is a Pope of surprises so: “who knows how things will play out!” he exclaims.
And speaking of his humility, Vergara says he thinks that is why even atheists, lapsed Catholics, etc., are able to go back to the faith or reconsider their faith. He recalls the fact that when Francis was elected and made his first appearance on the balcony in St. Peter’s Square, instead of rolling out his credentials he said: “I am a sinner”. – I think his humility touches base with the people” he says.
The Holy Father is telling us priests that “it’s about service, about going down and reaching out to people, being in the streets, reaching out to the least, the last and the lost” Vergara says.
And then there is his humour that reaches you even through his writing. And Vergara recalls the great phrases he has coined admonishing priests and bishops: “we don’t like airport bishops’, ‘you should not be a part-time Christian’; ‘you should not be smarmy priests…”.