Pope Francis to eat with Typhoon Haiyan survivors in papal visit to the Philippines

"Following the Gospel is certainly a demanding path, but those who travel it with fidelity and courage receive the gift promised by the Lord to men and women of goodwill," the Pope said today.Reuters

Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in the Philippines next week to pay a visit to the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan that hit the country in 2013. Part of his itinerary is to have a meal with these survivors.

According to the schedule published by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, the Pope will fly to Tacloban City and Palo town in Leyte, two areas severely hit by the disaster. Being one with the victims is the main agenda of the papal visit. 

The Pope will also hold several masses and meetings to be close to the Filipinos. He will ride the popemobile and will hold a motorcade going to his destinations. 

With less than a week before his arrival, the church and the government are ramping up the preparation for the arrival of the leader of the Catholic Church. Clergymen are in endless meetings to make the stay of the pontiff comfortable. 

Meanwhile, the government is ensuring the security of the Pope. Philippine authorities are expecting to have a difficult time ensuring the safety of the pontiff since he likes to get close to the people. In one instance, the Argentinian leader of the church stopped along the road and kissed a sick person as well as shook the hands of the common people. Moreover, in his scheduled motorcade, he will use an open and non-bulletproof popemobile to show that the Catholic Church is open and accessible to all, which makes the authorities more worried.

Pope Francis is reported to surpass the 5 million people who convened when Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1995 for World Youth Day. He will arrive in the Philippines on Jan. 15 and will stay in the country for four days. The Philippines is a known Christian country in Asia with a large portion of the population that are members of the Catholic Church.