His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, apparently holds Filipinos dear in his heart, and the Holy See would know you are from the Philippines if you call him “Lolo Kiko”.
Filipino Ambassador to the Holy See, Grace Relucio Princesa, who also served as the Philippine ambassador to the UAE from 2009 to 2015, shared that Pope Francis loves being called Lolo Kiko.
“We call him Lolo Kiko. He loves the name. When we say Lolo Kiko, he knows we’re from the Philippines,” Princesa told Vatican News.
Princesa added that Filipinos are excited to see Pope Francis and consider the Pope’s visit in the UAE as a “once in a lifetime” experience.
“Some of my Filipino friends texted me. They were quick on the internet saying, ‘The Pope is coming, we’re ecstatic!” Princesa said.
Princesa said that the Pope’s visit to the UAE is a testament of the country as a place of tolerance.
“This visit is epochal, the first ever visit of a Pope (to the Arabian Peninsula) and it comes at a moment when the world needs to see different faiths believing in the communality of our humanity – of human dignity. That’s what this visit personifies,” she said.
Princesa said the visit is also “a validation of the UAE as a country that welcomes all beliefs” and says that the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, where Pope Francis will meet the Muslim Council of Elders “is not just a place of worship: it’s a place of culture and of friendship.”