Disaster survivors will have the chance to dine with Pope Francis during his scheduled visit to the Philippines in January 2015, a church official has told local news outlets.
Archbishop John Du of Palo, Leyte said Monday that 20 Typhoon Haiyan victims from Tacloban City, five typhoon survivors from Cebu, and five Bohol earthquake victims are to dine with the Pope.
The meal will take place at the residential house of the archbishop on January 17.
Typhoon Haiyan hit the Visayas region last year, killing some 6,300 people with 1,060 still others missing. Bohol was later hit with a 7.2-magnitude earthquake, killing at least 200 people.
"He will be sitting side by side with poor people. Simple food will be served and there will be no VIPs," Du said in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper.
The Pope has told the archbishop that he wants to spend time with the poor people of the Philippines, which is a mainly Catholic country.
This is his main reason of visiting the country so the archbishop appealed for politicians and VIPs not to take "center stage" during the Francis' visit.
The archbishop quoted the pontiff as saying, "Give me time to be with the poor. If they [the rich] want, they could assist me [in serving the poor]."
The first on to join the Pope is a family man who lost all his loved ones during the tragedy. The archbishop believes that staying right beside the Pope will remind him that he's not alone and that God is one with him in his sufferings.
Manila will provide a custom-built, bulletproof vehicle called the "Popemobile" for Francis. Du revealed that the Pope is planning alight from Popemobile and visit people in the slums.
Pope Francis has been considered by many as a man who lives like his namesake, the Saint Francis of Assisi.
He lives in a way that draws people to simplicity and is quoted saying, "We do much, but we are perhaps called to do more, welcoming and sharing decisively that which Providence has given us to serve."