What is it like to be on the papal plane? Filipino journalist tells his story

Thea Alberto-Masakayan
Joe Torres of the Union of Catholic Asian News meets Pope Francis for the first time. Photo by Roi Lagarde/CBCPNews

As millions of Filipinos eagerly await the arrival of Pope Francis, hoping to get even a glimpse of the Catholic leader, some Filipino journalists have already been blessed with a conversation with the pontiff.

Among the select journalists on board the papal plane to Sri Lanka, Joe Torres of the Union of Catholic Asian News, said Pope Francis was very candid.

"The pope made a joke with us journalists. "It's a lot of work," he said, and wished us luck,” Torres said.

In his article, Torres also recalled what it’s like to meet the pope for the first time.

"Pope Francis went down the aisle and approached each one of us…when my turn came, he held out his hand. I shook it and brought it to my forehead to do the traditional "mano," the Filipino way of greeting elders with respect,” said Torres.

Torres, who was too shy to get a “selfie," also recalled telling the Pope that he was Filipino, to which the pontiff responded with “very good” and "welcome.”

"I held on to the pontiff's hand a little bit longer, enough to remember the prayers and petitions that friends, relatives and loved ones asked me to whisper to the pope,” Torres added.

But perhaps the most touching scene inside the plane was when Pope Francis willingly granted a cameraman’s wish.

Torres shared that a teary-eyed RTVM cameraman asked the pope to bless him and his family. The pope then touched the cameraman's head and prayed.

“Napalingon kami lahat, tapos hinawakan ni pope ang kanyang ulo at dinasalan. Super inggit kami, pero parang na-bless na rin kami lahat ng Papa,” Torres added.

Related video: