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Kap’s Amazing Stories 09-23-12

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Kap’s Amazing Stories 09-23-12
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by : FlipBooth on Sep 23, 2012
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Kap’s Amazing Stories 09-23-12
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News Report:

‘Speechless with joy’: An encounter with Pope John Paul II

Radio Veritas employee Thelma Balajadia (left) watches as Pope John Paul II carries her three-year-old daughter Risa during the Pope's first visit to the country in 1981. GMA News
It occurred more than 30 years ago, but Thelma Balajadia's encounter with Pope John Paul II is so vivid to her it could have happened yesterday.

Just two years after he ascended to the papacy in 1979, the young and charismatic John Paul II made his first visit to the Philippines in 1981 to beatify several martyrs, including Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino to become a saint.

During the visit, the Pope also dropped by Radio Veritas Asia in Quezon City to deliver an address.

“At that time, I was working with Radio Veritas Asia...The Pope went to Radio Veritas Asia to give his address to the bishops across countries in Asia,” Balajadia recounted in an interview with Howie Severino on GMA News TV's “News To Go”.

Balajadia said Pope John Paul delivered an inspiring message to the bishops to remain steadfast in spreading Catholic faith in Asia.

“In this broadcast that he did, he gave them [bishops] the inspiration to just continue and the strength to go on because they are doing God’s work,” she said.

Balajadia soon found herself face to face with the Pope in the Veritas lobby, together with other employees.

“Ang feeling ko noon when I stood face to face with him, sabi ko 'this might be what it feels when you stand in heaven face to face with Jesus'. Speechless with joy,” she recalled.

“Meron siya kasing aura of sanctity kahit noon pa. May aura siya na sagrado na tao.”

Balajadia can still clearly recall how the mere presence of the Pope left her and her colleagues in awe.

“Before he came, syempre magulo ang tao, jostling for the best position, and then suddenly he came in. A hush fell then suddenly he was there in front of us...He did not say anything, he just stood there and blessed us individually. I kissed his ring,” Balajadia said, showing a framed photo of that fateful encounter.

“Sayang walang selfie,” she joked.

The Pope also blessed Balajadia's youngest daughter Rissa, who was three years old at the time.

“Part of the program, kaming may maliliit na anak na babae, magbibigay ang mga anak namin ng bouquet ng bulaklak sa kanya. So, Rissa was one of the little girls who handed him a bouquet. She was lucky na yakapin ng Pope. Binuhat siya at niyakap,” she recounted.

Balajadia said that Rissa only remembers the occasion vaguely. “But I tell her now, 'Be sure to pray for him, now he is going to be a saint.' Even nung siya [John Paul II] ay Blessed pa, sabi ko magdasal ka sa kanya.”

On Sunday, April 27, Blessed Pope John Paul II and Blessed Pope John XXIII will be canonized.

John Paul II led the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005. He travelled to more than 100 countries during his pontificate, including the Philippines, which he visited twice—in 1981 and in 1995.

In 1984 he initiated the celebration of World Youth Day, an event that gathers Catholic youth from around the globe in a day of prayer and worship. The World Youth Day celebration was held in the Philippines in 1995. — Elizabeth Marcelo/BM, GMA News

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